Chapter 13. Blue Diamonds
Ace met all the kids. The kids were horribly confused and upset. They weren’t the only ones. Ace told me he couldn’t handle it. He said he needed to go back to his place. We let him leave, knowing he would most likely be back.
If, for some reason, he tried not to come back, we would track him down.
“I’ve got something,” Benny said. He threw his hand down on my desk.
“Uh, okay?” I asked. “Enlighten me.”
“There is a couple of doctors in the area. They might be able to help Ace get his memory back,” Benny said and grinned.
“I’m not sure we should push him, Benny,” I said and sighed. As much as I would like to have my husband back to normal, I didn’t want to overdo it or force it.
“It’s worth a shot, come on.”
“Maybe, I’ll mention it to him. I’m going over to check up on him anyway. See what he is up to,” I said as I stood. I hadn’t seen him or heard from him in a couple of days anyway.
The study door suddenly swung open. “Hey,” Austin said and smiled. Carley was with Austin. Their hands intertwined.
“Hey, guys,” I said and beamed at them.
“So, I did it,” Austin said and chuckled. Carley flashed the ring at me and wiggled her fingers.
My jaw dropped in surprise. “Oh my god, congratulations!” I clapped my hands excitedly.
“I hope my ex takes it that good,” Austin joked. He threw his head back and laughed. Carley slapped him on the chest and rolled her eyes.
I opened my arms, and Carley bounced into them. We embraced each other tightly and swayed back and forth. Neither of us could contain our excitement.
“Thanks,” Carley said. She kissed my cheek.
“What are you up to?” Austin asked.
“I was just about to see if I could go track down your brother,” I admitted.
“Awesome. When you find him, drag his ass out to Blue Diamonds club. We’re going to celebrate down there. The others will be there too,” Austin said.
“I’m sure I can do that. See you later,” I waved goodbye before I exited the study.
It didn’t take me long to make it to Ace’s place. There was a parking garage below Ace’s condo.
Once in the lobby, the same man from the first time I had been here noticed me. His expression became panic-stricken as he reached for the phone.
“Hey, wait,” I pleaded in a soft voice.
His expression went from panic to confusion in a second. My gaze met his. A small smile spread across my lips, and I leaned over the counter. The counter was so tall when I bent over it; it pushed my boobs up.
“I’m sorry that we got off on the wrong foot. That was my brother-in-law. See, my husband lost his memory in an accident. He’s not comfortable living with me. So, he got an apartment here. The man Ace Cheng is my husband. Please call him. I’m sure he’ll let me up,” I said politely.
He stared at me for a long moment but slowly reached for the phone again. I pretended not to notice that he was checking me out. I wasn’t surprised when he hung the phone up and smiled.
“My apologies. Ace said it was okay for you to go up,” he said.
“Thanks,” I flashed him a wide smile.
As soon as I got onto Ace’s floor, the door opened for me. Ace waved a hand to gesture for me to come inside. I slipped past him. I sat my purse down on the kitchen counter and turned to face him.
“What are you doing here?” Ace asked. “What happened to keeping things hidden?”
“Do they come here to see you?” I arched a brow.
“Sometimes,” he admitted. “We fly back and forth.”
“I’m not worried about it,” I said. “Benny found some things he thought you might want to know.”
“Coffee?” he asked.
Ace walked over to the coffee pot and made coffee as he spoke. “So, what is it that Benny found?”
“He found some doctors,” I started.
Ace turned to face me. His expression distorted from shock. “What? Are you trying to get me to see a shrink?” The words came out a hiss.
“Well, considering you tried killing your own wife, it may not be a bad idea,” I teased.
Ace gave me a challenging look. He narrowed his eyes at me. His lips mashed in a straight line, and he crossed his arms over his chest as if he were trying to contain himself from saying something.
“Ace, I’m kidding. You used to be able to take a joke. The doctor specializes in people who have head injuries and memory loss,” I muttered.
Ace sighed but didn’t respond. He turned around and grabbed two coffee cups from the cupboard. He slid a cup across the counter to me. He looked lost in thought, so I remained silent.
After a long moment, he responded. “Don’t you think if it were going to come back, it would have by now? I saw one doctor in China. He informed me that I was not likely to get it back.”
“A second opinion never hurt anyone,” I pressed.
“Come on, Aria. I understand you miss the way I was, but you might have to accept me the way I am. I’m not going to a doctor for him to tell me the same shit the last one did. Okay? What’s the point in getting our hopes up?” he snapped and raised his brows.
Frustration built up inside of me at his callousness. “Look, I get how you may not care, but we do. We want you back the way you were. If there were any part of you still in there, you would want the same,” I spat.
Ace sighed, clenched his jaw, and looked away.
I got to my feet. “God, you could at least try to act like you care,” I muttered.
“How, Aria? I don’t know you!” Ace hissed. He slammed his hand down on the counter. “I only know what you showed me. I’m not him. Maybe I am physically, but not mentally. All the experiences and memories are gone. How could I be him again with no memory of ever being such?”
Tears built in my eyes. I gritted my teeth to fight them back. “The other reason I came is that your brother got engaged, Austin. You two were once very close. I’m sure you don’t care, but we’re celebrating down at Blue Diamonds Club. Feel free to come or not. I’m sure Austin would like it if you did,” I muttered. I slammed the coffee in the cup and put it in the sink. “Thanks for the coffee,” I added as I grabbed my purse.
Ace stared after me as I walked out the door. All of the words we exchanged made my chest ache. When I imagined finding Ace, it wasn’t like this.
Austin texted me to tell me to be at the club around seven o’clock. I didn’t respond. Just knowing that Ace wasn’t going kind of made me not want to attend either. The only problem with that was I couldn’t do that to Austin and Carley.
When I got home, I showered and got ready to go to the club. Part of me held onto a sliver of hope that Ace would still come. I slipped into a white strapless, short, tight dress that was Ace’s favorite. Not that it should have mattered because he didn’t look at me the way he used to. The attraction was still evident, but the possessiveness and the love were gone. Ace said he wasn’t the same person, and he wasn’t completely wrong.
There was a long line outside the club. However, I didn’t have to stand in line. It was a club that I owned. Once inside, I went upstairs to the VIP section. Everyone had beat me here.
Kelsey sat on Luis’s lap. Carley sat on Austin’s lap. Miguel and Sadie sat side by side, flirting. Jennifer sat on Joey’s lap, playing with his hair. Abel and Kimmy sat side by side, staring intently at each other.
I’m a third wheel, awesome — I thought dreadfully. I wanted to turn and run before they noticed me, but it was too late.
Bailey waved at me and got up from where she sat by Benny to approach me. “Hey,” she said and smiled. “No, Ace?”
“No, I don’t think so,” I said with a sad smile.
“How come?” Bailey asked. Bailey frowned and rubbed my arm gently.
“He’s just not ready, I guess,” I said and shrugged. “He’ll come around more, I’m sure.” I tried to wave it off as if it didn’t bother me, but Bailey knew me so well that she knew it bothered me. I lied when I said that he would come around more, I wasn’t sure of that. Part of me wanted to drag out the revenge on the Chinese because I worried that once they were taken care of, Ace would disappear.
Kimmy smiled as I sat down beside her. A waitress came over and took our orders for drinks. I stared out over the club and watched people dance.
“Aria?” Austin tilted his head to look past Carley at me.
“Is he coming?” Austin asked. He hadn’t heard me talk to Bailey about it. His expression looked uninterested, but his tone said otherwise. I knew some part of him wished that Ace would show up, but he knew it wasn’t likely. I didn’t want to be the one to break his heart.
I opened my mouth to answer, but a throat cleared.
We all looked up to see who came in. To everyone’s surprise, especially mine, it was Ace. Everyone greeted him. Ace greeted everyone back and sat down beside me.
“You came,” I mumbled.
“I’m not sure if it’s wise to be in public together. However, it gets boring sitting at home all the time,” he said and shrugged. Something about his eyes told me he didn’t come because he was bored.
“Thank you,” I whispered.
Ace gave me a nod and looked over at Austin. Ace congratulated Austin and Carley. Everyone picked up a casual conversation, but I was too busy listening to Ace talk to say anything.
Listening to Ace talk gave me a calming feeling. For a moment, I pretended the memory loss wasn’t real. However, it eventually crept into my head. It’s so strange to me how he is here physically but not mentally.
“Aria?” Kimmy waved a hand in front of my face.
I guess I zoned out a bit. “Uh, sorry. What?” I asked. I locked eyes with her.
“Do you want to dance?” Kimmy asked.
“Yeah, sure,” I said.
The guys stayed put, but all the girls descended the stairs. The lights moved to the rhythm of the music. Kimmy, Bailey, Kelsey, Carley, Sadie, Jennifer, and I walked out to the dance floor. I could feel the punch of the speakers in my chest.
As we danced around, I noticed a man at the bar staring at me. Even though I had caught him staring, he didn’t look away.
Immediately, I dropped my gaze. I didn’t want to draw attention to myself. I glanced up at the VIP section. The boys stood at the railing. Ace stared at me. His eyes held a longing or desperation that I didn’t understand. I couldn’t help but stare back at him as I moved around. I wanted him to come to me, but I knew that he wouldn’t. I desired his attention and his touch, but I knew that I wouldn’t receive it.
It felt like the longest song I had ever danced to. I finally looked away from Ace and danced until the song ended.
When the song stopped, I looked up to find Ace and realized he wasn’t there.
“I’m going to get a drink and go back up,” I said.
There weren’t many seats open at the bar. I waved at the bartender to get his attention.
“What can I get you, Mrs. Garcia?” Jayden asked.
“Hey, Jayden. A whiskey sour, please,” I said. “How do you like the job?”
Jayden was one of my newest bartenders. I hand-picked him myself. He had excellent references. He could do amazing tricks with the bottles, like juggle them.
“It’s awesome. I’m happy I got in here,” he said and flashed me a smile. Jayden handed me my drink.
“I’m glad to hear that,” I said. I stood up to head back upstairs. A hand grabbed my arm. I turned to face who had stopped me. It was the man I saw staring at me earlier.
“Hey, gorgeous. Do you want to dance?”
Before I could respond, a deep husky voice answered for me. “She’s married. Beat it, asshole,” Ace spat.
My jaw dropped, and my eyes widened. My heart skipped a beat, and humor flashed in my eyes.
The guy put his hands up as if in surrender and slowly retreated.
I bit down on my lip to hide the smile as I turned to face Ace. A smirk played on my lips. “Look what you did,” I teased. “Are you going to replace my date?”
Ace narrowed his eyes at me for a brief moment and then rolled his eyes, but a smile slowly spread across his lips. “You weren’t going to say yes to that twit.”
“How do you know?” I challenged.
He bit his lip. For that, he had no answer, which triggered me to flash him a wicked grin.
“Aren’t you at least going to ask me to dance since you ran him off?” I asked. I stepped closer to him.
“I can’t dance,” he said.
A giggle escaped me. “Oh, I think you can,” I argued. I grabbed his arm and pulled him toward the dance floor. I sat my drink down on a random table. I was more interested in his attention than the drink I just ordered.
He had no memory of who he is, but I could teach him. It didn’t seem that I would have to teach him much of anything when it came to dancing. Ace suddenly spun me into him.
Ace moved effortlessly and moved me around the way he wanted. He danced the same as he always did. It confused me at first. Ace said he couldn’t dance, but he picked it right up as if he hadn’t forgotten.
At the end of the song, he dipped me and pulled me back up. His lips hovered over mine. Both of us were utterly breathless.
“You said you couldn’t dance,” I said.
His gaze flickered to my lips and back to my eyes. His chest rose and fell against mine. “I didn’t think that I could,” he said. His eyes were confused but curious. “Can I dance?” he asked.
I gave him one solid nod. His lips hovered closer to mine, but a loud song made us jump. We had been in our own little world that the sound took us by surprise. Ace stepped back and cleared his throat. I sighed and walked past him. We had a moment, but it passed — I could tell from the look in his eyes.