My Dear Readers,
The story and the friendship of “Brat”/Andrea and Brian continue for our young lovers. The challenges and obstacles are ever present for our couple. Will they be able to face them together and make the needed adjustments in order to ensure their relationship not only continues, but grows stronger or will one or both of them lose their way?
Thank you for continuing on the journey with “Brat” and Brian; I truly appreciate your support of the story.
As always, I ask you to please take a moment to let our service men and women know you acknowledge their sacrifices. For they are many! My personal thanks to all who serve, protect, and defend! Be safe!
My appreciation and thanks to my editor, everyone’s favorite Brit, “Flyboy.” His patience is treasured.
I looked long and lovingly at my Marine. I remembered how not very long ago we lay on the sand at Brian’s family cabin and spoke of “Espirit De Corps” and its meaning for a Marine. I promised him then that I would never let him down again. I apologized for having done it once and swore I would never repeat that mistake. I swore to him I would always be there for him, no matter what. Now, it was time for me to prove it.
I’d heard these words many times, “Actions speak louder than words.” Now, my actions had to not only speak louder, but also speak volumes more than my words ever had before. I was counting on it, I believe Brian was counting on it, and I was sure our relationship and our future depended on it. Every moment from here forward, at least for the time being, would be a make or break moment.
I meant every word I said when I made my promises, even more so right now. Nothing was more important to me than to make sure Brian had whatever he needed to make his adjustment and hopefully his recovery as easy as possible.
These were my last thoughts before we left. I watched as Brian packed the last of his gear. I knew he was unsure of what was ahead of him. Ahead of us, if he allowed me to continue to be with him. Our relationship had been tested over the past few weeks and I had no doubt, it would continue to be. It was odd, now that he was sure he was leaving the hospital and heading back to the summer cabin, Brian seemed a little hesitant. I think he was feeling a little anticipation and at the same time regret and maybe uncertainty.
As Brian continued to pack his belongings, I saw a change come over him. It was almost like he made a mental decision and now he was going to do whatever it took to get the job done. I realized he wanted to get out of this hospital as quickly as possible. It was like he couldn’t get released from Walter Reed fast enough. As we left the unit and the hospital, I thought, if it wasn’t for his being blinded, he would have run down the halls, out the doors, and most likely left me behind without even realizing it. That’s how much my man wanted out of here and I wanted what he wanted.
The lake cabin and our future was just a few hours’ drive away. What they held for us was going to be anyone’s guess at this point. I was sure of one thing. I would give my man everything I had to offer to ensure our future was spent with each other. I was also sure we would both be tested more than once.
Thirty minutes later, we were in the jeep and headed on our way to the lake. I planned to drive a few hours and then stay in a hotel overnight so Brian could try to get some sleep. However, after only a few minutes on the highway, his seat was reclined and he was out cold. I knew I could make the drive straight thru without any problems. I also knew Brian’s parents would do as I asked and stock the cabin full of food and supplies before we got there.
I had called his parents when Janie threatened to hold back Brian’s discharge. I updated his Dad on the general situation without going in to too much detail. I’m sure he filled in the blanks I left open. I told him I thought it was best for Brian to have some time to get his thoughts straight and that it would be easier for him to do it at the cabin. His Dad agreed and said he would explain everything to Mrs. M and take care of the preparation and supplies.
We were about three quarters of the way into our trip when nature called. I pulled in to a road side rest area and debated whether or not to wake Brian. I figured if I had to pee, I’m sure he did too. So, I gently started to wake him.
“Brian.” No response.
“Brian.” I put my hand to his shoulder and gave him a little shake, still nothing.
“Brian, baby, it’s time to wake up.”
When he still didn’t move, I took a chance and leaned over the gear shift and started to kiss him. I started off with a simple soft kiss on his lips. Nothing heavy, just a light closed mouth kiss. That was my first mistake because once I kissed him I didn’t want to stop. So, I didn’t. I kissed him again. Soft and gentle, trabzon escort almost like I was sneaking a kiss before he woke up and caught me.
Of course that is exactly what I was doing. He started to wake so I pulled away. I didn’t want to push him or make him uncomfortable.
“Brian. We’re at a rest stop. I have to use the bathroom. Do you want to use it while we’re here?”
“Yeah. Where are we? How long have I dozed off?”
“You fell asleep as soon as we were on the highway. I figured if you were comfortable and asleep, I would just continue to drive to the lake. We’re a little over two hours away; if you want to we can pull off at the next exit and get a room for the night.”
“I don’t want you to get too tired.” I could hear his concern for me, but at the same time, I knew he wanted to drive straight through. He wanted to arrive at the cabin as soon as possible. That’s where he would be most comfortable and that’s what I wanted for him. “Are you ok driving the rest of the way tonight?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. I’ll be better after I get in that bathroom. Let’s go before I pee my pants.”
It looked to me that the closer we got to the lake cabin and home, the better Brian’s spirits seemed to be. I think I may have actually seen a hint of a smile from him when I said I was about to pee myself. I walked around the jeep and waited until he got out. Then I took his hand and placed his cane in it and readied myself for the fall out. He stiffened up and I could see his grip tighten on the handle of the white cane. His jaw tightened and I thought I was going to get an earful, but I was surprisingly wrong.
“I guess now’s as good a time as any to figure out how to use this piece of shit outdoors.” He said with frustration and a little disgust mixed in his voice.
“It won’t be long Brian. You’ll get the hang of it and then you won’t need it anymore.”
“Brat, unless you can put that in writing and keep your promise, I would appreciate it if you stopped saying things like that.”
He wasn’t happy with what I said, but he tempered his comment by starting it off with his nickname for me. He kept the anger level down to a four on the Richter scale. So, I guess it was like getting yelled at but forgiven at the same time. I was ok with that for now.
“Ok. I’ll put it in writing tomorrow.” I said as I took his hand and placed it in the crook of my elbow. “The therapists told me to announce steps, declines, and inclines until you get comfortable with the cane. Do you want me to do that for you?”
“Maybe you better. I don’t want to end up back in the hospital this soon.”
“Ok. Let’s go. In about three feet we have a six inch curb.”
We walked to the bathrooms and then we hit a road block. I wasn’t sure what to do. Does he go into an unfamiliar men’s room alone or with me? Do I ask him or make sure it’s empty and just walk with him? The one thing I’m not going to suggest is that he uses the ladies room with me. He took the cane thing well, but I didn’t want him to use it to hit me if I suggested that to him. I decided to take the safe route.
“Brian, how do you want to do this?”
“Go to the bathroom.”
“Standing up is usually best for me. How do you want to do this?” He smirked as he said it. It was a sleepy smirk, but still a smirk. He sounded more like himself in that minute than he had in the past few weeks.
There was a little light in his eyes that wasn’t there earlier. His voice seemed more relaxed. I laughed as I heard the faintest hint of my Brian in his jest. Maybe he did need to get out of a hospital environment and a few hours’ sleep to feel better. He may not have initiated a full conversation, but at least I was getting full sentences. That was progress and I was happy that he wasn’t making me feel like he couldn’t stand to be near me.
“Ok then. You stand, I’ll squat. Here’s the problem Marine, Men’s room or Ladies room?”
“Let’s make it safe and check out which is empty. Although, not to be selfish or anything, I think men would have less of an issue with you in their latrine, than the other way around.” He said and then actually laughed a little as he continued, “Blind or not, I can’t see women wanting a grown man in their bathroom.”
“Ok, the ‘Men’ have it, I’ll go with you.” We took a few steps to the open doorway and I yelled in, “Is anyone in there?”
No one called back, so I assumed we were safe. We walked into the men’s room, took care of business, washed our hands and then we were on our way. No major catastrophes and if anything, a glimpse at the old Brian.
I knew progress would most likely be slow, but at that point every little bit counted. I was taking this small sign of progress as a victory. I made a mental note to take baby steps with Brian, to measure advancement in small increments, and to proceed with caution.
More importantly, I reminded myself of three things. One, this was not about trabzon escort bayan me, no matter how much I had invested in everything, this was all about my man. Two, I had to remember not to take anything he said or did as a personal attack on me. Three, I told myself to repeat one and two frequently if and when needed.
The rest of the trip went quickly and Brian stayed awake for the first half. We pulled in front of the cabin a little after mid-night. I walked around to the passenger side and watched him sleep for a minute or so before waking him. His face was the most peaceful looking I had seen it since his return stateside. I gently spoke his name as I stroked my hand over his cheek. He was slow to wake.
A combination of instinct and muscle memory must have guided Brian for the next few minutes. It was surprising to see how amazing the mind is as he exited the jeep and walked to the cabin, up the stairs and in the front door as if nothing was different and he wasn’t without sight. Once we got inside I could tell his parents had taken care of everything for us. I did a quick visual sweep and saw that everything looked fairly well stocked and things were prepared for our arrival.
There were wild flowers in a vase on the table and candles strategically placed around the cabin. A stack of firewood was piled next to the fireplace. I went into the bedroom to find fresh linens were on the bed and towels were set up in the adjoining bathroom.
When I returned to the living area, Brian was standing right where I left him. He was taking a few deep breaths and I swear I could see the tension leaving his body. He was doing his centered breathing exercises and a few of the stretches he usually did before he would start his Krav Maga workouts. I stood there and simply watched him for a few minutes. Then I realized how re-energized and relaxed he looked. Sleeping during the long ride and being here was already having a positive effect on him.
“I’m going to grab some of my stuff from the jeep. What do you need for tonight? We can unpack the rest of it tomorrow.” I said as I walked toward him. “I’m too tired to do anything like that tonight.”
“All I need is my small duffel bag for tonight. Do you want me to come with you?” He even sounded less tense now that we were here.
If he was offering, I wasn’t going to say no. Besides, I didn’t want him to think I was going to be doing everything for him. The whole purpose of coming to the lake was so Brian would feel comfortable and I could help him with his therapy and adjusting to the changes in his life. The sooner he started to do things, the sooner he would feel less dependent on others and more like himself.
“Sure, I’d love your company and I never refuse a handsome escort.”
I placed his hand on my arm. He led the way to the front door, once again, as if his vision was intact. After we brought the bags in and got things settled, it became a little awkward. It was a new feeling between us and I didn’t like it. We were never awkward around each other. We may not have always agreed on things, but we would just talk them out and be done with them. I wasn’t going to be able to deal with this weirdness between us and I wanted it to end.
“Brian. We need to talk and I want to be able to do it like we used to.” I stated bluntly. “So, I’m going to say what I have to say and you have to listen without interrupting. When I’m done, you can have your turn to ask questions, argue with me, say your piece, or whatever.” I waited to hear his response.
“Well, that sums up how we used to talk most of the time. You talking and me listening. It’s nice to know, at least there are some things that don’t change.”
If I wasn’t standing right next to him and witnessed it for myself, I wouldn’t have been so excited. Brian gave me his “know it all” face. The one where he tilts his head and lifts his brow as if anything I had to say would be of any relevance. I love that look of his and it reminded me of just how much I love this man. So, I put all of my thoughts in some form of order and I started to simply tell him how I felt.
“Brian, I love you. I know you love me, so it’s fine with me if you can’t say it right now. But if we don’t start talking to each other, if we don’t start being honest with each other, we’re going to break something between us. I’m afraid we may break something that can’t be fixed.” I hesitated as I tried to quickly put my feelings into words.
“We have to stop trying to protect or bullshit each other and just be ourselves. I want to feel free to say whatever I want to you and not worry about you being insulted or hurt by what I said because of your blindness. I want things between us to be open and honest like they used to be. Do I make sense?”
It felt like it took forever before he answered me. At first, I wasn’t sure he would.
“Andrea, I hear what you’re saying. I even understand where escort trabzon you’re coming from, but the fact is it’s not that easy. Things are different, things are already broken, this is the exact reason that I didn’t want to get involved in the first place.”
His answer was detached, almost rote. He simply and calmly was telling me things are different and most likely we can’t go back. The problem with that is not only didn’t I believe it, but I wasn’t willing to accept it.
“Well Marine that was one self-pitying answer if ever I heard one. You should be ashamed of yourself.” I went on the attack.
“I’m ashamed of your answer and I’m sure your father would be too.” I wasn’t going to let him off the hook and I continued to lay into him.
“Andrea, you don’t…”
“I’m not done. Don’t interrupt me.” I was mad and he was going to hear me out.
“Well do I …” I ignored him and just kept talking.
“I didn’t realize you were a quitter. The Brian I knew never quit. The Marine I knew never quit. Shit, I’ve never known any Marine to quit.” I pulled out the big guns, first his dad and then the Marines.
“I’m not quitting, I’m just…” He was getting angry and I could hear it in his voice. I cut him off again.
“That blow to the head must have affected more than your vision center, it must have taken off your balls too.”
I went to get off the couch and a second later he had hold of my wrist and pulled me back down. I landed right next to him. I could see the anger in his eyes, the fury on his face, his jaw was set for an argument and I was his target. I braced myself for his venomous words as he let loose on me.
“Self-pitying?” He didn’t yell at me, he just forced his words out in a quiet but harsh manner.
“Fuck you Andrea! I told you I didn’t want to get involved. I told you it was a bad idea that would end in just this type of situation.” He continued.
“Yes, you told me.” I hissed back.
“You wouldn’t give up. You pushed, and pushed, and just kept pushing more until I broke and gave in to you.”
He was full of anger and I could see it all over his face. I knew he needed to vent. I was just a little worried on how he would go about it and how long it would affect us. He continued to lash at me verbally.
“Now, you think you can give me a hard time. You think just because you want things to go back to the way they were, they will. Just like you think because you say I will see again, I will. We’ll that’s bullshit and you need to stop saying it to me. I’m blind, that’s it. Period.”
He was working hard to restrain his anger, but I wasn’t having any of it. If he’s going to blow, he’s going to do it here and now with me. I pushed him further, knowing I would get more of a response.
“Brian, do you even hear yourself? I mean really, do you hear yourself? What you sound like?”
I was angry now too. I wasn’t about to let him get away with blaming me for any part of this situation. As if I forced him to be with me. He should know me better than to think I would let this pass without having something to say about it. I went on the attack.
“I pushed, yes, your right I did. I had to because you kept refusing to act on your feelings. You kept your feelings hidden and made it seem like you didn’t have any investment in our relationship. Well that was bullshit then and it’s bullshit now. I didn’t accept your passive aggressive shit then and I definitely won’t accept it now.”
I was fuming and his words didn’t help me any. He should have known better than to give me that line of bull.
“I hear you and I know you can’t mean what you’re saying. It’s not in you to just give up. Moreover, I’m not going to allow you to give up. You will not give up on me, on us, or on regaining your sight. Do you hear me Marine?”
I took a deep breath and continued my rant. I was on a roll, why stop now.
“I’ve done the research!” I yelled at him. “I’ve talked to three specialists! I spoke with the specialist in Germany, a well-respected neuro-eye guy at Penn, and your doctor at Walter Reed.” I tried to pull my wrist from his grasp, but that was no easy task. So, I continued to dress him down like a drill instructor.
“Your own doctor told you the odds are very good. He told you that you would likely see again, that this cause and type of blindness is reversible. It may take six months or more, but wouldn’t you rather hold on to that than to just say your blind period?”
I could feel my heart pounding in my chest. I could feel how hot my face was and I’m sure it was red with anger. I was so annoyed with his defeatist attitude. I wasn’t about to let him get away with it. I was trying to calm down and take a few deep breaths when he took the opportunity to come back at me.
“That’s bullshit Andrea it’s not going to happen.” Now, the anger had changed to remorse.
I was more comfortable when he was angry than I was now that he started to look like he was going to withdraw again. I wasn’t going to give him a chance to do that. I was pulling out the big gun.
“Brian, I want you to do something for me.”
“After all you just said, after all I just said, you’re asking for a favor.” His grasp on my wrist softened.