“So what are you going to do about David?” Marissa said.
Maddy shrugged. “I’m going to have to end it. Things aren’t really going anywhere. There’s no point in dragging this out. It’s really the best thing for the both of us.”
Marissa frowned a little. “He’s not going to take this well.”
“I know,” she said. “I just can’t keep pretending. I don’t know what’s going to happen with Johnny, but I can’t make David into something he’s not. I’ve been waiting and telling everyone he’s just someone I’m having fun with, but I can’t even remember the last time I actually had a good time with him.”
Both fell silent for a moment.
“Let’s go out Saturday,” Marissa said, breaking the silence.
Maddy looked up to Marissa, who grinned at her.
“Finals will be over,” she continued, “and I think we could both use a little celebrating since we’ll finally be finished.”
Maddy frowned. “Not quite. I still have a final on Monday.”
Marissa shrugged. “So we party on Saturday, and I help you study on Sunday. It’s algebra, right?”
She nodded. Math was not her best class, and she had to get a good grade on the final or her dreams of graduating would be all over.
“Okay,” Maddy said. It was likely a bad idea, but she figured after the hell of this week she was going to need a chance to let off a little steam.
That meant she’d have tomorrow night to break it off with David. She’d for sure need a drink after that.
Johnny pulled Rich’s old pickup into the parking spot outside the squad building. It’d been less than twenty-hours since he last talked to Clint, but it felt like a whole week had past.
Still, he needed to get his discharge paperwork started. The longer he waited, the harder it’d be to transition out of his old life and into his new one.
He passed a few of the men from his platoon and nodded. They frowned and turned their backs to him.
It wasn’t surprising at all. He knew that his leaving would make the rounds pretty quickly. They were a tight-knit group that had been through a lot together. Leaving so early in was bound to make a few people angry. To them, it was like he’d turned his back on them, and so they offered him the same.
Ignoring the pain that their silence caused him, Johnny continued inside the building. He didn’t have to travel far before he was standing outside Clint’s office.
Johnny knocked on the door.
He stepped inside and was surprised to find two other uniformed men from his platoon inside, both men he’d served on squads with.
Both men looked over to him. Luca frowned. The hot blooded Italian-American, who often went by Luc, had been with him right from the start of training.
He’d known he would be pissed but was surprised by the cold way he was acting. After all, it wasn’t like Johnny was the first SEAL to leave the Navy.
The other man, Nathan, turned to Clint.
“We can finish this later, sir.”
Clint shook his head at them and waved for Johnny to come in and close the door.
“I think he needs to hear this, Nate,” Clint said.
Nathan opened his mouth to protest, but Clint stopped him with a look. Johnny didn’t know the situation, but he knew why the man might be annoyed.
Not only did he hate being called Nate, but he also hated not doing things totally by the book. But Clint was his commanding officer and, in the end, he had the power to make those sorts of calls.
“He’s still a part of our team, and I say he needs to hear this,” Clint said and looked between the two men until it was clear that on this issue, he was going to exercise his authority. The commander might play fast and loose with formality at times, but he never ceded his control.
Johnny frowned and took a seat in the office. With four large men in the room, it suddenly seemed far smaller than it actually was.
He looked across to Clint from his chair, the two men still standing to