Eddie: Crystal Lake Firefighter Romance Serial - Chapter Three

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Hey, sweets!

I hear the weekly wait is a killer. *insert my evil laugh* I love that you are enjoying Sarah and Eddie!

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 three!

Happy reading! oxox

Sending love, Terra


Chapter Three

~ Eddie ~

“So,” I paused. “Sarah, you’re not from around here, right?” I found it difficult to say her name. In the past, the name would just roll off my tongue. Today, it seemed to get stuck in the back of my throat.

“No, I’m just here temporarily.”

That took me by surprise. “Oh, are you here for work or something?” She didn’t answer. “I’m sorry, that was none of my business. Where should I drop you off?” Again, she stayed silent. “Are you okay?”

Finally, she found her voice. “I’m sorry. Um…I’m about five miles that way.” She pointed forward and in the same direction as my house.

I tried to think about the homes for rent or sale in my neighborhood. The only house that came to mind was that dump about a mile from me. Did she buy that place? No. She didn’t, did she?

When we were about sixteen yards from the driveway. “That’s me.”

“Wow, you live here?”

“Yeah. It’s not glamorous, but it works for now.”

“You may need to do some serious work on the place. If you need to borrow any tools, let me know,” I said and put the truck in park.

She let out this quiet laugh. “Yeah, the railing on the porch already gave out on me.”

“Oh shit, are you okay?”

“What? Oh, for sure,” she said and opened the door.

I made sure to put her bike on the porch and then stepped away. She still seemed uncomfortable in my presence. “We live about a mile apart, if you need anything we would be happy to help.”

“I’m okay. I appreciate that though.” She waved to Kelsey and opened her front door. My cue to exit.

“Bye, Sarah.”

This time the bye was not forever.

***

About two weeks later…

“Need a ride?” I was heading home and noticed Sarah walking her bike, again. She bent her head and laughed. “Kelsey’s home waiting for her lobster. Need a change of scenery?” I figured I would ask if she wanted to have dinner this time. A few weeks ago when we helped her, Kelsey said I should have asked her over for steak. My child was smarter than me if that was possible.

“Lobster, huh?”

“Yeah, I may have teased her when she was enjoying her steak that night and said, now I bet you want lobster,” I shook my head and hopped out to put her bike in the bed of my truck.

“Well, just don’t mention caviar during this meal and you should be safe.”

“That’s exactly what I thought, too.”

“You’re safe since Marv’s doesn’t carry any.”

Marv’s was the local store where she worked. “And even better, there are no other specialty stores in town.”

She pointed at me and winked. “Bonus.”

The drive to my house took about two minutes. Sarah was facing the passenger window. “How’s the fixer-upper coming along?”

“Good. I fixed the railing the other day. Thank goodness for YouTube videos.”

“Yeah, they have everything you need there. Do you need any help?”

“Um, not right now, but thank you.”

I pulled into my place. Jan was on the porch with Kelsey. The moment my daughter saw my truck she jumped up and down. As I parked in my normal spot, she ran over. “Daddy!”

“Hi baby, I have a surprise.”

She clapped her hands together. “Oh, I love surprises. What is it?”

I hopped out of the truck and lifted her up in my arms. “Sarah wanted to join the special dinner tonight.”

Kelsey leaned forward and dropped onto my seat. “Sarah!” She climbed over the center console and sat down on her lap. “You having lobs, too?”

My sister, Jan walked up beside me and wrapped her arm around my waist. “New friend?” she whispered.

“Hey sis, yeah, Kelsey met Sarah at Marv’s,” I said not wanting to share the diner incident. “She lives in that old run down house about a mile away.”

“What? I thought that place was condemned?”

“It probably should be, but I think I’m giving it life again,” Sarah said and opened the door to get out. Kelsey hopped down first and then held her hand out to help Sarah. “Wow, thank you.”

Jan whispered. “Um, Sarah, huh?”

“Yeah, small world, right?”

“Kelsey seems to have attached herself to her. You okay with that?”

I squeezed my sister closer to my side and kissed the top of her head. “All I know is, I felt a connection with her. It can’t be because of her name, right?”

“It could. Or it could just be the woman,” my sister said and leaned up to kiss my cheek. “Okay, where’s my niece?”

Kelsey was hopping from foot to foot. “Here aunt Jan, I here.”

Jan leaned forward to shake Sarah’s hand. “Hi Sarah, I’m Eddie’s sister, Jan.”

“It’s nice to meet you. Did I interrupt family time?”

Jan was quick to answer. “Not at all sweetie, I watch Kelsey for Eddie. Now I need to head home and make dinner for my other half.” She blew a kiss to Kelsey. “See you later alligator.”

Kelsey giggled. “Be sweet parakeet.”

~ Sarah ~

“Would you like another beer?” Eddie asked and took the two steps up to the porch.

“Sure,” I said and followed him up the steps.

We had just finished dinner and Kelsey was now inside playing dollies in her room. I knew because when I excused myself and headed down the hall to the bathroom, I heard voices. I popped my head in the last room on the left where Kelsey was talking in different voices to six stuffed animals lined up on the window sill.  I didn’t want to interrupt her, so I opened the bathroom door and let her be.

Eddie handed me a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale. “Thanks. Kelsey seems happy playing by herself?”

“Oh yeah, but that’s all she knows.”

“Did you plan to have more kids?”

“We did. When my wife died…I guess I figured it would just be the two of us,” He sat down on a wooden bench attached to the porch.

I took a long swig of my beer. A part of me wanted to sit down beside him and the other part of me was still too afraid. When he mentioned his wife dying, I stopped in my tracks and turned to face him. “I’m so sorry.”

“Thank you. It gets a little easier every day.”

“How long ago was it?”

“Over ten months ago now.”

Somehow, I found the courage to sit down beside him. I left a few feet between us. “Wow, so Kelsey remembers her?”

“Yes. She misses her mommy very much. We both do.”

There was an awkward silence between us. I held my beer in both my hands and glanced around the backyard. There was a big oak tree in the center of the yard and a tree house nestled inside. The yard was enclosed with a five-foot metal fence. A swing set sat off to the side close to the porch.

I stood and walked over to the one swing and brushed it off before sitting down. Since I had no place to put my beer, I dragged my feet back and forth. My head was bent looking at the ground. I felt Eddie approach even before I saw his feet come into view.

“What made you pick Frankfort, Michigan?” he asked and sat down in the swing next to me.

“It was far enough away from home and the beach looked amazing in all the pictures I googled online.”

“Where is home if you don’t mind me asking?”

“Raleigh, North Carolina.”

“Wow, really? I lived in Wilmington for about four years. That’s where I met Kelsey’s mom.”

“Why did you move to Michigan?”

“My sister. Both of our families are small and I wanted to be closer to Jan.”

“Your sister seems lovely.”

“She is. I don’t know what I would do without her honestly.”

Eddie was easy to talk to, something I needed. I took the last swig of my beer and stood up. “I should be going. I can walk home since it’s only a mile away.”

“No, Kelsey and I will take you home.”

We walked to the front of the house and he wrangled up Kelsey. As I waited for them both, I thought about when we all were sitting at the table cracking the shells on the lobster. Kelsey would share one joke after another. My stomach hurt from laughing so hard. I couldn’t remember the last time I laughed that hard.

It was weird, the reason I chose Frankfort, Michigan was because someone in passing had mentioned the wineries here. I was in Muskegon, which is about two hours south of Frankfort. I had worked at a diner in the center of town for about thirteen months.

I knew why I chose Frankfort, but now I was wondering if there was a higher power that put me on this path. Was I supposed to run into Eddie and his daughter? I wanted to believe not all men were bad and well, Eddie was making me believe.

***

My alarm clock was blaring with the second round of Beautiful Day by U2. A part of me just wanted to listen to the song on replay all day. Maybe because I wanted my days to be beautiful, and they were not there yet.

I made myself get up as the song replayed for the third time. Maybe third time was a charm to push my butt out of bed. As I sluggishly made my way to the kitchen, I heard a light knock at my door. Before I opened it, I pulled the curtain back to see who was there. Eddie? My hair was in all different directions and my shorts were just slightly see-through. I tried to brush my hair down but taming the beast was going to be impossible.

“Eddie? Everything okay?” I leaned my body against the door frame.

“Yeah. I hope I didn’t wake you?”

“No, U2 did that.” He seemed confused by my answer. “They’re my alarm clock lately.”

“Oh, good choice. You left your bike in my truck last night.”

Forgetful was my middle name. “I’m sorry. Um, would you like some coffee? I was just heading to make some.

I watched him look away, then glance back at me and nod. “Sure.”

As we headed into the kitchen. “My brain doesn’t function until that first sip of coffee.”

“You too, eh?”

The kitchen was big enough for one person. Two was pushing it. It needed to be painted, and I knew underneath the hideous linoleum there was a wooden floor. For now, it just looked boring and old.

He sat down at my little cafe table. The chair seemed too small for his tall, muscular frame. “Have you had the equipment inspected? It looks older.”

“The realtor mentioned they were used. I haven’t even turned on the oven, I brought my microwave and use it for everything.” I measured out three tablespoons of coffee and placed it in the coffee maker. “Do you think I should still have them inspected?”

“It’s not a bad idea. I would be happy to look at them?”

“Only if you have time. There’s no rush.”

“Let me grab my flashlight and call the station to let them know I will be a little late.”

I leaned against my counter, maybe U2 on replay for the last several mornings was working. I didn’t want to tell Eddie, but the real reason I had not had the equipment inspected was because I didn’t trust anyone to come into my home. Until now.

When Eddie came back in carrying his tool box and flashlight, I had to remind myself that men were off limits. Or were they? He was making it harder and harder to believe.


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