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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

A Promise To Protect - 35. Final Mission - Starting Over?

"How's it going?"

"Well, I've spent hours on hold so. Who knows? All the insurance paperwork is being handled by solicitors and they are waiting to hear back from pathology about my DNA results to give me access to the information, and the police are still investigating the cause of the building explosion which needs to be cleared then with the insurance company to see if I can claim anything at all. I feel like I'm just going around and around in circles." Zeke sighs and rest his head on the table, the on-hold music playing in the background.

"And how are you holding up?" Corey pulls a chair out and sits down at the table with him.

"I don't think I'd have had any sleep if you weren't for sleeping pills and I just feel like I've been living in a haze." Zeke answers.

"Is there anything I can do for you?" Corey asks, reaching a hand out and checking on the wound on Zeke's hand that was healing well despite having been delayed for hours before finally getting stitched up.

"I'm dying for a coffee."

"Well, I think it's about time you got out of the house, so how about we take a walk and get some coffees?" Corey suggests.

"I don't know..."

"Zeke, you've spent enough time locked indoors. Come on." Corey stands up again and pats Zeke on the shoulder. "It's not doing you any good staying cooped up in my old place." Zeke reluctantly stands up and follows Corey out the door of his house. He couldn't exactly disagree, he'd spent the last week making phone calls and keeping himself inside out of fear. The freedom after so many years in one monotonous routine was quite daunting, and he wasn't sure he was really ready to start living a normal life after everything.

He was more than a little traumatized by it all, and a little afraid that he was coping too well with that trauma, though he woke up every night from the same nightmares. There was this agonizing knot in his gut with every nightmare he had, that he now questioned if it was a horrific memory that he'd chosen to forget. Of course, Corey could help him, but he also didn't want to confirm that the things he was seeing in his dreams were real.

He'd not had dreams of Tyler, and he wasn't sure if he was glad for that or not. In some ways it was comforting for Tyler to not be tied to any of the horrors playing out nightly in his head, but he couldn't help feeling extremely disappointed that no matter how hard he had tried, he couldn't remember the relationship he'd apparently had with Tyler previously. Corey was very little help with this, as he'd not ever been told who Zeke was dating back then, and he'd not had anything to do with the people G had trained on the basement floor. Still he knew it was possible to get those memories back, because Tyler had somehow managed to do it without even being aware that he was, so it was infuriating that it took all of Zeke's best efforts to get absolutely nowhere with recalling what had happened between them, aside from the tiny slivers that he wasn't even sure where real memories, because he had no records to check them with.

The fresh air as he and Corey walk slowly in the warm sunlight, was blissful. Zeke only couldn't wait to have himself sorted, so he might actually be able to enjoy settling into his new life. It was a small town that Corey's place was in. Only a string of shops along a main street, the rest of the town was made up of acres of protected forest land. It was very different to the way Zeke had lived his life and he wasn't sure he'd fit in here at all, but he did like the calm atmosphere in the town. As he and Corey walk they passed a lot of really welcoming and kind people, yet another thing he'd not experienced before.

Zeke felt as though he'd left reality and lived a whole fantasy life for so long, that it was difficult to adjust to the real world now. Where people joked about wanting to kill their bosses for not giving them a day off for something. There wasn't a day that passed where Zeke didn't shudder at the random moments where his thoughts landed on repeatedly stomping on G's head for spending over a decade purely focused on draining Zeke of his inheritance and messing with his life just for fun.

Truthfully, Zeke wasn't sure how well he would be able to live with what he'd done, let alone what had been done to him over the years. He'd have to get a normal job, but realistically he had no qualifications. He'd have to talk to regular people, but his whole life felt tainted with the darkness of the deceit and lies. Of course, not everyone was going to put him through that again, but he had gotten his judgement so terribly wrong he wasn't sure how he could trust himself enough to trust another person ever again.

Corey had started a new life, and was relishing in it. He'd slipped so easily into a job at a local doctor's office that Zeke was fairly sure he had a double life working there all along. For that to be possible, he'd have to have also discovered time travel, Corey was quick to point out. It did little to convince Zeke he hadn't, only made him fear what Corey may secretly be capable of. It was nice to see though, after everything he went through by G's side, playing by his rules just to keep G from hurting people more, for Corey to have such a laid back job at last. Patients visiting with ear infections or for vaccinations or just for a medical certificate for the sick-day they were throwing at work. No more torture, aside from the few times Zeke had to eat his cooking. Zeke didn't let him do much of that because it turns out Corey is terrible at cooking and allergic to every type of food that has flavour. Zeke spent years in Corey's office being cared for, and knew so little about him as a person outside of his office.

Zeke did enjoy the safety of being out of his old life, even if he was terrified of how he'd cope with the change. His one goal was to somehow find happiness on the other end of the trauma, so G didn't completely win. Admitting that G was successful was the last thing Zeke would ever do.

Corey leads Zeke into a cafe' and takes a seat at the table near the door. The smell of freshly roasted coffee beans was very nearly seducing Zeke into the cafe and the moment he steps inside, he felt like a weight had magically lifted from him. 

"Aren't you getting a drink?" Zeke asks. His heart and soul wanted him to be at the counter right now.

"There's no rush. Sit down." Corey smiles. Zeke sits across the table from him and takes his phone out to check that he's still on hold. The music had become like white noise at this point. He was barely even registering it. 

“Oh, sorry Dr Anderson.” A familiar voice grabs Zeke's attention, but the ex-agent doesn’t look to see who it was, he was almost sure he was hallucinating.

“It’s ok, I'll pull my chair in a bit.” Corey shifts his chair closer to the table as the person walks off towards the counter. Zeke lifts his head slowly and his eyes meet the pleased expression on Corey's face.

“Did you know he’d be here?” Zeke asks quietly and sneaks a glance behind himself to see what he hoped wasn't just his imagination playing cruel tricks on him.

"Yes."

"How?"

“Do you really think I’d be careless enough to not keep an eye on him for you?” Corey asks and sits back in his seat contently.

“You’ve been tracking him?”

“He comes in here every day at around this time, without fail."

“Is this why you brought me here?” Zeke asks, though the answer was obvious.

"No, they just have life-changing coffee here." Corey answers sarcastically and Zeke shakes his head at him before Corey even gets the next words out. "Go talk to him."

“No! I-I wouldn’t even know what to say.” Zeke replies, glancing behind himself at Tyler then forcing himself to look away again before he can get caught obviously staring. "He doesn't know me, does he? He'll just look at me and have no idea who I am." 

“Well, you could start by giving him back his wallet.” Corey smiles and places a wallet on the table in front of Zeke. “Just tell him he dropped it when he bumped into me.” 

“Did you steal his wallet?” Zeke asks in complete disbelief.

“Yep. I know you suck at small talk so you're welcome, it's an easy way in. Besides, he’s going to need it to pay for the coffee he’s about to order.” Corey shrugs, pushing the wallet across the table towards Zeke. 

"I don't suck at small talk."

"Go on, he’s touching himself up trying to find it." Corey nods towards Tyler. Zeke takes a deep breath, considering his options. "Come on, he's about to order it." Corey insists.

"Corey I can't..." 

"He's ordering."

"Corey..."

"Trust me. Go." Corey urges. Zeke picks up the wallet and stands up, then slowly walks over to Tyler, feeling his heart pounding in his chest with each step closer.

“Sorry, cancel that.” Tyler sighs.

“Looking for something?” Zeke asks and holds Tyler’s wallet out. Tyler turns and looks at it then glances at Zeke's face quickly, his eyes holding a confused look for a moment, then he smiles and reaches out for it. “You dropped it on the way in.” Zeke quickly explains as he passes back the wallet.

“Oh, thanks Z.” Tyler smiles as he takes the wallet back and turns around to place his order, seemingly unaware of what he'd even said. Zeke stands behind Tyler, completely frozen in shock, then turns slowly and walks back over to the table Corey was sitting at. He sits down and takes a deep breath, then looks up at Corey, who is looking at him, clearly proud of himself.

“So, what happened?” He asks with a smirk.

"He called me 'Z.'" 

“I thought he’d make that connection.”

“He can’t remember me, I-I wiped his memory. It worked, didn’t it? He can’t remember me. How does he remember me?” Zeke asks, confused as all hell. 

“You really underestimate how great of a friend I am.” 

“What did you do?” Zeke asks in a desperate whisper. “It was memory serum I gave him, wasn’t it?”

Yes, but it was just a low dose. As if I’d take all his memories away indefinitely.” Corey rolls his eyes. "I knew you were doing it to keep him safe, so I gave him enough to make sure that he’d forget, but not enough so that he’d never be able to get the memories back. Why do you think I told you to talk to him and give him something good to dream about? I knew you’d at some point mention that nickname and I knew that if he could still picture your face while hearing your voice, he’d connect those things in his dream, your voice, your face, ‘Z’. All he needed was that one key to unlock the memories."

"So he remembers everything?"

"No, he recognises your face and voice." Corey answers, but Zeke just stares back at him confused. "If you died, Zeke, he’d have never seen you again and therefore his memories wouldn't have been triggered, he would have lived the rest of his life not remembering any of it. None of the horrors he’s been through, none of what he'd lost. But I thought, there’s no point in him living without you if you are alive and can be with him. So, I kept an eye on him and I've been going through the electronic records AKA, this phone." Corey holds up an old looking mobile. "Which I discovered some time ago in G's office and posted to our current residence for safekeeping and, what do you know, there's all your old texts with him. I can bleach my eyes now, because some of the things I've seen." Corey exaggerates a shudder as he scrolls to the start of the text conversation and turns the phone around to show Zeke.

'So why were you in a coffee shop if you don't like coffee?'

'I saw you and you couldn't resist.'

'Well, meeting you was the highlight of my day.'

 

"I figured, a coffee shop was your first meeting. He frequents this place just to buy and inhale the sweet, sweet fumes of long-lost memories that are dormant in his mind, and that with any luck, making him see your face and hear your voice in this setting under these circumstances would be enough to set off his memories once more." Corey grins. “Damn I’m good.” Zeke doesn't speak, he's too busy having his own moment as he feels like he is thinking the texts before he even reads them. 

“Is it working for you, too? I really hoped. I have no idea what your triggers would be, but I really hoped this would work on both of you. Whatever memory you are having, feel it. Feel it as deeply as you can, make it real. Everyone loses memories, but people don't forget how they felt. So hold on to those feelings and bring them back." Corey instructs excitedly, thrilled at the thought that Zeke might be able to recover what was taken from him, too. "This is going to be weird for both of you, it might not happen fast but he should start remembering. He’s going to be a little scared, and a little confused by it all, but take the time you both need, find your way back to each other."

"What if he only remembers as far as being sent to kill me?"

"Well he didn't kill you back then, have some faith." Corey says with a smile as he gets up and pats Zeke on the shoulder. "Good luck, oh and. If things go well, I figure you'll want some space to rekindle." He drops a hotel room keycard on the table.

A feeling of nervous energy hits Zeke as he picks up the keycard from the table. He can almost smell the musk of the hotel lobby as he pictures himself picking up the keycard from the front desk and walking off towards the lifts with nervous strides. No idea what would happen, but excited for anything. Unlocking the room and stepping inside to see a large bed in a luxury layout. The reality hitting him that he was inviting a guy here, a guy he barely knew but hadn't been able to stop thinking about and had absolutely no idea what do actually do with.

The knock on the door and the rush of adrenaline as Zeke had opened it and seen this stranger smiling at him, letting himself into the room and throwing himself down onto the bed, then shooting Zeke a glance and asking what they were going to do. The awkwardness, the embarrassment of him completely fucking it up and not knowing what to do and somehow being rewarded by a kiss that sent him into an internal frenzy as he wanted more than he was ready to do. Then the stress of waiting and waiting for Tyler to reply to his messages after that weird first date.

Tyler sits down in the seat Corey had just left and stares at his coffee then lifts it up to his lips and closes his eyes as he breathes in the smell. Zeke hadn't even noticed before now that Tyler had on a few occasions made him a drink, sometimes even made one for himself, but he never actually drank it. All this time, subconsciously, Tyler was associating it with a memory he couldn't place. All this time, he was trying to remember Zeke. As he exhales, Tyler opens his eyes again and stares across the table at Zeke confused.

"Are you ok?" Zeke asks as he notices tears welling in Tyler's eyes.

"Yeah, I'm fine." Tyler nods.

"You're crying."

"Am I?" Tyler touches his fingers to his cheek and wipes away the tears, his hands shaking. "Sorry, I'm not usually an emotional person. I just feel weird." Tyler sighs and looks down at his coffee. Zeke remains speechless, not sure what to say or do but full of an overwhelming sense of hope that any moment, Tyler would know who he was. "Uh, having a random break-down to a stranger in a coffee shop. It's a good start to the week." Tyler jokes, trying to break the ice.

"My name is Zeke." Zeke tells him, disappointed by the word 'stranger'.

"Tyler."

"I know. I saw your ID card." Zeke replies, feeling himself like this was Déjà vu. He gets lost for a moment, looking over his shoulder at the counter and feeling like he has actually been here before, the whole atmosphere screamed of reminiscence and it hits Zeke that Corey may have gotten it wrong, that this place wasn't the key to unlocking Tyler's memories of Zeke, it was the other way around. Zeke turns back around to see Tyler smiling at him and wiping away more tears. "Your drink is going to get cold." Zeke comments, wishing he had literally any other thing to talk about, but not wanting to weird Tyler out.

"I actually don't drink coffee. Do you want it?" Tyler offers. Thinking of the texts he'd just read, Zeke takes the opportunity to try and prompt Tyler's memories, because just as he suspected, having Tyler look at him like a stranger was like adding insult to the injury that was losing him.

"Why are you in a coffee shop, if you don't like coffee?" Zeke asks and Tyler looks at him for what feels like the longest few moments of Zeke's life. He opens his mouth to answer, closes his mouth to reconsider, then finally just lets out a sigh and gives a shrug."

"There's just. Something about it. That I can't resist." Tyler states, not once breaking eye contact with Zeke. It was Zeke's turn to be speechless again. "Sounds like someone wants you." Tyler comments before Zeke can think of anything to say.

"What?"

"Your phone." Tyler nods towards Zeke's phone on the table, from which a voice had replaced the on-hold music.

"Are you there?" Zeke quickly grabs his phone.

"I'm so sorry, I. I have to take this. I'm. I'll be just outside." Zeke says quickly, picking up his phone and taking it off speaker to answer as he steps outside. In one hand is Tyler's old phone and a hotel keycard, the other hand holds his own phone to his ear. His heart aching as he steps outside the building, trying to pay attention to what he is being told, while his mind is washing with memories of leaving the cafe and watching Tyler disappear from his view, hoping he'd not been given a fake phone number because all he wanted was to see this cute, flirty guy again.

The memories of every moment after that, every text that made him nervous to send, to read, to wait for.

Every sensation that had been ignited when he'd pressed his lips against Tyler's in the hotel room, and every time he'd managed to do so before their final moment together at the concert. Zeke could remember how ready he was to have a life with Tyler, in that moment. The glowing smile on his face, the lights reflected in his eyes and the joy he knew they were bringing to each other. He'd never known what Tyler's life had been like, but he had been able to tell there was something Tyler was afraid of the moment their lips had parted mere minutes before Tyler disappeared from his life, only to be found tortured and chained up under the shed on the night he chose to lock away all of the beauty in his life, believing Tyler had died because of him.

All the excitement of falling for someone, the heartache of letting him go and the unforgivable pain of seeing him suffer.

The entire rollercoaster of their lives together, pulsing through his mind all at once. So much he feels like he might just explode, that between his brain and his heart something was bound to give. He paces a few steps away from the cafe' and leans against a tree, hoping that Tyler was remembering too. If he had to live with all the moments replaying in his head, without Tyler in his future, he didn't want a future at all. If he thought he'd fallen for Tyler this time, it had nothing on the depth of the feelings that were rushing back through him now. The love he felt for Tyler had seemed to feel as though it was 'just because', until now. All the blanks were filled in, all the emotions brought back and raw. Finally he understood why he was so drawn to protecting Tyler the second time around, why he had held him at arms length for so long. It all made sense to him at last and now Zeke wished he'd done so much more to G, because the final memory circulating his mind, from the night he rescued Tyler on his first proper mission, is one that makes him sick to his stomach.

"It's ok, you're safe now. We're going to take care of you." Zeke assures Tyler as he helps him into the back of G's car. Tyler gives a groan and looks in the drivers' seat, his body stiffening as he sees who is sitting there.

"No. No. No." Tyler starts to panic but his body was too weak to move.

"You're ok, I'm here, you're ok." Zeke assures him but Tyler turns to him pleadingly.

"No, Zeke he's behind all of this. He's the one that abducted me..." Tyler starts crying with fear and trying to get out of the car, but his body was too weak. Just as Zeke turns to look to G for an answer, he feels a dart pierce his skin that forces him to sleep with just the desperate and horrified scream echoing around him of Tyler realizing he was stuck in the car with his attacker. Powerless.

Tyler told him. He warned him. And in his grief of being told Tyler was dead, his mind scrambled from the tranquilizer, Zeke had chosen to forget who his enemy really was. 

Copyright © 2020 Littlelovestories; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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Wow what a chapter. I'm having a hard time unravelling how many times Tyler and Z have actually met.

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The context is finally becoming clear as to the nature of the "Organization" run by G.  Scary for sure!  The mind altering drugs used, the memories implanted....wow!  Now is the time for Zeke and Tyler to finally connect without interference by G. 

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Wow what a chapter, I am also reading again to see what happened, but nonetheless I hope that they reconnect on all levels and can the. Fight the evil ahead

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While this is definitely a love story it just might be the strangest one I ever read. Zeke and Tyler might actually have a relationship without all the BS.Since it's been implied in the story that at this point in time the band is still around I know where they can go on a date an Obsolete concert.

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