Chapter Seventy-eight: Shattered Memories

"You lying whore! I thought you came down here because you actually cared about me!"

"Well, I do care, probably a hell of a lot more than I should!" I was feeling tired and sounding bitchy and I really didn't care. "But I've also learned that I need to become more independent. You know, so people won't call me a lying whore for no reason."

Walter and I were going back and forth at each other as we finished packing up his personal gear. For three days and nights we'd been working almost non-stop. Along with Sheila and the other American volunteers, we had to pack up and evacuate the whole outfit, and turn over all our medical supplies to the locals.

What had happened was that a bunch of army trucks had arrived out of nowhere, on orders from the government of Santa Loma. This was right when I was crying in Walter's office after our little heart-to-heart conversation. Well, the government had just gone through a big shakeup, almost like a revolution from the inside. And now they wanted all foreign volunteers out of the country!

"It's because of that no-good Jack and his creepy Brotherhood," Sheila explained. This was actually the night before. We were taking a midnight break after working for eighteen hours straight. "Those fanatical Christian aid workers ruined it for everyone. By meddling in local politics and trying to turn the poor against the rich, they got us all kicked out of the country once and for all!"

"I bet that will make Old Man Wheeler happy," I mumbled. I was so tired I could hardly sit up straight, and I was eating franks and beans and talking with my mouth full. Canned food was all we had left to keep us going while we worked and worked around the clock. "Now Walter's father won't have to pay all that money he promised us for getting Walter to come home!"

The thing is, this was very late at night. We'd been working all day. Even tough old Sheila was starting to feel drowsy, while I was just ready to fall off my chair. So there I was, talking away with my mouth full and not watching what I was saying and I didn't hear or see Walter when he silently entered the mess tent.

"Jamie," he said, very quietly.

"Huh?" I felt a tiny tingle then, like a warning or an animal instinct. Not really fear exactly, but a heightened awareness, mixed with a sort of trembling anticipation. Like a gazelle sensing a lion nearby.

"Come in, Walter, and take a load off," Sheila said, yawning. "We're all going to collapse if we keep this up much longer!"

"Outside, Jamie." Walter didn't usually ignore Sheila like that. He respected her, like a parent almost. Usually the two of them were like the best of friends. But his rough voice cut right through hers, and he looked at me like I was the only person in the world.

"I guess I need some fresh air," I said, still not quite getting how angry Walter was. The two of us left the tent together, and when he put his arm around my shoulders it felt just felt so right. More like a protective gesture than a jailer clapping on the handcuffs.

It was pitch dark outside the tent, and most of the other volunteers had collapsed hours ago after packing everything in record time. But Walter always did have eyes like a cat's, and he steered my tired, stumbling feet to a little clump of trees, totally secluded.

"You came to Santa Loma on my father's orders," he said, still in that deep, low and very calm voice that didn't sound angry at all.

"Yeah, at first I only wanted the money, and to keep you from getting killed, you know? But now that I see how hard you've been working, I'm really proud of you!"

Now that was all I said, and I thought it was perfectly honest and truthful. But for some reason Walter went absolutely crazy! First he grabbed me by the shoulders, pulling me close and kissing me so hard it burned. His lips were like a red-hot branding iron, searing me with heat, burning right into me, right into my flesh.

Marking me as his forever.

Next thing I knew it seemed like we were undressing each other, and then I grabbed him and we were tumbling down onto this rough and scratchy blanket in the dark. I guess Walter had been planning to sleep in this little grove out of the way of the crowded camp. But what happened next was not sleeping, but instead Walter pinning me to the ground, his huge hands on my shoulders and his warm breath in my ear as he took me savagely over and over from behind. Really it was like being pounded into the earth, my poor flesh quivering and my choked sobs being stifled by the rough fabric of the blanket beneath my tear-streaked face.

All that was just the first part of it, the rough and punishing part. Next it seemed Walter was turning me over, kissing my cheeks, stopping my soft sobs with tender words and warm gentle kisses. My hands were tangled in his hair as he sucked my sore nipples. Then I remember him kissing me lower down, and lower down, until at last he was kissing the very tip of my shaft, so hard and hot, and then drawing me into him, deeper and deeper, until at last I was inside of him, warm and secure, entirely swallowed up. I know that I surged and I groaned, my hips rising and falling for what seemed like hours, until the effort nearly killed me. Finally when I was weak with pleasure and nearly exhausted Walter gripped me hard with his teeth, tightening until I shot off like a rocket and exploded inside his mouth, coming in hot spurts that went on and on till everything was drained out of me, and all I could do was fall down and down and down into deep slumber.

Now with all of that, you would think Walter would have got the idea that I was crazy about him, and happy we were back together. But the next morning he was all business, just like usual, bossing me around his stuffy little tent while I struggled to keep up. I'd had a late start because he left me alone in that little grove of trees, so I could sleep while the rest of the camp had breakfast.

"I called you a whore because you took my father's money," Walter growled, snapping my angry thoughts back to the present. We were almost done packing. He was just reaching for some old framed photograph he'd had hanging up in his tent.

"I haven't taken a dime of your father's money," I shot back, though of course Old Man Wheeler had paid for my flight and my new clothes and plenty of other expenses as well. But I wasn't thinking about that. I was pretty mad, and when Walter's great big hand closed over mine by mistake as we both reached for the picture I fought like mad to pull it free, because his hand on mine was a reminder of everything we'd done the night before. The picture fell and the frame broke, and that was when I saw it was actually a picture of Walter and me, on the beach in Waikiki. He had his arms around me and I was leaning back against him, my bare back flat against his muscular chest.

Just then Sheila stuck her head in the tent. "We have a visitor, gentlemen," she announced, in her rough, raspy and gritty voice.

"We'll be right there," Walter said, calm and in control as always.

"Yeah, right there!" My voice was rougher than his, and I felt my cheeks turn hot when Sheila casually glanced in my direction.

Walter and I were still holding hands.