19 Kaneohe Bay Hawaii - Tuesday

Captured: Dreaming of home

© Copyright 2008 – 2009

Written by Banzai Ben

ben@banzaiben.com

 

Chapter 19 – Sniper Competition Tuesday 18 September 2007

 

Khudabah, Pakistan – Morning of day twenty

 

I didn’t sleep as well last night because of my hunger and I still have the headache and the stiffness. Damn, I’m pissed at Mustif, that son of a bitch. I can’t stand it when women are mistreated, and it’s even worse when they're young like Zarika.

 

Ah, the guards are coming to take me to the cell. Damn. There are always three of them, and they always have rifles. It’s useless for me to resist with those odds; my goal has to be to survive and look for an opportunity to escape. I need to talk to Zarika and see what her plan is. Great, she’s back with them today, but won’t look me in the eyes; she’s still embarrassed.

 

The guards take me down to my cell and tie me to the chair.  Zarika had left and comes back now with our food.

 

I tell her, “Zarika, don’t be embarrassed. Mustif is a shithead, and I’m going to kill him some day.”

 

She finally looks at me. “I hate him and Hussein so much; they took me away from my home and killed my whole family. I know that if we don’t escape soon, Hussein will give me to his men, and then the rats will eat me. Please, can’t you help me escape and take me to America with you?”

 

“I keep looking for a chance to escape,” I respond, “But they always watch me with three guards. If they were gone, I could kill Mustif and we could escape. Can you figure out some way to get the guards to leave me alone with just Mustif?”

 

“I have some ideas,” she replies after a moment of thought.

 

We talk for the rest of the day, trying to make plans. Mustif never shows up to torture me. In the evening before the guards come to take me up to the bed I ask Zarika, “So where’s Mustif today?”

 

“I’m not sure, I’ll see if I can find out tonight from Hussein,” she says and then looks at the floor and continues, “You do know that Mustif was right; I love you? But I know from the way you talk about your Jens that you love her and only her. Since you can’t love me like your wife, could you love me like your sister?”She is crying as she looks into my eyes.

 

I wish I could give her a hug. “I’ve always wanted a little sister, and now I finally have one.”

 

She smiles at me as the three guards take me back up to my bed and tie me down for the night. Zarika’s saying she loves me has made me miss Jens even more. I didn’t think that was possible.

 

 

 

Kaneohe Bay Hawaii – Tuesday Day Eighteen

 

 

It was different sleeping last night. I think it was a combination of Jens spooning me instead of me spooning her and this damn cast. It's driving me crazy and I didn’t sleep worth shit!

 

I needed to get the damned cast off. I slipped out of the bed and into my old bedroom without waking Jens. Sometimes I'm glad she's a heavy sleeper.

 

Where's my extra Ka-Bar? Ah, there it is. Now I need to be careful so I don't slice up my arm. Jens might forgive me for removing the cast, but she’ll kill me if I cut myself.

 

“You’re damn right, I will.”

 

Ah, shit.

 

"What the hell do you think you're doing with that Kabar, jarhead? It better be picking your teeth, and not trying to take that cast off." Jens snatched the Kabar out of my hand.

 

"This damned thing is driving me crazy," I said.

 

"Not as crazy as I'll drive you if you try taking it off again. The doctor said the cast needs to stay on for at least a week, and I'm gonna make sure you listen to the doctor, for once in your life. Damn. Sometimes you act just like a little kid. Try it again, and I might have to spank you!" Jens lectured me.

 

"But–"

 

Jens interrupted, "–No buts about it. Do I need to call Daddy?"

 

I didn't like being lectured by Jens, but she was right. Besides, she really could call the general, and no one could chew ass better than he could.

 

I looked up at her from the bed. "I guess you're right. But do you have any way of making this damn cast so it isn't so itchy?"

 

"Of course, my love. Follow me back to my bathroom," Jens said as she walked away.

 

I followed her. At least the view was nice.

 

When we got to the bathroom, she pulled out some baby powder, put it at the edge of the cast, and gently blew it up inside. It felt wonderful.

 

"Now, we can't do this very often because of your abrasions, but this should help for awhile. And, mister, just so you know: I'd better not catch you trying to stick anything up your cast to scratch your arm; if you do that it'll just cause an infection," she added. "Now come back to bed with me and let me cuddle with you."

 

As she spooned me, I thought about the dual sides of having someone care about me. It’s nice being taken care of, but other times, it’s a real pain in the ass. I felt like I was being treated like a whipped dog.

 

Jens snuggled even closer to me and stroked my hair temple. "Sorry, my fiancé, for yelling at you and treating you 'like a whipped dog.' I just love you, and I don't want to see you hurt yourself. Your arm has a minor injury now, but if you take off the cast and break the bones the rest of the way, you'll be in a cast for at least a month."

 

Shit. I’d forgotten that she could feel my feelings. As usual, she was right. I brought her hand to my mouth and started kissing her fingers.

 

"Dammit, sometimes I really hate it that you're almost always right."

 

"Get used to it, my Ben; after all, I'm the brains of this outfit," she answered.

 

The cast was going to screw me up big time especially on the defensive portion of the course; I couldn't move as well with it on, so tactical reloads would be hard. At least the rifle part was done; I didn't know if I could shoot with this fucking cast. And Friday would be hell at the snipe–off. Shit. I could imagine what it would be like being out in the field with this on.

 

Jens said, " You'll do great today at the pistol competition, even with only your left arm.” She kissed the side of my neck. “I'll make a deal with you. If you don't fuck around with that cast, and you know what I mean, we'll see if the doctor will take it off Thursday night so that you can do the snipe-off without it. However, he might say it needs to go back on Friday after the competition. If he does, you're going to listen to him this time."

 

I thought about it and said, "That seems okay with me."

 

Jens squeezed me tight. "That's the Ben that I know and love."

 

I turned over and gave her a great good morning kiss.

 

"Wow. That was some kiss, Mister. What's that for?" Jens asked.

 

"For taking good care of me even when I was being stupid and for apologizing even when you’re right," I answered.

 

"So, the kiss was sort of like makeup sex without the sex? I can only imagine how much better it will be with the sex part. Maybe when that happens, I'll even start fights so that we can have makeup sex." Jens batted her eyes.

 

Naturally, I blushed. "I know, you don't have to say it."

 

We both laughed, and she hopped out of the bed. "Stay in bed, my dear, and I'll bring you breakfast in bed."

 

 Being hard-headed, I waited until she was in the kitchen and started screwing with the cast.

 

She yelled from the kitchen, "Hey! If you don’t think I can feel that you fucking with that cast, you're crazy. Leave that damned thing alone or I'll come in there and tie your right arm down to the bed."

 

Shit. I sighed with frustration.  Even more than I hated that cast, I hated the thought of being tied up, and she just might try to do that.

 

From the kitchen I heard, "You're damn right, I'll come back in there and do that. Why don't you read your book to take your mind off of things?"

 

That was the best idea I'd heard all morning. I'd finished the Clive Cussler book. I started reading a new Kai Starr novel called “Rustlers Revenge”, about an old west gunslinger kid named Josh Love, It was good, but not good enough to take my mind completely off the cast. I still couldn’t help messing with the thing a little.

 

When Jens came in with breakfast, my eyes nearly bugged out of my head; she'd taken off all her clothes.

 

"Well, I'm happy to see that at least I can distract you from that cast; I was beginning to think you didn't love me anymore," Jens said, faking her pout. "Now, be my good Marine and eat your breakfast while I get cleaned up. I already ate in the kitchen.

 

“Since the brawn of this outfit is disabled, the beauty and the brains need to pick up the slack. And for the last time – leave that fricken cast alone. I can feel it every time you fuck with it, and it drives me crazy. And you don't want to see what happens when I get too crazy."

 

She kissed me on the lips and danced into the bathroom singing so loud, I could even hear her in the shower:

 

"I can see U without even looking
I can hear U and U don't have 2 make a sound
I can feel U without even touching
I am near U even when U're not around

I guess I'm crazy, crazy 'bout U, boy
I guess I'm crazy, crazy 'bout U, boy
Guess I'm crazy, yeah, yeah

On a crowded street there is no one
Only U and me, if only in my heart
This feeling can't be beat, loving U's so fun, so fun
A fire burns in me, I don't need a flame 2 start it

I guess I'm crazy, crazy 'bout U, boy
I guess I'm crazy, crazy 'bout U, boy
Guess I'm crazy, yeah, yeah."

 

I guess there are worse things in the world than being crazy about someone. I sure as hell knew that I was crazy about her.

 

Breakfast was great. Jens really had spoiled me.

 

"Thanks for all the good thoughts my love, I wondered if you were 'crazy' for me," Jens said with a big smile as she walked out of the shower.

"Jens, it seems like you're more in tune to my feelings than ever. What’s going on?" I asked.

 

"I'm not sure, but I know that when you got hurt I felt the pain, too. And I can definitely feel it when you fuck with your cast. It's like my feeling detector for you has been cranked to ‘high.’ , Perhaps it's some sort of protection mechanism," she answered.

 

I wondered if I could still hide some of my feelings from her, so I decided to test it. I thought about Jugs, and Jens couldn't feel that. I didn’t really want to block my feelings from Jens, but I felt better knowing that I could.

 

"Well, my love, are you ready for your shower?" Jens asked. "We have a cast cover to keep your cast from getting wet, and I'll scrub your back for you."

 

I wasn't sure about Jens helping me shower; it was a little embarrassing.

 

"Hey, it's not like I haven't seen it before," she said. "Besides – you know we're waiting until we're married."

 

"You know, I really can do all this myself," I answered.

 

"Of course you could, but it'll be easier if I help. And I promise that I will be a very good girl," Jens said.

 

And again I was shocked, she was a very good girl. Jens helped me out of my clothes and put the cast cover on, she walked me into her bathroom; damn there wasn't nearly as much crap in the bathroom as Jugs used to have.

 

"Hey, I felt that. Of course I don't need as much crap to make myself beautiful as that fucking whore did," Jens said in a testy voice.

 

I had to think fast. "Of course not, my dear; you're much more beautiful than she was." That comment saved the day and earned me the only kiss of my shower time.

 

Jens got the water temperature perfect for me, soaped up a washcloth, and handed it to me. Then she patiently waited until I finished the parts I could get to. When I’d done all I could, she washed my back, and it felt great. She kept her word and was a very good girl, even when she helped to dry me off.

 

"Wait right here, my dear, while I go and get your underwear and uniform," Jens said, and dashed into my old bedroom. A couple of minutes later she came in and helped me get dressed, and again, she was being a perfect angel.

 

"There now, wasn't that nice?” she asked.

 

I looked down at the floor, a little bit sad.

 

"Hey, what ’s wrong?" she asked me.

 

"It was wonderful, but – but, you didn't fool around any, and I sort of missed it," I answered.

 

She grabbed me and gave me a smoldering hot kiss before she answered. "Believe me when I tell you it was damn hard not to, but I promised you that I wouldn't, and I always keep my promises. Don't worry, my love; helping you this morning has made me hotter than ever." She swatted my butt and continued, "Let's get our Kimbers and head over to the pistol range. With that cast on, you'll need some practice."

 

I tried to help Jens load up the Humvee, but she wasn't having any part of that. "Ben, you're injured. You need to save your strength for the pistol range and for healing. You just sit your cute little ass in the Humvee and let me do everything this morning. And don't argue with me.” Then she added, “And don't fuck with that cast."

 

I went and sat in the front of the Humvee and started messing with the cast. There are times I like being taken care of, and there are times I don't, and this was one of the latter. I knew it shouldn’t, but all this TLC was making me feel like I was an invalid.

 

Jens made the last trip out, jumped into the driver's seat, looked over at me, and said, "Thanks for letting me take care of you, my love. I know it's a pain in the ass. I don't know what's going on, but my nurturing instincts are going crazy since you got hurt."

 

I looked in her eyes and I could see the depth of her love for me. I didn’t want to upset her, but I couldn’t stand feeling the way I did. I tried to choose my words wisely.

 

"I know that you're trying to help me and keep me safe, and I do appreciate that, but you're a little over the top. Do you think you could tone it down some, especially in public?" I held my breath, waiting for her reply.

 

She smiled. "Yeah, I guess I have been going overboard, and I'm sorry for that." She gave me a kiss on the cheek and continued, "I'll do my best to tone it down, but you need to do your best to leave that damned cast alone."

 

Damn, that was easy. Why couldn't it be that easy with Jugs or the other women I've dated?

 

Jens’s eyes flashed. "Well, my love, that's because they were all selfish fucking whores that were only interested in what they could get out of a relationship, and not what they could give. I'm not like them and never will be, so stop comparing me to them before I get really pissed." She started the Humvee and pulled out for the pistol range with our escort following.

 

I thought about what she’d said, and felt a little bit ashamed. She was right. Why did I always try to compare the incomparable with the lackluster and mundane? Sometimes I'm just too analytic. I made a promise to myself to stop comparing Jens with anyone else.

 

She replied to my thoughts, "Damn fucking straight, Marine. It’s about time you realized I'm incomparable."

 

For the rest of the drive, I kept my mind on Jens or the weather, just to be safe. I glanced over at her. A knowing little smile told me that she knew what I was doing.  

 

As we pulled up I told Jens, "Don't give me any crap, I'm helping unload the gear."

 

"Of course, my love. Whatever you say, as long as you're leaving that cast alone," she replied.

 

I decided that if fucking with the cast was really causing Jens that much grief, I’d try to leave it alone.

 

We hauled the gear over to our table and then went over to talk to the ever-present press. By now, everyone had heard of our fight last night, and the reporters were full of questions. Jens had become the defacto spokesperson for us for the most part, so she answered most of the questions until Ms. Morgan addressed a question directly to me.

 

"Ben, won't it be hard today to shoot with that cast on?"

 

"Yes, it will. I'll have to use my left hand, but I'll try my best," I answered.

 

That was the understatement of the day, and I found it out the first time I fired my pistol. My balance was off, and it was screwing me up big time.

 

Even though I'd worked on it, I still was not as good with my left hand as I was with my right. I could still hit the target, but it was nothing like the day before, and tactical reloads were a huge pain in the ass. After spending quite awhile getting used to it, I was improving.

 

I looked at Jens. "I really can't do this with the cast on. How about we take it off, and then I put it back on at the end of the day?"

 

Dad walked up behind and startled me. "That's not going to happen, Marine. I talked with the doctors, and they all agree that you need to keep that cast on for the whole week. The fracture, even though it’s a lesser one, is quite severe. If you were to accidentally bang that arm, it would break completely, and then we'd be up shit creek, especially with your new orders."

 

Both Jens and I asked, "What new orders?"

 

"Normally, I'd tell you this in my office but I knew you two were busy so I thought I'd come down and deliver the good news in person. I guess you haven't been watching the news because you thought it would be just about you two, but there are other things going on in the world. Things are really heating up in Iraq, and we need you two over there ASAP.

 

“But I also know that you two aren't ready quite yet. So first you're going to finish the sniper competition, then you're going to get part of one week off. Evelyn and I want you to spend two days with us at our house in Maryland and then you get to spend a couple of days at your rebuilt cabin in Colorado. While you're there we've arranged for some desert training at the Pinon Canyon training grounds with Army Special Forces. After that, you ship out."

 

Jens started jumping up and down. "Oh, goody – we finally get to do our real job. I was getting damn bored with all this training."

 

To tell the truth, I was looking forward to getting back overseas. Dad was right; we were ready other than just a little desert work, and it was going to be fun spending some time in Colorado again before we shipped out. Plus, we had never gone up against Special Forces, so that would be great practice.

 

“Well," Dad said, "I'd love to stay and watch you two, but there's things I need to do. Try your best, kids, and know we're proud of both of you."

 

I needed some practice on the defensive pistol range, so I went over and waited my turn. My first time through was a fucking disaster; I dropped the mag on my tactical reload and got “killed” by one of the targets. I was pissed. I stalked back to our table and reached for my Ka-Bar.

 

Naturally, Jens showed up just at that moment. "Hey, jarhead. Are you going to disobey a direct order from the General?” She took the knife from me. “Look, I saw what happened on the tactical reload, and if you give me a chance, I think I can help."

 

She readjusted my extra mags and had me try the tactical reload several more times. It was still slow, but it was better, and at least I didn't drop the mag.

 

"Thanks, Jens. That really helped," I said, earning a one of her million-dollar smiles.

 

All the other teams knew about my injury, and it was like sharks circling a wounded person in the water; they all smelled blood and it had renewed their hope that they could beat us. All the psych-out work I’d done yesterday was worthless.

 

I practiced as long as I could and gradually got better, but there were some great scores going up, and I was worried. The only good news was that Jens’s score was right up there with the best. Finally, I had no choice but to qualify or drop out of the competition.

 

I gave it my best, but that day, my best wasn't good enough. I qualified fifth in accuracy, and eighth in the defensive course. Jens was outstanding, and qualified second in both. Combined with our results from Monday, Jens had a pretty big lead on everyone – including me – and I had a very small lead on third place.

 

It felt bittersweet; I was sad that I did so poorly, but happy that Jens did so well. I decided that Jens needed her moment of glory more than I needed to mope, so I hid my disappointment and gave my love my total support.

 

When we met back at our table, I picked up Jens and swung her around. "I'm so damn proud of you today! You were exceptional!" I gave her a big kiss. When I put her down, I realized that swinging her made my arm hurt quite a bit. Maybe it was more messed up than I thought it was.

 

"What about you, my love? Damn. Even shooting with your left arm, combined with your score from yesterday, you still came in second," she said with her usual exuberance. "I'm so proud of you. I wish that you could get lucky tonight!"

 

"Well, my love, shall we go and talk to your press? It's your turn to shine like the diamond you are." I answered. This time I did most of the talking singing Jens' praise to the press. She tried to downplay it telling them we were a team, but I wasn't letting her get away with that bullshit.

 

Ms. Morgan asked me, "Banzai, do you think you would have won today if your arm wasn't in a cast?"

 

What sort of stupid fucking question was that? Is this woman trying to get herself punched?

 

"Ms. Morgan, considering the circumstances, I'm happy with my results today. We are taught to deal with adversity and to adapt and overcome. Today I did the best that I could with the resources I had. I will not play what-if games. I will deal with the adversity and work even harder tomorrow," I answered.

 

Her question had lit a fire in my belly. Shit, no feeling sorry about today; there was time to kick butt tomorrow.

 

Jens squeezed my arm, leaned over, and whispered in my ear, "I love it when you get fired up. People should know better than to piss off a Marine."

 

As we walked back to the table, Jens asked, "So, it hurts pretty bad right now?"

 

I laughed and replied, "What – this little scratch? I hardly feel it."

 

Jens stepped in front of me. Nose to nose, she ordered, "Don't you ever lie to me again! You're lucky you‘re hurt, or I'd kick your butt. I told you I can feel your pain. I know how bad it hurts, so don't give me that macho bullshit ever again. I expect the truth from you just like you expect the truth from me. Now, jarhead, tell me how your arm feels."

 

I told her the truth and that made her feel better. Damn, she was a wildcat when she got pissed off. She was going to stop me from helping her load the Humvee, but the look I gave her told her she'd better not; there were some battles that she would never win.

 

I opened the driver’s-side door for her, went around and got into my side. "Jens, don't be alarmed, but I think you need to take me to the hospital. My arm has swollen inside this cast, and it’s cutting off some of the circulation. That’s why it's hurting so much."

 

Shit. I didn't know a Humvee could move that fast. She went ripping out of the parking lot, almost running over a couple of the news crews, and totally losing our escort.

 

She said, "Reach in my pocket and take out my mobile phone and call Daddy. Have him alert the guards at the gate and tell them I'm not stopping. Then get him to call the hospital and get the doctors ready."

 

It was damn hard getting to the phone because she was driving the Humvee like it was a sports car, sliding around the corners and almost catching air over the bumps.

 

I finally said, "Dammit, Marine! I order you to slow down and drive this Humvee in the manner that it's meant to be driven before you kill both of us." Amazingly, she slowed up some.

 

She reached in her pocket, grabbed her phone, and said, "Make the damn calls, or we'll get shot at the gate, because I'm not stopping."

 

I made the calls just in time; the guards opened the gate as Jens went flying through. She was still going over twice the posted limit on base, but at least I didn't feel like we were an accident waiting to happen. She flew over the speed bumps on the road to the hospital and slammed on the brakes, sliding to a stop in front of the emergency room and almost throwing me into the dash.

 

Jumping out of the Humvee, she ran around to my side and almost dragged me into the ER. There wasn't a doctor waiting, and Jens’s temper flared. She walked up to the reception desk and yelled at the nurse, "Where the fuck is the goddamned doctor? I'm Sergeant Jennifer Donaldson, my father is General Donaldson, and my fiancé is having problems with his fricken cast. We need to see a doctor NOW!"

 

Well, the mention of the general lit a fire under some butts and got people moving. The nurse ran back and got the doctor. He came out and checked the peripheral circulation in my fingers.

 

"Damn. We need to get this cast off now." They wheeled me back to the cast room and the doctor didn't even wait for a nurse. He ran the cast saw himself.

 

It felt so damn good to get the fucking cast off; almost all the pain disappeared right away, and the circulation returned to my fingers.

 

The doctor looked at me and asked, "How long had this cast been bothering you."

 

I answered, "It was bothering me this morning when I woke up."

 

"Dammit, you stupid jarhead, you should have come in right away for us to remove it and replace it," the doctor said, and kept examining my arm. After a few minutes he said, "Shit, you're lucky; I don't think you caused any permanent damage." But the arm looked even nastier than before. It was definitely bruised.

 

I looked around for Jens. She was silently crying in the corner.

 

She mouthed the words to me, "I'm so sorry."

 

I held out my left arm and motioned for her to come beside me. She flew to my side and started hugging me and stroking my head. The doctor ordered some more x-rays, but Jens didn't want to leave me alone in the x-ray room, so they gave her a lead apron to wear.

 

She was still pretty upset. "Dammit, I'm so sorry I didn't listen to you this morning. I'm a real bitch."

 

I spanked her hard on the butt with my good hand. "Hey, enough of that shit! It's my fault for not being able to figure out what I was feeling. I sure as hell don't need you getting all upset about this. Snap out of it Marine!"

 

While we were waiting for the x-rays, the general showed up. He had already talked to the doctor. "Shit, Ben. Why the hell didn't you do something about your arm this morning? The doctor told me all about it and said that you should have been here hours ago."

 

Jens went to open her mouth, but I squeezed her arm, letting her know I wanted to talk. "Sorry, Sir. I didn't realize it was so bad until Jens rushed me here. It’s entirely my fault, and I accept all responsibility for it."

 

Dad nodded. "Well, make sure the doctor doesn't release you until he shows you how to check your circulation."

 

He motioned Jens over to him and they talked awhile in private. While they were talking, the doctor came back with the x-rays and put them on the viewer. We all walked over to look at them.

 

"Well, it looks about the same as yesterday. At least you didn't screw it up any more. We're going to put a new cast on your arm, and then I'll show you how to check your peripheral circulation. If you feel anything like this again, get your butt here ASAP."

 

Dad said his goodbyes and Jens came over and held me while they put the new cast on me. They were much more careful about how tight they wrapped it this time. After they were done and the cast hardened, the doctor came in and showed both Jens and I how to squeeze my fingernails and watch the blood flow back in to check the circulation.

 

When we were done and we were back in the Humvee, Jens leaned over against me and started crying. "Damn, Ben., I'm so sorry. You were right about your arm, and I thought you were just acting up about having to wear the cast. Can you ever forgive me?"

 

I turned her face towards me and lightly slapped it. "Hey, jarhead. Quit blaming yourself for this; it's not your fault."

 

Jens’s eyes widened, and then she started laughing. "Damn. I'm not sure I like it when you turn the tables on me. Now I want a kiss on the cheek where you slapped me."

 

I gladly kissed her on the cheek.

 

She looked at me. "So what's the deal with you telling dad it was your fault?"

 

"Well, it was my fault. I didn't know what was going on until right before I qualified, and by then it was too late to do anything about it," I answered.

 

Jens’s expression darkened and she slapped me. "Stupid jarhead. What the fuck do you mean, waiting until now to get to the hospital? I should kick your butt for that."

 

"I knew that if I went to the hospital, I'd be out of the competition," I replied. It made sense to me.

 

Jens was still pissed. "Don't you think your arm is more important than any damned competition?"

 

I was getting pretty damn tired of this shit. I loved Jens, but she was being too much of a pain in the butt. I got out of the Humvee walked around to her side and opened the door.

 

"Marine, ten-hut!"

 

Her jaw dropped, but her training took over and she jumped out of the Humvee and stood at attention.

 

I let loose. "Jarhead, I have put up with a lot of crap from you for the last day, and it's going to stop. We've both made decisions that weren't necessarily the best, but the decisions have been made and are over. I know that you love me, but it doesn't give you the right to treat me with disrespect and dishonor. You told me that if I made a decision you would support me in it NO MATTER WHAT. Were those empty words, or did you mean what you said? If you meant what you said, then prove it to me."

 

Jens stood there looking at me with tears streaming down her face, but I hadn't given her permission to speak, so she didn't say anything. I walked back and forth in front of her, letting her think about what I said before ordering, "At ease. Feel free to speak."

 

The floodgates opened, and she was crying full force, "I– I– I'm so sorry, Ben. I didn't realize what I was doing. I can see now I was being a bitchy pain in the ass, and I deserved everything you just said to me. Please tell me you forgive me." the rest that she said was unintelligible blubber.

 

I held my good arm out to her and said, "Marine, fall out and give me a hug."

 

She flew into my arms and started hugging and kissing me all at the same time she was crying. I held her and consoled her, letting her know that of course I forgave her and still loved her and I always would love her, causing her to cry even more. She finally calmed down enough that I could understand what she was saying, and her apologies were so contrite and heart-felt that I felt like a heel.

 

I kissed the top of her head. "My love, let's forget about all this and get back to our house; I'm getting a little tired and need to rest for tomorrow."

 

She looked at me with those violet eyes and I had never seen more love in them than at that moment, but I knew something was coming, because those same eyes also held a spark of mischief. "I'm sorry I've been such a bad girl the last day. I think when we get home, you should pull down my pants and give me a good spanking."

 

I could feel my face heat. Damn. She’d gotten me again. "I could just order you to spank yourself."

 

She gave me the sexiest pout. "That wouldn't be nearly as fun."

 

"And it wouldn't be nearly as dangerous for me," I replied.

 

We laughed together, and I opened the Humvee door for her and then got in. She looked at my MCCUU shirt. "Damn, I made a mess out of your shirt. It's all wet, and I bet it’s covered with snot."

 

I looked down at my shirt and laughed. "I'm glad you’re the one that does the laundry."

 

When I looked up, Jens placed her hand on mine. "I love and live to serve you. It's an honor to do your laundry. Besides, I sort of like washing our undies together; it makes me feel like we're an old married couple."

 

When we got home, we talked over the day – the good and the bad – and engaged in some serious makeup cuddling.