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Authors: D.R. Grady

Tags: #romance, #pets, #relationships, #military, #family, #marine, #nerds

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BOOK: Nerd and the Marine
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From:
[email protected]

Subject: Bentley the root
beer tosser!

Attachment

Hello Mitch,

Bentley would say hello,
but you totally called it. He's having so much fun with the herd of
nieces and nephews (the entire family loved that description, it's
quite apt) that I don't see him much during the day. He sleeps all
night just like the kids. They LOVE him and so do their parents,
because he won't let them do anything he thinks is
unsuitable.

So far the root beer trick
has tossed five of my brothers into the lake. (Just two more to go!
By brothers that’s brothers-in-law, too.) Bentley is quite happy to
oblige. I may need to purchase another case of this stuff. I'm
happy to report I haven't gotten tossed yet, because my sisters and
sisters-in-law and the herd have discovered what fun it is to watch
Bentley pitch the men into the lake that none of us have gotten
likewise. Bentley has totally earned his keep. (Root beer every
night for the rest of the summer for him!)

I have four brothers and
three brothers-in-law, three sisters and three sisters-in-law. Plus
my folks, a couple of the in-law’s folks, my grandparents, some of
the in-law grandparents and a few people I don't know. (Just
kidding!) So, we're about 50 people here. (My folks won’t be here
for long, they have another commitment. They’re just up for the
day.)

Oh, Bentley wants you to
buy him a boat when you come home. He really, really likes feeling
the wind in his ears and face. He's the cool dog, you know. The
envy of all his friends. (There's at least ten other dogs here, and
Bentley has made friends with all of them.)

I've got a pile of
pictures to send you, but I'll send them via snail mail, can you
give me your snail mail address? The kids drew pictures of Bentley
and the lake for you, too. They all seemed to especially enjoy
seeing their fathers go into the water, so you'll notice a common
theme in the drawings. Bentley is the Mighty Dog, because he's far
bigger than the other dogs here. He's also the Root Beer Dog, for
obvious reasons. Most of the kids have learned to drink root beer
away from him. Also for obvious reasons.

Oh, I received your
company picture and circled the most likely candidate. Neither
Bentley nor my sister helped me. You'll have to tell me how well I
did. ☺

Yours,

Lainy

 

Mitch, seated thousands of miles away,
could feel her exuberance and amusement across the distance. Since
he was here, and there was little to cheer him, he reveled in her
emotions. Joy mingled with sorrow at his lack of those same
feelings. Of course he was a Marine, and his service meant she and
her family could gather together for some fun. At least he got
pictures.

He clicked on the picture she'd
attached and watched as his company took form on the screen before
him. When he saw who she'd circled, he howled with laughter. She'd
deliberately, he was certain, chosen the oldest, meanest looking
guy in the company. Of course. Old Waldo had been with the Marines
for thirty-five years plus and was as loyal as they came, but he
was also the ugliest, too. Laughing out loud, Mitch couldn't help
but shake his head at her sense of humor. It was only then that he
noticed another mark on the picture. There was a small X placed
directly above his head. Mitch sobered.

How had she managed that? She’d
figured him out. He could tease her that she'd cheated and asked
Bentley. But something warmed inside him at knowing she'd managed
to find him in an entire Marine company.

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Five

 

To:
[email protected]

From:
[email protected]

Subject: It's
hot....

Attachment

Hello Lainy,

I'm grateful you and your
family and Bentley have a lake to cool off in. It's hot and sandy
here and did I mention hot? The temperature hovered around one
hundred twenty seven today. That's a relief from yesterday when it
hit one hundred thirty one degrees. Showers don't help, because the
water is tepid at best. There's no such thing as a cold shower
here, at least on the base I'm at.

I'm looking forward to the
pictures, as I'd like to see Bentley in action. The first time he
went for someone holding a root beer, he wasn’t fully grown yet.
Which was good, and my friend who he tried to tackle is on the
left, in the back, third in. Yeah, the biggest guy in our company.
Al saw him coming and braced and has a great sense of humor, so
there were no problems. But then I opened a can a few days later,
and wasn't expecting Bentley-the-demon-root-beer-dog and ended up
on my backside. Which Bentley thought was funny.

After a few experiments,
which my buddies helped conduct, we discovered brand doesn't
matter, Bentley just likes root beer. And he'll take anyone,
including Al, or me, down to steal the stuff. I'm glad you found a
practical use for this tendency of his.

I received your family
picture but can't get you back, since the oldest, meanest looking
person in the picture looks like a great grandparent and I know
you're not there yet. And, I don't have Bentley to help me.
I think I'll persevere, though. I'm a Marine,
after all. I also circled the person I think you
are in the family picture.

We're expecting yet
another sand storm, so I need to make this fast. This computer is
dying on me. Too much sand in the hard drive now, so I have to be
careful with it. The base computers aren’t in much better shape and
are always occupied and used hard, even with all the sand in
them.

All for now, it's time to
secure everything again.

Yours,

Mitch

 

Lainy opened the attachment and saw
her family picture download. Mitch had circled her sister Laurie,
who was quite pregnant. Lainy laughed. She figured he was getting
her back for choosing the oldest guy in his company. She hoped he'd
gotten a laugh, and expected he had, since he'd offered her one.
She'd put in a caption when she sent her family picture, which had
included Bentley, that he had the advantage since he could safely
discount half the people in the picture, as they were
male.

She looked closer at the photo and
finding herself, found a little squiggle mark next to her face in
the picture. Scrolling down to the bottom of the picture, he'd left
a caption.

You weren't hard to find.
You told me in an earlier e-mail how your brothers threw you into
the lake glasses, purse and all, so I just had to find the young
woman with glasses to know who you were. Easy!

Lainy sighed. Of course she was easy
to find. Just look for the nerd and there she was. The quiet one.
The brainy one. The socially inept one. The geek. She left the
computer and stared in the mirror, almost tripping over Bentley in
her haste.

Bentley’s dad was one of the biggest
men in his company, and in her opinion, the handsomest. With his
square jaw and dark, liquid brown eyes, and those lips that begged
to be kissed, she'd had no trouble picking him out. He radiated a
humanness that appealed to her. A Marine who loved his dog so much
was an incredible man, indeed. She'd simply looked for the sweetest
eyes. When it had been a tossup between him or his friend, Al, a
huge African American man in the back row, intuition had led her to
the smaller man.

And there went her fantasies about him
coming home and thinking her the most amazing creature ever.
Because when she looked in the mirror, she saw a nerd. A Marine
attracted to a nerd? Not going to happen. Her stomach tightened.
She’d have to talk to him, and that wasn’t going to happen,
either.

What had she overheard at a high
school dance all those years ago? “Lainy Morrison is too
intelligent to date. Talking with her is fine, sometimes, but
dating, no way.”

A cheerleader had added her own
comments. “Well, she’s so tall and has so much hair.” Another
cheerleader had chimed in then, of course. “And she wears glasses,
I mean, come on.”

The star football player in the group
had another comment. “Yeah, that means she’s intelligent, remember?
Men don't date smart women.”

Lainy had slunk home that evening in
despair, knowing her sisters were the beauties in the family and
her, the ugly duckling. The clever ugly duckling.

Her two relationship experiences since
then had been unmitigated disasters and furthered her belief that
she wasn’t life partner material. Unlike the rest of her
family.

Lainy’s gut clenched as the painful
memories swirled around her. Brushing them aside, she reflected
instead on her successes. The excellent study habits she’d earned
had taken her through college and graduate school with little
effort. She’d possessed profitable patents by her freshman year of
college.

Sighing, Lainy turned back to the
computer and closed the picture. She had an e-mail to write. She
also needed to sound happy and upbeat, because she figured Mitch
had enough sadness, and she wasn't willing to add to his
burden.

Rereading his last paragraph, she
realized she might lose communication with him if his computer
died. Sand would not aid the hard drives ability to work properly.
Hope rose inside her as she glanced at her parts table.

A table that had mysteriously been
rearranged – the part she reached for had been leaning against the
wall yesterday, but now teetered on the edge. She had a bad habit
of rearranging things sometimes though, with no memory of the
activity. Spotting other parts, she assembled what she needed and
set to work.

Building a computer was not difficult
and building one to resist sand proved to be a challenge she
couldn't resist. It might not be the prettiest laptop, but she
wasn't looking for pretty anyway. The man was a Marine. He'd
probably prefer function and practicality over looks in his
computers. She purposefully didn’t think about what he’d prefer in
women.

Lainy forgot about sending an e-mail
for a few hours, so immersed with her computer building project.
She did glance at Bentley when he whined loud enough. She’d lost
all track of time. Not unusual for her. She let him outside and
then noticed the computer screen blinking at her.

Seating herself in front of her
laptop, which she was really itching to take apart now and see
inside, she instead typed a message to Mitch.

 

To:
[email protected]

From:
[email protected]

Subject: No
fair

Attachment

Hello Mitch,

Greetings from Hershey,
Pennsylvania. The air is heavy today with the smell of chocolate,
but I can't hear the park. We actually live outside the town in a
small village nearby. Population 1300. So we're not very big and
yes, everyone knows everyone and all their business. Which is sort
of nice, because over half the town would know my business anyway,
since they're related to me and my mom likes to talk. Your base is
probably bigger than my town, which you probably are familiar with,
since you live near here while not overseas.

Bentley is outside,
ridding the yard of all squirrels and Aunt Tilly's obnoxious cat.
He had to badger me to get my attention. This is probably why I've
not been a dog owner before. (Thanks for loaning me your dog, by
the way, now I know I can do this.)

I get caught up in
projects and there goes everything else. As you saw by the glasses,
I'm sort of the family nerd. I love electronics of any type. So, I
spend my days inventing. I hold several patents, which provides my
income, therefore I'm free to continue inventing new things.
(Inventing is a necessity for me... ☺) Bentley has adapted quite
well and knows when to get my attention, and how. Which is good.
Even dogs need potty breaks and to squirrel chase.

My sisters are planning to
do a kids play group and they all said they'd bring their dogs,
too, so Bentley is invited. He's quite excited. They go to a
playground in town and the kids love to run, so Bentley will fit
right in. (I'm sure there are squirrels there, too!)

I've only sent one
picture, from the lake. You can see the lake in the background and
to the right is one of the cabins. Bentley and I are front and
center. He'd just taken a dip in the lake, which is why he looks
like a drowned rat, I mean dog. I, however, did not take
any unexpected dips so I'm still dry, except where Bentley shook
water on me once I managed to coax him out of the lake. Come to
think of it, I might look a little drowned, myself. We had a great
time. ☺

My grandmom organized a
package for you, so I hope you have a good cart or something there
to take it to your quarters. She took an instant liking to Bentley
and he to her, and thinks you need fattening up, even though one
can't tell from your company picture. I printed it out to show the
family, and I'm pretty certain she took it. Or my granddad. He was
a Marine, too, which makes you the current favorite. None
of my brothers were interested in the military. Which saddened him,
I think. But you've changed all that.

BOOK: Nerd and the Marine
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