Meanwhile...

As soon as Nurse Mean Ass had finished her interrogation, Lucy began to put her plan in action.  It would be another hour or so before the nurses would be back to draw blood and check her vitals.  She stood up and walked around her hospital room for a few minutes to gauge her strength.  Once she felt certain she could keep her breathing metered and her legs were strong enough, she drew the IV needle slowly from her arm and took a quick shower.  She pulled her long (and now curly) hair back and tied it in a ponytail. Pulling the clothes out of the hospital bag, she realized the smell of smoke was overwhelming.  

“Well, that won’t do,” she told herself.   

She pulled the hospital gown back on.  Grabbing the IV pole she taped the needle back to her arm, and pulled the door open just enough to hear and see the action outside of her room. When it seemed quiet enough, she slipped out down the hallway in search of a utility room.  Passing Doctors and nurses she did not recognize, she moved slowly and kept herself as calm as possible.  If she were to become too anxious, she would surely lose her breath.  

It took about 3 different hallways to find the utility room.  When she was sure no one was looking, she opened the door and slipped inside.  Quickly now, she needed to find scrubs and anything else useful to get her out of the hospital without being noticed.  She rummaged through shelves of blankets and pillows and tripped over a mop bucket.  But there in the corner was exactly what she was looking for.  Right away she found her size and dressed herself as a hospital employee.  Leaving the traveling IV and hospital gown behind, she managed to walk right out of the hospital without incident.  

And there she was.  Standing outside in the dusky early evening.  The marine layer was cooling the air.  It was perfect timing, she thought.  In the cover of darkness.  It wouldn’t be until the morning that she could hit her safety deposit box, but Lucy felt secure enough now that her cover story would stick long enough to give her a much-needed night's rest before she began her journey.   She stepped to the curb and hailed a taxi. 
“Can you take me to Longview?” she asked the Cabbie.  He agreed and home she went.  

Lucy shuffled through the birdhouse she kept in the small Birch tree in her backyard.  Finding her house key, she went in through the back door.  The house was dark, she meant to keep it that way.  She found the flashlight she kept in her kitchen drawer and then found her tea candles.  Just enough light to get her around the house tonight without letting neighbors know she was home.  

Having lit her home sufficiently, she plopped down on her couch.  

“This is it” she said out loud to herself.  Sadness and fear began to seep through her cracking interior.  She remembered with bitterness the conversation she had with herself just hours ago and she cringed in pain.  

“Be careful what you wish for…” she said to herself.  

Now would not be the time to break and she knew this.  Now was the time to get angry and determined.  To summon her strength.  Danger was looming and she had no one but herself to rely on.  But the tears fell anyway.  She let them.  

KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!

Startled out of her thoughts, Lucy jumped to her feet much too quickly.  Her head was spinning uncomfortably once more and it took her a second to catch her breath.  

Calm down girl.  No one knows yet. It’s probably a neighbor…

She slowed her heart rate and took a few deep breaths before she looked through the peephole.  

The fireman? Dear God this guy is thick.  Shit!

Jason stood at her door looking very angry and determined.  No one else seemed to be with him but she wasn’t taking any chances.  She was not letting this guy in.  There would be too much to explain and it would put them both in danger.  

KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!

“I know you’re in there!” he called.  

Lucy's heart began to race.  This was the monkey wrench she didn’t need right now.  

KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!!!

“I’m not leaving until you open the door!” he was becoming loud enough to warrant neighborly concern and in a split moment of decisiveness, she opened the door.  

“What do you want???” she was angry.  She used her stare of death to let him know he was crossing a line. 

“Well, there you are, mystery woman!  Can I come in?” Before she could answer him, he pushed right by her and entered the house.  Her stare of death didn’t work.  It seemed only to fuel the smirk on his face even further. 

She looked outside into her neighborhood to make sure no one was alerted then shut the door with a slam. 

“Look, Fireman, I don’t know what you think you’re doing, but…”

“You’re in big trouble, aren’t you?” he interrupted her.  

Shit. Now I have to find out what he knows…

Softening her face, she turned instantly to the damsel in distress bit.  

“What do you want from me?” she dropped her eyes feigning surrender.  

Jason sat down on the couch looking quite comfortable with himself, thinking this was going to be a real interesting conversation.  He had questions to be sure.  And he wasn’t going to buy her act this time.  

“Let’s start with this…Why did you lie about who you are? And why did you escape like a criminal from the hospital?”

They still don’t know. She thought.  

“Look, I don’t have insurance.  I know it’s not right, but I’m broke, and I can’t pay a hospital bill…”

“Stop it” he interrupted her again.  “Stop lying.  I’m not here to hurt you.” 

She looked up at his face searching for truth in his statement.  She was slightly surprised to find that his eyes were not lying.  Surprised and frightened all at once. 

Everyone wants to hurt you, Lucy. Don’t let him in…

“I don’t even know you, and you definitely don’t know me.  Now, if you don’t mind, I’d like to rest.  I’ll settle up my bill with the hospital next week.”  Tears began to fall from her eyes.  She hated to cry in front of people, especially men, but these tears served her purpose. 

He stood up from the couch and moved towards her.  She was playing a game, he knew this, but he couldn’t stop himself from softening.  

“I know you’re in trouble.  I can sense it.  I just want to help.  I swear.  Please stop lying to me.”  He lifted her chin to look her in the eyes.  “I’m not going to hurt you…”

She pulled away and wiped the tears from her cheeks and her eyes.  He had some kind of power over her that made her feel unsafe and safe at the same time.  If she allowed him to stay much longer, he might break her.  

Her eyes and her face turned to steel as she looked him directly in the face.  “You have no idea what you are butting into Fireman Jay. “ Her voice became stern.  “There is trouble here you want no part of.  I don’t want your help and I don’t need your help.  Please leave.” There was anger in her welling up like a tidal wave.  

He sensed her anger and he felt her scorn.  She was surely in trouble.  He was not swayed.  He needed to know more.  He needed to help.  For reasons he could not understand, he was driven.  

“You’ve made it to the news, you know.” he told her.  He said it with a solemn caution, knowing this would not be good news to her. “You’re becoming a sensation.  It’s only a matter of time before more knocks will come to your door.  Do you want my help or not?” 

He watched her eyes carefully.  This was do or do not time in his mind.  If he felt insincerity he would leave and never look back, but if he felt his gut instincts were right, that he had purpose here and she was truly in trouble, then he would stay no matter what.  He’d made the mistake of walking away before, he wouldn’t do it again.  

Lucy's eyes narrowed and he saw true terror behind them.  The tears pouring over now were not contrived, they were sincere.  And he had his answer. 

“Sit down Linda.  Tell me what you're running from. “

This will get him killed , Lucy.  They’ll kill him right in front of you.  

She didn’t listen to that voice this time.  She gave in.  Everything inside of her just pushed its way out.  She broke.  

“You really don’t understand.  You’re in danger by just being here right now.  There are people who will kill you without thinking twice just to get to me.  I have to leave, and I have to do it now.” she spoke through her tears. “My name is Lucy. I’ve been surviving under false ID’s now for 5 years, then this goddam fire…” 

Lucy became frantic.  She had trained herself for this moment, and now it was time to act.  

“Time to fly,” she said out loud.  

Jay was now a part of this whether he understood or not.  She didn’t have time to play games.  She didn’t have room in her mind to con him.  Her instincts swiftly kicked in and she began to move.  

He followed her to her bedroom and watched as she shuffled through her closet revealing a hidden panel behind her hanging clothes.  She removed her emergency backpack from the cubby and began to inventory the contents by throwing them on her bed.  She found everything in order.  A cell phone, first aid kit, gun, bullets, hunting knife, water and canteen, boots, change of clothes,  car keys, and about $5000 in cash.  She threw in some more weather friendly clothes.  

Jay stood behind her as he took stock of what she packed for her trip.  

“Oh my God.  You are in trouble.  A gun?” his voice was full of astonishment.  He knew she was in trouble, but mostly until this moment, he was moving on feelings, emotion, not logic or sense.  It was sinking in.  She wasn’t lying.  And his adrenaline began to flow freely.  

“Stop!” he hollered at her.  “WHAT are you running from Lucy, if that is your name?”  He pulled her around to face him.  He wanted to see her face.  Her eyes were different, dilated and nearly insane looking.  He felt a deep sense of fear and grief and he let her go.  

“My name is Lucy, and i’m on the run from a murder 1 charge. There's more to the story, but you need to know I didn't do it. That's all I’m going to tell you for now. Anymore you become complicit. Right now you’re just an innocent bystander. Now that my cover is broken I have to leave. There are bad people after me and they’ll be after you too.”

He stood in shock as he listened to the words fall from her mouth.  She was not lying.  And he began to have many second thoughts about what he stepped into.  But then he remembered.  He remembered another woman.  One he didn’t help, who died brutally and without reason.  He knew he couldn’t let that happen again.  His Soul couldn’t take it.   

“So, what’s the plan?” He asked.  His eyes fixed sharply onto hers.  

Lucy relented.  She gave in.  “I’ve got to get to my safety deposit box.  It has everything I need.  I don’t know what to do after that.”  

She dropped her eyes knowing that she may just have gotten this man killed, but she had to keep moving. 

He was silent.  Deliberating.  

“I have a cabin.  It’s on a lake, very secluded, way up North.  We can go there.  No one will know.” He told her.  

“None of this WE shit.  You’re not going anywhere with me.  I don’t NEED a hero, get it?” 

“Everyone needs a hero,” he told her.  His voice now settled and determined.  The deep gentleness was back and she felt it.  She wanted it.  Like a hungry child in a bakery, she wanted it.  

She continued to pack and organize.  She moved to the kitchen with her thermos in hand. 

“This is what you’re going to do then, Hero.  Give me the address to your cabin.  And do your best to forget this whole thing.  I will stay at your cabin long enough to plan, then I’m gone.  This way you can know you helped the damsel in distress and your conscience will be free…”  She said this with thick disdain.  She knew he had some kind of hang up.  He was bent on helping her for no good reason as far as she could see.  The only explanation was that he had penance.  But she knew the cabin would be a good thing.  And if it helped him save his own soul, then it works out for everyone.  Lucy's only concern at this turn would be if he would be strong enough to keep this secret.  Somehow she felt his need for penance would be strong enough to keep her safe.  

When she turned to look at him, looking for his agreement, looking for a way to trust him, she saw the pain in his eyes.  She had hit a deep nerve.  Deeper than she had intended, and her heart hurt for him.  

“Look, I’m sorry.  I don’t mean to be such a bitch.  I appreciate that you want to help me.  And your reasons are your reasons.  You’re not catching me in my best moments.” She turned her attention to rifling through drawers for supplies while Jay absorbed the sting.  

He was stung, and deeply.  Somehow, this woman knew he was making up for a past sin.  He could accept that.  But there was something more here than Lucy realized.  There was something cosmic and glowing about her and he was like a moth to the flame. He found a piece of paper and a pen in the dim candle lit room and wrote the address to his cabin.  

“Here.  This is the address.  I’ve written some directions down because your GPS won’t find it.  And I don’t imagine you will be asking anyone for help, so good luck to you.Here’s the key.  Lock up when you leave…”

With pain in his voice and defeat in his eyes, he handed her the paper, and walked to the front door.  

Lucy thought hard for a moment, then turned after him.  “Wait!” she called.  She ran and wrapped her arms around his body.  She held him tight.  He was surprised, but melted very quickly into her embrace.  His hand moved down the small of her back.  He felt hot tears on his chest.  Without thinking he pulled her back, wiped the tears from her eyes and softly put his lips on her cheek.  Their eyes met.  The air became thick and heavy, electric.  His hand softly brushing her cheek he gently kissed her lips.  Her lips were soft and inviting.  He felt her hand tighten on his arm and her breath move faster.  He caught her eyes once more and kissed her again.  This time deeper, stronger and intense.  

Lucy was losing herself.  His hands were strong and his chest was pulsing.  His lips were wet and forceful, but she wanted it.  He wrapped his arms around her entire body pulling her as closely as he could.  Kissing her hard, his mouth opening with excitement, she matched his hunger.  A momentary thought passed by her.  Was this right? Should she? Then she felt his hands moving towards her breasts and she let go.  Blissful.  Ignorant to anything else besides his tongue gliding inside of her mouth.  It was too late.  She had to have him now.  Nothing else would do.  

In one graceful move, he swept her up into his arms and moved to her bedroom.  He laid her down gently, still looking deeply into her eyes.  He was about to ask her if this was ok, if they should continue but she stopped him.  She pulled him onto her with a shocking amount of strength, surprising him.  

“Don’t talk. Don’t say one word.  Just take my clothes off” she whispered.  

He pulled the scrubs over her head revealing her breasts.  Her nipples rose instantly.  He moved slowly beneath them, caressing, swallowing them up in his large and tender hands.  They were everything he thought they would be, firm, warm, soft.  His mouth moved from her mouth and slowly made his way to her breasts.  His tongue relaxed and slid softly and tenderly across her nipples.  His hands moving to slip her pants down her long legs.  His mouth intended to follow.  

Her hands were reaching out for him, all of him.  Moving up and down his chest and his back.  She pulled at his shirt.  She wanted to feel his naked chest on hers.  He sat up and pulled it over his head.  His chest was thick with perfect pecs rising just above his ribs. He looked powerful and hungry.  Her hands gliding over his chest and down to his abdomen, exhilaration electrocuting her every breath.  

He pulled away softly as he slid the white lace down her lightly bronzed legs.  She was completely naked now, open and willing.  Her body was pulsing up and down in longing, impatient to feel more of him.  He stopped for a moment and took her all in.  She was beautiful.  Like a work of art, he was breathlessly amazed at the angel that lay in front of him.  Her perfect breasts moved with her body, her abdomen was heaving, thick and athletic. Her thighs were tight and beginning to slide apart to welcome him.  

Jason stood at the foot of her bed now and began to remove his belt.  The hair on his chest was dark and made an enticing trail down his thick abdomen.  He slid his pants off and slowly crawled between her legs, head first.  His lips brushed up against her thighs, wet and warm.  His hands moved her thighs apart to make room.  She was perfectly shaven, pink and plump with love waiting to burst.  And he moved in.  

His tongue moved her apart and rested on her for a moment.  She was juicy, wet enough and ready for anything to come inside.  He felt her pulse, then moved slowly to her.  His tongue penetrated her, moved softly around inside of her, then moved slowly once more, pushing her apart. Lucy grabbed his head with force and pulled him up to her.  She couldn’t take another second.  

“FUCK ME” she whispered. 

Jason pulled his body on top of hers, feeling the heat move from her body to his.  Sweat was building up on his brow and his felt longer, thicker and harder than it had ever been.  He slid between her legs and gently moved himself across her wetness.  He wasn’t searching for her it, he was teasing it.  Her nails began to dig into his back.  It hurt, but he liked it.  She was about to burst and he knew it.  

He met her eyes with longing and wanting and ever so slowly he pushed himself inside of her.  She was tight.  Too tight to take him all in at once.  An inch at a time he penetrated her.  Moving in and out of her slowly, never leaving her eyes.   

It was too much for her to take.  Her hand moved to the small of his back and pulled him in all the way.  Her back arched and she screamed in ecstasy.  She could feel his pulse inside of her.  He slowly slid out and then pushed back inside as far and as deeply as he could go.  Her back arched again and she howled.   One more time, he slowly pulled out and pushed himself all the way inside of her, feeling her contract and pushing up against him, she cried out in orgasm.  

His mouth met hers and he kissed her tenderly, powerfully, allowing her to feel every second of the orgasm.  He reached for her hands and began to push harder inside of her, faster.  Her hips moved with his thrust, getting every inch of him deeper inside of her.  

Their breathing became deeper, moving in time with each other, he pushed harder, more forcefully.  

“Jason! “she cried out.  He didn’t stop.  He pushed himself harder and deeper, her hips lifting to take in more of him. 

“JASON!” She cried once more.  He couldn’t stop, he worked harder.  He was about to cum.  He felt it rising, pulsating, driving him harder.  

“OH…MY…GOD…JAAAASON!” Lucy burst in orgasm once more as Jason released himself inside of her.  He kept himself as deeply inside of her as he possibly could. He couldn’t move.  In the intensity of the orgasm, her hands grasping his ass, pushing him in, she held him inside of her, he felt it in his soul.  

Her orgasm continued, and pulsed against him. In amazement and ecstasy, they looked at each other, sweat pouring from their bodies.  He caught his breath and kissed her again.  She embraced him with all of her body and then she breathed.  Slowly, and in time with the Fireman inside of her.  

He rolled gently to her side, spent and breathless, his body was still vibrating.  He wrapped his arms around her tightly.  He couldn’t do anything else.  He didn’t want to do anything else.  And she let him.  

Lucy had not felt this warm, this happy in years.  It hit her hard, and she didn’t want it to go away.  She lay still in his arms, listening to his breath and his heartbeat.  

Lucy, you have to move. 

Reality began to slip between them.  And Lucy was not able to push the thoughts away.  She needed to go.  She had to move.  She had to let go of this perfect moment and run quickly back to her terror.  

She lifted herself up out of his arms and looked at his face.  It was brilliant.  Glowing.  Perfect.  It was safe and warm and gentle.  

“Jay, I have to go.  I can’t stay and you can’t come with me. “

He took in a deep breath regaining his strength.  

“I know” he told her with sorrow in his eyes.  “But I will be here when you get this mess taken care of.  And I’m here if you need me.” He told her and it was with a sincerity that melted the thickness of her heart.  

She pulled herself up out of the bed and stepped into the shower.  She didn’t allow herself to dwell on what she was leaving.  She had to go and she knew that.  It was cold and hard, but the truth.  She had no room for any of this, but she knew that she would be able to see this in her mind and her heart later.  It would keep her warm when things become too rough.  It was a memory that she would keep buried inside. 

By the time she stepped out of the shower, Jason the Amazing Fireman was gone.  He left her a note on her dresser with his phone number.  She was certain she would never see him again.  She threw herself on her bed and dug her face into the pillow still smelling his cologne and she cried.  The last cry she would allow herself.  She fell asleep. 

She woke up with a start at 3am.  She hadn’t intended to fall asleep, but she was grateful that she had.  She knew she needed it.  It was time.  She brewed a pot of extra strong coffee, grabbed her emergency backpack from the side of the bed and once more began to inventory the contents.   

With everything in order, she threw in some extra clothing and some boots into a suitcase.  She filled her thermos full of hot coffee and left out her back door.  No second thoughts, no apologies. 

It would be a 2 mile walk to the storage facility where she kept her back up car.  It had been a few months since she had checked on it and she felt her own foot in her ass.  She had become lazy over this last year.  Hopefully the car will start.  

The walk had been more laborious than she had first anticipated.  Her lungs were sooty and her windpipe was irritated and swollen from the smoke.  Lucy paced herself, keeping her breathing even and full.  Each step was a chore as she battled her chest and her legs.  But she was too preoccupied to allow either to slow her down too much.  

When she reached her car, it was in perfect condition.  An ugly old Chevy Citation, low profile, great on gas and good in rough terrain.  The contents of the trunk were in order.  Extra clothing, blankets, water, nonperishables, tent, everything a young woman needs for a good time, she thought.  

It would be a good 4 hours before the bank would open.  And it was a 3 hour drive.  This would give her time to plan her route more effectively.  She pulled the maps from the glove box and sat quietly deliberating her next move.  By this time, she felt she was cutting it close.  A lot of questions were probably being asked about her, and her face would certainly be making the morning news. That would be enough to get her recognized locally.  By 6 am she pulled out of the storage facility in her ugly old station wagon and headed Southeast towards Central California to collect the contents of her safe deposit box. 

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