I apologize that it's taken so long to get this chapter posted. Real life has kept me pretty busy. As always, comments and feedback are welcomed. Please email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aaron had always prided himself on his state of physical fitness. It had served him well in his athletic endeavors and during basic training. It did not, however, completely prepare him for the physical demands of firefighter training. He would return to his room in the barracks every night exhausted. Several members of his original training class had been removed from training and reassigned to other career fields because of their inability to handle the physical demands and some, to a lesser degree, the academic demands.
He understood the basics of how to use a fire extinguisher and what type of extinguisher to use for what type of fire, but that knowledge paled in comparison with the sheer volume of information he had to memorize. The fire tetrahedron. Hose and Hydrant operations. Water flow rates and pressures. Fire equipment requirements and methods of operations. Lifting techniques. Evacuation procedures. Rescue procedures. Getting out alive. There were days when it would overwhelm him. In the past when things got rough during high school, he could always count on Justin or Alison for support. Those days are gone now. He thought to himself, sadly. It's just me now. He sat on his bed and cried. His roommate tried on numerous occasions to get him to open up and talk it out, but Aaron refused. He couldn't talk about it. If they every found out he was gay he'd be kicked out. What would he do then? He pushed those thoughts out of his mind pulled himself together and headed for the recreation center to shoot some pool, wishing they had a dart board. Darts was his all-time favorite sport. Unfortunately the only place to play darts was in the local bars which he couldn't go into because he was underage.
After shooting pool for a couple of hours he went by the base bowling alley and grabbed a burger before returning to his dorm room to study. Time flew by and before he knew it he was graduating. While he didn't do as well as he did in high school, he did quite well and graduated in the top one-third of his class. He was thrilled when he received his orders for his first permanent duty station, Nellis Air Force Base, located just nine miles north of Las Vegas. Having lived in Arizona his entire life, he was afraid of being sent to a cold climate location such as Minot in North Dakota. He wasn't sure if he'd be able to handle the cold. With the orders came a thirty day leave. He wasn't sure what to do. The first thought that crossed his mind was to try and visit his parents. But what if they refused to see him? What would he do then? He knew he wouldn't be able to spend his entire leave in a motel room. No way could he afford that. An idea came to him causing him to seek out his company commander. He reported to his commander and was told to take a set.
"What can I do for you, Airman Suarez?"
"Just a quick question, sir. I know that I have thirty days leave coming to me, but I'm kind of anxious to get to Nellis and get started. Is it possible to report early?"
"What's your specialty?"
"Ah. The firefighter training is very intense. You need the time to decompress before starting duty as a firefighter where you will undergo more training, only this time it will be on the job. Regulations only allow for early reporting two weeks in advance, so you will be required to take a minimum of two weeks leave before reporting to Nellis. Is that what you want to do?"
"Yes sir, it is."
"Okay, I'll have your orders amended allowing you to report early. You will still be required to report by the original reporting date, but your orders will allow you to report up to two weeks early. Stop by the personnel office tomorrow afternoon to pick up your amended orders."
Aaron rose. "Thank you Captain." He snapped a sharp salute and held it.
The captain rose. "You're welcome." He saluted back. As Aaron dropped his salute the captain held out his hand. "Good luck to you Airman. I have no doubt you will do well in your career."
Aaron shook the officer's hand. "Thank you, Sir." He turned on his heal and marched smartly out of the captain's office, got something to eat and returned to his dorm room to finish packing his belongings except for what he would need to out-process the next day once he got his amended orders. Two days later he was on his way to Tucson without a clue as to what would happen once he got there. He decided his best course of action would be to park his car in the convenience store parking lot at the end of his block then walk to his parent's house. He could no longer bring himself to think of it as his home, one that he had spent the first eighteen years of his life in. He walked up and rang the doorbell. He knew both of his parents were home as their cars were in the garage and he could hear the TV on. He heard footsteps approach the door, then move away. One of his parents had obviously looked through the peephole and saw him standing there. So much for that idea. He thought bitterly. He heard the back door open and close, then the gate in the back yard open and close. I bet that's either Justin or Alison, or both heading for the back garage. Well, there's no question about it. I no longer have a home or a family. I'm all alone now. Aaron hung his head and slowly turned and walked back to his car without so much as a glance over his shoulder. The barely twenty-year-old Aaron never felt so alone in his life. Well, at least I have the Air Force. I'm bound to make some friends and once I retire maybe I can find a lover. He didn't even dare entertain the notion that he'd find that special someone while he was serving on active duty. He went to his bank and close his savings account, leaving his checking account open. He'd arranged to have his paychecks directly deposited into his checking account. He had enough money to pay for food and a motel room for two weeks which was not exactly how he wanted to spend his leave time, but his former family left him little choice. He contacted his cousin who let him know on no uncertain terms that if he had known that he was a `disgusting faggot' that he could have driven Aaron's car into a ditch and left it there. After that Aaron gave up on all of his relations. There was no point. He was grateful when the day finally arrived and he drove up to the main gate of Nellis Air Force Base and asked for directions to the base personnel office where he would get processed in. Once there he called his sponsor and informed him that he was reporting in two weeks early.
Within twenty minutes a man approached him holding out his hand. "Aaron? I'm Clark Bronson. Glad to meet you. Welcome to Nellis."
Aaron shook the proffered hand, ignoring the tingles then shot up his arm and down his spine to his cock. "P-p-pleased to meet you, Sergeant. Sorry, I'm a little nervous."
Clark let out a little laugh. "I totally understand. I was a complete wreck when I got to my first duty station. That's one of the reasons why the sponsorship program exists, to help people get settled into their new duty stations as quickly and easily as possible. You can drop the rank. The only ones you are required to address by rank are the First Sergeants, Chief Master Sergeants and officers. Are you all processed in?"
"Except for a place to stay, yeah."
"They didn't set you up in billeting?"
"Nope. They said it was my responsibility to do that."
"Did they give you a base map or even tell you where billeting was?"
"No, they didn't."
"SNAFU!" Clark said angrily.
"Snafu?" Aaron questioned.
"It's an acronym that gets a lot of use around here. Situation Normal All Fucked Up. Another one you'll hear a lot is FUBAR, Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition or Fucked Up Beyond All Repair, depending upon the circumstances."
FUBAR. That describes my life in a nutshell! Aaron said to himself as Clark excused himself and went into the personnel office.
He came out a few minutes later with a large envelope which he handed to Aaron. "They were supposed to give you this information packet when you inprocessed. You'll find a map of the base as well as Las Vegas, some complimentary show tickets, information on base facilities, stuff like that. The airman who inprocessed you won't forget that again. I just tore him a new asshole." He glanced at his watch. "It's noon. Are you hungry?"
"I could eat."
"What's your fancy, full meal or sandwiches?"
"Sandwiches sounds good to me."
"Do you have a car?"
"Have you registered it yet?"
"No, not yet."
"Okay, why don't you follow me to the cop shop and get it registered which takes about five minutes. That way you won't get hassled by any dung-ho cop." Aaron snickered at the term `dung-ho'. "Then we'll go get something to eat at the sandwich shop by the rec center." Which is exactly what they did and true to Clark's word, five minutes later they were seated in the sandwich shop. "You're going to find that things are very different here from training. For one thing, there are no morning or afternoon formations, unless there is a special reason, in which case we'll be notified ahead of time as to when, where and what time. When you are off duty, you dress in civvies and can come and go as you please. There are places that are off-limits to military personnel. There should be a list in your information packet. Also, the rule about no fraternization between enlisted and NCO's doesn't apply. You do not have to sign in or out to leave the base. If, however, you're going to be gone overnight, it is a good idea to let someone know where you are going to be in case we need to get a hold of you."
"So basically it's just like I'm working a regular job."
"Pretty much, but with a lot more rules and regulations attached. When we're done eating, we'll head over to the orderly room and get you inprocessed there and if we're lucky, they'll have a room for you in the barracks so you won't have to move into billeting, only to have to move out and into the barracks a few days later. It's a real pain in the ass."
"Uh, I thought I already inprocessed."
"That was to the base, which basically makes sure your personnel, financial and medical files have arrived and are sent to the appropriate offices as well as letting the Air Force personnel office know that you have arrived safely. Squadron inprocessing sets you up with a room in the barracks, line badge, meal card, that sort of thing."
"It's a special photo ID that allows you access to the restricted areas on base which you are required to have on you at all times when you are on duty. If you are caught in any of them without it you could be arrested, maybe even shot. Definitely don't want that."
"Hell no." In short order they finished their meal and were in the squadron orderly room where inprocessing took about a half hour. Aaron was dismayed when told that there were no open rooms in the barracks at the moment and he would have to stay in billeting.
"I don't have a roommate." Clark told the First Sergeant who was in charge of, among many other things, assigning rooms. He's so hot! I'd love waking up next to him every morning. I wonder if he's gay. I wonder how I could find out without getting either of us into trouble or getting him pissed off at me if he's straight and end up with him turning me in, although I don't think he would. I think he'd be okay with it.
The First Sergeant looked at the room assignment board. "What happened to your roommate? He's still listed on the board."
"He was kicked out last month for selling cocaine and heroin while you were on leave."
"Okay, so for the time being we can put Airman Suarez in with you."
YES! Both men shouted to themselves, unaware of their mutual attraction towards each other. They both simply nodded in agreement.
"Airman Suarez, I need you to fill out this card, please." The First Sergeant, or First Shirt as they are sometimes referred to, handed him a small index card which Aaron filled out quickly and returned to him. "Okay, you're all set. Here's your room key."
"Thank you Sergeant."
"You're welcome son. Have a good day."
"Okay, roomie, let's get your stuff moved in then we'll head for the station and I'll introduce you to everyone."
"Sounds good to me. I gotta tell you, I appreciate everything you're doing to help me get settled. I'd totally be lost without you." I'm totally lost every time I look into those green eyes of yours. I hope they don't have communal showers. I don't know if I can avoid my dick getting hard if we're in the shower together. If he has the temper normally associated with redheads, I definitely don't want to piss him off, if those huge biceps of his are any indication of his muscles.
Yes, there is a Santa Claus! Clark thought to himself happily. During their conversation over lunch they discovered that they had a lot in common including their love of baseball, darts and many other leisure activities. They also shared the same taste in movies. Finally someone I can hang out with and have a good time. Now if he was gay and half as interested in me as I am in him, that would be the icing on the cake!
After getting Aaron's belongings moved into his room and everything put away, Clark took him to the fire station and showed him around, introducing him to his co-workers. He was extremely excited to start working and was very disappointed when he was told by his supervisor that he wouldn't be able to start until he completed several training courses that were scheduled for the next couple of weeks. In the mean time he would be reporting to the fire station during the day shift and would be studying his Career Development Courses and helping with the cleaning and maintenance of the equipment as part of his on-the-job training, but would not be participating in drills or actual firefighting. The only thing that made that bearable was that all of his co-workers were super great and never made him feel stupid any time he asked a question or made a mistake during the hands-on portion of his training. The only real downside was that Clark worked the swing shift so the only time they really saw each other was when their days off coincided and when their shifts overlapped since Aaron was usually asleep when Clark got off duty and Clark was still asleep when Aaron left for duty.
As the days and weeks passed, Aaron found himself falling more and more in love with Clark. He was scared to say anything to him, though. Clark was not only his roommate, but his best friend and he was bound and determined to make sure that nothing interfered with that friendship. One night he was sitting in the chow hall eating dinner lost in thought over his situation when he heard a familiar voice.
"Would you mind if I join you?"
He looked up, startled to see Clark standing in front of him. "Since when do you need to ask?"
"You looked like something was really bothering you. Anything I can do to help?"
"No, I'm just worried about taking my CDC exam tomorrow." He lied. I can't tell him what's really going through my mind, as much as I would like to. "Taking an early dinner break?" He queried glancing at his watch and noticing that it was only five-thirty.
"No. We were overmanned tonight so they let me go early. If you'd like I could help you study. Better yet, why don't we go to the movies? It will help you relax."
"That sounds great. Something lighthearted if you don't mind."
"Sure. Let me eat and get changed then we'll head out." Within an hour they were sitting in the theater, popcorn and sodas in hand, waiting for the movie to start. About half-way through the movie Clark "dropped" something on the floor and bent down to pick it up. As he did so, his leg pressed up against Aaron's. He felt the jolt of electricity shoot through his body. He maintained the contact when he straightened up, pretending not to notice, although he did notice that Aaron made no attempt to break the contact. As they were both wearing mid-thigh length shorts, there was no chance that Aaron could not feel their legs touching. Emboldened, Clark stretched and placed his arm on the back of Aaron's seat, watching him out of the corner of his eye, being careful not to touch him. After a minute or two, Aaron sighed deeply and moved closer, snuggling against Clark, who moved his arm so that it was around his shoulders. For his part, Aaron rested his arm across Clark's thigh and rested his head on his shoulder. As they were at an off-base theater and didn't see anyone they knew come into the auditorium, the possibility of getting caught was the furthest thing from their minds. Clark turned slightly and placed a gentle kiss on Aaron's forehead. Both men's hearts soared at that brief contact. Aaron tilted his head up and looked into Clark's eyes, desire shining in them. Clark bent down and briefly touched his lips to Aaron's.
"I've wanted you to do that since the moment I met you." Aaron sighed.
"Me too. You wanna maybe get outta here?" Clark asked.
"Yes" Aaron responded quickly as he started gathering up their trash. Neither man wasted any time leaving the theater and getting into Clark's car. By Aaron's estimate, the trip back to base took about ten years. Finally back in their dorm room Clark pulled Aaron into a fierce embrace and kissed him hungrily as soon as the door was closed and locked. Finally breathless, Aaron broke the kiss, freed himself from Clark's arms and sat down on his bed. "Before we go any further, we need to talk."
Uh oh. This can't be good. Clark thought. He took a seat on his bed on the opposite wall. "What would you like to talk about? Did I move to fast? Was I wrong to kiss you? Please don't tell anyone. I beg you."
"No, it's nothing like that." Aaron reassured him. "It's just that...that...I've never been with...with anyone...before." He said nervously, very much embarrassed. "I'm not sure what to do. I mean, I seen porn, but watching it and doing it are two different things."
Clark quickly crossed the room and pulled him into a protective embrace. "Aaron, baby, there's nothing to be nervous or embarrassed about. We'll take this at your pace and I swear to you we won't do anything you're not ready for. I promise." He gently pushed him back down onto the bed in a sitting position. "Wait here and I'll be back in a few minutes. Why don't you take a nice hot shower? It will help you relax."
Clark left and came back a few minutes later with a bag from an all-night pharmacy just as Aaron was returning from the shower with a towel wrapped around his waist. "I'm going to jump in the shower also." He reached into the bag and pulled out a bottle which he handed to Aaron. "I got you a bottle of your favorite flavored sparkling water." He quickly undressed, wrapped a towel around himself, grabbed his stuff and headed out for the shower.
"Thanks." Aaron said. He twisted off the top and as he heard the seal break he let out the breath he didn't even know he was holding. He had heard stories about how men would slip rohypnol, GHB or some other date-rape drug into their victim's drink. Aaron you are a fucking moron! He has no reason to use a date-rape drug since you're going to have sex with him willingly. As he heard the door open he wrapped the towel around his waist a little tighter and sat on his bed nervously with his hands between his knees. I hope I'm able to go through with this and not wuss out was his final thought as Clark came back into the room and dropped his towel, standing before Aaron completely naked.