Love By Regulation
by MS. Sammie
"Are we still on for tonight?" Staff Sergeant Curtis Bates asked in a low tone, looking around to make sure no one else was listening.
"Donít stand me up again, Curtis, I mean it."
Curtis was my immediate supervisor; therefore we had to be careful about our relationship, because according to army regulations, our dating was in violation of that policy.
Regardless, of the policy weíve been seeing each other covertly for six months. In the beginning everything between us was perfect. Then about two weeks ago he began to cancel dates, or stand me up. Afterward, he would call and apologize.
"Letís meet around seven oíclock."
"Seven it is," he handed me the folder. It was only an hour until formation, so I entered the information into the computer and dropped a copy of the finished letter on the companyís commanderís desk.
By the time I finished my tasks, Curtis was standing at my desk, hat in hand. "Time for formation," he instructed.
I shut down my computer and grabbed my hat.
"I hope First Sergeant Gilmore isnít long winded today." Curtis said as we walked toward the formation.
"Fall in," First Sergeant commanded. Our combat boots clicked together in unison. He proceeded to inform us that an order by Secretary of Defense states "that the services has to standardize their good order and discipline policies concerning relationships between soldiers of different ranks," he went on to say that the policy will be fully enforced.
After formation, Curtis walked up to me. "Did you hear that?" A look of concern etched across his face.
"Donít worry." I assured him. We both knew that the Secretary of Defense issued the order, but there were stipulations to the regulations concerning soldiers already in a relationship. Even though Curtis hasnít proposed, I was sure he would.
He drew a deep breath. "We definitely need to talk about this. Instead of going out, letís meet at Lamarís place," he suggested.
I nodded. Lamar Hildreth was a fellow soldier and good friend to Curtis and me. He often helped us out, escorting me to different events. It worked so well, that many people believed we were a couple.
A couple of hours later, I was driving Interstate 495---finally arriving at Lamarís apartment. He invited me in and told me to make myself at home. Curtis hadnít arrived yet. I sat on the sofa, making myself comfortable.
While I was making myself comfortable, Lamar went into the kitchen, returning with a bottle of water.
As I looked at him, it always amazed me how different soldiers look in civilian clothes. Lamar was no exception. He was dressed in blue jeans and a white tee shirt that fit snugly across his broad chest. He was definitely easy on the eyes. If I werenít involved with Curtis, I would definitely be interested in him.
"Where are my manners, Regina? Can I offer you something to drink? Soda? Juice?" He held up the bottled water. "Water?"
"No, Lamar Iím fine. Thanks for offering."
He smiled. You know me; Iím just trying to be a good host."
Before I knew it one hour passed, Curtis hadnít arrived or called. I called him on his cellular phone, he didnít answer, and therefore I paged him. He still didnít return my call.
What is going on? I was disappointed and angry. Disappointed at myself for allowing him to treat me the way that he does. Angry because I know that I was still in love with him.
Several hours later, I finally heard from Curtis, he informed me something came up at the last minute; he couldnít get out of.
"Why didnít you tell me two-hour hours ago?" I screamed in the phone.
"Regina things happen."
"Lately, Curtis things are always happening with you. What is going on? I thought we were going to discuss our relationship."
"We are. For now I just want you to calm down."
By the time I replaced the phone back in the cradle. I was visibly upset.
Lamar came over and sat beside me, he was so close that our knees touched. I could smell his cologne, because we were friends, I didnít object when he took me in his arms to console me.
"Why do I allow him to do this to me?" I sobbed lightly.
"Donít cry, Regina, its going to be okay," he whispered in my hair.
I remembered on several occasions when he was my date, some of the conversations weíd had especially the ones where Iíd vent about Curtis. Lamar would just listen; he never took sides no matter what I told him.
Tenderly, he lifted my chin up, looking in my eyes. I heard his sudden intake of breath as his tongue, slipped into my lips. I drank in the sweetness of him and angled my head, wanting more.
"I have dreamed of kissing you many nights," he said, reclaiming my lips, again, and again.
The warmth of his breath, the intoxicating power of being held by him shut down all my defenses.
As the kiss deepened, I groaned, ached for more of his touched, and he obliged me. As wrong as it was, it felt so good, so right. Even though I thought of all the reasons to be with Lamar, I was with Curtis.
My eyes popped open. I jumped from the sofa. "We canít do this Lamar. "I stammered out. "Itís...itís not right."
Lamar stood to his feet. "Regina, calm down, I hear what you are saying." I hear what you are saying;" he placed his hand to his chest. "I didnít mean to disrespect you or Curtis, but you canít deny what just happened between us; it wasnít a kiss among friends. You felt something like I did."
"Regardless of what I felt." I couldnít think straight. I was still reeling from the kiss. "I am with Curtis."
Even as the words left my lips, I couldnít help but wonder whom I was trying to convince, Lamar or myself. Embarrassed and flustered, I quickly collected my belongings and bolted out of the door.
The next morning after formation, I avoided contact with Lamar. When I arrived at the office, Curtis was waiting for me at my desk. I didnít want to deal with him until I could figure out what was going on in my head.
"Iím sorry about last night;" he spoke softly, coming up behind me.
I looked at him, but didnít respond. It wasnít the time or place to discuss last night.
"Step into my office."
"This is the time or place," I began to say, but he cut me off.
"Sergeant Nelson, step into my office." He spoke a little louder.
I cut him a hard look. I couldnít object even if I wanted too. He outranked me and would have just ordered me in his office. Therefore, I placed the folder into the basket and followed him.
Curtis went behind the desk, steadying his chair; he plopped down heavily in the seat. The rhythm sound of a group of soldiers, marching, and singing could be heard through the open window.
"I just want to know how things are between us? I really wanted to be with you last night, but I couldnít make it. I guess I am really paranoid about this whole fraternization policy."
I didnít realize I was standing at Parade Rest while he was speaking, until he said. "Will you please stand at ease? Thereís no one here except you and me."
"I am sorry Staff Sergeant," I replied with sarcasm. I was still fuming about the incident at my desk, when he pulled rank. "I was giving you the respect you so rightfully deserve."
Curtis cast me a hard glance before he spoke again. "Look, Sergeant," he emphasized. "I know youíre upset. I canít blame you, but youíre being selfish. If this thing blows up I have a lot to lose."
My stomach turned over, my chest swelled; my mind raced, and shifted gears. "What about me? Iím taking just as big of a risk as you are."
He rubbed his hand across his forehead. " Iím sorry. Just be patient with me."
I went back to my desk and tried to concentrate on the promotion list, the conversation with Curtis, but my mind kept flashing back to the previous night with Lamar. I shudder to think what could have happen.
Later that afternoon, the office was a whirlwind of activity. As I worked with a soldier, I could feel someone watching me. I looked up to see Lamar standing in the doorway. I walked over to the file cabinet to pull a file, even though my back was to him. I could sill feel his eyes piercing through me. When I turned back around to face him. The doorway was empty.
The following week was the Fourth of July weekend. The post was practically empty. Curtis and I believed we could be relaxed in protecting our relationship.
"Why donít we go back to your room? He asked one night after we left the local club at 2a.m.
"You know how I feel about us being together in the barracks. I donít think we should take the chance. "I argued. "Letís just go to your place."
Curtis's response was to bend forward and brush my mouth with his. "I canít wait that long;" he planted kisses on my shoulders neck, and face.
I was hesitant, swimming through a haze of feelings and desire. "I donít know, Curtis, " I managed to say as he planted another kiss on my lips. "I donít think we should take the chance."
He looked at me, desire dancing in his eyes. His fingertip slid across my cheek. "You know you want me baby, as much as I want you. I can see it in your eyes."
A few minutes later, as we stood beside my twin bed. I again tried to think of all the reasons why we should not be here, but when Curtis took me in his arms again, my heart beat harder, faster. I was defeated and all rational reasoning evaporated as his lips slowly descended to meet mine. Worth the risk or not, I wrapped my arms around his neck, returning his kiss.
He deepened the kiss with savage intensity, his hot, wet tongue probing deep inside my mouth. I welcomed the invasion without hesitation, sucking, matching his burning desire with my own. I was ready for Curtis. All reservation vanished and to prove it, I stepped back and stripped off my clothing, settling seductively on the bed.
In a matter of moments, he removed his clothing, joining me on the bed. "Regina, youíre so beautiful. Tonight, Iím going to make love to every part of your body." His tongue flicked over one breast then the other, rousing a melting sweetness within me. Simultaneously, his hands traced a path over my skin along the lines of my waist, my hips, then the outside of my thighs. He parted my thighs, dipping in my private treasure.
By now I was whimpering, begging for more, he removed his finger, and grabbed a condom from the nightstand. Soon he entered me, gently at first. As he continued to thrust, he became more demanding and took us both on a love roller coaster ride. "Curtis!" I blurted out.
He smiled and kissed me. "Regina, it was so good."
We feel asleep in each otherís arms. Luckily, I didnít listen to my inner thoughts.
The banging on the door woke us out of a deep sleep. A few moments later we were looking in the face of the Company Commander, First Sergeant, and several Platoon Sergeants.
The Company Commander stepped forward. A look of disappointment on his face. He looked at Curtis, at me, then back to Curtis. "I want to see you both in my office at 0600 this morning."
After they left, I confronted him. "I told you this would happen, but you would not listen to me. Now look what...."
"Will you shut up!" He shouted. "I canít think with you babbling a mile a minute." I stood rooted to the floor. Upon closer observation, I realized he was frightened. At a time like this he needed my support if we were to make it through this together.
"Curtis, Iím sorry. At a time like this we have to stick together."
Curtis nodded in agreement, then began to pace the small room nervously, running his hand over his head. He stopped pacing and looked at me. "Regina, you donít seem to understand my whole career just went up in smoke. My wife will probably divorce me."
My whole body went numb. I thought I was going to pass out from the news. "What did you just say?" I didnít give him a chance to answer. "Did you say your wife?"
Curtis stopped pacing when he realized what heíd said.
He stepped toward me. I stepped back. He spread his hand out in front of him. "Let me explain."
"Let you explain? Explain what? How you conveniently forgot to tell me you had a wife."
He tried to explain, but Curtis had nothing I wanted to hear. I quickly dressed and left the room.
A week later, I stood before the commander, and accepted my punishment with my head held high. Because I was an exemplary soldier, my Platoon Sergeant spoke on my behalf. As a result, my punishment was thirty days extra duty, and garnishment half my pay for several months.
Curtis wasnít as lucky, because he was in a supervisorís role; he was made an example of. He lost a stripe, removed from his position, transferred to another unit, garnishment of pay, and his wife filed for divorce.
A couple of months later, I ran into Lamar at the Base Exchange. I'd seen him around the unit, but continued to keep my distance. Today was different; he threw his arms around me and kissed me on both cheeks. I responded enthusiastically, glad to see him.
"How are you doing?" He stepped back, looking me up and down. "I never got a chance to tell you, I am really sorry about what happened."
"I have no one to blame but myself."
He reached out, lacing my fingers with his own. I made no attempt to retrieve it.
"I wanted to tell you he was married, but felt I would have been out of line."
"It wasnít your place to tell me, it was his."
"Come on, Iíll treat you to lunch."
I let him lead me to the cafe, and I opted for Chinese.
When they placed Chinese in front of us," Lamar asked. "Whatís on your mind, Regina?"
"He covered his tracks very well. I never had a clue. I mean, I knew something was wrong, but I never suspected he was married."
"You canít beat yourself up over what happened. You did nothing wrong."
"Youíre just being kind."
"You canít help who you fall in love with."
Lunch with Lamar was just what I needed. The more I opened up to him, the more I relaxed, and began to enjoy his company.
Lamar soon became the center of my world, and I seemed to be the same to him. A couple of months later, I received orders to transfer to Europe.
One night after a passionate night of lovemaking, Lamar held me in his arms. "I received orders for Europe."
"Why didnít you tell me?"
I slid out of bed and went to stand by the window. We were going to be separated.
I felt Lamarís arms around me. "Why the sad face?"
I turned into his arms to face him. "We are going to be separated. I knew this would happen."
"Ssssh," he pressed a long finger to my lips. ĎWeíre going to be together."
"The chances are a lot better than you think"
"Whatís that supposed to mean?"
"Just this" He opened the drawer to the nightstand, pulled out a black box., and kneeled down on one knee in front of me.
My breath swelled in my chest.
"Regina, will you marry me?"
As Lamar slid a diamond cluster on my finger, all I could was nod.
He stood, pulling me into his arms, then held me away from him, looking at me. "Is that a yes?"
I nodded again, happily, wiping the tears away.
"Why are you crying?"
"Theyíre tears of joy."
We were married a couple of weeks later at the Justice of Peace.
I have to thank Curtis for Lamar. If he wasn't a jerk, I never would have met the man who is now my husband. It just goes to show that you can never judge a book by the cover, to get the whole story, you have to read the pages.