Chapter Twenty-Eight

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By the time Tristan did return home, his cheeks ached from all the smiles and pleasantries he'd put on. The only thing he wanted to do was take a quick shower and head over to Jada's. However, his keys weren't even in the front door before he spotted something curious.

The light in his living room was on, shining a soft yellow glow onto his front lawn. He'd heard plenty of stories about two-bit criminals breaking into celebrities' houses, but if these scumbags thought they could pull one over on Tristan, they were in for a surprise. He'd taken his fair share of martial arts lessons for various roles and figured he could take them.

On guard, Tristan managed to unlock his front door with a minimal amount of noise. He snatched up a poker from the corridor and headed for the living room.

"I've already called the cops, you son of a bitch!" Tristan shouted as he turned the corner, brandishing the poker. (He totally hadn't but they didn't need to know that.)

Yet, his weapon fell from his hands as he came face to face with Isabella Moreno.

"Mom?" Tristan croaked out. His eyes flitted over her, wondering if she was, in fact, real or he was in some weird dream. But there she was, standing by his fireplace with one of his picture frames in her hand.

"This is a nice photo of you, pequeño. You look happy," she said. The photo was one of Tristan smiling exuberantly as he accepted an MTV Movie Award.

A rush of fury, spurred by betrayal, coursed through Tristan's body. He made his way over and snatched the picture out of her hand, placing it back on the mantelpiece.

"What are you doing here?" he asked.

"It's been long enough. I wanted to see my son."

"A.k.a., you need a kidney, right?" He scoffed.

"No me hables asi," she said tersely. "I understand that you're upset with me. You have every right to be. But I'm still your mother and you will respect me."

"Fine. I won't talk to you that way if you don't scold me like we're talking about a lost bike or a math test I cheated on."

"You're right. I didn't come here to reprimand you. I came to explain." His mother sat down on the couch, motioning for him to sit beside her. He gaped at her audacity.

"It's about TWELVE YEARS too late for explanations, Mom. After you left, the first year, I waited every day for you to come back, for you to 'explain.' But you never did."

"Mijo--"

"Don't mijo me. I was fourteen! Y donde estabas, Mama? Tell me, where were you?"

"I didn't want to leave you, but your father insisted."

Tristan shook his head. His father had passed away two years ago from lung cancer. While he had been a chain smoker, he was still a good man. He never would have forced his mother to leave.

"You're lying. You're trying to make yourself look better."

"Why would I come all the way back here, and dredge up this pain, to lie to you?" She stood up and placed her hands on his shoulders.

"Tristan, leaving you killed me, but I'm here now. I want to finally tell you the truth."

"Vete," Tristan hissed. It was cruel, banishing his own mother from his house. But if he didn't, he would break. He'd end up sobbing like the lost boy he'd been so long ago. He refused to go there. She didn't deserve his tears.

Isabella sighed, sensing his resignation. Nevertheless, she locked eyes with him, not letting him escape.

"If that's what you really want, I'll go. But despite what you think, I love you, Tristan. Always," she said.

And with that, she left.

All over again.



*** So, super short chapter but I absolutely love it. Hint, hint: It'll change everything later down the road. Here's to the white picket fence life Tristan lost:

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