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I was sitting on the small two-seater outdoor setting on my bedroom balcony, with warm spring sunshine on my face, feeling relaxed with the world. I’d had a full day’s sleep which helped to reset my body clock. The comfort and quietness of my new townhouse that -massive thanks Julie and Adam for completely moving me in.- Everything was set up! Damn, I’m spoiled blessed even. I did feel somewhat refreshed, maybe a little punch drunk but not too bad, my mind well that’s another thing.
“Okay Spence, time to get dressed and head out the door for a quick run,” nothing like a few hills and almost puking to get you fully awake. Okay, the truth! It’s to get my mind of Ben.
I went back into my bedroom grabbed my trusty Nike’s and ran downstairs, passing through the quote and spotlessly clean apartment and headed into the garage. As I walked through, there she was, my sweet girl. Love my F-truck, “I’ll be back for you soon honey,” I ran my hand along the side of the tub walking past.
Stepping outside on the sidewalk, the crisp cool air caught my attention for a second, it was a typical early spring morning. Some frost on the grass, the mournful callings of the local magpies and the odd kookaburra, I think it was laughing at me because it knew in fifteen minutes I’d be almost dying, smart-ass bird. Adam had left me a map showing me the run he takes when he ‘stays over,’ and the time to beat… Okay so we’re still competitive as ever, and you’d think that with all the meetings, office work and running about he’d be thirty pounds heavier than he was, but nope. He managed to go for a run three-four times a week, said it kept him sane a good way to get in some me time. The route was pretty good not too long, not too hilly, about a five-mile round trip. Although by the end of it I well knew it was fucking five miles.
Falling back through the garage door I staggered upstairs to the shower and got cleaned up. Okay sure I wasn’t thinking about Ben for all of three minutes, that was because I’d just ran up a steep hill and was oxygen deprived for a bit from almost hyperventilating, oh god I’m an idiot.
A quick hot shower then grabbed my uniform out of the closet. I fluffed about for five minutes then walked out of my bedroom, dressed and ready for another day. I snatched the keys off the hallstand, double checked that I looked okay in the mirror turning side on and doing a little flex pose… hmm, not bad Jamie, that suntan and few pounds I’d lost looked good on me, at this rate I might have to audition for the firefighter’s calendar next year.
“Shit the time,” I looked down at my watch, “better get a move on.” Quickly I moved along the corridor to the main room, I was taken by how nice my new place really was. I guess with the jet lag and stuff I’d not even really looked other than it’s all so nice and clean. I slowed and just took it all in, Jules had done such an amazing job on setting the place out, it almost looked like a display home. But it just didn’t feel much like home, anyway I headed to the garage door and out to my truck, clicking the unlock and seeing it all light up, I jumped in and turned the key, “hey they took you for a bath while daddy was away.”
My god, I’m talking to my truck, but it was beautiful and clean, inside and out. Either it was used heaps and the had to dispose of the evidence or someone was just super nice. I found out later it was Adam, just being a great guy, he had the detailer come over and clean his work car and Julie’s car too and decided that mine needed a wash as it had been sitting in the garage for almost the entire three months not moving with a cover over it. Apparently, the guys wanted to borrow it but the old man said no and had Adam bring it here and park it, love ya dad.
The drive to the G-Mo, Government Medical Office, was uneventful I just plugged the address into the sat nav and away we went, it hit me how similar this truck was to the one in the states that we killed, obviously there were a few more features and finishes, but still made me think about all of that. I did stop once and clam my thoughts, no flashbacks just feeling a little nervous I guess.
It was the moment of truth, walking into the G-Mo’s for my exam which lasted ninety minutes. Then into HQ for some pre-season briefings, that wrapped up my first day back on duty, hoping I’d escaped being back at HQ the next day, but that idea quickly vanished with one of the admin staff from HR shooting me an email noting that I was required back there tomorrow. I’d been assigned desk C three-eight where ever the hell that was, I pushed the next day out of my mind and focused on the next hour of reading rainfall data, pre-summer briefing notes and chatting to various people that happened by, so I guess as for a first day back was chilled.
I’d spoken to Ben once since arriving home, we’d agreed on letting each other have a few days on return to get back into it, I guess to get our feelings under control casino şirketleri and mind focused on the job. Plus he’d promised to send me his work roster, which he did and I’d done the same, I was counting down the hours till we could talk later that night.
I meant it when I said I’d make it work, the whole long-distance thing, I will even if it kills me. After locking in our call times for the next couple of weeks, the Ben decided that I needed to have a few beers with my friends and not mope around at home, although as nice as the apartment felt, it wasn’t home yet, also I needed to talk to Ty and Sam and make sure we were okay.
‘Ty it’s okay buddy,’ I messaged back, ‘we need to do this mate.’ There had been a little of the-I’m not sure if we’re free, and stuff between Ty and me. That’s been our universal way of being polite, kinda saying are you sure? I’d known him long enough to read that one, but it was time we needed too.
So, I did as instructed by Ben, after explaining their reluctance to meet up; Ben made me see some sense in trying to sort it but pointed out that if they really don’t want to talk then don’t force them else it could all go south real fast. So, following my movement orders ha-ha I made the calls to Ty and Sam, finally yes we met up but fucking hell!
To be honest the first twenty minutes were the hardest since waking up in the ICU, we all were feeling a little uncomfortable but we’d had some good times at ‘Check Point Charlies’ in the past, thankfully it didn’t take long for us to warm up and deal with the demons of the past, Ty and I go way back so I wasn’t going to throw away our friendship over this, plus I still liked Sam a lot and wanted to be friends if we could, he’s a great guy, they both are!
After coming home just after midnight, my friendship with Ty and Sam intact, the sound of my cell beeping got my attention. ‘You have a new message from Command.’ I logged in and there it was, results of medical and works clearances. I just sat there for thirty minutes, staring at the screen unable to click on the message, if I didn’t get the clearance I’d be off the course for another year or two, that would put my career plans back on the backburner, where they’d been for years now.
Finally, I got up the strength to do it. I was about to hit the button when there was a quiet knock at the front door. Who the hell calls in at 0115, I walked down and opened the door quietly, so I didn’t wake Julie, stupid as the bedrooms are all the way down the other end. My surprise was the face that greeted me, it was my big sister Steph.
“Hey, Jamie can come in,” as she pushed straight past me kissing my cheek as she walked off down the corridor to the kitchen.
“Yeah sure,” I closed the door and followed her to the kitchen meals area, I guess she’s been here a few times know the layout better than me. “You want a coffee or something is?”
“A beer would be nice, I left some in the fridge for you the other day.”
And therefore, “she’s my favorite sister.” We opened our ice-cold beers and sat down to chat or … I think she called in on her way home from work or to check up on me. Todd stayed on at my welcome home BBQ the parents threw, as Steph had gone back to work. Adam, Julie and me dropped him home on the way here, but my sis wanted to interrogate me I guess, she had that look in her eyes, oh yeah, I know it all too well.
Steph and I were chatting away like normal, light-hearted with the occasional probing question, damn she’s good at that shit. Anyway, it was all chilled until the reminder popped up on my laptop and that was it! One way or the other, Steph reached over pulling the laptop closer. When she saw the email unopened on my screen, the ball breaking started till I clicked it open.
I won’t bore everyone with the details, but I’d been passed for a return to active duty and should contact my course commander without delay to arrange my attendance at the college. So add that to my to-do list tomorrow at HQ there was some additional mental health testing due to the seriousness of the MVA but that is normal and wouldn’t be a factor on course.
With that out of the way, Steph and I chatted for an hour or so, “I have some news Jamie, about your brother in law.”
“Yeah, you mean your husband, right.”
“Yes,” she half laughed half snorted at the same time, “you know the guy I’m married to but I’m sure if I fell off the scene he’d marry you, hmm. God, he’s always banging on about Jamie this and Jamie that.” Step smiled wryly at me.
“Nothing would ever happen between us Steph you know that right? It’s just a huge bromance we’ve got going, well had-since you guys started going out.” But man, if it came about somehow completely without my intervention, god would I have a crack at Todd, hmmm No Jamie No! But he’s such a great guy and damn hot too, is that bad to think about your brother in law? I guess you can think it but casino firmaları N-E-V-E-R act on it.
“Earth to Jamie, stop deciding if Todd is hot enough to convert! Yes, I can read you like a book.”
I thought my face was going to fall off till Step started to laugh, “Sooo news with us is that Todd.” Steph paused for a moment like she was about to dive underwater or something. “He’s being transferred to the US for eighteen months as part of the JSF program, so he can get trained up on battlespace operations with the F35’s and allied interface. When he gets back will be part of the team to train our guys here.” The look on her face was of immense pride, he so deserves this, I was a little sad that I wouldn’t see him for a year and a half but that’s totally selfish… I guess Steph is used to it as they both deployed for a long-term but its gotta hurt a little.
Pushing all of that in the far reaches of my mind, “That’s awesome,” I stood up and hugged her, “I’ll miss Todd, he’s good fun,” I paused for a second, “okay and I miss you too big Sis.”
She laughed, “that’s more like it. Funny enough Todd said the same thing about you when you went on holidays if he wasn’t so straight I’d worry about you too sometimes.”
I looked at her in shock, “he’s not my type.”
“I call bullshit James! And why what’s wrong with my husband? You’d be lucky to get a guy like him James.” She had a pissed look on her face now, and she was calling me James… like I’d insulted Todd or her choice of partner.
“Jesus, do I need to worry about you too, he said that if we broke up he’d hook up with you.” We both laughed so hard some beer got spat across the bench.
“Whoa, there.” I held my hands up defensively. “It’s exactly that! he’s your husband and I would never ever make a move on him, mind you if you split up… he’s mine.”
“Anyways, husband stealer. An opportunity came up in states, not at the same base as Todd, I’ll be with the RIMPAC planning group in Hawaii at Pearl. So, I wanted to have a crack at it to get further promoted,’ Step paused for a split second but I picked up on it, “we want to start a family when we both head back at the end of the rotation.”
I was in total shock, not that she was going overseas on deployment, I was used to that. She and Todd were thinking about starting a family, she dropped that in quickly thinking in my half jetlagged state and a beer under my belt that I’d miss that, no fucking way.
I couldn’t help it, I leapt off the stool I was on and hugged my big sister, again. “My god Steph, that’s fantastic. Mom and dad are gonna freak when you tell them that, you know how mom is about having grandkids,” the smile on my face was huge almost hurting my cheeks. “You’re gonna be the best mom, and Todd will be a fantastic dad. Shit Steph, you’ll be a legend at it so will Todd, you were… still are a proxy mom to me and the rest of us, oh my god that’s so fantastic.” I was hugging her and jumping up and down at the same time.
“Jesus Jamie, settle we’re going to think about it right, it’s not that I’m pregnant now.” A smile spread over her face, “wow how are you going to take it when it happens, you know if I’m lucky enough to get pregnant?”
“Have no idea, but it won’t be quite or pretty you can count on that Sis.”
She just shook her head, “I haven’t told the rents yet, I just know mom and dad will go off the tap. She’s gonna go all crazy fussy anyway.” Steph reached over and tapped the stool next to her, “anyways tell me about this guy that seems to have you head over heels about him, hmm.” Steph smiled “Lucas says he’s too good for you… Ben right?”
I plunged my head into my hands, “Lucas, fuck my life.”
As I bounded in the front door at HQ, ‘god I love driving my truck again.’ “Hey Nicole, howdy.”
“I’m well thanks Jamie, you?”
“Not bad, one more day here at HQ then off to my course hopefully,” I swiped my Id against the reader on the countertop. “Hey, can you tell me where desk C three eight is, please? I have no clue.”
“No clue so you admit it now,” she smiled coyly.
“Jeez, thanks mate,” I laughed, “glad to see you haven’t lost your sense of humor Nic.”
“Hmm, Jamie it’s good to have you back. But jokes aside what did you do wrong C three eight! That’s on the executive level section C workstation eight.”
My blood ran cold for a second, “I hate being up on the exec level, even waking through it can be … scary as fuck. Last time I was walking through there I got cornered by the Chief, almost pissed my pants on the spot.” I laughed in relief, “but he was cool wanted to know how my dad was going and if my mom had killed him yet being home more often.”
Nicole just shook her head, and buzzed my through the glass doors, “by Jamie, nice to see you again.”
Waving I made my way to the stairs and walked up to the third level, making my way to desk eight. After a few hello’s to güvenilir casino the guys sitting around me, I logged on first things first, okay Spence, email my course commander a copy of my clearance, then follow up in an hour or so. There was a pile of files marked ‘Spence to review’, so it was time to get head down and ass up into it.
By mid-afternoon I’d gotten through a fair share of the files, there was a flurry of activity coming from one of the offices about twenty meters from me, I looked up the floor plan and saw it was now ACO West’s office, if I got a chance I should stick my head inside and say hi.
But a tap on my divider wall got my attention it was my boss, Regional Commander Gladwyn, “Hi sir,” I cleared my voice quietly, “can I help with anything?” as I stood up shaking Tony’s outstretched hand.
“How was the trip Jamie, heard you used your head to stop a demo drill? Ouch.”
“Yeah, was an interesting turn of events, sir.” We both chuckled a little.
“Jamie, would you please come with me for a second,” Tony tilted his head towards the offices nearby, as I followed him in I noticed that we were directly opposite the ACO’s office, about fifteen meters away or less.
“I want you to sit in here,” he pointed to the desk. “Take a seat please and review these files for me okay?”
“Um. Sure sir, but I can take them back to my desk if you like, you know, so you can have your desk back.”
“Jamie, when it’s just us the sir isn’t necessary, and it’s not my desk its Pat Combes desk, he’s going to be busy for the day and I want you right here.”
I was puzzled as to that was going on but nodded and sat down at the desk, Tony reached over and placed a call on the handset, then muted the microphone placing it back on speaker. Puzzled I looked up at him, he smiled “no matter what you hear stay at your desk, well unless it’s a firecall right.”
A little shocked by it all I nodded, “sure sir… I mean Tony will do.” With that, he headed out the door half closing it.
As I got into the work time was slipping past quickly, I looked up for a second taking a breath for a moment after finishing off another brief and noticed that I had a perfect view of the ACO’s office, the workstations between us and the walkways either side, hmm.
After about twenty minutes some distant voices coming through the speaker caught my attention.
“Mr. Kelsy, thank you for coming in.” I heard ACO West speaking, and stopped writing for a second, putting my pen down and turning my attention to the phone, Kelsy that’s my father in law, ex-father in law. The voices started up again, “this is as you know Commander Dean Edgar and Commander Pat Combs, they are here as required under our industrial requirements, Mr. Diamond the union rep is here as well, and we have one party remotely monitoring the conversation as is our right.”
I almost died in my ass right there. One party monitoring was I the remote party, plus is that bastard Kelsy is going to get a talking too finally there is a god. There were a few murmurs from parties in the room, but it all kicked off quickly.
“Operations Manager Kelsy, as you were made aware four weeks ago, we have concerns around your management of staff, use of the service’s equipment. Further, we now have substantiated claims of bullying and harassment of personnel, can you confirm that an offer was made for you to take early retirement, that you understood that offer but you declined it?”
His voice filled the speaker, I hadn’t heard it for months but it sent a chill down my spine like always.
“I’m not retiring, you’ll be the one leaving once I’m finished here.”
ACO West started up as if she didn’t hear his last comment, “So OM Kelsy, you have anything you’d like to say at this point about these matters?”
I looked up and could see it all unfolding in the offices across from me, Simon Kelsy shook his head and leaned over talking to his union rep, although I couldn’t hear the conversation, the union rep then spoke.
“Operations Manager Kelsy has nothing to add, he refutes these baseless claims and would like to return to his previous posting at Northeast command, where he will not bring charges against you for bullying and harassment.”
Commander Edgar spoke up, “I’m sorry Mr. Diamond, but after discussions with the Chief and board, we have sought a solution to these indeed serious charges.” I could feel the color drain from my face, shit he’s fucked. If the Chief and the board and involved that’s never a good outcome.
Commander Edgar continued, “Mr. Diamond, with this in mind does your member, OM Kelsy wishes to proceed or is he intending to retire from the service on pension, effective immediately?”
Simon Kelsy snapped, standing up almost knocking his chair over backward, “This is a load of bullshit. I’ve never done anything like what you’re claiming, where is your evidence,” he spat.
ACO West spoke, “Simon, sit down,” her voice was cold and clear “your treatment of various staff over the years, which has been overlooked. That too is being investigated, but the most recent attempts to have the careers of two long-serving members terminated is beyond acceptable.”
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