Sunday, December 6, 2015

Something to Remember by Meg Gray

Ava’s perfect Christmas is missing just one thing.

After an accident days before Christmas Ava Ringwald is left with a gap in her memory, but it’s not just her that is desperate for their recovery…

“Can’t we open all of them?” Felix whined as Ava sat on the couch in her long flannel nightgown.

The scent of the fragrant pine in the corner filled her with the essence of Christmas. She held a cup of tea and tucked her legs up as she watched Lane remain firm against his son Felix’s pleas and maintaining his stand on their Christmas Eve tradition.

“One or none,” he said.

“Aww, Dad.” Felix hung his arms and traipsed over to the tree like a depressed little elf.

Sean, the elder of the two brothers, pulled the gift Ava had brought for him out from under the tree. A spark hit his eyes as he glanced from Ava to his dad. “I want to open this one.”

“Is that okay with you?” Lane asked, sitting beside her.

Ava nodded.

“And I want this one.” Felix tore into the brown paper of a package without waiting for the okay.

Lane rested a hand on her leg, the warmth of it burning a hole through her gown. Ava sipped her tea as a distraction. She didn’t want to give away the desires she’d let loose in her imagination ever since Lane had hand fed her that tantalizing chocolate cake. She would be patient. This moment was about him and his children.

Felix pulled out a wood handled hatchet and held it up over his head with both hands. “Look what I got. Look what I got.”

“Bring it over here.” Mama Hart, his silvery haired grandmother, held out her hands. She wore a floor-length flannel gown too—ruffles around the sleeves and chest. Felix scrambled to his feet, stepping over the wrapping paper littered floor to his grandmother.

Ava’s eyes couldn’t leave him, the small child with the metal blade in his hand. “You bought your son an ax?” she said quietly behind her mug, trying to hide her astonishment from the others.

Lane turned away from Felix. The joy inside his eyes drained immediately. “We bought it for him.”

“Oh,” Ava said. First, shocked that she would ever be on board with purchasing a sharp metal object for a young child and second, pained by the dagger she’d just delivered to a man that baked her chocolate cake and said things like, I adore you, by not sharing the memory. She sipped her peppermint tea again.

“Here. This one’s for you.” Sean handed Ava a present wrapped in shiny green paper. “I made it myself.”

“Thank you.” Ava set her tea on the side table before taking the present.

Sean sat on the floor in front of her while Felix watched from Mama Hart’s lap. Even Lane seemed to be transfixed on her every move.

Slowly, she pulled back the paper, wondering what sort of trinket he’d created. The paper fell away, revealing a book, a black book. She opened it. Centered on the first page was a portrait of them. All of them, posed and happy.

At the bottom of the page written in a child’s script was: I had fun playing with you. You got a sunburn.

Pain pinched Ava’s heart as she turned the page. Another family photo and message. She didn’t stop to read it. She couldn’t. The next pages were filled with the same. She closed it and looked into the expectant eyes of everyone watching.

“Dad says you might not remember these things.” Sean looked up at her with those aged little boy eyes. “But I do, and I can help you.”

Ava was speechless, but it didn’t seem to bother Sean as his attention shifted to the big package he’d been waiting to open.

He ripped into his gift and uncovered one corner of the box. His mouth dropped open as he turned to Ava.

“You remembered,” he said, and then tore the rest of the paper away from the magic kit with unbridled little boy enthusiasm, finally looking like a carefree little boy.

But the words “you remembered” haunted Ava. His expectant eyes, and the hopefulness held in those two powerful words tore her in two.

Sean rushed over to Mama Hart in the rocking chair, pointing to the magic cards pictured on the box.

“I knew you’d start to remember.” Sean’s eyes shot to Ava’s. “I just knew it. It’s what I asked Santa for tonight. He said he couldn’t make any promises but that he’d try to help if he could.” He looked back at the magic set with awe. “But, it’s already happening. You’re remembering.”

“No, honey.” Ava couldn’t keep the truth from him. “I don’t remember.”

Sean’s smile fell. “But you’re the only person I told about the magic set. If you don’t remember, then how…”

The question hung in everyone’s eyes—all waiting for her to answer. “I didn’t… I just… I found a list.” She switched her gaze to Lane’s, confused and expectant. “I had it on a list that I found. I…” She couldn’t finish. There were no words to match the fall of Sean’s shoulders.

“But…” His lip quivered. “It’s my only wish.”

He knocked the magic kit out of Mama Hart’s hands, rattling the pieces inside, before running for the stairs. Lane shot to his feet, right behind his son, leaving a startled silence in his wake.

After a door slammed upstairs, Felix crawled across the floor and turned the magic kit face up. His fingers traced the images on the front. “This looks really cool.” He turned from Mama Hart to Ava. “If Sean doesn’t want it, can I have it?”

Mama Hart chuckled and patted him on the back. “Let’s leave it here for your brother to play with in the morning.” She propped the box under the tree. “Now, it’s time to get you to bed.”

Felix stood up, slinging his hatchet over his shoulder. “Night,” he called to Ava.

“Good night,” she replied.

“Don’t worry about the mess, dear,” Mama Hart said in passing. “Lane and I will clean it up.”

Ava wondered which mess she meant.

If you’d like to read Something to Remember click here to find out where you can get your copy.
Meg Gray uses a small world approach when crafting her contemporary romance novels, tying minor characters from one story into another—demonstrating how intertwined our human lives really are. The city streets and country roads she takes you down aren’t necessarily a structured series, but the stories are connected. Within the pages, her readers will catch glimpses of some of their favorite characters again and again. This is a concept that mirrors itself in our everyday lives. Our worlds are much smaller than we realize, often times we are unaware of the way our lives intersect with those around us. Visit to learn more.


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