Some more Sergeant Mike for you…
Mike laid in the cold, hard bunk staring at the wood of its mate over his head as he listened to one of the other Marine volunteers snore. He chuckled sardonically, it was just like Parris Island. Right down to the chill that would not leave your bones…and his were much too old for this shit now. He swatted at something in the dark, yeah, bugs too.
It was his own damned fault. He could be snuggled up next to her in a nice warm double bed. But oh no, his god damned honor had to choose that moment to assert itself. He had been so fucking worried about compromising her in front of his friends.
He shook his head against the lumpy pillow and chuckled, like sleeping together, even having sex outside of marriage, ‘compromised’ anyone these days. They were both adults. Consenting adults at that. What did it matter? How cared?
Still some part of his mind…his warped honor code…always heard those words…’take care of Mama, promise me, Mike.’ Would Tommy have asked if he had known? More than likely he would have taken his head off.
But what worried Mike most was how quiet and withdrawn she had been today. Was she already regretting the decision to follow him? Had she already discovered what a fuck up he really was?
And what if she has, buddy? What can you do about it? Not a hell of a lot.
If the idea of her seeing him for the messed up Devil Dog that he was frightened him, then the idea of her going back there…back to Sebida…bothered him even more. A woman like that…intelligent, caring, with so damned much to give…did not belong in that hell hole with its small town minds.
What was he going to do about it? It was not like he had anything to offer her really. He was a man without a future. This final tour of duty for him was a one-way trip to a place he had not been since he was a boy of seven. A bleak and lonely graveyard in Boston.
But not before he kept his promise to Tommy. Not before he saw Esther safely and happily settled somewhere besides Sebida, Texas. Was New Orleans that place though? It was for certain that Matt could use her help here. Even once he got this community center built he would need lots of help running it. Maybe she could tutor the children after school? Or cook for the homeless? She was certainly a good enough cook.
Still, this was the first place she had seen after spending a quarter of a century, most of her adult life in that hell hole. What if there were better options on the road ahead? A place where perhaps she could be happier, even find…
His throat tightened on the word love. Of course, it was what he wanted for her. She deserved the kind of happiness that his friends, the Hernandezes, (add the others) had found. The kind of love that sustained you through the hard times that always seemed to come. The woman had raised Tommy alone, being both mother and father, forming a fine young man. She had struggled all alone for so long. She deserved someone special.
So why then did he want to hit something at the thought of her in another man’s arms? Or some other incredibly lucky bastard falling sleep and waking up next to her every day?
And what the hell was he really doing….really thinking? If this was just temporary, only until he found a place where she could be happy, why was he wasting even a single night in her arms?
“Because you’re a fucking fool,” he whispered to the dark as the threw back the blanket. He would move his stuff tomorrow, but for tonight the only thing that mattered was righting a wrong. If she would still have him ofcourse…