Today’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday theme is ‘class’. I thought maybe I’d write more about Hawk and Devil(or Gavin and Damon as they used to be called), but instead I have something else. I just started plotting out a companion novella to my Flames series yesterday. So, these two are still in my head. Neither are actually firefighters(which the series revolves around). One is the brother of a character from Flames of Retribution. The other was actually an antagonist from Flames of Restoration. He wasn’t really a “bad guy”, but he did a not great thing that could have made things really bad for one of the characters. He knows he screwed up, and now maybe he has a second chance at his own “happy ever after.”
“I guess I missed that class.”
Gio threw his head back and laughed. Cam seemed to make him laugh every shift they worked together. It was part of why he made sure he wasn’t in the office whenever Cam was behind the bar. The bartender shot him a look now, coupled with a slightly shy smile. That wasn’t a side he showed very often, certainly not with the customers. At least not the male customers.
“Flirting isn’t that difficult,” Gio said. “You do it all the time.”
With the male customers. But Gio had noticed he was a bit reserved even there. Cam had told Gio when he’d hired the man there had been an issue with a customer where he’d worked before. Though he’d never gone into just what had happened. He was careful not to let any of that go too far, but some mile flirting didn’t cause problems.
“Has someone complained?” Cam asked, suddenly looking tense.
Gio placed his hand over the one Cam had braced against the bar. “No,” he said, his voice soft. “If it was something like that, we’d be having this conversation in my office. And if there was any weight behind the complaint, you’d be taking a hike.”
Gio tended to be soft-spoken, and people usually took that to mean he could be pushed around. But, not when it came to managing his father’s pub. They had a zero tolerance policy for drinking on the job and for sexual harassment. He didn’t mind the mild flirting, but if someone asked them to stop and they didn’t, they’d be gone. A ‘no’ or ‘stop’ meant just that to him.
Cam seemed to relax a bit at that. Then, he turned to take an order from another customer. He didn’t flirt with this man, though. Gio recognized one of the firefighter’s his sister’s fiancé worked with. Did he have something against firefighters? or did he recognize the flirting might not be welcome. Gio knew all about being cautious around different people.
He watched as Cam drew two drafts with a steady hand, but that same hand shook almost uncontrollably as he reached for a bottle of Rolling Rock in the cooler. Gio grabbed it for him setting it on the bar with the other drinks. “That it for you, Austin?” he asked since Cam had already turned away. What the hell was up with that?
“Yep. Looking forward to Caitie’s wedding.”
Gio smiled at the rookie firefighter. “So am I.”
When the man took the beers away, Gio turned back to Cam. “There a problem?”
Cam shook his head but wouldn’t meet his eyes. “Okay if I take my break now, though?”
“Yeah, sure. I’ve got things handled here for now.” But, he still watched Cam as he slipped out from behind the bar. Then, he turned his gaze to the table Austin had walked to. He knew all those men, particularly Nolan, his future brother-in-law’s best friend. They were all good guys. So, what had made Cam react like that to them?
He tried to push that thought away as he struck up a conversation with the next customer. But, it kept circling in his head for the rest of the night.