Hello Booksie fans, I've got another novel coming! This once is a romance, as you've probably noticed. Comments and criticism are welcomed!
I met the mailman at the door. Between his fingers was a stack of letters, all addressed to me. “Thank you!” I snatched the letters away and slammed the door. Today would be the day. I was sure of it. Becks wouldn’t have forgotten to mail it.
I searched the stack, tossing bills and advertisements to the side. The very last letter was concealed inside of a dirty white envelope, my name written in smudged ink. Something about Becks’s informal, childish scrawl was endearing.
Peeling open the envelope, I knew what I would find inside. A neatly folded, hand-written letter. Carefully opening the letter, something fell and clattered to the ground. I bent over to inspect it, and realized that he’d sent me a gift, too. A beautiful golden locket with my initials engraved on the outside.
I popped it open to find he had already filled the two picture slots. In one was a photo of our dog Minnie, and in the other, Becks’s youthful eyes stared back at me. It wasn’t the official-looking military photo I’d been expecting to see. Instead, it was him with the biggest smile imaginable, a tiny grey speck cupped between his palms. I squinted at the speck, finally deciding that it was a rat. Yet even the rat couldn’t take away from Becks’s face. His close-cropped onyx hair contrasted with his surprisingly bright cobalt eyes.
I made my way to the sofa where Minnie lay. Her tail thumped happily as I scratched her fluffy golden ears. “Minnie, sweetie, Becks’s first letter is here. Are you excited?” As if understanding me, her tail wagged at hyper speed.
“To my beautiful Alina, I hope you like the necklace. You know I’m never good at picking out jewelry.” Minnie’s chocolate eyes bore into the letter cheerfully, as if she sensed that what I was reading had been written by Becks. “It’s been a lot different than I expected. I thought I might learn Arabic while I was here, but it sounds a little too complicated for me. Maybe you can pick it up instead and teach me. You’re always the smarter one.
“I spent the first few days on guard duty, and no one bothered to tell me how hard that could be. I had to stop every vehicle that passed through the checkpoint, but I was always wondering if one of them might be the one that killed me. It was insane, Alina. The guys told me all these stories of heroic soldiers who would stop the terrorists hiding in the cars. It’s weird to want to be one of the heroes of the story, but to never actually want to be that hero, either. It’s either be dead and talked about forever, or live and be forgotten. I’m getting too philosophical, I guess.
“How’s Minnie, and how are you? Give Minnie a big hug for me. I’m running out of time to finish this, so I’ll end things here. I love you Alina. Give our Mommas and Papas my best, and don’t forget that hug for Minnie! With love and stupidity, Becks Brooks.” A smile spread across my face. Minnie leapt onto the sofa, sniffing the letter eagerly. I pulled her warm body into mine. “Here’s your hug, you silly dog. Becks probably thinks about you more than anybody.”
I read over the letter another time, mostly just paying attention to the inconsistent curves of the letters and the fingerprints that dotted the page. When I finished, I folded the letter back up and brought it to my desk. It was where all papers went to die, except of course for the new addition of Becks’s letter. I had cleared a space in my only drawer for where I would store his letters.
Minnie followed me, rubbing against my leg. I knelt to ruffle her ears. “Well Minnie, one week down. He’ll be home and safe before we know it.”