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Wonderland

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I felt a prick in my forearm. Why did my arm sting? What was I doing?

I looked up to see someone smiling at me from the other end of a table. Lucien, my boyfriend of one year. A few months ago he had left his job as a professor to work as a neurologist at the local trauma center. He told me he needed a change of scenery after a particularly bad semester, chock full of students cheating and plagiarizing.

I took in the sights around me. We were in The Little Leaf, our favorite café in Loveland. Their coffee was always brewed to perfection, their tea never a degree too hot. Daylight streamed in through the windows.

“What’s wrong, dear? Have you spaced out again?” Lucien placed a concerned hand on mine.

“Oh, I guess so. I’m really sorry. What were we talking about again?”

He gave me an understanding smile. “That’s alright. You’ve been quite forgetful recently. It’s your work, isn’t it? You’ve been under a lot of stress and haven’t been sleeping properly.”

Bashfully, I looked down. How did my boyfriend seem to understand my problems better than I did?

“Come now, don’t look so upset. I’m sure you’ll feel better soon. Here, drink your tea.” Lucien gently pushed a porcelain teacup toward me. Steam wafted off the top as though it were a smokestack. “Lavender tea is your favorite, isn’t it?”

I felt my spirits lift a little. “You always remember everything about me.” I brought the teacup to my lips, savoring the fragrant flavors of earthy black tea leaves and sweet lavender.

“Of course. You’re wonderful. Far more interesting than neurology, astronomy, or any topic in the universe.” Lucien squeezed my hand gently.

“O-oh… I like you too!” Sometimes I still felt caught off guard by his affection. Initially, I felt some guilt toward dating him. He had been a resource for so many of my documentaries that I felt as if I were dating a coworker. I had wondered whether it would be inappropriate, but luckily my office supported us wholeheartedly.

I set the teacup back down on the table and placed my head in my hands. I still felt disoriented, as if my day had just started ten minutes ago.

“Lucien, you’re a neurologist. I feel really confused today… I don’t even remember what I was doing earlier. Doesn’t that seem concerning?”

“Like I said, I believe it’s your work. You’ve been exerting yourself far too much. You need to take a break.”

“I feel worried. Shouldn’t we go to the hospital so I can get an MRI or something? What if there’s something wrong with my brain?”

“Silly girl. You know I’d never let anything happen to you.” Lucien flashed me a charming smile. No wonder so many of his students and colleagues fell for him. It was impossible for anyone with a pulse to resist that beautiful face.

“What day of the week is it?” I asked.

“It’s Friday, and you’ve already finished work. That means you can rest all weekend.”

“L-Lucien…” I weakly grasped his wrist. “I feel really scared. I don’t feel like myself anymore. Why can’t I remember today?”

Lucien stood up, taking my hand in his. “I’ll spend this weekend with you, so don’t worry. You know you can trust me – I’m a neurologist so I will know right away if there is anything to be concerned about.”

I nodded, standing up too. Thank goodness I had such a concerned, understanding boyfriend. What would have happened if I lost my memory around someone else? Someone could have hurt me.

We walked out of the café, into the bustling streets of Loveland. Why did I have the feeling everything looked slightly off?