In a not too distant future, the island of Manhattan has been commandeered by rebels aided by terrorists who have set themselves against the U.S. government. The Brooklyn Bridge, now fallen into disuse, stands as a sort of "no-man's land" between the island and the military that patrol the Hudson River. When the rebels bomb the Bridge, the nation is plunged into what might become a second Civil War.<br><br>Captain Jace Rickert is a grounded pilot whose Army lover, Second Lieutenant Tomas Tait, is sent on a routine reconnaissance mission. When Tait disappears and the military can’t stop the impending war to find one missing soldier, Rickert takes matters into his own hands.
It’s after midnight when he comes in.
I hear him open the door downstairs, just a thin squeak in the
darkness, and I glance at the clock as he walks up to my room with
slow steps. He thinks I’m asleep, I’m sure. The bedroom door opens
and for a moment I see him, a dark silhouette against the night,
before he comes into the room and closes the door behind him. He’s
as quiet as he can be, slipping out of his fatigues, his nude skin
glowing with a faint luminescence in the dark—he’s beautiful. A
It takes all I have not to call him to
me; he’ll ease between the sheets and press up against me soon
enough, and I don’t want to scare him if he thinks I’m asleep. His
body is warm when he curls into me, his hands cool because it’s
chilly outside, but he slips his fingers between my thighs to warm
them up as he snuggles close.
“Love you,” he whispers, a
breathy sigh where he kisses my ear.
“I was afraid you weren’t
I’m surprised it took him so long to
get away. His platoon assembled at 22:00 hours and I didn’t think
it would take half the night to be briefed. Turning in his arms, I
kiss his cheek. “What’s going on?”
Here in my bed, he’s not a second
lieutenant in the 49th but mine, and no one sees him cuddle against
my chest. Here he’s nothing but a boy fresh out of ROTC who used to
have long wavy hair before the Army shaved it all off, a boy I met
two years ago who told me he loved me when I fell out of the sky
during what should have been a routine flight and wasn’t, a boy I
love without regret. When he comes through my door, he leaves the
soldier in him behind at his barracks with the rest of his platoon.
Here he’s nothing but mine.
“Tomas?” I murmur, stroking
the short growth of hair along the curve of his jaw. That will be
gone in the morning when he shaves. “What’s wrong?”
He sighs, a sad sound that pierces my
soul. It tells me he has to go into the field for a few weeks, or
he’s being sent off post for a mission and I won’t see him until he
returns. I hear nothing good in that sigh; there’s too much talk
about an impending war with the rebels in the City, too many
skirmishes on the Bridge. Wherever they’re sending him, I don’t
want him to go. Nuzzling against my neck, he breathes, “I don’t
want to go, Jace. I want to stay here with you and I never want to
leave. Why can’t I do that? Why can’t I just stay here?”
Because you’re in the 49th, I
want to remind him, and I’m in the 123rd, only I’m grounded so
I’m stuck behind a desk, and in the eyes of the commander we
shouldn’t even be together, but I love you too much to let you go.
Because we’re just regular GI Joes—we do what they say, do or die,
and until we’re both discharged, that’s all we’re ever going to be.
They don’t care that I’ll spend every night without you tossing and
turning. They don’t care that you’ll lie awake sleepless beneath
the stars and ache to hold me. We’re just numbers on paper they
move around in their games of war. That’s all we’ll ever be to
everyone but each other.
But he knows this and I don’t need to
remind him. So I pull him close and smooth my hands along the
furrows in his brow. My lips brush his cheek, finding his damp
mouth, and I can feel the pout as I kiss it away. “Can you talk
about it? Or is it classified?”
He shrugs, settling closer against me.
“Just a routine mission.”
I hear the haunted fear in his voice.
He’s trying to convince himself as much as me. Just routine…
“We leave at dawn, the whole 49th. Peace-keeping duty at the
He must feel me stiffen because his
arms encircle my waist and hug me tight. “I’m scared.” His voice
sounds small, almost child-like in the dark. “You know what they
say about the Bridge, and there’s talk around base of an air
strike, have you heard that? I don’t want to leave you and I don’t
know when I’ll get back…what if something happens? What then?
I silence his questions with an
insistent kiss, pushing him back against the pillows as I roll on
top of him. He’s so warm beneath me, so alive. My body responds to
his hungry touch, our hands stroking until we’re both hard and