After several miscarriages, Maggie is overjoyed when she gives birth to a lovely daughter -- until she sees her twin in a Miami hotel pool.
Maggie Dinatto would never forget the moment she looked into her daughter Alice's face for the first time. After twelve years of heartbreak, struggling to conceive, and successive miscarriages, she was holding a baby in her arms!
She never imagined any other moment in her life would equal it until she set eyes on her daughter Alice's little friend Kelly in a hotel pool in Miami, Florida six years later.
Maggie was stunned when she saw her daughter side-by.side with her friend. | Source: Shutterstock.com
Fred and Maggie Dinatto had decided to take Alice on a vacation to Florida which would culminate in a trip to Orlando and the celebration of her sixth birthday in Disney World.
Alice was ecstatic, and she loved the warm weather, which was a radical contrast to the climate in Montana. The sand, the sea... they were a delight to her, and if Maggie had let her, she would have spent her whole day on the beach.
Don't lie to those you love.
While Fred had some work to do at the Miami office, Maggie would take a cabana at the hotel pool and let Alice paddle and play with the other children in the kiddie pool while she relaxed, read a book, and worked on her tan.
She'd keep an eye on Alice, of course, but by the little pool with the other children and a lifeguard, she could rest. Alice loved the pool almost as much as the beach and she especially loved her new friend Kelly.
After years of heartbreak, Maggie was finally pregnant. | Source: Unsplash
"She's just like me, mommy!" Alice cried excitedly. "She likes Pepa Pig and Hello Kitty too!"
"Oh, she must be a nice girl!" Maggie teased. "And what else? Does she also like ice cream?"
"She likes exactly the same flavors mom! Chocolate and peach with marshmallow sprinkles." Alice said.
"She has good taste, pumpkin," said Maggie, ruffling her daughter's soft blond hair, so like her own.
Maggie Dinatto would never forget the moment she looked into her daughter Alice's face for the first time. | Source: Unsplash
"Mom," Alice asked. "Could you do my hair in lots of little braids like Kelly? Then we'd look EXACTLY alike, like that 'Parent Trap' movie!"
"OK, I'll do it!" Maggie said laughing. "Is Kelly's hair as pretty as yours?"
"Mom!" cried Alice impatiently. "I TOLD you! It's EXACTLY like mine!"
Maggie laughed and kissed Alice's nose. "Nope!" she said. "There's no one in the world as pretty as you!"
Alice loved playing with the other children at the pool. | Source: Unsplash
The next day, Alice went down to the pool sporting a headful of little braids and Maggie had to admit it did suit her. Alice ran towards the pool crying "KELLY, KELLY! LOOK!"
Maggie watched smiling as another little girl turned around and waved back at Alice. For a few seconds, Maggie felt dizzy. There was something wrong with her, she thought. She must be seeing things! The little girl running toward Alice was her mirror image.
She stumbled forward. "Alice!" she called. "Please bring your friend here!" Alice grabbed the other child by the hand and the two girls ran over smiling. This child was EXACTLY like Alice -- she looked like Alice's twin.
"Hello!" Maggie said brightly, trying to stop her voice from shaking. "What's your name?"
"Could you do my hair in lots of little braids like Kelly? Then we'd look EXACTLY alike." | Source: Pexels
"Kelly!" the girl said smiling. There was a deep dimple on her left cheek and a small constellation of freckles on her tip-tilted nose. The deep blue eyes, the way she tilted her head -- she was Alice to the life.
"Mom!" Alice cried. "Can we invite Kelly to my birthday party in Orlando?" She turned to her little friend and explained, "It's on June 23. I'll be six!"
Kelly's mouth hung open. "Mine too! That's my birthday!" Kelly turned and ran towards a woman sitting by the pool. "MOM, Alice and I have the same birthday! Isn't that soooo cool?"
The woman dropped her magazine and stared at Alice with her braids just like Kelly's, and the color drained from her face. She stood up and walked over to Maggie.
Maggie was shocked when she saw Alice's friend. | Source: Unsplash
"I'm Jana Hartley," she said quietly. "I'm Kelly's mother. I didn't realize... I mean...They don't usually separate twins..."
Maggie was stunned. "Separate twins? I don't understand..."
The woman flushed. "It's obvious that you adopted Alice just like I adopted Kelly..." she said.
"ADOPTED?" screamed Maggie. "I gave BIRTH to Alice, and she's an only child. You're wrong about this!" Maggie grabbed Alice by the hand and dragged her away to their suite protesting.
When Fred arrived from the office later that afternoon, Maggie told him everything, "Can you believe the nerve of that woman? Saying that Alice was adopted right in front of her?" she cried angrily. "I want you to sue her!"
The two girls were exactly alike. | Source: Pexels
But Fred was deadly pale and he sat on the sofa as if someone had cut his legs off at the knee. "Oh my God," he gasped. "She lived?
"She lived?" asked Maggie. "What are you talking about?"
"Maggie, oh Maggie..." Fred whispered and buried his face in his hands. "I... I never thought... When you were eight months pregnant...Do you remember they were worried Alice might have a heart murmur?"
"But there was no murmur!" Maggie cried. "The doctor did the three-D scan and she was fine!"
During a scan, the doctors discovered there was another baby. | Source: Unsplash
"There was another baby," Fred said. "She was so tiny...Less than half of Alice's size, and you remember how small she was. There was a problem...They call it Twin To Twin Transfer.
"That's when one of the babies gets everything, and the other gets almost nothing. If they had caught it earlier...But right at the end of the pregnancy... They said the probabilities of the second baby living were under 10%.
"They said she'd probably have severe deficits...physical and cognitive...I...I couldn't put you through anymore heartache, Maggie. You'd barely made it through the depression caused by our last miscarriage.
"I couldn't imagine how you'd live through watching one of your babies die. I made the decision not to tell you. They did a C-section, and I signed the papers, making the second child a ward of the state. We all thought she'd be dead in weeks..."
Fred made a terrible decision. | Source: Unsplash
"She's not dead, Fred!" Maggie screamed. "She's a lovely, bright little girl, just like Alice, and you stole her from me!" It took Fred a long time to calm Maggie down. He was devastated to learn his decision had separated his daughters.
There was no way to make things right now. Kelly's parents had adopted her when everyone -- including the doctors -- had thought she was at death's door. They had raised her and cared for her.
Maggie and Fred could never take Kelly from her family, but how could they separate their daughters? The next afternoon, Maggie and Fred met Kelly's parents, Dan and Jana, to discuss the problem.
"Why don't we meet halfway?" asked Jana. "We live in Texas, you live in Montana -- if both families moved and bought houses next door to each other, our girls could be together!"
Kelly and Alice grew up as sisters. | Source: Unsplash
It turned out to be the perfect solution. They moved close to the sea, and Kelly and Alice were delighted to learn that they were twin sisters. The two families became very close and Maggie finally forgave Fred for making such an important decision without consulting her.
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