For six months, Bill has been admiring his new fellow paramedic, Chauncey. Yet, no matter how many times Bill asks Chauncey out, he is refused. Bill doesn't let that stop him, though. He sees something he wants and he's determined to get it. There is something about the other man that calls to Bill. Plus, Bill can tell there is something haunting Chauncey. Something that could very well destroy the younger man from the inside out. Bill wants to help Chauncey, but he doesn't know how.
After a horrible incident in his home town of Flint, Chauncey moves to New Orleans for a fresh start. But, he can't forget one horrible night where his entire world collapsed. He yearns to move on, but can't. Then he finds himself drawn to Bill. It doesn't matter to Chauncey that Bill is nearly ten years older. Chauncey wants the other man and decides to take a leap of faith.
When Chauncey's past continues to block his way to happiness, he realizes he's still mentally damaged. Will he be able to overcome everything in order to have happiness? Or will he forever be alone?
Fuck it all, but how long could one night drag on?
Chauncey rubbed his eyes as the ambulance made its way to their latest call. It was night and the neighborhood didn't have many street lamps. So, the lights from the rig illuminated the street with flashes of red. Even though it was late, there were a lot of people around. It wasn't as busy as Bourbon Street, but it still wasn't as quiet as things had been in his old hometown.
He stretched, wincing when the action made his muscles bunch up. They'd had a busy shift and things didn't look as if they'd be slowing down anytime soon. They'd just dropped their last call off, a guy who'd taken a dive off a balcony, at the hospital. No sooner had their asses hit the seats of the ambulance and they had a new patient to go to. This one came in simply as an elderly male who was unresponsive.
Chauncey hated calls like that. It was so vague and could mean anything. He didn't know if they had a full arrest on their hands or a simple drunk who'd passed out. Then again, that was one of the reasons he loved being a paramedic. No two days were ever the same.
"I am so tired," he said.
His partner, a young woman named Rosie rolled her eyes at him. But, she did that all the time. She wasn't overly mean or anything, she just seemed to like to remind him how he was in a different world. One that he was still having trouble adjusting to.
"This isn't like Michigan," she replied, oh, so predictably. "Here we never sleep."
"I may have lived in a small town, but I worked in Flint," Chauncey shot back. "That city is pretty busy. How many times do I have to tell you that?"
Just like always, Rosie had her dark brown hair pulled into pigtails. Her brown eyes were rimmed with dark liner and her lips painted dark red. Even though she wore the standard issue uniform, she still gave off a heavy Goth vibe. She was really a couple of months younger than him, but then everybody in the company was. He was only twenty-one, which probably made him one of the youngest paramedic around. Yet another thing that made him stick out like a sore thumb.
"Hold up!" Chauncey said. "The GPS says we're approaching the house now."
"Shit," Rosie cursed. "I should have known. I've been here twice already this year."
"A frequent flyer?" Chauncey frowned.
"You'll see." Rosie got a wicked grin on her face.
Oh, boy. That did not sound good for Chauncey. Especially since he was in charge of patient care. That meant he would be the one who was stuck in the back, tending to the man. So, whatever was waiting would fall directly onto him to deal with.
"Care to share?" he asked.
She shook her head. "I'll let you find out for yourself. It'll be more fun that way. Or it will be for me, at least."
"Is this your way of roasting the new guy?"
"No, I would do this to you if you'd been with us for years. Like I said, it's fun."
"You have a sadistic streak. Has anybody every told you that before?"
"Only every guy I've ever slept with." She parked the rig before wiggling her eyebrows.
"Please, I don't need the details." Chauncey held up a hand.
"Oh, but I will love giving them to you. Every last one of them."
He had no doubt she would, too. Rosie lived to see him squirm. In the short two weeks they'd been working together she'd already done so many times over. It was almost like a hobby of hers.
"Let's just get this over with." Chauncey sighed before getting out.
He grabbed his jump kit from the back of the rig then went to the house. A teenage girl was waiting for them by the front door. The situation couldn't have been so dire, given the bored expression on her face. She even blew a huge bubble with her gun before letting out a deep breath.
"He's in his bedroom," she informed them, dully.
"Do you want to tell us what's going on?" Chauncey asked.
She turned around then walked away. Not before flipping off a picture of an elderly man, first.
"I guess not," Chauncey drawled.
He ignored the snickers coming from Rosie. She was enjoying the situation way too much for his liking. Chauncey hoisted the bag higher on his shoulder as he made his way to the patient's room. What he really needed was for the night to be over. Then he could go home, climb into his own bed, and sleep away the hell that was his life.
As soon as he opened the door, Chauncey was met with the smells of old food, unwashed body, and dirty laundry. He swallowed down a gag and pressed forward. He did make it his number one priority to take the show out to the ambulance as soon as possible, though. He may have a strong stomach, but even he had his limitations.
The man was sitting on his bed, but he didn't look distressed at all. Sure, he may be thin, and it looked as if he hadn't showered in weeks, but he didn't appear to be sick. His dark, wispy hair stuck up all over the place, making him look like a willowy Troll Doll. He wore a pair of stripped boxers, a dingy T-shirt, and a ratty, red robe. His mattress was covered in food wrappers, books and used tissues. The rest of the room was just as trashed.
"Hey, I'm Chauncey. Can you tell me what you called us here for today?" Chauncey asked, all business.
He didn't like the way the patient was looking at him. It was almost as is Chauncey was a yummy cookie and the guy had a mean sweet tooth going. The patient even gave him a creepy, leering smile. One that set Chauncey's skin crawling.
"My back hurts," the patient said.
"Okay, how long has that been going on?" Chauncey asked as he started to kneel down next to the bed.
He looked around for a clean spot, but there was none to be found. He decided the crusty blanket would be his best bet. The carpet wasn't even visible because there was so much junk on it and most of it looked as if it would stain his pants. Normally, it wouldn't bother him. Getting dirty was part of the job, but he only had one other pair at home and he hadn't done laundry lately.
"It's been aching for a year now," the man replied.
Chauncey tilted his head to the side as confusion filled him. "So, what made you decide to call tonight? Did it get worse or something?"
"No, I just got sick of it."
Chauncey thought back to the parking lot and how there had been two perfectly looking cars in it. The teenage looked old enough to drive, too. But, he couldn't very well pack things up and tell the guy to find his own way. While it may not seem to be an emergency, one could never be totally certain. The man could be having kidney failure or something.
"Okay, why don't we start with you telling me your name?" Chauncey pulled out his clipboard, so he could get the paperwork started.
"Good. And your age?" Chauncey began writing things down.
"Old enough to know how to please my man."
Chauncey blinked a few times as he processed that comment. He had to replay it a couple times in his head to make sure he'd hear it correctly. But, there was no mistaking it. Gilbert had made his voice loud and clear.
"How about we go with the actual number?" Chauncey tried.
"Fifty-four, but don't let that fool you. I can still go all night long."
Chauncey shot a glare at Rosie. She appeared to be enjoying the hell out of herself. She was openly laughing at him. The least she could have done was pretend to be concerned over the situation.
"Not with that sore back of yours," Chauncey shot back.
He then proceeded to get the rest of the patient's medical information. Plenty more barbs came his way, but he deflected them as best as possible. Just when he thought things couldn't get worse, he started to get vitals. To say Gilbert was a bit handsy would have been an understatement.
The man grabbed Chauncey everywhere. His ass, arms and thighs were all pinched so much he knew he would have bruises the next day. As hard as he tried to dodge the guy, it didn't matter. Gilbert proved to be awfully fast for somebody in pain.
"Can you walk to the ambulance?" Chauncey asked as he took several steps back.
"I don't know. Can you carry me out there?" Gilbert batted his eyelashes.
"Sure, we just need to go out and get the cot," Chauncey said.
"No, I just want you to carry me."
"Sorry, I can't do that. I tore a ligament in my arm and can only carry so much weight. Rosie should be able to help you out, though. She may look small, but she can lift more than a lumberjack."
With those final words, Chauncey turned then walked out. He didn't stop until he reached the rig. He hopped into the back and waited for Rosie and the patient. He had no doubt Gilbert would be walking out at any moment. The creep was enjoying himself too much to let things end that easily.
Sure enough, not a moment later Gilbert was climbing into the ambulance. He settled himself onto the cot before shooting Chauncey a hopeful expression.
"I think I need some Morphine," Gilbert said.
"Not happening. First, I need a doctor's orders for that. Secondly, we're only five minutes from the hospital. They can help you out there," Chauncey replied, firmly.
"But, I'm in so much pain," Gilbert whined.
Chauncey shook his head. "Sorry, there is no way the doc is going to okay it. Not in the field. I'm sorry."
Chauncey wasn't being mean. He was telling the truth. The only time they allowed them to use painkillers was in dire situations. There was no way a year-long back ache fit into that category. If Chauncey broke the rules, he could lose his license and he'd worked too damn hard for the thing.
"Well, looks I'll have to take care of it the old-fashioned way," Gilbert sang as he pulled something out his robe pocket.
When Chauncey saw it was a small bottle of whiskey, he lunged to grab it. Of course, Gilbert used that as an opportunity to cop another feel. His hand even found its way to Chauncey's crotch.
"No, we're not going to do either of those things," Chauncey snapped as he danced away.
He managed to get the bottle of liquor. He chucked it into the garbage can. He could hear Rosie, radioing the hospital. He could only hope it wouldn't take much longer to get here so he could unload the patient.
Usually, Chauncey wasn't that way with his patients. Even the ones who were frequent flyers and really didn't need an ambulance. He knew some paramedics despised that kind of transport, but he never did. He'd gotten into the business to help others. Not just those who were in life or death situations. If some people needed some extra attention, he wasn't going to be the one to deny them.
Gilbert was different. The guy was harassing Chauncey and he didn't like it one bit. He wasn't a prude or anything. He just didn't like being manhandled. In fact, he didn't like anyone touching him period. Or at least he hadn't sinceâ€” He shook that though away. His day was already bad enough. He didn't need to add a bucket full of bad memories onto it.
The rest of the trip was a huge game of dodge the hands. No matter how many times he told Gilbert to stop the man kept it up. Chauncey was half-tempted to make Rosie switch, but in the end, he knew he would never do that. For all he knew, Gilbert could enjoy assaulting all sexes. Rosie may be able to stand up for herself, but Chauncey had more muscle on her. If Gilbert got worse, at least Chauncey knew he would be able to fight the guy off.
When they finally arrived at the hospital, Chauncey almost let out a prayer of thanks. When Rosie came around to open the back doors, she gave him a guilty look. Chauncey chose to ignore it. That didn't mean he planned on letting her off easy, though. Not since she acted like she'd known how the call was going to go down.
Since, Chauncey wasn't about to grab onto Gilbert to help him down, they left him on the cot and just rolled him in. Normally, they would snag a wheelchair, but by that point Chauncey didn't care. Plus, their shift was close to ending. The sooner he got Gilbert passed off to the hospital the sooner they could go home.
They went into the ER, finding it was still hoping. Despite the fact the night was starting to morph into morning. But, Chauncey was finding that was the norm in New Orleans. He'd thought Flint had been busy. He'd had no idea.
"Put him in room three. I'll be right there," one of the nurses called.
They rolled Gilbert into the room then helped him onto the hospital gurney. Now that there were more witnesses, Chauncey noticed Gilbert kept his digits to himself. Which didn't surprise Chauncey. He'd come to find most creeps liked to keep their behavior hidden.
Soon the nurse came in and they were able to hand the patient over. Chauncey went immediately to the EMS room. He needed to do the rest of the paperwork and cool off for a bit. He was so angry at Rosie at the moment, he didn't trust himself to be around her.
"Please, don't hate me," Rosie said as she followed him.
"Don't you have a rig to clean," Chauncey shot back.
Seriously, how did she expect him to react. At the very least she could have warned him about Gilbert. Instead, she stood back and watched the whole thing go down. Chauncey didn't see how that kind of situation could ever be funny.
"I didn't know he would touch you like that. He's never done that before. It's just been inappropriate comments. You're the first one he's ever gotten that bad with," she said.
Damn, Chauncey wanted to hold onto his anger, but she sounded so sincere. Plus, he'd never been able to hold a grudge before. Well, that wasn't exactly true. There was one guy he would continue to hate until the day he died. But, once again he had to remind himself he didn't want to think about that. His night had already sucked enough.
"Fine, I don't hate you." Chauncey sighed.
"Thanks." She bounced a bit on her toes. "Next time, I'll take care of him in the back. He only likes boys."
"Ouch! Do you have to use the word boy when you're talking about me? Plus, there is no way I'm allowing you to be alone with a creep like him. I can handle him. Now, that I know what I'm getting myself into."
She narrowed her eyes at him. "Are you saying that a woman can't deal with things in this field?"
"You should know me better than that by now. I just can hold him off better than you."
She gave him a quick hug. "Okay, peace then. You finish that paperwork so we can clock out. I have plans for a sexy breakfast with my man this morning. How about you?"
Chauncey shrugged. "It's just me and a good book. Just like every other day."
She shook her head. "You need to get a life. One that doesn't just involve a Kindle."
Chauncey couldn't argue with her. Not when it was the truth. But, that's how it'd been with him for over a year. He was alone, and he didn't see that changing anytime soon.