Thursday, April 22, 2010

excerpt from His Lucky Charm

Brandon was looking out of the window on the plane ride home. He wondered if he would ever get to see Caitlyn again. Cheating on Amanda or not, he definitely couldn’t get Caitlyn out of his mind. Amanda was an attractive woman, very sophisticated and she certainly knew how to dress to show off her best features. Her red hair framed her face beautifully and her green eyes accentuated perfectly flawless skin. So why, he wondered, did he, an obviously healthy man, not find himself desiring her the way he did Caitlyn?

The flight attendant interrupted his thoughts as she placed the juice and snack mix he had ordered on the tray in front of him. Amanda had ordered a rum and coke to wash down her snack. He thanked the young woman and sat drumming the tray with his fingers.

Amanda placed her hand over his. “A penny for your thoughts.”

He smiled at her. “I don’t think they’re worth enough yet.”

“Have you remembered anything?”

“I think maybe a piece here or there.” She cocked her head and waited for him to go on. “My apartment, I think I remember black and tan, and a lot of bold pieces. Do I have one or two bedrooms? I seem to think I have a home office but I can’t remember if it’s in a room by itself or not.”

“You are beginning to get your memory back. It is a separate room, a spare bedroom. You actually have three bedrooms, you use the third as a guest room.” She smiled encouragingly. “You like to call in from your office at home, especially when you just get back from a business trip. You say you get most of your work done from there.”

“It’s near a park? And I go running when I need to think?”

“Yes.” She smiled. “You live just west of Central Park and you like to run around the reservoir to clear your mind. I usually wind up manning the office downtown by myself.”

“I guess I must leave a lot on your shoulders?” He wondered how he could use this woman the way he apparently did. He must rely on her for a lot of his professional obligations. Maybe that was all he kept her around for and maybe that was why he was having an affair with Caitlyn while promising to marry Amanda. Or maybe he really did have feelings for Amanda and just didn’t remember them yet.

“Not at all. You’re busy with your stuff, designing and meetings and all.” She gave his hand a squeeze. When we get back to New York, I’ll help you get things sorted out in your apartment...”

Closing his eyes, he tried to visualize his work area. “I have a locked file cabinet there that I keep my designs in, don’t I?”

“Yes.” She sounded surprised. “Uh, why don’t you put your head back and try to relax?”

“Don’t you want me remembering?” He was surprised.

“Oh, I do. It’s just that when we get back, you have to face so many new things.” She chuckled. “Is it possible to strain your mind?”

“I don’t know.” He had an inexplicable unease.

Brandon gently retrieved his hand from under hers and reached for a magazine from the chair seat back in front of him. He began to flip through pages before he even took a look at the actual content. The article was about the development of the digital age and its applications in the business world; it was easy for him to focus on the magazine and mentally escape the presence of the woman next to him.

He couldn’t understand why he had a growing distrust of Amanda and he wondered if their supposed engagement was as genuinely happy as she was telling him. It was obvious that he hadn’t been very honest with her.

“Brandon,” Amanda had allowed him to read quietly for several minutes. “I have something...” She put a pair of rings into his palm.

One gold band and one small diamond ring. He recognized them immediately as Caitlyn’s rings. “Where did you get these?”

“It was the only thing she left in her room when she skipped out.”

He closed his hand tightly over the small gold band and the simple diamond ring. He could almost see them on Caitlyn’s delicate hand. “I don’t understand why she left these.” Holding the rings left an empty feeling in the pit of his stomach.

“Did you actually think she’d feel sentimental about these?” She was sarcastic. “Obviously they meant nothing to her! You meant nothing to her except a free ride. If she couldn’t have your wallet, then I guess she didn’t want you at all.” She watched him to see if he would react. “Hey, maybe she figured it was payback for the bail money that you lost when you thought you could trust her. But I don’t think she could be that decent. She probably just wanted to send the message that you mean nothing to her.”

It was easy to understand Amanda’s contempt but he still didn’t like hearing it. “I would have thought that she could use the rings for cash somewhere along the way.” He admitted to himself that he felt hurt that she didn’t keep his rings. “I didn’t expect her to... have any feelings for me.”

“Why are you still wearing that ring?” She pointed at the gold wedding band on his left hand.

He shrugged. “I’m not sure, I guess I didn’t even realize it was there.” It just felt natural to him. To appease her, he removed the wedding band from his finger and put it, along with Caitlyn’s two rings, into his pants pocket. Immediately he regretted removing the ring.

She put her hand gently on his arm. “I already called your lawyer to get him started on annulling your marriage, although I don’t think it was valid anyway since she drugged you...”

“She didn’t drug me.” Somehow he was sure of that even though everything else he thought he knew seemed to be crumbling.

“Are you telling me you actually wanted to marry her?” She turned in her seat to face him and her voice quivered. “Are you telling me that you don’t want to marry me?” Her voice had risen and Brandon noticed that a few of their fellow passengers had actually quieted as if they were listening.

“I don’t know Amanda. I’m sorry, but whatever happened to me afterwards, I believe that I wasn’t drugged and I wasn’t even drunk when Caitlyn and I were married.”

A tear escaped and rolled down her cheek. “You admit you wanted to marry her?” She barely whispered. “How dare you? How can you hurt me like this?”

“I’m sorry, I really am.” He felt like a heel and he knew that one of the other passengers was watching him with undisguised disgust. “I never meant to hurt you. I don’t know why I did what I did. I don’t think I want to break our engagement, but I’m not sure what I want right now.” He felt badly for the woman sitting next to him. Turning towards her, he took her hand. “Please give me a chance to get my memory back and then, I guess, we need to sit and talk.” Maybe then he’d understand why he had such erotic memories of Caitlyn, why he wanted her and why he seemed so anxious to forgive her for her alleged crimes.

Amanda sniffled and drew a slow breath in. She wiped her eyes with the back of her hand. “Sure.” She sounded hollow.

Brandon sat back and tried to avoid the disapproving stares of his fellow passengers. He really didn’t like the picture of himself that he was beginning to see. He didn’t like the fact that each time he closed his eyes, he was able to imagine Caitlyn as she climaxed. And whenever he tried to substitute Amanda into those memories, all he felt was cold.

Maybe when he got his memory back and understood more about himself, he was going to have to break this woman’s heart and be honest with her. He was very disappointed in himself.

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