This story is special to me – all stories are, but… Many years ago, when my husband and I had been a couple for only a few months, he left for ten months to be a UN soldier. Never had I longed for someone as much as I did then, and never had I worried as much.
I’ve always figured I should write a military story, but I’ve always been hesitant to do so, but now I have.
Levi Campbell has everything he’s ever wanted in Northfield. He spent his childhood moving from one place to another without ever being able to put down roots. All he wants is a home where he can spend his days together with the man he loves. Somewhere quiet. And he had all that – until he fucked it up.
Madoc Griffiths loves Levi. There have never been any doubts about that. He loves Levi, loves him so much that he will do whatever it takes to make sure that Levi happy. Breaking up with him was for his own sake. Levi is young, he needs to explore the world, go on adventures, and Madoc will not stand in his way – so, he let him go.
He hadn’t counted on it being so hard to move on, though.
Madoc parked outside The Windmill. They hadn’t opened for the day — of course, they hadn’t. The lunch crowd was a couple of hours away still. Sighing, he drummed at the steering wheel. What the hell was he doing here?
He was about to turn the key and head back home when there was a light tap on the window. Amanda smiled at him, her long dark hair in a 60s updo, and she was straddling a green vintage bicycle. She had a dimple in her right cheek, and her blue eyes sparkled with amusement.
Since he couldn’t open the door without hitting her bike, he rolled down the window. “Mandi.”
“Hi, there.” She smiled while waiting for him to say something.
The smile grew wider and she nodded. “Do you want a cup of coffee?”
“I… erm… Do you have time for coffee?” He gestured at the entrance of the restaurant. “Aren’t you here to work?”
“Yeah, but you can have a cup at the bar, and we can chat while I set the tables.”
Did he want to chat? Amanda was the reason he’d come here, but did he want to talk to her? She was his only link to Levi, he should stay away.
“Come on, Doc.” She moved away, and he pulled the key out of the ignition and followed her into the restaurant.
“How have you been?” Amanda shot him a look over her shoulder as she went around the bar.
“Want to rephrase that?”
He chuckled. “No, I’ll stand by it.”
“You’re forlorn, you’ve lost your spark, and you don’t know what to do.”
He’d always liked Amanda. “And good sums that up.”
She reached over the bar and patted his hand. “You’re being silly, you know that, right?”
Frowning, he accepted the cup she handed him.
“I’m not saying Levi is any better, but the two of you belong together, and this is just hurting you both.”
Madoc glanced out the window. “It’s for his own good.”
“Bullshit! You got scared so you cut him out.”
“I’m not scared.” He wasn’t, he only wanted Levi to be happy.
“Right. Just so you know, if he gets hurt over there, I’m holding you responsible.”
“What?” That was ridiculous. Madoc had never wanted Levi to become a soldier.
“Do you know what Levi dreams of?” She slammed a bucket of cutlery onto the counter and began rolling them up in napkins. Madoc watched her; gone were the dimple and the sparkle in her eyes. She was scared, worried. A knot formed in his gut. She was scared for Levi.
“I think you do, but you’re too afraid of being wrong to really see it.”
“All Levi wants is a home. He never had one, and it’s been his dream for as long as I’ve known him. He wants to live in Northfield, have a husband, a house, and a job he can go to Monday through Friday. What he longs for the most is stability. He doesn’t want adventures. Doesn’t want to see the world. His dream is right here, but now he’s over there—” She gestured toward the windows. “—carrying a gun, walking over minefields, and God knows what else. He never wanted to die anyplace else; Northfield is where he wants to be.” She cursed under her breath before reaching for a napkin and dabbing it under her eye. “Now you’re ruining my makeup.”
Madoc sat unmoving. His Levi was walking over minefields? He couldn’t breathe. “He wrote me.”
“You know? You’ve talked to him again?”
She balled up the napkin. “He called a few days after you were here. They were going patrolling somewhere in the desert or something and would be away from camp for several days. I haven’t heard anything since. I have no idea when he’ll be close to a phone again — have no idea if he’s still alive.”
“Is there… erm… a way to get in touch with him?” He almost hoped there wasn’t, but he couldn’t get the image of Levi walking over dusty roads, dressed in military green, and with a gun in his hands, out of his mind. His Levi.
When his older boyfriend fears he’s holding Levi back from fulfilling his youthful dreams, he encourages him to break free and seek adventure. Levi, hurt and confused, does just that … But in an immature act of rebellion, he enlists in the army. The army!
Levi never wanted to be a soldier, and he never, ever wanted to go to faraway places, but he is now committed to serving his country for two whole years.
Madoc Griffiths did the right thing when he let Levi go, he knows he did, but if it was the right thing, then why can’t he move on? Every night he dreams about Levi; every day he misses him. But Levi is young, and Madoc will not stand in the way of Levi following his dreams.
But being a soldier isn’t Levi’s dream.
There is nothing Levi wants more than to do his time and return home to Northfield and fight for his man. Madoc was sure he’d be able to move on, but once he hears Levi will be home on a two-week leave, he can think of nothing except seeing him again. But can he stand to be with his lover for two weeks and then let him leave to fight a war?