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The LeBlanc Residence


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#41 N. LeBlanc

N. LeBlanc

    Captain

  • Commissioned Fire

  • 3,660 posts
  • Character Hometown:Home

Posted 07 November 2018 - 04:31 AM

*Going on hour number five, I can only imagine what Hailey is facing.  I’ve felt pain before, and I know that she has, but watching someone else go through it is something just makes me feel like shit.  She keeps trying to change positions and I keep trying to get her to focus on her breathing, but each contraction just seems to get worse for her.  I know that she’s already had the epidural, but she’s still in pain. There are also all kinds of instrumentation that are attached to her, and I really do feel sorry for her.  I keep stroking her hand and trying to take her mind off of it. It’s probably just as much for me as it is for her, but I just want to do something. Another three hours later, Kyle’s there now and it gives me a chance to take a few steps outside of the room to take a break.  It’s getting dark outside already, but I still don’t think that she’s anywhere close. The last few times they came by to check her, she had only dilated about 7 cm, so he had at least 2 to 3 more to go. I really feel sorry for her.*


*As I sit in the hospital, I know that Nick is trying to help me by keeping my mind off of it, but it’s not helping me.  It’s helping him though I’m sure, so that’s why I’m letting him keep doing it. I keep trying to pivot my hips to reduce the pain.  It’s helps a little, but still not all that much. Thank god I took the epidural. As I go on hour 8, I know that I could have up to 12 more hours.  Luckily, they said that I’ve already dialated about 6 or 7 cm, so at least I’m past halfway. In literally the 12th hour, I can feel something change.  It feels like I’ve got to shit. I guess the baby’s coming. I hit the nurse call button and when Francine comes in, I tell her and immediately she goes and gets my doctor and a few other people.*


*When Hailey tells me that she thinks that she needs to start pushing, the rush of adrenaline starts as I get ready to go and get the rest of the staff, but they’re all ready on their way since she hit the button.  I take a step up near her head and I grab her hand as she starts following the doctor’s instructions about when to push. I don’t want to get in anyone’s way, but I still want to be near my wife while she gives birth.*


*As Nick takes my hand, I start trying to push when the doctors want.  All of the books that I read talked about not contorting my face, but they had no idea what the hell they were talking about.*


‘Ok Hailey, I need you gently push.’


*Yeah, no.  What the hell does gently mean.  I try to give my best impression of “gently” as I start to push.  A few minutes into pushing, it gets rather nasty down there. It’s the same muscles I guess.  That’s a major hit to my self esteem. In addition to God only knows how many people looking at my crotch, now this.  I put it out of my mind as much as I can for now as I keep pushing. The process goes about fifteen minutes or so, and I guess according to plan.*


‘Hailey, here’s your daughter.’


*I watch as my doctor stands up with her and places her on my belly as they clean her off.  It’s an overflow of emotions. Physical relief, but also love and happiness. I look up at Nick, extremely tired, but happy.  I tighten my grip on his hand and smile as they hand our daughter to me. I sit up and hold her. Everything went well, which is exactly what I asked for, but also I finally get to hold my daughter.  After about a minute or so, they take her from me to cut the cord. That’s that new medical research I guess. They let Nick cut the cord, as was our preference. They first check the heart rate before they claim the cord.*


*The take our daughter from Hailey and they claim the umbilical cord.  They claim it off near our daughter and also near Hailey as they let me cut the cord.  I cut where they tell me, and honestly it’s not like the movies. There’s a bit of fluid that comes out, and of course she’s crying.  I’m a bit confused by the section of the cord that they wanted to keep before they hand our daughter back to Hailey.*


*I watch, still recovering from the actual birth while they cut the cord before they hand her back to me for a few minutes before they do another examination.  Then I’m asked to breastfeed her. I let her calm down for a bit before I bring her over to my left nipple. She takes a bit, but eventually she latches on and starts.  I watch as she does. It’s a very strange feeling, but not necessarily a bad one. Francine tells me that she is going to make the ID bands up for us and asks what her name is.  Nick and I look at each other and smile before I look back to her and give her the name that we picked out.*


‘Julianna Katie LeBlanc.’


*Francine smiles before she walks out of the room.  A few minutes later, they come in and bring the ID bands for us.  They first give Nick his before they give me mine and then Julianna’s around her ankle.  They also take two sets of footprints, give her a shot of Vitamin K and then they give her a set of eyedrops.  When Francine tells me that she’s done for a few hours before she gives Julianna a bath and another exam. As they leave us alone, Nick and I hold Julianna for the first time.*


<p class="bbc_center"><img src="http://ertrpg.com/im...leblanc1126.png" alt="nleblanc1126.png"></p>
<br><br><p class="bbc_center"><br>
Captain Nicholas LeBlanc, Paramedic, Search and Rescue, HazMat, Diver</p>
<p class="bbc_center">Squad 7</p>
<p class="bbc_center"><img src="http://www.ertrpg.co...ew/service4.png" alt="service4.png"><img src="http://www.ertrpg.com/award/new/edu1.png" alt="edu1.png"></p>
<p class="bbc_center"><span style="color:#ff0000;">"You might be a firefighter if your entire wardrobe is t-shirts your friends gave you from their </span></p>
<p class="bbc_center"><span style="color:#ff0000;">departments for your birthday, Christmas, anniversary, etc."</span></p>
<p class="bbc_center"><span style="color:#ff0000;">-Unknown</span></p>
<p class="bbc_center"><span style="color:rgb(0,0,255);">"If Prometheus was worthy of the wrath of heaven for kindling the first fire upon earth, how </span></p>
<p class="bbc_center"><span style="color:rgb(0,0,255);">ought all the gods honor the men who make it their professional business to put it out?"</span></p>
<p class="bbc_center"><span style="color:rgb(0,0,255);">- John Godfrey Saxe</span></p>

#42 H. LeBlanc

H. LeBlanc

    Sergeant

  • Commissioned Police

  • 1,264 posts
  • Character Hometown:Greenville, South Carolina

Posted 13 February 2019 - 06:13 AM

*I hear the garage door opening as Nick pulls his truck in and enters the house soon after.  While I cook a batch of pulled pork, I greet him.*


‘Hey babe.  How was work?’


*I park my truck in the garage, kill my truck, grab my computer bag, and walk inside.  I open the door where I smell Hailey cooking something as I walk over to the kitchen counter to take everything out of my pockets and put my computer down.  While I do that, I’m rushed by Julianna.*


‘Da-da!’


‘That’s right, Julianna!’


*As she comes running over to me, I pick her up so that her eye level is at about the same as mine.  She gives me a hug as I spin her around to face Hailey.*


‘Hey little one.’


*I pause while I give her a hug and a kiss.*


‘Daddy missed you and mommy.’


*I give her a kiss and another hug as I put her back down.*


‘Daddy’s going to say hi to mommy, okay?’


*She nods, so I get up and walk over to Hailey and give her a hug from behind.*


‘Fine babe.  How was daycare?’


‘Fine.  Julianna said that they were learning songs or something for Valentine’s day.’


‘Oh okay.  What’s for dinner?’


‘What you couldn’t tell from the Crock-Pot?  Pulled Pork Sandwiches.’


‘For tonight?’


‘That’s tomorrow.  You didn’t say which day…’


‘Oh Ha..  Ha… Ha.’


‘I’m just messing with you.  I’m going to warm up some of the soup that I made last week.  It’s in the back garage refrigerator.’


‘Okay.  Do you need me to go get it?’


‘Nah, thanks hon.  I’ll get it once I get this Boston Butt pulled apart.  It shouldn’t take long. Why, are you hungry now?’


‘No, I’m all right.  I was just wondering.  I’ve got to write up a section of a research report.’


‘Well go ahead.  I’ll get it going whenever.’


‘Okay.  Thanks.’


*I walk back over to the kitchen table and I sit down while Julianna plays in my peripheral vision in the den.  I sigh before I open up the computer and find the report that I needed to work on before I start working. I see the mail in my spot on the table as I sit down.*


‘Did we get anything good in the mail?’


‘No, not really.  Couple of magazines and the Chase bill.  I put that in the stack. You got something from the fire department and some other stuff though.’


‘Thanks, Hale.’


*I flip through some of the rest of the mail that I had.  Most of it isn’t anything important. As I go through the stack, I see something from the fire department offices.  Out of curiosity, I put down the rest of the mail next to my computer. I get the letter open and I unfold the trifolded letter as I start reading to myself.*


Lieutenant LeBlanc, I wanted to thank you for your Fifteen years of dedicated service to the Shiloh County Fire Department.  We value all of your input in our planning committees as well as all of your time at the training academy. Your depth of knowledge makes you a massive asset to our department, and we thank you for everything.  You have truly brought our fire department into the modern era with your work to improve our department’s tactics and equipment.

Effective February 4th, 2019, you are promoted to the rank of Captain.  Your test score of a 92% placed you first on the promotion list. Due to your Special Operations certifications, you will remain assigned to Squad 7, Third Platoon.  Your Probationary period will conclude on April 4th, 2019.

In addition to Squad 7, Station 7 will also house the new Truck 7 that you and the rest of the Special Operations, Purchasing, and Operations planning committee designed.  

Again Congratulations and thank you for all of your dedicated service.  I know that you will continue to make the department very proud!

Shiloh County Fire Chief Jeremy Cassidy

*I almost cannot believe what I just read as I put the letter down.  I turn around and walk over to Hailey.*


‘So I just got some news.’


*As Nick walks over acting all cryptic trying to hide his news, I raise an eyebrow.  I’m curious what is “news” is because I’m assuming that it came from the fire department.  I’m also thinking that it’s good news because he seems happy. Maybe? I dunno.*


‘Yep.  From the fire department.’


*Now I’m getting agitated.  I get that he’s trying to build suspense, but just get it out already.*


‘What did the fire department want?’


‘Well, apparently my 92 on the captain’s test was the highest score...’


*I stop pulling the pork apart and turn around as Nick continues.  Now I think that I know where he is going with this, but I want to make sure.*


‘... And they had a position open up, so I got the promotion.’


‘That’s great, Nick!’


*Ecstatic, I wrap my arms around his neck.*


‘I’m so proud of you!’


*As Hailey reaches up and hugs me, I return it.*


‘Thanks hon.’


*We hug for a few seconds before I let go.*


‘Where’s the opening?’


‘7.’


‘That’s where you are now though?’


‘Yep.  Don’t even have to move.’


‘But they never had a captain there on your shift.  Did Jerry move somewhere?’


‘No, it’s a double company station now.  The Truck company that we were working on is going to be there.’


‘Well that’s great, honey.  Are you on the new truck or still on the Squad?’


‘I’m on the Squad.  Jerry is moving over to the Truck on 1st Platoon.’


‘Good for both of you guys.  We’ll have to celebrate.’


‘Thanks, babe.’


‘See, I told you that studying would pay off.’


*I say it jokingly because I know that I pushed him quite a bit to get the promotion to help us out financially.  The two of us can’t work three full time jobs with a new baby. It’s killing all of us, and I told him that. But I knew that he knew the information.  At least he told me enough.*


‘Well, at least you’ll be happy with me now.’


*Crap.  Here we go.*


‘Don’t say that, Nick.  I’m always happy with you.  It just makes things a lot easier on us.  You know that.’


‘Yeah, I know.  But it’s a 10K a year bump right now in base, so with my training, Rescue tech, and diving bonuses I think it jumps up like to 15K extra.’

 

‘Well, that's pretty good.’


‘Yep.  But I mean I was making basically max salary at LT.  I mean I was there for 7 years. In another year, I would have maxed it out.’


‘Nick, you know that money isn’t everything.  Besides, with my job and with your other job, we’re fine.  It’s just a little bit tighter with Julianna. But we’re fine, okay?’


‘I know.  I know.’


‘It’s time for celebration.  Besides, you worked really hard for a really long time.  You deserve it.’


‘Well thanks.’


‘I mean it, hon.  You’re really smart and you do a lot for them.  They recognized it.’


‘Thanks, babe.’


‘Congrats hon.  I’m very proud of you.’


*I give Nick a kiss as I let go of his neck and I go back to cooking.  He walks off and goes to sit down and work back on his report or whatever.  I definitely wanted to see him promoted and he definitely deserved it. I mean shit, he’s been working almost every single day except for Sundays at either the office, the firehouse, the lab, or in meetings.  He’s finally getting rewarded. I smile to myself as I finish separating the pork. I slide it into the Crockpot that I already had warmed up and I pour in the starter and all of the other seasonings and sauces.  I turn around and start a nine hour timer before I walk over to Nick and I give him a hug.*


‘Gee you’ve gotten to celebrate my promotions, but I’ve never gotten to celebrate one of yours.’


*Hailey makes her comment and I think for a second before I nod.*


‘Yeah, you’re right because when we met I was already a Lieutenant.’


*I smile as I go back to memory lane.  A lot happened over the past seven years.  I shake my head as she walks out to the back garage to grab a container of soup that she froze after she cooked a batch last week.  I pause for a few seconds and I walk into my living room where I bend down on the floor next to Julianna while she keeps playing with some of her dolls.  I just watch and play along when she wants me to. I have no idea what’s going on, but I’m just enjoying spending time with my family.*


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Sergeant Hailey LeBlanc

Field Training Officer


#43 K. LeBlanc

K. LeBlanc

    Firefighter

  • Engine
  • 185 posts
  • Character Hometown:Cumberland Ridge, Kentucky

Posted 17 March 2019 - 03:10 AM

*I lay in bed in the communal dorm.  Perks of being in an old station.  At least there are knee walls between us.  I stare at the ceiling fan above me, thinking about what happened today.  Most of the other guys are dead asleep from what happened earlier, but not me.  I keep thinking about the last fire that we had and also about what I told Ariana.  I spilled some of the darkest things that I've been thinking for a while and now they are stuck in my head anyway.  After tossing and turning a few times and for a few hours, I sit up and I walk over to my dad's office where he is sitting down.  I stop by at the office door and I look through the dark office and I see him on his computer and watching something on TV.  I hesitate for a few seconds before I knock twice and he looks shocked before he lets me in.  I walk in and take a seat in the chair across from his desk while he sits on the bed.*

 

*I sit on the bed watching TV.  I'm waiting for Hailey's texts at this point because I know that she was saying something about picking up Evelyn's car, so I'll have to let Kyle know in the morning.  After a few hours ow watching stuff on TV and working on some BIM modeling for Chapman, when I hear a knock on my door.  I see Kyle who looks like he hasn't slept in weeks.  I knew that there was something off of about him for the last few days, but I don't want to push anything out of him.  I motion him in and wait for him to come in.  he sits down at the chair across from the desk and he kicks his feet out toward the bed.*

 

'What's up.'

 

*My dad asks what's up and I don't know if that's what I wanted.  I kind of wanted to bring it up myself, but I also didn't want to just spring it on him.*

 

'A lot actually.'

 

*I lean back in my chair before I start.*

 

'So one of the reasons that I moved over to the truck was that I wanted to do more work.  I didn't want to run the pump.'

 

*Once he says a lot, I know that this is going to be something more complicated than I thought.  Especially considering the time of night.*

 

'Wait, I thought you liked pumping?'

 

*I sigh before I begin again.*

 

'Well I do.  But...  Well on that last call...  Well...'

 

*I take another deep breath before continuing.*

 

'Well that kid that you guys brought out was just on the sidewalk next to the engine when the medics were working on him.'

 

*Oh boy.  I figured that Kyle would have this talk at some point.  We all have it if we stay in long enough.  At this point I'm going to let him continue.*

 

'Well I was trying to pump for the rescue so there was nothing that I could really do...  The kid died.  And there was nothing that I could have done.'

 

'Kyle, look.  I've always said that in this job, you see things.  Things that don't go away.  It shouldn't, but it's supposed to be that way.  We do it so that the public doesn't have to.  That's why we carry caution tape on the rigs...'

 

​'Dad, you don't understand.  Every time I go home...  Every time I see it again.'

 

*I look over to the desk where I see Julianna in a picture on his desk.*

 

​'Every time I go home and spend time with...  Julianna...  I see it again.  I'll always see it.'

 

*Oh shit.  That's not good.*

 

​'Look Kyle, you haven't been here that long.  You're right.  We were protected because we pulled her out.  But you know what, you have to balance it out with what has happened.  Look at the call today.  We saved the lives of 3 people.  You were directly responsible for saving that person in the car.  If you weren't there, that person may have died...'

 

'No.  Dad.  You don't understand.  I can't see her right now.  I can't keep reliving it.'

 

*I sigh and adjust my position again.*

 

'Look, I need to get out of the house for a while.'

 

'Look, take some time off.  That's fine.  I get it.  But look...'

 

'Dad, look.  I'm moving out.'

 

*Okay.  Now I'm shocked and have a shitload of questions.*

 

'What?  Where?'

 

*I know that wasn't the best way to answer that, but it's what I'm going with.*

 

'The new girl, Ariana.  She's looking for a roommate and I'll move in with her.'

 

'What?  You're going to move in with someone who you worked 1 shift with?  You're kidding me, right?'

 

'I'm not moving in right away, but I have to do something.  If I don't just get out of my head, I'm going to go insane.  I have to do it.'

 

*I quietly sigh.  I can't believe it, but there's nothing else that I can say about it.  Bottom line is that I can't say that I blame him.  I get it.  I don't know how practical it is, but I get it.*

 

​'Okay.  I get it.  Look, take some time.  I get it...'

 

'Thanks...'

 

*There's now an awkward silence but I really don't know what else to say.  We sit for a little but before continuing on.  We talk for a few more minutes before I get told that I have to pick up Evelyn's car at the station.  I know that it had something to do with Ariana had to say, but I don't really know much more about the situation.  I sigh and nod as we finish talking.  I get up and walk over into the living area where I sit with the lights on in the kitchen behind me as I sit down and stare at whatever late night sitcom is on.  I have no idea what is going on as I sit and think about what happened and what now.  I still feel like crap but hopefully this will at least help me move on.*


Firefighter Kyle LeBlanc
Truck 7

Ex. Kimberly Volunteer Fire Department Member 730, Ex, SCFD Volunteer


#44 N. LeBlanc

N. LeBlanc

    Captain

  • Commissioned Fire

  • 3,660 posts
  • Character Hometown:Home

Posted 17 March 2019 - 03:15 PM

*I watch as Kyle comes in and grabs a few things before he walks out of the house to go to his new roommates.  I'm still not happy with the entire thing, but I get it. I bring in all of my stuff from the station, including my sheets and my uniform so that I can wash them.  I see that Hale must have already paid the sitter and brought Julianna to daycare. I bring all of my laundry up to the machine and I get my sheets going first before I do a batch of my uniform stuff.  I walk past Kyle's room again as I head downstairs again. I shake my head as I walk down and put all of my EDC down on the counter and then I walk upstairs to the bed. I see Hailey sleeping, so I climb into bed as gently as I can and then I try to fall asleep, still thinking about Kyle.  I won't be sleeping I'm sure, but the 7 calls or so that we ran plus staying up all night is normal. I got the BIM model done at like 5 AM, so when I get up tonight I'm sure that I'll hear about it when I get up to pick Julianna up.*

 

*I feel the bed shift, so I open my eyes and I see Nick laying down.  Groggily, I muster a smile.*

 

'Hey babe, how was work?'

 

*I hear Hailey greet me as I shimmy over to her and wrap an arm around her.*

 

'Work?  Work went well.  As for what else happened, bad.  How about you?'

 

*With that comment, I open my eyes wider while my eyes adjust to the morning light.*

 

'It was fine for me.  What do you mean?'

 

*I sigh.  I don't know how this is going to go, but here we go.*

 

'Well Kyle came to talk to me at like 3 this morning.  He's going through some stuff.'

 

'Wh...  What kind of stuff?'

 

'Well he's struggling with something from a call from the last shift and he said that's why he moved to the truck.  He told me that he needs some time on his own.'

 

'Well what do you mean time on his own?'

 

'He wanted to move in with some new medic.'

 

'Wait, so he moved out?'

 

'Well he's in the process of it now.'

 

'Well wait, who is this medic?'

 

​'She seems nice.  She's brand new from London I think.'

 

​'Like London, England?'

 

'Yep.'

 

'So our son is moving in with some girl from London?  How old is this chick?'

 

'I think she's like 21.'

 

'Wait a minute.'

 

*I sit up at this point.  I'm fully awake and we're going to talk now.*

 

'You let our son move out and move in to an apartment with some brand new girl?'

 

'C'mon Hon.  Kyle's changed.  He's not the same kid that he was when we met.  You've seen how he warmed up to you over the years.'

 

'I don't buy that for a second.  People don't change.'

 

'Don't you have a psychology degree?  How can you say that?'

 

'Did you buy that he needed time away or whatever?  He saw some new hot piece of ass and went for it.'

 

*Now we're fighting.  Man I don't need this.*

 

'Hailey, look.  I don't know what he saw okay.  I don't know why he moved in with her.  But you know what, he can make his own choices.  Besides, she seems nice.'

 

'I can't believe that you let him do this.  How could you?'

 

'Hon, look.  We both know that in our jobs people can see things and that it takes a toll.'

 

'Your son is using it as an excuse to get laid!'

 

'I don't think that's what it is Hale.  Look, I'm tired. I haven't slept all night, can we not fight?'

 

​'Fine, whatever.'

 

*I move back down and then I close my eyes for a second before I open them and look over at Hailey.*

 

'I love you, babe.'

 

​*I'm still upset by what Nick did and I'll have to figure it out from Kyle himself.*

 

'Whatever.  You too.'

 

'Hon, I don't want to go to bed angry.'

 

*With that, I'm even more pissed off.  I throw the covers off and I pull Nick's arm off of my belly and then I get up.*

 

'I'm not tired.  I've got things to do.'

 

*As Hailey climbs out of bed and walks off, I try to stop her but to no avail.  I roll over onto my back and I sigh before I try to drift off to sleep. I know that it was something that he did on a whim, but I don't know what else I could have done.  I sigh and figure that I should just go to sleep. I don't want to go to bed angry, but I don't really have a choice from what I see. Now I'm not going to sleep until I hit exhaustion, which shouldn't be too far off.*


<p class="bbc_center"><img src="http://ertrpg.com/im...leblanc1126.png" alt="nleblanc1126.png"></p>
<br><br><p class="bbc_center"><br>
Captain Nicholas LeBlanc, Paramedic, Search and Rescue, HazMat, Diver</p>
<p class="bbc_center">Squad 7</p>
<p class="bbc_center"><img src="http://www.ertrpg.co...ew/service4.png" alt="service4.png"><img src="http://www.ertrpg.com/award/new/edu1.png" alt="edu1.png"></p>
<p class="bbc_center"><span style="color:#ff0000;">"You might be a firefighter if your entire wardrobe is t-shirts your friends gave you from their </span></p>
<p class="bbc_center"><span style="color:#ff0000;">departments for your birthday, Christmas, anniversary, etc."</span></p>
<p class="bbc_center"><span style="color:#ff0000;">-Unknown</span></p>
<p class="bbc_center"><span style="color:rgb(0,0,255);">"If Prometheus was worthy of the wrath of heaven for kindling the first fire upon earth, how </span></p>
<p class="bbc_center"><span style="color:rgb(0,0,255);">ought all the gods honor the men who make it their professional business to put it out?"</span></p>
<p class="bbc_center"><span style="color:rgb(0,0,255);">- John Godfrey Saxe</span></p>

#45 H. LeBlanc

H. LeBlanc

    Sergeant

  • Commissioned Police

  • 1,264 posts
  • Character Hometown:Greenville, South Carolina

Posted 07 April 2019 - 05:00 AM

April 6, 2002

*Jen, Kyle, and I sit in Church.  After the procession ends, I step out of the pew first and genuflect, followed by Kyle with Jen’s help and then Jen.  As we turn to walk out of the church, we’re greeted by some of our normal friends. Jen and I start talking with them while she holds Kyle’s hand.  Jen talks about her work since she’s getting ready to graduate while they ask me about my Master’s. Then of course, work is brought up. While I try to steer it toward my research work, they of course want to know about firefighting.  It’s only a few months removed from 9/11 and of course everyone is trying to say thank you but honestly, while it’s nice, it’s also getting to be annoying. Everyone is trying to move on, and it’s not helping. A lot of us knew people from up there and the wounds are still raw.  The two of us try to change the subject and we start talking about Kyle. After a few minutes, I can hear a siren. It’s a Powercall and a Q, so I know it’s fire. Kyle’s starting to catch on that different trucks have different sirens, so I find it pretty funny. The two of us look out of the window and we see that it’s a rescue from one of the neighboring departments.  Of course, Kyle is raring to go, so I take him from Jen so that we can walk outside and so that he can see if there are any others who are going to follow the first truck. I can remember being like that as a kid, so I completely get it. The two of us walk outside and I take a seat on the stairs outside while Kyle is basically jumping up and down. I smile as he starts to calm down but then I hear a wail.  He gets all excited again as a medic unit from one of the other departments come past. I turn around as I hear Jen come out and Kyle gets all excited. Jen starts to smile as she walks over and takes a seat next to me while Kyle comes back to us.*


‘Did you see it!  Did you see it!’


‘Yes, Sweetie.  We saw them.’


‘They’re really cool!’


‘Really, you think so?


‘Mmhmm.’


‘You know your mommy and daddy do that too, right?’


‘Yeah, you guys are so cool!’


*I turn to Jen after Kyle says that and as a joke.*


‘Bet we won’t be hearing that in twelve years or so.’


*She shoots me a look as I smile back at her and then to Kyle.*


‘You know when I was your age, I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up.’


‘Why?’


‘I don’t know.  I wanted to help people I guess.’


‘Me too!’


‘Really?  What do you want to do?’


‘I want to ride an amulance!’


‘An ambulance?  Why?’


‘I don’t know, it just looks really cool.’


‘What about the big red fire truck?  You could be a fireman, like your dad.’


‘Nope.  I don’t want to be a fireman.  I want to be like mommy!’


*The two of us share a look at each other before we take Kyle’s hand and I we get up and head to the car to go to to lunch.*


December 10 , 2010

*Kyle and I walk into Jen’s room.  I muster a smile across the room to an EMS friend of hers.  The other girl gives me a hug before she walks out. Kyle and I sit down next to Jen’s bed as I take her hand.*


‘Sorry babe, just got Kyle from school.’


*I watch as she struggles to muster up a smile.*


‘That’s fine.  It’s good to see you.’


*I sit and talk to her for a few minutes, and I can see the Kyle is feeling awkward.  I feel for the kid, I really do. He’s watching his mother waste away and there is nothing that anyone can do.  I know that he’s the kid who is being ostracized in his class and there isn’t anything that I can do to make it easier on me.  Honestly, I’m starting to feel worthless. I’m doing everything to keep the family together while also trying to pay for Jennifer’s medical bills.  I’m burning the midnight oil, physically and emotionally. A few minutes later, some of the medics from A-platoon come in to the room and pat me on the shoulder while they say hello to Jen.  After a few minutes, they offer to take Kyle out for something to eat. He looks back at them and then at us and I can see that he gets the message that they are trying to get him out of the room.  As he leaves, I look back at Jen. I press my forehead against her hand. I’m trying to stay strong for her, but she was always the strong one emotionally. I’ve always worn my heart on the sleeve and I have no idea how I can live without Jen and how I can be a single parent with two jobs.  Plus, there’s all of the bills. Shit, it’s already overwhelming. Jen tries to calm me down as she always does before the medics bring Kyle back. He looks happier than he was, so there’s that at least. I try to change the subject because I want to be strong for Kyle at least.*


‘What did y’all do?’


‘We got something from the cafeteria and then they showed me their truck and all.  Not much.’


‘That was really nice of them.’


‘Yep.  I think when I graduate I’ll get in the fire department.’


*I feel a sudden rush of feelings.  I’m really happy to have influence my kid so much that he wants to follow in my footsteps, but at the same time, it’s not the best job.  I mean it’s one of the few jobs where you can make six figures without a college degree, but the hours are trash and it’s running into a burning building for God’s sake.*


‘Why would you want to do that?’


‘Well they need people to help people like mom.’


*I see Jen start to smile as she grips my hand before I look over at Kyle.*


‘Kyle, there is a lot more that you can do with your life.  You can be a nurse, or a doctor and really help people like your mother.  You can be the one who is actually putting their hands on the patients.’


‘Yeah, but I can help right there in the moment.’


‘Look Kyle, I’ll be honest.  I want you to be happy. If you want to be a fireman, that’s fine.  But it’s not everything that it’s cracked up to be. The hours suck and the pay’s not great for what you have to do.’


‘It’s what I want to do, dad.’


‘Well, that’s great but give it some time.  Look, your mother and I worked our asses off to get where we are.  I don’t want you to have to do that. I want better for you, son.’


Present

*My eyes jolt open as I glance up at the ceiling.  I stare at the stationary fan blade as I watch the pull chain swing from the air condition.*


‘Oh my God, I became my father.’


*I stay in bed looking up and thinking about everything that I did with Kyle.*


*While laying on Nicholas’s chest, I feel his breathing change.  I adjust my head so that I can look up at him. I go to look over him to see the clock on his nightstand.*


‘What time is it?’


*As Hailey wakes up, I move my neck down to look at her.*


‘I’m sorry babe, did I wake you up?’


‘It’s fine.’


‘I’m sorry.’


‘Don’t worry about it.’


*I see that it’s like 3 in the morning.  I close my eyes for a few seconds before I look up to him.  As I look up, I can see that he’s got the thousand mile stare into the ceiling.  I prop myself up on my arm on his chest so my neck is more comfortable.*


‘What’s wrong, hon?’


‘Nah, I’m, fine.’


‘Nicholas, I know you better than that.  What’s up?’


*I sigh as I decide to go ahead.*


‘Thinking about Kyle.’


*Crap.  He’s still upset about earlier.*


‘LIke I said earlier, I’m sorry about flying of the handle earlier.  I didn’t know the full story.’


‘Nah, it’s not that.  I’m sorry that I wasn’t a better listener.’


*Well that makes me feel better at least, but I still want to know what’s wrong.


‘What is it then, Nicholas?’


‘I don’t know.  I guess I’m thinking about what I could have done differently.’


‘Hon, we’ve went over this earlier.  What happened to him isn’t your fault.’


‘I know it’s not.  I… I dunno. I just feel like I pushed him into it.’


‘How can you say that?  If there is one thing that you said it was that you wanted better for him.’


*There’s that line.  She even noticed it.*


‘Exactly.  *sigh* Look, when I was a kid, that was a line that my dad used on me.  I at least had my mother that could translate it to me and at least tell me what he meant by it.  Kyle watched his mother die and had no one else to tell him what I meant by it. I just feel like I pushed him into it.’


*I roll off of his chest and then I lean up against my pillow and the headboard.*


‘You didn’t do that, hon.  He chose it. He saw what you, and me, and his mom did and he wanted to be a part of it.  He chose it for himself. He wanted to be like you. You should be honored.’


‘I’m not.  I feel like I ruined my kid’s life.  I mean he was in nursing school. He’s way smarter than I am.’


*I crack a smile before I respond.*


‘Couple of problems with that.  First of all, you are very smart, okay.  You do that Satanic stuff called Calculus.  I don’t even like thinking about that. Second of all, and more importantly, you didn’t ruin his life.  He’s in a steady career where he’s making decent money. He’s living pretty much on his own now and he’s got a decent social life.  I wish I had that growing up.’


*I sigh again before I continue.*


‘Look, I know what’s it’s like growing up with a single parent.  I barely remember my dad. Honestly, I know him more from pictures than really knowing him.  And look, yeah it may have pushed me into the Navy. And look, I’ve got my scars. Physically and mentally.  But it did me a lot of good. If it wasn’t for the Navy, I probably wouldn’t have met you. And then we wouldn’t have Julianna.’


*I look over to Hailey as she starts talking about her childhood.  She kind of proves my point before she mentions Julianna.*


‘I do want to say this, you need to help me with Julianna.  All right? You’re a great dad. You did nothing wrong with Kyle, and I know that you’re going to be great with Julianna.’


*I smile when I hear her comment before I pull her close to me.*


‘Well as long as she doesn’t become a cop, I guess we’re good.  Shit, she can be a lawyer. I’m sure she’ll out argue us. Especially when she hits those teen years.’


*I chuckle when I hear Nicholas make a joke.  At least he sounds better. I move back down and nestle up next to him.*


‘Deal.’


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Sergeant Hailey LeBlanc

Field Training Officer





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