Once deeply in love to the extent of pledging to depart the world together, a couple’s life takes an unforeseen turn when the man suddenly inherits a considerable amount of money, and his wife vanishes with their children a few weeks after.
Linda exclaimed joyously as she lifted her glass to her beloved husband, “Wishing the man I cherish a very happy birthday! He has blessed me with two beautiful children and this amazing life. He truly deserves all the happiness in the world!” She then leaned in to give him a tender kiss on the lips.
“I also want to propose a toast to my wife for showing me what true love means, for being a constant support for our children and me, and for being the most incredible person in my life. Here’s to our marriage!” he exclaimed as he lifted his glass and joined in the cheer.
As Stewart and Linda looked into each other’s eyes, they shared yet another passionate kiss. The party-goers erupted into cheers and hoots as they celebrated the occasion. Unbeknownst to Stewart, Linda and their children, Max and Cody, had organized a surprise party in honor of his birthday.
As their parents continued to kiss, Max and Cody looked on with discomfort. Max whispered to Cody, “What’s wrong with Mum? She’s making a fool of herself!”
Stewart’s eyes welled up with tears as he expressed his gratitude to everyone present, “I feel so incredibly blessed that God gave me such a wonderful wife. To be honest, she was way out of my league. I don’t know why she chose me. I wasn’t particularly attractive or intelligent, just an ordinary guy trying to get by.”
Linda playfully nudged Stewart and rolled her eyes. She gently wiped away his tears and said, “Oh, please! You were and still are the most handsome man in my eyes. I want to be your wife forever, till death do us part. I’ll always be there for you.”
“Ewww…Goodbye!” said Cody. “I’m going to eat in my room.”
Cody and Max had both disappeared from the party. All because they despised their father, but more so because they hated their parents’ constant public display of affection.
40-year-Stewart was an average guy, as he considered himself. He was very insecure as a kid, and he had a form of locomotor disability since childhood, due to which he couldn’t walk properly. Stewart was not one of your handsome guys either, so no girl was ever interested in him.
But when Linda came into his life, everything changed. She wasn’t beautiful and gorgeous by all accounts, but she was much better than Stewart when it came to looks. When she got down on one knee and proposed to him years ago, Stewart couldn’t believe it.
He had initially laughed it off, thinking she was joking, and he was about to walk away. But she’d pulled him closer, planted a strong kiss on his lips, and he was awestruck by her, by…everything about her!
Despite being married for 15 years and having two children, Stewart still couldn’t fathom how his life had transformed into something so wonderful. He cherished his wife and children and felt content in his small but happy world. However, he was unaware that his life and marriage were far from perfect.
Max and Cody often mocked Stewart for his locomotor disability and saw him as a loser. Not like they’d said it to his face, but they weren’t as close to him as they were to Linda, and they thought Stewart could never give them a good life.
So they also didn’t understand why their Mum loved their Dad and became all romantic and touchy with him. That, too…in public!
After the party, Linda tucked the boys in their beds, kissed them good night, and returned to her bedroom. Then she did her skincare routine and finally collapsed into Stewart’s arms. “Thank you for everything, darling. The party, the cake…everything was perfect!” he said softly, stroking her hair.
With her eyes closed, Linda smiled. “I tried,” she said. “Just tried my best.”
Out of nowhere, she abruptly opened her eyes and exclaimed, “Oh God, Stewart!” as she sat upright in bed. “I completely forgot about your upcoming business trip, isn’t it soon?”
In response, he smiled and tenderly pulled her into his embrace. “Don’t worry. We have enough time for that.”
Then she spoke up, “Well, I need to go there again…but this time for just two days.”
This made Stewart go silent all of a sudden.
You’re upset, aren’t you?” she asked, looking up at him.
“Well, I’m used to it,” he said as he drew away from her and turned off the bedside lamp. “I’m going to sleep. Good night.”
“It’ll only be for two days, Stew, and I’ll take Max and Cody with me. Sorry,” Linda said, his back facing her. But Stewart didn’t turn back to look at her. She also turned off her table lamp and dozed off.
Linda’s job as a private nanny was not something Stewart approved of. He had always wanted to be the sole provider for their family, but Linda was adamant about helping out, saying that she didn’t want to be a financial burden on him or their children. Therefore, when Stewart went on his business trips, Linda would take on part-time babysitting jobs.
Three days later, Stewart left for his business trip, and he was still upset about her babysitting. “I’ll be fine, babe,” Linda said as she kissed him goodbye. “Have a safe trip.”
“Goodbye,” grumbled Stewart, and then he settled in the taxi and disappeared down the street. Linda stood there for a while before heading back inside.
Days later, while he was still on the work trip, Stewart got a call from a private number. Because his clients sometimes called him from private numbers, he answered the phone right away.
“Yes?” he asked. “Who’s this?”
“Good day, Mr. Harding. This is Timothy Beach,” the voice on the other end of the line said. “I’m your aunt Aileen’s attorney.”
“Aileen’s attorney? How—how can I help?”
“I have some news for you, sir. Unfortunately, it’s not all good news,” the attorney began cautiously.
Stewart’s anxiety skyrocketed. “Is everything alright? How is Aileen doing?”
The sound of the attorney’s exhalation was audible over the phone. “I’m afraid I have to inform you, Mr. Harding, that your aunt has passed away.”
As the lawyer finished what he was saying, Stewart’s phone almost fell from his grasp. He knew that Aileen had been in a coma for five years and was gravely ill. Stewart was not very close to her, but the news saddened him.
He promised Mr. Beach that he would take care of her funeral arrangements since Aileen and her husband didn’t have children. He was surprised when the attorney told him that the funeral was already taken care of by Aileen’s close friend. “But Mr. Harding,” he said. “You’d need to come to my office because I need your signatures on some paperwork. Your aunt’s $2 million estate has been left to you. You’re her heir, and that’s the good news.”
“The heir?” asked Stewart, shocked. “But why me?”
“Well, sir, only my client would’ve been able to fill you in on that. Anyway, we’ll have the rest of the discussion at my office. I’ll send you the details soon. Thank you.”
After the lawyer hung up, a worried Stewart promptly called Linda and recounted the news to her, even though she was away working as a babysitter. “What?” she exclaimed. “But you barely knew her!”
“She didn’t have any children, and my uncle passed away years ago,” he said. “I guess she didn’t have much of a choice.”
“But keeping all this money in the bank, well…” Linda said. “After the taxes and everything, it’ll still be good money, babe. Before the other relatives, you know, come forward to claim it, you should get the money home and keep it in our safe. And yeah, let’s not tell anybody. I mean, it’s only for our own safety.”
“You’re right,” he told her. “You’re right. I’d like to attend the funeral as well, so I think I’ll wrap things up here and go. You’re still busy, so I’ll go alone.”
“I see,” Linda replied. “I hope things go smoothly. I’ll be back soon, my love!”
Little did Stewart know that on his way back from the funeral, he would receive more distressing news from his best friend, Arnold, via phone call. Arnold informed him that he had spotted Linda embracing a man outside a café on the outskirts of town. “They just went inside,” he informed Stewart. “And I hate to say it, mate, but it doesn’t look like they’re just acquaintances.”
Stewart’s immediate response to Arnold’s accusation was one of defensiveness. “Are you insane, Arnold? Linda would never betray me like that!” he retorted.
“Well, you gotta see it by yourself. I’ll text you the address, and before you come, I’ll have the proof,” he said and hung up.
Arnold went inside the cafe, and as he was passing by Linda’s table, he pretended to tie his shoelace and threw his Dictaphone under her table.
“Being a vintage store owner has its advantages,” he then typed in a message to Stewart. “My old Dictaphone is doing the job. Once you’re here, don’t come inside the cafe…you’ll ruin their plan. You’re in for a shock, mate. Your wife…well, this is going to put your marriage to the test!”
A couple of hours later, Stewart arrived at the cafe and called Arnold on his phone. When Arnold said Linda and her “friend” had left, Stewart burst into the cafe.
“What in the world is that message supposed to mean, Arnold?” he fumed. “What the hell—”
“Sit down,” Arnold said calmly. “And take a look at this. Stewart, I feel bad for you…” he added, turning the recording on.
The recording began with Arnold apologizing for tying his shoelace near their table and disturbing them, then Linda’s voice appeared.
“You’ve got to be kidding me! I’d never love that loser,” she said.
“So even after so many years of marriage, you actually never liked him?” the man’s voice asked.
Linda laughed. “He’s so freakin’ dumb!” she snarled. “I shower twice after we make love! He grosses me out! All this while, I’ve been tolerating that fool ’cause I always knew about the inheritance. You won’t believe it, but I decided to marry him after overhearing his aunt discussing how she was planning to leave him all of his money. She was talking to his Mum.
“15 YEARS! That’s how long I’ve waited for it all!”
“Now that the money is his and his aunt is out of the picture, I’ll take the money and just disappear with…our kids! They got their smartness from you, darling. You know, they hate Stewart…”
As Stewart continued to listen to the recording, he was in utter disbelief. All the love Linda had professed for him and their marriage were nothing but lies! It turned out that Max and Cody were not his biological children either. It was all too much for Stewart to comprehend.
Linda and the man she was speaking with, Jared, were in a relationship. He’d approached her in a random cafe. Each time she got pregnant with him, she chose to keep the pregnancy and lied to Stewart that they were his children.
Not only that, but she also pretended to work as a nanny. While Stewart was away on business, she would meet Jared and spend time with him.
Jared and Linda had planned to take Stewart’s money and leave the country. They were also going to take Max and Cody with them, and it was all supposed to happen within a week.
Stewart was heartbroken and didn’t know how to react. He took the Dictaphone with him and drove back home. But Stewart knew he wasn’t going to let Linda slide. He decided to act normal in front of her. But he’d make her pay for what she’d done by giving her a taste of her medicine.
But he was slow in executing his plan. Stewart got the inheritance money home, and both he and Linda knew it was in their safe. One day, he returned home late in the evening and found his house empty. Linda and the kids were missing!
“Honey? Cody? Max?” Stewart called out, but there were no replies.
Stewart checked all the rooms and bathrooms, but it was all for naught. When he was leaving his bedroom, he suddenly noticed the safe was not properly closed. He checked it and was shocked to find the money gone.
Stewart called Linda, but her number was out of service. He could sense something was wrong and was about to dial the cops when he received a call from Arnold. “They’re heading for the highway, Stewart. We gotta hurry. I’m coming to your home in, like, five minutes!”
Linda didn’t know Arnold and Stewart had hidden a tracker in te money. As Arnold’s call ended, Stewart grabbed his coat and hurried out of the house.
That night, Stewart and Arnold followed Linda and learned she was escaping with Jared and the kids. When her car stopped by a gas station and Jared left to use the washroom, Arnold and Stewart circled Linda.
“Don’t even consider running, Linda! Your game’s over!” cried Stewart. “The cops are on the way, and they have everything they need to detain you and your sick boyfriend! But I won’t turn you in because the kids need you! So now I will go to the car, get my money and take it to the bank. And in the meantime, you will go to my house, take all your things from there and vanish with the kids. That, or you’re rotting in prison with that Jared!”
Linda was shocked. “Stewart, I—”
Before Linda could complete her sentence, the police arrived and apprehended Jared. He continued to shout that Linda was involved in the scheme, but Stewart refused to believe it. He argued that Linda was only pretending to be with Jared as part of a plan to catch him.
Stewart was in tears on his way to the bank. Although he’d exposed Linda and gotten Jared arrested, he was very disappointed. All these years, he’d loved Linda and their children with all his heart, but now it would be hard for him to trust anyone again.
Later that night, Stewart met Arnold at a bar and was very depressed. “She freakin’ cheated on me all these years,” he hissed, chugging his beer. “What a waste!”
“Come on, man!” Arnold encouraged him. “You still got a good life. If nothing, all the dirt from your life was cleared. You are healthy, have the money, and can start over.”
“I never needed the money!” grumbled Stewart. “Do hell with it! It only brought me bad luck!”
“I’ve got a sick wife here, Stewart! Stop crying about your life now! Lily was diagnosed with cancer two weeks ago, and it’s been a hell ride…Look, you gotta appreciate life, Stewie. I know what has happened isn’t something to celebrate, but you gotta live life and move on.”
Stewart would never have moved on, and maybe he would’ve succumbed to the pain of being cheated on…if it hadn’t been for Arnold’s motivating words. Three days later, Stewart paid a visit to Arnold.
“Woah, Stewart, what are you doing here? I got home at, like, 4 this morning, and Lily was mad!” he whispered, looking back and then at his friend on the doorstep. Stewart was holding a bag, which he left on Arnold’s doorstep before turning around and leaving.
“Keep it with you, mate. Goodbye!” Stewart said, waving him bye. Then he hopped on his bike and rode away. Arnold was surprised to find cash in the bag when he checked it. Stewart had left him the funds for Lily’s treatment. He never wanted so much money in the first place.
All his life, he’d dreamed of getting himself a motorbike, but Linda would be against it. Now that she was out of his life, he finally got one.
That morning, Stewart packed his stuff, tied it to his motorbike, and started out on a new journey in life. Even though he had no idea about his destination, he rode his bike as far as it would take him, battling the winds and breathing freely for the first time in ages.
Stewart arrived at a highway rest stop and decided to grab a bite to eat at the nearby cafe. While sitting at his table, he noticed a beautiful brunette sitting nearby, dressed in biker attire that included a leather jacket, boots, and a helmet resting on the table.
“Looks like we share a love for biking,” Stewart commented, catching her attention.
The woman turned to face him with a smile as she took a bite of her sandwich. “Yeah, I guess you could say that,” she responded. “I mean, 13 years of being with an unfaithful husband can lead you to find solace on the road.”
“I hear you,” he replied bluntly. “I just found out that my wife of 15 years was having an affair.”
After a moment of ironic laughter shared between them, Stewart spoke up. “I doubt this cafe is your final destination,” he commented.
She smirked back at him. “You’re right, it’s not. And is it yours?”
Stewart declined and quickly put on his helmet. “Actually, I’ll ride with you for a bit,” he said. “I don’t really have a destination in mind anyway. Maybe I’ll discover one with you.”