Set-up: Laura Spaulding wakes up in the hospital after being attacked...with absolutely no memory of what happened--or even who she is. What her fiance, Rob, can't tell her yet, is that they are a Master/slave couple. Now Laura has to fight to get her memory back before the psycho who tried to kill her strikes again. And Rob has to win her heart all over again before he can even think about revealing the depth of their relationship to her.
Rob gave her another sad smile. She wondered if he always looked so sad, or if it was due to the circumstances. “I didn’t even think to ask if they were keeping you on a restricted diet when I talked to Tony earlier.”
“Who are they?” she asked. “The people coming to visit.” The older woman, Carol, she jostled a few memories, but they felt like very old ones. Very faded, disjointed, like she was a kid when they happened.
At least, she hoped they were true memories and not just wishful thinking on her part as they’d gone through photos together.
“Tony and Shayla Daniels.”
“How did I meet them?”
“You’ve known them for several years. They’re the friends who introduced us. You and Shayla are extremely close. Best friends.”
She felt like maybe he was holding something back, but it didn’t feel bad, or like he was lying.
She wasn’t sure how she knew that, or if it was simply more mental gymnastics courtesy of her battered brain, but she let it go for now.
“Why haven’t more people come to see me?” She feared the answer.
“Oh, sweetie, I’ve told people to stay away for now. You were in the ICU, and now…”
He didn’t finish.
He didn’t have to.
“Because I can’t remember them anyway,” she quietly said.
He let out a sigh as he nodded. “I didn’t want you to get overwhelmed. And…” She forced herself not to flinch away from him as he reached out and gently stroked her cheek with the backs of his fingers. “I knew you wouldn’t want a lot of people seeing you like this.”
“You’re seeing me like this.” She felt an instinctive urge to tip her face toward his hand, to nuzzle against it.
She closed her eyes and hoped more came to her, but it didn’t.
For now, she’d settle for that little beacon of goodness in the middle of the sea of black that still comprised most of her memories.
“That’s because I love you. You’re my life. Good luck trying to keep me from your side.”
“What about the couple bringing dinner? Would I want them seeing me like this?”
“They’re like family to us,” he said. “You wouldn’t care what condition they saw you in.”
The door opened again and the deputy poked his head inside. “Rob, there’s a couple here to see Laura.”
“Send them in.” He stood to greet them. Laura clutched at the sheet and waited for them to get all the way in.
They did feel familiar.
More importantly, like Carol earlier, they felt safe.
The man, Tony Daniels, was a little taller than Rob and had green eyes, dark hair, and a friendly smile. Even though he had his arms full of take-out bags, he accepted an awkward one-armed hug from Rob. His wife, Shayla, had hazel eyes and brown hair down past her shoulders.
She also noticed Shayla wore a gold necklace with a heart-shaped tag on it. Something about the look of it pulled a wistful pang from deep in Laura’s heart, and her hand flew to her throat again, helplessly fluttering against the empty real estate there.
I need to remember to ask Rob about that.
Tony put the bags down on the bed tray. “We come bearing food,” he joked.
“Thank you,” Laura said. “Rob told me you were bringing dinner.”
Shayla hesitantly walked around the bed to the other side. The woman looked like she was on the verge of tears. “May I hug you?” she softly asked Laura.
Laura pulled back the sheet and turned to sit on the edge of the bed. Shayla tentatively wrapped her arms around her as Laura did the same.
She heard Shayla sniffle. “I love you so much, sister,” she whispered in her ear. “I don’t know what I would have done if I’d lost you.”
A wave of emotion Laura couldn’t process swept through her. She let out a sob of her own as she tightly clutched Shayla and they cried together.