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From the Beginning

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They have a ‘date night’ tonight after Carina is done with work. Maya is trying to plan the whole thing out. Not that there is a whole thing but she feels anxiety about having a plan.

She stops at the edge of the park to catch her breath. Bent over, hand on her knees.

Dinner. That’s what Maya has planned. Dinner and a movie? But at a movie they can’t talk. No movie. Dinner and some other activity.

Maya stands up straight, hands on her hips, and tips her head back, taking in deep breathes of air. Her run was brutal, punishing. Just how she wanted it to be.

Dinner and a walk in the park. But is that too boring. They’d be able to talk. Or is talking at dinner enough. They don’t need to talk all night. Do they need to talk at all?

Maya’s got the dinner part all down. She made a reservation at a newish Thai place that is a few blocks from her apartment. She’s never been there but would like to try it. She had asked Carina if she ate Thai food and when she said yes, she knew she didn’t have to worry about the dinner part anymore. It’s the everything else about the date that Maya needs to worry about now.

After a few stretches, Maya hops in her car and drives home. A shower later, she is writing down ideas for their date. She’s only got two. Movie. Walk in the park. She taps her pen on the piece of paper for a few minutes as she tries to think of ideas. Nothing substantial or concrete develops in her head.

Maya gives up and starts cleaning the apartment. She is frustrated with lack of ideas and planning but remembers what Carina told her. As long as it’s with you, it will be amazing.

She wants to impress Carina with their date but knows that she doesn’t have to and that it will be fine if she doesn’t. It’s just that Maya usually puts her all into everything she does. To not do that feels weird. But she’s tired and sad and a down still about Pruitt and everything so she’s not going to fuss over it anymore. Instead, she fusses over cleaning the apartment.


“What did you do today?” Carina asks as their food is brought to the table.

Maya hums and looks over her plate with big hungry eyes. “I went for a run, I tired to think of things to do on our date but didn’t come up with anything. I realized that maybe it was okay not to come up with anything and that it wasn’t the end of the world if I didn’t. So I tried to get over the feeling of like I was failing at the date by cleaning the apartment.”

Carina chuckles lightly. Maya and her stubborn ways. She likes that Maya is driven and passionate about everything that she does. Carina thinks maybe to a fault at some points, but that’s Maya’s way of living. To do the best, to be the best. But maybe it progress that Maya has acknowledged that she doesn’t have to stress out about everything. About their date. And that it’s okay if she doesn’t have a plan for absolutely everything in life.

“So, you’re saying you don’t have any other plans for our date.” Carina raises an eyebrow.

Maya shakes her head.

“Okay. Good.”

“Why? Do you have a plan?” Maya is excited that maybe Carina thought of something for them to do.

“I do not.”

“Oh.” Maya pouts.

“Don’t sound so disappointed, bella.”

Maya sinks down in her seat. “I just wanted tonight to be good, ya know?”

Carina reaches across the table and takes Maya’s hand, giving it a squeeze. “It will be. It is.”

Maya takes a deep breath and looks into Carina’s eyes. She sees the honestly and sincerity in her eyes, the reassurance that whatever they do tonight during their ‘date night’ will be good, will be satisfactory, will be enough  . She nods. “Okay.”

“Now eat your dinner or you don’t get any dessert.” Carina says playfully.

Maya drops her jaw, leaving her mouth hanging open, in mock offense. “It’s hard to eat when you’ve got your hand wrapped around my right hand. Fork and all.”

Carina’s eyes glance down at Maya’s hand. She watches as she rubs her thumb over the back of Maya’s hand. She sighs and pulls her hand away. “I’m glad we are doing this.”

It’s been a rough few days. Carina still feels exhausted, but her spirits are better. Andrea isn’t any better though. He still is holed up in Meredith’s house. She doesn’t want to push him or pressure him, but she knows something has to change. And it’s exhausting to think about that all the time.


“So, what’s next? Any ideas?” Carina wraps her hand around the inside of Maya’s arm as they exit the restaurant.

Maya shrugs. “I thought we could have a nice little stroll back to my apartment.”

“Lead the way.”

They spot a runner in bright neon colors. And Maya comments on how they look like they stepped right out of the 80s.

“I kind of like it.” Carina comments. “It’s fun and bright and nobody will miss spotting them or run into them or anything.”

“I had an outfit like that once.”

“Recently?” Carina would love to see this outfit.

Maya shakes her head. “I was four or five. A total snot of a kid. I hated it.”

“It couldn’t have been that bad.”

“Oh, it was.” Maya presses her lips tight together trying to decide if she should go on or just drop the subject right there. She could drop it and Carina wouldn’t be the wiser. But- “You know Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat?”

“The what?” Carina stops on the sidewalk and glances at Maya with a little curious tilt to her head.

“It’s a musical. But that’s not the point. It’s the story of Joseph from the Bible.”

Carina nods. “That, I’m familiar with.”

Maya grins. “That’s not the point either.”

“Then what’s the point.” Carina bites her lip around her smile. “Why do you bring up Joseph?”

“It’s his coat. Of multi colors.”

“I’m so lost Maya.”

Maya puts her hand on top of Carina’s that is on her arm. “Come on. I’ll show you.”

They pick back up their walk. “Where are we going?”

“Home.” Maya mumbles. She looks left and then right before crossing the street. “My dress wasn’t bright neon colors, per say, but it was multi colors. I called it my Amazing Technicolor Dreamdress. Like Joseph’s coat.”

“I thought you hated it.”

“I did. Well, I didn’t. I liked the pattern. It was all these different sized squares of different colors. I hated that it was a dress.” She smirks. “That I was forced to wear it. I was at a stage where I was rebelling and wanted to make my own decisions on what I was going to wear for the day.”

“I bet you made it look adorable though.” Carina teases.

“Oh, shut up.” Maya rolls her eyes. “It was for my Preschool Graduation.”

“You had a Preschool Graduation?”

“Oh, yes. It was a very serious ordeal. A bunch of four year old’s dressed up in the latest early 90’s fashion. Wait til you see it.” Maya says with a little giddy smile.

“See what? The dress? You still have it?”

“God, no. The video. I have a VHS tape of my Preschool Graduation.” She looks up at Carina with a smile in her eyes. “I can’t believe I’m even admitting this or going to show it to you.” No one has seen that video. No one outside of her family. And, of course, the other kids that were in her Preschool class that probably have a copy somewhere too.

Carina glances over at Maya. She doesn’t know what to think or even say. “I can’t wait then.”

Maya hums. “Come on.” She’s eager to get home now as a strange feeling sits in her belly. Excitement. Anticipation. Where usually she would be embarrassed to show someone a video like her Preschool Graduation, she’s nothing but excited to show it to Carina. “You can’t tell anyone else this video exists though.”

Carina crosses over her heart with her index finger. “So, what happens in this video?”

“We sing and do skits. And get our diplomas.”

“Of course.” Carina nods.

“I make the introduction speech.”

“Oh, dio mio.” Carina sighs. “How precious.”

Maya raises an eyebrow and glances at Carina. “Don’t say that. You haven’t seen it yet.”

They make it back to Maya’s apartment and Maya runs through to her bedroom and goes straight for the closet for the box that the tape is in.

“I’ll just make myself at home.” Carina calls after her with a small chuckle. The excitement in Maya is cute and adorable and childlike. It’s not something Carina has seen before. A rather giddy Maya.

“Yeah, sure babe. Do whatever. Maybe get us a snack. I think there’s some of that cheap boy scout popcorn in one of the cupboards from when they came by the station, and I was practically strong armed into buying multiple boxes. That was months ago, and I think there’s still a full box left. It’s not the best and I probably shouldn’t even eat it. My dad wouldn’t like it if he knew I ate it. It’s just there and sometime- like if I’m watching a movie- here it is.” Maya pulls the video tape out of the box. She runs her thumb over the white sticker that was printed specifically for the tape that says: Preschool Graduation. May 1993. “I found it.” She yells and turns around.

Maya is surprised to see Carina standing in the bedroom door, leaning against the frame with her arms folded loosely over her chest. “What?” The grin on Carina’s face makes Maya a little self-conscious. “Did you find the popcorn?”

Carina giggles. “We’ve been here like two seconds.” She steps into the room. “You are very cute right now. I like the excited energy.”

Maya thinks about saying that she’s cute all the time but that’s not something Maya would say out loud. Ever. She hums and steps past Carina. An arm hooks around her waist though bringing Maya to a halt. “Not so fast.” She pulls Maya into her side and they both look down at the video tape in Maya’s hand. “Do you even have anything that plays that?”

“Si.” Maya grins. She knows Carina will get a kick out of that.

Carina’s eyes roll back in her head. “Maya Bishop.” She practically purrs.

“It’s old but I kept it.” She knew she had some tapes and that she wanted to keep the old DVD player/VCR player. Maya never imagined that this would be the reason she would be getting it out and dusting it off. “Do you want me to get the popcorn or do you want wine or something else?”

“We just ate dinner.”

“I know.” Maya frowns.

“Do you have any wine?” Carina asks. She’s never seen wine at Maya’s place the other times that she’s been here.

“Yes, I bought some because-“

“Because?”

Maya looks down at the tape in her hand again. She takes a deep breath. “Because of you.” It sounds so simple when she says it but feels like so much more than that. Because while it is simple, it’s so much. The feelings she has for Carina are so so much. They aren’t simple but somehow everything ends up being simple. Maya knows it doesn’t make any sense but that’s how she feels.

Carina kisses her then, surprising Maya. “I’ll get the wine and you get this-“ She taps at the tape with a fingernail. “-all ready.”

Maya nods and Carina releases her. They both do their respective tasks. Carina comes over to the couch with two glasses of wine. She sets them down on the coffee table and goes back for the bottle. She knows they will be consuming the entire bottle tonight.

Maya gets everything set up. “Ready?” She turns back to look at Carina who is sitting on the couch with her legs tucked up underneath herself. She nods. “Okay.” Maya takes a deep breath and pushes the VHS tape into the VCR.

The video quality is subpar for the standard nowadays but back in 1993 it was state of the art. The grainy video starts and it’s just an image of the crowd of parents. And then some music starts, and a row of little kids walk up the middle aisle from the back of the room.

Maya sits down right next to Carina and reaches forward for her glass of wine. “Can you guess which one is me?”

Carina wraps her arm around Maya’s shoulders and leans into her. It takes her a minute, but Carina spots a tiny Maya Bishop walking up to the front of the room amongst the rest of her class. “Dio mio, your dress.”

“I told you.” Maya takes sip from her wine glass. She spots her parents in the crowd as the camera person pans the camera to the front of the room where the kids are getting lined up. One row of about seven kids in the front row seated on chair, one row of kids standing behind them, and then a third row of kids, standing on chairs, behind them.

“That seems dangerous.” Carina refers to the kids standing on top of chair in the back row.

“It was the 90s. Kids did dangerous stuff back then.”

“True. We would play in the street. Run out of the way when a car came flying by on our tiny little street. That would never happen in most places today.”

“We just had to be home by the time the street lights came on. I don’t think my parents knew where I was half the time.” Maya tells of her early childhood. She got to play outside and run around until a certain age. Then things became serious when she was about ten or eleven years old. Serious about running and track and training. There’s wasn’t time to ‘play outside’. She wasn’t little kid anymore. Maya needed to get serious about life and what she wanted to do and wanted to accomplish. All with her father’s help, of course.

The kids all get settled and then the teacher places a microphone stand. A tiny Maya Bishop hops off of her chair in the back row and sways up to the front where the little microphone is. Her colorful dress on full display. The solid squares of purple and orange and pink and yellow make it stand out amongst all the other children’s clothing.

“You’re so cute. That dress is amazing.” Carina eyes are glued to the tv watching a little Maya Bishop. Her blonde hair and colorful dress front and center on the screen now.

“The Amazing Technicolor Dreamdress.”

“Yeah, that.”

Little Maya looks around the room, then at the teacher.

“Were you nervous?”

“I don’t know.” Maya doesn’t even remember that day. The only reason she knows it happened is because there is video evidence.

“Welcome to our program.” Little Maya speaks way too loudly into the microphone. She looks around again to see if what she said was okay. “Thank you all for coming.” She nearly shouts into the microphone again.

“Oh. Oh, Maya.” Carina sighs, squeezing her arm tighter around Maya.

“I knew how to work a crowd.” Maya jokes. “Clearly.”

“Clearly.”

Little Maya walks back to her chair, her loose dress swaying in the motion that her little body creates.

“Look at that swagger.” Carina chuckles.

“I don’t think it’s swagger.” Maya shakes her head. “I think it’s just me being awkward.”

The kid’s start singing a goofy little song and after the song is finished a boy and girl come up to her front and put on wigs and hats and pretend to be an old man and woman.

“What’s on the back of that kid’s neck?” Carina wonders.

“It’s a rat tail. Was that never a thing in Italy?” She looks away from the tv screen over at her girlfriend. Carina has a bit of a perplexed look at the thought of rat tails.

“I don’t know.” Carina has no idea what a rat tail is.

“There’s a couple kids with rat tails in here. One of the many fashion fails we have to witness.” Maya turns back to the video.

“I don’t know if it’s a fashion fail but it’s a poor choice in judgement. These are little kids. They didn’t decide to grow a rat tail. And for it to be that long. Look at that thing. It’s past his shoulders. It had to have been growing the kid’s whole life practically.”

Maya laughs softly. “You’re probably right about that.”

“Oh, what are we doing now?” Carina leans forward in her seat as she watches the teacher pass out wooden dowels to the kids. “Are those drum sticks?”

“This is my favorite part. And no.” Maya grins conspiratorially.

“Why? Does a fight break out cuz one kid hits another with those sticks? What were these people thinking? Standing on chairs, giving kids weapons.” Carina clicks her tongue before taking a big gulp of her wine.

The song starts and the kids play along to the words of the song. First, pointing their dowels down at the ground when the ‘singer’ says the word down. And then lifting the dowels back up and crossing them, making a collective clanking noise as everyone hits their dowels together as he says the word cross. Then the singer instructs the kids to bow down.

All the kids bow, bending at the waist. Except for one kid. Maya.

Little Maya sort of leans forward a little and just bows her head. All the other kids are bent over half way from the waist and Maya sticks up like a sore thumb, just basically looking down at the floor.

“What was that?” Carina whispers.

Maya holds her hand over her mouth to try to suppress a laugh that is bubbling up. “Nothing.”

“Do you not know how to bow?”

“I know how to bow.” Maya defends.

“Did little Maya not know how to bow?”

Maya shrugs. That might have been true. In all honest, Maya has no idea what was going on in little Maya’s head at the time or why she refused to bend at the waist and bow properly.

The song continues on. The kids point their dowels at the floor and then cross them and then bow again. But, again, little Maya sort of just ducks her head.

“Oh my gosh.”

Maya is laughing now. She can’t help it.

The song goes on and they go through the motions again. At the floor, crossed, bow down. Little Maya doing the same head duck while every other kid is bent at the waist.

Maya is laughing so much that she’s shaking next to Carina.

“Does this keep happening?”

All Maya can do is nod.

“How many times?”

“Like si-six.” Maya laughs. She has to put her wine glass on the table, she’s shaking so much. “It’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen and I’m the one doing it.”

Carina watches the video play as the kids do the same thing over and over and over. She chuckles a little but is too mesmerized by little Maya to really laugh. “What even is that?”

“I don’t know.” Maya says in between laughter. “It’s so awful. But it’s so funny.”

“You’re the star, Maya.” Carina pulls Maya closer and presses a kiss to her cheek.

“I’m not the star. I’m just an idiot.” She wipes tears from the corners of her eyes as the song ends and she lets out a slow unsteady breath. “It gets me every time.”

“How many times have you watched this?”

Maya freezes at that. “Not many. I watched it after I won my Gold Medal. I watched it after I graduated from the fire academy. And when I graduated from high school, I think.”

Carina hums. That’s interesting information.

“To see how far I had come.” Maya tries to explain her reasoning in watching the video.

“Well, I hope you learned to bow properly before you graduated high school and won Gold and graduated fire school.”

“It’s not fire school.” Maya frowns. “And yes, I did.”

“Oh, bella. I know. The fire academy.” She rubs her thumb of the arm that she still has around Maya’s shoulder against Maya’s opposite cheek. “Can you show me?”

“Show you what?”

Carina is messing with her. “That you know how to bow.” She smirks into her wine glass.

Maya folds her arms over her chest with a huff.

They watch most of the rest of the video in silence. Carina makes little comments here or there. Maya tells her which kids when total heathens and which kids were tolerable and which kids were her friends.

“That one girl on the end seems like she could be anywhere else. She keeps yawning and she’s not sitting very lady like.” The girl in question sits on her chair with her legs spread wide open in a skirt. She has white tights on so it’s not super scandalous.

“That’s Diane. She’s always been rather unbothered by most things. It’s just the way she is. Or always has been.”

“Are you still in touch with her?”

“Oh. No.” Maya shakes her head. “Her younger sister dated my brother for a little while.”

“Really?”

“It wasn’t anything. They were like ten.” Maya thinks back to that time. “But we all had to have these weird family gatherings with my family and her family. They had ferrets. I didn’t like it.”

“Ferrets are like nicer rats, right?” Carina is trying to remember if the word that Maya is using is matching up with the animal in her brain.

“Right. But they usually smell.”

Carina hums.

They watch a skit of the big bad wolf and I’m a little teapot. There’s a song about a robin in the rain that the kids sing. And at one point they all get up and get in a circle and shuffle around and the boys bow down to their girl partners. Then the diplomas are handed out.

The video ends and Maya rolls her head along the back of the couch, looking over at Carina. “What did you think?”

“I think you are very cute. I love the dress. Your presence is amazing. I couldn’t take my eyes off of you. I’m not just saying that. You seemed to draw attention to yourself even when you weren’t in the spotlight.”

“It’s just the dress. It pulls your eye.”

“Maybe.” Carina smiles bashfully.

“What?”

“Can you rewind to the bow down part again?” Carina wants to be able to laugh like Maya did. She needs a laugh. She needs to feels something happy.

“Okay.”

Maya rewinds and they watch that part again, laughing the entire time, rolling around in laughter, until they are laying on the couch.

“Hello.” Carina looks down at Maya.

Maya’s cheeks ting pink with all the attention Carina focuses on her. “Hi.” She whispers and looks away.

Carina tilts her face back with a finger on Maya’s chin. “Little Maya is absolutely adorable.”

“I’m glad you thought so. It would have been embarrassing if I showed you that video and you thought it was stupid.”

“It’s not stupid. You’re not stupid.”

Maya sighs, trying to let the words sink in. Carina always knows what to say to her to assuage her anxieties.

“Now do I get to see little Carina?”

Carina hums. “I might have some photos of when I was a kid back at my apartment but nothing like this video. This is extraordinary.”

“I’d like to see those photos.” Maya mumbles.

“Sure, bella.” Carina sighs. She lays her head on Maya’s shoulder. “Can we just lay here?” Carina feels tired now.

“Absolutely.” Maya runs her hands up and down Carina’s back slowly. “Anything you want?"

They lay in silence for a few minutes. Maya wonders about Carina’s day. She asked her about work during dinner, but she knows there’s more going on than just work. “Carina?”

Carina hums, letting Maya know that she’s listening and that she can ask her question. “How’s Andrew today?” It’s not something Maya really wants to bring up. She knows it makes Carina sad. And mad and frustrated and Maya is sure other emotions that Carina doesn’t even know or realize or has even brought up.

Carina sighs and tightens her grip around Maya. “Non lo so.”

Maya hums. “He’s not at work?”

“No.”

“He’s still at Meredith’s?” Maya asks next.

“Si.”

Maya sighs and sets her palm on the back of Carina’s head, her other arm around her back, holding her gently. “Do you know what you want to happen?”

Carina nods against Maya’s shoulder. “I want to have a convention. Get Dr. Bailey and Dr. Grey on board maybe even Andrea’s mandated therapist.

“An intervention.”

“Ah, si.” Carina lifts her head from Maya’s shoulder and looks her in the eyes. “I know he won’t listen to me alone. But maybe if we get some of the people that he is closest with that will make him see that we just want him to get some help. I think maybe Dr. Webber should be there too because they’ve become close with Richard’s illness. But I’m not sure because he just had surgery.”

“All you can do is ask. If he not up for it, then he not up for it.”

Carina nods and lays her head back on Maya’s shoulder. “Thank you.”

“For what?” It always amazes Maya that Carina is always thanking her for something.

“For asking about my fratellino. For remembering. For caring.”

Maya scoffs. “Like I would forget. And I care about what’s happening with him because I care about what’s happening with you.”

“Lo so.” Carina sighs and nuzzles her nose against the side of Maya’s neck.

“How do you want to end date night?” Maya changes the subject to something lighter.

Instead of using any words, Carina presses her lips to the spot behind Maya’s ear. She then takes Maya’s earlobe between her teeth, tugging on it a little before letting it go.

“Are you sure?” Maya asks.

Carina pushes herself up onto her elbows so that she is hovering above Maya from the waist up. She looks down and can see the question in Maya’s eyes.

She can’t do it. Carina shakes her head and collapses on top of Maya again. “No.” She whispers. She just doesn’t have the energy, the enthusiasm, the right frame of mind.

Whereas in the past, Carina might have used sex as a distraction, as a catalyst to something else, as a way to feel something other than negative or bad thoughts and emotions; she can’t do that with Maya. She can’t do that anymore with Maya because at one point she did. She used Maya to feel a certain way, as a distraction.

But now, sex with Maya is intimate, it’s sacred, it’s about them and it should only be about them. No outside influences, no outside factors, no distractions.

“Okay.” Maya rubs her back some more.

“I want to.” Carina taps her fingers on her right hand against Maya’s arm. “I just- can’t.”

“I know. It’s okay.” Maya gets it. She really goes. She’s not really in the mood either. “We can just go to bed. If you want.”

“Si. Please.”

“Okay.” Maya releases her hold around Carina, letting her get up but Carina doesn’t move. “Am I going to have to carry you?”

Carina pushes herself onto her elbows again, an amused expression on her face. “Is that something you could do? Like physically?”

Maya shrugs. She’s pretty sure she could if she had to. “I mean, I don’t want to have to put it to practical use but if I absolutely had to, I’m sure I could.”

“Maya.” Carina sighs, completely enthralled with the thought of Maya carrying her around the apartment.

Maya chuckles. “Come on. Get up.” She pats Carina on the side.

Carina sits up and then back on her heels.

Maya smirks and swings her legs off the edge of the couch. She puts her hands on the edge of the couch cushion. “I’ll race you to the bed.”

It gets a little playful smile from Carina. A goal of Maya’s. Carina shakes her head. “No, you wouldn’t.”

Maya raises a challenging eyebrow. “Wouldn’t I?”

They both know Maya would.

Carina sits like Maya. “Okay.”

“One, two, three.” Maya counts. “Go.”

They both jump up and run around each end of the couch. Maya gets to the bedroom door first, so Carina jumps on her back to slow her down. It doesn’t get Carina into the lead, but it does get both of them flopping down onto the bed.

“You cheated.” Maya whines.

“How did I cheat? You still won.” Carina rolls off of Maya.

“You were on my back.” She can’t believe Carina doesn’t see that as cheating.

“But you still won. Technically.”

Maya rolls her eyes. “Fine. Should we change?”

Carina nods and bites her lip. She watches as Maya gets off the bed and goes to her dresser and pulls some sleep clothes out for both of them. She’s come to like the domesticity that they’ve fallen into. Especially at bed time. All the small things. Sleeping together, changing together, sharing clothes. The fact that Maya has a half a draw in her dress where she keeps things for Carina. A few shirts and shorts, undergarments. She thinks she might really like sharing things with Maya. More than just a drawer, or clothes, or the bed. It’s not the first time she’s thought this either. Carina has thought about what it might be like if they shared a space more than just a few nights a week.

“What?” Maya turns around to catch Carina watching her, biting her lip, with a strange little twinkle in her eye.

Carina shakes her head. “Nothing.” She holds her hand out. “Come.” She gets Maya to move back across the room to her with a flick of her wrist.