The details of what I mean by potential serials are here. If you want to see more of either, just let me know.
This week’s words: argue, lick, and squint.
Robert turned the photograph around in his fingers, as if looking at the backing with the name of the printer would make the image disappear. He knew that it wouldn’t, and he knew that he could not explain it, not to his satisfaction or anyone else’s.
“I think you need have no further dealings with this woman. She is clearly a fraud,” his father said. He reached for a napkin with one hand while licking the last of the pastry off the fingers of the other.
For such an affluent snob, there were times when his father acted like a complete boar.
“Father, the fact that someone married this woman using my name—and with a bit more than a passing resemblance to me—means that I must have more dealings with her. I must find out who is impersonating me and blackening my name and yours.”
“Rubbish. The woman’s lying, and you need to ignore this foolishness. She wants money, that’s all. If you insist on paying her, there’ll be no end to it. She’ll always want more. Best to leave it be. You can prove you weren’t there. That’s all you need.”
Robert didn’t know how his father could be so indifferent to the matter. He would have expected outrage, the kind of thundering that accompanied anyone’s defiance of his edicts, but the old man was calm. Too calm. He would not be argued with—nothing was to change his opinion. He was right, and no one would say otherwise—not in his hearing, at least.
He rose, cradling his bad arm and taking the photograph with him. His mother would be in with her friends from her sewing circle, but he had to ask her if she recognized the man. His father had already told him not to ask her, but he didn’t care what his father thought. The man was behaving like an idiot, and while he might believe that this business with someone stealing Robert’s name was nothing, Robert could not agree.
He did not think the woman was lying. She’d never asked for money. She’d wanted answers, and she wanted a divorce if he didn’t want to support her, but there was no demand for any sort of money. If she was trying to trick him—no, he could not think it likely, not with the way she’d written. She seemed angry, and rightfully so if she had been treated in such a manner. How could a man do such a thing? How could he marry a woman using a name not his own and then abandon her? What sort of a man had done this?
He glanced at the photograph again, not sure what to think of that face. The scoundrel gave no indication of his malicious nature. Indeed, he looked upon his bride with what Robert would have called love if he did not know otherwise.
“Mother, forgive me for interrupting, but I think we should discuss this photograph I received.”
“Yes, dear,” she said, putting down her project. She had always been so dutiful that he wondered sometimes if she thought at all. She only ever seemed to parrot his father’s opinions, and he’d hated that bird when he was younger. “What is it?”
He handed her the picture, and she squinted at it. “Are these friends of yours?”
“No, that is the man who stole my name and tricked the woman with it.”
She gave him back the photograph. “I do not recognize either of them, and your father says that it is nothing. You should listen to him and forget it.”
Robert shook his head. “Father is wrong. This is not some kind of game, and even if it were only a scheme on her part, it merits a reaction. Is there some reason why Father would not want to do something about it? Some sort of—”
“Your father says it is not worth dignifying, and that must be your opinion as well.”
“I am afraid it never will be,” Robert told her. He glared at his arm, hating himself for the weakness in it. If he were fit, he could seek some sort of employment and free himself from the need for his family’s money. He had thought, should he survive the war, that the army might be such an occupation, but his career there was cut short, and now he was more dependent than ever.
That did not matter. Cripple or not, he had to see to the woman’s letter. He was determined to find this thief even if no one else was.