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Man and young girl on video call | Source: Shutterstock
Man and young girl on video call | Source: Shutterstock

My Dad Said I Had to Look Like My Stepmom to Be Included in His Will – When I Found Out Why, I Went Pale

Rita Kumar
Jul 04, 2024
12:25 P.M.

When Penelope's Dad insisted she change her appearance to resemble her stepmom for a spot in his will, it felt like a cruel joke. But the real reason behind his demand, unveiled at a family gathering, left her in shock and tears.

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I need your help. Please. I'm Penelope, but everyone calls me Penny. Feel free to address me that way. I've never asked for advice online before, but I'm at my wit's end here. Everyone's celebrating the Fourth of July with fireworks and barbeques, and all I have are fireworks exploding in my chest — and not the happy kind. Thanks to my Dad, my heart feels like it's been trampled by a herd of angry bulls...

A sad woman sitting on the couch | Source: Pexels

A sad woman sitting on the couch | Source: Pexels

Let me rewind a bit. My parents, Charlie and Nina, divorced ten years back in a messy, public brawl that left the whole town buzzing. They haven't spoken since, and things have been awkward ever since, to say the least. Dad remarried this woman named Eloise, and after that, I barely saw him anymore.

Sure, the financial support trickled in through the bank every month, but for the most part, it felt like Dad just… disappeared.

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A woman signing divorce papers | Source: Pexels

A woman signing divorce papers | Source: Pexels

It hurt, you know? But hey, I'm 22 now, and I guess I'm more of a momma's girl anyway. My parents' reasons for splitting are their business, and that's fine by me.

That's not why I'm here, though. This is about something way weirder.

So, out of the blue, Dad called me on FaceTime the other day. Now, this is a man who usually communicates through carrier pigeons, so a video call was a shock in itself. But what he said next left me speechless.

A man making a video call on his smartphone | Source: Freepik

A man making a video call on his smartphone | Source: Freepik

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"Penny, honey," he started, his voice all fake sweetness. "Listen, I'm having a little get-together for the Fourth of July. Just family, you know. And…" he trailed off, then blurted out, "I really need you to "fit in" with the new family and look more "suitable."

Hold on. Fitting in? With the new family I barely know? Before I could even ask what he meant by that, he launched into this bizarre request.

A young woman holding her phone | Source: Pexels

A young woman holding her phone | Source: Pexels

"I was thinking," he continued, "maybe you could… I don't know, lighten things up a bit? You know, your stepmom, Eloise, she's a blonde, and…"

Ugh, here we go. Here comes the Eloise comparisons. It's like a broken record at this point.

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"Dad," I interrupted, "what are you getting at?"

Mature man looking at his phone and smiling | Source: Freepik

Mature man looking at his phone and smiling | Source: Freepik

He shifted uncomfortably in his chair. "Well," he mumbled, "maybe you could consider… dyeing your hair blonde? Like Eloise? And those, uh, big, ugly glasses you wear — maybe some colored contacts instead?"

He trailed off again, but I knew what he was going to say. Those "big, ugly glasses" were my signature. They framed my face, you know? Without them, I felt exposed, like a book with its cover ripped off.

"Change my appearance?" I gasped. "Dad, are you serious?"

An angry young woman furrowing her brows | Source: Pexels

An angry young woman furrowing her brows | Source: Pexels

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"Look, Penny," he sighed, "I just want things to be… easier. You know, for everyone. And hey, if you do this, there's something in it for you too."

He hesitated, then blurted out, "I'm revamping my will, and let's just say being more, uh, presentable might be beneficial in the long run."

My jaw clenched. Beneficial? Was he basically saying I needed a makeover to get a slice of his inheritance pie? My anger reached its boiling point.

Mature man talking on the phone | Source: Freepik

Mature man talking on the phone | Source: Freepik

"So, I need to look like your trophy wife to get a mention in your will?" I spat.

"Don't be dramatic, Penny," he huffed. "It's not that big of a deal. Just a little dye job and some contacts. Think of it as an investment in your future."

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An investment? This wasn't some stock market deal, Dad! This was my identity he was messing with! The call ended in a mess of tears and shouting, and let me tell you, I was having an emotional explosion going on inside.

An upset young woman staring at her phone | Source: Pexels

An upset young woman staring at her phone | Source: Pexels

Fuming, I stormed over to Mom's place. She lives just down the street, and thankfully, she was home. As soon as I explained everything, her face hardened.

"Oh, honey," she said, "I know exactly what's going on here."

She pulled me into a hug, and for a minute, that was all I needed.

A distressed woman | Source: Pexels

A distressed woman | Source: Pexels

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But then, she pulled back, saying, "Listen, you should do what your Dad wants. But trust me, there's more to this than this makeover. Just wear the specific dress I'll give you. Show up to their Fourth of July party looking like that, and see how things unfold."

My stomach churned. The idea of changing my appearance just to appease Dad left a bitter taste in my mouth.

"But Mom, I don't even want to go," I mumbled, burying my face in her shoulder.

An extremely upset young woman | Source: Pexels

An extremely upset young woman | Source: Pexels

She cupped my face in her hands. "I know, sweetie. But trust me, there's a reason for this. Just go, play along for now."

Hesitantly, I agreed.

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But the thing is, I didn't want to bleach my precious dark hair. So I bought a blonde wig from the store and some contact lenses.

A store selling fancy wigs | Source: Unsplash

A store selling fancy wigs | Source: Unsplash

Today, on the 4th of July, I wore my mother's dress, the one she gave me specifically for today, and highlighted my looks with the blonde wig and contacts. Gosh, I looked so different, like a stranger staring back at me from the mirror.

Pecking a kiss on my mom's cheek, I nervously got in the cab and headed to Dad's party. When I reached, I could smell BBQ and oven-baked ribs. People were laughing and chatting, and I could hear Dad's gruff voice surpassing everyone.

A party in full swing | Source: Pexels

A party in full swing | Source: Pexels

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I nervously approached him and said, "Hi, Dad!"

I expected surprise, but he was SHOCKED when he turned and saw me. He went completely pale, people. Then, he pulled a long face and asked, "Where did you get this stupid dress?!"

I practically wanted to crawl under a rock because I didn't know why he was reacting like that seeing me in that dress.

An extremely startled man | Source: Midjourney

An extremely startled man | Source: Midjourney

It was fine, though pretty old, but it looked perfect and fresh out of Mom's closet. I could still smell the naphthalene despite dabbing my favorite English Rose perfume on. So you can imagine how long this dress had been practically sleeping in Mom's cupboard.

"Dad, what's wrong?" I asked nervously, taking off my blonde wig.

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That's when I saw a side of him I'd never seen before. Dad's eyes filled with tears, and he just let them flow. I was so worried at this point.

A young woman at a party | Source: Midjourney

A young woman at a party | Source: Midjourney

"Where did you get this dress?" he repeated, his voice trembling.

"Mom gave it to me," I replied, confused. "Why?"

Dad took a deep breath, struggling to speak. "Penny, that dress... Your mom wore it on our first date."

My heart sank. "What?"

A shocked teary-eyed woman | Source: Pexels

A shocked teary-eyed woman | Source: Pexels

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He nodded, tears streaming down his face.

"It's harder and harder for me to see you every year because you look just like your Mom. The woman I deeply loved and had a huge scandalous divorce with when you were just 12. I tried not to see you often because my heart would hurt every time I looked into your eyes and saw hers."

I felt a lump in my throat. "Dad..."

Sad man covering his face | Source: Pexels

Sad man covering his face | Source: Pexels

"I thought if you looked different, maybe it wouldn't hurt so much. Maybe I could finally include you in my new family. But seeing you in that dress... It's like I'm reliving everything all over again," Dad choked out.

I had tears in my eyes. "So, you wanted me to change my appearance because I remind you of Mom?"

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Dad nodded, wiping his tears. "I'm so sorry, Penny. I couldn't tell you to your face. It hurt too much."

A heartbroken woman in tears | Source: Pexels

A heartbroken woman in tears | Source: Pexels

I took a deep breath, feeling a mix of anger and sadness.

"Dad, I can't change who I am. I can't pretend to be someone else just to make things easier for you. I'm your daughter, and I look like Mom. That's not going to change."

He looked at me, his eyes filled with regret. "I know, Penny. I know. I just... I didn't know how to handle it."

An extremely heartbroken and guilty mature man | Source: Pexels

An extremely heartbroken and guilty mature man | Source: Pexels

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I looked him in the eyes and said, "You need to sort out your inner demons, Dad. You need to accept the fact that I look like Mom and move on. Because I'm not going to change who I am."

Dad nodded slowly, his face speaking volumes of his pain and realization. "You're right, Penny. I need to deal with this. I just didn't know how to face it."

A sad young woman closing her eyes | Source: Pexels

A sad young woman closing her eyes | Source: Pexels

"I think you should talk to Mom, too. Maybe it'll help you both heal," I said, sighing.

He looked at me with a hint of hope. "Do you think she would?"

"I don't know," I admitted. "But it's worth a try."

Dad took a deep breath and nodded. "Thank you, Penny. For being honest with me."

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I gave him a small smile. The rest of the party was a blur.

People at a party | Source: Unsplash

People at a party | Source: Unsplash

I couldn't focus on the laughter and conversations around me. My mind was spinning with everything Dad had confessed. I kept glancing back at him, seeing him lost in thought, struggling with his emotions.

When the party finally ended, I headed back to Mom's place. She was waiting for me, a concerned look on her face.

"How did it go?" she asked gently.

I sighed, feeling exhausted. "It was intense. Dad... He broke down. He told me everything."

A young woman with a warm smile | Source: Pexels

A young woman with a warm smile | Source: Pexels

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Mom nodded, her eyes softening. "I thought he might. That's why I gave you that dress."

I looked at her, surprised. "You knew it would trigger something in him?"

She smiled sadly. "I had a feeling. Sometimes, we need a little push to confront our past."

I hugged her tightly, feeling a sense of gratitude and sadness. "Thank you, Mom. For everything."

She held me close, whispering, "I'm proud of you, Penny. You handled it with grace."

A sad mature woman | Source: Midjourney

A sad mature woman | Source: Midjourney

As I pulled back, I felt a sense of hope. Maybe, just maybe, things would get better.

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But you know what? I'm still so angry. I'm angry that my Dad put me through this. I'm angry that he tried to make me into someone I'm not just because he couldn't handle his own emotions.

An upset young woman with eyes downcast | Source: Pexels

An upset young woman with eyes downcast | Source: Pexels

It's not fair. If he really loved my Mom so much, then why leave her and start a whole new life? Why keep his distance from me just because I look like the woman he once loved? Why force me into the skin of another person?

Tell me, was it fair on his part? What should I do? Should I even try to mend things with him? Or should I just let it be and move on with my life? I need your advice. Please.

A heartbroken woman sitting by the window | Source: Pexels

A heartbroken woman sitting by the window | Source: Pexels

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Here's another story: When her nosy neighbors repainted her bright yellow house without her permission while she was away, Victoria decided to teach them a pricey lesson they'd never forget.

This work is inspired by real events and people, but it has been fictionalized for creative purposes. Names, characters, and details have been changed to protect privacy and enhance the narrative. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.

The author and publisher make no claims to the accuracy of events or the portrayal of characters and are not liable for any misinterpretation. This story is provided "as is," and any opinions expressed are those of the characters and do not reflect the views of the author or publisher.

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