Taking Chances

By: Molly McAdams

1





My face was stretched in a wide grin as I looked around my bedroom one last time. I was doing it, finally going to live my life however I saw fit to live it. I'd grown up with only my dad, and I loved him, but he didn't know how to be a parent. The only part he seemed to get was the word “no”. I promise I'm not just being a whiny teenager, that really was about the extent of our conversations. He is always around me, rarely talking to me and always silently expecting me to be perfect. Not that I could blame the way he is, he has been in the Marine Corps since he graduated High School, and apparently he's really good at what he does. The guys that came through his units respected him, and he always exuded pride for them. He’d kept me home schooled which resulted in me going to work with him every day and doing my work in his office. I learned early on that if I didn't understand something, it was just better not to ask. He'd look up at me from under his lashes with a raised eyebrow, sigh, and then go back to whatever he was working on. I was expected to finish by the time he started drills in the morning so I could go out there with him, but he still never said a word. The only interaction I really ever had was with his Marines. If anyone were to ask, I would let them know in a heartbeat I was raised by a bunch of immature jarheads that I adored, not my father.

And now, after eighteen years of struggling to achieve a perfection that couldn’t be reached in my father’s eyes, I was finally going to let loose, have the college experience – whatever that was – and hopefully find out who I am in the process. I could have easily gone to a college here, but to say that my dad was strict would be the biggest understatement of my life, and I wanted to experience things I knew I wouldn’t be able to if I stayed here.

“Are you sure you want to do this Harper? There are plenty of excellent schools in North Carolina.”

I kept my eyes trained on his. “I'm one hundred percent certain Sir, this is what I need to do.” Did I mention I'm only allowed to call him 'Sir'?

“Well,” he looked past me at my window, “it will be different around here.” He turned and walked out of the room.

And that's as good as it was going to get, to be honest, it was one of the longest conversations we had in a few months. Four sentences. It was surprising that he could talk to his guys all day long, but we start talking and he's out of the room within minutes.

My phone chimed and I smiled again, my “brothers” weren’t thrilled I was leaving for California. I’d been getting calls, texts and messages on Facebook since last night begging me not to go. Now that I was older and closer in age with most of them, the guys no longer tried to raise me; they saw me as their sister or friend and taught me everything I needed to know when it came to other guys like them. It always made me laugh that most of them preferred to spend time with me rather than heading off base during their liberty, but I think they liked that I wasn’t one of those girls that tried too hard to get their attention. Not that they didn’t like that kind of attention, but apparently I was a nice break from the rest of the women they dealt with.

J. Carter - ‘DON’T LEAVE ME! I’m going to go insane without you here to keep me company.’

Me - ‘I’m sure you’ll be fine Carter. Prokowski and Sanders seem to be taking it a little harder than most too…you can comfort each other ;) Or you can always take up one of the base skank’s offers. They’re sure to keep you better company than me.’

J. Carter - ‘I think I got herpes just thinking about them.’

Me - ‘Ha! Ew. I gotta go, Sir’s done loading up my bags in the car.’

J. Carter - ‘I’ll miss you something fierce Harper. Have fun, don’t forget about me.’

Me - ‘Never.’

Jason Carter was twenty and had been in Sir’s unit for about a year, he and I had become close quickly. He was my best friend and if I was on base when they had liberty, he was always one of the guys that opted to spend time with me rather than hunt down women with some of his other friends. I had always been sad whenever one of the guys transferred to another base, unit, or finished their time in the Marine Corps. But I’m pretty sure Carter would have been one that would kill me to see go, so I wasn’t surprised that this was the sixth time he’s asked me not to leave within the last hour. He couldn’t have said it better, I would miss him something fierce too. I glanced around the house I’d grown up in one last time before meeting Sir in the car. That house was definitely something I wouldn’t miss.

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