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Tom Kazansky woke up disoriented. He didn’t know what time it was. His neck was stiff. The sheets smelled like someone else’s musk—and the faint hint of terrible cologne. 

“Wakey-wakey, Kazansky-wansky.” 

Right. 

Pete Mitchell’s terrible cologne. 

Kazansky sat up carefully to avoid hitting his head on the metal bunk frame atop him. He’d done that yesterday, the first time he’d woken up inside the nuclear submarine. This was part of his basic training as a member of the Reserve Officer Training Corps. After this summer, he would be a freshman at Annapolis. 

But first, he had to get through two weeks in close proximity with the cockiest sonuvabitch he’d ever met. 

Another cadet candidate walked up to the neighboring bunk. Mitchell turned and grinned.

“Night, sweetheart.” 

“Sweet dreams.” 

“What, no goodnight kiss?” 

Nick Bradshaw leaned over so Mitchell could press a tame closed-mouth kiss against his lips. 

Kazansky had momentarily mistaken them for high school sweethearts when they’d first met. He’d thought they were the dumbest motherfuckers he’d ever met, being so obvious out in the open. But it turned out they were straight best friends who were so close and so comfortable with each other they found it hilarious to joke around like they were a couple. 

The most annoying type of straight guy, in Kazansky’s option. He was always terrified of being roped into their jokes and found out. 

He’d prefer Bradshaw to be the one who had to crawl into sheets that smelled like Mitchell’s noxious cologne. But at least both of them on the same sleep shift meant there was only an eight-hour window when the three of them were all awake on the sub. 

At least Kazansky didn’t have to shower with them. God only knew what kind of ‘hilarious’ gay chicken antics they got up to in there. 

Kazansky couldn’t tell if Mitchell was actually trying to charm everyone he came across, or intentionally trying to piss them off. Either way, he’d gotten under Kazansky’s skin. 

It was bad enough that as he grew older, it had become harder and harder for him to ignore the appeal that military life held for him, beyond the glory and the prestige and the family legacy. 

He’d expected to be humbled during basic training, but being attracted to this idiot was more than his dignity could bear. 

“You’re not allowed to wear cologne in basic. It’s against regulation.”

Mitchell rolled his eyes. “You’re welcome for covering up my BO.”

“You couldn’t possibly smell any worse than that cologne does.” 

“Aww, you say the sweetest things!” 

Bradshaw let out a derisive laugh. 

Mitchell craned his neck. “Kazansky’s complaining that my cologne keeps him from smelling my natural man musk.”  

“Nobody should smell your natural man musk”.

Mitchell crossed his arms and nodded. “It’s too powerful.” 

Kazansky pressed his lips together. “If your C.O. finds it during inspection, I hope he chucks it in the drink.” 

He stormed off to the showers, with Bradshaw and Mitchell laughing behind him. 

Kazansky didn’t usually have trouble jumping out of bed early in the morning. He’d been raised in a military household. But there was something about sleeping in a tin can far below the surface of the ocean that was throwing him off. He resolved to start waking up earlier, so he could have as little interaction with Mitchell as possible. 

Later that day, while Mitchell and Bradshaw were still asleep, they surfaced. As he climbed to the top of the submarine and took deep breaths of ocean air, Kazansky could finally relax. The majesty of the Pacific Ocean stretched around them, miles of water in every direction with no land in sight. One of the C.O.s pulled a bag of golf clubs out of the hatch. They took turns teeing off into the Pacific Ocean. 

When it was his turn, he hit the ball so hard his C.O. clapped him on the back. Perfect form, just like his father taught him. As the tiny golf ball arced towards the horizon, Kazansky felt like he had sent all of his troubles along with it. 

 

The next day he woke up with Pete Mitchell’s hairy armpit pressed against his face. 

“Jesus fucking Christ!” 

“Thought that’d get your attention.” 

Kazansky grabbed the front of his shirt and slammed him against the wall. 

Mitchell just giggled at him. “Sorry honey, you may be raring to go, but it’s the end of the day for me.” 

Too late, Kazansky realized he had morning wood. He released him and stepped back like he’d been scalded. Stalked off to the showers without saying another word. 

Fuck Pete Mitchell. 

It was all well and good for straight guys to say outrageous things like that and laugh it off like it was nothing. Everybody thought he and Nick Bradshaw were hilarious cut-ups, the class clowns. 

It was different for Kazansky. One wrong move and he could be socially ostracized as a pervert. Career dead in the water before he’d even gone through freshman orientation at Annapolis. Even his family legacy wouldn’t be enough to save him. 

A fellow cadet brushed past him. “There’s no hot water.” 

Fine by him. 

 

That night he dreamed about Mitchell lying facedown on the bed underneath him, Kazansky pinning him to the thin mattress. Biting his neck, grinding his hips against that pert ass. Mitchell just taking it, without a snappy comeback for once in his life.

He felt a strong hand gripping his shoulder and opened his eyes. He was biting the pillow, drooling and making a mess. His dick was wet, lying hard against the mattress. 

And Mitchell was standing beside him, shaking him awake. 

“C’mon, Kazansky, I’m tired.” He reached his hand out and tickled his stomach. 

He smacked Mitchell’s hand away. It collided with his erection. 

Kazansky froze. 

Maybe the submarine’s nuclear core would go supercritical. Put him out of his misery. 

Mitchell was smiling, the ass. “Oh. Well part of you is up already.” He turned his head over his shoulder, checking the empty corridor behind them, then leaned over and confidently grabbed him by the cock. 

“Uh.” Before Kazansky could voice anything but a grunt of surprise, Mitchell was gripping him tightly, running his fist up and down so quickly his hand was a blur. He didn’t spit on his hand. He didn’t need to. 

Before Kazansky knew what was happening he was curling in a ball, shuddering as he came all over the sheets and Mitchell’s hand. 

He lay there gasping, expecting to wake up again at any moment. 

Mitchell wiped his hand against the sheets and swatted him on the ass. “C’mon, up and at ’em.”

As casually as if it was a handshake. 

Kazansky climbed out from under the sheets. He could see the wet spot. 

Mitchell crawled in and snuggled against the pillow, back to him, apparently unbothered. 

Kazansky turned in a daze and headed to the showers. 

As he stood under the spray, he had an ego-destroying realization: Pete Mitchell would have eleven more chances to wake him up before they went ashore.