Remember Me?(13)

by Sophie Kinsella

Mum and Amy start to gather their thingsbut he stays put. “I'd like a few moments, just the two of us,” he says. “If that's okay, Lexi?”

“Oh,” I say with a dart of apprehension. “Er... fine!” Mum and Amy both come over to hug me good-​bye, and Mum makes another quick attempt to straighten my hair. Then the door closes behind them and I'm left alone with Eric, in a still, strange silence. “So,” Eric says at last. “So. This i s . . . weird.” I attempt a little laugh, which immediately peters out to nothing. Eric is gazing at me, his brow furrowed. “Have the doctors said whether you'll ever retrieve your memories?” “They think I will. But they don't know when.” Eric gets up and strides to the window, appearing lost in thought. “So it's a waiting game,” he says at last. “Is there anything I can do to speed the process?” 66 “I don't know,” I say helplessly. “Maybe you could tell me some more about us and our relationship?” “Absolutely. Good idea.” He turns, his frame silhouetted against the window. “What do you want to know about? Ask me anything at all.” “Well... where do we live?” “We live in Kensington in a loft-​style apartment.” He proclaims the words as though they're capitalized. “That's my business. Loft-​style living.” As he says the phrase loftstyle living he makes a sweeping, parallel-​hands gesture, as though he's moving bricks along a conveyor belt. Wow. We live in Kensington! I cast around for another question to ask, but it all seems so arbitrary, like I'm padding out time in an interview. “What sort of things do we do together?” I say eventually. “We eat fine food, we watch movies... We went to the ballet last week. Had dinner at The Ivy afterward.“ ”The Ivy?” I can't help gasping. I've been to dinner at The Ivy? Why can't I remember any of this? I shut my eyes tightly, trying to mentally kick-​start my brain into action. But... nothing.

At last I open my eyes again, feeling a bit dizzy, to see Eric has noticed the rings on the cabinet. “That's your wedding ring, isn't it?” He looks up, puzzled. “Why is it here?” “They took it off for the scans,” I explain. “Shall I?” He picks up the ring and takes hold of my left hand. I feel a sudden prickle of alarm. “ I . . . u m . . . n o . . . ” Before I can stop myself I yank my hand away and Eric flinches. “I'm sorry,” I say after an awkward pause. “I'm really sorry. I just... you're a stranger.” “Of course.” Eric has turned away, still holding the ring. “Of course. Stupid of me.” Oh God, he looks really hurt. I shouldn't have said “stranger.” I should have said “friend I haven't met yet.” “I'm really sorry, Eric.'' I bite my lip. ”I do want to know you and... love you and everything. You must be a really wonderful person or I wouldn't have married you. And you look really good,“ I add encouragingly. ”I wasn't expecting anyone nearly so handsome. I mean, my last boyfriend wasn't a patch on you.“ I look up to see Eric staring at me. ”It's strange,“ he says at last. ”You're not yourself. The doctors warned me, but I didn't realize it would be s o . .. extreme.“ For a moment he looks almost overcome, then his shoulders straighten. ”Anyway, we'll get you right again. I know we will.“ He carefully puts the ring back on the cabinet, sits down on the bed, and takes my hand. ”And just so you know, Lexi... I love you.“ ”Really?“ I beam delightedly before I can stop myself. ”I mean... fab. Thanks very much!“ None of my boyfriends has ever said ”I love you" like thati.e., properly, in the middle of the day, like a grownup and not just pissed or while having sex. I have to reciprocate. What shall I say? I love you too. No.

I probably love you too.

No. “Eric, I'm sure I love you too, deep down somewhere,” I say at last, clasping his hand. “And I'll remember. Maybe 68 not today. And maybe not tomorrow. But... we'll always have Paris.” I pause, thinking this through. “At least, you'll have it. And you can tell me about it.” Eric looks slightly mystified. “Eat your lunch and take a rest.” He pats my shoulder. “I'll leave you in peace.” “Maybe I'll wake up tomorrow and remember everything,” I say hopefully as he gets to his feet. “Let's hope.” He scans my face for a moment or two. “But even if you don't, my darling, we'll sort this out. Deal?” “Deal.” I nod. “See you later.” He lets himself out quietly. I sit still in the silence for a moment. My head's starting to throb again and I'm a bit dazed. It's all too much. Amy has blue hair and Brad Pitt has a love child with Angelina Jolie and I have a gorgeous husband who just said he loves me. I'm half-​expecting to go to sleep and wake up back in 2004, hungover on Carolyn's floor, and find this was all a dream.

Chapter 6

But it was no dream. I wake up the next morning and it's still 2 0 0 7 . I still have shiny perfect teeth and bright chestnut hair. And I still have a big black hole in my memory. I'm just eating my third piece of toast and taking a sip of tea when the door opens and Nicole appears, wheeling a trolley laden with flowers. I gape at it, impressed by the array. There must be about twenty arrangements on there. Tied bouquets... orchids in pots... grand-​looking roses... “So... is one of these mine?” I can't help asking. Nicole looks surprised. “All of them.” “All of them?” I splutter, almost spilling my tea. “You're a popular girl! We've run out of vases!” She hands me a stack of little cards. “Here are your messages.” “Wow.” I take the first card and read it. 70 Lexidarling girl. Look after yourself, get well, see you very soon, all my love. Rosalie. Rosalie? I don't know anyone called Rosalie. Bemused, I put it aside for later and read the next one. Best wishes and get well soon. Tim and Suki. I don't know Tim and Suki, either. Lexi, get well soon! You'll soon be back to three hundred reps! From all your friends at the gym. Three hundred reps? Me? Well, I guess that would account for the muscled legs. I reach for the next cardand at last, it's from people I actually know. Get well soon, Lexi. All best wishes from Fi, Debs, Carolyn, and everyone in Flooring. As I read the familiar names, I feel a warm glow inside. It's stupid, but I almost thought my friends had forgotten all about me. Nicole interrupts my thoughts. “So your husband's quite a stunner!” “D'you think so?” I try to appear nonchalant. “Yeah, he is quite nice-​looking, I suppose ” “He's amazing! And you know, he came around the ward yesterday, thanking us all again for looking after you. Not many people do that.“ ”I've never been out with a guy like Eric in my life!“ I abandon all pretense at being nonchalant. ”To be honest, I still can't believe he's my husband. I mean, me. And him.“ There's a knock on the door and Nicole calls, ”Come in!” It opens and in come Mum and Amy, both looking hot and sweaty, lugging between them about six shopping bags stuffed with photograph albums and envelopes. “Good morning!” Nicole smiles as she holds the door open. “Lexi's feeling a lot better today, you'll be glad to hear.” “Oh, don't tell me she's remembered everything!” Mum's face drops. “After we've carried all these pictures all this way. Do you know how heavy photograph albums are? And we couldn't find a space in the car park” Nicole cuts her off. “She's still experiencing severe memory loss.” “Thank goodness for that!” Mum suddenly notices Nicole's expression. “I mean... Lexi, darling, we've brought some pictures to show you. Maybe they'll trigger your memory.” I eye the bag of photos, suddenly excited. These pictures will tell my missing story. They'll show me my transformation from Snaggletooth to...whoever I am now. “Fire away!” I put down all the flower messages and sit up. “ Show me my life!”