Smoking

Well… At least Major Kestel was still alive. Evans read the message from Lucy for the third time. Time for a smoke break. Evans folded the envelope and slipped it into his gown’s pocket. He then grabbed a pack of cigarettes and his lighter and put them into the pocket. He then grabbed his crutches and limped to the smoking area. It was pretty late, so there wasn’t anyone out at the moment. Good.

Evans put a cigarette in his mouth and pulled out the lighter and paper. He lit the paper and stared at the fire for a moment. He then used it to light the cigarette, put the envelope on the ground and  put the lighter away.

Evans took a drag on his cigarette. Someone opened the door behind him. He stamped out the smoldering embers of the paper and turned around, “Lucy?”

“One last thing before I go,” Lucy put on her hat and continued,  “You’re being sent back to Fox Company when you get better. Unless… Captain Ricci heard I was going to visit you and wanted me to tell you that her offer still stands. She’s got discretion over her command and can transfer you anytime. Just say the word.”

“I’m sorry, I can’t.”

“I don’t get it Goldfish. No one would blame you. You’ve done more than enough already,” Lucy turned away from him, “What? Are you worried people will think less of you?”

“No it’s-”

“After the glory then, need a few more medals on your chest? I’m sure your children will prefer those over a living father than I few shiny trinkets.”

Evans dropped his cigarette on the ground and spit on the ground, “You couldn’t understand.”

“You’ve got a loving wife, a job waiting for you, three children… real friends,” Lucy turned, put her back against the wall, and slid down to the ground, “Who the fuck am I? You know what’s going to happen to me? I’ll stay in after the war. Eventually I’ll grow older and men will stop being interested because eventually they’ll want to have kids. And well, who wants to associate with some asshole from the fringes of society? I’ve been practically disowned by my family for being a shame on them. Even though I’m by far the most fucking successful member of it. I’m going to die alone surrounded by cats. I don’t even like cats. But an unmarried career woman? I’ve gotta have like a half dozen fucking cats. All I wanted was some kids. Fuck this war. Fuck this life. Fuck this army. Fuck this country. Fuck the Vledscans. Fuck you and Fuck me.” Lucy bowed her head.

Evans knelt down next to her and patted the back of her head.

“I’m sure it will be fine. The war makes everything chaotic, afterwards, you can settle down and adopt a kid or something. God knows how many orphans this war has created.”

 

Healing

“Sergeant Evans?”

“Yes Lance Corporal?”

“You have a visitor.”

“One moment please,” Evans swung his feet around and slowly got out of his bed. He straightened his gown and looked around the room. The other bed was empty. Howe had been sent back to the 202nd a few days earlier and he hadn’t gotten a roommate yet. He sighed, “Send them in Lance Corporal.”

An officer stepped through the door, head bowed so he couldn’t see their face… for some reason. Lieutenant and a woman. Evans didn’t have to salute because he was out of uniform, but he came to attention, “Ma’am?”

The Lieutenant used her right foot to close the door. Lieutenant Chambers looked up and smiled, “Miss me Goldfish?”

“Lucy?” Evans smiled, “You picked up Lieutenant?”

“Yep, So, I was in town and heard you were here and decided to stop by and say hello.”

“Aren’t you not allowed to just stop by these places?”

“Eh,” Lucy smiled and shrugged, “I greased a few palms… And a few other places. If you know what I mean.”

“Eww,” Evans shook his head.

“I fucked the guy who-”

“Please don’t,” Evans put his hand over his face, “Just tell me why you’re here.”

Lucy sat down on the empty bed, placing her hat on the end table, “Well first off, he was hot. Secondly… You’ve been asking around about the Duchess Medway.”

“You know what happened to her?”

“You can’t tell anyone I’ve told you this. Newacre wants in hush hush. I’m not even supposed to have this information. We Intel officers have our ways.”

“Please don’t tell me your ways and just tell me what’s happening with Major Kestel,” Evans sat down on his bed and leaned towards Lucy.”

Lucy pulled an envelope out of her jacket and handed it to Evans, “That’s the whole story. You’ll want to burn it when you’ve read it. Short story, she’s alive, but she’s had to go through multiple major surgeries and has been in and out of consciousness. Even if she pulls out of this, she’s definitely out of the war. In a private letter I… Got my hands on… it was said that they’re going to force her to either take a posting in Newacre or resign her commission.”

Evans took the envelope, “Thank Lucy. I appreciate it. I owe you one.”

Lucy smiled and patted him on the shoulder. Then smirked and said, “I know a way you could repay me.”

“Still happily married.”

“So not even you and her Grace?”

“Eww… That would be disgusting.”

“Well that ruins the smutty books I read,” Lucy frowned, “Well I should be going, I have a shit ton of documents to translate.”

Waking Up in Hospital

Slowly opening his eyes, Evans looked around the dark room. Where was he? Pain shot down his side when he attempted to sit up. He swore.

“Ughhh…” A somewhat familiar voice spoke up, “You’re up Sergeant?”

Rolling his head to face the voice, he recognized Howe, “Private?”

“Yes Sergeant. We’re roommates for the moment.”

“Why?” He paused, “Why aren’t you off in a room with a bunch of lower ranks? No offense.”

“You Sergeant. According to what the nurses told me, you brought me to the aid station, gave my name, and collapsed. Your rank warranted you a room with one other person. They didn’t know who you were and since I appeared to know you, they put me in your room so I could identify you… Your wounds were much worse than mine… And once I woke up, they didn’t have enough space to bring me back to the lower enlisted room.”

“Oh God. So they thought I was… Did they… Anna, my wife… Did they tell her I was killed or anything… Again?”

“I was only unconscious for a few days. And they sent a telegram to her.” Howe pointed to the nightstand next to Evans’ bed, “You’ve got some letters next to your bed.”

“And any word on the Duchess Medway?”

“Wounded in the retreat. Very badly from the rumors I’ve heard.”

“And the battle? Did we hold?”

“We held.”

His eyes started to feel heavy and the world went black again.

 

His right hand was warm. His bed was tilting to the side. Someone was stroking his hair. His eyes slowly opened, “Anna?”

The blurry figure above him smiled. He heard a confused “Yes” to his right followed by a quick, “Oh, right… Your wife…”

Anna laughed, “I’m here James.”

“The kids?”

“At home. In Medway. Someone’s taking care of them. They’re too young to travel that distance.”

“I love you Anna.”

“I love you too James,” Anna smiled, “Get better soon so we can work on the fourth kid.”

“Ewww… No married talk,” Howe paused, “Sergeant.”

Anna giggled.

“My leg hurts pretty bad and I’d rather not try anything. Plus with Private Howe in the room.”

“Yes. with me in the room Sergeant.”

Anna turned to Howe, “So do you have anyone in your life Miss Howe?”

“No Mrs. Sergeant Evans.  Still waiting for my knight in shining armor,” She laughed, “Really, anyone who I haven’t seen covered in mud or blood.”

Evans looked at Howe, “How long was I out?”

“Ten days the first time. One week this time. And before you ask, No news on Duchess Medway. They’re keeping that locked up pretty tight.”

“Thank you Private. Now, could you give my wife and I some privacy?”

There was a pause before Howe responded, “Not really. Sergeant. I did get shot after all.”

“Right,” Evans turned back to Anna and shrugged, “Well I guess you can’t say anything private.”

“That’s alright,” Anna bent down and kissed him, “We can talk about the kids.”