Chapter 35 - Open your eyes
River was lying down beside me, her long hair blowing in her face blocking her sleepy smile. I tried to reach out to brush the strands away but my arm wouldn't move.
God, she was so pretty and I could almost smell strawberries, I just needed her to be a little bit closer. . .
"Beau, get up."
She shook my shoulder but her hands felt bigger, her fingertips were digging into me with too much force.
She never called me that.
"Get the fuck up!"
River's voice was no longer hers. I opened my eyes to see Sander's bloody face staring at my own.
I look past him, the humvee was turned over on its side but I couldn't get a visual on anyone or anything else.
My ears were ringing and my head was pounding. I reached up and felt the helmet still secured to my head realizing that it more than likely saved my life. I rolled my body over and pushed up on my hands and knees. Taking deep breaths I managed to stand up. Sanders' bloody head was at the forefront of my mind and I narrowed my eyes trying to find my bag.
Sanders slung it over my shoulder only a few seconds later.
"Looking for this?"
He asked while wiping his head with the back of his hand.
"Where are Michelson and Dean?"
I couldn't see for shit with the amount of dirt in my eyes.
"Here, Staff Sergeant."
They said in unison behind me, both winded.
"I need to get a better look at that."
I pointed to the gash across Sanders's forehead.
"I'm fine, let's get out of here first."
He slapped me on my back.
Another vehicle was already on its way. We secured the area, finding none of the pricks we saw before we were ambushed.
Michealson and Dean we're banged up, but nothing serious. When our humvee arrived I grabbed a bottle of water and dumped it over my face hoping it would flush out some of the dirt. It worked enough for me to pour another bottle over Sanders' gash. Once it was clean I could tell it wasn't nearly as bad as it looked before and when we got back to our post I stitched him up before I stalked off to the shower.
I knew I'd have to go get checked out myself by another medic. Aside from a headache from hell, I'd be fine.
Once the water hit my body I relaxed a little and let myself remember how real she felt. I could see her so clearly, every detail of her face was just as flawless as it was in real life. I grew hard just imagining her lying down next to me again, just imagining being able to feel her body heat. I wrapped my hand around my base and started stroking myself slowly while I remembered how perfect she felt wrapped around me, how every noise she made was somehow as sweet as it was sexy. When I came in my hand I didn't have one single regret other than the obvious fact that I wasn't inside of River when I did it.
It felt so good to think about her without guilt. To let my mind wander far enough to think about how things would be when I got back home.
I wasn't sure how Jackson would feel by then but I also wasn't sure that I cared about that anymore.
She was mine and I wanted her to stay that way.
I walked toward the medic tent and sat down on one of the cots. I didn't want to lay down but my head just wouldn't stop pounding.
"You look like shit."
Klein said as he walked toward me.
"I feel like it. Slammed my head pretty hard against the back of the humvee."
He carefully lifted my head and felt around with his fingertips.
I winced when he found the sore spot.
"Yeah, you slammed it alright."
I was starting to get dizzy, spots were blurring my vision so I just closed my eyes. I knew that it was the last thing that I should've done with a head injury but her face was there waiting for me and it was all I could think about.
"Holmes, open your eyes."
I tried to tell him, no but it came out more like a grunt.
His voice sounded further away and I let my mind sink back.
There she was.
I raised my hand to stroke her cheek and this time it worked. She leaned her face into my hand and I tugged her down next to me.
I tucked her into my side as I breathed her in, not willing to let her go.
"You can sleep now."
"You're not going anywhere."
"I'm not going anywhere."
She repeated and it was the sweetest sound I'd heard it months.
I squeezed her body closer as I relaxed my mind and gave in to the black that was tempting me.
"Good morning, sunshine. Who the hell is River?"
I opened my eyes slowly. Sanders was sitting next to my makeshift hospital bed, grinning at me.
"None of your damn business."
I groaned and wondered when my voice got so loud. Everything was still so loud.
"Guys, he woke up pissed. He's back to normal."
He waved his hands around dramatically and I narrowed my eyes at him.
"How long was I out?"
"Not long. Tell me who you were mumbling about."
I ignored him and sat up slowly. I swung my legs around and once they hit the floor a wave of nausea hit me. Klein ran over and put a bucket in front of me before I even knew I really needed it.
"You aren't going anywhere Holmes, lay back down."
I reluctantly did what he said. I was notorious for being a terrible patient but I'd never felt worse in my life so I figured it was a good time to try a different route.
Sanders came back and handed me a bag of chips and a bottle of water.
"Oh and this."
He pulled out an envelope from his back pocket and handed it to me.
My heart rate picked up as I reached out to grab it. I sat it on my lap and resisted the urge to open it up. I only read River's letters when I was alone. Or as alone as I could possibly be.
"You're not going to read it?"
He asked and I shook my head, instantly regretting the movement.
Klein handed me some pills and I took them before lying back down. When they both left the tent I rubbed my index finger across River's handwriting and decided that I couldn't wait any longer.
I ran my finger underneath the seal of the envelope and pulled out the piece of paper while something fell on my lap, I ignored it and open her letter.
I miss you.
Just three words. It was by far her shortest letter and it worried me that she was floating further away from my reach.
I looked down and once my hand touched what had fallen out I knew it was without a doubt a polaroid. The fact that she had a polaroid camera made me laugh and it was the first sound in hours that didn't make my head throb.
I turned the picture over and once I saw her eyes I felt like I could breathe again.
Her hair was up on top of her head and she was holding the book I gave her up to her face, leaving only her eyes and the top of her head exposed. As if she was reading it and someone snapped a picture of her before she could hide her whole face. Even though the rest of her face was hidden, I could tell that she was smiling and it stirred something inside of me.
Those eyes that told me so much would get me through the rest of my time in this place.
And I couldn't wait to get back to them.