Ahead of Janet, St. Jean performed the ritual and added “Yahoo” as he jumped. She wanted to take a step forward but her feet wouldn’t listen. Four seconds passed in the blink of an eye. PB shouted “Ric-a-Dam-Doo” over her shoulder and literally swept Janet off her feet. Suddenly, she found herself outside the plane freefalling into the night.
Janet couldn’t see a thing, nor could she feel PB behind her. Everything was black. She fought against the idea that she was all alone. The five second long freefall seemed like an eternity. Finally, with a lurch the parachute opened and she could feel PB and gravity, once again. A strong hand squeezed her shoulder and the moments of panic faded away.
Captain Andrews’ voice filled her helmet. “On target,” he reported, “with conditions as expected.”
As each of the others checked in, PB pointed them out to Janet. She was soon able make out four large rectangular black chutes against the slightly less-dark-black beneath them. The top of each double-layered chute had a small gray arrow pointing forward. The arrows were all aligned.
“This is Caboose confirming that I have a visual of the entire train.” Then he added a confirmation, “the train is on track.” After he spoke, PB pointed upward at the sky.
Janet looked up. It was as if she could see every star in the universe above her. “It’s so beautiful,” she gasped. They floated through the peaceful sky for several minutes in silence.
PB pointed to a faint glow in the distance. The chute arrows were pointed directly at it. “That is the city of Izmir up ahead. It’s the Captain’s first and easiest flight path reference.”
“Even St. Jean could find that one,” Billy’s muffled voice cut in, followed by some snickering.
“Now I’m not even sorry about putting Salt Peter on your fish tonight, Billy,” St. Jean piped back.
“When we get over land, we’ll observe radio silence and you won’t have to listen to these knuckleheads,” PB stated for everyone’s benefit.
“Do we have to wait until we’re over land for radio silence to begin?” Janet laughed.
“Hey, I resent that,” St. Jean sputtered and again laughter followed.
The glow from Izmir was getting brighter. Soon individual lights would become visible.
An inspiration hit PB. He decided that the time was right; he didn’t need a waterfall. It was such a beautiful night and he had the woman he loved right in front of him. He felt like it was now or never.
“Janet,” he paused collecting his thoughts, “I’ve never felt about anyone the way I feel about you. I love you with all my heart. I know that we are living crazy lives right now. You live in London and I’m in Canada, when we aren’t hanging over the coast of Turkey or chasing bad guys across rooftops or through sewers. The logistics aren’t exactly ideal and I’m not sure how we would make it all work...”
A few very quiet seconds drifted by as he decided how to proceed.
“Just pop the damn question,” Captain Andrews cut in. “That’s an order, soldier!”
“Yes, Sir,” PB answered and then asked the million dollar question. “Janet Porter, will you marry me?”
“Well,” she answered slowly, “you’ve put me in a very awkward position Sergeant Reese.”
“Oh, no,” slipped out of Bobby’s mouth before he could stop it.
“Because, I really want to kiss you right now!” she added.
All five men let out a collective sigh of relief.
“Of course, I’ll marry you! I love you with all my heart, PB!”
After several congratulations were exchanged the Captain brought the focus back to the mission. The shoreline was no more than a mile ahead. “Let’s get back to the job at hand everyone.”
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