Intolerable Love, p.1Sean Eddings
Copyright 2016 Sean Eddings
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About Sean Eddings
Other books by Sean Eddings
If you only like lyrical descriptive prose stop reading now because I only care about the emotions, thoughts, words and interactions of my characters which means that you even get to decide what they look like.
Damien didn't really wake up because yet again he hadn't really slept. He thought it probable that he was unconscious for some time during the night but he couldn't be certain. What he could be certain of is that he had spent most of the night trying to think about something other than Sara dead, Sara paralyzed, Sara blinded, Sara crippled, Sara burned, Sara insane, Sara… The loneliness he could take, it was the fear for Sara that was getting, hell had gotten to him.
Once again he told himself literally hundreds of millions of people, mainly women of course had endured their lover away at war, "I CAN TOO!" he shouted to the empty house.
He didn't think it believed him. He certainly didn't believe himself.
He spent another week keeping up appearances, he felt the world had no right to see his struggles, only Sara had the right to his thoughts, his feelings, his body and his soul but the first rule of supporting the troops was don't distract them with troubles from home, it might literally get them killed. So rightly or wrongly Damien was fighting this fight all on his own, and he was losing… badly. And he knew it.
It had been months since he had enjoyed food and weeks since he could tolerate choking down real food so he once again listlessly prepared a diet shake with a days worth of calories that would maintain his appearance and with grim determination swallowed it down.
Suicide was of course a possible way out but it just wasn't in his nature. Drugs just weren't helping. One day he saw a way out, and it wasn't 6 months away at the end of Sara's deployment, it was instant… but it was despicable. He would sleep that night… but it was unthinkable. IT WOULD WORK… but he would never again be able to look at himself in a mirror and feel anything but contempt, he could sleep again… but it was abject betrayal.
Without making a final decision whether to go ahead with the shameful, successful idea Damien made all the necessary preparations that would be required if… and things were easier for him for a while, the opportunity of escape made a massive difference but the accumulation of stress will not be denied.
"DAMIEN" Sara shouted joyfully into the video phone, earning dirty looks from the other soldiers in the communication room, beaming at him like a bride on her wedding day. The sight of the love of her life washed away her accumulated fatigue and stress and she happily started talking to him before trailing off at Damien's monosyllabic replies and poker face.
"Damien what's wrong?" Sara asked the other half of the best relationship she knew of with exquisitely tender concern.
The question just hung there between them and Sara opened her mouth to ask again when Damien started to speak.
"Dear Joan." Damien enunciated clearly and emotionlessly and stopped to watch the wonderful woman who had been the only important person in his world freeze as she first heard the words, and the message they contained, and then shatter as she understood them and her world ended.
Sargent Sara Douglas, decorated veteran soldier of the United States Army's face splashed into tearful despair like a 3-year-old who dropped her ice cream. Her breath hissed from her and she hunched forward as if punched in the gut. She vainly reached for the man she loved and pleaded for his help, "Damien—"
"I would rather be alone than worry about you." Damien continued relentlessly as Sara gaped at him in shock. Damien had planned to give Sara a full explanation and conversation, he owed her at least that much but as the tears poured down her devastated face he realized that he had nothing left to say—
"I love you and I will be home in just 5 mon—"
So he reached forward and clicked disconnect leaving his other half thousands of miles away weeping and staring in shock at a screen empty of Damien, with a heart empty of hope, eyes rapidly running out of tears, and a shattered mind just staring at the picture of her broken self which stared madly back at her.
Sara was retrieved from her obliviousness by a hand on her shoulder and a man bending down over her asking, "Sara are you OK?"
She realized it was Bruce, the uniformed half of their best couple friends, in a dead voice she told him, "He just left me. Damien just…"
Bruce huffed in disbelief reflexively shaking his head, he knew Damien would never leave Sara, he knew Sara thought she was telling the truth, but—
"Get Lisa to go and talk with him will you?" Sara begged him.
Bruce of course nodded yes, although he didn't know what Lisa could do about Damien finding another woman. Sara followed Bruce back to his terminal and he sat back down to talk to Lisa while Sara looked over his shoulder.
"Hi Sara." said Lisa with a smile for her best friend which froze as she noticed Sara's ravaged features.
Sara used all her army discipline to compose herself and forced herself to say calmly, "Damien said he doesn't want to worry about me any more so he is leaving me." she said in a monotone streaked with agony despite her efforts. "Can you please go talk to him for me? she begged with despair as her tenuous control cracked.
"Oh Sara." Lisa replied, wincing in sympathy, "Of course. I am at work so I will be at your house in 15 minutes. Lisa blew a kiss to her husband and clicked off to complete her mission. She knew it was a futile effort for she had been keeping an eye on Damien, every decent person on the home front kept an eye on everyone else looking for troubles. She hadn't noticed he was having any problems before, and going over Damien during the deployment in her mind still didn't notice him struggling. She concluded that Damien must have found a sweet smile and a taut body to warm his bed while Sara was gone.
"Stupid bastard!" she said out loud while driving her car to Damien and Sara's place as she knew there was no way he could find any other woman on earth who he loved as much as Sara. Lisa thought back to all the times where she and Bruce had joked with envy about how good Damien and Sara's relationship was. "Stupid Bastard!" she had to say again. She was shocked that he could be so dishonorable, it came up as a topic of conversation whenever a Dear John message was sent and he was even more against abandoning a deployed loved one than most actual soldiers who were generally the abandoned ones. "Stupid bastard!" she said for a third time.
Lisa knocked on Damien and Sara's door and when there was no response she let herself in with her key. Inside she found no Damien and none of his clothes or objects that she would definitely classify as his except for personal gifts she knew Sara had given him, including the symbols of their love, which were lying together on the table. She called his cell, the number was no longer in service. She called his work, he had quit and their only contact number was Damien's cell number that she had.
Lisa began to feel a little worried and a little guilty. Men who had found someone else didn't behave like this while running and hiding was definitely within the realms of possibility for someone really struggling. Going back over the last few months she still didn't see it but she was beginning to feel she might be wrong.
Lisa called Bruce to deliver the news.
"Mom, Dad you are retired so while I am deployed you had JUST. ONE. JOB." Sara growled at them over the video link, "Support me and my family!" she said, "and because you didn't," she said bitterly, "I AM ALONE!" she started to cry, "We were going to start a family at the end of my deployment, BUT BECAUSE YOU DIDN'T … Damien is God knows where in God knows what condition," Sara started to sob before the decorated Sargent whined, "And I am all alone."
At her greatest depth of Despair Sara called her best friend and finished the call, and the friendship with, "Lisa you drove Damien away because you are jealous we were going to have a baby after the deployment and you can't."
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean it." a horrified Sara immediately said to a dead phone after her oldest friend hung up on her permanently.
Sara vented her roiling emotions upon the families of the entire company for not supporting Damien, creating tensions with their loved ones she was serving with. Not good during a war.
Sara called everyone that Damien knew, cajoling, begging and threatening for his location or a way to contact him. Some admitted having heard from him but no-one admitted knowing his location or a way to contact him. She burnt many bridges to no effect.
Sara had been completely unable to find Damien by legal means so she resorted to illegal. She narrowed his location down to him spending most of his time with his new cell phone connected to a certain cell tower. She flew to the area, rented a car, assembled a disguise that included a spectacular dress so he didn't recognize her before she saw him and drove in expanding circles around the cell tower.
She didn't know what she was going to say to Damien, well actually she knew what she wanted to happen but it changed constantly from "get him back" to "make him cry" but always including the answer to "Why?"
She eventually saw his car in a driveway and barely managed to safely pull to the side of the road while dealing with the surge of emotion that hit her. She removed her wig and huge, cheap sunglasses and calmed herself by going through the ritual of perfecting her makeup in the rear view mirror.
Sara walked to the door, made one final check of her clothes, raised her hand to knock… and froze as her pain and hopes engulfed her. She had no plan or guess as to how this would go, she just knew that she wanted it to go well. She needed to know if she was aiming for closure or reconnection but every thought of reunion was battered by the pain he had caused her, every thought of closure was engulfed by how happy they had been. Unfortunately kicking him unconscious and nursing him back to health wasn't a realistic option. As she stood there in indecision the door opened.
For the first time in a year and a half Sara laid eyes on the man she loved? hated? both? and as she stood, stunned and frozen by her emotions, Damien saw her… and gave a polite, businesslike smile.
The heat of her rage unfroze Sara instantly and she attacked, "That is the reaction I get? A fucking retail smile? After all you did to me? No emotions? No tears? No apology? No fear? No love? Just a polite fucking smile?
"Sorry." he said, as if he had bumped into a stranger on the sidewalk.
"THAT is your apology for what you did to me?" Sara asked, utterly incredulous.
"I'm really sorry?" Damien tried again with a distinct lack of emotion.
"Where is the emotion?" Sara demanded.
"Sara," Damien explained gently, "We are done. My emotions are no longer for your viewing pleasure.
"So you feel nothing about me?" Sara asked with a wavering voice.
"That was the whole fucking idea." Damien growled back angrily, "I don't think or feel about you anymore.".
As Sara seemed to shrink before him Damien threw her a bone. "I am glad to see you survived." he said with a real smile.
Sara saw the opportunity to force real emotions from him and responded with, "No thanks to you. Do you know how many mistakes I made in a war zone after you destroyed me? I didn't pay the price, but it cost Bruce his leg." she ground out grimly.
With a look of stark horror Damien staggered backwards, raising his arms in a vain attempt to fend off the news. Sara followed him and cruelly finished with, "Left leg above the knee."
That shattered the last of Damien's control and he burst into wracking, guilt ridden sobs as he slumped down the wall, not seeing Sara's cruel smile as she watched and part of her enjoyed his pain. Another part of her was desperate to speak, or at least cradle his sobbing head against her as he worked through his misery.
As the minutes passed and Damien's crying did not slow the better part of Sara gained control and guiltily said quietly, "Bruce lost his leg but it was not our fault."
Damien looked up at her and asked, "What?"
Sara could not meet his eyes as she said, "A mortar round took his leg, nothing to do with me."
Damien's ravaged face relaxed into relief before clenching into rage as he surged to his feet and roared at her, "HOW COULD YOU DO THAT TO ME?"
Tears sprung instantly into Sara's eyes as she replied with her voice throbbing with emotion, "Ask yourself that thousands more times to catch up with me."
Damien's face and body relaxed from his rage.
"Feel lonely every minute of every day to catch up with me."
Damien ached to hold Sara and comfort her. The fact he deliberately caused her pain would not let him.
"Have a virtual miscarriage as your prospect of a baby ends to catch up with me." Sara's voice broke saying that.
Damien's face spasmed back into horrified guilt, that hadn't occurred to him.
"Even though I was at war and there were casualties, every single night I would fall asleep happy because I was imagining you… cuddled around me, your breathe soft and warm against my neck… loving me… protecting me… part of me" she smiled remembering, "It was the best part of my day. It restored me." her face twisted, "After you…" she was unable to find a word, "I cried myself to sleep for the rest of the tour. It was not quite as restful." she finished bitterly.
Sara took a few deep breaths as they stared into each other's eyes, "But for all that there is only one thing I have to ask you."
"Why?" they said together, smiling slightly at the jinx.
They went into the living room to continue the talk, Damien went towards the table while Sara sat herself down on the couch, patting the cushion where she wanted Damien to sit. With a snort of amusement at his failure to position them at a distance for the talk Damien joined Sara on the couch. She just looked steadily at him as he gathered his thoughts.
He took a deep breath and began quietly with pain quivering on his face, "Sara, I just couldn't take it anymore."
"Take what?" she asked gently.
He winced as he said, "Worrying about you." Sara reached for his hand, "I know it sounds absurd. How can mere worry effect a grown man? I should've been able to take it. A real man would've been able to take it," he said with frustration, "but I just couldn't take it." Damien said and bowed his head as tears ran down his cheeks.
Sara concentrated upon keeping her voice conversational, "And breaking up with me," she failed miserably as her voice twisted in agony, "hell, breaking me, was the best way out?"
Damien, looking at the agony wracking the woman he once loved said guiltily but definitely, "Yes."
"Even though you knew how much I loved you?"
Damien closed his eyes in pain and said, "Yes."
"Even though you knew I would do anything for you?"
After a couple of shuddering breaths Damien said, "Yes."
"Even though we were going to have a baby?"
Damien shrunk in front of Sara's eyes and said, "Yes."
"Even though you knew it would destroy me?"
Damien opened his streaming eyes, he did not know it would destroy her but decided to take all the blame and said, "Yes."<
They stared at each other through their tears, both utterly miserable, and Sara took comfort in his misery because whatever he said, he still cared. She only needed the answer to one more question.
"Did it work?"
"Was it worth my agony?"
Damien started crying harder, and said in the voice of a small boy, "I don't know."
Sara broke down then, in apparent misery, but also relief because… she forgave him, she still wanted him, she would have him, she would be US again. Damien hugged Sara then, for the first time in 18 months and she invisibly reveled in the feel of his arms once again around her. She was unable to maintain the semblance of misery and to her intense disappointment Damien released her and pulled away.
"Do you still love me?" Sara asked Damien hopefully.
"No!" he replied absolutely? definitively? unarguably? without a shadow of doubt in his voice, face or body. She smiled, to his confusion. Sara knew he had seen that one coming, she wanted to see if he anticipated this one.
Sara held his hands, looked into his eyes and said passionately, "Damien, I still love you."
"My condolences." he replied with beautiful sincerity as he withdrew his hands from hers. Sara grinned in appreciation, he was brilliant, no wonder she loved him. He was more than a little alarmed at her reactions.
, "Just say you still love me and I will resign to be with you." Sara implored him, apparently desperate.
Damien froze as a part of himself he thought he had killed leapt with joy before it noticed his pride which simply would not accept such a sacrifice just for him. Ruefully he replied "You love the army, it is your life. I can't ask you to do that."
Sara knew he would say that, and mean it. Men and their stupid pride.
"I love you more than I love the army," Damien's eyes closed and he breathed a little groan of appreciation at the corny sentiment. His eyes opened again at the feel of Sara's lips on his. He forgot himself, returning her loving kiss before twisting away in rejection.
"Damien." she begged him as he pushed her off, stood up and stepped back from her.
With a voice tight with controlled emotion he said, "You can go now."
Sara tried to radiate sorrow as she rose to her feet, she retrieved a document from her handbag and said, "I will go as soon as you read this."
Damien took the document from her and as his eyes dropped to read it Sara transformed from a meek, broken women into a confident goddess as she watched him read.
Damien started to read the official army document - completed, accepted, final discharge papers for Sara— he found himself holding and kissing the greatest woman in the world as she melted into his arms.
Intolerable Love by Sean Eddings / Romance & Love have rating 3.8 out of 5 / Based on15 votes