21 Kaneohe Bay Hawaii - Thursday

Captured: Dreaming of home

© Copyright 2008 – 2009

Written by Banzai Ben



Chapter 21 – Sniper Competition Thursday 20 September 2007


Khudabah, Pakistan – Evening of Day Twenty-one


Wow. I can't believe it. The day is finally here after all these years. I should be nervous, but I'm not, because I've been waiting for this day forever. I look over at Jack, my best man, and he gives me the thumbs-up.


Finally, I hear the wedding processional, and I see Jens at the back of the church. She looks so happy and beautiful in her white wedding dress . . .


Huh? What the fuck is that? Shit. It's the damn towel-heads waking me up. Son of a bitch. That was such a nice dream. What a shock to go from a dream of our wedding to this cruel fucking reality.


I don't believe I slept in so long. It must be because I was so happy from watching the camel fucker Mustif die yesterday. That's one death that won't leave a ghost in my head. Shit, I think when I kill the rest of these bastards I won't have any ghosts from them, either.


With Mustif gone and the Imam 'on my side', I'm hoping that things will get better for me with Hussein. I'm going to have to watch that Imam though; he's pretty smart compared to the rest of the towelheads. I think he was educated in America. Damn, it pisses me off when our enemies use our educational system against us.


I've finally worked out the details of our escape. That’s right; I said “our”. I'm planning on getting Zarika out of this hellhole with me. Shit, the plan relies on her as much as it does on me. I just need two things from her, and then I need the opportunity. It's great that we can both communicate in Russian and that no one else can, as a bonus, my Russian has become even better since I've been using it so much.


It's the same routine every day. Sometimes I wonder if they're trying to kill me with boredom. Three guards take me downstairs and tie me to the chair, and Zarika comes in and takes care of me and brings me some food. Then, either the Imam or Hussein come in and talk to me. If there ever was a hell, this would be it. My dreams of home and my conversations with Zarika are the only high points of the day. The only good thing is, because I haven't tried to escape, the guards are getting careless.


Zarika seems much happier today, with Mustif gone, and was quite talkative. During our conversations, I was able to slip in my plan for escape, and damn, she got excited–almost too much. It attracted the guard's attention and he started watching us very closely. After he got bored of listening to our Russian, Zarika said that she would be able to do the two things I needed. It would take her the rest of today to figure out the first thing, but that the second part would be easy.


The Imam came again today. We talked some and I asked him if we could play some chess like I used to do with Mustif. He thought it was a great idea and had Zarika bring the chessboard and then had the guard untie my left arm. Damn, he was really good at chess.


 I realized I'll have to be very careful about bullshitting him. He’ll figure it out.


I couldn't believe he spent two hours here, again trying to tell me how much better his religion is than any other and trying to subvert my mind. Keep trying, you bastard. One of these days, I'm going to send you to hell to be with your god.


Zarika didn't come in for awhile after the Imam left. I thought about singing my 'death song', but I figured she might be trying to figure out my first question to her, so I just sat around bored and did nothing. Finally she came in with dinner and was smiling. She told me she found what I needed, but it would take a couple of days for her to figure out a way to get it for me.


We talked all day, and then, just like the other days, the guards escorted me up to my bed and tied me down tight. I asked Zarika if she could stay for awhile tonight, and she looked at the floor and told me that Hussein expected her to be in bed and waiting for him when he came to bed, and if she wasn't there before he was, he'd beat her.


She kissed me on the cheek and left, leaving me to lie on the bed waiting for my dream reprieve from this hellhole. It finally came . .  .


Kaneohe Bay Hawaii – Thursday, Day Twenty One


I was enjoying holding my Ben on the couch this morning, wow, I couldn't believe what he shared with me last night before we started necking and fell asleep. I'm sure he's never shared that with anyone and must really love and trust me to open up so much. Damn, my killing machine Marine has a heart and compassion; I guess I always knew that but for him to tell me, well let me just say that it made me really want him.


Huh, what's that noise? I've never heard it before and it's sort of funny sounding. Shit, I think we've got company, I cover Ben's mouth and whisper in his ear, "Ben, wake up, I think we've got some uninvited guests."


Shit, that's a hell of a way to wake up. Damn. Jens was right. I could hear someone or something outside. I slipped off the couch with Jens, reached underneath it, and pulled out the M1014 shotgun for me and handed Jens a Kimber and three extra mags. We're pretty well hidden here, so I decided to just wait and see what would happen.


Damn, it sounded like noise from the back, too. What the hell was going on? I gave Jens a hand signal to cover the front door, and I snuck around to see what the noise was at the sliding glass back door. I kept crouched as I slowly moved around to peek through the glass, and….


Shit, it's a fricken seagull pecking at the door. Son-of-a-bitch, that freaked me out.


I had just stood up and motioned to Jens that everything was okay when the front doorbell rang, almost giving both of us a coronary. I motioned for Jens to stay hidden and cover the front door, then I slowly walked over to it. The doorbell rang again and again. Damn.  Whoever it was, they were they were sure impatient. I checked the peephole and saw that it was Dad and Mom. I lowered the shotgun and let them in.


"Damn. It took you long enough to answer the door," Dad said as they walked in.


Jens answered, putting away the Kimber, "Well, we were sort of busy."


Mom clucked, "Making grandchildren for us, I hope."


"No ma'am," I answered. "You're going to have to wait until we’re married before you can start thinking about grandchildren. Jens woke me up because she heard a funny noise that sounded like someone trying to break in. I listened and couldn't tell what it was so we both armed ourselves. Then we heard the same sound at the back door, I crept around and saw that it was a seagull pecking on the glass. We'd just relaxed when you rang the doorbell and freaked us both out again."


Dad laughed, "Those damned seagulls are worse than the rats. I don't know how many times Evelyn had me get up in the early morning to chase those bastards away.” He rubbed his hands together.  “How about a cup of coffee?"


I answered, "Well, we sort of slept in–"


Jens interrupted, "–Speak for yourself. I've been up for an hour–."


I continued, "–And we haven't made any yet. I'll run right out to the kitchen and take care of it."


I put the coffee on and stood in the door watching Jens and her parents talk; they had such an easy and natural relationship. To know that now I was included in their close family filled my heart with joy that I hadn't felt in years. Maybe I was becoming soft.


Jens looked over at me and smiled, and I could tell she knew what I was thinking. She leaned over and whispered something to Dad.


He started laughing and said, "Shit, that'll be the day, when Banzai Ben gets soft." He looked at me and continued, "Son, after what you did yesterday, there's no way in hell you're getting soft. So get that bullshit out of your mind.


“Officially, the police are all pissed off about all the shooting, but both the Chief and the DA wanted me to tell you they are happy those scumbags are off the street permanently. I forgot to tell you, they picked up the other four that took off last night and that looks to be the last of the biker gang. However they do want both of you to stay on the base until you leave on Saturday."


I wished I would have paid more attention in school to my English teachers because then at times like this I’d be able to come up with something witty to say. Instead, I just stood there looking and feeling stupid.


Jens, of course, figured out what I was thinking. She walked over, and this time slapped the hell out of me.


"Come on, jarhead. Stop putting yourself down again."


Damn, Jens still has some fire in her, and I'm glad because I sort of missed it. I guess it's just more directed now than it used to be.


I grabbed her and gave her a big kiss. It even scared her a little bit.


"What was that for?" she asked.


"I was worried from the way you've been treating me for the last day that you'd turned into some sort of meek mouse. I'm glad to see that the old Jens that I know and love is still around," I answered.


That was too much for Dad and Mom. They both started laughing so hard they had tears coming out of their eyes.


Finally, Mom was able to say, "Did you hear that, Glen? Damn. That's the funniest thing anyone has ever said about our Jennifer. I can't believe he called her a 'meek mouse'."


Dad answered, "I wouldn't have believed it if I didn't hear it with my own ears. I think that one's going to have to be told at their wedding. Too bad Ben doesn't realize that Jens is really a tiger playing with her prey, and he's her prey."


I guess I didn't understand the joke. Compared to the 'old' Jens, she had been treating me much differently, and I was glad to see that the 'old' Jens was still around.


Jens figured out I was confused and whispered in my ear, "Don't worry, Marine; the 'old' Jens is always right under the surface. And when you do something stupid, you can bet that she'll come out and let you know. It's just that she's not needed very often and it's much more fun being nice to you than slapping you around. Besides, this way, you'll remember it better when she does come out." Her violet eyes twinkled.


"Come on, you two. Stop gawking at each other and kiss," Mom said.


It sounded like a good idea, so that's what we did. In fact, it was so nice, we did it twice.


"Damn," Dad said, "Did you have to get them going again, Evelyn? Okay you two, cut it out. We have important things to talk about."


We broke the embrace and walked over by Mom and Dad.


He continued, "I tried my best, but with Ben missing the competition yesterday, he's out as a sniper. It’s a shame, because even with the injury, I think you might have been able to come in at least second. However, because yesterday was an individual competition, he's still allowed to be a spotter for Jens during the snipe-off.


“Jens, you have a good lead, and if you're smart and careful, you should win this. And it doesn't stop Ben from helping you with today's competition, martial arts. Jens, you need to listen to him and let him help you."


Jens shot her dad a look that said; ‘duh, don't you think I'll listen to him?’


He looked back at her and said, "Young lady, don't give me that attitude. You’re still not too old to take over my knee and spank."


I couldn't keep my mouth shut, so I piped up, "I threatened to order her to spank herself last night." Jens punched me in the good arm.


That set Dad and Mom off on another laughing fit. Mom said, "Stop! This is too funny. You two are going to kill us. Glen, go ahead and order her to spank herself. I'd love to see that."


Dad thought about it, looked at her and said, "Sorry Evelyn. I'd love to do that, but she'd figure out a way to make my life hell."


Jens looked relieved.  "Don't you two need to be doing something, something other than that harassing me?" she suggested.


They both sort of apologized to Jens, in between small chuckles. They kissed Jens goodbye and gave me big hugs.


"Jennifer, have a great day at the competition today," Mom said.


"Kick butt and take names, Marine," Dad ordered.


We said goodbye, and the minute they left Jen jumped on me and we started wrestling. Damn, it was hard wrestling with her with one arm in a cast.


"I don't believe that you told them you thought about ordering me to spank myself. You know that Mom will talk Dad into doing that some day," Jens said as she pinned me to the floor because I was laughing so hard. Finally, Jens saw the humor in it and started laughing, too, and wrestling turned into necking.


After a few minutes, I told Jens, "We need to get you ready for today."


"I'm ready for you right now," Jens purred.


"Come on, Jens. I have a surprise for you today," I answered.


Because Jens loves surprises, she jumped right up and pulled me to my feet. "Now, you're not going to torture me and make me wait for my surprise this time, are you?”


"Follow me, and you can have it right now," I answered, walking into my old bedroom. I opened the closet, pulled out the hanger with Jens’s surprise on it, and handed it to her.


She looked at it and her eyes started twinkling. "Wow. This is a really nice silk robe. And look – my name's on the back: Jumpin' Jens."  True to her name, she started jumping around. She put on the robe and started twirling, "Oh, I love this. I feel just like a boxer." She started shadow boxing me like she was a real boxer.


"Hey, back off, Hilary," I said.


Jens stopped and looked at me, "Hilary?"


"Yeah. Hilary Swank, because you're my Million Dollar Baby," I said, referring to the popular movie.


"Puh-lease. You’ve got to stop comparing me to those fucking Hollywood whores. They’re so fake. Shit. She couldn't have punched her way out of a paper bag," Jens said.


"Then put up or shut up," I said, holding my left hand up for a target.


Jens whipped out four punches so fast that I could hardly see them, nailing my hand each time.


"Is that all you've got?" I teased.


The next two punches were almost as fast, and she put her whole body behind them. Damn. Those two actually stung. She was pumped up.


"Okay, okay, okay. Save some for the competition," I said.


"Wooo Hooo!  That was so much fun! I can't wait until you're well. I want to fight you," she said.


I thought, “Yep. Definitely psycho.”


"Hey, I felt that. At least you left off the ‘bitch’ part." Jens started dancing around again, shadow boxing me.


Damn. Giving Jens that robe turned her into a boxing maniac. At least I was saved by the phone.


I answered it with Jens was still circling and throwing punches at me. It was Dad. We talked for a couple minutes. I started laughing as I hung up the phone. Damn. He has more balls than I do.


Jens stopped and asked me, "Who was that, Hon?"


"It was Dad. And before you ask, all I can tell you about what he said is that it has something to do with a surprise for you at today's competition," I answered.


She was going to start bugging me about the surprise before I gave her a look that told her there was no way in hell I would tell her what it was. At least it stopped her shadow boxing.


I looked at the clock and said, "Well, it looks like we'll need to get moving so we're not late. You go and shower, and I'll do the same."


I laughed when I walked into the living room and saw Jens’s t-shirt, it read: ‘SNIPER’, and underneath:  “No need to run, you'll only die tired!’, I don't know where she gets all those t-shirts but they're certainly entertaining.


I grabbed Jens’s bag and helped her on with her new robe. Since the competition was at the gym, we held hands and started slowly walking towards it, and yes, our escort jumped out of their Humvee and followed us. For once, it was sort of nice knowing they were around.


The press was in full force, but they didn't see us until we were almost to the door. Then it was pandemonium, with all of them wanting to ask questions at the same time. I held up my hand like I'd seen Dad do, and it worked – they all shut up.


"I know that you have many questions for us, but today's competition is very important for Jens, and she can't be distracted. After it's over we'll be happy to answer all your questions."


Of course, they didn't really believe what I said, and still tried to talk to us. I lead Jens through the throng and into the gym packed mostly with Marines.


The minute they saw us, they started shouting, "Orraaahhh! Orraaahhh! Orraaahhh!"


This got Jens fired up. She held her hands over her head and started running around the gym, which of course got the Marines even more fired up, and they started with the cadence:


"Back in 1775
My Marine Corps came alive
First there came the color gold
To show the world that we are bold
Then there came the color red
To show the world the blood we shed
Then there came the color green
To show the world that we are mean
Then there came the color blue
To show the world that we are true
Oh yeah
Marine Corps
Your corps
My corps"


Shit. I even got excited. On Jens’s second lap around the gym, I joined in running with her and started singing. The other Marines joined in:


"Paint my face black and green,
You won't see me I'm a Recon Marine
I slipped and slithered in through the night
You won't see me till I'm ready to fight.
You'll run in the bushes you'll try to hide,
That's why you are sure to die.
You won't see me till it
's too late,
A flash of my blade will be your fate.
Oh Yeah
Oh Yeah"


Jens was having so much fun that she would have spent all day running around, but I needed to get her focused on the competition, so after the last lap I lead her over towards our bench.


I turned her towards me and said, "Okay, Marine. You’ve had your fun. Now it's time to get serious. Who's gonna win this competition?"


"I am, Sir!" Jens answered.


"How are you going to win this competition?" I asked.


"By overcoming, adapting, and persevering," she answered.


She was focused and ready to fight. It was that time that Dad chose to walk up with his surprise. Jens took one look at Muriel Hathaway and instantly became pissed.


Muriel purred, "Hello, Ms. Donaldson, and hello, Ben. It’s so good to see you again. There are several more questions that we needed to ask you and General Donaldson said I could come here and ask them and watch the competition." She shook my hand and gave me a big smile.


I couldn't believe it. She looked even sluttier than she had the other day. Her v-necked top was cut even lower, and her dress was even shorter. I could see a twinkle in Dad's eyes. Damn. He was pushing all of Jens’s buttons and loving every minute of it.


"Excuse me a minute, Muriel. I'll be right back." I grabbed Jens and took her over to the side for a talk.


Jens fumed. "What's that bitch doing here? I'm gonna kick her butt." She started pulling away from me to do just that.


I grabbed her. "Hey, jarhead. You want to be thrown out of the competition? You do what you're thinking of doing, and not only will you be kicked out of the competition, you'll go to jail. If you want to do anything, show Muriel that you're not only more beautiful and sexy than she is, but you're also more dangerous."


Jens was still pissed, but the ‘beautiful and sexy’ comment made her smile at me.


"Now, take all that energy that you have and focus it on the competition. Show Muriel what you're going to do to her if she tries fucking with us," I said.


I looked in Jens eyes and I was worried. I'd never seen this look in her eyes before. I'm sure it's the look that a mouse sees right before the rattlesnake strikes.


She looked past me at Muriel and said, "You make sure you stay at least three feet away from her. I don't want her slimy meat hooks on my man. Shit. That bitch has her claws on Daddy now. It’s a good thing Mom isn't here to see this. Otherwise, that fat cow would be dead."


I took her face between my hands and looked into her beautiful violet eyes. "Jens, forget about her and focus on the competition. Come on. Where's my Million Dollar Baby?"


That snapped her out of it and got her back into things. Of course, she also started shadow boxing me again, causing the Marines in the crowd to go crazy. I went over and got a practice mitt, put it on my left hand and held it up.


Whap, whap, whap, whap, whap! Shit. It felt like a machinegun was hitting the glove, she was so fast.


I took two steps back and directed, "Okay, feet," and Jens kicked the shit out of the practice mitt. Damn, she was cooking today. I put down the practice mitt and got a body shield and held it up. I barely got it up before she was attacking it with a flurry of fists, feet, elbows, knees and head butts. She was ready, but she wasn't done.


I saw her look over at her dad and Muriel, and with a wicked gleam in her eyes, she shadow boxed her way over to them and started harassing the hell out of them, concentrating on Muriel. She was freaking the hell out of Muriel. I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing. I was just hoping that Muriel didn't do something stupid like try to fight back. At that moment, I think Jens could have kicked even my butt.


By the time the whistle finally signaled that the warm-up was over, Jens had a nice sheen of sweat on her.  She was more than ready; she was scary.


The competition was your basic double-elimination tournament with the pairings being decided by draw.  I wiped her down with a towel and pulled a new gi out of the bag for her. I held it up so the crowd could see, and all the Marines started going crazy.


Yep. It had a She Devil Dog embroidered on the back, with the name Jumpin' Jens under it.


I showed it to her, and it was all she could do to not jump into my arms. I helped her into the new gi, and she couldn't resist giving me a big hug, which of course got the crowd going with whistles and catcalls.


I helped her into all the protective gear and admonished, "Calm down some. Remember this is a competition and not real. If you go out there too fired up and hurt someone, they might disqualify you. Remember: you're much faster when you throw light punches and kicks instead of full power blows."


Jens looked at me and just nodded; she had in a mouth guard


Jens drew the largest of the competitors for her first opponent; the spotter for the first Spetnaz team.


I started talking to her. "Watch out for this guy. The Spetnaz are really tough and have excellent martial arts skills. He's going to do things that you won't believe a guy his size can do. Watch him and keep moving. You're going to be faster than he is."


Jens wasn't the only one fighting at this time – there were many matches going on at once – but all my attention, and most of the crowd's, was on Jens.


She and her opponent met in the middle of the mat, and the referee blew his whistle. The Spetnaz guy dropped and tried to catch Jens with a leg sweep, but she saw it coming, jumped up in the air, and nailed him in the chest with one foot, the face with the other foot, and did a back flip landing facing him.


I was shocked. I'd never seen her do anything like that. The stands erupted with cheers. He looked stunned; she already had two major points against him. The rest of the match was the same slaughter. She didn't just kick his butt; she mopped the floor with it. He did score some points when Jens made a few mistakes, but the final score was Jens: 15, Spetnaz: 8.


Jens came over to our bench, and I took the mouth guard and handed her a water bottle.


"I'm damn proud of you, Marine! Way to start off. He was one of the toughest competitors you're going to face. But let's go over your mistakes." Jens listened closely to what I said and asked a few questions to clarify.


There was a thirty minute break before the next competition, and Dad came over to congratulate Jens. 


"Good job, Jennifer. I'm proud of you!" He said. Thank God he left Muriel up in the stands.


Jens was beaming. "Thanks, Daddy. That was so much fun; I just wish it would have lasted longer."


When he left, Jens confided, "He only calls me Jennifer when it's really important."


I walked over to look at the bracket. Jens was going to face an SAS guy from the UK next. He would be tough, but not as sneaky as the Spetnaz was. Jen was up warming up when I got back and told her who she was facing.


She looked at me "Shit. This guy’s going to be really tough. He’s small and fast." We talked about strategy for the match and came up with something that we hoped would work.


Jens and the SAS guy met in the middle of the mat, the referee blew the whistle, and the SAS guy dropped back into a defensive position. Shit, this was one of those guys who like to wait for you to attack and then counter-attack, looking for mistakes. I hate fighting those.


Jens dropped back, too, and they looked at each other for about two minutes. It was pretty funny. I was wondering if either one was going to do anything. Finally, Jens dropped into a comfortable stance and, baited him.


"Come on. You can't be scared of a little woman like me. Maybe it's true that SAS stands for Stupid And Scared."


Well, that fired him up, and he came flying at Jens. She may not have looked ready, but she was, and scored five points off of his charge, while he scored nada. The crowd went wild again. His strategy was fucked now; if he didn't attack, she could just sit back and win with her five-point lead. He became a whirling dervish of attacks. Jens was backing up and counter-attacking the best that she could, but his assault was almost overwhelming. Finally, he nailed her right in the nose, and she went down hard.


 The referee blew his whistle and stopped the competition. Jens got up with blood streaming from her nose. I started after the shithead to beat him to death, but Dad (where the hell did he come from?) stepped in front of me.


"Marine, I order you to stand down."


The crowd was booing the SAS guy. The referee not only awarded the fight to Jens, he threw the SAS bastard out of the competition. Jens came over to the bench, and the on-call doctor came up to check her out. I went over and this time it was my turn to comfort and hold her. Her nose wasn't broken, but it was sure bleeding. The doctor used a package of Nosebleed QR on her, and she stopped bleeding almost immediately.


She looked at me and said, "Thanks, Hon. If that bastard had broken my nose, I would have broken his balls."


"I was going to kill the bastard but dad stopped me," I told her


She laughed.  "Damn, we just got you out of trouble with the police, and now you want to jump right back into it."


The good news was that because the match was only half over when the shithead almost broke her nose, she had extra time to rest and recover. She laid on the bench with her head in my lap and an ice bag on her face. I looked at her every few minutes to make sure she was going to be okay. The last time I checked her, I smiled.


She asked, "What was that for?"


"I'm thinking I'll need to call you meya malenkaya enot after this is over, at least for awhile."


"I know meya means my and malenkaya means little, but what the hell is an enot?" She asked.


I answered, "It's Russian for ‘raccoon’."


"Shit," she swore. "Give me a mirror."


We finally found a mirror and she looked at it and, yep, she had the start of two nice black eyes. Man she was pissed.

"I think I'll find that bastard and gut him with a dull Kabar. I'm going to look like hell with two fucking black eyes."


I knew that I could use some help, and I'd noticed Dad had been watching us. Still holding Jens, I motioned for him to get his ass down there, right now. Jens was so upset she was shaking, and I was holding her tight. For an old fart, he's pretty quick


He reached us and snapped, "Ten-hut, Marines!"


We both jumped up and snapped to attention.


He took one look at his daughter, and I could see that he was trying not to laugh. "Jennifer, I wanted to tell you how proud your mom and I are of you today."


Jens looked up in the stands.  Her mom and Muriel waved at her. I'm not sure it helped much to see Muriel with her mom.


Dad continued, "Now, I know you're pissed as hell about having two black eyes, but I'm asking you to simmer down and not do something stupid that will get you in trouble." I guess dad figured out the whole asking thing with Jens, too.


It worked. She was still shaking, but I could tell she was calming down, and so could Dad. "At ease. Why don't you go ahead and give Ben a hug. I think he needs it."


She jumped into my arms and gave me a great hug, "Thanks, my love, for knowing what I really needed," she said. We went back to the bench, and she laid with her head in my lap and the ice bag on her face. It would help some, but she was definitely going to look like an enot for several weeks, and even though it would be fun to tease her a little about it, I was smart enough to know better.


I took the ice bag off her face. "You know guys really dig chicks with scars and black eyes."


That was what she needed to hear. Her whole face lit up, and she said, "Cool. Maybe I'll get some more scars just for you. I know, I'll even have our babies c-section. Then I'll have a great scar. Besides, that way I'll stay nice and tight." Then she put the ice pack back on her face.


I blushed and opened my mouth to reply, but I couldn't think of what to say.


Then I heard from under the ice pack, "Gotcha! You're so cute when you blush." She wriggled her head against my crotch. My Jens was back.


Jens worked her way through the rest of the competition without any more injuries, but she was starting to have some pretty good black eyes, and the competition was taking its toll on her. She was tired, and I'm sure she had a few bruises. Shit. I didn't blame her, having to fight people larger than her all day long without being able to breathe well because of her nose.


Finally, it was her against the Canadian sniper for first and second place.


I talked to her on the bench. "Jens, you need to be smart here. You have a large enough lead that you don't need to beat this guy. You're tired, and I want you to be careful and take it easy. You need to make sure you don't get hurt. Save something for tomorrow's competition."


She gazed at me and kissed me on the cheek. "I know you're right, but it's so hard not to always do my best. But I'm damn tired."


I thought for a moment before replying. "Remember the SAS asshole that smacked your nose?"


She crossed her eyes to look at her swollen nose and said, "Duh, of course I do."


"Hey, don't get smart with me, or I just might spank you!" I replied.


She just looked at me, too tired for a witty comeback, so I continued. "I want you to fight him exactly like the SAS jerk fought you."


"So I should break his fricken nose?" She laughed.


"Come on, you know what I mean: fight totally defensive and make him come to you. Shit, I bet he's tired, too, and will make mistakes. Just be alert and take advantage of them," I answered.


I had said all that I could, and for once, I wished that I knew how to pray. Jens was going to need it. Right as she was leaving me I whispered in her ear, "I'm so damn proud of you. You’re getting a surprise tonight."


She turned and looked at me and I could almost see tears in her eyes. I nodded my head, and she knew I meant it. Damn, I wished that I was fighting instead of her. She’s strong, but this is almost too much to ask her to do.


The two combatants reached the center of the mat; my tired little Jens against a much larger Canuck. I'm sure that he thought this was going to be easy, but I knew Jens, and I knew that somehow, even as tired as she was, she would find a way to fight.


The referee blew his whistle, and the match started. Jens acted like she could barely raise her arms and moved back into a defensive position. He lunged forward, and she slipped out of his way and slapped him on the side of his head as he passed, and then nailed him with an elbow in the back. He was shocked; she'd just scored two points. They set up again, but this time Jens didn’t look tired. Damn. Her whole tired routine was an act and it even fooled me. She did, however, fight a mainly defensive fight. At the end, he'd won by one point, but Jens had given it her best.


After the fight, I saw that it wasn't as much of an act as I’d thought. She was whipped, she was bloody, she was sweaty, her hair was a mess, she looked like a raccoon, and I had never loved her more than at that moment.


After the referee was done announcing the winner, I ran to her side and scooped her up. It was damn hard with the cast, but I carried her around the gym in her victory lap. The Marines stood and cheered, giving her the ovation that she so richly deserved. She waved to them and not so much that anyone else could see, even crying a bit. Dad, Mom, and Muriel met us at the end of the lap. Jens was so tired that she didn't even give Muriel any crap, but I noticed newfound respect in Muriel's eyes, and she sure didn't try hitting on me this time.


"I'm taking Jens right home to take care of her. Will one of you grab our gear and hump it to the Humvee for me?" I asked.


Dad grabbed the gear, and we both walked out to the Humvee.  I was still carrying Jens; she had molded herself against me, and it felt really good.


I thought, “Damn, it's funny having the General carry the gear for a Sergeant.” Mom and Muriel followed us out, Muriel got the passenger door for me, and I gently sat Jens in the seat. Mom and Dad gave her a kiss and congratulated her, and I'll be damned if Muriel didn’t shake her hand and mention how impressed she was by Jens’s fighting.


Driving the Humvee home was interesting with the cast on, but I got us there safely. Jens had fallen asleep, and didn't even wake up when I stopped at the house. I went around to her side and opened the door, steadying her with one hand so that she didn't fall out, scooped her up again, and carried into the house. Somehow, I was even able to get the front door open without waking her.


I carried her into her bathroom and said, “Come on, my love, time to wake up."


Jens blinked her eyes a couple times and murmured, "Wow, we're home. I don't even remember the drive."


"Well, you were snoring the whole way home," I replied.


"I don't know who you're talking about, but it isn't me. I don't snore," she said, a little indignant.


I sat her on the toilet and started running water for her bath, throwing a couple big handfuls of Epsom salts into the water along with some bubble bath she had sitting on the edge of the tub. When the water was just perfect, I helped her undress and get into the tub. Damn, she had some pretty good bruises from all the fighting.


'I'll be back in a couple of minutes with a surprise, so don't fall asleep," I told her, and of course, the surprise part woke her up even more, and she wanted to know what it was.


"Wait a couple minutes, and you'll see," I promised.


I ran into my room and changed into my swimming trunks, put on my cast cover, and headed back into her bathroom, stopping for a minute to make her a quick Cosmopolitan, and picked up a bucket form the kitchen.


She looked at me funny. "Don't tell me after all this you want to go swimming?"


I smiled at her and handed her the Cosmopolitan. "Nope, we're not. Enjoy yourself and slide forward in the tub. I'm going to give you a bath. I know it won't be very good because of this damn cast, but I'll try my best."


She took a big gulp of the drink and slid forward in the tub, and I was able to get in behind her without falling and hurting both of us. I'm sure it would have been pretty comical to watch. I ran more hot water into the bucket, had Jens lean forward, dumped it over her head, and started giving her the best one-handed shampoo that I could. I guess it was pretty good, because she was making little sounds of approval. I rinsed her hair twice and then worked in some cream rinse, deciding to leave it on for awhile.


I soaped up a washcloth really good, had Jens lean back against my chest, and started washing her face. Damn, she looked funny with those raccoon eyes. She stopped me and took the washcloth and showed me the 'right way' to wash a face so I wouldn’t 'give her wrinkles.' I rinsed off her face and her hair and then grabbed her loofah, soaped it up, and started scrubbing the hell out of her, being careful with the bruises. I even gently washed her breasts, which she enjoyed entirely too much. To be truthful, I did, too, but I wasn't quite ready yet to wash 'down there', even though she really thought I should. After I was done washing her she leaned back against my chest and we just relaxed until the bath water started getting cold.


She started crying and I asked her, "What's wrong, my love?"


"Ben, I'm not crying because I'm sad. I'm crying because I'm so happy. Do you know how wonderful you are?" She answered.


"I just did what seemed natural for me to do for the woman I love. I don't see anything wonderful about that." I said.


She twisted and kissed me on the cheek. "That makes it even more wonderful."


I got out of the tub and dried off. Even though Jens wanted to help, I wouldn't let her.


"Wait right here, Jens. I need to go put on some clothes. Then I will help to dry you off."


As I walked to my room I thought, “as much as the cast bothered me during the competition, it bothers me more now because I can't really take care of my Jens the way I'd like to.” I hit the cast a couple times, hoping to break it so I could take it off.


Jens yelled from her bathroom, "Are you fucking with that cast again?"


I laughed, and wished and hoped for the day that I could feel her like she could feel me.


I'd changed into my normal sleep shorts and a t-shirt, one of my favorites. At the bottom in big yellow letters it said, "Celebrate Diversity", and above that, it had pictures of eighteen different hand guns. I loved to wear this t-shirt in public because of the looks and comments I received, and I enjoyed telling people that asked that, yes, I'd found and fired all eighteen of the handguns on the shirt.


I walked back into Jens’s bathroom, and she gave me a big smile from the tub. I helped her up and dried her off the best I could with one hand. (Well she did help some.) She refused to dry her breasts, ”forcing” me to do it, and perhaps I took a little more time than necessary to make sure they were dry, but if she wasn't complaining, and I sure wasn't going to, either. She tried pulling the same trick with her 'other' parts, but I told her those were still off–limits, and if she didn't dry them she might get chapped lips. Of course, she blushed and took care of that.


I helped her into her robe and carried her into the kitchen, almost banging her head on the door. Dad had taken care of the dinner that night, and it was waiting in the oven. I sat her in her chair and pulled the waiting food out of the oven. I don't know when he did it, but damn, he made some nice-looking steaks. I grabbed the potato salad that Mom had made out of the fridge and a couple of Guinness beers, poured them, and sat at the table. Jens bowed her head to pray, and for the first time, I sort of did too. I thanked whatever god it was that brought Jens into my life.


Then I raised my glass in a toast:


"Here's to King Solomon, ruler and sage, 
the wisest of men in history's page. 
He had wives by the thousand, and thought it was fun. 
Here's hoping I'll know how to handle just one."


We clicked our glasses and Jens gave me her mischievous look.


"When God made Man, he made him out of string. 
He had a little left, so He left a little thing. 
When God made Woman, He made her out of lace. 
He didn't have enough, so He left a little place. 
Here's to God!"


We clicked again, and Jens sipped her beer while I gulped mine down and looked at her through the bottom of my glass.


Jens looked at me like I was crazy and asked, "What the hell are you doing now?"


“I'm seeing if you look even more beautiful through beer goggles," I said, and we both started laughing.


I jumped up and grabbed another beer out of the fridge and Jens asked, "Well, do I?"


I turned and looked at her and said, "Nope. Nothing can improve on you; you're perfect."


Jens jumped up and gave me a big hug, and of course that lead into kissing. At least this time we didn't start rolling around on the floor.


"I felt that. You really, really, really meant it this time, didn't you?" Jens asked after one particularly good kiss.


I hadn't thought about it, but I could see she was right. "Yeah, I guess that it did feel different this time. Hey, come on. We need to eat; the food is getting cold."


I wanted to feed Jens; not like the sexy time in the hotel, but just to show her how much I cared, but this damned cast made it hard enough for me to eat by myself. I'm sure there will be other chances for me to do that.


The bath, food, and drinks had Jens feeling 'normal' again. She got all excited about the competition and was reliving each fight with me, even though I had been there. It was so good to see her back to her old self.


We cleaned up the dishes together, headed back to our bedroom, and slipped into bed. Yes, Jens was still nude.


She rolled towards me and looked in my eyes. I could tell she was concerned about something. I waited for her to speak.


 Finally, she said, "I just realized that the whole time you gave me a bath, even when you attacked my breasts and then when you dried me off and attacked them some more, your little Marine never came to attention and saluted me. Don't you find me attractive anymore?"


I gave her a smoldering kiss and reached up and played with one of her breasts. "I was going to tell you that I ordered him to behave, but while that would be a great joke, it wouldn't be the truth. And that would piss you off. So I'm going to tell you the truth, but first you have to promise me you won't get pissed at me."


She looked at me and said, "I promise you I won't get pissed. And I really mean it." I could tell that she did.


"Well, I knew that if I thought about you, there was no way in hell that I wouldn't have had an erection from here to the mainland. So, and I know you're not going to like this, I pretended that you were either Jugs or Muriel when I was doing that, and it worked." I waited for the shit to hit the fan.


Jens gave me a look I had never seen, and it worried me even more. Then the smile slowly crept across her face and she said, "You wouldn't have been excited by either of them?"


"You saw the results then. And,” I added, “You can check the results now if you want."


She looked deeply into my eyes as her hand reached down between us and she felt how excited I was for her. "Wow, you are really telling the truth. You aren't attracted to anyone other than me."


I nodded my head.


She smiled. "All that I can say is, my hard man is good to find."


We both started laughing. I moved her hand before things got too far out of control, then I spooned her, and she made sure my hand was on her breast and wouldn't let me take it off.


I kept trying, and she chided, "Silly jarhead. Don’t you know that's one of the places that your hand belongs when we're sleeping?" And, yes, I still had the erection, and that's how we fell asleep.




I owe an immeasurable debt to my editor Elle. She has taken this Marine by the hand (figuratively speaking) and is teaching me how to write. Something that the public education system of this country never did. Any mistakes left in this chapter are mine and mine alone!


She also has quite a hot story on SOL. After reading it, almost needed a cold shower.