Here are a few pictures to assail the eyes...
Lily waited for a really long time before realizing the colonel wasn’t coming back, at least not that night. She found some extra blankets and a sleeping bag in his stuff and made a makeshift bed on the floor beside the cot. She was sure she would lay awake the rest of the night, but she fell asleep the minute her head hit the borrowed pillow.
“Lily!” Someone was yelling her name. She blinked her eyes a few times, and sat up, rubbing at them sleepily.
“What’s wrong, Nanny.”
“You need to wake-up, girl.”
Lily’s eyes popped open and she started in surprise when she saw the room was full of people. It was a good thing she was dressed. “What’s going on?”
“They brought the colonel in a few minutes ago. They operated on him all last night. They got the bullet, but it’s touch and go.” Nanny said.
“You’re kidding!” A feeling she couldn’t explain swept through her. She didn’t even know the man, but the thought of his death was too overwhelming to contemplate. Although her interactions with him seemed to have a hostile element to them, she was attracted. There was no since lying about it, even to herself. “Is he going to be okay?”
“They aren’t sure, sugar. Major Jones came in a few minutes ago and said he was spouting some bull about marrying you.”
Lily froze. “Are you kidding?”
“I assure you I’m not. The major wants to talk to you.”
“But why? I don’t know anything about it. He must’ve been delirious.”
“That’s what the major’s thinking, too, but he wants to make sure.”
“Can’t you tell him for me?” There was hope in her voice.
“No, sugar, that’s something you’ll have to do.”
When Major Jones joined them Lily smiled up at him. He had to catch his breath at her beauty. “Good morning, ladies. We’re sorry to bother you. We didn’t realize there would be someone sleeping in the colonel’s tent.”
“The colonel has me ‘detained.’ I didn’t agree with him yesterday and his retaliation was to keep me under guard.”
“That doesn’t sound like the Wyatt I know.”
“Well it’s the truth.”
“I’m sorry to hear that. Look, I had a funny conversation with him last night before bringing him in for surgery. I realize he was probably delirious from the wound, but he said he was going to marry you. Is there anything to that?” The major looked uncomfortable, but he gained Lily’s respect because he didn’t shirk what he thought he had to do. She didn’t know why it mattered to him one way or the other, but it did.
“There’s nothing to it. He must’ve been out of his mind. I can assure you we don’t get along in a normal conversation; marriage is out of the question.”
Hope leapt into the young man’s eyes and Lily groaned inwardly. She hadn’t meant to give the major the wrong idea. “I don’t intend to get married.”
The major’s look of hope turned to disappointment. “Oh.”
Nanny cackled from her seat on the cot. “Now that we’ve got that over with, can we talk about the colonel’s condition?”
“Yes, of course. The colonel struggled through surgery last night. He flat-lined twice and his blood pressure bottomed-out, but we were able to save him.” There was relief on his face.
“How long have you known the colonel?” The question popped-out of Lily’s mouth before she was aware she was going to ask it.
The major couldn’t keep from staring at the beautiful blonde; he just hoped she hadn’t noticed. The older lady had. He doubted anything got past that eagle eye. Lily had made it clear she wasn’t interested, but maybe he could change her mind. He knew he wasn’t a bad-looking man, and he had plenty of female admirers, so his personality wasn’t totally unfortunate. All he had to do was convince her of that fact.
“Major Jones!” Nanny yelled.
He shook his head to clear it and said, “Were you talking to me?”
“I’ve been talking to you for a good five minutes, but you were unresponsive. I was beginning to think we needed to call for help.” Nanny’s words were kind, but he saw the amusement in her eyes. She knew what he’d been thinking, or at least along what lines. Thankfully she wasn’t going to bring it up vocally.
“I’m sorry. I was distracted.” ‘Honesty was always the best policy,’ he thought. He was grateful Lily couldn’t see into his mind to know what he’d been distracted about.
“I agree with that, sugar.” Nanny put-in. “Will the colonel wake-up any time soon? We need to talk to him.”
“He should be wide-eyed and bushy-tailed by noon. Is there anything I can help you with while he’s under the weather?” Major Jones smiled and Lily couldn’t help thinking he was boyishly handsome, but not her type. She liked tall, dark and mysterious. More like… She gasped at the road her thoughts were taking. That was definitely forbidden territory.
“Is something wrong, Lily? May I call you that?” The major gave her another cocky smile but she was oblivious to his charms.
“Nope, I’m perfectly fine. Why do you ask?” guilt rose up in her at the deceptive answer. She wasn’t fine; she just didn’t want to talk about it with him. The fact that the colonel’s cynical smile popped into her mind when she’d been thinking about ‘her type of guy’ was disconcerting, but confiding in someone who was obviously smitten with her wasn’t a smart move, either.
“Are you sure there’s nothing I can do for you?” The major asked once more because he wasn’t willing to face the wrath of the colonel if these ladies’ every whim wasn’t seen to.
Lily thought about it for a second, and then decided to go for it. “Actually, there is something I would like.”
“You name it.”
“I want to talk to the media, but the colonel refused to let me. I would love an interview with them.”
Nanny gasped from the cot where she’d been sitting, mostly quiet, listening to the conversation between the younger people. “Lily, you know…”
She was cut-off by the croaking, yet still forceful voice of the colonel. “Major Jones!”
Both women’s mouths hung open at the man’s immediate stand to attention. “Yes sir, colonel, sir.”
“You will not indulge the whims of a foolish woman just because she’s beautiful.”
“I’m half-dead soldier, not blind. The way you were gobbling my fiancé up with your eyes is most disturbing. The major gasped.
“Colonel Adams, are you feeling okay, sir?”
“I just got shot, and endured a long surgery, what do you think?”
“How do you know how long you were in surgery, sir?”
“I was awake when you brought me in last night. It was barely past midnight. Assuming you just brought me back to my tent that would be about seven hours.” He made a show of checking the clock on his field table.
“You’re very good, sir. It’s nice to know your mind hasn’t been affected.” Major Jones was glad the colonel was finally coming around. His fiancé comments had been worrisome.
“How are you feeling, colonel?” Nanny asked.
Lily was still fuming over his comment. Her mind was working furiously, trying to find a reason why he would continue the fiancé ruse. She could only come up with one reason; the man was insufferable!
“I’m alive, Ms. Masters. Thank you for asking.” He looked over at Lily, the disappointment plain on his face. “It’s more than my fiancé did.”
Lily gasped at his audacity. He was going to continue the charade, but why? What reason could he have for doing so? She looked over at Nanny. Should she confront him about it? Nanny must’ve read her mind because she gave a slight nod. “Why do you continue to say I’m your fiancé? You know it isn’t true.” Her gray eyes blazed into bright blue ones. They still looked feverish, but no less sexy. They reminded her so much of some guy she’d seen on TV, she just couldn’t remember who.
“It isn’t a lie. You know we’re to be married, Lily.”
She studied his face. She saw no deception. What was going on?
Had he hit his head? Was he suffering some mental break-down from the trauma of the last two days? He didn’t seem the type. He had a strong, commanding personality, not one prone to emotional take-overs. “Are you okay, colonel?” She was beginning to worry about his sanity. He didn’t even like her, let alone want to marry her.
“I should be asking you that question since you insist on telling people we aren’t getting married. Two people who love each other don’t do that.”
She gave him a long stare. Was this for real? “Nanny, could I talk to you for a minute?”
“You sure can, sugar.” Nanny followed Lily out the door with a snicker.
As soon as she cleared the tent flap Lily spun around. “How can you laugh about this? There’s something seriously wrong with the colonel. I believe he really thinks we’re engaged.”
“Would that be such a bad thing?”
“Of course it would! Did you forget we were just bombed? This isn’t the time for amusement.”
“I think he’s suffering from past traumatic stress disorder.” Nanny’s look was serious now.
“How do we fix him? He has to lead all these people.”
“That’s true, sugar. Maybe the best thing to do would be to go along with his error.”
“You’re kidding me, right? He doesn’t like me and it wouldn’t take him long to figure that out. I just want to find my dog and go back to the city.” Lily hated to act childish, but she was frustrated. She had a strong urge to scream, but refrained from the desire.
“I forgot all about Mushi. Weren’t they supposed to bring him back last night?”
“Yes. I figure something must’ve happened, or he’s dead.” The thought brought a lump to her throat. She’d lost so much already. Surely God would spare her the dog?
“Do you think we should leave here and make our way back to the city?”
“And go where, to do what?” Nanny’s questions were logical ones.
“I don’t know. I just don’t want to be stuck out here in the middle of nowhere with a man who thinks I’m engaged to him.”
“I think you protest too much, sugar.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“I don’t think you want to run because you don’t like the idea, but you like it too much.”
“Geez, Nanny. Thanks for the vote of confidence.” Lily stalked back into the tent. She was frustrated, angry, and now hurt over her friend’s lack of loyalty. “Did you even send somebody to find my dog, colonel?” She spat harshly.
“Woman, don’t disrespect me.” He moved, as if trying to get up. Major Jones looked on with uncertainty on his face. He obviously wasn’t going to be any help. She had to keep Wyatt in bed.
“Wyatt, get back up on that bed.” The order sounded silly, aimed at the forceful man lying in the bed.
“Come make me.” He dared.
Lily rushed over to his side and proceeded to push gently at his hard body. He wouldn’t budge. Anger swept through her veins. “Would you just…”
The colonel reached out and grabbed Lily in a tight embrace as his mouth came down on hers possessively. Lily knew she should pull away, but was powerless to move. His lips were like silk upon hers. Longing replaced anger and she buried her fingers in his hair and returned the kiss. She didn’t know how long they continued that way, but the sound of a loud bang outside caused them to jump apart.
Her breath was coming in heavy gasps. Major Jones was looking on uncomfortably. Nanny had come into the tent and was cackling like a crazy person.
“What was that noise?” Lily ran to the tent flap, fighting for a position in the doorway. Several men where stuffed there like sardines in a can, searching the camp.
“I don’t know.”
“Major Jones, check the perimeter.” The commanding colonel was back, in full force. The major jumped to obey orders.
There was shouting, and then some more bangs. “Shoot that thing!” Lily heard the voice, but didn’t recognize it.
“What is it?”
“Is it a bear?” Another voice yelled.
“No, it’s a…it’s a dog!”
“What?” Lily screeched. With adrenalin-infused strength she pushed through all the men squeezed in the doorway and out into the camp. She saw the small dog before he caught sight of her. “Mushi, come!”
The little black dog stopped, looked at her, wagged his tail and zoomed across the camp and up into her arms. He licked her face, nuzzling her chin with his.
“What’s going on?” Wyatt yelled. There was frustration in his voice. Apparently he didn’t like not being in charge of everything going on around him.
Lily heard Major Jones say, “Lily found her dog.”
“Great, I hate dogs.” Wyatt said petulantly.
Nanny laughed uproariously. “Well you better get used to it if you plan on marrying the girl because she’s not likely to get rid of him.”
Lily walked back into the tent. “Don’t encourage him; it’s like feeding the bears.”
“It looks like you two were made for each other, whether you like it, or not. I’ve never seen such…raw emotion, take place between two individuals.” She snickered loudly, her heavy girth jiggling in agreement.
Major Jones looked at Lily and hastily left the tent, not even waiting to be excused by his commanding officer, who was lying on the bed, wincing in pain.
“You shouldn’t have tried to move.” Lily walked over and pulled the covers up over him and fluffed the pillow he was laying on.
He reached out and grabbed her slender wrist. “It’s too hot in here for that, woman.”
“Yes it is.”
Nanny laughed again. “Do you two want some privacy?
Mushi barked in answer and Wyatt said, “Great, that’s all I need, more disobedience.
Lily and Nanny laughed.
Come back tomorrow to find out why Colonel Adams thinks Lily is his fiance. Is he suffering from PTSD, or is it something else?
(Be sure to leave comments to let me know what you think)