Friday, July 28, 2017

Jack & Crush Chapter 16

I'd open a vein for you
I'd let everything I am pool around our feet
I'd whisper in your ear,
With your shirt clutched in my fist,
All the vowels I don't dare
Smear on the page
I'd do it with clenched eyes and loose limbs
I'd do it terrified,
And without fear
You do that to me
You twist and turn me

~J.R. Rogue


I was back at work on Monday morning, after driving to the base late the night before. I was tired, of course, but it had been worth it to see the way Bella's face lit up as she learned that her father's work had sold. She had more to bring to them, and more of her own to replace the five of hers that sold.

Bella was fulfilled, and it made her irresistible. We'd made plans for the coming weekend for me to spend the night at her house. We were closing in on two months since the last time I'd stayed there, only this time I knew there would be no running.

Interrupting my thoughts, there was a knock on my office door, and I started to stand as my superior officer stuck his face in. "Stay seated, Sergeant Cullen, I need to speak with you."

I was immediately alarmed at the tone in his voice. "Of course. Is something wrong?"

He came in and sat down in the chair across from my desk. "There's been an emergency in Kandahar. The GEOINT officer in company C was injured severely yesterday evening, their time. He's been medevaced to Germany, and then he'll be brought home once he's stable. We need you to fill in."

The words came out of his mouth clearly, but by the time they registered in my brain, I couldn't understand the point. There was no way I was going back to the desert, I'd only been home for three months. I had Bella now, I couldn't leave her behind while I was possibly killed.

"They're looking for a classified terrorist, and they've narrowed him down to a small town. Problem is, he knows how to go under ground. They've been using the imagery to pinpoint his heat signal when he comes up for supplies. It's a critical mission, and they're short one man. You're the best, Cullen, I'm not going to lie." He dropped a file on my desk. "These are your papers. Take the next two days to prepare, but then I expect your ass to be on the tarmac at zero-five-hundred."

On autopilot, I saluted him right before he got up and left my office. I just sat there staring after him, stunned.


I was bringing a crate of clean glasses up to the bar from the back when the front door swung open. I called out absently without glancing up. I was behind in my work from being tired from the weekend, but still riding the high from the gallery showing.

"We're not open yet, hun. Give me 30, I'm almost done here." Sometimes I regretted unlocking the door early, but most of the time it was fine.


My head jerked up sharply at the sound of his voice. It was off, something was wrong. He should be at the base, not in Forks. Oh, God.

Blindly, I met him halfway across the floor. He wrapped his long arms around me, his height engulfing me as he squeezed me too tightly. It isn't tight enough.

I pulled away, running my hands down the sides of his face and to his shoulders, as though checking for injuries. "What's wrong?" I whispered.

"I have to go back," he choked out, the tears in his eyes making them look like endless green pools.

"Back? Back where?" There was a prickling feeling at the base of my skull, and nausea rolled through me.

"I have to deploy. On Wednesday." His voice was nothing but a hollow shell.

The white noise in my head was forcing the words to muddle in my mind. "But you- you haven't been back very long. That's not how that works," I whimpered. Words could hurt, despite the saying. They could rip you to shreds with little effort.

"It's an emergency, the guy that does what I do, he was injured. The mission is very important, and they're close to finishing it." He fisted one hand in his hair, pulling hard.

"How long? How long are you leaving me?" I asked brokenly.

The pain shot through his eyes, his flinch making me feel like an asshole. "I don't know. Until the mission is complete."

"I'm sorry, I'm not handling this well. Please, forgive me." I leaned into him, hugging him to me. His coat was still cold, and I thought that my body would never warm up again.

"It's hard for me too, you know. I just found you, I don't want to leave," he said desperately.

I took a deep breath and squared my shoulders. I could do this, I knew exactly how to do this. "Wednesday?" He nodded. "Then you'll stay with me. Tomorrow we'll pack your things, and close up your rental. You might as well turn in your keys, tell Mr. Uley you don't know when you'll be back. We can pay him for the broken lease if you want. We'll spend the rest of the day together, whatever you want to do. I'll take you on Wednesday, unless you want to leave your car there?"

"Don't sound so fucking efficient. This is my life we're talking about!" he shouted at me.

I took a step back, but I did not cower. "I know that, Edward, don't think I don't! But this is what I need to deal, and I'll help you deal any way that I can. But don't tell me how to feel!"

Remorse filled his face, and he closed the small distance, engulfing me again. "I don't mean to fight, I'm so sorry."

Emmett found the two of us standing there in the middle of the bar, wrapped around each other. He cleared his throat. "Is there something going on?" he asked cautiously.

"He's deploying Wednesday," I responded, my face in Edward's coat still.

"Shit, man, I'm sorry. B, we'll get you covered, whatever you need," he assured me.

"I appreciate it, Em."

Edward and I took a table in the corner, mapping out what we were going to do the next day. Rose came in after Emmett called her, and she manned the bar for me since we weren't terribly busy on Mondays. Edward had already stopped by his parents' house and said his goodbyes, so we had the next day to ourselves. I made lists of the things he would need, the things he would pack and store at my house, even a grocery list for things he would bring along.

"Bella, can we just go home?" Edward asked softly, his hand over mine.

I looked into his eyes, saw the fear and desperation. Hoped my eyes didn't mirror his, though I felt the same. "Of course," I answered, closing my notepad. My hands did not tremble, my steps never faltered. But my heart, my heart was breaking into a million pieces that I feared I would never be able to repair.

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