Chapter 6-Here Without You
Dan had his scheduled call home today; he doesn’t invite me to join him anymore because he knows I would say no. The Woods have always been like my family, they knew about my Old Man and my mom so they always opened their home to me and treated me like one of their Son’s. Mrs. Woods would tell people I was Dan’s twin, since we were similar in looks and build and inseparable. They also figured Emily and I would get married at some point. Of course, I’m a dick since I can’t bring myself to talk to them, I’m not worthy of their love and compassion anymore.
It’s also just so hard to see Emily, to hear her voice. I know I told her to let me go but I’m secretly hoping she doesn’t. It’s incredibly selfish, but the year in a half away from her hasn’t eased the pain of not being with her and my love for her hasn’t faded. If anything it’s only grown, even though I know I’m not any good for her anymore.
I see her in my dreams since she’s always been the one to get me through my toughest days. After he would beat me with whatever was convenient for him then pass out like the drunken fool he was, I would run to the Woods. Emily was the one who would nurse me back to health, even at such a young age she was the one taking care of me. Dan and his parents would let me stay as long as I needed and didn’t say a word about it.
They wanted to call the police a few times but since my Dad was the town Sherriff everyone would have laughed at it. They all thought he was the greatest man and hung the moon; it was extremely sickening to watch people fan all over him. He was killed trying to stop a desperate and hungry teenager from stealing a gallon of milk. The kid was homeless and had a three-year-old brother, he was just trying to feed him. The kid ran and my Old Man ran after him only he didn’t see the car coming and was killed on impact.
The town grieved for him, my Mom still wept for him and I silently thanked God for taking him. His death was a blessing for a lot of us. After his death, my mom went into a depression and would lock herself in her room. I hated it at home, so I basically moved in with The Woods and only went home once a day to make sure Mom was still alive and to give her food. Over those years she slowly started to vanish and I couldn’t stand it anymore. I cared more about losing her then my Old Man but she just couldn’t deal with his death.
He was killed a week after I turned 16 and Emily and I had been dating a year at this point. I trusted her with everything and there were many times I would sneak into her room just so I could hold her and feel at peace. Emily is my home and my peace, and she always will be even though we can’t be with each other more. Dan would be talking to her as well and I just needed to see her, I would deal with the gut-wrenching ache the emptiness brings later.
I walked into the community center and heard Dan yelling and knew something was wrong. Dan isn’t the type of person to curse or yell unless he was really stressed or pissed. The tone of his voice sounds tense and apprehensive.
“Over my dead body, just because he knocked you up doesn’t mean you have to marry him.” It couldn’t have been Danika, she loved him and wouldn’t cheat on him so that only left one other person. She was free to do what she wants but is she really that stupid?
It’s when I look at the computer screen and see her there with watery blue eyes I knew it had to be true but I just wouldn’t believe it unless she says it herself. I glue my eyes to hers, she doesn’t move away from my longing gaze and just looking at her beautiful face, I realize what we had is gone and we can’t put us back together.
“I’m sorry Day.” She cries and she may be sorry but it doesn’t change the fact that she just ripped my heart out and literally just stomped on it. I put on my mask, the one I’ve been carrying around for months now and hold it together long enough to tell her congrats, then I turn around and leave the room and head for my bunk. I don’t know what I’m doing or where I’m going, maybe I’ll go ask Jake if I can join the team going out on a mission. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do, it’s supposed to be a difficult one, so if I don’t come back, that would be okay.
I find him in the galley, talking to some other people. My heavy booted feet make noise as I move towards the table and that’s when he turns around. “SPFC Reed, what can I do for you?” Commander Russell isn’t always so formal when addressing us so he must sense something is up and wants to cut out the bullshit and get straight to the point.
“Sir, can we talk for a moment?” He nods his head and turns to back to the other guys and says,
“I’ll see you guys later for our weekly poker game?” He gets up from the table. “We can talk outside.” He heads towards to door and I follow. Once outside he leans up against one of the hummers.
“What’s up Frostbite?” Now his formalities are dropped.
“I want to go the with platoon leaving in the morning?” He straightens up and his eyes widen with concern.
“Why, Damien?” He questions with concern lacing his voice. “You know that’s a suicide mission and your chances of coming back are slim to none.”
“I’m aware of what kind of mission it is, I just need to get out of here and we’re not set to leave on patrol for another few days.” Jake looks deep in thought as he questions my request.
“I don’t know what’s really going on with you, but I’m going to have to deny that request. Now before you go and get all pissy about it, here’s why. We could get called out at any second and we would be down a man if you left. We need you here Reed; I also need you to get your shit together before you get yourself or one of us killed.” I want to get angry at him but he’s right; it would be pretty stupid of me if I took off.
“Look, Damien, I can see you are struggling with yourself and with what happened to that kid but there was really nothing else you could have done. Out here if a child is pointing a weapon at you they aren’t kids anymore and it becomes a battle of doing the right thing. It was either him or you.”
“Alpha, Frostbite, you need to gear up and meet us at the tank.” Ghost says while running up to us, clutching his rifle.
“The tank?” I ask. We don’t normally use the tank unless we are going into an area with high artillery. “What’s happened?” His upright body sags a bit.
“There’s been an ISIS attack in Sadar City.”