To Have and to Hold (The Hold Series Book 3)(9)

By: Arell Rivers

I turn my head to Mom, who’s quietly crying. “Mom,” I reach out.

“Baby, I was so scared you’d never wake up again. I love you so much.”

I start to ask what happened to me, but “I love you, too,” comes out of my mouth instead.

A man in a white coat comes into the room and shoos my mother out to do an examination. After checking my vital signs, he asks me all sorts of questions—some I know the answer to, such as the color of the sky. Blue. And others I don’t—like how many states in the United States. I know the answer, but I just can’t catch it.

After what feels like hours, he leaves my room, promising to run tests and to prescribe me something for my pounding headache. He told me to be patient and that my memory would return.

Mom finally comes back to my bedside. She leans down and kisses my forehead. “Talk to me, Rosie. I love hearing your voice.”

“Can I have some water? I’m thirsty.”

“Of course.” Mom picks up a pitcher and pours a little bit of water into a big glass.

I reach my hand out and try to curl my fingers around it, but can’t quite get a good grip. After I add my other hand to the glass, I bring it to my lips. I try to tip it so the liquid pours into my mouth, but miss.

As she swipes droplets away from my face, Mom says, “Here, let me help.” She takes the glass from my hands and brings it to my lips.

The water tastes delicious. My inability to do such a simple task is harder to swallow.

Once I’m settled back into bed, I ask, “What happened to me?”

“The doctors told me that you need to remember this on your own. What do you recall?”

I close my eyes and memory fragments float by. Getting engaged in New York City. “I’m engaged!”

Mom’s eyes drop down to the floor. “You were, Rosie. His name was Chris Morgan.”

Chris Morgan. Screeching tires. Ambulance sirens blaring. Tears stream down my cheeks. “Chris was killed. He was in an accident. Was I…” My heart rate accelerates, causing some alarm to sound from a nearby machine.

Mom pats my hand. “No, honey. That was years ago.”

I take a deep breath, and the alarm stops. Nurse Naomi runs into the room and looks from me to Mom, who shakes her head. The nurse checks everything, gives me pain reliever for my headache and leaves, assuring us that I’m okay.

Mom presses, “Can you remember something from when you moved out here. To Los Angeles?”

I live in LA? Suddenly, visions of red carpets, big parties and a busy office pop into my brain, all at once. It’s too much. I groan and press my head back into the pillows.

“Can’t you just tell me?”

She shakes her head. “You need to do this on your own. I can tell you that I love you. So much. I’m here for you. Always.”

Memories continue to stream through my brain. I cobble some basic details together. “I have a job in publicity.”

“That’s great, Rosie.” Mom beams at me.

But what put me in the hospital? I search my memory bank for the answer. Scrunching up my eyes, I concentrate. “Tree. I was in a car. There was a tree.”

“Yes, honey. You were in a car accident.”

The terror of heading straight for a tree grips me. I look into Mom’s eyes for reassurance, but a set of green ones flash in my mind’s eye. Those eyes. “Cole?”

In a brisk tone, she replies, “Don’t worry about him. He’s off on tour. I’m keeping you safe.”

“I’m not safe?” My heartrate spikes again. I can’t catch my breath. The alarm goes off anew.

Nurse Naomi returns to my side and calms me with some breathing exercises. After a few deep breaths, my respiration evens out.

The nurse tucks the blanket around me. It’s blue. “Rest up, Rose. You’ll feel better after you take a nap.”

I nod at her and smile at Mom, then close my eyes.

Footsteps trail from my bedside. Whispering. “She’s doing great, Lynn.”

“I’m so happy. But, after her reaction to remembering the accident, I’m protecting my daughter. Please don’t mention this to Roberto. She’s not ready for visitors.”

They continue talking, but I can’t make out their words.