Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight or its characters. I was not alive when the Vietnam War was raging, but it is a favorite piece of history to me.
Warning: This story will NOT have a HEA. If this is not your cup of tea, you may wish to stop. If you do read this prologue, you may decide that you already have it all figured out, but trust me, it goes much deeper than this.
Important: This story will be about twelve chapters long, give or take. It will not infringe on Fade Into You in any way. That is still my top priority. This is just a story that beat its way into my head this morning, and damaged my heart all day long. I have to get it out. Updates may be slightly slower on this than they are on FIY
If you do decide to go on, I would like to hear your thoughts. I have never written something like this and I'd like to know if I'm getting it right or am just way off base. THIS WILL NOT BE ANOTHER STORY FULL OF LETTERS! This is the only one included.
January 21, 1968
At 5:30 a.m., a shattering barrage of shells, mortars and rockets slam into the Marine base at Khe Sanh. Eighteen Marines are killed instantly, 40 are wounded. The initial attack continues for two days.
It was very early morning when he sat to write the letter he felt would be the last to them. Not necessarily his last ever in life, but his last to them. His loves, his wife and child. The marine base was a flurry of activity, but he managed to find a quiet corner where he could hear the radio and almost find some peace. Just enough to let his mind be heard above the din.
Two years since he had last seen them and the guilt inside ate away at him daily. By the moment even. It had gotten so bad that he feared that she would leave him. He once wrote a letter asking her if she wanted something more. Something other than a crippling fear that he would never come home to her. He asked if she needed a man there to help her raise their daughter. He even told her that he wouldn't hold it against her if she were to find someone else that could love and adore her from arms length rather than the other side of the world. She'd responded irately saying that she could never love another man, and even though he was on the other side of the earth, she could feel his magnetic pull from there. That had satisfied him enough that he would never willingly bring the subject up again.
Their daughter Annabelle was nearing five years old and he missed her. He loved holding her and singing her to sleep. Tickling her till she laughed and falling asleep with her in the recliner in the sitting room were his two favorite things aside from and form of contact with his wife.
He looked around the hangar one more time before bringing his pencil down to the already battered looking piece of paper on the floor in front of him.
Jan 21 68
To the loves of my Existence,
This will be the last letter I will ever get to write to you. Please don't ask me how I know this, but I can feel it in my bones. It has been too long since I have seen my beautiful daughter and I fear that she will forget me. You can't ever let that happen.
I hope everything is well and there isn't too much trouble on the home front. Are Alice and Rosalie still sticking things out with you? I'm so happy you have them. I would die feeling like you were there alone to worry about me day in and day out. Communication is so poor; I wish I could talk to you more often.
We are currently at Khe Sanh. There are whispered words of an imminent attack, but no one knows when or how. That's the scariest part of being out here. Not knowing when anything will happen. It's a constant battle of looking over your shoulder but seeing what's right in front of your face at the same time. It's nearly impossible.
I miss you so very much it hurts my chest at times. I went to the battalion doctor who told me I had either a case of heartburn or pity for my wife. I told him that the rations I'd eaten earlier would point in the direction of both. Its not that I hold pity for you, I'm sadder for you and busy wanting you. I think it breaks my heart how far apart we really are and how much of my daughters' short life I have already missed.
Annabelle will be turning five soon and I haven't seen her in two years. Do you hate me for that? Has this made you despise me? Does she hate me? I don't think I could live with myself if that were true. I hope she knows that I love her and her mama very much and am working so hard to do my part to just end this thing.
I know you understand why I'm here, and I know you knew what you were getting into when you married me. It doesn't ease any of the guilt I hold though. Sometimes I wonder how different your life would have been had Jacob caught your eye instead of me. It would have ruined me, but for your peace and security I would have endured it. I would give you anything I could; I hope I've instilled that in you enough over the years.
The whispers are getting louder now, and it scares me.
Will you still love me when I come home, Isabella? Will you still need me; will you still feed me, when I'm sixty-four? I'm sorry, I couldn't resist. Its playing on the radio right now and all I could think of was you. I hope you will. Everything above, I hope you will.
I have to go soon, but I don't want to put down this pencil. I feel like the second that I put it down I will lose you and I can't do that to you or myself. I'm selfish like that.
If I'm not there for Annabelle's first day of school, tell her that daddy said
That was all the letter said. He never finished writing it. It was said that in the midst of the attack he snatched it off the floor where he'd been writing it and stowed it away in his fatigues.
While it was never finished, it was in fact sent, as he always kept his home address on him for situations such as this. And while it was sent, received and opened, the sender was the only one to ever lay eyes upon its words.
This is the story of broken parts and how they can infect the mind, body and soul of two people so connected through love that they feel each others acute pain.
Chapter Notes: I really need to hear thoughts on this. Good, bad, indifferent, whatever.