Ray pulled up outside the. Fire. House as the. Cloudy sky. Turned to rain clouds as he took off his helmet he closed his eyes as ever drop reminded him of the kiss he had given Clara the night in his mind he felt. bad but also it heightened the other feeling he felt when Clara was on his mind, or he was with her /

Ray got off his bike as he made his way into the firehouse taking the usual route he usually made to get changed into his work clothes, but as he was representing the fire department he worked a Navy blue polo shirt with the Fire department on the back, and the ECFD crest on his front shirt as he made his way out of the changing room the waft of coffee from the machine hit his nose as he made his way over to the to the jug pouring himself a big mug before turning into the briefing room sitting in his usual spot as the chief stepped indirectly at 8 am

The chief began rattling off the tasks on his clipboard as he began to smirk as he looked to ray as he laid his clipboard down and picked up a large box with. Smoke alarms. Flyers and other things he needed to inspect the building as a. boo erupted in the briefing room Ray chuckled as he faked a bow " Ill be thinking of you while I'm sipping my Latte" building inspections didn't bother ray too much as it allowed him to practice his element. Between appointments, as he moved off the wall towards the table, Ray picked up the box as he made his way to the hangers bypassing the engines and bus heading towards on of the two rapid response vehicles.

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Several hours passed as the first three checks went fast. The building passed with little or no errors as he looked down at the clipboard he saw the library was next as he travelled through the snail-like traffic as his radio console buzzed on iff with transmissions bu this time his house had been on four calls already as much as he loved the action he loved the downtime to as he looked up and down the street as his vehicles call sign came over the radio to inform him that a member from another house would assist him at the library due to the size of the building Ray picked up the radio handset as he pulled in at the library as he waved at the firefighter at the steps to the library as he pressed the transmission button " RA3 messaged received on location " ray put down the radio as he picked up his items as he made his way towards the steps where his colleague was waiting: hey. I'm ray " the. Other nodded and called himself paul as they made there way. up the steps into the library

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Had things really happened how they had gone down yesterday? Or had it all been a dream. Clara sat in her bed, the sun risen and begging her to begin her day. If she didn't get up now, she would have to rush out the door, and a calm morning is what she needed. Her antsy nerves told a different story.  
With much reluctance, Clara got out of bed, hopped into the shower hoping the cold shower would motivate her. She drank her herbal tea, after getting dressed in a casual sundress, she applied a bit of makeup not forgetting to put on her sunscreen, and made her way out the door.

The drive was peaceful, aside from her thoughts of course. Clara had had a few boyfriends over the years, and with her track record they usually ended sooner rather then later, nothing done on either parties but she just didn't seem to connect romantically with the men she had gone out with. Ray was different, they were friends, she was sure of that, she had been his teacher of a sort, and now...what were they now? It was all too confusing, he had kissed her, a small kiss, that hadn't lingered. He was a tad bit awkward she knew this but somehow that added to his charm. She parked her car in her usual place, then walked up the library steps. She made it her mission not to dwell on the subject any longer, she would see him soon enough and then they would talk about it like the adults that they were.

The day played out like any other, besides the anticipation building in her stomach. The daily readers came by, and then frequent visitors stopped as well, there was storytime for the young children and each task gave the distraction she needed but it wasn't until a little after lunch that she saw him. He was walking up the steps with someone else, wearing an Eternal City Fire Department T-shirt. She knew they would bump into each other because she was in charge of the desk this afternoon. Clara walked behind the counter and tried to even out her breathing, she was more nervous then she hoped she would be.

Ray walked into the library as he looked around seeing all the features it had as he smiled as it reminded him of the library from the ghostbusters movie as he turned back to the plans as he went over the floor plans with paul as he stated he would take the c control while he walked the building checking for the required items by law as they walked up to the desk they took their Identifications out placing them on the desk “ My Apologises for being late   Firefighter  Kid and “ Ray turned his head as he spoke to see Clara in front of him in a casual sundress “  hey Clara “ in his mind if this was a cartoon someone had just put a pin to his brain and it deflated as what he had in his head what to say went out the window

 “ erm paul is gonna take the control system may be if your free Clara you could show me to the items “ ray took smoke alarm out activating it as he  [laced it on the table as he smiled gently at Clara as  Paul wandered off. @  you may want to  put an announcement out that an alarm will be going off throughout the  building    and it’s only a drill   “ Ray walked over to the fire door opposite the desk  checking it wasn’t locked and the seal wasn’t broken as he walked  back  to the desk  as he watched her  silently  only snapping out of it when  his radio crackled to life “ when your ready we can get going “ he stopped a little as he continued to watch “I hope you   had a pleasant evening “

When he walked up to the desk, Clara could hear her heart beating in her ear, she was nervous, why was she nervous? Why couldn't she just stay calm, apparently she was still in middle school and couldn't help but getting giddy over the cute boy who liked her. "Good afternoon Ray," it sounded casual, was it too casual? Today was the day of second-guessing evidently. "How are you?" she asked. 

Clara smiled, pleased to be of assistance, it would give her hands something to do. "I would love too, right this way," Clara turned to the phone and called the service center on the second floor, "Yes, the fire department is here, could someone fill in for me at the front desk," Emily, the woman on the other side of the call, agreed and was down in minutes to fill her place. "Let me show you," she scribbled on the notebook beside the desk so Emily would make an announcement regarding the fire alarm.

They walked towards the elevator, she extended her hand out to direct him inside. "My evening was good, I spent some time relaxing, I was reading this new book and it was definitely a page-turner." her evening had been fine, it had been when she climbed into bed, when all her thoughts were roaming in her head. "How was your evening?"

Ray smiled gently as he got into the lift   as he chuckled a little  “ it was  busy so i highly doubt   they were ill  thy just didnt want to do the 70’s  disco night “  he smiled gently  as  he looked to   clara before looking back at the closing  lift doors as  it began to move as he thought about the tickets he was  given  as he felt  lift begin to stop “ ok  so what we need to do is follow the red pipe around and  check the sprinklers  and smoke alarms    and we could get  away with  letting the sprinklers loose “  as he stepped out of the lift letting  Clara lead  the way “  and im half way through Pride and prejudice “ Ray began to  follow the pipe as he thought about  how he was going to ask  as they came across the first   smoke alarm as he   climbed by the window to check  the battery” and im  sorry for having to  leave   but im glad you had  a few things to do “ Ray  stepped down as he  pressed his radio “ alarm 1 a     checked 5 second test “  ray   gently pulled out  two pairs of ear defenders “ you may need these “ ray  carefully put them on her before  he put his  own on  as the alarm  rang for 5 seconds . 



The alarms rang for 5 seconds   as   they died  down  his radio came to life  from paul stating   alarms code 4  as he gently took  off claras  placing them around her neck  “ do you  have   plans   this week “ ray gently wrapped his arm gently around her as he  looked into Claras perfect eyes as his left hand   gently stroked her   cheek  quickly stopping  when he heard  footsteps  as  he  stopped  blushing   “ shall we move onto the next  “ ray  felt  his nerves get the better of him  as  they began to move ray gently  entwined his fingers with  Claras as  he smiled gently  “  do you like museums”

Clara listened as Ray spoke, he seemed to know exactly what he was doing, his confidence in his work made her smile. She could still remember the beginning days of her teaching him how to work with the water element and how bewildered he looked, this look, was wonderful to see. "Well, I hope you're enjoying it, what do you think of Mr. Darcy or Elizabeth?" Clara herself had read Pride and Prejudice a good five or six times, and every time was as good as the last, the romance they shared was sweet and innocent, unlike so many books she read nowadays. Clara put the ear puffs on as instructed when the alarm went off she was glad she did. 

Once the pain part of the check seemed to be done, Clara was a bit startled to hear his question, and just as startled when he gently brushed the back of his hand against her cheek with utmost gentleness. He took a step back with the sounds of footsteps, his cheeks tinged a faint pink colour, her eyes couldn't help but watch. The footsteps disappeared and his hand found hers, she was glad to hold it. "Are you asking me on a date, Mr. Herald," she teased. She would say yes, in an instant if he asked.

Ray noticed the sticky marks of an old alarm as he passed one out of his satchel handing it to Clara   “ middle of the bookcase press the red button to activate it “ he smiled as he watched “ so far I find  Mr Darcey a complete utter jerk that rather push people away then let them in “ Ray walked over to the next fire door as checked the tags and seal before walking back to Clara as he smiled looking into her eyes” and to your question  Miss Carter I am and I do apologise for this as it sounded soo much better in my head “ he chuckled a little.



Ray took out two tickets from his back pocket as he held them in front of Clara as he smiled “  Miss Carter would you accompany tonight to the new exhibition at the museum as my  Date and guest followed by dinner “ he smiled nervously as his mind thought that was absolutely terrible “ but yes basically would you like to go a date with me “ he smiled gently as he leant forward attempting to kiss her lips but as he attempted his radio came alive with his partner asking where the fire extinguisher are and hurry up im missing buffalo wings “   ray rolled his eyes a little as it ruined the moment but a small chuckle escaped his lips “ you sure you don’t have CCTV here cause that was comedic timing “ Could you show me where you keep the fire extinguishers please “ he leant in giving Clara a cheeky kiss on the cheek as he let her lead the way.

"Do you want me to press the button now?" Clara didn't want to distract him from his work or do anything wrong.
Clara smiled at his answer, "Yes, at the beginning maybe, but Mr. Darcy is like many people, we hide putting up walls, where our vulnerabilities would be, give him a chance, you'll see," Clara got people, she understood them with a passion, it was finding a way to use the understanding in conversations, that made the real world hard to deal with.  
Her smile widened at his response. "You're doing wonderful, Mr. Herald, and to answer, yes I would love to go on a date with you?" her heart sped in return.

The tickets were embossed and the black ink made them stand out, a museum, dinner, boy did he know how to plan a date. He leaned in and she waited to feel the slight pressure on her lips when the moment was broken up with the sound of his radio coming to life. She couldn't help but giggle as the Ray rolled his eyes at the voice on the other end. "Not that I know of," she replied once the radio died back down.
She stood up and walked over to the first extinguisher on this floor. "This is one of three on this floor, basement has four and the main had six,"

Ray smiled as Clara as she set up the alarm “ perfect and if any of the new alarms I’ve set do malfunction just hold the button for 10 seconds and it will deactivate but it will only deactivate that one alarm “ Ray smiled as he walked over to the extinguisher as he looked at the seal on it  “  that’s perfect but I will see about getting you some foam and chemical silver bullets and I presume they are the same for the other floors  “ he gently pulled out his pen updating his notes and filling in the inspection date before raising up gently wrapping his arms around Clara.

“ so what  do you see  with me “Ray’s heartbeat quickened as he gently  leant forward gently kissing Clara perfect  lips “  and id there any special food requirements  “ he smiled gently as he  held her gently  as  he raised his hand gently stroking her cheek “ you look  really beautiful today “ he smiled as he took her hand  as he smiled “ yes  i've been told  to er get the  vip view of the new exhibit to get to go in  an hour before the opening at  9.30 “  ray gently guided Clara  back to the lift  as he took  out his radio “ erm yeah paul can you take  the main floor extinguishers   Miss Carter  has made me aware of damaged  extinguishers and fire door i'm gonna see if  i can repair them “ ray smiled as  he wrapped his arms around clara  from behind as he called the lift   as he whispered  in her ear “   don't worry you have passed  just an excuse to spend a bit longer  with you  until i pick you up tonight “    he gently kissed her cheek




Clara listened intently she knew fire alarms had a reputation with freaking out for no reason in particular sometimes. She made a mental note to write down the instructions in the staff room on the sheet of emergency protocol. As long as Clara had worked at the library there had been no fires, but that didn't mean that one day there might be one. Ray finished up with one of his final notes and pulled her into a hug, one she returned. It had been a while since someone had hugged her like this, at random, with no real reason besides wanted her to be in that person's arms. 

Clara couldn't help but blush, compliments had that effect on her, "You look really good too," his lips met hers, brief and sweet, she could get used to this she realized. "No special food requirements, do you have any?" Clara didn't need to know now, but if they were going to start dating she knew she would want to make him dinner at her place one day. 
"Wow very impressive, is it formal wear or casual?" she asked, it sounded on the more formal side of things. 

The excuse made her lips pull into a smile, she knew she had passed, the library had strict codes to make sure everything was up to date to keep everyone safe, she was in arms again, but this time she wrapped hers around her neck, a wider smile on her lips this time. "Well Mr. Herald, I do have to get back to work, you're just going to have to be patient," she tipped on her toes and planted her lips this time on him. She took a step back, smiled and made her way to the stairs, turning to look over her shoulder. "I'll see you tonight," she opened the door and walked out the smile on her face never dimming. 
 

A grin grew on Rays face as he watched her “  no I have no dietary needs” he smiled as he gently let her go back to work as he waved gently “ see you tonight “ Ray picked up his equipment as he pulled out his radio “ all done here you can RTB” a cheer came from the other end as Ray made his way towards the exit as he thought about tonight as he raised his arm to look at the time as he thought to his self lunch.



Ray made his way into the park across from the library as  ventured in towards his favourite noodle bar as  he smiled looking at the menu as he smiled thinking more about tonight “ hi  50/50 noodles and a rice bun “     he handed over the cash as he took  the items moving towards an empty bench looking towards the  park  as his mind  suddenly pinged as  he pulled out  his cell phone     to text Clara 

Hey 

Completely forgot to ask  but what time would you like to be picked up and where 

Ray 



Ray smiled as he thought about the kiss Clara had given him as he ate his lunch as he thought about where he would take Clara to dinner as he finished his lunch as he walked to the bin tossing it in as he made his way back to the response car as he got back in he looked up at the museum before driving off to his next job.

Rays afternoon  ended up the  way he didn’t expect  sat in the ER having his hand dressed  for a burn as he winced a little as  he watched as he looked towards the   railing the chief brought  his suit and reminded him  that  he only had to attend  5 alarms   before looking up at the clock it was 5:45 pm as he slides on the suit carefully as  he looked at his  hand  “ cheers “ Ray  took his turn out gear as he walked out of the  ward as   he moved towards  the response car  putting his gear  into the back as he  moved around  to the driving seat as  he pressed dial on claras name as he closed his door as   her phone went to  voicemail “  hey it’s me  im  running a little late   ill   pull up and wait outside yours  just   let me know when   your ready “      Ray set off  down the street as  he joined the traffic  of the city as  he tapped  the steering wheel  around  40 minutes later  Ray pulled up outside Claras house  getting out    closing the door  behind him quietly 



Ray quietly walked behind Clara house towards the area  where he and she had trained for many weeks as  he looked out  at the moonlit view as he  opened his hand summoning   the water into his palms    Ray took a deep breath as  water-cooled on his left hand as he  focused on making a barrier  as tall as he could out of the water as he closed his eyes he began  to move  the water with his hands as he  went into a world of his own as he did  with his fire element








She couldn't imagine ever being this distracted at work, she usually was so busy, kept in the work that could preoccupy her mind on most days, but today wasn't like most days. Ray had stopped by and she knew after he had left that her mind would be too excited about tonight, the thoughts of what to wear at the top of her to-do list when she got home.
Her phone buzzed on the desk in the break room, as she sat taking her breaking, drinking her calming tea. Clara read over his text the same butterflies that had been there this morning, now fluttered once more. She typed a reply. -7:00 my house, you remember the way,- 

Clara usually didn't work too late on most days and today she was relived. She slipped out the back entrance, saying goodbye to a few of her co-workers and then made her way down the steps and to her home.


She sat at her vanity table staring in the mirror, she decided to simply curl her blonde hair in loose waves, applying a light layer of makeup,  and then she stood, dressing in the black, spaghetti-strap, knee-length, dress with a side split. She slipped on a pair of heels, grabbed her purse and decided to read a book while she waited. Looking at her phone she noticed the voicemail. She listened, a light worry filling her, she hoped he was alright. 

She didn't know how late he would be, but she needed some fresh air. She made her way towards the door and walked in the forest, having lived here for five or so years now, Clara felt confident knowing her way around. It was something that brought her immense clarity. When she realized she had been gone pretty long, she began to make her way towards her house, only to stop at the lake, noticing the figure of the man. It was Ray. "Hey, stranger," It hadn't been too long ago, where the situation was reversed, he had been the one to find her out in the middle of no-where looking for a teacher, he had found her of course, and now she stood here looking...well stumbling upon him.

Hey looked up as he smiled seeing Clara in front of him as he eyes run over “You look Beautiful tonight “  Ray took off his jacket remembering his hands were wet as his mind focused on letting the heat dry his dressing and his jacket as he took a deep breath as the heat faded as he gently wrapped his jacket around her as he looked into her eyes “ my apologies for im late slight detour to the Emergency room “ Ray gently wrapped her arm around his as he smiled looking at her “I hope i didn’t leave you to long “  he began to gently lead her back to her home   “I hope your ok with arriving in a response car I thought it would be better than turning up on a motorbike “ Ray arrived at Claras house as he smiled “ is there anything you need before we go “.



A few minutes passed as  they set off in the vehicle  towards the   inner city towards the museum for the first time he was distracted a little while driving every now and again     he turned his head towards Clara as they reached stops “ how was the rest of your day “ he smiled as he set off down the road again his dressed left hand was more prominent as  he  changed  gear  shortly after arriving at the   entrance  of the library  as he quickly got out of the drivers seat  moving to the passengers’ door  opening it  for his guest as  he smiled 



Ray gently took claras hand as he smiled guiding her into the museum he wasn’t sure what the new exhibit was about but he thought it was something Clara would like as they made there way over to the skeleton of a Mammouth as he smiled “would you like a drink before we go in “ he smiled as he turned to her blushing a little “ are you up for a little teaching tonight “ he gently leant forward as he whispers in her ear “ I’ve never been in a museum before “ he gently kissed her cheek as he straightened up again “ tell a lie when I was 8 I stole a petrified  Raptor claw “ he chuckled a little as he allowed  Clara lead the route they took.

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