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"Duly noted," Eric said happily as he laid back down and pulled Joe back into his arms. As long as she was off the ambulance and safe she could kick his ass and he'd take it with a smile.


Joe continued to glare at the empty spot in her closet where her uniforms should be. She had absolutely no doubt who took them and why. It was probably the same reason why her car keys were gone.

After throwing one last glare at her closet she stomped over to her nightstand, ignoring the bottle of pain medication, and snatched up her cell phone and dialed the number of the first bastard she was going to kill.

"You take your pills?" was the first thing she heard when the phone connected.

"You. Bastard," she bit out.

"Did you take your pills?" he demanded again in a bored tone.

"I don't know who you think you are, but you get your ass back over here with my uniforms or so help me I will-"

"I'm sorry, but I can't have this conversation with you until you take your pills," Eric announced, cutting her off.

"Why you little-"

"Take your pills."

"No," she snapped, even though her head was killing her.

"If you want to talk then you'll take them," he said calmly.

Glaring at absolutely nothing, Joe did her best to reign in her temper. After a minute she said, "Fine. I took them. Are you happy?"

Eric sighed heavily. "I would be if you actually took them."

"Fine!" she snapped, grabbing the small bottle of pills, knowing she wouldn't get anywhere until she took them. She quickly popped two into her mouth and swallowed them with the water someone left by her bed. "Now are you happy?" she asked as soon as she swallowed them.

"Extremely," Eric said, sounding smug. The bastard.

"Now bring back my car keys and uniforms," she bit out between clenched teeth.

"Sorry, no can do. You're not supposed to drive while you have those pills in your system. So, I guess you'll just have to stay home and rest like a good little girl."

"Eric,-" she started only to be cut off.

"Besides, I can't really talk right now. I'm kind of busy here with work and all, but before I forget I was supposed to tell you that mom is really upset with you and hurt that you wouldn't let us call her last night."

"W-what?" she choked out. "Who the hell told mom?" she demanded, wondering which one of them had broken their pact to keep Alice in the dark about injuries and hangovers. It had to be Nathan, she thought, inwardly cursing. Eric knew better. Besides he would never screw her over like this.

"I did of course. You know it's really not nice to keep mom in the dark. Now, if you don't mind I really do have to get back to work," he said cheerfully.

"Please tell me you're kidding," she said, panicking.

"Nope," he said, making the word pop.

Just as a few choice words popped into her head she heard her front door open. She swallowed hard. "Eric, please tell me that's you coming into the house right now."

"Sweetheart?" Alice called, ruining all Joe's hopes that Eric had lied. "I made Jello!"

"I hate you," she mumbled into the phone before hanging up, but not before she heard Eric laugh. The rat bastard.

Chapter 12

"Did they arrest him?" Greg asked Teddy as the two of them leaned against one of the box ambulances.

Teddy shrugged as he pulled out a cigarette. "They probably will."

Eric shifted the empty oxygen tank to his left hand so he could reach out and flick the cigarette out of Teddy's mouth. "No smoking in the garage, dickhead," he said, gesturing to the oxygen refill station to their right.

With a sigh, Teddy put his pack away, but made no move to help Eric as he prepared truck fifteen for service. That didn't surprise him since the prick was lazy. He only exerted himself when he had to, and he made damn sure that he didn't have to most days. Normally that was bad enough, but today they had Greg third riding with them because the damn kid still needed to complete his training time. He really wished Bill had managed to get someone else to fill in for Joe today. He hated having this jerk influencing any of the newbies. The last thing any of them needed was another Teddy.

"Has anyone showed you how to fill the tanks?" he asked Greg.

"Yeah, I learned that a few days ago," Greg said in a bored tone.

"Good," Eric said, thrusting the empty tank in his arms. "Then go fill this up."

Greg looked like he was going to argue, but thankfully kept his mouth shut. He was not in the mood to deal with any bullshit today.

"What will happen to him?" Greg asked, picking the conversation back up as he did what he was asked.

"He'll probably be sent for an evaluation and have his medication tweaked until they find a dosage that works. Then he'll probably be sent to a new residential program," Eric said, walking over to the supply shelves to grab a box of synthetic gloves, size extra large. He was just about to grab a box of mediums out of habit when he remembered that Joe wasn't working with him.

"He won't get arrested for hurting Joe?"

"No," Eric said. "He's a mental patient. He's pretty much covered while he's receiving help."

"That's f**ked up," Greg said.

"That's the job," Eric said, grabbing a box of pens and a fresh pack of run sheets.

"What about the residential home? Will they get into trouble?"

Eric chuckled without humor. "A slap on the hand."

"Joe could sue the program," Teddy suggested, mostly to start shit.

"She can sue?" Greg asked, sounding too damn eager for Eric's peace of mind.

"She could, but she won't," Eric said firmly. That was too much drama, time, and bullshit for Joe.

He finished checking out the ambulance and gestured for Teddy to get his ass in the truck when the other man headed for the door, no doubt he thought he was planting his lazy ass on the couch and staying there until they had a call. Normally he wouldn't care so much, but he had a lot of shit to do today

"Let's go," Eric said, grabbing the oxygen tank from Greg and secured the tank into its hold and attached the valves.

"We don't have a call," Teddy pointed out when Eric jumped out of the back of the ambulance. "Until then I'm sitting down," he said, absently running his fingers over his taped nose.

"I want to go check on Joe," Eric said, gesturing for Greg to climb in the back. After a short hesitation he grabbed his backpack and climbed inside.

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