tagLoving WivesIn Sickness and in Health

In Sickness and in Health

byCharlieB4©

Hi All,

This one's a departure for me, I can't give too much away but I hope you enjoy. The only warning I will give is that if you are looking for a story to get you hot and bothered then you might have to read another one after this.

A big thank you to VR Snow for giving up some time in her busy schedule to fix up my mistakes.

This story is dedicated to those who risk their lives so that we can live our carefree existence. I apologize in advance if I have made any glaring errors in the military section of this story. I tried to be as thorough as possible in my research as I have not been part of the Australian Defense Force.

Finally let me know what you think by leaving a comment at the end.

Cheers

CharlieB4


*****

I lay on the bed my heart racing. Emily, my wife, was in the bathroom brushing her teeth before bed. There was real apprehension, as the moment I had thought would never happen again was so close. As I had crawled through the wreckage of the officer's mess in Urozgan province, Afghanistan I thought my return home would be in a box.

My wheelchair was parked at the bottom of the stairs. The plan had been to hop up the two flights with Emily's help but that had to be shelved as in my weakened state, I only made it up three of the steps. The occupational therapist at the rehabilitation centre had only let me out for the weekend on the proviso that there was a bed downstairs. However I wasn't going to let the first chance I had to sleep with my wife in six months go without a fight. So I crawled up the stairs and into the bedroom.

* * * * * * *

To understand my story you have to go back earlier than six months ago. One year ago, I was stepping off a plane having just finished a tour of duty with the Australian Defense Force in Afghanistan. I was jubilant as I had two weeks left as a member of the army and four weeks till I married my girlfriend Emily. Everything seemed to be falling into place for me.

I had been part of an engineering team in Provincial Reconstruction Project. Our job was to repair infrastructure destroyed during the war against the Taliban. My specialty had been logistics, getting equipment and supplies into and out of work zones. I had been given the nickname "Sniffer" as in my twelve months, I had not lost a convoy to a roadside bomb. They thought I could smell trouble. I just put it down to good training and planning. I always changed my routes even resorting to grading new roads to get around possible black spots. It was a record I was proud of, mostly because all of my drivers and support crew were coming home with me.

I had, in some ways, been sad to leave the army. I'd left school as a seventeen year old with no real prospects, only just an average student. My family had never reached any great heights academically and I was expected to follow into a lowly paid job or petty crime. One day there was an army recruiting van parked in the main street. I'd wandered in out of boredom really, but one hour later I had signed on.

Army life agreed with me. The discipline and structure was something I had never had before. Once through basic training I was placed into the supply section. Not a glamorous area but I thrived there and moved steadily up the ranks. My first contract was six years. When it finished, I signed on for six more.

My first overseas placement was in Aceh Indonesia after the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. I was there for six months helping get supplies through to the victims. Then came my first tour in Afghanistan in 2006. I was only a Corporal then, but I got through and impressed my superiors enough that they offered to put me through Duntroon, the Australian Defense Force Academy. Four years later, I was a Captain with an engineering degree and back in Afghanistan.

While at Duntroon, I met Emily, a gorgeous brunette nurse three years my junior from the Royal Canberra hospital. She had been wary of the army recruits who regularly got into trouble at local nightspots. However, I wore her down and by the time I graduated and was headed to Afghanistan again, we were a couple. That tour of duty was tough on both of us but we got through it with a lot of Skype conversations. I had nine months back helping train new recruits at the academy. Then I was back to Afghanistan. Because it was my third tour it reduced the time I had to "pay" the army back for my degree, so after it was finished I could be a free man.

Emily had been happy with that news but not the third tour. I told her I wasn't in the firing line, only working logistics but she knew better. Everybody was in the firing line in Afghanistan. I asked her to marry me a week before I flew out, she said yes and there were many tears. I had been given one week's leave so I had taken her to stay at a resort in the Great Barrier Reef. It was a great way to celebrate our engagement. Sun, beaches, fine food, great sex and I even managed to get in a little fishing without too many complaints.

My third tour had been reasonably uneventful, well as uneventful as a war zone can be. Two convoys got shot up but they got through and as I said before, everybody was returning home in one piece. I had sent my resume to a couple of recruiting agencies back in Australia during my last month in Afghanistan and had three job interviews in my first week as a civilian again.

I only needed one. It was with a large trucking company. They owned eighty large prime movers mostly with b double trailers and twenty smaller single trailer rigs. They were trying to muscle into the mining boom going on in outback Western Australia and South Australia. The remote mining sites were nowhere near railway lines and sometimes a long way from sealed roads. To get the heavy equipment needed, trucks were the only way and sometimes you had to build your own road. My experience meant they wanted me bad and were prepared to pay handsomely for it.

They had wanted me to start straight away but I told them of my wedding plans so they gave me two weeks after that so we could have a honeymoon. The job meant some extended trips away from our new home in Sydney but Emily was happy no one was shooting at me.

I started the job with great expectations and high hopes but those were quickly dashed. In the army when you told someone below you what to do, they did it! When you spoke to someone above you, you showed respect. In this trucking firm, it didn't work like that. Looking back with the benefit of twenty-twenty hindsight, my people skills sucked. However, I was dismayed that so many of the people that worked at the place had not even a basic idea of manners and common decency.

The planning and logistics stuff was easy. Getting the staff to follow the plan was a different matter. It came to a head four months in. I was working on a project for a mining company getting their initial site preparation done. First, I had to make a fifty-kilometer road to the site and an air strip at the site. It was in the desert. It didn't have to be sealed but it had to handle heavy vehicle traffic. There had been two graders, a bulldozer and an excavator working on it for a month.

It was time for the first convoy to head out with the workers accommodation, rudimentary runway lights, workshop and two massive cat diesel generators powered by turbo charged V 16 cylinder motors. I specially selected the drivers, as we had to get this payload there on time. The mine construction workers were due to fly in the day after the trucks arrived. We had a briefing the night before we were leaving and I went through the whole trip with them. I had their rest breaks, fuel stops, driver changes all set out. Then at five am, the next morning, I arrived at the depot to wave them off and I noticed Frankie was in one of the trucks. Worse, it was the truck with the generators on its trailers.

Frankie was a fuckwit! There is no other way to put it. He was constantly stuffing up and I twice asked the boss to fire him. He was a protected species somehow, . I later found out he was the boss's mistress's son. It appeared one of the drivers was "sick" so Frankie had been put into the truck as a second driver. By the boss! I tried to ring him but he wouldn't answer. The other driver was fuming. He didn't want to share the trip with the idiot, either. It was fifty hours each way. One hundred hours in a truck with that fuckwit would have Mother Teresa plotting a murder.

With much trepidation, I told them to go. The first day they made it to Adelaide without a hitch. Maybe it would workout. At lunchtime the next day, disaster struck, . I got a ring from one of the satellite phones. They were six hours north of Adelaide in the middle of nowhere. Frankie was doing his stint in the driver's seat and feeling the need to relieve himself had pulled off the road. Now as unpleasant as it sounds most of the drivers carried a bottle with them and if they needed to urinate away from a designated stop, they pissed in the bottle and then got rid of it later. Never drink from a water bottle on the side of the road! Frankie should have known better, but like most young guys, he thinks he knows it all. The truck got stuck in loose sand. The next designated stop for fuel was one hour down the road so the rest went there, filled up and waited. I organized a heavy vehicle tow truck to get their as quick as it could from Adelaide.

It was still possible to make it but I hadn't counted on dickhead Frankie. The other driver had gone in one of the other trucks to wait at the roadhouse. Don't blame him really, why stay in the middle of nowhere when it's one hundred in the shade when you could be an air conditioned roadhouse. By my calculations, the trucks should have never got below fifteen percent fuel in the tanks. The tow truck arrived and got the truck back on the road but Frankie ran out of fuel ten minutes from the roadhouse. Even if he had the truck running the whole time to keep the air conditioner going, which I suspect he did, he should have still made it.

The roadhouse owner ran some fuel up the road in his truck and got Frankie going again. When he finally got in to the roadhouse to fuel up, we were seven hours behind schedule and there was no more allowance for delays. Again, the guys let me down, . I had asked them make sure Frankie left with them but they were keen to get going so they went while he was still fueling up.

Unfortunately, the waitress at the roadhouse was running a private business on the side, offering sexual relief for horny travelers. Frankie opted in but left the keys in his truck. While he was out the back getting a fifty-dollar blowjob two guys drove in to get fuel. They saw the truck with the door open and keys inside. The other driver was eating in the diner and saw the truck turn out but had no way of catching it. The thieves were obviously hoping that there was something on the trailers they could easily offload into their little truck and sell later. It would have been nice to see their faces when they pulled back the curtains to see two massive generators.

They knew that someone would be on their tail so they only went ten kilometers down the road and stripped what they could out of the cab and off the generators. So the UHF radio, satellite telephone, fridge, and GPS were taken from the cab and the dual batteries of the motors off both generators. By the time the police arrived from the nearest settlement and Frankie got on the road again, he was three hours behind the others with no way to contact them. The whole thing was a disaster. The generators got there late, and with no batteries to start the motors, they were useless until more batteries were flown up the next day. The mining company had to keep the construction crew in Adelaide for an extra day and our reputation was fucked.

My boss got his ear chewed by the CEO and he offered him my head on a platter. The CEO was in my office that afternoon.

"Sorry Andrew, it's not working out. We can't afford to lose those sort of clients! We will pay out the remaining two months of your contract, pack up your stuff and be out of here by four o'clock."

"Sir, I have a report here that explains the operation and what went wrong. I know I can get this job done! If you are going to pay me for two months at least let me work for it."

"No, Craig has explained it all to me and we think it's best if you move on."

With that, he stood and left the office, leaving my report unread on my desk.

For the next month, I tried to get other jobs but it always it came down to, "What happened at your last job? Why did you only last four months?"

I was getting down when the job agency rang with another chance. It sounded too good to be true. Three hundred and fifty thousand for ten months work.

"What's the catch?" I asked cautiously.

"No catch! Perfect job for you. Right up your alley! You know the ground in Afghanistan."

So that was the catch. The money was great but I knew Emily would never allow it. She was five months pregnant.

"Sorry mate, Emily won't allow it in her present condition."

"I've already told them that and they are willing to fly you back the week before she is due for two weeks."

"I just don't think I could convince her."

"Their offer stands for four days, just think about it. This isn't the army! This is private enterprise! No expense spared! Everything top notch! Consider it at least, because if you get this on your CV then we may be able to get you another job!"

I had dismissed it but it kept coming back to me. It could set us up, pay off the house. My employment options were not to crash hot at the moment. I mentioned to Emily about the offer and got my predicted response.

"No fucking way are you going back there."

"It's incredible money!" I countered.

"Andrew Hinze! You have a pregnant wife due in three months and you want to go to Afghanistan for ten months." Her hands were on her hips. God, she looked sexy when she was angry.

"They have offered to fly me back for the birth."

"And how do they know when that will be! What if the baby comes early? Afghanistan isn't thirty minutes away!"

"Okay! Okay! Don't get upset baby. It's not good for you or the baby. I just told Jim I'd run it by you. I'd already told him you wouldn't like it." I tried to calm things down.

"Don't you sweet talk me Andrew. I know how you operate. You mention something casually and hope I soften later."

I tried my "who me" innocent look.

"No way! No how! If you go I am not promising to be here when you get back!"

I moved towards her with my arms outstretched to give her a cuddle and reassure her but she turned and fled from the room. If I was being honest, Emily had hit it on the head. I thought I would mention the offer to test the waters then let her get used to the idea. It looked like it was out of the question, so I rang Jim.

"It's not going to fly, Jim. Emily hasn't just put the foot down. She drove it through the floor!"

"Come on mate, who wears the pants!"

"Emily wears the panties and they are much more important."

"The old furry magnet, heh. Oh well, I'll let them know. They will be disappointed."

"Thanks. Anything else on the horizon?"

"No sorry, but I'll keep looking."

Emily came back into the room as I put the phone down.

"I just told them I wasn't available." I said flatly.

"Good" Emily replied coming over and putting her arms around me. "I just don't think I could handle you being so far away for that long."

We kissed, just a little 'I love you' smooch.

"Can you come and help me put the cot together?" She asked.

We went to the nursery and spent the rest of the day unpacking our baby stuff and setting it up. Two days later, I was on the internet job hunting. I'd given up applying for management positions and was sending out replies to everything for truck driving to nurses aid. Reality was creeping closer, our bank account was being drained. I wanted my child to come home to this house but the repayments were really starting to hurt. The telephone rang again. It was Jim.

"They want you bad mate! The offer is now $400,000 for eleven months, they will fly you home two weeks before the due date and you get one week off after."

Shit! That would cover the mortgage. One year and the house would be ours and my reputation would be restored with prospective employers. Emily still wouldn't agree but maybe I would have to pull rank.

"Andrew? Are you still there?"

"Yes...I'm just thinking." If they wanted me that badly, maybe I could push for more.

"They want to know today." Jim added.

"It's a yes but two conditions. One if anything happens to me, Emily gets paid out for my entire contract, even if I only last one day. Two, I have complete control of how I move the freight and who does it!"

"I'll get back to you!" Jim hung up and I was left wondering what I had done.

The phone remained quiet for the next hour and I thought they must have rejected my demands. I was half hoping they did, so I didn't have to tell Emily what I'd done.

Then the phone rang, . I picked it up with a shaking hand.

"It's on! You leave tomorrow evening. Be at Sydney international Airport at 5pm, the Qantas VIP lounge. You sign the contract there and leave at 6.30pm."

"That's quicker than I thought, . I was hoping let Emily down slowly."

"That's the deal mate! See you tomorrow."

I went and started to pack. I was concentrating on not forgetting anything and didn't hear Emily get home. She entered the bedroom and saw me packing. The smile died on her lips and she dropped the bag she was carrying.

"You fucking cunt! When were you going to tell me, you lying shit!"

"Honey... It only just happened...they increased the offer, it's too good to refuse."

"You can't spend the money when you're dead! You got through three tours without a scratch, your luck is due to change." Tears were appearing in her eyes.

"Just eleven months and the house is ours! I'm doing it for you and the baby!"

"Don't talk shit! You're doing this for you! I wouldn't care if we lived in a tent and as for the baby." She crossed her arms protectively across her baby bump. "Who says you will ever see your brat!" she stormed out of the bedroom and made for the front door.

"Wait Emily! I love you, please let me explain! I'll be back two weeks before the due date!" I shouted after her.

"Don't fucking bother!" The front door slammed and she was gone.

By the time I got to the door and got it open, her car was backing out the driveway. I set off after her but she left me in a cloud of burnt rubber as she floored it up the road.

I didn't follow any further, I thought it would be best to let her cool down a little. I was sure she would be back that night. She wasn't. I rang her mother and her sister but they hadn't seen her. At least, that's what they told me. She wasn't answering her phone. I left multiple messages but on my way to the airport the next day, I still hadn't heard from her. When the taxi got to the airport, I rang her mother again worried she might have hurt herself.

"She's alright Andrew, she doesn't want to talk! Why are you going back there? Don't you know how hard it is to wait not knowing?"

"I don't have any option Jane! I can't get a decent job. These eleven months will pay off the house and then the pressure will be off."

"She just wants you, not a house. Why didn't you come to us? We could help you out."

I sighed. "There are some things a guy has got to do for himself. One of those is look after his family!"

"Even if it costs you your life?" Jane asked.

"It won't come to that." I replied.

"What if it's already cost you your family?"

"I've got to hope I can get it back. Can you talk to her for me.?"

"You are putting Des and me in an impossible position. I can promise you we won't work against you but at the moment if we mention your name then Emily leaves the room!"

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byCharlieB4© 34 comments/ 49809 views/ 32 favorites

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