Chapter 1: Six Months
I was raised to know that fairytale only exist in books. Nothing in my life was ever picture perfect nor did I ever have things easy. My dad was an amazing dad when he wanted to be, and ninty percent of the time he was, but when he was he chose to be that amazing dad to my brother and my brother only. Ryan is what you call the ‘perfect child.’ Growing up I just couldn’t seem to compare to him at all, I knew it, he knew it, and so did my parents. He was both a daddy’s boy and a momma’s boy, talk about a complete package. While he was succeeding in everything such as school, extra curriculars, and his part time job, I couldn’t even get past a B on a single test. Like I said, I couldn’t compare to my brother at all.
It didn’t take my parents long to realize that they had one golden child and one worthless one, then once they did my dad quickly pushed me aside to focus all of his attention and money on Ryan’s college fund. Of corse my mom agreed because as she said, ‘a good wife can never go against her husband.’
I was thirteen when I realized that fairytales were bullshit. That no matter how hard you try at something, and no matter how many times you fail, not even your own family would be there to support you. On a way I was lucky, I was raised with thick skin and I learned that lesson early in life.
Matt was never alone. Even when he was in disagreements with his siblings or his father, his family never abandoned him, no matter how badly things got he always had someone in his family there for him because the Reid’s always stuck together. He was raised with integrity and with the idea that the most important rule is that family was supposed to come first before anything else. No matter what the situation, Matt always had his family’s support.
So when everything went down with him and Alexandra, it was a huge wakeup call for him. He didn’t have the support that he once had and he was instantly faced with not only anger from Alexandra but also from her family and his family. Of course his family didn’t support Matt’s relationship with me, his father had even referred to it once as Matt having a ‘mid life crisis and ruining his life.’ Needless to say, everyone looked at me as the girl who had her claws deep into Matt and was slowly ruining his life, because all I seemed to be was a life ruiner.
For the most part, Matt remained optimistic but I knew better. I could see that it was affecting him. His sister would constantly throw digs at him, his father lectures him almost daily, Will stayed pretty silent on the matter but I’ve heard that he wasn’t too impressed with the situation either and Matt’s mother never agreed with divorce to begin with. The only one’s who really supported us was ourselves, and Amber.
Amber was oddly thrilled. She thought is was sexy and scandalous but truthfully the girl had read too erotic novels. This wasn’t anything like that, Matt and I were more than a stupid temporary romance that just happened simply because it seemed like a fun idea. We became attracted to each other and even though I hated becoming attached to people, I fell in love with a man who was already taken. A lot of people didn’t stand for it, the odd part about it was that I would be the one blamed even though I wasn’t the one who was married.
The only thing good that came out of this entire situation was that Matt and I stood by each other endlessly, we didn’t let anyone’s negatively affect us and we we happy for the most part. As happy as two adulter’s could be.
Even after six months, it seemed like the novelty of the entire situation hadn’t worn off at all. It was all romance all the time. Aside from the stress of Matt’s divorce, life inside of our little bubble was fantastic. He spent nights at my new apartment, which he had insisted that I get after Alexandra showed up one night raging at me, and I spent plenty of nights at his new place. Every morning we would wake to the same routine.
Because nothing really starts off the day like good morning sex. I was beginning to think that Matt was right about everything, the hardest part was over and from here on out maybe everything would be a fairytale because right now everything felt pretty damn good.
Except the sun beaming on my face. Ugh. Why is the sun waking me up at... 10:13am.
I squinted at the alarm clock as I buried my face against Matt’s pillow, groaning in objection of starting the day already. We were up late last night, really late. I should be sleeping in until 2pm. I shouldn’t be awake right now. My body sunk into the mattress of Matt’s King-size bed and I pulled the blankets to my chest, looking over to his side to see that he wasn’t there. I could hear the water running the the bathroom and I rolled over on my back, letting out a sigh of happiness. If this wasn’t what living a fairytale was like, I don’t know what was.
I heard the water turn off in the bathroom and I rubbed my face, knowing that I wasn’t anything near a gorgeous sight in the morning. Though Matt has been seeing me almost every morning for the past 6 months, he continuously told me that I looked beautiful I doubted that anyone women felt pretty in the mornings.
I glanced out at the balcony door, one thing I loved about Matt’s new house was that is was on the beach. His room had the balcony that had the perfect view overlooking the beach and it was stunning. Of course the house was smaller than the house he had with Alexandra, but he said that most of the house was redone by Alexandra because she always wanted to upgrade. She always wanted more. On his own, Matt kept things to a minimum, he had things elegant but the way he wanted them with a classy limit. Either way it was absolutely amazing in my opinion.
“How about a morning skinny dip?” I heard Matt’s voice say and I looked over to see him standing in the doorway of the bathroom wearing his boxers. His thick brown hair was wet from the shower and his chest glistened making him look even better than I thought was possible.
I giggled in response to his ridiculous comment, rolling my eyes playfully. Never once did we skinny dip on the public beach, so his comment was invalid. “You wish.”
“I do...” He admitted, kneeling onto the bed and causing the mattress to dip by his weight, ”Or, we could stay in bed for a while longer and we could have some pre-birthday celebrations?”
As Matt crawled onto the bed, he made his way towards me. I leaned up on my elbows with an eyebrow raised, “Your birthday isn’t until this weekend... It’s a little early to celebrate, don’t you think?”
He shook his head in objection and in on swift movement he slid under the blankets and pulled my already naked body close to him, “It’s never too early to celebrate when it means that I get to have sex with you.”
I gave him a look and let my elbows drop, falling down onto the mattress instantly, “I don’t know, Matt. I’m quite exhausted from our activities last night.”
It was all a teasing matter. I already knew that we would end up having sex again anyway, we always did. But that didn’t make the teasing any less fun. One of the things that I loved most about my relationship with Matt was that it felt like we could be both serious and fun at the same time. I’ve never had this kind of connection with anyone before so it was unlike anything I’ve ever felt.
“Okay, that’s fine... Then you relax and let me do the work, baby.”
Baby. Ugh. I still swooned every time he called me baby.
Suddenly and without warning, Matt ducked under the blanket and my eyes widened, beginning to laugh. “Matt!” I felt his hands slide across my breasts slowly as he moved his way down my body, allowing his lips to graze every every inch until he reached my hips.
I bit my lip hard and looked down to see the figure of Matt under the blankets while his lips trailed soft kisses against my inner thigh. I closed my eyes, tilting my head back in pleasure as his head moved between my legs and began to work his magic.
“Can I pick him up today after work?” I hear Matt ask over the phone in the opposite room while I pull on my shirt after drying off from my shower. After a slight moment of silence I hear Matt sigh in frustration, “Alexandra, I haven’t seen him in over a month!”
I frowned to myself, knowing that Matt was struggling with the repercussions of no longer being with Alexandra. He seen Thomas less - a lot less. Alexandra naturally made all of the decisions and it seemed like more of a revenge plot for her to tell him when Matt could and couldn’t see his son. Either way, it was tearing Matt up and I felt partly responsible.
“How about this weekend then? I’d like to have him for my birthday.” Matt managed to keep his composure but then I heard him snap suddenly, “For fuck sakes, Alex. Your parents can take him a different weekend!”
I stepped out of the bathroom slowly and leaned against the door frame, watching as Matt ran his fingers through his hair and paced his bedroom with the look of annoyance clear on his face. Alexandra hasn’t exactly been fair during this divorce, it haven’t been finalized yet and at the beginning Thomas was spending equal time with the both of them but slowly Matt was getting less and less time with him. It was unfair to say the least, but I was optimistic that once they had the papers signed and their lawyers met, everything would be figured out.
“Alexandra?” Matt paused for a moment before repeating her name into the phone, "Alexandra?” He suddenly threw the phone onto the bed with such force that I shifted my eyes onto him questioningly. His gaze moved to me and he sighed, “She hung up on me. She told me that Thomas is going with Donald and Deborah this weekend so I can’t have him, ‘maybe soon.’”
He mocked her words and I frowned at him. Donald and Deborah are Alexandra’s parents which I’m sure bothered Matt even more giving that he wasn’t too fond of Alexandra’s father, though now Donald wasn’t too fond of Matt either. After Alexandra told her family about Matt’s affair, her entire family blew up at him in the worst possible way. Her father went to Matt’s father and threatened to make Reid Enterprises look badly, Alexandra’s brother Brad showed up to fight Matt but failed terribly. I guess he didn’t know that Matt could throw a good punch because Brad was the one who ended up with the broken nose - leaving Matt to look like the bad guy once again. It was one bad thing after another and up until now the only consistent good thing that Matt had was Thomas.
“I’m sorry, Matt... Are you sure there’s no other way? I mean, you’re his dad. You should have a say.” I attempted to comfort him but I knew there wasn’t much I could do or say that would be able to make things right in this situation.
Matt simply shook his head, “No, that would cause more harm than good... I need to play my cards right and just let her have her way. Hopefully eventually she’ll stop being a prick.”
Giving him a small smile, I nodded my head slowly. He had patience and that was important in this situation, I had to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to be as patient as he was being but I respected that about him.
“Good for you. I’m proud of you,” I leaned up and gave him a quick peck before walking out of his bedroom, “I need to get going though. I’m meeting Amber and we’re continuing the never ending job hunt.”
“Ah, yes. That.” I heard Matt following behind me and as I grabbed my bag, I turned to face him, “Allison, I’m sorry I can’t get you a job at the office... You know I’d love getting to work with you every day. Seeing you in sexy little pencil skirts and big glasses with the thick black rims.”
Matt’s smirk made me laugh but I managed to compose myself long enough to place my hands against his chest and shake my head, “First of all, I don’t wear glasses. So that whole big glasses with the thick rims with some sort of weird fantasy thing for you... And second, you and I working at your family business is an instant no.”
“Matt, your family hates me.” I reminded him, though I had no idea why he had to be reminded. They made it clear any time they were around me that I was nothing but a home wrecker.
“They don’t hate you, they just...” Matt paused and took a deep breath, placing his hands on his hips as he looked down at me, focusing on my eyes while he attempting to find a way to finish his sentence, “Allison... One day they’ll realize that I love you and that you’re not going anywhere.”
I managed a small smile, “The point is, I’m with you because I love you. Not to take advantage of your family perks. I can get a job on my own...”
“Mm... I love that about you,” Matt cupped my face in his hands and pressed his lips against my forehead, “If you need anything, just let me know, okay?”
I nodded my head in response as we pulled apart, “Got it. Thank you.”
The truth of the matter is that I’ve already taken far too much from Matt and I hated myself for it. After obviously losing my job of watching Thomas, I hadn’t gotten a job since. It seemed nearly impossible for people to even consider me and given that my only reference was Alexandra, I’m sure that any time I went for an interview and they called her to inquire about my work ethic she had plenty to say. So the past 6 months have been rough financially. If it weren’t for Matt I would be living on the streets, literally. I hated having to rely on him, he had even went to the extent of moving me to a different apartment and buying me groceries weekly but the last thing I wanted was to take advantage.
I wanted and needed a job to gain my independence back. Matt has been the most wonderful person in the world, but he deserves better than some jobless girl who no employer will even look at.
“Bartender,” Amber said as she leaned across the table with a smirk on her face like she had just figured out the solution to all of my problems, “No one will give a shit if you stole your bosses husband, they might even find that kind of thing kinky. Who knows.”
I rolled my eyes and leaned back in my chair, sipping on my iced tea. I wasn’t too fond of the idea at all, “I’m not sure...”
“What’s wrong with being a bartender? You need to make drinks, no education needed, and if you’re well liked... Well, show a little cleavage,” Amber grinned and shot me a wink, ”Plus, you can get tips. Allison, you’re a babe. You’ll definitely get tips.”
I wasn’t concerned about tips, showing some cleavage was something else I wasn’t too concerned about either, but Matt was to thing constantly cross my mind, “Matt works during the day and if I work as a bartender we’d never get to see each other...”
“You’re seeing the negative, Alli.” She said with a sigh before raising an eyebrow, “You wanted to go back to school, right? School during the day, work during the night. It’s the perfect system.”
Amber had a point, but nothing seemed perfect about barely getting to see Matt. There had to be some other job that I could get that would employee me during the day or even part time so I could do part time studies.
“I’ll think about it,” I told Amber with a slight nod, hoping to drop the conversation. I already had a few more interviews set up this afternoon and at this point I was even looking in to going to school full time and getting a student loan to get by until afterwards.
I stirred my straw around my drink as Amber tapped her fingers against the table, “So, tell about lover boy.”
I let out a soft laugh, playfully narrowing my eyes at her, “What’s there to tell? We’re together, we’re happy, and he’s literally perfect.”
“Wow, Allison Prescott is head over heels in love. I never thought I would see the day,” She teased me, taking a fry from her plate and popping it into her mouth, “You’re practically like a stepmother now. How weird is that?”
I hadn’t really thought of the like that. Matt and I have only been dating for six months, plus being a step mom would require Matt and I to be married which was far from happening, of course Amber looked at any possible way to make a situation weird. Being so early into a relationship, the last thing I wanted to even think about was a huge commitment like marriage. Jumping into things like that so quickly is what ruins the good sometimes. Of course I am one hundred percent committed to Matt and our relationship, but marriage isn’t even in the far future right now.
“We’ve been together six months, Amber. And Tommy is with him mom more than anything,” I shrugged my shoulders slightly. That wasn’t Matt’s choice, he wanted Thomas as much as possible. “If Matt and I last forever, and I hope we do, I’d be more than happy to be a big part of Thomas’ life. But right now I wouldn’t even dare to interfere or even comment... Not with the feelings Alexandra has towards me.”
Amber nodded her head understanding, “Can you blame her? You did steal her husband.”
“First of all, I didn’t steal him.” I pointed out, “I get why she hates me, I really do and if I were her I would hate me too... That’s why I’m minding my own business and letting them deal with their issues on their own. I’m barely even commenting unless I have to.”
“That’s really smart because you’d just end up being a step-monster,” Amber started laughing and I couldn’t even manage to force a smile. This entire situation was already too complicated to joke about, as much as I would like for things to be easy and positive between everyone I knew that it wasn’t even possible.
A ding came from Amber’s phone and she glanced at it quickly before quickly shoving it back into her pocket casually. She could try to hide it as much as she wanted but I already knew who was texting her, the exact person who wouldn’t be texting me, the person who was almost as disgusted with me as Alexandra was.
My best friend. Former best friend. She was another one of the people who thought I was a horrible person for my involvement with Matt. She didn’t hide her disgust with me at all and even during my affair with Matt it hadn’t crossed my mind that Lauren would look at me differently because of it.
Lauren’s dad had cheated on her mom with a younger woman, an employee at his firm. It had nearly tore her family apart. At the time we were fifteen and the worst part was that I was with her when she found out. I was the one standing next to her when she went to her dad’s office to ask for a ride to the mall and found him with his secretary shirtless, straddling him.
I remember vividly how broken she was, it was impossibly for the memory to leave my mind because she had stayed at my house and I comforted her while she cried herself to sleep. But somehow after 5 years the memory had slipped into the back of my mind and I did the exact same thing that the secretary did.
After lashing out at me when she found out, Lauren hadn’t spoken to me since. She said that I was ‘just like her,’ and I understood why she was angry with me. I never knew that so much bad would come out of something that made me so happy. The happiest that I’ve ever been in my life.
“Allison?” Amber’s voice caught my attention and I looked up at her, realizing that I was staring off in thought. “Are you all right?”
I raised an eyebrow before nodding, “Oh, yeah... I’m fine.”
Best friends always seem to know better though. They see through your fake ‘I’m okay’ or ′I’m fine,′ and that’s exactly what Amber did. We’ve been friends long enough to know each other better.
“She’ll come around eventually,” Amber finally said, her voice quieter than usual. I knew that she felt in the middle with all of this but she didn’t have to. She never had to choose between Lauren and I. “It just reminds her of some bad memories, that’s all, Alli.”
I nodded my head slowly, “I know. I should have considered her... I just... It didn’t even cross my mind, Amber. Truthfully, I had been so caught up in everything else that I didn’t even think about the fact that Lauren had been in a similar situation just on a different side of it.”
“She’s just angry with the world, it isn’t your fault. Don’t be glum, sugarplum.” Amber grinned at me and I couldn’t help but smile at her words, gently smacking her shoulder.
Though I wasn’t sure if my friendship with Lauren was redeemable at this point, I wouldn’t give up on the hope I held on to. She and I had been friend almost as long as Amber and I.
“So, what are your plans for Matt’s birthday this weekend?”
I couldn’t hide my disappointment as Amber reminded me of the dreaded plans that had been made, “Well, we’re going to dinner at his parent’s house...”
Amber made a face that perfectly represented what I was feeling inside, “Wait... What? His parents? The same parents who basically hate you and think you’re an absolute slut?”
I nodded my head slightly, “Yup. That’s the ones...”
To say that Matt’s parents weren’t fond of me would be an understatement. Not only did they adore Alexandra but they also liked the idea of Matt being with an intelligent woman who had just as much to offer to the relationship as he did. I didn’t fit the description of what they wanted for their son and for the most part I didn’t fit in to their family at all - not to mention that my first impression was horrible, so I dreaded being around them because I never knew what they were going to say to me or about me. And they weren’t the kind of people who hid what they felt to spare anyone’s feelings.
“You could always bail and go somewhere alone with Matt...” Amber suggested but that wasn’t even an option for me.
“No way, I’m not keeping him from his family. Good or bad, I’m going to put one foot in front of the other and hope that one day they end up liking me...” I forced a smiling, sounding way too optimistic for my own good. But in order to get through a single dinner I had to at least try and look at things with a positive attitude. “And it’s for Matt, regardless of how everything has turned out this is his family and he loves them. Just like I love him, so I need to make the effort and try.”
Amber was quiet for a moment before nodding her head, “Your optimism is kind of gross. Is this what relationships do to you?”
The soft sound of laughter emitted from my throat and I furrowed my brows at her words, “Call it love, if you will. Sometimes positivity is a good thing.”
Being with Matt was certainly a change for me but being optimistic wasn’t a part of it. Our relationship taught me many things such as; it’s okay to ask for help and the people who really care about you will be there for you nice matter what. With Matt I learned what it felt like to be loved for the first time and the incredible euphoric feeling it ignited within me. I’ve cared about someone else more than I’ve ever cared for myself and that’s why I would sit through any miserable dinner just so he could spend his birthday with everyone important in his life.
All he needed now was Thomas.