XXXI. Loving a Woman
Loving a woman is never easy.
Loving a married woman is especially hard.
Loving a married woman with children that aren’t yours is particularly difficult.
It’s like climbing a wall only to see a bigger wall...than another.
My fingers twisted the rubix cube. For some reason, I could never solve it. The longer I stared at the cube, the harsher the dulled colors seem to become. My thumb scratch against the stickers again.
Someone knocked against the door. My fingers halted, and I placed the cube beside the framed photo. I grabbed the pen, “Come in.”
My secretary walked in and halted her steps in front of me.
“What is it?”
“Mr.Greyson is here to see you.”
“Let him in.”
“Yes, Mr.Martinez.” She turned her heels and made her way out of the door.
After a few minutes, Matt walked into my room. Once he got to the couch, he flopped down and groaned. I placed down my pen, walked towards the other side of the sofa, and sat down. “Why are you here?”
Matt hangs his head against the edge of the couch. “You know, a lot of people say having children is a blessing.”
Oh, this again.
I pressed a button.
“Bring in two cups of coffee.” I look at Matt.
“Blaaaaack like my dead soul.”
He pointed a finger in the air, “Almond milk on the side.”
I sat down, “So, what did your boys do now?”
With that question, the tangent starts.
Josh, his eldest, constantly complains about seeing his crush. It’s not a big deal, but his crush lives across the country.
Caleb, his second, constant complaint about long school hours.
Theo, his third, constant tears for his mother’s attention.
Of course, he would try to solve his children’s problems.
You want to meet your little girlfriend?
Sure! Let me call the pilot and fly you there.
You want less schooling?
Sure! Let me call your teacher and decrease the hours. I’ll hire a babysitter, and you can do whatever you want.
You want your mother’s attention?
Now, none of the problems are solved, not with the mother’s presence.
You want to meet your little girlfriend?
You want less school time?
It’s apparent who wears the pants in the marriage.
“And they won’t shut up!” His loud voice brought me back to reality. Sometimes, I zoned out during Matt’s tangent.
Someone knocked on the door.
“Come in,” he said. He looked at me, “Force of habit.”
“Come in,” I said.
The door opened, and my secretary walked in. She placed the tray down, put a single cup in front of each of us, and when she made eye contact with Matt, she smiled.
His sight flicked away, and he grabbed the almond milk.
I attempted to hold back the chuckle.
She bowed and left the room. When the door closed, the chuckle exited, “Afraid your wife will find out you smiled at my secretary?”
He rolled his eyes.
“Or are you afraid she may find out your long history of messing around with secretaries?”
His movement paused. He placed down the cup, “That was the past.”
I smirk, “If it’s the past, then you shouldn’t be afraid if it were ever to surface.”
“Oh. Ha. Ha. You find this funny, don’t you?” Hilarious. “I’m not the only one with a history of playing the court.”
“But, you are the only one in this room who messes around with his own employees.” I grabbed the cup. “My bad. Ex-employees.” Matt fired all of his past lovers after he impregnated his wife.
He smiled, “I’m not the one in a desperate situation.”
“Low blow Greyson.”
“Try making fun of me again.” He drank his coffee.
I rolled the warm cup around my palms.
Matt sighs, “So, you listen to my complaints.” Matt doesn’t want to see a therapist to tell his complaints, so he would often drop by my company and tell me. “I’ll give something in return. You want to know how Piper is doing?”
“If I want to know how she is doing, I’ll call her.”
He gave off a single chuckle, “Stop it. We all know you’re desperate to have her. I mean, I’m not surprised if you’re the one who planned Emerson’s disappearance.”
“For the last time, I didn’t do it.” Of course, some people suspected that I was the one behind Emerson’s disappearance, but I didn’t do anything.
One day, I got a call that poof, he disappeared.
“But, you won’t deny you’re somewhat glad-” he circulates his hand.
“Stop it. Show respect.”
He rested his ankle against his other leg, “He’s not dead, you know.” He smirks, “Emerson can come back anytime.”
I almost forgot how much of an emotionless asshole he is before he met Nina.
I shrugged, “Then, he comes back.”
“Oh, Emmy. Emmy. My husband! I lo-”
I set the cup down, and the coffee spills on the table. “Don’t you have a company to run?”
“The company can go a few days without me.” He exhales.
“Matt. We’ve known each other for almost 30 years. Stop beating around the bush. Why are you really here?”
His eyes went from the window towards me, “Nina-” and here it is, “she’s upset.”
“Why?” Did he do it? Did he finally commit adultery?
“She’s upset because Piper is upset.”
“When I left, Piper didn’t look upset.”
He smiled mockingly, “When you left, you were blinded by happiness. What else could you see other than joy.”
The sweats built up on my palms, and I pressed them together.
“Piper tells Nina everything.” In conclusion, Nina knows that Piper and I slept together.
“And how would you know?”
Matt ran his finger across his nose and sniffed lightly. He grabbed the cup of coffee and sipped on it.
“She didn’t tell you, did she?” Nina isn’t the type of woman who would talk about her friends’ or family’s personal issues. Actually, she does. But, she seems to be the type who would halt the conversation if it goes too far. “Don’t tell me,” I said slowly. “Did you wiretap-”
“Don’t you love Piper?” He changed the subject.
He definitely wiretapped his wife’s phone. I knew Matt’s love for Nina is within the stage of obsession, but this is outright outrageous.
“Shouldn’t you be making the woman you love happy?”
I clear my throat and fidget slightly in my head. If I could make Piper happy, I would’ve already.
I’ve already tried them all.
Trick her into being with me?
Well, I can always try that.
I look at the man in front of me.
But, I’m not that type of man.
Matt patted his thighs and stood up. He walked around my office and looked at every item that came into view. He halted in front of my desk and rested against it. “Instead of sitting here all day and-” he grabbed the rubix cube, “reminiscing on what could’ve happened.”
He placed the cube down on the table and looked at the pictures on my desk. He grabbed one, “You know, most people would have pictures of their children on their desk at work. Not children that they wish were theirs.”
I grabbed the framed photo of Crystal and Dustin. It’s a picture of them from when Dustin was born. Crystal made it for me as a thank you gift for her birthday present.
Matt pokes against the other photo of Crystal. “The little girl got you wrapped up around her tiny finger.”
The edge of my lips twerked.
Matt exhaled, “Look. What happened eight years ago had already happened. We can’t change that.”
Eight years ago, Piper left New York.
She made her choice, and the person she chose wasn’t me.
“But now you have a chance,” he said. “What’s stopping you?”
My eyes flicker towards the picture. He grabbed the photo from my hand and set it on the table.
I exhaled and made my way towards the window, “Not everyone is like you,” I said.
He chuckled, “You can say it.”
“Not everyone is willing to play dirty.”
“Playing dirty is what got me, my woman.” He walked towards me until he stood beside me, “You think men like us get the woman by playing nice?”
My hands curled into fists.
“Women like Nina and Piper,” Matt said. “Those types of women don’t want to be in our world.” His voice was no longer playful. “They’ll escape every chance they get.”
Matthew Greyson had always been the type of man who gets whatever he wants. The harder it is to get it, the more he’ll strive for it. And when he finally obtains what he wants, he’ll lock it down.
“Children won’t stop Nina from leaving,” I said.
He smiled, “How can she ever leave her children’s father when he’s so devoted to his family?”
Everyone wears masks.
The man in front of me is no exception.
“A good father. A sweet husband, huh. Does she know you were the one who drove away all her past potential lovers?”
I rolled my eyes at his response. Someone like Nina can easily bounce back to her feet. Even if she is a woman with a son, many men wouldn’t have pushed her away.
“I’m here to support you, and all you do is kick me while I’m down.” He clicked his tongue, “Alright. Even if you don’t make Piper happy, eventually, she will find another man. I heard there isn’t a shortage of men who are ready to support a woman in need.”
I know I shouldn’t feel anger at that statement, but I do.
He made his way towards the door, “But you already knew that, don’t you?”
He smiled once more before he left the office.
I clicked a button on the phone.
“Reject Matthew Greyson if he comes by for the rest of this week.”
“I understand, Mr.Martinez.”
Once the red light turned off, I leaned against my desk and exhaled. I hate to admit it, but Matt is right. Eventually, someone will make Piper happy again. No matter how much I tried to convince myself to be content, I’m not. I’m not content with that thought.
It’s not a pleasurable feeling to know she is with someone else that’s not me.
But, how could I change her outlook?
How can I change her thoughts about me?
It’s not you.
It’s your life.
Piper never said she doesn’t love me.
She doesn’t love my life.
My gaze dropped from the scenery towards my hands. But, what can I do? Leave everything behind? Leave my life?
That was never an option.
My phone buzzed, and my attention turned towards it - an unknown number.
I answered the call, “Hello?”
Immediately, I stood up, “Crystal?”
I can hear cries from the other side, “I-I tried my best J-Jackson! I really did b-b-but-”
“Crystal. I need you to take a deep breath and tell me what happened.”
“Y-You won’t believe me.” She cries harder, “N-No one b-b-believes me! No one loves me!”
“Hey. Hey,” I whispered. “Don’t say that. We all love you very much.”
She continues to cry.
“I can’t say it for other people. But, no matter what, I’ll believe you.”
“Yes. One hundred percent. Now, can you tell me what happened?”