Love worth Fighting For
Maila and Reiben made their way back to the Captain. They knelt down and Reiben gently took a piece of paper from the Captain's pocket.
"Carpy's letter" Maila whispered and Reiben nodded. He then stood and looked around. Maila had hardly ever seen Reiben cry, but as he looked around she could see tears trailing their way down his cheeks. They left clear marks against the dust that was covering his face. Maila stood and hugged him tightly; he then started to sob loudly. He pushed his face into her shoulder and Maila rubbed his back. Then in the distance she heard her name being faintly called. At first she thought that it might have been just her hearing but then she heard her name again and again.
"Did you hear that?" she said and Reiben looked up.
"Hear what?" he asked wiping his nose.
"Maila…" a voice called in the distance
"That" she said and Reiben looked around.
Maila set of at a run towards the battered city. She heard Reiben and James calling behind her but she continued forward. On the bridge she passed Upham, he reached out and grabbed her sleeve.
"Maila" he said but she pulled out his grip.
"Not now Upham" she said and continued running.
She got to the middle of the destroyed city and listened again, this time she could just about make out the direction in which the voice was coming from.
"MAILA!" the voice now screamed "HELP ME!"
Tears sprung into her eyes.
"Jackson!" she yelled back.
She spun around and gripped the side of the head with both her hands, now it felt like his voice was surrounding her. She started to doubt that there was actually a voice at all and it was all in her head. Another shout confirmed that the voice was real as other soldiers started to stop and listen.
"Where's it coming from?" she asked a nearby Corporal.
"I think its coming from that way?" he said pointing.
Maila looked in the direction he thought and gasped as she realized she was looking at where the bell tower used to be. She ran over and looked around.
"Jackson, talk to me god damn it!" she yelled and he few seconds later she herd a cough. She raced over to a pile of rubble and started to dig rocks away, she must have looked like a mad woman scrabbling for crumbs. She felt a hand on her soldier and looked up; she saw Reiben standing behind her. Behind him were James and Upham.
"Maila babydoll, he's gone" he whispered and tried to pull her away but Maila wriggled out his grip.
"No, I can hear him" she said "Help me"
He sighed and looked at James and Upham; they both had pitiful looks on their faces.
"Don't look at me like I'm crazy" she said crossly.
There was then another cough and Reiben's eyes opened wider.
"There you son of a bitch, is that enough!" Maila shouted crossly and started to dig again.
"No, it came from over here" Upham said running to another pile of rubble.
Maila raced to help him as they pulled rocks away, both gasped when they saw the pigmentation of pink skin.
"Daniel" Maila breathed out and she looked at Upham.
"Dig" he said and the pair were quickly joined by James and Reiben.
Once they had all the rocks out the way the extent of his injuries were clear, none of them could even believe he was alive.
"Jackson" Maila whispered.
He was in a real state, the right side of his face was completely burnt and his right eye was a bloody mess. His left eye didn't leave Maila's, he reached up and Maila gave him her hand.
"Your gonna be okay Jackson" she said.
The scene was all too familiar.
This was exactly how Wade's death occurred, they had all surround him and told him he was going to be alright when they all knew he wasn't. Jackson knew this and he let go of Maila's hand, he blinked up at her as he slowly reached around his neck and pulled off his chain with his dog tags on and his cross. He then reached for Maila's hand again and pressed them into her palm.
"No" she said shaking her head "You are not going to die on me"
"Medic!" Reiben and James were calling.
"You hear me Jackson; you are not going to die!" Maila repeated.
The next couple of days went by really fast. The now very small squad found themselves tagging along with the relief unit that had made it to Ramelle. Jackson had been airlifted to a hospital in Washington that specialized in burns, but that didn't stop Maila from worrying about him. No matter how hard the remaining boys tried they couldn't keep Maila's mind from straying to Jackson. Even Reiben, as charming and poetic, as he tried to be couldn't shift her thoughts.
The unit had decided to take a break and Maila had taken herself off alone and was sitting on a rock. She was resting her chin on her knuckles and looking into the distance, Reiben walked passed with a smile and sat down.
"Do you believe in love at first sight or do I need to walk by again?" he asked and Maila let a small smile slip. Seeing the smile Reiben continued, hoping he might just break through the tough outer shell she'd created.
"Are your legs tired cause you've been running through my mind all day?" he asked and Maila rolled her eyes and looked at him.
"Stop it" she smiled and stood.
"Are they accepting applications to your fan club?" he asked grabbing her hands.
She looked up at him and smiled.
"You're so funny" she said.
"What do you mean?" he asked.
"Well, do you remember when we first met you were a total douche. And now your totally different" she said twisting her fingers with his.
"Well, you're a girl and I'm a guy and I fancied the pants off of you literally" he said looking her up and down. "It was my way of showing you my affection"
Maila smiled and looked away, the worried look returned.
"Hey, quit stressing. He'll be fine" he said gently taking her chin in his hand.
"I just can't stop worrying" she said and Reiben pulled her into his arms.
"Just think of what's lying ahead of you Maila" he said "We made it out the other end alive, we've been given a chance to carry on" he said.
Maila looked up at him.
"Carry on and do what?" she asked.
He paused and then brought his head close to hers "Have a life together" he whispered and watched for her response.
Her response was to press her lips to his.
Again the next few days went past like a blur. Maila was spoken to by various Marshalls and Majors. Her, Reiben, James and Upham were passed from pillar to post. But the whole time Reiben made sure he was never three feet from Maila. As far as he as concerned her welfare and safety was down to him and he wasn't going to let her out of his sight.
They finally found their way to the docking yard where all the ships were leaving to take the soldiers from France back to wherever the hell it was they came from.
Maila, James and Reiben were all getting on the same ship whereas Upham was getting on a different one, as the time came for them to split up Maila pulled him into her arms.
"I'm so sorry" he said as he hugged her.
"Stop apologizing" Maila said. "Remember to write me" she said as they pulled apart. Upham held up a piece of paper that had her address on it.
"I will" he said
One of the ship horns went off and Upham turned around. "That's me" he said.
"Don't get into any trouble" Maila said and Upham smiled.
"No, I'll leave that up to my little sister" Upham said, just as James joined them.
"As will I" James said slinging his arm around Maila's shoulder.
"I'm glad we found you" Upham said to James who nodded.
"Don't be a stranger, and I want to meet this sister of yours" Maila said.
"Defiantly" Upham smiled.
Maila kissed his cheek and after a handshake with James he turned to catch his ship.
"Hey Upham" a very familiar Brooklyn voice said.
They all turned around as Reiben approached, he came and wrapped his arm around Maila's waist. They all waited for him to say something clever.
"Look after yourself" he said and Upham smiled.
"You too" Upham said after the initial shock faded. "I'd better go"
"Bye" they all waved.
Soon their ship came, it was going to be a long journey back to New York and then Maila and James would get a couple trains and buses back to their farm and Mother. Most of the ship journey Maila spent sleeping in the small cabin she'd been allocated and whenever she woke up Reiben would be there on the other bunk watching her.
"You know watching a girl sleep can be kinda weird" she said turning over to face the wall.
"That's one sweet ass you got there" he said and Maila smiled.
"All the better to sit on you with" she replied.
She then felt the bed move behind her. She felt his arm snake over her waist and the other stroked her cheek.
"You have an amazing figure" he whispered and kissed her shoulder.
"All the better to move with" she replied, not giving him anything
"You have beautiful hair" he said stoking her head.
"All the better to keep my head warm" she smiled.
"You have gorgeous skin" he said kissing her arm again.
Maila frowned; she turned back over and looked him directly in the eyes.
"No I don't" she said.
He stroked the side of her face and kissed the end of her nose. The red cut on her face had now turned into a white/sliver scar. The cuts on her chest and arms had also turned silver. Her finger was fully healed and now just looked short compared to the others.
"You are stunning, scars or no scars" he said ad pressed his lips to hers again. Once they'd kissed Reiben smiled.
"I want you to come to Brooklyn with me" he said and Maila frowned.
"Reiben…" she sighed.
"Please, think about it at least" he said and Maila smiled and sighed.
"I'll think about it" she sighed and snuggled her face into his chest.
A few hours later there was a knock at the door. Slowly the couple woke up and Maila cleared her throat.
"Come in" she called and James poked his head in.
He smiled at them curled up on the bed together. "We've got an hour till we get to New York" he said and they nodded.
"Thanks James" Maila smiled.
He winked at her and shut the door.
"You hear that duce, we've got an hour" Maila said sitting up and shaking her head.
Reiben didn't move.
"Richard" she said shaking his shoulder and he smiled, but kept his eyes shut.
"I'm sleeping" he said.
"Well I'm gonna get ready" Maila said attempting to crawl over Reiben to get to the small dresser but he grabbed her and twisted her under him. She squealed a laugh and smiled up at him.
"Now that is the smile I love" he said and Maila frowned.
"Say that again" she said and Reiben's eyebrows furrowed.
"Now that's the smile I love" he repeated.
"You love" Maila whispered. She looked towards the porthole and could see seagulls flying.
"Maila" Reiben whispered and she looked back at him. "I love you"
She looked up at him and smiled, she reached up and planted a gently kiss on his lips.
"I love you too" she whispered. "Now, I really need to get ready" she said and squeezed out from under him.
She sat at the small dresser and combed through her hair, she placed it up in a neat bun on the top of her head. She then stood and straightened her clothes.
"We'd better get packed" she said and Reiben said on the edge of the bed. "Do you think your Mother will like me?" she asked lightly and Reiben looked up at her, a smile growing on his face.
"You're coming to Brooklyn with me?" he asked and she nodded.
"Yeah, course I am. You can't get rid of me that easy" she said and he suddenly swept her up in his arms and spun her around.
The soldiers were welcomed back by millions of happy, waving people. Maila found the sight of it very intimidating. The last time she'd been surrounded by so many people was in Normandy but hopefully this time nobody was going to die. As they made their way off the ship Reiben was careful to keep a tight grip on Maila's hand who held onto James. When they got to a relatively quiet spot Maila pulled James into her arms.
"Tell Mum I'll be home soon" she said and he nodded.
"Will do, have a nice time" James said and nodded at Reiben. "Look after her won't you"
"With my life" Reiben said.
James looked back down at his little sister. "See you soon"
"Yeah, save journey" she said and he kissed her cheek before picking up his bag.
"James" Maila called just as he was turning to go.
"Yeah" he asked.
Maila took a second and swallowed a lump in her throat. "Let me know when Mum's planning the funerals" she said and James nodded.
"I will" he said "See ya soon Sis"
She nodded and he turned and ran for his train, with a sigh and a focus readjustment Maila turned to face Reiben.
"Ready to meet my Ma?" he asked and Maila nodded. "I'll warn ya she can be kinda huggy" he said and Maila laughed.
"I like hugs so that's alright"
Hey so this is the first instalment of Reiben and Maila's live together after A Life Worth Fighting For. Trust me when I say 'Its gonna be a bumpy ride'