collapse
Site Introduction

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.

Rules
Unit List
Active Teams

Want Ads
Face Claims
References

Mature board || No WC || Authentic Setting

Story Spotlight:

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 863 times)

Offline Elizabeth Clark

  • Civilian
  • Posts: 20
  • Sr. RN - Womack Army Medical Center
    • View Profile
Re: An Apple a Day
« Reply #15 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."

Offline James Hendricks

  • U.S. Army CAG/1st SFOD-DELTA
  • Posts: 30
  • E-8 (Master Sergeant)
    • View Profile
Re: An Apple a Day
« Reply #16 on: May 01, 2017, 12:26:35 AM »
"Damn it." He sighed as she left. He tried to say something but nothing that could fix this came to mind. He let her leave, for the second time, and mumbled to himself as she did so. She was right. The army had him, and beyond that, the unit. It wasn't something that was easy to get out of your blood. It wasn't like they had normal operating rotations. And he was often deep in country, with no way to contact her.

He was deep in thought when Lainey strolled in, and the sound of the door closing startled him out of it. The way she was looking at him told him that she had either heard everything or Ellie had told it. Her pursed lips told it all.

Offline Elizabeth Clark

  • Civilian
  • Posts: 20
  • Sr. RN - Womack Army Medical Center
    • View Profile
Re: An Apple a Day
« Reply #17 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.

Offline James Hendricks

  • U.S. Army CAG/1st SFOD-DELTA
  • Posts: 30
  • E-8 (Master Sergeant)
    • View Profile
Re: An Apple a Day
« Reply #18 on: May 01, 2017, 02:53:37 AM »
Lainey had known Sully as long as he'd been at Bragg, which had been a long time now. She had no idea of his true posting, but he had a sneaking suspicion that she'd pieced it together. Clerks don't normally get long training deployments.

"Thanks Lainey. I mean it." He said to her before she set about her work.

The doctor was cordial, but he could tell the guy had a chip on his shoulder. Who could blame him? He didn't know Sully from Adam. He didn't know their history, he just saw some dick of a meathead soldier who had made a friend cry.

So, he was happy a couple hours later to be out of that place. The doctor had signed off on everything physically, and the head shrinker had as well. That out of the way, he made his way to his truck. By that point, it was getting close to 1700. He knew he should've come early.

He pulled his phone from his pocket, and took the number that Lainey and written down. He added it in his contacts under "Red". Then he took a dive. A short text, just enough to see if she even wanted to talk more.

Hey, I feel like an asshole. Can we try that one more time?

Offline Elizabeth Clark

  • Civilian
  • Posts: 20
  • Sr. RN - Womack Army Medical Center
    • View Profile
Re: An Apple a Day
« Reply #19 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.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2017, 03:19:25 AM by Elizabeth Clark »

Offline James Hendricks

  • U.S. Army CAG/1st SFOD-DELTA
  • Posts: 30
  • E-8 (Master Sergeant)
    • View Profile
Re: An Apple a Day
« Reply #20 on: May 01, 2017, 03:24:28 AM »
Sully had gone home after his visit. There was no more work on base to be done, and he had a half-carved chair in his garage that was calling his name. He settled in with a jar of shine, his tools (nothing powered, he was drinking after all). He began carving one of the arm rests. It was cathartic, and just what he needed.

The night stretched on and he kept carving. He was about halfway through the bottle of shine by that point - 'Damn this batch was weak.' he thought. He finished the chair and sat in it. It creaked, but held. It needed stain and a good sealant, but at least the carving was done. It was a rocking chair, so he began to go back and forth - that's when his phone dinged in his pocket.

Fishing it out he saw her text. He was beginning to think she wouldn't text back.

I don't want to fight either. I just wanted to make sure you're alright.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2017, 03:26:28 AM by James Hendricks »

Offline Elizabeth Clark

  • Civilian
  • Posts: 20
  • Sr. RN - Womack Army Medical Center
    • View Profile
Re: An Apple a Day
« Reply #21 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."

"And?"

"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.

Offline James Hendricks

  • U.S. Army CAG/1st SFOD-DELTA
  • Posts: 30
  • E-8 (Master Sergeant)
    • View Profile
Re: An Apple a Day
« Reply #22 on: May 01, 2017, 03:43:50 AM »
Sully had moved back inside by that point, his phone vibrated and nearly fell off the counter next to him. He was eating leftover beef and broccoli from the carton. It was cold. But after eating MREs for years, he could pretty much digest anything.

I miss you. the text said. He swallowed, looked at the jar of weaker than necessary shine. He downed the rest. He needed the liquid courage at this point.

No. See, that's it there. I know you're not ok. I get it, you're strong. Have been since we were kids. But it's ok to admit if things suck. He read the text and sent it. It needed to be said.

He added quickly. I never wanted any of this either. But I guess I never showed it, did I? He sent that text. And mulled again.

Did he miss her? Of course. But why was he so hesitant to admit it? I miss you too. For what it's worth. I miss you every day when I come back to this house <1/2>

<2/2>and don't hear you humming while you get ready for work. Or singing in the shower when you don't think anybody can hear you. He looked at the empty jar of shine. Ok, maybe it was stronger than he thought.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2017, 03:48:50 AM by James Hendricks »

Offline Elizabeth Clark

  • Civilian
  • Posts: 20
  • Sr. RN - Womack Army Medical Center
    • View Profile
Re: An Apple a Day
« Reply #23 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.

"Ellie?"

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.

Offline James Hendricks

  • U.S. Army CAG/1st SFOD-DELTA
  • Posts: 30
  • E-8 (Master Sergeant)
    • View Profile
Re: An Apple a Day
« Reply #24 on: May 01, 2017, 04:11:06 AM »
Sully wished he had more shine. It always made feelings easier. He laughed bitterly at that. In some ways, he and Ellie were closer than husband and wife. They'd grown up together. After his mother's death, Ellie's mother had taken James in when his father worked long hours at the factory.

As Ellie and James had grown, they developed a bond. One that lasted until now. And refused to break fully. He wasn't sure what to say. He was never a wordsmith. He was a doer. Actions spoke louder, after all.

I know. I should've been there for you. I fucked up. I shouldn't have waited so long to take time and work on us. He hit send.

And I know that for a long while you asked me to just be there. But I wasn't.
 Not fully. You know after
he looked at his phone for a long minute before finishing the sentence. Libya and the miscarriage I just fucking shut down. That wasn't fair to you. Then we began just pushing each other away. He hit send.

I just want you to know that I get why I lost you. If I could go back I'd do it better. Hindsight and all that shit. He hit send. What the fuck was he doing? This fucking cliche bullshit was the same god damn line he always fed her. Had he really changed? He didn't know. Since Ellie he'd had a few flings, but nothing serious.

What had she asked of him, really? To quit the unit? To leave it all? No. She just wanted him to be hers when he was there so when he wasn't things didn't seem so distant. I wish we could start over. He sent finally.

Offline Elizabeth Clark

  • Civilian
  • Posts: 20
  • Sr. RN - Womack Army Medical Center
    • View Profile
Re: An Apple a Day
« Reply #25 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.

Offline James Hendricks

  • U.S. Army CAG/1st SFOD-DELTA
  • Posts: 30
  • E-8 (Master Sergeant)
    • View Profile
Re: An Apple a Day
« Reply #26 on: May 01, 2017, 04:37:07 AM »
As she poured her heart out he plopped down on his couch. It was old, lumpy but comfortable and it felt like a welcoming place to try and piece this all together. Libya had been a shitty experience for him. And he'd been selfish. He blamed himself, at least partially, for the miscarriage. She'd been on the satphone with him when it had happened.

But then there was this piece of him that was glad. That was relieved it had happened. And he resented himself for it. Because at the end of the day, he had wanted to have children with her. You had every right to be. I got back and didn't even ask you how you were. He looked at the screen after he sent it. I did want it. I was scared of it, but I did want to have it.

Sully looked at his phone I should never have left after that. I should have stayed. And I mean that. I truly do. He sighed. It was worth a shot. Miss Ellie, if you'd let me, I'd be honored if you'd let me take you out to dinner. He said, quoting the first time he'd asked her out.

Offline Elizabeth Clark

  • Civilian
  • Posts: 20
  • Sr. RN - Womack Army Medical Center
    • View Profile
Re: An Apple a Day
« Reply #27 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.

Offline James Hendricks

  • U.S. Army CAG/1st SFOD-DELTA
  • Posts: 30
  • E-8 (Master Sergeant)
    • View Profile
Re: An Apple a Day
« Reply #28 on: May 01, 2017, 05:10:19 AM »
'Love that'. She said. He smirked, no not a smirk, a genuine smile. He suddenly recalled that first night on their date. The nervous brushes of skin on skin as they held hands. The awkward silences as their deep friendship became a romance.

And here he thought today would be a normal Monday.

I have the next two weeks off rotation. What about this Friday? You pick the place.[/color] He sent the text. And suddenly he realized that if she let him back in he couldn't fuck it up this time. This was the last shot at making it work.

I can pick you up around 8. He said, letting her know so she could plan. She may have had to work, he had no damn clue at this point. He shifted and pulled his paddle holster out from his waist. At home, he conceal carried appendix, and in his current position, it was uncomfortable as fuck.



Offline Elizabeth Clark

  • Civilian
  • Posts: 20
  • Sr. RN - Womack Army Medical Center
    • View Profile
Re: An Apple a Day
« Reply #29 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?

 



* Awards

RPG-D MC #130 - 2nd Place

* Forum Staff

Tactical Operations Center admin Tactical Operations Center
Board Staff
E.J. admin E.J.
Board Staff
Thaddeus admin Thaddeus
Board Staff
Mim admin Mim
Board Staff
Ghost0109 gmod Ghost0109
Technical Advisor

* Recent IC posts