It could just be that I have had it drilled into me since the very beginning of my army training, or it could just be down to the fact that I’m going to be heading back out into the line of duty later on this afternoon that was the cause of me stirring from my slumber and opening my eyes at six o’clock this morning. With a small yawn and a satisfying click of my neck, I force myself away from the comfy confines of my bed and pull open the dark blue curtains that cover the windows before proceeding to take a quick mental note at how beautiful the sunrise is even though it had barely begun to make its slow ascent into the clear Baltimore sky.
As I gaze out at the sunrise, I begin to stretch my body out of its sleepy state. Doing this made me realize that when you’re out on a mission, you never really get to watch the sun rise as you’re always busy looking out for any sign of danger, so when you have moments like these then you should be sure to take them as they come. My moment seems to have come now so as I stand up straight, I allow my mind to think through the last time that I had actually admired something that was as beautiful as a sunrise; of course, it only took my mind a mere millisecond to get an answer; Alex, last night at the party.
I can’t help but let out a small sigh as his face enters my mind and I hate to admit it to myself but my thoughts were right. As cheesy as this may sound but if you were to take the time to look in the dictionary for the definition of the word ‘beautiful’ then I can guarantee that you will find a photo of Alex there, his gorgeous hazel eyes staring right at you, rendering your whole body immobile.
Please, if you really thought that about him, then why the hell didn’t you admit to being smitten with him when he bought the subject matter up? My inner thoughts scoff fiercely as I let out a sigh. Honestly, I have been asking myself that very same question ever since he left the party and I still don’t have an exact answer.
It’s not that I don’t want him to know how I feel, because I really do, in time… it’s just that I don’t want to scare him off or make it seem as though I’m jumping to conclusions that he likes me as we still don’t really know each other all that well, at least not as well I would like us to. Alex is someone that I want to tell things too, and I do hope that we can maintain a strong friendship despite the distance that my job puts between us.
Since when did you get so soppy? My inner thoughts mock as I hang my head down low, taking a deep breath as I shake the thought of Alex out of my mind as I quickly snatch up my uniform and a towel before heading out into the hall and towards the bathroom to take a quick shower.
“I just don’t get it, Jack. I gave you the perfect opportunity last night to tell Alex how you feel about him and yet you decide to just throw it away.” May sighs exasperatedly as she neatly folds the pile of clothes in which I’ll be taking with me back to my post.
“I’ve already told you, May… the timing just wasn’t… hang on, do you mean to say that you actually knew what you were doing? You weren’t drunk?”
“Please. It takes more than a couple glasses of cheap wine to get me drunk, Jacko but that’s not even the point. Why didn’t you tell him that you like him?”
“The timing wasn’t right, May! How could I tell him that I like him and then the very next day head back out to duty where anything can happen? Alex has been through enough recently, I just don’t want to tell him and break his heart if something bad does happens to me out there…It’ll be like I’ve left him alone too…” I explain my voice growing quiet as I trail off from my line of thought. “I can’t do that to him and I definitely don’t want to get his hopes up that things will be perfect until I know for sure that I won’t need to enlist next year.”
“You should have at least told him that…he has a right to know and he deserves to hear it.” May sighs.
“I know, but now is really not the time. Look, I’ve gotta start making a move otherwise I’m going to miss the flight.” I state as I zip my bag shut and fling it over my shoulder, letting out a little groan as it bangs against my back.
“Oh, okay yeah…Jack, just promise me that you will do your best to stay safe out there.” May says seriously as she looks into my eyes before pulling me into a bone-crushing hug. “I know that you always do that already but please just promise me that you won’t run into any unnecessary trouble and that if anything starts to ‘go down’ then you’ll let whoever is in charge deal with it. Don’t get yourself involved in any of it, just keep your mind focused on returning home safely to us… to Alex. Please, Jack?”
“May, don’t I always do that anyway? I’m not the type of guy who goes asking for a fight with someone twice my size, you know that… unless he takes my taco of course, but thank you.” I choke out with a smile plastered onto my face as I hug my sister back, even tighter than what she was hugging me.
“I’m being serious here, Jack… You need to stay safe out there. I can’t afford to lose you… you’re my baby brother.” She says sadly as a stray tear starts to fall down her cheek and she pulls back away from me, her eyes filling with so much pain and sadness; it’s like this is going to be the last time that she’ll ever see me alive.
“I know and I promise you now that I will do my best to come back home in one piece. You’re my big sister and I love you, May.” I say softly, my voice no more than a whisper as I place a hand on the back of her head and lean forward so that I can place a soft kiss on her forehead as a parting goodbye. “Don’t ever forget that, okay?”
“I won’t... I love you too, Jack.” She chokes out as a sob emanates from her parted and trembling lips.
I hated seeing her like this, it doesn’t matter how many times that we say goodbye; it never gets any easier. Ever since I was little boy, May has always been the one that has looked out for me. Of course, I’ve always had my parents and Joe around but May is the one that I’m able to connect to more than the others as she’s the only one that really understands how I’m feeling…Hell, she practically raised me herself with the amount of time that we spent together growing up.
From outside, the sound of a car horn can be heard which causes me to let out a sigh before mumbling something about Matt being outside and getting impatient to head off to the airport. With one last hug and a quick exchange of goodbyes, I turned away from my beloved sister and started to make my way out the front door and down the driveway towards where Matt’s car was stationed along the sidewalk.
The drive to the airport was a silent one that seemed to take forever. In my mind, perhaps that wouldn’t be such a bad thing; the longer we take to get to the airport, then the more chance there is that Alex will be there waiting to see me off. You wish to be so lucky, my mind scoffs as I let out a small sigh and rest my head against the window. May is right, I should have told Alex how I felt about him last night at the party, who knows how long it will be before I get another chance to tell him.
As soon as Matt pulled up at the airport, he gave my arm a quick nudge and shove to get me moving before gathering our bags out of the trunk and heading towards the departure terminal to check us both in. With every step I took, my eyes were darting around at everyone’s faces, trying my hardest to spot Alex amongst them. My heartbeat was pounding so hard in my chest that I thought it was going to break through, but as I looked desperately around at my surroundings for that already too familiar face, I could feel my chest start to deflate.
He wasn’t here. Even though there was a hoard of people rushing around the airport in a blind panic to find their own flights, I just knew that he wasn’t here, and to be completely honest, why would he be? I’m just a soldier that he’s writing to for the sake of his English assignment, if it wasn’t for that project, then we would probably never have even met at all but still, there was a small part of me that at least hoped that he would have wanted to say goodbye.
“Jack, come on.” Matt calls out from behind me, pulling me out of my thoughts as he impatiently picks up his bags, slinging them expertly over his shoulder before turning round to glance at the departure board one last time and stating. “We have to go, now.”
I can’t help but let out a disappointed sigh as I pick up my own bags, mimicking his actions by slinging them over my own shoulder. This is probably the only time in my life where I wish more than anything that I didn’t have to leave. I let out another small sigh and was about to follow Matt to the terminal when I heard someone calling out my name.
At the sound of the familiar voice, I found myself turning round just in time to see Alex rushing towards me, a look of determination and relief filling his expression as his body collides with my own; my bag falling to the floor from my shoulders as my arms wrap tightly around his waist as I steady us both while his legs wrap tightly around my own.
“You know, I was beginning to seriously think that you weren’t going to show up…” I admit to him in a small voice as I lower my head down onto his shoulder, my hands clinging onto him with everything that I had within me, too afraid of letting go in case he wasn’t really there.
“You didn’t honestly think that I would let you head back out there without saying a proper goodbye now, did you?” Alex remarks in an amused tone as he gives me one of his most amazing smiles which I couldn’t help but return with one of my own; what can I say as cheesy as it sounds his smile is positively contagious.
Before I can even retaliate with an answer, I found his lips crashing hungrily against my own, causing my eyes to shoot wide open in surprise but after a few seconds, I feel them begin to close as I sink into the kiss, my lips beginning to move against his in a desperate and needy gesture. I can feel our breathing getting hot and heavy, but as much as I want to tell him, to show him just how much I actually like him, I know that now really is not the time or place to do this. So with some reluctant, I pull away from him, my chest heaving for as much air as I can possibly get before I rest my forehead gently against his own.
“Consider that a little good luck charm,” Alex smirks slightly as he pulls back from the embrace, his hand fumbling with something in my pocket all the while his sweet chocolate coloured eyes sparkling with both electricity and life as they lock onto my own. I feel myself groan internally as I look into them, my heart was pounding fiercely as I tried to swallow the lump that was in my throat. Reaching into my pocket, I feel my fingers brush against an envelope; a letter. I needed to tell him right now.
“Alex, please just slow down for a minute and…” I start to explain.
“JACK!” Matt shouts from the planes gate that is positioned a few feet behind me.
“I have to go…” I say simply before pulling away from him completely, my arm reaching down to snatch up my bag again before I start to hurry towards the gate but before I reach it, I look over my shoulder one last time as I call out to Alex. “I’m sorry. I’ll see you soon, okay?”
Before I can even get a chance to hear his reply, the gate to the plane shuts behind me, leaving Alex standing there alone on the other side with what I can only assume is a look of confusion and hurt etched across his features. It was that look alone that made me want to kick myself repeatedly for causing him to feel like that. I didn’t mean to leave him that way.
I know that it should be your turn to write, and I will get round to replying to the letter that you gave me at the airport, but right now I just wanted to say that, no matter what happens out here; I will always come back home to you. Ever since I spent the afternoon with you at the cemetery, I’ve been trying to deny the feelings that I have for you and I know now that it was wrong and pointless.
I like you, Alex; more than I probably should considering the amount of time in which we have known each other, but I can’t deny my feelings anymore… I don’t want to deny them anymore. I like you, and I only hope that you feel the same way about me. I hope that you can forgive me for not telling you sooner. I just didn’t want to get your hopes up about a possibility of a friendship, or even a relationship, if anything had happened to me whilst I was away.
I couldn’t bring myself to make you feel as though I abandoned you like everyone else that you’ve known and loved; I watched you at your Grandmother’s plot after I left you that afternoon. Before you jump to conclusions, it’s not what you think, I was on my way to visit Zack’s grave when I passed your Grandmother’s and saw you on the ground. I wanted so much to comfort you but I couldn’t bring myself to intrude on something that was personal to you as I thought that it would have been best for you to tell me in your own time about what happened.
I’m so sorry to have not told you this and I’m so sorry that I left you at the airport in the fashion in which I did, but please, Alex, you have to understand that if I could have stayed, then I would have, you have to believe me when I say that; I wish I could have stayed with you and got to know you a little better but there’s always Christmas, right?
Here it is; an update! I know, it's about time to, right? Believe me when I say that I've tried to make it as long as possibly without getting into too much of the next update, but you should know that I have the next two chapters planned out ready to type as well as an update that has been pre-written since sometime last year, so you can expect plenty more updates.
Anyway, I hope that you all enjoyed this update, and that it made up for being away for so long. Seriously, thank you all for your patience; it really doesn't go unappreciated.
Let me know what you thought about it, as well as what you think is going to happen between Alex and Jack within the next few updates.