"Good Daddy, I think there's some problem with her LT not liking a woman doing a man's job." She gripped her fathers hand in hers and gave it a slight squeeze. "Will it ever change? I mean if a woman can do the same job, why give her such a hassle?"
"Not all men are like her LT, look here at the hospital. I hire the most knowledgeable doctors I can—with the exception of that bimbo Brent, he wasn't my doing."
The sound of running feet and a sliding noise brought their heads to the doorway; her brother Billy came sliding into the room out of breath.
"Brent—on way—pissed!" He bent over at the waist and rested his hands on his knees trying to catch his breath.
Two sets of brows drew down over green eyes; Artemis looked to her father and shrugged her shoulders. Her green eyes shot wide, mouth dropped open and then she tried to stop the burst of laughter that came from her chest.
"What is so funny baby girl?"
"Well, Brent must have shown up at my house and Jake got him." She snapped her mouth closed when the devil himself walked in.
"Can I speak to you alone?" He said as he tossed the hair from his enraged eyes. The small group looked at the too small pants and the Hawaiian shirt he had on.
Artemis crossed her arms over her chest and gave him a force ten glare. "What ever it is that you want to say can be said in front of my family."
"Have it your way, if you want them to know that you have a dyke in your house."
"Ooohh you stop right there you ignorant asshole!" She yelled and pointed a finger at him. "Don't you dare even think of calling my friend that! It's none of your damn business what her preference is and none of your business who's in my house!" Her temper rose to the breaking point, moving forward in the bed to get closer to the idiot, she swung her legs over the side of the bed, reached out and grabbed him by his shirt. "Where's my spare key?"
"What?" His eyes grew wide at the thought of her wanting her keys back. "Why do you want them back?"
"For one thing, I never gave you a key to my house, two you are to stay away from me, Jake and my house. ITS OVER! NOW GIVE ME MY DAMN KEY!"
He struggled to get his hand into the front pocket, a tearing sound brought a smirk to every ones face when his pants ripped down the outside of his leg. Handing her the key, dropped to his knees.
"Please boo boo bear, you can't do this. I love you."
"Bullshit! Go tell that to the bitch you were playing with in my house!"
"I wasn't—how do—ohh shit!" He jumped to his feet and grabbed her hands. "It didn't mean anything—honest. And it was only one time, I swear!"
Green fiery eyes drilled into his, one side of her lip curled into an evil grin.
"BULLSHIT!" She brought up one leg and kicked him in what was once his family jewels. "Billy drag that piece of shit out of my room, throw him down the steps if you want."
"My pleasure Sis, come on dumb shit." He grabbed one arm and dragged Brent across the floor and down the hall.
"Baby girl, I'm so proud of you." Her father gave her a big hug and kissed her forehead. "How did you know about the other woman?"
"Jake found a bra lying on my floor and it wasn't mine. So that could only mean it belonged to some one he took over there. Plus she said my house looked like the aftermath of a frat party."
Artemis was watching the Jenny Jones show, she cringed every time one of the guests came on stage. The topic was "Are you a mother that parties with your daughter?" She couldn't believe the hags that came on to the stage, some of them had to be in their 50's. "EEWW! Put some clothes on!"
"I have clothes on."
Artemis turned her head to see a smiling Jake standing in the doorway with Styrofoam containers in her hands. Her face turned a deep pink because she wished that Jake were half-naked like the ones on TV.
"Is that lunch?" She smelled the air and gave out a deep sigh. "Gyros?"
"Yep, with breaded eggplant and I brought Baklava."
"You are my savior, in more ways than one. Gimme gimme." She held out her hands and wiggled her fingers. She moaned with each bite and grinned at her blushing friend, picking up a napkin she wiped the sauce from Jakes chin. "Why are you blushing?"
"Uhhmm—" She picked up her coke and took a long pull from the straw. Gods she's trying to kill me here. "Did I tell you that I caught Brent at your house last night?" That was a smooth one Jake.
"He came by here last night and I gave him the riot act." She gave in detail what had transpired the night before.
"I had him clean your entire house, even had him wash the windows—and then I threw him out the door in his—little red jockey shorts."
Artemis busted out laughing, tears flowed down her cheeks when she pictured Brent standing outside in his underwear. Now she knew why he had shown up at the hospital looking like a misfit.
Wrapping her fingers around Jake's bicep, she fell over and rested against her shoulder while trying to regain her composure. That lasted all of two seconds when she thought of it again. "I wish I had a picture of that!"
"Better yet, I threw his bitch out in her underwear to and used her whip on him when he slowed down at his cleaning."
"A whip? What the hell were they doing?" She asked in between chuckles.
"Warlord and slave boy."
Artemis sobered; a wicked grin came across her face as an eyebrow rose over a twinkling green eye. She would love to play warlord and slave girl with a certain tall dark firefighter.
Her voice a deep purr. "Really, sounds interesting."
Ohh mercy! She purrs like that again and I'll do anything, including wear a pink tutu! "Uuhh huh." She gulped at the hungry look in green eyes. I am in soo much trouble!
"You still have the whip?" She wiggled her eyebrows and licked her lips. I can't believe I'm flirting with her!
"You going to beat someone with it?"
"Never can tell, anyway." Using every bit of her internal strength she dragged her mind out of the gutter "Did you find Zeus?"
"Yep, slept with me last night and kneaded the hell out of my tits. Your cats a pervert."
No, he's a lucky little bastard! He likes you, he usually bites the hell out of people he doesn't like. I won't name the main one though, because I know you can figure that one out."
It was past three o'clock when Jake eased off the side of the bed and covered up a snoring Artemis. Leaning over her, she placed a soft kiss on her forehead and trailed her fingers down her cheek.
"Sweet dreams baby girl." Leaving the room on silent feet, she made her way to the elevator, before the doors closed she saw Brent and gave him a tiny wave and stuck her tongue out at his scowling face.
"Bastard!" She said to her self when the elevator started down. "Wait until you find all your shit thrown on the front lawn of the hospital!"
John and his wife Melinda walked into Artemis's room to find her doing a crossword puzzle, she was searching through the back of the book for an answer to one of the questions, seeing that she had company, she blushed and closed the book quickly.
"Hi, John right?" She held out her hand to him and gave his wife a friendly smile.
"Yep, this is my wife Melinda. Just thought we'd stop by and see how you were doing and if you've seen my trouble-making partner. You know the tall pervert."
"Jake a pervert?" She snorted and rolled her eyes. More like a mischievous toddler, she comes by for lunch everyday."
"I've been on vacation and I heard through the grapevine that she was suspended, we don't know where she's even staying and I'm a little worried about her."
"Worried about Jake, why?" She hadn't seen anything to worry about and was now curious.
John pulled a chair over and motioned for his wife to sit down, then placed his hands on her shoulders.
"Jake doesn't have any family and she's always lived at the fire house. So when she packed her stuff and left without a trace, I got worried."
Melinda gripped her husband's hands.
"She's always stayed with us when she's gotten into trouble before, so when she didn't come by—"
"She's been in trouble before? What has she done?" Green eyes looked between the two of them.
"I really shouldn't be telling you this but since you're her friend." He rubbed a hand over his tired face. "Jake has a death wish of some sorts; she goes into dangerous situations without thinking. She has been lucky so far and has only gotten minimal injuries. But I worry about the next time."
Artemis's heart fluttered in her chest, she didn't know what to say. "Is there a reason for this, I mean I know your job is dangerous."
John sighed; he looked down at the floor and spoke in a low voice. "I can't tell you, you'll have to ask Jake. I'm sorry." His eyes showed the pain of his knowledge.
"OK I understand; she's staying at my house until her suspension is over with." She gave them her address and told them that they could drop by if they wanted. After they left, she tried to come up with a way of bringing up the subject of Jake's reckless behavior. "What's your secret Jake, why do you want to die?" Leaning back on her pillow, she wiped an errant tear from her cheek. Pulling her wheel chair over to the edge of the bed, she swung her legs to the floor then used the strength in her arms to get into the seat. Backing out of the room she headed towards the elevator, once inside she hit the first floor button and cursed under her breath when it went up instead of down. She didn't know whether to be relieved or completely pissed when her Mom and Dad got in to the elevator with her.
"Baby girl were you coming to see us?"
She blushed and tried to come up with something to not hurt their feelings. She watched her mother grip her husbands forearm before she stepped into her line of vision.
"From the look on your face, I'd say you were going in search of someone?"
Green eyes showed her amazement as they did every time her mother pulled one of her freaky mind reading things.
"I was on my way to the cast room." She looked down at the full- length casts covering her legs. "I want these things off, I have—"
"To go home and take care of a certain person?" Her eyes flashed with understanding. "You know she has to face this on her own?"
"But I want to help—"
"Come on William, wheel our baby to her room and be a hero and go find someone to put her in those new contraptions you just got in." She chuckled when her husband mumbled under his breath when he left his wife and daughter in her room to talk. Natasha saw the worried look behind the tears in her daughter's eyes.
"Artemis, Jake has a lot she keeps behind stone walls and its there to protect her and every one that's around her." She brushed a tear from her pale cheek and drove forward. "You can't go in there like a steam roller and force her into spilling her guts as much as you want to. I know you think that you can save her from what she does but you can't. The only thing you can do is stand by her and be a loving friend."
"Mama, she has a death wish, John told me a little while ago about what she does out there."
"I know she does, you can't protect her or change what she is. Only Jake can do that and it won't happen over night no matter what you do."
"How do you know all of this Mama?" She asked with her voice cracking and tears flowing down her face.
"Baby, I see more than what others see and I can feel her pain. But I also see how she is around you." Her eyes crinkled at the corners, a light laugh erupted from her chest. "Did you know that she took all of Brent's clothes and tossed them on the hospitals front lawn? Between the two of you, this hospital will be tipped on its roof!"
Jake was sitting on the floor, her back against the couch with Zeus lying over her shoulder from behind her. A half gallon of butter pecan ice cream in her hand, and a small furry face licking her spoon.
"You don't share very well you know that?"
Pale blue eyes connected with hers, long whiskers twitched when he meowed at her impatience.
"It's my turn you little pig." She moved the spoon from his rough tongue and dipped it into the ice cream.
A deep purring voice came from behind her. "That is really gross Jake."
Jake turned her head and smiled around the spoon still in her mouth.
"Arrry!" She pulled the spoon from her mouth, put the ice cream on the floor and jumped to her feet to pull her friend into a bone-crushing hug. "They let you out early!" She kissed a flushed cheek and hugged her closer to her body. Artemis melted into the strong body, inhaling the soft scent of dyer sheets and spicy cologne. She pulled back to lock eyes with Jake.
"And not a moment to soon, you've been spoiling my baby Zeus haven't you?" Pushing a strand of dark hair behind a blushing Jake's ear, she placed a finger under a lowered chin and raised her face up to look at her. "He likes marshmallow crème to, but it gets stuck in his whiskers."
Jake looked down at the long braces on Artemis's legs, numerous straps and metal bars stabilized her legs and looked very painful. Bending down she swept her up into her arms and carried her to the couch. Gently putting her down, she grabbed pillows, placed them on the coffee table and then put Artemis's legs on top of them.
"Are you hungry, I can cook something? How about some coffee?" Jake was a nervous wreck now that Artemis was there, she didn't know what to do with herself. "Are you in pain, can I get you some aspirins or something?"
"Jake stop all ready and take a seat before you get me dizzy from your tailspins."
Running her hands through her messy hair, Jake sat down at the other end of the couch and dropped her head so that her chin was resting on her chest. Looking up slowly with nervous pale blue eyes, a small lop sided grin split her face. "Sorry." She whispered and was ready to jump up again until a leg dropped down across her thighs trapping her in place.
"Calm down, you're worse than a new father." Leaning over towards her friend, she picked up the large hand that was tapping a mile a minute on the couch. "How much junk food have you and Zeus have today?" At that second her cat went charging through the house and all she could hear were his nails trying to gain purchase on the tiled floor of the kitchen. "I guess that answers my question, no more sugar for you two!"
Jake lowered her voice and hoped it didn't crack. "He likes Twinkies and cupcakes."
"Gods have mercy, junk food addicts. You like Chinese food?"
"I'll eat anything I don't have to cook. You ordering take out, I can run and get it?"
Artemis chuckled at the way Jake's feet were tapping on the floor.
"I think in your sugar induced condition that you could run to China and back! Nope I'm cooking it, which is if all the stuff I need is still in the refrigerator." She frowned when she looked down at her legs. "Maybe I should just order out, I can't really stand to long."
"Wait right there!" Jake placed Artemis's leg back on the coffee table, jumped up and ran through the house with Zeus right behind her. A minute later she came back with Zeus sitting in the office chair from Artemis's office. "How about this? You can raise it up so that you can reach the stove and table."
Artemis had to keep slapping Jake's hands away from the vegetables that she had sliced. She threatened to give her a tranquilizer if she didn't calm down.
"Can't help it." She stuck her bottom lip out and pouted. Artemis wanted to kiss her so bad that she found her body leaning towards her, catching herself at the last second; she tapped the pouting lip with her finger.
"Get the plates down and we'll eat."
They had finished eating and were watching TV, at least that's what Jake remembered last before she fell asleep. Rolling her head to loosen the stiffness, she looked down at the tousled blonde head that was resting in her lap. One small hand fisted under her chin, the other clenching Jake's T-shirt, while both legs were up on the arm of the couch. Jake didn't know how Artemis was going to sleep in bed with the heavy braces on her legs; they would have to figure something out.
"Arty, come on lets get you to bed." All she heard was a mumbling and then a soft snoring. "Baby girl, my legs are numb and you're driving me crazy." With each movement of her head, she hit a very tender area of Jake's lower region. If she didn't move Artemis soon, she would make a complete ass of herself by thrusting her hips upward. Slipping from under her, she gently picked her up and carried her to her bedroom. After putting her down, she then noticed that the braces were on over a pair of sweat pants.
"Solves that problem."
"What does?" Green eyes fluttered open to lock with blue.
"Uuhmm—your braces, I was wondering how you were going to sleep with them on."
Her voice gravelly, she pleaded for help. "Take them off for me please. My hips are sore from walking funny and it hurts to move too much."
Jake unfastened all the Velcro straps and dropped each brace to the floor; she could feel the indentations in Artemis's legs from the straps. You want these off." She motioned to the thick sweat pants. Artemis pushed the waistband down as far as she could before a low groan came to her lips.
"I feel worse now than when you pulled me out of my car." She jumped a little when she felt Jake's hands encounter her skin.
"Sorry, did I hurt you?"
"No—I'm OK." She wasn't about to tell her that she enjoyed the feel of her hands on her and that her body did that out of arousal and not pain.
Jake took in a shuddering breath at the site of the discolored legs before her. She could see now how bad Artemis's legs had been broke in the accident.
"Baby I'm sorry this happened to you." Tears formed in her eyes as she ran her fingers across the indentations from the straps.
"Jake you saved me; I wouldn't be here now if it wasn't for you." She sat up on the bed and wiped the tears from Jake's face. "The bruises will fade in time and so will the pain." She could see the torment and pain in the tear filled blue eyes. "Come up here." She took a large hand in hers and pulled Jake closer to her. "Lay down with me, you look exhausted. Have you been sleeping?" She ran a finger across the dark circles under Jake's blue eyes.
"A few hours a night. Are you sure about this?" Blue eyes searched green.
"Yes now lay down, I don't want to be alone." What she had said was partly true, she didn't want to be alone but she also didn't want Jake to be alone. Something deep inside of her told her that Jake needed her next to her. Turning on her side, she spooned herself up against Jake's back, wrapped an arm around her waist and pressed her cheek into the center of a muscular back. Taking a deep breath, she relaxed and felt Jake do the same. A few minutes went by and they both drifted off into a deep sleep.
A week went by with them getting to know each other, many hours were spent just sitting and watching TV or the sunset at night. They took turns cooking, Artemis kept the fire extinguisher close by to tease Jake with. So far it was only used once when Artemis set the oven mitt on fire by leaving it too close to one of the burners. They had planed to go to the movies that afternoon when a phone call from Jake's lieutenant changed everything. Jake was scared but didn't want Artemis to know it, she didn't know if she was being called back to work or if she was getting her walking papers. Either way she would go alone, if it was bad news, she didn't want Artemis to be around if and when she lost her control. She had dressed in her uniform that Artemis had insisted on pressing for her. Shined her boots and belt buckle and packed her bag just in case.
"Are you sure you don't want me to go with you?" Artemis said from where she stood leaning against the wall near the front door.
"I'm sure baby girl, I don't know what's going to happen." She cast her eyes down to the floor. "If I'm back in an hour or so, that means I'm fired."
Artemis stepped closer to her and lifted her chin with a finger. "Have faith Jake, you may be surprised."
Her eyes became moist with unshed tears. "I don't know how to have that."
"Don't worry, I have faith in you." She wrapped her arms around Jake's waist and gave her a tight hug. "Everything will be all right, you'll see." She had never told Jake of her Dads involvement in getting Jake's suspension over turned and cleared from her record. She figured it would be best not to let Jake know that her family had called in some favors. "Call me and let me know what's going on."
"I will, as soon as I can." She was about to walk out the door when she felt a hand on her arm. Artemis laced her fingers behind her neck and pulled her down far enough to place a soft kiss on her cheek.
"Good luck Jake, and remember I believe in you."
Jake left with a small smile on her lips and her heart fluttering in her chest. Artemis dropped down on to the couch, leaning forward she dropped her face into her hands and sighed. She felt lost the second Jake walked out the door, she never felt that way when Brent left and she was confused as to why she felt that way now.
"Gods Jake, what have you done to me?"
Putting her legs up on to the coffee table, she flipped on the TV and scanned the channels. Dropping her head back on the couch, she stared at the ceiling and pictured smiling blue eyes and a lopsided grin.
Jake walked into the firehouse and noticed right off that something had changed. The guys that she had lived with, joked around with and considered her brothers all turned their backs to her when she walked into the lounge area. Some even went as far as getting up and leaving the room. Her eyes turned dark and narrowed at them, straightening her back, she went through the room and down the hall to where the Lieutenants office was located. She pounded on the closed door and waited to be called in, after a couple minutes she pounded again.
"What the hell?" She mumbled under her breath, turning to go back and search for the LT, she stopped when she saw Johnnie coming towards her. She started to smile, then changed her mind when she saw the closed off look on his usually friendly face. Standing still, she waited until he came up to her and then followed him in to the LT's office after; he motioned to her to follow. She watched as he dropped down into the leather chair and pointed to the visitors chair across from him. She didn't say a word, just sat at attention and watched her friend fight with himself.
"Damn it Papalogious, I hate this shit." He looked up at her for a brief second then back down at the desktop.
"Just tell me, do I still have a job. If not I'll leave right now."
"Yes, you still have a job." He leaned back in the chair and locked eyes with her. "The thing is, you will no longer share the living quarters with us."
"Excuse me?" She leaned forward towards the desk, her face showed amusement at the statement. "Then where do I stay, in my truck?"
"The LT had the guys make you a room at the back of the workout area, the bathroom that was everyone's use up there is now strictly yours. For meals, you can eat in the kitchen but afterwards you are to make yourself scarce."
Anger filled the silvery blue eyes, her teeth ground together making an awful noise that sent shivers up Johnnie's back.
"What the FUCK is going on around here? I have just as much right to the entire firehouse as everyone else, why am I being banished and where the hell is that fat son of a bitch, is he afraid I'll kill his fat fucking ass?"
Johnnie ran his fingers across his face, he knew that what was happening to Jake was not right, in fact it was against the law but there was nothing he could do about it. The LT and the head over the fire department had come to some kind of agreement.
"Jake the LT wanted to fire you, but the big boss said no. So the LT is hoping that you'll get so pissed that you'll quit." He slammed his palm down on the desk, stood up and paced behind the desk. "This isn't all that has been changed. The guys have been threatened that if they talk to you, they'll lose their jobs. And when we go out on calls, you're on your own."
Her voice nothing more than a growl, she looked Johnnie dead in the eyes with piercing silver.
"Fine! If that's what he wants he's got it!" She stood up so fast that the chair crashed to the floor. She leaned over the desk, raised her hand and brought down her fist so hard that the top of the wood desk split under her hand. "I have never quit anything in my life and I'm not starting now! He can do what ever the hell he wants but I will win in the end!" She stormed from the office leaving a grinning Johnnie behind.
"I knew you would say that." He pumped a hand in the air in triumph.
Jake stomped up the stairs to the top floor where the gym was, she saw the new wall at the very back and noticed that it took up the entire back wall. Pushing the door open she walked in and hit the wall before she was even into the room. It may take up the entire wall but it was only four foot wide. A rack was at one end with a wall locker and at the other was the small bathroom that had a sink, toilet and a small shower.
"Just fucking great, I feel like I'm in solitary confinement." Dropping her back on the floor she turned around and looked for a wall socket and light switch. "Even better, I have no electricity or a way of turning the lights off." She noticed a cardboard box sitting on the rack, walking the short distance over to it she found an envelope on top with her name typed across it. Reading the short letter she read down the list of the things she was to have done before her days off. "He has got to be insane!" She looked in the box to find cans of polish that was to be used to wax all the fire trucks and a can of Brasso to do all the brass in the firs house. "He's a dead man!" She growled before throwing the letter to the hardwood floor.
Stomping down the steps she went out the door and down the street to the nearest pay phone. So she could call Artemis and let her know that she still had a job. She wouldn't tell her all the bullshit that was going on because Jake didn't want to unload her burden on her friend. She had wide shoulders and could carry it herself even if it killed her.
Artemis hung up the phone and smiled, she was happy that everything had worked out but saddened that she wouldn't see Jake for four or five days depending on her rotation and if she wanted to come by and visit on her days off. Tears fell from her eyes at the thought of being all by herself. "I'll survive, it's not like I've not been living alone all these years." Jumping at the chirping of her cell phone, she searched the couch and found it behind one of the throw pillows.
"Baby girl, is Jake there?"
"No Daddy, she left a while ago to head back to work. Thank you for helping her."
"I don't know if what I did helped her." She heard how his voice lowered to almost a whisper. "If she's at work then it can't be too bad."
"What's wrong Daddy?" She didn't like when her father became quiet, it always meant that things were not good. "I know that voice, now tell me or I'm going to the firehouse and find out for myself." She stood in front of the couch and tried to pace with her leg braces keeping her legs straight and bulky. "Daddy?"
"She'll be OK, just wait for her to tell you. I have to go, call your Mama."
"That's it, I need a car. I can't handle being stuck here and not able to go anywhere." She dropped onto the couch and yelped when her legs came up smacking her toes under the coffee table. "Maybe Jake will take me on her days off to get a new car."
The alarms went off; firefighters ran for their gear and the trucks that were rumbling to life. Jake grabbed her gear, half ran and jumped the stairs as she made her way to where the trucks had pulled from inside to sit waiting in the wide driveway. Being the last one out the door because she had the longest distance to clear, she ran to the waiting truck and was shocked when one of the guys shook his head at her and let the truck leave without her.
'MOTHER FUCKERS!!!!!!!" She ran to where her truck was in the parking lot, jumped in and took off after the fire trucks. The entire way she sent curses to her LT. If they worked, he would drop dead where ever he was from clogged arteries. Sliding her truck to a stop behind the other trucks, she jumped out and pulled her coat and helmet on. Looking up to the two-story house that was on fire, she could see that it needed to be vented. Pulling an ax from a compartment in the truck, she ran to the lower windows and started breaking them. The heat that burst from the windows was hot enough to singe the hair on her fingers, which wouldn't have been happening if she had gloves. If she found the person who took them, she promised herself that he would never need them again after she cut his hands off. Running around the back of the structure, she continued to break out the windows. Taking a quick look into each room, she looked for any one who might still be inside. Fine mists of water fell over her from where the firefighters were trying to wet the other houses that were close by, the snapping of fire heated wood and sizzling smothered her hearing so that she could barely hear the yell for help from above. A falling piece of furniture brought her head spinning up to a window where a woman and small child were trying to get some ones attention.
"Don't move! We'll get you down!" She yelled up to them and then ran to get the guys with a ladder.
"In the back, a woman and child, upper window!" She told one of the others and was shocked when he didn't pay any attention to her. "Did you hear what I said?" The firefighter shoved her in the chest and walked towards where the others were spraying the roof of the house. "ASSHOLES!" Running to the tanker, she grabbed the oxygen tank that had her Xena Warrior Princess stickers on the tank. Pulling it over her shoulders, she grunted at the pain in the still healing shoulder. Slipping the mask over her face, she pulled her hood over her head, helmet back on, and ran inside the burning house. Taking the stairs to the second floor, she ran with her bare hand against the wall feeling for heat. Stopping a the door that she thought led to the room where the people were, she put her hand on the door and felt a burning under her palm. She knew that if she opened the door, a back draft would most likely fry her where she stood; she needed the guys up there with the hoses to cool the door down and douse the flames from inside. From the way they acted outside, she knew she was going to have to do this on her own. Checking the door next to it, she found it cool to her touch. Opening it while taking cover by the side, she waited a few seconds before going in. The smoke wasn't as thick in this room so she closed the door and found a place on the wall and started hacking away with her ax until she had a good-sized hole. Using her feet, she kicked the remaining drywall away until she could get into the other room. What she found didn't look good. Flames ate at the walls and floor and ran across the ceiling towards where the windows were open. Dropping to a crouch, she ran across the room dodging the flames that jumped at her legs. The woman and child were hanging half way out the window screaming for help.
"HEY! COME WITH ME!" She yelled over the noise. Grabbing their arms, she pulled them from the window and pushed them towards the hole in the wall. Once they were in the other room, she pulled her tank from her back, put it on the young woman and showed her how to use it.
"Share with your baby." She nodded her head when the woman placed the mask over her coughing child's face. "Come on lets get out of here." Checking the door before she opened it, she then pulled them out behind her. She heard the firefighters below and then saw two of them coming up the stairs with a hose spraying a fine mist over the area. Pulling the woman in behind her, she took them down the stairs and out the front door to where paramedics were waiting.
"Wait! Where's my son!" The woman screamed and grabbed on to Jake's arm. "Jimmy was in the basement!"
After taking back her tank, Jake wiped the sweat and grime from her face with an equally dirty hand. "OK, I'll go get him." Her blue eyes burning from the smoke were blurry at best; she looked for Johnnie and prayed that he would help her. She found him unrolling a hose from one of the trucks compartments.
She came face to face with her friend, with pleading eyes she looked to him. "I need some help, there's a kid in the basement."
He cast a glance over his shoulder and saw the LT watching him. Trying to show how sorry he was with his eyes alone, he shook his head no.
"I hope you burn in hell!" She growled at him right before she shoved him in his chest and took off to find a way into the basement. Charging back into the house, she pushed past other firefighters searching for the door to the basement. Finding one at the back of the house, she touched the door and yanked her hand back from the burning heat. "Fuck it." She stepped back and kicked the door in-ward; a blast of heated air hit her square in the chest and made her step back a bit. Seeing one of the guys coming towards her with a hose, she yanked it out of his hands and sprayed down the steps to the basement. Turning the water off she plunged into the darkness with only her flashlight to guide her way.
"Jimmy! Hey buddy where are you?" She shined the flashlight across the floor of what was a family room. Checking the closet on the one wall she came up empty, she decided that if he were down there, he would be hiding in a cubbyhole somewhere. Flipping the couch over and then the chair, she came to what was a bar of some kind. Shinning her flashlight towards the back corner, she saw a blonde head peek up and green eyes look at her. Flipping her shield up so as not scare him, she gave him a smile. "Hey Jimmy, my names Jake. What do you say we get you to your mom?"
Picking him up in her arms, she ran for the stairs and took them two at a time. She was halfway up when flames shot up from where her foot had broke through the weakened steps. Throwing herself to the side to protect Jimmy, she bounced off the wall behind her. Pulling her foot free, she kept close to the wall and waited until the pain in her ankle ebbed away.
"Please my sons in there! You have to save him!" The frantic woman screamed at the lieutenant. Grabbing his arm, she tried to drag him back to the house.
"Listen lady, if my men haven't found him yet then there's no hope. Now back away before you get hurt." He shoved her none to gently, then strode off to where the press were standing around watching the house go up in flames. He ran his mouth like he was the world's greatest fire chief on the planet, using jargon that made it appear that he was intelligent and cared about his job. All bought it except for one lone photographer that had heard what he told the woman. The tall blonde haired woman continued to snap shots of the firefighter's right up until the last hose was rolled up and put away. Moving to a different position, she started taking pictures of the mother holding her daughter close to her chest and sobbing with grief over the loss of her son. Paying attention to the trucks pulling away, she moved to where Jake's truck sat against the curb and catching the woman at an angle. She dropped the camera from her eye when she heard a god awful wail come from the woman.
Taking the mask off, she pulled it over the little boys face and left it there for him to breathe the clean oxygen. Taking a deep breath, she went the rest of the way up the stairs and staggered to the light ahead of her. A creaking came to her ears just at the threshold, pushing the boy from her arms; she raised an arm over her head and caught the blunt force of the ceiling that fell in on her. Stepping to the side, she fell backwards from the rubble and out the door. Wet heavy debris fell across her legs pinning her where she lay. Police officers who heard the woman scream came running and helped Jake out of the doorway. They half carried her to a safe distance from the house, they asked her if she wanted a paramedic and left at the shake of her head.
The photographer snapped picture after picture, capturing the entire episode on film. A huge smile came to her face when a sooty hand pulled the helmet off and pushed back a hood to reveal long dark sweat soaked hair.
"The hero appears once again." She walked away from the scene with a smirk on her face. "You will always be a huge surprise at the end Jake."
Johnnie searched the parking lot for Jake's truck; they had gotten back to the station an hour ago and still no Jake. He was beyond worry and went to ask the other guys if they had seen her leave the fire scene. What he found out made his chest ache and his stomach burn. The last person to see her said that she had gone into the basement.
"Damn it Jake, where the hell are you?" He ran a hand across his face trying to decide if he should go back and look for her when her truck pulled into the lot. Taking a step towards her, he stopped when he saw the look of absolute hate on her face. Chills ran up his spine when ice-cold eyes met his; he stepped back and gave her a wide berth. He could see the second-degree burns on her hands and the soot covering her face making her eyes stand out even more.
Shedding her filthy sweat soaked clothes; she stepped into the shower and swore in Greek. There was no hot water, only a luke warm stream came from the showerhead and that was with the cold turned all the way off. The warm water lasted just long enough for her to get the soap out of her hair before it turned cold. Throwing the curtain back, she stepped out of the shower madder than she was when she went in. She would make sure that the LT would pay for everything he ever done to her.
It was 7pm when Artemis hung the phone up with a disappointed look on her face; she had called the firehouse and wanted to talk to Jake. Who ever the guy was said that she was busy and couldn't come to the phone, she then asked for Johnnie and got the same answer.
"That's weird, I thought they just sat around all day and watched TV." Lying down on the couch, she flipped through the stations, found nothing of interest and decided to read instead. She fell asleep before she had even finished a chapter of the murder mystery she had been reading.
Walking slowly into the kitchen, Jake found it empty and devoid of any food on the stove or table. That was never the case in a firehouse; they always had food cooking because of the strange times that they got to eat. Opening the huge refrigerator, she found the makings for a sandwich but only the heels of bread.
"Must not have gone shopping yet." She mumbled to the empty mayonnaise jar. It was when she went to the trash can that sat next to another refrigerator and the huge pantry that she noticed the new padlock that had been put on both of them. "So we're going to play childish games huh you fat fucker." Putting the single piece of cheese and bologna on the ends of the bread, she grabbed what she hoped was a untainted bottle of water and went back to what she called her holding cell.
While lying on her thin rack, she thought of numerous things that she could do to the other firefighters and get away with it.
Artemis woke the next morning with such terrible pain that she cried out. Her legs were swollen and sore from sleeping with the braces on them, she tried to swing her legs to the edge of the couch but the sharp pains kept her where she was. Taking deep breaths, she eased them to the point where she was only a few inches from having them over the edge.
"Stupid, stupid, stupid!" She unfastened the straps and dropped the braces to the floor, rubbing the indentations from her legs brought tears to her eyes. She wished that Jake were still there; she would have carried her to bed and not let her sleep on the couch all night. "Get over it Arty, you're on your own, besides you're a damn doctor and should know better!" After 25 minutes, she was able to relax somewhat from the pains. As soon as her medication kicked in the swelling would go down. Using the crutches she kept near the couch, she made her way slowly to the bathroom and then to the kitchen to make a pot of coffee. Memories of her and Jake sharing breakfast each morning haunted her in a way she never thought possible, she felt an emptiness in her home. She wondered if the other woman who had firefighters in their lives suffered the same. "What are you thinking Arty; she's a friend nothing more." She looked at the calendar that hung on the wall and counted the days until Jake would have her first day off. "Will you come here to see me?" Picking up the phone she called the firehouse and waited until it was picked up.
"Hello this is Dr. Shields, can I please speak with Jake Papalogious."
"Sorry Doctor, she's busy right now."
"Can I—" The phone was slammed down in her ear. "Can you be any more rude?" Pulling a chair out she sat down and propped her chin in her hand. "Something is wrong here." Dialing the phone again, she waited until it was picked up.
"Hey baby brother can you do me a huge favor?"
Billy sighed at his sister's request, she always wanted him to do gross and disgusting things.
"No I'm not getting you Tampons, let Jake get them."
"Ha ha, I wanted to know if you could stop by sometime today and ask Jake to call me. Please Billy?"
"Why don't you call her?"
"I have, but they keep saying she's busy. Come on Billy."
"If I get in that area I'll stop and see her for you, OK?"
"Thanks Billy, I appreciate it very much. Bye."
It was 6pm when Jake wiped the last of the wax off of the rear panel of the tanker, her arms were tired and her hands were so swollen and sore that she could hardly move her fingers. The burns were not bad but the blisters had broke when she was cleaning the truck and now they seeped fluid and looked pretty bad. Her ankle was twice it's size, she tried to get her boot on that morning and almost passed out from the pain. She was counting the days until she had off, she wondered if Arty would let her sleep on her couch until she could find an apartment.
She was in the kitchen washing her hands when the LT came in and stood right behind her.
"Papalogious, what are you doing in here?"
Jake wanted so bad to turn around and give him explicit details of what he could do with his tiny dick but she knew that would get her in deeper trouble. Instead, she grabbed a paper towel and wiped her hands dry before turning to glare at the fat little bastard.
"I'm washing my hands before I start cooking supper."
"You are not cooking anything. He stepped so that his rank breath assaulted her senses. "You have brass to polish, now go do it before I suspend your sorry ass again."
"Do it and I'll have you in court before you can even think." She shoved past him and headed for her room. If there had been paint on the walls, it would have peeled off from the curses she mumbled under her breath. Earlier that day when the LT was away from the station, she had searched for the valves for the up stairs water supply. She had found the shut off valve for the hot water pipe that went to her shower turned almost off, after turning if back on, she took both knobs off the valves so that no one could turn it back off with out getting a new knob. She'd be damned if they thought she was going to continue to take cold showers while they took hot ones. So while she was at it, she turned the hot water to their showers off and turned the hot water heater off to that section of the firehouse. Let their fat ass bodies suffer for a few days.
She was lucky for the next day and a half, nothing happened in the city or surrounding areas, she had everything done on the list that the LT had left for her and now she sat on her rack reading a paper back book she had found lying in the trash the day before. She was counting the hours before she could escape the hell in which she had lived in for the past three and a half days. Closing the book and rubbing tired eyes, she dropped back on her rack and stared at the ceiling.
"Please Gods, let Arty let me sleep on her couch." Her back ached along with every muscle in her tired body. She slept every night with a pillow over her head to keep the lights that she couldn't turn off out of her eyes. Just drifting off to sleep, she was jerked awake by the alarms going off. Grabbing her coat and shoving her boots on, she took off down the steps limping. She already knew that she wouldn't be able to get on the truck, so she went out to her truck and followed the tanker to the emergency.
The house and garage were well under way of being a three-alarm blaze, they were the only ones on site and worked quickly to try and stop the blaze from spreading. The garage doors were open and a small car was inside. Checking the structure for fire over her head, Jake opened the door and put the car in neutral. Giving it a good shove, she pushed it from the garage and out into the street. Too many fires became worse with the explosion of a gas tank in a vehicle. The other firefighters started spraying the flames down from the roof, she went to vent the house by breaking windows with her ax and checking for anyone who was inside. When she came around the back of the house, an explosion knocked her back and through the sliding glass doors of the blazing house. Feeling the extreme heat on her back and pain from where she landed on her tank, she rolled over and crawled from the house. Falling on her side, she gasped for air and watched as firefighters came around and started spraying the flames back. They ignored her lying there and continued to fight the fire, none of them saw the photographer a ways off snapping pictures of them working. With the determination of a warrior, Jake got to her feet, grabbed a hose that had been left lying unattended and helped put the flames out. It was then that she found the reason for the explosion was a propane tank from a gas grill that was close to the back of the house. She knew she was lucky to have been at a distance instead of being right next to it. It would have possible killed her and she felt that someone had protected her from what she wanted. Eternal peace.
Artemis had just gotten out of the shower, she had only a towel on when she heard a faint knocking on her front door. Not knowing who it could be, she grabbed a baseball bat and peeked through the peephole. All she saw was the dark night, she stepped away and heard the faint knock again.
"What the hell?" Putting the chain on the door, she opened it and looked out.
"Arty can I crash on your couch?"
"For the love of Gods Jake, get in here."
Jake crawled across the floor in her filthy clothes and collapsed in the middle of the living room floor. Rolling over on her back, she lay spread eagle. "So tired and hungry." She mumbled.
Artemis took one look at her and her heart slammed in her chest. Jake was covered in soot and blood. Her light blue uniform shirt was stained with sweat, pants torn and singed at her ankles. It was then that she noticed that Jake's one boot was unlaced, she could see her filthy sock stretched tightly across her lower leg. Kneeling down next to her side on sore legs, Artemis ran her hand across a sweat-covered brow.
"Come on Jake, lets get you in the shower. You'll feel better afterwards and then I'll make you something to eat." Cloudy blue eyes rolled sideways to catch green, a small grin came to Jake's face at the mention of food.
Artemis watched as Jake stumbled into the shower, tears fell from her eyes at site of the bruised and battered body of her friend. "What are you trying to do to yourself Jake?" Moving closer to the shower, she watched as Jake fumbled with the shampoo bottle. Using her teeth, she got the lid off but her fingers were so swollen and burnt that she couldn't do anything with them. Leaning her head against the wall in defeat, she was surprised to feel soft hands taking the bottle from her hands.
"Relax Jake, let me do this for you." Artemis said from behind her.
Jake kneeled in front of her with her back pressing against her hips' Her hands shaking from nerves, Artemis lathered long dark hair. She didn't know what had gotten into her, she had never showered with anyone. The bathroom was a place she always deemed as personal space, until now. Tears flowed and mixed with the water from the shower, as she lathered Jake's hair, it turned a pink shade in her hands. Jake had a laceration somewhere on her scalp that she would need to look at along with all the other injuries on the tall firefighter's body. What worried her the most were the deep bruises on her lower back and her burnt hands.
Jake relaxed back against the small body, she had never had anyone wash her hair before and now knew she would always want Artemis to do it for her. The feel of strong fingers massaging her scalp relaxed her to the point where she was ready to fall asleep. It was over far to soon for her and she whimpered when the strong fingers left her hair.
Artemis whispered close to her ear. "Stand up so that I can wash your back." It sent shivers down her spine to hear the low timber of her friend's voice. If she wasn't so sore and tired, she knew that it would have aroused her.
Jake sat at the table waiting for Artemis to finish dressing her hands, her eyes kept traveling to intense green. What she felt with the soft touch of caring hands calmed her.
"When did this happen?" Green connected with bloodshot blue for a brief second before returning to the work before her.
"Couple days ago."
"Jake, why didn't you have them treated then?" Tipping the face up with her fingers, Artemis searched the tired blue eyes.
"I—well—let me explain."
Jake told her of the fire and how she had rescued the three people and how she was being treated at the firehouse. She flinched at the fire growing in green eyes, taking small hands in hers she tried to calm down her small friend.
"It's OK Arty, I can handle it."
"That's not the point, what he's doing is against the law." Artemis was getting very close to going and beating the shit out of the Lieutenant.
"Arty, it will be over soon and then it'll be back to normal."
Her voice rose making Jake shrink back in her chair. "What by you being killed out there because they won't help you?" She stood up and went over to stare out the kitchen window, her shoulders shook with rage and then soft sobs. All that was happening to Jake was her fault, if she had never said anything to her Dad, Jake would still be there with her and not being treated so badly by the other firefighters. Leaning back into the warm robe covered body that wrapped around her from behind, she let the tears flow freely down her cheeks. Jake turned her in her arms and held her close as she sobbed into her shoulder. Jake couldn't figure out why it bothered Artemis so much.
"This is all my fault." Artemis sobbed harder. She went on to tell Jake what she had her Dad try and do.
"Baby girl, there's no way you or your Dad could have known that this would happen. He could have called me back without your Dads help and done the same damn thing. So don't blame your self." Leaning back a ways, she wiped the tears from Artemis's face. Giving her a toothy grin, she kissed her forehead. "What are ya gonna make me for supper?"
Artemis gave her a small smile. "You're incorrigible you know that?"
"Yeah and hungry."
Artemis had to threaten to shove a crutch someplace very uncomfortable before Jake would share her bed with her. Jake kept arguing that the couch was just fine with her and that it was way more comfortable than the rack she slept in at the firehouse. Now she lay on her side with a warm body pressed up against her, soft snores lulled her to sleep.
She couldn't breath, smoke rose before her stealing her breath away. Flames shot up around her and licked at her hands as she tried to beat them back, screams echoed in the darkness around her but she couldn't decipher from which direction they were coming from. Her throat closed over the scream she tried to get out, all she could do was open her mouth to silence. A great wall of flame came at her and devoured her where she stood. Then all was peaceful and she floated in a darkness so calm that she never wanted to leave it. Until a sweet voice beckoned her, a soft glow came from a distance, growing brighter by the second until it enveloped her in a warmth that invaded her very soul.
Artemis was pulled from a deep sleep by Jake's tossing and turning, a low keening wail sent shivers up her spine before her eyes were all the way open. "Jake, come on wake up." Running her hand across a sweat covered brow, she kept trying to wake the tall firefighter.
Jake smiled when green eyes looked down on her where she lay, the bright light around the small blonde made her look like an angel. Her fingertips felt cool to Jake's fevered brow when soft fingers touched her. The soft timber of her voice soothed Jake and pulled her up to stand before her. Strong arms wrapped around her to fill her very essence with calmness.
"Come on Jake, it's time."
Artemis was getting worried, she felt how slow Jake's pulse was. She couldn't remember if that was normal for her friend or not. Her heart caught in her throat when pale blue eyes fluttered open and gazed into hers. She felt like a bolt of lightning had pierced her very soul.
"You scared me, are you all right?"
Jake reached up with one hand and traced the side of Artemis's cheek with her fingertips.
"So beautiful." She murmured from a dry throat. "My Guardian Angel." She pulled Artemis down on her chest, wrapped her arms around her and went back to sleep.
Artemis didn't know what to say to the words Jake had said, she was even more shocked when she was pulled down upon Jake's chest. Resting her head on a strong shoulder, she sighed. "What am I going to do with you?" Were the last words before she fell asleep to the sound of a strong heartbeat beneath her ear.
"Jake?" Artemis struggled from the deathlike grip Jake had on her. "I really need to get up!" She grabbed Jake's nose, holding on until blue eyes opened. "I really really need to get up!" Her green eyes filled with such urgency that Jake sprung from the bed in a split second.
"Is there a fire?" She swung her head around searching for signs.
"No, more like flood warnings." She crawled from the bed and headed for the bathroom off her bedroom. Jake rubbed her face in confusion; she was still half-asleep and couldn't wrap her foggy mind around flood warnings until the sigh of relief and the flush of the toilet clued her in.
"Ohhh flood warning gotcha, why didn't you just get up." Jake said to the empty room.
"Because someone had me in a headlock." She slapped Jake in her stomach as she went past. "Come on I'm hungry."
"Head lock? I didn't have you in a headlock, body lock maybe."
She followed Artemis in to the kitchen and watched as she stiffly made her way around to collect stuff for breakfast. Soft groans and moans escaped her lips with every movement, the thin T-shirt she had pulled on showed erotic shadows when backlit from the refrigerator light. Jake felt her mouth go dry at the site of hard nipples pressing out against the thin cotton. Her mouth had fallen open and her eyes deepened with something close to lust. She jumped when amused green eyes trapped her.
"Jake, what do you want to eat?"
"If you only knew!" "Uuhmm—" She gulped and shook her dark head. "Eggs?"
Artemis walked slowly up to Jake, planting her hands on her hips; she tilted her head to the side and gazed into the darkened blue eyes. She had a feeling that she was the reason for the look on her friends face. Using one finger, she pushed up on Jake's chin and closed her mouth.
"Scrambled, poached, with shells in them, sunny side up, raw?"
Artemis gave her a lopsided smile, the sides of her nose wrinkled giving her an adorable look. "Naked huh, doesn't really tell me how you want them cooked." Taking a larger hand in hers, she led Jake to a chair and pushed her down into it. Running her fingers across Jake's cheek, she smiled. "I'll make you a western omelet how's that sound?" Turning her back, she felt eyes burning into her ass, giving Jake something to look at; she raised the back of her shirt and rubbed her lower back. She knew damn well that the skimpy silk panties she wore left nothing to the imagination and loved every bit of the effect it was having on a tall firefighter. "You are so easy to tease Jake."
Jake felt her breath hitch at the site of small black silk panties, she had to drag her eyes away in fear of getting caught with drool dripping down her chin. Every nerve ending in her body went on red alert, this was a first for her. She had dated many women but none of them had ever set her pulse to beat so franticly in her neck or set flames through her veins to swirl around her center. "Jake you dawg, she's straight!" Her little voice screamed at her. "I know I know!"
"What do you know?" Artemis looked over her shoulder at her with a curious gleam in her eyes.
"Ohh shit, I said that out loud!" "I ahhh—know that I—"
"Need mental help?"
Artemis laughed when Jake nodded her head.
"And a shower." She jumped from the chair and strode on wobbly legs to the doorway. Mumbling under her breathe she said. "Cold, very long ice cold shower."
"Cold shower huh? Poor Jake, all hot and bothered and I haven't even touched her. What the hell am I talking about?" She examined her feelings for her friend and found that she wanted more than a friendship with the tall firefighter. "Hell it's just lust on her part, she's a beautiful woman who could have any one she wants falling at her feet. She wouldn't want me for anything, I'm not beautiful, just cute. At least that's what I've been told so many times. Is it the same on my part—lust for her strong hands to run across my body. Her warm body pressed up against mine, with her breath moist and hot breathing in my ear?" She had her head tilted back, images ran behind her eyes of their bodies moving against each other, her breath came panting from her lips as flames tore through her body to settle in nether regions.
"Arty I think the eggs are beyond done." Jake whispered close to her ear and grinned when Artemis jumped and started trying to put the flaming eggs out. "Let me do that Arty, I am a firefighter after all." Grabbing the frying pan, she put it in the sink and put a lid over it to snuff out the flames. Looking at her small friend from the corner of her eye, she tried to hide the smirk that came to her lips. "I think we should go out to eat?" Turning her head, she saw that Artemis's face was a deep red, her breathing still ragged and it wasn't from being scared, her eyes spoke so clearly, of what she was feeling at that very moment.
"Shower—" Running her hands through her short hair Artemis staggered towards her bedroom. "Hope you left me some cold water."
The older woman brought their plates to the table, filled their coffee cups and returned to the kitchen. Artemis had been quiet the entire ride to the small diner and hadn't said anything since she had ordered two breakfasts. She kept her eyes downcast except for sneak peeks in to twinkling blue eyes.
A huge grin came to Jake's face, she just couldn't help the mischievous side that Arty brought out in her. "How was your cold shower?"
"It was—huh?" Artemis's jaw dropped, eyes widened and all air left her lungs.
"I couldn't pass up a chance for a nice long hot shower." She hid a smirk behind her coffee cup. "After a couple days of cold ones, I actually feel clean now."
Artemis recovered from her shock, she knew that Jake was full of shit about the hot shower but she would let that pass.
"You'll pay for that one hot stuff, one day I'll get you back."
Jake would you take me to look for a new car? I really need one; I'm starting to get cabin fever being stuck at home all the time. Plus I start therapy in a few days."
"We can go after we eat. What kind ya want, new, used, automatic, stick or other?"
Green eyes narrowed at the "Other" part. "Excuse me, other?"
Blue eyes sparkled then dropped to the food left on her plate, pushing her eggs around she continued. "You have your I'm a big dyke truck and then you have your four door or mini van Mommy vehicle."
Artemis started out chuckling then it turned into all out snorting laughter, tears flowed from her eyes to drip off her jaw. Each time she thought she had it under control, just one look at Jake and the way she had said Mommy vehicle sent her back over the edge.
"Ohh Gods Jake." She cleared her throat and wiped the tears from her face. "Do I look like a person that would drive a mommy car?"
"Well—you are a." She leaned in close to Arty's small ear and whispered. "Pussy Doctor." She pulled back and watched as Artemis covered her mouth to keep from spewing the coffee that was in her mouth all over the table. "I just figured that you wanted kids."
She raised an eyebrow at her friend. "Jake does every one think of me as a pussy doctor?"
Two dark brows wiggled over silvery blue eyes, a lopsided grin slowly formed on Jake's lips. "Well—you do spend a good amount of time down there don't you?"
Artemis was at a loss for words. "How did we go from mommy cars to pusses?"
"Don't know, wanna talk some more about them? "Cuz I find them very stimulating."
Artemis slapped her in the shoulder and then waved a finger in front of her. "After you've seen a couple hundred of them, they no longer become stimulating."
"Hey I was talking about cars, where was your mind."
"Arty are you sure about this, I mean I never figured you for this kinda vehicle. It's—huge!"
Green eyes sparkled; she ran a fingertip across the gleaming black vehicle and grinned at her flustered friend.
"Come on Hot stuff, if I would have had one of these the night I had my wreck, maybe I wouldn't have had two broken legs."
"But Arty, we would have never met."
Artemis wrapped her arms around a trim waist and gave her a tight squeeze.
"Yes we would have, I was right behind that tanker when he flipped." She gazed up into hurt blue eyes. "Believe me, we would have met." She turned when she heard the salesmen coming up to them, he handed her the keys, shook her hand and practically jumped for joy. "One tiny little problem though."
A dark brow rose over a pale eye. "What tiny little problem?" Curious as to what problem there could be since Arty just bought a very expensive vehicle.
A light blush covered Artemis's face; she dropped her chin down onto her chest and looked up from below her brows. "I can't drive stick, can you?"
"Oohh I get it now, the big bad dyke gets to teach you how to drive stick." She dropped her lips close to Arty's ear and whispered. "It's the only stick I've ever played with."
"Pervert. Will you teach me?"
"Yeah, I'll teach you." Like to teach you a lot of things but that will be later. Maybe!
"But first we have to get it home. You take my baby and I'll take your truck since its automatic." She handed Jake her keys and slapped her on her ass as she walked past. Jake looked over her shoulder at her small friend limping towards her truck, then down at the keys in her hand. A huge smile came to her face as she looked at the black and silver Humvee.
"Wait a minute here, she slapped my ass." Running her hand down the said area, she grinned and then crawled behind the wheel of the Humvee.
"Did I really slap her on her ass?" Arty asked herself. "I did! I slapped her on her ass and I enjoyed every single minuscule second of it!" An evil grin crossed her face and she gave out a short laugh. "What else will she let me get away with? I can't believe I'm even thinking of doing more intimate things with her, can I switch sides of the fence and become her lover?" Arty beat the thoughts around in her mind and came to the conclusion that yes, she could become quite intimate with the tall firefighter. But didn't know if Jake felt the same way about her.
That night they spoke of many things as they lay in front of the TV on a stack of pillows. But none of them were around the feelings that they had for each other. Neither one of them wanted to broach the subject and scare the other off, if the feelings were not mutual. Early the next morning Jake woke to a stiff back and neck, without opening her eyes, she knew the heavy weight across her torso was a small blond. Looking through a slit eye, she saw a tousled blonde head resting on her chest, with a small hand tucked under her chin Arty snored softly.
Her voice rough with sleep, Jake murmured, "You're so adorable when you sleep." She received a soft snort for her compliment.
"You need glasses Hot stuff." Rubbing a sleepy green eye with her fist, Arty looked up into pale blue eyes. "I look like shit, my eyes are puffy, hair looks like a nesting area for small animals, I have shirt wrinkles on my face and I hate mornings."
Jake pulled her closer and placed a gentle kiss on the shirt wrinkle that creased her soft cheek. "Just like I said, you're adorable."
"OK, what do you want?" She asked with a raised brow.
"Huh? Nothin why?"
"Cuz when people compliment me early in the morning, they usually want something."
Jake looked deeply into dark green eyes and then shook her head. "Nope, it's you all right." Tilting a small chin up with one finger she moved closer and placed a hesitant kiss on moist lips. "I'm gonna make breakfast." She then slipped from under a shocked blonde and went into the kitchen.
"What the hell?" Arty mumbled to herself as she ran a finger across her tingling lips. Rolling to her feet she groaned when a sharp pain shot through her lower back. Staggering hunched over into the kitchen, she tapped Jake on her shoulder. "What was that supposed to mean?"
"The, it's you all right part."
"Body snatchers might have got ya during the night. Scrambled eggs OK?"
Artemis was giving her therapist a scowl, her legs ached and she was dead tired from the therapy circuit that she had just completed. She knew that she was out of shape but she never realized how much until now. Wiping the sweat from her face, she growled when her therapist slapped her on the back and cheerfully jogged from the small gym. Taking small painful steps to the door, she moaned and groaned all the way to Jake's truck.
"I should have had Mama drop me off and pick me up, how am I supposed to climb up onto the seat?" But the thought of taking Jake some lunch at the firehouse gave her added strength to accomplish the feat of climbing into the raised truck. She knew that Jake was getting left overs and would appreciate some food, not to mention her stomach sounded like a pride of lions at the moment.
Jake had worked out in the gym for two hours, with all the flirting that she and Arty had done before she left the house, her sexual frustration was enough to power an entire city. It diminished some with her workout but her raging libido was still knocking. Striping in her small room, she turned the shower on and stepped under the cool water. Letting it run down her back brought goose bumps out across her body. Shivering slightly from the cold and knowing it was stupid to take a cold shower after an intense workout would be trouble, she gave up and turned the hot water up. Soaping her body with a washcloth, she let it slip between her legs; a low groan escaped her parted lips when her center throbbed.
"Gods Jake, you have to do something."
Leaning up against the shower wall, she closed her eyes and let her hand slip between her legs. The slickness of her arousal surprised her, running her fingers across her hardened clit, her hips jerked forward. Spreading the wetness across her swollen nether lips caused her to thrust her hips faster, slipping a finger deep inside of her inner walls she felt the telltale signs of her impending release. Biting her lower lip to stifle a cry, she climaxed silently. Without finishing her shower, she turned off the water, walked on shaky legs to her rack and collapsed into sleep.