He pulled a chair to the side of the bed and settled his large frame into it. He reached for her hand, and this time, despite her instinct to do so, she didn’t retract it.
“I am Chrysander Anetakis. Your fiancé.”
She searched his face for the truth of his words, but he looked back at her calmly, with no hint of emotion.
“I’m sorry,” she said and swallowed when her voice cracked. “I don’t remember….”
“I know. I’ve spoken to the doctor. What you remember isn’t important right now. What is important is that you rest and recover so that I can take you home.”
She licked her lips, panic threatening to overtake her. “Home?”
He nodded. “Yes, home.”
“Where is that?” She hated having to ask. Hated that she was lying here conversing with a complete stranger. Only apparently he wasn’t. He was someone she had been intimate with. Obviously in love with. They were engaged, and she was pregnant with his child. Shouldn’t that stir something inside her?
“You’re trying too hard, pedhaki mou,” he said softly. “I can see the strain on your face. You mustn’t rush things. The doctor said that it will all come back in time.”
She clutched his hand then looked down at their linked fingers. “Will it? What if it doesn’t?” Fear rose in her chest, tightening her throat uncomfortably. She struggled to breathe.
Chrysander reached out a hand to touch her face. “Calm yourself, Marley. Your distress does you and the baby no good.”
Hearing her name on his lips did odd things. It felt as though he was speaking of a stranger even though she did remember her name. But maybe in the madness of her memory loss, she’d been afraid that she’d gotten that part wrong, and that along with everything else, her name was a forgotten piece of her life.
“Can you tell me something about me? Anything?”
She was precariously close to begging, and tears knotted her throat and stung her eyes.
“There will be plenty of time for us to talk later,” Chrysander soothed. He stroked her forehead, pushing back her hair. “For now, rest. I’m making preparations to take you home.”
It was the second time he’d mentioned home, and she realized that he still hadn’t told her where that was.
“Where is home?” she asked again.
His lips thinned for just a moment, and then his expression eased. “Home for us has been here in the city. My business takes me away often, but we had an apartment together here. My plan is to take you to my island as soon as you are well enough to travel.”
Her brows furrowed as she sought to comprehend the oddity of his statement. It sounded so…impersonal. There was no emotion, no hint of joy, just a sterile recitation of fact.
As if sensing she was about to ask more questions, he bent over and pressed his lips to her forehead. “Rest, pedhaki mou. I have arrangements to make. The doctor says you can be released in a few days’ time if all goes well.”
She closed her eyes wearily and nodded. He stood there a moment, and then she heard his footsteps retreating. When her door closed, she opened her eyes again, only to feel the damp trail of tears against her cheeks.
She should feel relief that she wasn’t alone. Somehow, though, Chrysander Anetakis’s presence hadn’t reassured her as it should. She felt more apprehensive than ever, and she couldn’t say why.
She pulled the thin sheet higher around her body and closed her eyes, willing the peaceful numbness of sleep to take over once more.
When she woke again, a nurse was standing by her bedside placing a cuff around her arm to take her blood pressure.