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Author's Chapter Notes:

Brian's men settle in for their first night at the Beaulieu estate. It's a welcome change from their usual meals and sleeping arrangements and they welcome it. They're happy, but Brian is frustrated. What is it about his newest recruit?    

That first meal at the Beaulieu estate had been even more appreciated than any of the hardened soldiers had been able to express. They did their best to remember the manners their moms back home had taught them as they saw the veritable feast laid out before them on the large dining room table. They wanted to simply fall onto the home cooked meal like ravenous wolves, but one quirk of Sergeant Kinney's eyebrow warned them to act like gentlemen. Each man took a seat and tried to inhale as many of the succulent aromas as he could. Their hostess cheerfully explained that the vegetables in the ratatouille were from their own larder and had been raised right there on the land. The pork roast that was served had been freshly slaughtered that very morning before their arrival and luckily had been spared ending up in German stomachs. There were fresh hot loaves of bread straight from the oven with homemade butter and marmalade from the larder. After their meals, the men were rewarded for their hard labor with crepes filled with strawberries that had been preserved from the Summer before. As they sat around the carved table set with fine china, crystal goblets, and silver place settings over fine linens one would be hard pressed to recognize that a vicious war was being waged only miles away. For this brief instance in time, the men strove to ignore that fact.

Brian had a hard time keeping his eyes off his newest Private during the entire meal. He noticed right away that the young man had a healthy appetite. That was not what attracted his attention, however. It was hard to keep his eyes off Private Taylor's mouth as he chewed appreciatively at his food. Brian also couldn't help noticing that Taylor had a habit of glancing up shyly at his Sergeant across the table for a brief moment and then quickly looking back down at his plate while scooping up another bite. Brian would have called the glances coy if they had come from a schoolgirl, but they were less definable coming from his young Private. Brian knew what he wanted it to mean, but he still felt unsure. It was a little maddening to be so off balance with the young blond. Brian had always felt confident in his perceptions of other men until he entered this crazy war. Now he found himself always being on guard, and he didn't like it.

By the time the delicious meal had been devoured, it was time to relieve Norton and Kelly from their guard duties and give them a chance to fill their bellies too. He ordered Cowlip and Goldberg to take the next watch and then instructed the rest of his men to follow their hostess to the smaller guest rooms and servant quarters on the third floor where the men would be housed at night. He reminded them that they needed to get plenty of rest for the coming day. She had offered the main guest room, most recently used by the top officer of the uninvited German army, to the Sergeant. It just happened to be directly across from her room. Brian gracefully accepted and then decided to take a stroll outside in the cool crisp night air. The stars were shining bright and clear on this cloudless night and the air, for once, smelled fresh and clean. There were no odors of weapons fired or burning buildings...no stench of death or smell of unwashed exhausted men. Brian lit one of his last remaining cigarettes from his meager supply and inhaled deeply of the acrid smoke. 

Brian began daydreaming about the top quality cigarettes he had enjoyed in the States. He longed for a good smoke and a good bottle of his favorite bourbon right about now. He had no complaints about the meal or fine wine he had just enjoyed, but the company was not what he longed for. He had a small circle of friends back home that he thoroughly enjoyed spending time with and that was what he wished for with every fiber of his being. With those men, he could fully relax, enjoy the sexy banter, and not curb his tongue in any way. He could be himself...and if he fancied a night of sex play with someone that he or one of the others invited into their circle, he could do so openly. Now, the only man he was remotely attracted to was only a question mark and he wasn't sure how to approach getting the answer. Brian must have been standing outside longer than he realized because he soon saw his men, Norton and Kelly, returning to the house. They snapped a smart salute as they approached and Brian responded in kind. He pointed to the front door.

"Better get in there and fill up. If any of the guys gets hungry they could raid the pantry. When you finish eating, head up the stairs to the third floor That's where you guys will sleep tonight. Get a good nights rest. We have to be ready for anything tomorrow."

"Yes Sir," they answered in unison, and hurried inside. Their bellies had been grumbling for what seemed like

Brian was working on his second cigarette when he heard the front door open nearby. He could see the helmet of one of his men from the light streaming through the door and then it closed. He waited to see who had the nerve to disturb his private moments of reverie. Just then the soldier removed his helmet to wipe his brow and Brian could see the pale hair as the moonlight bounced off it. Only one of his men had hair that golden color. He smiled briefly and waited to see what Taylor would do next. The young man seemed to be looking around for something and then spotted his Sarge some yards away. He paused, as if trying to decide whether to join the man or not. Brian took matters into his own hands.

"Want a smoke, Taylor?" he called out.

Justin took the invitation. "Yes Sir," he said, and walked over. "But I have a fresh pack of my own, Sir."

Justin began fishing in his pants pocket and pulled out a full pack of Army issue cigarettes. He opened the pack as he reached Brian and knocked out the first one against his palm. Just then he heard the click of Sarge's lighter being opened and saw a flame come to life. Brian cupped his hand around the flame, even though there was no real wind to speak of, and leaned in with the light. Justin brought the cigarette to his mouth and began puffing as the flame touched the tip of the tobacco. Justin looked upwards as he sucked in the smoke and nearly coughed the smoke out again. The flame seemed to dance in his Sarge's hazel eyes and made them smolder. It sent a hot flash through the young man's veins.

Brian saw the same thing as he witnessed the red and yellow flame dancing in the bright blue eyes of young Taylor. This time there was no misreading the signals. It was no illusion. Taylor had longing in his eyes when he looked at his commanding officer. Brian had never been more sure of anything in his life. When Taylor's eyes traveled unconsciously downward while stepping back from the flame, Brian knew what the kid was looking for...the ancient telltale signs of arousal. He wouldn't be disappointed. Brian could already feel his cock pushing hard against his zipper. Brian deliberately looked down too and saw the same slowly growing bulge occurring on the young soldier. It caused a satisfied smirk to make an appearance momentarily on Brian's face, but he quickly squelched it. Not yet, he reminded himself. 

Even though Brian now felt completely certain that he had guessed right about young Taylor, he still had to be cautious. This was no time to rush headlong into a quickie fuck. He barely knew this kid, although he sensed the young man was not a threat to him in any way. Brian knew he was a good judge of character, but a mistake in judgment based on his lust for the blond was not worth the consequences. He was just about to probe with a few carefully worded questions when the front door swung open again. Radioman Carruthers stood scanning outside. He spotted Sarge and Taylor nearby and called out.

"Sarge, Headquarters needs to talk asap."

"Be right there," Brian answered. He turned to Justin. "Finish your smoke Taylor and get some sleep. Tomorrow could be a busy one."

"Yes Sir," Justin answered smartly with a salute. He watched his Sarge walk away and let the disappointment at the interruption show on his face now that the man's back was to him. 

Justin took a last couple of drags off his smoke, then dropped it to the ground. He placed the heel of his boot firmly down on it and mashed it out. He was sorry to not have more time to talk to his good looking commanding officer, but he had accomplished one thing. He wasn't extremely experienced with other men yet but he knew when someone wanted him. It was a sixth sense. There had been something about the Sarge. At first he had thought it was only wishful thinking on his part...after all, the man was exactly Justin's type and it had been a lonely year for him. As the day had gone on he had begun to be more and more convinced that he was feeling a certain vibe whenever Sarge looked at him. And he also didn't think Sarge was simply staring at him so much out of gratitude for the saving of his life. No...there was something there. Now he was positive he had guessed right.

Justin may not have been wildly active sexually, but one glance at Sarge's crotch just minutes earlier revealed a hell of a lot more than the man may have wanted. No straight man would react that way just standing so close to another man unless he felt desire for that person. It was elementary. It didn't take a genius to figure that out. Now all he needed to do was figure out how to convey to Sarge that he would be more than willing to share more than a lighter and cigarette with the man. Justin was not the kind who enjoyed the idea of a slam bang, thank you ma'am type fuck and he knew it. He was a die hard romantic at heart and would prefer to have a serious relationship with the right man, but this was wartime and beggars couldn't be choosers. He was tired of being alone all the time...tired of hearing his fellow soldiers talking about their women and what they'd do with them once they had them in their arms again. He was tired of being horny and jerking off for relief. He wanted human contact, even if temporary. He wanted Sarge. 

Once inside, Brian took the phone from Carruthers and heard the Lieutenant's voice on the other end. He spoke to the Officer for some time, giving his report on the situation at the estate. He listened for a bit longer and then concluded the conversation. He had a pensive look as he hung up the phone. He told Carruthers to go on up to the third floor and let the men know he'd join them shortly. The man saluted and headed for the stairs. Brian went in search of the lady of the house. He found Aimee in the kitchen clearing up. The house had once been filled with servants who took care of all manual labor before the war, but it was obvious from the immaculate condition of the rooms that the owners of the estate had not been too proud to take care of their home on their own. She turned to face Brian with her delicate hands grasping a drying towel and dripping plate. She continued to wipe down the plate as Brian approached.

"Mademoiselle, I am sorry to bother you while you're busy but I needed to talk to you."

"Oui, Monsieur?" she asked.

"I had informed you that we would need to avail ourselves of your hospitality for only a day or two, but I've just been advised that we need to stay a bit longer...perhaps even five or six days. Our troops have run into some big problems with getting much needed supplies and it is not safe to advance any further without them at this time. I sincerely hope this will not be too much of a burden on you and your family."

"You are most welcome to stay as long as you need, Sergeant," she smiled winningly at him. The truth was that Aimee was in no hurry for the soldiers to leave. It was the first time in longer than she could remember that she had felt safe. So far the soldiers had been more than respectful which was a great change after the bullying that her and her family had suffered for so long. She had the distinct feeling that this Sergeant would not continence any bad behavior by his men and thus she was more than happy to host the men for as long as necessary. 

Brian knew when someone was flirting with him, male or female, but he had other things on his mind ever since his Lieutenant informed him that he would have to stay put a bit longer than originally intended. This just might be the opportunity he had been hoping for to explore his options with his newest recruit. He thanked his benefactress with a smile and excused himself. He headed for the third floor to give his men the news. He had the feeling it would not be unwelcome after the delicious meal they'd just had and the soft beds they were about to enjoy.

All seven of his men were waiting upstairs. They were standing around in the large hallway that separated the house in two. There were two rooms on each side of the hallway. Three were bedrooms and one was the bathroom. The doors stood open to all four rooms. Brian could see that the rooms were generously furnished but that there were only two small beds in each room. He looked at the seven men who sat on chairs set up in the hallway or lounged against the walls. 

"Hey Sarge," Crockett, the big cowboy from Texas greeted Brian as he approached. He carried his helmet upside down in front of him with a bunch of papers inside. Smith was about to draw one of the papers out.

"What's up?" Brian asked.

"We ran into a little problem. We're one bed short so we're drawing numbers for who gets to pick first and so on. Last number gets the tub or a floor."

"That'll work. Carry on."

Brian waited until the last number was pulled. The men compared numbers. Justin raised his paper and smiled shyly. 

"I told you guys I've never been lucky at games," he laughed good naturedly as he showed them the big 7 on his paper. "I wonder which will be more comfortable...the tub or the floor?"

Like a lightning bolt, Brian had a brainstorm.

"I've got a better idea," he piped up. "I have two beds in my room downstairs. It seems a little stupid to waste a bed and it's not like I'm fucking royalty. I don't need a whole damned room to myself like some Four-Star General. The loser can share my room. I don't snore too loudly, Taylor. You can ask my men."

Justin couldn't believe his luck. The sleeping arrangements couldn't have gone better if he had special ordered them. He put on his most casual face and answered Sarge matter-of-factly.

"I guess I can tolerate your snoring, if you can put up with mine, Sir."

Private Smith slapped Justin on the back and laughed. "You know you'll have to salute him every time he gets up to piss. Right, Sir?" he joked.

"Geez," laughed Samuels, "only been with the squad one day and already teacher's pet...getting to sleep with the higher ups. How'd you manage it kid?"

Justin started to protest until he saw the crooked grin on the men's faces. He blushed. 

"You guys give the poor kid a break. You'll scare the crap out of him. Next thing you know you'll have him thinking he has to become my personal servant like the big shots tend to keep on tap, even in the field. Look, it's getting late and we all need some real sleep. We've been ordered to remain here a few days longer than planned so we might as well make ourselves useful to our hosts while we're here. I want you, Samuels and Smith, to take the next watch and spell Cowlip and Goldberg in four hours. I'll send two others out to spell you four hours after that and you can get some more sleep till breakfast time. Now settle in. Taylor, you get your things and come with me."

Justin grabbed his pack and rifle and quickly fell into step behind the Sergeant. It was a good thing his back was to the men as they headed for the stairs or they would have seen the huge grin that was slowly spreading across his whole face. The men rechecked their numbers and each man took his turn in claiming a room and a bed. It was going to be a short but pleasant night for the men. Even being on watch wasn't going to spoil it for them because tonight they were actually going to lay their heads on a real pillow and their bodies on a soft mattress. They didn't give their Sarge or the new recruit a second thought. They had slept in the same room with their Sarge countless times during this war and it meant nothing to them.

To be continued........................................    

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