"911 What is your emergency?"
"Um, I have a bit of a problem."
"What kind of a problem ma'am?"
"Well, I am kind of stuck in my attic. I came up here to put away some things and I stepped through the ceiling. My ankle is trapped between the planking and a rafter, and I think it is broken."
"What in the hell is someone doing in their attic at four in the morning?" I growled as my partner studied the map book. "Why can't people wound themselves at a respectable hour? And why does it have to be at the end of the shift? We get off at six and I bet we will still be trying to pry her ass out the rafters when our relief's pull into the station."
Aleta looked at me and smiled. "Maybe the fire department will have her down by the time we get there, and then it will be a quick trip to the ER."
"Always optimistic aren't you? I'd like to get my foot stuck in your ass sometimes." I said partially joking.
"You know I am not into all of that anal stuff girlie." She chuckled.
At 0415 we pulled into the driveway of a very cute Acadian style house nestled in the woods with no neighbors for miles. Had I been there for other reasons I might have been impressed, but I was not a happy camper. I still could not get over the fact that someone would be goofing off in their attic at this time of the morning.
Since she was unable to unlock the door, the owner gave the fire department permission to break in. Aleta and I stepped over what was left of her front door as we entered the house. "Rookies." Aleta shook her head and mumbled under her breath.
I heard a muffled voice in the attic saying something about the Jaws of Life tool that he seemed anxious to use. My jaw fell open but the words would not come out. Aleta glanced at his partner that stood next to us staring at the ceiling. "The Hurst tool really is not necessary she said with a charming smile."
Protruding from the living room ceiling was a tennis shoe attached to a nice but very swollen calf. I looked at the excited little fireman that reminded me of the leprechaun on the front of a Lucky Charms box. "Do you have a small ladder, and a knife, something like a box cutter?"
"Yes ma'am." He nodded emphatically. "Don't call me ma'am" I said with a smile. "It makes me feel old. Would you mind fetching them for me?" I had barely asked the question, when he ran out of the door like he was on fire.
His partner poked his head through the opening of the attic door. "The patient is breathing, alert and oriented. No other injuries except her leg." He proclaimed excitedly.
"Just keep her comfortable, one of us will come up and help you in a minute. We want to get her ankle stabilized before we try to move her. Tell her what we plan to do so it won't come as a surprise." Aleta called back to him just as the leprechaun positioned the ladder under our patient. Aleta climbed the ladder as I pulled a coffee table over to it and climbed on top. I hoped that my boots would not leave any marks on the nicely preserved wood.
As Aleta supported the leg I tenderly pulled off the shoe and sock, even though I was gentle I could hear the muffled squeal of pain coming from the attic. "Can you join me up here?" I asked the leprechaun, who quickly jumped up onto the table. "Use your knife and cut through the sheetrock. Try to go from rafter to rafter so it will be easier to repair. He looked at me excitedly and reached toward the ceiling. I grabbed his arm and looked him in the eyes with my most intimidating stare. "Stay away from her leg and be very gentle."
I climbed down off the table and Aleta gave me a reassuring nod. She would keep the leprechaun under control. It was an unspoken communication that we had developed as long time partners.
I climbed into the attic catching the tail end of a fish that had gotten away story. Bless his heart he was doing his best to keep the woman's mind off of her pain. He was holding her hand and talking to her in a very comforting tone. In my eyes he had redeemed himself for knocking her front door off the hinges.
During our employment with the ambulance service Aleta and I had worked with many talented and skilled men and women on the fire department. We both held them in high regard because they were willing to risk life and limb to save people in situations that most would never dare. These two fella's however were rookies and very wet behind the ears, how they got in a unit together was beyond me.
I carefully made my way over to the patient, watching my every step. "Hi, I'm Donna, and my partner Aleta is downstairs with the other fireman." I knelt down in front of the petite redhead, who looked at me with big brown eyes filled with embarrassment. "They are going to free your foot from the sheet rock and then we should be able to slide it between the planking and the rafter."
"I'm Christy, but you can call me Spaz. I have never been so embarrassed in all of my life." She said bowing her head.
"There is no reason to be embarrassed. Things like this happen all of the time." And always at four in the morning. I thought to myself.
"I'm sure you're wondering why on earth I was up here at this hour." She said with a sheepish grin. "I have insomnia, and when I can't sleep I do little things around the house. I was cleaning out a closet and decided to move some of the stuff up here."
"Well look on the bright side at least you put on some clothes. We could have found you in your Scooby jammies. How were you able to call us from up here?"
Her face colored a little and she waved a cordless phone. "Well, I am a little accident prone, so just in case I brought the cordless."
"Her leg is about to be freed, make sure she is steady." Aleta shouted from downstairs disturbing our little conversation. I had learned that the leprechaun's partners name was Kenny. He and I got on either side of Christy and looped our arms through hers just in case her weight shifted.
Christy and I had something in common. I proved this point when I lost my footing and my boot plunged through the sheetrock and kicked Aleta in the head making her fall from the ladder. The whole thing was like a domino effect. Christy's unsupported leg was bumped making her yelp out in pain. Kenny attempted to support her and I both and completely lost his balance falling squarely on his ass in between two rafters. The sheetrock gave way under his weight and he fell completely through the ceiling landing on the couch below.
Christy and I both looked at one another in shock and then at the scene below which was clearly visible through the now giant whole in the ceiling. Kenny had fallen on the couch unharmed; Aleta was laying on the floor glaring back up at me. And the leprechaun was still standing on top of the coffee table covered in white dust and insulation, knife still in hand.
"Um, this is probably a good time to tell you that I am very good at hanging sheetrock and making repairs. I'm?uh?a little accident prone myself." I said not meeting her eyes.
We managed to get our patient safely down the stairs and onto her sofa, where she promptly signed a patient refusal. Apparently, she did not want to get into a vehicle with Aleta and I. Aleta did her best to convince her to allow us to take her in for X rays, but the little redhead was stubborn and wasn't about to budge.
"There is no way I am going to leave my house wide open like this." She said pointing to where her front door had once been. Our buddies from the fire department had gotten a call for a house fire and left out leaving a cloud of sheetrock dust behind them. I said a silent prayer for their safety. Aleta went outside to the unit and discreetly called in an accident report to our boss, while I surveyed the damage trying to gauge how much of it was going to come out of my next paycheck.
"I really am sorry about all of this." I said meekly.
"Nothing to be sorry for." Christy shot back curtly. "If I had just laid in bed and watched television like a normal person, none of this would have happened."
We sat in awkward silence for a moment. "Christy, I have an idea. Why don't Aleta and I run back to the station, she can go home and I will get my Jeep and stop by the lumber yard which opens at seven am. Then I will come back and put your front door back together. After which I will run you to the ER and you can have that ankle seen about."
She did her best to muster a smile. "You don't have to go to that kind of trouble. I will just call a repairman and make a claim against my homeowners insurance on Monday."
I genuinely felt bad about the damage to her place, but I had ulterior motives. Christy was cute! Damn cute! Call me a dog but I was going to shamelessly work this angle. I was pretty certain we were on the same team when I noticed her book shelf lined with just about every lesbian erotica book ever printed.
"It will take forever to get a carpenter out this far on a Saturday. I don't want to leave you exposed to the elements like this. Please just allow me to fix the front door." I made a sweet face, but I think it was the hot air and bugs filling her house that convinced her.
It took me about forty-five minutes to return with what was needed to make the repairs. I had my little patient sit in her recliner with her ankle propped up on a pillow with an ice pack. First I repaired the door facing and managed to get the door back on the hinges. Once I was satisfied it was secure I got out her vacuum and cleaned her couch then the floor. She watched me the whole time with a bemused look on her face.
"All right missy. A deal is a deal, now we go to the ER." I said hoping she wouldn't give me any argument.
We sat together in the crowed waiting room of the hospital. She glanced over at me and asked shyly. "Is there anyone that will be angry with you for not being at home on time?"
"Yes, but I think they will find it in their hearts to forgive me. When my neighbor sees that I am not there he will let himself in and take care of my girls."
She sat ramrod straight in her chair. "You depend on your neighbor to tend to your children? What kind of mother are you?" She said loud enough that everyone in the waiting room looked over at us.
"Bailey and Allie are golden retrievers they love my neighbor. He always takes care of them when I am late." I said to the satisfaction of our audience who went back to their magazines and newspapers.
"Sorry." She muttered and looked away in embarrassment.
We did not leave the hospital till after lunch. An orthopedist had already been called in to set a severe fracture and was on hand to tend Christy. Her ankle was not broken, but she did manage to tear two major ligaments. She left the hospital on crutches and sporting a new blue cast up to her knee.
I brought her straight home and settled her on the couch, and then I set out to have her prescription filled and get her something to eat. I was feeling especially sweet and picked up one of those little hand held shower things and a plastic lawn chair so she could shower and hang her leg out.
I think I saw her heart literally melt when I returned with all of these things. We had a nice lunch together and spent nearly two hours learning all we could about one another. We both discovered that we had a mutual love for old Cary Grant movies, and chose one from her extensive collection to watch.
"Father Goose" had been on ten minutes and we both succumbed to exhaustion. She was on the couch and I was in the recliner, when I woke up it was dark outside. I looked at her sleeping face and hated the thought of leaving her. I really liked this woman. I didn't want to over stay my welcome though so I quietly gathered my things.
Her voice startled me. "Are you leaving?"
"Um yeah, I didn't want you to think you had to entertain me.
"I don't feel like that at all. I have really enjoyed your company. Why don't you stay for dinner? I can get around well enough to make us something."
Her eyes pleaded with me, and I could not resist. I made a quick call to Mike to find out how my pups were doing and he told me that they had requested to spend the night with him so I was free for the evening. I made a few jokes about him being able to talk dog and then went to find Christy.
She hobbled around the kitchen doing her best to whip up something. There was no way I could let her cook for me being injured, so after a brief argument I took over the kitchen duties and made grilled cheese sandwiches. I'm sure she noticed I had limited culinary skills.
Somehow during dinner she convinced me to stay the night. She offered me the shower first and a pair of boxers covered in smiley faces and a T-shirt. Her shower took a little longer and I could hear an occasional curse word through the walls, bathing was going to be an adjustment with her leg protruding out of the shower.
We settled on the couch and made a second attempt at watching the Cary Grant movie we had slept through earlier. We missed the movie again, not because of exhaustion this time but because of a well placed kiss just below my ear. A fire ignited both of us and we kissed each other savagely as clothes flew all different directions.
I was mindful of her ankle and did my best to work around it in the limited space we had on the couch. I briefly considered carrying her into her bedroom but all reasonable thoughts fled my brain the minute her teeth grazed my left nipple. For someone who was injured she managed quite well.
Once the little bobcat had her way with me and I caught my breath I began to tease her mercilessly by showering her body with kisses, nibbles and licks intentionally avoiding all of the spots she desired my attention most. When I sucked her nipple into my mouth I felt her entire body tense against mine.
I kissed my way down her stomach enjoying the quivering of her flesh beneath my mouth. I wanted to please her and take her mind off of her ankle, which is exactly what I did. With the first stroke of my tongue between her legs she threw her leg with the cast on it over my shoulder and broke two ribs.
Embarrassed could not describe the way we felt when we went back into the ER less than twenty-four hours of the first visit. We left there at daylight with my ribs hugged up in a supportive wrap; she hobbled along beside me as we made our way to my Jeep. We were a perfect match.
That was four years, 17 broken glasses, 8 broken plates, 3 windows and 1 imported vase ago. We have been happy ever since. We are not often invited to the homes of our friends for obvious reasons, but that just gives us more time to our klutzy little selves.