tagNovels and NovellasWinter Fires Ch. 01

Winter Fires Ch. 01


Chapter 1

It was a dismal, damp December Friday night. Simon sat at the wheel of the large red vehicle, making his way through the traffic, blue lights flashing, bells ringing. He was still very new to this, and still felt the enormous thrill of guiding the huge bulk at high speed, with the Perkins V8 beneath him.

John sat next to him. Simon knew he'd be watching, keeping an eye out for potential trouble. He didn't feel slighted or upset; in fact, if anything, he felt relieved to know that there was a backup should he make an error.

Simon had the windscreen wipers going, but it wasn't really raining. It was more a fine spray kicked up by the other vehicles, held in suspension. It was annoying, and made it harder to see, but the high vantage point over the powerful, roaring engine had a number of advantages, and visibility was one of them. Simon could see a bright patch in the sky ahead, and knew that in a minute or two he'd be seeing a building ablaze. It was his job, and that of his friends and colleagues, to rescue anyone there, and put out the fire.

Simon pulled the big machine into a large parking area, seeing a sign swinging in the moisture-laden wind: "Ronnies Caff" it proclaimed. Simon knew it through the friends he'd made at the driving school, learning to drive the heavy vehicle. It was a popular stop among the truck drivers, what they called a 'greasy spoon'.

But just now it was completely ablaze. He stopped in front of the blazing café and got out along with John – reminding himself that he was Sub Officer John Tierney, now that they were on duty. The rest of the crew went about their oft-practiced work, setting up hoses and such. John went to find someone to talk to.

Simon was once more struck by the spectacle in front of him. The fire seemed to be a living, breathing animal, consuming the building. It was more striking because of the darkness of the night, and the lurid orange light from the streetlights around. He shook himself; he had no time for sightseeing.

Having driven the vehicle to the scene, his job now was to do whatever his commander decided. He shrugged off the odd feeling of detachment and hurried after the Sub-Officer.

Just as he caught up with him, a round, middle-aged guy rushed up to John, "Thank God you're here! One of my waitresses is trapped in there!"

"Whereabouts?" Sub Officer John Tierney was now all grim business.

"She's trapped behind the counter in the main room. I saw her just a moment ago, she's okay for the moment but she can't get out of there!" Simon thought the gent must be 'Ronnie', but who knew? He put the thought out of his mind.

"I'll go!" he told John, and got a measured stare from his leader.

"Wait a moment until we can get a shielding spray set up!" John ordered, and turned to organise it.

After a wait of seconds that seemed like long, tension filled minutes, Simon heard John order, "Go!"

The heat was tremendous, the smoke filling the room while the flames burst through it. Simon knew he'd have to be quick. The team behind him advanced with the hose, with the nozzle turned wide to emit a broad spray of water, keeping the heat down. Simon advanced quickly through the door to the café, spotting the counter behind which he expected to find the waitress. Summing up the situation quickly, he checked carefully, looking for dangers. The main centre of the fire seemed to be in the kitchen area behind the main cafeteria, but it had spread forward into here, blocking the door and trapping the woman.

Once through the flames around the door he ran ahead of the sheltering spray. Keeping low to make the best of what visibility there was, Simon ran quickly to the end of the counter. He spotted the woman hiding behind it and saw her look of terror. He took her hand, placed his mouth next to her ear and bellowed, "Just follow me!" She shook her head, clearly too terrified to move. Simon didn't hesitate, he grabbed her, pulled her over his shoulder and turned immediately for the exit.

For a moment he thought he'd pushed his luck as a flaming tile fell from the ceiling in front of him, but nothing more came and he side-stepped it, keeping his balance. He made his way quickly through the spray of water to the outside. Once there he let the woman down and led her to the ambulance, very pleased to see that it had already arrived.

Simon was hot, his scalp felt prickly. He took off his helmet and shook his head, wiping his hand over his face. He knew he shouldn't do it, but it was safe enough here. The girl watched him, and before the two ambulance men could say anything she turned to Simon and plastered a huge kiss on him, blurting afterwards, "Thank you!" Embarrassed, Simon mumbled, "Just my job," and handed her over to the two medics. He replaced his helmet, took a deep breath, and turned back to the job.

John called to him as he left her. "Simon! Good job!" he said. "Now go help out Phil's team on the other hose!"

There was still plenty of work to do, and Simon didn't see the woman again. He recalled that she seemed young, even younger than he was, and he thought she might have been pretty. But he couldn't say for certain, and in any case there was no time for woolgathering.

- - - - - - - - - -

Some hours later, still feeling the rush from the fire and the rescue, Simon finally began to take stock of the night's events. He wondered who the young woman was. He'd been to the café a couple of times, and wondered if she'd served him there. As he lay in the old white-enamelled clawfoot bathtub of his parent's house, he let his mind wander to what the feel of her lips on his would be like, imagining the pressure of her shapely body against his. He began idly rubbing himself, imagining more than just a kiss from the woman, and her saying, "Oh, how can I ever thank you?" then giving herself completely to him. Deep in his fantasy, and in no time at all it seemed, he was coming... ropes of semen flying up onto his chest. He sighed, closed his eyes and relaxed, the heat of the water and the post-climax calm acting powerfully together.

"Simon! Come on, other people want to use the bathroom!"

It was his mother, on the other side of the bathroom door. Simon started, guiltily. "Be right out!" he called, and quickly began to wash himself.

Just before he left the room he grinned at his reflection in the fogged-up mirror, wiping it so that he could see himself. As a fantasy, thinking of the girl giving herself to him in gratitude was fine, but Simon knew it wouldn't be like that. He was still young and inexperienced in the Service, but while he knew that emotions ran wild under the stress of the situation at a fire, people quickly reverted back to normality. He doubted if he'd ever see the girl again. He wondered for a moment what her name was, then shook his head. He'd probably never know.

- - - - - - - - - -

It was almost a year after the restaurant fire, and Simon was getting ready for a night out. He and John were going to a nightclub just outside of town, and he needed to dress smartly – they'd not get in otherwise. He pulled his dark blue trousers up, fastened the rather gaudy belt buckle, and looked at himself in the mirror.

He supposed he could call himself rugged, but not handsome. Simon was a couple of inches under six feet tall, with narrow hips and waist but a reasonably broad chest and shoulders. He was fit – a fireman has to be – but no muscleman. Dragging a comb through his unruly mop of curly blonde hair again, knowing that two minutes later it would once again be pointing in all directions, he once more cursed his two 'crowns'. Oh well, the job description said fireman, not model.

He plucked a white linen shirt from his wardrobe and added the obligatory tie, a wide multicoloured affair. A horn honked outside his parent's house and he hurried to his window. Looking down he saw the car outside, so grabbing his jacket he hurried downstairs.

"I'm off then Mum!" he called. His mother replied cheerfully but Simon wasn't really listening and he was out of the door in a flash.

"You ready then, Simon?" asked John as his passenger eased himself into the small car.

"Sure," Simon replied happily. He looked over the car, thinking how much it fitted his friend and mentor. John was short, compact and powerful, just like the Mini Cooper S that he drove. The car was his pride and joy, it was spotless inside and out. Simon knew from experience that the engine and underside were regularly cleaned, too. Heaven help the person who dropped litter in John's car! In fact...

"Heard anything from Jenny?" Simon asked.

"No!" came John's grunted reply.

'Better stay away from that subject, Simon!' he thought to himself. Jenny was – had been – John's girlfriend for the last 18 months or so, and was notoriously untidy. Simon had been up to their flat on a number of occasions, and he had noticed that it was always John who was picking up, cleaning and so on.

Simon had been crammed into the back seat of the Mini with John driving and Jenny in the passenger seat, when she'd casually screwed up a sweet wrapper and dropped it in the foot-well. John had told her, not asked, to pick it up. The argument had gone on from there, developing, switching subject, and Simon, an involuntary spectator, had got more and more uncomfortable. The couple had broken up that night.

Which was why he and John were off to the nightclub tonight. Simon had not had a serious girlfriend yet, just a number of very short flings, nothing that lasted more than a couple of weeks, at most. John was looking to find someone to talk to who didn't have a gruff voice and hair on his chest, someone soft and curvy. They were just two young men, out on 'the pull'.

They fell into a comfortable silence as John drove along the coast road and across the marshes. Although they'd only met two years before, they'd developed a deep friendship that didn't need constant chatter to reinforce it. Besides, neither of them was a great conversationalist.

Eventually, John pulled into the car park of 'Sensations' nightclub. Both had been there before, and knew what to expect. The drinks would be over-priced, the décor was glitzy but in need of a little love and attention. But above all there would be girls. Girls who themselves were out to have a good time.

John parked, they got out, and Simon waited for his friend to lock the Mini. He read the banner promoting tonight's show - a live band, 'Rocksette' they called themselves. 'Good!' he thought. He loved live music.

Inside, the club was both dark and gaudily lit, a contradiction that Simon thought had probably cost quite a bit to attain. There were spotlights and string lights and a dance floor lighted from below, but the overall effect was still dark. The entrance was plush but well worn. Simon and John nodded to the doorman, paid the cover-charge at the window and went into the club proper.

They were met by the boom-boom sound of the music, with a scratchy guitar and insistent rhythm. John leaned close to Simon.

"What do they call this?" he shouted into Simon's ear.

"Disco!" he shouted back. John's look of distaste was a perfect mirror to Simon's own feelings about it.

They made their way to the bar. Simon stood with his back to the bar while John ordered the first round.

"How much?!"

Simon turned around when he heard the scandalised tone of John's anguished query. John handed him his beer, then shouted "One pound and twenty pence for a ruddy foreign lager. Oh well, cheers!"

They clunked glasses, took a gulp, and John began moving away from the bar.

They were early enough that there were still places to sit. John made his way to a table with a line of sight to the stage, Simon following. They sat and Simon surveyed the room.

"Not a lot here tonight."

"Yeah, well, it's still early. The good ones don't want to appear too eager, y'know?" John answered.

"Yeah, I guess. But it's still annoying. We have to get here early to grab somewhere to sit, and for the next hour or two all we can do is listen to crap music and drink overpriced crap beer."

John lightly punched Simon on the arm, replying, "That's the overpriced crap beer that I bought you're drinking. Shuddup moaning and get it down you, you'll feel better!"

Simon wondered why he felt so grumpy. He shook his head, drained the beer and stood up. "Okay, my round. Same again?"

"Yeah, thanks."

After they'd each had a couple of beers, Simon started feeling better. He offered to get another one for John, but he put his hand over his drink, saying, "I'd better not. I have to drive home." Simon nodded, and then went to the bar and got his own.

While this had been happening the band had been setting up on stage. By the time Simon got back to John they appeared to be just about ready.

"I wonder what they'll sound like?" Simon asked John.

"Lead 'n Rhythm, singer, bass, keyboards, drums – could be anything, pretty much," he opined.

The lights dimmed a little more and the band came on stage. Simon watched as two women and three guys walked on, going to their instruments. He was surprised when one of the girls picked up a guitar, while the other went to the keyboards.

The lead singer, a pale, skinny guy with long curly hair, went to the mike as the drummer counted them in. Then they began, playing a cover of the Who's "I can see for miles," and both John and Simon nodded appreciatively. The band came to the guitar break and Simon was blown away. That girl could play!

For the rest of the evening he was mesmerised. She was tall, slim, had dirty blonde hair and a button nose. She wore a white T-shirt and blue jeans, but it was her fingers on the guitar that Simon was watching. The red Stratocaster (or copy, Simon wasn't sure) sang under her attention. At one point she did a fair impression of Hendrix, playing with her teeth, then behind her head. They finished with a cover of "Whole lotta love," and Simon was on his feet, whistling and applauding.


Simon looked to his right.

"Hey!" John was finally able to get his attention. "You were completely zoned out there, y'know? Wanna drink?"

"Sure, ta!"

John disappeared. Simon knew he'd be a while – the bar would be crowded just after the band had finished, but he'd completely forgotten about the time, and obviously John hadn't wanted to leave during the set either.

By the time he'd come back with the drinks Simon was ready for one. The heat in the club was making him thirsty. "I'd better sip this one," he told John, "I'm on duty tomorrow night."

"Glad you remembered," grinned John.

But Simon was paying him no attention again. He'd spotted someone.

"Hey! Loved your playing!" he called, standing up.

"Thanks!" answered the lead singer of 'Rocksette'.

"Yeah, he couldn't take his eyes off've you," smiled John, nudging Simon.

The singer grinned back. "I bet it wasn't me, was it?" he asked. "Hey, Destiny, you got another fan!"

The blonde guitarist was right behind him. Simon had barely heard a word; he was concentrating on her. She made eye contact, and smiled at him.

"Destiny Angel, at your service," she said.

"Really?!" Simon blurted, and immediately regretted it as the others all laughed.

"No, not really, it's Alison, but Shaun here thinks I look like her off've 'Captain Scarlet'."

Simon pulled himself together. "I thought you all were really, really good tonight. Can I get you two a drink?"

"Sure!" answered the lead singer, Shaun, "Mine's a pint and Alison drinks rum and black, no ice."

Simon turned to go, but John grabbed his arm. "I'll go, you, er, entertain these two!"

Simon spluttered his thanks and handed John a fiver. John winked at him, turned and left.

He and the two musicians chatted for a bit, then Shaun made an obvious excuse and left.

"He'll be off to find himself a girl, or two, or maybe three!" giggled Alison. "The guys and their groupies..."

Simon smiled back. "Really? I thought that was only the big bands, like The Who or Zeppelin."

"No!" Alison answered a little shortly, "Even little bands like us get them."

"I didn't mean..." Simon blustered, but Alison shushed him with a finger on his lips.

"It's okay, I know what you meant. It's just... well, we thought we were going to get a recording contract, but it fizzled out. Our manager says he's still looking and we'll get one soon, but I wonder."

"Do you write your own stuff, then?" Simon asked.

"Yup, sure do," Alison answered. "Tonight's gig was covers only, but I've got an album's worth of songs ready."

Simon had noted the slip.

"You. Not we."

Alison flushed. She waved a hand, trying to make light of it.

"Um. I meant we. Didn't I say we?"

"No, not as such, Alison."

"Well, I meant it. Look, can we change the subject? What do you do?"

Simon was only too happy to oblige her.

"I'm a fireman," he answered, a hint of pride in his voice.

"Cool. I've never been with a fireman before."

Simon was surprised by her candour. He hesitated a moment before asking, "Do you want to be with this one?"

Alison smiled at him. "I thought you'd never ask!"

- - - - - - - - - -

Simon found John near the bar. He told him, "Don't worry about giving me a lift home, I'll be staying here instead."

 "Alison?" he'd asked, and at Simon's nod John clapped him across the shoulders. Then he went back to chatting up the pretty young brunette he was with.

Just across the road from the club was a motel. The old guy on reception didn't bat an eyelid when Simon and Alison walked in together and asked for a room for the night. He shoved the registration book across the desk, fiddled underneath it to find a pen, then grunted, "Room 42 – across the other side."

Once in the room, Simon looked around, suddenly a little bashful. For all his bravado, and, in truth, some experience too, this was a little faster and more 'matter-of-fact' than he was used to.

Alison had no such hang-ups, however. She took off her coat and went to the alarm clock on the table beside the bed.

"I have to set it to half past four, sorry," she told Simon apologetically. Simon shrugged. They'd still have almost four hours to... whatever.

Alison smiled at him. "Are you going to get undressed?" she asked.

Simon started. He hurriedly took off his jacket and tie and then began to get the rest of his clothes off. Alison was way ahead of him, her slim figure pale in the harsh room light. Simon stopped again, staring. Alison giggled and said, "Come on then!" and he hurriedly removed the rest of his clothes.

'At least the bed's clean', he thought – then conscious thought escaped him at Alison's touch on his abdomen. She lifted her hand to stroke his jaw, feeling the fine stubble there.

"You know, when I first saw you, I thought you were incredibly good looking. But what really impressed me was the way you looked at me. It was as if you'd do anything, say anything, be anything just to be with me. That sort of thing can go to a girl's head."

Simon finally gained the use of his own hands, and began stroking his fingers over Alison's slender curves. "I'd never seen anything quite like you, Alison. You're amazing."

Alison arched an eyebrow and told him, "You don't need the lines now, boy. You've already got me in bed."

"Who said they were lines?" he countered, then to forestall any further conversation he kissed her. The kiss began as hot and got hotter, lips melding together, tongues twisting and turning, tasting each other. Their hands roamed freely over each other's bodies, his on her breasts and ass, hers on his back and the back of his head. Alison pushed him back against the bed. She pulled her groin into contact with his, wrapping her long legs around him, holding him tightly. Simon's erection was pulled firmly into place between them, hard and wetly throbbing.

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