Title: My Valentine 1/1
Spoilers: Mild sap.
Teaser: Johnny is alone.
Standard Disclaimer: Emergency and its characters don't belong to me. I just use them for fun.
Walking past the display, Gage frowned. Everywhere he looked
were pictures of hearts. Heart shaped boxes of chocolates, heart shaped cards,
heart shaped balloons. No matter what he did, he couldn't escape it.
Valentine's was less than a week away and he was alone.
Not that things were any different than normal, but Valentine's day only managed to point out to him just how alone he was. Cap had plans to take his wife out for dinner. Roy had done nothing but talk about his and Joanne's plans to go away for the weekend. Mike who never said squat was positively talkative when describing his plans to surprise his wife with a gourmet dinner. Even Chet and Marco had dates!
And what was he doing? Nothing. He hadn't anyone special to share the day with. Heck, he would have been satisfied with a casual date, but no one seemed interested in a regular date. They wanted romance. They expected an expensive meal, flowers, the whole deal! Why in the heck would he waste all of the time and effort on a woman who he knew he'd probably never see again?
Making his way to the checkout counter he stood in line. He had made the right decision. Instead of pouring money down the drain on a chick that would only blow him off the next day, he took the safer route. Spending the weekend alone, hiking and camping.
Paying for the few supplies that he had needed, Gage made his way to the white Land Rover in the parking lot. The feeling of disappointment was being quickly replaced by excitement. It had been over two months since he had been out to the mountains and the prospect of all that fresh air and exercise made his step a bit lighter.
* ~ * ~ *
Setting his backpack down beneath a tree, Gage looked around
the campsite. The only sign of civilization was the little clearing that he was
in. The lack of trees and the ring of stones were the only things that let
someone know that humans had been present. Stretching, he decided to make this
his camp for the next two nights.
The hike into the woods had left him feeling invigorated. That and sweaty. He had hiked this area before and knew there was a nice lake only a hundred yards or so away. If he hurried and set up camp, there would be enough time for him to take a swim before retiring for the night.
Even though there was a call for clear skies, he set the tent up. Having listened to the weatherman's predictions before had only left him miserable and wet. It was better to play it safe. Hanging his pack from a high limb, he set off toward the lake.
Following a trail through the woods Gage found himself whistling a happy tune. Maybe he didn't have a Valentine, but he did have the next two days to bask in the sun and enjoy the fresh air and exercise. Pushing back some limbs, he made his way to the lakes edge. Looking around he smiled. No one was there. It was just him and Mother Nature.
Feeling a bit guilty like he was doing something wrong, Gage dropped his swim trunks and towel to the ground. Unbuttoning his shirt, he peeled it off. The shirt was soon joined by boots, socks, jeans and boxers. Taking one last look around, he waded into the water. It was cool and soothing. Just the right temperature.
He swam for a bit not pushing himself. All he wanted to do this weekend was relax and enjoy himself. There was no reason to rush at anything. When he had swam enough he made his way to shore. There was still plenty of sunlight left, more than he had originally thought. With a satisfied smile he grabbed his towel and laid it out on the ground. Stretching out on the towel, he sighed as the sun caressed his naked skin with its warmth. He had forgotten how wonderful it felt.
Closing his eyes, he let his mind go blank, concentrating on the sounds around him. The lap of the water on the shore, the sound of the birds chirping in the trees. It was perfect. No woman could give him this sense of calm. What was he thinking when he was moping about being by himself? He could feel himself drifting off and didn't care. A little cat nap would do him good. Unfortunately for him, he didn't hear the sounds in the underbrush coming his way.
* ~ * ~ *
Trudging through the underbrush, she gritted her teeth and
fumed. She was tired of spending all of her time off alone. Sure her schedule
was weird, but wasn't there one man out there who wasn't so testosterone laden
that he'd adjust to her life style and not visa versa? She'd worked hard to get
where she was and she had no intentions of quitting the career that brought her
more joy than anything else in her life.
She could see the lake through the growth of trees. It was about time! According to the directions she had been given she should have arrived there hours ago. She was determined to take a relaxing swim before she set up camp. She knew she was taking chances in ending up setting her tent up in the dark, but she didn't care.
Stepping out of the woods, she took a deep breath. Undoing the buckles of her pack, she turned to her right to set it down.
Not ten feet away from her lay a man on a towel. A very naked man! Her pack dropped to the ground and she stumbled backwards at the same time as the figure on the ground scrambled to his feet. She ended up flopping down on her backside, barely missing ending up in the lake. The man now stared back at her open mouthed, then he realized his current state of undress.
Reaching down, Gage snatched the towel from the ground and wrapped it around his waist. One moment he was dozing peacefully in the sun and in the next he was scared shitless by someone yelling.
"What in the heck is wrong with you lady?!"
The frightened looking figure on the ground bounced to her feet, grabbed her pack and hugged it protectively against her.
"Whaddya' mean what's wrong with me?! What are 'you' doing here naked?!"
"Well...I was swimmin' and I decided to get some sun and...hey, why'm I explaining any of this to you? Just who in the heck do you think you are anyway? You should've said something instead of giving me a heart attack!"
Staring at the woman before him, Gage squinted his eyes. She looked familiar. He'd seen her somewhere before.
Staring at the towel-clad man before her, she knew she had seen him before, but where? Adjusting her glasses she tried to remember. Then it hit her.
She loosened the grip on the pack in her arms to point a finger at him.
"I know you."
Gage nodded his head in agreement.
"Yeah...I think I know you too. Where're you from?"
Adjusting the towel around his waist, Gage bent down and began gathering his clothes. He looked back at her as he picked up his boxers. Waving them at her, he smiled, then quickly hid them behind his back. He couldn't believe he had shown his underwear to a strange woman.
"Uh...could you kinda' turn around so I can..."
"Yeah...okay...sure. Sorry about that."
Turning away from him, she tensed. What if it were a trick? What if he now tried to attack her from behind? Her friends always said she took chances camping alone. If she kept him talking then at least she would know if he were coming closer.
"What do you do for a living?"
The sounds of clothing being pulled on mingled with his voice.
"I'm a paramedics with Los Angeles County."
A light went off over her head.
"You're with 51. John...Gage. Am I right?"
Gage froze with his hand on the zipper of his jeans.
"Uh...yeah. How'd you know?"
She automatically went to turn to around to introduce herself, then she whipped back around.
"That's okay, you can turn around. I have my pants on."
He mumbled under his breath.
"Not that it matters."
Turning around she walked over to him and held her hand out.
"I'm Julie Sommers. I work at Rampart."
A look of recognition and surprise registered on his face.
"Doctor Sommers? From pediatrics?"
"One and the same."
He shook her hand, feeling like a complete ass.
She could tell he was embarrassed, but now she could tell there was something more to the way he felt. She could almost see them. The walls that most guys built around themselves when they found out she was a doctor.
"Look, I'm sorry I startled you, but I wasn't expecting anyone to be out here. If I had known you were going to be skinny dipping, I would've called out to you to cover up."
"Ah, it's okay. You're a doctor so you're probably use to seeing guys naked."
He flashed her a smile. A rather cocky one at that.
"Yes I do, but most of them aren't as 'well developed' as you."
She grinned at him as he got the idea.
"Wellll...yeah...you work with kids."
She couldn't help herself. It may have been in bad taste. It may have been juvenile, but so what. She laughed in his face.
He stared back at her, his eyes narrowed in anger at first, then a smile slowly crept back to his lips.
"Okay, so you got me."
By this time he had finished dressing. Rolling the towel around his unused swim trunks, he looked at the setting sun.
"I know this may seem kinda' weird, but would you like to come back to my camp for a cup of coffee?"
"I don't think so."
His smile quickly disappeared into a look of disappointment making her feel bad.
"It's not what you think."
She hefted her pack before her.
"I still have to set up my tent."
"It's not supposed to rain tonight. Why don't you come back to my camp, we'll have coffee and we can sleep out tonight."
"Are you asking me to sleep with you Mr. Gage?"
"What?! No! No that's not it! I was askin' if you...you know what I meant!"
Laughing again, she nodded her head yes.
"Okay, okay, settle down! I know what you meant and yes, I'd love a cup of coffee."
"Well...fine. Let's go."
He cocked his head to the side.
"You know you really love torturing a guy don't you?"
Shaking his head he walked into the woods.
As she followed him, she grinned. It looked like she wasn't going to be spending Valentine's Day alone after all.
* ~ * ~ *
Reaching out to the fire, Gage poked it with a stick,
stirring the embers while being careful to not cause too much of a disturbance.
Looking across the flames at Julie, he smiled. They had spent the better part
of the night talking about their jobs, their friends, things that they liked.
It seemed they had a lot more in common than camping.
He loved hiking, so did she. She thought that bowling should be declared a national sport. Her idea of a good meal was not toasting the rolls too dark while the hot-dogs boiled. The only thing that bothered him was he felt stupid. She was a doctor. She'd gone to college. The best he had done was make it though high school and the paramedic program.
Sitting back, he stared at the glowing end of the stick in his hand. Julie's voice brought him out of his revere.
"I'd kill for a marshmallow right now. I thought I packed them, but I guess I didn't."
Stretching backward, Gage grabbed a strap on his pack and drug it closer to him. Digging through it, he produced with a flourish, a bag of marshmallows.
"Your wish is my command."
Before he knew it, Julie had jumped up and plopped herself beside him on the ground. Grabbing a stick, she held her hand out for a marshmallow.
Tearing the bag open he handed one to her, then proceeded to impale one of the treats for himself.
Placing their sticks into the fire, they turned to one another, speaking at the same time.
"I like mine black."
Breaking out into giggles, they shook their heads. It was too scary how much they had in common. Scary, but nice.
* ~ * ~ *
Checking the fire one last time, Gage stood.
"Okay this should do it. Are you sure you don't want to sleep in my tent?"
"Thanks, but no. I think it'll be kind of nice to sleep under the stars."
She almost asked him to stay out with her, but she thought it would make her look like she was afraid to be alone outside, which she wasn't. If anything, she enjoyed his company and didn't want him to go to bed just yet.
"Okay. Sleep tight."
He gave her that smile again that made her smile right back at him. She could tell he was just like her. A free spirit. Someone who liked to have fun.
"Don't let the bed bugs bite."
As he disappeared into the small tent, she unrolled her sleeping bag. Kicking her shoes off, she slid into the bag. Staring up at the velvety dark sky, she began searching for the constellations to help put her to sleep.
* ~ * ~ *
Plink. Plink. Plink.
Wiping a hand across her face, Julie sniffled, then rolled onto her side.
Splat. Splat. Splat.Splat.Splat.
Sitting up with a start, she looked into the sky and cursed under her breath. It was raining! At the rate that the drops were coming down, she would be soaked before she had her tent up. There was only one option. Grabbing her sleeping bag, she hurried over to Gage's tent. Pulling the flap back, she yelled.
Gage sat up, startled by someone yelling. Before he could react, that someone crawled into the tent and settled on the floor beside him. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, he remembered who it was.
"Who else? It's raining cats and dogs. Sorry to make it cramped in here, but I don't feel like sleeping in a soggy bag. Scoot over a little."
Moving over a bit, Gage watched as she arranged her sleeping bag beside him and slid into it.
"It's okay, you can go back to sleep. Sorry for waking you."
Laying back down, he listened to her steady breathing. It had been a while since he had slept with someone. Well they weren't sleeping together in the way that he was use to, they were actually sleeping. Together.
Turning his head to the side, he watched as her chest rose and fell with each breath. He could smell her shampoo. Great. He had a pretty woman sleeping beside him. She smelled great. They had everything in common and he couldn't touch her. He knew he wouldn't be able to sleep. With a sigh, he rolled over so that his back faced her. At least this way he wouldn't have to look at her.
* ~ * ~ *
Julie closed her eyes and tried to relax. Here she was
sleeping with a man for the first time in God knows how long and she couldn't
touch him. What was wrong with her? All she had to do was tap him on the
shoulder and see if he wanted to do it. She knew he would. He was a guy; they
were ready for it twenty-four hours a day.
She heard him sigh and then there was movement. Opening her eyes, she could see he had turned his back to her. Well bless his little heart. She knew he wanted her as much as she wanted him. She could feel the underlying tension between them when they had sat next to one another roasting marshmallows. He could have pestered her. Cajoled her, but instead he rolled over and kept quiet.
Closing her eyes again, she resisted the urge to snuggle against him. If he could hold back, then so could she.
* ~ * ~ *
Shifting, Gage felt something warm curled up against him.
Without thinking, he snuggled into the warmth, sighing contentedly against its
She awoke slowly, snuggling against the warmth that was beside her. It felt familiar, comfortable. Her eyes flew open as she remembered where she was and who she was with. His face was only inches from hers, his eyes closed, long dark lashes rested on his cheeks. The face that was so expressive when awake seemed almost childlike in sleep.
As she tried to pull away from his hold, he tightened it, snuggling against her. At first she wanted to wake him up, but he looked too...cute. Resting her head against his shoulder, she settled against him. It wouldn't hurt to sleep in. It wasn't like she got the opportunity all that often and she knew with his job it must have been a
rarity as well.
Just when she started dozing off again, she felt him move.
"I uh...we seem to be..."
"You don't mind?"
"Neither do I. It's kind of nice."
Propping her head up in a hand, she looked down at him.
"I like you. A lot. I mean you and I have so much in common it's scary."
He grinned up at her, nodding his head yes.
"I know what you mean."
Without thinking about what she was doing, she leaned down and gave him a soft kiss. The little kiss turned into a bigger one and before they knew it they were doing more than kissing.
* ~ * ~ *
Lying on top of the sleeping bags, they lay intertwined,
hands running lightly over skin, fingers touching gently.
She broke the silence with a soft giggle.
"Do you know what day it is?"
"Did you expect something like this to happen?"
They held each other tighter as they laughed about their circumstance. What had started out to be a lousy lonely holiday had turned into a very Happy Valentine's Day. :)