Thankful For War Ch. 02

Brunette

I was awakened by the phone ringing. I felt Ashley’s arms still wrapped around mine. I answered the phone.

“Hello?” I asked, sounding groggy.

“Morning Andrew. It’s mom. I’m on my way home. I’ll be back in about an hour. I’ve been on the road since early this morning.” Mom said to me.

My eyes widened.

“Also, I’m bringing your little cousins back with me. They’ll be here for the rest of the summer. They just couldn’t wait to see you.” She continued. “Make yourself look presentable, and wake up your sister. I’ll see you two in a bit.” She said, then hung up.

SHIT! I only had an hour to clear up any evidence. I grabbed Ashley’s shoulder and shook her until she woke up.

“What’s up?” She asked, still sounding lost in heaven.

“Mom is on her way home.” I said, incredibly nervous.

Fear grew in her eyes. We didn’t have time for it, though.

“Come on Ash! Clean up any evidence and take your pill! I’m gonna shower and put on my uniform. We’ve only got about an hour.” I rushed.

She flew out of bed and put her clothes into her hamper. I saw her take a pill in her hand, pop it in her mouth, and swallow it in one gulp.

“Why are you going to put on your uniform?” She asked.

“Max and Sarah are coming back for the rest of the summer.” I replied. “Listen, why don’t you go take a shower. Bring your clothes in with you, because the minute you get out I’m getting in.” I said.

“Got it.” She said, grabbing a bundle of clothes.

She ran into the bathroom and turned on the shower.

**********

We finished everything we needed to do with five minutes to spare. Ashley, though only in an average outfit, looked outstanding.

“How do I look?” She asked frantically.

“Beautiful.” I replied. She smiled.

“What about me?” I asked.

“Perfectly military, Corporal.” She replied. I smiled.

Damn, were we nervous. Less than ten hours ago we were locked together in wonderful sex and then enjoying the afterglow, and here we were trying to pretend nothing had happened. THE AFTERGLOW! Ashley’s room still had that musky smell that lingers. What were we going to do?

“ASH! Please tell me that we have some Febreeze.” I said.

“Don’t worry, I sprayed my room while you were in the shower.” She said.

I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Just then, mom’s car pulled in and I heard the doors close. Then the door opened, and two little kids ran in.

“ANDREW! ASHLEY!” They yelled in unison.

Sarah, our 12 year old cousin, ran over and jumped up to me. I caught her and spun us around. Max, our 9 year old cousin, came over and hugged me at the waist. They had both made a beeline straight to me, leaving Ashley all alone. I looked over, and saw her. She pouted when she saw me.

“Max. Sarah. Oh, it’s so good to see you two! But you still haven’t said hi to Ash. Look how sad you made her.” I said, looking over at my sister in her thigh length skirt and simple yellow T-shirt. She also had on two bracelets and a necklace, all of which I had bought for her on her 16th birthday, and high heels.

Sarah jumped down and ran over to greet her cousin. Max, was a little more hesitant. He explained that he didn’t like it when Ashley kissed him. Can you blame him? He is 9. We all hated that the girls tormented us by trying to kiss us and such when we were trying to play soldier or trade cards.

“Maxie! Come over here and give your big cousin a warm welcome.” Ashley said.

He groaned, and looked up at me. He was expecting me to get him out of it. I pulled him aside.

“Max. You must know that your Uncle James isn’t coming back, right?” I asked.

He nodded.

“But something you don’t know is that Ash lost two people. Our dad is gone, but her boyfriend died too. Can you just try and be a little nicer?” I requested.

He nodded. Then he made his way over to his cousin.

“Hiya Maxie!” Ashley said as she knelt down and kissed him on the cheek.

“Eeeeeeew!” He exclaimed.

Man, did I laugh. I was trying my hardest to hold myself up against the wall when mom walked in.

“What is so funny Andrew?” She asked.

“Oh, well, ya know. Ash just kissed a nine year old boy on the cheek. Not seeing that in three years made Max’s reaction all the more hilarious.” I replied.

“Oh. You really look nice, Andrew.” She said, looking at me in my uniform.

“Thanks mom. At least some one other than Ash noticed that I’m in uniform.” I said, looking at my cousins.

Max took the time to see my US Army uniform and started gushing over it, like all boys do. I, in the mean time, was oggling my sister.

“Ash, you really do look beautiful.” I said to her.

“Aw. Thanks Andy.” She said, blushing lightly.

“Why the spontaneous compliment?” Mom asked.

“What? You don’t think she looks beautiful?” I shot back.

“Well, I suppose. Yes.” She replied.

As Max and Sarah got settled in, Ashley and I went and watched some TV. She snuggled up to me, very close. At first I was worried that mom would see us, escort kartal and start questioning us. But then she just walked by the open door.

“You two. I’m going to the mall for a little bit. Sarah is going with me, so make sure Max stays out of trouble.” She said.

“Okay mom!” we called back.

“I’ll see you kids in a little while.” She said back.

Once we were sure that mom was gone, I let Ashley cuddle up with me like we had been during the past week. She curled up next to me, resting her head on my shoulder, and I held her tight. I rubbed her right arm with my right hand. She began to nuzzle into my neck.Then, her left hand strayed down to my crotch. She began rubbing and soon enough I had a raging hard on.

“Wait. Ash, not now.” I said, reluctant.

“Why not?” She asked.

“Because. Max is right upstairs. I don’t want him stumbling upon us, because he’d tell mom. If she finds out, we’re dead. We have to be careful to do this when we know we’re alone.” I replied.

“But-” She began.

I put my finger to her lips.

“Later. I promise you.” I said.

**********

We didn’t get a chance to do anything that night. But our next chance came a few days later.

“Andrew! Ashley! Come here a minute!” Mom called.

There had been a storm the previous night, giving us an excuse to stay in the same bed together. We made our way down the stairs.

“Andrew. You haven’t seen your little cousins in three years, but you’d rather spend every waking moment with your sister. I want you to do something with them.” Mom said.

“Okay. Can-” I began.

“Yes, Ashley can go with you if you really want. Just tell me. Why do you want to be around her all the time?” Mom asked.

I was getting really nervous, but I thought up a sensible excuse.

“Well, Ash and I really like to hang out together. You knew that. I just want to make up for over three years of lost time.” I said.

“Okay Andrew. Thats all I wanted to know.” She replied.

I called up to Max and Sarah and told them that we were going to the movies. Ashley and I got in my car, and waited for them. It took all I had not to lean in and kiss her. I feared being caught.

“Do I look pretty?” She asked, out of nowhere.

I looked her over. She was in a kind of girly outfit in comparison to me. While I still had on a pair of fatigue pants and a graphic tee, Ashley was much more elaborately dressed. She had on a tight, White T-shirt which had rhine stone hearts all over it. She tied back her hair into a loose ponytail, allowing for there to be some flow to it. She had on a pair of jeans that had a long stitching line and a couple of little butterflies at the top end on both legs. She also had on a pair of black heels, and very little makeup.

“You look absolutely beautiful.” I said.

“Are you just saying that?” She asked.

“Why would I NEED to say it. Ash, you are the most beautiful girl I’ve ever laid eyes on. Not just because you’re that cute little girl who I love to be around, but because you were blessed. You have a great figure. Your hair has volume and is a beautiful shade of deep brown. You have perfect skin and lips. You have a smile so nice, that you could make people grin at a funeral. And your eyes, those gorgeous emerald eyes.” I said. “Ash, I don’t think that I’ve ever met a prettier woman.”

She blushed. Then, she giggled.

“Oh stop.” She said.

Then, Sarah and Max piled in and we got going. I asked what movie everyone wanted to see, and Sarah and Max already knew. It was a dopey cartoon movie, but I was going to agree when Ashley suggested a comedy that we had been dying to see. I was torn. Do I go with my little cousins, or do I go with my sister, the love of my life. I tried to explain that we should go with the two and see their movie. Big mistake. Cue the big eyes and “Baby Sister” voice.

“Pweeze Andwoo? Can we go see the movie I want? Pweeze oh pweeze? I wanna haf a good time wif my big brover who I wuv very much. Pwitty, pwitty pweeze?” She begged.

I caved again. I didn’t want mom to kill me for bringing Sarah and Max to a more adult movie, though. I caught my friend Johnny and his little cousin Sebastian walking in the door.

“Hey! Johnny! Long time, no see!” I called out.

We talked for a minute, then I gave him a proposition.

“You said something about you and Seb going to see that stupid cartoon movie, right?” I asked.

He nodded.

“Well, my cousins are here to and they want to see it. Can you take them in with you?” I asked.

He agreed, and I got those two off my back for the next two hours.

*****

Ashley and I sat way up in the back. During one of the slower parts, she leaned in and rested her head against mine. Then, later, she reached over and placed her lips on mine. We locked together in a long and passionate kiss, our tongues beginning their dance. Then, a voice called out.

“Andrew? Is that you?” The girl yelled, met by angry hisses to be quiet. “It’s Ali.” She said, now whispering.

My maltepe escort eyes shot open. “FUCK! Why God!?! Why Ali!” I thought. Ali is one of my exes, but was my closest friend. If she found out that I was with Ashley, and not some pretty girl that she didn’t know, my life would be over. She’d blab first to everyone I knew, and then to our mom.

“Why won’t you turn around?” She asked, sounding a bit sad. I had the greatest feeling that she was pouting.

I turned around, breaking my kiss with Ashley. Ali’s pout turned into a smile when I made eye contact. She took the open seat next to me and started asking me questions.

“Who is this recent catch?” She asked.

I began to stammer, my nerves not allowing me to think clearly. Then, Ali tried to move around me and meet her, not knowing that it was my sister. I blocked her at most every move.

“Oh, come on Andrew. I just want to meet her. You’re acting like you’re dating your sister!” She said with a chuckle, not realizing the bitter irony in her statement.

She pushed me back, and looked at my sister coddling my arm in a state of bliss. She got up and left, a look of disgust on her face. I snaked my arm out of Ashley’s grip, and followed. I caught her in the lobby, and ducked us behind a corner.

“Ali, please! Whatever you do, don’t tell a soul!” I begged her.

“Why should I listen to you? You’re dating your sister! It’s just wrong. It’s that black and white.” She replied, sounding grossed out.

“Love isn’t black and white Ali. I know I’m supposed to love her, but she was the only one to bring up the true happiness I can feel. I need you to understand. She is more than just my blood relative. She is the girl of my dreams.” I replied.

“That was a very sweet comment, but that doesn’t change the fact.” She shot back.

We argued for bit until I got her to agree. I saw Ashley come out of the theater with a smile on her face. She had enjoyed the rest of the movie. I made an angry glare towards Ali, but she was too nice to stay mad at. I looked over to Ashley and asked how the movie was.

“It was great. Thanks so much for taking me.” She said, grinning.

She leaned up and kissed me. Though, I was confused when I didn’t feel our lips connect and instead felt her peck my cheek. I grabbed onto her shoulders to pull her close, but her eyes filled with that “Turn around, or you’ll make a big mistake” look. I turned my head around and noticed Johnny and the three kids coming out of the theater. Sebastian and Sarah were walking next to each other, but looked shy from one another. Seb was her age, and he was a handsome guy.

“Andrew. Seb wanted to know if he could hang out at your place for a while.” Johnny said.

“I get it. Sure, I really don’t care.

*****

On the ride home, Ashley couldn’t resist saying something.

“So Sarah. How long have you and Seb been in love?” She poked, giggling.

“What!” They exclaimed in unison.

“Sarah and Sebastian, sittin’ in a tree.” I began.

“K-I-S-S-I-N-G!” Ashley said, joining me.

“First comes love, then comes marriage.” She began.

“Then comes the baby in the baby carriage!” I chimed in. We laughed.

I looked back when we hit a red light. Seb had turned away from me, and Sarah’s face was a bright shade of red. Max had payed no attention to us, feverishly playing his hand held game. The light clicked to green, and we were moving again.

“Aw, come on Sarah. We’re just teasing.” I said.

No reply came from her. Instead she crossed her arms and shot me an angry look through the rearview mirror.

*****

The kids looked a bit surprised when we pulled in at the Mall. Ashley and I told them we did have a bit of a surprise for them earlier. They got out and ran inside. We had to catch up. No problem for me. Ashley shot me a bit of a glare when she managed to catch up to me.

The guys and I went into a Game Stop, and Ashley and Sarah went into a girly clothing store. As I went looking along the shelves, I somehow heard a familiar voice outside. I stepped out to figure out who it was. She noticed me, and huge grins grew across our faces.

“Andrew!” She called.

“Rachel!” I responded.

“Who is this, Andy?” I heard my sister ask. She didn’t sound too happy to see me wrapped in another girl’s arms.

“Oh, sorry Ash. Didn’t see you there.” I replied. “This is Rachel. We served two tours together in Iraq.” I said.

“I’ll take a wild guess and say your Andrew’s sister, right?” She asked.

“Yeah. Why’d you want to know?” Ashley shot back.

“Well, you see, your brother wouldn’t stop talking about you. He was gushing over how pretty and sweet you are. He even kept a photo of you in his wallet.” She said.

Ashley’s eyes lit up, and she turned her attention to me.

“Is that true big brother? You keep a picture of your little sister in your wallet?” She asked.

“Of course. In war time, soldiers need something to keep them connected to their normal lives. Dad was being pendik escort bayan too military, and you know I love you the most.” I said, pinching her left cheek.

She giggled, and hugged me.

“I love you the mostest big brother!” She squealed.

“Did you just say ‘Mostest’?” I asked, laughing.

“What?” She asked, sounding disappointed.

“Just wondering. It makes you all the more cute.” I replied.

Then, all of a sudden I felt Ashley’s weight on my back. I stumbled forward as she wrapped her arms around my neck, and pushed her cheek into mine. She was laughing, and so was Rachel. My face was burning and red. I was never embarrassment to carry Ashley around, but I was embarrassment to have two girls laughing at me because I was taken by surprise. I wasn’t going to readily launch my sister to the floor like if it was with one of my friends, so I sucked it up and let the two have their laugh.

I found us a spot to sit down, and let Ashley climb off my shoulders and into a chair. She and Rachel went on and on about things to which I was clueless of. Sarah and Sebastian sat next to each other in a nervous silence, and I kept myself occupied playing a game with Max. Then Rachel asked a question that helped somber all of our moods.

“So. Where were you guys when the first war started?” She asked.

“You mean on 9/11?” I asked back.

She nodded.

“We were still at home. Ash was sick, so I begged mom and dad to keep me out of school so I could be by her side. That morning, dad slugged down the stairs particularly loudly. I woke, and roused Ash.

I went to the top of the stairs and heard dad and mom talking about getting ready for work and breakfast. Ya know, average stuff. My parents always watched the news while they ate. Then, there was a phone call. My dad answered. It was his friend Mitch, a New York City fireman.

‘Mitch, what the hell is wrong? Give me a straight answer, NOW!’ dad yelled. ‘Michelle, sweetie turn on the news!’ He said to mom. I figured now was better than later to go down and sneak into the living room with Ash.

We walked into the kitchen only a little while later, greeting our awestruck parents. It was just a minute later when I fixed my gaze on the TV, that we watched United 175 fly into the South Tower of the World Trade Center.

Ash didn’t see it, and was confused when dad ordered us upstairs. She was scared by his random shouting, so I stayed in her room with her. I remember it as though I was on a pink alien planet.” I chuckled.

“But, about one hour later, so just a bit before 10:00, Mitch called back. Ash had fallen asleep, exhausted from fighting off her sickness of the Flu, and I sneaked out of her room and back to the living room. They had Mitch on speaker phone. I could hear him screaming at people on the streets outside the towers. Then he told us that he was going back in. He stayed on the line, and we could hear him running up concrete stairs, past crowds of terrified people. Then he seemed to stop. A huge crashing sound came over the phone. Mitch screamed, and the line cut off.” I said, my voice shaky and tears hitting my hands. I realized I was crying, but I didn’t care.

“You see,” I continued with a sniff. “Mitch was supposed to be our godfather. He was the nicest guy I’d ever met, and I listened to him die. But I didn’t just hear a dear friend lose his life, I heard a hero lose it.” I managed to say, before collapsing into sobs.

It took many tries, but I managed to be calmed by the girls. We carried on with the day as though nothing had happened. But the pain still held a tight grip on my mind. Who knew that more would be added soon after.

*****

We were confused to come home and not see mom anywhere. When I called up, I heard voices. When I went up to see what was going on, I walked in on a sight that tore what was left of my heart, and my sanity, to shreds. My mother was with another man. I snapped, and grabbed him by his throat and threw him against the wall.

“WHO THE HELL ARE YOU!?” I yelled.

He tried to answer, and when it came through, I let go of his neck.

“Get out of my house and don’t come back Ashton! IF I CATCH YOU AROUND HERE AGAIN YOU’RE DEAD! YOU HEAR ME!” I screamed into his face.

He ran like hell out of the house. Then I turned my hate filled stare to my mother.

“What the fuck was that?” I asked, the rage apparent.

“Andrew, I-” She began.

“HOW DARE YOU! HOW THE FUCK COULD YOU BRING THIS GUY INTO OUR HOUSE! Ashley and I miss our dad, and you already want to replace him?” I questioned. “WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON IN THAT HEAD OF YOURS?”

“Andrew, watch your language! I’m still your mother and I-” I cut her off again.

“NO! YOU DON’T DESERVE MY RESPECT YOU STUPID BITCH! I KNOW THAT I DIDN’T MEAN IT WHEN I SAID IT AS A KID, BUT THIS TIME I UTTERLY AND TRULY HATE YOU!” I screamed. “I CAN’T EVEN FUCKING LOOK AT YOU! If you don’t get out of my house in the next five minutes-. Just get the hell out.” I said, tears streaming down my face.

“Andrew-” She tried.

“GET THE FUCK OUT RIGHT NOW!” I screamed back.

“FINE! If you really want me gone, I’ll be out of your hair in one hour!” She yelled back, a tear in her eye.

I picked up something, and smashed the window with it in a swift throw.

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