Deborah Carmel was sure it was going to be the happiest day of her life. She smoothed her hands down the slither satin of her wedding dress and turned to look at her silhouette in the full-length mirror.
She placed her hand over her still flat stomach. No one could tell yet that she would soon be not only a wife but a mother. All her dreams were coming true, and it was all thanks to her own Prince Charming. Deborah had no idea that by the end of the day, her illusions would be in tatters.
Debbie's wedding was to be an unexpected revelation. | Source: Shutterstock.com
Deborah walked down the aisle on her father's arm and asked herself once again how she could have been so lucky! John Valence was the perfect man. He was so handsome, kind, and loving!
And above all, Debbie said to herself, he was so honest! When she'd met him, one of the first things he'd told her was that he was poor. "I can't match your lifestyle," he'd said. "I can't take you to fancy restaurants."
If something looks too good to be true, it usually isn't.
So their first date had been at a tiny bistro where the owner was the waiter and his wife the chef. It was sweet and romantic and perfect, and it was that night that Debbie had fallen in love with John.
When she'd discovered she was pregnant six months into their relationship, she'd expected him to react badly, to vanish, but he had dropped to one knee and asked her to marry him with tears in his eyes.
Debbie thought John was the perfect man. | Source: Unsplash
"I don't deserve you," he'd said. "I have nothing to give you but love..." To Debbie, that love had been worth a dozen fortunes and she'd said so. She accepted John and they set the date for the wedding.
Debbie's parents had been less impressed with John. "Debbie," her father said, "hun, you don't have to marry this man. We will help you with the baby, you know that."
"Daddy," she replied, "I know I don't have to marry him, but I want to!"
Debbie's parents accepted her decision, and their wedding present had been a lovely house in an exclusive gated community and a check for $1 million.
"It's going into an account in both our names," Debbie told John. "I want us to stand as equals!" John refused but Debbie had worn him down.
Debbie discovered she was pregnant. | Source: Unsplash
Now, as Debbie stood by John's side and heard him say 'I do,' she was certain she was doing the right thing. "Until death do us part..." she said and smiled.
Then she was overwhelmed by a wave of well-wishers, friends, and family. On John's side of the church, there were only five people: John's parents and his brother, two friends, and a small child.
Debbie walked over to John's mother and hugged her. "I'm so glad you could make it after all, Mrs. Valence," she smiled. "It's such a special day for us! Once-in-a-lifetime and I'm sure John appreciates having you here!"
Mrs. Valence shrugged. "Well, I was telling Mr. Valence, since we went to all the others we might as well go to this one!"
John immediately proposed to Debbie. | Source: Unsplash
"The others?" asked Debbie, bewildered.
"Well, John's other weddings!" Mrs. Valence said. "He never invited me to the divorces!"
"John was married before?" Debbie gasped.
"Four times!" Mrs. Valence said. "You're number five!"
Debbie's parents threw her a huge wedding. | Source: Unsplash
Debbie gasped. John had never told her about having been married before even once, let alone four times. Then Mrs. Valence dropped a second bombshell on Debbie. She placed a hand on the child standing next to her and brought her forward.
"I hope you'll be taking the girl off my hands," she said. "I'm too old to be raising John's girl for him. That's your responsibility now!"
Debbie stared at the little girl in consternation. She was about five years old, slender and pretty, with big blue eyes, and she did look a lot like John. "John's daughter," Debbie whispered, "Of course! What's your name, sweetie?"
Debbie took the girl, April, by the hand and went in search of John. "It looks like we have some things to discuss," she told him.
John's mother told Debbie about his other wives. | Source: Unsplash
"Debbie," John said gently, "Please don't be angry with me. I was afraid you'd turn away from me because I'd made some mistakes. I didn't even know what love was until I met you..." There were tears in John's eyes, and Debbie's heart melted.
"It's OK, John," she said. "I love you and accept you, and I know you and me, and April and the new baby will be very happy together!"
But Debbie's optimism was sadly misplaced. As her pregnancy progressed and she tried to build a new life with April and John, her disappointment in her supposedly perfect Prince Charming grew.
John was no longer loving and considerate, he no longer spent every spare moment with her, and he didn't pay any attention whatsoever to his daughter. He was also no longer modest and humble.
Debbie was increasingly unhappy, but she was too ashamed to tell her parents. One day, John suggested that Debbie take April to Miami to see her parents for the weekend. "I have a deal to put together," he said, "and I won't have time for you two."
Debbie discovered John had a child. | Source: Unsplash
Debbie looked at John sadly. "You never do," she said softly. But she agreed, and two days later, she and April flew down to Miami to stay with her parents in their lovely seaside home.
When she returned, she had the shock of her life. She tried to open the door to her house only to find that the key didn't fit. She discovered, to her horror, that John had sold the house. That was the deal he'd been finalizing! He'd also cleaned out their joint bank account. The $1 million was gone.
But there was one thing John had left behind: April, and of course, Debbie's unborn baby. Debbie finally confided in her parents and they immediately came to her rescue.
Debbie's father insisted she go to the police, and they started an investigation. As it turned out, John had indeed been married four times before he tied the knot with Debbie -- but he hadn't bothered to divorce his wives!
John ended up in prison for bigamy and fraud. | Source: Unsplash
Thanks to Debbie, John was arrested and the money he'd stolen from all his wives was recovered. Debbie met the ladies and made full restitution, while John went to prison for a long, long while. Debbie had her baby — a boy, adopted April, and settled down to a quiet and happy life.
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