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: At this point, I can only say poor Violet.

Well, that and that this, is part of the pick a serial (yes, you can pick both, details here,) so leave a comment in some way if you want more.

In a Delicate Condition

“Violet, Violet, please, open your eyes. Yes, that’s it, dearest. Oh, you had us all so worried,” her mother said, combing back hair from her face. She shook her head, her brow furrowed with all her anxiety. She hadn’t look liked this since Violet was a child—not since the day that she’d taken Violet aside to say that her father would never be coming home, that he was dead.

“I feel terrible. What happened? Did I… Is the baby—”

“You haven’t lost it yet, but the doctor said you came quite close,” her mother told her, her hand on her cheek. “I was so scared I’d lost you both there. You have been feverish for days. Ever since that letter came.”

Violet groaned. She put a hand to her head, wincing as she did. “Oh, Mother. If his words are true, if that photograph was him, then who did I marry? Whose child am I carrying? What kind of a man could I have thought I loved?”

“I do not know.” Her mother sat back, twisting her hands together. “Try not to think about that until you are better. You need to remain calm. I will go send for the doctor again, and we will get his opinion of what must be done now that you are awake.”

Violet closed her eyes. Her mother did not know what she was asking. How could Violet do anything but think? True, she felt as though she were dying, which should have been sufficient distraction, but she could not think about that without considering the reason why she was dying, and that all led back to the man she’d met, the man who’d charmed her and made her feel as though he loved her—the man she had loved until he deserted her and she started down a road of complete bitterness acerbated by her poor health all through the pregnancy. It was, she rather thought, too easy to hate a man who had gotten her in this state and abandoned her.

She turned toward the window, wishing she had the strength to go and look out it. She did not know when she would get it back. She was so tired, and her body refused to cooperate even with the slightest of movements.

“Why, Winston?” She felt tears sting her eyes, and she tried to fight against them. She hadn’t cried when he left her or when she realized her illness was pregnancy, but now she thought she might. She’d given that man everything, and now she learned she knew nothing of him. She didn’t know his name—he could not be Robert John Winston the third—and that cast every detail into doubt. Had he told her the truth even once in the time she’d known him?

She didn’t think that he had. She’d fallen in love with a lie. Everything about him was fabricated, and she’d thrown her heart and perhaps even her life away on someone that did not exist.

What was she going to do?

She didn’t know. She couldn’t be sure she was married, not after what he’d written. If that man had done it under a false name, that meant that it wasn’t legal, didn’t it? So she wasn’t married. That was hard to accept, but she would find a way somehow. She had to, just as she’d continued on after he left and despite the pregnancy. Life did not stop because of unpleasant facts or situations. Plenty of people faced worse than this every day. How many people had died in the great war? How many had died of the ‘flu?

She could survive this.

“Violet? Are you still awake?”

“Yes,” she said, though she’d like to be asleep. She’d like to escape from the questions and the emotions for a few minutes. “Can you bring me some paper? I think I had better write back to him now that I am somewhat recovered. It has been too long already.”

“I do not think you should do that until you are well—”

“No, I do not want to wait.” Violet did not think that she could wait. If her health continued to deteriorate—and it did seem to be—then she needed this matter settled as soon as possible. She knew her mother and aunt would raise the baby if it lived and something happened to her, but there were more things to consider about the future than just that.

She had to get everything put in order as soon as possible.

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