She had to stop looking at her phone, it was really embarrassing, but no one else was here, it was just her so who really was going to say anything? Clara sighed. Ray and Clara had been dating for a couple of months now and her heart still worried every time he went on a shift and every time she thought about it she realized it had only gotten worse since the first date.  

Clara had woken that morning, to a beautiful text message, they always talked in the morning, which was fine by her after all she was a morning person, she assumed though that Ray messaged because he worked usually in the evening either in the firehouse or the bar.  But since then she hadn't heard from him and that usually wasn't a problem, The blonde Initia wasn't a clingy girlfriend, he was his own person and he didn't need her hassling him where he was constantly, but since about lunchtime, Clara had an off feeling. She couldn't explain it, a deep core feeling told her something was wrong, or something bad was going to happen, but she didn't want to bother him, especially not with something as trivial as a bad feeling, so she hadn't called but she had checked her phone a couple of billion times; during work, while eating dinner, which was something she never did, but desperate feelings called for it apparently. 

Her bed was warm and it called to her, but she couldn't sleep, the clock on her wall told her it was getting late but her eyes didn't want to close, so as she sat on her vanity chair, she decided to just go downstairs, turn on the T.V. and try to fall asleep.

But the moment, the T.V. was on and she was wrapped up with a throw blanket, tucked into her favourite nightwear her worst fear popped on the screen. There was fire; and... it was a big one. 

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Ray looked into her eyes as he smiled gently for the first time he felt loved and he loved that person to it was nothing like a brother and sister love or anything like that it was genuine love “ I have Loved you Clara for a long time I just never knew how to tell you “ he looked down a little ashamed as with his stepfather showing feelings was not an in-thing” when I had to leave for work or it drew late it was like splitting myself into between wanting to stay and going but I admit the first few session Mini  Ray was telling me your wrong you never properly been around a girl but after those few session things grew and my feelings became genuine for you and I knew I was falling well fallen for you “ he smiled gently as he stroked her cheek” But today in the fire brought everything together all I thought about was you Clara Carter and how much I love you. 

Ray smiled as he relaxed holding Clara as  he smiled before gently lowering his head kissing her ear as he smiled whispering in her ear “ shall we go  get the ingredients  from the store and head to my place “ he smiled getting up slowly as he  carried the  girl he loved  back into the   station hallways smiling as he  carried Clara to his  bunkroom resting  her gently on the bed as he took off his top tossing it into the  wash basket  as he headed to the  cupboard stopping  as he realized  Clara  was the first person apart  from his stepfather  that  has seen   his intia tattoo   he grabbed    a  fire department  t-shirt   putting it on quickly  he took a gentle breath as  calmed  himself  he was  with the woman he loved  and a fellow intia  but the I must hide  it  still ran through his head as he took off his radio placing it on charge as he wrapped his arms around Clara “  Sorry i didn’t mean to freeze  for so long I have had to hide my tattoo I forget im around initia  and my girlfriend is initia” he smiled.



Ray smirked as a thought came through his head as  like he has done with most visitors he had but never his girlfriend he took his spare  helmet out of his cupboard as he gently  placed it  on Clara’s head” now there  better be no remarks on how big my head is now “ he teased as he stuck his tongue out   as he pulled out his cell phone “ say cheese”  he waited till Clara was in the position she wanted before taking the photo “ he sent a copy to Clara’s cell as  the radio  came to life    the district chief liking our work and he was dismissing the crew  early  with   full pay  Ray  looked at the clock “ 45 mins to go can’t complain “ he gently helped Clara to her feet as   he grabbed the satchel he often carried  as he  looped it over himself as he slides his hand gently  against Claras as  he leads her out of the department  stopping  on the  concrete of the street looking at the  dark  night “ where did you park “ he smiled gently “













Clara listened to the man she had fallen in love with as he laid his heart down on the line, she had known that Ray wasn't the vulnerable type, mainly because he sometimes felt like a man of very few words, but she had always known he cared for her, otherwise he probably wouldn't have pursued her. But she felt it in her soul, as he spoke those words, He loved her, and they rang so truly in her ears, she didn't think she deserved this kind of happiness, but her heart accepted it graciously. "You can always be yourself with me, Ray, I'm not with you to change you, I'm here because I love you, so when words become to much squeeze my hand three times, like this," she replied, demonstrating with three gentle squeezes,  "And then I'll know. I'll know that you love me," 

He lifted her into his arms, and she gasped at the sudden change, though she could walk he carried her, with the ease of a superhuman not that she weighed more than the average woman, she didn't say anything even when he put her down. Though her eyes did trail on him and linger as he tore his shirt off, it was the first time she had ever seen his marks, which seemed a little strange as she thought about it, but he came over to her and explained it, and all of a sudden it made sense. She reached up her hands to take the sides of his face, "Never be ashamed of you are, these marks, are a part of you, they make you, you," she leaned up to kiss his forehead, hoping her love could be absorbed through him.

She looked over the helmet he gave her and her mind knew exactly what was going to go down, "Let's take my car, please," she replied, haven't worked up to get on the back of his motorcycle yet. She followed him along, taking the photo, then exiting the building, now that she thought about it, she could eat, she was kind of hungry, "What are you thinking for breakfast?" she asked. 

Ray smiled gently as he gently squeezed Clara’s hand  3 times” I do believe we were going for an easy breakfast this week even though the Japanese breakfast was Kami (divine )  normal pancakes will be fine and considering either of us has not slept  “  he smiled more at the fact he enjoyed there weekly different breakfasts but more the fact he remembered that word for longer than 5 minutes once they reached Clara’s vehicle he waited for the door to be unlocked before opening the door for the woman he loved closing the door once she was in and joining in the passenger side a couple of minutes later as she set off down the road.



Ray was a bit of a nervous back street driver      it was why he spent  most of the time in the reversed  seat looking at the direction they  came from apart from when he was driving  but he knew he couldn’t   swap the seat around so he smiled  just watching Clara  her perfect skin   he smile   everything about her calmed  him even when she answered one of his question he considered stupid  but his mid  blipped  remembering   “ oh yea  down the road 5 blocks   then mine is another 3 after  and I insist on paying  “ he smiled  minutes later  watching Clara  pull into the  superstore 



Ray got out quick as he walked around to the drivers side opening the door for Clara smiling as she got out leading the way in . the double doors opened as ray looked around before picking up a basket it was a lot quieter this time of morning then the times he usually went to the store as he began to follow Clara up the isles he held out the basket when Clara held out  items  and he picked up his own he always remembered what a friend of his dad said no matter what you have you can make a meal and he was right Ray had a habit of making delicious meals with very limited ingredients time passed as they walked up to the till with a full basket the cashier scanned through the items placing them in bags as the total tallied up Ray paid the cash before picking up the bags before leaving with Clara.




 When we leave the car park head to your right  3 blocks and my place is the building after the fire chariot bar” Ray quickly placed the items in the back seat before moving to open the door for Clara.

 




She couldn't help but smile at him, the man who she loved, as he opened the door for her, knowing full well that she hadn't gotten the nerve to ride on his motorcycle, not that it would be her first time on a bike but just that she was always a little worried about accidents. Speaking of pancakes her stomach made a protest for not having substance in a few hours, she had tried to eat before she left but worry had made her stomach feel like it had a ton of coal in it. "I agree, anything would be pretty good at this point," 

Clara kept her eyes on the road even though she wanted to look at him for a moment, safety first she remembered. The warm fuzzy feeling she had been feeling since the moment she saw him, squeezed her heart, a smile tilting her lips once more. She listened to his directions and squinted a bit at his offering to pay, "I'm glad to hear that, I kinda forgot my wallet," the one with her cash and credit and debit cards, she had been switching over her wallet but had forgotten all about putting it back in. She pulled into the superstore and parked the car.

They entered the store, and the smell unique to grocery stores filled her nostrils, it brought her back to a childhood of going in with her mother and picking the most random of things off the shelves. They walked the isles back and forth gathering ingredients for breakfast, the soft background music filling their ears in the quiet store. Clara liked this, the whole domestic grocery store shopping thing together, she made it a note to ask him if he wanted to do this more often.

Clara thanked Ray for opening her door once more and then they were off to his apartment, though she hadn't gotten a wink of sleep she was looking forward to spending time with him over breakfast, a nap would happen later. When she pulled in front of his building and parked she turned to him. "Are you hungry?" she asked, knowing full well she was starving. 

Ray smiled as he got back into the passenger’s seat “ and answer to your question  I would love to it would remind me to get food “ he chuckled “ normally its ho wings or take away “ he smiled gently as he put his seatbelt before pulling his cellphone out as he brought up google maps with his address on as the phone began to speak out directions.

“ you can use the empty parking space “ he smiled gently but nerves shot threw him as Clara was the first person to see his apartment as he got the ingredients out the back seat before walking to the driver’s side car opening the door for Clara as he blushed a little as he closed the door once Clara was out as he smiled taking Clara’s hand gently as he squeezed her hand three times before guiding her up the steps towards his apartment 3 flights up



Once  they  reached door 227b  as Ray gently let go  of the girl  he loved as he took out his keys   unlocking the door to reveal  the kitchen and lounge  as he stepped inside as he blushed unsure what to say “ Ummm welcome to my place “ he placed the  ingredients on the desk as he  walked  to the cupboards  taking out the utensils that were needed “ would you like a coffee “ Ray walked over to  the machine  that was very much  like a coffee machine you get in the shops  as he clicked on he walked over to two stools placing them  at the breakfast bar “ anything can help you with “ he smiled gently  remembering  what Clara said at the firehouse

  








Denny Kitchen Pantry

Clara smiled warmly at his agreement, doing small cute things with Ray made her heart feel calm and at ease. There was a reason why they sometimes called the past a simpler time because moments like those were easy to come by but still such a romantic thing to do.

She followed his lead into his building immediately picking up on his nerves, she always thought she could read Ray quite well, and this time was no different from those times, though she had to wonder why he would be nervous, no matter where he lived it didn't matter to her, as long as it was safe and he was happy. They stepped into the room and her eyes swept the area, it was lovely, quite modern, but she felt that maybe it lacked personal items, but maybe that was just her, she, after all, had bookshelves, with books beside it because there was no more space in her shelves, or that there were curious knickknacks, though maybe he just like more minimalism. "Your place is lovely," she responded, her eyes finally settling on to him. 

"Don't even think about making me coffee, I'll take care it, you just rescued a bunch of people from a burning building the least I can do is make breakfast," she spoke, she knew he would try to fight her on it, his need to help always present. "Thank you for the offer," she walked over to him and quickly kissed him. "Sit down, turn on the t.v., I'll come to get you when I'm done,"

When he finally left the kitchen, Clara went right to work, she grabbed the eggs and stuck them in the fridge alongside the milk, she didn't want either of them to go bad, or to sit too long. Clara grabbed all the specific ingredients putting the remaining groceries away.  With the experience that Clara had making pancakes many times before, she whisked them easily and fried them to perfection, when they were stacked, plated and topped with whipped cream, berries and some maple syrup she went to the living room, only to find Ray, his eyes closed and slight snores escaping from his lips. She kneeled down beside him, brushing his hair from his eyes, pressing her lips to his forehead. 

Ray stopped putting his hands in the air as he turned around “ don’t shoot “he teased remembering how they had met “I was just gonna put the coffee pot warmer on as its slightly complicated “ he whacked the machine with his elbow as the light on the machine lit a  green to say it was heating “ all you got to do is add the coffee”  he smiled as he watched the woman he loved come closers as he wrapped his arms around her as he kissed back “ all right but if you can’t find something call me ok “ he gently kissed her lips gently before letting go as he walked into the lounge.




Ray walked into the lounge as he picked up the tv remote putting on the basketball game that the firehouse was watching as he sat on the big couch yawning a little as he got comfortable watching the game smiling as he heard Clara in the background as he pulled out his lighter he ignited his small silver lighter as he leant onto the coffee table lighting the  4 candles that were the one thing he remembered night and day as a boy there were lite candles as he leant back to watch the game he felt his eyes getting heavy.



Ray looked around as he heard the familiar voice of  Samuel ordering him to get on his feet and help me as he got up he patted himself down he was in his turn out gear and breathing apparatus and he saw Samuel ahead of him blocking a door but bursts of flames shooting around the edges as he ran towards his friend he pressed himself against the door asking when did he get here he shrugged as he copied Samuels motions to manipulate the fire as the fire died down he could smell the distinct smell of pancakes as he looked around he felt his equipment being pulled and then thrown as he fell he saw fire above him and Samuel still in the building.



Ray woke to feel Clara’s lips on his forehead as he yawned a little wrapping his arms around her as he smiled “ hey sorry I didn’t mean to drift off  breakfasts smells great “ he smiled as he gently kissing Clara’s lips “ as he  motioned his fingers  to lower the flames from the candles he smiled as he picked Clara up as he guided her back to the  kitchen seeing the coffee and pancakes with Maple Syrup and berries “look delicious  beautiful” he smiled kissing  her gently as he pulled out  the seat for her  before settling down in his seat “ would you like me to call into your library to say you won’t be in today “ he gently stroked her  cheek  her smile  made him feel complete  and happy he gently opened his  hand as he smiled laying it gently on the table 








The boyish calm Ray had on his face moments before she kissed his forehead was only possible with sleep, she knew that some demons still haunted him, and that not every sleep was a perfect one, she sent up a silent wish that whoever lied beyond the clouds, whoever was meant to look after them, would do just that, a keep an extra eye on the man that she loved. 

"We all need our sleep, after all, you've been awake for hours," she replied, he never had to apologize for catching up on some rest, he gently kissed her before, they made their way into the kitchen to eat breakfast, the smell of the breakfast she had prepared for them filled her senses, along with the freshly brewed coffee, he had been right that it was a bit of pain to work but she was too stubborn to get him to help her. 

With his compliment, Clara blushed with pride, embarrassed that he had pointed it out but grateful that he appreciated her, "Well, I'm sure you'll love it," so far he had never complained about her cooking, but there was some old saying with looking a gift horse in the mouth and all that jazz, so she decided he was a wise man. When they took their seats, their meals of pancakes with berries and whipped cream already in front of them, she slipped a napkin over her lap. "No, I already called them while you were sleeping, I thought it might be best if I wasn't falling asleep on them today," she replied sure that the moment she got home, she would collapse with the exhaustion and stress she had been feeling the evening before. "I assume you're off shift?" she asked.

Ray nodded as he smiled gently “ yea the district chief relieved us it overrides the battalions chief orders and he saw how many calls we had its why he kept asking if we are ok “ Ray took a mouthful of pancake with berries taking in the tastes  “ these taste just as good as they smell” he smiled gently as he raised his coffee cup taking a sip” the coffee machine didn’t fire coffee beans at you did it “ he chuckled a little as it was one of the machines many faults he smiled as he watched Clara as he jumped remembering as he smiled getting up from his seat quickly going to his room returning with his tablet as he sat back down.



Ray smiled as he remembered telling her about it  “ are you free next weekend say from noon  Friday till evening the following Monday cause if you remember the comet showers I told you about at my favourite spot it is happening this weekend “ Ray gently took Claras hand as he squeezed her hand gently as he showed the information on the tablet “ Clara Carter would you like to accompany me for the weekend star gazing “ with his free hand he took another couple of mouthful making sure he swallowed before speaking again “  Saturday night its the comets and well I thought Sunday we could spend the night looking at the stars as its the clearest spot I’ve known to see the stars the brightest I’ve seen “ he smiled as he took a mouthful of coffee as he covered his mouth yawning a little.

 He smiled as he finished off his plate as he swapped his plate with his cup his nerves  kicking in a little “ if you like you can stay here you have had a little asleep as me id worry you would have an accident so stay here “ he blushed a little as he squeezed her hand gently and if you wanted to we can go get dinner when we wake up he smiled as he gently guided her towards the sofas as he smiled walking to the cupboard getting two woollen blankets. 

Clara nodded along, glad that he could finally take a break, "You don't have to work at the bar tonight right?" she asked, worried his second job would get in the way of his much-needed rest. She had been watching from the sidelines but she knew these kinds of jobs took a toll on him. Clara laughed, "It's a favourite recipe, I've made it probably a million times," she exaggerated but the number of pancakes she's made probably had been more than most. "No the coffee machine didn't attack me, it worked fine," she replied, it hadn't caused too much hassle the only problem had been trying to open the lid to the pot, but she blamed that on her nerves. 

Her eyes followed his departure from the room to his return, having not enough time to even ask where he was off to. When he returned he leaned close and offered her their first weekend away together. Camping too, something she hadn't been to since she had gone with her father for a fishing trip up North. She listened to the details, read over the information, but she already had her answer on the tip of her tongue. "I'd love to go, I can't wait to see the stars, it'll be very romantic," she leaned in closer and kissed his cheek. 

With his little yawn, Clara knew meal time was almost finished, she ate the remaining bites of her pancakes, when it was finished, his sweet offer, that made him blush, made her smile. "Yes, I'm a cuddler, so be prepared," she warned. Clara stood up and walked over to assist him. 

Ray smiled as he pulled the blanket out stopping as he thought smiling gently “ No I expect the entire bar was watching so they know I won’t be in they will cover my shift and hey I just realised “ he chuckled “ this is the first time I have taken out this blanket since I moved here “ he smiled as he wrapped his arms around Clara as he smiled looking into her eyes before leaning in kissing her lips gently “ good cause the person I want to cuddle is standing in front of me and im glad she ould like to cuddle me back “ he smiled as he remembered how big the blanket was as pulled it “ that’s another reason it never comes out “ he laughed as he looked at it” what we will need to do is lay it on the couch and then sit on it before wrapping ourself in it if you find Narnia remember to come to get me “he smiled as he put his end on the couch




Ray smiled as he looked to Clara” is there anything you need .” he smiled as he wrapped his arms gently around her cuddling gently “I just need to get a couple of things from my room and ill be right back “ he gently kissed her lips gently before letting go as he headed off into his room. Rays room was a standard  bedroom   brown cupboards  wooden bed  tv, etc as he walked over to his bedside table  taking out a portable cd player taking the cd that was inside a bit of a battle-worn  book and small blue journal and a pen that looks like moving waves when it moved  as he  began to walk out he stopped suddenly  he picked up a toothbrush still in its packaging  with an ocean blue handle  before  leaving his room

Ray smiled as he returned to see Clarion on the couch as he walked  over to the cd player putting  the cd in as he  pressed to play the sounds of the babbling brook began  to play as he smiled joining Clara on the couch as he wrapped his arms around her  as he  wrapped  the covers around them “ a little forward-thinking  for situations like these “ ray popped  up the blue handled toothbrush “ and well I thought maybe you would like a journal “ he handed over the pen and journal “I haven’t kept one in years but since I joined the FD and controlling the elements I find it helps to write “ he smiled gently as he cuddled  Clara gently as he yawned a little as he relaxed listening to the cd

Clara listened and was happy to hear he wouldn't be needed for a while. Her eyes roamed his face and she could tell he was tired, after the long shift she would be surprised if he wasn't. Clara chuckled at his comment, "well I guess it's not extremely used then," she replied quickly before his lips met hers. She leaned on her tippy toes for a minute enjoying the feel of him so close to her, she had been so worried for his safety, and now that they were together she felt exhausted. They pulled away. "Narnia doesn't sound to bad, and hey at least I know you can't hog the blanket" she added.

"No, I'm all good thank you though," if she needed anything, she knew he would help her, but her eyes were growing more tired then before. When he slipped out if the room to get something, her tired eyes made their way across the room, taking in the soft couch, well at least it looked soft, she knew though that it could he hard as rock and she'd still sleep on it. She took in the TV. The emptiness of some of the room, and the only sounds coming from the fridge and Ray scuttling in the background. The steady rhythm of her heart, didn't help the calmness of the room she wanted to wait to lie down till he got here but she couldn't.  Her feet carried her to the couch.

Luckily he emerged from his room, and her eyes folowed his trail to the cd player she hadn't seen before too distracted with her exhaustion.  Now the room was filled with the flow of the brook and she relaxed. He joined her on the couch wrapping her up, arms comfortably around her, their legs intertwined. "It was very thoughtful of you, but I'm not sure I could write rightnow, I think it would be nonsense and nobody would probably be able to understand it," she sighed, snuggling close to his chest. "But thank you, you're always so very thoughtful," she murmered, eyes closed, the steady beat of his heart now in her ear, with her eyes closed and her brain fuzzy, drowning out the noises of the world, with that she fell asleep in the arms of the man she loved. 

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