Louis swore silently at Gemma's reaction. His wife practically recoiled at his touch now. What a difference from just a few short days ago when she couldn't wait to fall into his embrace. And stay there until morning.
He made himself focus so that he could continue summarizing exactly what had happened. "For reasons the doctors can't seem to explain, the blow took about three years’ worth of memories out of your head."
"Huh" was all she responded with.
"You were going in and out of consciousness when they brought you in. One theory is that when they told you where you were, at the Cape Cod Medical Center, your mind latched on to the last time you were in the Cape and took you back there."
Just saying the words felt surreal. Like a bad dream he couldn't wake up from. How was any of this happening? As grateful as he was that Gemma was okay and on her way to recovering, the wife he knew was gone. With no real clues as to when she might return.
A shudder of trepidation rocked through his core. What if the answer to that question was never?
What if Gemma never remembered loving him? Wanting him?
"In any case," he went on, pushing the unbearable thoughts away, "the doctors here and the ones I've consulted internationally all seem to think that your best chance at a swift, successful recovery is to take things slow and avoid any more shocks.” Which meant he wouldn't be able to take her back home anytime soon. Not until she remembered. All the experts were saying it would be best if she stayed in an environment she found familiar at the moment.
She chuckled. "Like finding out that I was married, you mean? Because that came as a bit of a surprise." She shook her head. "When I woke up this morning, or what I thought was this morning, I was a music school graduate at my mother's beach house preparing for upcoming auditions. Only to be told I was three years older with a different name and a husband."
Louis was about to tell her sorry, but stopped himself. He refused to utter that word when it came to referencing his marriage in any way.
To his surprise, she was the one who uttered the word. "I'm sorry," she said on a deep sigh. "I'm trying. I really am. But there are only holes when I try to think of anything that happened past that summer I was here."
Louis felt like a heel in that moment. Gemma had just survived a harrowing ordeal that had left her bruised and disoriented. Though it physically pained him not to reach for her again, he fisted his hands at his sides. "All that matters is that you're okay. And we take your recovery slowly," he told her, meaning every single word with all his heart.
Everything else could take a back seat to the fact that she was here and she was whole.
In the meantime, he would just have to come up with ways to make his wife fall in love with him again as soon as she was ready.
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