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   Chapter 11 The Return

Broken Past By Arathi Characters: 9695

Updated: 2018-08-10 13:43

The air positively tingled with excitement as the men tumbled through the door. Each reeked of sweat and looked like he had lived in a trench for a week; dirty, matted hair, filth streaked faces and mud-caked boots and clothes.

Plopping on a stool and kicking off his boots, Brij snickered, "Did you see the runt's face?"

"I bet the fucker pissed his pants, " Dev chuckled as he grabbed a cold water bottle from the fridge.

"Did not!" Etash growled. His murderous expression was a warning of nasty things to follow if the ragging continued. Being the youngest and newest member of this elite team put him at a distinct disadvantage. He was often the butt of all jokes, and as much as he enjoyed their antics, he often wished they would give him a break. He knew the boys meant no harm, and he often partook in their immaturity, but today, he wasn't quite in the mood.

"Did too!" Aalam yelled rolling up his socks and throwing them at Etash.

"You were all pussies!" JT remarked strolling into the room with an air of superiority.

"Yeah, yeah fucking showoff, " someone yelled, and JT snickered. Today was a good day. In the last leg of the 3-day training exercise, he had set a new time record, beating that of the trainer's as well. The obstacle course had been a mix of various endurance testers such as a 5-km run with weapons, climbing a vertical and horizontal rope, jumping over fire ditches, a 60-m sprint, and swimming in battle fatigues.

JT's overconfident strut ended quickly enough. Just as he sat down, a trooper poured a glass of ice down the back of JT's shirt. The shriek and dance that followed had all the men laughing.

"He squeals like a bitch, " is all Aalam could say before he found himself being chased around the room by a fuming JT. He didn't get very far. Etash stuck his foot out at the opportune moment, and Aalam found himself hugging the floor. Triumphantly, JT hopped on his victim's back and trapped Aalam's arms under his knees. At that moment, a half-melted ice cube worked its way down JT's back, and he wiggled a little to let it escape. The movement raised a few eyebrows and stirred another laughing spell.

"Practicing for the blond are we?" Dev chuckled as he made his way to the showers.

JT growled. "Don't, " is all he said standing up. The runt was right. The men needed boundaries.

At Gwen's mention, JT found himself wanting to piece his phone back together. He hadn't been allowed to carry it during the training exercise, and he was curious to see if she had called. Questions flooded his mind. Did the cleaning crew turn up? Did she face any issues? How had she spent the last few days? Did she miss him? Had she tried calling?

Only one way to find out.

JT sauntered over to his locker and began rummaging. Now, where had he left the silly thing? Whose brilliant idea was it to remove the battery? Now he had to look for 'pa

if she still had her sense of humor, perhaps the situation wasn't as bad as he was making it out to be. That was a comforting thought. Wishful thinking!

He tried once more. "Tell me what happened Gwen."

"He's here, " she said, the fear returning in her voice.

"Who is he, Gwen?" Now JT was thoroughly confused. She was new in town. She hadn't indicated that she knew anybody. All the men JT had introduced to Gwen were right here with him, in this very room. So who could this he be? Why was he at her house? And what did he do to make her so fearful? He looked up to see all eyes were trained on him. No one had moved from the time the conversation had started. His group looked at him the same way he was looking at them. Worried and Confused.

"Tom ... He's here. In town." Her voice cracked. The courage she had tried so hard to muster up, finally leaving. She sobbed but attempted to cover the sound.

"What did he do?" JT tried. He really did. But he couldn't help the way his eyes narrowed or the growl that followed.

Another brief pause before she spoke. "Can we not talk about this right now please?" He heard the distinct sound of a spoon against ceramic and instinctively knew she was furiously beating her coffee.

JT wanted to smile at that. He really did. The mental image of Gwen standing in her bare kitchen, most likely barefoot, taking her frustration out on her coffee was amusing. The trepidation he felt, however, outweighed everything else he felt. So he confirmed his ETA with Gwen and ended the call.

"What can we do?" JT looked up to see Aalam standing before him. This is precisely why he liked his boys. They asked no questions. Just offered help. He was sure they'd want to see their family and girlfriends. But JT also knew they would put all that off when he needed them around.

"We leave in 10." With that JT stomped out of the room, his mind a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions.

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