Chapter 1: Zombie
Makkari tried to open her eyes for more than two seconds. But there was just too much pain. She could actually feel the anesthesia run through her veins. She tried to fight it and stay awake. But her eyes closed again. And she gave up.
After what it felt like ages later, she finally opened her eyes. The pain was still there. But the drugs felt more subtle. She was in a hospital room that had two beds. Hers and some other girl. There were flowers, balloons and “Get better soon” cards all over the place. The room could easily have been mistaken for a gift shop. And Makkari thought that her new roommate must have had a lot of friends.
Minutes later, a nurse came by and saw that Makkari was awake. The nurse, a big old lady who seemed to be about to finish her shift and didn’t want to work more than what was absolutely necessary, checked on Makkari’s vital signs and then left without even looking at her.
Makkari had always been, as his brother Kingo called her: a girlboss. Which meant that she was never worried about anything. Because there was not a single thing in the world that she couldn’t handle. She was the most confident woman to be around. She always had the answer to all the questions. And obviously, was always one step ahead. But not today.
Today she was scared and worried. And wanted someone to hug her and tell her that everything was going to be okay. But in the room there was only her and the girl on the next bed. She felt lonely and trapped between all this hospital crap. And the worst thing was the questions she had on her mind. “What happened? Why am I here?”
Then, the nurse came back and Makkari saw a needle. And she knew what that meant. She tried to sign… “ please don’t…please, please, please.. Don’t” She begged and cried but the nurse put the anesthesia back in her veins and before she knew it. She was asleep again.
Chapter 2: Blue Christmas
When Kingo got to the hospital, no one could tell him anything about Makkari or Druig. It was “too soon to know”. After fighting with some nurses he finally gave up and decided to wait. So he walked to the waiting room. And found Ajak and Sersi there. None of them said anything, they just hugged and waited together.
“How long have you been here?” Kingo asked them after a few minutes. “We just got here,” Sersi said. “Phastos was at home so he stayed with Sprite. We didn’t want to wake her up.” Ajak seemed lost in thoughts. Kingo texted Karun who was parking the car. Please bring 4 coffees. Seems like it's going to be a long night.
Twenty minutes later, Karun arrived with the coffee. “Oh, thank you so much” Sersi said and grabbed hers. She sat again again and put her head on Kingo’s shoulder. Ajak sat in front of them, smiled and said, “Don`t worry kids. They’re going to be fine.”
If anyone ever saw them, they would never think that they were in-laws. They had become so close over the last few years that the word “in-law” made them feel uncomfortable. That thought made Kingo reminisce about his life and how much it had changed thanks to them. Thena and Gil were great and amazing and caring. But, somehow Kingo felt lonely.
Ever since he was a kid, he fantasized about having a big family. He used to imagine Christmases and Sundays with a big large table with lots of food, a very loud living room and kids running and yelling around. And after Druig and Makkari became a thing, so did his fantasies.
“Don’t you think it’s funny how much of a family we have become?” he thought out loud. Ajak laughed and answered. “Yes, and I remember a certain someone who didn’t approve of my son for his little sister.” Sersi laughed and said “Oh yeah, you gave Druig the hardest time”
They all laughed. Ajak smiled and remembered. “I will never forget your face when you meet baby Sprite. You’ve been inseparable ever since” Kingo smiled at the memory. “She was like.. What? Six at the time?” Sersi asked. “Yeah, more or less.” Kingo said “Who would’ve thought she’ll become the Queen of sarcasm at twelve.”
Before anyone could say anything else a Doctor approached them. They were the only people in the waiting room so he had to have news on Druig and Makkari. And from the look on his face, Kingo suddenly didn’t want to hear the news. As he listened to the Doctor, he watched the Christmas lights go on and off and cried.
Sersi hugged him and tried to hide her tears from him. Ajak walked away from them. Trying to process what the Doctor just said. “Druig is fine, we had to give him some stitches on his forehead and bend the wound but that’s it. He was sedated and might wake up in the next hour or so. You’ll be able to see him then.”
The Doctor had just left and Ajak couldn’t understand what he said about Makkari. “Brain damage”, “internal bleeding” and “operation” were the only words she could retain on her brain. She was in shock, this was supposed to be a broken leg or arm kind of thing.
“Karun, can you get some balloons?” Ajak asked. “For when Makkari wakes up?”
Chapter 3: Side Effects
Druig felt as high as a college student. He opened his eyes and immediately felt a throbbing pain in his forehead. And dizziness. A nurse came by and checked on him. “Hi, honey. Your family it’s outside. Would you like me to go get them for you?” He just nodded.
As soon as she left, his mom, Sersi and Kingo were all around him. Ajak touched his cheek and smiled at him. “How are you feeling?” she asked him. He shaked his head and asked them “What happened?'' Kingo and Sersi looked at each other and remained silent.
“What’s the last thing you remember?” his mom asked. “Game night with you guys. And then… We were in the car and…” Everything suddenly came back to him. The crash, the red light, the pain, the broken glass. He sat up way too fast and with shortness of breath panicky asked “Where’s Makkari?”
“She is here too.” Ajak quickly answered. “She’s..” Druig looked at Kingo and noticed that he had been crying. “What is it?” Sersi came closer and held his hand. “She’s in surgery right now.” Ajak continued. “She hitted her head pretty hard. But she will be fine.”
Druig nodded and hugged his mom like a little kid. “I wish it was me and not her.” he said. Kingo’s heart stopped for a minute, he came closer and told him: “Don’t say that! Neither one of you should be here. But these things happened. And she is in good hands now. She’s the strongest one of all of us. She’ll be just fine. We just have to be patient and strong. For her.” Kingo said this not only for Druig, but for himself, for Ajak and for Sersi.
“This can only keep us closer to one another.” Sersi said.
The Doctor came by again and asked Druig if he felt nauseous or sleepy. Druig denied any other symptoms apart from the pain on the wound and the dizziness from the anestesia. “Ok, that sounds great. You don’t have to spend the night. But given that your wife is here you might want to.” Druig nodded. “I talked to your family about her”, the Doctor looked into his eyes and explained. “She is in surgery right now. She hit her head pretty hard, and we found some internal bleeding on her brain. So we had to open and repair the damage. The surgery shouldn’t take much longer. But..”
Druig had remained silence. Waiting for the Doctor to say something like “It’s nothing serious.” or “Don’t sweat it. It’s just a little bleeding.” But he didn’t. “But.. what?” he finally dared to ask him. “Well, the brain is a very delicate organ and there was some damage whether we did surgery or not. So there might be some repercussions. Or maybe not. We can’t know until she wakes up and we can do some tests.”
Druig had his hands on his face. He was shaking, and still trying to process what the Doctor just threw at him. “What kind of repercussions?”
“It can be a lot of things. Mood swings, aggressiveness, memory loss. Or nothing. We really don’t know how. Until she wakes up.” Druig thought that no matter what it was. He and Makkari could overcome it. As long as they were together. “It’s us against the world,” he thought.
The Doctor left and Ajak stood up from her chair and said “I’m going to check on Phastos and bring you some clean clothes, ok?” Druig nodded. “Can you bring a blanket for Makkari as well?” “Of course, honey! I’ll be right back.”
Kingo stood up as well and said “I’ll let Thena and Gil know.”
The hours passed surprisingly quick. Ajak came right back as promised. Druig changed his clothes and the nurse kindly asked him to leave the room. So they had to move to the waiting room until Makkari was assigned in some other room in the hospital. Thena and Gil were out of town so Kingo gave them the news without many details to prevent them from worrying too much. Which obviously didn’t work because they promised to get on the next flight back home.
At midnight, a different Doctor came by. Druig guessed that he was the surgeon. He seemed more confident and a little more arrogant than the first Doctor he met. “Ok, who is the husband?” he asked. “That’s me!” Druig stood up. And Kingo stood beside him. “The surgery was a success. She is out of danger now.” Druig and Kingo instantly smiled. Sersi and Ajak hugged each other.
“Oh Thank God!” Ajak said.
“I was told you were warned about the possibility of some repercussions.” “Yes'' Kingo said and Druig nodded. “We can’t discard that scenario just yet. So when she wakes up, please tell the nurse to call me immediately.”
“We will. Thank you!” Kingo said.
The Doctor ignored Kingo and talked again. “She is still under the effect of a lot of pain killers. She is probably going to wake up and sleep again for the next few hours. It’s normal if she wakes up and then sleeps again. You can ask the nurses in which room she is.” he nodded at them and then turned around and left.
Druig sat again and let out a big sigh. Ajak put her arm on his shoulders and stroked his back. “Sersi, please free Phastos of his nanny duties. Have some rest and we’ll call you tomorrow morning, ok?” Sersi wanted to stay but she knew she would be more helpful from home, with Sprite. “Ok” she nodded and kissed the top of Druig’s head. “Love u”
Kingo walked her to her car. And when they got to the door he said “Don’t drive tomorrow. Call me, I’ll go get you guys. I want to tell Sprite what happened.” Sersi nodded. They kissed on the cheek to say goodbye and Kingo got back to the waiting room. Where he found Ajak and Druig talking to the nurse.
“It’s room 264. Second floor.” Ajak said. “They just put her in. Karun sent the flowers and balloons already.”
“They’ll let us know when we can go see her” Druig finished.
Chapter 4: Strangers in The Night
Makkari opened her eyes (once again), and she was no longer alone. Kingo, very asleep, was sitting on the chair next to her bed and apparently her roommate had visitors as well. There was a very handsome guy sleeping with crossed arms on the chair in front of her. And sitting next to him there was a woman knitting.
She instantly liked the woman. She seemed very maternal and for some strange reason Makkari wanted to hug her. The woman looked at her and smiled. Before she closed her eyes again, the handsome guy got close to her and kissed her hand. And she could swear that she saw a tear rolling down his cheek. And then, darkness.
She could feel movement in the room but she just couldn’t open her eyes for more than a minute. When she finally could, she was alone again. And the big old nurse was back in her room. “Maybe I dreamt about all those people” she thought and got a little sad about it. And then realized that pain and sadness were not the only things she felt. There was also thirst.
A thirst she had never experienced before. Her throat was as dry as the desert. She tried to sign for the nurse. “Water, please.” But the nurse didn’t know what Makkari was trying to say, she thought that it was just the painkillers messing with the girl’s head. “Please” Makkari tried again but the nurse didn’t even look back.
When she left, Makkari saw the guy she thought she dreamt about come into the room. “Please,” she signed one more time, “water, please”. He had a very worried look on his face and quickly reacted. “You're thirsty” Makkari read on his lips and nodded for him. “I’ll get you some water” he signed and surprised her. “Handsome and knows ASL. Who are you?” she thought.
A minute later, he was back with a bottle of water and a cup. He then sat on the side of her bed, poured the water into the cup and instead of waiting for Makkari to grab it. He bringed the cup into her mouth and waited for her to drink it all.
Makkari was so thirsty that she drank the whole cup in two seconds and handsome guy filled the cup again, and again, and again. “Take it easy” he signed for her with a smile on his face. She wanted to thank him and ask him who he was but now that the thirst was over, she could feel her eyelids fall. She grabbed his arm, as if that could prevent her from falling asleep again. And before the darkness could fall upon her again. She saw him sign for her “I’m here. I’m not going anywhere.”
And that made it so easy to rest. She truly had a good sleep. As if the thought of him waiting for her made her feel safe. When she woke up for the fourth time in the night. She felt that the pain, and the thirst were gone. But now she was cold. Freezing. She was shaking.
Handsome guy was still there. He saw Makkari’s shaking body and quickly took a blanket out of his bag and put it over her. He sat again on the side of the bed and put his arm on the other side. Just to make sure she wasn’t cold anymore. He put a hand on her forehead and asked her “Are you still cold?”. With a frown he waited for her to respond. She could only shake her head and sign. “Not anymore. Thank you.” He smiled and then did something Makkari was not expecting at all.
He kissed her forehead. And before Makkari could ask him who he was or why he was so familiar with her. The blackness arrived one last time.
When she could finally wake up. One last time. It was morning and the hall outside her room was filled with people. Kingo was there, the woman and her knitting. A teenage girl and another young woman. Handsome guy was there too.
Kingo quickly stepped into the room and said “Hi”. Makkari smiled at him.
A second later handsome guy and a Doctor enter the room. The Doctor introduced himself and Kingo stepped forward and traduced for her. “Hello Makkari. I’m your Doctor. Do you know why you are here?” She shaked her head and looked at Kingo. The Doctor nodded and Kingo traduced again. “You had an accident. And you had to have surgery.” Makkari nodded, still a little bit lost.
“I just want to ask you some questions. We are just making sure everything it’s okay. Is that alright?”
The Doctor asked and Kingo signed. They were simple questions. What’s your full name, where are you from, favorite food. And then he asked for the date.
And Makkari really had to think that through. When was the last time she ever checked the calendar? She was about to start her second semester at college. It was 2016.
“2016” she signed. And Kingo said it out loud as if it was a death sentence. The Doctor nodded and pretended like the answer was right. But Makkari saw all the faces in the room and knew that something was off.
“Okay, Makkari. I want to tell you something. But I'm gonna need you to be very calm, ok?” Kingo signed while the Doctor spoke. Makkari saw handsome guy put his hands over his face.
Makkari nodded. “Rip off the bandage” she thought.
Chapter 5: Me and My Husband
“The surgery has caused you some memory loss” Memory loss? No, no, no. “What’s the actual year?” She signed to Kingo. He asked the Doctor for permission to tell her the truth and he nodded.
“It’s 2022” Makkari felt that her breath was heavier than before and she just shaked her head. She could feel her lip trembling and tears in her eyes. Kingo hugged her. And she could see handsome guy hiding his face from her and wiping his tears.
Kingo wiped her tears and signed. “We’re gonna tell you everything, okay?” Handsome guy stood up and signed for her. “I’m Druig, we… Uhm. We’re married. I’m your husband” Makkari felt her heart beating like crazy. She frowned and looked at Kingo who nodded.
“I’m married? To handsome guy who I had never seen before in my life?” she thought “That explains him being here with me all night…But”
Druig continued and signed, “The people outside?” he pointed at the hall. Makkari nodded. “They’re your in-laws.” Makkari looked at them again and they waved at her and smiled. She couldn’t help to smile back. There was something about them that made her heart warm.
“The knitting woman is my mom. Her name is Ajak.” The woman who smiled at her when she woke up. Yes. She remembered her. “Then at her right, that’s my older sister Sersi. And the girl who is hugging her it’s my baby sister, Sprite.”
He got closer and Makkari got scared of what he was about to sign. He seemed like he was holding his tears. “I know it’s a lot. And if you don’t feel comfortable I’ll ask them to leave. If I…” He stopped for a minute and then continued. “If I make you uncomfortable, I’ll leave as well.”
No! A voice in the back of her head screamed. “Where did that come from?” she thought. But today was not a good day to question her brain.
“Can you give me 10 minutes alone with Kingo?” she signed. He nodded, left the room and took his family out of the hall.
“Kingo, be honest okay? I can take it!” she looked at him. “I know you can. Ask away”
“Am I happy with him? Is he good to me? Is his family nice? Do they like me? Are we- you and me, I mean- are we still as close as before? Are we still a family who sees each other regularly? Did I graduate from business school? Am I rich? Am I unemployed?”
Kingo paid all his attention to the questonary. He sighed and with his index finger drew a cross over his heart and then signed. “I swear to tell you the truth and nothing but the truth.” Makkari laughed.
“Yes. He… he adores you. And his family loves you… And me!” He laughed. “They took us in and in no time we were part of the family. We see each other more now than before, Makkari. And you graduated… You just took …a different path. You’re not poor. And you have a job which makes you very happy”
Makkari thought that her life turned out to be not so bad. But having no memories of it made her extremely anxious. And what different path did she take? She had so many questions. But she knew that maybe the best person to ask was her… husband.
Gosh, that word was so new to her. My husband. She thought again. It will definitely take a while before she could get used to it.
“Can you go get him?” she asked Kingo. “I’ll be right back!” he stood up and left the room.
The effect on the painkillers started to end. And Makkari felt the pain in her head hit her like a hammer in her skull. Druig got back and signed to her. “I asked my family to leave. You’ll meet them whenever you feel ready. Ok?” She nodded and placed a hand on her head.
Druig gave her one of his worried frowns and asked her “What’s wrong? Does it hurt?” She couldn’t sign and had to nod again. “Kingo, please call the Doctor!” Druig yelled and Kingo left the room.
He sat on the side of her bed and took his hand off her head. “Don’t touch it” Makkari was in so much pain she started to cry. “It’s okay. The Doctor will be here in no time.”
Instead of the Doctor, the big, rude nurse came back with her needle. And when Makkari saw her, she got really scared. Her cries were louder and the nurse just rolled her eyes at her and got closer to her tube. “Please, don’t. No more, please, please, please. Don’t” she signed.
Druig grabbed the nurse’s hand and asked her if she could give Makkari something lighter for the pain. Something that wouldn’t knock her down. “I can. But the pain won’t go away. She will still feel some discomfort.”
“It’s okay. She just doesn’t want to be sedated” Druig begged the nurse. “Okay. I’ll be right back” Makkari was still crying but she was more quiet now. Druig wiped her tears. “It’s okay now, baby. The mean old lady has left” he signed and smiled at her.
“I wanna go home,” she signed. He looked sad and asked her “Where was your home in 2016?”
She shaked her head. No. “Show me my 2022 home”.
Chapter 6: Brothers and Sisters
Some sibling love.
Chapter 5 from the POV of our favorite family.
Before Makkari could finally wake up Kingo got a call from Sersi. He promised her that he would pick Sprite and her up. So he told Ajak and Druig and went on his way. He calmly sat in the living room and asked Sprite to join him. “Something happened. Sit down, please”
Sprite and Kingo always had a fun dynamic. It was an endless teasing and making fun of each other. They were not linked by blood but out of the whole family, they were the closest. It was all fun and smiles with those two. So when she saw him came home at this time in the morning. The quietness of Sersi and the absence of her mom. She didn’t even dare to joke with Kingo about all this seriousness.
“What is it Kingo?”, she asked.
“Yesterday, after game night, when they were driving home… Druig and Makkari had a car accident.” Sprite was frozen. “They’re in the hospital now. Ajak is with them.”
“Are they okay?” Sprite asked. “Druig is fine. Makkari had to have surgery. And she…”
Sprite shook her head and with tears in her eyes asked. “What Kingo? She what?”
“She has brain damage,” Kingo said and wiped a tear from his eye. “We don’t know what this means for her, yet. We are still waiting until she wakes up and they can do some tests”
Sprite quietly cried. And Sersi sat on the sofa with her and put her into her chest. She rocked her for a few minutes and Kingo stood up and sat on the coffee table so he could grab her hands into his. She reached out and hugged him. And they cried together. Because their love for their siblings was the thing that drew them closer from the start.
Both Makkari and Sprite, were the baby sisters Druig and Kingo loved so much. When Druig started seeing Makkari, Sprite got so jealous, she didn’t speak to him for weeks. And Kingo gave Druig the hardest time for the same exact reason.
When the families finally met, Kingo loved Sprite’s sarcasm and sense of humor. And she reminded him of another little girlboss he knew. Makkari and Druig saw them and joked about the jealousy they shared. And Kingo and Sprite bonded about it. In secret. Before leaving Ajak’s house that day, they made a promise. They’ll be each other’s Druig and Makkari when they need it.
“I’ll be your little sister and you’ll be my older brother whenever they ignore us. How's that?” “Deal,” Kingo said and the deal was sealed and kept ever since. And now, here they were. Crying in the arms of a little sister and an older brother they needed so much.
“We can go see them if you want to come!” Sprite nodded. “Okay then” Kingo stood up and checked his phone and realized he had several missing calls from Gilgamesh. “Oh shit” “What is it?” Sersi asked. “I have to call Gil and Thena,” he said and dialed.
“Hello son” he greeted. “Hi guys, what happened?” “So we tried to catch a flight, but everything was delayed. There’s a fucking snow storm. We have to wait in the airport until it passes.” Thank you Santa! And have a merry fucking christmas Kingo thougth.
“Anyways, I just wanted to let you know. How’s our little girl doing?” “Uh- Good. She is resting now. Out of surgery.” “Okay call me when she wakes up, okay” “Okay.” Kingo hung up, they all jumped in his car and drove to the hospital.
They found Ajak in the waiting room. Kingo greeted her and asked. “Still nothing?” “Not yet. I saw her open her eyes yesterday for a few seconds. And Druig said that she woke up a few times in the night. But nothing else. Oh, here he comes.”
Druig appeared behind the door and walked to them and Sprite ran and jumped into his arms. He lifted off her feet and whispered into her ear. “It’s okay, pumpkin. I’m okay” He felt her nod and he kissed her cheek and put her down. Sprite didn’t let him go, she put her arms around his waist while he talked. “She has moved a lot in the past hour so I think she’ll wake up in a few minutes. I already called the Doctor, to run the tests.”
“Did they tell you what kind of tests they are running?” Sersi asked. “They found the damage on the emotional part of the brain. So they will ask her some questions and check on her state of mind. The Doctor said she will probably be a little irritable, sensitive and even could not recognize some of us.”
Kingo remembered the Doctor talking about repercussions but he was so shocked at the news that he forgot about all the details. But knowing Druig, he was such a telepath sometimes. He remembers every detail. Her sister married the right guy.
“We’d love to see her, honey. But maybe getting way too close to her is not the best idea right now.” Ajak said to Druig. He nodded and said “Maybe we could wait for her to wake up from the hall beside her room.
Everyone agreed and stood in the hall. Twenty minutes later she had her eyes open and Druig ran to get the Doctor. From the hall Ajak saw her daughter in law move and sit up while she greeted her brother. She seemed okay, just tired. The Doctor and Druig came into the room and he started to ask her some questions.
Everything seemed to be fine. He would ask, she would answer and Kingo or Druig would smile. Which was a good signal. But then he asked her something else and she kept quiet for a few seconds. And Ajak could feel that her hands started to get very sweaty. She finally answered and Ajak saw the heartbreak on her son’s face.
Kingo explained something to Makkari and then she cried. Ajak loved that kid and in any other scenario she wouldn't hesitate to run and comfort her. But now she just couldn’t. Druig got closer and Ajak saw him introduce himself to her.
“It’s memory loss”, Sprite said “She doesn’t know him”. Ajak quickly reacted and said “No one cries until we are out of her sight. Understood?” Sersi and Sprite nodded. And then he pointed at them and she and the girls smiled and waved at her. Makkari smiled back.
Ajak could see Druig telling her something and crying. And then he was out of the room and walked them to the waiting room. He sat and shook her head. “She thinks it’s 2016. It doesn’t feel…natural or real. It’s just so weird that she lost her memories just before meeting me. It can’t be a coincidence.”
“What do you mean? It was an accident. It's not like somebody planned on this!” Sersi said confused. Druig nodded and then said, “Go have some rest. Especially you mom. You haven’t slept at all.” Sersi put her arm around Ajak’s shoulder and said. “C’mon mom. It’s better for Makkari if we give her some space.”
“Call us if you need anything, ok?” Ajak said. Druig promised that he would call. And hugged his girls. “I love you,” he said. “We love you” they say as goodbye.
I'm leaving some clues here and there. Was it really an accident? Ups, that was a spoiler. Couldn't help myself.
Chapter 7: Work Song
Druig wanted to pretend that what just happened wasn't affecting him as it really was. Like, yeah your wife and love of your life have just gone through a life threatening experience and she lost every memory she had of you. Fine, whatever. Just on the verge of a breakdown and can’t tell anyone.
The thought of not being an accident seemed ridiculous but potentially true. It was just too much of a coincidence. It was the exact amount of years she needed to forget all about him. But the real question was: “Who would do this?” . And then that fucking nurse and her fucking neddle.
“I wanna go home,” Makkari signed. Druig thought about their home and realized that the word home for her must now mean something entirely different. “Where was your home in 2016?”
“Show me my 2022 home”. He smiled at her and she grabbed her head again. “Let me see if the nurse found your meds. I’ll be right back.” He stood up and left through the door. And just when he left, the nurse was back.
The nurse gave Makkari a tough look and shook her head. “I’m sorry,” she read the nurse’s lips. “It’s this or nothing” and lifted her hand with the needle between her fingers. “NO” Makkari said with her head. The nurse put her hand on her waist. Like she was talking to a 6 year old. She was a scary woman.
Makkari knew she wasn’t going to win this one. The nurse was just not having it. She made a gesture with her shoulders. A “I don’t give a crap what you want” kind of gesture. And grab Makkari’s arm. Makkari knew it was useless to fight and couldn’t stop herself from crying. She tried to be more mature about it. She tried to hide her face and save whatever was left of her pride. So she cried in silence, but she could still feel the big big tears rolling down her cheeks.
“Excuse me? What are you doing?” the Doctor said from the door with Druig on his side. When the nurse saw the Doctor she quickly reacted and pinched Makkari’s arm with the needle and pressed it until it was empty.
“My job,” the nurse answered. Makkari started to feel like a zombie again and felt like the whole thing was a nightmare. The hospital, the nurse. Even the part she woke up six years in the future and was married to a stranger. Druig tried to touch her hand but she flinched and he took a step back. “I’m sorry.” And that was the last thing she knew, before darkness.
Druig felt like shit. The last thing he wanted was to scare her. And he was doing a great job until the fucking nurse had to come with the stupid needle.
The Doctor grabbed the nurse’s arm and asked her “Who assigned you to this patient?” The nurse looked at him and said, “Don’t know. She was in my chart so I came.” “Mhm, I’ll check on that. Meet me at my office before your shift it’s over.” The nurse didn’t respond and left the room.
“Sorry about that” the Doctor said to Druig “they drive me nuts, do whatever they want, won’t follow orders.” He came closer to Makkari and checked on her vitals. “I think you can go home as soon as she wakes up.” Druig nodded. “Don’t worry,” the Doctor said patted him on the back.
“Memory loss it’s actually the best case scenario for her. It’s simpler to deal with. And 65% of the patients get their memories back within the next six to eight months.” Druig lifted his head. “So she could get her memories back. It’s not permanent?”
“There is a high chance she does. I have to do a blood test before you guys go. I want to know what kind of anesthetic that nurse gave her. And I have the feeling she won’t be at my office any time soon.” Druig thought about it and said “Can you do it now that she is sleeping? I don't think she wants to see any more needles.” The Doctor laughed. “Yeah. Let me go get my things” Druig liked this Doctor; he was not the kind who was exceptionally nice. He kept things real and always spoke with facts.
Kingo finally appeared out of nowhere. And sit next to Druig. “Where were you? You disappeared”. Kingo remained quiet and started to sweat. “You’re being weird. You ok?” Druig asked him.
The Doctor came back before Kingo could answer and started to take Makkari’s blood. “This would only take a second. As soon as she wakes up, you can go home.” Druig looked at Kingo who was acting very strange. And then his phone rang.
“Druig? This is Agatha from work. I’m in HR” Fuck it’s Monday! Druig had have completely forget about work. It was the last thing he cared about right now.
“Yeah, Agatha. I remember you. Listen I just had an accident. I haven't called my manager, Barry…I-”
“Oh I am so sorry to hear that. I hope you’re okay. I’m so sorry that I’m calling you. It’s just that Barry, gosh. How do I say this…?”
“Am I fired?” Druig asked her and Kingo looked at him with a worried face.
“No no no no, sweetheart, no. It’s not that.” Druig frowned. “It’s highly confidential. So if there’s anyone listening to your side of our conversation. Pretend like you’re being fired and come to the office as soon as you can.”
“I can’t believe you are firing me!” Druig said. Kingo stood up and mouthed to him, “They can’t do that.” “I’ll be there” Druig hang up and looked at Kingo. “I have to go” Kingo nodded and said “I’ll stay with her, don’t worry! Go!”
“I wanted to take her home, but…. This nurse came and scared the hell out of her and when I got closer she flinched. Like she didn’t want me around, so…”
Kingo opened his mouth trying to say something but nothing came to mind so he closed it again and put a hand on Druig’s shoulder. “She’s just very confused, it’s all too recent and I mean it’s 6 years for fucks sake. It’s a lot. Don’t feel bad!” “Yeah, no. I know I just- I don’t know. Maybe it’s better if you take her to your place?”
Kingo nodded and said. “Yeah. Absolutely.” Druig sighed and looked at Makkari. Kingo continued “And call me, okay?” “Thank you” Druig said and left.
When Druig get to the hospital exit, he remembered. I don’t have a car. But Kingo was already behind him. “Hey, take my car.” he said with the keys in his hand. “I’ll ask Karun to come get us.” They hugged and Druig walked out.
“And Druig?” He turned around to face Kingo again. “Yeah?” “I was acting weird before, we need to talk. So call me when you’re done with your work thing. Okay?” “I will Kingo. Thanks”
Chapter 8: Hide
Druig is a software engineer guys. The company is an IT consulting agency ;)
Druig hated Kingo’s car. It was so showy, and right now what he needed was not to draw attention to himself. But he was very nice to offer it to him. And his car was probably a hunk of metal, after the accident. So he accepted and drove.
He parked two blocks away from the building and walked to the office. “I’m here” he texted Agatha. “Come straight to my office and don’t talk to anybody.” she wrote back and then a simple “Please” as she simply remembered she was an HR personnel.
When he finally made it to her office. She stood up, saw his stitches on his forehead and said to him “Oh God Druig. I am so sorry I made you come. If it wasn’t an emergency. Believe me I would never do this to you.”
“It’s okay, Agatha. But you’re scaring me, just tell me what happened.” He said.
“Barry, your manager. When was the last time you saw him?” He had to think about that.
Barry wasn’t really around lately. “I think, last Monday. A week ago. We discussed the last details of the NYC convention.”
“Okay, well. Here’s what happened: Today one of the Finance guys was checking on some of the expenses for the convention. And he realized that a lot of money was missing. All we knew was that Barry was in charge of that and that you were helping him. But neither one of you were here, which was suspicious so I talked to one of our cybersecurity guys and he got me both of your users and passwords. We checked on your data and it was the same Finance had. But Barry’s… ”
Agatha saw how Druig’s face changed into total surprise. His eyebrows almost touched the line of his hair and he had to sit down. “Fucking Barry”. “Yeah,” Agatha agreed.
“But that’s not the worst part..” “There’s more?” Druig asked her. “He might have stolen some intellectual property as well.”
Everything made sense to him in a second. Druig had been working for that company for seven years now. And his first three were hell. Literal hell. It was as if Barry had the main goal to make him suffer. Until one Christmas party. The first time Makkari went with him. She met Barry and then half an hour later, she was asking to leave and when he asked her what happened she just answered “You boss is an ass.”
The next day Barry’s attitude completely changed. He was being nice and started to ask Druig about his ideas and what he was working on. He often encouraged him and praised him in front of his teammates and even with HR. And Druig worked harder and years later he came up with the idea of a new software. A software that could help a lot of businesses improve their work flow. And he told Barry.
The only problem was: Money. “Company’s budget is limited, we don’t have enough clients to afford that,” he said. “But we might be able to fix that.” And he proposed a convention in NYC to gather up some potential clients and try to sell the software. “If we bring new clients through your software here. They’ll have to put this through.”
And it was a great plan. HR approved, Finance approved. So they went for it. But weeks before the event Barry started to change the date and then the place and suppliers. Everything.
“My software” Druig said out loud and looked at Agatha.
Agatha just nodded. Druig closed his eyes and sighed. “Why is this confidential, tho? Can’t we just call the cops on him?”
“We could” Agatha said “The thing is that… He would still win. But us? We are going to lose all our clients, our jobs, medical insurance, which I am pretty sure you need right now. Even the car insurance. You could have a new car within days with that insurance. I talked to the CEO, he wants this to be handle with discretion”
Druig could not believe it. “Give me a fucking break” he thought. His head started to hurt like hell. He had been touching his face. And Agatha looked at his forehead. “You’re bleeding” she said. “It’s okay, I've just been rubbing my wound.” “No it’s not, there’s a first aid kit here somewhere”. She said as she opened her drawer and moved around some stuff.
When she found it, she opened it and sit on the desk in front of Druig. “I’ll just clean the wound and change your bandages, ok?” “Uh, yeah. Thanks”'. She was so close that he could smell her perfume and could see through her blouse a black lace bra. He tried to avoid looking at her from that angle but when he moved his head, she grabbed it and put it back in place. “Don’t move”
For some strange reason, he felt very uncomfortable. Wishing she could just finish with it and they could think about a way to deal with the mess Barry made. But she took her time and what it felt an eternity later, she was on her chair again.
“Thanks. So about this mess. What do you suggest we do?” He asked her. “I have an idea. But, I mean I had an idea. That was before I knew you had an accident.” “What was it?” “If we can sell your Software in NYC, we could have proof that it was our property before Barry’s. It’s on your laptop anyway. And we could have enough clients to bring back what Barry stole.”
“But Barry would just walk away with the money. Does the CEO want that? I mean, shit, he stole from us! Isn’t he supposed to pay for that?” “I told you, the CEO wants this to be a secret. Barry can have the money but not your software, not our clients and definitely not our reputation.”
“I know you’re hurt and tired. I’m not letting you go to NYC like that. I’ll talk to the CEO and we’ll send someone else from your team. So you can go back home.”
Home. His home? His home just flinched away from him. And of course. He could go to his mom’s or with Phastos even. But not to Makkari. Not now, not after he saw the fear on her face. She needed time and this would take at least 4 days. It was perfect, he could just think about selling his project. He could just hide away and pretend that his life was not falling apart.
And if he could bring at least one client. One victory, even the smallest one. Was all he needed. Then he would see how to deal with everything else. Besides, no one knew the project as well as he. And Barry. But fuck Barry… He was the only one who could do this. No one else.
“I’ll go” Druig said to her. “Book me a flight and a hotel. I’ll go home to pack my things. Send me the info to my phone” he said and left before she could insist him to stay.
Chapter 9: Already Gone
Kingo watched her sister sleep and he knew this would take a few more hours before she finally could wake up. He thought about calling Sersi but he knew she would be teaching until 4 pm. So he just texted her.
Hey, Busy? Just as he sent the text, Sersi was already calling on facetime. “Hello you!” Kingo said. Sersi smiled and asked him how everything was. He looked at the door in the room and closed it. And then he touched his chin and dared to say out loud what he was afraid to.
“I don’t think this was an accident, Sersi.”
“Kingo, don’t listen to Druig he’s just being paranoid!” “What?! Druig?! What did he say?” “Wait, he didn’t tell you anything? Why would you think it wasn’t an accident?”
“No, what did he say, Sersi?” Kingo asked. “Well, I don’t remember exactly but he said something about how he felt like it wasn’t possible that she forgot the exact amount of years that they knew each other. That it didn’t seem like a coincidence. But isn’t he there with you?”
“No, they called him from work. I think he just got fired.” Sersi opened her mouth in surprise. “What? They can’t do that!” Kingo smiled because that was exactly what he told Druig.
“Yeah, I know I told him that. I don’t know what’s going to happen but he had to go to his office.”
“Ok, let’s keep this between us. I don’t want Ajak to worry.” Sersi said. Kingo had always thought how odd it was that Druig and Sersi often call their mother by her first name.
“Yeah, no. I haven’t told anyone but you. That and the accident thing.”
“Why do you think that Kingo?” Sersi asked, concerned. “Okay, I don’t feel safe telling you right now, okay? I just want to take Makkari out of here as soon as possible.”
“And what are you waiting for?”
“For her to wake up. She was sedated by some nurse and she actually push Druig away”
“Oh, bug.” Sersi had been calling Druig bug ever since he went to primary school dressed like one. And it always stuck. Sometimes even Kingo teased him with it. “How did he take it?”
“It was hard to watch, honestly.” Kingo said “She just needs time. Hey, aren’t you supposed to be working?”
“Yeah, no. I told Dane about this and he offered to cover for me.” Sersi said. “I can go get you guys. Let’s not wait for Makkari to wake. If you don’t feel safe there. Let’s just trust our insitics”
“Yeah, you’re right.” Kingo nodded. “Ok, see you in a minute.” Sersi said and hung up.
It took Sersi twenty minutes to get to the Hospital. Kingo asked her to stay with Makkari while he arranged all the paperwork. He tried to search for the nurse but she was nowhere to be found. So he went straight to the reception.
When he finished, the receptionist gave him a plastic bag with Makkari’s belongings. It had her cellphone, a small purse and both hers and Druig’s rings. He wondered why they took his ring but not his cell phone or wallet. Just get Makkari out of here. He thought. Then she folded Makkari’s clothes and gave it to Kingo.
He thanked the receptionist and got back to the room. Sersi was standing on Makkari’s bedside. “It’s all done now. They’re sending her nurse to take the tube out and we’re good to go.” Sersi sat and said. “I’m gonna call Druig. I’m worried about him.”
Druig answered after two rings, and Sersi put him on speaker. “Hey, Kingo told me what happened, is everything okay?” They both heard him let out a big sigh and waited for him to respond but it was just silence.
“I’m sorry, bug” Sersi started but Druig interrupted her “No, I- They didn’t fire me!”
“What was it then?” Kingo asked.
“It's a long, complicated story but the thing is I have to go to New York to fix some stuff if I don’t want to lose my job.”
“You just had an accident. They cannot do this to you” Sersi yelled. “ Such a big sister,” Kingo thought.
“I volunteered” Druig said. “And why would you do that?” Sersi asked. “I think Makkari needs some time and space. It’s just too much for her. I should’ve waited to tell her that we were married. It’s just for the rest of the week and I’ll be back”
“She loves you, she needs you here” Sersi started.
“No, she doesn’t. Not right now” Druig said.
“So that’s it, then? Things get complicated and you just leave?” Kingo asked him.
“I don’t want to leave her” Druig yelled. “You think this is easy for me? Huh Kingo? I just got robbed. My wife, my life, my work…my boss just robbed my software and fled.” As soon as he said it, he regretted it. He wasn’t supposed to say anything, he should’ve kept quiet.
“And how would I know?” Kingo yelled and then breathed and camly continued. “ Talk to us Druig! We are your family.”
Druig didn’t answer him. Silence.
“Bug, please” Sersi begged.
“I’m sorry. I’m just… I’m a little stressed out.” Druig finally said. “It’s okay we’re here for you.” Sersi comforted him.
“Please just don’t tell Ajak. I don’t want her to worry.” he said “I have to go. I know she needs some time to process what happened and I could use the distraction. Believe me, I just want to cling to her. But I’d rather hurt myself by being apart than hurt her or scare her.”
Kingo nodded, he knew Druig was right. As always. And leaving was actually more selfless than staying. “I’m sorry I yelled. But yeah, I really think the time apart could actually be good for her.”
“Thank you, Kingo” Druig said.
They all said goodbye and a new nurse arrived. Kingo wandered about the other nurse. Did she knew he heard her talking on the phone? He ignored the thought and wrapped Makkari in her blanket and carried her out of the hospital.
As soon as they were out of that place he will tell Sersi everything.
Chapter 10: Violent Crimes
We have some theories but the truth is always hiding and changing.
Keep both eyes open and you'll still miss something ;)
Kingo carefully placed Makkari in the back of the car and put her head on his lap. Sersi jumped into the driver's seat. And as soon as the door was closed, she said “Could you -please- tell me what is happening?”
“Drive and I’ll tell you” Sersi started the car and Kingo finally said “Ok, so this morning after we told Makkari about her memory loss. I wanted to step back from the room so she and Druig could have a moment alone.”
“And before I had the chance to do that. Makkari started to complain about the pain. Druig yelled that we needed the Doctor so I went looking for him. But I think I stepped out of the room way too quickly and I scared someone that had been watching us. It was this weird guy who had a hoodie, sunglasses and a cap. Very Joe Goldberg from You.”
“Ok, that is very concerning,” Sersi said.
“I see this guy and then I turn around and I see the nurse get into Makkari’s room. So I figured, she could help her with the pain, you know? I followed him almost to the parking lot. I stop at the door. He takes his phone out of his pocket. He stares at it, he texts someone. A few minutes go by and nothing happens. Then I see him dialing. But then he turns around and before he can see me I get back into the hospital”
“And when I’m halfway from the door to the elevator. I see the nurse, the old big nurse that first had Makkari. And her pocket lights up. Her cell phone is ringing. She seems scared as if she just had been caught. She’s so distracted, she doesn’t see me. She answered the phone and I heard her say: Car accident, memory loss, it’s done.”
Sersi stops the car. They are on the sidewalk of his apartment. It wasn’t an accident.
“Oh fuck, no. We did the right thing by taking Makkari out of that place. Druig was right. But what I just don’t get is: Who would do this to them?”
“I mean Druig just got robbed. Maybe his boss did it, so he could, you know, steal his software without any intruders” Kingo thought.
Sersi said no with her head. “So what? Was Makkari's memory loss just because of the accident? Not planned? Why would the nurse say car accident, memory loss? Why didn’t she just say car accident?”
Kingo remembered the ring's situation with the receptionist. “No, it is planned too. When they gave me Makkari’s stuff. It was all her things but also Druig’s ring. They took -only- his ring. He had his wallet and cell phone with him”
Sersi couldn’t stop thinking about it and finally said: “Ok, so they wanted Druig gone, and his marriage to Makkari. Obviously, but… It still doesn’t make any sense. You were there, and we were there. It’s not like we wouldn’t tell her who she is.” Sersi realized. “Besides, I know that Druig’s boss was an ass but I don’t think he’s dumb enough to steal his software and cause his accident on the same night. It’s just very dumb. It’s literally like he incriminated himself. And what does he get out of Makkari’s situation?”
Before Kingo could think of an answer Makkari moved a little and he said. “You know what? Let’s go upstairs.”
Ten minutes later, Makkari was still sleeping on Kingo’s bed and Sersi was was about to leave. She thought a lot about everything and realized that they might need some help to figure things out. “I'm coming tomorrow morning. And we can figure this out but... What if we call someone else to help us think this through?” Kingo nodded “Yeah, someone smart.” They looked at each other and said at same time “Phastos”.
Druig got out of Agatha’s office as fast as he can. People always joke about HR personnel being scary and mean, and he always thought it was just a stupid stereotype. Until now.
Something in the ambience felt so wrong. And he knew that right now, his state of mind was not to be trusted. And he was scared for Makkari, for his work, for his family. And most of all, he just couldn't shake the feeling that the whole thing was planned. He was having such a hard time trusting anyone that wasn't his family.
So he ran out of the office to the car. As soon as he jumped in Kingo’s car, his phone rang. It was Sersi.
After the call, he felt like shit. If it depended only on him, he would be 24/7 on Makkari’s side. But hurting her, was just something Druig was not ever willing to do. And she was in such good hands, she was going to be just fine.
He drove in silence trying to think about NYC and trying not to hate Barry, more. But both were failures. He didn’t want to go into the apartment. It was so full of Makkari. Her essence, her scent, her books, her mess. So he drove to the nearest mall and bought a backpack, a pair of jeans, a couple of t-shirts, socks and some boxers.
After he finished with the shopping, Agatha texted him. Boarding pass and reservation code for his hotel. His flight was for 2.00 pm. He had three hours left, but nothing to do. So he drove to the airport and texted Kingo.
D: I’m on my way to the airport. Can you send Karun to pick the car up?
K: Absolutely, take care. Call us
D: I will. Please keep me posted on Makkari.
K: Yes, don’t worry.
Next morning, Sersi called Phastos from her phone and asked him if he could go to Kingo’s place so they could talk and maybe Makkari would be glad to see him. He, besides Kingo, was the only one who didn’t have to introduce himself to her once again. Phastos said that he would be there as soon as possible.
When Kingo and Sersi were finished with the toasts and were pouring their second cup of coffee, Phastos was knocking on the door. Ajak had told him about Makkari’s memory loss and was trying to give them space. Until they wanted to call him.
“Is she still sleeping?” was the first thing Phastos asked them. “Yeah, she was sedated. Like very hard” Kingo said. “Why did you call me guys? You sounded very distressed on the phone, Sersi. What is happening?”
Sersi and Kingo looked at each other and they both told Phastos their story. She talked about Druig’s suspicions and what he felt and Kingo talked about what he saw and heard. Phastos didn’t ask any questions. He took all the information in. And remained quiet for a while, just thinking.
He finally put together something: “First guess, will be: Druig’s boss. But then It made me think that it’s just too obvious. And he really didn’t need Druig gone to do the robbery. You said HR called him this morning, which means the job was done, maybe even since last week.”
“But at the same time I feel stupid to think it could be anyone else, like who would do this to them?”
Sersi yelled “Exactly!” Kingo nodded “This is just so cruel, it can’t be just someone who doesn’t like them and what would they get out of this?”
Phastos continued, “I think that there are two different crimes. Committed by two different people. But both of them have the same motive: jealousy.”
Sersi and Kingo had the most confused expression on their faces.
Phastos started to walk around Kingo’s kitchen while he explained: “The first crime was obviously committed by Druig’s boss. We know how smart that kid is, and we all have heard stories about his boss being an absolute jerk to him. He was jealous of him and his talent. It’s not a surprise he stole his work. That’s a simple one.”
“The other, not so much. They wanted to hurt them both but now the main object was Makkari. They wanted her, single and available. And with Druig on the picture, that was just impossible. So they -somehow- erased her memories of him and took his ring to put it on.”
“Fuck, we called the right guy.” Kingo said and then Sersi interrupted him, “But why would they call us? WE were there, we told her everything”
“Something must’ve gone wrong, the emergency contacts were not supposed to be called. Not until Makkari was out of the drugs or the hospital.”
Before anyone could think or say anything, they heard Makkari waking up.
Chapter 11: Lies in The Dark
Makkari woke up and she wasn’t in the hospital bed. She was now sitting in the chair beside it. And on the bed, was now Druig. When she got closer to him, he flinched. She tried to explain that she was his wife, but he shook his head and signed. “I know I have a wife. But you’re not her.”
If he had put a knife in her heart, it would’ve hurt less. “No, you told me that. I didn’t know you and you told me about us, about your family…” Before she could continue, a black haired pale woman came into the room and hugged him.
He smiled and then turned his head around to her and said, “This is my wife”. Makkari tried to understand what was happening. And then the nurse came back. And she had an enormous needle in her hand. “This is for you, young lady”
“No, no, no, no” she thought “Not again, no please” she begged in her head while screaming for help.
When she opened her eyes Kingo was infront of her and he tried to make her breath slow down. “Ok, breathe in” he signed. “And now out”. He repeated several times until Makkari’s breath was back to normal.
“You’re safe. You’re out of the hospital.” She sighed in relief.
Makkari looked around and even though she could not recognize the room, she somehow knew by the decorations it was Kingo’s. “Someone’s actually here to see you” And she instantly thought about Druig.
But then someone crossed the bedroom door and she signed with excitement “Phastos!”. He sat on the bed and hugged her. “We’re still friends?” she asked with a smile on her face. “After this 6 years?”
Phastos laughed and signed “I wish I could tell you everything. But for now; no photos or a lot of info for now. Small bites, ok?”
Makkari made a face. Phastos laughed, he knew her, and she was not patient or willing to take small portions of information, she wanted all in one bite.
Kingo nodded in the background. “Don’t make faces. Is for your own good.”
Then Sersi appeared behind the door. And Makkari smiled at her. She had a cup of tea in her hands and she got closer and handed it to Makkari. She remembered Kingo’s words “ his family loves you ”. “Thank you!” She signed to her.
“Where’s your brother?” Makkari asked Sersi. Feeling afraid to call him by husband or even his name. Sersi looked at her with worry and then looked at Kingo. Makkari sometimes made the mistake of assuming everyone around her knew ASL. And just because she was her sister in law, it didn’t mean that she knew. But then, Sersi answered in ASL.
“He wanted to give you some space!” Makkari felt a weird pain in her stomach. “Space? Why?” She could feel the angriness inside her. “He said in the hospital that he wasn’t going anywhere.”
Kingo approached her and tried to explain. “He wants to be here, but...” Makkari remembered the last thing she saw before closing her eyes, and it was Druig’s hurt face. For the way she backed her hand away from him.
“Is this because I flinched from him?” Makkari asked Kingo and saw that Sersi looked down. She had hurt him, while he, for the few hours she had known him, was there to take care of her. He gave her the water, and the blanket, and he defended her from the nurse.
“No, Makkari.” Sersi explained. “He’s just trying to do what’s best for you. He volunteered to take a business trip. While you accommodate to your present. He’ll be back by the end of the week”
Makkari nodded. Her feelings and her head were not working together. She knew that he was right, that she needed the time to really realize what her life was now. But the pain in her stomach hadn’t left and she couldn’t help to feel like he was abandoning her.
“Are you hungry?” Kingo asked her, trying to change the subject. She said yes and Phastos carried her to the kitchen bar. She watched as the trio made her some pancakes. She felt weird to see these people together. Like when you watch a crossover episode of your favorite TV Shows and feel like two worlds are colliding.
She and Phastos knew each other from college, he was an engineering major and she a business one. Both careers shared some classes. And since day one, she and Phastos just clicked. He knew ASL, he was funny and very smart, and he didn’t make her feel bad for being a know-it-all. But, as long as she could remember she never introduced him and Kingo. They both knew about each other but that was it.
Phastos seemed to know where all the things in Kingo’s kitchen were. He didn’t even hesitate to grab the frying pan, or the coffee. Nothing. And he and Sersi had the same mannerisms. The way they laughed and how they moved their hands when they were explaining something. They all seemed to fit in, so… Naturally.
“I know that this question might be stupid… but” Makkari started and Sersi interrumpted and grab her hands, looked at her in the eye and sincerely told her. “Nothing, absolutely nothing you wanna ask is stupid, ok? You can ask whatever you want!” The rawness of Sersi’s words almost made her cry. “ I love her, '' she thought. And got, again surprised by her own thoughts.
“Now, ask away!”
“I don’t remember if I ever introduced Kingo and Phastos…” she paused and then continued “And Phastos and Sersi you seem like you’ve known each other for centuries. How did that happen? Do you know each other from me and Druig?”
Phastos laughed and tried to explain. “No, it’s actually the other way around. You met Druig because of me. You loved me so much you married into my family.”
Makkari could feel herself blush. “What?”
“We’re cousins” Phastos said and Sersi nodded. “You guys met at a Halloween party I trew.”
Makkari laughed. She married her best friend’s cousin. It made sense that she would marry someone with the same values as Phastos. But it still was just… weird. And too good to be true.
The life she remembered wasn’t that kind to her. She could handle anything and even though she had Kingo, Gil and Thena, she felt lonely. And sometimes misunderstood. Phastos was her first and best friend in college. But she was in a major that made her feel secure and not passionate about it.
Her uncle Gilgamesh was amazing, so caring and affectionate, and always cooking for them. And her aunt Thena was just a badass, the true definition of girl power. Until she got sick. She would get violent and scream. And one time, she even hit Makkari. She knew her aunt would never do that on purpose. She was just out of her mind. But it still hurted.
With time, and a lot of Gil’s patience. Thena eventually got better and everytime she could she would apologize to Makkari. And Makkari held no resentment against her. But for a long time she longed for the mother figure she never had.
So, the last things she remembered was that her family was still trying to glue themselves back together. That she was pursuing a career she didn’t like, she had little to almost no friends. She just had Phastos, and he was 80% of the time busy with his family. She felt lonely. But mostly, she felt bored.
And now, she wakes up in a world where according to Kingo, she had a job she loved. A very handsome husband who “adores her” (Kingo’s words, again) who was none other than the cousin of her best friend. And now she had an extended family, a mother in law who seemed like the most maternal woman in the world. And all of them seemed to know ASL. She was just living her dream life. But how? How did she pass from one to another? How was Gil and Thena?
“Kingo, my uncle and aunt, how are they?” She asked, afraid to know the answer. “They could finally take a plane. Uncle Gil just texted me. There was a snow storm, that’s why they weren’t at the hospital. They went to Fiji.”
“Wow, Fiji!” Makkari signed with surprise. “Yeah, they’ve been traveling a lot lately. She is much better now.” Kingo said with a smile.
Makkari nodded and finally started to eat her pancakes. Phastos stood up and handed her a phone. “This is yours. I blocked some photos and applications. It’s just while you learn about your life. Ok? Small bites”
Makkari nodded and took the phone. When she was done with her breakfast, she got closer to the window in Kingo’s living room and took a photo of the view.
“This is a very nice place, Kingo,” she signed. “Did you win the lottery or something like that?” They all laughed and Sersi told him. “C’mon big star, tell her!”
Kingo brushed his hair with his hand and said “I just, you know, got casted in a few movies!”
“You did?” Makkari asked him “I guess you’re not stealing my ramen anymore” She got closer and hugged him. “Congrats!”
Sersi stood up and watched the view Makkari just photographed. “Let’s go for a walk. It’s gonna be good for you” she said as she patted Makkari’s back.
When they were leaving the apartment, Makkari felt her phone vibrate in her pocket. It was a text message that read: They’re lying to you.
Chapter 12: Backstabber
Druig tried to sleep in the stupid, uncomfortable chairs on the airport but was a complete failure. He called Thena and asked her how the snow situation was going. Thena was a woman of very few words. So the call was very quick but nothing was left unsaid.
She and Gil finally had a flight for today. He told her about the NYC situation and asked her if they could go to his and Makkari`s place. He had forgotten about Friday. Their dog. Thena said that they would take care of Friday while he and Makkari were away. And that she would keep his work situation a secret. And promised to text him any updates on Makkari because Kingo and Sersi were just awful at texting.
Three coffees and two burgers after. It was finally 1.35 pm. Boarding time. The flight was going to be a long one. So he took 2 sleeping pills and closed his eyes as soon as he was on his seat. He hadn’t realized how sleep deprived he was. Because, honestly, he never felt sleepy. He just couldn’t, with Makkari like that, he just had to make sure she was okay.
When the pills started to kick in, then he felt how tired he really was. So when he closed his eyes and opened them again. The plane was landing. And he felt like just five minutes had passed.
He got off the plane and took an Uber to the nearest mall. Fucking christmas, fucking NYC, and fucking cold. Not only did he not bring any warm clothes, but also didn’t have any jacket or coat on. And now he was freezing to death. So he stopped to buy more clothes before heading to his hotel.
When he finally could make it to the hotel, without feeling his fingers numb and his teeth chattering, it was 9 oclock. And the event had just started. So he checked in, left his backpack in his room and went directly to the lobby.
He introduced himself to some of the clients that were already there. And then, when he was about to get on the podium to start the presentation and his pitch. The lights went down and in the center of the room a big screen lit up.
It was a logo that the design team had made for his software. And then a shadow with a microphone on his hand appeared. Druig instantly recognized the shadow. It was Barry’s.
“What the hell is he doing here?” he thought out loud.
Finally another light aimed at the shadow and Barry appeared in sight.
“How’s everybody doing tonight?” he yelled in a typical - jerk who thinks he’s the next wolf of wall street- way. Barry proceeded to introduced himself to the public and told them about the software, about the company, and about him.
“Druig, the developer who came up with the idea, has been with us for seven years now. He’s the real deal. And I promise you he knows what you need, what you want. Us as a company wanna make sure you make lots of money with it. And share some of it with us”
The public laughed. And Druig stayed still. What the hell was happening? Barry was here selling the Software just as he promised. He never fled. He was here. Did Agatha lie or she really made an honest mistake and why did Barry have different numbers on the expenses? He had so many questions, and was confused as hell.
When the presentation ended Barry jumped off the podium to talk to the clients but Druig intercept him before he could get in a conversation with any of them. “Druig, what are you doing here? And why do you have stitches on your forehead’”
“We need to talk, now!” Druig walked him out of the lobby and into the restaurant and went straight to the point. “HR called me Barry, to tell me you fled with money from this convention and with my software. They found discrepancies in our data. What the hell happened?”
Barry frowned, annoyed. “This convention was cheap as fuck, if I wanted to steal I would aim higher. HR! That bitch, really she just needs to be fucked until her senses come back to place.”
That kind of comment didn’t surprise Druig when it came to Barry. He was capable of saying way worse things than that. “Then why are the numbers different, Barry?”
“I had a crappy week, ok? I forgot to update the data to the file finance gave me. I didn’t think that slut would make such a big deal out of this.”
“She even called the CEO!” Druig yelled.
“Jack?! No, I talked to him just before the presentation. He knows I’m here. I think she’s getting fired, man.” Barry laughed and then added “She deserves it, fucking back stabber”
“Back stabber?” Druig asked him. “Why do you mean?”
Barry shook his head, realizing that he might have said something he shouldn’t have. And he quickly lied. “I mean this man. How could she just assume that I stole shit.” Druig notice how Barry started to sweat but pretend he believed what he just said. “Yeah, right”
“Anyway, this was a success. Huh? Didn’t I tell you? I have to get back to them, but now that you’re here you can help me out. C’mon!”
“Yeah, I just need to call my sister. I’ll be there in a minute!”
Barry return to the lobby and Druig called Agatha.
“I just got fired” Druig heard her say and could tell by the tone of her voice she had been crying. “I know Jack would choose Barry over me. I know he did this. I don’t know what he told you but if I were you I wouldn’t lose him out of my sight”
“I won’t. I’m sorry about your job.”
“Thank you. Druig, I care about you. Just be careful around him” she said and hung up.
That statement surprised Druig in many different ways. First of all, the warning had been just a confirmation of his suspicion, nothing new. But the “I care about you” ? That was just weird. Druig could count with one hand the times he and Agatha had shared a conversation that lasted more than 5 minutes. In 7 years. He felt bad about her losing her job but did she really care more about him than a job she had been on for the last 10 years?
She is in HR after all. She maybe… just cares about people.
Druig returned to the lobby and talked to the clients about his work. But with his mind somewhere else. And the word backstabber on the back of his head.
Chapter 13: Airplanes
Gil and Thena fighted, yelled and even bribed everyone on the airport staff. Until finally they were put on a flight back home. It wasn’t the best option or the cheapest, but they didn’t care. Whatever it took to get back to their family.
Thena had talked to Druig. And he told her everything. He sounded so heartbroken and drained. She wasn’t a very affectionate person. But she wanted to hug him so bad. Not that she didn’t want to do the same with Makkari. But she was fine, maybe it will take her a few weeks to get back into her life. She was going to be just fine. But Druig...
She and him were very alike. Mentally unstable. Even fragile sometimes. And they both had a strong partner who put them back together when they needed it. Thena sometimes tortured herself and imagined her life without Gil. It was just unbearable. She just could not begin to imagine what she would feel if Gil suddenly didn’t recognize her.
So she knew that Druig needed support, comfort and yes, a hug.
Gil carried their luggage from one terminal to another. And didn’t even sweat. Thena loved how strong he was, and how much he helped her with everything without ever making her feel bad or being condescending. Not even in her worst times.
Their first flight was 10 hours and their second just two. They slept, ate and finally dared to talk about what happened.
Gil joked about how unlucky was Druig. That Makkari had just forgotten enough time to forget about him. He was trying to make a difficult situation funny. It was his defense mechanism. But the comment just made Thena a little suspicious. And Gil noticed it.
“It’s weird, yeah” she answered instead of laughing at his joke. “They’re good kids. Just bad luck” he tried to take her mind off it. She nodded.
“You worry too much.” Gil tried again. Thena smiled and closed her eyes and after an hour she finally started to feel the world disappearing.
Gil knew that even though Thena worried a lot. Every time she did, she was right. Something had happened every single time she had the “worried frown” on her face.
At midnight, the time between their two flights, Gil told Thena he was going to the bathroom and called Druig. And Thena was right.
Gil founded Druig very stressed out. Heard him confess his fears “This was planned. And I have no idea what they want.”
Gil at first fought that Druig was being paranoid. He was suspicious about everything and everyone. His boss, the first subject, was acting strange for supporting him, for being where he said he was going to be. And he was being suspicious about not stealing his software. And then the HR lady, the second subject, was being suspicious just for being nice to him.
Like, what? “You wanted him to steal from you? For her to be a bitch?” Gil asked him.
“That would’ve put the loop on me. But like this, they want something else then. I have to go back.”
Gil had to admit that both Druig and Thena were people who at first seemed out of this place. That they often were somewhere far away in the back of their heads. But when they were into something, it always turned out to be true. No matter how long the truth took to come out.
“No, son. If you feel it, then there’s something there. Keep your friends close…”
And your enemies closer. Druig knew exactly what Gil was suggesting. “But, Makkari… This thing… If I keep close I’ll have to stay until Friday.”
“She has me, Thena, Kingo, Ajak, Sersi… Phastos. Hell, even Sprite.” Gil heard Druig’s laugh. “She is not alone. You can trust us. If anyone even tries to touch her, we’ll be there. Besides it’s already Wednesday”
“Thank you Gil.”
“Be careful. She is not the only one in danger. I want you safe and sound”
Gil hung the phone up, jumped with Thena into the plane and one hour and fifty minutes before they were landing home. They had their truck, a Toyota 4runner waiting in the airport parking lot. They took they luggage, and drove directly to Kingo’s place.
“We have to go get Friday. Druig asked me to.” Thena said in the car.
Gil nodded. “Ok, let’s go see our girl first and we can go tonight.”
Kingo had noticed how Makkari was looking non-stop at her phone and thought that maybe she was just taking in all the new tech on it. And she was not taking it so great, for the look on her face, she seemed mortified.
“You’ll catch up with tech soon enough” she signed, trying to reassure her. She nodded.
The walk Sersi suggested at first had helped Makkari, but then after a while, she started acting weird. Phastos was the first to notice but tried not to say anything. Sersi then noticed too. And when they got back to the apartment and Makkari went into the bathroom, they finally went vocal about it.
“Druig said she was going to have a lot of mood swings. It’s normal.” Kingo commented but just as they were whispering, Makkari jumped out of the bathroom and they all suddenly shut up. And she watched them trying to avoid the awkwardness that came with it.
Makkari took some painkillers that made her sleepy, excused herself and went to bed without eating. Sersi had to work the next day, so she left and promised to come back as soon as her class was over. And Phastos did the same.
Kingo knew that her uncle and aunt would be landing around 2 or 3 in the morning. And he knew they would drive directly to his place. So he slept all afternoon and waited for them awake.
They arrived at exactly 3.30 am and asked to see Makkari right away. Kingo opened the door to his room and found her sister asleep. Gil kissed her forehead and Thena smiled at her. Kingo offered them the couch to sleep a few more hours and they took his offer right away.
Chapter 14: Don't Panic
Makkari stared at the text and thought at first it was maybe meant for someone else. She silenced her phone and tried to focus on the walk. Kingo lived among the rich, and she thought that maybe the “few movies” he was casted were more than just some movies.
She enjoyed the fresh air, the exercise, feeling normal again. Until she felt her pocket vibrate. One time, two times, three times.
Unknown number: Please, Makkari
Unknown number: I bet they haven’t show you any pictures
Unknown number: [Photo]
Makkari clicked on the photo and she downloaded it. It was a screenshot from a note in a magazine from 2019. The picture just showed the title, four lines of text and a photo of Kingo hiding his face from paparazzi.
The article was called “ Kingo’s fame destroyed her sister's marriage. And how they went “separate ways” ever since .” And the lines read:
Remember simpler times when Kingo took his sister to his first premier and we all loved him for it? Well apparently they can't stand each other -anymore- and he’s the reason for her divorce.
Read the complete article and find out about all about *that* party where his sister found her husband cheating on her!!! Find all the hot gossip on our official page.
Makkari’s heart was beating like crazy and her mind immediately went over somewhere else. At first the word divorce scared the hell out of her. But then she thought that trusting an unknown number and an article from a magazine for tennagers over her brother and best friend was just stupid.
But the text was right, they haven’t shown her any photos. And refused to let her see the ones she had on her phone. She started feeling paranoid. When in her entire life had Kingo lied to her? And this was something big, she was really in their hands, lost in the future, lost in a life she didn’t know. Her brother had loved and protected her ever since she had a memory. So fuck the texts.
There was for sure someone lying to her. And it was simple. A text or her brother. So when they finally made it back to the apartment, she went into the bathroom and blocked the number. But as soon as she was out. Phastos, Kingo and Sersi stopped talking. As if her presence was against whatever they were saying.
And then it hit her. The liars were in front of her. And she knew she had to do something. She needed the truth.
She took her pills and pretended that she was going to sleep. Went directly to Kingo’s room and unblocked the number.
M: Tell me who you are
X: You won’t believe me
M: Try me
X: We’re together, or were before the accident
M: I’m married! Was I cheating? Why weren’t you in the hospital?
X: No, you divorced a long time ago. But you never changed your emergency contact.
Makkari just felt like this person was full of shit. And she felt stupid again for even having the thought of them telling the truth. This was her family for god’s sake. She laughed at the last text.
M: You were right
M: I don’t believe you
She turned off her phone, closed her eyes and tried to sleep. And in her dreams, there he was. Again. Just sleeping beside her. Looking as handsome as ever. But some part of her knew this wasn’t real, and he was far far away. Out of her reach. And woke up with tears in her eyes, wishing he could just come back to her.
The smell of coffee finally invited her out of the bed and when she opened the door, Gil and her aunt were there. And what a beautiful sight that was. She ran into Gil’s arms and felt how he caught her and lifted her out of her toes and swung her. She could feel how his shoulders moved with his laughter. He put her down, grabbed her face with both of his hands and kissed her forehead.
Thena quickly hugged her, and Gil put an arm around her shoulders. “How’s my girl feeling?” Makkari could never lie to Gil, he just saw through her. So she told him the truth, “I am a little anxious. Not knowing who to trust” Gil grabbed her by her shoulders and told her, “Us, of course. Who else?” Makkari nodded and hugged him again.
Gil made them breakfast and talked about their trip non-stop, showing them all the photos he took. They spent the morning together and finally Makkari asked Kingo if she could use his shower. And then realized she didn’t had any clothes.
Thena said that she and Gil had to go to her apartment to check on some stuff Druig asked for and that they could bring her clothes. So Makkari agreed to wait for them to take that bath.
Gil and Thena drove to Makkari and Druig’s place. Friday was about to run out of food and water. Kingo had given them the spare key he had. When they got out of the elevator Gil tried to put the key on the door but when his hand got close, the door opened on his own.
And the apartment was a complete mess. They knew that Makkari was messy, but this seemed like a robbery. Books and papers on the floor. The drawers were all messed up and the clothes were hanging out of them. The mattress on their bed was now standing. Everything seemed out of place. But there. The things that normally went missing on a robbery, were still there.
Thena and Gil looked at each other. There was an unspoken understatement. Someone had planned everything. And there was no use in denying it anymore.
Chapter 15: Take Shelter
“Should we call Druig?” Thena asked. Gil just shook his head. “He’s been through enough already. I don’t want to call him with more problems.”
Thena nodded and while thinking what to do next, greeted Friday. Feed him and fill up his water. She kneeled to pet him and said. “If only you could tell us who was here.”
They agreed to clean the mess and try to find some clues. If all the valuable things were still there, what was missing? What were these people looking for? And most importantly; did they find it? Second agreement was: no cops. Not yet at least. Makkari and Druig were not in a place where they could be interrogated, nor mentally or physically. Besides, Kingo was a public figure which meant paparazzi, reporters, big crowds and insecurity. More than they already had. So cops were the last option.
Two hours, less mess and zero agreements later, Thena found the place where Makkari kept all the important papers. But she just couldn't find her passport and her birth certificate. And then, she realized that a lot of other documents were missing. Their marriage certificate was nowhere to be found, and Druig’s passport was open as if someone had taken a picture of it.
When she was about to stand up and tell Gil, he entered the room and said. “The only thing missing is the photos. The ones they printed and had all over the living room. There’s only the frames.” Thena blinked and said “Her documents, they’re missing. All of them”
Gil sighed and sat on the bed. Thena was still thinking about what it all meant. “Memory loss, no photos and no personal data.”
“They’re after her,” Gil finally said. He grabbed a bag on the closet and quickly tossed all the clothes he could. Thena reacted and grabbed some more clothes and helped Gil out. They didn’t stop until the bag was full of both Makkari and Druig’s clothes. The apartment was no longer a safe place. Finally, before leaving, she took all the documents left and secured them in her purse.
Gil put the leash on Friday and they left. He drove to Kingo’s apartment. 4.45 pm. They really took their time. When they were stepping out of the Toyota they saw Sersi and Phastos crossing the street.
Gil whistled to catch their attention. They both looked, smiled and ran to hug them. After greetings Sersi saw Friday in the back seat of the truck and yelled. “Friday!” Phastos frowned and said. “You’re taking him home? Isn’t he like… banned from there since he almost ate your iguana, T?”
Thena and Gil looked at each other and confessed. Druig’s suspicions, Thena’s worriness, and finally the apartment. While telling the first part Phastos and Sersi looked at each other and nodded. They didn’t seem surprised. But then they get to the apartment thing.
“Oh my god, oh my god” Sersi started. “Damn it!” Phastos said.
Sersi closed her eyes and put a hand on her forehead. She then started to speak, her voice and hands were shaking. She described their side of the story. How Druig told her how he felt about the accident, and then told them what Kingo saw.
“She is not safe here.” Phastos said. “Kingo has like a thousand of photos in this apartment.”
“We went to Fiji to avoid being home while the renovations ended. We can’t go there right now.” Gil said.
“Ajak!” Sersi finally said. “My mom’s place is the safest. The house is a little hidden and no one that hasn't been there before knows how to get there.”
Thena nodded and said. “It’s true. Gilgamesh got lost several times.” They laughed and Gil pretended to be offended.
“No but you’re right,” Phastos continued. “The address is not available, not even on maps.”
“Does Druig already know? About the apartment?” Sersi asked Gil. He shook his head. “I didn’t want to scare him before we knew what to do”
Sersi nodded. Gil was right, one more thing could literally break him. His flight back was for Friday morning. It was just one more day. “We’ll call him when Makkari is safe.”
Makkari and Kingo watched a few movies. And her phone didn’t ring at all. Which made her feel more certain that the text was just a stupid joke. Kingo ordered pizza and Makkari took a nap after eating. When she woke up, she realized that it was Wednesday and she was supposed to be working. So she asked Kingo. “My job. I’m not working…” Kingo smiled at her and said. “Oh, don’t worry. Druig called them. You have a few weeks free.”
Druig called them. She thought about him. And a hot pain in her heart appeared. She felt herself almost craving him. And before she could explore these new feelings. Kingo stood up and behind the door were Phastos, Sersi, Gil and Thena.
But for the look on their faces, nothing good was happening. “What is it?” She asked. “And please, tell me the truth! I can handle the present… however it is. But not the lies, not the lying and definitely not the speaking behind my back!”
She didn’t realize that she was crying while she was signing until Sersi came close and saw tears on her eyes as well.
“No, Makkari. I’m.. We’re sorry. We didn’t mean to. We.. We were worried about you and we tried to hide that.” Phastos came closer too and explained to her what was happening. Every detail.
And it suddenly became too much. Just when she had just said that she could handle the truth. She looked around and saw the faces that surrounded her. They were all worried. Someone wants to get to you. Phastos had said.
“Someone texted me” Makkari finally signed. “Yesterday, at the park. That’s why I acted so weird.”
“Who? What kind of text? What did it say?” Kingo asked.
Makkari showed them the texts. Kigno rolled his eyes and signed. “Stupid gossips”. Sersi frowned and then figured something out. “When you took that photo, before we left. This person saw you through the window. That explains the text.”
Phastos walked through the window and pulled the curtain down.
“We have to leave. Now” Thena said.
“What if they follow us?” Sersi asked. “We can’t risk to give away Makkari’s location again”
“But how do we get her out of here without them noticing it?” Kingo asked.
“We can't,” Phastos said. “We have to drive around for a few hours until we make sure no one is following us.”
Sersi called Ajak and asked her to please wait for them awake. She didn’t know anything yet and was desperate to know what was happening. Sersi promised to tell her everything as soon as they got there. Everyone got in their cars. By midnight, they were sure no one was following them. So they finally drove to Ajak’s.
She, as promised, was awake. And had made dinner for everyone. When Makkari first entered the house. She just felt home. The place was so cozy and so… familiar. And so.. Colorful. It was a big house but Makkari had the feeling that a lot of people were always there and it made it seem not so big.
When Ajak saw Makkari, she smiled and signed. “You look so much better, honey!” Does anyone in this family know ASL? Did they all learn it for her? Makkari felt like a child every time Ajak was around, which now it was 2 times. She just felt so maternal. And Makkari was just drawn to her.
Everyone walked to the kitchen and started to eat. And finally laid the truth down to Ajak. And she took it all in. And remained completely calmed. Sometimes her children underestimated her. She was stronger than what she looked like. And smarter.
“We have to think of a plan” Ajak said. “And I’ll tell Druig. You guys don’t sweat it” Everyone in the room sighed.
Ajak had made some very strong coffee and everyone for a while forgot about everything. Makkari looked around and saw her family and Druig’s family. Being one. They looked like those photos in magazines with all the Christmas decorations, the fogginess and all the smiles. Before she could finally relax her phone… for the first time in the day, vibrated.
X: Why do you hide from me, my love?
Chapter 16: Better Friends
Druig has been through enough and I think he could use a friend
Monday night was the hell of a roller coaster. People around him were acting crazier than ever. Agatha sure made a mistake. But was it really enough to have her fired? Druig was expecting for her to be a little more mad. And if not mad, sad. Or at least he expected her to fight for her job. Ten years and a mistake it’s enough to let her go? She knew she could fight. Why would she give up so easily?
And then, Barry was selling the software to everybody in the conference room. The event was a total success. Literally every potential client in the conference room wanted to do business with them. Tuesday and Wednesday were planned to do some demonstration, examples and basically explain how the software worked and the different versions and functions it had. Druig was supposed to feel good that at least this came out right. But Barry doing exactly what he said he would was the most suspicious thing in the world.
At midnight when the hotel asked them to clear the room, Barry walked with him to the lobby. Patted him on the back and said. “This is huge, man!” They walked to the elevators while Barry was still talking. “ Jack just called me to congratulate me.”
“He’s coming and he wants to talk to you! I think a promotion it’s on your way!” They got into the elevator. And Druig said “Wow, seven years and I’ve never met the guy!” Druig for sure had seen photos in the social media of the company. And a lot of people in the office used to brag about knowing him. And having a drink with him. But the guy had never been in the office. Not at the same time as Druig, that for sure.
“What floor are you on?” Barry asked. “4” Druig answered and Barry clicked on both the 4 and 7 button.
“He was never involved in anything. I’m sure that’s why you’ve never met him.” Barry explained. Druig nodded. “This is my floor. Goodnight Barry”
Druig got into his room and slept until the sun was out. The event started at 2 pm so he had a lot of time to relax. But he just couldn’t. Everything was weird now. He was just eager to get back home. Instead he tried to distract himself. He asked for room service, had breakfast and showered, watched some TV, texted Kingo about Makkari.
At 2 pm he went downstairs and installed his laptop on one of the tables. A few people came closer with questions and comments. Kingo had replied to him that Makkari was better and that they were in the park. The fresh air seemed to calm her down. The day passed very quickly.
At midnight, Gil called him. And Druig confessed it all to him. He needed to say it out loud. To make him feel less crazy and less paranoid. Gil at first didn’t seem to believe him, but then he said. “If you feel it, then there’s something there. Keep your friends close…”
And that was it. Gil had reassured him that Makkari was safe. But him? Not so much. And these people were for sure acting different. And he wanted to find out why and if it had something to do with him. He wanted more than ever to be wrong.
Wednesday was boring. Until Jack arrived. Druig had imagined that a CEO would look polish and expensive but this guy was wearing Nike shoes and a flannel t-shirt. He really didn’t care. The -now- clients came unto him. Shaked his hand, invited him a drink, but mostly congratulated him for the new products he was offering. Jack was nice to everyone. Even when he was rejecting the drinks, he just sounded nice.
He came to the table Druig had installed to help resolve doubts and shaked his hand. “Can we talk?” He said, tilting his head to the door. “Sure”. They walked out of the conference room and Druig notice Barry looking at them.
They sat at the restaurant bar, and Jack ordered a couple drinks. “I know this is… random.” Druig laughed. “It is” And then they both laughed together. “I just wanted to thank you…” Jack started. “This is huge for the company.”
Druig was immediately drawn to this guy. He didn’t have many friends, because sometimes he could be a little prejudicial. He could point out people's flaws in seconds. But this guy was just rawly honest and kind at the same time. And for the way he was acting. The feeling was mutual.
“I wasn’t sure Barry could pull this off by himself. The selling yeah, but the afterwards, that’s you.”
Druig finished his drink and ordered two more. He felt brave and confessed. “I was honestly surprised to find him here.” Jack just nodded. And Druig continued “I was more surprised about that than when Agatha told me he stole my Software.” Jack laughed.
“It sounded more like him,” Jack commented.
“Well… Yeah”... “About Agatha..” Druig started “Why did you-”
Before he could finish the question Jack interrupted him. “Druig, that was the top of the iceberg.” He closed his eyes for a second and finished his drink in one gulp. “She and Barry.. Gosh..” Jack just shook his head while trying to put one word after the other.
“They what?” Druig ordered two more drinks and they gulped them down.
“I know I’ve been absent. And it’s probably my fault. But they really had made a mess. I am firing him too. But I needed him for this.” By this point the bartender was just filling their glasses. Druig could feel the alcohol in his body making his movements slower.
“They’ve been acting batshit crazy.” Druig said and they both laughed. “Agatha was completely sure he stole from us,” he continued. “You know? I had a car accident this weekend!”
“You did? And you still came? Man, I am so giving you a raise!” They laughed again and Druig said
“Are you okay, tho?”
“Yeah, I’m fine but my wife is …She’s still recovering”
“I’m sorry, If you wanna get back to her…”
“I wanted to but I couldn’t help to think that my accident and Barry were somehow connected.”
“That’s why you came!” Jack said and asked “Was there any indication that it wasn’t an accident?”
“Yeah, the fake robbery. Barry being here like nothing happened. My wife, she…has amnesia. But the strange thing is… She just forgot about us.” Jack frowned. “And Agatha acted weird. I don’t know her that much but did she even fight for her job?”
Jack put a hand on his mouth and started to think. “No and I thought about it too. When I told her, it was as if she knew it was coming.” Jack paused and then added. “And she said: Tell Barry if he speaks I speak . And I really thought she talked about them doing whatever they wanted while I was away.”
“No, no, no. When I got here, I confronted Barry and he referred to Agatha as a “backstabber” but if she didn't say anything why would he say that?”
Jack shook his head. And then they both drank and drank and drank. And when they were drunk. Druig figure everything out.
“Barry stole the software and the money. And Agatha knew what he was going to do. They had some kind of agreement. But something must’ve happened and that’s when she called me… and you.”
Jack nodded “Yes, I called him right after she told me. And he just sounded surprised and so nervous and he said that he had just missed his flight but he was coming. I honestly made that mistake an excuse to fire her. She was just terrible at her job. She lasted that long cause I wasn’t around”
“The real question is… why would she swap sides?” Druig said.
“Man, I’m so drunk I can’t think right now.” Druig nodded and laughed. “Me too”
“Let’s grab something to eat” Jack said “But not here. I hate fancy food”
“There’s a shake shack around the corner!” Druig suggested. “Uh.. I love shake shack. Let’s go!”
They both staggered out of the restaurant and when they were at the lobby Barry cut them out and yelled. “What the hell? You left me alone there!”
Druig kept walking and said, “Barry, shut the fuck up!” Jack laughed at that and said. “Go back in there, Barry. We are in a business meeting” They laughed and walked out.
After eating and feeling a little less dizzy, Jack pointed out something. “You know I’ve been so far away I just don’t know what could’ve happened between them”
Druig thought about it and remembered Gil’s words. “What if you called Agatha back?”
Jack smiled, “Are you proposing a “keep your friends close.. ?” Druig laughed, he didn’t think Jack would catch his idea so quickly. “Yeah, it could work.”
“Yeah it could.” He slurped the last of his shake and added “We could wire her and Barry’s laptop”
“We have a plan.”
Makkari was always in a rush, she was a runner in every sense of the word. But lately she felt like everybody was ahead of her. And before she could process what was happening, the world around her stepped into the next new thing. And it made her dizzy.
Everybody ran out of Kingo’s place and before she could say a word, they had put her in a car. Drive around the city for hours to finally get her to Ajak’s house. At first, she was afraid about being in a new environment, which she didn’t know anything about. But then when they got there, she just felt home.
Ajak received her with open arms and her family seemed to be familiar with the place. Kingo sat on the sofa and put his feet on the coffee table. Thena went straight to the kitchen to help Ajak and Gil was outside. Taking care of the dog.
The house smelled like food. Ajak had made dinner for everyone and instead of eating on the dining table they went straight to the kitchen. Where a smaller table awaited them. It was a round table that had a lot of different chairs but somehow they all fit in together. Just like them.
Phastos told Ajak the truth, every part, every detail, and every suspicion. She was calm while she took the information in. And finally reassured her family that she was going to be the one to talk to Druig. When they all agreed on that and to elaborate a plan, it was already 3 am. But none of them were tired, it was the adrenaline.
They ate, drank coffee, but mostly talked. Trying to have a moment of peace, Ajak asked Gil and Thena about their trip. And the longest conversation on earth started. Makkari was analyzing this strange moment in her life, where her family was no longer of 4 members. But almost ten. And it seemed closer than ever. If she could only remember how that happened.
And then another text. While the other texts had startled her, this one scared her. Terrified her. This person just knew. They knew about her and what she was doing. And she saw her family being so happy and so relaxed given the circumstances that she decided to keep quiet. But then Phastos gaze found her and she just couldn’t hold it anymore.
“I have another text” she signed to him. And everybody turned around to look at her. “Let me see,” Phastos said and extended his hand to take Makkari’s phone. “They know you’re hiding. And they are calling you my love now” He said with one eyebrow raised, after reading the text.
“Who the fuck he thinks he is?” Kingo stated. “It could be a she,” Sersi pointed out. Phastos had risen up from the table and walked to the living room. Where he put out his laptop and started working something out.
“I’m going to try to track this number down.” he said after everyone went after him to the dining table.
“We still need Druig’s update on his boss.” Gil emphasized. “I'm gonna try to call him.” Ajak muttered. “But it’s 4 am..”
Makkari’s heart started to beat like crazy. She hadn’t known anything from him, not first hand. Not since the hospital, and she was kinda fine. Apart from being stalked and having to have to hide. Still fine, she had an army protecting her. But he was alone and far. How was he? Was he ok? Was he feeling fine? Did he miss her?
Apparently even though it was 4 am, Druig answered. “Are you drunk?” Ajak yelled at the phone and Makkari easily read her lips. As if her brain remembered Ajak’s gestures perfectly.
“Listen to me, young men!” Makkari wanted so hard to take this moment as it was. Something serious but she just could contain her amusement. Her grown-up husband was being scolded by his mother, and she just wanted to laugh. And so did everyone else apparently. “You’ve been lying to me, you’ve asked Thena, Gil, Kingo and your sister to lie to me… No. No! You listen to me!”
Phastos was just smiling and shaking his head trying to hide behind the laptop. Kingo was openly laughing out loud. “He’s in so much trouble” he signed for Makkari. And Sersi, well Sersi had a scared face, a “I’m next” kinda face. Gil was just impressed by Ajak, and Thena had the shadow of a smile in the corner of her lips.
“Shut up and listen to me!” Ajak continued “You’re gonna take a cold shower, have something very spicy for breakfast and call me as soon as you can talk properly. Understood?” She looked at Makkari and nodded. “I know you do, just sober up so we can talk, alright?” Ajak seemed worried, something new.
“Yeah, yeah. Me too. Go to sleep and sober up, please” Ajak hung up and put her hands on her face. And then pointed her finger to Sersi. “You and I are gonna have a private talk” Sersi nodded just as a scolded child would. Her children were grown people, but at the simplest glare they just turned into babies. And it was the most adorable thing Makkari had ever seen. Ajak was just a mother, every fiber on her body screamed it.
“I have to admit. If I was Druig, I wouldn’t come back until next christmas” Gil joked. And everyone laughed. More for the scolding than Gil’s joke. But it was a good excuse to freely laugh at it.
Makkari stood up and went straight to the kitchen to help Ajak with the dishes. Ajak quickly followed her and put a hand on her back. “Stop. You don’t have to do this” she signed. “I want to be useful,” Makkari responded.
“I know you do, honey. It’s just that Sprite is grounded and this is her job.” Ajak smiled and Makkari couldn’t help to imitate her. “Ok”
When she moved away from the sink she spotted her favorite cereal in one of the cabinets. And signed to Ajak. “That’s my favorite cereal. I can't believe you have it” Ajak laughed at her and explained. “I know it is. It’s yours. I buy that for you.”
Wow. She thought, amazed. She didn’t have a bad life at home, it was just that for the longest time Thena didn’t even remember her own name and Gil was so worried about her that these kinds of things were just not that important. But Ajak buying stuff specifically for her, remembering her likes, and having a place in the cabinets of her kitchen. It just made her feel loved.
“What did Druig manage to say?” Makkari asked her.
“Not much, really. He is coming back today. His boss changed his flight for tonight.” Ajak touched her arm and smiled. “Are you ok if he stays here? Because I can ask him to crash somewhere else. I know you are still… accommodating to your life. And a new husband can be too much.”
As soon as Ajak suggested that, Makkari shocked her head. “No, no, no. It’s fine. Really!”
“If you feel uncomfortable or just feel like it’s too much, tell me and we can give you as much space as you need. Ok?” Makkari watched this incredibly thoughtful, kind woman and finally dared to do what she wanted to do ever since she watched her knitting at the hospital. She hugged her.
Ajak was surprised but thankful. As she wanted to hug her too. But was resisting and respecting her space. She rocked her and kissed her forehead. “You’re gonna be just fine.”
Phastos tried to get something from the number that texted Makkari but nothing appeared on his screen. At seven in the morning, Sprite came down the stairs and greeted everyone. No one mentioned the real reason why they were there. And she was just happy to have them all home.
She hugged Gil and Thena. And they volunteered to take her to school and buy some groceries on the way back. Phastos and Sersi had to work so they left after them. He promised to get back that night. Kingo decided that it was time for Makkari to know about her job. And also thought it was a perfect distraction.
He took his laptop from the trunk of his car. And sit in the living room next to her. “Remember I told you that you took a different path than your business career?” Makkari nodded, scared of her own decisions. “Well, I will avoid the details for now. But you went after what you love instead of the boring mature path.”
“And you made the right choice. You’re an editor assistant in a publishing house.” Makkari laughed and shook her head. “I am?” She asked and Kingo nodded, proudly. Makkari grabbed her face, she was just surprised, and satisfied. It was everything she dreamt, but never before dared to pursue.
“How?” she asked again. “Let’s keep the details for later, ok?” She frowned and didn’t insist. Kingo and her spend the morning watching videos of the publishing house she worked for.
Gil and Thena came back at noon. They ate, talked and went back to pick Sprite up. Makkari helped Ajak in the kitchen. Read something she had on the coffee table. Watched TV and waited for the rest of the family to come back.
At 5 o’clock, the house was full again. Phastos was back at his mission to get anything from the mysterious number. Sersi was grading some homework and Ajak was out doing some gardening. Kingo had fallen asleep on the couch. And Gil, Thena, Sprite and Makkari were in front of the TV.
An hour later Gil yelled at Ajak. “Hey, our show it’s about to start!”
Thena rolled her eyes and Sprite made fun of him. “TV Show? Really?” Gil messed up her hair and said “I bet you watch it with Ajak, and never miss an episode!” Before Sprite could lie and deny anything, Ajak stepped up in the TV room and said. “Yeah she watches it!”
Gil and Ajak were huge fans of soap operas, they never missed an episode and every Sunday at game night spent hours discussing theories of who killed who and who would cheat on who. Makkari watched with them but had a million questions about it. And kindly, Sprite responded to every single one of them.
“They're married” Sprite answered one of Makkari’s questions. And then she asked “But you just said they’ve just met.”
“Yep,” Sprite answered again. “And they got married that soon?” Makkari asked again. Sprite shrugged and said without thinking “Like you can judge! You did the same!”
Makkari frowned. Her heart skipped for a moment. But she was sure that if she asked, Sprite would realize what she just signed and would pretend to be oblivious about it. So she just made a mental note to ask Druig about that.
Her mind started to think a lot about that. And a million questions started to invade her head. So much that it physically hurt her. When the show ended, she asked Ajak if she could shower and then sleep for a while.
“Come this way” Ajak showed her the way to Druig’s old room. The room they used when they stayed over. It was on the third floor. And it was so big. He had a big mattress on the floor, a desk, a TV and a couch next to the wall and the best part: his own bathroom.
“There's clean towels in the bathroom. You have shampoo and some face cream and cosmetics as well. And I washed the clothes you left last week. You can look for them in the drawers of the closet. Turn the light on and off if you need anything, ok?”
Ajak signed goodnight to her and went downstairs. Makkari went into the shower and found her stuff and men body wash. That surely belong to Druig. She wrapped her body in a towel and looked in the drawers as Ajak had told her. She dressed with a pijama she found and felt a little overwhelmed by all the things that had happened. So instead of lurking in every drawer as she wanted, she forced herself to the bed and turned off the lights.
And she fell asleep almost instantly. The mattress was so comfy and her pajamas so soft.
At midnight she felt some movement but ignored it. And hours later she opened her eyes and sat up. And saw Druig sleeping on the couch. When are you going to stop haunting my dreams? she thought. But then, after just one blink. She was in some other room, some other house. And a tall, chubby man was trying to kiss her, but his breath was disgusting. She tried to get away from him but he had her trapped in his hands. My love he whispered.
I am so sorry about this, but what can I say? I just love drama
Chapter 18: No Air
I wassssss meltinggggg while writting this, hope you enjoy it, I know you've been waiting for this one
Druig never had a worse hangover in his life. And the worst part was the memory loss. Fragments of his night were around his head, Jack and him laughing. Barry yelling at them. He yelling at Barry. Eating. The plan. Jack buying him a new plane ticket. And that was it.
If this was bad for him, he couldn’t imagine the nightmare Makkari must be living. One night against 6 years. Fuck! Makkari, oh how he missed her. And then another fragment of his night:
“You know, anything else I wouldn’t mind. But having her close and not being able to… be with her… to touch her is just killing me!” Jack burped and shook his head. “Just go to her, man! Be there! That’s all she needs right now!
“What if she keeps rejecting me?” Druig asked him. “You’re her husband and she can’t remember you! That’s scary, especially for a woman! But you running away from that isn’t helping! A husband that is just not there? How do you think she’s gonna feel?”
Druig thought about it. And Jack went on his phone. “I'm buying you a new plane ticket. Go home. I’ll call you when I have updates on you know who.”
And then another embarrassing memory. Being scolded by his mom on the phone. Fuck, I have to call Ajak!
As soon as he dialed the phone Ajak was already on the other side of the line. She scolded him a little bit more. Asked him about his flight and volunteered to pick him up at the airport. And finally, she told him about the apartment and texts. And his heart stopped.
He panicked and asked: “How?! When?! Where’s Makkari?! Kingo’s place is very public! She can’t be there!” Ajak tried to calm him down and explained that Makkari was at her house, safe and sound. Gil and Thena discovered the trespassing and the missing stuff. And that they took Friday as well. “It’s okay. She’s here and Phastos it’s already tracking the number on the texts. I’ll see you tonight.”
A few hours later, Druig packed his things, took a cab to the airport, and boarded the plane back to home. For some strange reason this just felt extremely tiring. He could feel the weight on his shoulders. And his back was killing him.
At the doors, Ajak was already waiting for him. She hugged him and cupped his face with her right hand. He smiled at her and then she pinched his arm with her left hand. “Ow! What was that for?”
“Lying to me! You’ve been in NYC all week!”
“I’m sorry! I just… I panicked”
“I know, but I’m here to help you through it! Am I a burden to you?”
“No, of course not, Mom. I’m sorry. I really am!” He said while walking to the parking lot. He put a hand around her shoulders and held her close.
They walked in silence to the car and while driving home he finally asked her: “How is she?”
“She’s okay. I asked her if she was okay with you being home!”
“And what did she say?” “She was fine with it. I kinda got the feeling she misses you!”
Druig sighed, his wounded heart bled a little. “I miss her”
“I know you do, honey!” Ajak said and grabbed his hand. “She was already asleep when I came. She’s in your room. I think you can stay on the couch for a few hours while she wakes.”
The drive was short, and as soon as he entered his home. Everyone greeted him. Sersi, who was on her phone, ran and hugged him. “Bug!” And then when Sprite heard them and as soon as Sersi let him go, she ran and Druig kneel to catch her in her arms. “Ouch, pumpkin! You’re gonna break my ribs!” “I don’t care!” she warned. Behind her Kingo was smiling. “Finally home!” he told Druig while they greeted each other.
Phastos was already home and Gil and Thena were asleep in the guest room. “I’m gonna check on her” he announced to her family and went upstairs to his room.
As soon as he saw her in his bed. His chest exploited with emotions. He couldn’t resist the distance. So he sat on the bed and kissed her forehead. He felt her scent and noticed she was wearing his pajamas but didn’t care. She looked so cute. So peaceful and innocent, and pure.
And that was the thing that must disturbed him. How can anyone do something like this to a person that was so good. She was just too good for this world. And this world had hurt her. Someone had really dared to. He wanted to wrap her in a bubble so one could hurt her anymore. And the thought made him remember how that became a discussion between them.
“I am not made of glass! I can take care of myself! You suffocate me when you do that!” she had signed to him.
He closed his eyes and tried no to think about those missed years. If Makkari didn’t have access to them. Neither was he. He was voluntarily ignoring the past so he could help her with her present.
He showered, put on sweatpants, a gray t-shirt, grabbed a blanket from the closet and lay down on the couch. He slept like a baby, but then at midnight he heard some cries.
Makkari’s cries. She moved her hands as if she was trying to push something away. And she was being vocal. Just making noises. Scared noises and cries. He quickly ran to her, sat on the bed and grabbed her forearms. She then opened her eyes, sat up and tried to catch the air. and she finally looked at him. And her breathing calmed down.
He let her arms go, afraid that touching her could scare her more. And she breathed in and signed: “You’re back!” He slowly nodded for her with a worried frown. “Are you okay?” Instead of responding to him, she threw her arms around his neck. And he put his arms around her waist. And she cried. And he cried.
He felt confident that she was openly craving for his touch, and lifted her and put her in his lap. He rocked her a little and the gestaure made her remember how Ajak rocked her in the kitchen and smiled at the fact that she now knew who he learned that from.
She was taking him in, grabbing the back of his t-shirt in her hands and breathing him in. His scent, his back muscles, his strong arms around her, she felt herself blush at the fact that she was sitting on him and was thankful that the room was dark.
When she finally got the courage to lift her face to him, she realized that he also had tears on his. Not just her. She wiped them with her fingers. He smiled, grabbed her hand and kissed it. He was over the moon to have the chance to have her so close.
“Don’t sleep on the couch”. He frowned and asked. “Are you sure? I don’t mind! Really!” She shook her head. “Please” she begged. “I need you”. He didn’t need her to insist, and thought that maybe space wasn’t the only thing she needed.
He nodded and before he could put her down on the bed she grabbed his shoulders and signed. “Don’t leave me again!” the vulnerability she had on her eyes made Druig feel so guilty for running away. “I won’t. I promise”.
He put her on the bed and went to the couch for his blanket. When she was no longer on his lap, she immediately missed the intimacy that sitting on him had. She scooted over to the middle of the bed, making space for him. He lay down beside her and put the blanket over both of them.
They were face to face, when he offered his hand for her to hold it. As an anchor, trying to scare her nightmares away. His presence made her feel safe and she quickly fell back asleep. He tried to but couldn’t. She was a vision. So many nights without her and now here she was.
He smiled at that fact. And caress her face. “My beautiful, beautiful Makkari”. As if she felt his touch and her memory was resatured out of nowhere. She did what she always did.
She put a hand over his torso, and a leg on top of him. And Druig laughed out loud. Her brain remembered.
Every night since they started sleeping together, she would turn around, her back facing him and as soon as she was asleep, she would turn back around and put herself on top of him. A hand and a leg over him. And he just loved that.
And she remembered, she was asleep but somehow remembered.
He put an arm on her back and grabbed her leg by the back of her knee. And then, and only then. He could finally rest.
Chapter 19: The four seasons
keep your eyes open, cause drama is just getting started
I know it's been long, I haven't been feeling very good lately. I'm trying tho
So sorry about the wait!
I hope you like this
Agatha had great hair. Blonde, thick and always shining. And it was something people always complimented her for. She would wake up very early in the morning and think of a way to do her hair that was original, new and that would get everyone’s attention. Every day when she was ready, she would come out of her room into the kitchen and wait for her mom to compliment her.
And she waited and waited and waited. And as she grew up, she realized that maybe looks were not the only thing parents would praise their kids for. So she focused on school, on the debate team, sports, sometimes even cooking for the both of them. Anything that might get a compliment out of her mother.
But years passed, and that day never came.
Her mom made lots of money, she had great looks. She wasn’t the smartest person but she was very persistent. And she never said it out loud, but not getting what she wanted frustrated her in so many ways. So she thought of her ultimate plan, the plan that would never fail her to get her mother’s approval, getting into Stanford.
Stanford was her mother’s alma mater. And it was so close to home. So she worked her ass off for years. When the time for college applications started, as everything else that was related to Agatha, her mom was just not interested. Several schools contacted her, offering great scholarships. But she only wanted Stanford. She just wanted to please her mother.
As soon as she had the acceptance letter on her hand, she went straight to her mom. When she told her the news, her mom frowned and said, “Is this your only option? I don’t think Stanford is for you.” And that was it. Agatha went crazy. She got bitter.
She accepted a scholarship, the farest she could get. A rich Cali girl moving to Seattle. She dyed her precious blonde hair black. She left and never looked back.
And the rest was history, she studied but not so hard. She partied, she made lots of friends and she networked her way into a very small but successful IT consultancy. And then, after a lifetime worth of loneliness, bitterness, sadness and regret: She found love.
The guy was perfect. He was handsome, had a perfect body, was smart as fuck, had a smile that could swoon an entire town. If he wanted he could enslave a whole city. But they worked together, so a romantic relationship for them was out of place. “ What is a great love story without some blockers, right? Besides, I like a challenge” Agatha thought.
For the first year she would pick her finest outfits. She would spend hours on her makeup. She would be first the hyper feminine girl and then the pick me girl. She did everything but he didn’t seem to notice.
Her worst nightmare was playing again in real life. Someone she loved was just not interested in her. But something inside her told her that this time would be different. It was just a matter of time before he could finally realize what was in front of him. The love of his life, his future wife, the mother of his children.
Every detail about him made her fall more and more in love. Thanks to her position on Human Resources, Agatha had some info on him from background checks, documents and some digging up in social media. She knew he had two sisters, one was older and the other was younger and she also knew that his mom was a divorcee. And they seemed like a very close family from all the photos and stuff he had in his cubicle.
There was a photo of him hugging his mom with a Santa hat on. And one with her sister Sersi (according to her Facebook). And there was also a crayon drawing of what it seemed him and it read “For the coolest big brother in the world” with a lot of misspellings on it. And finally a photo of him as a best man at a gay weeding. And all those things together made her swoon. Made her want to meet everyone in those pictures. She wanted a place in that family. Badly.
So she was just not giving up. She tried very hard to do small talk that could easily become a “What are you doing tonight?”. But the thing about this guy was that he was just… always brooding. And Barry was so awful to him. He really spended just the necessary time at the office, and not a second more. Thanks to that, all of her techniques and small talk were failing.
And her obsession was growing and growing with each passing week. There were a few times where he had forgotten his jacket at his cubicle and she would come and smell it a little or put it on and pretend it was him who gave it to her.
One day around September of Druig’s second year; Barry went crazy and asked everyone to toss their personal belongings. Nothing that was non-worked related had to be in their cubicles. But Druig ignore him and Barry had yelled so bad at him that he tried to quit. And it made Agatha furious. He told her that he would start looking for a job and he felt the right thing was letting her know so they could find a replacement.
Agatha, never an optimist, thought that maybe it was for the better, if he changed his job, they could finally date without any legal impediments. Not that she cared about that, but maybe he did. Maybe that was the reason he hadn’t asked her out yet.
Weeks later he came to her office again and told her that he had found a good opportunity but it was in NYC. On the other side of the country. Very far away. Agatha was just not having it, so frantic again she went to Barry’s office and yelled at him.
“Can you please explain to me why you are such a jerk to him?” But Barry didn’t react as she expected him to, he just studied her face, laughed out loud and then said something that distressed her. “I’ve been treating people however I like, since Jack left. And so have you. And you never cared. You don’t think I know why this time it’s different?”
Agatha got nervous at Barry’s sudden honesty. “I care about these people”.
“The fuck you do. You are worse than me, everybody knows it, Agatha.”
Agatha deep down knew that she hasn't exactly been on her best behavior since Jack left and neither was Barry. But they had some unspoken agreement about both their attitudes and performance. So how dare he act entitled to her. “You are unbelievable”
Jack remained calm and continued “You know why that is? Because I don’t try to hide who I am. I am a jerk, I know it and I love to be one. But you, you act like you’re an angel sent from heaven to help us poor unfortunate souls. ”
Agatha laughed for the first time.
“It’s funny, yeah. How you pretend not to be a bad person. But you are. A bitch who wants to be a saint, it's just the greatest joke ever told.”
Agatha never felt more insulted in her life, but there was something else inside her: fear. Fear that Barry’s words were true. She remained quiet and she could see in his face that this was far from over.
“I didn’t mean to scare you, honey. I actually find your evilness… very… very hot.” Barry said, getting close to her. Agatha remained still, scared of him. “He’s a fucking idiot. A retarted man that cannot see what’s in front of him.” He said to her ear, touching her arm. “And I yelled ‘cause I'm sick and tired of watching you beg for his attention.”
He knew, he fucking knew. All this time. Agatha finally breathed and left his office and the building all together. It was a Thursday noon. Friday was Hallowen so no one was really working. She didn’t come back until next Monday. She thought about her life, about the constant rejection, the void inside her, and that little dark cloud inside her head.
And then she thought about Druig, a lot. About how somehow the talk with Barry had both made her sad and hot. She touched herself thinking about him, whispering his name. And when she was about to come. His face morphed into Barry’s face. And it made her feel disgusted.
The situation had escalated so fast. She thought that she was being discreet about it, and it now was more than obvious that at least Barry knew. Did Druig knew it too? Was he ignoring her on purpose? She had to do something, waiting was not her forte.
So when Monday came, she had made up her mind that she was just going to ask him out. She was single and so was he. Fuck anything else. Fuck NYC, they could beat the distance. At 9.00 am he came into her office, and he seemed: Happy, like a kid in Disneyland.
And for a fraccion of a second. She really thought that he was going to ask her out. And that his happiness was due to seeing her. But then it all happened so fast. He came in and said what he wanted to say and leave.
She replayed his words on her mind over and over all morning. “About my replacement… I’m staying. My family is here in Seattle and I.. I just met someone and I… I’m just staying.”
And fuck no. This was not how their story ended…
10.00 am: Lots of people meet and fall in love and even date and it doesn’t work out, right? This doesn’t mean anything.
“About my replacement… I’m staying. My family is here in Seattle and I.. I just met someone and I… I’m just staying.”
11.00 am: What if I just say what I feel, maybe he feels the same
“About my replacement… I’m staying. My family is here in Seattle and I.. I just met someone and I… I’m just staying.”
Noon: Barry it’s right he just doesn’t want me. I am such an idiot. What was I thinking?
“About my replacement… I’m staying. My family is here in Seattle and I.. I just met someone and I… I’m just staying.”
1.00 pm: Who wouldn’t want me? It’s me. Maybe he invented this person and he just wants to stay because of me. Yeaah, that’s it! It has to! There’s no other explanation.
Even though it wasn’t like Agatha to sit around and wait for things to work out her way. She elaborated that maybe this time it had to be that way. If he really knew someone and they dated, a lot of things could actually happen. And this wasn’t final, it wasn’t like he was getting married.
She was absolutely sure that sooner or later they'd break up. And hell, she was going to be there with tissues and a thong ready to comfort him. And as always: she was right. A year later, they broke up. And it was awful to watch.
All that year he was just… Glowing with happiness and it just was odd for him. He was a brooder, a quiet being. He always had this serious expression on his face, that made him seem mysterious. Agatha found that expression just so hot. Everything about him, really. But after that Hallowen he was always one muscle away from smiling. He was always in a good mood and even chatty.
But then, the year passed real quick and again it was October. It was just… fast. He came back one weekend with a black eye and a bandit on his nose. Agatha wanted to kiss his pain away. To grab his face and just… kiss it better. At first, no one knew that the black eye and his break up were connected.
But after a few days, she came closer to him and in all of her HR glory asked him if he was okay and if he needed anything that corporate could provide. “Maybe a few days off? Go home and have some rest. Go with your girlfriend. I bet she’s worried about those wounds”
Agatha almost couldn’t get those words out of her lips. It hurt her. But she had to pretend. They weren’t close. They were just co-workers, no more. He looked at her, raised his eyebrows and said. “I don't have a girlfriend anymore. And she’s not worried. So I just want to work”
“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that” The hell I am. I am enjoying this. “If you need anything just let me know.”
Agatha was just ready to execute her plan to take what was hers. But by mid November someone called her. It was staff from her mother’s house. She was very ill and needed her. She went thinking it would only take two weeks. And it takes her a whole month, until her mom finally dies. Just before Christmas, and it made her feel angry at her. Mad and bitter.
Her mom managed to ruin one more thing for her: The holidays.
All those weeks in all that illness and closeness. Agatha was still waiting for her mother to tell her how proud she was at all the things she had accomplished. But not even before her last breath she said a word about it. And not a mansion, several properties and a grotesque amount of money she inherited were enough to keep her off that awful feeling.
The lack of love, the rejection. The “I’m here, look at me, love me”.
She cried and cursed and smoke and fucked her way until January. When she made it back to Seattle, one last thing made her crazy. Druig. A folder on her desk, it was a petition to include his now wife in his medical insurance.
What?!?!?! No no no. This cannot how it ends , she thought. I want him so badly, I don’t know how I’m gonna get through this. Maybe now that he's married I’ll lose interest.
But just the exact contrary happened. The ring on his finger made him look so damn attractive. Like never before. Now that he was married, he just looked… different. Agatha had stalked him and his family on social media a couple times in the past years. But she never stalked her girlfriend, not a single time. Because she just figured that they were temporary.
But now that he was married she was just curious. About the woman who stole her life. She wanted to meet her, to compare herself to her. She wanted to see her and just feel… better than her… somehow.
She wanted her to be fat and ugly or boring. Anything. And she knew that social media was a tricky place where everyone can look good. So she needed to see her in real life. That’s how she started to plan these events at the office. Where employees could bring a plus one. Your wife for example.
First it was the Valentine’s Day party. They were a no-show off. Then St. Patrick's Day. No show-off. Then Earth day, Family day and Oceans Day, Environment Day. But they never show. She would come out with any celebration possible but nothing worked.
The bitterness inside her grew each day. What on hell were they doing that kept them so fucking busy. Why was she saying no to all of his events. If she was his wife she would never say no to be seen with him. And a lot of questions about their relationship arose from her mind.
Why the black eye? Why did they get married so soon? Was she in love with him? Did his mother like her?
By Christmas party she was just on the verge of desperation. And she showed up with no expectations of meeting this mysterious girl. But just as soon as she was about to leave. They were there, at the door.
And she was just… nothing like she had imagined her. She was short and tiny, and had great skin to be honest. And she had an enormous smile on her face. All the time. But the worst part of her was that.. She was just gorgeous. Stunning.
And she and Druig just fitted in together. They were like magnets that reacted to each other. Just by looking at them you could feel their chemistry. They were married and still: sparks everywhere. And Agatha was almost red of jealousy.
All year long she was waited for this moment, and here it was. An absolute beautiful woman that seemed just as much in love with Druig as he was with her. Agatha felt like crying, she hated her. She wanted to get closer and push her down the stairs. And grab her and kick her in the ribs.
Barry got closer and whispered to her ear. “She’s beautiful, he is a lucky dog. But there’s a catch… Did you know she’s a “special needs” baby?” He said doing quotation marks with his fingers in the air. Agatha frowned. And looked at them again and saw her sign for him.
She was deaf? Agatha thought about how Druig seemed more and more perfect to her eyes. “Watch this!” Barry told her and then walked to her. Druig was at the bar grabbing drinks.
She saw Barry approach her and she tried to explain to him that she could not hear him. And then Barry mouthed something to her. And made a vulgar sign with his hands. Something anyone could easily understand. She frowned at him and look for Druig.
He turned around to face Agatha and she laughed. She hated her so much that she even started to like Barry. Then she saw how Druig’s wife grabbed his arm and signed something. Stop fucking touching him. He is not yours. He is mine.
Druig then had a beautiful worried look on his face and nodded. He grabbed her by the waist and they left. They just got here and she is making him leave? What a bitch! He deserves so much better not a fucking cunt like that.
Agatha was being the bitch Barry told her she really was and it didn’t really bother her, no more. She had had enough. Fuck waiting. I have to do something. She went from the roof top to their offices and then found exactly what she was looking for.
Chapter 20: Paper Rings
Makkari opened her eyes and immediately felt …. Overwhelmed.
The texts, the apartment. She could still smell the breath of that guy and his hands on her. She remembered how she read My love on his lips and she shivered. So she clinged to Druig as soon as she saw him. She was just scared to death. She had missed him so much.
And it was just ridiculous. He was still a stranger to her. A stranger that she just needed around. To hold her. So yeah, she was overwhelmed by all these mixed emotions. One minute she was on his lap, sleeping on top of him. “When did this happen?” She thought. She was acting so clingy and needy. It almost made herself cringe. She was this amazing empowered woman who didn’t need no man. But just the sight of him, made her knees weak.
Embarrassed by their position. She tried to climb down off him. She moved to the other side of the bed, as slowly as she could to avoid waking him up. As soon as her back was facing him, she felt him stir, and a moment later she had his arm around her waist. Pulling her closer again.
Her stomach hurted. She wanted to feel comfortable around him again. But she was just… it was just too much. She couldn’t remember when was the last time she had slept with a guy. When was the last time she had so much intimacy with someone. And it was something unusual to her. Extremely.
Druig, half asleep and half awake, realized his mistake when he felt how she held her breath and flinched a little. So with one eye open and the other closed, he stood up. And she felt how he went downstairs.
And then, the needy Makkari was around again. Missing him. “What is the matter with you?” she asked herself. “You don’t make any sense!”
It was as if her past and present were fighting inside her. Her past was trying to be the bold independent woman and at the same time her present just wanted comfort. And this gorgeous man was there for her. With his arms open, ready to hold her. So she was just having the hardest time deciding who was winning the fight.
Druig went downstairs and directly to the kitchen. Ajak was already making coffee. He sat at the kitchen bar and she kissed the top of his head and put a cup of coffee on his hand. “Kingo wanted to talk to you. Just do it before she wakes up.”
Druig instantly closed his eyes and sighed. He knew what that meant, more trouble, more information. Something Makkari could not be bothered with right now.
Ajak recognized his expression and said: “I know honey. But hopefully this will be over very soon. Sprite slept with me. He is in her room.” Druig nodded and went upstairs.
By walking to Sprite’s room he passed the guest room and through the door that was almost close could have a glance at Gil and Thena’s feet on the bed. They still seemed very much asleep. He got excited to see them. He smiled and then knocked on Sprite’s door.
Kingo opened the door almost instantly and invited him in. Druig sat on the bed, raised his eyebrows and said. “Ajak said you wanted to talk to me?”
As soon as Druig entered the room, Kingo closed the door and put his back against it. “I haven’t told you why I acted so weird at the hospital.” Druig kept quiet inviting him to continue. And he did.
He shared everything with Druig, the guy that looked like Joe Goldberg, the phone call and finally…. the nurse. Druig put both his hands on his face and tried to get his feelings in order.
“That nurse, I knew it! She made Makkari so anxious… I swear she cried just by seeing her hold a needle. I have to go to the hospital… ”
Kingo nodded and remembered when he asked the hospital staff to discharge Makkari. “He actually asked me to come back in a week to check on her. It’s still not a week but you can go with that excuse.”
“I’ll ask her if she feels okay with going back to the hospital. But if they don’t made themselves responsible for that nurse I swear I’m gonna sue”
Kingo and Druig had one thing in common. They were both extremely protective of Makkari. So when he heard Druig, the fear he felt before transformed into anger against that stupid ass hospital and its stupid nosy nurse. “I’ll hire the best lawyer in the country”
Druig smiled at Kingo’s comment and thanked him for telling him what happened. Then he heard Gil’s laugh in the hall. And someone coming down the stairs.
Kingo started at him for a few seconds and then remembered the most important thing: “There’s one more thing tho” Druig frowned and Kingo continued while he pull a plastic bag out of the pocket of the jacket that was on the bed. “When I got Makkari out of the hospital. They gave me stuff like her purse, her phone, her ring and your ring.” He said and gave Druig the bag. “But the weird thing is…”
“They only took my ring.” He said while looking at the rings. “I had my wallet and phone on me.”
Druig had never felt more confused in his life than these past days. And for the first time he realized how serious this was. Because this was just to hurt Makkari.
“I mean, you ring, her personal data , the memory loss and those texts. This is clearly a kidnap attempt”
“It’s more than that. If it was a kidnap attempt they wouldn't have erased her memory. I mean how do you even do that? And it would be all about money but this is just way too personal.”
“We need a family meeting,” Kingo responded. “I feel like everyone has a different version of the story. And no one knows the whole truth. Like.. What even happened in NYC?”
“I’m gonna share everything, I swear. Let’s go have some breakfast and we’ll talk at the family meeting. Maybe we can resolve the puzzle together”
“Okay.” Kingo said while he opened the door and went outside. Druig follow him and saw Thena getting out of the other room.
Makkari waited for a while, just looking at the ceiling. Thinking about nothing. She figured that if her mind was calm and bored, some memories could actually come back. Even the tiniest detail, picture or feeling of the last six years would be more than enough. Anything.
She just needed it to shake the feeling that made her so scared. The doubt.
It really disturbed her… What was the reason behind all this? What motivated that person to lie? To intrude? How did they know her? How could they know she had amnesia? All these questions could be more easily responded to if she had a little more information.
But everyone was just so secretive. Kingo had waited so much to tell her what her job was. Phastos had blocked all her pics on her phone. Sersi hid their worriness after the walk in the park. Even Gil and Thena hid a dog on their truck. Druig was really the only person that spoke with the entire truth.
When she woke up and realized that 6 years had happened. He didn’t waste any time and jumped straight into the facts. “I’m your husband. We’re Married. Those people behind the window are your in-laws.” And yeah sure, Kingo responded to her questions, but it all seemed rose colored.
Her head started to hurt and her stomach was moving from hunger. So she finally got out of the bed and went downstairs.
She did it as slowly as she could, trying to see every little thing she had infront of her. She thought that if she had walked those stairs so many times in the last six years, that maybe analyzing everything in her way would make her brain throw some memory out.
But nothing happened. Then on the second floor, she saw Thena get out of a room. And her face instantly lit up. Something that almost never happened. Makkari looked in the direction Thena was looking and found Druig and Kingo coming out of the room next door.
Thena smiled at them and then Druig came over and hugged her. Very tight. Makkari got anxious about that. He doesn't know her. Not really. He doesnt know she is not a fan of hugs. And that she really likes to save her affection for important moments. Makkari had learned that the bad way.
But then Thena hugged him even tighter. Makkari can not believe this. This was just.. Impossible. In what kind of alternative universe she was living now? She had to watch from a closer angle. So she climbed down the last stair and walked to them.
Thena finally loses her grip on him and touches his face with both her hands. She asks something Makkari could not read on her lips. Druig nods and Makkari can read a “Thank you” on his lips.
Makkari was captivated by this scene that she misses Kingo beside her. But soons realizes it when he kicks her ribs with his elbow and raises one eyebrow for her. “Close your mouth, sis.” She does it and shakes her head. “How?” “He really won her over! You know she’s the closest he’s gonna get to a mother in law”
Makkari faces them again and sees Thena’s face. It’s full of affection for Druig. And she can help to smile and swoon a little bit. They finally see her and Druig asks her if they can talk in private. Makkari, still swooning over him, says yes without thinking twice.
He guides her to his room one again. He seems very nervous. They both sit on the couch and he finally dares to speak. “Kingo gave me our rings”
Reality slaps her in the face. Rings. All this time everyone has told her she is married but she never thought about rings. This just makes it real on so many levels. And Druig can read her face like an open book. He quickly reacts to her surprise. “We don’t have to wear them… And if you wanna see them yet… I can put them back”
“I-” Makkari starts to sign. “I…”
Chapter 21: Snap out of it
BTW: When Makkari is around in the room or just present, everyone in the family talks and signs at the same time.
I really like Sprite, and I think the movie did her wrong by wanting to have a plot twist with the whole Ikaris story.
The scene where she remebers Ajak and her dancing in the kitchen was just so cute, I refuse to believe she would go with her mother's killer and put a knife into her sister just for him.
I refuse to believe that happened.
If Makkari was feeling left behind in the past, once again Druig was there to spill the truth out and get her a Reality Check. Or in this case, a Present Check. She had been waiting and waiting and waiting for him to come back and ask him all these questions in her mind. And he’s finally here, in front of her. And before the present comes again too much to handle with the rings, she lets everything out.
“Those texts they sent me… ” She pauses and tries to think of what she wants to communicate carefully before signing any other word.
“I didn’t have any doubts and now I..I just want to know everything. I feel like everyone knows my life better than me. And it makes me so angry… angry that…”
“You’re vulnerable” Druig ends her sentence. Makkari nods, surprised that he can understand so quickly.
Druig knew it too. And it was something that made him extremely scared. She didn’t know anything and someone could just lie and give her a completely different life.. A life in which he was… nonexistent. For all he knew, that could be exactly what was happening.
“If you were on your own… you’d be vulnerable. But you’re not” he signed and she sighed. “I want to tell you every little detail. But before that… I really want to take to the hospital” Makkari frowned “Why!? I’m okay, I swear.”
“I know you are but the Doctor wanted to see your wound and make a general check up. And, a lot has happened. It’s messy and complicated” He breathed out “So before I throw the whole truth to you. I need to make sure you’re okay.”
Even though Makkari was desperate to sit and learn everything the beautiful Druig would sign for her. The way he explained why he wanted to wait… He was just so… considerate. Almost too much. If it wasn’t for her current condition she would’ve been mad about all these precautions . But she understood. What if her brain was still not ready for all this?
If something so small as the rings was enough to make her freak out. What was gonna happen when she saw pictures of the wedding? Or when she learned all the details? Or when she finally could get to know their home?
For a moment, Druig saw Makkari get lost in thoughts and he remembered her reaction with the nurse. So he thought that maybe going to the hospital today wasn’t the best idea. It would only distress her. And that was just off the plate.
“If you don’t want to go, that’s okay. We can wait a little longer. I don’t want to force you. I have to go but when I come back we can start with simple facts about your life! How’s that?”
Makkari felt herself panic. Not you leaving me again she thought. Every time he went out the door, she just… She couldn’t hold the feeling that… him leaving was something… It felt like a repressed memory that somehow haunted her. And she knew it was from those missing years. When she found out in Kingo’s place that he was on a business trip she almost lost it. It kinda felt like an old wound, opening again.
“No, let’s go to the hospital!” If he wanted to go to the hospital, then she was going to the hospital.
“Okay. Let’s grab some breakfast and we’ll go. We can even drop Sprite at school on our way”
They both stood up and Makkari watched him put a plastic bag on a drawer. “About the rings? I just …”
“I know” He cut her out. He was dying to put his ring back on. But he would never dare to push her. “Let’s go eat. I can hear your stomach complaining” he smiled and she laughed.
When they finally made it to the kitchen, everyone was already eating. Gil saved Ajak’s ass with the army she had in her house and had put together a whole table full of food. Eggs, Waffles, Toast, Bacon. Everything was there ready for them.
Ajak looked at the couple and signed. “Kingo proposed a family meeting for this afternoon.”
“I already called Phastos.” Sersi added. “He said he would pick Jack and Ben up and come right after work.”
Makkari remembered him talking about his family from time to time. But sometimes he was so private, not even her (his best friend) knew their names. And it made her wonder how she managed to get invited to *that* Halloween party.
Phastos was always “my husband this” and “my baby boy that”. And now she was meeting them. If Druig was his cousin and her husband, that could only mean one thing: She was an auntie.
And Gosh that made her so excited.
“I have to go to the city for a meeting. I can take Sprite to school today” Kingo said.
“I was actually thinking about driving her. We need to go to the hospital anyway!” Druig added right away.
Sprite and Druig smiled at each other.
Kingo nodded, grabbed a waffle and ate the whole thing in one bite. He knew Sprite was still scared about the accident and wanted to spend as much time as possible with her big brother. He just missed having his second little sister by his side.
“But you can totally pick me up and we can go you know where” Sprite raised both her eyebrows at him. “Hey, hey hey! What is this “you know where” place? Huh?” Ajak snapped.
“Ice cream,” Kingo quickly responded. Makkari knew exactly what this place was. And she felt a little jealous that Kingo was now taking Sprite and not her. But the feeling quickly left her body when she saw Sprite’s smile.
In all fairness, Makkari had stolen her big brother so it was only fair that she let her borrow hers.
“Ice cream! Yeah, right!” Ajak said. “Don’t spoil her too much, Kingo. She’s still grounded!”
“But mom!” Sprite protested. “Go get change for school. It’s getting late”
Sprite got up from her chair with a scowl, took her plate to the sink and ran upstairs.
Gil laughed at her little tantrum and looked at Makkari. “You know she is grounded for correcting her English teacher! School couldn’t do anything because she was right! That kid is seven thousand years old, I swear!”
They all laughed and Sersi added “Last week I took her to a museum with me and Dane and she kept correcting the guide… I swear the guide was so mad, he left and she finished the tour. Some people even tipped her” They laughed once again.
“Typical Sprite!” Thena said fondly.
Breakfast ended fast and after laughing a little bit more at Sprite expense. They all agreed that the family meeting would start at 5.30 pm. It gave enough time for Druig and Makkari to go to the hospital without rushing. Kingo could attend his meeting and give Sprite a few hours before school. Gil and Thena could go check on the renovations in their house. And Sersi and Phastos had time to get home after work.
Ten minutes later, changed and was free of pijamas Makkari, Druig and Sprite hop in Ajak’s car.
After driving for a few minutes, Druig stops the car for a minute and turns around to face Sprite in the back. “Wanna drive?” He asks, smiling.
Makkari cannot believe his mischievous behavior right now. Their situation hasn't been much fun or even relaxed. Until this moment, the only expression she had known on his face was worryness. But this… this was just the most beautiful work of art she had ever seen. He even has dimples, for God’s sake!
“Are you serious? I can’t even reach the pedals” Sprite laughs. “Sit on my lap and hold the wheel.” Makkari’s smile can’t be wider, seeing him being a big brother it’s just so cute. At his answer, Sprite jumps out of the car and Druig runs the seat a little to the back so they both can fit in.
Sprite opens the door and sits on Druigs lap. “Ok, Pumpkin. Ready?” She just energetically nods and he starts the car. Makkari, as soon as they are on the road again, pulls her phone out of her pocket and puts the camera on.
Sprites notices right away and tries to sign “Do not show that to Ajak!”. But by using her hands the wheel moves a little and Druig has to grab her hands and place them back into the wheel. “You keep filming” he signs to Makkari and she obeys. “And you, hands on the wheel at all times, understood?”
At first it’s complicated for Sprite to stay straight on the track but between laughs she finally manages to do so. When they are close to the school, Druig sends Sprite back to the back of the car. When they get to her school, she can’t stop smiling. Makkari sees her run to the door and then she turns around and waves them goodbye.
When the fun is over, and it’s time to drive to the hospital; Makkari’s hands start to sweat a little bit and she starts to move her right leg very anxiously, Druig notices and puts a hand on it. He can’t sign anything to her right now, so he just gently strokes her knee. This gesture makes her calm a little bit down but not enough. She can’t move her leg, so as a side effect, her hands start to shake.
She just can’t stop thinking about that nurse. What if she is there again? With her needle ? And her questions quickly escalate into new fears. The anesthesia. The amnesia. The feeling of waking up and not knowing what the hell had happened. What if the Doctor says I have to stay and spend the night?
She tries to calm down. Makkari feels like she’s behaving like a child and it’s embarrassing. So in an effort to control her anxiety attack she grabs Druig’s hand on her knee and just holds it in her hand.
Druig can read her like an open book, he knows what’s happening. And it kills him, deciding. Because it’s either letting her hand go and signing to her. Or holding her until he can stop the car. He doesn’t want her to feel like he has to go to the hospital. If she wants they can turn the car around and wait a little longer.
He finally decides to park at the hospital and let her decide if she wants to go in or not. In the meantime, trying to help; He takes their hands close to his face, and kisses hers. She smiles, and he can see her sigh.
Druig parks as close as he can and finally lets Makkari’s hand go so he can ask her. And as soon as he does it, she feels the tremor coming back. “It’s okay if you don’t want to go there. I promise” Makkari wants to ask him if he can just hold her for a few minutes until she feels like the strong girl she normally is. But she hides the thought right away.
How many times have I put myself together? All by myself. I can do this! This is nothing!
“I’m fine. Let’s do this!” she bravely signs. He examines her for a few seconds still not sure she is completely okay. If it wasn’t for what Kingo said to him in the morning, he wouldn't hesitate to drive back home. But this was just bigger than them.
This could actually lead them to the people behind their accident. Behind the texts. And if it did, she would be out of danger. “Ok, let’s go!”
They jump out of the car. And walk into the building and as a force of habit he stretches out his arm and offers her his hand. She takes it without thinking twice. She takes it so fast that it makes her suspect it was the other her. The clingy, needy, wifey Makkari back in action. But she is not complaining, not at all. In fact, she might let her take full control.
Druig walks directly to the receptionist and gives the woman the name of the Doctor; she nods and quickly grabs the phone. Makkari figures out that they’re going upstairs, when she sees the woman say the number 6 with her fingers and then points to the elevators.
Once inside the elevator, on the second floor the door opens and a nurse comes in. The nurse has the same uniform, same hairstyle, as…. Makkari can’t help but step a little back. Druig senses her fear and strokes her knuckles with his thumb.
But the nurse soon jumps out of the elevator. Forth, Fifth and finally on the sixth floor they walk out and knock on the third door by the right. The Doctor quickly opens the door and by the look on his face Druig immediately knows something’s up.
He offers them to sit on the chair in front of his desk. He doesn’t lose any time and as soon as everyone in the consultory is seated he says: “Thank God you’re here! I wanted to contact you but… Uhm…there had been some strange things happening”
Druig tried to look calm for Makkari, but she could easily read the Doctors expression. Sooner or later, translation or not translation she would know. So he started to sign along to what the Doctor was saying.
“The last thing I want is to scare you, but…”
“But we need some more tests on you,” he said, looking at Makkari. “I have a few suspicions but I really don’t want to scare you. I have an intern who knows ASL. I’m gonna call her and ask her to come and take you to do them. Is that okay?”
Druig quickly translated and waited for Makkari’s response. As long as I’m with you she thought looking at Druig. “Okay” she signs.
The Doctor sees her nodding to Druig and pulls the phone up. A minute later, someone knocks and a young intern comes in. She introduces herself to them and asks Makkari to go with her to start the tests.
When she stands up, Druig is looking at the Doctor, waiting. And he says; “I actually need you to stay.” Druig nods at the Doctor and then signs to her. “I’ll be there in a minute.” She wants to fight. Come with me, hold my hand. But that would make her look like an 8 year old clinging to a parent’s leg. So she follows the intern instead.
Finally, the Doctor talks. “This might sound crazy but I think your accident was staged.”
Druig stays quiet. Giving too much information right now just seems… dangerous.
“My first clue was your injuries. You were the first to come out of the ambulance. You needed a few stitches on your forehead and that was it. It was easy because you were unconscious.”
“But when I saw her” he continued, looking at the wall as if he could see the image inside his mind “She didn’t seem like she was in a crash car, she seemed like she'd been mugged.”
Druig’s heart stops and panic fills his body but before he reacts, the Doctor continues.
“But still, we are not cops, we don’t meddle that much. Not without a real reason. So, I did the surgery, we just opened, drained the blood and closed. Repercussions are there but they usually last as long as the anesthesia. Sometimes a few hours more. But when she woke up and signed the year 2016…”
“That was clue number two. The brain can be unpredictable but the injury was clean. There was damage, of course! If not, why the bleeding? But it was a very minor damage, it wasn't…It wasn’t enough to cause six years to magically disappear inside her brain.”
“And then, clue three: The nurse. I spend thousands of hours here. This hospital is my home. I know everyone. But when I saw her, I just…”
“I just knew… That’s why I asked you If I could do more tests before we could discharge her. Normally we put the anesthesia directly into the intravenous. But she went straight into her arm.”
“I ran into the lab to check her blood. And then I called security and asked them to check the tapes in Makkari's room. And anything that had that nurse on it.”
“And?” Druig separately asks.
“And she got here an hour before you were brought in. She was already wearing the uniform. We printed her face and the only person on staff who recognized her was the receptionist. She said that she tried to convince her that the emergency contacts had already been called. Which wasn’t true because she called to confirm and both your mother and brother in-law were… perturbed by the news.”
“I received the results this morning. And, well, It seems like Drug-induced amnesia ”
“We found a .. substance.. In her bloodstream. But the thing is… this kind of substance is also shown in patients who had or are suffering from depression or were under very stressful situations.. Like a car crash.”
“Both depression and stress can cause memory loss. But not like this, not so… Suddenly. If the substance it’s coming from outside, like being injected for example, it would change how the chemicals inside the brain look. So we needed a CT, a brain scan basically. And another blood test so we can see if this substance is still at the same levels. Because if it is, our suspicions might be right.”
Makkari follows the intern. She is extremely nice to her. Apparently they need a photo of her brain and pull a little blood out and that’s it. Nothing else.
The first thing takes a while but she only has to lay down and stay still. Twenty minutes and it’s ready and the blood thing it’s so quick and unpainful it’s over before she knows it. When they’re done the intern gives Makkari a cookie and asks her to wait while she calls the Doctor and let’s Druig know the job it’s done.
She still feels a little dizzy so she stays on the chair, and far apart from her, she sees a woman. The woman.
That woman from the nightmare she had the night Kingo got her out of the hospital. It’s her. She’s real.
And the memory of that awful dream, that she thought lost, plays again in her head. And she wonders how she can be real. Why did she dreamt her with Druig? As husband and wife? She shakes her head trying to keep the memory away but then…
The elevator door opens and Druig comes out of it. He sees the woman. Makkari can see them, but they can’t see her. And the scene plays in front of her, slow motion. Druig’s mouth moves as if he’s saying the woman's name, she turns around and throws her arms around him.
And Makkari’s chest lights up. It’s all flames inside her now.
The woman lets him go and talks to him as if he was her boyfriend. Moving her arms around him, putting her hair behind her ears. It’s all flirtatious. She touches his arm and Makkari just can’t take it anymore. She might not remember it, but that man it’s her husband.
She rises up from the chair and feels more dizziness. But she has to go there. Rescue her man, because, honestly, he looks very uncomfortable. Not enough to walk away from her. She thinks.
She walks to them and Druig sees her and smiles. Dimples included. The woman sees his expression and turns around to face Makkari. And Makkari finally sees her full close up, in real life, in front of her. And well, it’s hard to explain but she.. Her.. presence,... it bothers Makkari. It provokes a weird pain in her chest.
“This is a coworker of mine” Druig signs and says to Makkari. “Agatha”.
Agatha barely looks at Makkari, she doesn’t even let her sign Hello. Her eyes jump again to Druig. And she makes a gesture saying thanks to you. Makkari sees her hand going up to touch his bicep once again. Stop it she wants to sign to her.
If she’s acting like this in front of her… how does she normally act around him? Co-workers. That meant 5 days a week, 8 hours a day. That meant he saw this woman more than he usually saw her. No, no, no, no. Why am I even thinking like this paranoid jealous old maid?
Makkari, on top of all these emotions, gets more dizzy. And feels the floor move on it’s own, she closes her eyes and stumbles a little bit. Druig quickly puts an arm around her waist and holds her close. So close she can smell his scent. She grabs the collar of his jacket to keep him there.
“Did you eat your cookie?” he signs.
She says no with her head. And he laughs, “You’re supposed to eat your cookie.” She just shrugs her shoulders and he signs smiling, “You just can’t help to break the rules, can you?”
Makkari’s eyes catch Agatha rolling her eyes. Knowing exactly what that gesture meant, she leans her head into Druigs chest, rubbing it a little more in her face.
“C’mon let’s get you another cookie” he signs and before they can say goodbye to miss redface now. A very young nurse comes jumping into her. “Congrats, you’re not pregnant. But tell Barry to buy some preservatives once in a while, okay?” she says and leaves.
“Barry?” Druig asks.
If you wanna read the nightmare Makkari mentions it's on chapter 11. Lies in the dark ;)
Chapter 23: Shedontknowbutsheknows
“What the hell are you doing?” His heart had never been so close to a stroke. Fuck fuck fuck fuck. She was supposed to be upstairs.
Paul stood up and faced her. This was not going to become an obstacle, this was an opportunity. Her face had a rough expression. But she didn’t know him, not yet. If she wasn’t careful enough, that expression would quickly change into a fearful one.
“I came here to steal some personal information. But now that you're here, you’re gonna help me find it and let me go on my way.”
“The hell I am, I’m calling security!”
“Aren’t they upstairs at that little party you put together?”
“There are cameras.”
He shook his head. “I turned them all off.”
“What do you want?”
“I want everything that has his name on it. Every detail, paper, document, message, email, gossip… hell if you have crumbs from his lunch. I’ll take it all.” He said and toss her a photo of Druig.
Then, click . There was a change in her face. Pure and beautiful fear. “Why him?”
“That’s none of your business doll. Now, chop chop. Get me what I’m -nicely- asking.”
“Please, please, please. Don't hurt him!” What the hell?
“Why do you care?” Has HR always cared that much for its employees?
“I.. I have a lot of money. I can give you money. But please… Just!”
Paul wasn’t sure that he was hearing her well. She was almost screaming and that could actually wreck his plans. “Hey, hey, hey. Take it easy, okay? I’m not planing a murder here.”
“I can write you a check right here. Just give me a number.”
“You really care so much you’re willing to put in your own money? Are you in love with him or something like that?”
Her face changed from anger to fear and finally to shame. She was in love with him. I am some lucky bastard.
“You know he's married, right?” he laughed at her. Her face looked both hurt and mad. “She doesn’t deserve him, that bitch” She said, biting her lip. As soon as the word left her lips, she had his hands on her neck. “Watch that pretty mouth of yours.”
She frowned and soon recognized it in his eyes. The hate, the pain, the desire, but mostly: the wicked and repulsive look of unrequited love. And with his hands still on her neck she laughed. Out loud.
Chapter 24: Black out days
Two chapters in a row and we finally have the pov from our real villain 🦹♂️
Makkari studies Druig’s face. He seems worried, confused. And she just can’t understand why he would be in any way affected by Agatha’s pregnancy. Or confirmation of not pregnancy. Whatever it was. He tries to pretend like nothing is happening, walks her to the nearest chair and signs: “I’m gonna get your cookie. Wait here”
He walks away and her mind is so quick. She just jumps into conclusions. What if they.. No, no. He would never. Or would he? Kingo said he was good to me, and he… Wait! That business trip. You do those with your coworkers. What if they…?
Makkari’s heart beated faster and faster with every passing second. Barely two minutes after, when Druig doesn’t come back. She seeks for him and finally spots him in a corner. Talking through the phone. He is explaining something.
Is he calling her?
She was starting to get really anxious…. Her hands were shaking. They’re lying to you. She remembers the mysterious text that had startled her. She turns back to her chair, and waits. I’m done acting like the crazy wife. I’m gonna ask him what the hell was that!
She just wants it to stop: Everything. She wanted to close her eyes and open them in a life that she remembered. But the things she had been feeling, the life she had now. It just seemed like she had it all. If it really was a lie, she wanted to be lied to for the rest of her days.
Because the heartbreak that some different life would cause her, after knowing this one…
When he came back with some cookies from the vending machines, he noticed her leg moving again, she was anxious. He sat next to her, and handed her the cookies. Instead of eating she signed:
“What was that with your friend?” Druig sighed and said: “She is no friend of mine”
“It didn't look like that!” Makkari was honest. It was all she had, honesty. Druig looked at her in the eye, and she recognized something in his face. And it made her feel so self conscious. Having him know that she was jealous.
But Druig was concerned. This whole situation was getting messier and messier. It was one step forward, two steps back. And no steps for Makkari, she was just out there stuck in the dark. And his heart hurted for her, he needed it to get her outta there.
“Hi guys' ' the intern came back. “We have the results for your tests, the Doctor wants to see you.” Perfect timing Makkari and Druig sarcastically thought.
Back again at the Doctor’s office. They sat and waited for the news.
“I didn’t want to make any assumptions without actual proof. And I can now confirm that this was a case of Drug-induced amnesia.”
Even though it was something that they suspected with everything that was going on, it didn’t hurt less to confirm it.
Makkari was frozen. She didn’t move, didn’t react. Everyone waited for her to do or sign something. She was enraged, crazy and mad. This was so personal. And she was just not gonna have it. Whatever they wanted with that, they weren’t getting it.
“How can I get my memories back? Are there any other drugs that can get me out of here, just as the ones that put me in this situation?” She signed to the intern that quickly translated for the Doctor.
Druig turned around to face the Doctor, waiting and hoping.
“Not exactly like that… There are some meds that can help reduce chemicals these drugs release on your brain. But… the dose that they insert on your body. It’s… wow. I’ve never seen anything like this. These doses are unbelievable.”
Makkari’s anger became fright. Who would’ve been so wicked and vile to do something like this to her. Not only drug her but to fill her up with grotesque amounts of who knows what.
In a second, Druig grabbed her hand and placed it on his leg. She could feel his hand on top of hers, sweating. He was more nervous than she.
“I’m gonna write you a prescription. It can be tablets or injections. I know you don’t like needles.” The Doctor said, looking at her. “But… Injections do have a more effective and fast reaction than pills. These are low doses.”
“How soon is she getting her memories back?” Druig asked.
“We really can’t know for sure, it can be days, weeks or months. And some memories may never come back.” The grip Druig had on Makkari’s hand slowly became weaker after hearing that. He was shaking.
“There are some side effects as well.” The Doctor continued. “Given that these are… let’s call them brain meds.. Your head can get a little messy”
. “What do you mean by messy?” She signed.
“You can get moments of extreme happiness, or anger, or sadness. Your sexual appetite can increase or decrease, you may experience lots of hunger or none.”
While she paid all her attention to the intern and the Doctor, Makkari’s phone vibrated a couple times. And she knew it was those texts again. That stupid bastard who did this. She decided to ignore them for now and check them at the family meeting so everyone could see what the hell this person wanted.
Once the Doctor finished talking and with her prescription. He asked them to call him if something came up. He promised to be in contact when he had any news on that mysterious nurse.
When Makkari and Druig stood up and walked to the elevator, she realized that she was holding her feelings.. It was fear, anger, anxiety, even jealousy. So when the door closed she let everything go. Druig push a button and stopped the elevator and hold her. And she cried.
She was so tired, so confused, so scared. What have I done to deserve this? She grabbed him as close and as tight as she could. He smelled so nice. And he didn’t rush her or made her feel stupid for crying,, he just hold her.
He had one hand at the low part of her back and one on her shoulders. His head on top of hers. He swooned her a little bit.
He let her go for a second and signed, “Show me where it hurts”. Makkari grabbed his hand and placed it in her chest just above her heart. And then she pointed with her fingers at her head. Druig nodded and kissed her forehead. “What do you need?”
“I need the truth and I need you, close!” He trapped her again in his arms and asked “This close? Or more?” She laughed. “Just… no more business trips. Especially with her”
“I just don't like her,” she explained when she saw his confused face.
“Don’t worry, that trip was without her. I’ll explain that trip at the family meeting, okay?.” He signed and started the elevator again.
Chapter 25: Hold On, We’re going home
I know it’s been a while, I’ve been soooo busy and probably will for the next weeks. So the next chapter might take a while but I am not abandoning this ship I promise
Agatha ran back to Paul’s place. Her heart was beating like crazy. She didn’t even knock or say Hi. She climbed in her car, drove and opened the door to the apartment as it was her own.
“I fucked up” She said as soon as she saw him sitting on his desk. Working, plotting, as always. He removed his headphones with one hand, turned on his chair to face her and responded. “What happened?”
She had never seen him sweat, or get nervous or mad. He was always -alarming- calm. Every single problem they had had in the course of their “friendship” or “business deal” whatever it could be called. He has found a solution, a way out. For him there was always an opportunity, a chance, an advantage. And this for sure, was not an exception.
After telling him, what her stupid and indiscreat nurse friend had said in front of Druig, he put a hand on his chin. His signature move, for: “Give me a minute, I’m thinking this through.”
He raised his left eyebrow at her and smiled. “I think we can use this in our favor.”
“Do we still have a plan?” Agatha was getting desperate, everything had been falling apart. Except for the memory loss, of course. But everything else was a mess. And Paul was still hopeful.
“Of course we do!” He said, examining her. “Please don’t tell me you're backing up”.
“I just… I mean how can you be so calm? Not one single thing we planned has gone right.” She started walking in circles around the living room. “First of all, Makkari’s still awake after the accident. And damn, that got real violent. Then emergency contacts are called, your mom got caught by the doctor for fuck’s sake. And Barry, I know he’s mad I broke our deal, he could do some stupid shit.”
Paul stood up from his chair and grabbed her by her shoulders. “You’re missing the point. Yes, Makkari was awake, but you fixed that. Not that I enjoyed watching it, but still you managed. And yes, emergency contacts were called and my mom got caught. But she also succeeded in infusing the whole dosis on Makkari, if she hadn’t done so, the effect would’ve passed an hour after the accident.”
Paul let go of his grip at Agatha and continued. “And I honestly wouldn’t worry about Barry. He didn’t even manage to get you fired for more than a week.”
“So relax, okay? We still have this situation under our control.” Agatha breathed out and nodded.
“I know my texts are getting into her, she is about to get real insecure.”
She sighed and sat on the sofa. “What do you mean?”
Family meeting started late and Makkari was already feeling the effects of the pills. They all sat at the sofa in the living room, waiting for Sersi and Phastos. Makkari felt her eyelids fall but she fought to stay awake, she needed to see everything, she wanted to know it all.
But the sofa was just so comfortable. When Druig saw her struggle to keep her eyes open, he stood up to the kitchen and made her a cup of coffee. “Here” he said and passed her the cup. She smiled at him and drank little sorbs. But it really was just not enough. She fought some more but when Druig sat next to her and put an arm on her back, it was the end for her.
His scent, his hand on her back drawing circles. The familiarity that he seemed to have with her, the smell of Aja’s home. It was the safest place on earth. How could she not fall asleep?
When Phastos came through the door, Jack ran to Makkari. Druig winked an eye to him and put his index finger on his lips. Ben greeted the family and put Jack on his lap.
By the time Sersi was finally home, all the stories had already been told.
Story by story they all tried to figure out what was going on. A lot of things could be happening at the same time. They just needed to be smarter, quicker.
With everyone knowing every part and side of the story, they were trying to think what to do next.
“Should we call the cops?” Kingo asked. “This seems like dangerous people.”
“We could, but..” Phastos started. “Honestly, I don’t think they are going to do shit about it.” “Did you get something from the texts? An address? An email?” Gil faced him.
Thena nodded. “We could go look for that bastard!”
“I’m sorry but… Are we the Avengers now? We can’t just take justice on our hands!” Sprite yelled and surprised everyone.
Ajak looked at her and even though she was on Gil’s side. She deep down knew Sprite was right. Not calling the cops was only going to get them more trouble.
“I.. don’t know if that’s the wisest decision, given Makkari’s state of mind.” Druig answered.
The living room suddenly went silent. It was the Druig effect. He always had something to say that made everyone think twice.
Ajak was sure, both options were extremely dangerous. If they really decided to call the cops, a lot of questions would be raised. Everyone would be on the spot. And to be honest; she was not ready to take the skeletons out of her closet.
But if they didn’t, these people could make way more twisted and violent things to her children. The danger was not going to be over; it would be paused.
Phastos was the first to talk. “Has Makkari received any more texts?”
Druig shook his head. “I don’t know. Let me check her phone.“
X: I know my last text scared you. I’m sorry, but…
X: You deserve the truth, and they are not giving it to you.
X: So, I’m going to get there and give it to you myself.
“Bastard” Thena whispered once Druig had finished reading the texts.
“What if we… leave for a few days. Just until Makkari feels better.” Sersi proposed.
“There’s always my beach house,” Kingo added. Phastos looked at Ben and he nodded.
Thena seemed annoyed by the new plan. And Gil tried to reassure her. “It could be just for the weekend. Let’s watch how she accommodates us and then we can decide whether or not to include the cops.”