Bobbi snatched one of Markie’s cookies off the counter. The delicious oatmeal raisin confection melted in her mouth. She smiled as she stepped from the third floor appointment. “Breakfast of Champions.” The day was warm, sunny and inviting. She sucked in a breath wishing she was on her way to anywhere but work. Her body was still tingling from her first kiss with Max.
The subway stop was busy and hot. The smell of the city was wafting through the grates. She watched the people rushing to get to work or home. They moved engrossed in their actions, not paying any attention to the world around them. On the other hand, she saw it all: the woman in heels so high, she looked like she was going to fall after every step. The man talking loudly on his phone to his wife trying to explain that he spent the night before in the office while escorting a woman clearly not his wife. The mother taking her children to school and the two marine recruiters literally pressed into the uniforms. She held the steel pole and swayed with the moving car. All of a sudden, a bump disrupted her footing and she held tightly trying not to fall.
Thick smoke began to fill the train. Screams and coughing rolled through the derailed cars. Bobbi pulled her phone from her bag and called in the emergency advising the operator that she was onboard. She needed to figure out a plan of attack. Quickly she identified herself and advised the car’s occupants to stay low. As panic set in among the souls on the train, she did her best to prevent people from jumping onto the electrified track.
Within minutes, the city’s bravest began to gain access. Bobbi’s lungs felt scorched. Her eyes stung and her nose poured irritated by the acrid smoke. She pulled her badge from her bag and strung it around her neck. She stayed present in the car until the last passenger was evacuated.
Max strutted into the office carrying coffee for all his colleagues. Bob McCauley entered the squad room, a look of concern on his face. The one train derailed between 14th and 18th. There are reports of smoke and fire. “Bobbi is on board.” Anxiety ripped at his stomach. Her friends all immediately stood and took to the door. They split up. Half went to the 14th street station and Max and Dave Jordan and two others headed to 18th street.
Fire apparatus littered the street. Smoke continued to pour from the exits and EMS personnel were busy treating the injured. Max raked his fingers through his hair. His grey eyes were filled with fear. Dave Jordan approached the three star fire chief on scene. “We’ve got a cop on board the train.” The Chief crisply called into the radio. His dark eyes gave nothing away. But the smoke filling the air and the carnage displayed in the roadway said it all.
Firefighters held Max back as he tried to run into the fray. “It’s two dangerous man.” A burly firefighter grabbed him. “There’s no air down there.” Bobbi fought to breathe, the acrid smoke started to take its toll. Sooted, silver streaks stained her cheeks. Her swollen eyes leaked wet tears. The last person, an obese male who collapsed was cleared from the car. “C’mon Ma’am”, a young, tall firefighter with brown unkempt hair led her to the ladder that would free her from the car. As she climbed the rungs, he maintained a hand in the small of her back to support her rapidly weakening knees.
Bobbi reached the top of the ladder and her lungs no longer provided the needed air for her exertion. Her head spun and she collapsed. The firefighter caught her before she crashed back to the subway car floor. Moments later the smokey sunlight enveloped the pair. Max whipped around at the sight. His eyes filled with terror. His first instinct was to rip her from the firefighter’s arms. But common sense took over and he let the EMT’s treat her.
As cool oxygen filled her lungs her eyes opened. His grey stare met her hazel eyes. His lips caressed her sooty brow. “Princess.” He took her hand and brushed the back of it with his rough fingers. “Hi.” She coughed heavily. “Shhhh.” He winked at her. New sooty tears filled her eyes. He smiled at her with sexy eyes. His lips remained tight in a grim line unable to hide his worry. Her senses reeled at his protective touch. “Rest. Let them take care of you.” She closed her eyes, his face imprinted in her mind, his love filling her heart.