A grieving widower is taken aback when he sees a young woman who looks exactly like his stepdaughter at his wife's funeral. He decides to approach her and find out who she is – only to discover a family secret from his late wife's past.
The sun had descended a little, and the evening was approaching. People were leaving after the funeral, praying for Linda's soul and assuring Robert that everything would be fine, but Robert Stevens couldn't walk away from the fresh mound of earth where his beloved wife was laid.
Linda and Robert had been happily married for 15 years, and Robert had never imagined that a disease like cancer would take Linda away from him, leaving him alone. But it happened, and despite the expensive treatments and all of his care, Linda died at the age of 57.
Linda and Robert had met at a business conference in California. Linda was a widow with a daughter, and he was a divorcee with two adopted sons. It wasn't love at first sight for them, but their loneliness helped them connect well, and they were in love before they realized it.
A few months after dating, they decided to tie the knot, and though it had been a rollercoaster ride, their marriage was mostly peaceful and filled with love.
However, now that Linda was gone, Robert could feel the void again. "If God had chosen to take one of us away, it should have been me, not you," the man lamented.
Just then, his stepdaughter Ashley approached him. "Dad!" she cried. "Come, let's go home. It's going to get cold soon. I believe some of the guests were unable to attend Mom's funeral. I doubt they'll show up."
"I'll see you later, honey," Robert said quietly. "You guys go ahead. Take Kevin and Eric with you. I'd like to stay alone for a while."
"All right, dad, but don't stay till late. Kevin and Eric are leaving for New York tonight," Ashley said before she and her brothers walked away.
Robert was devastated after Linda died | Photo: Pexels
Robert was now alone, sitting by Linda's grave, remembering all the times he'd spent with her. Ashley had been 5 years old when they first met. She wasn't ready to accept him, and Linda struggled to persuade her that he would be a good father.
Finally, when Linda had convinced her, his sons Kevin and Eric, who were 9 and 10 years old at the time, tried their hardest to ensure that Linda did not take their mother's place. But Linda had just won the boys' hearts with love and care, convincing them that she would love them like their mother.
15 years later, as Robert sat there, reminiscing about the good old days, he didn't notice when a few other guests arrived and began approaching him to express their condolences before departing. "Sorry for being late, Mr. Stevens. We hope things get better for you soon," one of them said.
Robert forced a smile at him and shook his hands. There were 4 missed calls from Ashley by that time, but he'd been so deep in his thoughts that he didn't even realize when his phone had rung.
Robert decided to leave after spending some time with Linda | Photo: Pexels
"I'll be leaving now, honey," Robert whispered to Linda as he got to his feet. "I'll come see you again tomorrow. I love you."
Just then, a young woman dressed entirely in black approached Linda's grave. She was wearing a hat, and her face was obscured so Robert couldn't see her. But as she knelt down and placed a bouquet of lilies on the grave, she removed her hat.
Robert froze in place as she caught a glimpse of her face. "It must be my mind playing tricks," he reasoned initially, unable to accept that she resembled his stepdaughter.
He rubbed his eyes, almost certain that what he was seeing was not real, and looked closely at her. But to his surprise, she did look exactly like Ashley! For a brief moment, Robert forgot how sad and depressed he'd been since losing his wife, and his thoughts wandered to the strangest suspicions about how the young woman resembled Ashley.
When his mind failed to provide a satisfactory answer, he resolved to find out for himself. He waited until the woman had finished her prayers before approaching her. "Excuse me," he said. "Did you happen to know my wife?"
When the woman turned around to face him, Robert's heart skipped a beat. How is this possible?... This woman… she's Ashley's carbon copy!
"Hello, Mr. Stevens," the woman said. "My name is Vanessa, and I am your wife's daughter. I just came here to say my final goodbyes to her."
Robert met a young woman who was a carbon copy of Ashley | Photo: Pexels
"Linda's daughter?... Wait, what?"
"I'm afraid it's a long story, Mr. Stevens," Vanessa said. "Do you mind if we sit and talk somewhere?"
"Su - Sure..." Robert said as he followed her, noticing that she was limping while walking.
They sat in a park just outside the cemetery when Robert told her how she looked exactly like his stepdaughter.
Vanessa gave him a warm smile. "That's not surprising for me, Mr. Stevens considering we are twin sisters. I recently learned that my biological mother abandoned me in an orphanage when I was young because she couldn't care for both of us. Thankfully, I was later adopted by a generous family.
"As you can see, I walk with a limp. That's because I was born with uneven legs. My mother begged a nurse at the orphanage to take me in after my biological father died. She apparently chose to abandon me at the orphanage because she didn't want a limping child."
Vanessa revealed she was Ashley's twins sister | Photo: Pixabay
"Wait! But Linda only had one daughter. She never…." And then Robert recalled how he'd never bothered to ask about Linda's past. The day they decided to spend the rest of their lives together, they also decided they would not let their pasts intervene, so they never really discussed it in detail. 15 years later, when he heard the story from Vanessa, he felt terrible for the poor girl.
"I'm guessing she never told you about me, which may explain your shock," Vanessa continued. "Anway, after what she did, I really wanted to meet her and ask why she was so ashamed of me that she gave me up. My adoptive parents never hid the fact that I was adopted, and they gave me her address if I wanted to contact her, but I could never gather enough courage to confront her. I was afraid she'd lose the family she had. I didn't want that because I was really heartbroken when I learned she'd left me, and I know how it feels to lose a loved one."
"So, what brought you here? Did you forgive her after what she had done?"
"I don't have a choice, Mr. Stevens. Now that she's gone, nothing will change, even if I'm angry at her. I just wanted to see her because I wanted to say goodbye to her. Last night I had this weird feeling urging me to see her, so I went to your home today. But when I arrived, I learned from the neighbors that she was no longer alive. They gave me the address, and I thought I should pay my respects to her, so I came here."
"I'm sorry for what happened," Robert said. "If only Linda had told me about you, I would have accepted you just like I accepted Ashley. But it's not too late. I'm sure Ashley would love to meet you."
"I'd like to meet her as well, Mr. Stevens, and I'm hoping you don't mind if I accompany you home. I can't wait to see her."
"Oh, not at all."
Vanessa and Ashley reunited | Photo: Pexels
When Ashley saw Vanessa, she couldn't believe her eyes. "Dad? She…." Then Robert told her the whole story, and Ashley apologized to her for what their mother did.
A lot had changed since that day. Vanessa was not the only frequent visitor of the Stevens family; even her parents were.
Robert went to see them after meeting Vanessa and thanked them for looking after her. They are now a big happy family who get together frequently and celebrate festivities together, all thanks to that fateful day when Vanessa met Robert.
What can we learn from this story?
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