He was lucky that his full time partner was also his best friend. They'd been best friends since they were eight. Joe was a hell of a partner. Never complained, always had a joke, and was easy to get along with, unlike his partner for tonight. He really lucked out with Joe.
Teddy on the other hand was a Class A prick. He hit on anything with br**sts and didn't take rejection well. The guy had more write ups than the entire squad put together, but thanks to the Union he couldn't be fired. Tonight was going to be a true test of his patience. Besides being an arrogant ass**le, the guy didn't know what the hell he was doing and was a lazy bastard. Why in the hell did he agree to come in tonight?
"Don't get all choked up, but Teddy won't be in tonight. He banged out," Jeff said as he grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge.
"No shit?" Eric asked, hoping the man wasn't f**king with him.
"I shit you not. Seems a stripper broke his nose when he tried to ignore the 'no touch' rule," Jeff said, chuckling.
Eric shook his head, laughing. Leave it to that pervert to get his ass kicked by a stripper. "Who am I working with then?"
"Not sure. Bill's been on the phone for the past hour trying to get you someone to work with," Jeff said, leaning against the counter.
"If one of you gentlemen would be so kind as to go release my third rider and tell him to clean up I'll go check out the rig," he said, heading towards the garage.
"Do we have to?" one of the men whined, making him laugh.
Eric walked over to the board to grab the keys for ambulance seventy-nine only to find the hook empty. No doubt the last crew left the keys in the ignition, he hoped at least. He walked past several of the box ambulances towards the van style ambulances and sighed with relief when he spotted ambulance seventy-nine with its back doors wide open.
Whoever his partner was for the night was already in the ambulance checking it out. He walked over and paused when he spotted the very luscious figure bent over inside his rig. He ran his eyes over the familiar figure and he groaned inwardly. His eyes went from the long honey blond hair pulled back into a no-nonsense ponytail to the small waist, flared h*ps and perfect bottom that was pointed his way.
He couldn't think of a better sight to start the night off with. It was too damn bad there wasn't a chance in hell he would ever find out how those lush curves would feel beneath him.
"I thought the restraining order stated that you couldn't come within a hundred yards of me?" he demanded.
Joe bit back a smile at the familiar deep voice. He was the only man on earth who could make her smile without fail. It had always been that way ever since they were kids.
She still remembered the first time she met him. It was her first day in a new school. Her mother, who decided this time was going to be different, decided to shove eight year old tomboy Josephine, Joe for short, into a overly frilly dress that was too short and in her opinion too ugly to be seen in public. She'd never been so embarrassed in her life. During recess she tried to hide from the rest of the kids, but that only managed to draw more attention. When one little boy came over and shoved a handful of worms down her dress she made that boy eat every single one of them.
An hour later they both sat in the principal's office, filthy, clothes torn, and mutually angry at Tyler Mathews for tattling on their little fight. They made a pact then and there to get Tyler back and had been best friends ever since.
Their friendship had survived the cootie stage and continued on into middle school, high school and then EMT training. Many people, including Eric's mother, thought they were cute and would end up married one day. That little pipe dream faded away when everyone realized they were best friends and nothing more.
She'd lost track over the number of women who got pissed over their relationship. Most of them foolishly tried to give Eric an ultimatum because they couldn't handle her place in his life. Eric never batted an eye when he dumped them flat on their asses seconds later. Hell, he even broke up with his fiancé three years ago when she tried the same thing.
There had only been a few men who tried that nonsense with her. They quickly learned that her loyalty belonged to Eric. That little problem had been the cause for many break ups over the years. Not that she or Eric ever made it an issue. They didn't. They just went on as they always had. It's not like they purposely tried to push people away, but sometimes it was hard for other people to handle their friendship. She never understood their problem. If anything it should make them feel more comfortable that they were both more than capable of loyalty. Plus, and let's be honest here, if they wanted to have sex they would have done it a long time ago.
She felt the back of the ambulance dip as Eric climbed in behind her. "I can appreciate a woman who's willing to turn her nose up at a judicial order to be with me," he said in his deep sexy voice that had Joe rolling her eyes.
Joe turned and smoothly shoved several bags of expired saline in his arms. "You know a piece of paper will never stand in the way of our love," she said in a sweet teasing voice while she batted her eyes up at him.
Eric chuckled softly. "I see you missed me."
She nodded solemnly. "I did. I really did. When Bill called up and begged me to come in even though we just got off a twenty-four hour shift this morning I jumped at the chance." She ran her eyes down his lean well defined body back up to meet his mischievous green eyes. "You know I can never stay away from you." She reached up with both hands and pinched his cheeks, hard. "You're just so darn cute," she said, pursing up her lips.
"I'm studly, baby, get it right," he sighed heavily as if it were a burden to remind her yet again.
She placed her hands on her hips. "You're absolutely right. What was I thinking?"
Eric jumped out of the ambulance. "It's okay. I forgive you," he said as he made his way to the trash can to dump the saline. He was going to have to post something to remind crews to double check supplies when they picked them up at the hospital.
He grabbed a bottle of sanitizer and some rags before heading back to the ambulance. Joe was already completing their check list. He tossed a rag onto her clipboard. She looked up to stick her tongue out at him and went back to her paperwork.
"Did I mention that we have a third rider today?" he asked as he sprayed down the stretcher and began wiping it down.
"Great," she said, stretching out the word.
He paused mid-swipe to look over at her. "What's that supposed to mean?"