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This is part 9 in a series. To catch up:
Read Part 1: “Push The Button“
Read Part 2: “This Is How It Works“
Read Part 3: “Sapphire (Part 1)”
Read Part 4: “Mark Of The Beast“
Read Part 5: “Lesson Learned“
Read Part 6: “Home For The Holidays”
Read Part 7: “From When He Came”
Read Part 8: “Love Is A Star”
And now… “Remember Me”
“So what do you think? You think you’re up to going out to a party?”
Nicole looked up from her computer screen and focused on Marcus, who was sitting on the couch flipping through the television stations. She had a headache, something she had gotten used to over the last three months. Almost every day, in the late evening, she developed a dull, but thumping headache behind her left eye and near her left temple. She usually popped a few Advil and it would subside. This evening, she was so focused on her writing that she barely noticed how fast it crept up on her. She was writing another journal entry on her tablet. Her neurologist suggested that she keep a journal when thoughts came to her, thoughts that might be memories she struggled with understanding. She typed faster than she wrote, so she kept the entries in her tablet, which was password protected: 0214. She wasn’t sure why she chose that number, but it just came to her so she rolled with it. She looked back at her screen.
David. David. David. Who is he, really? Why does Marcus act like he hates him when they claim to be friends? Why does he check on me so often? Is that why Marcus hates him? Is he jealous? Did there exist some sort of tension between them over me? How long have we known David? Is he a childhood friend of Marcus’? Why does smile at me like that? Why is he so nice? I had yet another dream about David. He and I were on a cruise and we were drinking and gambling. I wore a coral dress and sun hat, he work a pale pink button down shirt and grey slacks. We were then standing against the rails and he was behind me, arms wrapped around me. I was..happy…
Nicole began to type again, ignoring Marcus’ question.
I was smiling and I felt warm, not from the sun, but from him.
She back-spaced and capitalized the “H” in Him. Then stared again. Why did I do that? She then scrolled up about 9 pages and reread an earlier entry:
Had another dream about David… we were laying on the floor of my kitchen, crying…
“Nicole?!” Marcus called her name louder, with a more edgy demand. He turned around, wondering what had her distracted. He saw her staring at her tablet intently.
“Hey, baby, dont stare too hard. You might hurt yourself,” he cautioned with a half-chuckle. He stood up and began walking over to her. Nicole closed the document and turned the tablet’s screen off. Marcus paused but said nothing. He didn’t want to push her…yet. When she woke up in the hospital, she connected with him, to his surprise. He wasn’t sure what to do and he definitely wasn’t prepared for how she reached out for him and called his name when she fully came to. He loved the look of pure anguish that crossed David’s face when it happened, though. He relished that, in fact.
According to her doctors, Nicole needed as much support as possible by the people she was closest to and she needed to be in familiar company, locations, and the like. They insisted that her amnesia was partial and likely temporary, but there was no telling if she’d ever fully recover her memories or if she did, when that would happen. He and David were cautioned not to push too hard to force her memory to return. Since Nicole’s most recent memories included Marcus being her lover, Marcus happily and eagerly volunteered to help her ease back into her life and recover. David was livid, but He eventually agreed with what the doctors recommended would be the best course of action to help her fully recover. He vowed to stay close, but He would also give her the space needed to avoid or at least minimize confusion. Before she was released, David went to their apartment and cleaned out His things, moving Himself temporarily into a sublet a few miles away. One of her doctors said she would benefit from picking up life where her last memory left off and since she was focused on Marcus, David’s presence might do more harm than good.
He still had keys, though.
David thought, hopefully, that maybe she’d find the lease on her own and see both of their names on it. Maybe she’d find the journal He happened to leave in the drawer of the nightstand by His side of the bed. He also slid her engagement ring into a box with her collars and other adornments He’d gotten her over the years and hid it in the back of her closet. He rationalized to Himself that these subtle hints would be helpful in bringing back her memory and that He wasn’t being pushy, just helpful.
“Do you want to go out to a party or something? Maybe have some fun? You’ve been kinda hiding out here for months now. We should go out and get acquainted with our old life. You don’t even know what you’re missing, baby!” Marcus said.
“I’m not really up to any partying, Marcus,” Nicole replied.
“I’m just trying to help, babygirl,” Marcus insisted. “Let me take you out so we can have some fun. You still have that freak edge in you that I’ve always loved. A little bump on the head didn’t rob you of that,” he said with a genuine laugh this time. He ran his fingers through her hair and yanked her head back, descending down for a deep kiss. Nicole returned his kiss because she felt like she was supposed to. When he bit her lip, she winced and pulled back, staring at him.
“Too much?” he asked, searching her face for an answer.
“I don’t…like that,” she answered. “It doesn’t seem right. Maybe I liked it before, but I don’t now. Please don’t bite my lips anymore, Marcus,” she asserted.
“OK OK OK,” Marcus said, stepping back with hands raised. “I won’t bite your lips anymore. My bad, baby. I just know you used to love when I did that, especially when I drew blood. You’ve always loved my pain,” Marcus said, eyes darkening at his own memories.
“Well, I don’t now,” Nicole confirmed as she stood up and headed to her bedroom to put her tablet away and change into her gym clothes. She’s made evening trips to the gym part of her new routine. She knew she was into working out. It felt routine to her. She remembered growing up heavy and she felt compelled to work out, so she did what came naturally. David mentioned that He recalled her being a member of a gym about 3 blocks from her house and sure enough, she saw the membership card on her key chain. Marcus knew nothing about that.
After the accident, Nicole was let go from her job, as they claimed they weren’t obligated to hold her job for longer than 8 weeks. Rather than fill her position with a temp worker, they opted to hire someone new, so Nicole no longer had much to do during the day. She wasn’t even aware of her position or the agency for which she worked, but they did give her a year’s salary as severance, so she was financially comfortable for a while. She could not bring herself to look for work because she still struggled daily feeling like pieces of her were missing. She knew she wanted to help people, somehow. Marcus told her she was a social work administrator, so that feeling of wanting to help others made sense. She could not help others, however, until she helped herself. She knew Marcus. Marcus felt normal. Normal didn’t exactly feel right, though, and Nicole could not understand why she felt unsettled and occasionally fearful when she was around him. Marcus was her man and she felt like she was supposed to love him. Maybe she’d forgotten what love was too? Both Marcus and David refused to answer her when she prodded for details about what happened to her before she fell into a coma. They both gave the same answer, “The doctors think its best you not know the details until they come back to you.”
She knew how to cook. She found herself spending more and more time in her kitchen, coming up with new recipes and concoctions. Her house felt empty, like something or someone was missing. She asked Marcus if they lived together, because she said she felt a masculine presence, but he said they didn’t, that they did once.
His name wasn’t in her phone.
He couldn’t explain that.
Nicole finished getting dressed and went back into the living room. She thought Marcus would have taken the hint that it was time for him to leave, but he seemed even more comfortable on her couch than before.
“Marcus, I’m headed to the gym. When I get back, I’m gonna head to bed. I’m pretty tired as it is,” she told him.
“Why not just stay in and rest? We could watch your show, Scandal. Babygirl you know you love you some Olivia Pope. It’s all up in your DVR,” he chided, laughing.
“I don’t know… I watched a few episodes and… I don’t get it. Like, she went from being a teen mom saving the last dance to being a Republican side chick? I just don’t get it…”
“You women love that show!”
“Maybe I did, but I don’t see the appeal now. And what’s up with Harrison? Where are his balls? Who wrote out his manhood? Blah”
“True. He is kind of bitchassed.”
“Hey!” Nicole said, chuckling. “Don’t be so harsh!” She laughed because she thought the same thing watching the last episode. She shook her head and grabbed her keys.
“Well, you gotta go,” she said plainly.
Marcus sighed and stood up. “Fine. Fine. Fiiiiine. I’ll go. Enjoy your workout. I’ll call you later and check on you.”
“No, you don’t have to. I’m good,” Nicole said, opening the front door. Marcus followed behind her.
As she locked the door, she continued, “You know, you really don’t have to check on me so much. I’m fine, really. I’ve been really focusing on writing down my memories and I feel like I’ve been making progress. I can focus more when I have some space.”
“So what are you saying?”
“I’m saying that I need some space, Marcus.”
“What does space mean? What do you want?”
“I’m asking you to give me some time to myself. I have a lot of things to work on and figure out.”
“So when should I call you?”
Nicole paused and slowly turned to face him and look him in the eyes.
“Marcus, I’ll call you. Ok?”
“Fine,” Marcus replied tersely. He didn’t wait for the elevator, instead opting to take the stairs. When the door to the stairwell closed behind him, Nicole breathed a sigh of relief. She felt like she finally exhaled breath she had been holding in for three months. She pushed the elevator button realizing that would be the last time she would see Marcus for a while.
David parked His car in the parking lot of Nicole’s gym. He decided to get a membership last week when He realized that He could not remain passive anymore. He had given Nicole three months to adjust to her surroundings and He felt that was more than enough time. He was suffering tremendously, in every aspect of His life, and He could not take it anymore.
He needed His woman back.
He had to take some time off from work because He found Himself completely distracted by everything that had happened. He explained to his supervisor what was going on and she understood Hid pain, having met Nicole several times. She referred Him to their Employee Assistance Program and the contact there got Him connected with a therapist that He starting meeting with every other week. After the first three sessions, His therapist recommended that He go on vacation and get away from His daily routine for a while, so He went away to clear His head a bit. He wanted to check on His father, but could not reach him, and He didn’t bother looking for him. He found a quaint Bed & Breakfast in New Jersey, run by a pleasant lesbian couple that could cook their behinds off. They were open to Him and took good care of Him for the week, even gave Him two nights free. He tipped them the cost of the two nights instead, because He realized that week saved His sanity.
Fuck Marcus. If he so much as touches my Star, I’m going to kill his ass.
In the weeks immediately following Nicole’s release from the hospital, David was consumed with thoughts of Marcus taking advantage of Nicole’s memory loss and violating her. He had nightmares of him assaulting her and her calling out for Him to save her. He would wake up, covered in sweat, and grab His phone to call her… then put the phone away. He could not disturb her. She would not understand.
Instead, He decided to make Himself more present in her life and maybe, over time, she would come to remember Him. He told Himself that he would not press her. He would simply be there. Wherever she was, He would be there.
He felt like a complete creep.
He knew this was around the time she came to the gym so He knew to be there at this time. He got out of His car and walked towards the entrance. He saw her coming down the street, so He slowed His pace. He stared at Her, briefly, before she would notice His gaze. He absorbed her.
God, she’s beautiful. My baby…
He breathed deep and when she got closer, He opened the door. She looked up to thank Him and recognized Him, greeting Him with a warm smile.
“Hey Star,” He said, instinctively.
“Good evening, Sir,” Nicole responded, nodding her head in His direction.
David paused for a moment and stared at her. He wanted to lean in and kiss her forehead, but refrained. Did she…?
“What’s up?” she asked, cheerily. “You work out here too? I didn’t know that! How come I’ve never seen you here before?”
“Eh, I just joined last week,” He began, disappointed. “My gym is getting too crowded and you always raved about how much better your gym was than mine, so…”
“I did? Well, it is pretty awesome. Come on in, let me see what you’re working with,” she said, playfully punching him in the ribs. David wanted to grab her hand and put it on His hardening penis, but restrained himself.
“Who are we?? What we run? The worrrrrrldddddddd!! Who run this mutha unh unh” Nicole sang out finishing up her 3 miles run on the treadmill. David looked over at her screen, then back at His, with its paltry 1.25 miles and shrugged. He was tired. Dead tired. She’d gotten fast during her recovery time. She was darling, though, singing along with Beyonce while she ran. They were almost done. David was thinking about how He could make His way back to their apartment. He had to be smooth with His approach.
“Hey! You wanna come over for a bit and maybe have some coffee??!!” Nicole yelled, trying to speak over the music in her headphones.
David leaned over and pulled her earbud out of her left ear. “Yes,” He said with a smile. “I’d love to. I’ve been wanting to catch up with you, but… Marcus… you know…”
“Yeah, well,” Nicole said in between deep breaths, “I told Marcus I needed some space. I’m still trying to figure things out and I feel like he is crowding me a bit. Does that make sense? Ugh I shouldn’t be telling you that.”
David turned off his treadmill. “No no no, it’s totally fine. I get it. I can’t imagine he’s given you much time to yourself. He seems pretty overprotective.”
“For real,” she said, turning off her own treadmill. “I feel like I haven’t had a moment to myself to do anything. So, I asked him to kinda back up a bit and let me breathe,” she said with a dramatic eyeroll.
They cleaned off their machines and left the gym, walking towards their apartment.
“Come on, it’s this way, only a few blocks,” Nicole said.
“I know, Nicole,” David said quietly and followed her to the apartment. They walked silently, each winding down from the workout and focusing on their breathing. One of the things they enjoyed most about each other was that they had perfected the ability to sustain companionable silence. They never felt the need to force conversation or fill the space between them. It was not empty space. It was a space where that which existed beyond love flowed between them. It came naturally in this moment. David remembered it well and hoped Nicole recognized it.
When they got to the building, Nicole told David that she needed to shower and He told her He would make Himself comfortable. She offered Him a towel and washcloth so He could shower too.
“What am I supposed to wear when I’m done? My sweaty clothes?”
“I found some men’s clothing in my closet a while back. I can iron those for you, if you’d like,” Nicole answered.
David felt Himself begin to stir.
“Oh, you don’t have to. I’ll be ok…”
“Oh no no no, Sir,” she said playfully. “You’re a guest in my home. Let me take care of you,” she continued, curtseying in front of Him.
“Stop that,” David said, half-serious. She had no idea what her supplication was doing to Him.
Nicole shook her head, “Fiiine!” She went into the bathroom to take her shower.
David made His way to their bedroom.
He didn’t have a lot of time.
Nicole wrapped her towel around herself. Shoot, I don’t have anything to put on. She should have been more concerned about being indecent around David, but she felt abnormally comfortable. She actually felt like she was too covered up. That’s odd she thought to herself. She shrugged it off and dried herself off thoroughly.
“David?” she called out, “Can you please hand me the bathrobe hanging on the door to my closet in my bedroom?”
David did not respond and she wondered if He had heard her.
“David?? Did you hear me?” she asked again, a bit louder this time.
Did He leave? What the hell? She opened the bathroom door and went towards her bedroom. She walked in to see David standing in the middle of the open space by her bed. His hands were behind his back. He had lit a candle while she was in the bathroom.
“David, what is going on? What are you–”
David raised His eyes to stare at her. Nicole met His stare, a questioning look on her face.
“I don’t repeat myself Nicole. You know that.”
“What the hell are you–”
Nicole could not finish her sentence because in less than two seconds, David had crossed the space between them and had His right hand around her throat. One second later, His left hand pulled her towel off of her body, leaving her completely naked in front of Him. He pushed her back against the wall behind her. She raised her hands to fight Him off, but He grabbed both of her arms with His free hand and pushed them over her head behind her, pinning them against the wall. His right hand squeezed a bit tighter around her throat.
“Baby…how do I look?”
“You look beautiful, Star.”
“Well, you would say that since you picked this outfit out!”
“I wasn’t talking about the outfit. I was talking about you.”
“Aww baby, you’re so sweet…”
“You…are…mine…” He growled into her right ear before His mouth descended onto her shoulder, kissing it first then biting. Nicole twisted her body in an instinctual fight against His attack, then tried to raise her feet to kick her feet up, but He spread her feet wide, trapping them with His. She could not move.
She was His. In that moment, she was His…again.
David felt a tear release itself and fall to her shoulder. He kissed it.
“You see that star right there?”
“Which one, Sir?”
“That one, riiiight there”
“Mmhmmm, I see it”
“See how bright it’s shining?”
“That’s you, Star. You shine so bright in my life.”
“You say the nicest things, Sir”
“I adore you.”
He whispered, tightening His hand around her throat as He felt her resistance waning. He glanced at her out of the corner of His eye. She was still with Him. She was not about to faint. He knew her, knew her threshold. She could handle way more than this.
“You’re not letting me walk away, are you?”
“I didn’t think so.”
“But you have to tell me if you want to. Tell me if you’re unhappy, Star.”
“If I am unhappy, You will fix it. We will make it better.”
“I want you to know that you can leave if you have to.”
“Do you mean that?”
“I didn’t think so.”
He felt her arms give up their fight and He released His hold on them. They fell around His neck. His right hand eased its grip on her throat and He felt her shaking her head. He looked back at her and saw her lips moving.
“More…” she managed to get out, a crack in her whisper.
He tightened His grip on her throat as His left hand traveled lower to feel out her response. She was drenched. She was preparing herself for Him, despite every memory her mind lost. Her body remembered and responded. He clasped her wetness, gentlyat first, then more firmly.
“Mine!” He muttered harshly into her ear.
“What did you put in my drink?”
“No, seriously, Sir. What the hell happened? When did I fall in love with You?”
“It took a while, but it was bound to happen.”
“I mean, how can I not…?”
He lifted her right leg slightly, giving Him enough room to position Himself for entry. He stopped Himself and looked at her.
“Say you want this. Say it!”
“Are you sure, Nicole?”
“Yes…yes… it feels….”
David was inside of her before she could finish her thought. He wrapped first her right leg, then her left leg around His waist. She tightened her grip on His neck as He lifted her and fully positioned her on top of His hardness. He moved within her with the desperation of a starved prisoner of war. He battled internally, feeling He might be taking advantage of her. He slowed down, but then felt her legs wrap around Him tighter.
“Don’t stop…don’t stop…this is… this is…” she panted.
“This is amazing. This is what I’ve needed. Oh God don’t stop, don’t stop…”
Nicole let out a moan.
“Are you here?”
Nicole gasped as she felt Him deep inside of her.
“My Star, are… you… here??!”
“Yes…,” her nails dug into His back.
(to be continued)
Read Chapter 10 “The Learning Curve” Here