Excerpt, THE INNOCENT’S FORGOTTEN WEDDING by Lynne Graham
Early the following morning, alarm bells rang and lights flashed from the machinery by the bed. The woman came awake and went into panic, eyes focusing on an unfamiliar room and then on the arrival of two nurses, their faces both concerned and excited at the same time. She clawed at the breathing tube in her throat because she couldn’t speak and the women tried to both restrain and soothe her, telling her over and over again that the doc-tor was coming, everything would be all right and that there was nothing to worry about. She thought they were crazy. Her body wouldn’t move. She could only move one hand and her arm felt as if it didn’t belong to her. How could she possibly have nothing to worry about? Why were they talking nonsense? Did they think she was stupid?
The panic kept on clawing at her, even after the doctor arrived and the breathing tube was re-moved. He kept on asking her questions, questions she couldn’t answer until she couldn’t hide from the truth any longer. She didn’t know who she was. What was her name? She didn’t know why she was lying in a hospital bed. She didn’t have a last memory to offer because her mind was a blank, a complete blank. It was a ridiculous relief to receive an approving nod when she evidently got the name of the Prime Minister right and contrived to name colors correctly.
‘What happened to me?’ she whispered brokenly, her breath rasping. ‘Have I been ill?’
‘You were in an accident.’ The doctor paused there, exchanging a glance with the staff surrounding the bed.
‘What’s my name?’ she asked shakily.
‘Your name is Brooke… Brooke Tassini.’ The name meant absolutely nothing to her, didn’t even sound slightly familiar.
‘Your husband will be here very soon.’ Brooke’s eyes widened to their fullest extent in shock. ‘I have a husband?’
For some reason, the nurses smiled. ‘Oh, yes, you have a husband.’
‘A very handsome husband,’ one of the women added.
Brooke stared down at her bare wedding finger. She was married. Oh, my goodness, she was married. Did she have children? she asked. No…no children as far as they knew, they said, and a tinge of relief threaded through the panic she was only just holding at bay. Then she felt guilty about that sense of relief. She liked children, didn’t she? But it was scary enough to have a husband she didn’t remember—it would be simply appalling if she had contrived to forget her children as well.