Butter You Up Bonus Scene

Thirteen months later

Alex’s tiny backyard is transformed. There are string lights, a little patio, and high-top tables and chairs. 

Some of it—like the seating and buffet table—is temporary for the party. Others, like the porch and lights, have become permanent fixtures.

Diane actually helped organize most of this. She took over when I was scrambling at the last minute to finish work on the boxcar in time for my dad to move in.

Dad insisted I should turn the boxcar into whatever I wanted, but after much discussion with Alex, we decided a guest suite would be the best option, regardless of whether Dad moved in or not. 

It’s mostly done. The kitchenette is missing the electric stovetop because the one I ordered broke in transit, and I haven’t grouted the bathroom floor yet, but it’s close enough that Dad can help me with the rest of it, and we can tackle it in a few days.

For now, though, I turn my attention to the party. The grand opening of the boxcar/welcome to Fork Lick, Wesley Perkins/engagement party for me and Alex is in full swing. Everyone’s here, from the farm hands to the Bedd family to my new Fork Lick friends. 

Although I can’t actually see Alex right now. My fiancée is here somewhere. Probably.

Next to me, there’s a wet noise. “Oh no,” Colleen mutters.

“Diaper blowout?” I ask.

“No, thank god, just spit up. Could you take her for a second?”

We do the complicated maneuvers that allow Colleen’s four-month-old daughter to transfer to my arms, and Colleen runs inside to grab a towel.

Yes, Ethel got her human grand babies, though it was a big surprise to all of us—including Colleen. 

I awkwardly hold the baby and make faces at her when she makes some fussy noises.

As if called, Alex appears at my side. “Where’s Collie?”

“Clean up in the dairy section.” That is our not-so-secret code word for vomit or spit up. With all the family clamoring to babysit and with us being busy with the farm and the boxcar, we only just recently took a turn minding the kids for the first time—we watched the twins for four hours which included a “clean up on aisle one,” three “clean up on aisle twos,” and utter mayhem in the dairy department.

You’d think baby goats and cows would inoculate us to bodily fluids, but baby humans are way grosser.

“Here, let me.” Alex takes the baby out of my arms and puts her on his chest. Just like with any other mammalian baby, I swoon when I see my big man with a tiny creature. 

Sure, it’s cute now, but I also hope that Colleen comes back soon with more burping cloths.

Like he can read my mind, Alex smirks. “You sure you don’t want one of these?”

“Twins run in your family, so if we did try, it might not be one,” I say dryly.

When Colleen announced her pregnancy and after the surprise wore off, Alex and I discussed what we wanted. We both had mixed feelings about raising kids—we knew that family dynamics are hard, whether you have no siblings or a bunch. He was still attending therapy, though remotely now to save him the drive every week, and we talked a lot about the pent-up grief over his parents’ and then Eugene’s passing.

So, we tabled that discussion and talked more about our future as a couple. I didn’t think much of it because I’d only been back in Fork Lick for four months.

Another six months went by. Then, last week, after the first cool fall day, Alex and I had a picnic dinner in his backyard. We laid back and watched the stars come out until it was dark, and Alex rolled onto his side and took my left hand in his. 

“I’d like to propose another adventure,” he’d said.

“I’m not even done with the boxcar yet,” I teased.

“You can do both,” he assured me. “Molly Sunshine—”

“You know that’s not my middle name,” I said through my laughter.

“—Perkins, will you marry me?”

And just like that, the laughter was gone. “What? Really?”

Alex pulled out a ring, which sparkled even in the dark. 

“Oh my god, of course, I’ll marry you.”

And the party I’d been planning all along to celebrate Dad moving here and the end of my boxcar project had actually been an engagement party.

Colleen returns with a stack of burping cloths and shoves one between her daughter and Alex’s chest. There’s a big wet spot on her dress. “You’d think I would know better by now,” she grumbles.

“Wow,” a man’s voice interrupts. “Is it just me, or does he look good holding a baby?” Kit steps up beside Alex and grins at him. “Hey, buddy.”

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Kit. Colleen takes her baby so that the guys can have a back-slapping hug. Then it’s my turn. “He looks good all the time,” I correct while Kit sweeps me up into his arms.

Colleen and the baby get a quick kiss on the cheek from Kit, who hasn’t met Colleen’s twins yet, so there’s a lot of baby talk for a moment until Ethel calls Colleen over for help with the other twin.

That leaves the three of us to catch up.

“How’s business?” Alex asks. 

“Fantastic,” Kit says. After leaving Fork Lick, Kit started his own cleaning company, taking care of rentals in the area and contracting with the ski resort in their busy season to manage the cabins. However, what’s really taken off is a new package he’s offering.

“When are you going to expand to cover the Fork Lick area?” I ask. “Several of the ladies in the book club would love to schedule one of your bowtie packages.” Colleen and I have been running a spicy book club through the Fork Lick Library. “Maybe the cosmopolitan?”

“Color me shocked that your spicy book club wants to have shirtless men mix them cocktails and clean their houses for them.”

“We’ve had a whole book club discussion around domestic porn. You’re filling an underserved niche.”

He bows. “Washboards at Your Service is happy to oblige.”

There’s a ding-ding-ding of silver on glass, which hushes our crowd of friends and family. Ethan, who stands on a chair so he can see everyone, calls for our attention. “My siblings know I’m not much for speeches, so I’m just here to announce that it’s seven o’clock, and the boxcar is now open for your viewing pleasure. No food allowed inside, so take a spin through my future sister-in-law’s hard work—” he raises a glass to me “—and then come out and have some dinner.”

Alex takes my glass as I trot over to the boxcar, careful not to let my heels sink into the grass. The string lights right outside the door are on, so everyone can see while I grab the handle and swing the door open, then reach inside to flip on the lights. 

I step back out and sweep into a bow at the applause. Alex catches up and hands me my glass as Maggie, a book club member and a teacher at Colleen’s school, and her husband are the first to come in.

They ooh and ahh throughout the tour, even though it’s only a one-room tiny home. I’m so proud of it, though. It was a ton of hard work, from the insulation in the walls through the shutters on the windows, and it kept me almost as busy as Alex is at the farm.

After the tours are over, after we eat, dance to Jackson’s acoustic performance, pour the last drink, and clean up the last of the trash, Alex and I tumble into bed, exhausted.

Even though Perry and Jesús said they would do the morning chores without him, I know Alex will be up bright and early tomorrow. And I’ll be up with him too.

Such is the life of a soon-to-be farmer’s wife. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

* * *

If you loved Molly and Alex’s big-hearted fun, you’ll adore Sam and Diane in For Fork’s Sake, the next installment of the Farm 2 Forking series of laugh-out-loud romantic comedies.