Bill and Julie are my favorite couple to write. I think because they are fun and sarcastic and for each of them, there has simply never been anyone else. I have the best time thinking up flashbacks for them and the more I write their story, the more I adore them.
Julie is such a unique character. She went through so much at such a young age and her tenacity and compassion is unmatched. She is also feisty and fiercely protective of her family; especially Jack and Tommy . I love how Julie grounded them and made them the family they always wanted to be.
Tommy and Jack raised Julie, but Julie made them live. She brought a sense of home and humor to their lives. She was a precocious 12 year old who needed a mother and got two 18 year old boys instead. It was the most unconventional idea and it produced the most amazing woman.
Bill embodies everything I love about an unconventional hero. It isn’t his strength or bravery that makes him heroic. It isn’t the way he never backs down from a challenge or how he is the first to put himself in the line of fire or danger that makes him heroic. It isn’t how he survived a terribly abusive father and an absent mother that makes him root worthy.
For me, it’s how he looks at Julie as if she was the air he breathes. He is vulnerable and open and at the same time guarded and insecure. He adores her and for him, there could never be another woman in his heart. His upbringing and the horrors he’s seen and done in war have made him someone who never takes a moment for granted. He is flawed and stubborn and passionate and loving.
He adores his wife and children and would move heaven and earth for anyone he calls family.
That’s what makes him a hero.
This first scene is when Bill called Julie first kissed. I love how slow Bill took things and how infuriated it made Julie. She doubted her ability to be who he wanted and when this scene happened, it really put them on a level playing field. They simply were “it” for each other.
They ate and talked and laughed and Bill looked at her and felt a sense of belonging, of family. He was a bit overwhelmed and he got quiet. Julie noticed and reached across the table, touching his fingers.
“What’s wrong? Did I say something that bothered you?” she had concern all over her face. He tried not to react to her touch.
“No, of course not.”
“Then what happened? I thought you were enjoying yourself. You seem upset,” she took her hand away and he felt the void.
“I am not upset, I am struggling with something,” he looked at her, seeing her need for him to continue. “Have you ever felt like something really amazing was happening and you were afraid you might miss it?”
She was trying to follow. “Maybe, can you explain what you mean?”
He saw the server come and he paid the bill. “Come on,” he said and took her hand as they went outside. They walked in silence for a little bit around campus until they came to some benches. He walked and sat down; she sat with him.
“Look, I know we haven’t known each other very long, but I need you to know something about me,” he began.
She watched him and nodded. “Okay.”
He sighed. “I like you, a lot, and I would like to get to know you better. I haven’t dated a lot of women, but I have dated enough to know what I like and what I don’t,” he looked down; not feeling like this was coming out right. “I’m sorry, this isn’t making sense. What I am trying to tell you is that you surprised me. You took my preconceived notions about women and what they want and threw them out the window. You don’t seem to care about things that most girls care about,” he realized that sounded bad and sighed.
Julie looked at him. “I am not exactly sure how to take that,” she smiled at him and took his hands in hers. “Let me make this a little easier,” he looked at her and smiled. “I like you, too, a lot. I think you are handsome and smart and brave, but you don’t trust that I can handle what you might be offering. You hold back because this scares you, and I just want you to know that it scares me, too. I don’t want you to hold back. If you feel something, go with it, if it works, great, if not, then it was fun for a while. I just think that if we are scared to see what’s there, we might miss something amazing.”
He looked at her and reached to touch her cheek, she felt her heart race at his touch and he smiled as he moved closer and leaned in to her before brushing his lips against hers. She felt the softness of his mouth on hers and she reached up to touch his cheeks. He pulled back and looked at her before claiming her mouth again, pulling her to him and relishing the feel of her returning the passion and intensity of the kiss. They both felt something profound happening in that moment and after they broke for air, he ran his fingers over her swollen lips.
“Wow,” he said softly.
She looked at him and was speechless. He took her breath away and she got scared. What if he left? What if he didn’t feel the same way? What if he was the one? He could see the thoughts running through her mind and he smiled.
She laughed. “Am I that obvious?”
He stood up and pulled her up with him. “No, you are just perfect,” he pulled her to him and wrapped her in his arms, knowing they fit perfectly.
“Just perfect,” she repeated as she melted into his arms.
The next scene took place in Germany and it was the first moment Julie saw Bill after he was injured. I loved their conversation and how she was able to take their relationship and put it in terms that fit just right for that moment.
When the two of them face a challenge, what can stand up against them?
Julie walked slowly into the curtained area and could barely see him through all of the bandages, tubes and wires. She nodded to the nurse who was adjusting the IV and waited until she was done before moving closer to the bed. The nurse smiled at her and moved a chair closer to the bed before leaving. Julie silently thanked her and finally made her way to her husband.
His blond crew cut was visible under the bandage on his forehead. He had oxygen in his nose but his face looked relatively normal. His arms were uncovered and there were cuts and bruises covering much of his exposed skin. She was unable to see anything else, because he was tightly covered. She felt her tears flow as she reached to touch his face, her hand hesitant to make contact for fear she would hurt him.
“I’m here, my Billy. My love, I’m here,” she said softly and leaned in to brush his lips with hers. She reached and took his hand in hers, careful not to move any part of him.
“Jules?” he said weakly.
She almost wept at his voice.
“I’m here baby,” she touched his cheek and he opened his eyes, their clear sapphire going right to her heart.
“Am I dreaming?”
“No, I’m here with you. You’re going to be fine. I love you,” she wiped her eyes, knowing how he hated when she cried.
“I love you. I’m so sorry,” he said brokenly.
“Shh, there will be none of that. You are going to be fine. I’m here and I will not leave you. You are going to be fine,” she stroked his fingers.
“This wasn’t supposed to happen. I was supposed to grow old with you,” he felt his own tears fill his eyes and if there was one thing she couldn’t stand, it was seeing him cry. She wiped his tears.
“We are going to grow old together. You need to believe that. I will accept nothing less,” she leaned in close to him and stroked his cheek. “Do you feel this? I’m all yours, baby. You have no choice but to fight for me and your son. I need you and you promised me a life full of babies,” she smiled. “You will keep your promise.”
He closed his eyes. “I’m so tired, Jules. I don’t think I can do this. I am broken; something really bad happened to me, I can feel it.”
She felt her heart break into a million pieces. “William, you need to look at me,” she waited. “Look at me right this instant,” she spoke forcefully.
He looked at her and she held his face in her hands. “Now I need you to listen to me. You face down an enemy every day and you never back down. This time, the enemy is here, in your face; and you will not back down; do you hear me? You are to challenge it and fight, and that is a direct order,” she leaned close to him. “I am fighting with you and together, we cannot lose.”
He looked at her. “I can’t move. I can’t feel anything. How can I fight?” he closed his eyes again.
She took a deep breath, trying to control her emotions. “Let me tell you something,” she waited for him to open his eyes. “When I touch you, I can feel your heart beating. I am not in love with your parts, baby, I am in love with your heart. If something doesn’t work, we will find another way. That’s what we do. We don’t give up or give in, we fight and we find a way,” she wiped his tears again, “Remember? What you see is what you get.”
He held her gaze. “What you see is what you get.”
She nodded. “Now all you need to concentrate on is surviving. Whatever else happens, we will deal with it together, as a family. You just need to live for me and for our son.”
His chin quivered as he listened to her. “I’m sorry. I don’t want to leave you.”
“Then don’t. Don’t give in to your fear or pain. You can do this, please Billy, you need to fight with everything you have. Please do it for me. I can’t live without you,” she sobbed as he closed his eyes.