The movers brought all the furniture. All Aiden had to bring was his family. It was strange how Meredith felt more like his family than Caryl did. He could remember back in college when Caryl helped him deal with his parents deaths. She helped him deal with William's anger. William's anger that was caused by Meredith. What happened to the woman he fell in love with? How did it all get turned around like this? Now it was Meredith that seemed to keep him sane. Without a single word or touch she could just make it all seem ok. If only it were ok. Right now things were far from ok.
Even though it was move in day, Aiden had to go to work. The moment he was out of sight Caryl started harassing Marcus. There was no need for him to get comfortable here. She refused to accept that he was staying.
Meredith didn't like this situation. She had been on her own for a long time now. She didn't want Aiden or anyone else to take care of her. Aiden had practically ordered her to stay in bed and rest. Of course she didn't. Someone had to watch the kids and Caryl sure wasn't doing it. Of course the longer she was up the worse she felt. Before long she was back in the bathroom. Like it or not, she was going to have to rest. She was going to have to trust Aiden to make this work until she was back on her feet. The moment she was well, she and her kids were leaving. She would not be responsible for ending Aiden's marriage.
As time passed, things seemed to get a little better. Marcus never told his dad all the terrible things Caryl says to him. He did run out and greet him every day when he came home from work though.
Aiden was very happy to have all his kids under one roof. He could get use to this. It was going to kill him when it ended. Meredith had made it clear that eventually it would end. No matter what he said to her, she was determined to move out once she was better.
It wasn't long until Michele had her birthday. Now there are two toddlers in the house. Michele is a Sagittarius. She is 1 neat, 10 outgoing, 10 active, 10 playful & 3 nice.
Aiden spent his off days taking care of the kids. It was amazing how fast they were growing. Caryl had been giving Aiden the silent treatment since move in day. That has now ended. She is being especially nice and affectionate. Although she wants her husband to make love to her, Aiden has found excuses not to. He has a feeling that she doesn't really want him so much as she wants another baby to tie herself to him. There is no reason to bring more kids into this. Their marriage in on the rocks. It has been since the beginning. Sometimes he hopes to find a way to salvage it. Other times it just wants it to end. Until things gets settled, he isn't going to be having sex with anyone.
Another birthday occurs and Marcus becomes a teen. He is devoting himself to the pursuit of knowledge. He wants to go to college someday. Of course there are more important things than college. Marcus knows how uncomfortable his mother is living here. That night he told his mom that they could move out if she wanted. He could help her with Michele now. He could even get a part time job to help out. Meredith could have cried. Her baby is so grown up. She assured him that they would be staying for now. She wants him to go to college. She will find a way to take care of Michele. He doesn't need to worry about that. He just needed to be a kid while he can. There is plenty of time for responsibility later.
Well she only had to tell him once. Marcus quickly began acting like a typical teenage boy. He had grown up playing with Cephei Byall. She was smart and funny and pretty. He couldn't help but flirt with her. His stomach fluttered when she was near. He was very happy to find that she felt the same way. By the end of the night these two teens had found a private spot and shared their first kiss.
Aric stopped by for the party. Aiden was happy to be able to talk to his brother for a while. Of course Aric has never been called shy. He came right out and asked Aiden what he was doing. You know you can't have them both right? Aiden knew that. He knew that his time with Meredith and her kids would be ending soon. She swore that she was getting better. She had been given permission to go back to work part time. It wouldn't be long before they were living across town. It would be just him and Caryl and Nathan. One quiet little family.
Marcus began studying for college. He didn't forget about Cephei though. She came by often just to say hi. They would sneak off and find a quiet place and make out. He tried not to worry about the future. For now he was happy. He had his mom and dad. He had Cephei. They were going steady now. Hopefully she would be his future.
When Meredith went back to work part time, Caryl declared that it was time for her to go. Aiden didn't want to have this discussion. Couldn't she just be patient for a while longer? He needed to make sure that she was out of the woods before he moved her back into her apartment. Of course Caryl said that he was stalling. That he didn't want her to leave. It was the truth but Aiden wouldn't admit to it. Things had gotten so peaceful lately. Why couldn't it just stay as it was?
More birthdays. Nathan is now a child. He is about to start school.
Michele was right behind him. Now that Michele is school age, Meredith knows that it's time to leave. She pulls Aiden aside and tells him that she will be moving within the week. Just her and Michele though. She wants him to let Marcus stay until he's ready for college. Aiden quickly agrees. He wants to argue the point but he knows he can't. He can see the determination in her eyes. She can see the pain in his.
Not knowing of the earlier discussion, Caryl pulls Aiden outside and demands that Meredith be booted to the curb. She has put up with him and his mistress for long enough. She needs to take her brats and leave.
In that instant, Aiden realized that he no longer loved his wife. The woman before him was not the woman he had feel in love with. The lies, both his and hers, had killed their love. It had killed their marriage.
Aiden didn't tell Caryl that Meredith was already planning to leave. He didn't say anything. He just went inside to think. In his mind, his marriage was over. He could no longer see any chance of a reconciliation. He no longer saw any future.
Aiden slept on the couch that night. The next morning he told Caryl that they were through. Meredith is leaving but so is she. It was all over. She lied. He cheated. Together they destroyed whatever love they once had. It was time they just went their separate ways. Separately they may both someday find happiness. Together they would only find misery.
Aiden was somewhat happy that it was finally over. His divorce had been years in the making. He was sorry for all the pain he had put Caryl through. He really just wanted her to be happy. He tried to keep things as friendly as possible. They shared a son. For Nathan's sake, he wanted to remain friends with Caryl. He didn't want a bitter divorce to scar his son.
Caryl left that day. She didn't see that she had any choice. She left Nathan with his father. He could provide for him in ways that she couldn't. Although part of her wanted to be vengeful and take Nathan just to hurt him, in the end she knew that Aiden was right. It was over. They had both killed it. It was better for Nathan if they just moved on. Although it hardly seemed possible, maybe someday she would find someone else to love. Someone who doesn't have kids. Someone who isn't still in love with an old flame.
When Meredith returned home that afternoon, she and Aiden had a long talk. He asked her to stay. He promised to take good care of her and the kids. She could keep the spare room. They could live as friends only. He just didn't want to lose her. He didn't want to lose his kids. Meredith agreed to stay for a while longer. All of the kids were very upset by Aiden's break-up. Nathan of course took it the hardest. Meredith and Nathan were very close. She had spent as much time with him as she did with Michele. She wanted to be able to help him through this. Deep inside her heart was pumping a mile a minute. Maybe there was a chance that she and Aiden could be together now. She pushed it from her mind. She couldn't count on that. He was the kids father. That's all. Someday she would have to leave.
Aiden called up the headmaster at the private school. He got all three of his kids enrolled. He helped Marcus with college prep work. The helped Nathan and Michele with their homework. At night he lay awake in his bed. He was all to aware that Meredith was just down the hall. He wanted to be with her. He wanted to tell her how much he loved her. He didn't want to scare her off though. He didn't want to mess up again.
Six months after his divorce was finalized and Meredith still hadn't left. Aiden had been counting down on a calendar till this day. Six months. Then he asks her out.
Aiden felt like a teenager when he asked Meredith to go out with him. Dinner at a fancy restaurant. A stroll through the park. They would even dress up. Meredith agreed. She felt nervous and giddy all at the same time. They went out to dinner. They were walking in the park when Aiden took her hand. It was the first time he'd touched her like that since Michele was conceived. He never kissed her. Not then. He waited until he got home for that. Right there on the front steps he pulled her into his arms. He could not wait any longer.
Aiden wasn't sure when he fell in love with Meredith Lillard. But love her he does. He can't continue to live like this. He needs to be with her. He needs to hold her every night. To kiss her whenever just because he feels like it. He needs to know that she loves him. He needs to know that she will be with him forever. So he asks a simple little question. It's a question that Meredith never expected to hear.
With tears streaming down her face, Meredith said yes. That was all she needed to say. Aiden swept her up into a passionate embrace. He had waited so long to kiss her. So long to hold her. He was moving her into his bedroom tonight.
Meredith refused to move into his bedroom that night. They had to be responsible adults. What would the kids think? She did agree to spend the night with him. She could not live another day without being in his arms. But before dawn, she would go back to her room. Once they were married, then she would move into his room but not before. And they had to keep the kissing private for now. No making out in front of the kids. After the wedding but not now. Aiden knew better than to argue. He took Meredith upstairs and made love to her. First thing in the morning he begins planning the wedding.