We are what? Book Blitz
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We are what? Book Blitz

I never really thought I’d be that person—the one who switches school after a year because they’ve changed their whole career path. It’s not as if the change is because some big scandal went down. There was no sordid affair with a teacher, no cheating on a test, not even the slightest hint of any wrongdoing. The plain fact is, I quickly discovered the major I was studying was not for me. It took a while for realization to set in. I thought my plans were set in stone since ninth grade. Graduate from college with a summa cum laude, become a successful defense attorney defending high-profile cases in the state, get married and have kids. Now my direction has changed, and a high-flying defense attorney has been replaced with a nutritionist and dietician.
There is another reason for this change; one I haven’t admitted to anyone. I feel like I’m stuck. I’m floating around in no man’s land with a future I’m not sure I want anymore. The trouble with having a life plan from an early age is the risk of growing out of it. It seemed like a good idea when I was fifteen and obsessed with crime dramas. It’s only when you start hitting the books and going to lecture upon lecture you realize it’s not as glamorous as it seems. I quickly discovered the legal profession is not for me.
So here I am, leaving my hometown of Silver Lake and moving three hours south, where I’ll attend the University of Northport for the next three years. The Health Sciences department at Northport is one of the best in our state, which is the reason I’m transferring there. My career choice may have changed, but my ambitions for graduating summa cum laude remain the same. It helps that my older brother, Jude, goes there. Thankfully, I get to share a house with him and some of his teammates. Jude is on Northport’s ice hockey team, and if he wanted to, he could easily be drafted to the NHL. At the moment, though, he’s set on graduating and “conquering the world,” his words, not mine.

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Brothers all: Book Blitz

EVAN, I THINK WE’RE finished for today.”
My head lifts quickly as I meet her gaze. There is a look of pity masking her smile. She can pity me. It’s understandable. If I were in her shoes I’d pity the person I am right now. I chance a look at the clock and see that I still have a few more minutes. Maybe she feels how broken I am and needs time to regroup or find someone else to fix me.
“Okay,” I say hesitantly. I’m not sure I want to go through this again with another doctor, and definitely not a military one.
The doc folds the page of her notepad over and slides it into her desk. She smiles softly. “I’m going to tell you the same thing I told Ryley this morning. My schedule has been cleared this week so I can help get things resolved, or heading toward a resolution. My plan is to see you and Ryley together in the next couple of days to discuss what methods need to be implemented for both of you. My concern is EJ. You need to be able to bond with him and she understands that.”
She stands, coming over to me. “My suggestion, and I didn’t tell this to Ryley, is for you to spend some time with her. She’s hurting, Evan. While you thought everything was fine, aside from the fact that you were gone for so long, she buried you and tried to move on with her life. She’s making neither heads nor tails of what’s happening right now, but give her time without letting her slip through the cracks.”
My body sighs as I stand, as if it knows I don’t have to sit in that chair anymore. My feet shuffle toward the door, leaving the doc leaning up against her desk. “Thank you,” I say before opening the door and leaving the room.
The sun is bright and penetrating when I step out of the office. I have to shield my eyes quickly before I walk out into traffic. Once my eyes adjust, I look across the street to the park hoping to see Ryley sitting over there. If she were, it’d be so much easier to talk to her right now, although the thought of bringing her to base makes more sense to me since she wouldn’t be able to run away from me. Somehow, however, I don’t think Ryley wants to be anywhere near the base – not that I can blame her. At this point, I don’t want to be there either, except it’s the only choice I have since I’m not really welcome in my own home.
With only one other destination in mind, I text the guys and ask them to meet me. We need to figure out what’s going on. Each of our situations is different, yet we’re all experiencing the same thing. I also need to bite the bullet and call my mother. I’m not sure why I haven’t yet. I guess I’ve been waiting to see if our unearthly return would make the news, but so far nothing has been reported. Every time I learn another factoid about this deployment, I’m more convinced that it was not legit.
Pulling in front of Magoo’s, it would be easy to go drown my sorrows in beer, but I need to keep a level head about the situation. If I ask the wrong person a question, who knows what could happen? As is, someone high up has taken away my life. It doesn’t matter that I’m standing here today or not. I’m not the same person and someone needs to pay.
It’s a happy relief to walk in and be surrounded by friends. The bar stools are full of patrons, men I’ve served with in the past. Tables are thrown together to make bigger spaces and the same chairs are still here. An American flag hangs on the wall with various pictures surrounding it. All these pictures have been given or sent to Rick, the owner, for display. I refuse to look at the wall that holds all our past SEALs. I know the four of us are up there or maybe Rick has taken them down. Either way, I’m not looking, at least not today.
I’ve spent many hours trying to figure out what happened and answering all the questions I could. It’s very unsettling to know that people thought you were dead.

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