Everything She Wanted
Everything She Wanted
The job was everything she wanted. Sandra would be fire chief, just like she dreamed of, and she would work with the technology she taught at the academy. It didn't matter that it wasn't in the city she grew up in. Her friends and family would understand; given this opportunity, she had to leave.
Sandra closed her eyes and took a deep breath, leaning back in the chair. So that was it. She would call them, accept their offer, and start looking for decent moving companies. Well, no, probably an apartment came first. She would get an apartment, start looking for companies, and then she'd tell everyone she was leaving.
Her phone rang. She snapped her eyes open and grabbed it off the table. Was this about the job already? "Hello?"
"Hi, Sandra!" That was Freya's voice. Sandra relaxed. "We're still on for lunch tomorrow, right? I'm going to be a little late, so if we could push it later by an hour…"
"That's fine with me," Sandra said. "Will you have to leave at the same time?"
"Oh no, I have the rest of the day off. We can go as late as we want." Freya laughed. "I've told you before, but I'm really glad for these lunches. I looked up to you back at the academy, you know."
"You did?" Heat rose in Sandra's face. "I… didn't know that, actually."
"I did! You were so determined, such a hard worker… I wanted to be like you." She sighed. "I guess I didn't make that clear enough, given how bitter you were towards me afterwards."
"Oh, Freya, that's in the past." Sandra smiled. "I'm not proud of how I acted back then. We can forge a new relationship, can't we?"
"Of course! I've got to head out, but I'll see you at lunch tomorrow!"
They said their goodbyes and hung up. Sandra's smile disappeared once the conversation was over.
After repairing their friendship, Sandra looked forward to her and Freya's weekly lunches–but if she moved out of the city, she might not see Freya again. Would they want to stay connected so far apart?
Sandra tapped her fingers on the table. They'd work something out, wouldn't they? She'd just have to let Freya know of the situation, and they'd find a way to keep meeting up. Maybe not weekly, but monthly would be just fine. They were capable women. They'd make it work.
She forced herself to pick up the phone again and make the call, letting the city know she had accepted their offer.
Freya greeted her with a hug outside the restaurant. "It's so good to see you!" she said. "How have you been?"
Sandra laughed and hugged her back. "I've been good," she said, shoving aside any thoughts of the new job. "What about you? You seem as cheery as ever, ha!"
"What can I say? Everything's been going well!" Freya motioned to the door. "Let's go in, our table is waiting for us."
The restaurant was an all-day breakfast place. Once inside, Freya and Sandra were shown to their table by a waitress they had come to know over the weeks, and they chatted with her for a minute before she had to rush to help the next guests. "Did anything new happen?" Sandra asked when the waitress was gone. "I know you said one of your team's birthdays was coming up…"
"Sarah's, yeah." Freya took a sip of her water. "We didn't get a chance to celebrate the day of, because there was a fire, but we surprised her with a dinner out the day after. She really enjoyed it! She's been having a bit of a rough time, so it was good tomake her smile."
"You're really close with them, aren't you?"
"Well, we have to be able to trust each other, you know? It's only natural." Freya smiled. "Honestly, I couldn't ask for a better team. Bob, Clemmons, Sarah, Buster, even Roastie, we work together so well."
Sandra sighed. "I hope I can work that well with my own team."
She realized what she had said a moment later. "Not that I'm after your job," Sandra said quickly. "I just–you know, I'm still looking, and…"
Freya reached across the table and covered Sandra's hand with her own.
"Don't worry," she said. "I'm sure you'll find somewhere. You're smart, you're good at your job, and this isn't the only city in the country."
Sandra flushed. "About that," she said. "I… have some news."
"Really?" Freya beamed at her. "What is it?"
Sandra's heart pounded. "It's about my job," she said. "I got an offer for the position of fire chief."
"That's wonderful! Where is it? Not here, I'm assuming, otherwise someone would have told me I was being replaced."
"Of course not, I told you, I'm not–" Sandra shook her head. "It's in the next city over. I'm supposed to start in about… two months."
"I'm so happy for you, Sandra!" Freya said. "This is what you've always wanted, isn't it?"
Sandra averted her eyes. "Well…"
"Are you ready to order?"
The waitress' voice startled her. "Right!" she said, a little too loud. "Uh, could I have…"
She picked up her menu and ran her eyes over it. "I'll go first," Freya said. "Could I have an order of pancakes and hot chocolate?"
Sandra managed to pick an omelette from the many options, and the waitress walked away.
"You're having misgivings," Freya said.
"You're right," said Sandra. "This job is what I've wanted for years and years, and I've already accepted the offer… but it means I'll be leaving the city I grew up in. I know my family will support me, but it's going to be hard."
Freya nodded. "Do you know anyone in the area you're moving to? That might help."
"Unfortunately, no. Not anyone I talk to, anyway." Sandra thought back to old classmates; maybe one of them had moved there?" "I'm sure I'll make it work. I don't want to give this up."
"What do you need to do?" Freya asked. "I'm sure I can help, somehow. Maybe I could help you move? I've definitely accumulated a lot of vacation time."
Sandra laughed. "It's going to be a while before I'm at that stage, but thank you. I appreciate it."
Freya smiled. "I was actually thinking about asking you something soon, and if you're moving… well, I might not get another chance, y'know?"
Sandra tilted her head. "You wanted to ask me something? What is it?"
Freya flushed. "There's time. I think our food's about to get here."
Sure enough, their meals arrived within minutes. Freya changed the subject, and they chatted about nothing in particular for the rest of their meal. At the end, they made plans for next week before going their separate ways.
Freya called her in the morning a few days later. "Sandra? Do you mind if I come over?"
"Not at all," Sandra said. "Any reason why?"
"I wanted to tell you what I was talking about at lunch the other day." Freya hesitated. "Is that alright? We could meet up somewhere else, if you'd like."
"No, no, my house is fine." Sandra shifted the phone to her other hand while she cooked breakfast. "This isn't anything bad, is it? You'd tell me if it was serious."
"Of course! Don't worry, it's nothing bad, I'm just nervous about it." Freya laughed. "You'll understand when I get there."
She was still confused, but she would trust Freya nonetheless. They settled on a time before hanging up, and once she had finished breakfast, Sandra tidied up the living room.
She immediately understood when she opened the door and Freya stood there with a flower bouquet.
Sandra gasped. "Oh, Freya…"
Freya smiled. "There's no obligation to reciprocate," she said. "I just wanted you to know before you left. I knew if I didn't tell you, I'd regret it forever, y'know?"
Sandra nodded, still in shock. "Well, don't just stand out there," she said. "Come on, I'll get a vase for that…"
They went inside. Sandra found a vase and put water in it. "Right in here," she said, taking the flowers from Freya and placing them inside. "Freya, I… don't know what to say."
"It's alright," Freya said. "I realized this might be inappropriate."
"Oh, no, not at all!" Sandra said. "I… I honestly feel the same way. I enjoy your company, and you're a good friend. It would be nice to be in a relationship… but Freya, I'm moving."
Freya nodded. "I know. I certainly won't get in the way of your dream, I just wanted you to know. I just want us to be connected, even just as friends."
"Me too," Sandra said. "Thank you for telling me. Do you want anything to drink? I have hot chocolate."
"You always know what I like, Sandra."
Sandra put the water on to boil and sat down with Freya. Neither of them spoke for a few moments, Sandra lost in through with the new knowledge of Freya's feelings. They couldn't pursue a relationship, not when Sandra was moving, but she was so caught up in what could be, that suddenly, refusing the offer and staying in the city was almost appealing.
She frowned. No, Freya wouldn't want that, and neither did Sandra. They both had their paths in life, and they led the two of them apart.
"We're only going to be two hours apart," Sandra said. "By driving, anyway. That's not too bad."
Freya raised an eyebrow. "Do you think we could make it work?"
Sandra shrugged. "I don't know for certain. Both of our jobs will keep us busy, and we won't have much time to spend together. But it's possible, I think. I'm willing to give it a shot."
"Are you sure? I told you, I won't get in the way of your dream."
"You know that just makes me like you more, right?"
Freya snorted and clapped a hand over her mouth. Sandra laughed at her embarrassed expression. "Let's give it a shot," she said. "Besides, I'm not leaving for weeks. We have time."
She reached for Freya's free hand and took it, twining their fingers together. Freya removed her other hand from her face, revealing her red cheeks and bright smile. "I'm glad," she said. "So… should we plan a date?"
Sandra nodded. "I have some movies. We could pick one to put on?"
"Right now? Isn't that a little soon?"
"Sure, but when's the next time we both have a day off?"
"Fair point! Tonight sounds wonderful, Sandra."
The water finished boiling and Sandra poured mugs of hot chocolate for both of them. While she waited for hers to cool, she went into the next room and selected a few DVDs she thought Freya might like. It had been so long since they watched a movie together; Freya still liked action movies, right?
When she returned to the kitchen, Freya was staring at her with a dopey smile. Sandra flushed, but she found herself smiling, too. "What's that for?" she asked.
"I love you, you know that?" Freya said.
Sandra covered her face and looked away. "Isn't it too soon for that sort of language?" she said, her cheeks burning.
"But it's true! You're such a wonderful woman, Sandra, and it means so much to me that you're willing to give this a chance." Freya let out a sigh. "To give us a chance."
Sandra pulled her chair next to Freya's. "Of course," she said, and brushed her lips against Freya's cheek. "You gave me a chance after I was so hard on you. It's only fair that I return the favor."
Freya laughed and turned her head to meet Sandra's lips with her own.