“Danny?” Steve yelled down from the second floor landing.
Steve walked down the stairs and walked into the office where Danny was finishing up some paperwork.
“You almost done?”
“No, but it can wait. What do you need?”
Steve pulled an old, folded and sealed envelope from his back pocket. He handed it to Danny.
“What’s this?” Danny asked as he unfolded the envelope. He noticed that it had Steve’s father’s name and their address written on the front.
“It was my… letter. I didn’t realize I still had it.”
“Your letter? I don’t understand.”
Steve sat down heavily in a chair near the desk.
“When we deployed, we’d each write a letter. Nothing official, just something a lot of the guys did. If something happened, one of the other guys would mail it.”
It didn’t take long for Danny to figure out what he meant.
“Oh, that letter. Why are you showing me this? What’s going on?”
Steve could see the change in Danny’s expression, and knew he was thinking the worst.
“Danny, calm down, it’s not what you are probably thinking. Captain James said that if I want to move past what happened, that I need to tell those close to me what I’m feeling and why I’m feeling it.”
“Wow! So, you’re actually listening to and doing what the good Army doc is telling you to?”
“Danny, please, just let me do this before I chicken out.”
“Yeah, yeah. Sorry. Go ahead.”
Steve took a deep breath, ran his hand through his hair, and then stood and started pacing in front of Danny. After two passes, he stopped and turned toward Danny.
“Back when I was still a Lieutenant, I was seriously injured in a foreign country. When I came to, I was alone. In my concussed mind, I was convinced that my team had abandoned me. That I was going to die there and no one would ever know where I was or what happened to me.”
He stopped talking and started pacing again. Like before, he made two passes and then stopped.
“Turned out that the rest of my team completed the mission and came back for me. They were never far away, but I didn’t know that. I couldn’t even remember what had happened. I was in the hospital for a month, and it took another month before I was back on full active duty. We lost two men. I made sure their letters were sent.”
He started pacing again.
He stopped pacing at the sound of his name. He didn’t turn back toward Danny, though, when he started talking again.
“When I was in North Korea, after they dragged me into the truck… I flashed back to that night. I realized I didn’t have a letter to send; that even if I did, there wouldn’t be anyone to send it back home. I was alone again, and no one would know where I was and what had happened to me. I was convinced Wo Fat was going to kill me, and there was no way that I would be able to stop it.”
Steve was so wrapped up in the memory, that he didn’t notice when Danny moved to stand right behind him. He jumped when Danny placed his hand on his shoulder.
“Steve, look at me.”
Steve slowly turned around. His eyes were bright with unshed tears, but he refused to let them fall.
Danny put his other hand on Steve’s other shoulder. Steve leaned toward Danny and they embraced each other. They stood there, holding on, for several minutes before Danny pulled back and looked up at Steve.
“Steve… I’m glad you told me. I just want you to know, that as long as we’re together; as long as I’m here with you; that you’ll never be alone like that again.”
“You can’t know that, Danny.”
“We’ve had this talk before. Nothing’s changed.”
“I know, it’s just that…”
“Babe, this isn’t something that we have to figure out right now.”
Danny turned around, keeping his right hand on Steve’s arm, and picked the envelope up off of the table. He turned back to Steve and extended his hand with the envelope toward him.
“No, Danny. I want you to have that.”
“Because it’s my past, and you’re my present and future. I need to move on.”
Danny pulled his arm back. “Okay.”
Steve engulfed Danny in another hug. Danny put his arms around Steve’s neck and kissed him. They stayed that way until they were both out of breath, and pulled apart.
“Babe, why don’t you head up stairs? I’ll be there in a few.”
“Okay. Don’t take too long.”
Danny watched as Steve left the room and headed back up to their bedroom. He sat back down behind the desk and shut his laptop down. He looked at the envelope. It had never been opened, and he felt like he was intruding.
He hesitated for only a minute before he pulled a letter opener from the desk and opened the envelope. He pulled the letter out and unfolded it.
I don’t have to tell you what this letter means.
There are so many things that I wish I could have told you. So many things that we needed to talk about. I was so angry when you sent us away, that I just couldn’t talk to you or see you. I was afraid of what I might say or do.
I know it’s too late now, but I really had hoped that we could have put everything behind us. No matter what, I still love you.
Danny didn’t know how long ago the letter had actually been written. He knew that at some point, Steve and his father had been in contact and had seen each other. They weren’t as estranged as the letter made them out to be.
“Hey, Danny, you coming?”
Danny was startled out of his thoughts. He looked over at the clock and realized he’d been there for fifteen minutes. He quickly folded the letter back up and placed it back in the envelope.
“Yeah, I’ll be right there.”
He reached over and placed the envelope in his desk drawer. He then stood and made his way through the house to the stairs. As he climbed up to the second floor, he thought back to their conversation. He knew that he’d do everything in his power to make sure that Steve never felt alone again.