AH: When Isabella Swan wakes up in a hospital, she’s got a lot of catching up to do. Thanks to a car accident, she’s can’t remember anything from the past four years, least of all the fact that she has a husband. Scrambling to make sense of this new life, Bella meets a dark, brooding doctor who unveils a secret about her new life she isn’t sure she can handle.
3. Chapter 2
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I read the tiny, swirled cursive letters again. And again. Blinked a few more times and it for another count. It kept reading the same. I.M.S. Isabella Marie Swan. It had to be me. What were the chances that my name was mistakenly written on a designer handbag that also contained my driver’s license? The odds would have to be less than one in a cotillion that the true owner of this bag looked like me (as it would explain the I.D. confusion; I hadn’t looked at it closely) and also had the same initials. India Madeline Scott. Ida Marissa Siranno. Irene Melanie Spacik.
If I was married, I would know. I have to had known and as far as I’m concerned, I’m not. Who doesn’t remember if they are married or not? I’m not even sold on the whole institution of marriage. My parents’ failed attempt was exhibit A. Exhibit B was the ever increasingly high divorce rate. Marriage has lost its weight. Were you unhappy with your spouse? No problem. All you need to do is get yourself a quickie divorce and you can go back to whoring up the town just like you did back in college.
Not Mike. Not Mike. Not Mike.
I kept chanting this mantra in my mind. I tiled the band to read the other initials, neglecting to do so earlier. The whole thing read I.M.S. & J.C.B, May 29, 2007.
2007? There must have been an error made during the engraving process. It was 2006. Maybe whoever was this J.C.B. had a sense of humor and decided to keep the year. Although it is a bit more than odd to have the incorrect date of your wedding carved into the piece of jewelry you were supposed to wear for the rest of our life.
What was this, the twilight zone? What kind of insane rabbit hole did I fall down to have dropped myself into this alien place? Talk about mind fucking. Theses things cannot be mine. I refuse to accept it. I clearly have not woken up yet. This is exactly like what happens when I take Nyquil. I take the correct dosage, thinking it will help relieve my sickness and aid me to sleep but all it does is give me crazy hallucinations. The last time that happened, I imagined my blankets and sheets were continents battling and shooting each other with myself caught in the middle.
This is simply a dream. It has to be.
I got it! It was a joke! It was some prank Alice and Rosalie are trying to pull on me. I bet they planted the rings in one of Alice’s bags and switched all of my things into it. They probably thought they’d get a good laugh out of me waking up with a hangover, finding the bag, totally thinking I drank too much and got hitched. There, now it made perfect sense. Except I’m in the hospital, not waking up in my room in the apartment Alice and I shared where I could have ran into our kitchen, and she could laugh as she watched me freak out over my supposed predicament.
Dream or no dream, prank or no prank, I had to alert my friends. I rapidly typed out messages to Rosalie and Alice, telling them, ha ha nice joke, and sent them. Before my thoughts could get even more out of control, the door reopened.
A tall, medium sized and middle aged man entered the room, followed by two young women dressed in scrubs.
“Hello, Bella,” the man greeted me with a warm smile and an offered hand. “I’m a neurologist resident here, Dr. McCord.” I shook his strong warm hand, glad to be in the presence of someone who might actually know what was going on. “This is Annalisa, a specialist nurse,” he gestured to the woman on his right, “and this is Samantha, an intern. How are you feeling?”
“I’ve had a headache for the longest time, and my hand feels strange, all prickly like it’s fallen asleep.” I held it experimentally in front of me, widening my eyes when I saw my nails. They were long and even, painted a pearl pink. Theses couldn’t be my nails. I bit and chewed my cuticles whenever I was nervous, which was often. I mean, I rarely ever painted my nails, and these weren’t even chipped. Maybe Alice had taken me to the salon with her again, only this time managed to talk me into getting something done. I just don’t remember it. Just like that husband.
He took my hand and bent it, twisting it in different directions. “You might need physical therapy for that, but I don’t think it is permanent damage.” He let my hand go. “Bella, I’m going to ask you a series of questions, and they might sound stupid and unnecessary to you, but please, bear with me.” I nodded my head. “Can you tell me your name?”
“Isabella Swan, but I prefer Bella.”
“What year were you born?”
“I was born in nineteen eighty-three.”
“Good.” Dr. McCord opened my chart, confirming the information. “Now Bella, when you crashed your Corvette, your head managed to hit the windshield pretty hard. There’s been some swelling in the brain, but not too much. We’ll have to send you for another round of scans to check, but I believe the majority of it has gone down.” He removed a pen from the front pocket of his white coat. “Follow the pen with only our eyes. Try not to move your head as you do so.”
“Um, excuse me,” I said, once I had completed the simple test, “but, d-did you say I crashed my Corvette?” I crumpled my brow in confusion.
He glanced at the folder again. “Yes, you were driving your Corvette down Second Street when you were rear ended by a white SUV.”
“That can’t be right. I don’t own a Corvette. I’m sorry, but I believe you’ve made a mistake. I drive a fifty-three red Chevy truck.” Granted, it was a piece of junk but I loved it. I had had it since high school and spent well more into fixing it than it was worth but I loved my car. Okay, it couldn’t go over fifty miles per hour without sounding like it was going to fall over, and there wasn’t a CD player in it, and it was nearly impossible to roll down in the windows, but other than that it was a great car.
“I mean,” I continued. “I’m a twenty-three year old, fresh out of college with student loans to pay off, and I work unpaid as an intern at a publishing company. I do not have the money to blow off on a new car, especially one as luxurious as a Corvette.”
Dr. McCord’s eyebrows pulled together. “Pardon me, but, can you repeat that, please?”
“Twenty-three, just finished college, not making any more.” My statement came out sounding more like a question in my state of confusion.
He straightened up; a look of understanding came across his face. “Bella, do you know what the date is?”
I tried figuring that one out for a long time earlier. “No, sorry. Not really.”
“Can you try to estimate for me, please?”
I bit my lip and looked up at the ceiling, thinking. “Maybe. . . October sixteenth? Seventeenth? I’m sorry. I don’t really know how long I’ve been here.”
“You don’t need to apologize.” I smiled sheepishly. “And the year?”
“2006.” I knew that one.
Dr. McCord and the women shared glances. I felt like I was right back in high school when there was a huge scandal going through the campus that only those special people in the “know” were allowed to be let in on it. I was never the one who was let into the loop, and the only time I did know what the “big news” was, it came from Alice or Rosalie let me in. It wasn’t like I was missing much. It was Forks. Very rarely did something big or worthy of mentioning happen.
“Bella,” the doctor starts. My stomach began to do flips. I had seen this on a million different kinds of medical shows and soap operas. ER. Days of Our Lives. Grey’s Anatomy. House. Scrubs. Here comes the part where they tell me I have some terminal disease and I have only three months left to live.
I must regretfully inform you, Ms. Swan, but, while we were running tests, we found something. You have a tumor/ cancer in your lung/ chest/ liver. We will do the best we can but, as far as we can tell, the odds are against your survival. You can try to go through chemotherapy, but we hold no promises. We’ll do our best to make you as comfortable as possible and help you come to terms with the hand you have been dealt.
“It’s July 12, 2009.”
I stared at the tall, bearded man. “No. It’s 2006.” Was this some kind of sick joke? Is there some new doctor’s version of punk’d that I hadn’t heard of?
“He’s right, Bella,” quipped Annalisa, the rounder nurse, with a beauty mark on her chin, “the year’s 2009. We have a new president and everything.”
“That – that doesn’t make any sense. That can’t possibly be true. Yesterday was October fifteenth. I am absolutely positive. I had that stupid manuscript to turn in tomorrow. Oh, and my friend, Rosalie, she had just gotten engaged. Well, kind of engaged. It’s complicated but should be in the paper by now. The man she’s marrying comes from old money, and likes to display it.”
Samantha, who had left the room a few moments ago, reappeared, this time with a newspaper in tow. She handed it to me.
July 12, 2009
It was right in front of me, written in bold lettering. It was physical proof in my hands. There was no escaping it. It hit me hard. I officially have lost three years of my life. That’s three years of my life I will never get back. I was used to parental figures lecturing their children, warning them that they were wasting their life away. I had just done that, literally.
I fought against the urge to hyperventilate. “H-have I been in a coma this whole time?” I spent one thousand ninety-five days lying in a bed. Glad to see my life has been proactive.
“No,” Samantha shook her head. “You were only ommited four days ago.”
“Then that would mean,” I swallowed, “I can’t remember anything from the past three years.”
“It could be temporary.” The doctor attempted to console me. How is it possible to make a person who had lost a chunk of their life feel better?
Hey, sorry you can’t remember the past couple of years but look on the bright side . . .
There was no bright side, or at least none were coming to my mind at this moment. Perhaps if I made a quick mental list I could see the light of reason.
I had a thing for lists. They were all over the apartment I shared with Alice. The lists covered my desk, fridge, by the telephone, and on any other useable surface. Making lists put everything into a very clear, visible perspective. I liked to be able to look down at my scribbling on a torn envelope of memo pad and see my intentions set in order for me. Every open space on my laptop was covered in various brightly colored post-its.
Reasons Why Suddenly Becoming an Amnesiac Is a Good Thing.
Reason # 1: I don’t have to turn in that stupid manuscript.
Number one lifted my mood considerably. The most likely scenario was that past me, the me that I had not recall of, had already done the work and turned it in. I was pleased that I didn’t have to remember that horrible experience.
Reason # 2:
I could always revisit that one later. When I had less of a headache and wasn’t quiet as freaked out as I currently was.
Dr. McCord excuse himself from the room, claiming to have another patient in need of attending. Annalisa and Samantha stayed and pulled up chairs on either side of me, attempting to fill me in on all vital information I had missed in the past years.
“Heath Ledger died, Bill Gates stepped down as Chairman of Microsoft, the Beijing Olympics – ” Annalisa ticked each one off on her fingers. I had the feeling that she likes lists, too.
“You know Micheal Phelps, the swimmer? He won, like, eight medals or something like that in the last Olympics? Oh, well. Anyways, he got caught smoking a bong.” Samantha’s inputs weren’t always as helpful as Annalisa’s, and her comments always more reminded me of the gossiping girls like Jessica Stanley and Lauren that I dislike in high school.
“Barack Obama was elected president of the US. He’s our first black president.”
Reason # 2: I didn’t have to endure eight months of annoying campaign commercials.
“North Korea’s started shutting down nuclear facilities, trying to rid themselves of all nuclear plants.”
“Bob Barker retired.”
“Saddam Hussain was hung”
“There’s a video of it on Youtube. Gross stuff.”
“Virginia Tech massacre.”
“Anna Nicole Smith passed away, Britney Spears went loco and shaved her hair off, attacked a car with an umbrella, Nicole Ritchie had a baby. Britney Spears’ sister had a baby.”
“There have been some pretty big writers’ strikes going on.”
“Ashley Tisdale got a horrible nose job.”
“Maybe we should start writing these down.” Annalisa said, taking notice to my slightly frantic and confused expression.
“The final Harry Potter book came out!”
“Sam, you don’t even read those books.”
I cast my eyes down to the newspaper still on my lap, fighting against the urge to bolt. All I wanted to do was to get out and run as fast as I could, as if I could run away from all of this, forget it ever happened. It was like I was a high school freshman, suddenly thrown into a Chemistry college course. I was lost in translation.
“Michael Jackson is dead!” I cried in disbelief, after scanning the front page headline, which I had managed not to do earlier.
“And Ferrah Fawcet.” Samantha nodded her head. “Man did she have great hair. It’s so tragic.” Total deadpan.
“But – he can’t be dead.” I sighed in disbelief. Everyone knew Michael Jackson. His music, his voice, his dance moves were legendary. Granted, his most recent image in the media, that my three years late mind knew, was not of the best, but that took nothing away from what a prominent figure he played in society.
“Billy Mays is gone, too. And those are just the recent ones.”
“The Oxyclean guy!” I grew up watching those commercials. Had all of my favorites from the media world die in the years I’ve lost?
“What else has happened in the past three years? Alternate fuel source? End to global warming? No more war in Africa?”
“Nope. No. Naddah. Although, we are still kinda at war with Iraq. I don’t know. It’s confusing and the news people don’t do anything to help explain it in terms normal people can understand.”
“You mean those below average intelligence. I’m surprised Samantha, I wasn’t aware you watched the news.” Samantha shot Annalisa a dirty look.
Samantha was about to retort, but another thought crossed her mind. She turned back to me. “Oh, I forgot to tell you the most important thing!”
I stared at her expectantly. By the way, we’ve ditched cars and now travel by hover boards.
Or maybe, Since you don’t remember any of this country’s recent major milestones, I thought it would be good to tell you America has turned communist.
Or if I’m really luck, We’ve got a new education system where all forms of education are free! You don’t need to worry about those pesky student loans any more.
But it was none of those.
“Blaire and Chuck finally got together!” she squealed.
I didn’t comprehend. I informed her of my confusion.
“From Gossip Girl.”
Still wasn’t getting it.
“You don’t know about Gossip Girl?” Samantha gave me a look that was usually reserved for when you see a two headed man walking a blue dog.
Samantha began to launch into the two season extraordinaire that was the television show she had dubbed “the new Sunday worship”, which was giving me a headache, was thankfully interrupted when a man entered the room.