Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Location: Little Corsican Bistro, Sunset Valley
Date: Saturday, 1/28/2012 (9 weeks pregnant)
Time: 7:37 p.m.
Within two weeks of that moment they shared at Hangman's Tree---when Lyn told Luke that she loved him and she was having his baby---he knew what he had to do. She had to become his wife. After everything they have been through, he didn't want to waste another minute without her by his side.
He knows how much she loves Little Corsican Bistro in Bridgeport, but she has never been to the original one in Sunset Valley. He had everything planned out. Have a nice romantic dinner, take her on a hot-air balloon ride and pop the question. His babygirl deserves everything that her heart desires, and he wants to make sure she gets it.
"Two years and several lifetimes. We're finally on our first date." He comments casually as he pokes at the key lime pie she wants him to try---the warm glow of the candlelight softening the curves of her face.
"I know. I guess we're doing everything backwards, huh?" She chuckles, glancing in his direction, her liquid brown melting dreamily into his, leaving him breathless.
"I guess we are," he whispers as he sits down his fork and leans in to kiss her tenderly.
As they hover over Old Pier Beach, with the silver moonlight cascading into the ripples of water, Luke knows the time has come. He was nervous during dinner, but now that he actually has to ask the big question, he can literally feel his insides twist into massive coils. What he's about to do almost doesn't make sense considering this is their first date, but he knows it's what matters most.
"Lyn?" he asks quietly, interrupting her pensive observation of the ocean from up high.
"Yes, baby?" she turns around, brushing her hair away from her face.
"I know I told you this before, but I have waited so long for you," he takes her hand and pulls her close, his face inches away from hers. "Now that you're here...and we're together...and you're having my baby..."
"What is it, Luke?" Feeling concerned, she cups his face with her hands and searches his eyes.
"Well, there's something I wanted to...offer you." He reaches into his pocket to pull out a black velvet ring box. Before she can even speak, he gets on one knee and opens it, revealing a pink champagne, 3.33 carat Old European Cut diamond in its original Art Deco platinum setting. When Luke told Sarah that he was planning on proposing to Lyn, he didn't even need to buy a ring. Sarah gave him her great grandmother's diamond that's been in the family since 1911, hoping to pass on the Rossi family tradition. "This is my great grandma's. I was hoping..."
"Oh my God," Lyn gasps, covering her mouth with both hands as she stares at the warm, peachy fire from the diamond, it's chunky facets evident even under the dim night sky. She was not prepared for this moment. She did not think it would happen this soon, and especially not with Luke. Just being with him and having his baby makes her happy beyond words---but now this. She's so overwhelmed that she gets emotional, her cheeks feeling hot as she chokes on her own words. "Oh...m-my...God."
"Love of my life," he finally asks, "will you marry me?"
"Y-yes," she nods---beaming---watching him gently slip the gorgeous rock on her finger, "God, yes."
Here they are at the engagement party in Bridgeport---a few weeks before the wedding---where Luke introduced Lyn to everyone at the fire station, including his family. They took to her immediately, especially Sarah. Lyn is like the daughter she always wanted.
They were going to wait until she passes her 12th week to share the good news, but Luke was damn near about to explode from having to keep this secret much longer and Lyn just couldn't let the torture go on. She let him have the honors in announcing it to everyone at the party, which just made Sarah cry in joy. Nate and Jake were thrilled to find out they were going to be uncles.
Location: Hidden Lagoon, Sunset Valley
Date: Saturday, 2/25/2012 (13 weeks pregnant)
Time: 5:06 p.m.
The big day has finally come. Lyn loved Sunset Valley so much that she wanted to get married there, on the beach. She didn't think it would be possible to plan a wedding in one month, but with Sarah's, Brooke's and Jamie's help, it all came together beautifully. From the waterfront venue, flowers, photographer, catering, decorations, D.J., all the way down to the wedding cake itself. Lyn wanted to get married as soon as possible before she starts showing and it won't appear to be a shotgun wedding like she feared. Luke could care less what people think, but coming from conservative parents, it's important to her that things look right.
With the sun slowly setting, casting a salmon glow over the horizon, mimicking the color of her mesmerizing diamond, the D.J. plays "Claire de Lune" by Debussy. Within a few notes, there's a silence and stillness that takes over the whole area as everyone turns around to look at the bride, who is clutching her father's arm. The whole place seems to fade into a blur as she gazes at the man waiting for her at the altar, looking so dashingly handsome in his honor guard uniform---the same uniform he wore at his father's funeral.
As the waves continue to crash on the shore, bringing with it an early spring breeze, Luke slips the diamond eternity band on Lyn's finger and whispers, "With this ring, I promise to love you, protect you and keep you happy for the rest of my life. No matter what happens, no matter where fate takes us, I know I'll be okay as long as you're by my side."
"With this ring," she replies, trying desperately to contain her emotions as she slips the platinum band on his finger, "I promise to love you, take care of you and keep you happy for the rest of my life. You are my best friend. My other half. I can't imagine my life without you."
Mr. and Mrs. Rossi, at last.
They decide to keep the ceremony small and quiet, with Luke and Lyn's families making up the bulk of the guest list. Brooke is the maid-of-honor, Nate and Jake are the groomsmen and Brad is the best man. After all, he helped bring these two together and even they acknowledged that it was a courageous and touching move on his part.
"Have I told you how beautiful you look tonight?" Luke asks as the sun completely disappears, urging the bright stars to come forward and illuminate the indigo sky. Despite the crowd of guests around them, he feels like he finally gets to have Lyn to himself, safe in his arms. As he pulls her close for their first dance, everything else becomes a blur. In this moment, it's just the two of them, entranced in Tony Benett's tender rendition of "The Way You Look Tonight". The most beautiful, wonderful woman in the room is now his wife and he can't wait for the rest of their lives to start.
"No, but go on," she gives him a playful smile as she wraps her arms around his neck, her eyes beaming and luminous, just like the ripples of moonlight in the waters. "I'm kidding. Thank you."
"You do. When I saw you walk down the aisle...God, I couldn't breathe."
"I know. It feels like a dream. And you look absolutely yummy in your uniform."
"Is that right, Mrs. Rossi..."
"Absolutely, Mr. Rossi."
"You know, I look even better with them off."
"Mmm...don't tease me like that."
When I'm awfully low
When the world is cold
I will feel a glow
Just thinking of you
And the way
You look tonight"
The cake has been cut, Lyn is dancing with her father and now Luke is dancing with his mother. This is a bittersweet moment for him, knowing his dad can't be here for such a special moment in his life. At the same time, he is grateful for everything that has happened since his untimely death, knowing it has brought him closer to his brothers and beloved mother----and more importantly---led Lyn back to him.
At this moment, no words are needed as he holds Sarah in his arms, knowing how much she must miss Joseph. As Luke's pensive gaze trails away to the rest of the crowd, he can't help but notice Brad standing by himself, blankly looking at the ocean, somewhat oblivious to the music and cheerful voices around him. Despite everything that's happened, his best friend is still here.
Sarah senses this and says, "I can only imagine how hard this must be for Brad."
"Yeah," Luke smiles at Sarah, a mixture of melancholy and gratitude emanating from the emerald glow of his eyes.
"You know what to do, don't you?"
Luke nods quietly.
After a brief exchange with Luke, Brad's face lights up as he looks in Lyn's direction. She appears very carefree and relaxed standing next to her father as they continue to exchange words, long after their father-daughter dance. Brad would catch her glancing in his direction now and then. When their eyes meet, she would flash him a warm smile, then look away. What can one really do in this type of situation? When you watch the woman you love marry your best friend? When you inadvertently brought them together?
But now that he has Luke's blessing, he finds the courage to walk up to her and ask her for a dance, perhaps the last dance they will have with each other. Somewhere in the back of his mind and pieces of his memory, he has envisioned this moment when she would be in a wedding dress and he would be in a black tux, getting lost in the music and each other. Somewhere between his cozy, yet tragic life with Emma and his failed yet catalyctic relationship with Lyn, there lies a part of himself that could have been happy with her. Perhaps should have been happy with her. But even he can't deny the fact that Luke and Lyn belong together.
This may be painful, but within the pain and disappointment, comes a sense of freedom. He will always love Lyn, but it wasn't meant to be. Yet...if she and Luke can find happiness in this life, maybe he can too. And this realization gives him hope.
"Yes you're lovely
With your smile so warm
And your cheeks so soft
There is nothing for me
But to love you
And the way you
Location: 477 Sunnyside Boulevard, Sunset Valley
Date: 9/28/2012 (28 weeks pregnant)
Time: 7:22 p.m.
After the wedding, Luke and Lyn decided to move to Sunset Valley. They wanted to start fresh in the suburbs, somewhere between the modern convenience of Bridgeport and small town feel of Appaloosa Plains, but without the negative memories. Since Lyn promised to stay with the students for the rest of the school year, she stuck it out and waited until the summer to sell her house in Appaloosa Plains. Luke didn't want her to be alone during her pregnancy and it certainly didn't make since for them to be apart during the first year of their marriage, so he moved in with her and worked as a volunteer at the local fire department.
The day finally came when Lyn had to say goodbye to her students---which was bittersweet, as they have come to love her---but they understood that she had to do what's best for herself and her new family. She wrestled with selling the house since it was the perfect home for Mr. Nunu. The dream house that she and Luke considered in Sunset Valley was right on the beach, but it doesn't have a stable. What would happen to her beloved beast? The beast that helped her survive the mayhem of her once turbulent life?
It worked out in the end. Brad bought the house so his mom and sister can have a better place to live, it's already impeccably furnished and they would take care of Mr. Nunu. Lyn was so touched by this that she decided to leave Nikki with him. As Brad moved on to the next chapter in his life without Lyn, she knew that Nikki would give him much-needed companionship.
With Marley's help, Luke was able to transfer to the local fire department at Sunset Valley where he now works full-time. Nate and Jake stayed behind in Bridgeport, but Sarah decided to move to Sunset Valley as well, to help raise her future grandchild. As much as she loved the house she shared in Bridgeport with Joseph, carrying with it the memories of their life together, she knew it was time to sell the house and start fresh. Now she lives down the street from Luke and Lyn.
As Lyn's pregnancy progressed, she continued to glow in maternal bliss, hoping and praying that the baby is okay and will make it to full term. Just as Dr. Chan advised, she made sure she ate healthy, took it easy and avoided stress as much as she could. Luke has been very diligent in taking care of his beloved wife. He would run her bath, run to the store at any time of day to help with her cravings, rub her feet, take care of most of the cooking and cleaning, as well as shower her with endless affection. Every day that he gets to be with her is like a dream. He cherishes every moment of it, fearful that he might wake up one day and find out it's not real. But it is.
The first time he ever felt the baby kick, he was in awe. The first time he listened to Lyn's belly, he was at a loss for words. Somewhere in there was another human being waiting to come out, waiting to meet them, a miraculous product of the love they share. Every chance he gets, Luke would talk to Lyn's belly as if the baby can hear him, responding to him and laughing at his jokes, then giving it hugs and kisses as if it's already calling him "daddy".
As curious as they were about the gender of the baby, they wanted it to remain a surprise until the delivery. They already knew what they will name it. Luke wanted a girl and Lyn wanted a boy, but they would be thrilled no matter what they get.
"With each word your
Tearing my fear apart
And that laugh
That wrinkles your nose
It touches my foolish heart"
At last, the baby came. Coming in at 9 pounds, 2 ounces, there was a new member of the family. A healthy, bouncing baby boy named Joseph Lucas Rossi. The first few months was quite an adjustment for both Lyn and Luke. With Luke's schedule at the firestation, he'd be on standby a few nights a week, requiring him to spend the night, leaving his wife alone with the baby. Luckily, Sarah lives nearby so she fills in for Luke on days that he's not at home, to help out with Joseph. Despite the lack of sleep and demands of the baby, Lyn was able to adjust nicely with the changes, especially with Luke and Sarah's help. When he is home, he tends to her and Joseph's needs, making sure they are well-fed and well-rested.
On weekends, family members would stop by. Frank and Adam just absolutely adore Joseph. Xhun and Lyn have slowly warmed up to each other, now having the commonality of being a wife and mother. Unlike Sarah, Xhun would offer unsolicited advice about motherhood but Lyn has learned to take it in stride, knowing that it's her mother's way of making an effort to be a part of her life.
Nate, Jake and J.C. would also visit, each taking turns holding the baby and ragging on each other about who's next. Brooke, Jamie and Hannah fawn over Joseph every time they see him, and are even more amazed at Luke's devotion to Lyn.
As their little Joey grew, he started to take on more of his father's features, with the same emerald green eyes, the same smile. But he has Lyn's kind spirit and he is quite taken by his mother. He follows her around wherever she goes. Since she and Luke mutually agreed that it would be best for her to stay home with Joey until he's old enough to go to pre-school, she has become the gentle disciplinarian while Luke is more playful and easy-going. However, Joey would soon find out that his daddy can be quite firm when his patience runs out, and when his tone of voice becomes serious, playtime is over.
As soon as Joey was old enough to go to pre-school, Lyn wanted to teach again, but Luke encouraged her to finish her residency first, especially now that she has some time on her hands. Her connections with Brad, Dr. Benson and Dr. Chan, as well as the glowing reference from Dr. Weston helped her land a spot at the local hospital. Within one year, Lyn earned her medical license, landing the much awaited title of Dr. Lyn Santori, M.D. With Luke and Sarah's help taking care of Joey, Lyn finally achieved her dream of becoming a doctor.
However, fate had a strange sense of humor. Within a year of practicing medicine, she got pregnant again. With twins.
Abigail Sarah Rossi came in at 6 pounds, 5 ounces and Frank Lynn Rossi followed at 7 pounds, 4 ounces. Even though Sarah and Luke encouraged Lyn to keep working while they helped take care of the kids, she just didn't have the heart to allow them to keep making more sacrifices for her sake. They have already done so much for her. She vowed to stay home and raise Joey until he was old enough to go to pre-school and it just wouldn't be fair to not do the same for the twins. Someday, when the kids are old enough, she will go back to practicing medicine---or teaching. Until then, her family comes first and she will do anything to make sure they are loved, taken care of and happy.
Abby picked up her grandma Xhun's hair, her mother's eye shape and olive complexion, yet inherited her father's emerald green eyes and thick, black lashes. She's quite a stunning little girl, with Lyn's charms and Luke's fighting spirit. She is definitely daddy's little girl, and constantly gets her way, just like her mother. Frankie, on the other hand, picked up his dirty blonde hair from grandma Sarah, his mother's brown eyes, yet shares his father's lighter skin tone. Luke and Lyn call him the "happy baby" since he made the least fuss out of Joey and Abby. He seems to have a calm, gentle soul, as if he has all the time in the world and frustration is just a waste of energy. He has a very "zen" quality to him. And just like Joey, he adores his mother. Two momma's boys, one daddy's girl.
The decision to stay home again with the kids was the best thing Lyn did, even if it meant sacrificing her career. She and Luke worked as team to make sure all of their children received enough love and attention, while still making sure they stay connected to each other. From helping Joey with his homework to potty training the twins, teaching them how to walk and talk and making sure they learn good manners. The rules are clear in the house with both parents on board with each other and trying to set a good example. Soon enough, the kids learned that mom and dad have each other's back, and when you go against one, you go against both.
At least once a week, Lyn and Luke have a "date night". The kids are either at Sarah's house, with Frank and Xhun in Bridgeport or visiting Nate and Jake. This is the only time Lyn and Luke have complete privacy---with the house to themselves---and they make sure they catch up on some much needed lovin'. Sometimes they would just stay home to enjoy the peace and quiet, other times they go out for a romantic dinner or splurge on a mini trip. When they got married, they vowed that no matter how many kids they have, no matter how busy they get and no matter where life takes them, they will always put each other first---and stay in love no matter what.
So far, it has been working and the kids are so much the better for it, knowing their parents are still crazy about each other.
Location: Old Pier Beach, Sunset Valley
Date: Somewhere in the future
Once the twins reached first grade, Lyn decided to teach at the same elementary school Joey has been going to, as he entered fifth grade, knowing the kids will be together and within her daily sight. At first it was weird to have his mom as his teacher. Soon, the rest of the kids warmed up to Lyn and Joey couldn't help but feel lucky to have such a cool mom. She treated him no differently than the other students. In fact, she expected him to be an example since she raised him, and his behavior is a reflection on her.
She was able to pursue a career, stay close to the kids as they continued to grow and still have time to spend with her family---especially during school breaks. Having relied on Luke's income for a while, she was happy to finally be able to financially contribute.
"Lovely, never, ever change
Keep that breathless charm
Won't you please arrange it?
Cause I love you
Just the way you look tonight"
Here is a family portrait at the beach. Luke is 41, Lyn just turned 40, Joey is 14 (freshman in high school) and the twins are 10 (fifth grade).
In case you wondered what the kids would look like after they moved away to college, here they are in their twenties. Joey is a spitting image of Luke, Abby is a spitting image of Lyn (with Luke's eyes), and Frankie is split right down the middle between his parents. Luke and Lyn, on the other hand, have aged gracefully, with some gray hair and a few more lines on their face, but they continue to bask in their love and the blessing that they call their family.
Now in their early fifties, Luke is the captain of the fire department---just like his late father---and Lyn is now practicing medicine.
Happy Holidays from the Rossi family.
Lyn, Luke, Joey, Abby and Frankie
*Copyright Lyn C.S. 2013*
Author's Note: Sorry it took so long to post this epilogue. I hope you enjoyed! What was going to be a simple picture thread became a mini chapter. It came out longer than I expected but I wanted to make sure I covered the most important events in the characters' lives. Thanks again for following this story. Merry Christmas! :)
"The Way You Look Tonight" Cover by Tony Bennet
Originally performed by Fred Astaire
Written by Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields
Video by: Gui Brandão