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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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They've offered to Bentley
sit any time, and they're only two houses down, which he's figured
out and now goes visiting. (There's a huge box of dog treats on
their counter these days. If he's fat when you come home, I think
they're going to be the ones to blame.) ☺

He's scratching at the
door, the Squirrel Chaser's duty is done so he's ready for a rest
again. Looking out, there's not a squirrel in sight. Nor any
bunnies, birds, or cats. Hhmm. I'm certain he left a few
butterflies. ☺

Ah, a knock on the door.
Eight of the herd, wanting to know if Bentley can come out and
play. Guess who wasn't so tired after all? He's out herding, now. I
can hear their laughter and I wish I could bottle it up and send to
you. They're having a great time.

My yard connects with my
aunt's which connects with my grandparents, so they have quite a
bit of space to run. (I can see all this from the window by my
desk.) Oh, there Granddad caught sight of them and in they're
filing. Bentley just got a pat on the head and if I'm not mistaken,
a dog bone. Good thing he's getting so much exercise. The kids will
pick lemonade or iced tea and all the cookies they can eat before
they'll tear up the yards again.

Well, all for now. Hoping
this finds you well, if sandy and hot! Not too hot here, only in
the eighties, but we've had quite a lot of rain. Not much sun, just
rain. A bit gloomy, but we'll take that over sand and heat, I
think. There is a bit of sun today, which is why the kids are out
en masse. Bentley will be tired tonight when he gets home. (The
herd is wonderful!)

Yours,

Lainy

 

Mitch opened the attachment and gazed
at the woman for a long while before turning his attention to his
dog. Bentley did look like a drowned rat, with his laughing dog
face on, and Mitch was relieved to see how happy the mutt looked.
Of course, if Lainy Morrison had her arm around him like that, he'd
be happy, too. His attention shifted back to her.

Masses of long, curly dark hair
tumbled from her head, nearly obliterating her face. He liked the
intelligence and laughter in her blue-green eyes. Her glasses,
trendy dark plastic frames, couldn't disguise their beauty. Her
skin was pale and he thought she was tall and thin.

He wanted to meet her in person. Her
e-mails were the only bright spot in his days. Mitch longed to be
at his computer when he wasn’t and often reread previous e-mails.
After the promptings of his tent mates, he’d tacked up every single
picture she'd sent. Mitch still eagerly anticipated her snail mail
packet. He swallowed, thinking of her family sending him, some
unknown Marine, a package. The other guys received them, but he'd
never thought the privilege would be his.

Thoughtfully, he tapped out
a response to her, wishing he could meet her,
again
. He figured he'd have to make
do with e-mails for a long time, however. So, he put everything
into that correspondence, wanting her to know he was grateful for
everything she did for him.


Hey, Monahan, there's a
package for you,” one of the other officers entering the room said
and with a shot of pleasure, Mitch rocketed to his feet.

It didn't take him long to clear the
distance between him and that carton. To prolong his happiness in
receiving a package, he carried it across the base and into his
quarters before opening the box. Might have even gloated a little
over being the man carrying a package across base.

With reverence, he dug pictures, real
pictures on glossy paper, from the depths. There were many of
Bentley and he savored each that had Lainy in them, too. He saw
immediately she wasn't possessed of a thin figure after
all.

Instead, Lainy Morrison hid an
amazingly female form. Her legs and arms were lean, but her breasts
didn't look small in the bathing suit she wore. Her bottom didn't
look anything other than curvy. Feeling his body begin to respond,
Mitch hastily set the picture aside for further perusal and maybe a
little drooling later.

He found the pictures her nieces and
nephews had drawn and laughed through all of them. Each depicted a
man and a large brown dog pitching into a blue blob he was certain
must be the lake. All the men held a can the kids had painstakingly
printed Root Beer on. The men's mouths were all depicted with an
“o” as though surprised by their unexpected plunge.

He could feel the glee and happiness
in the pictures and stroked each one, grateful for this family who
thought of him. Feeling much wonderment that he hadn't known these
people a month ago, but they still touched his heart in such a
short span of time.

He'd not had a family for long and
swallowed the lump in his throat. Not only had this wonderful,
amazing woman taken in his dog, she also freely shared something
else that meant a lot to him; her family.

For a man who'd been raised without
one, people who loved and cared about you and shared in your
experiences meant everything. No child had ever drawn a picture for
him. No one had ever sent a packet of pictures before. No one had
ever cared about his day, or his thoughts, or where he’d been for a
long time.

He had friends, but many of
them had families of their own. Each of them had adopted him, and
he tended to have a place to go for the holidays, but he'd never
truly felt a part of the gathering. He’d always been more of an
observer, wishing to be a part of the family unit, yet not knowing
how. Perhaps he'd just needed to meet a family 800 strong who
without question knew how to be a family.
Experienced
.
Professionals
.

Smiling at his stupidness, Mitch set
the precious crayoned pictures aside and reached into the box. His
hand encountered a plastic package and perplexed, he removed the
item to stare in bemusement. With a thrill, he pried the lid off
the disposable container and caught a tantalizing whiff of sugar
and spice.

An array of rainbow colored iced sugar
cookies flowed inside the package and Mitch selected a green one
with blue stars and yellow sprinkles. Biting into the treat,
cinnamon and an unidentified spice tempted his taste buds and he
wolfed the first one down before sampling a red one with white
stars and blue sprinkles.

No one had ever sent him cookies
before. And certainly not these delectable, wonderful treats. There
was a piece of paper stuffed into the corner so he tugged it out.
He opened the page with icing covered fingers.

 

Dear Mitchel,

We wanted to send you some
of Grandmom's chocolate chip cookies, but were afraid they'd melt
in the heat. So, we thought these sugar cookies made by Dory's
mother-in-law would suffice. She's an expert at baking, cookie
making being a favorite of hers, obviously, and was thrilled we
decided to send some of her cookies to you. (You'll probably get
regular shipments now, so we hope you enjoy these.)

If you have a preference,
please let us know. One of the relatives, or one of the relatives
relatives is certain to bake them to perfection, so we'll round
some up for you. Don't be shy. We're good at this.

We've got a cousin who's
in the military and he sends in an order about once a month. Of
course, he knows what each person's specialty is, but you don't
yet, so you'll have to let me or Lainy know. Or any of the rellys
(relatives) who'll send you packages. Any of us will be happy to
arrange the shipment.

With love,

Melly Lytle (Lainy's
sister, and the woman you met at the animal shelter)

P.S. We've been able to
hook up twenty-five other pets of military personnel who've been
deployed with the relatives and we've got plenty more rellys who'll
be happy to take in anything. (Seriously, anything) So, if you hear
of anyone who needs a home for their pet, we're available and ready
to help.

 

His heart clenched. An emotion he
could barely identify because he’d only encountered it once before
rose up to greet him. This sense of family was unfamiliar and odd,
but he could get used to the sensation. Still he was a Marine and
that meant he'd be out in the front line of battle. Marines
couldn't afford emotionalism while at the front.

He could, would, and did appreciate
everything this incredible, magnificent family did for him, but
he'd keep himself in check. Growing weepy because of such
kindnesses wouldn't benefit this wonderful, adoptive family. But
him collecting his senses and settling himself to fight to keep
these people safe was his job and one he'd do with zeal. He'd
always loved being a Marine, and now he had even more incentive to
do his job right. To perform well. To exceed
expectations.

He ambled over to his computer, hoping
the blasted thing wouldn't die on him. It took long moments to boot
the machine up so he could send a note to Lainy and ask her to
distribute his thanks to her family.

 

To:
[email protected]

From:
[email protected]

Subject: I got the
package!

Dear Lainy and
Family,

A most deep and sincere
thank you for the package. I already have the pictures of Bentley
pushing your men into the lake posted around my tent. These
pictures cheer me and I'm very grateful Bentley's propensity for
root beer could be put to such good use.I also love sugar cookies,
and have already swallowed two and just got the package. I doubt
they'll last long. Especially when my friend, Al, gets a whiff of
them, which I'm anticipating any moment now. (He's in the bed next
to mine and he's got the best sense of smell I've ever encountered)
He'll soon relieve me of my bounty.

I enjoy every cookie there
is. We'll eat anything, but it's nice to be able to enjoy what
we're eating. (Al just discovered my cookies. He likes them, too.
Have you ever seen a man put the entire cookie into his mouth?
Because that's what he just did. It's an interesting, if
disgusting, sight.)

I'd better send this and
rescue my cookies. (I've never received a care package in the mail
before, so a heartfelt thank you to each who
contributed.)

Yours,

Mitch

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Six

 

To:
[email protected]

From:
[email protected]

Subject: re: I got the
package!

Attachment

Hello Mitch,

I sent this around to all
the relatives, or rellys, as we call them. You may be bombarded
with e-mails in response, so I apologize up front if this is a
problem. We do enjoy baking, and now the ladies have a great excuse
to get together at least once a week. Between you and my cousin
Ben, now there are two of you overseas and the ladies are certain
you're starving, so expect many sweets.

The kids really enjoyed
their picture drawing, and I know some of the nieces have decided
to send you more of their creations. (You'll need two more
suitcases upon your return.) I overheard a few of the nephews
discussing baseball cards, so expect those, too. Oh and a few of
the older ones were wondering if you like comic books? They weren't
certain, since you've been raised to the status of superhero
yourself. (You're a Marine, and Granddad has been telling stories
about the amazing and wonderful things Marines and ONLY Marines can
do.) Therefore, they weren't certain you'd want to read about other
superheroes. I thought I'd let you handle that one.
(Yes, in case you were wondering, I am a wimp!)

I'm busy with a project
right now, almost finished. So, it's calling me to get it done and
mailed. I'll write more later. Bentley has also detected vicious
squirrels in the backyard, so I must open the door for him to rid
us of these heinous beings! Yes, the saga continues. He's tireless
in his pursuit.

Yours,

Lainy

 

Sitting back in his chair, munching on
a pink sugar cookie with yellow stars and green sprinkles, one of
the few Al had left him, Mitch grinned at Lainy's latest
installment. Her e-mails always made him laugh. Knowing Bentley was
well cared for and enjoying himself helped, too.

He clicked on the attachment, and got
what he expected. Another great picture of Bentley. Lainy wasn't in
the picture, much to his disappointment, but he saw an unfamiliar
tag hanging from his pet's collar. Leaning forward, he squinted at
the tag but still couldn't read what it said.

He clicked on the tag and although
blurry, saw a yellow ribbon made out of what looked like metal.
Instead of reading “Support our troops” as many of them did, Lainy
must have had Bentley's custom made. The yellow metal ribbon read,
“Support my dad”.

 

To:
[email protected]

From:
[email protected]

Subject: You got Bentley a
new tag

Hello Lainy,

I saw Bentley's new tag. I
like it. Does that make me a bad person to love the fact you're so
supportive? You barely know me, and you're taking care of my dog,
and me, and I love it. (I wish I could thank you in person. Or at
least send you something in gratitude. Do you like
sand?)

BOOK: Nerd and the Marine
10.19Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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