Maybe he hadn't slept as well as he thought. He staggered backward. The back of his knees hit the edge of the granite bench that lined one wall of the shower and he sank onto the smooth surface.
The pain suffused his skull and he dropped his head between his knees as the water beat on the back of his neck. Prospero. The name meant...magic.
We'll call our unit Prospero--you know, like the wizard in Shakespeare's play. Because we'll perform magic.
Leave it to Jack to come up with a literary name for an undercover ops unit.
I don't think I read that play.
I don't think you've read any plays, Riley.
That's because we're busy saving lives in the sea, air and land, Buzz, not falling asleep in the cockpit.
As the voices and memories tumbled through Jack's mind, the pain seared through his brain. He clutched his hair, doubling over and moaning. Willing the agony to go away. Willing the memories to keep coming.
"Jack, Jack." Soft hands gripped his forearms.
Jack's our fearless leader. I vote we go with Prospero.
All for one and one for all.
That's Dumas, not Shakespeare, Riley.
"Jack. Can you hear me?" Fingers beneath his chin forced his head up.
Wide, hazel eyes fringed with long dark lashes blinked inches from his face. His gaze tracked past Lola, soaking wet, to Rosa, hovering at the shower door, her mouth hanging open.
Lola cupped his face with her hands, beautiful, silky smooth, capable hands. "Are you all right? Rosa, hand me the towel."
Lola twisted away from him and then thrust a towel in his lap. She slipped an arm through his. "Can you get up? Is it your head again?"
He massaged his left temple with two fingers. "Yeah, my head, but it's better, getting better." But now he'd lost the voices, the voices that would lead him to his identity.
"Do you need help getting up?" Lola tugged at his arm, and he planted his feet on the tile and pushed up from the bench. The white towel in his lap slid to the shower floor.
Lola ducked down and with pink cheeks shoved the towel at his midsection.
The fog began to clear. He was standing stark naked in front of two gawking women. He unfurled the towel and clutched it to his belly with one hand, the other bracing against the tiled wall.
Rosa stepped back as Lola led him out of the shower. "Should I call 911, Miss Lola?"
"No. Jack gets these debilitating migraines sometimes. Could you please get some ibuprofen and something to drink from the kitchen? Maybe make some hot tea?"
The pain floated away like wisps of smoke after a raging fire. Jack careened into the bedroom with Lola behind him, and he tucked the towel around his waist, even though Lola had already gotten a clear view of all his assets.
He dropped onto the edge of the bed and ran his fingers through his wet hair. "Wow, that was a trip."
Lola crouched beside the bed, her hand resting on his bare knee. "Rosa was cleaning upstairs and heard you moaning in the shower. She thought maybe you'd fallen and hurt yourself. She ran down to get me."
"What was I doing when you got there?"
"You were sitting on the bench, bending forward. You were clutching your head and moaning, so I figured it was one of those headaches, but worse this time."
"If you hadn't interrupted me, I could've remembered more."
Lola's eyes sparkled like bits of green glass and a rose flush suffused her cheeks again, but this time excitement caused the color, not embarrassment. "What did you remember?"
"I brought juice and the ibuprofen." Rosa halted at the door, narrowed eyes shifting from Jack to Lola.
Jack held out his hand. "Thanks, Rosa. Hope my nakedness in there didn't shock you."
Rosa snorted and stalked across the room. Dropping the pills into Jack's palm, she said, "I've seen it all before, except maybe not so--"
"Rosa!" Lola cut her off, her cheeks flaming this time.
Jack grinned and returned Rosa's wink from before. After putting the glass of juice on the nightstand, Rosa backed out of the room with a smile splitting her face.
"Don't encourage her." Lola reached over for the glass and handed it to Jack. "Does your head still hurt?"
"Not really. It's weird. The pain brings the memories and then it all goes away." He popped the meds in his mouth and washed them down with the juice, anyway.