I thought I'd squeeze in a little military romance on the penultimate day of this Season of Love. It's always good when someone comes back. And comes back in one piece...
Come Back To Me © Billy London
“Out!” Tallie commanded, pointing the way to the exit. Harris and Jimi guiltily lifted their hands from the other, as if Tallie held a gun.
“We weren’t doing anything,” Jimi lied.
“He’s still dressed.”
Tallie raised her eyebrows. “His jeans are around his poor ankles, God only knows how they support the rest of him. Now out!”
“You can’t chuck us out, Tallie!” Harris wailed. “It means I have to go home and deal with my children.”
“No sympathy here. Go. Home. And. Bang.”
With both hands, she hustled them out. She didn’t care who they knew or what they’d done in helping redesign the pub for her boss, they needed to not be having sex in the ladies room. It wasn’t too much to ask. She’d already thrown out three couples for trying to get naked. If they were willing to shag someone in a public toilet, they should wait to go home. Avoid the potential dysentery.
Part of it was jealousy. Her part time boyfriend, was serving overseas and God only knew when he’d come back. She let it go, because she’d been a military brat herself. Still it’d be nice to have one day with him that didn’t rest on a time limit. Everyone told her she couldn’t run a part time relationship. She said it wasn’t much different for coppers, firefighters or prisoners. There’d be an end to it. Eventually. One way or the other, it had to stop. She loved him, but it wasn’t the life she wanted to live. A life she couldn’t live again.
Making her way back downstairs, she sent one of the glass collectors a smile and took a mental note to get the cabaret singer her preferred bottle of ginger beer. She came to a grinding halt when she saw Linc sitting at the bar in his uniform, a hand around a pint of bitter, the other rested on a huge bunch of flowers.
He saw her gripping onto the bannister and smiled at her, mouthing. “Come here.”
How? What? The hell? Shaking visibly, she walked over to him and found herself wrapped in the safest and strongest arms in the world.
“Evening,” he murmured against her skin. “Silly mare, don’t cry!”
She couldn’t help herself. All those thoughts of dumping him. Of ending it and finding someone who knew how to stay in one place and not make themselves a target for sniper practice. Pulling back she examined his face, looking for something to give her a reason, an excuse because God knew she couldn’t take such heartbreak. Not again.
He lifted an eyebrow. “See something you don’t like?”
“When did you get back?”
“Just now,” he said on a laugh. “I ordered these ahead. I just picked them up from your flat mate and here I am.”
She had nothing she could say. Only that Kamryn was a sneaky cow who lied to her and said the flowers were for her!
“Don’t kill her,” Linc warned, picking up a handful of her hair and drawing his fingers through it. “She kept it quiet because I asked her to.” He braced his hands at the small of her back. “What’s going on? I can see the wheels turning.”
She didn’t know how to phrase it. “Are you going back?”
“Do you mean am I going to get a nice job with a desk and a landline? The short answer is no. The longer answer is, I’m going to find something to do. Where I can keep an eye on you. And other people can shut the fuck up about me.”
Tallie winced uncomfortably. Oh dear. What had given that away? She tried to steer the conversation. “As in a job here?”
That laugh of his tickled an echoing smile on her lips. “As in London? We’ll see. I’ve got friends who need to start paying up. They owe me.”
“One of whom should be thanking me in a speech tomorrow.” His smile grew. “I like how you didn’t even deny that I was right.”
She groaned, resting her head on his shoulder. “We’ve been doing this for so long. I just want you here. Available here.”
He stroked her head. “Done. I promise, Tallie. It’s just you and me now. For good.”
Could she handle it though? Him around all the time? Silly question. She was fed up of missing him. It was exhausting worrying about him. At every moment he haunted her mind. Relief flooded through her and she lifted her head. He was home. And he was still beautifully whole. Clearing her throat, she wiped her eyes. “Let me call, Kamryn. I hope she doesn’t mind you being at home with me.”
“She left the key for me to get in, so I don’t think she’s home.”
With a frown, Tallie retrieved her phone and called. “Babe, listen to that. That’s international isn’t it?”
Linc gave a nod. “Someone’s been keeping secrets.”
Tallie’s frown deepened. “I didn’t know she was even seeing anyone.”
Her boyfriend looked thoroughly impatient. “I haven’t seen you in eight months. Eight. Months. Can we talk about your flat mate another time?”
Tallie grinned. “Of course.” She hugged him again and over his shoulder she sent Kamryn a text. Where the devil are you?
Linc pulled her back and pointed to her eyes then his own. “Eight months. Bring it back here.”
“Absolutely. You are going to have to wait though. I’ve got another three hours on this shift.”
“I’ll wait,” he said, leaning forward to press a lingering kiss to her lips. She stroked her hands over his face. So he should. She’d waited long enough for him. Three hours was nothing…