Everyone laughed, including Ethan and Beau.
“Told you,” Beau said to Ethan, laughing.
“Great. I’ll never hear the end of this one,” Ethan replied, his shoulder bumping Beau’s affectionately.
“And you,” Curtis said, turning to Braydon. “Runnin’ away wasn’t the answer, but you already know how I feel about that. Regardless, you figured it out and you went after what you wanted. That took guts, especially since it made so many waves. I’m glad to see things have settled, and we’re countin’ down the days until that weddin’.”
“Me too,” Braydon said, kissing Jessie on the top of the head.
Curtis swallowed hard before looking at Sawyer. “And you, boy. Well, you’ve got more self-control than any one man I know. I’ve told you before that I’m proud of you. That’ll never change. I knew it would take a woman as headstrong as Kennedy to make you happy, and I was right.” Kennedy’s eyes met his briefly. “We’ve all depended on you and you’ve been there for each of us. Thanks will never be enough, but I speak for all of us when I say that if it weren’t for you, we’d be in an entirely different place today.
“And last but not least.” Curtis grinned when he looked at Brendon. “We can all breathe easier these days. I knew the day you were introduced to that woman that she was gonna be somethin’ special to you. We’ll never know if your paths crossed on accident, or if it was some grand design, but whatever the reason, it happened. I’m not the only one who wishes you’d have realized it at the time.” Laughter erupted at the table as Cheyenne kissed Brendon’s frowning mouth. “But you got there, and that’s all that matters to any of us.
“All in all, we’re a family, we stick together, we have each other’s backs. That’s what we do. We celebrate the good times and we work together to get through the bad. And I want every single person at this table to do me a favor …”
Curtis scanned all the faces in front of him. “I want every one of you to be grateful for what you have. Like I always say, things may not always be easy, but when it comes to love, it’s always worth it. Always.”
“So that’s it?” Travis questioned, a wide grin splitting his face. “That’s all she wrote?”
Curtis looked at his wife, wrapped his arm around her shoulders, and pulled her to him. “Of course not. There’re many more chapters to go, I truly believe that. Coyote Ridge is brimmin’ with life, and if I had to guess, there’s a handful of you right here who’ll get your happily ever after.” Curtis looked at his nieces and nephews who’d joined them today. “And I damn sure plan to be around to see how that plays out.”