'Don't you remember anything? '
by Gianna Jett
Gianna looked into the face that stared back at her not having a clue who she was looking at but he seemed to know who she was. 'I can't remember much since the accident but you seem somewhat familiar to me.'
He stared blankly before saying, 'Here; come sit with me. Maybe these photos will help.' She looked at the pile of albums on the table. 'Okay, ' she cleared her throat. 'I guess it couldn't hurt.' He watched her as she picked up a black photo album. His anticipation grew as she opened it up. Gianna looked at what appeared to be recent photos of herself. She looked at the woman's face but seemed confused. 'I don't know her, ' she said as she looked down at her own hair as she twisted it inside of her finger tips. 'Why is her hair different? ' she asks him. 'Don't you mean why does YOUR hair look different? ' he questions. 'That isn't me, ' she whispers. 'I don't know anything about her.' 'It will all come back to you I promise Gianna; it will.' 'What if it doesn't? I don't owe her anything! Why did she want to change who she was? ' Gianna demanded. 'She wasn't changing who she was. I mean you didn't want to change who you were, ' he looked suspiciously.
'That's all that we're trying to do Gianna. We're all trying to help you. We want the truth just as much as you do.' 'For one, ' Gianna smiles crookedly. 'I don't trust you. Secondly, I'll remember on my own terms. Thirdly, I work alone.' Gianna grabbed a trash bag and filled it up with the photo albums and a set of keys off of the key hook as she opens the front door. 'Adios, ' Gianna winks back at him. Don't wait up for me.' 'Where are you going Gianna? ' He stormed after her. 'You shouldn't drive or be alone. What if your condition gets worse? '
'I almost died, laid up in the hospital in a coma; and I can't even remember who I am. I'm still alive. I'll manage! '
'Wait Gianna, ' he stood by the car as she jumped in it. 'Where are you going? '
'I'm going to Vegas.'
'I didn't know what I was going to do once I walked out that door. Nothing made any sense. My life was no longer mine and I owed the stranger in the mirror the truth. I couldn't trust anyone but myself...and the truth was I didn't trust myself either. I can't remember anything about who she was...who I am. There are so many cracks of unanswered questions to fill. My head is empty; I am intimidated and overwhelmed, but I need to find out who I am or at least the person I was before that horrific night. The life she left behind belonged in Vegas and that is exactly where I intend to be.'
'Once I reached Vegas city limits, I really didn't know what I was going to do with myself. I still couldn't remember anything. I pulled over as soon as I got into town. I found cash and credit cards in my purse so I stopped for gas and snacks. I sat in the parking lot while I ate trying to make plans inside my head. The smartest thing to do at this point was to find a hotel. I saw one up ahead; I checked a room and then got back on the road. As I drove around the corner; something caught my eye. The sign said Moon Dancer Club 🌙. I was intrigued by it so I went inside. I was greeted by a friendly tall and muscular red headed woman.
'It's about time you showed up Alexa.'
'Alexa, ' I repeated.
'It sure is good to see you, ' she smiled and hugged me. 'Everyone thought you were dead.'
I didn't have a clue who she was but this was the start of putting together the pieces. I stared into her green eyes trying to remember her. 'Where the hell have you been? '
I shook my head and tried to come up with a good excuse but I could tell that no matter what I said she wasn't buying it. 'I've been around, ' I smirked.
'Well I don't doubt that one bit, ' she laughed. 'You're quite the hell raiser Alexa.'
There was that name that she called me again...Alexa. I still didn't know her name. My mind was still blank; the more that I tried to remember, the more my head hurt. 'Who's your friend Ruby? ' a tattooed Latino asked from behind the bar.
'Hey Tino, this is Alexa James. Alexa meet our new bartender Valentino.'
'Alexa James, I like that. So what shift you workin' beautiful? '
I didn't know if he was being serious or not but at least now I knew what Ruby's name was. It made sense, the red hair; green eyes and the ruby jewellery she was wearing. 'Nice to meet you Tino, ' I shook his hand. 'Are you saying that I actually work here? '
'If you want to call it that, ' Ruby laughed as she took a long drag of her smoke. 'Brutus is pretty pissed about you running off and not showing up for three weeks but don't worry your gorgeous head about him. We're square on that.'
'He's a big teddy bear that Brutus, ' Tino nodded. 'He's a great boss. No worries Alexa.'
'He's gonna put you on with Tino I bet, ' Ruby winked at me.
'I sure hope so, ' Tino nodded at me.
I nodded back at him. Ruby took my hand. 'Well my shifts over, ' Ruby laughed. 'Let's get outta here Lex.'
'See you ladies tomorrow night, ' Tino winked.
'Bye Tino, ' I waved at him.
'Don't worry he's single, ' Ruby snorted as we giggled out of the door.
I felt comfortable being around Ruby. She was already making me laugh. I don't know how long it has been since I laughed that hard and I wasn't sure just how much I should trust her; if any at all.
'I sure have missed you Lex, ' Ruby smiled and tried to hold back her tears. 'I was really worried about you.'
I gulped and looked down. I couldn't make myself look her in the eye. 'I know, ' I whispered.
'That's all you have to say for yourself? Alexa I thought you were dead.'
'Take a drive with me Ruby.'
'What happened to your Honda? ' Ruby rolled her eyes.
'I sort of wrecked it, ' I cleared my throat.
'What? Are you kidding me? You're gonna have to tell me what's going on, ' she shook her head.
'Well I always wanted an American muscle car, ' I laughed. 'Now I've got one.'
'This bird is definitely sexy, ' Ruby touched the interior. 'Nice ride Lex.'
'Thanks, ' I reached for my purse to toss it into the back seat. As I turned half around, my brain jolted with a memory of a red car with an Honda emblem on the front. My purse fell onto the floor as I jerked.
'Are you okay Alexa? '
'I'm fine Ruby, ' I held the top of my head. 'I think I am getting a migraine is all.'
'Here let me get your things.' Ruby reached for my purse. When she reached down, everything in my purse had fallen out. My wallet had flipped open; my driver's license had slid out.
'Alexa who's Gianna Jett? '
It was hard to breathe. The air was hot and my throat went dry. I stared at Ruby before snatching my license out her hand. I rolled down my window; ignored her questions and drove on. I slipped my license into my back pocket as I turned the wheel to drive down the next street. It was silent except for the sound of the train about a quarter of a mile away from where we were. All I could hear inside my head was the sound of the heavy steel as it rumbled through the tracks. The thunder of the night train occupied my thoughts and that's all I could think about. 'Are you going to answer me or what Alexa? Or Gianna; whoever the hell you are? ' Ruby yelled. 'When were you going to tell me about this? I thought we were best friends. I don't even know you! '
I proceeded to drive towards the hotel as I licked my lips to try to make thoughts into words but my mind couldn't think and my mouth wouldn't move. 'Look Ruby, ' I salivated. 'I'm sorry. I was going to tell you but I couldn't trust anyone yet. Look I'll explain just as soon as we get to the hotel okay.'
A few turns and I pulled into the parking lot of the hotel.
'What are we doing here? ' Ruby was agitated. 'What is this place? '
'This is where I am staying tonight, ' I explained.
'Why not just go to our apartment? ' Ruby rolled her eyes.
'Because I can't remember where it is, ' I smirked.
'What do you mean? You just keep confusing me more and more Lex. I don't know what to think about you right now.'
I grabbed Ruby's hand. 'Come on let's go in; order a pizza, and I'll tell you all about it okay. I paid for the room for the night. Tomorrow we can go to the apartment okay.'
Ruby nodded her head. 'Whatever you say Gianna.'
'Don't call me that okay; just call me Alexa or Lex, ' I rubbed my head. 'Hearing that name makes my head hurt.'
'Is that your name? ' Ruby asked. 'It's cute. I could see you being a Gianna, ' she laughs.
'No, ' I grabbed my head in pain. 'Don't say that name okay; please Ruby, I mean it.'
After our bellies were full and we got a full night's sleep; it was time to start confessing the truth to Ruby about who I was or everything that I knew so far about myself. 'I can't remember much but I came back here for the answers.'
Ruby stared at me with a stunned look in her face. I contemplated about what her reaction would be.
'Wow, ' Ruby gasped. 'I had no idea. We all just thought that you went off on one of your free spirit adventures but then you didn't come back. We thought we'd end up seeing you on the news or something. Everyone here thought you were dead. I didn't know where to start looking for you. Shouldn't you go to the doctor? This can't be healthy for you Lex. This is dangerous! '
I shook my head in disagreement. I felt something rattle inside my head. I have to remember to be more careful with my frail body. 'No I don't need a doctor. I need to find out what happened to me. So are you going to help me or not Ruby? You're all that I have.'
'Of course Lex, ' Ruby smirked. 'You're my best friend. We're going to find out don't worry. You can trust me Alexa; I won't let you down.'
'I think we need to go back to the apartment.'
Ruby stood up, 'Let's go! '
'City View, ' I said out loud as we reached the apartments.
'Does it look familiar to you at all? ' Ruby asked.
'No, ' I shook my head. 'I thought it would jog my memory but it didn't. I don't know; my mind is blank.'
'Maybe it's better that you don't remember Lex. Like I said, this could be dangerous.'
'No I have to find out what happened to me. I need to know.'
'Follow me then, ' Ruby got out of the car. 'Welcome to my world, ' she laughed.
When Ruby opened the door; I expected something to be revealed to me, but there was nothing.
'Do you remember this place? ' 'None of this looks familiar at all, ' I admitted. 'How long have I lived here with you? '
'A little over a year, ' Ruby counted on her fingers while biting her lip. 'Let's see you moved in last fall in October, then you went missing at the end of January this year.'
'So what's today? ' 'June twenty-fifth, ' Ruby gulps.
'So I've been missing for four months? '
'Yes, ' Ruby held back tears as she lit up a cigarette. 'Here's one of the flyers that I made.'
'Who took this? '
'I did, ' Ruby blew her smoke out towards the ceiling. 'We were always taking photos. Here sit down let me get them.'
I thumbed through photos on Ruby's camera. 'This reminds me of the guy at the hospital, ' I gasped. 'What guy? ' 'There was a guy there that kept showing me albums of photos of me and other people at different places but I couldn't remember. Now all I can see are these images and those images all mixed together. It's driving me crazy! '
'Tell me more about this guy.'
'Well, ' I sighed. 'He had dark hair, very tall; with blue eyes. I cannot think of his name though.'
'Scott, ' Ruby pointed at me. 'Is it Scott; Scott Michaels? '
'I think it is, ' I strained my mind to think. 'I remember a name tag that he wore whenever he came to visit my room at the hospital.'
'That's him, ' Ruby smirks. 'He sells insurance or something. He came here looking for you once back in December right before Christmas.'
'He did, ' I was shocked. 'What did he say? '
'Scott told me that he was your fiance.'
'He said that I was his fiance? ' 'Yeah, ' Ruby nodded her head as she took a long drag of her cigarette. 'I laughed it off at the time and didn't think much of it. You didn't seem that concerned whenever you came home from your shift that night.'
'Wait; I knew about this? '
'I told you as soon as you walked through the door. I waited up for you so that we could watch the latest episode of Criminal Minds. I invited him in but he started acting strangely.'
'How did you react when he told you that? '
'First I laughed in his face and I thought it was a joke. I figured he was a regular from the bar on one of your shifts or something. I think that made him aggravated so I watched him closely from that point. He sensed that I didn't trust him I guess.'
'Then what happened? '
'I told him that you were at work assuming that he knew where to find you. After that he left and never came back.'
'What do you mean that I didn't seem concerned at the time? '
'Well you kind of just blew it off. I mean I asked if you knew the guy and you played it off as one the customers so I never brought it up again. Don't you remember us laughing and making fun of him? '
'No, I don't remember that. That's weird though; if he had anything to do with my accident or disappearance, why wouldn't I tell you who he really was? '
'I don't know Lex, ' Ruby shook her head. 'Maybe you didn't want me to know. Now looking back I guess you had a lot of secrets and I never knew much about your life before you came here.'
'You must have known something about my past Ruby. I must have shared some things about who I was during the past year we lived together.'
'You weren't exactly an open book Alexa and I never really asked. None of that mattered to me okay. I respected your privacy and valued our friendship enough not to get too involved in your personal life or past. I always figured that you were running from something; I felt like you would tell me when you were ready for me to know.'
'I can't believe I was engaged to someone, ' I thought hard to remember but my head ached.
'Me too, ' Ruby laughed as cigarette smoke emerged from her nostrils. 'That guy was creepy. You're way too good for someone like that. He seemed like he was hunting; you know what I mean? Like an animal or something.'
'All I know is he was there whenever I woke up from my coma. The nurses say he never left my side. They kept saying how romantic it was. They made him out to be a prince, but somehow something told me not to trust him; that he wasn't right.'
'Well I don't know what they were seeing, ' Ruby smirks. 'I could smell the stench of him the second I laid eyes on him. My first thought was he was a creeper from the bar. There was nothing romantic about that guy. He was off and weird.'
'He had a look in his eye like he was out for blood; didn't he? '
'How did you know? '
'I saw it ever since I woke up, ' I took a deep breath. 'Those evil eyes were the first thing that I saw.'
'He's surely the one that put you there in the first place Lex.'
'That's what I thought too.'
'Well your shift's almost here. I'll go in with you and try to help with your memory.'
'Thanks for everything Ruby. You've been an incredible friend to me. Thank you! '
'You're my ride or die girl; you don't have to remember anything to know that! '
When we got to the bar I felt a little nervous.
'Don't worry girl, ' Ruby nudged me. 'You got this. Besides look who's checking you out.'
'Over there, ' Ruby nods.
There he was; tall dark and every meaning of the words sexy as hell.
'There's my girl, ' Valentino smiles at me.
'Thank you for covering for me Ruby. You worked your tail off tonight.'
'Don't give me all the credit, ' Ruby winked. 'You remembered quite a bit.'
'Hey you're right. I just realized that.'
'Are you starting to remember anything else? '
'No, ' I couldn't either; not that I was trying. 'I was staying focused on work and somehow certain things were coming back to me; but not anything about my memory.'
'Well, ' Ruby sighed. 'It's better than nothing. It will take some time.'
'What will take time? ' Tino overheard.
'Oh ummm, ' Ruby smiled crookedly. 'Are you trying to make something up? ' Tino laughed. 'Uh no, ' I stuttered. 'We were talking about someone...something, ' Ruby's voice trailed off.
'Look, ' Tino licked his lips. 'Ladies look, ' he looked around throughout the bar. 'It's closing time and everyone else has left. It is just the three of us so you can cut the bs okay. No one else knows or noticed but I know that something isn't right. I know I'm the new guy and all. I may have not been here before like everyone else at this place; but I think I know what's going on here.'
'What are you talking about Tino? ' I pretended to be clueless.
'I'm not sure we follow you, ' Ruby squinted her eyes at him.
'Come on, ' he laughed. 'It's me Valentino. I know quite a bit about just about everything. That includes reading people. I grew up in sin city, I had to learn many things the hard way at a very young age. So one of the first lessons in life was to learn how to see what people truly are. I know people better than they know themselves. So tell me Alexa James what it is that you're running from and what it is that you can't remember...and oh yeah; won't you tell me what you're real name is because you're not fooling me at all.'
'Please don't tell anyone, ' Ruby begged. 'I have to protect her.'
'You mean we'll protect her, ' Tino corrected.
'These people think that I don't know what they are. The funny thing that makes me laugh is they think they know who I am. I am here every day doing something that I love just so that I can have a place to spend the day. What they don't see is that after I leave here...from this bartending job; that I go home to my huge mansion. I go to sleep, make more money than these people will ever see in their lifetime while I'm sleeping; then I wake up and do it all over again. Why do you let these know nothing idiots judge you? I know you; I see exactly who you are when I look into your eyes.'
'You don't know me like you think you do Tino, ' I smirked.
'You might have everyone else figured out T, but we don't even know who she is, ' Ruby laughed. 'Look Tino I know you're only trying to help but I'd rather you not get involved with this. I already dragged Ruby into it. It's too dangerous and I am not the lady you think that I am.'
'I think you're overreacting Lex, ' Ruby interrupted. 'Besides you didn't drag me into anything. If anyone can read people it is definitely him! '
'You don't think I see the way you look at me? Why don't you just let me love you Lex? What are you hiding; what are you afraid of? Are you afraid that you're going to fall in love with me Alexa James? Is that even who you are? '
'I don't know who I am right now, ' I admitted to Valentino. 'I am not sure what I'm going to find out about myself, but I know that it almost took my life; whatever kind of life that I had before. That isn't who I am now and deep down, something tells me that I don't want to be a part of my past. I just have to figure out what happened to me so that I ensure that whoever tried to kill me isn't still out there trying to find me and finish the job.'
'I can protect you Alexa, ' Valentino sighs. 'My resources are unlimited. I'll make sure that you and Ruby are both safe. It isn't a good idea for you to go back to that apartment. You both should stay with me.'
'Wow Tino, ' Ruby gasped. 'You would do that for us? '
'We cannot ask you to do that for us. You barely even know us. It's too risky.'
'Um speak for yourself Lex, ' Ruby interrupted. 'Someone is after you which means that they're coming for me too. What other options do we have right now? '
'She's right Lex, ' Valentino nodded and smiled. 'Let me take care of this and keep you both safe with me. I'll follow you to your apartment so you can get your things.'
'It's our only chance Lex, ' Ruby agrees. 'Okay, ' I nodded. 'You're both right. Let's go get our things while it's still safe.'
When we reached the building something wasn't right. I felt sick to my stomach.
'Anyone else have a bad feeling? ' Ruby nudged.
'I was about to say the same thing, ' Tino pointed.
'Me too, ' I held my stomach. 'I feel nauseous.'
'Let me go first, ' Tino reached behind his back and drew his gun as Ruby slowly unlocked the door. Valentino motioned for us to wait outside. After a while he came back shaking his head. 'Well good news is no one's in there.'
'Oh good, ' I exhaled. 'Great news.'
'What a relief, ' Ruby sighed.
'Bad news is because they've already been here. The apartment's been ransacked.'
'I can't believe this is happening.'
'Who do you think did this? ' Valentino asked with a crooked smile.
'It was definitely Alexa's ex, ' Ruby blurted out.
'Ex? ' Valentino asked while stroking his chin.
'Let's not jump to conclusions Ruby, ' I smirked.
'Who else would it be Lex? By the way Tino; she used to be engaged to a psycho named Scott Michaels.'
'Scott Michaels the insurance guy? ' Tino laughed.
'Yeah that's him, ' Ruby pointed with her cigarette. 'That weirdo! '
'How did you know that? ' I asked.
'Let's just say I know a lot about what goes on around here, ' Tino licked his lips. 'You'll both soon find out what that means.'
'I don't get it; you've known about him this whole time? '
'Let him explain first Lex, ' Ruby lit her cigarette up. 'So how'd you find out Tino? '
'We gotta go, ' Valentino warned. 'I'm calling my guys to drive your cars to my place. I want you both safe with me.'
'What's going on that you're not telling us? '
'Come on Lex just get into Tino's car while he calls whoever he has to okay.'
'Both of you get in and give me both of your car keys, ' Tino demanded as he gave his buddies a call. We waited in silence as a few minutes went by. 'There they are, ' Valentino took our keys and met up with four other muscular latinos.
Ruby and I both watched from the back seat. It started to rain and the view slowly began to blur.
'What do you think he knows? ' I asked Ruby.
'Who cares, ' Ruby lit up another cigarette. 'Did you see those guys? Those are some tough sexy latin lovers right there! '
'Could you be serious right now? ' I yanked Ruby's cigarette right out of her mouth.
'Give me my smoke Lex, ' she tried to snatch it away after I took a drag.
'I need this smoke more than you do right now, ' I blew a ring of smoke as I quickly smoked the rest. 'Valentino probably doesn't want us smoking in here anyway.'
'Did you see them? ' Ruby drooled. 'Put your tongue back in your mouth. Here he comes.'
'We're almost there.' Our jaws both dropped once we got to Valentino's house.
Valentino pulled into the gated entrance of a huge Vegas mansion. 'Is this your house? ' I blurted out.
'Of course it is, ' he answered shyly. 'Wow this is amazing Tino, ' Ruby sighs.
I wiped my hand over the foggy window to get a better look as the rain drenched the glass. In between my fingertips I stared at the most amazing house I've ever seen. 'This is absolutely gorgeous Valentino, ' I gasped as we came up the drive.
'Thank you Alexa, ' Tino smirked. 'I bet you never would've thought a guy like me would own a place like this huh? '
'What do you mean? '
'I know what people think whenever they see me living here, ' he laughed. 'Once they see where I live and what I'm all about they think they know me; but they don't.'
'You're an amazing guy Tino and that has nothing to do about any of this...this ridiculously amazing place, ' I awed.
'You know what he means Alexa, ' Ruby scoffed. 'He's talking about the stereotypical labeling that people automatically put out there. You know; wow look at him, he must be a drug dealer or a mobster or something.'
'Exactly Ruby, ' Tino stopped the car and looked at us in his rear view mirror. 'Everyone prejudges every time but believe me when I say this that I am an honest man. I don't do any of that shady shit. All of my money is clean and I earned it the right way. On the other hand; don't get me wrong, if you mess with my family...well that's a different story, ' he laughed. 'But honest work and a good living is what it is; that's just me. So welcome to my home Ruby and Alexa; you're both family now.'
'Thank you Valentino, ' I reached up and touched his warm muscular back. 'We really appreciate this. Thank you for opening your home up to us.'
'You're welcome, ' he touches my hand and pulls it up to his lips then kisses it. 'It's my pleasure.'
'Yeah, yeah, yeah thanks Tino; blah, blah, blah. You two are making me sick so if you're both done making out here; let's go see the place, ' Ruby rolled her eyes and gagged herself.