The Stolen Name

- A Serialized Novel -

A man learns that his name has been used by someone else and sets out to find the man who stole his name and help those whom the imposter betrayed.

Author’s Note: I am trying Carry on Tuesday‘s prompt this time, for both possible serials again. I would have had a hard time resisting a line from a favorite movie of mine, especially with the decorations we have to go with it, so I didn’t resist.

The prompt was “After all, tomorrow is another day” from Gone with the Wind.

I know I’m repeating myself a bit, but this is one of the possible serials that I’m considering keeping on site. People can pick one or both, and if they want more information, they can look here.

Continuing On

The bright light outside her window told Violet that today had at last become tomorrow, and she had lived to see another day. She tried to smile at that, but she struggled to manage it, not wanting to think about the things that had kept her from sleep for most of the night. She could feel her body protesting already, and the idea of getting out of her bed made those protests even louder. She did not want to move, but she knew that she could not remain in bed all day, either.

The door opened, and she frowned as the maid entered, carrying a tray loaded up with more food than she’d been able to eat in months. Her stomach rolled at the sight—or perhaps the smell—of it. She shook her head, but the maid did not stop.

“Your mother said you needed to eat all of this,” Harriet said, putting it down in front of her. Violet grimaced, trying not to bump it with the mound that her stomach had become. That was unfair. They’d started doing that to her two months ago, and she almost hated them for it. She should be able to decide when she got up, not having that taken out of her hands unless she ate her entire meal.

She didn’t care how much she was supposed to be feeding the child. She could not eat, not with this constant nausea.

“Please, Harriet, I do not have—”

“If you don’t, I’m not supposed to let Mr. Winston in, and since you are determined to see him…”

“This is insufferable. I should demand that he marry me just so that this nonsense stops. I should be able to say how much I eat and when I eat,” Violet said. “I am pregnant, not a child, and while this child is very disagreeable, that does not mean that I should be treated like one.”

Harriet lowered her head. “It’s not my place to argue with any of you.”

“Then take the tray away and help me dress,” Violet told her. She did not like putting the maid in an untenable position, but she had little patience for what her family had started doing to her. She did not want to fight with them, but she was not able to tolerate this behavior, either.

“Do not ask her to go against your mother’s wishes or mine,” her aunt advised, walking into the room. She waved Harriet out with her hand, and the maid bobbed before taking her leave. Her aunt shook her head, coming closer to the bed. “It is not fair to her, nor is it wise for you. You seem unwilling to give your health or your child what it needs.”

Violet studied her aunt. Beatrice was the one they all feared, the disciplinarian, the queen of this house. Violet’s friends had told her that was because she was a spinster, a bitter woman that no man wanted, that had twisted Beatrice into a cold shrew.

Violet had been wanted. She didn’t know that it was any better. She was rather bitter now, wasn’t she? She didn’t know that her mood had been close to happy since the day her disbelief faded—a day far too close to when he left—and she knew that he was never coming back.

“What would you do? If it was you? If you were the one lied to and abandoned and pregnant?”

“Your mother managed well without your father. It can be done, though most would advise you to find another and marry quickly.”

“I didn’t ask that. I know what is expected of me. I asked you what you would do. You won’t tell me because you would be just as stubborn and willful as I have been.”

Her aunt sighed, sitting down on the side of the bed. “It is true that you are more like me than you should be. Where a proper, dutiful girl should have been, you were not.”

Violet frowned. “I am not so irredeemable as that. You make me sound a terror or someone who defied all social convention. I did not. I stayed home, I got married—I thought I did, at least—and now I am to be a mother. What is so wrong about that? Well, other than the fact that the man I married used a false name and is nowhere to be found?”

“Is that not enough?”

“I know you never liked him,” Violet said, trying to shift the tray off her stomach, “but he was not… he never mistreated me before he left. He gave me no reason to think that he was lying or unfaithful. I had no idea that he had stolen another man’s name and was… a criminal.”

“I do not think most would call what he did criminal. Wrong, but not criminal.”

Violet sighed. That was the unfortunate thing about her situation. Not many people would care what that man had done to her or think that he could be punished at all. She did not think it was right, but there was little she could do about it.

Her aunt lifted the tray, setting it to the side. “The true answer to your question, my dear, is that I would carry on. I have before, and I would now. Day by day, that is what we do. We continue on.”

Violet nodded. “Help me downstairs, please. I have much to do today.”

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