A man noticed a little girl standing on his porch when he answered the door at night. “Who could it possibly be at this time?” Vance mumbled, setting down his fork. He was having dinner with his wife Giselle and their daughter Mia, and he’d just taken another serving of the delicious spaghetti when the doorbell rang.
“You guys carry on, I’ll check who it is,” Vance said as he got to his feet. He proceeded to the door and was greeted by a young girl who seemed no older than 10. “Hello, Dad,” she said, “can I please come in? This is from Mom,” she added, extending a note to him.
Vance laughed, “Look, girl, I guess you’ve lost your way. I’m not your dad,” but the girl shook her head. “I know who you are, you’re Van Sanders, aren’t you?” Vance gasped, covering his mouth in shock. “How do you know my name? Can I come in?” she asked again, “I’m feeling cold.”
Vance looked at her tattered appearance and couldn’t refuse her. “Mom told me to give this letter to you,” she said as she settled inside, “please read it.” Giselle left her dinner and came to the living room to check what had taken Vance so long. When she saw the little girl talking to Vance, she was confused.
“Darling, who is she?” Giselle asked. Just a minute, honey,” Van said as he opened the note to read it. “Dear Vance, I would have never turned to you if it weren’t for my illness. I could no longer care for our daughter. It’s past time she met her father. Please don’t reject her this time. This is a request with love, Laura.”
“What is it, Giselle?” Vance asked, as she saw him crumple the paper in his hands and give the child a sad expression. While Giselle looks like she’ll be staying with us tonight, “What’s your name, dear?” he asked, facing the girl who resembled him to a t.
“My name’s Beth,” she said, smiling, “thank you for letting me stay, your dad.” Giselle’s eyes widened, “What’s going on, Vance? Why is she calling you Dad?” Giselle screamed, loud enough to make Beth shiver.
Suddenly Mia came to the living room, “Mommy, why are you yelling? Who is she?” “Oh, we just have a visitor,” Vance replied, “please go and have dinner, honey. Okay, Mommy, and I will join you soon, okay Daddy?” Mia said and walked back to the dinner table.
“I’ll tell you everything, Giselle,” Vance murmured as Mia walked away, “but first please allow me to escort Beth to our guest room. You and Mia can carry on with your dinner.” Vance took Beth to the guest room and instructed her to make herself at home. “You’re welcome to sleep here, Beth. I’ll bring you some food here, and please don’t leave the room until I say so. Is that clear?” The little girl nodded.
Vance brought her some dinner as he promised and asked Giselle to help Mia to bed first. When both girls were sleeping, Vance revealed why he allowed Beth to stay with them. “You remember Laura, my ex-girlfriend?” he said. “Don’t tell me, Vance, you’re right, Giselle. Beth is Laura’s daughter, and I’m her father.”
“Remember when I told you Laura and I had broken up? I never told you Laura was pregnant at the time. I wasn’t ready to be a father, and she was too eager to keep the pregnancy going, so I basically ended my relationship with her. I guess I can’t really avoid my past.”
“It was a business card in the envelope. She’s at the Oliver Memorial Hospital,” Vance said. “Look, Vance,” Giselle said, “I don’t care what occurred in the past, but I’m not letting that girl stay here. She’s your fault, and I will not pay for your mistakes.”
“Please, Giselle, I can’t just let her go. Laura’s ill. Can we have Beth stay with us for at least a week?” “A week? Hell no, Vance!” Before Giselle could finish, Vance cut her off, “I swear I’ll talk to Laura about it this weekend, and I’ll make some plans for Beth.”
Giselle gave him a dirty look, “Fine, but not a day more than a week.” “Thank you, Giselle,” Vance said. That day, though Giselle reluctantly agreed to let Beth stay in their house, deep down she hated every moment of it. When Vance would return from work, he would spend time with both Mia and Beth. They would watch movies and go out for dinners, all this time reminding Giselle of how much she hated the girl in her husband’s past.
So one day, when Vance was away at work, Giselle secretly dropped Beth at the hospital and drove back home. When Vance returned home and didn’t find Beth, he was furious. “What did you do to her, Giselle? Where’s my daughter?”
“She’s in a room, Vance. I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Giselle replied, acting innocent. “I’m not talking about Mia, Giselle. Where the hell did you send Beth? Where is she?” “What do you mean by ‘where she is’? That dirtbag’s right where she should be, at her dying homewrecker mother’s bedside!”
“What? How could you just leave her there alone? She’s a child, for God’s sake!” Giselle said, and we decided she’d stay with us for a week! How could you even-” As if I care,” she muttered angrily under her breath. “I’m going to get her back, and you’re not going to send her anywhere else this time. I’ll make sure of that!”
Vance drove to the hospital, where he found Beth with Laura. “Laura, I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to,” Vance started crying, “promise me you’ll look after Beth when I’m gone, please.” “Why did your wife leave her here? I was planning on coming to see you this weekend,” Laura said.
“I’m so sorry about what Giselle did, but what happened to you? How did you end up here?” “I don’t have a lot of time, Vance. I know I’m dying, but I can’t afford treatment. I require heart surgery, and my odds of survival are slim. So please take Beth with you, that’s a request.”
“Look, Laura,” Vance said, holding her hands, “I’m not going to make the same mistake again. I’m not going to abandon Beth, so you don’t have to be concerned. And I’ll also pay for your treatment, I promise you that. Nothing bad will happen to you.”
Vance brought Beth home and told Giselle he would look after Beth just like he would Mia. He also told her about paying for Laura’s treatment because he felt horrible about leaving her alone when she needed him. But Giselle was furious. “If you do that, take care of me alone, I’m leaving you in this house! What are you, crazy? Think about me at least!”
“Look, I’ll pay for Laura’s treatment, and she’ll be fine soon, and she’ll be able to look after Beth when she’s recovered. I swear I won’t bother you with it again. No man wants to see his family torn apart like this, Giselle, please bear with me.”
“Yes, Mommy, please don’t go,” Mia cried, “Beth and I are sisters, Daddy loves us both!” Giselle didn’t budge, “Thank your Daddy for making our home a complete mess, Mia. I hate him, and now he’ll be the one responsible for it!”
She packed her belongings and left, vowing never to return. A week later, she sent divorce papers and didn’t demand custody of Mia, but she did ask for an equal share of the assets. Vance didn’t hesitate to sign the papers because he knew that if Giselle truly cared about their family, she wouldn’t have abandoned him and Mia.
He agreed to all her demands and was glad that she didn’t demand Mia’s custody. Meanwhile, Laura’s surgery went well, and she was recovering fine. During this period, Vance had to become a single father to both Mia and Beth, but he was content to have his girls with him.
Thankfully, six months down the line, Laura made a full recovery. By that time, Vance and Laura’s feelings had reignited, and they grew as close as they were back in college. “Let’s go home, Laura,” he said when he went to pick her up from the hospital, “but where’s Beth?”
“At the place we’ve all been waiting for you, our home, where our daughters are.” Vance brought Laura home and told her about everything that transpired while she was in the hospital.
It took a while for little Mia to adjust, but thanks to Laura, who welcomed Mia like her own child, Mia managed to accept things easily. And when Vance and Laura were confident that Mia and Beth were ready to accept them as parents, they tied the knot.
The couple was content with the family they’d been blessed with after all those years of separation, and the fact that Giselle never interfered with their lives again.