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 parachute, bac!
fire chief44
avalon fire departmenthe/him
goes by mac
divorced --
237 posts
looks like david harbour
estp / the entrepreneur
played by
emmy
cstshe/her26
pmmature status: two thumbs up
he wasn’t supposed to be awake. mac was off shift tonight, leaving the fire station in the very capable hands of the men on his team. something had woken him up in the middle of the night - a dog barking, perhaps, or a car beeping to signal the owner was home. he’d woken with a start, sitting up on the sofa, a beer bottle still half full on the coffee table. mac ran his hands through his scalp, dark hair tinged with gray sticking straight up. he moved to the kitchen, turning on his station radio absentmindedly as he grabbed another cold one from the fridge. it was usually quiet - avalon was always usually quiet - but as mac raised the glass to his lips, the radio burst with a staccato of chatter.

fire in sunny side estates. trailer. flames spreading quickly, two other trailers in danger. the chief knew what had woken him up now. mac felt his heart rate increase, felt the adrenaline cause his hands to shake just slightly. mac checked the clock. 2am. he was due to start shift at 8am. that would give him at least three hours to catch a nap before his shift. plenty of time.

his shirt was halfway over his head when a familiar name crackled across the speaker.

billie.

mac was out the door before his shoes were tied, his buttons askew. the blaring red lights guided him outside, distant from his home but not far. the flames were dying down now, his firefighters controlling the blaze. a light mist had settled over the area, stinging mac’s cheeks as it froze in the cold air. his footsteps sought the huddled group of firefighters off by the truck, a familiar, blanket wrapped figure sitting on the bumper of an ambulance. ”billie!” he shouted, the throng of people parting to allow room for the chief. upon reaching the small framed woman, mac’s arms wrapped around her narrow shoulders, crushing her into his chest. ”christ, billie. you’re freezing,” he murmured, blue eyes glaring at the men around him. mac pulled back, shrugging off his heavy coat to pull it tight around her shoulders. ”are you okay? is sadie okay?”

okay bac is a terrible ship name
freelance massage & reflexologist 46
her & her clientshe/her
goes by billie
falling into old habits with mac o'toole
151 posts
looks like winona ryder
enfp - the campaigner
played by
erin
estshe/her28
pm // telegrammature status: yup
she’d been asleep, half a bottle of wine in her system and at first the beeping of the smoke alarm seemed another aspect of dreamland - a noise existing somewhere between consciousness and not that billie tried to drown out. when it didn’t fade she finally stirred - the smell of smoke jolting her awake. it was incredible the speed in which panic took over her body, and the next few moments seemed an out of body experience. smoke was filtering in beneath the door and even so, she’d been just about to open it before her memory kicked in and reminded her sadie was at her father’s and not in the second bedroom of their shitty temporary home.

she escaped through the bedroom window.

the next thing she knew sirens were everywhere and the flames were being diminished, the icy cold spray of the fire house’s water whipping her in the face as she stood staring at the death of her fresh start and then mac was at her side. her eyes wide and panicked, she looked at him but took nothing in - as if he was another figure of her imagination amidst this nightmare. she could feel her body against his, the solid grasp of his arms around her shoulders but there was no reaction, no acknowledgement of just what the fuck was happening.

her daughter’s name brought her back to reality and she went wide eyed again before remembering sadie was safe, and not here to bear witness to the next thing that was going to fuck their lives up. ”mac?” she looked to him, a question coming over her like now him being there at her side was the weird thing. ”ya ya, i think i’m fine -,” she swallowed harshly, stepping back from the chaos in her mind for the first time to look around and actually assess the situation. ”sadie’s not here, thank god - oh my god, mac. what the fuck is going on?” why was this happening to her.

maybe but in my head they are actuall #iwantyouBAC
fire chief44
avalon fire departmenthe/him
goes by mac
divorced --
237 posts
looks like david harbour
estp / the entrepreneur
played by
emmy
cstshe/her26
pmmature status: two thumbs up
there had been no thought that had crossed his mind beyond making sure billie was okay. he didn’t think of the awkward run ins since she’d moved back to town. he didn’t think of the steely way they’d left it, billie packing her things and moving out on that tuesday night. it had been years, but he remembered the moment like it had been only ten minutes ago. it woke him up in the middle of the night. it hit him when he was eating lunch. it bent him over wheezing in the gym, hit him on his third (or sixth) drink, joined his cart along with the liquor and pizza rolls at sprouts.

mac had never been the same since.

but he didn’t think about all that when he ran through azalea at 2am. his whole body had been overtaken by fear and adrenaline - fear that he was too late, adrenaline that he could save her. of course, billie didn’t need to be saved. she could certainly handle that on her own. that didn’t stop him from wrapping her up.

the chaos around him had blurred for a second. familiar faces had become blank and fuzzy, the action around him that was so learned, so instinctual had gone dark. it was just him and her. billie’s voice brought him out of it, and mac pulled back. he released billie from his embrace, but his hands stayed looped over her shoulders, the heavy canvas of his own jacket rough against his fingertips. ”listen, billie, calm down.” he’d gone into chief mode, the panic of the situation washing off and an unwavering steadiness replacing the frenzy. ”listen, you’re okay. sadie’s okay, that’s all that matters right now.”

okay bac is a terrible ship name
freelance massage & reflexologist 46
her & her clientshe/her
goes by billie
falling into old habits with mac o'toole
151 posts
looks like winona ryder
enfp - the campaigner
played by
erin
estshe/her28
pm // telegrammature status: yup
of course this was happening to her. it made perfect sense. nothing had gone right since she’d packed up her kid and moved them back to the town she’d grown up in, as if the entire place was claiming karma over the way in which she’d left all those years ago. but this - the burning down of the shitty rental she’d been renting seemed too far. she wasn’t solely to blame for the past.

ironically, it was her past who’d come running as she stood out in the cold, mouth agape as her brain tried to process just what the fuck was actually happening. she was in mac’s arms, but her brain wasn’t thinking of how it’d been twenty years since he held her like this, or how painful the run-ins around town of the past month had been. no, her mind was on nothing but the minor miracle that was her daughter being at her father’s house for the weekend, and the fact that most of their worldly possessions were still in storage. billie had been hell bent on maintaining that the sunny side rental was temporary and refused to move them fully in. small victories.

her gaze moved back to him, and she knew he was just playing his role - he was fire chief now apparently - but something about being told to calm down by her ex-husband brought nothing but fury to her chest and she almost forgot about the chaos going on around her. but this was not the time, not the place and he was right. she was okay, her daughter was okay, that was all that mattered. ”you’re right, i’m fine, she’s fine, it’s fine,” she repeated, her head nodding continuously as she spoke, the repetitive movement comforting in the current frenzy. ”it’s just stuff,” she nodded again, looking back to mac for confirmation that she needn’t be freaking out about what had been in the trailer - clothing, and keys, and her wallet and things that didn’t matter but felt an awful lot like they did. ”but i have no where to go …” the thought came to her suddenly, and she pulled her body from his like she didn’t need the comfort it was giving her - she needed to think. "i have no idea what i'm going to do."

maybe but in my head they are actuall #iwantyouBAC
fire chief44
avalon fire departmenthe/him
goes by mac
divorced --
237 posts
looks like david harbour
estp / the entrepreneur
played by
emmy
cstshe/her26
pmmature status: two thumbs up
it had been twenty years. twenty goddamn years since billie evans walked out of his life, leaving him to pick up the pieces. he’d tried the best he could to mend himself whole, gluing bits and pieces together haphazardly. mac had lived in anger for a few years, resentment and fury controlling his actions, probably because it was easier to feel those than the overwhelming shame that it was his fault she left. it was his fault their marriage had failed, his fault that he’d drove her away, his fault that he’d lost the love of his life. the anger faded, though it never disappeared. . it was still there, buried under years of being apart, buried under a life altered and adapted.

the shame never left.

billie was speaking now, calming herself down with a repeating staccato of fine, fine, fine. he shook his head in affirmation as billie looked at him, his head dipping to catch her eyeline. mac had never forgotten how small she was, but it seemed amplified now. he practically engulfed her, enveloped her, especially as she was buried under the heaviness of his winter coat. despite her size, her strength had always seemed to match him, and mac was forced to take several steps back as she pushed him away. confused, mac stayed there, his hands still out, just inches from her own. ”do you have any friends still here who can take you in?” he knew better than to ask about family.

okay bac is a terrible ship name
freelance massage & reflexologist 46
her & her clientshe/her
goes by billie
falling into old habits with mac o'toole
151 posts
looks like winona ryder
enfp - the campaigner
played by
erin
estshe/her28
pm // telegrammature status: yup
twenty years ago she’d run from avalon, the imprint of divorce feeling as if it was written across her forehead and shame making her clumsy as she’d fled. she hadn’t gone far - couldn’t - but it had been far enough, and with a lot of effort she’d restarted her life, living for no one but herself for a long while. it didn’t mean she had forgotten this place, and it certainly hadn’t meant she’d forgotten mac. she’d simply done what she’d had to do, compartmentalizing where she’d been.

those boundaries in her mind had been crashing down since she’d come back, sending her body into a state of shock as she came to terms that maybe she hadn’t dealt with things as well as she liked to think she did. billie wasn’t free from the past, and bringing her life back to avalon made that insanely clear.

standing in the cold with mac’s jacket draped over her shoulders drove it home even harder.

she looked away from her ex-husband to consider his question, running through names in her mind, trying to draw up a single one she could force her disaster of situation. that none came up brought a wash of loneliness over her - and embarrassment. confirming to mac that her life truly was a disaster was not at all what she’d wanted to do from the moment she’d arrived back in town. ”no,” she shook her head anyways, her gaze moving back to the smoke damaged house that stood before her, the fireman still busy with it. ”i don’t know, i’ll figure it out -“ she turned back to him, a hard look coming over her face in an attempt to mask the panic that was quickly spreading to every part of her body. ”i’ll just figure it out.” she repeated, as if doing so solidified it as the truth despite having no idea what to do.

maybe but in my head they are actuall #iwantyouBAC

fire chief44
avalon fire departmenthe/him
goes by mac
divorced --
237 posts
looks like david harbour
estp / the entrepreneur
played by
emmy
cstshe/her26
pmmature status: two thumbs up
he’d handled the divorce much worse than billie, though that was only an assumption. she’d cut off all contact, and no matter how many times mac drunk called her in the middle of the night, she never answered. his drunk texts went unanswered, eventually falling off to once, maybe twice a year. he’d buried himself in the bottle, becoming the stereotype of everything he hated about his father, about weak willed men like the ones stumbling home from the bars in a drunken stupor. it had taken a few close calls to wake mac up, to get him out of his head and back on his feet. he still wasn’t a perfect man, but he wasn’t walking around in a fog anymore. he’d found happiness with his family, found at least a few people to share his bed with, but mac knew that he’d never be able to replace what he’d had with the small, dark haired woman.

it seems he was only adhering to yet another stereotype - he never could get over his first love.

his question hadn’t been one meant to embarrass her, but he could tell she was. the way her chin dipped, the way her dark eyes went bright and a little wild, and the little shake in her voice gave it away. even the hard look that had replaced the brief breakdown was classic billie, and it almost made mac want to laugh out loud. nothing had changed, but this wasn’t the time to reminisce over stubborn characteristics. mac let billie work it out, remaining still and strong amidst the chaos around them. his ability to remain calm in situations that would make any normal person freak out was one of the many reasons he’d been promoted. this was one aspect of his life he could control. silence spread between them as mac worked through the options in his head. it didn’t take him long, though. only one option made any sort of sense.

”c’mon, you’ll stay with me.”

okay bac is a terrible ship name
freelance massage & reflexologist 46
her & her clientshe/her
goes by billie
falling into old habits with mac o'toole
151 posts
looks like winona ryder
enfp - the campaigner
played by
erin
estshe/her28
pm // telegrammature status: yup
being the middle daughter of a single mother, billie had been raised to be independent. she took responsibility for herself, always had, and maybe that was why the last year or so of her of her life was causing as dramatic an upheaval as it felt. how could she maintain control when it seemed her feet never landed on solid ground? the demise of jimmy and her had truly come to the surprise of no one, but what had been surprising was how hard he’d fought for the things they’d shared - their home, the belongings, their daughter. the fight had left billie exhausted and unsure of just about everything in this world, including herself. things were constantly spinning, and that didn’t appear to be ending any time soon.

mac’s offer took her a moment. no where in her mind’s eye had she seen that coming, even as she stood in front of the slow burning ruins of her restart of this life in the arms of her ex-husband. an automatic reflex told her thanks, but no thanks. she took care of herself in this life, had since before they’d ever gotten married all those years ago and pride couldn’t let her float farther away from that.

”mac,” she started, looking up to him with a look in her eyes that was trying not to convey just how much she’d wished he hadn’t offered that. the truth was, no matter her automatic response, that she needed that hand, and needed to take it. she needed to let someone help her, now more than ever - but him? there was letting someone help her, and then there was letting mac help her.

”mac, no. i .. i don’t think that’s a good idea.” she spit out, still looking at him, the small shake of her head giving way to how unsure she was of that decision. ”i’ll figure it out.”

maybe but in my head they are actuall #iwantyouBAC

fire chief44
avalon fire departmenthe/him
goes by mac
divorced --
237 posts
looks like david harbour
estp / the entrepreneur
played by
emmy
cstshe/her26
pmmature status: two thumbs up
he didn’t know what she’d been through. he didn’t know why her marriage had ended, didn’t know why she was back in town with a daughter he’d never met before. mac didn’t know why she was here, but to be honest, he didn’t need to. he’d give up everything for the dark haired woman, and a simple offer for her to stay with him was nothing compared to how high he’d jump. she only needed to ask.

so he ignored the wild look in her eyes, the begging of him to not ask, to not offer. he ignored the way she pushed him away, an automatic reflex built from all the times he’d let her down. he ignored the sinking feeling in his stomach that this wouldn’t make up for what he’d done to her all those years ago. mac just went with it, went with his gut. ”listen, just until you get back on your feet.” mac’s hand left the empty air it was clutching in front of him, reaching past the heavy canvas jacket to grasp her wrist. it was small between his fingers, delicate bones practically twigs that he could snap in half without even trying. ”you need a place to stay. i have a place.” his voice dropped, earnest amid the sirens. ”only until you figure something else out.”

okay bac is a terrible ship name
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