A Soldier’s fear coming soon…
~~ One ~~
Olivia slowly ambled through the treatment centre towards Dominic; her heart was beating so fast she thought it might burst open. As she approached him, he struggled to sit up comfortably. She glanced at his six-foot form lying helpless in the bed. She wanted to throw her arms around him and never let him go. He looked into her weary eyes and then turned away from her, “You shouldn’t be here Olivia, you must go, now, please.” Tears filled her eyes and began to cascade down her reddened cheeks. “Please Dominic, don’t do this, we deserve a chance, you can trust in me, in us. I will never hurt you,” she cried.
“One kiss does not change anything Olivia, what did you expect? The whole relationship thing is not for me, I’m sorry, but there you have it. Now, please, just go.”
“I don’t believe you, I know you feel the same way as I do, I felt it, I could not have imagined that. I don’t know what happened to you in the past Dominic, but you have allowed whatever or whoever it was to ruin you. I saw the look of fear in your eyes when you let your guard down. I saw you, the real you, briefly. We shared an incredible moment, one that you may want to deny yourself, but I won’t,” she waited expectantly for a response; however, it did not come. He was lost to her, for now at least, nevertheless, she was not leaving him without a last word, parting advice for him to think about while they were apart. “Oscar Wilde once said: Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.” She paused momentarily hoping for a response, but there was nothing. She sighed deeply, turned and wandered slowly back through the treatment centre with a heavy heart.
Dominic watched her form moving farther and farther away from him. He did not take his eyes off her until she had disappeared from his sight. He would not allow his resolve to weaken, he couldn’t, he gave his heart away once only for it to be returned to him in pieces. He would never forget the pain of the rejection by the woman he loved with all his heart. Since then, his heart had hardened dramatically, the shutters were down and that’s the way he liked it. Olivia Clancy was the first woman who had penetrated his hardened heart in four years, he had not seen it coming, she took him by complete surprise and it made him feel vulnerable again.
Dominic was 30-years-old, single and about to repatriate to Britain following his accident from a humanitarian deployment in Iraq. He had been part of a handful of SAS soldiers on a mission in Northern Iraq to gather intelligence. This was the first time British troops have been in active service in Iraq since 2009 when they withdrew from Basra. US Marines and Special Forces had already landed on the Sinjar mountains a few weeks previous. There were thousands of refugees seeking refuge in the mountains from the unsparing militants. The aim was to get as many of them to safety as possible. Dominic had sustained a severe injury to his leg, after losing his footing on the SinjarMountain and broke it in two places, the breaks were not clean, and so the healing process would take much longer. The breaks were so severe that he was advised by his consultant he would not be back in active duty for at least six months, due to the muscle damage also sustained during the fall. He would need daily physiotherapy going forward to get him back on his feet and into active service again. He was not in a good place mentally. Over the years Dominic had served in Afghanistan several times as well as Iraq several years previous. He had seen the worst kind of human atrocities over the years and survived an IED explosion on his last tour in Afghanistan. Over time, this had taken a toll on his mental health and he was suffering from PTSD, although he would not admit it to anyone let alone seek treatment for it, he had learned to conceal it over recent times. To him this would be an admission of failure and failure was not a word in his vocabulary. He dreaded the call of nighttimes, the darkness that shrouded his entire being, and the return to the war-zones in his nightmares, which gripped his emotions like a vice, each night.
Olivia had walked into Dominic’s life the day after he had landed in Iraq, she was a freelance war photographer and out there at her own risk without the support of a big organisation behind her. Dominic recalled the first time he had laid eyes on her and smiled. She was bold, feisty and very beautiful. Her hair was dishevelled and blowing all over her face, her almond eyes penetrated through him and he was taken aback. She had managed to persuade the convoy to allow her to tag along. She was in his armoured vehicle for two days and during that time, a mutual attraction was born. She was there when he lost his footing and fell on the Sinjar Mountain and remained with him until he was airlifted to safety.
~~~END OF EXCERPT~~~