To say the day has been difficult would be an understatement. Carina doesn’t thinking she’s gone through anything like this in a long time. Maybe ever. Even with her father. His mania always seemed productive. That is, until it wasn’t. But Carina never saw most of it. Some sure. Enough to know what was going on, definitely. He was at the hospital all the time. She was home or away studying. So this is different. Today is difficult.
To be working in the same hospital as Andrew was a blessing. Or so Carina thought. And it was until today when an intern came running into one of her patient exams in a panic telling her that she was needed and to hurry.
Carina thought at first that it was just one of her patients that had an emergency or had gone into unexpected labor but then she realized that the intern wasn’t one from her department.
Carina ran after him. She spotted the slowly growing group of people and came to a halt near the rear of the pack. That’s when she heard Andrea’s raised voice. Him nearly shouting. She knew right away what was happening.
This was it. The moment she had been waiting for. The other shoe had dropped.
She had pushed to the front of the crowd and the tears and sadness hit her as she begged Andrea to stop.
Carina had hid in her office for most of the rest of the day, only coming out when she was required to. She knows Andrea needs professional help. She also knows that he will refuse if she suggests something. Carina thinks about talking to Meredith about it, but she knows that Andrea isn’t going to listen to her either. He won’t listen to reason or anyone right now. And that’s the first major hurdle in all this. She spends the rest of the day thinking about what to do.
She doesn’t know who to turn to either. She could talk to Amelia about it. She knows the neurosurgeon would have some suggests and could even maybe help with a referral. They are friends but Carina doesn’t know if she should be talking to her friends about Andrea’s condition. If he found out that she was telling people that she thought he had a mental illness, Andrea would distance himself from her further.
She thinks about Maya. Even though Maya usually resists at first, Carina can always get her talking about what’s going on, what’s wrong, her problems. They mostly have to do with work and the station so maybe that’s why. She doesn’t know if Maya would talk about something that’s more personal. She also doesn’t want to talk to Maya about Andrea. Mostly for personal reasons. And because Andrea doesn’t even know who Maya is. Actually, now that Carina thinks about it, she wonders he if does know who she is. He’s worked in coordination with the fire department before. When he lost a kid in the hospital and went out with the fire department to help search. She vaguely remembers that. She’ll have to ask Maya about it.
Carina could just call her, and they could talk like normal, but Carina doesn’t know if she could act normal. She doesn’t want to put all of her problems on Maya. She doesn’t want to put more on her when Maya is dealing with her own stuff at the moment. Carina also doesn’t know if Maya would be there for her if she would open up about what is happening with Andrea. That’s the biggest hurdle. Carina doesn’t want to bring all of this to light for it to just be pushed aside or ignored by Maya. Or worse, for Maya to put distance between them or end things because of it. She thinks that would hurt worse than not bringing it up in the first place. She doesn’t want to intentionally keep secrets, but she also doesn’t know what’s going to happen with Andrea. Or what’s going to happen with Maya for that matter.
She showers the day off of her and gets on her pajamas and sits in bed with a hot cup of tea. Her phone sits on the bed next to her, almost taunting her. When her cup of tea is nearly gone, Carina finally gives in.
“Hey. I was just about to go to bed. I’m glad you called when you did, or I would’ve missed it.” Maya says in lieu of greeting.
“An early shift tomorrow?” Carina tries to remain calm, have evened breathing when she speaks.
“Okay. I just wanted- I’m not sure what I wanted.” Carina stumbles for something to say, her voice wavering and she knows it. She hopes Maya doesn’t notice.
Maya hums on the other end of the call, distracted with her nighttime routine. “I’m going to put you on speaker so I can wash my face and brush my teeth. I’m not ignoring you, or trying to be rude, I just want to get this done so I can get in bed.”
“I’m in bed.” She says flatly.
There’s silence from Maya for a moment as she thinks about Carina in bed. As she thinks about Carina potentially naked in bed. “What are you wearing?”
There’s a faint laugh. “Not like that.”
Maya sighs. “Sorry.” She starts the tap to wash her face.
“I have a cup of tea. It’s nearly empty. I’m just sitting here trying to relax.” Carina says and waits for a reply from Maya.
“Trying to relax? Did you have a tough day? I thought delivering babies made you happy.” Maya smiles at the image in her head. One of Carina, just having delivered a baby as she holds it in her hands and shows the parents, maybe announcing that it’s a healthy baby before a nurse takes it from her to clean it off and get its statistics.
“It does. I had an – interesting day.”
“Oh?” Maya is starting to pick up that this isn’t like their usual conversations. “Did something bad happen? Did you lose a patient?”
“No, nothing like that.” Carina sighs.
Maya notices that Carina isn’t her usual light, chipper self. She doesn’t want to be too nosy and straight out ask but the longer the conversation goes on the more it bothers Maya.
“Hey, before we go any further-”
“What?” Carina really isn’t in the mood. “You don’t want to go any further with me?”
“What?” Maya furrows her brow. “No. What? I just- is something up? Like you don’t seem like yourself today or like the you that I’ve come to know over the last few weeks. It’s just something I noticed while we were talking. And I just thought maybe I should say something. Not that I think I should say anything. It’s just that it seems like something is bothering you. Is something bothering you? Is it something I did? Or said? I just want-“ to make sure you’re okay. Maya doesn’t voice that last part though. She speaks fast and has to take a big breath after all her words come out.
Carina grins. “You’re cute when you ramble.”
Maya frowns. “You’re avoiding my question.”
“Which one?” Carina tries to play it off.
Maya sighs in frustration. “Come on.”
Carina sighs too.
“I think my brother is sick.”
There’s a moment of silence.
Carina chuckles. “He’s the only brother I’ve got.”
Maya knows this. She was just taken by surprise. Carina told her about Andrew the night they met. “A cold? The flu? I heard that’s going around. He’s a big boy, isn’t he? He can take care of himself. Though men are incredible babies when they are sick. Insufferable. Why are you so worried about that?” Something isn’t adding up and Maya knows it.
“Remember how I said I wanted to be around to keep an eye on Andrea. When we first met.”
Maya grins thinking about the night they met. “Yeah.”
“Well, this is why. He’s sick now. I think I know what it is cuz I saw the same thing with my father. It’s mental illness, Maya.”
“Oh.” All the air deflates from Maya’s lungs.
“And something happened today at the hospital that made me almost sure that he really is sick. During the snowstorm he went out to get a liver for a patient and he had to walk, and it was snowing, and cold, and he didn’t wear gloves and his hands got frostbite. That was the first sign. Well, maybe not the first, but that was an obvious first sign but this- this is so much more than that. He’s manic.”
“Oh.” Maya says again. She’s not really sure what to say. What do you saying when someone says something like their brother might have a mental illness?
“I just don’t know what to do. He won’t listen to me. Or really have anything to do with me. Meredith said he quit his job, but she convinced him to just take a suspension. I don’t really know where he is. He isn’t in contact with anyone right now, so I’m worried about him. He’s irrational. It’s not good.” Carina sighs, helplessly. She feels a little better telling Maya all this. She knows her brother wouldn’t like that she did, though. So she’s conflicted about doing so.
She waits for Maya to say something. When she doesn’t say anything Carina wonders if she did make the wrong decision in telling the blonde. This is what she was afraid of. She worries that Maya thinks poorer of her or that maybe she doesn’t like the sound of Carina having mental illness in her family. Whatever it is, Carina feels uneasy with the silence.
“Say something. Did I totally just freak you out?” Carina worries her bottom lip between her teeth.
“No. I just-“
“I’m sorry. It’s a lot. Forget I brought it up. We can talk about something else. How was your day?” Carina panics, she feels like she is losing Andrea and maybe now too losing Maya, even though they haven’t know each other for very long Carina feels like they’ve developed a good bond. This might just break that bond. She feels her eyes water.
“No. I won’t forget.” Maya fiddles with the hem of her shirt. “I just didn’t know what to say. That’s all.” This is very foreign to Maya. “I mean- we hardly know each other.” She hears Carina take a shocked breath. “I don’t mean that as a bad thing.” She tries to explain. “I just mean- this is so new. What we have. I just- I’m surprised you told me something so personal. I’m surprised you-“
“Trust you.” Carina finishes.
“Yeah.” Maya sighs. “I’m sorry.”
Carina chuckles. “Maya, I trust you. To be truthful, I was worried that you were going to judge me or Andrea or have second thoughts about us because of what I said but I never had a problem with trusting you enough to tell you.”
“Oh, well, it doesn’t change my opinion of you. Or Andrew, for that matter. If he’s sick like you think, then he’s sick. And I’m sorry you are dealing with this. It must be difficult.” Maya lets out a long breath as everything starts to make a little more sense.
“It is.” Carina sighs. She feels a little lighter now that this conversation with Maya has gone well.
“I wish I could see you right now.” Maya whispers.
Carina smiles at that. “I can video call you.”
“No, I mean, I wish I could see you. You know what, screw it. I’m coming over.” She feels it in her skin, in her bones. She knows that the other day after Rigo’s death when Carina came over that she felt so much better just seeing her. Maya needs to do that for Carina. To return the favor, so to speak.
“Right now. No, Maya. You were just going to go to bed. You need to sleep.” Carina doesn’t want Maya going out of her way to do anything at this hour of the day.
“I can sleep there. No?”
“You’ve never even been to my place.” Carina nearly whines.
“Well, there’s a first time for everything. Why not now?” Maya finds her sneakers and the things she needs for work in the morning and shoves them into her backpack. “Text me your address.”
“I’m serious. I’m hanging up now. If I don’t get a text message in the next minute, I will hunt you down Carina DeLuca. I’m the fire captain I have access to names and addresses of everyone in the city.”
Carina realizes the Maya is in fact serious. “Okay.” She says in a tiny voice. A teeny tiny smile on her lips at the thought of Maya coming over. Not just coming over but going out of her way, at the end of a day, when she should be in bed, and it’s late, to come over to make sure she is okay. It’s a feeling that Carina is not accustomed to but one that she is willing to accept.
“Okay, bye.” Maya hangs up the call. She gets her keys and is out the door. A text come in on her phone. My hits the address and it comes up on the map. “Perfect.”
It’s only ten minutes before Maya is standing at the door. She knocks lightly. She doesn’t have to wait long until the door is opening.
Carina takes a step back into her apartment to let Maya enter before closing the door.
Maya drops her backpack on the floor. “How are you doing?” She slips her arms around Carina’s waist.
Carina sighs and she puts her arms around Maya’s shoulder. “Better now that you are here.” She tells Maya honestly.
“Good.” Maya pulls Carina tight to her and rubs her hands up and down her back. “You’ll figure something out. You are super smart. I’m sure that everything will work out.” Maya feels Carina relax fully against her, some of her body weight resting on Maya. She does her part in standing tall and holding Carina upright.
They stay like that for a few minutes. But then Carina takes a step back. With a small smile, she runs her hands down Maya’s arms and finds her hands, interlocking their fingers together. “Let’s go to bed.” She whispers.
Maya smiles and nods.
It’s the crew’s first day back on the job since Rigo died. They’ve had the last two whole days off. Maya spent much of the first day trying to figure out what to do to help her crew deal with his death. Once she figured that out, she made it a point to spend the rest of the day outside, getting fresh air and exercise.
The night before had helped when Carina came over after her shift. But being alone again, Maya had felt that weight of his death.
And then yesterday, she had felt a little better about everything. That was until she talked to Carina last night and found out about Andrew.
The alarm on her phone had gone off ten minutes ago and Maya silently slipped off into the bathroom to get ready for her day. She comes back into the bedroom, dressed and ready for work. Maya stares at the bed. Her stomach twists with pain, guilt, and anxiety as she watches Carina. She looks around the room briefly. She’s never been here before last night, in Carina’s apartment. And last night she didn’t put any effort into looking around and seeing what kind of things Carina has decorated her space with. There’s not much really. A painting of a landscape on one wall. A bust of a woman in the corner which Maya smirks at. A straw hat sits on top of the dresser. The closet door is hanging open. It’s not messy but not as tidy as Maya keeps her place. A few items of clothing lay around. One hanging on the knob of the closet door, a pair of slacks on the arm of the small chair in another corner of the room.
But in the bed lays the most gorgeous woman Maya has ever seen. A woman that has opened her eyes to so many things in such a short period of time. A woman who has captivated her from day one. A woman who is dealing with something that Maya hopes she never has to deal with herself. A loved one with mental illness. She knows it can be taxing, exhausting. So that’s why she let’s Carina sleep. But she can’t just leave without saying goodbye.
Maya rounds the bed and kneels at the side. She runs her hand over Carina’s head, stroking her hair. “I have to go to work.” She whispers but doesn’t get any response.
She rubs her thumb across Carina’s cheek. “Hey.”
Carina’s eyes flutter open. “Are you leaving?” They had talked about Maya getting up early and going to work and agreed that Carina would sleep in and not get up to see her off. That was what Maya insisted upon.
“Yes, I have to go to work.” Maya whispers again.
Carina sighs. “-Kay.” Too sleepy to use the full word.
“Try to have a good day.” She presses a kiss to Carina’s forehead. “Call me if you need anything.” The words slip out of Maya’s mouth before she can really think about them, but as she pauses, she knows she means them. “Anything at all.”
Carina just nods. “Have a good day, Captain.” She mumbles.
Maya smiles and chuckles at that. “I’ll try too. I have to go deal with Rigo’s death.”
Carina wakes up a little more at that. With everything going on with Andrea yesterday she forgot about that. She pushes herself up onto her elbows. “I’m sorry. I forgot.”
“It’s okay.” Maya sighs. “You’ve got stuff going on too.”
Carina lays back down and nods into the pillow. “When will I see you again?” She doesn’t mean to sound whiny and needy, but she knows she does.
Maya thinks about it. She has to work that next three days. “Come by the station at lunchtime.”
The Italian raises an eyebrow at that, surprised.
“Only if you want.” Maya backs off a little, not wanting to seem too forward.
Carina closes her eyes again, cuddling into the blankets and pillow. She smiles, content. “I’ll see you at lunchtime.”
Maya rolls her eyes and kisses Carina on the side of the head as she stands up. “I’m going to go.”
Carina just nods.
Maya takes a step back from the bed and takes a moment to look at the woman before her. Something about this moment feels profound. Like, Maya doesn’t want to go. She doesn’t want to go to work. And Maya puts work above all else so that means something. And it has nothing to do with the fact that she has to deal with her team and Rigo’s death. This is about more than that.
She shakes her head, snapping out of it, as she realizes that Carina has fallen back to sleep.
It’s time to go.
There’s a soft knock on Maya’s office door. She looks up and sees Carina standing on the other side of the door. She waves her in. Maya stands up, forgetting her paperwork for the moment. She rounds the desk and goes to lean back against the front edge of it as Carina approaches her.
“Hey.” Maya whispers.
Carina runs her finger over the collar of Maya’s shirt. “Ciao.” She smiles and then kisses Maya.
Maya hums into the kiss. “How about that station tour now?”
Carina hums. She takes a step back from Maya. “Can I go for a ride on your fire truck?” She husks, her voice smooth and sexy.
Maya’s knees buckle. She grabs onto the edge of the desk with her hands to hold herself upright. “Good lord.” She groans and closes her eyes.
Carina chuckles and bites her lip. She reaches forward and grabs Maya’s belt buckle.
It startles Maya and she jumps away from the desk. She swats Carina’s hand away.
“Well?” Carina asks. She’s waiting for an answer from Maya.
“No.” Maya grumbles. “I’m at work.”
Carina tilts her head to the side. “I know that.” She plays innocent like she didn’t just suggest having sex with Maya at work.
Maya just shakes her head. She can’t even believe Carina right now. And after everything that happened with Andrew yesterday and Rigo a few days ago. “Tour?”
Carina sighs, disappointed. “Okay.”
Maya takes a step and then another as she passes by Carina. Carina reaches out and catches Maya’s hand as she passes. Maya stops and looks down at their hand hold. She’ll allow it but only if they don’t run into anyone. Maya has to keep reminding herself that she is working, that she’s at work.
They leave the office and Maya explains what happens at the front desk. She wonders who is supposed to be stationed there right now and where they are and why they aren’t at the desk. She forgets the thought as Carina squeezes her hand, bring her out of her thoughts.
“Let’s go into the barn. I will show you the engine, ladder truck, and ambulance.” She glances over at Carina and narrows her eyes.
Carina just smirks her little devilish smirk.
They walk the short distance. “Now no touching. I just made them clean everything.”
“What am I going to do? Get my fingerprints on something?” Carina jokes.
Maya scowls. “Yes. Station 19 can’t look bad out on a call.”
Carina realizes that Maya is serious. She looks left and then right as the come up next to the engine. “So I can’t-“ She leans in to whisper in Maya’s ear. “-push you up against the side of the engine and kiss you until you are panting and moaning for more.”
Maya swallows thickly. “No.” She whispers.
Carina laughs. “Relax, Maya.” She notices how rigid Maya is when she has visited her at work. Carina isn’t sure if that’s because she is at her work or if it’s because Maya is trying so hard to be captain and is putting on this tough rigid exterior.
“I’m at work.” Maya sighs.
“I know.” Carina repeats the words from before.
Maya hears footsteps and pulls Carina around to the front of the engine to avoid whoever that is walking by behind the engine from seeing them.
“If I didn’t know any better, I’d think you were trying to keep me a secret.” Carina whispers.
Maya looks over her shoulder at Carina. She shakes her head.
Carina raises an eyebrow at her. She reaches around Maya from behind and tries to get her fingers on Maya’s belt buckle again.
Maya shakes her head, telling Carina no.
Carina doesn’t listen though. But, instead of trying to undo Maya’s belt she shifts her hand lower, pressing her fingers against Maya as she slides them down between her legs.
Maya groans and clamps her thighs tight together, pinching Carina’s hand there.
“Are you wet?” Carina whispers in her ear.
All Maya can do is nod.
Carina pulls her hand away and takes a step away from Maya. Maya puts a hand on the front of the engine to steady herself, leaving a sweaty palmprint there. “Fuck.” She mumbles under her breath both at Carina and her antics and at getting the engine ‘dirty’.
“You need to relax, Maya.” Carina says. “Loosen up a bit.”
Maya sighs. She knows that. There’s just so much going on right now and she feels like she has to be solid and strong for her team. They need her to be. “And I suppose you were trying to help with that.” She turns around, finally, to face Carina.
Carina grins and nods. “Si.”
Maya rolls her eyes. “Well, all you did was work me up more. So, thanks.”
Carina reaches out and takes Maya’s face in her hands. “Oh, bella, mi dispiace.”
Maya tilts her head to the side.
Maya sighs. “Don’t. Don’t be. God, you are amazing and I’m being kind of an ass. It’s just that there’s a lot going on today.” There’s something that she appreciates about Carina trying to get her to relax but there also something in Maya that doesn’t want to go there with Carina while she’s a work.
“Listen.” She sighs. What she’s about to say is going to be a lot. “I don’t want you to think I’m keeping you a secret from the crew or sneaking around behind their backs when you are here or something. I know that’s what you are thinking but that’s not it.” Maya sighs. “And I appreciate you seeing that I’m tense and trying to get me to relax but I can’t have sex with you here. At the station. At work.” Maya closes her eyes and pauses for a minute. “As much as I would like to.” She looks down at the floor. “I’m the captain now. I can’t do that anymore. I have to be professional.”
That gets Maya to look up. She finds Carina’s questioning eyes looking at her. “I, uh, Jack and I snuck around behind everyone’s back, especially Andy, for a while.”
Carina furrows her brow.
“Jack is Andy’s ex too.”
Carina can’t help the laugh that burst out of her mouth. “Oh, dio mio.” She rubs a hand over her face.
“I know. I’m not proud of it. But that’s what happened. And so- and I-“ Maya sighs. “I don’t want to have sex with you here because if feel like that would taint what we have.”
“Maya.” Carina sighs her name. She reaches out for Maya and pulls her into a hug. She never would have imagined that when she met Maya at the bar that this is the Maya that she would see. This is the Maya that is under that hard, tough exterior. The Maya with feelings and emotions that go deeper than Carina thinks her own probably go. Maya with wants and needs that exceed just sex or a hook up. Maya that is reluctant to admit all of these things but eventually opens up about them to Carina. It’s such a gift in Carina’s eyes to be able to see and experience. Maya is such a gift and blessing to her.
Maya wraps her arms around Carina. “And because I’m captain.”
Carina chuckles at how serious Maya is about this. “Okay, bella. I get it.” She pulls back to look Maya in the eyes. “You could have just said something though.”
“Well, I just did.”
“I meant earlier.”
“Oh, well, I didn’t want to-“ Maya looks around before focusing on Carina again. “I didn’t want to bring Jack up again in regards to sex.”
Carina raises both of her eyebrows and gives Maya a tight lipped smile.
“Yeah. I know.” Maya shakes her head softly. “Let’s go back to my office. Have some lunch.”
“I didn’t bring anything with me.”
“No. And that’s good because I stopped at the deli on my way in this morning after I left your place and picked up a couple of sandwiches for us for lunch.”
“I did.” Maya rolls her eyes. “Since I told you to come down at lunchtime, I figured it would be inappropriate if I didn’t feed you while you were here.”
“You won’t let me ride your fire truck but you want to feed me?” Carina wiggles her eyebrows.
“Stop it.” Maya turns away from her. “Everything isn’t about sex or lead to sex.”
“But it could be.” Carina jokes.
“Stop.” Maya groans and starts to walk away from Carina.
Carina laughs happily as skips as she tries to catch up to Maya.
Maya gets the sandwiches out of the tiny fridge that she has in her bunk. “So, not to get too serious but how are you doing?” She is referring to Carina’s emotions about Andrew.
Carina shrugs as Maya comes back into the office. “I’m better than yesterday. I still don’t know what I’m going to do about mi fratello. But I slept surprisingly well.” Carina knows that’s because Maya was sleeping next to her. “And so, I feel better today. My head is clearer. Yesterday was such a mess. I still haven’t heard from Andrea, but I don’t expect to. As scary as that is.”
“Do you think he would do anything to harm himself?” Maya says. She knows it’s not an easy think to think about, but she feels like she has to ask. She has to know what they are dealing with here.
“No.” Carina shakes her head. Her body sags.
“Oh, come here.” Maya pulls her into a one armed hug. Sandwiches occupying her right hand. “I didn’t mean to upset you or put that thought in your head.”
“I know. It’s still hard to think about. I don’t think he would do anything intentionally. But I guess he is reckless and an accident or something could happen.” Carina worries her lips between her teeth.
Maya nods. “Let’s sit.”
Carina brings her chair around to the back side of Maya’s desk, so they are sitting next to each other. “Is this alright?”
Maya nods as she sets out their sandwiches on her desktop. “More than.” She takes Carina’s hand and gives it a quick squeeze before letting it go, so she can pick up her sandwich.
Carina lays her palm on Maya’s thigh as they eat. Silence envelops them as they focus on their food. A few looks are shared now and then but it’s comfortable.
Travis walks in on them sitting there eating. “Cap, I just wanted to-“ He stops when he sees the pair. “Oh, sorry.” He smirks. Travis isn’t sorry.
Maya stiffens at the interruption, at Travis seeing them together. But then Carina squeezes her thigh, and she relaxes. “What is it, Montgomery?”
“We’ve finished cleaning up the trucks and equipment. And everyone has had a chance to eat lunch.”
Maya nods. Briefly, Maya remembers the handprint she just left on the front of the engine. She’ll have to go wipe that off after Carina has left.
They had a call this morning and she made them clean and shine everything when they returned. Maya always feels better when she’s doing something, so she put them to work rather than sitting around and thinking about Rigo. She figures they need something to focus on, just like she does. “Thank you.”
Travis stands there for a moment.
“Is there something else?” Maya asks. He can leave now if he doesn’t have anything else to report.
Travis looks between the two of them. He smiles at Carina. “No, that was all.”
“Okay, thanks again.”
Travis nods and turns to leave. He wonders if he should keep this to himself or if he should tell someone else. The private part of him knows he shouldn’t say anything to anybody else though. But he finds it very interesting that he’s seen the same woman, Carina, in Maya’s office more than once in the last few weeks. He can’t keep the smile off of his face as he thinks about it.