Friday, August 24, 2012
Monday, March 26, 2012
The next morning when their instructor came into the room he read from the mass e-mail, “Smith, you need to go to MPF to pick up your RIP.”
“I already did.”
“It’s what the e-mail says.”
Sam turned to Michael, “Fine, we’ll go at lunch.”
Lunch finally came and they ‘marched’ to personnel, a change RIP awaited Sam. She skimmed the sheet of paper and the words Beale, California were like a knife through her heart. Michael was the only one in their class that still had an assignment to Korea. Of course there was still time for him to try to get his assignment changed, switch with someone who was going to Beale so that he could be with Sam. But what if he couldn’t?
“Beale,” she said weakly. “If they were going to do this why couldn’t they have done it two days ago? The day after I get the fucking shots, seriously?!” All Michael could do was shrug.
A week and a half later Sam, Michael and their whole class waited to take the hardest test yet. They had spent three long weeks studying OB (order of battle), tanks, airplanes, stuff like that. The instructor for this particular block had not been very good which only added to Sam’s nerves. Both she and Michael did their best, turned in their answer sheets, and went to the break room for the last person to finish their test. Michael had finished before Sam so when she sat down next to him he asked, “How do you think you did?”
Normally she had felt fairly confident after all of the tests in this class, even the one that both she and Michael as well as two other people in their class had almost failed. This time however was different, very different. “I’m pretty sure I failed.” She had a heavy feeling in stomach and the longer they sat in the small room the worse it got. “You?”
“I don’t know, and I’m sure you did fine.”
Finally the last person came to the break room to tell everyone to come back. Sam sat at her desk twirling her thumbs nervously as the instructor handed back the graded tests. The half sheets of paper were placed face down on the desk in front of Michael and Sam, Michael turned his over first. A sigh of relief, he had passed.
Sam turned her paper over to find a less satisfying sight. Her heart sank. She had failed. She dropped the paper onto Michael’s desk and leaned back in her chair. What happened next was what she had feared, “Everyone turn in your papers and the three of you who failed go up to the instructor office.
“I’ll see you later,” Sam slowly stood up.
Michael nodded, “I love you.”
“I love you too.” With that she joined the other two who had failed in the hall to wait for their instructor to take them upstairs.
Once they were in the office the ‘lead instructor’ lectured them on how they were failures and that there were thousands of people currently doing the job that they were training for, if those thousands could do it why couldn’t they? Next he asked them why they had failed. What was one supposed to say? ‘I failed because I didn’t know the answers.’ That’s what Sam thought but she certainly didn’t say it out loud. Finally Sgt. Lewis told them that normally he would let them take the second version of the test but because he was in a bad mood he would be washing them back.
For the second time that day Sam’s heart sank. She would no longer be in the same class as Michael. She would have to repeat the entire three weeks of the class and go to study hall twice a week for the next month. Just as she thought that things couldn’t get any worse Sgt. Lewis spoke again, “You’ll be starting class again on the 24th on B shift.” B shift, now she would never get to see Michael. If they would at least still be on the same shift they could see each other after class and at lunch. Now dinner and weekends would be the only time that they could see each other.
Once they were dismissed Sam returned to the classroom to find it empty. She grabbed her things from her desk and made her way back to the dorms as quickly as possible. One of the others who had been with her had elected to take the note to the MTLs that explained why they hadn’t been at formation. With that being taken care of Sam quickly went to her room and texted Michael while changing out of her uniform. ‘I’ll meet you in the laundry room.’
“How’d it go?”
“I start class again on the 24th.”
“They’re not going to let you re-test?”
“Sgt. Lewis said that he was in a bad mood so he washed us back. That’s not even the worst of it; I’m going to B shift.” Sam couldn’t hold it in anymore, a single tear slid slowly down her cheek. She threw herself into Michael’s arms and the tears really began to fall. “This sucks.”
“It does, but I promise we’ll get through it.” He tightened his grip around her.
Outside as if to reflect Sam and Michael’s emotion the sky had turned black. The rain began slowly, just as Sam’s tears, but in an instant it turned into a torrential downpour. Sam and Michael both knew that things wouldn’t always be easy, but they didn’t want to know if things could get worse.
Saturday morning brought the start of another trip, this time they would be going to Odessa and staying in a suite. Sam was excited because Michael would be cooking for her for the first time. Just as they had in previous weeks they left base as soon as possible and made a short stop at the store to get food.
They spent the rest of the morning watching TV and following a delicious lunch of grilled cheese and tomato soup they put in a movie and got comfortable on the bed. After a while either Sam or Michael, it doesn’t really matter which, leaned in to kiss the other. They were lying next to each so not much leaning was necessary. One slowly slid their tongue over the other’s lip and that’s all it took for the other to open their mouth, inviting the prying tongue in.
The kissing continued and soon Sam found herself lying on top of Michael. She certainly didn’t mind being there and he didn’t seem to mind either. Soon Michael needed to switch spots with Sam. Certain things were getting hard to hide with her being on top. Hard being the operative word. This was the first time that he had ever thought about having sex with her. He wouldn’t do anything now of course; but he could definitely see the two of them like this, minus the clothing however.
Sam was thinking along the same lines.
Completely ignoring the movie the kissing continued until it was time to make dinner. After dinner the kissing resumed and continued until they decided to go to bed.
After the next morning the resumed their spots on the bed, they didn’t want to leave until they absolutely had to. Weekends were the only time that they alone. Of course they were able to go off base and spend time at the park, but they only had a few hours and they were in public. On weekends they were all alone for twenty-four hours.
Back on the bed they had of course been kissing. Michael slid his hand under Sam’s shirt slowly grazed up her stomach and came to a stop at her breast. Over the bra of course. “Is this okay?”
The last guy that Sam had dated, the clingy one, had done this and she had wanted to smack him. With Michael though, it just felt right. “Mhm.” It was so okay with her that she left him wiggle his way to under her bra.
They were enjoying themselves but sadly the time to leave was quickly getting closer. They took a break from kissing to quickly back what they had brought with them. A few more kisses were exchanged before they decided that they really did need to leave soon.
Michael sat down on the couch and brought Sam onto his lap. His hands rested at the hem of her t-shirt, “May I?”
Sam knew what he wanted but she was nervous. When it came to her breasts Sam was more self-conscious than most. Yes they were of a reasonable size, but size was exactly the problem. They were two different sizes. “Go ahead.”
He lifted her shift and bra, “They’re perfect, I promise. I love you.”
“I love you too.”
With that Sam’s shirt was put back down and one more weekend trip was in the books.
Monday, March 12, 2012
The next morning Michael knew not to bother Sam until after 11; she liked to sleep as much as possible, especially on the weekends. While he waited for Sam to wake up and text him he got online to look at rings. He had been thinking about proposing for quite a while but something about the night before had felt right. If he had planned it he would have gotten the ring beforehand.
Sam’s best friend Cassie was online and when Michael found a decent ring he sent her the link. When he finally found the perfect one he knew it right away. It was a simple silver ring, but that’s what she had said she wanted. He sent the link to the picture to Cassie and anxiously awaited her opinion. “It’s amazing, she’ll love it.”
Michael immediately ordered it and continued to talk to Cassie until Sam woke up. Sam talked to him on AIM while she got ready, “What have you been up to today?”
“Been talking to Cassie.”
“Stuff. What would you say if I were to get you an engagement ring?”
“I would tell you that you don’t need to.”
“I hate not being able to keep secrets from you. I got you a ring.” To the message he attached the link to the picture of the ring.
When the picture opened on her screen Sam’s eyes lit up, it was perfect. “It’s beautiful. You know you didn’t have to.” There was no winning with him.
Wednesday during lunch on the way back from the chow hall Michael and Sam stopped at the Post Office to check their mail. The delivery time varied daily, but it was worth a try to see if it had already gotten there. This time in particular it had definitely been worth it. The ring had arrived. Michael took the small box from the bigger one, put it in his pocket, and they ‘marched’ back to the school house.
As usual they were the first ones from their class to get back and when they returned to their classroom they left the lights off, it was too bright with them on. Michael pulled the box from his pocket, “Do you want to look at it?”
“No, I’ll wait until this weekend.” She turned towards the wall and away from Michael.
He opened the box and inside was small, beautiful, silver ring. “It looks even better than it did online, are you sure you don’t want to see it?” Sam nodded.
They heard the clicking of someone putting in the code to get into the room and Michael quickly put the ring back in his pocket. Just like they had when they started dating they didn’t want anyone in their class to know.
Saturday morning just before six o’clock Sam and Michael grabbed their bags before meeting in CQ to sign out of the squadron and were soon on their way, once again to Abilene. Before arriving at their hotel they stopped at the store for snacks and something to have for lunch. After checking in and putting everything down in their room Michael got ready to propose for the third and final time. This time was nothing like the first; no nerves, no worries. This time was only because of the ring.
Michael took the ring from his bag and dropped down to his knee again. “Sam, for the last time will you marry me?”
“I will.” With that he slid the ring onto her finger. It was beautiful. The only problem was that it was a bit loose; the fingers on her left hand were smaller than the ones on her right, she and Cassie had only known her ring size for her right hand.
“We’ll get It re-sized,” Michael said. “But do you like it?”
“I love it and you.”
“I love you too.”
The next day after the GI party they took the ring to the store in the mall to get re-sized. After being given a hard time because the ring had been bought online Michael and Sam walked out of the store ring less. “I may not have had it that long but not it feels weird not having anything on my left hand.”
Michael took the ring from her right hand and placed it on her left hand once again, it wasn’t an engagement ring but it would have to do as a place holder until they could get the real one back. It would be a long week.
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
“You gonna do it?” Michael asked when the paper made it to their desk.
“I guess, we’ll need it for our EPR.” With that they both signed the sheet of paper that was almost full of names. Saturday they would be doing some sort of volunteer activity—all they were told was that they would be fixing houses for people in the area who needed it. That could mean anything… painting, replacing carpet?
Saturday morning came; Sam and Michael donned jeans, hoodies and their boots, and were off to the meeting place for everyone who signed up. At least one hundred people filled a parking lot at a warehouse, more people than either Michael or Sam had expected. Upon finding the table that displayed their ‘team name’ they followed suite; signed the sheet of paper that had been taped to the table so that the strong wind that was causing everything else to blow around to not come to the same fate, picked up a white t-shirt, and ate a somewhat cold, fairly decent breakfast burrito.
Sam and Michael recognized a few people, most people however they had only seen in passing if at all. Students and instructors alike continued to arrive for twenty more minutes before instructions were given: quite quietly even though given over a bullhorn, addresses were handed out and everyone was off to their ‘build site’.
When the team leader arrived on scene ‘assignments’ were given out; Michael and Sam would be working together to fix a door. One wouldn’t think that it would take three people to handle removing an old back door and putting a new one in place, this one however did, and then some. The screen door brought the most trouble. The project was completed after many long hours and two trips to Home Depot.
“We’re supposed to be done by now,” Sam was anxious to get back to base. “The game.” The Penguins were taking on the Ottawa Senators that night and Sam had thought that she had already missed enough games that season.
“We’ll make it, stop worrying.”
Sam looked from Michael to her ten dollar BMT watch and back again. “We better.”
When the bed of the truck was full they finally took off for the warehouse once again. The leftover supplies were taken inside and once the task was complete Sam tapped her foot anxiously the whole ride back to base. “Thank God.”
Michael ran to his room to grab his computer and charger and back again. The short drive from their dorms to the event center lasted longer than normal and when they finally arrived Sam breathed a sigh of relief, ten minutes to spare.
A small group of Pens fans had gathered in the large room to watch the game, Sam would actually get to watch this game on TV. As great as that was, it was being broadcasted on Versus, number two in the ranks of sports networks, followed only by NBC.
Ottawa scored the first three goals, one in the first and two in the second. Things were not looking good for the Pens. It was game six, but they lead the series three games to two so even if they lost tonight they had another change to end the series. Game seven was not what they want though; they wanted this to end tonight.
Matt Cooke scored just over a minute after the Sens third goal to get the Pens on the board. Two more goals were scored in the third period to take it to overtime. Overtime as always, was a bittersweet thought. Another chance to win, but unlike during the regular season, if you didn’t win nothing would be awarded to your team. The intermission between the third period and overtime drug on, but finally the puck was dropped again.
Pascal Dupuis scored to end the game and the series half-way through the overtime period. Everyone was excited, all of the Pens’ fans that is, they had once again defeated the Sens in the playoffs.
It had been a long day, with not a lot of food. The breakfast burritos had been okay that morning, lunch however was less than satisfying; sandwiches and chips. Their original plan had been to grab food from the chow hall before the game but because they had been in such a rush they decided to forgo food. This being said both Sam and Michael were hungry. There was only one choice for nourishment this late in the small town, well two if you count Wal-Mart, the choice they made however was Wendy’s.
After their hamburgers and fries were handed through the drive-thru window it was off to their park. The fast food was devoured in the truck and shortly following it completion Sam and Michael made their way to the swing set. For a few minutes they both swung as high as they could, but just as it had for the last few years actually swinging caused Sam’s head to hurt. Slowing down to a gentle swinging motion by dragging her feet Sam announced her headache. “Can I see your ring for a minute?” Michael asked.
“Sure,” she slid the ring from her finger and placed it in Michael’s hand. “I’ll go get you something for your head.” He went to the truck to grab painkillers and water and returned to the swings.
Sam took the medicine and few moments passed before Michael stood up again. “I love you,” he said before taking her hand and getting down on one knee, Sam standing but still leaning against the swing. “I’ve been thinking about this for a long time, Sam, will you marry me?”
“Yes,” she kissed him and put her arms around him, resting her head on his shoulder.
“Hang on can I get up, this is starting to hurt.” Michael stood and they hugged again before he slid the ring back onto Sam’s finger and they went to the grass to sit and look at the water. Sam was happy but wasn’t sure if Michael had meant for now or for later, they had talked about it a lot but had agreed that they would wait. Just to make sure she sent a text asking if he had been serious. Most probably the best way to go, but she had always been the type to type things than say or ask them out loud.
Michael read the text and as he did worry came crashing around him. ‘Shit she didn’t think I was serious.’ To make his feelings clear he made her stand before saying, “How’s this for, for real, Sam, will you marry me? For real.”
“I will,” Sam said happily. They lay on the grass for a while just looking up at the stars and talking. Before the night was over Sam sent a text to best friend Cassie that read, ‘We’re engaged.’