Two years ago...
“Cyrus. I can’t do this anymore. You’re on the road all the time. When do I get the best part of you? The fans get it all. I get what’s leftover.”
His wife glared at him, tapping her foot in a rhythm that set Cyrus’ teeth on edge. He always hated that noise and knew she did it to annoy him. It was obvious since she only did it when she was harping over something she claimed he did wrong. It seemed to happen more often lately.
“You know that’s not true, Tammy.”
“Right. I forgot you have plenty of time for your precious Holly and Isis. Those two spoiled brats that you wasted all our money on for so long. Thankfully, they are on their own now. They have other men to burden.”
“That’s not fair. They were never a burden. They love you like a mother. The girls went through a lot when they were kids. You know how hard things were for them. I just want them to live their best life and now they are married and both have great futures ahead of them.”
“Sure they do. Their husbands are not exactly prize winners. Gage is perverted, controlling know-it-all, and Isis lets him lead her around like she’s his slave. She wears his collar for gosh sakes. It’s sick. And poor mindless Colt has no voice at all. Holly controls his dick like a puppet.”
“Gage and Colt love those girls. Their personal lives are none of your concern.”
“No. It’s yours, right? That’s all you care about. I can’t imagine what it will be like when they have kids. You’ll be like an overbearing grandparent always in their business. You’re not their father Cyrus, stop babying them.”
“The girls have their own lives, but I still care about them. Wraith and I practically raised them. I look out for them because that is what our family does. We watch out for each other.”
“Trust me, I know. I’m so sick of your family being around all the time. Even your damn brother is always hanging around. Wraith thinks he runs this family. Big brother is always watching. He and his goody-two-shoes wife, Lilly. She thinks that the wheelchair makes her so special.”
“Don’t bring Lilly into this. She has been right by your side every time you need her. She was your friend once, remember? You never take time with our family anymore and you are drifting further away every day.”
“Of course, I did. I needed space. I don’t want to be part of the precious, Evan’s family cult, anymore. It’s creepy how you all cling to each other. Grow some balls, Cy, and be a man. It’s time to cut the apron string and stand on your own. You are always trying to play the daddy figure for everyone. It was cute at first, but now it’s just pathetic.”
“So, I’m pathetic now?”
Tammy rolled her eyes at him. Sick by even listening to his voice.
“I’m done. I’m sick of this back and forth. The point is, I can’t be second in your life anymore. It’s wrestling, or me.”
“How could you say that? I work my ass off to give you a good life. I asked you to find a hobby or start your own business, but you just want to shop and spend time with your new friends. Ever since you stopped teaching it’s been like I don’t know you anymore.”
“I have new friends because you are such a bore and ignore me.”
“That’s not true. I call you every chance I get when I’m on the road. When I’m home, all my time is dedicated to you. You are always off with your ‘girls’ drinking wine and talking about how the husbands are garbage. Their negative influence is what got us here.”
“Well, being your part-time trophy wife is not good enough for me anymore.”
“Tell me what to do to fix this. I agree we need more time together. I’m going to be working at the corporate office soon. This move is going to be huge for us and I’ll have more home time. It will give us a fresh start.”
“No. You will just give more of your time to the Preston’s and that damn wrestling business. I’m not leaving Tennessee. I married Cryus the Crusher, not some lame corporate stiff. ”
“Yet you claim you hate wrestling. You can’t have it both ways. What do you want me to do?”
“I’ll make it simple. I want a divorce.”
Cyrus stood in shock watching his wife look at him as if there was nothing but loathing in her eyes. Everything he did was for his family and this was the final slap in the face he knew was coming. He just didn’t want to let himself believe it. Tammy had been his whole world and the love of his life. Now it all felt empty and lost.
“Is there someone else?”
Tammy looked away as if she had no intent to answer.
“Tammy, answer me. Are you seeing someone?”
“Yes. We want to move on with our lives. I want a divorce so we can get married in the fall. We’ve been seeing each other for about eight months.”
“So that’s why you’re gone all the time?”
“None of your business.”
“Who?” Cyrus’ jaw clenched as his wife seemed to not even care she was ripping his heart out. The muscles in his jaw ticked as he thought his teeth would crack from the pressure he was clenching them together with.
Cyrus stepped back, almost collapsing to the floor. It couldn’t hurt more if she would have shot him directly in the heart. His breath caught in his throat, as he tried to take in the blow that was just given to him. The name that made his blood boil and pent of anger festered in his gut making him want to vomit. “Do you know who he is?”
“Yes. He’s not a bad person, Cyrus.”
“First of all, he’s a loser and twice your age. He’s also the reason for my burn scars.”
“He says it was an accident.”
“Accident? He’s the reason my life was turned upside down. For the rest of my life, I have to look at myself in the mirror and remember what he did.”
“Grayson’s sober now. That’s all in the past. He’s a successful businessman and well respected in the community.”
“So, you’re into geriatric old men now? Are you going to change his adult diapers for him too? ”
“He’s not that old. He takes care of me. ”
“I’m sure he does with a round of Viagra. Hell, Tammy, if I knew all you wanted to be was for me to be a sugar daddy, I would have thrown more money at you. We would have been fine if I just shelled out the cash. The only reason you would have any interest in him is his money. He’s not an attractive man, so there can’t be anything else there.”
“You have scars and I loved you.”
“Did you? I’m starting to question that. Or did you marry me for the money too?”
“Whatever. He’s charming and listens to me.”
“Of course, he does. You’re a young woman who is giving an aging man special attention. He’s old enough to be your father.”
“So what? You always are so uptight. All you do is read and do boring outdoor stuff. Hiking and camping are boring. You won’t even spend money on anything unless we check the budget first and talk it over. Why can’t you be more spontaneous? You’re such a bore that it drives me crazy.”
“A bore? I was saving for our future. Something we both agreed upon until you started hanging out with those people at the country club. Wrestling is dangerous. I save money so we can have a good life when we retire or if I’m injured.”
“See. That’s just it. You are so boring that you can’t even see it. Unless it’s a museum, some stupid play, or ballet with Isis, you never do anything fun.”
“Like what? What does your elderly Romeo have planned to keep you entertained, your highness? Take you to the Bingo hall and let you change the batteries in his hearing aid?”
“Like… we are going to Italy for our honeymoon. He takes me shopping and I get to buy anything I want when we are together.”
“You do that now. You don’t think I notice all the money you spend? You’re so vapid now. What happened to you? You and I used to have so much in common. You loved to go to museums and paint. You once talked to me about things that really mattered. We would spend time outdoors and just drive through the countryside to have picnics in random places and watch the stars. Now all you care about is fancy things and making yourself look good to your new friends.”
“My friends listen to me.”
“Your friends are a bunch of money-grubbing ex-wives who are only a man-hating club. Are they why you are doing this? Did those evil women get in your head?”
“No. They made me see the light. I deserve more. I’m a celebrity wife and no one even knows my name.”
Cyrus sighed knowing there was nothing he could do. If his fame was the only reason she was staying with him, it wasn’t what he wanted or needed. This was just a battle that would end up in more of a disaster. Saying the same thing over and over wasn’t working. The same tired excuses she had given him for over a year as to why her behavior changed. Nothing he did was ever going to be good enough. Even when he would spoil her, it was never enough.
Cyrus had tried to ignore the signs but it was clear now. Tammy wasn’t the hometown girl he married that had a love for family and learning. The woman he would hold in his arms and tell her the constellations while she would tell him the stories behind them was long gone now. She was once a teacher and stopped abruptly, once she found her new group of friends. They had convinced her that she should be living the life of a celebrity wife. Not working in the public school system. He desperately missed the woman she once was. But it was quickly fading and the realization of it was like a blinding light flashing in his face. It was time to cut his losses.
“So, what do we do now? Do we need to go to court or just settle things on our own?”
Tammy was taken back. “You’re not going to fight me on this?”
“Why? The one thing that you can never go back from was adultery. You slept with the one man you knew would hurt me the most, and now you say you want to marry him. Why fight about it anymore? It’s a lost cause. I think I lost this fight months ago. I’m tired of the same old story that never changes. I’m tired of being told how worthless I am as a husband and how I failed you and our marriage. I just want you to answer one question for me.”
“Do you plan on having children with him?”
“Tell me the truth. I know I couldn’t give that to you… because of what he did. Are you going to have children with that man?”
“Yes, okay! I’m sorry but...yes. We have been trying.”
“Oh God, Tammy. Why? After all the things you could have done to me… how could you? Why this? Why him?”
“I can’t help that you can’t have children, Cyrus. I deserve to have a child of my own.”
“Did it have to be the man who took that chance from me? It was hard enough to find someone to accept me from all the burn marks and scars. But the one thing that will never heal is that he took away the one thing I wanted most of all. A family.”
“I’m sorry but this is just how it is. I want you out of the house by the end of the week.”
“Fine. I’ll be out by tomorrow night. Why prolong it further? You’ll hear from my lawyer so we can settle this.”
“Good. I want to get it over with.”
“Fine. I’m going to stay at the hotel. Keep you man out of my home until I’m moved out.”
“I never brought him here,” Tammy sighed.
“Why not? You already jabbed a dagger in my heart. Why not twist the blade a little more?”
Cryus walked out leaving Tammy alone. As he walked out of his home, something felt freeing but his heart wasn’t ready to feel it just yet. He was broken. Alone.