Forever by Jeff Holmes Read Free Book Online

Book: Forever by Jeff Holmes Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jeff Holmes
shitty way to treat it. He felt about as low as he did the night of the cookies.
    Scott crutched his way back the lobby to call a cab to go back the barracks. It was nearly 2130 hours. He thought about Roni. She should have received his last letter today and was probably writing back right now. The system had been working just as they planned. He was thinking of her, sitting on her bed in his jersey and those fuzzy black socks, her hair in a ponytail and glasses on, writing to him. It was comforting, but he really wished they were closer. He looked at the phone. “She’ll kill me. But…”
    Just moments later, he could hear the phone ringing through the receiver. On the third ring he heard someone pick up.
    It was Roni; it was the voice.
    The operator broke in. “I have a collect, person-to-person call for Roni McIntyre from Scott Mitchell. Will you accept the charges?”
    There was a long pause. “Ma’am?” the operator said.
    Scott broke in with the first thing he could think of, “Hi, Roni.”
    Roni suddenly came to life. “Scotty? Yes, operator. Absolutely yes.”
    “Surprise!” Scott said, trying to contain himself.
    “Yeah big spender, a collect call,” Roni said back. “Where the fuck are you?”
    There was no way this was going to come out well. “Um, well, and don’t panic,” he stammered. “I’m at the base hospital. I broke my foot.”
    “Footer!” she exclaimed, her voice rising. “What happened?”
    “Long story.”
    “Which foot?”
    Shit. “Right.”
    “FOOTER?!!” Roni fired back. “We need that one, don’t we?”
    They still had not talked about the future in letters, but they had both started to refer to things as “we” instead of “you” or “me.” This was a “we” situation. One of the biggest “we” endeavors was to get him to try football again, and he wanted that.
    “I hope so,” he said. He was 800 miles away, in a cast and miserable, but he was also sitting on that bed right next to her, looking into those baby blue eyes. The miles were gone for a moment.
    They didn’t have long. Scott had to get back, and this was costing her a fortune. He told her about the kicking thing. She told him about sending out applications to colleges for design school. She loved the part about how many kicks he nailed and how much money he made. But he had to wrap things up.
    “Roni, I have to go,” Scott said, starting to choke up. “I have to get back, or they’re going to send the MPs out looking for me.”
    “OK, well, I sent your letter already,” she said, her voice starting to break, too. “And I didn’t tell you any shit just now that’s in letter.”
    “Good,” he said. “It will all be new shit. OK, babe, you get some sleep, and I will too.”
    “I still have to finish a paper,” she said. “That’s going be a lot of fun now. When can you call again?”
    “I don’t know,” he said. “I hope you appreciate the fact I’ve called you before my parents.”
    “Glad I rate,” she said. She was crying now. “Can I tell Rick and Maggie?”
    “Yeah,” he said, wishing he didn’t have to end the call. “Rick will love this story.”
    That was it. He had to go.
    “OK, well, good night baby,” Scott said.
    “Yeah, good night, Footer,” Roni said. “I’ll send you a bill for the call.”
    “OK,” he said, smiling. He paused. It was time.
    “I love you.”
    “Asshole,” Roni said. She really was crying now. “I love you too. And I got you say it first.”
    “Were you going to say it if I didn’t?” Scott asked.
    “Yeah, but you did. I win,” she said. “I always win.”
    “You drive me nuts. WE win,” he said. “’Night, baby.”
    “WE win,” she echoed. “’Night, Footer.”
    They hung up. Scott leaned forward and put his forehead against the receiver. Suddenly, between the phone call and the Darvocet they gave him, his foot didn’t really hurt. He called the cab, and went out to wait on a bench. He lit a cigarette

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