Fire With Fire

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Emma moves back to her hometown with her son, Peyton, after a tragic accident leaves her a widow. Joey is a single local volunteer firefighter who she had grown up with. He and Emma’s brother in law, Cash, are good friends and she soon will notice he is around quite often. Will she be able to move out of the past and live in the present or will she be too independent to let anyone in?

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“Good morning sleepy head. It’s time to get up. It’s your first day of school today!”

“Mom, it’s too early! I just want to stay home.” Peyton whined.

I rolled my eyes and went around his bedroom, opened the curtain to let the morning light in. I went around to the dresser to pick out his clothes.

His bed room was a smaller room but decorated very nicely. He has always loved all boyish things, but especially loved dinosaurs. I had painted the room blue and added some big dinosaur decals on the walls when we moved here. I didn’t want him to not feel at home after the move. I knew it was going to be a hard move for him since he had grown up in Florida and had to leave his friends behind. Luckily he was just starting 1st grade so now was the time to move while he was young.

I picked out a long sleeve shirt with a big green T- Rex on it and some jeans with socks and underwear and placed them on the bed.

“Get up Peyton, don’t you want to check out the new school and make some new friends?” I said as cherrily as she could.

“Come on, I’ll make some pancakes?” I said tickling him.

“Mom, mom, stop, okay fine I’ll get up!” Laughing, he finally gave in.

Peyton got himself dressed and made his way down the stairs for breakfast. After eating it was time to catch the school bus. Not only was this a big change to move but the weather in northern New Hampshire was a very big change from the sunny Florida weather. It was still summer in New Hampshire but it wasn’t as hot and today of course was raining.

I helped Peyton into his shoes and a light rain jacket as well as put on my own jacket and grabbed the umbrella.

It was a soft rain but it looked like it had been raining all night long so the ground was a bit soggy. We were careful to walk on the rock pathway as to not get too wet.

“Are you going to sit next to Fin on the bus today?” Fin was Peytons older cousin.

“Yeah, I hope I can find him when I get on.” He seemed a little sad.

“I’m sure you will be able to, he said he would look out for you.”

As I finished the bus came down the muddy dirt road an stopped. We saw Fin waving through one of the windows and Peyton rushed on the bus to go sit with him. With a quick “bye mom!”

I rushed back inside out of the rain and since I was already ready for work I grabbed my keys, purse, and phone and walked out to the car to head to work.

I didn’t have much time to find a job when I arrived here and I really needed the money so I took the first job that I could working at a local deli/store. It was about 10 mins from my house so it was a good quick option.

As I was running outside and trying to slide into my car, that’s when I saw him. Joey Travis running down the road, soaked. His shirt clinging to him as he ran. He was better looking then I remembered. I didn’t remember all those muscles and that hair. Dark brown and delicious. It was longer on the top but not too long.

He waved and as I gave a small wave back I noticed I was staring. Shit. What am I doing? It’s just Joey and I’m really not looking for anyone. For Christ’s sake my husband just died last year! I married Derrick and dead or not I am still his and only his.

I tried not too think about it as I drove and walked into work.

The day was long. After the morning coffee and breakfast rush it was dead and left little for me to do. I did some cleaning and chatted with the owner when he came in to check on me. He was an older sweet man. He had lost his wife to cancer a couple years back and the store seemed to be the only thing he had left.

Lunch time was around the corner and I knew it would get busy again. I hadn’t been working there long but I knew when it would start to pick up.

“Hey, Mr. Miller!”

“Ah, Joey! How are you boy?”

I froze in place, squatting down to clean one of the lower shelves with my back to them I tried to make myself hidden. Maybe Mr. Miller will step in and ring Joey out.

I already had made some premade sandwiches and put them in the cooler. Maybe he would just grab one and go.

I heard them chatting and I heard the old register ding so I knew Mr. Miller had rung him out.

Then I heard the footsteps coming closer across the old wooden floor. Shit.

“Hey Emma” his voice was like velvet.

Shit. Shit. Shit.

“Oh hey Joey, I didn’t even hear you come in.” As I stood up and turned to him.

“Oh, yeah, Mr Miller helped me out.”

A long pause.

“So, how you holding up? .. I heard about your um.. husband, I’m really sorry Em.” He seemed like he was just as uncomfortable with this as I was.

“Thank you Joey, I’m fine really.”

Another long pause.

“Well I best get back to work, I’ll see you around Em!”

He worked with the town road crew but was also a volunteer firefighter so I knew I’d see him around again. He was always in town.

“Yeah, see you.” I tucked a piece of my hair back behind my ear.

As he walked away I caught myself checking him out. God, why was he so attractive now? As soon as I think these thought I feel guilty all over again.

I turn to go back to the register to get ready for the rush. As I turn I see Mr. Miller looking in my direction with a smirk then he walks out the door and says, “I’ll be back later Emma!”

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