Enough Chapter 30

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Later that Christmas day we went over to Tessa’s parents’ home for dinner. Not a word was spoken about what happened although it was the saddest holiday ever for me. Tessa stayed in the house for the time being and I moved back to my first house. Tai went back and forth between us for a while, but I could sense that Tessa was trying to wean her off me. I was angry and hurt that Tessa would do this. I wanted to hurt someone and make them feel the pain that I was feeling.

I went back on the juice and hit the weights with a drive and anger that I had not felt in a long while. I was pounding two a days on weights and working with the arts every day. I quickly put on twenty-five pounds getting back to my heaviest weight ever. One evening, I picked up Tai from Beth’s house and took her to the hospital for Tessa. Tai was confused and could not understand why I had moved out. She told me Tessa had told me that I didn’t love her anymore. I explained to Tai that was not true. That I still loved Tessa and that I loved her as well. But I explained Tessa liked the other doctor and I could not be around and see that.

As we got off the elevator and made our way to the nurse’s station, I felt the eyes on me. I asked for Tessa and one of the nurses told me she would get her. Tai and I waited by the nurse’s station and by the looks I was getting it felt like a pity parade. Finally, Tessa arrived, and Tai ran up to her. I was trying to walk out when the fabulous Doctor Jason Patrick came walking down the floor. He was too close to me before he looked up and had no way of avoiding contact. You could feel the oxygen being sucked out of the hallway.

“Oh uh…… Chris is it, nice to meet you.”, he said extending his hand.

I left him there standing awkwardly with his hand out until the dumbass realized I was not going to shake his hand. I could see that Tessa was extremely nervous about how I was going to react. It seemed that time had frozen for a minute or so.

“Tessa, I’m going to go. Call me if you need anything.”, I stated turning to walk away.

“She doesn’t need anything from you.”, Jason exclaimed.

I turned around quickly and walked right up to him invading his personal space as the term was used in today’s world.

“Let me make you understand something, and I want to be clear as can be. Don’t you ever address me again in your worthless life. Because I can and will end you for good. Obviously, you won with Tessa, but you will never, ever win with me. So, my suggestion is that if you see me try turning and walking the other way. That’s good advice right there.”, I stated, smiling at him.

“And that’s the reason right there that she chose me. When it all comes down to it, you’re a muscle-bound fighter who only knows two things……. Weights and fighting. Tessa is too much of an intellectual to waste her life on someone like you.”, he laughed.

“I’ll agree with you there. I do know only weights and fighting. And I’ll agree Tessa is so much smarter than I am, not even close. But I promise that a guy like you will never ever be faithful to her……… that I’m positive of and she deserves a lot better than you.”, I replied, turning and walking away.

On the drive home I couldn’t help thinking about how Tessa never even tried to salvage our relationship. I would have probably forgiven her if she had promised to be faithful to me. Even Lexie had tried every time to patch things up. That night as I laid in bed, I completely mapped out how my life was going to change.

First and foremost, I was not going to get into a full-time relationship for quite a while. Secondly, I owed Amber from the gym a huge debt of gratitude for stepping up and basically running the gym for me. I was going back to what I knew best, lifting and fighting. I was in the gym early the next morning and surprised Amber when she came in.

“Amber, I need to talk to you in my office.”, I asked.

She followed me inside and sat down in the chair across from my desk. She had a nervous look on her face which I guess might be normal after confronting her like I did.

“Amber, I can’t begin to thank you for everything you do around here. But with that said, I’m going to try. I am going to draw up paperwork transferring twenty percent of the gym into your name. I’m also giving you an eight thousand dollar a year raise. Since you’re basically running the place, you should own part of it.”, I stated.

“Oh my god. Are you kidding me?”, she squealed.

“Nope, I’m not kidding you. However, you cannot sell twenty percent to anyone else without offering it to me first. That will be stated in writing. At that point if you want to leave, I will offer you fair market value. If you get married in the future you must list the gym in a prenup agreement where your partner cannot touch it.”, I stated.

“I understand and thank you so much Chris, you’re the best.”, Amber replied.

“If only that were true, Amber.”, I laughed.

“Why, is everything ok?”, she asked.

“Nope, I got dumped again, this time by Tessa.”, I answered.

“What the fuck……. Is she crazy. You just bought a huge house and what about Tai?”, she asked.

“Right now, I have no clue. But I caught her with another doctor from the hospital and apparently she wants to be with him. All I know at this point.”, I responded.

“Chris, I’m so sorry. But let me give you some free advice from a woman’s standpoint. You seemed to gravitate towards beautiful women and there is nothing wrong with that. You are a gorgeous guy and every woman in here wants to fuck you. Do yourself a favor. Fuck them till you get tired and move on……… enjoy yourself and quit giving so hard in a relationship.”, Amber laughed.

“I’m not sure I could do that Amber but thanks for the advice.”, I answered.

“Oh, by the way, your ex is upstairs and wants to talk to you.”, Amber advised.

“Be more specific, I have a ton of ex’s.”, I asked.

“The cop……”, Amber said, walking out of the door.

I finished what I was doing and then walked up the stairs to the second floor. Lexie Thomas was about to attack the squat rack. I walked over to her before she got under the bar.

“Lexie, what’s up. Amber said you wanted to see me.”, I asked.

“Hey Chris, I wanted to ask you a favor if possible. I understand if you say no.”, she stated.

“Sure, ask away.”, I responded.

“I’m on administrative leave right now and I must get back in shape. Would you mind working with me to help me get started. I need to max out right away. Of course, if you think it would be a problem for you at home, I will understand.”, she asked.

“No, it won’t be a problem for me. You want to start now?”, I asked.

“Please, if you don’t mind.”, she responded.

For the next ninety minutes Lexie pushed herself as hard as she physically could. She went downstairs and took a shower then came into my office on the way out.

“Hey about we say eight o’clock every morning.”, she asked.

“Can you do seven and I will work out with you?”, I offered.

“Sure, that would be fine. Thanks again Chris.” Lexie said, waving bye.

For the next week, Lexie and I busted ass on the weights. The one good thing about Lexie was she knew how I liked to train. Very little was spoken, it was all business. By that Friday morning, she had made decent progress and was eating right again. She did say her day-to-day schedule made it hard to train and eat well on a regular basis.

“So how are things going with the little one?” Lexie asked.

“I don’t see her as much as I would like to. Things have become very complicated.”, I replied, avoiding eye contact.

“Complicated ………. What happened?”, Lexie inquired.

“A second doctor I knew nothing about.”, I answered.

“Wait……. She was seeing someone else at the same time?”, Lexie asked, surprised.

“Seems like it. Tai and I caught her in her office at the hospital making out with him.”, I offered.

“Oh my god……. What did the baby say.”, Lexie asked.

“I don’t think she is old enough to understand it. But she knows something is wrong.”, I stated.

“Chris, I’m so sorry. You don’t deserve this.”, Lexie replied.

“It has nothing to do with deserve, Lex.”, I said, ending the conversation.

Lexie went down to the locker room, took a shower and dressed. On the way out of the door she popped into my office. I was headed for the showers myself.

“Hey, look……. Um, how about I buy you dinner tonight? I need to talk to someone and my parents are no help.”, she said, quite apprehensive.

“Lexie, I am not sure I would be the best company right now.”, I answered.

“I know but I would really like to talk to you. It has nothing to do with us.”, she promised.

“Okay, I guess. What time……”, I asked.

“Pick me up at seven?”, she asked.

“See you then………”, I promised.

Right after lunch, I received a call from Tessa on my cell phone. She relayed the fact that she felt awkward living in the house that I had just paid for. She could not allow Jason to be there out of respect for me, but her condo was too small for her and Tai. After a bit more conversation, I offered to switch houses with her telling her she could stay in my original home for nothing. I also told her that if she wanted to let Jason come there, I had no problem with it. She started crying, telling me how gracious I was and finally accepted the offer. She told me she could move tomorrow if that would be okay with me. I agreed telling her I would take the few things I had there to the gym with me and leave the key under the mat. I would be at the gym until late and then go to the new house. Again, we had an extended conversation and not one mention about possibly she Kartal Escort may be doing the wrong thing. I just did not understand it.

I arrived at Lexie’s house a few minutes before seven and parked in front. I walked up the sidewalk and rang the doorbell. Jennifer Thomas opened it quickly.

“Hey Chris, Lexie mentioned that the two of you were going out to dinner. Please come in.”, she offered.

I went inside and followed her to the den with Lexie’s dad Jim was in his chair watching a football game. He greeted me as well then Jennifer motioned me to the kitchen. I followed her in and she turned around and faced me.

“Did Lexie tell you what is going on?”, Jennifer whispered.

“No, just that she wanted to talk.”, I answered.

“Ok, well I’m going to let her tell you then.”, Jennifer responded walking back to the living area.

Seconds later, Lexie walked in dressed in black jeans and a sheer white blouse with black heeled boots on. It had been a long time since I had seen Lexie ready to go out somewhere. It brought back a lot of memories. We left minutes later and drove to a small Italian restaurant across town. Lexie had made reservations and we were seated in a private booth. We ordered drinks and then Lexie leaned across the table slightly and began to talk in a very low tone.

“Chris, I don’t know if you have heard what happened to me yet. So, if you know, please tell me what you heard.”, Lexie asked, appearing very vulnerable.

“No Lexie, I have not heard a thing.”, I answered, honestly.

“Ok then, let me start from the beginning. A few months ago, Cody began acting a little strange. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but his personality was just different. He was more open and always looking to do something. That was not the Cody that I knew. Anyway, about a month ago he got fired from his job because he claimed that a co-worker had set him up for theft. The company did not press charges but just fired him.”, she began.

“Then on Christmas Eve we were going over to his parent’s home, and we ran into one of my own checkpoints. They were checking insurance, brake tags and looking for DUI suspects. When he got to the front of the line, he began to act weird. Since he was driving the officer began interrogating him. When I showed them my badge, they were about to wave us through when the K9 alerted something with Cody’s vehicle.”, she continued.

“The troopers made us get out of the vehicle even though I protested. Well, the dog got in the car and quickly found two bags of what turned out to be cocaine. One was in the center console and the other was under the passenger seat where I was sitting. They quickly pulled the car to the side and handcuffed the both of us. Here I was a Dallas detective sitting on the curb handcuffed. Since Cody owned the car, they questioned him first and he denied that the drugs were his. He claimed that they had to be mine because he knew nothing about them.”, she stated.

“I simply was stunned that Cody would do that to me especially since I was a police officer. When they pulled me on the side and questioned me, I told the truth and denied any knowledge of the drugs. They called Dallas PD to come pick us up and impounded the car. When we got to the station, I agreed to be drug tested but Cody refused. My captain came down and got me released on my own recognizance, but Cody had to make bail. I refused to bail him out since he had tried to pin the drugs on me.”, she admitted.

“Jesus Christ, Lexie. What a shit show.”, I replied.

“Tell me about it. So, the next day internal affairs got involved and put me on leave until they can figure out exactly what is going on. In my defense, I did have a clean drug screen and I also agreed to take a polygraph which they will probably do next week. So here I am with a no-good lousy drug addict for a fiancé.”, she sighed.

“Has he taken a drug test yet?”, I asked.

“No, he wouldn’t take one. His dad bailed him out, but he has not called me since and I refused to call him. So that’s where we stand as of now. Now I do believe he was fired for theft and that is how he was helping pay for the coke. Narcotics detectives are investigating now but either way this is not going to look good on my record.”, she admitted.

“Why Lexie, I have known you for a long time. We have not always agreed on everything, but I have never seen you under the influence or use any type of drug other than Tylenol. I will testify to that in court for you.”, I promised.

“I know you would Chris and I appreciate it. God, forbid I wish I could back up a few years and do this all over again.”, she admitted.

By that time, the food came and for now Lexie dropped the subject and asked me about Tessa. There was not much I could say because I had no clue what might be going on. The conversation then turned to Tai and how much I missed her. On the way home I mentioned how Tessa would be staying at my house with Tai and I would be at the other home. Then I remembered there was no way Lexie could have known about the new house, so I explained it to her. I dropped her off about thirty minutes later and I promised to call her to keep updated on her situation.

I drove over to the new house and went in to find that Tessa and Tai had completely moved out. The house seemed huge and lonely with no one there but me. I was just about asleep in bed that night when my phone rang. I looked over to see it was Tessa, I picked it up right away.

Tessa seemed upset from what I could gather on the phone and she began to explain that a woman had come forward and wanted to take custody of Tai. She was Tai’s father’s biological sister who was still in Vietnam. She was flying to the United States to attempt to take Tai back to her country. Since she was her aunt, I couldn’t see how it could be stopped although since Tai was born here she was an American citizen. I asked Tessa to keep me informed and if she needed anything from me just asked. The next month or so passed but I did not hear anything from Tessa, so I decided to call her.

She informed me that the aunt was still trying to gain custody of Tai and had returned to Vietnam. She would work with the Embassy there to finalize all the paperwork. I was very upset that Tessa was not going to fight to keep Tai and let Tessa know that. It was almost as if Tessa was now a person, I barely knew at all. She then informed me that she would be moving out of my house and into Jason Patrick’s home. She told me she would return the key to the house when she had completely moved out.

I would still see Tessa sometimes early in the morning working out but saying hello to each other was about the extent of our conversation. Lexie would show up about seven and would work out with me and leave and go back home. Lexie did say that she thought they were going to rescind her leave, but she would get a desk job until this whole mess was over.

Cody was apparently sticking to the story that the drugs found were Lexie’s. There was no clear definitive information of exactly what he had told his attorney at this point. The only thing Lexie had in her favor was that she did submit to a drug test which Cody would not. She had also taken a polygraph at the precinct which she passed but was inadmissible in court. She had no prior criminal record or even a traffic ticket as she stated. So, the only thing she had to stand on was that she passed a drug test that night at the precinct. Since cocaine can be detected in your blood for several days and your urine for a week or so, all the test proved that she had not used in a week or so. She voluntarily let them take a hair sample as well which she passed as well. Cocaine can be detected in a hair sample for three to four months after the last use.

That Friday morning during our workout Lexie informed me that Cody’s attorney was going to subpoena both of us during the trial. I thought that Lexie testimony would be obvious but why the hell subpoena me? What could I possibly have to do with Cody using cocaine.

“I’m guessing he is going to question you about the use of anabolic steroids and what you have taken in your life. Then maybe try to suggest that somehow you and I began the cocaine habit together. I really have no idea, Chris”, Lexie stated.

“Lexie, I was drug tested at least a dozen times while I was fighting. Nothing ever came up with a single test. No one walking on this earth saw me take steroids even once. It just won’t hold it.”, I laughed.

“Chris, I know a bit about the law. All he has to do is suggest that the drugs were mine and I might have gotten from you while we were seeing each other. It doesn’t have to be true. All he needs to do is plant the seed and get the jurors to believe it.”, she sighed.

“So, let’s say they let him off? That still doesn’t shift the blame to you.”, I reminded her.

“No, but it would stall my career. Future promotions would probably not happen. I would not have much of a chance at attaining a higher rank.”, she replied.

“After everything you have been through with him and he does this to you. How the fuck did you ever think he was your best option?”, I asked.

“I was so wrong Chris, fucking dead wrong. But I’m to blame for it all. You offered me a way out and I blew it several times. My only defense is that I had been with Cody for so long I guess it just felt familiar. Kind of like an old pair of jeans you should just throw out, but you wear them every week.”, she sighed.

“I must be a very old pair of jeans as many times as I have been thrown out.”, I replied.

That night as I was in bed watching television my phone rang and I noticed it was Tessa. I picked it up eagerly hoping for some good news.

“Hey Chris, how are you?”, Tessa asked.

“I’m Kartal Escort Bayan okay, thanks.”, I replied.

“Chris, the State wants to talk to us about Tai before they make a decision. I explained that we are not together anymore, but they still want to meet with us.”, she explained.

“When?”, I asked.

“Actually, tomorrow at ten o’clock in the morning. Her aunt’s attorney will be there as well.”, she answered.

“That’s fine, I will be there.”, I explained.

I did not sleep well that night thinking mostly about how different my life should be right now. Then about how different Tai’s life would be back in Vietnam. She was going to need several more operations before she was a grown woman. Was she going to get that in Vietnam? Then what were her chances of achieving the life she deserved there? There were a lot of questions to be answered.

I worked out early the next morning explaining to Lexie where I had to be later. She wished me good luck and this would be the first time I would be with Tessa for any extended period of time. I finished working out and showered then dressed nicely in slacks and a pull over white knit shirt. I arrived about thirty minutes early and sat in the waiting room. About fifteen minutes Tessa showed up with Jason Patrick, hand in hand. I did not expect her to bring him and then if she didn’t want to deal with me personally it made sense. They sat across from me and Tessa simply waved at me. I knew she could tell I had been hitting the gym hard. I was visibly larger than I had ever been since we had been together.

A few minutes later, we were all called to the conference room. We were asked to take a seat, so I picked one on the other side from Tessa and Jason. Before starting the meeting, everyone was introduced including Kim Ngan Nguyen, the aunt’s attorney. On the State’s side were two familiar faces, Jennifer Wilson, and Ron Hiller who we had met with before. New in the room was a supervisor by the name of Mary Andrews who started the meeting.

“It’s very nice of all of you to come this morning concerning this child. Now, speaking with Dr. Williamson I understand that there is a change in your status with Mr. Williams. Is that correct?”, she asked.

“Yes, we are not seeing each other anymore.”, Tessa acknowledged not looking in my direction.

“Is this correct Mr. Williams?”, Ms. Andrew asked.

“Yes ma’am, apparently it is.”, I answered.

“Can I ask why, Mr. Williams? After all this does matter in this child’s life.”, she responded.

“Honestly ma’am, I cannot explain it to you, nor would I speculate. Ms. Williamson broke off our relationship in leu of Dr. Patrick who she is with now. It was on Christmas Eve, the day before I was going to ask her to marry me.”, I explained.

I could immediately see that Tessa had not been told by her parents about my scheduled proposal. The color drained out of her face, and she looked down at her lap.

“Is this true Ms. Williamson?”, Mary asked.

“Yes, it is however, I knew nothing about the proposal.”, she admitted.

“So as far as the State of Texas is concerned the two of you will not raise this child together? Am I correct in saying that.”, she asked.

“I can’t answer that question ma’am. Only Tessa can answer that question.”, I answered.

“No, they won’t be raising the child together.”, Jason Patrick interrupted.

I could immediately see Tessa’s eyes locked on me. I leaned forward onto the table staring directly at Jason.

“That is not a question you can answer Dr. Patrick. Only Tessa can answer that. You have no part in this process so please refrain from talking for other people, please.”, I said sternly.

“Ms. Williamson, can you answer the question?”, Mary Andrews asked.

“Dr. Patrick and I both work at the same hospital but very different shifts do occur. At this time, I just don’t see how I could fit the child in our schedule.”, Tessa explained.

I was dumbfounded at the reply that just came out of Tessa’s mouth. First the hospital had a day care that was open from six in the morning until six at night free of charge to hospital employees. Secondly, Tessa’s parents were more than eager to help at any time. This had to be coming from Jason and the fact he probably did not want Tai around.

“Well, Ms. Kim that certainly puts everything in more visual terms. Since the petitioners no longer want the responsibility of the child, we can move forward transferring the child into her aunt’s custody.”, Mary stated.

“That’s fine Ms. Andrews, I have already prepared the preliminary documents.”, the attorney stated.

“Wait just one minute Ms. Andrews. Just like that Tai goes back to Vietnam?”, I asked.

“I’m afraid so Mr. Williams. The aunt is the only family we can find.”, she replied.

“But isn’t Tai an American citizen?”, I asked.

“Does she have a say in this?”, I asked.

“Not really sir. We are at the point where we have no other option.”, she explained.

“No, we have another option. I will take Tai to live with me. I just bought a new home and there’s plenty of room for her.”, I stated, causing Tessa to stare directly at me.

“But you’re living alone now, correct?’, Mary asked.

“Yes ma’am, I do. But that is not new to me. I lost my father when I was six years old and then my mother when I was eighteen. I have no one else either and I know what it feels like. I own my own business and am financially secure. I can send her to the best schools and make sure she has a future. What can the aunt provide for her in Vietnam?’, I asked.

“Well, her aunt owns a rice farm twenty miles from Saigon City. There is a small school there where she can attend and then perhaps help the aunt on the farm.”, replied Ms. Kim, the attorney.

“Ms. Andrews, I don’t want Tai going to a small school and working on a rice farm. She is going to need several surgeries in the next few years. I have health insurance and can make sure she receives the help she needs. I can enroll her in private school and give her a great education.”, I pleaded.

“And you’re willing to do all of this by yourself?”, Mary asked.

“Well, that was not the original plan. I know it’s not going to be easy, but I promise you I can do it.”, I replied.

“What about the assets that accompany this?”, Ms. Kim stated.

“To be truthful Kim, I have not discussed the assets with either Ms. Williamson or Mr. Williams. I felt that was premature.”, Mary suggested.

“I’m sorry ma’am but you have lost me somewhere with this asset situation.”, I stated.

“Mr. Williams, Tai is the beneficiary of the entire Nguyen estate. One house, two cars, the small business her dad owned and life insurance policies for both of her parents. In addition, there are several bank accounts of a substantial size.”, Mary revealed.

“Ms. Andrews, the aunt can have the money…… all of it. All I want is Tai.”, I replied.

“By law, we can’t do that Mr. Williams. Tai is the sole heir of the estate, and no formal guardian was declared.”, Mary informed me.

“There must be a way we can settle this to everyone’s satisfaction. The money is not an object for me. It can be put somewhere for Tai that she can access when she is older. Help give a start in life. Maybe a trust or something that no one can touch.”, I offered.

“Yes, that can be done but we would still need the aunt’s agreement.”, Mary offered.

“I don’t think she would agree to that.”, Ms. Kim replied.

“So, what you’re saying is the money is the real factor behind sending her back to Vietnam.”, I asked.

“I can’t respond to that question.”, Ms. Kim said.

“Ms. Kim, talk to her for me……. There must be a way we could work this out.”, I begged.

“Let me step outside and call my client for a few minutes. Excuse me, please. Ms. Kim said, getting up and going outside.

Everyone took a break and walked out of the conference room except for me and Mary Andrews. I was positive I was not going to win this battle, but I had to try. It took a few minutes, but Mary finally spoke up.

“I know it’s not my business but what happened between the two of you. You both looked so happy the last time we met.”, Mary asked.

“The guy sitting next to her happened. Tai and I went to visit Tessa on Christmas Eve and when Tai ran into her office, she caught her kissing him.”, I answered.

“Oh, my goodness. Did you have any idea?”, Mary asked.

“No ma’am. In fact, I had a ring and was going to propose to her the following day at her parents. Tai took it hard; she still does not fully understand what happened. She has lost her parents and now this. Then to send her back to Vietnam where she knows absolutely no one. If Ms. Kim has to call about money, what do you think her chances are?”, I asked.

“I tend to agree with you Mr. Williams but I have to make sure this plays out right.”, she answered.

By that time everyone began filtering back into the room. Everyone sat down and got comfortable before Ms. Kim began speaking.

“I spoke to my client and she agreed to accepting the deal provided that she receives a part of the estate on her brothers side.”, Ms. Kim suggested.

“Ms. Kim, I am not interested in the estate, but I am interested in Tai Lynn Nguyen. And now, it makes me positive that the best place for her is with Mr. Williams. What I’m not sure of is that any of the child’s inheritance can be given away legally. But being as the child is a United States citizen any litigation would be expensive on her aunt.”, Mary Andrews stated.

“How about everyone give this some thought and we can meet again in a week with the child present?”, Ms. Andrews suggested.

Everyone agreed to another meeting Escort Kartal in a week, and we all left a few minutes later. I made sure that everyone had left the room before I walked out. I did not want to deal with Tessa and Jason on the walk out.

That night I received a phone call from the nurse’s station, so I figured it was Tessa. Sure, enough it was and in some way I was expecting this call. I answered the phone not quite knowing what she had in mind.

“Chris are you really serious about taking Tai?”, Tessa asked.

“One of us must take her Tessa, it’s her only chance at a normal life. The aunt doesn’t want her only the money that comes with her. I don’t want Tai to grow up busting her back on a rice farm. Once her aunt goes through her money what happens to Tai?”, I asked.

“I’m not disagreeing with you but in a way, I feel like you are doing this to get back at me.”, Tessa insinuated.

“Tessa, I still can’t figure out how we got to this point. But I don’t want to hurt you, I still love you in my way. If you want Tai I won’t stand in your way. In fact, I will help any way I can.”, I offered.

“I wish I could, but Jason is not going to allow it.”, she sighed.

“He feels that Tai being Vietnamese would not fit in well with his family. But more on the honest side, I don’t think he wants kids.”, she advised.

“Tessa, I said this in the hospital the other day. You deserve better than this asshole. He is not going to make you happy and I’m sure he is going to cheat on you. I have seen this type before. He thinks the world revolves around him.”, I answered.

“You might be right………I dunno.”, she mumbled.

“Look, talk it over with him. If you two come to an agreement and want to keep Tai, I will back you all the way and help whenever I can. If not, I am going to fight to keep her. But I’m giving you first choice.”, I offered.

“Thanks Chris, I will get back to you.”, she promised.

As of a week later, I still had not heard from Tessa, so I drove over to the meeting that had been scheduled. This time all were present except for Justin Patrick which really surprised me. As usual Mary Andrews began the meeting.

“Ok, after meeting with our attorney’s I can give you a definitive timeline of how this will go down. Ms. Kim, if your client wants custody of the child, we will not contest it provided she can supply all the proper documentation. However, the entire estate which has not been fully calculated would go into a trust fund for the child. The child would not be able to withdraw from that fund until she was twenty-five years of age. That is non-negotiable. So, no money could change hands for over twenty years, am I clear?”, Mary asked.

“Yes ma’am, I understand. You advised me of that during the week and I talked to my client. She is willing to withdraw her request to take custody of the child but reserves the right to visit from time to time,” she answered.

“As long as she can legally enter this country, I do not see a problem with that. But that would have to be worked out with who does take the child at this point. Now with that said, Mr. Williams are you still agreeable to taking temporary custody of the child?”, she asked.

“Ms. Mary, I had a talk with Tessa about this a week ago. I promised her that if she wanted to take care of Tai, I would not interfere and would help any way I can. So, it’s up to Tessa as to what she wants to do. But if she declines, I would love to take custody of Tai.”, I offered.

“Ms. Williamson?”, Mary said, turning to face her.

“In my present circumstances I simply cannot take custody of the child as much as it breaks my heart. I must decline at this time, but I do offer my services as Tai’s doctor and will take care of her future needs as long as I am needed.”, Tessa offered.

“That’s very kind Ms. Williamson. So, moving forward it all comes down to one question. Are you ready to become the child’s sole and legal guardian, Mr. Williams?” she asked.

“Yes ma’am, I am.”, I quickly replied.

“Jennifer, would you please go out and get the child. She is in the other conference room.”, Ms. Andrews suggested.

Ms. Andrews then explained to me that I would have to come back in a few weeks and go to court to finalize all the paperwork. In addition, I would be required to have their department check on Tai on a bi-monthly basis in the beginning to make sure everything was going well. I would receive a check from the state to help take care of Tai as well as her parent’s social security benefits which would go to Tai. Several minutes passed and Jennifer returned with Tai following behind her. It was the first time I had seen her in a few weeks. She waved to Tessa and I then sat on the chair next to Ms. Andrews.

“Tai, we have asked you here to try and explain what has happened. I also want to ask you a few questions if you don’t mind.”, Mary stated.

“Okay.”, Tai replied.

“Tai, originally you were supposed to live with Ms. Tessa and Mr. Chris. But some things have changed now, and your aunt wanted you to come back to Vietnam and stay with her. But now your aunt has changed her mind and she wants you to stay here.”, she started.

“So, I can stay with Dr. T and Chwis?’, she asked, excited.

“Not exactly Tai. Tessa is not able to take care of you at this point because of her situation. But if it is okay with you, Chris wants you to live with him at his house.”, Mary offered.

“Why can’t Dr. T and Chwis take care of me like they promised?”, Tai asked.

“I can’t answer that question Tai……… maybe you need to speak to them about that.”, Mary replied.

Tessa has tears running down her cheeks listening to this child who she had promised to give her a wonderful childhood watch it fall apart. Deep inside of me that’s why I had to step up for Tai. This child had her entire family ripped from her in an instant. The next closest person to her was Tessa and now she was bailing on her. I was just hoping that I would be enough because I knew how much Tessa meant to her. Tessa’s emotions got the better of her and she stood up and walked out the door into the hallway.

“What is wrong with Dr. T?”, Tai asked, looking at me.

“Tai, Dr. T is very upset because she can’t take care of you right now. That makes her very sad. But I promise you that I will do everything for you, and we will still see Dr. T whenever we can. I promised you in the hospital that you could live with me and I’m going to keep that promise.”, I stated.

“Is that why she was kissing that man?”, Tai asked, causing everyone in the room to look at me.

“Tai, even though we are adults sometimes we still do things that maybe we shouldn’t. You know I love Dr. T but I don’t think she feels the same way about me. But’s that’s ok Tai. We can still be friends and anytime Dr. T wants to see you she can. That’s a promise.”, I answered.

“I wish she would kiss you again, Chwis.”, Tai said, hanging her head.

“Me too Tai, me too.”, I replied.

“So Tai, are you okay with Chris taking care of you and you going to his house to live.”, Mary asked.

“Yes, I love Chwis. I want to live with him. In the big house, right?”, Tai asked.

“Yes sweetheart, in the big house.”, I responded.

Ms. Andrews excused Tai for the time being and Jennifer was walking towards the door with her when Tessa re-entered the room. She apologized for leaving abruptly and sat back in her chair. Ms. Andrews told me that there was no reason why I couldn’t take immediate custody of Tai. She informed me that they would handle the arrangements for the social security payments and enroll her in Medicaid. She recommended I obtain an attorney to set up the trust with the state. After several more minutes she excused everyone and told me to follow her to pick up Tai.

Tai and I left the office building, and I took her directly to the ice cream parlor so she could pick anything she wanted. She made a mess but made short work out of a huge banana split. I still had a few sets of clothes for Tai at my house and even some toys. Tessa promised to bring me the rest as soon as possible.

We got up the following morning and had breakfast then Tai went with me to the gym. I was going to have to figure out a schedule for Tai so she could get back the time she had lost in pre-kindergarten. Tai was a smart child, but I couldn’t let her fall too far back. Everyone was pleased to see her when we walked in the gym that morning.

About thirty minutes later, Lexie Thomas showed up for her workout. We both went upstairs as Tai stayed in my office playing games on her IPAD. Amber promised to keep an eye on her. As we started our workout it did not take long for Lexie to ask.

“So, you and Tessa are back together again?’, Lexie asked.

“No, we are not.”, I replied.

“Why is the child here then, babysitting?’, she giggled.

“No, I have custody of Tai now. She is going to live with me permanently and hopefully down the road I can adopt her.”, I answered.

“So just like that you’re a dad?”, Lexie asked in amazement.

“No, I have a lot of work to do to get there but eventually I hope to be.”, I replied.

“Chris, I don’t know how but you never cease to amaze me.”, Lexie stated.

“Get your ass under that bar, Thomas.”, I stated pointing at the squat rack.

“Ooh, I love it when you talk dirty to me.”, Lexie laughed.

We finished our workout and Lexie spoke briefly to Tai on her way out. I then went to the way to train with the bag and kick posts. I was halfway through my second workout when Tai walked into the room.

“What are you doing Chwis?’’, she asked.

“Fighting Tai.”, I replied.

“Can you teach me how to fight?”, she asked.

“Why do you want to learn to fight?”, I asked.

“My dad told me he was going to teach me karate when I was older.”, she replied.

“Well, this is not karate but if you would like, I will teach you.”, I answered.

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