Disclaimer: See chapter 1.
Author's Note: This is my very first try out of my safe harbor of CSI fanfiction. Feedback is very much appreciated and can be sent to email@example.com.
Alex closed the door and slung the duffle bag over her shoulder. As she reached the hedge that marked the outer end of the front garden, she turned around once more, looking back at the house where she was born, the window of her bedroom, and the curtain that moved in the wind.
While she walked away her hand stroked over the top of the hedge just like she used to do when she had been a little girl. Each morning she and Andrew would walk to school, and each morning she would follow her brother's lead –hands sliding over the green hedge.
Andrew. She knew she would miss him, heck, she'd even miss her soon to be sister-in-law Claire. But miss her house she would not.
The Savage's house had long stopped being her home, and although she was leaving Charleswood's safe surroundings, she had the feeling she would find a place where she would belong –a new place to call home.
As the young woman took one last look over her house towards her shoulder, she thought back of the words old man Scott had said that morning, and she just knew she was on her way to her destiny.
After walking for about ten minutes she reached the bus stop and sat down on a bench. It would take another twenty minutes before her bus would arrive.
Looking around she noticed it wasn't that busy at the bus station. Here and there few people were occupying benches –some with bags and suitcases, waiting patiently to leave the place, others with flowers, waiting expectantly for someone to arrive.
On the bench just a few feet from where Alex was seated sat a middle-aged woman who was talking to a teen girl. The dark-haired girl had something familiar about her.
Even though Alex hadn't heard the conversation between the two, she knew –just by looking at the girl's attitude- that she wasn't agreeing on something the older woman had told her.
Alex heard one last mumbled reply from the girl before the youngster stormed off, leaving the woman –probably her mother- behind flustered.
The girl's actions, along with the mother's flustered state, reminded Alex of the arguments she had. The only difference being that in her case her father had been the flustered one.
A melancholic smile appeared on her face as she remembered the last argument she had had with her father.
It had been two days before he would die. Alex had told him about how she wanted to join the army, the air force to be exact –helping the Allies to stop the Nazi-regime. At first her father had just plainly laughed at her, not taking her words seriously.
But once he saw the stern look in his daughter's dark eyes he knew she was very serious about this.
"You really mean this, don't you?" he asked, laughter dying on his lips as he tried to sit up against the headboard.
"Yes," Alex answered without hesitation. She reached out for her father, helping him settle in a more comfortable position.
After catching his breath Michael faced his daughter again. "You really are your mother's daughter."
Alex was surprised by her father's remark. For years he had gone out of his way to avoid having to talk about her mother, Lily.
"As soon as her mind was set on something she would not let go of it until she had achieved exactly what she wanted." Michael looked at his daughter. He reached out for her, and Alex sat down on the bed, next to him. "You've grown up into a beautiful young woman." He reached for her hand and took it in both of his, settling them in his lap. "You just look like her, you know?"
"Dad," Alex sighed, avoiding her father's eyes she continued. "Why?"
"Why what, Alex?"
"Why are you talking about her now? Why haven't you talked about her before?" Alex felt tears starting to well up in her eyes, but biting her lip she tried to stop them from falling. She couldn't take this –not now. Her father was doing poorly the last few days, she and Andrew had already talked about the fact that it probably wouldn't take much longer. That alone was already pretty hard for Alex, and now he wanted to add this to the pain.
Through the years she had tried so many times to talk to her father about her mother, but he always managed to avoid having to discuss his wife with his daughter.
"Seeing you...just...reminds me so much..."
"Dad, please," Alex interrupted. "Don't tell me I'm like her. I don't know her -never really have, never really will. All those years before, when I wanted to know about her, you never said anything. You didn't utter a single sentence about her existence. Now I don't want to hear it anymore," she quickly glanced into her father's eyes then stood up and walked out of the room –her father looking at her retreating back without saying one more word.
The sound of an arriving bus shook her out of her reverie. The dark-haired woman looked around and saw a lot of people had gathered at the bus stop. Men and women of all age either saying goodbye or welcoming people.
As she entered the bus she was met with a lot of noise. Young men were shouting and laughing, some were hanging out the windows – all saying goodbye to their loved ones.
The knuckles of her hands were white from the tight grip she had on her duffle bag. The crowd around her made her feel a bit nervous – as she wasn't used to this kind of uproar. Normally, the dark-haired woman preferred to be on her own.
Carefully passing the first few seats of the bus she noticed an empty spot and headed further back. Looking at all the testosterone filling the bus, Alex started to wonder whether she would be the only woman headed for the air force base.
Her non-verbal question was answered as she reached the empty seat. A blonde woman sat there, staring out the window. Guessing by the glimpse Alex saw from the woman's face she estimated her to be a few years her senior.
"Hi," the dark-haired woman said, "Is this seat taken?"
The blonde woman was shaken out of her reverie and turned to face Alex. Without saying a word she patted the space next to her, then turned back to staring out of the window.
Alex sat down, eyeing the woman who still hadn't spoken.
"So," Alex tried, hoping to calm some of her nerves with a light conversation. "You headed for the air force base as well?"
The blonde didn't turn, and Alex hardly noticed the confirming nod she received from her.
"Your family is okay with that?" Alex queried, wanting to know whether it was just her family who had reacted so negatively.
Suddenly blonde hair made place for two deep blue eyes staring intently at her.
"I'm Alex, by the way," the dark-haired woman said, smiling sheepishly as she extended her hand.
It was as if she could see some hesitation in those blue eyes, but it soon was replaced by a cold, stern look.
"Diana," the blonde answered.
Alex marveled at the firm handshake, and incredulously looked at the petite woman sitting next to her. Her previous question left unanswered, Alex tried again. "Did you sign up for a nursing position?"
Just as she was about to give up on having a conversation, the blonde spoke up. "You?" –was the short question she asked.
"I want to join the air force," Alex said, pride tangible in her voice. "As a pilot," she quickly added.
Diana turned and locked eyes with Alex –a softer look replacing the stern one from minutes before. "Really?" she asked, sounding surprised yet sincere.
"Yes," the dark-haired woman answered.
"Wow, I wish I had the guts to do that," Diana smiled.
"And you think being a nurse during war doesn't take guts?"
"Well, I'm hoping that I won't actually be sent out," the blonde woman said as she looked down to where her hands were fidgeting with the hem of her coat.
"Oh," Alex replied. "Then why sign up in the first place?"
Diana quickly glanced up at Alex saying, "Because I need to get out of this place."
Her eyes revealed some of that sternness which had been there before. The dark-haired woman knew something was bothering her, but she wisely kept her mouth shut.
The older woman focused her attention on the hem of her coat again –locks falling into her eyes, hiding her face.
Suddenly, the engine was revved up and the bus headed off. Finally, Alex thought to herself. The nerves –originating from her fear of accidentally running into Andrew on her way out off Charleswood- seemed to lessen.
Passengers were waving and screaming their last goodbyes and it took another ten minutes before things started to calm down in the bus.
Alex thought she heard a soft sob, and though she was almost certain it came from Diana, she couldn't see because the other woman's face was shielded by a curtain of blonde hair. Not completely sure what to do, the dark-haired woman shifted in her seat so that she was facing Diana again.
"Are you okay?" Alex asked as she reached over for Diana's shoulder and gave her a gentle squeeze.
After the blonde pushed some locks behind her ear, tear-filled blue eyes locked with Alex'.
"I will be."
Alex sat back in her seat, silently keeping her vigil over the sobbing blonde. In another twenty minutes they would reach the air force base.
After about fifteen minutes the bus stopped at a large brick building. The bus driver called out that they had reached the military hospital –the place where the women would get their three week crash course in nursing.
Diana stood to leave and Alex moved out of her seat to let her pass. She reached for Diana's hand, and as they locked eyes Alex softly said, "Good luck. I hope everything will work out for you."
"Thank you," Diana answered sincerely, then turned and walked out of the bus.
As she watched the blonde's retreating back, three other women she hadn't noticed before also stood up and left. As Diana passed outside the bus their eyes locked and Alex waved once, receiving a quick nod from the older woman.
The door closed and the bus was off again. Looking around Alex noticed she now really was the only woman headed for the Air Force base. She couldn't stop herself from thinking about the haunted look in the blonde's eyes and hoped that everything would turn out alright for her.
About half a mile further, the bus stopped at the Royal Canadian Air Force base of Winnipeg. The racket from before returned as everybody grabbed their bags and headed out.
Bright sunlight hit Alex' face as she stepped out of the bus. Holding up her hand she tried to block some of the rays from falling into her eyes.
Suddenly a voice boomed at her right. "LINES OF TWO!"
"Where have I gotten myself into?" she thought as she noticed the short thick-necked man –his face red from the effort of the loud scream.
To Be Continued.
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