Chapter 26: The Real Thing
“Allison, I know something...” Matt’s words were so cryptic and the way he spoke made me nervous. All I could think about wad the possibility of him keeping things from me again, but I kept my face straight and continued to support him through whatever he was attempting to say.
Tristan cleared his throat, seeming extremely uncomfortable with this situation, “I’m going to give you both some privacy.”
“No,” Matt responded quickly, “I need to talk to you both.”
My eyes fell on Tristan who was staring at Matt curiously, his eyes seemed dark with curiosity while his brows knitted together. Tristan looked at me and I then noticed that he seemed just as lost in this as I was, “What’s going on?”
“I don’t know,” I told him, “Honestly. I didn’t know anything was going on until two minutes ago.”
“Cut the crap, Matt.” Tristan snapped, seeming irritated with being left in the dark with what Matt was hiding from us, “Tell us what the fuck is going on.”
Matt didn’t seem the slightest bit intimidated by Tristan’s temper, he was clearly used to it, “It’s a sensitive subject, Tristan. I don’t know how to say it, so just calm down...”
When Matt turned his body towards me, my mouth gaped slightly and I could feel my heart plummet in my chest, “What did you do?”
It was a bad reaction to have, but when he looked at me with the expression he had, I automatically assumed the worst of him which was terrible of me.
“Baby, I didn’t do anything,” He quickly defended, “I... I was talking to your mom at the family barbecue after everything went south. Allison, I know who your dad is. Your real dad.”
I felt my body freezing on spot, my lips couldn’t move nor could my eyes. My heart rate seemed to increase rapidly as well as my breathing. While I felt like I could vomit at any second, the only words I managed to say we’re, “I... I don’t want to know.”
Matt gave me a stunned expression, “You don’t want to know? Allison, this is your life. Your identity. Babe...”
“No, Matt...” I shook my head vigorously, feeling anxiety rushing to the surface.
I knew that I would probably find out one day, but that day wasn’t today. I had to accept that Patrick wasn’t my father first, then I would take the next step. Everything felt too rushed.
I stood up from the couch and headed towards the door but as my hand touched the doorknob, I stopped in my tracks and turned to face both Matt and Tristan again.
Matt’s eyes were still on me but he was silent while Tristan was looking down at his hands. “Matt...” I spoke softly, hearing my voice crack, “Why did you want Tristan here for this?”
He didn’t respond, not verbally at least. I could hear him exhale softly before rubbing his hand over his lips in frustration.
Oh my god.
“Matt...” My voice was now trembling as I was slowly beginning to realize what was happening. I think Tristan was also because he was staring at the floor, I couldn’t see his face so I was unable to pick out his face expression.
“Your dad is also Tristan’s dad,” Matt finally confirmed.
“Don?” I asked, my jaw dropping slightly before shaking my head slightly. My mom said that my father’s name was Quinton.
Tristan looked up quickly, confusion written all over his face, “Don? My dad’s name isn’t Don.”
“The man you met wasn’t name Don, Allison... It was Quinton. Quinton Fleming, your father." Matt clarified, “I didn’t want you to find out that way so Quinton agreed to keep quiet until I told you... Both of you.”
I suddenly felt angry and hurt, both emotions mixed together and when Matt stood up, I held up my hands to stop him from coming towards me, “I can’t believe you!”
“Allison, it wasn’t like that--”
“You invited him over to get to know me without me even knowing, Matt. That’s so unfair!” I couldn’t believe that he had done that behind my back, “He was right in front of me for nearly an hour and I had no idea. You had no right to put me in that position!”
“Allison!” Was all I heard Matt scream after me as I ran out of Tristan’s office.
I didn’t bother to stop and talk to him anymore, I was infuriated. I felt like Matt had been allowing my biological father to get to know me without giving me a say in the matter, without me even knowing.
Fellow colleagues stared at me as I hurried out of the room, I could care less this time around. The people who were staring had no idea what I’m going through.
I took refuge in the staff room where I assumed Matt couldn’t follow me because even though his best friend owns the damn place, could he really take advantage of that? Well, probably.
As I slumped on the navy blue couch in the staff room, I buried my head in my hands and inhaled a deep breath. Tristan and I share the same biological father. Tristan is my... brother? How did this happen? I knew the technical aspect of things, but I didn’t understand how I’ve went so long in the dark.
The sound of the doorknob twisting caused me to sigh, “Matt, you’re not supposed to be in--” but as I looked up from my hands, it wasn’t Matt standing in the doorway, it was Tristan.
“I told him not to follow...” He said simply as he closed the door, “I wanted to speak to you, if that’s all right?”
I stared at Tristan, my brother. That felt weird to even imagine and I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to come to grips with Tristan being my brother, perhaps he felt the same way and followed me to tell me that. Maybe Tristan had come here to tell me that we were going to keep things exactly how they were and no one could know.
I wasn’t sure how I would feel about that.
As I nodded slowly, Tristan closed the door behind him and took a seat next to me. He stayed quiet which made me feel even more uncomfortable, I actually wanted him to say something. Anything.
“Are you upset?” He asked suddenly, his question was the last thing I expected.
“Upset?” I questioned.
Tristan nodded his head, “Not at Matt, but at me. I gotta say, Allison, I had no idea. I still don’t know how this turned out the way that it did but... If a girl were to show up one day claiming to be my father’s daughter, I’m not complaining that it’s you.”
That seemed to be a compliment of some sort from Tristan. I managed a small smiled at him.
“But what about you? I know I’m not anything special, but you could at least pretend to not seem so disappointed to be related to me...” He added.
The smile left my lips and I began to shake my head in objection, “Tristan, that’s not it... I’m just confused. It’s a lot to take in. My mom messed up a lot of things and she probably came between your parents, I’m humiliated to drag you into this.”
“My mom’s dead,” Tristan mumbled as he rested his head into his hands, “She has been for a long time. Long enough that I can barely remember what she looks like unless I see a photo.”
I frowned, feeling heartbroken for Tristan. He had endured so much pain, I couldn’t imagine. I rested my hand on his forearm, “I’m so sorry you lost her...”
“You don’t need to be...” He shook his head slowly, “And you sure as hell don’t need to feel embarrassed by what our parents did.”
As he scratched his chin gently, he looked at me with a raised eyebrow, “Yeah?”
“Are you happy I’m your sister because I remind you of Deena, or--” I began to speak but he was quick to interrupt me.
Tristan shook his head, “First of all, I didn’t say I was happy. I said that I wasn’t complaining,” He flashed a playful smile before taking my hands into his, “And the answer is no. You resemble her slightly, yes, but you’re not her. You’re not Deena. You’re Allison...”
I pouted my lip at his words, feeling my eyes burn from the emotions I was feelings. It was all so overwhelming but somehow Tristan managed to calm me.
“Are you crying? What the...” Tristan’s eyebrows knitted together and he sighed heavily, “What the hell did I say?”
“That was just really nice...” I admitted, nodding my head and wiping a tear as it slipping from my eye. I was already beginning to feel hormonal, it was ridiculous.
Tristan moved close and wrapped his arms around my shoulders, pulling me close to him. I felt him kiss my head as he gave me a gentle squeeze.
This was a gift. I was now blessed with not one, but two brothers and I already knew that Tristan would be incredible at his ‘brotherly duties.’ Although it still seemed unreal, we both would adjust because in some way Tristan has already begun to feel like a brother to me - now he was the real thing.
The following day I managed to find time to go to the building with Will and see how everything was progressing. Before I focused anymore on my work I wanted to make sure everything was okay with Allison and Tristan.
I was relieved to know they seemed content with everything. The information hadn’t seemed to damage the relationship they had formed and whatever Tristan had said to Allison yesterday seemed to bring her some sense of comfort.
I felt like an idiot for not having seen the clear similarities between Allison and Deena before, now it just seemed so obvious to me. It was right in front of me the entire time.
“Tristan and Allison? Who would have thought...” Will muttered as we walked through my building, discussing the situation.
“No one, apparently.” I scoffed, “So many things could have gone wrong by her mom keeping this secret. You know when Tristan first met Allison he asked if she were single.”
Will looked at me as he let a low chuckle rumble past his lips, “So basically he was hitting on a female version of himself? Just when you think the guy can’t get any more egotistical, he does.”
“You make it sound funny, but my point is that... It could’ve been me. What if it were our father who had gotten Allison’s mom pregnant?” Though I never thought my father would cheat on my mother, I was stating the danger in the secret Allison’s mom was keeping, “She should have been more careful about this. God knows how fucked up this would have been if Allison and Tristan got involved.”
“Well they didn’t luckily, so just be thankful that the secret is out now,” Will said, attempting to me optimistic and all that shit.
I waved him off as we entered the area of the building that people were working at, I hadn’t met anyone yet, Will was dealing with a lot of it for me and I was grateful to have him to rely on.
“Hello,” I said casually as the men who were working nodded their head at me.
“This is Matt,” Will introduced me and everyone said hi, introducing themselves and shaking my hand.
I gave them a polite smile, “How’s everything going here?”
A man who had just introduced himself at Mitch nodded his head, “Good, our contract instructor had a few things to go over with you in regards to wall placement. He should be done with his break in a few minutes.”
“Very well,” I walked around the area, checking out the foundation and seeing if everything seemed stable. Everything seemed to be going well enough, based on what Will had told me this was supposed to be a great contracting company.
“What do you think so far?” Will ask from behind me.
I nodded my head, impressed with how quickly everything was progressing, “It’s good... What are we looking at price wise so far?”
“Not including the lease?” Will began to do the math in his head before responding, “Around thirty grand at this point, that’s also including some things you’ve ordered for when the office opens up.”
“Not too bad.”
Will was good at managing money, I allowed him to deal with all of that. He compared the prices of everything and showed me my options, then when I asked he had everything totaled. Will was settling this entire deal for me, he was my lawyer and would be dealing with all closing actions as well.
He had offered to do it as my brother free of charge, but his efforts were worth more than a freebie so I paid him just like did for anyone else’s time.
The door opened and I turned to see a man with dirty blonde hair walk in. He wore the same clothes as the other contractors so I assumed he was the guy I had been looking for.
“Are you the one in charge?” I asked.
The guy nodded his head as he headed in my direction, “That I am. The name’s Roger...” He extended his hand towards me.
As I shook his hand firmly, I nodded my head, “Good to meet you. I’m Matt Reid, just coming by to see the progress and to check out some placements.”
“Ah, Matt. The owner, yeah?” Roger asked and I responded with a simple nod. “I have some things to go over with you, some door placements aren’t working out and there’s some electrical issues.”
“Okay, well let’s go over the blueprints and see what we can figure out.”
I followed Roger into another room where there was one large working table that had the blueprints spread everywhere. We went over them and it was an eye-opening experience to get an actual contractor’s perspective on this.
Roger had given me a few options and it didn’t take too long to settle everything. I felt like my building have been in good hands this entire time which took a huge weight off of my shoulders.
“When are the electricians coming back?” I asked him as we finished up reevaluating the blueprints.
I nodded my head, “Okay, good. Then there’s a few things left to do and we can get straight into the design of the interior.”
Roger nodded his head in agreement, “Exactly. I’m not sure if you’ve already hired an interior designer, but I know of one if you’re still looking.”
Without looking at him, I wrote some things in the blueprints and mumbled in response, “I’m working on getting my ex-wife to design it for me. She’s the best in the business and I trust her with the job.”
“Yeah, of course. Go with someone you trust,” He agreed before chuckling low, “It’s good that you and your ex are on good terms. That don’t usually happen.”
I laughed softly, looking up from the blueprints, “Well, we have a kid together. We need to be on good terms for our son’s sake.”
I stood up straight and fixed my jacket, as my phone vibrated I pulled it from my pocket to see a text, I responded before looking back at Roger, “I have to get going, but I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity to meet you. I’m sure we’ll be seeing each other again soon.”
I extended my hand and he shook it, “Good meeting you, Matt. If there’s any issues I’ll be sure to give you a call.”
I nodded before exiting the room and finding Will who was chatting with some of the workers. I approached him and gripped on his shoulder, “Come on, brother. Let these men work, I’m sure they don’t want you keeping them from their job.”
“Aw, come on, Matty. We’re just having a chat,” Will smirked before waving a hand to the men, “See you later, boys.”
We headed out of the building and down to my car that I had drove here. I explained the issues that Roger and I discussed, then of course the topic of Alexandra arised as we settled in the BMW.
“So, have Alexandra decided whether or not she wants to design the building or not?” Will asked ever so subtly.
I shook my head, “She hasn’t responded at all. No calls, messages, nothing. When I dropped Thomas off over the weekend she didn’t bring it up and the last thing I want to do is push her.”
Will shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly, “Maybe you need to ask her again?”
“No... I want her to do this because she wants to, not because I pressure her.” I truly wanted Alexandra as the interior designer of my building, I knew what she was capable of more than anyone. I didn’t want just anyone working on this, I wanted her. “It’s a lot to ask of her, Will. I need to give her time to think about it.”
“Giving her a big fat paycheck seems like a good deal,” He joked but I couldn’t bring myself to laugh.
I knew why this was hard for her. It was my fault that she found it so difficult to be around me, I wanted it to become easier one day and maybe it would be but right now everything was so fresh for her... and me.
“Working for your ex-husband who had an affair isn’t the ideal situation,” I explained to him as I stopped at a red light, groaning in frustration, “I did her wrong, I fell in love with someone else while I was married to her and that’s just about the most hurtful thing you can do to anyone.”
This time Will didn’t respond, maybe he realized that his younger brother was a complete asshole and there was no way in the world to defend me. That’s the conclusion I had come to for a while now.
“Why are you so adamant on this, Matt?” He asked me suddenly, “Are you doing this because you genuinely want her to design the building or because you’re trying to subside your guilt of cheating on her? You think giving her a job is going to make up for your infidelity?”
As the light turned green, I shot him a quick glare before beginning to drive again, “You’re lucky I’m driving or else I would punch you right now. That is a ludicrous thing to say.”
“I’m just wondering what the reasons behind it are...”
“The reason is because I care about her, Will. Not only do I trust her with this, but I don’t want her to think I only valued her opinion because we were married.” I began to explain but nothing I said out loud would ever express how I felt about this whole thing on the inside.
Since I had spoken to Alexandra at her house a few days ago, offering her this opportunity, she hadn’t mentioned a single thing. Maybe she had been doing the same thing that Will was doing right now - wondering what my intentions were and if I had offered this for all the wrong reasons.
I was beginning to see things clearly and realize that there was only one thing that I could do at this point. I had to speak to Alexandra again, I had to get her to realize that she was the only one I wanted for the job, that I was offering purely for professional reasons and nothing personal.
Maybe then she would see things from a different light.