15 years later
"Uncle Evan! Uncle Evan!"
I hear my little 'niece' and 'nephew' scuttling in from outside, their squealing voices echoing through the house. I let out a deep chuckle as they both tackle me to the floor and tell me through gasping breathes all the adventures they had while swimming. I wrap my arms around each of them and listen patiently.
Caroline, my four year old niece, bounces up and down on my leg. "Uncle Evan?"
"When are mommy and daddy gonna be home?"
I glance at the wall calendar hanging on the back of the laundry room door. Stella and Jeremy are taking a two week cruise to Alaska for their fifteenth honeymoon. And of course I was the 'only suitable baby sitter' while the two of them were gone.
My eyes narrow-in on the circled black date, indicating their day of return.
"Ten days down, four days to go Caroline."
When Caroline gives me a confused look, I pick her up and walk us both to the calendar.
"See," I say pointing to the calendar. "This was the day they left, sweetie. Last Monday. They will be back this Sunday and it's already Wednesday night."
I move my finger across the square boxes and count slowly to show Caroline exactly what I'm saying. When my finger lands on the day of their arrival, Caroline shrieks with delight and squirms in my arms. I set her on the floor and she starts running around the living room.
My nephew JJ, Jeremy Junior, gives his sister an annoyed look. JJ just turned seven a few weeks ago. He likes to think he's an adult now. I can't help but grin as I watch the two of them. They are night and day, those two kids.
Caroline has curly blonde hair and sparkling blue eyes, just like her daddy, while JJ has dark hair and dark eyes, following suit with Stella's exotic looks. They're the two most beautiful children I've ever seen. But I could be bias.
I turn on the TV while they continue to play, knowing they will be wiped out soon and will want to watch cartoons. I wander into the kitchen and start getting out ingredients for their favorite dinner - mac n' cheese with pigs in a blanket.
While I make dinner my mind travels back to all the wonderful years I've spent with Jeremy and Stella….
Just as they said they would, the two of them traveled the world and were gone for over two years. Aside from the seven days that I thought I had killed Stella, that first year was the worst of my life. I was heartbroken.
But after a year had passed, the ache in my heart seemed to mend on its own. It's funny how time allows your heart to heal without you even knowing it. I also realized through time that Stella had made the right choice. Jeremy was her true soul mate.
The second year they were gone though, I was just lonely. I ended up getting a small house of my own and starting my own 'beach-store' business.
I know, I know, it doesn't sound like much. But I'm actually getting quite a profit off of it, especially from the tourists.
By the time Jeremy and Stella came home, my heart was completely healed and I was just happy to have them back…
And since then?
It's been a blur of happy memories.
Jeremy and Stella were wed shortly after they returned home (but I later found out it was just a renewal of vows since they had eloped in Paris). Gavin and Connie got married a year after that. And while Stella and Jeremy waited on having kids for a year or two, Connie seemed eager to get started with the baby making business.
Can you believe it - they have eight kids already!? Yes, you heard correctly. Eight.
Grace ended up closing her practice after her and Richard had a very messy break-up two years into their relationship. And now, as far as I know, she lives in Texas.
Random, I know.
Richard keeps his distance from us, but pops in every year or two just to make sure everything is going 'smoothly.' Which - thank God - it is. Everything is still going according to plan…including me taking 'the demon' on the day of Stella's death.
But I prefer not to think about that.
And Todd? Believe it or not, Todd is now part of our group. He's the only single one left aside from myself. So when the six of us hang out - Gavin, Connie, Stella, Jeremy, Todd and I - we end up being the odd men out. Incidentally, he's become like a brother to me.
And as for myself? I'm happier than ever. I have five amazing best friends who love and support me, a successful business, and abeautiful niece and nephew.
What else could a guy ask for?
I bet you're wondering about my love life, eh? Not going to lie, I wonder about that myself from time to time. I've tried dating. Believe me. But after Stella, no girl seems to measure up. All my friends hound me to find a wife and 'settle down.'
But I'm content without it. Really, I am.
And who knows? With an eternity of living on earth, the right girl is bound to show up at some point….
A/N: Sorry to startle you with this being in Evan's perspective! I just wanted to give you all insight into everyone's life while setting up for the possibility of a book two…..in Evan's perspective?! I don't know - what do you all think????!