“That sounds great, I’ll have it ready for her.”
“Tell me, Charley, how are you liking Largo?”
“I love it, Chief. This town is so welcoming and homey.”
“That’s great. Are you still enjoying being a Fire Inspector?”
“I do, I mean I miss being a firefighter sometimes, but I do enjoy investigating the fires as well.”
“Well, if you ever want to come back to firefighting, let me know. I will find you a place on my team.”
“Thanks, Chief, that means a lot to me.”
“I’ll send Jennifer over shortly.”
I hang up the call, then let Jennifer know to stop by headquarters and see Charley for the report that’s ready for pickup.
Charlene ‘Charley’ Fairview, came to Largo from Hallow Falls, Colorado after she was almost killed, not once but twice. The first time she nearly died in a hotel fire, then the next was a crazy arsonist, which turned out to be a surprise.
She and Detective Derrick Monroe reconnected when he went home to handle his mother’s affairs and convinced Charley to come check out Largo, while she was recuperating. A fire investigator convinced her to consider becoming one, and she did. She’s a hell of a fire investigator, and I’m sure Derrick is ecstatic that she wants to stay here.
My thoughts travel back to Samantha. Watching her walk down the aisle in her pale purple maid of honor dress, her hairdo at the top of her head, showcasing her perfect neck, and highlighting her alabaster skin that almost made her look porcelain.
I watched all night as she moved around the room, smiling and laughing with everyone. When she danced with Derrick Monroe, the best man, I felt a palpable amount of anger and jealousy. It didn’t matter that he was insanely in love with Charley, he had his hands on my woman.
When I finally got her in my arms on the dance floor, and she laid her head on my chest, I felt at peace, like she was home, but when the songs ended, I knew I needed to walk away and regain my composure.
I was feeling like a caveman who wanted to drag her off and hide her away from the eyes of every guy in there. Then I made the mistake of offering to take her back to Alisa’s house.
Once I tasted her, I knew I didn’t want to stop. It took everything in me to pull back, and I nearly buckled when I saw the hurt in her eyes right before I turned my back on her and walked away.
Ever since that night, there has been a war raging inside of me between dragging her back and keeping my distance. I call periodically to her Chief and make sure she is doing well. I'm sure the man is no fool, but I tell him I’m checking in on her for her sister.
I know he can’t tell me much, except what he sees at the firehouse, so I have no clue what she is doing on her off time, but as long as she is happy and content at her firehouse and the men are treating her as an equal, that’s all I can ask for.
I get back to the reports in front of me while I wait for Jennifer to bring me the investigator’s report, so I can finish this one.
As I pull a file from my pile, the fire alarm goes off. “Guess dinner will have to wait again,” I mutter to myself as I jump up, racing to the Battalion vehicle. I pull out behind the Truck, knowing the Engine crew will meet us there, and we race to the call.
Two hours later, we pull back in, each of us tired, in need of food, and a shower. Strahn goes to quickly wash up, so he can make dinner while the rest of us take our time. I walk into the office and see the report that Jennifer picked up on my desk. I quickly scan it, make notes, sign off on my report and then package it up, putting it in Jennifer’s inbox for her to handle tomorrow when she comes in.
I go wash up, then head to the kitchen area where everyone is making their plates.
“Did you go lighter on the salt, probie?”
“Yes, Chief, in fact, you may want to add salt.”
I nod, preferring to do that, then have it be too salty and uneatable, especially tonight when I’m so exhausted.
I take a bite and find that it is actually perfect.
“Good job, probie. Now, everyone grab your food and take a seat. We are going to enjoy this dinner together, and hopefully catch some rest.”
“Yes, Chief,” everyone murmurs.
I sit down and dig into the plate of food. “Either I was hungrier than I thought, or this food is really good,” I mutter.