Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended. Story is rated M for language, and lemons.
There are a few things in this chapter that I cannot even begin to know about, mainly with regards to so please suspend your disbelief with me. Thank you.
Chapter 9 – The Woman in White
The two weeks following Edward's birthday were as normal as things could be at the 8076, long stretches in the OR, wounded coming and going at numbers that never seemed to dwindle. Yet as the mail was sorted on July 4th, there was a different declaration of independence about to be delivered.
Edward and Jasper were in the Mess Tent waiting for the girls to join them for breakfast when Corporal Yorkie entered with his mail sack and a small stack of letters in his hand. "Good morning, Sirs, I've got your mail."
Eric handed both men their letters and Edward looked through the stack until he noticed an official looking envelope.
"What's that?" Jasper asked as he put down his own mail to watch Edward open his letter from I-Corps.
"They're my papers," Edward said as he stared down at them. "I'm going home."
"You're what?" Bella gasped from behind him.
"I got my points between commendations and time in combat and I'm being discharged. My replacement will be here in six days and then I'm on a transport flight back to the states."
Edward watched in horror as Bella sprinted from the Mess Tent, but Alice promised to catch up with her. Taking the opportunity, Dr. Masen went to the Colonel's office to speak to him about his plans.
"Colonel, did you know that I was being shipped out?" Edward asked as he got into the office.
"I got my copy of your paperwork in the mail this morning too. Are you here to discuss your Captain?" Carlisle asked.
"I want to marry her, Colonel, but I'm not sure how to do that."
"That I can handle," Carlisle told him. "The Army has forms for this, just like they have forms for everything else, so we just submit the paperwork and then do the blood test. Both of you being American citizens will speed this along but we better get it out in today's mail. I'll put a call in to I-Corps so they know its coming. You just go to the Chaplin and take care of the ceremony."
Edward rushed out of the office, knowing that Bella would likely be in either Major Hale's tent or her own, so he stopped by the Major's first. "Major, have you seen Bella?"
"She's here, Captain, and in quite a state," Rosalie said as she opened the door.
"Bella, I just left the Colonel's office and he's busy having Corporal Yorkie fill out the various forms, so after we do the blood test, we'll be all set to get married before I get shipped home."
"We're going to get married here?" Bella asked.
"Of course, darling, I told you that if one of us got discharged we'd get married here, and I meant it. You do want to marry me, right?" Edward was now the unsure one as Bella crossed quickly to his side.
"Yes, silly, now we should go find someone to run the blood test." Bella's excitement had the room buzzing and soon they were sitting in the lab while Jasper did their blood work.
"Okay, I'll run the test and then fill out the paperwork so it can go off to I-Corps with all of the things the Corporal was typing up while I was in there getting these sheets."
"Thank you, Jasper," Bella said as she hugged him.
"You're welcome, Captain. Now go take care of the rest of the planning." Jasper sent them off so that he could complete his work.
Walking into the Colonel's office, they found him on the phone with I-Corps. "Yes, that's correct. Yes, yes, that will do just fine. The last of the forms is being filled out and the blood test is being run at this very moment. You're right; it is nice to do some positive work for a change. I understand, very well. I will talk to you soon. Good-bye."
"How is my favorite couple?" Dr. Cullen asked as Bella blushed, knowing her question was going to be emotional.
"Well, we've been discussing the ceremony, and I'd like it if you would give me away, Colonel," Bella said.
"I'd be honored," he replied before looking back down to his desk. "I have a little more news for you. I-Corps is aware of your request and they'll have everything back in a day or two, and once the signed marriage licenses are back all of the paperwork will be sent to Washington to update your records. You'll both have copies of your marriage licenses and Bella; your new dog tags should arrive in a few weeks once the paperwork is processed stateside. Oh, and one more thing. Edward, you won't be leaving on the tenth."
"I won't?" Edward asked, confused.
"Nope. You were due to leave at dawn on the tenth, but you'll only be going as far as Seoul for a two day honeymoon with your new bride before she is needed back here. Once he's done with your wedding paperwork, the Corporal will make your travel arrangements for you."
"Thank you, Colonel," Edward said as he hugged the man who was like a father to him.
"You're very welcome. I'm happy to give you this little bit of time together."
Before they could say anymore, the call for incoming wounded interrupted the conversation. While the surgeons treated their patients, Corporal Yorkie got the paperwork for the marriage license off to the required office.
During a brief lull, Dr. Masen gave a note to the Corporal, who then went to handle another important piece of wedding business.
Every moment that wasn't spent in the hospital was dealing with some aspect of the wedding, whether it was the Mess working on the food they would be making or procuring what was needed for the cake, or it was the girls getting Bella's dress just right. Though as the Corporal found Captain Masen to deliver the news he'd been waiting for, he was determined to find Isabella.
"Can I come in?" Edward asked as he knocked on Rosalie's tent door.
"One moment," Alice called before the sound of shuffling filtered through the door. The door finally opened to reveal Bella once again in her uniform, but with what he had to say, he was happy to not have the distraction.
"I just got this wire, love, and I wanted to share it with you." Edward handed Bella the paper as she read it out loud.
"Dear Dr. Masen, stop. Congratulations are in order. Stop. To answer your question, I heartily give my consent to the man who has shown himself worthy of my daughter. Stop. You are welcome to stay with my wife and I until you are settled. Stop. Safe journey. Stop. Chief Charles Swan. Stop." Bella looked up at Edward before her eyes fell back to the telegram. "You sent my father a wire to ask for his consent?"
"I won't get to meet him before the wedding, but I didn't want to take away his ability to wish us well. This is important for both him and for you," Edward explained.
"I love you, Edward," Bella whispered.
"I love you too, Bella."
Over the next few days, the couple gave each other all the information they needed. Edward called his bank from Korea and had them add Bella to his accounts, which would be official as soon as he presented their marriage license upon his return to Chicago. Said licenses had arrived and all the paperwork was on its way to Washington to be finalized. With only one last night before the wedding, the couple only had to prepare for their evening ceremony the following day.
Of course, the North Koreans had to have a say, so the ceremony was being delayed by the latest round of wounded. As Dr. Masen tended to his last patients as a Captain in the US Army, he watched his fiancé move, knowing he would soon be missing moments like this. When the wounded were finally all cared for, Dr. King went on to cover Post-Op while those who wished to be in attendance for the wedding went to get changed and fill the Mess Tent.
The food lined the far wall while the Chaplin set up the last of the items near the front of the building. Edward walked into the Mess and met Jasper up by the makeshift altar. Those who were attending the wedding milled around inside for a few moments before Alice opened the door and cleared her throat to get everyone's attention. Everyone settled into the benches and Alice entered first, walking down the aisle to stand opposite Edward and Jasper before the entire Mess Tent turned to see Bella walk in with the Colonel.
Edward gasped at the sight of Bella in her beautiful white dress. The full skirt fell in tiers of lace, which rose over the bodice of the dress and down her arms in delicate sleeves. As she walked on the Colonel's arm he first wondered how he was so lucky to have this angel in his life, and secondly when she managed to get that dress.
When she stood before him, Edward reached out to shake the Colonel's hand before taking Bella's and leading her the few steps to the altar where the Chaplin waited for them.
Motioning for everyone to be seated, the Chaplin began the service. "It is a sign of God's work in all things that two people such as our dear Captains could find one another in the midst of such death and destruction. Two paths, that would have never crossed were it not for the war that brought them to Korea, join today to create one life. We are gathered here this evening to bear witness to the miracle that is true love and devotion.
"If there is any man or woman here who believes these two should not be joined, speak now or forever hold your peace." The Chaplin waited a beat before continuing the ceremony.
"Do you, Edward Anthony Masen, take this woman, Isabella Marie Swan, to be your lawfully wedded wife, your constant friend, your faithful partner and your love from this day forward? In the presence of God and friends, do you offer your solemn vow to be a faithful partner in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow. Do you promise to love her unconditionally, to support her in her goals, to honor and respect her, to laugh with her and cry with her, and to cherish her for as long as you both shall live? "
"I do," Edward responded clearly.
The Chaplin turned to Isabella and asked her the same questions.
"I do," Isabella whispered.
The Chaplin gestured for the Maid of Honor and Best Man to give the couple their rings. "Wedding rings are made precious by our wearing them. Your rings say that even in your uniqueness you have chosen to be bound together. Let these rings also be a sign that love has substance as well as soul. A present as well as a past, and that, despite its occasional sorrows, love is a circle of happiness, wonder, and delight. May these rings remind you always of the vows you have taken here today."
Edward held out his hand and waited for Bella to place her hand in his so he could place the ring upon her finger. "I give you this ring, as I give to you all that I am, and accept from you, all that you are."
Once her ring was in place, Bella repeated the gesture. "I give you this ring, as I give to you all that I am, and accept from you, all that you are."
The Chaplin ended the ceremony by speaking the traditional closing line. "By the power vested in me, I now pronounce you man and wife; you may kiss your bride."
Edward leaned in to kiss Bella, causing the Mess Tent to erupt into cheers. For the next few hours the couple ate and danced with their friends, savoring their last moments together at the unit that brought them together. When time came for them to retire, Isabella led Edward to the VIP tent, which had been made up for the couple.
Edward was completely packed for his trip home, with Bella's bags sitting beside his duffle bag inside the room. For a few moments, they simply stood there staring at each other before Edward put the hook through the eye, effectively locking the tent door before he started to strip out of his dress uniform. With some assistance, Bella was able to slip out of her dress and Edward lifted her off the floor and carried her to the bed.
"Bella, my wife, I love you so much."
"I love you too, Edward. Make love to me."
Edward's fingers traced the lines of her bra before his fingers found the clasps on the back. He continued to move down her body until she was completely nude beneath him. Meeting her eyes, she nodded, remembering what they'd discussed during their time in Tokyo.
"If you want me to stop, all you have to do is say the word," Edward told her as he positioned himself between her legs.
Keeping his left hand focused on her breasts, Edward's right hand ghosted over his wife's sex, finding her clit and gently brushing it. Her gentle gasps let him know that she enjoyed that first touch so he let his fingers play with the tiny bundle of nerves until she let out a moan. Satisfied that she was into his attentions, he lowered his mouth to her flesh and licked one long stroke before his tongue replaced his finger on her clit as his finger made its way to her opening and slid inside.
"Oh, Edward," Bella called softly as he added a second finger, his own body reacting to her sounds but he held back, determined to give her this pleasure first.
Edward's fingers and mouth worked together to drive Bella to the brink and as she soared through her bliss; Edward removed his boxers and crawled up her body. "Two days won't be nearly enough, but I'm going to savor every moment I have with you."
Entering her, their first time together as man and wife was gentle and loving. They fell asleep in one another's arms and it was only the knock from Corporal Yorkie that woke them the next morning.
"Captains, we have to head out in thirty minutes if I'm going to meet Edward's replacement at the airport."
Mr. and Mrs. Masen got themselves put together and then headed over for a quick breakfast. Many of the people in the Mess came over to wish Edward a safe journey and the best of luck back in the states. With their meal over, they found their closest friends waiting by the Jeep waiting to take them to Seoul.
"Edward, safe journey," Jasper told him as he embraced his best friend.
"Thank you and you all be sure to take care of my girl. I'm entrusting her to you." Edward looked to the men, who all took the responsibility very seriously.
With a final round of hugs, the trio climbed into the Jeep and started the two and a half hour drive to Seoul. Bella and Edward sat in the back seat dozing off for the first part of the drive, but as the craters in the road grew worse, they were jostled awake.
"Sorry, Sir, Ma'am, this road has more potholes than dirt," Corporal Yorkie called out.
It took another hour of riding rough before they pulled up outside the Water Lily Hotel.
"I'm going to leave you here and then drive up the road to the airport to pick up Captain Stoker," Corporal Yorkie told the couple before he turned to Edward. "Captain, it's been an honor to serve with you."
Edward returned the young man's salute and then extended his hand. "Eric, I've had the pleasure of watching you grow from a confused boy thrown into a position you didn't understand, to a young man I'd be proud to have handling my business. I expect great things from you, Corporal."
"Yes, Sir. Ma'am, I'll see you back at the 8076 on the twelfth."
"Bye, Corporal," Bella said as they gathered their bags and walked into the lobby of the hotel.
They were checked in and unpacking when Edward found the camera that Alice had lent them. "We better take all of our pictures today, that way we have a chance to get them developed tomorrow so both of us can take our copies," Edward suggested.
That was how their day of sightseeing began, with walks through the garden at the hotel and breakfast at an Americanized restaurant. They explored the things that Seoul had to offer, taking as many pictures as possible before making it back to their room after a late dinner. While Bella relaxed on their bed, Edward was suddenly hit with an idea.
"Bella, love, would you mind if I took a few pictures of you for my time apart from you?"
"Of course not, Edward, that's what we've spent today doing," she told him, confused by what he was asking.
"I was hoping to take more private pictures," he said, immediately adding, "nothing too risqué, but tasteful pin up style photos."
"Can I have a few pictures of you for my time back at the MASH?" Bella asked, her blush already staining her cheeks and chest.
"Absolutely," he said as he held up the camera. Bella settled herself on the bed, sprawled out on her stomach as Edward snapped the first picture.
From there he took a couple more of her posing before they began to have a bit of fun. Knowing Edward would never disrespect her by showing the pictures to another person; she stripped out of her clothes and let him take a few of her in the lingerie she'd purchased for their honeymoon. His personal favorite was one of the longer dresses because of the long slit it had up her leg, but the short frilly one did amazing things for her cleavage. Bella took a few pictures of Edward with his undershirt on and bare-chested, leaving a final picture for what she had planned.
Slipping into the bathroom, she emerged in nothing but a pair of panties and one of his dress shirts. The strangled moan that she heard from across the room let her know that Edward liked what he saw.
"Lean against the door frame, baby?" Edward asked as he went to fetch the camera. Snapping the last picture, Edward took the film out and tucked the roll with the others they'd taken.
Edward enjoyed divesting Bella of his shirt before they spent most of the night awake and savoring their time together.
Waking up early, Edward went straight to the shop that sold film, picking up a few rolls to replace what they'd used from Alice's stock and dropping off the film to be developed. The young Korean man understood the urgency with which the pictures needed to be done and promised that he would have them ready by five pm. Ordering room service to be sent up on his way back upstairs, the Captain found his beautiful bride still sleeping.
Edward sat on the edge of the bed and just watched her as she slept, pleased to hear his name on her lips a few times. The knock on the door from room service roused her and Edward allowed the young woman in long enough to deliver the food and then showed her out.
"How long have you been awake?" Bella asked as she climbed out of bed and put on one of the sexy nightgowns she had worn for the pictures last night.
"An hour? I went down to drop off the film and then ordered our food."
"Is it horrible if I asked to stay in today?" Bella's question brought a smile to Edward's face.
"Not at all, my beautiful wife. I would love nothing more than to part with our bed only long enough to eat and pick up our film this evening."
"Good, because I wish to spend every moment with you until you board that plane."
Edward could see the sorrow in his love's eyes as he led her to the table and knelt before her as she sat down. "We will make it through, Bella. The two weeks between letters will be rough, but we can manage it well enough. Just remember that this war won't last forever and when you come home it will be to a home I've made for us."
"Can we talk about what you'll do when you get back home?" Bella asked as she gestured to the food that was waiting for them.
Edward settled in beside her and then began to tell her his plans. "Well, my friend who is in the real estate business has actually called me to say that someone is interested in my home in Chicago. He has accepted the offer on my behalf and is beginning the paperwork. I'll arrive home in enough time to pack my belongings and oversee the sale of my house. I no longer have a position waiting for me at Mercy, so I will simply wrap up my life there, say good-bye to my mother and then make the long drive to Seattle with my belongings.
"From there, I will begin looking for both a house for us to live in and a job. With all of the hospitals in the area I don't believe that will be too difficult, but I hope to have that matter handled sooner rather than later. Though, of course, I will make the trip to La Push to convey our condolences in person, as well as visit your friends."
"You will send me pictures once you find a house? I would dearly love to see what you pick out for us." Isabella's enthusiasm overshadowed her sadness for the time being.
"Yes, Darling. But I would like your opinion of the type of home you would like, so I know what you would pick if you were with me."
The conversation continued well after breakfast as they discussed knotty pine and the pros and cons of ranch style verses multi-story houses.
Lunch and dinner were ordered from room service as well, with Edward ducking out only long enough to pick up their pictures. Over dinner, they separated the photos and packed away their halves, placing a copy of their wedding pictures into their frames.
They packed their bags and showered before turning in early, Bella's silence weighing on Edward.
"I keep wishing that I could go home with you, but I know that in the morning I will have to let you go."
"Leaving tomorrow morning will be the hardest thing I will ever have to do," Edward confided in her. "It goes against the grain to leave this place without you, knowing that there is danger in the brush and overhead. But it will be a short time in the scheme of things, and the distance will only add to my love for you."
Falling together, Edward sank into his wife, joining them once again. The desperation of the moment fueled their loving as Edward thrust into her harder and deeper, every sound and movement Bella made driving him forward.
The feel of her surrounding him, the way her legs wrapped around his body and pulled him closer, the look in her eyes as he hit a new place within her was too much for him. The wonder of that expanse of time led to a higher peak, sending them free-falling from a height they'd never known.
As they fell asleep wrapped around one another, the final hours of their honeymoon faded with the moonlight.
The morning of the twelfth started far too early for the Masens as the put the last of their things into their suitcases and piled into a rickshaw to take them to Kimpo Airport. It was just before five am when they walked up to the Army clerk to check on their flights.
"Let me see, I have an order for a chopper to take a Captain Masen to a MASH 8076, and another order for a Captain Masen on a flight to Tokyo before jumping to Honolulu, San Francisco, and then Chicago. Is this some type of foul up?" the man asked.
"No, there isn't," Bella said. "My husband got his points so he's heading home, while I'm returning to our old unit."
"Oh, well, the chopper is just going through its final checks and then you'll be all set, and Mr. Captain Masen, your plane just unloaded so they're going to refuel and then you'll be on your way back to civilization. If you two will just sign in and show me your IDs and travel papers, we'll get you on your way."
Once the paperwork was done, Edward pulled Bella into his arms and held her tight. "Remember how this feels, my love, because I don't want a day to go by that you don't know what it feels like to be in my arms. I love you, Bella, and I will be there at the terminal the moment you arrive home."
With tears in her eyes, Bella stood on her toes to kiss Edward, whispering to him, "My heart is yours now, Edward, please take care of it."
"I will, darling. Be safe."
Just then the clerk called Bella's name and Edward walked her out onto the tarmac and handed her bags to the pilot. When her bags were stowed, he helped her to climb in and then kissed her one last time before they started to take off.
"I love you, Edward," she called over the noise of the chopper.
"I love you, Isabella Masen," he responded, memorizing the brilliant smile that graced her lips.
As the chopper flew farther out of sight, the clerk came out to find the Captain. "Sir, your flight is ready."
"Thank you." Edward took his three bags and walked over to his plane, boarding it so that he could say goodbye to Korea and begin the long journey home.