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Meeting Daniel for the first time was a real shock. I had just come on shift and Shaun sent me upstairs to get him down for breakfast. The bastard hadn’t given me any warning at all, and I had asked. All I knew was that he was a patient of Professor Bowen. I had read his medical notes of course, I always make sure I do that thoroughly so that I know what to expect… but they never tell you anything about the person themselves.

So, although I knew his blood group, his baseline heart rate, his height, weight and eye colour I had no idea of who, as a person, Daniel was. From the notes, it seems that neither does he.

I was about to knock on the bathroom door when it opened and I found myself looking into the face of an angel. I have never seen anyone so beautiful in all my life. For a moment I was completely taken aback and I had to tear my eyes away or I would have made a complete fool of myself. As it was I had to hang my head, hiding behind my hair until, with something of a struggle I managed to regain my composure.

He was just watching me, the strangest expression on his face, and I was almost swept away by a wave of … something. He is so childlike, so open… and I knew it was only his condition, the fact that he had no idea who he was making him peculiarly vulnerable but…. it was… he made my heart beat fast. His eyes were the most amazing shade of green, they sparkled and, although I recognised the absence of expression that characterised patients who were on strong meds there was something more, something behind the drugs that made my heart beat even faster.

My first words to Shaun when I got back downstairs were “You bastard.” He grinned. “Why didn’t you warn me?”

“Warn you about what?”

“You know what. Fuck… he’s incredible.”

“Tell me about it. I had something of a shock myself this morning. Damn nearly got into that bed with him and to hell with professionalism.”

“Shaun! Behave yourself.”

“I’m trying, I’m trying but I have to say I can’t guarantee I’m going to be able to keep my hands off him for long. Just as well I’m not doing night shift for a while.” He looked thoughtful. “Although…. I might just see if I can swap….”

“Don’t you dare!” I think he was joking…. with Shaun it was never possible to be entirely sure. He laughed.

“Don’t worry. I won’t rape him. Seduce him maybe…. ” He winked. “Feel free to compete.”

“I am not going to compete with you to seduce a patient, no matter how cute he is…. and for the record that would be fuck off cute. No… actually he isn’t cute…. he is beautiful, not cute. Anyway, I am not going to compete with you to seduce him. Whatever else he might be he’s a patient. He’s ill and vulnerable and if I ever find out….”

“Lily…. I’m teasing you. I would never do anything like that. I hope you know me well enough by now to know I wouldn’t.”

“I think I do but you have the strangest sense of humour sometimes… I am never quite sure.”

He grinned. “Well you can be sure about this, never fear. I would never do anything to hurt a patient…. not unless he really wants me to.”

This time I had to smile, he cracks me up sometimes does Shaun. I could hear Daniel moving about upstairs and I just couldn’t get my heart to stop thumping at the thought that any minute he would be walking down the stairs and I would get another look at those incredible eyes, that crazy hair, that angel face. Stop it Lily, this is getting dangerous. Concentrate on the bacon.

When I heard him walk in I deliberately didn’t look up, struggling with my racing heart. I sensed him hovering in the doorway, almost felt his uncertainty but left it to Shaun to call him in.

“Hey there. Come, sit down. Do you want coffee?”

“Coffee?”

I couldn’t help but to turn around at the hesitant uncertainty in his voice. He was frowning, it made him look even more beautiful, set his full lips into a pout that made me suddenly wonder what they would feel like to kiss. Hastily I brushed crumbs from my skirt using the activity to cover my confusion. I walked to the cupboard and took down a mug.

“Would you prefer tea?”

“Tea? I…. no… no coffee I think.”

“How would you like it?”

“In a mug?”

I almost laughed until I realised he wasn’t joking, and I turned it into a slightly strangled smile. “No, I mean do you want it strong or weak, with milk… sugar?”

He closed his eyes and rubbed his temples with long fingers. “I…um…. güvenilir bahis I don’t…. know.”

“Don’t worry. I’ll make it, you taste it and if I need to I’ll change it.”

He took the mug, smiling uncertainly at me. I know the look, he was struggling to comprehend what was going on around him… they are always like that to begin with… some of them never get past it. Some of the patients that move through our hands just sink deeper and, in the end have to go back to the hospital. We never see them again. I hoped that Daniel wasn’t going to be one of those. Most of them move on though. I have always been proud of that. There are several community care houses like ours in the area and we have by far the best reputation for patients moving on, back to the real world. Not that I have always agreed with Professor Bowen that they were ready to move on… but hey, I am only a lowly care assistant, who am I to say?

After taking a sip Daniel’s face screwed up. “I don’t like it.”

“What don’t you like?” I took the mug from his hand and tipped it into the sink.

“It’s sweet.”

“No sugar then?” He nodded.

“And… I don’t think I like the milk.”

“Okay, no sugar, no milk. Just plain black coffee. Was it strong enough?” He thought for a moment and then shook his head.

This time when he sipped the coffee, which to me looked like a cup of hot mud, he sighed with pleasure and drank deeply.

“Great, we have the coffee sorted. What about breakfast? Are you hungry?”

After thinking for a moment he shook his head.

“You must be. You haven’t eaten for a while, at least two days.”

He looked confused and his eyes were losing focus. “You’ll feel better if you eat, not so spaced out. Your meds are hitting you hard because they have landed in an empty stomach. How about a bacon sandwich?”

Daniel stared at me as though he had no idea what I was saying; he probably didn’t. For some reason it made me feel strangely disturbed to see him sinking. He had been asleep for so long and of course we had been told not to wake him so his meds had pretty much worn off and now they were gripping him again and knocking him right off is feet.

When I gave him his sandwich he stared at it as if he didn’t know what to do with it. Fortunately we were used to patients and their meds and Shaun showed him how to eat it. He clearly enjoyed it once he got started, and afterwards he did look better, less spaced out, but he still needed Shaun to show him how to walk out to the garden and almost immediately fell asleep on a chair in the sun.

“Are you still thinking about seducing him?”

I looked up from my coffee cup and grinned at him. “I wasn’t actually, but now you come to mention it….”

“I wouldn’t bother. You may as well go get a blow up doll. He’s way out of it.”

“Yeah. That surprises me.”

“Why?”

“If it’s his memory that is the problem then how does drugging him senseless help to bring it back?”

“I don’t know but I’m not a doctor.”

“And of course the doctors always know what they are doing. They always get it right.”

“No they don’t always get it right, but Professor Bowen usually does and in any event it is not for us to question.”

“I know. And I’m not.”

“I know you Lily.”

“Yeah…. you do… too well.”

The game goes on. Like chess when you lose a major piece you still keep fighting. Until the king goes down there is always a chance. But what do you do when the king disappears and you have no idea where to look? And what do you do when the king doesn’t even realise he’s the king so he can’t help you find him and when he happens to be your best friend in the whole world and you know him better than you know yourself and you know that he is going to be lost and frightened and confused, and maybe he is being hurt and you can’t even bear to think about it and no one seems to care and….?

You play the game. It was the game that put him in danger in the first place so it has to be the game that saves him. Play by the rules, play to win, and maybe, just maybe it will all be alright in the end.

Annie is good at playing the game. She has taken to it naturally. She has an idea that she has played before. Clues came in many ways, mostly in dreams and visions, and she kept them all in a small pink notebook which never leaves her sight. She keeps her mind constantly open, constantly switched on. It makes it difficult for the others, having to constantly screen türkçe bahis her, constantly protect her from interference, and from the other side. She tells them it is because clues come at all times, from all directions, but really it is because she is still looking for Adam, still hoping that she will pick something up but he is closed down and that makes her more afraid than anything else.

She thinks about him all the time. She knows there have been others who have gone missing, others who are being used as pawns, who are being held against their will but she can’t quite care about them as much as she does about him. And it has nothing to do with the fact that he is the end player. She isn’t even sure that she quite understands what that is. It is only because he is Adam. How could she care about any of the others when they aren’t Adam?

The professor was right. The drugs have begun to lose their grip, or at least I am getting used to the way they make me feel and to compensate for them. I have no idea how long I have been here, I am still pretty hazy about where ‘here’ is, but I am beginning to make the connection between what is me and what is going on around me. I am beginning to understand.

There are four others here. They are never here together, they take it in turns. They say they are here to take care of me but I think they are here to watch me, although that may have something to do with the paranoia they say that I have. I like Shaun and Lily the best, they make me laugh. Alex and Ben are okay but they treat me like I am five years old sometimes. Okay, there are times when I feel like I am a child, when I am confused and afraid and detached from everything and I have to be told what to do but I am not a child.

As I have become more aware of what is going on I have taken more of a part in the daily life of the house. I have my chores and I carry them out diligently… mostly. Sometimes I forget….well I often forget… and sometimes I just can’t find the energy. Most of them are understanding because they know that I do what I can but Ben gets angry with me when I forget and it is getting harder and harder not to respond angrily.

I am not allowed to use the computer and it frustrates me no end. I don’t know what they think I am going to do with it. I am good with computers. I don’t know how I know I am but I do. Sometimes they go off to do something and leave it on. The temptation to just sit and let my fingers take me where they will, is strong but there is something that holds me back and I have learned to listen to that silent voice.

There is a time, about four in the morning when I am about as close as I get to being free of the effects of the drugs and able to think. Strangely that is the time when I get as close as I ever do to remembering things. Shaun has been teaching me exercises for calming and centering myself and opening my mind to memories. They are not working very well yet but this morning as I lie in the dark and let my mind relax I feel something tugging at the edges of my consciousness, a feeling of unease.

There has been a tiny voice locked away in the corner of my mind the whole time I have been here, the whole time I have been aware. It whispers to me sometimes, warns me that there are things I shouldn’t say, things I shouldn’t reveal. This morning it is whispering urgently but I can’t understand what it is saying. It has something to do with not letting anyone know that I am getting clearer, that it is not safe to reveal to anyone that I am getting close to memories. Am I?

There is a sharp pain in my head. I almost groan aloud but bite my lip. Why does it hurt when I get close to remembering? It seems as though there is something in my head that opens up and it hurts like hell. I’m almost sure that is not supposed to happen, but I am not going to talk to anyone about it.

I gasp as something lances into my mind like an arrow, making sparks appear behind my closed eyes. This time I can’t help but groan aloud. Through the pain a thought drops into my mind. Annie’s looking for me. Annie? Who’s Annie? I am swept with a wave of something that feels like excitement and it seems that I am surrounded by faces, all looking at me, all expecting something from me and I…. I…. can …. I can….. Aw!!! It hurts too much. I can’t hold on to the thought… the memory.

Breathing deeply, as Shaun has taught me I let my mind relax, releasing the images, the feelings, the burning desire to push, to press, güvenilir bahis siteleri to hold on at all costs. I have a headache now, it is throbbing behind my eyes, at my temples. It is hard to ignore. I am about to give up when something floats up through the soup and a face pops into my head. It is a girl. She is very pretty, she is smiling at me. I follow the face back and there she is, holding my hand, leading me through a meadow towards a river where there is a picnic laid out on the banks.

I remember that day. It was so peaceful, away from the… from the…. away from everything. Annie is like a cool flannel on a fevered brow, she eases my mind, she makes me laugh, she makes everything alright. That day there was a haze over the water and fireflies buzzing around us as we ate and drank champagne and played in the grass and the water like children. That was a good day.

I am panting as though I have been running. I am bathed in sweat and shaking. But I remembered. I remembered a whole day, and I remembered Annie. Is she my girlfriend? Where is she now? Is she looking for me? Is she worried about me? No. It doesn’t feel right? The memory of that day was full of fun, not romance. For some reason the thought that Annie might be my girlfriend feels all wrong… too wrong. Is she my sister?

Nausea sweeps through me and I gag. It is a struggle to keep my stomach in the right place. My headache is worse and I can’t follow that thought any further. It is pleasant to lie and remember the warmth of the sun on my face, the sharp tang of champagne on my tongue the joy of companionship in my heart, the hand in my hand…. I fall asleep to the sound of water rippling.

I am shaken roughly awake at eight o clock by Ben who slams my meds and the glass of water down on the table so hard the water splashes over the table, over the notebook I keep there, where I am supposed to write down any memories that surface, it is noticeably empty. The headache is still there and I squint at him.

“Get you’re arse down stairs pretty boy. It’s your turn to make breakfast and the Proff is coming to see you later, so don’t take your time.”

He is standing with his hands on his hips and staring at me as if he expects something of me. I am confused… nothing new there.

“Well, get on with it.”

“With what?”

“Take your meds. You know I am not allowed to leave until I see you do it.”

“Do I?”

“Well you do now. Get on with it.”

Surprised by his aggressive manner I sit up and pick up the pills. My fingers are stiff and I drop one. Ben tutts in exasperation. “Well…..”

“Well what?”

“Well get it. Come on, I don’t have all day. I have paperwork to do and Alex won’t be here until after lunch.”

My head is pounding and I am getting annoyed with the attitude. I am half inclined to refuse. If there is only Ben what is he going to do if I refuse to get up? He must see the flash of rebellion in my face and shakes his head.

“Don’t start. Take your fucking pills and get the hell out of bed.”

I literally bite my lip as I slide out of bed and rummage on the floor for the lost pill. Fortunately I find it very quickly because I don’t think I can hold my temper if he keeps on at me. The headache is making me irritable and no one here has seen my temper yet. It is rarely loosed but when it is…. I stop and freeze, the pain in my head paralysing me. I remember what I’m like when I lose my temper… but I don’t remember a time when I have.

“Alright, alright…. get on with it.”

Struggling with a pain I am not about to admit to I throw the pills into my mouth and almost choke on the water. With an irritated sigh he turns and stalks out. It is such a relief to be on my own. I sit down on the floor and take my head in my hands. Slowly the pain recedes to a level where I can get to my feet and stumble to the bathroom. I get in the shower and the caress of the water has never felt so good.

Gradually my aching head eases, the tension in my body releasing. I lose all track of time and I am genuinely shocked when Ben storms into the bathroom and flings open the door of the shower, throwing a towel at me.

“Get the hell out of there. I told you to hurry up. I am busy today and you have to get breakfast out of the way before the Proff comes.”

“If you’re so eager to get it done, do it yourself.”

He stares at me. I have never spoken like that to any of them before, maybe I should do it more often. He stares.

“Just don’t be long.”

He turns on his heel and slams the door behind him. For some reason the exchange makes me smile. I hum as I clean my teeth. I have never seen the face in the mirror look so relaxed and happy.

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