“Jill, it’s more important now that you be safe and with me. I can’t protect you if we are apart. I want you with me.” He paused. “Is that so bad?” he asked her gently.
“It’s just the sudden change and that man shot in the carriage house, and . . .” her voice trailed off, “It is all pretty surreal. Guess I’m a small town girl after all.” Then she somberly looked up into his face. “Is this your life? Really?”
“No, Jill. Most of it is waiting, working with analytics, solitary, little action, training . . . lonely. Guarding some formless gate and unsure that your sacrifice will ever be appreciated, pride in skilled teamwork that you were part of something that helped a bigger, worthwhile cause—a cause that only a handful of grateful people will ever know or care about but ultimately could affect an entire nation or the world.” He smiled back at her quietly knowing that it also included a skillfully developed and uncanny trained ability to understand in-depth, any multi-leveled world around you and how it really worked and didn’t, and how you move in and out of it. But for now, that would go unsaid. All he could offer up was, “I know. I signed up for it. You didn’t.” He paused and sighed. “Put all that on a shelf for a while. We’ll soon create our own normalcy. I’m not running anywhere this time.” He nodded at the sea captain’s house, “When these men leave, we’ll be alone again . . . another beginning for us; a better one this time and a new world will open up for you soon.”
“For how long?”
Eric didn’t know. He glanced across the Penobscot Bay and shook his head. He knew he loved her and he couldn’t lie to her anymore about what would affect their future together: she could read his backbone. He also didn’t know if this was his last stint. If they stayed together and he remained in, she would be a part of it now. As a girlfriend or wife she would be a sort of unsolicited soldier.
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