Jason ended up graduating the next weekend and I drove up to watch the ceremony. Instead of celebrating like everyone else, all he wanted to do was move his stuff into the apartment and spend the evening with his girls. In the end I gave in and we spent the night unpacking his car and settling him into the apartment.

We ended up getting married a couple of months later, during the middle of the summer. It wasn't one of those extravagant wedding affairs that took months of planning. The only people we invited were our friends and his family, seeing as mine weren't really wanted. Val, Bree, and Leanne were my bridesmaids while Jason chose Matt and two other close friends to be his groomsmen.

Jason and I moved into a house in Clairemont a couple years after we got married. Eventually we had two kids of our own; a girl, Lila, and a boy, James. We always welcomed kids into our house whenever they needed a place to stay. His parents moved to Clairemont so that they would be closer to us and could spend more time with us and their grandchildren.

Eventually I graduated from the community college in Clairemont and started working with social services. I worked on many cases, rescuing kids from situations very much like the one that my sisters and I had been in. For the most part I loved my job, knowing that I was helping kids get out of a harmful, unstable environment. There were times when I found it hard to see so much hurt in so many young faces, but I found comfort in knowing that they were getting out.

There were so many different situations that I encountered on the job, from abuse to abandonment. A lot of the kids related well to me once they learned about my life situation and what I had gone through. It was different to have someone who actually knew what you were going through help you start your new life. If someone who had never gone through anything like what you were experiencing tried to help you, it tended to piss you off. That's what helped me to be so successful in my career with social services.

Jason ended up graduating from college with a degree in business. His father and him opened up the restaurant that they had always talked about creating and he ran it. In the beginning it was a bit of a struggle but it became popular quickly and business boomed. They named it Brian's Italy after Brian, who had always loved Italy and their food. He had always said that if he could go anywhere in the world, escape from everything, he would want to go to Italy.

He poured his heart and soul into making the restaurant a success and I'm sure it would have killed him if he failed. After months of long hours and a couple of good reviews in the newspaper people were pouring in the doors. I think he liked to imagine Brian still being here so he could give him a little piece of Italy.

Leanne grew up to be a strong, independent woman who made us both proud. She became a lawyer who dealt with cases in family law, working very closely with the cases I worked on. At times I wondered if she would ever let anyone in after everything she had been through but eventually she found that special someone. They got married and had three children; two boys and one girl.

Marie, who had been sheltered from all the wrongdoing of our childhood, went to medical school and became a surgeon. She worked at the hospital in Clairemont in the emergency room at all hours of the night. I had to wonder how she could stand all the blood and guts, but in a way it didn't matter. When she got married to another doctor they had one child of their own and opened their house to foster children.

All of us sisters ended up in careers that helped out other people and for that I was extremely proud. We dedicated our lives to saving and changing the lives of those around us and it was completely fulfilling. Throughout everything we stayed close as a family and we got through anything that life threw our way.

In time I realized that there really are no fairy tale endings in life, but that doesn't mean you can't make your own happily ever after. I had to pick myself up off of the ground, dust myself off, and only then did I realize that my Prince Charming had been there all along. Living in the real world you can't expect someone to save you every time something goes wrong. That doesn't mean that you can't have someone by your side to help you when you fall.

Jason had been there all along, even when all I wanted was for him to leave me alone he was there for me. All I'd ever known was how to take care of mysisters and myself, but Jason showed me that I didn't have to go through it alone. He taught me the most important lesson I've ever learned. Love comes in many forms, but when you find it you don't ever want to let it go.

Our love was no fairy tale. In the beginning I may have felt a lot like Cinderella, if only for lack of better treatment on the part of my mother. There was no grand ball or lost glass slipper in the story line though. We were unique in the way that we had fallen apart and the way that we had come back together and fallen in love. It was completely, truly typically untypical.

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