Soundtrack: Jimmy Eat World - Gotta Be Somebody's Blues
“Ryan!” the named echoed through the woods from the mouths of the volunteers and paid personnel of the squad.
“Jack, I think we should check out the rocky ravine,” Liz called to me over the radio. She was right, the campsite wasn’t that far away and it was always a good place for curious kids to check out.
“I really hate anyone repelling down that thing at night time.” I grumbled, answering her.
“I know, but we’ve combed everywhere else and you know how interesting that place is,” she came back, like she took the words from my brain. That is why Liz and I worked well together, we thought alike and were always on the same page when it came to field work. Too bad we couldn’t be on the same page about this whole relationship thing…
I took a deep breath before cueing up the mic of my radio. “Get your gear on, kiddo.”
“Alrighty,” she came back, sounding happy as usual. If there was one thing that Liz enjoyed the most, it was climbing and repelling, especially at night time because it was most dangerous. However, she knew the ravine like the back of her hand and was the most skilled on the ropes. I couldn’t help but shake my head and smile at the thought of her eyes probably lighting up at the moment and the fact that she was probably doing some sort of little jig.
15 minutes later we were standing by the ravine with the volunteers lined up along the top of it so that if they could see or hear anything, they would be able to relay it to Liz so that she could check things out. Somehow I got stuck with Jarret right next to me.
“Isn’t this a little dangerous for her to be climbing around down there at night?” he asked, sounding as if he was being the worried boyfriend. “This was not so nice in the daytime, so I can’t believe it’s going to be any nicer at night.” I wanted to punch him, but in reality, he seemed to be a nice guy who proved to have no problem crawling around out in the wilderness. I knew hockey players were tough, but I guess I figured since he played in LA, he was probably too much of a pretty boy to be doing things like this.
“She knows what she’s doing,” I said in a short tone.
“I realize this,” he mumbled.
I turned and looked at him. “Jarret, this is her life. She lives for this.”
“I’m beginning to see that,” he said thoughtfully. “That’s why I wanted to come along. I wanted to see her in her environment.”
“Is this an experiment to you?”
“You know, this whole relationship thing with you and her? Is it an experiment to you? Are you trying to see how far you can go before it doesn’t work and then you leave her broken?”
“I really like her if that is what you are getting at…”
“Anyone can like someone who is good in bed,” I bit back.
I could tell I was beginning to get under his feathers because his brow lines were becoming more and more defined. “Look Jack, I’m sorry that you’ve never had the balls to make a move on her, but that isn’t my problem and I’m not stepping back.”
I felt myself clench my fist and I was about to take a step forward towards him when Liz called over to me.
“You ready Jack-a-roo?” I cooed while walking over towards Jack and Jarret as I finished latching my repelling harness.
He took me by the shoulders, turned me around and began his check of my rigging. We had done this enough times over the years that it had become second nature. My body twisted slightly as he pulled tight on my belts, making sure everything was okay. “You be careful,” he said quietly as I turned back around to face him. He said it every time and my response was the same every time, “I always am.” He bent down and picked up my helmet, checking the flashlight that was on it. Once it was deemed my equipment was good, he handed the helmet over to me and I gave him my baseball cap.
He looked like he was going to say something else but Jarret walked over and placed his hand on my shoulder. I turned to look at him, surprising me when he swiftly leaned in to kiss me on the cheek. “Be careful beautiful,” he whispered into my ear, causing a shiver to go through my body.
“This is my favorite part,” I shot back with a big grin, stepping away from him and giving myself some air from the tension I felt had already built with his and Jack’s egos being so close together.
Soon I was bouncing down the rocks into the ravine, feeling the temperature automatically change and the dampness chilling me to the bone. The probability of finding the little boy unharmed was quickly becoming smaller by the minute. Once I was at the bottom of the ravine, I unhooked my harness and slowly began making my way down the uneven ground, looking for any sign of him. I was about 100 yards away from my drop point when I caught a glimpse of white cloth about 6 feet away from me.
“Ryan?” I called out.
A small voice called back, “help me.”
I moved as quickly as possible over to him and found him lying on the ground. There was blood oozing from his head and nose and his color was very pale. I radioed up to Jack.
“I have him. I’m going to need the stokes basket, spinal immobilization stuff, and my bag. It looks like he fell down here and hit a few things on the way down. He’s conscious, but barely. Put the helicopter on standby.”
“Copy that, Liz.
is gearing up now to come down to you.” Taylor
While I was waiting for
to get down the ravine with the supplies, I began doing a head-to-toe assessment on the little boy, finding he had a broken arm and possibly a few broken ribs and definitely a broken ankle. I found some small tree branches and began making make-shift splints and just kept talking to the little boy. Not having any bandages with me, I took off my t-shirt and wrapped it around the top of his head to help control some of the bleeding. It was a little cold to be in just a sports bra, but I didn’t really care at the moment because I was more worried about my young patient. Taylor
“Lizzard, I’m down here, I need your help to carry over the supplies,”
I scrambled over to him and assisted him. “Jesus, what happened to your shirt? The bats get it?”
“He’s bleeding bad,” I informed him.
“Damn, I wish I would have thought of that to get you out of your shirt.”
“I’m so glad you’re so professional,” I chirped back, laughing as I shook my head.
“I call ‘em as I see ‘em and I still don’t understand how Jack hasn’t tied you up yet,”
commented unabashedly. “Because I know I would have done that the first day we were on the job together.” Taylor
“Gee, thanks for that lovely thought. Okay, he’s right over here.”
As much as
was a jokester, he was even that more serious when it came to doing his job. We made quick work in starting a line, finishing the splinting and bandaging and packaging Ryan up so that we could get him up the ravine. Taylor
“We’re ready to hook him up to the ropes,” I radioed up to Jack.
“Everyone is ready up here. You and Taylor get yourselves hooked in and then call me so we know when to start pulling up.”
5 minutes later, Taylor and I were on the tag lines that were attached to the basket, making sure the basket with our patient didn’t bang against the rocks as the people above pulled him up. Once Ryan was safely to the top it was our turn to head back up to even ground.
“I hate climbing up these things in the dark, I’m always afraid I’m going to grab onto something that is going to bite me,”
whined as we worked our way back up. We could have waited for people to help pull us up, but I needed to get out of the ravine before I put myself in hypothermia, the adrenaline from the rescue was quickly wearing off and I was starting to mind the cold on my sweat soaked skin. Taylor
“You are such a pussy,
,” I laughed, trying to keep my mind off of the same concern. I actually enjoyed climbing in the dark for the challenges it presented, but he was right, you never knew what might be lurking on the ledges. Taylor
“And if it wouldn’t be for the fact that I know your boobs are real, I’d be questioning your sex.”
I was just about ready to pull myself up onto another spot when I felt a tug on my rope. “Pullin’ you up, Liz!” Jack called down.
“Pull away,” I yelled back up, my voice echoing in the ravine as I allowed him to do all the work. I was glad because my muscles were getting a little tired from all the work they had already done.
“Where the hell is your shirt?!” I grumbled when I pulled Liz up and onto safe ground. She was shivering like a leaf only wearing a sports bra from the waist up.
“It’s on Ryan’s head,” she said simply through chattering teeth.
“I don’t have extra blankets for your ass,” I informed her.
She just shrugged as she tugged open the strap of her helmet.
“Here, take my shirt,” Jarret quickly came over, already pulling off a long-sleeved shirt. He only had a sleeveless under-shirt on underneath and I think I heard a couple of the women volunteers leave out some sighs and moans.
Oh good grief.
Liz looked over at him and I’m fairly sure she also left out a sigh. “Jarret, I’m fine, keep your shirt…”
Instead of listening to her, he just pulled the shirt down over her head, effectively muffling her words and waited for her to lift her arms up so that he could finish putting it on her. She was grinning broadly at him and giggling as her head popped out from the collar of the shirt. They were both laughing by the time she had it completely on and she was swinging the long sleeves around in circles, reiterating the fact that she was literally swimming in the shirt. I’m fairly sure I almost gagged when I watched Jarret get down on his knees to roll up her sleeves like one would do for a child.
“Well, now that Liz is clothed, I think it’s time to get the hell out of here,” I growled as I passed by them, hoping they were pulled from their “little moment.” “Maybe you can carry some stuff, Jarret?”
“Sure,” Jarret said pleasantly, taking the heavy rope bag and first aid bag off the ground. I was left walking after the two happily chatting about things.
I’m fairly sure Jack wanted to punch me. I’m also fairly sure I would have punched back. So maybe it was a dick move to kiss her in front of him, but he pissed me off. Suddenly he was staking a claim on her despite the fact that he had known her for the last 7-8 years and had all the time in the world to make his move.
“Are you sure you don’t want me to stay over with you and get you all warmed up?” I breathed into Beth’s unruly, red hair while standing in her living room after Jack reluctantly dropped us off.
“I’m exhausted. It’s been a long day and I have to work tomorrow day-shift,” she said, her voice muffled in my chest as she hugged me. “Thank you so much for going along to help tonight; you didn’t have to do that.”
“It was no problem. It’s not like I had anything better to do.”
“Still, I appreciate it,” she smiled, looking up at me.
I pushed some hair behind her ear and ran my finger lightly down the side of her cheek. “Dinner tomorrow night?”
She took a breath and then broke eye contact with me before mumbling, “I already promised Jack that I’d have dinner with him to say thank you for fixing up my house today.”
I felt the jealousy instantly rush in when she said the words, but I kept it in check while nodded my head. “Okay, well if you get done early, give me a call; maybe we can do a late movie night or something.”
“Alright, I’ll keep that in mind,” she said quietly, making eye contact with me once more, along with a small smile.
“Good night, Beth.”
“Night Jay,” she said before my lips met hers.
“I guess I’ll go home and get a shower before I come over for dinner. I’d like to get changed anyway…” I informed Jack while grabbing my gear bag to throw it in the back of my truck.
“Yes please, I see you enough in your work uniform, I’d appreciate it if you put in some extra effort to come to my house for dinner,” he winked.
“Hell if I were you Jack, I’d tell her to just come over naked,”
chirped while standing in the parking lot, smoking a cigarette. Taylor
“Of course you’d say that…” I rolled my eyes and shook my head.
“On second thought,
has a good idea…” Jack started in, but stopped when I spun around in an attempt to punch him in the gut. He caught my hand before I connected, pulled me towards him, picked me up and threw me over his shoulder. I was kicking and squealing as he carried me over to the driver’s side door of my truck and opened it. He set me down behind the wheel and grinned broadly at me. “Go get changed, Lizzie. I’ll see you in an hour. Clothed.” Taylor
I stuck my tongue out at him and started up the truck. I’m fairly sure I heard him call out, “Don’t start what you can’t finish!” while I drove out of the parking lot.
This wasn’t the first time she ate over at my place, but this was the first time since I told her my feelings and made love to her. Surprisingly today’s shift was not awkward and things were as they should be between us at work, but as I stood in front of my closet debating on what to wear, I found the nerves balling up in my stomach. I didn’t want to go overboard and look like I was trying to impress, but I did want to make it look like I was putting forth an effort. Besides, it was probably going to be the last night I spent with her. Jason had called me during work and said to be in
on Monday for my orientation shift. I still wasn’t sure if this was the right thing to do, but I didn’t really have a choice now. I just didn’t know how I was going to break the news to Liz. Saskatoon
I was already outback grilling the steaks I had marinating the whole day while we were working when she arrived.
“That smells amazing! I hope you have the whole cow grilling on there because I’m starved!” she exclaimed, peeking her head out the back door. I was going to come back with some sort of comment about her having an appetite of a Hippo, but the words stayed in the back of my throat, making it difficult to swallow as I took in her looks. She was in a light purple cotton sundress that came to her knees along with a soft looking, white cardigan and white flip-flops. She had allowed her hair to air-dry, so it was a curly, unruly mess that laid on her shoulders, framing her face perfectly. Before I could get my brain back from the vacation it suddenly took, she spoke shyly, “I hope you don’t mind that I decided to put on one of the dresses I bought in
. I don’t have many places to wear stuff like this and I was in the mood to dress nice tonight.” Vancouver
I shook my head and finally stuttered out, “N-no, p-p-please don’t apologize. You look beautiful,
She looked up with shy blue eyes and smiled softly. “Thanks. You look good yourself.”
I looked down and shrugged off the compliment, cursing myself for just wearing a pair of khaki cargo shorts and a red buttoned-down cotton shirt.
“I always like when you wear red,” she continued. “It make softens your brown eyes, almost making them look like honey.”
There was something in the way she spoke the words, something that told me she wanted me. I smiled back at her and took the steaks off the grill, afraid that they would end up burning if my test proved correct. As soon as they were on the plate, I moved over to her and pulled her against me.
“Jack,” was all I allowed her to whisper before my lips came crashing down onto hers. She curled around me as we drank from one another. My hands slid down her back and came to rest on her ass, pulling her intimately closer to me. She moaned into my mouth and wound her arms around my necks, threading her fingers through my hair, causing me to shiver.
Soon we were inside of my house, in my bedroom. I gently tugged on the zipper of her dress while she easily worked at undoing the buttons of my shirt. “You smell so good,” I whispered when I leaned down and kissed her shoulder after I pushed down one of the straps of her dress. Her skin smell like honeysuckle and it was as soft as the cashmere of her cardigan. She lightly giggled at my observation but stopped as I allowed her dress to fall to the floor, leaving her standing vulnerably in front of me. She stood stock still as I lightly traced some of the lines of her body with just my fingertips, memorizing her and praying to God she couldn’t see my future plans. It was such a raw moment that I felt if I looked into her eyes, she would be able to see everything I never told her and know the truth about how much I loved her.
“Why are you leaving, Jack?” she asked quietly.
Guess I don’t even need to make eye contact with her. Damn, she’s good.
“How did you know?” I asked hoarsely, finally looking up at her and lightly running my fingers through her hair, absently untangling it.
“I’m not stupid. You didn’t just suddenly decide to fix up my house and I heard you on the phone today…”
“You were eavesdropping?” I raised an eyebrow at her, trying my hardest to keep the mood light.
“I was on my way out to get the hose so that I could rinse off some of the equipment we used from last night and I overheard you. Please, don’t leave.”
“I can’t keep hide from the truth anymore Liz. I’m in love with you and I want you to be with me. You know as well as I do that we can’t do that here…”
“Seems to me like you are running away,” she said evenly, moving away from me and walking towards the back window of my bedroom, sneaking a look outside. In doing so, the late evening sun shined through, creating a silhouette of her beautiful body that was now only covered with a delicate lace bra and a white laced thong.
“I can’t standby and watch you with him. I already told you that, so until you make up your mind, I’m leaving.”
“What are my choices?” she asked, still looking out the window.
“Me or him.”
“He wants me to go to LA with him this weekend…”
“I’ll be gone when you get back.”
“I still don’t understand how it would work out between you and me, especially since you are moving 2 hours away from here.”
“We’d figured out something, I’m sure,” I said quietly as I walked up behind her, placing my warm hand on the cool skin at the small of her back. “Look Liz, I know he can offer you the world with all the money he makes, but I would offer you my love and life and you know that means I would give you everything you ever needed.”
She leaned backwards against me, rested her head on my chest and sighed, “I know. I’m sorry that I’m being stupid and seemingly unable to make a decision. I know what I want, I’ve known for a long time, but here I am still second guessing everything. I guess it doesn’t help that ever since I’ve known you, you’ve jumped around from one woman to another…” she admitted. “I just don’t understand what makes me different.”
“The difference is that I’m in love with you Liz.”
She turned around and looked up at me with sad blue eyes, “But are you just saying that because of Jarret being in the picture?”
“Come on Liz, you know I never say things I don’t mean,” I cupped her face with my hand. “I’ve only ever loved one other woman…”
“No one you knew…”
I took a deep breath and looked at a spot on the window sill. “I don’t want to talk about it.”
She left out a huff and went to move away from me.
“Liz, please, where are you going?” I exclaimed as she began picking her dress up off the floor.
She stopped, put her hand on her hip. “You know what Jack? This is exactly why I can’t make up my mind. You know everything about me, yet I still don’t know everything about you. I know you have a past that no one knows, but that’s what bother’s me. I’m asking you this one question and you can’t even answer me.”
“I don’t want to talk about it. It’s in the past and I just don’t talk about it,” I stupidly snapped back.
“Just like you couldn’t tell me after all these years that you have feelings for me?!”
“It’s not like you were 100% truthful to me about that either…”
“You are not going to pin this on me, Jack. You couldn’t even fucking tell me you were moving away…” she cried.
I was just running my fingers through my hair, trying to figure out how not to fuck up the situation even more when my cell phone began blaring. It was Elsie’s ring-tone, so there was no way I could ignore it.
“Hello?” I answered, trying not to sound annoyed.
“What do you want Jarret?” I growled into the phone, now not caring if I sounded overly annoyed. Liz looked over at me with a confused look on her face.
“Taylor and Paul just came and picked up Grandma. She passed out and was still unconscious when they left for the hospital…I can’t get a hold of Beth, but I knew you two would want to know…I’m going to head to the hospital now.”
“Just stay put, we’ll pick you up,” I said quickly and hung up.