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Don't Forget a Middle Name
She dragged her feet to the dining table and picked up all the dishes, not making any eye contact with me. I raised my head once to see if she would budge and just speak to me, but she doesn’t. I get the feeling she’s just frightened. I mean, I’d be scared if a stranger just showed up at my apartment and claimed to be in love with me, too.
The thing is, I’m not a stranger. I am Caleb Lyle Parker, the guy who’s in love with her. She doesn’t remember me since the car accident she was in. The incident corrupted her memory and most importantly, the relationship we held. After slamming each dish into the sink, she sighed heavily and leaned over the sink. I was stressing her out.
“Um, uh…look, Carlie,” I stammered. “I know this is crazy to you—”
“Why do you know my name?” she barked. “Quit saying my name.”
I winced at the tone of her voice. She pushed back her bangs with the back of her hand. A part of me wanted to tell her the truth: I used to be in love with you, you were the first girl I made love to, and I have a strong desire to taste your lips right now.
What would happen if I told her these things though? She wouldn’t believe me, that’s for sure. Her parents haven’t mentioned the accident to her since it occurred. They’ve kept it a secret for a month already, and I feel the world’s lies being built up right in front of me.
“Okay,” I agreed obediently. “I won’t say your name, but can I…can we…will you go out with me tomorrow night?”
“Excuse me?” she snapped, raising an eyebrow at me. For that instant, she looked me in the eyes. Her hazel eyes returned to me, making all my feelings come back. My organs slammed wall to wall inside of me, and I knew I still loved her.
“Will you go out with me?” I repeated. “I know I came here and said that I loved you, but…it was a joke,” I lied. “I do it to girls all the time when I’m trying to ask them out.”
“You’re not that funny, Caleb,” she huffed, “but I’ll take you up on that offer.”
“Thank you, Carlie.” I smiled, noticing how she didn’t cringe when I said her name.
Fine, I’ll admit it: I’m a wimp.
I knew Caleb Parker for only three days, but he managed to get a date out of me. He easily frustrated me, however. He came over for the past three days for no purpose at all, and my parents allowed him in each time. My mother even asked me what I thought about him one day. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think the entire universe wanted me and Caleb to get together.
A percentage of that universe that want Caleb and I together consists of me, though. I know, I know. The guy said he was in love with me the first day I met him, and oddly enough, it seemed like he meant it.
Or maybe he was a good actor.
I wouldn’t know. I don’t know anything about the guy! I don’t even know what made me say yes.
When Caleb opened the door, he held out a baseball bat. I studied his baseball uniform for a second and wondered aloud, “What are you making me do today?”
“Baseball,” he answered.
“Is this your idea of a first date?” I questioned. “Most guys go for a movie and dinner. Some guys consider the lake. The mall is even acceptable. But baseball?”
“I know you’ll love it,” he mused.
“What makes you so sure that I’ll like baseball? I hate it when you do that,” I sneered.
“You hate it when I do what?”
“I hate it when you act like you know me,” I shrugged. “It’s sort of annoying.”
“I’m sorry,” he grunted. “So are you ready to play baseball?”
I nodded, being lost in his eyes. Who can’t say ‘yes’ to Caleb Parker?
At the beginning of the game, I struggled to hit the ball. I could have sworn I told Caleb that I wasn’t any good at sports. However, as the game progressed, something surprised me: I liked it. I—being so unfortunate in sports—liked baseball. How could Caleb know that I’d like baseball so much? The guy’s like a psychic or something.
Afterward, Mr. Perfect took me to a French restaurant. He taught me French, which I picked up quickly. I knew how to say ‘How are you?’ and ‘Good morning.’ Caleb even taught me how to say ‘I love you.’ Je t’aime.
When we returned home, he walked me to the door. He stuffed his hands into the pockets of his jeans. He gazed up immediately at the stars resting above us, and spoke in a low, hushed tone, “Did you have fun tonight?”
“I did,” I answered, letting my guard down. I was so locked up with Caleb at times, but I knew right now was the time to be honest with him. The guy was amazing.
“That’s good,” he declared. “That’s all I wanted from you.”
A smile was read on my lips as we reached the door now. “Can I ask you something?”
“Anything,” he spoke.
“How did you know I would like all those things we did today?” I asked. “Everyone knows I hate sports, but you knew I’d like baseball.”
He laughed. “I’m not psychic, Carlie.”
I laughed sheepishly as the blood rose to my cheeks, causing a crimson color to rest on my cheeks.
“I want you to tell me everything,” I told him. “If you think I don’t know about the accident, you’re awfully mistaken.”
His eyes grew wide open. He was extremely adorable when he was surprised.
“I heard my parents talking about it,” I added, “so spill your guts, kid.”
Spill my guts? I didn’t know where to even start.
“What do you want to know?” I asked, trying to slow my pulse down.
“Who were you to me before the car accident?” she wondered.
“I was your boyfriend,” I answered. “Um, we met in high school. You were in the gym one day after school, making up for your F in P.E.”
She laughed. “I wasn’t that great at sports back then either, was I?”
“You weren’t exactly Shaquille O’ Neal or anything,” I joked. She hit me in the stomach in a swift motion. After gaining control of myself, I continued, “I was in there, posting baseball tryout posters. I remember asking your boyfriend at the time, Martin, if he wanted a form. That’s when I saw you. You were beautiful, Carlie. You still are. Once you broke up with Martin, I started leaving secret notes in your locker. You caught me leaving a note one day. I wasn’t the sharpest tool in the box, you can say. Everyone saw me put notes in your locker all the time. On November 7th, we began dating. By our Senior year, we were inseparable. And well, we made love the day before I left. Then I had to go out of town for work for two months, which takes me here. You got in an accident and forgot who I was.”
“Caleb, will you believe me if I say this?” she croaked.
“I think it’s coming back to me,” she said, searching for words to add on. “I think I’m remembering. I have this tattoo on my waistline. The initials are C.L.P. If I remember your middle name, that means I remember. It means it’s coming back to me.”
“What’s my middle name?”
“Lyle. You’re Caleb Lyle Parker, and I’m in love with you all over again.”