Maya paces around the room. She’s ‘escaped’ from the station for an hour to get something to eat. Really, Carina text her and said that she had a little break before she had to deliver twins. They agreed to meet up for lunch.
She paces because she’s nervous. Maya’s not nervous to see Carina. That’s the least nervous and the most calming thing in the world for her. Now. Which is insane because Maya has never been one to feel like someone else can have such a calming effect on her. But Carina is different from everyone else.
She’s nervous because she wants to ask Carina something. She has an idea and Maya thinks it might be a good idea, a great idea. But there are problems, she knows, that will arise when she mentions this idea. And she needs Carina on board before she can put this idea into action. She needs Carina’s approval before she can put her thoughts into action.
Maya paces in the cafeteria. She knows she probably looks insane. She knows a few people have been looking at her. But she wants to wait for Carina before getting food or sitting down. Plus, she’s too anxious to sit anyway.
A couple minute later Carina walks through the door.
“Finally.” Maya whispers under her breath.
Carina walks over to her, puts a hand on Maya hip and leans in for a kiss. “What is happening?” She can tell just from looking at Maya that she is anxious about something.
Maya sighs and rolls her eyes. Her girlfriend knows her too well. But at the same time just that knowing so well makes Maya feel more comfortable and relaxed. She’s still anxious, yes, but just by being in Carina’s presence everything seems more manageable. Like this thing she wants to ask isn’t so monstrous.
“Let’s get something to eat first.” Maya leads the way to the food counter.
They settle in at a table and Maya takes a few tentative bites but doesn’t feel hungry because of the anxiety.
She swallows her bite of food and her pride. “I have something that I want to ask you.”
“Go ahead. You don’t have to ask permission to ask me something.” Carina smiles softly across the table at Maya.
Maya rolls her eyes. “It’s just that what I’m about to say doesn’t exactly bring back good memories for me and I know it won’t for you either. I’m not proud of that time in my life.”
Carina quirks an eyebrow.
“I want to do this thing for Pruitt. To honor him. And for Andy and the whole family really. Not just his family but the family we have at the station and the Seattle firefighter family as a whole.” Maya has rehearsed this speech in her head all day just waiting for the next time she saw Carina and she would be prepared to tell her. Except, right now, she doesn’t feel prepared.
“Last year we had that spaghetti dinner to raise money for Pruitt’s funeral. Well, I want to do that every year. Not raise money for a funeral but have a spaghetti dinner in his honor, to honor him and remember him. I thought maybe we could still raise money and use it for some sort of firefighter training scholarship or something. I don’t have it all figured out yet. But I wanted to know-“ Maya takes a deep breath. This is a lot. “I wanted to know if you could help me set it up. The dinner. The arrangements. Whatever, really. I want-“ She tries to say what she wants but something is stopping her. “I want-“
“What is it that you want, bella?” Carina clicks her tongue.
“You and my mom- you guys-“ Maya sighs. She knew this was going to be a difficult conversation to have and she was right. “You guys did such a good job last year. We came back from that call and everything was all set up. I was so worried that when I got back that I would be running around until the last minute trying to put everything together, but it was all done when we got back. And I never thanked you for that. You didn’t have to do that. I was spiraling out of control and you were there, and you did things I didn’t ask. Though at the time I hated it. But really, I love that you did all that. So, thank you. I know I should have said that sooner. So, yeah, thanks.”
Carina chuckles a little. “You are very cute. And you are welcome. And yes, if you want to do a spaghetti dinner again, I will help. Whatever you need I can do. If you want me to set up tables and chairs again, I can do that. If you want me to make phone calls and print posters and get the word out, I can do that. If you want me to cook the pasta, I can for sure do that. I think it’s amazing that you want to do this for Pruitt and Andy.”
Maya shrugs and looks down at her plate of food. “I’m also doing it for selfish reasons.”
Maya looks up again and over at Carina. She reaches across the table with her right hand and takes Carina’s left, giving it a gentle squeeze. “Yeah, I don’t like how that day went. I want a do-over. I want to erase those bad memories that you and I have of that day and make a lasting good memory. Or memories. For all the years to come. All the spaghetti dinners to come. I want to make it a yearly thing.”
“Have you talked to Andy about this yet?”
“No.” Maya shakes her head. “I wanted to see if you were on board first. I wasn’t going to do it if you said you didn’t want to or couldn’t handle reliving the memories from last year. You tried to tell me I was in denial. I was angry and I took it out on you. You were sad and disappointed. I saw it on your face when you left my office that night and I just pushed that out of my head. I was so convinced that what you and my mom were saying was wrong. It couldn’t be true. I had this whole idea and mantra and everything build into me, trained into me, my whole life. And you guys were saying something different. I didn’t want to be angry and I didn’t want to be pissed but I was. So, yeah, I’m not proud of my actions or my words, or even my thoughts from that day. And the days that followed.” Maya takes a deep breath. “And I know we’ve talked about this before. And I’ve said I’m sorry and I begged for your forgiveness. And I know we are good now. I know all that. But I just want to make sure that you are okay with the idea of having a spaghetti dinner again. I need to make sure you are okay with it.”
Carina shakes her head lightly. Maya is so considerate of her feelings now. It’s so very different from last year at the spaghetti dinner. “Yeah, that day wasn’t good but, Maya, it’s not a problem. I’ll be there. I’ll help out. Whatever you need.”
Maya sighs and holds her gaze on Carina’s eyes. “You’re so wonderful.”
“I know.” Carina smirks.
“I’ll talk to Andy about all of this. See if she approves and if she does, we can get the ball rolling.”
Carina nods. “Maybe you can invite your mom back.”
Maya smiles. “It was kind of weird when I walked in to see you and my mom together. Did you two gossip about me?” She was so mad and upset that day but walking into the fire station and seeing her mom and Carina together really felt special. Even with everything that was going on.
Carina shakes her head as she chews a forkful of rice. “Not really. She was just telling me about everything that she was dealing with with your dad. She seemed like she needed someone to talk to. I think she wanted that person to be you. But you didn’t want to hear it, so I listened.”
Maya hums. It’s still a difficult subject. Her parents. Their divorce. Her father’s abuse. She’s talked about it all with Carina but not anybody else really. “Well, I’m glad you were there for her to talk to. Even if that’s not how I wanted you to meet my mom.”
Carina grins. “It was funny when she thought I was a firefighter. Did I honestly look like a firefighter standing there in your office?”
“Not at all. I don’t know how she would have ever thought that.” Maya scoffs. “Sometimes I think she was playing dumb.”
“And then she thought I was your doctor.” Carina laughs.
“Exactly. That makes no sense. Like what did she think. My doctor is just making a house call at the station. Is that even a thing anymore?” Maya takes a few bites of her meal, suddenly her appetite has come back.
“Sometimes. But not usually.” Carina knows of a few cases where nurses and doctors visit patients at home but it’s not the general rule. If you are sick you go to the doctor or the hospital not the other way around. It’s just easier.
“So, yeah, that’s why I think she was playing dumb. She had to be right.”
Carina hums. “I don’t know.” She thinks back to that day and what they were doing in Maya’s office before her mom showed up. “If I remember correctly when Emmett knocked on the door we were in the middle of something.” She quirks an eyebrow.
Maya looks around the cafeteria. “Yeah.” She says incredulously. “You were trying to take all my clothes off.”
Carina chuckles. “And you weren’t stopping me.”
Maya rolls her eyes. She knows she would have let Carina continue if they weren’t interrupted. “My shirt was completely unbuttoned, and my belt was undone when my mom walked in.”
Carina just shrugs.
“I don’t know if I was more shocked that my mom was standing there just because she was there or if I was shocked that we were caught fooling around in my office by my mom.”
“So yeah, maybe she was playing dumb. To save you the embarrassment. Maybe I should have said I was your doctor and that I was just checking you out.”
Maya licks her lips. This conversation is reaching dangerous territory. Carina isn’t her doctor, but they could definitely play doctor/patient if they wanted to. “For that to be the case-“
“Could you imagine?” Maya wonders.
“You? Pregnant? No.”
They both have a good laugh at that.
“Though I do see women for general reproductive health, even when they aren’t pregnant.”
“I know.” Maya wrinkles up her face. She thinks about it sometimes. “You just look at vaginas all day.”
They laugh together again. Earning them a few looks from the other people around them in the hospital cafeteria.
“Shhhh.” Carina tries to say through her laugh.
Maybe it’s rude. The cafeteria had been quiet, solemn. It is the middle of a pandemic after all. But they can’t help it.
Eventually the laughter fades away. “I better get back to work before the cavalry comes looking for me. I left Andy in charge.”
Carina hums. “She’ll be a captain one day.”
“Probably not soon enough for her. I used to feel bad about getting the job over her but looking back I don’t know if she would have rose to the occasion at the time. In hindsight, I think that it was better that it was me. Though I had my own fair share of growing pains as a new captain.”
Carina remembers those days, when they first started dating and Maya was so worried that her team hated her and that she was failing as the new captain. Where they’d lay in bed and talk about it and Carina would reassure her that everything would be alright if she was just honest and did what was right for the team. “You did. But you persisted and you made it through and now you’re a better captain for it.”
“Thank you for always having so much faith in me.” Carina saw all of her struggles when she was first named captain, but she never doubted Maya could do it.
“You are excellent at whatever you do.”
“See, that’s exactly what I’m talking about.” Maya stands up. “Are you finished?” She motions to Carina’s plate.
Carina nods. “Si.”
Maya collects both of their plates. She waits for Carina to stand so she can give her a kiss before she puts her mask back on and has to leave. “I’ll see you in the morning.” She whispers.
Carina hums. “Have a good rest of your shift, bella.”
“You too.” Maya knows she should go dispose of the plates, but she lingers, and watches and Carina puts her mask on thinking that even with a mask covering most of her face Carina still looks gorgeous. “I love you.” She whispers.
Carina squeezes her elbow. “Ti amo, bambina.”
Maya watches Carina walk away and thinks about how lucky she is. Some days she really can’t believe that she has a woman as intelligent, sexy, and amazing as Carina.