Disclaimer: All characters (except Hannah) are property of Red Dawn.

Author's Note: Hello all! Thank you for checking out this story! I'm not the greatest of updaters, but I hope you'll enjoy this story regardless. It's my first Red Dawn piece, so if any character does not seem in line with their movie-personalities, let me know! Toni will not be making an appearance in this fiction as she has been replaced by my character. Can't have two people pining after Jed, can we? :) This is rated T for language, mild adult themes, and mild violence. Please feel free to read and review. ALL comments are appreciated—whether they are constructive or otherwise. Thank you and enjoy!

Prologue:

Hannah

There is no "happily ever after" here.

Is it possible that I have given away the ending in seven words? I imagine it would be no different than if you were to flip to the back and read the last page; although, you would not understand the last page any more than you understand the first seven words of this narrative. So perhaps I'm not giving away the ending—just merely providing a warning. Nevertheless if you feel as if I have given away the ending, I must apologize but I feel it is my duty to notify you ahead of time of what you're about to read.

However if you have come to read an unhappy account of the heroic Wolverines, then I will start by enlightening you as to how Jed Eckert and I had met. My father was a fellow officer in the Spokane Police Department and he thought that throwing a Christmas party would bring our estranged family of three closer together. Perhaps it was the idea of seeing everyone else happy together that he thought it would be good for our family; whatever his intentions, that party was the only reason Jed Eckert walked through my front door.

I wouldn't exactly say we hit it off, but I can say there was some hitting.

It wasn't until I was a freshman in High School did Jed and I finally start getting along. I'm not sure why it took us seven years but for whatever reason, he and I started talking and quickly became fast friends. My father couldn't figure it out; he would always ask me how I could spew hatred out about someone for years but then just become good friends with them. I guess he never understood the connection between Jed and me. In all the years we've been together, there was always something about him that drew me in—you can attribute that to his smile, or his personality, or even to his cologne, but I was drawn to him like bees to honey.

But that doesn't mean he viewed me in such light.

At least he didn't at first. I think it was the death of my father that made him finally realize he had feelings for me. He and his younger brother, Matt, had come over the evening my mother told me what had happened and ever since that night, Jed had rarely left my side. I can still remember at my father's funeral when we sat in those uncomfortable plastic chairs as the priest rambled on about things I didn't understand, Jed sat beside me in his Sunday best and held my hand tightly. A simple gesture, but one that spoke volumes.

With my mother wrapped up in her own nervous meltdown, it was Jed's unyielding faith that kept me going. By the end of my sophomore year in High School, it was unspoken knowledge for everyone at school that he and I were together. Between the long hours we spent in each other's company, we had irrevocably grown together. I often wonder where I'd be if it hadn't been for that man, if he hadn't stayed with me all those nights I spent crying. He became such an important constant in my life, one that I looked forward to seeing each and every day. Even now, it's hard to imagine what my life would be like if he hadn't been in it.

So I suppose it's not too far-fetched to say that when Jed fled to the safety of the Marines after his mother's death, I felt completely and utterly alone.

For the better part of two years, I spent my time over at the Eckert household—playing video games with Matt or card games with Mr. Eckert—but it wasn't the same. My heart and body craved Jed with a surprising amount of force and it became increasingly difficult to be without him. Any woman or man who has had a long-distance relationship with someone in the military can attest: the sea can definitely put your relationship to the test.

So when Jed finally returned home for a short while, he properly proposed in person (versus the email he sent telling me I might want to find something white to wear) and we were married within two weeks. It was a small wedding with only our closest friends and family and afterwards, we took our honeymoon in Florida. Those twelve days were probably the best days of my life and I frequently remember them when I reach a low point. When we returned home my mother told me of her plans to move to Texas and within another week, she had completely moved out of our three-bedroom house and left Jed and I the keys.

Another week after that and Jed was gone again. I was back to being alone—with the only difference being a ring on my finger and the German Shepard Jed had trained to be my guard dog.

But that's only the beginning of the story. There is much to come, much I wish I didn't have to write, and much that I will always remember. You see, this may have started out as a fairy tale but I can assure you that it is not. This is a story about war. About loss. About friendship. But most importantly, it's about the lesson of never giving up.

So if you choose to continue this, don't say I didn't warn you.


Jed

How does it feel?

Hannah had once asked me how it felt to continuously go to places where she cannot follow. At the time I was unable to answer her, but now I feel as if I can. How does it feel? It feels as if I've left the house without my wallet and am unable to double back and retrieve it. It feels as if I am not entirely whole—as if a piece of me will always be with her. I suspect the last part to be true: Hannah longs for me the way I long for her.

But that didn't stop me from dropping everything and joining the Marines. I can attribute that rash decision to not being able to accept my mother's death, but I would be lying if I said it was completely that. And since I swore to speak the truth and nothing but the truth, my decision to leave also had to do with Hannah. I was starting my freshman year in college while I was out at a party I looked around and realized that none of those girls would ever compete. I could see myself at seventy-eight sitting in a rocking chair with Hannah beside me and, although that sounds incredibly cliché, it freaked me out. There was no way I was ready to be committed at nineteen. So I did what any rational teen in my situation would do: I joined the Marines and ended our relationship.

Ah, Hannah left that part out in her story didn't she?

She doesn't like to remember those long months any more than I do—but they happened. Six months went by slower than Christmas morning until I finally realized I was a fool. It was largely due to my father because short of hitting me on the head, he was very adamant about saying I was an idiot for letting her go. And I was. Thankfully Hannah took me back and I did everything I could from the position I was in to make it up to her. I sent her flowers, called her as often as I could, and wrote letters. So many letters I sent her in hopes of making her smile.

When my tour was almost up, I even sent a letter to my father asking for my mother's engagement set. I wasn't so sure he was going to allow me to have them and right as I began to lose hope of giving them to Hannah, he mailed me a letter saying they were at the jeweler getting polished up and resized. Hence the email I sent to Hannah hinting to get a long, white dress.

But even when I came back at twenty-one and married her, I still continued to go where she could not follow.

If I have one regret in my life, it would be that. Overseas there were many times I longed to feel the softness of her skin or the smell of her long, brown hair damp from washing. The two months I was home had become my saving grace when I returned to Iraq. When times got too hard I would remember her smile, her laugh, and it seemed to bring life back in me. I married young, but I married the woman who I could spend forever with.

I hate to be where she is not, but I am always going. It is my duty. It is my honor.

So perhaps instead of asking the question of how, maybe Hannah would have benefitted more in asking why.

Let me know what you guys think in the review! :)