I knew that I had seen her some place before. As I watched her walk around the room I racked my brain to try and remember where and when it had been. If what she said was true, and I had no reason to doubt her, I couldn't possibly have seen her someplace else. Until then she had never left California and I had never been in that state, but I still would have bet every dime I had that I had seen her before.
The call had come as a complete surprise. "Hey bro, stop by mom and dad's after work tonight. I've got some one I want you to meet."
"When did you get back in town?"
"This morning. I figured things might be pretty dull around here so I came home to shake things up. Got to run bro, got lots more calls to make. See you tonight."
Teddy had graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering and had promptly split for California to take a job with one of the Silicone Valley computer firms. The last time I had talked with him he was singing the praises of that part of the world and he had left me with the impression that he was never going to leave that state and go anywhere where there was one minute less sunshine. I spent the rest of that day wondering what could possibly bring him home.
What happened was Aimee. Aimee was the embodiment of the term 'California Beach Bunny'. Tall, tanned, long honey blond hair that hung to the middle of her back and a body built for the specific purpose of driving the male sex wild. Ted introduced us and then said, "Aimee and I are getting married."
Lucky bastard I thought even as I looked at her and thought that I had seen her someplace. You know how it is when you meet some one you think you've met before or seen some place? It crawls inside your head and stays with you as you drive yourself bananas trying to remember. She noticed my attention and she came over to me.
"Is there a sign on my back that says 'kick me' or are you staring at me because you are enthralled with my beauty?"
"Enthralled of course. That and the fact that I would swear on a stack of Bibles that I've seen you some place before now."
"When was the last time you were in California?"
"I've never been there."
"Well this is my first trip out of the state so I have no idea where we could have run across each other."
"Curious, but the feeling is there and it will eat on me until I resolve it, at least in my mind."
She shrugged and moved away to talk to somebody else and I went to find Teddy.
"Where are you staying while you are here?"
At the Best Western off Meadows and Founders Parkway."
"Bullshit bro. I'm sitting in an almost empty three-bedroom house and I could use the company. It gets lonely in that big place."
"Why don't you sell it? The place can't have much in the way of good memories for you."
"It is my revenge bro. The divorce decree gives Lisa half when I sell it, but not until I sell it and the decree doesn't set a time limit. If I live there for fifty years it means that cheating whore doesn't get a dime for fifty years. When we leave tonight we will swing by the Best Western and pick up your stuff. Tell Aimee not to worry. The house is so well built that it is almost sound proof. The two of you can raise all kinds of hell and I'll never hear a thing."
The party was running down and Ted and Aimee went to get their coats and as we were heading for the door Aimee dropped her purse and bent down to pick it up. When she did her blouse rode up in the back and I saw the tattoo. It was intricate scrollwork about twelve inches long and maybe six inches high and as soon as I saw it the penny dropped and I knew where I had seen Aimee. I'd have to wait until I got home to make absolutely sure, but there really wasn't any doubt in my mind. When Aimee stood up she saw me looking at her and she read my facial expression and her facial expression told me what she saw — "He knows."
We made small talk on the way to the motel and then on the way to my house. Ted pointed out the local sites as we drove along, but Aimee was mostly quiet. She kept glancing over at me as if expecting that I would suddenly shout, "I know where it was that I saw you" and then proceed to tell Teddy. When we got to my place I showed them to their room and then I gave Aimee a tour of the place so she would know where to find things and then I bid them goodnight. I went to the living room and read until they had time to fall asleep and then I got up and headed for my home office. I booted up the computer, got on the Net and then logged onto one of my favorite sites. I went searching through the index until I found the section I was looking for, brought it up and there she was. Absolutely no doubt about it. The name on the clip was Lois, but it was sure enough Aimee.
I heard the door open and close behind me and I turned and saw Aimee standing there. "You know, don't you?"
I nodded a yes.
"All of it?"