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Wounded Hero

Wounded Hero

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He doesn’t have anything to offer.
She’s going to prove him wrong.
This past year has been the worst of my life.
I’m not the same man that I used to be. I’m not whole.

Main Tropes

  • Protective Man
  • Curvy Woman
  • Wounded Military Hero
  • OTT
  • All the Feels

Synopsis

He doesn’t have anything to offer.

She’s going to prove him wrong.

This past year has been the worst of my life.

I’m not the same man that I used to be. I’m not whole.

Besides my own pain, I’ve hurt my kids and my wife of twenty years.

I can’t let her touch mehold me... love me.

I try to push her away because they’re all better off without me.

But even knowing that is true... I’m weak.

I can’t live without her.

I know I have to do better.

I’m going to do whatever I have to do to be the man she needs.

Because I may have lost a part of me, but it’s her that makes me whole.

Intro to Chapter 1

Chapter 1

PEGGY

I can’t lose him. I can’t. This past year has been the worst of my life. Heck, our whole family’s life. I’ve wanted to give up so many times, but the love I have for my husband and our kids is the only thing that holds me together.

I just want to be happy. I want my husband to hold me and tell me he loves me and it’s going to be okay. But I know it’s not going to happen, at least not anytime soon. My husband of twenty years can’t stand to be touched. He’s so down on himself, and I don’t know if he’s ever going to be the same again. I try not to let my
insecurities surface, but it’s almost impossible. He has no interest in me... in our kids. It’s like he’s already given up on us. Somehow, someway, I have to
show him that I love him no matter what. That even though he’s in a wheelchair or wearing his prosthetic legs, he’s still my husband, and I love him. I can’t
lose him.

I’ve got a thousand things to do, and while I am used to shouldering most of it on my own, I know I need to start finding a way to include Jeremy in our day-to-day lives. I’m used to doing it all. For most of our married life he would be gone months at a time
when he would get the call for duty, and I am very capable of doing things on my own. But now that Jeremy’s home, I need to push him to help me and show him how much his family needs him. He’s hurting, and he pushes me and the kids
away, but I’m not giving up. I just have to find a way to reach him.

I’ve told myself it takes time and to be patient. It kills me that he’s pulled so far away from us, but I keep reminding myself that it’s not always going to be like this. Sure,
it feels like forever, but the truth is, it’s only been a year since the bomb killed his army brother, injured his friends, and took his legs. So that really
isn’t very long in the whole scheme of things. All I can do is pray that the therapy Jeremy is going to helps. It’s bound to get better. It has to because I can’t imagine it getting worse.

I’m afraid he’s killing the relationship he has with our kids. They’re both to the point now where they find it easier to just avoid him than to keep trying to include him in their lives. It’s time I intervene. I have to, for the sake of our children.
They need their dad.

I’m nervous as I sit outside the therapy office where Jeremy goes for counseling. I’ve offered to come with him numerous times, but he has flat-out told me he doesn’t want me here. I shake my head at the memory. He might as well have slapped me in the face for how much his words hurt me. But just like with everything else, I clammed
up, didn’t say a word, and went along with his request. I know he doesn’t want me here because he doesn’t want me to see him any more vulnerable than he’s already had to be. He wants me to see him as the same strong man he was before the explosion. At least, that’s what I believe the reason is.

I walk into the office, and the secretary is away from the desk. I debate knocking on the door. His appointment should be over any time, and I really need to get to work. I look between the door and the empty desk for a few seconds before finally saying heck with it. The fact remains that Jeremy is my husband. It shouldn’t
be a problem for me to just stop in and give him a message. With that thought
fresh in my mind, I knock soundly on the door.

A woman opens it, and she’s so young and beautiful it makes me take a step back. I can’t be in the right place. How could someone so young, so innocent looking be helpful to a veteran trying to recover from such violence and loss?

“I’m sorry. I was looking for Dr. Greening and my husband, Jeremy Kilburn.”

The woman smiles at me and opens the door a little wider. “You’re in the right place.” She opens her hand toward the room, gesturing for me to come inside. Jeremy is in his chair parked closer to the chair that Dr. Greening clearly uses than the couch where her other patients must sit.

Jeremy looks surprised to see me, and his face is red as if he’s embarrassed or a little guilty. I chance another glance at Dr. Greening in her slim skirt and fitted dress shirt. I barely hold back a flinch when I think how I must look in my scrubs. No doubt frumpy compared to her. Jeremy still hasn’t said anything to me, and it’s then I decide it is no doubt guilt that is on his face.

“I didn’t mean to interrupt,” I say, not wanting to enter farther into the room than I’ve already stepped. “You said you’d be done with your session, and I wanted to catch you afterward. I need your help with the twins. They are scheduled to take their tests
at the DMV for their learners’ permits in an hour, and I can’t take them. I got called into work.”

Jeremy looks uncomfortable. Dr. Greening, who has returned to her chair close to Jeremy’s,
reaches out and squeezes his hand. It’s like a punch to the gut, and I inhale deeply. The way she’s turned toward Jeremy, the way she’s looking at him, the worried look on her face, it’s obvious she’s attracted to him and cares deeply for him.

But probably what’s worse is knowing that Jeremy allows the contact, allows this Dr. Greening to touch him. It’s more than he’s allowed me to have with him. His face is so red,
he’s probably angry that I’m here, and it makes me feel even more rejected and betrayed. He grunts his displeasure at me. “A text message would’ve worked.
I’ll take them.”

It would’ve worked if you answered your phone, I think, but I don’t say out loud. I’m so overcome with emotion that I can’t look at Jeremy anymore, not without crying.

I have to walk into
the room, and I do so quickly. I lay the paperwork on the table next to him
because even touching him to hand him papers will cause him to tense up. I know that. “Here’s the paperwork you’ll need.”

But the whole time, I can’t look at my husband of twenty years. I know that I’ll get that same
distant look. That’s the only one he gives me anymore. Instead, I look at Dr. Greening.

The good doctor smiles at me. “If you have the time, you’re welcome to stay. I’ve been wanting to meet you.”

I try to smile at her, but I’m sure it looks more like a cringe. She’s more welcoming and inviting to me than my own husband. “No thank you. I really do have to go. I’m sorry to have interrupted your session.”

Dr. Greening starts to say something, but I don’t stick around to find out what it is. I pull the door shut without another glance at Jeremy. Being rejected by him weighs
heavily on me as I walk back to my car. I can’t keep doing this. My positive attitude from before is gone, and now all I can do is wonder where we go from here.

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