Sometimes Kelly thought that the fire was the only constant in his life. It was never predictable, but he knew to deal with this. The moment the alarm shrilled and he jumped into the fire engine, he had no doubts about what to do; he would give his best to save lives, even if it meant to risk his own.
When it came to love it was so different. Unpredictable, like the fire, but so much harder to deal with. Like almost everyone, he longed for some warmth and nearness in his life, but on the other side, the thought scared him that maybe he would have to stay alone forever.
Of course, there were women in his life, more than just one. Mostly fleetingly one night stands. He had learned on the hard way that more nearness always was closely connected with the risk to get hurt. Shay. Though they had never been a normal couple; Shay was a lesbian. But she had been all for him, his best friend, his confidant; for some time they had even planned to have a baby together. Then she got murdered.
And it almost broke him. He went to Las Vegas for some distraction... two days later he was married. With a woman he barely knew. It didn't last long.
Some months later he met Ruth, and he wanted to believe that maybe she was the right one. They spent a good time together, until she told him, that she was pregnant. Just when he started to get used to the thought that he would be a daddy soon, he found out the truth. Everything she told him had only been a lie; the baby was not his and Ruth finally decided to leave him.
Anna. To think about her still hurt. Anna had been different from every woman he had ever dated. To lose her because of cancer throw him off the track completely. Never again, he had promised himself; never he would fall in love again. Apparently he was not made for it to be happy with one woman.
Then Stella stepped into his life, a firefighter through and through, like he was one. Every day anew ready to risk her life for others, but she was also funny, compassionate, sometimes a bit chaotic. In a way she reminded him of Shay, just that she obviously was fallen in love with him. He tried to ignore it. Sex, yes, he wouldn't mind this, probably they could have a lot of fun together. But deep inside he knew that she wanted and deserved more than this.
Love? Kelly felt the lump growing in his gut whenever he thought about it. Never again. It wouldn't last; finally he would lose her, and it would hurt again. But he didn't want to go through all the pain and sleepless nights again when he had to realize that it was out and over. Because he wasn't sure if he would endure it once again. Maybe this time it would break him.
„Hey, Severide.“ Stella's voice tore him out of his thoughts. „Will you ever stop acting like an idiot and follow your feelings?“
She was leaning against the doorframe, smiling at him, her eyes sparkling with a mixture of amusement and a touch of impatience. He swallowed hard, and with sudden eagerness, he grabbed for her shoulders. Pulled her closer and pressed his lips onto hers.
Maybe she would be the right one to spend the rest of his life with.