Thursday, July 10, 2008

Forgotten PREVIEW

See also the Prologue to Forgotten by Chelle Cordero originally posted May 25, 2008


“Was your last name really Smythe?” He looked from the marriage certificate to her and back again. He wondered if maybe she had checked into the hotel with him under an assumed name. After all, weren’t variations of the name Smith often used to hide one’s identity?

“Yes.” She sounded a bit defensive. She had pulled her hair into a loose ponytail and he thought it made her look incredibly young. Almost a little too young for his comfort.

“Hey look... Caitlyn,” he had to glance at the certificate again for her name. “All I know is the first thing I remember about you is that I woke up having really incredible sex with you this morning.” He certainly did remember the fantastic sex and how much he enjoyed it.

“I thought we were making love.” Her lip barely trembled.

He sighed. “It was wonderful, really. Look, I don’t mean to hurt you, but I don’t remember anything else.” Brandon, that was the name on the marriage license, stood. He felt frustrated. “I don’t know who you are, or me, except for these names on this paper. I don’t know why we’re here. I don’t remember these clothes I’m wearing. You told me that I drink my coffee black, I don’t remember that.” He knelt beside her and felt bad because she looked almost ready to cry. “I’m sorry. Really I am.”

She was a pretty girl, he thought. It was easy to see how she would have caught his eye. Her dark chestnut hair framed a nearly perfect oval face. Her eyes were bright and her lips invited kisses. Her slender body and its womanly curves invited much more than just kisses. He felt that now familiar stirring in his groin as he studied her.

When she realized he really didn’t remember anything, Caitlyn had been remarkably calm. She had gotten out of bed protectively wrapping the sheet around her, got clothes from a suitcase and went into the bathroom to get dressed. She had politely asked him to please get dressed and told him that the other suitcase was his. When she came out of the bathroom, neatly dressed in black slacks and a short sleeved pink blouse, she made a call to room service and had coffee, tea and some breakfast Danish sent up. While they waited, she showed him the marriage license, her wallet with her driver’s ID and photos of the two of them. Even without his memory, he had to admit that they looked right together. She suggested that he check his own wallet as well. At least now he knew his name, birth date and where he lived.

After the bellboy wheeled the cart into the room, he gave Brandon the receipt to sign. When he hesitated, Caitlyn took it and signed. Her scrawled signature read Caitlyn Price. Motioning with her hands, she suggested that Brandon offer the bellboy a tip. He placed a few bills in the young man’s hand. She reassured him he could afford it. Closing the door behind the bellboy, Caitlyn walked back to the cart with the coffee and teapot and the Danish tray. She poured him a cup of hot coffee from the pot and put two spoons of sugar in it, then stirred. Brandon sat in an armchair next to a small round occasional table. She selected cherry Danish from the plate of baked goods and served it to him on a china plate. After pouring herself a cup of herbal tea, she sat in the opposite armchair facing him. She didn’t take any baked goods for herself. Brandon heard her tea cup rattle for just a moment. It was then that he first noticed that she was holding back tears, but he had no idea what he could do to comfort her or even if he should try.

She looked at him and sighed before putting her teacup and saucer onto the table. “We got married last night. You thought it would be romantic to do it in Vegas.” Caitlyn twisted the small diamond ring she wore next to a simple gold band. “We’ve been seeing each other for almost two years and a few months ago you asked me if I would consider marrying you. We didn’t make it official, but a few days ago, on my birthday, you showed up at my door with this ring and asked me to come with you to Vegas. I said yes.”

She held her left hand out towards him so he could see the ring. He was tempted to take her slender fingers in his hand and caress them. The ring she wore was delicate, just like its owner he thought, and the stone was cut in a pear shape. The diamond was small, he thought, and yet she seemed to wear it proudly. Couldn’t he have done better than a tiny diamond? Her gold band matched the one he was wearing.

He really tried, but he couldn’t remember anything. “What about our families? Did we call them? Didn’t your parents want to see you married?”

She looked surprised at his question and then shrugged. “My parents are dead, they have been since I was twelve. I was an only child.”

“I’m sorry.” He was sincere about that. “What about... do I have any family?”

“Your father is alive, but you’ve been angry at him and haven’t spoken to him, I don’t know why. As far as I know, you haven’t seen him since before you moved to New York. I don’t think you have any brothers or sisters, but I don’t know because you really haven’t wanted to talk to me about your family. You haven’t really talked much about yourself.”

Brandon looked at his driver’s license again. Price, Brandon Price. He was twenty-seven years old according to his license. “Where did I grow up?” Maybe he should look up his family...

“You told me it was outside of Chicago, but you never wanted to talk about it. You were always kind of quiet about your childhood.”

“Didn’t that bother you?”

“It did. It does. That’s one of the few things we’ve always argued about.” Caitlyn knew how much she wished her folks were alive, but a drunken driver destroyed that possibility years ago. She couldn’t understand how Brandon could ignore a living parent. “But it also became one of those things we agreed to disagree on. You had just made it clear that the topic was off-limits.” She shrugged as if she had given up.

He looked through the rest of his wallet and saw that he had both cash and credit cards. “I assume I have a job. I hope so, especially if I can afford this.” While he apparently hadn’t gone so far as to reserve a suite, the room was certainly well appointed. The king size bed was definitely comfortable, and memorable. He glanced at the woman sitting quietly sipping her tea. She had seen his glance at the bed and the slight flush in her cheeks told him she was remembering the passion they had shared as well. “I didn’t see any business cards in my wallet.”

“You’re an IT consultant. I think you carry some cards in your jacket pocket, your suit jacket, it’s hanging in the wardrobe closet.” He hadn’t thought to look in the armoire when he chose clothes to put on; he had taken a pair of khaki trousers and a dark blue shirt from the suitcase. “I’m sure you brought some cards because you originally planned this trip for business. You have some kind of an appointment later today.”

“With who?” He went to the closet and found a suit bag hanging there.

“You didn’t tell me.” She paused. “You don’t talk much about your business either.”

Brandon found a packet of business cards, all they had on them was his name, the words Information Technology Consultant and a New York City phone number. He looked at her suspiciously, “I’m secretive about my family and I’m secretive about my job... How well do you really know me?” He couldn’t have sounded more accusatory.

Caitlyn looked hurt. “Obviously not well enough.” She looked like she was mulling over her next words. Finally she blurted them out. “How can you not remember me?” She sounded frustrated. A lone tear finally rolled down a cheek.

Coming this month from Vanilla Heart Publishing

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