Piece in Our Time

Chapter Six

“You must write to me Patrick.” Eva’s voice was panicked. She only had a few more minutes to say goodbye to her brother before he left for Germany. How did she express years of love, devotion and care to someone in only a few short moments. It was a high possibly that Eva and Patrick would never speak again after this day. Her small hands were encased in his, her fingers ice to the touch, his as warm as the air that rushed from a fireplace on a cold Christmas night. “You know I will Eva, every day.” His smile was reassuring, but Eva new Patrick well and she’d probably get one letter a month if she was lucky. It was just the way he was. She did not doubt his love for her, or that he would miss his sister with all of his heart. The fact was that when Patrick set out on something he was a man who placed his whole soul into the matter. He would simply forget to write, not about her of course. Patrick would never forget his sister Eva whom he raised when their parents died tragically, he would just get busy. She was okay with that, she just hoped he would not forget all of the time. The wind that rolled around Pearl Harbor had picked up and Eva’s hair was flashing in front of her face as she tried to get one last good look at her elder brother.

He was handsome, dark hair and dark eyes. He got it from their father, while Eva got most of her looks from their mother. Patrick was tall, much taller than Eva at a stunning six feet and four inches to Eva’s five feet and four inches. He was tall and lean, not an inch of fat on his body, while Eva was thin with only mild patches of chub around her stomach, a healthy body she had.

A loud honking noise came from deep within the ship they stood next too. More than a hundred men and women were boarding the ship, all in various colors of uniform. Some of the women even wore Eva’s very same white nurses uniform, and while Eva would miss her brother dearly, she had no wish to be going where the ship would be taking them. Deep into the war, trenches, dirt, bullets and smoke, death and blood all mushed into one. Eva could handle a bit of scrape and cuts, broken limbs and head bumps, but she was not sure she could handle death and destruction. Her hand was suddenly pulled up and she felt the welcoming feel of Patrick’s lips on the back of her hands. “I will miss you Eva, do remember me. “ His smile was broken now and tears pooled at the rims of his caramel eyes. Eva took in a deep breath and stood up as tall as she could. “I will miss you too Patrick, do remember me.” Tears rolled freely down her cheeks, staining her pale skin and stalling at her chin before free falling to the ground at their feet. Patrick placed one last kiss to Eva’s hand before embracing her tightly in his arms, nearly lifting her off the ground. Without another word he turned, reached down for his duffle bag and marched away.

Eva woke slowly, her breathing was even and she was warm in a soft blanket of fur. The wind outside of the tent had picked up drastically and the walls of the tent Eva feared would come tumbling down around her and her roommate any moment. Eva had not dreamed of her brother in Ages, not since she received the post letter that he had been wounded during gun fire and eventually died. His body was sent back home and the funeral was the next day after it arrived. Patrick had been buried in his dress suit next to their mother and father. Eva did not take time to grieve; she immediately picked up nursing where she had left off. It was a desperate attempt to move on, because now she had no one, and she was determined to prove that she did not need anyone. Sleep for Eva would not return and she knew it, standing up from her pallet as quietly as she could without waking up the women who had offered a free bed to lay on for Eva, she placed her new cloak around her body and slipped into her slippers. When Eva exited the tent the air hit her like a ton of bricks, the paleness of her cheeks flushed a deep red from the chill and her teeth began to chatter. If she was not awake a moment ago she was now.

The sun had not quite reached the horizon yet, but the dim light that peeked over where the earth met the sky suggested that it would not be long before it did. Owls still hooted off in the distance, and she could still here the scampering of tiny nocturnal feet. Looking up Eva noticed that the sky was clear, only a soft gray color, not a cloud in sight. She remembered for a moment how brightly the moon was shining that night and how it lit up the campsite when the fires were put out. Giving off the kind of light you could see through windows of houses when someone was home. Dropping her head back down Eva’s eyes fell on a shadowy figure sitting upon a stump near the edge of the woods, away from the camp. It was huge, its shoulders were high and large and its head was round, the shadow had a long body with a circumference that nearly matched the tree it sat beside. It moved slightly, the shoulders lifting and falling with slow breaths.

Eva moved slowly as to not disturb the shadow and with a dozen steps was standing right behind it before she realized who the shadow belonged to. “Asmund, you are up early” Eva spoke in a whisper and moved to join him on his stump. The large man turned and welcomed Eva next to him with a pat of his hand on the wood. “I like to watch the sun rise from behind the earth.” He spoke slowly for her. They sat for minutes in a comfortable silence, both watching and waiting to see the edge of the sun peep over the horizon. “Asmund…” Eva was gaining just a tad bit of confidence in her and finally asked “How did you get that scar?”

“Do you have any siblings Eva?” Asmund flew right past her question, and with only a second to compose herself from shock and embarrassment Eva answered “I had a sibling.” “Had?” Asmund asked turning so he was facing Eva now, his hands between his legs his elbows resting on his knees.

“Yes, he died in a battle.” It took Eva a second to realize that Asmund would not know about the war being fought across lands that did not yet exist, so she tried to be vague, as vague as possible. Eva told Asmund about their childhood, how the two of them were raised and how when they were younger Eva and Patrick did not get along too well. It was not until their parents died in a fire that they became close.

Eva had waited a long time to just sit down and talk with someone about how she had been feeling, and Asmund just listened. Eva could see it in his face and eyes that he was drinking in every word that came from between her lips. He nodded every so often and shook his head at some of the really disappointing parts of her life, like the death of her parents, or when their landlord kicked them out because rent was late by one week. It was like she was reading a story to a child who could not wait to hear the end. When Eva explained the death of her brother Patrick ,Asmund stiffened and turned away, it was like he did not want to hear anymore, but Eva could not stop, she had waited too long. As she spoke Eva’s voice cracked, and as she spoke of her deceased brother she cried. She had not cried at all about his death since she received the letter. Finally being able to speak to someone about how she had been holding everything in and not feeling judged, and feeling like she was being heard made the dam break and tears rushed free and caught on her lip.

The sun shining through Eva’s bedroom window alerted her to the late morning. She woke quickly, jetting up in her bed she yawned and looked around. A clock sitting on her table stand by her bed read the time, ten o’clock. Shoving the blankets from her body and standing up, Eva jumped at the cold tile her feet connected with; she only had a second to get over it. She was extremely late. She had just tied her robe around her waist when her doorbell rang. Eva glanced one more time at the clock before racing to the door, whoever it was needed to leave soon, she had no time to chit chat. Pulling her front door open, the wind knocking the air out of her lungs before the man standing on her doorstep had a chance to.

Eva did not even need to ask why he was there; it was not because he had an undying passion for standing on strangers patios and ringing their door bells or knocking. He had a post in his hands and without a word handed it to Eva who already outstretched her arm to receive it. Eva ignored his look of deep regret and sorrow and shut her front door, turning and leaning her back against its hard surface she slid down. She could not open it, in the corner of her living room near her she could hear the ticking of her large grandfather clock she had bought some time ago. It was her favorite piece of furniture in the house. Cherry oak finish, round face, the wood was aged much like a grandfather would be, the hands of time a gleaming gold. The numbers of the clock were written in roman numerals in fine hand writing.

It was an hour before Eva finally opened the letter. It was not a normal death announcement one would get from the military. It was from Patrick himself.

“Dear Eva,
If you have received this letter it is because I did not survive the war. I will never see you marry; I will never see my niece or nephew grow up with a wonderful woman as their mother. I will simply not see. I wanted you to know that you were my inspiration to wake up every day and to stay up every night. My mind never lost you , and I am sorry I did not write you often. You are an amazing person Eva and I do not want my death to deter you from the things you can do in this world. I love you, and I miss you and I will see you again. Do not mourn me for life baby sister, live. Below is information about how and when my body will be delivered back to the states. I cannot wait to come back home.
Sincerely, Patrick Bunchenan”

It was a short and sweet letter, to the point. It was much like Patrick was, he did not dabble in making things complicated. It was one of the reasons she always went to him with questions about homework.He was gentle and smart and kind. Everything Eva would need to get through this event. Eva was three hours late to the Hospital when she finally picked herself up from her floor. Her eyes were red and puffy and her nose was running. This would be the last time she cried for a while. When she stood she pulled her shoulders back and threw the letter in the trash. She had no reason to keep it. It would just be another reminder that Eva was now alone as far as family went and that was the last thing she needed.

For the next few of months Eva underwent a routine. She would get up in the morning, go for a quick run while the sun was still waking up, and then return home for a shower, dress and then eat a quick breakfast before going to the Hospital. She worked all day and sometimes well into the night so that when she went home all she had left to do was eat and go to bed. It was boring she will be the first one to admit it but it was not surprising and Eva had had enough surprises in her life.

Eva felt a warm hand on her cheek and turned to find Asmund glaring at her. The whole world slowed and Eva had time to pull away, alas she did not. Asmunds lips pressed to her own, in the softest way any pair of lips could touch another pair and they were gone just as they had gotten there.

“I found you Eva, alone in the snow, you are mine. “ His voice was rough and shivers ran up Eva’s spine. He had taken his calloused fingers and cleared her chin from any tears that had hung on for dear life there. Asmund did not speak again he only got up and returned back to camp, just in time for the others to begin producing from within their tents.

Eva sat on her stump for the longest time, longer than she had sat on the floor of her home when she received her letter from Patrick. She was not thinking because she could not. She was only staring into the vast space before her. Her lips tingled and she fought the urge to lick them clean. Hara had come by to see if she was fine and Eva had only managed a nod in her direction to show that there was a sign of life within her. Eva skipped the breakfast portion of the day and had almost missed lunch when Hara came barreling back over and pulled her up and shoved a bowl of porridge in her lap. Eva had avoided Asmunds gaze the whole day. She was not sure how she felt about his statement yet. He was handsome, he was generous, but all she could remember was when she watched him emerge from the trees with a woman on his arm. It had not bothered her before, but now...
♠ ♠ ♠
I'm sorry to say this but this is possibly the last chapter I will post for a few weeks. I am going home for Christmas and will be with my Fiance. I hope you all have a wonderful Holiday ! I will update as soon as possible.

Thank you for reading, and I hope this chapter was worth it!