Remember Me?(16)


by Sophie Kinsella

“I'm...not sure.” “I'll write it down,” Eric says helpfully, and takes the pen. This is crazy. I don't know where I live. I'm like some confused old lady. “Well, good luck, Lexi.” Neil looks at Eric and Mum. “You can help by giving Lexi as much information as possible about her life. Write things down. Take her back to places she's been. Any problems, just call me.” The door closes behind Neil and there's silence, apart from the chatter of the telly. Mum and Eric are exchanging looks. If I was a conspiracy theorist I'd say they were hatching a plan. “What is it?” “Sweetheart, your mother and I were talking earlier about how we would”he hesitates“tackle your release.” Tackle my release. He sounds like I'm a dangerous, psychotic prisoner. “We're in a pretty strange situation here,” he continues. “Obviously I would love it if you wanted to come home and resume your life again. But I appreciate that you may find it uncomfortable. After all...you don't know me.” “Well, no.” I chew my lip. “I don't.” “I said to Eric, you're very welcome to come and stay with me for a bit,” puts in Mum. “Obviously it will be a little disruptive, and you'll have to share with Jake and Florian, but they're good dogs.” “That room smells,” says Amy. “It does not smell, Amy.” Mum seems affronted. “That builder chap said it was simply a question of dry something-​or-​other.” She makes a vague gesture. 82 “Rot,” says Amy, without moving her gaze off the television. “And it does smell.” Mum is blinking hard in annoyance. Meanwhile, Eric has come over, his face showing concern. “Lexi, please don't think I'll be offended. I understand how tough this is for you. I'm a stranger to you, for Christ's sake.” He spreads his arms. “Why on earth would you want to come home with me?” I know it's my cue to answerbut I've suddenly been distracted by an image on the TV screen. It's of me and Eric on a speedboat. God knows where we are, but the sun is shining and the sea is blue. We're both wearing sunglasses and Eric is smiling at me as he drives the boat and we look totally glamorous, like something out of a James Bond movie. I can't help staring at it, mesmerized. I want this life rushes through my brain. It belongs to me. I earned it. I'm not going to let it slip through my fingers. Eric is still talking. “The last thing I want to do is get in the way of your recovery. Whatever you want to do, I will completely understand.” “Right. Yes.” I take a sip of water, playing for time. “I'll just... think about it for a few moments.” Okay, let's just get my options absolutely clear here: 1. A rotting room in Kent which I have to share with two whippets. 2. A palatial loft in Kensington with Eric, my goodlooking husband who can drive a speedboat. “You know what, Eric?” I say carefully, measuring out my words. “I think I should come and live with you.”

“Are you serious?” His face lights up, but I can tell he's taken aback. “You're my husband,” I say. “I should be with you.” “But you don't remember me,” he says uncertainly. “You don't know me.” “I'll get to know you again!” I say with growing enthusiasm. “Surely the best chance I have of remembering my life is to live it. You can tell me about yourself, and me, and our marriage I can learn it all again! And that doctor said familiar circumstances would help. They'll trigger my retrieval system or whatever.” I'm more and more positive about this. So I don't know anything about my husband or my life. The point is, I've married a good-​looking multimillionaire who loves me and has a huge penthouse and brought me taupe roses. I'm not going to throw it all away just because of the small detail that I can't remember him.

Everyone has to work at their marriage in some way or another. I'll just have to work at the “remembering your husband” part. “Eric, I really want to come home with you,” I say as sincerely as I can. "I'm sure we have a great, loving marriage.

We can work it out.“ ”It would be wonderful to have you back.“ Eric still looks troubled. ”But please don't feel any sense of obligation“ ”I'm not doing this out of obligation! I'm doing it because . . . it just feels right.“ ”Well, I think it's a very good idea,“ Mum puts in. ”That's it, then,“ I say. ”Settled.“ ”Obviously you won't want t o . . . “ Eric hesitates awkwardly. ”I mean... I'll take the guest suite.“ 84 ”I would appreciate that,“ I say, trying to match his formal tone. ”Thank you, Eric.“ ”Well, if you're sure about this...“ His whole face has brightened. ”Let's do this properly, shall we?“ He glances questioningly at my wedding ring, still lying on the cabinet, and I follow his gaze. ”Yes, let's!“ I nod, suddenly excited. He picks up both rings and self-​consciously I hold out my left hand. I watch, transfixed, as Eric slips the rings onto my finger. First the wedding band, then the enormous diamond solitaire. There's a hush in the room as I gaze down at my beringed hand. Fuck, that diamond's huge. ”Are you comfortable, Lexi?“ Eric asks. ”Does that feel right?“ ”It feels... great! Really. Just right.“ A huge smile licks across my face as I turn my hand this way and that. I feel like someone should throw confetti or sing the ”Wedding March." Two nights ago I was being stood up in a crappy club by Loser Dave. And now... I'm married!

Chapter 7

It has to be karma. I must have been amazingly noble in a previous existence. I must have rescued children from a burning building, or given up my life to help lepers, or invented the wheel or something. It's the only explanation I can think of for how I've landed the dream life. Here I am, zooming along the Thames Embankment, with my handsome husband, in his open-​top Mercedes. I say zooming. Actually we're going at about twenty miles an hour. Eric is being all solicitous and saying he knows how hard it must be for me to get back in a car, and if I feel traumatized to tell him straightaway. But really, I'm fine. I don't remember anything about the crash. It's like a story I've been told that happened to someone else, the kind where you tilt your head politely and say “Oh no, how awful” but you've already stopped listening properly. 86 I keep glancing down at myself in wonder. I'm wearing a pair of cropped jeans, two sizes smaller than I used to wear. And a top by Miu Miu, which is one of those names I only used to know about from magazines. Eric brought me a bag of clothes to choose from, and they were all so posh and designer I hardly dared touch them, let alone put them on. On the backseat are all the bouquets and presents from my hospital room, including a massive basket of tropical fruit from Deller Carpets. There was a letter attached from someone called Clare, which said she would send me the minutes of the latest board meeting to read at my leisure, and she hoped I was feeling better. And then she signed it “Clare Abrahams, assistant to Lexi Smart.”