Sometimes All it Takes
By Audrey W.
John Gage came into the locker room at Station 51 dreading the day ahead. It was Valentines Day and for the third year in a row on the holiday, he was without a special girl in his life.
Sure, he’d had dates through out the years. Some had even developed into relationships that lasted for a few months. But for some reason, by the time Valentines Day rolled around, he’d found himself alone.
Now Gage was ready for the teasing he’d get from his fellow crew members. It was all in fun, of course. John could even joke along with them. But still, he just longed for the day to have more meaning.
As he opened his locker door to get a clean uniform, his partner Roy DeSoto came in from the apparatus bay. The older man looked very happy, which made John feel that much worse.
Gage almost felt guilty for his inner reaction. After all, Roy was happily married and had two young children, so of course he was going to be a bundle of joy this day. His life was full.
“Good morning,” DeSoto said as he stepped over to his locker one door down from John’s.
Roy seemed to grin wider, which baffled his partner. Couldn’t he sense the disappointment in his voice?
John crinkled his brow when he glanced over and saw Roy pull two small white envelopes out of his civilian shirt pocket before taking it off.
“You working a second job as a mailman?”
Roy smiled, then laughed slightly at the remark.
“But I do have a delivery to make.”
“Jus’ don’t tell me we hafta stop in a flower or candy shop on the way. I’m not exactly in the mood for shopping.”
“Nope. No flower or candy shops.”
John had just finished buttoning his blue uniform shirt when Roy handed him the two envelopes.
“Why’re you givin’ ‘um to me?”
Again Roy grinned. As he took off his shirt, he explained, “Because they’re for you.”
John glanced at the two items in his right hand. “They are?”
“That’s what I said.”
The partially-in-uniform dark-haired paramedic sat on the inside edge of his locker and opened one of the envelopes. Inside was a card with a pretty blonde cartoon mermaid on it. It was die-cut in the shape of the design on it. He flipped it over and on the back was printed, ‘Love, Jennifer’ in red crayon.
After looking over that card for a few moments, John opened the next one. It was of a puppy holding a heart that said, ‘Hi there, Valentine’. On the back was just the name ‘Chris’ printed in blue crayon.
“That’s about as sentimental as you’re gonna get from him,” Roy offered as he watched. “He had to find just the right not-too-sentimental one, too.”
John snickered. “These are nice.”
“Just so you know, it was their idea. Joanne and I didn’t even have to say anything.”
With a lopsided grin still on his face, John stood, setting the cards and envelopes on the surface of his locker in the process.
“Where’s the rest?”
“You know. For Chet, Marco, Cap an’ Mike.”
Roy shook his head as he stepped into his trousers. “They just wanted to do it for you.”
“Sure. They aren’t as close with the others, you know?”
It was true. Being Roy’s best friend and partner, he was over at the DeSoto home sometimes for breakfast, dinner or to watch some football or baseball games together. Even once in awhile to help Roy with a project or two around the house or yard.
So Chris and Jennifer had him in their hearts on Valentines Day. He never expected it, but their thoughtfulness actually meant more to him than it would’ve for some chic he’d only known for a couple of months to claim he meant a lot to her.
John hurried to finish putting on his uniform and shoes.
As he and Roy headed out the door that led to the apparatus bay, ready for roll call, he asked in a cheerful voice, “Hey, Roy. You think we can stop by a candy shop sometime today?”
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