Below is another excerpt from my WIP Operation: Endgame.
This scene is the very first in the book and takes place 20 years before the timeline in the book. It's when Jake moved in next door and shows you the start of their friendship.
As a reminder, here is quick blurb about the story:
Jake's world fell apart when his best friend, Chris, died after his jet was shot down. Jake was in charge of the mission to recover Chris when he was shot down, but Jake failed. He failed a second time when he gave into his grief and passion and slept with his other best friend, Cassie, Chris' twin sister.
It's been six months since his world fell apart and he lost both his best friends, and now Cassie is in danger. She is being stalked and Jake is determined that he will not fail again. He will keep her safe, both from the danger that's stalking her and his own lust that threatens to overwhelm them both.
Twenty Years Ago
Jake could feel the bark of the limb cutting into his palm, but he refused to give away his position by changing anything about the way he was clinging there. The old oak tree was the perfect place for him to watch his new neighbors. This was his 3rd day spying on them while they played their war games and he was starting to understand their strategy and how the game went as they tried to capture each other’s flags. There were two of them that played every day, dressed up in camouflage, complete with face paint and wooden Thompson machine guns. Every once in a while, their older brother would join them, but usually he would stomp off in a huff after the two smaller ones tricked him and captured him instead of his flag.
At the age of ten, Jake yearned to join them in their game. His loneliness ate at him after being uprooted from the only friends that he had ever known and dragged across the country to this strange place they called West Texas. He had never felt anything as hot as it got here, had never seen a place so barren, and had never felt so out of his element, before he had moved here from North Carolina. He felt like he was exploring the wilds of Africa compared to the world that he had known up until just a few short weeks ago. Now he spent his time observing the local wildlife in two boys that appeared to be about his age from his perch up in this tree. He wanted to approach them, but didn’t know how. He had never had to work at finding new friends before, so instead he just sat in his tree and watched all day long. He brought along plenty of provisions…water and pb&j. His mother was so caught up in her own issues; she didn’t even notice that he was gone all day every day.
It had been quiet for a while and Jake wondered if the boys had gone in when he caught sight of one of them sneaking around the tree just to his left. This boy was the smaller of the two although there was no doubt that they were brothers. They looked too much alike to be anything else. The boy had his Thompson drawn and Jake could see the sweat dripping down the sides of his face leaving trails through his face paint. He wondered how they could stand those heavy camouflage uniforms in the West Texas summer heat. As if sensing his thought, the boy drew a canteen out of his belt and drank some water and, while his attention was diverted, the other boy ran up behind him and leapt on him with a tackle that sent both boys rolling through the grass. Their roll took them around behind the tree so that Jake couldn’t see them any longer. He craned his head around under the limb trying to see what happened when he lost his balance and felt his grasp on the limb loosen.
Jake scrambled to catch a good hold on the limb again, but it was no use. He felt a scream rise out of him as the ground rushed up to meet him and he tumbled out of the tree onto the drought-hardened ground. The two boys had continued to wrestle on the ground, but now they both stared at him in shock as he rolled on the ground in pain and tried to get his breath back. The larger of the two started to approach him, but the smaller must have decided that this was a good time for retaliation for the sneak attack, because he pulled his arm back and belted the other one right in the eye. Jake couldn’t help but wince in commiseration. That must have hurt, plus he was still dealing with pains of his own from his fall. He eyed the two boys warily wondering if they were going to turn on him next as an enemy within their territory.
Instead, he was surprised to see the smaller one smile at him and offer him a hand to help him stand. “Hey you’re the kid that moved in next door aren’t you? We’ve been wondering what happened to you.” He looked up at the limb where Jake had been sitting. “What were you doing up there?”
Jake mumbled, feeling stupid for falling out of the tree. “Just watching. Why did you hit him?” Jake looked over at the larger of the two who was still clutching his eye.
The smaller boy looked angrily at the larger one and stuck his tongue out at him. “He snuck up behind me and jumped me. That goes against the Geneva Code. You aren’t supposed to jump on someone when you have a gun, so I hit him.”
The larger boy rolled his one uncovered eye. “You are so stupid. That’s not the Geneva Code. The Geneva Code says that I can’t jump on you if you surrender. I sure didn’t see you surrendering as you slunk around that tree. I was just trying to minimize casualties by jumping you. You saw it, didn’t you?” The larger boy looked at Jake. “I was in the right wasn’t I? I beat her fair and square, didn’t I?”
Jake glanced between the two boys nervously, not really wanting to choose sides, but the larger one was right. “Yes, you beat him fair and square.”
“You liar! He did not.” The smaller boy swung back around and gaped at Jake, looking angry. “Wait, did you just call me a boy?” the boy screeched as he launched himself at Jake who was still sitting on the ground.
Jake was the bigger of the two so quickly found himself sitting on top of the smaller one, pinning his arms to the ground. He felt his jaw drop when he realized that the boy’s hat had fallen off and a tumble of long red hair had come falling out of the confines of the hat. “Crap! You’re a girl?!?” and immediately started scrambling back off of her.
“No duh.” She said as she stood up quickly and started brushing off her pants. She quickly grabbed back up her hat and started shoving all her long hair back inside of it. “I’m Cassie. That’s Chris.” She gestured at the larger boy. “He is a boy, in case you couldn’t tell.” Cassie smirked at her brother, taking in his blackening eye. “We’re twins. What’s your name?”
“Nice to meet you, Jake.” She obviously had manners even though her next few words were said with a sneer. “Since you boys seem to have an issue with girls, you better run because this girl just caught your flag.” She grabbed the flag off the ground and took off running.
Chris looked at Jake and sighed. “Hi Jake! Welcome to the team. We need to get you some gear.” He looked him up and down and gestured towards the twins house. “Then we will see what we can do about capturing her cocky butt.” He smiled.