When 75-year-old Richard spots his ex-wife Vanessa with a man 20 years her junior, he assumes they’re dating and starts a fight. To his surprise, Vanessa reveals that the man with her is their son he never knew existed. But that’s not the only secret Vanessa has been keeping.
Richard was walking home from the grocery store when an unpleasant sight stopped him in his tracks. His ex-wife, Vanessa, was walking arm-in-arm with a man around 20 years her junior.
“Is she seeing someone else…already?”
Richard was furious. He watched them enter a café and hurried in after them. Bitterness surged into his nerves when he witnessed Vanessa and the guy holding hands and smiling over something at a window table.
He couldn’t bear seeing Vanessa moving on so soon after their divorce. So he angrily stormed to their table.
“What the hell, Vanessa?” Richard banged on the table, startling Vanessa and the guy with her. “Well, well! My 72-year-old ex-wife has found a new man to romance just a few weeks after leaving her husband! Bravo..! And how long have you been together?”
Vanessa was so embarrassed and pleaded with Richard to stop. Simon, the man with Vanessa, rose from his seat.
“Mom…is this my Dad?” he asked.
Richard was astounded.
“What did you say?”
At this moment, Vanessa understood she couldn’t hide the truth from her ex-husband or Simon.
“Richard, please sit. I have something to tell both of you…Do you remember when we first met 54 years ago…at the bar?” Vanessa’s voice trembled as she recounted her past…
It was the fall of September 1968. 17-year-old Vanessa and her friends were thrilled by their success at sneaking out of their homes to party at the pub.
“Van, you sure your Dad didn’t see you sneaking out of the house? I don’t want the party to turn into some church sermon!” One of the girls joked as they burst into the pub.
Vanessa’s father, Alan, was a pastor at the local church, so Vanessa had a strict upbringing. She wasn’t allowed to hang out with her friends after sunset. Sunday school was a norm. Hard drinks and late-night parties were strictly banned. And definitely no sex or drugs.
And Vanessa hated it. She loved her Dad but not his restrictions. She wanted a life full of adventure, like her friends. So that night, Vanessa had mustered the courage to sneak out after her parents fell asleep and accompanied her friends to the pub.
Rock’ n’ roll melodies played in the background as the teenagers made their way toward an empty table and immersed themselves in the glitz and glamor of nightlife. Soon, Vanessa and her friend, Carla, headed to the bar to get drinks.
“By the way, I heard Dylan will be here tonight with his friends!” Carla said.
“It’s over between Dylan and me! Period! I don’t even want to talk about him!” Vanessa replied.
She and Dylan had recently broken up, so knowing he was going to be at the pub irked Vanessa. She sat at the bar and ordered a martini. As she chugged her drink, a handsome stranger walked up to her.
“Hey there, gorgeous!” the 21-year-old lad said, leaning closer to Vanessa. “My name is Richard. Can I buy you a drink?”
Vanessa was new to taking hard drinks, and it felt like stars were bursting around her head. When she looked at Richard, she thought he was cute and couldn’t resist his charm.
“I’d be delighted!” Vanessa smiled and locked eyes with Richard seductively. She fell for him at first sight.
Richard and Vanessa talked as if they had known each other for ages and danced to jazz music rolling in the background.
“I’m new to this town,” Richard said as he wrapped his arms around Vanessa and pulled her closer. “Came here on business. Hey, shall we go for a drive? Maybe you could show me around?”
“Oh, I’d love to…but it’s getting late,” Vanessa said when she saw the time on her watch.
However, she immediately changed her mind when she saw how disappointed Richard was. He was too charming for her to say no, so she agreed to go with him.
That night was nothing short of magical for Vanessa. She and Richard drove across the bustling streets, laughing and chatting. They kissed passionately, and soon Vanessa found herself wrapped in Richard’s arms as she experienced her first intimate encounter. It felt like a fairy tale.
They kissed again after dressing, then Richard drove Vanessa home. Every inch of her heart wanted her to stay with him as Vanessa crept into her bedroom. She watched from her window as Richard waved goodbye and disappeared into the night.
Vanessa decided to forget everything about that night and move on with her life until she started feeling nauseous three weeks later.
“Vanessa, what’s wrong?” Vanessa’s stepmother, Rebecca, banged on the bathroom door. “I heard everything, Vanessa. You better come out and explain why you are crying.”
Moments later, an unsettled Vanessa emerged from the restroom, holding onto her stomach and wiping her face. “I am sick…I have a terrible headache.”
“Why are you holding your stomach if it’s a headache?”
Rebecca’s cold and suspicious tone froze Vanessa. “Girl, who do you think you’re trying to fool?”
“I said I’m feeling sick,” Vanessa stuttered and ran back to the bathroom to throw up. Rebecca’s worst fears were confirmed when she saw her teen stepdaughter emptying her stomach into the toilet.
“Vanessa, tell me the truth,” Rebecca stared grimly into the girl’s eyes, “Have you been intimate with someone? Are you pregnant?”
Vanessa burst into tears. She knew there was no escape and confided her secret to her stepmother. Rebecca’s initial shock quickly turned to outrage when she heard that Vanessa’s pregnancy resulted from a one-night stand, not a reckless moment with her boyfriend.
“God…You slept with a stranger?” Rebecca jolted Vanessa’s shoulder. “Your Dad will be so ashamed…and how long can you hide this? This child won’t grow up without a father…do you hear me?”
“Tomorrow night, I’ll take your father to a restaurant. Meanwhile, you’ll tell Dylan you want to get back together. Bring Dylan home and…” Rebecca paused as this was not how she’d normally advise her daughter “…spend the night with him. This is the only way to avoid a scandal. Abortion is completely out of the question.”
Vanessa nodded. She regretted sneaking out that night and meeting Richard at the bar. Every moment that felt magical then was now haunting.
Tricking Dylan felt wrong, but she couldn’t confess what she’d done to Dad. Vanessa spent a long, sleepless night thinking about what to do. Eventually, she made a difficult decision and approached Dylan the next day at the park. He agreed to join her for dinner.
When Dylan arrived, Vanessa sat down with him on the sofa and put her plan into action.
“Please forgive me, darling,” Vanessa leaned closer to Dylan and placed her hand on his lap. “I made a huge mistake…being alone, I realized you’re the one…that I was wrong to break up with you. I’m sorry. I love you…like forever!”
Dylan cupped Vanessa’s face in his hands and looked into her eyes. He was over the moon when she said that.
They hugged, and the evening ended as planned when Dylan carried Vanessa to her bedroom upstairs, and they made love.
Two weeks later, Dylan joined Vanessa’s family for dinner. Afterward, he and Vanessa dropped a bombshell on her father with the news that she was pregnant.
Alan was furious with his daughter, but the thought of becoming a grandfather calmed him down. And Dylan seemed to be a good guy from a wealthy family who would do right by her. So at the end of the serious conversation, Alan put on a happy face.
Months passed, and at only 18, Vanessa was rushed into the maternity ward when she went into labor. Hours later, Dylan wept joyful tears as he cradled his baby son in his arms and introduced him to his parents and closest relatives gathered in the maternity ward.
Two days later, the couple were preparing to go home with their son when a doctor burst into the ward and insisted on speaking with Dylan in his office.
Dylan was puzzled, but he followed the doctor to his office. Shortly afterward, he stormed back into Vanessa’s ward, where all his relatives and Vanessa’s parents had gathered to take her and the baby home.
“YOU LIAR!” Dylan burst into the room and confronted Vanessa. “THIS IS NOT MY BABY!”
Everyone gasped when Dylan revealed what the doctor just said. A weird feeling crawled up Vanessa’s gut when she realized she had a lot of explaining to do.
“Shame on you for doing this to me,” Dylan fumed. “How could you even think I would father someone else’s child? Was it your plan…or were your parents involved in the scheme too? How sick! Mom…Dad…let’s leave. I want nothing to do with her or the child anymore.”
Vanessa begged and cried. But Dylan stormed out of the room and out of her life that day. She returned home and pleaded with her dad to forgive her, but Alan was enraged and bitterly embarrassed.
“You’re a shame to my family,” Alan yelled.
“You disgust me. I don’t even want to see you. How can I face everyone in town…and in church? What will I tell them if they ask me who the father of this child is?”
Those words hurt Vanessa like daggers. She realized she’d never regain her father’s trust and would never lead a normal life in that town since people were already gossiping about her.
“…So I made a heartrending decision. I kissed my beautiful baby one last time before placing him for adoption and leaving town,” Vanessa finished her story in tears.
“Six months later, I accidentally met you again in an art exhibition in the new city I moved to, Richard. You know everything that happened after that!”
“Why didn’t you tell me the truth?” Richard asked, shock rippling through him. “We could’ve taken Simon back and raised him. Our son was out there…and you kept it a secret all these years? How could you, Vanessa? Is this why you never wanted children?”
“I wanted to confess everything when we rekindled our relationship. I went to the shelter…” Vanessa replied disappointedly. “But it was too late. A family had already adopted him and taken him abroad. I couldn’t bring myself to have another child.”
Richard was overwhelmed by how things unfolded. “And how did you find us, Simon?”
“My dad told me I was adopted before his death,” Simon replied. “He gave me details of my biological mother. I later checked the orphanage’s records. I searched for Mom for over six months. Two days ago, I met her for the first time!”
“Well…I never thought at 75, I would teach my 53-year-old son his first lesson!” Richard said. “I hope you now know it’s better to be truthful…and give people a second chance! This applies to your mother and me as well!”
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