Here is the sequel to "Unmasking Ghost" and I hope that you enjoyed the first. In this story, they clash paths again, in a more organized fashion-At first. Now, my story has changed a bit. We now have Alison's point of view (In first person) and still the same Roach and Ghost (still third person) so; I hope this makes you happy! I also have a new thing with paragraphs. I needed to space them out and start a new one for a new person speaking, so I did that. As for the point of view, I have created a kind of break so you know where the point of view changes, so it is a little more obvious. These are all the main changes, I hope you enjoy it!
I was back in the therapist's office. It was a nice place, I will admit. The rugs are nice, thick, and a deep maroon with pine green swirls. The couch is a khaki color, and incredibly soft and plush. I sit on it each time I see her, and I love the striped white and green pattern on the wallpaper. The lights are dim, but not too dim, and there is always some kind of soft music playing. There is also a window I look out of, which has a view of thick pine trees. My therapist, her name is Mrs. Ryland, and I think she is one of the nicest people ever. Of course, given, that is her job, but it makes her really cool. So, I walked into her room, and she sat in the chair she always did, smiling her perfect white smile. We got right into the conversation about how my new school was going, and my parents. "They're great" I told her, which was true. They really were great. I loved my mom and dad so much, but sometimes when I call them that, I get teared up and sometimes cry. I still have a little empty spot in my heart where my mom and dad used to be, but they are beginning to fill it in the best way. I tell her this, because I can confide anything in her. Then, she brings up a subject that I haven't been thinking about too much, for obvious reasons.
"What have you thought about your friends in the military?" The words stung my skin and my heart all the same, even though the words were said with calmness around them. My throat turned dry. The last letter I got was a week ago. The mail between all of us has been pretty steady, with conversations, pictures, and gifts being exchanged regularly. About every two weeks for paper mail, and a month for boxes of stuff. I swallowed, feeling her deep brown eyes boring into my skin, and answered as quickly as I could.
"I, well, I still miss them. Things have been okay, we are writing regularly, and stuff like that." She smiled that perfect smile, like she always did. There was something about that smile that calmed my tense nerves and calmed my fears. My discomfort slid away as if it was butter on a hot knife.
"What about the stuff they gave you? Not recently, but the stuff they gave you going away?" This was a new question to my ears. I had told her about the gifts initially as our sessions started, but she hadn't asked about it since. I decided, maybe it was best to answer with the truth. After all, the truth couldn't hurt. I leaned back against the soft leather of the plush couch I was sitting on.
"I would like to carry that backpack everywhere, but I can't. As for the compass and the bullet casing, those are in my pocket every day. The compass, whenever I start to get mad or upset or sad or anything else, I take it out. Archer is such calm and steady man, that gift always reminds me to stay steady and strong like he was. As for the lighter and knife, those I carry with me when I'm not a school. They don't allow that stuff at our school." It was true. I did take them everywhere else with me, though, because they meant too much to me.
"As for the token with the engraving, I also carry that in my pocket. I pull it out and read it whenever I am feeling down. It reminds me of all of them, and it perks me right up. The bracelet, though, I wear that everywhere." I hold out my arm to show the thick paracord bracelet I proudly sported each and every day. It was so pretty, and according to Roach, it could be quite useful. I realized that I still had the teddy bear to talk about, but that was more personal. I had Brownie beside me in bed each night, reminding me of how my distant 'family' was, and how much I missed them and how much I still owe them. And, I also wore one of Roach's shirts at least once a week. The deep military green did look good on me, so many people said, but it reminded me of my time with Roach and Ghost. Mrs. Ryland nodded again, and no matter how repetitive she could be, I found it soothed me. I wondered for a moment if I would want to be a therapist, help calm nerves, but shook the thought away. I had already decided no matter what, I would be in the military. Saving lives, in my mind, was worth more than soothing them. She spoke in the honey sweet voice again, snapping me from my thoughts like I had just been plunged into ice cold water.
"Well, how long has it been since you left them?" Six months. Half a year.
"Six months." I tell her, realizing that half a year was actually a very long time. In that period of time, I had gotten a new family, a new school, a few new friends, and a new life all in all. They weren't part of it, exactly, but that was okay. We were keeping up quite a steady pen pal gift exchange thing. I had been questioned a few times by therapists, counselors, and adults alike, one question; was it so healthy to keep such a close relationship with grown men? I always gave them the same answer: They aren't really grown men. They act like toddlers sometimes. But, if the persisted, I told them the answer that was always true, and I always stuck by. They are like older brothers and cousins. They became my family in the time I spent with them. I never extended on how I really felt though, not even to Mrs. Ryland. She continued, but her voice held a hint of something hidden. I detected it right away, but could not pinpoint what it was.
"So, Alison, do you ever think of seeing them again? Like that would help you adjust by seeing them again?" I cocked my head to the side, feeling like a confused puppy. What was she asking? Was she saying that would I like to see them? My first response would be "hell yeah!" but I have much better language around adults.
"Um, yes, that would be really great" I say, but I meant to sound much more enthusiastic. I roll my eyes at myself, and try to make her realize how I actually feel.
"Sorry, that sounded really lame. I would really like to see them again, a lot." She smiled even wider, which I didn't think was possible. An odd feeling started to creep up in my stomach, but it wasn't bad. It was warm, tingly, and it was crawling through my body. A premonition type thing, I guess. I shrugged my shoulders.
"So, come on, what's up?" I prod her as she begins to look more excited. I can tell something is about to happen. She leans forward, placing her hands in her lap.
"The thing is Alison; you have been adjusting so well. You seem a little sad, sometimes, and I think you miss seeing them. It is different from the progress we have been seeing. I think you started to see them as your family, your home, and now you are a bit homesick." I listened to her words carefully, and realized that they were very, incredibly true! That is just how I felt. An ill aching in my stomach when I thought of them, sometimes a sadness I wasn't with them, and other times mad for the same reason. I felt like I wasn't exactly where I belonged without them. So I nodded.
"Yeah, I guess that is how I feel." That is the most creative response I can craft. She smiles.
"Well, I have a little secret. Not to be a secret much longer, though. It has been between me, your parents, and a few of your teachers." I wanted to yell at her to spill it already, even though I had an idea of what was coming. I nearly began to shake with happiness as she continued.
"We have arranged it so that you can go to visit them for a week at the military base they are at." I jumped to my feet and let out an excited squeal, which is odd, because I am not the kind of person that squeals. I sit back down, abashed, but my outburst begins again soon as I realize the full force of what she said. Oh. My. God. I am going to see them all again!
"When? How? Why?" The questions in my mind are a complete thunderstorm, but I know that I can only do so much at one time. Those three words are all I am able to choke out from the torrent of emotions raging inside of me. She smiles again, if it is possible, because she never once dropped it.
"Well, you have break coming up in a week. The break lasts for a week and a half, and you will go in that time. Your parents will meet someone from the military, someone who knows where the base is, and you will go in a helicopter. There will also be a Social Services member to escort you there, in the helicopter to the base. As for why, because you seem like you miss them. I think it will help you to adjust if you go and see them. Everyone has agreed." I felt happy, ecstasy, and so many indescribable feelings all bubbled up inside of me like a soda that had just been shook up. I began to babble mostly incoherent words, something about packing, my parents, and clothes. Mrs. Ryland smiled.
"We can have that all taken care of" She told me. I believed her. I had to. I was going back to see the guys, but I had to wait a whole god damn week and a half! How unfair was that!
"OH MY MOTHER OF GOD GET THE MOTHER FUCKING FIRE EXTINGUISHER ALREADY!" Roach screamed from dry lungs. He was clamping the oven door tightly shut, fingers searing from the flames that licked out the edges, actually beginning to melt some of the metal. There was black smoke all around, filling the air. Roach coughed thickly, and he felt someone shoulder him out of the way. There was a spray of white foam for a few moments after a loud metal ringing, and a minute later of hacking and panting, the smoke was mostly cleared. Roach looked dejectedly into the melted mess that was once an oven. Meat, Chemo, Worm, and Royce crowded sadly around him as well. Somewhere in there had been baking cookies, but, as anyone could see, things didn't work out. Roach didn't know if they left them in for too long, or the temperature had been too high, or something like that, but it hadn't worked out.
Roach was very disappointed. It was the jar of cookie mix that Alison sent him. He had been getting the packages once a month, that slow due to mail, and there was not a person in the task force who didn't love them. Up until now, a cook had always made them, but for the first time, and most likely the last, they were allowed to make their own. The only result they had to show of it now was a melted oven and a burnt kitchen. Royce was the first to speak up, while Roach was still recovering from the shock of it all.
"So, I don't think we are able to use the kitchen anymore." Roach shook his head, coughing again to get the black smoke from his lungs. What Royce had said was an understatement. There was no way they would even be allowed in the same room with food being prepared. Only a few military guys would be able to burn an industrial oven to nothing much more than a pile of steaming metal. Roach swallowed, searing his raw throat, but managed to speak.
"Am I the only one who thinks that we should get out of here soon?" There were murmurs of agreement, and suddenly the scuttling of feet. Roach followed the other three men quickly out of the kitchen, and in opening the door, they released a large cloud of black smoke into the mess hall. They shut the door behind them, and stumbled out into the mess hall. Roach used all of his strength to slam the door behind him, stopping the flow of black smoke. He bumped into Ghost, of all people.
"Uh, well, hi?" He choked out. Ghost looked down on him through the red tinted glasses. Roach meekly smiled, cursing the others as the scuttled away like rats from the light. Ghost made an audibly annoyed sound. "Hello to you to, smoky." His voice was incredibly sarcastic, and Roach even flinched away a little bit. Roach looked down at his clothes, and noticed that they were nearly black. Ghost let out a grim chuckle.
"Well, sucks for you. MacTavish wants to see us both. Get your ass in gear, come on." Ghost turned to walk away, and Roach sucked in a breath of sweet, fresh air, before darting after the masked man.
They both arrived outside of MacTavish's office, and entered when the Scottish man called them. MacTavish was sitting up straight in his chair, desk for the most part clear of paperwork. Roach stood in itching skin before his captain. The man looked him over once before rolling his eyes.
"You really need to work on staying out of trouble. I don't even want to know what it is this time. Anyway, I have something important to tell everyone, but thought that you two would like to be the first to know." Roach stood up straighter right away. He could only wonder what it was, what he and Ghost had in common that they would need to be called to the captains office personally for. It could be a mission, but Roach thought that was highly unlikely. They would be going with someone else, and would be being briefed right now, rather than holding a conversation. The man continued in a rough voice, moving his line of sight to Ghost.
"You both are in for a surprise. I had to pull some strings, but Alison is going to come to stay with us for a week." Roach felt like his eyes were going to pop from his head. He could hardly believe the words that met his ears. Alison was coming back for a bit. His voice stuttered a bit when he spoke, and he tripped over words in his puppy dog like excitement.
"When? How?" Roach was excited as ever. He could practically feel the empty spot in his room where the cot used to be being filled by her small, laughing figure already. MacTavish took a breath. Roach was practically turning excited circles on the spot in his excitement. Roach didn't even bother to look at Ghost, who was holding a shocked yet casually happy posture.
"Well, lad, in a week and a half. By helicopter. A friend of mine who is a lieutenant knows where this base is, and he is a pilot. Alison will be coming in a helicopter. You will see her soon, just a week and a half to wait. Don't pee in your pants, you nervous little bug!" Roach shook his head, trying to stop bouncing on the balls of his toes. He was disappointed he had to wait so long, but his mother had always told him to appreciate a good thing, never expect more. The captain dismissed them. Ghost walked slowly, but Roach bounced out on light feet. He could have been walking on clouds. Roach was first going to go tell all of the others, but for now he had to rejoice in private. Possibly, go to his favorite tree? Roach smiled. This was going to be hell the next week and a half, but heaven the week after that.
Ah, yes, I did come up with a title! I hope you like it, even if it isn't clear yet!