A young man goes to his fiancée's grandmother's house for dinner and is stunned to see a photo of himself on her wall and realizes he can't marry the girl he loves.
Tony never imagined dinner with Carol's grandmother would mean the end of their romance. Anthony Udell had met Carol Frank in college and they had been dating for three years before he proposed.
Tony had already met Carol's parents and liked them immensely. Now he had to get the matriarch's stamp of approval. Carol smiled at her nervous fiancé. "Relax, tiger! Grandma is a sweetie! This is going to be a piece of cake!" But it wasn't. It would turn out to be disastrous.
Tony never imagined dinner with Carol's grandmother would mean the end of their romance. | Source: Shutterstock.com
Carol's parents had told Grandma Emily that Carol was bringing over a 'special someone' but they left the announcement of the engagement to the young couple. Tony, who'd grown up in an orphanage, was very nervous.
"I hope she likes me!" he told Carol anxiously. "I always wanted family, you know? But I get so nervous..."
Real life can sometimes be even stranger than fiction.
"Oh babes," Carol laughed. "I promise it's going to be OK! Gran Emily is a pushover for tall, dark, handsome men!"
They arrived at Gran Emily's house and rang the doorbell, but a cheerful voice called to them, telling them to come into the garden. There, under a lovely old tree, Gran Emily had set the table for dinner with her best china and candles.
Carol took Tony home to meet her grandmother. | Source: Unsplash
"Gran!" cried Carol, running to her grandmother and hugging her. "I've missed you!" Her grandmother hugged her back and peeked over her shoulder at Tony who stood there looking lost and confused.
"Come over here, young man," Gran Emily laughed. "I don't bite!" And she gave Tony a hug and a kiss too. "You two sit down! I've made all your favorites, Carol!"
The three of them sat for hours eating and chatting under the stars. Tony was about to serve Gran Emily another glass of wine when he noticed the bottle was empty.
"Mrs. Frank," Tony said. "Is there more wine? Carol and I wanted to propose a special toast and make an announcement..."
"Of course, Tony!" Gran Emily said. "Go in through the kitchen and you'll see the sitting room. There's a wine rack by the door! Hurry I want to hear this announcement!"
The couple wanted to announce their engagement in person. | Source: Unsplash
Tony walked into the cozy kitchen and quickly found the lounge and the wine rack. He was about to walk back out with the wine bottle under his arm when something caught his eye. There was a photo over the mantel and something about it was familiar.
Tony walked closer. The photo showed a young couple holding a toddler in front of Gran Emily's house. The little boy was wearing a short-sleeved shirt and on his little arm was a distinctive birthmark.
Tony started shaking. He took down the photo and peered at it closely. It couldn't be! He unbuttoned his cuff with trembling fingers and looked at the birthmark on his own arm. It was exactly the same as the boy's in the photo. It was him.
Tony carried the photo outside and sat down next to Gran Emily. "Please, Mrs. Frank," he said. "Who is this?"
Grandma Emily served a lovely dinner in the garden. | Source: Unsplash
Gran Emily took the photo from Tony's hands. "You shouldn't have touched this," she said. "This is very precious to me. It's the only photo I have of my grandson Karl."
"Your grandson?" asked Tony. "What happened to him?"
"I don't talk about it!" said Gran Emily. "Please leave it alone!"
"Tony," Carol said nervously. "It's a family thing..."
"I need to know," Tony cried. "Please! It means everything to me!"
Tony recognized himself in a photo. | Source: Unsplash
Gran Emily stood up. She was looking angry. "Why?" she asked. "It's none of your business!"
Tony rolled back his sleeve and bared his arm. "I think it might be, Mrs. Frank! I think I'm the boy in the photo."
Gran Emily was stunned and had to sit down, and so was Carol. "My grandson Karl was kidnapped when he was three," she whispered. "We looked for him for years..."
"I was abandoned at a hospital when I was five," Tony said. "All I knew was that my name was Tony. They raised me in foster homes, but I never imagined... We need to do a DNA test."
Emily's grandson Karl had disappeared. | Source: Unsplash
Gran Emily was nodding. "Yes, and we have to call your parents!"
"My parents?" Tony pointed at the young couple in the photo. "Are these my parents?"
"Oh no!" Carol said smiling. "Those are MY parents, which means they are your aunt and uncle. Didn't you recognize them?"
Tony looked at Carol. "We're family? You and me? First cousins?"
Tony had a DNA test done. | Source: Unsplash
Gran Emily smiled. "If you are Karl, then yes, you and Carol are first cousins!"
"Oh!" gasped Carol, and she got up and ran into the house in tears.
"What?" asked Gran Emily. "What did I say..."
"We're engaged," Tony said. "We were going to be married..."
"Oh dear," said the grandmother sadly. "Well Tony, if you are first cousins I'm afraid that's impossible!"
Tony was devastated because he and Carol couldn't marry. | Source: Unsplash
Tony bowed his head and he felt tears fill his eyes. "But I love Carol," he whispered. "She's the love of my life!" And at that moment, Tony knew that fulfilling the dream of having a family would mean losing Carol as his would-be mate, his wife.
He turned to Gran Emily: "What about my parents?" he asked, "Why aren't THEY in the picture?"
Emily smiled. "Oh, it was your birthday and Carol's parents are your godparents as well as your uncle and aunt! Your parents are living in Iowa. You now have three sisters and a brother, but they never stopped mourning you, never!""
The DNA test confirmed that Tony really was Karl Frank, the long-lost little boy that had been kidnapped, and he was welcomed by his parents and his siblings with open arms.
Three years later, Tony attended Carol's wedding and wished her well as she walked down the aisle, but in his heart, he knew he'd never stop loving his cousin, though they had to part.
Tony was now part of the big family he'd always dreamed of. | Source. Unsplash
What can we learn from this story?
Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.
If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a childless woman who finds a young girl on her doorstep on Christmas Eve claiming to be her granddaughter.
This account is inspired by our reader’s story and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone’s life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to email@example.com