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The Fireman and The Librarian
Decay – Fire, Embers and the Aftermath
“Why can’t you just say I’m right, Chris?” Jasper snapped over the phone.
“Can we talk about this when I get off shift tomorrow?” Chris responded. “You want to nitpick the subject to death.”
“Yeah, but Chris.”
“No buts.” Chris laughed, knowing it would just piss Jasper off. “Just leave it until tomorrow. I love you. You know, I do.” Hoping that would cool him off.
“Fine. But tomorrow, I want your answer.”
“Jasper, if you think about it. You know my answer.” The tones went off, and Chris jumped up. “I love you. I gotta go.”
Jasper smiled; they were taking their relationship to another level.
Before rolling up to the fire, the Chief was telling the crew about the scene. It was a condemned chemical factory, which the homeless were using as a shelter from the cold.
The homeless started a fire in the southwest corner of the building, not knowing some hazardous chemicals were nearby. Some of the homeless made it out of the building, but they’re unsure if everyone was out.
Chris and Mike entered the building on the east side and began climbing the stairs. Fellow firefighters came from the north and west. When Chris and Mike entered the second floor, they found it was just more like a landing than anything. Even though they couldn’t see it through all the smoke, it would’ve given them a bird’s eye view of the old factory below them.
They continued to the third floor, where they were met with total darkness. “Chris, I can’t see anything,” Mike spoke over the radio. “Hell, I can’t even see you. Where are you man?” They were working in a team and were close together yet couldn’t make out each other’s outlines.
“Mike, there’s a wall here, we’ve to find where to go around.” They started feeling their way through. They were placing markers as they went to show their way out.
When they when through a large entryway, they didn’t know they were heading closer to the fire. The smoke was still too thick to see anything; the area behind them collapsed, and they heard the evacuation signal.
Mike broke radio protocol, and he didn’t care. He didn’t want to die in the building they’d just told everyone to evacuate. “Chief, we got a fuckin’ problem here.”
More debris was coming down around them. Chris was trying to remain calm and figure out where they were to tell them their possible location.
“Mike, this is the Chief, location?”
“Third floor, location unknown. The ceiling came down and blocked our retreat. Not sure where to go.”
“Chief, Chris. If calculations are correct, we’re heading towards the fire.”
Jesse looked at the Chief and mouthed the word fuck because if Chris’s location was correct according to the floor plan, there was no way out. The stairway had already collapsed and was ablaze. They had to retreat the way they came.
Jesse called in the search and rescue team. Hoping that they could get to Chris and Mike in time before the whole damn building came down. It was more unstable then they first thought when they arrived.
The Chief prayed, Mike and Chris put markers down before he asked them. “Did you mark your path?”
“Yes Sir.” The Chief looked up and thanked God.
“Go back to the cave in, that’s our only hope.” The Chief responded.
Chris and Mike were dodging falling debris as they went back.
The rescue team split into two and went to the third and fourth floors. They mirrored one another to see who could get to them either from the third or from above on the fourth floor. There was debris all over the third from the fourth.
“Jesse, are you tracing this?”
“They went straight, the main hallway.” The team then turned, “Oh shit.”
“What?” Jesse asked.
“We can’t get to them on this floor.”
“The floor is gone.”
“Forth, we can see that on the wall they turned.”
Chris and Mike were listening. Chris pulled his flashlight off his coat and threw it up to the fourth floor. “If you see the flashlight, were down below, hopefully still alive if debris hasn’t killed us.” Not that their PASS devices were chirping every few minutes telling them to move, or they’d start sounding their actual alarm.
Jesse was looking at the floorplan. There were no fucking windows on that side of the building, no other stairways. This damn warehouse didn’t want anyone knowing what it was doing, it didn’t have windows but on the first, second, and fourth floor.
“I see the flashlight.” One of the rescue team stated. “But it’s going to be fun to get to the hole.”
Can you do it safely?” Jesse asked.
Safely or not, the rescue team knew they weren’t going to leave two men in the building if they could get to them. The team got as close to the gaping hole as they dared and lowered a ladder. “Who’s coming up first and spread out like you were trained when you come over that lip. We’ll grab hold of you and pull.”
“Chris looked at Mike and told casino şirketleri him to go.” Mike did the climb and was up and over the ladder and gone to safety. Chris didn’t like the feel of the floor under him and quickly began the climb. As he was climbing up over the ladder, Chris reached out for their hands as the third floor caved, taking the ladder with it. Chris landed hard on the edge of the gaping hole, threatening to cause it to collapse.
Chris was pulled to safety and uprighted. “Now, get your asses out of there.” The Chief responded after he heard they had Chris.
When the scene was cleared, and everyone was back at the station. The morning had arrived, and Bill sat across from a quiet Chris in the kitchen. “What’s going through your mind, Chris.”
“I could have bit it today.”
“Yeah, but you didn’t.”
“Bill, I can’t do that to Jasper. You were right. He shouldn’t have gotten involved with a firefighter.”
“Chris, it was his decision. He loves you, and don’t you love him?”
“I do love him. That’s why I have to break up.” Chris walked away from the table, grabbing his duffle as he left.
“Fuck.” Bill was glad it’s Tuesday, Jasper was at work.
Chris went straight to Jasper’s and packed all his things. He took his large duffle from the station that would typically have his equipment in and put all his clothes and items in, trying not to forget anything. Over the nine months, a lot of his things have migrated from his apartment to Jasper’s house.
He wrote a quick ‘I can’t do this relationship anymore’ letter and left it on the table, telling Jasper that he’d explain when he wakes up if Jasper wanted to ever talk to him again. Chris left the key to his house on the table, locked the door before walking out, and walked to the train.
Bill was sitting in Jasper’s house when Jasper arrived home. He had seen the note. He was trying his hardest to stay awake. “Bill, what are you doing here?”
“Jasper.” Bill didn’t know how to tell him.
“What?” Jasper looked at Bill. “Chris is okay right?”
“Yeah yeah, but. Chris had a bad day.”
“What do you mean, Chris had a bad day.”
“Chris came close to buying the farm today.” Jasper opened his mouth and closed it and again opened it and closed it.
“Where is he, upstairs?”
“No.” Then his eyes drifted to the paper on the table.
Jasper picked the paper up, and the key fell out. “What the fuck?”
“Read the letter.”
Jasper opened it with shaking hands.
I love you. To say that I don’t would be foolish. I can’t do this anymore. I don’t want to hurt you Babe. I did want to spend my life with you. I just realized today that I could be gone in a heartbeat, and it would devastate you. I can’t do that to you. I don’t want to hurt you like that, and I love you too much.
You need someone that will be by your side until you’re old and gray, and I can’t promise you that. We’ve been fighting a ton lately, and maybe that was a sign that it was time to move on.
If you give me a chance to explain, I will, but if you don’t, I’ll understand. You’ll always be in my heart.
Jasper had tears running down his cheeks. “Why?”
“He had another close call with death, and he was afraid that he was going to leave you alone and heartbroken.” Bill was blunt and was sad for his brother.
“I love him, and he loves me.”
“I don’t really know.”
“Will you take me to his apartment?”
“Jasper, I don’t…”
“Bill, please, I don’t care what you think right now.”
Bill just threw his hands up and got up. They walked out to the car and drove down to his street and amazing there’s always a parking spot to be found. They walk up the steps, and Jasper opens the door.
Both duffles of Chris’s things are just dumped on the floor of the living room, along with a few other things he carried home. His phone was lying on the coffee table, along with a bottle of whiskey. Bill knew things weren’t right when he saw the bottle. Jasper headed towards the bedroom.
“Jasper, no yelling.”
Jasper walked in and closed the door. Bill sat down on the couch.
Jasper stood at the door for a few minutes, just watching Chris sleep, and he wasn’t sleeping peacefully. Jasper could tell that by how much Chris was moving in his sleep. He walked over to the bed and sat down beside him.
“Chris, wake up, please.” Chris was sleeping so shitty that hearing Jasper’s voice stirred him, he opened his eyes and looked at him. Jasper could tell that Chris had been crying. “Damn it, Chris, what’s going on?”
“I’m not going to put you through this, Jasper. I love you too much.”
“If you love me, you’ll stay with me. Because right now, you’re breaking my heart.”
Chris was thinking bandage, rip it off like a bandage, and the hurt will go away faster. Lie to Jasper if he has to. “You’re too clingy I can’t do that, I don’t want this. The relationship is going to quickly. You need casino firmaları to find someone that you can handle, that you can mold and shape. I’m not it.” He was, he loved everything that Jasper did, yeah they had their arguments, but what relationship doesn’t.
Chris got up and left the room, not expecting Bill to be in the living room. “Probie, get some clothes on.”
“Fuck, Jasper, go. I’m done.” Chris started to walk back into his bedroom.
“NO, No, No, No, No, Nooooo,” Jasper screamed and walked over and started beating on Chris’s chest. “I love you.” Jasper began to cry, and Chris looked at Bill.
“Please Bill.” Bill nodded, and just before he took Jasper from Chris, Chris whispered, “I have to do this because I love you Jasper.”
Chris asked the Chief for time off, so when Bill walked in for their next shift, he was surprised to see Danny come in. Bill walked straight into the Chief’s office and asked what the fuck was going on.
“He asked for a few days off. Chris has built up vacation days.” The Chief responded.
“If he asks for a transfer, don’t fuckin let him have it,” Bill responded.
Bill pinched the bridge of his nose between his eyes and sat slowly down in the chair. “After last week’s close call, he went and broke up with Jasper.”
“Fuck, that’s why he asked for the letter back.”
“Jasper is beside himself, and I’m trying to give Chris some space. And he what?”
The Chief shook his head. “The letter I always ask all you to write if God forbid something happens to you.”
“Shit I didn’t even think he’d written one to Jasper. Jesus.” Bill just sat there thinking he’d had to have gone with the Chief to deliver the letter to Jasper and it would have killed him just as much as Jasper. “As much as I hate it, Chris is best for my brother.”
“Well, he’ll be on the next shift. I’ll guarantee it and no switching of shifts or transfers.”
The next two shifts that Bill had with Chris, Chris look terrible, he looked like he was getting little or restless sleep. Some of the guys ragged on him for a minute until Bill told them to back off.
Bill found him on the couch one-night reading and sat across from him. “Probie, how are you doing?”
“I’m fine.” He mumbled.
“Really?” Bill looked at him.
“Bill, I asked for that transfer, so Jasper would start coming back down here to see you. I know as long as I’m here, he won’t.”
“Hell, Probie, since Billie was born, he stopped coming and seeing both of us.” Bill laughed; it was partially correct. Chris half-heartedly smiled.
“You know he’s still avoiding coming here.”
“If he did come, what would you do?”
“Stay in the bunk room, you know it would be for the best. Especially since you won’t let me transfer.”
Because Jasper’s been depressed, Mary makes him come over all the time. He won’t go to the station to visit Bill. But every time Bill’s home, he’s probing him for information about Chris.
“Jasper, for the last time, if you want to know anything about Chris, come down to the station. He’s there.”
“Does he ask about me?”
“Chris is just as fucking depressed as you are.”
“I’m just waiting for him to break,” Jasper responded and walked out of the room.
Mary looked at Bill and smiled. “We’ve got to get these two back together.”
“Really, how bad is Chris?”
“He asked the Chief for a transfer. He was hoping that if he didn’t have to work with me, Jasper would come back down to the station. I told the Chief to kill it. He’s fucking miserable. He went and laminated the bookmark that Jasper gave him.”
“What does he do with his days off?”
“I don’t know. I did hear Jesse say he saw him at a restaurant near Jasper’s work one-day last week.”
“He what?” Jasper heard the last statement as he was walking back into the room.
“Nothing,” Bill responded.
“No, you said that Jesse saw Chris at a restaurant near my work.”
“Yeah, that’s what I said,” Bill responded. “Why.”
“Nothing just was wondering.”
Jasper left the room to get Billy; he was crying in the other room. “Try to get him to come by Saturday when you come.”
“I’ll try, Babe.” Bill knew she’d do her best.
Chris and Jasper had been separated for almost a month and a half. For being Saturday, it was a pretty relaxed one. Some of the guy’s families had already shown up and left, and Bill was called down from the bunkroom when Mary arrived. She had Billy in the stroller and, as promised, Jasper at her side.
There was a crowd around both the baby and Jasper. Everyone was happy to see him. “It’s about time you got over being mad at your brother and came and saw us all.” Jesse jeered.
Bill smiled and hugged Mary. “Do you think Chris will come down?”
“Maybe by accident, he doesn’t know I have a visitor, he was in the shower.” Bill smiled.
“So great timing on our part.”
Jesse walked over to Bill, “So do we have to lock the two in the supply güvenilir casino closet?”
Bill chuckled, “Hell, I didn’t think about that one. Send the Probie to get something and push Jas in and find a way to block them in.”
“We can do it.” The Chief butted in.
“Let’s talk about it later, and maybe we can engineer something for next week.” Bill smiled as he saw Chris look longing at Jasper, turn around, and walk back to the bunkroom.
The following Sunday, it was Chris’s duty when they were in-house to inventory the entire supply closet. He had a partial list of everything that was in there. He had his clipboard full of paper and went from drawer to drawer, and cupboard to cupboard, counting, and listing.
The door to the closet to the Chief, Bill, and Jesse’s plan swung out into the engine bay so that they could shut them in. But they’ll have to block it, but they know how to keep a door from opening, wedge the jam.
Chris was working away, and Mary did her job by getting Jasper to the station again. Jesse asked Jasper if they could talk for a few minutes, and Jasper followed him out into the engine bay. Jesse didn’t know how he was going to get Jasper over to the closet, but nature took over.
Chris was near the door of the supply closet when they’d walked into the engine bay, and Jasper became quiet right away. Jesse looked at him, and that’s when Jasper took off in a fast walk right over to him and push Chris into the back of the closet. Jesse and the Chief, who had been hiding behind one of the trucks, laughed and slammed the door closed, securing it.
“Is the security cam on or off?” Jesse asked.
“I unhooked it from recording.” The Chief smiled. “But it can still be viewed.”
They both ran to the office. When they ran by the kitchen, Bill got up and followed. “What the fuck is?” When he saw what they were doing, he laughed. “You left the security cam on?”
On the screen, they could see Jasper yelling at Chris, at least that’s what they think he was doing, no sound. More crew and Mary with the baby piled into the small office, to watch.
“YOU DON’T GET TO DO THAT TO ME,” Jasper screamed, all his anger over the last month and a half came flooding out. “You don’t get to decide who I love or not.” Chris had been backed up against the wall by Jasper. “I know there’s a chance that I could lose you, but it’s a chance I was willing to take.”
“But it’s not a chance I want you to take,” Chris whispered as he slid down the wall and sat on the floor.
Jasper sat down next to him, “I love you Chris. I don’t know why I still do, but it should be my issue, not yours.”
They sat in silence for a minute. “I’m sorry Jasper, I can’t. I’m miserable without you, but I can’t put you through that.” Chris got up and tried to open the door and found out they were locked in. “Shit. That’s why I found fucking waters in a cupboard.” He had sat them on the counter when he was inventorying and didn’t think much of them.
Jasper smiled and laughed, “So they’d planned to get us in the room, but Jesse probably didn’t plan on me, pushing you into the closet. I’m glad I’m not claustrophobic.”
“Thank God, we’d be in serious problems then.” Chris smiled. It was the first time Chris had really smiled since breaking up with Jasper, and he sat back down on the floor. The guys could only see Chris’s feet and Jasper standing and looking down at him. When Jasper sat down next to Chris again, people started leaving the office, why stay when they couldn’t see anything.
Alex walks into the Chief’s office, which only the Chief, Jesse, Bill, Mary, and the baby were left. “You know for an officer. I shouldn’t have to come in on my day off to cover for the Probie, he sick?”
“No, just stuck in a closet, and we’re not going to let him out even if we get a call.” The Chief smiled. “So we can’t be a man down. Hope you can cover for him and not be an ass about it.”
“Will this said closet, hopefully, make him happy again?” Alex looked over and saw that they had the security cam on from the supply closet and could only see two sets of legs in it.
“We’re hoping,” Bill responded.
“Okay, no problem. I’ll be in the lounge. I had nothing to do anyway, and my wife was driving me nuts.” Alex smiled and walked away.
Mary took the baby and left for home, and the Chief turned the screen off. “Bill slips the note under the door, so Chris knows there are supplies for them hidden all over.”
“Where did you hide the bucket.”
“That’s been in plain view the entire time. He keeps laying his list on the top of it.” Bill laughed, he didn’t even notice it. Bill pushed the note under the door, right into Jasper’s hand.
“What the?” Jasper pulled the note the rest of the way in and opened it.
‘Chris and Jasper, Welcome to your new space for the next, oh we don’t know how many hours. There are supplies hidden throughout this room. Food and water, along with a bucket to use as a bathroom.’
Chris looked over to the one he had been placing his clipboard on all morning, and he almost sat it out of the room.
‘Work out your differences, CHRIS, because we’re tired of this moping around you’ve been doing. Don’t worry about calls. You have a replacement for the day.’
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