Signed, SEALed, delivered

Chapter 1


I will never get used to the heat of this desert. The sand blew almost constantly, landing in places you didn't want to think about. The scorpions were so damn big they could carry off a sewer rat. Dehydration was a constant enemy we battled every day. There was a reason why plants didn't grow in the sand. They just forgot to share that information with the human race. Water was sparse, and clean water was even harder to find. However, that didn't stop the medics from dunking soldier's face first into puddles to keep the heat stroke away.

With this last patrol safely tucked under my belt, I was looking forward to a luke warm shower and a bed that wasn't much more than a bunch of sticks and a wool blanket duct taped together. It was home for now, for a few more months that is.

Fifteen minutes and two bottles of water later, I was back and about to collapse when I noticed my mail had been delivered. It had been weeks since I had been close enough to any town for mail to reach me. Even with e-mail, sometimes certain events occurred preventing us from contacting the people we love back home. My family was well aware of this-a term we referred to as River City. It happened when we either had to keep silent or someone had died in action. The last time I was here, a SEAL's wife found out about her husband's death from his Facebook page as the web traveled quicker than the Navy. Since then, the rule has applied. This time it was due to some insurgents that had gotten a little too close to the gate.

Slowly, I began to thumb through the stack. Even here, in this god forsaken desert, junk mail found me. Trashing the offer to reduce my mortgage and a lawn care service that wanted to offer me a free tree trimming, I sorted the various envelopes one by one.



Mom again

My sister, Alice

Mom again

Alice again

Isabella Swan



I didn't know any Isabella Swan, so I tossed the pale yellow envelope with the others, I was just too tired to even read my own mother's letter right now. I didn't even make it under the covers before sleep took over.

When I woke the next morning-or was it afternoon-there was a whole new stack of mail waiting for me. I decided that once I had some food and another shower I would tackle it. If I knew my mother, like I thought I did, she was nearly in panic mode.

When I had first joined the military, she cried for days. She just knew I would go off and get myself killed. If that wasn't hard enough for her, when I was selected as a Navy SEAL, she nearly lost her mind.

Why do this to my mom you ask? It's all my brother's fault. He said I wouldn't make it through hell week. He still won't admit he was wrong, even though he had me run his players through some drills the last time I was home.

Emmett had gone pro until a nasty accident shattered his knee. He went back home, married his high school sweetheart, and now they have three kids. That was something I would love to have, but more than likely it will never happen. The men on my SEAL team that came in married, all are now divorced. I want forever.

Emmett was all jock. I was all brain. My father wanted me to follow in his footsteps and be a doctor. I still could, if I wanted to, not that I do mind you, but I could.

With a bottled water in hand, I got comfortable and started reading my mail. My mother's first letter basically told me what she always tells me. Stay safe and if I get killed, I'm grounded.

My sister's was the same as well. Alice was complex. She is five years younger than me and has two settings, off or super-fast. She was into everything growing up, cheerleading, student council, and prom committee. She is the most upbeat and genuine person you will ever meet. She is also obsessed with being in love. She falls fast and hard, only to fall out just as fast and with the battle scars to prove it. Emmett and I have had to have more "talks" with men who treated her like shit than I can count. She just finished opening up a clothing store in Seattle and has now decided she has to meet the perfect man. She and Rosalie, Emmett's wife, have been actively signing her up for speed dating and all of those internet dating websites.

Whatever happened to going out and having fun?

The women in my life were too much. They needed someone who was less dramatic and more relaxed. Someone who could get them to let their hair down. I needed a girl like that...

Finally, I opened the letter from Isabella Swan. The return address indicated she lived in Tacoma, Washington, not far from my parents if I remembered correctly.


I hate the way we left things. I know I said I would be there for you no matter what happened. It scared me that you started asking for information that I wasn't comfortable in giving you.

I stopped reading and grabbed the envelope, suddenly discovered why this letter was so bizarre.

Edwin Cullan

UNIT 3623

AFPO, Afghanistan.

It was my address, but clearly someone else's name, although, it was oddly close. I shoved the letter back inside the envelope and slid my boots on. I would find this Edwin guy and give him his letters.