Publish Novellas 1 June 2022
EPISODE 6 – RECLUSION
Matthew reveals traumatic personal history as a relationship begins to transcend platonic.
With both an apartment in Manhattan and a home in the Hamptons, Matthew figures the latter offers more seclusion. He tells Rosalyn that he will leave the coffee shop first. Then he sends a cab driver to take her to his place.
Rosalyn enjoys the accommodations. She cooks, cleans, and even learns how to imitate a good Bostonian accent. They eat dinners together. In time, they begin watching movies and taking short walks on the private beach.
One evening, while curled up on the sofa sipping wine together, Matthew opens up about the woman in his life that Rosalyn resembles. “Her name was Jacquelin. We were going to marry after graduation. She was smart and funny, and stole my heart with her cooking.”
“Did she have a Bostonian accent?” asks smiling Rosalyn.
“She did. Our perfect life came to an end when a drunk driver ran into the passenger side of my vehicle while driving her home. My convertible Spitfire spun around twice in the intersection and she was killed instantly.
“I refused to believe she was gone. Every night I went to sleep, reliving the same nightmare and awaken in the morning, hoping it was a bad dream. When you moved in, the nightmares ended. You remind me in every way of her.
“I could not imagine happiness with anyone else. When I began working for DoppelMatch, I thought someday I might use our service to find someone like Jacquelin. But I could not bring myself to do it. In my mind, it would not have been as real as the memories I cherished.
“Now I dream about whether you and I can actually have a normal relationship. Can I show you off to the world and brag about you to friends? Or might we be happy forever together as recluses from the public eye.”
“Thank you for opening up about your true feelings. I am truly sorry you went through that tragedy. It is my pleasure to help you move on from it. As you know, my life was turned upside down. With no destination in sight, I had to run from everything I was.
“I had no idea who the new me should become until I met you. To resemble anyone you could love makes me happy. I would dye my hair, undergo more cosmetic surgery, or change my name to become closer to that one.”
“The little differences between you and Jacquelin are what help me love you for yourself. I don’t think it’s the wine talking, but I would be happy if you were to become my wife.”
“It might please me if that is a proposal.”
“I’m sorry. Let me remove the ambiguity. Rosalyn, will you marry me to fulfill all my nightly dreams and waking realities?”
“Yes, under one condition. I need you to kiss me.”
After kissing for the first time since they met, Rosalyn says, “I have already had my girlish dream of a fancy wedding. With my current identity, I have no family or friends to invite. So, if it’s all right with you, I wouldn’t mind a simple ceremony with a witness or two on the beach.”
“That can be arranged next weekend. Here’s a wild thought, for our honeymoon, we can eat at a public restaurant, watch a play in Times Square, and then go to my Manhattan apartment.”
“As someone with nothing, it all sounds fantastic, as long as we’re together.”
Prior to the wedding, Matthew comes home with some exciting news. “Rosalyn, I am happy to tell you that the case to locate Sylvia Rollins and Kathlyn Abernathy is officially over.”
“That is fantastic news. I look forward to our honeymoon all the more.”
The only guests at their wedding are Matthew’s parents who had hopes for a larger ceremony but respect their son’s wishes. Lifting the veil to kiss the bride becomes a symbolism of Rosalyn’s unveiled presentation to the world. Later, she is glowing at the restaurant and the Broadway play.
They spend a week in Manhattan. During their honeymoon, they plan more daring appearances, perhaps in Cozumel or Jamaica before branching out to Fiji. During the drive back to the Hamptons, someone runs a red light and hits the fender of Matthew’s SUV, causing it to flip upside down.
He hears sirens, sees darkness, and keeps calling out Rosalyn’s name. Ambulances rush them both away. In another hospital room, Rosalyn is calling out for Matthew. Finally, a doctor enters the room to break the news that they were not able to save him.
Rosalyn and her in-laws try to comfort one another. At the funeral service, tearful Rosalyn again finds herself veiled. Afterwards, she withdraws to the home in the Hamptons as a recluse for one year.
Then she begins thinking of the torment Matthew described and how much joy he had when he moved on. She picks up the phone and makes an appointment in town. The next day, widower Mrs. Rosalyn Oneal gets dressed up, drives to DoppelMatch and requests a doppelganger of Matthew’s likeness.