Forgotten Love

By: Cher Etan


Frances could feel the hysteria building and building. She was ready to run away screaming. She glanced at Allen, sitting woodenly next to her. His face was impassive, whatever he was feeling was hidden deep inside. Frances felt her breathing escalate, she would be hyperventilating in a minute if she wasn’t careful. The doctor was gabbing on, something about options; abortion was mentioned. Allen seemed to be listening intently, taking it all in. He would have to fill her in later, once her ears stopped ringing. She looked from Allen to the doctor, seeing little pin pricks of light in front of them. Was she seeing stars? Suddenly, her vision went black and she knew no more.

*****

“Frances! Fran! Frannie girl you better wake up now and stop fucking around,” the voice was yelling in her ear and she turned her face to get away from it. It sounded terrified which was weird; what was there to be terrified about? Slowly, she opened her eyes and looked around. She was lying on something soft and a white coated gentleman was standing a few feet away. The guy who’d been there when she woke up was looming over her, his black curly hair falling into his terrified gray eyes. He really had the most amazing eyes she’d ever seen. He was saying something to her, sounding either annoyed or scared, she couldn’t really tell which. She felt dizzy and discombobulated. Her hand rose to close over his arm.

“What’s happening?” she asked him, trying to remember what his name was.

“You fainted,” he replied definitely sounding annoyed now.

“Oh,” she said hazily. “That sounds unlikely, I don’t faint.”

“Well, you just did,” he snapped.

“What was your name again?” she asked eyes drifting to his face. His red, annoyed face.

“Allen St. James,” he bit out. “I’m practically your husband so I’ll thank you to remember it.”

“How’d I snag you anyway? Was it a love potion?” she asked. She felt a little drunk…I mean, how she assumed people felt when they were drunk. She couldn’t really remember.

Allen laughed, his face lightening considerably. “You adopted me,” he said cryptically. She frowned at him, waiting for further explanation but he said nothing. The doctor took a step forward.

“Mr. St. James in light of current events, I think it would be prudent to admit Ms. Hilton overnight,” he said.

“I’m right here,” Frances said not liking the way he was talking over her. He turned toward her with an apologetic smile.

“I’m sorry Ms. Hilton, I didn’t mean to leave you out of the discussion,” he said.

“Forgiven. So why do you need to observe me overnight?”

“Well given your accident and subsequent injuries, and now with the pregnancy and the fainting, we need to check that everything is fine, that your body is healthy enough for this, identify the reason behind the fainting; perhaps you’re anemic; nothing showed up in the blood tests but we can’t be too careful.

“Maybe it was just shock? I’m pretty sure it was,” Frances said.

“Yeah, it could be that. In fact, given the circumstances, most likely that’s what it is. But we can’t take the risk of taking that for granted.”

“Fine. I’ll stay the night,” even to her own ears, Frances sounded sulky. Allen smiled.

“It’s a good thing. Give us some time to get used to the new status quo and what not,” he said.

She looked at him with a side smile. “Well, can I have a computer? I noticed that we had some in the apartment.”

Allen laughed. “Sure you can, especially since it's yours. Did you er, wanna do some writing?”

“Writing?” Frances asked uncertainly.

“Yeah, you’re a writer,” he said. He sounded quite proud of her. her internal eyebrow rose to see it.

“Am I any good?” she asked. Allen laughed.

“Tell you what, I’ll bring you the book you wrote and you can judge for yourself.”

“I wrote a book?!? Don’t you think you should have led with that?” she asked voice going high with shock.

“Sorry,” Allen said not sounding at all apologetic. “Everything’s been crazy. It wasn’t exactly in the front of my mind.”

Frances fell back; he did have a point. “Okay then. Well…I’ll just check in and you can go…bring the stuff.”

“I’ll do that. See you,” he said looking at her expectantly as if she was meant to do something with that.

“Bye,” she said with a small wave hoping it would suffice. She turned around to follow the doctor to her room for the night, she knew Allen was watching her go and put a little sway in her step. She didn’t know why but she wanted him to be attracted to her. She was attracted to him…it was strange; it had snuck up on her when she wasn’t looking. Maybe that was what had happened before and she had seduced him? Sooner or later she needed to get him to tell her how they met. The nurses got her settled in and she promptly went to sleep waking only when someone came to take her blood or other fluids or check her temperature or pressure readings. She hadn’t realized she was so tired until she let herself just relax and drop off. When she woke up much later, she saw that Allen had been and gone. A laptop sat on the bedside table and on top of it was a book. There was also an overnight bag sitting on the chair but Allen himself was nowhere to be seen. He probably had to go off and come to terms with the whole, ‘We’re having a baby’ thing too. She picked up the book and studied it.

Confessions of a Former Street Urchin

By Frances Hilton

Based on a True Story

The cover said. There was a picture of a cutsie little urchin on the cover. Some publisher’s interpretation of Frances’ own untidy haired intransigence she guessed. She stared at her name on the cover, fascinated to see her name on the cover of a book. Turned out that all those stories she used to keep under her mattress actually amounted to something. She turned the book over to see the back cover. A picture of her looking sophisticated, hair combed, actual make up on her face, stared back at her with a smug smile. She read the blurb at the back. The book was supposed to be about her life as she saw it. How convenient. She leaned back on the pillow and opened the first page, hoping her own book wasn’t going to bore her to death. She made herself comfortable and began to read.

*****

Allen came for her the next morning and she looked at him with new eyes. It seemed they had come from far together. The doctor gave them some anti-nausea pills to go home with as well as advising them to keep an eye on Frances’ blood pressure. He also gave them various pamphlets about pregnancy, adoption and abortion. Frances took them but didn’t look at them, just followed Allen out of the hospital. He didn’t drive straight home; instead he took her to an ice cream parlor and sat her at one of the window tables as he went to get their orders. He didn’t ask her what she wanted so she guessed she either had a particular preference every time or he was just that overbearing. The jury was out on which it was. He came back with peppermint chocolate ice-cream for her, and a vanilla one for himself. She tasted hers, and found that it was delicious so maybe this was the one she ordered every time. She pondered for a moment whether it was worth asking about but then decided they probably had more serious things to discuss. They’d skirted the issue for long enough and it didn’t look like Allen was about to bring it up. So Frances would have to.

“So…about the baby,” she began after taking a deep breath.

“Yeah, about that,” Allen agreed.

“What are we going to do?” she asked.

“Wow, I was hoping you would tell me,” he said with a laugh.

“Oh, so I’m like the Monica in this relationship?” she asked.

“The Monica as in…?” Allen asked.

“As in Monica and Chandler.”

Allen laughed, “Not really. We’re more Phoebe and Mike.”

Frances smiled. “Well that’s a relief. But back to the question at hand, what are we doing about the fact that we’re having a freaking baby?”

“Frankly, I’m surprised it hasn’t happened before; we’ve been kinda careless in the past. But of course it would happen now, at the most awkward time in all humanity.”

“Is it something that we would have wanted? You know…before?” she asked looking intently into his eyes.

Allen looked away and didn’t say anything.

“I’m guessing no…” Frances concluded.

Allen shrugged, “It's been a tricky time.”

“We’re not in a good place huh?”

“That’s one way of putting it.”

“And that’s why you’ve been so distant,” she concluded. Allen looked at her in surprise.

“How would you know that? Have you remembered something?” he asked, eyes hopeful.

Frances looked regretful. “I wish. No, I just figured there was no way we could be like…the way we are. Plus I read the book; we’re portrayed as a lot closer than we seem now.”

“Well, right now, one person doesn’t remember the other so it’d be a bit awkward to be close.”

“I get you, but I get the feeling you’re mad at me. Could we possibly talk about that?”

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