Ashley had lived like an orphan all her life. And on her wedding day, the guests did not hide their dislike for her. But one unexpected guest arrived just in time with a twist…
Ashley lay in bed with butterflies in her stomach. She tossed and turned, swinging between sleeping and waking dreams of a beautiful wedding.
The big shiny ring on her finger felt strange but right. “I can’t believe this is happening…I’m getting married! ME! The troubled orphan girl who grew up not knowing love…”
Ashley had a lonely life right from age five when her mother passed away on her tender lap. She didn’t know much about her father, except the one thing her mother had always told her: “He was the one who chose your name a few months before you were born and before he passed away…”
Ashley would soon discover that her mother had lied…
Unaware of the truth, Ashley sighed. “How I wish my mother and father were here to see me get married.”
The 22-year-old had spent her childhood in foster care, taken in by a new family every two months, only to be sent back for being ‘eerily quiet.’
She fled the system and worked every odd job. She got to rent her first little room in the sketchy part of the city. She was unafraid, bitter, and honest to the point of being brutally rude.
But then, Ben came along and unlocked a whole new side of her. She started to forgive, she began to laugh and cry with her heart, and she started to dream.
The wedding was supposed to be one that would match her dreams. Ben came from a well-known family of wealthy industrialists, and they could afford to throw the most beautiful destination wedding for their son.
But they didn’t like Ashley, the girl who didn’t understand wealth and status. And when they couldn’t convince Ben to leave her, they refused to pay for the wedding. So it was going to be a small, intimate affair, and Ben had painstakingly planned everything down to the last detail, including the guest list.
One on the list was Mr. Hughes, a respected retail chain owner and one of the first entrepreneurs in the neighborhood.
He was a kind man and a mentor to Ben’s father and to him.
Mr. Hughes was looking forward to attending the wedding in a week, but the venue was in an unknown place on the outskirts.
“Bruce would most definitely know this place,” Mr. Hughes thought.
Bruce had been Mr. Hughes’ driver for over 17 years and was the person closest to him.
“Of course I do!” Bruce said, looking at the address at the bottom of the invitation card. But when he read the bride’s name, his hands went cold…
“I’m going to name my daughter Ashley. Ashley Mary Flinton…has a nice ring to it!” Those words from another lifetime echoed in his mind.
On the wedding day, Mr. Hughes arrived and brightened up the place with his humor and storytelling. But all that laughter and joy vanished when they saw Ashley getting ready to walk down the aisle by herself.
A few loud voices among the sea of murmurs were enough to hurt the innocent bride.
“Look at that sheer dress! Did she get that on sale at Target or something? My maid wears better clothes…”
“And mine wears better make-up than she’s worn!” another woman joined the cackle.
“I swear! But what can you expect? She’s as poor as a church mouse!” another loud voice added, breaking Ashley’s spirit.
She dropped the bouquet of flowers in her hand and had half a mind to run away. “Maybe they’re right! Maybe I do not deserve any of this!”
Just then, the crowd was distracted by the smooth vroom of a bright red sports car pulling up at the gate. The guests waited with bated breath to see the person who was clearly stealing the show.
The man who got out of the car dressed in a modest but well-tailored suit was none other than Bruce.
“Oh good, you’re here, my man!” Mr. Hughes stood up and smiled at him.
Bruce acknowledged his employer and walked straight to the bride.
Ashley wiped her tears and was confused at the stranger looking at her with such love in his eyes.
“Ash!” he uttered her name and held her hands in tears.
“Wait…only my mother called me that. How did—”
“I’m your father, child!” Bruce managed to clear his throat and explain himself.
It turned out that Ashley’s mother had lied to her about her father being dead. And she had also lied to Bruce that she had had a miscarriage.
“I knew she was unhappy with me and my simple life, but I didn’t know she would leave me with such a heartbreaking lie…” Bruce said, shaking his head in regret.
“Well, what matters now,” Mr. Hughes stepped in and turned his attention to the stunned crowd, “is that the bride’s father is here right in time to walk her down the aisle.”
Mr. Hughes was the true hero of the story. When he saw Bruce’s emotional reaction to the invitation card he showed him a week ago, Mr. Hughes learned the true story about the man and his daughter.
He also asked a friend to dig around, and it turned out that Ashley was indeed Bruce’s child.
It was then that Mr. Hughes hatched a plan with Bruce to reunite him with his daughter on her big day.
The guests at the wedding who were mocking Ashley now suddenly found tears in their eyes as they witnessed a father and a daughter who had found each other despite all odds.
And they were even more shocked when Bruce handed her the keys to the bright red sports car.
“This doesn’t make up for anything,” Bruce told Ashley, “but it is my wedding gift to you and my son-in-law! And I promise it is the first of many, sweetheart.”
Ashley couldn’t hold back her tears as she accepted the keys and proceeded to the father-daughter dance she thought she would never have.
And when the evening was over, and Ashley left for her new home with Ben, Bruce smiled through tears. He smiled because he knew he hadn’t just given her away, but had gotten her back, too.
What can we learn from this story?