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Jason shrieked as Tom yanked his arm, causing him to tumble across Tomâ€™s legs. The rest of the firemen jeered and cheered while Tom popped him on the ass twice.
"What the hell do you think youâ€™re doing?" He struggled against Tomâ€™s hold for a second, all the while laughing, his ribs still aching from the earlier exertion. The guys made catcalls in good fun. Tom delivered another strike and heat flashed over Jasonâ€™s entire body.
"Think youâ€™re a superhero. Weâ€™ll bring you back to earth, rookie boy," Tom growled. "Donâ€™t get too big for your britches, son, because we can always do this the next time you get cocky."
The station erupted into hoots of laughter. Tom whacked him one last time then let him up. It felt as though a volcano had erupted and lava flowed over Jasonâ€™s chest and face. He knew the blush on his cheeks would match his fiery red hair. The guys teased him, calling out and laughing, a few even coming in to give him a hug and pinch on the ass. Their reaction was normal for what heâ€™d done. Actually, all the attention felt goodâ€”at least, a little good, even though they were beating his butt.
"Enough already!" Jason shouted. He pushed the last of the well-wishers and gropers away.
"Hey, buddy, itâ€™s a big deal," his captain, Mike, hollered out. "You saved three peoplesâ€™ lives today. Tomorrow night, weâ€™re going to meet at the Dog and raise a glass. Six, tomorrow night, at the Dogâ€”and everyone chips in to pay for Jasonâ€™s meal."
More cuffs were delivered to his back while kind words filled his ears. Heâ€™d been here almost a year, but was still a rookie in everyoneâ€™s eyes, and tonight heâ€™d outshone them all. Goodnights were said, lights turned off and before long he found himself alone in the dim kitchen, staring at the sink full of dirty dishes theyâ€™d tossed in when the call had gone out.
Fuck, what a call.
Jason gulped in a lungful of air, his throat squeezing shut. Thoughts of the girl and her mother trapped in that car raced through his mind. Then heâ€™d seen the brotherâ€¦