By Jack Greene
On assignment as an embedded journalist in Iraq, Tom falls in lust with gorgeous Sergeant Craig.
The feeling is mutual, but "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is still the rule, so they have to grab their moments of forbidden passion when they can. Then a mission goes wrong, and Tom goes home, only to lose touch with Craig.
When Tom finds Craig again, will their lust turn into something more?
You’ve seen the pictures. Maybe you’ve even read my book. You may think you know the whole story: embedded journalist, captured in Iraq, manages to make it out alive thanks to the bravery of the US Army.
That’s part of the story. But it’s not the whole story.
I’d been all over the world, taking pictures. I had a dream that I’d chronicle the world’s fight for freedom. Ever since I watched the Tiananmen Square riots on TV when I was only thirteen, and watched the Berlin wall come down—that was it. Those images were so powerful that, right then, I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to tell a story with pictures.
My mother says that after they finally got me a real camera, I was never without it. I must have cost my parents thousands in film and developing, until I got a part time job, saving up for a darkroom setup. Once I got a darkroom, I was hardly seen by my family. They probably wondered what I was up to in there. One advantage of a darkroom is that no one can come in when you’re developing. It gave me some much needed solitude while I wrestled with the problems of teenage boyhood.
Problems such as…I wasn’t attracted to girls.
I liked guys. At first I thought I was a freak, that no one else was sick like me. I hated the locker room after gym, because if I looked too long at anyone I’d get a hard-on. That was a sure fire way to get beat up, or worse.
By the time I got to high school, though, I figured out that there were indeed other gay guys, although they didn’t want to be called that. One time I even sucked off the captain of the football team under the bleachers.
In college I accepted who I was, and had a lot of sex. I just wasn’t so good at relationships.
When the embedded journalist program was first announced, I applied immediately, but didn’t hold out much hope. There were certainly many more qualified applicants than me; I was only a freelancer, not attached to a major publication, and more of a photographer than journalist. But fate must have been smiling on me, or stupid luck—either that or not enough people who could physically take the environment had applied. I knew for a fact that I had at least passed the physical with flying colors. I was a runner and third-degree black belt. I also did a lot of yoga, though I didn’t bother to mention that in the application. Yoga was more of a vanity thing; it made my ass look good. More use when trawling the gay bars in West Hollywood than in Iraq, but then again you never know, do you?
In any case, I knew I was in prime physical condition, even if my professional portfolio was a little thin. So when I got the notice of conditional approval, I was ecstatic. I immediately added more weights to my workout regimen, trying to bulk up a little. I went out to the desert to run.
Nothing could have prepared me for the real thing, though. Triple-digit temperatures during the day, dropping to near freezing at night. Wind and sand storms that tore tents from the ground and nearly buried Humvees overnight. The environment was so incredibly hostile it was hard to understand why anyone would fight over it. But that wasn’t my call.
The other thing I wasn’t prepared for was the men. Good lord. It seemed like a porn movie come to life. Handsome, hard-bodied men walking around in various stages of undress, wrestling and sparring all over each other. They were always making sexual references and crude remarks; I swear there was more homoeroticism than in any gay bar I’d ever been in. Perhaps the “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule helped them pretend they were all straight as an arrow. Whatever the reason, it was total eye candy for me 24/7.
I’m aware I don’t “look gay”, whatever that means, so no one gave me a second thought. Even if I was pretty much walking around with a constant hard-on for the first few days.
Not all of them were hot, of course, but all of them had great bodies. It was like Christmas.
I wasn’t one of the first to embed, so the battalion knew a little of what to expect, and as a result I wasn’t treated with as much distrust as I’d expected. They all knew I was bound by a contract limiting what I could and couldn’t report. I couldn’t report the exact location and size of units, planned operations, or even the names of anyone injured or killed. Not that I really knew exactly where I as most of the time. They soon grew less reticent around me as we all got used to one another. Soon they almost ignored me hanging around with my camera. Which was how I wanted it.
They were a bunch of characters; they’d been together as a unit for about six months so they all knew each other well. Most of them were quite young, and this was their first real deployment. To me, they looked barely old enough to drive, let alone shave. Sometimes I feared for them more than myself. No one should have to die for their country before they are legally allowed to drink alcohol in it.
Then there was the squad’s sergeant, Craig. He was in his mid-twenties and the most perfect man I’d ever laid eyes on. When we were introduced, I was very nearly tongue tied. He was tall, even taller than my six-two, and oh so broad. His features looked chiseled from stone, and wouldn’t have been out of place on a Greek statue. When I saw him with his shirt off later, I nearly dropped my camera. If only my gay friends could have seen Craig—broad shoulders and bulging biceps tapered to tiny hips, perfectly cut muscles, hipbones that made me want to worship him like the god he was. It was all I could do will away my erection, and it came back every time I saw him. The man was a walking wet dream. I knew for a fact that Nathan, one of my twinkiest friends, would have immediately tried to climb Craig. With or without his consent.
We sat in base camp in Kuwait for the first two weeks of my assignment, which got to be tedious but allowed me to adjust a bit to the climate. I no longer sweated like a pig all day, just most of it. I didn’t feel comfortable half naked, but I took to wearing just a tank top most of the time.
I also had time to get to know most of guys in my assigned battalion.
A football flew past my head, bare inches away, and by now I’d learned not to flinch. Every group has to have its joker, and ours was Ryan. He was always trying to get a rise out of someone, usually me, and by now I was used to it. While he was never ever serious, Ryan was the best marksman of the unit. His aiming precision extended to footballs as well, so I knew he wouldn’t actually hit me. Ryan was short and slender, barely over five-foot-six. If he’d been a little bigger, Ryan could probably have a career in professional football with that arm.
That was the other thing. Apparently, heterosexual men felt the need to constantly handle sports equipment. There was always some sort of game happening. Basketball was nearly impossible because of the uneven ground, but football was always popular. You name the sport, these guys had tried it. The most bizarre had been a makeshift sand hockey game using bayonets for sticks and a particularly overcooked biscuit for a puck. It might have worked except that the players kicked up so much sand that they were soon blinded and we were all coughing for an hour.
Then there was Nick. Blond and fair, barely out of his teens, he was always bugging me, asking if I had any porn on my laptop. He was obsessed with sex; well, more than anyone else in the unit, and that was saying a lot. I doubt he’d ever had sex with anyone other than his own hand. He was brilliant on communications, though. He could tear apart and put together every piece of electronics in the unit.
Beau came running past, tossing the football back to Ryan. Beau was hot, too; not as hot as Craig, but he had a beautiful body that he constantly displayed. Unfortunately, Beau hadn’t been as lucky in the brains department. He seemed constantly bewildered and most everyone had to help him understand things at one point or another. He was always cheerful, though, and willing to do whatever he was told. He was strong and never complained. Kind of like a handsome puppy.
I tried not to watch Craig too much, but it was impossible. He was the leader of the unit, after all, and attention was focused on him a lot. I had lots of questions to ask him, and I even went as far as to make up some just to keep him talking to me. He was always busy, but he never seemed to begrudge me the time to talk. It was his treatment of me that forced the rest of the unit to accept my presence so smoothly, I was sure of it.
Hope springs eternal, and I tried my best to detect any flicker of answering interest on Craig’s part. But though he was always friendly, and once in a while I thought I felt some spark, it could have been my own wishful thinking.
Water was precious in the desert, of course, so we were allowed to shower only twice a week. Once we moved out, of course, there would be no showers at all so I knew to savor the luxury when I could. The water smelled funny and it was never warm enough but it was still wonderful when your hair was caked with sand and grit. I looked forward to my five minute shower allotment.
I liked to get up earlier than necessary, to enjoy the cool air. One morning, though, I saw I wasn’t the first one up. The shower partitions came up to chest height on most men, but Craig was tall, and as I approached, I had a lovely view of his wet, soapy, perfect body almost to his waist as he showered. Mesmerized, I watched as he tipped his head back into the spray, eyes closed, and raised his arms to run through his close-cropped hair. I was so absorbed in the vision in front of me that I didn’t even realize Craig had opened his eyes and regarded me with a quizzical smile.
I blinked. “Sergeant,” I nodded, spurring myself into motion, dropping my stuff on the shelf and pulling off my shirt.
Craig’s smile widened, and my throat went dry as the desert as he switched off the water and stepped out of the shower stall, completely naked. It was all I could do to keep my eyes on his face, though my peripheral vision is excellent and I had a nice view of his thick cock and heavy balls, as if on display just for me. “You know you can call me Craig,” he said languidly as, seemingly in no hurry, he turned to pick up his towel. This gave me a view of his perfect ass, firm rounds glistening with water droplets. I wanted to lick his entire body.
“Sorry, Craig.” I tried not to stammer, or watch too obviously, as he wrapped the towel around his hips slowly. The towel hung dangerously low, well below those perfectly cut hips, the V of the muscles making my knees weak.
“Enjoy your shower,” Craig said as he walked past with a smirk that made me think he’d done it all on purpose.
I wished I could have enjoyed my shower with a quick, impassioned jerk of my cock, but it was too risky. As a result, I walked around most of the rest of the day in some state of arousal. Damn sexy man.
One good thing came of it, though. From then on, my gaydar was attuned to Craig and I was almost sure he was at least curious. I was more than happy to satisfy any shred of curiosity he might have.
Unfortunately, I have a bad habit for falling for ‘straight’ guys. You know the ones, who want a taste of the forbidden but then go back to their wives or girlfriends the next day? Or usually, they don’t even stay the night, creeping out before the come even dries on their sinfully flat stomachs… Most of my sexual experience had been a string of one or two night stands. Except for one spectacularly failed relationship—one of the reasons I had applied for this assignment.
So, like most gay men, I was attracted to big, hard-bodied men.. Only I didn’t particularly like men who acted too effeminate. I had plenty of friends who did, and I had no problem with them, but I just wasn’t attracted. Unfortunately, most straight-acting men were actually straight, making life difficult for me. I had never actually been beaten up, but had come close a couple of times. Luckily, I’m not small and well able to defend myself, so maybe that’s why it never came to blows.
My hottest encounters had always happened outside clubs or in back rooms: stolen hot caresses under neon lights, back pressed to a brick wall, or on my knees, mouth stuffed full of glorious cock. Or bent over the nearest piece of furniture if we had that luxury. I topped sometimes, but because of my penchant for bigger men, I found I was usually on the receiving end and I really didn’t mind one bit. I would bend over and spread for Craig in an instant.