As the story begins, a domestic life had been disrupted. Angelina has been missing from her home for eight months and her husband has been desperately searching for her. A phone call from a doctor in New York reveals she has recently been admitted to a hospital there. Unfortunately, she has amnesia and remembers nothing about her past eight months or her earlier life with Sam and their two beautiful children. As her memories start to return, the knowledge she regains about her kidnappers precipitates the couple into a dangerous cat and mouse game
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“Mrs. Wade, do you remember me? Vicky Watson? I checked on you the day after you were brought here.
“I’m a detective. I need to ask a few questions.” She clutched her briefcase tightly and glanced at Angelina. “We think the man who brought you in might be dangerous to other women. If you help, we’ll find and stop him before he hurts anyone else. I’ve brought some pictures. I’m hoping you’ll recognize the man who brought you here.”
She turned to fully face the woman. Angelina stuffed her hands into her jean pockets to hide her nervousness. The tensing of her jaw betrayed her deep frustrations.
“I don’t know if I could be much help, but I can try… If you’ll show me the pictures, I’ll take a look.”
At the detective’s gesture she sat in a chair. Vicky reached into an oversized bag and took out a stack of Polaroid pictures. She put them carefully next to each other in a row, closely watching Angelina’s reaction as each photo was placed in front of her.
Although she was afraid to, Angelina’s face grew taut as she looked at each photo closely. It was hard enough to accept Sam and his life. What would it mean if she recognized these men? Would it mean she was a criminal? Was she being tricked into condemning herself? Was he in on this? Suddenly, something deep in her heart rejected that thought. Not Sam.
“No, I don’t recognize any of them. Nothing rings a bell. I’m sorry I can’t be more help.” Her voice sounded frightened. Her eyes filled with tears.
“Mrs. Wade, we can do this some other time when you are up to it. We’ll go through some pictures again?
“I’ll let your husband know we’re done. He’s right outside. If you remember anything, please don’t hesitate to give me a call. Have a good day.” With another bright, false smile, Vicky was out the door.
* * * *
Sam watched her getting in the elevator and breathed a sigh of relief. He didn’t know if he should go back into the room or wait for Angelina to come out. Before he could make up his mind, the door opened. He tried to put a reassuring look on his face.
“I guess we’re ready to go…home.”
She was really trying. There was only a little hesitation in her voice. One corner of her mouth drooped. Frightened of going to a home with a man she didn’t remember. Maybe something—anything—would trigger a memory. If she had anything to start with, she felt she’d be all right. Maybe seeing the house would do it.
Her smile was as bright as an eight-year-old’s when Dr. Talbot approached them. He was her “first” memory. She trusted him.
“Hey, there, young lady, are you ready to go? Let’s get you released. As for you, Mr. Wade, please keep me posted. Take care of yourselves. I hope you have a good flight.” His voice was firm and final as he glanced at them. He’d genuinely miss them both.
“Dr. Talbot, I want to thank you so much for helping me.” Angelina hugged him good-bye and then sighed.
“Okay, I’m ready now.” With a deliberately casual movement, she turned and faced Sam, her eyes looking up to his hopefully.
“I have the taxi waiting for us. Hopefully the meter’s not running.” He offered her a sudden, arresting smile.
He wanted to put an arm around her as he used to when they would leave the house to go on trips. But she wasn’t ready for anything physical yet.
The ride in the elevator was quiet. When the main doors opened onto the street, the pair could feel a slight breeze. It carried the lovely aroma of petunias. Delighted, Angelina watched the people walk by. He saw her eyes light up letting her enjoy it for a moment.
There were mothers holding children’s hands or pushing baby carriages. Couples walked arm in arm. Everywhere she looked, Angelina’s eyes fell on bright colors she hadn’t seen for who knew how long. It gave her time to adjust. Sam gave her a lopsided smile as he opened the cab door for her.
The drive to the airport was quiet. Angelina watched the cars and then the scenery. Every once in a while she glanced at him. Her composure was a fragile shell around her. Sam knew she was sneaking quick looks. He smiled, hoping for a smile back.
After they arrived home, Sandy would be over as soon as possible to see her cousin. He prayed she’d make Angelina feel at ease. Sandy had common sense. She’d roll up her sleeves and deal with things as they were. Sandy would treat her like a new friend and slowly draw Angelina out of her shell.
They boarded the plane. Settling in their seats, Angelina decided to try to sleep. It’d been a long morning with a lot of changes.
Sam made sure she was buckled and watched her try to find a comfortable spot to lean the small airline pillow against.
He felt a little overwhelmed. How could he make his wife feel at ease? How’d she react to all the family pictures hung in the house? What would she think of his gold records she’d put out for everyone to see?