Preview – More Than Memories

This excerpt is from More Than Memories, when Trent and Molly meet, er, re-meet:

A door opened to her right and a man stepped out, actually a broad shouldered cowboy about six feet tall, built like a bulldog, with deep brown eyes that lit up all shiny and bright when he spotted her. He looked genuinely happy to see her, but his size and posture startled her.

“Molly?”

She jerked, jumped out of her skin really, upon hearing the rugged voice. “Uh…”

The excitement faded. “Mol?”

Now that someone actually recognized her, she didn’t know what to say. This man didn’t speak either, but stared right back at her. He was clean-shaven and neat with dark hair and eyes, a strong face that fit this build.

He glanced at the receptionist and back at her as if he didn’t believe what he was seeing in front of him.

Flip—flop went her stomach. Those eyes … wow. Molly didn’t remember ever feeling a burning and tingling excitement like this, but she knew what it was.

His chocolate-brown eyes gazed into hers like he was looking at Elvis back from the dead. Suddenly aware that her lips were parted in surprise, she pulled them shut, trying to pull her desperate hope back inside her before he saw. She saw a million emotions swirl in his eyes as he took her in.

“Molly, why don’t you come with me so we can talk?” He swung the door open. She didn’t move, and noticed he looked either confused or hurt. “You’re perfectly safe here.”

She nodded, tried to give the kind woman a smile and walked through the door. He shut it behind him and gestured down the hall. They went into a small room with a table, chairs and a shelf with a coffee maker. Nervous again, she turned to him in surprise.

“Please, relax,” he said softly, “I just want a quiet place for us to talk. I’m here to help you.”

“You know me?” She barely managed the words as she sat down.

His raised eyebrows and bewildered eyes turned to pleading at her words. But pleading for what? For her to recognize him, of course. He knows me!

“Molly Anderson,” he said or asked, she wasn’t sure. He had a strong face, she thought again, though caring. A sense of comfort filled her, bringing some confidence with it.

“Yes, I am.” She remembered herself, or at least the memories of herself over the last four years, and recited her usual explanation. “I lost my memory several years ago, so I don’t remember you.”

His eyebrows rose, his eyes full of disbelief. Not the suspicious kind of disbelief, but he looked like she just told him he had cancer. With puzzlement, he said, “You sure have changed.”

“I have?” This was her opportunity. She’d found a link, maybe some answers. “I’ve been visiting towns where I lived before. This is town number four and the first one where anyone knows me. Maybe if you told me how we knew each other, something will come back. Could you start with your name?”

He almost smiled. “Trent Williams.”

Molly repeated the name, but it did nothing for her. How could she have known this impressive man and not remember him? That didn’t feel right.

“Everyone said you were gone,” he said. “No one thought you’d come back except Alicia and me.”

“Who?”

“My sister.”

She sat back and then realized how tense her shoulders were. “You said I’ve changed. How so?”

“You’re not the Molly I remember.” His eyes looked all over her face. Molly wasn’t used to having a man gaze at her like that, like he was memorizing and meeting her at the same time. Suddenly, she wondered at their relationship, how close they had been. Darn it, isn’t it a little late to worry about that now? Trent continued, “Your hair’s curled, done up, your jewelry looks pretty expensive, and you’re wearing perfume that nobody in this small town can afford.”

Molly tugged at her earring which had actually been her mother’s. Without her memory, a cool air about herself had been her only way of putting a buffer between her and the world. She still clearly remembered how frightened she’d been when she’d first awoken, and how everyone around her could see her fear.

“I wasn’t ….” She broke off. Wasn’t what? “I wasn’t like this when you knew me?”

“You were a down-to-earth, jeans-wearing free spirit.” A faint smile danced on his face, and his speech fell smoothly with a small hint of a southern accent adding to his slight drawl. She wanted to see his full smile. She’d glimpsed his white teeth and knew he must have a persuasive, slow grin.

He watched her like he was putting that person together with the person sitting in front of him. “I want to know where you went, what happened,” he said.

“Aren’t you going to tell me how we knew each other first?” Why this banter, she wondered. Trent rubbed his hands together and clasped them, almost as if he was buying time.

“We were friends. Hung out in the same circles.”

Was that all they were? And if so, was it all he had wanted from her? If they had been dating and she didn’t remember a man like him, maybe something was wrong with her.

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