Worse for Wear
The blazing sun was relentless, it’s heat hanging heavy in the humid air as we regrouped at the bottom of the stairs, shrugging off our BA, relieved that that particular drill was done.
“I swear he wants us to die a slow and agonising death.” Cassie groaned, reaching for a bottle of water and gulping some down as she swept her golden hair away from her face.
Lacey nodded, leaning back against the wall and accepting the bottle she was handed by Will.
“Should be easy given how much alcohol you got down you last night.” Will teased, bumping her shoulder and grabbing a bottle himself.
“Was nowhere near as much as you chugged yourself.” She responded, gaining a laugh from the group as a whole.
Jax sprayed some water in his face, shaking it off and shrugging as he joined their debate:
“Actually, I think it was Dodge who outdid us all this time. Nearly drank the place dry.”
Dodger hung his head, clearly suffering in the unbearable heat as his hangover showed in his, paler than usual, complexion and defeated expression. I patted him on the back, gulping down some chilled water, feeling the relief as the cold fluid rejuvenated my parched mouth and throat, and cleared the alcohol induced haziness.
“I think he’s regretting it now.” I teased.
He glared daggers at me, drinking nearly half a bottle in one swoop, before bending down, his hands on his thighs and breathing deeply.
“I hate you all right now.” He groaned at the ground.
I caught Sam and Cain’s eyes and fought a laugh. Pity was fairly absent in these delightful moments of pure amusement and torture. But the one with the least pity of all, was the man who’d had us running the most intense and physical drills that he could possibly think of, all morning… Alex.
We’d barely had two minutes for a water break, before the man of the moment reappeared beside us, a gloating smile on his face.
“Now that the physical side has been covered, let’s try a little mental upkeep.” He smirked triumphantly.
An audible groan ran around the group, before Cassie called out, her usual sparky attitude lost among the resignation and bitterness in her delicate state:
“How are you not as dead as we are?”
Alex chuckled, fixing his hazel brown eyes onto her as he answered:
“Because I had the sense to actually stop drinking at nine. I told you all I wasn’t going easy on you, you ignored my suggestion, you pay the price.”
“This is cruel and unusual lengths of punishment, Sub.” She whined, giving up and downing more water.
“Got to keep my Watch up to standard Firefighter Lee.” He replied, “The alcohol makes you slow and unfocused. Both of these are things that we can’t afford to have. So now we’ve sped you up a bit, it’s time to focus. That means, Handcuff knots, and to make it a little harder on you, blindfolds on from the off.”
He’d done well to pick this one. Even though it was easy and something we did on a regular basis, the blindfold from the off, on a day like today, was bound to make meeting the expected time a little more trying.
“And given the circumstances, you’re to beat your previous times for this drill. If you can’t manage that, then you’ll have to complete another two equipment runs up the tower.”
His smirk was laced with an evilness that you’d easily resemble with the Grinch, as his eyes swept over the tower behind us, where we’d only just descended from the last run he’d had us do. I mentally shook myself, clearing as much of the exhausted fogginess from my head, determining that there was no way I was about to have to repeat that. I could see the others all following suit, each of them doing various things to try to sharpen themselves up for the challenge.
“I think Pixie, you can go first.” Alex said, holding up the rope, and a black stretch of fabric.
Her eyes widened and she shook her head, scrunching her nose and adopting a cutely innocent tone:
“No need to do that, Sub. I’m happy for someone else to try first.”
Alex clearly wasn’t buying it though as he shook his head and indicated for her to take her turn.
She took the blindfold and secured it around herself, then accepted the rope from Alex. Taking a calming breath, she waited for the go ahead, and then began to speedily, albeit slightly clumsily, tie the knot.
“C’mon Pix.” Will encouraged her.
“You got it girl.” Cain smiled, watching the process closely, his hand clenched at his side as he glanced back to Alex.
“That’s it!” Jax shouted as she finished with a flourish and held it up.
Alex hit the button on the stopwatch and nodded satisfactorily as Pixie tore off the blindfold, blinking rapidly in the bright sun. Her eyes twinkled slightly, highlighting their difference in colour, with the blue one looking almost turquoise in this light against the bright green of the other.
“You managed twelve seconds out of fifteen last time.” He explained, keeping her on tenterhooks for dramatic effect, “You did it in eleven, well done.”
She threw her hands in the air, busting into a full on dance reminiscent of her moves at the pub the night before.
“Yesssss!” She exclaimed, twirling her way back to the group of us, receiving pats on the back and ‘well done’ comments from each of us.
One by one he called us forward, and each of us accomplished the task within one or two seconds of our previous time. Satisfied that we’d all suffered enough, he freed us to head back inside and take a refreshing shower, before lunch.
It was just as we were about to sit down to eat, when we got our first shout, and when we arrived on scene, the familiar and amusing sight left us in no doubt of what we were dealing with.
“Stag night prank.” I laughed, coming to a stop before the man we were there to help.
Wearing nothing but boxers, fitted with a large ‘L’ plate attached to the front, he was heavily chained in place to a lamp post, his hair disheveled, eyes red and panic clearly etched into every line of his face.
“Please get me off of here.” He begged, his voice cracking as he continued to pull his arms trying to loosen the chains.
“Alright Sir, keep calm and stay nice and still for me.” Lacey said, stopping beside me, and clearing her throat to try to shake off the laugh that was ready to come out. “What’s your name?”
“Alright Tony, I’m Bane and this is Lacey.” I said as I looked over the chains in search of the lock. “I take it that you’re meant to be on your way to the ceremony by now?” I asked, finding and freeing the padlock from under the heavy chains. “Will? Bolt cutters.”
Will and Cassie were leaning against the appliance, watching with amused grins and clearly taking quiet potshots at Tony’s expense, when he nodded and slumped off to get the cutters from the locker.
“Yeah, she’s gonna kill me.” He groaned, straining against the binding chains that were slowly leaving more and more red marks along his torso. “She told me not to let my old mate Joel be my best man. She said he was an idiot and was gonna screw something up.”
“Hate to break it to ya buddy, but she’s gonna enjoy telling you she told you so.” Lacey chuckled as I took the cutters from Will and pulled at the lock.
“If she ever speaks to me again. The wedding’s at one, and I’m still stuck here, a good ten minutes away, minus my damn clothes.”
The cutters snipped through the heavy lock like it was made of butter, immediately loosening the chains and giving him some space to move whilst Lacey and I unwound them from the pole until he was finally free.
“Thank you!” He gushed, rubbing at the places on his arms and abs where the chains had bitten into his flesh. “Maybe you can do me another favour and send an ambulance to Saint Mary’s Church over on Weston Avenue. I’m sure I’ll be needing them when Abigail gets hold of me.”
“Abigail’s the soon to be Missus?” Will asked when we rejoined him and Cassie by the appliance.
Tony nodded, and I looked him over. He looked totally defeated, his skin was red from the bite of the heavy steel bonds and his feet were bare.
“Are you sure you’re not injured in any way?” Cassie asked, gesturing to the marks.
“Yeah, I’m sure. For now at least. Thanks again, but I have to try and find a cab, I have to get to the church fast.”
Me and Will exchanged looks, Lacey and Cassie catching on fast and bounding toward the doors, yanking them open.
“C’mon, jump in.”
Tony looked confused, but perked up as we began climbing into the truck.
“The church is on the way back to the station, we’ll give you a ride.”
“Oh my god, thank you!” he shouted, following Cassie into the back whilst Lacey jumped in next to me in the front.
Starting up the engine, I steered back out onto the street and headed back the way we came. The traffic was beginning to get backed up as we reached a junction. The time was ticking on and we had none to waste, resorting to other measures I sighed.
“Only one thing for it.” I muttered, reaching across and flicking on the siren. As soon as the lights began to flash and the loud siren rang out, the cars up ahead began to part and the road cleared to allow us a path through. Putting my foot down, I sped us along the road and up towards the church, switching the siren back off as we approached the small, idyllic church, and stopped out front.
“Hope you have some clothes waiting for you in there, man.” Will said playfully, opening the door to let him out.
A tall, blonde man was practically sprinting down the church path looking flustered as Tony answered:
“Yeah, they’ll have brought the suit with them, I hope. If not, we’ll definitely need an ambulance, because I’ll be killing the asshole.”
Laughter rumbled through the truck as he leapt out and rushed at the other man, visibly annoyed as he scolded him then hurried along the path at his side.
“I presume that’s the best man.” Lacey said nonchalantly.
“Yup.” I agreed.
Will and Cassie leant over the back of our seats and we watched them disappear inside.
“Seems like being chained to a pole is a great hangover cure.” Cassie muttered.
“I’m surprised you didn’t learn that from personal experience.” Will teased, causing me and Lacey to laugh and Cassie to shove him playfully in the ribs.
“Alright children, behave.” I chuckled, pulling back onto the road again, “Time to get back to work.”