Building A Perfect LifebySW_MO_Hermit©
Don still went out with the guys but he drank and had fun then went back to the base and choked his chicken.
His thirty day leave after his training was better than the weekend he graduated boot camp. He and Tammy reconnected. After the first week back they were almost back to the way they had been before he left. She was almost finished with her first year of college and Tammy excitedly told him about all the new things she learned and all the fun she was having.
The third week Don was home was Tammy's birthday. She turned 19 and Don, his family and all their friends still in the area were invited to a party with Tammy and her family. After the meal of burgers and chips Don took Tammy's hand and pulled her away from the table where her presents were. "Honey come here a moment please. I want to talk to you a minute before you open your presents."
Don led Tammy to a spot at the edge of her yard where the light just barely reached. He stood and gave her a gentle kiss then reached into his pocket and pulled a ring from it. He looked at Tammy's glistening eyes and said, "Tammy I know the last few months have been rough on you, on us but I still love you with all my heart. Will you marry me?
Don took Tammy's left hand and held the ring toward her ring finger. He looked into her eyes and watched as she blinked, then licked her lips. He was beginning to become afraid when she finally whispered, "Yes. I do love you Don—but when? I mean you are going away for three years and I have my college and...well what about all my friends and...I just can't drop it all and go away with you now!"
"Tammy, why not? They have colleges where I'll be and it's nearly the summer so you can marry me now and we will move you to the coast when this year of school is over. It'll be great honey. We can see lots of new places and be with each other when I'm not at sea..."
Tammy placed her fingers over Don's lips and said, "Shhhhh. Not now honey. Yes, I'll marry you but I just can't do it right now. This is enough for now and you know that."
Tammy grinned when she heard some of her college friends yelling. One male voice rose above the others. Don looked over and saw a tall well built man that appeared to be of Mediterranean descent. He said, "Hey, come on back over here Babe. We all want to see ya open yore presents, not whisper in the dark with that sailor."
Tammy gave Don a quick gentle, almost sisterly kiss on the lips then smiled once more, grabbed his hand and pulled him toward the light and her well wishers. She never mentioned her acceptance of marriage to the assembled group and as far as he knew no one was told. It was almost as if her acceptance had been a non-event. Don left the party well before it wound down feeling lost and sad. He kept wondering what was wrong.
The rest of his leave was spent with his family and Tammy but other than a small comment about the beautiful ring from Mrs. Stone no one mentioned the engagement. All she said was, "Well son it's about time you got a ring for my girl. We could be having the wedding this summer if you hadn't gone off to play sailor." She saw the hurt in Don's eyes and smiled a sad little smile then said, "I just hope your decision to do that doesn't jump up and bite you in the ass. Congratulations anyway."
Don asked what she meant but Mrs. Stone only said, "Nothing Don. I just worry about things like most mothers." Of course that did nothing to allay his fears.
Over the course of the next year the only contact Don had with anyone back home was by phone, e-mail and mail. Tammy was especially hard to keep in touch with because of her college and hectic schedule. Sometimes he would go as long as two weeks without a message from her and it hurt. It hurt a lot.
Finally another leave came and Don was able to return home for two weeks. He wanted to surprise everyone so didn't tell them he was returning. It was the middle of the summer so he knew his parents would be home. After all they farmed and had to do most of their work in the summers. Don wanted to surprise everyone at home so badly he decided to rent a car and drive home from the airport. He reasoned he could return it the next day and have Tammy come pick him up in his old truck.
Don's flight arrived just before lunch. By the time he collected his luggage, rented the car and drove the sixty miles to his home it was nearing 3 p.m. He was so anxious to see Tammy he drove straight to her parents' farm, not stopping in town or at his own home before hand. When he drove down their private lane a billowing cloud of dust stretched out behind him. He knew he was driving too fast for the lane but he just couldn't wait to see Tammy. His cock had been hard and straining against his trousers the entire day and by now it ached it had been hard so long. He fully intended to get Tam into his car and down to their parking place by the river as soon as he could. He intended to take her to their place even before he went to see his parents.
When Don's rental car slid to a stop in front of the Stone home Mrs. Stone opened the kitchen door and stood just outside on the patio. He could tell she was angry with him from her stance. She stood with her hands on her hips and a scowl on her face. He knew she would forgive him though when she saw him. Don rapidly got out of the car and started around the front of it toward her.
Mrs. Stone face showed shock and she pulled her hands to her face covering her mouth. Her eyes took on a haunted, almost frightened look and she said, "Don! What are you doing here? I didn't know you were coming home!"
Don grinned at her and said, "Yeah, I didn't tell anyone. I was only granted the leave a couple weeks ago and I wanted to surprise everyone." He was looking around as if he was searching for something then he finally said, "Where's Tammy? I have really been dreaming about seeing her!"
Delores Stone looked around wildly then she sighed and said, "Don Tammy's not here Son. I"
"Oh. Well when will she get back? I see her old truck over there. Is she in the field somewhere or"
"Don, she's gone for the summer. She and unh...some of her friends and she are in Europe for the summer doing some kind of course and seeing the country...I...I can't believe you forgot that. I mean"
Don stood in shock. He looked at Mrs. Stone and felt his stomach lurch. Finally he found his voice and said, "No, she never mentioned any trip to me. All she said was she wasn't taking any summer classes this year and wanted to take it easy, to have a relaxing summer. She said she wanted to just have fun this summer. I guess she didn't think I would care about my fiancée running around Europe with a bunch of...Oh, FORGET IT."
Don turned and walked back to his rental car. He started it and returned to the highway in another cloud of dust. He never looked back to see the tears in Mrs. Stone eyes and he certainly didn't hear her whispered comment. "Oh, Honey I hope this doesn't come back to haunt you. I'm afraid you're going to lose that boy."
Don's family, on the other hand, was overjoyed when he drove into their yard in a billow of dust. His father started for the slowing car with a questioning look on his face. He knew the vehicles of all the neighbors and wondered if he was being blessed with a sales call or a bunch of religious fanatics. When the door opened and Don stepped out his face broke into a smile and his pace picked up. He yelled for Don's mother. When she came from the back yard she saw the two men of the family locked in an embrace. She hurried to add her welcoming hug to the group.
Don enjoyed touching base with the few friends he had that still lived in the area. Of course it was wonderful to see his family also. His family was shocked when they found out Tammy was gone and doubly shocked when they found out she had not told Don she was going. One time when they were talking about her his mother looked at him in sadness and said, "Don, Honey. I don't know about that girl. We love her like a daughter but, well, I just worry she's enjoying her college too much. I'll pray for you both but sometimes the lord moves in mysterious ways you know."
His leave ended way too fast even without the company of Tammy. His parents took Don back to the airport on the last day of leave. When he returned to duty he would be boarding a different ship, one that was to deploy to the Gulf. He was excited. He was now a Petty Officer Third Class and expected to have some men working under him in the new job. It would be his first time in a supervisory capacity. His ship, the USS COLE (DDG 67) was almost new and she was beautiful.
Don reported aboard and quickly settled into his new job. He enjoyed working on the equipment and guiding the lower ranking men he supervised. He quickly became a favorite of his superiors and was treated as such. Their deployment was nearing its midpoint when the ship went to Aden, Yemen to refuel.
Shortly after mooring the crew began to congregate on the mess decks for lunch. There was a roar, the ship lurched and the mess decks were filled with fast moving shards of metal and dark smoke. The lights went out. Don's head was ringing and his right side hurt. He could hardly breathe. The General Quarters alarm was bonging away but Don was having trouble moving. He knew he had to hurry to his station but something was wrong. He felt so weak. In the dim light of the battle lanterns he could see a gaping hole in the side of the ship and many of his comrades were lying on the deck unmoving. He pulled himself to the nearest and began trying to remove the debris from them. He uncovered three of his friends when the world went dark once more.
Don woke up once more in a white compartment on a hard, cold bed. He had no idea where he was. His moan when he tried to move brought a strangely dressed man from another compartment. "Ere Now Yank. Just you lie still before yew tear out all them stitches me and the Doc put inter yer."
"What, unh, where am I?"
"Oi Mate. Yer on Her Majesties Ship Marlborough. Yer'll soon be moved onto one of yer Yank Hospitals I suppose but ye jus rest now for a while."
True to his new friend's word Don was soon moved on to a US base at Landstuhl Germany at the Army's Regional Medical Center.
The evening of the attack both the Brown and Stone families were made aware of the attack. Since they had no one on the ship as far as the military knew the Stones first heard of the attack on the news while at supper. As soon as they listened to the news Delores called her friend Barbara.
When she answered the phone Mrs. Stone could hear Barbara crying and she felt her own stomach lurch. "Barb, it's me. Oh, please...is Don..."
Barbara cried louder and through her tears she managed to get out, "He's not dead but the Navy says he was one of the ones that got hurt. He's stable and not in danger but the officer didn't know more..." she began crying louder and hung up the phone.
Mrs. Stone looked up at her husband and said, "I'm going over there. Don got hurt. You call Tammy and if you can't get her send an e-mail. I don't know when I'll be back."
The next couple days were extremely painful for both families and Don. Of course Don's pain was physical but the emotional pain was terrible for the two families back in the States also. Even worse there had still been no return e-mail from Tammy and she had not phoned home either. Her father had left a message on her cell phone to call, that it was important but he had decided not to tell her Don had been injured. They had no idea if she even knew the ship had been damaged or for that matter if she cared. When she had returned from Europe she seemed like a different girl. She had spent two weeks at home then left for college opting to live in a rented four bedroom house with some friends. The few times she had contacted her family she seemed to be withdrawn and somehow sad, unwilling to open to them any longer.
Finally on the sixteenth of October 2000 Tammy returned home for a visit. It had been four days since the damage to the ship and Don's injury. She came into the house late in the afternoon having driven home after her last class.
Tammy came into the house and walked up to her mother. She gave her a kiss on the cheek and said, "Whew. I'm glad I'm through for the week. My classes are a bore and now we have to listen to all that drivel about the Cole bombing. Who cares if a bunch of idiots tried to bomb a darn old ship?"
Mrs. Stone looked at her only daughter in shock and replied, "Tammy! I can't believe you just said that! Don't you care at all for Don or our men in uniform? How could you!"
"Oh Mom! Of course I care about Don but he's the one who left me you know. So his precious ship got bombed. So what?" Before she could think or stop her reaction Delores' hand shot out and she slapped her daughter. Tammy looked at her with a shocked expression as the tears welled up in her eyes.
"Oh, Honey." Mrs. Stone reached out and pulled Tammy to her in a gentle hug. "I'm sorry I did that but sometimes lately I don't understand you at all. You have changed so much since you started college and especially since you went to Europe. Sometimes I don't think I know you any longer."
After she had hugged Tammy a while longer Mrs. Stone held her at arm's length and began talking once more. She said, "Honey Don was one of the ones that got injured. We don't know much about his injuries but that he is stable and is either in Germany or will go to Germany to a hospital."
Tammy stared at her mother in shock. She covered her mouth with her hand and began to shake with silent tears. She pushed from her and ran to her bedroom where she threw herself onto the bed.
Mrs. Stone followed and sat on the side of the bed. She just sat and gently rubbed the back of her daughters head, smoothing her hair as she cried. Finally Tammy wailed to her mother, "Oh, mother I've ruined it all. I've been acting like a spoiled little Bitch. I don't deserve Don any longer." Tammy wrapped her arms around her mother and buried her head in her ample bosom then she continued talking. "Momma I really screwed up this time. Momma, I'm pregnant and, and it's for sure not Don's baby. It happened when I was in Europe and I don't know who the father is. Oh, Momma, I'm so sorry!"
Delores gasped and felt her stomach lurch as her daughter's confession sank in. "Oh no, please lord not that Tammy! How could you?"
When her father came into the house the two women brought him in on the news and then they sat around trying to come up with a solution. Tammy was adamant she wanted to keep the child. Her parents had wanted her to abort and try to keep her infidelity from Don. Finally Tammy said, "NO! it's my body and my baby. I screwed up but I can't kill my child. I already love it and I just know Don will too."
"Honey I'm not too sure about that," said her mother. "You didn't see Don this summer when he came home to surprise you and found out you had gone off to Europe with a bunch of boys. I think his love for you began to die that day and from what his e-mails to us and his parents say it is not very strong now. You have been ignoring him in favor of your new friends and he is hurt. Honey this may be the final straw. Even without your past problems very few men will put up with a wife or fiancée that spreads it around like you have."
Over the course of the next several weeks Tammy began to send more e-mail to Don and to try and call him more. For the most part she was unsuccessful because he had limited access to computers and his phone. They did talk twice but the conversations were very short and not very loving. It was almost as if they were just two friends conversing now. Tammy had not told Don about the baby. She and her parents had decided to wait until he came home hoping they could do some damage control if they saw him face to face.
Finally in late October the Navy transferred Don to a hospital closer to home and his parents went to see him. They offered to take Tammy with them and were hurt when she refused. By then of course his injuries were known. He had shrapnel wounds a broken left arm and a badly broken left leg. He was to remain in hospital until just before Thanksgiving then he would be home for the holidays on convalescent leave. He would return to duty after the first of the New Year.
Finally the day arrived for Don to return home. His whole family and many of their friends and neighbors met him at the airport. He came from the plane in a wheelchair pushed by a pretty stewardess. His face broke into a big smile when he saw everyone waiting on him. His head kept turning from side to side, looking for someone. He was looking for Tammy. Finally he saw her behind and to the side of his and her parents and his grin got larger. He directed the stewardess to push him toward them.
When he got close enough his mother, then Delores, Tammy's mother leaned down and gave him a hug and tearful kisses. Both fathers smiled and shook his hand. Tammy held back almost as if she was afraid of seeing him. Finally Mr. Brown reached for her and pushed her toward Don.
Don reached his arms out for Tammy then gave her a surprised look. A slight frown came over his face and she blushed. She gave him a quick peck on the lips and said, "Welcome home Honey." Before Don could answer she faded back into the crowd. Now the rest of the town folk and friends greeted Don. He kept looking at Tammy with a frown on his face. Finally he turned to Mrs. Stone and said, "Tammy sure seems to have gained some weight. She looks pale too. Is she OK?"
Tears welled up in Mrs. Stone's eyes and she wiped them with her fingers then said, "Yes Don. Tammy's fine. Let's just get you home then tomorrow we'll all come over and see you. I'm sure she has a lot to tell you."
That night was one to remember. It seemed the Brown house had never been so full. Don's older brother and sister and their families were there and all evening friends dropped by to see Don. He kept looking for the Stones though and they didn't show up. Finally he asked his mother about them and he saw her grimace. She said, "Honey I've invited them over tomorrow so we will have some time to visit without all the uproar from the rest of our friends. You and Tammy need some alone time right now and you couldn't get it with her tonight."
It was after midnight when Don got to bed and much later than that before he got to sleep. He was so exhausted he slept in and his mother had to wake him up at ten the next morning when the Stones arrived.
Don came down the stairs slowly being careful with his crutches. Grinning he rushed to Tammy as fast as his condition would allow. She let him hug her but turned her head when he tried to kiss her. She stepped back and sat on the couch between her father and mother. Don's face showed his hurt, even a small amount of anger. He looked at her then the other adults and asked, "What's the matter? Why do you all look like we're at a funeral? Hey, I'm OK and in a few months I'll be out of the Navy and we can begin planning the wedding. They think they will give me a small disability pension because of this damn leg but they promised I will be able to walk and do farm work with it still. It's not the end of the world you know."
Don stopped talking when Tammy broke down in tears. Her mother wrapped her arms around her and pulled her to her chest. Finally Tammy wiped her face and turned to look at Don. "Don," she said. "I...Don I'm pregnant. I..." She licked her lips and looked down at the floor then took a deep breath and continued, "I don't know who the father is...I...I went to Europe with a bunch of guys you know and a couple of girls too of course and...well, I ran out of pills and, and, well we all lived together and used the same room and I unh, well I guess I was acting like a little slut all away from home and, well we all slept together and.. I suppose I was still angry with you for leaving me and going off on your own to see the world. I decided if you were having fun I could too. Oh, Don, I'm so sorry but I still love you and want to be married to you."