I'm Here to Fix You

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Chapter 72

CHAPTER 73

SILVIA

“I’m Silvia.” I introduced myself, hoping not to have sounded too perky or too invasive. It’s complicated around here, to be in a new place that is actually old, so people know you but you don’t know them, yet when you think you know them you don’t because you actually never talked or if you met they incidentally hate you. Like ... that Hillary.

I wonder what is it with these women. First the doctor, now Hillary, and consequently her friends. What the heck have I done to be hated? Then again, Joe says the doctor probably holds it against me because of her ex. The problem is, I have no idea whatsoever who her ex is and when did I date him. Could it be Ryan? Maybe he dated her after me, but then left her because ... I don’t know, for some reason he left her, so she blames it on me? Or maybe he dated her before me, and I was the reason why he left her. Ugh! It’s so confusing!

The point however is, I’d like to make new friends. It’s not that I don’t like the ones apparently I had before, as few as they are, it’s just that ... it’s frustrating to stand there while they talk to you, convinced you know full well what they’re rambling about, but you have no idea. And I know, it’s my fault, I preferred to keep the whole amnesia drama within a strict circle, so other than Tess, her boyfriend, and my neighbor, plus my parents and Ryan, nobody else knows. Aside from the medical staff, of course, which includes Joe.

So because, outside the hospital, basically only 5 people, 6 including Lulu, my neighbor’s cute daughter, know about the amnesia, I would like to make new friends. Start anew. Meet someone in this new life, other than try to remember. That brings me to the bold introduction I just did, to someone that is, let me say, the most gorgeous man I’ve ever seen. I mean, Holy Guacamole! Wow!

You must be wondering how can I have time to think to myself if I just met someone new. Well, he didn’t seem any keen on talking. He just ... stood there, interdicted, as if I were a ghost or something. “And ... you are?” I asked after 2 entire minutes of silence. We had the time to go from the 17th to 25th floor and he didn’t speak a word. Though I should have probably mentioned I was going down, now I’m bound to go all the way from the thirtieth floor to the ground one. Sigh.

“Uh ... you okay?” I insisted, because on top of being as silent as a fish, he also looked petrified. He seemed seriously frightened yet anxious yet troubled at the same time. The weird thing is, I felt some sort of knot in my stomach, but I’ll blame it on the awful food Tess had me eat at lunch. We went to this disgusting deli, I wonder how come it even has clients, the food is seriously inedible. Tess justified it saying we didn’t have much time, that place was the closest to the publishing house, and she needed to go back to work soon ... I say she didn’t want to miss her boyfriend too much. She seems really in love.

“Hey ...” I called, brushing the guy’s shoulder. Hadn’t I ever. He startled, as if I’d just shot him. “Sorry.” Okay, rule number one, Silvia. Making friends in an elevator is not possible unless you wanna look like a psycho stalker. Got it.

So I shrugged, and stepped back against the opposite side of the wall, deciding to fill my time by checking my phone. You know what’s funny? I know what social networks are, but aside from Facebook, which I rarely used anyways, I have no other account. I must have been quite the paranoid cookie in my past life. I wonder why. And I wonder whether that has to do with that notorious trauma my brain stubbornly keeps on protecting me from.

When we got to the 27th floor, two women stepped in. As much as I they noticed the gorgeous vision standing there like a twig, but he didn’t even pay attention to her. Actually, there I realized, he was still staring at me. Oh, wait ... did we know each other? Did I make the most horrible gaffe by introducing to someone I already knew? Damnit, I’ve done that 5 times this week already! It’s so annoying. Maybe he got offended because of that. Then again, he thought I was someone he didn’t want to see. Could it be that I was mistaken and he was indeed talking about me?

When the two women stepped off, I swiftly approached him, also because we were at the 29th floor, and he would get off in a matter of less than a minute. “Hey, look ... I’m sorry if ... I have this problem, so I can’t recognize-”

“Jake.” He finally said. “My name is Jake. And no, you don’t know me.”

“Don’t I?” I arched an eyebrow at him, halfway between relieved, because I didn’t make the umpteenth gaffe, and confused, because the way he said those words didn’t really sound calm. Actually, he seemed tense.

“I started a few weeks ago, but I’m almost never here, so you can have hardly met me before.” He claimed, all in one breath.

I perused him for a long moment, wondering whether he was lying ... but why would he? I mean, who would exploit a serious problem like amnesia only to purposely delete every sort of memory someone else has of any kind of bond they’ve had before? That would be kinda psychotic, to be honest. Actually, only a sociopath, and possibly a masochist with sadist tendencies would do that. I wanna hope I didn’t know such a person, because then it would be better that I forgot.

I smiled at the handsome stranger, tucking a strand of hair behind my earlobe, trying not to let the papers in my arms fall. “Well, I started only on Monday, so definitely I couldn’t have seen you. I work for Lion’s Publications as translator and editor. What about you?”

He bit his bottom lip before answering. I’m not sure why he did that, but hey, it was a sexy sight. Apparently also my currently boss was that hot, I heard my co-workers complain about David for that reason. They said, and I quote “we went from a stallion to a lost puppy, way to wake up from a dream”. I asked Tess if he was that incredibly gorgeous as the others say, but she bypassed the subject. “I ...” my handsome stranger cleared his throat, “I work for the big boss.”

“The big boss?” I frowned. Meanwhile we’d gotten to the thirtieth floor, sadly.

“Yeah, you’ve been told that this whole building is-”

“It belongs to Watson Holdings, yes, the company that also owns my publishing house along with many other firms in various other fields.” The fact that I knew about the company we both worked for seemed to make him nervous.

In fact he gave out a short laugh that to me sounded kinda nervous. But maybe it’s not true that pretty people are always self confident. “What Wikipedia does, huh?”

I chuckled, more to comply with his laugh, not wanting to embarrass him, than because I found it funny. “It’s an odd era. Information is truly just one mere click away.” I laughed to myself. “If only I wasn’t such a klutz with computers, I could do a research on Google and find everything I need to. Believe me when I say, it would solve a lot of my problems.” If only I could google my whole life ... or at least the people in it. Imagine how easier that would be. Google: everyone that has entered Silvia Banchi’s life at least once. Then narrow it down to closer acquaintances.

Wait, I did that. I searched through my Facebook friends. But Facebook is deceiving, and when like me you barely ever use it, it turns out that you only have like, 74 friends, 52 of whom are old school or university mates, including your high school boyfriend. I can’t even begin to tell you how flabbergasted Alessandro Bonucci was to hear from his ex girlfriend. The gentleman said, and I quote (though translating) “I should have nailed you when I had the chance ... even for me the freaking Ocean is too far for a good fuck”. Just what kind of moron did I date back then?

My handsome stranger too seemed interdicted. I wonder whether it was me to intimidate him or he was still confused because I guess I look so much like his girlfriend or whoever it is that he mistook me for. I turned my whole body to him when the elevator doors opened to reveal a group of employees heading downstairs. “I’ll see you around.” I smiled as he stepped outside with the same haste as if he were running from a dog with rabies.

“Sure.” He said, but he didn’t sound too convinced. I guess my people skills aren’t too great, so I scared him off. Pity, because he was really hot. Then again, technically speaking, I’m “seeing” Joe. It’s not official nor has there been anything yet, but we’re going on a second date and the first one was nice, so maybe it’s good. I just hope he’ll set aside his professional bias for one night, and forget about my “delicate bones” as he calls them. I wonder when will he realize that, just because I have amnesia, doesn’t mean I don’t know what sex is.

***

JAKE

“Wanna know what I think?” Lucas claimed, playing with his beer.

“I couldn’t care less what you think, Luke.” I yawned, eyes on the huge TV across the bar. “And why the hell are we in this stupid place? You know I can’t drink.” I sent him a dirty look as he sipped his beer contently. I bet he did it on purpose, the jerk.

“Call it shock therapy.” He laughed.

“I thought billionaires only drank red wine made with the blood of their employees.” I scoffed, eyes on the TV again. There was some match on, soccer again. Apparently it’s World Cup period. Ugh. I know Silvia would love to be in my place right now, if she remembered she loves soccer-sorry, football, that is. I learnt to call it football for her. She says she doesn’t understand why we Americans changed the name of a sport that the whole world calls in a different way. I mentioned our football, and she scoffed, saying that’s no sport. Italians and their obsession about soccer, huh?

Lucas rolled his eyes. “No, that’s only your uncle. My stomach is too delicate for blood.”

“You know, technically speaking, you’re richer than my uncle.” I pointed out. “Hell, if you keep this up, you’re gonna be richer than POTUS himself.”

He smiled, that content, lovesick smile that these days makes me sick. “I prefer to think I’m rich in other ways.”

“Oh, please, don’t you even start.” I pretended to barf. “Man, I should have invited the other Lukas. I mean, he’s just as lovesick, but at least he won’t show it off every 2 seconds.”

“You’re only bitter because you made a horrible decision and you know it.” Lucas scoffed, taking another long sip of his beer. “This whole ... staying away thing, you know Silvia’s gonna kill you the moment she realizes, right?”

“She won’t.” Not if I can help it. “You know there are way to delete someone’s memories ... I mean, other than amnesia, there are means to make someone forget about certain things.”

Predictably, he paled, then clenched his jaw. “You’re a jerk, you know that, right?”

I shrugged, playing with my sad, pathetic glass of soda. Because I can’t go too far from my place, due to the freaking bracelet on my ankle, we had to choose a bar near my building, and it obviously happened to be the dirtiest one in the city. I’m surprised Mr. Clean Hands here hasn’t fled yet. “Tell me something I don’t know.”

“Okay then.” Lucas claimed in a smartass tone.

“What?” I turned to him, confused.

“You said, tell me something I don’t know.” He sat up properly on the bar stool. “Then let me.”

“Luke ...” Man, I seriously regret not inviting Bennet. He’s much more fun to hang out with. These days Fitz doesn’t speak to me, or I don’t speak to him or both, Paul and Trey bore the hell out of me, so I resorted to the new friends I made through my cousin Natalie. You wouldn’t believe what I did for her and that boyfriend of hers, what we had to do to-actually no, I can’t tell you. That would be a spoiler, wouldn’t it?

“You think the noble thing to do is bow out of Silvia’s life, let her live without ever remembering you.” Lucas claimed. “But you’re wrong, utterly wrong. And it’s not just because this way you’re killing yourself – figuratively, that is, I know you’re crazy enough to try literally,” I nearly did when we did what I said I won’t tell you about, that’s why he says that. “Also, amnesia doesn’t last forever, Jake. How do you think will she feel when she starts remembering?”

“You said it, she’ll want to kill me.” I answered, shrugging. “So she’ll be pissed. And pissed Silvia dumps you without thinking twice, so yeah, it’ll be fine.”

“You know better than I that’s not true.” He claimed. “She’s going to be pissed, hell, she’ll probably punch that moronic face of yours, if not worse. And God knows how much you deserve it, but then ... she’ll be hurt. She’ll start wondering why did you abandon her like that, and for someone like her, that’s already lost so much, it’s going to take a huge toll ...”

“Luke, no offense, but you don’t even know my Silvia, so do me a favor and shut the fuck up.” I spat, nearly breaking the glass of soda when I slammed it onto the counter, gaining the bartender’s dirty looks, but the other people in the bar where too loudly watching the match on TV to hear me.

“You forget I met her. Also, you forget that night ...” He trailed off, alluring.

I scoffed. “I was drunk off my ass.” It was the night before my sentence, and the day Silvia woke from her coma, so you see why did I get wasted. How could I know it would be the last time I ever could for the next two years?

“Either way, you poured your heart out to me like a dying sinner on the brink of death,” Lucas pursed his lips, “which in your case was somewhat literal.”

“I wasn’t that drunk. And I can handle booze more than you can imagine. Certainly way more than your fine tummy, Mr. Non-alcoholic Beer.” I grumbled, eying his bottle.

“First of all, unlike you, I’m a grown ass man, I don’t escape my responsibilities. One of which concerns me looking out for you, my grumpy friend, because my wife would be pissed if I went back home drunk on a school night, and she’d most probably blame you, so I’m saving your ass here.” Lucas scoffed. “Second, you were wasted, Jake. And you kept calling her name ... should I remind you the whole scene? Because it seems you’ve forgotten.”

I rolled my eyes, cursing the State of Massachusetts’ judicial system for the 25th time tonight. “Well, excuse me, but I am allowed to wallow in my pity party given my current situation.” I scoffed. “Besides, I remember quite well someone whining like a 2 year old when his wife left him all alone to go see her parents while he had to work.”

Lucas shrugged. “I miss my wife when she’s away, I’m not afraid to admit it.”

“Neither am I afraid to admit I miss my girl-ex girlfriend. But that’s not the point.” I grumbled. And here goes curse number 26 as I ordered another soda. The soccer nuts there cheered for I don’t know what reason.

“Yeah, the point is, you’re a jerk. And a big one.” Lucas scoffed, ignoring my glare. “And don’t look at me like that, you know I’m right.”

“What am I supposed to do? Ruin her life? Oh, wait, I already did that once. Paganini doesn’t repeat.”

Lucas rolled his eyes, unaware that there was a small group of people staring and pointing at him like kids seeing monkeys in a zoo. “Life is long, Jake.” He claimed solemnly as he stood, after having placed a few dollar bills on the counter – definitely way more than what was needed to pay for the beer he didn’t even finish. He turned to me, dead serious. “Think about this, you have, on average, how long, 20 more years to live?”

“Only 20?”

“I’m not a doctor, buddy, but you’ve destroyed your liver for years with alcohol, and all that fighting hasn’t exactly helped your articulations, plus the brain surgery ...” He scoffed. “Anyways, you have how long, 20-30 years to live? You can’t handle one week without seeing her, and you think you could handle 30 years without her?” I opened my mouth to argue, but he prevented me: “oh, please, you think I don’t know you lurked around her room at the hospital? You’re not Batman, buddy. I’ve seen you.”

“You went to visit her?” I arched an eyebrow at him.

“My wife and Natalie did. I tagged along. Remained enough to see this suspicious man hanging around like a thief. Hadn’t I recognized you, I’d have called security.” He sighed, standing, which had me frown. I mean, as bad as this place is, we arrived like, 10 minutes ago. He barely had time to drink his beer.

“I only wanted to see how was she.” I grumbled, standing as well. Maybe we’ll go somewhere more interesting. “Nothing wrong with that.”

“There is when you pretend not to know her.” He scolded, but I couldn’t care less. He as much as everybody else, you included, can’t understand why am I doing all this. Silvia would. Sure, she’d be pissed, and she’d literally kick my ass, but she’d see my point.

Lukas sighed, checking his watch. “Well, I better get going now. Lewis is waiting outside. Did you know? You live in a ‘high risk neighborhood’,” he laughed, “my babysitter didn’t even want me to come here, said my face is too recognizable these days.”

“In fact people are staring.” I pointed out. This is exactly why I don’t want the public to know I’m the heir to Watson Holdings. Too much hassle when people know you’re nauseatingly rich.

Lucas laughed, though. “You’re losing beats, buddy. Those women aren’t staring because of who I am, they’re staring because of whom am I with.”

I wiggled my eyebrows, baffled. “What?”

“They’re wondering whether we’re gay or not.”

I frowned, eyeing the group across from us. Wait, why didn’t I see before that they were all women? Women in their late 20s even, exactly the kind of tank I’d fish in. Jesus, lately I don’t even see female beings anymore. Aside from Elise in my bed, that is, but we broke it off the other day. To be honest, I felt guilty. It felt ... like cheating. Stupid, huh? “How do you know that?”

“Because I distinctively heard them say ‘no, the blondie is married’” as they pointed at this,” Lucas laughed to himself, showing me his wedding band, and I wondered whether half a beer was enough to make him drunk.

“Uh ... maybe you’re already too drunk to recall, but we’re both blonde.” I pointed out.

Lucas shook his head in disapproval. “When’s the last time you looked at yourself in the mirror, Jake?”

“I haven’t shaved in a week, yeah, I know I look like shit, but-”

“You dyed your hair a while ago, precisely that night when you dropped by unannounced at my place, waking my kids. See? You were completely wasted, so wasted that you don’t even recall it.”

Ah, right. I dyed my hair black a while ago, it was officially to throw Sokolov off my scent while I worked with the feds to get him, in truth it was ... a precautionary act when I found out about Silvia’s amnesia. The fact that my hair is black but my beard is blonde gives me away, I guess. “I do recall, I just ... ugh, never mind. Let’s just get out of here.” I feel like his wife’s gonna get pissed at me for making him drunk, while I did nothing but sit here. Again, the other Lukas would have been a better choice. He’s younger than I, but at least he’s not a sanctimonious ass like this one. What is it with me, why do I only get sanctimonious friends?

We headed out, I bet because Mr. Clean Hands had enough of this filthy bar. My ears were thankful, the soccer nuts were too damn loud for my tastes. That and because I’d already spotted and all too familiar face. I saw her the moment some guy with a giant hat on moved. I’m great at dissimulating, huh? I could stay here and talk to you throughout the whole night, and you’d never know that my insides were burning and my heart was crumbling.

Because Silvia was sitting in a corner booth, watching the game, but she wasn’t alone. I would have been fine, had it been Ryan. But this was some guy I’ve never met before. I could stand here and pretend all night, but even I have my limits. You’d never know how much this kills me on the inside, but I’d rather not torture myself more than I already have. So I followed Lucas out swiftly.

Truth be told, she wasn’t alone with the guy. There were other people, all watching the game on TV. But she and that guy seemed more interested in each other. Their gaze wandered off to the TV only from time to time.

I know, I know, I deserve this. I basically rejected her, even when the chance came and I met her in the elevator. I deserve to be tortured like this. And I would take it all, really, but like I said, even I have my limits, and the sight of her kissing him is enough torment at least for 2 months.

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