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The Beginning

Guest TelephotoMarigold

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Story Title: The Beginning

Type of story: Long Fic

Main Characters: Roman and Ella,

BTTB rating: A

Genre: Drama

Does story include spoilers: No

Any warnings: violence, language

Summary: The story behind Roman and Ella and how they met.

The rough material of his uniform rubbed against his skin as he lay still in the hot desert sand. He had been wearing it for more than eight days while he laid low in the hot Afghanistan desert. His eyes were shaded from the burning sun, netting covering his position as he trained the scope of his rifle on the target. Just a squeeze of the trigger and it would be all over for another Human being. But that was not his mission. He was to observe only. His shoulder was stiff where the barrel of the rifle was pressed and he felt the need to stretch his legs and not only that, a more pressing need was starting to enter into his consciousness. He clamped down on this and all the other concerns from his mind and concentrated on his mission.

Five days later he was back in camp, amongst his men. The mission was completed and noted as a success. Now was the time to relax a little. He made his way to the showers fantasying only about hot water. He made his way to the showers a towel draped round his neck, his shower kit under one arm anther towel round his waist, although he was wearing a pair of board shorts underneath them. The thought of the surf near his hometown never that far away from his thoughts these days.

With his mind elsewhere he was for once not concentrating on where he was going. His boots were stuck once again on his feet but the laces remained loose. Normally not a problem but somehow today fateful. He felt the impact before he saw the person he'd bumped into. He reached out instinctively the towel falling from around his neck and his soap kit crashing to the ground.

"Hey!" he exclaimed, his hands reaching to clasp the person who'd managed to knock him off stride. He felt his ankle twisting under him, with the loosened boot, as the effort to stop them both tumbling to the hard ground. A bolt of pain shot up his leg and in an effort to stop any further damage to his ankle he shifted his balance. He felt the impact knock him backward and he pulled the person with him unwittingly. As he landed flat on his back he felt his head bounce on the hard ground, once and then a second time. He couldn't stop the swearword that escaped past his lips.

"Hey Soldier if that how you normally greet women perhaps you should brush up on your technique!"

He looked up in surprise as the hat tumbled off her head and her long dark hair fell in bouncy waves around her heart shaped face. Her eyes were a striking shade of blue and her lips, luscious and ripe looking. His heart thudded in his chest as he looked at her. It had been too long since his last downtime he decided quickly, as the poetic description of her took him by surprise.

She pushed herself up and managed to get into a sitting position beside him, he noticed then that she had a camera strapped to her and that she was wearing army issue camouflage the same as him, and yet he knew immediately from instinct that she wasn't in any of the forces.

She brushed off the camera first, he noticed the name on the camera strap then reached for his wash kit and towel.

He eased himself to a sitting position beside her and looked at her properly for the first time.

"Hello." he said for want of something better. Here he was tired and dirty and yes even very smelly sitting in the dirt trying to get his mind round what exactly had happened.

She pushed herself to her feet and extending a hand to him, he didn't want to accept it but knew his ankle would need looking at.

He stood up slowly testing how much weight he could put on his foot. He towered above her, thinking how here head would only just reach his heart. The flowery language again taking him by surprise.

"Hi I'm ...." she began to introduce herself, her voice soft, smiling at him

"Your Ella?" he murmured, indicating the name on the strap.

"If you like." she said after a brief laugh.

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He knocked and waited for a response. After a couple of minutes she finally opened the door. Although it was tent it had a wooden structure underneath the canvas.

“Sorry I was in the middle of sending some photos and the only way I can get a decent signal is to stand on my bed and hold the laptop up.” She explained and then cursed herself for telling him too much information and highlighted the word bed in the first sentence.

He grinned at her.

“And I have to say that you do scrub up well LT.” she said. “Much less fragrant.”

He chuckled.

“Thank you. Do I get to come in?” he asked.

She nodded.

“I have to make one thing clear though first.” She told him smiling. “I have invited you for coffee and that isn’t a euphemism for anything else.”

He nodded.

“Come in.” she invited.

He stepped though the doorway and saw her “place.”. She had a very battered picnic table that obviously served as her desk as well as everything else. The table had one chair and a crate tipped on its side to use as a stool. A metal shelving system housed the small stove she used as well as a few books and all of her clothes. She had pinned a colourful scarf above her bed as well as one on her bed. The bed itself was a single army cot. He could imagine that it was dated from about the Second World War.

“What are you planning to do in winter?” he asked looking round for a heater.

She shrugged.

“I’ll probably move.” She said. “Finished inspecting the place?” she asked with a cheeky grin on her face.

He nodded.

“Do I get the chair that looks it will collapse or the crate.”

She giggled.

“And there I was thinking you were going to suggest sitting on the bed.” She told him raising an eyebrow.

He laughed.

“That isn’t a bed that is a relic from the Second World War.” He told her grinning.

She laughed and pointed to the chair.

“Sit.” She instructed.

He did so cautiously.

“My brother uses it so don’t worry it hasn’t killed anyone yet.” She smiled at him.

She poured out the coffee and placed the chipped china cup she had on the table next to him and had hers from a tin mug.

“I’m sorry I don’t have Milk or whitener. But I do have sugar if you take that.” She said softly and also pulled out a tin of biscuits.

“I drink it black.” He said to her.

“So do you think we should introduce ourselves?” she suggested.

He laughed.

“Maybe you should have thought of getting a name from me first.”

She chucked.

“Why are you planning all kinds of wicked things?” she asked.

Roman felt himself blushing for the first time, since he was about 15.

“I hadn’t but I’m sure I could come up with a few by the time I’ve drunk this coffee.” He said back to her.

She laughed again.

“Just so you know my brother is in the army and I’m sure he would only be too delighted to come to my assistance if I were to shout for help.” she told him, looking at him through her lashes.

“Ok. I’m LT Roman Harris.” He said laughing.

She grinned.

“I’m Elizabeth..” she began to tell him, only to be interrupted by another knock on the door. “Sorry.” She said and went over to it.

He watched her step outside and heard murmured voices before she came back in. She didn’t look that happy.

“Your brother?” he asked.

She nodded.

“Apparently I’m not allowed to date anybody without his prior approval.” She muttered.

“So this is a date?” he asked

She looked at him.

“It is now.” She said and grinned. “Would you like to see a movie?”

He looked at her.

“I have a few on my laptop.” She explained.

He nodded and she powered up her PC.

“We’ll be more comfortable on my bed but that doesn’t mean…” she went an interesting shade of red and trailed off.

“Point taken Elizabeth.” He said.

He shook his head.

“I think I prefer Ella.” He told her.

She grinned.

“Then call me Ella.” She instructed him. “It does sound kinda cute when you say it. Most people call me Liz anyway.”

He smiled and moved to the bed. She put the laptop on what passed for her bedside table and he lay behind her propping himself up on one arm. She lay in front of him and started the movie.

“Airplane?” he asked

She nodded.

He smiled at her.

After a few minutes she pulled a cover over her.

“Are you cold?” he asked.

She shook her head.

“No not really.”

He sighed.

“What?” she asked.

“I was hoping you say yes so I could snuggle.” He murmured into her hair.

She smiled and moved back against him. He put his arm around her waist.

“As long as you don’t think it will get you anywhere.” He told her.

She laughed.

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She sighed as the end credits came up. They had laughed at the same bits of the movie and that had made her smile too.

She reached out and stopped the movie,

He yawned and eased away from her.

They both sat up on the bunk and laughed as it groaned.

He looked over at her.

“Can I see you tomorrow?” he asked.

She nodded not trusting her voice.

He grinned.

“I had a good time.” he said.

She smiled shyly at him.

“Me too.” She said.

They stood up from the bed and she showed him over to the door.

He paused in the doorway then leaned down and kissed her. She found herself melting into his embrace and heard him groan against her lips.

He stepped back into the room and the door banged shut behind him. She pressed herself as close to him as possible wrapping her arms around his neck as his kisses seared her lips.

He pulled away reluctantly.

She blinked up at him.

“Ok.” she said.

He chuckled.

“I wasn’t expecting that.” He said.

She clinked.

“The goodnight kiss or the spontaneous combustion?” she asked.

He smiled at her.

“It was the same for me.” He said to her.

“Well at least we know never to try it again.” She looked slowly at him.

“Sorry, I need to try it again just to see if it is the same this time.” he told her.

“Oh goody.” She told him, hearing him chuckle at her.

He kissed her again and she once more melted.

He felt his heart pounding as he kissed her. His body reacted and he moaned against her lips. She gasped and her hands caressed his back through his uniform.

He pulled away slowly.

“Yes.” He said, “Spontaneous Combustion.”

She smiled slowly.

“Can I see you again?” he asked.

She nodded.

“I’m supposed to be with the men tomorrow night but I would like to see you, What are you doing?” he said to her.

She looked at him.

“Well let me see, first I’m washing my hair then I have the appointment to get my nails done and after that I’m supposed to be going to the fashion show.”

He laughed.

“I was thinking we could meet for a coffee before or maybe a drink after.” He said finally.

“Coffee.” She said.

He grinned.

“Ok I’ll see you about 18:00.” He said.

She grinned again and saluted.

“Certainly Sir.” She said.

He chuckled.

He pressed another kiss to her lips and finally said goodnight, walking out of the door and straight to his bunk in the dorm among the men.

“Are we boring you LT?” Jacko asked him.

“No why?” Roman replied.

“Well you keep looking at your watch.” He said back.

Roman grinned.

“You know what that means Jacko?” Michael asked him.

“Yeah he either wants to get a head start on the mission day after tomorrow or has a date.” Jacko grinned as he answered back.

Roman looked down at the magazine he was reading and didn’t comment. He wondered if they would believe him if he said he was just going to stretch his legs.

“Must be a date.” Jacko decided. “He even shaved today.”

Roman chuckled.

“You know Jacko I wasn’t going to mention this but you could do with spending an extra few minutes in the shower yourself.” He told him.

Jacko grinned.

“What for LT I don’t have a date like you do. We heard you come in last night, practically singing.”

Roman let out a shout of laughter.

“Trust me Sgt, no one wants to hear me sing.” He said hoping to deflect the conversation.

Michael laughed as he stood up.

“Much as I would like to stay to torture you some more LT I’m afraid I have to go.” Mike told him. “Carry on Sgt.” He said to Jacko with a grin.

Roman managed another quick glance at his watch and almost groaned out loud. He could swear time was going backwards.

Michael wandered over to his sister’s tent. He went in without knocking and saw her moving furniture, such as it was.

“Liz.” He said to get her attention.

She looked up.

“What do you want?” she asked.

“Still mad at me then.”

“Michael you don’t run my life and I can see who I want.” She muttered.

“Is that why you are putting a new bed in here?” he asked folding his arms across his chest.

She blushed.

“No.” she said and refused to add any further comment.

She went over to her makeshift stove and poured out a cup of coffee for herself.

He coughed dramatically until she handed him a mug of coffee.

“Liz?” he asked-slash-said.

She looked at him.

“My other bed broke ok. It wasn’t used to two people lying on it.” she said without looking at him, feeling a blush start somewhere at her feet and spread upwards.

“Two people?” Michael questioned choking on his coffee.

She looked at him then.

“Ok that’s it. Out.” She muttered.

“I didn’t say anything.” He protested.

“No, but you were going to.” She said. “I can see it from your expression.”

“Nope. Not me. Wouldn’t say a word.” He said. “But I bet I can come up with a forfeit as interesting as the Tweetie Pie tattoo.”

“Ok, you’ve had your fun. FYI brother, I’m not that kind of girl. “ She snatched the coffee cup out of his hand and the lukewarm brew splashed down his clean uniform.

He grinned even wider.

“It’s not what kind of girl you are Liz, its what kind of guy he is. There are some very persuasive b*****ds on camp.”

She groaned and looked at the contents of the cup.

“I’ve dated. I’ve gone halfway around the world and back.” She muttered. “I’ve been taking care of myself a long time Mike.” She told him, abbreviating his name in her temper.

He laughed.

“I believe you. Is he a good kisser by the way.” He murmured.

“Yes.” She answered on reflex.

He laughed louder.

She put her hand on his chest and pushed.

“Out.” She muttered.

He stepped back.

“Don’t forget our bet little Sis.” Michael said to her.

She groaned and threw the contents of the cup over him as she pressed him out the door.

He wiped coffee from his face and laughing went back to get changed.

Michael walked back in the dorm. Roman and Jacko were playing cards.

“What happened to you?” Jacko asked quickly.

Mike grinned.

“I ran into a sudden precise downpour.” He told them grinning even wider at their expression.

“This wouldn’t have anything to do with a woman would it?” Jacko asked.

Roman glanced at his watch and decided that now would be the best time to sneak out. Jacko was busy talking to Mike. He stood slowly and silently backing up out of the room. He would be early but early was good compared to being late. Well ok, early wasn’t good but hey it wasn’t like they were going to dinner and he would have to wait for her to finish getting ready. He almost moaned aloud at the thought of watching her getting dressed or even better undressed. He got to the door without either of them noticing and made it through just as Michael looked up.

“Roman where are you going?” he asked him.

Roman carried on walking pretending he hadn’t heard. He grinned he hadn’t snuck out on a date since he was 14 and his parents had grounded him. The comparison between Jacko and Michael and his parents was unintentional but a sudden mental image of Jacko dressed like his mother sent chills down his spine.

He knocked on her door.

“Go away. I’m not interested in anything you have to say.” She shouted.

He waited a moment a smile on his face before knocking again.

She pulled open the door.

“Look…” she began and stopped mid sentence.

“It’s you.” She said.

He grinned.

“Yes it is.” He replied. “Is there a problem?”

“Only if my stupid brother tries to come back. I’m sorry, come in.” she stepped back and he walked in.

“Ok,” he said taking in the changes.

She grinned.

“I think you were right about the bed. It collapsed last night.”

He laughed.

“Two chairs?” he asked.

“Don’t ask where I got them and don’t count the chairs in your briefing room.” She told him smiling. “Seems if you are a girl and wearing combats you can pretty much get away with a lot of stuff.”

She’d put the bed against the side of the tent so that she’d be able to use it as a seat too. She had to move the shelving unit to the other side of the tent and changed the table around but she’d managed to fit everything in.

She went over to the stove and poured out coffee, handing him the china mug again.

He looked at where to sit when she sat on the bed. He smiled and joined her.

“We need to talk.” She said bravely.

“Ok.” he answered.

She looked at him.

“Last night was good.” She began and ignored his smile.

Men shouldn’t have smiles like that she thought. It wasn’t fair and she guessed that underneath the uniform he would be toned and fit and his skin would be slightly tanned and maybe even have some freckles across his chest which she could bet would only have a smattering of hair, oh god where was her mind going?

“Well, anyway, it was good. I enjoyed the company and of course the kisses.” She continued blushing madly. “But I’m not that sort of girl.” She trailed off.

Her mind had screamed out, are you crazy, he’s fit, Australian, good looking. Be that kind of girl and have some fun.

“So what are you telling me?” he asked.

“I’m not into relationships.” She said and went an even darker shade of red. “No, I’m not into men.” She said and groaned when he laughed.

“Would you like me to translate?” he asked.

She nodded.

“You are not into having a fling. You aren’t looking for a long-term thing. And I think you are saying you don’t sleep around.” He said. “The lesbian comment I’ll save until a really embarrassing moment.”

She nodded.

“That’s sort of it. I’m…” she paused and leaning over she whispered in his ear.

He looked at her.

“Really?” he asked.

She nodded.

“So if you were looking for anything other than friendship really I’m not your girl.”

He smiled.

“Does friendship mean I can still kiss you?” he asked.

She looked at him for a long moment weighing up her answer.

“Not really.” She decided.

“And I suppose holding you is out too.”

She nodded again.

“Then you are right we can’t be friends.” He said softly. “But if you want a boyfriend who is happy with just holding you and kissing you then I’d like to apply for the position.”

“As long as you don’t pressure me for anything else.” She cautioned.

He looked at her.

“I’m not stupid Ella, I know what you’ve just told me means. I think there is something between us and I’d be an idiot not to see you. I will be happy just holding you and kissing you with nothing further.” He smiled at her. “I promise.”

“And do you always keep your promises?” she asked.

He nodded.


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“We were just talking about you LT.” Pete said to him.

Roman grinned.

“I hope that it was to say you had bought me a beer.” He muttered.

“What’s the matter LT did she get you frustrated?” Michael asked grinning at him.

Roman grinned and didn’t comment walking to the bar and getting a round in. He took a long swallow of his beer before taking the tray of beers over and sitting down. There was just the four of them, Pete, Mike, Jacko and him.

“So who is she LT?” Pete asked.

Jacko grinned.

“If there were someone then trust me that would be classified information.” He said to them softly.

Jacko laughed.

“We got clearance.” He said.

For a second Roman’s mind flashed back to the film he and El had watched the other night and he nearly added the word Clarence to the end of the statement. He thought he had for a moment hearing the word said aloud.

He looked up.

“From the movie Airplane. It’s my favourite.” Michael explained.

Roman’s head shot up again.

“A hospital, what is it?” he quoted.

“A big building where they put patients but that isn’t important right now.” Michael answered back.

Roman grinned.

“Would you like some cream with that?” he said.

“No thanks, I take it black like my men.” Michael said quickly, and then groaned. “I hate you LT.” He muttered.

Roman laughed.

Jacko patted Mike on the back.

“Don’t worry we won’t tell anyone.” he said.

Michael looked at him and narrowed his eyes before turning his attention back to Roman.

“You are seeing someone and we will find out who it is.” He said to him.

Roman shook his head and swigged the beer back.

“If I were seeing someone what make you think I would tell you lot?” he said.

Jacko grinned as he drank his beer.

He looked up and smiled.

“Here comes trouble.” Jacko said softly.

Mike looked up and grinned.

“She’ll kill you if she hears you call her that.” He told his mate.

Jacko sobered.

“Sis.” Mike called.

She turned and walked over to them slowly. Mike reached for another chair and dragged it over to them so she could sit with them.

“I don’t think you’ve met my LT have you?” Mike asked bringing her to the group.

She looked at them and would have choked on her beer if she had one. Since she didn’t she took the bottle out of her brothers hand and drained it.

“LT this is my sister Elizabeth Addison.” Mike introduced them. “This is Roman Harris.” He said to her.

She nodded without speaking.

Roman looked at her and grinned.

‘Oh boy’ he thought.

“So you are my brothers Lieutenant.” She said softly sitting down.

Roman nodded.


She looked at Michael.

“Do I get a drink?” she asked him handing back his empty beer bottle.

Mike grinned and looked down at the bottle.

“Same again?” he asked.

Everyone nodded.

“My usual please.” She said.

He grinned at her and disappeared to the bar.

Jacko stood and went over to the men’s room and Pete cleared the tray and empties form the table going over to Mike.

Roman looked at her and at the same time she looked at him.

“You are in my brother’s unit.” She hissed. “I am so embarrassed.”

“You are? Tell me was it a nice little joke to lead me on?” he said. “How many of them are in on it.”

“Ha.” She said and walked over to the jukebox.

He waited a second and followed her.

“So its not a joke?” he asked.

“Not on my part. Why the hell didn’t you tell me who you were?” she said through her teeth.

He leaned back and smiled before turning and looking intently at the collection of songs. He felt a spark of attraction flare between them as his hand accidentally touched with hers. He pressed a lettered button and she hit the number quickly before he could.

He looked at her and saw her grin and he went back over to the table and sat down. Jacko came back a minute later and also sat down.

She walked back to them and sat down just as Mike and Pete came back with the drinks.

Mike looked up as the music came on.

He looked at Roman.

“I thought you hated this.” He said to him.

Roman nodded, trying to avoid answering. He took a long swallow of his beer.

She reached for her drink.

“My choice brother.” She said and took a sip.

She raised an eyebrow at him.

“It has vodka in it.” he said.

She handed him the glass back and he went over to the bar and had more vodka put in. He half turned so she could see how much was being poured in. She nodded after a few moments and the glass was brought back to her.

“Thank you.” She said to him.

Roman grinned.

She turned to him and their knees touched under the table. He grinned ever wider and put his hand on her knee. She started, nearly spilling the drink.

“So, Roman.” She began. “Where are you from?”

He smiled.

“Lets not talk about me. These guys know it all and I’ll only bore them. Lets discuss you.” He suggested.

She swallowed and took a cooling drink.

He was stroking the side of her knee with his thumb in erotic circles and she could feel her heart pounding. She had a feeling he only had to slide his hand a half inch up her thigh and she would start panting.

She smiled at him slowly.

“I’m 19.” She said and his hand stopped moving on her knee. She grinned some more.” Like Michael grew up everywhere and I’m a photographer.”

“So how did a 19 year old get out here?” Roman asked.

She laughed and put her glass on the table. She slid her hand underneath it without anyone noticing and began stroking his leg.

“That is just a long,” she paused. “Long,” she paused again moving her hand further up his leg. “Long.” She said moving her hand even further up his leg. “Boring story.” She finished grinning.

Roman laughed and swallowed the rest of his beer.

The next track came on the jukebox and she smiled.

Her foot started tapping to the beat. Roman looked at her out the corner of his eye and forced himself not to smile. She had perfect rhythm and his thoughts immediately drifted. Just a bit like her moving hand. He caught hold of it and moved it to place it on her leg. He gave it a gentle squeeze as he did and she flashed him a smile. She took a long drink.

“What were you guys talking about when I got here?” she asked looking at Jacko.

He grinned.

“Some movie. Michael said it was his favourite. Seems the LT likes it too because they were teasing each other with quotes.”

“Not Airplane?” she asked.

Mike nodded.

“Can I ask you a question?” she said quoting.

Mike grinned.

“What is it?”

“Its and interrogative statement to test knowledge but that isn’t important right now.” She said laughing.

“Surely you can’t be serious.” Roman added.

She and Mike looked at each other.

“I am and please don’t call me surely.” They said together giggling.

“You three have lost the plot.” Pete grinned.

She laughed some more.

She glanced down and saw that she and Roman were still holding hands underneath the table where no one could see. She smiled at him briefly before turning her attention back to her brother.

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Roman waited until everyone had left. Telling them he wanted another drink even buying himself another beer. Then waiting a good ten minutes he checked that no one was lying in waited for him he went straight to Ella’s. She opened the door on his first knock and he walked inside, took her in his arms and kissed her passionately. She responded and he found himself heading towards her bed. They tumbled on to it and she froze.

“Sorry.” He said. “I didn’t come here for this.”

He stroked her hair away from her face before kissing her again.

She responded with sigh, wrapping her arms around his neck.

Remembering his promise to her he pulled away slightly and kept his hands from stroking her. How he was going to keep that promise when they seemed to explode with passion each time they kissed he didn’t know.

After a while he eased to the side of her and leaned on one elbow looking down at her.

“We need to stop this now. It’s the logical thing to do.” She said. “You are my brother’s commanding officer.”

He sighed.

“I know.” He said to her.

She looked sad.

“Ella please.” He said softly.

“I know it’s pathetic but I’ve never been as interested in anyone like I have been with you. And then there are these kisses.” She said.

He grinned.

“I have noticed the kisses.” He replied.

She grinned at him.

“Look lets sleep on it and talk tomorrow.” He suggested.

He eased off the bed and headed to the door.

“I’m flying out tomorrow pm for a three day shoot. “ she said.

“Well that should be good. Give us some breathing room. We are out the day after tomorrow for a few days.” He said softly.

She nodded.

She held out her hand for him to shake.

“Not trusting the kisses?” he said.

She nodded.

He took her hand and lifted it to his lips and kissed it.

She moaned and then blushed.

“As good as other kisses?” he asked.

She nodded.

He chuckled before leaning down and kissing her chastely on the cheek and leaving. He sucked in the cool night air and tried to get some control back before heading to the dorm. He crashed out on his bunk only bothering to remove his boots.

When he woke he saw the one of the jokers had tied his bootlaces together and he struggled with the knots for a time before he got them undone. He checked they hadn’t put anything nasty inside them and pulled them onto his feet. He stood and grabbed his wash kit and towel and clean clothes before heading to the shower block. He shaved again and took a long shower before dressing again and going back to the dorm. He stowed his laundry in a bag and put his stuff away. Looking at his watch he went to see if she was about.

He found her sitting by the gym area. She had her camera round her neck and she looking out at the airfield. Mike was talking to her but she shaded her eyes and looked across to the runway. A series of British flag draped coffins were being loaded on to a C17 British Transport plane.

She turned and looked at the wall nearby and using a nearby piece of gym equipment pulled herself up its 7ft height. She went from sitting on it; to standing, and stood there for a minute before walking the length of the wall and then picking her camera up she adjusted the settings and took some pictures. She waited until the last coffin was loaded and bowed her head in respect for a moment.

She turned and saw him.

“Hello.” She said.

“Do you do any other tricks?” he asked.

“I really wish you hadn’t asked her that.” Mike laughed.

She took off her camera and knelt down to hold it out to him. He took it from her and watched as she grinned.

“I don’t think I’ll do the full dismount but its pretty safe up here.” She laughed and proceeded to do a handstand on the wall.

Roman gasped.

“Liz get down before the man has a heart attack.” Mike said.

She moved on her hands turning in a full circle before putting her feet back on the wall.

Looking over at him she grinned. She walked to the end of the wall and sat down. Getting ready to jump when Roman moved and putting the camera safely on a weight bench he caught her and helped lower her to the ground.

She grinned.

“Tell me do you do the same for your men?” she asked, covering up the fact that the attraction between them had flared up again.

“Only Jacko but don’t tell Mike he gets jealous.” Roman told her.

She laughed and went over to get her camera. She shaded her eyes with her hand and looked at the display on the back.

He walked over to her and looked over her shoulder.

“Roman.” Mike said. “Normally she kills people for that.” He tried to warn him.

Ella laughed.

“Not people just you.” She said to her brother.

Roman looked over at him and stuck his tongue out.

“Very professional LT.” Mike grumbled.

“So was the joker who tied my boot laces this morning.” Roman said looking at him.

Mike looked away quickly.

“That’s what I thought.” He said grinning. “You know if you are very lucky I may just decide to date your sister.”

She looked up and poked him in the ribs with her elbow.

“She might say no.” she muttered.

“And if she doesn’t I bloody well would.” Mike grumbled.

“Hey.” She said. “I thought we agreed I was an adult and could make my own choices this morning.” She muttered at her brother angrily.

Roman grinned.

“That was when you weren’t about to date anyone.” Mike said.

She walked over to him and smiled.

“Michael I will date who I please. I am aware of our bet and that you will find the nastiest forfeit you can if it progresses that way. I do not need your permission nor do I need your approval on my choice.” She took a step back. “I have been living without you or the parents in my life for two years now and I’ve done ok.”

She turned and walked away.

“I have no idea what that was about but if you are going to see her later can I suggest a flak jacket.” Roman said to him.

Mike grinned.

“That long boring story she mentioned, well it involved leaving school at 17 and amongst other things getting job with a newspaper. My parents tried to bring her back to the family and get her back in school but she refused. They cut her off so she became independent. As far as I know she’s in touch with Dad through mutual contacts but my Mother is different.” Mike explained softly. “I guess me doing the big brother bit is a bit much when we’ve only really been in contact again for the past year.”

Roman whistled through his teeth.

“I take it she has met Jennie.” Roman said referencing Mike’s wife.

Mike nodded.

“First thing I did was introduce her.” he said. “They got on like a house on fire. Caused me to get this stupid tattoo.” He muttered.

Roman grinned.

“You know that you are going to have to tell us the reason why one day.” Roman told him.

Mike shook his head.

“Never.” He said.

Roman grinned and the two men walked back through the camp. After a bit Roman made an excuse and went to see her.

She looked at him after he knocked.

“Yup he’s been telling you stuff about me” she said.

“Just a part of your long boring story.” Roman grinned. “So what have you decided about us?” he asked her.

“Nothing.” She grumbled. “I keep thinking about how nuts this could all get but then I remember those kisses.”

He laughed.

“These kisses?” he asked stepping forward and taking her in his arms. His lips met hers gently and she moaned at the new sensations. She put her arms around his neck, thinking that must be the safest place for them and let him lay them on the bed.

She accepted his weight and her legs parted as if on their own accord rather than invitation and he eased one leg between them. She felt the first temptation of his tongue flicked against her mouth and she opened her lips in surprise. He moaned as his tongue darted in and out of her mouth quickly. She shyly put her tongue to his and suddenly they were running together, tangling in a battle of sensations. He drew her tongue into his mouth.

She kept one hand on his neck stroking it while the other one ran down his back. She pulled his shirt up and touched him. Her hand felt cool on his heated flesh and she moved it teasingly up and down his back.

Breathing heavily he eased back for a few moments.

She looked at him with heavy eyes, arousal made her limbs heavy.

“These sure are some kisses.” He said softly.

She nodded.

He eased his leg out from between hers and moved on the bed. She moved with him until she was curled in his arms, her back against his chest. He held her tight placing a gentle kiss to the back of her neck.

She felt her eyes grow heavy.

“What time do you need to get ready to go?” he asked her.

“15:00” she said softly.

“Go to sleep I’ll wake you in time.” he told her.

She gestured to the throw on the bottom of the bed and he pulled it over her. She sighed as she snuggled closer to him. After a minute she said.

“It this is what your kisses do I really want to have sex.”

He chuckled and watched her go to sleep.

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He walked slowly to her tent. It had been nearly 10 days since he’d seen her and going to her was more important than a hot meal or getting shower and even more important that getting a beer. He hadn’t even stowed his gear. She opened the door on the first knock.

“Have you got any idea what the time is?” she asked him.

“Now I expect that kind of question when we are married.” He muttered.

She laughed.

“Are you tired LT?” she asked him.

“I’m down right exhausted.” He confessed.

“That explains it.”

“Explains what?” he asked. “And can I come in please.”

She giggled and let him in.

He put his gun on the table. Then his helmet and eased off the flak jacket hooking that over the back of a chair. He dropped his haversack to the floor.

“If you have beer in here I will be your personal slave for a month.” He said.

She moved him to the bed and eased him down.

“Roman Harris.” She muttered. “I think you have lost the plot.”

He smiled.

“Ella I’m dead on my feet. I can’t remember the last time I slept and all I want to do is see you and drink beer.”

She grinned and walked over to the cooler she had and pulled out a beer. She opened it and put it in his hand.

He took a long drink.

“I got you something.” He told her.

She looked at him.

He reached into his breast pocket and hook out a white flower and handed it to her,

She sighed as she looked at the slightly battered bloom. She leaned over and kissed him, only slightly recoiling for his aroma.

“Thank you.” She said and went over and put it in water.

Ella turned and knelt at his feet and undid his laces easing off his boots She pealed his socks off next and tucked them inside the boots. Then she undid his shirt and pushed it off his shoulders. He let her ease out on arm swapping the bottle to the other hand then back as she pushed his shirt down the other arm he moved the bottle back.

He grinned.

“Stay here.” She instructed.

She came back moments later with a bowl of hot water. She dipped her sponge into it and squeezed the excess water out.

“Take off you clothes.” She told him cheekily.

He grinned.

“I’m not that kind of guy.” He laughed

She smiled.

“Seriously, if you want to stay here you need to wash you stink.”

“Well don’t pull any punches just tell me what’s on your mind.”

She laughed.

“Ok, you smell, seriously. I’d like to kiss you too but even being in the same room as you is overpowering and I think that the only way I will get back to sleep tonight is to let you stay but you really really smell.”

He chuckled and handed her the empty bottle before taking off his vest top and standing up to remove his fatigues. He dropped them on the floor. She poured a small amount of shower foam on the sponge and dipped it back in the hot water. She squeezed it out again and rubbed it over his torso.

He grinned as he raised first one arm and then the other allowing her to wash him all over. She knelt down at his feet and washed his legs. He sat down on her bed and let her wash his feet. She dipped the sponge in the bowl and squeezed it out and handed it to him.

“In case you want to wash any other past of you.” She said at his puzzled look. She went over to the cooler and took out another beer, this time for herself. She waited her back to him.

“Have you got a towel?” he asked putting the sponge back into the bowl.

She nodded and handed him a towel and he rubbed himself dry.

“Thank you.” he said.

“Feeling better?” she asked.

He nodded.

She peeled back the covers and watched as he climbed into bed. She walked over to the table and put the bowl of water on it. She picked up his gun and checking that there was no ammo in the gun she clicked out the magazine and placed it back on the table. She turned and he was grinning at her.

She clicked out the light and climbed in the bed beside him. He put his arms around her and pulled the covers over the both of them.

“You know that this is a small bed we are going to have to sleep very close.” He whispered.

She giggled as she got very close to him.

“Close enough for you?” she asked.

He kissed the back of her neck.

“Just about.”

He yawned and drifted off to sleep.

When he woke she was gone. He grumbled until he saw a folded piece of paper on the table. Climbing out of the bed he read it.

“Gone for a shoot. Back in two days. Ella xx”

He looked at the two x at the end of her name and grinned. Then when he saw she’d somehow got him some clean clothes. He pulled them on and then collected the rest of his gear before heading back to the dorm. He stowed his equipment and headed to the briefing room to give his report. Then he spent the day doing paperwork before heading to the gym and doing a workout. He wondered what she was doing.

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Pete, Jacko and himself sat in the bar having a well-earned beer. Well actually they used any excuse for a beer. They looked up to see Mike come in.

“What’s up?” Roman asked him as soon as he joined them at the table.

Mike picked up his char and turned it around straddling the seat and sitting down. He folded his hands across the back.

“Some idiot decided to have some fun at my sister's expense.” He groaned.

Roman did a double take.

“What do you mean?” he asked quickly, almost guiltily.

“Some idiot pilot thought it would be fun to throw my sister around in the back of his chopper. She’s in medical now.” Mike grimaced.

Roman looked at the others and wondered how to phrase the question he was dying to ask.

Mike looked over and saw the pilot. He stood and started walking toward him.

Roman looked at Jacko and Pete and grinned.

He stood and followed Mike Hoping he wouldn’t do anything stupid.

Mike stood next to the pilot.

“Tell me are you the idiot who thought it would be fun to toss my sister around?” Mike asked him.

The pilot looked at him and took a swig of his beer. He glanced round at his friends.

“Who wants to know?” he said. “Some ****-ant Aussie?”

Roman pulled Mike back.

“Mike, how many times have I told you to pick on someone your own size.” Roman said to him.

Mike just looked at him.

“Answer the question.” Mike growled.

“Yeah, she was in my chopper. She fell out.” The pilot took a swig of beer and looked at him, grinning. “Dumb broad shouldn’t be here anyway.” he added, in his New York accent.

Roman tugged Mike back.

“Mike.” He said to him. “You’ll get done this time. He’s a yank and he‘s a Lieutenant.”

“Yes Mike, listen to your boyfriend.”

Mike looked at Roman and saw the expression on his face. He wasn’t prepared when Roman turned suddenly and grabbed the pilot by his lapels of his flight suit, pushing him back against the wall.

“Now listen to me. The girl you boasted about throwing out of your ****-ant chopper is a friend of mine. And Mike is in my unit, which means I look out for him. Part of that means its my job to stop him killing stupid Yanks who hurt his sister.” Roman told him through his teeth.

He wanted to add that the girl he’d hurt was his girlfriend and he was equally pissed off.

The pilot sneered and threw the first punch.

Roman grinned and responded with his own punch. He wasn’t quite sure how it turned into a complete bar brawl but it was fun.


They were in their quarters nursing some bruises and cuts when the door crashed in.

“What the Heck do you think you were doing?” Ella asked.

Mike looked up in surprise, dropping the ice pack he’d had pressed against his swollen eye.

“Liz?” he said warily.

He looked at her standing in the doorway, she was wearing a short red T-shirt and denim cut off shorts and her left leg was bandaged up. She was leaning heavily on crutches.

Roman felt his heart flip in his chest and wished he’d hit the pilot harder.

She looked in disgust on her brother.

“How many times do I have to tell you I can take care of myself.” She yelled at him.

“Oh yeah, it looks like it.” Mike sneered.

“Well I didn’t expect to get thrown out of a helicopter and fall 6ft.” she yelled. “Your stupid actions mean I may not have a chance to go through proper channels and get his ass grounded you prick!”

Roman grinned at her.

“And don’t even think about using that charm on me LT I’m just as PO’d at you. I heard you started the fight.” She growled at him.

“Yup,- I threw the first punch.” He confessed.

Pete and Jacko laughed at the note of pride in his voice.

Mike stood and walked over to her.

“Look Sis.” He began.

She pulled her arm away from the hand he held out and sifted uneasily on the crutches.

“Forget it Michael. I’m done with trying to fit in with the family. You can’t accept that I’m grown up and I live my own life and can look after myself.” She hissed at him.

Mike recoiled.

“Come on Liz it’s always been us.” He said.

“No.” she said.

She moved the crutch to the other side and held both of them together, freeing her hand to push her hair away from her forehead. She swung the crutch back around and started to turn around. Her leg caught and she almost overbalanced.

Mike caught her and she glared at him.

He let her go hurriedly and she had to stop herself falling by using her bad leg. The stream of swearwords she muttered caused Jacko to blush. She got her balance and stormed out moving rapidly despite the injury.

Mike and Roman followed her.

Pete and Jacko looked at each other and grinned. They decided to follow them and wait for round two.

She decided to go back to her tent and lay down. She knew they were following her but she ignored them. She stopped when she heard a wolf whistle. She turned and saw the pilot who’d thrown her out of his chopper. She swore and turned she moved over to him.

“Enjoy looking at the results of your piece of fun?” she asked him.

He grinned.

“You broads shouldn’t be over here.” He said.

She lowered her head for a second.

“I think you’ll find us broads can be anywhere we bloody well please.” She sneered. “And if you don’t show me some respect I’ll be having another chat with Captain James.”

“My CO?” he asked.

He took a menacing step towards her.

She held her head up and looked at him, turning she threw one of her crutches to Mike who caught it in surprise. He took a half step forward but recognised the look on her face and stayed where he was.

She balanced on her good leg and looked at him.

He made to take hold of her arm but with a quick movement she used her remaining crutch to sweep his legs out from underneath him. He fell flat on his back, his breath expelling out of his mouth sounding like a sick moan. She stepped forward, ignoring the pain shooting up from her knee and put the crutch on him pressing down on his solar plexus.

“Now listen to me. I may be some dumb Australian broad but I am smart enough to know that I can go to your CO and make a compliant against you. It was pretty freaking dumb of you of you to get me injured because now your CO is going to ground you until such time as the matter is cleared up.” She said. “Now I understand the you’ve been applying for additional training well those applications are going to get turned down on account of this.”

“You B*tch.” He said. He coughed from the pressure on his solar plexus.

“Yes that is right. But that is only because some prick decided to throw me out of his chopper.” She smiled slowly. “Now I’m going to remove my crutch and let you get up. I presume there won’t be any sudden moves which might cause me to get cranky?” she asked him.

She pressed down harder with the crutch for a moment after he’d glared at her. Finally he nodded and she removed the crutch and stepped back

The guy stood up and looked at her for a long moment before turning and walking away. She turned to her brother and looked at him. He held out the crutch for her to take. She took a step and her knee gave out again. She cried out in pain and would have fallen but Roman sprinted forward and caught her in his arms. He lifted her up and she lent gratefully against him.

“Fine little Sis, you can take care of yourself.” Michael conceded.

She smiled at him.

“Thank you.” She said.

She looked Pete and Jacko before looking at Roman.

“Do you do a taxi service because I could do with a lift to my tent.” She added. ”My brother will show you the way.”

Michael collected the fallen crutches and led the way to her tent.

“Very sneaky.” Roman whispered to her, referring to the way she suggested that he wouldn’t know where her tent was.

She hooked her arms around his neck and smiled.

They went inside her tent and Roman placed her gently on her bed. He adjusted the pillows behind her. Mike put the crutches next to her for when she wanted to get up.

“So what have you done?” Roman asked.

She grinned at him.

“Nothing serious. I’m told I just sprained my knee.” She said softly.

Mike looked and saw a white sheet she had begun to staple to the side of the tent.

“What’s going on?” he asked.

“I’ve got a projector and since it seems that Jacko and Pete hadn’t seen Airplane I thought I would have an showing one night.” She explained smiling.

“So you were up on the chair?” Roman said grinning at her. “While you only have one leg?”

“Yes.” She said not meeting his eyes.

“Mike.” Roman said to him.

He nodded and climbed up to finish the job, stapling the sheet to the wooden frame.

“Do you want a drink?” Roman asked softly.

She nodded.

“I have a cooler over there.” She pointed, ignoring his grin. He knew exactly where her cooler was having helped himself to her beer before now!

He pulled out a bottle of coke and undid it before handing it to her. She took a long drink..

“I have some tablets do you think you could get them they are over there.” She said softly.

Roman found them and handed them to her, his fingers brushing hers. They shared a look and a smile before pulling apart.

“I have a couple of questions.” Mike said.

“What?” she asked.

“Well is this ok?” he said pointing to the sheet.

She nodded.

“It’s great.” She said.

He grinned and climbed down from the chair.

“What’s the second question?” she asked.

“Just how long have you two been seeing each other?” he said.

Roman looked at her and shrugged.

She grinned.

“Two months.” She confessed.

Mike went over to her cooler and got out a beer. He opened it and took a drink.

“Your Ella?” he asked without looking at them.

“How did you know?” Roman asked him

He took a gasping breath.

“Mike.” He said angrily.

Mike grinned at him.

“No, I wasn’t being nosy you left the book open on your bed.”

“Book?” She interrupted the conversation.

Roman looked at her and held his hand towards her. She took hold of it and tugged. He grinned as he sat next to her.

“I have a diary of sorts.” Roman said sounding embarrassed.

“And you wrote about me?” she smiled at him, a special smile.

“Ok that’s it. You can’t see him anymore.” Mike told her. He turned to Roman. “And you. Dude that’s my sister!” he groaned. ”Have you…” he trailed off.

“NO!” she exclaimed.

Roman grinned.

“Actually no, we haven’t.” he said softly. “Not that it would be any of your business anyway.”

“So you haven’t told him about the bet?” Mike asked her.

She shook her head going an even brighter shade of crimson.

“We had a bet that we wouldn’t have sex before we got married.” Mike confessed.

She buried her face in her hands.

“Thanks Mike.” She said.

“Your tattoo?” Roman asked.

Mike looked at the floor without commenting.

She eventually looked up.

“Mike. you need to leave.” She told him. “You’ve p*ssed me off enough for one day.”

He grinned.

“Nope!” he said. “I’m not leaving you two alone.”

She looked helplessly at Roman.

“Right Private Addison. Get out.” He ordered.

She grinned.

Mike laughed.

“Sorry LT. You can’t order me to leave you alone with my sister.” He said to him.

Roman looked at her.

“I’ll tell Jacko and Pete why you got the tattoo.” She told him.

He went red.

“No go ahead and tell them.” he said folding his arms.

She looked over at Roman and smiled.

Then she pulled him towards her and she kissed him. He responded without thinking and wound his arms around her. She tugged his shirt away so she could stroke his back.

Mike stood up and walked out.

“You win.” He said slamming the door behind him.

“we can stop now.” Roman said ten minutes later.

“She looked up.

“When did he leave?” she asked.

Roman grinned.

“It was a while ago.”

She chuckled.

“You better go and check he’s ok with us.” She murmured.

“He will be. He should respect that we’ve been seeing each other for two months and we haven’t rushed into anything.” He stroked the hair away from her face. “What are you doing for dinner tonight? Have you eaten?”

She looked into his eyes and smiled.

“No but I’m not hungry.” She said. “Or at least not for food.”

He chuckled.

“I’m going before you tempt me even more. I’ll see you tonight.”

He reached for the throw and eased her back on the pillows before covering her with the soft material. She caught hold of his hand and pressed a kiss to the palm. He grinned and turned walking out carefully closing the door behind him.

He went to find Mike.

“Why LT?” he asked. “You could have anyone. She’s my sister and life has sucked for her.”

“I didn’t intend for it to happen and we did think and talk about the ramifications Mike.” Roman told his friend. “I respect her Mike. I respect her choices.”

“Just because you’re not banging my sister doesn’t make this any better.” He told him.

Roman looked at him.

“I’m sorry you feel that way.” He said finally.

“Tell me LT how the hell did you expect me to feel?” he asked bitterly.

“Well I expected you to be happy that your sister is seeing some who respects her and is treating her as she deserves. I wasn’t looking for something like this to happen. But I’m glad I met her.” he said.

“Are you planning to ask for my permission?” Mike muttered.

“No.” Roman sat next to him. “But I think Ella would like your blessing. Why do you think she is here Mike?”

“Because her newspaper sent her.” Mike shrugged.

Roman shook his head.

“No she volunteered to come here. She wanted to be with you. She even arranged to stay here at this base.”

Mike looked up.

“She did?”

Roman nodded.

“She wanted to be with me and all I’ve done is give her a hard time.” Mike groaned.

Roman grinned.

“I wouldn’t say that you also ticked her off too.”

“LT it’s not funny.”

Roman looked at Mike.

“Your sister is special Mike and she’s missed you. She transferred Newspapers to get herself out here. So why the hell would you want to upset her by being a pain about our relationship. We met and dated before we found out. Well before it was revealed who she was.”

“So you dated a woman you didn’t know the name off?” Mike asked incredulously.

“We were in the middle of introductions when her brother came and ticked her off. She only got as far as the name Elizabeth.” Roman tried to explain.

Mike shook his head.

“Roman I can’t stand back and watch you date my sister. You have never been serious about anyone before.”

Roman grinned.

“Sorry. We are dating. And you can’t stop us. If you do you’ll just upset her. I won’t allow that.”

Roman stood and folded his arms across his chest.

Mike looked down to hide the smile on his face. He waited a moment before he spoke.

“You won’t allow it?” Mike asked.

Roman shook his head.

“No I won’t let you hurt her Mike. She’s been through to much.”

Mike couldn’t help grinning.

Roman looked at him.

“And why does that make you smile?” he asked.

Mike stood up.

“Because you care for her.”

Roman nodded.

“Yes I do. I’ve never been with someone like her. She makes me happy.” Roman groaned as he admitted his feelings. “Mike, I hate you!” he said.

“Sorry LT you can’t hate me I’ll tell my sister and she’ll get mad at you.” Mike laughed.

They walked back to her tent and Mike grinned when Roman went in without knocking.

He walked over to the bed and sat on it stroking the hair from her face. She opened her eyes and looked at him.

“Hey.” He said softly.

She smiled.

“Hey yourself handsome.” She replied.

Mike coughed loudly to indicate his presence.

“Is he back?” she asked Roman.

“Afraid so.” Mike told her.

“And?” she pulled her self up and Roman quickly moved the pillows behind her.

“And I think you two are great together. You have my blessing. Not that you needed it.” Mike said to her.

She smiled in relief.

“Hey Sis you weren’t worried were you?”

She blinked back tears.

“Yes. You’re my brother of course I’m going to be concerned about everything.”

Mike came over to her and placed a kiss on her cheek.

“So when are you going to show the movie?” he asked her.

She grinned.

“Tomorrow night. Now go away. Three is a crowd.” She told him.

Mike chuckled and left.

Roman sat on the bed next to her.

“How is the leg?” he asked her.

“It’s sore.” she confessed.

“Poor baby.” He kissed the top of her head. “Do you want anything?” he asked.

She shook her head.

“I’ll see you later then.” He said seeing that she was still tired,

She nodded.

He kissed her one more time before leaving her to sleep.

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Roman booked them into the hotel. He had been looking forward to this for the past month. The hotel had a swimming pool and aside from spending time with Ella away from the base and the war and the endless missions he was looking forward to sinking into the warm water and swimming. They were shown up to their room and he couldn’t help looking at her.
They walked through the door and he tipped the porter who had carried their bags.
“So what do you think?” he asked looking round the room.
“Its very nice.” She said softly.
“Are you sure because you’ve been quiet ever since we got here.”
She shrugged.
“Its nice. “ she said.
She walked through to the bedroom and looked at the huge double bed. She paused for a moment and then went into the bathroom and saw the bathtub.
“Ok its very nice.” She said.
He walked up behind her and grinned.
“Would you like me to run you a bath?” he asked.
She giggled.
“No, don’t you have something more pressing you want to do?” she said to him.
He glanced back at the bed involuntarily.
She grinned at him.
“I meant swimming.” She said to him.
He smiled at her and walked back into the bedroom. He opened up his luggage and took out his clothes hanging them up.
“A suit?” she asked him grinning.
He looked at her and then pulled out a tie and draped that around the hanger.
“I hear they have a nice restaurant.” He said.
She opened her backpack.
“They may do but I have no clothes to wear.” She said.
She pulled out her bikini. It was red and seemed to be four triangles secured by dental floss. He found his blood pressure rising.
“You should have told me you wanted to take me out to dinner.” She said,
She hung up her clothes next to his and found herself grinning.
“Yes I know very domestic.” He laughed.
“Scary.” She said.
He leaned forward and kissed her.
She wound her arms around his neck and held him to her kissing him back. He lifted her up and pressed her against him. They broke apart and he lowered her to the floor. She took a step back and pulled off her vest top and slipped out of her shorts. He groaned and grabbed his bathers going into the bathroom to change, hearing her chuckle.
He came put and saw her lying on the bed in the hot red bikini and folded his arms across his chest.
“Are you trying to seduce me?” he asked. “Because I’m not that kind of guy.”
She eased off the bed.
“Nope. Not me.” She said softly.
She pulled on a cotton sundress over the top of the bikini and slipped on a pair of thong sandals and grabbed a book and her favourite sunglasses.
“Shall we go swimming?” She said to him.
He pulled her to him for a quick kiss before leading her to the rooftop swimming pool. They settled on a couple of sun beds and he ordered them some drinks before he moved over to the side of the pool and dived cleanly into the deep end. He swam half the length of the pool underwater before surfacing. It was cool and refreshing and he returned to the other end of the pool in fast crawl. He lent against the side and saw her lying in the sun in that red bikini. The drinks had arrived and she sipped from hers when some man approached her. She smiled at him then said something he didn’t catch and the man melted away. She looked over at him and smiled. He grinned back at her and she stood up and walked toward him slowly, her hips swaying. She stood at the edge of the pool and dipped one foot in the water.
She gave him a look from under her lashes and then dived cleanly into the water. She swam a full length under the water and surfaced at the other edge of the pool before swimming lazily over to him.
“Hey,” he said softly.
“Hey yourself.” She grinned, slicking her long hair back.
“This is wonderful.” He said.
“Being with you. Five days of R&R.” he smiled at her.
“I kind of like being with you too.” She admitted.
She leaned forward and kissed him before setting off in a lazy crawl to the other end of the pool and back He swam next to her before putting his hands on the side and climbing out. He walked over to the sun bed and used the towel to dry excess water from his body and lay down. She joined him after a time and picked up her book and began reading.
“What is the book?” he asked after a time.
“I knew you were one of those.” She grinned at him.
She handed him the book so he could look at the back.
“One of those?” he questioned.
“People who have to talk to other people even though they are reading.” She smiled at him.
He grinned back.
“Well there is a blonde over there I could go talk to if you like and leave you to your” he looked down. “The life and times of Lord Byron?” he raised an eyebrow.
She grinned at his expression.
“Its pre-reading for a course I’m thinking of doing.” She explained. “Distance learning. I can add more credits towards my degree.”
“Degree?” he asked. “You didn’t tell us.” He referred to her brother in the statement too.
She shrugged.
“I’m doing it low key.” She said softly.
“Do you regret leaving school?”
She shook her head.
“No, I hated school and transferring from the English school system to the Australian one sucked. My dad is proud of me for making the choice and sticking to it.”
Roman nodded and decided not to ask about her mother.
“What about you have you thought about doing something other than army?” she asked.
He smiled.
“Not really.” He said. “I like cooking.”
“Yeah, I don’t really see any connection there.”
He chuckled.
“My parents ran a restaurant. We lived over the top of it.”
She looked at him.
“So what about doing training and going for promotion or something?” she asked.
“Well I’m not book smart like you. I prefer magazines to books. And I hate doing the paperwork I have to do now.”
She reached out and took hold of his hand.
“Books are wonderful.” She told him. “A magazine is great because you open it up and some photographer has produced a nice little shot to go with the text but with a book you have to use what is inside your head to produce the image.”
“Lay back and close your eyes.” She instructed.
She picked up the book and read aloud a passage from it, detailing one of Byron’s journeys across Europe. After a time she finished reading and looked over at him.
“Keep your eyes closed and tell me what you saw in you head.” she asked softly.
“The horse snorting as he mounted it. It was big and black. He rode for a long time. I don’t think he saw what was around him. He was just focused on reaching the destination.”
Roman opened his eyes.
“I added that detail.” He said. “You didn’t tell me what the horse did or what colour it was.”
She nodded.
“See books make you use your imagination.” She grinned. “And now I need to go for a shower and get changed.”
He eased off the chair and stood. He held out his hand to her and helped her up. She still favoured her bad leg despite it reputedly having healed. She pulled on her sundress and they went back to the room.
She took off her clothes walking into the bathroom and rinsed out her bikini hanging it up to dry. He loved the way she wasn’t shy around him but seriously there were time he wished she would keep her clothes on and that was something he never would have imagined he would think about any woman.
“What’s the matter?” she asked him seeing him frown.
“Well the fact you are naked and wandering about the hotel room seems to be at the forefront of my mind.” He admitted.
She chuckled.
“But you’ve seen me naked.” She said. “Many times in fact.”
He nodded.
“But that was mostly when I knew your brother was in a nearby dorm and I wasn’t going to break my promise.” He said and sat on the bed.
Then he realised he had sat on the bed and sprang up quickly, moving across the room to sit on a nearby chair.
She giggled.
“I thought we reached the stage where we comfortable with each other. I never would have imagined being comfortable with anyone to be naked around them.” She reached for her wrap a silky confection in a floral design.
“I’m sorry. Its just that we are alone and I want you very much.” He said. “I don’t want to do anything that will …” he trailed off. “That you aren’t ready for.”
She pulled on the wrap and went over to him and kissed him slowly.
“I adore you Roman Harris.” She said grinning.
She turned and walked into the bathroom, dropping the wrap to the floor she stood under the hot shower spray. He heard a small noise of satisfaction and he grinned. He didn’t have to worry about her using all the hot water but maybe he should go and check she was ok. He stood and took off his swimmers and walked into the bathroom climbing in the shower behind her.
She looked at him over her shoulder. Her arms were up and she was washing her hair.
“I don’t need a lifeguard, I think the shower is quite safe.” She told him
He took over washing her hair pressing kisses to the back of her neck.
“Really.” He said after a minute.
She rinsed her hair and turned in his arms to kiss him slowly.
He ran his hands down her body and she did the same to him their kisses more passionate. He found her breasts and ran his thumbs across her nipples just the way she likes before lowering his head and kissing them. She caught hold of his head pressing his to her as she arched against him.
“Wow.” She said.
He chuckled, his breath floating across her aroused aureole and sending a shiver of pleasure through her.
She ran her hands down his back and cupped his buttocks pressing him hard against her. He moaned as he felt her hands on him and her body against him. She pressed a kiss to his lips before sliding a hand between them and touching him intimately.
“Ella.” He moaned her name.
“I want to…” she whispered the rest to him and he groaned even louder.
“I’m going to have a heart attack.” He told her.
She grinned and did exactly what she whispered.
He stood in the shower for a long time after. He wasn’t feeling that good about himself. He was older than she was and experienced, he shouldn’t be taking advantage of her. He should end it. Mike was right to have doubts about them. The thought of trying to tell her that he didn’t want to see her again upset him even more and trying to avoid her on base so he didn’t hurt her further would be a nightmare when she had become like a mascot to their squad. He would have to stop drinking with his men, stop going to the movie shows she arranged for them. And Mike would probably kill him.
He didn’t examine how much it would hurt him to stop seeing her because that would mean he would have to admit that there was way more going on between them than just boyfriend and girlfriend.
He climbed out and wrapped a towel around himself before walking into the bedroom. She’d tided up their discarded clothes and left a note on the pillow saying she was going to the boutique downstairs to buy something so he could take her out to that fancy restaurant of his. She’d added her usual double X to the end of the note and he grinned, before remembering his thoughts from earlier. He reached for the phone and booked them in for an early reservation.
When she came back he was dressed in the shirt and trousers with the dark tie loose around his neck, he was standing looking out on the view a beer in his hand.
“Hey.” She said softly.
“Hey. “ he replied. “Did you buy anything nice?”
She nodded.
“And expensive.” She grimaced.
“If you need…” he began.
She shook her head.
“I’ve got it covered.” She said and walked over to him. She put her arms around his waist and rested her head against him.
“What is the matter Roman Harris? You were happy earlier.” She said softly.
He looked down at her and put his arm around her.
“I think we need to break up.” He said finally. “I’m not comfortable with how far we’ve gone.”
She looked at him and smiled.
“You mean sexually.”
He blushed. Unaware that he could still do that he almost groaned as he felt the tide of colour sweep across his cheeks.
He settled for nodding.
“But I’m happy with that. I know I can trust you. And I enjoy learning all the things we’ve been doing. It’s serious for me.” She groaned. “That is not quite what I meant. Roman I adore you. You aren’t taking advantage of me. It feels very loving being with you and you respect me.”
He looked down at her seeing her happy shinning face.
“I’ve just tried to split up with you and you look happy.” He said. ”Why exactly?”
“Because it means that you really care about me.” she explained and reaching up she kissed him. “Now I need to get ready. I’ll meet you in the bar downstairs in twenty minutes. Let’s pretend this is a real date.”
He grinned and kissed her long and hard.
“I love you.” He said without intending to.
She grinned and put her arms tight around him.
“Go.” She instructed. “I have to do girl stuff, ok.”
He nodded and picked up his jacket before walking out of the door, as it closed behind him he banged his head against it and swore. After a moment he went downstairs and waited in the bar.
Ella picked up the phone and dialled a number. She had to wait an age for it to connect and hear the voice on the other end of the phone.
“Why can’t I say it?” she asked quickly.
“Liz?” Mike said.
“Tell me why I can’t say it. I feel it.”
Mike chuckled.
“I love you sister of mine but shouldn’t you be having this talk with a woman.”
“You love me too?” She groaned. “I wish people would stop saying that to me today.” She grumbled.
Mike laughed at her.
“It’s not funny. Our parents have totally screwed me up.” She groaned and sank off the bed to sit on the floor. She felt the first tear slip down her face and sniffed.
“Are you crying?” Mike asked after a moment.
“You know I never cry.” She said.
“Liz?” he said softly.
“Mike I’m scared here. I never cry and I feel it but I can’t say it and I wanted to say it this week.”
“Sis don’t forget our bet.” He said to her.
“Shut up about the stupid bet.” She muttered angrily.
“Have you stopped crying now?” he asked after a pause.
She nodded and groaned as she realised his intention in reminding her about the bet was to calm her down.
“Yes.” She added.
“Liz, you will say it when you are ready. Our parents were never affectionate I had to learn that from Jennie. And I know I had doubts about you two but you’re great together and I think you would make a good couple. For what it is worth no matter what your relationship turns out to be you have my blessing. Roman is a good man.”
Ella nodded.
“Thank you Mike.” She paused and took a breath. “I love you.” She said.
“I love you sis.” He grinned at the other end of the call. “And that wasn’t so bad was it? You’ll tell him when the time is right and if you can’t you’ll show him.”
“Thanks.” She said and hung up.
She stood and walked into the bathroom grabbing the bag with the make up box in it. She made up her face, after splashing cold water on her eyes and added a spray of her favourite perfume. Ripping the tags off the new underwear and pulled it on before taking out the short sexy black dress. She eased herself into it and did a slow turn in front of the mirror. Adding crystal earrings she pinned her hair up, having no time left to do anything else with it and put her feet into high-heeled black sandals before leaving the hotel room and making her way down to the bar. Seeing him sitting there she smiled, unaware of the sexiness of her smile she walked slowly over to him and sat down,
" Hey Solider, sorry for the wait.” She said.
He turned and looked at her.
“You are beautiful.” He told her softly unable to take his eyes off her.
He put his finger under her chin and lifted her head and looked at her eyes.
“Uh huh?” he said, noticing that she had been crying.
“I had a little problem. I think it’s sorted now. But I would like to add that I feel it even it I can’t say the words.” She told him.
“You feel it too?” he asked.
She nodded, her eyes shining.
He grinned.
“Would you like a drink or shall we go?”
“Lets go.” She said.
He stood and she put her hand in his letting him lead them to the restaurant. They ate the meal talking softly. He led her on to the dance floor and they held each other and danced. She smiled up at him and he kissed her gently.
“This feels wonderful.” She said with a sigh.
He smiled at her and led them back to the table.
“Do you want desert?” he asked.
She nodded.
"Sorry I need to try the cheesecake.” She told him with a grin.
“The toffee one?” he said.
She nodded.
He motioned for the waiter and ordered the cheesecake.
“Can we get two spoons with that please.” She asked and saw Roman grin.
“And the bill.” Roman added.
The waiter nodded and came back moments later with the dish with two spoons. He presented the bill to Roman and watched as the man placed his credit card on the small black dish without looking at the cost.
The waiter nodded and disappeared to sort out the payment.
“It might have been more romantic to just use the one spoon.” Roman grinned at her.
“It might have been but it would have taken too long to eat it. I want to go to bed.” She blurted out and blushed at Roman’s look.
He chuckled.
“To sleep I’m tired.” She added, trying to sound innocent.
He continued to look at her.
She giggled and they finished the cheesecake. He pocketed the credit card and they left the restaurant to head back to their room. She held his hand and leaned against him. He couldn’t stop looking at her. The walked into the elevator and began kissing as soon as the lift doors closed. She grinned at him when he pulled away when someone else climbed into the lift. They got off on their floor and he let them in the room. She sighed kicking off the expensive sandals lifting a foot to rub it.
“New shoes too?” he asked. “You must have spent a fortune.”
“A months wages.” She grinned. “But it was worth it wasn’t it?” she asked.
“Yes as long as you don’t wear that dress back on the base.” He grumbled.
“The dress isn’t the only thing that is new.” She told him stepping into the bathroom. She turned and paused in the doorway. Unzipping the dress she let it fall and he saw the black lace bustier and the tiny black lace thong. He looked unashamedly at her and loosened his collar when it suddenly felt too tight.
She turned and closed the bathroom door. He heard the shower come on and he sighed. He wasn’t going to go wash her back. No. Absolutely not. He grabbed another beer from the mini fridge and took a long drink. He’d just decided to join her when she came out in her little silky wrap.
He grinned.
“Shower is free.” She said and he found himself pealing off his clothes and heading toward the bathroom for a shower. Roman came out of the bathroom a towel wrapped around his waist, the room was once more tidied up and he grinned at the way she’d even hung his clothes up.
She was lying in bed and waiting for him.
“Hey.” He said softly.
“Hey“ she said and held out her hand to him.
He went and sat on the bed.
“I have a present for you.” She grinned, handing him a small gift bag.
He leaned forward and kissed her before looking in the bag.
“Ella?” he said.
She nodded.
“I’m ready and I really want to.” She told him.
He looked at her and groaned softly.
“I can’t.” he said.
“You can’t?” she asked.
“Well, obviously, I can, I have no problem with the equipment.” He added quickly. “It’s just such a big step for us.”
She smiled slowly.
“I know. I didn’t plan to seduce you and I know you didn’t have this in mind when you booked the hotel.” She told him softly, he’d asked if she wanted her own room when he was making the booking. She’d told him it would be a waste of money because they’d probably just spend all their time in the one room. He often spent his nights in her tent. Mostly chastely, she added in her thoughts, thinking of all the nights he would just snuggle with her and hold her. She smiled as she thought of them now.
“Ella.” He said softly drawing her attention back to him.
She smiled that special smile that was his alone, he thought.
“I want you.” She said simply.
He stood and took off the towel climbing into the bed beside her.
“I need you to tell me..” he trailed off. “If I do anything you don’t like.” He said.
She nodded.
He kissed her very slowly and began stroking her, she responded to his touches.
“You’re naked again.” He said.
She grinned.
“Saves time really.” She told him laughing.
He kissed her into silence, his tongue invaded her mouth and she teased him with hers. Her hands moulded his hard muscular torso, stroking him everywhere. He looked at her seeing the shining light in her eyes the curve of a smile on her face, the little flush on her cheeks. She was so beautiful and he couldn’t imagine not being with her. The thought stilled him for a second and she looked at him.
“I adore you.” He said to her, understanding what those words meant to her. She had been saying them to him for a long time.
She smiled and kissed him, gently at first then more fiercely until the passion flared between them.
She looked at him and grinned.
“What?” he asked.
“Well it’s so big. I don’t know if….” She broke off blushing after the blurted comment.
He smiled at her.
“We will fit together.” He said softly, reassuringly. “And thank you for the compliment.”
She closed her eyes, groaning.
“I don’t have anything to compare it against. It might actually be really small.” She said.
He chuckled.
“If you want to stop we can.” He said to her. “If you have any doubts.”
She smiled at him.
“No doubts. I know we’ll fit together.” She said.
He kissed her slowly, feeling her hands touch him.
After a long time he sat up and reached for protection and saw that his hands were shaking. He ripped the first one and swore. She took hold of his hands and held them within her own until the tremble ceased. Kissing him again she reached for protection for them and undid the wrapper. She placed it in his hands and stroked his face looking into his eyes. He sheathed himself and moved with her to lie once more on the big double bed.
She welcomed his weight as they made love for the first time.

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He woke and found the bed empty. It was still dark and he listened for a moment before hearing sound coming from the bathroom. He stood and walked in there.

“Hey, are you ok?” he asked.

She nodded.

“A few aches in some unfamiliar places. Thought I would take advantage of having a bathtub.” She smiled.

“I didn’t hurt you?” he asked.

She shook her head.

“No you didn’t” she said blushing. “Well not really.”

“Ella.” He groaned.

She grinned at him.

“It was wonderful. I didn’t expect instant bliss.” She told him.

He chuckled and climbed in the bath behind her.

“Excuse me wait until you are invited.” She said.

He kissed the back of her neck.

“I thought you might like some more of that instant bliss” he said.

She smiled and leaned back with a satisfied smile as his hands started a shoulder rub.

“Ok, do what you want.” She said after a moment.

He put his arms around her and pulled her back against him.

“I want to do this.” He said. “And then carry you back to bed and hold you until morning.”

“No more sex?” she asked disappointed.

He laughed at her.

“Maybe.” He said.

She giggled.

Handing him the sponge.

“Wash my back slave.” She ordered.

He grinned and began slowly rubbing her back with the sponge.

“Perfect. “ she sighed. You are a perfect Boyfriend.” She said,

“Even thought I broke my promise to you? “ he said.

“You mean because we did more than kiss.” She said.

He nodded.


“Roman Harris are you upset.”

He grinned.

“Yes and no.”

“Oh that is so clear.” She muttered.

“I’m upset because I promised you and it wasn’t long before we were doing a little bit more than kiss and now we’ve done a lot more.”

She grinned.

“I know. It was good too.” She murmured.

“I enjoyed it too. But that isn’t the point.” He said. “I need you to be ok with where we are and I’m kind of not ok with where we are.”

She sighed and lent back against him.

“I was ready. The timing was right. I have feelings for you. You didn’t force me into this and you didn’t rush me,” she told him. “The kissing and then the touching was wonderful and I know that at any time if I wasn’t comfortable with what we were doing you would have stopped. So I am ok with it and I’m glad I was able to trust you.”

“Thank you.” he said with a sigh. “I feel slightly less guilty now.”

“Would it help if we didn’t have anymore sex and I stopped being naked around you and maybe if we got separate rooms.”

He chuckled.

“I don’t think we need to go that far.” He said. “I’m sure I’ll cope with the residual guilt. See its going now.”

She laughed.

“This water is getting cold I’m getting out.” She murmured. “Close your eyes because I am naked and I don’t want you to feel guilty about watching me.”

“Thank you for sparing my feelings perhaps I’ll watch and make sure I’m ok with it.” Roman chuckled.

Ella stood up and stepped on to the fluffily bathmat before reaching for one of the huge towels. She wrapped it around herself. Roman stood and climbed out too. Pulling a towel around himself he quickly dried off. He leaned over and took her in his arms and kissed her.

She wrapped her arms around his neck and her towel slipped slowly down.

He grinned.

“See it’s fate.” He told her.

He carried her back to bed and curled up with her. She fell asleep in his arms a smile on her face.

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He left her at her tent and went back to the dorm. It had been wonderful. Especially the night when they had sneaked into the swimming pool and hey had gone skinny-dipping and then had done a little more than just swimming.
He dropped his bag on the bed and looked around the room.
“Welcome back LT.” Jacko called.
“Hey.” He said.
“Did you bring my sister back in one piece?” Michael asked him.
Roman grinned.
“Your sister is in her tent. Why don’t you go and say hello. I think she may have bought you a present.” Roman said refusing to be drawn into disclosing further detail.
“So wait you’re dating his sister now?” Gardy asked.
Roman grinned.
“We’ve been dating a while.” He said. “Welcome back Gardy how was the course?” he said to the other man. He’d sent him and James off to do a language course to learn to speak Farsi.
“It was ok. I don’t think I will ever be the best at it. James picked it up really well.”
Roman grinned.
“It will look good on your jacket anyway.” Roman told him. “Are we going for a few beers tonight?” he asked them.
“Depends whether you are free?” Mike said.
Jacko looked over at him.
“Are you sure you want to upset the LT he may set you sister on to us.” Jacko grinned over at Mike. “And I sure as hell don’t want to be on her hit list.”
“Sgt Thompson that is my girlfriend you are talking about, Show some respect.” Roman grinned and finished stowing the rest of his gear.
“Or what LT?” he asked with a quick flash of his grin.
“Or I’ll tell her what you said, of course!” Roman grinned and straightened up his uniform. Grabbing his beret he jammed it on his head and walked out of the dorm to go report in and check what was coming up for his men.
Mike stood and walked over to Roman’s bunk. He gave it a quick search and then went into his locker. He swore when he couldn’t find Roman’s notebook.
“What are you looking for Mike?” Gardy asked.
“Nothing.” He said quickly. “I’m off to see my sister. See you later.” He walked out of the dorm and stooped dead when he saw Roman standing outside the door his arms across his chest.
“I never leave it lying around on my bed Mike.” He said to him, referring to his diary.
“Fine you caught me.” Mike muttered.
“What do you want to know? Have I slept with you sister? How I feel about her? What we plan to do?” Roman told him. “Well that is between your sister and me. Stop trying to protect her. She needs to make her own choices Mike.”
Mike looked at him and swore.
“You’ve got no idea of what it was like growing up with our parents.” He muttered.
“Of course I don’t, aside from the bit she has told me and how f*cking lonely she was when they shipped her off to boarding school. They lived like an hour away and they didn’t let her come home for visits at weekends. It was always about you. Michael this and Michael that.” Roman looked at him. “She hasn’t told me all of it Mike but I’m guessing it was bad from hearing her voice when she does talk about it. She adores you Mike but you need to back off, seriously.”
Mike looked at him.
“You love her.” he said softly to Roman.
Roman nodded.
“So what are your intentions?” he asked him with a grin.
“None of your damn business. But I have to say I don’t want her to be an army wife. She needs more than that.”
“Wife?” Mike picked up on.
Roman nodded.
“And she is only 19. She needs to see the world before she is tied down.” Roman added.
Mike chuckled.
“You are doing way too much thinking. What about seeing the world with her.” Mike suggested.
“Private Addison are you talking me into proposing to your sister.” Roman chuckled.
“Sounds like you’ve already made your mind up. I’m just telling you stuff you know.”
Roman looked at the other man.
“I might have done at that. “ he said. “Now I suggest you really do go and see your sister and if you ever go through my stuff again you’ll find I won’t be so nice.”
Roman went off to really check in this time and Mike found himself heading to his sisters tent.
“Hey.” He called out.
“Mike.” She said grinning. “Come in.”
He saw her balancing on a chair lifting down the storage box from the top shelf.
“My God woman give me that.” He said.
She giggled and handed over the box to him.
“I’m sending some stuff home to Papa Joe’s.” She said. “Did you know Dad was here?”
“He is?” Mike asked quickly.
Normally his dad warned him when he was about.
She nodded.
“We’re having a drink tonight.” She said. “I think he wants tot tell me to go home and be a nice little daughter.”
“You think mother sent him?” Mike asked.
“I don’t know but whatever it won’t work. I’m not leaving now.” She said with conviction.
She looked through the box and removed the notebooks and textbooks.
“What are these?” he said quickly.
She made to snatch them back but he flicked through the first notebook. He read some of the passages and looked at her.
“Elizabeth?” he asked.
She shrugged.
“I’m doing some studies.” She said.
“You hated school.” He said to her sitting down on the bed.
“Yes, but I didn’t hate learning.” She confessed, sitting down on the chair she had just been standing on.
“This is degree level stuff.” Mike said.
She nodded.
“I’m 120 credits off my degree.” She told hi finally. “I’m looking at English courses to make up extra credits like “Introduction to Poetry” and “The Romantics”.”
“And then what?” he said shocked.
She looked down at the floor.
“I don’t know. “She told him. “It depends.”
“On what? Or can I guess? Maybe you want to end up like Mother and be an army wife.”
She looked at him and heard the bitterness in his voice.
“Mike. I don’t know means I don’t know if I want to continue with studying and go for a Masters or use it to get a job on a newspaper and become a photojournalist. I’m already getting some by lines.” She said. “And what is wrong with being an army wife. I won’t be sending my kids off to boarding school like they did me.”
“Us, little sister. They sent us off.” Michael corrected her. “And I was just as miserable as you.”
She looked at him.
“But they let you come home at weekends Mike. They let you have friends home. You had toys and a birthday.” She looked at him dry eyed, the hurt having gone too deep for her to shed further tears on it. “I was nothing to them.”
He put the book to one side and stood up walking over to her, pulling her up from the chair.
She resisted at first but then felt his arms going around her and she began to cry. Sobbing into his chest. She didn’t cry, he knew that so seeing her like this broke his heart and he was doubly determined to punch anyone who hurt her. And that included his father.

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