The Love Story

By: Scott Moseley

As Rick walked through the door in his full fatigues, he heard the phone ring. He heard his wife answer it. Her sweet voice carried throughout the house. "Hello?" she asked. Rick walked into the kitchen and looked at her, but she didn't notice him. He hoped he didn't know who was on the other end of that line. He thought back on the day's work. After a brief routine drill, his platoon was briefed. The news was not good at all. After President Bush declared war against Saddam Hussein, they were told that they would be one of the first units over in Iraq. The only thing they didn't know was when they were to leave. He really hoped that that was not his platoon commander on the horn. As his wife hung up the phone, he cleared his throat. She whirled around, surprised. "Oh, hi honey! I didn't know you were home. That was your commander on the other end. I told him you weren't home yet. Sorry." She said.

"That's ok; I need to talk to you before I call him back any way. Have a seat on the couch." Rick told his wife sweetly. She walked over to the couch and sat down. As she sat she squirmed.

"Oh, Rick! I felt the baby move!" she shouted in joy. That was all it took for Rick. He sat down on the other sofa and began to cry. Chelsea thought it was strange to see a Marine cry. "What's wrong honey?" she asked him.

Finding a space between sobs he told her; "I have to leave, dear. I don't know when, but today President Bush declared a war against Saddam Hussein, Brion and I ship out when they say." He continued to cry at the thought of not being home for his son being born.

Chelsea had tears streaming down her cheeks, though she wasn't sobbing. "How long will you be gone?" she asked sadly.

"At least thirteen months, provided I don't get an extension." He said sobbing uncontrollably. Chelsea was visibly crying and sobbing once full realization struck.

Once Rick got a hold of himself, he straightened his jacket and stood up. "I'll go find out when I have to leave." He said as he walked towards the phone. After a several minute conversation with his boss, he came back, and picked up his wife in a gorilla hug. She could do nothing but hug back in fear of her husband's life. Rick sighed heavily and looked at his wife. "Brion and I leave in two days. But before I leave would you like to stay at Brittney's house?" She nodded dumbly. "Ok, I'll call her really fast and ask if that's ok." He started to walk off, but remembered something and walked back. "Oh, and would you like to go out to eat tonight?" He asked.

"Where did you have in mind?" she asked. He shrugged.

"Oh, I don't know, maybe IHOP." He said with a smile. She grinned.

"You mean the one we met at?" she asked with anticipation.

"What other IHOP is there?" he asked and then knelt down until he was eye level with her stomach. "Does that sound good there little Rick Junior?" he put his hand on her stomach and it vibrated from the impact of the kick the baby produced. Rick looked up into his loving wife's deep brown eyes. "That sounds like a 'yes'. Isn't that right little R.J.?" he said. He ran off to the phone and made the call and then walked back to his wife, who was cradling her stomach. "Ok, are you all set to go?" he asked.

"Yup, we are all ready to go." She said motioning to her stomach.

"Right, of course, well then let's go!" he said. They both walked out the door.

When they got back the first thing they did was pack everything that needed to be packed to leave the next day. They awoke the following morning at about six so that Rick could get Chelsea over to Brittney's house in time for him and Brion to get to work on time. They all knew that the next day all their lives would change.

The next day at the airport on the marine base the soldiers said their goodbyes. Chelsea was bawling her eyes out. Rick lifted her chin so he could look into her eyes. "Hey, don't cry for me. I'll come home one way or another and I'll never stop loving you." He told her. She gave him the strongest hug he had ever received from her.

Brion's farewell was almost the same. Rick knelt down to talk to R.J. "Look here R.J., I need you to take good care of your mother and don't cause her any problems while I'm gone, understand?" he asked.

"OH!" Chelsea shouted in surprise. She looked down at Rick. "That was the biggest kick this kid has done. I think he understands you loud and clear." She smiled thinly. Rick's commander walked up behind him. "Soldiers, it's time to move out." He said motioning to both Brion and Rick. Rick and Brion nodded.

"Yes sir!" they both said, and looked back at their wives, gave them one final hug and kiss and walked off toward the C-130 plane waiting for them.

Four months later.

Dear Rick,

I am proud to announce the arrival of one more member. He is a little healthy boy, eight pounds three ounces, and sixteen inches long. He was born on the twelfth of November, at six thirty in the morning. Oh, Rick. I wish you could see him. He seems so happy when he is not crying. I still haven't named him yet; I was hopping that you could give me a name for him because I can't think of any right now. Brittney was very glad to see him when he came. She came with me to the hospital. You know, since you and I got married, Brittney and I haven't spent much time together. I am certainly not saying that this war is a good thing, but it has given a chance for me and my old roommate to spend some time together.

Anyway, I pray for your safety. Be careful and alert. Every time a news report comes on I worry you will be listed in the 'dead' list.

Your loving wife,

Chelsea Parker

A tear dropped on to the letter as Rick finished reading it. He folded it up and put it into his chest pocket. He picked up his M-16 and ran to his platoon. He skidded to a halt in front of his commander who had his arm out to say 'stop', kicking up sand as he skidded.

"What's the rush son?" he asked. Rick produced his letter.

"Sarge, I'm a father!" he said flapping his letter around excitedly.

"Ok, ok, calm down." He said as he side stepped. "Go ahead dad." He continued. Rick ran off and skidded to another sand-throwing halt in front of his platoon.

"I am a father!" he said excitedly. Brion shot up from where he was sitting, along with another three soldiers, the other four just congratulated him from their seats.

"When, when did this happen?" they all wanted to know at the same time.

"About two weeks ago!" He said. Just then a few rounds of an AK-47 went off. Quickly helmets were buckled, safety switches were turned off, and Ricks platoon ran off through the streets of Baghdad. As Rick followed his platoon through the streets he began to feel that something was not right. As he turned around he noticed a red Toyota that seemed to be following them. He called for his lead soldier to duck right down the next street, even if that meant being ambushed. As they ran down the road Rick heard the tires squeal as it turned. The engine revved up and it got dangerously close to Rick and Brion. The platoon hopped onto the sidewalk and opened fire on car, bullets slamming into the sides and shattering the windows and windshield. As the car stopped and Rick was reloading, it exploded in a giant fire ball. Rick and Brion were thrown back against the wall behind them, knocking them both unconscious.

Three days later

Brion woke with a start. He tried to sit up but he couldn't fell his right arm. A doctor walked over to him, "How are you feeling?" He asked.

Brion looked up at him scared. "H-how did I get here." He asked. The doctor looked concerned.

"When that car bomb when off, the remains of your platoon brought you back to this field hospital as quick as possible.

Brion brought up his left arm to wipe his head. He felt the cloth bandage that was wrapped around his head. "Huh, Rick." He muttered.

"What?" The doctor asked.

Brion shifted uncomfortably. "My buddy and old roommate, Rick, he brought me back here."

The doctor looked at his clipboard, "You mean Lance Corporal Rick Parker?" he asked.

Brion only nodded, as he started to realize what was going on. The doctor gave a heavy sigh.

"Unfortunately, we lost him two days ago. He took the hood of the car to his upper torso. There was nothing we could do for him. I'm sorry. He is being shipped to the US in the next batch of wounded and KIA." He said sadly. Brion brought his left arm up as he began to cry. He tried to bring his right arm up, but he still couldn't feel it.

"Doc, just make sure that I tell his wife, please? She is the old roommate of my wife, please. Hey doc, why can't I feel my arm?" he asked.

The doctor gave another sigh, "I'm sorry son, but you lost it after that door smashed it. The bone was close enough to dust all the way to shoulder, we had to take it, sorry." He stayed for an awkward second and then walked off to take care of other patient.

Brion continued to cry unstoppably.

Four days later

The door bell rang at Brittney's house. As she answered the door she squealed and then began to cry. As Chelsea walked from the kitchen, with the little baby in her arms she immediately wanted to know about her husband. Brion sat down and sighed, burying his head in his free hand.

"How's Rick? Where is he?" she continued to ask. The baby began to wail uncontrollably. As Chelsea tried to console him, Brion told her.

"Rick is…" he paused as his eyes began to flood. "He's dead." He sobbed. Chelsea starred at Brion, then stood up and handed the baby to a crying Brittney. She proceeded to the room that Brittney had let her use. Brion and Brittney could hear the door slam. The noise startled the baby and he began to cry again. Brittney sat down beside Brion, she knew the loss was as devastating to him, as it was it Chelsea. After a few minutes, Chelsea walked back and picked up her child. She consoled him till he stopped crying. She looked down at him and smiled, with her eyes still streaming tears.

"Well my little one, your father always called you Rick Jr. so that's the name I shall give you." She said. R.J. seemed to like the idea because he fell asleep. She smiled, but continued to cry. She knew that everything was going to be ok after everything was taken care of. And she knew that she had the support of her best friend and the best friend of her beloved husband.