A/N: The following is a short and sweet Epilogue for our Generation 4 Heir. Enjoy ❤
Two Years Later
“Come on, everyone! Hurry up!” Gemma shouted, her bare feet racing across the sand.
“I can’t run that fast!” Augustus panted, trying his best to keep up.
“We’re right behind you!” Candice assured. She bounced Tobias on her hip and he burst into giggles, his little hands reaching up to play with her hair.
“Like, way behind you,” my mom added with a laugh. My father laughed from beside her, the two carefully maneuvering their way to the coastline. They giggled like teens whenever they stumbled, the soft sand giving way beneath their feet.
The sun beat down on our backs. It was perfect, clear day.
Gemma and Augustus ran into the shallows, Joanne right behind them and squealing as the cool water splashed her. She was turning 18 soon and was already accepted into her number one choice university. It would make her the first Winters to ever attend and I couldn’t have been more proud.
Candice caught up to them with Tobias, his laughter continuing loudly as she dipped his feet into the water. The kids splashed each other, their screams of delight filling the salty ocean air.
Making a family trip to Isla Paradiso once a year was probably the best idea we’d ever had.
I settled myself into a beach chair, using my toes to bury my feet in the sand. The deeper I burrowed, the cooler the sand felt. I closed my eyes, a soft breeze tousling the hair on my forehead, and I just felt so peaceful.
It was a feeling I wasn’t used to—even as far back as I could remember, I worried. I worried that my mom only put so much of her time into me because she thought I was weird. I worried that I was weird because I didn’t want to talk to the other kids….
I worried because in high school I was at the bottom of the totem pole and somehow always managed to get myself into trouble because of it.
I worried when I finally did find friends that they just wanted to use me, and even when it became clear that that wasn’t their intention, I worried that they tolerated me more than they actually liked me.
So when they stood up for me, and took me in as one of their own, I worried that it had all been just one huge mistake.
And when someone showed interest in me beyond that of a family member or a friend, I worried that it was some cruel joke—until her lips met mine and promised it was real.
How frivolous those worries were though compared to what I would have to worry about next….
How stupid and pathetic….
How completely and utterly inconsequential.
It had been such a relief when I found a cure—a way to numb my worries, numb my mind, and numb me.
But it wasn’t a cure—not even a little bit, and by the time I had discovered this most malicious of deceits, it had already taken a hold of me, leaving me a slave to its sadistic whims.
I sighed, leaning back in my seat and stretching out my legs now. I closed my eyes once more, but opened them quickly when I felt drops of water splash onto my face. I jumped and blinked only to find Candice standing above me, grinning.
“Where’d Tobias go?” I immediately asked, alarmed.
“He’s with your mom, silly. What are you doing hanging out by yourself?” she asked. Her hand was on her hip; a soft, inquiring smile on her face. I couldn’t help but smile too.
“Sorry,” I said. “Just thinking, I guess.”
“Hmmmm,” she hummed softly, reaching out to run a hand through my hair. I closed my eyes at her gentle touch. “Is everything okay?” she asked.
“Everything is perfect,” I murmured truthfully. I opened my eyes and smiled at her reassuringly, and she smiled back at me, just as radiant as ever. The sunlight glittered in her warm brown eyes. Her radiance must have come easily, because she was light itself. God did I love her.
“Well then let’s go, babe!” Candice announced, grabbing my hand to pull me up. “I believe you promised a certain set of twins that you’d go snorkeling with them,” she grinned.
“Ah yes, and a terrible curse befalls those who break a promise to those twins,” I said seriously, allowing Candice to help me off my seat.
“A curse that naught but earplugs can possibly cure,” Candice added gravely. I laughed, kissing her and then taking her hand as we walked down to the shoreline.
As soon as we got near the twins began squealing in excitement. I let out a breath of air as they collided with us, hugging us tightly around the waist.
“Daddy can’t breathe,” I coughed out, exaggeratedly gasping for air.
“Mommy needs air!” Candice choked out at the same time.
They giggled and stepped back, their two bronzed faces grinning up at us.
“Can we go snorkeling now?” Gemma asked. Her eyes were bright with excitement—the only one of our children to have inherited my strangely colored ones.
“Yes, can we please go now?” Augustus chimed in, bouncing on his toes eagerly.
“Hmmm, I don’t know….” I said, folding my arms across my chest. “You guys did just try to suffocate us.”
“Daaaaaaaaaaad,” they groaned, and I laughed, shaking my head.
“Okay okay, sure. Go get your sister, quick!” I said, bending to tickle them both. They shrieked with giggles and ran off, calling out Joanne’s name.
“Ahhh, they’re coming for me!” my eldest daughter shouted, and then yelped as the two tackled her into the waves. They all came up spluttering and laughing, stumbling in the current as they tried to stand back up.
“Let’s go! Let’s go!” the twins both cheered.
I am not a perfect man, nor have I ever claimed to be one.
I am a recovering alcoholic. I am one of the many victims of a chronic anxiety disorder. I am a man who has been shattered and put back together more times than I count, but I am also a man who wouldn’t have written his story any other way.
You see, a person is made up of more than just cells; they are, instead, the complex creation of a consortium of circumstances.
So had my story been written any differently, if even one event happened in a way deviant from the course my life has taken, then I wouldn’t be the person that I am today…and I like the person that I’ve ultimately become.
I am a son….
Every glorious high….
And every terrible low that I have ever experienced.
I am the complex creation of a consortium of circumstances…
…and I wouldn’t ever change those circumstances, not even for the world.
James Winters: Painter/Writer—Generation Four
· Master Painting Skill ✓
· Master Writing Skill ✓
· Paint 20 Paintings ✓
· Be Friends With Parents ✓
· Get $5,000 in Royalties (or sell 15,000 from paintings) ✓
· Paint Family Pictures (spouse, kids, parents if alive) (spouse yes, the others no X)
· Join Book Club (if applicable) ✓
A/N: AHHHHHH, another generation down! What a roller coaster! This was honestly probably one of my favorite generations to write, so I’m super sad to let it go. That being said, this is not the last you will see of James, as he, Candice, Tobias, Augustus, and Gemma will all still appear in the next generation. Ah and yes, that means exactly what most of you have already surmised–Joanne will be our heiress for Generation 5. I know that for James & Candice lovers (like myself!) that may be disappointing, but I can at least assure you that Joanne has quite the story to tell.
As always, thank you all for reading. Like seriously, THANK YOU!!! Some of you even came back to read Different Winters after I was gone for over a year and that’s just freaking awesome! Seeing as we’re closing this chapter, I’d love to hear your feedback as well, since I’m always looking to improve on this blog! Most of all though, again, thank you for reading 🙂
Now we close this book and press “play” as we enter the world of music in GENERATION FIVE. AHH! ❤