Alive Again

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Chapter 58

“Oh my god, Lorelai!” He repeated and pulled her in for a hug, holding her to him, “What are you doing here?”

“It’s a long story Daddy, but I had to get healthy,” she told him, “I have to go right now. Aaron made clear that he is not ready to forgive me yet. I will text you my new number.”

“NO! Don’t leave Lorelai! I can’t lose you again!!” Mike pleaded.

“You won’t Daddy. Here,” She pulled out her phone and sent him a quick text, “Here is my number. Call me or text me. I promise I will answer.”

Mike pulled her in for another hug, “I love you Lorelai.”

“I love you too Daddy,” then left, running to her SUV and drove away.

Mike took a few breaths, wiped his eyes and went out to the backyard. He saw Aaron leaning over on the saw horses he had set up, looking down. Mike felt so bad for the man he had come to love and admire for what he did for his grandchildren after his daughter had left. He placed a hand on Aaron’s shoulder in solidarity with him, reminding him that he had support.

“I just ran into Lor…” Mike softly said.

“She wants to see the kids,” Aaron replied as he wiped his eyes again.

“And what did you say?”

“What didn’t I say? I unleashed so much of my pain on her and told her in no uncertain terms that she wasn’t just going to be able to waltz in and rejoin the kids’ life! They have no idea who she is!” Aaron started softly and finished with a yell.

Nodding, Mike agreed, “I agree. We don’t want them to regress after all the progress you made on giving then a normal life. You need to be slow on this...But what about you Aaron?”

“I’m fine,” Aaron brushed him off.

“Are you really? Aaron, your wife walked out and left you to raise four small children by yourself. You already had one wife betray you and then it happens again. I can’t imagine how you must have felt. You can be upset, Aaron. You have every right to be pissed off and hurt. It’s ok if you are protecting yourself and your heart.”

Aaron looked at his father in law and nodded, “Did she tell you why she left?”

Mike shook his head, “No. She was in a hurry to leave. She did give me her number so I can call her.”

“She said she was diagnosed with Postpartum Depression and was having some pretty dark thoughts,” Aaron told him.

Mike nodded, “Ok...So now what do we do?”

Aaron shrugged, “Right now I need to finish this for my kids and then go from there.”

Mike slapped his back, “Then let’s do this!”

The two men worked together for the next six hours as they did finish the swingset under the watchful eyes of Thor. In the process, they agreed that Aaron would tell everyone at dinner the next night about Lorelai coming back.

“Sarah will be back tonight from her retreat. I will bring all the food tomorrow Aaron. You don’t need to worry about anything, you have enough on your plate.”

“Thanks Mike. For everything. I know you and Sarah were hurt by this, but you were right there for me and the kids and I know I have thanked you before, but I mean it. I couldn’t have done it without you and Sarah,” Aaron sincerely said.

“Aaron, no thanks is necessary. It’s what families do for each other,” Mike replied and hugged the man he loved like a son.

---

Aaron was exhausted after Mike left and hopped in the shower. He ordered a pizza and sat on the couch thinking about the woman he loved and her reappearance. Mike was right, he was just as scared of Lorelai leaving again after giving him some glimmer of hope that he didn’t know if he trusted her. He couldn’t handle getting hurt by her again. He really couldn’t. He ate his pizza in silence and drank more beers then he should and fell asleep on the couch as a result.

He was up the next day, nursing a small hangover and cursing Lorelai O’Shay for getting in his head and squeezing his heart again. He went on a run to clear his head and was actually feeling better as he drank a smoothie and hopped in the shower again. He cleaned the house and took care of some paperwork for work while a baseball game was on the tv for noise.

He heard the front door open and a sweet little voice yell out, “DADDY! I’m home!”

He grinned and got up to see Breena come running in with Anne Marie hot on her heels with JJ and Alex carrying the bags and baby Harry in.

“Hi Baby girl! Did you have fun with Uncle Alex, Uncle Joel, Anne Marie and Harry?” Aaron asked, throwing his daughter up in the air.

“Lots of fun! Look at my nails! Uncle Joel painted them!” Breena exclaimed and whipped them out to show her father.

“Me too! Look at mine!” Anne Marie jumped up and down.

Aaron picked her up too so he could admire Joel’s handiwork. After giving them props, he sent them to the playroom and thanked the men he considered his brothers for helping him out.

“And I wanted to tell you about something that happened yester-” Aaron started but Mimi, Steve and the boys ran in the front door calling out their hellos. Aaron abandoned his talk and greeted everyone and never got back to the conversation as his parents arrived with the triplets and Mike and Sarah arrived with all the food.

Siobhan, Sarah, and Mimi quickly set up the massive amount of italian that Mike had ordered and they got the kids eating. Still sleeping peacefully, Harry was in the guest room in a playpen. The adults were all in the dining room and the kids were sitting on a plastic toddler picnic table for the five little ones and Connor and Caleb were at the island, kind of watching over them.

Aaron had come to rely heavily on these meal times since Lorelai had left. He needed their support and every single one of them had given it to him and his kids anytime he needed it. And that was a lot at the beginning! Siobhan and Sarah had alternated days staying with the kids until he had found a daycare that could take all four kids, which took several weeks.

Joel and Alex called and checked every day and his sister and Steve either called or came by to see him and the kids. And more than one time, he lost his thin resolve and cried to one of them. And they never judged, bad mouthed or vented, they just helped him carry on. Those first months were so tough and Aaron was filled with sadness and was brokenhearted. Then he moved into the angry phase where he could feel the anger simmering beneath the surface. He had no idea how he managed to not lose his temper at work, but the minute the kids were in bed, he went downstairs to the workout room and worked out until his muscles screamed and he could hardly make it up the stairs. He told Steve about it and he brought him a punching bag and some boxing gloves. Aaron used that to work out his anger, frustration and other emotions that were swirling in him. It really seemed to help his frame of mind, until yesterday.

Aaron was jolted out of the replay of his last year with the people around him laughing and his mom taking his plate to the kitchen. He thanked her as Sarah and Mimi brought in dessert and coffee and knew he couldn’t put this off any more asked his nephews if they could take the kids into the playroom and close the door. They nodded in curiosity and helped the kids away from the kitchen.

“What’s going on Aaron?” Steve asked.

Aaron sighed and swallowed, “Lorelai came here yesterday…”

A collective gasp was heard around the table after comprehending his words.

“What happened Aaron?” Mimi asked gently.

His shoulders slumped, “She came by to try to explain what happened and wanted to talk...maybe see the kids…”

“Seriously? She leaves for over a year and wants to just waltz back in and see the kids?!” Joel spat. Alex heard the emotion in his husband’s voice and placed a hand on his to help keep him calm and whispered, “JJ, calm down.”

“No I won’t calm down! She leaves and abandons her husband, children and family without so much as a kiss my ass! She is gone for a year and just wants to waltz back in our lives?” Joel spewed.

Aaron nodded his head, “Kind of. She did apologize and tell me where she has been and explained why she did it…”

“And what was her ranswer Aaron?” Siobhan asked gently.

“She was up north in Northglenn, substitute teaching and living in an extended stay hotel. She was seeing a therapist regularly who said that she had Postpartum Depression,” he replied.

Everyone was quiet, trying to absorb what he said.

“I saw her as she was leaving,” Mike said, making Sarah gasp, “She looked good. Her hair was longer, she had lost all the baby weight from the triplets and was obviously working out. She had a glow to her.”

Everyone was quiet until Aaron said, “I haven’t told anyone, but I went and talked to an attorney a few weeks ago and explained the situation. He told me what I would need to do to get a divorce.”

“Aaron, you do what you need to do for you and the kids!” Joel urged.

“Joel!” Alex exclaimed.

“What? When did she think about them? Or Aaron? Or her family?” He yelled.

“Or you?” Mike asked gently.

Joel jumped up from the table, “YES! I would have done anything to help her like I did with Max! I would have taken her to appointments-anything! All she needed to do was talk to someone! Anyone and say ‘Hey I need help!’ But no! She just left and let the rest of us clean up her mess and raise her kids! It’s bullshit!”

Joel stomped out to check on the kids as Alex sighed, “He still hasn’t come to grips with her leaving and not reaching out. He was-is still very hurt. He has been actually talking to a therapist since Harry was born. He was distraught that she wasn’t there when he was born.”

The group was silent again as they mulled everything over.

“What are you going to do Aaron?” Sarah asked, wiping tears away.

“She left her number and I’m going to call her and I guess meet so we can talk some more. I’m not letting her near the kids until I am sure she is stable and not going to hurt them again!” He explained.

“You just let us know what you need Aaron and we will go from there,” Tomas said as he watched his son.

Aaron just nodded and thanked the people around him for all their love and support. And when he finally climbed in bed that night, he was mentally exhausted and very unsettled. Just like a year ago.

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