Twenty-Five: The Best of Me
I sit across the desk from my dad who flew into New York as soon as he could get here, I had told him that it wasn’t urgent enough from him to go all this way but he insisted. All I really needed was a talk, something we could do over the phone but my dad is so damn extra all of the time.
Lifting the bottle to my lips, I take a sip of my beer while my dad rests his hands on the table, “So you really care about Violet then, huh?”
“I do,” I nod my head.
“She’s great... I never intended on looking at her as anything more but when Violet kept slapping it in my face I began to think she could be right,” My voice becomes quieter as I admit this to not only my dad, but to myself as well, “I’m attracted her to her, dad. But I can’t punish her for my inability to keep things simply at a friend level.”
The office seemed to be the only place I could escape to, the view is something that helps take my mind off of things and in some strange sense, I’m more relaxed here. I feel more in control of myself, which is why my dad and I are currently sitting in the empty building at nearly 1am.
My dad takes a deep breath, “You can be attracted to someone, Tommy. There’s no rule against that, it’s your actions that you need to consider. Looking and touching are two very different things.”
My response slips out without me really thinking about it, “Yet, you still did both.”
“I know, and trust me when I tell you that it’s a horrible thing to do,” I’m surprised that he admits that but he continues to elaborate, “It’s hard to find a word that works in my situation. Regret that I hurt your mother? Every day. But I can’t regret the entire situation because I have Mason and Mila now. Without everything happening the way it did, they wouldn’t be here right now.”
He has a point, I do enjoy having Mila around. Mason is another story, it really just depends on the day.
“My point is, from where you stand with these girls, take a step back and think hard about what you want... Don’t act on impulse because it could end up hurting someone in the process,” I hate to admit that my dad is making sense but that’s why I needed his advice. He’s been through this, he has had both good and bad reactions, but what I’m desperate to know is how to make this stop.
“I know what I want, dad. I want to be with Violet. But I’m guilty for even seeing Ella as more than a friend.”
“Son, I love you and I only want you to be happy, which is why I need to ask if you want Violet or the idea of being close to Jade? Because that’s not a healthy way to live in a relationship. It also wouldn’t be fair to Violet,” He tells me.
“Why do everyone keep asking that?” I mutter under my breath, “It’s like everyone sees me as some kind of fucked up guy who’s trying to find a replacement for his dead girlfriend.”
“No one thinks that, we are all just concerned that your love for Jade is influencing your choices here. I don’t know either of these girls, but I know your attachment towards Violet is due to her relationship with Jade. But are your feelings real?”
“Obviously they’re real, dad. Otherwise I wouldn’t feel so terrible about this,” I roll my eyes, becoming irritated with my dad’s stupid responses. Unlike him I have real feelings when I’m in a relationship, although I’ve only had two at this point in my life, I don’t just allow myself to be bare to just anyone.
For the first time during this conversation, my dad is silent. He leans back on the chair and plays with the cuff of his shirt, taking a deep breath. I hear the elevator operating and I stand up, wondering if I had forgotten to lock the doors behind my father. Although we never keep hard cash in the building, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone was trying to break in.
I stand from my desk and set my bottle of beer down, hurrying out of my office and to the reception area. I’m surprised to see Mason here, also with a beer in his hand. His eyes look tired and it’s obvious that he’s drunk. But why?
“Mase, what what fuck are you doing here past midnight?” I ask him.
He nearly jumps out of his shoes when he sees me, “Oh, shit... Tommy, you scared me.”
His voice is shaky and he chuckles, holding onto his chest as though he were about to have a heart attack. I roll my eyes and walk over to him, “You’re drunk. What’s going on, little brother?”
Mason rolls his eyes, heading down the hallway towards my office. It seems like this is the place we both run to when in distress. I see Mason stop at my office doorway with a confused look on his face, he looks back at me with brows raised, “Dude, I’ve drank way to much. I’m seeing dad.”
I can’t help but chuckle, “Nah, that’s really him. In the flesh.”
When I approach Mason, my dad is walking towards us, “What is with you guys? I know what’s going on with Tommy, but what about you Mason?”
“It’s Jenna, we got in a fight,” Mason sounds like a little boy who got in a fight with his first girlfriend. A heartbroken boy who allows his happiness to base around a single woman, “She said that I needed to give my opinion more on the wedding, so from there we argued about the wedding, the amount of money she’s spending on it and I told her she’s materialistic.”
This is Jenna. She has always been materialistic, but Mason knew that when he began to date her and when he proposed to her. I don’t understand why he’s so upset considering it seems like he was the one who had been angry.
“Give it time, weddings are stressful and so is money,” Dad speaks up, giving Mason a little smile and placing his hand on his shoulder, “Don’t let the small things in life come between what really matters. And that’s your fiancee.”
Mason looks over in my dad’s direction and shakes his head, “Nuh-uh, this matters. Like a whole lot because I have feelings dad,” his voice is slurring and he’s wasted beyond belief. When he slips down in my office chair, he frowns, “She said I was being obnoxious and the Mason she loves would never get upset over such trivial things.”
I try to fight the urge to give my opinion but it finds it’s way out anyway, “This seems like a really pointless argument.”
“Eh, it’s a marriage thing. There’s stupid fights and you often begin to wonder if you’re actually fighting or doing it out of habit,” My dad chuckles, “It’ll blow over, Mason.”
“Well, there’s more...”
I roll my eyes, somehow I called my dad for help and now it’s all about Mason. Even as adults he has to make everything about him. I flail my arms in annoyance, “Look, Mase. I’m sorry you had a spat with Jenna, but this isn’t about you this time. Okay? I’m having a crisis.”
“I didn’t even know dad was here! I can’t help it that I’m having issues right now and dad is comforting me,” A lot of Mason’s defense mechanism was coming from the alcohol he consumed, but I was irritated anyway. Growing up with him being the apple of everyone’s eye made it much easier for me to be bitter about his presence.
“Whatever. Go home and work out your problems on your own.”
My dad sighs softly, “Boys, I can talk to you both, alright?”
“Good,” Mason remarks, “Because I really screwed up.”
“Mason, you know I love you and I’m here to talk. But Tommy called me first and I’m going to chat with him first,” My dad breaks the surprising news to Mason who looks deeply offended by my dad’s words. God forbid the guy have to wait.
Mason stands up quickly, stumbling and dropping his beer bottle by accident, “Aw man!”
I watch as the beer spills over the expensive rug I recently invested in, closing my eyes tightly in frustration, “Fuck, Mason. You’re paying for the dry cleaners. That’s a two thousand dollar rug.”
“Who pays so much for carpet?” He reciprocates, leaning down to grab the now empty beer bottle.
As he leans down, I see a ring fall from his jacket pocket and onto the floor. Before I can react, my dad does, “Mason, what’s this?”
My dad grabs the ring and Mason falls back onto his butt, sitting on the floor now. He looks up at my dad with his arms rested on his knees, giving a careless shrug, “It’s the ring I proposed to Jenna with. I took it from her.”
“You did what?!” My dad’s voice is loud, his shock is enough for the both of us, “You didn’t actually take the engagement ring from her because of a little argument? Are you trying to ruin your relationship?”
I take a step back, holding my hands up in surrender, “You know what, I think Mason wins this battle. He needs your wisdom a hell of a lot more right now than I do.”
“Thomas. No. Just give me a--”
“Dad, it’s fine. Really. Talk to him, not just for his sake but for Jenna. God knows what this fucking idiot did,” I hold my hand up, gesturing bye to them as I walk out of my office.
I can’t help but think about how stupid my brother is and what more to the story there is. He wouldn’t just call off the engagement for no reason or over something so ridiculous. Between the two, I think Mason would be more likely to be dumped by Jenna, not the opposite way around.
I pull out my phone to text Jenna, knowing that she won’t reply but letting her know that I’m here if she needs someone to talk to.
“Just seen Mason. Not sure what’s going on with you guys but friends are friends, and I’m here if you need me.”
With no intentions on proceeding with Mason’s drama tonight, I head to my car and unlock the door. As I sit in the driver’s seat, I use my bluetooth to call Violet, the person I’m most concerned about talking to right now, the one person I really need to talk to.
When she answers the phone her voice is tired and I hear her yawn softly, “Thomas, why are you calling me so late?”
“Vi, I wanted to talk to you about earlier...” I trail off, shaking my head as I realize that it’s nearly 2am, “Jesus, I’m sorry for calling so late. I didn’t realize.”
“It’s okay, but are you?”
“I don’t know... It’s weird, you know? I want to make you happy and I want you to see how much you mean to me.” I begin to explain, “You deserve the best of me, I’m going to give that to you as long as you can just be patient with me.”
“Of course... Thomas, I know I was hard on you. I’m sorry for that...”
“Violet?” I hear a voice on the other end of the line, the voice belonging to a man and I can feel my body burning.
There’s something inside of me that can’t overcome jealousy. It has always been a part of me whether it be with my parents, my friends, or my girlfriend. I’m a jealous guy and my mind automatically goes to the worst possible scenario.
“Who’s that?” I ask, trying my best not to assume the worse or sound overly angry, but I already am. I’m past anger. Why is there a guy at Violet’s house at 2 in the fucking morning?
Violet hesitates, stuttering when she finally does speak, “Thomas, no one is here. It’s the television.”
“Don’t lie to me, Violet. Who the hell is there?” My patience is beginning to wear thin and I slam my hand onto the steering wheel, “I’m really trying to not think the worse, but I’m having trouble understanding why some guy is at your apartment at two in the god damn morning. Tell me what the hell is going on!”
I hear her taking a deep breath followed by a sniffle, she sounds distressed but all I want at this moment are answers, something that isn’t being addressed.
“WHO IS HE?!” I yell louder than I intend to, allowing all of my rage to come out in those three short words.
“Thomas, I can explain!” When she says that, it all begins to make sense to me and I really don’t need answers anymore. If she needs to explain something, then obviously something has been done wrong and I lived with a cheater my entire life to know when someone is hiding something.
“I can’t believe you.”
“I’m not wi--”
I hang up the call, refusing to hear another word that comes out of her mouth. Although the piece seem to be falling in place, what doesn’t make sense is that Violet would be jealous over me when she’s the one with another guy at her apartment.
I don’t understand much of what’s happening right now, but I know what I need to do next. At two in the morning I’m going to Violet’s apartment and I’m going to see what’s really happening. That way she can’t lie to me any longer.