Disclaimer: Nothing is mine.
A/N: I can't believe it's been a freaking year since I posted anything on this story! I hope y'all are still with me. All I can say is RL takes priority. Thank you to everyone who has read, reviewed, rec'd, followed, or favorited this story.
Also thanks to my amazing pre-reader Amanda, she rocks, she rocks in socks, she rocks in socks in a box…. Uh, never mind. I have obviously been reading way too many Dr. Seuss books to the kiddies at work.
In the two months since my trip home, things had somewhat returned to normal, well as normal as they could be, considering where I was and what I did for a living. We still went out on patrol everyday, but it was routine, part of my daily schedule and didn't really feel like as big of a deal as it used to. Not that we weren't still careful, because just a slight distraction could have serious consequences.
"Cullen!" yelled Seth Clearwater, jogging to catch up to me as I walked back from the mess hall.
"Hey Seth, what's up?"
"There's going to be a video game tournament tomorrow night. Some of us were thinking of signing up, you want in?"
"Sure, who's going to be on our team?" I asked, shrugging.
"Well so far I've gotten Sam, Riley, and James Hunter to agree." He answered, ticking the names off on his fingers. "There are going to be five teams of ten, in kinda a round robin type of thing."
At the mention of James name my ears immediately perked up. I had been keeping tabs on him since I got back. He was up to no good, I just knew it, but unfortunately I had no real proof yet. I hadn't been lucky enough to catch him having another early morning pow-wow with the vendor again, but if he really did have nefarious plans, I would find out.
Slapping him on the back, I turned to leave. "I'll ask around and see if I can find anyone else that wants to join."
"Cool, let me know man."
The weather was starting to warm up a little, seeing how it was early March, so I decided to take a walk around the base. I stopped at a couple of the booths, browsed through an array of movies that I had no interest in watching.
I was about to return to my bunk empty handed when I noticed the same man that I had seen talking to James that one morning. He was selling some home woven blankets. I wandered over, looking through his offerings when he walked up to me.
"See something you like?" he asked in heavily accented English. "Maybe something for you mother or wife?"
"They are very beautiful, but I would have to think about it." I replied, not wanting to give away my real reason for visiting his stand.
"I give good deal. Make offer."
"I don't know Mr.…" I paused waiting for him to supply a name.
"My friends, they call me Omar."
"Okay, Omar. You're here regularly, right?"
"Yes, yes, every Tuesday and Thursday. You come and ask for me, I will give you good price."
I shook his hand and left, telling him I would come back another day. I now had a name to go with the information from before. I was determined that I would figure out what was going on eventually.
Laying down on my bunk I thought about what I already knew. James and Omar met very early in the morning, when there wasn't that many people milling around. During that meeting a package changed hands, it was small and easily slipped into a pocket.
It could be a number of things, but whatever it was I was sure it was something illegal.
Before I could contemplate the mystery any further, I could hear the mail being delivered. "Cullen?"
Raising myself up I called out, eager to get whatever letter I had gotten. All soldiers love getting letters from home, it makes them feel a little closer to their loved ones waiting for them.
I had a letter from Bella. We still talked on the phone regularly, not to mention Skyped, but I fucking loved the fact that she still sent regular letters to me. I tore it open, eager to read the words inside.
It's March, do you know what that means? Only a couple of more months till you're back home with me again. Every night I put an X on the calendar, making it one day closer till you're home again.
I can't freaking wait… in some ways it feels like time is flying by and in others it feels like time is crawling by so slowly that I can feel every second tick by. Does that make any sense?
Spring break is almost here. Alice, Rose and I have decided to go to Seattle for part of it, " for some serious retail therapy", Alice's words not mine. I don't particularly like shopping, but it will be fun to hang out with the girls and relax. Alice has already gotten permission from Charlie, I'm not quite sure how she convinced him though.
Who knows what Emmett and Jasper are going to do without them for three days, but knowing those two, it will probably be something any fourteen year old would be proud of. I'm joking, sort of.
I still worry about you constantly. It's getting easier every day, but it never goes completely away. I was talking to your mom about it the other day and she told me she feels the exact same way.
It's getting late, and I've put off my homework long enough. I don't need to fail now that school is almost through.
I love you and be safe.
I know I had a goofy grin on my face, but looking around so did a lot of other guys. I'm sure the ones who did had also received letters from someone they loved. I've sat and watched others get letters on days when I didn't, with feelings of jealousy and envy.
I spent the remainder of the evening with my head in the clouds, I was extremely grateful that my friends and Bella had clicked so well. It would do her good to hang out with Rose and Alice for a few days. I couldn't help but worry about them being alone in Seattle, though.
After our patrol the next day we all gathered in the common room, in front of the television. It had been decided that we were going to play some Mario Kart. We all wanted something that was light and fun.
Seth had found enough guys to fill out our team, I was glad since I had forgotten to ask around yesterday. A player from each team would play in each round, with the top two moving on to the finals, where it was every man for himself, until eventually only one player would remain. Each guy had put five dollars into a pot, and the winner would receive the money.
It was pretty fun once we got started, everyone hollering and cheering for their team. I got my turn in the third round where I finished second, giving me a shot at the prize.
Eventually it was whittled down to four, a couple of guys I didn't really know, me and James. I didn't want that asshole beating me. The other two were eliminated quickly and it was just James and me dueling for victory.
I was ahead at one point, but near the end of the race, he passed me and it was all over.
"Fuck yeah," he shouted, holding his arms up in victory. "I knew you didn't stand a chance against me Cullen. You tell that bitch of yours, that if she ever gets tired of a loser like you, to give me a call."
I felt a restraining hand on my arm and glanced back to see Sam silently shaking his head at me. I knew what he was saying without him even needing to vocalize it. James wasn't worth it. He was trying to get a rise out of me, but I refused to give him the satisfaction this time.
I turned and left the room without responding to him. Bella was too precious to me to use her in some stupid asshole's game. He could think I was a pussy for walking away, but I knew the truth, some things were just too special to taint with the ugliness of the world.
It was pretty late and I was tired, so I headed back to my bunk to decompress. I took out the pictures I had of Bella and imagined what it would be like to see her any time I wanted to. I couldn't fucking wait for that day, and I was going to make it a reality. That was the last thought I remember before the dreams took over.
A/N: I know it's a little short, but I wanted to get something out to you guys for being so patient with me. I've had extreme writers block with this, but I think I have finally gotten it out of my system.