- Never Never
“How was your day?” Charlie asks her.
“Shut up,” her sister says.
“Bad, I take it?”
“Shut up,” she says again.
Charlie looks at me wide-eyed, but with a mischievous grin on her face.
“Were you waiting long?”
“Shut up,” her sister says again.
I realize now that Charlie is just instigating her. I smile when she keeps at it.
“Mom was pretty wasted when I got home today.”
“What’s new?” her sister says.
At least she didn’t say shut up this time.
Charlie fires a couple more questions, but her sister ignores her completely, giving her full attention to the phone in her hands. When we pull into Charlie’s driveway, her sister begins to open her door before the car even comes to a stop.
“Tell mom I’ll be late,” Charlie says as her sister climbs out of the car. “And when do you think Dad will be home?”
Her sister pauses. She stares at Charlie with contempt. “Ten to fifteen, according to the judge.” She slams the door.
I wasn’t expecting that, and apparently neither was Charlie. She slowly turns around in her seat until she’s facing forward again. She inhales a slow breath and carefully releases it. “My sister hates me. I live in a dump. My mom’s an alcoholic. My father is in prison. I cheat on you.” She looks at me. “Why the hell are you even dating me?”
If I knew her better, I’d hug her. Hold her hand. Something. I don’t know what to do. There’s no protocol on how to console your girlfriend of four years who you just met this morning.
“Well, according to Ezra, I’ve loved you since before I could walk. I guess that’s hard to let go of.”
She laughs under her breath. “You must have some fierce loyalty, because I’m even beginning to hate me.”
I want to reach over and touch her cheek. Make her look at me. I don’t, though. I put the car in reverse and keep my hands to myself. “Maybe there’s a lot more to you than just your financial status and who your family is.”
“Yeah,” she says. She glances at me and the disappointment is momentarily replaced by a brief smile. “Maybe.”
I smile with her, but we both glance out our respective windows to hide them. Once we’re on the road again, Charlie reaches for the radio. She scrolls through several stations, settling on one that we both immediately begin singing. As soon as the first line of lyrics comes out of our mouths, we both immediately turn and face one another.
“Lyrics,” she says softly. “We remember song lyrics.”
Nothing is adding up. At this point, my mind is so exhausted I don’t even feel like attempting to figure it out at the moment. I just want the respite the music provides. Apparently so does she, because she sits quietly beside me for most of the drive. After several minutes pass, I can feel her look at me.
“I hate that I cheated on you.” She immediately turns up the volume on the radio and settles against her seat. She doesn’t want a response from me, but if she did I would tell her it was okay. That I forgive her. Because the girl sitting next to me right now doesn’t seem like she could be the girl who previously betrayed me.
She never asks where we’re going. I don’t even know where we’re going. I just drive, because driving seems to be the only time my mind settles down. I have no idea how long we drive, but the sun is finally setting when I decide to turn around and head back. We’re both lost in our heads the entire time, which is ironic for two people who have no memories.
“We need to go through our phones,” I say to her. It’s the first thing spoken between us in over an hour. “Check old text messages, emails, voicemail. We might find something that could explain this.”
She pulls her phone out. “I tried that earlier, but I don’t have a fancy phone like yours. I only get text messages, but I barely have any.”
I pull the car over at a gas station and park off to the side where it’s darker. I don’t know why I feel like we need privacy to do this. I just don’t want anyone approaching if they recognize us, because chances are, we won’t know them in return.
I turn off the car and we both begin scrolling through our phones. I start with text messages between the two of us first. I scroll through several, but they’re all short and to the point. Schedules, times to meet up. I love you’s and miss you’s. Nothing revealing anything at all about our relationship.
Based on my call log, we talk for at least an hour almost every night. I go through all the calls stored in my phone, which is well over two weeks’ worth.
“We talked on the phone for at least an hour every night,” I tell her.
“Really?” she says, genuinely shocked. “What in the world could we have talked about for an hour every night?”
I grin. “Maybe we don’t actually do a whole lot of talking.”
She shakes her head with a quiet laugh. “Why do your sex jokes not surprise me, even though I remember absolutely nothing about you?”
Her half-laugh turns into a groan. “Oh, God,” she says, tilting her phone toward me. “Look at this.” She scrolls through her phone’s camera roll with her finger. “Selfies. Nothing but selfies, Silas. I even took bathroom selfies.” She exits out of her camera app. “Kill me now.”
I laugh and open the camera on my own phone. The first picture is of the two of us. We’re standing in front of a lake, taking a selfie, naturally. I show her and she groans even louder, dropping her head dramatically against the headrest. “I’m starting to not like who we are, Silas. You’re a rich kid who’s a dick to your housekeeper. I’m a mean teenager with absolutely no personality who takes selfies to make herself feel important.”
“I’m sure we aren’t as bad as we seem. At least we appear to like each other.”
She laughs under her breath. “I was cheating on you. Apparently we weren’t that happy.”
I open the email on my phone and find a video file labeled, “Do not delete.” I click on it.
“Check this out.” I lift the armrest and scoot closer to her so she can see the video. I turn the car stereo up so the sound can be heard through Bluetooth. She lifts her armrest and scoots closer to get a better look.
I hit play. My voice comes through the speakers of my car, making it apparent that I’m the one holding the camera in the video. It’s dark, and it looks like I’m outside.