Home Extended Epilogues A Rivalry of Love and Hate for the Cowboy Extended Epilogue

A Rivalry of Love and Hate for the Cowboy Extended Epilogue

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A Rivalry of Love and Hate for the Cowboy Extended Epilogue

Extended Epilogue 


Sierra loved days like these; when the sun peaked out behind fluffy clouds, and the ranch was beautifully quiet. From her position on the porch she could see everything, from the green fields to the barns in the distance, right to the rolling hills miles away on the horizon. It was beautiful, and there really wasn't a view like it anywhere else.

Roy twisted in her arms, a sleepy yawn escaping his lips as he cuddled closer into her. He always liked to nap during the day - and who was Sierra to stop him? It offered her some well-earned peace and quiet from the chaos of screaming children, and it was always welcomed.

The porch creaked as footsteps approached, and Sierra glanced up to see Wyatt hovering by the door. His hair was disheveled, but he had a soft smile on his face as he looked down at her. "I finally got Lance to take a nap," he murmured. "Why don't you put Roy down, too?"

Sierra's gaze flickered down to Roy, their youngest. He was barely six months old, and Sierra found it hard to leave him - even if he was only just in the next room. "He's fine here," she said softly, "besides, they'll no doubt wake up when Joanna and Hans get here, anyway. You know how Roy and Lance love them."

Wyatt laughed, and it echoed beautifully in the quiet afternoon. "That's very true. You know, they've been courting for a year now and I'm starting to wonder when they'll get married."

Ah. "I can't see it being soon - you know how nervous Hans is. He still acts as if they're new to courting, acting like a nervous little boy whenever Joanna looks at him." It was endearing, really, how smitten he was even after a year of being with her. She wondered, idly, if that was how she and Wyatt looked to other people, too.

Wyatt settled down beside her on the porch, and the swinging seat swayed gently as he got comfortable. "He deserves to be happy," Wyatt concluded with a smile, "and after all the trouble Joanna caused us, it's about time that she settled down, too."

Sierra hummed in response. Somewhere in the distance, the cows spoke. They didn't actually speak, of course, but Sierra liked to think that they were having some conversation with each other. Their calls were the only sound in the otherwise silent ranch.

"Oh, Gerome stopped by earlier while you were in town," Wyatt said suddenly. "Josie is getting remarried to a nice young man from Allanstown, and we're invited to the wedding."

Sierra's stomach fluttered. Truthfully, she didn't keep in touch with Gerome as much as she should; but there was just so much going on that sometimes he slipped her mind. Still, a wedding! It seemed that in the last few years, everyone was either getting married or starting a family. There was just so much good happening, that it was becoming difficult to keep track of it all.

"And Dana asked me to keep it quiet for now, but she said that I could tell you if I really wanted."

Dana? That caught Sierra's attention, and her gaze flickered up to Wyatt as he beamed down at her. "What about Dana?"

"Well," he said slowly - dragging out the suspense, his smile widening even further. He leaned into her, tugging Sierra and Roy gently against his side. "She said that she's having another baby. She also swears up and down that she's having a girl this time, but the last three have been girls, so I don't know."

Another baby! Sierra couldn't believe her ears. She had been so certain that she and Wyatt would be the ones with a hundred children, but Dana and Benjamine were already on their fourth. It was amazing to think, really. There were already five Markinson-Raney children, her Roy and Lance, Dana's Adela, Amy and Nina. And now there was another on the way.

"It's great, isn't it?" Wyatt murmured. "You know, I had resigned myself to the fact that I was never going to get married; that this rivalry between our families would just go on and on forever, polluting Brook until we chased everyone away. But look at us now."

"Brook is really flourishing without us dragging everyone down," Sierra agreed with a laugh. "Although, we're the ones that are doing the best of all. It's almost as if none of it ever happened."

Well that wasn't quite true, and Sierra wasn't naïve enough to claim that everything was perfect. Hans still became defensive whenever it was brought up, and he was one of the few people that still refused to joke about it. Not all of Sierra's family had gotten back in touch, either - they had either refused, or simply moved too far away, and contact was impossible. There were still aunts and cousins and who knew who else, still out there, but Sierra didn't know how to get in touch.

But mostly... things were better than they ever could have dreamed. She had a beautiful husband and two fantastic children. She had three beautiful nieces - and now apparently another niece or nephew on the way - and more than she ever could have dreamed of just a few short years ago. Sometimes Sierra felt like she was living someone else's life, because surely something so wonderful couldn't have happened to her.

She leaned against Wyatt's shoulder, staring out across the ranch as it was bathed in the afternoon sunshine. Somewhere in the distance, the horses neighed, and birds chirped-

And a toddler cried. Well, that was a short nap.

Sierra let out a sigh as she glanced into the hall. Lance was upstairs in the children's room, and apparently Wyatt hadn't put him to bed like he thought. His wails echoed through the house and made Sierra's heart hurt, but she knew that he was only being dramatic. Children, apparently, were prone to that.

"I'll see to him," Wyatt offered gently. "You stay here and enjoy yourself."

The peace had been shattered now, though, so with a reluctant sigh Sierra hauled herself to her feet. Roy shifted in her arms but didn't wake, instead simply grabbing a handful of her hair and burying deeper into her shoulder.

At least they had one child who could sleep through anything, because Lance certainly didn't.

She and Wyatt shared a look as they trudged upstairs, following the sound of Lance's cries. He was standing upright in the middle of his bed, chubby arms folded over his chest, and screaming his lungs out for attention. Even with the curtains drawn across the window, it wasn't that dark, so it wasn't because of that.

Gently slipping Roy into Wyatt's arms, she settled by Lance's bedside. "What's wrong, love?" she asked, urging him to sit down. He did, collapsing onto the bed with a dramatic sigh, his cries turning into choked hiccups. Sierra tucked him into her side and hummed. "Did you have a nightmare? Papa only put you down twenty minutes ago."

Lance scowled up at her; but with his enormous blue eyes and the drool clinging to his chin, it lost most of its venom.

Nobody had warned her that raising children was so difficult. In fact, she had mistakenly believed that enough love and attention was all they needed, and the rest would all slip into place. Oh, how Sierra had been wrong. Yet she felt a burst of warmth when Lance snuggled into her side, that made it all worth it.

"You just wanted Mama and Papa, was that it?" Sierra suggested - and his little nod confirmed it. "Well, we're here now, love. Do you want to go back to sleep?"

He only shook his head. "No, I want a story."

"Stories are for bedtime, not naps."

"Please?"

And how could she say no to such a sweet face? With a sigh and a roll of her eyes, Sierra agreed. "Just a short one, then."

By now, Roy had begun to stir in Wyatt's arms, and he struggled in his papa's grasp, a yawn escaping his lips. Wyatt only kissed the top of his head, before settling down at the end of the bed with Roy still in his arms. "Why don't we tell them the adventure we had going to Gilbert," Wyatt suggested. "We never did tell Lance here how his aunt and uncle got married."

Lance's eyes lit up as he bolted upright, eyes sparkling. "Oh, please tell me!"

"Well, it was quite the adventure," Sierra agreed, "and it's the reason Papa and I got together, too, in a roundabout kind of way."

And so Sierra started from the beginning, right when Wyatt and Sierra first spoke that afternoon at church and retold the entire story of their family.

The End


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  • A beautiful story of love and hate but love was stronger. Loved how all the family came together when the truth finally was found out. Loved all the characters too.

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