It’s June, 1953 and Lizzie Scott recently lost her brother, Seb, in the Korean War. When his friend and unit buddy, Jeremy McMasters, brings her Seb’s “goodbye” letter, little does she know her life is about to change forever.
Lizzie patted his arm and walked down to the place where the boy leaned against the bar.
“Hello.” She stopped a foot away and smiled. “I hear you asked about me. Do I know you?”
He turned his head, chocolate-brown eyes so sad she nearly cried for him. “No, ma’am. But I know about you from Seb.”
Her knees wobbled at the sound of her brother’s name, and the airman’s hand shot out to keep her from falling. The warmth and strength of his touch helped her to straighten and stand steady. She hadn’t realized that just the sound of her brother’s name could make her so weak.
“You knew Seb?” she whispered and sank onto a stool beside him. “Who are you?”
“I’m Jeremy McMasters, Miss Scott. I served with Seb until the day he died.” His gaze lowered for a moment before he looked at her again, an intensity burning in his eyes. “He was a good man.”
“Yes.” She smiled though her heart ached from missing her brother something fierce. “He was a very good man. He spoke of you in his letters, said there was no one better to guard his back.”
Jeremy’s mouth tightened. “Didn’t do too good a job of that, now. Did I?”
“Oh.” She grabbed his forearm, squeezed it tightly. “Seb’s dying wasn’t your fault. You didn’t blow up his Jeep.”
Jeremy stared at her hand for a long moment before shrugging off her touch. He reached inside his uniform pocket and pulled out a folded envelope. “I have two weeks before I’m redeployed, ma’am. I had to come here to see you. He gave me his letter to deliver.”
Lizzie shivered at the sight of that worn white envelope. The letter. The one all servicemen wrote to be delivered in the event of their death. She couldn’t reach for it. Didn’t want it.
“Keep it.” She jumped to her feet and took a step back. “I can’t … I can’t read it. Not now. Not yet.”
“No!” She turned and ran away to the powder room. When she’d composed herself enough to return, he was no longer there. She flopped down at the bar, distressed that the last bit of Seb, his last words, last thoughts, had vanished along with his friend.