A man, always busy at work, returns home early one Christmas Day from a business trip and is surprised to find a certain Welsh family in his house instead of his wife and children.
Ted was a busy man. Clients, meetings and business deals always came first for him, not family. So several Thanksgivings, Christmases and New Years passed, and Ted was away on business all the time.
“I’m doing all this for us, darling,” he often said to his wife Marissa, who was already used to her husband’s absence from home.
“I know, but the children miss you, Ted,” she replied.
“I’ll send them presents,” he said. “I love you all. I’ll see you soon.”
Ted planned to surprise his family with a new house that year, so he was even busier than usual. He had to go away on a business trip for Christmas, but came home early to surprise his family, but found that they had moved…
It was a windy day. Ted parked his car in the driveway and was confused when he saw an unknown car in the garage. He saw the Christmas decorations outside the house and smiled. We must have visitors, he thought.
Ted unloaded the presents he had bought for Marissa and their children and walked to the front door. He would have surprised them by entering through the back door, but he remembered that Marissa had told him that the door was jammed and she would fix it later.
Ted didn’t have a spare key, so he rang the doorbell.
“Marissa, hun? It’s me! Ted!” he called out.
There were no replies, so he rang the bell again.
What’s up with her? Why isn’t she opening the door? he wondered.
Ted pressed the bell three more times and was about to call Marissa when he heard hurried footsteps approaching the door. Soon after, a tall man with tattoos on his left arm came out and asked in a heavy voice, “Yes? Who are you?”
“Is this some kind of joke? Who are you?” Ted smirked as he shoved the man aside and marched inside.
“Marissa? Kids? Daddy’s home! I got you all gifts!”
Ted stopped in his tracks as he entered the living room. There was a woman, who was not his wife, and three unknown children decorating the entire house, as well as a massive Christmas tree beside the fireplace.
“What’s going on? THIS IS MY HOUSE! Did you all break in?! Where are my wife and children??” Ted asked angrily.
“Hey, hey, man!” the man with tattoos said. “I rented this house like two weeks ago. This house was empty when we moved in. I’m Darren Welsh. Were you, like… the previous tenant?”
“What?” Ted said. “Moved in? But Marissa didn’t tell me! How is that even possible? I’m not leaving this place until I’ve confirmed it. I need to talk to my wife.”
Ted called Marissa, but the call didn’t go through the first few times. He dialed her again, and she didn’t pick up.
What’s wrong with her? What the hell is going on? he wondered.
Ted then called his mother-in-law, Pamela, and was taken aback by what she said.
“You cheated on my daughter, Ted! How do you expect her to answer your call? She is here, and so are my grandchildren. Don’t worry, we’ll have a wonderful Christmas. You’ve never been there for them, anyway.”
Ted was taken aback. He hadn’t been able to talk to Marissa in a few weeks due to his busy schedule. He had no idea she had filed for divorce or that the papers were waiting for him at his lawyer’s office until Pamela told him.
Ted drove to his lawyer’s office and was shocked to learn the reason for the divorce.
“Marissa came to see me a few weeks ago, Ted, and said she was in a big hurry. She asked me to give you this letter,” the lawyer said, handing Ted the envelope. “She said you’ve been a great father no matter what and you can still see the kids after the divorce. She doesn’t want the kids to grow up without a father.”
Shocked and confused, Ted opened the letter and began to read
I don’t know when we became so estranged that I find out about your affair from your colleagues. I went over to their house for a party and… I’m not sure what you saw in your secretary, but I won’t impose myself or our children on you… I suppose she’s young and beautiful and has all the time in the world to travel with you? Is that the reason you cheated on me with her?
She had the nerve to send me your messages and tell me how much she loves you. She did it in front of our children by coming to our house! Maybe that’s why you disappeared and didn’t want to come to us. You’ve found a new love, haven’t you?
I don’t want to tell you anything until you read this letter, because what will it change? You’re a liar and a cheat, Ted!
Sam and Lily will miss their father, but I won’t. Goodbye, Ted. Live a helluva life with that secretary of yours!”
Ted buried his face in his palms. “This is all wrong! I need to visit my family!”
Ted reached Pamela’s house and stormed inside as she opened the door.
“Ted? What the hell are you…” Before Marissa could finish, Ted dropped to his knees and began to cry.
“How could you think I was cheating on you, baby? Do you have any idea why I’ve been so busy lately?”
“Ted, get out! Right now!” – she said. “The kids are watching their father beg their mother, and I don’t think it’s a happy scene!”
“Marissa!” said Ted. “I’m not cheating on you. I’ve never cheated on you! I don’t know what messages you’re talking about, but you can check my phone. I sincerely love you and our kids!”
“That’s enough, man!” Marissa’s father intervened. “We’ll talk about this in court! Get out of my house now!”
Ted begged and pleaded before finally revealing his big surprise for his family. He told Marissa about the house he wanted to give her for Christmas and showed her the designs on his laptop, explaining why he was busier than usual and didn’t have time for them. He had been working on the plan for three years. Building that house was an expensive affair, and he had hired the best contractors for it.
“Fine, but how do you explain this…” Marissa then showed him the texts she had received from his secretary, and something didn’t add up.
It turned out Ted’s secretary was attracted to him, and she faked those messages to create a misunderstanding between Ted and Marissa. She knew that Ted was not always in contact with his family, and she took that advantage to separate them.
“I’m so sorry, hun,” Marissa said. “I shouldn’t have doubted you! What a mess!”
“It’s OK, babe,” Ted said, hugging her. “I love you, and I love our children!”
“I love you too, babe,” she said.
Thankfully, the misunderstanding was quickly resolved, and the family enjoyed a peaceful Christmas dinner. Ted decided to prioritize his family over his work because you can earn all the money in the world again if you lose it, but not a family!