“My dog locked himself in the car. I didn’t leave him in there. He jumped to the front when I got out of my car, I left my keys inside, and he pressed the button to lock the car.” I was on the phone with a dispatcher while looking at my dog inside of my car. It was off and the heat was rising inside quickly. It was hot here in California, and I was panicking more and more by the second.
“We are sending firefighters now they should be there in a few minutes. Just hold tight, Riley.” Oh no. I couldn’t wait more. I needed my dog out now. I hung up.
My anxiety was flying through the roof. How did we get ourselves into this situation? I looked around and saw the building next door to the dog day care place was under construction.
I had an idea.
I looked at the miniature poodle I rescued four years ago. He was this beautiful tan color, and his eyes were very distinct, a reddish brown. “The things I’ll do for you, Marley.” He didn’t seem to be panicking, his tail was wagging very excitedly. He thought this was a game.
I run to the construction site and see a man in a hard hat. “Hey, you can’t be here.” He says to me.
He’s a big burly guy. Reminds me of all the cops I grew up with who were my dads coworkers and friends. Having grown up with my dad being my only parent most of my life, those cops were also my family.
“Do you think I can just borrow your hammer really quickly?” I ask. I’m sure to him I just sound like a completely crazy person. I sound crazy to myself.
“What for?” He seemed immediately suspicious. Which was completely understandable.
I explain the situation to him and he just hands me the hammer. “I’ll bring it right back.” I run out and there’s a man looking inside my car. Probably judging me without knowing the situation.
“Excuse me!” I yell as I raise my hand to hit my back window. Safety glass. It wouldn’t make a mess, so it wouldn’t hurt Marley. The glass was replaceable. My dog was not.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa!” He yells.
The man turns around and grabs my arm, snatching the hammer out of my hand. “What the hell do you think you’re doing? That’s my dog in there!”
“I’m a firefighter.” He says calmly. “I have something in my car to unlock the door.” I didn’t like how calm he was talking to me. My dad talked to me in the same tone. It was a tactic they used on civilians.
“I don’t have the time to wait. He’s been in there for too long.” He wasn’t reacting to me. I know they’re trained not to. My dad was a cop and he told me almost all the trade secrets.
“You need to calm down. Have you tried every door?” I roll my eyes and nod.
“I’m not an idiot.” He nods.
“Did you try the trunk?” I freeze.
“I didn’t think about that.” He gives me a look and tries the latch. The hood immediately pops open. I kind of half expect him to say something to me about it, but he doesn’t. He reaches in and pushes my middle seat down.
“You’re smaller than me. You can climb in and open the door from the inside.” I look down at my outfit. Not the best day to wear a dress. “Come on, I promise not to look.” He was trying to be funny. Definitely not the time.
I get into my trunk and it’s not until I’m halfway through the hole that I realize that this was a complete stranger. I didn’t know him and I was just trusting him. My dad taught me better than that.
My dog is just staring at me as I climb into the backseat. It’s really hot in here, so I open the door.
Marley immediately jumps out. “Marley, stay!” I yelled as I grabbed my keys. I didn’t need to double check and see if he listened to me. I knew he did. My dad worked with police dogs, and trained Marley to act as obedient as one.
I come out of the car to see two things. Marley is sat down by the door and the fire department was here.
The man who helped me is talking to them. He laughs at something one of them says before the firemen get back into the fire truck and drive away.
When he turns around he smiles at Marley. “Your dog is very well trained.”
“My dad used to work with police dogs, he helped me train him...anyway, thank you for helping me. You probably saved me a big bill for having to replace my window that I was so ready to destroy.” He chuckles.
He hands me back the hammer. “You might want to return that to whoever rightfully owns that.” I grab it, look at it for a moment before looking back at him.
The last few minutes have been a blur and stressful. It is in this moment that I realize how attractive this man is. He was wearing jeans and a white T-shirt. I could see him muscles being outlined by the white shirt. He had short sandy brown hair. And his eyes. They were dark and intense.
“Do you work for the same engine house that just came?” I ask after realizing I haven’t talked in a good minute.
“Yes. I heard the dispatch on my way into work, and I knew I was closer and how time sensitive this was.” I bite my lip. “What’s your name?”
I want to give him my name, but decide against it. “Thank you, again.” I look at my dog. “Come on, Marley.” He follows me straight to the dog daycare.
I turn back and look at the guy for a quick moment. He’s just smirking at me as he gets into his car.
Why did I feel like this wasn’t going to be the only time I’d run into him?