Choose to return to the apartment

YOU’RE BACK WHERE YOU STARTED.

Harry drives you back to your apartment. “Is Tucker there?” he asks.

You vaguely remember that the man might have said his name was Tucker. It’s all mixed up in the confusion and fear.

“I’m not sure.”

“Ava, you sure seem out of sorts.” He parks his big truck in front of the door you ran from. “You want to talk about it?”

“I don’t know anything. It’s like my head is…empty.”

“But you came to the restaurant.”

“I had this.” You show him the keychain.

“You got this back when you worked for me.”

“Where do I work now?”

“You’re a high-fallutin’ photographer. I paid for your first semester myself.”

That explains all the photographs. You glance at the door. “Is Tucker a good man?”

“Far as I can tell. He sure has had a shine for you a long time. Years, now. He knew you before I did.”

Good enough. “Okay. Let’s go in. You’ll come with me?” You trust Harry.

“Absolutely. I’ll break him in half if I think he doesn’t have a damn good explanation.”

When you re-enter the apartment, Tucker is on the phone. He says, “She’s here. She came back. Harry brought her. Thanks. Bye.” He sets it down. “Thank God you went to Harry.”

Harry sniffs. “Why does she have blood on her?”

Tucker heads toward you, but then realizes you’re still unsure, and stops in the middle of the room. “You had a seizure, Ava. Some of your seizures make you lose your memory. We’ve been through this before.”

Harry looks at you with horror. “That never happened when she worked for me.”

“We had a good run without any problems.”

Harry pulls you close, like you’re his child. “Will she get it back?”

You can tell by Tucker’s face that it’s not good news. “We have a plan. Ava, will you look at the videos you made for yourself? You always felt that the best person to tell you who you were, was you.”

You pull away from Harry to sink onto the sofa. Something about it is calming, like you’ve sat here before. As Tucker opens a laptop and starts a video, a young woman begins to talk to you. You recognize her voice.

She’s you.

“Welcome, back, Ava,” you tell yourself. “Let’s get started helping you remember who you are.”

CONGRATULATIONS. YOU DID THE RIGHT THING!

YOU HAVE WON AN ADVANCE READER COPY OF THE BOOK!

What you have just read is one of the scenes I put my main character Ava through in my new book THIS KISS.

Ava has epilepsy, a condition that causes seizures. Her particular form hits a part of the brain that stores your life memories (the hippocampus.) She can walk, talk, and read, but she doesn’t know who she is, where she’s been, and doesn’t recognize anything as being hers, even though she can name what the objects are.

I decided to write this story after my daughter Elizabeth, who was diagnosed with epilepsy at age six, was going through a period of the worst seizures of her life. At age 15, Elizabeth had a seizure at a movie theater on a class trip. I raced to the mall to find two fire trucks and a half-dozen tricked-out firefighters walking out.

They’d been there for her. She was going to have a story to tell me about them!

But she didn’t. She had no memory of the firefighters, of feeling bad, or roughly half an hour leading up to the seizure. It took a good hour for her to orient herself with a chunk of her life missing.

I started researching memory loss with seizures.

Elizabeth’s seizures did not turn out to have a long-term affect on her memory, although she never did get those firefighters back.

But looking at the medical reasons for this, I discovered quite a few people where it DID. A seizure took their memories. And not only that, it could happen over and over again.

And so my thoughts churned. What if it did? How would you love anyone? How could anybody stay in love with you?

I created Ava and Tucker to find out.

So now, you can choose YOUR next reading adventure:

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