LIY 01 – 05

Chapter 1

Who . . . Where . . . Why?

Here’s the first chapter. The first part is rated R, so skip down, if you’re underage. Please read with caution.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

His naked body was hot as he lay over her and covered her body with kisses. He tasted and nipped and licked, bringing both of her nipples to tight wet peaks. He tasted the underside of her arm, the curve of her waist, her belly. He rolled her onto her stomach despite her choked protests, and kissed her calves, the backs of her knees, up the back of her thigh, then gently sank his teeth into one rounded buttock, not enough to cause pain but to let her feel a slight sting.

Then he worked up her spine, licking and kissing, sucking her flesh up against his teeth, and by the time he returned his attention to her buttocks she was writhing on the sheets, moaning with pleasure. One soft, fragrant location drew him to another, and he lingered over her like a bee over nectar, as if trying to sate himself on the taste and feel and scent of her.

He turned her onto her back again. Her eyes were glazed, her skin flushed, and her thighs falling apart naturally to welcome him. He took advantage of the invitation to bend and kiss her, his tongue making a brief foray that had her arching off the bed, and he saw the shock that wiped the sensual daze off her face. Before she could do anything more than sputter incoherently, though, he mounted her and stopped the protests with his mouth as his body penetrated hers.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Oh my god!” the figure in the bed launched itself upright, gasping for air.

Rainie panted, as she tried to pull herself from the sensual dream. Once again it had come. Once again it had pulled her into a haze, where her body was no longer hers. Where her heartbeat accelerated, and she almost reached heavenly bliss. Almost.

She hated this.

She hated it.

She hated what it did to her.

She hated that her body was no longer hers.

And she hated the man of her dreams. The one who took over her body. The one who brought forth these sensations.

She lay back down, curling into a tight ball, as her heartbeat began to slow down.

Tears came to her eyes.

They were tears of frustration. She couldn’t control her dreams, no matter how hard she tried.

Tears of shame. For the fact that this stranger could evoke these sensations in a body that was no longer under her control. For her betrayal, in all the nights she had allowed her body to react.

Tears of loss. Because she knew that there was something missing. Some need that only he could fulfill. But he wasn’t here. He never was.

She heard wails coming from the other room.

Her eyes widened when she realized where the noise was coming from.

“Ken, honey, are you alright?” she asked, kneeling down beside the bed.

Reaching out, she cradled him in her arms.

Leaning down, she placed a kiss on his forehead, brushing his hair back.

“Don’t worry, mommy is here,” she whispered into his ear, cuddling his trembling body closer.

His whimpers gradually petered out. But she held him until he had fallen into peaceful slumber.

“Don’t worry, baby, mommy will be here to protect you,” she softly said, running her hand gently through his hair.

Ken Yang.

He was her son.

He was her angel.

People called him her bastard. Because he was illegitimate. He didn’t go to school yet, but she was afraid of the moment he would. The world was a cruel place, unmerciful to those that it thought immoral, or whose existence evidenced acts of immorality.

He was a sign of her immorality. And even in the 21st century, this was reprehensible in the small town they lived in.

His own grandparents couldn’t bear to look at him.

Her eyes traced his features. His eyelashes, his pouting lips, his hair. He was beautiful.

He was her beautiful boy.

It ate away at her that she couldn’t tell him who his father was.

That she didn’t know who his father was.

Her parents told her that she had a wild past. That she had slept with so many men, there was no way that she could know who fathered her child.

Chances were that even if she found him, he would be unwilling to shoulder his responsibility. She had been told that she had had a knack for picking losers.

Her heart protested at these accusations. Was she really that kind of person?

Everything that was in her cried out that she hadn’t been. That she could never have been with someone unless she loved him. That she loved her son’s fathers.

But months had turned into years, and her son’s father had not shown up.

She had waited.

She could do nothing but wait.

Because two years and three months ago she had been in a terrible train accident.

An accident that had left her in a coma for three months.

One that had damaged her body so severely, that the doctors had to take her child out of her body to protect him.

One that had stolen her son’s first three months of life from her.

. . . . . . .

One that had damaged her brain, so that she could no longer remember anything that had come before. She had lost all memories of her past. Of her family. Of her friends. Of the man who had made this child with her.

The doctors had released her information to the media.

Her parents had come. They had brought her identification, pictures capturing moments of her childhood, and she had gone home with people who were complete strangers to her.

At first she had asked the questions. Questions that all amnesiacs asked, wanting to remember all that had come before. Wanting to become comfortable in an environment that was so completely alien to her.

“Who am I?”

“Where’s my husband?”

“Where do I live?”

“Why won’t you tell me anything?”

It had taken a while for the truth to penetrate the haze she had been living in. It had taken her a while to realize that her parents didn’t want her to know.

They didn’t want her to ask.

They wanted her to forget.

She could see how much her questions were hurting them, but this was something that she could not do. She had a son, and she owed her son the truth.

Realizing that she wouldn’t stop asking, they had begun to ignore everything she said pertaining to her past. And to ignore anything that was connected to her past. To the point that they ignored her son. An innocent child.

They had trapped her with guilt. With the duty that she owed them as her parents. Duty wouldn’t let her leave, but her love for her son ate away at her, demanding that she find answers.

She felt trapped.

She was twenty-seven years old. She was the mother of a child who was exactly two years and three months old. And she had no memories. Her life was a blank slate, and nothing and nobody was willing to help.

She felt lost.

And one question rebounded through her mind. Through the days and the nights. Especially the nights . . . nights like these when she awakened with her body throbbing. When she could still feel him inside of her. Her body would ache . . . and so would her heart.

Only one question.

Where are you?

. . . . . . .

Where are you?

. . . . . . and one other thought.

Why haven’t you come?

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Chapter 2

Familiar Stranger

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Rainie lay in bed, sleeping peacefully next to her son. Her arms cradled his tiny little body in her arms. Even in sleep, her hands clutched him, while his were wound into her hair.

Both were holding on tightly, not wanting to let the other go.

“Rainie, wake up,” her mother’s voice bellowed from the other room.

Rainie awoke with a start. It was 7 a.m., and she remembered that her parents were leaving for America today. They had to go to a business convention to represent their restaurant, and they needed her to drive them to the train station. They would catch the train from there to go to the airport, and fly out.

Ken began to whimper at being pulled from peaceful slumber too early.

“Come on, baby, hush. Mommy’s here, don’t cry,” Rainie began to croon to the child.

“Rainie, I told you to get up. Stop fooling around, we’ll be late,” her mother shouted once more from the other room.

Ken started wildly at the loud voice and began to wail in fright.

“And keep that brat quiet, will you?!!” her mother shouted in anger.

Rainie closed her eyes in frustration. She was so tired of this. They hated her son. And she was beginning to hate them for what they said and did to him.

They had never loved him and she loved him too much. It hurt her to see him being treated like this.

She was just . . .

She was tired of waiting.

She had almost made up her mind. She would no longer stay in a home that did not welcome her son.

Her parents would be gone for two weeks, and she would be ready to go by the time they came back. She had been saving money for the past three years. She had nothing to spend it on. Her parents might resent her child, but their traditional values prohibited them from taking money from her. They paid all of their expenses.

That pride would now allow her to get her freedom.

Comforting her son, she pulled him out of bed and went to get ready.

As they drove to the train station, all was silent in the car. Her parents sat woodenly. They refused to say anything.

And Ken. Who was normally a very talkative child, remained silent in the car seat next to his grandmother. He never said much when he was around them.

“We’ll be back in two weeks, so come pick us up then, alright?” her father finally said, breaking the silence.

“Yes, dad,” she agreed quietly. “Mom, dad, we need to talk when you come back.”

“About what?” her dad asked wearily.

“Just something. It’s been coming for a long time, and I’m sure you won’t be surprised by what I have to say. But I’m not ready to talk about it right now.”

“Stop playing games, Rainie,” her mother snapped out.

“Mom, please. Speak gently. You’re scaring Ken,” she cautioned, when she heard the quiet whimpers coming from him.

“Then stop acting like this. Tell us what you want to say,” her mother demanded, not caring to modulate her sharp tone.

“Mom, please,” Rainie pleaded. “We’ll talk about this later, right now is not the time.”

“But—”

“That’s enough Grace,” Rainie’s father finally interrupted. “Whatever it is we’ll obviously hear about it later.”

Rainie looked over at her father in gratitude.

She could see pain and embarrassment in his eyes. Rainie realized that he suspected what it was that she wanted to tell them.

She couldn’t comfort him. This had been brought on by their unrelenting resentment of Ken, and nothing they could say would make her stay in this place any longer.

They arrived at the train station, and quietly got the luggage out of the car. She silently walked with them to the waiting train, and helped them to get on.

Her mother hugged her but refused to even look at Ken.

Her father hugged her quietly, and for the first time, gently kissed Ken on the cheek.

Ken froze at the strange contact. Rainie’s eyes filled up with tears. This was the first time her father had ever touched him, and Ken was wary at this unknown contact.

She had met her parents again for the first time a month after she had come out of the coma. And not once in that new memory could she remember her parents ever holding, cuddling, and caring for Ken.

She knew now that her father had realized what she wanted to talk to them about. And he had given his silent approval, and a silent apology.

She hugged her father once more.

As they got onto the train, she quietly waved at them, taking Ken’s little hand to wave goodbye at them once more.

This would be the last time she would be seeing them like this.

Although she planned on seeing them when they came back, her revelation would cause her mom to explode. There would be no peaceful communication. Their time together would be filled with poisonous words about her ingratitude. She could never hope to make them understand how she felt forced into doing this.

This would be the only hint of approval that she would get.

With a start, she realized that the train had disappeared. And Ken had begun to wriggle in her arms, trying to get free. He was once more the hyper kid that she knew.

Rainie laughed, and put him down. Latching onto his hand, she pulled him towards the parking lot. They would enjoy these two weeks, and the time would just be the beginning of their future freedom together.

She would be free to shower her son with love without her parents’ disapproving looks. And she would be free to make a life for herself that wasn’t tied to her past.

This was right. And she was ready. They would make a new life for themselves.

No more waiting.

Not for her parents to break their silence, and not for that mysterious man to show up.

No more.

As they walked towards the parking lot, Ken’s voice babbling excitedly, her face wreathed in smiles, her cell phone rang.

“Hello,” Rainie cautiously answered.

“I forgot to tell you a few things,” her mother’s voice came over the line. “I want you to write them down. You’ll need to know them to operate the restaurant.”

“Can’t I do this later ma? We’re still at the station, and my hands aren’t free,” Rainie asked.

“Now Rainie,” her mother demanded. “Do it now.”

Realizing that it was futile to argue, Rainie let go of Ken’s hand, and pulled out a pen and paper to jot down the important items.

When she was finally done, she said goodbye, and put the things back into her bag.

“Let’s go home now, Ken. Mommy will make you your favorite spaghetti and meatballs,” Rainie called out, turning to the spot her son had been playing at.

He was no longer there.

“Ken? Where are you? Ken, honey, don’t play with mommy like this,” Rainie frantically looked around. He wasn’t there. Her eyes raced across the parking lot. She had been facing that way. He hadn’t gotten past her.

Which meant that he had to be back at the train station. Near the train . . .

“Ken! Ken! Where are you?!” Rainie began to toward the station, her eyes moving across the building, as if she could see through the building and find her son safe inside.

Her heart beat rapidly as she ran towards the building.

All thoughts were forgotten. Life wouldn’t be worth living if she didn’t have Ken.

He was her world. He was the reason she still lived today. Without him life would be meaningless.

As she frantically searched in the building, her hopes were dashed. He wasn’t in there.

That could only mean one thing. He was on the platform, near the tracks.

As she ran onto the platform, she saw his little figure teetering near the edge.

The platform was too high. Too high. The fall could seriously hurt him.

“Ken!!” she shouted racing, knowing that she wouldn’t make it on time. And the fall would hurt. Who knew how badly?

Her vision focused in on him, and nothing else came through.

Not the startled exclamations of the others coming out of the building.

Nor the movement of another figure. A person who had turned at the sound of her shouting, and had assessed the situation immediately.

Someone who was a lot closer.

“Ken, don’t move,” she shouted, “Mommy’s coming.”

To her intense relief she finally saw the stranger moving toward Ken, and then she started smiling when she saw the figure grab Ken and pull him away from danger.

“Thank you, thank you God. Thank you,” she mumbled to herself, as she continued to move towards the two.

Her baby was all right. He was all right. And she had this stranger to thank.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you so much,” she said in gratitude, trembling, as she took her son into her arms.

Her eyes swam with tears as she gathered his wriggling body in her arms. He still wanted to go on the tracks, to see where the train came from.

He began to cry as her arms tightened around him, refusing to let him go.

Rainie knelt down, unable to stand any longer. Tears had begun to fall from her eyes. She rained kisses on her baby’s face, unable to believe how close she had come to losing him. Again. Once more because of trains.

She hated them.

They had taken away her memory. And they had almost taken away her son.

“Calm down, miss, you’re scaring the child,” the man finally spoke. His warm, husky voice washed over her, soothing her.

Rainie wiped the tears from her eyes, and looked up from her kneeling position.

His face was right above her, the sun shining behind him, obscuring his features.

“I know, I know,” she said, “But I can’t help it. I came so close to losing him,” her voice broke over the words.

He pulled the child away from her, and then gently pulled her up.

Rainie’s eyes moved over his features. This situation was so familiar. He felt familiar.

Was he . . . ?

Could he be . . . ?

Her eyes traced his features. His warm eyes, his lips, and then moved across his long hair.

He wore jeans and a t-shirt, and his body was hard under the articles of clothing.

He was handsome. But more than that, he was familiar.

Maybe . . .

“I’m sorry, do I know you?” she finally asked hopefully.

The familiar stranger’s eyes moved across her tear-stained face and down over her petite body. Over the child in his arms.

He looked back into her eyes.

“No,” he finally said.

“Are you sure?” she asked in disappointment.

“Yes,” he said with assurance.

He quietly handed Ken back.

Rainie turned to go. She had been so sure. But although he had seemed so familiar to her, she had seen no recognition in his eyes.

Her eyes closed, as she fought this unreasonable disappointment.

It was unreasonable.

She had decided to stop waiting, and now this. How could she still be waiting for a man who had had more than 2 years to show up and . . . hadn’t?

She heard a soft thud behind her.

She heard the exclamations of the spectators around her.

Turning once more, she saw something unexpected.

The man that had saved her child . . . the man who had been her knight today . . . the man who had seemed so familiar . . . so strong . . .

Was lying on the platform . . . unconscious . . . hurt.

. . . . . . . . .

Helpless.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Chapter 3

Searching for Her

“I love you,” a hand tugged at hers, tugging at her consciousness.

Rainie moaned and stirred in her sleep. She could hear the pain in that voice; it pierced her heart. She stirred again, trying to get close. To comfort the person. She stilled again, slipping back into deep slumber, wanting to stay in the dream for a bit longer.

“Don’t leave me. I swear it’s not what you think. There’s a story behind what you saw,” he urgently explained.

She heard the garbled voices around her and a sea of noise overwhelmed her. She looked down, and saw a man kneeling at her feet, his head bowed in supplication.

“I love you and only you. It’s been you for a long time. I never had a choice once you came into my life. You know that. I would never betray you. I chose you over all others, and I promised to keep your heart safe when you gave it to me that last time. Please,” he begged her.

She knelt down. It was hard to do. She looked down at her body. It was heavy with child. With Ken. She wanted to tug him close, to hug him. To cherish him with all her heart, but something stopped her. The thought of what he had done. Whatever it was that he had done. She couldn’t remember.

Rainie’s brow wrinkled, trying to remember what it was he had done. It was no use.

He sighed softly. And slowly got up. Before she could look up into his face, he turned to go.

He stopped. Rainie’s hands clenched, willing him to turn around.

“It will always be you. She was my sister-in-law, and that was my nephew. I would never betray you. I’ll let you go for now, but I promise that I’ll come to look for you once you’re ready. You have to know that if you’re ever lost, I won’t rest until I find you. Even if I have to search to the ends of the earth.”

Rainie smiled, her eyes filling with tears of relief.

“I understand. I forgive you . . .,” Rainie looked up, and her eyes widened in shock.

He was leaving. He hadn’t heard her.

“No! Don’t go! Don’t leave. Turn around. Please, turn around,” she begged his retreating figure.

He didn’t turn around, and she began to run after him. Trying to catch him.

If only she could catch him. If only she could see his face. Then she would know. She would know the man of her dreams. Her son’s father. Her love.

She had to stop him.

. . . . . . . . .

It was too late.

. . . . . . . . .

He was gone.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Rainie sprang up in bed.

Something had awakened her. She looked around. It was morning, and the sun had come out long ago. Ken hadn’t woken her up today. It was his absence that had brought her back to consciousness. Her arms had felt empty without him.

Her frantic eyes searched the room. Where could he have gone?

She jumped out of bed, all other thoughts forgotten. As she raced toward the open doorway, she stilled as she heard the sounds from Ken’s room. She quietly moved toward the door.

She heard soft voices coming from in there. Ken’s babbling, and a second voice. Deeper, soothing . . . sexy. She then heard blabbing again. Only this time he was talking about her.

“Mommy . . . mommy cries at night,” Ken suddenly said. And without waiting for a response, said, “I hug her when she cries, and then she gets quiet.”

There was complete silence. Rainie couldn’t believe what her young son was telling a complete stranger.

She ran to the door, hoping to make him be quiet before he revealed anymore of her secrets. She froze at the threshold, when she saw the scene inside.

Ken was in bed with the stranger, sitting close to him. More like the man was lying down in bed, and Ken was leaning over him, his hand in the stranger’s hair. The way he usually held her hair.

Rainie was shocked. Distressed. Her son was with a stranger that she had stupidly brought home, and she didn’t even know if the man was safe. She wanted to run forward and take Ken away, but something stopped her. Maybe it was the complete trust that Ken had in this man. They looked so comfortable with each other.

The man was looking calmly up at her son, his eyes staring almost unblinkingly at her son, his head leaning into her son’s touch. And her son was almost sitting on his chest, staring into his face. The scene looked natural.

They looked like father and son.

“What’s going on here?” she finally asked, aiming for a normal tone.

“Mommy,” Ken yelled, running over to hug her. “You’re awake!”

Rainie hugged him close, her eyes closing as she savored the miracle of her son’s body in her arms. She had almost lost him yesterday, and she couldn’t imagine how she would have lived without him.

Her eyes opened when she felt someone watching her, and she encountered the stranger’s calm gaze.

She had brought him home after the incident. Nothing would wake him, no matter how hard they had tried. The paramedics had come, but all they could say was that he was sleeping and didn’t want to wake up yet. With no one to claim him, she had had to bring him home. After all, she owed him.

She had put him in Ken’s bed, and Ken had protested. It looked like her son had sneaked over to reclaim his bed, and had stayed to bond.

“Good morning,” his husky voice rasped against her skin.

As she stared at him, she felt his gaze moving over her. She could feel his eyes caressing her body. Her skin tightened, her body clenched. She could only react to all the new sensations coursing through her.

She nodded shyly at him.

“Are you alright?” she asked breathlessly.

“What happened?” he asked.

“You fainted,” she explained.

“And you brought me home?” he asked in surprise.

“What else could I do?” she asked helplessly.

“You brought a stranger home, isn’t that a little dangerous?” he asked, almost scolding her for daring to help him.

“If you were dangerous, you wouldn’t have saved my son,” she explained, looking at him with all the gratitude she felt inside.

He didn’t respond. He was in deep thought. His thoughts veiled behind his lashes. She wanted to rip aside the veil and read the thoughts behind it, but she had a feeling that it would be hard to get close to him.

“I’m Ken. Ken Zhu,” he finally offered.

Her eyes opened in surprise. She looked down at the Ken in her arms, and back at the Ken in her son’s bed.

“Yes, I know,” he said smiling, understanding her shock.

Ken started moving in her arms, wanting to get down. She reluctantly released his wriggling body. He raced back to the bed.

“Uncle Ken!” he shouted excitedly. He jumped on the bed, and Ken grabbed him before he could tumble back out again.

“Ken, stop that. Uncle needs to rest,” Rainie scolded, moving forward to pick up her hyper son.

“Mommy! Mommy!” he shouted.

“What is it, my darling?” she asked, smiling.

“Don’t call me Ken or darling. Call me Kenny!” he ordered.

“Why?” she asked in surprise.

“Because he’s Uncle Ken! So, I’m Kenny. And boys need nick—,” he leaned closer to Ken, and then continued, “nicknames,” he finished explained.

Rainie looked at the two in bed. Both wore identical grins of mischief.

“Have you been coaching my son?” she asked Big Ken suspiciously.

“You have to admit that it could get confusing,” he calmly said.

She nodded doubtfully, not questioning why it could get confusing. Not questioning whether he would be here long enough for it to get confusing. He would stay. She just knew.

She looked at Ken. He was smiling at Ken—Kenny. Almost . . . lovingly. Her heart clenched. Kenny’s father should be here. He should be doing this. Kenny was starved for male attention, and he was reveling in all the attention he was getting from this stranger.

It was another thing that he didn’t FEEL like a stranger.

The stranger turned to look at her. He smiled. She stared back at him in question.

“I think you might want to change,” he suggested.

She looked down. Her eyes widened in shock and then closed in disbelief. She couldn’t believe that she was like this. In only a T-shirt. In front of a complete stranger. He could see her legs! She turned to run out the door.

“I lied,” he called out to her retreating figure.

“What?” she uttered in surprise, turning back to look at him.

“I lied before,” he said.

Taking a deep breath, he continued, “I do know you. I knew you a long time ago. You were someone very important to me.”

She stared at him in shock. There was fear. And hope. And anger. Why had he denied her before? She didn’t know what to think. . . . One thing came through. She wanted to believe him. She wanted this to be true.

She stared at him in silence. He began to talk.

“More than two years ago, I was in a train accident.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

“I lost my wife in that accident.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

“I’ve been searching for her ever since.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

“Yesterday . . . I finally found her. And the son I never knew I had.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Chapter 4

Where Were You

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“I’m pregnant,” she said softly, smiling at him in the candlelight. They were at their favorite spot, high above the city; in a space that almost touched the sky. Tonight was a special night and she wanted to make it a memorable night.

“Did you hear me? I’m pregnant. Three months to be exact,” she stared at him expectantly, awaiting his reaction.

He stared at her. His eyes wide. Frozen.

She stared quietly back at him waiting for some sort of reaction to the words she had spoken. She began to get worried as the silence continued, her smile slipping at this unexpected non-reaction.

He suddenly shouted in joy, making her jump in fright.

“You’re sure?” he asked.

“Yes,” she said, smiling, and then laughing.

He got up and grabbed her, twirling her around in joy. “I’m going to be a father.”

Suddenly her put her down, afraid that his exuberance might have hurt her.

“Are you okay? You didn’t get hurt did you?” he asked worriedly.

She started laughing at his concern, her heart warming at this outpouring of joy and concern. “I’m fine. Don’t worry, I’m having a baby, that doesn’t make me automatically fragile.”

She hugged him close, and pulled back to look up into his face.

“I’m going to be a father,” he murmured distractedly, his arm around her, as they stared down at the city.

Tears began to form in her eyes. From the joy of the moment. From his joy. And most of all from happiness. They were going to have a little child. A symbol of their love. And she couldn’t wait to hold the baby in her arms.

“We’re going to be fine, Ken,” she murmured, leaning her head against his shoulder. “Nothing will hurt us, and nothing will tear us apart.”

Rainie’s brow crinkled in confusion. Something wasn’t right about that statement. Something that she couldn’t quite grasp.

“We’ll always be happy. You, me and the baby,” she murmured quietly as they watched the sunrise.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Rainie gripped the doorway, staring at the man in her son’s bed. The man claiming to be her husband, and the father of her child. The man who claimed to have searched for her for the past two years.

Why had it taken him so long to find her?

The room began to spin around her. Darkness began to close in.

“Wife . . .

“Son . . .

“Searching . . .

It had taken him too long to get to her.

The earth began to rock, as complete darkness swirled up to embrace her completely.

She hadn’t been ready.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Rainie moaned softly in darkness, the sound echoing in her ears. It was quiet around her, and she ached to sink deeper into the soft darkness.

She heard someone crying, sobbing her heart out. The pain in her voice, made tears form in Rainie’s heart. The pain went that deep.

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

It was her voice. It was her pain. A remembered pain.

Her heart clenched. She didn’t want to face this. But if she did, she might find that it was nothing much. She might find that she had a tendency to overdramatize.

“He betrayed me. You were right. He’s everything you said he was. I should have listened to you. He has another child. He has another woman,” she sobbed into the phone.

Rainie struggled against the darkness, trying to stop the memories. Trying to stop the pain. She knew that they were memories now. No longer could she pretend that they were only dreams.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“No! Stop, please stop,” she gasped and her eyes opened wide. She stared straight into his eyes. The man of her dreams, rising over her in bed to lean in for a kiss.

She shook her head, to clear it of the memories . . . of the dreams.

He wasn’t leaning over her to kiss, but to gaze at her in concern. His eyes held concern and something she wasn’t ready to face.

Her eyes ran over his face. Yes, she felt gratitude to this man for saving her son’s life.

Yes, she’d felt like she knew him from somewhere a long time ago.

But, more than anything she wanted to believe, because that would mean the end of the limbo she had been living in for the past two years. It would mean that she would finally have someone to talk to about her past and to give her some answers.

She was afraid. She would once again lose the world she knew. If she believed him . . . left with him . . . she’d be placing her trust and their lives in the hands of a stranger. But . . . if she stayed here it would take away her only opportunity to learn about a past that had frustratingly stayed in the shadows. It was obvious that her parents didn’t want her to remember.

“I’ve been looking for you for a long time. I have this locket, with our wedding picture in it, or rather of you in your wedding dress,” he reached inside his shirt and pulled out a gold chain. It was a woman’s necklace, but the way he held it showed how precious it was to him.

Opening it gently, he showed her the picture inside. She stared at a younger version of herself, perhaps four to five years younger, and marveled at the joy sparkling from her eyes.

“And I have your ring,” he said, pointing to the ring handing from the same chain.

As she tugged at it, he pulled off the chain, and taking the ring from the chain, slipped it around her neck. Pulling up her left hand, he gently pushed it onto her ring finger.

She looked up at him, as he stared intently at her fingers. She could see that he was happy to see the ring back where he thought it belonged.

“I had my passport with me, listed under the name Ken Zhu. I went to where we had entered the country, and started down, searching in every town that line stopped at. I was fortunate that this particular line only traveled through small towns. I had reasoned that one of these towns had to be the one we were coming to when the train crashed. That’s why it took so long. I had to earn money to fund my search for you, and I needed time to search every part of each town.”

She stared up at him, and he stared quietly back at her waiting for some sort of reaction to the words he had spoken. As he leaned over her, memories of past dreams tugged at her consciousness. Bringing back thoughts of sultry nights. She squeezed her eyes shut, and then quickly pushed him away.

She took a deep breath, preparing herself for the battle ahead. She just hoped that she was lucky for once and won this one.

“How can I believe you?” she finally mumbled, staring at the ceiling.

He lay beside her, his arms cradling a slumbering Kenny. He waited for her to continue.

“How can I believe someone who suddenly shows up out of the blue? It’s been two years. Does it really take that long to find someone? Do you have any idea how long I have been waiting? How can I believe that you’ve been searching when it’s taken you this long to get here? I’m your wife, you say? Then why the hell didn’t you know the most basic thing about me? My parents’ address? You have this picture and ring. I don’t deny I was in that accident, and you could have just found these things by chance. Maybe you’re doing this as some sort of joke.”

He nodded quietly when she finished . . . understanding all her doubts . . . and conceding her need to ask.

“Do you remember anything about the accident?”

Her hands clenched, not wanting to state the truth about her memory, even if it was already obvious to him. To verbalize it would make it too real. She wasn’t ready to bring that reality between them.

“No…,” she finally whispered. She said no more.

“The accident was horrible. Two trains going in two different directions collided and derailed. We were on one of those trains. We were injured, unconscious, but were found near each other. You were in a coma for a long while, and I was badly injured. They wouldn’t let me see you too often. It took me a while to get up after the accident. My legs were badly injured in the accident. The hospital did numerous surgeries on my legs, to make sure that I didn’t lose them. One day I went in for my final operation. They put me under anesthesia after I had said goodbye to you.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

When I woke up, you were gone. No one could tell me what had happened. Or where you had gone. Only that your parents had come to get you, and they had left your wedding ring behind. This wedding ring. The one that fits you perfectly,” he whispered, pulling up her hand to place a kiss on her knuckles.

“If you saw me, then how could you not know about Kenny?” she whispered, turning to look at him.

He was staring down at Kenny, the miracle in his arms.

“Like I said it took me a while to get out of the bed, and it was about two weeks before I saw you. By that time they had already taken Kenny out of your womb, and no one thought to tell me. I don’t think that anyone believed that we were really married. Or they would never have allowed us to be separated,” he said coldly, remembering the anger he had felt at the news of her departure.

She continued to stare at him, unable to believe the turn of events. He had been there with her, and her parents had come and stolen her away. But something was off. Something wasn’t right.

“Wait . . . I told you,” she finally said, remembering.

“What?” he asked, startled.

“I told you . . . or . . . someone that we were going to have a baby. I remember that. I don’t remember a lot, but I do get these flashes. I remember telling someone that we were going to have Kenny,” she insisted, getting angry at his silence.

He was quiet.

She grew steadily more suspicious.

“You won’t believe me. It would seem too incredible,” he finally said.

“Don’t hide things from me! I’ve had enough of that from my parents. I need that truth from you, otherwise I couldn’t believe anything you would say,” she said in frustration.

“I told you I have the locket, and the rings. Yours and,” he put up his left hand, “mine. I also have a couple of letters you wrote to me . . . written in a language that I didn’t understand . . . but that’s it. That’s all I had to go on when I began my search for you. Those things and my gut feeling that you belonged with me. That’s why it took so long for me to find you,” he paused there, taking a deep breath.

“What do you mean?” she asked in dread.

“I lost my memory. All I know was that there was a woman out there waiting for me to find her, and all I had was a picture of your beautiful, angelic face calling out to me.”

There was complete and utter silence. Stillness had settled over the room.

. . . . . . . .

There was shock . . . disbelief . . . and anger.

“Are you kidding me?!!!!” she finally shouted.

“Why would I be joking about something as serious as this? What kind of man do you think I am?” he asked angrily.

“That’s just it, I don’t know you. I don’t remember anything! Why do you think I was asking you yesterday if you knew me?” she asked in frustrated anger.

He turned his head to stare into her eyes.

“I had that accident. I lost my memory. All I had were these things. And I still searched for you,” he said, his gaze penetrating.

Rainie lowered her eyes in shame when she saw the truth shining through, and the anger and hurt that her doubt had brought.

“I had no memories to go on. But I still searched,” he repeated. “I looked for you despite all that had happened.”

She looked up at him.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

“Why weren’t you looking for me?” he asked, staring into her eyes.

She remained silent, unanswering.

Unable to answer.

His eyes looked into hers, refusing to let her go. To escape his probing gaze.

“Where were you?”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Chapter 5

First Kiss

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

They sat in the den. Rainie stared up at the man in whose arms she was resting.

In whose arms she belonged.

She reveled in the fact that she could stare freely stare into his eyes, and unashamedly allow herself to be mesmerized by his good looks.

He was a handsome man. And he was aware of it. His history of past conquests had proven that. But he had ultimately chosen her. For that she would always be grateful.

He looked down at her, and tweaked her nose gently.

She smiled up at him, and then reached up to kiss his luscious lips.

“I love you,” she whispered.

“How much?” he asked her teasingly.

“Umm . . . enough to remember you in every lifetime. Enough to come after you and make you fall in love with me each time. Just like I did in this one.”

“You believe in that kind of stuff?” he queried.

“I have to,” she replied seriously. “That way I can be with you over and over again. You won’t get away from me.”

He looked at her lovingly.

“So if we’re reborn again, in another life, in another place, as other people, you would still love me? You would still find me so that you could seduce me into falling in love with you again?” he asked, smiling.

“Don’t laugh at me,” she pouted. “You know that my soul would recognize yours. And I won’t take no for an answer. Not from anyone in the world and not from you.”

He smiled and bent his head to kiss her.

“Promise me,” he ordered. “That you’ll always find me. That I’ll never have to live without you.”

“I promise,” she whispered.

The scene began to slowly fade out. Taking with it all the love that had filled the atmosphere.

“Happy second wedding anniversary,” her voice said from the distance. “I can’t believe it’s been two years already.”

“It hasn’t been two years. We’ve been together longer than that. Don’t you remember the day you returned to me . . . ”

The voices gradually faded away.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Rainie looked at the man in front of her, shocked by what he had just said. Memories weaved in and out of her consciousness, distracting her from the present moment.

The same accident . . . and he had lost his memory just like her? Her heart wanted to believe, but something held her back. That was too incredible to believe.

“Am I supposed to believe this?” she finally muttered, her head spinning with all the memories that had begun to flood her consciousness the moment he had entered her life.

That in itself was a clue. Before his arrival she had only caught faceless glimpses of a shadowy past. His presence was shining a light on those memories, and finally bringing the past to life for her.

She felt so confused about how she felt . . . how she should feel. She didn’t know whether she should be happy or afraid.

Should she have looked for him?

Had she let him down?

Let herself down?

If she had looked for him, and found him, maybe they would have been together a long time ago.

His voice interrupted her chaotic thoughts, giving her much needed relief from the questions disturbing her peace of mind.

“The locket . . .,” he began.

“What about it?” she asked.

“Open it again. Take the picture out and look behind it,” he instructed her.

She did as he ordered, and as the picture slipped out she glimpsed into the past . . . her past . . . THEIR past. It was a wedding picture. A picture of them . . . together . . . though that was a surprise, the bigger surprise was that . . . They were in all their wedding finery.

She turned to stare at him, stricken speechless by the truth she could no longer deny. She no longer wanted to.

He had been a part of her past. A big part. And from the way he was acting, he would be a part of her future. And . . . she never wanted to let him go.

“I changed the pictures,” he explained. “For some reason I wanted to just look at that picture. To view only your face. It haunted me, urging me to find you so that we could be together.”

She wordlessly nodded, unable to speak.

He leaned up and over her . . . their son, and stared down at her. Rainie could not move. Her body warmed from his nearness.

He moved his gaze over her face, staring at the person who had called to him for two years. For the first time that voice was silent. He no longer heard it crying in pain. Those imagined tears no longer pierced his heart.

When he had heard her voice at the train station yesterday, calling out his name, she had abruptly silenced the voice in his head.

He looked at her lips. The desire to taste her was too great. He leaned in closer. Her eyes widened, but she did not protest.

His lips finally touched hers, grazing against their petal softness. He was home. He was finally back where he belonged. For the first time in two years he felt at peace.

Rainie’s eyes closed as he moved closer, and she readied herself for the kiss. As soon as his lips touched hers, she recognized their shape. Their feel . . . their taste. He was the man of her dreams . . . and he was her husband.

As she lay there, in his arms.

Their son sleeping next to them.

His lips gently kissing hers.

There was no room for any other thought.

Except one.

. . . . . . . . . .

She was finally at peace.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

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