I walked down the stairs and stood in the doorway of the kitchen. Josh was on the phone.
“I don’t understand why you said yes. How stupid are you? Just-” Josh noticed me standing there. “Oh, hey, Clarie…I’ll see you in a little bit. Bye.” He hung up the phone. “That was Matt. He, uh, he agreed to dog-sit this week and the dog, um, the dog keeps peeing on the carpet.”
“That sucks. Is he on his way?”
“He’s leaving now.”
“Did he agree to let you watch Layla?”
“I hope you don’t mind that I volunteered you to watch her. Matt just seemed so sad and I wanted to help.”
“Not at all. I actually sort of like babysitting.”
“That’s good. Do you think I should wear my hair up or down?”
“Down. Definitely down. You look hot both ways but- Sorry. I keep getting carried away. But, yeah, wear it down.”
I took my hair out of its braid. “Uh, thanks. That’s what Mollie said, too.”
“You talked to Mollie?”
“Yeah. She said that we’d had a friend named Matt back in high school.”
“Oh yeah…I remember him.”
“Was he nice?”
“Uh, yeah, I think so.”
The doorbell rang. “Matt’s here!” I said. I opened it. “Hey, Matt.”
“Hi, Clara. This is Layla.”
“Hi Layla.” She looked different in person. Her hair was a lot shorter and a little lighter.
“I’m Ashlyn,” she told me.
“I’ll explain later,” Matt mouthed.
“Hi…Ashlyn. Nice to meet you. I’m Clara.”
“Well, we should get going. Come on, Clare. We’ll be back later, Layla.” He leaned down to hug her.
“My name is Ashlyn!” she protested.
“Bye guys,” I said.
“Listen to Josh. Be good,” Matt told Layla/Ashlyn.
We got into the car and drove towards the restaurant.
“She’s got a really creative mind. She’s always pretending to be someone else,” Matt explained. “Yesterday her name was Cynthia.”
“That’s so cute.”
We pulled up to the restaurant a few minutes later.
“I had fun tonight, Matt. Thank you,” I said, as we walked up the front steps.
“Me too.” He leaned down to hug me. “See you soon. Maybe Friday night? Layla’s going to a friend’s house.”
He collected Layla and left.
I was so confused. I wasn’t sure how I felt about him. I mean, I liked him, but there was something tugging me back towards Josh. And besides, he had a daughter with his dead girlfriend. It was too early to really speculate, but what if things got serious? I wasn’t ready for a kid.
The next day’s doctor appointment was uneventful. They were happy to hear that I had gotten the one memory back. Josh had taken off work to come with me and we went out to lunch afterwards.