A Soldier For Christmas

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: A Writers World


This is the complete story!

Chapter 1 (v.1) - A Soldier For Christmas/ Complete Story

Submitted: August 01, 2020

Reads: 33

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Submitted: August 01, 2020

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A Soldier For Christmas
Emily tighten her long winter coat around
her. It was her last night at the diner.
Tomorrow would be Christmas . She shivered
at the feel of the cold wind against her cheeks,
as she entered the diner, but still even with the
cold
she love the season...especially Christmas.
Some how people hearts were more open and
friendly . Even old Otto was smiling that
evening as she served him his usual plate of
eggs, sausage, hash browns and coffee. When
she asked him why the smile, he just smiled
again and said that was his "little secret". She
dearly hoped it was, maybe his long absent
daughter Carolyn was really coming this time
for the holidays. Some how she felt the smile
said she was. She remembered another
Christmas when she and Tommy anxiously
waited for someone to come...but he never did.
Her husband Jason. They had just talked the
week before about the Christmas train set he
was sending home to Tommy, so they could put
it together like he and his
father did when he was a boy. Then he went
missing in action in Afghanistan. Sadness
filled her heart as she remembered the car
pulling up to the curb, and the army officials
walking slowly to the door....then the news
of his death. It was hard to accept. She and
Jason had been together since high school, and
then college , and married right after
graduation. Tommy was born the next year.
How happy they were...now....
"Emily........ a voice from behind her called.
Instantly she was back to the real world of
serving coffee , and pumpkin pie with whipped
cream to all the customers who came by the
diner the night before Christmas. You have a
customer." It was Mr. Weeks the manager. He
was a jolly old man...almost like Santa himself.
Always giving Tommy gifts and watching out
for her.
"Be right there," she answered, wiping away
the tears that had begun to fall down her
cheeks.
She gave her hair a quick brush with her hands
as she walked out into the dining area. All she
saw was one man...he was a soldier, seated at a
table in
the corner all alone. She studied him as she
walked carrying the free coffee and pumpkin
pie in her hands. The uniform looked very
familiar. Like the one Jason use to wear. He
was a Army officer, and if she read the stripes
on his shoulder right he was a Lieutenant just
like her late husband was. She sat the pie down
and poured him a steaming cup of coffee.
"I didn't order any thing yet Ma'am."
Oh!, it's the compliments of the manager.
Everyone gets free pie and coffee on Christmas
eve."
He smiled. She knew he was definitely from
the south.
" Where are you from," she tried not to sound
nosy as she asked.
"Savanna Georgia Ma'am."
Well at least he had manners,she had to admit,
as she filled his cup a bit more. Not like some
of the truckers that she met on the night shift.
"Family here, wife, girlfriend? She wanted to
kick herself for asking...that was being nosy.
"No, he smiled again, as his brown eyes met
hers.......no family here, no
anyone...anywhere."
How awful that must be to have no one...she
couldn't even fathom that. When Jason died, if
it had not been for her father and mother being
there, there was no way she and Tommy would
have survived. They even let her move back
home for as long as she wished to help her.
"I'm so sorry, she said looking at him. He was
a very handsome man. Even seated she could
see his tall frame, . A well fit physique, and tan
face.
"So your spending Christmas here in Chicago
with friends then?" He shook his head,as he
scooped a piece of pie in his mouth.
"No, just me. Most of my unit went home to
be with family. Thought I'd just look around
Chicago instead of stay in a hotel all day...but
even that didn't work out. he looked up at her
again. I guess everything all booked up
Ma'am."
With no one in the diner except him, she sat
down at the table across from him.
"Where will you go then...I mean you can't
sleep on the streets."
""That's just about like sleeping in the dirt...I
've done that before with my men when we're
on patrol. But no...I'll just stay at the train
station...lots of benches there ma'am."
"What would you like to order, she asked
getting up slowly...her mind still
digesting all he had just said.
"I don't know you name."
"Captain Cletis Derek Butler ma'am... but my
guys usually call me Captain
Cletis." He stood up and extended his hand to
her, and then sat back down.
"Emily Emerson."
"Nice to meet you Emily."
Oddly enough his hands were soft like her dead
husbands were..she wondered what type of job
he had, but didn't ask.
So what would you like to eat?"
He chuckled softly. "This may sound strange
ma'am, but I would really like
some grits, ham, and biscuits. Use to have that
for breakfast every morning until I was shipped
out. My mama died while I was
deployed...didn't make it
back in time. He looked away ....I've e missed
her, and those grits ever since. I'd really like
that if it's no bother ma'am ?"
"No, grits , ham and biscuits coming up."
As she prepared the food she couldn't help but
feel sorry for him. The diner always closed at
eight on Christmas eve...it was now seven
fifteen. Where
would he go. No one should be alone on
Christmas, and he wouldn't be if she had any
say about it. She picked up the phone and
called home. What
would her parents reaction be when she asked
them if she could bring home a lonely soldier
for the holidays.
"'Mom," she cleared he throat, then blurted
out the whole sad situation. It was no surprise
when she agreed that he shouldn't be alone on
Christmas.
Even her father thought it was a good idea.
They would show him a great Christmas, one
would not forget."
She smiled to herself, it was all settled...all she
had to do now was get him to come home with
her.. She was putting the cart before the horse,
as her father had said on the telephone. She
should of asked him first. As she walk out
carrying the plate with his order, she was
running over in her mind how to do
it. It was now seven thirty...only half an hour
till closing time.
'"There you go, she said sitting the plate before
him...it's probably not like your mom's but it's
the best I could do on short notice. We'll be
closing soon...at eight."
He looked up at the clock. "Then I'd better eat
in a hurry right?" That smile was quickly
becoming familiar to her.
She returned to the kitchen, and started to
clean and put things away until Monday. It
would be nice to have four days off. Mr. Weeks
was like a kid when it came to Christmas, and
always closed for four days so he and his
family could celebrate together and have fun.
And he always gave his waitresses a big bonus.
She scrubbed harder on the stove, and stainless
tables , then emptied the trash. All the while
talking to herself. What was she thinking. A
Black woman asking a white man to come
share Christmas with her and her family...and
especially a southern boy from Savannah.
Georgia. Her friends were right, she sometimes
let her heart rule over her head. He would
probably say no anyway...so why was she
troubling herself with such thoughts. As she
snapped the lights off in the kitchen, and
grabbed her hat and coat, she could see that he
was finished and talking with Mr. Weeks who
was standing by the door. She was surprised
when he looked back...tipped his hat to her and
walked out into the cold night.
"Well here's you pay check and Christmas
bonus. Oh! that soldier told me to wish you a
Merry Christmas."
"She took both checks quickly, planted a kiss
on Mr. Weeks cheek and ran after him.
He hadn't gotten to far when she caught up to
him. He was standing looking at one of the
store windows where animated figures were
dressed like carolers singing. He was
surprised when she walked up to him out of
breath.
" Did I forget to pay the right amount, he asked
, as he patted her on the back.
Take slow deep breaths."
"I'm afraid I'm not in good shape like you.
Well once I did attend yoga class." He
laughed .
She took a deep breath. "I'd like you to spend
Christmas with me and my family, well I mean
me, my mom, my dad, and my son Tommy...I
know we're different...I mean race wise, but I
just can't stand the thought of anyone
being alone on Christmas...and I won't take no
for an answer....there I said it all."
" That's the nicest invitation anyone's ever
offered me."
"Then you'll come?"
He nodded. "Can't think of anything else I'd
rather do."
"I thought you would refuse, I mean because of
race difference."
He turned away from the window and looked
directly at her. "My mama taught me a long
time ago, Miss Emily that there was only one
race, that's mankind .......mankind."
Emily looked at him. She was beginning to see
that there were more good families like
hers,that taught love for others, and didn't
focus on race, but on a person's heart. Captain
Cletis Derek Butler had been blessed to be a
part of such a family .
"So where are we going,," he asked , his hand
supporting her arm, as they crossed a patch of
ice.
"My cars parked over here...not to far." As
they walked together, Emily felt that tonight
would not be the last time she would spend with
Captain Derek Butler. He needed a family, and
she didn't mind sharing hers, tonight, or for
how ever many more nights would come. She
couldn't wait to see her son Tommy's face. It
was almost like a miracle. Last night Tommy
was crying because he dropped and broke the
toy soldier his father had given him. The one he
always put under the Christmas tree each year.
He was so upset that he wouldn't be able to put
it next to the train set his father had sent him.
Now she was bringing home a gift he would
really be surprised about. A real soldier...one
Tommy could talk to, like he would have done
with his father.
She felt in her heart that Captain Butler
wouldn't mind at all spending time with
Tommy and maybe even helping him put the
train together like his father would have.
Tommy was getting his wish come true......he
was getting a real soldier for Christmas!It got
to the point that Clete's men waited to here the
latest episode in the life of Emily and Tommy.
They all rejoiced with him when Tommy made
the churches children's basketball team as a
stand in for another boy who was ill. And they
laughed with him when Emily told him about
her father and mother taking ballroom dancing
lessons, since her father hated to dance. And
they smiled when she spoke of her prayers for
all of their safety. But they marveled at the
photo of her and Tommy that she sent him on
Valentines day. They all thought she was
pretty. ...no! the exact words they used was
"Beautiful", yes, that's the exact word they
used, and he had to admit they were right.
Emily Emerson was definitely a sight his old
tired eyes enjoyed looking at when he closed his
eyes to sleep. He pinned the picture on the
wall in his small quarters so she was the last
thing he would see at night, and the first thing
he saw when he woke up..
"Captain, Cletis..... causalities coming in."
"On my way," he answered without even
looking up, as he folded the letter and shoved it
in his pocket. He would read it later when time
permitted and stress was a little lighter than it
was now. The letters were always a comfort to
him. He grabbed his medical bag and headed
for the helicopter that was about to land
bringing in the wounded. It was time to get to
work, saving lives. That's what he trained for
as a Doctor in Savannah Georgia, and why now
he was a part of the Army Medical Unit in
Afghanistan..
"Retrospect"
Emily Emerson sat clued to the television as the
report talked about the Army Medi-vac
helicopter that was shot down trying to
evacuate a soldier that was wounded. All
aboard were lost in the crash. Including EMT,
nurse, and doctors who were aboard. She felt
here heart skip a beat as she thought about
Captain Butler. She hated that he had ever told
them that he was a army doctor with the
Medical unit. It was a dangerous job,
especially over there. She tried hard to
concentrate on the correspondence course she
was taking, studying to become a Physical
Therapist. She was now in her fourth month.
Her grades were good, and if she really applied
herself she could finish by January of next
year, then perhaps she could get a good job at
a established hospital somewhere in the city.
It was almost time to go to the diner and work.
She had decided to keep her waitress job until
she finished the course. It would be sad to
leave, but she had to do better wage wise so her
and Tommy could get a place of their own and
let her parents enjoy their life without them
under foot all the time.
"Now you be good Tommy, she said giving him
a kiss on the cheek, as she grabbed her coat
and headed for the door. I'll be home by dinner
time tonight then we'll write Captain Butler
that letter, okay?"
Tommy smiled. Okay!" Then off he went
upstairs in a rush. Emily knew right where he
was going, it was to play with the train set he
and Captain Butler put together on Christmas
Eve.
"Honey, a voice said from behind her. Don't
worry, God will take care of Cletis."
Emily turned. "I'm not worrying Mom, I'm
sure he can take care of himself.
" Her mother walked over and gave her a big
hug. "I know how much he 's come to mean to
you and Tommy...and us too. He's like a son to
us now."
Emily smiled. "I know Mom...he's become a
good friend to me too." Her mother brushed
her face gently. "Just a friend honey, are you
sure that's all he is ?
"Of course that's all he is, why would you ask
me that?"
She rushed out the door before she could hear
her mother's reply. The air was crisp, but there
was the hope of a soon coming Spring in the
air, like the hope in her heart of seeing Captain
Cletis Butler again!
Decisions !
After 12 hours of surgery Captain Butler was
exhausted. He flopped down on his cot and
pulled out the letter he had stuffed in his pocket
earlier. After losing 2 soldiers in surgery, he
was not feeling very positive although he had
successfully save three others. War an death
was something one never got use to. He opened
the letter began to read. He could tell by the
handwriting it was from Tommy. He smiled as
he relaxed a bit and began to read. Tommy was
a great kid, a really great kid, like he hope his
son would have been, if he had one, but
medical school took up so much of his time ,
and by the time he was finished with all the
studying and internship....well it just seemed all
the girls he knew were taken. He knew it was
his own fault. He remembered one nurse in
particular who asked him out numerous times,
but he never accepted. When he finally did ask
her to go out, it was to late. She was married
and he didn't even know it...that's how preoccupied
he was with his career. Now at thirty
five, here he was single, with no prospects. He
shook his head to rid the memories that were
creeping in. Tommy was excited about his
mother studying to be a physical therapist..he
knew he meant Physical Therapist, and
laughed...a laugh he needed. Why hadn't
Emily mentioned it in her letters, he wondered.
School was fine, he ,won the spelling bee, and
was playground captain. He so happy about
being a Captain just like he was. He smiled
again, remembering how Tommy constantly
called him " My Soldier........My Christmas
Soldier" that Christmas Eve was one he would
never forget It was the best day of his
life...having a real Christmas with a real family.
And they showed him real love, just like he
belonged to them. It was nice having a feeling
of belonging to someone...real nice! His
second tour would be ending in four months.
He had a decision to make. The Army had
become his life....but now he wanted more. A
Home, Wife, children. And when
he thought of having all these things, only one
person came to mind that he wanted to build
these dreams with....Emily !
He wasn't sure he should have written the letter
he wrote as the mail went out that day. What
had possessed him to say some of the things he
said. He didn't want to lose Emily's friendship,
but he had learned from the past that he always
acted to late in the area of relationships, and he
didn't want to lose her. He got up from his cot
and walked around the small area of his
quarters. Either way he might lose her!
"Is something wrong Clete ?"
He had shared his quarters with Captain Reese
Ritter for the past year. He was a great
surgeon, but a really light sleeper. He should
have known to be more quiet by now.
"No Reese , just thinking, that's all."
"Thinking about her right?"
He had told Reese about his Christmas with
Emily and her family, and of his growing
feelings for her and Tommy. The whole unit of
medical officers there with him knew about her.
"So what's got you so worried that you can't
sleep...and won't let me sleep either."...he
smiled. Come on, spit it out."
He sat down next to him on his cot, head
looking down at the floor.
"I told Emily now I felt about her and Tommy,
and that I wanted to build a life with them
when my tour ends in four months."
"Wow...that's a mouth full." Reese said
surprised, as he got up and paced around a
bit. Then turned and looked directly at him.
"I was wondering how long it was going to take
you to realize your in love."
Cletis looked up at him in surprise. "What ?
How could you know I was in love, when even I
didn't know until I wrote that letter....now I
might lose her friendship even if I don't have
her love." For the first time other than seeing
a patient die he felt tears filling up in his eyes.
I think she has a problem with us being
different. He looked at his friend...I mean the
race difference......I"
"Woe...stop right there friend, your the one
man I know who doesn't, you. You don't have
a prejudice bone in your body. Look at me
Clete...what am I ?"
Cletis looked at his friend. "
"Your a great surgeon...some times a pain in
the butt, but a great surgeon...and the clown of
the unit...and my friend."
"See, never once said I was a handsome Black
surgeon, which of course I am," He laughed
and Cletis couldn't help but laugh too. "
"That's just you Clete , you see people, not
color.
"But what if I lose her by moving to fast, not
giving her time to think, I mean......”
"Then she doesn't deserve you man, she's
passing up a goldmine in you. Now let me get
some sleep...early
surgery tomorrow." He patted Cletis
shoulder. "Now go sleep in your own bed, this
one's mine."
He walked back and stretched out again. It
was a bit to late to change things now. The
Letter was in the mail. Now it was all in the
hands of God, and Emily !
Girlfriends !
Emily love having time off, and spending that
time with her three best friends , Sassy, Albany,
and Tiffany. Every fourth Friday of the
month, they got together over lunch and caught
up on each others lives. Lately though all they
seemed to talk about was her writing Captain
Butler.
They thought a single black woman should be
spending her time looking for eligible black
husband and a father for herself and Tommy.
and not writing letters to a man not of her race.
O they thought it was the Christian thing to do
for the holidays.... but the holidays were over
now and she needed to grab hold to her senses
and quit all this writing letters, sending care
packages. It was giving him the wrong idea.
He might begin to think she really cared for
him.
She took a deep breath as she sat down at the
table, forced a smile from her lips, and said
hello to them all. She was beginning to feel like
she was on trial, and they were the jury
deciding her fate every time they got together.
"Well have you come to your senses yet," Sassy
Williams asked, glaring at her. Emily loved all
her friends, but Sassy since grade school
always got on her nerves at times...like now!
"Lay off Sassy, Albany said quickly, coming to
her defense. It's her life, stop trying to run it
for her...she can love whoever she chooses !"
"Well listen to "Dear Miss Abby" when did I
ask your advice."
"You didn't, but I'm giving it to you anyway.
Leave Emily alone...she can think for herself,
she doesn't need you to tell her what to do
Sassy...no one does."
"okay, Tiffany broke in. Emily could always
count on her top keep the peace, and hold their
friendship together. "
" Look, none of us have done to well in the
area of relationships, three divorces...................
so I agree with Albany. We need to quit and
apologize for badgering her every time we meet
for lunch. If Emily has a chance at happiness,
then she should take it, and...she glanced in
Sassy direction...and with whomever steals her
heart."
Emily hadn't even had a chance to speak. She
just sat silently looking at them all.
"I'm sorry, Sassy blurted out, tears streaming
down her cheeks. I really do want you to be
happy...really Emily. We all do."
They all smiled, then got up and gave her a
group hug. As they ate lunch, Emily sat
wondering about all they had said about her
and Captain Butler. She had never said she
loved him...it had never crossed her mind. But
they all assumed it. She was beginning to
wonder. She thought about him constantly,
wrote him almost every week, but that was for
Tommy's sake...or was it just an excuse . She
had gotten the mail from the mail box as she
left and shoved the letter from Captain Butler
into her purse for her and Tommy to read
later . But this time it wasn't addressed to her
and Tommy. It was addressed to her only, and
the word 'private 'was written in huge letters on
the bottom of the envelope. Why addressed to
her only, she wondered as she turned a deaf ear
to her friends conversation going on around
her. She just couldn't be in love. She thought
silently to herself. She had loved only one man
in her life...Jason, since grade
school......she just couldn't be in love......she
just couldn't be !
Secret Love !
The Phone call ! "Great job in surgery today,
Captain Butler"
Cletis smiled .
"Had a lot of help from the master
surgeon," he pointed up towards the sky." They
all gave him a thumbs up,as they walked from
the surgery unit back to their quarters . There
was another helicopter arriving soon, but for
now they could all rest a bit before then. Lunch
was waiting. He was happy with God's
guidance he was able to save both Private
Carson legs instead of amputating them as he
first thought. He would need months of therapy
to get the full functions of his legs, but it would
be worth it in the long run .
"So......... that patient is taken care of, now,
how about the second one?"
Cletis looked at his friend. He didn't have
another patient.
"What other patient," he asked looking at his
friend and roommate.
"You...your sick with love my friend ! "
Reese Ritter moved swiftly pass him taking a
seat at the lunch table.
"Still worrying about that letter ?"
Cletis sat down beside him. "She hasn't
answered back yet, he looked down at the
table..maybe she won't. its been a week now."
Reese shook his head. "You got her cell phone
number right?"
Cletis nodded. "Yea, but I never used it ."
"Well, maybe it's time you did. Look man, you
love this woman, you've told her, why worry
about it now...just go after her, don't lose this
one Clete." He looked away and started eating.
Cletis knew he was right.
"I'm just going ask you one thing Clete. He
looked back at him....his eyes looking intently
into his. Do you want to wake up every morning
for the rest of your life without her?"
Cletis looked at him. "No, I don't. Can't
imagine my life without her now."
"Then call her." Those were the last words he
said.
Cletis pulled the cell phone from his pocket and
dial the number that was stored for Emily. He
felt his mouth become dry, and his knees were
shaking as it rang. Then the voice mail
answered . Emily wasn't there. It instructed him
to leave a message. "Call me Emily...we need to
talk, he said in a shaky voice as he left his cell
number....... please!." Then he hung up.
A Promises To Keep ?
Emily placed the 3 orders on the customers
table, then walked back to the kitchen to grab
the next two. She still couldn't believe that
Captain Butler called her. She had never given
him her cell phone number....it had to be
Tommy in that one letter he insisted on writing
himself.
He wanted her to call him back. What was she
suppose to say. She was still reeling over the
words "I Love you" that were in his letter. And
now he was coming to Chicago on leave in
three weeks.
She never intended to have such feelings for
Captain Butler....it just wasn't right...they were
so different in so many ways...race especially.
She didn't consider herself a prejudice person,
but she knew how people treated interracial
couples. The looks, stares, snubs. It was just
awful ! Her and Jason had been together since
childhood . They were of the same race. They
were even high school sweetheart, and later
went to the same university...then finally he
became her husband. She had never given
herself to another man since his death, and it
was a promise she intended to keep. Captain
Butler would understand once she explained it
to him how deep her love was for her late
husband, and the promise she made to him...the
promise she intended to keep........or would he?
New Beginnings !
It was her first day at the hospital. Nervously
she asked for Mr. Waters the Physical
Therapist. He was the one who would be
evaluating her during her internship at the
hospital for the next three weeks. She had
studied hard, but now she was beginning to
wonder if she really would be able to apply all
she had learned to be a Physical Therapist..
On paper it seemed easy, and she scored
excellent on her test...but now she would have
to use these techniques on live people! Her
thoughts went to thinking about Captain
Butler as she waited. She had called him, but
he was in surgery at the time. She knew she
should of called back, but she just left a
message saying she would talk to him when he
arrive in Chicago. It would be better to tell him
face to face. It surprised her how upset her
parents were when she told them the promise
she had made to Jason at his grave site. Her
father thought it was a impetuous promise, and
her mother said it was one Jason would never
ever expect her to keep. Tommy needed a
father, and she needed a husband. If not
Captain Butler, then someone one day ! She
had always had a very open relationship with
her parents,, and valued their thoughts in all
areas of her life. It was because of her mothers
suggestion not to worry him out on the field
that she decided to wait and talk to him in
Chicago. Captain Butler had become a very
important person in her parents lives, he was
like the son they never had. And Tommy never
went one day without talking about him, and
how he couldn't wait until his return. Her
mother thought she should call again and
speak to him...but she just couldn't. Whenever
she thought about him, her heart raced, and
she felt weak all over. The same feelings that
always came over her whenever she was around
Jason the love of her life all those years ago.
How could those same feelings belong to
anyone else...when she thought they belonged
to only her and Jason.
"Mrs. Emerson," a voice called behind her,
and she turned.
"Yes, I'm Miss Emerson," she replied.
"Welcome...I'm Carl Waters, he said with a
broad smile... lets get started then."
Emily followed behind the tall muscular figure
of the man in front of her. He definitely looked
like a body builder to her. Handsome, Tanned,
about thirty five, and in great shape with his
long black curly hair pulled back into a long
ponytail. She followed closely behind him
wondering exactly what he meant when he said
"Lets get started". Well , she smiled ,as he
buzzed open the door for her and she walked
through...she was about to find out !
Emily knew after one week that Carl Waters
was a ladies man, and she had made the
mistake of saying "Miss Emerson" when she
should of left the Mrs. in front of her name. He
found countless reasons to touch her, oh he
tried to make it look professional, like he was
showing her the correct techniques, but she
knew better.
"You should report him, her mother said. her
eyes blazing with anger. I don't care if he is
you boss."
"I can't mom...I need this if I want to be
certified. I have to stick it out. I'm a grown
woman, I'll take of this problem
myself....please!"
"Well I agree with your mother, her father
spoke up from behind his newspaper......no boss
has a right to harass a worker ever "
Emily knew they were both right, but she just
had to stick it out. She had two weeks left,
some how she would make it. Perhaps it was
the stress of it all that made her write Captain
Butler and bear her heart about it all. And to
add the words at the end"I miss you too" If she
could have gotten that letter back from the
mailman, she would have , but it was to late.
She had told him that she cared...and she did.
She just never realized how much !
The Boss!
Emily dreaded the thought of another two
weeks with Carl Waters.
It was like being in the room with an octopus.
Contending with the patients was nothing
compared to staying away from him. By the
end of the day she was exhausted. She was
thinking about what to do when nurse Andrews
informed her that The Head of the Physical
Therapy Department wanted to see her after
her shift ended, which was now. What had she
done wrong, she wondered. She was sure she
was using all the correct techniques her course
had taught her.
She walked down the hallway quickly to his
office and knocked on the door. She had to pick
up Tommy from the sitters in half an hour.
Whatever it was she hope it wouldn't take long.
"Come in, the heavy masculine voice said."
Emily walked in. He was writing at his desk,
and never looked up until she sat down.
"Well Miss Emerson, you must know people in
high places in the military."
Emily stared blankly at him. She had no idea
what he wasn' t about.
"I'm sorry, I don't know what you mean."
"I would have preferred to have heard it
directly from you about Mr. Waters behavior,
and not from Captain Butler's phone call
today."
Emily was shocked. "You know Captain
Butler?"
He smiled..."Yes, known Clete since medical
school in Savannah Georgia. We grew up
together. ..We stay in touch now and then, but
not that much lately. You must mean a lot to
him...he tracked me thought six hospitals until
he found me here. and asked if I had a intern
therapist working here by your name "
Emily didn't know what to say. She just sat
there staring into the face of the department
head...Mr. Arms.
"So, I am transferring you to Mr, Hugh's.
He's a good man,married, six children, with
two daughters in related medical fields at
Mercy General. He's sixty years old, and one
of the best Physical therapist
we have here . He won't give you any
trouble...if you get my drift.
As for Mr. Waters, we will meet tomorrow, and
if he can't get his game right and stay
professional...well then maybe he should look
else where for employment. I'll have no law
suits against this hospital because of him."
Emily smiled. "Thank You Mr. Arms."
"Next time Miss Emerson, if anything isn't
right ...please let me know...not the military
okay!" He laughed softly as he shook his head
then went back to writing in the tablet on his
desk.
As She walked from his office, she was totally
shocked at how Captain Butler had taken it
upon himself to solved her problem from
thousands of miles away . She rushing to her
car to pick up Tommy.
She remember how her heart raced when Mr.
Arms mentioned Captain Butlers name. He
called him Clete. She liked that, it sounded
personal...and she was discovering that she
wanted to know him well enough to call him
that too. Clete. She repeated it over and over.
She liked the sound of his name...yes she did.
Clete was making it extremely hard to keep the
promise she had made to Jason at his grave. If
just his name made her heart race...how would
seeing him in person in two weeks effect her?
The Talk !
He did what?" Sassy mouth dropped open
when Emily finished telling them all about
what Captain Butler did over dinner that
Saturday night at Club Nostalgia It was
Albany's 34th birthday and they were all
happy and joyous over the occasion.
"So your assigned to another Physical
Therapist.
"Wow!," was all Albany could say. Emily
looked at Tiffany who hadn't said anything yet.
"Well, she said finally, as she looked at Emily.
That's what I call really loving a woman. He's
in Iraq, thousands of miles away, and he takes
time out to hunt down a old friend in the states
to help you out. Gotta meet this guy." They all
nodded in agreement.
"Whens he coming in?" Tiffany asked. At
O'Hare right?"
Emily smiled. "Next Friday...at least that's
what he told Mom and Dad."
They all looked at her slightly puzzled.
"Haven't you talked to him,"
Tiffany asked
Emily shook her head. "No"
"Well why not," Albany asked?"
"For heavens sake Emily, why not," Sassy
asked too.
Emily bit slightly down on her lower lip.
"Because I made a promise to Jason to never
love anyone else again."
"A stupid promise,"Sassy blurted out, then
quickly put her hand over her mouth. Albany
punched her in the arm, as Tiffany shot
daggers in her direction.
“Why would you make such a promise Emily?"
Tiffany studied her friend. Your a young
beautiful woman. Your bound to fall in love
again, it's only natural."
"Maybe she's thinking of becoming a nun,
Sassy said...but can Nuns have kids?" She
looked in Albany's direction. Albany quickly
put her hand over her friends mouth before
anything else could slip out as Tiffany gave her
friend a shocked look of disbelief.
"Jason was my all in all...I just can't hurt him
like that."
Tiffany looked again at her Friend. "You can't
hurt Jason by loving again. He would want
you to be happy, and for Tommy to have a dad.
A man he could grow to love and respect, who
could show him what a real man should be.
From what I hear about Captain Butler, he is
that man. Am I wrong?"
Emily looked up into Tiffany eyes. "No, your
not wrong. Clete is such a man."
Tiffany smiled. "So your on a first name bases
I see."
"I heard my boss call him that...I guess it's a
nickname."
"One you like right?"
"Yes, Emily could feel herself blushing...yes
one I like very much."
Tiffany reached across the table and took
Emily's hand in hers"We would all give
anything to have what you have Emily.
Someone to love. Be happy !" Well with that
said, she stood up, pulling Emily up with her as
they all started to dance and clap their hands.
Tiffany waved her arms around in the air..."we
came here to celebrate a birthday....lets get this
birthday party started...lets party." Everyone in
the dinner club smiled and clapped their hands
as they watched them dance and sing to the
music Tiffany had requested the band to play.
It was Albany's favorite song.......
"Celebration"
Show time !
"So, what's got you so excited Clete," Reese
asked as they all walked back to the barracks.
Clete smiled as he pulled out his cell phone.
"There's a message here from Emily , some
type of video that needs downloading ."
"Hey Capt, download it so we all can see
it...unless it's for your eyes only, they all
laughed, patting him on the back.
"Emily's not like that," he said blushing, as his
steps quickened. She's a good Christian
woman. Its probably something about Tommy,
maybe he got a trophy or something. Or maybe
its showing her parents dancing. You know
they've been taking dancing lessons. Yea,
that's probably it."
"Okay, leave the man alone, Reese said, as they
all enter their quarters, let the man enjoy his
video by himself."
Everyone still gathered around him as he
downloaded it from his cell onto the USB port,
then into his computer. He looked around. All
they needed now was popcorn! Every doctor,
medical tech, was there that wasn't on
duty,waiting for whatever was about to show.
When the video came on and the music started,
he recognized Emily but not the other three
ladies that were there. They were all dancing
and singing and yelling Happy Birthday
Albany .
The guys watching along with him went wild,
commenting on the ladies as they danced along
with the music. But all Clete could see was
Emily. She looked absolutely beautiful in a
slender red dress, and red high heels. Her hair
wasn't back in a ponytail, but was long on her
shoulders.
"That's Emily in the red dress, he said to
everyone pointing at the screen.
"Like we don't already know with all her
pictures you have around here." They all
laughed.
"Wow!, Reese said, she looks better on
screen...and the other three...he smiled not bad
either!"
Every one stopped dancing when one of the
girls ...the tall woman with short hair and big
hooped earrings looked into the camera and
said "Hi Captain Butler, I'm Tiffany, and this
is Sassy, and our birthday girl
Albany....we're"The Girlfriends".....we're going
to check you out in two weeks. You gotta pass
the girlfriend test, then we'll let you know if you
can have our girl. Emily quickly placed her
hand
over her friends mouth, and in front of the
screen. Clete laughed softly. Whatever the test
was he would pass it. Emily was worth it.
The Call !
Emily was furious with Tiffany for videotaping
their little dance routine with her cell and then
sending it to Clete. , but it was Albany's
Birthday and she didn't want to make a scene.
"Oh come on Emily, "Tiffany hugged her
tightly, even though she tried to pull away. It
was all in good fun, and besides if he's going
to be in your life, well then he
has to accept us too...we're not going
anywhere...we're girlfriends."
Emily hugged her back. She knew she never
could stay mad at any of them. She loved them
dearly. The buzzing of her phone caused her to
pull away and rummage through her purse to
find it. She stood looking at the name that was
showing
Captain Butler.
"Well, Tiffany said. Aren't you going to
answer it?"
Emily shook her head as she looked at all of
them. "Its Clete, I mean Captain Butler."
Tiffany took the phone quickly before it went
to the fourth ring'
"Hello Captain Butler its me Tiffany, Emily's
friend. Nice to talk to you too. Yes, we are all
looking forward to seeing you next week.
Emily' will be right back, just stepped away for
a minute. Well here she is now." She shoved
the phone into Emily's as she hit speaker so
they all could listen.
"Hi, she said softly...wasn't expecting to talk to
you until next week when you arrive here.
They all smiled as they heard him laugh.
"Just had to tell you how much enjoyment your
video brought to the guys here...it was laughter
and fun all evening. They must of played it
fifty times...thanks, over here there's not a lot of
laugh about. Really appreciated it Em."
Her mouth dropped open.....what did he just
call,her..... Em."
They all looked at each other stunned. "He
called her Em," Sassy whispered to Albany, as
they each looked at Tiffany who's face was
frowned .
Emily stood silent. No man had ever called
her Em but Jason...it was his nickname for her.
Why did he call her that. He had no right too.
Only Jason had that right. She dropped the
phone and walked away swiftly. The girls all
looking at her. Tiffany looked at the phone
lying on the floor. The call was lost. And they
all knew why . Then it
started to ring again. It was Captain Butler.
They looked sadly at each other, what were
they suppose to do...then Tiffany answered it.
"Hello, Em, the voice said..what happened?"
Tiffany knew what had happened, they all
knew. He called her by a name only Jason
used. But was it her right to tell him what he'd
done...she slowly put the phone to her ear. He
needed to know if he was ever going to have a
real chance of winning Emily's heart!
"Captain, there's something you need to know,
she said
softly...something very important about Emily."
Revelation !
Captain Butler listened as Tiffany told him
the whole sorted story.
"I'm truly sorry, he said. It just naturally
slipped out. He hesitated. You see my mama's
name was Emma, and as a child I called her
Em instead of mama because I always heard
my papa call her that. Didn't even know I said
it Tiffany...really didn't know I said it."
"Capt, helicopter coming in." He heard the
voice behind him and knew he had to go.
"Tell Emily I'm sorry, and that I'll write her
when I can...gotta run."
As her hung up the phone and rushed out he
could only think of how he had probably lost
Emily forever.
He felt truly exhausted after hours of surgery,
but he knew that wasn't all of his weariness...no
it was the fact that he probably lost Emily
forever. He flopped down on the bed, staring
up into space. He didn't really know what to do
now. He didn't want to disappoint Tommy, and
he really wanted to see her folks too...but
now...he sighed deeply, it looked like all that
wasn't going to happen because of a slip of his
tongue.
Reese sat down on the bed beside him.
"Look, he said in that voice that Clete knew
meant he was getting upset with him. You love
the lady right?"
Clete nodded.
"Well then go after her, and don't stop until
she loves you...he winked..I think she does man,
but she's scared. Those feelings she thought
could only belong to one man, now she's
feeling for another...YOU! Just be there for
her no matter how long it takes until she see 's
you're r not going no where. Remember that
movie we saw last month "Dream Girls" and
that song I loved "And I am telling you" By
Jennifer Hudson. Well you gotta be like that
girl was in the movie...never giving up until
she loves you ."
He walked over to his bunk and rummaged
through the tapes and Cd's that were stacked
on the side . He put the CD in the player.
"I think you need to hear this song man. He
pressed the button. Listen Clete to the words,
and I'll see you later," He then walked out
leaving him alone with the song playing.
After the song stopped he sat up straight. "I'm
not giving up on you Emily....like the song says
"I'm not going no where, and you, and you,
and you,.......you're gonna love me"
A Time To Say Goodbye ?
It was hard to believe that she had acted that
way to Clete. Tiffany and the girls were right,
he had no way of knowing that Em was
Jason's pet name for her. And now that she
knew his mothers name was Emma, and he
had called her Em for years..made it even
worst. She didn't have a monopoly on that
name. So man thoughts were running through
her mind as she placed flowers on Jason's
grave. She knew in her heart that she was
doing the right thing. It was time to say
Goodbye, and let go of the past. She would
always have the blessed memories of her life
with Jason, but everyone was right, her
girlfriends, and her parents when they said it
was time to say goodbye to the past and move
on to the future. She didn't know if that future
would have Clete in it, but she believed that one
day there would be someone. She still hoped
that Clete would always be there for Tommy in
some fashion..she would talk to him about that
if he ever wanted to talk to her ever again.
Tommy was so excited about him coming back
to Chicago. She just couldn't tell him that now
because of her, he might not. She stood up and
looked down at Jason's tombstone again, then
blew kisses to it. Her mind went back to their
favorite movie "The Way We Were" it was so
fitting...remembering all the memories they
shared together...it was like a movie was
playing in her mind of the
way they were""Goodbye my love, she said
softly...goodbye!"
The Apology !
She couldn't help but think how she had
behaved. It haunted her thoughts all
evening and most of the night. She turned
over and glanced at the clock, it was 2:45 in
the morning and she was still awake. She got
up an walked to Tommy's room, and peeked in.
He was sound asleep, like she should be. She
headed down stairs to the kitchen. Maybe a
warm glass of milk would help. Her mother
use to give her warm milk as a child when she
was restless. As she put the pan on the stove
and poured in the milk, she knew nothing was
really going to help but talking to Clete, and
apologizing for her behavior. She was glad she
was off this Friday, but she knew it would be
Saturday there. Weekends weren't the same as
in the states where most people looked forward
to rest and relaxation. He might be in Surgery,
or meetings, but she was still going to try and
call him. It was the only way she was going to
get any rest. She turned off the milk and left it
sitting on the stove, and walked to the hallway
where she had left her purse, and pulled out
her cell phone.
She punched in the number quickly before she
lost the nerve. It rang three times. Perhaps he
was to busy...or maybe he saw her number and
just didn't want to answer at all. She started to
hang up when he answered.
"I'm probably catching you at a bad time, she
said softly
"No, just coming in from a staff meeting.
Wasn't sure I would hear from you, but I'm
glad you called. I wanted to apologize for what
happened ."
"Emily could feel the tears rolling down her
cheeks.
"You have nothing to apologize for Clete...I'm
the one who needs to apologize."
"No I need to Emily."
"No you don't Clete, I need to."
She could hear him laughing, and she started
to laugh too. The fear she had felt about talking
to him suddenly disappeared.
"Why don't we just agree to disagree then."
"Okay, I think that's a good idea, she said
smiling as she sat down in the chair by the
phone.
"Are you still coming to Chicago...I mean,
Tommy 's really looking forward to seeing you,
and so are my mom and dad."
"Wouldn't miss it. My plane will arrive on
Tuesday 3pm O'Hare airport.”
Emily heard the silence...he was waiting for her
to say something...something like"I can't wait
to see you too Clete."
"Might be a big reception, my friends want to
meet you, she said feeling the nervousness in
her voice
"Awe! Tiffany, Sassy, and Albany...hum, and
just what is this test there talking about giving
me?"
Emily couldn't help but laugh. "Can't tell you
that, I honestly don't know."
"No sweat, he said in a casual tone...I was
always good at test."
Why was it so hard to say what she was feeling,
she wondered. She took a deep breath. "I
can't wait to see you too Clete, I've really
missed you." There she had said it.
"Missed you too Emily, he said softly..I think
about you all the time."
Emily felt her heart beat faster at his words.
She missed him too, more than she ever
realized. And in her heart she knew it was okay
to have such feelings.
"I think about you too Clete, all the time, "she
said as she pictured his face in her mind. How
would it feel to be in his arms, to feel his kiss on
her lips, to build precious moments with him,
she hoped she would have the chance to find
out.
"Well I'd better let you get some sleep...it's
about half past three there, right," he asked.
Emily looked up at the clock on the wall in the
hallway. "Yes, it's 3:15.”
"Well then.....I should be saying good
morning to you , he laughed. Get some sleep
Em.....is it okay to call you Em now?"
"Yes, it's okay, she said happily... we both have
good memories attached to that name."
"Yes we do, he said softly...the best memories in
the world."
She felt the tears well up again, and knew he
was having a similar reaction with the thoughts
of his dear mother, as she was about Jason.
"Clete, she said softly...grits, Ham and biscuits
right?"
She could hear a hearty robust laugh come
from the other end of the phone.
""Right, he said happily...grits, Ham and
biscuits ma'am." See you Tuesday Em."
The Spa !
Emily had to admit that it really felt good to
be pampered. Tiffany was right, every woman
should have this experience at least once in
their life. She closed her eyes lost in the
beautiful relaxing music as she felt the the
gentle feet moving slowly over her back. She
had seen this done on television and often
wondered if it was painful...but it wasn't. It
was a shame that none of her girl friends
could share this with her, but then they were
use to spa treatments.
Tiffany had one once a week and Sassy and
Albany always accompanied her. Her work
and studying always hindered her from going
with them. It was really sweet of Tiffany to let
her take her place, the one Saturday she had
off while she attended a function in Evanston
for a co-worker who was retiring.. Between the
facials, manicure, pedicure, and mud bath, she
felt wonderful as she walked out of the "Silk To
The Touch Spa". It definitely lived up to its
name. She had always had soft skin, but now
both her face and her body felt like silk. As she
left the spa heading home she remembered
what Tiffany had said to her that morning on
the telephone.
"You were right Emily, and we were wrong.
Loves not based on the color of a persons
skin ...but on the heart."
She smiled. God had blessed her with three
really good friends, Friends who truly wanted
to see her happy. She loved them all so much,
and she was sure once Clete got to know them,
he would love them too. They were all going to
be there on Tuesday to meet him.
As she drove into her parents driveway she
remembered Clete asking her what the test was
the girls were planning for him. She wondered
too. Should of asked Tiffany, she thought as
she turned her key in the door. But no matter
what it was, he had passed the most important
Under Fire Delayed !
The sound of sirens blasting woke everyone
up. Clete quickly stepped into his pants and
grabbed his medical bag and followed the rest
of his unit out the door. The first blast was
quick and they all ran for cover. He could see
Reese in front of him, along with other officers
in the medical unit. As he hit the ground he
knew they were under attack . There was dirt
flying so fast that he could hardly see.
There were drills for such attacks as these, but
they had never really had any attacks so close
to the medical units until now. He spit the dirt
from his mouth and got up quickly and ran as
fast as he could to the hospital unit to help
remove the wounded and try to help as many as
he possibly could before another attack came.
He could see Army planes taking off to try and
stop anymore attacks, and he silently whispered
a prayer for their success and safe return. As
he was running, he felt a sudden hotness in his
shoulder, then a sharp pain. He had felt that
feeling before. It meant he had been shot! !
When he opened his eyes, Reese was standing
over him with a surgical mask on his face. He
was in the hospital.. he could see the debris,
heaps of it, but there didn't seem to be any
major damage to major medical supplies and
equipment. Everything was still functional.
Ever where he looked he could see patients
being worked on, but none of the injuries
looked life threatening. Mostly cuts and
bruises. The only one getting ready to be
operated on was him.
"Next time don't try and be a hero man...tell
someone when you take a bullet."
"How many causalities," he managed to
whisper, as the medicine started to kick in .
Reese looked around the tent . .. "No deaths,
thank God," he breathed a sigh of relief. Now
stop talking and let me do my job. "
Reese felt the needle as it entered his arm. It
would be lights out soon, he knew that,but he
also knew he was in good hands.
"Em, he whispered, looking blurred eye at
Reese. I'm suppose to be there on Tuesday."
"Not happening man, Reese replied...not for at
least two or three weeks."
He closed his eyes. What was Em going to think
when he didn't arrive on time. And finding out
about the attack, and that he was wounded. It
would be on the television. All the stations
would be broadcasting about the attack. Emily
had told him about the death of her husband in
Iraq. She was so fragile in that area...what
would this do to her, he wondered. He knew
Reese was right. though. He was telling him
the same thing he told other soldiers who were
in a rush to recover. As he felt himself drift off,
all he could think about was not making it to
Chicago to see Emily. He loved her so much.
He would think about his love for her, it was
what kept him going now, yes his love for her,
that's what he would concentrate on during
recovery
"Em...he whispered once
again.....Em....I..."then his eyes closed"
The
Prayer !
Emily couldn't believe the news report, but it
was true. Clete's unit was the one hit by an
attack. She wanted to lose control and cry, but
when she looked into her son's Tommy's eyes
she knew she couldn't. He needed her strength
and assurance now more than ever. She never
realized how much Tommy love him.
She tried to assure him that night as she
tucked him into bed, wiped his tears, and
listened to his prayers which were mostly
about Captain Butler, that he was okay. The
report said there were no causalities, only
minor cuts and bruises. She hope that was
true. She prayed it was so. Her parents knew
the fear she was feeling after losing Jason. She
knelt by her bed and cried, tears flooding down
her cheeks. She loved Clete....oh how she loved
him. Would she have the chance to tell him
how much...how just the sound of his voice
made her weak in the knees...just to look into
his eyes was her most deepest hearts desire.
She wanted to wrap her arms around him and
kiss him deeply, and to feel his lips on hers.
She clasp her hands in prayer, and asked God
to bring him back to all of them. She got up
and walked to the window and looked out. It
was a clear night. She could see the stars
shining so bright and beautiful. She leaned
against the window, feeling a single tear trickle
down her cheek. Clete was out there
somewhere thousands of miles away, yet she
knew he was thinking of her, and loving her
She hadn't heard anything yet, but she knew as
much as he was thinking of her, she was
thinking of him and loving him too.....
Somewhere out there, she smiled. That was the
name of the song from Tommy's favorite movie
"American Tail". She hadn't thought about it
until now. The song was suddenly fresh in her
mind. Clete was out there, and he was loving
her tonight......"somewhere out there ,out
where dreams come true !"
She walked back to her bed smiling as she got
under the covers. She believed in dreams...yes
she did !
Reese was disturbed during surgery
because of all the shrapnel that was embedded
in Clete's shoulder. He knew I f he wasn't
extremely carefully Clete would lose the
function of his arm and that would affect his
ability to be a surgeon again. He worked
slowly, and carefully , cleaning the wound and
getting all the shrapnel out, then went about
repairing all he could see.
Everything looked good as he closed and
Clete was taken to the temporary ICU tent
where he would be watched carefully. He had
done all he could, now he would just have to
wait and see if all he did was good enough. He
washed up and then headed straight to the ICU.
He sat by his friend, looking at him as he laid
sleeping. Clete was a good friend, and one of
the best surgeon's he knew. He prayer that
God would take over now and heal his arm
from the inside. As A surgeon he could only do
his part then he had to trust the master surgeon
to do the rest. It was Clete who lead him to the
Lord ...it was Clete who always prayed before
entering the operating room, and over each
patient before he ever started to work on them.
He just had to be able to continue as a surgeon
whether in the Army or out. He closed his eyes.
Clete was more than just a friend, he was like a
brother to him. Suddenly he felt a hand touch
his.
"Am I that bad that your praying over me, he
said with a faint smile."
Reese smiled broadly, grabbing his friends
hand tightly.
"No man just telling God to get you well, we
need all the help we can get here." He smiled
again.
"Can you do me a favor, Clete asked, looking at
his friend. Will you call Emily and tell her I'm
okay, but that I'll be delayed a bit."
Reese smiled. "Sure...sure, no problem you
get some rest.
He sat a bit longer to make sure he was
asleep, then went back and took the cell
phone from Clete's pant pocket. He
scrolled down to contacts. There was
Emily's name, and number. He pressed call,
and waited until it rang!
Emily was so happy to get the news about Clete,
and shared the news with her girlfriends while
shopping at the mall.
Mall shopping was Sassy's specialty...she was
the queen of shopping, knowing the best stores
to find the best clothes. "Sophisticated Lady"
was one of the most elite and expensive shop
there....and that's the first shop Sassy took them
all to. As she looked at herself in the outfit
Sassy picked, she wasn't sure it was exactly
her. It was shorter than she was use too, and
the top a bit more revealing, but it was cute and
she was sure Clete would like it.
"Look, Sassy said, you want to knock his eyes
out when he does come don't you...well this
outfit will do it."
Emily took another look at herself in the
mirror. She had to admit she liked it a lot. She
was still young enough to wear such outfits.
"Well, now all you need is Captain Butler,
Tiffany said loudly from behind a rack of
dresses she was going through., She peeked
through some dresses to take a look at Emily. .
He may not want to go back when he see's
you." They all giggled joyfully.
"Anyway, Tiffany continued. Emily could wear
a sack and he would still think she was
beautiful." They all nodded in agreement.
"This Captain Ritter who called you, Albany
said looking down at the heels she had just
slipped on her feet...... Is he married?"
Emily looked at her friend as she tried on the
pair of heels Sassy had now set in front of her
to complete her outfit.
"I don't know, never thought to ask ." She
stepped into the shoes that were very snug and
elevated.
"I was just so happy to hear that Clete was
okay and recovering from his wound. Captain
Ritter was the surgeon that operated on Clete,
so I know they must be good friends."
"Albany's only thinking about herself," Sassy
said, as she motioned for Emily to walk across
the room in the heels.
"I guess Albany's suddenly forgotten she's not
the only one not in a relationship at the
moment. We might want to meet some soldiers
too." She glared at Albany
"Sorry, Albany waved her hand in the air....I'm
sorry!"
Emily and Tiffany both shook their heads and
laughed. They would always be friends, even
when they disagreed ,their love for each other
would always be there...they were forever
friends, just like their favorite TV show
"Girlfriends"
Plans !
Clete had to admit that it felt good to see so
many Army planes flying over them, and there
were soldiers posted with artillery in different
spots all over their camp. It was hard enough
to conduct surgery and help the wounded when
they were brought in...now they had to be more
watchful. It was a strain on the whole unit,
and it was made even harder since he couldn't
do his job. Reese was flooded with back to back
surgery, along with the other two surgeons that
were there. They need more help. All other
medical staff was working extra hours to help
lessen the load. He looked up and prayed there
would be no more attacks, and ask God to
please let this war end soon before anymore
lives were loss. His arm was healing well. It
had been three weeks. X-rays showed no real
damage. He would be able to go back in
surgery in two weeks. He thought about Emily.
She was so understanding about his furlough
being canceled. He knew how disappointed
everyone was, especially Tommy. His letter was
so precious to read. He didn't know exactly
when they would give him another as so much
help was needed there. Although he couldn't
operate, he could still give out meds and clean
minor cuts and abrasions. His tour would be
over in two months, and he knew exactly what
he wanted to do...marry Emily, and be a father
to Tommy. He wanted to buy a house in
Chicago somewhere...where ever Emily liked,
and see about getting a job at a hospital . He
knew that would not be a problem since his arm
was almost totally functional , and he was a
good surgeon with a good Army record. He
took a deep breath and looked out over the sky,
and wished she was there with him. He wanted
to hold her tight, kiss her lips, and spend the
night with her next to him, and wake up in the
morning with her next to him.
"Captain." The voice behind him startled him
a bit, and he turned. The corporal had an
envelope in his hand.
"This just came in for you." He handed it to
him, saluted, then walked away.
Clete opened it. Then jumped to his feet in joy.
They were granting his furlough, starting
tomorrow. He darted one way then another.
"What to do first, he said happily to
himself...pack, no...call Emily. yes....no. He
kissed the letter. He would surprise her, yes
that's what he would do ! He ran to his
quarters where Reese was just stretching out to
rest. Reese sat up quickly when he saw him.
"What's got you so excited, "he asked .
Clete held out the letter to him.
""My furlough came through."
Reese jumped up and hugged his friend. "Go
get her man...go get the woman you love!
Clete smiled. He knew there had always been
something missing in his life. Oh he tried to fill
that void with Medical school, and the Army,
but that void was always there. It was loving
someone, and sharing your life with them. He
had a chance now to fill that void, perhaps a
once in a lifetime chance, and he wasn't going
to blow it..... that chance was to love Emily, and
that was exactly what he was going to do !
Up Up And Away !!!
Clete still found it unsettling to fly. After two
tours in the Army and flying from one place to
another, his stomach still preferred being on
the ground. The knowledge of not having to do
this in two months made it easier to handle.
He loved the Army, not all military personal
could honestly say that, but he really did. He
loved traveling and helping people while
serving his country at the same time. But now
the time had come to start a new venture...a life
with the woman he love, and a new career. He
thought about the first time he saw Emily at the
diner, and remembered how lonely he felt, and
her offer of kindness. He thought she was so
pretty then, but never imagined himself ever
falling in love with her. His mom always said
that God had seasons for everything...even for
falling in love. He closed his eyes and thought
about seeing her. It wouldn't be long, just
eighteen more hours and two plane
transfers...he could make that, he said to
himself and smiled....he could make that. It
would be a total surprise. He had already told
her parents and asked them to bring her
girlfriends to the diner . It was where it all
started...and where he wanted to ask her a very
important question !
Special Event !
Emily was happy that Clete was recovering so
well. After talking to him last night her world
seemed to fall neatly into place. She had
actually said the words I love you to another
man. Words she thought she would never say
again. And he had said them to her personally.
He whispered them into her very own ears as
they talked. She didn't know exactly when or if
he would get a furlough, but that didn't matter.
He would be finished with his military service
in two months and then he would be home for
good. She felt as happy as Tommy when he
heard he would be coming back to Chicago.
She wanted to tell Tommy about her feelings
for Clete, but didn't. That was something her
and Clete should do together. Tommy loved
Clete, she knew that...but would he accept him
as being in their lives. Tommy had been so
close to his father, she hoped he would feel that
way for Clete if they did decide to build a life
together in the future. She brushed her hair
and swept it over her shoulders, as she looked
at herself in the long mirror. She wished Clete
could be here for the celebration, and to see
her in the long blue pencil dress she had
purchased for the event. Tonight was some sort
of celebration for Tiffany . It was wonderful
that they all decided to use the diner for the
celebration, it would bring in extra funds that
Mr. weeks needed after splurging over the
Christmas Holiday. Tiffany had invited
everyone, including her parents and Tommy.
She thought hard but couldn't remember any
special event for Tiffany. It wasn't her
birthday, and she definitely wasn't involved
with anyone. Wait...she thought...maybe
Tiffany and Frank were re-uniting after their 1
year divorce.
"Yes!, that's probably it. She said they had
been talking lately. Emily had to admit that she
liked Frank Benson, he was tall, handsome, a
lawyer.......and anyone could see how much he
love Tiffany even after the divorce.
As she came down the stairs everyone's eye's
shot open and their mouths dropped.
"Honey, you look beautiful, her father said as
he walked closer and took her hand and gave
her a twirl."
"Yes you do honey...like a princess." Her
mother kissed her sweetly on the cheek.
Tommy was still staring at her. She knew it
was probably odd for him to see her all dressed
up, hair down and not in a bun. She wasn't in
a apron like she always wore at the diner or
her medical outfit for her work at the hospital.
"Well what do yo think about your mom, she
finally asked?"
He walked closer and touched the dress, then
smiled as he wrapped his arms around her
waist.
"Gosh mom you're the most beautiful mom in
the world. "
Emily felt a tear trickle down her cheek as she
hugged him back.
They had a big event to attend, and it was time
they got going. As they all got into the car, she
knew this would be a night to remember, if only
for the look on her son's face and for his words
that would remain in her heart forever
Celebration/ The Beginning !
The diner was all decorated when they
entered. Emily could see banners all strung
across the ceiling that said Love,
Happiness, best wishes. She smiled to herself
when she saw
Tiffany and her other girlfriends all standing
their in equally beautiful outfits of their own..
She knew she must be right, Tiffany and Frank
were getting back together.
She looked around . Where was Frank, she
wondered. Everyone was laughing and talking.
Tiffany didn't seem to be concerned that her
man wasn't there. She looked at her parents
who shurged a shoulder then went towards the
buffet Mr. Weeks and the other waitresses had
prepared. Mr. Weeks looked upset, and was
pacing around as she walked up to him.
"What's wrong," she asked.
He pointed to the corner of the diner where
Emily could see a man sitting with his head
down.
"I told him that tonight this was a private party,
but he won't leave."
Emily took another look. The man was young,
slender, and dressed in casual attire.
"You always could handle matters like these,
would you speak to him and explain?"
Emily took another look. He didn't look
dangerous, and she was good with stubborn
customers. Maybe he would listen to her...it
wouldn't hurt to try. Tiffany deserved her
special night, and she didn't want this man to
ruin it. She walked cautiously up to him,
playing over in her mind what to say that would
make him understand and leave so they all
could celebrate. he didn't look up, but instead
lowered his head into is arms so she couldn't
see his face.
"Sir, she said softly. Tonight the diner is closed
for a special celebration , if you could come
back tomorrow we'd be happy to serve you
anything you wish." She waited for an answer.
A muffled sound came from beneath his folded
arms that she could barely hear.
"Could you repeat that, she said...I can hardly
hear you."
"I said If I can have one meal I'll leave."
Emily looked at him, then went back to Mr.
Weeks.
"He said if we served him one meal he'll
leave."
Mr. Weeks nodded. "Okay, anything he
wants."
Emily grabbed a pencil and pad from the
counter and walked back to the man's table.
"What would you like then?" She stood ready
to write it down. She'd fix it herself if it meant
Tiffany could have her celebration in peace.
"Grits, Ham And Biscuits Ma'am."
Emily looked up from the pad into Clete's eyes.
"It's really you, she said tears rolling down her
cheeks, as she rushed into his awaiting arms,
their lips touching for the first time.
"There was something special I wanted to ask
you, he said kissing her lips again, I thought
this was the best place to ask you since it's
where we first met, and I wanted your family
and friends to share in the news."
Emily pulled slightly away from his arms.
"You planned this?"
"Yes, and I'd like to ask you something......he
got down on one knee.
Would you like to marry a man who wants
grits, ham and biscuits for breakfast every
morning?"
Emily smiled , as she moved back into his
strong arms. The arms she never wanted to
leave. She looked deeply into his eyes. Falling
in love was a wonderful thing. "I sure would
Captain Butler she said as her lips pressed his
again....I sure would .!
The Beginning !


© Copyright 2020 Jaylove. All rights reserved.

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