Castle Roland

Feel, Don't Think

by Michael Kyle-Ducharme

In Progress

Chapter 33

Posted: 30 Apr 15

Any questions or comments contact me:

"Well, it's an old farmhouse that the current owners modernized. It has five bedrooms and three full baths. There is an in-law apartment over the garage. The kitchen has been updated and there is just over an acre of land. You saw how close it is to the park."

"Sounds pretty amazing, let's take a look."

We started to walk up the driveway and I froze. I couldn't believe it. How was this possible? I hadn't shared any of the "visions" I had, when I was unconscious, with Marcus. Yet, here was the house I saw. From the white siding and black shutters to the wonderful bay window, the house was exactly as I saw it in my dreams.

"Are you okay? What's wrong Babe?"

I didn't know how to react. What did this mean? Were all my visions when I was unconscious going to come true? Some of them were so incredibly sad, but others so full of joy. I wasn't sure what to think. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.

I don't know how long I stood there. Suddenly I heard a whisper; it was my Nana's voice.

"Munchkin, don't over think it. Life is full of ebbs and flows. It's never set in stone. Now is the time to live. You will have moments like this, but there might be moments where things are very different from what you saw. Just be happy, munchkin, and live life to its fullest."

I felt a breeze blow past me and the whisper was gone.

When I opened my eyes, Marcus had a look of concern. He grabbed my hand.


I smiled and wrapped him in a hug.

"It's like something out of a dream. I can't wait to see it all."

Marcus visibly relaxed and grinned at me.

"You had me a little worried. I'm sorry to spring this on you, but it all happened so fast. Are you sure you're okay?"

"I'm flipping fantastic. It sounds wonderful. Maybe a little more house than we need, but way better than anything I saw online."

"Oh? We've been looking online have we?" He chuckled.

"Well, it was just to get a feel for what's out there. I should have known you'd have a connection to a real estate agent. I'm guessing it's a little above my expected price range though."

"Actually, I have no idea. I wanted to just give it a look see and then worry about it. So today it's all about just exploring the possibilities. We can worry about the price later. I know that's difficult for you but right now let's just check this house out."

"Alright, I'm game."

We walked down the driveway to the front of the house. The house was a two story farmhouse with white siding and black shutters, with a huge bay window on the right of the front door. The door itself was painted red. We approached the door and Marcus held my hand.

"Together forever, let's do this at the same time."

"You are such a romantic sap, but it's wonderful; together... "

As we opened the door, Marcus squeezed my hand even tighter.

Just to the left of the front entrance was a staircase complete with a banister. I pulled Marcus towards the stairs.

"I guess we are going to start at the top... any particular reason?"

"Yeah, I want to show you the room you and I are going to make love in for many years to come."

""You sound like we've already decided about the house? Are you sure you're okay? You are acting strange even for you."

"Sorry, I'm so excited about the house. I'm running again aren't I? Let's look around... maybe it's not as perfect as I think."

Marcus smiled. I decided at that moment to stop thinking about my vision. It was nothing to worry about, nothing to fear. Life was meant to be lived to the fullest; there was no sense worrying if my vision was what would happen or not, it didn't matter.

As we walked around the upstairs, Marcus kept talking about how we could change this room, fix that closet, and redo the bathroom. His enthusiasm was contagious. I found myself lost in the potential.

The bathroom was huge, but the tub/shower area needed a serious upgrade. Unlike most modern homes, the master bedroom did not have its own bathroom. Marcus wanted to create a shower much like the one in the condo.

"We could create a shower with two walls of tile and two walls of glass. I know this amazing tile store. You won't believe the variety of things they have. Seriously, I'm not sure there is a color they don't have. This could be so much fun.

"Babe, I think we could easily put the laundry room here too. If we put the washer and dryer in here, we would always have hot towels after a shower. You haven't lived until you dry off with a warm towel."

"I don't know. You drying me off always makes me feel pretty alive." I kissed him to emphasize the point.

"Yeah, well imagine it with a warm towel... " He sighed and stared off into space.

"Okay, come back to earth. We still have a lot of house to look at Mr. Taylor."

"Very well, Mr. Wallace, let's keep looking."

There were four bedrooms upstairs and just the one bathroom. As we walked through each room, Marcus continued to talk about changes he wanted to make or features he loved.

"Look at the incredible molding around all these door frames. I'd love to play with colors in the rooms, but leave this molding white. It's just beautiful. In some ways, I'm glad the walls are all light colored right now; we could have some major fun with colors here too."

"Geez and I thought I was running... I wonder why there are two bathrooms downstairs and just one up here with the bedrooms? It would make more sense the other way."

"Actually there is only one downstairs the other is in the in-law apartment. I think the one downstairs was just a half-bath, but when the last owners couldn't climb stairs anymore, they remodeled it and expanded it."

"That makes sense. Do you think we need all four bedrooms up here or would you convert one to an office?"

"Babe, I think we should keep all four as bedrooms; One for us, a spare room, a boy's room, and a girl's room. We can turn the room next to the kitchen and bathroom into an office. I definitely don't think we need a bedroom on the first floor.

"The kitchen is in great shape according to Stephen," We walked as Marcus explained what he knew about the first floor rooms. "And the fireplace in the living room is fully functional."

We turned right at the bottom of the stairs and entered the living room. It had a huge beautiful stone fireplace. The carpet was in serious need of replacement but the same hardwood floors found in the entrance most likely extended into this room.

"I almost wish the bay window was in this room instead of the other side of the house; but these big windows on all the outside walls are awesome."

Again Marcus just smiled at me, then we walked into what surely we would turn into the dining room. It had a really ugly light hanging from the ceiling. Full of brass and glass it certainly hadn't been updated in many years.

"That's the first thing to go if we buy this place. That light is hideous, it's worse than the carpet in the living room." Marcus looked like he'd eaten a sour lemon.

"Really," I whispered. "I liked the living room carpet. I was hoping we could find that same color for our bedroom." I tried desperately to look completely crestfallen.

"Babe, nice try... I told you before I'd never need to hook you up to a lie detector. Your eyes tell everything. Those wonderful, gorgeous eyes... "

He kissed me again. I responded by pulling him into a tight embrace. Suddenly, the kiss became full of passion. I started to lose myself. And then...

"We need to stop right now. We have more house to explore and we are not having a quickie in the future dining room. The first time in our home needs to be special."

"Okay, Babe, I understand. When you kiss me like that though, all the blood rushes out of my brain and heads south."

"Oh, are your shoes getting tight?" I laughed.

"Not my shoes, but suddenly my suit pants don't fit so well."

I burst out laughing, pulled him in for another kiss, and grabbed his hand.

"Let's keep moving. We have a kitchen to look at, and as we both know, the kitchen is the make or break room in the house. Plus, I'm curious about the in-law apartment and the garage, and we still have a yard to check out too."

Marcus's phone started to ring. It was Stephen, the real estate agent.

"We are about to look at the kitchen, but so far we both love it. Okay, give us another hour and meet us back here. Thanks again. We will see you in a few.

"Stephen has a showing at another property, so we need to wrap this up. Time to check out the kitchen, I think."

I stepped back and let Marcus explore. There was tons of cupboard space, granite countertops, and what looked like brand new appliances. Marcus was like a kid in a candy store. Every new discovery made his face light up even more. When he finally remembered I was there, he beamed at me. I stood there smiling.

"This kitchen is un-flippingbelievable. Look at all the cupboard space. Did you see the pantry? What about the island with this sink and cook-top built in? You can cover them both and use it as a breakfast bar. Babe, this kitchen is right out of a magazine. I mean it has racks to hang pots and pans, glass racks, and fuck me it's a convection oven."

"So I take it this meets with your approval. So when we do any remodeling, we can skip this room." I couldn't help but grin at him. "Look at you... We better find out how much this place is going to cost before I can't get you out of here."

Marcus pulled out his phone and dialed.

"Stephen, time to give me a price, I want to know if I'm going to have a fight on my hands. Really? That's hard to believe. Are you sure? Okay we will see you in twenty minutes.

"Take a deep breath, buttercup."

"Oh no, you called me buttercup. That means you think I'm going to freak at the price of the house. Give me a chance. Honestly, I decided even if I have to take on a couple more students privately, we are getting the house we want."

"Wow, what's gotten into you? Don't worry about taking on more students. Look we have twenty minutes to check out the in-law apartment and then Stephen will be here. We can go back to the office and talk about the price and my thoughts about a few things."

"Well that sounds a little ominous. But, I trust you. Don't forget I'm still me, but I'm going to try to let you talk me through your thoughts before I react."

"That's all I ask. Let's check out the apartment. We can look at the yard after we let Stephen lock up."

We quickly went through the apartment. It was a really nice size and cutely decorated. The garage was officially two-car, but four cars would easily fit with storage room left over.

Stephen pulled up as we exited the garage.

"Sorry to rush you, but I have a couple that wants to look at a house a third time. That's usually when they put in an offer." Stephen explained. "I hope to hear from you two soon. I really can't hold off longer than a day or two."

Marcus nodded and said, "I understand and want to thank you for giving us a heads up. We are going back to talk it over and I'll give you a call tomorrow. Thanks."

"Yes, thank you very much." I reached out to shake his hand. "Marcus will touch base with you soon. Good luck with the three-timers."

Marcus and I walked around the property for a few minutes before getting in the Lexus. On the way back to the office, we stopped at the park and ate our sandwiches in the car. When we finally arrived at the office, Dorothy gave us a look.

"Well? What did you think?" She looked right at me. "Did you love it?"

"I did, but my fianc and I need to talk about the whole thing. He still hasn't told me the price of the place yet."

"Well, that's just details. I'm sure you guys will work it out. Are you excited?"

"Actually, Dorothy, he was stunned. I was a little worried at the start. But, we need to have a talk. I'm going to set us up in the conference room. It may take some time so don't wait. Take off whenever you're ready. Just let me know when you leave."

"Okay, I just have a couple of things to wrap up. I updated your calendar so please check it before you leave. Your father also wants a minute of your time. I'll let him know you are back."

"Thanks, as always I'd be lost without you."

"Well I can't wait to hear how this turns out. I will see you in the morning."

Marcus and I went into the conference room. With pale lemon yellow walls and soft brown carpeting, the room was very inviting. The table took up most of the room and was surrounded by twelve chairs. I recognized Amy's work on the walls. The piece was an abstract of sorts. Primarily full of greens and blues, it had such a calming effect. There were file folders on the end of the table. Marcus pulled out a chair for me. I took a deep breath and settled in.

"You promised you'd hear me out before reacting... I hope that's still the plan."

"Make your case. I'll hold my thoughts until you're done."

At just that moment, George knocked and entered the conference room.

"Well, what did you guys think of the house?"

"We were just sitting down to talk about it. We loved the house, now we need to figure out if we want to make an offer. What's up Dad?"

"I just wanted to see what you thought about the house. I'll let you guys talk it out. But I really hope you'll keep an open mind, Tony. I think you'll be hard pressed to find anything even close. I know you and money, but listen to Marcus. And Son, remember the wedding gift I gave your brothers. The same goes for your wedding too; if it makes any difference...

"I'm heading home. I'll see you tomorrow, Son. Good night, Tony."

"Good night Dad."

"Good night, George. I'll see you Sunday at dinner."

I turned and looked at Marcus. He had a look of utmost concentration on his face as he glanced through the papers left on the table.

"Are you ready to get started? I have a lot I want to go over."

"Sure, Hon, you have my complete attention. Although, I was thinking a cup of coffee might help me concentrate better."

"There's a Keurig in the corner. But, you're just allowed the one cup. Too many headaches lately... "

"Okay, but if you want me to be fully involved... I need the coffee." I laughed.

When I sat back down, Marcus had a serious look on his face, but a major twinkle in his eye.

"Well let's start. The first thing you should know is the house would be worth better than seven hundred thousand if it was a little further out in the suburbs or had just a tick more land. Hell, take the property and move it south and it's a two million dollar house for sure. Frankly, with the updated kitchen and the in-law apartment, I still expected the house to be priced at well over five hundred thousand dollars."

I swallowed hard.

"The owner's children are trying to get rid of the house quickly. Which is super for us, they are only asking three fifty. Frankly, it's an unbelievable steal."

I shook my head.

"Three hundred and fifty, that's just..."

"You promised to hear me out. You said you wouldn't freak."

"I'm sorry." I took a gulp of coffee and tried to smile. "Please keep going."

"So, like I said three fifty is un-flipping-believable. It's a steal.

"And it's incredibly easy for us to pull off, if we don't over-think the numbers. I checked on the remaining balance on my house trust from my grandfather. There is just under fifty thousand sitting there right now; my investments are doing pretty well. If we add another fifty thousand from your settlement fund, to keep us balanced, we only have a mortgage of two hundred and fifty thousand. Frankly with a fifteen year mortgage, we would have a payment of less than two thousand a month. A thirty year mortgage would be less than twelve hundred a month. "

I started to say something, but stopped myself when Marcus gave me 'the look'. I took a deep breath and tried to smile.

"I'm not done yet, Babe.

"Taxes are another issue to consider but frankly that's another eight hundred a month. That's one of the good things about where it's located. If we choose the thirty year mortgage we still stay at two thousand a month all together. And that's without selling the condo, or really touching the settlement money.

"Mortgage rates are so in our favor right now. It makes no sense to put down much more than twenty percent. We should make a better return on our investments than we would pay in interest for the mortgage. Then, we would still have the inheritance I got from my grandparents, that's a nice chuck of change to do some incidental remodeling. That hideous light fixture and carpeting, and furniture for some of the rooms are the first things to get done. Honestly, Buttercup, I don't see how we can pass up this deal. And my father's cryptic message about the wedding gift... He paid for most of the remodeling done on my brothers' houses.

"Okay, now you need to tell me where you are in this whole thing... "

I paused and took a deep breath.

"It's a lot of money. I'll be perfectly honest. It scares the crap out of me.

"But, I want the house. I told you I'd take on extra students privately if necessary. Marcus, quite honestly it is the house of my dreams, our dreams. Your father is right we can look high and low and never find anything close. I only looked a little on-line but there was nothing remotely like that place.

"I want the house. I want it really bad. I can see us growing old, raising a family, having a wonderful life, and living happily ever after in that house. But...

"I am confused by a couple of things. What would you do with the condo? Are you thinking of renting it out or selling it?

"And what did you mean when you said taking fifty thousand out of the settlement fund wasn't really touching it? I don't understand." I took a breath.

"One thing at a time, I don't know what we should do with the condo. Maybe we could rent it out, or sell it. Something tells me I should hold onto it for a while. So, really I'm not sure. But, we can talk about that more another time. We can decide together.

"As far as the settlement, you didn't want to know how much it was. So I never told you the final figures. The money is there whenever you want to use it. I only suggested using fifty thousand so you would feel like we were equals on the house. So we would be contributing the same basic amount. But truthfully, the money is there whenever you or we need it. It's an incredible safety net or solid nest egg for our future. Do you want to know how much is there? You have every right, it goes without saying."

I stopped and thought. I remembered my meltdown when the settlement came through. At the time, I wanted the whole thing to just go away. I was frustrated and in pain. I hadn't really thought about it since.

A part of me thought I was being unfair to Marcus; I was making him deal with the whole thing himself. On the other hand, I wasn't sure I wanted to know. It wouldn't change anything for me.

"I don't know what I want. I feel like I'm being unfair to you to make you deal with it by yourself, but I'm not sure I want to know. I will always be wary of money. I don't want it to change who we are. I've never been this happy, but I've had such a charmed life for the most part. Amazing parents, wonderful friends, and the dumb luck to run into the most wonderful man, on the very night I needed him to come into my life.

"If you want to tell me, I'm ready to hear it. On the other hand, I don't care to know. Do you understand? Share the information with me if you feel it's for the best."

"Babe, you never cease to amaze me. If you don't want to know, I have no reason to tell you. It's like I said, the money is always there when we need it. Otherwise, it's working hard to secure our future.

"Wait a minute, did I hear you right? You want the house? Seriously?"

"Yes!" I screamed. "I want that house." I laughed

"My lawyer seems to think it's a great deal. He is pretty sharp so, I'm going to continue to take his advice."

Marcus moved from the chair he was in and bent down next to me. He put his hand on either side of my face and kissed me deeply. When we stopped, he smiled.

"Babe, can I call Stephen right now and tell him? Are you sure?"

"Am I sure? Are you kidding? That house is beyond perfect. It's a dream... actually if this is a dream please don't wake me up."

"You know the night we got together you were afraid it was a dream. Remember what I said?"

I smiled, "That it _was _a dream, but we were both having the same one.

"Do you think we can handle buying the house and planning the wedding at the same time?"

"Well, it will take a little time to get things in line with the house. Even after we close on it, we will have some work to do before we could move in. The good news is we can take our time and do it right. There won't be any hurry to get out of the condo."

"True, and some of the renovations will take a little time."

"Plus, we have that week at the cape to get away from wedding stress and house plans."

"Oh yeah, I'm really looking forward to that adventure."

"So, it's settled. I'm calling Stephen and telling him the house is ours."

I slowly exhaled and stared into his blue eyes.

"Yes, nothing would make me happier."

He pulled me up from the chair and pulled me into a serious lip-lock. After a long deep kiss, he grabbed my hands.

"I am so happy right now. Only one other time in my life have I been happier than at this moment."

I gave him a questioning look.

"At Old Man Jones' Rock of course... "

"I didn't think anyone could be as much of a romantic sap as I am. You are too cute. I love you, Marcus. I can't believe things are falling into place like this. Do we have to keep this quiet or can we start to share the news?"

"I think we can share the news. Let me call Stephen and tell him we want the house. There's an offer sheet in the back of the folder. Sign it under your name and I'll have Dorothy take care of it in the morning."

"You have something for me to sign already? Hmm, a little presumptuous isn't it?"

He grinned, "It doesn't have all the figures typed in, but I had high hopes we'd like the place. Is that okay? You're not upset are you?"

"I think I need to check with my lawyer before I sign anything. I'm not sure he would approve signing a blank form."

At that moment, there was a knock on the door.


"I'm headed out for the night. Do you need anything before I go?" Dorothy poked her head in the door.

"Actually, could you add these figures to the offer sheet and print it out. We are making an offer on the house and my client here doesn't think he should sign a blank form."

"Smart client you have there. I'd be happy to. I'm so excited for the two of you. This is amazing news. Give me a minute, I'll add the figures. Then I can fax it before I leave."

"Dorothy, thank you."

"Yes," I said. "Thank you. I hope they pay you well here, because you deserve it."

"Well don't tell him I said this, but I have the best boss.

"I'm so excited for you guys. I was hoping things would work out like this."

She walked over and gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek.

"I'll be right back."

Marcus pulled out his phone and waited for an answer.

"Stephen, its Marcus, I hope I haven't interrupted you. Good... You are about to get a fax from the office here. You just made yourself a pretty good commission. We want the house... Thanks... It went way easier than I expected. We are very excited, or as Tony would say... wicked excited. Thank you again for thinking of us when you got the listing. Talk to you tomorrow. And congrats on getting the three-timers to make an offer, too. It sounds like a great day for you. Talk to you tomorrow.

"Stephen is quite sure the children of the previous owners will jump at our offer. He still wants to put up a for sale sign to get a little publicity for his company. He said not to pay any mind to the sign."

"So long as we get the house in the end, I don't care if he dances naked in the driveway. Well, that may not be entirely true. But now that we've seen it, I want that house."

Marcus kissed me and smiled. "Babe, you worry too much. If the house was on the market, I'd be leery about someone swooping in and making an offer. Stephen will give our offer to the family tomorrow and we will go from there. I suppose we need to get the mortgage application started. I will call Scott tomorrow and have him expedite the process."

"Damn, I forgot that's what he does. Well, it's a good thing he and I are friends now."

"You are cute. Scott's a professional. But yeah, it's not a bad thing. I think we need to go out tonight and celebrate. I am so flipping pumped about this. I think it calls for a trip to Luigi's. "

"Awesome. We need to make sure the menu is all set for the wedding, too. Hopefully we can talk to Chef Stefano while we are there. This is unbelievable."

I wasn't sure if I wanted to laugh or cry. Honestly, I think I did both at the same time. Marcus wrapped me in his arms.

"Before I met you, I was just moving through life. Things were okay, but nothing more. Then this person ran headlong into me, and my life hasn't been the same since. Dreams I always knew were there, but I'd forgot about or given up on, they are all coming true. Sometimes I worry I'm pushing you too fast, too hard.

"You make me so incredibly happy. I hope you truly know what you mean to me. I love you so much."

"Oh no, here come the schmaltz police." I laughed.

"You see these tears? These are tears of joy. I told you before don't ever wake me from this dream.

"Let's go to Luigi's and then take this celebration back to the condo."

"I like that plan. Just one thing... I think we should wait to tell everyone about this until at least the offer is accepted."

"I think you're right. Let's go eat."

The next day, James and Jon were due for game night. Marcus's plan was to try making Chicken Tequila Fettuccini, one of the recipes from the cookbook Danni gave him. I picked up the last couple of ingredients at the grocery store along with a loaf of bread at the bakery.

I'd just returned from my shopping trip when my phone started to ring. I shook my head and chided myself for not taking the time to set up my ringtones. I wasn't sure if I really didn't care about the tones, or maybe I was just lazy. I dumped the bags on the counter and dug my phone out.

"Hello Hon, I'm just getting home from the store. What's up?"

"They accepted our offer pending the mortgage approval. We got the house. We got the FUCKING HOUSE!"

"AWESOME! That's so flipping amazing. Oh my God, this is unbelievable. Did you talk to Scott yet about the mortgage? What did Stephen say? Holy shit, this is all happening so fast."

"Buttercup, I know this is a lot really quick, but you said it... This is the house of our dreams. We need to meet with Scott to sign a couple forms this afternoon, but he said it's just a formality. The mortgage will sail through. Can you meet me at his office at three?"

"Sure, do I need to do anything for you to get tonight's dinner ready before then?"

"No, it's an easy meal. But, I need to dash. I couldn't wait to tell you the news. Babe, I'm so fucking pumped. I'll see you at the bank at three."

"Okay, see you later. Love you."

"Love you more."

I sat down for a moment and took a deep breath. Was this what I really wanted? Was my life moving in the right direction or was I being run over by Marcus's enthusiasm?

Damn it, I was happy. No, I was over the moon, never been happier in my life, every dream coming true, beyond ecstatic. I knew some people were content always being on the go from place to place, from person to person ever changing. Others thrilled at different conquests all the time, personally and professionally. Their lives looked so amazing from the outside, but that wasn't who I was.

I wanted a forever with one man. I needed a home, family, and friends. I knew my life with Marcus was exactly right for me.

I put away the groceries, tidied up the condo, and took a quick shower. By then it was time to head to the bank and Scott's office.

Marcus and I arrived at the same time. He walked over to the driver's side of my car and grabbed my hand. We kissed and walked towards the door.

Suddenly alarms were going off; I stopped and grabbed Marcus's hand even tighter. The front door to the bank opened and smoke started pouring out. A slew of people started to run out of the building, Marcus let go of my hand and started running towards the door.

I followed him into the bank. The smoke was so thick you could barely see. I could just make out Marcus as he pulled a fire extinguisher off the wall. My eyes began to burn and I found it more and more difficult to breath. I tried to follow the direction Marcus was going, but tripped over something.

An older woman was sitting shaking. I tried desperately to get her to her feet. Finally, she began to get up and I led her to the door. I got her outside the building and turned to go back in. I felt a strong hand on my shoulder.

"Are there more people in there?" A fireman asked me through his mask.

"There must be, my boyfriend ran in a head of me. He still hasn't come out yet and neither has our friend."

"You stay put. We will go in and find them."

"No, I have to get to Marcus." I started coughing and choking.

The next thing I knew there were more hands on me leading me away from the doors. I tried to brush them off, but they held tight.

"You need to let the firemen do their job, come with me so we can check you out."

Before I knew what was happening an oxygen mask was placed over my face. I kept trying to get away from the hands. Tears were streaming down my face. I was pulled away from the front of the building and sat on the back of an ambulance. The coughing began to ease up.

Time seemed to stand still. Panic started to overwhelm me.

Crash. A window exploded, I saw a fire extinguisher fly through the air. The next thing I knew, one person was carrying another out of the broken window. The one still on his feet took a couple of steps and collapsed on the ground. The paramedics ran towards the heap.

I looked over at the front of the building to see a fireman carrying out someone else from the building. I could hear the radio telling the dispatcher to send a couple more ambulances.

"Leave me alone I need to find my fianc." It was Marcus's voice. I ran towards him and the broken window.

"Oh my God, you're okay." I clutched at him. "I was so worried. I pulled this lady out and tried to go back after you, but they wouldn't let me go back."

I started coughing.

"Where the hell did you go?"

"I thought at first I would find the fire and put it out. But, it was too smoky. I knew where Scott's office was so I went to find him. He was unconscious on the floor. I couldn't go back the way I came. So I used the fire extinguisher to break the window. I think Scott will be fine. The paramedics are giving him oxygen."

Marcus started coughing and slumped down. I dragged him to the ambulance and put the mask I was wearing on him. Tears started to flow from my eyes again. I felt a hand on my shoulder and another mask was handed to me.

"We need to take the two of you to the hospital to get checked out."

"How is our friend doing?"

"Everyone will be fine. The gentleman you pulled out is on his way to the hospital now. He is suffering from the effects of the smoke but will be fine.

"And the woman you helped will be fine also. But we need to get you two heroes checked out."

Thanks to the following amazing people:
My hubby, Ray
David, an un-flipping-believable editor.

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