“How come we didn’t know this, Sam?” Rocco asks.
“There is a lot you all don’t know about me,” I say, maybe a little more defensively than I mean to.
“He was killed in the line of duty?” Chief Johnson asks.
“I see. Well, it seems Chief Yates is very concerned with your well-being.”
I look at him quizzically, trying to understand why Connor would be checking on my well-being.
“He just wanted to make sure you were being taken care of and treated right as a female in the firehouse. I assured him you were good here and would never take any crap from these guys.”
“That’s very true, though they do try to push the limit,” I chuckle as Rocco sticks his tongue out at me like a little boy.
“How come you didn’t choose the firehouse in your hometown?” Joe asks, looking perplexed.
“It would have been easy, but I didn’t want my accomplishments to be about my father. I wanted to prove I have what it takes to be a damn good firefighter on my own. Plus, with Chief Yates having been best friends with my dad...”
“You didn’t want it to seem like favoritism.” Chief finishes my sentence.
“Correct.” I nod.
“I understand. My father was also a firefighter, and like yours, he was killed in the line of duty. I was a probie at the time, and I kept wondering if there was anything I could have done to save him. Learning more in the job, I know we did everything we could that day, but it doesn’t ease the guilt, but after that I felt like I had big shoes to fill, and everyone was expecting me to be just like my dad,” he shakes his head. “It wasn’t until years later, that I realized, I was the only one putting those expectations on me.”
“Wow, Chief, we didn’t know that about you either,” Rocco says.
Chief looks over at me with knowing eyes, and I nod.
My heart pings for home, to be close to Alisa, but that would also mean working with Connor and remembering how he felt every time, possibly seeing him with another woman.
I shake my head, “Chief, do you know how brutal the winters are in Maine?” I ask, trying to lighten the seriousness of the conversation and get out of my feelings.
He laughs, “No, and I really don’t want to find out.”
“How brutal?” Rocco asks.
“Very. You think the little snow and ice you get here is bad? It’s nothing compared to up there.” I laugh, and we all finish our dinner.
Once everything is cleaned up, I sit down and think about what Chief said about his own past.Am I putting too much pressure on myself? Am I the only one comparing me to my father? I’ve only been in this job for three years, one year as a probie and two as a firefighter, I know I’m not expected to know everything, and yet I hate the thought of letting anyone on my team down. I feel the need to be the best at what I do. Is that so wrong?
All of a sudden the alarm goes off, and without thinking, I immediately jump up and head for my equipment.
Time to put out a fire.
Iget home from the firehouse, thinking about the call I made to Battalion Chief Johnson, the chief in charge of Sam’s firehouse, wanting to make sure she was being treated well. The thought of any female being treated unfairly in our profession makes me sick, but the thought of anyone treating my woman like shit has me fuming.
My woman.Where did that thought come from?
She can’t be my woman, I don’t deserve to have someone like her. She’s so young and beautiful. She deserves someone who will love and cherish her the way she wants to be loved, but God, help me, I want her, unlike any other woman I’ve ever been around. I know I shouldn’t, but I do.
I want to be the one who makes her body flush in ecstasy. I want to put a smile on that beautiful face, and the thought of anyone else doing it has me seeing red. I rub my face with my hands, indecision wearing on me. I don’t know what to do, I walked away from her, told her it was a mistake that I kissed her. I crossed a line, and now I’m afraid she’ll never forgive me.
I walk into the bathroom and start the shower, needing the heat to wash away my thoughts. I should have known that would not happen.