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*Jason Daily was a soldier. He was a son, a brother, and a friend.*
Her hands worked delicately on buttoning his shirt, grazing his body every chance she had. She could feel his gorgeous hazel eyes on her, but she refused to look up. For she knew that if she did, the tears would show no mercy. Once she was finished buttoning up his Army jacket, Holly gave a single pat of her hand on his chest, smoothing out the fabric. “There.” She said, her voice quiet and shaky. He lifted her chin up with his index finger, forcing her to look into his eyes. He was smiling.
“Perfect.” That was all he said, and then he wrapped his arms tightly around her shoulders. She buried her face in his shirt, arms wrapping around him and hanging on as though he were the last person on Earth.
Holly wished she could tell him how much she loved him. He already knew that she did. But then, why was he abandoning her if he knew how much she cared for him?
She told herself. You should be proud of him. Not angry.
And she was proud of him. Jay had made up his mind that he was joining the marines, long before he had even met her. She would wait for him. that's what she told him. It was a promise Holly had made to herself when she first met Jason Daily on that one fateful day back during their sophmore year at Garfield Senior High School two and a half years ago. He was the class-clown and a total jerk. But never once had he picked on the weaker. Jay was always the guy to stick up for what he believed in-- no matter how little sense he tended to make. It was that one day in September when Holly’s cherry red 1984 Mustang broke down along side of a dirty back road. Out of all the people in the world she might have seen that day, Jason was the last person she had expected. But now, she couldn’t imagine that day going any other way.
The thoughts from the past had sprung the burning sensation in her optics. She clenched her eyes shut, hoping to fight the tears back. Her efforts came to no avail. One tear escaped and the others followed. Jay ran his hand along her back in a way to comfort her and pulled her even closer. Holly willingly let him draw her in, their shadows cast by the sunlight leaking through the window melting into one form. She felt the heat of his forehead resting upon her own and the feeling of his hand supporting the back of head before she felt the warmth of his lips on her mouth. The kiss didn’t last as long as she had hoped, but it still left that tingling hum surging within her body usually acquired around him. “I love you Holly.” he whispered against her lips. The corners of her mouth tugged into a small smile as she said “I love you too…”
The two were silent for a few minutes. Holly was the one to break free, but not after giving him one last hard squeeze of a hug. “C’mon,” she said, trying to regain herself. She had to be strong. For Jay, and herself. “We better get you to the bus stop.”
It was the shortest ride to town Holly had ever been apart of. On any other day, the ride would have been at least fifteen minutes. That was short enough. If it were just another day, time wouldn’t be a problem. Not in Lexington, Kentucky. But it wasn’t just another day. The ride was ten times shorter and time was definitely an issue. Holly was jolted out of her thoughts by the sudden pressure being applied to her right thigh, jerking the wheel of her mustang. Jay eyed her, concern swimming in his deep hazel eyes. Oh how she loved his eyes. They were one of the things she loved about him the most. That and his killer smile. He squeezed her thigh gently. “It’ll be okay…” He said. Holly swallowed and nodded, keeping her eyes on the road ahead. She didn't look at him. For if she did, she feared she might not be able to take her eyes away from him.
Eyes on the road, Holly. She told herself. Eyes on the road.
The town square was busy, bustling with people ready to send their loved ones off to war. It’s funny how one thing can bring so many people together. Glancing around, Holly could see so many different kinds of people. A mother hugging a man who looked to be like her son, at least, that’s what Holly thought until the two began making out in the square. There was man with a hardened expression shaking the hand of a soldier no older then Jay, no doubt a father and his son. Of course, there were many others in the square, each with their own story to he told. But the one that got to her most, was the little girl. The little five year old girl in the frilly pink dress. She was hugging her father, tears streaming down her cheeks while the man hugged her close. The sight brought tears to Holly's eyes, despite her tremendous effort. Jay's free hand found her own, lacing their fingers together. He gave a squeeze, one that she greatfully returned.
Stopping infront of the bus stop, Jay turned to face Holly. He was smiling in his usual carefree, crooked smile that always seemed to say "everything is going to be okay" even if it wasn't going to be. Holly felt the corners of her mouth tugging into a smile too, her eyes starting to tear up. Dropping his bag on the cement of the sidewalk, Jay placed a hand on either of her shoulders. There was a long pause between them then, and soon it seemed like they were the only two people in the world. All the people on the sidewalk had disappeared, the billowing gray bus was completely melted away; leaving just the two. He pulled her to him, squeezing her tightly. The side of her face lay on his chest, her arms wrapping around him. She wished he would hold her like this forever. Just stay like this, with just them in the world. No one else. But before long, the world around them had rematerialized and they were surrounded by people once more.
Jay pulled his head back, keeping Holly close. He leant down, pressing his lips to her forehead. "I will come home for you, Holly. That's a promise." he said aloud. Holly looked up at him with wet eyes, and a smile. "I know." she said through her tears. "I know."
He pressed his lips to hers for one last kiss. In that moment, Holly knew that nothing would stop him from coming home for her. She would pray every night for him to come home, even if she thought that it would do no good. He pulled away, grabbed his bag and he smiled at her again. A single salute and he was headed for the bus. She watched him go, the tears streaking down her reddened cheeks. Just when he was about to board the bus, Jay stopped. He turned his head to her and said "I'll be seeing you." Something burst inside of Holly, something...wonderful. She smiled tearfully, and nodded. "I'll be seeing you." Jay smiled, and disappeared onto the bus.
She watched again as it left, it's wheels carrying away America's soldiers of war. Toy soldiers off to fight a battle to defend their country.
Jason Daily was a soldier. He was a son, a brother, and a friend. And he was her hero.