Disclaimer: I don't own ER, or any of the music. I'm not trying to profit from any of the songs, it's for entertainment purposes only.
A/N: I cannot apologize enough. Life has been tough for me lately. I had my heart broken and the last thing I wanted to do was write about love. I needed time to work on myself and it took a long time to put the pieces of my heart back together again. I am not trying to make excuses, but just felt I owed you all an explanation. I love this story so much and I never forgot about the promise I made to all of you all those years ago and just wanted to let you know I did not abandon you. I can't wait to finally share the rest of it with all of you. A promise is a promise. There is still plenty of story left. So buckle up, it's going to be a great ride!
One month later...
Monday you can fall apart
Tuesday, Wednesday break my heart
Oh, Thursday doesn't even start
It's Friday I'm in love
As they walked in, someone else was performing onstage. They had nowhere near the stage presence that Ray and Neela had, but it was still great.
Neela knew she needed to surround Ray with normal things. It was the the best way of getting the rest of his memory back. He remembered the accident, but not much else.
"Please tell me that's one of the things we would do together" he said hopefully, wanting her to offer up some little nugget of information as he looked over at her with a smile.
He needed to stop looking at her like that. She could never resist that look. "Maybe" she said as she smirked back, even though she already knew the answer. Of all the things she missed, this was the thing she missed the most, although she would never admit it. This was when he was the most himself. If there was any chance he was going to get his memory back, it was going to be here. This was where it all began.
But she wanted it to come back to him because of his own doing and not because she had forced it. She had just come to accept that his mind would remember when it was ready. She needed to be patient.
And even if it never came back to him, he was still Ray. He would always be Ray. It wouldn't change the way she felt about him.
He smiled back at her in that charming way that made her heart melt. He still didn't remember anything that had happened between them, but he did know he really liked Neela. He still wasn't sure if there had been any hanky panky going on between them or not, but he did know he was thankful to have her as his friend. He had a feeling she was his best friend. He wasn't sure how he knew that; he just knew it. Yes, he thought she was smoking hot, he always had, but had he ever acted on it? There were times when he would get these weird vibes from her. He wanted to ask Neela, but how would he do that without it becoming awkward? He had already asked her if they were dating and she told him they weren't. What was he supposed to say? 'Hey Neela, have I ever tried to make a move on you?' No. He was going back to work in a couple days. He could always ask Abby. Hopefully she would know. That way he could find out and that would be the end of it. No weirdness and things between him and Neela would stay the same.
When he kept smiling at her, she had no other choice but to look away, otherwise she was going to break. She was already blushing. She just didn't want to take advantage of him. Would it be taking advantage? She didn't know. It just didn't feel right. She wasn't sure how he felt about her at the moment. She was pretty sure he only saw her as a friend, so it probably didn't matter anyway.
Did he just make her blush? Why was she blushing? Well, it was pretty hot in there. That had to be it.
He was the most charming, attractive man she had ever met and she was falling for his looks and his lines just as much as all his other groupies. Neela was not this kind of girl. When had she become one of those girls? She made fun of girls like that. She didn't fall for lines and she most defintely did not have one night stands. And yet, here she was. She was one of 'those' girls. But Ray was different. She had never felt this way before.
They walked up to the bar stools and sat down.
"If you want me to sing with you, then drinks are on you" she said as she raised her eyebrows and did her best to keep from smiling. This had been their agreement as long as they had been coming here. Ray would essentially pay for her to sing with him. She was doing all she could to make him remember.
"You got it" he agreed. It was a small comprimise to make. He didnt mind paying for her. She was his roommate, after all. And it did seem only fair since she would be doing him a favor. Ray guessed this kind of thing wasn't really Neela's scene.
When he was finally able to get the bartender over, without even giving it a thought, he said "Rum and coke for me, please..." then pointed in Neela's direction and said "and she will have a martini with extra olives."
She looked at him with her mouth slightly open, not believing what just happened. That was always her go-to drink. Was he starting to remember? Neela was trying to remember if they had ever gone out for drinks before they lived together.
Had she ever told him she liked them before she moved in? Nope. She didn't think she ever had.
He finally looked at her after the bartender left. First with a small smirk on his face, and then quickly changing once he saw the expression she was giving him.
That was not a good look. He was going to be in big trouble now "I'm sorry. That was really rude of me. I shouldn't have ordered for you. I will get her back" he said before turning around to try to signal the bartender.
"No...no" she said quietly, as she reached out to touch him on his forearm, trying to get his attention. Once she had it, she said "It's fine, Ray. More than fine" giving him a warm smile, to which he returned.
She had to tell him. She had to know if he remembered anything.
"Ray, that is my favorite drink. It's the one I order every time we come here" she said as she looked into his eyes with an ever so small glisten in them "Did you remember?" she hoped
Wow. He couldn't believe that. How had he guessed her favorite drink? "No. I guess it was just a lucky guess" he shrugged, not thinking much of it.
But to Neela it meant everything "I don't think it was guessing, Ray. You don't think you remember everything, but you do. Deep down, you do. And you remember me" giving his arm a gentle squeeze, still not having let go of it from before.
And she knew right there in that moment that what she and Ray shared was special. It went beyond friends, beyond lovers, and even bigger than his amnesia. Neela had never believed in 'soul mates', but that's what he was. He was her soul mate. And not even amnesia could stand in the way of that. She just hoped he would eventually see that too.
Ray looked down at her hand. Opening his mouth to say something but he wasn't sure what. All he knew was that Neela was touching him and it felt really, really good. What was happening? Did Neela want him, too? He returned his eyes back up to look at hers and it sent about a million bolts of electricity into his system.
But Neela knew she was beginning to overstep her limits and withdrew her hand. It wasn't the time or the place. Not like this. She didn't want it to be here.
And just like that, he was more confused now than he was before. He thought he saw something from Neela's end but maybe he was wrong. All he knew for sure was that he definitely had had feelings for Neela before the accident. There was no way he hadn't. And he still did. But she didn't feel the same way about him. At least he didn't think she did.
Clearing his throat to try to ease the awkwardness, he suddenly said "Um, I'm gonna go pick a song for us" and started to stand up
"Oh, yeah. I'm going to freshen up a little" she said quickly and then bolted off to the restroom at the exact same time as he ran off to go find the binder that listed all the songs.
Once she got into the bathroom, Neela stared at her reflection in the mirror. What was she doing? Had she lost her mind? She never seemed to have any control of her actions whenever she was in the same room as him. What was wrong with her? It was like she was possessed by some other force that was making her act like a complete and utter buffoon when she was in his presence. She was truly going mad.
She took some water and splashed some onto her face, then wiped it with some paper towels. It helped relax her nerves somewhat. She still was not ready to go back out there just yet.
She took a few slow, deep breaths to try to calm down. It didn't work.
She wanted to throw up.
She really hated herself right now. Ray was still on the mend and didn't remember much of anything and she had practically been throwing herself at him just now. But she just couldn't help it. Realizing that he knew her on some sort of depper level...how was she supposed to react? But she still needed to learn to keep her emotions in check for now until he got his full memory back, or until he developed the same feelings for her that she had for him. Hopefully. There was no guarantee he would ever feel the same way about her again. But it was the only fair thing to do. Not necessarily to her, but to Ray, and that was all she cared about right now; what was best for Ray. It wasn't going to be easy, but if anyone could do it, Neela could.
Finally getting herself together, she made her way out of the bathroom and back to the bar stool and sat down next to him.
"So, did you decide?" she asked as she looked down and realized their drinks had come.
Ray was taking a long swig of his drink and moved his eyes to the side to look at her as he mumbled "Mm hmm" and then gave her a big smirk after he swallowed with a gulp, enjoying that he was finally able to drink liquor again after having finally finished all his pain meds the day before.
Rolling her eyes, she said "You're not going to tell me, are you?" he always did this to her. He never told her the songs he would pick because he knew she would protest. But sometimes she would find out on her own, like the night when Ray bribed her into singing his song with him. Actually if she hadn't done that then she would have ended up having to go to work. No wonder Ray never wanted her to know.
"Fine. Have it your way" she said to him.
Chuckling, he said "You'll find out soon enough. Have a sip of your drink and try to relax for once" he bumped her shoulder with his.
She shot him an evil glare "Excuse me. I relax. All the time" she had missed their banter so much, even though he got on her nerves during those times.
She missed him driving her crazy? She really had gone insane.
He was laughing now which only further deepend her look of death she was giving him "Sure, Neela" he wasn't scared of her. Neela was all talk and no bite. Besides, even pissed off, she was still the most beautiful women he had ever seen. She had removed some of her makeup when she was in the bathroom just now, and he couldn't help but think he liked her better this way.
Shaking her head she faced forward again and said "Ok. I'm ignoring you now" doing her best to keep up the act. She wasn't really mad at him.
Picking up on this, Ray smiled and leaned in a little and whispered in her ear "The guy who just bought you a drink? Come on..." breathing in her shampoo and trying not to make it obvious. He wanted her so badly right now.
Neela closed her eyes when he did this as she could feel his warm breath next to her ear, and it sent chills down her spine. She wasn't sure what to do. Was he flirting with her or was he just being Ray? He did always try to charm his way out of everything.
He pulled away but stayed close to her face, staring deeply into her eyes. Ray most certainly wasn't a lightweight, but the alcohol was starting to lower his inhibitions. He wouldn't be acting this way if not for that. What was he doing? He was sure he had to be making her uncomfortable. He needed to stop while he was still ahead.
She was trying to remember if he had ever flirted like this before they lived together. He always flirted, but it hadn't been like this. Either he was beginning to get feelings for her again or it was the alcohol talking. One thing was for sure, he definitely would not be this forward if he hadn't been drinking. She decided to brush that one off. She didn't have enough proof that he was getting feelings for her.
"Fine. But don't start to think you can just buy me" she finally said, bringing the death glare back and squinted her eyes to emphasize her point.
It took everything not to laugh. It was funny that she actually thought she was scary. There wasn't a scary bone in Neela's body. Well, she wasn't when she was around him anyway.
"I would never" he smirked. He knew a woman like Neela could never be that easy, but he decided to play along anyway.
He took another sip of his drink, before deciding to change the subject
"So, when does your shift start tomorrow?"
He couldn't believe he hadn't already asked her that. He always knew when she was working. He missed work. He was really looking forward to getting back, something that surprised even him. But sitting around the house all the time was starting to drive him insane. He had been so thankful for Neela. He didn't know what he would have done without her.
"I'm off tomorrow. Thank god" she replied. Her first day off in a month and she was sure it would be the last day they would get together for a long time.
"Well, we are going to have to make tonight count then" he wiggled his eyebrows, knowing exactly what she meant, glad they were able to stay as late as they wanted.
"Absolutely" she said as she looked over at him and gave him a small smile.
But her attention was immediately drawn back to the DJ as he announced that they were next.
"Ladies and gentlemen, finally back after a long abscence, our favorities Ray and Neela!"
They abandoned their drinks and headed for the stage.
Ray smirked, especially when he heard the loud roar of the crowd. He had no idea they were so popular.
There was only one microphone tonight so they were going to have to share.
When Neela finally realized the song that Ray had chosen, it made her heart skip a beat.
"Are you ok?" he asked gently. He sensed he had done something wrong again.
"I'm perfect" she smiled and looked him in the eye to show him she meant it.
"Good" he replied quickly since the song was going to start, instantly feeling relieved.
She just hoped she could make it through this without crying...
I gotta take a little time, a little time to think things over
I better read between the lines, in case I need it when I'm older
Of all the songs to pick, he chose this one. She knew it was his favorite, but it was beginning to flood her with memories and Ray still didn't remember anything. She had learned to live with it, but right now, she wasn't sure she could.
I wanna know what love is
I want you to show me
I wanna feel what love is
I know you can show me
Ray was really getting into the song the same way he always did. He really did love this song.
As much as Neela wanted to laugh when he started to dance a little, she just couldn't. She just wanted this song to be over with, but she wasn't making it obvious to Ray or the audience of course. Neela could hide her emotions when she wanted to. But inside her heart was breaking.
Then Ray reached out to grasp her hand, purely for dramatic effect of course, but it actually turned out to be backfiring on him. The electricity came back to him instantly, but way more intense than when she had touched him earlier. He knew it was because this was actual skin on skin contact this time. But it wasn't like this was the first time he had touched her skin since the accident. Why was this time so different? He honestly didn't know.
She smiled at him. As hard as this was for her, this did make her feel better. She didn't know if he could see through her or not, but she was just glad he had made the gesture.
And then something came back to Ray. It hit him like a ton of bricks. Something had happened between him and Neela.
They had made love.
Then she had broken his heart the very next day.
He remembered everything about that night and everything about her.
And he knew exactly when it had happened, too.
2 months ago.
She couldn't believe it. First with her drink and now with their song. He still had all the memories stored away just like she had told him earlier. They were there on a certain level, but they also weren't at the same time. He was there but he wasn't there.
No. It was too much. When was with song finally going to be over with already? It felt like it was the longest one in the history of time.
I want to feel it too, I want to feel what love is
I want to feel it too, and I know and I know, I know you can show me
Show me love is real, yeah, I want to know what love is
Finally. It was over with. She had to get out of here. She needed to cry and she didn't want Ray to see it. She didn't know why this was bothering her so much, but she just needed to get out of here. Now.
Letting go of his hand, she practically ran off the stage and left him there.
He looked at her confused. Something was bothering her, but he didn't know what. He didn't want to make a scene, so he took a quick bow before leaving the stage to go after her.
No one there noticed a thing seeing as how they were all sloppy drunk and cheering loudly for their favorite couple.
Ray was glad. If they had noticed something was off then that would have been extremely embarrassing. For once, he was glad for a room full of drunk people.
He searched all over for Neela but couldn't find her anywhere.
Maybe she went back to their spot at the bar.
No. She wasn't there.
Maybe she was on the dance floor somewhere.
No. Not there either.
She couldn't be in the bathroom because she didn't head that direction when she bolted off the stage.
She was nowhere in the club.
Why had she run off like that? Was she upset with him for grabbing her hand? Was it the song? Or was it both? He couldn't believe he had screwed up like this.
He rushed out the door, hoping he could still catch her.
"Neela!" he called out, but nothing. She wasn't there.
"Neela!" he called even louder this time, but he still couldn't find her.
She was gone.
A/N: I hope you all liked this chapter. I was really nervous to write it because it has been a long time, so I hope it turned out ok. I was also trying to spoil all of you with more insight into Ray and Neela's psyche's. I had to do something to make up for taking so long.
Also, just as a side point, I wanted to tell all of you that the reason I write both Ray and Neela's thoughts together is because whenever I read a story that only has it from one characters POV in the love story I always wonder what the other one is thinking and it bugs me. So I wanted to make sure to include both perspectives in my story.
I promise you won't have to wait another 7 years for the next update.