“A woman is suspicious when she finds out a stranger has been using her shower frequently. So, she installs hidden cameras in her house and makes a heartbreaking discovery.
Marie McGovern had been happily married for 12 years. If anyone had told her she’d be suspicious of her husband Gary and rig up cameras to spy on him, she would have laughed at them. But that was before Marie had found lavender-scented shower gel in her bathroom and a chamomile shampoo that promised to put gold shimmers in blonde hair. Marie was a brunette and she hated lavender. Who had used the shower in the master bathroom? Marie was tempted to interrogate Gary, but she decided to bide her time and see if it happened again.
A few days later, when she came home, she found the bathroom filled with the scent of lavender. Whoever she was had been there again. Marie was furious and she called her best friend Louise. “Listen, Marie,” Louise said, “don’t go off on Gary without proof. I think you should put in some nanny cams and get some footage of him in the act. That way, if worse comes to worst, you have ammunition for the divorce.”
“Divorce?” whispered Maria. She hung up the phone and looked over at her little son Peter, who was crawling on the rug after a red and blue ball. Then she placed her hand on her baby bump where her second child slumbered. “Do I want a divorce?” she asked herself. Then she imagined Gary in the shower with a blonde, and rage filled her heart.
The next morning, bright and early, she headed for “Your Home Security,” a shop in the local mall that sold all kinds of alarms, cameras, and everything related to security. She picked out three tiny cameras that she could hide around the house. She set up one in the hallway, another in the sitting room, and she didn’t put one in the bathroom because the tech at “Your Home Security” had told her the moisture in the air would damage the camera and fog up the lens.
Then she waited, and it was another week before she caught the telltale scent of lavender in the air that told her Gary had brought his partner into her home again. Immediately, she accessed the camera’s footage through her iPhone. Camera number one caught Gary walking in with a petite blonde with her hair up in a ponytail and scruffy blue jeans. She looked very young, at least 10 years younger than Marie. “So that is what he wants,” Mary commented to herself bitterly – youth.
Marie watched as Gary gestured soundlessly to the blonde, and she smiled up at him adoringly. Then the blonde stood on tiptoe and kissed Gary on the cheek. Marie switched off before she saw any progression in their intimacy. She wasn’t ready for that. What she was ready for was the truth.
She packed a bag for herself and a bag for little Peter, and booked herself a room at a local hotel. Then she waited for her cheating lying husband to come home. Gary walked in with his usual tender smile, and he immediately reached out to give Marie a hug and a kiss, but she turned her face away.
“Marie,” Gary asked worriedly, “are you okay, baby?”
“I’m fine,” Marie said coldly. “How are you? Did you have a nice afternoon?”
Gary looked at her oddly. “Yes, I did,” he answered. “What’s the matter with you?”
“Maybe I don’t like being cheated on, Gary,” Marie responded. “That’s what’s the matter with me.”
“Cheat?” gasped Gary. “I’d never cheat on you.”
That was when Maria lost her cool completely. “Never!” she screamed. “I put out cameras, Gary. I saw you bring in your little blonde bimbo. I know everything.”
Gary was shaking his head. “Please, Marie,” he cried, “it’s not what you think.”
But Marie wasn’t listening anymore. She was moving fast. She grabbed the bags in one hand and Pete with the other, and dragged them all to the front door. Pete was screaming and Gary was shouting, but Marie just piled her son and the luggage into the car and drove off. She wiped her tears and glanced at the rearview mirror. Gary was standing in the middle of the road, looking absolutely devastated. “Serves him right,” cried cheater mommy.
“Mommy, where are we going? Why are you mad at daddy?” asked Pete from his seat in the back.
“Listen, Pete,” Marie said, forcing a smile on her ice-cold lips, “you and I are going for a little holiday, just you and me, okay? This is a really cool place, and we can eat waffles in bed.”
Pete giggled and bounced up and down as much as the seatbelt allowed him to. “Promise waffles in bed with syrup?” “Yes,” Marie answered, smiling. “Anything you want, Little Man.”
Marie kept her smile in place until Pete finally fell asleep on the big double bed, his little mouth smeared with sticky syrup and a smear of powdered sugar across his little nose. Marie tucked him in, and tears filled her eyes when the phone rang. Marie thought it was Gary and she simply turned off the sound. She didn’t want to listen to his lame excuses and whining protests. She just wanted to stop hurting.
The next morning, she dropped Pete off at nursery school, and when she walked back to her car, she saw Gary standing there. “Marie,” he said, “I’m not giving up until you hear me out. I want you to meet the woman I took home.”
Marie stared at Gary coldly. “So you admit you took a woman into our home?”
“Yes, I did,” Gary replied, “but you need to meet her to understand why.”
Reluctantly, Marie followed Gary to the center of town, close to where Gary’s company had its offices. There, in a dingy alleyway, Gary introduced her to the other woman. The blonde looked beleaguered rather than flirty, her eyes enormous and frightened.
“Marie,” Gary said in a gentle voice, “this is Mandy. She’s homeless, so I let her take a hot shower at our place once a week. She’s 18 and her mother abandoned her. She’s too old for foster care, and no one will help her.”
“Oh,” gasped Marie. “I see.” Marie felt a flush of shame tint her cheeks. “Hey there, Mandy,” she said as gently as Gary. “I’m Marie. Listen, we need a full-time live-in babysitter for our son, Pete. He’s four, and for the new baby too. So how would you like to try out for the job?”
Mandy was overwhelmed and started crying. That night, she slept safe and warm in the McGovern’s spare bedroom. Marie apologized to Gary for her mistake, and he swore that he loved her to the moon and back and beyond the stars.”