Older couple posing for the camera. | Source: Flickr

When Cora hears a radio advertisement about Mother and Daughters, she feels compelled to spend time with her husband’s daughter, Mia. But as she prepares for their bonding trip, Cora gets more than she bargained for. If Mia’s not her husband’s daughter, who is she?

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“It’s time to reconnect with your daughter! Mother-Daughter brunch specials are now on…”

The radio host’s voice trailed into oblivion as I removed the keys from the ignition and opened the car door. “Some bonding time with Mia wouldn’t be the worst idea,” I thought. Although she had been living with us for two years, we hadn’t really connected.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

Mia’s sudden entrance into our lives was still fresh in my mind. “She tracked me down after all these years,” my husband, Richard, had said, revealing his past with Wilhelmina, Mia’s mother.

Mia’s transition from a summer stay to a permanent member of our household was marked by a room makeover and her enrollment in a local art school. Despite her presence and achievements, I felt distant, knowing little beyond her surface preferences.

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Upon entering our house, Mia’s voice greeted me. “Cora, is that you?”

“Yes,” I replied, setting down my purse. “Going to get dinner started soon. Want to help?”

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

“Sure. What are we eating tonight?” she asked, her usual brightness filling the room.

I shared the dinner plans and led the conversations toward the possibility of spending a weekend together to bond. Mia’s surprised reaction made me second-guess my approach, but I pushed on, suggesting the getaway despite her hesitant excuses about her busy schedule.

“It was just a thought,” I admitted, feeling her reluctance. “I know you have your mom and your life, but I wanted us to be closer.”

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“That’s nice, Cora,” Mia responded, stepping back as I moved around the kitchen to cook. “But another time would be best.”

Disappointed yet understanding, I let her return to her magazine. Dinner passed quietly, with Mia and Richard chatting easily.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

But later, I expressed my frustration to Richard, “I just want to get to know her better. And it’s a spa. We’ll have our own time too.”

Richard, supportive yet surprised, nodded. “Fine, I’ll talk to her,” he said.

Later that night, I overheard him persuading Mia about the spa outing. “It’s just a weekend… It’ll be relaxing,” he assured.

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I heard Mia hesitating and expressing a desire to stay home with him instead. Despite her reluctance, Richard convinced her, promising quality time after the trip.

But while I was still alone in bed, I wrestled with feeling excluded. Richard came into our bedroom a few minutes later with an update. “She’s in,” he said, smiling. I grinned, too, but I was torn between relief and jealousy. Acknowledging these emotions eased my mind, and I drifted to sleep, hopeful about bonding with Mia.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Unsplash

The next day, I prepared for our departure, shopping for Richard’s favorites and picking vibrant flowers, happy about our upcoming plans. I wanted to discuss art with Mia and have a good time, so I bought snacks for our drive and fetched a camera bag she wanted.

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At home, after managing groceries and laundry to ease Richard’s weekend, I walked up the stairs and heard Richard laughing in our bedroom.

“Hi honey, I didn’t know you we—” I began as I pushed the door open.

And then everything changed.

Mia’s head poked out from under Richard’s arm. They were tangled in our sheets.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Unsplash

“Cora!” Mia screamed out loud. “Wait! We can explain!”

“She’s not my daughter!” Richard shouted as my look of horror registered for him.

Richard’s pleas and Mia’s excuses echoed as I fled, my mind swimming with the sting of their betrayal. I stumbled down the stairs and rushed to my car, ignoring their attempts to explain. His words, “She’s not my daughter,” haunted me, fueling my drive away from that house.

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I didn’t stop until I reached a nearby park, where solitude forced me to confront the painful reality. No matter what they said or how they explained, the damage was irreparable.

Consumed by rage and sorrow, I returned home, determined to reclaim my dignity. I declared an end to their charade, asserting my intent to leave with what was mine and dissolve the ties that bound us.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

Ignoring their protests, I packed swiftly, my resolve unwavering. Richard’s feeble attempts at justification fell on deaf ears as I finalized my departure. My old life was over, and a new chapter awaited.

Eight months had passed, and I was in my element at my flower shop when Mrs. Roosevelt praised my work. “I can’t believe it! You’re an artist!” she exclaimed.

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“You’re my best customer, Mrs. Roosevelt,” I replied, pleased with the special arrangement I had created for her daughter’s engagement.

After her departure, I reflected on the peace my shop brought me. Post-separation, I had invested the money from our house sale into this new venture, finding joy and purpose.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Unsplash

As I tended to my shop, Richard unexpectedly walked in, making my jaw drop. “What the hell are you doing here?” I demanded.

“Cora, I didn’t know this was your place. I swear,” Richard responded, seemingly shocked himself.

Despite my reluctance, I allowed him to browse, attempting to maintain my composure. Watching him, I humorously imagined a less peaceful interaction and grinned slightly.

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“What’s funny?” he inquired.

“Nothing,” I said, quickly completing his purchase. Yet, he lingered, requesting a chance to talk over coffee. Although I was initially hesitant, I decided to hear him out, thinking it might help me move forward.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

At a nearby coffee shop, Richard reverted to old habits, ordering my favorite caramel macchiato and a blueberry scone. His familiarity irked me, so I asked him to stop delaying and get to the point.

“I’m sorry. I just didn’t want you to hate me,” Richard started, cautiously reaching out for my hand but stopping short. Then, he confessed to having an online affair with Mia that escalated into love, leading to the charade that shattered our marriage. She had come up with the idea of pretending to be his long-lost daughter.

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He admitted to enjoying the convenience of maintaining both relationships, driven by selfishness and deceit. “I should’ve been honest from the start,” he lamented, and told me about his plans to marry Mia for her visa status.

Disgusted, I finally pieced together Mia’s manipulation of us both. “She played us,” I pointed out. “She wanted you for her green card all along.”

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

Richard struggled to accept the truth. “No, she loves me. It was just complicated,” he insisted, and told me more details about her legal status in the country.

Laughing bitterly, I realized the extent of her scheme. “She’s using you,” I said. “She wanted a sugar daddy before and now, she wants a green card. You told her about me and our life, and she came up with the stepdaughter idea. It made her life even better because two people were paying for her things. She’s a pro!”

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Richard, flustered and overwhelmed, clung to the remnants of his delusion. But whether he believed what I was saying didn’t matter. My stance was clear: our relationship was irreversibly over. I only warned him about marrying that woman.

His eyes watered. “Cora, are you saying this to hurt me?”

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

“No,” I scoffed, finishing my scone. “I’m just giving you a heads-up. But don’t come to my shop again. Goodbye, Richard.”

I left him in the café, feeling a sense of closure. Months later, as I celebrated my official divorce, a surprise delivery from Richard arrived at my shop. The letter inside shared his regret and the news of Mia’s departure. She left him for a wealthier man. He admitted to reporting her to immigration as a final act of revenge.

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“What did the letter say?” Hannah, my employee, asked eagerly.

“He’s alone now; Mia left him for someone else,” I summarized, shrugging. She smiled and brought out champagne, so we could continue celebrating my divorce.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

Suddenly, a handsome customer entered. He asked for white roses and, boldly, my number. Flustered yet intrigued, I obliged, grinning. I didn’t expect to date so soon, but I was definitely ready.

Tell us what you think about this story, and share it with your friends. It might inspire them and brighten their day.

Enjoyed this story? Here’s another one you may be interested in: 75-year-old Richard spots his ex-wife Vanessa with a man 20 years her junior. Assuming they are dating, he starts a fight, only to discover the man with her is their son he never knew existed. Vanessa then reveals another long-held secret that rocks Richard’s world.

This piece is inspired by stories from the everyday lives of our readers 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 info@amomama.com.

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