I recommend waiting until after you’ve read the book to read Bonus scenes. It will help you better understand characters and the dynamics of the story. Stop reading here if you haven’t read Forever With His Boss. And grab it here.
This was in the deleted draft and didn’t make it into the final version. As such, it is also unedited and all mistakes are mine. This scene would come after Ford and Sawyer's wedding.
Epilogue - Ford
6 months after the wedding
“Sign right here,” the judge said to Ford. Ford nodded and did as he was asked, even as his hands shook. As he signed the paper in front of him, he felt this overwhelming amount of love rush through him. He looked over at Sawyer and held his gaze, needing to share that moment with him as they made this commitment.
It hadn’t been easy, but here they were. They had to wait the year before even starting the adoption process, then go through the undertaking of getting Cynthia’s rights revoked.
“And I need you to sign right here, Mr. Lancaster.” The judge pointed, and Ford stepped aside and watched as Sawyer signed out his name.
Callum fussed in Savie’s arms, stretching his arms out for Ford. When he took him, he smiled that toothy smile, and said, “Ford.” He had to hold back laughing because it sounded way too close to fuck. He swore the kid did it on purpose.
Ford kissed the top of his head, all the while keeping his eyes on Sawyer. Signing that document with Sawyer meant more than he could put into words. Because yes, he’d been there, he loved the kids. But this made them his in the eyes of law.
When Sawyer put the pen down, Gavin slipped his hand into Ford’s. Beside Gavin was Savanna.
“Is it official?” Gavin asked.
Ford squeezed his hand, and the judge looked up. He smiled and nodded. “It is official,” he said. “Gavin, Savanna, Callum, Ford, Sawyer… congratulations.”
“Yayyyy!” Gavin threw his fist in the air, being more vocal than the rest. But Ford didn’t miss the tears in Sawyer’s and Savie’s eyes. He could feel the tears beginning to build in his own eyes, and he didn’t even try to hide them.
“Thank you! Thank you!” Sawyer reached out and took the judge’s hand, shaking it probably with a little more enthusiasm than was necessary. Ford couldn’t stop smiling because he felt the exact same way as Sawyer.
“Thank you!” Ford also shook the judge’s hand.
The judge nodded. “It’s been my pleasure.”
Savanna, Gavin, Callum, Ford, and Sawyer all left the judge’s chambers. When they got out into the other room, they shared a group hug, and that’s when the tears really fell.
Barbara and Doug were waiting outside the chambers, and the moment the five of them came through the door, Barb let out a loud congratulations and rushed over to them, throwing a hug around Savanna and Gavin.
His dad was, as usual, calmer as he approached Sawyer, shaking his hand and then pulling Ford into a one-armed hug while rubbing Callum’s head.
Everything they had been through over the past year had led them here, and Ford wouldn’t change a thing.
Cynthia was behind bars and would be for six to ten years. In that time, she would have to undergo mandatory rehab. When Sawyer went to her informing her they were adopting the kids, she didn’t bat an eye, but he’d felt he needed to do it, and Ford supported him.
She hadn’t had to sign off her rights because the courts took care of that for her. The charges against her meant her rights could be terminated, and now, they were a true family. No one could ever separate them again.
Larry was also in jail. It turned out that he had embezzlement charges and was wanted by the police not only in Colorado but in another state as well. He could spend a good fifteen to twenty-five years in prison with the additional kidnapping charge. So, there was no way he would be coming after them again. Their family was safe.
The resort was a on track for its opening, and if Hayden Johnson finally got back to him, all would be perfect on that front.
They walked out to the car, and Ford put Callum in his seat while Gavin and Savanna got in the third row. He then joined Sawyer in the front, who had started the car, but. before they pulled out of the parking spot, Gavin spoke up. “You’re our dads now. Officially.”
Ford and Sawyer looked at one another. They both smiled, then looked over their shoulders to the kids in the backseat. “We are,” Sawyer said. “It’s signed, sealed, and delivered, which means no one can take you guys away.”
Gavin smiled. “Good!” He sat back in his seat. Ford looked over to Savanna and her eyes still glistened with tears, but she wore a huge smile. Like her older brother, Savie felt deeply but didn’t always show it.
“Let’s go for ice cream!” Ford said.
“Ice cream.” Callum clapped.
“Awesome,” Gavin said.
“Cool,” Savie added.
Ford and Sawyer turned around and held hands as Sawyer backed out of the parking spot.
This was his life: his husband and his kids. His family. Who would have thought a small-town boy from Amber Falls, Colorado would get everything he’d ever dreamed of?
Epilogue – Sawyer
A little over a Year Later.
Sawyer stood back and looked first at the grand opening sign over the entrance and then to the front of the doors where there was a red ribbon that stretched across them on the outside, ready to be cut.
Even though this wasn’t his first opening, it might be his proudest since it had been done with the whole family involved, and now, they were just twenty minutes away from cutting the ribbon.
This was kind of a soft opening for the people who lived in Amber Falls. They had planned this and then sent invitations all in one in a week. But somehow, right now, maybe a thousand waited, anxious to get inside.
Ford walked up beside Sawyer and placed a hand on his shoulder.
“This is it.” Sawyer said, his face aching with how much he’d been smiling that day already.
“I know.” Ford shook his head. “I never thought I’d see this day come. But here we are.”
Sawyer grinned. “Yeah. We’re about to show the town what we’ve built. The place that brought us to each other.” He turned to face Ford. “If it fails, then at least I can say that.”
“I’ve never seen so many people.” Gavin walked up to Ford and Sawyer, his eyes shining.
Ford laughed and turned to Sawyer. “I don’t think this place is going to fail.”
“I never thought it would.” Sawyer winked at Ford.
He pulled his coat tighter around him and shivered. It was the perfect day to open. All that was left to do was to swing the doors wide and welcome in their first guests.
“Are you ready?” Sawyer asked.
“You betcha.” Ford nodded, smiling.
They went to the doors, and Sawyer turned to Gavin. “Where’s your sister?” he asked.
“I’m here! I’m here!” Savanna hurried forward to one side of the large doors, with Gavin on the other.
“On the count of three,” Ford said.
“One…Two…Three…” Ford and Sawyer called out in unison.
Both Gavin and Savanna pulled open their sides of the entrance. The crowd cheered, and Sawyer hurried over to the ribbon where there was a microphone set up along with a large pair of scissors for the ribbon cutting. He tested the microphone by tapping the top of it, and a hush fell over the crowd.
“Hello,” Sawyer said, his voice booming from the speakers. “I want to thank everyone for coming out to the Grand Opening of Amber Falls Ski Resort and Lodge. We are happy you could be here. As you enter beyond this ribbon, you will be able to get a map that will show all the amenities the resort has to offer. You can take a self-guided tour, or, if you prefer, one of our representatives will guide you through in small groups and show you what there is. Make sure you check out our Winter Wonderland and Children’s sections. Winter Wonderland will retain its blanket of white year-round, but the Children’s section will adapt to the various seasons and change periodically.”
He hesitated, looking over to Ford, and Ford gave him two thumbs up. Sawyer smiled and turned back to the group.
“When Mark and I set out to make this place a reality, we didn’t know what to expect, and we certainly didn’t take into account the full impact all of you would have on this. If it wasn’t for many of you, this would not even have been a possibility. So, thank you.
“Throughout the tour, you will find that there are several shops handing out gifts and mementos to each of the guests. Those are our thank you to each and every one of you.
“If you are wanting to reserve a room for your stay, whether it be this weekend or in the future, there will be several staff members at the check-in desk to help you plan out your vacation. Your first two-night stay will be half off. That’s another token of our appreciation. If you have any questions throughout your visit today, please reach out to one of our employees, and they will gladly help you. Thank you so much for coming.”
Sawyer turned to Mark and in a lowered voice away from the mic, he asked, “Do you have anything to add?”
Mark nodded, and Sawyer stepped aside giving space. “I just want to thank everyone, as Sawyer has done, for your hard work, dedication, and acceptance. This wasn’t an easy journey to get here, but from what I have heard, the support from all of you has been immeasurable. Give yourself a round of applause.”
The crowd erupted in applause.
Mark looked to Sawyer. “Now, Sawyer is going to do the honors of cutting this ribbon and celebrating the birth of Amber Falls Ski Resort.”
Again, there was loud clapping. Mark stepped back and held out his hand, gesturing to Sawyer. Sawyer moved forward, then stopped and turned to his left and held a hand out to Ford. None of this would have been possible without his boyfriend. Ford raised a brow, even as a smile appeared on his face, and walked over to him, slipping his hand into Sawyer’s, and the “awes” could be heard from the crowd.
“Hold on to one side, and I’ll do the same on the other, and we’ll cut it together, okay?” Sawyer whispered to Ford.
His husband nodded, and together, they cut the ribbon. The crowd erupted into a final, thunderous applause.
Sawyer turned around and called out, “Enjoy yourselves!”
People moved forward, and Sawyer quickly darted out of their way, all while continuing to hold on to Ford.
“So, what’s next?” Sawyer whispered in Ford’s ears. It was all his planning, after all.
Ford’s eyes met his before going back to the guests that filtered past them. “I think I might have to help the staff. We aren’t at full opening capacity yet.” He shook his head. “This is crazy.”
Ford wore a proud smile on his face, and he deserved it. Being a project manager on such a large undertaking your first time out was no small feat. And his wonderful husband kicked it way out of the park.
Husband… he would never get tired of saying that. Who would have thought? Certainly not him. He never realized how much coming to Amber Falls would change his life, and he thanked whatever deity was looking out for him.
“I’m gonna make sure everything is running smoothly,” Ford said.
“Let me know if you need anything.” Sawyer said, but he was already hurrying off.
Sawyer let him go even though they had already hired a very competent resort manager.
He turned and found Mark and Theresa headed towards him.
“I know it felt like we were never going to see this day, but it happened,” Mark said. He laughed as he shook Sawyer’s hand. “Good job, man.”
Sawyer grinned widely. “Thanks for being here.”
Mark came in for a hug, “Wouldn’t miss it.” When he stepped back, Theresa hugged him, too, before they both walked away to enjoy the resort’s planned activities for the day.
He spotted Ford’s parents and walked in their direction.
“Good job, Son,” Doug said as Sawyer stopped next to them. Sawyer ruffled Callum’s hair, who was sitting in Ford’s mom’s arms.
That wouldn’t last. Callum had turned into quite the active, talkative one nowadays, and Sawyer couldn’t be happier.
“Thank you,” Sawyer may not have been able to call Barb and Doug mom and dad, but he loved when they called him son. Like Ford and the kids, they were part of what home meant to him. “Are you guys going to stick around?” Sawyer asked.
“For a little bit,” Barbara said. “At least until we have to head home and get Callum to sleep. Does Ford know anything about the plans for tonight?” she asked.
Sawyer shook his head and smiled. “I appreciate you watching Callum tonight. Have fun with Grandma and Grandpa.” Sawyer kissed the top of Cal’s head. “Just in case I don’t see you guys before you leave, have a safe drive home,” he said.
He then moved past his family. There was no other way to think about Barb and Doug.
He strolled through the resort until he got to the far end where the old foundation had been located. And there it was, the one thing he couldn’t say no to the kids about.
Despite the frigid temperatures on the outside, the waterpark on the inside came with a heated pool, and at least thirty people—mostly kids—were running around the outer edges, with the others splashing around in the pool. It seemed to be going over well.
Sawyer hoped paying customers’ kids loved it as much. He was also grateful for the smaller cabins—although he wasn’t sure if the options of two or three-bedroom luxury chalets could be called cabins—still he was glad it was there for the guests that wanted privacy.
The resort was his vision and more come to life.
He checked on the lifeguards stationed in the area and nodded when he saw them at their post.
Sawyer turned around and saw Gavin hurrying over to him. Of course Gav was here. Swim shorts on and already dripping wet. He was laughing and his eyes shone bright.
“Are you having a good time?” Sawyer asked.
“The best!” he said. “Watch this!” Without waiting for a response, Gavin hurried away from him. He practically ran up the stairs of the waterslide, then flew down it and into the waiting water. Sawyer cheered and clapped.
“Great job, bud!” Sawyer called out. Gavin grinned and got out of the pool and Sawyer moved on after seeing that he was with Owen and Dean’s kids. With Owen keeping an eye on them. Everyone was having a good time, kids of all ages, and the adults, too. This was definitely their company’s most family friendly resort.
Sawyer tried to think of another completed project giving him this immense level of satisfaction, and he came up blank.
* * *
Ford yawned, causing Sawyer to look in his direction, and then Ford laughed and covered his mouth. “Sorry.”
Sawyer held his arms open for Ford. He could imagine Ford would be exhausted. He hadn’t stopped the whole night.
But the lodge was quiet now, and they actually had some paying guests staying.
“I’d say it was a success and we should work on getting ready for the main opening. But not tonight,” Sawyer said.
Ford started to laugh, but yawned again, and Sawyer’s arms tightened around his exhausted husband.
Gavin and Savanna walked in and sunk down into an oversized sofa.
“Are we going home?” Gavin asked. He leaned back against the sofa, and Sawyer looked over at Ford.
“Actually, I have a surprise.” Sawyer held Ford’s gaze. “Follow me.” He walked over to the elevator, and Sawyer turned back to Ford and the kids.
“You have plans?” Ford asked. “What’s going on?”
“You’ll see.” Sawyer reached into his pocket and brought the key that felt like it had been burning a hole in his pocket all night. “So, I thought we should check out the hotel service,” he said. “What do you guys say?”
Gavin and Savanna were very vocal about how they felt about it. Ford seemed a little more hesitant. “We’re staying here?” he asked. “We’re about five minutes from home.”
Sawyer snickered. “More like fifteen, but who’s counting? I just think that we should see how things are so we can, without any uncertainty, give our recommendations on this place.”
Ford laughed. “Oh…is that so? You would give a bad review even though you’re the owner?”
Sawyer laughed. Ford had a valid point there. “Just stop worrying about it. Do you not want to check this place out?” He stuck his lips out in a pout, and Ford laughed. One of his favorite sounds in the world.
“Actually, I think it’s a brilliant idea.” He wrapped his arms around Sawyer’s neck and joined their lips in a kiss.
Savanna cleared her throat, and they broke from the embrace, turning to face her. She arched an eyebrow and tapped her foot on the floor. Sawyer and Ford snort laughed, and she shrugged.
“Let’s go check out the room,” Sawyer said.
Gavin rushed to the elevator. “What floor?”
“Top floor,” he replied.
They all got on the elevator and Gav pressed the button for the top floor, beating his sister to it and sticking his tongue out at her. When the doors opened, they exited and walked down to one of two suites on that level. Sawyer slid the key card into the door, and when he opened it up, both Gavin and Savanna stared into the room and their jaws dropped. Savanna was the first one to turn around.
“This is our hotel room?” She turned around taking it in.
Sawyer grinned. “Yup. It’s all ours for the night.”
Gavin looked at them, then walked off to explore. There were three extra rooms off the main one. It was big enough that Sawyer and Ford could share a room, then Savanna and Gavin could each have their own on the opposite side of the suite. Gavin ran back towards them, “Savie, you gotta see this.”
She hurried over, and Sawyer turned to Ford. “What do you think about the surprise?” he asked.
Ford lips curved. “Well, I’m used to you surprising me. And I love it every time.” Ford walked over to Sawyer, and they kissed. “And Callum?” Ford checked.
“I offered a room to your parents, but they declined and said they would just take Callum back to their house. So, he’s with them.”
Ford nodded. “Well, this is pretty amazing.”
“Wow!” Savanna said, breaking into their conversation. They turned to face her. “That bed is bigger than my whole room.” She laughed. “I’m teasing, but not by much.”
Sawyer walked to one of the three bedrooms. He peeked his head inside and then nodded. “What do you think, Gav?”
“Doesn’t my face say it all?” Gavin asked. “This is my room.”
“Savanna already agreed to it.” Sawyer smiled and left him to it.
“No problem,” he said. Sawyer and Gavin left the bedroom and walked back out into the main room.
“Um…are we supposed to sleep naked?” Gavin asked sounding excited by the idea.
Sawyer laughed. “No!” Almost like he conjured it, there was a knock at the door. He smiled. “Right on time.”
Ford raised a brow. “What are you up to?”
“You’ll see,” Sawyer grinned feeling pleased with himself. He walked over to the door and opened it to a bellhop.
“Your luggage.” He pushed a cart into the room, then nodded and turned around and left.
“You really did think of everything.” Ford shook his head but he wore a smile.
Sawyer shrugged. “I want this to be special.”
“Every day with you is,” Ford whispered as Gavin and Savanna went over and grabbed their overnight bags and hurried off to their respective rooms without even a goodbye.
Sawyer laughed. “Guess it’s just you and me.”
“Now that’s an offer I’ll always say yes to.” Ford grinned, taking his hand and walking them towards their bedroom.
* * *
Later that night after the kids had gone to sleep and Ford and him were lying in bed, Sawyer turned to Ford and said, “I think I’m ready to open the letter that my father left me.”
Ford looked at him and nodded, sliding closer and wrapping an arm around his waist.
Tearing open the envelope, Sawyer let out a breath before taking it out and unfolding it, studying the neat cursive that was scrawled across the sheet.
If you’re reading this, your first thought is probably that I don’t get to call you that. Or maybe it’s good riddance. Who knows? I guess I should since I am your father.
Probably another title I don’t get to claim, right? Like calling you my son.
I wish I could say I have some grand explanation that will give the reason as to why I left you, why I left your mother, but the truth is, I was young and a coward. All I saw was my life getting flushed down the toilet… not that I did much with it, anyway.
I wish I could say that I was at your graduation and all the other important moments, but that would be another lie. I tried, though, with your siblings, but trying isn’t always good enough.
Cynthia was nothing like your mother, Erin, but by the time Savanna came along, I knew I couldn’t run out on another kid of mine. I got my act together, but Cynthia never did, unless by some miracle my death sparked that in her. For the kids’ sake, I hope that is the case, but if not, you’re all they have left in the world.
I know I have no right to ask anything of you, and a better man would have had the courage to do it in person, but I guess we both know that’s not me.
But Gavin, Savannah, and Callum are the only good things I did besides you. I hope you can find it in your heart to take care of them.
If you’re anything like your mother, I know you will.
You turned out better than a father like me could ever dream of, and maybe you’re exactly what your siblings need to thrive.
I know I am out of favors in your eyes, but a dying man can ask for one more. Please find it in your heart to speak kindly of me to your siblings.
I made a lot of mistakes in my life, but never knowing you was my biggest and most lasting regret.
Sawyer slowly lowered the letter to his lap and felt a tear trickle down his cheek.
“Are you okay, babe?” Ford asked as he rubbed circles on his back.
“I will be,” he replied. “I didn’t expect some great epiphany from reading it, but at least he admitted that he was a coward and that’s why he left. I’m not sure if this is closure, but maybe I needed to hear him say it wasn’t because of me.”
“What are you going to tell the kids?”
Sawyer sighed before answering. “I am going to honor his wishes and speak kindly of him to them. Him making me their guardian was one of the best things that could have happened in my life, and I owe him that much.
They kissed as they laid down in bed, then Ford pulled the cover over them as they whispered good night.
As Sawyer laid there later holding Ford, who was lightly snoring, he thought back on all the years he had spent being angry and bitter toward his father. The years he’d kept himself closed off, scared whoever he let close would leave. He knew it was time to let it go, to let the man rest in peace and not to live in the past.
He had this amazing life, with a man he adored. Every road in his past had led him to this moment. And here, right now, was perfect.