Author's Note: Can you believe it? The end is finally here! I won't say too much right here, because I know most of y'all are skipping it anyway to get to the good stuff, but check out the author's note at the bottom, 'cause that's where I'll probably get all mushy. Happy reading!
Chapter 45- Epilogue
"Carry on, my wayward son.
There'll be peace when you are done.
Lay your weary head to rest.
Don't you cry no more."
~Carry On Wayward Son: Kansas~
April 27, 1907
Sorry this letter's taken so long to get to you. I got your letter last week, but it's been crazy over here so I'm only just now gettin to respond. Davy's mom wanted on throwing an honest to God birthday party for Tim's first birthday. I told her not to worry about it. After all, he's one. Ain't like he's gonna remember it. But she insisted, so we been planning all week and finally had the party this afternoon at her apartment. The apartment was packed. Me, Davy, and Tim were late cause Tim made his diaper explode last minute. Sarah, Les, Jack, Collin, Lily, Logan, Maggie, Genie, and Racetrack were already there. Runner, Listener, and Jenna showed up a couple minutes after us, having had a late selling day.
We had cake and they gave Tim a bunch of presents that were mostly clothes which is good because this kid's growing like a weed. Won't be long before he's walking and talking full sentences, which is crazy to think about.
I'm glad to hear the kids are doing so good in school so far. Don't you wish we'd been able to go to school as kids? It's real good of you to make sure they get to do what we couldn't. I can't wait for Tim to go to school. Won't be long before he's teaching ME! I know you said you were thinking of trying to visit soon. I hope you do! That would be amazing. We'd love to see you all. We miss ya so much.
Better hurry though, cause if you wait too long you'll miss Jack. Soon as he and Sarah get hitched, it looks like they'll be going back to Santa Fe. I'll miss him as much as I did the first time, but it'll be better knowing he's taking Sarah and the kids with him. And maybe Davy, Tim, and me will get to visit one day. Though I still don't like the idea of all them animals all over the place. You know I never liked animals much. Still, it's good to see the two of them gettin along so well. It's crazy to think they're already engaged after how long they were apart. But we all knew they were meant for each other. It was rocky at first, but as soon as they got over being hurt, they caught on too. I don't think I've ever seen either of them so happy and that's what really matters.
Racetrack and Genie are still together, though with how much they fight anyone who didn't know them would think they were gonna call it quits any day now. I think it'll get better when Racetrack stops going on such long sailing trips. He's looking for something else he can do in the city. Even talked to Davy's friend John about being a bull but I don't think he'll go for it. Too many bad memories. I think I'd like to see a smart ass bull like him though. He'd keep them honest at least. I think Race is just waiting for Genie to be okay with it before they get married. Though he hasn't said nothing. She loves him but she doesn't like the idea of getting married. Can't say I blame her. It's a big decision. I don't think I would've bothered with it I hadn't met Davy.
No, Listener hasnt told Jenna that he likes her, though I hear Les teasing him about it so often I'm surprised she hasn't overheard him yet. I think he should just tell her, but I'm tryin not to be pushy. Jack says Listener's prolly just trying not to scare her off cause she's so skittish, but Jenna couldn't be scared of Listener if she tried. She sticks to the boy like glue. He's just too lovesick to notice that she pays him more attention than Les. I think he worries she might like Les, but it's clear as day that she thinks of him like a brother. They've even taken to calling each other brother and sister, though I can't see how anyone falls for it. They look too different. I'll keep ya posted on what happens so you can stop asking. You've always been way too caught up in everyone else's love lives, Mush. But I'll admit I like watching these ones play out. I'm practically biting my nails over here.
Anyway, I got to talkin to Esther and Davy about life and the newsies. She was curious about whether we'd let Tim be a newsie when he grows up and stuff and somethin she said got me thinking. She told me that as much as we had all run her into the ground with worry, she doesn't regret sending Davy and Les to the Distribution Center that day when they changed the price a the papes. Cause even though she had to spend so much time terrified of what would happen to her kids, she would never have the family she has today if it hadn't been for everything we all went through.
And it got me thinking about all the shit we went through for all those years and even the crazyness of last year. I used to think that everything we went through was just shit. I used to be mad that my life - most of our lifes - were so hard when other people had it so easy. But Esther reminded me that maybe everyone has to go through a bunch of shit, but maybe sometimes its worth it because we find the good things. Like family.
I dunno. Maybe I'm just being sentimental. Jack's always joking that I'm going soft and I think I'm starting to believe him. Though I don't think it's all bad . . . long as I still get to knock around some scabbahs every once in a while. Point is, when Jack and me ran away from our parents or from Brooklyn, we never expected to find a new family. Never expected any of the good stuff. Like me falling in love with a boy like Davy or Jack going all the way to Santa Fe only to come back for Sarah. I never expected to have friends like Race who would fight at my side or you who always listened when I told you a girl was no good, or even Blink who killed someone to save me. Never expected to have a kid of my own or a girl who looks up to me the way Jenna does. Never expected the kids at the Lodge to take to calling me Momma Al or any of that. And when I look back at it, it's harder to see all the shit, cause of all the good that was there too.
I told Jenna once that family is more than blood and when I look back at my life, I'm so glad that's true, because I ended up with a better family than I could ever have dreamed up. So maybe I will let Tim be a newsie when he gets older - when he's not at school, a course. Because the newsies gave me a lot of bruises, cuts, and shiners, but it gave me a family too. And that's amazing to me.
Well I'm running out of paper and I'm a little embarrassed for getting all mushy, but if anyone's gonna appreciate that it's you. Like I said, I hope we see you soon. Can't wait to meet Hannah and the kids. I feel like I already know them. It's been too long since I've seen you and Blink. I miss you.
Don't get too soft in Chicago,
P.S. I cut out Davy's article for you. All the boys at the Lodge saved their extra papes so we could have as many copies of it as we want. After that interview with Nelly Bly last year, everyone's been trying to get Davy to do these real nice articles and Denton says he might even get a award or two if he keeps going at this rate. He's real excited about it. Hope you like the article too.
A/N: I started the More Than Blood trilogy in August of 2011 after having watch the Newsies for the first time and immediately deciding that I would like the story much better if Jack had a little sister. I guess I was right. I do like it more this way (though, of course, the original is pretty brilliant in its own right). Now it's July 2014 and it's finally finished.
It's so strange to think that the story has ended and Al, David, and the rest of them will be going on with the rest of their lives without my interfering in it. We got to walk alongside Al as she grew up and dealt with her demons and I'm going to miss writing that (as well as writing her scenes where she kicks some major ass, which we all know is my favorite).
Thanks for sticking with me through these three years of infrequent updates and lengthy hiatuses. I'm glad we finally made it to the end and I'm so thankful for all of you amazing readers who made me smile or do a happy dance more times than I can count. I appreciate y'all so much and I hope you know that.
What's next for me? Well, I'm trying to finally peg down an actual book that isn't fan fiction. :P I have one in the works right now that would probably be considered YA fantasy. The working title is "Guardian Problems" though that will almost certainly change. We'll see how it goes. In the meantime, I'll keep my FF account up and maybe add some content every once in a while. We'll see. We never know when I might be struck with the need to write a oneshot about Al and David, Race and Genie, or Listener and Jenna. (Don't get your hopes up, though. I make no promises!)
And when I finally do get a book published, I fully intend to publish under the name Kirsten Erin (it's my first and middle name), so keep an eye out. ;) And I'll be sure to put a note on my account if that ever does happen, so you'll be able to find out. Though you could always follow me on other social media, like Twitter (my username is KirssyRen), if you want to stay more updated on my comings and goings. :P
Thank you again for all your support and all your lovely reviews. Hearing from y'all has helped me through a lot and made these stories even more precious to me.
P.S. Fire and Ice Conlon created a shirt based off the series that is intensely badass. Check out her Instagram, my_mindpalace. I'm pretty excited that there are now two pieces of merch for the story in the world (that shirt as well as the mug I made). If you make some kind of merch or fan art for the series, let me know! I'll at it to this note and def check it out and post a link to it on my More Than Blood Pinterest Board, like I did with the other two. :)