Wren lifted a single teardrop from his face to study it. He didn’t know what made him let the water works loose. Liar, liar, pants on fire his inner child chided. His eyes were leaking because he was confused and, okay, he was afraid. He yearned for what he suspected he would never achieve. He wanted a lasting relationship with Geordy. He wanted the idyllic family life Geordy had with the Campbells, and he wanted to be loved for himself, for being Wren and not a Marine Raider, not a mixed martial arts fighter, not a bladed weapons expert, just plain Wren who loved William Shakespeare, cuddles, and a keen wit to return his teases. He cried because he truly didn’t believe those things were written in his stars.
Marine Sergeant Wren de Lassy stood in resigned silence as the Staff Sergeant read out the dorm room assignments. MARSOC Command denied his request to live off base because he was single, below the rank of Staff Sergeant, and there were too many vacant dorm rooms.
Now he waited to be assigned a room with three other Marines. Men who snored, and farted, and moaned in their sleep. Men who thought nothing of flicking on the overhead light at 3 a.m. to undress after a weekend of drinking.
At twenty-six, Wren was too old to put up with that nonsense. He grew up with a king-size bed all to himself, and the thought of down-grading to a single bed was not at all appealing, but all Marines learned to suck it up in Boot Camp, and so he would.
Wren’s attention returned to the here and now when a violent expostulation from a Marine standing to his immediate left assaulted his ears.
“No, Staff Sergeant, I won’t do that. No way will I room with Sergeant Campbell, and I don’t care how many times you quote the regulation to me, I’m not sharing a room with a fag.”
Wren’s left eyebrow rose in surprise at the direction of the man’s anger. The man singled out was a mountain of a man, at least six feet, four inches, and with a torso like an oak trunk.
Wren’s surprise came not at Sergeant Campbell’s reaction, but in the absence of one for being outed as gay to the rest of the men in the room. Campbell didn’t glare at his accuser. He didn’t even have a frown line between his eyes to show a scintilla of emotion, but simply stood at ease and waited for the Staff NCO to straighten things out without any input from himself.
Before Wren could stop himself, he called out, “I’ll bunk with Sergeant Campbell.”
While he had the satisfaction of seeing a look of perplexity briefly cross Campbell’s face, he also saw speculation in the eyes of the rest of the Marines. Now it was his turn to show no emotion as he faced the Staff Sergeant, who sported a look of relief on his own face.
“Listen up Marines. Rogers, Levitz, Vogler, and Hernandez will take Room 301. Campbell and de Lassy will take Room 304.”
Wren didn’t even try to keep the smirk off his face. He and Campbell would now share a bedroom large enough to sleep four men, the ideal arrangement if you had to live in the dorm.
The Staff Sergeant continued to give instructions. “You have the rest of today and this weekend to settle in. Dismissed.”
Wren picked up his duffle and headed upstairs to his new room. By the heavy tread on the stairs behind him, the mountain was following. Wren didn’t acknowledge Campbell until he stepped over the threshold to room 304 and asked, “Are you a left side of the room sleeper or a right?” Wren turned to face Sergeant Campbell, who stood in the center of the room with his eyebrows making a solid line above his nose.
“Gay?” Wren finished the question. Before Campbell could ask for clarification, Wren continued, “Does it matter?” If he hadn’t been watching closely, he wouldn’t have noticed the slight rock back on Campbell’s heels.
“No, I guess it doesn’t, because I don’t date Marines. I especially don’t date anyone in my battalion, company, or team.”
“So good to know I’m safe. I’m Wren de Lassy. And you are?”
“Geordy Campbell, and I’m a right-side sleeper.”
Wren’s seeming insouciance over Geordy’s sexual orientation obviously had his new roommate puzzled, and the devil in him liked it that way.
C.L. Hadyn, a career historian with Hungarian/Viking nomadic roots, loads up the gypsy wagon for the last time (hopefully) and heads to Greensboro, North Carolina, to follow her delusion of becoming a New York Times best-selling author. Yeah, sounds silly but it’s true. I’m a transplanted Yankee living way south of the Mason-Dixon Line despite its lack of decent Italian food. Uh, concerning the Italian food, I’d still sacrifice a small digit for authentic Italian cuisine a la Philly, Trenton, or New York.
Before settling down to write full time in the land of ‘bless your heart, and y’all’, I was a Special Operations (US Army and US Marines) military historian/archivist. Now I collect a retirement check and write paranormal, and historical romance. I guess my service with Army and Marine Special Operations left an indelible impression on my writing, because my characters, both male and female, are distinctly Spec Ops in their outlook. They leave no man behind, color outside the lines, and are very, very lethal. I’ve also pushed the envelope a little by including Erotica and BDSM and M/M romance. Which brings me to my latest books, Off Track, The Danegeld, and my latest, Guarded Hearts, published by Decadent Publishing under the pseudonym C. L. Hadyn.
If you have a taste for the paranormal, historical romance, or something more outre’, I would love to hear from you via Facebook.com/Cyn Hadyn or C. L. Hadyn.