Interiors of a neglected house. | Source: Shutterstock

Douglas visits his 100-year-old mother’s house for the first time in decades, expecting to find a valuable inheritance, but accidentally uncovers evidence about a family betrayal that changes his life forever.

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”I never thought I’d return here,” Douglas told his mother’s lawyer, staring at the darkened house through his car window. This was his home once, but over the past few years, he considered it the lair where the greatest enemy of his happiness lived: his 100-year-old mother.

”I realize this is difficult for you, Douglas, but sometimes facing the past is the only way to move forward,” Mrs. Sykes told him on call. “You have to decide if it’s worth it.”

Douglas soon ended the conversation and approached the house, but this was not the home he remembered…

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

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As he flicked on the light stepping inside, he saw the wallpaper had peeled off in most places, and the coffee table was littered with a pile of dirty dishes. Douglas fetched some trash bags and began cleaning.

Everything in the fridge had gone bad, and cockroaches had invaded the pantry. He was busy chasing the spiders away from the bookshelf when a book tipped off the shelf, and an envelope fell out of it.

Douglas’s eyes widened in horror as he looked at the photograph peeking out of it. Although the photo was decades old, he would never fail to recognize those faces. He picked up the envelope and emptied its contents.

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Staring at the other pictures made Douglas’s gut churn. He now realized he had been wrong to blame his mother all this while. The real culprit was his wife, Emma. She had betrayed him, not his mother.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

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It all started the day Emma announced she couldn’t wait any longer to become a mother. She was so excited that she told Douglas she would contact a fertility doctor right then.

Douglas’s blood drained from his face, and he lunged at Emma and grabbed the phone book from her hands. He couldn’t tell her he was infertile, which was the reason they were struggling to conceive. His marriage would crumble in an instant.

“Baby,” he forced a smile, pulling her into a hug. “Why are you troubling yourself? Trust me; I’ll take care of everything. I’ll find the best doctor that can help us.”

“Promise?” she asked. “I don’t want us to wait any longer, Doug. We’ll do anything to become parents, won’t we?”

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“Of course, baby,” he smiled and held her tightly.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

The next day, Douglas drove to the city hospital and dashed to the room where his father was being treated for a grave illness.

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“Douglas?” His mother met him at the door. “You didn’t tell me you were coming today. Your father is sleeping right now. It was a rough day.”

“I’m sorry to hear that, Mom, but I actually came to see you. Can we sit somewhere and talk?”

She nodded, and they went downstairs to the small cafe on the ground floor. “I need your help, Mom,” he said. “Emma will leave me if she finds out I’m the reason we can’t have children. You’re a doctor. You have friends here in the hospital. Can you ask them to alter a test result?”

His mother was shocked. “Are you asking me to coerce a fellow doctor into committing malpractice?” she asked.

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Douglas’s lips curled, and he looked at her with pleading eyes, telling her how much he loved Emma. Finally, his mother relented. “I know someone who’d be willing to help. Give me some time. I’ll let you know when we meet for lunch this Sunday.”

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

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Douglas and Emma were together in Dr. Moore’s office two weeks later. Emma’s face turned blank when the doctor said it was highly improbable she would ever fall pregnant.

“How can life be so cruel?” she sobbed, and Douglas squeezed her palm. “All I want is to have our children, but my body has betrayed me.”

The news shook Emma to the core, and her wound didn’t heal with time. A year passed, and while Douglas tried everything to keep their marriage intact, it always felt like there was a hollow between him and Emma, a hollowness where a baby should’ve been. He took Emma out on dates, gifted her flowers, and did everything to bridge that space, but nothing seemed to work.

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Then one night, everything changed. Douglas was getting ready for bed when Emma emerged from the bathroom, smiling and holding her hands behind her back.

“Douglas…you better sit down for this!” she cried. “I’m pregnant!”

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

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“Oh my god!” Douglas was breathless as he stared at the pregnancy test kit. “How is this possible?” he asked, his eyes fixed on the two thick lines.

“This baby is a gift from God, honey,” she told him. “We’re finally becoming parents! Can you believe that? It’s a miracle, Doug. A miracle baby!”

Douglas was over the moon. But his mother’s brows furrowed when she heard the news. She wasn’t happy and immediately pointed out Emma was cheating on him, but Douglas didn’t believe her.

“Why would you do that, Mom? Really? You’re accusing her of cheating? She’s the love of my life, the mother of my child.”

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“Use your brain, Douglas. Your last test showed you are still infertile. She can’t have a child with you.”

“It’s too much, Mom. You’re getting too invested in our relationship. Stay out of it!”

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

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“I’m not going to let this girl ruin your life. I’ll prove she’s cheating on you.”

Douglas left his mother’s house and drove away. However, her words lingered in the back of his mind. He thought of how distant he’d felt from Emma over the past year, but he dismissed his doubts immediately. Emma loved him, and she would never cheat him. However, Douglas knew the only way to prove his mother wrong was to investigate if Emma had been unfaithful.

So a week later, Douglas left for a fake business trip and checked into a hotel a few blocks from their home. He had told Emma he would return in a few days, but Douglas drove past their house the very night he had left.

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Douglas heard the sounds of lovers voicing their pleasure to each other when he entered the house. He followed the sounds and turned the bedroom door handle, which was locked.

He screamed for his wife, Emma, and grabbed a statue of a rearing horse from a table in the hallway. Douglas rammed the figure into the door, and the statue’s head lodged in the hole he created.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

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A woman shouted from inside, and Douglas froze. He was sure the cries he heard downstairs were from Emma, but the woman who called to him now wasn’t her.

“Mom?” Douglas’s eyes were wide as saucers as his mother emerged from the room wearing just an oversized T-shirt. But what shocked him more was the sight of the man in the room with her—Emma’s stepfather, Adam, buttoning up his shirt.

“I’m sorry you had to find out like this, son,” his mother explained, but Douglas wasn’t listening. He immediately told them to get out of his house.

“I’m truly sorry about this, Doug. I couldn’t let you know…” she glanced over her shoulder to Adam. “Some truths are too painful, son.” And those were the last words he heard from his mother.

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Douglas never forgave her for cheating on his ill father, and they became estranged over the years. But now that he looked at the series of photos that lay scattered on the carpet, tears sprang into Douglas’s eyes.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

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Adam’s lips pressed against Emma’s cheek, her lips parted as though she was gasping. Douglas remembered how certain he was that the woman he heard crying out that night was Emma and how surprised he had been to see his mother open the bedroom door.

He remembered his mother’s words, saying a good mother would do anything to protect her child’s happiness on the day she agreed to help him hide his infertility. She had come to his house to take pictures and prove Emma was unfaithful, but when she discovered Emma and Adam together, she took the blame on her shoulders instead.

If she hadn’t, Douglas would’ve been so mad; he would’ve killed Emma that night. Douglas owed his mother an apology. He was wrong to hate her all this while. He dialed Mrs. Sykes, and she answered within minutes.

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“How is Mom doing, Mrs. Sykes?” Douglas asked, climbing into his car.

He could hear her sighing. “It’s hard to say, Douglas.”

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

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“I’m on my way there right now, and Mrs. Sykes? Please tell her I’m very sorry, and I’m coming to see her. Will you please do that for me?” Douglas asked, turning on his car’s ignition.

“Of course, she’d love to see you,” Mrs. Sykes said.

Douglas hung up and headed straight to the hospital. The roads were eerily quiet, and he drove as fast as possible. But it still took him an hour to arrive.

Douglas went straight to his mother’s room, and the strange silence struck him as odd. He stared at the machines positioned on either side of his mother’s hospital bed, machines that should’ve been beeping but weren’t.

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“Mrs. Sykes?” Douglas approached his mother’s bedside and looked at the tiny smile on her pale face in tears.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Pexels

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“I’m sorry, Douglas,” Mrs. Sykes rose to her feet and hung her head. “She said something about the truth coming out but refused to elaborate. She wanted to see you, but she just couldn’t hold out any longer.”

Douglas looked at his mother’s smile again and burst into his tears. He was too late. His mother was gone.

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If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a boy who accidentally met his mother he had thought died years while stopping a woman from mugging a hotel guest.

This piece is inspired by stories from the everyday lives of our readers and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone’s life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to info@amomama.com.

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