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Chris is so excited he claps his hands excitedly.

“Carrie.” I hear my name before I realize that anyone has joined us. Chris dives into my lap, and we both look up at the tall man in uniform.

“Hey, Scott.” Instinctively, I put my arms around Chris, and we both stand up. “Chris, this is my friend, Scott. He’s going to take you to your mother.”

I look up at Scott hopefully, and he’s nodding his head. “That’s right, buddy. You have quite a few people worried about you.”

Chris looks between Scott and me but doesn’t budge.

Scott is looking at me with praise in his eyes. “You’re a local hero now. The parents and school were in crisis mode looking for him.”

I don’t acknowledge his praise. I only did what anyone else would have done.

Chris tightens his hold on my hand, so I squat down at his eye level. “Scott is safe. He’s going to take care of you and not let anything happen to you. He’ll take you to your parents.”ScottThe way she is with Chris is impressive. She’s firm but gentle, and without the counter at the bakery blocking most of her body from my view, I really appreciate how soft her curves are, and I love the way she smells so sweet. No wonder Chris is already so attached to her.

I want to ask her out, but I know the parents are worrying, and there isn’t time for that. Instead, I squat down next to Chris. “What do you say, buddy? Would you like to go see your momma?”

He stares at me for a second and then nods his head. “Yes.”

“Well, they are meeting us at the police station. Do you want to ride in the police car with me? We can even turn on the siren.”

He shakes his head emphatically, eyes wide and scared.

I hold my hands out to him, palms up. “It’s okay, buddy.”

“It’s just a little ways, Sheriff. Can you all walk to the station? I bet Chris likes being outside.” Carrie looks at me hopefully, and I agree instantly.

“Of course we can walk.” I stand up and hold my hand out to Chris. Almost reluctantly, he raises his hand and puts it into mine.

I give a silent thank you to Carrie over Chris’ head. She smiles at me reassuringly and I’m not lying. I could stand here all day and look at her. A moment passes between us and by the blush on her cheeks, I know she feels it too. But I can’t do anything about it now.

“Thank you… again,” I tell her.

She shrugs her shoulders as if what she’s done was not a big deal and then bids goodbye to Chris and me before walking back down the path toward town.

“Let’s go, buddy,” I tell Chris and pull him gently in the other direction. Chris is watching Carrie walk away, and I know he must have enjoyed spending time with her, no matter how brief it was.

Me too, kid. Heck, I just met her yesterday and already I want to spend more time with her.

Once we reach the police station, the parents and the school officials are standing outside, and Chris runs to his mother. She’s already crying, and her sobs get even louder as Chris runs into her arms. The dad gives him a pat on the back before turning toward the school officials angrily.

I can’t say I blame him. I would be mad too.

I get between them and go over the safety procedures with the teacher and the principal. They look completely wrecked, and I know it was an accident with one of the teacher aides being new, but things like this can’t happen. The outcome could have been so much worse.

Once all the commotion dies down, I go in the station and take a seat at my desk, still thinking about how I really wish I’d had the chance to ask out Carrie.6CarrieThe rest of the afternoon is boring compared to my lunch break. When I get home that evening, I sit down at the dinner table and see that Dad can barely stop smiling.

“You’re a hero, sweetie! It’s all over town how you saved that little boy.”

I scoop some green beans onto my plate and shrug my shoulders. “Really, Dad? Anyone would have done what I did. It wasn’t that big of a deal. I’m just glad Chris is all right.”

Dad just looks at me smugly. “Well, I’m so proud of you, honey.”

“Everyone is talking about it,” my mother chimes in happily. “We had just left our lunch at the bakery when I started getting calls about it.”

Obviously, this is the way to get on my mom’s good side. She’s just preening in her seat over there, excited about all the attention she’s getting. Me? I could care less. I hate having the attention on me.