Hearts on Fire 8: Saving C.C.(7)

By: Dixie Lynn Dwyer

She had resources, connections working for Red Cross. The thought made her feel sick. But the detectives consoled her and said he probably hid some form of PTSD from her and that they’d only been dating a couple of months when he took his life. It just didn’t add up.

She delivered the drinks and tried to get her mind off all of it. It was behind her. She needed to start a new life and stop trying to get answers to questions that could never be answered. That was what her family told her and what the detectives said. But her gut, her heart, didn’t agree. Maybe she should call Chris this week and ask him if there were any updates? Frustrated, she went on working and trying to smile, despite her heavy heart at her somber life. She really needed to look into renting a normal place. A better place. Maybe that would help her to move on and start living again.

* * * *

Burt McCurran was standing behind the bar at the Station drying off some glasses. He glanced up as he heard a couple of deep voices and then some laughter. He spotted C.C., the new waitress he’d hired recently. She was talking to a few guys from Engine 20. They had been flirting with her the past several weeks, but she kept turning them down. In fact, she turned a lot of guys down and really kept to herself. He liked her, though, and thought she was a very hard worker and had a way about her that instantly made people like her. There was something in her dark blue eyes that drew him in and made him feel as though she was sad, despite her personality. His instincts were always so dead-on, but he had yet to get any information from her other than the fact she was looking to make money to find a place to rent in town.

Then he saw the expression on her face change as she stared toward the bar and seemed to be thinking about something. It must have been upsetting because the expression pulled at his heart. He asked if she were okay, and then she smiled wide, gave him the drink order, and he got everything for her. But he still felt something was wrong.

She didn’t expand on anything they talked about. If she had any family, she just smiled and said she appreciated the fact that he hired her and to let her know if he needed her for more hours. But she already pulled double shifts three times a week. She was a hard worker, but something about her quiet demeanor put his cop instincts on alert. He’d keep working on gaining her trust, and then maybe she would let him know more about her.

“Hey, what’s wrong, Burt?” Jerome asked him as he came along from the back room.

“Nothing. What’s going on with you? Did you go over the order again before you called it in?”

“Yeah, it’s all good.” Jerome smiled at Burt then looked right in the direction Burt had been looking.

“She’s a hard worker. Still not opening up much about her personal life though.”

Burt looked at Jerome. “You think something is up with her too?”

“Hey, last time we had this instinct we were dealing with Michaela and look where that led.”

Burt chuckled. “Shit, that was pretty damn intense. But she handled herself well. C.C. seems kind of fragile in a lot of ways. You know, like she avoids confrontations. Michaela knocked guys on their asses.”

Jerome laughed. “Those self-defense lessons were intended to save her life and protect her. Things could have gone differently.”

“I know, believe me. I just can’t shake this feeling about C.C. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just being nosey?”

“No, Burt, not nosey, as much as caring. It’s been your way forever. I think if we talk to her more, and make her feel comfortable, then she’ll open up.”

“I don’t know. I guess only time will tell.”

Jerome walked away, and then Kyle St. James took a seat at the bar. His brother Mercury, a paramedic, took the next seat. Burt gave them a big smile hello.

“Hey, Kyle, Mercury, what can I get ya?” Burt asked them.

“Two Heinekens.”

Burt grabbed the bottles and had placed them down when C.C. came back over. He caught both Kyle and Mercury checking her out, and she looked a bit surprised to see them and then turned toward Burt.

“What do you need, doll?” Burt asked.

“I need a vodka on the rocks, a margarita on the rocks with salt, a bourbon and water on the rocks, and two Bud Lights.”

“Coming right up.” Burt began making the drinks.

“Busy night?” Kyle asked C.C.

“I think just about every night is busy.” She then looked around the place.

“The place tends to be crowded after any major fire calls or accidents,” Mercury added, watching her.

Burt glanced up at the three and saw how in tune the men were to C.C. She, however, seemed shy, not really wanting to talk.

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