Inferno of Love:Firefighters of Long Valley Book 2(10)By: Erin Wright
She figured that all in all, she’d lucked out.
But tonight, she tried to look past the perfectly made-up face and hair and clothes, and into Tennessee’s soul. It wasn’t a view that Tenny allowed very often; she was agreeable and pretty and reasonably talented in music and cooking, and really, that was all that was required of her to become an excellent wife and mother to Moose’s children. She didn’t tend to present much else to the world, and it was a little weird for Georgia to try to see anything else.
“I hate the piano!” Tennessee burst out, a wild look in her beautiful aquamarine eyes. “Hate it! You know who loves music? Virginia! She has more musical talent in her little pinky than I do in my whole body, and she actually likes her damn cello! If I never saw another piano in my whole life, it’d be too soon.”
Georgia’s mouth opened and closed a few times, trying to suck in air and not really succeeding. Hated piano? Who was this woman and what had she done with her cousin? Tenny probably spent two hours a day on the piano. How could she do that if she hated it?
“Laaaddddiiiieeeesssss and gentlemeeennnnn!” The voice of Kurtis Workman, the local microphone jockey, boomed out over the speakers, and the gym instantly grew quieter. If it was a gathering, auction, game, or any other event where someone needed to work a microphone, Kurtis was the person to call. He actually enjoyed every moment that he had a microphone in his hand, as weird as that seemed to pretty much every other person in Long Valley. And, let’s face it, the world. “Tonight, we have the Sawyer Fire Department vs the Staff of the Sawyer High School facing off in this year’s round of donkey basketbaaaaall! Up first, we’ve got—”
Georgia clamped down on Tennessee’s arm and started dragging her towards the exit. They could laugh at overweight high school teachers trying to stay on the backs of stubborn donkeys some other time. Right now, Georgia and Tenny had some talking to do.
Georgia sucked on the water hose of her CamelBak for a moment, taking in the view below her as she tried to catch her breath. The sun was shining, the wind was registering as slightly less than hurricane strength, and there were a few balls of white dotting the deep blue sky. All in all, it was as pretty as a postcard. She looked across the wide valley to the Goldfork Mountains – the craggy, snow-covered tips reaching for the brilliant sky – and bit her lower lip. They were taller than the hills she was climbing, and thus still had a fair bit of snow on them. Maybe it’d be enough to get them through the year…?
The farmers didn’t seem to think so, though, and neither did the state ag department. The official word put out by several farming organizations and the State of Idaho was that this was going to be a damn awful year to be a farmer (couched in more technical terms, of course). The credit union president had handed down the edict already – no large operating loans this growing season, period. Nobody was sure there’d be enough water to even get the crops to maturity, and farmers without crops…well, they were what you would call broke-ass farmers.
Not exactly prime lending targets.
Her breath was finally even again, and so she took off up the steep incline, keeping a close eye on the meandering trail. It consisted of packed dirt with roots and stones sticking up everywhere, which meant one misstep could result in a broken ankle or twisted knee. She was so far into the hills at this point, there wasn’t even a prayer of a cell phone signal; she’d lost that over an hour ago.
The trail switched back again and Georgia followed the curve, climbing ever upward. As she went, she started to go through her to-do list in her mind, but then mentally came to a screeching stop when she came up empty-handed. She didn’t have a to-do list, at least not today.
Honestly, it was a struggle to remember that it was actually a Wednesday, and not the weekend. The HR manager at the main branch had called over last week and had given her a stern talking to that she had too many vacation days piled up. She needed to take some time off, ASAP. In deference to the woman’s “request,” Georgia had put in for a vacation day today.
It still felt strange, though, and although she was enjoying her hike, a small part of her was glad that she’d only put in for one day. She could go back to work tomorrow and get some projects done then. Top of the list was the report on car loan defaults – if she didn’t get that turned in soon, the main branch would be on her ass about that, also.
She didn’t think that telling the head of the finance department that she’d been mandated to go on vacation by the head of the HR department would win her many brownie points.
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