When First Sergeant Dwayne Roman, a seasoned soldier, falls for another soldier, he does everything in his power to keep his feelings at bay. Unfortunately, his relationship is discovered and he is asked to leave his life in the army. The victim of the unjust laws of the land and a military cover up, he settled fitfully into civilian life separated from the most important person in his life. After suffering three years with regret and loneliness, Dwayne saw an opportunity to regain what self-serving people took from him. He took the chance regardless of who was in his way or got hurt.
Butler Army Base, 2005
Sergeant Roman took his place among his men for morning PT. He looked around as other men started to gather around him.
Roman turned his focus on his commanding officer as PT began. Throughout the morning calisthenics he continued to look over his shoulder scanning the crowd more.
“Good job, soldiers! Prepare for the run.”
As the men passed him to line up in two lines, Roman had the chance to see just about everyone in the company. With a disappointed sigh, he jogged along with his battalion increasing his pace to complete the three miles in his usual time.
With PT completed, Roman returned to his car to go home to shower and change before returning to the base. Sitting at his desk, Roman tapped his pen against the order form he was supposed to be checking as he stared out the window of the warehouse. Though his crow’s nest type office could be seen from any isle in the building, his view was obstructed by crates of supplies. He really wanted to go down to the area and check for himself, but he couldn’t think of a real reason to justify such a visit. The longer he contemplated it, the harder he hit the desk. Finally he flipped on the mic to the PA system.
“Private Styles, report to my office!”
Roman took a relieved breath and picked up his neglected paperwork. Checking the orders against his clipboard, he flipped the last page over and looked at his watch. His brows shot up.
“Where the hell is he?” He flipped the switch again. “Private Styles report to my office!”
Heat rose under Roman’s collar as he stared out the window tapping the pen against the desk faster. He peered at his watch again then walked out the room.
“Private, where are the other men that work in this area?”
“We’re loading a truck, Sergeant.”
“Is Private Styles among them?”
“No sir. I haven’t seen him.”
“So you haven’t seen him at all today?”
Sergeant Roman turned on his heel and stormed away. Leaving the warehouse, he took the path leading to the barracks. He arrived at the private’s door in no time giving it three hard knocks.
Sergeant Roman walked in to find Private Styles on the sofa still in his skivvies. He looked up and immediately jumped to his feet, staring straight ahead with his chest out and back straight. He was the epitome of a model soldier. Roman stepped closer to stand before the private. The flush in his face and tear streaked cheeks came into view.
“You were not at PT this morning, Private, nor did you show up for work. I want to know why.”
Private Styles turned distraught red eyes to him. His mouth opened and closed, but he couldn’t seem to form any words.
Roman blew out a breath. “Relax and take a deep breath.”
Styles relaxed his shoulders and stance. “Sergeant, have I been an adequate soldier?”
Roman was taken aback. He walked across the room and sat in a chair.
“Up until today I would say that you were more than adequate,” he answered. “I am proud to have you in my platoon.”
The private sniffed loudly and nodded. “Have you had any disciplinary problems with me, sir?”
Roman’s brows knitted in confusion. “Again, until today your behavior has been exemplary from day one.” He leaned casually on his knees. “Where is this line of questioning going, Private?”
Styles took a deep breath and regained eye contact with Roman. His voice was tight with confusion when he spoke.
“I don’t understand, sir. Why are you getting rid of me then?” he asked just above a whisper.
Roman snapped to an upright position. “Getting rid of you? What are you talking about?”
The private reached down to pick up a paper beside his foot and handed it to his sergeant. Roman scanned the page and blew out a breath.
“I got that yesterday. Reading it then left me in a zombie like daze for the rest of the day. I re-read it this morning and the full impact of what it meant hit me. If I haven’t done anything wrong, why are you getting rid of me?”
The anguish in his voice was like a vise around Roman’s heart. He blew out a long breath and slid his hand over his head, then down his hairless face.
“I didn’t realize Commander Biggs was actually putting paperwork in for you to transfer. He said he could use some help on his end. I only mentioned that it might be a good idea if you went over there for a while,” he answered in a sigh.
“A good idea? Why?”
“I believe in order for you to have a future in the Army, Styles, you need to be away from me.”
Roman pushed up from the chair. “Come on, Private. The tension between us has grown. You can’t deny that you’ve noticed it? It’s only a matter of time before someone else sees it. I’m trying to protect us both. As the senior ranking soldier in this situation the duty is mine to—”
Private Styles’ face exploded in anger. He spoke in an urgent whisper cutting his commander off.
“I don’t care about duty or my future in this damn Army for that matter… not if it means I have to leave your side.”
Roman shook his head and walked away from the private. “I thought it would be best to put some distance between us. It will help the situation in the long run.”
Styles gasped. “What? The long run? You thought it best? How can you—” He choked on his words. His breathing quickened as he walked back and forth, muttering incoherently.
Roman turned to face the young man again. Styles’ demeanor no longer resembled a soldiers, but rather that of a confused, dismissed lover. The pain his words inflicted was evident on Styles’ face. Roman felt the sting of his words too. It was up to him to be the composed one. He fidgeted from one foot to the other taking slow breaths to calm his own rapidly beating heart. All he wanted to do was make sure that they had a future where they were. Some sacrifices had to be made to ensure that.
“As your commanding—”
Roman’s mouth snapped shut. The passion in the other man’s outburst stopped his speech midsentence. His brow rose.
“Private, your tone is dangerously close to being insubordinate.”
Styles held the bridge of his nose as he took several deep breaths blinking away obvious tears. He stood before his superior meeting his gaze. His next words were slow and deliberate.
“I want you to tell me that you don’t want me here. Tell me that you think it is best for us to be apart. Give me the order to leave you. I want to hear it from your lips. Tell me that you don’t want me by your side and I will go and represent you well being the best soldier that I can be,” he finished, pointing at the door.
Roman had come looking for Styles thinking he was being negligent at his duties and found him distraught over an inadvertent transfer. The look the young man landed on him as he waited for his reply removed any anger Roman still had and seared his soul. Roman had to turn away from it. He paced the floor as the young soldier’s words rolled through his mind. His sense of duty rose within him to battle with what his heart felt. What Private Styles suggested was exactly what he should do. Protocol dictated nothing less and so did the law of the land.
Roman stood with his back to the private for long moments holding his face in thought, but then, slowly, hesitantly, he turned. Styles was young, too young to have so much passion for Roman. Styles stood, no longer at attention, but on apparent wobbly knees, waiting for his response. His mouth was parted and his bottom lip quivered slightly. For more nights than he could count, Roman had stroked his cock thinking about that very mouth bringing him to completion instead of his own hand. The brilliant blue eyes that stared back at him sparkled with distress and unshed tears.
What was wrong with him? He was a seasoned soldier in the United States Army. By God he was already in service to his country when this boy was in diapers! Roman knew he shouldn’t be feeling anything for this boy at all, but he did. The anguish in his gaze was like a knife in Roman’s heart. Knowing that he was the cause of that hurt made the knife twist. The urge to erase the pain from both their spirits overwhelmed him. Quickly he closed the distance between them and slipped a hand behind his subordinate’s head.
“God help me, but I cannot give that order,” he said, then fused their mouths together swallowing the private’s stunned gasp.