IN LOVE WITH A SOLDIER
(The warm home(1)
"I had been abroad for the past a few years until I met Mond and stayed with him. I intended to remain living abroad with him, but he wanted to return to start his business. So we came back." Jean explained with a reluctant smile.
Jean didn't want to talk what happened after her divorce with John. Those were painful memories and she didn't want more people to know. Luckily, only a few people knew about them.
"Oh, that's great!" said one woman. "Jean, you are so lucky to know Mond. I heard he's a nice person. Seize the opportunity firmly," another woman said.
"I will," Jean said simperingly.
After chatting with the group of women for a moment more, Jean excused herself, telling them she needed to meet up with some friends and left.
After taking several steps, Jean noticed John standing not far off. She hadn't forgotten his thin figure and after all this time, he was still as thin as ever.
A surprised John saw Jean at the same time.
Jean thought a moment and decided to say hello, so she approached John and greeted him.
"Are you here all alone?" Jean asked calmly.
"Yes," John nodded as he looked into Jean's eyes. He went quiet, not knowing what else to say. After a long silence, he asked, "When did you get back?"
"I've been back for some time," Jean told him. He had become more mature and sensible since she saw him last time, and his attitude towards her had changed, it appeared.
"How have you been?" asked Jean. She hadn't expected to be able to be so calm in front of him, because of the past they shared. The marriage between them had become a thing of the past. While standing here with him again, there was no surge of emotions in her heart, and she felt calm and indifferent seeing him.
"I've been good, and you?" John added, "Now that you're back, are you staying?"
"Yes. I will be staying here. I like the city and it feels good to be home." replied Jean.
"That's good!" John agreed, nodding his head.
Both of them went silent, not knowing what to add.
Jean felt the tension that the awkward silence brought, so she asked, "Well, are you still single?"
Since she'd returned, she hadn't concerned herself with asking how John was, and hadn't heard any news about him. So she assumed he hadn't gotten married. She just wanted to confirm it.
"Yes, I am still single. I'm used to living by myself," confirmed John. He didn't look at Jean; instead, he looked at a light close by. He didn't know when his heart had turned to stone and love seemed less important to him. Perhaps it was when Cherry left the city or the moment he had seen his fate.
"Are you seeing anyone?" Jean, watched John's face when she asked.
"Not recently." he told her.
Seeing John remain calm, Jean thought, 'I wonder if he is still in love with Cherry?'
Prompting her to ask, "John? Do you still love her?"
John knew exactly who Jean meant. In his heart, Cherry was the only person that he had loved. From the moment John met Cherry at the university, he wanted to spend his life with her. Life has a cruel way of teaching us when we are young and impulsive though, and he made the biggest mistake of his life which he regretted because Cherry left him. He never expected the price would be so high, and he paid for that mistake every day. Everything changed with that one choice, and it was impossible to go back now.
John took a deep breath, turned his head looking at the view to his side and said, "She is happy with life now. As long as she is happy, I am happy for her. Plus, my uncle is at her side, she will be safe and her life will be full of joy and happiness."
John's words made Jean realize love was not as important to him. The emotion in his voice when he spoke about Cherry wasn't love, but the care and concern of a good, old friend. 'So, why haven't I been able to forgive Cherry yet?' Jean's heart ached as she asked herself. So many years had passed, but she still hated to see Cherry living a happy life with a rich, powerful husband, and such a lovely son. 'What about me? I have nothing.' Jean couldn't feel at ease when she thought of Cherry still.
Seeing Jean lost in thought, John studied her. Jean's thoughts were transparent and he knew what was on her mind.
John thought for a while and told her, "So many years have passed Jean. Don't hate her anymore. It wasn't her fault." Jean remained silent.
After a long while of silence, Jean felt awkward standing there quietly with John, so she smiled at him and said, "I'm going now, thank you. I will keep your advice in mind."
John nodded, but looking in Jean's eyes, he wasn't sure about her meaning.
Watching Jean leave, John's heartfelt hope was that she could change a little bit. If she was the same as she used to be, she would never be happy.
Cherry finally found Jackson. A crowd of people surrounded him, and she was too uncomfortable to walk over and stand beside him.
Derek wasn't far away and saw Cherry. He walked over to her.
He was surprised to see Cherry standing alone off to the side. He asked her bluntly, "Cherry, why are you standing here alone? Where is Jackson?"
He followed Cherry's gaze and saw Jackson surrounded by a crowd.
"Cherry, let me get Jackson for you." Saying that, Derek was about to walk toward the crowd, but Cherry stopped him.
Cherry grabbed him by the arm and asked, "No, let him be. Do you have a minute? I would like to talk to you."
Derek was confused, but nodded in agreement, because he could tell Cherry had something on her mind.
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