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Soup Sandwich
Author: Giulia Lagomarsino









7 years ago…


The wheels touched down, jolting me awake. I was so fucking tired after the bumpy ride back to the United States. After an entire fucking year of being deployed, I was ready to lay down in bed and sleep for a good week.

“Finally,” Bowie sighed next to me.

“Yeah,” I grunted. “It’s been really rough on you.”

“Hey, you’re the dumb fuck that agreed to extend his tour.” He shook his head at me. “You have a wife at home. Why the fuck would you not take leave?”

“The money was good,” I said, shrugging as if that was the only reason I chose to accept the offer.

The truth was, the money was good, but I didn’t want to take leave. I rushed into a marriage because the girl I fucked a few months before I deployed showed up pregnant. Hell, I wasn’t even sure the baby was mine, but I wouldn’t be the jackass that backed out of my responsibilities. Because if there was even the slightest chance I was that kid’s father, I had to do right by him. There were no guarantees that I would come back from any mission. So, the minute she told me she was pregnant, the only thing I could think to do was marry her and make sure the kid was provided for in case I didn’t come home.

“Still, you haven’t even met your kid yet. Aren’t you excited?”

The doors opened, giving me a reprieve from answering. I hauled my pack onto my back and stretched out the kinks.

“Duke,” Bowie clapped me on the shoulder, a look of concern on his face. “What’s going on?”

He could always read me like a book, but these thoughts were only for me. “Nothing. Just tired. It’s been a long fucking tour.”

His grin made even my crabby ass smile. “Then let’s get the fuck out of here. I need a steak and at least a six pack.”

I nodded and got in line to deplane. I braced for Carolyn to be waiting at the gate, my kid on her hip. My heart was racing at the thought that this was my new reality. I was going to be a father, not by choice, and definitely not by a woman I loved. But I made my bed, and now I had to lie in it.

I licked my lips as I stared into the distance. The sun made it impossible to see who was waiting. Within minutes of us getting off the plane, families started racing to their loved ones. But soon, those families had all reconciled, and I stood there with Bowie, neither of us having anyone waiting for us. Bowie knew no one would be there. He didn’t have any family, and rarely dated anyone. So, there was no surprise there, but Carolyn not showing up was a surprise.

Bowie clapped me on the shoulder, directing me to the main building. “Come on. Let’s go debrief so we can get the fuck out of here.”

The debrief would take hours, which only gave me time to stew in my own thoughts. Maybe she hadn’t gotten my letter. Snail mail was how I usually contacted her, mostly because I didn’t want to be caught off guard on the phone with no idea what to say to her. The last time we talked, she mentioned something about an old boyfriend that kept calling her, but I thought she was trying to make me jealous. I hardly knew her, so getting jealous wasn’t going to happen.

When all was said and done, we headed out to the parking lot. Bowie still had his truck here, so I hitched a ride with him. My stomach was twisted in knots at this point, and we had several hours to drive before we’d get home.

“You sticking around?” I asked, hoping he’d say yes.

“I don’t know. Haven’t decided yet.” He glanced over at me. “Are you sure you want out?”

“I put in the paperwork a year ago. Nothing’s changed for me.”

“Because of the wife and kid,” he nodded.

“I guess.”

I stared out the window, but I could feel his eyes on me. “You know, it was a quickie marriage, and now that you’re out…it’s not like the danger is still there.”


“Meaning you can provide for your kid without worrying about getting your ass shot off halfway around the world. If this isn’t what you want, get a fucking divorce. Life is too short.”

“And be the asshole that deployed for a year and then came home and divorced her before ever meeting my kid?”

“If it’s your kid,” he clarified. “I can’t believe you didn’t ask for a paternity test.”

“There wasn’t exactly time. I needed to make sure she had what she needed before I left.”

He shook his head at me. “Man, I admire you for wanting to take that on and do the right thing, but you’ve barely heard from her in months.”

Three months, to be exact. She hadn’t bothered to respond to any of my letters. Hell, maybe she was fed up with me for not having the balls to call her. I couldn’t blame her for being pissed. I missed the birth of the kid and everything. Just because I tried to do right by them didn’t make me a standup guy.

Bowie pulled into my driveway and I shook my head at how shitty it all looked. “Couldn’t she have hired someone to take care of the lawn?” Bowie asked.

The grass was overgrown and the house looked abandoned. My gut churned with worry as I flung the door open and got out of his truck, not bothering to grab my shit. Shoving the key in the lock, I opened the door and stared at the mess. The house was fucking trashed, and the smell of takeout containers was worse. I walked over and picked one up, grimacing at the mold coating the inside.

“Holy fuck,” Bowie said as he walked inside. “What the fuck happened here?”

I held out the container to him. “By the looks of it, she’s been gone for a while.”

He frowned. “She was living like this with the kid? Why?”

I shook my head. I didn’t understand it either. “She had plenty of money. She could have hired a maid.”

I walked through the house, shaking my head at the destruction all around me. A hole in the wall…glasses broken on the counter…I headed for the bedroom and flung open the closet door. All her things were still hanging inside.

“Bowie!” I called out.

He came ambling in, staring at the closet with me. “She left her shit behind?”

“That doesn’t make sense. Why?”

“What about the kid?”

I took off for the baby’s room, unsurprised to find a lot of stuff left behind. “Most of this stuff wouldn’t fit him anymore,” I said, looking at the tags on the clothes.

“You want to call the police?” Bowie asked.

I stared around the house, unsure of what to make of it. “Let me talk to Jenna. She’ll know what’s going on.”

“The aunt?” Bowie asked.

I nodded. “They weren’t exactly close, but she should have some idea of what happened.”

I headed back to the kitchen, sighing at the mess. That’s when I saw the note. I opened it up and read the short, but simple Fuck You.



I couldn’t do it to you anymore. The baby isn’t yours.



“What the fuck?” I said, shaking my head in disbelief.

“What is it?”

I handed over the note, watching the surprise fill Bowie’s face. “Is she fucking serious? She married you knowing the kid wasn’t yours?”

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