Chapter 18: The Red Shirt
This house was quiet and it seemed like time had been going even more slow than usual since Matt had left. Staying here seemed like the best idea because the last thing I wanted was to do anything to jeopardize Matt’s case. I had spent a lot of the time pacing back and forth wondering how everything was going.
Why did it seem like this was taking longer than it should be?
I wasn’t sure how I could possibly face Matt if he came home today with zero custody of Thomas. I could picture the look on his face and it was enough to break my heart, all I could do was hope that Will was able to help him somehow.
I rested my hand on my currently flat stomach, not knowing how I was going to tell Matt that even though I was on birth control I still somehow got pregnant. Being nervous was one thing, but I was worried that he wouldn’t want this. When I became pregnant I imagined my significant other being thrilled and happy about it, but I knew that Matt wasn’t ready for another child just yet. I couldn’t blame him, he would dealing with so much and this was still a relatively new relationship.
The sound of the front door opening caused me to jumped up from my spot on the couch and before I knew it I was standing a few feet away from Matt who was in the door way, staring at me.
He looked drained, emotionally and a little physically. As Matt continued to stare at me, his eyes unmoving, all I wanted to do was ask him what happened in court but I couldn’t push him. I knew that he would tell me when he was ready, the silence was deadly though.
Finally, Matt’s eyes shifted to the wall and a soft breath escaped his lips. It sounded like his breathed for the first time in a while and he spoke, “She...”
“She took it back,” Matt continued, his voice still soft and confused. He seemed stunned and like he didn’t believe his own words.
“Alexandra?” I asked him, my brows furrowing.
He nodded his head, “She took back her request for full custody... We... We signed papers for joint custody and the divorce.”
My hand clasped over my mouth in shocked, the feeling of relief filling my body. Matt didn’t lose Thomas, something had come over Alexandra and she decided to not deprive Matt of their son. I understood her hurt but this said a lot about the kind of person she was... It was a beautiful act of character. She surprised me and it had been so sudden for her to change her mind, even about go ahead with the divorce.
“Matt, that’s amazing...” I smiled at him, taking a few steps forward until I reached him, “What made her change her mind?”
Matt paused, losing himself in thought and as he looked at me again he shrugged his shoulders, “I don’t know... Maybe she finally felt like it was time to move on. The only way to move on is by letting go.”
I wrapped my arms around Matt and rested my cheek against his chest, closing my eyes. This was the best possible thing that could ever happen to him. When he had left here this afternoon he seemed so sure that he would never see Thomas regularly and now everything was working out. This was the way that everything was supposed to be.
I felt Matt kiss my head gently as he hugged me back, “I can’t believe it, Allison... I’m not losing Thomas. I thought...” Matt paused, “I don’t know, I just thought things would be so different.”
I pulled away and placed my hands on his cheeks, looking up at him with a big smile, “You and Thomas need each other. And he needs his mom... This is how it should be, Matt. I’m so happy for you.”
Matt kissed my lips gently, “Thank you for being so patient with me through all of this, baby. And the past seven and a half month with the divorce process. Alexandra finally signed the papers so in a few weeks it’ll be official.”
“Official?” I asked, tilting my head to the side, “You mean, you’re going to be a single man?”
Matt nodded his head and chuckled, “Single as in unmarried. But there’s this girl that I’m seeing and I’m thinking about keeping her around.”
I felt my cheeks burning, a soft laugh escaped my lips, “She’s a lucky girl.”
“Or maybe I’m the lucky one...” Matt replied, “Allison, I didn’t think it was going to turn out this way. I didn’t think that I was going to have any custody of Thomas, but now that I have him, I need to thank you.”
“Thank me? Matt, no... I haven’t done anything.”
“You’ve done plenty,” He objected, “Supporting me throughout this entire mess. I don’t know what I would have done without you, babe. Now that Thomas is going to be here half the time I have a lot more to focus on... Having a job is the most important one which is another thing I would like to thank you for.”
I was overwhelmed with all of the gratitude Matt was showing towards me but I was unsure how him having a job was any thanks to me.
“I’m meeting with my real estate agent tomorrow about the building you showed me... I’m going to start my own company just like you suggested,” Matt’s hands cupped my face and his brown eyes peered into mine, “It was a great idea, Allison. And I want you standing next to be through all of it.”
I was stunned to say the least. Matt was taking my advice to start his own company but the only thing that worried me was that if his company failed, it would come back on me.
“Matt... Don’t just do this because I suggested it. I mean, I don’t know the first thing about how it works,” I told him, beginning to feel nervous, “What if something goes wrong? Are you sure--”
My words were interrupted with Matt’s lips colliding on mine, kissing me deeply and slow. That seemed to be Matt’s way of shutting me up because if he just asked me to stop talking he knew that it wouldn’t happen.
As Matt pulled away, he leaned his forehead against mine, “Hey... I’ve got it all figured out. I’m bringing Will with me as my lawyer to make sure everything is solid. And I won’t be competing with my dad because I’m doing something different.”
“Something different?” I asked.
Matt nodded his head, I could see the smile appearing on his lips as he attempted to hide how eager he was. “Architecture. You know, when I was younger, about twelve years old. I had taken a shop class and I enjoyed it. I spent a lot of the summer building things and drawing blueprints for fun when I wasn’t at the office with my father... But one day my father came home, he noticed my drawing and he laughed.”
I frowned at Matt’s words, “He laughed? Matt...”
“It’s fine... So, he laughs and said I need to stop wasting my time drawing pictures and start focusing on my career at Reid Enterprises.” Matt chuckled lightly, “Architecture could be my calling. This is my chance to do what I want to do and not what my father wanted me to do.”
I nodded my head in agreement with him. This is what he needed, what he deserved. “I think that’s an amazing idea.”
This was a day that could not go wrong. Matt got joint custody of Thomas, he decided to start his own company, and he seemed genuinely happy. The next step for us was telling Matt that I was pregnant, I just needed to figure out the right way to do it.
It had been five days and I was still in shock that Alexandra had taken back her request for full custody of Thomas. To me, I believe that out conversation gave her some kind of closure, I hoped that it did. But I was grateful that she had made that decision and signed the divorces papers.
This upcoming week was our first week with Thomas. My first week as a family with Allison and Thomas. It felt surreal and I was hoping that the more time Thomas spent around us, he would warm up more to Allison again. I knew that it would be hard for him, but he was young and hopefully it wouldn’t take much to change his mind.
Will had went with me and my real estate agent to check out the building which had been incredible so I signed the lease. I decided on naming my soon-to-be company ”THR Architecture,” which were Thomas’ initials. The little boy who had been my rock throughout this entire process. The little boy who I fought so hard for.
I heard a knock on the door and I called out to Allison as I flicked through the channels on the TV, “Babe, can you get that?”
A moment later there were three knocks again.
“Allison?” I called out, but she didn’t reply, she was probably sleeping - she slept a lot lately. I glanced at the TV as the channel landed on the football game, “Damn...” I stood from the couch and walked to the front door just as the knocks started again, “I’m coming!”
As I opened the front door, I was taken aback by the sight of my grandmother - who I assumed was gone home - standing on my doorstep.
“Grandmother...” I paused, unsure what to say. She was here. At my new house. She knew I wasn’t living with Alexandra anymore.
“Matthew Reginald Reid,” My grandmother firmly stated as she rested her hands on her hips. For a short woman she was quite intimidating.
“Grandmother, what are you doing her?” I asked her, scratching the back of my head and beginning to fumble with my words, “I... I didn’t know you were coming here. I didn’t expect you.”
My grandmother scoffed as she reached up to slap me on the back of the head, “And I didn’t expect you to lie to me, but you did.”
I rubbed the back of my head gently, “How did you find out?”
“That strange friend of yours told me before I seen it on a magazine,” Grandmother explained.
I chuckled lightly at her describing Tristan as strange. All night hoped is that he didn’t hit on my grandmother because that would be crossing a line. I nodded my head slowly, “I just wanted to protect you.”
My grandmother frowned, “Protect me? Why in God’s name would you lie about divorcing Alexandra to protect me? Matthew, sweetheart. As long as you’re happy that’s all that matters.”
Did I hear her correctly?
My grandmother, someone from my family was only concerned about my happiness? That wasn’t possible. All that mattered was what the public thought, what ‘god’ would think of me for breaking my vows and cheating on my wife. But my grandmother just said...
“What did you say?” I asked her. I needed to hear it again because I was convinced that I must have heard her wrong.
I steppes aside so she could come inside, as my grandmother walked in she repeated her words exactly as I heard them the first time, “I said that as long as you’re happy that’s all that matters, Matthew... Ideally it would be lovely if you and Alexandra could have been together with your son forever, but times have changed since I was your age. Life isn’t always picture perfect.”
For the first time during this entire process, I was getting good support from someone in my family. It was an unbelievable feeling and coming from my grandmother meant more than anyone else.
I leaned down to hug her short frame, taking a deep breath as she hugged me back, “Thank you... Having your support means everything. Father had me to worried that if you found out--”
My grandmother pulled away and looked at me, “Don’t you know better than to listen to your father by now? All his life my son has been arrogant and he isn’t going to stop just because he’s getting older,” She reached up to squeeze my cheeks like she did when I was a little boy, “Don’t worry about me, sweetheart. All I’ve wanted for you you’re entire life is for you to have a job you love, a woman you love, and to give me grand babies.”
I chuckled at my grandmother’s words. She and I always did have a special bond, this moment alone proved that nothing would change that. This woman was the one person in my family who had always accepted me through everything; through all of the failed school tests, the broken household items, fights with my brother, and now cheating on my wife which led to our divorce. My grandmother was my strength, she was my anchor.
“Matt, did someone knock at the do--” I heard Allison’s voice and before I knew it she was in the doorway of the kitchen. She seemed confused to the the short older lady with me but the realization quickly hit her and her confusion was replaced with shock.
I looked from Allison to my grandmother who motioned towards Allison with her head, “Well? Introduce me, Matthew.”
Introductions weren’t my favorite thing. Anytime I introduced Allison to my family it ended with a huge argument, but I reminded myself that my grandmother was different though the nerves were clear on Allison’s face as well.
“Grandmother, this is my girlfriend Allison Prescott... Allison, this is my grandmother Lucia,” I motioned my hands towards them, hoping they would feel comfortable taking it from there. I knew my grandmother would have no problem talking, but Allison was the one I was concerned about.
Allison managed a small, yet nervous smile as she extended her hand towards my grandmother, “It’s so nice to meet you. I have heard many wonderful things.”
“Oh, sweetheart. No need to shake hands, we’re practically family.” My grandmother pulled Allison into a hug which caused me to feel relief. I heard her continue to speak, “It is so good to meet you, Allison. I’m glad to see my little Matthew so happy.”
As they pulled away from one another I could see Allison’s face light up, astonished by my grandmother’s acceptance. “He makes me so happy. Matt is a wonderful man... I don’t know what I would do without him.”
“He really is wonderful, isn’t he?” My grandmother smiled as she looked at me with a proud look in her eyes. She had a tendency to brag which I want too fond of but she was just a happy grandmother, I wouldn’t deprive her of that.
“Grandmother, I’m not perfect.”
“I never said you were, honey. You still need to learn how to be honest,” She narrowed her eyes playfully at me before looking back at Allison, “I have no idea why he would be so foolish to keep you a secret. You are such a darling...”
A blush moved up to Allison’s cheeks and she smiled at my Grandmother, “That’s very nice of you. I’m glad that you think so... Thank you.”
“Maybe you could convince him to visit me more often, he and Alexandra were always so busy,” My grandmother began to frown as she pulled at Allison’s heart strings. She was good at that, using her cute, old lady face to make people’s heart melt.
This was progress, good thing and something that Allison and I desperately needed in our life. Someone in my family was accepting of Allison and I, it was a tremendous feeling and coming from my grandmother it meant all that much more.
“She is so sweet. I can’t even believe that someone in your family likes me,” I rambled on about Matt’s grandmother as I brushed out my hair in our bathroom. Matt was sitting on our bed in his boxers, possibly listening to me, but I couldn’t be sure. “It gives me hope that this is the start of things really working out for us. Maybe your grandmother will have a good influence on everyone else?”
After not hearing a response I looked out towards the bedroom to see Matt looking at me from his spot on the bed. “I’m glad that you and her hit it off instantly. My grandmother is a very important person in my life and you are my girl. I want my grandmother to love you just as much as I do.”
“So, you think she likes me?” I bit my lip hopefully, setting the brush on the counter I walked out of the bathroom and into the bedroom.
Matt grabbed my waist and pulled me closer to him so I was standing between his legs, “Are you kidding me? She was ecstatic to meet you, Allison. I think it went amazing.”
I leaned down slightly and met Matt’s lips as he leaned up to kiss me. We were two people who had done a terrible thing to be together, two people who seemed to like having a happily ever after wasn’t possible, but after today everything seemed to be looking up. It was a good day, Matt and I haven’t had a lot of good days lately so I was specifically feeling on cloud nine.
I could feel Matt’s hands wander from my waist and down to my ass, grabbing it gently. His lips curved into a smirk, biting down on my bottom lips gently before tugging at it playfully.
“What time are you working until tomorrow?” He asked me.
I tried not to laugh. Tristan was very spontaneous with his work hours, whenever he no longer needed me he would just told me to go home. “Between 3:30 and 5:00 usually,” I answered him.
Matt nodded his head, “All right. I want to get some things for when Thomas comes this weekend, things to make him feel more at home, you know? I’ll pick you up and we’ll go grab some things tomorrow after work. Okay?”
I nodded in response, feeling my head telling me that now was the time, “I actually have something for Thomas. Maybe I could show you to see if you think he’ll like it?”
“You do?” Matt seemed confused but nodded anything, “Yeah, what is it?”
I walked over to the walk-in closet and stepped inside, going to my part and opening a drawer where I had packed a little shirt I had bought for Thomas. I took a deep breath, taking much longer than I had to just to prepare myself for anything that could happen after this. I didn’t know what to prepare myself for but anything was possible.
“Babe, did you get lost in there?” I heard Matt joke, chuckling afterwards.
I laughed softly and moved towards the door of the closet, “Sorry, I uh... I found it.” I held up the red shirt that was crumbled in my hand so the words weren’t visible. I slowly, very slowly, made my way towards Matt.
“Allison, he’s not even three years old. He loves red, don’t be so worried... the worst that can happen is that he changes favorite colors. It happens all the time anyway,” Matt shrugged his shoulder and extended his hand, “Let me see.”
“I uh...” I paused, becoming extremely nervous. This was so much harder than I thought, “I love you.”
My seemed thoroughly amused by my rambling but reciprocated my affection, “I love you too, you know that. Is the shirt for me or Thomas?”
Matt’s joke was kind of ironic, my hesitant laugh probably gave that away. Before I could stop myself from prolonging this any longer, I passed the shirt to Matt and took a deep breath.
“You know, Tommy always loved getting clothes more than toys,” Matt grinned at me, “Strange kid, huh?”
I smiled back at him, watching as he unfolded the red shirt and revealed the words “Big Brother” on it. His chattering stopped and he had finally fell silent, his face stayed staring at the shirt without looking up at me for even a second.
Maybe this wasn’t the best way to tell Matt that I was pregnant but it was the only way that I could think of without having to say the words myself. Cowardly, yes. But I was terrified to tell him.
“Matt?” I asked after a moment, wanting him to say something. Anything at all so I knew what he was thinking.
Finally, he looked up at me, “You’re pregnant?”
That was all he said. Two simple words and all I could do was nod.