Grace met Christian at elementary school in Madison, Wisconsin, and fell head over heels in love. But at the time, Christian didn’t notice her. It wasn’t until their senior year that he began to take an interest in her. Their romance blossomed and they married at 18, despite their parents’ concerns.
Fortunately, everyone was supportive of their relationship, especially Christian’s adoptive parents, Mr. and Mrs. Burton. They took Christian in when he was about seven years old, and adopted him a few years later. Christian loved them dearly and had no idea what had happened to his biological family.
A few years after their marriage, Grace became pregnant, and everyone was excited that the baby was coming. As the due date of the baby approached, Christian had to leave for a business trip to New York.
“Honey, I’m eight months along. The doctor said the baby might come sooner than expected,” his wife had said, not wanting to see her husband go.
“I know, honey. But it’s a short trip. I’ll be back in less than three days, and my company is offering me paternity leave. Isn’t that great?”, Christian said to comfort her. Grace thought that was fantastic and then let him go.
But a day after Christian left, she got a call from Mount Sinai Hospital. They informed her that her husband had been in an accident and asked her to come in. Grace couldn’t fly in her condition, and Christian’s parents were on a trip to Hawaii. She didn’t want to worry them, because of their age.
A few hours later, Christian called her himself.
“Honey, I don’t know how I’m going to do this, but I’ll be at the hospital with you soon,” she promised.
“No, Grace. You can’t. Think about our baby. I’m okay. I’ll be okay now,” he said softly.
“I need to be here!” shouted Grace.
But Christian assured her that everything was fine and that he would be out of the hospital soon. She then agreed to calm down and wait for him to come back.
As he promised, Christian returned a week later as if nothing had happened.
“I’m so glad you’re home, honey! I love you so much!” said Grace, as her husband moved into their living room.
“Ah, yes. I told you I’d come back. You didn’t have to worry,” he replied nonchalantly.
Grace was a little taken aback by his casual attitude, as well as the fact that he didn’t call her “baby” like he usually did.
“Are you sure you’re okay?” she asked again, confused.
“I am perfectly fine, my dear wife. What’s for dinner?”, Christian replied, smiling as if to change the subject.
It didn’t look like Christian’s smile, but Grace was happy to have him back and headed to the kitchen to start preparing dinner for her man.
Grace thought everything would be fine, but she had a feeling something was wrong.
“Can an accident make someone’s personality change?” she thought.
Christian didn’t seem to be the same. The way he spoke, his mannerisms, and even his hobbies were different. Plus, he dressed differently, too. It was strange. When his parents returned from Hawaii, he greeted them awkwardly. His Christian was always so affectionate with his mother.
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 wanted almost nothing to do with his baby.
“I’m sorry, Mrs. Burton. But he doesn’t look anything like my husband. He’s your son, and you must have sensed that too,” Grace told her mother-in-law over the phone during a call.
“Well, I have to admit I noticed it when we got back from the trip. But I didn’t want to say anything. I thought it might be the accident. Now I think maybe it’s the new baby. Maybe he is overwhelmed,” Mrs. Burton was trying to figure out what to do about her son’s strange behavior.
But Grace didn’t agree with her reasoning. She finally got Robbie to sleep, and decided to look through her husband’s computer. She found nothing wrong with it, until a message appeared on the screen. It said, “When are you coming back? I miss you.”
Of course, her first thought was that he was cheating on her. But honestly, that didn’t explain his complete personality change. There had to be something else going on. She had to confront him.
“Christian, I don’t care how late it is. We need to talk now,” Grace said with authority
“I’m sleepy, I want to sleep, ma’am,” he said, rubbing his face in frustration.
“Ma’am?” You’ve never called me that before! Who are you? You are not my husband! You can’t be!”, Grace said sobbing.
She missed her husband. Christian looked at her intensely, and suddenly tears began to stream down his face.
“You’re right. I’m not your husband,” he whispered with emotion.
“What happened? Are you cheating on me? Do you want to leave me?” she asked through these words.
“No. From what little I know of Christian, he would never cheat on you or leave you,” he said.
Grace stopped short. “What do you mean?”
“I can’t believe I thought this would work. I’m not Christian. You noticed that almost immediately….” he paused before revealing everything. “My name is Benjamin. I’m Christian’s twin brother.”
Grace was shocked. Christian had never said anything about having a twin brother. Furthermore, he had told her that most of his childhood memories were gone. Benjamin explained that another family had adopted him when he was five years old.
Meanwhile, Christian remained in the orphanage where the Burtons had taken him when he was seven. Benjamin vaguely remembers his brother and contacted him a few months earlier.
“The trip to New York was never a business trip. We agreed to meet there,” Benjamin said.
“But where is my husband?” – Shouted Grace.
“I think you know that. The accident was more complicated than he told you on the phone. I was in the passenger seat of his rental car when the truck hit us. I got off with a few scratches, but Christian was hurt the most,” Benjamin explained.
“No!” – she couldn’t believe it.
“He woke up after the surgery, called you and asked me to take care of you if anything happened. I told him everything would be fine. But he had a brain hemorrhage that night and did not survive,” 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?” shouted Grace.
“I thought I could help you through the baby’s birth and be there. My adoptive parents died a long time ago too. I thought I could be part of your family that way. But…well, I couldn’t do it for long. I’m such an idiot. I’m so sorry,” Benjamin apologized with tears in his eyes.
Unfortunately, Grace had to call the Burtons and explain everything. Benjamin brought all the documents concerning Christian’s death and the urn with his ashes. Christian’s parents were inconsolable. But the incident brought them closer together as a family.
Benjamin moved out and found a place nearby. He asked Grace if he could still be a part of Robbie’s life, but she was confused.
“You’ve barely paid attention to Robbie since he was born. I thought you hated him,” Grace said hesitantly. “Also, what about the person who sent you that message?”
“It’s just an old girlfriend. I don’t want anything to do with her. But about Robbie… I liked him the moment I saw him. But looking at him, I felt so guilty for what I was doing to all of you. That’s why I ignored him after a while,” he confessed.
Grace agreed after seeing how apologetic Benjamin was. Ultimately, he wanted a family back after so much loss. Over the years, she knew she had made the right choice, as Robbie grew up with the best uncle ever.