"Okay, are you seriously not going to tell me?"
I lay in bed with Greg. He hadn't planned to end up tangled in sheets with me that night, but I can be terribly convincing if a man let me kiss him.
I chuckled, and his hand rubbed my chest gently. "Come on." He tried to work me, but it wasn't necessary. I had wanted sex, he gave it to me, so I'd reward him.
"Fine." I took a breath, and he grinned. Greg wriggled a little closer, and now his forehead was under my arm, while the limb draped around him.
I left for the ferry terminal immediately after the officer released me from the scene. My weekend was over, there was no way that I could have a good time after what had happened. I boarded the ferry, and I stood at the very front of the boat. It wasn't a popular spot. Even in May, the water was cold, and the fog which lay over it made everything clammy and uncomfortable. I stared out over the water as the ferry cut through the bay, back toward Bremerton, where I had left my car.
An hour later I got into my car, and I drove to Bangor sub-base. I parked, and walked up the stairs, up the hill to my BEQ. Oh, sorry. That's short for Bachelor Enlisted Quarters. It's where all of the single enlisted folks lived if they chose to stay on base.
I went inside, sat on my bed, and let my mind circle around what had happened in Seattle. I didn't move until my back began to hurt. I looked at the window, and it was dusk. I had sat there for hours. I hadn't eaten at all, and yet I wasn't hungry. I felt sick with stress, assured of my future discharge.
I picked Senior Chief Coleman when the officer gave me the choice. Senior was the highest-ranking enlisted sailor in my command - a man who didn't take any sort of shit from anybody. He was harsh but fair - a by the book NCO. Ugh, I keep doing that. A non-commissioned officer. Anyway, he would do what I knew needed doing. I chose Senior, because I knew, deep down, that man in Seattle was right. I should repent. I should be punished. I should suffer. I didn't have the right to be in the US Navy, I didn't deserve it.
Sunday came and went. I don't remember much of it. I think I ate something, just because I started to feel weak and shaky.
Monday arrived. I showed up early, and I sat right in front where we held our morning muster. Senior Chief led it, and I awaited his judgment.
'I wonder if he'll say something in front of everyone.' My eyes were blank as I thought. 'Probably. They're all going to find out. They'll know, you're a liar, a faggot, and not worth being a sailor. You deserve it.'
People began to show up, and they took seats around me. I interacted only when I had to, returned greetings, and nodded hello.
Senior Chief entered, the room settled - even the commissioned officers who officially outranked Senior quieted in his wake.
'Straighten up. Fucking look at him.' I took a breath, and I sat up, put my shoulders back, and raised my eyes.
Senior Chief had these fantastic, ice blue eyes. They glanced at mine when I moved, but then he looked over the room.
"Good morning. First thing, there were four calls last night, and our on-duty EMT and EVO are exhausted. I'm sending them home to rest. Cane, Gray, you two are filling in on the rig. Gray, you've got EMT, Cane is driving." He looked at petty officer Cane, got an affirmative nod, then one from me as well.
The rest of the muster passed with minor business, and messages from the weekend duty crew. Then we were dismissed. 'Oh shit. Maybe they didn't send it. Maybe the report was lost.' I wet my lips, stood up to leave and turned toward the door.
I stopped, my back still to Senior Chief. My heart hammered in my chest, and I faced him. "Yes, Senior?"
"My office." He strode from the room, all business. A few of the departing enlisted looked at me, curiosity in their eyes.
Dread crawled like a cold snake down my spine to settle, and twist in my gut. I walked down the hall, stopped at Senior's door, and I knocked on the doorframe.
He motioned me through the open portal, those pale eyes stayed on mine. "Close the door."
"Sit, Gray." His voice was strange. It had a tonal quality I had never heard him use. There was both softness and iron in it, all at once.
I sat in the extra chair, my gaze on his desk. There, a carbon-copy of the police report lay, and I closed my eyes against the nausea I felt.
He leaned forward. "Gray, I have some questions. Can you handle that right now?"
I frowned and looked at him. I didn't expect him to ask my permission to question me. I nodded.
He looked down at the paper, then back up to me. "First, are you all right? Did he hurt you?"
I blinked. "I'm fine, Senior. He didn't hurt me."
"Good." Senior's eyes narrowed, and half of his lips lifted in a dangerous smirk. "I read the report, but I want to hear it from you." His countenance became eager. "I want to hear it from your lips, how you took down that strung out bastard."
I gaped. "Uh, I ..." I swallowed. "Senior, aren't you going to report me?"
He never looked away from my face. His hand crumpled the yellow copy of the report, and he threw it into the garbage. "Report you for what?"
I floundered. "Senior, I," there was no comprehension possible in that moment. "You'll get in trouble if anybody finds out."
He set his jaw and stood up. "Fuck em." Senior shook his head. "You do a good job. I don't fucking care where you dip your wick." He stood there until I met his eye. Then he sat down in his seat. "Now," he leaned back in his chair, "tell me how you kicked that motherfucker's ass."