Big Man for Christmas - Penny Wylder



The flight attendant walks away after handing me my Diet Coke refill, and my eyes well with tears. No, I’m not going to cry again. I’m not. I refuse. It doesn’t matter that it’s absolutely clear that I’m a fucking mess or that the flight attendant clearly pities me, I’m not going to cry again.

I was crying when I got on the plane, and I haven’t been able to control myself two more times. Now, the plane is close to being on its final descent and I’m not going to cry. I need my face to be somewhat normal when I reach the ground so that I can meet my family with a shred of dignity.

Not that there’s really any chance of that, but a girl can dream.

But when my right hand once again finds the empty groove on my left finger, I almost give up. Twisting that ring has been a habit that I’ve had for years. Four years, to be exact, and the fact that it’s no longer there…

It’s devastating.

And it won’t be there ever again. I’m not the woman that lets a man walk all over her and then takes him back like it’s nothing. Because that’s exactly what Tyler has done.

Cheating bastard.

I can’t even count every time that he told me that he didn’t even like Andi. That she was rude and bossy and made his life a living hell at work. All the while he’d been sleeping with her for almost the entire time that we’d been engaged. And still he’d made it sound like it wasn’t a big deal. Like he hadn’t just thrown a grenade into the middle of the life that we’d been planning.

And even after all that, I wish that the seat next to me wasn’t empty. I’d found out only three days before this trip. My bags were already half packed, and I’d half packed his too. That was before I told him that not only would he not be coming home with me to Tennessee but that I would be finding a new place to live when I got back.

I couldn’t stomach the thought of sharing a home with him for another day. In a way this trip came at the perfect time. Because the three nights I spent sleeping next to him while he seemed completely at peace were hell.

That’s what hurts the most. Not the fact that he cheated, but the fact that he didn’t seem to feel guilty, or even care. He thought it was fine. That it was a good situation for both of us.

He was wrong.

Andi Jennings. I don’t know what I will do if I see her in person. I’m generally not the violent type, but thinking about her makes me question that. The woman is everything that I’m not. I’d only met her a few times over the last few years at Tyler’s company Christmas party, and given that he constantly complained about her, I looked at her with a critical eye.

But even then, I’d marked the differences between us.

She’s tall and looks even taller in the gorgeous high heels she always seems to wear. I’m shorter than average. Along with her height, Andi is willowy and thin where I have generous curves, and her hair is the kind of dark hair you see in shampoo commercials. Perfectly straight and smooth and glossy while mine is blonde, curly, and wild. If I can wrangle it into a ponytail I consider that a victory.

Andi is also married. And despite that, Tyler implied that he had no plans to stop seeing her. He even mentioned that Andi’s husband didn’t mind the affair and the three of them thought it was a perfect arrangement on all sides.

No one bothered to ask me what I thought about it. And given the amount of time that they’ve been seeing each other, he had plenty of chances.

For what feels like the millionth time, I ask myself what I possibly could have done differently. Tyler said that he started the affair because he wanted to try something different. Not mentioning why he’d needed to try something different only a few months after we got engaged. He kept seeing Andi because he liked the different.

The sneaking around, keeping it from me was an adventure. Excitement that got him off. I take a sip of my Diet Coke to keep the bile from rising in my throat. I’m not exciting. I’m stable. Nice. He loves me.

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