A sneak peek at When Jerry Met Ali – Free until the end of March at Smashwords (Use code: YW24D)

The bar is open, everyone is relaxing. The last night before we go home. I walk in, wishing at that moment that I was anywhere else. Happiness is not on my mind.

You catch my eye, half a smile, unsure if that is allowed. I nod in response, but all I feel tonight is numb. I make my excuses and leave. A single word repeats itself in my mind, ‘despair.’

I walk alone to the lines; the stars and moon provide all the light needed to find my way. I pause outside my tent and sigh, looking for the longest time at the show the heavens have put on tonight. So much beauty amongst the darkness.

A figure approaches, but the last thing I want right now is conversation. I turn away and hope they pass me by.

‘Sir,’ it is a young woman’s voice. Familiar, but not a friend. ‘Sir, I-I just heard the news.’ I turn, I know this soldier. ‘I just wanted to see if you needed anything.’

I am about to thank and dismiss you, but I stop. You are looking at me strangely, respectfully distant, but somehow also intimately close. Despite the evening’s warmth, you are trembling. I see you clearly for the first time: your blonde hair; blue eyes; your Grecian nose. Why have I not noticed you before? You are beautiful.

The look in your eyes tells me that your offer is earnest, but there is something else, too. You are close, showing no signs of subordination to rank. If we were anywhere but here, this would be okay. Then it strikes me, it is you need who something. You need something from me!

‘Private Benaud I,’ you cut me off with a gentle hand. We have stopped listening to the voices in our heads telling us ‘no’. The only sound now is our beating hearts. The world becomes dark.

We step back into my tent, and I sit down on my bed, drawing you to me. I am staring up at you, amazed. All despair has gone now and only you remain. The word in my head now is ‘fraternise.’

We kiss, lips apart, as if we have done this a thousand times before. My hands are on your waist, easing down your trousers, slipping them silently to the floor. I fumble with your pants, pressing against you. You gasp.

As they fall away, you climb onto me, unbuttoning your shirt as you begin to rise and fall. In the gloom, I can see pale flesh and breasts where your buttons have come undone. I am inside you and the only word now is ‘yes.’

So much beauty in the darkness.

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