Ink On Paper
Pain. That’s what coursed through her veins as she watched him sign the divorce papers. Fifteen years of her life puffed away with the aggressive stroke of his signature.
He’d taken everything, from their car to the house she’d spent years turning into a home. But more than anything, he’d long made her feel worthless. Although she swore revenge at that moment, she didn’t know she’d have a chance before the day ended.
Into The Sunset
Lori Peterson never thought her marriage would end this bitterly. Like most of us, she pictured her old self in some breathtaking farmhouse out in the country, seated on the porch watching the sunset with the love of her life.
She wanted a large, beautiful family, kids, and grandkids she could nature and love. Yet all she got was tears and a broken heart.
The Perfect Man
Lori met the one when she was only twenty-five. He was an investment banker from Connecticut, a gentleman who swept her off her feet on their first encounter.
Introducing himself as Christopher Tremblay, he held intelligent conversations with her, made her smile and laugh, and made her think about a future with him. By the end of their first day together, Lori knew she had to see him again.
A Chance Meeting
Lori’s chance meeting with Chris woke up something dangerous within her. She became obsessed with him even though she’d only met him once.
But could you blame her when everything about him was perfect? He was charming, with a rugged look that made him seem like he spent more time as a logger in some hidden cabin deep in the forest than in a bank. But that wasn’t all.
A Man Like No Other
Chris had a lot going on for him. At twenty-nine, he already had his career going, was planning to buy a house, and had a few side projects underway.
He also had a great relationship with his dad and mom, the sole family in his life, and would constantly talk about how much he wanted to make them proud. But more than anything, he wanted to settle down with someone he felt connected with. Would that person be Lori?
Is She The One?
Well, Lori wished, with every fiber in her being, that she was the one. To her, Chris was an angel airdropped into her path, someone to help her reach her greatness.
She adored everything about him: his towering height and broad shoulders, piercing deep sea green eyes, constantly messy hair, and how he was overprotective about the things he loved. She should have known that building a life with him would cost her everything.
Lori pushed for her and Chris to start dating. Their friendship blossomed into something more, and before the two knew it, they were walking down the aisle as husband and wife two years later.
For Lori, this was a dream come true. Fireworks went off in her stomach as Chris shared his vows with her, his green eyes boring into her soul. She had no idea what she was signing herself into.
A Married Woman
Now a married woman, Lori could rest easy. She could see her dream of sitting on the pouch in her old age with her husband as attainable.
Chris even moved them to the country in Connecticut, where he’d bought a perfect two-story house they could turn into a home. But Lori wasn’t even a year into the marriage before Chris’s true colors became clear.
It all started when Lori cleared her master’s degree in communication. She’d always wanted to be an editor in the journalism department and had pushed hard in school to see that dream become a reality.
Chris had long been supportive of this venture. But as soon as Lori cleared grad school, he went back on everything he’d ever promised.
The couple had long planned that Lori would look for an editing job in the local media houses after finishing school. But now that she had, Chris didn’t want her anywhere near employment.
Lori thought that maybe he wanted her to become a housewife, to raise their kids while he worked to provide for them. But would she be willing to set aside her dreams and aspirations that quickly?
Of course not. But Lori was nothing but understanding. She decided to meet her husband halfway. What if she worked from home and took care of their kids at the same time?
Surely Chris wouldn’t be opposed to that. One evening, she approached him with her counterproposal, not knowing how bad it would be for her.
“Kids?” Chris almost laughed while changing from his work clothes. “What kids?” “The ones we’ll have. Three, maybe four.” Lori smiled, even laying out the names she had planned for their children.
But Chris scoffed, saying he didn’t want any kids. “I thought you knew that,” he added blatantly, nonchalantly walking past a dumbfounded Lori. But things would only go further south from there.
Older Than She Really Is
Lori’s perfect marriage was quickly taking a turn. She’d turned twenty-eight now and should have still had some youth about her face and body.
But since learning that her husband didn’t want her to work or mother any children, constant stress and depression had tacked on more years of her life.
She felt like she was sixty and hated it. But what could she do now when she’d promised to stay with Chris for better or for worse?
Lori talked to her mom, sisters, and friends about the matter. While her friends and sisters advised her to get out of the marriage while it was still early, her mom asked her to be patient.
The marriage was still young, with Chris only in his early thirties. He would change his mind about everything soon enough. All Lori needed to do was have faith. But none of that would ever happen.
A Sad Life
Years passed, and Lori languished in her terrible marriage. The dream that had made her get married in the first place, that perfect countryside sunset scene with the love of her life, was slowly fading away.
She could no longer see Chris sitting beside her on that porch as she once had. She couldn’t see any grandkids running on the lawn or any of her kids, now grown, coming to ask her questions about life. So why didn’t she give up?
Don’t Give Up
Although marriage life was terrible for her, Lori knew she couldn’t pull the plug. Not yet. She tried everything to make Chris see differently, from couples therapy to seminars in town.
But each of these activities only seemed to deepen the rift between her and her husband. As the years passed, the two grew distant. But one terrible event would be the final straw for Lori.
A Tragic Event
It had been a sad month when it happened. Fourteen years had passed since Lori and Chris exchanged their vows at the altar. Chris had just lost his dad, a tragic event in itself.
Although Lori had faded into a husk of her former self, she knew she needed to be there for her husband. She’d also been in good standing with her father-in-law and thus mourned his passing. But this event would lead to something more – a way for her to reclaim what she’d lost.
At The Wake
Since Chris’s family lived in Connecticut, the drive to his parent’s home was short. Lori was familiar with her in-laws and loved them as if they were her blood.
She greeted them and went to assist her mother-in-law with the wake preparations. She had no clue that this night would end in more pain than she’d ever experienced.
Needing A Breather
Lori had been serving drinks and food for the last two hours to guests from all walks of life. Everyone had come to mourn her father-in-law, from lawyers to teachers and bankers.
Hoping to take a break, she hurried upstairs to Chris’s old room, looking for a few minutes to herself. Quietly, she opened the door and snuck inside. But nothing but agony wrought from heartbreak awaited her.
A Dark Room
The darkness swam before Lori’s eyes, making her break in place. Within the chilling black, her gaze picked up shiny, moving objects on Chris’s old bed. There were slight moans that were unmistakable.
Lori’s breath caught. She knew exactly what she’d walked into and hated that someone was doing this at a wake where people were moaning about losing a loved one. If only she knew who it was.
Go To Chris
Lori backed away, knowing whoever was in the room didn’t see her. She needed to find Chris to tell him what was happening in his room.
To her, he was the only one who could handle this situation. She didn’t want to involve his mom in this, not with how insensitive the activity she’d just stumbled upon was. But she’d never guess who it was she’d just walked in on.
Where Is He?
Lori began her search, tired and needing to rest. She asked everyone if they’d seen her husband, smiling and pretending she still had control over her marriage.
No one had seen him, from Chris’s mom to his aunties, uncles, and cousins. Nobody in the house could remember seeing him after he parted ways with Lori when they first stepped into the house. So where was he?
Lori had spent close to six hours helping her mother-in-law with the wake. Throughout this time, she hadn’t seen her husband. She couldn’t even tell when they had parted ways and only remembered when they walked out of the car together.
She continued searching for him, her patience burning thin by the second. This search was working up something within her she’d not felt in a long while.
For the longest while, Lori had forgotten herself. She’d become a walking capsule of blood, flesh, and bone, devoid of feeling whatsoever.
The many years of abuse had turned her into this unfeeling being, a necessary evolution she had to undergo to survive the terror her husband was constantly putting her through. But this was about to change for the first time in over ten years.
He Needs To Be Here
Anger sparked within her, quickly turning into a roaring fury. She couldn’t believe she was here helping her in-laws with the wake while Chris was only God knew where.
He was supposed to be here, helping her maintain this good wife and husband facade she’d created. She didn’t want people to know that her marriage was a sham. If only she knew what her husband was doing.
Out With The Boys
After an hour of searching around, Lori decided to call it quits. She tried to rationalize the situation, concluding that Chris must’ve left the house with some of his cousins.
Although she’d never seen him doing that before, it was the only plausible answer to what was happening here, especially since his phone was off when she tried calling him. But the truth would be far more harrowing.
Taking Matters Into Her Own Hands
Lori decided to confront whoever was in the room by herself. Since she married Chris, that room was, by extension, hers. She could exercise that authority by reprimanding whoever was in there.
With her mind decided, she cut through the wake as she had over the last hour while searching for Chris. Whoever was in that room would face the full force of her fury.
Going Upstairs, Again
Lori was brimming with anger, needing to funnel it somewhere. Whoever had decided to defile her father-in-law’s wake would rue the day they decided to do what they did.
With fury burning through her veins, she marched upstairs to Chris’s old room, ready to rain fire on whoever was inside. But she wouldn’t be able to speak once she opened the door.
A Needed Confrontation
Unlike the first time that Lori came to this room, she slapped the lights on immediately after pushing the door open.
She’d already formulated and rehearsed what she’d say, only needing to meet this person so she could give her a piece of her mind. With her shoulders squared, she stepped into the charring light. Her heart stopped, her lips parting.
The bed was empty, its sheets neatly spread, and the pillows at its head fluffed and well arranged. There was no sign of intrusion, which was bamboozling in itself.
Lori looked around, wondering if she’d imagined the whole thing. She hadn’t rested in a while. The fatigue rocking her body might have conjured stuff in her mind. She stepped back, taking a deep breath. But just as she was about to leave, something happened that had her brows furrowing.
A waft of air freshener hit her nose, powerful as if someone had just sprayed it. Lori stepped farther into the room, her brows knitting. She took a deep breath, letting the sweet lavender scent fill her lungs before letting it out in slow exhale.
She could have sworn she’d smelled the same scent in the kitchen about ten minutes ago while making up her mind to come here.
Into The Kitchen
Lori turned on her heels, hurrying to the kitchen. She found the place filled with women keeping Chris’s mom company.
Immediately, the scent hit her nose, and she began moving around, subtly searching for it. But although the smell was strong here, she couldn’t find the person it radiated from. That was until she turned the corner, heading for the living room.
Lori almost collided with Chris as she turned the corner, leaving the kitchen. He smiled at her, his eyes glossy and face smothered with ecstasy as if he was coming from some forbidden high.
“Hi,” he greeted her, placing a kiss on her head for the onlooking masses before taking a glass of wine and heading upstairs. Lori’s eyes broadened as he left because the scent she’d been searching for fell from his chest onto her face as he kissed her.
Lori didn’t want to believe what her mind was telling her. She started pacing the hallway, knowing her husband must have been in that room if his clothes smelled like the air freshener sprayed there.
She walked upstairs, pain straddling every nerve in her being. Her eyes smarted with tears, and she dashed them away. With one hand on the door, she slowly pushed it open. Her heart fell.
Although the room was shrouded in chilling grayness as before, Lori saw it clearly. Sprawled on the messy six by five bed was Chris, writhing in the arms of a woman who wasn’t Lori.
Lori turned on the lights and called out his name, snapping him from the lustful stupor that had seemingly overwhelmed him. Her eyes were finally open.
She Knows Her
Lori couldn’t speak. She couldn’t move. What made everything worse was the fact that she recognized the woman as one of Chris’s childhood friends who had attended their wedding.
She recalled the number of times the woman had visited their home over the last fifteen years, even bringing her kids over for Lori to watch. Lori hurled.
It’s Not What It Looks Like
“I can explain,” stated Chris. “It’s not what it looks like,” he continued. But Lori, wiping her mouth, only stared at him blankly. She stormed out of the room, heading straight to her mother-in-law to say goodbye.
What followed was a week of tears and regret. How could Chris do this to her? Little did Lori know that the pain was about to double.
Lori had isolated herself from Chris throughout this period. He tried to get in touch, but she wouldn’t answer his calls.
Everything came to her head when his lover and childhood friend, Marianna, visited her hotel to explain everything. She looked apologetic and informed Lori that she only wanted to clarify matters. That’s when she explained everything, turning Lori’s life upside down.
According to Marianna’s account, the kids Lori had been watching over for the last fifteen years had been Chris’s. She revealed everyone, including Chris’s mom, knew. The news tore through Lori, leaving her in fresh tears.
She compared herself to Marianna. Where she had wasted the last decade and a half of her life, the woman had seemingly been living Lori’s life with everything that Lori wanted: a great career and kids.
The line between pain and anger is usually quite thin, and stepping across it was no issue for Lori. She drove home immediately, ready to confront her husband.
But she found a house in chaos because her father-in-law, heavens bless his soul, had seemingly evened the odds for her.
From his extensive properties, the late Mr. Tremblay had left his only child and son nothing but fifty-five bags of outdated pennies.
Lori laughed as the lawyer read the will, watching Chris, half drunk and dirty, bawl his lungs out in disappointment.
He pulled at his hair and paced around the living room, hurling out curse after curse, saying he deserved more than filthy outdated coins. Lori didn’t care for the state he was in. She wasted no time in telling him what she deserved.
“A divorce,” Lori stated matter-of-factly. She’d never been so sure about something as she was about this. After fifteen years, she was finally stepping up for herself.
Chris stared at her wide-eyed as if he never expected her to break away from him. His face fell before he started groveling. But there was no going back from what he’d done. But this was about to go from bad to worse for him.
Months Down The Line
Chris spent the next few months trying to change Lori’s mind. He even sent Marianna and his mom, hoping they would convince her to stay in the abusive reality he’d created for her.
At this time, the lawyer had brought the bags of pennies to their house, where Lori was staying alone. Chris, who had rented a hotel room outside town, didn’t want anything to do with them.
He wanted to sell them at a throwaway price of ten thousand dollars despite many people warning him against it. If only he knew what he had in his possession.
Time To Be Free
After eleven months of ups and downs, Lori sat across from Chris. Divorce papers separated them, with two lawyers quietly watching from the sides. Lori teared up as she watched Chris sign the papers.
She’d wasted years on his lies and suffered under his iron fist. This was her way out. While Chris took the house and car, he left her with nothing but the fifty-five bags of pennies to her name.
But Lori didn’t care. She signed the documents and walked out of the room as a free woman. But she wasn’t even out of the building before a friend of hers called her phone.
An Unexpected Call
The friend was a coin expert from town who had been looking into the pennies Lori had won from the divorce. “We’ve checked three bags, and those alone had five coins, each worth ten thousand dollars!” she exclaimed.
“It’s too early to tell yet, but we are estimating a minimum of two million dollars by the time we’re done with the bags, if not more!” Lori stopped in her tracks. There was no way this was happening.
Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.