Chapter 22

“What the hell were you doing?”  I shouted at Fred.

“Were you going to let us almost die and then perform some kind of ‘guardian angel’ magic crap and save us?  Was this some kind of cockamamie plan of yours?”

“Well…actually miss,” said a deep voice from behind me.  I turned and saw a very tall fireman holding a blanket.

“As I came down your hall, I heard someone screaming from the bedroom.  I thought maybe someone was looking for a child or…” he paused and looked down and saw Emma’s head pop out of my tee-shirt.

“Then I saw you go flying out the window.”

“So, no…that wasn’t my cockamamie plan.  Are you and your… cat okay?”  He tried to put the blanket around us.

I was starting to get really cold and shaky .

I managed to free one hand and brushed the tears from my eyes and looked up at this tall man.

He was smiling and he was cute.  (Hey…it’s going to take more than a fire and a near death experience to stop me from appreciating a good-looking man…)

Married, I bet.  Two kids.  A dog, of course.  And his loving mother probably lived with them.  All one big happy family.  Rats.

“I’m fine now.  Thanks.  Is the fire out?” I asked, trying to sound somewhat sane.

“Yes.  It started in the dryer right above your unit.  The tenant had left so it went unnoticed for quite a while.”

“The other tenants are meeting in the lobby.  I think management will have some kind of announcement.  They usually do in cases like this.”

I started to turn and walk toward the pine tree where I had last seen Fred wavering earlier.

“Oh,” said the fireman.  “I grabbed these for you.”  He held out my UGG boots.

I walked back to him and without thinking twice, I leaned against him and kicked off my wet slippers and put on my boots.

“Thank you so very…” I started to speak but the horror of the night started to sink in and words would not come.

Fresh tears started to stream down my cheeks and I turned quickly away and headed off to find Fred…hugging Emma’s little warm body as I walked.

“Why can’t they shut that damn horn off!” I yelled to nobody.

And then somebody did.   Suddenly it was so quiet I could hear my heart beat.

“FRED!!  Where the hell are you?”  I yelled loudly.

And then from behind, I felt a slight touch on my shoulder.  Finally!!!!

I whirled around, ready to give Fred a taste of my full fury…many brilliant swear word combinations forming in my brain…

“Actually, miss,” said my helpful fireman in a quiet and gentle voice, “I’m right here.”

And he pointed to his name badge.

It was hard to read since my eyes were so blurry from crying.  I squinted but I couldn’t make it out.  I looked up at him with a puzzled expression on my face.

“What?”

“That is…my name is Fred.”

“I don’t have a dog but I do have two cats.  My mother lives in Paris.   And I don’t know why I told you that…”

The End…