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Robert loved his job.
He loved being a fireman, and more than that, he loved being the chief of the volunteer brigade at Port Wilson, a little town in northern British Columbia. Okay, there could be more fires to fight, though for the greater good it was a good thing that there wasn't, but other than that it was great. He didn't even really mind the paperwork.
And he got to teach classes and lead drills and he didn't have to share a dorm room with a bunch of other guys.
He and Sam lived in the house next to the fire station, and while he was on call pretty much 24/7, he really only worked from eight until three, coincidentally the hours that Sam was off teaching at the school.
Life was good.
Of course, at the end of a Saturday of drills he was singing a different tune entirely. He was hot and sweaty, filthy with soot, hungry, headachy and just plain growly.
"See you on Tuesday, Chief," Bill Anders called out, and Robert frowned.
"Town Council meeting at four?"
"Oh, right. Yeah, see you then." He nodded and managed a smile or two as the last of his volunteers headed off. He had to check to make sure they'd put the equipment back properly, and poke the fire pit to make sure there wasn't even a hint of a spark left before he could finally strip off his gear. He hung it up on its hooks in the fire station, his clothing absolutely soaked with sweat. Man, they'd really worked it out there. Or maybe he was just starting to feel his age.
He had a birthday creeping up on him. The big four-oh.
Rolling his head on his neck, Robert locked up the fire station and walked over to the house, intent on a beer, a shower and collapsing.And if he was really lucky, maybe Sam had supper going and he could steal a bite or two.
He'd barely cleared the door, stepping into their bright little kitchen, when a lithe body grabbed at him, pushing him into the wall and almost climbing up his legs. "I was watching," Sam said, just before he started licking at Robert's neck. "Jesus, I thought you'd never get here."