My eyes nearly popped out of my orbits when I read the note from my cheating wife, «See you later…

Chapter One: The Note

The world seemed to pause, freeze-framed in utter disbelief, as my fingers trembled against the paper. The handwriting was unmistakably hers, slanting sharply to the right as if in a hurry to escape the page, much like she had fled our life. I read the words again, though I hardly needed to; they were already searing into my brain.

«See you, loser, I’ve met the love of my life…»

I stood in the middle of our, no, my apartment, the morning sun casting long shadows that seemed to mock me with their calm. How long had she been planning this? The signs were there, weren’t they? The late nights, the distant looks, the unexplained absences. I had chalked it up to stress, to the ebb and flow of a decade-long marriage. How could I have been so blind?

I tossed the note on the kitchen counter, the paper fluttering down like a wounded bird. The coffee machine hummed softly in the background, a stark contrast to the chaos unfurling within me. My hands found their way to my hips, a feeble attempt to muster some defiance, some anger—anything but the hollow emptiness that threatened to consume me.

The doorbell rang, shattering the silence and my brief bout with numbness. I walked to the door, a part of me hoping it was her, coming back to explain, to argue, to fight for what we had. But I knew better. I peeked through the peephole and saw my neighbor, Jenna, her face etched with concern.

Opening the door, I managed a weak smile. «Hey, Jenna.»

«Hey,» she replied, her eyes darting over my shoulder as if expecting to find someone else. «I heard some noise, wanted to check on you. Everything okay?»

«Just peachy,» I replied, the sarcasm dripping from every word. Her gaze fell on the note on the counter, and she frowned.

«What’s that?»

I shrugged, a nonchalant act that betrayed the storm inside. «My wake-up call, apparently.»

Jenna stepped inside, closing the door gently behind her. «Want to talk about it?»

I laughed, a harsh, barking sound that didn’t suit the morning light. «Talk about what? That my wife left me for some prince charming she just met? That she called me a loser in her farewell note?»

Jenna’s hand reached out, resting lightly on my arm. «I’m so sorry, this is awful. But you know, maybe this is a good thing. Who knows what lies she’s wrapped up in with this guy?»

I shook my head, pacing back to the kitchen to pour myself a coffee. The liquid was dark and bitter, much like the irony of the situation. Jenna followed, her presence a silent pillar of support.

«I need to do something,» I muttered, more to myself than to her. «I can’t let this slide. Not after everything.»

Jenna nodded. «Revenge?»

The word hung between us, charged and dangerous. I sipped my coffee, letting the heat and bitterness wash over me. It wasn’t just about revenge. It was about reclaiming my dignity, about proving she was wrong about me, about us.

«Maybe,» I finally said, my voice steady for the first time that morning. «But not in the way you might think. I want her to realize what she’s thrown away. I want her to regret this, deeply.»

Jenna’s eyes widened slightly, but she nodded. «Whatever you need, I’m here for you. But remember, sometimes the best revenge is living well.»

I chuckled, devoid of any real humor. «Oh, I intend to live well. But first, I intend to make sure she knows exactly what she’s lost.»

As Jenna left, I turned the note over in my hands, a plan slowly forming in my mind. My heart might have been shattered, but my resolve was only strengthening. She thought she’d met the love of her life? Well, we’d see just how true that would hold.

And as for me? I was about to rewrite the rules of the game.

Chapter Two: The Gathering

As I stood in the midst of the bustling coffee shop, the clatter of cups and the murmur of conversations around me felt oddly distant. My mind was racing, plotting every move with the precision of a chess master. I needed allies, and I knew exactly where to start.

«Excuse me,» I said, approaching the barista with a friendly smile. «Could I have a medium latte, please?»

The barista, a young man with an easy smile and a quick hand, nodded. «Coming right up.»

While he prepared my coffee, I scanned the room. It was a usual haunt for some of our mutual friends—people who had known both me and Marla, who might now be unwitting players in the unfolding drama.

«Here you go,» the barista said, handing me the steaming cup.

«Thanks, Alex.» I nodded, my mind already on the next step. «Hey, have you seen Tom around lately?»

«Tom? Yeah, he was here a while ago. Said something about heading to the park later. Jogging, maybe?»

«Perfect, thanks!»

I left the coffee shop with my latte, the warm cup a small comfort against the plan forming in my mind. Tom had been a good friend to both of us, but I trusted his sense of justice would sway him to my side once he heard the whole story.

The park was a short walk away, bustling with the energy of morning joggers and dog walkers. I found Tom stretching near the jogging path, his tall frame bent over a leg.

«Tom!» I called out.

He straightened up, a smile breaking across his face when he saw me. «Hey! What a surprise! How are you holding up?»

I shrugged, my smile a mask. «Could be better. Can we talk?»

«Of course.» He fell into step beside me as we started down the path.

I took a deep breath, readying myself. «Marla left me. Left us, really. She’s gone off with someone she barely knows.»

Tom’s eyebrows shot up, a mix of surprise and concern. «Wow, I… I’m sorry to hear that. That’s rough.»

«It’s more than rough. She left this.» I handed him the note, watching his face as he read.

«This is… harsh,» he said, handing it back. «What are you going to do?»

«I’m not going to just sit around. I want to expose him, whoever he is. Show her, show everyone, that she made a mistake. A big one.»

Tom nodded slowly. «I get it. You want justice, in a way.»

«Exactly. And I could use your help. You know people. You know how to get information.»

He was silent for a moment, then sighed. «I’m in. What do you need?»

«Everything. Anything you can find on him. I want to know who we’re dealing with.»

«Consider it done. I’ll start digging.»

Gratitude washed over me. «Thanks, Tom. I knew I could count on you.»

We parted ways, and I felt a small surge of hope amidst the chaos. The next stop was to see Rita, a mutual friend and, crucially, a lawyer. If anyone could provide legal insight or help, it was her.

Rita’s office was a stark, modern space downtown. She greeted me with a tight hug and a sharp look of concern.

«What’s going on?» she asked as we settled into her office.

I explained everything, from the note to my conversation with Tom. She listened intently, her brow furrowed.

«This is messy,» she concluded. «But I can help. Let’s start by making sure you’re protected legally. Then we can think about how to handle the rest.»

«Thank you, Rita. I just… I need to do something.»

«And you will,» she assured me. «We’ll make sure of it.»

As I left her office, my network of allies growing, my resolve hardened. Marla might have started this game, but I was going to finish it. And I was not going to lose.

Chapter Three: The Dig

The city seemed to pulse with the rhythm of my determined strides as I made my way to the café where I was supposed to meet Tom. He had called earlier, his voice brimming with a mix of excitement and urgency that promised a lead. A good one.

I found him already seated at a corner table, a laptop open in front of him and a couple of papers scattered around. His eyes lit up when he saw me approaching.

«Got something?» I asked, barely containing my anxiety as I slid into the chair opposite him.

Tom’s smile was tight, a prelude to significant news. «You could say that. I did some digging. You’re not going to believe who this guy is.»

I leaned forward, my heart hammering in anticipation. «Who?»

«He’s a bit of a local celebrity. Owns a few businesses around town—quite the charmer. But that’s not the juicy part.» Tom paused, ensuring he had my full attention. «He’s known for skipping out on relationships once he gets bored. And it looks like he’s been involved in some shady deals too.»

My stomach churned with a mixture of relief and disgust. «So he’s a fraud?»

«Looks like it. There’s more.» Tom flipped his laptop around to show me a series of articles and photos. «See this? He was investigated for fraud a couple of years back. Skated away without charges, but the stink never really washed off.»

I scanned the articles, each sentence fueling my resolve. «We need to show Marla. She has to see who she’s dealing with.»

Tom nodded, closing his laptop. «I agree. But we need to be smart about this. How do you want to play it?»

«Let’s gather more evidence first. If we’re going to confront her, we need it to be airtight. No coming back from it.»

«Got it. I’ll keep on it. What’s your next move?»

«I’m going to talk to Jenna. She might help us get through to Marla when the time comes.» Standing up, I felt a surge of proactive energy. «Thanks, Tom. This is exactly what we needed.»

After leaving Tom, I made my way to Jenna’s apartment. The evening air was cool, brushing against my cheeks as I processed the whirlwind of revelations. Jenna opened the door before I could knock, a knowing look on her face.

«He’s bad news, isn’t he?» she asked as I entered.

«Very bad,» I confirmed, sinking into her couch. «Tom found out he’s got a history of fraud and womanizing.»

Jenna’s expression hardened. «We need to get Marla away from him.»

«That’s the plan. But I think she’ll only listen if she sees undeniable proof.» I paused, weighing my next words. «I need your help, Jenna. When we gather everything, will you talk to her with me?»

«Of course,» Jenna replied without hesitation. «She needs to hear this from people who care about her. We’ll make her see sense.»

I nodded, feeling the weight of the task ahead. «I hope so. For her sake.»

We spent the next hour strategizing, plotting every step of our approach to ensure Marla would be receptive. Jenna was not only supportive but also insightful, offering angles I hadn’t considered.

As I left Jenna’s apartment, the city lights blinked around me like distant stars. The night was deepening, and so was the game. I felt a mixture of dread and anticipation. This was more than just exposing a fraud—it was about saving someone I once loved from a disastrous mistake.

And I was ready to do whatever it took.

Chapter Four: The Confrontation

The morning was crisp, a cool breeze stirring the early autumn leaves as I walked towards Marla’s new place. Today was the day, the culmination of all our efforts. My heart pounded with a mix of dread and determination. Jenna walked beside me, her presence a steadying force.

«We have everything?» Jenna whispered, clutching the folder that contained prints of emails, photographs, and financial statements.

«Everything. It’s now or never,» I replied, tightening my grip on my own set of documents.

We reached Marla’s apartment building, a modern, stark structure that seemed too cold, too impersonal. As we ascended in the elevator, Jenna handed me a small flash drive. «Last piece of the puzzle,» she said. «Tom sent over some more emails this morning.»

«Perfect.» I tucked it into my pocket, feeling its weight like a talisman.

The elevator dinged softly, and we stepped out, moving with purpose toward her door. I raised my hand and knocked, my heart in my throat.

Footsteps approached from inside, and then Marla opened the door. Her expression morphed from surprise to confusion upon seeing us. «What are you doing here?» she asked, wariness creeping into her voice.

«We need to talk,» I said, pushing past the threshold into the living room. «It’s important.»

Marla closed the door slowly, eyeing us both. «Okay, talk.»

Jenna and I exchanged a glance before I started, «Marla, we know about him. About everything.»

«Who?» Marla feigned ignorance, but her voice betrayed a tremor.

«The man you left me for,» I said bluntly, laying the folder open on her coffee table to reveal the contents.

Her eyes darted to the documents, then back to me. «I don’t know what you’re—»

«Stop,» Jenna cut in, her tone firm. «We have proof, Marla. Of his fraud, his other relationships, his legal troubles. We’re here because we care about you. We don’t want to see you hurt.»

Marla sank into a chair, her facade crumbling. «I… I had no idea.»

«We figured as much,» I said, my voice softening. «You wouldn’t have gone with him if you knew.»

Marla covered her face with her hands, shoulders shaking. «What do I do now? I’ve left everything for him.»

«That’s why we’re here,» I said, sitting beside her. «You can come back. We can figure this out, together.»

«But why would you help me after everything?» Marla looked up, tears staining her cheeks.

«Because it’s what you do for people you love,» I said. «Even if the way they hurt you still stings.»

Marla nodded, wiping her eyes. «I’m so sorry. I was so stupid.»

«It’s not just about that,» Jenna said, pulling out the flash drive. «There’s more. Tom found emails between him and his accomplice. They were planning to defraud you.»

Marla gasped, taking the flash drive hesitantly. «Accomplice?»

«Yes. And here’s the twist,» I said, feeling the room tense. «It’s someone you know. Your so-called new friend, Lisa.»

Marla’s face went white. «Lisa? But she introduced us…»

«They were using you to get to your money,» Jenna explained. «We’ve already informed the police. They’re handling it now.»

«How did you find all this out?» Marla’s voice was barely a whisper.

«We had help. Friends and… well, others.» I didn’t mention my visits to some less savory contacts, the ones who could dig into places the internet couldn’t reach.

Marla stood, coming over to hug me tightly. «Thank you,» she sobbed. «I can’t believe I almost lost you all for… for him.»

«We’ve got you,» I said, returning her embrace. «Let’s put this behind us.»

As Jenna and I left Marla’s building later, the weight of the ordeal lifting, Jenna nudged me with her elbow. «You were amazing, you know. Most people wouldn’t have done what you did.»

I smiled, a genuine, relieved smile. «Maybe. But it turns out, the best revenge was saving her from herself.»

And as we walked back into the morning light, I realized that despite the betrayal and the hurt, this was always going to be the only way things could end. Not with revenge, but with redemption.

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