On Forgetting Ch. 05byewebie©
Phew! Exams are done for now, and I'm still moving (barely). My apologies for the delay with the last chapter. There was a lag from when I submitted and when it was posted, probably because of my formatting.
This is a bit of a short entry, but I was excited to get it to where it is and wanted to post as soon as possible. I should have another chapter finished before Christmas, and depending on how quick it's posted, it should be up for you to read just as fast.
Any comments and feedback are welcome!
Thanks for reading,
Langdon paced around the flat. She had been home from the hospital for five days and she was starting to grow bored. No, she shook her head, bored didn't encompass the feeling. She was feeling discontent, agitated, stir-crazy.
Dismissing Eamonn's advice to 'take it easy,' she had been waking up at an ungodly hour with Connor and while he went to work, she went for runs in the morning. The longer the run, the better she felt, until yesterday. She had been running for a good half hour. Crossing a small side street, a careless driver had nearly clipped her. It had startled her, shaking her from the zen of the run. Once she had calmed down, it slowly dawned on Langdon that she had no idea where she was. And while she did make it back to her flat, it took nearly two hours and the help of a number of shop owners. As a result, she shied away from a run this morning. Instead, she kept herself busy around the flat.
She had cleaned and re-cleaned everything in sight and even everything out of sight. She had pulled everything out of her closet, cataloguing in her mind the different clothing she found, the shoes, and the boxes of photos and knick-knacks. It seemed she only owned work clothes and gym clothes now. No tee-shirts, one pair of jeans, everything could be worn to the hospital or to church. At least she seemed to have decent enough taste in wardrobe.
Even once she had finished in the bedroom, Langdon had continued rifling through every other room in the flat. The room that she and Connor shared as an office was lined with books, some of which she recognised. She flipped through a few of the unfamiliar titles only to find her hand writing in the margins. Oddly enough, the topics struck her as familiar. Reading a random paragraph on the treatment of Reye's syndrome, she had the strange impression that she could predict the next sentence or two. Slightly unnerved, Langdon abandoned the medical books for the tv. Maybe she would watch a movie.
The sitting room held numerous framed photos, both her family and Connor's, their friends, their class pictures, graduation pictures, and one small frame filled with the Christmas picture of Katie and she dressed as elves and Connor as Santa. A sharp stab of pain and loneliness struck right in the pit of her stomach. She missed Katie. If anyone could understand, could help her through this, it'd be Katie. With a forlorn glance at the picture, Langdon decided she didn't want to sit still. She wasn't going to be able to sit at home all day for much longer.
Dismissing the idea of a movie, Langdon turned to the last refuge she could find - the kitchen. When they had just been friends, she'd been pleasantly surprised at Connor's skill in the kitchen. She loved the fact that Connor could cook, and she enjoyed puttering in the kitchen as much as he did. They tended to compromise on the odd evening they shared a meal; he'd cook dinner and she'd bake dessert. She was much better with desserts and Connor tended to happily eat much more than his fair share of her baking. She opened and closed each of the cupboards a few times to get a sense of what was available before deciding what to make. Then she threw herself into cooking, not stopping to think until she slid the dish of lasagne into the oven.
She was in the process of drying her hands when a knock on the door startled her from her thoughts. She frowned and opened the door cautiously, peeking outside. "Paul?"
Paul Cavatoni stood on her doorstep with his hands in his crammed in his jean pockets and a guilty look on his face. One of the older guys from her class, Paul always looked as though he was doing a poor impersonation of James Dean. "Hey, Lang. Mind if I come in?"
She shook her head, "No, not at all," and stepped back, allowing him to pass over the threshold. As far as she could remember, Paul had never been a close friend. A friend, sure, but not close. There was always something about him that rubbed her the wrong way. Then again, he was from Jersey, and she had more than one ex-boyfriend from the Garden State. He probably just reminded her of one of them. After a few moments of silence, Langdon shifted awkwardly. "Can I get you something?"
"No, no," he answered quickly. "I just stopped by to see how you were doing."
Langdon sighed and smiled. "I'm doing ok, thanks. Come on, sit down and I'll get a coke or something." She gestured to the couch and headed into the kitchen, returning with two cans of soda.
Paul accepted the offer and smiled. "Are you really doing alright?"
"Is this you asking? Or is this the whole class asking?" she asked wryly.
Paul laughed. "You know everyone knows and everyone is worried. That's the problem with being in a small class. We're all up in each other's business."
"I'm doing ok, Paul. And you can bring that back to whomever you see at the hospital."
"And if it's just me asking?" he met her eyes seriously.
Langdon frowned. "I... I don't know what to tell you. I mean, look, I don't know how close we are, and I'm really not trying to be rude, but it's just weird to think about it without knowing about... You know..."
"It may be none of my business, Lang. But..." he rested a hand on her shoulder. "What happened?" The startled look on her face caused him to back pedal. "I mean, I know you... you fell in the Liffey, but how did it happen?"
Langdon glanced down at where her hands lay in her lap, her brow wrinkling. "I don't know, Paul. I don't actually remember it. I'm missing a huge chunk of time."
"Is that why you're taking time off?"
Langdon nodded. "Physically I'm fine. A bump or two here and there, but that's it. There are things that I know how to do, but I don't really remember stuff. So, for now, they want me to take a break."
Paul gave her shoulder a squeeze. "So you'll be back with us soon, then?"
Langdon forced a smile. "I guess. I just... Never mind. Thanks, Paul. How's the hospital?"
Paul grinned. "It's the same old, busy, mundane, overwhelming place." He glanced at his watch and gave a beleaguered sigh. "The same place I have to get back to. I'm sorry I can't stay."
Langdon shook her head. "No, Paul, it was nice of you to stop by. I wish I could offer you dinner, but it won't be ready for a while yet."
Paul laughed. "Don't worry about it. I'm sure you'll be having us over for dinner parties again anytime now."
"Dinner parties?" she raised a brow.
Paul looked confused for a moment before he understood her question. "Oh, um. Yeah, you and Connor have people over for dinner all the time. You know, dinner parties. It's really quite civilised of you."
"Oh," Langdon shook her head and gave a short laugh. "Yeah, then I'm sure we'll have you over for dinner soon." She stood to follow as he walked toward the door. She leaned against the open doorway as he started down the hall. "Hey, Paul?"
He turned, "Yeah?"
"Thanks for coming to see me."
"No problem." He shoved his hands back into the pockets of his jeans and headed down the stairs.
Langdon turned back into the flat and closed the door. Somehow, she couldn't shake a very strange sensation of apprehension. She leaned against the closed door, letting her eyes flutter shut. Was it going to be that awkward with everyone she knew? What about people she'd met after that day at the cove? She wouldn't know them from Adam. She heaved a sigh and contemplated curling up for a nap, but the timer on the oven sounded and she rushed into the kitchen, hoping she hadn't burned dinner.
A few hours later, Connor groaned as he dropped unceremoniously onto the couch, draping his forearm over his eyes. Langdon looked up from the newspaper he had brought home and gave him a smile. He looked worn-out, sleepy, ruffled, and yummy. As tired as he appeared, there was something about him wearing a suit that tweaked her heart. "Long day?"
He groaned and nodded. "You know how crappy the Out Patients rotations are." Langdon winced, but said nothing, turning back to the paper in her lap. She wanted to get back to work, but every time Connor said anything about his days, it merely reminded her of how little she remembered. Connor groaned again, "Oh God, Laney, I'm sorry." Though her cheeks coloured slightly, she didn't respond. He reached across to her chair, dragged the paper from her hands, and pulled her onto his lap.
She released a squeak of protest as she tumbled, rather ungracefully, into his arms, and flailed. "Damnit, Connor! What are you doing?"
He settled her in front of him, pulling her back against him, catching her wrists and pinning them to her chest. "What do you think I'm doing?" he nuzzled her neck. She shivered as he kissed the exposed skin behind her ear. "And more importantly, do you really want me to stop?" Her breath caught in her throat as he closed his teeth gently over her earlobe. It was so hard for her to think when he did things like this. She let out a sigh against her will and he chuckled softly against her neck. With his laughter, the awkwardness and embarrassment rushed back, and she stiffened. Connor felt it and gave himself a mental shake. She wasn't ready for this. Ugh! He thought. I'm such a clumsy fool. He released her and pressed a chaste kiss to the top of her head, before shifting her to a vacant seat on the couch. Langdon eyed him warily for a moment. It was like emotional whiplash dealing with Connor. He forced a smile and tousled her hair. "I'm sorry, I keep forgetting."
"You... Keep forgetting?" Langdon furrowed her brow in consternation. She tried to glare as Connor realized what he had said. An honest smile stretched across his face and he tilted his head to the side. It reminded her of a golden retriever when he did that. He looked like a lost puppy. She couldn't keep the good humour from quirking the corners of her mouth. As her resolve faded, the silence disappeared into their laughter. "Do you want me to remind you of why Out Patients is horrible?" he asked wryly.
Langdon nodded. "Would you like something to eat first?"
The smile spread further across Connor's face. "Only if you made it."
"I was bored," she murmured. "I figured it wouldn't hurt to make you some dinner."
"Only if it didn't put you out any to slave over preparing my food."
She grinned, "I was hungry too." She jumped up and dashed into the kitchen, retrieving flatware and a large plate of food from the microwave. Handing it to Connor, she settled on the couch and resumed her reading.
Connor pulled the short coffee table close to the sofa and settled himself on the floor in front of Langdon. "This smells fantastic," he whispered. Langdon smiled, but allowed Connor to eat in silence.
Finishing the meal, Connor released a contented sigh, leaned back so his head was nearly in her lap, and smiled at Langdon. It was a goofy, lop-sided grin. "Laney, that was fantastic." He patted his stomach. "My belly and I are glad you haven't lost your touch in the kitchen."
"I started cooking long before I came to medical school, Connor," she scolded him slightly, softening her words by the play of her fingers in his hair. "I'm pretty sure I could survive on my twenty plus years of experience with food."
Connor tilted his head back so he could see her. "Oh yeah? And just when did you learn how to make spinach-ricotta vegetarian lasagne with pine nuts?" Langdon started at him blankly. "I'm guessing you used just a bit of gorgonzola?" he pressed.
Langdon nodded slowly. "Well, yeah. Some gorgonzola to give a bit of flavour."
Connor grinned. "It's my mom's recipe, Laney."
She blanched. "Your mom's?"
"Sure. When you found out how much I love it, you insisted she teach you how to make it." Connor shifted to lay his cheek against her knee. "And you make it just as well as she does."
"I've met your parents?" she whispered, mortified.
A deep chuckle rumbled through Connor's chest. "Graduation, Laney. They were here for graduation." Langdon let out a frustrated grumble and dropped her head into her hands. Connor was up at her side in an instant. "Hey, none of that," he said softly, tucking her hair behind her ear and allowing his fingers to linger along the curve of her jaw. When she finally turned and met his gaze, he smiled. "Quit beating yourself up, Laney, it'll come back."
She sighed. "You know, Paul came by today."
"What's that face for?" Langdon furrowed her brow. "He wanted to see how I was doing."
"Nothing, I just didn't think you two were that close." Connor rubbed her back gently, "He just wanted to say hi?" Langdon nodded. "Well, that was nice of him, I guess." He wrapped her in a hug, resting his chin on the top of her head. "Anything else good happen today?"
"You mean, aside from me feeding you?" She nudged him playfully in the stomach.
He oofed in response and laughed. "My stomach definitely thinks that's a good thing."
"Tell me about Out Patients and why you hate it."
"You hate it too," he muttered. "It's just the patients, and the complaints. You get sick of it rather quick. 'Doc, my cough is back.' Gee, are you still smoking? 'Doc, I can't seem to lose weight.' Well, are you still eating McDonalds every day?" He sighed and held her tighter. "There's just a grind that gets you down after a day of it."
"So," she rested her head back against his shoulder. "If you're so cynical, why do you do it at all?"
"We both do it for the same reason." He pressed a kiss to her temple. "OP may be rough and annoying, but it's only a small part of it. Every day that you're on the wards, there's just something that drive you." He shrugged, "I don't know. There's something about the work that's a little addicting."
She sighed. "I miss it," she whispered. "I don't know what it is exactly that I miss, but I know I miss it. How long until I can get back in?"
"How about tomorrow we go have a chat with Prof?"
"Really?" She practically bounced from the couch, turning to straddle his lap. "Really?" she asked again.
He laughed. "Really. Tomorrow's Friday, so you probably can't get back in until Monday. But you seem to know how to do everything you need, so I don't see why they wouldn't let you start again."
She grinned. "Really really?"
"I could kiss you!" She grabbed his face between her palms and pressed a firm kiss to his lips. He groaned slightly as she pulled away. When his eyes opened, she flushed under the intensity of his gaze. "Sorry," she whispered.
"On the contrary," a grin quirked the corner of his mouth, "I quite enjoyed that." She blushed a deeper shade of red and shifted to move off his lap. His hands rose to capture her hips. "Oh, don't move on my account."
"Connor," she chewed her lip nervously.
"Just," he captured one of her hands. "Just wait a second. I won't do anything too drastic." He raised her hand and brushed his lips across her knuckles. "If you want me to stop, tell me to stop, ok?" Langdon nodded, watching him nervously. Connor grinned again and turned her palm over in his hand, raising it to his lips again and pressing a kiss to the heel of her hand.
Langdon felt the blush creep down her neck and across her chest, a warm tightness forming in her belly. Connor's lips began a slow path up her wrist and along the inside of her forearm. When he kissed the soft side of her elbow she giggled, the tickling sensation too much for her. "What's so funny?" Connor asked with a warm chuckle in his voice. "You aren't ticklish are you?"
Langdon shook her head. "No."
He nibbled along the crease of the joint. "No? You wouldn't be lying to me, would you?"
She squirmed. "No."
"Hm?" his hands grazed her sides and she convulsed with laughter. "I thought you said you weren't ticklish."
"No!" she laughed, trying to catch his hands. She missed and he pulled her close, trapping her against his chest and tickling mercilessly. "No fair!" she squealed and tried to pull free, only finding relief when he stopped.
"Is it unfair that you've told me before that you're ticklish?" Connor's breath on her neck made her shiver. She pulled back far enough to attempt glaring at him, but it failed when his fingertips trailed down her spine. She let out an eep and squirmed. "Because you're ticklish just about everywhere."
"Where are you ticklish then?" she tried to get a rise out of him, sneaking her fingers under his arms.
Connor raised a brow with a smug look on his face. "Who said I was ticklish?"
Langdon stuck out her tongue and reached for his neck. "You have to be ticklish!"
He chuckled, and another flick of his fingers had her jumping. "I do not."
She growled with frustration and tried his sides. He grinned and traced a line up the side of her neck. "Ack!" she tried to defend herself by bringing her shoulder up to her ear, but only trapped his hand against her neck. "Not fair!" She bit her lip to keep from shrieking. Glaring, she dropped her hands to his stomach. Everyone's stomach was ticklish.
Connor flinched and snatched her wrists away. "Oh, no you don't." He pinned her hands behind her back.
"Hey!" She twisted her wrists where he held them in one large palm. "You liar! You are ticklish." She gasped as he renewed his tickling in earnest. Struggle as she might, she couldn't seem to free her hands and she started laughing so hard that she had trouble breathing. "Stop it!" she laughed, burying her face against the crook of his neck. "Connor!" Connor's chuckle bubbled from deep in his chest, but he didn't stop. Langdon turned her face against his shoulder and bit his neck. She didn't bite hard enough to leave a mark, but hard enough to startle him.
"Gah!" Connor held her at arms length, frowning, but his amusement shone clearly in his eyes. "Did you just bite me?" Langdon giggled and shook her head. "You little liar," he grinned. "You are in so much trouble now." He flipped her onto her back, pinning her to the couch. She took the opportunity to free one of her hands and tickled his stomach. He convulsed reflexively and drew back sharply, the movement causing him to lose his balance. Connor tumbled to the floor, landing on his back with a thud.
Langdon scrambled up, pressed a hand to her mouth and stared at Connor where he sprawled on the floor. "Oh, Connor, I'm sorry." He propped himself up on his elbows and glared. Langdon struggled to suppress a giggle. "I didn't mean to..."
"You are in so much trouble," his voice was rough, but the heat in his eyes was unmistakable.
"It was an accident?" she offered, picking up a pillow and holding it as a shield.
Connor slowly pushed himself up to a sitting position. "First, you bite me." He rolled to his knees then rose to his full height. "Then you push me off the couch?"
Langdon shrank back against the couch. "I didn't mean to?"
Connor straightened his shirt. "And then you laugh at me?" He couldn't keep a smile from quirking the corner of his mouth.
Langdon saw it and flushed. "It was funny?" Connor leaned forward, and Langdon shrieked out a laugh, scrambling over the back of the couch. Connor took off after her, chasing her into the bedroom. Langdon put the bed between them, giggling. "Oh, come on. You're the one that tickled me first."
Connor lunged across the bed, reaching for her. Langdon dodged and dashed for the door. But Connor recovered faster than she expected, catching her around the waist and tossing her down on the bed. "And you're the one that lied about being ticklish."