The year was 1984. South Africa wasn’t a happy place. I was in the army for my two years of national service. My name is Ben, and I was gay and out, unusually, as my lover and I were activists. Well, I was an activist-wannabe, since I should really have conscientiously objected to National Service, as others had, and endured the prison sentence, but I guess that I didn’t have quite enough of a problem with the white “regime” to risk that extreme form of conscience.
There was “unrest” in the “townships” (colloq. referring specifically to designated black urban areas) and anybody in an army uniform was not always welcome, especially in said urban areas and even in the cities.
The myth of the army keeping the peace in the townships and protecting our borders was beginning to wear thin. The UDM (United Democratic Movement) and others of their ilk were getting the word out there.
I had grown up as an Afrikaner in an Afrikaans school and household. I didn’t know who Nelson Mandela was until my boyfriend, Grant, a “rooinek” – (red neck/ Englishman) told me about him when I was 24. I ended up in the SADF (South African Defense Force) and “serving my country”, in spite of the fact that gay heroes like Simon Nkoli were sacrificing their freedom for a greater freedom from Apartheid. So, because I didn’t have the courage to stand up for what I said I believed in, I lost my boyfriend the moment I got on the train to Pretoria for my basic training.
In spite of the fact that our different stances on sacrifice were a stumbling block, it was a tearful goodbye as we finally separated due to ideological differences. Grant, my lover made it clear that although he loved me, he couldn’t endorse my giving in to the Apartheid Regime, and we would be history as soon as I finally became part of the oppressor’s iron fist. It was only later that I realized that he sent me into the jaws of death alone, without any support, because he couldn’t stand the thought that I might die, and that he might so lose me to the Regime.
Those first few days in basics were a blur as I not only had to fit into the extremely hard and harsh reality of “basics” (basic training) but also mourn the loss of my lover of 2 years, because of my “cowardice”.
It was really a moot point as I had a choice of imprisonment for objecting, or running the risk of being deployed to the “operational areas” on the border, making excursions into Mozambique or Angola, where our “enemies” threatened the safety of the Republic with very real weapons, in spite of the fact that they were the real enemies only of the Apartheid regime. Since Grant had initiated me into the true story behind what we were fed as unsuspecting South Africans and as Afrikaners especially, it made serving in the armed forces so much more onerous. When I was deployed to the border after basics, my worst nightmare came true. To cut a long story short, I was sent to the border, lost both my legs below the knee in a land mine explosion and was sent back to the “states” as we called civilization, to recover.
To say that I was depressed would be an understatement. I was still missing Grant terribly, especially since the loss of my legs, but I didn’t contact him since I was so ashamed of my lack of conviction. I saw my mom briefly at 1 Mil, the military hospital in Pretoria, but she couldn’t travel that far, living in Boksburg, a town about 30km away, and her being in her late fifties by that time. Furthermore, the prospect of spending the rest of my life with no legs didn’t really provide me much reason not to sink into a deep funk, which wasn’t helped by the fact that I still had a good 18 months of my 2 years’ military service to complete.
My reputation as “moffie” (derogatory Afrikaans term for queer) preceded me and although it didn’t seem to matter to the guys on the border, as long as I pulled my weight and didn’t try to seduce them, I had to endure many a snide remark and some threats of violence from some of the other patients in the ward.
The worst was when I was introduced to my physical therapist, and his greeting went like this: “O, jy’s die mofgat!” (Oh, you must be the queer-ass). Then he proceeded to warn me that he would do his job and work with me and get me back on my feet but that he wasn’t a “poephol pilot” (ass pilot, a colloquial reference to queers). He warned that I’d better watch myself and not go and get a boner every time he touched me, and there was no smile to soften the cold grimace in his face, which was inches from my own, and his hate-filled eyes left no room to doubt his seriousness.
I am a shortish guy, coming in at 5ft 7 1/2 inches, and although I’m quite stocky and muscular, Lt. Dolf Vosloo (short for Adolph- go figure!) stood a good 6ft 2 inches in his army boots, and the wine red beret that he wore as a medic made it important that he disabuse me of any Hanky Panky expectations, since the medics had a reputation for being largely gay. He was a slab of solid Boer muscle, with stern hazel eyes above a straight nose, which perched above his regulation mustache, and luscious lips that his derisive sneer didn’t succeed in camouflaging. He had a job to do, and as a conscriptee he had no obligation to like it, since, like me, he was there under duress.
In spite of the fact that under normal circumstances he would have made me weak at the knees, the prospect of having to work with an outright homophobe as a physical therapist didn’t thrill me. Besides anything else, I was a bit scared that he would “donner” (thunder, literally, meaning clobber) me, as he was obviously a guy with something to prove. Even if he didn’t physically abuse me, he had the power, as an officer, to make my life a living misery.
We were scheduled to start work the next day and I sank even deeper into my dark cloud. His disdain for my sexuality was palpable, and he couldn’t be accused of trying to hide it. That night I quietly cried
myself to sleep, as I wished that I had succumbed to Grant’s pressure to object, rather than end up legless and in imminent danger of getting my gay ass bashed by my therapist.
I was just going to have to make the best of my lot. One step at a time.
Oh yeah. That wouldn’t work for me anymore.
SHEEP IN WOLF’S CLOTHING 2
Lt. Dolf was there shortly after breakfast, endured at the unfashionably early hour of 6am. By this time I was used to helping myself with my wheelchair so my upper body was strong, especially my arms, and I could easily help myself out of my bed or off the crapper using only my arms. I took no joy in the newfound strength since it was a by-product of a long sequence of failures, first to the resistance to Apartheid, then to Grant my lover, and then to myself for getting my feet blown off.
I was not in a bright mood, anticipating the grim face of my therapist making his way into the ward as I awaited him in the wheelchair beside my bed. I saluted him from my sitting position (I was only a Lance corporal, after all) and he beckoned me crisply to follow him out to the equipment room where we would be spending the bulk of our time from then on until I walked out of there on my new “feet”. Yeah, right.
Lt. Vosloo didn’t make any polite conversation as we ambled along. I could see from his rigid posture that he wasn’t looking forward to the session, and perhaps not only because he had to do therapy on a queer. Most everything in the SADF was done with reluctance as we were all there under duress, except for the PFs (Permanent Force members) and they were all certifiable, and unemployable in normal civvie life anyway.
He led the way into the therapy room and motioned me to help myself onto the bench in front of me. I nimbly maneuvered myself out of my chair and perched on the side of the high bench. He handed me a pair of shorts to put on as I was in my army fatigues, the legs hanging loosely and obscenely over where my feet should have been.
“Put these on,” he ordered curtly and didn’t bother to turn his back as I lay back and fumbled my pants down by lying back and pulling them off. Remember that I had no feet to anchor myself as I lifted my ass off the bench to free my pants, and the stumps were still very tender. I was wearing a jock strap so my hairy cheeks and hole were exposed for quite a while as I first pulled the cumbersome army longs off. He seemed to lose patience and stepped forward to help me pull them off the last bit. I couldn’t help but notice the gentleness with which he avoided rubbing on the stumps by putting his hands in the legs of the pants one by one and making sure that my stumps were covered by his warm hand. He also pulled the shorts over my legs and stopped just short of pulling them over my butt as I lay there. He looked at me and realized that I would somehow have to lift my butt off the bench to allow access so the shorts could slide over my ass, and in order for that to happen I would somehow have to plant my stumps on the bed. He shook his head and stuck his right arm under my knees to give me leverage and pulled the pants over my bubble butt, even making sure that the elasticated waist fit snugly against my skin. His fingers in the tight-fitting elastic of the shorts rubbed against my abdomen just above my pubes, and I was terrified to feel blood rushing into my cock to show my appreciation of the attention of a hunky military therapist. But thank God he was oblivious and pulled a chair closer and positioned himself in front of me. I swung around on my butt with my legs facing him and my crotch at face level for him.
“Let’s see what we have here,” he murmured, now quite the professional, as he looked at my stumps that were still in socks to protect them from the cold Highveld winter.
“Can I touch?” he now asked softly, this being the first time he wasn’t just enabling me to dress, as he looked up at me under his crinkled, and yes, handsome brow. I nodded, my heart in my mouth. Nobody but me and the doctor and the nurse had touched my legs since the accident, and I struggled to even look where my feet used to be, let alone touch. To my surprise he put his right hand on my left thigh and slid his palm down over my knee and what remained of my shin and just let it rest there.
“Can I take the sock off?” I was disturbed by the gentleness in his voice as he asked the question, and just nodded again, not trusting my voice. He gently peeled the sock off, being sure not to rub over any of the still sensitive stump. He then put his palm under my leg just to let me rest the foreshortened limb there. To my dismay I felt tears shoot to my eyes and literally squirt out and I hastily tried to wipe them on my sleeve before he saw. But it was too late. I expected a rebuff and a remark about queers crying, but I was wrong.
“It’s ok, corporal,” he said as he lay his left hand on the top of the stump gently and just held my leg in his warm hands. “This is a big deal. Just let it out.”
I hated myself as I felt sob after sob push its way out of my mouth, gathering a groan along the way and escaping with a dreadful noise that shattered the otherwise quiet of the therapy room. I pushed his hands off my stump roughly, hurting myself in the process, and made as if to launch myself into my chair that wasn’t quite within reach. He hastily pulled it closer and made as if to help me off the bench, but I shoved his hands out of the way and clumsily got into it, almost falling in my haste. I was still blinded by tears, but I could only think what the straight, butch officer was thinking about the queer who couldn’t control his emotions long enough not to embarrass himself and everybody else.
“Corporal!” his voice cut through the frigid air in the army therapy room.
I froze in my chair, in the act of turning it around and escaping to who knows where.
Habit prevailed and I came to attention in my chair, tears still streaming down my face.
“Luitenant!” I answered in Afrikaans.
He appeared in front of me and I could see through the haze of tears that he was all military now.
“You are the property of the SADF and as such it is my duty, and yours to see to it that you are in the best possible condition to serve your country in whatever capacity is necessary. So pull yourself together and let’s get to work!”
Then he stepped up to me and leaned down and got right in my face.
“And on a personal note, I don’t care what you do in your private time you queer freak, but if you ever do something to make me look bad again, I will rip you a new asshole so you can open another branch, if you get my meaning? If I don’t do my best with you it will be my ass on the line, and unlike you, I prefer my ass to stay safe and sound in my pants. SO GET THE FUCK BACK ON THE BENCH!!”
I was reeling with shock at his tone and words, but I shouldn’t have. It was clear that his gentleness when he had started examining my leg had all been a professional act, but it helped to ground me and with a superhuman effort I pulled myself together again and with alacrity, got myself back on the bench where we commenced our work, and all things considered, in spite of the harshness in the Lt.’s tone, he was physically gentle and strong, and all ended well. But for the remainder of the session there was no softness, no concessions. When I got back to the ward with the other patients, I was a wreck, emotionally and physically exhausted.
But I was determined about one thing: this Jerk-off of a queer-hater was going to eat his words. I would show him that I was maybe smaller, and gay, but that I could take whatever he could dish out, and that I would walk out of this hell-hole on my own two feet and with my head held high. I would show the butch fucker what a “poephol pilot” (ass fucker) could do..
It was Saturday, and we had only a short therapy session scheduled for the morning, and I WAS STONED. The week up to then had gone tolerably well, as my new resolve to endure the my therapist, the Lt.’s homophobia, and prove that I was a man, had stiffened my spine and given me the strength and grit to clench my jaw, steel my eyes, and buck up. My therapist, Lt. Dolf the Hunky, of the Impressive Lump in his sexy, skintight, perfectly ironed uniform, had maintained his professional attitude, and I had mercifully not aroused (giggle) his ire by crying like a girl again.
My new-found military stoicism had also enabled me to (mostly) ignore his smell, or at least control my response to it. It wasn’t cologne or anything, it didn’t precede him like the pink flag of a pseudo-masculine, chap-encased, perfectly manicured gay 80’s parody of natural manhood. But because we worked so closely and his hands had to often be on my body, I was constantly subjected to a clean, manly smell that infected the air with a dose of lethally intoxicating pheromones that targeted first my heart, and then my crotch.
When his imposing presence strode into the therapy room, and his eyes impaled me like a fly pinned on a specimen board, my heart made a bollemakiesie (somersault) and I had to control my breathing as well as where my eyes ranged, seemingly of their own accord.
He made the Ken doll look like the joke it was. The broad expanse of his chest flared up from his impossibly narrow hips, to a broad V that was punctuated on either side by the insignia of rank on his shoulders. In between, the expanse of his chest swept from side to side in a brush stroke of military perfection, barely contained in the illusion of order by his shiny buttons and square, symmetrical pockets. The topping of the wine red beret above the line of the dark eyebrows that framed his startling hazel eyes, was like an exclamation mark at the end of a sentence that hinted at forbidden delights, packaged as the epitome of military control.
At the back, his ass made the fabric of his pants, and my self-control, groan. It similarly flared gracefully from the impossibly narrow hips encircled by the horizontal hoop of his belt, to curve succulently out and down in a tension-filled bow of delight, to meet, on either side, the pillar-like strength of his legs. Between the latter, the crease where his legs met his ass was a promised land, a forbidden garden of virile secrecy guarded by the lions of his glutes.
But the best was the smell. As he leaned towards me to engage with me in therapy, I silently inhaled the advert of his potency, the flag of his virility, and quietly willed my boner to remain under control by picturing his utter disdain and disgust at my queerness.
Well, I did say I was stoned.
Back to the Saturday in question. The guys in the ward had started acting a bit less aggressively towards me. They joked with me now, even jiggling a dick or ass at me occasionally in jest, and I was not feeling as miserable as before. And Ja, you did hear right. One of them, Kobus, had managed to smuggle some special cookies in, and he had shared. Use of Marijuana was quite common and it managed to take the edge off our boredom and despair. We were giggling our asses off and joking around when the Lt. walked in to collect me for our “short” session.
He took one look at what was going on before we all realized he was there and a corporal near the door alerted us with a call to attention. Wherever we were, we came to our version of attention and he sauntered into the room. His eyes were glittering above his sneering mouth and flared nostrils. He stopped in front of Kobus’ bed and the latter froze in mid-giggle.
“Corporal,” he murmured, immobilizing Kobus with his pointed stare.
The command was conversational and only previous (sober) experience in the SADF could have alerted anybody that there was some shit about to go down. But Kobus was as stoned as the rest of us and didn’t pick up on the danger signs.
Corporal Kobus made an effort to “report” but only succeeded in delivering a garbled string of “ums” and “uhs” intermingled with some stifled chuckles and giggles and snorts. When he finally gave up, Lt. Vosloo stood silently in front of him and looked speculatively at the seated man, and eventually said: “I see.”
There was little he could do to us physically because we were not able-bodied, so I knew something more sinister was in the offing. Lucky I was too goofed to care, and as the Lt. ushered me off for our physio session I was quite oblivious to the sword of Damocles that teetered over my head.
I was grateful for the fact that I was stoned, because what ensued was a session of physical punishment and endurance that worked my ass off in strength and flexibility. Have you ever tried to do push-ups with a man holding your legs in the air and you have an erection in your sweats? Have you done 100 crunches while hanging by your knees 6ft in the air, trapeze style? Have you survived sixty minutes of bone crunching and tendon tearing stretches, while a slab of muscle with arms plants his foot just shy of your (engorged) crotch, with his left hand on your knee and his right forcing your hamstring to snapping point. I farted and groaned and sweated and whined and came one ball hair short of outright passing out. But I was in heaven. Because I was stoned I put up with it all, just enjoying the feeling of my military torturer’s strong manly hands all over my aroused 5ft 7, muscular, gay body. When I thought he was done, he used me as a wheelbarrow up and down the gym, and I realized that in my dope-induced daze I had forgotten to put on a jocks strap, so the Lt. had a great and unimpeded view of my balls jiggling in front of his crotch and my obscenely erect cock pushing up the front of my shorts.
By the time I was done I was sweating big time, and my heart was thumping in my chest. If you thought that not having feet meant you couldn’t get exercise, think again, as Lt. Hunky Vosloo of the Plump Basket could prove you wrong.
“So it looks like the troep is a happy boy today,” he said, nodding at my still plump dick. “Wagging your tail because the rank is touching your puny, maimed body.” He was sitting opposite me and had my left leg in his hands, thoughtfully examining my still rosy stump and fingering the sensitive edges with his warm thumb, all the while working aromatic medical lubricant around the tip as he massaged the healing scar. He scooted closer on his chair, the legs making a crass scraping noise on the tiled floor, and before I knew what was happening he had gripped my vulnerable ball-sack in his right fist and squeezed hard. I saw stars, since he wasn’t fondling, but rather had the intention to hurt. A literally nut-numbing ache radiated upwards and outwards from my gonads. His voice was cruel, soft and harsh, and he continued to squeeze my testicles in a vice-like grip. His face was right up against mine and I was impaled by his hazel, hate-filled eyes. I could taste his clean manly breath on my lips as he spoke, and my already meager breath evaporated as my heart thumped in my chest at his devastating proximity.
“You shouldn’t get your hopes up little girl-boy, if a real man like me was interested in men I wouldn’t choose a legless poofter like yourself. If that’s what I wanted I would stick with real girls, one who had the ability to take a real man-dick in a real cunt, and could carry babies for me. So give it up, you damaged queer reject, it will never happen!”
For good measure he moved his hand upwards on my now rock hard and drooling cock and speculatively explored my not unrespectable 7 inches with his fingers. He shook his head and tutted. Then he abruptly released my dick and balls and rapped cock sharply, sending a blinding, mind-numbing pain up my core and body.
And to my dismay I shot my load in my shorts!
While I was still in the spasms of my pain-induced ejaculation and orgasm, he stood up and looked down on me, and the embarrassing dark mark of cum that stained my gym shorts.
“Fokken pateties…!” (fucking pathetic) he murmured, again shook his head, and stood, making as if to leave. At the door he paused without turning to face me.
“Tomorrow afternoon after lunch, report to my room. I have some laundry that needs to be done. Be there at two, and don’t be late. And now get back to your fucking barracks, queer. You and your fucking stoned buddies have an inspection in an hour. And Jesus help you if I’m not happy. I can make even a bunch of army reject cripples wish they were never born!”
With that he disappeared down the passage. Stoned or not, I sighed and succumbed to the mixture of horniness and fear that flooded my body.
After being caught stoned by our Lt. any prospects to of a quiet Saturday afternoon watching sport disappeared like mist before the sun. When I got back to the barracks I announced that we were in for an inspection in an hour and we started cleaning up. Normally Saturdays were time off, after some drilling in the early morning but not today.
First we moved the bunk beds out of the way and we washed the floor. This was an interesting process, what with all the missing limbs. It was a bit like a zombie apocalypse where all the zombies were obsessed with cleanliness.
Lucky no more limbs fell off in the process.
Then we moved bunks back and arranged them perfectly and made our beds using cardboard templates. Moving two-tier bunks is no mean feat even for able-bodied men, but for the collection of sick lame and lazies in this room it was a miracle. But we did it and every time we got better at it. The spirit in the room was pulling us together as a team, and for those who were worse off than others, the team pulled together even more, and helped out.
Our trommels (trunks) were next, the folding of the clothes and equipment strictly prescribed by tradition. Just short of the hour we dressed and in our uniforms and took our positions at our respective bunks. Only just in time as the guy closest to the door announced the arrival of the officer. No. Make that “officers”.
A swarm of neatly dressed men in officer’s uniforms made its way through the room silently. They were on a mission. Each had one white glove on a hand, and they were sticking their fingers and noses into places we didn’t even think of. What started as a relatively quiet, yet threateningly sinister experience, quickly devolved into a rampage, as they found dust in the most unlikely of places. Voices were raised, trommels (trunks) were upended, bunks were tossed over, and one corporal even took his dick out and pissed all over the floors and on one troeps’ bed and bedding.
Lt. Adolphus Hitler was the spokesman.
“Well, you can see that didn’t go to spec. We, the officers of this little shit hole of a barracks, can only say, we are DISAPPOINTED! We do our best to make life easier for this bunch of human rejects, but you THROW OUR KINDNESSS BACK IN OUR FACES! But we are lenient and give you another chance! We’ll be back in an hour and the place will be right. We will do this ALL Night, until we’re satisfied…!”
John, the troop whose bedding was pissed on was missing his right hand and foot. But he had a great attitude and when the last officer left the room he quipped, “Lucky I’m into golden showers hey?” We all laughed our asses off (to add to all the body parts that were absent, ha-ha).
This lightened the mood and we started over again. The purpose of the army was to be meaningless and to try and demoralize us but we had already lost so much that all we had was our unbroken spirits.
I won’t go into the whole long, long sad story of the fateful Saturday afternoon. We were harassed deep into the night. The rank went off drinking in between each episode and came back progressively drunker and rougher, until eventually they didn’t come back. We were all exhausted because of course it was twice as hard for us to do what would be hard and tiring for a “normal” man. But we managed to have a lot of fun, because we carried on ingesting special cookies since we were already in the crap so what harm could it do?
One interesting thing though: when I was just sliding under the sheets of my bunk bed, Ben, a huge guy from a farm in the Free State, and my bunk mate (top, because he was missing only one foot, the left one) came and sat on the side of my bed. He patted my ass which was under the blankets already and then let his hand rest there. He leaned forward until his mouth was inches from mine. His voice was kind and protective.
“How you doing, gay boy? How is that asshole Lt. treating you in therapy? Let me know if he hurts you and I’ll fuck his pretty face up so he’ll never be able to get laid again.”
He leaned in for the last inch and kissed my cheek. My heart was hammering in my chest. He pulled away but only a centimeter. I turned my face toward him to look into his eyes, which were right up close, and staring into mine. I couldn’t pull away as I was trapped on the pillow. I decided to pretend this was all normal and spoke.
“He really worked my ass today,” Ben giggled softly and raised his eyebrows, “No, man, not like that!” he turned his mouth down knowingly and nodded slowly. I continued. “But besides being an asshole he’s making me stronger and he’s very gentle with my legs. He’s just a dickhead, that’s all. He can’t help it.”
Ben then did a shocking thing. He came in the last few millimeters and kissed me softly of the lips. He just rested his mouth there, and as I caught my breath, opening my mouth to do so, I felt the tip of his tongue playful entered my lips. We kissed gently and non-sexually for moment, my heart almost climbing out of my mouth to join his warm, spitty tongue in my mouth. He pulled away at last, whispering in my left ear, his breath warming me and tickling the soft hairs in the shell.
“Let me know if there’s anything I can help you with, gay boy. You’re alright,” he said and contracted his right hand, which was still on my butt. Then he grabbed his crutch, stood up and laid it across the bottom of his top bunk. He looked down at me a winked.
“Ben, can I ask you something?” I asked softly.
“Sure gay boy,” he murmured, standing on his good right foot and leaning down, putting his hands on my bunk. Again he was close, and I wondered if I was going to get beaten up.
“Will you stay down here tonight? I could really use a warm, strong body about right now,” I whispered.
A devilish smile crossed his handsome Afrikaans face. He was blond, with extremely curly, coarse hair, (what remained after the regulations army cut) bushy blond eyebrows and a deep golden tan. His shoulders were wider even than Lt. Hitler’s, and he had no shirt on, about to go to bed. His biceps looked like he wrestled cows to the ground, but not in the gym-fed way guys have now. His muscles were work-cultivated. He had big juicy looking pink nipples, and some soft looking blond hair between his naturally muscular pecs. His neck was like a tree trunk that sprouted out of the alabaster of his shoulders and at this time of the night, his blonde beard was providing some scruff that stippled his handsome, honest cheeks. His lips were pink and moist, and smiling.
He was in his boxer shorts, an enticing lump swinging in the front of the loose folds, which were just above eye level for me.
“Now don’t rape a defenseless Afrikaans farm boy you naughty gay pervert,” he admonished as I opened the blankets. I was on my right side facing him, also only in my boxers. He leaned his left knee (of the no-foot) on the bed, and nimbly maneuvered himself until he was lying on his left side, facing me. I pulled the blankets over him, and he put his right arm around me and pulled me closer so I had my head on his left shoulder and his left arm was curled around my back., holding me tight.
“Aren’t you worried the other guys will get the wrong idea?” I asked softly.
“What wrong idea can they get, with me half naked in bed with a gay boy?” He chuckled softly and pulled me closer. He put his right knee over my left leg end enfolded me completely in his embrace. Our stomachs and soft dicks touched and the warmth of his skin and the smell of his masculinity was so comforting. Just then the lights went out.
A voice called out: “Hey gay boy, call me if you need a somebody to protect you from that Free State farm hick. You might need a real man…!”
Ben laughed and I could feel his furry tummy, soft against mine, jiggle with mirth.
“I have a little sister that can come and protect you Wessels,” he shouted in response, and laughter filled the dark barracks.
“Ben, will you come and lie with me when you’ve done being comforted by the gay boy? PLEASE?” There was good natured laughter dotted around the room, and some sleepy voices added, “Shut the fuck up… It’s midnight for fuck’s sake!” Other assenting voices joined until it was quiet.
I fell asleep in Ben’s arms feeling safer than I ever had.