After a big fight, Caleb says mean things to his wife, Denise. The next day, she leaves in a fancy car. Caleb learns Denise got a lot of money from a deceased family member. He tries to make things right with her and save their relationship. But will he succeed?

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It was supposed to be a pleasant evening. Caleb and Denise had their friends, Sam and Kate, over for dinner.

As they ate, Denise talked excitedly about her recent trip, but Caleb seemed worried and distant.

“It was wonderful, you know,” Denise shared, “I’m planning a surprise for Caleb, but it’s a secret for now.”

For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

Caleb tried to smile but looked troubled. When it was his turn to talk, he shared his struggles.

“I’ve been having a hard time,” he said quietly. “I lost my job unexpectedly, and our bills are piling up.”

Sam and Kate looked worried. They knew Caleb was a hardworking man and felt awful for him.

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“That sounds really tough, Caleb,” Sam said. “Can we help in any way?”

“Yes, please let us know. We’re here for both of you,” Kate added, showing support.

Caleb sighed. “Thanks for the help, guys, but I’m looking for a job. It’s just that things have been tough.”

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

“Honey,” Denise said. “It’ll get better. Don’t let this bog you down. We need to stay positive and work through this together.”

Caleb, however, wasn’t in the mood for optimism, and Denise’s words only frustrated him further. “You’re always pretending everything is fine!” he grumbled.

The mood turned awkward. Denise tried to change the subject back to her trip, but Caleb cut her off, yelling, “OK, stop, Denise! Stop acting like everything’s fine. We have big problems! And why have you been spending so much recently? What was that trip really about?”

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“Hey, bud,” Sam intervened, “Maybe this isn’t the best time for this talk.”

“Yeah, let’s enjoy the evening,” Kate suggested, trying to lighten the mood.

But it didn’t work. The evening ended with a heavy silence, and Sam and Kate left early.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

Caleb was upset by how the evening had unfolded and confronted Denise now that they were alone in their home.

“You don’t support me,” he said, pacing around. “You’re spending too much. And you used to care about your diet, but now…”

Denise was shocked. “How can you say that, Caleb? I’m trying so hard,” she replied, her voice shaking.

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“It’s just the truth, Denise!” he snarled. “You’ve let yourself go! You’re too fat to even look recognizable. Didn’t you see Kate? She’s so fit and healthy!”

Denise was hurt. “You don’t see any of my efforts? How can you say this to me? I can’t stand here and take this!” she then ran to their bedroom, crying.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

Caleb knew he had been harsh on her, but he was too proud to apologize. He turned on the TV to distract himself. The night passed with both feeling alone and misunderstood.

The next morning, Caleb woke up in the guest bedroom. The house felt unusually empty and quiet, except for the distant sound of a door slamming shut.

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With a sense of unease, he got out of bed and shuffled towards the window. Peering through the curtains, he saw Denise outside. She was dressed in a simple yet elegant outfit, her hair neatly done.

But what caught Caleb’s attention was the sleek, black Rolls-Royce parked in front of their modest home.

Caleb’s eyes narrowed as he watched a man step out of the driver’s side. He held the passenger door open for Denise, who slipped into the car with a grace that Caleb hadn’t noticed in a long time.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

Who was that man? Why did Denise seem so happy with him?

Caleb tried calling her, but she didn’t answer. Worried and confused, he decided to search their bedroom for clues – anything that could explain her strange behavior and the new man in her life.

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There, he found letters revealing Denise had inherited $500,000 from a distant, deceased relative. Caleb was shocked and felt betrayed that Denise hadn’t shared this with him, given their financial condition.

Deciding to fix things and win her over, Caleb bought Denise’s favorite flowers and chocolates and went to her office, nervous but hopeful.

“Denise, I… I’m sorry. I was wrong,” Caleb said, offering the flowers. “I shouldn’t have yelled at you last night.”

Before she could respond, they were interrupted. “Is everything alright here, Denise?” a voice asked.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

Caleb turned around and saw James, the man from the Rolls-Royce. “What are you doing here?” he demanded.

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“I’m just checking in on Denise. Is there a problem?” James replied cautiously.

“You’re after her for her money, aren’t you? Just back off!”

Denise, shocked, tried to calm Caleb down. “Caleb, please, this isn’t the place.”

But Caleb was too upset and kept arguing, inviting stares from the other people.

James decided to leave to avoid further conflict. Denise then turned to Caleb, tears in her eyes.

“You’re the one who is here because of the money, Caleb,” she said. “All these apologies, the flowers, it’s not because you care about us. It’s because of the inheritance. Right?”

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

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Caleb looked her in the eye. “I’ve been there for you, accepted you for who you are. And now, you’re ready to throw me away for a younger man?” he snapped.

“Is that what you think of me? That I don’t value our years together?”

Caleb would’ve continued to create drama, but the security intervened and told him to leave. Outside, Caleb realized his mistake. He had let his fear and pride ruin his chance to fix things with Denise.

Back home, Caleb felt trapped and alone. He drank whiskey, trying to forget his troubles. He looked at the bills, realizing how much debt he was in.

Then, his thoughts returned to Denise. “She’s replacing me with a younger man,” he muttered, feeling bitter. The idea of the woman he had spent so many years with now in someone else’s arms was unbearable.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

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Caleb poured himself another drink, feeling sorry for himself. “Where did I go wrong?” he asked out loud, but no one answered. He looked around their quiet house, realizing he might lose it all.

As the evening progressed, Caleb drank more, trying to forget his troubles. He thought about Denise, the younger man, and the inheritance. Anger and a need for revenge grew inside him.

And then, Caleb had a dangerous idea. He went to the garage and poured gasoline from a canister into a container with trembling hands. He didn’t care that he had spilled the liquid on his clothes. His plan was to make Denise regret everything.

He took the gasoline, got into his car, and drove to Denise’s office. He was angry and not thinking clearly, driven by the desire to get back at her. He convinced himself that Denise deserved what was coming, although deep down, he knew it was wrong.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

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Caleb’s car rolled to a stop in the parking lot near Denise’s office. He took the gasoline and poured it all over Denise’s fancy car, then set it on fire. A roaring blaze shattered the night’s silence.

His jacket accidentally caught fire in the process, and Caleb immediately felt the searing heat on his skin, the agony of the burns. He was panting, exhausted after extinguishing the fire on his jacket.

Then, he heard the distant sound of sirens – someone must have seen the fire and called for help — and panicked. He spun around and began running, his heart racing.

But suddenly, the world around him started to spin, the pain becoming too much to bear. His knees buckled, his breathing labored. He fell to the ground, his vision blurring, the sounds of the night fading into the background.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

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Caleb woke up in the hospital room. The nurse there, noticing he was awake, approached his bedside with a clipboard.

“You’re awake, Mr. Johnson,” she said softly. “You’ve sustained some serious burns, but you’re out of danger now.”

Caleb’s mind was foggy, but the previous night’s memories quickly came rushing to him — the argument with Denise, the gasoline, the fire.

Before he could respond, the door to his room opened, and Denise walked in.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

“Why are you here? To see how you’ve ruined me?” Caleb asked angrily, then winced due to the throbbing pain enveloping his body.

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“I’m here because I care,” Denise replied, looking sad. “I didn’t mean to hurt you.”

The nurse, sensing the tension, offered to give them some privacy. “I’ll be outside if you need anything,” she said before leaving the room.

“I wanted to help you, Caleb,” Denise continued. “I was willing to pay off all our debts with the inheritance. I just wanted you to see what we had, to appreciate our life together.”

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

Caleb’s brow furrowed, and he shifted uncomfortably on the bed. “Help me? By making me jealous?”

“Yes,” Denise replied softly. “I thought if I made you a little jealous, you’d remember how much we meant to each other. That’s why I rented the Rolls-Royce and had James, my co-worker, pick me up. It was all staged, Caleb. There was never anything between James and me.”

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“Why go through all that instead of just talking to me?”

“I tried, Caleb. But you were so consumed by our financial problems that you wouldn’t listen. I thought a grand gesture might make you see things differently. Because of what you did, Caleb, I had to use almost all of the inheritance money.”

Caleb’s heart sank. The enormity of what he had done was beginning to dawn on him.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

“The Rolls-Royce wasn’t ours. It was rented. And after you set it on fire, I had to pay for its loss. It was a lot of money, Caleb. The rest of the money… I had to use it for your treatment here in the hospital. The burns you suffered, the care you needed, it was expensive.”

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“Denise, I… I don’t know what to say,” Caleb stammered. “I never… I didn’t think…”

The air grew heavy in the sterile hospital room as Denise reached into her bag and pulled out a stack of papers.

“These are divorce papers. I can’t do this anymore. I never want to see you again,” she said, leaving the papers beside him. Caleb was heartbroken but couldn’t find the words to stop her. Denise left, ending their marriage.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

Years later, Caleb was working in a café. He had lost his home, job, everything and now washed dishes for a living.

His boss often scolded him for being slow, but Caleb never dared to defend himself because this job kept him afloat. His scars from the fire were visible, which sometimes made him self-conscious.

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One day, Caleb saw Denise in the café, looking happy with another man. He felt deep sadness watching her, realizing all he had lost because of his actions. Now, he was stuck in a mundane job, far from the life he once dreamed of with Denise.

As Denise and the man stood up to leave, Caleb watched as the man helped her into her coat with a gentle touch. They walked to the front of the café, and Caleb’s eyes followed them, unable to look away.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

Outside, a sleek Rolls-Royce waited. The man opened the door for Denise, and she slid into the car with an ease that spoke of a life far removed from Caleb’s.

He continued his work, haunted by the thought of Denise moving on without him. The café became quiet as the day ended, leaving Caleb alone with his thoughts and regrets. He had lost Denise forever.

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For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

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If you enjoyed reading this story, you might like this one about a man who mocks his unemployed wife for doing nothing at home. One day, he returns home from work to find her gone. Where did she go?

This piece is inspired by stories from the everyday lives of our readers and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone’s life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to info@amomama.com.

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