I suppose to his mind, not knowing that I saw him with his side chick this afternoon, I’m acting a bit strangely not speaking and not letting him in. I clear my throat and hope that my voice comes out sounding normal. I’m going to tell him I don’t have the energy for visitors right now and that I’m just going to have an early night. But then I’ll have to see him again and have it out with him before work on Monday. Fuck it. I might as well get it over with now.
“Sure,” I say, standing back from the door.
Tyler steps in and peers at me as he passes me, that worried look still on his face. I ignore the worried look and I don’t say anything else. He goes through to the living room, and I close my door and then I follow him. He’s sitting where I was sitting on the couch, so I sit down next to him on the other side of the couch.
I can already feel myself relenting. It’s being so close to Tyler and the concern he’s showing for me. I can’t just brush this all under the rug though. It’s much too big for that. I can give him one last chance to admit it though and although that will be hard to hear, maybe I can start to forgive him if he’s honest with me and promises me he’ll end things with her and never ever do this again.
“So, town this afternoon was a waste of time. I felt sick before I got anything I needed,” I say. I force myself to smile. “Please tell me you got what you went for, and it wasn’t an all round bust.”
“Yeah, I did,” Tyler says. “I got a new pair of jeans which I just spotted and liked so I bought them. And I got what I actually went for too so that’s a bonus. What was it you needed that you didn’t get?”
“It was just some stuff for dinner tonight but obviously with being sick earlier I wouldn’t have eaten it anyways so maybe it wasn’t the worst thing that could happen before I bought it all,” I say. “Did you bump into anyone you know?”
“Why would you ask that?” Tyler says.
He’s looking at me with a look of suspicion now and I realize I probably wasn’t exactly subtle with the way I worded that. I think fast and cover myself.
“Oh, just I saw Danny from accounts, and I was just thinking if he saw us both separately at the same place, imagine the gossip we’d be going into work to on Monday,” I say.
Tyler laughs softly.
“Yeah, it would be horrendous,” he says. “But no, I didn’t see Danny. I didn’t see anyone. I was alone all afternoon.”
He says the last part too quickly and he looks down into his lap instead of at me as he says it. I have given him chance after chance to come clean and he is still lying to me, and I snap.
“You are such a liar,” I say. Tyler’s head snaps up quickly and he frowns at me. “You can look at me like that all you like. I saw you, Tyler.”
“Saw me what?” he says, but I can tell by the resignation in his voice that he knows exactly what I saw.
“I saw you with her. Your bit on the side. Fucking hell Tyler, it wouldn’t be so bad, but she doesn’t look a day over twenty,” I shout.
“I can explain…” Tyler says.
“Oh really,” I say. “What you’re just friends with her, is that it? Then why wouldn’t you tell me about her? Sure, I’d tease you for being friends with a barely twenty-year-old but surely that would have been better than this.”
“She’s not twenty,” Tyler says. “She’s fifteen.”
“Fifteen? Jesus,” I say, but Tyler hasn’t finished.
“And she’s my daughter,” he adds on.
“Your… what?” I ask
“She’s fifteen. Her name is Daisy and she’s my daughter,” Tyler says.
“I don’t understand,” I say.
This was the last thing I was expecting. The possibility of it hadn’t even crossed my mind. How the hell could Tyler have a child he just never mentioned before? How hadn’t she come up even once with Angela or his parents at the barbecue? I have so many questions yet the shock of all of this renders me silent. Tyler puts his hand on mine, and I look at him.
“Can I try to explain?” he says quietly.
I nod my head. I can’t say I’m happy he’s kept this from me, but at least he’s not cheating on me. After jumping to the complete wrong conclusion, I definitely owe him the chance to explain. I probably owe him a huge apology too, but I just can’t think straight enough for that yet. I want to hear this explanation first.
“Before I married Chloe, I slept around a bit. I got a girl pregnant, although I had no idea about that until around a month ago when Daisy contacted me and said she thought I might be her dad. I remembered her mom when she gave me details of who she was, and I knew it was possible that I was indeed her dad, so I provided the DNA sample she requested, and it came back a match.
“I asked Daisy if we could meet up and try and have some sort of relationship, but she said no and I respected that, but I told her if she ever changed her mind, she only had to say the word. She texted me while we were at the barbecue. I maybe should have said I was busy, but I really wanted to meet her, and I felt like if I said that, she would never ask again.
“We hit it off and we’ve been meeting up regularly since. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you,” Tyler finishes.