The ride back to the beach house from Boston was considerably less lighthearted than it had been the way there. During the earlier drive, Louis had kept up a steady flow of conversation to take Gemma's mind off her appointment with the specialist at Massachusetts General.
They'd discussed everything from how they'd met—when Louis had snuck backstage after one of Gemma's performances at the Singapore Conservatory—to her favorite restaurants to the symphony pieces she enjoyed playing the most.
The car was quiet this time. Gemma hadn't spoken a word since they'd left Dr. Sharma's office. Louis had no idea what to say.
After several more miles, she finally spoke. "How can that be? I don't understand." Her voice was full of lament, despair.
"Gemma, that was a very positive appointment," he reminded her. It was the truth. She was recovering nicely from the accident. Her scans and tests were all clear. But she still hadn't recovered her memory. The doctor couldn't explain why. Then he'd said the words that had Gemma going pale in his spacious modern office in one of the hospital’s high-rises by the Charles River.
You may never recover those years, Ms. Tamlin. I've seen it happen before.
For his part, Louis wasn't sure how to process that bit of information himself. He just knew he couldn't stand to see the agony Gemma was going through. She'd been so hopeful about this appointment.
"Just try to remember what the doctor said about not pushing too hard. That could result in a setback for your recovery in general," he reminded her.
"I couldn't if I wanted to. Every time I try to call up something from those years, an event, a birthday party, anything, I'm just met with a dark spot."
She had to stop trying. Dr. Sharma had been clear about that. Her memories had to come back naturally and on their own. Louis figured there might be a way to nudge them.
"I'm hungry," he announced, completely changing the subject.
Gemma shot him a somewhat annoyed glance. She must’ve been wondering how he could be thinking about food at a time like this. The truth was, eating wasn't his foremost motivation.
"Ma has the refrigerator full with groceries," she told him, her eyes focused outside her window.
"I have a better idea," he told her.
"I saw signs for a clambake at Flagship beach."
He nodded. "That's right. A good old New England–style feast of steamed clams, sweet corn, salty potatoes and fresh lobster. I say we do that for lunch."
She shrugged, offered a smile that seemed less than genuine. "I'll have the corn and potatoes, I suppose. I don't really like lob—" She paused, her eyes growing wide. "Wait. I do like lobster, don't I? I don't know when or how I changed my mind about it, but I like it now."
Louis gripped her hand. "That's right."
He did a mental fist bump, cheering silently. Darned if his idea hadn't already worked in a small way. He'd convinced her to try steamed lobster on one of their first dates. She'd been pleasantly surprised.
Granted, it was a small victory. But a victory nevertheless.
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