Jason Alexander surveyed his schedule for the day with his haunted black eyes, leaning his tall athletic frame back in his chair behind his desk he ran his hand through his short dark hair with a sigh. Today he wouldn’t think of her, not once, not even when he lay alone in their bed tonight. Yet the memories of lying over her in his bed thrusting dominantly inside her after their argument, the night before she disappeared, reasserted itself in his mind with vigour. It was his custom to make love to her after they rowed. It was a way of reclaiming her and ensuring her pleasurable submission to him as her husband once more. That was the way they’d both wanted to live but now he was alone.
I have to stop thinking of you and accept that you are gone. I won’t think about you anymore today. I release you, Gabriella. No more haunting my life.
It was a promise he was making to himself and it would be one he would keep this time. No more pain. It had been a year and 31 days since she had walked from his life without a word. Today he would lay her memory to rest and get on with his life alone. He started the morning as he meant to go on. His work diary was full as was demanded by a cardio thoracic surgeon of his calibre and international reputation and he was keen to keep focus. To his relief by the end of the morning he was congratulating himself on maintaining his promise. But the afternoon brought a visitor.
His visitor was a stout weather beaten policeman who had seen better days and was hanging on for his pension. He was a stark contrast to the handsome surgeon with his taut muscled physique evident by the elegant cut of his designer black suit.
They had met before, a year and 30 days ago. Jason Alexander moved around to the front of his desk and folded his arms refusing to take the man’s handshake. The man looked embarrassed but appeared to expect the frosty greeting. Jason settled his tall imperious form against the front of his desk loosening the buttons on his suit jacket and peered down disapprovingly as the man sat in one of the two chairs facing him.
What the hell do you want now? There can’t be any news. There never is. She’s long gone. Why did you have to interrupt my new start?
He addressed the man with a false smile, “Detective Inspector Icke. It has been a long time. Have you come to accuse me of murder again?” Jason heard himself drawl lazily in his Southern Californian accent, unable to stop himself from taking a pot shot at the man who dared to consider him a suspect in his wife’s disappearance. His career had been on the brink of ruin because of it.
As if I would ever hurt the woman I adored and loved.
He watched the Inspector’s expression turn pale. The man moved uneasily in his chair making Jason frown.
“No, not this time, Mr Alexander.”
The sentence was spoken hesitantly, softly, regretfully, both annoying and disturbing Jason all at the same time. He opened his mouth to give the man a rebuke but the Inspector was quicker.
“It’s your wife, Gabriella,” Icke said firmly taking control of the conversation from him, what of it there was between them.
Jason felt the blood drain from his face, felt it sink throughout his body and pool coldly in his feet. His heart beat elevated at the mere mention of her name. He considered himself experiencing all the erratic symptoms of fight or flight but he couldn’t move, couldn’t speak. A thousand hurried mis-matched images of her flooded his mind, washing away the wall he had carefully crafted just that morning to keep them out in an instant.
“I don’t know how to say….”
“You’ve found a body?” Jason stammered interrupting the man.
“No, Mr Alexander.” Icke smiled gently obviously concerned by the crack of emotion in Jason’s voice. “No, we have found her alive and well. She is living in the small lakeside town of Trenmere in the Lake District of all places.”
Jason stood watching the wife he had feared dead through a small paned cottage window as the Inspector rang the door bell. She was pacing the floor talking on her mobile, unaware of their presence. He felt his heart race with anticipation once more. Anger and frustration warred with his overwhelming need to simply hold her in his arms. He’d been told by DI Icke Gabriella had lost her memory. She had no idea of her real identity or that she was married. She had been, gently, carefully told about the life she’d left behind with a doctor present. After that she had expressed a wish to meet Jason.
A wish to meet me? After all that we were to each other?
It was all so absurd. But the police had been determined he would play it their way with extreme caution for the state of Gabriella’s emotional well being. Jason had left work immediately, gone home to pack a suitcase and get some pictures and their wedding certificate to show her. Then he and DI Icke had driven up to Tranmere in the North with one of his DS’s. There was another officer from the Cumbrian force accompanying them at her door. He told Jason,
“She called us last night. Somebody had been prowling around the cottage. There was also a telephone call, heavy breathing, that sort of thing and a threatening letter received this morning, warning her to leave Tranmere or face the consequences.”
Jason was listening to the man but his attention was entirely focused on Gabriella through the window. His heart leapt then skipped a beat when she shut off her mobile and began to walk towards the door.
“When two of our officers came to look the place over last night, one of them recognised her from a photograph in the paper when she disappeared without a trace. When he asked about her, she told him she had lost her memory and couldn’t remember any of her past since she’d found herself lying beaten in a ditch a year ago.
The door opened.
“Ah, Miss Jones, may we come in.”
Jones? Your married name is Alexander. How could you just forget me?
Jason couldn’t help but stare as he did his best to stifle his frustrated anger at the situation. He concentrated on her appearance. Her hair was still dark brown and long with bouncing curls. She always worried about her hair, always wanted to cut off her long hair to stop it looking lifeless and untidy. He had protested so much at the very idea and to please him she had endured its length. Thankfully, the new identity she had formed to make up for her loss of memory had not induced her to cut it. Gabriella had always appeared far younger than she was but somehow she was changed fresh faced but thinner.
Too thin for my taste. I want your sumptuous curves back. I need some flesh to hold on to when I make love to you.
There was a lightness to her features, unhampered by the stress of the illustrious career as a top successful Human Rights Barrister that before her disappearance had begun to tire her.
What happened to you? Who hurt you? I need to know. Please I need to know.
“I can’t tell you anymore about last night than I did before DI Blaine,” she began, impatience evident in her voice.
Jason watched her glance at them all and then suddenly he found himself scrutinised by her sapphire eyes. He met her gaze confidently, quizzically, daring her to recognise him. She seemed to be wrestling with some emotion, frustration he guessed. There was something there, a distant familiarity of recognition in her eyes but it was clearly insufficient to make the connection because she looked away. He felt his brow furrow into a frown.
Where the hell have you been? I missed you.
He kept his hands by his sides fearful they would simply reach for her and pull her to him, wondering whether to shake the truth from her or caress it. He felt the vastness of the gulf between them and the awkwardness of strangers. The pain was inconsolable.
“I have brought your husband, just as you asked,” DI Blaine continued.
Gabriella’s eyes widened and Jason noticed her attention was immediately directed at him once again. There was that flicker of familiarity again. She was making it difficult for him to believe she did not remember him.
“This is your husband…”
“Jason Alexander…” he interrupted introducing himself.
She didn’t speak. But he noticed she had started to shake. He steeled himself trying to keep control and prevent himself from frightening her but his frustration fought for prominence in his mind. The urge to pull her to him was almost overwhelming.
Keep your distance. Don’t frighten her. Play it her way until you can find out what the hell is going on. Where the hell have you been? You can’t tell me you don’t remember me? What we had together? This is stupid. We got married, shared the same bed. I am your husband.
Jason reined in his emotions and tightly held himself in check. After a tense moment during which she swept her worried gaze over his tall form, assessing him in the most basic sense, she told them that they had better come in. He couldn’t help but smile he hadn’t noticed himself being so intensely scrutinised by a woman for a very long time. His mind had always been on her. Her eyes had sparkled on finishing her assessment and her attraction to him was unmistakable. So it was still there. It was one of the things that had frightened him about meeting her again. Would she still even find him attractive? Or would this new incarnation of herself find him distasteful? Was that why she had left him in the first place?
Stop being irrational. We were, no, are in love. She would have told me if things had changed for her. She never lied, bent the truth a little, but never lied. If there was someone else…. Stop. I’ve gone over these questions a million times. There is no answer to any of them, not yet. They are all locked in her memory. I am just going to have to keep patient. Just keep smiling. Try to put her at ease. It must be terrifying for her. Relax. Patience is a virtue.
Jason followed Gabriella into the lounge. At her request he sat down on the shabby brown leather sofa next to the Inspector, watching her retreat to an armchair in the corner of the room to carefully put some distance between herself and all of them. It was a small dark claustrophobic room in the winter darkness, lit only by two small lamps. There was one of those old fire heaters attached to a small middle section of the wall that jutted out at the bottom of the room where a quaint fireplace should have sat. He hadn’t seen one of those since he was a child in the 70s. It was turned off and the room was very cold. She must be freezing in here all of the time but when he looked at her for signs of coldness she appeared content in the black polo neck jumper that clung favourably to her body defining her slim form. This room was everything the Gabriella he’d once known and loved was not. It was quiet, remote and hidden from the world on the edge of the small wood by Tranmere Lake. The Gabriella he knew was alive, an extrovert. She loved being around people. Why was she hiding here?
“So we are married? You have to forgive me for not knowing who you are…” she trailed off nervously.
Jason watched her grip the arms of the leather chair as she sat back in it, then raised up quickly. She almost stuttered her next words.
“I…I presume they told you about my condition.”
“Yes they did,” he paused trying to think of the right words to say. He suddenly realised he was sitting up as well on the edge of the seat, staring at her. Probably psyching her out without even realising. Then he remembered.
“Oh, I brought some photographs of our wedding day and our marriage certificate.”
“We asked, Mr Alexander to bring some documents to prove that he is your husband,” DI Icke told her.
Gabriella’s fingers tapped the ends of the arms on the chair as she nodded. Jason busied himself retrieving the documents from his inside overcoat pocket. He stood and walked over and handed them to her, careful to maintain his distance. Jason didn’t miss the tremble of anticipation making her bottom lip quiver as she took the papers and photographs from his hand. He retreated back to the sofa and sat down as she put everything in her lap and began to look at it all.
“How long have we been married, Mr Alexander?”
He couldn’t help but laugh at the absurdity of her calling him Mr Alexander as though he was some stupid stranger who had just walked into her life.
“Jason, please. We were only married for six months when you disappeared. But we had been together for a year before that time.”
She was studying the marriage certificate, her signature in particular.
“It says you are a surgeon.”
“Yes a cardio thoracic surgeon. I work at the Darrell Scott hospital in London.”
“I was a Human Rights Barrister in London?”
“Yes you are and a very good one. I have always wondered if your work was the cause of your disappearance but the police couldn’t find any links.”
“I don’t know. I don’t remember,” she said bluntly shutting him down. “Were we happy?” There was hope in her voice.
“Yes,” he said it slowly feeling his love rise and ignite itself with passion inside him once more. “We were. We are. Don’t those photographs tell you that?”
“Do you really believe the camera never lies, Mr Alexander? I don’t believe in fables.”
Jason felt the smile fade from his tense features betraying his hurt for all to see. She’d always had a knack of exposing his vulnerability in an instant. It never failed to knock him off his guard.
“I know you never gave me any indication that you were unhappy with me,” he told her firmly making sure he caught her attention and held it.
All he wanted to do was to walk over to her chair pull her up and take her home. Then carry on where they left off. Make it all right. Make her confide in him. Tell her how much he loved her. Talk of the agonising nights he’d spent alone, unable to sleep wondering what had happened to her and his fear she had been raped and murdered.
“I haven’t offered you all a drink. Coffee? Tea?” she asked matter of a fact sweeping his thoughts aside with her cruel indifference.
She was on her feet. He couldn’t help look up at her with disbelief. Jason stood up as she passed him when the others submitted their requests and rested his hand on her arm.
“No I’m okay. I don’t want coffee. I want to talk to you,” he sounded desperate. He didn’t care.
Her eyes widened with fear and stared at him. Jason felt the cool brush of her fingers across the skin of his hand as she sought to remove it from her arm.
“Please you have to give me time to process all of this.”
He let go and watched her walk off into the kitchen feeling completely powerless. He heard DI Blaine from the Cumbrian force get up and follow her out, saying something about giving her a hand. Jason turned towards the window frustrated.
“Give her some time to get used to this. She just needs some space. It is a hell of a shock to anyone,” DI Icke said moving to stand next to him.
He nodded. The man was right of course. Jason looked out into the picturesque cottage walled garden at the front of the house. It might be the typical sought after quaint English garden that Gabriella would have fawned over with or without her memory loss but he didn’t like it. The wall that ran around it was easily mountable. There were no security lights apart from the small porch light and no street lights nearby. It was in the middle of nowhere. The nearest sign of life was a quarter of a mile up the road in the form of a collection of small terraced cottages for estate workers. And the Lake was at the bottom of the larger garden at the back, easily penetrable. No place for a woman to live alone. No place for his wife to live unguarded.
“What do you intend to do now?” Icke asked him, a note of caution discernible in his tone.
Jason glanced at him wondering if the man was still suspicious of him and his relationship with his wife.
“I am going to make her come home. I want her to see a consultant friend of mine who specialises in brain trauma and memory loss. She will get the treatment she needs to get back to being my wife.”
“I think you will have a fight on your hands. Mrs Alexander is a very independent woman. I am guessing she will want to do everything her way and in her own time. I don’t think you will get much say in the matter.”
“Think again, Detective Inspector. It is time I took control again. Whether she likes it or not Gabriella needs guidance and protection. As her husband it is my right to ensure she receives it.”
DI Icke raised an eyebrow but nodded in agreement.
“I don’t like this letter she received. Whoever beat her up a year ago and left her for dead may be back to hurt her. I will make sure she has police protection. We need to get to the bottom of this.”
It was Jason’s turn to nod.
He looked out into the garden again and to his surprise he saw a dark shadow moving across the well cut lawn. At first he dismissed it for branches from the chestnut tree that sat in the middle of the lawn, being blown in the wind. But the second time he saw it, the shadow was bigger and in the shape of a human. Jason squinted his eyes to see more clearly into the night convinced now someone was out there. Icke was talking to him again but he couldn’t hear his words, too busy concentrating on the shadow. When it began to move quickly towards the alleyway that led to the back of the house, Jason took his cue without any further hesitation.
Jason reacted quickly running towards the front door of the cottage and out into the garden. He could vaguely hear DI Icke coming after him as he made his way around to the back of the house. He found himself chasing a man. Jason was fit running every day to keep his health in check and easily caught up with the intruder just before he reached the water. With force he turned the man around by his collar to face him.
The intruder started to struggle and fight, trying to detach himself from Jason’s grip but he held on. Jason curled his fist into a ball and aimed to strike the man’s face for having the dam audacity to prowl in his wife’s garden at night, when the back porch light came on illuminating the whole garden and the brawl scene he found himself in. He heard Gabriella’s reprimand loud and clear making him stop dead.
“Jason, for God’s sake, watch your hands. Remember you are a surgeon and you save lives with those hands. Haven’t I told you a thousand times to be careful with them.”
Jason’s fist stood poised in mid air. He looked at the man confused, then slowly a grin spread over his face. He handed the man to Icke and turned around quickly to find her standing at the porch, arms folded defensively, looking more confused than he did at her own words. He hurried over.
“So you remember something at least,” he told her searching for eyes for any sign of recognition but to his dismay they were still blank. Yet it seemed forced.
He rested his hand on her arm. Maybe if he pushed a little, she might start to remember more.
“You always used to scold me like that, just like a child. It drove me mad. Everything time I tried to get hands on with anything, my motorbike in particular.”
He didn’t like the way she was staring at his hand on her arm as if it was burning her.
Shit, Gabriella, why are you so afraid of me?
Slowly he removed his hand waiting patiently for her to say something, anything. He couldn’t help but frown with disapproval when she took a couple of steps back from him. It only made her appear more concerned that he was about to erupt with anger and confront her for her action. Jason lowered his arm to his side and stared at her. He felt frustrated. She had asked for him to come, yet when he made any attempt to reach her she was cold and distant, unwilling to let him in. He had to keep reminding himself that she was not the Gabriella he knew. The real one was still missing in action. She said eloquently,
“I’m sorry but I really don’t remember. I don’t even know where I got that from. Snatches, sometimes images, words come and then they are gone. I can’t seem to hold on to them. I am sorry to disappoint you.”
Gabriella watched them take the man away. He was desperately trying to attract her attention as the police officers led him down the alleyway. He was shouting at her in a foreign language. It was a language Jason did not understand but it sounded Eastern European.
“Gabriella, he seems to know you. Do you know who he is? Can you understand him?” Jason enquired.
She swung her eyes back at him. They were filled with flaring anger and burning frustration. He held his breath.
“No I don’t bloody understand him. I can’t remember. I can’t remember a bloody thing.”
Gabriella stormed back off into the house and into the kitchen. It was dramatic behaviour and it was classic Gabriella in a row. She was behaving more like her old self than she and he gave her credit for. Jason couldn’t help but smile with relief.
He followed her. Stopping in the doorway of the kitchen he watched her swipe the back of her arm along the small draining board, knocking four cups and a plate with force sending them smashing into the sink. He heard her sob, her back facing him and could see she was holding her hand over her mouth to stifle any further outburst.
Yep still over dramatic. But in this situation I would be the same, honey.
That was his Gabriella. He wanted more than any other time that evening to go to her but instead he erred on the side of caution for her sake and stood in the doorway. He folded his arms and leant lazily against the doorway. He said,
“You always had one hell of a temper. It is interesting to see it hasn’t changed.”
Gabriella’s hand moved to her hip and he heard her take a couple of deep breaths before she turned around to face him. Her beautiful blue eyes were tinged with red soreness but the look of determination to keep him at a distance shone brilliant in them. Jason knew of old that when she was in this mood, it was best to let her go her own way until she calmed down.
“You will forgive me but it is disconcerting to be suddenly told you have a husband when you can’t even remember getting married,” the sarcasm was heavy in her voice.
Jason felt his eyebrow rise with amusement.
“You still don’t believe me? Even after the proof I have shown you?”
“No, I just don’t trust you. If our marriage was so good, why am I here on my own without my memory?”
“I don’t know. You tell me,” he answered quietly. “It works both ways, honey.”
“You are quite annoying aren’t you?”
She gave him the beginnings of a smile.
“Have you been told any details of the circumstances of your disappearance by the police?”
“Only brief details. Maybe…“
“I could fill you in? Yeah how about I do that. I fancy that coffee now. No I will make it. Please, sit down and relax. Just tell me where everything is.”
Good now you are talking to me.
Jason made her tea, coffee for him and the officers who stepped back into the room as he was finishing. He remembered the crap way she used to make coffee and just how undomesticated she was compared to himself. Right now he need a decent dose of caffeine.
“Are you sure you don’t know that man?” DI Icke asked Gabriella. “He seems to know you. He won’t speak any English.”
“He sounds like he is Eastern European,” Jason answered taking a gulp of coffee, realising he was still wearing his overcoat.
Well he had no intention of staying. After they had finished their drinks, he was going to make Gabriella pack a suitcase and take her to the nearest decent hotel. If she refused, he would throw her over his shoulder and carry her out of there by force if necessary.
“No, I don’t know who he is,” Gabriella answered impatiently.
She flopped down on the chair around the kitchen table defeated.
“Not long before you vanished you spent a week in Prague with a friend. Do you think he might be someone you met over there?” DI Icke asked.
“I went to Prague? I don’t remember. I don’t remember,” she fiercely told them standing up again to pace the room with her hand to her head.
But there was something in her angry tone that told Jason she was lying.
Jason felt every muscle in his body tighten with tension. Something was wrong. If Gabriella was lying she mustn’t trust the police. The urge to protect her surged through his body with strength prompting him in to action. He had a strong feeling she remembered more of her life than she was letting on.
“I would rather we didn’t bombard Gabriella with questions until she is seen by a specialist. I think she has had enough excitement for tonight,” he told the police in his best Surgeon voice.
He met Detective Inspector Icke’s frowning features with a steely determined eye. He could see the man’s eyes studying him carefully. He obviously suspected something was wrong.
“We need to investigate what happened to Mrs Alexander…”
“I don’t want Gabriella distressed any further tonight,” Jason persisted. “Not as her husband and not as a doctor. She needs time,” he told the man firmly catching Gabriella’s relief blazing from her eyes.
DI Icke opened his mouth to speak again but closed it as he looked at Gabriella. He nodded at Jason knowing there was little room for negotiation. Gabriella stared at them both lowering her mug of tea to the table.
The police didn’t push it any further, much to his relief. But their expressions told him it was only a reprieve and for the sake of Gabriella’s health.
“Maybe we can discuss all of this in the morning,” Icke said putting his mug down on the kitchen table. “You look tired Mrs Alexander we can continue this later.”
Jason felt DI Icke’s cold grey eyes resting on him, expecting him to prepare to leave with the rest of them but he stood still gripping his coffee mug in his hand looking down at his wedding ring glinting in the unforgiving electric light burning down on them in the small kitchen.
“I’m not leaving Gabriella here on her own,” he told them all flatly.
He watched Gabriella closely for her reaction and he was surprised to find her silent. She slowly lifted her head that had been bent whilst she had massaged her temples. Obviously her frustration was giving her a headache. It made him rub the back of his neck feeling his own tense pain.
“I want you to come to a hotel with me. I don’t want you staying here on your own after what has happened,” Jason told her gently.
“I am not going anywhere. Don’t look down your nose at this place. It isn’t what you are used to, I can tell that a mile off but it is mine and it is comfortable.”
“It is not what you are used to either, Gabriella,” he said sternly, his patience threatening to break.
“I don’t care what she likes. I am happy the way I am.”
Jason frowned. He didn’t like the way she talked of herself as two different people and the Gabriella he knew as the enemy. It was the first time he realised that she was frightened and reluctant to discover her past.
“I thought you wanted me to fill in some of the gaps. I thought you wanted to know more about yourself,” he heard his voice rise. “I want you to come home, stop all of this nonsense, get well and back to being my wife.”
Shit, now you’ve done it.
She stood up quick, her chair scraping noisily across the tiled floor.
“Who says I want to be your wife again. Doesn’t my disappearance suggest I wanted to be apart from you?”
There was an awkward silence in the room as she shouted back. But he wasn’t to let that put him off or let her words make him give up that easily.
“I had decided to throw you over my shoulder and carry you out of here by force. And if you keep pushing me honey, I will do. But I am prepared to be lenient for the moment.”
Jason started to take off his coat much to the look of fury and blushing embarrassment beginning to cover her pretty pale features. He tossed it on to a chair
“I will stay here with you.”
Even DI Icke and Blaine said the word no as Gabriella said it.
“No. How dare you. No way are you staying here. I am not ready for you moving in or taking up where you think we left off,” she told him wagging her finger.
If she’d tested him that way before he would have picked her up and throw her straight over his knee, lifted her skirt and pulled down her panties to deliver a sound discipline spanking on her bare bottom. Many a time she’d found herself over his knee for correction and now his hand itched to strike her bottom to bring her back to her senses.
“No chance, honey. I am not leaving,” he said putting his hands on his hips underneath his suit jacket and wearing a look of determination on his face.
Gabriella held up her hands at him and shook her head again. Icke said, “Mrs Alexander will be safe. I will post two officers outside the cottage in a car.”
Jason took off his suit jacket and deposited around the shoulders of one of the kitchen chairs, noticing Gabriella staring at it confused and a little afraid. The action indicated there was no chance of him leaving and he meant business.
“Not good enough. It’s a husband’s prerogative to go and stay wherever his wife does. It’s my right. You better get used to it. From now on I am in charge of this situation and my wife’s protection. If you want to speak to her again you will go through me.”
Then he sat down. Gabriella glared at him but to his surprise there was no further protest. There was more dissent from Icke. He wasn’t keen on the idea at all.
“I don’t think this is a good idea, Mr Alexander.”
“You are still dam well suspicious of me aren’t you?” Jason shook his head with disbelief. “On the contrary, DI Icke, I believe this is the best idea. This way I can ensure her safety….”
“Relax, Detective Inspector Icke, I can look after myself. If he causes me any trouble he will find out just how ferocious the new version of me can be and it looks like he is determined not to go anywhere.”
“Oh I already know how ferocious you can be, honey,” Jason found himself grinning like a Cheshire cat pleased with his successful game play.
“I am not your honey.”
“Oh yes you are.”
The Gabriella of old would have told him to fuck off at this point. But this one just glared unable to find the right words. It was kind of amusing.
“Ok, if that is what you want. If you need anything, Mrs Alexander, my officers are outside. I will speak to you in the morning,” Icke announced preparing to leave.
Then they were gone and Jason found himself alone with Gabriella at last.
Jason stood behind her as she closed the door, noticing the unmarked police car sitting outside on the road.
“Have you eaten?” he asked her softly.
She took a step back from him encouraging the distance that lay between them once more. There it was again, that damn fear in her eyes every time he went near her.
“No, not yet. I’ll see what I have got in the fridge.”
“No leave it to me, I’ll order in. Pizza ok? Do you still love Pepperoni? Good so I am getting something right.”
Jason took out his mobile from his suit jacket on the chair and pulled at his silver tie until it came off. He loosened the top button on his white shirt. She’d pointed him in the direction of a number on her fridge freezer and he punched in the numbers as she returned to the sink to pick the broken cups and plates out of the sink. He waited for the number to be answered.
“We need to talk about you coming home, Gabriella. I want to know as much as you remember so I can get the police working on what happened to you full time. I think what is happening now is linked somehow. Hi, I would like to order…”
He heard her sigh impatiently, shake her head and mutter something about him taking over and possibly being a control freak.
No, baby I am just a masterful husband taking you in hand again.
Jason watched her walk to the fridge in front of him and bring out a bottle of white wine. Maybe alcohol would help them both relax and unwind, get rid of some of the distance that stood between them. That’s if she would let him just a little bit closer. She was pouring the wine into two wine glasses. They were dull, that clouded white colour from being put in the dishwasher too many times.
It made him remember the night he first met her. He and his brother had vied for her attention most of the night and eventually it was his brother who had made the first move, carrying over two crystal glasses and a bottle of champagne, drawing her to one side, working his magic. He was always hanging back for his little twin brother, always giving him first base as though it was his duty. But it was the first night that he regretted hanging back especially when with every sip of the champagne she took, her eyes drifted over to him sitting with his friends. He had turned away of course, his brother came first. He remembered how her pretty face had kept him awake at night and as her relationship developed with his brother he never dreamed it would turn out in his favour so well at a later date. He took the glass she offered him and watched her sip slowly, watching the liquid moisten her full lips. He found himself aching to go to her and take her in to his arms.
“Jason, are you going to fill me in or what?”
“What? Yes, ok, sorry.”
He quickly pulled out a chair from the table and started to sit down.
“Are you ok? You looked lost?” she sounded concerned.
“No I’m ok, just remembering, that’s all,” he lied leaning forward to allow the table to shelter the guilty evidence of his thoughts in his groin. He wanted her here and now on top of the table, wanted her back in his life and back in his bed.
“Well, where would you like to start?”
“How about my full name?” she gushed nervously, rubbing her hands together, making him look at her slender fingers and wonder where her wedding ring had disappeared to.
“Gabriella Elizabeth Barclay-Alexander is your full title.”
“That’s a mouthful isn’t it?”
She sat down on the other side of the table a mile away from him.
“Isn’t it? But you refused to drop the Barclay.”
“Interesting. Then I’m not as bad as I thought I might be. My integrity may be intact as this Gabriella, whoever she may be.”
Her words sounded false again giving him that awkward feeling she was hiding the truth.
Jason leaned over the table towards her, resting his head on his hand as his other played with the stem of his glass.
“You are frightened of finding out who you really are.”
It wasn’t a question, more of a statement.
“Yes I suppose I am. I mean the possibilities for worry are endless. What if I don’t like this Gabriella? I have felt comfortable as Jane. What if she is a disappointment? What if I did something wrong that I just don’t want to remember? What if I am a bad person? What if…”
“What if…what if…that old chestnut,” he sighed using one of her sayings. “The things I could tell you about yourself, would make your hair curl!” he teased, then took a drink to hide the smirk forming on his mouth.
She gave him the sharp pointed eyes look, that told him she was not amused.
“Don’t tease me. It’s not fair and it is not appropriate,” she told him haughtily.
Not appropriate? He mimicked her voice in his mind. Gabriella, darling you are more like your old self than you realise.
Jason stopped listening to the malice in his inner voice’s tone, wondering why it was even there. Then it hit him, just how damn angry he was at her for having left his life, so suddenly, without warning. It shook him violently with its strength and it was an effort to keep it covered for a moment.
“I am sorry,” he said with a controlled voice. But he sounded insincere.
“You know what? I don’t want you to fill me in. I want to discover it on my own. Just give me the bare facts, then maybe you should leave,” the angry sarcasm was evident in her tone again. “Get out,” she shouted standing up and pointing through the hall to the front door. “You can’t just come back in to my life and take it over. I won’t let you. Get out.”
The urge to spank her became strong once more and this time he decided to act upon it. Jason stood up and walked towards her. He caught her wrist and pulled her towards him, holding her in a strong grip.
“I think it is time I took you in hand, honey and brought you back to your old self. Perhaps when I have given you a good sound spanking you will stop pretending you have lost your memory and tell me what the hell is going on?” he said in a dark velvet voice.
Jason loosened the belt on her trousers with one hand while his other kept her struggling form in control.
“You lied to DI Icke and I want to know why?” A moment later he used both of his hands to pull down her trousers and her chaste white panties to reveal the neat dark triangle of hair framing her pussy and bare her bottom like a naughty little girl. She beat the backs of her fists against his back. He pulled her forwards over his arm forcing her bottom to thrust up out in to the air and struck her naked bottom firmly with the flat of his hard male palm. She yelped and howled loudly. He struck one buttock then the other before aiming his hand squarely across the seat of her bottom.
“Are you going to tell me? Or do I have to take my belt to your bottom, darling?” he said sternly smacking her buttocks once again. “I have always been master in my own home and you were more than willing to accept that rule when we married. I expect to be obeyed without question especially when I am trying to protect you. Answer me,” he demanded moving to strike the tender backs of her thighs determined to make her capitulate.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” she sobbed between yelps. “I did lose my memory but I retrieved it only a week ago. I would have come to you but I didn’t want to put you in danger. I am on the run. In Prague my friend, the human rights lawyer told me about a criminal gang she was prosecuting that was supported by her the government in her own country of Muria in Eastern Europe. They belonged to the Mafia and were kidnapping and transporting young girls through Prague to the UK for the white slave trade. I tried to help her and came home to prosecute the people on the English side of the operation but they kidnapped me. They were going to kill me but I escaped. They killed my friend and stole her daughter. They are protected by someone in the police force here. I can’t even trust Icke or Blaine. I won’t rest until I bring them all to justice and find Isabel. Ow . . . Stop, please. I will tell you more.”
“I can’t believe you put yourself in so much danger. You told me nothing. Oh honey, you deserve my belt on your backside.”
Incensed by her reckless behaviour that had kept them apart Jason lifted her up over his arm and carried her in to the bedroom. He flung her on to the bed and pulled off her shoes, her jeans, socks and jumper. Then he made her gasp out loud when he tore away her lowered panties and tossed the remnants on to the floor. She wasn’t resisting him anymore. She wore a look of acceptance for her punishment on her face just as she always used to it. There was a strange relief in her eyes. He undid the catch on her bra in a rough manner revelling in the way her pert milky breasts bounced free from their captivity. Now she was completely naked and helpless just the way he liked her when he was disciplining her behaviour. He slapped at her buttock with his hand.
“At the end of the bed. Turn over, now. On all fours. Thrust out your bottom.”
Satisfied with her subservient position, Jason loosened his belt buckle and pulled the black leather belt from the loops in the waist of his trousers. She was quietly sobbing but did not dare move.
“Thrust out your bottom more,” he demanded roughly slapping his hand across it again. Gabriella gave a cry and did as she was told.
The ripe fruit of her pussy hung pink and to his satisfaction moist with expectation when he pulled the belt taut and swung it through the air to practice his strike. Then with relief that she was back in his life and his protection, Jason widened his stance and swung the belt at Gabriella’s bare bottom with artful precision. She bucked with the strike and cried out. He brought the second, third and following strikes quickly finding his stride, masterfully taming his wife once more.
Gabriella sobbed as her husband soundly whipped her back in to submission just as she’d hoped he would when he came looking for her. She hadn’t meant to involve him. After a year she didn’t think he would even care she was alive. But he had dominantly walked in to the small cottage and laid claim to her. She felt honoured, humbled and aroused.
All attempts she made to pretend she’d lost her memory to protect him and keep the truth from the police broke down when she saw him. Ordering him out of the house was her last ditch attempt and it failed. He had masterfully broken down her resistance and for that she was grateful. Now she was no longer alone in her struggle to bring the men who murdered her close friend to justice and find the young teenage girl forced to be a bride and bear a child for a monster or made to walk the streets as a prostitute. She just had to convince Jason not to lock her up in their house to protect her and help her. That was going to be a difficult task.