Hey Maksyl fam!
Thank you for all your amazing love and support! I love you all endlessly.
The opening piano chords to Sam Smith’s ‘Latch’ commenced playing softly throughout Meryl’s small bedroom.
The warmth of early morning was just setting in about the space, and Meryl, ever the morning person, sprung up out of bed.
She turned her alarm clock off, stopping the song in its tracks. On any other day she would have commenced singing along to the soulful lyrics, but today, the song was too much for her. It only served to remind her of the task she’d agreed to in her delirious, sleep-deprivation-induced haze.
Ah, yes. She was now driving her ex (who she’d thought was the love of her life, even post-breakup, until he pulled a Lucy Whitmore and totally forgot she ever existed,) across the country to attend his brother’s wedding.
Note to self: do not make any more decisions while exhausted and nostalgic. Insanity will ensue.
She brushed her hair out, taming the knotted mess that it had always become in the mornings, and changed into somewhat-presentable attire.
She thought about doing minimal makeup but decided against it.
It was only Maks, after all.
Meryl realized that maybe if she showed up looking hot, Maks would realize what he had been missing all this time and beg for her forgiveness.
Not that she would ever take him back anyway.
It was only when she felt her stomach rumble that she remembered she was a human being and did, in fact, need breakfast to survive.
She was getting too lost in her thoughts.
“Stop thinking,” she commanded her brain, whilst her bare feet padded down the hallway towards her kitchen.
The wooden floorboards creaked under her feet as if they had been asleep and her delicate footfalls had awoken them.
“I really need to get a carpet,” she mused aloud.
But carpet shopping could wait for a time when she didn’t feel like the only chance she had at relaxation involved a cup of liquid caffeine.
She needed to make herself a nice mug of coffee.
It sounded like music to Meryl’s ears.
She commenced the slightly-aggravating process that was brewing coffee, trying not to focus too much on the day ahead of her.
While waiting for the telltale beep of the machine to signal that her coffee was ready to be poured, she glanced at the clock on the opposite wall.
She had about an hour to kill before she had to drive over to Maks’.
Grabbing her phone from the kitchen counter, (where she’d plugged it into its charger upon her entry into thr kitchen,) Meryl logged onto Instagram.
She wanted to go look at adorable photos of puppies.
Photos of puppies always made her day brighter.
She had just reached an adorable picture of two bulldogs running side-by-side when a ‘one new message’ notification popped up on the top of her phone screen.
From: Val My Favorite Chmerkovskiy
Heard you were…
She clicked on it, expanding the message. She was curious to see what Val had to say about the situation; she hadn’t spoken to poor Val about the same length of time she hadn’t spoken to his brother. The two friends had simply fallen out of contact—Meryl regretted it immensely. She had always thought of Val as a valuable friend.
No pun intended.
Meryl was happy that Val had texted her, but apprehensive about what he could possibly say in the message. Would he even want her at the wedding? Probably not, now that they were distant for so long. Maybe he would ask her politely to stay at the hotel the day of the wedding.
She figured she should prepare herself for the worst. She covered her fingers with her eyes, almost too scared to look at his message.
You know what, Meryl? Just look. Rip it off like a band-aid.
She glanced down at Val’s iMessage through a small crack of space between her fingers.
From: Val My Favorite Chmerkovskiy
Heard you were coming to the wedding, sis! That’s awesome! Z and I missed you! We can’t wait to see you again. Maybe before the wedding, if you and my idiot brother are down here early enough, the 4 of us can all meet up again. I’m really glad to have you back, чудовий сестричка!
Meryl found herself grinning at the unexpected kindness. She exhaled a sigh of relief.
‘My beautiful little sister,’ the ending had read. His old nickname for her.
Val had always called Meryl ‘my beautiful little sister’ when she and Maks were dating, and Meryl had always loved the nickname (especially after finding out the translation).
She had always thought it was the cutest thing. Now was no exception, although she and Maks were by no means ‘back.’
She replied immediately:
To: Val My Favorite Chmerkovskiy:
I’m definitely coming! I can’t wait to see you and Zendaya either. It’s been way too long! If I can whip M’s butt into gear, we can probably make it down there a day early. A meetup with you guys sounds perfect. We’ll work out the details later on. I’m glad to BE back! Team Chmeryl all the way💕 xx
The second she sent the message, the coffee machine beeped.
She gladly poured a mug of the steaming liquid and grabbed a croissant from her breadbox.
Maybe the day wouldn’t be too terrible after all.
Ah, the moment of truth.
Here she was, standing at that familiar doorstep. The same doorstep where they’d shared their first kiss as a couple.
Unable to help herself, she glanced to her right.
There it was; the white porch swing where they used to sit together whenever they both had the day off. They’d host family dinners first, then the two would retire outside to the swing.
Maks would read her romantic poetry, or poetry about the beauty and depth of the sky, and compare them all to his feelings for her. His feelings had always beat out the poet’s feelings, he used to say. She would smile gently back at him, transfixed on the wonderful man she was so in love with.
He got the aforementioned works of poetry from a large, fairly-dusty book he’d kept in the house.
On nights like those, when they sat together on the swing, her head would rest on his lap as he read aloud. She would look up at him in awe, wondering how she’d gotten so lucky. Sometimes, his calm, rhythmic voice would lull her to sleep, and the following mornings when she awoke entangled in his arms, protected from the world, were the best mornings of all.
Meryl shook her head, desperate to escape the tidal waves of memories that came crashing down on her all at once.
She turned towards the front door, about to ring the decorative doorbell.
The door was already wide open and he was standing there, staring at her.
“Hi, Maks. I was just—um—” she tried to explain, but words failed her.
There he was, standing in the Victorian-style doorway, looking rugged
and perfect as he always had.
He chose his typical ‘black-tee-shirt-and-dark-jeans’ ensemble.
Meryl would have laughed at the predictability if she hadn’t been so frozen in place by his stare.
“You were just…taking a trip down memory lane?” He questioned, his voice thick with some kind of emotion she couldn’t decipher.
“Yeah,” Meryl replied quickly, eager to return the ball to his court.
“I do that a lot, too,” he spoke, startling her with his blunt honesty.
“On nights when I’m home, I sit outside on the swing, look up at the stars, and think about what we used to have,” he admitted.
This little reunion just got heavy… Okay, Meryl, forget the sadness and try to make a joke.
“You don’t read poetry anymore?” The question that she had meant to come out as a joke came out a lot more broken than she’d intended.
“I only read poetry for you,” he replied instantly, “because I figured there wasn’t a better way to show you how much I loved you than to compare my feelings to the poets’. You always made me feel like I could write poetry myself, but since I couldn’t, I relied on their words instead.”
“Oh,” Meryl failed to come up with an intelligent response.
She glanced up at the man before her in surprise.
There it was again. The nickname that always made her weak.
“Hmm?” She hummed in reply, about to add a ‘yeah’ in case he didn’t hear her, but all of a sudden he was completely enveloping her in a tight hug.
His arms wrapped tightly around her small frame, tugging her closer until there was no space between them. He rested his chin on top of her head, sighing.
Meryl didn’t know what was happening.
She slowly brought her arms around his neck and snuggled deeper into his embrace.
She liked the feeling it gave her.
When did you get so weak?
It’s just a fricking hug, inner voice. Sue me.
“I missed you,” his low voice rumbled in her ears.
She was about to reply, but all at once. something in his voice snapped her back out of her reverie.
“Yeah, um, I’m just going to go take your bags and then we can head out,” she stuttered, detaching herself and running inside to grab his luggage.
He watched, stunned, as she brought some of his lighter bags out to her car, putting them in her back seat and dusting off her hands.
“Someday, Meryl,” he muttered to no one in particular, “you’re going to be mine again. And once I get you back, I’ll never let you go.”
He walked over and joined her in the car.
The engine revved, and then they were off.