Chapter 13: Sacrifice
I dropped my razor onto the sink and grabbed a towel to dabbed the area I had just cut. I couldn’t even remember the last time I cut myself while shaving but my mind was clearly elsewhere and I wasn’t focusing. Between leaving my job, having Alexandra try to take Thomas from me, and now my grandmother coming to town with the expectations of my still being married to the very woman who was keeping my son from me.
My life was falling apart at the seams.
The worst part about all of this was that I understood where my family was coming from. A year ago grandmother Lucia had a serious heart attack caused by two and a half blocked arteries. The cardiotherastic surgeon who had operated on her to remove the blockages had clearly stated that grandmother needed to avoid stress of all kinds.
As ridiculous as it may sound, she always was a firm believer of staying true to wedding vows. She had gotten married at fourteen and stayed with my grandfather until he passed away - I’m sure their marriage wasn’t perfect at all, but they made it work.
She always said ”Relationships are never to be broken; you have to work to make them stronger.”
I knew the fact that I did the opposite of what she believed would devastate her and she might even disown me, but what I was most concerned about was her health. Would my choice in relationships really affect her that much? It’s no on else’s life but mine.
My thoughts escaped me as Allison entered the bathroom and leaned against the door frame, “Ouch... You okay?”
I wiped the remainder of the shaving cream off of my face, nodding my head in response to her, “Yeah, just a little slip of the blade...” I gave her a peck on the lips, “Good morning, beautiful.”
“Good morning,” She replied with a chipper tone. Yes, chipper. She sounded oddly happy and I did you know why but if she was smiling, that’s all that mattered.
As Allison walked past me, I eyed her in the bathroom mirror curiously as she pulled out a folded piece of paper from her back pocket, “What are you up to, snowflake?”
“Well...” I watched as she slowly unfolded the paper in her hands, turning to face her, “There’s this property for lease, a business property.”
She passed me the paper and I skimmed over it quickly, it seemed to be a fair sized building but what surprised me more was that Allison was interested in making a business for herself. My Allison.
“Baby, that’s great but... What kind of business are you planning on starting?” I asked her, I should know already but I truthfully had no idea what kind of business Allison would specialize in.
A soft laugh escaped her lips and she shook her head amused at my words. As Allison placed her hands on my chest, she looked up at me adoringly, “Not me, Matt. You.”
“Me? Allison, the only thing I know anything about is business, and--”
“Exactly,” She pointed out, “Your dad pushed you out of the company that you put your entire life into so maybe that’s a sign. Maybe you should step up and make your own business, build your own legacy.”
A part of me couldn’t believe she was suggesting this while the other part of me somehow liked the idea. But there was no way that starting my own company would work, it just wasn’t as simple as that. I had no clientele and no one would give a chance to the new company over Reid Enterprises which had been there for over twenty years.
I shook my head slightly, passing the paper back to her, “Allison, I appreciate your confidence in me but that’s just not going to happen.”
Her brows raised instantly as she began to question me, “But why not? You can do this, Matt. You have all of the skills and you have a business degree. Then you can build the name for yourself and Thomas for the future. I know that you have it in you.”
“Why not?” She bit down on her lip gently, looking at her hands as she traced her fingers along my chest slowly, “Is there something else you want to do other than business?”
I moved my hands up her sides slowly until they reached her face, as I cupped her face in my hands I smiled softly at her, “It’s just really not that simple, sweetheart... It takes a long time to build the company name and clientele, starting up costs a lot of money - and with the time and money I’m spending on the upcoming trial for Thomas’ custody, it’s just not doable right now, babe.”
She seemed to understand me more once I explained the situation further but after a moment of dead silence, she spoke again, “Having your own company would look really good in court.”
This girl was really persuasive, maybe that was why I had fallen for her. I remembered the moment Alexandra had told me that she hired a twenty years old nanny, I thought she was insane - and then I met Allison. Intelligent, funny, free-spirited Allison. From the day that I had first met her in my backyard during her second interview I wasn’t able to get the picture of her smile out of my mind.
“You know, I wish you were the judge... I feel like my odds would be pretty good,” I joked with her, pressing a kiss onto her forehead, “I’m going to take a shower and if you’re free from the wrath of Tristan, maybe we can have a Matt and Allison day.”
“A Matt and Allison day?” She asked, a smile tugging on her lips, “That sounds fun, luckily Tristan doesn’t do work on weekends so I’m all yours.”
I chuckled lightly, “You’re always all mine.”
It seemed like it had been forever since I had the opportunity to spend the day with Allison so I wanted to take advantage of it. I wanted us to just be together without the stress of the world surrounding us. Lately I’ve been so hard on her and I hated myself for that. I didn’t mean to, but I had been so messed up with everything going on my mind was all over the place and Allison was the one get the bad side of my frustrations.
She didn’t deserve that at all, I had to make it up to her. The yelling, the lack of being there. Everything. She was always so present and supportive for me.
I didn’t want the day spent doing fancy things, I wanted a relaxing one on one day with Allison and that’s exactly what we hand. Walking along the beach, hand in hand, I watched as Allison went on and on, talking a mile a minute. But I wasn’t listening, I was just watching. Not in a creepy way but admiring her grace and beauty. She did things to my heart that I couldn’t even explain, even with her crazy hand gestures and nonstop chatter she was a real life Cinderella in my eyes - I just needed to be the prince that she deserved.
“... He isn’t half bad, but I’m willing to bet money that he have slept with sixty percent of his staff,” Allison laughed, finishing her story about working with Tristan.
My best friend was known to be a flirt, or player if you will, so I wouldn’t put sleeping with his employees past him and I could care less as long as Allison wasn’t a part of that list, “He likes exceeding expectations.”
I raised the hand that was holding onto Allison’s and instinctively she spun under my arm, laughing softly as her sun dress spread out around her legs, “You know, we should have days like this more often. I like it.”
“I would like to spend every day like this, Allison... Just you and me.” I stopped walking and pulled her body against me, “And hopefully Thomas will be a part of this.”
It stung that I had to say hopefully. My son should be a part of this regardless, I shouldn’t have boundaries or conditions, he’s my kid and I wasn’t abandoning him but he would think that I didn’t want him.
“He will be,” Allison reassured me, “You’re not going to lose Thomas. Any judge would be crazy to keep that little boy from you.”
The entire time Allison spoke she had a large, genuine smile stretching across her face and I couldn’t help but smile back. I wish I had that type of optimism, but she wasn’t there with Sasha and I while we were pulling at straws for any kind of leverage.
I found myself leaning down to sit on the sand and I stared out at the water, knowing what I was thinking about talking with Allison about next might just bring down her happy mood. I considered not even mentioning it since it was such a barbaric idea but the more I thought about it, it seemed right.
Feeling Allison sit next to me, her head soon rested against my shoulder and she suddenly spoke, “So when are you going to talk about what you really want to talk about?”
“Huh?” I questioned, looking over at her, slightly confused by her ability to know that something was on my mind.
Allison lifted her head to look over at me and she raised her eyebrows knowingly, “You’ve been distracted since last night, Matt. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out... So, what’s going on?”
She wouldn’t be so understanding if she knew exactly what was going on. How could she possibly understand the idea of my family wanting me to pretend to be happy with Alexandra and act like nothing happened? Pretending like Allison doesn’t even have a part in my life seemed not only wrong, but also impossible. Yet here I was considering it anyway.
I ran my fingers through my hair, gripping onto it tightly as I groaned. I really didn’t want to have this conversation, “I was with my family last night and... my grandmother is coming to town this weekend.”
I quickly glanced at Allison to see her nodding her head, “Oh, I see where this is going...”
“Of course,” She continued matter of factly, “You’re worried about how you’re grandmother will react about our relationship. I mean after how the rest of your family did I can’t really blame you, but if you’re worried or ashamed of our actions, I don’t have to meet her this time around.”
Allison had just offered me a perfectly good chance to do exactly what my family wanted and to freely get away with it, but I couldn’t just do that. I had to look at her and discuss this situation with her face to face.
“That’s not it, Allison...” I shook my head, keeping my gaze focused on the crashing waves as I spoke just so I didn’t have to look at her while I mentioned such a horrible thing, “My grandmother, she... She doesn’t believe in divorce and my family thinks that it’s best if while she’s in town--”
“Oh...” Allison’s voice came out soft as she spoke, seeming so understand where I was going with this, “So they want you to pretend to be with Alexandra?”
It sounded worse coming from her mouth but it was the sad truth. I turned my head to look at her and nodded slowly, “Just while my grandmother is in town...”
Allison was quiet for a moment and I hated when she didn’t say anything because I believed that silence was often worse than any amount of words. I didn’t know what she was thinking, all I knew was that I quite possibly asked her the most humiliating thing any man could ever mention to the woman he loves.
Finally she spoke. She sound of her beautiful, soft voice causing my heart to drip with regret from my idiocy, “What do you think about all of this?”
“Honestly?” I asked her and she replied with a simple nod. “I think it’s ludicrous. I want nothing more than to show my grandmother the woman that I’m in love with...” And then comes the bad, “But... Last year, Allison. My grandmother had a really bad heart attack and she can’t handle stress. I just don’t want to be the reason for her having a health scare.”
Surprisingly I felt Allison’s palm rest against the back of my hand and I looked back at her confused. She had a semi smile on her lips and gave me a little nod, “You should do it.”
“Do it, Matt. For your grandmother, for yourself, and for Thomas.” I furrowed my eyebrows when she mentioned Thomas and she was quick to elaborate, “This is your chance to get to spend time with Thomas again. Take it.”
It still seemed like too much to ask Allison, no matter how well she seemed to handle it. She acted selfless and understanding, yet I felt like a self-centered jerk no matter what my reasoning was behind this entire thing. The only reason I was considering it to begin with was for my grandmother, but hurting Allison along the way wasn’t supposed to be a part of this.
I shook my head, wanting nothing more than for Allison to just be honest about how she felt and to straight up tell me if this would hurt her. Hell, I’m not that big of an idiot, it had to hurt her. Having to pretend to be in a happy marriage with another woman while she stayed on the sidelines, how could anyone feel comfortable with a situation like that?
Even someone as kind and loving as Allison had to feel some kind of hurt from this.
“Allison, you don’t have to say that. You can be honest and just tell me how you feel, okay.” I urged her, placing my hand on her cheek and tucking a piece of hair behind her ear, “Don’t hide your feelings from me. It isn’t like you’re telling me to attend a mutual friend’s party, you’re telling me to pretend to be married to Alexandra - happily married. Jesus, Allison. I don’t... I don’t know what to do.”
I pulled my hand away from her face, turning away from her to face the water again. This was all a disaster filled with mix emotions. I knew what I had to do but I didn’t want to do it. I’ve never been so torn, I should be able to make decisions for myself.
As I rubbed the side of my face with my hand I felt Allison rest her hand on my shoulder, “Matt... You’re doing it with good intentions. It isn’t like you’re toying with me or cheating, you’re trying to take care of your grandmother by keeping her from knowing that you’re getting a divorce.”
How could Allison still consider me to be a good person after everything I’ve done? I loved her from her trust and the faith that she always had me in, that’s what anyone would need in their partner, but I could only hope that I can give her the same emotional support when she needs it.
“I don’t want you to think that I’m ashamed of you,” I admitted, still keeping my eyes on the water so I didn’t have to face her.
Never was I ashamed of Allison. I could be ashamed of being a cheating husband but a beautiful relationship with the woman I love came out of that.
I know of Allison’s past and her inability to feel affection from anyone when she was growing up. I promised that she would never be alone again and that I would never hurt her, I didn’t want to break that promise and I didn’t want to break her heart.
“I know that you’re not ashamed of me,” Allison’s voice now sounded softer than usual and I knew that she was convincing herself just as much as she was convincing me, “But sometimes you need to make sacrifices and I understand that.”
Sacrifices. I hate that word. Especially when it was used so loosely. It wasn’t just a sacrifice, it was forced upon my by my parents. It was what they wanted because they wanted me with Alexandra to begin with. It was all apart of some god damn plan, for all I know they could have purposely invited Grandmother Lucia here with the intentions of bringing me close to Alexandra.
Fuck them and their schemes. They were always working some kind of angle.
“Baby, I’m sorry... I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with this mess because of me,” I apologized.
Wrong, wrong, wrong. This was all so wrong.
“I’m not dealing with anything, Matt. We’re going through this together,” She stated with a smile as she reached for my hand and intertwined our fingers, “It’s just while you’re grandmother’s in town, right?”
I nodded my head instantaneously in response to her, “Just while she’s in town... And I’ll be coming home to you every night. It’ll only be a few days, Allison. I promise. I’ll call you and it’ll only be a few times because she’s staying with my parents anyway. I only have to be with Alexandra while my grandmother is around.”
I watched as Allison nodded understandingly to everything I said. She was taking it all in just as I was and even though I still had to discuss this with Alexandra I was sure that Amelia and the rest of my family had already gotten to her - she wouldn’t say no anyway, she wanted me far away from Allison.
This was happening. I was going to pretend to be happy with Alexandra, we were going to act like a real couple that wasn’t completely torn apart and in the middle of an extremely messy divorce.
I had to pretend that there was no Allison in my life.
This entire thing was fucked up, but it was only for a few days.