………………. We walked down the street Ben wiped his eyes.
“Tess this sucks” he said stopping and looking at me I closed my eyes before turning and looking at him.
“We knew it was coming” I sighed “we just didn’t know how long it was going to be for I know we were hoping that it would be a normal deployment”.
“I know” he sighed as we got to the dog park I let Marine off her leash.
“Thinkof it like this we’ll both be almost 20” I said trying to lighten the mood “I’ll hopefully be almost done with college, and we can always have a huge welcome back party to go along with our wedding reception” Ben stopped as he went to throw the ball for the dog.
“I don’t think I heard you right” he said. ‘It sounds like you want to get married when I get back”.
“I do I want to do it like Mom and Dad did it” I smiled “Just not at my grandparents somewhere different like a beach”
“Not too sure on the beach thing especially if I’m going to spend the next 12 months in the desert” he said throwing the ball for Marine.
“I know it was just an idea I wanted to see if you’d want to do that” I said as he pulled me into his arms and kissed me.
“I’d marry you tomorrow if I could” he sighed “I love you so much and hell yes well get married when we get back” he said swinging me round “You just made up for having to leave” he said kissing my neck, “we need to go and let people know I’m sure they’ll all want to know” I put my fingers in my mouth and whistled.
‘Hey Marine” at least 5 guys there with their dogs looked round I started to laugh as Marine came running over “Sorry my Mom’s idea of a joke calling the dog Marine” I said holding up my hand……………………..
………………….We both almost ran Home Dawn and Rylan’s car was in the driveway when we got there as well as Adams truck and Ben’s Dad’s car we both almost fell through the door.
“Is everything okay” Dad said getting up thinking something was going on. I looked at Ben and nodded.
“We want a party when you all get back” I smiled.
“That’s what we were just talking about” Adam smiled.
“Not here though” Ben smiled
‘What do you mean not here” Mom asked walking from the kitchen with Mac’s girl friend.
“We’re not too sure where yet I was thinking a beach Ben’s not as sure” I laughed.
“Believe me none of us is going to want to see sand for a while” Dad shrugged.
“Fine like I said we’re not sure yet where we are going to get married” I swear you could hear a pin drop Ben looked at me.
“Run that by us again” Mac said sitting down.
“We decided like you guys did after a deployment we want to get married when we get home” Ben nodded looking at Mom and Dad “I mean it’s going to be at least 9 months before we get back so we’re looking at, at least 10 months before the wedding but if we have to stay the full duration then it’s going to be more like 15 months time”.
Everyone looked at each other Mom and Dawn and Chelsea all looked at each other and the smiles started to spread across their faces Dad took a deep breath before walking to us.
“So it looks like we have something to really look forward to by the end of this” He smirked, I nodded. “I guess with us having Ben with us at least I know you can’t run away and get married” he laughed hugging me and Ben.
“Wouldn’t happen, I want to see Tess on your arm walking to me” Ben shrugged. “Plus I think I wouldn’t survive to get to my wedding night if we did run away”.
“I knew we loved you for a reason” Adam laughed walking over picking me up and hugging me. “You can always go and get married where we did”.
“Yeah after what happened” I said pulling a face “I don’t think so” I walked over to where Mom Dawn and Chelsea had now pulled Lori into the group hug.
“Hey anyone feel like helping organize a party and a wedding” I smiled Mom put her arms round me and hugged me to her.
“Whatever you want baby” she sniffed “you tell us what you want us to do and I’m sure we’ll help you”. I smiled and stepped into the kitchen Dad followed me. I opened the fridge and grabbed a soda.
“Thank you” he sighed.
“What for” I asked.
“Making tonight become all of a sudden bearable” he smiled leaning on the counter and folding his arms. “This is the longest time I’ve ever left you guys or your Mom for”.
“I know and I’m trying not to think of that just at the moment” I said putting the soda on the side and feeling the lump reappear in my throat “Because thinking of that hurts too much, how can I be so happy and so sad at the same time” I looked at Dad he shook his head as I burst into tears and slid down the side of the wall and sat hugging my knees Dad came over and sat next to me and pulled me to him. “I know I can do this but it feels like my heart is being torn out” I sobbed he stroked my hair as Mom walked in. “I didn’t think it could hurt anymore than when you guys used to leave”.
Mom sat on the other side of me and put her hand on my arm.
“It’s a whole different kind of love honey” she sighed as Dad linked his fingers with hers and gave them a squeeze, “I’ve been there when it was your Grandpa and Toby going and I thought it was the end of the world which is one of the reasons I never wanted to date a Marine till your Dad came along and swept me off my feet” She smirked handing me a Kleenex “But that first time he left I was just like you are now, only I didn’t think I could handle it I wanted to give in but Toby talked to me and told me he was proud I was his sister and he knew I was tough enough to get through it” she smiled. “Like were so proud of you and the way that you handle things”.
“We are able to do what we have to because we know the people we have left behind are doing what they have to do to keep everything going for us” Dad said kissing my forehead I know when I leave your Mom steps up just like Dannie and Sam”.
‘There’s a reason why people joke about the wives and girlfriends have the toughest job in the Corps” Mac said from the doorway Ben was standing next to him“And it’s because it’s true they are amazing people and I know my son is marrying one of those. Tess not everyone can handle it but you will I’m sure of it”.
Ben walked over to me and offered me his hand I hugged mom and dad and took Bens hand he pulled me to my feethe put his hands on my waist and smiled at me.
“I wondered how long you’d hold it in for” he sighed “it’s going to be so hard leaving but I want what every other guy on this base wants when they get home to have the girl they love more than anything waiting for them”.
“I know” I nodded “I’m sorry for breaking down”.
“You don’t apologize ever” Dad said getting up “We do this job because we love it and we make a difference you guys take us on because you love us and support there is no reason for a sorry” he winked.
“Guys if you don’t mind I’m going to take Tess back to mine tonight” Ben said looking at Mom and Dad.
“Sure remember we have a briefing at 6am” Dad said.
“I know”we walked out and drove in silence back to Bens he opened the door Katie and Dylan were sitting on the couch Dylan had been crying. He looked at me,
“I take Uncle T told you how long” I sighed he nodded.
“Max is a mess” Dylan shrugged, I put my hand on his shoulder.
“We’ll help him get through it we always do” Katie looked at me. then looked at Ben and burst into tears Ben walked round the couch and hugged her”.
“Hey, I’m going to be okay look at some of the guys I’m going to be with” he smiled “and I’m sure Tess will still be coaching you”.
“And you have to come and help find a bridesmaids dress” I said looking at her.
“Why, Dad’s only been out with Lori 5 times” she sniffed.
“We decided to get married when I get home” Ben smiled “So you have to help I’ll need you to do some things for me while I’m gone, Okay”. He stood up Kate nodded and smiled. “Night guys we’re going to bed”.
“It’s only 9.30” Dylan said looking at his watch Katie groaned and whispered something to him he shuddered and pulled a face.
“Thanks for that picture” he groaned “she’s my cousin” Ben took my hand and pulled me up the stairs laughing he closed his bedroom door and locked it.
“I guess we should try to cram in at least 9 months of…” I stopped him talking by kissing harder than I’d ever done he braced himself against the wall as I pulled back. “Well at least were on the same wave length”………………………………..