Disclaimer: All characters (except Hannah) are property of Red Dawn.
Author's Note: Thank you for the reviews and continued support:) I know this update wasn't as quick as I had hoped, but at least I'm still under a month? Honestly, I have difficulty writing the same scenes from the movie—mainly because you have all seen the movie and I don't need to do play-by-plays. I tried throwing in my own two-cents, but this part of the story is difficult to deviate from. Hope you enjoy the new update! :)
When I stared into the full-length mirror in my bedroom, I was not displeased at the sight I saw.
It had taken me a few paychecks to get the entire costume, but as I stared at my reflection I was glad I had done it. It was a forest green, floor-length dress that followed the contours of my body from chest to waist and then flared out into a wide skirt. The scoop neckline was bordered with silver trimming—as was the flared sleeves and hem of the dress. There was silver lacing on both of my sides which allowed me to adjust the fabric, but the majority of the lacing was hidden by the dark green, suede leather corset.
I had woken up earlier that morning to straighten my long hair and then proceeded to do the half-crown braid I had seen on YouTube months earlier. I had spent plenty of time practicing it when I had a spare moment and I was giddy when I saw it paired with my costume.
Like I said, I was not displeased.
When it hit 6:15, I pulled on a pair of black flats and met my just-woken up husband out in the living room. His face was still crumpled with sleep as he drank his morning coffee and Thor laid by his feet, chewing on one of the dog bones I had gotten him.
"Good morning," I called to him cheerily.
Jed eyed me and then leaned back in his chair to look me over. He exhaled a long breath and returned to the newspaper in front of him. "Stay close to me while we're there."
"And why should I do that?" I asked as I came up behind him and placed a gentle kiss on his cheek before moving to the fridge.
"Because, you're mine."
"Reverting to cavemen, are we?"
Jed snorted and stood with a shake of his head. "Cavemen would say: You. Mine." I laughed and as I opened the fridge to grab the milk, he came up behind me and pressed himself against my back. His hands caressed my waist as he lowered his head to press his lips against my exposed neck.
"Can I help you, Jed?"
"Yes, I believe you can," he whispered against my ear. His hands reached down to my hips and he bunched up the fabric in his fists. "I'll prove to you why you should stay close to me." He reached forward and closed the fridge before turning me to face him. There was a mischievous sparkle in his eye as he pulled me against him and lowered his lips to mine.
After a moment, I pulled far enough away to murmur against his lips, "How does this prove I should stay close?"
"So eager," he responded with a grin. "I've always enjoyed dresses. They look nice and make your delicates easy to reach." He pulled me away from the fridge and bent me face-forward over the kitchen table. He began to lift the skirt of my dress and when I protested, he leaned down so he was next to my ear. "Matty can wait, dear wife. He isn't going to be ready at seven anyway." He then proceeded to finish lifting my skirt and proved to me how easy it was to get to my 'delicates.'
I wish I could say that I learned the lesson he was trying to teach, but truly I just learned I should have worn dresses around him more often.
By the time we had finished and cleaned ourselves up, grabbed Thor and his packed bag, loaded the car with our own overnight bags, and headed down the road towards the Eckert household, it was about 7:05. We had debated about which car to use, but eventually we had decided on Jed's small truck—mainly because I did not want dog hair in my car and because I was afraid of its safety should Jed had driven it. Which he would have. It was my first car I had bought with my own money and I'd be damned if my husband gave it its first scratch.
Ten minutes later would have us pulling up to the Eckert house and as Jed secured our bags with bungee cords to the bed of the truck, I went inside to find Matt. I was not sure if Tom was asleep—or if he had even made it home yet—so I quietly weaved my way through the first floor with no success of finding the youngest brother.
"You better be up, Matty," I whispered as I trudged up the stairs. When I reached the teenager's room, the door was ajar so I pushed it open without thought before quickly averting my eyes. Blood rushed to my face as my hands went up to cover my face and I turned away from a nude brother-in-law. "Oh sorry! I was just trying to make sure you were awake."
"Yeah," Matt answered awkwardly as he hurriedly finished pulling up his boxers. "Just give me a second."
"You bet," I said quickly before rushing down the stairs.
Jed happened to be walking in the front door at that moment. "Whoa. Where's the fire, Banana?"
"I think I just saw…" I shook my head to rid the image from my mind. "I saw more of your brother than I ever wanted to see."
My husband frowned and said, "Better you than me." Before I could open my mouth to retort something, his lips were on mine and my words were lost. He held the kiss a moment longer and then pulled away to place his lips against my forehead. "I'll pay for therapy, if you think you need it."
"It's not the first time I've seen a male part," I responded. "I think I'll survive. It'll just take a bit to get that image out of my head." He chuckled and pulled away to retreat to the hallway bathroom. "How small is your bladder? You just went."
"Would you rather I go now, or when we're on the road?" Jed retorted as he closed the door.
I sighed impatiently and walked into the living room to sit on the couch. Once I had, I picked up the picture of a small Jed and his mother and a small smile turned the corners of my lips. Jed hated any reference to his deceased mother, but I had always found that talking about them makes it easier to cope. Acting like they never existed may help some people—and I have no right to call that wrong—but in my head, acting like the person never existed is harder on everyone.
When my father died, my mother's first reaction was to pretend like it never happened. She still cooked food for three, packed his lunch, and did his laundry. When anyone would speak of him in past tense, she would correct them and simply say that he was away on business. As a fourteen year old kid, it was rough. My mother did not know how to deal with it and I was at a loss to help her.
Two weeks passed by in this fashion. Two whole weeks. It was Jed's mother that eventually brought my mother to terms to it. She had come over on Christmas Eve with a sweet-smelling pumpkin pie (my favorite) and regardless of my mother's corrections, she had kept referring to my father in past tense. Finally—finally—Mrs. Eckert convinced my mother to stop pretending that my father was coming home. She made the argument that it was doing damage to my own mentality and that seemed to be the last crack my mother needed. There, right in front of everyone, my mother had fallen to her knees and cried.
Then came the nervous meltdown that lasted years.
But it was Jed—Jed and his family—that kept me from my own. His mother became my second mother and although no one could fill the role of my father, Tom came pretty close. If it hadn't been for that family, I honestly would not know where I would be now.
I shook my head and put the picture back down. My fingertips gently touched the frame where Jed's mother's smiling face was and I whispered, "Thank you." Just as I pulled my hand away, the picture started to shake.
Or rather, everything started to shake.
My first thought was an earthquake, but then the rumbling stopped. As I stood up and shouted my husband's name, the shaking happened again. It reminded me of Jurassic Park—when the T-Rex walked and the whole ground shook? It felt something like that.
Matt came running down the stairs pulling on a jacket, glanced at me, and demanded, "What's going on?" I peeked out the window and then followed him outside onto the porch. We both watched as dozens of planes flew over our heads and hundreds of large, white parachutes appeared in the sky. My heart was going a mile a minute as we stared at all the paratroopers. This couldn't be happening. Judgment day? Armageddon? That's what was supposed to kill us—not men with white parachutes.
"Holy shit," I drew out. People had come out of their homes to figure out what was happening and a woman screamed as a plane darted between our houses. I turned and shouted Jed's name again into the house and within seconds he appeared in the doorway. He grabbed my hand and looked up at the sky before muttering his own string of profanities. "What the hell is going on?"
"Can't be something good," he responded tightly. Thor barked from the bed of the truck and then Jed was pulling me towards it. Another woman—or maybe the same woman, I don't know—screamed as something hit one of the planes and broke it in half. The smallest piece came hurtling towards the house two doors down and caused it to go up in flames and then crumble down. Jed grabbed my waist and ducked us down as pieces of wood came rocketing towards us.
"Matty," he yelled. "We've got to find Dad. Come on." He pushed me towards the truck and commanded Thor to lay down—to which the dog obediently did. Matt opened the passenger door and I slid into the middle seat as both boys clambered into the truck. Matt's door hadn't even closed yet before Jed slammed his foot on the gas and the truck squealed away from the curb.
There was a wall of flames that Jed was headed towards. "Jed, Thor!"
"He'll be fine," the eldest Eckert grunted as we went through the wall. I looked back at my dog and—thank you Jed for training him—he still was lying down with his head between his paws. His ears were perked and his eyes darted around, but he was safe. No hair was singed.
"He can't stay back there by himself," I said.
"I got no reception!" Matt proclaimed.
Jed ignored me and ordered to Matt, "Try the radio."
The youngest brother leaned forward and pressed the buttons on the radio, but only that high-pitched squeal of nothingness was heard. "Son of a bitch," Matt cursed. Everyone peered under the hood of the truck and through the windshield to see the men with white parachutes getting lower to the ground. "What is this?"
Jed and I shared a look and he answered honestly, "I don't know."
Fuck, fuck, fuck, and more fuck.
Those were the only words that reverberated inside my head as my father's cop car crashed into an immobile car and then finally a pole. Of all the things that could happen—of all the things that were happening—that was something that sent a heart-clutching, cold fear through my body. Had I just unintentionally killed my father?
Fortunately, that fear only lasted a second because I saw my father moving inside the vehicle before forcing the passenger side door open. Matt jumped out of the truck and rushed to Tom and Hannah started to scoot herself out but I grabbed her arm and said, "Stay here."
"Jed—" I didn't listen further to her rebuttal because I climbed out of the truck.
"Go to the cabin," my father ordered to Matt harshly.
"What?" Matt exclaimed. "No!"
I walked towards them and we all ducked down as a ray of gunshots went off. My heart clamored in my chest as I pushed Matt closer to the car and as soon as the gunshots stopped, my father was pushing us towards the truck saying, "The cabin." Matt still had the mind to refuse, so Tom turned to me with a pointed finger and ordered, "Jed, get them out. You take care of them, you hear me? Get out of here while you still can." He pushed Matt into me and my arms automatically went to grab my flailing brother. "Go now! Go!" Matt protested but I managed to pull him to the passenger side door before pushing him in.
I slammed the door and walked around. Tom gave me a nod and said, "Family first."
I cannot deny that gut-wrenching pain that exploded within me at his words. I knew about the things that went on during war and by the look in my father's eyes, he knew it too. If I saw him again, it would not be the reunion one would imagine. If I even saw him again.
Just as my fingertips grabbed the handle to the door, another round of gunshots was released and my father yelled at me to leave. There were a group of people around him—all trembling and screaming in fear—but my father's face was fearless. And when we drove away, he stood tall, strong, and proud.
If there was one thing I wanted people to know about my father, I wanted them to know that he was valiant. Courageous.
He was the man who I most desperately wished I could be.
"Jed, we got to get Erica," Matt said. I blinked a few times to rid myself of the images in my head and asked him for directions. My voice was unintentionally harsher than I had wanted it to be, but my brother didn't seem to notice as he shouted, "Next right."
Perhaps Hannah was right when she criticized my reckless—as she called it—driving.
She cried out in fear as the truck turned on two wheels and then snapped, "Thor is in the back of the truck, Jed!"
"Is he still there?"
"He won't be if you keep driving like an idiot."
"Then you'll have to forgive me," I said as I turned the truck off the street. A group of soldiers tried to stop us, with some even shooting at us, and there were too many cars blocking the road for my truck to get through. "Hold on!" We ran through fences, trees, and I think there was even a shed we went through. I was thanking every God there was that we had decided to drive my truck to the faire. Hannah's car would never had made it this far.
Unfortunately, even the bulkiness of my truck could not get through the line of parked cars on the street. I managed to jerk the truck in time so we stopped parallel with them, but I realized that wasn't a good idea either, because a soldier with a gun started to climb out of the SUV next to us.
We looked in front of us to see Erica and her family surrounded by soldiers and Matt breathlessly whispered her name. The soldier from the SUV walked around and pointed his gun at me and Hannah and I lifted our hands up slowly. Matt, on the other hand, had different plans.
With Erica's shout, Matt opened his door and shouted, "Erica!"
"No, Matty!" I reached over Hannah—who had successfully pushed herself against the back of the seat to get out of the way—and pushed against the gun that the soldier had aimed into our car. He pulled the trigger and we all turned our faces as the bullets went through the windshield and into the soldier from the SUV. Without thinking, I reversed the car and slammed my foot down on the pedal. The soldier next to Matt fell to the ground and I continued my trek backwards even as a kid jumped into the bed.
"Matt! Jed!" Robert shouted as he and Daryl came to a halt by the houses.
"Come on! Come on!" Matt shouted through the open window. The boys came running and as soon as they jumped into the bed of the truck, my tires were squealing as I peeled away. There was a cry of surprise as Thor barked and Hannah turned in her seat to order him to lie down again.
There was a moment of pause as we drove—a silence that stemmed from the fear of the unexpected. After telling two other cars to follow us to the cabin, we went off road into a park to avoid the roadblock that was set up. The boys were bouncing around in the back and Hannah kept looking behind her to make sure our dog was still in the back. I could hear him whining, but his head remained down and he pressed against the cab of the truck. Daryl and Robert were smart to follow suit.
I turned to avoid trees and Hannah remarked uneasily, "Now I know why I never wanted to go off-roading."
I could stop the short-lived laugh that escaped me as we pulled onto a street. There was a Humvee driving perpendicular to us and Matt said warningly, "Jed."
"I know, I see it." I pressed further on the gas and I could feel the truck picking up speed, but it didn't look like it would be enough. Still, I pressed on.
"Jed!" Hannah screamed as we entered the intersection.
Everything that followed seemed like a lifetime, but in reality it only took a matter of seconds.
The Humvee rammed into the tail-end of my truck and did two things: it caused the kid who was kneeling in the bed—who, sadly, I still do not know the name of—to go flying out and smashed through the car's windshield and into the lap of the driver while the accident caused my truck to do a jerking semi-circle. The gravity of the motions forced Matt to bang his head against the door of the truck and forced Hannah into his lap. The steering wheel managed to save me from the brunt of the force and Matt groaned as he pushed himself away from the door.
Then, to further things along, the Jeep that had been behind us smashed into the Humvee—sending it skidding a few feet away from the jumble of cars—and through that, managed to move my truck just a bit further. The people within the Jeep didn't move and thankfully, the little car behind them was able to careen around the accident and it waited for me to move.
There was a long moment of silence as everyone opened their eyes and looked around. Then I realized that the passenger in the Humvee was still alive and a quiet curse wretched itself from my mouth. I tried to turn the engine, but the damn truck refused to start.
"Come on, come on," I said starkly. Hannah called my name and as I turned to look over at the soldier struggling to get out of his vehicle, my engine turned over and my truck roared to life. I slammed my truck into reverse, did a full-turn, and then sped down the open road with the small car behind me.
Hannah turned to Matt and tried to get him to turn his head. "Are you alright?"
"I'm fine," he huffed.
She turned and opened the small door in my rear-windshield and asked the two boys the same question, to which they gave a shaky yes. She sighed in relief and slumped against me when she noticed Thor still tightly curled within the bed. "What the hell just happened?"
"I don't know," I answered with a gentle pat on her leg. "But I intend to find out."
Thank you for reading! I know this probably is not the best chapter I could have written, but it was necessary. Stay tuned for the next chapter when we get to interact with the other characters:) All comments, follows, and favorites are always welcomed!