Page 24 of Hero Next Door

“I thought that you were done for the day.” Tamara grabs me as I leap on to the truck. “We aren’t supposed to be on the same shift so what the hell are you doing? Does Joe know that you are here?”

“Who do you think sent me?” I give her a shit eating grin. “Come on, you know you love working with me.”

She does, she’s just being bossy right now because she is in charge of this mission and she doesn’t want any dead weight. I know Tamara well and she is a perfectionist who needs everything to go well all the time, which isn’t exactly possible in this line of work, but she will always try. She doesn’t need to worry about me though.

“I do, I just don’t want to work with someone who isn’t refreshed and ready to go.”

“I am, so don’t worry about me anymore. Let’s just get out there, shall we? Anyone know where we’re going?”

The quicker that I talk, the sooner we will get out of here, and the less likely Tamara will be able to kick me off. Not that she can do so if Joe has agreed it anyway and it isn’t like we have time for a row…

As one of the other guys reads out the address to me, I make a mental note of it being in the business district. That means it isn’t a house fire but one within a company building. It’s gone past the end of the day which means there might not be anyone inside of the building, fingers crossed, but that isn’t ever a guarantee. It doesn’t matter whether I am supposed to be on this mission or not, I don’t want there to be any fatalities on my watch.

What will we find? Hopefully a small fire which doesn’t hurt anyone or cause much damage to the building, one that we can locate its source immediately and save a full blown investigation. But knowing my luck at the moment it will be a place absolutely engulfed in flames, covering everything else in smoke and a hospital visit or two will be involved. It doesn’t matter how much a person can train for that, there is never any preparation for what it will be like in reality. Someone hurt, someone suffering with burns, it’s the worst thing in the world.

Chapter 11 – Esme

What the fuck? I cover my mouth while coughing up what feels like a part of my lung. What the hell is happening here? One minute I was in a battle for my life with my boss. Mr. Jones was trying to rip my clothing off my body as I tried to run away and it’s honestly all a blur. I can’t remember what happened, if my clothing managed to stay on or not, and where Mr. Jones is now. All I know is that flames are surrounding me, smoke is engulfing me, I can’t move for the heat. The building is on fire. How the fuck that happened I have no idea, but I am screwed.

How did it happen so quickly? How will I get out if there’s nowhere left to turn? Why is this happening?

I fall to the floor, half because my legs can’t keep me upright any longer, and half because I’m sure I read or heard somewhere that you need to stay low to the ground to avoid too much of the heat because the flames rise, or maybe it’s so you don’t inhale too much smoke, I’m not sure, but here I am anyway, trying to crawl with no idea where I am.

“Esme?” Is that Mr. Jones calling me? I don’t know if I want to follow the sound of his voice or not. He’s the reason that all of this is happening, he seems to want me dead. Naked and dead. But I also don’t like being alone. “Esme?” He’s coughing, hacking up his lungs just as much as I am. “Esme, where are you?”

I freeze where I am, trying to make a decision about which way to go. My brain is too full of fog, too consumed with fear to think about anything sensible. It’s blurry, I’m dizzy, everything is starting to ache.

Don’t give up. There’s a voice inside my brain screaming at me, and I want to listen I really do. But how can I make my body do what my mind wants? It’s practically impossible. Don’t give up. Giving up means dying. Don’t let him win. Mr. Jones and his angry face fills my mind, building up my spirits once more. Don’t be defeated.

He might have fought me and pushed me down the entire time that I have worked for him, he might have belittled me and stripped away my self-confidence, he might have done everything that he can to try and destroy me, but he won’t kill me. I don’t want him to have my life as well as everything else. If only I knew where to go. If only I didn’t toss my bag down on my chair so now I have no cell phone to call anyone. If only I stood up to him sooner…

Tags: Mia Ford Romance
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