Chapter 7: Can I Call You Richard?
Can I call you Richard?
Walking into the kitchen with Bruce, Andrea looked around. It had all the newest appliances money could buy, clean, yet well used. It made her feel that despite him having money, Bruce spent time here with his family of two.
Alfred turned from the oven where he’d pulled out a large pan to ask, “Hungry?”
“For your cooking, always,” Bruce replied as he pulled a chair away from the table, which already had three sets of silverware placed on it, for Andrea to sit down. He then took his seat as he mentioned, “We usually eat in here and only use the dining room if I have guests.”
“Which isn’t often because Master Bruce is a busy man,” Alfred murmured from where he stood at the counter.
Andrea watched as Alfred efficiently dipped out three plates, placing them on the table.
“Drinks?” Alfred asked.
“I’ll just have water,” Bruce answered.
“So, will I, thank you, Alfred,” Andrea murmured.
The old gentleman gave her a slight bow before walking over to the refrigerator and removing a large pitcher of water. He then poured it on top of three glasses of ice he had sitting on the counter. Once he was finished, he returned the water to the refrigerator and brought the glasses to the table. Sitting down, he said, “Enjoy.”
All three dug into their food.
“Mm… Alfred, this is so good,” Andrea told him. “It’s been a long time since I’ve eaten good home cooking.”
“You don’t cook?” Alfred asked.
“I do, but it’s no fun to cook for one,” Andrea explained. “So, I keep it simple. Otherwise, I’m eating the same thing for days.”
Alfred chuckled before saying, “Makes perfect sense. Master Bruce, have you remembered anything else?”
“Small things,” Bruce told him. “Like the fact that we usually eat here. I now remember where my study is and what my bedroom looks like. I also seem to remember I own a red Bugatti Veyron, a black Maybach Exelero, and you usually drive me around in a Rolls-Royce Phantom.”
“Excellent, sir,” Alfred said.
Andrea turned to stare at Bruce.
Catching her, Bruce asked, “What?”
“A RED car? See, I would have taken you for a guy who drives only black cars,” Andrea told him.
Alfred chuckled but said nothing.
“Well… um… I…” Bruce stammered. “Actually, I agree, I think…”
Andrea laughed at Bruce’s look of frustration. She then informed him, “When your memory returns, I want to hear the story behind that red car!”
The rest of the meal was silent, and when it was over, Andrea said, “I’m going to go to my new room for a bit. I need to call my parents, and I think perhaps Bruce needs to check out his study. I think he could learn a lot from his personal space that is strictly his.”
“I agree with you, miss,” Alfred said as he stood up.
“Oh, let me help you first,” Andrea said as she stood and began clearing the table.
“You don’t have to…”
“Yes, I do,” Andrea argued. “I have time to help, so don’t argue with me.”
“Very well,” Alfred murmured as he began loading the dishwasher with the plates, she handed him. He then pulled out empty containers, and they put away the leftovers.
Once the kitchen was clean, Andrea left to go back to the guest room.
Alfred stood in the middle of the kitchen, silent, for a long moment. He then headed to the study. Now would be the perfect time to speak with Master Bruce privately.
Tapping on the study door, Alfred waited. Hearing a gruff “enter,” he turned the doorknob and opened the door. Stepping inside, he took a deep breath and said, “We need to talk, Master Bruce.”
Bruce sat back in his office chair, crossing his arms over his chest as he asked, “About what?”
“The girl,” Alfred answered. “You don’t know anything about her, and yet you have welcomed her into your home. What is she had something to do with what happened to you? She claims to have “found” you, says she didn’t know who you were, but how do we know…”
“Enough,” Bruce almost growled. “I trust her. Something about her just calls to the trusting side of me. Somehow, I don’t think I’m the trusting sort, so in one way, it feels odd to trust her so much, and yet I do.”
“You’re right. You aren’t trusting, never have been,” Alfred agreed. “Being who you are, you have to be even more careful than most men. So, I suppose this is the reason why I find this so strange.”
“Well, until I remember exactly who I am, this is the new me,” Bruce informed his butler. “Now, perhaps you would call the important people in my life and make my excuses?”
“What exactly am I to say?”
Bruce gave a sigh before saying, “Just that’s I’ve been found, but I was injured and will need time to covalence.”
“So, the police and the office?”
“Office…?” Bruce questioned.
“Yes, your office. I suppose it would be alright to tell you, you own Wayne Enterprises,” Alfred admitted.
Bruce sighed heavily, scrubbing a hand across his face before saying, “Alright. Big company to run that might explain the feeling I’ve had about a lot of people depending on me.”
Alfred raised an eyebrow at this. He knew Bruce had a lot on his plate, but he almost sounded… weary, and Bruce seldom showed how tired he was. He always covered it with a stoic look and a gruff demeanor when he wasn’t playing his role of a billionaire playboy. Maybe this amnesia wasn’t caused by whatever happened to him. Perhaps it was caused by mental fatigue, and his body just shut down when he was injured, thought Alfred. This could be a good thing for Bruce mentally, but it could also be harmful if it goes too long. Bruce has significant responsibilities in his company, being the owner, but he also has the duties he took on toward the city when he became Batman.
“Maybe it is, sir,” Alfred answered Bruce as he opened the door to leave, “I’ll go and make those calls.”
Bruce stared at the door, deep in thought, after Alfred left. I need to know me. Not knowing anything about my life cannot go on. Unfortunately, I don’t want to remember either because I think the weight of all my responsibilities might crush me under their weight. Could that be why I don’t remember? Because I don’t want to? I need to because I do have a life, busy as it may be, and I cannot hide from it forever.
Standing up, he headed for the door. He’d see what Andrea was doing because just being in the same room with her made everything seem better.
Bruce almost jogged up the stairs and tapped on Andrea’s door.
Bruce opened the door and stuck his head in as he asked, “Do you mind company?”
“No, the company is good,” Andrea told him with a welcoming look. “I just got off the phone with mom.”
Stepping inside the room, he left the door cracked and walked over to sit on the end of her bed. He then asked, “Everything good there?”
Andrea shrugged and leaned back against her pillows as she said, “I guess. Mom’s taken up where Dad left off, wanting to know when I’m going to stop being stubborn and come home.”
“Did she convince you?”
“Pft! No. I have no desire to return home,” Andrea informed him. “Don’t get me wrong. I love my parents, Bruce. A lot. The thing is, I’m twenty-eight years old, and I never really had control of my life when I lived there. I still lived at home because my parents always had a reason I shouldn’t move out, and I let them do it to me. When I put in the application for the job at Tate and Tate, I didn’t give myself time to wimp out. Instead, I began making arrangements to move.”
“Before you even knew you had the job?”
“Yeah. Even if I didn’t get it, I figured it shouldn’t be too hard to find one, and I had a lot of money put into savings since I lived at home. So, I made a day trip here, found an apartment, then the next day at work I gave in my notice. Two days later, I received a call for an interview. A week later, I had the job. The day I got that call, I packed all my stuff while Mom and Dad were at work and when they came home, I told them I was moving. Then I walked out the door.”
“Wait, you just left as soon as you told them you were moving?”