This is a work of fiction. All concepts, characters and events portrayed in this book are used fictitiously and any resemblance to real people or events is purely coincidental.
Copyright Evelyn Hively, 2014
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means without prior written permission of the publisher, nor be circulated in any form of bind or cover other than that in which it is published without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent publisher.
Laughter filled the cabin that evening much to Snarp’s dismay. The mice weren’t coming out so that he could chase them and set their tail tips on fire. The flames never lasted long and it did was singe their fur, but it was fun. Gnobin had peered down several times but Mace after loving on Joseph and Charles had gone back to chilling on the bed. Jason and the rest had already left by that point by a good hour since. Lacy glanced at the time and found it was only eight.
“There a particular time you guys need up at?”
“Nope, as a matter of fact, I’m sleeping in” he said with a satisfied smiled. Charles nodded in agreement and then turned to the woman as she was sitting in her rocking chair.
“So… you’ve not actually asked us once what we do,” he stated.
Lacy blinked a couple of times.
The two men traded a puzzled look and looked back at her. She burst out laughing but became somber quickly.
“I get along with most military background folks better than I do civilians. Finding good people to hang out with is getting harder as folks are become groupish and cliqueish and insular…or is exclusive a better word…” Lacy trailed off thinking.
“Exclusive works,” Joseph said, almost coaxing.
“Well anyways, if it’s something that you want me to know, you’ll tell me. If it’s not really overly important outside you’re Marines and military… then I’m okay with that too.”
Joseph grinned at her.
“I’m okay with that. I’m actually on my last year. I get out in August 2013.”
Lacy’s eyes danced for a few seconds.
“Do you know what you’re going to do?”
“Not yet, but it’ll be a good life at this point. I’ve got about sixteen years but it’s time to move on,” he stated. Lacy frowned.
“So you’re… 34?”
He nodded and noticed her seem to shrink a little.
He started laughing.
“That’s not a bad age Lacy,” he gently scolded her. She smiled at him and stood to pour them new drinks. Joseph not so shyly, watched her ass as she walked into the kitchen. There was something very appealing about her and she was beautiful. Not just cute or pretty. Beautiful. She had proudly shown off her crocheted works, her books and even done a bit of impromptu karaoke for them. She had a pleasing alto voice when she sang. She didn’t smoke so her voice hadn’t deepened like some many women’s voice would have after only God knew how many years.
“Why does the nickname Jason called you cause pain?”
She didn’t answer right away. She brought their drinks back over and sat down after stoking the fire. She studied her drink for a few moments and they could see she was looking for the right words.
“That nickname is from a time that is full of a lot of bad memories, foolish choices and some memories that I’m trying to un-repress. I actually have PTSD symptoms…but I don’t have all the causes narrowed down,” she said.
The men nodded.
“Okay,” Joseph said and smiled at her genuinely when she finally met his gaze.
“If you leave here without her number…..” he glared at Joseph.
“I’ll kick my own ass.,” Joseph said with a laugh. Lacy grinned.
Later that night after Charles had crawled into bed, Joseph and Lacy were still talking though more quietly now. Joseph had been delighted to find she was rather versed in many genres of music and groups. It was two a.m. when Mace rather loudly meowed at their feet. Lacy frowned down at the cat, Joseph rather sheepishly laughing as he had jumped a few inches. The futon was already laid down and Joseph plopped onto it, working his way into his sleeping bag. Lacy flopped onto her stomach next to him after shutting off the lights and throwing more wood into the fire place.
She pulled some blankets up and smiled at him. He grinned one of the most handsome shit eating grins that she had ever seen.
“How hard would it be to convince to sleep next to me for a long time?”
Lacy half-smiled sleepily.
“How long is a long time?”
” A life time…”
Lacy looked at him sadly.
“Man like you has someone.”
Joseph thought for a few seconds and realized that she was right. Normally someone in the Corps as long as what he had been had a wife and kids… but no one had ever managed to catch his eye for that.
“No. I can even show you my paperwork. No wife, no kids, no domestic partner. Just a truck and mighty need to get to know you better. You’ll answer when I call when we’ve left?”
Lacy gave him a grin.
“I’d like it if we kept talking to each other, so of course. I get along better with you than Jason,” she told him.
“Be careful around him. He’s being discharged and while it’s not dishonorably-”
“- it’s not under good circumstances,” she finished, ” I know. He’s got issues but he’s been decent at not involving me. Hell he asked me to marry him once but I said no because I had my own shit to deal with.”
Joseph reached over and gently rubbed her back. Lacy sighed with pleasure. Maybe, just maybe… this time things would work out.
Katana and Uchi watched the two humans fall asleep. Uchi gave an angry snort.
He’s late. What took him so long to find her?
Humans are subject to their choices my dear, and because their lives are shorter the consequences happen faster. If he had chosen to re-enlist there’s a very high chance he would have died in the hills of earth dragon Ma’achi and mountain dragon Cholota’s domain. You know how they are about eating human spirits. It’s bad enough those two are going to have to be dealt with.
Uchi gave a disgusted sigh. It was against the rules to eat human spirits from recently dead for three reasons. One the human spirit didn’t know it was dead many times until several days had passed. Two they were addicting. To the point of interfering and causing more human deaths. Three and this one was the worst, they weren’t able to be re-born as older and more wise humans when stuck in the stomach of an ever fattening corrupted reptoid.
Will she have too? Uchi asked. Katana had more intimate conversations with It than he did but his missions always lasted longer and kept him away from the company of the Supreme.
It doesn’t know for certain yet. You know as well as I do that there some events and things that have to happen, but those involved is constantly changing because of their choices. Now he’s found her though, she’ll be getting stronger. She’ll need it. She’ll have to be told before she leaves here.
Uchi’s wings drooped.