A New Chance Part 4
“What do you mean? What baby?” Stiffly she pushed her mum away from the hug, placing a slight pressure on her mom’s shoulder as she kept her at arm’s length. Her mom returned the same frazzled expression. “You don’t know?” Her mom then looked back at Brandon and asked. “You haven’t told her yet?”
“Told me what? Why are you even asking him that?” Cherry’s eyes were wide, searching everyone’s expression for answers, but they all kept silent while avoiding her pressing gaze.
“She just woke up. I was going to ease her in.” Brandon explained, while internally heating up from exasperation at the woman’s careless mistake. His eyes flickered to Cherry, and her mom looked back at her daughter. “You really remember nothing?”
The question only infuriated Cherry even more, as no matter how hard she tried to recall- she couldn’t remember anything that let to her being admitted to the hospital. “Mom, I love you, but I swear to god that I will go hysterical if you don’t stop being cryptic.”
“Sweetheart.” Her mom begun, her words coming out too slow, alerting Cherry that something was really wrong, and that she needs to prepare her heart for what’s coming, as she gathered her daughter’s hands in hers, placing them on her lap. “You were pregnant, but you had lost the baby because of the accident”
Cherry didn’t prepare her heart hard enough, as she felt breathless, her heart creating its own irregular rhythm, the beeping monitor following suit. “This is not funny, mom.”
“I’m not joking-”
“Of course you are joking, because I don’t remember doing the tango with a man that would cause me to get pregnant!” She yanked her hand out of her mother’s hold, throwing them in the air to emphasize how ludicrous her mother sounded. “Did I swim in a pool that got contaminated with sperms or something? Just how!-” Her words got stuck in her throat when her eyes landed on the opal ring clasping around her ring finger, reflecting the artificial lights of the ceiling lamp in her quivering eyes.
Her temper quailed, making room for confusion. She deliberately lowered her hand closer to her face. As she looked at the ring, her breathing became more elaborate, as if she had seen it before.
Her eyes broaden before she darted her gaze to Brandon or, to be more exact, his left hand carrying on its finger a similar ring. Her eyes moved up from the hand to level with the calm eyes that were studying her every movement.
Brandon knew what was plaguing Cherry’s mind and before she could voice her question, he had already answered her with a confirming nod, causing Cherry to gasp for air.
“B-But how? I don’t remember having ever met you. How am I already married or… pregnant?”
“That’s because you’re suffering from selective amnesia.” The doctor cut in before Cherry could have a mental breakdown, coming to stand next to her bed. The doctor was glad that his hands were holding onto the medical chart, as they otherwise would have cupped the woman’s face to smooth the distress out of her. He didn’t want to see her like that.
“Selective amnesia? You’re telling me I’m suffering from memory loss?”
“Partially yes. You seem clearly able to remember your mother and...?” The doctor halted his speech as he gestured to April, not knowing what to call her.
“Oh, I’m her friend. April Moore.”
The doctor bowed his head in acknowledgment and proceeded with what he was going to say. “But you don’t seem to remember that you’re married, or that you were pregnant. Perhaps the concussion mixed with the traumatic accident was something the brain couldn’t handle, and it locked away anything that had to do with the event.”
On receiving the overload of information, Cherry fell silent, her eyes lowering themselves to her lap.
“Will her memories never come back?” Her mother asked, worried, to which the doctor answered with an assuring smile,
“Her memories will come back as long as she submerges herself with familiar surroundings. So doing the things she normally did with her husband should trigger something.”
Everyone let out a sigh of relief except for Mark and Brandon. Mark because he didn’t care, his attention mostly narrowed to his wife or the birds outside the windows. Brandon because he noticed the shift of emotion in Cherry.
“... I would like to be alone,” Cherry spoke in a soft dejected voice, gaining everyone’s attention.
“What was that, sweetie?” Her mom asked, as she didn’t catch what her daughter had just said.
“I want to be alone now!” Cherry, in a swift movement, lay back down, throwing the blanket over her head to prevent the people in the room from seeing her bereaved.
“Cher-” Her mom wanted to call her out for her behavior, but her father placed his hand on her mom’s shoulder and she reeled her words back in, seeing her husband shaking his head. Throwing one last glance at her daughter, who disguised herself as a cocoon, she sighed before standing up, leaving the room together with her husband.
“Let’s give her some space.” Mark said to April, as she hadn’t attempted to move from her spot.
Hesitantly, she let herself get propelled to the door, but before leaving the room, she cast one look over her shoulder to her saddened friend.
“I will call you.”
Cherry immediately regretted sending the people out once the silence reigned in the room, turning her obnoxious thoughts ear deafening. Except for her broken leg, her body folded in a fetal position, her hands covering her ears as if to silence her thoughts that were already running rampant.
Pregnant? Married? In what type of parallel universe did she get herself in to!? She was sure that she was going to be a hermit for the rest of her life, but now she learns that she’s married and pregnant!?
Was pregnant, her mind reminded her and her eyes traveled to her stomach that was obviously flat. Her hand reached for the hem of the hospital gown and lifted it up. She winced as the fabric brushed against the still fresh scar that was made from an incision.
Her eyes trembled and her breathing hitched on seeing the jagged seam that went across her stomach along with the stretch marks running down it. This confirmed even more that her body was housing a baby.
She took in a shuddering breath. “What do you want?”
Everyone had left the room, but she still felt a warm presence. The same presence she felt when she was in a coma. Glancing up, she could see his shadow hovering over her before it lowered down. The screeching sound of the hinds of the chair scrapping against the floor penetrating the air. The stranger now sitting next to her.
“How are you feeling?” Somehow, hearing the question coming from him lifted her mood, which only made her more pissed and confused.
“Peachy, I’m about to walk out of the room from delight.” She groaned mockingly, earning a chuckle from him.
Seriously, why is he still here? She thought, annoyed.
“Because I wanted to be with you for a bit.” He answered and Cherry went rigged. Crud, did he hear her thoughts?
“Yes, I did. Your thoughts are like a running faucet when you’re nervous. You got better at keeping them in your head after we started dating, but I see that you’re back to normal.” When Brandon heard her groan from embarrassment, he added with a playful grin, “It’s cute.” And it made it easier for him to understand her.
Cherry’s cheeks heated, and she dared to risk a peek, lowering the duvet so it would rest beneath her eyes. “Look, Brandon, right?” When her eyes met his, Brandon’s face beamed, causing the red tint in her cheeks to intensify. She turned her eyes away, as looking longer at him causes a commotion in her chest. “I-”
“What?” Cherry snapped her eyes back at Brandon. His smile was still there, but it did not reach the bottom of his eyes.
“I get that your feelings for me have turned stale after losing your memories.”
Again Cherry averted her gaze from his, feeling the tightness in her chest.
Brandon slipped his hand in hers. Cherry flinched but didn’t retract her hand. Instead, she let her body get consumed by tingles send by the rough pad of his thumb stroking the back of her hand.
The tingles must be from the anesthesia still left in her body, she tried to convince herself.
“But we can rekindle it again, so let’s not make any rush decisions.”
His voice lowered and something dark danced in his eyes, holding Cherry down. For a split second she felt this dooming fear clamping her muscles and, as a defense, she blurted out,
“You’re not my type!”
His bushy but perfect brow arched up, matching his lopsided grin. “That’s a lie.”
It is. Though his appearance got roughened up from a lack of sleep and shower, the man’s face features were enough to stop someone in their track and have them look back again to make sure that what they saw was not a hallucination.
The grin on Brandon’s face widened, and Cherry cursed under her breath. “You heard my thoughts again.”
“Don’t be shy. I’m your husband. You can stare at me as much as you want and...” Bringing her hand to his face, he kissed to back of her hand while keeping his heated gaze locked with hers. “You can also touch me however you want.”
God, that husky voice is a crime, she thought in a trance. The traitorous heart monitor told Brandon that his actions made her heart stutter, increasing her urges to rip of the electrodes off her chest or even better- throw a damn pillow at the equipment.
“Could you maybe now... leave?” She squeaked, snatching her hand back from his grasp.
“Why?” His voice lowered closing the distance between their faces. The tone of his voice giving him this air of confidence that turned Cherry even more flustered. She drew back her head as she felt lightheaded from the proximity.
“Please stop.” She berated inwardly at how meekly her voice came out of her mouth. His eyes that reminded her of the sweet taste of cinnamon flitted for a split second to her lips, bringing an edge to their amusement and anxiety to hers.
Instead of doing what he wanted to do the most Brandon brushed the small hairs on Cherry’s forehead back and placed a soft kiss on it before pulling back, offering her a smile, leaving her gaping in red brightness as she slapped her hand on the place that was now burning from his lips.
“You’re confused, scared, and lost. I was that too when you didn’t wake up for days, so forgive me for my selfish actions, as this still feels like a dream to me.” He stood up. “I know that I’m just a stranger in your eyes, but in my eyes you’re my wife and I hope that you’ll give me the chance to proof you that. After all, you married me for a reason.”
Cherry found it difficult to form a proper response to his words and could only stare at him as she watched how he walked away, granting her the wish of wanting to be alone.
Leaving the room, Brandon met with Cherry’s parents, April and Mark.
“How is she?” April asked, worried.
“She’s okay if you exempt from the fact that she’s now married to a total stranger.” He scratched the back of his head awkwardly as he laughed tremulously. Cherry’s parents and April shared the same look of ruefulness while Mark’s eyes subtly narrowed.
Cherry’s mom gave Brandon a compassionate pat on the shoulder. “Don’t worry, over time she will remember you.” She assured, earning a nod from Brandon.
“Mother, father, for the meantime you both should stay in our house. I will stay here in case something happens and who knows, maybe if Cherry and I engage more often in a conversation, she may start to remember me.”
“You sure son?” Cherry’s dad asked.
“Yes, I will call you guys if we need something. You should also go April, that swollen feet of yours don’t look good. Is that from pregnancy?” He questions, his gaze dropping to April’s foot that has grown in size clad in sandals.
April groans, “Yeah... pregnancy has been a real dictator, but I shouldn’t be leaving you alone.”
“Don’t. Just go home.” Brandon stuck his hand up, standing firm behind his decision as he knew Mark would also stay otherwise and he sure as hell didn’t want that.
“Okay, fine.” She huffed. “But you better really call us if something’s up.”
“Sure, sure, now go along.” Brandon shooed, earning a playful fist to his shoulder from April.
When they all had left, Brandon perched his back against the door, hiding his face behind his hands. His shoulders quacking every time, he let out a shuddering breath as if he was choking on tears.
People passing by threw looks of sympathy to the young man, praying that he would get through this grieving stage, not noticing the lips that curved up maliciously or the body that trembled from holding back a joyful laughter.
This was the best thing that could have ever happened to him! His mind had been raking ever since the accident for solutions for when Cherry would wake up. Who would have thought that the universe was so gallant to him!? His hand slipped in his pocket, fingers wrapping themselves around something. The eerie smile still nailed to his face, he whispered under his breath, “I guess I wouldn’t be needing this bottle of anesthesia anymore.”
He had it stashed away in his pants in case Cherry would have tried to choke the living daylight out of him the moment she would lay her eyes on him. But now the only thing he needs to do is to make sure that she will never retrieve her memories!
He made his way down the hallway, his steps light, his face bright but his eyes blind, for the path he was taking was rough with lots of bumps that he was prepared to forcibly smooth down. Blind for the grey eyes that dared a peek from around the corner, narrowed with suspicions as they witnessed the foreboding grin on Brandon’s face.