The air was cold sending shivers down her back. It was late in December, only four days before Christmas, and they were back in Boston. She stood at the base of Mary's driveway looking between two houses she had grown up in. Her old house looked as it had when she and her mother moved their. A dark blue flag with a snowman and snow flakes sewn on flapped in the wind from where it hung on the porch. Little kid's toys were scattered through out the yard and a minivan sat in the driveway.
The door swung open, and Mary appears with a wide smile. "Hey!"
"Grandma!" All three children yelled and raced towards the porch. Jacob, who was now seven, ran ahead of his sisters and beat them to the stairs. Mary crouched down and engulfed her oldest grandchild and only grandson in a hug.
"How are you?" She asked her grandson as he pulled away from the hug.
"Good." He gave her one of his notorious smirks that was just like Alex's when Alex was eight. It was the smile that always made Meredith's heart melt whenever he used it to his advantage just like Alex used to. "Can I go see Snowball?" He asked. Snowball was Mary's white parakeet. Smiling, Mary nodded. Jacob kissed her cheek before racing into the living room.
"Now those can't be my granddaughters." She said shaking her head at the twin girls walking up the stairs with their parents and grandfather in tow. "Where are Anna and Gracie?"
"Grandma, it's us." Anna giggled.
"Silly Grandma." Gracie added with the same amused tone.
Mary shook her head once again. "No, my Anna and Grace are tiny. You two are big girls. Where are they?"
"It's us!" Gracie laughed giving a smile matching the one of Anna's face.
Mary gasped pretending to be surprised. "What happened to you?"
"We grew up." Anna insisted.
Mary crouched down and pulled them both into a hug. Anna and Gracie were born a little more than two years after Jacob. Now, they were five. They were identical twins, so they both had the same long dirty blonde hair and gray-green eyes. They had the same dimples, which was one of the few traits they got from their father, and bubbly attitude. Jacob had come to look like his father. Over time his green eyes turned brown, and his hair grew to be light brown just like his father's. He had the same smirk and charming attitude as his father that Meredith had grown up with.
"Anna, Gracie, come look at Snowball!" He yelled from the living. The girls looked at her grandmother who nodded reassuringly. Giggling, the two girls skipped off into the living room.
Mary stood up and hugged Alex, Meredith, and Richard.
"Come on, I have coffee made if you'd like some." She offered. The three adults agreed and headed into the kitchen.
"Daddy, Grandpa!" Gracie called almost as soon as they got their coffee and sat down at the table.
"We better see what's going on." Alex sighed kissing his wife's cheek before he and his father in-law disappeared into the living room.
"Did you ever talk to Jacob's teacher?"
"Yeah. She called me the other week and said that he was giving her 'sass.'" She giggled.
"I can't believe it. A Kerev giving someone sass? That's unheard of." Mary laughed sarcastically.
"Father like son, I guess."
Mary made a large dinner for her family which took half the time to eat as it did to cook. After words, the kids went back to playing with Snowball and toys in the living room while the adults chatted about Christmas plans. The next day Meredith and Alex were going to go Christmas shopping for under the tree while Richard and Mary watched the kids. At seven forty-five Meredith and Alex rounded up the kids and took them upstairs for a bath then bed. Jacob took a bath in Mary's bathroom while the girls took one in the guest bathroom. Meredith returned to the kitchen after she helped get the kids into their pajamas and into bed.
"Hey." She said sitting down at the bar.
"Hey." Mary smiled as she did the dishes.
"Need any help?"
"I got it dear."
Meredith looked around the house remembering an event that had taken place in pretty much every square foot of the house. Mary noticed and shut off the water. Drying her hands, she walked over and stood across from her daughter in-law.
"Hey." Five-year-old Alex Kerev said as he approached Meredith who sat on the swing that hung from a tree in her year.
"Hey." She returned looking at the ground.
"Do you want to come play?"
She looked up and nodded. "Sure. Where are we playing?"
"My house?" He shrugged.
The light flicked on causing her to look up quickly. Fifteen-year-old Alex stepped out shutting the door behind him.
"Hey." He said.
"Hey." She said quietly slowing the swing.
"What are you doing out here?" He asked. She shrugged.
"I don't know."
"I don't know."
"That seems to be the theme."
She sighed. They stood in silence just looking at each other. The next thing he knew, he was leaning down and their lips came together. It was soft and sweet.
"You're going to be okay." He said as he pulled apart. She just looked at him unsure what to say.
"Alex. Alex." She said quietly coming back into the room. "Alex, wake up."
She shook him.
"Huh? What? What's going on?" He said sitting up a little. He looked up at Meredith rubbing his eyes to see clearly. She clicked on the light causing him to pull the pillow over his face. "Meredith. It's like two in the morning." She hopped on the bed tucking her feet under her butt.
"What's wrong with your mom?" He blinked and looked at her.
"What do you mean?"
"I went downstairs to get some water. She was there crying and her face and arms are bruised up."
"What are you talking about, Mer?" He yawned.
"Alex, there is something wrong." He looked at her.
"I give you the graduating class of 1994." The principle announced with a large smile. The audience stood up clapping and whistling. The whole graduating class threw their hats in the air.
"We did it!" Someone yelled.
Eventually everyone scattered off the stage to find their parents and family.
"ALEX!" Seventeen-year-old Meredith called. His head whipped around. She hurried over and jumped into his arms. "We did it."
"Yeah we did." Alex said with a large smile. "Can you believe we're going to Dartmouth?"
"I know I can't." Mama Kerev said. "God, I am so proud of you two."
She pulled the both into a tight hug.
"What I can't believe is that we're going to the Bahamas for two weeks by ourselves!" She cheered.
"Meredith." Richard said. She turned towards him. "I am so happy for you."
"Thank you, Dad."
"You did well, Meredith." Ellis said. "I'm proud of you."
Leaning forward, she kissed his lips light and tenderly. Quickly, he welcomed the kiss and kissed back. They stayed like that for what seemed like forever. Pulling back, she lied her head on his bare chest not sure what else to do. They had never gone so far in their relationship even though unbeknown by each other she loved him and he loved her.
"Should we… talk about this?" She said quietly drawing circles on his toned stomach. He stayed quiet for a second before nodded.
"Probably." He said quietly playing with her hair. Silence fell over them again as they waited for something more to be said.
"I love you." She blurted out before she could catch herself. As soon as the words left her mouth she wanted to slap her hand over her mouth. His finger stopped moving through her hair. She stopped drawing circles on his stomach and for a second neither even took a breath. Slowly, she turned her head so she was looking up at him.
"I love you, too." He said quietly. She brought her lips to his and kissed him passionately and straddled him.
"Sometimes it so hard to believe." Mary's voice came interrupting her montage of memories.
"You and Alex." She shook her unbelievingly. "See you guys in this house again. It seems surreal."
"I know." Meredith sighed looking around. "Its hard to believe that we met twenty-five years ago."
"Me neither. I remember the first time I met you."
"I spent nearly thirteen years in and out of this house." A smile crossed her lips. "Playing imaginary games out back. Having dinner as if I were part of the family. Watching movies on the couch. Having birthday parties here. Sneaking into his room when I was scared and home alone."
Mary smiled at the memories. "You have always been part of the family, Mer."
"You never treated me as anything less."
"I always knew you would end up growing up, getting married, and starting a family."
"I love you, Mama."
"I love you too, Mer."
It was just like old times. She lied in his arms in the same room she used to sneak into when Ellis was out of town. His breathing was soft and even, so she knew he was asleep. A smile crossed his lips as she kissed his muscular arm before wiggling out from underneath it. Quietly, she snuck out of room and tip toed down the stairs. She grabbed her coat and walked barefoot across the living room and kitchen. As quietly as she could, she unlocked the door, flipped on the outside light, and opened the back door. The grass was damp with cold dew when she put her bare feet on it. She hurried across it and stepped onto the cool sand of the sandbox. Looking at the playground in front of her, she noticed all the differences in it. The red color of the sandbox was fading. Some of the chains holding up the swings were rusting. And the slide had a chip of plastic missing on the side.
As she settled down on the seat of the swing, she couldn't help but think of the first time she snuck of Alex's room to swing when they were fifteen. Using her feet, she pushed herself off the ground. A smile crossed her lips as she got higher and higher. It wasn't long that the door opened and just like when she was fifteen, a sleepy Alex appeared. She smiled at him as she slowed the swing. He returned the smile as he walked over.
"Now, this looks familiar. What are you doing out here?"
"Thinking." She said with a smile.
He couldn't help but let out a soft chuckle. "About what?"
"I was just thinking about how much I love you."
He bent down and kissed her. At first it was soft and sweet then turned more passionate. She wrapped her arms around his neck as he pulled her to her feet. His arms wrapped around her waist as he deepened the kiss. He finally pulled back and let out as sighed as he laid his forehead against his.
"And I was wondering how I ever managed to survive 25 years with you."
He got a fake offended look. She pulled away from him. "You will pay for that now."
"Yes you will." He laughed as she turned and hurried away from his. Her giggles filled the air as he chased after her. The chase didn't last long since after a few moments, she was laughing too hard to run any long. He wrapped his arms around his waist as she bubbled over. He softly tackled her to the ground and hovered over her while she rolled over onto her back. Her soft giggles stopped as she stared up at him. Reaching up, she touched the side of his face. He smirked at her before leaning down and capturing her lips. Once he pulled back, she smiled up at him.
"I love you."
"I love you too."
The End. It is really sad to see this one go. I really loved writing it, and I hope you enjoyed reading it!!