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A Lover’s Lament

By:KL. Grayson and BT Urruela

don’t want to hurt him, but he insists that he’s fine.

That day in the hospital is hands down one of the worst days of my life. I thought Devin was gone—and for a minute there, he was. I’ll never forget the way my body went numb, the way my heart felt like it was literally breaking, and then I heard my Daddy’s voice. He was right there with me, telling me to be strong and reminding me to have hope. Immediately after that, I heard Devin’s voice reminding me that he promised he’d never leave me—a promise that he ultimately kept.

“Plus, I think Mr. Tough Guy over there secretly liked walking my pregnant ass all the way to the bathroom.”

“Trust me,” Navas says as he approaches. “Mr. Tough Guy doesn’t.”

“Whatever.” Giving Devin one last kiss, I delicately remove myself from his lap. “Now move on and give me some time alone with Jax.”

Devin reaches out and snags my wrist in his hand. “What?”

“I said I want some time alone with Jax. Something wrong with that?”

“Uh …” He looks at Navas for approval—like I need any—and Navas just shrugs. “Okay. Sure. We’ll be right over there.”

Smiling, I rub a hand over Devin’s cheek before stepping away and walking over to Jax’s grave. “Hey there,” I whisper, shifting to my knees. “I think I just blew my cover. Devin doesn’t know we’ve talked before, so don’t tell him, okay?”

When we come to Arlington, I always find a way to sneak out here and have a few words of my own with Jax. The first time, I merely thanked him for his service. The second time, I thanked him for saving my fiancé's life, and then it slowly transformed into a ritual. Today, I have something totally different to talk to him about.

“I wanted to tell you that I found out the other day—by accident—what I’m having.”

Peeking over my shoulder, I make sure the boys are far enough away that they won’t hear me and then I turn back. “I learned how to read ultrasounds in school. Hell, I look at them nearly every day at work. So when I had mine done, I could tell exactly what I was having. And if it’s okay with you, I’d like to name him Jax. Jaxon Thomas Clay.”

Running my hand along the cool granite, I picture him smiling. I never had the privilege of meeting Jax, but I’ve seen enough pictures to know what that smile would look like.

“I knew you wouldn’t mind,” I whisper. I probably look like a crazy person sitting out here having a conversation all to myself, but I could care less. I firmly believe that Jax was watching over Devin the day of the explosion and again the day Devin coded, so who’s to say he’s not here now? “Anyway, I wanted you to be the first to know. But I better get going. Thank you again for everything.”

Jax may have been watching out for Devin, but I know that I have my own guardian angel. Tilting my head to the sky, I give a silent ‘thank you’ to my daddy, the man who has guided me and helped me get to where I am today.

Patting the white headstone twice, I push myself off the ground, realizing for the first time just how hard it’s getting to move around with this rapidly growing belly. It makes me wish that we were back at home in Tennessee—for good. I’m fully aware that right now Devin needs the best care available, and that’s why we’re here. But it doesn’t make me miss home any less, especially with all of the exciting things that seem to be happening without me.

Sean and Maggie are engaged, although they haven’t started planning their wedding, and if she knows what’s good for her, she’ll wait until I get home to help. Bailey is doing well in college and she finally decided on a major … nursing. I was beyond proud when she told me, and I know she’ll make a great nurse. Mom’s been doing well, and has even started taking over care of the horses. I’ve tried to tell her not to, but she’s stubborn and won’t listen. Must be where I get it from. I’ve even gotten the occasional update on Wyatt. It warms my heart to know that he’s moved on, and we’ve even talked on the phone a couple of times. I’m grateful that he was able to forgive me, and he even said that when he had time to sit back and really reflect on things, he realized that the two of us would have never worked. I didn’t push that comment any further, just took it for what it was, but I like knowing that he’s still a part of my life.

A throat clears and I look up. Devin is watching me with open curiosity. He wants to know what I was doing at Jax’s grave, but he’s just going to have to wait. Raising his hand, he motions for me to join them. Not wanting to spend another second apart, I take a step forward … and another … and then another until I’m wrapped in the arms of my forever.

My Best Friend.

My Fiancé.

My Soldier

My Devin.

“This Year’s Love” – David Gray

THE TINGLE TRANSITIONS TO A burn and I slap the end of my right nub several times in a row, dulling the nerve and quieting the pain. It’s the only thing I’ve found that works when dealing with phantom limb pain. The sensation of still having feet, though I no longer do, is still a trip even a year after losing them. What feels like electric shocks surge from my knees down what’s left of each leg, both taken about mid-calf. Most below the knee amputees get up on their new feet in about six months or so, but infections made my wait double that.

Nothing could bring me down right now though. Not the stinging in my legs. Not even the year I waited for this day to come. Nothing. Today, I’m getting my new legs. Today, I feel what it’s like to stand tall again. Today, I heal just a little bit more.

“Baby, does hitting it that hard really help?” Katie’s sweet voice pulls my eyes from my stumps to her curious face looking back at me. I love the way her nose crinkles up when she’s wondering what the hell I’m doing.

“I swear it does. It’s the only thing that works. I’m finding the harder I hit it, the quicker the sensations go away.” I smack my right stump a few more times and shoot a playful smile towar