Three and a half years later, the girl with light brown- almost blonde- hair and hazel- green eyes who had woken up in Danny’s home and was only able to tell them her name was Aurelia and that she was twelve years old, was now sat on the window-seat in her bedroom at the top of the cosy little house she had moved into with Danny after staying with his family for the last three years he was at university. He hadn’t adopted her, if that’s a question you are asking yourselves- but he did become her legal guardian a couple of months after he graduated with a degree in Italian BA, and had undergone training to become a private Italian tutor; which was relatively easy money for him as he could work from home unless his students couldn’t come to him. It was also beneficial for Aurelia because she always knew he would be home when she came back from school- and even if he wasn’t home when she got back, he always left a note either on the kitchen counter or dining table saying where he was, around how long he would be gone and sometimes-usually on a Thursday or Friday- he’d make cookies and leave the note beside them with a P.S at the bottom of it telling her to help herself.
Aurelia was now sat on the window-seat in the bedroom- which had a view of the driveway-on a warm Friday afternoon (it was a teacher training day at school, so all the students in her year had the day off) in June, reading when she saw a dark blue car pull into the driveway.
She grinned, and marking her place in the book with her wolf book-mark, ran down to Danny’s study.
‘Danny, they’re here!’ she told him ecstatically when she came in- you’ll know from reading this why she calls him by his name instead of dad.
Danny looked up at the arty clock above the door before saying ‘right on time…that’s new; they’re usually late, aren’t they’ and winking at her.
She giggled ‘he-he, yeah’ and followed him downstairs to the open plan kitchen and dining/living room.
‘Will you set the table for lunch and put the kettle on for me?’ he asked, turning to her as he headed towards the front door.
She nodded ‘of course’
He smiled ‘thank you sweetheart’ and then went to get his family.
Fifteen minutes later, after Danny had brought Harriet, Henry and Jack into the house, the five of them were sat around Danny and Aurelia’s expandable dining table chatting about what everyone had been doing since they last saw each other, which was only a week or so ago, and eating little sandwiches Aurelia and Danny had made half an hour or so before the others had arrived.
‘So Aurelia, what have you been up to outside of school recently- aside from hanging out with Henry or at home with Danny?’ Jack asked after they had all finished eating and all the lunch dishes were in the dishwasher.
Something I should have mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, is that since Aurelia woke up in their house and lived with them for three years- until late December last year- she and Henry had grown very close, because the first two or three months after she came into their lives she was afraid to go outside for fear of being found and kidnapped by the people who had left both her mind and body scarred, and spent a lot of time alone with him when he got home from school; reading, playing board games etc., but after a few hours in the front and back gardens every few days, she gradually let go of her fear and started school, though she was a couple of years behind most people her age because she’d been stuck in some facility for God knows how long, she picked things up very quickly and had been attending the local high school ever since.
‘Um…well I’ve been reading a lot and getting on with homework’ she replied, taking a sip from her can of Sprite Zero.
‘Ah. What homework have you been doing?’ Harriet inquired.
‘Come on Mum! It’s Saturday; don’t ask her questions about school and homework- and don’t ask me either’ Henry said, getting a grin from Aurelia that was both in thanks and amusement at the expression on his face when he said “school”, and a chuckle from Danny.
‘Okay then…what have you two been getting up to when you’re not at school or at our house?’ she asked instead.
‘We have a little book club where we take turns reading out lines from novels or read parts in plays at one of our friends’ houses after school on Mondays and Wednesdays’ Henry replied, hanging his arm casually over the back of Aurelia’s chair to the left of him; his hand hanging just beside her right arm, his fingers occasionally brushing her arm when she moved around.
‘What else do we get up to when we’re not around these guys?’ he asked, turning to her.
‘We help each other study at the library sometimes’ she replied, turning to him and then back to the other three.
‘Oh yeah, we’ve been doing that a lot lately- and we’ve planned a movie night tomorrow with some friends- Aurelia asked you about it after school yesterday Danny, and told me you said yes to having it here’
‘Yeah, it’s fine with me as long as you don’t watch any thrillers or horror movies- especially not the ones involving institutes, you know how Aurelia feels about those’ Danny replied, Henry nodding in agreement.
‘Is it okay if we leave the table?’ Aurelia asked after finishing her last mouthful of sandwich.
Danny turned to Harriet and Jack, who both nodded.
‘Go on then – but go outside, it’s a sunny day’ he told them.
Ten minutes later, Aurelia and Henry were out in the sunshine lying on a blanket that was half in the sunshine and half in the shade so they could switch which way they lay.
‘I love doing this’ Aurelia said, lying in the sunlight up to her waist with her eyes closed, arms crossed behind her head.
Henry was doing the same ‘yeah, me too’ he agreed.
A few seconds past, and then Henry turned onto his side and propped himself up on his elbow, leaning his head on the palm of his hand as he looked at her.
‘Aurelia…have you had any more of those dreams you told me about?’ he asked.
She turned over onto her stomach and crossed her arms again before leaning on her hands and returning his gaze.
‘Not recently, no’
‘You’re going to have to tell Danny and my parents sooner-or-later. Those dreams could be important to finding out what happened to you before you collapsed on our doorstep’ he told her.
She chewed lightly on the inside of her mouth for a few seconds, then pulled herself up and crossed her legs before letting her hands flop into her lap.
‘What I don’t understand, is why I’m only having these dreams now’ she replied ‘I mean…why didn’t I have these dreams months after I escaped wherever it was I was being held?’
Henry was silent for a while, and then sat up too; leaning back on his hands.
‘I don’t understand it either…maybe your mind has been suppressing the memories you lost before you were twelve until you were ready to get them back again?’ he replied.
‘Why would my own mind keep memories like that from me until now, when I’m almost sixteen? It makes no sense’ she said.
Henry sighed ‘I don’t know- but I’m going to try and help you figure it out. I promise’
She turned to him and smiled ‘thanks Henry that means a lot. You know…I’ve never really thanked you for being here these past three and a half years, when I was too afraid to leave the house for fear of being snatched away again by the people I ran from and spending all that time with me when you weren’t at school or basketball club’
He smiled back at her ‘I didn’t want you to be all by yourself, and besides…it was nothing’
She leaned forward and placed both her hands over his; curling her fingers gently under his ‘it isn’t to me…you gave up most of your time to be with me so I wouldn’t feel so alone and scared. You even helped me overcome my fear of going outside by coming with me out here in the back garden every other day and getting me used to it; you’d sit with me- on this very spot- and talk to me about random things like… a funny video you saw in a lesson at school or some kid from your class acting like a clown for the entire lesson. You brought me back into the light, Henry’
He blushed a light shade of pink at the feeling of her warm hands on his own and the warmth they brought his heart, and smiled at her
‘I’ll always be here for you, Aurelia’
She smiled back at him ‘and I for you’
After school a few days later Aurelia had just been shopping at Sainsbury’s with Danny and Henry (Aurelia and Danny had invited him round for dinner), when she spotted a strangely dressed man at one corner of the car park.
He had dark brown hair and was dressed almost completely in a pale blue suit, and seemed to be waiting for someone, for he kept looking around him; peering around people and over cars with a phone held to his ear the whole time.
‘Aurelia, what’s wrong?’ she heard Danny ask beside her, and turned to him.
He gave her a look that told her he wasn’t convinced, and told her to tell him the truth.
‘There was a dark haired man wearing a weird pale blue suit standing over there’ she admitted, jerking her thumb in the direction she’d seen him only, when she looked back, he wasn’t there anymore.
‘Are you sure?’ Henry asked from beside the car as Danny unlocked it.
‘I’m positive. There was someone there and he looked…familiar’ she replied as they got in and closed the doors.
‘We believe you sweetheart. Just try and forget about him, but if you ever see him again tell me straight away, okay?’ Danny replied as they pulled out onto the road.
‘Good girl…so who wants pizza for dinner?’
That night, after the three of them had eaten pizza and strawberry and vanilla ice cream for dessert, they were watching a movie and eating popcorn when Henry’s hand accidentally touched Aurelia’s as he set it down after eating a handful of popcorn.
‘S-sorry’ he apologised, stammering and blushing as he spoke.
Aurelia smiled as she replied ‘it’s alright’
Henry swallowed, feeling hot and flustered sitting between Aurelia and his brother, and excused himself, heading out into the back garden.
Hey guys, sorry for the late post, I’ve been concentrating on LOST PRINCESS (yep, still haven’t finished it yet) and job hunting, and have been forgetting to blog post and write The Girl With No Memories, and the next chapter of this probably won’t be up for a few weeks yet, but I hope you enjoy reading this, and I will be sure to post in the chapter gap, including new finds and reviews.