Chapter 22: The Saddest People
“What the hell was that?!”
“Oh, to hell with it. She was going to find out one day.”
“No. Give her space.”
“Oh my god...”
“Babe, come here.”
“Let me explain!”
Everyone’s voice echoed around me as I stumbled into the house after hearing my father claim that he wasn’t even my dad. For a few seconds I assumed this was another one of his stunts in disowning me, but when my mom began to beg for me to listen I knew that the possibility of my dad being serious about this was fairly high.
I wasn’t sure how this could be possible, I was raised with the knowledge of my dad being just that. My dad. All of our family photos since I was a baby - the ones that I recall, he was there. No one else.
I placed my hand over my mouth and felt the wetness on my cheeks, “Oh my god... Am I adopted?”
This entire time, twenty-one years of my life and I didn’t even know that I’m possibly adopted. How could I miss this? But Ryan is blonde, too. I assumed we always looked alike. Other than our hair color, though, we had nothing else that physically made us look similar. He had dad’s face structure, I had our mom’s. My eyes though, I don’t know who in the family line had green eyes but I assumed it was ancestors.
“Babe,” Matt said from behind me as I heard him slowly take a step closer to me, “I know this is a lot to take in, but you just need to take deep breaths, okay?”
I turned to face him and his face softened at the sight of me. Great, I must look pitiful. “I don’t even know who I am... My mom was never going to tell me, Matt.”
“Do you maybe want to hear her out? Just to find out what’s going on. Maybe there’s an explanation,” Matt began to say.
“Explanation?” I shook my head, “There’s no possible explanation in the world that could make this make sense.”
Matt’s thumbs gently caressed my cheek, comforting me and wiping away my fallen tears. It helped, but I was still miserable. I was confused and hurt by this entire thing. I wanted to know what my mom’s ‘excuse’ is, but at the same time I didn’t want to hear the whole story because that would mean it was actually true.
I sat down on the couch with Matt, his arm wrapped around me and holding me close to him, “It all makes sense now, Matt. I finally understand why my dad has hated me all of these years, it’s because I’m not his daughter. He really doesn’t love me.”
All these years I’ve been a pathetic girl who has been thriving for fatherly affection from a man who isn’t even my father. The entire time he’s been disgusted by me and I thought it was just disappointment. It’s pathetic how upset I am about this, I should be relieved to know that my real dad probably doesn’t hate me, but he’s all I’ve ever known as a dad. He is my dad.
I heard the sliding doors get pushed across and I looked through my eyelashes to see my mom trembling in the doorway, Ryan gently held onto her shoulders as he looked at me, “I’m sorry... She ran in when I wasn’t looking. I’ll brin--”
“No...” I said softly, taking Matt’s hand and gently squeezing it, “I want to hear what she has to say.”
My mom nodded slowly, I could see how nervous she was but I didn’t care. She had been lying to me about something so big my entire life. She allowed me to be treated so badly by a man who isn’t even my dad and she stood by him the entire time.
“Ryan, I... I would like for you to stay also,” My mom asked and Ryan nodded slightly.
Matt attempted to stand up, “I’ll give you privacy.”
“No!” I grabbed his hand quickly and held onto it tightly, “Don’t leave me. I really need you here. Please.”
Matt looked down at me, not hesitating to sit bad down next to me, “Of course. As long as you want me here, you know I’ll stay.”
I need Matt right next to me during this. I had no idea what I was going to hear and if things really were as bad as I imagined them to be, I wanted Matt here for support.
I watched my mom sit on the couch opposite of Matt and I, Ryan sat in the arm chair. It was quiet for a moment but no one said a single word, allowing our mom to gather her thoughts.
As long as she wasn’t planning a huge lie to tell me, I could be patient. I’ve went twenty-one years without knowing anything was going on.
“Patrick isn’t your father,” My mom admitted and I felt my heart crushing all over again. Her voice was soft and cautious, “Twenty-two years ago I... I had an affair.”
I felt Matt squeeze onto my hand and it was Ryan who spoke up, “You had an affair? How long did this go on? Jesus, mom. Why?”
“I did and it was a huge mistake.” She said before her eyes widened, realizing her words.
I was taken aback, “So I’m a mistake? Okay... This is great. I’m a love child, the man who raised me hates me, and my biological mother considers me a mistake.”
“Allison, I didn’t mean it like that,” She sighed softly.
“Baby,” Matt brushed my tears away with his thumbs again and kissed my forehead, “I love you, okay? I know this is hard, just try to listen. Don’t be so cynical.”
I closed my eyes tightly before nodding my head in agreement. Matt was talking sense into, even though everything my mom said hurt me tremendously, I had to hear it.
When I looked back at my mom I gave her a nod to continue. She took a deep breath and lightly tapped her fingers beneath her eyes to capture the tears that threatened to fall, “When I became pregnant I prayed that it was Patrick’s baby, but I knew there was a chance of the baby being from my affair... Allison was born, birth certificates signed and it wasn’t until you were three years old that I couldn’t go without knowing any longer.”
“You went three years without finding out?” I asked her, stunned by this new revelation.
“I did... When your da-- Patrick went to work and Ryan was at school, I took you to the DNA clinic along with his toothbrush and I had them take a test,” She buried her face in her hands and began to sob softly, mumbling, “A week later they told me that Patrick wasn’t a match to your DNA.”
“Jesus...” Ryan muttered, burying his head in his hands. He seemed to be just as hurt by this as I was.
“I told Patrick as soon as I found out the truth, my affair had ended when I found out I was pregnant but when Patrick found out you weren’t his daughter... He was furious,” My mom admitted and I already knew that. He proved that over the course of my twenty-one years, “He no longer wanted anything to do with you and I begged him not to treat you any differently. You were just a little girl who only knew this man to be your father, Allison.”
“He didn’t listen, mom. He hates me! He always has...” I looked down at the floor and thought about all of the times my dad refused to show my affection and I looked past it. It was always Ryan and now I knew why, because I was nothing but a mistake, a reminder of my mom’s affair.
Another reason why he was so disgusted about my relationship with Matt, because it reminded him of my mother’s infidelity. The worst part was that my mom stood beside his every decision, all of his hate towards me - she defended him.
“Allison, I’m so sorry. We were a family and I knew that Patrick was an amazing father to Ryan, I knew he could be to you, too. He was angry about the affair and the man I had an affair with was wealthy, since then Patrick has assumed the worst of all wealthy people.”
“But he wasn’t a good dad to me,” I responded.
“I know...” My mom sniffled, trapping her fingers together as she falls quiet.
She isn’t seriously stopping there, is she? My eyes narrow to her and she looked at me questioningly. I sit up straight and ask the one question I was terrified to know, “Who’s my dad?”
“W-What?” My mom stuttered, clearly not having expected me to ask her that so soon or ever.
“You heard me, mom. Who is he? My real dad. I want to know...” But I wasn’t sure if I did, “Maybe he will actually love me. Does he even know about me?”
My mom shook her head slowly, “He doesn’t.”
“Of course not.” I muttered under my breath. Who knew my mom was so secretive? I certainly didn’t.
“Honey, he has a family. He has other kids and...”
“You didn’t answer her,” Ryan spoke up. When my mom turned her head to look at him he continued, “Who is her dad?”
I watched as my mom’s face turn a pale red color. Burning with humiliation at the memories that caused me to exist- literally.
“His name is Quinton.”
This time Matt spoke up, he had been leaning back against the couch but was now sitting straight beside me with his eyebrows knitted together with curiosity, “Quinton who?”
“This isn’t your business to ask questions,” My mom snapped at him.
“Mom!” I raised my voice, “Don’t talk to him like that.”
My mom cowered, not saying another word. I soaked in the thought of my real dad being named Quinton. Not Patrick, but Quinton. I’m not even a Prescott.
It was sickening, really. The thought of my entire life being a lie made me sick to my stomach and nauseous. Or maybe it was being pregnant, either way it wasn’t a good combination.
“Matt, can you please tell everyone to go home?” I spoke softly, “I don’t want to be around anyone right now.”
Matt stood up slowly, kissing the back of my hand gently before letting it go. He looked at my mom, “Can I speak to you please, Joanne?”
My mom glanced at him, “Not right now, I’m staying with my daughter.”
“I don’t want you here,” I told her, “Please go.”
“Go!” I yelled at her, “Just go away, mom. Please just go.”
Everything froze. My mom, Matt, and Ryan until finally my mom slowly stood up and followed Matt outside. As the door closed I leaned back against the couch and began to cry softly, a moment later Ryan sat next to me and held his arms around my shoulders.
“Hey... Allison, I’m sorry this is happening to you,” He whispered softly, “You don’t deserve this.”
I hugged him tightly and rested my head against his shoulder, “Ryan, I have other siblings. I have a different dad that I didn’t even know about.”
“I know, I know. But you still have me,” He said as he pulled away from me slowly, “And you always will. You’re no less my sister than you were an hour ago, Allison.”
As I led Joanne out of the house everyone on the patio glanced her way but quickly looked away when I gave them a warning look. Joanne was already a grenade ready to explode after her huge secret had been exposed by her husband, the last thing I needed was for her to freak out in front of Thomas and cause a scene.
Thomas was with Amelia who was doing a good job of distracting him from the drama that was unfolding around him. Patrick was nowhere to be seen, but as I looked around for him my grandmother approached me.
“Matthew, how is Allison?” She asked, looking up at me with soft eyes, “She seemed so stressed, “That doesn’t seem good for her or the baby. Is there anything I can do?”
I shook my head slightly, “No, grandmother. Thank you, but she’ll be okay.”
My eyes quickly scanned the area again, needing desperately to talk to Joanne about everything that had just went down. I knew this wasn’t any of my business but Allison is my girlfriend and she’s carrying my child, I need to make sure she’s safe. I want to make sure she isn’t getting lied to again and again. All she wants is honesty from her mother.
I walked over to Joanne who was sitting on a lawn chair with her head buried in her hands. Her fingers gripped onto her hair tightly and I could hear light sobs coming from her.
It was a bad idea to push her while she was down, it wasn’t like I was trying to personally attack her - I just has questions.
“Joanne?” I spoke in a gentle tone, “How are you doing?”
She lifted her head slowly to look at me, her face blotchy from tears and smeared from the makeup, “I’m terrible, Matt. My daughter hates me and it’s all because I was trying to protect her.”
“Protect her? I’m not sure she sees it that way. She’s hurt, you have to understand her point of view,” I explained, trying to defend Allison in the best way that I could.
Joanne shook her head, inhaling a deep breath as she look ahead at the beach, “Her real father didn’t want her, Matt. He had two children at the time of our affair and when I became pregnant, I did tell him that I didn’t know who the father was. He told me to get an abortion because if it was his child he didn’t want anything to do with her.”
I slowly took a seat next to her, staying silent as I took in her words. As painful as it was for her to admit, I understood why this was so hard for her. Allison had it bad either way and she didn’t even realize it.
“I cut all ties with him after lying and telling him that I had an abortion... Of course Allison actually is his daughter,” She laughed dryly before looking over at me and giving me a genuine smile, “But I couldn’t imagine my life without her. My happy little girl that was always full of life and laughter. She deserved a chance at happiness and I tried my best to give it to her. I really did.”
I nodded my head slowly, “I know you did... I’m sorry that you had to go through all of that, Joanne. Have you heard from him since? Her dad, I mean?”
She shook her head, “Not personally, no. But he’s rich, lots of money and always in those ‘Top 10’ magazines. I don’t read about him, though. I don’t want to know about how happy he is.”
“You know, a lot of the people who look happy on pictures are the saddest on the inside.” I pointed out, “Pictures are deceiving.”
“That’s true, I suppose.”
“I really hate to intrude, but I need to ask this...” Joanne’s eyebrow raised at my words and I continued, “Who is Allison’s father? You keep avoiding the question and I understand that it’s a lot to admit, but you said his name is Quinton and that’s he’s wealthy. I just--”
“You think you know him?” She asked me.
I suddenly paused and weighed out my options. Lying wasn’t one of them so I nodded my head, “Yeah, I do... Maybe.”
Joanne frowned slightly, brushing her fingertips against her lips while she considered telling me the last name of Allison’s father. Though I felt like I already know, there wasn’t a whole lot of wealthy Quinton’s around. I just needed confirmation.
“How well do you think you know him?” She countered.
I looked over at Tristan who was talking to Will before answering quietly, “Pretty well.”
“His last name is Fleming.” She finally said, “Quinton Fleming.”
Her confession confirmed everything that I needed to know, everything that I guessed from the moment that she had told Allison that her father was a wealthy man name Quinton who already had children.
Allison’s father is Quinton Fleming - Tristan’s father.