The night was dark as they laid in the grass waiting for the next sound. The people around them were yelling, though she couldn't make out what they were saying.
He held her close as she shook slightly, her head buried in his shoulder. "What's wrong?" he softly asked her.
"Memories, only memories."
"We can leave, if you prefer," he offered, "Others are watching."
"No, it okay, I will not let memories stop me from doing what I wish to do, being here with you."
Feeling her shake in his arms, he kissed her on the top of the head, "Tell me."
She closed her eyes and recalled the sound of other explosions. She remembered the past that she thought had been deeply hidden, but now it was resurfacing. She gradually spoke to him.
Lying all alone in the corner bed, the sounds outside the building had terrified her. The youngest in the dorm, others teased and taunted her. When she started crying from fear, they threatened to tell the head mistress, who would beat her for not being a true Russian.
Learning quickly that any little reason was enough for punishment, she laid there silently fearing the next explosion from the German's cannons. The cries of those outside tortured her mind.
It didn't take long to bury these feelings with all the other ones she wasn't allowed to show, now they came rushing back unexpectedly.
How he wanted to take those hated memories away from her and allow her to enjoy the same things he did.
When he was a child, he waited for holidays just to hear this sound. It meant happiness and parties. It also meant that his grandparents would be beside him for the day. This sound represented the opposite of the loneness he usually experienced with his grandparents on their diplomatic missions.
"Let's leave," he started to help her up, "I didn't know it would affect you so, or I won't have suggested that you come with me."
As he lifted her head to kiss her lips, another explosion ripped the air. Daring to look towards the sound, she saw a brilliant orange flower blossom in the sky. Soon a second explosion with multiple colors filling her vision, each color appearing as the previous one faded away.
"How can anything so beautiful come from something so ugly? I never knew that explosives could bring anything besides pain and death," she said as she drew herself out of his arms a little bit.
The shaking had stopped but she still held him tightly. Together they watched the colors light up the sky.
"I sorry this upset you. I often forget how different our experiences were before we met. Do you forgive me?" He held her face in his hands. Gently he stroked her cheek and leaned over to kiss her, "Shall we leave now?"
"No, let's stay. Just hold me. I want to share your life with you, your likes and joys. This is part of your history. Tell me more about it," she returned the kiss and loosened her grip on him allowing him to comfort her.
Together they watched the beauty before them. He told her of the his memories of parties and celebrations from his childhood.
He also told her about the one time he had been truly frightened by a sound as a child. "I was visiting New York when the EL train went over when overhead. The sound was a very scary roaring rattling thumping sound reverberating overhead," he told her.
She gave a short laugh and feeling the peace his arms offered, "You help me deal with my fearful memories, and I will help you deal with yours."
"Happy 4th of July, Napoleon," Jo said to him as she buried herself deeper into his arms.
"Happy 4th, Jo. This is one memory we shall always be able to share." Napoleon held her gently allowing his comfort and enjoyment to flow into her.