Cold War Warrior, The Jake Michaels Story #19, Homecoming

Updated on February 19, 2019
DWDavisRSL profile image

DW was a Cold War Warrior who served in the US Army Infantry from '82 to '86, including 22 mos in South Korea. He's published 7 MG/YA novels


Picked up at the Airport

Dawson and Becca caught their flight for Bradley International, via Atlanta Hartsfield an hour before Jake’s flight to Wilmington via Atlanta and Raleigh. The Kuypers were long gone. They’d driven down from Boone and headed north as soon as the graduation reception was over.

When Jake finally did arrive in Wilmington, he was surprised to see who was at the airport to meet his plane.

“Franklin, what are you doing here? Where’s Mandy?”

“Mandy, uh, she asked me to pick you up,” Franklin told Jake. “Geez, man, the Army sure whittled you down.”

“PT and road marches will do that to a guy,” Jake replied. “Why did Mandy ask you to pick me up? Why couldn’t she come?”

“She’s probably at her apartment getting ready for your big homecoming,” Franklin reasoned. “Let’s get your bags and head on over there.”

All Jake had was his one carry-on with the civilian clothes he’d worn to Fort Jackson and his duffel bag stuffed with his uniforms. He was wearing one of his two Class A uniforms.

Jake lead the way to the baggage claim area. “Has Mandy got some kind of welcome home party planned?”

Franklin shook his head. “I don’t think it’s anything like that. I didn’t get an invite if she is.”

His duffel bag came around on the conveyor. Jake hoisted it onto his shoulder.

“Lead the way,” he said to Franklin.

Fifteen minutes later, Franklin pulled into a parking space near Mandy’s apartment. Jake saw his truck parked next to Mandy’s car.

“I hope Mandy’s been driving my truck once in a while. I’d hate to think it’d been sitting here all this time.”

Franklin said, “I’ve seen her driving it now and then.”

He got out of the car and opened the trunk for Jake to grab his duffel bag.

“If you need anything, Jake, anything at all, you just call me, okay?”

“Uhm, sure, Franklin, thanks. And thanks for picking me up. You gonna hang around a while?”

Franklin begged off. “I’ve got to get going. Big paper due tomorrow and it’s not going to write itself.”

“College is keeping you busy, then?” Jake asked.

“More than you know,” Franklin said. He held out his hand. “It’s good to have you home, Jake.”

Jake shook Franklin’s hand. “It’s good to be home, even if only for a couple of weeks.”


At the Apartment

Jake stood outside Mandy’s door for several minutes without knocking. He’d left his key to her apartment with her when he’d left for Fort Benning. A nervous feeling grew in the pit of his stomach as he stood there looking at her door. Jake’s hand shook when he finally knocked.

“I’m coming,” Mandy called from somewhere inside the apartment.

Jake could hear her running to the door. Then came the sound of the chain and deadbolt opening. At last, the door itself swung inward.

Mandy stood in the doorway and looked at Jake for a long second before tears started rolling down her cheeks. Jake dropped his duffel bag and reached out for her. To his horror, she turned and walked into the apartment, leaving the door open for him to follow.

Jake picked up his duffel bag and entered the apartment.

“I was hoping for a bit more of a welcome home than you turning your back on me and walking away,” he called out.

Mandy came out of the kitchen. “I’m sorry, Jake. I just…I don’t know…I…”

She began to sob and ran to the bedroom. Jake set his bags on the living room floor and followed her.

“What’s going on?” he asked when he found Mandy on the bed crying into her pillow.

Mandy raised herself on her elbows but didn’t look at Jake.

“I promised myself I wouldn’t cry until after I told you,” she said through her sobs.

“Until after you tell me what?”

Mandy rolled over and looked Jake in the eye. “Until after I tell you I can’t marry you, Jake. Over these last eight weeks, I’ve thought a lot about it, about us, about me leaving here and following you to Washington. I can’t do it, Jake. I’m sorry. It’s not that I don’t love you, I do. But I’m not enough in love with you to give up everything and move across the country with you.”

Leaving the Apartment

Jake stood at the foot of the bed staring at Mandy, feelings roiling inside him. She stared right back.

“I had a feeling something like this was coming,” he said when he felt he had control of his emotions. “Your letters lately had none of the feelings of the ones you sent when I first got to Benning. The way you answered my questions about how things were going with the wedding plans should have been a dead giveaway.

“Then, when Franklin picked me up at the airport instead of you… I should have just gone to his house and never bothered coming by here at all.”

“Is that all you’ve got to say, Jake?” Mandy asked, her face growing redder. “You’re not going to argue with me or try to convince me I should go with you?”

“Do you want me to?” Jake shot back. “Is that why you did this? You want me to beg you to come with me. I thought I’d made it clear that more than anything I want to marry you and have you with me for the rest of my life. You just told me you don’t love me enough to want to be with me for the rest of my life. You didn’t seem to leave any room for argument.”

Mandy rose to her knees on the bed. “Are you saying you’re not willing to fight for me?”

Jake snorted. “I’d fight for you, yes. But I’m not going to fight with you.”

“Then this is it,” Mandy said, falling back onto the bed. “This is the end for us.”

“Unless you come to realize you do love me enough to make a life with me wherever the Army sends me, then, yes, this is the end.”

Several long seconds passed with neither of them saying anything. Jake broke the silence.

“If you’ll give me the keys to my truck, I’ll go see if I can stay with Franklin.”

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 DW Davis


      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment
      • Eurofile profile image

        Liz Westwood 

        2 months ago from UK

        Neat plot development with a few hints along the way beforehand.

      • bhattuc profile image

        Umesh Chandra Bhatt 

        2 months ago from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India

        Nice writing. Human sentiments well depicted.


      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

      Show Details
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)