James and Cassie

James Henley met Cassie Andrews when they first started primary school as children. For years the two of them made it their mission to make each other's lives hell until they were cast opposite each other in their school production. Suddenly, from having to tolerate each other, they found a romance.
Ten years later a fight spiralled out of control and Cassie storms out of their house. Hours pass before James recieves any news of his wife. She's been in a car crash. When she wakes up after the acident she has amnesia. All she can remember of James is the boy who made her life a misery.
Can James convince her to love him again?
Follow the story of how they fell in love and how they respond to the accident that could tear them apart forever.

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3. Waking Up

 

12:10

Monday

1st November 2020

Waking Up

 

It was around noon, a couple of weeks after the accident, and James was sat holding Cassie's hand. He'd barely left her side over the last two weeks, so now he was more than slightly dishevelled, though he had found time to change, shave and wash. Something about the idea that she'd wake up without him made him sick inside, he had to be there. The cold hadn't given up since the accident but James wasn't entirely sure if that was the weather or his own perception of a world without Cassie.

 

The room itself was now filled with flowers and framed photographs so that Cassie would wake up to somewhere bright and full of colour. He just knew she was going to love it, if she would just open those eyes.

 

“You have to open your eyes, Cass, Lissy and your mum are coming in this after-noon and you won't be able to talk to them unless you open your eyes,” James sighed, running his thumb over the back of her hand “Please wake up.”

 

At the door, Peter's face appeared “I'm taking Sonny home, I think he was up for most of last night and he's exhausted.” Peter was Sonny's fiancé, and one of James's closest friends. This guy was blonde, athletic and handsome, not to mention really kind and intelligent too, Cassie knew him from law school.

 

“Fine,” James met Peter's blue eyes “I'll call you if anything changes.” Lingering in the doorway for just a moment, Peter looked like he was about to say something, before he seemed to think better of it and disappeared from view.

 

It was then James noticed Cassie's fingers were curling around his own, tightening. Tears, this time of joy, rose in his brown eyes as he spoke to her “Cass, can you hear me, love? I'm here, stay with me.” His heart leapt up into his throat and the whole world could have been revolving around Cassie for the way he looked at her. Without drawing his gaze away from her for a second, he pressed the little red button that alerted the nurses.

 

Delicately and ever-so-slowly, Cassie's bright green eyes opened to the world once more. James could have kissed her but something, that sixth sense tuned only to Cassie's emotions, told him not to “Thank God, I thought I'd never see those eyes again.”

 

There was a moment when vague confusion flashed through her gaze, as though she was trying to place his face. It was, admittedly, unsettling but he disregarded it as disorientation at first. Then that look came over her that was instantly familiar and yet so foreign. Years had passed since he'd last seen her give him that steady gaze of loathing.

 

Nurses bustled in and ushered him out into the corridor where he slid to the ground to stare at the sterile white walls and wait to be re-admitted to his wife's room. His head began spinning and he jammed his head down between his knees, twining his fingers into his hair as he tried to make sense of current events. He wasn't aware of how long he stayed there before the black-haired doctor from before emerged from Cassie's room.

 

“Are you all right, Mr Henley?” she asked, wielding her usual clipboard and raising a single plucked eyebrow. Clearing his throat, he looked up at her and nodded. With a sympathetic sort of smile, she continued “Your wife seems to be suffering a certain amount of memory loss...”

 

James didn't wait for any more information, he just stormed straight into Cassie's hospital room. Hoarsely, Cassie spat with suspicion “What are you doing here?”

 

“I never left,” he responded, his stomach turning and twisting uncomfortably. He knew, clear as day, he knew it but he couldn't bear to believe it because he didn't know what he would do if he was right.

 

The doctor stumbled in after him, pulling at his arm, encouragingly “Please, Mr Henley, you really need to leave the room.”

 

“Where's my mum?” Cassie rubbed the back of her hand over her eye lazily “Why did I wake up to Henley by my bedside and not her?”

 

Ignoring her, the doctor continued, persistently “You really shouldn't cause her stress...”

 

“How old are you Cassie?” James choked, hoping to everything he'd ever believed in that he was wrong.

 

A strange look in her eye, she replied “Sixteen.”

 

At those words he finally backed out into the corridor, bracing himself against the wall, trying to make the world hold steady again. When they were sixteen he was a jerk and Cassie was his favourite target, they'd been constantly at each other's throats. God knows how he could look after her, if she hated him.

 

Obviously worried about him, the Doctor frowned “Mr Henley, these things are hard to predict-”

 

“She hates me,” he breathed, looking up at the mildly startled woman “My own wife hates me.”

 

With a sympathetic expression, she shook her head “Not necessarily, she just doesn't recognise you.”

 

“I knew her when she was sixteen, we despised each other,” he told her, his heart aching at the words even as he said them. Ten years of them being together all wiped from her memory.

 

Shaking her head, the doctor seemed to acknowledge that she was out of her depth and left with a mumbled excuse that he needed time to himself. He knew that she was just making an excuse to get out of an awkward situation, nevertheless he was thankful because he did want to be alone.

Instinctively, he reached for his phone and dialled Sonny's number.

 

“Hello,” Peter answered the phone.

 

With a sigh, James asked “Can I speak to Sonny please, Peter?”

 

“He's asleep in my lap at the moment,” he replied fondly “So you'll forgive me if I ask you for a good reason to wake him.”

 

“She's awake.”

 

“That might do it,” he responded his voice higher than usual “Sonny, baby, you gotta wake up now, Cassie's awake.” There was some muffled mumbling and shuffling in the background before Peter repeated “Cassie's awake.”

 

There was then a very loud “And you waited this long to tell me!” before Sonny grabbed the phone and babbled out “How is she? How long ago? What did she say?”

 

“She thinks she's sixteen.”

 

“What?”

 

“She thinks she's sixteen, she's lost about ten years of memory.”

 

“It could just be preliminary disorientation.”

 

“I doubt it, there was just something in the way she looked at me... she doesn't remember us, just the douche I was at sixteen.”

 

 

14:21

 

Taking a deep breath, Sonny entered the hospital room that had become so familiar to him in the last few days.

 

His sister was frowning at a picture held in her hand. It was of James and her on a night out. Him in a cream trilby and white t-shirt, her in a red dress, both smiling broadly at the camera. Sonny's heart squeezed at the sight of the couple so happy, arms slung easily around each-other and eyes shining.

 

“Hey Cass,” he sat beside the bed, trying to hide his discomfort. He didn't like this, it felt dishonest somehow though he didn't know why.

 

Looking up at him, she smiled “Thank God, Sonny! I thought I'd never see a familiar face.”

 

“James was here,” he replied weakly, as he considered how James must be feeling right now.

 

With a roll of her green eyes, Cassie chuckled “I meant the face of someone I like, speaking of which, why are there so many pictures of him and I?”

 

“What's the last thing you remember?” he changed the subject, quickly.

 

Thoughtfully, she shrugged “Arguing with James and his friends, Steven and Zachary shoving me into a bench or something.”

 

“I remember that,” Sonny half-smiled sadly at the memory “You were gonna miss the bus and I decided I'd go and find you, so I hopped out, just before it was gonna set off. I got there just in time to see them shove you. Steven got expelled for that, Zachary hung in there though – Steven having a worse record and all.”

 

There was a moment of silence as she nodded slowly, but then her jaw set and she sighed “So I've lost ten years of memory, right?”

 

“Yeah,” he nodded, wondering where she was going to go with this.

 

Frowning again, at the image in her hand, Cassie asked “What exactly have I been doing with James Henley, in that time?”

 

“What do you mean?” he hedged, trying to buy himself some time before the inevitable announcement.

 

With a shake of her head, she met his gaze “No-one's giving me any straight answers, please Sonny.”

 

“I don't think I'm the right person to tell you,” he mumbled, scratching at the back of his hand like he always did when he got stressed out.

 

Funny how he still did that after ten years, she considered “Who else would I hear it from, I don't trust anyone else.”

 

“Well there's Mum and the girls and even Darren...” he trailed off at the incredulous expression on Cassie's face.

 

“Since when have I ever trusted Darren,” Cassie sighed, her eyebrows raised in scepticism “I don't think I can bare to see the girls yet, knowing I've missed ten years of their life and I don't want to hear it from Mum.”

 

With a groan, he scowled at her “You're not gonna like it.”

 

“Sonny!”

 

“Fine!” he snapped in response, softening as he told her “You married him.”

 

Eyes wide, Cassie exclaimed “I did what?”

 

It happened to be that it was that moment when James returned with coffee “What did you do?”

 

As he accepted his coffee, Sonny turned white as a sheet “Married you.”

 

“What did you marry me for?” she barked at her husband angrily. Every cell in her body burning with outraged and convinced that someone was lying to her. Maybe this was one of those hidden camera shows. Any minute Annabel and Leah would jump out and say 'gotcha!' It was a pretty sick joke, anyway.

 

Sitting down in the empty armchair, he rolled his eyes “Well call me optimistic, but I didn't expect you to lose the ten years we've spent together and decide you hated me.”

 

“Did you brainwash me?” she hissed struggling to comprehend this new information.

 

Voice dripping with both exasperation and sarcasm, James quipped “If I did, I didn't do a very good job, you hate me again don't you?”

 

“This isn't funny!” she growled “My world is falling apart here!”

 

As she flung the photo, she had been holding, at him, he stood to leave “So's mine Cassie.” Sonny could help but feel sorry for the guy who had looked like a wreck for weeks, but always a hopeful wreckm now he looked down-right broken.

 

Once he was gone, Sonny breathed “He really loves you, Cass, you're hurting him so much right now.”

 

“He hurt me first,” she retorted petulantly. Still wrapped up in everything she remembered about James, without really considering everything that she didn't.

 

With yet another sigh, he got to his feet “The Cassie I knew forgave him for that a long time ago.”

 

“Oh yeah,” she sorted “Well she's got about ten years on me.”

 

 

 

 

08:23

Monday

20th September 2010

 

Trying to ignore the strange looks that everyone was giving her, Cassie walked to form. She'd taken about a week off school to recover from her 'head injury'. Rather, to have her mum fuss over her. Now it was her first day back and she could feel everyone tense around her.

 

That is, everyone but the two girls who came hurtling down the corridor. Annabel and Leah jumped on Cassie, wrapping her up in an embrace squealing her name in her ear.

 

“Hello to you too,” Sonny laughed, rolling his eyes slightly at the two of them “It's only been a week, she hasn't come back from death's door or anything.”

 

Leah stuck her tongue out at him “Well we missed her.” She was the taller of the two girls, with sandy brown hair curling down to her waist and intelligent blue eyes. Though she would always maintain she was the plainest of them, she was truly beautiful with curves and full lips.

 

“You have know idea how boring art is without you,” Annabel grinned. Obviously pretty, she had dark brown hair falling to her shoulders and pixie features.

 

With a smile, Cassie shook her head “God I've missed you two.” It was true, she had and it lifted her spirits to see the two of them even after only a week away from each other.

 

“You better have,” Leah laughed, leading the way along the corridor “Otherwise I might have had to kill you.”

 

Laughing, Sonny linked arms with his sister “By the way, the auditions for the school musical are today.”

 

“What show is it?” Cassie asked, scanning the smirks on her friends faces.

 

Sonny just grinned as Leah announced “Wicked.”

 

“And you waited all this time to tell me,” Cassie shoved her brother playfully.

 

Smile not faltering for a moment Sonny confirmed “So we'll be auditioning then.”

 

“Of course,” she chuckled as they reached the year area, where all the kids in their year hung out. It was a large square room filled with metal round tables and uncomfortable chairs. Displays covered the walls in blues and greens while doors to form rooms appeared at regular intervals. Since it was before the bell, it was filled with students chatting with their friends, all normal popularity groups observed of course.

 

With a shake of her head, Annabel sighed “I don't know how you two can get up on that stage and perform in front of people, I'd just freeze!”

 

“Like it's any different from the public speaking that you two do,” Sonny responded with a shrug.

 

Twisting a finger into her hair, Leah replied “The difference is you have your lines on a cue card and a podium to hide behind if it goes wrong.”

 

“I just love it,” Cassie explained plainly, moving her satchel into a more comfortable position on her shoulder “It's what I want to do, period.”

 

Quietly, Sonny steered Cassie towards their form room “This conversation is getting too serious, I think that we should make our way to registration.”

 

“The bell hasn't gone yet,” Leah pointed out, just as the harsh sound of the buzzer resonated in the air.

 

A smug smile spread across Sonny's face and the twins strolled into their form room while Leah and Annabel turned to a door at the other side of the room.

 

Almost soon as the Andrews twins had sat down, Sandy Jason came at them. Her blonde here bouncing as she approached, she was clearly determined to do a world of good in the high school world. As the leader of the normals, Sandy was extremely popular but also inherently kind and hard-working which shifted her social status down slightly.

 

“Lovely to see you back on your feet, Cassie,” she crooned, clearly trying to be nicer than was strictly necessary “Will you be auditioning for the school musical at lunch?” Before Cassie could answer, Sonny replied that they were and hoped to see here there too. It was his way of reminding his sister that Sandy, though often annoying, took part in many of the same extracurriculars as them. In truth she was a nice girl and they were close when out of the confines of normal social boundaries. So Cassie shouldn't really be thinking about a hundred sarcastic comments about her perfectly perky persona – but she was.

 

“See you then, then guys,” Sandy waved absently as she was called away by friends. She shuffled off to sit with her gang, leaving the Andrews twins be, once again.

 

With a sigh, Cassie rested her chin on her hands “I get the feeling something big is going to happen this year.” And as it happened, something did.

 

 

12:30

 

There was a small corridor which led to two English classrooms and a staff toilet. One of the English classrooms happened to be that of Mr Owen, who had directed every school production for the last six years. All of which were some of the best the school had ever seen, however he was a narcissistic and difficult director. With a greying brown swoop and dark glasses at all times of the year.

 

This, Cassie knew but, nevertheless, she was one of the crowd of children crammed into the tiny corridor to eat their lunch. All of them were waiting for a chance to audition and most of them had been in productions before. The younger kids rarely auditioned because the older kids had such an advantage that they hardly ever got parts. In the far corner, she picked over her food as Sandy and Sonny discussed their favourite books. Slowly, the crowd deteriorated as the precocious English teacher called them in one at a time to audition.

 

Cassie found herself daydreaming about getting Elphaba – the lead of Wicked – as she drifted further and further from the here and now. Therefore, she didn't notice her companions fall silent as someone else joined them.

 

“So what's the usual procedure at these things?”

 

The voice made Cassie look up with a start, meeting the liquid chocolate gaze of “James Henley!” Immediately a fire started up deep inside her, she was ready to fight him tooth and claw, even more so from being deprived of the privilege for a week.

 

“That's my name don't wear it out,” he smirked, folding his arms as he leant back against the wall. He observed her with a cool gaze that said 'ready when you are'. It was a quiet challenge and she accepted.

 

Lightening fast, Cassie quipped “The sixties called, they want their catchphrase back.”

 

“Have we really resorted to cliché comebacks Andrews?” he responded easily, a smirk growing on his face.

 

With a speculative raise of her eyebrow, daring him to continue, she hit him with another one “As though you aren't a walking cliché.”

 

“Says the typical geek accompanied by the extremely gay musical theatre buff,” James pointed between the two of them.

 

Just as she was about to come right back at him, Sonny interjected “What are you doing here, Henley?”

 

“Auditioning for the school musical, what does it look like?” he chuckled, running a hand through his dark hair.

 

Irritated at having him invade her own little world, Cassie practically spat “And since when do you have any interest in the school productions?” Here she was at the top of the ladder and she didn't like the idea of him trying to shake her position.

 

“Does it matter?” he shrugged, eyeing her with contempt. However, she noticed his relaxed persona had melted to a defensive one.

 

Eyes narrowing, she responded “Everything matters as long as someone cares enough to ask.”

 

“And you care because?” James shook his head, looking mockingly confused.

 

Quickly, she came back with “Because this is my side of the coin, Henley, I rule here and I demand to know.”

 

“That doesn't really answer my question,” he pointed out “Besides, I run this school, you know that.” Around them, more than a few people laughed and eyed him with open hate.

 

It was Sandy who responded “Not here, you don't.” She knew from personal experience that this community was, almost completely, below loser level. Populars and losers found themselves at the bottom here, she was only saved rejection by being a normal.

 

“Talent wins out here,” Cassie told him, standing as Mr Owen called her for her audition.

 

A glint of challenge in his eyes, James put in as she disappeared through the door “You underestimate me Andrews.”

 

“I doubt it,” she breathed as the door snapped shut and she handed over her sheet music to the pianist, Mrs Devon.

 

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