Well that was a gap. I got altogether too busy to continue and this problem with Vicki being The Girl has tripped me up badly. But I couldn't ignore it any more, I had to go in arms swinging.
A friend actually suggested a fix that might work – the fact that her and Dale just went on a few dates in the early days, they weren't in love or anything. Apparently if you date someone a few times in your early 20s you can easily have forgotten what they looked like in your mid 30s.
It feels like a good overarching strategy, but some of the details are still sticking points. One of them is that he'd remember her name, and when he met her he might think 'I dated a girl called Vicki a few times,' and I'm worried if he did that it's what would prompt the memory that makes him think it's her, and I want that memory to be a bit more profound than just being reminded of her name.
Well, as is the usual way to attack it I've gone right through the manuscript to isolate all the sections that talk about it, and the next step is to figure out where the narrative of the subplot has to go, come up with a baseline that makes sense and feels honest (Vicki changing her name or getting plastic surgery just feel like plot contrivances), and weave it back in to the story where it appears now.