A Love more Precious than Gold – Extended Epilogue

The sun hung low in the western sky, casting its golden hue over the expansive plains. In the distance, Gabriel’s figure appeared, sitting astride his horse as he returned from his work. The fencing project with his uncle had taken longer than expected, but now he looked forward to a peaceful evening with his family.

Ava stood at the entrance of their little cabin, her eyes lighting up as she caught sight of him. She wiped her flour-covered hands on her apron and beckoned the children to come see.

“Gabriel is home,” she announced. Leon, along with their two other boys, Thomas and William, immediately dropped the wooden toys they’d been busying themselves with.

“It’s about time,” Leon said, grinning ear to ear, his stutter less noticeable these days. “I beat Thomas thrice at marbles; I need a new challenge.”

Thomas stuck his tongue out at Leon but couldn’t help smiling. The rivalry between the boys was always in good fun.

As Gabriel dismounted and hitched his horse to the post, he was swarmed by a tide of youthful energy. He picked up William, the youngest, and tossed him in the air, eliciting a delighted squeal.

Ava watched the scene unfold, her heart brimming with contentment. She’d never thought life could be this fulfilling. When she’d left on the orphan train years ago, she’d hoped for a future but had never dared to envision something so complete.

“How was your day?” Gabriel wrapped his arms around her as he joined her by the door.

“It was busy, but good. Mrs. Hawthorn stopped by the bake shop and took half of the pies I’d baked for the market tomorrow.”

His eyes widened, clearly impressed. “At this rate, we’ll be able to afford that world tour sooner than we think.”

She chuckled. “Maybe. I do have my heart set on seeing Paris one day.”

He kissed the top of her head. “Then Paris it shall be.”

A knock on the door interrupted their blissful moment. Ava went to answer it, her eyes meeting a familiar, weather-worn face framed by gray hair.

“Mrs. Eleanor?” Ava’s voice wavered, incredulous. The last time she’d seen her caretaker, she’d been standing in the orphanage hallway, watching as Ava prepared to leave for the unknown.

“It is indeed me, my dear. May I come in?”

Tears glistened in Ava’s eyes as she ushered Eleanor in. As soon as she crossed the threshold, she was met with the enthusiastic greetings of Leon and the other boys.

“Mrs. Eleanor, this is Gabriel, my husband.”

“A pleasure, ma’am,” Gabriel extended his hand, his eyes signaling a silent ‘thank you’ to the woman who had helped shape the incredible woman he loved.

“And these are our boys—Leon, Thomas, and William.”

Eleanor’s eyes took in the joyful scene. “I must say, you’ve built something beautiful here, Ava.”

“Thank you,” Ava’s voice was a whisper, her eyes shiny. “Would you like to stay for dinner? We have a lot to catch up on.”

Eleanor nodded, her own eyes misty. “I would love to.”

As the sun dipped below the horizon, they all gathered around the dining table. It was a simple setting, but one filled with love and joy—the kind of home Ava had always dreamed of but never dared to expect.

***

As they sat around the sturdy wooden table, the warm aroma of freshly baked bread and roasted chicken filled the air. Eleanor couldn’t help but marvel at how Ava had blossomed into such a resourceful and compassionate woman. She was the mother of an impromptu family and a thriving businesswoman to boot.

“So, tell me, Eleanor, what brings you out west?” Gabriel inquired, passing a bowl of steaming potatoes to the boys, who scooped generous servings onto their plates.

“We’re accompanying another wagon train, actually. Thought I’d take a detour when I realized we’d be passing near your homestead,” Eleanor explained, spearing a carrot with her fork.

“You still taking care of the little ones back at the orphanage?” Ava asked, her eyes brimming with nostalgia.

“Yes, indeed. The faces change, but the calling remains the same,” Eleanor responded, glancing at Leon as he shyly nibbled on his bread.

Leon caught her eye and smiled. His comfort in the home he’d found with Ava and Gabriel was palpable. It was a stark contrast to the nervous boy who had once roamed the halls of the orphanage, stuttering his way through sentences.

“That’s wonderful to hear,” Ava said softly. “I often think of all the children who are still waiting for their chance at a family.”

“Many have found homes,” Eleanor assured her, “and many more will, especially with the new reforms we’re pushing for.”

Gabriel squeezed Ava’s hand under the table, sensing the bittersweet emotion that colored her thoughts. “Speaking of children,” he began, “we’ve been talking about expanding our family further.”

Ava nodded. “We haven’t been blessed with a child of our own yet, but we’re still hopeful. And we’re considering opening up our home to more children who need one.”

“That’s wonderful,” Eleanor exclaimed. “There’s no shortage of love in this home.”

After dinner, as Eleanor helped Ava clear the table, they found a moment alone in the kitchen. Eleanor washed while Ava dried, the clinking of dishes a backdrop to their deeper conversation.

“You look so content, Ava,” Eleanor began. “I always hoped you’d find your place in the world, a place that feels like home.”

Ava paused, locking eyes with her old caretaker. “Thanks to you, I never lost hope that such a place existed. You were always so kind and nurturing, even when the world felt anything but.”

Eleanor dried her hands and wrapped Ava in a warm embrace. “All I ever did was remind you of your own strength. You did the rest.”

Outside, Gabriel was rounding up the boys for bed. A nightly routine of storytelling had become tradition, one that Leon, Thomas, and William looked forward to with childlike wonder. Tonight was special, however, as Eleanor would share tales of young Ava’s bravery and dreams.

As Eleanor stepped back into the room, she was greeted with three sets of eager eyes and one appreciative pair belonging to Gabriel. She took her seat in a chair near the fireplace, the glow casting a warm aura around her as she began her tale.

“And so, once upon a time in an orphanage far, far from here, lived a young girl named Ava. Her life was not easy, but she was strong and full of dreams…”

The room fell silent, save for Eleanor’s voice weaving through the years and the crackling of the fire. It was a story of hardships and triumphs, of a young girl who turned into a woman, found love, and built a home where none had existed for her before.

***

The morning sun streamed through the kitchen windows as Ava and Eleanor sipped on warm mugs of tea. The children were off to the small local school, and Gabriel had headed into town to discuss some plans with his uncle. It was a moment of serenity, allowing the two women to catch up on life’s finer details.

“Ava, I heard from a neighbor that you’ve started a bake shop,” Eleanor began, a hint of pride filling her voice.

“Yes, I did,” Ava beamed. “I always enjoyed baking, even back in the orphanage. And it turns out, people seem to like what I make. So Gabriel helped me set up a little shop.”

“And the children help you?”

“They love it, actually,” Ava responded, her eyes lighting up. “It’s become a family activity. Leon is excellent at measuring ingredients, and Thomas has a knack for decorating the pastries. Even little William is useful; he’s our official taste tester.”

“That’s wonderful,” Eleanor exclaimed. “It seems you’ve found your passion and are passing it on.”

Ava nodded. “It’s not just about the baking, Eleanor. It’s also about teaching these boys some life skills, making them feel like they’re contributing to something. I remember how important that was back in the orphanage.”

“True. Everyone needs a sense of purpose, no matter how young,” Eleanor agreed.

Their conversation shifted to the town itself—the people, the opportunities, and how it had grown since Ava and Gabriel had moved there. It was a thriving community, and as Eleanor looked around the well-kept home, she felt her heart swell with happiness for Ava.

“I need to head back to the wagon train soon,” Eleanor finally said, breaking a comfortable silence. “They’re planning to move on this afternoon.”

“I wish you could stay longer,” Ava replied, a bit of sadness creeping into her voice.

“As do I, but duty calls. There are still many children who need a home, and we’re always on the lookout for kind-hearted souls like you and Gabriel who can provide one.”

Just then, the door burst open, and Gabriel walked in, flushed but excited. “You won’t believe the news,” he said, barely taking a breath. “My uncle and I have just finalized plans for a bigger ranch. We’ll be partnering to expand our livestock and farming operations!”

“That’s amazing, Gabriel!” Ava stood up to hug him, while Eleanor clapped in approval.

“It gets better,” Gabriel continued, looking at Ava. “This expansion will mean more hands on deck. We’ll be hiring people, which means we could take in more children, like we’d always planned.”

“Oh, Gabriel, that’s wonderful!”

Eleanor looked from one to the other, her eyes moist. “Well, it sounds like more children are going to be blessed with a home full of love.”

Gabriel looked at Eleanor. “And maybe a couple of adults will finally find the time for some world-traveling, eh, Ava?”

Ava’s eyes widened. “Are you serious? You know how much I’ve wanted to—”

“I’ve always known,” he interjected, “and now we can start planning. The world’s a big place, and I want to see it with you.”

Ava was speechless, overcome with emotion. She had dreamt of this moment, but to have it finally within reach was something else entirely. It was the culmination of years of struggle, hope, and love—a new chapter in their lives, yet to be written but already full of promise.

Extended Epilogue: Part Four
As Eleanor’s wagon train pulled out of town, Ava, Gabriel, and the boys stood waving until the last wooden wheel disappeared into a cloud of dust. The boys, who had grown fond of Eleanor in her brief stay, chattered excitedly about their day, their voices blending into a sweet cacophony that filled the warm afternoon air.

“I miss her already,” Ava sighed as they turned to head back to the house.

“I know,” said Gabriel, putting an arm around her. “But she’s given you something invaluable—she’s shown you the ropes and given you the chance to build your own life. We’re going to continue that tradition.”

“Speaking of tradition,” Ava ventured, “have you given any more thought to what Eleanor said about more children?”

Gabriel grinned, “You’re not going to believe it, but I’ve already received a letter from a friend in the neighboring county. He’s heard we might be interested in taking in more kids. There’s a brother and sister in need of a home.”

“Really?” Ava looked up at him, her eyes shining. “What do you think?”

“I think,” Gabriel bent down to kiss her forehead, “that we have a lot of love to give.”

Just then, Leon ran up, his face flushed with excitement. “Ava, Gabe! Look at this!” In his hand was a tiny bluebird feather. “It must’ve fallen from a nest up in the tree.”

Ava took the feather, twirling it between her fingers. “It’s a beautiful find, Leon. Maybe it’s a sign of good luck.”

“I bet it is!” Leon’s eyes sparkled.

That evening, after the dinner dishes were cleared and the boys were sent to bed, Ava and Gabriel sat down on their porch. They looked out into the vast horizon, a stretch of land that now held so many possibilities.

“Do you ever wonder what life would have been like if we’d never left?” Ava mused.

“I do,” Gabriel admitted, “but not in the way you might think. Every decision, every road taken or not taken, has led us here. I wouldn’t trade this life for anything.”

“Nor would I,” Ava agreed.

And as they sat there, planning future adventures and their expanding family, Ava felt a sense of completion she’d never thought possible. She remembered the girl scrubbing floors in the orphanage, yearning for a place to call home. She thought of the perilous journey west, the friends and enemies made, the challenges and victories.

Suddenly, a shooting star streaked across the sky, its tail glowing like a ribbon of dreams. Both of them caught sight of it, their eyes meeting in silent acknowledgment.

“Make a wish,” Gabriel said softly.

Ava closed her eyes for a moment, then opened them to look at Gabriel. “I don’t need to. Everything I could ever wish for is right here.”

And so, under the blanket of a starry night, their hearts brimming with gratitude and eyes set on a limitless future, Ava and Gabriel knew that they were home. Their family might not have been born from them, but it was built by them, and that made it no less real and no less filled with love.

Life, with its twists and turns, had led them here—to a place where each sunrise promised new beginnings and every sunset marked a day of fulfilled dreams. And they couldn’t wait to see where the road would take them next.

THE END


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24 thoughts on “A Love more Precious than Gold – Extended Epilogue”

  1. Hello, my dears! I truly hope you enjoyed our couple’s happily ever after! They absolutely deserved it, don’t you think? I would love to know which was your favorite part of Ava and Gabriel’s loving adventure! Please share them with me here! Thank you – always! ♥️📚

    1. I missed hearing about what Jeri cho was doing And about Gabriel’s parents, and was puzzled that Matthew and Wes became Thomas and William younger children. I did very much enjoy the story of Ava and Gabriel.

    2. Loved the story a lot going on with Ava Leon and Gabriel, but towards the ending in the extended episode it was confusing you never wrote what happened to the two little boys they rescued Wes and Mathew. Nothing more was said about Jericho, Gabriel s friend or Gabriel’s Parents. who was Thomas and William Lol

    3. A beautiful story! Thank you for sharing it with me. It could use a little editing, especially keeping names and pronouns straight but still was a wonderful story.

  2. I loved this adventure story! This extended epilogue was good. I was just disappointed that we didn’t find out what happened to Mathew and the other boy they took in after they took them from Mr. Chester. Also that we never got to know if Gabriel’s parents accepted Ava and the boys they raised. Sorry I just get really involved in the book that I am reading. My favorite part of their adventures was them falling in love and getting through all the things that kept getting thrown at them. Thanks for another great book!

    1. Thank you so much dear Kay! It was a miss on my part that I didn’t make it clear! Gabriel’s parents accepted Ava and the boys and they were a loving family together! As for the boys they took from Mr. Chester, they took them in as their own family until they found someone to adopt and love them for real! ♥️ I am glad you enjoyed the story and I am grateful for the honest feedback!

  3. Oh, my goodness! Each story gets better & better! The only thing I missed was Gabriel’s parents writing or visiting. This was such a great adventure from the beginning to the end of the epilogue. Thank you!

  4. I will add my same remarks as noted above. Jericho was left from the extended epilogue, as well as the boys; Wes and Matthew. We invest our time and gain so much enjoyment and becoming part of the story!! Please do follow up with letting us know about them and Gabe’s parents.
    I know it must be hard for you to determine when to stop writing and getting to The End.
    I appreciate you and your talent! Reading is my ardent passion!
    Be Blessed.

    1. Dear Teta,

      Thank you for your kind words and your enthusiasm for the characters in the extended epilogue. I appreciate your feedback and am thrilled to know you’ve enjoyed the story.

      I understand your curiosity about Jericho, Wes, Matthew, and Gabe’s parents. Your interest in their stories is noted, and I’ll keep it in mind for future works. Your support is truly appreciated, and I’m grateful to have readers like you.

  5. I don’t read love stories very often but this was a great book , keep up the awesome work. Would like to hear more about Jericho,Wes and Matthew plus Gabe’s parents.

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