Chapter 4: Gold Digger
“Okay, Tommy. Be really quiet...” I whispered as Thomas and I tiptoed into Matt’s bedroom with a cupcake that had a candle in the center. I had made sure to sneak out of bed and get Thomas to wake Matt up for his birthday this morning, which made Thomas overly excited. I was surprised I kept him quiet for as long as I had. The entire time we had been in the kitchen to get the cupcake Thomas had been jumping up and down squealing "It’s daddy’s Birthday!”
I had been worried that Matt was going to wake before we got to surprise him. While I held the cupcake that had a lit candle, Thomas held onto a Birthday gift I had for Matt, along with the card he had colored on for him. We walked towards the bed as I gave Thomas a little nudge, we both yelled "Happy Birthday!” at the same time.
Thomas continued with, “Daddy, up! It’s your birfday!”
I giggled as Matt’s eyes slowly opened as he groaned, rolling onto his back and exposing his toned chest. His thick brown hair was messy from sleeping and as he sat up in the bed, he cracked a smile at both of us.
His voice came out rough, still sounding sleepy but so sexy sounding to my ears, “My two favorite people. The best way to start my day...”
“Make a wish, daddy!” Thomas grinned as he pointed to the cupcake in my hands.
Matt leaned over and chuckled lightly, “I don’t know what to wish for. I already have everything I need.” As he messed up Thomas’ hair he winked at me and leaned closer, blowing out the candle. “You two, up. Come on, this bed is big enough for three of us.”
I laughed softly and set the cupcake on the night stand, picking up Thomas and helping him onto the bed before hopping onto the mattress myself. Matt pulled Thomas onto his lap and look at the gift bag and card in his hands, “What’s this, buddy?”
“It’s for you!” Thomas beamed, passing the card to Matt first.
I had bought a card at the store that said Happy Birthday Dad on the front, and the inside read:
I know I’m truly blessed,
To have a dad like you,
Who loves me and is there for me,
Through everything I do.
I treasure the memories we share,
And as each day does pass,
I’m the luckiest kid in the whole world,
To have the greatest dad.
I had given the card to Thomas yesterday and he had colored on it to add his own special vibe to it. The entire inside of the card looked like a rainbow threw up in the cutest way.
As Matt opened the card, he made an exaggerated gasping noise to excite Thomas, “Wow! This is the coolest card. Tommy, is this from you?”
Thomas quickly nodded his head, “Yeah, daddy! I colored really hard!”
“You did so good, buddy. Thank you, I love it.” Matt wrapped his arms around Thomas and hugged him tightly, “I think you color better than any of the other two and a half year old kids.”
I couldn’t help but admire the way Matt was with Thomas. He was an amazing dad and it was an extremely attractive trait about him. The way he adored Thomas like he was the brightest star in the sky, it was the kind of trait that I wanted the man in my life to have. The way he looked at Thomas spoke volumes, who knows what we had to look forward to one day.
“I bought you a little something,” I smiled at Matt as I sat next to him, passing the gift bag to him. It wasn’t anything big or extravagant, considering my recent issue with getting a job I wasn’t able to afford what Matt deserved but hopefully I would be able to one day.
Matt smiled at me and leaned in to kiss my cheek, “Thank you, baby.”
“You don’t even know what it is yet,” I laughed softly, leaning my head against Matt’s shoulder.
He simply shrugged, “Whatever it is, it’s from you. So I already know that I’ll love it.”
“What is it, daddy?” Thomas asked him, trying to peek into the gift bag.
Matt laughed in response to Thomas, “I don’t know yet. Let’s look together, okay?”
Thomas nodded and together he and Matt took the gift paper out of the gift bag. As Matt reached into the bag, he pulled out navy blue tie. It wasn’t anything amazing or elegant like Matt usually wore, it was just a regular tie from a discount store but the color stood out to me and I couldn’t help but imagine how amazing it would look on him.
The realization of how lame and cheap the gift was hit me, causing me to hurry to explain, “I know it isn’t much... It’s the best I could do until I get a job, but I thought it would look really nice on you, an--”
“Allison, Allison. Hey, calm down.” Matt chuckled and pecked my lips gently, “I love it. Thank you. I told you not to get me anything at all, remember? I have you. That’s all I could ever want.” I could feel my lips itching to smile and Matt held the tie against his chest, grinning at Thomas, “What do you think, Tommy? I think I’m going to wear it today.”
“I like it!” Thomas nodded his head swiftly, but I became mortified.
“Today? But... We’re going to dinner today.” I said softly, swallowing the lump in my throat that had formed, “At your parent’s house.”
“That’s exactly why I want to wear it today. It’s special, it’s from my girl and it’s my birthday.” Matt wrapped an arm around me and pulled me against him while Thomas laid on his chest, “What’s the big deal, babe?”
The big deal is that this tie was bought at a discount store and not a high end store. It isn’t near as good quality as Matt deserves and if anyone would notice it would be his family. For all I know they would ask him to take it off at the dinner table. Surely, it wasn’t to their standards. But I couldn’t tell them that, I just had to act like I wasn’t a nervous wreck every time I was near them.
“Nothing, I just... I thought you had your clothing picked for the day.”
I could feel Matt’s chest vibrating from his silent chuckle, it somehow managed to sooth me. “I’m wearing a pair of pants, a nice shirt, and a tie. I’ll just wear this nice one instead of my usual boring black ones.”
He was charming with his words, making sure to make me feel better. But in my eyes and I’m sure everyone else’s, I wasn’t worthy of Matt’s love. Maybe in time he would see that too.
My hair was straightened and I wore a navy blue dress that hugged my body nicely. It rested just above my knees and it matched Matt’s tie, so in the cheesiest way possible we were matching like any other lame couple. But I actually loved it. Matt wore black pants and a white dress shirt that he had rolled up to his elbows, making him look even sexier which I didn’t even know was possible. He decided to not wear a jacket because it was warm outside and it caused his navy tie to stand out more.
Thomas was a mini version of Matt. He wasn’t dressed like him but he wore a red plaid shirt with black jeans and his brown hair was combed forward. He looked devilishly handsome just like his dad.
The entire drive to Matt’s parent’s house, Matt had his hand rested on my thigh while his free hand stayed on the steering wheel. He would steal glances like he did every time he did when we drove together, but I think today he sensed my nervousness.
As he pulled into the long driveway I could feel my heart plummet in my chest and the oxygen practically leaving my body, but as his grip on my thigh tightened I looked over at him and he smiled, “Relax. It’ll be fine.”
I hope so.
I returned the smile and leaned over the kiss him softly, “I love you.”
“I love you too,” He responded before we both pulled away and got out of the car.
Matt went to the back to get Thomas out of his seat while I turned to look at the huge house lit up in front of me. The house filled with people who literally hated my guts. This was a dream come true - sarcasm intended. Matt’s parent’s had a gorgeous fountain in front of their home, the driveway was paved with stone instead of what most people had - pavement. It was a gorgeous home.
I heard small footsteps and looked next to me to see Thomas running past me and towards the fountain which he apparently loved. As he reached it he stopped and dipped his hand in the water, laughing. “It’s cold!”
“Thomas, come on. We need to get inside and see Papa and Grandma.” Matt replied, taking my hand in his as we walked towards the front door. Thomas obeyed his dad and walked next to us.
“Daddy, will we have cake? I like cake a lot!”
Matt laughed, “You need to asked Grandma. This is her dinner.”
I was too focused on Thomas’ adorable behavior that I hadn’t noticed Matt knocking until the door swung open. I turned to see Matt’s dad standing there, looking as formal as ever in his suit. It almost seemed like he was still working.
“Matthew! Happy Birthday, son.” He smiled at Matt and gave him one of those manly handshakes for men who pretend to be too masculine to hug.
Matt nodded his head, “Thank you.”
Henry then looked down to Thomas and opened his arms wide, “My little man! How’s my boy?”
“Good, Papa!” Thomas explained in an excited tone, “Does Grandma have cake?”
“Of course she does! This is a birthday. Come,” Henry said as he took Thomas’ hand and walked away with him.
I began to walk inside when I heard Matt mutter under his breath, “Fucker.”
Turning to look at him, I knew he was referring to the fact that his dad didn’t notice me but I had ignored it because I was used to it. I didn’t want this spoiling his day.
“It’s not okay, Allison. It drives me insane that they act like you don’t even exist,” He argued, shaking his head in frustration.
I fell silent, allowing my head to fall forward. He was allowed to feel however it was that he felt, but I wouldn’t say things to make him vote between his family and make things worse.
“How about we go and see if your mom needs help with anything?” I suggested, Matt silently nodded and began to lead me through the house, stopping at the kitchen where his mom was with standing with Will.
She turned around to see who was there and lit up at the sight of Matt, “Oh, my Birthday Boy!”
Evelyn scurried over to Matt and wrapped her arms around him, embracing him tightly. Matt hugged her back gently, “Mother, let’s not make it a big deal.”
“But it is a big deal. My baby boy is Twenty-Seven!” She squeezed Matt’s cheeks, causing him to grimace slightly, “You grown into such a handsome man... But I can’t say too much, I need to save it for my speech later.”
Matt’s eyes suddenly widened, “Speech? What speech? Mother...”
“Oh, you didn’t hear?” Will’s voice chimed in, “Mother and Father want everyone to talk about how amazing you are. Weird that we haven’t done this any other year, maybe you need an ego boost after your... recent decisions.”
Will smirked at Matt as he took a sip of the wine that was in his glass. Red wine. I love red wine. I couldn’t help but wonder if Matt had any say in the food or beverages chosen for today, he knew how much I loved red wine.
Will’s comment made me feel uncomfortable and Evelyn stood between both brother’s to interfere with the hard glare they were sending one another. “Do not go there today, William. This is your brother’s birthday, happy times. Okay?”
“Of course,” Will smiled all too sarcastically. I noticed Will’s eyes wander towards mine and he gave me a gentle smile, “Allison.”
I returned the smile but before I could say anything, Matt began to pull me out of the kitchen and into the dining room where the table was already set. Thomas was laughing with Matt’s dad and to my surprise Tristan was sitting at the table with a girl who had black hair.
“And here I was thinking this was a family dinner,” Matt laughed as he smack the back of Tristan’s head to get his attention.
Tristan quickly turned around, his brows furrowed, “Hey, you like me more than your actual brother. Just say you’re welcome and get on with your life.”
“That’s true,” Matt shrugged and motioned towards the girl beside Tristan, “Going to introduce me?”
“Oh, yeah!” Tristan smirked and gave Matt ‘the look.’ I have seen that damn look so much in the past six months that it was sickening. He always gave that look when he was insistent that he was going on get laid. “This is Daisy.”
The girl’s smile faltered and she stared blankly at Tristan, “Jenny.”
“Who’s Jenny?” Tristan responded, seeming more confused than anyone.
“I’m Jenny, you asshole!” The girl raised her voice and at her words Tristan look distressed.
Matt casually cleared his throat and rested a hand on Tristan’s shoulder, looking towards the infuriated girl, “Look, Jenny. I understand that this guy can be a handful, but my two year old son is right across the table, so please try and keep your use of words child friendly.”
The girl, Jenny, huffed and folded her arms across her chest. I averted my attention to Matt as she and Tristan began to have a heated conversation, “Well, this is chaos.”
“Welcome to my life, sweetheart.” He winked at me and guided my towards the end of the table, pulling a chair out for me, “Take a seat.”
I smiled at him and sat down while Matt took a seat next to me, sitting at the head of the table with Tristan on the other side. The spot on the opposite side of me was free and I wondered if these chairs were claimed or if it was a free for all. I looked to the other end of the table where Henry was sitting with Thomas on his lap, just as Amelia strolled through the door with her fiancée Ian.
Amelia walked over to the end of the table where Matt was and kissed his cheek, “Happy Birthday, big brother.”
“Thank you,” Matt smiled at her as she walked to the corner of the dining room and set a gift on the little table.
Ian shook Matt’s hand and gave Tristan a pat on the back before he and Amelia sat down next to Tristan’s lady friend on the opposite side of the table.
Thomas looked over at Amelia and raised his eyebrows, “Auntie Milly, do you have a baby in your belly?”
Amelia began to laugh and Henry nodded his head, “Thomas, you’re going to have a little cousin in a few months.”
“How’s the baby going to get out of there?” Thomas asked in confused voice, causing everyone to fall silent.
Everyone started looking back and forth to one another, but it was Tristan was the first one who to speak. “Well, Thomas... In a few months your Aunt is going to--”
“Tristan. Shut it.” Matt threatened. He quickly looked back to Thomas and gave him a little smile, “Grandma told me she has cake.”
Thomas instantly became distracted, his eyes growing wide at Matt’s words, “Cake!”
“After dinner though,” Matt pointed out. Shifting his attention back to Amelia, “How is the pregnancy going? Have you chosen a name for the little guy yet?”
Amelia smiled and looked at Ian with a large amount of love in her eyes, “We’ve decided on Tucker.”
“Oh, that’s lovely!” Evelyn awed as she entered the dining room with Will, both of them carrying a platter of food and setting it on the table.
“Very nice,” Will added.
Everyone agreed and complimented their choice of baby name while taking their seat at the table. The only free seat left by the time Will sat down was by me and I could see Matt rolling his eyes.
I had kept quiet for long enough and decided to attempt to throw in a compliment to try and ease the tension that surrounded me, “This looks amazing, Evelyn. Thank you.”
Evelyn forced a very little smile, obviously for the sake of Matt, “Thank you. Enjoy, everyone.”
After about ten minutes everyone had their plates full of potatoes, chicken, carrot, rutabaga, cabbage and everything else that was evolved in this extremely large meal. Bottles of red wine went around the table while Thomas had orange juice, then a thought had crossed my mind - If Matt is drinking also, how the hell are we getting home?
“Matt?” I gently placed my hand on Matt’s arm, trying to get his attention.
He was in the middle of a conversation with Tristan, both of them laughing so he just quickly glanced at me, “One minute, babe.”
I nodded and leaned back in my seat, taking a piece of carrot and sliding it off of the fork with my teeth. Everyone was mingling. Matt with Tristan and Jenny. Amelia was talking with Ian and her parents about the baby, and of course Thomas was in his own little world playing with his food and laughing at himself.
“You’re uncomfortable,” Will’s voice said from beside me.
I looked over at him, becoming more alert and quickly shook my head, “Oh no... I’m not. I’m just...”
“Allison, I’m not stupid. I can imagine this is difficult for you,” He lifted his wine glass to his lips and took a long sip before setting it back on the table. “You’re forced to have dinner with the very people who make you feel your very worst. How could you possibly feel comfortable?”
I took a deep breath and frowned. Of course I was uncomfortable, but I wasn’t forced to be here. Matt had said that we could have spent his birthday alone but I didn’t want that. I wanted him to be with his family.
“How are you doing?” Will suddenly asked out of nowhere.
My brows furrowed, taken off guard by his question. No one asked me that. I was the one who had caused this, Matt was the victim, not me. I was the venomous witch who caused all of the pain.
“What?” I stuttered.
Will slowed his words down but repeated his question, “How are you doing?”
“I’m... I’m good.” I nodded my head slowly.
He stared at me silently for a moment, even when I broke the gaze and stared down at my plate. The chatter and laughter around us continued but came to a sudden stop when the sound of silverware clinging against glass caused everyone to fall silent.
We looked towards the far end of the table where Evelyn was standing with her wine glass in hand, smiling at Matt, “My youngest boy...”
“Oh god,” I heard Matt mutter under his breath.
“I’ve had this planned for weeks, what I’ve wanted to say to you... But seeing you and telling you how proud of you I am of your success in business makes me so much more emotional when I’m looking you in the eye,” She wiped a tear that wasn’t even there for exaggeration and took a deep breath, “At just twenty-seven years old you’ve already accomplished so much in life. You’ve followed in your father’s footsteps, you have a beautiful son... I know you will achieve so much more in the years to come.”
“Mother...” Matt said softly, awkwardly scratching the back of his neck. He obviously felt uncomfortable having all of this compliments randomly thrown at him.
His mother laughed, “I’m almost done... I’m just so honored to be the mother of such a sweet, caring, and extremely handsome young man. And although you don’t always make the best decisions...”
“Like that hideous tie,” Amelia joked, causing everyone to laugh.
As the entire table burst into laughter, both Matt and I fell silent. I lowered my head in embarrassment for Matt, I knew that he shouldn’t have worn it in front of his family.
“Amelia,” Matt said quietly.
“Oh, lighten up, Matt.” She said, still giggling, “You can’t lie. The thing is tacky as hell. Why would you even wear it?”
Matt didn’t get a chance to speak before Thomas answered, “Dats Allison’s tie! She gave it to daddy.”
That might have even been worse than the humiliating laughter when they were making fun of the gift I had given. Now they had realized that I had given him a ‘hideous’ gift and were looking back and forth to one another waiting for someone to speak.
“I love it,” Matt suddenly said with a smile. He reached towards my hand that was rested beside my plate and took it in his, squeezing it gently, “Just as much as I love you.”
I could feel my heart pounding in my chest and I could barely manage to smile back at Matt due the acceleration of my heart from his word choice in front of his family. I could feel a blush making its way to my cheek and only good moments could only last for so long.
“No matter how much you claim to... Uhm, fancy someone. You shouldn’t wear things that make you look like a homeless person,” Henry chimed in, shooting me a glare, “Perhaps if your mistress here had a job she would be able to afford a gift for you. I assume you’re still paying for her apartment and the rest of her way through life?”
Matt’s hands smacked against the surface of the table, the sound of the silverware clattering together echoing slightly through the dining room, ”Enough. Have some respect, will you? I will do what I want, with who I want and you will treat my girlfriend with respect because that’s what she deserves.”
“Not exactly,” Amelia scoffed.
I glanced towards Amelia, seeing her sliding her fork around her plate while Ian whispered in her ear.
Matt shot her a glare and pulled his hand from mine, flailing his arms as his leaned back in his chair, “Well? If you have something to say then go ahead and say it, Amelia.”
“Trust me, you don’t want to hear what I have to say about your girlfriend, Matt.”
“Tell me.” Matt insisted, keeping his gaze firmly on Amelia.
Amelia set down her fork and looked at Matt, “Fine. I think that she is a gold digger. She only wants your money and you let her waltz into your life, ruin your family, all because you wanted a change. I mean, come on Matt. Look at her - she’s trash. I’d be willing to bet that the girl would drop you in a second for a wealthier man.”
The entire time Amelia was speaking I could feel my eyes burning but I refused to let any tears fall. I wouldn’t look vulnerable in front of his family and I wouldn’t let them know exactly how much they were hurting me. That would just give them the power to hurt me more. So any time this would happen - and it would happen a lot - I would hide the emotions as best as I could and act like it didn’t phase me when really all I wanted was their acceptance.
Pathetic. I was pathetic. All I wanted was acceptance from people who would never would. It wasn’t just wishful thinking, it was impossible thinking and they wouldn’t hide their opinions about me no matter how many times Matt asked them to or no matter how kind I acted towards them.
“Don’t be rude,” I heard Will say from beside me.
“This is becomming ridiculous. Every time you’re around Allison, all of you make her feel so unwelcomed--” Matt was unable to finish his sentence when his dad cut in.
“Well, son. That’s because she is unwelcomed. You’re the one forcing her into our lives, if you’re so protective of her you might as well keep her in her own lane.” Henry shot me a disgusted glared at his final words, and just when I thought he was finished he said more, “Look at the image you’re giving this family. A girl like that doesn’t belong here. Not only does she have home wrecker written all over her, but she’s barely worth a dime.”
The room spun around me - this wasn’t the first time. The only difference was that this time things seemed to be moving faster. I’ve had a few dinners with Matt’s family before, each time something similar has happened, but this time was by far the worse and made me sick to my stomach. For the first time I felt like I was going to burst into tears and I rarely ever cried in front of people.
Putting on my usual front, I cleared my throat as Matt began to argue back with his father and I stood from the table, “Excuse me for a moment.”
The arguing continued and I slipped out of the dining room. It had become a routine of mine to escape the madness, the hatred. I did the same thing that I did every other time, after leaving the dining room I walked down the long hallway until I found the large bathroom and I stepped inside, closing the door behind me.
Matt never followed me, he probably didn’t know where I went when I left the dining room. The house had four or five different bathrooms, possibly more. So when I escaped the dining room I escaped everything until I was ready to go back.
With my back leaned against the wall, I closed my eyes tightly and finally allowed my body to give in to its vulnerability. I sobbed and felt my body vibrating from the pain I was experiencing emotionally. The words were like poison to me, making me weaker with every encounter and I wasn’t sure how much more I could take. I just wanted to be enough for them so I could be enough for Matt.
Those names were constantly ringing through my head as I slid onto the bathroom floor, crying. Maybe I was Matt’s mistress and a home wrecker, but I didn’t want him for his money. That one hurt me badly.
Look at her - she’s trash.
Amelia’s words stung and as much as I knew that Matt loved me, I knew that even he would only be able to take so much before he would give in. I wasn’t worth the fight. I’m not worth it.
I took a deep sniffle and as three light knocks came on the door my brows furrowed slightly. My hands quickly moved to my face, attempting to wipe any tears that had fallen. Whoever was out there wold not see me cry. I had to be strong about this, I could let them see me weak.
I pulled myself up from the floor and took a deep breath, Matt must have realized where I’ve been running off to every time his family attacks me at family dinners. I guess my little hiding spot has been discovered.
As I opened the door, I couldn’t hide the surprise on my face. I had been expecting to see Matt outside the door, but instead Tristan stood with his eyebrows raised at me, “May I join you, little one?”
Tristan? Of all people, why him?