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Having had the time of our lives, not to mention our way, with two pretty . . . make that drop-dead gorgeous U.S. Navy nurses, Marty and I were now confronted with the consequences of our actions.
After hearing from the ethereally attractive Commander Lundgren, at the moment, my personal choice as the Sexiest Woman in Southeast Asia, of the horror, chaos, and despair that the triage nurses in-country encountered every day, and learning, as well, of the suicide of Kerri and Shauna’s good friend, I had begun to feel like a depraved fool.
* * *
Suddenly, Lt. Janvrin, who’d stood impassively through Commander Lundgren’s sobering tale, went off.
“You people got in some shit while you were out on your little escapade,” he ranted. “You want to explain that?”
Without waiting for an answer, he began spewing accusations and invective that accused Marty and me of everything from misuse of government property to dereliction of duty.
“And how ’bout having sex with a couple of officers?” The lieutenant was rolling now.
He then proceeded to level charges ranging from lewd and lascivious behavior to doing it doggie style, anal penetration to gang rape. He was, it seemed, out for our gonads.
When he paused to take a breath, a flushed Commander Lundgren responded with her opinion that, first of all, the lieutenant ought to tone down his descriptive phrasing, and secondly, that the women had merely chosen a particularly misguided way of relieving nearly unbearable stress. “Might it be, Lieutenant,” she concluded, “that the ladies took advantage of your men, rather than the other way around?”
“Sir,” Marty interjected heatedly. “My mamma didn’t raise no rapist. It was all one girl to one guy out there. If Axelsson had touched Shauna, I’d have shot him myself.”
I gave Marty a nasty look, but kept quiet because it was true, and I wouldn’t blame him. I did wonder, however, if I would have done the same if he’d approached Kerri.
Admiral Zumwalt weighed in, stating that to his knowledge very few victims fell in love with their rapists, that he saw no evidence Marty or I had forced ourselves on the two nurses.
Undeterred, Lt. Janvrin suggested further violations of the UCMJ . . . the Universal Code of Military Justice, the embodiment of military law . . . which, if proven, could very well land Marty and me in prison. In particular, he demanded an inquiry into our failure to report the short but intense firefight.
The admiral agreed that the charge of dereliction of duty ought to be recognized and dealt with.
With that, inspiration belatedly struck and I volunteered the information that we had a combat map on the boat; that I could, with reasonable certainty, point out on the map exactly where we had taken fire.
The admiral immediately leaped to his feet and rushed to the hatch . . . God forbid you called an ordinary office door a “door” in the old Navy. He asked for some commander named Howell, apparently one of his entourage, demanding the artillery spotting map of the Vung Tau region, which was quickly produced. He returned to the desk and unfolded the map, whereupon Marty and I shortly agreed on the location of the ambush.
“Lieutenant, come with me.” Admiral Zumwalt said imperiously. “We’re gonna get some gunships and grunts over there. I’ll dispatch one of the gunfire support destroyers that way, too.” He hesitated, turned to look sternly at us. “Do either of you know if there were any V.C. casualties?”
Both Marty and I responded “No, sir.”
“Sir,” I elaborated. “Our return fire most definitely suppressed Charlie’s will to continue the engagement. I believe we put some serious hurt on their, um, behinds, but, with the ladies aboard, it seemed prudent to just di-di the hell outta there, sir. Also, as the senior watch stander, it was my intention to report the engagement to the duty officer at the docks as soon as we got back. But the Lieutenant was right there, along with the rest of the crew, and, well, things got a little complicated, sir.”
“Right.” The admiral withered me with a fierce look. “I suppose the thought of using your comms to call in air and ground support never entered your mind?”
“Well, sir . . .” I began, eyes averted.
“Ah, never mind. Let’s go, Lieutenant.” The admiral looked toward Commander Lundgren. “Commander, I’m leaving the disposition of this matter in your hands.” A glance toward Marty and me, “You men are officially before the mast,” meaning we were to stand by for sentencing and sincan escort bayan punishment. Abruptly, he and Lt. Janvrin were gone, though not without a this-ain’t-done-yet glare from the lieutenant on his way out.
Seemingly apropos of nothing, the commander asked me, “Axelsson, what’s your rating?”
“Bos’n’s Mate, Third Class, ma’am,” I replied, startled by the question.
“And what do you have to say about your conduct with my two nurses?”
Apparently, I was going to be the bad guy in this whole scenario, but I was determined to be honest, even though it might cost me my rate, my next twenty liberty passes, and/or my freedom. “Ma’am, there’s no doubt that rules were broken, procedures ignored, government property misused, hostile attacks unreported, and officers, um, bedded. As for most of those perceived offences, ma’am, I have no excuse. As for the last one, the only thing I can tell you is that we were a bunch of ordinary people enjoying life for a little while. Demarest has it right, ma’am, nobody forced themselves on anyone, we were all willing accomplices.”
“I see,” she responded. “So what are your feelings for Lt. Cavalieri?”
Once again I responded truthfully. “Ma’am, I have the utmost respect and admiration for the lieutenant. I will obviously retain a certain affection for her, like, for the rest of my life. And I hope, ma’am, that the lieutenant feels the same way about me.”
The commander’s next statement: “I don’t suppose either of you men used a prophylactic,” struck me like a slap to the ear. What if one or both of the women became pregnant? Marty, on the other hand, seemed pleased at the thought.
At that moment, a timid knock interrupted our tête-à-tête.
“Enter,” the commander called out. Kerri and Shauna, clad in nurse’s whites, complete with white caps topped in navy blue piping, name tags, white ripple-soled shoes, lieutenant’s bars . . . twin silver bars for Kerri, a single silver bar for Shauna . . . pinned precisely to one collar point, oak leaf pin designating the medical corps affixed to the other, quickly entered the room.
Working uniforms notwithstanding, I was amazed, once again, at how attractive both women truly were. Like their commanding officer, each turned an essentially shapeless uniform into a playground of suggestive curves and deliciously rounded forms.
Both nurses had put her hair in a severe bun, and were tight-lipped and business-like as they approached the commander’s desk. Of course, both Marty and I came to attention when the nurses entered, though again, I couldn’t help but compare Kerri’s innocently insidious eroticism with Commander Lundgren’s barely concealed sexuality.
“Lieutenant Cavalieri and Lieutenant, junior-grade O’Meara reporting as ordered, ma’am,” Kerri announced loudly.
“Everyone stand easy,” the commander responded. Shauna immediately went to perch sedately next to Marty, while Kerri showed me a small, sensuous grin, and took her position at the opposite bulkhead.
I couldn’t help flashing back to Kerri and Shauna’s naked perfection, their sweat-sheened breasts, erect nipples, proud pussies, and sensuous asses. I recalled Shauna’s lightly freckled cleavage, Kerri’s delightfully voluptuous hips, the way each displayed her sex and her desire, the lust and eventual fulfillment all of us experienced and enjoyed.
Again, I envied Marty and, despite the circumstances, blessed fate for these moments in company with three of the finest looking women to be found, not only in the Orient, but quite possibly on the face of the earth.
The commander began. “I’m not going to demand an explanation from you ladies as to your actions today. While I can’t say that you’ve made me proud, I will tell you that I understand. I’ve informed these men about the extenuating circumstances you women have found yourselves in these past couple of days. There is, of course, no doubt that many of your actions today were not in keeping with the UCMJ or with naval regulations, but I’m willing to overlook your behavior, for the most part, because what’s done is done. God help either of you ladies, though, if you become pregnant.”
Marty and Shauna gave each other a little hug, while Kerri looked at me with an inscrutable smile.
“Anyhow,” Commander Lundgren continued. “Kerri. Shauna. As you both know, it’s going to be a very trying day tomorrow when we say goodbye to Brenda.” Both nurses gazed stoically at their commanding officer as she went on. “However, I believe that you eryaman escort women and these young men have encountered something special in each other . . . I know that you and Gunner’s Mate Demarest have, Shauna. While you two,” a glance at Kerri and me, “are seemingly companionable and respectful of each other. Therefore, I’m ordering you men,” a stern look toward Marty, then me, “to accompany Lt. Cavalieri and Lt. j.g. O’Meara to the airstrip tomorrow when we send Lt. j.g. Kasper home. I expect you both to provide whatever aid, comfort, and support these ladies need. After that, I’ll see what I can do to minimize any further repercussions for your actions.”
I don’t know about Marty, Shauna or Kerri, but I was stunned . . . and relieved.
The commander’s voice lashed out at us then, “I do not, however, expect any of you people to ever behave like this again. I will tolerate no more dereliction of duty, no more flaunting of regulations, no more misuse of government property, no more acting like a pack of oversexed college freshmen. You are all members of the United States Navy and from now on, each and every one of you will comport yourselves as such. Am I clear?”
We all responded in perfect unison, “Yes, ma’am.”
“Lt. Cavalieri, Lt. j.g. O’Meara,” Commander Lundgren said with considerably less vehemence. “I want you to take Gunner’s Mate Demarest over to the supply Quonset, where he will requisition a set of enlisted dress whites, including white hat and dress shoes, in order that he look presentable tomorrow. Then you will escort him to his boat, where he will gather a clean set of camos and some skivvies. From there, you will accompany Demarest to the medical BEQ where he will shower and shave, dress in said clean camos, and stow his dress whites in one of the temporary lockers. After you’ve carried out this assignment, stand by for further orders. Oh, and get over to the BX, purchase whatever campaign ribbons Demarest has earned, as well as his rating patches. I assume,” she said with an ironic smile, “that someone among you can sew. Questions?”
“Just one thing, ma’am,” I replied with some hesitation. “Our boat is supposed to be heading back to Nha Be tomorrow. Obviously, ma’am, we’re expected to be aboard when it does.”
“You may have noticed that Admiral Zumwalt and I are somewhat friendly,” the commander said tightlipped. “Efforts will be made to retain your vessel in this command for the duration,” “And, by the way, Axelsson, you will remain here for the moment. We’ll see to your accommodations and uniforms directly.”
She glanced at Marty and the two nurses. “Lieutenants, Gunner’s Mate Demarest, you’re dismissed.”
Kerri and Shauna chorused “By your leave, ma’am,” saluted Commander Lundgren, and, with Marty in tow, headed out of the office. As Shauna passed in front of me, she stopped suddenly, stood on tiptoes, put her arms around my neck, and kissed me full on the lips. “Thanks,” she whispered, those Irish-green eyes all soft and grateful. “Just . . . thanks.” She smiled a smile that, again, nearly dropped me where I stood, grabbed Marty’s hand, and they all but skipped into the passageway.
Kerri leaned in just before shutting the hatch to mutter a quick “Thank you, ma’am,” to her C.O., and to give me an encouraging smile.
From such small gestures, I knew that the four of us were destined to remain close.
I stood silently before the platinum-blond commander as she scrutinized me with a curious smile. She nodded toward the empty chair kitty-corner to her desk. “Take a seat.”
I did as she ordered, wondering, as the designated bad guy in the proceedings, what especial punishment was to be meted out.
“What’s your first name, Boats?” she asked pleasantly.
Ordinarily I despise when people call me “Boats”, the common appellation for those enlisted personnel rated as Boatswain’s Mates. The lifers may have thought the title distinctive, but I had no intentions of making the Navy a career and personally thought the moniker demeaning. However, considering the source of the question, an uncommonly beautiful woman and the officer who essentially held my future in her sculpted hands, I held my tongue and simply replied, “Jimmy . . . James, ma’am.”
“How old are you, Jimmy?”
“I was born and raised just outside Concord, New Hampshire, ma’am.” I wondered where this was leading.
“I’d appreciate it,” this Amazon goddess said then, “if you’d call me Sheila.”
“Yes, ma’am, etimesgut bayan escort um, Sheila,” I said warily. I hadn’t noticed in all the excitement that Commander Lundgren . . . Sheila . . . wore no wedding band. I was becoming increasingly unnerved at this conversation.
“You find me attractive, don’t you, Jimmy?” she asked then, and my danger radar went to full gain. I wondered if she could read minds, knew that I’d mentally ravished her in several militarily inappropriate and personally inventive ways.
With a straight face, I replied, “You are, Sheila, one of the most attractive women I’ve ever encountered. And I’m sure you’re very aware of that fact.”
Her eyes, so invitingly, impossibly blue, so kind, gentle, thoughtful, and sad, widened slightly and she laughed . . . much to my relief. “Oh yes,” she chuckled, “I’m well aware that every man on this base wants to bed me; perhaps more than a few women, as well.”
I kept silent.
“As Lt. Cavalieri put it,” she went on, “both you and Demarest are ‘kinda cute’, but you’re a bit above the common enlisted anchor-clanker. Have you some college behind you?”
“One semester at Dartmouth; liberal arts.”
“And how did you end up a gunner on a river assault boat?”
“My folks wanted me to concentrate on math and engineering; I wanted to get into journalism. That ended the free ride. My next school was the Naval Recruit Training Center at Great Lakes.”
“You were ordered here right out of Great Lakes?”
“No, ma . . . um, Sheila, I did two and a half years on a carrier, the Kitty Hawk, in a deck division. Made the mistake of requesting Yeoman school with the intention of getting into journalism the hard way; ended up with orders to ‘Nam. Typical military bullsh . . . thinking.”
Commander Lundgren, my personal choice as the sexiest woman in Southeast Asia, sat silently staring at me.
Suddenly this impossibly gorgeous creature began unbuttoning her blouse. “Would you fuck me, Jimmy?” she asked.
“Ma’am?” was all I could think to say.
“Please. It’s Sheila. Yes or no, Jimmy. Would you fuck me? Because I find you a fascinating young man.” She had unbuttoned far enough that I could plainly see her white brassier . . . so much for blue/black lace.
Yet, despite the deliciously creamy and delightfully precipitous cleavage peeking between the buttons of her blouse, I felt something nag my conscience. “Sheila, I’d be honored to, um, make love to you, but . . .”
“Well, frankly, I’ve decided that I’d like to pursue matters with Kerri, um, Lt. Cavalieri; maybe find out if she’d be interested in a relationship.” I truly had no idea I was going to say that until it came out of my mouth.
The commander sat back in her chair. “You, of course, know,” she said, “that in addition to the fact that she’s an officer and committed to her nursing career, Lt. Cavalieri is a very beautiful young woman, doubtless attractive to men of far loftier means and prospects than a brown water sailor, even one with a semester at Dartmouth to his credit.”
“It seems to me, Sheila,” I responded, “that Marty and Shauna will have to overcome those same obstacles. As would you and I, if . . . things were different.”
“I’ll concede that Demarest and Lt. j.g. O’Meara have defied the odds . . . for the moment.” The commander smiled again. My God but she was gorgeous, would have made a better-than-decent living as a model or an actress, as would, come to think of it, Kerri and Shauna. She was also devious, I felt like I was taking some sort of exam.
“Sheila,” I responded, “Like you and your nurses, Marty and I are living each day out here ‘for the moment’. I’ll take things with Kerri moment by moment for as long as I can, and if I can convince her that I’m worth her interest, even if it’s only for a couple of months, hell, even if it’s only for a week, it’ll be the best damn week of my life.”
“I’m sure it would, Jimmy,” the commander replied. “And, who knows, maybe Kerri feels the same way about you.”
It was my turn to smile.
“I’m going to call Supply,” Commander Lundgren said then. “I’ll instruct them to have Kerri, Shauna and Demarest wait for you there. Go get your whites and camos; then grab a shower and a shave. Inform the lieutenants that I expect you all back in my office at,” she glanced at the chronometer hanging over the hatchway, “seventeen-thirty hours.”
With a quick “By your leave, ma’am,” I started for the hatch, but paused when the commander said suddenly, “It’s my opinion, Boats, that both Kerri and you could do worse.”
Again ignoring her damned “Boats” thing, I looked once more into those incredible blue eyes and replied, “I agree, ma’am.”
* * *
In the conclusion, fates are sealed.
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