Friday, July 29, 2011

Chapter Four

No MelTing, I am not writing about war because I'm feeling hostile about this whole pending school thing. LMAO. This story will be more about love than war... at least I hope so. :o)  Miss RebelHeart... this chapter is longer, so no complaints! tehehe

And there will come a time, you'll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see what you find there,
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.

And now I cling to what I knew
I saw exactly what was true
But oh no more.
That's why I hold,
That's why I hold with all I have.
That's why I hold.
After The Storm - Mumford and Sons

March 2009

“If I can’t walk, then I don’t want to live,” I said steadily, with my eyes closed, trying to control my breath.  “I would have rather died back in that street than to be here right now getting this award for living while my brothers and sisters died.”  The room was silent and when I opened my eyes, I found the General standing in front of me with a grim face while my parents looked on from the corner, holding on to one another with tears streaming down their faces.  I was back on Canadian soil, in Toronto at the military hospital.  It took me a month for them to transport me back here because I had been too unstable for the long flight home.

“I’m sure God has a plan for you, my daughter,” the Priest said that was standing next to the General.  He calmly placed his hand on my head and uttered a whispered prayer.  I could have sworn I heard him murmur something about my sanity, but I just sat there, attempting to tone him out.  I was one angry woman.  I didn’t want anything to do with this world.  If God had a plan for me, there was no way in Hell he would break my body so that I was unable to use it.

Of course the doctors were all optimistic with me when talking about my future.

“Miss Alexandra...”

“It’s Fletch,” I bit at the Doctor.  I could see my mother flinch when I spoke.

“Fletch,” the Doctor patiently began again.  “You have to understand that people live a quite normal and fulfilling life even though they are paralyzed.  This is not a death sentence by any means.  You are very lucky that it is just your legs that you are unable to move.  It is very feasible for you to still have children…”

“Why would I want to have a child if I can’t run after them and play with them like a normal parent?!” I cried.  “Besides, do you really think someone is going to want me like this?!”

He took a deep breath before speaking again.  “Fletch, I understand your anger right now…”

“You have no clue.”

At this, his patience had seemingly run out.  He turned to my mother and father and began speaking to them as if I wasn’t there.  “Mr. and Mrs. Fletcher, please beware she is going to need some psychoanalysis and is going to need counseling.  Alexandra is basically going through the grieving process right now and needs all the support she can get right now.  I’m sorry for all this news, I’m sure this is just as hard for you as it is her…”

“Is there any hope at all that she might walk again?” My mother asked quietly.

“There is always a chance.  However, Alexandra needs to be in the right frame of mind and a lot of physical work will be need to happen for her to even have a chance; even then, no promises can be made.  When the time is right, come to me and I will get you the names of some people who might be willing to take her on.”  He looked over at me, nodded to me and then back at my parents and left the room.

After a few moments of tense silence I said, “Please go now.  I want to be left alone.”

My mother came over, leaned down over my bed and gave me a hug and kissed me on the head just as she would when I was a child.  My father just looked on and waited until my mother left the room.  “You chose your life.  Now you must live with it,” he said plainly.  Despite my heart already being in pieces, it was now completely shattered with no hope of bringing it back to normal.

July 2010/Present Day

“I’m sorry, but Eden is really fucking annoying,” Patrick announced as soon as we got in my truck.  “There is something about her voice that makes my hair stand-up every time she speaks…Oh! And how can I forget about that evil look she gives me every time I insist you come out to the bar with me for a guys night?!  Totally creepy.”

I laughed at my friend as he shook himself off like there were bugs crawling around on his skin.  “Well, it’s not like she isn’t aware of your partying habits, Pat.”

“This is exactly why I don’t have a steady girlfriend!” he piped back.  “Cogs, what do you think of her?”

Andrew was also here in London for the summer, training with me.  We had just found out that he had been traded to Anaheim, which was a big and bitter pill for me to swallow because he was my closest friend in Edmonton.  We had been roommates on and off ever since I joined the team and basically inseparable.  We took some heat for this, especially after we tried living apart at one point, only to end up with him moving into my new place with me just a few weeks after the season started.  Unfortunately, I knew exactly what his opinion about Eden was before he even obliged Kaner with an answer.  “She’s a psycho,” Cogs said plainly.  “I think I would have killed her if she had lived in Edmonton this past season…”

“But you even said she was hot,” I whined, driving down the street towards a club that we had been frequenting fairly often this summer.

“Just because she’s hot doesn’t mean she ain’t psycho.”


“See Sammy, you need to drop this chick,” Patrick said matter of fact.  “We’re too young to get tied down…”

I just rolled my eyes and shook my head.  Maybe he was right.  I endured an afternoon of nagging from Eden after buying the photograph and not buying the funky abstract shit she was begging me to purchase, so it was easy to see Pat’s ideas weren’t too far off.

“Why would you buy something so gruesome like this?!” Eden cried.

“I don’t think it’s gruesome at all, I mean it’s not a pleasant thought that the guy in the picture is dead, but I think it is a pretty moving picture.  You don’t find it romantic at all?” I asked, totally miffed by her attitude.

“There is nothing romantic about that,” she said with disdain dripping off her tongue.  “You obviously are twisted, Sam Gagner.”

Little did she know that the picture was going to be hanging in the bedroom.

The club wasn’t very loud and crazy tonight when we walked in, but that was to be expected since it was only a Thursday and the college crowd wasn’t around for the summer.  Cogs and Tavares went to grab a table while Pat and I went up to the bar to grab the first round of drinks.

“Here’s to your last free night, Sarah!!”  A group of girls suddenly squealed at a table nearby.  I turned and watched 6 or 7 girls all decked out to the nines, some standing, some sitting, sling back a shot and make funky faces afterwards.  “Ugh!  I hate Tequila, you are not allowed to buy any more shots, Alexandra!” One of the girls exclaimed as she leaned down to her friend that was sitting and gave her a big hug and kiss on the cheek.  I could only assume the girl complaining about the shot was Sarah since she was donning a gaudy tiara with a pink veil and a big sash proclaiming she was the Bachelorette of the Year.  The girl she was hugging was a hauntingly beautiful oriental girl with long, dark tresses and a sparkling smile.

“Ooh, a Bachelorette party,” Kaner commented.  “You can always find some fun ones with that…” he smirked.  “Wouldn’t mind having the Bachelorette, as a matter of fact.”

“Dude, she’s obviously getting married soon…” I shook my head.

“Exactly.  She ain’t married yet, so why not have a night in paradise before getting tied down, am I right?”

“You’re a dog.”

At this comment he howled, picked up his beer and headed over to our table, leaving me with 3 drinks to carry myself.  “Jerk,” I mumbled under my breath.

Of course real men don’t use a tray to get their drinks over to the table, so I politely declined the offer from the bartender, strategically picked up the 2 beer bottles and my mixed drink and spun around to quickly walk over to the table before dropping anything.  I didn’t realize until it was too late that my hauntingly beautiful oriental girl was actually right behind me, in a wheelchair.

Going out to public places wasn’t my thing since my life sentence, especially to dance clubs.  A girl in a wheelchair had no place at a dance club, but Sarah insisted I be present for her “last night on the town.”

“Alex, you have been my best friend since we were little and even though you still don’t want to believe that God has left you on this planet for a reason, I do and I think that reason was so that we could still have fun together,” she pouted about a week ago when she stopped by to visit me at my apartment. 

Everyone thought I was going to just get over the fact that I was paralyzed.  Sarah knew I was too stubborn to just move on from this.  It had been a long recovery process that in reality was just starting to begin.  Every time I healed enough to start the rehab, I was back in the hospital for either an infection or some other surgery the doctors decided I would need.  I was tired of hospital gowns and tired of being pricked like a pin cushion.  Then don’t even getting me started about how much I didn’t enjoy being strapped into this chair.

More than a few times I had the pills in hand and ready to take so that I would never wake-up again.  The last time was around Christmas time when my parents flew in to Toronto for the holiday.  I had everything all laid out, including the letter I had written when my mom walked in to say goodnight.  The horror on her face when she realized what I was about to do was enough to give me the slight reality check that I didn’t want.

“Alexandra,” she choked, clutching her chest as she collapsed to the floor.  “If this is about that boy in the picture; it is not worth it…”

The picture.  I found the picture on the internet some months after I returned to Canada.  It was as if it was out of a tragic Hollywood star-crossed romance.  Yet, unlike Juliet, I was still living, having to deal with the aftermath.

Counseling brought me a long way, but I had learned to play their games and I learned to say the right words at the right time to get out of all the bullshit they liked to put me through.  The only thing that was going to make everything go away was the chance to walk again.

Sarah had moved to London, Ontario permanently after she graduated college here and got engaged to Tim.  I just moved here last month after Race, my old platoon leader, told me about a guy who had worked with paralyzed veterans with a lot of positive results. 

Thank God for Race.  He visited me everyday in the hospital those first few months and his wife, Denise was Heaven sent.  Because of them, I was finally onto the next phase of my rehab and hopefully it would have me walking again.

So, tonight I was out with the girls, celebrating Sarah’s last night of freedom.  Everything was going well and I didn’t feel too out of place, despite the fact that we were at a dance club and I was unable to dance.  One or two of the other girls seemed to not be into the whole dance scene, so at least I had some people to talk to at the table.  Of course it didn’t take away the nerves I always got when being out in public.  I swear everyone constantly stared at me and gawked, but when I made a comment to Sarah about it, she would just laugh and say it was because I was so beautiful. 

Overly optimistic friends really can be a buzz kill when all you want to be is overly pessimistic.

I finally got the courage to go over to the bar myself, despite the fact that it was probably going to be a challenge for the bartender to ever see me sitting there.  It became old real quick to have everyone waiting on me, so I was attempting to be more independent.  As I wheeled my way over, a curly blonde guy winked at me with a cocky grin while he strutted by.  I was still shaking my head when the dark haired guy he had been standing next too abruptly turned around with full hands and obviously no clue I was nearby.

I could only cringe and hold my breath as he tripped into my wheelchair.  Drinks went flying in the air and suddenly I had a guy lying awkwardly across my lap.

His eyes were a beautiful green, instantly making me think of another person’s green eyes.  His hair was dark and on the longer side, tousled in a way that made me believe he didn’t even comb it this morning.  I’m fairly sure he weighed more than it looked like he should, because just looking at him; it seemed he was on the scrawny side.

To be honest, I’m not sure who was the most embarrassed by the ordeal.  He was sputtering out what I am assuming were apologies and I just sat there, turning beet red from humiliation.  Somehow he managed to not get any alcohol on me or him which is exactly what one of his friends chirped as soon as he arrived on the scene of the accident.

“Damn Gags, how the hell did you fall on this beautiful woman without getting a drop of our drinks on her?!  That’s talent man!” he laughed, reaching out a hand to pull him up.

“I’m so sorry Miss…?”

“Alex?! Are you okay?!” Sarah quickly ran over, joining the mob that had begun to surround us.

“I’m fine,” I mumbled, not even daring to look up at anyone.

I felt so bad.  It was probably the most awkward situation ever to be in.  Even worse for the simple fact that I was more floored by the fact that the pretty oriental girl was in a wheelchair… A WHEELCHAIR?!  Totally would have never guessed that one.  I was slightly surprised to hear her talk like a normal person, even though I’m not quite sure what I expected her to be.  She didn’t look to have a mental retardation problem, but most of the people I had met in wheelchairs over the years did have that kind of problem or they were war veterans.  I never met a beautiful girl who was in a wheelchair.  I mean, I have, but they were usually in one because of a broken bone or something.  This girl’s wheelchair was one that someone has when they are permanently confined to one.

“Sam?!  Are you going to buy the pretty lady a drink or not you ass?!” John chirped, stepping over one of the broken beer bottles and outstretching his hand to her.  She slowly reached out and shook his, nodding politely with a nervous smile crossing her lips.  “John Tavares, sorry my friend Sam here is a little rude and clumsy.”

Before she could even say anything there was a god awful squeal from the Bachelorette standing next to her.  “John Tavares?! I knew it!  And you are Sam Gagner, Patrick Kane, and Andrew Cogliano!” she continued in a terrible squeak.  “This is so crazy!  My fiancé is never going to believe me!  Alex! You need to get a picture of me with them!” she exclaimed, shoving a camera into the hands of the girl in the wheelchair.

Next thing I knew I was being blinded by a flash and we were sitting at the table with the girls of the Bachelorette party.  Alex, the girl in the wheelchair, sat at the opposite end of the table, staying very quiet, seeming to observe everything that was going on around her.  I caught her looking at me a few times, but each time I caught her, she looked away.  After a while she and Johnny seemed to hit it off nicely, but by this point I was too enthralled with a red head that had me pulled out on the dance floor, dancing quite close to me.

“What happened, if you don’t mind me asking,” John asked me quietly. 

We somehow got into a conversation about playing lacrosse.  He informed me that his uncle had been a pro-lacrosse player and that he himself had often thought of playing professional lacrosse instead of hockey.  I couldn’t help but laughed when concluded that thought with, “But, whoever becomes a national hero playing lacrosse?” A smile lit up his boyish yet charming face.  It was strange, I was only a year and a half older than him, but in some ways I felt ancient compared to him. 

“I mean, if you don’t want to talk about it, just tell me to ask another question or get away,” he quickly spoke, obviously sensing my hesitation.

“I was shot in Afghanistan last year…” I said evenly, kind of feeling strange saying the words because I had never really talked to a stranger about it besides my psychologist and the people in my group therapy sessions.  For some reason I felt comfortable talking with John, but it was his friend Sam that put me on edge.  I’m fairly sure it had something to with his green eyes; they were instantly imprinted into my brain.

“So you were in the military?”


“What is your specialty?”

“I am a combat nurse.”

“You are a very brave woman.”

“Or a stupid one,” I laughed half heartily.

“Thank you for your service, Alex,” he said sincerely.

As much as I still feel like I failed at my job, I nodded and said, “Thank you.”

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Chapter Three

In all honesty, I was going to hold off and post this tomorrow, but I'm soo excited about this story, that I can't help but keep posting more and more... hope ya'll don't mind, especially since that last chapter seemed to have us all in tears. Plus, I'm kind of wondering how you will react to my muse for this story... like I told Miss RebelHeart yesterday, his dorky-ness and eye rolling have completely won me over. *sigh* Well, let me know what ya think in the comments!!

Putting a tune with this one... it's just in my head and I think it's a beautiful piece... if you haven't heard all 3 parts, please, take the time and listen to the other 2 while you are reading because it's so beautiful.

Muse - Exogenesis Symphony - Part 1 (Overture)

Chapter Three

July 2010

“I want to thank everyone for coming out today.  All the proceeds from today will be going to Shoot For The Cure, a charity that is very important to me.  Everyday someone new is diagnosed with a spinal cord injury from various trauma that occurs.  Please check out all the memorabilia around the room and put in your bids for the silent auction that will be held at the end of the hockey game.  We will also be holding an autograph session afterwards.  Enjoy the game!” I concluded while I stood on the ice in front of about 5,000 people who had turned out the charity game I put together.  We had done something like this a few years ago and it yielded a good turnout then, but this year it seemed like we hit it big.  There was a huge turn-out from the Knights alumni, including my buddies Kaner and Tavares.  Corey Perry had even taken some time out of from his summer to join his old team and to help support my charity.  I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that the head injuries and spinal chord injuries were really brought to the forefront in the last two seasons.

The game went well, the Knights alumni beat the alumni from the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, despite Jeff Carter putting on quite the show, which might have had something to show after getting dumped by the Flyers. It was a blast to play with a bunch of the people I had idolized and even better to be playing in front of my home fans.  I spend a short time playing for the Knights, but my time spent here will always be remembered.

“Quite the production, buddy,” Kaner came over and clapped me on the shoulder.  We had just finished signing autographs and now everyone had begun just mingling before the silent auction began.

“Thanks,” I grinned over at him.  “I’m just glad this turned out to be a success, I should have a nice fat check to pass over to the charity.”

“I had a lot of fun being back on the ice with you and Jonny.  It was like old times with you passing me the puck so I could get the goals.”

I just rolled my eyes at my friend.  His cocky attitude was nothing I wasn’t used to.  In fact, it was probably why we were such good friends.  Kaner showed me it was okay to have a little bit of swagger to get that edge in your game.  As for the ladies, well, I watched him get slapped one too many times to know that it doesn’t always give you the edge on that subject.

It seemed like yesterday that I had been drafted to the Knights, playing on this ice and being cheered by the crowd whenever Kaner and I would make a sick pass or highlight reel goal.  Hell, it seemed like yesterday when I was drafted 6th by the Edmonton Oilers.  A lot had changed in the last few years.  I was now an NHL player, like my father had been and no longer did I feel as if I was living under his shadow.  It was my choice to pursue hockey as a career, but it was my father that did the pushing to become an elite hockey player, something that I was still working on even after making the big show.  For some reason I had never been given the hands or speed that some of my friends seemed to have possessed without much practice.  My speed and hands were learned and practiced.  Luckily I was born with good hockey sense, making me the complete package.

As much as I wanted to make the Oilers right out of camp in my rookie year, I was still shocked when they told me that I made the team.  I really expected to be sent back to the Knights, which in all honesty, I would have been okay with.  I was very young when I moved up into the big show.  Luckily I had some great guys on my team to keep an eye on me.

People would say I still have a lot of growing up to do, but I just figure I’m still young and that is the excuse I’m sticking to.  I act like an adult when it’s warranted, like tonight’s function for instance, but when I’m with my friends or at home I like to do what any other 21 year old guy likes to do.

“So what are we doing tomorrow?” Patrick asked suddenly.

“Um…I put my hands in my pockets and looked down at the ground.  Eden wants to go out and do some art shopping for the new place…” I mumbled waiting for the onslaught this was going to unleash.

“Seriously?! Who the fuck goes art shopping?! You are 21 years old, not 50!” he exclaimed, almost spitting out his beer.

“I promised her the other day already,” I tried to defend.

“You are whipped.”


Whatever.  You know he is right.  Me and Eden had been together for about a year now.  It is my first real serious relationship and I’m just going with the flow.  She’s hot and she’s good in bed, that’s all that mattered right?  I can’t say I’m overly thrilled with the fact that she feels it’s her job to decorate my new house, especially since I haven’t actually asked her to move in with me, but whatever.  I’m just going with the flow.

I met her last summer here in London at one of the bars I frequented.  Initially Doughty had her on the dance floor, but by the end of the night she was walking out the door with me.  She said something about him not being “fit” enough for her tastes, which I just laughed about because Drew always took some kicks about his physique when he really was a fit guy who had a stockier build.  Of course I didn’t say anything to defend him that night because I was too amped up on beer and hormones to really care about anything else.

Eden was in college to be a school teacher, which I felt was a noble profession, but sometimes I was sure she was just going to college because her mommy and daddy were paying for it.  She didn’t always seem like the sharpest crayon in the box, but again, I wasn’t one to judge others.

“Fine,” Pat said, seeming to realize he wasn’t going to win this battle, despite the fact that he had been one of my closest friends for a long time.  “We are having a guys night tomorrow night.  You, me, Tavares and Cogs are going out…Without Eden.”

“Okay, sounds like a plan.”

“Oh, Sammy!” Eden practically squealed from the other side of the art/photo-shop.  “Sammy! You have to come see this piece!”

I took a deep breath and slinked my way over to her.  I silently cursed Patrick for not tagging along with us this morning.  He insisted he was far too comfortable on my couch, which in all honesty, I couldn’t blame him.

I had to stifle a groan when I saw the painting she was pointing to.  It was some crazy 3-D abstract piece that looked like a bad Picasso knock off.  This was not at all what I had in mind for my house.  I would have been okay with just family photos in some of those funky frames you get at Bed Bath and Beyond, but I’ve been told that I’m not the best interior decorator on the block.  Cogs and Gilbert still make comments about my U-20 team picture that didn’t even fit properly in my room at the house we had shared the one year.

“Isn’t this AMAZING?!” she sighed dramatically.

“And where would you put that?”

“I was thinking of the bedroom, it screams sex!”

Whoa. Um…I guess…” I said slowly, turning my head to get a different angle of the painting, hoping I was just missing something. 

Luckily, something else must have caught her eye because when I went to make a comment about not really liking it, she was no longer there.  I shrugged my shoulders and continued to browse on my own.  I found a section of photographs, ones of different scenery and flowers, stuff that seemed a little more normal in my book.  I was flipping through the frames fairly quickly when I stopped and stared.

There at the back of the one shelf was a portrait that made me gawk.  There in the middle of a dirt street, in what looked to be a middle-eastern town, were two soldiers, a woman and a man, kissing.  Her helmet was lying beside them in the dirt, his bloody hand threaded through her black, shiny hair, locking them in a passionate embrace.  It was so well staged that it looked like they were really in the middle of a battle.  There was a Hummer, smoking like it had been blown up.  The guy had some blood pooling at the side of him and the girl had some blood on the back of her coat, making it look like she too had been shot.  In the background someone was frantically running towards them, while another person was kneeling as if he was shooting at a target out of the picture.

Every now and then there are scenes that grab you attention; this was definitely one of those moments for me.

“Can I help you?” a polite female voice asked, shattering the moment and causing me to jump.

“Uh, yeah, who took this photo?” I asked, stuttering.  “They make it look so real.”  I felt like a dork saying it, because it wasn’t like I knew much about photography.

“It’s not staged.  This was actually a picture taken by an AP reporter last year in Afghanistan,” the girl said politely.  “It’s funny you found this, I didn’t think we had any more prints of this.  I thought of this photo the day the papers published that couple kissing on the street in Vancouver,” she smiled to herself.

“But it looks like they were both shot…”

“They were,” she said, suddenly sounding sad.  I watched silently as she pulled the large frame from its storage spot and flipped it around to show me the article that had accompanied it when it was published in the Toronto Sun.

6 Canadian soldiers were killed, 2 injured during a gun fight in small town in Afghanistan.  AP photographer, James Nash was also injured in the battle when the Hummer he was riding in was ambushed.  However, he managed to get this gut wrenching picture of two GI’s.  Lieutenant Daniel Kramer and Lieutenant, Combat Nurse, Alexandra Fletcher share an intimate moment together after they were both wounded.  Lt. Kramer is listed as deceased and Lt. Fletcher is listed in critical condition at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany.

“I’ll take this,” I said as soon as I finished reading the article.  I had no clue where I was going to put it, but I knew it belonged in my house.

Don't know much about Sam?? Well... check out this video, you can at least learn 10 things about him in this one... I'll post more as we go along, just for something different.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Chapter Two

Ahhh and we're already off to a good start it seems!! Thanks for all the wonderful comments!! I have 2 peeps that have guesses on who my muse is... of course the one person I had already talked to about my guy... and the other... well I'm just thinking she's been very observant. Well, just another chapter to hold you in suspense and to learn more about our lady! Enjoy!

I knew I wanted to be in the medical field since I was young.  It all started out when my childhood best friend, Sarah, fell and scraped her knee.  I had watched enough ER with my mom, that when I was done bandaging Sarah up, you would have thought she had sliced her leg in half.  Even if it was a little over kill, I had still be proud enough of it that I insisted Sarah’s mom take a picture of me and Sarah with the bandage on.

It was after I shadowed a nurse my junior year of high school that I decided I wanted to become one.  Before that, I had been seriously contemplating med school, especially since my parents were constantly dropping hints about it.  My grades showed that I could handle it, but my heart told me I was too caring to become a doctor.  Besides, it was obvious a good nurse is what made a good doctor.

I finished at the top of my class in combat nurse school.  They were already trying to recruit me for officer school as soon as I graduated, but I wanted to be a peon for a least a year or two.  It only took a week after being over here in Afghanistan for me to experience my first dealings as a nurse in the war zone.  Unfortunately instead of caring of my own, I was caring for an innocent civilian child.  An IED went off in a playground.  My patient didn’t make it after taking the brunt of the blast.  I cried for two days straight.  They didn’t teach you how to deal with things like that in school.  However, I now understood why as I nurse I needed to be carrying a gun and learn how to shoot it accurately.  I was no longer in Edmonton, Alberta.

My given name is Alexandra Fletcher.  My nickname is Fletch.  My drill sergeant gave it to me on my first day of boot camp, saying that Alexandra was a name for a princess and there was no room for princesses in the Army.  The nickname stuck and I’ll never forget the look of horror on my mother’s face at my nursing school graduation when they announced the name as they handed me my diploma.  I’m fairly sure over half of my platoon was unaware of my real name and to be honest, I only knew a few of their first names.  However, I know more about these 10 people in just 8 months than I know about some of the people I’ve called best friends that I’ve known for practically a lifetime.

“So what did Kramer say to you last night?” Susie asked as we jogged around the barracks at 0500hrs.  The sun hadn’t shown its ugly face yet, so it was still cool enough to get in some good exercise without sweating profusely. 

“He was just being Kramer,” I fluffed it off.

“You were blushing,” she persisted, elbowing me playfully.

“And you are way too perceptive.”

“He has it bad for you.”

“Every guy has it bad for every girl around here because we are all deprived from getting any ass…”

“You know damn well everyone could get a piece of ass around here if they wanted it bad enough,” Susie chirped, raising an eyebrow at her truthful statement.

“Come on Susie, I’ve heard him make comments to you too,” I tried to remind her.

“There is a difference between the comments he makes to me and the comments he makes to you.  Besides, I’ve heard him talking to Race more than once about things.”

Race was the head of our platoon.  He was also married to a woman who had served under him the last time he was over here in the sandbox.  “What kind of things?” I asked innocently, knowing damn well what she was going to say.

“He wanted to know how Race and his girl made things work and how they got around the whole no relationship thing in the platoon.  I guess they had played it quiet and once they were back on Canadian soil she put in for a transfer and things were history from there.”  Sure, they weren’t over here together and they were separated for long periods of time, but it was well known that Race was head over heals for his woman and was a model husband.  I had noted a lot of the guys going to him for advice over the last several months, whether it was about marital problems or just personal struggles, Race was there for all of us.

I sighed and shook my head, unable to hide a sly smile after feeling the butterflies begin to churn in my stomach.  So he wasn’t kidding last night, he was being very serious about us.  I had dated my fair share of guys in high school, but nothing was ever serious because I was having too much fun being me.  Even now I wasn’t sure if this was something I would want.  “This is still all absurd,” I laughed nervously.

“Meh, even in this crazy land, happiness can still be found,” Susie said cheerfully.  Her optimism was always something I clung to.  There were many days that happiness was tricky to find in all the chaos.

“Fletch!  We need some help over here!” One of the Captains yelled out of a hum-vee window as they came speeding back into the barracks.  It was later on in the day and I was playing volleyball in the yard with a couple people from my platoon.  “We have some shot-up guys…”

I ran over and opened the rear door, finding a soldier that was probably about my age, bleeding out everywhere.  I instantly applied pressure to the soldier’s thigh; it was obvious he was quickly bleeding out from his femoral artery.  “What the hell happened?” I breathed.

“An IED got us ‘Mam,” one of the other guys piped up.  “It’s shrapnel in his leg.” And a big piece of shrapnel it was, I actually almost cut myself on it while I was holding pressure.  Soon we were in the barracks medical center and I was helping care for him.  We always seemed to be short staffed and today was no different.  Before I knew it, I was gowned up and in the OR, assisting with the surgery. Eight hours later I came out to find my day completely gone and the moon lighting the desolated desert.  My patient was still very critical and would be shipped out to Germany in the morning.  The doctor was unable to save his leg, but his life was saved.  Even after seeing this result time after time, my mind was still unable to process how losing a limb to save a life was justifiable.  I had decided that if it happened to me, I would rather die.  Life, in my book, would not be worth living if I wasn’t able to be “normal.”

I leaned up against the cement block building, allowing the heat of it to sink into my skin.  I took a deep breath and closed my eyes, letting the silence overtake me.  Tonight I found myself very homesick.

“Alex?” he spoke quietly, obviously trying not to startle me.  Even though I wasn’t expecting anyone to be out here, his presence instantly soothed me; I’m fairly sure I’ve never met anyone who could do that.

“Danny,” I whispered, not even bothering to open my eyes, I was too exhausted to.

“Is he going to make it?” he asked, sounding scared.  “We went through basic together…”

“He’ll make it, but he’s lost his leg,” I said plainly, flinching when I spoke of the amputation.




“If that ever happens to me, please tell them just to let me go.  Do you understand?”

“Alex…that’s ridiculous,” he left out a nervous laugh.  I finally opened my eyes when I felt his hands gently clasp my wrists.  He was standing in front of me with a furrowed brow.

“No, it’s not.  I do not want to live like that,” I said plainly.  “We all have things we want done for us if things go wrong and this is my wish, so please follow it out.”

“Why me?” he asked, taking a step closer to me.  I could feel his warm breath on my face and the smell of his manly shower gel filled my nose.

Unable to tare my eyes away from his I whispered, “Because I trust you.”

“Would it have anything to do that you have feelings for me?” he asked with a cocky smile.

“Don’t be full of yourself,” I attempted to joke, but the words came out as a plea for him to just take me.  He too must have heard it because soon we were frantically kissing each other.

Fate seemed to have a cruel way of dealing bad hands when we least expected it.  Of course with anything in life, it was a given that anything could happen despite believing it could never happen to you.

“Fletch!  We need you!” Race yelled loudly over the gunfire that suddenly rang out in the generally quiet streets of the town.  I had a feeling something wasn’t right when none of the kids we normally stopped to give candy, were not out playing and waiting for us. 

My stomach was unsettled the moment I awoke this morning, but I just likened it to the fact that I had been tossing and turning all night after the impromptu make-out session with Danny.  It was slightly awkward sitting next to him in the hum-vee today during our patrol and I could have sworn everyone was whispering about it, despite the fact that neither of us had told a single soul.  Every now and then errant glances were made towards one another, but I could feel myself blushing every time, so I made it a point to not even look at him. 

Everyone was a little on edge today and watching what was said or done because we had a report from the AP tagging along with us.  This was never something a crew wanted to have with them.  They were always nosey and seemed to get in the way during the most inopportune times.

We turned the corner, triggering the first IED to go off.  I watched in horror as the Hummer in front of us blew up and people rolled out, engulfed in flames.  Susie had been the driver and her door never opened.  We abruptly stopped and we all exited our Hummer, quickly taking defensive positions.  That was when the first of the gun shots rang out and Race began yelling for me.

I hopped into action, feeling as if everything was moving in slow-motion.  Kramer was already up with Garrett, putting out the flames on his badly burned body.  Garrett was the machine gun operator for his vehicle and was one of Kramer’s best buds.  They had enlisted together after high school.  “Fletch, tell me what to do,” he cried as I began assessing Garrett’s wounds.  “What you were trained to do,” I said calmly.  “You need to cover me as I run and get the stretcher.”  Danny nodded and soon I was running back to my Hummer and grabbing more supplies.  I was on my way back to Danny and Garrett when I saw the dirt in front of me getting shot up.  I remember putting my head down and running just a bit faster.  Sliding in next to the two boys I began working, ignoring Kramer’s gun firing and focusing on my own job.  Garrett was burned bad, but had a chance; the other passengers of his Hummer were not very lucky.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t think of that right now, all I could think about was helping Garrett.

I had just gotten Garrett strapped to the litter and was about to call for assistance in getting him back to our Hummer when I heard the dull, but distinct sound of a round piercing flesh.  Danny immediately grabbed for his shoulder before another bullet hit him.  Reacting, I threw myself at him, looking for where the bullets had made their entrance and soon I found myself in unbearable pain.

“Fuck, Alex,” Danny cried, seeming to know before me that I too had been hit.

I wanted to say something, but no air would come from my lungs.  Even if I wanted to breathe, I couldn’t because soon Danny was kissing me there in the middle of the dust-bowl street as gun fire rang out around us.  His last breath was wasted on me.  My last thought being, this was not how life was meant to be.

“She’s going to need to get back to Toronto for surgery,” a strange voice spoke.  “We have removed the bullet and the bone fragments, but she’s going to need more surgery to fix that vertebra.”

“Do you think she’ll ever be able to walk again?” Another voice asked.

“If she gets the right surgeon, maybe, but it’s doubtful.”

“Such a shame…” the other person said.  I didn’t even have the time to think about it as the darkness and silence overtook me once more.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Introduction/Chapter 1

Well, I'm sad to say that this will probably be the last story I write for roughly a year.  For those who don't know me, I'm starting paramedic school in September and my friends and instructors have already warned me that I will have no life but studying, practicals and sleeping.  So, I wanted to have one last hurrah before it is time to buckle down and become a full-time student for the first time since I graduated college a few years ago.

I will definitely be posting the rest of the stories I have written and posted on the Hockey Fantasy Fiction board since many have expressed interest in no worries.

I only have a few chapters written of this so far and I contemplated on waiting to post it until it was finished, but like any writer, I am looking for feedback!! It will be a chapter or 2 until we learn about my new hockey muse... strangely, he has been someone that I've been attempting to write about for some time now, but nothing ever seemed to work until this time.  I hope you all enjoy and will follow me along on this last adventure before my hiatus!!

Here is the song that this story is named after... Yes, I'm obsessed with Incubus, what can I say? :o)

Chapter One

January 2009

“If it gets any hotter, I’m thinking my clothing is going to melt off,” I breathed, wiping the sweat off my forehead even though it was worthless because it just beaded up as soon as my arm was back down at my side.  It was a dry heat.  People say it was easier to get used to, but being a girl from Canada, I would never be used to it.  It is January, but you could fool me as I stand here in the desert.

“You know Fletch, I’m sure I’m not the only one hoping that would happen,” Kramer immediately piped up.  He smacked me on the back as he walked by and winked at me.

I just shook my head and smiled.  So much for the zero tolerance of sexual harassment in the military; there would be no laughter without it in this sandbox hell.  “You wouldn’t be able to handle what I’m packing, Kramer!” I chirped back, instantly garnering some whistles and hollers from some of the other guys in our platoon.  I looked over to the only other woman in my group who also happened to be my best friend Susie.  She was laughing with the rest and giving me a thumbs up approval.

The world was a whole different place over here.  I thought I knew what to expect when I first signed my papers, but I learned quickly that I hadn’t a clue.  I guess you could say I grew up a happy, naïve Canadian girl.  Thinking back, my parents are probably the ones to blame because they made sure I had everything and sheltered me from everything bad that they could.  They adopted me from Korea when I was only a few months old after they tried several times to have a child together.  They were already in early 40’s, well settled in their careers and lives, so money was never an issue for them.  I always had the best clothing, went to the best schools, and given every opportunity a girl could want.  So when I went to them about my plans of joining the military after I finished high school, let’s just say they were a little more than shocked and upset.

“Alexandra,” my father began.  I still can picture him clearly.  He set the newspaper down that he had been reading and adjusted his glasses as if that would change the words that had come from my mouth.  “You have been accepted to Princeton and Hopkins…”

“I realize this.” I said simply, realizing I was going to have to dig my foot deep into the ground to keep this strong hold.  I was ready for a life of adventure, but with structure, which was exactly what the recruiter promised me and exactly what I wanted.  Being very task and goal oriented, this prospect appealed to me greatly.

“There is no reason to waste your talents and mind on something so…something so brainwashing.”

“I want to be a combat nurse, Dad.”

“I thought you wanted to become a Doctor,” my mother said quietly, finally joining my father in the effort.

“Well, it is what you wanted me to become,” I spoke slowly, not really wanting to offend my parents.  I loved them both very much for giving me everything in the world, but I was ready to make my own decisions.  “I want to serve my country.”

“You can serve your country by becoming a doctor and working here,” my father said plainly, raising his voice a few decibels.

“I’m already signed up.  The Army has already accepted me into their nursing program.”

“So has Princeton and Hopkins,” he reiterated.

“I’ve already been in touch and declined my offers with them.”

“This is absurd!” he exploded.  “You have done some mind boggling things before, Alexandra, but I’m sure this one tops the cake, young lady!  I mean, do you even realize that you still have to go through basic training like the rest of the infantry?!  It’s not like gym class where you run a mile and you are done…”

“I realize this and this is why I’ve been staying after school, running and lifting with the other military prospects,” I informed him, trying my hardest to keep hold of my own temper.

“So you’ve been lying to us about that too?!”

“I’ve been working out instead of getting study help, yes, I’m sorry father.”  I was actually ashamed of this fact because I rarely lied to my parents.  I looked over at my mom who was staying quiet again for the time being and saw the tears rolling down her eyes.  At this I almost buckled and rescinded everything, but I quickly looked away and back up at my father who was now pacing back and forth in the living room.  “You were in the military, why is it such a big deal that I too want to serve my country?” I threw up.

These words stopped my father.  He had been a decorated soldier in the Vietnam War, so I knew these thoughts would affect him somehow.  “I didn’t have a choice,” he said surprisingly quiet, thus ending the debate.  Nothing more was said from that day forward.  I knew they didn’t approve, which in some ways made it a lot worse than if they would have argued with me day after day until I left for boot camp.

There were definitely days that I found myself second guessing my choices, but here I was, 2 years later serving my country and having a good laugh with the people who trusted me with their lives.  I learned quickly that life was not always about getting everything you wanted, it didn’t matter if I had the best education money could by and life was not just about me anymore.  Out here it was all about street smarts, if you could handle what was thrown at you (figuratively and literally), and what was the best for the group.

I finished drinking my 5th 32oz water before noon and got up to grab my gear to make sure all my supplies were ready for today’s convoy.  It was our turn to take a couple runs around the city we were stationed at here in Afghanistan.  Despite the locals being friendly with us, the enemy was still out there and we had to be ready for the worst.  In fact, I think that was the hardest thing for me to get used to.  When we first arrived over here, it took a lot for me to think about the fact that the women and children who regularly greeted us in the streets could possibly be the enemy.  I had to be constantly reminded that not everyone was as innocent as they looked; something that was a huge stumbling block for someone who always saw the good in people.

Later that night after returning from patrol, I was sitting back at the barracks, writing my weekly letter home to my family.  It was easy enough to write e-mails, but I found that it killed more time if I did the old fashioned communication.  Each minute wasted was a minute closer to returning back to my homeland.  I loved the military and I have never regretted the decision I had made in high school, but I really did not love Afghanistan.  If I was asked about a place in the world I did not want to be, this country would be #2 with #1 being Iraq. 

Well, I guess I could just say that I wouldn’t pick anywhere that had sand without the water.  It just seemed all wrong.  It is immoral to find yourself becoming comfortable with the fact that you were always going to have sand in your bra and underwear; it just always seemed to end up where it didn’t belong.

“Hey Fletch,” Kramer grinned, taking a seat next to me on the floor.  “Tell mom and pops I say “hi!”

“Why would I tell them that?” I asked, turning towards him with a raised eyebrow.  Danny was actually a really, really, good looking guy.  He was built like a MMA fighter.  His biceps were bigger than my neck; this was a known fact because we actually got the tape measure out one evening when we were on guard shack duty together.  He had the picture perfect body and I always made a joke to Susie that his government supplied t-shirts had to be specially made because they always fit him perfectly, accenting his build.  It was hard not to swoon some days, especially the days you were feeling particularly horny; which was probably more often than not due to the fact that there were a ton of male hormones always pulsing through the barracks.  Kramer also had the most beautiful green eyes that if I didn’t watch, I could get lost in them very easily.  Sadly, he knew about this and frequently used it to his advantage.  Add in his chiseled jaw line and buzz-cut dark hair, he was a handsome Gi-Joe.

“Why not?” he smiled, causing my heart to skip a half beat.  “They will be appreciative that their future son-in-law is making an effort in getting to know them before he just shows up at their door, married to their daughter.”

I just shook my head and wished there was some way to stop from blushing.  It was nothing new for Danny to hit on me.  In fact, it was nothing for any of the guys to hit on me, but he seemed to be a little more serious about certain things from time to time.  “I think you’ve hit you’re head too many times on the under carriage of that Hummer, Kramer,” I joked and shook my head, turning back to my letter.  He was the mechanic of our group.

“As soon as we get out of this sand-box and back to the homeland, you’ll see Alex...”

I turned back to face him, finding his face only inches from mine looking as serious as ever.  “Danny, just because we won’t be here anymore, doesn’t mean we won’t be assigned somewhere else together,” I said quietly.  “Besides, once we get back to the mainland, you’ll realize there are a lot more women out there to catch you eye.”

“Well let me tell you something.  My eyes are only set on one woman and I could give to shits about the other women you speak about,” he said sincerely.  I wanted to say something back, but I couldn’t form any words as I watched his green eyes look deep into mine.  He held my gaze, lifted my small hands in his and kissed my knuckles before getting up and walking away.  “Close your mouth Fletch unless you want me to stick something in it,” he laughed, reminding me of the fact that this was still a war zone and boys will be boys.