Fraternizing - 2


C.C. Brown


To the “Troops”!  Thank you all for loving Alex and Cassie and making them what they are. J


“Pretty Noose” - Soundgarden

“Uprising” - Muse

“Shadow of the Day” - Linkin Park

“Land of Confusion” - Disturbed

“Rooster” - Alice in Chains

“Like You’ll Never See Me Again” - Alicia Keys

“I Stand Alone” - Godsmack

“Free” - Zac Brown Band

“Boulevard of Broken Dreams” - Green Day

“Goodbye in Her Eyes” - Zac Brown Band

“Best of You” - Foo Fighters

“In Bloom” - Nirvana

“Black” - Pearl Jam

“Let Me Down Easy” - Billy Currington

“Creep” -Radiohead

“Gorilla” - Bruno Mars

“Over Now” - Alice in Chains

“Grillz” - Nelly

“Say It Ain’t So” - Weezer

“The Man I Want To Be” - Chris Young

“Like A Star” - Corinne Bailey Rae

“Fall For You” - Secondhand Serenade

“Friends in Low Places” - Garth Brooks

“Whatever You Like” - T.I.

“Love Me When I’m Gone” - 3 Doors Down

“Wish You Were Here” - Pink Floyd

“When You’re Gone” - The Cranberries

“21 Guns” - Green Day

“Tears in Heaven” - Eric Clapton

“Mother Mother” - Tracy Bonham

“Wonderwall” - Oasis

“Sweet Annie” - Zac Brown Band

“Amazed” - Lonestar

“A Song For Mama” - Boys II Men

“Breathe Your Name” - Sixpence None The Richer

“Nothing Else Matters” - Metallica

Chapter 1


I’d spent the night in a lonely, barren barracks room worried sick about Cassie, but placated by the soft, soothing sound of the word yes as I was herded out of her hospital room. The look in her eyes—the sheer panic had made me want to rush back to her, hold her in my arms, and let her know that everything would be okay.

But I couldn’t.

I couldn’t do a fucking thing besides walk out with Gunny Chavez and Gunny Bokowski. To say I was pissed off would have been a world class understatement. I wasn’t pissed at them, per se, but I was pissed at First Sergeant O’Hara, and the cowardice that seemed to follow him like a foul stench. I’d lost a bit of respect for the man as everything went down. After all of the insults and bullshit in his office, I’d fully expected him to be the one to wrangle me in. Those chevrons on his collar hadn’t done shit for his balls. For every chevron he wore, he lost some fucking cojones, and I just didn’t think I could ever look at him the same.

My phone was confiscated from me, so I had no way of calling Cassie at the hospital, but as they marched me out of there, I was worried about one person.

Emmalyn fucking Bennett.

That walking disaster had strolled her ass in there, and lived up to every vile thing Cassie had already told me about her. The way she’d had little to no compassion for Cassie and what she had just gone through made me sick with violence. My head could not come to grips with the woman. What kind of mother would treat her only child the way she’d treated Cassie?

A bitch. That kind of woman.

I wanted to have Riley or Dalton go and sit in the hospital with her until she was cleared to leave. Only, I couldn’t. Leaving her with her mother was like blood for a shark. Emmalyn possessed a specialized amount of hatred that seized me with fear, put my heart on hold, and sent ice through my veins. Thinking about her strung me tighter than guitar strings, and the accompanying anxiety had me ready to break shit, so I tried to occupy my mind, but there were only so many push-ups and sit-ups I could do before I grew bored with them. There was no TV in my room, so the blank walls were all I had and a few magazines. My guests had been cut-off and anywhere I needed to go was under the watchful eyes of the OOD—Officer of the Day. It was as if I’d murdered a Marine instead of simply fucked one, but truthfully, if I’d had my way, that piece of shit, Allen would have been dead and gone.

My night had been long and tiresome. Partly because I was so worried about Cassie, but also because flashes of the attack came crashing back, taunting me with the fact that the motherfucker was still breathing. Cassie said he hadn’t stuck his dick inside of her but I couldn’t shake the visual of seeing his shit out and hard, and her huddled in the corner half-naked and crying. The fact that his shit got that close to her was bad enough. I’d wanted to kick the life out of that prick, and if it hadn’t been for Riley, I probably would have done it.

Besides being escorted to the chow hall and over to the seven day store, I wasn’t seeing the outdoors. Those twenty-four hours felt like days. The OOD had brought my uniforms to me, but besides him I’d had no outside communication. The bereft feeling was beginning to take hold of me, driving me fucking crazy with the ever present tick tock sounding off inside my head. My thoughts had begun to run wild, and at one point I’d even thought that once I was free of this place, and ready to make Cassie my wife, she wouldn’t want to go through with it. I kept imagining that she’d said yes on a whim, that she hadn’t exactly meant it, and that after she’d had time to think everything through she’d come to her senses and remember that we hadn’t been together for very long, and that marriage at this point was a bad idea.

If I weren’t already feeling the pain from my broken knuckle, I’d have punched the fucking wall. As enticing as the prospect of making another trip back to the hospital sounded, I knew it would be in vain. I knew that I’d be watched like a hawk, and any attempts at getting back to Cassie would be thwarted.


I was left to rot in the prison cell that they called a barracks room and wait for my judgment day. The consequences of my forbidden relationship with Cassie were not what had me so worried, but where we would end up after the dust finally settled. Cassie was the only thing on my mind, and not being able to speak to her was damn near destroying me.

Monday morning came, and I was awakened by the pounding sounds on my door. I couldn’t recall falling asleep the night before. Staff Sergeant. Ryan—last night’s OOD—stood on the other side letting me know that he was getting ready to turn over to Staff Sergeant. Mitchell, and that I would be escorted down to First Sergeant O’Hara’s office by him. I nodded my head and shut the door, then made my way into the bathroom where I showered and then proceeded to get dressed.

I wasn’t going to run, and I didn’t need a sitter. Surely there was something much more pressing that these guys could have been doing with their time besides watching over me. Instead of voicing my frustrations, I went along for the ride, playing the hardened criminal who couldn’t be let out of anyone’s sight. If this shit weren’t keeping me away from Cassie, I probably would have laughed at it.

“Good morning, Sergeant,” Staff Sergeant. Mitchell greeted me as I walked out of the room and to the duty hut with him.

“Good morning, Staff Sergeant,” I coolly responded.

He signed me out in the fucking log book as if I were a piece of equipment being rented for the day. All I could do was shake my head as he led me down the duty vehicle, then over to the chow hall for breakfast.

“So you know you are to grab breakfast, eat quickly, and then get over to First Sergeant O’Hara’s office?”

“Yes, Staff Sergeant, I am aware.”

“Okay. I will be waiting for you out here.”

I stepped out of the vehicle and walked into the chow hall that was filled with Marines who looked unusually gleeful for such an early Monday morning. That happiness further eroded my already pissed off mood, and I hurried to get in line and grab my food, so I could go and deal with the prick who was missing a set of balls.

“Hey, Alex, how’s it going? I heard about everything that happened.”

I looked to find Corporal Collins standing before me, looking nervous as fuck. After what I’d heard from O’Hara, claiming that those around me had loose lips, I had my guard up where everyone was concerned.

“It’s going,” I muttered.

“Cassie is a good Marine. She didn’t deserve that. And I know—”

“Pfc. Bennett is just fine. I am fine. Everything is fine,” I grumbled, feeling overly annoyed by her desire to make her sympathies known. I damn sure wasn’t about to delve into anything with her. She was a friend of Leti, and my relationship with Cassie—out in the open or not—wasn’t going to make me get chummy with her. “If you don’t mind, I need to finish my breakfast so I can get on with my day.”

Her eyes drooped, almost making me feel bad. Collins had never done anything to make me believe she had a sinister bone in her body, but I was about to be chopped down a few notches, and my fucking girl was lying in a hospital bed after a psychotic maniac had attacked her. I just couldn’t find an ounce of give a fuck for Collins at the moment.

“Well, I hope it all works out for the best.” She turned and walked away. I scarfed my food down, then walked out of the chow hall where Staff Sergeant Mitchell stood waiting for me.

“All right, Sergeant Cruz, time to get you off to First Sergeant O’Hara.”

Fucking joy!

The short ride was made in absolute silence. The air was thick, making the ride nearly unbearable. Every OOD knew who I was and what I’d done, so questions were surely swirling around in their heads, but I wasn’t about to offer anything up to them. They didn’t deserve to know shit. What I’d done with Cassie was none of their business, and unless they were directly responsible for handing down my punishment, I wasn’t going to give them a damn thing.