“Very serious?” George’s voice grew louder with irritation. “My daughter can’t remember who she is, and you think another blow to the head isn’t serious?”
There was no way Adrienne was going to be able to stay floating around in the dark sea that comforted her. Someone had to put a stop to this circus. She forced her eyes open, her hand coming up quick to cup her jaw when a groan sent a bolt of pain through her face. “Ow.”
They still thought she was Cynthia. Will hadn’t told them the truth. She had the opportunity to end things differently than she had with Will, and she wanted to. She didn’t want the couple that had been so kind to her to hate her the way he did.
Adrienne pushed herself up and looked around. She was in a hospital bed again, one very similar to the one she’d woken up in a few weeks ago, if not the very same. Pauline and George were standing to her left, the doctor to her right. And in the back of the room, leaning against the wall, was Will.
He didn’t say anything when she looked at him. He just watched her with cold indifference. He hated her; she could tell as much from the stiff crossing of his arms and hardened jaw. But he hadn’t told Cynthia’s parents the truth. Why? He’d seemed angry enough to want to expose her to everyone, and yet he hadn’t.
“Cynthia, are you okay? What happened to you? Were you attacked?” Pauline was at her side in an instant, rubbing her arm protectively.
Adrienne shifted her gaze from Will and turned to the woman seated beside her.
“I’m not Cynthia,” she said as she softly shook her head.
Pauline and George both frowned and looked at one another with concern. “What’s that dear?” Pauline asked.
“My name isn’t Cynthia. I remember now. I remember everything. My name’s Adrienne. Adrienne Lockhart.”
Her two former parents turned from her to the doctor, their eyes wide with confusion and concern.
“Doctor, what’s going on?” George demanded.
The doctor frowned and approached the bed. He pulled out a pen light and shined it in her eyes while asking her questions about dates and political figures. She got all the answers right, but that didn’t seem to make him any happier. “You say you’re not Cynthia Dempsey?”
“Yes,” she said, nodding her head and wincing with the movement. That bastard had hit her hard. “I’m certain my name is Adrienne. I’m from Milwaukee. My parents were Allen and Miriam Lockhart.” She looked at Pauline and then George. “I don’t understand how this could happen. How could I be confused with another person?”
Pauline pulled away, taking a few steps back to cradle herself against George’s side. Adrienne hated to see the pained expressions on their faces. She didn’t have to tell them the implications of her announcement like she had with Nigel. Only a small child and a teenage boy survived the crash with her. If she wasn’t Cynthia, then their daughter was amongst the casualties.
“Your accident was very severe, and you were almost unrecognizable.” The doctor was already covering his bases for the inevitable lawsuit. “Do you remember living as Cynthia?”
Adrienne nodded again. “I do. I don’t recall the day of the accident, but I remember everything else, before and after the crash.”
“It appears as though your memory loss has been reversed, perhaps by the second blow to the head. And that leads us to another unfortunate complication. Please excuse us,” the doctor said to her. “I need to speak with the Dempseys in private.” He held out his hand and ushered the couple into the hallway for more damage control.
Adrienne took a deep breath and flopped back against her pillows once the door shut. She closed her eyes as tears formed and blurred her vision of the angry man across from her bed. She refused to cry again with Will still there, watching her. He’d never believe the truth—that her heart was broken—and would probably accuse her of crocodile tears for sympathy.
“You didn’t tell them,” she said at last when he continued to stand there without speaking.
“I wanted to see if you did the right thing first.”
She opened her eyes and looked at him. It was so hard to look at the man she loved and see the naked rage of a stranger instead. He was nothing like the relaxed, happy Will who had kissed her in Times Square and swept her across the dance floor at her party. All that was left was the cold, hard shell of a businessman poised to take down a competitor. There was no reading him. It made it impossible to know if she’d passed his test. “And?”
“And you’re a better actress than I thought.” At that, he turned and strode from the room without glancing back.