Despite the stresses of having to deal with everything that would occur with the trial and the continuing questions of why, Devon was able to get through the process of having to be on the stand and tell her story. There were tears, and even moments where she felt like she was going to puke. However, she got the whole story out, showcasing the type of man her father was.
It seemed to pay off in the long-run for her, as her father was found guilty in each of the charges laid his way. Given the length of his sentence, he’d be stuck in jail for the rest of his life – with no chance at parole. It seemed small considering what he had done to her and how it’d affect things moving forward in the future, but it was something. At least he couldn’t hurt her or anybody ever again.
With everything that was going on, it was understandable by Chad Norris, Jack Roush and the team with how Ryan had finished up the season with no top-10s in the final 10 races. Still, there were some strong runs with a couple of top-15s that gave Chad and the team hope going into 2016.
Despite not being as strong as they would’ve hoped to end off the year, Ryan still managed to finish 10th in points, which allowed the couple to go to the banquet together and celebrate the season. It was a memorable night filled with laughs with the team, along with laughs with the teammates. Devon knew there was no way that she could ever forget the memories formed with Ryan’s teammates, and knew that they’d continue to be friends moving forward, even if Elliott was off to JR Motorsports next season.
“You better keep in touch with us,” she had told him at the end of the night.
“You don’t have to bet against that,” he assured her with a hug. “I’m proud of you and Ryan for how you both handled everything. I know there are still going to be some tough days moving forward, but remember that you’re strong and can get through this. Also, feel free to phone me whenever.”
“Thank you…thank you…thank you so much.”
Following the banquet, the pair made the decision that they had to get away for awhile and returned back to Ryan’s childhood home with his parents in Bakersfield, California for Thanksgiving and some quality time.
After not having a family to spend the holidays with for the past several years, Devon found herself caught in the emotions of being able to have a special time with Ryan and his family. She got caught in telling stories, sharing laughs, and enjoying the quality time. Sure, things may be messed up with her family, but she knew that she had found a family with Ryan and that’s all that mattered. It was nice to finally feel accepted for who she was, and purely that alone.
Following Thanksgiving, Ryan told his parents that he wanted to do something special for Devon and sought their advice on how to go about doing it.
“I’m ready to propose, and I think I have a plan in mind, but am not totally certain whether it’ll work,” he had explained to his parents following dinner.
“Do you at least have the ring?” His mother questioned and he shook his head yes, pulling the small box out of his pocket to show his parent the ring. They immediately smiled in approval as they looked it over – it was simple, ruby red in color – perfect for the pair.
“So what is your idea, son?” His father asked as Ryan took a deep breath, thinking it over.
“I was thinking of taking her to the park…..” He started, detailing the thoughts that had filled his mind. As he explained his idea, his parents both looked on with a smile, as a couple tears filled his mother’s eyes.
“I can’t believe I’m saying this but my baby is growing up,” his mother stated when he was done, simply approving of the idea without a single issue.
A couple days later, Ryan was set to put the plan in motion. He got Devon to start the day as normal, going through their normal morning routine without a change. They played a couple of games, had their normal meals, watched some movies and discussed things over. To anybody else that had an eye on them, they’d think that it was just another day in paradise.
Following dinner, Ryan retreated to the kitchen to help his parents with the dishes as Devon relaxed on the couch. Even though it was months since everything had taken place, she would still get sore at times with her body still healing. As she got comfortable on the couch, she heard a knock at the door.
“Can you get that?” Ryan questions as he peaks out of the kitchen. Devon simply shakes her head yes as she stands up. She walks to the door, slowly opening it, as she stares at the man surprised. The man stood there dressed in black from head to toe in a suit.
“I’m looking for Ms. Aspray,” the man stated as Devon looked on even more confused.
“That’d be me…” She slowly lets out as the man smiles, opening up an envelope.
“Aww, you are as beautiful as described by your boyfriend.” He then hands the envelope over to her, continuing to smile. “Mr. Reed has arranged for you and him to go on horse carriage ride through the main park this evening under the stars. If you could please dress appropriately – something warm, but a little fancy – we will be on our way.” She smiles, shaking her head in response, disbelief falling over her.
“Okay. Can I have 5-10 minut-”
“Take your time, dear.” She smiles before heading to the kitchen, glancing over at Ryan’s parents.
“Where’s Ryan?” They pointed to the stairs, both smiling in return as they knew the plan that their son had in mind.
“Go on and get ready,” Ryan’s father instructs as Devon turns around and heads up the stairs. She goes into the bedsroom, set to find something to wear when she notices a box on the bed.
She then walks over slowly, noticing a red envelope sitting on top, one that matched the envelope that she held in her hand from earlier. She slowly slips the envelope off of the box, opening it as she takes out the small slip of paper.
I knew from the moment that I saw you that you were amazing, and meant to be my Cinderella. You may have your scars and some may say that they ruin your beauty, but you’ll always be a princess in my eyes. – Ryan
She smiles, wiping a couple of stray tears from her eyes before setting the note down on the bed. She then slowly opens the box, immediately smiling as she notices the blue length of the dress. She carefully removes it from the box, noticing the blue glimmer matches that of Cinderella, but was shorter in length as it’d only go the knees.
“Would you like some help with the dress?” She hears and immediately spins around surprised as she sees Ryan’s mom standing there. She slowly shakes her head yes, still in a state of disbelief by the trail of events thus far.
She then slips into the dress, followed by Ryan’s mom doing up the zipper in the back.
“You look like a princess sweetheart,” his mom states as Devon turns around to face her.
“You knew about this, didn’t you?” She questions and his mom simply shrugs her shoulders.
“Who do you think helped Ryan make sure to get the right size and style for you?” Devon laughs as she twirls around, glancing in the mirror. She feels a couple stray tears roll down her cheeks as she notices a reflection of eyes in the mirror. “Sweetie, what’s wrong?”
“I just never thought through everything that I could ever be this happy, or this pretty. I just…” She then looks down, taking a deep breath in an effort to calm herself.
“Devon, you’ve always been pretty. You just needed to find someone that appreciated you. Now, let’s go get this hair done up a little nicer.” Devon shakes her head yes.