It was the eighties: Ronald Reagan was president, Michael Jackson's album Thriller topped the charts, and big hair and leg warmers were fashion hits. I was in the Air Force and fresh out of tech school as an aerovac medic (air medical evacuation). On my first assignment at Travis Air Force Base in Northern California, I found out everyone at the hospital had to participate in an emergency fire safety exercise. My supervisor signed me up. I had no choice in the date selection. I went and that's where I first met him.
You know how they say when you meet 'the one' that you hear bells ringing? I swear when our eyes locked I heard those bells. I also felt out of breath and giddy. I should point out that I'm not the giddy type. I graduated from basic training as an honor grad and a marksman. At that time I held a red belt in Tae Kwon Do. So, there we were in this overcrowded outdoor staging area with perhaps a hundred people: doctors, nurses, sergeants, airmen, officers, MPs--and for me it was as if the world stopped spinning and only the two of us stood there.
He smiled at me and I smiled back. He had captivating green eyes and dark blondish hair. He looked athletic and decisive. I noticed three stripes on his shoulders--I had only one on mine. A good thing about the military, we all wore nametags. His said, Johnson. He boldly joined the circle of friends I sat with and introduced himself. I admired his confidence. We talked for a few minutes and in that short time I discovered he had a great sense of humor. But we didn't get much time, both whisked away into different groups. He was assigned the rescuer group and I went into the patient group.
An hour and a half later I wondered if I would ever see him again. The people in my group were given safety briefings then we were divided up and thrust into separate hospital rooms. All I knew about him was his name, Senior Airmen Johnson. For all I knew his group had been dismissed and he was back on his ward working. I didn't know which ward. And there I was with five other people sitting and standing around a two-bed patient room, waiting.
Then, we all heard the fire alarms sound off. The adrenaline pumped through me. For a moment I forgot it was an exercise. But someone reminded me and others to stay put. Suddenly the door burst open, and I mean burst, like a saloon door in the Old West. There stood Senior Airmen Johnson. He spotted me and walked straight for me. Without a beat he threw me over his shoulder in the firemen's carry we had just learned, and waltzed out of the "burning" hospital building with me wriggling saying, "You can put me down now."
Let me digress a moment here, in the romance-writing world there is a thing called the twelve stages of intimacy, which I wouldn't learn until several years later, but this man just leaped from a stage one to a stage seven with his rescuing me! Needless to say, he made quite a first impression.
There might not have been a real fire in the hospital that day, but he had set my heart on fire. I knew he was the one I would marry. The ensuing love story is for another rainy day. I am happy to say that over thirty years later, my hero, my husband, is still the love of my life. And he is every bit the cowboy that I suspected he was.
Victoria M. Johnson knew by the time she was ten that she wanted to be a writer. She loves telling stories and she's happiest when creating new characters and new plots. Avalon Books and Montlake Romance published Victoria's fiction debut, The Doctor’s Dilemma, (A 2012 Bookseller’s Best double finalist). Her other fiction book is a collection of romance short stories titled, The Substitute Bride and a novella, Hot Hawaiian Christmas. She is also the writer and director of four short films and two micro documentaries. Visit Victoria's website at http://VictoriaMJohnson.com for inspiration and tips and find her Amazon author page or connect with her on Pinterest and Twitter.