Chapter Three

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     A loud groan wakes me out of a deep sleep

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     A loud groan wakes me out of a deep sleep. I sit up from my bed on the floor, looking around, as if that's going to do any good with it being pitch black.

I hear the sound again, though it sounds more like words this time.

Heading towards the sound, I come to my bedroom door where Axel is staying.

"Runter!" Low. Axel's voice cries out, clear as day. I open the door, going inside and shutting it quickly, in case my parents are lurking.

One foot in front of the other, I go to Axel's bed. The moonlight from the window lets me know that he's drenched in sweat. It's probably from whatever nightmare he's having.

"Axel," I touch his shoulder lightly. "Please wake up."

Without warning, I'm pulled onto Axel by my wrist. "Wer bist du! Was will du!?" Who are you? What do you want?

"Axel!" I cry out as his grip on my wrist gets worse, almost to the point of snapping a bone. Something must've jolted him out of this state, because I'm immediately released.

"Lucy?" his hoarse voice chokes out. I don't reply, squirming to get off of him. I'm out of the room without a reply. When I get back to my bed, I roll my wrist in an attempt to relieve the dull ache. Sighing in defeat, I do my best to sleep it off.

The next morning at breakfast is awkward, to say the least. Axel won't look me in the eye, either. It's not like I tried breaking his wrist. I deserve to be acknowledged, at least.

I take my plate into the kitchen to be washed by Edith. With my journal tucked under my arm, I go outside to the tree. I make myself comfortable on the grass before opening the book and writing.

Dear Axel,

You aren't like what I imagined. Maybe since I'm beginning to know you, I should stop writing. I can't, though. It would be like losing a part of myself.

What are your nightmares about? They must be awful enough for you to grab me like that. Maybe that's why I see that look on your face when you think no one is looking.

Is it from the war?

I may never know. After all, we are only friends. Just friends.

With Love,

A German Girl

"What are you doing, Lucy?"

I nearly drop the journal in surprise. Axel drops down next to me, curiously look at the book in my hand.

"Nothing, Axel." I unconsciously touch my wrist, where the night before had left marks on it. My hand is grasped by his, and pulled into his lap. He brings my wrist to his lips, placing a long kiss onto the bruising area.

What is this tingling in my stomach? Is this what they call butterflies?

"What are you doing?" I finally ask. He doesn't reply, just releases my arm. I kind of didn't want him to. What's wrong with me? The man almost broke your wrist last night!

"I'm leaving next week, Lucy."

I pull my knees up to my chest, not looking at Axel. It's not like I cared. All soldiers eventually left our house. They have a duty, and it doesn't include staying here.

"Oh," I manage.

He lets out a disappointed sigh. "Am I leaving here as your friend?"

I don't respond for a minute. Finally, I say, "I don't think I've known you long enough to

be friends, Axel."

He chuckles at that. It confuses me. Why is he laughing? "The very fact that you call me Axel means we're friends, Luce."

I roll my eyes, leaning back on the grass and stretching out on my back. Axel mimics me, settling down beside me.

"Will you write to me?"

"No." I see the irony as soon as I say it. He has no idea I have written to him every day for the last five years. Now that he's offering the real thing...I can't. I like the fantasy I've created around this man. Ruining it now would ruin the only escape I have in my life.

"One day, you're going to write to me, Luce."

"Don't count on it, Generalleutnant."

He snickers, standing up. I open my eyes, shielding them to make out his profile from the sun. "I'll see you again. Count on it."

"Yeah." I pause. "Unless you know, die in battle."

He mock salutes me. "Have a good day, ma'am."

I roll my eyes again, going back to my book.

Dear Axel,

You are absolutely infuriating.

With Love,

A German Girl


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