False Alarm Ch. 05byLightbrown24©
I had alot of feedback that I commented on the last chapter. I don't want any confusion Niala and Austin have only known each other for 3 or 3 1/2 months. Thanks for reading I hope you enjoy. Feedback is always appreciated, thanks guys :D
Niala couldn't contain her pleasant mood as she walked from the parking garage. It always felt good when you see a call or message, from the person you woke up thinking about. Most of the people he passed had the Monday face, she was all smiles. It seemed like she hadn't felt that way in forever. It was genuine; instead of text, she would call to hear his deep voice.
"Morning, you sound happy" Austin was napping at the station; his voice was even deeper than normal. He sounded like a sexy bear.
She was happy as soon as she saw the text from him that morning. She felt like a tween.
"I got your text when I woke up. I figured I would just give you a call. What was up last night?"
"I just had a lot on my mind, but I'm glad I had the chance to sleep on it" Lest he sound like on of those sensitive males crying on the phone. Austin had started to tell her everything last night. Including the other girl, leading up to the point he realized she was all he really wanted. While tipsy, telling her sounded like a good idea. Then he almost slapped sense into himself. This was not a lifetime movie.
"Oh, ok. So what do you have planned for the week?
"I'm back on rotation; that's why I was hoping I got to see you before I came back. Maybe you should stop by the station?" Did he just ask her to come by the station? Maybe sleeping on it really didn't do any good after all.
"I know. We'll have to make up that date. It was a good one. I don't know if I wanna walk into the lion's den, are they all like you and Josh? Mainly, Josh, that boy is more wolf than lion." She giggled
"I'll protect you from the wolves. Only problem is who will protect you from me?" In for a dime, in for a dollar Austin mused.
"I'll let you know." She was smiling so big her cheeks hurt.
"Cool cause I really want to talk to you, I kinda miss you..."
There was a pause. Wow, he felt like he was naked out there. The seconds dragged by. They felt like minutes. Maybe he should have kept that to himself.
"I kinda miss you too, and I also have something to talk to you about."
The station meant, that he wanted her to meet people in his life. It wasn't parents, but meeting the people a guy worked with still seemed pretty important. She had heard Units were like a family anyway. He is being so open with her. She needed to tell him about Sean. If she was being honest with herself, she should have told him weeks ago. She had never gone that long without telling someone.
She would do it there since he was being so personal with her. There she would share the most important thing in her life too. She just hoped she hadn't messed things up, by letting her issues get in the way.
At the front desk, the girls' conversation ended up on the firemen. Ash chatted away about "Santa" and Josh. Niala tried not to be grossed out and supportive instead.
"Why do you have that look on your face? You act like Santa is not attractive. You said he looked good for his age when you first saw him. You even said you had a semi Santa crush." Ashley sounded like a little offended.
"Please stop calling him that; it's starting to get disturbing." Ashley made a face as Niala continued.
"Ash he did look good for his age; but you must keep in mind that I have a child. Furthermore, I apparently I am more normal than you because Santa Claus crush for me, meant something totally different. To me, Santa crush means: jolly, white hair, white beard, tall, and round belly shaking like a bowl full of jelly." Niala counted them out on each finger for effect. "Hence, the semi because he does not have that jelly belly. I'd like the guy because he would remind of Santa. Most of the time it's a sweet older man, looked at in a grandfatherly way. You have perverted it, it. You to screw Santa!"
The both laughed.
"Why don't you go for Josh anyway? At At least, would be able to be around most of your life? I thought y'all were hanging out/messing around." Niala didn't agree totally, but she thought Ash was having fun.
Ashley looked off to the side. Niala knew that meant she was trying to hide her face. She actually started liking Josh, the one thing she said she wouldn't do. He was so much fun. Ashley had hoped once he saw she was too and that she was serious. He would be more willing to settle down. She looked back at Niala, her poker face in place. Or so she thought.
"We are, but he is still trying to be the ladies' man. When I finally did break down and have sex with him, I thought he would take things to the next level. Nope. I went through his phone...I'm not the only one. That is why I should go with Santa, he probably has gotten it out of his system."
"Ash you never go through the phone. That's begging for trouble. You don't think Santa travels around at night leaving gifts to all the naughty girls? There might be other women, sick as you some. You know people have grandpa fetishes. They want to ride his sleigh too; maybe they even dress up like a reindeer." Niala grinned; Ashley threw a post-it pad at her. At least, she smiled.
"Either way I believe that Josh and I have gone as far as it can go. On the other head does have a big penis. I might just keep him around for that for a while."
Niala knew how Ashley could act like she didn't care. They were both proud of that talent. In the three years Niala had known Ashley they bonded over many things; one was the opinions they shared about dating. When cutting someone off you had to be cold. Exterior hard, but she also knew inside where feelings you never late out. It was like with her and Sam. Outside she wasn't giving him the time of day. Inside he could still get under her skin, whether she wanted him or not. So she knew Ash wasn't as nonchalant as she was saying.
"If he is not giving you what you want, don't keep him around too long." Niala said knowingly.
"Now I need to work on my poker face." Ash muttered. She turned her back to Niala again and began updating the contact spreadsheet.
"Anyway I brought them up because Miko said share the wealth. "
"What wealth? You have a playboy, and I don't know what I am doing with Austin." Niala rolled her eyes.
Ashley sighed "I don't know, I guess we are still doing better than her?"
"Let's not even go there. You and Miko are similar with how you guys keep things casual...supposedly."
"I don't know. Austin and Josh have cute friends maybe we should hook her up?"
"I don't see how all of us dating/talking to guys in the same group can turn out well. This is not TV. Don't look at me like that." Ash was making a face. " I'm just saying if it ends bad we are in the middle." Ash was still making the face.
"Fine, fine you talk to Heffner, I'll talk to Austin."
"You think we could triple date?"
"Don't go there."
Little decisions that people make may affect more than they realize. That afternoon Niala picked up Sean. They did their bi-weekly trip to the store replacing things that had run out. Mainly, his fruit snacks Niala couldn't keep herself from eating. She also got the extras for whatever she could think to cook that week. Store trips were fun; they talked, Sean basket surfed down the ailse.
Niala decided to stop at the store closer to her job and Sean's preschool. That way she wouldn't have to deal with him being grumpy, from the car induced nap he always took. She didn't notice the fire truck on the other side of the building. It was hidden from the entrance she used. The store was huge, larger than a regular store. She liked it because it had a great variety. If she wanted to try something new, the ingredients would usual be there.
Austin's company also needed to replace things at the station when the rotations changed. The guys ate like, well men.
Austin and another firemen had separated from the group to get a drink they forgot. It would be easy to miss someone is the large store, Niala was not so lucky. She was just turning on the same aisles picking out juice boxes for Sean's lunches. She didn't pay attention to the two men further down. Their backs were turned. She didn't see the big HFD on the t-shirts. She crouched down to Sean's level to help him pick. Her back turned towards the men.
"That, is the definition of milf right there. She is a little thicker than what I'm use to, but man." Austin hadn't looked up at who the guy was talking about. "That is because you usually go for stick figures, Dave." Austin laughed. "She is definitely not a stick, whew. I am going to get some snacks. You know Josh would be all on that." David walked away giving the woman another once over. Austin had to see who he was talking about after that, maybe he could tell Josh what he missed.
"Mommy a fireman! Ummmm off duty?" Sean was excited is attention had wondered to what was going on around him.
"How do you know son? I don't think they call it off duty?"
"Cus they came to speak at school off of gear." Sean said with confidence.
"You mean out of gear..."
Niala didn't want to turn, trying to keep up conversation with Sean. Her heart skipped a beat when he said fireman. Now she felt eyes burning a hole into her. Her body went stiff. It could be any fireman right? Once again, this big city, small world, was coming to bite her in the butt.
There she was in her pin-striped pencil skirt, gray tailored puff sleeve button down tucked in, and navy patent round toe pumps. Her usual carefree hair, was pulled into a bun at the top of her head. She even had a little tie loosened around her neck.
All Austin could think was wow for that second; she always looked so good to him. He could picture her being a naughty school teacher. Then his eyes moved to the little person clinging to the side of the basket. The boy was lighter than Niala closer to Austin's complexion. He had crazy sandy brown curly hair. They almost had the exact same face, except his nose looked a little different than hers. He was a cute kid, but a kid! She had a kid, how could she not tell him about that? Immediately, he thought of her as a liar. His anger was about to boil over. He swallowed hard, to keep his voice calm.
"Niala?" Austin breathed out. It was really no question it was her. The look and his face was struggling between happiness to see her, confusion, then betrayal? The boy looked mixed, She had told him she had never dated outside her race. What else was she lying about? He felt like he had gotten slapped in the face.
"Austin wow, surprised to see you here," she did her best not the stammer. It was hard to meet his gaze. The look on her face was priceless. It also made her look guilty of hiding something. Shit, shit, shit, she thought. Decisions she was making based on fear were proving to be worse than she thought. Why did things always happen right before you are about to do something? They were days away from having the conversation. This looked really bad.
"I bet."His face was almost a sneer. He paused. Control. "Who is this you have with you?" Austin corrected his face. He knew kids could read people and call them out.
"I am Sean. I am 4. I am...Mommy what else?" Niala chuckled but then cleared her throat and fixed her face. This was really awkward. It was a nightmare. "I like Transformer's too! What else..." Sean had one arm folded under the other, his hand tapping his temple like he was thinking hard. "Are you a fireman? I know it, I told my mommy you were off duty."
"Nice to meet you Sean, I'm Austin, and I am a fireman. You're right." He smiled reached out to shake his hand. He laughed at Sean trying to squeeze as tight as he could.
"You almost broke my hand there," Austin was dramatically shaking his hand out.
"My daddy said a man should have a strong shake!"
Austin's eyebrow went up but he quickly recovered "He did, did he? Well, you have one for sure. I'll let you and your mommy finish shopping. Nice to meet you Sean" He gave Niala a hard look as he emphasized the work 'meet'. He smiled and waved bye at Sean, and turning his back to them. He was tense all over. She could see his muscles flexing in his back, like he was balling up his fist really hard. His neck was turning a pink color.
"Austin" Niala called not wanting to yell. "We need to talk later ok? Please?"
"Maybe we do & maybe we don't...I'll think about it." He turned and went to join the others. He didn't even turn to look at her, when he spoke.
The rest of the shopping trip Niala was halfway mentally there. Sean got almost everything that he asked for. If she weren't distracted, he would have gotten half. Every time, she came to an aisle, she would hold her breath, but she didn't see Austin again. She felt relief and disappointment. She couldn't imagine what he was thinking right now. This was the wrong way to find out about Sean, the worst timing.
Austin was red in the face. He was pissed. The others in the station were avoiding him. He felt so stupid, too good to be true he fumed. I knew something was up. He was relieved to know he was not completely off his game. At the same time, it meant Niala was hiding something. Josh was not there to talk to. It was probably best he wasn't, who knows what he would have said in the store. When it happened, Austin had decided he was done with her. The more he thought about the situation his decisions were reinforced. He really liked her. He thought she was special. He decided to talk to somebody before he decided to never speak to her again.
"Why would she lie, dude? It's been month's man. I feel dumb as hell"
"Technically she didn't lie."
"Withholding information is just like lying especially about something that major. AND she said she had never dated outside her race. Her son was almost as light as me! That's a stupid thing to lie about."
"Hey pigment police, we ethnic people come in all shades and have all types of backgrounds. She looks like she could be mixed herself to a close-minded person. "
"Really? I'm close minded now? Am I the bad guy in this?!" Color was rushing to Austin's face. He had gotten up from his seat to walk outside the station. All the pent up to lust inside him was turning into anger. He hated to be made a fool of.
"No, I was just saying. Look you brought it up, I am informing you. Anyway, that's off the point. Maybe she had a reason? Maybe she was going to tell you. Didn't you say she wanted to talk to you about something?" Josh was sprawled on his couch trying to hold in a laugh. He knew Austin was close to purple at this point.
"All the reason's I can think of aren't good. It just makes it worse. Meaning, if it's because of them, then we should maybe stop this now anyway. If she was about to tell me, why so long? I was just about to get serious. I think about her all the time. I invited her to the station, I told my sister about her- I guess it was perfect timing"
"I think you should see what her reasoning was first, I mean come on, she is foxy." Austin could hear the humor in his voice.
" I'm just saying, once again I was at the club. I also went to 360 when you met De De? Desiree? Dana? Fuck it, Curly sue. She was hot and Niala was STILL on your brain. I hear you talk about her, hell you actually talk about her. For a guy like me that's not as easy to walk away from, at least not before I heard what's up."
"I'm not as bad as you though, I'm way more sensible. I'm surprised you still have your junk"
"Hey, I know you admire my junk but don't wonder about it"
"Dude if you say that in my face, your face will be on the ground, thanks though"
"Hey, anytime you're my boy. Now to another pressing matter, see if you can put in a good word with Curly Sue for me."
That was easier said than done. He couldn't shake the feelings of anger, and he still felt betrayed. One thing he wouldn't tolerate was a liar. He couldn't take her out that category yet. Did he feel enough for her to let this big issue go? After the conversation, he felt a little bit of optimism. A large part of him hoped she had something very good to say.
Niala had spent the last 30 minutes trying to figure out what she would wear to work that day. She had already arranged for Ashley to cover her, so she could get Sean for early dismissal. Then she begged for an extra hour, so she could stop by the station and talk to Austin. It was a risk they hadn't spoken since the store meeting. He was barely answering her texts and when he did it was with one-word replies. He was basically ignoring her calls when she tried to explain. So today she was stopping by, he hadn't taken back the invitation yet. She hadn't popped up on a guy before. She hoped he was there. She felt so stupid. She didn't even know what to say. Niala just felt she didn't want to lose him. She would at least try.
Therefore, she had to make sure she looked good. She had to focus. Niala final settled on slightly high waist dark kaki capri slacks that were kind of snug. A black high neck halter and nude pointed-toe sling backs. She had a light short sleeve pink sweater to cover her bare back. Guys never paid attention to details, just the overall package and her package looked good. Hopefully, it would make him stay to hear her out.
The workday dragged on, that morning. she was confident about the conversation. The longer it took for it to actually happen she got more nervous. It was like a waiting to take a test in school. By the time she was walking out the door, she was questioning her decision.
Naila nervously walked up to the station. The bays were open, and she didn't know if she should go to the door or not. This was a huge risk on her part. He could totally embarrass her. She didn't think he was that type of person. At the same time, who knows what type of person he thought she was at that moment.
"Miss? Did you need assistance?" It was Santa. Niala couldn't help but giggle. The captain's face went confused. She figured she looked crazy going from nervous to laughing like that.
"I was looking for Austin Keenan"
"Oh, I'll tell him he has a, ah, visitor" He looked at her curiously before he went into the building.
Niala leaned against the wall breathing faster. Get it together; this is not a show down, just say what you have to say and listen.
"Niala, what are you doing here?" Austin didn't look mad, but his eye brows were together he seemed frustrated.
She popped up from the wall. It suddenly got hot, and she took off her sweater.
He wasn't ready to see her yet. He was happy to see her. He tried not to notice how good she looked. Her pants looked professional but fit her so well. Was her back out? It looked so smooth he wanted to pull her close and run his hands all over it. He remembered how smooth she was. If he kept this train of thought up, he wasn't going to be able to stay mad.
He had to pull it together, she was dishonest. Hot, but dishonest. Sexy, but dishonest. Beautiful, but she lied. Austin pulled himself out of his mini trance.
"You seem distant since Monday. I can only imagine how it looked...I want to talk to you about Sean."
"Hey, we are just friends right? Whatever reason you didn't tell me you had a whole other person, who is dependent on you, in your life isn't a big deal." Austin shrugged like he really didn't care.
"I can't tell it's not a big deal by your tone and sarcasm. Look, I don't know what you are thinking, but I am pretty sure you are way off base."
"Oh ok, let's see. Scenario one you didn't think I was important enough or maybe didn't like me enough to let in your life like that? Scenario two you have a whole family that you are hiding so you can cheat. And three you are ashamed of your child-