All I Need Is You

By: Wendy S. Marcus

 

November 16, 2011

Dear SPC McRoy,

My name is Neve (rhymes with leave) Jaimes. My best friend Brooke tells me that due to a mix-up in the soldier bios approved for NYS Governor Howard’s Support Our Troops Initiative, you’re in the market for a pen pal. As luck would have it, with cold winter weather fast approaching here in New York, I’m in the market for some indoor activities to fill my time. Sitting by a warm fire, writing letters, works for me. I doubt I can be as entertaining as a class full of hyped-up-on-sugar third-graders, but I’ll do my best.

Soooo . . . what are you looking for in a pen pal? I’ve never done this sort of thing before, and I’d hate to screw it up. You want someone to keep you up to date on news and happenings back in the U.S.? Sports scores and highlights? Of course I’ll send out some care packages. Anything specific you want/need? I make a pretty good peanut brittle, if I do say so myself. Can I send packages with food to a U.S. Army base in Afghanistan? While I’m waiting to hear back from you, I’ll look that up.

I’m an up-for-anything kind of girl. So if you’re missing female companionship and think some sexy letters might help you to, uh, “pass the time,” I’ve got a pretty active imagination, and I’m happy to put it to work for you. Do you find the idea of a stranger offering to send you sexy letters shocking? Good, I’d rather be shocking than boring. Am I coming on too strong? I can tone it down . . . if you insist. But where’s the fun in that?

Ummm, probably now, before I fire off some letters meant to arouse, is a good time to confirm there’s no girlfriend/fiancée/special someone waiting for you somewhere. Only because if my guy were serving overseas and some random woman started sending him lust-filled letters, that’d definitely piss me off. Although my guy wouldn’t need another woman’s letters because I’d be sending him all he could possibly want. But you get my point . . . right?

And you’re not one of those amoral dog types who would cheat on his girl by engaging in any type of sexual interaction with another woman, are you, Rory? I’ve had too many dealings with that sort of guy, a particularly unpleasant experience very recently as a matter of fact. It ended with the rat bastard needing four stitches. (An unfortunate accident. Really.)

I just reread that last part and I sound like a nut job. I’m not. More like I’ve exceeded my limit of male bullshit for the year. So I’m taking a break from dating, which gives me lots of time to spend on you! If you want me to spend time on you, that is.

Let me tell you some stuff about me to help you decide. I’m a twenty-four-year-old, happily single gymnastics instructor who lives in Westchester County, New York. But my real passion is adagio, a combination of intimate dance moves that includes acrobatics and acro-balance. My partner and I perform across the Northeast, but if the money’s good we’ll travel anywhere.

When I’m not working or performing I’m usually at the gym. In the warmer weather I like to run outside, almost always with my overprotective older (by six months—it’s a long story) brother, who’s a cop, by the way.

My favorite food: Grilled chicken with avocado spread on whole grain bread. Favorite non-alcoholic drink: Water. Favorite alcoholic drink: Margaritas. Love them! Favorite color: A deep rich purple. Favorite edible treat: Dark chocolate covered almonds. Favorite part of the male anatomy: A full set of lips. *wink*

I’m enclosing a picture of what men seem to find their favorite part of my anatomy, something for you to visualize if/when I should come to mind. If you want to write back, Brooke set up a PO box. The address is on the envelope. If something has changed, and you’ve found another pen pal or no longer want one (or don’t want me in particular), no biggie.

Either way, take care, stay safe, and be well,

Neve

 

November 26, 2011

Dear Neve,

First off, please call me Rory (rhymes with story. Sorry, couldn’t resist.) Or Mic. We’re big on nicknames over here and that’s mine.

Thank you for your letter. I got it yesterday, which was the day after Thanksgiving. They try to do it up big here, to make the day special, but it’s not the same as being at home. And I was in a funk, thinking about my family and friends, all together at our pub, everyone there but me, stuffing themselves on Mom’s delicious turkey, Aunt Jackie’s honeyed ham, cousin Barbara’s mashed potatoes, and our neighbor Abigail’s macaroni and cheese, which is the best I’ve ever tasted. Damn it, now I’ve got my mouth watering again.

Anyhow, your letter came at the right time to cheer me up and give me something else to think about. Like the picture you sent. Hot damn. That had to be the finest female butt I’ve ever seen in a skimpy purple bikini bottom . . . or any bikini bottom for that matter. In fact it’s so perfect the guys are convinced you’re trying to catfish me—you know, sub someone else’s pic for your own. How about we prove them wrong? Send me another picture, a full body shot this time. In that same bikini would be my preference.

To answer your question, I don’t know anyone who would call me amoral. But a dog? There, uh, may be one or two girls from my past who think so. But I’m a guy, and any guy who tells you he’s never in his life exhibited some doggish behavior is a liar. One thing I am not is a liar. That said, when I’m in a relationship, I don’t cheat. Lucky for me, I’ve got no girlfriend or special someone at the moment. And being of high moral character—if I do say so myself—I would certainly have told you—without you having to ask—if I did.

So if you’re up for writing me some sexy letters (and hell yeah, the hotter the better!) I’m more than okay with reading them. For sure I like the entertainment you’re offering a helluva lot more than any entertainment I could have gotten from a classroom of third-graders.

Now, about me. My bio probably told you I’m a twenty-three-year-old Southie from Beantown. (Translation: From South Boston.) My family owns and runs an Irish pub there, McRoy’s. My mom, dad, and three brothers all live above it. I’m the oldest. Been working at that bar for as long as I can remember. Couldn’t wait to get the hell out. As soon as I graduated high school I went straight into the army.

I’m six weeks into a twelve-month combat deployment, and I can tell I’ll be seeing a lot more fighting this time around. I’ve already decided this tour of duty will be my last. I only hope I survive it.

On a happier note . . . what I’m looking for in a pen pal? Someone to take my mind off all the shit happening here—and so far you’re doing a bang-up job. Tell me about your day. Share the story of why you and your brother are only six months apart. Tell me about your childhood, your teen years, and your dreams for the future. Tell me about the loser who needed stitches. Talk dirty to me. I think we’re pretty evenly matched in the pen pal department. I just happen to be an up-for-anything kind of guy. I don’t shock easily. So give me all you got. I can handle it. Care packages? I’m happy to get whatever you want to send.

Favorite food: My dad’s corned beef and cabbage. Favorite non-alcoholic beverage: Lemon-lime sports drinks. Favorite alcoholic beverage: Guinness Draught. Favorite color: At this point anything that isn’t tan or green. New favorite treat: Peanut brittle. Favorite part of the female anatomy: (I’m laughing because you have no idea how long I’ve been sitting here trying to decide.) A butt that looks like the one in the picture you sent is certainly high on my list. Especially if it tops off a nice set of toned legs, which I bet you have since you’re a gymnast/dancer. But for some reason I am really attracted to a woman’s feet. Not in a toe-sucking, fetish kind of way. But if a woman takes care of her feet, she probably takes good care of the rest of her. I like small, feminine feet with painted toenails. Part of the reason I love summer so much is for the opportunity to see women’s feet in pretty sandals.

Okay. I sound like a creeper. But I’m not. Really.

In my downtime I like to work with my hands, building things or repairing stuff. I run when the mood hits, which it doesn’t often. But I think chasing after you might be fun. See, something nice to think about for a change.

Well, I gotta go. Time for lunch, then some training stuff. Send out your letters as often as you like. Please don’t wait to hear back from me. Sometimes things get crazy, but I’ll do my best to stay in touch. It’ll help if you’d include your e-mail address in your next letter.

Rory

Chapter One

November 10, 2012

Today, like yesterday, and the day before that, Neve Jaimes thought dying would be easier than living. Mostly because she didn’t do sick very well.

“Damn this flu.” Damn feeling so weak and dizzy every time she tried to sit up. But she’d done it, had even managed to remain upright long enough to put on her bathrobe. Now, for the next challenge, she slid her bare feet into the slippers beside her bed, used her arms to push off, and stood with the ease of a severely arthritic 109-year-old. Everything hurt. Ten miserable days with no end in sight. “Enough already.” She needed to get well. Needed soup, which was why she’d forced herself out of bed.

With Mom and Dad away and her best friend, Brooke, now living hours from New York, there’d be no homemade chicken soup deliciousness in her immediate future. Takeout from the deli down the street would have to do.

In the kitchen Neve steadied herself against the counter long enough to pick out a spoon, then plopped into a chair, exhausted from expending the minuscule amount of energy required to travel a few dozen feet, thankful her one-bedroom condo was small and all on one level.

When someone knocked at the door she opened her eyes and lifted her head from where it rested on her folded arms on top of the table, but made no move toward the door, partly because she felt too dizzy to stand right at that moment, but mostly because her brother, Nate, the bringer of the soup, had a key.

She met the second, louder knock with a groan. Honestly, what the hell was the purpose of giving your overprotective big brother a key to your condo—which he had annoyed and harassed you for until you begrudgingly gave it to him—if he didn’t use that key for emergencies? Which this was, on account of Neve not being able to remember the last time anything other than ginger ale or warm tea had passed her lips. With her body completely depleted of nutrients, she needed sustenance to fight off the virus running rampant through her system.

Once the dizziness faded, Neve stood. “Pain in my ass.” And everywhere else, for that matter. Hunched over and clutching her old purple robe closed in front of her, she shuffled to the door and opened it. The whoosh of refreshingly cold November air felt good on her fevered skin. But the bright midday sun shot like spears into both eyes, blinding her. “Jeez.” She slapped a hand over her face, a little harder than intended, sending a throb of pain through her skull. “Owwwww. Did you bring the ibuprofen?”

“Neve?”

Shit. That didn’t sound like Nate. Positioning her hand like a visor, she squinted at her unwanted visitor, to find five feet, seven inches of sexy, way too good-looking male dressed in tan boots and matching light green camouflage pants, jacket, and bucket hat. Well, triple shit. It’d been four months since she’d met him in person for the first and only time, when she’d learned he wasn’t the good guy she’d thought him to be during their eight months as pen pals. This man who she’d confided in, who knew more about her life than her best friend and her brother, turned out to be a liar, and she wanted nothing to do with him.

“Go away, Rory.” She turned and reached out to slam the door in his face. In one quick motion, he stopped it. Most people would consider Rory average height for a guy, but he was much taller than Neve, who stood a tiny bit over five feet. And with his big, defined muscles, he had her beat in the strength department, too.

“What’s wrong, Neve? You look like crap.”

Probably smelled like crap, too, since she hadn’t bathed or changed her pajamas in . . . too many days. And you know what? She could care less. “Why, thank you for those kind words, you sweet-talker. You really know how to make a girl feel beautiful.” She tugged at the door again. It didn’t budge. “Now move your hand. I don’t have the strength to fight with you today.”

“Even if you did, I’d be ready for you this time.”

She did not appreciate the amusement in his voice. A few months ago she’d taken him, a U.S. Army soldier, down to the ground and incapacitated him, with surprisingly little effort, and they both knew it. “You promised not to come looking for me if I didn’t want to be found. If I recall correctly, you wrote, ‘But I swear on the life of Father McGinty, my priest back home, that when I’m stateside I’m not the man I need to be when I’m here, that I would never hurt you, or come looking for you if you didn’t want to be found.’”

Shifting so the sun wasn’t shining directly into her eyes, she gave him her very best glare. “And well, whaddya know? You did hurt me”—not physically and she’d never willingly admit how much—“and here you are. Again! There’s a reason I used a PO box, a reason I never gave you my home address. Because I didn’t want to be found! Maybe next time you should think twice before swearing on the life of your priest, because you, Rory McRoy, are a damn liar.”

That mini-tirade zapped what little strength Neve had, and she fell back against the door, trying to catch her breath, praying her legs would hold her up for a few more minutes.

He stepped toward her. Too close. “Let me—”

“No.” Neve tried to yank her arm out of his hold, her weakened state making the attempt totally ineffective, embarrassing even.

A deep, familiar, very welcome voice bellowed, “Get your hand off of my sister.”

Thank goodness. Help had arrived in the form of her six-foot-tall, big and strong police officer brother, in full uniform—which meant he had his gun. “Shoot him.” Of course he wouldn’t, but saying it felt good.

Cool, calm, and collected, Rory remained on track. “We need to talk, Neve.”

“No, we don’t.” This time when she pulled away he let her.

“Are you pregnant?” Rory asked, loud enough for Nate to hear.

Fan-tastic.

Nate yelled, “Why the hell does he think you’re pregnant?” as he came within arm’s reach of Rory. Close enough to strangle him, which might just come in handy.

To Rory she said, “Like I told you the last time you asked, whether I’m pregnant or not is none of your business. Worry about your fiancée, not me.”

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