Into Your Arms Part 2

Into Your Arms Part 2

A Story by Undying Glory
"

The last part of my story featuring the song "Set The Fire To The Third Bar" by Snow Patrol. Hope you like it!

"

Into Your Arms Part 2

 

As soon as morning came, Leo Strayer emerged from the hospital, clad in his new army dress uniform as a major, complete with the golden oak leaves he had just received. Yet as he looked himself in the mirror, he was almost disgusted with himself. It took all of his effort not to rip the hypocritical oak leaves off his uniform and crush them beneath his boot. He adjusted his peakcap, ensuring everything was in order. Satisfied, he walked out.


Lieutenant Becker was waiting for him, grinning, clad in her own full dress uniform. Strayer smiled back, though he was himself aware of how shallow the smile was, just to hide his true sadness from her. Yet, somehow, he guessed that she knew he was faking it.


“Ready for your flight back, Major?” she asked,

 innocently, though a twinkle in her eyes gave everything away. Strayer cocked his head, feeling a little amused after seeing Wesley killed. He grinned back. Though Lieutenant Michelle Becker was German by nationality, like her father, she spoke with barely an accent. He should know; after all, they went to university together. She had been a soft-spoken, beautiful, and incredibly smart girl, driven to join the army when her own father was called back to lead the United Nations forces. He, on the other hand, hand always wanted to serve and fight, for the greater cause.


“Sure thing...” he replied, though some sadness had returned in his voice. Lieutenant Becker nodded.

“And where’s your friend Wesley Samuels? Thought he’d be with you too...”


Strayer felt as though a giant lump had formed in his throat. His gaze dropped to the floor, and his breath became much more laboured. He sighed. Suddenly the world seemed to spin and blur before his very eyes, and he staggered around, collapsing hard on the floor. Michelle gasped, and helped him get up, bringing him to a chair and table.


He sat down, his eyes watering. Michelle stared at him, concern written all over her face.


“What? Was it something I said? What happened...?”

Strayer groaned.

“Daddy never told you, huh?”

“About what?”

Strayer sighed deeply again, forcing himself to look in her eyes.


“Wesley...Wesley’s dead. He died...saving me. He fought valiantly and even as he died, he...he said that I...I was more important than him...”


Michelle’s hands flew to her mouth, and she gasped in horror. Sparkling, almost crystal clear tears welled up in her eyes, and she nodded sadly.


Mein Gott, I’m so sorry, Leo. He was a great soldier. And you were his best friend too.”


“I know, Michelle. I’m just going to...you know...clear up and collect his personal belongings, and then I’ll be on my way back.”


Ja. Natalya would appreciate that. Anyway, Daddy never tells me anything. Especially about the injured and the dead. I guess...he didn’t want me to get too attached to them. And I would lose focus on what I was supposed to do...”


Strayer placed a gentle hand on her shoulder, his eyes gentle and calm.


“You’re a strong, smart and really beautiful girl. Don’t ever forget that. You won’t let your daddy down, I know.”


Michelle smiled sweetly, nodding.

Ja. Natalya should be proud that she has someone like you.”


Strayer nodded sadly, and walked off, to Wesley’s footlocker. He opened it using the key given to him by his commanding officer earlier on. The metal cabinet squealed loudly as it opened, like a wheel desperately in need of grease. Strayer collected Wesley’s belongings, everything close to him, like pictures, books and even several music scores. Wesley was an avid musician, he knew. Just as he was about to leave, he realised he had missed something out. He checked the locker one last time, and picked out a small, black box, with a pert red bow on it. He half-smiled and put that in his bags as well, though he handled it much more carefully than the other items.


A few minutes later, he watched the ground below rapidly shrink as the plane lifted off the ground, into the deep skies the dawn had coloured crimson and gold. The plane climbed up into the distant clouds, and Strayer saw the world blur by at breakneck speed, the engine of the plane roaring at full throttle. Finally, the plane levelled out of the climb, and then, all was peaceful. Strayer watched the clouds go by, almost hypnotised by the sight, before drifting off into peaceful slumber, where no problems could trouble him.


The ground shook beneath him, and Strayer woke, looking groggily around. He looked outside, and saw the plane had landed, and was taxiing slowly along the black runway. He rubbed his eyes and stood up just as the plane stopped, and walked out. Two lines of soldiers stood behind the steel staircase that led up to the door, each and every one of them striking a salute. He walked down the steps, returning the salute. He walked out of the gates of the military camp, preferring to walk back instead of flagging a taxi. However, he didn’t choose to go home.


He knocked on a door, after entering a spectacular penthouse apartment, reaching all the way up to the deep blue sky. He stood, anxiously, rubbing his hands together, which by now were as though someone had installed sprinklers on them.

The door opened.


Natalya stared back at him, her deep green eyes as beautiful as ever, her jet-black hair falling in spectacular ripples around her face. Yet her eyes were bloodshot, and even now, tears were rolling down her face.

Usually the sight of him was enough to cheer her up, no matter how bad the day had been, or how tired she was. Now, however, she simply nodded sadly, and walked with him to the sofa, closing the door behind him. She sat next to him, her arms around him, more tears brimming in her eyes.


Strayer turned to Natalya, and she pressed her face deep into his chest.


“They’re having...his state funeral... tomorrow...” he muttered.


Natalya nodded, but didn’t look up. Strayer ran his hands through her long silky hair. How he had missed her, every part of her, for so long...Yet they had to reunite under such depressing conditions.


“You know he died...saving me, don’t you?”


“Yes...they happily told me he had died a hero, and they were going to present to him the Medal of Honor posthumously...”


She looked up, her eyes now vicious slits.


“But the medal won’t bring him back now, would it?” Her voice grew sharper, almost to the point of shouting.

Strayer drew her closer. “Natalya...please...calm down...”


“No, I will NOT!” She pushed him away, fresh tears streaming down her face, like twin streams. Struggling to control herself, she sat down, yet her body still racked with the force of her sobs.


“Do you know how it was like without you and Wes? Do you think I had fun without you two? Like every day that went by was so easy, so joyous?”


Strayer watched her, and tried to put his arms reassuringly around her, yet she pushed him away again.

“Like every day didn’t...didn’t last forever without you two around? I missed you so much, I could never sleep! Do you know how it feels to be well and truly alone? Wes was the only member of my family left! And now...” Her sobs finally abated, but Strayer knew the turmoil in her heart was far from over. He dropped his gaze to the floor, breathing hard. He looked up again, at his sweetheart.


“Natalya...please...you know I love you so much...”

“Go...now, Leo. Please. Go...”

There was nothing else he could do. He walked out slowly, his heart in tatters, his eyes downcast, as the door swung shut behind him.

 

The next day, over the falling rain, the casket was finally brought to the graveyard, with the flag of the United Nations draped majestically over it, carried by four lieutenants in full dress uniform. Strayer watched anxiously, looking left and right, at the sombre mourners all around him, Wesley’s comrades-in-arms, as well as Natalya. Her eyes remained downcast, even as the flag was carefully removed and folded up, and several cannon shots rang out along the edge of the world, almost shaking the earth to its very core. As one by one, Wesley’s comrades-in-arms went up to speak, Strayer looked over at Natalya. She had avoided him all day, as though blaming him for Wesley’s death. She had accepted the medal almost reluctantly, and stared at it hard, as though it could resurrect Wesley again.

Finally, it was his turn to speak. Strayer looked around, as the assembled mourners looked up expectantly at him.


“You all know...Lieutenant Wesley Samuels died...saving my life. He was my best friend, since our schooling days...and...”


The words stuck in his throat. He looked up, and Natalya was running away, her face downcast. Seeing as he was unable to speak further, Strayer stepped down.


At long last, the funeral was over. Strayer walked back through the falling rain, yet the weather did not concern him one bit. The storm inside him was the one that was of far greater concern. He decided to go back to Natalya’s house, maybe calm her down a bit, and persuade her that he still loved her no matter what. He got into his car, a midnight-black BMW, and drove off, the roar of the engine piercing the air.


He reached Natalya’s apartment, and rang the doorbell. No one answered the door. He sighed, and reached into his pocket, withdrawing a small key. Natalya would kill him for this, he knew, but he just had to stay here, where he knew she would return. Wesley’s house key had also been surrendered to him for safekeeping.


There was no sign of Natalya anywhere. He closed the door silently. Then, he turned and noticed the old picture of him, Wesley and her, just before it all began, as well as their dedications, on the old grand piano. He slowly opened the grand piano, and touched the keys, and was rewarded with rich, deep sounds. The war had kept him and Wesley away from her for too long.


He thought of the tune he had hummed in prison camp. Finally, his memory did not let him down, and he began to play the old piano and sing. The song was “Set The Fire To The Third Bar” by Snow Patrol.


“I’ll find the map and draw a straight line...

Over rivers, farms and state lines...

The distance from “A” to where you’d be...

It’s only finger lengths that I see...

 

I touched the place...

Where I’d find your face...

My fingers in creases...

Of distant dark places...”

 

His voice choked with soft sobs. At least Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol had Martha Wainwright to sing this with. He, on the other hand, was all alone. He forced himself to sing on.

 

“I hang my coat up in the first bar...

There is no peace that I’ve found so far...

The laughter penetrates my silence...

As drunken men find flaws in science...

 

Their words mostly noises...

Ghosts with just voices...

Your words in my memory...

Are like music to me...

 

I’m miles from where you are...

I lay down on the cold ground...

And I, I pray that something picks me up

And sets me down in your warm arms...”

 

He remembered how he and Natalya used to sing the song over the phone when they were far away from each other. Maybe now they were too far away.

 

“After I have travelled so far...

We’ve set the fire to the third bar...”

He turned, hearing a new voice, and Natalya walked slowly to him, having just arrived, her eyes somehow calmer. She placed her hand on his shoulder, as they sang.

“We’d share each other like an island...

Until exhausted, close our eyelids...

 

And dreaming, pick up from...

The last place we left off...

Your soft skin is weeping...

A joy you can’t keep in...

I’m miles from where you are...

I lay down on the cold ground...

And I, I pray that something picks me up

And sets me down in your warm arms...”

 

As they sang the chorus one last time. Natalya pressed her face into Strayer’s chest, though this time she was much calmer. The lyrics didn't really mean much now, now that she was here. After a few minutes, she looked up.

“How did you get in?”

“Wesley’s key...”

She half-smiled at that. Then once again, her eyes darkened with sorrow.

 

“I’m so, so sorry about yesterday. I mean, he was my only family member left...and it was...I felt so alone. Then I realised...I still had you...”

 

Strayer nodded. He closed the door. Suddenly he knelt before her, like a knight before his lady. He reached into his pocket and withdrew the small black box with the red bow. He opened it, to reveal a stunning diamond ring, sparkling beautifully even in the dim light, sending hues of aquamarine and white light in every direction. The ring was inset with several small lapis lazuli stones and the diamond right in the centre.


Natalya gasped in surprise, her hands flying to her mouth. She stared at it in wonder, and turned to him, her eyes as wide as saucers.


“Oh my God! Leo, this must have cost too much for you! You really shouldn’t have! How on earth did you buy it?”

Leo grinned. “Wes and I decided to buy us a little present before we left for you, so we pooled some of our money and bought this. Wes picked it out himself. We both thought it would look great on you...”


His voice dropped to a whisper. “Marry me...please...”

Natalya stared at the ring for a long, long moment. Then she reached and picked up the ring delicately, and slid it onto her slender finger. It fit her well, and they were wrong about it looking good. It looked spectacular.

“Yes...”


The single syllable was murmured, and she kissed him deeply, revelling in the soft silence that surrounded them. They looked up, and the rain had stopped, as the sun broke out from below the fading clouds. Wesley was gone, but now she would always have a part of him with her.


She was definitely never alone all this while. 

© 2010 Undying Glory


Author's Note

Undying Glory
Image taken from Wikipedia

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Reviews

My, my. When Natalya blamed Strayer for Wesley's death, I was like NOOO O.O but seeing it from her perspective, it would be harsh reality.. I'm glad she forgave him and went back to Strayer, though I felt that their happy reconciliation was kind of rushed >.< But good job carrying out this short story!! :'D

Posted 7 Years Ago


beautifully constructed.

Posted 8 Years Ago


Wonderful...!!!!!!

Posted 8 Years Ago


So beautiful and very nicely written! Well done, and thank you for sharing your amazing writing. :)

Posted 9 Years Ago


fantastic piece:)

Posted 9 Years Ago


i would have commented on both but i was in too big of a hurry to read part two, amazing story! i enjoyed the deep emotion in it! great write!

Posted 9 Years Ago


Absolutely beautiful... Very touching, almost made me want to cry for the two of them. I love the song you quoted by the way. Very nicely written.

Posted 9 Years Ago


Really beautiful and awesome!

Posted 9 Years Ago


Awww this was so sweet! I loved this story. It was very well-written. Good job.

Posted 9 Years Ago


Loved this so much, so well written and presented, and once again a great amount of emotion was shown in this; brillaint! Keep it up!~

Posted 9 Years Ago



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Added on July 3, 2010
Last Updated on August 12, 2010
Tags: snow, patrol, into, your, arms, set, fire, third, bar

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Undying Glory
Undying Glory

Singapore, Singapore



About
The average guy you'd meet on the street, only with a hidden streak. Or several, for that matter. 24 year old, 4th year medical student, studying in Dundee, Scotland. Never underestimate the pow.. more..

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