………………..I pulled up to the main gate at Parris Island there was a storm brewing out to sea it was almost 7pmThe guard waved me through I loved this place almost as much as Lejeune , I’d been here so many times when Grandpa Jack was an instructor. I watched as Marine recruits were out on a night exercise running with their packs I turned at the stop sign heading for the base housing I spotted Adam’s truck parked in a drive way I pulled in behind it as the front door opened.
“Hey You” He grinned “I have had your Mom on the phone 4 times so far asking if you’d arrived yet” He hugged me “I have to work tonight so unfortunately I can show you your roomand then I have to run”.
“It’s okay Thanks for letting me come here Uncle Adam” I sighed he took my bag from the truck we went in the house I followed him up stairs he pushed open a door.
‘There you go, I ordered a pizza it should be here soon Make yourself at home and I’ll call you in the morning and you can come meet me for breakfast Okay”.
“Sounds good” I smiled.
“See you in the morning Tess” he ran down the stairs I sat on the bed and pulled my phone from my pocket and dialed home……………………..
………………. Skye was sitting on the bleachers looking round as Mom and Dad walked over.
“Is Tess okay” She asked “She was really upset when she left the beach”.
“She’s gone to visit Adam” Mom said sitting down next to Skye. “Then she’s going to Tennessee”.
“Ben is really sorry you know” Skye sighed.
“We know he came round and told us everything” Dad shrugged “But Tess needed some time to herself”.
“I should have been there more” Skye said running her fingers through her hair.
“Tess knows you’ve got enough to deal with, with your Mom and Dad” Mom smiled Skye nodded “She’d probably like a call from you at some point though……………………….
…………… Ben was sitting in the locker room his helmet in his hands his coach walked over to him.
“You okay to play” Ben nodded.
“You don’t seem like it, I know you just went to the Island so you must be exhausted” Ben stood up.
“Coach I’m fine pull me off at half time if you’re not happy” Ben walked out of the door.
“Ben what’s wrong” Justin and Darren caught up to him.
“Nothing apart from the fact Tess has gone” he said.
“I don’t know she needed to think, I went round to talk to her and ended up Talking to her Mom and Dad instead Tess couldn’t even look at me she packed a bag and left” He sighed. “God I feel like someone’s reached down my throat and ripped out my heart”.
“You know when she’s coming back”
“Two weeks that’s all I know but Amber gave me her cell number” Justin looked at him.
“How many times have you called it”.
“I haven’t yet I’ve wanted to but I think I’ll make things worse” he shrugged .
“Where do you think she went” Darren asked.
“Grandparents probably” he said “I guess I’ll have to wait to speak to her face to face……………………………..
………………….I woke up and stretched I looked at the clock 5.30am I hauled myself from the bed and went into the bathroom with my running things I get dressed andtied my hair back into a ponytail, I put my I-pod on and pushed my phone into the midde of my bra, I left the house and headed for the running trails that dotted round the base the air was already steamy after the storm the night before it felt good to be away from home for a while. I’d done about 3 miles when the phone rang I pulled turned off my music and answered the phone.
Me * good morning
Adam * Okay I’m done… why are you heavy breathing heavy
Me * I’m running.
Adam * thank god I thought you’d kept the pizza guy at the house.
Me * Uncle Adam that’s gross he was about 35.
Adam * hey 35 isn’t old.
Me * it is when your 17.
Adam * oh just like you Mother answer for everything.
Me * yep.
Adam * anyway I’m in the mess hall remember where it is.
Me * oh yeah I used to go with Grandpa every morning when I was here.
Adam * good.
Me * I’ll be 15 minutes wait outside for me.
Adam * I will.
I hung up the phone pushed it back into my bra and turned and started to run to where the mess hall was. Adam was sitting on a wall talking to some of the recruits he smiled as I turned the corner.
“I thought you said 15 minutes” he called out “it’s been 18 girl your slowing down” I gave him the finger the three guys standing talking to Adam all turned and looked at me then at Adam.
“I’ll take you on any day” I said stopping next to him “and we both know I’d win”. He stood up laughing.
‘Sleep well” he asked. I nodded
“I’m hungry though” I smiled I glanced across at the guys who were obviously looking me over. I got goose bumps all I could think about was Ben he’d been here only three days ago and this was where he was going to be this time next year.
“Tess Earth to Tess” Adam waved his hand in front of my face.
“Sorry, come on” we went and got in line to get food the three guys that had been talking to Adam were now in line behind me.
“Hi by the way” I looked round a guy around the same height as me smiled his green eyes twinkling “You’re not a recruit are you” I shook my head.
“Just visiting” I smiled.
“It was Tess wasn’t it, I heard him call it you outside” I nodded “I’m Evan”.
“Nice to meet you”.
“So you and the boss there dating because you seem a bit young for him” Evan smirked.
“Hell no” I answered making them laugh “he’s…”
“I’m the guy who looks out for her when her big bad Marine Dad is away” Adam butted in I groaned “So back off boys”.
“Adam they were just being friendly” I hissed.
“Gunny bear boot camp is a bunch of testosterone fueled guys and Logan would die if he thought I’d let you run loose with them” the three guys were now laughing.
“Okay but guess what Uncle Adam” I teased “You’re one of those guys” he opened his mouth to say something but then just nodded. “Excuse my god father he’s a little bit overprotective” we went and sat down.
“So I saw Ben when he was here did he tell you” Adam said. I shook my head
“I didn’t give him the chance” I shrugged “I got really mad with him, when he asked me where all this started”.
“Oh Tess sometimes I could kick you in the ass” I looked at him and raised my eyebrows “and you can stop with that expression your Mom does that when she thinks she’s in the right”.
‘Hey that’s your best friend you’re talking about” I smirked.
“I know and believe me I’ve seen that look since kindergarten” he laughed “You should have let the kid talk to you, I like Ben”.
“He hurt me” I said “he basically took our friendship and made it into a joke by using me to make him seem the big stud to his friends. Oooo look at Ben banging 2 different girls in a few weeks” I put my head in my hands “he couldn’t tell me stuff that at one time he would have run down the street to tell me”. Adam reached over the table and squeezed my hand.
‘Answer me one thing Tess” he said I looked up at him, “Can you see any part of your life without Ben being in it, I don’t mean as boyfriend and girl friend I mean everything friends, lovers all the other stuff can you imagine graduating from high school next year and not seeing Ben again” I sat back and thought “Because I know there is now way in hell I’d ever be without your Mom in my life or Dawn, and I actually need to talk to both of them at some point today” he shook his head “But that’s another story” he looked back at me “so”.
“I’ve never thought about it I think I’ve always sort of took it that he’ll be there” I said.
“Maybe that’s something you should give some thought to” Adam smiled “And you have to let him tell you his side because from what I’ve hears a lot of this came from his ex” I nodded……………………..
……………….. Then next few days I spent a lot of time running and just thinking about things I walked back in to Adams house he was sitting in the living room with a woman.
“Oh sorry I didn’t know there was someone here” I smiled the woman turned round and looked at me she was really pretty her long dark hair falling over one of her blue eyes.
“O.M.G.” she smiled I looked at Adam “it’s like seeing Amber all over again, apart from the eye color” she stood up.
“Told you” Adam grinned “Chelsea met Tess, Tess this is Chelsea”.
“You’re the freshman girlfriend” I blurted out Adam groaned Chelsea just laughed “Sorry Mom’s talked about you”.
“I hope it was good” she laughed.
“It was” I nodded.
“Tell me is your Dad still as cute as he was” She asked.
“Hey” Adam smirked.
“What you know I thought Logan was cute and the other guy Eric I think it was” she shrugged I picked my wallet up from the side and handed her the picture of the family that Dawn had taken the last time they were there. “Wow Amber did good” Chelsea laughed “Your brothers look so much like Logan but this one smiles like Toby” she pointed to Nick.
“I’m going to go grab a shower then I’m heading in to town to get some things” I said as Chelsea handed me the picture back.
‘You don’t have to go because I’m here” Chelsea said quickly.
“It’s okay I was going to go shopping anyway” I ran up to my room and grabbed a quick shower and changed into my skirt and a tank I came down and picked up my purse and keys.
“You going” Adam called from the kitchen I walked in he looked like he’d been crying.
“Yeah where’d Chelsea go and what’s wrong” I asked feeling nervous.
“She’s gone to get someone” he sighed “I need to call your Mom and Dawn before she gets back, don’t worry everyone is fine” he hugged me.
“Uncle Adam I’ve never seen you upset before”. I said looking at him.
“It’s okay Tess, promise me one thing you’ll be home by 10.30” I nodded.
I walked out and got in my truck and drove of the base I went in to one of the small bookstores and grabbed a book and took it on to the beach and sat in the dunes reading.
“You know you look so pretty with the wind blowing your hair” I looked up Evan was smirking at me.
‘Shouldn’t you be on base” I smiled closing my book.
“No pass for 24 hours so we get to kick back, you want to go grab a coffee or something” he asked.
“Sure” I put my book on my bag and got up, we walked back to the street and across to a little coffee place.
“Did you wear that shirt just for me” he said handing me my drink I looked down not realizing which top I had on it was the one with I have Standards Only a Marine will do written on the front.
“It’s one of my favorites” I smirked.
“Is it true” Evan asked as we walked back to the beach.
‘Oh yeah” I smiled. “How long have you wanted to be a Marine”.
“About 5 years we had a guy come to the school to give a career talk and I was hooked” he smiled “My Mum and Dad are really proud”.
“So they should be” I laughed “I’ll let you in to a secret” he leaned down I leant in to him. “The Marines look the hottest in uniform” he started to laugh.
“So you said that the Gunny was your God father”. I smiled and nodded. “And from what he said your Dad must be a Marine”
“Yeah I’m what is fondly known as a Marine Brat” I said leaning back on my elbows “Both my Grandpa’s we’re Marines, My Dad both uncles and My godfather, my brothers godfatheroh and when my little brothers graduate high school there enlisting”.
“Wow” he sighed “That’s a lot of Marines”.
“Yep but I love it” I smiled.
“So where are you from” he said.
“I live at Lejeune, I go to school on base” he nodded. “I’ve just finished my junior year”. I got up “you want to walk by the water” he nodded we walked and talked for a while it was starting to get dark. “I think we should head back” I said “I need to be heading back to the Island soon”.
“Okay” Evan shrugged “Tess” I looked at him, he took a step to me and pulled me against him and kissed me I pushed my hands against his chest.
“What was that for” I said.
“Oh come on you’ve been flirting all afternoon” he said grabbing my hand.
“Like hell I have, I was just talking with you” I said wrinkling my nose “If you think that was flirting then you really haven’t spoken to many girls have you”.
‘You said that the Marines were the hottest in uniform” he said pulling me against him and kissing me again, I struggled out of arms “I have a boyfriend” the words came out before I could stop them.
‘So you’re just out to lead a guy on” Evan snapped.
“Oh shut up, you were the one that started the conversation I was quite happy to read” I snapped back.
“You’re probably a lousy lay any way” he said getting angry, I slapped him round the face.
“Guess you’ll never find out” I stormed away“God why are men such pigs” I screamed the wind carrying my words I got to my truckand threw my things in, I put my head on the wheel, dumb bitch I thought to myself walking down the beach on my own with a guy I’d seen once before for like 2 minutes I should know better my phone rang I grabbed it from my bag and didn’t even look at the number.
Me * hello.
Ben * hey you, I didn’t think you’d answer.
Me * I didn’tlook at the number who gave you this one.
Ben * your Mom, you sound tired.
Me * I am I just got into a argument with a guy on the beach.
Ben * you do that a lot.
Me * you want me to hang up now.
Ben * no... what guy?
Me * just a recruit I saw on the Island.
Ben * that’s where you are, you went to see Adam.
Me * yeah, I’m surprised Mom didn’t tell you.
Ben * Tess when are you coming home.
Me * about 8 days.
Ben * will you let me talk to you.
Me * yeah I’ve been thinking hell of a lot while I’ve been here Adam gave me the kick that I needed.
Ben * okay… I miss you Tess.
Me * I’ll see you when I get home.
I hung upand put my phone on the seat next to me I was shaking, I’d needed to hear his voice to make sure in my own mind the choice I’d made was the right one for me………………………………….