“Um...well, it’s possible, Aidan. But I don’t want you to count on—” A knock on the door interrupted her.
The door opened and Liam peered in, his eyes full of questions. “How’s it going in here?”
“What do you say? Did we get everything straightened out?” Ruby asked, leaning in to tickle him. Aidan burst into giggles and tried his best to fend her off.
“Better,” Aidan said with a grin in his father’s direction.
“Why don’t you come out here and spend some time with your uncle before he takes off?” Liam asked. “He’s meeting some friends in town.”
“I still need to show him my fire truck,” Aidan said, jumping up from his bed.
“And after your uncle leaves we’re going to talk about throwing the fire truck,” Liam said in a stern voice. “That was unacceptable.”
“I’m sorry I did that,” he said, his voice full of contrition. With a nod from his father, Aidan scooted out of the room.
As soon as they were alone, Ruby heaved a tremendous sigh. “I know you’re probably wondering what happened. Long story short, Aidan overheard Kyle and I talking about us. He was pretty upset to hear I don’t remember being in love with you.”
Liam walked over and sat beside her on the bed. “He wants the fairy tale. With all the trimmings.”
“And I burst his bubble. Great move on my part,” Ruby said with a groan.
“I know this can’t be easy for you.”
“It’s not. It’s the worst feeling in the world to not be able to remember who I am and the things I felt, the people I cared about, the very things that made me Ruby Prescott,” she admitted, sniffing back tears. All of a sudden she felt like a stranger in a foreign land. Nothing made sense at the moment. Her brain felt fuzzy and her soul was weary.
Liam reached out and grazed his knuckles against Ruby’s cheek. Instead of shying away from his touch, she felt comforted by it. “Please don’t cry. That could bring me to my knees.”
“I feel like I’m letting everyone down.” Her voice trembled. Seeing Kyle and disappointing Aidan had cemented it. She was fumbling through town without a clue as to anything more than her name and a few remembrances...snippets in time that didn’t amount to a hill of beans in the scheme of things. She couldn’t access the memories that mattered most. Loving and being loved.
What is the point of even staying here in Love? As soon as that thought escaped, her son’s innocent face flashed before her eyes.
“What? Disappointing us? That’s not true,” Liam said. “I realize you agreed to stay on here in town because of our son. I don’t think I’ve expressed in words how grateful I am. You could have left on the next seaplane back to Denver. But you didn’t. You had a little faith in me. I’m asking you now to have some in yourself.”
“I suppose I’m feeling a bit sorry for myself at the moment. Everyone remembers me and, on some level, they expect me to have memories of them. But, for the most part, I don’t. At the Moose Café I saw the sadness in Paige’s eyes when she realized it wouldn’t be wise to hug me. She remembers me as her dear friend, but that doesn’t really mean anything to me. And she could see it! Same thing with Kyle. I could see the love shining in his eyes and I felt a connection, but I keep beating myself up for not feeling more motherly.” She pressed her hands against her heart. “What if these memories never come back? Where does that leave me?”
“Give yourself a break, Ruby. You’ve barely been back in town for forty-eight hours. The memories might come back to you, but if they don’t, you can still build bridges with the people in your life who care about you. Look at you and Aidan! He still thinks you’re a rock star.”
“I wish that I felt that way about myself,” she said. “At the café earlier, my hands were shaking like a leaf.”
“We all get scared sometimes,” Liam said. “You should see me when I have a patient whose illness is challenging to diagnose.”
“I must have been brave to be in the search-and-rescue profession.” Ruby hadn’t asked many questions about her previous line of work. She was really curious about it and what had led her down that road. Liam had told her
that both her parents had died in a car accident. Perhaps that had motivated her to rescue others so their families wouldn’t have to deal with the loss and heartache.
She wasn’t sure if it was her imagination, but Liam seemed to stiffen at the mention of her job. Maybe it was a touchy subject due to the Colorado mission.
“You weren’t afraid of anything. Not ever.”
“So I was tough?” she asked.
“As nails,” Liam said. “Nothing ever scared you...not wolves or bears or delivering Aidan without a single pain reliever. You’ve always been a mighty warrior.”
“What about you? Were you afraid when I went out on a mission?”
“I was always afraid of losing you...your job scared me. Not that I wasn’t proud of you, because I was awed and humbled by your service. But in my heart I was always dreading the day when I would get a call saying you’d been injured or worse.”
“And worse happened, didn’t it?” She couldn’t imagine Liam having to deal with the terrible news from Colorado. His wife had gone to rescue people, only to perish in the process.