Fifteen years ago
Up on the hill overlooking the lake hidden in the forest sat an eleven-year-old girl. She was lost in thought and didn’t hear him approach. Through he was usually silent as he walked she always knew he was there if he could find her. The only creature in existence that could allude his sharp eyes was her and only her. He sat down next to the small girl as he looked her over. “Are they still bothering you?“, he asked as he saw the glaze over her usually beautiful eyes that reminded him of the sky just before a storm.
“They always are bothering me. That isn’t why I am here though.“, She replied easily. This was her friend, her only friend. They had known each other for close to four years now and though the seven-year age difference they had become remarkably close. He tried to think of her as a younger sister, but that was impossible. She was more than that though he had bottled all of that up and never let her or anyone else see it. She was too young, too innocent, and much to pure for someone like him.
“Then what is it?“, he asked.
“Do you really have to go?“, she asked.
“We have gone over this Princess.“,he replied with a chuckle.
“But do you?“,she asked again.
“Sweetheart, yes you know I have to go now. I am aging out of the system. I am now eighteen. I have to do something with my life.“, he replied.
“But the Army?“, she asked.
“It’s something. I only plan to stay in for the four years, you know, so they can train me to do something useful. Working on the farm was good for muscles but not really practical for a living.“,he said.
“Can’t you find something around here?“, she asked.
“No, sweetheart it is fine.“, he said.” I promise those brats will leave you alone soon. If not I’ll come back in my uniform and scare them.“, he said.
“No, you won’t.“, she said.
“And if I told you I would why do you think suddenly I won’t hold true to my word?“, he asked.
“You will forget about me.“, she said.
“You really I would forget about you?“, he asked.
“Everyone does. I won’t forget about you that’s a promise.“,she said as she wiped the tear from her eyes.
“I will never forget about you either, Princess.“, he said.
“I will write to you every week. That’s a promise as well.” He held out his hand for her to shake as was their thing. She reluctantly put out her hand, and he clasped it in his. He gave a simple squeeze as he turned it over and brought it to his lips. “You are very special. Do not go giving your heart away without me around, Okay?”
“Yeah right. I’m nothing.“,she replied with a slight laugh.
“You have no idea how special you are, Princess.“, he said as she placed her head on his shoulder as the light faded away.
“I am not that special.“, she said.
“Sweetheart you are going to change the world one day. I hope I am still around to see it.“, he said, and she sighed.
“Me too Mitsu. Me too.“,she said.
He was sure he was in hell. He knew there was going to be a crowd he didn’t realize that there were that many people that could be interested in this Award Ceremony. He wasn’t there because of himself or any of his teammates. He was there because his commander had basically told them that they should go there. When his commander spoke, they all had to listen whether they wanted to or not. They knew he would be getting an award and he wanted to make sure that his people were there to support him. He just added another notch to his belt. Not that any of his people actually liked him. They put up with him, but they didn’t actually care for him. He wasn’t a bad commander. He just wasn’t the leader that the unit completely needed.
So the team had donned their dress uniforms, and all met up at their office building. None of them actually wanted to go to this function, but they all tried to do everything they could as long as they were going to do as a group. They’ve been together for 10 years now, and for the most part, they all knew each other. They trusted each other. They were an elite special forces unit. It was their job to trust each other. They also had to trust their commander and when that trust was lost years ago they were moved into a different section. They were all getting older as well. Their limitations grew by the day as their previous injuries started to act up more and more. So that led them to become the teachers of the next wave. They now taught their specialties to the next and upcoming generation. The tricks of the trade that they had to learn the hard way there now taught on a daily basis by them.
None of them particularly like the crowds. So they all agreed that they would take a table closest to the exit. Their unit comprised of 10 men stood out in the crowd. Of course, they didn’t realize the tables weren’t all that big and that it was going to take at least two of them for them to be seated together. When everybody had found a place, they waited for the show to begin. The award ceremony itself was only a part of what tonight was. For them, it was just a giant party. For the people who are getting their awards however it was much more than that. Though they didn’t quite understand why anyone would want an award from this group that had organized it.
It wasn’t until three people in and the speeches had become almost ridiculous. That was when he looked at the pamphlet that was given to them when they walked in. One name stood out. It couldn’t possibly be.
The name was called about an hour into the awards. He watched with his eyes glowing in the darkened room. He knew that it couldn’t possibly be her. When the tiny young woman stepped out onto the stage, he dragged in a breath and held it. It was her.
He never forgot the girl who had accepted him completely when he was nothing but an orphan. She was the only light bringer in his life. He had made a promise to her the day before he left that he would never forget. He never did.
He wondered if she remembered him. It happened so long ago, and she was still a child when he left. He watched her as she spoke. Her speech did not last nearly as long as the others. He was lost in a memory when he heard the round of applause. She was done speaking. He hadn’t even paid attention to what she had said, and for him that was unusual. He was the one who is completely full of information on just about every person that was in this room. He had it all filed away in his mind and the one person that he had been determined that he was not going to ever forget he had just completely ignored what she had said. He didn’t even know what kind of award she won.
Finally, it was time to move on from the speeches. The music started, and people began filing around the room and conversations with people that they were just trying to network with. It was almost as if these people didn’t see each other daily on the job. He made his way around the room just watching everybody as he normally did. He saw the small crowd that was gathered in the front.
She was standing in the middle of it. And he couldn’t take his eyes off her. Before he knew it, he was on the edge of the crowd. The group of people was discussing things that he didn’t know about, and he really didn’t care. He was trying to edge forward. It was slow going, but soon enough he was in her sights.
She looked up from the nauseating crowd that was standing around her. She had been feeling like she was about ready to hit a wall all night. It wasn’t until she looked up that she saw him. She knew instantly it was him. His eyes a betrayed who he was. She had never met anyone else that had the same color eyes that he did. In those moments before he made his way to stand right in front of her, she had a choice to make. She either had to forgive him for leaving her behind, or she could walk away right now. He wouldn’t be able to make it to her if she did. However, nothing about her was ever cowardice.
She held her ground and waited for him to make his way to her. She didn’t know if she could ever forgive him for not doing the simplest of tasks. He had promised her he wouldn’t forget her and he had. She had never forgotten him.
Ultimately he was the reason why she took this job. In a way, she knew that she had been searching for him for so long and this was the only way that she could possibly reach him. She didn’t know why in those moments she couldn’t breathe. It almost hurt. But all she can do is stand there and wait. Part of her felt like she was still the 11-year-old little girl waiting on the hilltop for her only friend to show up and take away her pain. Only he had been able to do that. He had been her only friend for such a long time. And then he left. He didn’t even write a letter like he said he would.
When he finally reached her, he just looked down at her and stared. All she could do was sit there and smile and wait for him to speak. After a moment where they just seemed lost in each other’s eyes. Someone called her name, and she turned for a second to see where it came from. He was at her arm when she turned back. “It’s really you.” He whispered.
“It’s been a very long time Mitsu.“, She said. He smiled at his childhood nickname. She was the only person that ever called him that. It was in those moments he realized why he still had a craving for her. She had been a child when they met. But over the years he couldn’t help himself and the way that he felt about her. He knew that she would be the one to change the world. Here she was, changing the world. He was nothing but a foot soldier that couldn’t even go in the field anymore.
She was breathtakingly beautiful. She hadn’t grown much more than what she had been on the day that he left. He had that image of her burned in his memory, and at times it was the only thing that had gotten through the day. Once upon a time, there had been a beautiful girl who had loved him. It was a story that he told himself while he was on a mission or on the days that everything hurt. He was doing what he had to do to make sure that the world was safe for her.
“You don’t even look the same anymore.“, He said softly.
“It has been fifteen years. What do you expect that I was going to be the same child that I was before?“, she laughed.
“You, my dear, are definitely not the same child. You have grown up into a beautiful woman.“, he replied.
“Thank you.“, She said back to him as she looked up into his eyes. There seems to be much more emotion there now, and there have been when he first laid eyes on her. The dress that she was wearing hugged her body tightly. She wanted nothing more to be back at her hotel room and be able to take it off. It wasn’t that she didn’t like being all dolled up and in extreme formal wear, it was more the fact that she didn’t want people looking at her like she was a piece of meat. Even he was looking at her that way. She never forgot him or the way that he looked at her. She had just completely shaved that emotion off to the side and hid it down deep. Now he was standing in front of her, and she couldn’t hold it back any longer. The music started. She looked up at him and smiled.
“Your date probably wants to dance.” , she smiled.
“There is no date to dance with.“, He replied.
" Oh, I see.“, She replied. He held his hand out like he used to. She almost went to grab it when she looked at it, and he looked at her.
“My dear, May I have this dance?“, he asked.