This confession is an excerpt from my book....Let me know what you all think! x Ava
Here is a TRIPLE confession!
Before I go into the next confession I would like to give you a better understanding of a few men I had seen before Hugh so that you are able to get a better understanding as to why he is so special to me.
A few months before my 18th birthday, I began working on a contract for social security in Australia in the call centre.
I had met a man while I was working there that we will call Paul. Paul was the complete opposite person that I had ever been attracted to. He was a man in his mid 30's with blondish hair, extremely tall, and well built.
I was sitting in the lunchroom on a break when this man came in and began putting posters up on the wall next to me. I didn't really pay any attention to him at the time until we began talking politics. In our office this was a BIG no no. However, we ended up talking about it anyway. He was an avid labor supporter and I was an avid liberal supporter. I actually was on the campaign at the time for my local representative who was a wonderful man. We got into a bit of heated debate and he turned to me, saying that I was trying to convince him to change sides...now I can be VERY persuasive when I want to be and I know how to state a case...maybe I should have gone into law!
We laughed a little before I took off and went outside for a cigarette. Yes, I was underage and smoking but to be honest, at that time in my life, I didn't really think and really didn't know what I was doing.
I sat down outside and had a cigarette when he came around the corner. He sat next to me and we continued talking. He was a complete gentleman. A lovely person and had a very amazing sense of humour. I instantly took to liking him.
My break was almost up so I went inside and sat back at my desk. The team leader I had absolutely HATED me. I was having such a hard time as he was really cold towards me and was an arrogant pig. I hated him just as much and I knew he didn't like me because he was really nice to everyone else on my team.
The next day I went outside for a cigarette and there Paul was. I sat down next to him and we began talking again. This time there was no politics, just a general conversation. I really did think he was a really nice person and he obviously liked me also because we exchanged work ID's and as soon as I got back upstairs to my desk I emailed him. I still have a copy of every single email we ever sent each other.
As soon as I got back to my desk, I sent him an email and this then became a regular routine with us.
Every morning when we arrived at work we would email each other and that would not only pass the hours quicker but we would manage to actually make each other laugh. We would try and take breaks at the same time and just really spend as much time with each other as possible.
I really began liking this man for everything that he was. He was a gentleman with a great sense of humour and someone who I could really fall for.
I was having a few problems with my team leader and one day, when we were downstairs having a cigarette I opened up and told Paul everything. My team leader "Allan" was a bit of an ass hole. He hated me and I knew that he really didn't like me because he was a great laugh with everyone else on my team. I just couldn't figure out why. It was actually really starting to hurt me to the point where I really did not want to go to work anymore with such an uncomfortable working environment.
During my conversation with Paul, he looked straight at me and laughed.
"When you get upstairs, pick something up and throw it at him and tell him it came from me".
"There is no way I am going to do that. He will kill me. I don't need any more trouble from him," I responded.
He laughed and told me to trust him.
On my way back upstairs I ran into "Mandy". A woman with who I had become pretty close who had encouraged me to get to know Paul better. We exchanged pleasantries and I went back to my desk.
When I arrived back at my desk, I knew I wasn't going to do what Paul had told me to do but he had told me to do it for a reason. Little did I realise it was because he and Allan had known each other for such a long time and socialised outside of work.
When I sat down at my desk which was next to Allan's desk I decided I was going to say something to him.
"Allan?" I called out his name to get his attention.
He looked up from his screen and gave me a look of utter disgust.
"Yes?" he responded.
"I was just downstairs with Paul and he told me to pick something up and throw it at you and tell you it was from him". He looked at me and instantly a smile crept across his face.
"Oh really? I will deal with him later," he said laughing.
From that moment, I got on really well with Allan. We shared jokes, and he turned out to be a really nice guy. I'm not sure why he didn't like me in the beginning as I am a pretty easy-going person but what I can say is that if it wasn't for Paul I am pretty sure I would have left at that very point in time as I had enough.
Over the next few weeks, Paul and I had become REALLY close to the point where we knew pretty much everything about each other. As soon as we got into work, we began emailing each other, we would try to schedule our breaks around each other and because everything with Allan was going soo well and he knew that Paul and I were interested in each other, he was only too happy to schedule my breaks in like with his, Allan became like a big brother figure who became pretty protective, after work Paul and I were either on the phone to each other or we were texting back and forth. We got so close that I actually began falling for each other pretty hard and very fast.
Mandy and I talked quite a lot about Paul and all three of us could be seen on numerous occasions outside having a cigarette or having lunch together. I was successfully accepted into their group and both Allan and Mandy were VERY supportive of Paul and me. They were trying to drive us together but we didn't need much of a push. We were getting there all on our own.
I found out that Mandy had once had a thing for Paul, which made me a little nervous when we were all in a group and one day I decided I would talk to Paul about it. He admitted that she had once told him she was interested in him however, nothing ever happened. So I thought I would talk to Mandy about it and make sure. I really didn't want to upset her if anything ended up going any further with Paul. She assured me that she wasn't interested anymore. He was like a big brother to her and that she was seeing someone else. I finally felt as though I was free without stepping on anyone else's territory.
I may have been young. However, I have always been told I am older than I seem. I had known all along that Paul had a son and when we first began talking, he did tell me he didn't want any more children as he was afraid of being hurt and putting another child in the same situation as his son was in with parents that lived separately. Even though we both knew that we wanted different things and that I wanted children it didn't seem to matter. I guess it was because we both really liked each other and knew that the rest would work itself out over time...and in a short period of time, Paul and I were talking about children again to the point where he said that yes he would have children again...it really made me smile. After everything I had been through with the possibility of never being able to have children, he knew how much it had meant to me. For some reason, in such a short period of time, I could actually see the rest of my life with this man and it didn't scare me at all. I don't know why but we just melted together.
A few weeks after the incident with Allan we had a massive Friday drink planned with the entire office at a very well known pub around the corner. I was really looking forward to going out with Paul and the rest of the group that I totally forgot about the fact that legally I wouldn't be able to drink and that I actually probably wouldn't have even been allowed into the venue.
That Friday came around and unfortunately, Paul couldn't go as he had to take care of his beautiful son. As devastated as I was, I totally understood. The entire night I spent on my phone with Paul either via text or via phone call. We literally couldn't not talk to each other and it was the most incredible feeling in the world.
I had one too many drinks that night and once I got home we ended up on the phone together again...until 1:30 am. We talked about EVERYTHING and I told him all about my past and everything I had ever done. He was so soothing and just incredible all around! Talking to him made me realise that I was human, my insecurities, my dirty laundry, and everything in between...never even made him blink. He treated me like a princess.
One day not long after that incredible 5-hour phone call, I went into work and started up my computer, so excited for my email as I hadn't seen Paul for our usual morning cigarette. When I opened my inbox there it was, My heart skipped a beat and my stomach had manic butterflies every time I saw the emails. The only problem was that this one was not a good email.
He had found out through an unnamed source that I was still 17 and only just about to turn 18. I almost burst into tears as I felt the anger searing from his email. I had never deliberately tried to deceive him the topic had just never come up and the person who had told him had a few details wrong about when I was turning 18...so I focussed on that rather than the age situation as I wasn't prepared to answer the question as I was so scared as to what his reaction would be.
I told him they had details wrong and demanded to know who it was that had told him this information. He told me that if I provided proof that I was in fact, 18 then he would tell me who it was. I couldn't do that and because of that I lied. I told him I was 18 and turned it around on him to say that he would trust someone else's word over mine and couldn't even trust me...I was so scared of losing him that I would have done ANYTHING to have kept him...but the guilt of lying was eating me up inside.
As the emails kept going back and forth and began getting nastier and nastier, I could feel the tears streaming down my face as I knew it was over either way. There was no way I was going to walk away unscathed.
Allan looked over at me, got up from his desk, and saw the last email in front of me. He turned his gaze to me and put my phone on out. He told me to follow him and like a zombie, I got up and followed him. He told me to go outside for a break and take in some fresh air.
I walked downstairs and found that the entire sky was crying with me. I walked around the corner and was huddled with about 30 other people who were having a cigarette. In the middle of the crowd were Mandy and Paul. As soon as he saw me, he looked at me. He looked as broken as I did as I stood there listening to another of my coworkers talk about a call they had just taken. I tried not to stare at Paul but it was so hard, I just wanted to walk over to him and hug him and apologize but I knew that it was never going to happen. All of a sudden, as if it was fate, everyone else around us seemed to go silent and in that split-second pause in noise, I heard Paul say as he looked at me "I wish I had never fucking met her Mandy," and he walked away with her rubbing his shoulder. I felt my heartbreak as he looked away from me and the tears began streaming down my face like never before.
By the time I got back to my desk Allan looked up at me, I just stood there almost catatonic and he just looked at me before realising that whatever was going to happen next couldn't be good.
I sat down to begin taking calls and he walked straight over to me, knelt down at my desk, and said "Ava, give him time. He just needs time without anyone in his ear. You two will be ok, you're perfect for each other. Trust me. He is just protecting himself".
I turned my head and looked at him before I said "He hates me. He just told Mandy he wished he had never met me. I will NEVER get him back, so I need to move on and get back to work". With that, I put my call monitor back on and sat on auto for the next few days.
I only ever spoke to Mandy once after that and the look in her eyes was like death. The only thing I didn't realise was that she was really the only person other than HR that had known my age and yet HR would have no reason to say anything to Paul...It was Mandy.
When I found this out for sure it was actually Allan who had told me one day when we were talking. He had become a great friend and when I asked how Paul was, it was always the same answer. He was just as broken as I was and hurt well and truly beyond repair. Allan understood how I was feeling and agreed to schedule my breaks outside of Pauls's because he couldn't bear to see either Paul or myself hurting any longer.
A few weeks after everything had happened and Mandy, Paul and, myself were no longer talking, I went outside for a cigarette and by sheer accident, Paul had switched his break and he and Mandy were outside with a group of people having a cigarette. When I turned the corner I saw them sitting with a few people. I almost turned around and walked away when I saw them until I heard one of the other girls in my team calling my name on the opposite side of the group. I walked over to her, trying my absolute hardest to no look in the direction of Mandy or Paul and sat down on the steps with Steph.
Steph and I had become friends and she knew what had happened so she tried to distract me as best she could. About 5 minutes later I overheard Mandy saying to the group that I was the scum of the earth. I almost said something until I saw Paul look at Mandy and through gritted teeth, he turned to her and said "That's enough Mandy, What's done is done" and he caught my eye in his gaze as tears began welling in my eyes. I could see the pain in his eyes, I could see the hatred there as well and it made me feel instantly sick. Mandy turned and nodded at Paul before she looked at me and began laughing.
Steph wasn't the kind of person to let anything go and being pregnant. She was a little more protective as well. Before I had the chance to stop her she stood up and began screaming at Mandy.
"Bitch, if you have something to say then stalk your ugly slutty ass over here and say it to Ava's face rather than sniggering in a corner like the coward you are!" She was ropeable. I tried to grab her hand and tell her everything was ok but she wasn't hearing any of it. She was enraged.
Mandy stood up and began screaming back at her while the people around her stood in awe with the disgusting language that began coming out of her mouth. I looked at Paul begging him to do something. These two people did not deserve to be caught up in our mess, it was our issues to deal with and although they were our friends, it didn't mean they had the right to try and fight our battle.
I tried really hard to get Steph to sit back down but the screaming match continued and Mandy began walking towards us as things got worse.
"Steph, I really appreciate it but please, She isn't worth it". I pleaded with her to sit back down and looked straight at Paul, willing him to put Mandy back on a lead but he looked at me with such a look of shock I thought his teeth were going to fall out of his gaping mouth.
I really wanted to stay out of it but I knew it was my fault...I accepted my mistake but now it was time for Paul to stand up and tell Mandy to go back to her corner but he just stood there like a stunned mullet. My fear turned into rage as Mandy got closer and began poking Steph in the chest before she decided that she would turn on me.
"And YOU" she pointed in my face with white venom foaming from her mouth.
"How fucking dare you say I am not worth it? You have done so much damage to someone I care about more than anything. You have broken his heart and deserve to rot in hell for what you have done. I hope you slink away and die a painful death, you horrible, disgusting human being". I felt the bile rise in my throat and the pain of my heart being ripped out of my chest. She was enjoying every moment of this. I realised in that moment that she still loved Paul and he was oblivious to it, that's why she was angry, she knew my age all along and just when she realised there was a possibility that this was more than just flirtation and that she could really lose him she decided to use it against me and tell him. I could just imagine what she was thinking when she told him. All of these thoughts boiled into a rage and it was at that point that Paul decided to pull in the lap dog. He walked over towards her as she began pushing me on the shoulders.
"Mandy, THAT'S ENOUGH!. This is between Ava and I. Stop now!" he said, pulling her arms out of my face. He didn't look at me once and when he said my name, it was with a level of disgust that I just couldn't take it anymore. As they began walking away she put her arm around his back and that set me off!
Steph had calmed down slightly at this point and watched the white-hot rage flash across my face...
"Ava..Are you ok?" She asked carefully.
"You got what you wanted Mandy. He is still blinded to the fact that you are still so desperate to have him and, once again you have eliminated anyone who threatens your place in his life. One day he will realise the kind of person you are and when that day comes all your shit will unravel!. Every compulsive liar has their day!" I screamed at her. I knew deep down I was lowering myself to her level but something inside me took over. I was sick of crying over this. I was sick of Mandy getting away with it. I had bitten my tongue for long enough...and in Paul's eyes, I couldn't look any worse so who cares!
Mandy stopped dead in her tracks and turned to face me, but before she had the chance, Paul started.
"Ava!, This has NOTHING to do with what Mandy did or didn't say to me. This has to do with the fact that you LIED. We promised each other to never lie, cheat or, steal from each other and you broke that promise. You've made your bed so now it's time for you to lay in it!" He spat the look in his eyes was of pure hatred. He was breaking at the seams and because of that, he was lashing out and, probably rightly so however, that was not something I could let go of. He had broken that promise as well and it wasn't going to be left unsaid.
"Paul I know what I have done and I accept my part in this but you are just as guilty in all of this as I am!. I may have lied but you lied AND cheated. I asked you and Mandy more than once if there was anything going on between you two and you swore black and blue that there were no feelings there at all. It is blatantly obvious with how you two interact with each other that there is something SO much more than you lead on. You are both just as bad as each other. Have a good life together!" I screamed back at him as stagnant tears rolled down my cheeks and landed on my chest. They were that big I could actually feel them touching my skin through my blouse!
Steph grabbed my elbow and began wheeling me around the corner. The silence in the air was deafening as the onlookers stood there in shock. Paul was not the kind of person to lash out like that and they had never known me to be that person either.
I held his gaze as I walked around them. His expression didn't change even though stagnant tears were falling down my face.
Just before I disappeared around the corner, I saw a flicker of remorse and guilt flash across his face, infused with confusion over what had just happened. It was in that instant that I knew that there was no turning back. Mandy had deliberately tried to break us up. She was the first person to push us together but when she realised that whatever was happening between us was more than just downright flirtation, she was terrified at the possibility of Paul caring about someone more than he cared about her. I almost felt sorry for her.
In the entire time that Paul and I had spent getting to know each other, we had invested our emotions. We had bared our souls, secrets, hope and, dreams to each other and, not one of those things had mattered in the slightest. So why is it that this particular situation was allowed to break the strong foundation we had begun building? I accepted my part in all of this and as much as I agreed that my lie had been a big part of it, I couldn't help but feel that there was a force darker than a lie that was behind this. I couldn't quite understand why this was blown into a situation that was like a nightmare...It didn't feel like it was going to end and everything that could possibly go wrong was going wrong. Little did I realise that the dark force that was hell-bent on destroying any connection Paul and I had was closer than either of us knew...but it wouldn't take long until it came out.
Later that day all parties involved in the argument were pulled into a room separately with their respective superiors and reprimanded. That included myself and Paul.
When Allan pulled me in, he looked at me and saw how torn up I was and all he could say was "I'm sorry Ava, I shouldn't have pushed you into thinking everything was going to be ok. when it obviously runs deeper for both of you than I realised. I just thought it was something you would both move past in time."
I looked up at him and just nodded. There was nothing left to say and I appreciated the fact that Allan understood. A month after the outside situation happened I went back to working extremely hard and made sure that I was focussing on anything other than Paul. So far so good.
I was sitting at my desk one day when Allan clicked his finger above his computer to get my attention. He lifted his hand to his ear and motioned to see if I was on a call. I told him I wasn't and he smiled at me.
Most of our team was on a break and so there was no one around us. Allan leant over his desk and half laughing at me and said this.
"Ava, your stepfather is younger than your mother isn't he?" He asked what seemed to be an innocent question with a smirk on his face that I couldn't quite understand.
"Yep, why's that?" I responded with caution but that still didn't prepare me for what was to come.
"So have you fucked him yet?" he asked, once again innocently as if it was a question you would ask in an everyday conversation.
I was utterly disgusted. What the hell was he playing at?. What kind of question was that?. I was so infuriated.
"Umm no!. What the hell possessed you to asked a question like that?" I responded, not pretending to hide my disgust in him. He looked me dead in the eye and laughed.
"Well these things happen and you look like that kind of girl!" he responded half laughing.
I honestly had nothing left to say on the matter. I was shocked beyond belief. How dare he ask me a question like that?. I still couldn't understand why someone would even bother to enter into a conversation like that, let alone ask a question as perverted as that. I tried to let it go over the next few days as I had reported the conversation to my HR consultant and she assured me that she would handle it but he just seemed to get more and more personal. He would make sure no one else was around when he these things but the next one was at the end of the day and I was ready to throw the towel in right then and there.
"Ava, what do you call a lesbian dinosaur?" he asked, laughing again his evil sadistic laugh.
"What?" I responded, willing our conversation to end so I could leave. Something had changed with Allan and I couldn't put my finger on it.
"A LickaLotaPus" he responded, laughing so hard at his own joke I thought he was going to fall off his chair. I pretended to laugh and left for the day. I felt dirty. I couldn't wait to get home and have a shower. I couldn't wait for my contract to finish and put the place behind me. When I first started there I had kept to myself and went to work, did my job and, then went home, when did it all get so complicated?.
The next day just before I arrived at work I realized I couldn't do it anymore. I literally was breaking and I wasn't sure how much more crap I could take, but what could I do?
When I arrived I went into work and sat down to begin work. About 20 minutes in my contract HR consultant pulled me in to talk. We had a chat and I asked her if she had done anything about the inappropriate conversation that Allan had intended to engage in with me; however, she hadn't. I was really getting over this lack of action and I told her that I just needed her to do something. She told me to go outside and have a break and she would come and get me when she had spoken with HR.
I went outside for a cigarette and sat in the same spot that I used to sit in with Paul. I was there for about 15 minutes before she came out and sat next to me. She asked me what I wanted to do as they were going to have to investigate it. I told her that I really just couldn't be in the office under his supervision anymore today. I needed to go home for the day. She then proceeded to tell me that I may not have a job if I did that. I told her to go and find out. So she did and the verdict was just that. If I stayed, I had a job. If I didn't then I wasn't welcome back. I was so over it all. I needed to leave and so I did just that. Because of the decision I made I wasn't allowed back in the office and that for me was heaven. I never had to walk back in that office again. No more bad memories and no more crap.
After I left I went to see my mother and had a conversation with her that I will get to later on but let's just say it was one of the most vital points in our relationship that was to determine the next few years that would go on to destroy a lot of our relationship. On the way to seeing my mother I sent Paul a message explaining that he would never see me again and that I had left and I hoped he was happy from here on. The only thing he responded was "You're a loser" and I left it at that.
A week after I left, I got a call from Steph who was mixing between busting to tell me something and wanting to protect me. What she told me actually shocked me so much I was almost ready to vomit. Steph told me that Mandy and Allan had plotted together to split up Paul and I for their own selfish reasons. When they realised that we were very serious about each other the realised they were at risk of a lot of things and for Mandy it was Paul and for Allan it was me!...the only problem with that was that Allan never had me and Mandy only wished she had Paul. That wasn't the worst part though. She then told me that Paul was so broken up after I left because deep down he had hoped one day we would have been able to talk things out. I certainly didn't think this was the case. However, I was no longer in the inner circle and Paul was so good at hiding how he felt at the best of times, except when it came to me. Steph then told me that Paul went out the weekend that I left and got really drunk, he slept with a girl at the party and she just told him she was pregnant. A one night stand turned into his daughter. I had not seen that coming at all and because I was so shocked, I hadn't heard Steph asking me if I was ok. If I was completely honest, No. I was shattered but I responded as if it hadn't affected me at all...but it was killing me inside. The only solace I took from that conversation was that it wasn't Mandy. I can't say that I would have been able to keep it together if it had have been Mandy having his baby. Funny things happen when you don't expect them to. He had said he didn't want children, then we discussed children and now he was having a child with a one night stand.
What I have realized about this situation is that, yes, the age situation would have been an issue. However, the biggest problem was not the age but the fact that I lied to him. If I had been honest with Paul then there may have been a chance for whatever may have been but because I lied to him, that was something he could NEVER have forgiven me for...or so I thought.
Two years after I had left I was going through my phone and saw messages from Paul.
I hadn't really ever forgotten anything that had happened with Paul and how things ended. I still harboured so much guilt from it. I didn't know if he still had the same number but something inside me told me I should try to contact him and apologize for the past. Finally allowing me some closure...So one night I sat up and wrote him this message.
I'm sure you may or may not remember me but it's Ava. Look I'm sorry to contact you out of the blue and I know you were extremely angry and hurt by me for the way I treated you. I have had few regrets in my life but for some reason the way I treated you has always stuck in my mind. I'm not apologising or getting in contact for any particular reason other than to apologise. I know you couldn't forgive me then so I don't expect it now. I guess I should say why I'm sorry. Those few years ago I DID lie to you about my age...I was 17 at the time, just turning 18. I lied and it was a simple as that because I felt that we communicated with such ease and could really just be comfortable around one another. To be honest, I had only ever had that once and I cared about you enough to not want to lose that and I just felt like I would if I was honest. Something that I know I should have just been honest about for a start. I know it's no excuse but THAT was the only lie and I needed to make that clear. I do have to clear the air about one other thing. I NEVER did try to get you in trouble at work. I tried quite the opposite. I will keep my silence and bite my tongue as to who told me that trouble was brewing but I never tried to cause a problem and if I did then I apologise. I don't expect a response from you and I hope you have achieved or been on your way to achieving all the dreams you had of travel and spending more time with your son.
If anything, I just needed to acknowledge the truth...even though you already knew it.
I left the message at that and really hoped that he would respond but would be hurt if he didn't...until he did!