Read Pieces of Broken Time Online
Authors: Lorenz Font
Pieces of Broken Time
First published by The Writer’s Coffee Shop, 2014
Copyright © Lorenz Font, 2014
The right of Lorenz Font to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her under the
Copyright Amendment (Moral Rights) Act 2000
This work is copyright. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced, copied, scanned, stored in a retrieval system, recorded or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
All characters and events in this Book – even those sharing the same name as (or based upon) real people – are entirely fictional. No person, brand or corporation mentioned in this Book should be taken to have endorsed this Book nor should the events surrounding them be considered in any way factual.
This Book is a work of fiction and should be read as such.
The Writer’s Coffee Shop
PO Box 447 Cherrybrook NSW 2126
PO Box 2116 Waxahachie TX 75168
Paperback ISBN- 978-1-61213-256-3
E-book ISBN- 978-1-61213-257-0
A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the US Congress Library.
Cover Images: Ginasanders/dreamstime John Pilge/
Cover Design: Claudia Trapp/Phantasy Graphic Design
To Doug Nelson,
A friend, gentleman, and guardian angel.
You will never be forgotten.
July 10, 2000
“Bro, you good?” Trent Shaw’s voice broke into Blake Connor’s thoughts, distracting him from the hypnotic drone of the plane’s whirring engine.
Blinking his eyes, Blake nodded and patted his best friend on the back. “Yeah. It’s all good.”
En route to Nigeria for an extensive training mission, they faced endless hours of hard work and planning as members of the Special Forces. Briefing had taken less than a week and while the exact purpose and length of their service in the region was still being debated in Washington, Blake was eager to get his first real assignment underway. Training was a different mindset. He’d been jonesing for the real deal.
Alongside Blake sat a fellow Californian, Trent, with sharp green eyes and an easy smile, as well as two rednecks, Robert and Shane. The excitement inside the cabin was palpable.
Robert blew a big gum bubble and made a loud, annoying sound as he popped it back in his mouth. “I hope this stint finishes in time for the baby.”
“I’m crossing my fingers for ya, buddy,” Shane said.
Blake grinned as the rest of the guys muttered their agreement and saluted Robert.
Fatherhood was a blessing but not something Blake was ready for. In fact, he doubted he’d ever commit until he was out of the military. Going off on assignments for an unknown period of time and leaving a family behind should be avoided, in his book. Remaining unattached was the only way to go.
With a thirty minute estimated time of arrival, Blake felt the plane drop altitude. His heart skipped a beat and he glanced at Trent. His best friend for the past year was completely lost in the photograph he held in the palm of his hand. Without even seeing it, Blake knew it was a picture of Trent’s girlfriend, Jennifer Owens.
He elbowed Trent. “You’re going to burn a hole in that picture if you don’t stop staring at it.”
“Be that as it may, I miss the lady already,” Trent said and lowered his lips to the picture, giving it a loud kiss.
“Dude, we’ve only been gone for eleven hours. You gotta be kidding me.” Blake shook his head.
“You’re such a lech, Shaw.” Joe, another Ranger from Texas, teased Trent.
Rolling his eyes, Trent gave the picture another kiss before placing it in his pocket. “I’m just keeping it real.”
The pilot’s voice crackled over the speaker to announce their arrival at the small military airstrip.
The plane continued its descent, and Blake readied for action.
Deep down, he envied his friends. Blake’s decision to remain single had nothing to do with not finding the right girl but with wanting one that wasn’t available. Although Katrina had been more than willing almost from the start, Blake hadn’t been able to bring himself to commit, and it wasn’t fair to string Katrina along when she wasn’t the woman invading his every waking thought.
Blake shoved his beret off and ran his hand over his skull trim, inhaling a deep breath. With a final glance at Trent’s pocket, Blake exhaled slowly and admitted, even if it was only to himself, that this whole thing was a nightmare waiting to happen.
Colonel Norwalk stood up once the aircraft settled to a stop, and removed an unlit cigarillo from his mouth. “You kids ready to roll?”
A collective and enthusiastic response echoed from all the rangers present, and they exited the plane like an ant colony ready for a hard day’s labor.
“Hey, baby. Is everything okay?”
Blake heard Trent whispering into the phone on one of their rare work breaks. A long pause followed and he assumed his buddy was listening to his fiancée on the other end. Blake tried to move away to avoid hearing any more of the conversation. He’d rather not be in the same room but the cramped space didn’t allow for much movement. He turned his back and picked up a local newspaper as a distraction.
As much as he’d been able, Blake had been keeping his feelings on a tight leash concerning the woman he’d been thinking of, which had been difficult since all the eavesdropping had made him privy to the rough patch that Jennifer was going through back home.
When he read the same sentence for a fourth time and still had no idea what it said, he knew he was choking on his feelings and losing all ability to concentrate.
Trent covered the mouthpiece and summoned him over. “Blake, come say hi to Jennifer and cheer her up?”
Hesitating, he had no idea how to get out of this one. He looked around the confined space as if the answer was hiding in a corner. It was too late to make a halfhearted excuse, so he took a deep breath and worked at modulating his voice to sound upbeat before he took the phone from Trent. “Hey, Jenny, how is our up and coming clothing designer?”
. His tone came out sounding bright and cheery.
Brownie point for me
Despite the dark clouds he knew loomed around her aunt’s health woes, Jennifer’s giggle surprised him and caused a strange sensation to ripple across his taut nerves.
“I’m fine. How are you doing? Loving the weather so far?”
“Sure. Showers are required three times a day in this oppressive oven.” He chuckled. Damn him for allowing himself to relish the sweet lilt of her voice.
He cleared his throat and tried to settle himself. “Is your aunt going to be okay?”
There was a pause on the other end.
Blake could only imagine the difficulty of the situation, considering their wedding was scheduled soon.
“I don’t know exactly what to think anymore. It’s scary.”
Trying to sound optimistic for her benefit, Blake said, “Well, better get Aunt Debbie up and about. You don’t want to miss the rare sight of me in a tuxedo.”
Another edgy laugh sounded on the other end of the line.
Blake couldn’t stop the feeling of helplessness that hit him square in the chest. Helpless for wanting someone he could never have. He threw a quick glance at Trent, who was gnawing his finger out of nervous habit.
“I’m crossing my fingers.” Jennifer sounded wistful, which only made Blake ache for her more than ever.
“Well, I have to go now. We’re on a tight schedule here. Take care of yourself, ya hear?” It was a fib, but the longer he stayed on the phone, the more trouble he made for himself.
“You men behave yourselves,” she said.
“Yes, ma’am. We’re all vying for sainthood here.” Blake handed the phone back to Trent and stepped back. He flipped through the newspaper in an effort to keep his mind off replaying the sound of her voice in his head, and not wanting to hear the sad goodbyes or silly I love yous.
After the phone call that seemed to last forever, he and Trent walked out of the designated communication station and into the blistering heat. The night temperature hadn’t improved, and it left them sweating underneath their brown shirts and camouflage pants.
“What’s the deal with her aunt?” Blake asked. He knew what had prompted the unscheduled call from Jennifer and sent Trent into a spiral of worry.
“Aunt Debbie is not doing well. She refuses to be admitted to the hospital, and Jennifer is running out of hope.”
“That blows. What about the wedding?”
“I don’t know.” Sadness crept into Trent’s voice. “I wish I could be there to help out.”
Blake had nothing more for his friend apart from a pat on the shoulder for comfort.
They reached their barracks and slipped quietly through the dark, as lights out was already in force.
“I hope she gets better so she can give Jennifer away. It would break her heart if her aunt couldn’t attend the wedding,” Trent whispered before they each climbed into their own makeshift cots.
The next few days stretched into a blur of activities while the mission took form. In spite of the busy schedule, Blake spent each day vacillating between beating himself up for every thought of Jennifer and attempting to divert his full attention to Katrina. The task had proven difficult. His mind kept wandering to the beautiful, petite blonde with expressive eyes. While he had spoken to her countless times, he’d only seen her once, but it had been enough. He had known the moment he’d seen her smile that he was in trouble.