Melissa woke up with a start, the shock of the telephone ringing in the early hours of the morning a wake up call that she wasn't expecting. She blinked a couple of times trying to get the fogginess of sleep from her mind. Paying a glance to her alarm clock. 4:17am. Instantly the time of day made her fear the worst. Her mind instantly springing to her Father, she groped around her bed feeling for the edge of the covers, throwing them off she sat on the edge of her bed. Flicking the bedside light on she half closed her eyes trying to get used to the sudden glare of the artificial lighting. She padded uneasily across the dark bedroom into the hallway picking her night gown off the hook on her door pulling the thin slip of material over her shoulders as she passed.
Melissa picked the receiver from the hook and the lack of sound came as a welcome to the quiet night. "Hello?" She answered, her voice a sound of complete hesitation, not wanting to have the conversation which was about to transpire should it be the terrible news that she was dreading.
"Ms Williams?" Asked a formal voice from the other end.
"Speaking, who is this?" She asked in return, the caution more than apparent in her voice.
"Ms Williams, this is Sheriff Matt Buckle. There is nothing to worry about," he started to tell her, but she still couldn't help the feeling that something was wrong. "No one is hurt," he assured her once more. "Are you friends with Mr. John J Rambo?" He asked once more, there was an authoritative level to his voice which didn't do much to ease her nerves.
"Yes Sheriff Buckle, he's my..." she couldn't actually put her finger on how to explain their relationship. "It's complicated," was all that Melissa found that she could tell him, but that was as much elaboration as was needed for the Sheriff.
"Yes, well, we arrested your man this evening," he went on to explain a little abruptly. Melissa sat down on the floor with her head in her free hand.
"What happened?" She questioned, once again fearing the worst and that something drastic had happened, knowing full well what he was capable of.
"It's nothing serious ma'am, and we're not going to be pressing charges. It's just a matter of drunk and disorderly," the sheriff explained "We called because we found your note in his wallet, is there something we should know?" He asked, retaining the serious tone to his voice.
"Drunk and disorderly?" Melissa repeated, the shock in her voice was more than apparent. It was such an unlikely thing for John to actually do, she could scarcely believe it. Had it not been for the hour of the night and the seriousness of the conversation that she wouldn't. She heard the sheriff reply with a simple confirmation before she asked. "If your not going to be pressing charges, may I come and pick him up?" She had evaded answering his question, feeling it wasn't her place to let them know the level of trauma that Rambo experienced. He had trusted her by telling her some of his past, she didn't want to betray that trust and relay his past to the sheriff.
"You don't have to do that Ma'am, we have him in an open cell, you can wait until morning if you would like?" The Sheriff offered to her, and she felt her blood turn cold with horror. Rambo and cells were not a good combination.
"If it's all the same, I'd like to bring him home," she pushed, "Just let me have a few moments to wake up properly," she added even though the most recent news had brought her into the world of the awake
"Yes Ma'am," the Sheriff confirmed and then relayed her with some information to tell the front desk when she arrived at the station. The moment that sheriff Buckle had hung up the phone, Melissa got up from the floor and headed to her bedroom to find some more suitable clothing, and threw it on roughly. She tied her hair back into a loose pony tail, grabbed her keys from a table by the front door and headed down towards the door. Her apartment was in a tall block, but she lived fairly close to the ground. Almost throwing herself down the last few stairs, she opened the door. The evening was fresher than she had imagined it would be and she felt a shiver run down her spine. She crossed her arms trying to keep herself warm as she made her way across the parking lot heading to her old ford car.
Once the car door was unlocked she started the engine and pulled away, her mind still racing with the urgency of getting to the police station as quickly as possible. She looked out over the dark road, dreading what she would find when she got to the police station. Her fingers held the steering wheel tightly and her knuckles were white. The drive to the station seemed to take twice as long as it should do. Melissa knew that it was all psychological thinking that made the journey take so long, but couldn't help but breathe a sigh of relief as she rounded the block and pulled her car into the small parking lot. Before she left the car she lent over to the glove box and took out her drivers licence, in case she needed some form of identification. She took in a deep breath and prepared herself mentally before entering the building.
The light and sudden warmth from the building was eagerly welcomed and she made her way to the front desk, her drivers license already in hand. "Morning Officer." she said, getting the attention of the man on the front desk. "Sheriff Buckle called me, my name is Melissa Williams I'm here to pick up John Rambo." she told the man, who took her identification from her, gave a look over the photograph and handed it back to her without word and pressed something indiscreetly underneath the counter.
"Sheriff'll be here soon." he told her shortly and returned to his paper work, which was really a cross word hidden underneath a pile of other papers.
"Thanks," Melissa said and turned away from the counter, feeling a bit lost and put out by the officers action. Most of her wanted to pass it off that it was because he was on the night shift and most likely tired out from it.
"Ms Williams?" Questioned a voice from the end of the hallway, standing in an open doorway. Melissa looked down the hallway towards the speaker already knowing that she would see Sheriff Buckle. She made her way towards him, with something of a smile on her face, but even that couldn't hide the concern that was etched all over her face.
"You don't look how I was expecting Ma'am," The Sheriff told her, trying his best to keep the conversation light hearted after seeing her concerned look.
"No?" Melissa asked as she came to stand next to him, giving the rotund Sheriff a good looking over. She could have said the same about him. She should know better, but she expected members of the law abiding service to not be overweight or nearing retirement.
"Younger than I was thinking," the Sheriff said with a smile, there wasn't anything insulting in his voice and she could understand why he had come to that conclusion.
"I'll have to work on my telephone voice," she said, returning the smile feeling overly relieved that the Sheriff had partaken in the small talk, distracting her from what was inevitably coming. The two continued the small talk as the Sheriff led Melissa down towards the cells where her nerves shot up again. She watched in silence as Sheriff Buckle put in the number to the keypad for the cells. As the heavy metal door opened Melissa swallowed, she looked down the open hallway to see a calm and orderly cell block, and she breathed a sigh of relief. Buckle looked in her direction and questioned.
"Are you all-right Ma'am?"
Melissa just nodded finding that words couldn't form, and now that she was here she couldn't quiet place her emotions. She had been so frightened that something dangerous would have happened not only to John, but the people working for the police department. She felt relief that no harm had come to anyone, and she felt angry that Rambo had put her through the turmoil.
Melissa passed through the metal doorway and Buckle led her part way down the cell block and pointed to an open cell door. She took the message clearly and made her way towards it. Despite the strong smell of stale alcohol she couldn't help but smile as her eyes fell upon John Rambo laying on the make-shift bed. Giving a look back to the Sheriff, she said, "This could take a bit Sheriff," she then looked back to the cell and headed through the open doorway.
Melissa knelt down beside the bed and placed a hand on Rambo's arm. Speaking his name softly, hoping to wake him gently from the apparent dreams he was having. However her aims failed as his arm flinched away from her and he sat up sharply, his eyes staring at her with venom. Melissa stood up from his side as he demanded to know;
"Where am I?" He spat, there was a rasp to his voice that only sleep after heavy drinking could cause.
"Your safe, John." Melissa assured him, moving to sit next to him on the bed. "Sheriff Buckle picked you up, a couple of hours ago, I think," she told him. Her voice speaking as softly as it had been a few moments ago, undeterred by his aggressive questioning. She put a hand on his leg and rather than move or push her away he put his own hand on top of hers. His other hand went to rest on his thick feeling head and rested on the corner of the bed.
"Drinking. John?" Melissa asked, the act had been so out of character for him. She hadn't known him to be the type to drown his sorrows in the bottle before now, though there had been a long time where she hadn't known him at all. She hadn't meant to come across as chastising him for his actions, but she wanted to at least try and understand it. "I don't understand."
Rambo turned his head to look to Melissa, there was no way that she could understand any of it. What he had been thinking, why he'd picked up the first drink. He couldn't understand it himself let alone explain it to her.
"I didn't want to remember," he said looking away from her again, talking into his hand, not wanting to show for a moment a weakness that he knew was within him. "I'd do anything for it to just go away. Anything," he added.
"Drinking isn't the answer, John," Melissa told him, though she guessed he already knew that. "It'll just make you feel worse in the morning."
"Don't I know it," he returned to her already starting to nurse what was going to be a killer of a hangover. He fell silent then feeling more than worse for wear.
Melissa reached out her hand and ran it through his messy hair, giving him some time to reflect on his actions. She figured that he was having a difficult relapse of memories concerning his past and she didn't want to push him. Melissa let the time pass by keeping her man aware that she was still in the room with him should he need her. It took a couple of hours before he was ready to speak again, and although Melissa had enough patience and understanding to wait for him, what he told her came as a bit of a sudden shock.
"Last time I was in a cell like this was after I'd got back from 'nam," he spoke not really giving a clue that he was talking to her his head still resting on the back of his hand. "Little town called Hope, bastard cops wouldn't stop pushing. Was more than prepared to end it all then 'til Trautman came along and pissed on everything. I was his fuckin' lapdog for years. Just used for what I was good at, but can't get it all out. Now he's gone and I'm back here and there's just nothing. These bastard cops just get pushing," he opened up to her, the rant just coming out unprovoked. As his words came his position moved from leaning against the corner of the bed to rest in Melissa's lap.
"No ones pushing now, John," Melissa continued to soothe, her hands still continued to run through his hair.
"It's not that easy Meli. It doesn't stop, I never stop seeing the guys I left behind I see their faces, hear their screams," he went on to say. "I shouldn't have been the only one to come home."
"I am happy that you did," Melissa told him and she felt herself hesitate only for a moment her lips quivered as she tried to find the words to tell him exactly how she felt and she let out the smallest of sharp breaths before her words formed. "I love you," the words sounded stranger once they had been voiced, she had been hiding her true feelings from herself for a good while, and she had subconsciously known for some time, but admitting it to herself had only recently happened.
If Rambo had any reaction to her confession then he didn't show any signs of it, and Melissa hadn't expected him too as he was too absorbed right now in his own trauma. They fell into silence again for a few minutes and for the first time in the evening Melissa felt somewhat awkward, especially after her words.
Melissa looked up as she heard some footsteps heading in their direction and she nodded to the Sheriff as he peered into the cell, he gave her a nod and headed away down the hallway again.
"We should go home?" she questioned hoping that he was ready to move away from the cell. She felt him nod and move away from her, getting back into a sitting position, his head still felt thick and he was having trouble on focussing on anything other than keeping his stomach from churning over. Looked to Melissa again and nodded once more.
Melissa stood up from the bed and headed to the door of the small cell, she looked back as John rose himself, and she reached out as she noticed him stumble, all due to the alcohol she assured herself trying not to let herself be renewed with worry so soon.
Rambo reached out a hand to steady his dizzy steps against the wall in front of him, as Melissa came closer to him, he put his arm over her shoulders protectively. She smiled and reassured herself that she had done the right thing telling him how she felt and that this action was something to do with it. There was a level of doubt to her thoughts, and she hoped that she wasn't just building her hopes up.
Upon getting to the end of the hallway, the Sheriff met the two of them and let them out of the cell block wordlessly, escorting them back towards the reception area of the police station. He opened the front door to the building for the two of them and with an unusual farewell of "Good Morning Ma'am and stay out of trouble," he left them to get on with their lives and him on with his own.
Melissa opened the passenger door to her small car and let John get himself comfortably inside before getting into the drivers seat and taking them both home.