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Messages - Elizabeth Clark

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After Action Reports / Re: An Apple a Day
« on: May 19, 2017, 02:45:32 AM »
If she thought seeing him would make all her nervousness go away, Ellie was sadly mistaken. He was always so rough around the edges and it had been what she had initially fallen in love with. He was unpredictable and so unlike her. Somehow, for most of their marriage, it had worked. Even now, dressed up a bit stiffer than normal, she still saw the roughened man she had adored.

She grinned at him after she'd opened the door and gathered her purse. The black dress she had chosen clung to soft curves and the heels made her only slightly taller, but still below his height. Her hair was curled and pinned away from her face and she had forgone the glasses and opted for contacts.

Ellie was grateful that he was showing effort and her smile showed that.

"I am." She replied. "I won't keep you waiting tonight."

After Action Reports / Re: An Apple a Day
« on: May 10, 2017, 07:22:56 PM »
For Ellie, the week dragged on. She was pulled for Deployment Health and got the joy of having children and families as patients again. It was a nice change from crabby soldiers. Yet, it did nothing to speed up time. Friday finally came and now she felt as if she was counting down minutes. Lainey made sure to bug her and joke about her teenage giddiness, but it was obvious the woman felt as if she had played fate.

"Play nice and for the love of God, don't fight." Lainey was grinning as they were walking to their cars. "Give the guy the benefit of the doubt and let him fix his shit."

"I got it, Lainey." Elizabeth pulled her keys out of her pocket. "Should I expect a call from you when I get home."

Lainey looked as if she was thinking about the question for a moment. "How about you call me. Never know what might happen. I would t want to interrupt a moment of reconnection." She winked and ran to her car.

"I think you want this more than me!"

"I've seen that dreamy look in your eye. You want it. Bad." Lainey was soon pulling out and Ellie was on her way home within a few seconds.


It had taken her far too long to figure out what to wear - nevermind that she had already decided earlier in the week. Three outfits changes later, she was taking one last good look in the mirror when she heard his truck pull into her driveway. There was no mistaking the rev of that engine. Butterflies came to life in her belly, reminding her of the first few times he had returned home from training or deployments. The excitement had faded away, but she never forgot how she felt in the beginning.

She was nervous and excited and it was then that Elizabeth realized that this was what she missed the most - being excited and anticipating his returns and presence. Not all the fault rested on him. She had allowed herself to let that fade.

Standing in the small foyer, she waited for his knock while she gathered her senses and smoothed her dress and hair.

After Action Reports / Re: An Apple a Day
« on: May 04, 2017, 11:16:03 AM »
I know you better than you think.

It was meant as a joke. As in, she knew very well where his mind was capable of wandering. For the time being, Elizabeth knew that they needed to only talk. Anything physical would cloud her mind and leave her making stupid decisions.

This time, she didn't mind him using his personal nickname for her. This time it made her grin.

But good. 8 on Friday. Dinner and talking.

After Action Reports / Re: An Apple a Day
« on: May 02, 2017, 11:09:29 PM »
Elizabeth knew full well that James was not the sort of man to enjoy getting dressed up for a date. It had never bothered her, but effort was attractive. The question may have been bait, but she hadn't meant it in exactly that sort of way. His response was actually not what she had expected and that alone made her excited.

He was trying and she was loving it.

Lainey had returned to her perch and glanced over to read the texts. "So, what are you going to wear?"

Ellie smiled slyly. "Something that will make his jaw drop."

"I'd love to see his face when that happens."

No expectations, right?"

"And there you go ruining it." Lainey scowled at her over the rim of her glass.

Ellie shook her head. "That man needs boundaries. Even you know that."

After Action Reports / Re: An Apple a Day
« on: May 02, 2017, 03:04:03 AM »
The texts came in and Ellie found herself grinning down at her phone. Lainey had peeled herself off the couch and was fetching more pizza.

"He wants to go out on Friday." She called, the giddiness obvious in her voice. "I feel ridiculous. My ex-husband wants to take me on a date and I feel like a fucking teenager."

"I say go with it. Maybe he'll like that sort of thing." Lainey popped her head around the corner and winked.

"Creepy." Ellie muttered before turning her attention to the texts. "I'm way to old to be acting like a goofy teenager."

"Never!" Lainey yelled from the kitchen.

8 is perfect. Is there a dress code I should be aware of?

After Action Reports / Re: An Apple a Day
« on: May 01, 2017, 04:50:12 AM »
The relief that flooded over her lifted an enormous weight off her shoulders. For so long, she had wondered if she had pushed him into it. After all, it was all she wanted at the time. She wanted a family with him and to give him a reason to stay. And it had all come crashing down around her at the flip of a coin.

She knew he struggled too. He had his own demons, things he couldn't tell her. Ellie watched what the Army and the missions had done to him. Every time he came home he looked more tired. He never admitted it though and never let anything spill over into their life - or so she thought.

"Say yes you silly girl." Lainey pulled her away from her thoughts and poked her in the ribs. "He's a man of action. Let him act."

Ellie grinned and typed away.

I would love that.

She sent the text and reached for her glass. Within seconds it was empty. 

"Miss Ellie." Lainey mocked the text.

"He said that exact line the first time he ever asked me out. We were just teenagers."

"Oh, now that's adorable."

"It may have also been the same night I lost my virginity to him. I can't even remember anymore." She laughed and filled her glass. "If only my mother knew how many times we fooled around in the treehouse. Hell, my brother even caught us once."

"You two make me sick." Lainey's laughter joined Ellie's while they waited for a reply.

After Action Reports / Re: An Apple a Day
« on: May 01, 2017, 04:24:22 AM »
It was the last text that did her in.

The others were the same lines he'd fed her for years. Half-assed "I'm sorry"s and while she was sure he really was sorry, in the end it didn't matter. None of it did because after the excuses she had still been alone.

But that last text - she knew it was probably difficult for him send, or even type. It was an excuse, it wasn't a reason for what had happened. It was how he truly felt and what he wanted. How long had it been since he's been that open and honest with her.

After I lost the baby, I started to wonder if you even wanted it in the first place. When all that went down, I convinced myself it was just me. That you were trying to appease me.

Now she was crying and Lainey cuddled up to her for silent comfort. She read the texts and hugged Ellie tightly.

"You two need this. Don't stop telling him. He's a man, he'll deal with it."

You came home and it was like nothing had happened. Like my world hadn't been completely shattered.

I spent that week in the hospital angry at the Red Cross for not being able to contact you or your commanders. I was so mad at you for leaving me alone.

After Action Reports / Re: An Apple a Day
« on: May 01, 2017, 03:56:38 AM »
The texts rolled in and everything around her ceased to exist. He missed her. He's hardly admitted that in the later years of their marriage, but there is was. She stared at her phone, unable to form a coherent reply to send back.


She looked up.

"You okay? You were totally zoned out."

Ellie showed Lainey the messages, saying nothing.

"You're welcome." She filled Ellie's glass and settled back into the couch. "I'll leave you two alone. I'm here if you need me, honey."

Ellie grinned, overwhelmed by the emotions both of them were stirring. She turned back to the texts and decided to say what she had always needed to.

Things suck. They have for a very long time. She hit send.

All I ever wanted was you and everyone else got you but me. I thought not having a claim on you would be easier. And it is, in some ways.

You get to do you now. And you're good at that.

After Action Reports / Re: An Apple a Day
« on: May 01, 2017, 03:37:53 AM »
Henri appeared out of nowhere and after nuzzling against Ellie's cheek, settled down next to her contently. She let him absentmindedly while she flipped through the tv channels and waited for a reply from James.

A knock at the door nearly made her jump out of her skin just as her phone went off in her lap. The door opened and Lainey called her name in a sing-songy voice. "Hey pretty lady. Pizza is here."

"I texted him." Ellie didn't get up as Lainey moved towards the kitchen.

"That's my girl!"

She heard her shuffling through the cupboards, pop the cork on two wine bottles and within a few minutes the pair were settled on the couch with their dinner.

"He replied."


"I don't know. I don't know what to say."

Lainey had a mouth full of pizza but gave her a look that said she wasn't convinced. She swallowed and took a gulp of her wine. Ellie did the same. "That was always the problem with you two - you didn't talk enough." She picked up the cell and handed it to her. "So. Start talking."

Ellie snatched the phone from her and set down her glass.

I will be. I'll always be okay. I never wanted this to happen, you know.

She glanced over at Lainey who was focused intently on the tv, and went back to typing.

I miss you.

After Action Reports / Re: An Apple a Day
« on: May 01, 2017, 03:12:46 AM »
"Let's go out. You need it. He's got you all confused again and something to take your mind off him will do you good." Lainey was finishing off a coffee as she shoved herself into her coat.

Ellie was taking her time. She gathered her purse and her coat and tidied up the Nurse's station lazily. "I'm really not in the mood."

Lainey huffed and practically fell into a nearby chair. "So you're going to go home to your cat and mope?"

"I have wine calling my name and a movie to fall asleep to. At this point, that's all I have energy for."

"Okay, okay. At least let me crash your party with a pizza."

Ellie smiled for the first since she'd walked in on Jame in the exam room. "Yeah, alright. But bring more wine. You can't have mine."

"Selfish." The other woman scoffed but grinned widely.

The pair were making their way out the back of the building when Ellie's phone chimed. It was a number she didn't recognize, but maybe should have. "You gave him my number?" She stopped in her tracks, giving her friend an astonished sort of look.

"I did, and I hope you'll thank me." Lainey hadn't stopped walking and was at her car by the time Ellie found the ability to move again. "I'll be there at seven."

She watched as Lainey pulled out and drove off, still speechless. Leave it to Lainey to help out in her own special way. Ellie finally made it to her car and stared down at the text for a few minutes before finally shoving the phone back in her purse.


"Hey buddy. Miss me?" Ellie stumbled through the foyer of her house as Henri rubbed up against her legs meowing softly. The small grey cat was always there to welcome her and she couldn't deny that little guy made her home that much sweeter. Hanging up her purse and coat, she picked him up and hugged him. "You'd never leave me, right?"

After feeding Henri, changing clothes and pulling down wine glasses for her and Lainey, Ellie remembered the text. She sunk into the couch with the message glaring up at her. At first, it was the anger that resurfaced, but the more she thought about it all, and him, the more she wanted to talk more. It was all she wanted, in fact. To talk to him and laugh with him and... love him. That's what hurt the most. She wasn't supposed to love him anymore but she did, no less than she had the day they married.

I don't want to do this. I hate fighting with you.

After Action Reports / Re: An Apple a Day
« on: May 01, 2017, 02:38:50 AM »
"Nice going, Hendricks." Lainey tossed the file on the counter. "Fucked it up once again. She hasn't told me much yet, but she will. All I know is that you made the woman cry. I'm getting sick of it."

Lainey wasn't the sort of woman to sugarcoat anything. She'd genuinely liked James at one point. Until she got to watch what he'd done to her best friend. She'd known Ellie since the Nursing program at Fayetteville State. They had been inseparable during all of his deployments and training. She knew everything.

"You know, your job was never the issue. You screwed up, but you can fix this." She pulled out a pen and ripped off a corner of one of the papers before writing something down. "Call her, text her - be the man she used to gush over. He's in there somewhere. The Army can't take away everything."

"Now, since you scared Ellie off, I get to finish this up before the doc comes in to verify." A wicked grin spread across her face - all in good humor, of course. "He really likes Ellie. So, he probably won't be too happy with you either."


Ellie sat in the break room behind the nurse's station in tears. Seeing him, and talking to him - arguing with him, had brought everything she'd stuffed away rushing to the forefront of her mind. Every hurt, the disappointment and pain, everything she had wanted to forget - he set it all back down at her feet and once again she broke.

"Hey Clark."

She looked up, wiping her cheeks and making a feeble attempt to collect herself. It was the Chief of Nursing.

"You can ditch this place early if you want." He was trying to be nice, but it only made Ellie feel worse.

She shook her head. "No. This won't affect my ability to do my job. I just needed a second."

He nodded, but added. "I've been through a divorce too. It only gets easier if you hate him. And I know you don't hate him - not even a little."

Ellie swallowed hard. "I could never hate him. It just didn't go right for us."

"Right." He nodded again and left.

After Action Reports / Re: An Apple a Day
« on: May 01, 2017, 12:01:26 AM »
While his anger may have dissolved, her's hadn't. She hung the stethoscope back around her neck and picked up the file.

"Don't call me that, not anymore." The nickname had been solely his and he had given it to her as a child. To hear him say it now tugged at her heart and now she really wanted to cry. What they had was gone. The Army had all of him and she wasn't the type of woman who could be okay with that. She got it, she really did. But it didn't mean she had to like it.

"I made my own choices. We were just kids and kids do stupid things." Ellie ran hand through her loose hair and looked anywhere but at his face. "I forgave you a long time ago. Now I'm just trying to move on. I should have never expected you to put me above the Army. That isn't how it works. I knew that all along."

She moved towards the door, trying to hide the tears she had failed to hold back. "I'll send Lainey in to finish this." She held up the file. "I need to get out of here."

After Action Reports / Re: An Apple a Day
« on: April 30, 2017, 11:43:20 PM »
The anger in his voice caught her off guard. The man was intimidating enough, but make him angry and even Elizabeth felt herself cringe underneath it.

"Being sorry doesn't fix anything." She replied, almost on the verge of tears now. "You being here for that would have changed nothing. Even when you were around... you really weren't. You made me feel lonely even when you were home. That's what I couldn't handle. We could have gotten through the miscarriage together, but we didn't. I was alone - through everything."

And now she was seething. He didn't get it and once again it was like a punch to the gut. "At least now it's by choice." Her voice softened again, and she closed the file with a flip of her hand. "I don't have to pretend to be a wife to an absent husband. And absence is so much more than distance. That's what you never figured out."

After Action Reports / Re: An Apple a Day
« on: April 30, 2017, 11:21:59 PM »
Sometimes, she couldn't believe how stupid he could be. She had never outright blamed the divorce on him, but she had never actually expressed to him the entirety of the reasons why she had turned to that. It had been the final straw in a long line of disappointments, letdowns and years of being not important enough.

"And how many times did you leave me?" She said it almost calmly. It was a simple question with a not so simple answer. "I know, I know. You didn't have a choice." She lifted her hand so he wouldn't say anything. "I wasn't a wife and you sure as hell weren't a husband. I'm fine now and this," she motioned to the general space between them, "is fine."

"And don't tell me you're glad I'm not with someone else. Why would you wish that on me?" She shook her head, doing her best to rein in her anger.

After Action Reports / Re: An Apple a Day
« on: April 30, 2017, 10:20:53 PM »
Her hand slipped from his wrist and she once again returned to the file to scribble the numbers down. A flash of irritation coursed through her. Ellie found herself gritting her teeth.

"But what?" She bit out before she realized the tone she was using. Ellie didn't look up. "What if I did have a boyfriend?" It was a sure way to instigate an argument, but his callousness was infuriating. "Lucky for you the only man who wants to stick around happens to be a fucking cat."

Bright eyes glared at him from the short distance away. Was it a hack at him? Hell yes it was and she didn't feel bad about it at all.

"Thanks for the reminder."

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