“Ever since an elite unit of Navy SEALs stormed a fortresslike compound near Islamabad, Pakistan, and killed Osama bin Laden, people can’t get enough of the SEALs… The serious-minded can sift through countless articles and hours of documentaries. The more prurient can mine an entire universe of Navy SEAL romance novels.” —The Washington Post
As a shy librarian, Jinnie hadn’t taken a lot of risks in her 24 years. But when her Navy SEAL boyfriend, Robert, pulled into her driveway Friday night she decided to risk it all. She hopped on the back of Robert’s motorcycle, wrapping her arms around his broad waist, and leaned to whisper into his ear.
“I think we should try something different tonight.”
Robert turned to her, puzzled. “But… I made reservations at that tactical shooting range you like. With all the High Value Target scenarios?”
"I’m sick of shooting," Jinnie said.
"We could go back to that obstacle course we did last weekend…" Robert said.
"No obstacle course."
"What—you wanna do Cold Weather Training ops? It’s summer, for chrissake!"
"Let’s have dinner," Jinnie said.
"I’ve got a couple of MRE’s right—"
"In a restaurant."
Enzo’s was a dimly lit Italian joint in the city, the site of a hundred bygone marriage proposals. When their minestrone soup was served, Robert submerged his face in the bowl for nearly two minutes, keeping his head down by sheer force of will until his lungs burned and he felt seconds away from drowning. Jinnie grabbed his head between two hands.
"Robert! This is an Italian restaurant, not Hell Week."
Robert lifted his face out of the soup, disoriented and gasping for breath. Years of training automatically kicked in as he executed a brutally efficient silent takedown on the maitre d' and screened the corners of the room for threats.
When Robert returned to his seat Jinnie sighed, gazing into his steel-blue eyes. "If things are going to work between us, you need to start learning how to be as comfortable in my world as I am in yours."
Robert returned her gaze. "For you, I’ll try anything," he said as he stirred his drink with the barrel of his sidearm.
Later, they lay entwined on Jinnie’s living room couch. She had decided tonight would be the night.
Jinnie used her finger to trace the small skulls tattooed on Robert’s corded forearm, one for each tango down. "You really killed this many people," she marveled.
"That’s not even counting civilians," Robert said, lifting his t-shirt over his head to reveal washboard abs covered in skull tattoos. Jinnie’s heart beat like a hummingbird in her chest.
He ripped off his tear-away training pants. Skull tattoos tracked up and down his bulging calves like pinstripes.
Jinnie bent over and traced the skull tattoos up Robert’s right leg, brushing his inner thigh, which was also covered in skull tattoos. He shivered with pleasure.
Robert stood and peeled off his underwear. Skull tattoos blanketed the perfect round of his buttocks. He turned around and Jinnie barely stifled a gasp. Fourteen skull tattoos graced his manhood.
They had kissed many times before. But it was only when they kissed that night that Jinnie noticed the inside of Robert’s nostrils were ringed with hundreds of nearly-microscopic skull tattoos.
The sex had been better than she had ever dared imagine. But as Jinnie lay luxuriating in the dark she reached over and found Robert wasn’t there. Instead, he was standing fully dressed in the bedroom doorway, cradling his stub-barreled HK416 rifle.
"Where are you off to at this hour, mystery man?" Jinnie teased.
"Something’s come up," Robert replied. He added, with a wink, "I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you."
They laughed for a good minute over that one, because they knew that if Robert disclosed classified information to Jinnie the government would actually murder both of them.
Adrian Chen is a staff writer at Gawker. Here is his Twitter.