Annabelle pressed the accelerator on the floor of her car as far as it would go. The adrenaline that coursed through her veins each time her pager screamed never lessened in the entire four months she had joined the First Responders Squad in her hometown. She passed traffic as safely as possible and arrived at the scene of the traffic accident well before any uniforms.
She slammed her car into park and sprinted to her trunk to retrieve her first aid kit while surveying the scene. It appeared as though a car had gone over the embankment and rolled down the hill, thankfully resting back on its wheels. She sprinted down, checking for any signs of life in the sandwiched car.
She could hear a baby crying, and she realized it was strapped properly in the back seat and most likely was simply scared. She silently thanked God for that miracle. Not a scratch on the beautiful baby’s face she noticed, but the mother. That was another story.
The mother was slumped over the steering wheel, a nasty gash to her forehead and the after effects of sharred glass exploding made the scene unusually awful. She tried to wake the woman to no avail. She noticed she had quit breathing, and the only way to get her out was through the shredded, smashed and sandwiched driver’s side door.
She unbuckled the woman and cleared the glass from her path. She summoned every ounce of strength in her body and hefted the woman up and out. She drug her to an area clear of debris and begin CPR , knowing it was going to be required until the paramedics could get the ambulance on scene.
Or possibly her best friend, Barrett. He had been hired at the Sheriff’s Department years ago, and she would be so relieved if he showed up on scene soon. She had only been a First Responder for a few months, and she really valued his experience and expertise in these situations. He would coolly look over a scene, mumble some things into the walkie talkie, and take care of business. She met plenty of men in uniform these past few months, but Barrett was definitely her favorite.
She could hear sirens in the distance, and she prayed as she started to resuscitate the woman that he would show up soon. Please help this woman live, please get helpers here soon, please let it be Barrett, she silently prayed. Praying for Barrett was pretty selfish given the circumstances, but she knew that his mere presence helped put her at ease and helped her brain think more clearly and steadily.
The baby’s cries intensified, which meant its lungs were working well she reminded herself, trying to keep herself calm. She was doing her best to keep its mother alive, and she had to prioritize. Despite wanting to cradle the baby and somehow let it know it was safe, she knew she had to remember the rhythm to that BeeGees song while she fought to keep the mother alive. That’s what was best for the baby at this moment.
♪♪”Whether you’re a brother or whether you’re a mother
You’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive”♪♪
The sirens in the distance were getting much closer, adding to the chaos. Sirens, baby’s wails and the BeeGees pounding in her head were making her antsy. Please hurry! she mentally begged Bennett to get there faster.
Don’t freak out, focus she told herself, humming the tune to keep herself focused on the task at hand,
♪♪ “Feel the city breakin’ and everybody shakin’
And we’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive” ♪♪
Finally, she heard the brakes slam on the vehicle up the embankment, and she took a quick look to see who it was. Any professional help would be better than nothing at this time, but she was still human and female and she craved the hottie in the Sheriff’s uniform…Yes, her Bennett was here!
Just a little bit longer she reminded her screaming arms and muscles.
♪♪”Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive” ♪♪
As she finished the chorus of the song for what seemed like the fifteenth time, knowing in reality it was just a matter of minutes since she had begun, Bennett finally made his way down to her.
“Hi, what do we have here?” he asked, keeping his tone cool and professional, his eyes not missing a thing.
“The female, presumably the mother, was slumped over the steering wheel upon my arrival and unresponsive. I could not find a heart beat or breath so I started CPR immediately and have continued until now” she said, her breath heaving. “Baby appears fine in the car, but I’ll check it out if you take over.”
He made some request over his communication equipment and calmly switched places with her, continuing the life saving technique. She was so thankful for his presence, his calm demeanor, and his willingness to take over the physical labor of CPR.
As she stood up, she heard another set of sirens in the background and knew the life support this woman needed was incredibly close. She walked over to the baby, trying to calm it. She didn’t want to move it in case he or she was more injured than it appeared, but the crying cut straight to her heart.
She cooed the baby, which was not helping whatsoever. She continued to calmly sing to the baby, taking the baby’s hand in her fingers, and eventually the baby’s cries turned into hiccups. The paramedics came down the hill and took over the medical care. She was so thankful to be done, but she still wished she could do more.
These calls were the worst, when the babies were involved, and especially when its mother was in such critical danger. It drained her, but she couldn’t imagine not responding to the call. To leave someone so injured or scared alone was not even an option in her book, so she kept on.
Bennett had retreated back up the hill to help with traffic flow, and Annabelle climbed the ditch, too, staying off to the side and letting the professionals do what they did best. She watched the paramedics place the mother on a backboard and haul her up the steep embankment. They took off with the baby in tow, and she knew she was free to go home.
Only home just felt so lonely after events like this. She used to like it; she used to enjoy having the solitude and personal space and time to think. Lately, however, she had been craving the company of someone, of one man in uniform in particular. She wanted to crawl into his lap and let him just hold her. He was one of very few who understood what she saw and did, and he seemed to comfort her without even trying.
She waved at Bennett as he directed the tow truck onto the scene, and he waved back when he could. “I’ll swing by with supper about 6:30 tonight?” Bennett asked, and she couldn’t wait. She loved when he checked up on her after a particular rough scene. It made her feel thought of, special, and cared for. And she loved the conversations that would ensue afterwards, having nothing to do with trauma or fear- just about their dreams for the future and favorite hobbies.
Maybe one of these times she would talk him into being more than just friends, but for now she simply accepted his offer of food at her place and smiled all the way back to her car. She really did need to find a way to see him more often than just after bad accidents…
Bennett watched her walk back to her car out of the corner of his eye. He loved the sway of her hips and the bounce of her full head of red curls. There was something fiery and hot about who she was, her body being just a single part of it.
This woman was a firecracker. She usually beat him to the scene of these accidents, and her instincts in deciding what was safe, how to triage, and where to begin always struck him as superbly professional and genius. All the local First Responders were great, and they all saved more lives than he could count, but the firecracker with the red hair was always the one he was most excited to see.
Like today, for example. She had walked upon a scene that would make most people queasy, but she prioritized and set to work, saving that baby’s mother whose surgery earlier in the week had produced an unexpected blood clot leading to a heart attack. Unfathomable at her young age, but weird stuff happens, and Annabelle was there to help her out, to save her.
When he reached the scene down below, she was singing the BeeGees song, but more in a lullaby for the baby than the 100 beats per minute rhythm suggested by the experts in the field. When he approached, she gave him a brief but on point update and he gave her aching muscles reprieve. She immediately went to the baby and did her best to coo it. Despite her inner chaos, she held it together for the baby and the mother, and both had been fine later that day.
Annabelle, though, she always took the brunt of the emotional baggage with her home. She never made a deal of it on scene, but he could sometimes see it in the way her shoulders would sag or her feet would drag as she returned to her car.
He was surprised when he stopped by her house that very first time. It had been an awful farm accident earlier in the day, and he didn’t have time at the scene to document everything before she finished and left. He stopped by later that evening to get the information, and she answered the door in the sexiest pair of cut off shorts he had ever seen and a blouse that made her skin look so smooth and delicate. When he finally focused on her eyes, he noticed they were red and swollen from crying.
She excused her eyes as reacting to the onions she had sliced for supper and invited him in to share it with her. It seemed so innocent in the beginning, but he had to decline her out of professional reasons. He really just wanted to throw the law book in the back seat for the day and follow his tightly reigned impulses for once, but he wouldn’t let one slip up ruin his professional reputation.
The next time they had met on scene, he made the time to talk to her before she left, and her fiery personality lit up his life. She had a flair that breathed life and light back into his soul, right up and over the walls he had erected to save himself from the horrors of his position and into his heart. They began a friendship that night, but he wanted more. He yearned for more.
He was also sure that she would take what she wanted, and if he wasn’t what she wanted he wasn’t going to force himself on her. So, for now, he would be her friend. He would see her inner beauty every time she spoke, every time she soothed a crying baby or listened when he spoke. And her outer beauty was not to be beat.
As he pulled into her drive, it was well past six. His shift had ended, and he was a free man. He grabbed the dinner he had picked up on the way out and headed up to her porch. He saw her through the screen door, and she stuck her body half out in expectancy. She had those extraordinary shorts on again, and her curly hair was pulled back into a brassy ponytail. A tendril had escaped to frame her beautifully creamy face, and it took everything he had not to push it back behind her ear just as an excuse to touch her.
He wasn’t sure how much longer he could be just friends. He wanted to have supper with her every night, not just on tough days. He wanted to hear her thoughts and sass as often as possible, and he definitely enjoyed watching her beautiful body move, whether with strength when doing what needed to be done, or with incredible grace as she danced her way across the porch to help him with the food.
There were many reasons he loved his uniform, but the fact that his uniform brought him to this wonderful woman was his favorite of all.