Don’t Promise Tomorrow by T. Stratton

Don’t Promise Tomorrow
by T. Stratton

The characters may look like a couple of people we know, but alas they are not.

Sex: but of course.

Violence at some points there is. But nothing too graphic.

If you are not over the legal age, go play with some play-dough.

 


 

“No way,” Tucker tossed down a bundle of papers on her bosses desk. “I just got off an assignment. I need some time off.”

“I know, but you are the best one for the job,” Mr. Hashman replied as he looked into upset green eyes. “Look at the file at least.”

Tucker took a deep breath. “I will look at it, but I am not going to make any promises.”

“Thanks, Tucker and if you do the assignment I will make sure you have a whole month off after. The paper will even pay for you to go anywhere you want.”

“Anywhere?” Tucker replied with a raised eyebrow.

Mr. Hashman nodded and grinned. “I promise.”

Tucker pointed at him, “don’t make promises, Hash. You know how I feel about them.”

“Sorry,” he lost his grin and looked at her. “I swear what I said is the truth.”

Tucker nodded and grabbed the large folder off the desk and headed out the door. “I will let you know my decision in the morning.”

*******************

Tucker walked through her front door. “Home sweet home.” She looked around the desolate apartment. “I wonder why I even come here?” She looked around the small room to the bare walls and old hand me down couch she found outside the day she had moved in. It was covered with a thick blanket and had two bright orange pillows tossed at one end. “God I hate the color orange.”

“Then why keep them?” A scratchy voice asked from behind the small blonde.

Tucker turned around. “Well it was the only house warming gift I’ve ever received. Plus if I didn’t what would I have besides the smell of stale old cigars to remind me of my cranky old neighbor?”

“Shit-fire, I only gave those to you ’cause I was too lazy to take them to the garbage chute.”

Tucker laughed, “how you doing old woman?” She walked over and hugged the old woman. Since she had moved into the building three years ago Freddie was the only one who made her feel welcome.

“I am doing great. Glad to see you home from another assignment.” Freddie grabbed Tucker’s hand and squeezed. “You better be home longer than a day or two this time.” She traced the dark circles under the small blonde’s eyes. “You are tired and need to rest.”

“I know I do.” Tucker grabbed a hold of Freddie’s wrinkled hand and brought it to her heart. “The boss wants me to look at one more job and then I get a whole month vacation at the papers expense.”

“God damn it. Are you trying to kill yourself with your work. All I hear is one more then I will take time off.” Freddie poked Tucker in the chest. “You will get sick if you don’t slow down.”

“I won’t.” Tucker rubbed the sore spot on her chest.

“Promise me.” Freddie stood as straight as her old body would allow.

Tucker turned around and headed towards the corner which was her kitchen. “You know I don’t promise nothing.”

The silence in the room was broken by a dog barking.

“Want some coffee?” Tucker asked her neighbor.

Freddie shook her head. “Are you nuts. That instant stuff sucks.”

“It’s all I have or I can get you some.” She opened her refrigerator and spied a half gallon of milk. She opened it up but quickly tossed it back into the fridge. “Never mind.”

“How about you come over for dinner. I am making my rigatoni special.” Freddie rubbed her hands together with anticipation.

Tucker turned slightly, “with extra, extra cheese?”

“For you anything.” Freddie clapped and walked to the door. “Give me about an hour and it should be about ready.”

“I will be there. I am going to quickly jump in the shower.” Tucker waved as the door closed. “Hot damn a home made supper.” She stripped out of her clothes and headed for the tiny bathroom.

*******************

“Do you think you can find out who is behind this?” Mayor Hawker asked Tucker after she took a seat in front of his desk.

“I will do my best.” Tucker crossed her legs and rested her hands on her lap. “You are sure no one knows about this, but you, me and my boss?”

“That’s right. The less people that know about you being there the better.” Mayor Hawker answered as he shuffled through some papers. Finding what he needed he handed them over to Tucker. “I want to know who is endangering my firefighters. This city has lost five in the past three months.”

“How do you know someone is sabotaging the equipment that caused the deaths?” Tucker asked as she leafed through the paper she was handed. “So I am going to be a new recruit, but I don’t have any training what so ever.”

“I know,” The Mayor agreed. “You are going to go to a firefighter training school. You will be going for three week of intense training and then you will be placed in Firehouse #23.”

“I am so not gonna like this training.” Tucker moaned as she remembered watching some documentary on the Discovery channel about firefighters and their training.

The Mayor chuckled. “Probably not, but I am not going to send you in there untrained. The school is expecting you the day after tomorrow.”

Tucker stood up and shook the Mayor Hawker’s hand. “I understand. I will let you know when I have any information.”

Mayor Hawker held on to Tucker’s hand for a second to make sure he had her undivided attention. “You make sure you keep safe. I know this is a very dangerous position you are entering and could cause you to get hurt.”

“Mr. Mayor, I put my life on the line every time I write a piece someone might not like.” Tucker squeezed the older man’s hand. “Thanks for your concern and I will make sure I am as safe as I can be since I will be running into fires and such.”

*******************

Tucker pulled into the firehouse’s parking lot and smiled. The last four weeks were hell and that was putting it mildly. The amount of training and most importantly the mental strength it took to run into a burning building to save some ones else’s life when your instincts are screaming at you to get the hell out of there was astounding. Never in her life had she been more challenged.

“This will be an experience I will never forget,” Tucker mumbled, as she turned her truck off and looked up at the big red brick building with the American flag hanging proudly on a large flag pole off the side of the building.

Tucker opened her door and stepped out. As she took in a deep breath a large 4×4 truck with its radio playing louder than it should considering the time of night stopped a few spots down from her. As the engine was turned off a very muscular man with a perfectly shaped beard and wavy dark hair opened the door and jumped down to the ground. He noticed Tucker watching him so he stopped. “Hello sweet heart. You like what you see?”

Tucker reached into her truck and grabbed her duffel bag. She closed the door and walked over to the man. She stood toe to toe with him and looked up into dark brown eyes. “My name is not sweet heart, it’s Tucker. You call me anything else but that and I’ll shove my foot so far up your ass you won’t be able to sit for a week.”

The man raised an eyebrow as he put a hand on Tucker’s shoulder. “I think you need to have a man teach you how to act.”

“You think you are man enough?” Tucker challenged. “Because if you do, bring it on baby.”

The man stood there for several seconds. Then a large smile formed before he scooped Tucker up into his arms and hugged her. “What in the hell are you doing here wee bit?”

“Don’t call me that Bobo.” Tucker slapped the large man on the back.

Bo put Tucker down on her feet and looked at her. “You gonna tell me why you are here? You didn’t get a hair up your ass and quit that newspaper job did you?”

“No, I didn’t.” Tucker glanced around and not seeing anyone she pulled Bo closer just in case. “I am undercover. The Mayor wants to find out who is sabotaging the equipment and causing all the deaths.”

“Thank God,” Bo stated. “Some of us were wondering if anything was being done about it. I lost three very good friends and I don’t want to lose anyone else.”

“That’s why I am at this firehouse. Three of the five killed were from here. So this is the best place to start and see what I can dig up.” The small reporter said as she looked up into her friends now worried eyes. “I will be careful.”

“I know you will.” Bo smiled.

Tucker swung her duffel bag over her shoulder. “I know I don’t have to say this, but no one knows I am a reporter. I am just a rookie.”

“Gotcha and I’m so gonna love getting you to clean out the toilets and shower stalls.” Bo laughed as he patted Tucker’s cheek. “Welcome to my world my friend.”

“Gee, I can feel the love.” Tucker laughed as they headed towards the firehouse.

*******************

The first thing Tucker noticed when she walked in was the large ladder truck with the number 23 in big white letters. It was a magnificent piece of machinery and she couldn’t wait for her first ride.

“Follow me Tuck and I will show you where you will bunk down when you are here. It is separated from the men’s sleeping room.” Bo gestured towards a door.

“Is there any other females here?” Tucker asked as she gave the fire truck one last glance before she followed her friend through the door and up a set of stairs.

Bo stopped at the landing. “Abby and you are the only females in this house. Unless they have more newbies coming in.”

“Okay, tell me about Abby.” Tucker smacked Bo in the stomach when his eyebrows wiggled. “You are a dog.”

“True, but you love me anyway.” Bo poked Tucker’s side. “Abby McCain has been a fireman for three years. She has proven herself to be one that will do anything to get the job done. She will risk her life for a fellow firefighter in a heart beat.”

“That is great.” Tucker saw the sign on the door that said ‘Woman’s bunks’. “Let me drop off my stuff and you can finish showing me around.”

“Do I have welcome committee on my forehead?” Bo asked as he rubbed his forehead.

Tucker nodded, “yep. You sure do. So wait for me.”

“Okay, wee bit.” The muscular man grabbed for the door knob. “You have five minutes.”

“Why only five?” Tucker asked as she walked by her friend.

Bo whispered, “cause Cookie is going to make everyone a snack.”

“And why is that a reason to hurry?” Tucker questioned as she pushed Bo away.

Bo sighed, “Cookies the best firehouse cook around and every time a new shift comes in he makes a snack.”

Feeling a little bit hungry since she was to nervous to eat before she came, Tucker quickly dumped her bag and ran out the door. “Come on buddy. Let’s not keep the cook waiting.”

Bo laughed as at his friend’s back, but quickly followed so he wouldn’t miss out on what ever surprise Cookie had waiting for them.

*******************

A quick stop to introduce herself to the Captain, Tucker was surprised to find out that Bo was the newly promoted Captain. After congratulating Bo he stated they better hurry up to the kitchen.

Tucker walked into the kitchen/living quarters. On one side was two large couches and three recliners all in front of a large TV and a bunch of electronic devices. On the other side was a large cooking area with a huge table that had twelve chairs surrounding it. Several of the chairs had her fellow firefighters sitting down eating something that smelled great.

She looked at every man there wondering if maybe one of them was the killer. “Hi guys,” she said as she got closer.

The men turned towards her and waved. “Come on in and take a seat.” An older fire fighter motioned to an empty seat next to him.

“No don’t sit next to him. Come over here by me.” Another one pulled out the wooden chair next to him.

Tucker smiled and shook her head. “How about I sit here. That way no one has to get their feelings hurt.” She grabbed a chair and sat down.

“Smart girl.” Bo said as he walked in. “Never sit next to Brad he may be an old man but his hands are fast as lightening.”

“Hey now, I would never touch a fellow fire fighter like that.” Brad huffed and crossed his arms across his chest.

Bo laughed. “You know darn well I didn’t mean it that way. You just want a chance to grab her treat that Cookie has made.”

The whole room laughed and shouted out their agreements.

“I don’t think you are fast enough to get my food out from under my nose.” Tucker winked over to the older man. “I love my food and guard it with everything I can.”

“I think I am gonna like you.” A deep voice said from behind Tucker.

The voice made Tucker jump. She had never in her life heard anything so deep sounding in her life. “You scared the crap out of me.”

“Sorry,” Cookie put a large bowl in front of Tucker. “Let me know what you think.”

Tucker looked down at the massive amount of vanilla ice cream over hot apple cobbler. “Oh my god. I have died and gone to heaven.” She dug in and moaned with every mouth full.

“I think I have just found my new mouse.” Cookie grinned as he walked over to where Bo sat and handed him is own bowl.

“Mouse?” Tucker asked curiously.

“Yep, he likes to try out his new creations on a guinea pig and you have just become the next lab rat.” One of the firefighters replied. “By the way my name is Harry.”

“Hi, Harry. Nice to meet you.” Tucker mumbled around a mouth full of food. “So what are we gonna do first?”

“You are going to regret asking that.” Bo smiled with a gleam in his eyes.

As soon as her friend said that she remembered what he said about shower stalls and toilets. “Let the fun begin.”

*******************

Tucker jumped straight out of bed when the loud alarm went off. “Shit, fuck?what the hell?”

The door flew open and Bo’s large body filled the space. “Get your ass moving Tucker.”

“Right behind you.” Tucker stumbled to where her fire gear was. She slipped up the pants and pulled the bright red suspenders over each shoulder. Grabbed the large rubber boots and ran out the door.

*******************

“That was so cool.” Tucker jumped down off the fire engine before it came to a complete stop. “The way it exploded just as we came up was so intense.”

“If you think that was intense wait until a really big fire and the roof collapses that is a sight to see. That sound is like nothing you have ever heard before.” Brad stated as he sat down to pull his dirty boots off.

“No the thing that is the most intense is when you open a door and the fire rushes out at you. The sound is like a loud roar,” one of the other firefighters said with a grin. “It scares the crap out of you, but is a really intense and unforgettable moment.”

“It that what they call a back draft?” Tucker asked as she hooked her helmet on the hook of her open locker where her coat and other things were kept when she wasn’t on duty.

“Yes,” Bo answered as he stepped by her. “Try to never get into that kind of situation. It could kill you in a heart beat.”

Tucker nodded at her friend. All of a sudden she was really tired and wanted to crawl into bed. “Well guys, I’m going back to bed.”

“No you’re not,” Bo responded as he reached in a cupboard and pulled out several white rags. “Newbie cleans the rig.”

“All by myself?” Tucker asked, shocked.

“Yep,” everyone said together as they slowly walked to the door and up the steps to their bunk room.

Tucker stomped over to a Bo and tugged the rags out of his hand. “You do realize this is totally unfair.”

“Sorry buddy.” Bo shrugged. “All part of the orientation process.”

“Bullshit, this is called slave labor.” Tucker walked over to the slightly dirty rig. “I will be here all night you know?”

“We all had to go through it. So just grin and bare it.” Bo slapped Tucker on the back. “Breakfast is at eight sharp.”

“I will still be cleaning this monster at that time.” Tucker groaned as she began to clean the front grill and hood.

Bo shook his head and laughed, “there’s step ladder over there.”

*******************

Abby McCain walked into the quiet firehouse and stopped as the door shut behind her. She looked around and a smile formed across her face. “Love the smell of this place.” She unzipped her black leather jacket and started towards the kitchen knowing Cookie would soon be at it. “I love it when I get first dibs.”

As she stepped around the large fire truck she stopped as a towel dropped to the ground in front of her. “What the hell?” She bent over and picked up the slightly wet rag. Unable to see why the towel fell she moved around to the back of the rig and jumped up the metal ladder to get a peek.

The site of a small blonde sound a sleep with her face pressed up against a metal pole nearly had Abby laughing out loud. “Hey,” she said softly as she tugged on foot. “Wake up.”

“Kill Bo,” Tucker mumbled as she continued to sleep.

Abby giggled and pulled harder on the foot. “Rise and shine.” She said a bit louder.

Tucker stretched her tired body as her eyes fluttered open. The sight of a smiling beauty before her made her stop all movement. “Why are you in my bedroom?”

Abby raised an eyebrow. “You are not in your bedroom. You are on top of the fire truck.”

Tucker looked around then closed her eyes and moaned. “I cannot believe I fell asleep up here. What a dork.”

“Naw, at least you fell asleep on the top. I slept under it when I had to do it. Almost got my ass ran over.” Abby replied as she reached out her hand. “Hello, my name is Abby McCain.”

“Hi, Tucker Baldwin.” She shook the offered hand and smiled, “so what do you say you help me get these jokers back?”

“What do you have in mind?” Abby asked as she jumped off the truck to the cement floor.

Tucker crawled from her spot and stood on the shiny chrome bumper. “Let me think on it.”

Abby held out her hand to help Tucker down. “I think I’m going to like you.”

*******************

Tucker sat at the table as Cookie slapped Abby’s hand away for the millionth time. She like the dark haired blue eye firefighter. She especially liked the way the dark uniform pants fit nicely around Abby’s well formed butt and the way she could see muscles hidden underneath the long sleeved blue shirt.

“Good morning all.” Bo greeted the three as he walked into the kitchen area and sat across from Tucker. “You did a great job Tuck.”

“Shut up Bo.” Tucker stuck her tongue out at her friend. “You and the others will get it.”

“Right,” Bo laughed. “Give it a shot short stuff.”

Tucker pushed her chair back and walked around the large table. She knew Cookie and Abby had stopped what they were doing to see what she would do. Unnoticed by the three Tucker had a bowl of the sweet white icing Cookie had made for the cinnamon buns that were cooling off by the stove. She stepped up behind her friend and patted his back. “You know when I say something I mean it.”

“The best have tried my friend and they have all failed.” Bo smirked.

Tucker looked over to twinkling blue and winked. “I don’t fail.” She whispered and dumped the whole bowl over the top of Bo’s head. She tapped the bowl to make sure it stayed on the man’s head. “I’m going to go take a shower now. I seem to have gotten some frosting on my fingers.” She looked at her fingers and licked off some icing.

“Really?” Bo said as he sat there with frosting dripping down his face and all over his uniform. “Wonder how that happened?” He pushed his chair away from the table.

“No clue.” Tucker stepped back and took off running as Bo stood up and moved towards her.

Cookie and Abby started to laugh as the sight of the smaller blond running from the much bigger man with a bowl on his head.

“I really like that mouse,” Cookie said as he took in a breath.

Abby looked over at the cook, “Mouse?”

“That’s what I call her. You should have seen the amount of food she put away last night.” Cookie shook his head. “She out ate Harry.”

Abby stood up straight and stared at Cookie, “no way?”

“Yes, way.” The cook replied, “and the wit she has. She will fit in this group with no problem.”

“Great,” Abby slapped Cookie on the back. “See you in a while. Going to go and check things out.”

“Later,” Cookie nodded as he started to toss ingredients into a large bowl.

*******************

Tucker walked out of the shower and dried off her body. The scars that ran across her stomach were white against the tan skin. “Always there to remind me aren’t you?”

She looked up into the mirror and got lost in memory of the fateful night her world changed.

The road was dark and foggy. The loud crashing of thunder and the brightness of lightening filled the night. Tucker looked over at her partner of two years with trepidation. “You sure we shouldn’t get back up?”

“No, we can handle this. It is just some drunk disturbing the peace.” Christopher stated as he stopped the car in front of a large house. “Let’s go around back and see what we can find.”

Tucker flipped her hat on her head and zipped up her thick coat. She opened the door and stepped out of the nice warm car. Even before she closed the door she was drenched. “Teach me to grab the wrong coat.”

“Come on.” Christopher waved at her. “After this I want to go check out that new Chinese restaurant.”

“You just want to check out that waitress the others were talking about.” Tucker stated with a giggle.

Christopher stopped and laughed. “Like you don’t want to check her out yourself.”

“Hey, you know I am in a committed relationship.” Tucker replied as she passed her partner. “So drop it okay.”

“You may think you are, but I honestly don’t think Peggy thinks you two are.” Christopher mumbled as he followed Tucker.

Tucker shook her head. “I heard that.”

“Good, now lets get going.” Christopher moved past Tucker and walked around the corner of the building.

Tucker didn’t even hear the sound of the gun going off all she noticed was the flash of light she thought was lightening then the motion of her partner hitting the ground.

“Ohh fuck,” she yelled as she knelt down next to her friend and partner. “Where is he?”

Christopher pointed off into the darkness.

“Promise me you will stay here.” Tucker looked deep into scared brown eyes. “Promise.”

“I promise.” Christopher mumbled as blood trickled down his chin to mix with the rain drops that pelted his face.

Tucker watched for a second before she called for back up. “Officer down. I repeat officer down. Need back up at 754 North Lake.”

Tucker stood up and turned towards the eerie blackness that sucked up her surroundings. She tried to see any kind of movement, but the wind made everything confusing. When a real flash of lightening shot across the sky Tucker saw a figure running down the ally. She took off as fast as she could go, but it wasn’t enough as the distance between her and the figure lengthened.

“FUCK!” Tucker yelled out to the night as she stopped running.

Tucker turned back and started to walk to where Christopher sat, but as she continued down the ally a loud engine could be heard coming up fast behind her. Before she could turn around she was clipped by a small red car. Her body went flying up in the air and she landed on a bunch of broken wooden boxes.

“Oh God,” Tucker gasped as pain grasped her body. She ran her hand down to her stomach and she felt several large pieces of wood sticking out of her abdomen. Slowly she made her way to her feet and back down the ally. She could feel the blood seeping out of her wounds and down her body. As she was within two feet of her partners body she could see the odd look on Christopher’s face as another flash of lightening screeched across the sky. “Oh god no. You promised. You promised you would stay.” She said before she collapsed to the ground unconscious.

*******************

“One of many promises broken,” Tucker mumbled as she reached over and grabbed her underwear and pulled them on. Then she reached for her sports bra and pulled it over her head and over her breasts. “I wonder what my life would be like now if that night had not happened?”

Tucker swiped her shirt off the counter and pulled it on. Her reflection from the mirror caught her attention once again. “I can’t do that. The what if and what would be will only drag me down. Need to live for the now not the past.”

“You always talk to yourself?” Abby asked from the door.

Tucker lowered her head and blushed. “Sorry, didn’t know anyone else was around.”

“I just got here. I didn’t hear anything, just some mumbling.” The tall firefighter stated. “Was wondering if you wanted to come take a look around the firehouse to get yourself familiarized with everything here?”

“Sure, give me a few to finish getting ready,” Tucker smiled slightly as she buttoned up her blue shirt. “Meet you in our room.”

“See you in a few,” Abby replied before she quietly closed the door.

Tucker shook her head, “I need to watch what I do. Everyone is going to think I am nuts if I continue to talk to myself.” She stopped all movements and closed her eyes. “Damn it. Doing it again.”

*******************

For the next couple of hours Abby went from room to room showing Tucker the way things worked and where all the equipment was stored if it was not on the truck. The last thing she showed Tucker was the back of the firehouse. This was a special place for the men and woman of the house; it gave them a much needed escape, though it was still within close proximity to the firehouse.

“My god this is beautiful.” Tucker gasped, as her eyes took in all the colors and smells of the small garden and pond. “Where did this come from?”

“Jacob Miller did this on his down time and sometimes on his days off.” Abby moved closer to one of the benches and sat down.

“He was one of the firemen that has been killed. Right?” Tucker already knew the answer to her question, but didn’t want anyone to know she knew more than the average person.

Abby nodded her head. “He was a great person. Always ready to help anyone who needed it. He used to help down at the homeless shelter either talking with the people or doing just about anything. I remember once when he asked a bunch of us to go with him on one of our days off to help with a new roof.” Abby wiped a lone tear that fell down her cheek. “We all showed up the next day ready to work. Jacob pulled up and he had on this crazy clown outfit. It was one of the kid’s birthday and he wanted a clown. Being that no one could afford it he went out and rented a costume. I have never in my seen that man more happy than at that time when the kid came outside and saw him. The way his eyes widened and the excited scream was priceless.”

“That is great he did that.” Tucker made her way over to a bench and sat across from Abby. “Tell me more.”

Abby’s tear filled blue eyes looked into soft emerald. “Some asshole killed Jacob. He was doing his job to save people and someone snatched his life right out from under his feet. All he wanted to do was help and now anyone who knew him will never see that smile he always had on and anyone who was supposed to meet him will never know the joy of his pure heart.”

Tucker reached over and grabbed hold of Abby’s hand. “The person will be found and brought to justice.”

Abby looked down at the small hand holding her hand. ” I know, but will it be to late or will someone else die?”

“I sure in the hell hope not.” Tucker stated before she stood up. She tugged on Abby’s hand. “Come on. Let’s go see what Cookie has for us in that kitchen of his.”

*******************

“Don’t people see the big ass truck or hear the loud sirens?” Tucker yelled as they slowed down because some car in front of them wouldn’t pull over like the driver was supposed to.

Harry shook his head and yelled back. “Hell no. Stupid ass people don’t give a shit when they see us coming.”

Tucker leaned back and looked at Harry. The way he answered her made the hairs on the back of her neck stand up. “Going to have to look deeper into your file, Harry.”

*******************

Tucker grabbed an ax and walked over to where Bo stood. “Where do you want me?”

“Go around back and break out any window you can see.” Bo pointed to the side of the house. ” Go.”

Tucker moved as fast as she could with the heavy fire proof pants and jacket along with the big black helmet that protected her head. She flipped down the shatter proof cover when she reached the back. Taking in a deep breath she swung at the glass of the first window and watched as it crumbled down around her feet. “One down three more to go.” She mumbled as she headed to the second window.

*******************

“Abby, I need you and Harry to go in and check out to see if everyone made it out of the house.” Bo ordered before he walked off to give more directions to his men.

“Come on. Let’s get this show on the road.” Harry shrugged on a bright yellow oxygen tank and Abby followed suit.

“Right behind you,” Abby fixed her black helmet on her head after bringing the face mask over her head to hang around her neck for when she needed it.

*******************

Tucker broke the last window and stood there to watch the smoke billow up into the sky. A soft cry for help caught her attention. She looked around to see if maybe the sound was coming from outside and not inside like she dreaded. When she heard the noise again she knew that somewhere inside was someone hurt and needing help.

Tucker looked around to see if there was anything she could use to help her get up to one of the window’s she just smashed. An old picnic table caught her eye and she ran over and tugged it closer to the house.

“I know I am going to get in so much trouble.” Tucker mumbled to herself before she lifted herself up through the window.

*******************

Harry and Abby stepped into the dark smoky entrance of the house. They looked around deciding where they should go first.

“Let’s start upstairs and towards the back.” Harry pointed towards a set of stairs.

Abby nodded as she adjusted her equipment and followed Harry. They checked every known hiding place a scared child might hide. Coming up empty handed they headed down the stairs. The smoke from the fire that started in the basement from some unknown source was thicker as they descended down the stairs.

“Let’s hurry this up.” Harry ordered through his air mask.

Abby caught some movement out of the corner of her eye. “Hey , I just saw something.”

“Where?” Harry asked as he looked around. “I don’t see anything.”

“Over there,” Abby pointed with a glove covered hand.

The two firefighters slowly made there way to what looked like a kitchen. They could feel the intense heat as they got closer and closer to the room.

“I hope you did see something. I think we are right above the fire and the flooring could go at any time.” Harry said as he looked around.

The air slammed out of Abby’s lungs when a body slammed against her and shoved her to the ground. A set of frantic black eyes glared at her.

“What do you think you are doing in my dungeon of hell?” The crazed man growled. “You were not invited to join me. The master just wants me.”

Harry tried to grab the man off of Abby, but the man kicked out with his feet and nailed him in the knee dislocating the knee cap.

Abby watched Harry drop like a ton of bricks. “Shit, get off me.” She yelled as she tried to get loose.

“Don’t you understand the master wants me. Just me. Not you. You are trying to get him to leave me.” The man pushed off Abby’s air mask. “He will not take you. I will kill you first then he will have no choice.”

“Get off me you fucking lunatic.” Abby fought and tried to get the advantage but the air tank was digging into her spine with the added weight of the large man on top of her. She closed her eyes as she felt the man’s large hands wrap around her neck. “Oh God.” She gasped for air.

In what seemed like hours but in fact were just a few short seconds the man was shoved off her. Abby rolled in the opposite direction as quickly as she could until a wall stopped her progress. The sounds of grunting and fighting drew Abby’s attention and she looked over to where two bodies fought.

Harry dragged himself closer to Abby. “You okay?”

“I think so. Any idea who that is fighting the nut?” Abby asked as she reached around to find her air mask. She lifted it to her face and took in several deep breaths.

“No, but we need to get out of here. No telling how much longer the floors going to hold.” Harry stated as the smoke was growing thicker and darker.

Abby nodded and reached into her jacket for her mic. “Captain come in this is Abby.”

“Go ahead Abby.” Bo answered.

“We need some help. Some guy attacked us and Harry is down. I am okay but someone is fighting with the man. We are towards the back of the house in the kitchen.” Abby said as she watched the two still struggling figures through the smoke.

“Ok, back up is on its way.” Bo replied as he pointed to two men that passed him. “You two get tanks on and go help Abby and Harry. Harry is down. Be careful we might have two people in there that are not in their right minds.” He pressed the button on the mic. “Repeat, back up is on its way.”

“Copy,” Abby responded as she watched the smaller of the two fighters get slammed up against the wall. That was when she noticed the figure had on a fireman’s coat. “Harry, that is one of our guys.”

“Who?” Harry asked as he groaned from the pain that shot up his leg as he moved.

Abby coughed as she pointed over to the two fighting. “The one who knocked the crazy man off of me.” She winced as she saw the fire fighter get a knee to the stomach. “I have to do something to help.”

Abby stood up and slowly made her way closer to the two fighting. She wasn’t too sure what she would do, but she had to help get the situation under control before the fire spread and someone got hurt or worse.

“You will not defeat me. I am the chosen.” The crazed man yelled as he punched the small firefighter in the face.

Abby watched as the fireman’s body slumped to the floor. Without thought she jumped up and wrapped her arms around the man’s body to prevent him from tossing anymore punches. She felt like she was riding a wild bull. The man bucked and twisted hoping to get her off. Abby lost her grip when the man grabbed her hand and bit it.

“Ouch,” Abby screamed as she jumped down off the man’s back. “I can’t believe you bit me.”

“I am the chosen.” The man turned to look at Abby. “I will meet my master. I will be brought to him through the fires of hell.”

“Not today you freak.” Tucker grabbed hold of the man’s arm and turned him so he faced her. Blood trickled from her nose and mouth. She drew back her fist. “Time for you to check out.” She hit the man with all of the strength she had.

The two women watched as the man stood there for a second before his eyes rolled into the back of his head and he dropped.

Abby looked down at the man and back up to Tucker. “Time for you to check out?”

Tucker shrugged her shoulders. “I didn’t have enough time to think of a good catch phrase. So sue me.”

Just as Tucker and Abby went to pick up the man two other firefighters walked in with bright flashlights.

“Hey guys,” Abby waved as she grabbed under the man’s arm to pull him towards the front of the house. “Grab Harry.”

************************

“What in the hell do you think you were doing?” Bo asked as he stepped up to Tucker as she sat down on a curb.

“What do you mean? What was I doing?” Tucker looked up with tired green eyes. “I was doing my job.”

“Your job was to break out the back windows.” Bo paced back and forth. “If I wanted you in the house I would have said, go into the house.”

“I heard a scream. So I went in to help.” Tucker explained.

Bo stopped and crouched down so he was eye level with Tucker. “What you should have done was buzzed me on the mic so I could send someone out back to see.”

“I felt I didn’t have time. So I went in.” Tucker glared up at Bo.

Bo closed his eyes and then slowly opened them to look directly at Tucker. “You are now a part of a team. You cannot just go in and put your life in danger without putting someone else’s life in danger as well. What would have happened if you had gotten in there and a wall or something fell on you?”

Tucker sighed, “I don’t know.”

“We have certain ways to do things. These things help us to keep ourselves safe as well as the people we are trying to help.” Bo patted Tucker on the shoulder. “I know you are used to doing things for yourself, but try and remember you are a part of a team.”

“I will.” Tucker nodded her head.

************************

“So what are you going to do on your days off?” Abby asked as she stepped into the room drying her hair.

“Not too sure yet.” Tucker replied. She looked up from her book. “How do you feel?”

“Well, I feel like someone tackled me and tried to strangle me.” Abby stated with a grin. “I want to thank you for saving my life.”

“Your welcome, but there is no need for you to thank me. You would have done the same for me.” Tucker closed her book and rested it on her chest. “How’s Harry?”

“He will be off duty for a few months.” Abby tossed the towel she dried her hair with on her bunk. “How about you letting me take you out to dinner as a thank you.”

“You don’t have to do that.” The small reporter said as she watched Abby crawl into her own bed. “But I am not someone who turns down a free meal.”

“Great, how about you come over to my house and I will make you dinner.” Abby smiled. “I’ll get you my address before we leave tomorrow.”

“Sounds good.” Tucker reached to flip the light switch. “Good night, Abby.”

“Night Tucker,” Abby mumbled from under her covers.

************************

Tucker spent her first day off looking over files. She still had no suspects. Usually within the first few days of an assignment she had at least a suspicion of who the guilty party was, but so far nothing.

“Everything looks too clean,” Tucker said tossing a file down on top of the others. “Too perfect,” She rubbed her hands over her face to try and wake herself up. With a big sigh she slouched back in her chair. “I am missing something.”

A knock on her door broke Tucker from her thoughts. “Who is it?”

“Your friendly neighborhood, Freddie.” Yelled Tucker’s neighbor.

Tucker laughed, “get your ass in here.”

“Whatcha doing?” Freddie asked as she opened the door and walked in. A cigar hanging out of her mouth.

“Working,” Tucker answered. “You want something to drink?”

Freddie nodded, “sure what ever you have is good.”

Tucker stood up and walked to the tiny kitchen.

“So, kid, how do you like being a firefighter?” The older woman asked as she watched her friend. “Did you get to slide down the pole,” She wiggled her eyes as a dirty thought crossed her mind.

“You know I don’t slide on no poles.” Tucker handed Freddie her drink. “Well, unless the pole is attached to a gorgeous female body and is made of rubber.”

Freddie closed her eyes and smiled.

“Don’t you even,” Tucker laughed. “Dirty minded old bag.”

“Yes, I am and if I can’t get any I have to live with what my mind conjures up.” Freddie took a long drag of her cigar. “You want to come to dinner?”

“Sorry, but I have dinner plans.” Tucker counted to five in her head waiting for Freddie to start the bombardment of questions. She only got to three.

“What? With who? Do I know them? Is it a date? Are you gonna get lucky?” Freddie rambled as she leaned forward putting her drink on the table next to Tucker’s files.

“Slow down. My goodness you are gonna give yourself a brain cramp.” Tucker leaned back and brought her feet up on top of her coffee table.

Several quiet seconds passed before Freddie slapped one of Tucker’s sock covered feet. “Tell.”

“Fine,” Tucker stuck her tongue out.

“Careful you might need that later.” Freddie pointed and wiggled her eyebrows again.

“Gutter head,” Tucker smiled. “And no I will not need it later. I am just having dinner with a fellow firefighter. She is making me dinner because I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.”

“Really, does this fellow firefighter have a name?” Freddie asked before she took a large drink. “Is she pretty?”

“Pretty does not describe her.” Tucker replied as she shifted through the files until she came across Abby’s. “Take a look at her and tell me if she is even close to pretty.”

Freddie reached for the file and nearly choked on the ice cube she was chewing on. “Dear lord have mercy on my soul.” Gasped the old woman. “She is beyond anything I have ever seen. Check out those eye.”

“They are even more piercing face to face.” Tucker informed Freddie.

“I bet they are.” Freddie opened the file. “When do you go?”

Tucker glanced up at the clock she had on her microwave. “Shit I need to start getting ready.”

Freddie tossed the file down and stood up. “Well you better hurry. No way can you can keep that beauty waiting.”

“It’s not like that.” Tucker walked her friend to the door. “Not that I wouldn’t mind, but not gonna happen.”

“Come on,” Freddie stopped just as she stepped one foot out into the hallway. “Even you need a little bump and grind.”

“No, I am just fine. You know I don’t get into the one night stands. Plus I am working with her. I don’t want to ruin it.” Tucker gave Freddie a small shove. “Talk to you later.”

“You bet your sweet ass you will.” Freddie grinned.

************************

Tucker pulled her car up the drive way to park next to a large truck. “Well let’s go.”

As Tucker walked up the front steps to the door she could hear loud music and lots of laughter. “Maybe I’m at the wrong address.” She reached into her coat pocket and pulled out the slip of paper with Abby’s address. She looked at the numbers and then over to the street where the name matched with what she had on the paper. “I guess I’ll find out what is going on.” Before she could knock the door swung open and Abby was standing in front of her. “Hi.”

“Hello, did you have any trouble finding the house?” Abby asked as she motioned for Tucker to come into the house. “Here let me have your coat.”

“Thanks, and no. No trouble at all.” Tucker watched as Abby opened a coat closet and hung her coat up. “I have dinner going. It should be done in about thirty minutes.”

“Sounds fine.” Tucker followed Abby up several steps. “What ever you made sure smells good.”

“Thank you, I hope you like beef roast.” Abby turned and smiled. “I used my Mom’s recipe.”

“Sure I eat just about anything, but tomatoes.” The small woman made a face. “Hate them.”

“Gotcha, I’ll remember that.” Abby laughed.

The music seemed louder the closer they got to the kitchen. When they reached the doorway Abby turned to Tucker. “Sorry about the noise. My mom decided to drop in and use my swimming pool.”

“No problem,” Tucker shrugged her shoulders.

Abby sighed, “maybe no problem for you..yet.”

“And that means what?” Tucker asked very curiously.

“I made the mistake of telling my Mom that I was having someone over for dinner.” Abby guided Tucker into the kitchen to the small table where a couple of empty glasses sat. “Well, ever since I was old enough to date she has made it her life’s goal to intrude.”

“Why would she want to intrude now? This is just dinner.” Tucker asked as she fiddled with one of the glasses.

“Well, I guess I should tell you that, I am gay.” Abby shoved her hands into her pockets.

Tucker raised an eyebrow, “so?”

“You don’t have a problem with that? Most people do.” Abby stated.

Tucker shook her head slightly. “Naw, I don’t have a problem with that at all. If I did I would never be able to stand to be in the same room with myself.”

“So you are?”Abby pointed and started to laugh. “This is going to get my Mom in a hyperactive mood.”

“Matchmaker is she?” Tucker leaned back and crossed her ankles.

Abby snorted, “you have no clue. In the dictionary her picture is right next to the word matchmaker.”

Tucker laughed, “she must love you very much.”

“And I love her.” Abby acknowledged.

The back door opened and there stood Abby’s Mom with a great big smile and a cotton towel wrapped around her body.

“Shit, love to swim in your heated pool, but so hate getting out.” Ginger McCain shivered with her arms around her body. “Well, hello who are you?”

“Tucker Baldwin. I work with your daughter at the firehouse.” The small blonde held out her hand.

Ginger grinned as she took the small woman’s hand. “Your cute.”

“Mom,” Abby moved closer. “Please, don’t.”

“What?” Ginger replied as she continued to size up Tucker. “I was just making an observation.”

“Why don’t you go and get dressed and then… Ohh I don’t know?go home and see Dad.” Abby stated with a smirk. “I am sure he misses you while you’re gone.”

“Oh, your Dad is at the stupid poker game of his.” Ginger walked through the kitchen towards the hallway. “I have no clue why he even goes. He loses all his money and comes home smelling like cheap cigars.”

“He is having fun and now that he is retired he can do what he wants.” Abby turned to check on the dinner in the oven.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah.” The older woman shook her head. “I think it is what they call male bonding.”

Tucker covered her mouth with her hand to try and stop from laughing.

Abby looked over at the small firefighter and giggled. “She is a hoot. You should see her when the game is held at her house. She stands there behind Dad and ask why he needs this card or that one.”

Tucker couldn’t hold it in any more. “That is funny.”

************************

“Thank you for dinner. It was really good.” Tucker said as she put her coat on.

Abby leaned against the wall with her hands in her front pocket. “I am glad you liked it.”

“So I will see you at the firehouse.” Tucker fiddled with the door knob. “Ummm, it’s stuck.”

“Damn, that thing is always sticking.” Abby grumbled as she tugged hard on the door. “I have been meaning to get this thing fixed.”

“You do know that this is a fire hazard don’t you?” Tucker tapped the door with her finger. “How about I come over tomorrow and fix it for you?”

“I couldn’t ask you to do that.” Abby replied.

Tucker tilted her head and smiled. “You didn’t ask. I offered and it is the only way I could think of to come over for leftover.”

“Well since you put it that way. See you around eleven thirty?” Abby gave the door a final tug which resulted in the front door flying open and colliding with Tucker’s face.

************************

“What hit me?” Tucker mumbled as she raised her hand to feel her swollen face. “Ouch.”

“I am so sorry. The door just opened,” Abby replied as she wiped a blonde strand of hair off of Tucker’s forehead. “I need you to open your eyes so I can check to see if you have a concussion.”

Tucker blinked several times before she opened her eyelids all the way. The sight of Abby’s remorseful blue eyes looking at her took her breath away.

“Are you ok?” Abby asked as she placed a warm palm against Tucker’s flushed face. “I think maybe I should get you to a doctor.”

“No, no I am okay. Just give me a minute.” Tucker replied as she closed her eyes and took in a deep breath to calm her heart. “I have a hard head. It takes more than a door to knock me loopy.”

Abby held on to Tucker’s hand as she gave a small giggle. “Open your eyes again so I can check them.”

Tucker complied again and waited for Abby to make sure her pupils dilated like they were supposed to.

“They look good, but you are not going anywhere.” Abby stated as she stood up. “You are going to stay here just in case.”

“But, you said I was fine and I really need to get home.” Tucker sat up on her elbows. “Plus I don’t have anything to wear.”

“Well you can use one of my shirts to sleep in and we can wash your clothes after you change.” Abby placed her hands on her hips. “Don’t try to change my mind.”

“Fine, you win.” Tucker stood up. “This time.”

Abby waved her hand in front of her body. “Right this way.”

“Well, since this is now a slumber party. Do we get to stay up all night and watch movies and pig out?” Tucker asked as she followed the tall brunette.

“Sounds like a plan.” Abby agreed.

************************

“Love the crazy shit in this movie.” Tucker said just before she shoved a handful of popcorn into her mouth.

Abby nodded her head in agreement. “I think my favorite stunt was at the beginning when they all fell off the damn.”

“I can’t wait to see if they do a third one. I hope that Cameron, Lucy and Drew all come back. Once you change who the angels are it screws up the connection.” Tucker yawned as she looked down at her watch. “Well, I think we better head to bed. It’s after four.”

“No way.” Abby asked in shock. “Boy, time flies when you are having fun.”

“Yes, it does. So if you want me wide awake to fix that attack door of yours you better show me where I am sleeping.” Tucker rubbed her head and smiled.

“You are such a nut. Follow me.” Abby stood up and headed towards the spare bedroom. “You will find this room quite comfortable. If you need anything just knock.”

“Sure thing, but I don’t think I will need anything.” Tucker bit her bottom lip. “See you in the morning?”

“Well, since it is already morning.” Abby rubbed her hands together. “How about I’ll see you later.”

“Okay, see you later. Sweet dreams.” Tucker scooted inside the room and gave a little wave before she closed the door.

Abby stared at the closed door for a few seconds. “Sweet dreams.” She whispered into the empty hallway.

**********

Abby shot up out of bed and looked around. “What the hell?” She asked herself as her eyes adjusted to the dark room. Then she heard it again. A soft whimper.

Slowly Abby crawled out of bed and slipped on her robe. She stopped at her door and opened it just a sliver to see if she could pin point where the moans were coming from. When another whimper came from across the hall from behind the closed door of the guest room Abby opened her door all the way and knocked softly on the door. “Tucker?”

When she didn’t get a response she reached for the door knob and opened the door. She slipped into the dark room.

Tucker sat up suddenly. “Damn.”

“Are you okay?” Abby asked as she turned on the small light on the table. The sight before her broke her heart. Tucker’s hair was drenched with sweat. The look in her eyes was of someone lost and all alone.

Tucker jumped when she felt a hand wipe away some of her hair off her forehead. “Don’t.” She croaked out through parched lips.

“Tucker please let me help you. Tell me what the dream was about.” Abby begged as she held onto the smaller woman’s hand.

Tucker shook her head. “No one can help.”

Abby’s cupped Tucker’s face with her free hand. “The way you look and the way you sounded before you woke up it doesn’t look like you are doing so great with this on your own. You need to talk. You need to share it with someone.” She rubbed off a tear that fell down the distraught woman’s cheek. “I want to help you.”

“No one can do anything.” Tucker looked deep into caring blue eyes. “No one.”

Abby bent closer to Tucker and placed a whisper of a kiss on the dry lips. “No one person maybe able to do it, but I bet we can do it together.”

Tucker closed her eyes. “Am I able to share that part of myself with someone else? Am I willing to put myself out on a limb for someone else to shatter and bury under love that doesn’t exist? Am I willing to maybe lose what sanity I have to step out on that limb?” She opened her eyes and realized the person before her she could trust. How she knew that she didn’t know. She just felt in deep within her soul. “Together, you and me.”

“Yes, you and me.” Abby smiled.

“Can we do it in the morning? I’m tired,” Tucker stated as she tried to keep her eyes open.

Abby nodded, “tomorrow is good.”

**********

Tucker sat on her couch looking from folder to folder. She thought back to the morning last week she had woken up in Abby’s arms and grinned. “Boy, is she sexy as hell when she is sleeping.” She got lost in the memory of the way Abby’s mouth opened slightly as she breathed in and out. The way her eyes moved under her eyelids dreaming. “Wish I knew what she was dreaming about.”

Lost in thought she shock her head. “Never did get around to our talk.” She stood up and tossed the now closed folders onto her coffee table. “In a way I’m glad, thank God for her noisy mom.” She ran her hands through her short hair.

Tucker walked to the refrigerator and grabbed a bottle of water. She looked around her apartment. “Since spending the night over at Abby’s this place is just sad.” She plopped down on the couch and accidentally knocked one of the files on the floor. It happened to be Abby’s and she picked up the photograph and brushed her finger across the smiling woman’s face. “Why can’t anything be easy?” Tucker yawned. She looked down at her watch and groaned. “Shit, one thirty in the morning and I have to be at the station at six.”

Just as she was shutting off the light to go to bed her phone rang. “Hello?”

“Tucker there’s been another accident.” The Mayor stated sadly. ” Two fire fighters have been killed.”

“Fuck, where?” Tucker looked around for her boots and coat.

“Down by the river. You can’t miss it. It’s all lit up.” Mayor Hawker informed Tucker.

Tucker hung up the phone and quickly put her boots on and coat and hurried out of her apartment.

**********

Tucker stood in with the crowd scanning all the faces seeing if she recognized anyone. Out of the corner of her eye she saw a large figure with a black hooded coat on watching her. When she turned to get a better look the figure darted out behind the crowd and down an alley.

Tucker took off towards the dark figure. As she ran past a large smelly green dumpster a drunk stepped out and tripped her. She fell hard against the black asphalt. “God damn it.”

“Hey there pretty thing. You don’t have to fall to get my attention.” The drunk wiggled his eyebrows.

Tucker rolled over onto her back and looked up at the dirty old man. “You asshole.”

“Hey now. No need to call me names.” The drunk held out a green bottle filled with god knows what. “Wanna drink?”

“Why don’t you shove that bottle up your ass.” Tucker stood up and brushed her hands on her pants.

“I already did that. Quite enjoyed it. Figured it was worth a drink,” replied the old man. “You sure you don’t want a drink?”

Tucker glared at the stinky man and walked away.

**********

“Good morning Mouse,” Cookie bellowed out from the refrigerator he had his head stuck into. “What can I do for you this bright sunny day?”

Tucker grabbed a chair and slumped into it. “What ya making for breakfast?”

“Well, I am going to make scrambled eggs and sausage.” Cookie answered as he sat three dozen eggs on the counter top. “With white toast.”

“Sounds great,” she smiled as she crossed her arms over her chest and leaned back in the chair. “You must really like to cook?”

Cookie stopped and looked over at Tucker. He shrugged his shoulders. “It’s all right.” He reached for a pan from under the counter. “I wish everyday that my back wasn’t smashed and I could go out on a run.”

“What happened?” Tucker asked as she stood up and walked over to watch Cookie make breakfast.

Cookie cracked eggs into a big bowl. “It was a warehouse fire. My partner and I were sent in to check to make sure that all the workers got out. As we went up the metal stairs to the second floor we got separated by the ceiling falling down. I was trapped with a large piece of wood across my back and my partner was engulfed in flames.”

Tucker stared at Cookies’ eyes as they turned cold and distant.

“My partner screamed from the intense pain as the searing fire cooked his skin off his bones.” Cookie lowered his head. “I couldn’t do anything to help him. I was stuck and in pain.”

“Didn’t you call it in?” Tucker asked as she saw the man’s hands grip the counter.

Cookie looked over at Tucker. “I tried, but the damn mic I had broke. All I could do was call out and hope someone heard me.” He closed his eyes. “But no one heard me.”

“Damn Cookie I am so sorry.” Tucker whispered.

Cookie took a deep breath and blew it out. “Ohh well. That is the past. Can’t change it so I just have to live with it.”

Not knowing what to say Tucker went back to her seat and grabbed a magazine to look at while she waited for breakfast to cook.

**********

“Hey Abby,” Tucker waved at the tall brunette as she stepped into the fire house.

Abby smiled an waved back. “Hey Tucker. How are you doing?”

“I’m doing good.” The small woman grinned. “What are you doing on your next day off?”

Abby stepped up to Tucker and thought for a second. “Nothing that I can remember. Why?”

“Would you like to go on a bike ride with me?” Tucker sat on the back bumper of the large fire truck. “I know of a few good trails we could go on.”

“Sounds like fun.” Abby replied as she leaned against the truck next to Tucker.

“I will pack a picnic for us.” Tucker was about to see what Abby wanted when the loud alarm went off. “We’ll finish getting this set up later.”

**********

Bo jumped out of the fire truck’s cab and looked around. “We’ll get this secured on this side and work our way west. Call in for the foam truck to get here fast. I don’t know what kind of stuff that semi was holding but we need to get it covered and cooled down before it explodes.” He pointed to Brad and his partner Winston. “You two get some water on that thing while we wait.”

“Sure thing boss.” Winston and Brad quickly ran to the back of the fire truck to get a hose going.

“Tucker,” Bo yelled. “You and Abby see what kind of injuries we have and if there are any hot spots I can’t see from here.”

“Gotcha,” Tucker replied as she put her air mask over her face. She waited for Abby to do the same. When she got two thumbs up the two hurried into the massive amount of smashed and bent steel.

**********

“You got anything over there?” Abby yelled through her mask. She saw Tucker look into a small brown car and shake her head. “Damn.”

“No survivors yet,” Tucker said as she stepped up to Abby.

Abby nodded her head. “We need to go tell the Captain.”

As the two firefighters turned around they heard a soft cry.

“You heard that?” Abby placed her hand on Tucker’s shoulder.

Tucker looked over at Abby and gave her a slight nod. “Someone or something is alive. Somewhere.”

“It sounded like a small child.” Abby guessed as she tilted her head slightly so she could listen.

A few seconds went by and they heard the cry again and looked to their right.

“It’s coming from the truck under the back of the semi.” Abby pointed. “We need to tell the Captain. We can’t get that close without knowing what’s in the semi.”

“We can’t just stand here. We need to help.” Tucker started to move towards the smashed truck, but a strong hand stopped her. ‘What?”

“You can’t go over there. You could get sick or worse.” The older firefighter stated in concern. “Let’s go tell the Captain and get us some help.”

“You go tell Bo. I am going to go se if I can maybe help whoever is in there.” Tucker pulled Abby’s and off her shoulder.

Abby quickly grabbed the smaller woman’s elbow. “No, you cannot get close to that semi. We have no clue what is in it and what kind of effect it will have on you.”

“I don’t care what is in that damn semi. I will not let someone be in that kind of situation without someone else being there.” Tucker eyes glared with pain. “So either you come with me and call for help or go get help. No matter what you choose I am going over there. So let go of my arm Abby.”

Abby eyes turned smoky gray. She pulled Tucker into her body. “No way in hell are you going over there. I want to help whoever that is too, but by putting yourself in danger makes my job harder. Right now I have one person to rescue. I don’t want to have two.”

“Fine, I’m staying right here. I won’t go near the truck unless I feel the situation has turned. ” Tucker’s stubborn steak flared high as she crossed her arms over her chest.

Abby knew by the looks she was getting that no way was Tucker going to budge. “Fine, stay.” She ordered and walked away.

Tucker watched her friend walk away and started to feel guilty by the way she treated her. “Fuck, I royally screwed things up.”

**********

“Cap. We need help over here. We have something trapped under the semi.” Abby said as she ran up next to Bo.

Bo looked around, “where’s your partner?”

“She stayed. She wouldn’t come.” Abby answered as she looked around at all the chaos.

Bo growled, “damn it Tucker are you trying to get yourself killed?”

“What do you mean by that?” Abby questioned looking at Bo.

Bo lowered her head. “I can’t say anything. Just get your ass back there and make sure she keeps her ass out of trouble.”

Just as Abby turned to go back to Tucker a large explosion tossed her backwards.

 

Part 2

“Oh, shit that hurt.” Abby groaned as she sat up and rubbed her head. “Where is my helmet?”

“It’s over there,” Bo mumbled from his spot on the ground. “You okay McCain?”

“Yes, I think so.” Abby stood up on shaky legs and looked around. Then she quickly looked at the spot where she left Tucker. “Tucker?!” She yelled as she started to run.

The flames were too intense for her to get too close. “Captain, I need a line over here.”

Bo shouted out his orders. “Get me two lines going full blast over in this area. We have a fireman down.”

Within seconds the firemen had water saturating the area, but the flames were still not be doused.

“Where is that foam truck?” Bo yelled into his mic.

“There they are Cap,” Yelled one firefighter.

Bo looked down the road. “thanks God.” He looked up into the sky. Then he keyed his mic. “FT 67 I need you here on the east part of the fire. I have a fireman missing with a possible victim.” He looked around to where Abby was trying to find a way through the hot spots. “See anything yet?”

“No, sir.” Abby yelled back..

Bo closed his eyes. “Crap.”

Abby noticed the foam truck pull up. “Guys look out and give those guys some room to work.”

The men who held down the two hose lines moved back several feet.

It didn’t take the foam truck to long to get the fire under control. Abby was the first one through the now doused fire line. She scanned the area she left Tucker in but didn’t see her.

“Oh God! Tucker, where are you?” Abby mumbled as she searched under and in between the charred metal of several cars.

The sound of whimpering and cursing caught Abby’s attention. She stopped all movement of her body so she could figure out where the noise was coming from. Then out of the corner of her eye she saw something wave at her. “Captain I think I found something. Get me a stretcher in here fast.”

Abby ran across the cement to where she saw two feet sticking out from under a Ford pick up truck. “Tucker can you hear me?”

Not getting a reply she removed her helmet and tried to scoot under next to the quiet woman. She noticed that held tightly in Tucker’s arms was a massive amount of fur and feet. “What in the hell?” She reached over and tried to unhook the small blonde’s hands from around the dog, but she couldn’t budge them. “Shit,” she cursed as she crawled out from under the truck.

“Tucker, can you hear me?” The tall brunette yelled as she crawled over to the other side hoping she could get a better look at Tucker and maybe get whatever she was holding on to out of her arms. After she was under the truck she flipped open the face guard and loosened the chin strap. She reached a shaking hand in to feel for a pulse. “Thank God.” She sighed as she brought her hand back to rest on Tucker’s chest.

“Where do you want us?” Abby heard from a fireman she didn’t know. She slipped out from under the truck and looked around. “I think our only way to get her our from under there is to flip the truck over onto its side.

The tired looking man nodded. “We can do that. They have several more men coming.”

“Okay, I’m going to go back under there to see if maybe I can wake her up.” Abby replied.

Several minutes later the truck sat on its roof a few feet away from where a huddle was formed around Tucker.

“Let’s get her on a stretcher and get her to the hospital.” A paramedic ordered as she finished taping off an IV line.

“What should we do about the mutt she won’t let go of?” Someone asked as they started to push Tucker towards a waiting ambulance.

“Just leave it,” Abby answered as she helped the paramedic get her injured friend into the back of the ambulance. She quickly jumped in and glared at the paramedic who was about to tell her that she couldn’t go with them.

**********

Abby stood staring out the big picture window not really seeing anything. All her thoughts were in a room where a small body laid. “I shouldn’t have left her.”

“Stop blaming yourself,” Bo said as he handed her a cup of coffee. “Careful, it’s hot.”

“Thanks,” Abby said before she took a small sip. The face she gave Bo made the large man smirk.

“I said it was hot, not good.” Bo shrugged his shoulders.

A loud voice and a hand slapping against the desk in the emergency room made the two turn around.

“Shit, I told her not to come down.” Bo cringed. “I told her I would call her when we got some news.”

“Who is that?” Abby asked as she looked over at the loud woman with a cigar hanging out of her mouth.

“That’s Freddie.” Bo answered as he stepped towards the woman. “She is Tucker’s one and only friend.”

“What about her family?” Abby asked as she followed. “Why didn’t you call them?”

Bo stopped and turned around slowly. “Tucker has no family. They were killed in a car accident.”

“Oh my god.” Abby’s heart went out to her friend.

Bo could tell Abby wanted to ask questions. He held up his hands to stop the tall woman. “I know you have questions and the one you should ask is Tucker.”

Abby nodded her head in agreement.

**********

“Where in the hell do you have my friend?” Freddie cursed as she bit down on her cigar.

“Ma’am you aren’t allowed to smoke in here,” the nurse remarked as she shuffled papers around on the desk.

Freddie grabbed her cigar out of her mouth and leaned forward. “Listen here you wench in a white dress. Tell where my friend is or I will light this here cigar and smoke it in your face until you talk.”

“I think I am going to call security.” The very mad nurse fumed as she picked up the phone and began to dial the extension for security.

“Hold up, we’ll take care of her,” Bo said as he stepped up to the desk and took the phone out of the nurses hand and hung it up. “What are you doing here?”

“Well you son of a bitch, if you must know. I am here to see Tucker.” Freddie poked Bo in the chest. “You cannot just call me up and tell me to stay put.”

“You’re right, I’m sorry.” Bo guided the older woman to a seat in the corner.

“So where is she?” Freddie asked as she looked from Bo to Abby. “Who are you?”

“My name is Abby.” Abby held out her hand.

Freddie smiled and shook the tall woman’s hand. “Oh, you’re Tucker’s lady friend. You’re pretty. If I was a few years younger.” She wiggled her eyebrows.

“We’re just friends.” Abby could feel her face blush.

Bo tapped Freddie on the knee. “Stop.”

“Asshole,” Freddie mumbled as she chewed her cigar. “So tell me what happened and what news do you have on my girl.”

Bo and Abby took turns filling in Freddie of the events of the day. All the old woman could do was shake her head and growl.

“That girl is stubborn as all get out. One of these days she is gonna get her ass into more trouble than she knows what to do with.” Freddie leaned back in the uncomfortable chair. “When can we go see her?”

“I would think any time now.” Bo replied as he stretched his body and groaned when his spine popped loudly. “Oh man that felt good.”

“Sounded like it hurt like a bitch.” Freddie stood up and walked over to the double doors. She looked into one of the windows. “Did you see what room they wheeled her in?”

“Second on the left,” Abby answered as she stepped up next to Freddie.

Freddie nodded and looked behind her then back through the window. “Be right back.”

“Where you going?” Abby asked.

Freddie looked up and grinned. “I always did hate waiting.”

Before Abby could grab her, Freddie slipped through the doors and walked into the second room. Abby just closed her eyes and hoped that Freddie wouldn’t get kicked out. She glanced over at Bo who just shrugged and smiled.

“He is a lot of help,” Abby mumbled as she looked through the window for any sign of the sneaky woman.

**********

Freddie let her eyes get used to the very brightly lit room. She shuffled her feet towards the still figure laying on the table with a thin sheet covering her.

“Girl what did you do to yourself?” Freddie asked Tucker knowing she wouldn’t get an answer.

A growl made Freddie turn and look in the corner. “Well hello there my furry friend.” She stepped closer and knelt down. “You must be the fur ball she saved.”

“Excuse me, but no one is supposed to be in here,” a nurse said as she stepped into the room

“Bite me,” Freddie snapped. “I ain’t leavin’ until I find out about my friend.”

**********

“Well?” Abby asked Freddie when she stepped through the doors. “How is she?”

“They are waiting for her to wake up. It appears she has one hell of a goose egg on the back of her head,” Freddie answered. “Other than that they say that can’t find anything else wrong with her.”

“When are they gonna get her to her own room? What about when she have visitors?” Abby questioned as she began to pace. “I knew I shouldn’t have left her. I should have dragged her ass with me.”

“I know you’ve only known Tucker for a short time, but you know she is stubborn and pig headed.” Freddie patted Abby on her back. “Don’t blame yourself. Shit happens. That is life.”

“But she could have lost hers.” Abby pointed at the double doors.

Freddie nodded, “but she didn’t. So get over it and be thankful we still get to have the hardheaded woman around.”

Abby closed her eyes and grinned. “You sure don’t pull any punches do you?”

“Life is way too short to pussy foot around,” Freddie replied.

“Excuse me?” the nurse who had talked to Freddie poked her head out from in between the double doors. “Freddie, can you help us get that dog out of Tucker’s room?”

Freddie smiled, “I’ll need some help.” She gestured over to Abby.

“Sure, thanks. We aren’t supposed to have animals in here.” The nurse stepped out of the way and followed Abby and Freddie into the room.

Abby walked into the room and stopped at the foot of the bed. She rested her hands on Tucker’s feet and rubbed softly. “She looks so small.”

“Maybe you should whisper that in her ear.” Freddie stated with a smile. “She hates to be called small. It really pisses her off.”

“Shut up, you old hag,” Tucker mumbled but didn’t open her eyes. “I ain’t small. I’m just the right size.”

“Right size for what?” Freddie asked with a great big smile as she grasped onto Abby’s hand and gave it a squeeze. “Listen to this.”

They waited a couple of seconds before Tucker answered.

“Right size to get the best look at all the boobies.” Tucker opened her eyes. She blinked a few times to clear her vision. “Oh crap.” She quickly closed her eyes when she spotted Abby standing there with a grin on her face. “Kill me now.”

“About time you woke up you fruitcake.” Freddie slapped Tucker’s leg as she moved closer to the head of the bed. “How do you feel?”

“Well other than being embarrassed and some damn little men pounding in my head I feel okay.” Tucker answered as she opened her eyes again and looked up at Freddie then to Abby. “Hi.”

“You scared the crap out of me you know,” Abby said as she looked deep into Tucker’s green eyes.

“Sorry,” Tucker replied softly. “I had to stay. I couldn’t leave.”

The three women turned when a whimper and a tap, tap, tap could be heard in the corner.

“Looks like your new friend wants to come say hello.” Abby gestured to the dog. “Come here boy.”

The dog sat there and looked at the three but did not move.

“Well, come on.” Abby patted her thigh.

Immediately the dog jumped up and scurried to the tall woman. Then he nudged the side of her leg waiting to be patted and scratched on the top of his head.

“Can you please get him out of here?” The nurse begged.

Abby nodded her head. “Sure, I’ll take him to my house.”

Tucker leaned up but slowly laid her head back down. “Shit, that sucks.”

“Don’t try to sit up.” The nurse moved to the other side of Tucker. “You hit your head really hard and you have a concussion. Any kind of quick movement will make you very dizzy.”

Tucker opened her eyes and smirked. “You don’t say.”

“Don’t be a smart ass.” Freddie smacked Tucker’s stomach. “Do you need anything from your apartment?”

“A pair of socks would be good and maybe a pair of my boxers I sleep in.” Tucker reached her hand up and pinched a piece of the hospital gown she had on. “These thing suck at keeping your ass all covered up and my toes are freezing.”

“Okay, Tucker. I’ll drop them off tomorrow.” Freddie gave Tucker’s hand a squeeze. “Glad you’re gonna be okay and if you ever do something like this again, I’ll kill you.”

“I’ll do my best.” Tucker gave Freddie’s hand a squeeze back before she let it go.

Abby stepped back and let Freddie pass so she could say good bye. “I’ll take good care of your dog.”

“Thanks, and I am sorry I gave you a scare.” Tucker yawned. “You’ll come and visit me?”

“You bet your ass I will.” Abby gripped Tucker’s still dirty hands. “I’m glad you’re okay. I would have missed you.”

Tucker brought Abby’s hand to her lips and placed a soft kiss on the back of her hand. “Thanks for caring.”

“I’ll see you tomorrow. I promise.” Abby tried to step away from the bed but the grip on her hand tightened to the point it hurt. “Tucker you’re hurting me.”

“Tucker let go.” Freddie quickly moved closer to the bed and tried to loosen Tucker’s fingers that were cutting off the circulation to the tall woman’s own fingers. “You’re hurting Abby you must let go.”

“What’s going on in here?” A doctor asked as he walked into the room. “No one is supposed to be in here. Everyone out now.”

“Shut the fuck up. We’ll be out of your hair in just a few minutes.” Freddie snapped at the snobby looking doctor.

“Nurse, why did you allow them in here?” The arrogant man yelled as he placed the clipboard he had in his hand on the foot of the bed.

A growl and a bark stopped the doctor from moving any closer.

“Damn it all to hell. What is that thing doing in here. We are a hospital. Not a place for wayward animals.” The doctor screamed like a little girl at the top of his lungs.

Freddie grabbed the dog around the neck., “get the hell out of here before I sic him on you. When we are done here we will leave.”

“Fine, but you only have five minutes.” The doctor stopped at the door and turned. “Because that is how long it will take security to get here.”

“Asshole,” Freddie mumbled under her breath as she made her way back to help Abby.

“Why won’t she let me go?” Abby asked softly as she never took her eyes off Tucker’s face. “What did I do?”

“You did nothing. It’s just that you said something that scares the hell out of her.” Freddie combed her fingers through Tucker’s ragged looking hair. “Tucker you need to let Abby go. Nothing is gonna happen to her. She is going to be just fine.”

“Damn it all. I forgot about not promising anything.” Abby looked over at Freddie and then the nurse who just stood their without a clue of what was happening. “We never got to talk about why it bothers her so much.”

“Do you want me to get her a sedative?” The nurse asked as she moved to leave the room.

Freddie shook her head. “No, she will be fine.” The very concerned older woman looked up into scared blue eyes. “She was gonna tell you?”

“Yes, but my Mom stopped over and we never got the chance.” Abby said softly as her shoulders slumped. “Can you tell me anything?”

Freddie lowered her eyes and sighed. “The story is not mine to tell.”

Several minutes went by as Freddie whispered softly to Tucker. Finally the small woman loosened her grip and fell into an uneasy sleep.

Abby rubbed her hand to get the circulation going again. “Is she going to be all right?”

Freddie kissed Tucker’s forehead before she guided Abby and Tucker’s new four legged friend to the waiting room.

Freddie sat down and patted the seat next to her. ” Just know lots of things have happened in Tucker’s life that she holds down deep and does not let anyone see. She is very afraid and will fight you tooth and nail if she even gets the hint that you want in. Her heart and soul are pieced together very carefully and can shatter in the blink of the eye.”

“Do you think she will ever let me in?” Abby asked as she scratched the dogs head.

Freddie smiled to herself. “I think if she would let anyone, you would be that person.”

“Guess we will find out.” Abby acknowledged with determination.

Freddie placed her wrinkled hand over Abby’s hand that was petting the dog. “Guess we will and thank you for wanting to try.”

**********

During the night Tucker woke up with shadows running across the walls from the headlights from the passing cars. The only noise she could hear was the occasional motor and every once in awhile a squeak of some nurses shoes.

Tears started to form and fall down pale cheeks but were quickly wiped away and cursed at. “I will not let the emotions win. I have to keep it in check.”

“Why?” Abby asked as she leant up against the door frame.

“What are you doing here so late?” Tucker coughed and rubbed her face.

Abby took in a deep breath before she slowly let it out. “I just wanted to see how you were.”

“I’m fine,” Tucker lied.

“Bullshit,” Abby mumbled before she walked all the way into the room, closing the door she flicked on the bathroom light to give her some more light to move around in. “Tell me why the tears and why you fight them?”

Tucker closed her eyes and laid her head back against the white pillow.

Abby moved to the side of the bed and took Tucker’s hand in hers and held tight. “I’m your friend and as your friend you can trust me.”

“Trust isn’t the issue,” Tucker stated as she tried to get her hand away from Abby. The touch of her warm hand was making all the hairs on her arm stand on end.

“Stop it, I’m not letting you go.” Abby tightened her grasp. “No more running. All you are doing is hurting yourself by not letting anyone get close. Everyone needs to know they have someone they can turn to.” Abby kissed the back of the small woman’s hand. “You need someone you can trust. Please let me be that someone.”

“I can’t,” Tucker whispered as she stopped fighting and just laid there staring at a dark corner of the room.

Abby nodded slightly before she used her free hand to grasp Tucker’s chin so the blonde would have to look at her. “Yes, you can.”

“No, I can’t. What part of that don’t you understand?” Tucker twisted her hand free and flung the blankets off her body and stood up. “I will never let anyone get close to me again. No one will ever get the chance to promise me something to only have it be broken because they were killed.”

“What are you talking about? Promising something doesn’t get anyone killed.” Abby looked at the distraught woman waiting for some reply but none came. “Damn it Tucker talk to me.”

“No.” Tucker could feel her whole body begin to tremble as she stood there ready to do battle.

Abby lowered her head and sighed, “Tucker Baldwin I promise that everything will be okay. I promise that you will be my friend for as long as you want to remain friends.”

Tucker held up her hands over her ears and mumbled over and over, “no, no, no, no. Take it back. Take it back.”

Abby stalked around the room and continued her declarations. “I promise I will be here tomorrow. I promise I will be here the day after. I promise to ….” The sentence was stopped by a body slamming against her.

Tucker took Abby to the ground and tried to cover her mouth. “Stop, stop. No more promises. I don’t want you to die. Please God don’t take Abby away from me.”

Abby just wrapped her arms around Tucker’s small shivering body and hung on. She couldn’t help but let the emotions of the situation bring tears to her eyes.

After several minutes of struggling Tucker just seemed to stop. Taking in a few deep breaths she closed her eyes and cried into Abby’s shoulder.

**********

“What is going on here?” A nurse asked when she walked in and turned on the light. “Why in the hell are you on the floor?”

Abby opened her eyes and looked up at the woman in white. “Give us a minute will you.”

“That’s all I’ll give you.” The nurse grunted as she stomped out of the room.

Abby laid her head back against the floor and closed her eyes before she tried to wake Tucker up. When she didn’t get a response she slowly sat up as best as she could with the weight of the small woman across her chest.

“You maybe small but you weigh a ton.” Abby groaned as she finally was able to stand and pick Tucker up in her arms and get her in bed.

“Much better,” the nurse said as she walked in with Tucker’s chart in her hand. “Now if you’ll give me a minute alone with her so I can make sure everything is okay.”

Abby shook her head. “No, I want to be here if she wakes up.”

“Look lady….” The nurse started but was interrupted.

“She stays or I leave with her,” Tucker mumbled as she opened her blood shot eyes.

The nurse glared at Abby before she left the room.

“Boy, I wonder what crawled up her butt and died?” Abby remarked.

Tucker shrugged her shoulders. “Who knows.”

The two looked at each other without saying a word. A few minutes went by before Abby had, had enough.

“Are you okay?” Abby asked as she sat on the edge of the bed and watched Tucker nod her head yes. “Please tell me.”

“No,” Tucker whispered.

“Why?” Abby looked at her with soft blue eyes.

“It hurts too much.” Tucker replied as a new set of tears started down her cheeks.

Abby scooted closer and wiped the tears away as they fell. “A heavy burden is always lighter when it’s shared. I want to help you. You don’t have to be alone any more.”

“I’m not alone. I have Freddie,” Tucker snapped back brushing Abby’s hand away from her face.

“Yes, you have Freddie, but what I mean is you are alone in here and here.” Abby gestured towards Tucker’s blonde head and then patted her chest. “You don’t let anyone in. You don’t let anyone care. You don’t let anyone love.”

“Bullshit, I love lots of things.” Tucker crossed her arms over her chest.

“Yes, you do, but what I meant was you don’t let anyone love, YOU.” Abby stated as she stood up. “But you want to know something. People still do love you. Captain Bo loves you. No one would have ever gotten away with dumping a bowl of frosting on his head.” She put her hands on her hips. “Freddie loves you. I’ve never seen anyone cause such a stir in all my life the way she did when they wouldn’t tell her where you were yesterday.” She looked down at her feet and then slowly looked up and met Tucker’s emotional green eyes. “And I love you. You are becoming my best friend and I haven’t had one of those in a while. I won’t just let our friendship slip through my fingers or yours.”

“You think of me as your best friend?” Tucker asked softly. “Been a long time since I had one of those.”

“Then stop running,” Abby begged. “I want to be there for you. I want you to lean on me when you cannot do it alone.” She entwined her fingers with Tucker’s and squeezed. “You are not alone.”

Tucker couldn’t fight it any longer. The deep emotions she had locked up years ago crashed through and boiled over. Abby just sat there and listened and waited until Tucker finished. Her heart broke as she finally understood why when she had promised the small woman freaked out.

“They are still with you. Look deep into your heart. The love you have for them will keep them with you for always. They may not be here physically but they are still here and here.” She patted Tucker’s chest and kissed her head. “Don’t let what happened tarnish their memories. Let the love they each had for you live again in you. So you can be the person you are meant to be. Not just a shell.”

Tucker thought about what Abby just said and how she felt telling the other woman about her past. She could feel the weight of it all slowly receding and not constricting her heart. “Thank you.”

**********

Abby looked down at the sleeping face of her friend and smiled. She could see that Tucker was in a peaceful sleep. Slowly she ran her fingers through the small blonde’s wavy hair. “Thank you for trusting me.”

She was interrupted by the ringing of the phone on the small hospital dresser. She quickly snapped it up and spoke in a soft voice. “Hello.”

“Abby that you?” Freddie asked.

Abby smiled, “hello Freddie. How are you today?”

“Madder than a son of a bitch. My refrigerator broke and I can’t come to the hospital until the landlord gets his fat ass over here,” Freddie mumbled as she chewed on her cigar. “I don’t trust the freak. I know that last time he was in here he played with my underwear.”

“What?” Abby couldn’t help but laugh. “How do you know that?”

“I have a special way of putting my clothes away and when I got home they were different,” Freddie replied. “So do you think you could come over here and get Tucker’s stuff for her?”

“Sure, I’ll come over now since Tucker is sleeping.” Abby stated as she looked down at her friend. “Can you give me the address?” She picked up a pencil and jotted down the address Freddie rattled off. “I’ll be right over.”

“Okay, see you in a few.” Freddie replied. “Bye.”

**********

Abby pulled up in front of the run down building and cringed. “They live here?” She mumbled to herself as she turned off her car and got out. Quickly she walked up the front steps and up the stairs to the number Freddie had given her. She knocked loudly when she heard loud voices yelling.

“Having fun?” Abby snickered.

“Oh yes tons. The stupid fucker walked in and I told him how the thing was making noises and not keeping things cold.” Freddie shook her head and pointed in the direction of her kitchen. “Guess what mister genius did?”

What?” Abby tried not to laugh but she couldn’t help it.

“The stupid asshole opened the door to my oven and says. It’s supposed to do that,” Freddie yelled loud enough for the man to hear her.

“Shut up you old bag. I thought your oven was broken,” the landlord shouted. “If you’d get that cigar out of your mouth for more than ten seconds I could understand a damn word you say.”

“Kiss my ass.” Freddie rolled her eyes. “Can I trust you to stay out of my underwear draw while I help my friend here?”

“Why in the hell would I want to get into your crusty undies you old bitch?” The man yelled back.

“Yeah right.” Freddie motioned for Abby to follow her down to Tucker’s apartment. “How is Tucker doing?”

“She is better.” Abby smiled. “She talked to me last night. I have a feeling it helped a lot.”

Freddie patted Abby’s back, “I have no doubt that it helped a hell of a lot. She may be small but the shit she was carrying around could have taken down an elephant.”

**********

Freddie reached into her pocket and pulled out her keys. “I have to hunt up the stuff she needs.”

“Why?” Abby asked as she watched the older woman open the door.

Freddie chuckled, “she is so used to living out of a suitcase she doesn’t put anything away. Her bedroom looks like a twister ripped through it.”

Abby laughed and followed Freddie in.

“You go ahead and have a seat. If I don’t come out in ten minutes send a search party,” Freddie said as she walked towards Tucker’s bedroom.

As Abby looked around the room her eyes fell on several files on the coffee table. Knowing she shouldn’t look but not being able to help herself she slowly made her way over and sat down. Her own name caught her attention on one so she picked it up and leafed through it. “Why does she have my work record?”

Abby took a closer look and noticed all the names of the firefighters that worked in the firehouse. “What the hell is going on?”

Freddie emerged from the room with a hand full of clothing. “Remind me to tell her to do her laundry will you.” Freddie looked from Abby to the folder in her hand.

“Why does she have all of these records?” Abby asked as she could feel her temper rising. “This is supposed to be privileged information. Not to be given out to the general public.”

“I think it would be best if you talk to Tucker about that. Since it seems she didn’t tell you everything.” Freddie walked into the kitchen and retrieved a plastic bag.

Abby gathered up all the folders and put them in a box she noticed by the couch. “Oh, I’ll be talking to her that’s for sure.”

**********

Abby marched into Tucker’s hospital room only to find it empty. She quickly turned around and went to the nurses desk.

“Can I help you?” Asked one of the nurses.

Abby gestured with her head, “do you know where the patient that was in room 217 is?”

“The doctor told her that she could go for a walk if she took it slow,” the nurse informed Abby.

Abby sighed, “any clue of the direction she went in?”

“I saw her head that way.” The nurse pointed towards the direction of the elevators. “She just left a little while ago. So she should be back in a few.”

“I’ll wait in her room,” Abby stated as she went to the empty room.

**********

Tucker had enjoyed her walk around the hospital. It was better than sitting in that ugly white room all by herself. She had hoped Abby would have been there when she woke up, but the tall firefighter was gone. “I wonder if what I told her finally sunk in and freaked her out?” She mumbled to herself.

“Talking to yourself is not a good sign.” Someone said behind Tucker.

“Gesh, you scared the pants off me.” Tucker turned around and swatted the large man. “What the hell are you doing here Cookie?”

“Thought my little mouse would like some real food.” Cookie held up a large brown bag. “But I can go if you don’t want.”

“I want, I want.” Tucker grabbed the bag and opened it up. “You have saved a starving woman.” She grabbed a brownie that sat on top. “Want to come up to my room?”

“Can’t, have to go over to firehouse 8. Told them I would come over and make then a supper they would never forget.” Cookie smiled down at the small woman. “Just wanted to stop by and drop that off first.”

“Thanks, it means a lot,” Tucker replied softly.

Cookie nodded, “I’ll see you later.”

“Okay, later and thanks,” Tucker waved at her friend and headed back to her room.

**********

Tucker walked into her room and she grinned. “Hey.”

“Hey, have a nice walk?” Abby asked as she crossed her arms over her chest.

Tucker nodded, “sure did. I ran into Cookie and he brought me lunch. Got plenty, want some?”

“No,” Abby replied as she bent over and picked up a few files out of the box. “Want to tell me why you have all these?”

Tucker swallowed the food she had in her mouth. “Where did you get those?”

“I believe I asked you first.” Abby stood up. “Why do you have these?”

Just as Tucker was about to answer a nurse with a wheel chair walked in. “Time for your x-rays.”

“Give me a minute will you?” Tucker asked as she sat her bag down, never breaking eye contact with Abby.

“Nope you have to go,” the nurse responded as she pointed to the wheel chair, “now.”

“If you will please stay I’ll explain everything when I get back.” Tucker didn’t move until she got some sort of answer from Abby. When the tall woman nodded her head she sat down and left with the nurse.

About thirty minutes later Tucker was wheeled back into her now empty room. “Well, I guess she couldn’t wait,” she mumbled softly.

“Pardon me, did you say something?” The nurses asked as she waited for Tucker to stand up.

“Nothing.” Tucker slid into her bed. “Just talking to myself.”

“Okay, do you need anything before I go?” The nurse pulled up the light blanket over Tucker’s bare legs.

Tucker shook her head, “no I’m fine. Just going to take a nap.”

“Okay, remember that the Doctor will be in to go over your x-rays with you in a little while.” The nurse reminded Tucker as she pushed the wheelchair out of the room.

“I remember.” Tucker turned on her side and stared out the window and watched a flock of birds fly by.

**********

Abby drank the last of her tepid coffee before she stood up and grabbed another cup. She looked up at the clock as she was pouring the dark hot liquid when it registered that she had been away from Tucker’s room longer than she wanted to. “Damn it, I knew I should have stayed in the room and stewed over the files.” She quickly dropped a couple of quarters into the coin catcher and rushed back towards the elevators. “No if I did stay and stew I would have driven myself nuts.” She looked up when the elevator dinged and opened. She stepped aside as four people got out. Then she entered and clicked the button for Tucker’s floor.

A few seconds later Abby made her way down the hallway and towards Tucker’s room. When she arrived a housecleaner was standing over a stripped bed. “Tucker not back yet?”

“Sorry, who?” The old woman asked.

Abby looked around, “the woman who is staying in this room. She went to get x-rays.”

The woman nodded, “the Doctor cleared her. She was discharged a little while ago.”

“What?” Abby rushed out of the room. She spotted the nurse who had taken Tucker down for her x-rays. “Excuse me. Where is the woman you took down to x-rays?”

“The small blonde?” The nurse smiled as Abby nodded. “She was discharged a little bit ago. She caught a cab out front. I’d say about twenty minutes ago.”

“Okay thanks,” Abby rushed back to the elevators and when they didn’t move quick enough she decided to take the stairs. She ran down them taking two and sometime three steps at a time. Then she walked fast through the lobby to where she had parked her car. She jumped in and quickly started the car and backed up. She reached up and flipped down her sun visor and grabbed her cell phone. “Shit, I don’t have any clue what Freddie’s number is.”

Abby drove as fast as she could without the fear of getting pulled over. When she pulled up in front of Tucker’s apartment building she saw Freddie sitting on the steps. “Is Tucker here?”

“No, she’s in the hospital. Remember?” Freddie blew a lung full of smoke away from the tall brunette.

“Fuck, she was discharged.” Abby slumped down next to the older woman.

Freddie puffed silently on her cigar, “umm, isn’t that a good thing?”

“It’s great, but I didn’t get a chance to see her after I stormed into the room so I could get an explanation on why she had all the files.” Abby sighed as she rubbed her face.

“That bites.” Freddie slapped Abby on the back. “Here take this and have a few puffs.”

“I don’t smoke.” Abby shook her head and stared at the ground n front of her.

“You don’t smoke a cigar, you let it invade your taste buds and let it bring you peace.” Freddie smiled as she puffed in a few times before she blew it out in a long easy breath. “Savor it.”

Abby shook her head. “Aren’t you a least bit worried about Tucker?”

“Nope, she’ll be back.” Freddie offered Abby the cigar. “When she is ready to face you. She’ll be back.”

“How long will that take?” Abby questioned as she fiddled with the cigar now in her hand. “A day, a week?”

“My bet is it won’t even be a that long. You have hit a chord in her that I have never seen hit before.” Freddie reached into her pocket and withdrew a new cigar and lit it up. “She has trusted you with things that have taken me forever to get out of her.”

“Some trust.” Abby snorted. “She didn’t even tell me why she has files on everyone in the firehouse.”

Freddie looked over at Abby and made a decision. “She is looking into who is killing all the firemen.”

“What?” Abby grabbed the cigar out of her mouth.

Freddie nodded her head, “the mayor got in contact with her editor. She is the best damn undercover reporter in the city.”

“She just told me that she worked for a newspaper before she decided to become a fireman.” Abby rested her elbows on her knees with her arms hanging out in front of her. “Why didn’t she tell me?

“I didn’t tell you because I was supposed to keep in quiet,” Tucker stated as she walked up next to the stairs and readjusted the box with the files she had in her hands. “Why are you here?”

Abby stood up, “I was worried about you.”

Tucker shook her head and stepped around the tall woman. “Whatever.” She walked up the stairs. “No reason to worry. You can go home now.”

“I want to talk to you.” Abby followed Tucker up the steps.

Tucker stopped when she reached the door. “No reason to talk and I’m busy.”

“Bullshit.” Abby grabbed Tucker’s arm. “You aren’t going to run from me. You’re going to talk to me.”

“I was going to talk to you, but when I got back to my room you weren’t there.” She tugged her arm free and walked into the apartment building.

“I went to get some coffee. I stayed down and lost track of time. You left a few minutes before I got back to your room. That’s when I came here.” Abby explained as she followed the small blonde.

Tucker didn’t say a word. She continued to walk up to her apartment. “You didn’t walk out,” She said softly when she reached her door.

Abby laid her hand on Tucker’s back. “I would never walk out.”

Tucker looked over her shoulder with unshed tears glistening her green eyes. “Promise?”

Abby knew from that small word that Tucker was taking a very big step. She needed to show her that this was the beginning of things. She grabbed the box Tucker still held onto and placed it on the floor. Abby then cupped Tucker’s face in her palms and placed a soft kiss on trembling lips.

“Gesh, get a room,” Freddie mumbled as she walked up to the pair.

Tucker’s face turned ten shades of red in two seconds. “You have lousy timing.”

Abby closed her eyes and stepped back. “I agree, lousy.”

“Sorry, but I thought you would want to know.” Freddie ran a hand through her hair. “Another fireman was killed from firehouse 8.”

Tucker looked up, “what firehouse did you say?”

“Firehouse 8,” Freddie repeated sadly.

The hairs on the back of Tucker’s neck stood up as she quickly opened her door. “Grab me the box of files will you.” She grabbed a note book then reached for the box when Abby handed it to her.

“You gonna tell us what is going in that head of yours?” Freddie asked as she watched Tucker flip through a file that was marked dates.

“Something just hit me and I need to look into it,” Tucker mumbled as she scanned through the file. “Come on.”

She grabbed another file and scanned it as well; comparing dates and time.

Abby watched along with Freddie who would blow a long billow of smoke out of her mouth. “Don’t she look cute when she is concentrating?”

Freddie giggled and nudged Abby. “I bet she looks cute doing most anything.”

Abby realized she had spoken her thoughts out loud and blushed slightly.

“Fuck me.” Tucker slouched down onto her couch. “Oh man oh man oh man,” she repeated over and over.

“What?” Abby and Freddie said at the same time.

Tucker tossed her pen on the coffee table and looked up at Abby. “I know who is the saboteur. Well I have a big suspicion.”

“Who?” Abby asked in a soft whisper.

Several seconds went by as Tucker tried to form the name of her main suspect. “Cookie.”

Abby nearly fell on the floor in shock but Freddie guided her to sit in the couch.

“Are you sure?” Abby questioned. “I mean come on. He has been working in some capacity for the fire department for years.”

All Tucker could do was nod.

“I don’t believe it. I just don’t and no one else will either,” Abby argued.

Tucker reached over and showed her the dates Cookie had volunteered at each of the firehouses that had a death. “He stopped by the hospital remember. He told me he was going to firehouse 8.”

“So what. That is just a coincidence,” Abby responded as she tried to fight the gut feeling that told her what Tucker was saying was true. “It just can’t be. He has been in some way, shape, or form a major part of the fire department. He has given countless hours and almost his life.”

“Maybe that is what changed him? He used to go out and fight fires and now he is forced to stay behind.” Tucker didn’t like what she had come up with any more than Abby, but she now knew without a doubt Cookie was the killer and worst yet…the betrayer of hundreds of fellow firemen.

“What are you going to do?” Abby asked as she sat there all numb. “What is going to happen?”

“I can’t really go in with just this. I need solid proof and evidence,” Tucker stated as she rubbed her hands on her thighs.

“How do you plan on doing that?” Freddie moved to sit down on the coffee table as she puffed on her cigar. “They have been unable to get any sort of evidence on him.”

“Well, I’m off for several days. Looks like it’s steak out time.” Tucker looked over and noticed how Abby was ringing her hand together. She reached over and entwined her fingers with the brunette’s and smiled. “I hope I am wrong, but I don’t think I am.”

Abby smiled softly and squeezed the hand that was in hers. “I hope you are wrong too, but the time frame is hard to not believe.”

The three woman sat in silence absorbing and thinking of what was to come in the future.

**********

“So you hungry?” Tucker asked Abby a few minutes after Freddie had left. “We could order in some Chinese or something.”

Abby nodded her head, “okay. Sounds good.”

Tucker went to her phone and dialed the familiar number then placed her usual order and hung up. “It will be here in about 45 minutes.”

The room fell silent as the two woman looked at one another.

“You kissed me,” Tucker finally blurted out, breaking the silence.

Abby nodded her head and stood up. Slowly she walked around the coffee table to stand in front of the smaller woman. She raised one hand and brushed the back of her fingers across Tucker’s cheek. “I did and I would very much like to do it again.”

Tucker closed her eyes and just let her senses take over. The soft gentle touch of Abby’s fingers then the softness of lips as they placed tender kisses across her cheek to her waiting lips.

Abby tentatively placed her hands on Tucker’s waist. She moved as close as she could get without crawling inside the smaller woman’s skin. She leaned back from the kiss but stayed within a hairs breathe. She kept her eyes closed and smiled. “Wow.”

Tucker only nodded as she opened her eyes just a slit. She closed the small distance between their waiting lips for another sweet kiss. When she broke away she kissed her way down Abby’s neck. “You taste unbelievable.”

Abby tightened her grip on Tucker’s waist. Her whole body turned to a puddle of mush. “Oh god, that feels good.”

Tucker growled and smiled as she kissed her way down Abby’s neck to her collar bone and slightly opened shirt.

When Abby felt Tucker start to unbutton a button she pulled back slightly. “We need to slow things down.” She swallowed hard as she looked down into intense green eyes. “I don’t want to rush, not even if my body is saying the opposite.”

Tucker blinked a few times and licked her lips. “You’re right.”

Abby couldn’t help herself even if she wanted too. She just needed to kiss those lips one more time. So she stepped forward and began to kiss Tucker again, but this time with more force. Her tongue asked for entrance and it was gladly given. Hands were everywhere trying to touch what skin it could come in contact with.

Tucker’s body hummed with excitement. She so wanted to guide Abby towards her bedroom and ravish the long lean body in her arms, but her mind knew that they really needed to slow things down. She broke the kiss and rested her head against Abby’s chest. “Slow, remember?”

“Yes, just couldn’t help myself.” Abby took in several breathes. “You are a damn good kisser.”

“I don’t hold a candle to you.” Tucker gave Abby a small squeeze before she stepped away. “Would you like something to drink?”

“Something cold would hit the spot.” Abby smiled as she stood in the middle of the room.

Tucker nodded, “I agree, something cold would be nice.”

**********

Later that night after they had eaten and talked Abby had fallen asleep with her feet perched up on the coffee table. Tucker had been staring at the beautiful woman for over an hour. It scared her to death that she had told Abby stuff no one in the world had known, but being scared was over run by the feeling of undying love. “Should I be feeling this love so strong? So fast?” Tucker mumbled to herself.

She continued to watch Abby sleep and reflect on her feelings. It was just before sunrise that she stood up and stretched. She was tired but it was a good tired as she had decided that she would not run from the love Abby was so willing to give her. She would relish in it and grow to be a better person. Not only for herself but for Abby.

“I need a shower,” Tucker stated as she felt all the grime on her since she wasn’t able to take a shower at the hospital. She took one last look at how peaceful Abby looked before heading for her bathroom.

**********

Abby woke up as a the room started to get brighter from the fast rising sun. She yawned and looked around. “Wonder where Tucker is?” Then she heard the sound of the shower running and smiled. The images of Tucker naked and wet sent shock waves through her body. She thought for about two seconds before she stood up and started to undress.

**********

Tucker just washed the shampoo out of her hair when she felt a draft rush against her skin. She squinted an eye open and nearly slipped when she saw Abby slide into the shower with her.

Abby smiled, “thought I would join you.”

Tucker wiped the water off her face and grinned back. “I like the way you think, but are you sure?” She tried to keep herself from ogling the beautiful body in front of her but she couldn’t help it. The perfect round breast and pink nipples standing up begged to be licked. She watched as a drop of water slipped down a taut stomach to a small patch of hair in between Abby’s thighs. “Oh babe, you are so.. I cannot think of a word to describe how you look to me.”

“You don’t need to. I can see it in your eyes.” Abby stepped closer as she caressed Tucker’s cheek with the tips of her fingers. Her other hand reached behind Tucker’s neck to bring the smaller woman’s face closer. “I see love.”

Tucker closed her eyes as soft warm lips touched hers. She couldn’t stop the moan if she tried as a strong hand cupped her breast and squeezed her nipple.

Abby at first wanted to go slow but the intense feelings that were ignited when her skin touched Tucker’s shot the thought right out of her head. She wanted to know every inch of the exquisite body next to her. “You are so soft,” she whispered as she kissed her way down Tucker’s neck.

Tucker placed one hand on the tiled wall and the other on Abby’s waist. She could feel her legs tremble as Abby kissed and nipped the base of her neck. “I won’t be able to stand much longer.”

Abby grinned against Tucker’s skin. “Having an effect on you am I?” She asked as she moved towards a hard nipple.

“Oh God yes,” Tucker groaned out as Abby took Tucker’s nipple into her mouth.

**********

Throughout the morning Abby and Tucker showed each other how much they loved one another. They took turns ravishing one another’s bodies over and over again sending each other into oblivion several times.

They were resting quietly when a loud knock interrupted the peaceful silence.

“I’m gonna hurt someone,” Tucker mumbled as she slipped out of bed and grabbed one of her flannel shirts. “Be right back.” She winked at Abby who followed every move Tucker made.

“”Nice ass,” Abby whispered when Tucker bent over to grab a pair of boxers.

Tucker wiggled her butt at her lover before she headed out of the room as who ever was knocking knocked louder.

“This better be good,” Tucker stated as she flung open the door.

Freddie stood there with her arms loaded with food. “Just wanted to make sure you and Abby were well fed.”

Tucker grabbed the food. “Thanks,” she smiled before she closed the door.

“Who was at the door?” Abby asked as she walked into the room covered in a sheet.

Tucker let the image of the beautiful woman standing before her burn a permanent picture in her brain. “Freddie, brought breakfast.”

Abby started to open the bags, “where is she?”

“She left,” Tucker replied as she sat down on the couch and started to run her hand up her lover’s leg. “How about we work up an even bigger appetite?”

Abby brushed the long dark hair out of her face as she turned to look over at the seated woman. “How do you suggest we do that?”

Tucker’s answer was pulling Abby’s onto her lap where she proceed to kiss a wet trail down the woman’s neck as she loosened the sheet to drop to the now naked woman’s waist.

**********

Tucker walked into the court house and asked a security guard where the county records where held. The nice old man pointed towards a stair way that went down to the basement.

“Thanks.” she quickly made her way down to a door that said ‘Records’ in fading black paint.

**********

Abby smiled as she folded a load of laundry. A knock on her front door then the sound of it opening and her Mom’s voice calling for her interrupted her chores.

“Hey, Mom what are you doing?” Abby asked as she leaned back into her couch.

Ginger walked into the living room and eyed her daughter. “Where in the hell have you been? I have been trying to call you.”

Abby looked over at her answering machine that was blinking in rapid repeated red blinks. “I’m sorry Mom. I was with Tucker.” She patted the couch next to herself. “She was hurt in that explosion on the highway.”

“Is she going to be okay?” Ginger asked with concern as she made her way towards the sofa.

Abby nodded and smiled, “she is doing great.”

The older McCain woman looked at her daughter. “Great, huh?” She wiggled her eyebrows. “How great is she?”

“Mom I can’t believe you would even think I meant that, that way.” Abby lightly slapped her Mom’s knee.

“Well, dear when my daughter who is sitting not a foot away from me has a big hickey on her neck, how else am I supposed to think?” Ginger laughed as she watched Abby jump up and look in a mirror that hung on the wall.

“I’m gonna kill her,” Abby growled as she rubbed the red spot on her neck.

“Don’t be too hard on her. I bet you left similar looking marks somewhere on her body.” The slightly gray haired woman stated with a straight face. “Or did you hide yours?”

Abby closed her eyes and shook her head. Slowly she turned a nice shade of red. “I’m gonna kill you first, then her.”

**********

“What can I do for you young lady?” A large blue haired woman asked Tucker when she walked into the room.

Tucker smiled politely as she leaned against the counter. “Do you have any records of complaints against the fire department?”

“How many years do you want me to look back?” The woman asked as she clicked on her computer screen and typed in a few words.

Tucker thought for a minute as a thought crossed her mind. She gave the woman several years before Cookie’s accident.

“Give me a few minutes and I’ll hunt up the information.” She pointed to a long table off to the side of the room. “Go have a seat and I’ll bring you the binders over when I locate them.”

“Thanks,” Tucker nodded her head and selected a seat to wait in.

**********

Later that night Tucker sat with copied files scattered all over the place and a pad of paper and pen in her hand. “I can’t believe all the complaints against him and he wasn’t fired.”

“What are you babbling about at two thirty in the morning?” Abby asked as she shuffled into the living room.

Tucker moved the pad and pen from her lap and grabbed a hand full of papers to set on the coffee table. “Did I wake you up?” She patted the spot next to her.

Abby grinned and sat down resting her head against Tucker’s shoulder. “Yes and no.”

“That makes sense.” Tucker giggled. “Want to explain that to me?”

“I woke up cause I was lonely.” The tired firefighter ran a hand up and down the small blondes thigh. “So you may not have woken me up but in a way you did.”

Tucker groaned when a finger caressed the inseam of her pants. “What are you doing?”

“Like you really need to ask,” replied Abby with a smirk. “You read for bed?”

Tucker wiggled her eyebrows and grabbed Abby’s wandering hand. “Bed yes, sleep no.” She stood up and tugged Abby into her arms kissing her.

**********

“You be careful,” Abby looked right into Tucker’s green eyes.

Tucker nodded her head. ” I will be very careful. I have something important waiting for me.”

“Never forget that,” Abby kissed the blonde softly. “Any idea when you will get back?”

“No, sorry.” Tucker grabbed a duffel bag that was next to her feet and opened the front door. “You going over to your house?”

“Yes, I’ll be there. Call me when you can.” Abby smiled softly to her lover. “Bye.”

“Bye.” Tucker gave Abby a tiny wave before she closed the door. “I could get used to this.”

“Get used to what?” Freddie asked as she came up from behind Tucker.

“Gesh, you old bat.” Tucker turned around smacking her older friend on the shoulder. “You scared the crap out of me.”

Freddie turned Tucker around and looked at her butt, “no I didn’t.”

“Ha ha, you think you’re so funny.” Tucker glared at the cigar smoking woman. “Got an extra cigar on you?”

“Always,” Freddie reached into her pocket of her coat and pulled out two. “Here you go.”

Tucker grinned and placed them inside her own coat pocket for safe keeping. “Thanks.”

“Where you going?” Freddie asked as she followed the younger woman down the hall and down the stairs.

“Stakeout,” Tucker answered as she opened the front door. “Going to see what our suspect is up to.”

“You be careful.” Freddie tapped Tucker on her shoulder. “You have someone very special upstairs waiting for you.”

“I know.” Tucker blushed. “My life has changed in a short period of time.”

“Does it scare you?” Freddie asked as she sat down on the front step.

Tucker took in a deep breath and looked up to where her window was. She spotted a tall figure watching her and waved. “Yes, but in a good way. I may have finally found the rest of my family.”

**********

Tucker grabbed one of the cigars Freddie had given her and lit it up. She was well hidden in her car and wasn’t worried about the glowing end being seen by Cookie. Several hours went by before Tucker spotted Cookie walking out of his apartment building. She snapped a picture of the ex-fireman as he hurriedly moved down the empty sidewalk.

“Where you going in such a hurry?” Tucker asked out loud. She knew that following him with her truck would be a dead give away so she slipped out and carefully began to follow the man.

After walking around eight blocks she saw Cookie look around before he slipped into an alley. With all her senses on alert Tucker reached the alley and looked around the corner for a peek.

She saw two dark figures huddled in a corner chatting Cookies she could tell by his bigger frame. The other man had on a cowboy hat and was half the size of Cookie. They were passing things back and forth. “What in the world?” Tucker continued to watch as she tried to hear what they were talking about, but being too far away she couldn’t pick up anything. “Fuck, I need to get closer.”

Before she could figure out how to move in unseen the two figures broke apart and started down the alley. Tucker quickly hid on the opposite side of a parked car. When the coast was clear she knew Cookie was heading back the way they had come. So she decided to follow the other guy to see if she could get a look at him.

**********

Tucker’s insides were doing flip flops as she walked into the dark smoke filled bar. She scanned the area hoping to catch a glimpse of the character she had followed in but he was not in sight. “Fuck me.”

“Sounds good to me,” a large muscled man said as he staggered closer to Tucker. “Just show me where ya want it.”

“Back off asshole.” Tucker backed away from the smelly man.

The man started to laugh, “hey, you asked for it.” He stepped closer and grabbed hold of Tucker’s hair and brought her face up to his for a kiss. Suddenly he stopped his movements and let go of Tucker. “You bitch, let go.”

Tucker tightened her hold on the man’s groan area. “When someone says back off, they mean it.” She twisted her hand a little and grinned. “Got me?”

The man was in such pain all he could do was nod.

“Good, now go away,” Tucker shoved the big man back and walked away.

**********

Unable to find see the man she had been following she decided to leave. “Waste of time, damn it,” she cursed not paying attention to who was following her.

As she walked up to her car the hairs on the back of her neck stood up and a shiver ran down her spine just before she was slammed into the hood of her truck. Hot breathe hit her ear as a man spoke a warning to her. “Better watch what you are doing. You never know what may be following you.”

“What the hell are you talking about?” Tucker mumbled from her unmovable position.

“Getting into things that don’t concern you can get you or even your pretty girlfriend hurt,” the man stated before he grabbed a hand full of Tuckers hair and slammed her head against her truck.

Stars shot out from under Tucker’s closed eyelids for several minutes before her head cleared and she was able to look around. Knowing already that the man was long gone. “Fuck,” she screamed out.

**********

“Tuck?” Whispered Abby as she gently nudged her hand against the small blondes shoulder. “Tucker, wake up.”

“What?” She mumbled, “I’m sleeping.”

“I need you to wake up.” Abby started to place kisses along Tucker’s exposed neck. Her hands found their way under her shirt and started to caress hardening nipples. “Babe, you waking up?”

“Yesssssssss,” Tucker hissed out as one of her nipples were pinched.

“Good,” Abby smiled just before she pulled her hand out from under Tucker’s sleeping shirt and stood up. “What in the hell happened to your face?’

“Huh?” Tucker spit out. “Why did you stop?”

“I want to know what happened to your face?” Abby pointed down at the bruised cheek.

Tucker ran a hand over the slightly tender area. “Some jerk snuck up on me.”

“You have to be more careful,” Abby stated with concern. “I don’t want to see you hurt so badly that you end up in the hospital again.”

Tucker sat up and pushed the blankets off her feet. “Sit down please.” She reached her hand up and entwined her fingers with her tall lover’s. She waited until Abby was sitting comfortably next to her before she looked deep into deep blue eyes. “You know my job is dangerous. Just like I know yours is. It is a risk we both have in our line of work.”

“I know,” Abby agreed.

Tucker tightened her hold. “I realized last night as I was leaving that you are my family.” She held her hand up to stop Abby from talking. “Please let me finish.” She took in a deep breath and continued. “A family is something I have not had in a very long time. I never had anyone to worry about me and what I was doing. No one to care if I lived or died.”

Tucker raised Abby’s hand and kissed the back of it with several butterfly kisses. “Like I said, you’re my family and you care about me and what happens to me. It will take me sometime to get used to that, but I’ll be more careful and make sure I come home to you every night.”

“I love you,” Abby whispered through the tears that had started to fall.

Tucker couldn’t fight back her own tears any longer, “I love you, too.”

**********

Abby walked into the fire house with a big smile.

“What’s that smile for?” Bo asked as he wiggled his eyebrows.

Abby shook her head and walked by. “Wouldn’t you like to know, Captain.”

Bo laughed and followed the tall woman into the kitchen area. “I think I already know. I’m glad you two hit it off.”

Abby stopped and turned to look at Bo. “So am I. I feel so alive when I am with her.” She sighed, “it’s the greatest.”

Bo rested his hand on her shoulder. “That is awesome. She deserves some happiness and I know you’ll do that for her.”

“How long have you known her?” Abby looked around to make sure they were all alone.

“Since she was in the police force.” Bo walked over and sat down in one of the chairs. “When her partner was killed she became a different person. She shut everyone out.”

Abby pulled out the chair that was next to Bo. “She told me about that and what happened to her family. She has had so much sadness in her life.”

“More than one single person could handle,” Bo mumbled as he took Abby’s hand. “But she did survive some how. I’m glad she has you now, to help with the burden.”

“I’m glad too.” Abby squeezed the large dark hand.

“Hey you two. What’cha talking about?” Cookie asked as he came into the kitchen with his hands loaded with grocery bags.

“Just chatting,” Bo replied as he stood up. “I’ll talk to you two later. I have a ton of paper work to go through.” He looked over at Cookie, “see you at dinner.”

“See ya Cap.” Cookie waved at the man but never took his eyes off of Abby. “How’s Mouse doing?” Cookie asked as he started to put stuff away. “When I saw her she looked pretty good.”

Abby wasn’t sure what to do as she watched Bo walk out of the room towards his office. She didn’t want Cookie to know that he was the primary suspect and yet she couldn’t get herself to turn around and talk to the man. “She’s doing good. She was discharged from the hospital yesterday.” Abby played with a pencil that sat on the table top. “She said she ran into you.”

“Yes, I knew that place wouldn’t feed her enough. So I brought her some stuff.” Cookie laughed. “Whoever said hospitals were a good place to heal?” He could see that the tall woman was nervous. “Wonder if Mouse told her about her suspicions?” He thought to himself. “I know the warning Mac gave the nosey woman won’t keep her from snooping around, so maybe a good threat will.”

“I know,” Abby laughed softly. “Heard you went to the 8th that day. Did you see anything out of the ordinary?”

Cookie stopped and looked at her. “Guess that answers my question.” He placed his hands on top of the counter and leaned forward. “No I didn’t see a thing. All I did was make dinner and leave.” He could feel his hands starting to sweat. “It’s a shame we had to lose another good fire fighter.” Cookie couldn’t hide the evil smirk that crossed his face.

“I agree,” Abby nodded as a shiver went down her spine. “Can’t wait until they catch whoever is doing it.” She waited to see what kind of reaction that would get her. “The person responsible is nothing but an uncaring psychopath.”

“Maybe more than a warning. Maybe she should be the next kill, but she will be the finial victim.” The now sweating man reached into a drawer and pulled out a large butcher knife. “Maybe whoever is doing this is just mad at the way he was treated after his accident.” He slowly walked up behind Abby. “After all it was their fault.”

“What are you talking about?” Abby turned towards Cookie. She looked at him and swallowed hard. “What do you mean their fault?”

“It was them who sent me into the burning building. It was them who told me to go up to the second story. It was them who left me there to watch my partner die from the smoke and flames.” Cookie brought up the knife. “They had to pay. All of them.”

Abby slowly stood and put her hands up. “Hey, why don’t you put that down. You don’t want to hurt anyone with that.” She could feel her heart race and her legs shake.

“I know you know I did it. So stop it.” Cookie glared at Abby as he stepped closer. “They all had to die. Every single one of them.”

“Come.. come on,” Abby stuttered as she tried to figure out a way to get away from the now crazy looking man. “I know no such thing.”

Cookie slapped the table right next to Abby, “bullshit.” He moved within a few inches of her. “I knew your little friend would figure it out. I remember her from the police force and heard she went into undercover work for a paper. Plus I saw her at a fire and she chased me. Luckily I got away and could kill again.”

“No,” Abby started to say but his hand came up and covered her mouth.

Cookie tightened his grip and grinned. “I guess I’ll have to make my final kill a whopper then.” He put the large butcher knife under her chin and pulled her to the backdoor.

**********

Tucker parked her truck next to Abby’s car. She smiled as she remembered the kiss Abby gave her before she left to go to work. “Damn, she can curl my toes.” She mumbled as she opened her truck door and headed into the fire house. “Hey, Captain.”

Bo looked over and waved. “How you feeling Tuck?”

“I am feeling great.” Tucker grinned. “Do you know where Abby is?”

Bo pointed over his shoulder. “I just left her in the kitchen.” He winked at the small woman. “Nice hickey you got there.”

Tucker brought her hand up and blushed. “Shut up, and don’t you tease Abby either.”

“Now would I do something like that?” Bo asked innocently.

Tucker nodded her head and laughed, “hell yes you would you dog.” She gestured towards the kitchen. “I’ll stop by and say bye before I head out.”

“Sounds good,” Bo gave Tucker a little wave.

Tucker stepped into the kitchen area and called out. “Abby?” Not getting a response she looked around. That was when she noticed the groceries on the counter. “Fuck!”

**********

“Where are you taking me?” Abby asked as she was shoved into Cookies car.

“Shut up and scoot over. You’re gonna drive so I can watch over you better.” Cookie searched around to make sure no one was looking before he quickly jumped into the passenger seat. “Follow my directions or I will stick this knife into you and you will be dead before you even know it.”

“You do that and I’ll crash the car.” Abby snapped back as she turned the engine on.

“A chance I’m willing to risk,” the angry man replied wickedly.

**********

“Where is she?” Tucker yelled out as she opened Bo’s office door. “Who was in the kitchen with her?”

“What?” Bo asked as he looked up from his paper work. “What’s wrong?”

Tucker paced back and forth. “Abby, she wasn’t in the kitchen. I noticed groceries sitting on the counter that should have been put away.” She stopped and looked Bo straight in the eyes. “Was Cookie in there with her?”

“Yes, I left them two alone, talking.” Bo stood up and walked around his desk. “Would you tell me what the hell is going on?”

“Cookie is the killer. I just need a little bit more proof.” Tucker grabbed Bo by the shoulders. “He has her. I know it.”

No way,” Bo shook his head. “No way can Cookie be the killer. He has worked for the fire department for I don’t know how many years.”

“He also go hurt on the job and now all he does is cook and watch everyone else go and fight fires.” Tucker tightened her grasp on Bo’s shoulders. “We need to find them. He is going to kill her if we don’t.”

“No way,” Bo mumbled as he looked down at Tucker with confusion written all over his face.

Tucker pulled Bo to the door. She took in a deep shaky breath. “Trust me, Bo.”

Bo nodded his head. He had never known the small blonde in front of him to make stuff up with out some sort of proof. “I do.”

**********

“At the next light turn right,” Cookie ordered Abby.

Abby swallowed hard as she realized what part of town they were heading into. She slowed down at the red light and waited for the traffic to pass. “Why are we going here?”

“Because,” Cookie snapped back as he poked the tip of the large knife against Abby’s side. He laughed when she flinched. “I haven’t seen any of my victims die yet. This will be very memorable.”

Abby’s whole body started to shake. “You can’t do this.”

“Oh yes I can and I will.” Cookie laughed. “I’ll be there for every glorious second as your life fades into smoke and flames.”

**********

A few hours later Tucker was out of her mind with worry. She had called the Mayor and told him who she suspected was the saboteur. It was confirmed when the police got a search warrant for Cookie’s house. Apparently the crazed man liked to take pictures and add his two cents by writing comments on the back of each picture he took.

“Tucker,” Bo yelled out as he stepped into the room.

Tucker spun around, “what? Any news?”

“No, we are looking everywhere we can think of he might take her.” Bo scratched the top of his head.

“They have to be some where. They couldn’t have just popped off the face of the world,” Tucker stated loudly as she slammed her fist against the back of a chair. “Wait.”

“What?” The fire Captain asked.

Tucker looked over to her friend, “where was Cookie hurt?”

“Shit, umm let me think.” Bo thought for a few minutes before he slapped his hands together. “The warehouse fires down by the river several years ago. Him and his partner were sent up to look into the offices to make sure they were empty. The fire hit some nitrogen canisters and the whole building went up. They were trapped. We tried everything to get to them, but were unable to because we weren’t sure where they were because of the broken mics.”

“How did they get out?” Tucker questioned. “Well I mean how did Cookie get out? Since I know his partner didn’t survive.”

Bo shook sighed. “He somehow was able to wiggle himself free and then he jumped out a window and landed on the ground below.”

“Damn,” Tucker mumbled. “Is any part of the building still standing?”

Bo nodded, “believe it or not, yes. They rebuilt most of those warehouses.”

“I bet you he has her there,” Tucker started to the door. “He knows we know. He is going to finish it where it began and he is going to take Abby with him.”

“Fuck.” Bo quickly headed to his office. “Tucker don’t you dare go after…” He didn’t finish his sentence as he heard the door slam shut. “Crap.”

**********

Abby, with her hands tied behind her back as she sat in a medal folding chair, watched as Cookie walked around placing small coffee canisters of something all around the room before he walked down the stairs. He was gone for several minutes before he came back in with a huge evil smile on his face.

“Please let me go,” Abby begged as she tried to pull her hands free. “Killing me won’t accomplish anything.”

Cookie sat down another canister and walked over to Abby. He grabbed her chin tightly in his hand. “Listen to me.” He ran a finger down Abby’s face. “You are going to die. No one knows where you are and no one will get here in time to save you.”

“Please,” Abby cried.

Cookie smiled down at his captive. “Just be patient. The end is near.”

**********

Tucker broke every single traffic law made as she sped her way to where she knew in her heart that Abby was being held. “I should have asked her to stay home and not go in until I had enough proof.” She slapped her hands on the steering wheel when a big semi truck pulled out on front of her. “You asshole get the fuck out of my way,” She yelled as she slipped past the large truck on its right side sending gravel and dust everywhere.

**********

“You ready?” Cookie asked Abby as he grabbed a lighter out of his pocket. “I know I am.”

“You are a fucking nut,” Abby screamed as she tried to twist her hands free.

Cookie laughed as he flicked the lighter to produce a flame. “That may be so, but it is all their fault. They didn’t care about me or my buddy. They just left us to burn.” He glared at Abby through the flame as he waved it back and forth in front of his face. “It was time for them to pay and they did with innocent lives.”

“That’s right, innocent. You’re worse than they were,” Abby stared back. “You are killing for revenge and taking innocent lives with you.”

“So what, in the end they will be in more pain than I was. That makes everything worth doing.” Cookie leaned down and let the flame ignite one of the small coffee cans on fire. “Time to die.”

**********

Tucker slammed on her breaks and looked around for any signs of life. She saw a large amount of dark smoke floating out of a window and up to the sky. She grabbed her cell phone and dialed 911. She quickly gave the address and hung up. Then she tossed the phone on the dash board of her truck and took off in a run. “I swear I’ll kill you if you harmed a hair on her head,” Tucker stated to herself as she flung open the warehouse door and ran up the steps to the second floor not concerned for her own safety as smoke spilled out the now open door.

**********

Abby coughed as the smoke filled the room. It also made her eyes hurt as she continued to try to free herself. She flinched in pain as the rope dug into her skin making it raw and very sore.

“Stop fighting. You’re not going to get free,” Cookie said as he lay on the floor waiting for the inevitable. “Just let the knowledge of dying soon fill your heart.”

“Fill my heart with what?” Abby coughed some more. “Fear? Since I don’t want to die. I have too much to live for.”

“What do you have to live for?” Cookie questioned as he turned his head to look over at Abby. “You’re nothing to those fellow firefighters. They will just leave you to die like they did me.”

“Bullshit,” Abby screamed. “What happened to you was not their fault. They tried to get to you but the fire cut them off.”

Cookie jumped up and shoved Abby hard enough that it knocked her backwards on the floor. “You don’t know nothing. You weren’t there. You didn’t see them laughing at me as I laid on the ground hurting.”

Abby had her eyes closed from the pain of landing at an odd angle. Her hopes for someone finding her were slowly slipping as she felt the heat from the flames growing and getting closer. The intense heat burned at her bare arms she screamed out in pain.

**********

Tucker ducked automatically when a small whoosh sound came from somewhere up the steps. She quickened her steps when she heard a loud scream that she knew was Abby.

When she reached the top of the steps she looked around the corner and saw Cookie pacing around throwing his arms around wildly. She noticed Abby trying to get away from the line of fire that was very close to her. She looked around to see what she could use to free Abby and keep Cookie from trying to stop her.

“Damn it,” she cursed when she didn’t spot anything. “Well, I guess I’ll have to take the nut out before I get Abby out of there.” She waited until Cookie’s back was turned to her before she entered the room and ran full force towards the distraught man. Without a sound she tackled him to the ground.

Abby almost yelled for joy when she spotted Tucker run into the room, but her heart nearly jumped out of her chest when she watched her tackle the much larger man. She tried even harder to get loose but all it did was dig the rope into her wrist.

The smoke and flames from the fire continued to grow around the three in the room. The sounds of sirens could now be heard getting louder and louder as the fire trucks drew closer.

“You fucking bitch,” Cookie yelled out as he fought to free himself from the small woman’s grasp. “I’m gonna kill you.”

“Whatever,” Tucker replied as she tried to keep Cookie’s arms tangled with hers so he couldn’t get free. “People trusted you and all you did was crush that trust by killing innocent people.”

“Innocent my ass.” Cookie managed to get one arm free and with what strength he had left he elbowed Tucker in the face. He quickly stood up when he felt the weight fall off his back.

Tucker’s entire head felt fuzzy and muddled as she laid on her back . Her hands covered her face and she could feel blood oozing in between her fingers from her broken nose. “Let Abby go.”

Cookie laughed, “no way. I get two for the price of one. This makes the end so much sweeter.” He kicked Tucker making her roll onto her side in pain. “Get on your stomach so I can tie your hands up.”

The smoke burned Tucker’s eyes as she tried to focus on the floor under her head. She felt Cookie’s hands grab her wrists and force them against her back. “No,” she yelled out as she began to fight the larger man’s attempts of tying up her hands.

Cookie shoved his knee into Tucker’s back. “Don’t move you bitch.”

Abby’s wrists were slightly bleeding and burning from the friction from the rope, but that didn’t stop her as she twisted and turned her hands until finally one gave a small bit and she was able to free one hand. She laid there for a second to try to figure out what she could do to get herself and Tucker out of this situation without any more blood being spilled.

Not seeing anything she cursed under her breath, “damn it.”

Cookie heard her and walked over, “what’s the matter? Finally realizing that you and your girl friend are gonna die?” He laughed and nudged his foot against Abby’s knee.

“Leave her alone you bastard,.” Tucker yelled out as she fought her own restraints.

An explosion made the whole building shake violently. Abby and Tucker both cringed with fear. Cookie clapped his hands together. “Looks like the fire I started first downstairs has reached the bigger containers I set up.”

Cookie walked to the door and peered down the steps. He could feel the heat from the flames on his face. He turned and looked around the room and watched as the fire spread across the floor and walls all around him and his two captives. “Soon it will be all quiet. Soon,” he mumbled to himself. “No more laughing.. no more laughing.”

Tucker started to cough as the smoke filled her lungs. Her eyes were becoming swollen and she was having trouble seeing around her. She could feel the heat seeping through the floor under her. “Abby you need to try and get yourself out of here.”

“No, we both need to try to get out of here,” Abby yelled back. She quickly glanced at Cookie and made the decision to move. She grabbed the side of the metal chair as she stood up and swung it at Cookie’s unsuspecting back. She watched as the large man fell to the ground with a thud. She waited a few seconds to make sure the man wouldn’t move before she ran over to Tucker.

“Remind me to never piss you off if you have a chair in your hands.” Tucker coughed as she rolled over so Abby could loosen the rope. A sound from the other side made both woman look over. “Hurry up. He’s moving.”

“I’m trying,” Abby yelled as her hands began to shake as they fought the tight bindings. “They are too tight. I can’t loosen them.”

“Damn it, help me up.” Tucker brought her knees up and with the help of Abby she stood up on shaky legs. “We have to try to move around him and get the hell out of here.”

“Fast,” Abby mumbled as she guided Tucker through the smoke.

“Oh, no you don’t,” Cookie screamed when he noticed the two woman trying to leave. He tossed the chair that lay across his body to the other side of the room.

Tucker tried to think of the easiest way to get Abby away from the deranged man as he moved closer and closer with every smoke filled breath she took. She looked over at Abby and through her squinted eyes she could see pure terror on her lover’s face. She quickly made a decision. “Promise me you will never forget me?”

Abby looked over at Tucker and with her eyes asked what she meant by that.

Tucker smiled, “I love you.”

“Aww ain’t that cute,” Cookie remarked as he moved closer.

Tucker took one last look at Abby before she ran straight for the large man.

The sudden movement surprised Cookie and all he could do was go with the sudden body pressing him backwards.

Abby tried to grab a hold of Tucker but all she got was a hand full of air, “no.”

**********

Bo directed several firemen and truck to where they would best be of use. He heard glass shattering above his head. “What the hell?’

Everyone stopped and looked up and watched as two bodies splashed into the water.

“Get some men in the water,” Bo yelled out. “NOW!”

**********

Abby stopped at the large window ledge and looked all around as smoke filtered out into the sky all around her. She dropped to her knees not caring that glass ripped into her jeans piercing her skin. She didn’t notice the smoke or the heat any more. All she knew was that Tucker was gone.

**********

Bo looked up at the broken window and grabbed a fireman that was running by on the walkway. “Get the ladder up there and get her down.”

“Yes, Sir,” the fireman replied as he motioned for several others to help him in his task.

**********

The coldness of the water stunned Tucker as she and Cookie sank lower and lower into the murky darkness of the river. Feeling her lungs would not hold out and knowing that she could still fight to live she kicked her feet hard and propelled herself towards the surface.

As soon as her head was above the surface she took in a lung full of air. Just as she was about to take in another welcomed breathe she felt a strong hand grasp her around her ankle before she was pull back under.

**********

Abby noticed the blonde head bob up to the surface then quickly disappear back under the water. She looked around for some way to get down but the fire was now all around her closing off any safe route. “Damn it.” She stood up as a blast of smoke hit her right in the face.

**********

Bo ran to the end of the dock and looked across the water’s surface. He spotted a large amount of bubbles about five feet away from the edge. “Fuck,” Bo cursed.

**********

Tucker twisted her body around hoping that she could get free, but the fingers only gripped tighter. With her free foot she used the heel of the boots she had on and rammed it against Cookie’s fingers. She felt the fingers loosen a little so she kicked again and again until she was totally free.

Tucker bunched her legs up to her chest and wiggled her arms around her body so they were now in front of her. This made swimming to the surface much easier.

**********

Abby coughed hard as she breathed in a large amount of hot smoke. She knew she needed to get out quick as the flames were burning through the floor and walls. She looked out the window and almost made up her mind to jump when she looked down and saw a ladder bounce against the bottom of the window.

“Thank God,” she quickly started down the ladder. Just as she was about on the ground a loud rumble and a huge explosion caused the whole top of the warehouse and part of the side to crumble.

The ladder Abby was on shook violently and started to tip over. Abby knew she was in trouble and looked behind her and jumped. She hit the ground hard rolling over and over.

**********

Bo and every other firefighter scrambled for cover when the building blew. After the rumbling stopped all anyone could hear was the sirens. Bo popped his head up from the ground and looked around. Several of his men lay on the ground obviously in pain as large concrete slabs had hit and broken bones.

He reached for his walkie talkie but it fell apart in his hand. “Someone call in and get more trucks here before this catches anything else on fire,” he yelled out as he stood up.

Bo looked over the area. “Damn it looks like a war zone.” He spotted an unmoving body several yards from him and he could tell it was Abby by the long dark hair.

**********

Tucker started to do the doggie paddle swim towards the side of the dock looking back several times to see if Cookie would pop up and continue the chase but she never saw him. “Hope the son of a bitch drowns.”

**********

Bo knelt down next to Abby and brushed the dirty hair away from her face. “Abby? Can you hear me?”

“Yes.” Abby opened her eyes and looked up at her Captain. “Just lying here trying to catch my breath.”

“Does anything hurt?” Bo asked as he ran his hands up and down her legs and arms.

Abby shook her head, “no, nothing broken. Just hit the ground hard and knocked the wind out of me.” She glanced past Bo and looked around. “Damn.”

“I know,” he stood up and offered her his hand. “Let’s get you up and …” He was interrupted by a call for help.

Abby scrambled up and ran to the edge. “Tucker are you okay?”

Tucker smiled up at Abby, “you okay?”

“I’m much better now,” Abby answered.

Bo went to one of the fire trucks and grabbed a coiled rope. He quickly ran back and dropped one end to Tucker. “Wrap that around yourself and we will pull you up.”

It took a minute but Tucker finally sat on dry ground with a blanket wrapped around her. “Any sign of Cookie?” She asked Bo when he walked up to her.

“Yes,” Bo replied with a frown.

“Dead?” The small wet woman asked.

Bo nodded, “very.”

“Good,” Tucker closed her eyes and leaned her head back against the warm body wrapped around her.

**********

Several days later Abby and Tucker lounged under a large umbrella sipping fruity flavored drinks.

“This is so nice.” Abby sighed as she closed her eyes. “Remind me to thank to the Mayor.”

“Don’t worry, I will.” Tucker moved to lay on her side. The sight of her lover in a black bikini took her breath away. “Have I told you how sexy you look in that bathing suit?”

“You have showed me.” Abby pulled her sunglasses down her face and wiggled her eyes brows. “Several times if I am not mistaken.”

“Maybe I should show you one more time so you won’t forget.” Tucker slid closer to her beautiful partner and ran her hand across soft skin.

“People might catch us,” Abby moaned as she felt Tucker’s skilled fingers over her skin.

Tucker kissed the swell of the brunettes breasts. “Let them,” she whispered as she continued to make love to Abby out in the open not caring who saw.

THE END 

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