Remember Me?(8)


by Sophie Kinsella

Feeling as if I'm spying on myself, I start leafing through the tiny pages. There are appointments on every page: Lunch 12:30. Drinks P. Meeting Gillartwork. But they're all written in initials and abbreviations. I can't glean much from this. I flick onward to the end and a bunch of business cards falls out of the diary. I pick one up, glance down at the name-​and freeze. It's a card from the company I work at, Deller Carpets although it's been given a trendy new logo. And the name is printed in clear charcoal gray. LEXI SMART DIRECTOR, FLOORING I feel as though the ground has fallen away from me. “Lexi?” Nicole is regarding me in concern. “You've gone very pale.” “Look at this.” I hold the card out, trying to keep a grip on myself. “It says 'director' on my business card. That's, like, boss of the whole department. How could I possibly be the boss?” My voice rises more shrilly than I intended. “I've only been at the company a year. I didn't even get a bonus!” Hands trembling, I slot the card back between the diary pages and reach into the bag again. I have to find my phone. I have to call my friends, my family, someone who knows what's going on Got it. It's a sleek new model that I don't recognize, but it's still pretty simple to work out. I haven't got any voice messages, although there's a new unread text. I select it and peer at the tiny screen. Running late, I'll call when I can. E. Who's “E”? I rack my brains but can't think of a single person I know whose name begins with E. Someone new at work? I go to my stored textsand the first one is from “E”: I don't think so. E. 41 Is “E” my new best friend or something? I'll trawl through my messages later. Right now I have to talk to someone who knows me, who can tell me exactly what's been going on in my life these last three years... I speed-​dial Fi's number and wait, drumming my nails, for a reply. “Hi, you've reached Fiona Roper. Please leave a message.” “Hey, Fi,” I say as soon as the beep sounds. “It's me, Lexi! Listen, I know this'U sound weird, but I've had an accident. I'm in hospital and I just... I need to talk to you. It's quite important. Can you give me a call? Bye!” As I close the phone, Nicole puts a hand on it reprovingly. “You're not supposed to use these in here,” she says. “You can use a landline, though. I'll set you up with a receiver.” “Okay.” I nod. “Thanks.” I'm about to start scrolling through all my old texts, when there's a knock on the door and another nurse comes in, holding a pair of bags. “I've got your clothes here.” She puts a shopping bag down on my bed. I reach in, pull out a pair of dark jeans, and stare at them. What are these? The waist is too high and they're way too narrow, almost like tights. How are you supposed to get a pair of boots on under those? “Oh, 7 For All Mankind,” says Nicole, raising her eyebrows. “Very nice.” Seven for what? “I'd love a pair of those.” She strokes a leg admiringly. “About two hundred quid a pop, aren't they?” Two hundred pounds? For jeans? “And here's your jewelry,” adds the other nurse, holding out a transparent plastic bag. “It had to come off for the scans.” 42 Still stunned by the jeans, I take the bag. I've never been a jewelry-​type person, unless you count TopShop earrings and a Swatch. Feeling like a kid with a Christmas stocking, I reach into the bag and pull out a tangle of gold. There's an expensive-​looking bracelet made of hammered gold, and a matching necklace, plus a watch.

“Wow. This is nice.” I run my fingers cautiously over the bracelet, then reach in again and retrieve two chandelier earrings. Caught up among the knotted strands of gold is a ring, and after a bit of careful unweaving I manage to untangle it.

There's a general intake of breath. Someone whispers, “Oh my God.” I'm holding a huge, shiny, diamond solitaire ring. The type you get in movies. The type you see on navy-​blue velvet in jewelers' windows with no price tag. At last I tear my gaze away and see that both nurses are riveted too. “Hey!” Nicole suddenly exclaims. “There's something else. Hold out your hand, Lexi ” She tips up the bag and taps the corner. There's a moment's stillnessthen out onto my palm falls a plain gold band. There's a kind of rushing in my ears as I stare down at it. “You must be married!” Nicole says brightly. No. No way. Surely I'd know if I was married? Surely I'd sense it deep down, amnesia or no amnesia. I turn the ring over in my clumsy fingers, feeling hot and cold all over. “She is.” The second nurse nods. “You are. Don't you remember, love?” I shake my head dumbly. “You don't remember your wedding?” Nicole looks agog. “You don't remember anything about your husband?” “No.” I look up suddenly with horror. “I didn't marry Loser Dave, did I?”

“I don't know!” Nicole gives a giggle and claps her hand over her mouth. “I'm sorry. You just looked so appalled. D'you know what his name is?” She looks at the other nurse, who shakes her head. “Sorry. I've been on the other ward. But I know there's a husband.” “Look, the ring's engraved!” Nicole exclaims, taking it from me. “ 'A.S. and E.G. June 3,2005.' Coming up on their two-​year anniversary.” She hands it back. “Is that you?” I'm breathing fast. It's true. It's carved here in solid gold. “I'm A.S.,” I say at last. “A for Alexia. But I have no idea who E.G. is.”

The E from my phone, I suddenly realize. That must have been him texting me. My husband. “I think I need some cold water....” Feeling giddy, I totter into the bathroom, splash water on my face, then lean forward across the cold enamel basin and stare at my bashed-​up, familiar-​unfamiliar reflection. I feel like I'm about to have a meltdown. Is someone still playing a gigantic prank on me? Am I hallucinating? I'm twenty-​eight, I have perfect white teeth, a Louis Vuitton bag, a card saying “director,” and a husband. How the hell did all that happen?

Chapter 4

Edward. Ethan. Errol. It's an hour later and I'm still in a state of shock.

I keep looking in disbelief at my wedding ring resting on the bedside cabinet. I, Lexi Smart, have a husband. I don't feel old enough to have a husband. Elliott. Eamonn. Egbert. Please, God, not Egbert. I've ransacked the Louis Vuitton bag. I've looked all the way through the diary. I've skimmed through all my stored mobile numbers. But I still haven't found out what E stands for. You'd think I'd remember my own husband's name. You'd think it would be engraved in my psyche. When the door opens, I stiffen, almost expecting it to be him. But it's Mum again, looking pink and harassed. “Those traffic wardens have no hearts. I was only twenty minutes at the vet, and” “Mum, I've got amnesia.” I cut her off in a rush.