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. 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
Edited by jaimearkin
November 1960 Forks Washington
She was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. Granted I was only seventeen, but the girl on the other side of the window to my right was no less than a vision from the heavens. The song "My Heart Has a Mind of its Own" by Connie Francis was playing in the background of the modest home I was standing in front of, and all I could think about was how my heart had the same problem. I hadn't even seen her up close yet, but I just knew it.
"Look alive son, we're in the company of others," my father ordered me, and so I did. When Lieutenant Colonel Cullen told you to do something you damn well did it. I straightened my posture and tried to flatten my hair one last time. I wanted to be perfect for the girl I saw through the window.
The door in front of us opened and the father of the woman that I knew would one day be my wife was standing on the other side of the threshold. An errant thought about asking him right then and there for his daughters hand in marriage ran through my mind and my eyes widened slightly as I had to force the words back down my throat. What was wrong with me?
I noticed that my father was shaking the mans hand and I took the moment to bring myself from my thoughts. The introduction needed to move a little faster so I could see for myself what my head and my heart were getting into.
"This is my son, Edward," my father told the man who I knew to be the Chief of Police in the small town we were inhabiting at the moment. I gave him one quick nod and extended my hand. His shake was bold and strong. I could tell from one shake that he was a protective man, one that knew what he wanted and what was right. One that most likely wasn't willing to let his possibly only daughter out of his grasp easily. I had a feeling that I would just have to try and win him over.
We entered the modest home and the scene before me was not quite what I had expected. Connie Francis still played in the background but I was unprepared for the giant of a young man that hovered in the living room near a man in a wheelchair, his eyes only for the girl I saw from the window. She was dressed demurely in a sweet cotton dress that covered everything it should, but the dog eyed her as though she was a piece of meat.
"This here is Billy Black," The chief said, referring to the man in the wheelchair. "He is the Chief of the Quillette tribe a little ways down the road. Thought you wouldn't mind the extra company," He smiled warmly at my father then, as I had seen so many others do before.
I was an Army brat. It was the only thing I knew. I was still too young to join the forces, though my older brother Emmett was away stationed in some part of another continent that most people couldn't even pronounce. My mother had died of illness two years earlier so it was just my father and me. We, or my father rather, tried to make friends with the local law enforcement everywhere we moved. I didn't really understand his fascination with this, but it meant for a whole wealth of home cooked meals that weren't prepared by a couple of bumbling men.
The chief then gestured towards the living room asking us to take a seat and make ourselves at home as his wife came out of the kitchen wiping her hands on a towel wearing an apron. A scene I had seen a hundred times and still never failed to make my heart flutter at what I missed. I missed having her around so much some days. I gave her a small smile and nod and made my way to my intended target.
The young woman before me stood shyly and looked up at me from beneath her eyelashes with her hands behind her back. I extended my own and earned a growl from the gentleman I had not yet been introduced to. Ignoring him, I implored her to give up her dainty hand and when she did I brought her hand up to my lips for a kiss keeping eye contact with her as she giggled. It was like bells ringing, and I longed to hear her speak. A huff sounded from a few steps away and I dutifully ignored it once again.
"My name is Edward Cullen," I told her smoothly, trying to cover the anxiousness in my voice. "Pleased to make your acquaintance, Miss…"
"Isabella, Bella. Call me Bella," she told me sweetly and I nodded repeating the name back to her. Having lived in Italy for a time and having to learn enough of the language to get by, the importance of her name was not lost on me. And her voice, oh God that voice. It was everything I had hoped for and more.
"Beautiful," I murmured and she giggled shying away again. I reluctantly released her hand and after giving her a quick wink I turned to the boy who had been eyeing our private interaction with disdain. Straightening my stance to my full height I once again offered my hand and he sneered down at it. Instead of giving in to his childish ways I held it there, holding his gaze, letting him know I would not give up so easily.
He finally relented and reached up with his own grabbing mine forcefully. This was a different kind of shake from Charlie's. This was a handshake that marked territory and gave me a warning. I stared him down and introduced myself calmly.
"The names Jacob," he said and gave me the squeeze. I chuckled slightly as I thought about the four different ways I could incapacitate him from this position if that was the game he really wanted to play but continued to be polite.
"Nice to meet you. Is that your father?" I asked him nodding to Billy and he nodded with a slight grunt darting his eyes to Bella and then back to me. The next thing he did surprised me. Pulling me in for what would look to others as a manly hug among acquaintences, his head on the farthest side from Isabella, he spoke very quietly and menacingly.
"She's mine, you bloodsucking warmonger. Stay. Away."
With that he patted me on the back and pulled back with a smile. I smiled back genuinely to show that he had indeed not scared me. I didn't startle easily, one upside to growing up in a military family. You started training young whether you wanted to or not. Something else it taught you, was how easy it was to get what you wanted.
I knew what I wanted. In fact, I was pretty sure I knew what I needed. One day she would be my wife, I could feel it in my bones. I could feel this pull, like magnets almost, drawing me to her. I took a glance in her direction and caught her just in time as she looked away from me trying not to be noticed. Maybe she felt it too.
"May the best man win," I said kindly, taking into account that he was at least a year younger than I was. He had no idea what he was getting into here.
"Dinners ready, everyone" the Chiefs wife announced standing in the doorway looking like the perfect wife. She had lost the apron, but everything else stayed as it was. She was flawless. I understood where her daughter got it from at that moment.
As we made our way into the dining room, I held out my elbow for Miss Isabella to take. A lady should never go unaccompanied to dinner, this was no exception. She accepted and looked between us over her shoulder at Jacob and smiled sheepishly. I noticed the scowl on his face and tried to hide my grin. Bella met my eyes for a moment and a blush the color of roses spread over her cheeks before she leaned up to press a soft chaste kiss to my cheek.
I smiled down at her and knew that I had won.
Jan 21 1968 Khe Sanh
"Grab your weapons and take cover!"
The siege had arrived and we were powerless against it. I sprang to my feet and darted my eyes around as I grabbed my rifle from where it sat next to me and tried to find a place to easily take cover. Snatching up the letter I was in the midst of writing to my beloved, I stowed it on my person and moved frantically to find the first casualty of the surprise attack.
This was my job. It was what I was trained to do. Pulling off my first aid pack stealthily, I slid to the side of the first victim I found. Bombs were exploding around us and all I could hear was the ringing of a hail of gunfire in my ear drums.
I checked his pulse, I listened for a heartbeat and I felt for breath. His leg was mangled beyond repair and he was convulsing and clutching onto my arm. He only had minutes left, it would be obvious to anyone, but still I did what I could and moved on.
"I'm sorry, Newton, I did what I could," I regretfully told my comrade and moved on.
"Medic! We need a medic!"
Those were the five most common words heard by me in times of war. In that precise order. I followed the sound of them in a robotic trance searching for the next future body bag. I knew it was a horrible way to think about it, but it was the truth.
"Fire in the hole!" was shouted and I hunched and took cover crawling to the next victim. I knew this one also. Almost too well. His wife was at home with mine.
"Jasper," I yelled over the horrific noise around us. "Jas can you hear me?"
He nodded and reached up to me pulling at my collar. I leaned my ear down closer so I could hear him. I looked him over as I did this and he seemed stable. He was brought down by a gunshot to the torso, more than likely accidental friendly fire. We saw so much of that around here. I put a bandage on the wound and hoped it would be enough. It was all I could do at the moment.
"I'm okay. You need to go and find your brother. And you need to live."
With that he rolled over onto his stomach and let out a hail of gunfire with a primal roar.
Chapter Notes: Im sorry it took so long for me to update. FIY was just needed all my attention.