I was horrified to discover the same birthmark on my niece that I remembered seeing on my husband. But before jumping to any conclusions, I decided to do a secret DNA test that I knew would reveal the truth.

Under the cedar tree’s comfort, I relished the breeze with baby Sofia nestled in my arms. Despite being my sister-in-law Fiona’s child, my affection for her mirrored that of a mother’s love.

My husband, David, had painted a sad picture of his estranged, distant family, so Fiona and Sofia’s move to our neighborhood was a surprise. But their presence brought me a joy I hadn’t anticipated.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

As we enjoyed our picnic, Fiona’s light-hearted offer to take Sofia back was met with my playful head shake. “No. You should clean up a little first. We are fine here,” I insisted, holding her baby tighter.

Fiona’s laughter warmed my heart. Minutes later, the food had been laid out with proper covers, and Sofia was way more restless than she had previously been. I instantly knew what to do as I slowly and carefully placed her on the picnic rug and began taking off her clothes to change her diapers.

But with one look at her diapers, it was clear that they were still crystal clean. I was still attaching the diaper to Sofia’s waist when I noticed the birthmark on her back. For a few seconds, I froze with my eyes glued to the birthmark I felt very familiar with. One I could have sworn was also on my husband’s back.

A minute later, I had dressed baby Sofia and held her gently in my arms as I stared intently at her face. I frowned as my mind raced with possibilities, questioning the true relationship between David and Fiona.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

Fiona and David’s closeness now seemed a clue in a puzzle I hadn’t known I was assembling. But I pretended to be okay and continued our casual conversation and joyous picnic, choosing to observe before voicing my opinions.

In our quiet home later that night, I continued to treat David with the warmth I always had, but discovering the birthmark had planted suspicions in my mind. As I helped him dry off after his shower, something playful we did sometimes in the bathroom, I couldn’t help but fixate on the birthmark on his back.

It was too identical to Sofia’s. The similarity was undeniable, and it crushed me. I stopped helping him and heard his chuckle.

“You should have at least warned me that the kingly treatment was only for a few seconds,” David joked, unaware of the awful things running through my mind.

The possibility that David had lied to me all these years was too painful.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

Emerging from the bathroom, I decided to seek the truth through a DNA test between Sofia and David.

“I need to know if Fiona is his mistress,” I whispered before falling asleep.

***

During Fiona’s next visit, I feigned normalcy. I even ran to pick up the baby, feeling how her small weight and warmth cleared my mind.

“At this point, Sofia and I might as well move in,” Fiona laughed.

“Of course. We are all family,” I said, chuckling awkwardly. But luckily, she didn’t notice.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

When Fiona was distracted, I seized the opportunity to collect DNA samples – Sofia’s saliva and David’s hair, despite his confusion.

“Relax. I just helped you pull something out of your head,” I chided when he protested my pulling on his hair.

My resolve hardened as I dropped off the DNA samples, convinced more than ever of my course of action. I was allowed to have the results sent to me, and I eagerly agreed. The sooner, the better, I thought.

Fiona’s subsequent visits with Sofia only heightened my unease. Her attempts at conversation felt like mockery, fueling my anger and making her presence unbearable.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

One day, Fiona tried talking to me, and in order not to have to respond, I pretended to be sick as I lay in the sitting room watching TV. To my annoyance, David and Fiona soon joined me. Their casual banter grated on my fried nerves.

But their discussion about Sofia’s future words was the last straw.

“Sofia is going to be two years old soon. I wonder what her first words would be,” David said with a rare smile as he looked down at Sofia’s face. “Carmen, what do you think?”

“I don’t know. It could be poo-poo for all we know,” I snapped.

“I think it could be dada,” David confidently replied, pushing his chest out like a proud dad.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

That pushed me over the edge.

In a flash, I stood from the couch and accused them with my finger. “That’s enough! Tell me the truth, Sofia is your child!” I yelled. “Don’t even try to deny it. I saw the birthmark on your back and Sofia’s.”

My anger quickly evolved into sadness as water gathered in my eyes, making my voice weaker than I wanted. Their silence and shocked expressions confirmed my fears.

“Every time I try asking about Sofia’s father. I never get answers. Just tell me the truth!” I demanded, covering my face.

I expected them to speak or defend themselves, but they just sat there with shocked looks, almost like they were surprised I actually found out. I turned and fled outside.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

Driving away, the last thing I saw was David trying to get into his car and chase after me, only for Fiona to stop him.

Seeking refuge in a hotel, I hoped distance might offer clarity. But my stomach betrayed me. I threw up everything I had eaten in the hotel bathroom, sure it was a physical manifestation of the betrayal I felt.

I dragged my feet toward the bed to rest when a thought froze me in my spot. “No!” I exclaimed to myself, horrified. Could I be… pregnant?

The idea of sharing a child with a man who deceived me haunted me through the night.

Determined to know the truth, I visited a pharmacy for a pregnancy test the following morning. “I’d like a pregnancy kit,” I said, hoping for a quick transaction.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

Yet, the pharmacist’s inquiry and a helpful suggestion from another customer delayed me.

“It doesn’t matter. I’ll take any brand,” I quickly responded, eager to leave. Once back in my room, anxiety overwhelmed me as I awaited the test result. The appearance of two lines confirmed my fears—I was pregnant.

The reality of my situation, coupled with David’s constant calls, left me feeling trapped and alone. Running out of money and options, I decided to return home, confront David and Fiona, and retrieve my belongings.

Fiona greeted me at the door. “Carmen, I’m glad you’re back. There are so many things we—”

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

But I brushed past her, indifferent to her attempts at explanation. I refused to listen. My mind was made up; I needed to leave. As I packed, David shouted, “Listen to me, Fiona is my sister!” But I barely registered it.

I shrugged. “Even if she is. It’s not unheard of,” I commented, focusing on my clothes.

“I swear to you, Fiona is my sister, and Sofia is my niece. Trust me!” he continued. “I don’t know why you would think Sofia is mine, but I can assure you she isn’t. I would never cheat on you.”

“If it looks like a rat and smells like one, what the hell am I supposed to call it?” I retorted, already finished with my bags, ready to leave this web of lies behind.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

David blocked my path. His desperation was evident. “If you don’t believe me, how about a DNA Test?” he suggested.

But I coldly revealed, “I already took one in secret.”

Fiona’s appearance at our bedroom doorway only made me angrier. “Don’t even bother saying anything. I always wondered who Sofia’s father was,” I accused. “I saw the birthmark! I KNOW THE TRUTH!”

My frustration and pain spilled over into more tears. I hated that I was crying in front of them again.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

But then, Fiona did something unexpected. She showed me her back, revealing the same birthmark. “I have the same birthmark,” she said, a revelation that stunned me. It was a family trait.

“I’m sorry for not explaining that Sofia’s father is a commissioned officer who was deployed to another country but died there,” Fiona added, her eyes turning somber. “He died just before Sofia was born, and I can’t help but hate him a little for leaving. And it makes me feel guilty.”

“I only treat Sofia like my own because Fiona wanted Sofia to have a close male figure in her life,” David explained.

My doubts persisted, though, as Fiona hadn’t attended David and I’s wedding.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

“Sofia was sick around our wedding, but I later asked Fiona to move closer to prevent her from being alone,” he continued. “It took a while, but we finally made it happen.”

They also said the rest of their family lived abroad, and those still in the country hated traveling unless it was a very special occasion. I looked at Fiona in shame and told her about the secret DNA test.

She calmly accepted it, “I don’t mind. As long as this misunderstanding is resolved.”

I decided we needed to go to the institution to get the results. I couldn’t wait for the delivery anymore. Leaving behind my luggage, I made us all get into my car and drive away.

***

A doctor led us to a room and showed us the results. Shockingly, the samples were a 100% match for paternity.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

“That’s impossible!” David exclaimed, gaping as I was. I quickly grabbed the documents, wanting to confirm it with my own eyes… and exhaled loudly, relieved.

There were two different names on the sheets. I think I heard everyone sighing as well. The doctor apologized and produced the correct sheets.

Relief washed over my husband as the accurate test confirmed he was not Sofia’s father. “It’s good to know that the first test was wrong,” he said, his laughter easing the tension.

“Even if the second test said that David was the father, I would have insisted that we do another one,” Fiona said, getting on her feet and showing her intention to leave.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

Back home, my apologies poured out.

“It’s my fault. I made you have doubts and didn’t clear all your suspicions even when you kept complaining about not meeting my family,” David said, shaking his head.

“We are family. I should have also told you about Sofia’s father,” Fiona added, moving closer to hug me tightly.

We stayed in that position for a while until we heard loud baby noises from Sofia, who was still in Fiona’s arms. I was beyond happy at realizing that my family was still intact, and they were even more pleased when I told them I was pregnant.

Months later, after delivering a baby boy named Zack, I was shocked to see the number of cars parked in front of our house as many people trooped in.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

“I didn’t know your family members were this excited about a new baby,” I whispered in David’s ears as I held Zack, who was fast asleep in my arms.

David laughed and wrapped his arms around me, and with Fiona standing behind us holding Sofia, we got ready to meet the rest of the family.

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By editor

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