This has been a long time in coming but here is the final installment of my little "Love Everlasting" story. I hope you enjoy it, readers!
Winnie Foster- now, Winnie Tuck- woke up when the light of early dawn flooded through her window, and cast uncertain light over the small room. The early summer air drifted through the partially open window and taunted her with the sense of expectation and adventure. Today was going to be another good day. Peace settled into Winnie as she lay there, buried in her own thoughts of contentment.
She smiled to herself and glanced over to Jesse Tuck who occupied the space next to her on the bed. His face was clear of any emotion and held nothing in his countenance but the tranquility of a deep and undisturbed sleep.
Immortality with him would be wondrous. They had been married for a few years already, happily situated in their own little house far away from humanity, and had enjoyed the bliss of married life. They almost never fought, and if they did, it was short lived. Besides, what quarrel over silly things really mattered in eternity's endless dance? Nothing mattered. Nothing but loved ones and friendships. They understood this, and adjusted accordingly.
Winnie felt no different after she drank that vial years ago. She thought perhaps she would feel the weight of immortality and endless time sink heavier onto her shoulders but she did not. She felt young, alive, curious, blessed. Perhaps when centuries passed, and the ravages of time moved on, she would feel like an old soul trapped in a young body but that was hard to tell from this very moment. Right now, life was beautiful.
She had escaped the title of heiress by selling off her family's estate and donating all the fortune and possessions of the Fosters to charities. The destitute people of Treegap were now a little better off with her contribution. Her father's old business partners disapproved of this, of course, and tried to persuade her otherwise. Speculation would profit the estate more, or investing in a certain man's stock. Winnie was adamant, though, and did exactly what she wanted. Now "Winifred Foster" was a name of oddity among the upper-class people, and a name of reverence to those who benefited from her generosity. What she needed wasn't wealth, power or fortune. She wanted a simple life. A simple life shared with the man she loved.
Winnie brushed her lips against Jesse's cheek before quietly slipping out of bed and through the front door of their little home. She stepped out of the building into the tender harmony of the forest. The forest reminded her of the one she used to fantasize about, past the fence of her old home, but this was a completely new forest, in a new place.
Things were beginning to wake as Winnie traversed along a worn path. Birds began singing, quietly at first, then with more vigor as the light shone brighter. Little creatures were stirring, and the nocturnal animals were retiring back to their sheltered places. The forest was a beautiful and splendid place to behold; each day was a new encounter brimming with life and wonder.
Finally, Winnie came to small clearing by the bank of a river and sat down at her favorite place. She basked in the warm summer sun and listened to the soothing gurgle of river water flowing next to her. This was bliss.
A little while later, Jesse immerged from the forest's edge, made his way over, and sat next to her by the water.
"Good morning, dear." He said, as she made herself comfortable in his arms. "Up early again?"
Winnie nodded and smiled at him. "You know I like watching the forest wake. It's so peaceful."
"I know. Your fascination with the world is beautiful."
"We are supposed to go to your parents place today, did you forget about that?" She asked, "Miles is coming home from abroad and wants to see us all."
Jesse shook his head. "I didn't forget, I was just enjoying this moment with you."
Winnie smiled and nestled her head against his chest, deciding to stay quiet for the moment and let Jesse hold her. They stayed still for a time and enjoyed their solitude until the sun was close to noon.
"Come, we should freshen up and start making our way. Mae will be worried if we don't show up for luncheon." Winnie said as she stood and brushed off her skirt.
Jesse followed her example and started walking back home with her. "Winnie, if Mae asks about grandchildren again, I'm going to turn around right there and walk back."
"Oh, Jesse..." Winnie laughed and laced her fingers through his, "Just explain that we want to see the world first before we decide to have any children. There isn't any hurry."
"No, there isn't." He said, grinning. "Winifred Tuck, spending eternity with you will be a pleasure, no matter what we do."
Winnie shook her head a little, and kissed him. He was teasing, but he was also serious. He only called her Winifred when he was serious. Jesse was right though, spending forever with each other would be a pleasure, and she was looking forward to each new day with him. No matter what would come, their love for each other would be love everlasting.
There you are! I hope you enjoyed this little story. I had fun writing this little alternate ending (and listening to the Tuck Everlasting soundtrack while doing it ;) .) Thank you all so much for reading. Cheers