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From the Shadows is a military/spy themed sandbox RP that focuses on the special operations and intelligence communities. Drawing thematic inspiration from real world sources and realistic military fiction (Tom Clancy, Dalton Fury, et al) it is designed to provide an immersive and authentic feeling world and story. Our goal is to be entertaining and engaging while still honoring and respecting the real-life operators and agents who inspire the story.

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Urgent Mercy A coalition force of special operations comes into contact with the cartel and corrupt Argentine Special Forces while trying to rescue a downed friendly pilot.

Author Topic: An Apple a Day  (Read 876 times)

Offline James Hendricks

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An Apple a Day
« on: April 30, 2017, 07:26:56 PM »
January 2017, Ft. Bragg, North Carolina

Sully hated these days. Draw down and recuperation weeks seemed to drag on, and it was time for his annual medical and pysch eval. And since, to maintain a sense of transparency, the DoD required the team to see non-CAG medical and psych personnel. That meant going to the medical center, Womack, and a whole shit ton of paperwork.

He made his way from the kill house, where he and his team had been running the new operator, Vegas they called him, through some drills to get him up to full readiness. He fished his keys out of his pocket and found his truck in the parking lot. It was a beat up 4x4 Chevy, but it got him from point A to point B, and that's all that mattered to him. Starting up the engine he pulled out of the complex and out into main Bragg facility.

A short ride later, he was at the medical center. Soldiers and support staff filtered in and out, most with their families. He shut off the engine after parking the truck and exited the vehicle, walking towards the front entrance.

The waiting room for the Deployment Health department was busy. Bragg was about to deploy troops on a few major ops. Argentina was going to shit. Syria was still the wild west, and the DoD had committed two thousand more troops. Then you had the regular rattling of sabers from North Korea, Iran, and other wannabe world dictators.

He signed in, was handed a pen, stack of paperwork, and told to have a seat. Finding an empty chair, he piled into the paperwork. Most of the questions were standard, but he knew his answers would be scrutinized heavily by both the doctors at the center and the brass in the unit.

Sully finished the paperwork and handed it back to the nurse behind the desk, returning to his seat and pulling out his phone. He had been playing Tetris for about fifteen minutes when a male orderly opened the door leading to the exam rooms. "Sergeant Hendricks? We're ready for you."

Hendricks stood and followed the man back through the door and to an exam room. "Have a seat, the nurse will be right with you." The orderly instructed. Sully gave a nod and hopped up onto the exam table. His eyes looked around the room, everything was so bright and clinical. It was strange how he felt more uncomfortable here than he did in the depths of some foreign land.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2017, 07:32:51 PM by James Hendricks »

Offline Elizabeth Clark

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Re: An Apple a Day
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2017, 07:48:39 PM »
Elizabeth was only a couple hours into her shift when a no-show left her taking in patients. Medical exams were boring, but processing people was what they got paid for. Soldier after soldier, each one irritated over the wait time and pissed off because "this shit is pointless" rotated through the exam rooms. If she had to flag anyone else for bad dental records she was going scream. After awhile, being told that your entire life works is an inconvenience to everyone sucks away the fact that somehow, you're helping people. In the end, Ellie would go home still loving her job.

She grabbed the next file, while chatting with Lainey at the nurse's station. The name glared up at her and the expression on her face had to have been a dead give away.

"Clark. You look like someone killed your dog." She glanced up to see Lieutenant Colonel Blair standing across the counter with a coffee in hand. He was the Chief of Nursing on base and her boss.

Lainey stood and glanced at the file. "Want me to take it?"

Ellie shook her head. "No, I'm a big girl. Not like we haven't been in closed spaces before." She turned, tapping the file on her palm and made her towards Exam Room #4.

"What was that about?" Blair asked Lainey when she'd disappeared around the corner.

"It's her ex-husband."

"Oh."

Lainey nodded, her lips set in a firm line as she pondered where to take Ellie to blow off steam after work.

***

She stood in front of the door for longer than necessary as she made a futile attempt to prepare herself. She hadn't seen him or heard from in over a year. This was bound to happen though and she was mentally kicking herself in the ass for not realizing it sooner.

Finally, with a deep intake of breath, she knocked lightly on the door before entering. She was looking down at the open file in her hands, trying not to look up.

"Good afternoon, Sergeant Hendricks." She said, setting the file on the countertop opposite the exam table where he sat. Her gaze caught sight of his boots first and her voice caught in her throat. Tucking her red hair behind her ear, she looked up as she adjusted her black frame glasses. "Jamie."

Ellie stood there, completely forgetting that she was there to do a job and not ogle her ex-husband. Her hands fiddled with the stethoscope around her neck and she shifted from foot to foot, in while Converse shoes and scrubs like always - which probably made up ninety-nine percent of her wardrobe these days.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2017, 08:14:18 PM by Elizabeth Clark »

Offline James Hendricks

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Re: An Apple a Day
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2017, 08:08:29 PM »
The door swung open and he looked up. Before his brain made the connection, she'd goaded him with that nickname - Jamie. "Ah fuck me.." He said, running a hand over his face. It just had to be Ellie. It was like the cosmos wanted to fuck with him as much as it could today. He took a breath and looked into her eyes. She was wearing glasses. She wore glasses when they first met.

"You're not the one giving the exam, are you?" He asked, crossing his arms over his chest.  This was going to be extremely awkward. It wasn't like they had never been in a situation like this before, but the current dynamic was..interesting to say the least.

Ellie and he had been the love at first sight, high school sweethearts that everyone knew would get married. But years passed and their relationship cooled. Finally she had enough of him, the unit, and the life it brought and had asked for a divorce. This was the first time he'd seen her in over a year - the last time was when she needed his signature to sell their house in Fayetteville.

"You're looking good." He said, finally. "How long have you worked here?"

Offline Elizabeth Clark

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Re: An Apple a Day
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2017, 08:24:47 PM »
Just hearing his voice sent goosebumps over her skin. She hated this. Even after all this time, he still had an effect on her and while he cursed aloud, Ellie kept her own silent. At first glance, he hadn't changed at all. Still rough around the edges with that beard she had never complained about when the Army let him grow it.

She shook her head. "No, I'm not. I just have to get your vitals and some medical history information." Which would involve touching him, and talking to him. Her stomach rolled and she let out a long breath as she turned back to the file, flipping through the pages with a pen in hand.

Ellie glanced over at him when he spoke again, trying her hardest not to smile at him. No way in hell was she going to give that to him.

"You're not looking so bad yourself." She replied. What she was really thinking was far less acceptable to say aloud and in a professional setting. "Two years now." Ellie looked down at the papers. "I had to get out of the NICU." Her voice had gone soft, almost sad and completely defeated.

Offline James Hendricks

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Re: An Apple a Day
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2017, 08:44:52 PM »
"Right, ok." He should've known that. But she had a way of making him stupid. He shifted again, unresolved feelings sinking into his mind as the minutes stretched on. Their marriage hadn't been bitter. Not at first. But it had gotten that way. By the end, they were barely speaking even when he was home. And when he wasn't? Well, they had grown apart and she had left.

"Yeah. I mean.." he wasn't good at this. "I know how hard it was for you. After - everything." He said, trying not to touch a nerve. "But you seem good here, yeah?" He added, again, trying not to step into a landmine.

He rubbed his beard, eyes scanning her. He caught sight of her name badge. 'Clark'. For some reason it made him feel off that she'd dropped his name. Jealous? He didn't know.

Offline Elizabeth Clark

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Re: An Apple a Day
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2017, 09:00:49 PM »
She scribbled something in the file before grabbing the blood pressure cuff and moving towards him. Ellie didn't attempt to make eye contact as he spoke, it was just far too awkward. "It's fine." Was all she offered on the topic. Truth be told, she was still trying to be okay with the whole thing. Their falling out had been hard and she'd be lying if she said she didn't miss the man she'd fallen in love with. She always said that the Army stole him and laughed, but it wasn't really all that funny.

Ellie situated the cuff up his arm, not surprised that it barely fit over his upper arm. The man had always been built out of nothing but muscle. It had always made her feel soft and she'd loved it. A slight blush took over her cheeks and chest as more intimate thoughts came to mind.

"I'm good. Henri keeps me in check and Lainey keeps my head on straight." Her best friend and co-worker had been her rock. The other woman had adored James once but had been perfectly willing to hate him for Ellie's sake.

The cuff inflated and the reading was perfect, as expected. She removed it quickly, before grabbing her stethoscope. "It'll be cold." She warned him before slipping it under the back of his shirt to listen to his lungs.

Offline James Hendricks

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Re: An Apple a Day
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2017, 09:47:46 PM »
It's fine. He'd heard those exact words, in that exact same delivery escape those lips multiple times. And they pulled him back to arguments passed. It obviously wasn't fine, he'd always say. But most of what hadn't been fine had revolved around his line of work. Long months alone for her. Not being able to even speak openly about what her husband did. Deployments were secretive. No sending off parties or welcome homes. Deployments would regularly get extended.

He knew it had been harder for her after what had happened. She had wanted children, but that hadn't worked out. That had been when things had begun breaking down. And from there it had been a slow, spiraling decay.

"Henri?" He asked feeling a wave of jealousy tighten his gut. "New boyfriend?" He added, before she could answer. She'd taken the cuff off by that point, but if she still had it on she'd notice his blood pressure raise just slightly.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2017, 09:51:29 PM by James Hendricks »

Offline Elizabeth Clark

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Re: An Apple a Day
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2017, 10:00:25 PM »
It took all the self control she had not to laugh. She heard that shift in his tone. After all, she knew him better than most people - even after so long apart. It was a note jealousy and it didn't suite him one bit. Ellie listened to him breath for a moment, shaking her head.

"Henri is a cat. Don't go all jealous caveman on me over a cat." Now, she didn't hold back the laughter and it trickled out in a soft giggle.

She went back to the file, jotted down some numbers and returned to his side to take his wrist. She flipped his hand over, setting it on his thigh before looking at her watch to get his pulse rate.

"Besides," she added, her hand relaxing on his arm after she got the numbers she needed. "I'm a workaholic now. It's sorta my new thing. No man in his right mind would want to try to date me."

Offline James Hendricks

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Re: An Apple a Day
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2017, 10:11:30 PM »
"A cat.." He said, laughing with her now. She always had made him jealous. When they'd first met, she'd been bookish, a straight A student and head of the student body. He'd been a jock, a rebel, and had often cut class. But there was something about her, likely the way she'd called him on his bullshit from day one, that had attracted him.

He'd had to fight to get her, but he hadn't fought not to lose her. And that is exactly what had happened. "Well, I have to say I'm glad that it's just a cat." he added after a pause. "I mean, any guy would be lucky to have you. But..yeah." He said, trailing off. He felt like a kid in her presence. She had always been so proper. And he had an obvious drawl and had to work hard to avoid double negatives.


Offline Elizabeth Clark

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Re: An Apple a Day
« Reply #9 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."
« Last Edit: April 30, 2017, 10:44:36 PM by Elizabeth Clark »

Offline James Hendricks

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Re: An Apple a Day
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2017, 11:10:29 PM »
She was mad. And he knew when she was mad what would happen, but now he was mad too. He hadn't meant it like that. "Christ, Ellie. You know I didn't mean it like that." He fired back. "You know I ain't tryin' to cause fights." When he got angry, the g's started to drop. "I was just sayin' I'm glad you're not with someone else.."

He sighed, she threw the divorce in his face. "And don't fuckin' forget I wasn't the one that did the leavin'." A breath. "You." He pointed at her. "Left me" the finger poked into his own chest as he indicated himself. "Remember?"

Offline Elizabeth Clark

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Re: An Apple a Day
« Reply #11 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.

Offline James Hendricks

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Re: An Apple a Day
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2017, 11:32:13 PM »
"The fuck you want me to say Ellie?" He said to her, after she'd said her peace. "I took the selection cadre position. I stopped deploying." He shook his head. "And it wasn't enough." He sighed. "You know I'm always fuckin' sorry. I wish I had been there when it happened." He rubbed his face now, another sigh escaping him.

"I'm glad you're good with this." he said at last. "Cause I sure as fuck ain't tryin' to change it." He said, still angry.

Offline Elizabeth Clark

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Re: An Apple a Day
« Reply #13 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."
« Last Edit: April 30, 2017, 11:45:50 PM by Elizabeth Clark »

Offline James Hendricks

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Re: An Apple a Day
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2017, 11:53:14 PM »
The look on her face was what sold it, he knew he'd crossed the line and he - like always - immediately felt regret. "Look, Red, I'm just trying to say that there's a lot of shit between us. Ain't nobody debating that." He told her. "I know I was a shit husband. Probably would've been a shit father." His temper was gone now, replaced by regret.

He gave a shrug. "I just wanted you to know that I wish things had been different. For you, I mean. I took you away from Kentucky and I know that."

 



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