Disclaimer: This is part 2 of the Disparities novella series. So, if you have missed the 1st part, it is recommended to read it here.
Henry has found Lillie sitting on her bunk-bed in her tent. It was a lonely sight, no one was staying with her. It was Command’s explicit request for her to camp alone. The other nurses still haven’t received the permission to follow the maneuvers of the main troops, the wounded were transported back behind their lines when it was safe enough to move them.
Henry observed Lillie’s face, brows furrowed with worry, totally oblivious to her surroundings. There was no reason to be alert. Who the hell would bother her here when she was off-shift? Henry would be the only one, looking after her. Being her right hand, he considered it his task to check on her regularly. The others wouldn’t care because they found it somewhat derogatory to be ordered around by a female, regardless of her skills or personality or their direct order. Henry was the only medic who wasn’t offended by being assigned to work under her.
Henry forced himself back to reality and approached Lillie.
“What are you doing here sulking alone? You didn’t get invited to the celebration?” He asked her.
“I’m not sulking” demurred Lillie without any conviction. Then her head shot up. “What celebration?”
“The ‘We’ve survived today’s blood-bath’ type” he grinned. It was a pained grin after the day’s events starting with the enemy ambush where they barely stood their ground. Luckily they’ve managed to push back the enemy with heavy losses and sacrifices making their victory bitter. Thank God, Mark was still recuperating after his last injury. But in another few days he would be back in line.
“Oh, that celebration” Lillie seemed to remember being invited by one of the NCOs, but then made a dismissive gesture with her right hand. “I can’t go.”
“What? Why not?” Henry deadpanned.
Before she could finish her sentence, Henry was on his knees before her grabbing for her hand. His eyes were wide like saucers, almost making Lillie laugh. But Henry’s concern for her safety and well-being robbed her of the laughter.
“How? Where? Were you injured?” He asked, patting her down.
“No. Henry! Cut it out! I just need tampons, but I just can’t go get them right now… I don’t have an other pair of clean fatigues…”
And that was the exact moment when the penny dropped for Henry.
“Oh.” He said understanding Lillie’s distress. “Your period.”
“Yeah. My period. Got me a bit off-guard on the field. Fortunately I was already sitting in a pool of blood trying to save the Sarge. So no one noticed, me neither, not until I came here to clean myself up…”
“So was it unexpected?”
“You can say that. It’s almost two weeks early…”
“Wow… How can it be possible?”
“Don’t know. The marvelous environment, maybe?” Lillie flashed an ironic smile.
Henry didn’t feel to laugh. He understood his friend’s discomfort, he could even hear the wise-arse comments of the others grabbing every chance of mocking and bullying.
“Ok. You stay here, and get everything for you.”
He stood, and went to the infirmary, stepped into the guarded part, where the medical tools, bandages and drugs were kept. Grabbed some tampons of each size, cursing himself for forgetting to ask what size Lille would need. He tried to use his imagination and his limited knowledge of female lower parts, and prepared a lot of type of surgical tampons. Then he left the storage.
When going back to Lillie, Henry had taken a quick detour to Mark’s bed. He was awake, and he looked like he just returned from a short sanitary walk.
“Hey buddy” Henry greeted him.
“Hey. I started to think you’d forgotten me” he winked at Henry but didn’t do anything what could sell them out to other passers-by.
“Nah. I just had a lot of shit to do.”
“And you’re on an errand right now too.” Mark gestured to the direction of Henry’s hand grabbing all the tampons he got from the storage.
“If I have to guess, I would say you’re trying to save a lady in distress.”
Mark said it with such a sincere look on his face, it made Henry laugh. And his next comment made him laugh harder.
“You got yourself a nice girlfriend, by the way.”
He said this much louder letting his voice to be carried away to the others hovering in the infirmary. Then he winked again to make sure Henry understood that this was just a ruse, a play to throw the others off their scent. Henry stepped one step closer to Mark. This was the closest they could get to each other in the middle of a war. They must make the impression of two friends gossiping about the pleasure of having girlfriends.
“Actually” whispered Henry “I need a pair of clean trousers for her.”
“You can get my spare ones from my backpack. I won’t need it for a while.”
“Thanks man.” Henry patted Mark’s shoulder, just another form of innocent affection.
He went to grab the fatigues too. No one has asked a thing from him. There is nothing to wonder about soldiers helping out the wounded. Finally, he hurried back to Lillie. She was clearly edgy when he got back to her.
“Don’t tell me you doubled back to Normandy before getting my stuff…”
“Wow, someone’s being like a dragon right now. Will you incinerate me?”
“You have no idea.”
“I would delay the incineration, if I were you.” Henry told her thrusting the tampons and fatigues in her hand.
“Thanks a million, Henry, you just saved my life.”
“Well, what happened to burning me to ashes?”
Lillie shoved him gently but somewhat firmly to make him leave the tent.
“It’s you’re lucky day. I’ll let you live for a day or two.”
“I’ll be waiting for you then. And when you’ll be feeling human again, we can show our faces at the celebration.”