Waking Up to Love

Waking Up to Love by Evan Purcell

Book: Waking Up to Love by Evan Purcell Read Free Book Online
Authors: Evan Purcell
waiting for him to finish the last round of river habitats.
    Every day, Scott ate a tuna sandwich with mustard and tomato slices, and every day, he made sure the schools of fish under his feet didn’t know that he was eating their cousin.
    Quinn and Terry sat on the other edge of the dock, enjoying their sandwiches and Cokes. Miguel had forgotten his lunch, so he’d offered to work through the break and leave a few minutes early at the end of the day. Scott noticed that Miguel conveniently forgot his lunch every time he had a hot date to prepare for. Whatever. As long as he pulled his weight during work hours, Scott couldn’t complain.
    A floating branch jabbed into Scott’s submerged feet. The current was definitely wild today, especially after all the heavy rains they’d been having way upstream. He quickly pulled his legs out of the water.
    Next to him, Miguel chucked one of the second to last fish habitats into the river. It landed with a splash before the pair of sandbags dragged it to the bottom. He grunted in self-satisfaction.
    Scott noticed that Miguel’s ratty sneakers were untied. Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal. BLM guys didn’t have the strictest dress code. But their safety code was written in stone—or at least heaps of government paperwork—and a loose shoelace was a definite violation of that. If his shoelace caught on even a single branch, he could get pulled underwater before anyone would even know he was gone.
    “Tie your shoes, Miguel,” Scott warned.
    His coworker looked at him blankly. “Sure thing, boss,” he said, but he didn’t actually tie anything. Odds are, Miguel hadn’t read the safety handbook.
    Miguel picked up the last of the fish habitats—a small cluster of plastic pipes bound together by dried Christmas tree branches—and hoisted it into the water. If he had listened to Scott’s instructions, his shoelace wouldn’t have gotten tangled in the branches. He didn’t, though, and the weight of the habitat yanked him off his feet. He toppled into the water, his body twisting in mid-air.
    If only he had listened to Scott’s instructions—
    If only—
    Miguel was pulled underwater. If someone didn’t help him, he would drown in minutes.
    Scott didn’t have a single thought in his head. His entire body was on autopilot. There was no fear or anxiety in him, only an electric drive, an urge that propelled him forward.
    He dove into the river.
    • • •
    Ramona stepped out of her car, armed with silverware and a Tupperware container stuffed full of meatloaf. “Okay,” she whispered to herself. “You’re just dropping off Scott’s lunch. No need to be nervous.”
    She was nervous, and she really didn’t know why. She had a weird sense of foreboding about this afternoon. She was afraid that without his mother there, she’d say the wrong thing, push things too far too fast. No matter how well things had been going the last couple of days, their friendship was still on the mend.
    She almost hadn’t come, but this whole thing was Debra’s idea. “Here. Take this to his work. He’ll love you even more.” She was certainly insistent.
    Ramona hadn’t argued, even though she knew that Scott was probably already eating his trademark tuna sandwich with mustard and tomato slices. It was never easy to argue with Debra McInney, especially now that she was in recovery. Somehow, those extra months of sleep had brought out her argumentative streak. It was like she’d spent all those nights in the hospital stockpiling her arguments, waiting for the moment when she’d wake up and unleash them upon the world.
    The other reason Ramona didn’t protest to this lunch delivery was that she genuinely wanted to see Scott in his workplace. She hadn’t come to visit BLM land for more than a year, and she missed the endless Arizona horizon and the dark blue river. It was such a peaceful environment, so calm and relaxing and—
    “Quinn! Go inside! Call an ambulance!”
    A panicked

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