EN: This is the final installment in the Eli-trilogy. The next chapters will bring the focus back to Generation 7.
He looked over his shoulders for the third time before he finally knocked. It didn’t take long to hear stirring inside, then the door was opened.
“Eli?! What are you doing here?” Meagan asked surprised.
“Can I come in before anyone sees me?” Eli pressed.
Meagan stepped aside, allowing him inside as she shut the door.
“Why are you … hmph ..”
She had turned to ask him, when he just kissed her, hard and longing. She allowed it for a little too long to make her fighting him off believable.
He let go, they looked at each other, both breathless.
“You wanted it too.” Eli determined.
“Yes, of course I did. We talked about this. Our relationship didn’t end because we don’t want each other, but for other reasons.”
“I don’t give a shit about all that anymore. I cannot do this. I need you, Meagan. Seeing you at that meeting today was torture. All I could think about when we walked that site today was how badly I wanted to ravish you in that foreman’s filthy office. Then take you home and lock you in my house so we never have to be separated again!”
“That is not a very comforting thought, knowing that the lead architect was zoned out all the way through the site walk and is probably not a good start to an otherwise potentially very lucrative project for both our companies.” Meagan obviously tried to divert Eli’s mind off the topic of sex.
“Oh, the architect has been doing this long enough that I can design whatever that fucker wants in my sleep. But the architect needs love.” Eli blew her off.
“Eli. Please don’t. We both knew this wasn’t going to be easy.”
“Not easy is putting it mildly. Why can’t be be together until you find that Mr. Right you will have those kids with?”
“Are you serious? This entire secret relationship thing is already well outside my comfort zone. Adding this kind of uncivilized debauchery to it does not improve the situation.”
“I want you! I need you!” he began kissing her neck from behind.
“Eli, please leave. This is not right.”
“You are kicking me out?” he halted, nuzzling the question into her hair.
“If that’s what you want to call it. You are not here to spend time with me, because you missed me, you are here because you are horny. Big difference. I may have gotten weak and let you stay against better knowledge, but not just to be your mattress for the night.”
“What?! Meagan, you could not be more wrong! I am here because I miss all aspects of us. That naturally includes sex, but you know it is about more than just that. Do you not miss me too? Even in bed?”
“Of course I do. But I seem to possess better self-control.”
“Fine, I’ll go. If the only reason you think I came here was because I am some antiquated version of a horny teenager, then I am sorry to have bothered you.” Eli was offended.
He reached for the doorhandle, but before he could open it he felt a shove away from it, then Meagan was all over him.
“Oh, screw it all! Since you are already here and horny might as well put you to good use. Forget self control. You are right, I want this very much too, and will just deal with the consequences later!” Meagan’s voice was different than normal, her breath fast and shallow.
The way to her bedroom could be considered foreplay, leading to an explosion once in her bed.
Next to each other afterwards, both out of breath, Eli said quietly
“So women really do mean yes when they say no, hm?”
“Sometimes, when we do not know what’s good for us.”
“Meagan, I want you to meet my family.” Eli’s words were a statement.
“That is a horrible idea. The facts haven’t changed, just because we both evidently have the brains and self control of a common gnat sometimes.”
“I may not introduce you as my … whatever we are or were, but as a friend. We are still friends, right? We did say we wanted to remain friends, didn’t we?”
“We also agreed that we would not go the friends with benefits route and look at us now. This right here is the definition of just that. I do not think meeting them would be advisable. That just would lead to uncomfortable moments once the reality finally does sink in for both of us later. And if you still are hoping I will change my mind, I am sorry, Eli, I cannot. I am the last of my family, I want to have at least one child so after I am gone it wasn’t just the end of the Bradford line completely. Not like we are anything special, but still.”
“You are special. Very special. To me.”
Eli stayed for a while longer, they traded more affections, watched a little TV together and she obviously had a rough time letting him go too, so they agreed to meet again on Sunday, far away off the beaten path where no one would know them.
And they would meet again after that.
And he would sneak to her apartment again.
Every so often they would agree they had to stop and this time was the last time. But they never kept that agreement.
One of them would always break it.
Always, without fail.
One time Meagan showed up at EC Architects unannounced, supposedly with last minute urgent changes to a project their companies were working on. Eli instructed his assistant to hold all calls and allow no interruptions, and as soon as the door closed behind her, Meagan nearly attacked Eli.
Within minutes they were enjoying each other on his desk chair.
Risky, but neither could help it. Text messages and secret phone calls when nobody was listening were one thing, but a couple needed more than just that.
Sometimes they would meet at the movie theater, sit rows apart until they were sure nobody they knew was there, then they would sit next to each other, sharing concession stand loot, hold hands, while watching a movie like any other couple.
Walking hand in hand in a park several hours away from home, giggling like teens in love one Sunday afternoon, trading kisses and affections, both of them forgetting how complicated this relationship really was, until Eli ended up stealing heated kisses again and again.
It was clear that he had reached the limit of his charades and wanted her. Now. And he made sure she would feel how much he wanted her when he pushed her against a tree. She did as well, and both became reckless.
“Eli?” a female voice asked, before clearing her throat.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt, while … uh … but … I happen to see your car just got a ticket and figured you may be in the park so we came looking for you before you get towed … Also, you may not have noticed but you are right next to a playground.”
Hailey! Eli thought. Fuck! FUCK!!!
He let go of Meagan and slowly turned around to find Hailey and Blake, the latter one grinning.
“Uh – hi guys.” Eli mumbled.
“Well, since Eli seems to have forgotten his manners, I am Hailey, his sister-in-law and this is Blake, my husband and Eli’s brother. Blake, come here and say hi.”
“I can say hi from over here. Hi!” Blake said.
“What the heck, Blake?” Hailey complained, shaking her head at her husband.
“My brother’s little Eli is still standing at attention and I don’t want him to get any ideas about hugging me with that going on. Last thing I need is to get stabbed by his love lance! Yuck! Don’t hug my wife either, please!” Blake explained forcefully.
“BLAKE CAMERON!” Hailey reprimanded her husband.
Eli was mortified and piled his hands up above his crotch area, but after this drama the condition had already subsided completely. His mood was gone with the wind, leaving him to wonder what Meagan had to be thinking now, when he heard her giggle.
Staring at her, discombobulated, she shrugged.
“Sorry, but your family is adorable.”
“Haven’t heard that in a while … here I’ll shake your hand though, even though I rather not think about where that may have been.” Blake grinned at Meagan.
“Ugh Blake, please don’t mind my husband. He and his big mouth don’t get out much.”
“That is correct, ever since our grandson finally is going to school we have the house to ourselves all morning and nothing is getting done but us.” Blake smirked at Hailey.
“For heaven’s sake, Blake! What has gotten into you! I sincerely apologize for him!”
“Why?! They were about to do it. Why would they be shocked we do it too? Not like they trademarked that activity for their use only. At least we make sure there are four walls around us before we get jiggy with things.”
“Blake, for all that is holy, shut up!” Eli begged.
“I am Meagan Bradford, by the way. Very nice meeting you both.” Meagan offered her hand to Hailey, who shook it smiling.
“I better take you home.” Eli mumbled humiliated.
“Oh no, please don’t leave yet, you two! Blake can behave, can’t he?! If not, I may have packaging tape in the car to fix that big mouth of his. Let’s have lunch together.” Hailey suggested.
“I don’t think …” Eli started a protest.
“You don’t need to think, my wifey did the thinking for you. Let’s get.” Blake clapped his hands.
“Meagan really needs to get home to .. uh …” Eli tried.
“It’s okay, Eli. Lunch sounds wonderful.” Meagan smiled at him.
“Okay. What are you two doing here anyway, so far from the Bay?” Eli addressed Blake.
“We are allowed to leave the perimeter, Eli. Against contrary belief Hailey and I still do things that do not involve kids and grandkids. But someone has to go pee every 30 minutes today and this park has a public crapper, so here we are.”
“I am going to tie you to a tree and leave you here, Blake! Can you PLEASE at least try to make a good impression, for Pete’s sake?!” Hailey warned.
“Make ya a deal: I’ll be on my best behavior as long as you explain why you have packaging tape in your car …”
The following lunch was lighthearted and not at all embarrassing to anyone. Meagan visibly enjoyed herself, so Eli relaxed. Maybe this wasn’t so bad after all.
Eli had just walked in the door and snuggled Ewan, when Blake entered. He had a key, but usually would never just use it, so Eli knew he was not here to be social. Oh no, this was going to be some epic talk, if he knew Blake at all.
“Ewan, go find your nanny and harrass her for a while. Your daddy and I need to talk adult talk!” Blake’s tone towards his nephew was soft, but firm, not the usual joking one customary between them.
“Uh, Ewan, why don’t you go make some more decorations for the upstairs hallway. Still looks really bare.” Eli told his son.
“Okay dad! Bye uncle grump!” the boy said and hurried to his room upstairs.
“Yeah, you better hurry or ‘uncle grump’ is gonna spank you till that butt of yours glows in the dark! I’ll give you ‘grump’, you little brat!” Blake was smiling a little bit and Eli heard Ewan giggle upstairs.
All involved knew this was just in good humor. Blake and Hailey had Ewan over at their house a lot, and all kids in the family were accustomed to Blake’s ongoing teasing.
“Come on, let’s go into the living room.” Eli suggested.
They got settled, Eli offered everything he could think of, but his brother was no fool and called him out.
“Quit stalling. Who is she? Why have I not even heard a single word about her, let alone met her yet? Clearly, you two didn’t just meet. If you tell me now you are messing with married women I will spank your bare ass right here in this very living room!”
“No, it’s nothing like that … but … it is equally complicated.”
“Explain it slowly using simple words for your dumbass brother then. Make no mistake, you will explain. Especially the part about you both humping each other next to a public playground. You know, the thing where KIDS go, that do not need anatomy lessons from uncle Eli by watching his bare ass demonstrate sex ed for them next to the jungle gym!” Blake was not amused, his face dead-serious.
“Yeah, sorry about that, honestly I really didn’t know that was even there. And okay fine. Let’s sit down and I’ll tell you what’s been going on. It’s a long story.”
So Eli did tell Blake everything.
Once he finished, he could tell Blake was processing.
“That’s why we are hiding.” Eli concluded his monolog.
“Why are you still seeing her?”
“Because I … care about her.”
“You also care about your plants, but if one dies you don’t keep watering it, do you?”
“I said it was complicated.”
“No, it is not. Only because you are being stubborn.”
“How am I being stubborn?”
“I could go two ways with that. Either because you won’t let go what’s already gone, or it is NOT gone, and you are too dumb to pull your head out of your ass, because you are still allowing Sarah control over you. How is she by the way?”
“Fine, they are on … oh, this was a trick question, wasn’t it?”
“Yup, and you failed. I told you a MILLION times now not to answer her texts unless it has to do with your son! I should get me a wooden ruler and smack your knuckles, maybe that will help you remember. She still has you wrapped so tight. Which is the REAL reason you are crashing the promising relationship into a wall.”
“Sarah is the mother of my kids!”
“No, you idiot, she is not! She does not want to be! Let it go! Let her go! What she wants is control over you, not her kids. And you know I am right! Get Sarah gone from your life completely and focus on you.”
“Fine, that still does not solve my Meagan problem.”
“Yes, it does. Let her go too and move on. Now you know what you are missing out on, go and find someone who better suits your needs.”
“I don’t want someone else, Blake! I have never felt as wanted as I do with her! It’s hard to explain.”
“Give it your best shot.”
“Fine, I’ll try. I had more sex in the six months we have known each other now than in the combined almost thirty years of marriage to Sarah! Meagan does it because she WANTS to, because she wants ME, we are not just going through the motions. There is real passion for each other, the indescribable sensation when I feel her, smell her, when I am holding her in my arms, knowing for the very moment in time she is all mine and I am all hers and nothing else matters. She wants to be near me, hold my hand, laugh with me. She genuinely misses me and the way her eyes light up when we finally get to meet again, it gives it all meaning. She is so smart and takes work seriously too, so she gets that part of me as well! I hate not knowing when we can see each other again. I love Meagan … oh.” Eli was shocked about saying those words out loud.
It had just slipped out, and the echo of the weight of his words still resounded in his head. Eli looked surprised like it had been someone else saying it.
“Ah, then go get her tiger. Cos Hailz has the best BS radar and can read people better than any machine and she told me that woman is into you something bad. Not another Sarah for sure. I like her too. Hailey is already seeing some fairytale wedding and babies and …”
“That exactly is the problem! NO MORE KIDS! Do you not see how miserable my children are?! NEVER AGAIN!” Eli frowned.
“Miserable?! You see my face? That is the face one makes when exposed to a mountain of steaming hot BULLSHIT! Your daughter is living it up in some gigantic mansion in Del Sol Valley with her husband, neither of them have jobs cos they don’t need them, as they are so fucking wealthy that they could never spend it all, she has two great kids who are solid and super-happy. Whenever I see her I hear ‘daddy this, daddy that’ fan-girling you and her husband Stryker knows better than to try to interfere with that bond. Your son thinks you are some superhero. Ewan is a pain in the ass sometimes, but a good kid, happy and healthy. I would know, I see him often enough. A cat may be a better mother than your ex-wife, but those kids have all they need. And don’t you give me that ‘I work too much’ BS. I happen to have my son working there too so I know you two have busy times, but are a good team and you can handle it all. Plus, how many people have the luxury of working 5 minutes from home or their kid’s school? So where exactly are those spoiled rotten and disgustingly happy brats miserable?!”
“Okay, maybe they are not. But Blake, I am 53 years old.”
“Is there some point forthcoming you are trying to make? I am ten years older than you, still run after a whole bunch of kids that always tend to somehow accumulate at our small house. I am 63 and my parts still work like a charm, pretty sure I could father children machine gun style if need be, presumably same is true for you, so go after her, give that girl a baby and ride off in the sunset with her. What is the damn problem? You like kids and being a father. Please do not tell me you get hung up on dates and other people’s rules. If you were hoping for normal and standard, that ship has long sailed and sunk off the coast of “Keep Dreaming” for the Cameron family.”
“You and Hailey are the only ones who know about her. I’d have to inch towards that. Especially with Ewan and Bri.”
“Bri will love any woman who makes her daddy happy. I know my niece VERY well. And Ewan is at an age where he won’t give two shits. His life is good now, unless that changes, all he would gain is a real mother for once and he won’t object, seeing how he tends to latch on to maternal women like your nanny, my Hailey or my daughter Kiera. And you work out so much, put it to good use and run after some toddler.”
“Why are you so adamant about me and Meagan getting together?”
“Several reasons. First of all, I know what alone feels like, but I also know what the right woman feels like and the knowledge of having someone by your side you can rely on no matter what, who will never leave you and who is nice to look at and fondle. Here I do agree with you about our ages, we may still feel young, but the time for chasing skirts for sport has passed for us. We need someone solid now, someone to count on, someone who completes us. And in my case, our sentences. My someone sent me over here to set you straight, she wants a happy ending, and I never let my Hailz down, so if I have to drag you two to Las Vegas and send you through a wedding drive thru at gun point, I will. Because that’s what my Hailz wants and she’ll get her happy ending. And you too, goddamn it!”
“Jeeze Blake, back up a few miles, will ya. Even IF I were to do all that, Meagan and I never really had a routine together. She would have to meet everyone, and work would be awkward .. and …”
“Screw work! Work will be handled, you know Chase. And work is not who is going to be at your deathbed one day. Loved ones are. Know your priorities. And all joking aside, I am tired of watching you miserable. You have been miserable for decades. We all knew it. It has been killing dad, but he won’t interfere. You wanted Sarah, so Sarah you shall have, but he never cared for her much. You want a tough jury, take her to meet our parents. Then you will know if this will work out. And I am not saying marry her and have kids by next Sunday. That was all just joking. But I am serious as a heart attack now when I am telling you to give this a real chance. See where it goes and the rest should flow naturally. If you never listen to me again, listen to me about this.”
“Eli, why are you here again?” Meagan smiled, despite her words.
“I had a talk with my brother last night and now I am here to make a baby!”
“What?! Are you drunk? This early on a Sunday?!”
“Nope, never been more clear! Is the baby factory open or not yet? We can just practice until your hormones are ready. I can come back nightly until after ovulation.”
“Eli … what is going on with you?”
“I told my daughter about you and she is flying out to meet you, super-excited. You have to meet Ewan still, but that won’t be too rough. And we are invited over at my parents for coffee and cake this afternoon. Blake is right. Never mind, I’ll tell you about what he said at some point. But he is also right that we deserve a chance. So, are we going to make a baby, or what? I should tell you that twins run in my family, so there is a chance of that …”
“Slow down, Eli! As much as I enjoy the show, this is a little too hasty for me. I know what I said, but that didn’t mean I am looking to be knocked up ASAP without any kind of plan. My heart sings knowing you are open to this, but I have to wonder about the sudden change of mind. This sounds like a crash and burn scenario is looming. Like I said before, I would hate for you to loose yourself trying to please others again. You have done that with your ex for so long, from what I understand. I need you to be you.”
“This is me being me. All Elias, for once. I have been thinking and now know that I want another marriage, I want what my parents have and what my brother has. I want a child with you, one that is born with a mother and grows up with one. One who has both parents all the time. If this seems sudden, it is not. I want love, real love. Something to last the ages.”
“There are no guarantees in life, Eli. We may work out, then again we may not. I don’t want you to chase a rainbow here. It all looks like we could make it, but what if not? I would hate for you to be even more broken than you already have been.”
“Meagan, I am aware. I am just excited. I feel free. Like I have a real chance here. Please, if you still love me, don’t take that from me. From us.”
“I thought we were gonna go easy on using that word.”
“Fuck that! I love you. I LOVE LOVE LOVE you, Meagan Bradford. And I want to hear you say it back.”
“I love you, Eli. With all my heart.”
“Then kiss me already, woman!”
They embraced and made out like they had not seen each other in years. Breathlessly Meagan finally gasped
“Just when I thought I had you figured out. Must admit, I do like this assertive bad boy side of you. Really sexy!”
“That’s my cue! Bedroom now! We won’t even bother with condoms. Won’t need them.”
“Lead the way, but we are not going to get ahead of ourselves here. IF we really do this, meaning if you wake up tomorrow and still feel the same, there won’t be any babies for either of us until we are married. But I am all for getting as much practice in as we can manage. Safely.”
“Ha, you go on thinking that. I won’t burst that bubble and tell you about a little thing my family calls ‘the Cameron curse’.”
“Oh, you won’t have to. Your sister-in-law already has.”
“She did not!”
“Oh, but she did. She is a great lady. Your brother too. After meeting them, I would marry you tomorrow. Definitely the right background to start a family with.”
Elias didn’t need a few years or any more nudging to realize this relationship was worth taking another plunge for. By the following Spring, after his kids and the rest of the family had given their blessings, they were married.