Lost and Found

Chapter One

Steve looked out the window as the chopper approached the tiny island. The land was split into two distinct halves: snow-white sand that glittered like diamonds on one half, and lush, green foliage (that just happened to hide an OSI safe house) on the other. The little house was the only structure on an island so small it had no name and couldn't be found on a map.

He couldn't see Jaime from the air, but he figured she was probably sleeping, since it was very early morning. Steve wasn't convinced this surprise visit was a good idea. Would she be happy to see him, or would he only make things worse?

Jaime's check-up two weeks earlier had gone extremely well. Physically, she was in the best shape she'd been in since she'd lost her memory, nearly three years earlier. It was her emotional well-being that had Rudy so concerned. Jaime appeared to be in the grip of a deep depression. She was tired of living what she called 'half a life'. When surgery had failed to give her the results she'd hoped for - 100 of her memories returned - she'd tried hypnosis, psychotherapy and pentothal, each with results more disappointing than the last.

Rudy had conferred with Oscar, and a little more than a week ago, Jaime had been sent to this island for a 'vacation'. If the beauty and isolation couldn't help her memory, they hoped she'd at least find some peace of mind. Now that she'd been completely alone for 10 days, Rudy's hope was that Steve's sudden appearance, along with the contents of the box on his lap, would trigger something inside her when nothing else could.

When the chopper hovered lower, preparing to land, Jaime came out of the house, her curiousity piqued by the unexpected sound. The rising island sun gave her hair a 24-karat glimmer.

"Whoa!" The pilot whistled under his breath. "Wouldja take a look at that!"

"Tell you what," Steve seethed, "I'll pretend you didn't say that, and you can pretend you're a human being." He grabbed his duffel bag, tucked the small box inside and jumped out the second the chopper touched down. "Do yourself a big favor," he told the pilot, "and get lost - now

Jaime couldn't see who'd joined her until the pilot took off. Steve held his breath, preparing for anything. Jaime's face broke into a broad, happy smile, and she ran to him, throwing her arms around him.

"Steve! It's so good to see you! What are you doing here?"

"Rudy and Oscar thought you might like some company." Steve looked at the woman in his arms and she momentarily took his breath away. He knew this was merely a 'welcome' hug, but he longed to pull her closer and turn it into something more. "How are you?" he asked, reluctantly breaking the embrace. "Rudy said you were feeling pretty low."

"Just really frustrated, I guess. Hey - are you staying for awhile?"

"Only if you want me to," Steve answered.

"To tell ya the truth...at first this place was nice, but for the last few days I've felt kinda lonely...for you."


"The things I've been trying to wrap my mind around, the pictures I'm trying to make sense of - most of them are about you. I've been sitting on the beach, wishing I could see you or at least talk to you, and here you are!" She gave him a quick kiss on the cheek and turned toward the house. "You hungry?"

"Not really."

"Well, I know you won't turn down a cup of coffee."

"That, I'll take you up on."

They headed into the house together. As she handed him a mug of coffee, Jaime's eyes sparkled mischievously. "By the way, I might not know you as well as I used to, but I can still get a pretty good idea of what's on your mind."

"And what might that be?"

"You're too nice to ask, but yes, the house has two bedrooms."

Damn! Steve thought. He smiled warmly at her. "Just show me where to throw the duffel, and then we can talk, if you want."

"Maybe outside, on the beach?" Jaime suggested. "It's so relaxing..."

Steve set his bag down in the second bedroom. The box inside would come later; they had plenty of time.