Barely on his feet, Noah sunk down to the earth. It had been a long day, but fire was contained. Not out, that could take days, but contained. Good thing the crews had been on the mountain for a couple of weeks, trying to take as many precautions as possible. California had one of the highest rates of wildfires though, and they couldn't be prepared for all of them.
Something thwacked against his firefighter's suit. Looking down, he saw a wrapped ice cream cone. He followed it up toward Lena's soft smile. "I don't think I thanked you."
She wouldn't be in a grateful mood when he gave her a piece of his mind. As he peered up at her, she recognized the look of anger returning to his dark eyes. Honestly, Noah was one of those guys who was always sexy, so the stormy eyes made her stomach flip in a way they weren't supposed to, but it also struck her as unnatural. Noah was her giant- she meant, a- a giant teddy bear. His eyes were supposed to be soft, kind and comforting.
"So . . . thank you," she said. When Noah didn't move to take the ice cream, she said, "Noah, please? I did what I did, and maybe it was stupid, but I'm not sorry. That family was lost and they were never going to find their way out. Can't we just chalk the day up to a blessing?"
Noah stared at her a few seconds longer, before he begrudgingly took the ice cream from her. "I still get to lecture you later," he grumbled, but he was too tired to do the lecturing now.
A little happier than she'd like to admit, she settled herself on the ground next to him. "Nope. Condition of the ice cream, the matter is settled and done for," Lena gloated, unwrapping her ice cream with glee.
Noah shook his head, as he slowly unwrapped his cone and stuck it in his mouth. Just when Lena thought he was going to give his own gums frostbite, he pulled it out and told her, "You don't get to go off into a wildfire like that, and not get a good yelling at."
"Everyone else thinks I'm a hero," Lena returned, because would she be Lena if she didn't argue her point? "Look what one their kids made me!" She meant one of the kids from the family she saved. He looked up to see her gently lift a ring of dandelions that she was wearing around her neck.
He raised his eyebrows at her, and she clucked her tongue. "You're just jealous, because no one ever made you a dandelion necklace for saving their life."
Shaking his head, he looked forward again. He faced all the mountains that weren't currently on fire, looking so peaceful and undisturbed.
"You know, the ice creams you bought all summer. I could have gotten those for free," Lena answered.
"I know," Noah stated.
"But it was like five bucks each time, every day for like-," Lena started to calculate the math in her head.
"Lena," he cut into her busy mind, that seemed to never turn off, and said, "I know."
Hiding a blush, she looked down at her ice cream, and returned to eating it before it melted over her hand.
"Where's Kira?" Noah asked.
"Keeping watch over the kids," Lena answered.
They were quiet a while longer, until the ice cream worked its magic and cooled Noah down enough for him to say, "Don't scare me like that again."
"I don't know. Are you going to yell at me later?" she returned.
Shaking his head, he felt that fire in his veins heat up again, but she laughed nonchalantly. "I'm kidding." Then she leaned in and laid a soft kiss on his cheek. Before she could make any promises though, a sharp yell made her jump to her feet.
"Lena Kimberly Haywood, your ass better have a damn good explanation for why you ran off into a wildfire," Captain Jeremy Braden scolded as he strode over to her.
Noah hid smirk into his ice cream as Lena smoothed out her jeans, looking appropriately chastized. By the time the captain had met them, Noah was on his feet too. Jeremy was by no means, done rebuking Lena. "I had to be down a good man so I could keep my promise to your father to keep you safe. So, young lady, just what do you have to say for yourself?"
"Um." Her throat was dry. Uncle Jere-bear, as she thought of him, had been best friends with her father, and when he died, Jeremy had no problems stepping in for all the fatherly things that were supposed to be done. Doing the handywork her mother needed done around the house, among other things. He hadn't replaced anyone, but he had closed the empty spaces just a little bit. "I was- Kira ran off and . . .."
"KIra ran off? Kira ran off? Good, so if we had found your body, I could have told your mother that."
"That's not fair. I saved a family of five. If it had been Noah, you'd be congratulating him, buying him beer and recommending him for honors," Lena crossed her arms. "What bullshit."
Jeremy wasn't convinced. "Don't give me that lip, young lady. Noah is a fireman. He has the proper apparel and training. You do not. I never want to see that again. Do you understand me?"
"Yes, sir," Lena mumbled, though she was clearly unhappy about it.
Noah couldn't help, but to snicker, and Jeremy turned sharply toward him. "And you, if you're going to date our Lena, you better keep a better handle of her."
Lena gasped, feeling insulted. "I can handle myself, thank you very much. And if I did need a man, he would be my partner, not someone who has to keep a handle of me. And for the last time, we're not dating."
Offering a disbelieving look, Jeremy turned on his heel and left. Lena just couldn't catch a break, could she? And why was everyone so obsessed with throwing her and Noah together?
© Copyright 2022 darkenedfairytale. All rights reserved.
Book / Romance
Book / Romance
Book / Romance