Summary: Letting go is never easy, saying goodbye when you didn't really get to is practically impossible. Starting her life over when she lost everything she was counting on will be the hardest thing Julie's ever had to do.

Author's Note: So, in my film class we're doing war films right now. And I started writing this. I won't give too much away, although everything gets pretty laid out in the first chapter here. It's a lot more serious than anything I've ever written before. I'm not doing a linear plot structure either, also new for me. I have the whole story planned out, I hope it turns out, and I'd really appreciate reviews, if I have some facts wrong, I apologize for it, I would really appreciate reviews!

Losing and Finding

Chapter 1: How She Got Here

July 2005

Julie Gaffney walked into the house that she shared with her fiancé, Dean Portman and saw him sitting on the couch holding a paper.

"Hey sweetie," She leaned over and kissed him, "What's that?"

"Um, Julie," He said, taking her hands and pulling her down. She saw the serious look on his face.

"Dean, what is it?" She looked at him.

"It's from," He looked at her, "It's from the army. I've gotten called up again." She swallowed.

"Where?" She whispered.

"Iraq," He looked down, "Troop surge."

"Troop surge," She bit her lower lip and stood up, "Fine." She walked into the bedroom and slammed the door and then locked it behind her. She lay down on the bed and curled up.

"Babe," He groaned and banged on the door, "Come on, Julie, we have to talk about this. We knew there was a chance of this happening." She opened the door.

"I don't want you to go back," She said, "It was impossible enough the first time."

"Come here," He sighed and hugged her. "I know this screws us up OK? But I go back, I do a couple of tours, and before you know it, it's over, we get married and start our life."

"It's not before I know it," She said, "It's months of worrying, and thinking, and wondering, and not seeing you," He kissed her. "And last time you weren't in Iraq, and at least I understood why you were going and, we weren't supposed to be getting married in six months." He kissed her again. "You're not going to kiss your way out of this one."

"I'm not?" He smirked.

"No," She said, "When do you go?"

"Two months," He sighed. "I'm sorry Julie."

"Can't we go to Canada?" She whispered.

"I didn't get drafted in Vietnam," He laughed, "It doesn't work like that."

December 2007

Julie sat at her desk in class. Law school was killer, but she had to do what she had to do. At least finals were coming up, and she could get out of here.

"This seat taken?" Someone said, she looked up and shook her head. "I'm Paul."

"Julie," She nodded and waved.

"Yeah, I've seen you around," He nodded. "I've thought about talking to you." She nodded. She bet he had. Guys like this were coming up to her all the time. Then he glanced down. "I didn't realize you were engaged."

"What?" She looked at him, and then realized, "Oh, I'm not."

"Really?" He asked, "Because normally, when girls wear diamond rings on their left hand, it means that they're engaged."

"I'm not engaged," She sighed, "I was, but not anymore."

"So why are you still wearing the ring?" He asked, "If you're not engaged."

"My fiancé, he um," She said, "He died." He pulled back. "That's the typical reaction."

"I'm so sorry," He looked at her, "I didn't realize."

"It's OK," She shrugged, "I just haven't been able to take the ring off yet." He nodded.

"Do you mind me asking what happened?" He sighed.

"He was in Iraq," She said, not wanting to go into details.

"Bigger wow," Paul said. She nodded. "You must be very proud."

"Not really," She shook her head. "I hated it. I didn't want him to go when he enlisted after 9-11, and then he got called up again, and sent to Iraq, and now he's dead." She looked down. "I'm sorry, you must think I'm crazy."

"No," He said, "Not at all." He stood up and walked away.

"Works every time," Julie shook her head, and went to her notes.

Later that day she walked into the house and dropped her books.

"Hey, honey," Fulton said, "How was school today?"

"Fine," She laughed and plopped on the couch. "Some idiot hit on me. The ring scared him off."

"When are you going to take the ring off?" He sat down next to her.

"When I'm ready to," She looked at him. "I don't want to have this conversation."

"Julie it's been five months," He said, "He wouldn't want you to live like this."

"How am I living?" She said, "How is it any different than before? I go to class, I come back here."

"You shut everyone out," He looked at her. "You come home and curl up and,"

"Like you said," She whispered, "It's been five months, which maybe seems like a long time, but it's nothing. I don't know why everyone expects me to just go back to normal!"

"No one expects that Jules," He sighed, "No one expects you to be happy go lucky Julie, but you have to stop torturing yourself."

"Yeah," She nodded, "Whatever."

June 2002

"I don't want you to go," Julie whispered as she and Dean sat on his bed. He kissed her. "Dean,"

"It's a just a year Julie," He smiled, "I'm going to be in Germany. No where near Afghanistan, and then I'll be back, and I'll get to go to school with you, and everything will be great."

"There are other ways to get money for school you know," She said. He sighed.

"Yeah, scholarships, which I didn't get any of," He said, "I'm not a brainiac like you," He kissed her, "And financial aid, which I didn't get enough of, and loans, which are impossible. This is the easiest way. I love you." He said, she nodded and kissed him, she weaved her hands around his neck and pulled them horizontal. "What are you doing?" He whispered.

"What kind of American would I be if I let my brave soldier go off without a proper send off?" She said and kissed him.

"Julie," He whispered, nuzzling her neck gently. "Are you sure about this?" She nodded and sat up, peeling her shirt off.

"I love you," She said softly. "I always will, and I want something to hold on to, something to remember." He smiled and kissed down her chest. She'd hung on to her virginity this long was what she always said, but now the boy she loved was going away and she wouldn't see him for months. And he was doing something incredibly brave, and important. At least that's what she kept telling herself.

"Something to keep me warm at night?" He teased. She kissed him. "I don't want you to regret this."

"I won't," She said, "I know I won't."

July 2007

"How's she holding up?" Fulton asked Connie as she cleared the table. Connie shrugged.

"She's not good," Connie shook her head. "She won't talk to anyone, and she had that huge fight with Mrs. Portman. Now she's saying she won't go to funeral," She sighed.

"Mommy?" Four year old Kayla Germaine pulled at her mother's pants, "Mommy, can I go try to make Aunt Julie smile?"

"No sweetie," Connie crouched down, "Aunt Julie's really tired, just leave her alone OK? Do you want some dessert?"

"Yes please," Kayla nodded.

"OK," Connie said, "Maybe she'll talk to you Fult."

"I'll try," He nodded and walked outside, Julie was sitting on the porch, wrapped in a blanket. He sat down next to her. "Hey."

"Leave me alone," She shook her head, "I don't want to talk to anyone."

"OK," He nodded, "That's fine. But here's the deal, I'm just going to sit here, with you, until you're ready to talk." She nodded, and pressed her lips inside her mouth.

"She tried to give me his purple heart," She whispered, "She said he would have wanted me to have it." She shook her head. "But she just would have wanted him to want me to have it. He knew that I wanted nothing to do with any of it." He nodded. "I can't believe he's gone Fulton." She hugged him. "It can't be real."

"I know," He whispered, and sniffed, trying not to cry, "But come on, you know what he'd say if he was here?"

"Stop crying, you queers?" She said, he nodded and they laughed.

"You can't not go tomorrow Julie," He said. She looked down. "Did you watch the tape?" She shook her head. "Maybe you should." She closed her eyes.

"I can't," She whispered. "Not alone, will you watch it with me?"

"Anything you need," Fulton nodded. Before Portman left he'd promised to take care of Julie, if anything happened. Sure the whole thing was very Pearl Harbor, but no one really thought that Dean wouldn't be coming home. "Come on, you have to eat something."

"You sound like Connie," She sniffed and stood up, they walked back inside.

"Aunt Julie!" Kayla ran over and took her hand.

"Hey sweetie," Julie smiled.

"We're having ice cream," The little girl said, "When I'm sad ice cream makes me feel better. You should have some."

"Alright Kayla," Julie smiled, "I will have some ice cream." She smiled lightly at Connie as she picked the little girl up. Kayla kissed her godmother on the cheek.

"I'm going to miss Uncle Dean too," Kayla proclaimed.

"Yes baby," Fulton nodded at the little girl, "We all are."

Review it Please! Like I said, it's really different for me.