Author’s Note: More of the historical.
Got all the details about what I’m doing by putting bits of this and the other up here.
“Violet? Look at me, daughter. What has come over you?”
“I shall be ill,” she said, sitting down with the letter in her hand, shaking her head in disbelief. She did not understand. Why would he do this to her? True, their courtship had been rather fast, advancing at such a pace as dismayed her mother and worried her aunt. Of course, her aunt assumed everyone was always after the pittance her father had left her as his only child, though only she considered that a sum of money worth squabbling over. She had never thought it so, and she didn’t think that Winston had, either. She did not think that was why he’d done this. He had more money of his own, didn’t he?
“What is it?” her mother asked, taking the letter from her. Her eyes searched the words, shaking her head as she did. “What an impossible cad. How can he pretend that he doesn’t know you? As far as I’m concerned, he knows you far too well.”
Violet put a hand over her stomach, trying to will it to be still. Between the child and the sickness that accompanied it, she had not been able to do much of late, forcing her to renew her efforts to locate her husband. He’d left her over six months ago, and she did not know that she would have cared so much had she not discovered the unpleasantness of her situation a few weeks later. The nausea that had woken her that morning had been a constant companion since, and she could not help feeling that it was to become much worse.
“Mother, please, there is some kind of… misunderstanding here.”
“Misunderstanding? How can you call it that? The man is saying that he doesn’t know you. He didn’t marry you. He is not going to take care of his child. He was only interested in one thing from you, and he got it. Now he’s done.”
Violet closed her eyes. “Why would any man go to such lengths to get such a thing from me when he could have had some other woman, a loose one, or paid for the pleasure? Marrying me seems excessive.”
“I applaud you for having the morals to insist on having that ring first, my dear, but it would seem that he was willing to go as far as he needed to ensure he got what he wanted, and now he is going to claim that this never happened.” Her mother gestured first to her stomach and then grabbed the framed portrait that sat on the table. “We must speak to the minister. If he was bribed, if he was not—”
“Mother! That was the man that christened me. Wasn’t he? I don’t know that we’ve been all that regular in our attendance at his services, but he has been here for many years. As far as I know, he is an honorable man who would not have participated in such a thing.”
Her mother sighed. “Someone is lying. That is undeniable. Whether that someone is the man you married, the one who married you, or someone else, I don’t know, but you can’t say that they’re not. Unless, of course, that someone is you.”
Violet put a hand on her back. “If I had perhaps succumbed to his charm without upholding my morality, I might have tried to lie about the wedding, but you were there. The whole town was. He must be lying. I will write back to him and make my feelings on this matter quite clear. I refuse to let him do this to me. If he has acted dishonorably, then I will confront him about it. He can… divorce me if he does not want to have responsibility for me or the child.”
“I cannot believe you said that.”
“I admit, the idea of a divorce is extremely unpleasant. I do not care for what that would make me, but it is not what it once was. I think I could bear it rather than be tied to him forever after he has used me this way. The child does not need a father that would behave in such a way, either.”
“The child needs a father.”
“I was fine without mine. You and Aunt Beatrice have taken care of me all my life, and you managed very well. I shall do the same, assuming I survive getting this child into the world.”
“Do not say that,” her mother said, placing her hands on her cheeks. “We are not losing you. Perhaps you should let me write the letter. You do not need any further upsets.”
Violet lowered her mother’s hands. She pushed herself up from the chair. “No. I need to do this. It is—I am the one he wronged. The message must come from me. We have another of the photographs from the wedding, don’t we? I want to send one. Let him try and deny that.”