A/N – Thank you for all your wonderful comments.
They had room service delivered and spent the rest of the morning relaxing in Derek's room. They talked a little about work and family, but spent most of the time cuddling on the swing that was situated in the corner of the patio. Derek sat with one leg casually hanging off the swing, slowly rocking them back and forth while the other lay rested along the length of the seat. Meredith was leaning comfortably against Derek's chest, both her legs resting along the length of the seat beside his with her head resting in the crook of his neck. They were watching a few of the families with kids playing in the sand while Derek was absently running his fingers through Meredith's hair.
Meredith's eyes were fixed on a little boy, no older than three years old, building a sand castle with his Dad. His thick mass of dark curly hair instantly reminded her of Derek's. Her mind started to wander, thinking about what their own kids would look like. Would they have dark hair like Derek's or fair hair like hers? There was no doubt in her mind that Derek would be a wonderful father. She's seen him with some of his young patients and is always amazed at how at ease he is with them.
"We should probably get ready for the wedding?"
He sat up and used his leg to stop the swing so she could get up. Meredith was a little sad to break the contact with his body. The setting was so perfect and serene that she didn't want to move from it…forever. They walked back inside and giving him a quick kiss, she went back to her room to get ready.
An hour later, she was just putting the finishing touch on her make-up when she heard a knock on the door. She opened it to see Derek standing there in a black tuxedo. The wind was knocked right out of her. In all the years she's known him, she's never seen him in formal attire and to be standing in front of him now left her speechless.
Derek's heart skipped a beat when he saw Meredith.
"Wow! You look absolutely stunning," he said, giving her an appraising look up and down.
Feeling her cheeks burn from the flush that was sweeping through her body, she returned "Th-thank you. You don't look so bad yourself."
"Seriously Meredith, you look ravishing. With you looking like that, I'm tempted to stay in and keep you all to myself. I wouldn't want anyone trying to steal you away from me."
"You don't have to worry about that. I only have eyes for one man," she said, giving him a modest smile.
"Really? In that case, I will have to make sure it lasts forever."
"Are you ready?"
Meredith's stomach was in knots when they pulled up to the front up the house. Something wasn't right and she had an odd feeling in the pit of her stomach. The house was buzzing with activity and nothing seemed out of place. They were immediately greeted by Mark when they arrived.
"Have you heard?" he asked, giving Derek a questioning look.
"Addison is nowhere to be found. The wedding is scheduled to start in two hours and no one's seen her since this morning."
"Th-this morning?" Meredith repeated.
"According to the butler, she told him she had a quick errand to run and would be back before anyone noticed. That was three hours ago. They've tried calling her mobile phone, but she left that behind," he explained. Turning to Derek, he said "Judith's frantic and she's been asking for you."
"Me?" Derek asked sounding surprised.
"Yeah, she figures you would know of certain places that Addison likes to go to since you two used to vacation here."
"That was years ago and wouldn't Will be a better person to help her with that?"
"He would, except that Addison never took anyone here after you two broke up," said Mark, who noticed that Meredith's body tensed after hearing that.
"I don't think I'll be much help, but where is she?"
"The last time I saw her, she was in the library talking to the wedding coordinator."
Grabbing Meredith's hand, Derek started to lead her in the direction of what she assumed would be the library.
"Um…maybe it would be better if I stayed here," she said pulling her hand out of his hold.
"Are you sure? It won't take long and I don't want to leave you here alone," he said, giving Mark a sideways glance.
"I'll be fine," she reassured him.
Pulling her into his arms, he gave her a long deep kiss and only broke contact when he heard Mark pretending to clear his throat. His eyes lingered on her swollen lips, wanting to feel its softness pressed up against his again. He reluctantly let her go and gave Mark a warning look before he headed to the library.
"If looks could kill…I'd be a goner," said Mark, walking up to stand beside her.
"He's harmless," she said, watching him disappear into the crowd.
"Hmph! Tell that to my sore jaw," he said rubbing jaw and pretending to be injured. "So I gather you two are more than 'just friends'?"
Feeling the flush rise in her cheeks, she struggled to explain "We…um…I…. last night we were both very…and things are now…. I don't know!"
He was enjoying seeing her struggle to explain their relationship and deciding to put her out of her misery before she fainted, he said "You don't need to explain anything to me. If anything, I think you two were long overdue for some good 'pent-up frustration' sex," he winked at her.
"We didn't have sex," she pathetically denied.
"C'mon, the sexual vibe between you two is so thick you can cut it with a knife. Hell, that last kiss was so hot even I was getting hot and bothered."
She let out a laugh that echoed along the hallway. Several people turned to look in their direction, which prompted Mark to escort her outside.
"In all seriousness, I really believe that you are the one for him. I always thought he was an idiot for never owning up to his feelings about you. I mean, three years is a long time," he said, as they stopped by the bar.
Yes. Three years is a long time.
"When you were dating this Finn guy, he used to call me to complain about how he wasn't good enough for you and stuff like that," said Mark while they waited for their drinks.
Derek told Mark about Finn?
"How come he never told me how he felt about Finn?" she asked, still a little shocked at the news.
"Can you blame him? Derek's an honorable guy. He would never say or do anything to break up a relationship." Taking a sip of his drink, he continued "At that time, he wasn't sure of how you felt about him and not wanting to risk ruining your friendship, he kept his mouth shut and endured all those agonizing months that Finn was around."
Meredith was speechless. Had she known that having Finn around was making Derek so miserable, she would've broken it off sooner. She only dated Finn because he filled a void that she desperately wanted Derek to fill. Eventually, she broke things off when Finn started getting possessive. He was jealous of her friendship with Derek and gave her an ultimatum – choose either him or Derek. He was gone within the hour of giving her the ultimatum.
Deep down Meredith knew that Derek is the one for her. Although she would've chosen a different set of circumstances other than attending the wedding of an ex-fiancée, this weekend was probably the best thing that could've happened for them. Yet why was she still struggling with the decision to move in together. She loves Derek and knows he loves her back, but why is it so hard to decide? Is she looking for something more? Will living together be enough for them?
The questions were swirling around in her head, making her dizzy. She knew Derek wasn't going to wait forever and would expect an answer soon.
"He asked me to move in with him," she blurted out to Mark.
She was hoping that if she said it out loud, the answer would come to her. It didn't.
"I presume you said yes," he said more as a statement than a question.
"I haven't given him an answer yet" she said, sounding a little guilty.
"Is there a reason why?" he asked, not trying to hide his shock. Seeing the guilt-ridden look on her face, he sighed and continued in a softer tone "If I'm being too presumptuous, let me know, but why are you even hesitating?"
"I know this sounds stupid, but I honestly don't know. I mean, I love him and nothing would make me happier than to be with him, but…"
"That's not enough," he said, finishing her thoughts for her.
A little surprised at how right on he was she just nodded in agreement.
"I know I have no right to say what he's offering me is not enough, especially considering where we were before this weekend. I'm extremely lucky to have him in my life. It's just that I want…more."
"I see," said Mark, completely understanding what she was saying.
"I know I have to give him an answer soon. I just want to make sure it's the right answer."
"Look Meredith. I know I only met you yesterday which means I should be the last person to give you any advice about your life. Derek and I may not come from the same mother, but I love him like a brother. And as a brother, I want what's best for him." Turning to look at her, he continued "You, Meredith, is what's best for him. This thing you two have, it's rare. Take it from someone who's been around the block too many times to count. I've never seen two people more in love with one another and that includes the time Derek and Addison were together. Whatever path you decide to take, be sure to listen and follow your heart. Knowing Derek as well as I do, he will follow you down whatever path you lead him in."