11 Kaneohe Bay Hawaii - Monday

Captured: Dreaming of home

© Copyright 2008 – 2009

Written by Banzai Ben



Chapter 11 – Sniper School Monday 10 September 2007


Khudabah, Pakistan – Evening of day twelve


I actually got some decent sleep last night – as decent as a person can, being tied to the ceiling. With the lights on, only one rat came out, and I saw him coming. I kicked that fucker so hard that he splattered against the wall.


It was great having uninterrupted dreams about Jens. God, I miss her. Someday I hope to get back to her, but I’m not sure it will ever happen.


The fucking towelheads seemed to have settled on using the drugs on me. I’m sure that it's some mixture of sodium pentothal and opium, because I get pretty high from it. It's inconceivable to me that they don't know all the answers I'm giving them are bullshit. Perhaps they don't care and hope that if they keep me talking, sooner or later I'll tell them who I am. The only thing I’m going to tell them is how to die.


They had a girl come in late today and she took my clothes and gave me a bath, and some clean pants. She even dressed the rat bites on my feet and legs. She isn't Pakistani; she has almond-shaped eyes and a lighter skin color. She must be about fourteen or fifteen, and she is quite pretty. I tried talking to her, but she didn't know English and replied in a language I didn't recognize.


She came back in this evening and gave me as much of a tasty lamb dish as I wanted. Not knowing when I'll get this treatment again, I ate as much as I could without puking. I was able to find out that her name is Zarika and I told her my name was Alfred E. Newman.  I hated lying to her, but I bet everything I tell her gets told to the towelheads.


Then the guards came in and tied me up to the ceiling again. There is never just one of them. I think they know that the day there is, they’ll all die.


And they left the lights on again, so there will be fewer rats, and I’ll stay awake a bit longer to bolster my morale with thoughts of home.


Kaneohe Bay Hawaii – Monday Day Nine


I woke to the sensation of Jens kissing the back of my neck. Her body felt so good pressed against my back, I pretended to be asleep.


"Ben, wake up my lovely man. We need to get up and head back to the base," Jens whispered softly in my ear. I kept my eyes closed. "Come on, sleepy head, I know you're awake." I still didn't move, so she stuck her tongue in my ear.


That made me jump.


She laughed and nudged my shoulder. "That'll teach you to pretend that you're asleep. And now I know how to tickle you."


I rolled over and hugged her. "Good morning, my flaxen-haired tormentor. How are you this morning?"


"Now that you finally woke up, I’m doing great. You do know its O’seven-thirty?"


"Shit," I said, and tried to jump out of bed, but Jens held me tight.


"Oh, no, you don't. I'm not letting you out of bed until I get at least five minutes of cuddling," she insisted.


It ended up being more like ten minutes, and I realized that I really enjoyed cuddling with Jens, something that I’d never enjoyed with anyone else.


Jens nuzzled into me. "I enjoy cuddling with you too."


"I didn't say that, did I?" I asked.


"Nope, but I could tell what you were feeling," Jens replied and kissed me again.


This is going to take some getting used to; I've never had another person inside my head.


"Don't worry, my love, it seems that I can only tell what you are thinking and feeling when you let me. I had no idea about last night. Somehow you kept it a total surprise from me, and I'm so glad that you did. It was such a wonderful surprise," Jens replied.


I shook my head in amazement. "I'm still not sure how this whole thing has happened. Where we seem to be able to tell what each other are feeling. You do seem to be much better at it than I am, I have to try to make it happen and with you it just seems natural."


"Well, you did say I was a witch. Perhaps this is part of my mystical powers" She laughed. "I'm just kidding. I'm not sure how it happened, but I have to say, for years I've been wishing that I could know what you're thinking, and now most of my wish has come true. I think that you could do better figuring out my thoughts and feelings if you practiced."


"Well, if Dr. Donaldson can't figure it out, a poor Marine like me doesn't stand a chance," I said. "Hey, if you're the brains of this outfit, does that make me the beauty?" I started laughing.


"No," Jens replied. "I'm the brains and the beauty of this outfit, and you're the boss and the brawn."


"I'm the boss?" I asked.


"Without a doubt, you most certainly are. I'm not a feminazi, and I never will be. I'm perfectly comfortable with you being my boss. I'll do anything (as she rubbed her lower belly against me) you tell me to do because I know that you're such a kind and caring man and that you listen to me and value my opinion. Because of that I can totally trust you.


"I'm sure that you've been told I was headstrong. I was, and I needed to be until we got together. Now I can let go of that, and let you wear the pants in this family.” She brought my hand to her lips for a soft kiss.  “I'm not saying that we'll agree on everything. There will come a time that you'll make a decision that I don't like. I'll let you know why I don't like it and maybe even suggest something else. But if you say your decision is final, I'll follow you and support you in it."


While I was letting this revelation soak in, she continued.


"Don't you realize that I've already been doing that? First, I've honored your decision about waiting until we're married to make love. I'm sure that if I worked hard enough, or got you drunk enough I could seduce you.


“Second, I've honored your decision about me not resigning the Corps to become your wife. I was very proud of you when you made that decision for me; it was the right decision.


“Third, I've taken a rank lower than yours, and I always will stay at a rank lower than yours. Fourth, I love to serve you, to make your meals and to wash your clothes and to take care of you. I can be this way because I trust that you will never take it for granted. Shall I continue?" Jens asked.


I stared at her, opened my mouth, but couldn't think what to say. Jens just lay there patiently waiting for me.


Finally I said, "Jens, I'm sorry I’m so thick-headed sometimes. Now that you've pointed it out, I can see your devotion in the way that you treat me and in everything that you do. I'm not sure that I'm worthy of such adoration, and it makes me uncomfortable. It’s a lot to live up to. I can't promise you that I won't make mistakes, but I can promise you that I'll try my best to justify the trust you have given me."


She gave me a big kiss. "I trust you, my love, and I'm not worried. You'll always make the right choices for us, and I'll always support those choices."


"Then my first decision today is to get up and head back to base." I acted like it was an order.


Jens jumped out of bed, gave me a mock salute and said, "As you order, I will do."


I got up and started to get things packed while Jens took care of bathroom duty. While I was packing, I had time to mull over what Jens had just told me. Again she had totally amazed me, and you would think by now I would be used to it.


The more I found out about her and the more we were together, the more I loved her, I felt very humbled and I made a promise to myself to never take advantage and to never take for granted the trust that she had placed in me. She truly was the only woman in the world for me.


Jens came out of the bathroom with one of her million-dollar smiles. “There’s not a single doubt in my mind. It will be wonderful to be in your hands.”


I ran over and hugged her tight, picked her up, and swung her around. "I love you, Jens. You are the most perfect woman in the world." I gave her a big kiss. We fell back on the bed and continued our embraces and kisses.


Finally I said, "Well, we're too late for breakfast. I guess I'll just have to live on love."


Jens smiled, jumped up and went over to her bag and pulled out a ziplock bag full of Hudson Bay Bread. "You didn't think that I would be unprepared for little contingencies like this, did you?” She handed me two big bars. “I can't have my big, strong Marine missing breakfast and getting weak."


I hadn't had any Hudson Bay Bread since the Leadville race and just seeing it again almost made me drool.


I wolfed down the two bars, and Jens said, "Damn. You sure do like that stuff.  Would you like some more?" She handed me two more bars.


"Thanks, for this, and for taking such good care of me." I said when I’d swallowed.


"I love and live to serve you," she replied, and her loving gaze left me no doubt as to her sincerity.


Not wanting to waste time on the bellboys I said, "Well, the brawn of this unit better hump the gear to the car. Be a doll and call Matt and Molly and have them meet us at the cars."


"Anything for you, babe," Jens answered.


On the way back to the base, Jens was enjoying the top being down and the wind blowing through her hair. "You know, my fiancé, this is our anniversary. It's been one week since we started living together."


"I seem to remember that. It seems like it has been longer," I replied.


"So, any regrets about this last week?" Jens asked.


"I only have one: that is that I didn't meet you sooner," I answered, bringing her hand up for a kiss.



She squeezed my hand and smiled at me. "The time wasn't right and it wouldn't have worked out."


She was right. Damn. She's always right. It's nice not having to be the brains of this unit.


We dropped the car off at the rental agency. I think we were both sad to see it go; we’d created a lot of fond memories in it.


Then, we hopped into Matt and Molly's car and drove back to the base. They dropped us at our house. We said our goodbyes and made plans to get together for dinner soon. I humped the gear into the proper rooms, and Jens told me she would unpack it later.


I grinned at Jens. "Well, I could sure get used to that kind of weekend."


"So could I," Jens replied. "I want you to know that you totally spoiled me all weekend. I’ve never felt like a princess before. I can't wait to call mom and tell her everything."


I answered, "Well, now that we are back in the Corps, we have work to do first. We need to report in to the BCO and see if he has any orders for us, and then we need to do PT. Let's be ready to roll in fifteen minutes."


We changed into our MCCUU and ran over for our meeting with the BCO. "Sergeant Donaldson, I wanted to thank you again for all the traps that you set up in the training area. The whole base except for you two and your bodyguards have been using it all weekend. They've become much more proficient at finding and dealing with booby traps. I'm sure this will translate directly into lives saved when our men go into combat."


With that, the meeting was over. We stood at attention and saluted our BCO, then headed out to do PT.


"Let's go burn off some of your energy," I teased.


After the late PT, it was time for lunch, so we ran back home. Jens made us some lentil soup and grilled bacon and cheese sandwiches. I was so hungry I ate two sandwiches. Jens was smiling at me the whole meal.


Finally I asked, "What are you smiling about?"


"I love taking care of you and I love watching you eat," she replied.


"Thank you, my fiancée, for taking such good care of me. You've really spoiled me." I smiled back at her.


"So, what's next for today?" she asked.


"I thought we would play a little game at the training grounds. I like to call it, “snipe me if you can.” Here’s how it works: it's me against you, we enter at opposite sides of the training area, and we see who kills whom the most. There is still going to be training going on, so we also get to “kill” any other targets of opportunity, which will probably cause real havoc among the troops. Each troop kill counts as one. Each sniper kill counts as five. To make things fair, we won't be using our 98 Bravos; instead, we will be using our M4s.”


Jens said, "I can't wait to win. Let’s go." she jumped up and cleaned up the dishes while I went into the extra bedroom and opened the gun safes and set up the M4s with the sniper simulation system.


Jens came in after a few minutes. I looked at her and smiled. "Nice modification that you had done to the M4s. I always hated two-two-three. So what are these; three-hundred Whisper?


She smiled, "Surprise! Nope. they're actually three-thirty-eight Whisper, which is even better –  it gives you more range. I knew you hated two-two-three and while you will only get about five hundred meters out of these, that's all you should need with an M4. I sighted them in for two hundred meters. They're so cool to shoot – when you put the suppressor on them they hardly make any noise."


I squeezed her shoulders with one arm. "Well, my love, thank you for the wonderful surprise. I can hardly wait to take them out to the real range and try them. They should be great for today's training."


We loaded up the Humvee and drove over to the training area and checked in. The training RSO made sure that our weapons were set up with the sniper simulation system, announced over the tactical radio that snipers were entering the training area, and gave us the authorization to enter. I let Jens take the main entrance and a head start, and I drove around to the back entrance. By the time I got there, Jens already had four kills and the platoons were upset.


Normally, I would've just headed right into the training area, but my Jens is one sneaky woman, and I thought that she might've ran across the training area just to see if she could catch me. So, I took a couple of minutes to get ready, all the time watching the immediate area. My cautiousness paid off – one bunch of plants didn't look or feel quite right to me. I walked over to the training area in my ghillie suit, and right as I got to the entrance, I ran in and rolled, came up, and fired a quick shot. The M4 made a nice zing sound and nailed her a good one.


"Shit, shit shit," I heard Jens say in my tactical radio, "How did you see me?"


"Your ghillie suit is good, but didn't quite look right to me," I answered. "We'll work on it later. You have ten minutes to clear the area then I'm going to come and get you."


She started moving off, and I beat feet as far north as I could – I wanted to get to high ground before Jens did.


Shit. I forgot about the booby traps and one got me. Jens’s voice came over my radio.



"I guess you forgot about the booby traps in your hurry to get to high ground. Does that count as a kill for me?" She gave an evil laugh.


"Not today, Jens. Booby traps don't count," I answered.


She knew I was going to head for high ground, so I was in a quandary and wasn't quite sure what to do. If I headed to the high ground, she could be waiting there for me, but she also might plan on me doing just the opposite. I needed to come up with something totally random and I had to think about this.


I hunkered down in a safe place in my ghillie suit to think. As luck would have it, while I was waiting, a patrol started walking by below me. I jacked a new fake mag into the M4, started shooting, and all hell broke loose in the patrol. All eight died in just over a minute. I was rocking and rolling now and I was up by one on Jens, who had made another four kills. After I made the eight kills, I moved because my location was compromised.


The tactical radio was so full of chatter it was almost useless. There were patrols chasing phantom snipers everywhere and of course they'd forgotten about the traps and were getting killed by them.


Jens radio cut through on my private channel, "So, what's a Recon kill worth?" Shit.


"They're worth two each," I begrudgingly answered.


"I got three of them," she said. Then, "Shit, they see me and I have to move." Damn, she was now one kill ahead of me, there had to be some way to beat her.


The best strategy that I could think of was almost unheard of for a sniper. The whole training area was looking for snipers in ghillie suits, and that's just what I would give them. I went to the central part of the training area where five trails converged and set my ghillie suit up so it could be seen if you looked really hard. Then I moved off about 400m, dug in under some bushes, and waited. It didn't take long until a patrol came by. They weren't very good – they didn't see the suit, and I gathered in another eight kills.


I keyed Jens. "Twenty-one kills now. See if you can do better."


"Shit, you're ahead of me again even with the Recon kills. By the way, they're really good. Almost caught me. Be careful. Gotta go; I see more dead meat." she answered.


Luck was smiling on me that day; another patrol was approaching. By the way they were moving, I could tell they were Recons, and they were really good Recons. This should be fun.


One of them threw a hand signal and they all dropped to the ground. They’d seen the decoy ghillie suit and were sneaking up on it. Time to take them out. They were so focused on going after the decoy that I got all eight of them. They were pissed, but they still didn't see me.


"Ben, what the hell did you just do? The radio is full of pissed off Marines," Jens asked over the radio.


"Nothing much. I just took out the whole Recon patrol and added sixteen to my score for a total of thirty-five," I replied nonchalantly.


"Damn," Jens said. "You must be lucky. I have another five for a total of nineteen."


I had a good location and no one had seen me yet, so I just played turtle until someone came along and then rose up a little and took them out. It was like shooting fish in a barrel.


From the sound of things Jens was moving around, probably trying to find me. She ran into the Recons again and killed them all this time. I called her on the radio, "Well, that's a bunch of pissed off Recons. Don’t tell me you killed them all?"


"Sure did," She replied, "They were upset that you killed all of them and had gotten sloppy. That was nice; it brought me up to forty-two kills."


"Not bad for a rookie," I said taunting her, "Of course it's not like my fifty-nine kills."


"Shit, where are you? We only have thirty minutes left and I want to at least kill you once."


I wasn't going to tell her where I was, but I sure knew where she was. That sneaky little woman was in her ghillie suit and was stalking my decoy ghillie suit. Damn. She was really good, going slow. She had her back to where I was so I figured that I had a great chance, if I was real quiet, of sneaking up on her and 'knifing' her.


I slipped out of my hiding place and slowly started crawling up behind her. She kept creeping closer to my decoy, but I was gaining on her. Shit, that sneaky woman wasn't going to shoot me; she was going to knife me. She kept getting closer and closer. Finally, I hear her whisper in her radio.


"So, how much is a knife kill on a sniper worth?"


I replied, "Why don't you tell me?" I whacked her twice on the legs with my Ka-Bar, scaring the shit out of her. She jumped up, turned around, and saw me grinning.


"Shit, shit, shit." she swore. "You sneaky devil dog, you; your suit was a decoy."


I stood up, and, ding, ding, ding, my vest went off. The Recons that were stalking me and had just 'killed' me started cheering.


Now it was my turn. "Son of a bitch. I didn't even see them."


Jens answered, "Neither did I; I was too busy trying to 'kill' you."


The Recons ran over, glad that they had finally killed at least one of us. One of them said, "Watching her stalk your ghillie suit and then seeing you come out of your hiding place and stalk her was awesome. It was a shame to have to 'shoot' you but we're finally glad to have at least won once."


We all shook hands and parted, the Recons headed back to the main entrance, and Jens and I walking towards the back entrance. We were both pretty quiet.


Finally I said, "I'm pissed that I let the Recons sneak up on me, it was a rookie mistake. I was too distracted stalking you and I didn't pay enough attention."


"Yeah," Jens said, "Try being knifed by another sniper, in front of the Recons. I'm so embarrassed."


"I guess we both learned an important lesson today," I replied, "And I know I won't let us do this again."


Jens smiled, "Neither will I. So how many points does a knife kill count?"


"Double the normal points," I answered. "So I got ten points for knifing you, bringing my total to sixty-nine."


Jens gave me a wicked look, "Mmm, I like that number. I hear that it's so erotic." I realized what she meant and started blushing. She laughed. "You're so cute when you blush." That made it even worse, but it broke us out of our funky mood.


When we reached the parking lot, an LC told us that we were to report to the BCO ASAP. Shit. This is why I'll never become an officer; I hate all the political bullshit. All I wanted to do was head home with Jens, get cleaned up and eat, and then spend the rest of the evening holding her.


When we arrived at the BCO, we heard Brigadier General Thompson giving someone a real ass–chewing. Man, he was really pissed off. We waited patiently until he was done and then the LC ushered us into his office.


We hadn’t had time to clean up, so we were both a sight to see in our face paint and our MCCUU caked in sweat and mud. Shit, we were even making a mess out of his office. BG Thompson didn't even say anything about it as he started in.


"God damned son of a bitch, I'm fucking pissed off." Jens looked shocked, and I wondered what the hell we’d done wrong. The BG noticed our looks and said, "Excuse me; I guess I need to explain. I'm not pissed at either of you. In fact, once again, you two have done a great service for the Corps. I'm just pissed that two snipers were able to 'kill' a hundred and one of my men before some Recons got lucky and finally killed you.


“Ever since you two came here, you've been showing me what piss-poor training my men are getting, and I'm damn tired of it. I guess I've sat on my ass in this office too much. I have trusted my officers to train my men, and they've let me down. Today, that changes.


“I've canceled all leave for everyone, including both of you. We're going to have day and night training missions until I'm sure my men are ready to fight. Other than an hour in the morning for your PT and two hours in the afternoon for shooting practice, you'll be living at the training area, starting tonight. I don't care whether you want to work separately or as a team – in fact, it would probably be good if you mixed it up – but remember, we need to have my men trained by Friday if you two want any rest before the sniper competition on the following Monday. Now get out of here and muster any gear that you need. Report to the training area in two hours."


We stood up and I asked, "Sir, permission to speak?"


BG Thompson shot me a look that said I’d better not give him any shit. "Yes."


"Sir, first I want to thank you for the trust you're showing us in helping to train your men. Both I and Sergeant Donaldson were more shocked than you were. Believe me when I say it was no fun for us, 'killing' your men like that. I've seen four tours of duty in Iraq, I know what it's like over there, and I know how many of your men would needlessly die."


I thought I saw BG Thompson start to smile, so I continued. "Sergeant Donaldson and I feel that training your men properly is the most important job that we have."


Yes, the BG was smiling now.


"Much more important than our PT, so we will not need time for that. And also, Sir, I want to say that we're ready for the sniper competition, so we don't need the shooting practice."


The BG was actually looking happy, but I wasn't done.


"Sir, we would like to spend as many days as you tell us living in the training area and training your men. It'll be excellent training for us and will further unite us as a team. In fact, if we can't have your men trained by the sniper competition, then to hell with the competition – this is more important."


The BG actually looked shocked. I probably should have shut my mouth, but I wasn't done yet. "Sir, Sergeant Donaldson and I request three hours to muster all of our gear. We would also like to ask that we be allowed to call in to be resupplied." I was finally done.


The BG looked at me, looked at Jens, and asked, "Sergeant Donaldson, do you have any problems with what Sergeant Blaine has just told me?"


Jen answered, "No, Sir! I am Banzai's spotter, I live to serve him and I follow his orders."


He looked at both of us. "Well, shit. Here I figured I was in for a fight from both of you, and now you've done an about-face. I'm almost speechless.


“Banzai, (he finally simmered down and was friendly again) I don't know what has gotten into you. You used to be the hardest headed son of a bitch that I ever met, and you never wanted to train any troops. Now you're offering to live in the training area. I don't believe it."


He faced Jens. "And Jens, ever since I've known you, you have always been independent and it was hell getting you to follow orders. Now you're telling me that you serve Banzai and will do anything he tells you to do."


He looked back at me. "Did you brainwash this young woman?"


"Permission to speak freely, Sir," Jens and I said at the same time.


The BG looked puzzled and said, "Please do."


I started, "Sir, Jens has shown me–"


Jens interrupted, "–And Ben has shown me–"


We continued together, "–That we have both been foolish and selfish in the past with our attitudes towards the Corps."


My turn. "We would both–"


Jens continued, "–Like to apologize for the problems that we've caused in the past."


Again we spoke together. "We've both committed our lives, first to each other, and then to making the world better through our service in the Corps."


I started, "I'll be retiring in ten years–"


Jens said, "–So will I–"


We finished together, "–And we want to make this world as safe for our future children as it can be. The better the Corps is, the safer our children will be."


The BG was visibly shaken and sat down in his chair. "Oh, sit down you two. What the hell did I just see and hear? I mean, I saw it with my own eyes, and heard it with my own ears, but I don't believe it."


Jens explained it as well as she could to him and he just sat there and shook his head. "Well, shit," the BG said. "I still don't understand what the hell that was. But I'm not going to worry about it for now. You have your three hours. Now, go, you devil dogs, and train the hell out of my men."


We stood, saluted, left his office, and drove the Humvee to logistics to pull some more supplies. I caught some crap from the Sergeant in charge about paperwork, until I called the BG and he chewed her ass. Then we headed to our house.


Jens was all business. “You start emptying the gun safes. We should have everything except your personal guns. Don't forget the NV (night vision) gear. I'm going to get the laptop and the solar panel for it and start packing the MREs that we just picked up. Then I think we should both take a shower and I'll cook us the last home-cooked meal we’ll have for awhile."


We were ready in two hours. Jens went over everything one more time and said with a smile, "Well honey, are you ready to go on our first camping trip? I love camping, and I'm great at it. Wait till you see how well I take care of you. You’re going to be so spoiled."


I had never been camping with a woman other than my mom. I had no idea what to expect, so I hugged her and said, "You've already spoiled me. I could never be with another woman because there isn't any other woman as great as you are." I went to kiss her cheek, but she turned into it.


"You drive, honey," she said. "I want to go over some tactical plans on the way to the training area." With that, she was lost in the computer. I heard it playing the wedding march more often than the PacMan death song, so that was encouraging.


We reached the training area at 1600, and Jens took over. She told the RSO that we needed all the weapons set up with the sniper simulation system. He’d been expecting it and had an armorer there, so she must have called. She called me over to a table pulled up the maps.


"The training doesn't officially start until twenty-four hundred, and we’ll need all of that time to get ready. Here’s what we need to do." She explained her plans.


I spent the next three and a half hours being the brawn of the group and humping gear the positions that Jens told me to, camouflaging and booby trapping it. Jens had decided that for the time being, we would work as a team. Later, if needed, we would split up to confuse the enemy.


We had half an hour before the games began. Jens said, "Let's go to position alpha and set up for the start."


We beat feet as well as we could to reach the location in time. This wasn't an easy run because we were both carrying a full Alice pack, a 98 Bravo and an M4; we were each carrying about fifty Kg.


Jens led the way so we wouldn't kill ourselves in one of her traps, so we made it to alpha with about ten minutes to spare. We crawled under a ghillie tent that blocked all infrared radiation, so once we were under the tent, we were invisibly even to NV gear.


I set up the spotting scopes and both 98 Bravos. I had a scope and 98 Bravo on the two main entrances. Jens opened up her pack, pulled out her laptop and what looked like a small satellite dish, connected the two, and turned it on. It hardly made any light. She logged in, typed awhile, and got all excited.


"We have eyes and ears. Shit, they even have an AWACS up for this." She showed me the computer. "This is real-time tactical feeds from satellites and the AWACS that's been tasked for the exercise. I've passively tapped into the MILNET so they don't know that I'm intercepting and decrypting their intel. Uh, this isn't totally legal. Make sure you don't tell anyone about this, not now, not ever." She continued, "The exercise starts in two minutes but I figure the booby traps will take care of everyone for at least three hours. Let's try to get some sleep; the computer will warn us if anyone approaches within a thousand meters." She reached over and typed some commands on the computer and snuggled up close to me.


The tactical radio squawked, "The training exercise is now commencing."


Jens switched our tactical radios off and gave me a kiss. "Goodnight, my love. Sleep well; we'll need it."


"Good night, my amazing fiancée, don't let the bed bugs bite." We both laughed and settled in to sleep.