I FOUND THIS RING IN MY HUSBAND’S CAR

When Patrick, Jane’s husband, begins paying more attention to his phone than to her, she suspects him of cheating. Then, things get heated when she finds a mysterious ring under the seat of his car. Lately, everything about my husband seemed off. Patrick, usually an open book to me, had become a mystery. He went from not caring about his phone when we were together to being glued to it, guarding it like a precious secret. I’ve been eating alone most nights because Patrick has been shut up in our study, claiming to work, when in reality, I could hear him whispering on the phone. “What’s going on, Patrick?” I asked him after enduring the same cold routine for two weeks. “Work is demanding, Jane,” he said, maintaining eye contact. “It’s going to settle down soon, I promise.” Usually, Patrick would sit down with me and discuss his work, but he retreated to the study with a mug of coffee instead, It wasn’t just the distance between us—it was the silence, the unspoken words that filtered through our home. A few days after that conversation, Patrick told me to use his car for work. “Use mine, darling,” he said, after I mentioned that stopping at a gas station would make me late for work. “I filled it up last night.” I got into Patrick’s car, breathing in the familiar scent of his cologne mixed with the worn leather seats. While adjusting the driver’s seat, I found it—a beautiful ring hidden beneath the seat, in a velvet box.

It wasn’t mine, that much was clear. But it was absolutely stunning, and there was a familiar sense to it. The delicate design and the way it shimmered in the light made my heart sink. I started the car and began driving to work, while questions started to flood in. Was there someone else? Had Patrick’s late nights and guarded phone been for another woman? Who was at the end of his hushed phone calls? I walked into my office feeling the weight of Patrick possibly cheating on me. My 30th birthday was coming up soon, and Patrick told me that he planned something big. But what if he wouldn’t be around long enough to celebrate with me? What if he was going to leave me for someone else? In a fit of anger—or perhaps desperation, maybe even revenge—I came up with a plan. If this ring belonged to the other woman in Patrick’s life or was intended for her, then I wanted her to feel a fraction of the pain I was going through. So, I took my bottle of habanero sauce — a staple for all my meals at work, and drenched the ring in it. After it dried, I put the ring back where I found it, waiting for the storm I was sure would follow. Then, I took my stethoscope and began to see my patients. When I got home, Patrick was cooking dinner, but the moment he switched the stove off, he put on his shoes. “I need to see my Mom; she wanted some help with things around the house. I’ll be home soon,” he said, walking out the door. I paced around the house, waiting for something to happen. I almost phoned Patrick’s mother to see if he had really gone to her. “Keep it together, Jane,” I told myself, and helped myself to dinner. My phone rang, pulling me away from my thoughts—I needed to be alert, in case it was a medical emergency for one of my patients. Instead, it was Monica, my best friend, her voice tinged with panic. “Jane! I need your help!” she exclaimed into the phone, barely pausing to breathe. “What’s wrong?” I asked calmly. “I put on a piece of jewelry, and it feels like my hand is on fire. What do I do? It’s never happened to me before! It’s so bad!” Her words were a shock to my system. It couldn’t be a coincidence. So, the woman I suspected my husband of cheating with was not a stranger but my best friend? I needed answers. After calming Monica down and suggesting that a quick fix would be to put her hand into plain yogurt, I asked her, tentatively, why she was in such agony. “I… I don’t know, Jane. It just started a few seconds after I put the ring on. Patrick didn’t know what to do either, so he said to call you,” she said, gasping when she realized she had given herself away.“My goodness, Monica. Why are you with Patrick? Please, just tell me.” There was a pause. A brief moment of hesitation before she admitted the truth. “It’s not what you think, Jane. Patrick and I have been planning your surprise party. The ring is for you. It’s a family heirloom from Patrick’s side, and he wanted you to have it. He showed it to me now because he had just gotten it cleaned. I just wanted to try it on.” The pieces of the puzzle finally came together. All the late nights, the secrecy, Patrick’s attachment to his phone—it was all for me. In my haste to judge, I had almost destroyed the trust and love we had built over the years. I told Monica to get Patrick to bring her over so that I could look at her hand. When they came home, I told them everything—the guilt was overwhelming, but I knew I had to make things right.“It’s okay, Jane,” Monica reassured me. “We should have mentioned something sooner. I’m just glad that we can clear this up now.” I spent the next few days planning a special dinner for the three of us, wanting to make sure that Patrick and Monica knew that I wasn’t harboring any hard feelings. “I need to apologize to both of you. I let my insecurities get the best of me and jumped to the worst conclusions.” My husband reached across the table, taking my hand in his. Here’s another story for you | When Amy hopes for a cozy day at home, a voicemail sent in error changes everything she ever thought she knew about her marriage. Instead of crumbling, she puts on a brave face — eager to give her husband what he deserves.

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