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.