"Lauren over here!" I heard called through the little airport in North Carolina. I dragged my bag behind me, following the voice and eventually finding my parents stood side by side.
"Hi!" I grinned, allowing the pair of them to pull me in for a tight group hug.
"How you doing sweetheart?" my Dad asked, looking at me expectantly.
"Still the same, but learning to deal with it," I shrugged.
"Awww, some time with yourMum and Dad will turn you right as rain," Mum smiled, hugging me again.
"I hope so, this is getting hard."
Mum gave me a sad smile and linked her arm with mine as my Dad grabbed my huge suitcase.
"Jesus this is heavy," he laughed as he tried to hoist it into the back of his car.
"I was just in LA for three weeks," I reminded him.
"Still, will you ever learn to pack light?"
I gave him a shrug, climbing into the back seat of the car. My eyes were glued to the window as we drove out to the house. North Carolina was so completely different to LA that I was caught up trying to figure out just where the hell in the world I was.
"Why did you move out here again?" I asked.
"I saw it in a film," Mum grinned, turning back to look at me as I continued to stare out the window, "I can't even remember what film it was. I think it wasn't very good, but this place just looked so gorgeous."
"So you bought a place out here?"
"We visited first, a couple years ago. And then maybe a month after you and Joey got married we made the move official."
"And I've visited?"
"Yeah, three times," my Dad said, "With Joey every time. You usually stop over on your way to or from LA."
"Makes sense, it's a long flight otherwise."
"This is our street," my Dad said, turning a corner and pulling up to a house. It was painted a greyish blue and set back from the road a bit. When I got out of the car I could smell the salt water of the ocean. "Come on, I'll show you around," my Dad said.
I gave him a grin and then followed him into the house. It was another one of those surreal experiences, being given a tour of a place you'd been a few times before. I had no idea that there was a swing on the back porch, or that I usually shared the room in the back corner of the house with Joeywhen we came.
"I'm just going to go for a wander," I said after the tour was over, "Check out the beach and that."
"Do you want one of us to come?" Mum asked.
"No thanks," I smiled, "Just trying to digest all of this."
"I'll drag your bags to your room," my Dad said, "And we'll walk down the road for dinner in like an hour."
"Thanks Dad," I said, giving him a quick hug before going out the back door and wandering out to the beach.
There were a few houses along the beach, but it was generally pretty quiet. When I'd first landed I noticed that the beach towns closest to the airport seemed pretty busy with tourists and resorts, but once we were a ways up the coast it got pretty peaceful.
I sat down on a dune of sand, watching the waves crash against the shore. Tall sea grass hid me from view as I sat and tried to think everything through. In my gut this place was going to hold some key to my memory. Somewhere locked in that house had to be a clue. But I didn't know where to start, or what questions to even ask. I hated being so lost and confused, and now that I was the entire width of America away from Joey, I started to feel really alone.
As if on cue my phone started to buzz in my pocket, Joey ringing from LA.
"Hey," I said quietly into the phone.
"Hey babe, how is it?"
"Not what I expected, at all," I told him. I'd texted him when I landed and he'd promised to ring me an hour or so later once I'd seen the place.
"What didn't you expect?"
"I guess when I picture a beach I think of palm trees and white sand, but this place isn't like that at all. It's got all this grass and the sand is kind of rocky."
"Just wait until night when the bugs come out."
"Bugs!" I squealed.
"Good bugs," Joey said, "Crickets and fireflies. It makes the whole place kind of magical."
"I wish you were here," I said after a moment of silence.
"It's weird doing this on my own," I added, "We've been trying to find clues together and now I'm back to doing it by myself."
"I'll be there in a week."
"But I should start searching now," I said.
"You don't have to," Joey said, "If you want to wait for me we'll search twice as hard when I get there."
"But then you won't get any time to relax," I said, "I'll start now, I just need to figure things out."
"You'll be fine,"Joey said, "You're amazing, don't forget that."
"How can I be amazing when I don't even know who I am?" I asked.
"You do know though. And anyways, I say you're amazing so that means you are."
I giggled at his statement, falling into a nice conversation with him about North Carolina. He told me about how we liked to sit out on the porch swing and watch for fireflies, and about the time he threw me in the sea and I nearly got stung by a jellyfish.
"I'm going to let you go now," Joey said, "Just believe in yourself and things will be fine. Trust your family too."
"I will," I smiled, "Love you Joe."
"Bye Lauren, love you more."
I hung up the phone and slid it into my pocket, standing up and brushing the sand off my backside.
When I got up to the house Mum collared me, a big grin on her face. "I saw you on the phone."
"Yup," I smiled.
"Things are going better between you two then?"
"Much better," I replied, "I've learned to trust him and he's been absolutely incredible in helping me out. A total godsend."
"I've told you this before," mum said, "I've never met two people more in love than you two. Nor have I met two people more perfectly matched."
"I've got a confession, and I know it sounds crazy, but I feel like I've fallen in love with him all over again. Already," I grinned.
Mum grinned back, pulling me in for a tight hug. "I knew you would," she whispered in my ear.
I know I haven't posted since last week but I did say I was back at work now after my weeks holiday, so I apologize if my updates are not as consistent. And I'm sorry I didn't post last Sunday when I said I would but I had had and eventful Saturday and had some decisions to make.
I just have to say this I love your reviews very much but I have been getting some hate as I can't post as often and for the fact that Lauren hasn't remembered yet, I can't just make Lauren suddenly remember I'm trying to make it realistic and this story is planned out so I know how it will end. And if you haven't noticed Lauren is falling in love with Joey again. :)
I hope you can understand about my lack of posting