When her husband, Christian, had an accident during a business trip, Grace couldn’t travel to meet him at the hospital. But he called and said he would be back soon. However, Christian was a completely different person when he returned, although he looked the same. Then they learned the harsh truth.
Grace met Christian in elementary school in Madison, Wisconsin, and fell madly in love. But Christian didn’t notice her until their senior year. Their romance blossomed, and they got married at 18 despite their parents’ worries.
Luckily, everyone supported the couple, especially Christian’s adoptive parents, Mr. and Mrs. Burton. They fostered Christian when he was about seven years old and adopted him a few years later. Christian loved them dearly and had no idea what happened to his biological family.
A few years after their wedding, Grace got pregnant, and everyone was excited about the baby. Nearing the baby’s due date, Christian had to go on a business trip to New York. “Honey, I’m eight months along. The doctor said the baby could come sooner than later,” his wife argued, wishing her husband didn’t have to go.
“I know, baby. But it’s a short trip. I’ll be back in less than three days, and my company is offering me paternity leave. How awesome is that?” Christian promised. Grace thought it was fantastic and let him go.
But one day into Christian’s trip, she received a call from Mount Sinai Hospital. They informed her that her husband had been in an accident and asked her to come. Grace couldn’t take a flight in her state, and Christian’s parents were on a trip to Hawaii. She didn’t want to worry them at their age.
A few hours later, Christian called her himself. “Honey, I don’t know how, but I’ll be at the hospital with you soon,” she promised.
“No, Grace. You can’t. Think of our kid, baby. I’m ok. It’s going to be ok now,” he said roughly.
“You don’t sound ok! I need to be there!” Grace cried. But Christian assured her that everything was fine and he was going to be discharged soon. She agreed to calm down and wait for him to return.
Just as he promised, Christian returned a week later and looked like nothing had happened. “I’m so happy you’re home, honey! I love you so much!” Grace greeted when her husband settled in their living.
“Ah, yes. I told you that I would come back. You didn’t need to worry,” Christian replied nonchalantly. Grace was a bit taken aback by his casual attitude, as well as the fact that he didn’t call her “baby” as he usually did.
“Are you sure you’re alright?” she wondered, confused.
“I’m perfectly fine, my dear wife. What’s for dinner?” Christian asked her and smiled. It didn’t look like Christian’s smile, but Grace was glad to have him back and went to the kitchen to start making dinner for her man.
Grace thought everything would be fine, but there was a nagging feeling in her gut. Can an accident make people change their personalities? she asked herself.
Often around her husband. Christian was not the same. The way he spoke, his mannerisms, and even his hobbies were different. He dressed differently, too. It was odd. When his parents returned from Hawaii, he greeted them awkwardly. Her Christian was always so affectionate with his mom.
Then things got worse. He became short-tempered with her, especially after the baby, Robbie, was born. Christian would disappear to the bar almost every night and barely wanted anything to do with his child.
“I’m sorry, Mrs. Burton. But he doesn’t feel like my husband at all. He’s your son, and you must have felt it,” Grace told her mother-in-law on the phone while she was breastfeeding.
“Well, I have to admit that I noticed it when we returned from the trip. But I didn’t want to say anything. I thought it might have been the accident. Now, I’m thinking maybe it’s the new baby. Maybe he’s overwhelmed,” Mrs. Burton tried to rationalize his behavior.
But Grace wasn’t having it. She finally got Robbie to sleep and decided to snoop on her husband’s computer. There was nothing out of the ordinary until a message popped on the screen. It read, “When are you coming back? I miss you.”
Of course, her first thought was that he was cheating. But honestly, that didn’t explain his complete personality change. There had to be more. She had to confront him. “Christian, I don’t care that it’s late. We’re going to talk right now,” Grace demanded.
“I want to go to sleep, woman,” he said and rubbed his face in frustration.
“‘Woman?’ You never called me that before! Who are you? You are not my Christian! You can’t be!” Grace sobbed, missing her husband. Christian looked at her intensely, and suddenly, tears ran down his face.
“You’re right. I’m not your husband,” he whispered emotionally.
“What happened? Are you cheating on me? Do you want to leave me?” she wondered through soft cries.
“No. From what little I know of Christian, he would have never cheated or left you,” he said.
Grace stopped cold. “What do you mean?”
“I can’t believe I thought this would work. I’m not Christian. You noticed it almost immediately….” he paused before revealing everything. “My name is Benjamin. I’m Christian’s twin brother.”
Grace was shocked. Christian never said anything about having a twin brother, but then again, he told her most of his childhood memories were gone. Benjamin explained that another family adopted him at the age of five.
Meanwhile, Christian stayed in the orphanage the Burtons took him from when he was seven. Benjamin remembered his brother vaguely and reached out to him a few months ago. “The trip to New York was never a business trip. We agreed to meet there,” Benjamin added.
“But where’s my husband?” Grace cried.
“I think you know. The accident was trickier than he told you on the phone. I was in the passenger seat of his rental car when a truck came right at us. I came out with a few scratches, but Christian got the brunt of it,” Benjamin explained.
“No!” she couldn’t believe it.
“He woke after surgery, called you, and then asked me to take care of you if anything happened. I told him he was going to be alright. But he had a brain bleed that night and didn’t make it,” he continued. “I couldn’t think of a better way to be there for you.”
“So, you came here to replace him? That’s crazy! Who does something like that?” Grace yelled.
“I thought I would help you through the birth and be there. My adoptive parents passed away long ago too. I thought I could be part of your family this way. But… well, I couldn’t do it for long. I’m an idiot. I’m so sorry,” Benjamin apologized.
Unfortunately, Grace had to call the Burtons and explain everything. Benjamin brought over all the paperwork regarding Christian’s death and the urn with his ashes. Christian’s parents were inconsolable. But the incident brought them together as a family.
Benjamin moved out and found a place nearby. He asked Grace if he could still be part of Robbie’s life, but she was confused. “You have barely paid attention to Robbie since he was born. I thought you hated him,” Grace hesitated. “Also, what about the person who messaged you?”
“She’s just an old girlfriend. I don’t want anything to do with her. But about Robbie… I loved him the moment I saw him. But looking at him made me feel so guilty for what I was doing to you and Christian’s parents. That’s why I ignored him after a while,” he confessed.
Grace agreed after seeing how apologetic Benjamin was. In the end, he wanted a family again after so much loss. As the years passed, she knew she had made the right choice because Robbie grew up with the best uncle.
What can we learn from this story?
- Trust your instincts and speak up. Grace knew from the beginning that Benjamin was not her husband but didn’t say anything for months.
- Never allow a lie so big to go too far. Benjamin did the right thing by confessing soon enough, or the family wouldn’t have forgiven him if he allowed that lie to go on.
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