Chapter 12: Fletchers Good news
The couple hardly spoke two words to each other and spent the time sitting in relative quite whilst travelling back to Aldershot. Julie felt so ashamed of herself for succumbing to her emotions and passionately kissing Fletcher on the lips.
Fletch on the other hand was really worried that Julie wouldn’t want to see him again, and now wished he’d said nothing, but how could he have kept a secret like that to himself, he was so passionately in love with her now, and had never felt this way about any other woman before, she made him feel wonderfully alive and he couldn’t stand the thought of never seeing her again, he just wanted to be by her side every minute of the day.
Arriving back in Aldershot , Julie drove Fletch around to the side entrance of the hospital and quietly said her goodbyes, but turned her head away when he reached over to kiss her on the lips.
“Will I see you again Julie, ?....... please,..... please, say you’ll see me again Julie”, said Fletch in desperation. “Even if our relationship is just a friendship,” begged Fletch.
Julie looked the other way whilst trying to avoid his gaze and said, “ I don’t think that’s a very good idea anymore do you Jack?” and without uttering another word she slowly drove off down the hospital drive leaving Fletch stood at the hospital side entrance feeling very foolish and alone.
Over the following few days Fletcher started to sink into a deep depression, Julie had not bothered to contacted him, although he knew this was understandable but he missed her like crazy, and to top it all a Ministry Captain currier from the Ministry of Defence in London had been to see him, presenting him with a letter which read as follows:
To 2401964 Corporal J Fletcher. 24th July 1972.
I am Commanded by my Lords Commissioners of the Army to inform you that they have learned with great pleasure that on the advice of the Army Chief of Staff, The Queen has been graciously pleased to award you the Military Medal, for bravery skill and leadership in the face of the enemy whilst serving in Her Majesty’s Forces in Dhofar Oman, in the course of which much havoc was caused to enemy movements.
This Award was published in the London Gazette Supplement on the 25th July, 1972.
Two reporters and a camera man from the national news papers, had also turned up at the hospital to get his side of the story, but Fletch didn’t feel up to giving them too many details, and they went away putting his reactions down to the injuries he’d received out in Oman, but Fletch knew differently and was pining desperately for Julie.
His father rang him two days later when the story of his bravery out in Oman hit the front page of all the local and national news papers, to tell him how proud he was that his son Jack had been invited to Buckingham Palace to receive his medal personally from Her Majesty the Queen.
Unfortunately it hit Fletch even harder when the hospital staff turned on the daily news report on his bedside television set, and the men of ‘Red Troop’ still stationed out in RAF Salalah Dhofar appeared singing his praises, and his pal Sergeant (Bomber ) Hill telling the TV reporters how he’d saved his life. God did that make him feel bad!, and the nurses just couldn’t understand why he demanded that they turn his TV set off. The Matron put his sullen moods down to too much excitement, God if she only knew the real reason! Thought Fletch.
It was two days later when Fletch had just finished another intensive course of exercises with the hospital Physiotherapy Department that his surgeon Major Wilson MD came to see him at his bedside to inform him that he was being released from hospital within the next few days.
Major Wilson also told Fletch that his physiotherapy would continue for a further six weeks as an outpatient from his local hospital in Winchester now that he was managing to walk around with the aid of just one walking stick. He was also satisfied that Fletch would make a reasonable recovery from his injuries. Unfortunately Fletcher was also informed that after his investiture at Buckingham Palace on the 1st August 1973 when he was due to receive his Military Medal from Her Majesty the Queen, he was to be discharged from the army with a military pension, but this was little comfort to Fletch, and although he was expecting this to happen, it still hit him like a bolt out of the blue, and did very little towards helping him out of his depression.
His father had told him that as soon as he felt strong enough and wanted to work again, he could go into business with him in his sailing, fishing and speedboat sales business, which his father had managed to set up during the early 1960s and it was now expanding due to receiving more major boat sales contracts from abroad, but nothing seemed to matter to Fletch anymore, and right now all he could think about was losing Bombers wife Julie.
Julie had been reading all the national and local papers, and just couldn’t help following all the heroic stories about Fletchers deeds on the Television news reports whilst he had been serving out in Dhofar Oman. It was then that she began to realise just how much she loved and cared for him, and try as she may she just couldn’t get Jack Fletcher out of her thoughts which haunted her day and night.
At last she made up her mind to go and see him at the hospital and tell him that she loved him too, before he was due to return home and it was too late to tell him of her feelings towards him.
Fletch was sat on the edge of his bed with his suitcase packed and ready to go after saying farewell to the hospital Matron, doctors and staff, when Julie ran frantically down the hospital corridor and rushed into his arms.
Fletch was taken completely by surprise but was so happy and relieved that Julie was now in love with him too. Fletcher held Julie tightly in his arms and tears of joy ran down Julie’s face as they kissed and embraced each other, telling each other that they never wanted to be separated again.
At last Fletch managed to explained to her that his father was driving up from Winchester and due anytime to collect him within the hour, and she would have to leave before he arrived, but they exchanged telephone numbers and he promised her he would arrange a meeting again with her as soon as he could make the necessary arrangement.
Julie found it hard to pull away from Fletchers loving arms but gave him another lingering kiss on the lips before blowing him another kiss as she reluctantly left his bed side and headed for the main hospital exit just before Fletchers father arrived.
“All ready to go son, your most certainly a lot more cheerful than of late” said his father picking up his suitcase at the side of his bed “Sure thing dad! didn’t think I was ever going say this, but I sure will miss this place now I’m leaving it dad,” said Fletch sadly, as he waved farewell to the duty nurses and limped towards the hospital main exit supported by his father.