Love is never forgotten.
Love, my dear, is everlasting.
You are my spark, and you are the one who makes me smile.
For as long as I live, and even after, you will live in my soul and in my mind for eternity because you, my sweet, are always worth remembering.
You are what love is.
A loving husband clenched the last note his wife had ever given him to his chest as he stared out into the night. He’s read the typewritten words on the old fashioned parchment paper a hundred times, letting them sink into his soul once more, unaware what was happening downtown.
Visions of his wife played through his mind, and he had hoped the words still lingered true with her even if she wasn’t here with him today.
The heavy rain hammered down on the roof of Open Arms Hospital and echoed down the halls of the Emergency Department as Dr. Claire Alexander made her way to her next patient. It had been a long night for Claire, and her usual neat bun was now a chaotic mess on top of her head. Her feet hurt, and she’d had to change her lab coat three times after tending to multiple patients with massive blood loss. The storm was bringing everyone into the ER this evening, but the last person she had expected to see lying on the gurney was Genevieve Davis.
Genevieve was the wife of entrepreneur and billionaire, Ryan Davis, who also happened to be Claire’s nephew. One year ago, Genevieve had been taken from their bed by a madman seeking revenge. Ryan had stopped at nothing to try to find her. It had become his only mission in life. And now here she was, shaking like a leaf as a physician’s assistant took her vitals.
Ryan missed his wife like crazy, and it had broken Claire’s heart seeing her once-headstrong nephew fall apart and into a deep depression. He had become a ghost of his former self without his wife by his side.
Claire smiled, remembering the couple’s wedding day. They had worn the biggest smiles and exchanged the sweetest vows that beautiful April day two years ago. Claire had never seen such devotion and love between two people before. Maybe it was the romantic in her, but she’d always believed Genevieve and Ryan’s love was the sort of thing you only witnessed once in a lifetime.
Claire was doing everything in her power not to break down and cry as she looked at the disheveled woman in front of her.
She was here. And alive .
It was clear the sweet girl had been through hell and back. Genevieve had bruises on her face, arms, and chest. She was pale, and her cheeks were stained with tears. Her once-shiny auburn curls were now dull and matted with blood. Claire determined the cuts running down her arms to be defensive wounds caused by a knife or possibly glass. Genevieve’s body shook, and her eyes darted around the room in a panic.
Claire swallowed the large lump in her throat as she approached the bed of her missing niece. A nurse had just finished the stitches on Genevieve’s left arm and moved aside to make room for the doctor.
“Ginny?” Claire’s voice caught in her throat, not prepared for the petrified look in Genevieve’s violet eyes.
“Where’s Ry? I need to know where he is.” The vital signs monitor beeped wildly. Genevieve’s blood pressure and heart rate spiked through the roof from her increased anxiety. “He can’t be alone. He needs me.”
Claire had never heard Ginny call her husband Ry before, and it confused her. She sat down beside the frantic woman and placed a hand on her shoulder, trying to comfort her and coax some information from her.
“Do you know who I am, sweetie?”
“My doctor?” Genevieve’s voice squeaked, and Claire’s heart plummeted. The situation was much worse than she’d expected.
“Ginny, I’m Dr. Claire Alexander. I’m here to help you. I just need to ask you a few questions, and then, we can find Ry, okay?”
“Can you tell me what happened that brought you here today?”
Genevieve’s eyes darted to the PA, Will, who was busy fiddling with her IV, and she shook her head as she twisted her fingers in her lap.
Recognizing the cause of her patient’s unease, Claire politely asked Will to leave for a moment and to order a CT. The young physician agreed and quickly left the room.
“I want you to know that you’re safe here. Nothing you say will be repeated unless absolutely necessary. I can tell you’ve been through something horrible, and I’m here to help. Also, in order to treat you properly, I need you to tell me as much as you can.”
“Do you know me?” Genevieve asked meekly, and her eyes met Claire’s again, ending the staring contest with her fingers. “You asked if I knew who you were, but I don’t remember you.”
“Yes, I do honey. And it’s okay that you don’t remember, but I need to figure out why . Do you recall hitting your head at any time?”
“No. Not directly. One day I was packing my stuff at my dad’s house to go back to college, and the next thing I knew, I was in this basement with this guy staring at me. The second I opened my eyes, he went on and on about why I was there, but I couldn’t make any sense of it. I told him I didn’t understand and that I didn’t know who he was. He said his name was Mike, and he did seem concerned. He drove me to a hospital that was hours away.”
Goosebumps prickled on Claire’s arm when Genevieve said her kidnapper’s name. Claire remembered the evil eyes that had stared at the camera minutes before he’d taken Ginny from her loved ones. She grabbed her niece’s hand and squeezed it gently, knowing how brave and strong she had been through her whole ordeal. She had survived.
“The doctors told me I had some sort of traumatic injury that messed with my temporal lobe and that the amnesia is normal. They said I might end up remembering stuff, but it hasn’t happened yet. Mike finally told me I was his ticket for the perfect revenge, and my lack of memory worked better for him. He never explained more after that. I became his captive, but I never knew why.”
“Did he hurt you in any way?”
“No, not till–” Genevieve clamped her mouth shut as she recalled a painful memory. “He was okay for a while, considering. But then, a couple months ago, he just… snapped.” Tears poured down Genevieve’s face, her eyes closed tightly, and she wrapped her arms around her body protectively. “He would yell at me about everything, and he started to smack me around. I was so scared, and he was in this rage, he… he…” Ginny’s words faltered, and she began to cry harder. “I need Ryan… I need him now.” She grabbed Claire’s hand and pleaded with her.
Claire tried to wrap her mind around everything Ginny had just shared. Her last clear memories were at least five years old, so how would she even know her husband’s name?
“Honey, who is Ryan to you? I know it’s a funny question, but I need to know.”
“He’s the most important person in my life…”
The rain pelted the window as Ryan looked out to his vast green lawn, thinking of her. He always thought of her. Every time he closed his eyes, he saw her and remembered how beautiful she’d been. His angel. The love of his life.
When he touched his mouth, he could still feel her satin lips pressed to his. He’d spent more than three years attached to her lips, and he knew he’d never forget the taste of them.
Her auburn hair had been like silk, and Ryan had loved how good it felt as he’d woven it between his fingers. Or how it had tickled his chin every morning when her body had been pressed against his chest.
When Genevieve had smiled, she’d truly glowed. Her laugh had always been infectious, and she had brought joy to any bad day. He still made sure his housekeeper only used vanilla and honey scented candles so he could smell Ginny’s fragrance everywhere, even though she was now nowhere to be found. Violet lilacs were scattered around the house too, matching the unique tint of Genevieve’s eyes.
One of the many things Ryan had loved about her had been her unfailing ability to put him in his place and keep him on his toes. Ginny had been sassy, always full of witty comebacks whenever he’d thought he’d been laying down the law. But most of all, he’d loved the way she’d whispered, ‘ I love you, Ryan,’ every night as she’d drifted off to sleep.
She’d been a breath of fresh air in his life.
And when she’d disappeared… his life had become dark and dismal.
The earth had stopped moving, and it had been as if his heart had stopped beating.
He missed her like crazy.
Ryan had become a robot and, even now, only managed to go through the motions of his everyday life. Ryan knew in his heart, in his soul , that the love of his life was still alive and breathing the same air. He knew he had to survive for her and to wait for the day she would come back to him. Ginny was what love was.
No… She is what love is, he amended silently.
Every day had become one giant blur for him. Between searching for Ginny and trying to keep his company somewhat functional, there were times he wasn’t sure if he even remembered to eat or sleep.
He couldn’t have given a damn about his company. Ginny was all he wanted, and everything else was meaningless without her. He’d much rather have put all his effort into finding his beloved wife, but he couldn’t put fifteen thousand people out of work. Ginny would kill him if he destroyed the company he’d worked so hard to build, and he wanted to make his wife happy when she returned.
For the first time in Ryan’s life, his money and power couldn’t fix the situation. In fact, those material things had been the catalyst for Ginny’s abduction in the first place.
He had failed her, and he could never forgive himself.
Ryan was willing to spend every last dime he had to get her back, but he’d quickly realized that it hadn’t mattered how much he’d spent on search parties, private detectives, and rewards. Nothing had helped to get her back.
Some days he wished he’d never became a successful CEO. If it hadn’t been for him, his wife would still be by his side right now. No one would have taken her in order to get their revenge for having been fired and blacklisted.
What tormented Ryan the most was that he knew exactly who had his wife.
Mike Edelman, a former employee in his accounting department, had stolen Genevieve from their bed that fateful night.
Edelman had been caught trying to embezzle money from Ryan’s company and his loyal staff. Ryan’s IT department had discovered the evidence, and Mike had been arrested. However, since the transfer of funds had been unsuccessful, he’d been released on bail within days and had been awaiting trial. Mike had been dead broke after paying a huge fine, and he’d no longer been able to get a job anywhere, thanks to Ryan. But it hadn’t stopped him from vanishing, along with Ryan’s wife.
In the end, Ryan had been the one to suffer.
No matter how much information Ryan had gathered on him, Edelman had become a ghost. Mike had never even asked for ransom or tried to collect the ten million dollar award, which made it clear to Ryan that Mike’s vendetta was to cause him eternal anguish and despair.
Genevieve was Ryan’s weakness. She was the only person who could make him crumble. She was his everything, his reason for breathing.
The bastard had known that. Everyone had known that.
Ryan glanced back out to the lawn, noticing that the rain had finally ceased and the sun was peeking through the clouds. Ryan hated the sunshine. He wanted the world to be as perpetually dark as his mood.
His heart twisted as he realized it had been three hundred eighty-six days without his one and only. Ryan pushed away from the window and growled. The sun could go take a hike for all he cared.
Ryan’s phone rang loudly from his pocket, causing him to jump. Each time it rang, he instantly reached for it, hoping the caller would have news about his wife, and each time, he only ended up being more disappointed. His Aunt Claire’s name lit the screen, and although he groaned with slight annoyance, deep in his gut, he felt something was different.
“Ryan, I need you to get to the hospital right away…” In the background, there were sirens blaring and people yelling, but he could still hear the urgency in her voice.
“What’s going on?”
“It’s Ginny. She’s here. She’s alive.”
Claire and his father, Rick, had been waiting for Ryan just inside the entrance of the hospital. When they saw him, Claire quickly gathered the young man, who she loved as a son, into her arms.
“Where is she?” The question tumbled from Ryan’s lips the second he stepped out of his aunt’s embrace.
“Ryan, I need you to sit down. I have information, but I need to explain everything properly before you see her.”
He’d waited a year for someone to be able to give him any news on Genevieve, and now he was being told to sit down? He thought his aunt must have been out of her mind. But he could tell by the look in her eyes that whatever had happened to his wife was serious. Possibly life-altering .
“Just tell me.” He begged her to put him out of his misery.
Claire took a steady breath, knowing her nephew wasn’t going to plant his butt on a seat.
“Genevieve came into the ER last night. She was a mess, Ryan. It looked like she’d been in a brawl. She had cuts and bruises on her arms, her chest, her face… She ran on foot — she thinks for miles — till someone picked her up and brought her here.” She paused and took her nephew’s hand in hers.
“Ryan…” Claire said softly with weary eyes. Tears welled in the corner of them as she continued, “When I went in to see her, she didn’t know me. She has no memory of the last five or so years, and I’m afraid she won’t know who you are. There’s a good chance she never will. Most cases of memory loss like this tend to be permanent.”
“What?” Feeling as though the wind had just been knocked out of him, his feet faltered, and he stumbled backward. Ryan’s world was spinning around him uncontrollably, and he was grasping at thin air, trying to hold on. But the world kept turning faster as he continued to fall.
He couldn’t believe this. She had to know who he was.
Their lives were tied together.
“Now, I’m not saying she won’t remember some things. They might come back to her in pieces, but most of the time, full long-term memory is gone. Though…” A hint of a smile graced her lips which made him burn with curiosity.
“Though what ?”
“I noticed some signs that she recalls a few little things.”
Ryan collapsed into a chair with everything his aunt had shared with him. Her words confused him. ‘A few little things?’ What little things? What did that mean? If it meant anything at all…
“So, what do I do?”
“I spoke to her. She was confused because of the way I acted when I first saw her. It’s how I recognized she was suffering from some type of amnesia. She understood that I knew her, but she couldn’t place me. I gave her a general idea of who I was, and she seemed to understand, but she had other things on her mind. She’s been through a lot. I told her people were worried about her and that, sometimes, seeing people from your past can help memories return.”
Ryan nodded in understanding, but then, like a bag of bricks to his head, he remembered the monster who had put her here in the first place. He worried that Mike might come back for her and destroy their lives yet again.
He needed her to be safe.
“What about Edelman? Do we have any clue where he is?”
Ryan’s father cleared his throat, and a smirk raised the corner of his mouth.
“He’s dead. Ginny was able to get the upper hand with a kitchen knife.”
Relief swam through his veins upon hearing the word, and he managed to crack a smile, knowing his Ginny had always been stronger than she looked. Although he hadn’t been able to protect her, she had saved herself in the end.
“I need to see her,” Ryan said, moving again down the hall, but his aunt grabbed his hand to stop him.
“There’s something else I didn’t tell you yet, and you’ll need to be prepared.”
“What are you talking about?” He slipped his hand from his aunt’s hold, aggravated that she couldn’t just give it to him straight. His heart and mind couldn’t handle any more revelations. He’d already felt as though he’d been run over by a Mack truck. Twice. “You said it was nothing more than cuts and bruises.”
“Yes, but there’s something else, and I didn’t know how to tell you…” Claire took a steady breath, as she looked at her nephew with worried eyes. As her lips moved to explain what else had happened to Ginny, Ryan’s heart hammered erratically, and his fingers tingled as each word hit him like a slap to the face.
Though his mind was in a heavy haze, Ryan somehow managed to follow Claire down the hall to Ginny’s room. Claire went in to check on Ginny, but Ryan found himself frozen to the spot, staring at the room numbers on the wall. His thoughts clambered around in his head as he tried to make sense of what his aunt had just told him. In the last hour, Ryan’s life had changed yet again. Forever. What should’ve been one of the best days of his life had turned into a day of confusion and fear.
His father tried to reassure him, but all Ryan heard was white noise. After what felt like an eternity, his aunt stepped out of the room.
“She’s ready for you. Just so you know, the cops have been talking to her for a while, so she’s a bit tired. I talked to Dr. Garnet, and he said if she asks a question calmly, you can answer her honestly. If she seems frightened or overwhelmed, tell her it can wait.”
Without another word, Ryan moved into the room, ready to see his wife again after the longest year of his life. With his palms sweating and his breathing ragged, he pushed back the curtain. Ginny’s head spun to look at him, and for the second time that day, the air had left his lungs.
He stood mutely by the door, staring at her. His Ginny was finally here. She was real . He remained glued to the floor, fighting the urge to gather her in his arms and kiss her all over.
Ginny stared at Ryan blankly, but he swore he saw a look of recognition flicker in her violet eyes, though it was gone as quickly as it had come. Glancing back down at the small blue bundle in her arms, she smiled and looked back up at him.
“You must be Ryan.”
Her angelic voice rang in his ears. He’d missed the sound of it so much. Their home videos and her voicemail messages had never satisfied the ache he’d felt when it came to hearing her voice. It had merely been a temporary band-aid over the gaping hole in his heart.
His eyes roamed over her body as he catalogued every mark and bruise visible on her body. The tears he had been holding back since Claire had told him Ginny was here finally slipped from his eyes.
“Yeah. Um…” Nervously, he shifted from one foot to the other, unsure of what to do with himself. This was his wife, a woman he had made love to countless times, and now he felt like they’d been set up on a blind date. “I know you don’t know me, but I can’t tell how good it is to see your face again.”
“I’m sorry that I don’t,” Ginny said softly with a half smile before she looked back at the baby in her arms. A whimper escaped from the tiny bundle, and she rocked the baby lovingly, bending to kiss the top of his head.
Her words gave him courage, and he slowly moved to her bed. He didn’t want to frighten her, but he needed to be closer to her, breathe her in. Taking the risk, he perched himself on the edge of the bed beside her.
The two fell silent for several long moments as they stared at the little boy in her arms. The baby’s eyes fluttered open, and Ryan found himself mesmerized. He was the perfect mix of his parents with Ryan’s chin and mop of curly, brown hair and Ginny’s rosey cheeks and violet eyes.
Suddenly, Ryan couldn’t help but feel a bond with the child. He was part of them, tying them together forever. This was what their love had made. This was what true love was.
Baby Ryan cooed and made a noise sounding like raspberries, drooling slightly onto his tiny chin.
“He’s perfect, Ginny.”
Both their heads lifted and their noses rubbed together from their close proximity. That sudden look of familiarity glinted in her eyes again, and in that moment, Ryan believed she knew him. Ginny closed her eyes tightly and shook her head as though she were stressed. Ryan was about to ask if she was alright when her eyes shot back open.
“I remember kissing you. Why do I remember kissing you?” she whispered breathlessly, a hint of confusion in her voice.
Oh, Ginny, I remember kissing you like it was yesterday. He looked at her pink lips, remembering how soft they’d felt pressed against his and how her gentle touch had always sent shockwaves through him.
“Because we were together for three years… before…”
“Before he took me?” she finished the thought for him.
Ginny closed her eyes again, and tears fell down her cheeks.
“I wish I could remember. I somehow feel as though I can trust you, and I don’t even know you…”
“It’s okay. I’m here for you, Ginny. Always.” Ryan grabbed her free hand and squeezed it gently. Glancing back down at the baby, he ran his thumb over his chubby cheek. “What’s his name?”
“Ryan David Moore.”
Ryan couldn’t contain his grin when he heard their baby’s name. At that moment, he knew everything would be alright. Just as her note had promised, she had remembered him, even if it was only a ghost of a thought in the back of her mind. It was enough for him. He knew their love was strong enough that they could make new memories and start again, because their love was everlasting.
Love was forever. Love was never forgotten.