Cherish Higgins was one of the most well known women in her town. She was strikingly beautiful with blonde hair, blue eyes, beautiful face, great figure and great dress sense. Many were surprised she wasn't a model. She was twenty one which meant she was a third year in college. She hung around with big crowds of people which meant she was popular with both boys and girls. People said that that level of popularity meant Cherish could easily find the man of her dreams but this was not so. Cherish never had a boyfriend but she did fall in love with Lucas Hunter three years previously but he never reciprocated her feelings which really knocked Cherish's confidence as regards men. This was something Cherish's mother would often relish in. Cherish's mother Kathy was her polar opposite. She was an unkempt woman in her early fifties who took little or no pride in her appearance, lived in a house with many cats, her house was in total squalor (even the families from the wrong side of town took better care of their houses than she did), hadn't worked in years and no one ever came to see her. Cherish's father left Cherish's mom years ago as he could not stick living with her anymore but Cherish herself stayed with her. Some days, Cherish would get on with her mother but other days, they'd have really bad arguments in which Kathy would be violent to Cherish. As for Cherish's father William, he loved and cared about Cherish. In fact, he was the one who gave Cherish her name. He vowed that if he had a daughter, he'd call her Cherish as he would love and cherish his kids, which was what he did with Cherish. Cherish would've loved that sort of attention from her mom but she loved her cats and football more. Cherish's mom would often put her down, tell her she was stupid and retarded, no one wanted her, she had no friends, she was fat, ugly, deformed and grotesquely obese (impossible since Cherish was a Size 8) and she would never get a boyfriend, which was why she relished Lucas's rejection of Cherish. She would often tell Cherish her dreams were impossible to achieve, i.e. becoming a writer. Cherish loved to write but her mother would refer to it as "la la", which made Cherish feel bad. This wasn't the main focus of Cherish's story however. In fact, her story was only just about to begin and it was about to happen soon
Cherish was getting herself ready for college. She made sure everything was ready. She even got an outfit ready for the day: denim skirt, red ballet pumps, black tights, red and purple short sleeve top and red Michael Jackson style jacket, all of which were typically Cherish. For an added effect, she added a flower in her hair. All she needed was foundation, pink lipgloss and her trademark perfumes: Ralph and Christina Aguilera (she loved them both equally). Once she was ready, she was out the door. She met with her friends, who were all so excited to see Cherish. As they walked to college, they were all discussing their summer holidays. They asked Cherish if she met anyone interesting, which meant did she meet any interesting men. Cherish responded, "No, I didn't. It's so difficult to find a good man." Her friend Shirley commented, "I think your standards are a little too high, Cherish," which was indeed true. Cherish did have high standards when it came to men. Anyhow, after the first lecture, Cherish and her friends went to the college restaurant to have some lunch. Cherish was stuck in her own little world for a few seconds when she accidentally bashed into someone. She apologised then took a look at the person. This was the person that would change Cherish's life. He had short brown hair which was in a quiff, beautiful dark brown eyes (Cherish had a thing with dark brown eyes), the most kissable lips known to mankind, all of which combined to give him the most beautiful face Cherish had ever seen, was taller than her and his dress sense was pretty rockin' too. He wore a blue jacket, skinny jeans and black Converse shoes. Cherish smiled, laughed nervously, said sorry then walked away. She couldn't get him out of her mind. She hoped she would see him again but she didn't. That night, Cherish could hardly sleep. She was too excited to sleep. For a lot of people, no sleep would mean they were wrecked but for Cherish, it was the opposite. In fact, she couldn't wait for her alarm to go off in the morning. That morning, Cherish came into school feeling happy. Her friends wanted to know why but she said she was just happy. At lunch, Cherish saw her handsome stranger again. He was seated at a table with a group of friends. She took another look at him then he looked over at her and waved. She waved back at him and gave a little smile. When they had finished their lunch, he went over to Cherish to talk. He smiled at her and said, "I bumped into you yesterday and I am real sorry about that." Smiling, Cherish said, "Apology accepted. I should be the one saying sorry." He smiled at her and said, "By the way, may I ask you for your name?" Cherish said to him, "You'll probably think it's silly but my name is Cherish." The handsome "not really a stranger anymore” replied, "Pretty name, Cherish and no, I don't think it's silly at all." Cherish replied, "May I ask you what your name is?" He responded, "You'll probably be a little disappointed about my name as it's more common than yours but I'll tell you anyway: Aiden." Cherish smiled, "I'm not disappointed at all. In fact, I love your name. It's wicked awesome." Aiden smiled, "You don't have to flatter me at all, Cherish. Anyway, I'm heading off to my lecture. What about you?" Cherish smiled, "I've got another hour. I'll probably just go chill with my friends." He smiled, "That sounds like a great idea. I'll see you around. I'll see you." Cherish smiled, "See ya," then they went their separate ways
Aiden Payne spent the rest of the day thinking about Cherish. He thought she was cute with a great dress sense. She was different to how most girls in college dressed. Most of them wore jeans or tracksuits with trainers or Uggs but Cherish was wearing a denim skirt which showed off what a great set of legs she has, her red jacket was really cool and her ballet pumps and that flower in her hair looked really cute but Cherish herself was cuter. Aiden had only been in Ireland about a week now and of all the women he had seen or met, Cherish was the only one who had an impact on him. All the other girls he met were pretty and they had their different personalities but there was something about Cherish he liked. He didn't know her enough as they had only met twice but he liked what he had seen of her and he couldn't wait to get to know her more. Meanwhile, back at home, Cherish had only one thing on the brain: Aiden. She had found more to love about him: his smile that made him stand out from a crowd (along with the rest of his good looks) and his sexy English accent. She had met him and they spoke to each other so it was likely they'd see each other again. Cherish's mom asked her how her day in college was. She replied, "It was good but nothing exciting happened though." She didn't tell her about Aiden as she didn't want her mom interfering and putting her nose in where it wasn't wanted like she had done with Lucas. At college the next day, Cherish came in early. She so happened to meet Aiden, who also came in early. She took this opportunity to ask questions such as what course he was doing and how long he's been in Ireland for. Aiden told Cherish he was from Blackpool in England and like her, he's doing Arts with English but unlike her, he was a first year. He also told Cherish that he was eighteen but he would be nineteen in a couple of months, which meant he was a couple of years younger than Cherish. Aiden thought that being an older woman made Cherish that little bit sexier but he believed that because she was older, she'd have had more experience than him. Cherish was thinking the same thing about Aiden. She thought, "I'm betting a seriously attractive guy like him has a girlfriend. Why wouldn't he? I mean, look at him, he's hot"
It wasn't long before Cherish and Aiden introduced their friends to each other. They all got along really well and they really liked each other. In fact, they all noticed something: Cherish and Aiden's friendship. They noticed that out of everyone in the group, Cherish and Aiden were most at ease with each other. Cherish's friends said, "They're probably just friends. I mean, he's younger than her. He's not what Cherish would go for. She usually goes for older guys." Her friend Merry said, "Isn't it time Little Miss Cherish dropped her standards? Age shouldn't be a barrier." Shirley responded, "But she has such high standards." As for Aiden's friends, they had a feeling Cherish was the girl of his dreams: classy, had a sense of humour, great personality, awesome dress sense and it helped that she was really pretty. She did have the looks Aiden found attractive: blonde hair, blue eyes, cute little smile, great body and overall sex appeal. A month had passed since the start of the college year. Everyone was well settled into college by now. Cherish and Aiden were enjoying their newfound friendship. In fact, they would often go over to each other's houses. Cherish was glad she was living somewhere else for college as she did not want Aiden to see the state of her mom's house. At least she could bring him to her dad's place as he kept his house clean, tidy and well looked after and not the slum her mother's house had become. She introduced Aiden to her father, who he got on with when they met. Her dad said to him, "You must be Aiden. It's about time I met you. Cherish never shuts up about you." Later on, Cherish showed her cousin Ashley Aiden's Facebook page but she said, "He looks a bit gay. You like the gay look, Cherish," a comment which Cherish took offence to. Cherish's friends noticed that Cherish was having feelings for Aiden. They commented on it but she said, "He is just a friend, guys." Cherish knew deep down that she was beginning to have feelings for Aiden but didn't want to ruin it by talking about it
It wasn't long before Kathy learned about Aiden. She saw that Cherish had him as a friend on Facebook. She was in a good mood that day so she gave Cherish advice on the situation. She told her to "play it cool" and not make it so obvious. She also told her not to go telling people about this. It was all well and good but that was the same advice she gave for Lucas and she knew all too well what happened there. When Cherish and Kathy had one of their many arguments, Kathy would say to Cherish that Aiden wasn't interested in her and that it was "no wonder Lucas didn't want her". This made Cherish cry whenever she'd say this to her and it also made her believe Aiden wasn't interested in her. As for Aiden's family, they were wicked happy for him as they could see how happy Cherish was making him. Aiden's brothers looked at Cherish's pictures on her Facebook page and they were like, "Woah, man. You snapped up a real fit one indeed." Aiden responded, "I'd have put in something like "cute" or "adorable". Besides, she is so much more than that." Aiden's parents said, "When we come over, we surely have to meet this Cherish. She's taken up most of our conversations since you came here." After Aiden had finished the phone call, his roommate Marc commented, "I don't think you've realised this but you have a thing for Cherish." Aiden left no comment so Marc responded, "You know what they say. Silence speaks volumes." Aiden left out a little smile to which Marc responded, "I knew it! I knew it, I knew it, I knew it!" Later on, Marc told his fellow roommates how Aiden felt about Cherish. They told him that he should drop hints and do good deeds for her. They also advised him to keep being friendly to her. Aiden did all this for her. However, Cherish believed that he was only doing this for her just to be her friend. He was being her friend but he was doing this because he was in love with her. Cherish would grow increasingly jealous when she'd see him with some girls and she'd feel a tinge of sadness when he'd compliment other girls. She'd often wish she was that girl. Aiden was also left under the impression that Cherish didn't return his feelings. She did appreciate his good deeds but he felt she didn't appreciate them the way he wanted her to. To make this clear: Cherish and Aiden were facing a bumpy ride when on the path to true love
In the meantime, Cherish and Aiden spent some time getting to know each other. One day, Cherish was over at Aiden's place and she went out for a couple of minutes. Aiden discovered one of Cherish's notepads and couldn't resist taking a look. He saw the stuff she had been writing. When reading this, he thought, "Wow! She's an incredible writer! This stuff should be in bookstores." When Cherish got back, Aiden told her what a great writer she was. This gave Cherish the boost of self confidence she needed so she told him she was working on a book and would love to have it published but she still wanted to go to college. Aiden told her, "I like a woman with ambition." Aiden did like a girl with ambition. He wanted for a woman to be independent and have goals, which was the kind of person Cherish was. In fact, this made him love Cherish more. It wasn't just Cherish's writing ambitions Aiden learned about. They both learned things about each other, i.e. their likes, dislikes, their backgrounds, the things that made them tick. They both discussed their families. Aiden told Cherish that his parents were still married, he was the oldest child, he had two brothers and a sister and the whole family were close to each other. Cherish told Aiden most things about her family such as her being an only child and her parents being separated. However, Cherish didn't tell Aiden about the kind of relationship her and Kathy had. Anyhow, Cherish and Aiden surprised each other with their likes and interests. Aiden knew that Cherish loved boybands, Michael Jackson, hip hop and R&B but he was surprised to learn she liked other artists such as Damien Rice, Tears For Fears, John Lennon, Mumford & Sons, Joshua Radin and Elton John. He said, "I didn't know you liked those kind of artists. I had you down as a hip hopper." Cherish giggled and said, "Life is full of surprises." She liked some of these artists anyway but the others she took up because of Aiden. It sounded sad but she wanted to feel some sort of connection with Aiden. As for Aiden, it was already specified that he liked alternative music but he also loved Michael Jackson, a bit of Motown and he loved some hip hop and R&B, which was Cherish's favourite music. Whenever the two of them stayed at each other's places, they would spend the night watching DVDs, which was something they both enjoyed doing. Cherish particularly loved watching horror films with Aiden. As some movies could be frightening, Aiden held on to Cherish really tightly to make her feel more at ease. Whenever Aiden held her, he'd feel this desire to breathe in her scent and kiss her but he didn't want to scare her off. One night, after watching a film with a real scary ending, Cherish asked Aiden if she could share a bed with him. He smiled "Why not?" When in bed that night, Cherish asked Aiden to put his arm round her. Aiden wanted to but he was too scared to. He worried that if he did this, he'd come across as weird so he told her he couldn't do this. Cherish went to sleep feeling downhearted
It was coming up to Christmas so the weather would be really cold. Aiden decided to use the festive season as his opportunity to do good deeds for Cherish. One of them was to get her more than one present. He got her a necklace with a heart and pink diamonds as not only was it girly like Cherish but it was also meaningful. Christina Aguilera had a new perfume out and Aiden was aware Cherish loved her perfumes so he got her a set of this particular perfume. Aiden was also aware of Cherish's love for writing so he got her a set of pens and notepads. Not just any notepad and pens but ones with a cute girly design. At the end of each notepad, he wrote down, “I believe in you and know you will have success in the writing world." He also gave her some money for her to treat herself as he believed his little princess deserved some pampering. As it was really cold this winter, Aiden was well aware he should keep himself warm but he was more concerned about keeping Cherish warm. One day, it was really cold and Aiden noticed that Cherish was really feeling the cold so he gave her his jacket. Cherish was stunned and surprised by this. She asked, "Aren't you going to be cold?" He replied, "A little but I'd rather have you keep warm." Cherish was flattered by this but it still didn't convince her that Aiden had feelings for her. Later on that week, Cherish and Aiden went out for the day. They had a really great time and were smiling and laughing away. This continued when Aiden walked her home. When they had reached Cherish's place, Aiden remembered that he had mistletoe on him so he decided to use this as his opportunity to tell Cherish how he felt but before that, he would kiss her. Aiden said to Cherish, "You know, Christmas is almost coming up and I just thought that maybe there's something we should try out." He got the mistletoe and placed it over him and Cherish. Cherish was now in another world except this time, Aiden was now in her world. Aiden placed his arm round Cherish and held her close up to him. Cherish placed her arms round Aiden. They were facing each other and looking into each other's eyes. Their lips were getting closer to each other. They were seconds away from kissing each other but a voice booms out, "Cherish darling, would you mind going back into the house please?" The voice that boomed out was Kathy's. Aiden, feeling defeated, said to Cherish, "I guess I'll see you round, Cherish. Bye." Cherish sadly said, "Bye, Aiden," then walked into the house upset
Cherish spent the rest of Christmas thinking about Aiden and how she nearly kissed him. She felt resentment towards Kathy for ruining the moment. In fact, they spent the rest of Christmas arguing. Kathy did not understand what she had done to upset Cherish. She did not get why Cherish was so upset. When Kathy asked Cherish what was wrong with her, she screamed, "You know damn well why I'm upset!" Kathy coldly and indifferently said, "Oh, I get it! It's Aiden! You scared him off, Cherish! I told you to play it cool and yet you went out and did this! You're prostituting yourself, Cherish!" Cherish screamed, "If you had backed off, he wouldn't have been scared off!" Cherish and her mother then had a vicious argument in which it eventually got physical. By the end of the fight, Cherish had a few bruises, a few cuts and a good number of scratches. This might have hurt Cherish a huge deal but it was nothing compared to how she was feeling mentally. Cherish tried to call and text Aiden and she even tried to get in touch with him via his e-mail and Facebook but there was no answer from him. In the meantime, Aiden went back to England to see his family. When he went home, he tried to act as if he was happy and nothing was wrong but if Aiden's parents knew one thing about their son, it was how he was feeling. They sensed that he wasn't himself. Aiden's parents asked him what was wrong. He tried to hold in his emotions and convince his parents he was alright but in the end, his emotions got the better of him and he started to feel upset. His parents asked, "Is it Cherish?" The mention of her name alone caused him to break down and cry. He told them about what had happened with him and Cherish. He said he had been tormenting himself by reminding himself of how things might have turned out if they had kissed. He then told his parents about the feelings he had been having for Cherish and he also told his parents how he had been trying to drop hints to her over the last few weeks but he felt Cherish wasn't picking up on them. Aiden's parents reminded him to never give up and that one failed attempt shouldn't stop him getting the one woman he loves
This did nothing to boost Aiden's confidence. Whenever he reminded himself of what his parents said, he remembered Kathy's intrusion and how it made him feel since then. Every night, Aiden would think about Cherish and what she would be doing at this very moment. Cherish would also think about Aiden and what he would be doing right now. Cherish thought, "He's probably out in Blackpool enjoying himself and pulling girls and not thinking about me." Aiden did go out with his friends in Blackpool and loads of girls tried it on with him but he'd reject them out of loyalty for Cherish. In fact, he was at a New Year's Party and he met his ex-girlfriend Jenny. The two of them were engaged in conversation but by mistake, he called her Cherish. Jenny would've been angry about this but she knew from the emotion in his voice and how he hadn't been himself that he was totally in love with Cherish. Aiden confided in Jenny about Cherish. Like Aiden's parents, Jenny reminded him to try again. Aiden's friends joined in on the conversation and told him not to let one failed attempt ruin his shot at happiness. Cherish celebrated the New Year with her friends. Cherish's friends noticed she was quiet and looking really sad. Her friend Daisy asked, "Cherish honey, tell us what's wrong. You know what they say, a problem shared is a problem halved." Cherish sadly said, "I don't think sharing will make me feel any better." Shirley asked, "Is it Aiden?" Cherish began to cry and said, "Yes, it is Aiden. I love him and yet he's not interested." Her friends Merry and Rebecca said to her, "Cherish, you need to stop putting yourself down so much. Besides, I don't think you realise this. Aiden is totally in love with you. I mean, have you seen the way he is around you? You know those cute little things he's been doing for you such as giving you his jacket, getting you this necklace (the one she was wearing was the one Aiden gave her), believing in you as a writer? He's being like this because he's in love." Cherish said, "If he was in love with me then, he's obviously not in love with me anymore," then ran into the bathrooms and cried. She called Aiden's mobile but got through to his voicemail. When Aiden saw he missed a call from her, he felt a pit of despair inside him. The very moment he felt a surge of confidence, he missed a call from her. He began to feel awful about ignoring her calls, texts and e-mails. He ignored them because of what happened between him and Cherish. He wouldn't have known what to say to her, how he would be around her and most importantly, where he stood with her. For a second, he began to think that maybe Cherish did have feelings for him but he cast that at the back of his mind, convincing himself he was only imagining this. Christmas was almost over and the new year had already started so it was almost time for college to start up. Cherish and Aiden would soon have to face each other since they almost kissed. It was now the morning of college. Cherish was now feeling anxious and excited. This was because she would be seeing Aiden again. Cherish reminded herself to be happy and confident as she didn't want Aiden knowing about the torture that was Christmas but at the same time, they would be needing to talk. However, when Cherish met Aiden in college, he walked away from her
Cherish came home from college upset. She didn't know what the hell she had done for Aiden to do this to her. That night, Kathy sensed something was wrong with Cherish. Cherish didn't want to talk about this so she snapped at her mom, "There's nothing wrong but if you keep asking, there will be something wrong!" Kathy said, "No, Cherish. There is something wrong but you're not telling me. Please tell me. Be honest with me." Cherish eventually relented and told her mom about what Aiden did to her. Kathy said, "Well, Cherish. You scared him off. You had your chance with him and you blew it!" Cherish knew damn well it wasn't her fault and that it was Kathy who was to blame. Later on, Kathy said to Cherish, "Come into college with your head held high and act like nothing's wrong. Don't ever let anyone know how you're feeling." Kathy then said to her, "Maybe you can just look at Aiden from afar and swoon at him." Cherish found this real insulting so she sneered, "Oh please! That's like looking at a celebrity in a magazine!" Kathy said, "If you had followed my advice, you wouldn't be where you are now." Cherish said, "Yeah and be like you? I don't think so! Here you are aged fifty with one failed marriage!" Kathy said, "I'm trying to show you how to avoid that!" At home, Aiden was talking to his roommates. He told them about why he walked away from Cherish. He said, "I couldn't bring myself to speak to her. I get flashbacks of that night when I see her." His roommates said to him, "Man up, Aiden. Just because one attempt failed doesn't mean she's not interested. You've got to try again. You know the saying: if at first you don't succeed, dust yourself off and try again." That Friday, Cherish and Aiden finally came face to face with each other. Cherish said, "We need to talk." Aiden said, "You're right. We need to talk." Cherish also saw this as her opportunity to tell Aiden how she felt so she said, "Aiden, there's something I need to tell you." She never got to say what she wanted to say as Aiden said, "About that night, I think we should forget what happened and put it behind us. Put the past behind us and look to the future." Cherish thought that this meant, "We should just be friends," so she sadly said, "Alright. Let's do that." Aiden agreed to this with a smile
Over the next four months, Cherish and Aiden got their friendship back to the way it was before the near kiss. During those four months, Aiden would do really good things for her and she'd do those things back for him. They'd also do things like go out together and stay at each other's houses. Aiden's parents came over for the Easter holidays. It was there that they finally met Cherish. Cherish also met Aiden's brothers Harry and Will and she also met his little sister Lily. Cherish also spent the day with Aiden's family. She could see how well balanced and happy the Payne family were. She saw that they loved and cared about each other and they even looked out for one another. Cherish was jealous of the relationship Aiden had with his mother Anna. She could see the love and affection she had for her children which was more than could be said for her and Kathy. One thing that made Anna different from Kathy was that she made an effort to get to know Cherish whereas with Kathy, Cherish knew all too well what happened when Kathy saw her with Aiden. It was like she didn't bother getting to know Aiden. Another thing Cherish noticed about Anna: she cared that her children were happy. She saw that Lily was really into dancing and when Anna saw Cherish notice this, she said, "If that's what she wants to do when she grows up, she has my full support." This made Cherish feel emotional because if Lily was Kathy's daughter, she would be telling her dancing is "la la". Later on, when Aiden's parents were alone, they spent the rest of the night talking about Cherish and they said they could see why Aiden liked her. She was exactly how Aiden described her: beautiful, great sense of humour, caring, kind hearted, loving, intelligent. This made her different from Aiden's other girlfriends. His parents liked them but Cherish was something else altogether. She was the girl Aiden's parents wanted their son to marry. However, Aiden himself believed this would never happen
This was one of the things that stopped him from telling Cherish how he felt about her. On a few occasions, he came close to saying it but something would stop him from telling her. Most of the time, Aiden would get the feeling Cherish didn't love him so he would tell himself, "Don't waste your breath, Aiden. She's clearly not interested." He was oblivious to the feelings Cherish had for him. At this point, Cherish would spend nights crying because she believed Aiden didn't love her the way she loved him. She would torture herself by looking at pictures of Aiden on his Facebook and see him with other girls, some of whom he had been out with. Cherish would compare herself to these girls and she'd convince herself they were better than her. Aiden began to spend more time with other girls in an attempt to get Cherish's attention. It did get her attention but it would scare her away from telling Aiden how she was feeling. She did make an attempt at trying to spend more time with him. One day, she asked him what he was doing for lunch. He told her he was going out with a female friend. Cherish assumed she was his girlfriend so she cried on her way to lunch. This didn't have the effect Aiden wanted as this made Cherish freeze up and stopped her telling Aiden how she felt. It was now summer and the college year was over. Everyone had plans for the summer. First of all though, everyone went out for the night to celebrate the end of the college year. Cherish and Aiden saw each other during the night but they spent most of their time with their friends. At the end of the night, Aiden brought Cherish home. He told her he had something to tell her. A smile rose on Cherish's face. Aiden leaned over and kissed her. Cherish felt like she was lost in another world. She had a feeling Aiden would say the words she wanted him to say. However, the words he said shocked her to the core. He told her, "I'm going to America tomorrow. I may be gone for a while." She began to cry and wanted to tell him, "Don't go," but he said, "Goodbye, Cherish Higgins. I'll never forget you," then with tears in her eyes, she watched him walk away
Aiden was getting ready to go to the States. He had plans to stay there for the summer and maybe if he wanted to, he might stay there longer. He felt the trip to America would be good for him. He also felt it would be good to clear his head of Cherish for a while. He still loved her but he felt it was time to give up on her. He believed that since she didn't love him, he'll stop loving her. He hoped that maybe in time he'd be over her. Cherish had what she thought was the worst summer of her life. First of all, her friends were going on holiday. Cherish wanted to go with them but her mom wouldn't let her as she wouldn't be going with either of her parents and also, the holiday would be "too much money". This was another thing getting to Cherish. Her mom would often take Cherish's money and spend it on herself. This also happened on Cherish's birthday, a day in which she should've spoiled herself. She told Cherish not to go spending too much money as they were meant to be saving it and yet Kathy would go spending it on drink, cigarettes and catfood everyday. Kathy continued to control Cherish over the summer. When Cherish was getting her hair done, Kathy told the hairdresser to make Cherish go darker. Kathy would often tell Cherish she'd look good with black hair and that blonde hair looked desperate on her. Cherish hated her darker hair. She was way happier blonde. When she said this to Kathy in an argument, she told her, "So what! It looked desperate on you! Besides, why don't you go for highlights anyway?" Another thing Kathy wanted to control: the amount of time Cherish spent with her father. Cherish would go to William's house three or four days a week. One day, Kathy suggested changing it to weekends, something Cherish objected to. Everyday, Cherish would feel more and more trapped. She was twenty two so surely Kathy would let her live an independent life but it felt like the older she got, the more controlled her life was. She wanted her life back more than anything. One evening, Cherish and Kathy had their worst argument yet. It started out over something small but then it escalated into violence. Kathy not only hit and pulled Cherish's hair. She bruised her in a few areas with a stick, hit her with saucepans, scratched her in the face and she even threw a bucket of water over her. Cherish would try defending herself but her mother would attack her. Cherish screamed at her mom, "I want my life back!" Kathy responded, "You don't have a life!" Cherish replied, "That's because you took it away from me!" The argument continued and eventually, Kathy said, "I'm calling your dad to collect you!" Cherish responded, "Good!"
When William brought Cherish to his place, she began to realise all the shit Kathy had put her through over the last number of years. Cherish remembered the pressure her mother would put on her to do well in exams, i.e. if she got one wrong spelling in a spelling test, she'd give out like hell. This would make Cherish hide bad test results as she got older. She also remembered how her mom would encourage her to fight with people in her class. She also realised Kathy didn't want her being happy. She began to realise she wasn't the one who scared off Aiden. It was her mother who scared him off. She realised she was controlling other aspects of her life, i.e. going out with her friends, her appearance, her staying at William's place. Cherish spent most of the night telling William all the stuff her mother had been doing to her over the years. When telling her father about her mother, Cherish realised she could never go back to mother's place. Her father told her he had wanted her to leave that place for years but she could never do it while under her mother's control. In the meantime, Cherish was getting her life back on track. First of all, she had gotten her belongings from Kathy's place. Kathy had begged for Cherish to give her another chance but Cherish told her she had given her too many chances but each time, she'd hurt her again. After that, Cherish took control of her finances by changing her bank card as Kathy would often use it to make withdrawals. Next on Cherish's list was her hair. She reverted it back to blonde and she felt like she could be herself again. Over the next number of months, William would take Cherish to various places and he'd also take her to see various people as that was something Cherish would never do with Kathy. Some of the people she'd see were her relatives. Cherish didn't get to see much of her relatives on her mom's side since her mom never bothered to see her relatives. She also didn't think much of her father's relatives so she saw little of them when living with Kathy. Cherish thought meeting all these people was really great as she was meeting more people and going to different places. It was now time for college to begin. Cherish was really excited about this. Not only was it her final year in college but she would also be seeing her friends. More importantly, she heard Aiden was home. Her feelings for him were stronger than ever so she had a lot to say to him. However, she couldn't really tell him her feelings because he now had a girlfriend
Cherish learned of this when she saw him kissing her and putting his arm round her. Cherish hoped she was dreaming this but when she met Aiden, he introduced the two girls to each other. Aiden said to his girlfriend, "Taylor, this is Cherish, the one I've been telling you about." Taylor was Size 4 with black hair, was dressed in expensive looking clothes, heels and shades and carried a designer handbag with her. She had this real high maintenance look. Cherish was some bit high maintenance but nowhere near as high maintenance as Taylor. Taylor was never seen without make-up, had her nails all done up and she made sure no hair was out of place. Cherish wanted to show Aiden she was mature by being nice to Taylor and making conversation with her. She reached her hand out to her in the hope of getting a handshake and attempted to make conversation with her by saying, "That's a pretty name, Taylor. So tell me, when did you meet Aiden and how long have you been going out for?" In her Texan accent, Taylor sneered, "None of your business, Cherry or whatever your name is," then walked off with Aiden. This wasn't the last of Taylor's wrath Cherish would experience. She made comments about her clothes, social background, her writing and her name. Cherish wasn't alone in the hatred she felt for Taylor. Her friends hated her and did not know what Aiden saw in her. Her friends said, "Cherish, you're wicked popular. Taylor hasn't made a single friend since she came here. You have way more to offer people than she does. You're an incredible writer and people would love you if they read your stuff. Taylor's a snooty socialite and let's face it, all they do is sit on their asses wearing designer clothes and drinking cocktails all day. You're really beautiful especially when you smile. Taylor tries too hard but she's never going to be as beautiful as you. Besides, I've never seen the stuck up bitch smile once. She probably wants to lessen the amount of wrinkles she gets, stupid bitch. Also, have you seen what she's like with Aiden? All she does is bark orders at him. He treats her so well and yet she doesn't appreciate all he does for her. I reckon you'd make a pretty rockin' girlfriend." Cherish walked away in tears. She thought about Taylor and Aiden and all that he'd do for her. She remembered he used to do that stuff for her. Then it hit her! Oh my God! Aiden was in love with her all along! And yet she didn't realise it until it was too late! Cherish continued to walk home then broke down and spent the rest of the day crying
Cherish wanted to show Aiden that despite having a girlfriend, she still wanted to be his friend. They'd do things like have lunch together and go to each other's houses but they weren't able to do it as much with Taylor being around. Cherish attempted to continue being friendly with Taylor but each time, Taylor would be terrible to her. Cherish's friends learned that Taylor's name was Taylor Simon so when they'd be making fun of her, they'd call her Simon Taylor. Cherish saw this as an opportunity to use this as a dig against Taylor. Eventually, after months of Taylor constantly slagging her off, Cherish had enough. This started off when Taylor said, "Look at yourself. You wear cheap clothes. Your hair has plenty of split ends. Your nails look really chipped. Your face, if you look carefully, is covered with flaws. Also, you'll be in need of a nose job and lip fillers. Some breast implants wouldn't go amiss. Also, you need some of this sucked off," referring to areas of Cherish's body she believed were fat. Taylor wasn't finished there. "As for your name, what sort of trailer trash name is Cherish?" Cherish sneered, "At least I have a woman's name unlike you, Simon Taylor! You have a dude's name!" Cherish smiled and turned her back to Taylor. She was about to walk away when Taylor screamed and lunged at Cherish. She grabbed her by the hair and slapped her hard. Cherish retaliated then her and Taylor had a full on physical fight. The fight also got verbal. Cherish screamed at Taylor, "You have the best boyfriend any woman would go to the end of the earth to have and all you do is bark and bite at him like a dog!" Taylor sneered, "Oh, I get it! You've got a little thing going on with my boyfriend! I'm obviously doing something right because he chose me, not you! Besides, what's the word used for a person who goes after another woman's boyfriend? Oh yeah, a slut! That's what you are, Cherish! A slut!" With anger building up inside her, Cherish slapped Taylor hard in the face. Aiden walked in on her doing this. Cherish walked away but was followed by Aiden. Aiden asked her, "What the hell has gotten into you?" Cherish began to cry, "You know what the problem is? She doesn't realise what a great guy she has!" Not understanding what she meant, Aiden responded, "I don't understand what you're saying, Cherish." Cherish cried, "I love you, Aiden! That's right! I love you! More than she ever could! It's taken me so long to say it! I've tried to tell you so many times but I get scared! I back out! I've gotten scared that you wouldn't love me and just when I finally build up the confidence inside me, you start going out with Taylor! So there, I'm glad it's all out! There it is in a nutshell: I love you, Aiden Payne!" Confused, Aiden said, "That's a lot to take in, Cherish. I'm sorry but I'm seeing Taylor"
That night, Taylor confronted Aiden. She asked him about Cherish. For a while, Taylor had suspicions that Aiden was still having feelings for Cherish. Her suspicions grew tonight when Aiden followed Cherish outside after witnessing her slap Taylor. When Aiden got home, Taylor confronted him and got straight to the point with her question, "Do you still have feelings for Cherish?" Aiden said, "Tonight, she told me she loved me and I told her it was a lot to take in." Taylor cried, "You didn't answer my question. Do you still love Cherish?" Aiden left no answer so for Taylor, that meant yes! Taylor cried, "Oh my God! You do! You love her! Why are you with me when you clearly have feelings for her?" Aiden tried to convince Taylor it was her he loved and he begged her to stay but Taylor couldn't be convinced to. The next night, Aiden drowned his sorrows at a bar. Cherish so happened to be there as well. She heard that he had broken up with Taylor. She knew he'd be upset about this so she decided to go over to him to see if he'd need a friend. Cherish went over to him and said to him, "I heard about you and Taylor. Can I just say how sorry I am?" Aiden turned to her and angrily said to her, "I hate you, Cherish Higgins! You have no idea of the level of hatred I feel for you! I had something good going for me and you wrecked it! Oh go on, celebrate! I bet you came here to celebrate! Why don't you order yourself a nice bottle of champagne and celebrate! I know you want to! It's on the house!" Cherish wanted to hate Aiden but she loved him too much to even want to do that so she walked away with tears in her eyes. Cherish decided to move away to the UK for a while. She needed to clear her head as well. She also needed to get away from Aiden for a long time. While she was in the UK, she stayed in London, made some visits to other areas of the UK, made some friends and got herself a part time job but most of her focus was on her first book which was to be called Rainclouds. Once she was done with her first book, she moved on to her second book but in the meantime, she sent her finished book to a publishing company. Six weeks later, she received a response from the company. They told her they loved her book and would happily publish it. Cherish would've celebrated but the one person who believed in her and encouraged her to do this no longer wanted anything to do with her
Cherish's move to the UK gave Aiden plenty of time to think about her and what he said to her the last time he spoke to her. Okay, he was a little drunk and angry when he said what he said to Cherish but still, that was inexcusable. The reality was he never stopped loving Cherish but didn't want to face up to it. He thought a lot about what Cherish had said to him the night Taylor broke it off with him. He had waited so long to hear her say those words. He thought about what he'd do if she said them but because he believed she would never say them, he put them at the back of his mind and started going out with Taylor. Aiden spoke to his parents about Cherish and they said they knew what everyone knew all along: Taylor left him because of how he felt about Cherish. It was then that everything came back to Aiden. Everything from their first meeting right up until that night at the bar. It had all made sense to him now. He should have manned up and told Cherish long ago how he felt about her. He began to question the time they had known each other and he began to think that he may have blown it with Cherish by not being a man and telling her how he felt about her. That and the last time he spoke to her. Anyway, it was coming up to Christmas and Cherish was releasing her first book. She had attended launches and book signings at various stores in the UK. She was now heading off to Ireland. On top of that, she was heading back to her home town. She was deadly nervous as she would be facing people she knew. Her thoughts then turned to Aiden. She had a feeling he wouldn't be there for support as he had been so cold to her the last time they spoke. She sadly thought, "If this was some big Hollywood movie, he'd have come today and told me he was in love with me but this isn't a Hollywood film. It's real life and in real life, the woman lost the man and isn't getting him back so she's going to have to face up to it." At the signing, Cherish was asked questions by journalists, reporters and fans. One question hit her emotionally. She was asked by one fan if the two main characters Mia and Samuel (based on her and Aiden) were based on real life people and if so, did they get the happy ending they got. Cherish sadly said, "Yes, they're based on real people but no, they didn't get the happy ending Mia and Samuel got." Wiping tears from her eyes, Cherish said, "Next question." Suddenly, a familiar voice called out Cherish's name
Cherish looked up. It was Aiden. Cherish's heart skipped a beat. One fan noticed that Aiden matched Samuel's description so in a quivery voice, she smiled, "Is he Samuel?" Cherish didn't answer so the fan took this as a yes and squealed, "Oh my God! It is him!" Loads of girls were going all crazy for him. Aiden knew Cherish wouldn't hear him with that sort of noise so he asked for a microphone. As soon as he had his microphone, he emotionally said, "This has taken me ages to say this but I'm here to do what I should've done long ago. Man up and tell you how I really feel. There are so many things I want to tell you. Not just that but there are so many things I love about you. I love how your blue eyes glisten and gleam. Your hair is really pretty especially with that flower you've got on it right now which by the way I remember you wearing the first day we met. It's cute but you're cuter. Also, that little nervous laugh you give which you gave at our first meeting is adorable. Your smile, it's just perfect. You're so pretty when you smile but then again, you're pretty anyway. Your lips, they're just perfection along with the rest of your beautiful face. I especially love how you dress. It makes you stand out from a crowd. It also makes you who you are: cute and girly. I can see why people love you. Intelligent, ambitious, loving, caring, good to people. Those are the things I love about you, Cherish Higgins. Another thing I love about you is you're ambitious. You're goal driven and willing to succeed, which is why you're at this signing today. I know you're going to be a success story, Cherish. It also shows what a creative, talented person you are. When I'm with you, I feel like I'm the luckiest man in the world. When I'm around you, you make me feel happy and able to be myself but at the same time, you make me a little funny, nervous and I feel like I've got butterflies inside me which is how I'm feeling right now. The reason I've acted the way I have around you is because of how I feel about you. The last time I spoke to you, I told you I hated you. Thing is, I lied. It was the opposite of how I feel. That wasn't the only lie I told you that night. I told you I had something good going for me. That was a lie. The reason me and Taylor didn't work out? She wasn't you, Cherish. Thing is, no other woman will ever be better that you. You're one of a kind: amazing, adorable, awesome, cute, wonderful, just perfect. Truth is, a life without you is not a life at all. When I'm not with you, I'm not living. If I could go back to that night, I'd have told you how I really feel. It's the hardest thing I've ever had to say but here it is in a nutshell: I'm totally in love with you, Cherish Higgins." Cherish's fans swooned and looked at her with a smile as if to say, "So what's your answer, Cherish?" Cherish was feeling emotional from what Aiden said. It was the nicest thing anyone had ever said to her and on top of that, he said the words she had wanted him to say for ages. She looked at Aiden, ran into his arms and kissed him. She happily cried, "I love you so much, Aiden Payne. I'm totally in love with you." Aiden touched her face, kissed her and said, "I love you, Cherish Higgins." Aiden got some mistletoe and said, "It's nearly Christmas so I brought some mistletoe just in case. How about a little kiss?" Cherish smiled, "Make that a big one," then to cheers from everyone in the bookstore, they kissed each other passionately
It's now four years later and a lot has happened to Cherish and Aiden. As expected, Cherish's book became a bestseller. Cherish herself never believed this would happen but everyone else including Aiden did. When Cherish found out her book was a bestseller, she said, "I'm surprised. I didn't think people would like it that much." Aiden told her, "Beautiful, I knew this book would do well. Like I tell you often, you're an incredible writer." Cherish has since released three more books, all of which were bestsellers. She is currently working on her fifth book and due to huge demand from her fans, is planning to release the written stuff she wrote when she was a teenager. Not only does she write for a living but she also teaches English. She's seen as an encouraging and motivative teacher who often encourages students to express their creativity to the best of their ability. Not only is she a role model for her students but she's also a role model for her husband. When Aiden sees her teaching, he feels motivated and inspired to be a good teacher. Like Cherish, he also encourages students to be creative and motivated. It's not just their professional lives that have succeeded. It's their personal lives that have also succeeded. Since Cherish and Aiden became a couple, they've become more open and honest with each other. Because of her relationship with her mother, Cherish had a lot of pent up anger and emotion inside her. When Cherish and Aiden were a month into their relationship, Cherish opened up to him about Kathy and everything she put her through. When telling him about what she had been through, she'd sometimes get really angry. Other times, she'd end up crying. Aiden's heart broke hearing about what the love of his life went through. Aiden noticed Cherish was going to really break down and cry so he wrapped her up in his arms and held her really tightly. He kissed her forehead and reminded her she was now safe. Telling Aiden about what she'd been through has made her feel happier, less angry and more honest. As mentioned earlier, Cherish and Aiden are now happily married and have just celebrated their first anniversary and they've got more to celebrate shortly
Six months ago, Cherish nervously told Aiden she had some news for him. She said to him, "Aiden, I've got some important news. I'm not sure how you're going to take this so I'm really nervous about saying this. Please don't be mad at me when I say what it is I'm about to tell you." She nervously took a deep breath and told him her news, "Here it goes: I'm pregnant." Aiden looked into his wife's eyes and happily and lovingly said, "Cherish honey, that's the best news ever. How could I be mad when I'm having a baby with the woman I love?" Cherish and Aiden always knew they'd have children but they never planned out when exactly they'd have a baby which was why she was so nervous about telling him about her pregnancy. When Aiden was told about his baby, he placed his hand on Cherish's tummy and said to their baby, "You are going to be the luckiest child ever. Your dad loves you and your mom and would do absolutely anything for the both of yee and your mom is also going to be the best mother ever. With parents like us, you're going to grow up into a loving, stable and happy family." Aiden looked into Cherish's beautiful blue eyes, smiled and said, "With you as it's mom, our baby is going to have a really good life." Cherish smiled, "That's a definite with you as it's father." Cherish is now seven months pregnant and is due to have a baby girl who the couple are going to name Faith. Aiden chose the name Faith as he has a lot of faith in Cherish and their child. One thing Cherish has promised her child is to be a good mother to her. She saw her own mother as a learning experience and has vowed to be a better mother because of this. Cherish and Aiden's baby is due in two months and already, the couple love her so much and can't wait to meet her. The couple have the same goal for their child: to grow up happy, loved and well balanced. This is especially important for Cherish as she wants to be the mother she wishes she had. Everyone believes Cherish and Aiden will be wonderful parents as they have so much love to give to each other and the people they meet. Cherish Payne is now twenty seven and is now a happier person than she was six years ago. She's got a handsome husband who loves her and reminds her of this everyday (and he also tells her first thing in the morning how beautiful she is), a fantastic set of friends who totally love her, a father who's proud of his daughter and everything she's achieved, two jobs she's really happy and inspirational in, is happier and more confident, has let go of all her pent up anger, has built up her self esteem and is due to have a beautiful baby daughter with the man she loves. Five years ago, Cherish and Aiden never believed they'd achieve this level of happiness but they did