Lynn wanted to sound as brave as possible and to make the first move , while her father went with his friends into the cricket club "So is your name cadet Edgar? Or are you going to tell me your real name" she tried to use her seductive glance; her friends had told her she could master it well.
Edgar was slightly aloof though to her charms, and he replied drearily "No my name is leon"
Even his name was attractive to lynn: Leon Edgar, muscled, brave and confident willing to sacrifice his life for his home country. Lynn had to be honest to herself leon seemed a bit mysterious and he had this unfamiliar accent (he did not carry on the conversation or ask her any questions but continued to watch the other men) but that was attractive in itself. Lynn had been at her school and the boys there seemed too keen and lynn hated clinginess with a passion; maybe she had inherited that from her mother.
The day went as follows; there was an amateur game of golf among lynn's father and his friends (including leon who absolutely failed at scoring anything) but he laughed it off and lynn loved his smile. After the game the whole assembly went back into the golf club and there was a lunch meal that was delicious lynn – who was extremely confident in herself, went immediately to sit next to leon and another male friend he had brought along, that was also in his unit in the army. Compared to his companion, leon was more reserved and mature, the friend however was boisterous and annoying but she laid down her charms expertly and tried to act tolerant to get through the afternoon.
The day went on and finally it was time to go (janae was coming back from mom's so they had to head back home) lynn went skipping up to leon and asked him for his number.
"How-how old are you?" asked leon incredulous as if he had not been approached by an attractive young girl before.
"14" said lynn trying to act mature about it "And you?"
Leon studied her carefully "17. Have you got a mobile?"
"Yeah, Of course" lynn produced her mobile. Leon quickly took it and began dialling his number into her phone to record his details.
"Which cadet academy are you in by the way?" asked lynn
"I go to yours. Keep in touch lynn we can hang out sometimes" replied leon quickly and he gave her back her phone and went to catch up with his father waving as he did so.
Lynn tried to suppress her excitement (because her father would no doubt pick up on it) and walked with him back to the car.
"That guy, leon's father is a nice man" said lynn
"Yes, i've known him for a long time. In fact he visited the barracks where i used to work a few times bringing leon with him. 17 you know and already in the army. Nice lad that is"
"So. He is a cool lad?" asked lynn
"Yeah it is honorable and upright but i do not take any of these young men seriously and neither should you. He is American i'll give him that. Apparently American and Scottish men are good family men"
"Dad that is so racist!" snapped lynn laughing slightly
"Racist it's a proven fact. There are more marriages that stay together in Scotland and America compared to England. Promise me lynn that you will marry either one of those folks if anything ever happens to me" he looked her in the eye as if pleading with her but the pretense failed and he began laughing good-naturally and she allowed him to hug her.
"I'll know who to marry. Nothing is going to happen to you dad and what happens if my soul mate is Asian or black?"
There was a pause. Lynn's father carried on walking his head bent a very long pause for Lynn followed but her father replied unhurriedly "Maybe it's because i have always found my own clan amongst my own people. But i guess it's the 21st century, all things must change i guess, but i don't see why you'll need to"
"And because of that, I 'am going to walk a little bit faster to the car" said lynn pretending to be offended.
But for lynn no soul-mate, black or asian, could stop her from her pursuit of leon. The next weekend after school (she could not focus on her education) she was back at training as usual. All throughout the week she had tried to get to know leon a bit more sending him text messages and adding him on myspace. Leon liked electonical, dance and the same independent artists she did, he loved football a lot (but of course American football teams that she did not know) and he loved running. Saturday came and lynn excitedly was the first out of the door, her father was not coming that week because he was having bad heart burns so she caught the bus and the train to get to the cadet academy.
Immediately, (as though he had been waiting for her)she saw leon sat on a low wall outside the training camp. He had his hands in his coat pockets and he smiled warmly at lynn as soon as he saw her. She immediately fell in step alongside him and they continued on talking, as if talking was as important as breathing.
So the years passed and leon and lynn continued to meet secretly, lynn was allowed over his house (his family keeping a close eye on them) or they met in town or at the cadet camp. Slowly leon introduced her to his best friends and she finally met another best friend called Anne who coincidentally went to the same school as she did. Anne had accompanied her older brother to check out the camp but unfortunately was not going to join but was there to support him nonetheless.
As well as talking to leon, lynn made an exceptional connection with anne (to the disappointment of janae who was met with a slammed bedroom door whenever she whined that lynn was ignoring her). Anne was like lynn's long lost sister. Anne was boisterous, confident, sharp tongued and aggressive like she was, they shared the same hobbies and interests and they were like two peas of the same pod. Anne was invited after to lynn's house for sleepovers or tea and she immediately got on well with lynn's father.
But the years change and lynn was hit with a change so great that he shook the very foundations of her family unit. Lynn was grateful that anne and leon was with her through that tragedy otherwise she would not have been able to deal with the sudden, unexpected, loss of her father.
He had returned slowly one evening just as anne and lynn was coming downstairs for a snack. Lynn was the first to sense something was wrong because her father was very pale, yellowish and was coughing uncontrollably.
"Dad-"began lynn and then she screamed when her father collapsed on the ground. He was not moving and he had his hand by his chest. Anne immediately went to call the ambulance while lynn began to place her father (through tears) in the recovery position. During the fiasco janae came downstairs crying her eyes out and lynn had to order her back upstairs.
The hospital, the crying and the funeral passed in a blur in front of lynn's eyes. The world had suddenly become covered in a misty fog but lynn was surprised that she had been untouched by it, she hardly cried (her mother and her young sister had) and suddenly she felt like she was a bad person for not doing so. Lynn and janae had to live thereafter between two houses; her uncle and aunt's and her mother and her step father's. Again, there were the familiar arguments that had overshadowed her father and mother's relationship: her step-father could not support three children, they had not agreed on supporting three children and lynn was eventually frustrated at her step father's selfishness. In the end whose side did grace take but her new spouses'. Lynn and janae were left in the shadows once again without a mother figure and anne seemed much more angry about this then lynn did.
"I'm sorry but i just cannot believe the coincidence! I have to live between two houses; one with my grandmother, the next with my mother and it sends me angry all the time because we are children, they aren't. They need to get their shit together" snapped anne.
Lynn tried not to laugh at anne's rants but the girl rarely made inaccurate opinions she thought.
Anne had been right however because before the month was over grace came over to her uncle's house to see them.
Lynn could not believe what she was hearing, after grace sat down with her sister to explain what she was doing "You're leaving us to go to bloody Canada!"
"Language honey please" said grace calmly
"NO i will not be calm. Dad has just died, janae has been hardly talking-" began lynn
"I have TO been talking!" sulked janae
"Then why are you ditching school?!" retorted lynn. Janae did not answer but stood up and went running upstairs.
"JANAE! Oh Gods. Yes i am going to Canada with Alan – i have to do this lynn for your sakes too"
"Just. You are an adult, come back and talk to us when you decide to become one" hissed lynn looking away from her mother. Lynn could see out of the corner of her eye that those last words had deeply upset grace and grace began crying into some tissues but lynn remained vehement about her decision. Grace left the house in silence.
Her uncle Ben tried to talk to her but she was not having it. He put down a cup of tea and whispered "Someday you will understand my sister and why she is doing this"
"I think i know who your sister is already" whispered lynn, a tear falling down her face, her face however was composed.
Lynn continued to see leon more regularly after her mother left for Canada, sometimes against her aunt and uncle's permission. They were concerned about her and this mysterious army teenager. Leon was 17 technically he was in a different intellectual and emotional age bracket to lynn and they feared it. But lynn reassured them constantly that her relationship with leon was pure and sensible and before her 15th birthday they had shared their first kiss (in London underneath the London big wheel).
But everything was crumbling and lynn again had her hopes dashed. The day had started out normally (the messages from their myspace conversation the previous evening still up) lynn had stuck pictures of her and leon around her room, pictures of them kissing, in gardens, on a field wrapped in each other's embrace. They of course had not slept together (she had to be 16 for that) and so far leon had been a patient and mature young man. Lynn smiled to herself as she got ready to go to that boring grammar school all the while thinking about leon.
To be honest her blossoming, radiant new confidence had attracted many young boys her age in school but she passed them by, they were inferior to leon – he was a real man, the boys her age were just boys playing at being men. So she pushed past them whenever they hollered impervious to her charms.
She returned home from school and was concerned to see leon standing outside her aunt and uncle's house (he knew she lived there but she had forbade him from actually coming over) she quickly ran up to him, starling him and dragged him quite a distance down an alleyway.
"LEON! What the hell are you doing here?" asked lynn shocked
"Listen lynn. I-" he began and he winced as if the knowledge of something was causing him pain
"What spit it out!"
"Its time" he stated and lynn felt her heart drop. Leon was American and he had come over to England to train with the UK branch of the arm forces because his father moved places every so often. Of course leon had warned her but he also promised to stay in touch and that he wouldn't forget her "When will you be going?" she wanted to sit down and cry.
"In 2 weeks time"
"So SOON and you only just telling me now?!" she barked
"Dad changed his mind again. I think he was worried about you"
Lynn became quiet and left leon hanging but there was something else leon was not saying. Underneath her eyelashes she could see him leaning from side to side, the usual habit of nervousness "And? Is there anything else that you want to tell me?"
"I-I have a girlfriend back home"
Lynn had made up her mind, as soon as the words finished tumbling out of leon's mouth. She was going to punch this guy into the ground.