Caitlyn cleared her throat. "She left," she said, sounding on the verge of laughter.

"Left?" he demanded, placing his dessert on the coffee table. His eyes shot over to Camie who was glaring at him. Oh, he was going to spank Joe's ass raw for this. He couldn't believe she'd leave him with this nut because he may have inadvertently smothered her and encouraged Greg to hound her this morning. Nothing he'd done to her warranted this. Oh, when he got his hands on her-

"You should have just said you were g*y instead of wasting my time," Camie snapped angrily as Nathan and his mother walked into the room. She got to her feet. Eric couldn't move as her words registered in his mind. What the hell? Gay? Him? Not a chance.

All four of them silently watched her leave. Three pairs of eyes turned on him as the sound of the front door slamming shut echoed throughout the suddenly quiet house.

He forced himself to remain calm as he asked, "Why does she think I'm g*y?"

"You mean you're not?" Nathan asked, feigning innocence.

Their mother sighed heavily as she reached up and slapped her oldest son upside the head.


"Would you people focus? Why does that lunatic think I'm g*y?"

"Joe may have led her to believe that," Caitlyn said quietly, drawing everyone's attention.

Eric thought over that little revelation and after a few minutes shrugged. As long as the psycho was gone he really could care less how it was done. He sat back down with his dessert and dug in. He ignored his brother's teasing remarks while he enjoyed his cake lunatic free.

Besides, being accused of being g*y was a small price to pay for weekend of deep sea fishing. He considered this little episode as payment in full. Although he may decide to make her life a living hell on the boat for a couple days, it really depended on if he was bored or not. For Joe's sake she better hope the fish were biting this weekend.

Chapter 7

"That's my Coke, woman!"

"Not anymore," Joe said, finishing off the last few ounces of the cold beverage that he desperately needed.

Eric glared. "You owe me a drink."


"What do you mean, 'nope'?" he demanded. "You just finished my soda and I'm thirsty."

"You should have thought about that before you pulled your shit this weekend," she said as she leaned back against the passenger seat.

He felt his lips twitch. "I have no idea what you're talking about," he said, trying to sound innocent and probably failed since he couldn't wipe the shit eating grin off his face.

She turned her head and glared at him, just glared.

He cleared his throat in an attempt not to laugh out loud.

"You pushed me over the side of the boat a grand total of fifteen times!" she shouted, throwing the empty soda bottle at his head.

He easily ducked out of the way. "They were all accidents," he said with a straight face, "I swear."

Of course they hadn't been. Well, maybe that first time was. He couldn't recall if he'd meant to knock her over the side of the boat into the ocean or not. At the time he was only trying to get that prick from Vermont away from her. If he had to watch that ass**le try to "show" Joe had to hold her pole one more time he would have killed the bastard and left the body at sea.

Eric maneuvered between the two of them when the bastard went to put his arms around Joe, again. Somehow during his little rescue he accidentally knocked Joe into the ocean. At least he was pretty sure that time was accidental. The fourteen times that followed were definitely intentional, mostly because they brought a smile to his face. Her wet clothes clinging to every curve of her body was just an added bonus. A very nice bonus that currently had him shifting in his seat.

Something in his expression must have clued her into where his thoughts had wandered. Glaring, she reached to unbuckle her seat belt, probably to kick his ass, when the radio went off.

"Echo seventeen," dispatch said over the radio.

Joe swore softly under her breath at the interruption. Eric sent her a triumphant grin as he grabbed the microphone.

"Echo seventeen," Eric said in his deep rich voice. Joe mentally kicked herself for noticing. These little moments were really starting to creep her out.

"What's your location?"

"West side."

"Echo seventeen, I need you to respond to an unknown emergency at 278 Slade Street."

"Received," Eric said as Joe righted herself in her seat and buckled her seat belt.

"What do you think? Prank call?" Joe asked, all business now, as she pulled out an emergency run sheet and attached it the clipboard.

Eric put on his sunglasses, giving him the ultimate bad boy look that made her mouth go surprisingly dry in seconds.

"Probably," he said as he flicked on the emergency lights.

Two minutes later they were pulling up in front of a small townhouse. Joe jumped out of the ambulance and opened the backdoors. Eric was there instantly, helping her unload the stretcher. As they pushed the stretcher up the driveway of the small townhouse a woman in her early thirties with tightly curled mousy brown hair came running out, holding her cell phone against her chest.

"Thank god you're here!" she cried out, tears ran down her cheeks as she raced towards them.

"Where's the emergency, ma'am?" Eric asked as he pulled on a pair purple nitro gloves as Joe continued to push the stretcher. As soon as he was done he took over pulling the stretcher so she could do the same. After twelve years they were at the point where words were unnecessary. Working together was like a well coordinated dance. They could anticipate each other's needs without a word.

She gestured frantically with the cell phone towards the house. "He's in the bathroom! He won't open the door, but he told me to call 911 and he won't tell me what's wrong! It's gotta be bad....oh god!" She put a hand over her mouth and sobbed loudly.

"We'll have a look and see what we can do to help," Joe said softly. She could promise that everything was okay and that they'd take care of it, but only if she wanted to face a huge lawsuit. It was always best to avoid making promises and watch each other's backs. They'd come across their share of disgruntled patients and family members looking to get back at someone or make a quick buck and knew all the key words to avoid by heart.

The woman nodded in jerky motions. "T-that stretcher won't fit down the hall," she said between sobs.

Without a word they pushed the stretcher against the house. "That's fine, ma'am. Can you show us where he is now?" Eric asked, throwing the tech bag over his shoulder.

Tags: R.L. Mathewson EMS Young Adult
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