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Posted on 2009.11.18 at 23:29

My partner M, has a cousin S who is one year younger than him. And when he graduated highschool he decided to join the Army (mainly to piss off his parents i think!) and because we are Australian and dont have as many people in the defence forces like say, America, this was a pretty big deal. Mostly we graduate highschool and then move on to university. S has been in the army for a year now. he is specialising with rifles and plans to become a sniper. He will sign up for 3 years of service at the end of his training in 2010 and will do his first tour of Afghanistan in 2011 for 8 months. And he will return any time that he is required in the 3 years that he has enlisted for. S went to training with a girlfriend back home who at the end of the day couldnt stand the distance and broke it off, even though a week later he got placed about an hour away from her anyway. She still didnt want to be with him. (her loss, he is looking mighty fine with his army boy haircut and camo getup!) S said that for a few weeks there he felt like his heart had been ripped out of his chest, that nothing was worth it anymore and it made it harder to do all the training exercises. So even though the end of this story doesnt end as tragically as S's i still used him as inspiration and i still wanted to try and convey that while men have a tougher exterior and you dont think that they can be hurt that they can. they really can love as passionately and fully as we girls do. And even a big tough guy like S will admit to how much it hurt. I suppose his tour of Afghanistan might just be that much easier without missing her though...
Anyway in keeping with tradition of naming my short stories after the two main characters this one is called 'Brady & Liv.'

Brady & Liv

I watched Brady walk towards me. All six feet of his tanned, sculpted, green eyed glory. Six months I had waited for this day, six months I had to think about how we would be reunited and boy was this version anticlimactic. I pictured sprinting towards each other and flinging myself into his arms to be spun around. Apparently not likely.

Brady finally stopped ion front of me, his hands dug deep into the pockets of his camouflage pants.

‘You said you’d call.’ I blurt out before I could stop myself. Talk about playing it cool. What happened to being distant and unaffected?

‘Liv, we talked about this.’ He said gently in his gravelly voice.

Liv. No one called me Liv. No one except for him. My name is Elizabeth, hence no ‘Liv’ but he had insisted that Liz was an old lady’s name and Liv was sexy, so it stuck.

‘No we didn’t.’ I said shortly, even though technically, we had.

‘Liv, I promise we’ll walk about this later, but right now I have to go and see my parents. Ok?’ He searched my eyes and when I looked up at him I saw nothing but sincerity.

‘Ok.’ I whispered. I always gave into him. Always.

‘Thanks.’ The corner of his mouth ticked up in a smile.

I turned and watched him walk over and embrace his parents. His mother was resting her head on her sons chest and letting tears of happiness flow. Brady’s father was patting him on the back, no emotion from him, not ever.

A six month stint in the Army was not what anyone expected from Brady. With his brains being a doctor or a lawyer was more than expected but that sort of thing had never interested Brady. He wanted to break free of that mould and he thought that six months in the Army would give him those answers. Answers that I hoped involved the two of us being together forever. No words could describe how crushed I was when Brady confirmed that he would be serving. Up until then I thought it would just be a phase that would pass but no. And so for six months we would be apart. Six months, two letters, one phone call. He had warned me that we might not get to speak that often and by that I thought I would be limited to maybe a call once a week. But who was I to be mad? Who was I to interfere with Brady’s decisions?

Sighing at the warm reunion in front of me I turned and walked out into the backyard. Probably not that wisest idea seeing as it was winter but it was better than being inside and being confronted with such a warming scene when I felt anything but that. A few moments later I heard the door slide open and then close as someone stepped outside. By the sound of the heave steps my guess would be Brady in his Army issue boots. He was still wearing camouflage and I really didn’t want to admit how good it looked on him.

‘I don’t like your hair.’ I said still not turning around. I heard him lift his hand to no doubt run it over his head which was now sporting a very short buzz cut.

He laughed. ‘You liked it on Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom.’

I finally turned to face him a fiery look in my eye. ‘Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom didn’t abandon their girlfriends for six months.’

Brady’s smile faltered. ‘Liv…’ He began. ‘That’s not fair. I made my future plans quite clear when we got involved.’

I suppressed a groan. He had. Of course he had, he was ever the gentleman like that. ‘But I didn’t think that you would actually follow through with them.’ I exclaimed. Brady looked hurt. ‘The Army Brady! The Army? You could have done anything and you chose not only the things that took you away from everyone and everything but something that could kill you.’

I examined his face, it was much more tan that when he left and his normally golden hair was much lighter, due to what I was sure was many hours in the sun. The colour of his skin only complimented his forest green eyes though which had always been my favourite feature on his gorgeous face.

‘It was only one tour Liv.’ He almost whispered.

A strong gust of wind blew over the snow covered backyard and I shied away from Brady as I shivered and blew air into my cupped hands in an attempt to keep warm.

‘Liv come on.’ He touched my shoulder gently. ‘Don’t be like that, you know I thought about you every day.’

‘Enough for only two letters and a phone call apparently.’ I bit back, it was a low blow, but I couldn’t help it. I was hurt. I missed him more than I ever wanted to admit and even though I know the last six months would have been no holiday for him either I couldn’t help but feel like I had gotten the short end of the deal.

I heard Brady sigh in apparent frustration but he didn’t say anything further on the topic despite the fact that I knew he would like to mention that it was a little hard to get phone reception and mail service in the middle of the desert.

‘You know most of the guys I served with were single when we were deployed. Most of them had been that way for a while.’ He chuckled. ‘But there were a few whose girlfriends broke up with them because they couldn’t do the distance. It was only me and one other guy who had the fortune of their partners agreeing to wait for them.’

I so desperately wanted to turn around and face him but at the same time I was stubborn and didn’t want to give him that satisfaction.

He continued. ‘But what Leon and I couldn’t understand was why those girls left. I mean what would you prefer? Forever without your partner, or six months without them? In the end I think the other guys realised it too and that’s why they continued on their deployment.’

I shivered violently again and blew into my hands.

‘You’re cold.’ He stated spinning me around to face him.

‘No I’m not.’ I said defiantly.

Brady took both of my hands in his, which were surprisingly warm, and raised his eyebrows. ‘You’re not huh?’

I smiled sheepishly.

Brady squeezed my hands tighter. ‘Five years is a long time.’ Referring to how long we had been together for. Today was, conveniently, our anniversary. ‘And in all honesty, being away from you was harder than the training and the heat and the sand… combined.’ He laughed and I found myself letting out a giggle too. I was relieved to say the least. ‘And so for that reason, I have decided not to reenlist.’

I stared at him, not daring to believe what he had just said. I had hoped against all hope that chase was not going to come back and tell me that he had found his true calling and it was now going to take him away from me forever. Who knew that all of those silent prayers had actually paid off?

‘Liv? Babe?’ Brady sounded a little worried.

Instead of saying anything I threw myself at Brady, flinging my body into his arms had never felt so good before. I knew I had knocked all of the breath out of Brady but I didn’t care, and apparently neither did he, he hugged me back so tightly, so fiercely that could only feel myself melt into him even more.

Our first hug in six months, and I think it had to be the best hug I had ever felt, just by the way that Brady was holding me, his hands in my hair, his face buried into my neck, I knew that he’d meant every word and most importantly I knew that he loved me.

Brady pulled back and looked at me and I found myself blushing but not able to look away from the intensity in his eyes.

‘I haven’t had a kiss in six months. Why must you persist in torturing me?’ he asked leaning forward, a twinkle in his eye.

‘Maybe I’m waiting for something first.’ I breathed only a millimetre away from his lips.

He smiled crookedly. ‘I love you, Elizabeth.’

I grinned before I leaned the final distance to meet his lips in the sweetest kind of reunion.

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