They could hardly conceal their gasps when they finally opened it after all these years. They had been dreading opening the box ever since they had gotten it. Sometimes, a strange curiosity made them wonder what it may contain, and they always imagined the worst.
However, nothing in the world could have prepared them for what they discovered when they opened the box and looked inside. It was much worse than they could have ever anticipated.
James and Liz's relationship had been everything but easy. It took them plenty of work and effort to get to the point where they were now; married, happy in each other's company, and undisturbed by any external threat. Except for one thing.
That box had been sitting in the bottom of one of their wardrobes for ten years. For all that time, it had been an uncomfortable presence in their lives; every time they remembered it was there, a feeling of awkwardness took over.
Blast From The Past
After all, the past was the past, and that's where it should stay. But even though they couldn't bring themselves to finally open it, they couldn't make up their minds to throw it away either.
But at some point, they were no longer able to fight their curiosity. They figured that opening it would be amusing, and they thought of it as a joke of sorts. But when they did it, they couldn't help but feel appalled by what they found inside.
Both Were Divorced
James and Liz had been married for ten years now. It wasn't the first marriage for either of them; when they met, each of them was immersed in their own divorce processes from their previous partners.
Some say that it's hard to thrive and prosper in a relationship where any member has recently gone through a breakup; a lot of baggage and stress is carried from the previous relationship, which can complicate things. However, James and Liz had managed to come out on top. But it wasn't easy.
When they met, Liz was already separated from her ex-husband and lived in her own place, but James didn't. As a matter of fact, he was going through the most intense phase of his divorce.
And it wasn't pretty to see: his wife, now ex-wife, begged and pleaded with him not to go. She was just desperate to have him back; she had been using all sorts of nasty tactics and mind games, emotional blackmail, and whatnot. And for a minute, James was on the fence about it.
But He Had No Other Option
But he had already made up his mind. He couldn't go back to that absolute hell of a relationship. Even the kids would be better off as far as possible from her. And to think that once upon a time he used to believe her to be the love of his life!
She had been the one to give them that box. As a matter of fact, she gave it to them as a gift for their wedding. She wasn't even invited, but she said she heard about it through the grapevine. James couldn't even believe his ears when it happened.
He Tried To Move On
That woman had made his life pure hell for years. All the manipulation, the lying, the non-stop psychological and emotional abuse.
But everything had been different in the beginning. And when James thought about it, the memories from that time, when he was first getting to know his ex-wife, seemed like a dream. She had done such a good job keeping her façade; until she dropped the mask.
How It All Began
Most women would have loved to have a chance to be with James. He was clever, made good money at an oil rig job, and was responsible. He was also very humble and didn’t brag about what he had.
After saving up enough money, he bought a beautiful condo with cash. The only thing James felt he didn’t have was a wife that he could share his joy with. What he didn’t realize was that the next woman to come into his life would try to destroy it.
He Thought She Was Special
James’ coworkers would have a new girlfriend every season. James respected them, but that life wasn’t for him. He wanted to find someone truly special and settle down.
He may be a very patient person, but that doesn’t mean he’s indecisive. One day, his friends couldn’t believe it when they saw the beautiful woman holding James’ hand.
When James met his now ex-wife, he had been enthralled and enchanted by her. Andrea was a beautiful woman who looked like a movie star. With her looks, she could have easily been on the cover of Vogue magazine.
James’ coworkers were also speechless when they saw his stunning new girlfriend – but not for the same reasons.
While most of James’ friends were happy for him when he found Andrea, others had their suspicions.
One friend in particular – named Josh – thought she was the most selfish, attention-seeking woman he’d ever seen. James couldn’t have known this at the time, he couldn’t see the future. But warning signs soon started appearing.
Sometimes, Andrea’s self-centered side would show. She explained that it was due to a bad childhood, including parental divorce.
James was trusting and understanding, so he dismissed her behavior. Andrea was very excited to get married and move into James’ apartment. In the beginning, their relationship couldn’t have been better – so they took what seemed like the natural next step and got married. It was the biggest mistake of James’ life.
Something Going On
After three blissful years of marriage, James started getting bank statements he couldn’t explain. Andrea had his card so she could get the necessities while he was at work.
But the grocery bill exceeded $300! And another $200 just a few days later. She couldn’t have been eating through $500 in just a few days. She must have been getting cash-backs from the store and pocketing them. James had a very bad feeling.
James had suspicions now. His wife’s behavior made him feel like she might have been unfaithful. With his money and his condo, she could easily cheat on him while he was away.
With the high likelihood of Andrea cheating on him, James decided to come up with a plan. He came home early to find something shocking. That’s when things got worse.
James remembers that terrible day like it was yesterday. Andrea hadn’t expected him home for a couple more days, so when James entered his house – that he worked very hard for – he caught her completely by surprise.
For James, it confirmed the worst suspicions he had of the woman he once thought was “the one.” He felt like his life had crumbled around him.
James could feel his heart crumble into a million pieces as he walked into his bedroom. The woman he wanted to marry and grow old with, was indeed cheating on him. But James kept his cool.
He didn’t lose his temper, he just told the guy to get out. He then told Andrea to get out too. He handed her the key to a hotel room, $50 for cab fare, and told her to leave. But Andrea wasn’t leaving.
Kicking Her Out
Andrea kept screaming, crying, apologizing… Proclaiming her love for him in one breath, and cursing him with the next. This fiasco ended with James telling his security guard to call the cops.
Luckily, James’ parents had convinced him to sign a prenup before he got married. Andrea wasn’t on the title deed, so once the police arrived and verified who owned the home, they removed her. That should have been the end of it, but Andrea was vindictive.
James had taken away a lot of the comforts Andrea had become used to. He served the divorce papers on her. His cash, his card, and his home. Andrea had to face the music: James wasn’t going to provide for her any longer.
He took all of Andrea’s things and had them placed in a storage unit for her to collect. But Andrea wasn’t going to just sit around and be snubbed in that manner. She wasn’t going to let him leave her in the dark. She was going to hit James where it hurt.
James’ pride and joy – aside from his condo – was his white Chevy Monte Carlo. Several weeks after the breakup, James returned home from another stint at the oil rig.
Instead of finding his car in tip-top condition, he found something much worse. Four flat tires, a smashed windshield, and a can of red paint had been poured over it! All of James’ friends wondered who would do such a thing. But he knew the answer.
After the divorce, his ex-wife’s facade turned off like a switch. The sweet, kind woman James thought he knew had become a bottomless pit of misery and bitterness who did everything she could to drag everyone down with her.
James was close to losing hope – thinking that after that experience, he would never be able to believe in love again. But that was when he met Liz.
They Were Careful At First
She was in a similar predicament: just going through a divorce from a failed marriage and close to giving up any hope in love she ever had. And when they first met, they took their time to figure their feelings out; they weren't really ready to jump into a new relationship right after a divorce.
But after some time of dating casually, everything seemed to be as good as it could get. Both James and Liz were surprised by each other's level of insight, emotional maturity, and ability to sail smoothly through their conflicts and disagreements as a couple. And that wasn't all.
They seemed to be a perfect match in every possible aspect. It wasn't just about what they had in common, but also about how they were compatible and complemented each other even in areas where they differed.
As time passed, James understood that his former marriage had been born out of lust; he was young, and he had married a person he didn't really know that well. Now, he felt like what he had with Liz was real love. So they decided to get married.
However, it seemed like James' ex-wife wasn't willing to let go of the past and let them start their new life together as easily. Even after all was said and done, she would still creep in every once in a while and contact James with the strangest excuses.
And days after Liz and James' wedding, during their honeymoon to be specific, James had received a call from her. Bewildered, he picked up the phone. He would regret it later.
James' ex-wife was clearly trying to sound polite over the phone. But it was forced, and one could feel the hatred and resentment in her tone and words. She sounded really phony when she congratulated them on their new marriage and made an excuse about having been too busy to go to their wedding.
They hadn't even invited her! And when James heard that she had sent them a wedding present to their new place (how did she even find where they lived?), a chill went down his spine.
What Could It Be?
And sure enough, when they came back from their honeymoon, the box was there. They didn't even open it. They just wanted to let the past stay in the past and not let any shadow from their previous relationships creep into their new lives.
So the box had stayed closed in the bottom of that wardrobe for years. Until that day, ten years later; they decided to finally open it and see what was inside. They hadn't heard from James' ex-wife for years. What's the worst that could happen?
What In The World…?
And when they finally opened it, they couldn't believe their eyes. What was going on in his ex-wife's mind when she thought that would be a good idea?
Her wedding present was an album of photos from when James and his ex-wife were young! Their trips together, the day of their wedding, pictures of them around the house… But why did she do that?
What Was She Trying To Do?
James’ ex-wife looked like a supermodel back in those days – before her bitterness began to show on her face. Was she trying to show James that their time together hadn’t been all bad?
She had also taken great care to compile all the best photos of herself in the photo album. Was she trying to make Liz jealous?
There’s nothing quite as intrusive in a new relationship as a clingy, jealous ex – especially when they display such disrespectful and inappropriate behavior.
After all, James and Andrea had a history together that his new wife knew hardly anything about. Was the strange gift a threat to Liz’s happiness? No. The answer was simpler than that.
She Couldn’t Move On
That's just how toxic James' ex-wife was: she made it all about her. Even when James moved on and married another woman, she just didn't want to let him forget her.
The photos did make him feel strange… he started wondering what would have happened if he and his ex were still together. Then, he turned and looked at Liz.
James knew that era of his life was long past, and he just saw his relationship with Andrea as a series of mistakes. He and Liz just laughed at his ex-wife's mysterious thought processes, closed the album, threw it away, and returned to their own happy lives.
In order 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 or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.