Jax awoke to the smell of coffee. He sits up and places a hand on his throbbing arm, reminding him of yesterday’s mess. He pulls out his phone but unsurprisingly it is dead. He can’t remember the last time he charged it. The clock beside the bed reads 10:28. He looks back to see the empty space beside him, hoping that Bren was able to sleep too. He can hear the shower going so he stands up and walks to the kitchen.
He scans the kitchen looking for a coffee mug. He grabs a brown and blue mug and sets it down on the counter. Then he picks up a glass and fills it up with water and sets it down at the table. The pipes vibrate in the old apartment as Bren turns the shower off. Jax pours a cup of coffee for Bren and sits down at the table. It wasn’t long before Bren steps into the kitchen, his hair still damp but already pulled back and neat. He has even freshly shaven the stubble that had appeared over the last couple of days. Jax nervously rubs his fingertips along the smooth cool exterior of the glass. Bren eyes the steaming coffee cup sitting across from Jax, and takes a seat in front of it.
“How do you feel?” Bren asks.
Jax says, “I am pretty sore but my medicine will take care of it.”
Bren stands up and gets the bottle out while asking,
“How many of these do you take in a day?”
He sits back down and looks at Jax with concern.
Avoiding eye contact he leans his head into his left hand, his hair cascading across his fingertips. “I usually take two in the morning and two at night...sometimes one in the middle of the day. When things are really bad like they have been the last couple of days I take more,” Jax says.
Bren opens the bottle and pours two pills out. “I think it is best, despite what is going on, that you don’t go beyond four a day.”
Jax chews on his bottom lip as he takes the pills from Bren.
“I have already called Fuchsia and Sina and they will be over soon. We are going to talk and I want you to try to stay calm this time. If you need a break let us know but don’t run away this time.”
Bren gets up and gets a refill of coffee. He sits it down and tells Jax that he is going to smoke before the others get to his apartment.
Jax heads toward the bathroom to try to clean up a little. He wishes he was at his apartment with his clothes and phone charger. He brushes his hair with his fingers and looks below the bathroom sink and finds a new toothbrush. At least his hair will be neat and his breath will smell clean. He goes back to the bedroom and sits on the bed. A brown sketchbook sits on the nightstand. He pulls the book into his lap and flips to the first page, there were pencil sketches of birds and sea grass. The next few pages have sketches of bugs, the beach, and more birds. He flips to a page of a woman with long hair. She is sitting on a piece of wood and has a pencil in one hand and a book in the other. She appears to be smiling as a young child runs in the distance. Jax remembers the story that Bren told him during the night and realizes this must be his grandmother and the young child is probably him. He brushes his fingers over the edge of the sketchbook as he wonders what his grandmother is, or was, like. He wishes he could remember something...anything from his past. He hears the front door open as he slips the book quickly back onto the nightstand.
He hears Fuchsia, Sina, and Bren talking but he hesitates joining them. He sits on the bed wanting to disappear instead of facing the conversation that awaits. He hears Fuschia as she approaches, her heels producing a pleasing rhythmical sound. She pokes her head in the door and calmly says, “Hey, Jax.”
Not making eye contact he says, “Hey.”
She walks in and sits on the bed beside Jax and asks, “Are you still mad at me?”
Jax sighs and looks at the wall in front of him. “I’m not mad at you! I'm just confused and don't understand what you were telling me yesterday.”
“I understand hun!” Fuschia says as she places a hand gently on Jax’s leg.
“I have a lot to tell you, but promise me you won’t run off this time. I also need you to promise me that if you start to remember anything you will tell me.”
Jax shifts uncomfortably but says, “I promise.”
“Is there something you want to know first?” Fuchsia asks.
“How do we really know each other?” he asks.
“Fuchsia smiles and says, “I think it is better if I show you first.” She pulls out a MemVio disc. She sits the circular device on the table beside them and taps the center. It expands the circular base and projects the translucent blue box. She taps her phone to link the devices and an image appears . Jax covers his mouth, speechless. The projected image is of two children, one noticeably older than the other. Fuchsia side bumps Jax as she says “That is a picture of us when we were younger.” Jax finally makes eye contact with Fuchsia. She laughs and says,”I know…. We look a lot different now.”
“Do you have more pictures?” Jax asks.
She slowly changes to different pictures as she tries to explain what and where they were. Finally, she brought up a picture of a man and a woman with Jax. She pauses to see how Jax responds to the picture. “Are these my parents?” Jax asks.
“Your mother, Catherine, died when you were very young.”
“What about my Dad?”
“Your Dad, Dr. Joseph Collins was the lead researcher at the Lab that I worked for. The events that led up to your injuries began in his lab and this is where he lost his life.”
Fuchsia and Jax continue to talk for a long while. As their conversation draws to an end they both have puffy eyes and tears still evident in their eyes.
Fuchsia asks Jax if he can remember anything. He shakes his head no. “It feels like I am looking at and hearing about someone else's life in a way. But I have a question…. What was my name?”
Fuchsia smiles and says “Liam….Liam Collins.”
His eyes widen as the name reverberates through his head. “Liam?”
Fuchsia looks at Jax worried and says “What’s wrong?”
All of a sudden he remembers when Mr. Creso called him by the name “Liam” thus triggering a domino effect of memories from the night he obtained his life threatening injuries. Jax starts screaming and looks like he is reliving the painful experience. Fuchsia calls for Sina and Bren. She yells to Sina to grab her bag quickly.
Bren tries to calm Jax but he has already disconnected with reality and is unreachable. All he can do is make sure he doesn't hurt himself. Sina hands Fuchsia the bag and Fuchsia pulls out a transdermal microneedle patch. She tells Bren to hold Jax’s arm out. She carefully secures the patch to Jax and within minutes he begins to calm down until eventually he is unconscious.
“What the hell happened, Fuchsia?” Bren growls.
Fuchsia screams back at him, livid at his accusation. “I didn’t do anything.” She lowers her voice and says, “He was upset but he was handling everything really well. I don’t understand! It was his name...his name triggered a flashback.”