"Eddy. Eddy..." Dustin called out as he navigated the house the two shared. "Eddy!", he yelled as he caught the faint sound of music coming from the work shed in the back yard. As he approached, the sun reminded him about the hangover that had developed from his adventures the night before with coworkers. Dustin pushed the door open to see Eddy turned away cleaning a rifle with the stereo blaring country music. Dustin stared at the stereo and reached over, turning the volume down. "You look like shit man, and I can smell you from there...whiskey river night at Last Chance kicked your ass. Dustin merely chuckled as he sat in a chair near the door while Eddy continued working on his rifle. "You're really doing this, you're really going." finally came out of Dustin's mouth, "How long has it been since you've had an assignment? I was starting to get used to this bromance." "It's been three years and thirty seven days since I came back." Eddy continued working on the rifle without turning around, "And I'm excited about this, I need it." "And what will you be doing? And why did you want Alaska so bad?" Dustin investigated as he leaned his head back and closed his eyes, knowing he wouldn't get a complete answer. "Officially I'll be helping a wing test fly a new helo, a lot of extreme weather flying and evaluations of pilots." Cold, to the point, good ole Air Force Eddy. "And unofficially, I'll be having a lot of fun, I love it out there." "Yeah yeah yeah, I know, you talk about it all the time, but I know there is something else going on up there or you wouldn't be gearing up both the .50 and the Lapua...does Kathy know yet?" "Well, hell, might as well practice in that kind of weather, gotta stay sharp for the sniper team." Eddy closed the bolt of his rifle and set it down on the floor of the makeshift workshop, wiping some seat from his forehead and turning to Dustin. "You didn't answer my question dude, does Kathy know you're going?" A tinge of aggravation in Dustin's voice. "No, she doesn't, and maybe its better if I just slip out, and besides, I don't know exactly how long I'll be away." Eddy picked up the Barret and placed it on the workbench, turning and signaling to Dustin to turn the stereo up. Dustin responded by turning the music down and lifting his cell to his head, his other hand extended to quiet his friend. "Hey, yeah it has been a while how are you...good good...yeah well hey what are you doing tonight? nothing? okay well a certain guy we know got an assignment and is leaving in like two days I think...yeah yeah...oh he didn't tell you?....what an ass...no no you should come He'd love to see you....yeah okay, deal...yeah Last Chance, Karaoke Night...yeah we can get him to sing...aww you two lovers should do a duet...yeah he does suck nevermind...but yeah see you there....bye." Dustin hung up his phone and flashed his classic shit-eating grin as he looked up towards Eddy who was holding a beer at the same level of his dog tags. "You better tune up your singing voice bro, you're on stage tonight." "Yeah I heard, and good luck with that...who did you call..." Eddy's phone began to ring and he answered it without checking the number. Dustin could hear the yelling from across the shed as he started laughing. Kathy was tearing him apart for not telling her about his assignment. "I'm sorry...yeah...I'm sorry!...are you coming tonight?...please...It would be good to see you...yeah I know I'm sorry...okay...see you later." Eddy hung up the phone and took a drink from his beer while looking at his phone. "You are a piece of work you know that? She wants to pretty much kill me right now." "But she's coming tonight, for you, its a sign my friend, she still obviously cares." Eddy looked at his friend and gave in, put down his beer and sighed. "Dustin, one day, one day you will not be able to convince me of such nonsense, and that day is today. You get to come with me around town for this little stunt, no shades and no top, we're taking my jeep." Dustin 's face showed he was clearly not a fan of this idea, but he would take his lickings, "Fine."
Eddy's black lifted jeep tore down the road, the doors and ragtop removed, the exhaust roared as the duo weaved through traffic. The sun bearing down in the hot Alabama day, Dustin truly felt it was hell on earth. "Where are we going anyway?" he questioned, oblivious due to the fact his eyes were closed as he tried to sober up. "I gotta pick something up and I wanted a copilot." Dustin reluctantly looked up as the jeep came to a stop. As he squinted in the light he found his answer, Maxwell Air Force Base, home of the Air Academy. "You coulda just said you were going to work, man." "Yeah, I know, but its my day so just take it." "Afternoon Lieutenant." was the greeting Eddy got from the entrance guard as he handed him Dustin's identification card. "Afternoon, what does your thermometer say about this heat?" "It says its dedicated to giving 112% effort today sir." the guard joked as he handed the ID back to the lieutenant. "Sucks for you Dustin! Thank you." Eddy shook Dustin as they passed through the gate into the installation. Base Exchange for a wet stone, new pair of boots, slings, camelbak, sunglasses, motrin for Dustin.
The two journeyed back to the house. While Eddy drove, Dustin seemed to be coming back to life, poking fun at the fact Kathy was so angry earlier in the day. "You know you you gotta sing to her now right? You really pissed her off so now you gotta make it up...then...bam you won't be going to Alaska a single man I tell you what." "One, my friend, I don't sing, you won't get me to sing, its not happening. Two, I don't think any voice could coerce her to even think about me like that again. And three, you're a funny fucker. Poppers, steaks and potatoes tonight?" "One day you'll listen to me buddy, and yeah that sounds great. I'm gonna get a hold of more people, tonight is going to be great." Dustin took his phone out and started texting, Eddy continued to drive."It will be interesting at least." he thought to himself.
"Okay, we absolutely have to sing Living on A Prayer, Don't Stop Believing, ooh yeah, some country, DEFINITELY Wagon Wheel..." Dustin didn't seem to notice that Eddy wasn't as excited as he was, Eddy was just enjoying his steak, amused by his friend's excitement. "Friends in Low Places, you forgot that one Dust." Dustin looked at Eddy with the glee of a child, "You're right man!" "you might be able to talk me into it if you're lucky." Eddy quipped. "Oh my brother it's not luck, its whiskey, and peer pressure, you'll see." Dustin threw a piece of meat in his mouth as he winked and got up from his seat. "Let's get ready son, we aren't getting any younger."
She was waiting for him when he walked into Last Chance, a bottle of beer pressed to her lips. She was gorgeous, her beautiful brown eyes, her smile, everything about her and how those jeans fit her legs and hips, how her pink shirt made her pop in a crowd, how livid she seemed. "What!? you weren't even going to tell me that you were leaving? What the fuck is your problem Eddy you just wanted to slip out and then what? You just disappear for however long you are out there doing whatever you are doing? You're a real asshole sometimes!" Kathy was pissed, Eddy could see her jaw clenched, a vein popping in her neck, she was really pissed. "I'm sorry I didn't know you'd be so upset, I figured I'd just go do this job and come back." Eddy responded as he tried to pull her in so she could hear him, she pulled away. "You know I worry about you, just be safe okay? Lets judge some people's singing so I can think of something that doesn't make me so mad." She handed him her empty beer bottle, wiped her hand off on his shirt, then walked away. "Typical." Dustin muttered as he punched Eddy's shoulder. "Let's get rowdy."
They came and went, superstars in their own minds for a few moments as they sang to the bar. Once Kathy had calmed down the playful judging of the singers took over. The rounds kept coming also, Dustin had gotten a good group of people together for this event. The girls broke the ice, singing a Spice Girls song, the bar seemed to eat it up so more in the group started volunteering to sing. Eddy and Kathy caught up in between songs while Dustin floated in between groups, more rounds coming. "Come on mister lieutenant! It's our time to shine!." Dustin grabbed Eddy and led him to the stage. As soon as the music started the bar was in an uproar.
She hadn't seen a smile like that on him in over two years, he had always been charming but the way he'd send a glance over while singing made her smile, she rolled her eyes and went back to talking with some friends.
The night wore on, Living on a Prayer, Don't Stop Believing. Dustin almost starting a fight at the bar top had eddy occupied for a while as small scuffles would brew around the two. By the time they returned to the table Eddy over heard Kathy say something about him but grew quiet when she noticed they were back. Eddy had thought that the night had been going well, evidently the back and forth glances, the joking around and playful banter didn't mean much. Dustin grabbed two beers from the bucket and pulled his friend over to have a smoke. "Man she's eating you up tonight, she still has something for you, tell her!" Eddy lit his smoke and glanced in the direction of the table, she was texting, he sighed. "I really don't think so man, I'm just whatever about it." Dustin took a hard drag and looked his friend in the eyes "125/5, final offer man, shit you can make money off this, whats the worst that can happen she says she doesn't see you like that? Pft you've heard that before haven't you? Just tell her, even if it goes bad in your eyes, you're leaving and when you come back it wont be awkward or anything." Eddy and Dustin locked eyes again, "You're drunk man, but thanks for the pep talk Dust." Eddy took one last drag and put the cigarette out in an ashtray and walked toward the bar.
"I swear to God," Kathy drunkenly spoke with her friends at the table, "if a man could just sing me one of those damn good songs to me and meant it, ring, finger, lets make babies." Everyone at the table started laughing with each other as another round came in. "Eddy! you need to sing you're good baby go sing!" Yeah, Kathy was drunk. Yeah, he had an idea. Eddy went to the karaoke sign up and spoke with the tech for a second, then returned to the table. She asked what he was going to sing. His only response, "Nothing if I don't get enough whiskey." Dustin caught the comment and immediately ordered rounds of Makers. It was going to be an interesting night.
One. Two. Three. Four.
Calling up Eddy...Eddy you're up to sing brother everyone put your hands together.
As he went to stand up, Kathy grabbed his hand and gave him a kiss on the cheek. "Good luck" she said flirtatiously. "Thanks Kat, I'll need it."
"Yeah! you go you country mother fucker!" Dustin roared from the bar while waiting on another round for the table. Eddy only raised a hand in acknowledgment as he reached the stage. She could tell he was really nervous, unusually nervous. "What's wrong with him? Why is he so nervous looking?" she asked some at the table. "I didn't think he was the kind of guy to get stage fright." She took her drink up and leaned back in her chair. She couldn't help to admire how well he could pull off the look, black pearl snap shirt, nice pair of jeans and his black cowboy boots. His curly brown hair threatening to cover his eyes, a goofy smile. He seemed the part, but could he sing?
The music started, country, everyone saw that coming.
"That's my country mother fucker man woo get it Eddy! you Josh abbot sonuva bitch!" Dustin was out of control, priceless. Eddy was sure Dustin had no idea what was going on.
He cleared his throat.
"A little longer, baby stay with me a little longer, I just want your touch again, feel your body giving in..."
The bar was cheering in agreement.
He was good, she didn't see a reason for him to be so nervous.
"It’s pulling at me, my desire to make you happy,
I want to feel your touch again."
All he could think about was her, if she would understand, if she would see what he was trying to do, to open himself up to her again.
"Let’s just lie here together chasing forever,
I can’t get enough of your love.
Brave and relentless, sweet and defenseless,
I can never get enough, every time we touch."
He was lost in the music, he seemed to be completely overtaken in his performance.
She didn't know that she was the only person in the bar he was singing to.
"Can’t stop staring, my eyes keep taking off what you’re wearing.
I just want your touch again, to feel your body giving in."
He looked up while holding onto the mic on its stand. His eyes instinctively drifted to Kathy, she was enjoying it. Even if she didn't know what was going on, at least he could give her a show. Dustin was talking to some friends when it hit him, he turned around and saw Eddy's eyes focused on Kathy. "That sonuva bitch!" Dustin thought, "He's really doing it."
"You’re a bad liar, that smile gives away what you desire, you wanna feel my touch again..."
Eye contact. There was something in his eyes, he searched desperately for something in hers, then looked away, but came back, turning his body more towards her.
"Let’s just lie here together, chasing forever,
I can’t get enough of your love..."
"Yeah bro you tell her you love her! Let it all hang out!" Dustin yelled.
Kathy heard the praise, and turned to look for Dustin.
Then it hit, she looked back to Eddy, their eyes locked again.
Her heart sped up, she felt the butterflies.
"Brave and relentless, sweet and defenseless."
Charming, genuine, full of surprises, he was good.
I can never get enough, every time we touch.
She searched for an answer in his eyes, if this was really happening. She was flustered.
"Yeah let’s lie here together chasing forever, I can’t get enough of your love."
She got up from the table and started walking towards the stage. His face lit up with a smile as he sang to her, the only person in the bar in his reality.
"Brave and relentless, sweet and defenseless,
I can never get enough..."
She just shook her head at him, couldn't stop smiling.
"Every time we touch. every time we touch. "
He locked eyes with her again as he picked her up, she clenched his neck hard. "You do this and then you're fucking leaving? You asshole don't leave me here."
He held her close as he put her down, Dustin in the background with a silent nod.
"Come with me." Eddy muttered.
"I can't drive anywhere right now what do you...." Eddy silenced her with his finger, and kissed her.
"Come with me, and when I'm done with this ob we can go anywhere we want. Come with me Kat."
Tears started to form as she buried her face in his shirt. "Of course, I'd follow you anywhere Lt. James Edmond Rayburn, I've been waiting for you to wise up for a while now."