Ruth Long’s Picture Choice: Two
Title: Friendly Fire
Eight hours ago, Eddie Knox had been downing cold ones, playing pool with the guys, and washing away the pressure of a week’s worth of debriefing.
Now he was dressed in fatigues, creeping through an alley and praying he didn’t got shot when he picked the lock and let himself into the hotel room.
As he came through the door, he was pleased to find Lara sitting in the center of the bed, gun aimed at his forehead. “Morning, beautiful.”
Her smile was a little off, mouth tight and skin off-color. “Morning.”
He bolted the door behind him, put his weapons on the nightstand, and sat beside her. “I’m really proud of you, baby. You know that, right? Some of the other guys, they couldn’t get their wives to cooperate. But you didn’t hesitate or waste time questioning me and that may have saved us for now.”
She handed over her gun. “Out with it. What’s going on? Something happen during debriefing?”
He leaned against the backboard. “Everything went so smooth this week and then, as we were killing time at the Beacon, waiting for our flights home, we heard our names on the television. The White House was issuing some kind of big ‘thank you’ speech and listed the names and hometowns of every man in the company, saying our friends and families should be proud that we killed the son-of-a-bitch and brought about the end of terrorism.”
She got off the bed, white cotton pajama pants and cami clinging to her curves.
“We can’t go home, can we?”
“No. Or drive our own car or purchase bus, plane or train tickets. We can’t use passports, health benefits or debit cards either. Nothing that can be traced. If we’re lucky, we can clean out the bank on our way out of the state.”
“I don’t understand how this happened but I understand what you’re telling me and I know you already have some kind of plan in motion. There’s just one little hiccup. I’m pregnant.”
His breath caught in his chest. “Come here, baby.”
She sat on his thigh. “I was going to tell you when you got home this weekend. Had this idea to leave a box of diapers in the backseat of the car when I picked you up. Daydreamed about how we’d celebrate ...”
He slid his fingers into her hair, tugged her face towards his, and kissed her, taking his time, his mouth moving from her lips, to her throat, to her breasts, and pushing her cami out of the way, to her belly.
She shifted, stretching onto the bed and he lay beside her, tucking her back snugly against his chest, stroking her abdomen with gentle fingertips. “I’m scared, Eddie.”
He chuckled, the sound of it reverberating between them. “I’m not going to lie, honey I’m scared too. Hell, we wouldn’t be human if we weren’t. But I want you to remember something. If I used my head and hands to fight for my country well enough that I just received another presidential commendation, I am more than able to fight for my wife and child.”
“Are we going to meet up with the rest of the company?”
“Yes,” he said, kissing her ear. “But let’s forget about them for just a little while. We have three hours to sun-up. Now, we could spend that time getting some shut-eye or -”
She turned towards him, mouth curved into a wicked grin, and reached for his belt buckle. “Sleep is overrated. Isn’t that what you always tell me, soldier?”
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