Meet the Team
I had never really talked to Tessa since that moment other then curt nods, brief hellos, and exchanging information. It wasn’t that we were avoiding it, we were just busy; our call volume increased significantly. As soon as we finished our calls and paperwork we went home and slept only to rise and do it all over again. We were getting tired and complained every moment we could but at the same time, we were loving it!
“What happened today?” Someone would ask.
“A simple B&E. Took an hour to get a hold of the owner then we find out it was a false alarm.” The other person would grumble. “Had to track the sona bitch down like a stupid CSI episode... It was awesome!!!” Was a typical exchange. We were high off the energy and it bonded us all together; I was finally gelling with the team and finding out they were great guys.
Sergeant Mark Phillips was in his late thirties and had a wife and three kids: a boy and two girls. He was fit with brown hair and eyes. He loved fishing, hiking, and old sitcoms shows, although he would never admit it. He always complained about admin work, but he loved it. He was pretty chill and was one of the guys, but fiercely protective of his men, and woman. One time a guy accused Nathan of excessive use of force. It became a huge news story, but Mark wouldn’t allow the newspapers to talk to him and defended him to the end. It turned out that the guy Nathan had punched was trying to beat him with a pipe. Of course, the papers neglected to mention that.
Nathan was in his late twenties and loved sports, any kind he was in. He had a girlfriend named Taylor whom he loved very much. One time I caught him calling her in the middle of a night shift; he was talking in that lovey-dovey voice people use with loved ones, babies, and puppies. It was kinda cute, in a manly way, but I had to record it and show the others of course. Nathan was mad and embarrassed at first but then he laughed and swore vengeance; he’s a good guy that way. He loved the outdoors and dogs. I admired him for his numerous characteristics but most importantly how he protects and looks after this platoon. Mark protect us in a bureaucratic way but Nathan is more hands-on and ensures we don’t do anything too stupid. He makes sure Tess doesn’t get into too much trouble and watches out for her.
Greg is my FTO- field training officer- and he’s a great guy; he’s funny, easy to talk to, and he is the best teacher out there. Looking back, I have a lot of good memories of us chilling in the squad laughing as we conducted speed traps, raced to calls, or filled out paperwork. He’s the oldest on our platoon and has a lot of wisdom to share, and enjoys sharing it. He has a wife, four grown kids, a grandchild on the way, and two dogs. He prefers to sit back and watch the rest of us goof off but he’ll jump in. He’s one of the calmest ones out of us but can be like a tiger if necessary.
Tessa was still a bit of a mystery; she didn’t speak much of her personal life but loved to jump in and comment on the rest of ours. She always had this glimmer in her eyes that made her appear mischievous, as if she has all the cards, and already knows what you’re going to say. She was one of the guys and talked with us about girls, giving us advice about the most recent hiccup in our relationships, and even commented on some of the girls we liked. She burped, drank whiskey, and loved rock music, but there was something else to her, something we never saw, and never understood. She was like the moon: one side was bright and known throughout the world but the other was mysterious and never meant to be explored.
“You’re married right, Tess?” I asked as we sat down for coffee for the first time in six hours. Today was one of those days. Everyone chugged the coffee, ignoring the burning of their tongues and throats, relishing it even. They tore through their food anxiously awaiting the next call for help, for a kid who won’t turn off his video game, or a husband who won’t eat his food, or a person unhappy with their haircut. Yes, these bullshit calls happen, and, unfortunately, this is what we spend most of our days dealing with. She looked up from her sandwich with a look of suspicion while the others laughed and jeered.
“Nice try, Alex, but Tess is in a whole new level,” Nathan laughed sharing an amused look with the young female.
“Listen to them,” Greg advised, “leave that one to the professionals; one time a guy was hitting on her and she made him cry. And I mean full out bawl.” Another round of laughs filled the room as she grinned that knowing grin of hers.
“One of my best moments,” she admitted with a proud grin.
“Nah! Come on guys,” I protested shaking my head, “what I mean is I never see you with a ring on.” Everyone paused and looked as she took another bite out of her sandwich ignoring the ranch that dribbled down her chin.
She shrugged, “I don’t want anyone know I’m married; we’ve dealt with some messed up people.” I nodded as we returned to normal conversation- which girl would look the hottest in a Wonder Woman costume- but I noticed both Greg and Mark were wearing their golden rings around their fingers, and Tessa didn’t seem like the type of person to back down from anyone. I looked up and caught her watching me with those shaded eyes of hers. They appeared hard and threatening as if daring me to venture farther, but they also appeared small and unsure.
The next week our station had a barbecue to raise money for breast cancer. We were off; so, we were all there, dressed in our civvies. Mark and Greg brought their wives and Nathan brought Taylor. I even brought my girlfriend, Samantha, but Tessa arrived alone.
She wasn’t wearing a ring.