This story is by Tamar Bainbridge and was part of our 10th Anniversary Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
It was finally the day of their anniversary, and she was excited for the dinner tonight. She had spent so much time planning for this momentous 10th wedding anniversary. Over the last six months, she was trying to get everything perfect with a surprise for her loving husband Dan with all their friends, only to change her mind in the last four days. Now she had planned a quiet candlelight dinner just the two of them as they were the only two that mattered really.
She continued her preparations as she worked away in the kitchen getting appetizers prepped and a cake mixed and baking in the oven. Now to whip up the icing. Everything was made with special care to make all Dan’s favorites. Scallop appetizers, steak, and lobster dinner, and the finishing touch is a red velvet cake with cream cheese icing for dessert. Partnered this all with chilled champagne and a rose centerpiece. She surveyed everything again making sure that she had it all perfect. She smiled to herself and checked the time. Three hours till Dan was home from work.
She hurried to the bedroom to shower and get dressed up for the evening. As she showered, she thought back over the past ten years that they had spent together. They were a happy couple doting on each other and the best of friends. They had been some of the best years of their lives and she wondered what the future would bring.
She swept her hair up in a style Dan always complimented her on. Then applied light make-up bringing out her natural beauty. As she dressed in the light blue dress, she smoothed her hands down over her belly and wondered what Dan’s reaction would be to her work for tonight. She smiled as she thought of it all.
After putting the finishing touches on her outfit, she checked herself in the mirror and glanced at the time. Damn time had flown while she was getting ready, she needed to get down to the kitchen to time everything for Dan’s arrival.
Snagging an apron in the kitchen she started everything cooking while quickly checking the time again. Meanwhile, she took care to put the icing on the cake and then chill it for later.
As expected, Dan came in and called for her. “In here,” she replied.
Dan came into the kitchen carrying a bouquet of red roses and a huge grin on his face. “Wow, you look gorgeous. What have you done with my wife?”
She laughed and went to his arms. He hugged her tightly and kissed her passionately. She pushed him away saying, “Come on we have lots of time for that later. Now open the champagne and get ready for a feast.”
“Yes, madam,” he smiled as he set the roses in a vase and grabbed the bottle of chilled champagne.
She was busy plating the scallop appetizer and checking on the main course. As she placed the plate in front of him he smiled. “You really went all out, though I love this you should have let me spoil you and take you out tonight.”
“I wanted you all to myself tonight. We can go out another night.” She sat and grabbed her glass as he did the same.
“Happy anniversary love,” he replied with a smile and clinked their glasses together.
They reminisced as they ate each course expertly prepared and delicious to both of them. It was just like no time had passed from when they were falling in love. As they finished the main course Dan said, “You have outdone yourself everything is amazing. God, I love you.”
She smiled and reached for his hand to give it a squeeze. He pulled her over to him and cradled her in his lap kissing her again. She was tempted to let him continue, but she struggled to make everything perfect and that included dessert. She breathlessly pulled away from him.
“Just a little longer we still have dessert.”
“I know what I want for dessert.” He wiggled his eyebrows suggestively and made her laugh.
“Pour us another glass of champagne while I get everything ready and don’t try anything else, mister.”
He put his hands up in response. “Okay, anything for you.”
As he poured them each another glass of champagne she carefully sliced and plated the red velvet cake and brought it over to the table to find a jewelry box sitting on her placemat.
“What’s this? You didn’t need to do this,” she exclaimed.
He smiled and said, “Open it.”
She set the cake in front of him and hers beside the jewelry box. She smiled as she opened it to find a gorgeous diamond ring that looked like the one they had wanted when they first got married but couldn’t afford it.
“Dan, you shouldn’t have. Can we even afford this?”
“Yes, I should have and yes we can. You deserve this and so much more.”
She blushed and had tears in her eyes. She couldn’t believe that after all these years he remembered that first ring they’d looked at and had given it to her now.
“Now, none of that. This is a happy occasion. Come on let’s have this amazing dessert to finish off the amazing meal you’ve made for us and then I’ll give you another present.”
She laughed, “Alright, dig in and happy anniversary.”
As she watched him dig into the red velvet cake she wondered if she had made the right choice after all. He stopped eating and stared at her all of a sudden.
“What have you done?” he wheezed.
“Well, I have one more present for you,” she said with a grimaced look on her face.
She walked over to the counter and came back with an envelope. She stood in front of him holding the envelope in front of her.
“I would have believed anything you told me,” she paused, “Until a week ago. I saw you and that brunette bimbo going into the Sheraton hotel while I was meeting the Jameson group there for a lunch meeting. Imagine my surprise when you went up to a hotel room instead of a meeting room or the restaurant. I watched and saw when you came back down all over each other. Obviously having an affair from the looks of things with your clothes and flushed faces. I didn’t want to believe it at first, but then I followed you for a while, and guess what I found?”
Dan tried to say something but only a wheezing sound came out.
“Don’t interrupt me. Couldn’t believe that it wasn’t just one woman, but four or five? How could you do this to me? I thought we were happily married for ten years well I was a fool.” She angrily pointed at him. “You did this to me after everything I’ve done for you. Working hard to support you as you got your career going and playing the dutiful wife all the time. Then this is how you repay me!”
With that, she pulled photographs from the envelope and threw them in front of him. They were a variety of pictures of him with different women going into different hotels. There were also pictures of the inside of the rooms showing all his kinks and previsions that he would never consider doing to or with his loving wife. He stared bug-eyed at her not believing that she would be capable of doing any of this. She was the perfect wife she’d never trail him and get the detailed pictures he saw before him. She couldn’t know any of this, it wasn’t possible. If only he could explain, but every time he tried it felt he was drowning as if sinking further down with each gasping breath.
“I knew you couldn’t resist all your favorite dishes and the cherry on the top was the red velvet cake that you love and have so seldomly. Well, that has been the last nail in your coffin. You’ll be gone soon and don’t worry I have the perfect place to spread your cheating ashes.”
He couldn’t believe it was ending this way, but he should have known better. His wife could always read him and knew him better than he knew himself, so of course she had found out about his affairs. All he could think as the darkness came in was that he really did love her and it was a cruel way to end things on their anniversary and where were his ashes going.
Linda Barrows says
Great story. Loved the surprise ending. Where are his ashes going? Well done!
Stephanie Newbern says
Oh wow, amazing story, and I loved the plot twist at the end. I was rooting for her the whole time.