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The Welcome Wagon

Posted on 04 Jul 2022 @ 10:56am by Jonathan Demir & Liam Knight

Episode: E1: A Historic Voyage
Location: The Libretto, Poulsbo Washington
Timeline: Date 2025-04-23 at 0900

The email address Jon had been assigned as Ombudsman for the Arizona was open on his laptop. He was rereading the email Liz had sent less than 48 hours prior. He'd lost track of how many times he'd read it now. And yet each time he did his heart sang, hope and disbelief welling up. Had they really still been telling each other they were just friends days earlier? Had it really been years since the words I love you had left his lips? And now... Now...

He shook his head, rubbing one of his eyes absently with the tips of his fingers as he closed the email and opened the next one. He'd read this one shortly after it came in as well, eager to do well in the special role he'd been given as the main conduit between the families of the USS Arizona's crew and the crew themselves. This one was an email that had arrived not long after the message from Liz, but this time from a yeoman that he hadn't met. The message was brief and to the point. Lieutenant Castillo had requested a contact be added to his list of family. He read the details again.

Please include Liam Knight as primary family contact for Lieutenant Isabel Castillo.

An email address and phone number followed that Jon had already added to his records. He hadn't, though, reached out to the other man. He would be lying if he didn't admit to curiosity. Isabel and Liz had gotten close since her assignment to the Arizona and she hadn't once mentioned a significant other for the Texan lieutenant. It seemed like an odd thing for Liz not to mention.

Sighing, Jon reached for his coffee mug and brought it to his lips for a long sip only to find that it was already empty. He peered into it mournfully and then set it back on the des before thumbing open his phone and opening a fresh message.

Hi Liam. Lieutenant Castillo requested your contact be added to my list. My name is Jon Demir. I'm the Ombudsman for the USS Arizona.

He paused then considering what else to say, fingers hovering for a long moment.

If you have any questions or need anything please feel free to reach out. I'll be in contact with any important information related to Lieutenant Castillo's deployment.

He frowned at his phone, curiosity pressing him for more.

I own the Libretto in Poulsbo. Feel free to stop by any time if a sympathetic ear would be helpful.

Too touchy feely? Maybe. He wasn't sure and for a moment his finger hovered over the backspace before leaving it be.

Welcome to the family.

He hit send and set his phone down, reaching for his mug. He needed more coffee.

"Son of a bitch," Liam exclaimed as the wrench he was using slipped off the bolt and clanged to the ground. He'd been attempting to remove the steering knuckle on the truck he was working on, but several of the bolts had rusted and were proving difficult to loosen. When his phone had vibrated, he'd momentarily lost his concentration which in turn caused the wrench to slip. With a sigh, he pulled the rag from his back pocket and used it to wipe his hands before leaning down and picking up the wrench from the floor. He tossed it onto his rolling work table before he fished his cell out of the front pocket of his uniform shirt. His brow furrowed when he saw he had several texts from a number he didn't recognize. Opening the message app, he quickly scanned them before re-reading them. Isa requested my number to be added to a list, he thought to himself. While there had been more pressing issues to discuss before she had left, he'd never asked her if any one of her co-workers knew about him. He figured they did, but the nature and seriousness of their relationship he wasn't sure of.

With an upraised eyebrow, he typed out a response, Thank you Jon. I'm new to this sorta deal, but I'd like to discuss it with you sometime.

Somehow, even in the day and age of instantaneous receipt of messages, Jon had not expected a prompt response. He'd barely returned his mug to his desk when his phone buzzed with a new message. Maybe it was Jess. Of all of his family members she was the most sympathetic regarding his feelings for Liz. His parents, frustrated that he had given up finding someone else, mostly avoided the topic of relationships with him. Jess, though, still held out hope for the two of them and she knew he was usually a grumbling cranky mess whenever Liz left. So she was also usually the first to check on him, giving him a few days before insisting he get over himself.

Flipping open the message app, Jon was surprised to find it was a response to the texts he had just sent to Liam. He read it quickly and then smiled, a touch of nostalgia winding through his thoughts and he thought back to when all of the various and sundry bits of seeing someone in the Navy had felt foreign. He flipped open the keyboard and quickly jotted back a new message.

Any time. When would you like to talk?

Liam had been sitting at his work bench when his phone vibrated in his pocket again. He pulled it out and looked at the response. He thought about the question Jon had asked before typing his response. In reality he had tons of questions he wanted to ask, but namely it would be nice to talk with someone who had some experience dealing with it. He remembered what Isa had told him, that she didn't want to be like one of her shipmates. She wanted someone to come home to, and Liam wanted to be sure that there wasn't something more he could do to reassure her that he would be there for her.

His fingers typed out the response, I get of work at 5. If you send me the address, i can meet you at 5:30?

This response was just as quick as the last. With a quick glance at his phone Jon's smile broadened as he opened the app's keyboard one more time.


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