Disclaimer: See part 1
Dont Ask, Dont Tell
By S. K. Allen
Angel entered Ft. Sam Houston. She unpacked her trunk and went through a bag drag. The drill sergeant that looked through her things was one she recognized from drill sergeant school. There were a few others she recognized as well. She suspected she was going to regret her time here. "Major, a computer?" The drill sergeant held up Angels lightweight notebook computer.
"Yes, drill sergeant. Its not a problem, is it? Im carrying my entire life in this bag, I had no where else to take it but here." They dont have to know that there was always my mother.
"Major, you can have electronics here, I aint trying to be an ogre. I just didnt picture you for a computer nerd," he said putting it back in the bag.
"Well, as my students liked to say, looks can be deceiving," the ex-drill sergeant answered.
Once he was done, Angel hefted her bag and walked on up to the bay hed indicated. She walked through; impressed by setup and the degree of privacy it created. Bunks were flanked by wall lockers so it gave the feeling of being isolated even though there were thirty or forty other females around.
Angel chose a bed in the farthest corner from the door, and the closest to the bathrooms and started putting her things in her wall locker. After that, she went into the CQ office to get the permit for her car, and headed out to park it where the permit allowed.
Angel stood by her car checking and re-checking it to make sure it was locked. Chill, Angel, this is an Army base, nothing will happen to it, she thought as she gave one last good look at her Mercedes and headed off to the Common Training Area, or CTA, of B company 123.
The tall NCO ran fingers through her raven locks and sat at a weight-training bench on the CTA. The CTA was comprised of a large courtyard. There were a few picnic style tables scattered about the large space. On the concrete pad there was a big painted picture of the companys logo and motto.
Angel saw a blue car pull up to the side of the building. A blond in cut-off shorts and a tank top stepped out of the car. Angel blinked. It was one of her students.
Oh great, just what I needed, she thought as she leaned back on the bench.
Jamie stepped out of her car and walked towards the building, looking puzzled. She head down, reading her paper. Seeing a pair of feet near a bench next to her she asked, "Is this B Company 123?"
"Yes it is, you get your parking permit through that office there." Jamie looked up at hearing the familiar voice, followed the hand back to the tall woman holding it up. Oh man, just what I needed, Jamie thought.
"Thanks, Sarge," she said heading toward the office. Jamie retrieved her permit and ran back to her car to park it. She spotted her former NCOICs silver Mercedes, which was right next to her parking spot. She took a closer look at it before popping the trunk and grabbing her duffel bag.
Locking her car, she headed back to the building, making it just in time for formation to be called. She ran to formation, forming up in the third squad.
Angel witnessed another bag drag. "Any and all books you may have in your bags, you need to throw them away," the drill sergeant said. The tall woman watched as the young blond winced and leaned forward.
"Push the book all the way down to the bottom of the bag, they wont get that far down. You dont have to give up anything. This is not basic training," Angel said in a low voice.
Jamie complied and pushed her books all they way down. When the bag drag was over, she breathed a sigh of relief and thank the gods for whoever had spoken. Then she heard the drill sergeant again. "You will go nowhere without a buddy. You need to go in groups, especially you females. First and third squads turn around. The person behind you will be your battle buddy. Youre responsible for checking on your buddy at every turn to make sure that he or she is squared away."
Jamie turned around and her eyes met crossed arms. She slowly looked up into the scowling face of her former NCOIC. "Boy, Jackson, you just have the worst luck, dont you?" she asked and smiled softly, losing the hard gaze.
Jamie turned back around to listen to the drill sergeant. Great, just what I fucking needed, she thought as she listened to the rest of the instructions. They wouldnt be allowed to wear civilian clothes during off hours for at least four weeks, which meant Labor Day weekend would be spent in utter boredom around the barracks. Two weeks after the first phase, they would be allowed off base. Car privileges were left to soldiers with a prior MOS (Military Operational Specialty).
Angel was assigned to be class leader. After their debriefing was over, Angel called on her fellow class members to learn their names. After meeting them all, she walked towards her battle buddy. "Need any help?" she asked the blond.
"Nah... Just point the way to the bunk," she said, hefting her Duffel bag.
"Okay. Follow me," she said, leading the way to the bunk at the far corner.
"Thanks," Jamie said, setting her bag down on the floor.
"Top or bottom?" Angel asked, opening her wall locker and taking out her PT clothes.
"Im afraid of heights," Jamie said, her face flushing a little in embarrassment.
"I remember. Okay, top bunk for me I guess," Angel said as she pulled off her t- shirt and replaced it with her PT shirt. She remembered the private having some on the obstacle courses when she had been too far off the ground.
Jamie busied herself with unpacking. She didnt quite know what to say to the woman who had dominated her nightmares and dreams all summer. The drill sergeant had never been the talkative type like Sgt. Armstrong.
"I dont bite you know, I just had to make you think I did," Angel said as if she were reading the younger womans mind.
"Well, you did a really good job," Jamie said, relaxing as she saw the smile flash across the older womans face. She pulled at the book that she had hidden deep in the bag and waved it at Major. "Thanks by the way. This book is irreplaceable."
"Glad to be of help." Angel looked at the lightening streaked cover. Tropical Storm, by Melissa Good. Hmm... Oh yeah, I remember. "Whats it about?" she asked in genuine curiosity.
"Its a corporate love story... a really long one at that. I read it on the Internet. She has like three or four sequels to it. Its great," Jamie said, her eyes more aglow than Angel had seen them, except when she had maxed her PT test.
"Why did you buy it if you read it on the net?" Angel asked.
"Support? I dont know, I think its cause I like to take it around with me and its hard to wait to get to a computer to be able to read it."
"I know what you mean, if they hadnt made the portable CD player I would have strapped my stereo on my back." Angel said, taking her CD player, and the binder full of CDs, out of her wall locker. She sat on the bottom bunk looking through CDs.
"I cant wait until I can get somewhere and spend my money on a good laptop or something so I can read more," Jamie said, sitting on the bunk next to her looking through a stack of papers.
"Whats that?" Angel asked looking at the papers.
"Sequel, one of the shortest ones," Jamie said.
"Cool," Angel said, standing up and reaching into her wall locker she pulled out her notebook and a cell phone. "Here, download the others with this cell and read it off my desktop."
"Uh, no thanks. I dont want to impose," Jamie said a little shocked by the gesture.
"No impositions, go ahead, just dont stay on line too long, Jackson. Cellular time tends to get expensive," Angel said, picking up the book next to her. "Can I read this?"
Jamie had been hooking the notebook up when she asked, and almost dropped it.
"NO! Um, I mean... I dont think its anything youd be interested in reading, " Jamie explained weakly, feeling foolish.
"Alright, if you say so," Angel said, arching a brow. She put the book back down on the bed. She stood to climb into her own bunk. "Hurry up and download those, its about time for lights out."
Jamie looked at her, shocked that she would still let her use her line, but proceeded to download the next story Ring in the New Year. She looked up at the NCO, who was trying to work a Bach CD out of its jacket. Jamie reached for the book and placed it next to the brunette.
Blue eyes lifted from the cover and looked at her. Angel smiled slightly, her hand resting briefly on the cover before she opened the book. Reading the dedications, she smiled and looked over at Jamie who was unhooking the cell from the notebook. "So youre a MerPup?"
Jamie looked up and smiled. "Pup, Monster, and all around Xenite," the blond answered. Angel went on to the first page, letting the minuet from the Brandenburg Concerto carry her through the words.
The alarm went off softly, nudging the sprawled figure in the waterbed toward wakefulness...
A week later, Jamie looked through her drawer and sent a sidelong glance in the sergeants direction as she finished the last pages of the book. She has spent the entire week watching for any sign of judgment on the other womans face as they related to one an other, ready to deny anything but interest in the story. But she hadnt. She still called her Jaime, as the private had asked days earlier, she still treated her respectfully, more so than she did when she was in basic training. But shed made no move to discuss what was in the book
"Welcome home." Dars voice burred the words -low and sweet- as they joined again in the warm light of a tropical winter day.
"This book..." Angel started. "Is ... Awesome." Angel finally said as she closed the book. "Never seen love depicted that way before."
Jamie smiled and visibly relaxed as she took back the book from the outstretched arm. "You obviously never watch Xena... It only gets mushier though."
"You mean Dar looses her edge? This I have to read." Angel said with a smirk.
"NO! No... edge intact... in business anyway." Jamie chuckled. "Its pretty good."
"You got the printed sequel?" Angel said reaching out for the Sheaf of papers that Jamie was handing her.
"Have you ever experienced anything close to that?" Angel asked
"What do you mean?" Jamie asked warily.
"You know... I have this one person that has been on an off for a long time. I love him dearly, but he doesnt complete me. That is as close as Ive come.
"Oh... well my deepest relationship lasted this summer... by the time I got back home from basic... we broke up." Jamie answered. "So I guess not."
After the fourth week, Angel was more than happy to trade her PTs for her regular civilian clothing. After the evening formation, she dismissed the class and hightailed it to her wall locker, grabbing the first civilian clothes she could reach , her favorite ripped jeans and Marcus blue and white Dallas Cowboys jersey, and threw them on.
Jamie walked up to the bunk and her eyes lit up when she saw the jeans . "Oh my god, is that today?" Jamie said, pulling her civilian clothes out. She pulled on a pair of her baggiest jeans and her fathers Navy sweatshirt. She sighed softly, she knew that no matter how upset he had been at her that night, he still loved her.
"You slumming it, Jackson?" Angel said, looking at the oversized clothing Jamie had put on.
"Isnt that the pot calling the kettle black," she said archly as she took the opportunity to stare openly at Angels physique. She watched then as Angel pulled out her cell phone and dialed a local number.
"Hey, can you come?" Angel asked pulling on her cross-trainers and pulling out her braid, letting the raven locks free from their binding. "Yeah, Im free to roam the base. Curfews not until midnight on the weekend."
Jamie decided she shouldnt be eavesdropping and turned to her mirror. She loosened her golden tresses, running a brush through it. " I think I am going to go short," she said to herself.
"I think youd look cute with it short.... Itll match the rest of your body," Angel joked.
Jamie laughed with her. "You could maybe go short... Well, maybe not too short."
"NO way!" Angel exclaimed, starting to play with her hair.
"Well, at least, youd look good with bangs," Jamie said.
"Those are too hard to braid back," Angel said, then she looked at herself in the mirror. "But maybe... You wanna come?"
"Where?" Jamie asked.
"To The Hacienda, we can eat dinner there."
"Theres nothing else to do," Jamie said with a shrug. "Who are you going to meet there?"
"Marcus," Angel said, locking her wall locker and heading for the door.
"Oooh, I get to meet the love of your life?" Jamie asked with a smile, following the NCO down the steps and out onto the sidewalk.
"The one and only." She smiled and walked on to the running track. "Hes the one who named me Angel."
"I thought that was your given name," Jamie said.
"My mother doesnt ever do things simply. My name is Anjulee Andrea Major. I tell ya, I marry the right guy and "AAA" can sue me for infringement."
With a soft giggle, Jamie said. "Annegel-Lee . . . does sound like Angel though. My real name is Jamilla. I dont know where my mother got that from, but it certainly isnt Irish."
"Its pretty anyway," Angel said, opening the door to The Hacienda.
"Thanks," Jamie said referring to both the door and the comment, and headed inside. She looked around the reception area and could smell food to her left, so she headed that direction.
As she entered the kiosk section of The Hacienda, there was a large dark room to the right. "Whats in there?"
"A theater. Oooh, Rush Hour is playing. Havent seen that yet."
"Oh, I have and it so funny, want me to save you a seat?"
"Sure, go all the way to the front, the recliners look empty. What would you like?" Angel asked before heading to the counter.
Spotting a tall dark man walking in, Jamie hesitated a moment. "Just an order of honey wings and onion rings," she said as the black man winked at her. She decided against a warning to the older woman.
"Okay Ill meet you AAAHHH!" Angel said as she elbowed and stomped on some ones foot. When she turned around, she laughed softly. "Well, you shoulda known better."
"I forgot," he said straightening up. He took her in his arms and kissed her softly. Angel turned back to Jamie, but the blond had already gone into the theater.
"Come on, lets get this order," Angel said walking on to the counter. She noted all of the women of color giving her cutting looks. She glanced at Marcus, who seemed oblivious to the whole thing and, after placing her order, she pulled him into a booth and laid a good, long kiss on him. Maybe I should lay off before neither of us can stop, she thought as she pulled away from him.
"Wow... um... Order up yet?" Just as he spoke, their order came up so they stood up and walked toward the counter. She glanced at one particular woman who looked at her with a totally disgusted look on her face. Angel smiled back and put her arm around Marcus with a content look on her face.
They got their order and headed inside to find Jamie. The blond wondered what they were going to do. She was used to being the third wheel, but this was different. Jamie could see why Angel loved Marcus. He included Jamie in every thing and acted as if theyd been friends forever. They acted with the utmost decorum, with just a slight hug here and there or a slight peck on the cheek or lips. This is the most respect this third wheel has ever had, Jamie thought as she listened to the two reminisce about the 80s. However, it really didnt stop her growing longing for the NCO.
All Hollows Eve
That Friday, when Angel was finally allowed access to her Mercedes, she raced to her wall locker and changed quickly, singing to herself. Jamie smiled while listening to her. She had to keep up with the NCO or else she was afraid shed be left behind .
They shut the lockers at the same time and smiled at each other. "Ready?" Angel asked.
"Yup, lead the way, drill sergeant, lead the way." She clapped smartly twice as she grinned at Angel. That was something they did as a platoon when a certain command was mentioned. Angel laughed and ran down the steps and out of the building.
Once she got within the sights of her Mercedes, it was all Angel could do to keep from breaking into a run.
Jamie could only laugh at Angels excitement. "Now this is love," she said as she finally got clearance to enter the sanctuary.
"Oh yeah... J, you have to be back at what time?" Angel asked, pulling out of the parking lot.
"Midnight... dont you?" Jamie said.
"Nope.. Im free to do as I please... for the weekend anyway."
"Oh you are so lucky," Jamie said leaning back in her seat.
"I paid my dues, I was going nuts. I dont know how I made it the last time." Angel said as her phone rang...
Angel parked her Mercedes in the parking lot of the River Walk Mall, and climbed out. "This is one of San Antonios biggest attractions. Too bad Six Flags is closed," she said as they walked inside.
"This place is nice... Where are we meeting Marcus?" Jamie asked
"We arent," Angel answered
"What? Why not?" Jamie asked.
"Its ... his.. I dont know if I should say anything. Anyway, he invited us to a Halloween party. We gotta go shopping. Come on."
"Where are we going?" Jamie asked following her.
"Theres this great little costume shop in here," she said as she led her to Kierans Costumes.
They looked around the store and Jamie looked at a costume and smiled. "Yo Angel... You can be Wonder Woman."
"I did the Wonder Woman thing when I was six," Angel chuckled.
"Really? My mom made me do Barbie," Jamie said.
"How cute.. but you dont seem the Barbie type to me." The taller woman looked away and spotted a costume. "Here.. you be the Amazon Queen," she said, handing Jamie a staff.
"Fine.. but will you be my Warrior Princess?" Jamie asked grinning evilly.
Angel looked at the costume then back at Jamie and back again. "That looks uncomfortable, and drafty," Angel argued.
"And a sports bra and wrap around skirt arent drafty?" Jamie replied sarcastically, still grinning.
"Fine.. lets go...," she said collecting the costume and heading off to pay for it. After they paid, they walked around the mall awhile. Angel spotted an old fashioned ice-cream parlor and made a beeline for it. She got herself a Jamocha ice-cream cone. Jamie went for rum raisin.
Jamie had such a great time with her battle buddy that she almost regretted that they would be separated in four more weeks. Maybe I should switch to PA school too, Jamie mused as she watched the older womans face watching a boat go by on the river.
"Dollar for your thoughts?" Angle said.
"A whole dollar?" Jamie said coming out of her reverie.
"Hey, this is Texas, we do every thing big," Angel answered.
"Oh... well, I was just thinking that in four weeks, we wont be able to hang out like this anymore. I know Im not supposed to grow attached to my NCO but.."
"Hold it... Im not your NCO, Im your classmate, and right this minute Im your friend. Ill miss you too, Jamie," Angel said, finishing off her ice-cream. "You have a whole year here before you leave for Ft. Mead and I have two... We can still hang out. Youll have a whole lot more freedom when you get to 187. Though I think that you can petition for on base housing."
"You think? Are you gonna petition for that?" Jamie asked her.
"You bet your ass. Im here for two long years J. I cant live in close quarters for that long... You could be my roommate," Angel suggested blithely.
Jamie only smiled. "That would be great."
On Sunday, Angel and Jamie drove to Marcus apartment, their costumes in the back of the Mercedes. They got out of the car and took the costumes out. "Marcus loves Halloween. Sometimes he over does it," Angel said, walking up one flight of stairs. She could hear the music from outside the door. She knocked then tried the knob.
As the door opened, she could see a few people sitting on his couch, dressed up in the same regular costumes, Frankensteins, Draculas and witches. Angel gestured toward the bathroom for Jamie and said, "You go change. Ill go look for Marcus." They separated and Angel went into the kitchen.
Marcus was faced off with an irritated looking black girl she recognized as his wife. She decided to go back and get dressed instead of listening to them argue but Marcus turned to face her. "Angel. You made it.. um.. this is my ex- wife, Rebecca." Angel nodded politely.
"Nice to see you again Rebecca." Angel said
in her most diplomatic voice. "Marcus, I just wanted to let you know that Jamie
and I were here." Angel said moving back
"Shes gone." Marcus said. Angel looked at him, trying to gage his feeling. His deep brown eyes bored into hers and there was a tingle of electricity between them. He moved closer and kissed her deeply. Their bodies met for the first time in ten years and, for the first time in ten years, Angel was satisfied.
Jamie stood in the midst of all the other partygoers. She wondered where Angel had gotten to. It had been an hour and a half since they had arrived and she hadnt seen her yet. Jamie, you havent seen Marcus either... surprised? Jamie shook her head and relaxed a little. She went to get herself a drink and reached for a beer. "I wouldnt if I were you." She heard the silky voice of Angel from behind her. "They call you in tomorrow for a golden flow and youre toast." It was true that they loved doing random urine tests after party weekends.
Jamie turned to look at the freshly bathed and costumed woman. "You have fun?" she asked archly.
The answering smile told her everything. Suddenly, Marcus came from behind Jamie and grabbed her in a bear hug. If I didnt like the guy so much, Id be jealous, Jamie thought. She returned the hug and Marcus proceeded to talk to everyone else at the party. There were all sorts of music playing and some adult party games, but by twenty minutes before midnight, the Warrior Princess and the Amazon Queen departed.
As Angel climbed out from the Mercedes, she felt a chill run up her spine and the hair on the nape of her neck stood on end. Remembering the familiar feeling she looked around, then dismissed it. He is in Leonard Wood. Chill Angel.
"Peek-a-boo, I see you. You and that little private from your company," Lou said to himself as he watched the object of his obsession walk out of the apartment building.
He followed her at a distance to Ft. Sam, then followed her to the barracks on foot. There was a second there that he thought shed seen him. She turned and looked around. He knew she was looking for him.
"Thats right, you can feel me cant you. Im right here and Im gonna get you back." He stood outside the barracks watching for a while then turned away.
A memory flooded his mind as he walked back to his rental car... He was about seven years old and was walking down the street. His father had sent him out to the store to get some milk. He looked to the other side of the street and there she was.
She was as beautiful as he remembered, with her long black hair and her shining blue eyes, walking hand in hand with that man his father called a nigger.
He called out to his mother. She looked back. It was her, he knew it . He called out to her again only to have her run away. He tried to run after her but someone reached out and snatched him back and away from the speeding traffic.
He started to cry. Why would his mother run away? Why? "WHY" he yelled into the night sky and sped off in his car.
Im Thankful for...
The next two weeks were messy. Field training. The soldiers built a hospital out of tents, with generators and air conditioners. They had mock patients from other field trainees and some real patients.
Angel was glad that at least they got to sleep in the barracks. Something was wrong, she could feel it. Besides that, she felt weak. I must be coming down with something, she thought, not wanting to admit to herself what could be true.
Jamie loved the whole experience. Seeing how a hospital was built from nothing excited her, especially the fact that she was part of it. Caring for the patients was an other favorite of hers and the makeup and prosthetics made it fun. She volunteered several times to be a patient. Once, she was an open stomach wound patient. The prosthetic had a piece of the intestines hanging out of it.
Another time, she was a broken limb patient.
The prosthetic showed a piece of white bone sticking out of the skin. Angel
took one look at her and went ashen. "Thats
is the most
disgusting thing Ive ever seen," her battle buddy said, trying to fight
back the nausea.
"You obviously didnt see the stomach wound," Jamie said to her with a smirk.
"And Im glad I didnt. Ive been unbelievably queasy lately. It isnt like I havent seen the real thing before," Angel answered.
"Yeah right..." Jamie said as the instructor wrapped it up for the day. She pulled off the prosthetic. "Too bad this was the last day, I would have loved to try the eyeball," she said, looking up at Angel, who looked a bit dizzy. "Hey, are you okay?" she said, moving closer.
Angel nodded and sat down in a nearby chair. "I just need to rest a little. I think Im coming down with something."
"Okay...," Jamie said, placing a hand on the older womans shoulder.
"Major! Jackson! Formation!" she heard one of the soldiers say.
"Be right there..." Angel said, standing to go outside. Jamie followed close behind her. Standing in formation, Angel felt better knowing it was the weekend. She had plans to disappear.
Once she was back at the barracks, she slowly made her way up the stairs. She was so that Jamie finished before her. "You going out with Marcus tonight?" Jamie asked the taller woman as she walked out of the latrine.
"Im going home to see my mother," Angel said, giving up on her makeup and curling up in Jamies bunk.
"You gonna be gone the whole weekend?" Jamie asked. Angel only nodded. "Ill miss you. Ill be bored to death but I hope you feel better."
"Ill get Marcus to come get you tomorrow," Angel mumbled as she got off the bunk. She reached for her lightweight jacket and put it on and Jamie joined her as she walked to the car. "Then youll get to meet my mom. Shes heard all about you already," Angel added with a chuckle.
"Well, Id love that. See you later, Angel," Jamie said. She turned to walk back to the barracks.
Angel started the car and drove herself to her mothers house.
Angel used her key to her mothers house, and walked quietly through the house. No one was home. That didnt surprise her since it was still light outside. She made herself some tea and curled up on the couch, a bit of classical music playing in the background.
She hadnt realized shed fallen asleep until she felt her mother stroke her hair. "Anjulee? Whats wrong?" Angel opened her eyes to see the blue eyes like her own watching her. Her mother drew in a breath, theyd always shared a connection.
"Yeah... Just dont say it out loud. I hope thats not whats happening, not right now." Her mother reached out and held her.
"Why not now, Angel?" Her mother asked. It was the first time that shed heard her mother use that name with her. "Its a very good thing youre doing."
"Something bad is going to happen. I can feel it, smell it," Angel said holding onto her mother. She loved being rocked by her and she did feel better.
"What are you doing for Thanksgiving?" her mother asked, changing the subject while still holding onto her.
"Ill definitely be here," Angel promised.
"Good, get Marcus to come and Jamie, too, or is she going back home?"
"I dont know, I never asked," Angel said, letting go of her mother and laying back on the couch. " I gotta remember to ask when she comes tomorrow."
She noticed a movement to the right. A friend of Victorias and her mothers had been watching them. "Hey Lil...," Angel said stretching slightly Being held by her mother really had made her feel better.
"Hello, Angel dear... I see youve got a bit more color now. A mothers love always works," Lillian said. Angel blushed slightly and stood up.
"I think Ill go to my room now. Good night, ladies," Angel said, heading up the stairs. She heard a soft voice say, "Liz, what was that all about?"
"Dont say a word til Im gone," Angel said, not willing to hear voice what she feared.
Jamie tried staying around the barracks but she was restless. There was no one that would go with her to downtown San Antonio. Everyone had already gone with their battle buddy.
With a sigh, she decided that she was going anyway. She thought about just taking her car, but changed her mind and hailed a taxi. This way I can get thrashed, she thought when the driver stopped. The driver looked back at her and she smiled.
"Where to?" The driver asked.
"Anywhere where a woman can relax without having to worry about men grabbing at her," Jamie answered.
"Thats kinda hard to find unless you want a gay bar... or a womens bar," the driver answered
"Do you know a good womens bar?" Jamie asked nonchalantly
With a grin, the driver pulled into an exit. "Yeah, but I was heading to a womans bar myself after I dropped you off. You wanna just ride with me?"
"Okay, whats the name of this bar were going to?" Jamie said as she watched the other woman drive into a taxi depot.
"Audrys." The driver said getting out of the cab. "Come on." Jamie followed and waited as the driver signed out. "Im Krysta by the way," the driver said when she was all done.
"Jamie," the young blond answered. Jamie looked at the tall form in front of her. Her rich brown hair, cut short, framed her face perfectly.
"Ready to go?" Krysta said.
Jamie nodded and followed the other woman to her car. She felt a little strange, but she decided she was feeling adventurous.
"I am meeting a few friends there, I hope you dont mind."
Jamie was relieved at the thought of being around a group. "Not a problem. My best friend is off sick so I could use the company," Jamie said.
"Hey, its got to be boring in those barracks without your battle buddy," Krysta said.
"You aint lying," Jamie answered. They continued their banter until they got to the bar. Audrys was great, very stylish and pretty much smoke free in some sections. There was a big dance floor in the basement and the place was crawling with women. OOOh, tall ones, short ones, young ones, old ones, fat ones, skinny ones, blondes, red heads and brunettes, alabaster or ebony skin, a regular smorgasbord. Pour the wine, dig that girl, Jamie thought as her eyes darted around. None of them are as pretty as what Ive already set my sights on.
"What do you think?" Krysta asked as they walked toward the bar. There were some women seated at the bar talking.
"Its nice, I like it," Jamie said. Krysta introduced her to her friends. They all went there every Friday night after work to vent off. She enjoyed the conversation, but it wasnt the same as what shed grown accustomed to for the past eight weeks. And what shed have the rest of the year while she was on active duty.
The base housing had come through for her battle buddy and herself. In a small house on base. She knew that being a physicians assistant, Angel would be able to help her with whatever problems Jamie would have with her nursing course. But, then again she didnt have to learn as much as Angel did. It was going to be great.
She found that she thought about the older woman off and on through the night. She wondered if she was alright. She excused herself from the other women and called her friends cell phone.
"Hello?" came the voice from the other end. It sounded much better than it had before.
"Hey, I was wondering how you were," Jamie said smiling.
"Im better now. I love being in my own bed when I am sick," Angel replied.
"Youve been looking ill for a while. I am surprised you waited this long to go home," Jamie said, voicing her concerns.
"I never felt this bad before. Listen, I wanted to ask you something," Angel said, remembering her conversation with her mother."
"Shoot," Jamie answered, leaning against the wall, watching Krysta at the bar.
"Are you going home for the Thanksgiving?" Angel asked.
"No... I havent thought about what Im going to do," Jamie said.
"You dont miss your family?" Angel asked, her curious tones reaching out at Jamie.
"Its a long story. Ill tell you tomorrow, okay?" Jamie responded.
"Okay... Ill talk to you then, J... Have fun though I hope youre not planning to drive if you drink anything."
"I took a cab," Jamie said truthfully
"Cool. Then Ill see ya tomorrow," Angel said, hanging up the phone.
Feeling better, Jamie walked back to the bar.Krysta smiled at her, "Your friend okay?"
"Yeah, shes at her mothers. A mothers love is always like magic," Jamie replied.
"No doubt, thats the one thing I miss about my mother," one of the other women said.
"Yeah, me too, but when I came out to my mom, she jumped back as if I was going to rape her or something," someone else said. Jamie hated this topic now more than ever.
"Im gonna go dance a little," Jamie said taking her drink with her.
"Good idea," Krysta said, following her. The rest followed. They seemed to be having a good time, but Jamie wasnt, so when they werent looking, she walked outside, and hopped a cab back to the base.
Angel was vacuuming her mothers house, singing along to Gloria Estefans Abriendo Puertas CD when the phone rang. Suddenly, she felt a chill run up her spine as she reached for the phone. "Liz," she said as she answered the phone.
"Angel, I know your voice, dont try to trick me," said the voice from the phone.
"What do you want, Lou?" Angel asked. She could hear street noises coming from the other end. This cant be happening, she thought, moving away from any windows.
"You know what I want, and Im gonna get it," he replied. She heard a truck run near him. She shivered as she heard the same sound on her end.
"Im not an "It" Lou," Angel answered annoyed.
Lou chuckled low, "Im watching you, and I am going to get you when you least expect it." The line went dead. She threw the phone down on the cradle just as the doorbell rang.
Angel opened the door and smiled as she saw Jamie and Marcus on the other side. Liz was not far behind them as she had just arrived.
"Hey guys" Angel said to her friends letting them in..
"Hey." They both said at the same time.
"Well hello, and who is this young lady. Is this Jamie?" Liz asked as she entered.
"Yes, it is. Jamie, this is my mother, Elizabeth Major." Angel said letting her annoyance go, although the feeling of a wrongness was still there.
Lou hung up the phone before the call could be traced. "Why do you sound so angry at me, Angel? I just want you with me, always and always. I love you."
Just then, he noticed the little private and some nigger walking to the door. "What the fuck are they doing here?" he thought out loud.
He watched her open the door to let them in at the same time as her mother had shown up. Angel looked around outside suspiciously and let them in. She smiled brightly at the black man and the blond as she let them in. Then the door was closed. "Man, you put your hands on her one more time nigger and Ill kill you!"
Angel never again asked Jamie why she wasnt going home but the private was looking forward to Thanksgiving dinner around Elisabeth Majors table. Angel and her mother had a great relationship. They finished each others sentences and had most of the same mannerisms. Marcus had told her that he wouldnt mind waking up next to Angel for the rest of his live, if she was going to have that kind of energy.
Jamie sat on her bunk a few days later and stared at an envelope she had received and sighed. In her mothers hand writing, it read Return to sender. The letter to her brother had been returned, sealed.
Angel walked back to their bunk after taking a shower and opened her wall locker. She looked over to Jamie, who had tossed the letter into her own locker. She sat next to her. "Are you okay?"
"Uh.. .yeah. I was just thinking," Jamie answered.
"You want to talk about it?" Angel asked. Suddenly, they were aware that the bay was full, women changing into their street clothes, and playing different types of music very loudly.
"Okay, but not here," Jamie replied. Angel nodded and pulled her shoes.
They left the barracks and started to walk around the track. Jamie admitted to her friend that shed had a falling out with her parents about her life, without going into any details. Admitting what had really happened to a superior was dangerous.
"So they sent back the letter you wrote your brother? Thats illegal, you know? Ill write to him for you," she stated.
"Would you?" Jamie asked.
"Of course I would." Angel answered." Im your friend. and you need your brother."
Jamie smiled as Angel gave her a gentle shove and continued walking around the track.
The next two weeks went by slowly. Graduation from Bravo School occurred the day before Thanksgiving. Everyone was dressed in their dress greens, with Angel forcing her sore breasts into a tight jacket. As class leader, she marched them to their classroom and filed them in into a room full of parents.
After it was all over, they were 91 bravos. Civilian translation - Emergency Medical Technicians. They shouted their class motto loud and strong and the cheers from the parents said it all.
Jamie tried to hide her heavy heart as she saw other soldiers families crowd around their loved ones. Elizabeth came and hugged her tightly. "Congratulations dear."
"Thank you Liz, I couldnt have done it without Angel," Jamie responded.
"Well, a lot of people couldnt have done it without Angel, but I think you would have managed. Will you be staying the night with us?"
Jamie looked at Angel, who was leaning against the wall behind them, talking to one of the soldiers. Their eyes met for a second and Angel nodded almost imperceptibly. "Yeah, I have nowhere else to go until Angel and I get our housing assignment."
"Wonderful. You can help me cook for tomorrow. You do know how, dont you?"
"Mother insisted on it. She cant." Jamie answered with a grin as Liz led her outside. She looked back at Angel, who seemed bored to death.
"Maybe I should go save her from them," Liz stated.
"Youre right, she doesnt look too comfortable in that suit," she replied turning back.
When Angel finally got to the barracks, Jamie had completed her packing. Shed seen the younger womans car parked just outside the building. "I have to get out of this. Ive gained weight since I last wore it."
"Well, you havent much been doing PT lately," Jamie stated . Angel smiled involuntarily and continued to free her sore breast from the binding of the jacket. "What are you smiling about?"
"Freedom," Angel replied with a grin. and hung up her clothing, replacing them with the most comfortable clothing she owned without slumming it.
"Yeah, at least for a month," Jamie said.
"When school starts again next year, youll understand what I mean," Angel answered, hefting her duffel bag and heading for the door.
"Wait for me! Im still not sure how to get to your house from here," Jamie said hefting her own and racing after her. "Wheres your mom?"
"She went home. See you there. I cant wait to get off this base for a while."
"I hear ya," Jamie exclaimed as she closed the trunk to her Corolla and hopped inside. She followed the silver Mercedes all the way to the older womans home. She knew what she was thankful for this year, it was a friend like her.
Angel woke up late Thursday morning, Her body had completely turned against her the night before. She walked down the stairs, sniffing the wonderful smells coming from the kitchen. "Mmmm," she stated as she walked into the kitchen. "I dont think can wait until later to eat."
"We made breakfast too. Want eggs or anything," Jamie asked, looking over her shoulder. Shed been worried about Angel all night as she had watched her friend throw up everything she had eaten the day before, and wondered how hungry she would be.
"Yeah," Angel answered, moving around the room and collecting all sorts of food. Her mother slapped her hand away from the pie filling as the door rang.
"Get that will you dear?" her mother asked. Angel moved to the front door and opened it.
"Look at my girl, all half naked and everything," Marcus said, pointing at the night shirt that Angel wore.
"You wish...," Angel said, putting her hand in the pockets of her cut-off jean shorts.
"Well, a man can dream, cant he? You up for a bit of football," Marcus asked, tossing a ball in the air. Angel winced slightly.
"Nah, Marcus, not this year." Angel replied, walking inside.
"Aw, baby, you still sick?" he asked, draping an arm around her shoulder.
"No, not sick.. I just dont feel well," Angel said as she walked into the kitchen.
"Well to me that constitutes sick." he started. "Hey Liz, can I help you with something?" Marcus asked as he walked into the kitchen.. Angel sank into a chair and watched everything that went on. Everyone helped with the meal and while everything was cooking everyone sat to watch football. Lillian came a little later bearing cranberry sauce. Marcus mother came after. She had been working that day, so she was glad not to have to cook. It had become a full house.
Jamie had missed things like this. Her family of four stayed within the confines of their home and Thanksgiving was not a big tradition. There was one thing that did make her day. Angel went to check the mail and came back in with an envelope for her from her brother. The taller woman smiled widely at Jamie as she handed it to her. "Thank you so much," Jamie said hugging her.
As she read it, her heart sank. Sean wrote to her and told her how awful it had become in their home. They act as if you died at a war or something. I caught mom and dad checking my mail all the time now. As she continued reading, he went on to say how much he missed her and supported her, and how glad he was that she wasnt alone and had someone to hang with. She smiled when she felt a hand on her shoulder.
Angel stood behind her, a sad look on her face. " You alright?" Angel asked.
"Yeah," Jamie said as everyone was called to the table.
Marcuss mother lead the prayer and then
asked every one to say what they were thankful for. "Im thankful for seeing
my son happy again," his mother said, leading
"Um.. I guess, I am thankful to be among friends instead of alone in the barracks." Jamie said.
"Im grateful for this long break Im getting, that I have Marcus back in my life, and that I have a best friend I can trash him to," Angel said with a grin.
"Im grateful, my girl has a good friend to trash me too and blow off steam so that she can come to me fresh and steam free," Marcus said Angel pushed him gently. "Im also grateful that my whole legal ordeal is over," he added.
"Well, since you arent going to say it, Anjulee, I may as well thank god for the new life growing inside you." All eyes turned to Angel and she cringed. "Im sorry darling, but they were gonna find out sooner or later, and I just couldnt wait any longer to share the news."
Marcus looked at her. "Halloween?"
"It only takes that one time Marcus." Angel answered softly. He smiled and took her in his arms. Jamie stared for a moment a bit shocked but deep down she knew what was going on. The group congratulated the two and started to eat.
Marcus heaped food up on Angels plate until she stopped him. "Who the hell do you think youre feeding, the entire Army?" She slapped his hand and the rest chuckled .
Jamie watched everything and joined in, feeling very much welcomed by the group. The one thing that made the most impact to her was at the end of the evening, when everyone was leaving, she watched Liz kiss Lil lightly on the lips and hug her goodnight. Is that why she understands? No wonder.
To be continued in part 5
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