Well, of course it would seem like it. She wouldn’t recognize any of the people that came to see her. They’d never met. She wouldn’t recognize their house or know anything about their life or her past. It made perfect sense.
Except she hadn’t remembered who she really was either.
He’d always believed amnesia was the stuff of soap operas before Cynthia’s accident. And now, knowing the truth, he was inclined to believe it still was.
The woman on that website was at the end of her rope. She’d lost her store, was flying back home to Wisconsin. She had nothing when she got on that plane. Even if there had been some initial confusion when she woke up with all the surgeries and drugs, there had to be a point when she realized there was a mistake and didn’t say anything.
But why? Did the fancy life Cynthia no longer needed seem more glamorous? Rich parents, a penthouse apartment on the Upper East Side, a five-carat platinum engagement ring…certainly better than returning home a failure.
Better to go along with it, see how long she could get away with her game. In a matter of weeks, she’d overtaken Cynthia’s life and set it on the course of the life she wanted. Not only was she designing, and miraculously well for a supposed novice, but now she had all the industry connections to get a collection off the ground.
It was certainly a big risk to take. She couldn’t have known about the tattoo, but there could’ve been a million different ways to give her game away. Seducing him was probably the stupidest thing she could’ve done. Did she think he would be blinded by love and never notice the differences?
It had worked pretty well, so far. He’d dismissed the shoes being too big and the eyes being too gold. Cast aside doubts when she was suddenly a world-class seamstress. Suppressed his amazement when the personalities were like night and day. He supposed he had been blind. He hadn’t wanted to see that no bump to the head could’ve turned the cold, indifferent woman he knew into the vivacious, loving woman who had charmed him from the first day in the hospital.
But perhaps that was all an act. If she were shrewd enough to steal another person’s identity, all of that could just be part of the game. Be sweet, be loving, be innocent and everyone would love her too much to ask questions.
Slamming his fist into his desk, Will let himself focus on the pain radiating up his arm. The unpleasant sensation was the only thing in his life he knew was real and true. Cynthia or Adrienne or whoever the hell she was had wrapped him in such a web of lies that he didn’t know what to believe. But pain didn’t lie. It didn’t turn your whole world upside down and confess its love to you in a ploy to hijack someone’s life.
Well, no more. He wasn’t about to be used for a second longer. He shut down his laptop and grabbed his coat off the back of his chair, then he marched out of his office to hail a cab for home.
* * *
Sunday afternoon Cynthia was filled with nervous energy. She should’ve been floating around on cloud nine after the amazing night she shared with Will, but something about this morning hadn’t sat right with her. He’d come so far in his attempt to work less and spend more time with her. But this morning, he had almost avoided her. He didn’t make eye contact. His lips had been stiff against hers when she kissed him goodbye. Then he’d dashed out the door to go to the office for a problem that someone other than the CEO could have fixed.
It made her uneasy. She thought last night had gone so well. She didn’t know what the problem could be. Unless he heard her when she’d said she loved him. Cynthia had been certain he was asleep, but what if he wasn’t? What if it was way too soon? She was a fool. Always wait for the guy to say it first.
As time went by without word from Will, Cynthia opted to call Darlene Winters. She should’ve waited until Monday, but she needed the distraction. She was pleased to find the fashion editor was still just as excited to view her work. She was to bring three pieces and her sketches to her office in the Trend Now magazine headquarters on Tuesday.
The problem was she only had three completed pieces: the gown, the shirt-dress and a coordinating skirt and blouse. If she took those three pieces, she didn’t have the option of wearing one of her own designs. She didn’t think any of her sketches could be completed in time, because she was short on the fabrics and supplies she would need. She’d just have to settle for the small fortune of designer clothes she owned.
She stood in her closet, eyeing the endless racks of items to wear. Cynthia had already picked out a deep purple skirt. She liked the pop of color, and the lines were similar enough to her collection that the style didn’t contrast too much with what she promoted. But she still needed a blouse.