Woman Keeps Family Secret until Her 23-Year-Old Foster Daughter Gets Close to 50-Year-Old Artist — Story of the Day

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Chloe found her foster daughter Alicia at home, covered in oil paint. She knew Alicia had been at Orin’s studio. Orin, their neighbor, was an artist in his fifties, and Chloe was in love with him. To stop Alicia from making a big mistake, Chloe was ready to reveal an old family secret.

Alicia stepped off the bus, her college diploma snug in her backpack but her heart filled with unease. Returning to the small, quaint town she called home meant returning to Chloe’s house, where every rule stifled her like a tight collar.

Chloe, her foster mother, had always been strict, keeping a lid on her dreams like they were wild things that might escape if given half a chance.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Midjourney

The evening of her return, Chloe organized a small dinner party.

“It’s to celebrate your achievements, dear,” Chloe said, with a smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes.

The guest list was short, but it included Orin, a recent returnee to the neighborhood and an enigma to most. Orin was a tall man, his hair more salt than pepper, who had just moved back into what had once been his parents’ home.

He had spent the last few years traveling across the country and teaching art, a journey prompted by the grief of losing his parents. Now, settling back into his childhood home, he hoped to find solace and perhaps rekindle old connections within the community.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Midjourney

Orin caught Alicia’s attention due to the subtle glances Chloe kept stealing his way.

Alicia noticed the delicate necklace Chloe had chosen to wear that evening—a piece she usually reserved for special occasions. It was clear—Chloe had an interest in Orin.

At the dinner table, Chloe turned her attention to Alicia.

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“So, Alicia, tell us about your studies. I trust your college experience was fruitful?”

Alicia hesitated.

“It was fine, Chloe. Law school is exactly as I expected—thoroughly predictable and utterly dull, just as I told you it would be.”

A slight frown creased Chloe’s forehead, “Alicia, such comments are hardly appropriate in front of guests.”

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

However, Orin’s response lightened the mood. He laughed heartily, shaking his head.

“Oh, Chloe, you’re far too harsh. Let the girl speak her mind.”

Encouraged by Orin’s support, Alicia’s eyes sparkled with passion, “Actually, I’ve always wanted to paint. I dream of buying my first canvas and set of brushes with my first paycheck.”

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

Chloe scoffed, “Artists are irresponsible people, Alicia. It’s not a stable career.”

Orin gently countered, “I paint myself, and I find it a dignified pursuit, not a matter of shame.”

Suddenly, Orin’s face paled, and his hand trembled slightly trying to reach his glass of water.

“Are you okay?” Alicia asked, her voice low.

“Just a bit dizzy, dear,” Orin murmured, trying to smile through his discomfort.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

Alicia quickly offered, “Let me walk you home, Orin. You don’t look well.”

Chloe’s displeasure was palpable, her lips tightening into a thin line, but Alicia didn’t wait for her approval. She was intrigued by Orin, and more so, she relished the opportunity to assert her independence.

Alicia’s interest in Orin deepened because he had supported her during their conversation and defended her against Chloe’s criticisms. Furthermore, his involvement in the arts resonated with her own suppressed creative desires.

There was also something eerily familiar in his demeanor, a sense of mystery and depth that drew her in.

The walk to Orin’s house was quiet; the only sound was their footsteps on the gravel path.

“How are you feeling, Orin?” Alicia broke the silence along the way.

“Much better, thank you!” Orin replied with a smile, twirling his mustache.

As they entered, the smell of oil paint and turpentine hit her. Orin’s living room was scattered with canvases, some finished, others mere whispers of what they might become. Alicia’s eyes widened as she took in the colors, the bold strokes, the raw emotion laid bare on each canvas.

“Would you like to see the studio?” Orin’s voice broke through her reverie.

Alicia nodded, following him. Yet, as she crossed the threshold, a wave of confusion washed over her.

Her heart raced, and without a word, she fled back into the night, leaving a bewildered Orin standing in the doorway. As she ran, the cold air bit at her cheeks, but it couldn’t cool the turmoil that churned within her.

The following morning, Alicia found herself drawn back to Orin’s doorstep.

She knocked gently on the door, her heart pounding not just from nerves but from a budding resolve.

Yesterday, as she stood amidst the vivid splashes of paint and canvases that held stories she could only imagine, a deep, unfamiliar stir of emotions overwhelmed her.

It wasn’t just the art that tugged at her heartstrings; it was Orin himself. Fear of the unknown propelled her to flee.

But today, curiosity led her back to the already familiar door.

Orin opened the door, his expression one of mild surprise morphing into warmth.

“Good morning, Alicia,” he smiled.

Alicia shuffled her feet, looking up at him with a tentative smile.

“Um, would you mind if I tried painting today?” she asked shyly, recalling how she had abruptly left the day before. “I… I’m sorry about yesterday. I got overwhelmed.”

“Of course,” he chuckled, his eyes twinkling with kindness. “I was a bit worried when you ran off like that. Thought I might have scared you away with my ‘exciting’ world of art.”

Relieved by his understanding, Alicia stepped into the studio. Orin handed her a smock, and they approached a large, blank canvas together.

“Painting is about expressing what you feel,” he explained, showing her how to hold the brush. “Let your mood guide your hand.”

Alicia dipped her brush into the vibrant paints, her initial hesitance melting away as the colors began to blend and dance under her timid yet eager strokes. The sense of liberation filled her, a stark contrast to the confines of Chloe’s imposed paths.

During a pause to assess their progress, Alicia’s eyes landed on a small, dark mole on Orin’s wrist, identical to one she had—a curious coincidence that made her chuckle.

“Look at that,” she pointed out, still smiling. “We even have matching marks!”

Orin glanced at the mole, his joviality dimmed by a sudden pensiveness, which he quickly masked.

“Ah, yes, quite the coincidence,” he murmured.

Alicia continued painting, losing track of time as her brush danced across the canvas. Orin watched her with an approving smile, occasionally offering a tip or a story about his artistic journeys.

As the sun began its descent, casting long shadows through the studio windows, Alicia glanced up, startled by how the day had slipped away.

“Oh, I didn’t realize it was getting so late,” she murmured, a slight panic edging her voice as she remembered Chloe’s usual curfew.

Orin nodded understandingly. “Time does fly when you’re creating something beautiful. But perhaps you should head back now. We wouldn’t want to worry Chloe.”

With a regretful sigh, Alicia cleaned her brushes and removed her smock, her mind replaying the day’s enlightening moments.

She thanked Orin for the lesson and left his house with a heart filled with a newfound passion.

Later, as Alicia walked through the door of her home, still sporting splashes of paint on her clothes and cheeks, the mood shifted dramatically. Chloe’s eyes narrowed the moment she saw Alicia.

“Where have you been?” Chloe demanded, her tone icy.

“I was with Orin, learning to paint,” Alicia replied, trying to maintain a calm demeanor despite her racing heart.

Chloe’s face hardened, and she swirled her coffee cup.

“I’ve told you before, artists lead unreliable lives. And that man is too old for you,” she said, her voice laced with a mix of warning and something else—was it jealousy?

“He’s just a friend, Chloe,” Alicia protested, but Chloe cut her off.

“No more. You are not to see him again,” Chloe declared, stepping closer. “He’s not suitable for you.”

Stunned, Alicia felt the walls of the house close in around her. Chloe’s words rang in her ears: house arrest. No more visits to Orin. Alicia’s newfound freedom was being snatched away as swiftly as it had appeared.

After placing Alicia under house arrest, still reeling from the recent tense exchanges, Chloe decided to take a decisive step forward with Orin, something she had been considering but hadn’t found the courage to act upon until now.

Realizing she needed to mask her true intentions, she decided to invite Orin to dinner under the pretense of needing assistance in the garden.

“Maybe he could help with pruning the roses or give some advice on the herb garden,” she thought to herself, crafting her plan with care.

She set the table in the garden, the silverware gleaming, and each piece placed with precision. Chloe chose her finest dress for the occasion.

As Orin arrived, the scene was perfectly set—a blend of casual elegance with just a hint of romantic possibility.

As they settled down, Orin, seemingly distracted, steered the conversation towards Alicia.

“How has Alicia been adapting after college? She’s quite artistic, isn’t she?” he inquired, stirring his cappuccino.

Chloe, her smile tightening, replied, “Alicia is doing just fine, exploring different things as all young people do.”

Yet, Orin, with a thoughtful look, pressed further, recalling his past relationship.

“I dated her mother, Kate, quite well before our paths diverged. You know that story,” he said, his gaze intense and probing.

He paused, then added, “And there’s this artistic streak Alicia has—reminds me so much of her at art school. Even the mole on her left hand, just like the one I have. It’s uncanny.”

Feeling the weight of his stare and the pressing nature of his observations, Chloe’s composure began to falter.

As Orin leaned in, his voice softened, “Chloe, isn’t there something you need to tell me about Alicia?”

Chloe sighed, resignation and fear in her eyes.

“Orin, there’s something I must confess,” she began, her voice dropping to a whisper. “Alicia… she’s your daughter.”

Meanwhile, Alicia, who was leaving the house, paused as she heard a rustle from the garden and moved closer to the window, curiosity piqued. The conversation she overheard struck her like a thunderbolt.

Through the evening breeze and the fragmented murmurs, she caught Orin’s resolute voice:

“Alicia is my daughter, and now it’s up to me to decide what’s right for her. It’s time I took responsibility.”

Hearing only the last remark from the conversation and misunderstanding the context, Alicia felt a surge of anger.

“Liar!” she exclaimed, her thoughts whirling with betrayal and hurt. “You think you can just walk into my life and take over?”

Driven by her tumultuous emotions, she spotted Chloe’s car keys gleaming on the hallway table.

“No way I’m letting this go,” she muttered to herself as she grabbed the keys and stormed out to the garage.

As she started the car, the engine’s roar seemed to echo the chaos in her mind.

“I’ll show him what I think of his sudden fatherhood,” Alicia thought furiously as she drove towards Orin’s house.

“You want to control my life through your art? Well, here’s what I think of your art!” she screamed internally as she spotted Orin’s prized painting in the yard. Accelerating with grim determination, Alicia aimed the car at the painting.

“Take this for your art!” she yelled as she crashed into the canvas, the frame splintering and tearing under the impact, her actions a wild release of her pent-up emotions.

Sitting amidst the wreckage, the initial rush of adrenaline quickly subsided, leaving Alicia feeling the sharp sting of reality. In her haste and turmoil, she had neglected to fasten her seatbelt. When the car crashed, her head snapped back, painfully striking the back of her seat.

The airbag deployed with a forceful burst, scorching her face with its sudden, abrasive heat. Alicia sat stunned, gingerly touching the sore spots on her face and head.

She could hear Cloe and Odin’s footsteps crunching on the gravel as they approached the car.

Her hands trembled. The anger that had driven her to this rash act was now mixed with regret and embarrassment as she realized the consequences of her actions.

After the shocking crash, Orin and Chloe quickly reached Alicia, who sat dazed among the twisted remains of the car. Orin, with a gentle touch, applied a cool, damp cloth to her wounds.

He began to explain things that Alicia had never known.

“I loved your mother dearly,” he said, his voice filled with a mixture of sadness and regret. “We were close, very close. But life took me away, to another state for my studies, and I… I never knew she was pregnant. I never knew about you, Alicia.”

Nearby, Chloe, her expression a complex weave of guilt and relief, added her own truth.

“I was hurt when Orin preferred your mother to me. She was my best friend. But when she passed after your birth, I couldn’t just leave you. You were all that was left of her.”

Her voice faltered a bit. “When Orin came back, I thought… maybe we could be a family, all of us.”

Alicia, absorbing the weight of these revelations, finally responded, “You should have told me everything. But it’s okay, I guess everything changes for the better now.”

Helping Alicia to her feet, they moved away from the wreckage, back to the garden where the evening still awaited.

They sat down to dinner, discussing Alicia’s future.

“You have a gift for art,” Orin said, encouragingly. “It’s something we should nurture, not hide away.”

The evening unfolded with new understandings and possibilities, as they talked about potential art schools and exhibitions for Alicia. Finally, Alicia could explore her talents, fully supported by her newfound family.

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