USS Arizona
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Someone To Return To

Posted on 13 Apr 2022 @ 12:24 by Liam Knight & Lieutenant Isabel Castillo

Episode: E1: A Historic Voyage
Location: Knight Residence, Bremerton, WA
Timeline: Date 2025-04-20 at 1030

Liam sat in his living room with the TV volume low as he cradled a small bowl of Ramen noodles. He had spent the evening at his small workshop working on his latest project, a 1970 Ford F150 he was working on restoring for a friend of his. He knew that Isabel would be heading to sea in the morning, and she had stopped by his shop to say goodbye. It had been bittersweet, on one hand he had been thrilled to see her, but when she had left there was a feeling of sadness. There were several things he had wanted to tell her, about how much he cared for her, but he had chosen not to tell her for fear it would push her away. He had remained behind at his shop as he watched her leave. He tried to return to his work, but he suddenly found himself not in the mood. He had returned to his small house, changed out of his dirty work cloths and showered, and dressed in his usual athletic shorts and tank top. He closed his eyes momentarily as he leaned back in his recliner. He saw here there in his thoughts before he opened his eyes slowly and sighed. He couldn't shake the feeling that he had let her slip away from him. He heard a knock at the door and looked up surprised, he wasn't expecting someone so late. Setting his dinner on his coffee table, he headed towards the door.

Isabel should have been sleeping. She should have been back at the base, SUV parked in the appropriate lot, eyes closed getting the kind of rest that a person who had to report to a submarine at 5 am should get. Her brain was mentally ticking down the hours as it was. 6 and a half until she needed to be on the boat. That meant 5 until she needed to be up. 5 and a half until she snagged a cup of coffee and managed a granola bar. 6 until she needed to be leaving her car in the gated parking area...

Instead, she was standing on the small concrete stoop of Liam's house. She'd finished the gelato she'd bought herself and put the last few tiny things into a bag destined for her car leaving only the sheets on her bed and her computer. And then she'd laid in bed, eyes closed, desperately trying to sleep and only managing to see him. She'd thought maybe a good bye would help so she'd rolled herself out of bed, shoved her feet back into sneakers, and drove over to his workshop. It was a short goodbye... one that felt full of unsaid things, and as she'd pulled away she found herself wondering if she'd ever see him again.

It had taken four circles of the block for her to decide to return to base, collect all of her stuff, and then get back in the car. She'd packed up the last things, hanging her duty uniform on the hook next to the rear passenger window, and headed back to his workshop only to find that he'd already gone home.

Her tan hand darted out, knocking again. Maybe she'd misunderstood and he wasn't home? She crossed her arms over her chest, wondering suddenly if she was making a mistake.

Liam flipped the porch light on as he heard the knock again. Throwing the deadbolt back, he pulled open the door and saw Isabel standing there before him. He was momentarily taken aback before he gave her a surprised expression as he leaned against the door jam, "Isabel, this is certainly a surprise."

"Mierda," she muttered under her breath. This was a bad idea. He already knew she was leaving in the morning. She'd already said goodbye. He was not expecting her now. If anything she should leave him alone. She didn't even know if he'd be glad to hear what she was thinking. Still, her eyes came up and met his, conflict plainly written across her features. She worried her bottom lip a moment and then shook her head.

"I'm sorry, I shouldn't be bothering you," she said, embarrassment and guilt twin pillars in her gut. Her brain screamed at her to turn. It wasn't a long walk to her car. She could just go. It would be a bad way to leave, but she wouldn't have to deal with any possible rejection. Instead she shuffled her feet, eyes dropping to her hands as if she could somehow make her brain and body work together.

He could tell by the look she gave him and her body language that there was something eating at her. While he was surprised she was there, he was glad that she had come by. He stepped back slightly and motioned inside the house. "It's no bother, please come in," he said reassuringly as he gave her a slight smile in hopes of easing the tension that was clearly eating at her. As she passed by him she seemed to be avoiding his gaze. He shut the door before following after her into his living room. "You need anything? A drink or something," he asked.

She stood in the middle of the living room looking for all the world like she might bolt. But she'd come this far, and no matter how stupid she felt she knew that not telling him how she felt would be worse. And if it really was the case that he didn't feel the same then she could get in her car and go back and remake her bed and sleep.

At least that's what she told herself. She heard him ask her something, but she hadn't been paying close enough attention and she kicked herself for it now.

"I'm sorry, what?"

Liam nodded before looking down at his own feet for a moment. He looked back up at her again, "I can tell something's eating at you. You know you can tell me what's bothering you." He smiled at her reassuringly as he tried to put her more at ease. Rather than interrupt, he decided that no matter what she started saying he would not interrupt her.

God his smile was gorgeous. She felt her insides twist even as the resolve she needed solidified. "I didn't like how I said goodbye before," she said quietly, still standing in the middle of the living room. "It wasn't..." She stammered to a halt, one hand coming up to press agitated fingers through her hair.

"Look," she started over, "I am in the Navy. I serve in a submarine. Tomorrow... Tomorrow is going to be amazing, but it's also going to suck for a lot of the people I serve with. They're leaving behind husband's and wives. Kids. Some of them... Some have made decisions not to get close to people they care about because the leaving... It really sucks... Not just for us, but for the people who have to wait for us to come home."

He gave her his full attention and chose not to interrupt her. He noticed that as she spoke she seemed to relax as the words flowed. This had clearly been weighing on her for sometime. In all the times they had been together before, they had always steered clear of the fact there would come a time that she would have to leave for long periods of time. He was familiar with it, anyone living near the base knew that deployments came and went. He nodded slightly for her to continue on.

"I thought maybe it would be better to spare you from that. You know? Let you get on with life and not have to do the worrying and the wondering and the hating the long silences that everyone else's... people... have to do." She'd started to pace before this, but now she stopped, taking a step in his direction and meeting his eyes. "Turns out I must be pretty selfish, because if I get on that boat without telling you that I am falling for you I am going to regret it every single day after. So..." She was searching his face for something. Some kind of sign that he wasn't about to turn her away. "So... that's what I came here to say."

The impact of her words hit him and made his heart flutter some. He had known there was something between them, but this was the first time one of them had acknowledged it. He looked back deeply into her eyes, searching them intently. She was being sincere, and he could see she was worried for how he would respond. "I appreciate you feeling like you wanted to spare me from all that. But, if I'm being honest," he said before trailing off slightly. He let a small smile creep onto his face as he reached out and clasped her fidgeting hands into his, "I feel the same. I wanted to tell you earlier that I've been falling for you every day. But I was scared that you wouldn't feel the same, and I didn't want to burden you by telling you feelings with you leaving tomorrow. "

It felt like she had been holding her breath, afraid to move as he spoke. But when his own acknowledgement came, she let out a slow shuddering breath while her heart felt like it was trying to crowd its way up into her throat.

"I know you're in the Navy, and I know that means there will be long times where you'll be gone and we can't talk on a regular basis. But that's never made me feel any different about you. Its one of the things I admire about you. You go off to sea and do a job that not many can do and that's incredible," he said before he averted his gaze for the first time. "I just work on peoples cars all day. I never would've thought that someone like you would fall for a guy like me."

"Someone like me..." She repeated back to him, a look closer to disbelief than anything else settled on her face. "Liam James Knight," she said, evoking his full name for emphasis. She didn't know how to explain how very wrong he was in his assessment of himself. "I..." She started and then pressed her lips together in a tight thin line. "Oh, fuck it," she said before stepping into him, winding her arms around his neck and bringing his lips down to hers. Her kiss was not tentative, but insistent and urgent as if she could somehow convey what she wanted to say in words with the movement of her mouth against his and the press of her body into him.

Taken slightly by surprise, he wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her close as he felt her hands around his neck. He kissed her back with the same intensity, the act itself conveying all the meaning. The passion of the moment continued as he felt her hands running through his hair before the desire started to overtake them. He ran his hands up her back as he clutched her not wanting to let go. When they paused for breath, he looked into her eyes before giving her a slight smile, "You were saying?"

She gave him a look, but it quickly resolved into something fierce. "There are no guys like you," she said, tone insistent. "You're..." she sighed before lapsing into Spanish, "mi pedacito de cielo."

He smiled as he translated what she said in his head. His Spanish was not great, but he knew enough to catch her meaning. He pulled her back towards him and kissed her again passionately. Wrapping his hands tighter around her waist, he picked her up and pulled her close as she wrapped her legs around his waist. He carried her towards his bedroom, his dinner long forgotten.

They lay holding each other as they caught their breath, the moment before being savored by both. He held her to him as he felt her running her hand along his chest. He focused on breathing in her scent as he felt the warmth of her next to him. "I wish this night didn't have to end," he said softly.

Isabel sighed. The tearing tug of her internal countdown suddenly felt like a weight on her chest, reminding her that this perfect moment was fleeting. "I know," she whispered. This hurt. It hurt so much more than she was prepared for. It felt like she had only just gotten him even though they had been casually seeing each other for a few months.

She settled closer, fingers tracing down to his abdomen, appreciating the feel of his skin beneath her finger tips. "I have to report for duty at 5, but... I packed up all my stuff... I could stay... until I need to get to the boat."

"I'd love that. I'll be sure your not late," he said softly as he kissed the top of her head. They laid there for a moment before he rolled over slightly and reached down to tilt her chin up to look at him. "I'll be here waiting for you when you come back Isabel. Eres mi ángel," he said softly has he looked deeply into her eyes.

She stared back, caught up in his gaze and in the feel of him against her and in the way her body had decided it wanted to melt into him and into his bed and maybe never move again. Getting up and dressed was going to be hard.

For a long moment she fought the urge to tell him that he didn't have to. That she'd understand if he changed his mind because it was going to be hard. "You have no idea what that means to me," she answered in a near whisper.

He smiled at her and leaned down to place a gentle kiss on her forehead. He ran his hands up her arms softly as he focused on remembering this moment and saving it in his mind. He knew it would be hard for them both, but if they trusted each other, they could make it through this. He rested his head atop hers. "Do you know where you're going," he asked softly.

"I do," she said tone quiet and a little bit sad. "Our first tour is a PR tour. We'll go up underneath the Arctic and down around to New York then we'll return home. You'll probably see it mentioned in the news. We'll be back in around two months..." Her heart twisted in her chest as she said it. Two months. It was going to be the longest two months of her entire life.

He let that sink in for a moment. Two months until he would see her again. He knew that he would be missing her the whole time, but he was glad she wasn't going too far. The current political climate was definitely something to worry about, but a trip to New York sounded easy enough. "The big apple, you know I've never been there," he said trying to keep the mood light.

"Never understood that name," she said, appreciating what he was trying to do. "I got to go there over Spring break while I was at Penn," she said. "Maybe we should go sometime. See a show or something. Recreate some Rom Com scene on the top of the Empire State Building?"

"That sounds like it would be fun! But I hope you're ready to fight off all the other couples doing the same on the Empire State Building," he said teasingly as he leaned down to give her another kiss.

She giggled slightly before surrendering to his kiss, returning it hungrily as the thought that she only got so many more of these kisses before she left ran through her head. She didn't release him for several long moments, wanting to pause time so she could memorize the exact pressure of his lips against hers and the specific taste that was uniquely him.

He kissed her back before he pressed his forehead against hers. He just focused on holding her in that moment, feeling their bodies intertwined together. "For now, no more worrying about tomorrow. Let's be here together in the present," he said softly.

She sighed into him, eyes closed, breathing him in. "Ok," she said simply, releasing as much of the worry as she could. "Ok."


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