Growth

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He was leaving for Boot Camp in two weeks. This bothered him… He was beginning to have second thoughts. He enlisted in the Marines before he met her. When he enlisted, all he wanted was a way out… And now, all he wanted was to stay. The game plan had changed. The situation was different. Faylen loved Kayla.

Faylen stood in the doorway of the living room staring at her. Her blonde hair fell in her face as she read. Faylen imagined that’s what she would look like when she reads the letters that they will write to each other while he is away. He wasn’t sure if this made him sad, or brought a smile to his face. She was so beautiful like this, but he was dreading the ending of the next two weeks.

Kayla looked up suddenly. Her face fell. “Hi,” she said in a grim tone. She had become distant the past few weeks.

“How are you today?” Faylen asked her. He wished she wasn’t so distant, he needed to see her happy. Faylen knew she supported him, but he wasn’t so sure she’d continue the relationship while he was away. After all, to some people, Kayla was considered the “high maintenance” type. Kayla didn’t answer his question. She just stared at him.

Faylen sighed. He knew what she was thinking… She was thinking that he was leaving in two weeks, so why did it matter? He knew her like the back of his hand, but yet, he hadn’t quite figured her out. That was one of the reasons why he loved her… She was so random, yet so predictable.

“Kayla, you know I wouldn’t have signed up if I had met you before I enlisted.”Faylen had repeated this sentence to her many times before. He felt the constant need to remind her.

She wrinkled her nose. She always did that when she was angry. It would be almost cute if his gut didn’t tell him how much he hated it when she was mad at him. Kayla stood up abruptly, and tossed her book to the side of her. “Well am I supposed to just not be upset?!” She yelled.

Faylen shook his head, trying to not become emotional. “You have every right to be upset. But, what is the point in being upset? There is no way we can change what has already been done. The past is the past, the only thing is… We happen to be paying for it in the future. I have apologized time and time again for enlisting. But there is nothing I can do to change it.” He tried to explain to her.

Her beautiful green eyes turned to stone. She was going to hurt him. Faylen felt it with every bone in his body. His arms began to shake as she the words. “Maybe we can change something about this situation…Like us, for example.”

He was letting his emotions get the best of him. Faylen practically spat the words, “What about ‘us’?”

Kayla sighed. Faylen knew what she was going to say… And he didn’t want to hear it. But, he was frozen in place. “I don’t think we should be together anymore… Maybe it’s best.”

Those words would be the death of him if he didn’t fix it soon. Faylen thought to himself, and he ran the words through his head as he stood there. She was looking at him, expecting him swoop in and save the day. He had never said the words to her, and wasn’t planning on doing so until much later. But, they felt right. They felt like they could fix this, and make everything better. Faylen crossed his fingers until they hurt, hoping that they would.

Kayla continued to stand there. She was still waiting for his response. Faylen let out a shaky breath. “Why would you want to do that?” He asked her.

Her eyes softened a bit. “Because once you leave, you may not feel the same way anymore. We may drift apart… What if it all changes?”

Faylen sighed, and tried to swallow the lump that was beginning to form in his throat. “I don’t plan on changing the way I feel about you anytime soon. And we won’t drift apart… If anything, we will grow stronger. And you’re right… Everything will change. But, it will be for the better.”

Kayla was quiet for a moment. Hesitantly she asked, “Well… How do you feel about me?” He knew that question was coming. He saw the question forming on her lips before she even began to say them.

Faylen attempted a half-smile, and looked down at his feet. He knew this day would come eventually, but he didn’t know it would be this soon. This is what separates the men from the boys, he thought to himself. He looked up, and cleared his throat. Her green eyes stared at him, waiting.





“I love you,” he told her.



He was absolutely terrified of what her reaction would be. So scared, that he was on the verge of shaking. He didn’t want anything to change between them, if she didn’t feel the same way. But, at some rational level, he was glad she knew.

Kayla looked calm. He knew she was thinking. Faylen didn’t know what she was thinking, but the crinkle in her forehead told him she was thinking about something. What was she thinking? He was dying to know. The suspense was killing him.





Faylen imagined that Love was a lot like War… You take a chance, and hope it doesn’t kill you. Because, he knew this girl would be the death of him. He crossed his fingers behind his back as she cleared her throat to speak. Kayla looked at Faylen directly, and said, “I love you too.”



Faylen sighed with relief, and smiled. The smile felt good. And she smiled back. That felt good too, to see her smile over something like this. He wanted to hug her, but was almost scared to break the distance.



And while he was looking at her, and she looked at him, he no longer regretted enlisting in the Marines… He knew that everything would be okay. He was always told that Marines were all about honoring, respecting, and protecting your country, but all he wanted to do was honor, respect, and protect Kayla.





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