A suspicious millionaire disguises himself as a limousine driver to find out what his beautiful young wife does every afternoon, and what he discovers shocks him.
When Eric Montpelier was 18, he decided that he was going to marry Rachel Harrington. Rachel was funny, beautiful, and bubbly, and luckily for Eric, she felt the same way about him.
Their families were friends, and everyone approved of the union between two wealthy and powerful dynasties. Eric and Rachel were perfect for each other in every way. Who could have imagined any ending except a ‘happily ever after’?
But three days before the wedding, Rachel and her three closest friends went on a ‘girls only’ trip to Las Vegas, and on their way back, an 18-wheeler’s brakes failed, and four families were left shattered.
For the first year, Eric lived in a daze. He was sure it was all some nightmare from which he’d wake up. Rachel would walk in any day soon, laughing, and it would all go back to normal.
But of course, it didn’t, and Eric had to come to terms with the fact that his beautiful bride was gone at the age of just 23, and he’d have to carry on, reinvent himself, and make some sort of a life out of the shambles of his dreams.
Eric’s parents didn’t really know what to do to help their suffering boy. His father encouraged him to come to work for him, take an interest in the business, and take his mind off his grief.
So Eric dedicated himself to his father’s chain of gas stations, and his single-minded drive quickly pushed the already successful business to the top. The only problem was that 10 years later, Eric was still alone.
His father worried, especially after he became ill, and Eric took over the running of the company in its entirety. “Look, I wanted him to take his mind off his grief,” his father said to his mother, “not to live for nothing but business!”
They encouraged him to date and even introduced him to the lovely and eligible daughters of their wealthy friends, but Eric didn’t seem to find any of the ladies attractive.
Then Eric decided to do a spot check on some of their more remote gas stations, just pop in as a customer, and see how the individual service outlets treated their customers.
On his way back after a week of visiting the more remote regions of the Mid West, just a few miles from home, Eric had a flat tire, and when he went to look in the trunk there was no spare…
There was also no cell service, so Eric locked the car and started walking, hoping he’d get to a service station soon. After an hour’s walk, he spotted a ramshackle old gas station. Finally, he’d get help!
He walked into the dusty store and approached the counter. “Excuse me,” he said, “I had a flat and I don’t have a spare…” The person behind the counter was wearing an oil-smeared mechanic’s overalls and a baseball cap, but when she turned around, Eric saw that it was a beautiful girl.
He started stammering and blushing, but the girl — her name was Marla — thought he was sweet and funny. She took him out to his car in her truck and insisted on changing his tire.
Eric was in love. In a moment his years of solitude and pain were washed away. He wanted Marla, and nothing would stand in his way. His mother was shocked when he told them she was a car mechanic, but his father actually thought it was funny.
What Eric’s father didn’t like was the fact that Marla was poor, and had no family, no background. “She’s not our kind of people, Eric!” his dad said.
“What kind of people is that, dad?” Eric asked sharply. “Do we only consider the rich our kind of people?”
“No,” said Eric’s dad. “Of course not, but… You know nothing about this girl, where she comes from. She’s too young for you, and she might be after your money!”
“Come on, Dad,” Eric said. “She’s a sweet, kind girl, and for the first time since Rachel passed away, I feel alive.” After that, Eric’s parents didn’t say another word against the wedding.
Marla and Eric were married with great pomp at Eric’s parent’s huge country house in Martha’s Vineyard, and the wedding was attended by hundreds of guests — but they were all on the groom’s side.
It seemed that Marla had neither family nor close friends — even her bridesmaids were Eric’s sisters. “She’s hiding something,” Eric’s mother told her son. “No one is that alone in the world — no one.”
But Eric wouldn’t hear a word against Marla. He loved her, and he accepted her for who and what she was. The couple moved into a lovely new house, and Marla quickly got used to Eric’s way of life, which included a housekeeper, two maids, and a driver.
The couple had been married for two years when Eric’s driver, who had been working for the family for many years, dropped a wrench in the works. He showed up at Eric’s door twisting his cap between his hands.
“Sir,” he said awkwardly. “I wanted to talk to you about something…”
“Well, out with it Farrow,” Eric said. “What is it? Do you want a raise?”
The man flushed and shook his head. “No sir, it’s about Mrs. Montpelier, sir…”
“What about my wife?” asked Eric puzzled.
“Well sir, over the last six months she’s been acting odd,” Farrow said. “Every afternoon she says she wants to go shopping, but she has me drop her off at a very bad part of town. Then she calls me two hours later to pick her up, and she never has any shopping, sir.”
“I see,” said Eric.
“I wouldn’t have said anything, sir,” Farrow said. “But I’ve known you all my life, sir, since you were a little boy…”
“Well, Farrow, maybe you can help me solve this mystery,” Eric said. “Tomorrow you will tell Mrs. Montpelier that your nephew will be driving her because you have a doctor’s appointment.
“I’ll wear your uniform, your cap, and dark glasses and I’ll keep the smoked divider in the limousine up,” Eric said. “She won’t even look at me, and I’ll find out the truth.”
That night, Eric casually asked Marla what she was doing the next day and she replied, “Oh, nothing much! Just going into town for some shopping, maybe get my hair done…:”
Don’t jump to conclusions before you know all the facts.
But Eric knew it was all a lie! That night, lying in bed next to his beautiful wife he couldn’t sleep. Was his entire marriage a lie? He’d been so happy these last two years, and he thought Marla was too…
Tomorrow, he thought, tomorrow I’ll know the whole truth. The next day, Eric pretended to leave for the office, then ducked back into Farrow’s apartment over the garage and changed into his uniform.
He slicked back his hair with gel, put on his dark glasses, and got into the car to wait for Marla. At the arranged time, Marla came out, got into the car, and said: “Please can you drive me to 25 Camden Street?”
Eric nodded and drove. The address Marla had asked to be taken to was very unsavory, in a part of town where the apartments were cheap, and often occupied by people just one step away from living on the streets.
When they arrived at the address, Marla instructed him to wait for her phone call before picking her up. Not once had she looked at Eric. She really seemed preoccupied.
Eric drove down two blocks and parked the limousine, then he walked back and into the building Marla had entered. It was a dump! What was his wife doing here? Then Eric heard her voice. “I’m sorry I can’t stay too long, but you know I do love you…”
A red hot wave of jealousy and anger ran through Eric, and without a second thought, he shoved his shoulder into the door. Inside, the apartment was even more miserable, and sitting on the sofa holding an old man’s hands was Marla.
She jumped to her feet, deadly pale. “Eric,” she gasped. “What are you doing here?”
“I should be the one asking the questions!” Eric cried. “What is this place and who is this man?”
Marla took a deep breath. “This is my father, Eric. He is ill. He had a stroke, so I come to help him whenever I can.”
“But why didn’t you tell me? You said you were an orphan!” Eric asked.
“My father was in prison, I was so ashamed.” Marla whispered. “I was afraid you wouldn’t want to be with a girl like me, a girl from nowhere with a convict father…”
Eric took Marla’s hands in his. “I love you, Marla, and nothing would ever make me change my mind about you.” Marla started crying and threw her arms around Eric.
“Oh Eric, I’m so sorry…I’ve hated lying to you!” Marla said. Then she introduced Eric to her father, who was badly affected by his stroke and had lost the power of speech.
Eric insisted on getting Marla’s father into an assisted living facility where he was properly cared for and Marla didn’t have to sneak in to visit him. A few weeks later, Marla had some wonderful news for Eric: he was going to be a father!
What can you learn from this story?
Don’t lie about who you are, people will accept you on your own merits. Marla was afraid Eric wouldn’t love her if he knew about her father, but she was wrong.
Don’t jump to conclusions before you know all the facts. Eric thought Marla was cheating on him, but she was caring for her sick father.
Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.