Amidst the dangers of war torn Afghanistan, an army officer finds himself irresistibly drawn to another soldier. The forbidden attraction shakes him to the core and plunges him into a bitter inner conflict.
But the battle against these new and disturbing desires is not the only war he must fight. A patrol goes missing, under suspicious circumstances, while on routine surveillance. The subsequent media interest, and the shocking truth as it unfolds, challenges his belief system and rocks the comfortable world he grew up in.
Freeway traffic belted past the Starlight Motel, double-glazed windows blocked out the racket. Jay turned on the radio, and lay down on the bed. He expected Darren at any minute.
They’d been super cautious about their intimate encounters, choosing a motel far out of the city and both arriving separately. They even parked their cars several blocks away. But even so…Jay realised he was playing with fire.
His two separate worlds were veering precariously close together. This wasn’t Afghanistan, or even the Regina Airport Inn, thousands of miles from home. The regimental dance had demonstrated this, dramatically.
Kerry had looked stunning in a midnight blue sheath, and introducing her to Darren, who looked equally edible in his dress uniform––the lieutenant’s insignia suited him––made Jay squirm with the inappropriateness of it all.
He felt as if he were careening along in a runaway train––unable to get off, helpless––and bracing himself for the inevitable crash.
“Sorry I’m late,” Darren’s arrival burst in on his thoughts. “The traffic is murder.”
As always, his presence chased away the fears, which simply overwhelmed Jay, when he brooded, alone. Something that felt this right, he told himself for the umpteenth time, could not be wrong.
Then why are you so damned unhappy and scared shitless of getting caught? The little voice got busy on its self-appointed mission to torment him. Your double life is tearing you apart Jay. I think from now on I’ll call you Solomon’s child!
He ignored it and grasped Darren in his arms. They kissed for ages. Kept their lovemaking slow and measured. Now that they were seeing each other, regularly, the insane couplings that had threatened to devour them had ceased. The excitement was just as intense, Jay noted, but tempered by less urgency.
Darren rolled onto his back and held up his legs. Jay mounted him. We’re getting like an old married couple, he thought with a snicker, fucking in the missionary. The sex was exquisite, red-hot desire that soared higher and higher until it scorched his very soul and erupted like molten lava.
“We can’t go on like this.” Darren sat on the edge of the bed and pulled on his socks. “It’s dynamite. You know that. Sooner or later someone’s going to see us.” He had put into words what Jay had been thinking. What he already knew for some time. He had to either leave Kerry and the army, and move in with Darren, thereby acknowledging the nature of their liaison to the world, or cut Darren out of his life.
“I’d have no problem leaving the army,” Darren said. “We could move to Toronto or somewhere, where we’re not known.”
The idea was tempting Jay had to admit. To chuck the army wouldn’t cause him any grief, either. He could get a job in horticulture, possibly at a government agency. And Darren there in his bed every night…
Cut the crap, the little voice jumped in. What about your family? Can you imagine what it would do to your parents, their son a raging homo? It sure wouldn’t do your dad’s political career any good.
Jay would like to have strangled it with his bare hands. I hate you, he told it silently.
Then you hate yourself, dumbass. Who the fuck do you think I am?
“I don’t think I could bear seeing you every day at the base and never meeting like this.” Jay stroked Darren’s shoulder.
“I know, it would be equally impossible for me. That’s why I put in for a transfer.”
“You did what?”
“It’s the only way.” Darren looked ready to weep.
Jay put his arms around him. “I love you, man,” he said. But that wasn’t always enough, he reflected miserably. Life got in the way.
Coward. You want to have your cake and eat it too, Darren’s cock and the myth of respectability. You’re a stinker, Jay. You lack the courage of your convictions. Kerry deserves better. So, for that matter, does Darren.
Jay willed it to be silent. He felt exhausted, totally spent. Christ, he was arguing with himself.
Watching Darren leave was purgatory. The feeling of being left behind, scary as witches. He dressed quickly, and got out of there. He needed a drink so bad he could taste it. Scotch on the rocks and then another and another…He stopped by a bar and drank himself into oblivion.
He woke up in a police holding cell.