Marie sat on the front porch swing her feet, curled up underneath her. Jack sat facing her. The bag of pastries was set on the porch floor between them. "I’m sorry for the way I acted," Jack declared.
There was a long silence between them, as Marie was mentally walking the minefield of possible responses to Jack’s apology in her head. She emotionally could not deny that she was very attracted to Jack. But in her head, in that instant she contemplated each emotional land mine she would have to navigate; the long distance they would have to travel, the time away from each other, always knowing that he might have to leave due to his duties. Dating a Marine and all that comes with it, was not a road she planned or wanted to travel. "Jack…, I like you, but I told you from the start that I really don't want to get involved with a Marine. The long distance, the constant moving..."She trailed off.
"And then there is Mark." Jack inserted. Staring at his hands holding the paper coffee cup.
" There are hundreds of Marks. Military guys who come back from combat, injured, maimed. Sometimes heart broken because their loved one can't deal with what has happened to them. They ask me out or I take them out. There is nothing there. Mark was sure that no woman would ever look at him again without horror in their eyes. I wanted him to know that some women love hero's and that is what he is. I was never going to be involved with him just like I really didn't think I would get involved with you. Then you kissed me and I didn't know what to think."Jack looked up at Marie. "So where does that leave us?"
"Exactly where we were two weeks ago when we met at the cemetery. Two strangers who knew someone that is gone now."
"Is there any chance for something else?"
"You are getting on a plane tomorrow morning. Do you even know when you will be back?"
"Probably three months from now, when my new duty starts at the Academy. We never got the chance to really talk about it, but that is why I have been here twice. I was meeting with the dean. I have been given a non-tenured teaching position for my last duty. Assuming I do not continue past my 20 years in."
"Okay, well what if you and I got to know each other?" Marie asked.
"I don't get it."
"Think of it as research. You email me and call me. We talk and see if there is anything here more than just the obvious attraction. If there is, then when you move here, we can discuss dating. If there is not, no harm no foul."
"What are you so afraid of?
"Getting my heart broken by a guy who wants to conquer and move on. I would be a fool to not be cautious. I have lived around military guys for 17 years. I know the way you guys operate."
"Did the Colonel often try to set you up with his colleagues and students?
"No… Just you."
"Do you trust him?"
"Yes, this is why we are sitting on this porch talking. If I thought you were a guy who couldn't take no for an answer, then you and Vestor would be talking." She smiled
"So how am I supposed to call you? I discovered this morning that you have changed the Colonel's telephone number."
Marie rose from the swing and headed into the house. She found a post it note on her desk and wrote her email and cell phone numbers on it. Jack followed her into the house and was right behind her when she turned around. "Here, you can call, text or email me." Marie said holding the post it note out to him.
Jack took the note and moved toward her crowding her as he tucked the note in his front pocket.
"And what about kissing?" he asked, looking at her lips and then into her eyes. "I want to kiss you. I want you to remember how it is between us while I am gone."
"Remembering is not the problem here. Forgetting is." She shot back.
"I already know that forgetting you is in not going to happen."
"And kissing isn't either," Marie stated as she placed said putting her hand in the middle of Jacks chest to push him aside so that she could move around him.
Jack covered the hand on his chest with both of his, capturing her. He held her there next to him for a beat as he looked into her face judging her reaction to him. He could feel her pulse speed up as he began to stroke her arm with one hand still holding the hand on his chest in place. "That isn't really what you want Marie. I can feel you pulse. You know I am leaving tomorrow. You won't even allow me a good bye kiss?" His voice, along with his touch seemed to be hypnotizing her, weakening her resolve to put distance between them. She slowly shook her head back and forth as he drew her close to him. When their bodies were but a breath from each other he stopped moving. Marie could feel the heat of him. She felt her body leaning towards him, seemingly of its own accord. There was a heartbeat between her shaking her head and nodding her head and then she was in his arms again. His mouth covered hers her hand trapped between their bodies while his hands roamed over her back. His mouth was warm and she opened hers to him immediately. He shifted so that his hand was holding her head keeping her where he wanted her, stroking her tongue with his. Marie was lost again. The feel of their bodies together made her want to melt into him become part of him. The last thinking brain cell sent out it's warning that she was drowning in him and then winked out. Thought ceased and she just felt. Felt his hands on her moving under her shirt to stroke her bare skin. Felt the shivers that his touch on her skin sent coursing over the rest of her body. Felt his mouth on hers and the taste of coffee he had been drinking just minutes ago. He moved his hand from the skin of her back to her ass and drew her closer still. She could feel his erection against her belly. He began to move his mouth down to the hollow behind her ear. She leaned her head back to give him better access. He was kissing the spot where her should meets her neck when her phone rang. The shrill sound made her jump. She pushed Jack back but he held her in the circle of his arms. Not letting her go. He smiled looking at her as she twisted around trying to reach the phone. It rang again. "Jack you need to let me answer that."
"If it is important they will leave a message. Nothing is more important to me right here right now than finishing this." He said as he leaned in to capture her lips again. This time she resisted. Pushing back hard on his chest, she replied forcefully "This IS finished." She stepped around him and caught the phone as it shrilled for the third time.
"Hello?" She answered. "Hi Kellie. I am kind of in the middle of something right now. Can I call you back in a few minutes?...Great thanks." She hung up the phone and began hustling Jack out of the house and back onto the porch.
"You Sir are a menace. Please go now. I have things to do today."
"I am leaving. But I will be back. You just remember how you feel in my arms and this will all work out." He turned around, stepped off the porch and headed for his car. When he reached the car he looked up onto the porch and Marie was still there watching him. He smiled and winked and got into his car. Marie went into the house shaking her head. She knew she was in trouble she just wasn't quite sure what she was going to do about it.