Who is Batman?

Chapter 3: Bits of Memory Return

Bits of memory return

The man awakened once more, almost with a gasp as he looked around. He was lying on an unfamiliar couch with a heavy quilt tossed over him. Where am I? How did I get here, and why does my head hurt so much?

“Hey, you alright over there?”

He looked over at the woman sitting in an armchair across from him. She had her legs pulled up under her, a book across her knees. Her hair was pulled up in a messy bun, and she had a concerned look on her face.

Who is she? Wait, I remember, her name is Andrea. He relaxed slightly and sat up with a grunt of pain as he put pressure on his bandaged hand.

“Careful with that wrist,” Andrea murmured as she lay her book aside and stood up. “Let me get you some more pain pills.”

“No, I’m good,” he told her, not wanting to seem weak. “I don’t feel as bad as I did, just hungry.”

Andrea laughed and said, “Good thing I fixed us some lunch then. Oh, and your clothes are finished washing and drying. I laid them on my bed if you wish to redress.”

He looked up to find Andrea once more biting her bottom lip, her face flushed. Her eyes were on his chest where the robe had gapped, showing off his six-pack and his chest hair. He chuckled, and her eyes came up.

Clearing her throat, Andrea turned toward the kitchen area as she said, “I’ll just reheat the food a bit so it will be warm.”

With another soft chuckle, he stood up, retying the robe before heading toward her bedroom.

Stepping inside the bedroom, he glanced around, taking note of how clean and neat it was. It was a feminine room without being obnoxiously so. Andrea’s curtains were a powder blue that matched the flowers on her white bedspread. The carpet was a dark blue and, since it was an apartment, he figured she’d worked her color scheme around that fact.

He made his way over to the bed where the clothes lay. There were his black dress pants, a thick black pair of socks, his black boxer briefs, and a dark gray cable knit sweater.

Pulling off his robe, he tossed it on the bed. Next, he picked up his boxer briefs, pulling them on, then his pants, hissing through his teeth when a sharp pain moved up his wrist while trying to button his pants. After finally getting them fastened, one-handed, he was glad he didn’t have a button-up shirt to put on. Yanking the sweater over his head quickly, he sat down on the bed to pull on the thick black socks.

Taking a moment to look around the floor for shoes, he found none. Somewhere in the back of his mind was a memory of how he didn’t like going barefooted. However, there was nothing he could do about it at the moment, so the socks would have to suffice.

He ran a hand through his hair and cringed at how it was stuck up everywhere. He liked his hair neatly combed; he drew in a sharp breath as that memory quickly moved through his mind.

Right behind it was another. My name, my name is Bruce… Bruce what though? I like my hair neatly combed, and I slick it down with gel every morning before going into the office. What office, though? Where do I work?

Bruce grunted in annoyance as he tugged at his hair. He stopped the motion pretty quickly, though when it caused a sharp pain to move through the knot, he had on the back of his head.

Standing up, he headed for the bedroom door. How much longer before I know who I am again?

Andrea glanced up as Bruce reentered the living room area and headed toward her, where she stood next to the small table. “I fixed you a plate since the table doesn’t have much room.”

“That’s fine,” Bruce murmured, then added, “and I have remembered my name. I’m Bruce.”

Andrea grinned and said, “Nice to formally meet you, Bruce, and I’m glad the sweater fits.”

“It would seem I have no last name, though,” Bruce continued with dry humor as he picked up his fork. “So, I know I’m rich, someone named Alfred cooks my food, and my name is Bruce. That isn’t much to go on.”

“It’s all we’ve got right now,” Andera said. “Now, Alfred doesn’t seem like a common name, so maybe we can look up his name and find a phone number or address for him. The internet is amazing these days.”

Bruce nodded, and after swallowing, he said, “Agreed.”

They didn’t take long to eat, and when they were finished, they moved to the couch.

“So, Andrea, tell me a bit about yourself,” Bruce suggested.

“Well, I only moved here a couple of weeks ago,” she began. “My dad is a big-time judge in the town I was raised in, and I’m a lawyer. Dad wanted me to follow in his footsteps, but I don’t want to be a judge. Sometimes I’m not sure I even want to be a lawyer.”

“Hm, a lawyer,” Bruce murmured. “Do you work alone or with someone?”

“With someone, the law firm of Tate and Tate,” Andrea told him. “I’m mostly just a stooge at this point, taking small cases they don’t want to fool with. I’m hoping to get my name out there, though, so that I can either make partner or strike out on my own eventually.”

“Good plan, unless you decide for sure you don’t want to be a lawyer.”

“Yeah, but I’ve spent so much time being one I don’t know if I want to start over,” Andrea said.

“Gotham is a rough place, lots of crime and all-around bad guys,” Bruce cautioned. “I’m not sure I’d want to be a lawyer here, and I’ve lived here all my life.”

“Well, Gotham was the first job opening I found. Plus, I mostly came here to get away from Dad and his aggressive nagging for me to become a judge,” Andrea admitted. “So, I suppose if it becomes too bad, I could always go somewhere else.”

“That is true,” Bruce agreed. He hummed softly before asking, “So, what are your favorite foods?”

Andrea laughed and asked, “Why would you want to know that?”

Bruce glanced over at her, seeing the sparkle in her eyes and the flush on her cheeks. Andrea was a lovely woman, inside and out, it seemed to him, and he wanted to get to know her better. She seemed like the kind of woman a man would give up his playboy ways for.

Just like Dad stopped playing the field when he met Mom, I think Andrea could have me doing the same. Ha, look-a-there, another bit of my memory has returned. I may remember everything sooner than I feared I would.

So, Bruce admitted, “I like you, what I know of you so far anyway, and I think that even when I find out who I am, I’d like to keep in touch with you. Maybe I might even take you out to dinner and repay you for taking such good care of me.”

Andrea laughed again and patted his thigh as she told him, “Okay, well, since I like you too, I’ll tell you. Well, I’d have to say that my favorite would probably be fried chicken with all the fixings that go with it. Mom used to make the best-fried chicken; mm-mm good! I also really like banana splits for dessert. However, if I’m going out to eat, I like to eat Japanese food.”

Bruce nodded and told her, “I like Thai food sometimes. Alfred makes a rather good pot-roast that I enjoy if I’m staying at home.”

Andrea grinned and mentioned, “You remember more things now.”

“Just small things, but I’m glad to have even that,” Bruce told her. “Let’s see; I have a feeling I don’t watch many movies, but what about you?”

Andrea looked toward the ceiling thoughtfully before she told him, “I really don’t much care for movies either. So, except for a few girls’ nights out with my friends where we went to the movies, I don’t watch many. If I do watch them, though, I prefer the action-packed ones.”

“No chick flicks?”

“Ha, no. I like movies where people are blowing things up,” Andrea informed him haughtily. She then added, “I’ve heard that Batman likes to blow things up around here.”

Bruce shook his head as he said, “If only I could remember who this Batman is. He seems to be an icon around here.”

“All in good time, my man, all in good time,” Andrea teased. “Now, I think we should go out and get some fresh air before it gets dark.”

“I have no shoes.”

“Never fear. I happened to be an expert shoe person and bought you a pair while I was out,” Andrea told him as she stood up. “When I was a teenager, my first job was at a place called Shoes by the Dozen, and by the time I finally quit working there, I could look at someone’s feet and know their shoe size.”

“Interesting talent.”

“I know. So, I bought you a pair of black dress boots that I figured would go well with your dress pants,” Andrea informed him as she grabbed a bag that was sitting next to the exit door. Bringing it back with her, she pulled the boots out and held them up for his inspection.

“Nice,” Bruce said.

“Let’s see if they fit or if I’ve lost my touch,” Andrea suggested as she handed the boots over.

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