Billy sipping his warm beer, watched his sister and her new husband as they twirled around dance floor amid the other glittering couples. He didn’t begrudge Rae her happiness. It was a long time in coming. But he couldn’t help but feel a bit melancholy. He sighed as he watched them, the three friends, couples now, best friends since middle school. They’d always had Rae’s back, even when he’d failed her. He turned away from the scene, refusing to allow the depressing thoughts to seep inside him. He’d been feeling this way since his mother’s death. First the anger, then the guilt, now this whatever it was. He sighed.
“Happy New Year’s AC,” one of the paramedics greeted him.
Billy grinned. AC for assistant chief had become his acronym. He had to admit, he liked it. It was an honor to be elected to the position. The fire department and rescue squad felt more like his family than some of his blood kin. “Hey Blade,” he greeted the tall blonde.
Brenda, aka Blade rolled her eyes. “Y’all ain’t gonna let me live that one down, are you?” She’d proved herself handy with a knife. Saving one of his guys at a fire her first week on the job. It had earned her the nickname Blade.
He raised his bottle to her. “You could have a worse nick name.”
She cringed aware of some of the other monikers that had been bestowed upon the rookies of both teams. “You here alone?”
“Yeah, looks like.” He grimaced. Lifting his shoulders in a careless shrug, he blushed. “I got stood up.” He was known in town and especially among the first responders as a bit of a ladies’ man. It kinda dented his image to be to a big function like this dateless.
She frowned, crossing her long muscular arm under her impressive chest. “What’d you do?”
Momentarily distracted by her display, Billy mentally shook himself. He didn’t date other members of the team. Besides, Blade was married, and he’d learned his lesson about messing with married folks. But she was a good-looking woman with a great rack, focus Grimes, the lady asked you a question. “Now what makes you think I did anything?” Billy complained.
“You’re a guy.” Realizing her arms were crossed under her breasts, and his eyes had once more strayed there, she dropped them, blushing. “Really AC?”
He shrugged, grinning. “What? You said it, I’m a guy. They’re nice. I’m gonna look.”
She rolled her eyes. “You’re an ass.”
“Yes ma’am, but I’m honest and you really do look nice tonight. Where’s Chris?” She did look pretty in her royal blue gown with all the sparkly things on it.
“My husband had to work tonight,” she said and sighed. “Do you wanna dance? I hate just standing around.”
“You don’t think he’d get jealous?” Billy asked setting his beer down on a nearby table.
She grinned. “Of you, nah?”
Her sharp wit was one of the reasons he liked Blade, Brenda, she was tough but still sweet. “I think I should be offended by that,” he drawled.
“Probably,” she replied nodding, her blue eyes twinkling.