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Fiction Funny Suspense

Buzz – Buzz –      

Twenty-five-year old Nova jumped out of bed and shut off the alarm. Frowning at her dry mouth and mild headache, she didn’t lose her enthusiasm for the day ahead. However, she couldn’t remember what had been planned for today. Looking around the bedroom, she spotted a notepad on the dresser.

Below the monogrammed N on the top sheet was written Saturday - Call Henry, pick up Taffy, shop for a dress. Who were Henry and Taffy? Maybe a shower would wake her up.

When she stepped out of the shower, a phone was ringing and dancing on the vanity. Caller ID showed an unfamiliar name, Amelia.

“Hello?”

“Hi, Nova. Did you get your wish?”

“What wish? You’re Amelia, right? And I’m Nova?”

“Quit teasing me. Even if your wish came true, you wouldn’t forget your BFF. Yesterday at the fortune teller’s parlor was a hoot. My wish for naturally blonde hair didn’t happen, and I seriously doubt yours did.”

“Why did we visit a fortune-teller? If today is Saturday, why wasn’t I at work yesterday?”

“Ha. Ha. I know you haven’t forgotten you were furloughed from your job weeks ago, or that your wedding to Henry is next week. Yesterday was your bachelorette party.”

“Now you’re joking. I’m not getting married. Though I’ve had a weird sensation this morning of something exciting happening, I don’t know what.”

Amelia was silent for a few minutes.

“Maybe the excess alcohol wiped yesterday out of your mind. Do you remember you and I made a date for lunch today?”

“No, I don’t. Tell me about yesterday.”

“You, me, and your six bridesmaids began the day with a champagne brunch at Crème de la Crepe then proceeded to the indoor pool at the Wynn. You were whining about how awful 2020 has been and said you wanted to know what the last few months of the year would bring. One of our group had the idea of going to Madame Crystal, a local fortune teller.”

“I can’t believe we went there.”

“You had a bucket load of champagne at lunch and not much food. After our fortunes were told, you laughingly asked Madame if she had the power to grant wishes. She said sometimes, depending on the wish, she can. We each told her our wish, but I don’t know if she was able to grant even one. Yours was for your memory of the past year to be erased and that you ‘remember’ only future happenings.”

“Wow. So you think my wish came true?”

“Mine didn’t, and it seems you’ve forgotten yesterday morning and afternoon. Do you remember last night?”

“No, I don’t remember last night either. No memories are coming to me, not even to identify who Taffy and Henry are. I know nothing about the past, only fleeting impressions of what will happen in the future.”  

“I’ll see you at one o’clock with subs. You’re providing potato chips. I’ll help you figure this out.”

Nova wandered around the two-bedroom apartment, looking for anything that would jog her memory. There were pictures on the walls - a few of her alone, some with groups, and one of her standing next to a tall, auburn-haired man, maybe her fiancé Henry. There was also a picture of a tabby cat labeled Taffy – one mystery solved. Amelia must be in some of the photos, but Nova couldn’t identify her. How far back from the present had her memory been erased? She was counting on Amelia to help.

Suddenly a sharper vision came to her in the form of a handsome, dark-haired man dressed in a suit. He wasn’t the man in the photo with her. Maybe he was the reason for her excitement today.

A loud knock interrupted her reverie. She looked through the peephole hoping to see Amelia but instead saw a man holding a large vase of flowers.

She opened the door.

“Delivery for you, if you’re Nova Blumun.”

“Yes, I’m Nova, but who are you?”

Ignoring the question, he thrust the flowers into her arms and headed for the elevator.

These must be from her fiancé Henry. The card read, Nova my soul mate, I will pick you up at 8 for dinner. All my love, Antonio.

Oops, Antonio wasn’t her fiancé. She could hardly wait to meet him. Surely Amelia could tell her more about both men.

         Amelia arrived soon after the flowers. If she hadn’t been carrying sandwiches, Nova wouldn’t have realized her identity. She wished she could remember all their years of friendship.

         “Has your memory returned?”

         Nova shook her head. “I can’t even recognize the people in my photos. I’m so thankful you’re here to tell me about my fiancé and the wedding and fill me in on more of my past. I’d also like the phone number for the fortune teller.”

         “Next week, you’re getting married to Henry. He’s with you in this picture. You two are so cute together with his red hair and your blonde curls. Last week, you told me how perfect your marriage will be. Are these flowers from Henry? ”

         “No. They’re from someone named Antonio. Read the card then tell me what you know about him. Is he in one of the photos I have?”

         “Oh no, he’s the awesome guy you talked to at the bar last night. Too bad you don’t remember him. I took some pictures. Let me find one. Here it is.”

         Nova saw herself in the photo looking up into the eyes of a slender, well-built man. His hair was coal-black, and he was smiling at her. She wished she could recall their conversation.

         “That’s the man I envisioned immediately before the flowers arrived.”

         “His note says you’re soul mates, and he’s taking you to dinner tonight. How can you be soul mates after only an hour together?”

         “I’ll find out at dinner tonight.”

         Amelia was pointing out Nova’s family in the framed pictures when Henry walked into the apartment.

         “Henry, I didn’t know you were coming over.”

         “You don’t remember? We’re going shopping this afternoon.”

         “I’m sorry, it slipped my mind. Amelia and I were just getting started on the wedding week’s to-do list. Okay if you and I meet tomorrow instead?”

         “I can help with the list, and we can shop afterward.”

         “I don’t feel like shopping today. I’m exhausted from my bachelorette party.”

         Henry pulled Nova close for a quick hug and kiss. “I’ll see you tomorrow. Get some rest.” Henry left.

         Nova shuddered and made a face. “Amelia, I have no idea why I would have said yes to marrying Henry. It was all I could do not to gag when he kissed me. I got a really bad vibe from him just now.”

         “You’ve never felt like that about him. Ooh, I wonder if your future isn’t going to be as rosy as you thought.”

         “First things first. I’m going to dinner with Antonio tonight. If I can picture us together in the future, I’m canceling my wedding with Henry. Help me pick out a sexy dress to wear this evening. I want to look my best.”

         After Amelia left and before a short nap, Nova made a list to jog her memory tomorrow.

Amelia – best friend coming on Sunday, Fiancé – Henry (Yuk!) taking me shopping Sunday, Wedding – next Saturday (NO!), Antonio – soul mate, sent flowers, dinner out Saturday night, Fortune teller – call about reversing wish

Antonio arrived at 8:00 on the dot. Looking through the peephole, she saw him and threw open the door. He was even more striking in person. The light blue shirt under his dark gray suit coat highlighted his piercing blue eyes. He grasped her hand and kissed her cheek in greeting.

“You look lovely. May I come in?”

“Thank you. You look terrific yourself. The flowers you sent are beautiful and your note was sweet.”

“I’m glad you liked the flowers. Our dinner reservation is at 8:30. If you’re ready, let’s head out.”

Dinner was delicious and Nova lost track of time as Antonio shared his life story. She regretted she wasn’t able to share any of her past. Before she knew it, the maître d’ announced the restaurant’s closing. They walked out hand-in-hand to the car and soon arrived at Nova’s door.

Antonio leaned down to kiss her. She willingly accepted his kiss and gave him a hug.

“May I take you to lunch tomorrow? I know a quiet, out-of-the-way spot for a picnic.”

“I would love that. Please call me in the morning to let me know when to be ready.”

Once inside her apartment, she rushed to the note pad to add the evening’s events and Sunday lunch date with Antonio.

Early Sunday morning, Amelia stopped by to find out about the date. Nova shared what she had written down about Antonio.

“You know you’re double-booked, don’t you? Check the list.”

“Double-booked? Oh my gosh, Henry is coming over, too. I need to put Henry off for shopping and have lunch with Antonio.”

“So are you still going to marry Henry?”

“I’m not going to marry Henry. My future with him came into better focus last night. I see him messing around with other women not long after we wed. For all I know about the past, he may have already been seeing other women. As for Antonio, I believe we have a future together.”

“So, how will you end the upcoming wedding?”

“I need you to clue me in on my wedding plans. As for telling Henry, I’ll be upfront with him.”

Amelia told Nova her family hadn’t wanted her to marry Henry. For that reason, Nova and Henry had planned and paid all expenses for their big day.

“It would be a shame to waste all the time and money you and Henry put into the preparations. I wonder if there’s a couple who would like to step into a pre-planned wedding. It would help save them time plus help you and Henry defray some of your costs. Let me ask friends to spread the word about a ready-to-go wedding. Don’t worry, I’ll handle this.”

“Amelia, please be discreet. I don’t want Henry to find out about this until I can tell him myself.”

After her friend left, Nova phoned Henry to tell him she was ill and wouldn’t be shopping with him. He offered to come over, but she assured him there was nothing he would be able to do for her. She would call him later that night.

Antonio picked her up and they headed out for lunch. The chosen spot was located in the center of the town park, hidden underneath tall pines.

“I’m so glad we were able to have lunch today. I want you all to myself. I talked too much last night. It’s your turn today.”

“I want to be honest with you. When I met you on Friday, I was having my bachelorette party. It seems I was getting married next week.”

“I guessed your group was celebrating something. I notice you said ‘was getting married.’ Have you or your fiancé changed your minds? I hope so. When you came over to speak to me, I felt a mutual attraction. I’d like to see where this goes between us.”

“I have something else to tell you. I’ve lost my memory of everything that has happened in the past, including talking with you Friday night. When your flowers arrived, I didn’t know who you were. My best friend Amelia told me about meeting you Friday night and showed me a picture she took of us.”

Nova further explained what Amelia had told her about the bachelorette party and the fortune teller.

“I’ve decided I’m not marrying Henry. When he kissed me yesterday, I was completely turned off. Also, my image of the future with him tells me he won’t be a faithful husband.”

“Do you see yourself with me in the future?”

“I don’t know how far into the future I have the power to see, but I’m sure we’ll be together for a while. I hope to get my past back so you’ll know more about me.”

Holding her in his arms, Antonio said, “I will be with you whether your memory returns or not.”

When Antonio asked her how she was going to break off her upcoming wedding with Henry, she said she would be straightforward with Henry. She hoped to soften the bad news with a plan Amelia was working on.

Home again, Nova called Amelia to ask if the plan was coming together.

“I may have someone in mind. Why don’t you tell Henry what’s going on? Check back with me afterward.”

Nova made the call.

“Henry, I’ve decided marriage for us isn’t a good idea. I’m calling off our wedding.”

“Now’s a fine time to decide. What about all the money we’ve spent. Will we get any of it back?”

“I’m not sure, but Amelia is working on finding a couple to take our place. If she finds someone, we may be able to recoup some money. I’ll find out soon. You don’t seem too upset by my news.”

“I had my doubts about us a while ago but thought we could be happy together. I like you as a friend and didn’t want to hurt your feelings.”

“Thank goodness one of us could be honest. I’ll keep you posted on the money.”

Nova shared with Amelia Henry’s lack of disappointment to her news.

“I think I’ve found a couple for the wedding. I need to run an errand, but will let you know later tonight what I’ve worked out.”

There was a lot to write on the memo pad regarding Sunday. Antonio - wonderful, Henry – wedding canceled, Amelia – checking couple replacement for wedding

Amelia called.

“Are you certain you don’t want to marry Henry?”

“Yes, no way, no how.”

“I don’t think we’ll still be friends after you hear my plan.”

“Why would that change now?  We’ve been, or I think we’ve been, best friends for a long time.”

“Instead of a couple, I’ve found a replacement for you. Henry and I are getting married. We dated before you and he became an item. I was brokenhearted when he left me, but we stayed in touch. Recently, we began meeting for lunch once a week, and he told me he still loves me.”

“My impression of another woman was correct! How did I not suspect what you were doing?”

“Actually, you found out last week. It was my idea to go to the fortune-teller because I knew she had the power to put spells on people. I wanted her to make you forget what you discovered and forget your wedding to Henry. Madame Crystal’s magic worked better than I expected. Your meeting Antonio was an added bonus.”

“Amelia, how long have we been friends?”

“Two months.”

“I wish you and Henry a memorable marriage.”

October 10, 2020 00:07

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4 comments

Matthew Eubanks
03:30 Oct 16, 2020

Disclaimer , I’ve really never read short stories with a romantic element before. I thought the pluses here were along the lines of what earlier comments have said. Tough format and prompt especially in a short space and time. I got a pretty good visualization of all the main characters, what they looked like, etc, I thought that was good. If I have a criticism it’s in the response of the characters to the circumstances. They don’t seem super wierdest out or upset that the bachelor party “joke” lead to such dramatic outcomes (memory loss). ...

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Louanne Ewald
19:11 Oct 16, 2020

Thank you for your comments and perspective. They're very helpful.

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Greendoodlism .
21:31 Oct 14, 2020

In my opinion you tackled what I felt was one of the most difficult prompts. I personally would have had no idea how to do this but you showed mastery of vision and put a very good piece together. Solid romance. Definitely will follow and look forward to future entries :D

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Louanne Ewald
14:00 Oct 15, 2020

Thank you for your comments. I'll check yours out later today.

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