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“Have you actually seen a horse choke from ingesting too much mayo?” he asked.

“I very well could have. I just don’t remember.” I grabbed a handful of Cheetos from the bag and smushed them into the top slice of bread with both hands. King pulled the other chair up along side his until the arms were touching and motioned for me to sit down.

And then OUR arms were touching.

“So what’s it like?” King asked, popping the top off a beer and handing it to me.

“What’s what like?” I asked, setting my paper plate in my lap.

“Not remembering anything. I keep thinking about what that would be like and I can’t imagine it.”

“It’s…” I searched my brain for the words but only one popped into my mind over and over, “…empty.”

“You’re a lot of things, pup, but empty isn’t one of them.” King tucked an unruly strand of hair behind my ear.

“Oh yeah? Then, you tell me what I am, because I can’t think of anything that doesn’t have to do with me losing my memory.” I took a bite of my lunch that was so big I could barely close my mouth around it.

King laughed. “Well, for starters…you’re kind of quirky.”

“Quirky?”

“Pup, did you or did you not just put Cheetos on your sandwich?”

“Duly noted. Okay, quirky. I can handle that. Keep going. What else do you think you know about me?”

“Well, you’re bold. Brave. I would even go as far as to say that you’re irritatingly feisty. You speak about three hours before you think. You ask way too many goddamn questions. You have this dimple on your left cheek that comes out when you’re smiling, but it also shows up, along with the one on the right cheek, when you’re pissed off.” Embarrassment burned my neck as if I was standing too close to a fire. “Your neck and your face get red when you’re embarrassed. It starts at your neck. Right here.” King lightly wrapped the palm of his hand around my throat. “Then, it jumps up to your cheeks.” He brushed his thumb over my cheekbone. “Then, it travels all the way up to these ears.”

He leaned in and sucked my earlobe into his mouth, trailing his tongue along the delicate flesh of my ears sending sparks of pleasure down my body. My nipples hardened and pressed up against my shirt.

King chuckled and pulled back. “So don’t say that you’re empty, pup, because you are anything but.” There was a mischievous glimmer in his eyes. Something I hadn’t seen before. “I think you are, by far, the most interesting person I’ve ever met.”

“Thank you,” I said. “But stop trying to imagine what it would be like without your memory. You’re lucky you know who you are and where you belong.”

King pulled at the label on his beer and sighed. “Sometimes, I wish I didn’t.”

“What do you mean?”

“If I could chose to wake up tomorrow and not remember who I am, the shit I’ve done, the people I would be leaving behind, I would do it. I could just start over. Be someone else.”

“I don’t want you to be anyone else,” I blurted, interrupting his confession.

“You should hate me,” King said, taking my plate from my lap and setting it on the table. “If I were you, I would hate me.”

“I thought I did.”

“And now? What do you think of me now?” King asked, leaning in closer.

“I think you are the most stubborn, overbearing, anger inducing, obnoxious, complicated, and beautiful man that has ever lived.”

“I think you are beautiful, too,” King breathed. In one graceful movement, he had me out of my chair and onto his lap.

His hands had just slid into my hair when a loud crash sounded from the other side of the mangroves.

“Stay the fuck here,” King ordered. He stood and tossed me off his lap. I crouched behind the cement retaining wall that separated the dock from the yard. King leapt over it effortlessly and ran in the direction of the garage, toward where the sound had come from.

It seemed like I was there for hours, waiting for King to come back or for something to happen.

Nothing.

My stomach growled, and I was reminded that I had barely started my lunch. I scooted down to my ass and stretched out my leg in an effort to drag the chair that held my plate toward me. I hooked my foot around the leg of the chair and slowly pulled. It made a horrible scraping noise against the wood planks of the dock. I paused and waited.

Nothing.

So, I continued. Slowly, inch my inch, I dragged my lunch closer to me until my Cheetos smushed sandwich was within my reach. I pulled my plate off the seat and picked up my sandwich. I opened my mouth and was about to chomp down on victory when someone cleared their throat.

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