I Asked My Friend to Come over & His Ability to Speak French Revealed a Startling Family Drama

When Chad’s French in-laws come over, he invites his friend, Nolan, along — to keep him company while Camille and her parents converse in French. While they have dinner, Chad discovers that Nolan understands French and reveals a family secret.

My wife, Camille, is as French as they come. We met at college when she was an exchange student studying International Politics, and we’ve been together ever since.

Camille’s parents live in France but visit us twice a year. I’ve learned a few odd words and phrases in French, but the language has yet to stick with me.

Other than mon chéri or various dishes from French cuisine, I don’t know much. Now, my in-laws are around, and it’s only been four days, but I’ve started to feel left out at the dinner table when they’re all chatting in French. So, I decided to invite my friend, Nolan to have dinner and meet Camille’s parents. That way, I would also have someone to talk to.Now imagine this:

We’re all sitting at the table, enjoying our bouillabaisse. Nolan and I talked about an audit at work, and Camille and her parents were happily chatting in French. Everything seems fine, right? Wrong. While mid-conversation about work, Nolan’s face goes as white as a ghost, and he nudges my arm firmly with his elbow. “Go upstairs and check under your bed. Trust me,” he whispers urgently. My first instinct was to laugh it off — it made no sense. But one look at his wide eyes told me that this wasn’t a joke. “Excuse me,” I said to the table. “I’ll be right back.”

I reluctantly shuffled to my bedroom, feeling like I was stepping into some strange French noir film. I picked Camille’s silver silk robe off the floor and bent to look under the bed.

My heart was beating ridiculously fast like I was about to have a heart attack. But there it was — a lone black box. I opened the box with shaky fingers, going through the contents quickly — I didn’t know if Camille would come looking for me. Then, toward the bottom of the box, was a series of photographs of Camille, wearing next to nothing. My heart pounded harder and nausea rose through my body. What have I just stumbled upon? I asked myself. As I was about to put everything back, the world turned black.

It must have been hours later when I woke up in a hospital ward, surrounded by empty beds. The harsh light glared down on me as my eyes adjusted to the change of venue and the sharp smells of detergent. “Woah,” I mumbled, my throat raw. That’s when I noticed that Nolan was sitting next to me, his head propped up by his arm. “You passed out in your bedroom, mate,” he said. “What happened?” Then, it all came back to me. Camille’s box under the bed, my insatiable curiosity mixed with an overactive heart rate brought on by a panic attack. But I did get a glimpse into the box. It turned out to be my own Pandora’s Box. There were incriminating photos of Camille, love letters to a man named Benoit, and little trinkets, all piecing together a tale of betrayal. It turns out that Camille was hiding an affair.

“You were taking forever,” Nolan said. “So, I followed you, and I found you passed out on the floor. I closed the box and pushed it back under before calling Camille and an ambulance.”

“How did you know?” I asked, thinking about the warning Nolan had given me. “I did French throughout high school, Chad,” he said. “While talking, I understood that Camille said something about hiding everything under the bed. I’m sorry.” “Where’s Camille?” I asked. “At the cafeteria, she said she needed to stretch her legs. So, she went to get coffee.” I put my head back and thought of the letters that my wife had been receiving. I got discharged the following day, and Nolan drove me home. Camille fussed over me, making me a healthy juice and ensuromg that I was okay. But of course I wasn’t. Nothing was okay. That afternoon, I had to set the record straight. I couldn’t look at Camille and feel what I had felt before.

“I can’t continue in this marriage,” I said when Camille brought me a juice. “What are you talking about?” she asked. “I know about the black box under the bed.”

Camille turned pale. “I can explain,” she said, jumping up. “I saw more than enough, Cami. I don’t think your version of an explanation would change that.” “Just listen,” she said. “My parents set up the meeting with Benoit. They wanted me to be with someone French — to have completely French children.” I looked at her, wondering how she expected me to sit there and listen to more.

“So, after they arranged it,” she continued. “I met him. And we hit it off, and our friendship grew.” “I want a divorce. Immediately,” I said, not wanting to listen to anything else. Camille made a fuss, hurling accusations of me snooping and invading her privacy. She threatened not to sign the divorce papers when they came, but I told her that there was just no love left in our marriage after what she had done. “Give me another chance,” she pleaded. But I didn’t want any of it.

The divorce process lasted a few months, and Camille contested everything — from the house to spousal maintenance — and she even wanted me to pay for her tickets to France every year. I refused everything except the house. I didn’t want to be there anymore anyway. I’m living in a bachelor pad closer to my office now. I’m heartbroken, sure. But at least now, I’m not living a lie. And that’s liberating. I’m also grateful to Nolan for telling me the truth and staying by my side through the divorce. Now, I wonder if Camille will end up with Benoit or not — I know her parents will love it if she does. If you were in my shoes, what would you have done?

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