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something built of the words you've said to me

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Thomas was two hundred miles east of Tangiers in some no-name desert when he got closer than he liked to an IED.

 

Everything was suddenly ringing sound and then there was nothing but ringing silence.

 

Thomas' life didn't flash before his eyes.

 

As he flew back, blown off his feet by the blast, he had this crystal-clear image of the last text Kara had sent him.

 

Watch your six. Come home safe. I love you.

 

All correctly punctuated, all spelled out. Thomas was pretty sure the only time Kara abbreviated was when she had to encode or decode something. Abbreviations only when absolutely required.

 

What had his response been? He couldn't remember.

 

xoxo 

 

i<3 u.

 

tit pic plx?

 

All possible. It drove Kara crazy, his lackadaisical approach to texting. What could he say? He liked to save his eloquence for face-to-face, for when he told Kara a hundred poetic, romantic truths, and she didn't believe a single one. Or skin to skin, writing love-declarations on her clit with his tongue, feeling her fall apart under him.

 

He hit the ground.

 

For several endless moments, his body refused to react. He rolled his head to the side, spotted the pieces of the other merc who'd triggered the explosion, the ruptured earth.

 

Then, finally, he was able to suck air into his lungs, almost gagging on it. He rolled onto his belly, spit sand and blood out of his mouth, and kept breathing.