19 - Home Again
She waits impatiently at the baggage claim. She can hardly contain her excitement as she sees Tucker coming toward her. His smile makes her heart jump and she runs toward him. He catches her with a big kiss as she jumps into his arms almost making him fall. She missed him the last two months. He smells and feels so good.
“Hey you.” His lips rub gently on her forehead as she closes her eyes drinking this moment in.
“Hi.” She squeezes him tightly.
“Let’s get my bag so we can go home and be alone.”
She watches him as he walks around their New York apartment. She feels nervous because he let her pick out where they would live alone. “So? What do you think?”
“It is just like the pictures. I like it.”
She smiles satisfied and moves over to him for a hug. “I like it more now that you are in it.”
“I like you more.” She feels him hold her tight and kiss her hair.
“Where your parents excited to see you?”
“Yeah but mom was mad I only stayed one night. I had to promise to come back in a couple of weeks.”
She looks up giving him a sad face. “Your poor mom.”
“I only went there first because you made me. I wanted to see you more than anyone.”
“I know me too but she would have been really mad if you came to me first.”
“I don’t know. She seemed really excited we were moving in together.”
Chasity laughs. “I am glad your parents like me and are so supportive.”
“Were your parents mad?”
“That is a brief answer.”
“I may not have told them.” She avoids looking at him wondering if he will be upset.
“I don’t know. I was not sure they would be cool knowing we were living together.”
“You know our parents are friends, right?”
“Well don’t you think they would appreciate hearing it from you rather than my parents?”
“No.” She feels nervous thinking about how much her parents might scold her.
Tucker laughs at her as he lets go of her. “Call them.”
He hands her phone to her. “Yes.”
“Can I do it in a few days?”
“I am not living here until you tell them.” She knows he is serious from the scolding tone in his voice.
“Fine. I will call them tomorrow.”
He bends over picking up his bag. “Alright.” He moves toward the door and she knows he is trying to leave.
“What are you doing?”
“Going to find a hotel.”
“Are you serious?”
“I am a little mad honestly.”
“You are still embarrassed to be with me.”
“I was never embarrassed to be with you. I am not now either. I just don’t want my parents to feel disappointed in me.”
“Okay.” He kisses her cheek and still acts like he is leaving.
“Fine.” She begins to scroll through her phone to call her parents. She hears his bag hit the floor and she looks up into his eyes as the phone rings.
She hopes no one picks up but is disappointed when she hears her mom’s voice. “Hey honey.”
“Hi. How are you and dad?”
“Good. You having a good week at work so far? Did you get off early?” She realizes she is usually at work during this time.
“It is good. I actually took off today.”
“I picked up Tucker from the airport.”
“Is he back for good? Or just visiting?”
“He is back for good I hope.”
“That is great. Do you two have some fun stuff lined up while he is there.”
“Well, he is actually not just visiting me. He and I are going to be living together.” She feels Tucker wrap his arms around her pulling her back up against him.
“That is good! You will have someone you know there now.”
She feels a little relieved her mom is not upset. She realizes her mom may not get the fact that she and Tucker are in a relationship though because her parents never saw them together like Tucker’s parents had. “He and I are together mom.”
“Together? Like a couple together?”
“Like he is my boyfriend.”
She hears an excited screech through the phone. “I always knew one day you two would be together!”
She laughs in relief. “I am glad you are okay with it.”
“Okay with it? I am not crazy about the two of you living together but I am happy you both are finally admitting how you feel. And I know he will take care of you. Now I don’t have to worry so much about you in that big city.”
“I am glad he can give you a peace of mind.” She feels happier and gets distracted from the phone call as she feels Tucker’s hands sliding up her shirt and his warm lips kissing her neck.
“Tell him we say hello. We are glad he is back.”
“I will mom. I will call you later.”
“Alright. I love you. Take care of yourself up there.”
“I will mom and I love you too.”
“Bye.” She throws her phone on the couch as she rotates in Tuckers arms so that she is now facing him. “Satisfied?”
“Not even remotely satisfied.” She giggles as he walks her toward the bedroom kissing on her neck more.
She wakes up hearing Tucker whimpering and moving around. “Tuck?” She scoots closer to him. “Wake up.” She had never seen him have a bad dream before. It makes her sad. “Babe?” She shakes him slightly and he finally opens his eyes. “Are you okay?”
“Sorry.” He wraps his arms around her, hugging her tightly.
“You want to talk about it?”
“Not really.” He kisses her head. “I just forget where I am sometimes.”
She wonders what all he had seen to make him have nightmares. She wonders if he has them a lot. “Were you on a boat most of the time?”
“No. SEALs stands for sea, air and land. We mainly were just land based.”
“Did you see war?”
“I really don’t want to talk about it. Can we just go back to sleep?”
“Alright.” She knows he must have seen bad things as she snuggles in closer to him.
He had applied to become a police officer, which Chasity wasn’t crazy about. The training he was going through was easy compared to his SEAL training but it was causing him to have more nightmares. He had been having them more frequently the past three weeks. Chasity seemed concerned and he woke her up often.
He got out of training early today and has been wondering around the streets of New York. He sees a jewelry store and enters inside. He had already been to three other jewelry stores. He has not been with her for very long but he has loved her for years. He wants to find her the perfect ring before he proposes.
“Can I help you find anything sir?” The lady behind the counter smiles at him.
“I am looking for an engagement ring.”
“We have a great selection right over here.” She points and walks toward the other side of the jewelry case. “Did you have something specific in mind?”
“Not really.” He looks at the rings until he sees a beautiful square shaped diamond with smaller stones on each side. “Can I see that one there?” He points to it and she pulls it out for him to see better. He smiles thinking about Chasity. The ring is not too big or fancy because he knows she would hate it. “I want this one.”
“That was the fastest I have ever seen someone choose a ring.” She seems impressed.
“Well this is the fourth jewelry store I have been in today.”
“Ah. I see. Give me a minute to get it shined up and boxed for you.”
He hides the ring inside his bedside table drawer when he gets home. He knows she does not ever look in there. He wants to wait until the weekend to ask her. He did not want to ask her out in public because he knows how she hates attention. He wants to do it privately at home.
He feels nervous as the phone rings and he waits for Chasity’s dad to answer.
“Hi. This is Tucker.”
“Hi Tucker. How are you and my daughter doing?”
“Great. How about you and Mrs. Grisom?”
“We are good.”
“I was calling to ask you permission to marry your daughter.” He does not beat around the bush and it makes his heart rate grow faster. “Would that be okay?”
“I can’t think of someone I would trust more with my daughter than you.”
He smiles in relief and excitement. “Thank you, sir.”
“Did you already ask her.”
“Not yet. I was going to tomorrow night.” He hears the door open and sees Chasity arriving home from work.
“I hope she says yes.”
Tucker feels a slight panic. He knows she could turn him down as he sees her smile at him. “Me too.”
“Good luck son.”
“Thank you. Have a great evening.” He hangs up and kisses Chasity as she arrives in front of him. “Have a good day?”
“It was good I guess.”
“I picked up dinner.” He picks a bag of Chinese food up off the coffee table.
“I need some alcohol.” He watches her walk to the fridge.
“So work was bad?”
“I think my boss hates me.” She holds up a bottle of beer. “Would you like one?”
“You sure? Maybe it would relax you and help with your dreams.”
He figures it is worth a try. “I will take two then.”
She laughs as she hands him the cold bottle but then turns serious. “Your dreams seem to be happening more frequently. Is it always the same dream?”
“No.” He sits down next to her on the couch and she pulls his arm up around her shoulders snuggling in close.
“What do you see in them?”
He does not want her to know the terrible things he has seen. “I don’t really want to talk about it.”
“Maybe it would help.”
“You can’t fix me Chasity.” He feels annoyed and moves his arm away from her reaching for the food.
“Because the world I have seen isn’t going away.”
“At least share it with me so I can understand.”
“Why won’t you tell me anything that happened or that you did?”
“Drop it Chasity. I am not having this conversation again.” He is trying to stay calm but he knows his anger is showing in his tone. He hands her a box of food and tries to change the subject. “You want to watch a movie?”
He wakes up hearing Chasity crying and he sees her scared eyes below him. His hands are around her neck and he has her pinned down on the bed beneath his body. Her hands struggle as they pull on his arms. He quickly moves his hands off her neck and gets off her. “I am sorry!” She jumps out of bed and moves backwards toward the window never taking her eyes off him. He stands up and tries to move closer to her, but she moves back more in response with a whimper. “Are you okay?”
She puts her hand out toward him as she cries and tries to talk between gasps. “Don’t touch me.”
He had never hurt her before. He did not realize what he was doing but he hates himself for hurting her. “I am so sorry Chasity. I guess I thought the ceiling fan was a helicopter and I. I don’t know.”
Her scared eyes hurt him. He has never seen her so scared of anything or anyone. He steps closer to her again but she moves back in reply continuing to cry.
“Chasity.” He holds both his hands up so she can see them clearly. “I am awake now. I swear, I am not going to hurt you.” He takes a slow step toward her.
She gasps for air as she holds her neck but does not move back from him. He takes another slow step. He feels pain in his chest from her scared eyes. “Is your neck okay?” He takes another slow step towards her and she still does not move or speak as she watches him. “Can I see?” He keeps taking slow steps with his palms out in front of her so she can see them.
She nods her head and moves her hand from her neck. “I am going to turn the light on.” He warns her of his moves so he does not scare her more. He slowly continues to move and turn the light on. He must close his eyes in pain when he sees the red marks on her neck. Tears start to cloud his vision. “Oh my god Chasity.” He backs away from her.
She finally speaks as tears continue to run down her cheeks but her voice is a little raspy. “I am okay.”
“No, you aren’t. I hurt you.”