I'm Only Here for the Beard

By: Lani Lynn Vale

Fuck, it was hot for the last day of October!

Shouldn’t it be cooler already?

“Workin’ out today?” a colleague, Randa McCullen, asked as she started walking toward her car.

I looked over at Randa, the basic EMT, and nodded. “Already done.”

She rolled her eyes and shook her head. “Figures.”

Then she walked straight to her car. Once there, she got in, waved goodbye, and closed the door before backing out of the spot and rocketing out of the parking lot.

I guess that meant she was ready to go.

Certainly would’ve wished I was leaving instead of just arriving.

Though, that was my usual lately.

I was working too much. The station I was working in for Allegiance Health was short staffed, and they mandated that every able-bodied paramedic had to work overtime whether they wanted to or not.

The only good thing I could say about my shift was that they ran a double medic truck instead of a single medic and a basic EMT. Otherwise I’d be so fuckin’ tired from doing everything on every call while I was on shift that it’d be nearly impossible to hold down a job here.

Though, the pay was better than most.

Although, that wasn’t saying much seeing as I made about four bucks over minimum wage, and I was working my ass off for it.

Every time I arrived for my shift, I couldn’t come up with a single reason why I was doing this fucking job.

But get me in the back of an ambulance, and I forgot that my job sucked for the hour that it took to take the call.

I walked into the door of the station, and my eyes immediately honed in on the heart-shaped ass in a pair of the company’s tactical pants swaying back and forth in front of the counter that divided the kitchen and the living area.

I closed the door a little harder than necessary in my surprise at seeing that ass, and winced when she turned around, her hand flying to her chest as if I’d startled her.

Which, I supposed that I did.

“Hi,” I murmured.

The woman was short. Really short. Though, that didn’t mean much when I was six foot four inches.

She had a head of blonde curly hair that was stuffed into a bun at the top of her head. A teal band was tied around her head to keep her curls out of her eyes—eyes that were so freakin’ captivating that I wanted to blurt out an ‘are they real?’ to her.

She looked very standoffish, though, so I decided to wait to bombard her with questions until she at least knew me.

I was an intimidating guy. At least that’s what I’ve been told.

People who knew me, though, knew that I wasn’t going to hurt them.

Unless they deserved otherwise.

The woman smiled at me, but didn’t offer me a ‘hello’ in return.

I walked inside and headed to my room, stopping when I saw that my room had already been taken.

“You’re gonna have to move your shit,” I told the woman over my shoulder. “This is my room.”

The swift inhalation of breath had me turning.

“I’m sorry,” she apologized. “That woman that just left, Randa, told me that this room was free.”

She had a husky voice. One that instantly had me wanting to hear her whispering dirty words to me in the darkness of my bedroom.

“Randa’s a bitch,” I growled. “She likes to fuck with people because she thinks she’s funny, but she’s not.”

The woman brushed past me, and I groaned at the smell of apples and cinnamon that wafted off of her.

Either she’d just eaten something or she had a lotion that smelled like heaven. Either way, I wanted to smell more.

She’d probably feel great…

Jesus fuck, that was the last thing I needed.

After Ellen had ripped my heart out three months ago, I couldn’t do the dating thing again. At least not yet. Not after all the shit she’d put me through.

My phone buzzed in my pocket and I winced.

It was either Memphis or Ellen, and I didn’t want to speak to either one of them at this point.

They were both concerned with my well-being. Whether I was coping well with the break up.

They were both good friends now, but I couldn’t complain to Memphis, my childhood best friend, without wondering whether Memphis would be on my side or not.

So I chose not to talk to either one of them.

“I knew someone was in here. I should’ve gone with my gut,” the woman muttered under her breath. “Thank you for not freakin’ out.”

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