Confused. These days, I was always confused. Confused by things that should have been familiar, but weren't. Confused by things that were oh so simple, but just didn't make sense. And confused about the fact that I didn't remember any of it.
Gone. It was all gone. Every memory, every thought, everything I'd ever known, was gone. I remembered nothing. I had forgotten everything. And it was too much, too confusing. Every second of every hour of every day I was confused, because I was so very empty inside. I had nothing to fall back on, nothing real and certain to anchor me; nothing but a few small, miniscule truths.
My name was Thea. I was a half-vampire. I had lost my memory.
Three things. There were only three things I knew for sure about myself. Three things I'd taken to repeating over and over in my head to try and keep myself grounded, to try and stop the ever growing, all-encompassing confusion.
My name was Thea. I was a half-vampire. I had lost my memory.
I had lost my memory. It was strange, really, that that was one of three things I knew to be true. It wasn't that I remembered losing it – how could I, when it was lost? – but rather that there was no other explanation for how empty I was. No other explanation for the fact that I had no memories from before I'd woken, and no other explanation for how confusing everything was now.
And when I say everything, I mean everything.
'Where am I?' It eventually occurred to me to ask.
'In the one of the Cullen's spare bedrooms.'
'You mean in their house?'
'Who are the Cullens?'
'Have I met them before?'
'Why am I here then?'
'I brought you here.'
'Carlisle is a doctor.'
'Carlisle… he's the blonde man?' I knew I'd asked this before but with so much information running through my head, it was difficult to keep track
'Why did I need a doctor?'
'You were hurt.' I knew that already.
'Why was I hurt?' A pause.
'I don't think you want to know.'
I don't think you want to know. That answer had left me silent for a long time, thinking over what it meant.
I didn't want to know.
It was the first question Jake had refused to answer. And the way he'd said it, with his voice quiet and haunted, his face hard and drawn… I didn't doubt that it was bad. That whatever had done it and however I had gotten hurt, it wasn't pretty. But then, I'd figured that out already. The giant hole punched right through my chest was healing at snail's pace, closed up but still jagged and raw and exploding with pain every time I moved too far or too fast. It was bad wound, deadly; according to Jake, I had very nearly died.
Nearly. Because I wasn't dead. I was here, with no memory. And even if whatever had almost killed me had hurt me and been awful, I was pretty sure I still wanted to know. I was so empty, so absent of memory; I would take any, good or bad. And this was undoubtedly important; I couldn't not know it. If this was what was responsible for me not remembering a thing, I wanted to know. I had to know.
But Jake wouldn't tell me. Not yet, he said. Another time. I didn't quite see why; why did it matter if I found out now instead of tomorrow? Yet when Jake said no, I didn't argue. I couldn't argue, didn't want to argue; not when he was being so wonderful and helpful and was the only person in this whole house I had apparently known. Not when he was the only person who could tell me who I was, who I had been.
At first, it didn't occur to me how strange that was; how strange it was that no one else I'd known was here, wherever here was. But as I asked Jake question after question, and he provided me with answer after and answer, I began to wonder.
'Why are you the only one here that knows me? Why is no one else I know here?'
'We had to leave in a hurry. You were…' He cut off, searching for a word other than 'dying'. For some reason, it really seemed to bother him; I hadn't yet figured out why. 'Very hurt.'
'But why here?'
'Carlisle is the only supernatural doctor I know.' That made me pause. It had never occurred to me before that I couldn't just waltz into a human hospital, but now that Jake had mentioned it, I could see that he was right. A human wouldn't be able to help me, a vampire hybrid. But Carlisle, as vampire himself, could.
'But that still doesn't explain why we're alone. I mean, I haven't even met most of the Cullens, and they live in this house.'
'Doc thought it would be best if you didn't meet too many people. He thought it would be too confusing.' Oh. I nodded, agreeing. I was already so confused; more people would make things even harder.
'Where is here?'
'Hmm?' Jake seemed confused by the question.
'I know we're in their house, but where is their house?'
'Brackendale, I think.'
'Southern Canada.' Again, I had no idea what he was talking about; a fact Jake easily picked up on.
'Canada is a country.' I nodded slowly, a new thought suddenly occurring to me.
'Where are we from? Canada?'
'Is that another country?'
'Yes. And we came from La Push, the Quileute Reservation.'
'Quileute.' I repeated, trying out the word. It sounded strange… and almost familiar.
'Quileute is our tribe's name.'
'Our people. You and I are both Quileute, both born of the same bloodlines.'
'We're related? But we don't look alike.' I asked with confusion, and for some reason, panic. The idea of Jake being my brother, or even cousin, made me balk.
'No. I mean we have the same ancestors from hundreds of years ago. And you're only half Quileute, which is why you have lighter skin and hair.'
'Okay… So all our people look the same as you?'
'They look similar, yes.' I paused for a moment then, thinking.
'Is that how we met? Because we're both Quileute?'
'But don't all Quileute's live in the same place? La Push?'
'Not all. You don't.'
'Why not?' Jake sighed.
'That's hard to explain.'
Another question Jake refused to answer. There seemed to be more and more of them with every minute that passed, with every question that I asked. Questions that no matter how strange or complicated or personal, Jake always seemed to know the answer to.
Every single one. He answered every single one. He knew me, knew everything about me; knew about my family, knew about my likes, my dislikes, my history. And I couldn't help but wonder why. Why did he know so much about me? Why had I told him so much about me? Who was he, that he knew all of this? Who was he, that he had been waiting in my bed for me to wake up? Who was he, that he didn't seem to mind spending hours and hours answering my endless questions, never wavering or growing tired?
I didn't know. All I knew was that I was more relieved than I should be that we weren't related, and that even though yesterday he'd been an almost stranger, I couldn't help but be drawn to him. I hadn't minded that I was lying in bed on top of a man I couldn't remember, because touching him was comforting in a way it shouldn't be. I never wanted him to leave the room, because when I did I felt even more lost and confused than usual.
It didn't make sense. How could I be so attached to someone I didn't know? How could I like someone so much, when I didn't even know anything about myself, let alone him?
It was too confusing. I was having enough trouble figuring out who I was, I shouldn't be spending so much time wondering who he was.
And yet, I just couldn't stop.
She didn't remember. I had spent the last two days telling Thea anything and everything she had ever told me, but she still didn't remember. She didn't know who she was, she didn't know who I was; but worse than that was that she didn't know anything else either.
It wasn't just that she didn't know where she was from, but that she didn't remember the place ever existing. She understood the idea of towns and cities and countries, but couldn't remember a single one. She hadn't just forgotten her favourite colour – green – but she hadn't known what green even was. The simplest things I took for granted, that everyone took for granted, she didn't know.
And it was awful to watch. It was awful to have her ask me the simplest questions, because she genuinely didn't know. And it wasn't that I minded answering; hell, she could ask me thousands of questions, millions even, and I wouldn't be bothered. It was just that every question she asked was reminder that I had lost her.
I had lost her.
It shouldn't bother me so much. She was alive, and not dead, and that should've been all that mattered. It did matter; matter so very, very much. But I just couldn't stop myself from wishing things had been different.
I couldn't stop wishing, hoping, to get her back. A thought that made me guilty and selfish every time it popped into my head, because sometime yesterday it had occurred to me that maybe, she was actually better of this way.
Better off not remembering.
She had been so hurt. So very, very, incredibly and terribly, hurt. What he'd done, what that sick, dead bastard had done; hell, I'd do almost anything to get it out of my mind. So wasn't it kind of cruel for me to wish for Thea to get her memory back, when it meant she would be forced to remember the pain too? If it was this bad for me, my memories of it haunting me at night, how much worse would it be for her? And this wasn't even the first time, the only time. There had been others, others I didn't know about, that were undoubtedly just as terrible. I couldn't – shouldn't – want her to suffer by reliving it. I didn't want her to; I had so far managed to avoid telling her anything about why she was hurt, because I just couldn't stand to voice the agonising events. But even though I knew what horrifying memories she would be stuck with if she did remember, I couldn't stop myself from hoping she would anyway.
Because not having her was torture. Thea being lost, gone, was torture. It wasn't that she ignored me, shunned me; quite the opposite. She seemed perfectly content to lie in bed with me all day, even though to her I was stranger. She didn't seem to mind the closeness, to mind my warm touch. All she appeared to want was answers to her many questions. Which wouldn't have been a problem, except every so often she asked about us.
Where are we? How did we get here? Do we both live in La Push? So many times she said the word 'we'… and every time it was reminder that at the moment, there was no 'we'. She didn't know who I was, who she was; how could there possibly be 'we'? There couldn't. There was no we, no us, when she was like this. I couldn't touch her, not the way I wanted to. I couldn't talk to her, not the way I wanted to. And I couldn't tell her, couldn't try; she was too confused for that. She didn't need me like that.
But I needed her.
Every time she said we I couldn't hold back my want, my need. I wanted her, so, so badly; so much more now that I'd almost lost her. Now, all I wanted was for her to be mine. But she wasn't. And she wouldn't be, not for a long time, unless she remembered.
Something that seemed to be growing less and likely with every word I spoke. I had told her so much already, and if all that hadn't brought back her memories, what could? If the most important things in her life didn't ring a bell, how could trivial things help at all? I didn't even know that much more about her, a fact that never failed to make me frown, because I should know so much more.
She was my imprint. My everything. But I didn't know her favourite ice cream flavour. I didn't know if she liked snow. I didn't know if she'd ever been to Canada before now. Things that on the surface might not seem important, but very much were. If you wanted to know someone, you had to know everything, not just the big stuff or the awful stuff, but the little things too. It was knowing the little things that mattered, if you really wanted to be with someone. And god, did I want her. But I didn't know the little things. I would never know the little things, unless she remembered. I would never really know her, unless she remembered.
And that… that made me so, unbelievably sad.