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Family Problems

Chapter 72:

She woke up in the middle of the night in Alec’s bed. He was nowhere near her, but she could see that the lights are on outside the bedroom. Worried that he was still anxious after she told him about his dad, she got up and started looking for something to put on. The only thing that was convenient enough was one of his button-up shirts, so she wore it and walked outside.

He was sitting on the counter and eating what appeared to be blueberry yoghurt.

“You’re awake,” she observed, “and you’re snaking after midnight!”

He chuckled, “I’m starving.”

She grabbed a spoon and sat across from him. He placed the tub in the middle so they could share it, and she instantly dug her spoon into the creamy goodness. “I though you didn’t like yogurt.”

“A certain someone made me develop a taste for it.”

She giggled, “so you’re blaming me.”

“Let’s just say I’m glad the only eating habit I picked from you is snaking on yogurt after midnight.”

She shrugged, “I’ve picked none.”

“Couldn’t be prouder,” he replied sarcastically before he put another spoonful of yoghurt into his mouth.

She laughed and continued to share the snack with him. It did not take her long, however, to bring the matter of his father up in order to make sure that he was feeling better about the whole thing.

“Alec,” she began hesitantly.


“Are you sure you’re okay with this whole dinner thing tomorrow?”

He paused and looked at her, “I should ask you the same question.”

She smiled softly at him, “I’m okay if you’re okay.”

He stared at her intently for a few seconds before he sighed and gave her an answer, “My old man and I don’t get along. There’s always some tension whenever we meet. I’m worried you might get dragged into it.”

“You shouldn’t worry. I’m used to getting dragged into one mess after another,” she joked in an effort to alleviate his worry.

He was not amused one bit. “Trust me, that old man is an entirely new breed of mess.”

Her expression softened, “So your relationship is that bad, huh?”

“I’d say it’s complicated.”

“Has it always been like this between the two of you?”

“I guess,” he answered dismissively.

“Why do you think it’s so difficult for you guys to get along?” she inquired stubbornly.

He sighed, “I really can’t say. Greg thinks it’s because we’re alike in so many ways. Emma agrees.”

She knew he was holding off on her, so she tried to encourage him to speak. “I think there’s more to the issue than that.”

He continued to avoid her gaze. It was clear that it was difficult for him to share with her what the root cause of his problem with his father was. Eventually, however, he spoke. “If you must know, I didn’t even realize he was my father until he approached me eleven years ago.”

Lesly knitted her brows in confusion. “How did this happen?”

“My mother never told him, but I guess he always suspected it. It was a difficult matter for him to bring up for a number of reasons, one of which is that Wallace, my mother’s husband and the man I thought was my real father, kept him from approaching me. He was only able to do so after Wallace passed away.”

“This doesn’t seem like the kind of thing that would deter someone like your father,” she pointed out.

“True, but according to the old man, Wallace was willing to resort to whatever means necessary to ensure that the old man and I never met. Knowing Wallace, I’d say he had a pretty good reason why he didn’t want this to happen, and the old man seemed to agree with him to some extent.”

“And your mother?” Lesly asked gently.

“I don’t remember her,” Alec answered with a pained expression. “She died when I was two, but I was told that she had quite the complex relationship with my dad. When she became pregnant, she refused to let him know. She married Wallace afterwards and they agreed to never let the old man know about me, or me about him. Appearently, my old man was quite a nightmare back in the day, and they both thought it was better to just keep him as far away from me as possible.”

She could see how much of an emotional turmoil the matter was causing him, so she covered his hand with hers and tried to calm him down.

“Do you really think your father is that bad?” She asked after a moment of silence.

“I don’t know, but I do know what he’s capable of if pushed. You’ve seen it too.”

“It seems that there’s a part of you that still wishes he never told you the truth.”

Alec took a deep breath and struggled to explain, “There are moments when I think that whatever happened to me five years ago happened because someone found out I was related to him. How? I’m not really sure, but a part of me keeps thinking that maybe if he hadn’t approached me, I wouldn’t have gone through what I’ve gone through.”

Lesly squeezed his hand before she inquired gently, “Do you blame him for what happened?”

He shook his head slowly, “If you had asked me this question five years ago, I would’ve said yes, but I can’t really blame him, can I? Given the nature of the threats he received and the fact that no one knew about me, he thought he should focus his attention on keeping Emma safe. There was no way he could’ve predicted that they would come after me rather than Emma. The way I see it, it was either me or her.”

He took another calming breath and carried on, “Am I glad Emma wasn’t hurt? Yes. Am I okay with the fact that one person had to die and another suffer for Emma to remain safe? No.”

Lesly realized that he was talking about her and his best friend here, and that it was this particular part of the whole experience that he was still struggling with the most. In an effort to help him out, she tried to encourage him to talk more about it.

“What happened there, Alec?” She inquired in a low voice.

It took him a few seconds to answer her. “It’s a long story. Needless to say, my old man angered the wrong people and they thought to hit him where it hurt. Of course, my old man took care of the matter, but he’s still worried that there are some loose ends. Given what happened to you, I’d say he was right to a certain extent. That’s why both the Wallace that existed and the Lang that never did had to have their deaths faked until he was absolutely certain that I was safe.”

“Are you?” She asked anxiously.

“Nothing has happened for the last five years, so I’d say yes.”

“And Emma?”

“She’s fine, too, but I’d rather we remain cautious. She hates it, but her safety is probably one of the few issues the old man and I agree on.”

Lesly smiled at him and gave his hand a reassuring squeeze. “She’s lucky to have you.”

He smiled back. “I’m pretty sure she still doesn’t quite see it this way.”

“She does. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have run to you every time things with your dad got a bit too difficult.”

“I guess.”

“How did she react when she first found out about you?”

Alec understood that she was asking about Emma’s response when she first found out she had an older brother. His expression softened as he recalled how their first meeting went. “I think she was about five or six when I first agreed to meet her. She was ecstatic about having an older brother and would not stop chattering. I found it overwhelming at first because I wasn’t used to having a child talk to me constantly.”

“I can imagine.”

He chuckled and carried on, “She called so often to chatter endlessly that I began dreading picking up the phone, but I eventually got used to it. Now she doesn’t call much.”

“Would you say you two are close?”

Alec grimaced, but there was a playful smile on his face, “Now that she’s a brooding rebellious teenager, no, but we were at one point.”

“It seems like you miss it?”

“I know it’s only temporary, so I’m not losing any sleep over it.”

“And your dad?” Lesly asked cautiously. “Is it temporary too?”

At the mention of his father, the warm smile that he had on his face earlier turned into a frown. “My old man is a different story.”

“Alec…,” she tried to reason with him.

“You don’t know what he’s like,” he quickly interrupted.

“I don’t, but judging by everything you’ve told me, I’d say he cares a great deal about you. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have tried so hard to be more involved and to make up for all the time he wasn’t a part of your life.”

“I know,” Alec responded stubbornly, “but he shouldn’t have dragged you into it without discussing the matter with me first.”

“Would you have said yes?” She asked firmly.


“There you go.”


“He just wants to meet the woman you’ve been with. There’s nothing wrong with that,” she argued gently.

He ran a hand through his hair nervously and sighed, “Listen, I told you I wouldn’t rush you into anything you’re not comfortable with. This dinner is a potential disaster.”

“Alec,” she placed a palm to the side of his face and stared deep into his eyes, “We’re fine. You don’t have to walk on eggshells around me anymore. You’ve got your own side of crazy, and I’ve got mine.”

“Who?” He asked suspiciously.

“You’ve met one,” she giggled. “There are five others whom I’ve been fending away from you for a while. I don’t know how long I can keep them away, though.”

“Michaela’s brothers?” He tried to confirm.

“They’re like brothers to me, too,” she explained.

He waved his hand dismissively, “I’m not worried about meeting them.”

“Great,” she leaned over the counter and brushed her lips over his. “I’m not worried about meeting your dad either.”

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