Page 4 of Hero Next Door

“You are probably right.” I hug Natasha again. “And thanks again for everything that you have done. I suppose I better get in and see what else I have to do… although you have done a lot of the unpacking for me.”

“You know me… I have to get everything done. I can’t help myself. I like things complete.”

“Well, it’s done now, so you can get off. I need to get organized before I head to work. An all night shift…”

“Will you be able to handle that? You’ve been working on the house all day. I didn’t realize otherwise I would have made you nap while I got everything sorted for you…” My sister looks like her head might explode…

“I can sleep now!” I reassure her with a laugh. “Plus, we all have beds at the station anyway. You know that. It really isn’t an issue. I am going to be fine. You don’t need to worry about me, you worry about yourself…”

It takes a while, but finally I get Natasha to see that everything will be okay and I see her off in the car. To be honest, once she’s gone, I realize that she really has done everything for me. She’s so speedy and efficiently organized where I couldn’t even hope to be. All I have to do is wander around and check it all out.

“Minimalistic,” I smile to myself as I declare this. “Nothing like the clutter that I lived in before.”

Maybe my marriage has left me with less than half of what I had before I met Jane, but it doesn’t make me half a man. I don’t need to live half a life anymore because of this. This isn’t the end of my story, just the start of a new chapter, that’s all, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with starting afresh and seeing what happens. Since the breakup, I have just been existing, but now that I have finally worked up the courage to move away, that can change. Maybe. I don’t know, I’m not going to rush myself too much. One day at a time will be just fine.

“The neighbors seem nice too,” I say, just to fill the house with some sound. “The red head from next door is a real sweetheart. Esme, I think her name was. I want to get to know her a whole lot better.”

I can’t help but wonder what her story is. She seems sweet and quiet, but looks like she has the weight of the world on her shoulders. Something is troubling her for sure, making her worried all the time. I suppose I could have caught her in an off moment, but she had the look of someone who is always like that. The part of me who always wants to be the hero, which is what attracted me to the fire fighter path, wants to save her as well.

I don’t know if I can, I certainly shouldn’t try and interrupt her life, but if she wants help from me, I should give it. Only as a friend, of course. I’m not interested in anything more than that. It might have been a long time since me and Jane split and a fair while since the divorce was all sorted out, but still I don’t feel ready to move on. Not yet. It’s the drama, I can’t handle the constant drama, and the desire to make my life difficult. I like things to be easy, to be smooth, I want to leave the drama to work, and on my own I just know that I can make that happen.

“Hey there, hot stuff…” my friend, Frankie, cries out as he slaps a towel around my ass. “Good to see you, buddy. How did the move go? Glad to be away from that bitchy ball and chain of yours once and for all? It’s been forever.”

Ah, the lady banter, just one of the reasons why I love my job. Because we have such serious work to do, nothing else is taken seriously. Even the very messy end of a relationship is up for grabs to be laughed at.

“Yeah, flying high, mate.” I mock flapping my wings like a bird. “Never to be tied down again.”

“I don’t blame you. You need to come out with me and Ben some nights. A one night stand is all you need.”

I say nothing to that because I haven’t ever been the one night stand type of guy. I’ve always been in relationships, in it for the long haul. Even before Jane, there was Michelle and I was with her for a long time. But at twenty-eight-years-old, maybe it’s time to try something new since my life method clearly isn’t working out for me. I don’t know about one night stands, but short flings with no strings attached could work out well for me. Maybe even with the mysterious red head carrying all the weight of the world on her shoulders. She clearly needs a good time…


Tags: Mia Ford Romance
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