All's Fair In Love and War, Parts 16-17/??
- The surgery went on as scheduled. Marie had done all in her
power to find an alternate cure for the gangrene, with no positive
results. And so, bright and early that Monday morning, they'd rolled
Robert Drake into the surgical room and prepped him for the
amputation. He was calm, which surprised her. Of course, it seemed
his nature, to always take things in stride. "Hey, Marie?" She
glanced at the doctor, who raised an eyebrow at her in question of
his familiarity with her. Deciding pointedly that she didn't care
what the rules were, she turned and looked at the boy.
"Hey kid. What is it?"
"She wrote me back." A small, sleepy smile was passing over
his lips. How he'd managed to sleep the previous night was beyond
her. As for herself...she'd remained awake, pacing, straining every
inch of her mind for any previously unseen cure. It was all to no
avail, however, and as the sun began to rise, she'd left her quarters
to ready the surgical room, and retrieve the patient.
"Who did...?" She reached behind her and pulled on a pair of
latex gloves, more suited for surgery than the ones she always wore
when on duty. The snap of them falling into place around her wrists
made her flinch, as well as jump slightly. She was on edge. She
didn't want anything to go wrong in this surgery.
"Jenn." It took a moment for her to remember and place the
name, but when she did, she smiled.
"Oh yeah? What'd she say?" She rolled the anesthetic over
toward the bed and set it to the right amount.
"Didn't open it yet...I'm gonna do it...when I wake up."
"You'll be there...won't you?" Out of the corner of her eye
she spotted the doctor watching. Instead of the frown she expected
him to be wearing, she saw a small smile. Amazing. To think, all this
time, she believed he had no feelings. That he was cold and uncaring
of each and every man that came and went. It was a relief to finally
find someone whose emotions were touched by these cases.
"Ah will. Ah promise. Now, Ah gotta put this mask on you.
When Ah say, you jus' take one big, deep breath, an' all your work is
done. All right?" When he nodded, she slipped the mask over his mouth
and nose, and patted his hand gently. "Okay...breathe in deep..." She
watched him do so, counting mentally in her head. They were supposed
to be asleep by the time you reached ten. He was out by 6.
"He'll be all right." She turned sharply to look at the
doctor. It was the first time he'd directly spoken to her since
they'd reached the hospital months ago. "It's a simple surgical
procedure. I've done countless." She nodded in understanding, even if
it didn't calm her nerves. Every surgery she helped with made her
nervous, but not so much as this one. This boy was Logan's
friend...was HER friend too. She knew Logan was counting on her to
take care of him...because he trusted her like that. She'd be letting
him down by erring in this.
Taking in a deep breath and pulling a long apron `round her
waist and neck, she tied the mask over her lips and nose and nodded
at the doctor, who nodded back. Letting out the breath, she pushed
all doubts and fears from her mind and began, keeping a silent prayer
going, at all times, in the back of her mind.
"Well, what's she say?" She realized, as she slid into the
seat beside Bobby, that she was just as anxious for the girl's reply
as he was. She hoped the girl had a good heart, and that this
situation wouldn't put a damper on her feelings for Bobby. He really
was a sweet boy.
The surgery went very well. There were no complications at
all. They managed to salvage everything from just below the knee and
From the looks of him sitting there, beaming, ripping open
the envelope, she was sure he wasn't feeling too embittered about it.
True, there would be moments in the next few months, maybe even
years, where he'd curse the war for doing this to him. But he'd
Marie began to worry when Bobby frowned. Her heart stopped,
and a breath caught in her throat. The girl had declined. Even if it
was respectfully or kindly, it was still a harsh blow all the
same. "Oh Bobby...Ah'm so sorry..."
"Sorry...? What for?"
"Well...didn't she...Ah mean..." Her cheeks burned, and she
gave a little shrug. "You're frownin'. Ah thought maybe..."
"Oh! No...it's just...still a little groggy. I'm having
trouble readin' is all."
"Need some help?" When he nodded and handed her the letter,
she sort of panicked. Now, if things were as she feared, she would be
the bringer of bad news. She frowned inwardly, wondering why she
always took that job upon herself. Lowering her eyes, she began to
scan over the letter first, until she heard Bobby.
"Uh uh! No cheating! We find out together, remember?" She
laughed at his impish grin and nodded in agreement.
"Dearest Bobby..." She paused a moment while he shifted to
get a little more comfortable in the bed. "Dearest Bobby. Ah miss
you.Ah'm glad to hear that there's a nurse there who is seeing to
your needs. Ah'm grateful to her, as long as she doesn't take you
away from me. Thank her for me." Marie paused a moment, glancing over
at Bobby. He had a large smile on his face, and he was staring at the
ceiling. She knew he was picturing this girl, in every detail. How
did she know? Because every time she received a letter from Logan,
she would sit alone in her room and picture him, clear as day, as
though he were there, speaking to her.
"She's always jealous like that." His words shook her from
her daydream. "When we'd go out, and another girl would talk to me,
she'd always look away. And her nose would kind of scrunch up too."
He chuckled at that, before waving a hand. "All right, what are you
tryin' to do, give me a heart attack here? Finish the letter..."
"Sir, yes sir!" It took her a moment to stop laughing before
she was able to continue. "It's funny. There's a war over
there...yet...back here in the States, you can't hardly tell. If it
weren't for your letters, Ah'd think someone was making up all that
talk. Of course, now, they have pictures. They print them in the
magazines, trying to get support from any men still left here. You're
a hero, Bobby. That's what Mama says. She says you'll get a medal
too. That's very honorable. `Course, I knew you were brave, even
before now." She paused a moment, shaking her head. There was no way
such a sweet girl could possibly hurt Bobby. Her fears were quelled
just then. She glanced over at Bobby to make sure he was still awake,
since the medication they'd given him was pretty strong. He was
watching her, waiting for her to continue. "Why Bobby, Ah do believe
you're blushin'!" She laughed as he turned a little more red and gave
a brief shrug of the shoulders.
"I miss her..." He sighed and looked back up at the
ceiling. "An' I love her. Course, I'd love her a whole lot more if
she got to the point a little quicker." They both laughed, and Marie
sat back in her chair, straightening the piece of paper so she could
see it better.
"All right, where was Ah...oh!" She cleared her throat and
crossed her legs. "Ah love you very much Bobby. Ah know you know that
already, but Ah just felt Ah should say it again. With that in
mind...you should already know mah answer to your proposal." Marie's
throat grew tight, and a burning sensation grew in her chest. "Please
send information about your return. Ah want to be there when your
ship comes in. It's been so long since Ah've seen you an' held
you..." She bit her lip, tears threatening to spill from her eyes.
She knew what this girl was feeling. Every word she read made Marie
want to run to her room and write Logan again. If she hadn't promised
to stay with Bobby, and if he didn't need her to read the letter to
him, she might very well have. But she stayed for the moment,
muddling through the rest of it. "Ah love you. Always. Jenn."
"Well..." Marie re-folded the letter and looked over at
Bobby. He seemed to be as effected by the letter as she was. Probably
moreso, because it dealt with his future. She'd accepted his
proposal. She could tell it was taking time for that to sink in. It
must have, finally, because she watched him lower his head and saw
tears falling. She said nothing, just as he remained silent.
After some time, he finally composed himself and let out a
deep breath. She handed back the letter, and he took it, holding it
tightly in his hands. "Well...you think that meant yes?" He looked at
Marie, a childish, playful grin on his lips. For a moment her mouth
hung open before she began to laugh. He followed her example, and for
some time they just sat there giggling.
Eventually, though, he grew too tired to continue. She hugged
him in congratulations, then left him be. Scurrying to her room, she
sat down on her bed. Pulling the tied letters out from under her
pillow, she pressed them to her lips, then held them tightly against
her chest. Unable to stand the growing tightness in her chest, she
let the tears fall. She didn't even bother to wipe them away as they
trickled down her nose and cheeks, clinging to her chin before
falling into her lap. She missed him. God how she missed him! And she
was afraid. Afraid, because she didn't really know if he felt the
same. And because she didn't know if she would ever see him to ask
him and know for sure.