The moment Helen held her future daughter-in-law’s hand, she knew everything was going to change. The connection and the bond she felt were undeniable, and it doesn’t help that there were familiar markings in Dina’s hand… one Helen knows she would never forget. She can feel that something tied her to Dina, her son’s future wife.
Helen knew there was nothing that could stop her from finding out the truth… even if it was just a few hours before the wedding!
Helen couldn’t help the excitement she suddenly felt when her son told her he already proposed to his girlfriend.
Her son, Rob, always calls five days a week. Their recent call, however, was quite different and more memorable than the others. She was officially going to have a daughter-in-law sooner rather than later!
But, she did not at all expect her own reaction when she finally saw the girl in person.
Helen knew about Rob’s girlfriend of three years, Dina, but have never actually met her. Not even once!
Despite this, Helen knows enough about Dina, having talked to the woman during Rob’s first year of moving out, whenever she and Rob would catch up via call. The woman’s voice was lovely, and she seemed like such a genuine person!
When they first did a video call though, there was something off about Helen’s perception of Dina.
The best match
The woman was honestly the best match for Helen’s son – that she can’t deny.
Dina and Rob move in sync, as far as Helen can observe through their video calls. It was as if they have known each other their whole lives!
Having seen this, Helen feels a bit of comfort knowing Rob was with the right person… or is she the right one?
The third call
Helen’s doubts started right after their third video call.
After ending the call, Helen finally acknowledges the discomfort she’s feeling whenever she sees Dina through the screen. She always finds herself observing Dina, thanking the universe that the young couple couldn’t really see where she’s particularly looking at.
Dina is the loveliest girl she’s ever met… but what bothers her was that it was as if she had seen Dina before.
Things started to get messier the night after her third video call with Dina and Rob.
Helen was plagued by a dream… and it did nothing but make her feel shaky and unstable afterward. It wasn’t even a dream, it was a nightmare.
A nightmare that featured the past Helen had been trying to forget for years now.
A tragic past
Helen tried to forget about her tragic life before her second marriage. She had not even talked about it in detail with Rob’s father, Jay, her second husband!
Everything that happened before her marriage with Jay was like a fairytale movie that turned into horror.
And all these memories slowly began to resurface when she first saw Dina’s face through the screen.
Helen tried her best to stop the memories from flooding her mind, but obviously, she can’t.
She keeps remembering that time when her perfect life crumbled into pieces all within one day. The life she built with Phil, her first husband, was suddenly gone, and she thought she was going to lose her mind.
After finally filing for divorce from Phil, Helen cut everyone off from her past life.
Helen struggled to hide her resurfaced troubles from her son, and it was quite easy because of the distance!
Rob has always been protective of her, more so after Jay died. This made her son more attentive to her, noticing the littlest things, and always trying his best to make her happy. She couldn’t be more thankful! It also came at the price of not being able to hide anything from him.
While it hasn’t been a problem to Helen, she knows her reluctance towards Dina would make it hard for her to hide… especially when they finally meet.
The first meeting
And that day came when she got the call from Rob, telling her that they already have a date and venue for their wedding… and it was back at home with Helen!
In a rush, Helen now found herself waiting by the airport to welcome her son and future daughter-in-law. It was thrilling, and all Helen could do was smile the whole time, setting aside all her troubles.
But when she finally saw Dina, though, her heart seemed to stop moving and dread flowed through her whole body…
Right when Helen caught a glimpse of the younger woman beside her son, she was once again transported back to her past…
… and the many horrors she faced! Ones that she hopes to hide from her son as long as she can. She does not want to burden Rob with it, especially when his wedding is so close!
But for some reason, seeing Dina in person reminded Helen of everything… and she still can’t figure out why.
It’s been a while
Rob immediately hugged Helen not a second after they saw each other, as it’s been a while since he had been home.
It distracted Helen for quite a while though, as she took in how much her son changed, looking more mature than ever!
It was then that Helen finally found closure with her son’s decision to move to the one place she swore she would never go back to – Ohio.
There was one thing Rob always regrets: leaving his mom alone back in his hometown.
Despite knowing that his mom hates the place with a passion even though he doesn’t know the reason why, Rob felt a strong urge to go there… something he could not explain. It was as if something… or someone was waiting for him in Ohio.
Then he met Dina, who’s now his fiancée.
Love at first sight
The minute they met, it was as if the stars aligned!
Rob knows it’s a huge cliche to say that, but seeing Dina for the first time made him feel like he was looking at his home. He did not believe in love at first sight before, but Dina made him believe in it.
There was just something so familiar and comforting with Dina’s smile… it made Rob feel more comfortable in Ohio.
Leaving for years
Rob’s promise to move back home after his contract job in Ohio was pushed back again and again… making him not see his mom for years.
It made him feel guilty, but he doesn’t know how to resolve it! His mom had such a passionate hatred for Ohio. So when he finally proposed to Dina, he was so thankful Dina and her parents agreed to fly instead back to his hometown, to his mom, and have the wedding there.
Little did he know that this decision would lead to the worst day of his life.
Meeting each other
After their hug, Rob stepped aside. This is the moment he’d been waiting for…
He officially introduced the two most important women in his life. Rob couldn’t believe it! He never thought this day would come when the love of his life would finally meet his mother in person.
But when Rob saw the look on his mom’s face, his smile slowly disappeared from his face. Despite being separated for years, he knows the telltale signs when his mom isn’t happy…
“Is there something wrong, Mom?” Rob asked cautiously. What changed?
His mom was staring at Dina with a frown, and Rob can’t honestly tell whether she was just plain sad, disapproving, or angry.
As if shaking out of a trance, Rob watched as his mother switched facade in an instant, smiling brightly at them. But Rob knows it was all just an act!
Sometime in the past
Rob officially introduced Helen to his fiancée, Dina.
Helen finally met the woman who has been the subject of her troubles resurfacing. And before even seeing her via phone call, Dina had been the subject of Rob’s stories.
Finally seeing Dina up close, in person, Helen is sure of one thing: she had seen the girl before!
Taking in the girl’s features, she could not deny that her son really chose well, as Dina looked so beautiful! She already knows this, but seeing it in person is a hundred times better.
But that’s not what Helen’s attention was drawn into. It was Dina’s eyes. They look quite familiar, and Helen swore she had seen those unique colors before. She was trying her best to figure out why she feels like she knows this woman.
Then, a horrifying thought crossed Helen’s mind. Could it be…?
Helen’s thoughts were going wild, it was leading her to impossible conclusions about her past.
Fate would have to be laughing at them, conspiring, if Dina was a person from the tragic past she’s desperately trying to forget.
Maybe, this was just Helen grieving over the fact that she slowly losing her son. Officially, once he gets married!
Something going on
Rob shook Helen out of her spiraling thoughts.
One glimpse at her son told her he noticed her reaction upon being introduced to Dina. Helen immediately put up a bright smile – she has to keep these thoughts at bay for the meantime.
Rob knows her too much to let the smallest things go unnoticed!
Helen welcomed the hug, pushing back her initial thoughts on Dina’s familiar features.
They spoke pleasantries, and Dina’s engaging conversation starter was enough for Helen to almost forget her troubles.
But she was reminded of her hesitations and so much more when Dina held her hands…
“It’s finally great to meet you, Helen! Rob told me so much about you, you raised a wonderful son,” Dina complimented her.
Her words won over Helen’s heart. The younger woman held Helen’s hands in excitement, making Helen look down.
When she did, Helen could not believe what she was seeing!
A shocking discovery
What she saw in Dina’s hands was something she tried to forget a long time ago, but was never able to.
Helen knows she would recognize that mark anywhere. Now that she saw the mark on Dina’s hand, the girl’s familiar features and uniquely-colored eyes suddenly made sense.
Everything Helen buried deep suddenly came to surface…
Sudden turn of events
Helen might have stared at the mark for quite some time because Rob asked if she was alright.
She unconsciously said yes, still trying to grasp the fact that after looking and losing hope for almost two decades and more, this woman is now right in front of her…
Her long-lost daughter.
Keeping a secret
Helen’s troubles were finally resolved, but they bore new problems for her. If Dina was really her long-lost daughter, that would mean…
Helen knew she had to keep this knowledge a secret for a while. After all, if she becomes impulsive and suddenly reveals her suspicions, the price would be her son’s happiness!
As the wedding was only a day away, Helen knew she only had little time to properly think things through.
Looking for truth
There was only one way to truly find out the truth: talking to Dina’s parents.
After finding out that Dina’s parents were already in the area, Helen knew it was only a matter of time before things are laid out in the open.
She just hopes no one will get hurt… especially her children!
Waiting for the inevitable
The rehearsal dinner was just a few hours away and Helen knew that was the right time she could talk to Dina’s parents.
She just has to be patient for a couple more hours for this.
As they drove to the hotel, Helen couldn’t help but feel guilty as her son kept happily telling her stories about him and Dina, and their amazing relationship. Soon, the secret she’s been keeping will cause pain for a lot of them…
If Helen was acting suspicious about eagerly meeting her soon-to-be daughter-in-law’s parents, Rob did not show it.
Instead, the couple happily guided Helen to where Dina’s parents were sitting at the rehearsal dinner.
When Helen saw them, felt her stomach drop…
The game plan
Helen was greeted with genuine and kind smiles. She let Dina’s parents do most of the talking, wondering when she would be able to talk to them alone.
Helen might have to resort to aggressively hinting at Rob and Dina to leave.
After all, with the guests present at the rehearsals, Rob and Dina would have to leave them for a while and entertain them!
Letting them know
After a couple of grueling minutes, the couple finally told their parents they would have to leave them for a few minutes. It was now or never for Helen!
As soon as the couple left, Helen turned to face the couple.
When she started talking, Helen watched as their smiles slowly dropped from their faces…
“I know we just met, but we’ll be a family soon. I wouldn’t ask if I didn’t have any reasonable excuse… is Dina adopted?”
Helen knew they were thinking about how she was overstepping. In a normal situation, the topic was none of her business, especially for first meetings.
But she had to know a fact that they can only give. Helen did not know whether she truly wanted to hear what they just told her…
Helen can see how Joanna, Dina’s mother, was taken aback, but there was a hint of anger on her face.
She does understand that as a mother, they have tendencies to be overprotective of their children. Helen thought Joanna was about to yell at her… until Brad, Dina’s father, suddenly answered.
Helen felt horror seep through her bones.
Testing the waters
“Yes, Dina’s adopted,” Brad calmly told her. With three words, Helen’s suspicions were confirmed.
There’s a close to a hundred percent chance that Dina is the daughter she had been searching for years.
When Helen asked her next question, that’s when Joanna finally snapped at her.
Helen took a deep breath, gathering all the courage she could probably gather at that moment.
Then she asked them how and where they adopted Dina.
“With all due respect, we don’t have to answer you, Helen!” Joanna snapped at her, obviously defensive.
The whole story
After Joanna snapped at her, Helen knew she would have to tell them the whole story.
Or else, they would all cause a scene and ruin their children’s happy night.
But before telling them why she’s asking all these things about Dina, the words that came out of her mouth almost gave the couple in front of her a heart attack.
“I have reason to believe Dina is my daughter,” Helen said straight to the point.
She sees no point prolonging the inevitable, especially when matters are time sensitive!
Helen waited for either Brad or Joanna to react, but they were just staring at her in pure horror!
Waiting for reaction
Helen did not know how to continue, as she was afraid the couple are going to cause a scene.
That would mean that their children would find out about her suspicions, and it will definitely cause a devastating effect on her kids!
So, she waited for their reaction. But she did not expect…
“You’re going crazy,” Joanna suddenly told her.
Helen was so surprised about Joanna’s words, as she did not expect that that would be the woman’s initial reaction.
Brad was just quiet, still taking in the news, while his wife seethed in anger.
Start of the story
Despite the conflict. Helen took it as her cue to further explain the situation.
She knew how absurd the whole setup was. Their children – who could possibly be siblings – are about to marry each other!
“Before I married Rob’s father, I had a first husband and a daughter. Then, on her third birthday, we took a trip to Ohio –” Helen was suddenly cut off, but by someone she least expected.
“Dina can’t be your daughter!” Brad was the one that suddenly exclaimed.
Despite Helen’s surprise that the once calm man was now enraged, she was a bit thankful that the man did not shout, or else everyone’s attention would be on their table.
She still needs them to know the story!
“I know this is a bit of a surprise to hear. Honestly, I was too when I realized, but… come to think of it, where did you find Dina? How old was she? Did you adopt her in an orphanage?”
Helen’s instinct was so strong and she was ready to risk a lot just to find out the truth. For years, she grieved her lost daughter, and she’s closer to finding her than she ever did.
The couple looked at each other, silently communicating. Helen did not know what to feel when they turned to her.
They were quiet for a while, and Helen thought she wasn’t getting any more answers from the couple.
She was honestly on edge, feeling nervous, as she did not know how everything would play out. She really needed Joanna and Brad on her side!
And then Helen’s heart finally leaped in hope with what happened next.
Their side of the story
“We found her alone by the streets… crying. We did help her try to look for her parents but when we faced dead end after dead end, we decided to take her in.”
Helen’s heart was racing at Joanna’s words. She can see how the couple was trying to avoid something…
She waited for either Joanna or Brad to continue, but they seemed like they’re struggling so hard to even form words.
After trying to be patient for quite some time, Helen finally gave in and asked the one question she knew would confirm everything for her.
“Where?” Helen asked. Even though she was prepared for everything, their answer still caught her off-guard.
Helen saw the hesitancy from a mile away. But still, she knew they would eventually tell her.
Finally, Brad sighed, giving in, and looked Helen straight in the eye.
“Somewhere in Cleveland…” Even though Helen was anticipating the place, she still gasped in surprise. It was the confirmation she needed, Dina was really her long-lost daughter!
“She’s my daughter!” Helen exclaimed softly, still mindful of not getting any attention on them.
Joanna and Brad looked at her as if she was going crazy.
Maybe so, for them, because after all, this is the first time they saw each other. How could they trust Helen so quickly, especially with what she’s telling them about their daughter?
“You couldn’t have gotten it from that!” Joanna said accusingly, airing her distrust of Helen.
Helen nodded, showing how she understood where the couple was coming from. It was also a way for them to not think of her as the evil one here.
Helen knows that what she’s about to tell them will make them believe her, once and for all.
After being quiet for a couple of seconds, Helen finally continued her story to the couple.
“The daughter I lost in Ohio, had a birthmark on the back of her right hand. It’s shaped like a heart.”
Helen said softly and slowly, obviously knowing how her revelation would affect the couple. And what she expected was right.
“That can’t be true,” Joanna told Helen, still in disbelief. Helen frowned.
She did expect she would be met with disbelief, but she didn’t expect it would be this hard for them to accept the truth.
“I’m a hundred percent sure you’re saying that because you saw our daughter’s birthmark!” Brad accused. Helen was close to panicking, running out of things to say to make them believe…
Helen nervously eyed her son and his soon-to-be-wife, who was going from table to table to accommodate the guests.
They were getting nearer to their table again and Helen knew she was running out of time!
She had to make Brad and Joanna believe her immediately or else…
“I am not saying this because I want to take Dina away from you… but if there ever is the slightest possibility she’s biologically my daughter, she’s getting married to my son!”
Helen rushed out, just in time for Dina and Rob to reach their table.
She took in Joanna and Brad’s petrified faces, fully realizing Helen’s point.
The parents all realized that they had to pretend to be getting along, so as to not ruin their children’s night immediately.
They still had time to sort things out – there were still a couple of hours left before the wedding.
But, they knew they had to move quickly!
“Are you all having fun catching up?” Dina asked the parents upon reaching the table. Helen immediately smiled at the two, having seen them coming already.
She nudged Joanna, who was closest to her, to get them out of their trance.
“Yes! We’re doing absolutely fine!” Joanna said a little too high. Helen hoped their children did not notice that they were all acting so odd…
“We saw you’re all talking a bit too seriously a while ago… everything’s going well, right?”
Helen forgot that her son always made it a point to look out for her, so naturally, he would have noticed when things were a bit unusual…
She felt her son’s hand rest on her shoulder, and she knew she couldn’t hide the truth.
Helen was about to spill the beans to their children. She did not know that Joanna and Brad saw the telltale signs on her face.
So before she could even speak, Brad suddenly spoke:
“We’re just having a debate on what the perfect names for your kids would be!” Brad exclaimed. But, upon seeing Rob’s face, she knew her son wasn’t going to drop the topic anytime soon…
Rob had known his soon-to-be father-in-law enough to detect when he was lying.
The man looked over at his fiancee, hoping that Dina caught it too. The slight side eye Dina gave him was enough to tell Rob that she also sensed that there was something going on among their parents.
But, it was evident that their parents didn’t want them to find out!
In a silent agreement, Rob and Dina let the subject drop, riding along Brad’s excuse.
“Just make sure you don’t give us too many names to choose from!” Rob jested, squeezing his mother’s shoulder in an attempt to comfort her in whatever she was going through. Ever since his father died, he had become so protective of his mother, as the woman lived alone in his childhood home.
He just hopes she would tell him sooner rather than later…
Helen can’t help but sigh in relief when Rob and Dina excused themselves to talk to some friends.
“What are we going to do now?” Joanna asked, looking troubled as they thought of how their children would be heartbroken at the discovery they just had.
They know one thing for sure: they have to tell the two before their wedding… it’s really only a matter of how!
Question of the past
“How did you lose her?” Brad suddenly interrupted, after thinking deeply.
Helen still hasn’t told them the full story of how Dina was left on the streets of Ohio. Helen took a deep breath, as telling this story really wasn’t that easy for her. It brings painful memories from the past, and how much she had tried to search for her lost little girl.
The couple didn’t expect at all the way Helen’s story came to be…
All it took was a few minutes of distraction before Helen lost sight of her little girl.
She did everything she could to find the girl, she even went to the authorities. She almost went through the entire state in hopes to find Dina, who she named “Georgia”. But it seemed as if the universe didn’t want her to find her daughter.
What Helen didn’t expect was for the couple to look at her in disbelief.
Finding Dina’s parents
After finding Dina, Brad and Joanna searched everywhere for Dina’s parents.
Despite wanting to have a child for years but weren’t blessed with one, the couple was well aware that Dina’s parents were probably searching for the child too and looking for her.
They knew they would already adopt Dina the moment they saw her if no one would claim the child.
On the other side…
While the parents were all conversing in their secretive ways, Rob and Dina were also plotting their own scheme on how they can find out what their parents are so secretive about.
They know it should make them happy that their parents seem to get along with each other… but it seems unusual that they were already keeping secrets from them, something that seemed to bother both of their mothers!
Then, Rob thought of something that will make them find out their parents’ secret…
The minute Dina heard Rob’s plan, she could not wait to do it!
They both know how hard it is for their mothers to keep a secret from them. Taking advantage of this, Rob urged Dina to invite his mom to her party later – Dina’s last party with her closest friends as an unmarried woman.
Dina thought of it as a great idea… or so she thought. Little did they know what was in store for them!
Meant to be
As the couple wrapped up the rehearsal dinner, Dina can’t help but feel excited about her party.
It was her time to get to know Helen more! The minute she saw Rob’s mother finally in person for the first time, she can’t help but immediately feel softness for the older woman. It was an unexplainable feeling.
Dina chalked it as a sign that she and Rob were really meant to be – feeling fond of his mother at first sight.
The rest of the night
It was time to bring their plans for the rest of the night to their parents.
The couple was excited about their plan, almost forgetting the underlying reason for it. But, the minute they brought it up to the three older people, the nervousness on their faces made them remember why they really invited them in the first place.
It’s time to find out their secret!
At the party, Dina tried to keep an eye on her mother and mother-in-law, who were both having a bit too serious of a discussion.
It piqued Dina’s curiosity, but her friends were trapping her in an engaging conversation that she can’t just abruptly abandon them to talk to her mother and soon-to-be mother.
How she wished Rob was here!
Rob, on the other hand, tried his best to steer his conversation with Brad smoothly toward what they were all talking about during the rehearsal dinner.
But it proved harder to do, as Brad was incredibly self-aware of everything he was saying. The older man was really sticking true to their earlier excuse of talking about future grandkids.
Rob just hopes Dina has a much more successful night than him…
Finally, Dina was able to get closer to the older ladies!
It took her a long time to tell her friends that she had to attend to her mothers, making a graceful exit from their small huddle.
Before she could make her presence known, she heard her mother say something that broke her heart.
Away from the party
Helen and Joanna made sure that Dina was far away before talking about their plans.
The wedding was scheduled for four in the afternoon tomorrow, and they still have no clue how they will break the news to their children. They know it’s going to ruin everything for the young couple.
And as they were talking, Helen was so surprised by what Joanna suddenly revealed.
What to do?
The mothers knew that Rob and Dina wouldn’t be seeing each other anymore, as part of the tradition.
They have to plot a way to convince them that they should be in a room together, so they can tell the two calmly about what was going on. Joanna can already imagine the heartbreak on her daughter’s face…
There might not be a wedding after all!
Planning by the hour
The two mothers were talking about the best time to corner Robert and Dina.
As they were talking, Helen can’t help but gasp at what Joanna suddenly said. The latter failed to tell her about this small fact a while ago during the rehearsal dinner…
“I still have to think about how to tell Dina that she’s adopted,” Joanna told Helen in a troubled manner… little did they know who was listening!
Before Helen could say something, they heard a voice that made her and Joanna freeze in their places.
“Is that true?” Dina asked Joanna, appearing from the corner she was hiding. Joanna can’t help but gasp in surprise.
Her daughter heard her!
Both mothers knew that all the secrets they were hiding would affect Dina the most.
Dina was close to crying upon hearing what her mother said. She couldn’t believe it! After years of believing that her parents were her real parents, she would hear something this big from her mother.
And right before her wedding day!
There were so many thoughts going through Dina’s mind that she can’t even think of anything to tell.
She was speechless! Dina didn’t know what to think of all the beautiful memories she spent with the couple that were her parents as she grew up.
Was everything a lie?
Joanna knew that there was no going back now. She had to tell her daughter the truth.
After profusely apologizing to her now-crying daughter, Joanna told Dina the story of how and where they found her. Throughout her story, Dina had been quiet the whole time, it made both mothers panic!
Then, Dina asked who her real parents were. When Joanna looked at Helen, they knew their night is about to take a turn for the worst…