"A soldier doesn't fight because he hates what is in front of him. He fights because he loves what's behind him."
"A soldier doesn't fight because he hates what is in front of him. He fights because he loves what's behind him."
Full Summary: Edward Masen is a U.S. soldier serving over seas in Iraq, he no longer has any family or any ties in the states. On night Bella finds his profile on a website called Any Soldier, she decides to write him a letter, not thinking it would go anywhere. To her surprise the Sergeant wrote her back. And thus begins their relationship that starts to form over the course of letters. Bella has to come to grips with the fact that she fell completely in love with a soldier who doesn't stay in one place long. And then, throw in Edward's past that's threatening to destroy their future. That's a lot of bullets for a girl to dodge.
"And so," Mr. Cox paused dramatically, shutting off his Power Point for the cast. "Who can conclude what I've taught you today?" I glanced around the room to see most of the students slumped into their desk, not paying the slightest attention. I grimaced as I raised my hand. Again. I swore I was the only one who ever answered anything in here.
"Yes, Bella," he smiled happily at me, gesturing for me to speak.
"Um, the war in Iraq is the first war the U.S. has fought in where no one can say who we are exactly fighting. But we are trying to bring democracy to the Iraq government," I answered hesitantly, knowing I had missed a lot of the slides that he went over. But then again, it wasn't like my classmates could really do any better.
"Yes, very good, though I wish you had included something about the lives our soldiers are living over seas," he chided carefully. I kind of shrugged a little bit just as he looked away.
"Tomorrow, back to Economics," Mr. Cox announced, earning a very loud collective groan from the classroom. The only real reason I was taking this class was because I could use the extra credits. "See you guys later, get out," he added before turning his attention back to his pride and joy – his laptop.
I stood up and started to place my notebook and textbook into my backpack. My best friend Rosalie was next to me yawning, but nevertheless doing the same thing.
"Well. That was fun," she sighed and then yawned again. I rolled my eyes at her sarcasm while I hoisted my book bag over my shoulder.
"It wasn't that bad," I reasoned as we headed towards the classroom door. She gave me a look.
"I'm only in it for the credits," she shrugged, fixing her hair that was currently in a pony tail.
Rosalie Hale and I had met our freshman year. We were both 14 and had just moved to the state for different reasons. I hadn't known a single person, and we met at orientation. She had looked at me and said, "You look normal enough, I'm sticking with you." And we became best friends.
Rosalie was pretty comfortable in her skin for a 17 year old. She had blonde hair that had a natural curl to it – not a poodle curl – and gorgeous blue eyes. She was about 5'7" and very curvy. That didn't mean she had a total body of a model, though. Rose was actually pretty self conscious, and she thought of herself as chubby; though that was nowhere near a word I would describe her with. She looked perfect for our age, and I tried to convince her over and over that her insecurities were ridiculous.
In the fall we both played soccer with our school, and in the spring the two of us were on the varsity golf team. Along with those similar interests, we were just really in sync with each other. Rose wasn't a crazed shopper that always was at the mall; she didn't force me to go out anywhere and try on endless things nor did we need to spend every waking moment with each other.
We also had almost every class together except for the AP English that I was in and the different electives we were taking. I laughed every time I thought about how we got identical schedules.
Rose's mom slept with the principal. Numerous times.
I loved Rose's mom. She was one of the coolest people I knew. She had Rosalie when she was 16 so she was really young at 33. The two of them were extremely close and they had a very Gilmore Girls relationship. It was quite humorous most of the time, actually.
"I swear, if Mr. Heit makes us talk about sexual urges with our partners one more time I am going to kill him slowly with that damn hockey stick of his," Rosalie complained as we walked into our Health class. Luckily, this class was only mandatory for one semester, which was probably a good thing. If that wasn't the case, I was convinced someone was going to die.
I laughed as we took our seats, Mr. Heit was writing something on the board. He was a hockey coach/player and had a very strong build which currently was blocking my ability to see what he was writing. He moved out of the way and began to talk as we read what he wrote, "Okay gang! Something new to do today."
What attracts you to the opposite sex?
I looked back at Rosalie. Her face was all scrunched up as she glared fiercely at the white board. I laughed silently as I settled back into my seat, watching in amusement the boy sitting next to me today. He looked pretty damn excited to be there. He must have had to sprint from his last class to get here before some other guy sat there.
Another idiotic thing about this class – he gave the girls each a table they had to sit in each class and the guys got to choose who they wanted to sit next to.
The last four I had asked me out. Sweet.
Now that was something I really didn't understand. Okay, I mean I knew I wasn't plain, ugly or boring. I guess I was just slightly above average. . .but most of the male population had at one point in the last three years made a move on me. Why they did was beyond me. I've only accepted two of their offers to actually go on a date. You'd think that would turn them away, but no.
Luckily Health was our last class of the day and all of us made it out alive. Rosalie was just downright pissed once he dismissed us, already having such a hate for the class to begin with. I, on the otherhand, was relatively pleased that the boy next to me hadn't asked me out. I sent him a mental thank you.
I always dropped Rosalie off at her house since it was on my way home. Normally we filled the car ride with mindless gossip, but today my head was stuck on some of the things that Mr. Cox had said in that presentation.
"Those guys are only after you for your ride," Rosalie rolled her eyes as she leapt up into the passenger seat of my Ford black truck. I laughed and shrugged. It was probably true.
I loved my truck more than anything else in the world. It was giant, black and shiny. The side mirrors were huge – I was still worried about taking them off in an accident – and the silver chromes were amazing. It had tinted windows and had a general apperance that was overall just very vicious looking. I was still in shock that Esme and Carlisle actually gotten it for me. It mades me feel and look really spoiled.
"You know, I only got it for the clubs," I reminded her jokingly. Carlisle had chosen to pick out something that could haul a lot of stuff, not that I was complaining.
"Probably," she agreed, fiddling with the radio.
After I dropped Rose off at her house I headed home. I was surprised to see Carlisle's red truck in the driveway when I pulled in to the driveway belong to our beautiful house. It had a huge yard and Esme's gardens littered the grass.
I let myself in with the key to the mud room leading to our kitchen. The kitchen was one of my favorite rooms in the house with it's cherry wood and granite counter tops, complete with an island in the middle.
"Hey, Bella," Carlisle smiled at me from where he sat, eating a sandwich and watching the small TV.
"Hi! Watcha doin' home already?" I asked him curiously as I dropped my backpack down and slid it under the built in desk.
"Just grabbing a bite to eat. There's a board meeting so I have to get back to the hospital pretty quick here," he glanced down at his watch as I took out an apple from the fridge.
"When does Esme get home?" I asked as I cleaned the bright red fruit.
"One of her brides is at a fitting, so it could be awhile." I nodded and slid into a stool next to him. "Anything interesting at school?" he inquired before taking another giant bite of his sandwich.
"Rose planning new ways to commit murder," I shrugged, sinking my teeth into the apple and savoring the sweetness. I had always loved fruit. In my opinion, it was way better than candy. Of course that was before I ever really got candy, so. . .
"Anything creative?" he chuckled with a smirk, standing up to put his plate by the sink.
I shrugged. "Not really. Today it was a hockey stick." Rosalie was very expressive over her extreme dislike for the class.
"Well, I have to say I liked her mutated gopher idea a little better," Carlisle grinned, shaking his head. I rolled my eyes remembering that particular day. No one in that classroom had been safe from Rose's wrath.
"I'm so glad Thursday's Thanksgiving. Just one more day." Granted Thanksgiving was only a two day break. I convinced myself it was still better than nothing though.
"Hang in there kiddo, see you later!" he called as he slipped out the door that I had just came in.
"Bye!" I yelled back.
Carlisle was the Chief of Medicine at the hospital. He budgeted for a lawyer to handle all of the legal stuff that the previous Chief had to deal with and now he mostly did rounds and had regular patients, which was what he wanted to be doing in the first place.
Carlisle was only 34. He finished college in three years and then went to medical school for four years before interning at the hospital for a year and becoming a resident at the age of 27. The old Chief had been his mentor and when he stepped down three years ago, he turned the job over to Carlisle.
Esme was his wife, and she was 33. She owned her own wedding planning business. She opened it about six years ago and was now one of the most sought after wedding planners in the state with some of her ceremonies making it into major magazines.
They adopted me when I was 14, right before I was about to start high school.
My parents Charlie and Renee Swan were killed when I was 13 and after that, I went in an adoption orphanage because my parents were both only children and I had no grandparents to go to. It was a hard thing to go to, but that's when I started believing in the saying "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." And I know I'm a stronger person from the experience.
I didn't take the last name Cullen when they adopted me because I wanted to hold onto the memory of my mom and dad. I also couldn't call either of them Mom or Dad, because my Mom and Dad were dead.
At first I think it may have bothered Esme a little bit, and I was disappointed that I just couldn't say it. But eventually, the three of us fell into a good place. I was their daughter, but I had past and other parents that wouldn't be ignored. I couldn't have asked for better adoptive parents, because I knew I was blessed to have them. That way was more than others had.
I checked my phone to see if I had any texts and when I saw that I didn't I decided to hit the homework. Luckily there was no Economics tonight, allowing me to be able to whip through my Calculus and American History fairly quickly. When I was done, I decided it was time for me to eat dinner.
I warmed myself up a frozen dinner.
I could cook. But just because you could play baseball didn't mean you were good at it. I was awful when it came to making meals because I honestly didn't have the patience to do it. If Esme wasn't home, Carlisle and I were screwed. That's why we had such a stash of take out menus hidden under the phone book.
But just because I couldn't cook didn't mean I didn't love to bake. And any woman knew the difference between the two. Baking was something that I could do, and loved to do. My mom had taught me how to make my first batch of brownies when I was four years old and I loved it ever since. Admittedly, I had gotten pretty good at it over time.
After I consumed my delicious dinner, I went up to my bedroom and turned on my laptop. My mind was still thinking about Mr. Cox's slide show. There were just so many pictures of American men who were living in poor conditions with barely any hygiene products and little ways to communicate with their loved ones.
And I wanted to help.
Don't get me wrong, I wasn't "a save the world with every little act" type of person. I wasn't a world peace beauty queen. But I did realize there could be something that I could do for my country. As stupid as that sounded.
I got cozy on my bed and went to Google. Because really, Google had all the answers.
I typed a couple of different things in the search box before I came to a site called Any Soldier. I read over the homepage to see what the website was before I started clicking around.
Basically it was a website that had hundreds of short, written profiles of soldiers in the Army, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard. If you came across a profile that you wanted to help, you requested the contact and it was emailed to you for you to send care packages or write letters to.
I set the computer down for a minute and went to grab my reading glasses because I felt like I would be reading for the a while. Once I was back on the bed, I tucked my feet under me and balanced the computer on my legs before clicking a link that led me to the profiles. I was actually pretty eager to read them.
The thing was, when the United States entered World War I and II the whole country threw themselves into the war effort. They grew victory gardens, did metal collections, and sent thousands of packages out. People still sent packages, but that was only the families for the most part.
I was a hypocrite, and I knew it. I hadn't thought about doing anything because it didn't really seem like an actual war. There weren't battles and air raids or all that extreme stuff, but it didn't mean that it wasn't important. So I was going to do something about it. But again, not in the "change the world" scale.
I lost track of time, thoroughly consumed by all of the soldiers. It was actually beginning to bother me, but I was feeling that sense of pride for the men in my country, because most were extremely polite and all seemed to appreciate anything sent.
I looked around my bedroom and felt, once again, way too spoiled. But I just kept reading. I hadn't requested any addresses yet because I wasn't sure what I was going to do. It was clear they were all in need of something, something they deserved to get for all they have to deal with.
We are living in tents.
No cooking availability.
18 hour shifts, 6 days a week.
I heard Esme coming home and glanced around, startled because I had been so immersed. The digital alarm clock on my bed stand read that it was already 7:30. And I had gotten home at 3:30. I had been on this site for two and a half hours.
Esme didn't seem to need me at the moment so I returned to reading more profiles.
We do what we do because freedom is a basic human right
These men are my brothers. . .
We take great pride and honor in our job.
By the time I looked at the clock again another hour had passed and I was feeling incredibly stupid. How had I not thought of any of these things?
I had some tests tomorrow and I decided I needed to definitely get some sleep. I reasoned with myself that I would only look at a few more. They were beginning to sound very similar now. . .Well the list of things they wanted, anyway.
I clicked on one last one, reading the top. SGT Edward A. Masen. It said that he was stationed in Iraq, which wasn't anything new.
There are plenty of other soldiers on this website that deserve much more than I do. We are holding up given the solitude. They are worse off than my unit.
I reread the short three sentences one more time before looking at the rest of the information. His unit was from Illinois – there were 26 men and 1 female. It also told me that his address hadn't been requested at all.
"Given the solitude. . ."
I grinned a little to myself as I clicked "here" to request the address. I filled out the normal form and typed in my email address before clicking submit. I added the website to my favorites so I could access it later and then logged on to my email account. Another 20 minutes had passed according to the clock on my screen.
I opened up the email that was already in my inbox and read the address. I would fill out the envelope later.
Sleeping was what I should have been doing, but instead I looked around my room until I located one of those cheap ten cent school note books and a pen. I had no idea what I was going to write, so I just started with what came to me.
I wanna do something that matters, say something different
Something that sets the whole world on its ear
I wanna do something better with the time I've been given
I wanna try to touch a few hearts in this life
And leave nothing less than something that says I was here
And I know that I, I will do more than just pass through this life
I'll leave nothing less than something that says I was here
I was here
-I Was Here, Lady Antebellum
Next chapter hopefully up tomorrow.(: Whatdya think?
Thank you to SimplyDazzling, my lovely sister for betaing(:
**I do not own Any Soldier. Any Soldier is a real website, but please, if you choose to go on there, do not expect to find a single, hot, amazing guy like Edward and plan to fall in love with him.