This chapter is told in Carly's POV.
The phone rang late one night. I'd been sleeping with it beside my bed since John had been deployed so I wouldn't' t miss a call from him.
"John?" I asked rubbing my eyes and sitting up.
"No," Said a different voice. "this is his mother."
"Hello!" I exclaimed, slightly surprised.
"Carly, I hate to have to tell you this…" She trailed off. I could hear the tears in her voice. "but John…John's dead."
I dropped the phone right then. My whole body shook uncontrollably. I practically doubled over from the pain, my sobs filling the whole house.
"Carly!" My father called running down the hallway. Seconds later he burst into my room, my mother and older brother following him.
"Oh honey," My mother sighed coming over to wrap her arms around me.
I turned away.
"Please-just-go," I managed to choke out in between sobs.
My brother bit his bottom lip and looked between my parents as they exchanged glances. They both scurried out of the room, leaving just the two of us. He came over to sit down next to me on my bed.
It was more of a statement than a question.
I barely managed a small nod.
"Oh Carly," My brother sighed. "I'm so sorry."
I just sobbed harder.
"I know that doesn't change anything, though." He continued.
I shook my head.
He pulled me into a hug.
"We'll get through this, I swear."
When the sobs finally started to die down I managed to croak out a small 'thank you.' My brother only nodded in response.
Three weeks later it still hurt just as bad. The wound was still as fresh as ever, I still wasn't the same. My brother and I hadn't really spoken since that night. I often didn't leave my room, and when I did I wasn't very sociable.
One night sitting at dinner my brother said he had an announcement. I looked at him curiously, still not speaking much.
He looked at my parents first before looking at me strangely.
"I decided to join the Army."
My jaw hung open, making me feel stupid, but I just couldn't get over the shock.
"Will you excuse me?" I asked setting down my silverware and without waiting for an answer, fleeing from the house.
"Carly!" My older brother called running after me as I ran down the street.
He grabbed me by the arm and whipped me around when he finally caught up.
"Carly, please, don't be upset." He begged me.
The tears started coming again, like they always did whenever I even had so much of a thought about John. I couldn't loose my brother too.
"Please don't go." I pleaded.
"I have to."
"No you don't."
"Carly," He sighed looking frustrated. "this is what I want."
"That's exactly what John said, and look what happened!" I said crying harder.
"I'm not going to die. I swear."
"You don't know that."
"Yes I do."
I don't know how many years later it was when I found myself standing in front of the Vietnam Wall, running my hand along the engraved names. Reading each one in turn, looking for two in particular. Finally I found one of them. John's.
"Oh John, why did you have to go?" I sighed tracing each letter of his name. "I miss you so much."
I lingered for another moment before moving on, looking for just one more name. If only I could find it. Finally, I did. It was my brother's, Kyle.
"You swore." I whispered fiercely. "How could you?"
"If only you knew how much we've been through, why did you have to go too?" I asked my voice softening. "I love you, you'll always be my big brother."
I traced his name too, the tears threatening to spill.
"Are you okay?" My husband asked coming up behind me.
"Yes," I sighed.
"That you're brothers name?" He asked taking my free hand.
"It is." I turned to give him a hug. "I miss him so much, James."
"I know you do, Carly, I know you do." He hugged me back.
I retraced the letters one last time before turning to leave.
"I'll always love you, you know that, right?" James asked suddenly.
"Of course I do." I answered shocked.
"I hope you don't mind my asking then, but do you still love him?"
"Love who?" I asked confused.
"John, your marine." His voice was soft though coated with pain.
"He is not my marine, you are. No one could ever replace you."
"Don't lie to me."
"I'm not. You are, and always will be, my marine."