On Forgetting Ch. 02byewebie©
I have been writing stories for as long as I can remember, but I'm totally new to public forum publication. Any and all feedback is welcome. I apologise in advance, life is about to get a little hectic and it may take me longer than I wanted to get these chapters up, but please be patient. I promise, I have the story planned, and it will be finished... eventually. In the mean time, this is a bit of a long chapter. This is more of a slow burner story, so it just starts to heat up. More to come soon!
Thanks for reading,
The next time Langdon opened her eyes it didn't hurt as much as the first time. She felt fuzzy, but nowhere near as heavy as before. She blinked the haziness from her vision and turned timidly, afraid of finding Connor still by her side. Instead, a familiar face appeared from behind a newspaper and blue eyes blinked quizzically at her. "Eoin?"
He smiled. "Well, now here I was thinking you'd have forgotten me. How's things?"
She sighed with relief, "Oh thank God you're the same."
A wry grin quirked the corner of his mouth. "I hope not."
She struggled to sit up and wrapped her arms around his neck. He returned the embrace in kind and let her lean against him when he finally freed himself from the hug. "Are we..." she stopped, unsure of how to continue. Her eyes flickered nervously away from him. "Eoin, Are we still friends like... well, like before?"
He was quiet for a moment. "Actually, I hate you. You're dead to me, really. Never liked you in the first place."
Langdon pulled back and took in his blank gaze. She fretted for a fraction of a second before she caught the glint of mischief that shone in his eyes. She laughed, slapped his shoulder playfully, and laughed again. "That's horrible. You're not nice at all!"
"You love it," he told her sarcastically.
"It is you," she sighed, smiling gently. "It's nice to have something familiar."
The pager in his lap beeped loudly and he frowned. "If familiar is what you want, I have some things for you to look at." He grabbed a stack of albums from the bedside table and set them in her lap. "I have to duck out for a moment. Go ahead and take a peak through those, see if they don't jog your memory. I'll be back in a tick."
"Hey, Eoin?" she called before he could get out the door.
He turned, "What is it?"
"Um..." she ran her finger along the spine of one of the books. "Is Connor... Are we... Um... Did I..."
He smiled at her struggle. It was cute. "Yes. You're dating Connor. You're screwing the shit out of each other and driving everyone else mad." She flushed a dark shade of crimson. "Yeah." He grinned. "Take a look at the pictures."
Langdon watched him leave and tried to calm the strange fluttering in her stomach. It wasn't that she didn't know who she was; it was just the void of missing information. Which felt so unfair as Eoin seemed exactly the same. But obviously she was not the same person she thought she was. Langdon couldn't wrap her head around the idea of Connor as a boyfriend. He was just so... Connor.
They had been friends ever since she had arrived in Dublin. He was the goofy, big brother type and a heartbreaker to the core. She had instantly recognised his revolving door of relationships and tried to keep well clear of the fall out from the girls that passed in and out every week. And the one time she had made the mistake of liking one of Connor's girls, Langdon had ended up as a shoulder to cry on when Connor moved on to another conquest.
It had been the only real fight she ever had with Connor, and for a miserable week they refused to speak to each other. Eoin had settled it by handcuffing them together until they worked it out. And working it out didn't happen until they were about to beat the hell out of each other. Another reason Langdon couldn't imagine dating Connor: he intimidated her. She couldn't imagine ever explaining it to Connor, she wasn't sure she could explain it to herself.
Their activities together tended to be things like studying, practicing clinical presentation, reading, watching movies on her beat up couch, and bickering. They argued all the time about silly things, and that was part of why he felt like a brother. They would squabble, throw food at each other, play wrestle, and end up flopping on the couch and falling asleep before the movies were over. It was normal, comfortable, and totally platonic. She shook herself. Enough. I'll remember it.
Langdon turned to the photo album and opened the first page, instantly recognising her own handwriting. She traced the lettering with the tip of her finger. "Cycle 1 - the younger years." The album was filled with events she remembered. The entirety of her first year compiled into a series of collages.
Strange that she instinctively understood the comments under each picture, comforting that she recognized the pictures. Finding a picture from the holiday party, she studied the scene she had created with Connor and Katie. With Connor dressed as a tacky Santa, flanked by herself and Katie dressed as naughty elves. Connor was wearing his trademark lop-sided grin, which moments later had become a frown as she and Katie had doused him with glitter. She smiled. It had been a great year. But things she remembered wouldn't help bring back what was missing. She pulled out the second album and began turning the pages, blinking at the images of herself that she couldn't place.
Eoin returned from his page and dropped onto the bench next to Connor with the heavy sigh of an overtaxed medical intern. "She's awake if you want to see her again."
Connor frowned. "Does she remember the past year and a half?"
"I gave her that stack of her albums to flip through. Maybe she'll remember something." Eoin watched Connor carefully. "Connor, she'll remember."
Connor ran a hand through his dark hair. "And until then, I do what? Go back to being her friend?"
Eoin snorted. "Yeah, keep it in your pants for a few days."
"That's not what I mean," he snapped.
Eoin laughed. "Calm down. I know what you meant. Just... be there for her. Even when she starts to remember, it will be hard. Give it time and don't push her too hard."
"EOIN?" Langdon's voice carried out into the hall. Eoin smiled wryly and stuck his head around the doorframe.
"Done with the books already?" He glanced back to Connor and winked. "You remember anything neat?"
Langdon furrowed her brow. "Not really. I was just wondering... Well, I don't want to yell it."
Eoin nodded and stepped into the room, moving to the bedside. "What's up?"
"I don't remember any of this," she gestured to the pictures that were spread in the albums on the bed.
"Lang," he laughed. "You have to give it time. You've only been awake for an hour or so."
"No, I know, but," she rubbed the middle of her forehead absently. "But, why don't I have pictures of Katie after last Christmas?" Eoin froze, but Langdon continued oblivious to his sudden tension. "I mean, we're at everything together until here," she flipped to the class Christmas party from their second year.
"But then, nothing. Did we have a fight or something?"
Or something, Eoin thought as he shifted from foot to foot. "Lang."
She looked up, eyes wide like a child. "Is that why she hasn't been in to see me?" Connor appeared at the door, having heard the conversation, he couldn't stay out on the bench any longer. Eoin glanced at him, and Connor shook his head. Langdon glanced at Connor. "I mean, did she drop out? Or go home? Or... are we just not friends? Do you think she'd come in to see me anyway? I just really want to talk to her."
"Laney," Connor's voice was pained.
"Connor?" she raised her eyebrows, the confusion and honest hurt on her face.
Eoin sighed, "She'll find out someway or another."
"Don't," Connor pleaded.
"Eoin?" she turned her gaze to him.
"Lang, Katie..." Eoin looked down at his feet. "Katie was hit by a drink driver, back about a year ago."
"What?" Langdon sucked in a deep breath. Connor dropped on the bed beside her and rested his hands on her shoulders. She spun, startled. "Is she ok? What happened?" Connor winced. "Connor?"
Eoin swallowed hard. "No, Lang. Katie... Katie's injuries were too extensive. She coded in the ambulance and died on the table."
The colour drained from Langdon's face. "What?"
"You were in theatre when she came in and Prof sent you away. There was nothing they could have done." Eoin shook his head. "It was..." he couldn't finish.
Langdon felt her throat close. "She..." The words caught and died in a gasp for air. Langdon had the distinct impression that she was drowning and fought to breathe. "Katie... No."
Connor held her, "Sshh, Laney, it's alright."
"NO!" she screamed and thrashed free of his hands. She pushed away from his chest and blindly punched at him as hard as she could. "That's not true!"
Connor allowed her to hit him again before catching her wrists and pulling her back up against his chest, wrapping his arms around her and holding her tightly.
"I'm so sorry, Laney."
"No," she whimpered, breaking down into sobs. He rested his chin on the top of her head and rocked her as she shuddered through the tears, feeling her fingers twist at the fabric of his shirt.
"I'm sorry," Eoin whispered.
Connor shook his head sadly. "She would have found out sooner or later."
Eoin nodded, jumping as the pager on his waistband went off again. He looked up; "Are you going to be alright here?" When Connor nodded, Eoin gave an apologetic shrug, and left the room quietly.
Connor buried his lips in Langdon's hair and ran his hand soothingly up and down her back. Eventually she cried herself into exhaustion and Connor wove his fingers into the curls at the nape of her neck, tracing invisible patterns along the sensitive skin. She sighed softly and sniffed. He pulled back and gazed down at her tear stained face.
She was not the type of woman that looked beautiful when she cried. Her nose turned red and her face was puffy. It made his heart twist; it somehow physically hurt him to see her cry. She sniffed again and forced a watery smile. There was something so beautiful and vulnerable about her at that moment, her mahogany waves unruly around her face, the bittersweet shine of her green eyes, even the blotchy pink tearstains on her cheek. Connor couldn't help it. He leaned in and pressed a kiss gently against her lips.
He felt her tremble slightly, surprised perhaps, and eased the kiss deeper, parting her lips with his tongue and sliding it into her warm mouth. She let out mewing noise before he felt her tense and push him away. Her face flushed a charming shade of pink and he smiled. "I'm sorry," he whispered. "I keep forgetting that it's weird to you." He pulled her back into a warm hug, holding her close, but in a relaxed and comforting manner.
"You keep forgetting?" She closed her eyes and listened to his breathing, trembling from the grief and the strange fluttering in her stomach. "Connor?"
"Tell me something good."
She chewed on the inside of her cheek. "Not everything since then could have been bad. Tell me something good."
"Aside from the fact that I get to kiss you all the time now?" he joked.
Langdon punched him lightly in the arm. "Come on."
Connor pondered her request, knowing that what he said would desperately affect their interaction until her memory returned. After a moment, he smiled. "Your older brother was married in August."
"Yup. Married. To that girlfriend you liked so much." He felt her relax further into his embrace, settling comfortably in his lap. "You were the maid of honour. The dress was a pale green, about the shade of your comforter cover. And I know it's rather uncool to say, but you looked more gorgeous than the bride."
She flushed. "You were there?"
He grinned and met her inquisitive glance. "Well, yeah. We had been dating for around six months and you thought it was a good time to introduce me to the family." If it was possible for her to turn a deeper shade of crimson, she did. "It was fine. Your brothers took me out to a hockey game and made sure I was up to scratch. Your mom and your aunt showed me baby pictures and were laughing so hard at each other I'm pretty sure they were crying. And your father and I watched the Patriots play and had a drink. I survived with all my limbs."
Langdon released a chuckle. "Sounds like you did better than most guys."
"That's because I am better than most guys." He leaned down, his breath tickling her ear and drawing a shiver from her body, "And I even got to sleep in your bed, Laney."
Her eyes widened. "My parents let you?"
He pursed his lips thoughtfully. "I'd like to think it was because they liked me so much, but I'm sure it was because there was no where else to put me with all the other family in town."
Langdon straightened and eyed Connor. "So, we?"
A wicked grin wove across his face. "We?"
"Have we?" Langdon cleared her throat.
"Have we what?"
She felt her face heat. "I can't believe I'm dating you," she muttered.
Connor leaned forward until his face was an inch from hers, and Langdon's breath caught in her throat as she pulled back on impulse. Connor followed, inching forward until Langdon was trapped with her back against the pillows. He didn't kiss her, not exactly, but his lips brushed against hers as he spoke. "I could give you quite a few reasons why we're dating," he murmured seductively.
Langdon pressed her eyes closed as his closeness wrapped around her, from the heat of his body to his unique smell that was decidedly male; it was intoxicating. She couldn't tell if she was excited or scared, but for her friend to behave this way was downright unnerving. "Please stop," she whispered.
Connor grinned, and she could feel his breath on her face. "If that's what you really want." His fingers grazed just below her ribs and she jumped, sucking in a breath. The movement pressed her lips against his. He kissed her lightly and pulled back, glancing at the heart monitor that had steadily picked up pace over the past few moments. He winked at her when she opened her eyes, then sat back in the chair. Langdon drew the blanket up around her, frowning. "You can't say you don't feel the chemistry," he joked
Langdon chewed on her lower lip. "That's not fair, Connor."
He leaned forward, propping his elbows on his knees. "I know," he said sincerely. "I just," he sighed. "This isn't easy for me either, Laney. I'm willing to entertain just about any idea that pops into my head right now if it stands even the remotest chance of bringing back something from the past few months."
"When," she looked down at her hands. "When did we start dating?"
"When I finally got to stop chasing you," he smiled. She furrowed her brow. "Officially, it was February of last year."
"So, almost a year ago?"
He nodded. "I was after you for ages." He ducked his head and gave her the look of a little boy who'd been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Langdon found it irresistible. He knew she loved the boyish side he had, and he abused it. He gave her puppy dog eyes and she just melted. Maybe it was unfair that she didn't know she'd told him, but all is fair in love. "I don't really know when it happened," he admitted, his brown eyes twinkling with mischief. "But there was this one day that I remember looking at you and I couldn't believe how beautiful you were."
Langdon blushed. "Really?"
He nodded. "You saw right through me. You always have."
"You're not that hard to read," she argued.
"I am a deep and complex man," he shot back with a grin.
"So you played your best cards, and I resisted. I can see that." She crossed her legs beneath her and toyed with the blanket.
"How is that so easy to see?" he demanded indignantly.
"Connor, you go through women like some people go through paper towels. It's like a flavour of the week with you."
"I used to go through women like... Like what you said. Used to." He rubbed the back of his neck absently. "Once I caught you, I haven't looked at another female in nearly a year." Langdon narrowed her gaze. "Yeah, I know," he chuckled. "It sounds crazy, but it's true. Ask Eamonn, or Eoin."
"So, you stopped chasing, because?"
"Because you stopped running." He laughed.
He sobered, and met her eyes seriously. "I don't know. You never told me."
"I never said why I liked you?" she looked worried.
"Liked?" Connor snorted, then grinned. "You love me."
Langdon suppressed a smile. "Ok, so, if I never explained myself, why did we start dating?"
Connor leaned back in the chair and closed his eyes. "You know how we would sit and watch movies?"
"We would sit, and you would lean against me, and it would be fine. But then you'd get tense suddenly, and move to the other side of the couch. It happened every time." The side of his mouth drew up to the side.
Langdon chewed her lower lip. "You noticed that?"
"Yeah," he sighed watching her carefully. "I never said anything, but I always knew. One day, you just didn't pull away."
"When was that?"
"It was just after Katie died." He rolled his eyes at her frown. "No, I didn't do anything then. It actually just surprised me. You let me hold you. It was... wonderful." He smiled softly. "I loved it. There was something that felt right about it."
"So we started dating, because I sat next to you when we watched movies?" Langdon twisted her fingers together. "I don't get it."
"No," Connor grinned. "We started dating the night you jumped me."
"What?" she squeaked.
Connor nodded, the smile on his face reminiscent of that night. "Surprised the hell out of me, I'll tell you. It was a weird night, to say the least."
"That doesn't really sound like me," she whispered, playing with the folds of the blanket.
"I know," he told her seriously. "You changed a little after Katie died. It's hard to say exactly how, but you were just... different. You didn't laugh as easily or smile so broadly. You stopped talking as much. Anyone who didn't already know you didn't come to know you anymore. That's why you and Eamonn broke up."
"Eamonn?" Langdon shook her head.
"Oh... shit," Connor whistled. "Yeah... Eamonn."
"You know that red-headed doctor that was in here before?" Connor asked, raising a brow. Langdon nodded. He raised his brow higher. When the confusion didn't leave Langdon's face, he wiggled his eyebrows suggestively.
"No," a look of surprise passed over her face. "I dated my doctor?"
"Actually, you dated your boss."
She looked horrified. "No, I didn't."
"You dated him, and dumped him," Connor told her flatly.
"And you're letting him treat me?" she demanded. "I mean... He gave me a narcotic. And, and he would have done a physical exam. And..."
"And he had already seen you naked, so there's no need to worry about that. You and Eamonn are friends. Eamonn and I are friends. It just wasn't there between you two, and you wouldn't let him in. You gave him a few glimpses of that temper of yours and he's counting his lucky stars that he's not the one for you."
Langdon blushed furiously. "Why? That... That's not me."
"I told you," he said softly. "It wasn't you."
She dropped her head and stared at her hands. As the silence filled the room, she worried a small laceration on the side of her hand with her thumb. It was strange; there was a long, thin scar that wrapped from between her thumb and forefinger toward her wrist. Even her hand looked a little different. I guess I don't even know the back of my own hand, she thought wryly, tears inadvertently springing back to her eyes. Connor leaned forward and disentangled her hands. "Don't do that," he whispered, smoothing his thumb carefully over the wound. "What are you thinking?"