Disclaimers: This story belongs to me so I don't give permission for it to be posted somewhere else under a different title, change in names or storyline.
Sex: But of course! J
Note: There will likely be somewhat graphic violence in this story, as part of it takes place during war times.
If you'd like to tell me what a wonderful writer I am or that I royally suck, feel free at: XenaNut@hotmail.com .
Chicago, IL May, 1969
Danni and Kate followed slower behind, as Kate held Christian to her chest, as Megan nearly sprinted down the hospital corridor to the nurse's station in the ICU Burn Unit, where they'd been directed to go.
"Can I help you, miss?" the nurse behind the counter asked, making no secret of her disapproval of Megan's actions.
"I need to see Robert Jamison," Megan panted, out of breath from both the exertion and anxiety.
The nurse flipped through the patient log until she spotted his name. "Are you family?"
"I'm his wife, now where is he?" Megan boomed, no patience for delays.
"He's in room 307, but miss, you'll have to tone it down. This is a very serious ward."
Megan didn't stick around to hear what the woman had to say, instead flying off down the hall in search of room 307. Her heart was pounding in her chest and tears were ready to fall at the slightest provocation.
After Danni had read the letter aloud, they had learned that Rob had been burned badly when his ship had been hit and fire had broken out. Danni had immediately made some phone calls and had found out that, though he'd survived the transport to a hospital in Chicago, he still wasn't out of the woods and was in the Burn Unit in Intensive Care.
Megan arrived at the door and stopped short, her heart in her throat. She had no idea what she'd see, and wasn't even sure on any of the specifics of what had happened, but she did know that Rob was alive, and that was what mattered. Taking a deep, calming breath, she pushed the heavy door open and stepped inside. She was immediately struck by how dark the room was, as well as beeps from the machine's that monitored Rob's vitals.
Megan saw the end of the bed first, a white blanket standing out in stark relief against the dimness. She could see the outline of one leg, the other strangely missing. As her gaze roamed further up, she saw a left arm, the hand and forearm heavily bandaged into a mitten of white gauze. What brought tears to Megan's eyes, however was when she saw his head, which was as heavily bandaged as his arm, the smallest opening for his eyes, nose and mouth visible.
"Oh, Rob," she breathed.
As she moved closer, she could see the heavy bruising under his eyes, the other parts of his face that could be seen also looked bruised and swollen. She looked across his body and noted that his right arm wasn't as heavily bandaged as his left, but what was visible was also covered in deep bruising and what looked to be singed skin.
She turned her focus back to Rob's face as she moved around to the other side of the bed and his un-bandaged hand. "Baby?" she whispered, taking his hand in her own. His fingers were cool to the touch and nonresponsive. "I'm here, Rob." She felt the sting of tears behind her eyes, part relieved to be with him, and part devastated at his condition.
"He sustained third degree burns to forty-five percent of his body, the majority of which was along his left side," Dr. Elkins explained to Danni and Kate at the Nurse's, Kate hugging Christian to her as she bounced her lightly to comfort the somewhat cranky baby. "We had to take his left leg at the knee, the limb too badly burnt to salvage."
Kate buried her face in the soft hair atop Christian's head, her eyes filling with tears. She felt Danni take a step closer to her, her body heart comforting. "Will he survive?" she asked quietly, looking at the doctor.
The older man shoved his hands into the long white doctor's coat and sighed. "He's not out of the woods quite yet, but as long as we can keep infection down - that's our biggest enemy right now - I think he'll pull through."
"Is there a possibility of transferring him to a facility in Maine?" Danni asked. "His family lives there."
"Well, I'd like to get him a bit more stabilized before I entertain any sort of option like that. I know of a couple good facilities and doctors over there, as well as in New York City, so he may be able to at least be a bit closer to home," the doctor advised. "I'm not going to give any promises on that quite yet; let's just see what comes of all this."
Megan turned when she heard the door to Rob's room open. "Hey," she said quietly, her voice thick with emotion, as Kate and Danni walked in. Megan stood from the chair she'd pulled up beside Rob's bed and walked over to her mother, taking her daughter in her arms. She needed to be close to her. "He hasn't woken up since I've been here."
Kate nodded, her gaze trailing over all that was the boy she'd known for four years. "The doctor said he's heavily sedated right now. They want to try and give his body a chance to heal."
Megan kissed Christian's head, holding her close. "How is he going to survive this, Mom?" she whispered, eyes brimming with fresh tears. "He'll die when he finds out they had to take his leg."
"We'll just have to be there for him, sweetheart," Kate said softly, caressing Megan's hair and back. "We'll get him through it."
Danni tossed her jacket to the bed then followed it to lay across the double mattress. "God, what a day," she sighed.
"I second that." Kate crawled up next to her, trying to get comfortable on the scratchy motel bed comforter. She wiggled a bit against the cheap material. "Why do motels always use the cheapest and ugliest of all decoration and materials?"
Danni smiled, running her fingers through Kate's hair. "Because they're cheap and ugly."
Kate smiled but said nothing. A heavy silence filled the space between them until finally Kate broke it. "What's going to happen with Rob, Danni?"
Danni stared up at the ceiling, not seeing the tiles there but a Naval base from twenty-four years before. If she closed her eyes, she knew she'd be able to see the face of every single man in her unit. She hugged Kate closer, needing to feel the warmth and comfort of today to pull her out of yesterday. "It's going to be hard, Kate," she said quietly. "Very hard. My guess is Rob's ship was hit; those things are floating fortresses and a hit can cause a fire like nothing else. His physical injuries are the least of his worries, I'm afraid."
Kate lifted her head and looked down at Danni, head resting in an upturned palm. "You think he'll be traumatized?"
"Oh, I know he will be. He's got a rough road ahead of him, but thank god he has Megan and Christian to pull him through."
"George would never talk about the attack you guys went through. I'd ask him questions about it and he'd always blow me off," Kate said, running a finger along Danni's jaw, which was tense.
Danni met Kate's gaze. "I don't blame him; it's not something anyone wants to relive. To talk about it is to be there all over again."
"But, to talk about it gets it out, doesn't it?" Kate asked. She sat up, startled as Danni pushed up from the bed and walked towards the bathroom. "Danni?"
"It's not that simple, Kate," Danni said, flicking on the light in the bathroom and turning back to look at Kate, who stared at her from the bed. "You can't understand it unless you were there." She turned away, entering the bathroom. "I'm going to take a bath," she said, closing the door with finality.
Kate was left sitting there, surprised and stung. It wasn't like Danni to shut her out like that, and she wondered what she'd done. For a moment she considered going in after Danni to try and make her talk about it, but something told her not to.
Danni felt the strong ocean breeze against her face, a few strands of short bangs dancing in front of her eyes. A deep intake of breath filled her lungs with the salty sea air. Each step was work as the sand of the beach collapse under the weight of her shoe.
"Man, them was some crazy dog fights today, huh?" Mike said as he walked beside her. "Damn. Crazy dog fights, crazy flyin'."
Danni looked over at him, a smile slowly spreading across her lips to see the handsome young face of her best friend. "Those were some crazy dog fights," she agreed.
Mike gave her a devilish grin. "How's your lady, Danni?"
"She's real good, Mikey. Real good. How's yours?"
Mike shrugged wide shoulders. "Eh, you know how it goes. She's beautiful and thousands of miles away." He laughed, shaking his head. "Man, I sure do miss her."
"I've missed you, Mike. I've missed you a whole lot," Danni said suddenly, stopping Mike with a hand to his shoulder.
"Aw, Danni I've missed you, too guy. Just ain't the same without you, ya know?" Suddenly Mike stopped, looking up into the sky as suddenly the drone of an airplane engine could be heard. Eyes, wide, he grabbed Danni, roughly shoving her back forward. "Run, Danni, run!"
Danni followed Mike's gaze then she saw it, a glint of metal in the sky. Suddenly, they were surrounded by fellow sailors and chaos. She and Mike ran along, Mike just barely missing being shot by the gun of a fellow sailor who was shot down, his finger letting loose on the trigger as he died. They took a dive as the whine of a ruined engine warned them of a plummeting plane. Sure enough the German pilot, shot down, was heading straight for them.
"Run!" Danni screamed, Mike following as they both gave all they had, their legs pumping to get distance between them and the doomed plane.
The plane crashed with an impressive - though amazingly non-fireball - landing. Within a few moments, the pilot came out firing. Though bleeding heavily with likely-fatal wounds, he spotted Mike and Danni and opened fire.
Danni grunted in burning surprise as she was shot in the arm. Mike stopped and turned, his weapon at the ready to open fire on the Nazi when he was cut down, the bullets of the German pilot's submachine gun tearing into Mike's midsection, sending Mike to the ground.
"No!" Danni yelled, raising her own weapon and letting loose. The German pilot tried to fire, but he was mowed down by a full magazine and a screaming Danni, his body nothing more than a broken, bullet-riddled hunk of meat when she was done.
Magazine empty, Danni threw her gun down and turned to Mike, who was gasping and gurgling on the ground at her feet.
"Mike," she breathed, falling to her knees, pale and stunned. Mike's entire front was meat, his insides threatening to pop out of the patchwork of holes through his body. "Oh god…" She hugged his head to her chest. "God, no!" When she pulled away she found herself looking into the face of Rob, his eyes wide and unseeing, blood, like drool running from an open mouth.
"No!" Danni screamed, shooting up in the bed, her eyes wide and unseeing as she thrashed with the constraining sheets.
"Danni!" Kate exclaimed, her heart pounding as she was nearly startled to death by Danni's sudden outburst. She reached over and reached for Danni's face, but was shoved away by a terror-stricken Danni, who looked through her with wide, glazed eyes. "Danni! Danni, baby, it's me, it's Kate. You're okay..."
Somewhere in the frazzled haze that was Danni's brain, Kate's words penetrated, and as images of Rob and Mike faded, a darkened motel room in Chicago emerged, Kate's frightened face as the centerpiece. "Kate?" she gasped.
"Yes," Kate panted. "It's me, Kate. It's okay, Danni."
Danni felt her heart rate begin to calm a bit. She ran her hands over her face and through her hair, trying desperately to lose the images that still haunted behind her eyes.
Through the wall into Megan's room, which was connected to Danni and Kate's by a door, the scream of a frightened baby could be heard.
"Shit," Danni sighed.
"Shh," Kate whispered, placing a kiss on Danni's cheek before she climbed out of the bed and walked to the door, which she could already hear Christian's cries getting closer to. Megan pulled the door open a crack, peeking in.
"Is everything okay?" she asked softly, cradling the baby's head to her shoulder.
"Yeah, I'm sorry, honey. Danni had a nightmare," Kate explained.
"Is she okay?" Megan asked, peeking around Kate to see Danni sitting on the bed, her head buried in her hands. She turned frightened eyes back to her mother.
"Yeah. She'll be fine." Kate gave Christian a kiss on her head then Megan one on the cheek. "Go back to bed. We'll see you in the morning."
Megan nodded then turned back to her own room, Kate closing the door softly. She turned and looked at Danni, a hand going to her still racing heart. Pushing away from the door, she climbed back in bed, her gaze never leaving Danni, who looked over at her with sheepish eyes.
Kate brought up a hand and caressed Danni's pale face. "I wish you'd let me in, baby," she whispered. "I wasn't able to be there for you then, but I want to be here for you now."
Danni turned her face to kiss Kate's palm before grabbing Kate's hand in both of hers and holding it in her lap. She sighed heavily. "Maybe someday, but not right now. Okay?" she asked, looking at Kate with pleading eyes. "Not right now."
Kate knew better than to force the issue, so she nodded. "Okay. Come here." She lay down and pulled down Danni down to rest against her, cradling her head against her shoulder. "Let me hold you."
Danni settled in, wrapping an arm around Kate's middle and adjusting her head until she found the perfect spot. "Let's get some sleep," she murmured, hoping against hope that she would be able to.
Kate nodded and placed a kiss on top of Danni's head before she closed her eyes, willing her body to calm enough to fall back to sleep. She could feel how tense Danni's body still was and began to stroke her back, trying to use soothing touches to get Danni to relax. She was surprised when, after several minutes, Danni's soft voice cut through the stillness.
"I could smell his guts."
Kate said nothing, continuing her soothing touches and letting Danni say whatever she would.
"I could smell his guts and gunpowder; a strange combination." Danni stared into the darkness that was their motel room, but she saw Mike lying in front of her. "I swear to god, I was afraid his guts were going to fall out right there on the ground, he was filled with so many holes." She was silent for a moment, a shiver running through her at the memory. "I never knew that's what someone's insides would look like."
Danni's words had become no more than a whisper that Kate had to strain to hear. She could tell that Danni was in another time, reliving a nightmare that few could even dream off, let alone live with. She never stopped her stroking, placing a kiss to Danni's head from time to time, just to let her know she was there and she was listening.
"I think what got me the most though," Danni continued, clearing her throat as she felt emotion begin to rise. "I think what got me the most was his eyes. You know, you can literally see when they're gone. Can literally see when the soul or whatever it is, leaves the body." She was silent for a long moment, once again seeing the eyes of the dead and dying scattered all over the ground. The eyes of her friends and fellow sailors: sightless eyes looking right at her. "Just gone," she whispered.
Kate felt Danni's body begin to shake and felt wetness against her neck as Danni's silent sobs began. Kate held her tight in protective arms, her own tears threatening to fall as she could feel Danni's pain flow from her in waves. Kate held on, as the sobs built into loud, soul-wrenching cries of release, pulling Kate's own tears from her eyes.
Finally, after long moments Danni's tears began to slow until they stopped altogether. Danni felt drained, emotionally and physically. She raised her head, looking down at the neckline of Kate's t-shirt, which was completely soaked from the broken dam that was Danni's emotions. "I'm sorry," she whispered, using her own shirt to dry off Kate's neck.
"Shh, don't you dare apologize." She cupped Danni's face and brought her down for a soft kiss before pulling away and looking deep into Danni's eyes. She saw such a profound sadness there, it broke her heart. She also saw fear and surprise in the blue depths. "Have you ever cried over this before, Danni?" she asked gently.
Danni sat up and crossed her legs Indian style. "No."
"Why?" Kate asked, mirroring Danni's position.
Danni let out a shaky sigh, using her shirttail to wipe her face free of a flood of tear streaks, her eyes burning and red. "Because everything happens so fast, and then when it slows down and you get to a place where you can cry, you're either too numb to feel or you're in a place where you're expected to stay strong, so you push it all down so deep inside, it's almost like it didn't happen."
"Seeing Rob today brought it all back, didn't it?" Kate asked, rubbing a soothing hand over Danni's bare knee.
Danni nodded with a sigh. "Yes."
"Listen baby, tomorrow, Megan and I can go-"
"No," Danni said, shaking her head. "No. I need to do this and I need to be there for Rob. He's going to go through hell before this is over."
"Okay." Kate pushed to her knees and pulled Danni to hers, then pulled her into a tight embrace, resting her head on Danni's shoulder. "I feel there's more inside you, and I want you to know that you can talk to me anytime, okay?" she murmured into the hug.
Danni nodded. "Thank you, Kate."
Kate smiled, knowing the gratitude had nothing to do with her offer. "Can you sleep now, do you think?"
Danni nodded and kissed Kate's temple. "Yeah. I'm beat."
Kate pulled away to lay down, tugging Danni down to once again rest against her. "Close your eyes and dream of rainbows, unicorns and puppy dog kisses."
Danni chuckled as she closed her eyes. "Maybe I'll just dream of naked yous," she murmured then fell into a deep, peaceful sleep.
"I have to warn you," Dr. Elkins said, leading the way to Rob's hospital room door. "I started easing him off the sedation after you left last night, as I feel he could greatly benefit from knowing his family is here. He's going to be very groggy, and likely won't stay awake for any long length of time."
Megan nodded her understanding. At door 307, she watched as the doctor pushed it open and then as her mother walked into the room. Megan decided to take a moment with Danni alone, and stopped her with a hand on her arm. Danni looked at her. "Danni, my mom filled me in a bit on what happened last night, that seeing Rob kind of brought back some memories for you. I just want you to know how much it means to me that you're here."
Danni smiled softly at Megan, bringing up a hand and stroking it gently down Megan's long hair. "There's nowhere else I want to be, Megan."
Megan gave her a brilliant smile - so much like her mother - then kissed Danni on the cheek before heading into the room, Christian tucked into her arms. Danni took a moment in the hall to smile to herself before she too joined the other women in the room.
Rob was laying much the same way he had been the day before, the room dim and filled with mechanical beeps and life-assuring pings. "Let's get some light on the subject," Megan said cheerfully, doing her best to keep her emotions on an even keel as she moved Christian into one arm as she tugged on the bottom of the shade, holding it in her fingers to control the speed at which it flew up.
Turning back to the bed, she gasped lightly as the natural light coming in brought even more stark contrast to the deep bruising and singing of Rob's skin. She pushed that aside, knowing that was surface and would heal. For now, she just needed to know he was alright and to let him know she was there.
The baby held tightly to her, she walked up to the bed and grabbed Rob's "good" hand. "Baby?" she said softly, rubbing her thumb against the back of his hand. She studied his face, hoping against hope to see those eyes open and focus on her.
Danni and Kate stood back, Kate wrapped in Danni's from behind. They both were nearly holding their breath. Danni couldn't take her eyes off all of Rob's injuries, her mind spinning as she wondered what the permanent damage would ultimately be to his psyche.
For Megan, nothing existed in that moment except her husband. "Rob?" she said gently, setting his hand back down on the bed, instead stroking the visible skin of his arm. "Wake up, baby. Open your eyes." She was encouraged when she noticed one of his fingers twitched, then twitched again. "That's it, Rob. Come back to me."
It took several more minutes of nothing happening until finally a small groan escaped Rob's throat, his eyes moving under the closed lids before they slowly opened, hooded and unclear.
Megan tried hold back a sob, but wasn't entirely successful. "Hi," she whispered, again taking Rob's hand in her own. Tears slipped from her eyes as his fingers wrapped around hers in a weak grip.
Rob stared up at her, blinking several more times, his eyes becoming more focused with each blink until he saw a somewhat fuzzy figure standing before him. Within a few moments his vision cleared, and Megan came into focus. He looked up into her face, unable to speak as his throat was dry from breathing tubes and lack of use. He swallowed reflexively, never taking his eyes off her face.
"I love you," Megan whispered, leaning down to place a gentle kiss on chapped lips, which responded, though delayed. Megan wanted so badly to be able to run her fingers through his hair, but the thick bandaging all around his head made that impossible. "I want you to meet someone, baby." Megan held Christian up for her father to get a good look at her.
Rob studied the squirming baby, tears coming to his eyes as he feasted on the sight before him. Questioning eyes returned to Megan, glancing at the baby then back up to her.
Understanding, Megan nodded. "This is your daughter, Christian. She's just over a month old now." Megan watched as his eyes returned to his child; it seemed he was looking over every single detail of Christian's face, her tiny little body and flailing arms. "Look who else is here to see you, sweetie." Megan looked over at her mother and Danni, giving them a smile and a nod.
Kate walked over to stand next to Megan, Danni just behind her. "Hi, sweetheart," Kate said softly, taking Rob's hand. She leaned down and gave him a small kiss on the small bit of his cheek that was visible around the wrappings. She smiled down at him even as more tears gathered in his eyes.
Danni rested her hand on Rob's remaining leg. "Hey," she whispered, giving the leg a small squeeze before removing her hand.
The door to the room was suddenly opened and a nurse stepped in, looking at Rob's guests. "Hello," she said cheerfully then turned to her patient. "Well, hello handsome." She beamed. "Looks like you've got yourself some company today, huh?" She checked the machines and wrote down her findings on Rob's chart, which hung in a metal bin on the wall. She glanced up at everyone. "Will one of you folks be taking care of Robert, here?" she asked.
"Yes," Megan said. "I'm his wife."
"Oh good. Well, why don't you stick around. I have to give Robert his daily scrub bath for his skin, and it's something you're going to need to know how to do."
Megan nodded, eager to help. She gave Christian a kiss then handed her to Kate. "I'll see you guys in a bit."
Danni took Christian from Kate and led the way out of the room and into the hall. "Want to go get some coffee?" she asked.
Kate let out a heavy sigh and nod. "Sure."
Sitting across from each other at a small table, Danni bouncing Christian in her arms, Kate sipped her coffee. "How are you doing?" she asked gently, smiling at the interaction between Danni and the baby.
Danni gave the question some thought then looked at Kate. "I'm okay." She gave Kate a lopsided grin. "I am loathe to admit this, as I know I'll never hear the end of it, but I think you were right last night. I think finally letting a lot of that go - which I hadn't realized I'd been holding in, by the way - helped. It's almost like a pressure cooker: let some of the steam out or the pot will blow."
"I'd say the pot did blow," Kate said gently. "You never did tell me what your dream was about."
Danni sighed and sat back in her seat, bringing Christian up to rest against her shoulder as she gently rubbed the infant's back. "I saw Mike shot to hell all over again. It was kind of neat at first, though. Mike and I were just walking and talking; it was so vivid, Kate. It was like he was really there again, still only 20 years old."
Kate reached across the table and squeezed one of Danni's hands. "Who knows? Maybe he came by to say hello."
Danni returned the smile and squeezed Kate's hand back.
Chicago, IL June, 1969
Megan's heart was racing in her chest as she sat on the edge of the bed, a sleeping Christian in her arms. She watched as Dr. Elkins carefully snipped away all the remaining gauze and ointment layers that surrounded Rob's head and left arm.
"How are we doing?" he asked Rob.
Rob nodded slightly. "Okay."
"Alright. Last snip," the doctor said, making the snip. "Now we can unwrap." He smiled down at the man whom had been his patient for a month. "Just like The Mummy."
Rob smirked at the lame joke but sat still as the gauze was slowly unwrapped from around his head and face. The gauze was removed for cleaning and re-medication purposes, but today it was to be removed for the last time. He felt Megan's cool fingers around his own, and responded by squeezing them weakly.
Megan watched, never having seen Rob without all of his bandages before, no matter how much time she spent with her husband in his room. The Navy had put her and Christian up in a small apartment close to the hospital so she could be close to Rob. Dr. Elkins hadn't felt it was a good idea to transfer him to another facility in Maine until he was convinced Rob was fully out of the woods for infection. Kate and Danni had headed back home three weeks before, as Kate had summer classes she was going to start teaching, and Danni had to return to her own businesses.
It had been a scary experience for Megan: in a new city with just her and Christian, Rob stuck in a hospital room. She was thrilled that they would be heading home to Munson the following day.
"Okay, here we go." Dr. Elkins finished unwrapped Rob's head and face fully, the doctor's trained eye looking for any problems. "Everything looks good, Robert." He smiled, patting his patient on the shoulder. "A lot of this scarring will fade, though it's likely the scaring on the left side of your neck will be a bit more prominent. Nothing debilitating, though."
Rob looked at Megan. "How bad is it?" he asked quietly.
Megan reached over and finally touched Rob's face for the first time. Her gaze trailed over his familiar features, though into eyes that were foreign. She smiled with a reassuring nod. "Handsome as ever."
Rob leaned against his crutches, eyes riveted to his reflection in the mirror above the sink in the tiny bathroom in the apartment. His hair was singed off the left side of his head and shaved down even over the rest of his head by hospital personnel. He ran a hand over his head, fingers able to feel the different texture of his burned - but healing - skin and that of his regular scalp.
Even so, what got him the most were his eyes. Yes, they were bloodshot with dark circles under them, but it was more than that. Looking at his own reflection, he wasn't sure he recognized himself anymore; something was missing.
"Hi, baby," Megan said softly, moving up behind him and wrapping her arms around him. "I got Christian fed and down, hopefully for the night." She rested her head against Rob's back, eyes closing at the wonder of being able to hold him again. What she wanted the most, however, was for Rob to hold her.
"Mm," Rob murmured, turning away from his own reflection. "Good."
"Come to bed," Megan said softly, squeezing him before letting him go and walking to the one bedroom.
Rob stayed where he was for a moment, eyes closing as she tried to get the courage to go to bed with his wife.
It took Rob several minutes to get himself to the bed and finally settled in it. Megan was already lying there, waiting patiently. He glanced over at her before looking shyly away, sinking down into the bed and pulling the sheet over his t-shirt and boxer-clad body. He felt like a little boy, new to the world of a woman lying so close by, as he gave Megan a side glance.
Megan studied him for a long moment, surprised he didn't pull her over to him as he used to do. Taking a deep breath, she decided to initiate contact, as they'd done little more than hold hands in the past month. She scooted her body over to his, unsure how she'd be received. Keeping an eye on him, she gave him a soft smile then placed her hand on his stomach.
"You've gotten so thin," she said softly.
Rob smiled. "You try surviving on rice and rations."
Megan's smile widened. "I can't wait to cook a nice, fat steak for you when we get home. Nice and juicy, just how you like it. Maybe some mashed potatoes, stuffed with lots of cheese," she smiled, giving Rob a soft kiss on his cheek. She could sense that he was nervous, and in fact, seemed to be scared to death. She brought a hand up and caressed his head. "I've really missed you, Rob," she murmured, looking into his eyes.
He swallowed audibly. "I've missed you, too."
Megan's brows drew slightly. "Are you afraid of me, baby?"
Rob shook his head, but refused to meet Megan's gaze.
"Baby," Megan whispered. "It's just me. I love you, and I see you as I always have." She brought her hand down to caress the side of his stubbled face. She lowered her head, placing a soft kiss to his lips. Lifting her head, she gave him the most loving smile she could.
Rob felt his body respond; he hadn't been touched by a woman, let alone his wife, in more than five months. He brought his hand up underneath Megan and to her back, gently pulling her towards him. Their lips met again, this time Rob reaching up to cup the back of Megan's head as the kiss deepened.
Megan was in just as much need for the physical as Rob, but more than that, she needed to feel close to him, needed to feel that the man she loved and married was still the same man whom she was climbing on top of to straddle his narrow hips. As the kiss continued, she groaned when Rob squeezed both of her breasts.
Rob began to get into the familiar feelings of desire and need, though something inside him was struggling with being touched. He couldn't stop thinking about the fact that his body wasn't whole, nor was his mental state. He squeezed his eyes shut, trying to block out the doubt and embarrassment. He pulled out of the kiss.
"What's the matter, baby?" Megan asked, moving to his neck, leaving wet kisses.
"Stop," Rob said quietly, turning his head away from her.
"Just relax, Rob," Megan murmured, her hand running down his body, her intended destination stopped short when Rob grabbed her hand in a firm grip.
Megan was startled by Rob's demand and the stranger in his eyes. She tried to pull her hand away from his, but he held it in an iron-like grip for a long moment before sliding his fingers away from hers, his eyes filled with shame as he looked away. Megan slowly climbed off him and moved to her side of the bed, curling herself up in a ball as she turned her back to him.
"I'm sorry, Rob," she said quietly. "I didn't mean to hurt you."
Rob brought his hands up and covered his face, his guilt and anger at himself making him want to lash out. "I don't want to be touched," he muttered. "I'm sorry."
Munson, ME June 1969
Danni bent down low over the table top she'd just finished cutting, blowing off the excess sawdust. She stood and examined the piece from different angles, putting her keen eye to the test to find any nicks or any imperfections.
"I think you've got another winner on your hands, beautiful."
Danni glanced up and smiled as Kate walked towards her, her hands tucked behind her back. "Thank you. This is that table for Mayor Gavin that was ordered."
"Ah." Kate set down a metal Doctor Doolittle lunchbox on the workbench, an eyebrow raised. "So, it would seem that some 9 year old child snuck into the house last night and brought their lunchbox to put into my bag for work. It would also seem that said 9 year old made the best peanut butter and jelly sandwich ever, a bag filled with cleaned and cut carrots - just how I like them - and some fruit and crackers. And then said 9 year old filled the Doctor Doolittle thermos with freshly-made coffee." She put a hand on her hip. "Did you happen to see any 9 year olds around?"
Danni gave Kate a grin that could very well have come from a 9 year old. "My guess is that said 9 year old thought it would be a nice touch, considering you're back in school - so to speak." Danni crossed her arms over her chest and eyed Kate. "The best peanut butter and jelly sandwich ever, huh?"
"Yeah," Kate grinned, walking around the table to stand next to a grinning Danni. She leaned up and left a soft kiss on her lips. "Thank you."
"You're welcome." Danni returned the kiss. "How did it go?"
Kate leaned back against another work table as she watched Danni go back to her work. "It went well. It feels absolutely fantastic to get back in the classroom. Even though it's only part time right now, I'm loving it."
"Good." Danni gave her another, lingering kiss. "I'm glad."
"Did Megan call with the details today?" Kate asked, pushing off from the work table.
"Yep, she sure did." Danni scraped away at a few details in the table's decorative design, blowing the excess pieces of wood away. "The plan is set to land at one forty-five."
"Okay, sounds good." Kate let out a tired breath. "I'm going to go in and start dinner."
"I took some chicken out earlier," Danni informed, wiping her hands on a rag. "I'll be in in about fifteen minutes to help."