The thing is, all of them are miserable with the new arrangement. It just doesn’t work for them, although Mary and Marshall aren’t willing to admit it.
Five months before the wedding and four months after Mary and Marshall “break up”, Abigail finally conceded defeat. She didn’t want to marry a man clearly in love with another woman and unhappy with her. It wasn’t fair to either of them. She also didn’t want Marshall to end up resenting her.
When Marshall was at work, Abigail called Jinx and Brandi and reeled them in on the plan she was forming to reunite her soon to be ex-fiancé and Mary. She wanted them to be happy and despite her own sadness, Abigail knew she’d find someone again someday. She wasn’t going to let this destroy her.
Like Marshall, Mary was not handling the end of their friendship very well. She and Kenny had tried to make their relationship work, but she broke it off after a month. He was a nice guy (and a great fuck), but she just didn’t like him that much. It felt like she was settling for Kenny, and that wasn’t fair to him. Luckily, he understood and told her they could be friends so the babies could have play dates. Mary had agreed to that because she wanted Norah to have a friend to play with. (She didn’t get along all that well with other mothers, so her daughter needed all the help she could get in that department.)
Because Mary didn’t have Marshall to lean on, she drove her mother and sister crazier than usual. Brandi was dealing with sleep deprivation because of her three week old son, and she wasn’t up to dealing with Mary’s problems. Especially since she still had her own – She was dealing every day with sobriety and her own reunion with Peter. They were taking things slow because they didn’t want to hurt their little boy – He was everything to them.
Jinx just missed Marshall, and she hated that Mary was this miserable. She wanted everything to go back to normal – Or as normal as it could be without one of the Shannon women falling apart. Luckily, Norah and Jayden are keeping them from screwing up again. Her daughter’s unhappiness is the reason why Jinx agrees so quickly to Abigail’s plan. And despite her better judgment, she likes this woman that Marshall is (was) going to marry. She feels bad that she got the worst deal out of this whole situation.
Abigail, Jinx, and Brandi’s plan is put in motion less than two days later. As soon as Marshall left, Abigail packed up her belongings (Oscar included, although she was willing to share custody with Mary and Marshall.) and headed over to the Shannon house.
“I’ll do my part of this plan and then you do yours.” Abigail smiled painfully at Jinx and Brandi.
“And we can eavesdrop in the kitchen? Ow, Mom!” Brandi glared at her mother and then rubbed her shin.
Despite herself, Abigail laughed. “Yes, you can eavesdrop in the kitchen. I guess you’re going to find out anyway.”
“You are a wonderful woman, Abigail. If this was a different time and place, I think you and Marshall could have worked out.” Jinx beamed and then hugged her before dragging Brandi and the babies with her into the kitchen.
Since Mary was off work and running errands, this was the one and only day the plan could possibly work. So about four hours after Marshall arrived at work, Jinx called him and told him that something had happened to Mary and he needed to get to the house immediately.
He showed up in a panic in less than fifteen minutes later. He stood in the living room and stared at Abigail, extremely confused. “What’s going on? Jinx told me something happened to Mary, so where is she?”
“Marshall, we need to talk.” She took a deep breath and prepared herself for this speech, the one she had been thinking about for days.
“About what? You’re scaring me, Abigail.”
“First of all, I’m sorry for getting you here under false pretenses, but this was the only way. I love you – Just know that. This is why I’m doing this. You and I both know this relationship was never going to last. I deluded myself for months, but you don’t love me the same way you love her.”
“I do love you. I want to marry you!” Marshall had no clue what was going on, but he had a bad feeling about where this conversation was heading.
“That’s sweet, but it’s not the truth. Mary was in your life long before I showed up, and she’ll be in your life long after I’m gone. She’s the love of your life, and I can’t compete with that. I’m tired of it. I should have ended it for good and never taken you back a few months ago. Cutting Mary out of your life was the wrong decision. That little girl of hers? She may not be yours biologically, but she is your daughter. You were in the delivery room! You can still fix this – I want you and Mary to be happy. And if that includes finally telling her that you’re in love with her and making a relationship last, go for it.” She stopped to wipe away tears and sniffled.
“She’s just a friend. I’m not in love with her!” Marshall didn’t know why he was still trying to only think of Mary in those terms, but so much had happened. He wasn’t sure if they could ever get back to what they were before.
“Marshall, stop. Just stop. Talk to Mary and have a real, honest conversation with her. And don’t screw it up like you did last time. I want you to be happy.” She gave him a watery smile as the door opened and Mary rushed in.
Abigail bolted to the kitchen, while Jinx came out with Norah. “Mary, I’m sorry, but this had to happen. Nothing is wrong with Norah, but you and Marshall need to talk. And this was the only way I could think of to get you home.” She handed her babbling granddaughter over so a panicked Mary could check her over. After that, Jinx took Norah back and fled back into the other room to listen to the conversation.
“So, what is that about? What do we supposedly need to talk about? I cannot fucking believe my mother lied to me and used the baby to get me home.” Mary was beyond pissed and she was going to scream at Jinx later.
“I think it’s time I finally tell you the truth.” Marshall was suddenly nervous and he had no clue why.
Mary gave him a weird look. “Okay?”
“I think Abigail finally knocked some sense in me if you can believe that. She just ended things with me and urged me to tell you the truth. What I should have told you months ago when we had that talk.”
“Do we really need to rehash that conversation again? I’d rather not think about it.” Every time Mary remembered that talk with Marshall, she felt like crying. She had a few times, but wasn’t about to mention that to him. He had lost that right to comfort her or feel bad that day.
“Yes, we do. I am so sorry, Mare. So many things were happening at once and I screwed up big time. I never wanted to hurt you and I did.”
“You’re finally apologizing for that fuck up?” Mary wasn’t about to hold back anymore – She was sick of holding her anger in every time she saw him at work. She was glad that he had been promoted, but she hadn’t even been able to celebrate with him that way she had wanted to.
“I am. Nothing I say will ever be able to make up for all those things I said. I love you. I’ve been in love with you for as long as I can remember.”
Mary snorted. “Is that why you told me to back off? Because I’m not the one who dropped everything – including his fiancée – to come and help me. I never told you to do that – You did that all on your own.”
“I know I did.”
“Fuck you, Marshall. Just fuck you. You blamed everything on me when it wasn’t my fault! You could have told me no any time, but you didn’t. You’re the one who helped me plan my dad’s fake wake while your fiancée waited in the church to plan your wedding. You’re the one that ended everything out of the blue when I didn’t do a fucking thing to you. Do you know how much that hurt? I settled for Kenny! Did you know I ended our relationship weeks ago?”
“I deserve all of this and more, Mare. You’re right. Absolutely right about everything, but I want to make this up for you. I am so in love with you. I just panicked. I love Abigail, and I thought it was her who I wanted. But it wasn’t. My dad had said something to me a few days earlier about meeting you at 4:00AM and not being there for Abigail. I freaked out, and I know that’s no excuse, but it’s the truth.”
Mary eyed him warily. “I’m not sure if I can trust you again. You promised you’d never leave me and that’s exactly what you did, you fucking bastard! I didn’t realize until it was too late, but I’m in love with you again. And I can forgive you, But it’s going to take a lot for me to even think of being in a relationship with you. We need to get our friendship back on track first, though. It’s all I can deal with right now.”
Marshall’s heat was pounding. “I can understand that – I just got out of a pretty serious relationship. I’ll wait for you – It’s not like I haven’t already waited anyway. I just got lost for a while. Is it okay if I kiss you?”
Mary thought about it for a minute and then shrugged. “One kiss and that’s it.”
Marshall beamed and then leaned in. They kissed for a few minutes before pulling apart when a squeal came from the kitchen. When they went in there to investigate – linking their hands together - Brandi had slapped one of her hands over Jinx’s mouth to shut her up.
“Fucking finally! I’ve been waiting years for this – Two engagements, an ex-husband, and a baby later, it’s finally happening!” Brandi let out a little squeal herself and then burst into tears. She walked over to Norah and her son to calm down so she wouldn’t embarrass herself any further.
Jinx hugged them, then went over to the fridge to eat something. Abigail, meanwhile, just sniffled. “This is for the best. I wish you two so much happiness together, and I expect an invitation to the wedding since I helped you get to this point. Good luck.” She hugged Marshall, gave him his ring back, squeezed Mary’s hand, and then walked out of the house.
Mary turned to Marshall and then grabbed his hand again. It was a little bit awkward – They still had a lot of issues between them – but they stayed like that until Norah started to cry. “Hey, kid. I’m here. What’s the problem?”
While Mary was taking care of her (their) daughter, Marshall headed to the door because someone was knocking.
“Hey, Marshall! Long time no see!” Peter was shocked to see the marshal there – He hadn’t been by the house since he had started coming around again.
“You too. How are you doing?”
“Great. Where’s Brandi and the baby? I think they’re in the nursery, but you can check. It’s nice to see you.”
“You too.” Peter clapped him on the shoulder, then went to go find his girlfriend and son.
“So, did you see our visitor?” Brandi was grinning from ear to ear because she was that excited about Mary and Marshall.
“Yeah, I did. What’s going on there?” He kissed her, then tickled the baby since it always elicited a response.
“Well, Marshall’s fiancée, Abigail, was tired of all the shit and finally shut things down. She set today up, and now Mary and Marshall are talking again and are working their way to finally becoming a real couple.” Honestly, she was already picturing the wedding – She couldn’t wait for that day.
A wedding wasn’t in the cards yet for Mary and Marshall, but they would get there eventually.
The two had a lot of messy issues to work through before they could even think of getting back to normal and becoming a real couple. They couldn’t just work their way through all that pain overnight.
Mary and Marshall would have to work hard to get their happy ending, but that was okay. It suited them.