Eddie: Crystal Lake Firefighter Romance Serial - Chapter Four
Happy Hump Day!
Just a friendly reminder: This story is not professionally edited yet. When it's time to publish the book we will get her all prettified. For now, it's a fun story just for us!
I hope you enjoy chapter four!
Happy reading! oxox
Sending love, Terra
“Sorry I’m late.” I walked into my boss’ office and sat down in the chair next to the door.
“Hot date?” Alan teased.
He was thirty-two and somehow landed the fire chief position. Small town living I guess. There were days when I wondered if he wanted the job because he never seemed to take the leadership role seriously. Instead, he would just act like one of the guys.
“You remember that woman from the diner who ran away after Jackson talked to her?”
“I inspected her wiring in the kitchen this morning.”
“Is that all you inspected?”
“Okay, I’m done here,” I said and stood up, before leaving I stopped at the door. “I thought you needed to talk to me? I need to get the equipment cleaned.”
“Sorry, man. Yeah, we have a CPR class in a few weeks and I need you to teach it.”
“Sure, just email me the details.”
After spending a few hours with Sarah, a part of me wanted to play hooky and go enjoy the rest of the day with her. When Kelsey woke up this morning she told me how much fun she had with Sarah. To see the light in my daughter’s eyes again, well, it felt good.
I headed into the kitchen to grab some coffee. Lina the dispatcher yelled for me, “Eddie, you have a call.”
There was a phone by the table. “This is Eddie.”
“Sarah? Are you okay?”
“Um, there was a pop when I turned on the light in the bathroom. Should I be worried?”
“I’ll be right over.” I hung up the phone and walked to the front room. “Jackson, you free?”
“Uh, sure,” he said and followed me to the pickup truck.
“You remember that woman from the diner who didn’t warm up to you.”
“Yeah? You know her?”
“She lives about a mile from my place in that old run down home.”
“Wait, someone is living in that dump?”
“I guess they were marketing it as a “fixer-upper.”
“Wow, seems like false advertising. That place should be tore down.”
“Yeah. I checked the wiring in the kitchen this morning and everything seemed fine. She just called and said there was a pop in the bathroom when she turned on the light.”
“Yeah, my thoughts exactly,” I said and realized I needed Jackson to keep his distance from Sarah. “Hey, can you stay back with the truck when we get there? She had a weird reaction to you before.”
“What’s that supposed to me?”
“Nothing. I don’t know her that well yet, but what I do know…”
“She hates men.”
“Not hate exactly.” I could hear Jackson let out a snort of laughter. It was weird, I knew that. I just wanted to respect her space.
The station was about ten minutes from Sarah’s house. I knew once you heard a pop there was a fifty-fifty chance the situation could turn to dangerous. As we pulled into the driveway the place seemed quiet. I made my way quickly to the front door and knocked twice.
“Sarah. You okay?”
She opened the door wearing a pair of sweats that had paint all over them. Her sweatshirt looked about the same. “Hey,” she said and glanced over at the truck where Jackson was standing.
“Everything seems fine now, I probably overreacted.”
“Show me which switch.” I stepped into the house. “A place like this, it’s good you were concerned.”
I spent the next several minutes inspecting the wiring in the bathroom. It was a mess and that was putting it mildly. We also discovered that the second switch in the bathroom for the fan, that wiring was connected to the switch in the hallway.
After about fifteen minutes I almost gave up. “I need to have Jackson help with a few things. Are you okay if he comes in?”
“Um, sure. I need to go take care of a few things in my room. Let me know when you both are done.”
She really did have an issue with men. Why was she okay with me then? I made my way out to the pickup. “Hey, I need you to look at something for me.”
Jackson was leaning against the truck looking at his phone. “Sure. She okay with me coming inside?”
“Yeah, it’s fine.”
“I’m concerned about the wiring. Nothing is matched up correctly.”
“Well, I’m not surprised. An old place like this, I bet they jerry-rigged everything.”
After about thirty minutes and several curse words, we both agreed the realtor needed to give Sarah her money back. The place had obviously not been inspected when they decided to rent it out. We both agreed there were too many code violations in just the bathroom alone.
“I’ll talk to her. Give me five minutes.”
I went to the closed bedroom door and knocked once. “Sarah, you got a sec?” Before she even opened the door, I could smell paint.
“Hey, sorry. My music was too loud.” She laughed and opened the door all the way.
The room was bare. She had a sleeping bag on top of an air mattress in the corner, a duffel bag and a few clothes laying in a pile. A brush was on top of the paint can and her window was open for ventilation.
“Listen, I’m concerned about the wiring here.”
“Can I get it fixed?”
“Yeah…or if you want,” I paused for a beat. “You could room in the extra bedroom at my place?” It was like the words just spilled out on their own. I usually thought about things and then asked. Not this time though.
“What? Oh, no.” She walked over and grabbed the paint brush. “I can call the realtor and let them know they need to check the wiring.”
“It’s not a problem and Kelsey would be so happy to have you there.” I knew I was probably pushing too hard.
“Honestly, It’s fine. I’ll be fine. I’m sorry I bothered you.”
She turned and continued to paint the rest of the wall. I realized that was my cue to exit. “Call me if you hear anything else unusual.”
I made my way back to the truck. “I’m worried about leaving her in this place but she won’t budge.”
“Women.” Jackson mumbled. Which made me laugh.
“I’ll stop by later and make sure she's okay.” I slapped him on the back and hopped in the truck.
The next day…
“Yeah, this house probably should be rewired.” The contractor who my realtor sent over said and placed the flathead screw driver in his tool box.
“Rewired? So, is it safe to live here?” I stepped back away from the doorway.
“Well, technically you probably shouldn’t but your landlord will fire me if they hear I told you that.”
“Wait, so they are lying to me?”
The guy just shrugged his shoulders and went to walk around me. My skin crawled the moment he stopped when we were shoulder to shoulder. “You can stay with me if you need a place to crash.” He winked and bumped my shoulder.
I jumped and hit my back against the door frame. “Um, no, I’m good.”
He laughed and stepped up closer. “Are you sure? A pretty thing like you shouldn’t be all alone in this house.”
The memories of before came rushing back and I did the first thing that popped in my mind. I kneed him. He went down on all fours crying out in pain. I took that moment to run. My first thought was where do I go? Then Eddie and Kelsey popped in my mind. I grabbed my keys and purse. My car had fumes left but I prayed it would be enough to get me to Eddie’s house.
Why did I decide to live so far away from people?
I mean, I knew why.
Before I decided to leave North Carolina some of my decisions may have caused the men I met to treat me the way they did. Of course, I knew I was blaming myself for their actions. I found it easier to distance myself from my past but somehow they followed me wherever I went.
My car was making some weird noise. “Hold on, girl. We’re almost there, I promise.” I patted the dashboard like it had feelings.
At Eddie’s driveway the car started to slow down. Talk about timing. About halfway up the driveway it died. I took in several breaths and let them out slowly. Why did men have to treat women this way.
I looked up at the house and thought about Eddie. There was something about him, somehow I knew I was safe with him. Call it instinct or call it what you like. I was just ready to call it quits on that house and crossing my fingers the extra room he offered yesterday was still available.
I grabbed my purse and closed the car door. The place seemed quiet like maybe no one was home. I decided if I had to wait I would. Plus, I didn’t really have an option since going back to my house was out of the question.
Eddie had a beautiful home that was two stories high with this amazing wrap-around porch. There were three rocking chairs on one side of the porch, probably for Eddie, Kelsey, and Jan. I knocked once and waited.
Jan opened the door and flashed the biggest smile. “Sarah. Hi, sweetheart.”
“Hi, Jan. I hope I’m not bothering you?”
Just then you could hear the little pitter patter of feet approaching. “Sarah!” Kelsey yelled.
“Looks like we have a surprise guest today, don’t we?” Jan said and pulled back the door. “Want to come in?”
“Um, if that’s okay?”
Kelsey was hopping around. “Yes, yes, yes.”
“Is Eddie home?” I laughed and stepped inside.
“No, he won’t be here till tonight around seven-thirty,” Jan said over her shoulder as she headed down the hall. “Do you need to talk to him?”
“Oh, it can wait.” A part of me didn’t want to wait but I also didn’t want to tell Jan what happened.
Kelsey grabbed my hand. “Sarah, come and help me draw.”
“Help you draw? I think you may need to teach me instead.”
“She is pretty good,” Jan giggled and walked over to the stove. “Are you hungry?”
Her question made me realize I had not eaten today. With the guy coming over to check the wiring, my stomach had been in knots all day. “Yes.”
“Kelsey, are we having bunny mac n’cheese or bunny shaped grilled cheese?” Jan asked pulling out a package of cheese.
“I’m sensing a pattern here?” I teased. “Does someone love bunnies?”
Kelsey seemed to be focused on her coloring book, but at the mention of bunnies she lifted her head. “Mac n’ cheese, please,” she said and smiled. “I love bunnies.”
“So, Sarah, Eddie told me you’re from North Carolina?”
“Yeah, born and raised.”
“Have you been in Michigan long?”
“For about three years now.”
“Do you have family here?”
I knew Jan was making friendly conversation. It still didn’t make it any easier to talk about. “Um, no, I had some friends who told me I should come and visit.” Well, now I was lying to a very kind woman. I contemplated leaving to avoid any more questions.
“Michigan is wonderful,” she said and added mac n’cheese to three bowls.
“Do you have any kids?” The question slipped out of my mouth before I could take it back. I noticed her hesitate before answering. “I’m sorry, that’s none of my business.”
She reached forward and squeezed my hand. “It’s okay. I had a miscarriage a few years ago. It took me some time, but I decided to try again. Now we wait,” she sighed. “I love being able to help Eddie and I get my baby interaction.”
“I not a baby,” Kelsey said and sat back in the chair with her arms crossed.
“You’re right,” Jan reassured. “You a big girl now.”
“And she’s pretty cute.” I reached for my spoon to take a bite. The smell was making my stomach beg.
“She is pretty cute,” Jan said sprinkling salt and pepper over her dish.
Kelsey had a spoonful of mac n’cheese, right before stuffing it in her mouth she giggled. “I cute.”
We spent the next several hours sharing small talk. I wasn’t ready to talk about my past with someone I really didn’t know yet. She did make me feel comfortable though just like her brother did.
At twenty minutes after seven there was a click on the front door. “Guess who’s home,” Jan said and stood up from the sofa.
Something unusual happened, my heart rate increased.
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