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                                                              Nine Years Later....

"Merry Christmas!"

The front door of Mama Rosa's burst open and in marched a whole slew of Incitti family members, all carrying wrapped presents and plates upon plates of delictable dishes that I can smell all the way by the fire place.

 Things hadn't changed much since my junior year, when I first started hanging out with Archer.

Everyone still gathered together for the holidays, everybody still pigged out on food, everybody still shouted and laughed loudly at each other - your typical Italian family, I guessed.

 Ever since Archer and I had gotten married, we were both bound by familial obligations more than ever. And surprisingly, I was okay with this. I liked the feeling of being apart of something much bigger.

 "Hi, Hadley!" Karin exclaimed, throwing her arms around me in a tight hug. "Don't you look great?"

"Thanks," I said with a laugh, leaning away. "Good to see you, too, Karin."

 I was greeted and hugged tightly and had my cheeks kissed by about every family member imaginable. Other people might have found this extremely annoying, but I didn't mind.

 "How have you and Archer been doing lately?" Sophia asked me as I helped her carry pies into the kitchen, to the fridge.

 "Just fine," I said honestly.

And in reality, that was true. Sure, we fought a lot about very stupid things, but that was only to be expected after everything we'd been through together. We'd just celebrated our first anniversary on December 11th.

"Any bambinos going to be joining us soon?" she asked hopefully with raised eyebrows, shoving pies into the fridge.

 My face flamed bright red and I suddenly had the urge to throw up but before I could even answer, the triplets came bursting in the kitchen, squabbling and fighting with each other like they normally did, even if they were fourteen now.

 "Girls!" both Sophia and I shouted in unison. "What's going on?"

"May did - "

"April took my - "

 "June stepped on my - "

Yes, everything was going just as it normally did.

"Enough, enough," Regina said, bustling into the kitchen, flapping her hands. "Stop fighting and go greet your cousins."

 April, May, and June - even more alike than they had  been when they were younger - slouched and pouted their way out of the kitchen, still very put out.

I made idle chit-chat with Sophia and Regina while we readied dishes of spaghetti and linguini and salad and any other plate imaginable. Karin joined us a few minutes later and we carried the dishes out behind the counter.

 John, Marc, and Vittorio had already pushed several tables together to seat everybody and we quickly set about getting the food ready.

 A bright light flashed in front of my eyes as I was setting a basket of breadsticks on the table and I sceamed out of old habit.

 "Jesus, Archer! How many times have I told you not to take pictures of me when I'm holding something?" I said angrily, shooting my husband a murderous glare.

 Archer gave me a grin, lowering his prized camera, looking like a kid that just got caught with his hand in a cookie jar. "Sorry. I know you hate it. It's just, you were smiling, and well, you know how rare that is."

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