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Authors: Ashley Suzanne,Tiffany Fox,Melissa Gill

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BOOK: Rekindle
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CHAPTER SIX
TEEN

TINA

This shift starts out like any other day, with the exception that I’m carrying around the knowledge of Flynn’s secret and the secret relationship which is Nick and I.  Not willing to let anyone in the house know what’s really going on between us, I keep him at bay, well as much as anyone can keep Nick at bay.  Mostly, he seems satisfied giving me looks sexy enough to melt the panties from a nun, but other than that, he’s remaining professional.

Frankie and I get called out a little after ten for a man in distress.  It’s the first break from Nick I’ve had for a few hours and it’s more than welcomed.  Allowing Frankie to drive again, I sit back and prepare myself.

“You doing okay?” Frankie interrupts my thoughts. 

“Yeah.  Sure.  I’m good,” I respond, waiving my hand in the air.

“You don’t seem okay.  All day you’ve been pretty distant.  You know you can talk to me, right?”  How does one properly respond to that?  Because the truth is, I can’t talk to her about any of it.  I can’t disclose the relationship Nick and I had prior to working together at 22, nor can I talk about how just the night before we made love well into the morning hours.  I can’t say anything about Flynn’s secret, as it’s not my truth to tell.  

“I know.  Thanks.”  Turning back to the window, I watch the city fly past us as we race to our call.  Arriving on scene, we’re ushered into a two-story house by a young woman. 

“He’s this way.  Come on,” she frantically says, walking up the flight of stairs, Frankie and I on her heels, sharing the weight of the backboard.  When we reach the top of the stairs, low moaning pulls my attention to the end of the hallway.  As the woman continues toward that bedroom, Frankie and I share a look and quickly push past her to get inside the room.

“Help me, please,” a man on the bed calls.  Distress isn’t the right word for this dude and it takes everything in me to not crack a smile.  Remaining professional on this one is going to be harder than any other call we’ve ever had.

“How’d you get like this, sir?” Frankie asks, turning her back to the patient and his lady friend.  I, however, continue to examine the situation and try to think of a way to get him down.

“Well, I bought this thing online a few weeks ago and just put it up last night.  Now, I’m stuck and I think my leg might be broken.”  Glancing to his right fibula, noticing the sliver of white bone sticking through the skin, I suppress my gag reflex and make my way closer to the bed with the man hanging above it.  Nodding my head toward Frankie, she gets on her radio and calls for assistance. 

“Alright, what’s your name, sir?” I ask, wanting to distract myself from wanting to call him ‘hanging by a thread guy’ as that’s probably not professional.

“Bob.  Bob Walker,” he responds, panic and pain in his voice.

“We’re going to call some friends of ours to come and help.  Give me just a few seconds, Mr. Walker.  We’ll have you down before you know it.”

“Medic 30 to base.”  Letting go of the relay button, she waits for a reply as I start working at dressing his leg wound.  Almost as important, I take a pillow case from the bed and drape it across his lap to keep hide his penis.  I’m not sure why his girlfriend or wife didn’t do that, but then again, I’m not sure why they thought it would be a good idea for him to get in the swing to begin with.

“Go ahead, Medic 30,” command responds.

“We’re going to need you to send Rescue to our location.  Please confirm.”

“Confirmed, Medic 30.  Rescue has been dispatched to your location.”

Nick’s going to have a field day with this one and I can’t blame him.  We’ll end up talking about this poor guy in a sex swing for months to come.  When I finish dressing the patient’s wound, I look around to find the woman gathering her belongings and packing them away in an overnight bag.

“Ma’am?  Where are you going?  We have the fire department on their way to help get him down.  You can ride to the hospital with him if you’d like,” I offer and panic shows in her eyes.

“Oh, no.  That’s okay.  Thanks.”  She continues rushing around the room, tossing things in her bag.  Following her down the stairs, I stop her before she walks out the front door.

“I’m not sure what the problem is, but your boyfriend up there is pretty embarrassed.  You could at least offer your support.  Not to mention, he’s got a pretty bad break in his leg.  I know you’re probably freaked out, but he’s going to need you.”  I always try not to offer my personal opinions about patients, but this woman has me frustrated.  What kind of girlfriend bails when her dude is hurt?  Especially when she’s part of the reason he’s in that situation.

“I can’t,” she whispers, her cheeks flushing and eyes darting around the room.  When a car door outside shuts, she jumps and looks visibly shaken.

“Okay, what’s going on?” I ask, aware something strange is going on.  Even stranger than the six foot tall, two hundred pound man trapped in a sex swing upstairs. 

“I can’t let his wife see me here.”  Taking a step back, I refrain from calling her a whore long enough for her to finish.  “And I’m not really his girlfriend, or mistress, or whatever.  I mean, we’ve dated, but we’re not
dating
if you get what I’m saying.” 

Nodding my head, I get it.  I withhold my judgment long enough for her to make it out of the house and Nick and his team to walk through the front door.  Smiling when he sees me, I pretend not to notice his happiness and get back to the poor naked man at the top of the stairs.

“What’s the problem?” Nick asks.

“Our man in distress call is a little more than we can handle on our own.  We need you guys to cut him down so we can get him out.”

“Cut him down?”  Cocking his head to the side, I can see his brain working, thinking of any situation how a man would need to be cut out of anything inside his own home.

“Follow me,” I say, giggling my entire walk up the stairs, stopping just outside the bedroom door to compose myself.  “Ready?” I ask, pushing open the door and letting Nick step around me and into the room.  He nearly runs me over trying to get back into the hall so he can silently laugh.

“How does that happen?” he asks, clutching his stomach, tears in his eyes.  “I’m not sure how this kind of stuff works, but I’m pretty positive the woman should be in the swing, not the other way around.”

“We’re not here to judge, just fix.  Now, can your guys get him down so I can get his leg addressed?”

“Oh, we can get him down alright, but this poor guy, he’s never going to live this down.”  Walking back into the room behind Nick, he directs Mack and Richards to hold the patient in place while Jones gets to work cutting the straps loose from the hooks in the ceiling.  The moment Mr. Walker’s free of his restraints, so to speak, the guys lower him on a backboard and take him down the stairs and to the gurney of my rig.

“Thanks for all the help, guys.  Meet you back at the house,” I say, dismissing the firefighters as their help’s no longer needed.  Getting Mr. Walker hooked up to the vitals machine, I jot down all my findings while Frankie closes us in the back of the truck.

On the way to the hospital, I finish bandaging his leg and cut away the rest of the swing still wrapped around his body.  Refusing to make eye contact, I type in all my notes ahead of time so once we drop him, we’re good to go. 

“Mr. Walker, do you mind if I ask you a question?  You don’t have to answer if you’re uncomfortable, but it’s going to eat at me unless I know.”  I shouldn’t and I know it, but I’m being completely honest with him.  I have to know how and why. 

“I’m not sure things could get any more uncomfortable, so feel free to ask,” he looks at my name tag, “Ms. Mitchell.”

“Okay, so I’m not sure how sex swings work, but from everything I’ve seen, it’s usually the woman that hangs from the ceiling.  How’d you end up in that swing?”  I blush just asking the question and he cracks a bashful smile as well.  At least we’re both uneasy.  I open to the notes section of the report, preparing to type his response so he doesn’t think I’m just a nosy bitch, but it’s part of the job.

“Nona and I used it this morning and tonight, I wanted to try it out.  She looked like she was having so much fun.  The instructions never said a man couldn’t get in it, only a weight limit, which I was within range, so I tried to get in.  Ended up snapping my leg when I fell wrong and the rest is history,” he laughs it off but I can tell he’s embarrassed.  I can only imagine what his wife’s going to think.

“I’m no marriage therapist, but I think your wife’s gonna wanna know why there’s hooks and half a sex swing in her bedroom when she gets home.”

“Oh, I’m not married.  I just told Nona that.  My wife divorced me a few years ago, and the girls I
date
,” he uses finger quotes, “seem to be more receptive to trying different things when you say you’re married.  Less of a creep, I guess.”

Shaking my head, I can’t help but be amused by this guy working the system.  I don’t know much about hookers, other than how to resuscitate them after they overdose or the signs to look for when their pimps beat the shit out of them, so I might have to catalogue this away for later.  

When we arrive at the hospital, Frankie and I wheel Mr. Walker through the ambulance bay doors and to the emergency room, where no doubt he’ll be rushed to surgery to fix that break on his leg.  Handing off my report, we’re back in the rig, headed to the house within fifteen minutes.  We pull into our space in the garage and sluggishly walk into the mess hall. 

The guys are all settled around the TV watching whatever game’s on tonight.  Breezing past them, I head straight for the locker room to change into a different uniform.  Not that my current one’s dirty or anything, but I can smell creeper on me and it needs to go.  Lifting the latch on my locker, I nearly crawl out of my skin when a few ball gags fall out at my feet.  Kicking them out of the way, I scream loud enough to wake the dead.

“You’re all immature.  I’m so done with you fuckers!”

From the other bank of lockers, Frankie yells just as loud and I know they’re playing a prank on her, too.  One of the biggest reasons to find a different job is the constant joking that goes around.  Even though it wasn’t Frankie or I in that sex swing, we’ll have just as hard of a time living down this last call.  Lucky for us, the alarm sounds and we’re on our way to another call and in the meantime, ‘hanging by a thread’ is in the back of our minds as we focus on saving someone else.

*****

Toward the end of shift, I get a text from Flynn letting me know his parents want to meet him for dinner this evening.  Which really means, it’s time for me to be girlfriend extraordinaire and they really want to meet me.  Sighing, I text him back, letting him know I’ll meet him at the restaurant of his choice at eight. 

Dropping my last patient of the shift off at the hospital, Frankie and I make our way back to the house.  Opting to skip a shower and take one at home, I just grab my bag and walk out of the station wearing my uniform.  I’m opening my car door when Nick stops me, leaning against his truck looking sexier than ever—his hair disheveled and eyes heavy with exhaustion.  How he manages to look so delicious right after shift, I’ll never know.  I’m pretty sure I look like death reheated.

“Hey, gorgeous,” he calls, pushing off the bed with his foot and strutting toward me.  Stopping just before he reaches me, he pulls my hand into his and rubs the tops of my knuckles with his thumb.  “Want to get something to eat?  We can pick it up and go back to my place if you want.”

“I’m sorry.  I can’t.  Plans,” I offer as little as possible.  I can’t tell him I’ll be with Flynn.  He’ll only ask questions I’m not able to answer and that will start a fight I’m too tired to have.

“Oh,” he mutters.  “I thought we were going to try at this?”

“I need to think on everything, Nick.  I never stopped loving you, but falling back into the same routine might not be healthy for either of us.  Can we keep it casual for a little while until I figure some things out?” I ask, feeling guilty and wanting to kick myself in the ass.  I’m done thinking.  I know it’s Nick I want.  I know it’s Nick I’ll
always
want, but Flynn needs me more right now.  It’s not fair and if the situation were reversed, I’d be pissed as hell at Nick, but what am I supposed to do? 

Not one of the guys in the house appears to be homophobic, but none of them have ever been in a situation where they put their lives in the hands of someone who’s open with their sexuality.  It’s none of their fucking business, and it makes me so angry that Flynn has to go through this.  At the same time, there’s nothing I can do to change any of it.  Being a woman in this house—any house—is hard as hell; I can’t imagine the hell he’d go through coming out of the closet.

“You want to be casual?  Are you dating someone?”

“I do and I’m not.  I want to spend time with you, get to know you again.  And you to get to know me.  We can’t do that if we try to pick back up where we started.  Plus, I’m just coming into this house.  I need a little time to gain my bearings before I pop up with a boyfriend, the lieutenant of all people.  Just work with me, please?”

“When can I see you again?” he asks, appearing to brush off my rejection.

“Tomorrow night?  I’ll make dinner?”

“Sounds good, Mitchell.”  With that final statement, he walks back to his truck and pulls out of the lot.  Taking a deep breath, I hop in my car and head toward my apartment to get ready for my fake date in a few hours. 

BOOK: Rekindle
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