Updated: Jul 24
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Luke is my name. I am a 42-year-old man; an introvert, gamer, nature lover, and a nerd.
Growing up, my parents worked very hard to make sure I had all I needed. To make them proud, I worked hard in school, graduated from high school with honors, and went on to become a successful software engineer.
My parents had a happy marriage, and their joy was to see me, their only child, have what they had. So, one day, after lunch, my mom gave me lecture on marriage, having children, and why it's better to start young.
Knowing who I was at the time, I had never been in a committed relationship with a woman. My encounters with women began when I was in my late twenties. My friends and I would go to the bar to celebrate the completion of huge projects. We didn't need to stress over cash, so we could blow it on drinks and different frivolities. Ladies would move toward me in these circumstances, wanting to screw me for cash or for no particular reason.
Years passed, and the strain became too much to handle. I emerged from my den one evening to find Mary, the daughter of a friend of my mother's, preparing dinner in my home. My mother let her in and believed it would be good for us to spend time together. She tried to sleep over after the supper, but the look I gave her was enough to send her flying back to her apartment.
June first entered my life in the summer of 2012. A stunning beauty with brown eyes, and a and thick build. I met her at a Fourth of July barbecue. Sid, my cousin, would throw wild parties at his father's home every summer, inviting friends and family. She lived a few houses away from Sid and went to the same college. I couldn't bring myself to ask her out, so I'd have Sid invite her every time we hung out as a group.
Five years later, I proposed to June. I was 30 years old, and she was 25. I was the happiest man on the planet. She was gentle, adventurous, and nurturing. My parents welcomed her into the family and treated her as if she were one of their own children. My first kid, Beatrice, was born a year after we married.
My folks were ecstatic. Being alive and holding their first grandchild was one of life's greatest gifts. Then came Sandy, Maya, and Mark, four tiny gods, next to my heart.
By 2021, I had decided to work from home full-time, just in time for COVID-19. June, my wife, decided to remain full-time housewife. It made no difference to me as long as she was happy.
I planned a surprise trip to Florida for the entire family just before the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Everyone was pumped up. I planned for us to spend it at the Four Seasons Resort so that my wife and I could take part in some adult activities when after the kids retire to bed.
We flew there and checked into a large suit. Later that evening, I proposed that we leave the kids in the hotel while we went down to the bar. I was desperate for some alone time with my wife, and this seemed to be the only option.
We took our seats and waited for our waitress to arrive. As she approached, she looked at my wife and smiled broadly, as if she recognized a face.
"Hey Chelsea, do you remember me? My name is May. We used to be dance partners at the gentlemen’s club,"remarked the waitress
My wife cut the waitress and politely insisted she take our orders. I didn't see any reason to be skeptical at the time.
The rest of the night went off without a hitch. We got a little tipsy and wandered over to our suit for some toe-curling sex.
Our trip came to an end, and we traveled back to Manhattan.
Sitting in my home office one particularly warm evening, I was working on a facial recognition software my company was developing. I'd just put in some changes and decided to put them to test. I chose an image of my wife to test with. When I ran it through our company's confidential database, there were no results. When I used my photo to test, I only got one result. The software was functioning perfectly. I had the good fortune of being able to connect the software to my browser and run my wife's image over the web. I wasn't looking for anything specific, only curious to see how good the software was. The results were not as expected. One of the images found in the search result was "Chelsea Slum," a badly abused woman, arrested for prostitution. The similarity was uncanny, but not identical.
I didn't have a specific goal in mind when I started my search, I was just inquisitive. I was suddenly driven to research her professional background, friends, and social media profiles. She didn't have a Facebook or MySpace page, which seemed a little unusual. My wife's former LinkedIn page was the only one I discovered about her.
My wife stated on her LinkedIn page that she graduated from Brown University with a major in Literary Arts. I looked for my wife's face and name on the list of graduating Literary Arts students from Brown University, class of 2003. I found nothing. I looked through the next five years of Literary Arts graduates, from 2003-2008, my search yielded no results.
"Did she go by another name?" "Perhaps her mother's maiden name," I reasoned. Then I remembered the incident with the waitress in Florida. The search results for June Margot turned up unidentifiable faces, but when I went back to the old search result for Chelsea Slum, what came up nearly knocked me out.
TO BE CONTINUED
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