•Melanie & Marco•

I wrote for Melanie.

She had decided upon a casual Italian dining place and had taken hours to shower, get dressed, makeup, etc. Ariana had helped her and then Melanie's sister had come over at the end to help and to stay with the kids.

She was prepared for tonight but had no high expectations other than wanting it to go smoothly. She and Marco left right on time to make their reservations. She had a few ideas to tell him about and hoped he had seriously considered their future out of New York, together.

When they arrived outside the restaurant she moved to take his hand and smiled. "You're still ok with Italian, right?" She asked him to be sure. "We could still find somewhere else." She suggested.

"Relax. You're talking to an Italian here, of course it's always alright." Marco assured her wanting her to stay calm and chill instead of the usual fussing over every little thing. With her hand in his, he led her inside where they were soon at their table. He pulled out the chair for her before sliding her in. He then sat opposite at the table settling himself in getting comfortable.

"Well that was silly of me to ask, huh? It look so pretty out here. If it wasn't so humid I would want to eat out here. Maybe we can come back in the fall if we like it." She said speaking generally as he led her inside.

She took a moment to settle into her chair. She looked across the table at him and smiled watching him get comfortable, too.

Once they were handed menus and the wine list, Marco read over what was on offer and made his decision. He waited patiently giving Melanie all the time she needed to decide what she wanted to eat and drink. He wondered if they would still be living in the city in the fall as the more he thought about moving, the more sense it made.

She read over the menu quickly deciding upon what she wants to eat and was even going to have a glass or two of wine. It wasn't like they got out a lot. That thought made her realize that if they did move they wouldn't be out much at all in the beginning if they didn't go somewhere they had family.

They sat and ate looked at him a moment trying to decide how to say this, wondering if he was serious about moving. And what would he think that she wasn't looking at Boston first?

Then again on that note she spoke up first. "So I was doing some research and I realized that there's a quaint, beautiful suburban town in Berlin, Connecticut that is exactly midway between your parents and mine." She broke the ice with her suggestion.

"You're actually serious about the move?" Marco had to question wondering if they were actually planning or she was only suggesting. "You're willing to uproot our lives just like that?"

She shrugged and nodded. "Yes. I am serious about possibly leaving the city. I don't know where we should go but I do know I want to be close to our families. And I also know I'm not afraid to leave this time knowing you're going with me." She looked surprised. "Were you only asking to see where my heads at for the future? Do you not really want to move anytime soon?" She asked him wondering if this had been a test.

"But you had plans on becoming a singer, that was one of your dreams. I can't imagine that happening if we're moving back to the 'burbs. Your best friend is here. She also happens to be a music manager so I'm surprised you're willing to give all that up especially after years of you trying to get back into the singing career." Marco pointed out.

"To be honest, I was asking because the bottom line is that I know that we need a fresh start in a place where there is no memories in order for us to work as a family. I need to be away from my ex-wife and my married family to focus on our family. The longer I stay, the more I know I would be involved with my ex and that isn't going to end up well for any of us." Marco said being open and honest with her for the first time in a long time, possibly for the first time ever. "I love her, I always will. I'll always want to be there for her because I still care for her. We have been through too much for me to just cut her off like that but I can't be there for her and yet be here for our family as well. There's this guilt that constantly eats me up inside for unable to be there for one or the other. It's part of the reason why I've been distant and distracted lately."

"But there is jazz clubs everywhere. And if we don't go as far as Connecticut like maybe we could look where I was originally looking in Long Island then eventually when Matteo is in school I could still sing in the city even. Right now I can't do much anyway. I can't travel or work late nights and get up with Matteo." She elaborated. "If we do leave the city, though, now is as good a chance as any. Plus if we stay just close enough we can visit the city anytime we want and we can even still work in the city if nedcsaary." She reminded him. "As for Luka, I love her. I'll miss her but it's true. If we truly want to be a family then that should come first. I'll always be friends with her but if we stay here will you and I be able to keep it together?" She asked, doubtfully.

Then she sighed upon mention of his ex. But she listened intently to what he said. "She needs you. I understand that. And I'm sorry if I've been part of making you crazy by inadvertently pulling you this way while she pulls you that way. I didn't mean to confuse you." She told him genuinely. "I didn't mean to make this harder on you." She blew out a breath. It felt good to get all that off her chest.

Marco silently watched Melanie for a moment. "I'm used to women who are argumentative, opinionated, and reactive. I'm still getting to know you so it's still surreal to me how you're so easily accepting and accommodating to everything. It sometimes unnerves me and makes me feel like I'm walking on eggshells dealing with something fragile and delicate. It also sometimes makes me feel like a jerk because you're always so frustratingly nice."

The waitress came to place their drinks and basket of complimentary bread onto their table. Marco gave a second to quickly thank the waitress before turning back to Melanie. "Not every other person would be so understanding about the ex. I mean I just told you I love another woman and you're here apologizing to me."

"I can't help it. I'm just so used to going with the flow. My dad was away a lot so I just adjust and adapt around me accordingly. its frightening thinking of moving. But I know you'll make sure we're all fine. Before it was too nerve wracking to do it alone. But I'm not alone now. It gives me confidence to move on, or even move away if we want to." She told him.

"You were married Marco. She's been through a lot. If you told me you hated her I would be more worried. I would see that as meaning that you could just walk out on us someday, too if things got hard. But the fact that you're wanting to be there for her gives me hope. You're a good guy, Marco. I hope you won't leave me for her someday but I have come to realize that I can't stop you from helping her. As long as Matteo and I come first, if she needs you I trust you." She had truly grown in the last year. She stI'll held some doubt but she truly does trust him.

Marco shook his head not agreeing to what she's saying, "Thank you for thinking I'm a good guy but I'm not, not really, but I'm trying. I should be grateful and appreciate your support but it only makes me feel like crap because I don't deserve it. I like you a lot, Mel, but I need you to stop being so agreeing all the time otherwise you and I won't work. I need a partner who is challenging, someone who puts me on my toes, someone who actually makes me work for things instead of easily handed to. You know, I've never seen you angry or upset to the point where you want to kill me so I don't even know the real you."

"I think this has more to do with you then me Marco. Why do you think you don't deserve love?" She questioned him. "You screwed up by cheating on your wife. But do you really want me to punish you for that by being a birch?" She asked him seriously. "I can't do that. I wasn't raised that way. My mom raised me that compromise is key. I don't mind putting things on hold and making sure my family is set before I do anything else. Like with singing. If we go decide to move I can pursue that somewhere else, while still keeping a home and keeping my family settled. But I am just that kind of person. I like to keep others happy and then in turn that makes me happy."

"That's easy for you to say as you're involved." Marco pointed out. "I'm not saying I don't deserve love, I'm saying I should be held accountable for everything I do instead of you letting everything slide and just going with the flow because it's easier. You don't have to be a bitch to put me in my place if I need to be, if I step out of line that you don't agree with. Sometimes a good argument is needed otherwise we will never grow as a couple." He reached for a slice of warm bred just to have his hands do something other than being idle. "Just don't sacrifice your happiness just to make others happy because that doesn't make me happy."

"If you really mean that and honestly I don't feel like fighting tonight but I feel I should at least tell you this." She began. "I don't mind you being there for Isabella, I really don't. But I feel like you're hiding me while doing so. I don't know your friends, other than Mr. Morello obviously. But well, I do feel like you're still putting her first. I feel like you're hiding something from me about her. Are you seeing her? Or is it really just that you're helping her? My guts telling me that you're hiding something that I'm not going to like." She spoke calmly but that in itself spoke volumes more. She just wasn't an angry person. But you could see and feel her emotions in the way she said things.

Marco wondered if she ever felt like fighting. That wasn't his goal or aim or did he have a need to fight but he just wanted to see some emotions and sparks from her other than the fussiness, the nagging, and the one eager to please. "Your gut feeling is right but not for the reasons you think. I am keeping my current life and my ex life private for your protection. Isabella is mentally unstable and that makes her dangerous. You are her least favorite person and would literally attack you if she had the chance. She will never accept or like you. As for not knowing my friends, my family are my friends. Derrick is my brother and also your boss. Alexia is my sister. They are my best friends but they are also Isabella's family so it's awkward. I don't want to put them in an uncomfortable situation especially when Alexia has to wrestle her loyalty for me and for her sister. I'm not pushing them into anything they aren't ready for."

Mel's face paled in fear. "Oh my god! Marco, there's protecting me and then there's keeping me in the dark. Don't you think for my own safety that I should know that she's violent? What were you thinking? Do I need a restraining order?" She asked worriedly.

She gulped and nodded. "I understand about Alexia. She'll never take my side over her sister. But what about you? Are you even safe being near her? Is her own family safe? How crazy is she really?"

Her face turned angry now. "All of this is giving me more incentive to want to move. I want you away from her. I want us all safe." She frowned and took a gulp of water and calmed her self, color going back in to her cheeks.

"I was thinking that if you both never met, we won't have any issues. Why do you think I've been keeping you all separate?" Marco answered her question with a question as Melanie had just proven his point. "That's exactly why I don't tell you things. Do you feel better now that you know or are you freaking out?"

Since Melanie didn't know Isabella, the questions were legit. "There is no sides but I just wanted you to understand further about why I can't impose my life onto them. Perhaps when you're no longer Derrick's employee and when there's some time that has passed we can all be friends. What about me? Isabella wouldn't hurt me. If she wanted to, she would have done it already. I'm not saying she's a raging lunatic with a thirst for blood but it's best if you never meet her. Of course her family is safe. She's getting help that she needs and she's working on getting better."

He was confused watching Melanie suddenly became angry at the most random and unexpected time. "You can't stop me from seeing her as that's my choice but for the sake of our family, for the sake of our relationship, and for the sake of our future, I agree that we need to move to give our family a chance at being a family together without the past life still involved with the present distracting me."

She shrugged and sighed. "I don't feel good about it but yes I do see your point. Does she know about me? I mean I'm sure she knows about Matteo, but does she know about us; me and you? Is that why she hates me and doesn't know me?" She asks trying to understand, but it was difficult. Melanie was not the type to hate anyone over a man. "I don't get it. I mean I don't hate her. I fear her, and fear for her but even knowing a little more now i still don't hate her." She admitted.

< She breathed a sigh of relief. "Ironically that does make me feel a bit better. I still think she's crazy that she'd want to hurt me over you but I'm glad she's not so far gone she would irrationally hurt her loved ones. Because then if that was the case I really wouldn't want you near her." She admitted.

She sighed out a deep breath again. "Can I suggest maybe looking to move somewhere close but far? Get away but still be here to help if necessary. Maybe somewhere like Staten Island or Jersey even?" She suggested. "Then we could move on, figure each other out, and also get away from everything here."

"She knows of you but she doesn't know anything about you. She knows I'm with you to raise our son together." Marco tried to explain from Isabella's point of view so Melanie can understand. "Put it this way, if you were in her shoes and she was part of the affair that led me to leave you, wouldn't you be upset? Wouldn't you want to lash out or take revenge at the person that basically took the love of your life away from you? Maybe you wouldn't since you don't think the same as her but if you were her, you would want some compensation for being hurt. You would want the other person to feel the same hurt as you do." He posed that question on her. "I won't pretend I get how the female minds work but I've noticed that girls always hates on the girls instead of the guy. Isabella is no different."

The waitress brought them their drinks which was appreciated. He took a sip of his before continuing, "If we do move, it has to be a clean break and somewhere far away from here not just a stone throw away. I can't continue to go back and forth to help her any longer. She needs to get over me as much as I need to move on from her to focus on the family. Otherwise, you and I will never be anything more."

She shook her head. "Maybe I'm just different from most girls but if the roles were reversed I would deal with you. I would focus solely on winning you back and not on revenge. I wouldn't try to push her out of the way I would instead attempt to keep you, win you back in any way I could." Was her response.

She sighed. "Marco, I love you. We started out badly, and Isabella makes me upset knowing she's in the way being here. I can work anywhere and so can you. My friends will always be my friends, my family, too. But I want us to be a family, too. Instead of beating around the bush lets just do this. Let's move away. Start over together. But we need to talk more. I don't need to know everything but I don't want to be totally in the dark anymore. In return I'll be an active member in this relationship from now on. I won't just let you make all the decisions from now on." She promised.

"On that note if you don't want to stay nearby I still think we should look in Connecticut so we're close enough to our families but not close enough to be involved in our pasts at every turn anymore."

"That's not to say she's not trying to do that either but she has a lot of emotions. I think passion runs in that family." Marco said thinking of his sister in law. People fear her husband but are terrified of her most.

That was another issue he had to admit to himself. Melanie already loves him but Marco wasn't there yet with her. His love still remains with Isabella despite everything they have been through in the last couple of years. He felt guilt that he couldn't reciprocate those feelings as there was so much he didn't know about her. It wasn't fair to her as he hasn't given her a fair chance. They never had the chance to fully get to know one another just on their own but now they can when starting new. "I agree. Let's do this. We'll start a new life together without distractions." If things truly didn't work out, at least they gave it their all.

"I like the sound of Connecticut. At least it's part of New England." Marco never did feel right rooting for his team in another state.

Melanie gulped. She was confident in her own right but that didn't mean she liked competing over a man. But as she looked across at Marco, she did love him. She'd do anything to be with him. "I just hope you'll give me a fair shot from here on out to get to know you." She told him.

She chuckled. "Part of the reason I thought of Connecticut was the New England connection. Though the main reason is that it's part way between here and Boston. My family and yours." She added.

Melanie dared to look hopeful. "So we're doing this? As in we're going to hire a realtor? How soon do you want to begin to look? Because if we do this I personally would like to do it before school starts again and settle Ariana in at home before she begins a new school." She told him her opinion.

"I am prepared to move and start our family life with new perspective in a new place." Marco said with a nod of certainty.

"But before we actually organize everything to be set into stone, we should talk to Ariana first to consider her feelings and thoughts. The last thing we need is an unhappy teen on our hands. I want this to be a united decision especially now that she's old enough to know what she likes and doesn't. We still get the final say but, if she's agreeable, I think she'd appreciate to be part of the planning process like we all picking out a house we all agree upon etc. It's important that she feels included, be validated as part of the family, and has her opinions be heard as well."

"How about tomorrow morning? I'll make us our hearty breakfast and we can talk to her." She suggested. Saturday mornings were usually reserved for family time unless Ariana was sleeping out, or Mel had to work or Marco... But tomorrow they would all be home. It was as good a day as any to have a talk with the 14 year old. But Mel truly thought her daughter would be fine with moving. She had no doubt Ari would miss her grandparents but so also knew that high school hasn't been easy this year for her and that Ariana hopefully wouldn't mind the big change. Guess they'd see in the morning.

Marco nodded agreeing to the suggestion considering the available opportunity. "Sure, sounds like a plan."