Actions

Work Header

From the Beginning

Chapter Text

 “Maya.” Carina sighs. She takes a step towards Maya and takes her hand. She puts her other hand on Maya’s back, rubbing it.

“Come with me to my next therapy session.” Katherine pleads

“I beat it the next time.” She smiles smugly. “Ya know, I agree. YOU need therapy. But I’m good.” Maya pulls her hand out of Carina’s hand hold and stomps off.

Carina is a bit taken back by the outright denial of abuse from Maya. She’s spoke a little with Katherine about what she was doing at the station while they were setting up the tables. Katherine said she was trying to get Maya to see the truth about her dad. Carina didn’t know it was such a serious truth until now.

Carina and Katherine stand there awkwardly. Carina shifts. “So, uh-“

Katherine looks down at her feet. “She needs some time to process this. She must know that he is abusive. Right?” She looks back up and over at Carina.

Carina stares at Katherine with wide eyes. She’s not sure what she’s supposed to say. “I- I don’t know. Sometimes it’s not very clear. Like someone doesn’t see something as abuse.”

Katherine nods. “Well, should we continue, or do you think Maya would be mad if we did?”

Carina looks over her shoulder, in the direction that Maya went. She wants to go find her. She wants to talk to her. She wants to see if Maya is alright. But Katherine just said that Maya needs time to process this. And she is Maya’s mother so she must know how Maya would handle this sort of thing. Carina is relatively new at this thing with Maya.

“Let’s continue.” Carina wants to help even though Maya told them that she doesn’t want their help and that she never asked for it. “Should we go see if they need help in the kitchen?”

Katherine nods.

They finish setting up and getting all the food prepared and cooked. The guests start arriving and forming a line. Vic lets them in, and everyone starts getting a plate and eating. Carina gets a plate of spaghetti and sits next to Katherine at a table in the corner of the room.

“I’d say this is a success.”

“Me too. I’m curious though?” Katherine sort of waves her fork at Carina.

“Yeah.”

“I don’t want to sound rude or be rude. Your accent is?”

“Italian.” Carina smiles.

“That’s what I thought. But I’m not very cultured and I wasn’t sure. That’s so cool. So, you live here now?”

Carina nods. “I’ve lived in Seattle for a few years. My brother is here. We’re both doctors.”

“Wow. Impressive.”

“I’m glad you think so.” Carina smiles kindly.

“Do your parents not think so?”

Carina twirls some spaghetti around on her fork. “My mamma has passed but she was very impressed and proud of her children. My father, on the other hand, we’ll it’s complicated.”

“I’m sorry to hear that. The men in our lives can be difficult sometimes.”

“He just doesn’t think my specialty is very honorable or worthy or even something that needs to be a specialty because and I quote ‘it’s something women have been doing since the beginning of time’.”

Katherine wrinkles up her face at that.

“I deliver babies.”

“Oh.” Katherine nods. “I see.”

“So, yeah.” Carina pushes her chair back. “Excuse me.” Talking about her father has made her think of something. She walks through the crowd of people, out of the truck bay, and into the hall. She knows Maya is in her office. Andy let Carina know that she was before they opened up the dinner to the public. The lights are off, it’s dark, she opens the door, not bothering to knock.

She sees Maya sitting there, arms folding over her chest, face red and puffy because she’s been crying. She hates to see it, but she knows that it’s probably necessary.

She explains how she loves her dad and how he’s not okay and how he did things that were abusive. Maya can’t even look at her when Carina goes over to squat near Maya’s desk. She speaks of denial and Maya yells at her that she isn’t in denial.

Carina walks out of the room. She knows Maya needs some space right now. She knows that Maya raising her voice isn’t about her. It isn’t about Carina saying that Maya is in denial. It isn’t about that, and she knows that, but it still stings a little.

She sees now, with talking to Maya’s mom what her father has put Maya through. Maya would only talk about him in bits and pieces to Carina. Nothing was ever flat out like hey this is what he did. But Carina sees now. The thing is that Maya doesn’t see it. Carina knows. She’s lived it. She experienced it with her own father.

She goes back out to the dinner and sits with Maya’s mom.

“How is she?” Katherine whispers.

Carina shakes her head. “Not good.” She twirls some spaghetti around on her fork before bringing it to her lips.

“I knew she would act this way. She loves him. She does everything to please him. She looks up to him. She-“ Katherine shakes her head and sighs. “It took me a long time to see it. It took me even longer to work up the courage to leave him.” Her hands start shaking as she speaks. Carina notices and takes Katherine’s right hand in her own. “I’m okay.” She breaths out a long slow breath. “It’s a lot. To realize you’ve been abused. And the way it happened. It’s not the obvious kind of abuse.”

“No, it’s not.” Carina agrees.

They sit a table away from everyone else, tucked away in the corner, so they can have this private conversation.

“Just give her some time.” Carina says. She’s sure Maya will figure this out and come around. Maya is smart, so smart. She’ll figure it out.

They finish their meals and Dr. Bailey comes over to say goodbye to Carina.

“We’re going to take off. I just wanted to say that the dinner was amazing. Tell Maya she did a fabulous job.”

Carina nods. “I will.”

“Where is she?”

“She’s got some administrative stuff that she needs to take care of in her office.” Carina lies.

“Oh, well. Too bad. Hopefully she gets a chance to eat something.” Miranda says with a smile. “I’ll see you.” She puts a hand on Carina’s shoulder as she walks away.

Carina presses her lips together in a tight smile.

“Maybe you should make up a plate and bring it to her.” Katherine suggests.

“I don’t think she wants to see me right now.” Carina hangs her head. She just wants to be there for Maya, but Maya made it clear that she doesn’t want that.

“Even so.” Katherine shrugs. She’s not sure who Carina is, really, but she’s seen the way the woman and her daughter interacted today in their brief time together. It’s clear that they are close and that Maya trusts Carina.

Carina pushes herself up from her seat and takes her plate and Katherine’s and disposes of them. She gets a clean plate for Maya and gets some salad and then spaghetti and a little piece of garlic bread. She grabs a fork at the end of the table and with a deep breath heads towards Maya’s office again.

She knocks on the door before opening it. She can see the top of Maya’s head, her chair turned away from the door. “I brought you something to eat. I know you don’t feel like eating right now. And I know you don’t want to see me or talk to me right now. I’ll just leave this here.” She sets the plate on Maya’s desk. “Just eat, please, bella. I don’t want to see you in the hospital again.”

Carina doesn’t get a response from Maya, so she sighs and turns to leave.

The dinner was a success. Carina and Katherine wait around until the end to help clean up. Emmett is the one who is put in charge of the clean up as the probie. So, he joins Katherine and Carina. They work seamlessly in getting the barn back in order, all the tables folded up, and everything put away.

“So, you’re Maya’s mom.” Emmett asks. They’ve established this already. It’s just a conversation starter. “And you’re Maya’s?” He looks to Carina.

“I’m Dr. Carina DeLuca.” Carina says. She doesn’t want to say anything out of turn. She also doesn’t want to say anything in front of the new guy or Maya’s mom that Maya doesn’t want her to say. She knows how these things work sometimes.

“I know that. But why are you here?” Emmett wonders in his dopey innocent way.

“I came to support the station and the cause and because I’m Italian and we can’t turn down an Italian meal.”

Emmett frowns at that. He knows something isn’t adding up, but he knows not to say anything about it either. “Nevermind.” He grabs the stack of folded table clothes and walks off to put them back in the supply closet.

“Why are you here?” Katherine questions, turning to Carina. There’s not malicious intent behind the question. Katherine is just curious.

Carina sighs.

“You were here earlier. Before the dinner started. Before even I got here. Long before anything even needed to be set up.” Katherine realizes all of these things for the first time. So much has happened today and she had so much on her mind that she really didn’t question what Carina has been doing hanging around the fire station all day.

“It’s my day off. I was going to come to the dinner anyway. I just thought I could lend a hand. It’s not a big deal, really.” She changes the topic. “It was nice to meet you, Katherine.” She puts a hand on the woman’s arm. “And it was nice talking to you. I don’t know too many of the firefighters here very well yet, but it was nice sitting with you at dinner. I had hoped to sit with Maya but-“ They both nod. “I’m going to go say bye to Maya before I leave. Have a nice rest of your evening.”

“I’ll try. Thank you, dear.” Katherine looks at Carina curiously. There’s something about the woman that she likes. Maybe it’s her polite, kind nature or maybe it’s something else.

Carina nods at her with a tight-lipped smile. She turns and walks over to Maya’s office. Her back straight and her posture rigid. She’s not sure what she’s going to find when she walks in this time. She expects the cold shoulder again. Carina knocks and goes in.

“I just came to grab my jacket and my wallet.” She says in explanation. She goes into Maya’s bunk. She picks her jacket up off the bed and puts it on. She takes the wallet from the bed as well and holds it in front of her with two hands as she goes back into the office. She stands at the side of Maya’s desk.

Maya is looking down at some paperwork on her desktop. The plate that had the food on it sits empty on the corner of the desk. She has just been staring at the paperwork for the last thirty minutes not actually doing it.

“Are you even going to saying anything or look at me?” Carina says in frustration.

She sees Maya’s face twitch, her hands curls into balls.

“I’m glad you ate something but Maya it’s not healthy to keep that anger and rage locked up inside.” Carina reminds her.

“I know that.” Maya growls.

“Okay.” Carina reaches out to pick up the plate. “Will I see you tomorrow?” Maya is off work tomorrow. Carina has to work but usually they will meet up at the end of Carina’s workday.

She doesn’t get a response, so she picks up the plate and is ready to leave. Carina walks to the door and looks over her shoulder, back at Maya once more, giving her one last chance. But Maya sits there, stoic, unmoving. Carina frowns and leaves.


She usually comes to the hospital and spends most of her time in the ER dropping off a patient, so she’s still getting used to the layout of the whole building. She knows where Carina’s office is but sometimes everything looks the same; and if you’re not paying attention and in your own head like Maya is right now, it’s easy to get turned around.

Maya turns the corner and realizes that she made a wrong turn. She goes back to the nurse’s station and heads in the correct direction of Carina’s office. She gets there and it’s dark and the door is locked.

She goes back to the floor and stops at the nurse’s station. “Would you happen to know where Dr. DeLuca is, Carina?” She smiles kindly, hoping the woman behind the desk will assist her.

“Do I know you? You look familiar.”

Maya’s smile widens. “You’ve probably seen me around here before. I’m Captain Maya Bishop.”

Recognition comes across the nurse’s face. “Oh, right. The hot firefighter that Dr. DeLuca is seeing.”

“That would be me. Unless there’s another hot firefighter that she’s dating.” Maya jokes.

“No. Just you.” The woman says seriously, clearly not getting the joke.

“Uh-“ Maya looks around nervously. “Could you tell me where she is?”

“She’s gone.”

Gone.

Maya thinks that’s a strange choice of word to use. “What do you mean gone?”

“What’s in the bag?” The nurse asks.

Maya looks down at the little brown paper bag that she’s forgotten about in her left hand. The nurse clearly didn’t hear the question that Maya had asked. “A croissant. What do you mean gone?”

“Oh.” The nurse looks around and then leans forward across the top of the desk so she can whisper to Maya. “I heard she had to leave cuz her brother lost it. They’re taking him to treatment.” The nurse leans back. “She took the rest of the day off.” She says it as if it’s nothing.

“He’s sick. He has an illness.” Maya says sternly. She doesn’t like how the nurse just flippantly referred to Andrew’s disease as him ‘losing it’.

“Right.” The nurse goes back to her computer screen now that she’s given Maya the information that she knows.

“So, she’s gone?”

“That’s what I said.” The nurse nods without looking at Maya.

Maya’s grip on the pastry bag tightens, she crumples the top. “Damn it.” Maya grumbles.

The nurse’s eyes flicker from her screen to Maya and back to her screen. “She’ll be back tomorrow. If that’s what you’re worried about.”

“That’s not what I’m worried about.” Maya looks around. She’s starting to feel a little self-conscious now that she stands on the maternity floor like an idiot.

Maya thinks she should have come by the hospital earlier in the day, right when her shift finished maybe. But she needed time. She needed time to think of a plan and what to say. It’s not like she didn’t have enough time to think about it. She’s been thinking about what she is going to say to apologize to Carina since she left her office last night. But now, none of that matters. Well, it matters but there are larger issues that are happening right now.

Right now.

And Maya didn’t know that the ‘intervention’ was today. She didn’t know and she said she would be there. Maybe not there physically because that would be weird and uncomfortable for Andrew because they don’t really know each other. But she said she would be there for Carina for support. And she wasn’t and she’s not.

She’s standing in the middle of the maternity department with no idea where Carina is. She’s supposed to know. She’s supposed to be involved. And she’s not. All because she had to get mad about some stupid shit that her mother said that isn’t true. It didn’t help that Carina tried to convince her that she was in denial. Maya knows what denial is. She’s not in denial. About anything.

So here she is. Standing there like an idiot. She hasn’t heard anything from Carina all day or last night. She knows why? Cuz she was basically an asshole. But that doesn’t excuses her behavior. She never should have yelled at Carina. It’s not Carina’s fault. She shouldn’t have taken her anger out on her. She shouldn’t have let Carina leave her office without apologizing. She shouldn’t have not tried to contact until now.

And now what?

“Do you want this?” She mumbles to the nurse and sets the brown paper bag on the desktop.

The nurse narrows her eyes at Maya. “Are you sure?”

Maya shrugs. “Better than me just throwing it out.”

“Isn’t it for Dr. DeLuca?”

“It was but she’s not here.” Maya doesn’t know if she’s ever felt like such a failure. She said she was going to do something and didn’t do it. And not just anything. A huge thing. So now she has two things that she has to apologize for. She sighs.

“Okay.” The nurse snatches the bag and opens it up to look inside.

“Thanks for the info.” Maya waves her hand in the air lazily.

As Maya makes her way out of the hospital someone calls her name. “Maya.”

It’s Dr. Bailey.

Maya spins around, not really in the mood to chat.

Bailey rushes over to Maya. “I thought that was you. What are you doing here? I thought you would be with Carina.”

Maya sighs again. Another reminder of her failure. “I, uh, we had an argument last night. I guess she didn’t want me around at all today. I haven’t heard from her. She probably just wants to handle her family matter all on her own.” Maya thinks maybe if the tables were turned, she wouldn’t want someone butting into her family business. Hell, that’s basically what she told Carina last night.

Miranda hums. “I don’t know about that. She seemed rattled.”

“She is. Everything that’s going on with Andrew is taking a toll on her. She tries to put on a brave face at work and in public, but at home she’s just tired and exhausted and frustrated and sad.” Maya doesn’t even really realize what she’s saying. She’s just telling Miranda what she’s seen with Carina.

“Well.” Miranda is shocked to hear this from Maya. “You seem to know more about her than anyone else.”

Maya only nods at that.

“I don’t know what happened. The dinner was wonderful and a success, by the way.”

“Thanks.” Maya nods.

“As I was saying, I don’t know what happened-“

“I screwed up.”

“Let me finish.” Bailey narrows her eyes at Maya.

“Sorry.”

“Call her. Find her. Tell her you screwed up or whatever because that woman needs you right now. Suck up your own pride or whatever and focus on her for today. Worry about your own crap after this passes.”

Maya takes a deep breath. Dr. Bailey is correct. Then again, Dr. Bailey is almost always correct. “Thanks, Miranda.”

Miranda puts a hand on Maya’s elbow. “It’s Dr. Bailey when I’m at the hospital. You might be my husband’s boss but I’m the boss around here.”

Maya grins at that. “Got it.” She salutes Miranda.

“Now go.” She gives Maya an actual push. “They left hours ago. I’m sure Carina is home by now.”

Maya gets outside and brings her phone to her ear. It rings and rings and rings before going to voicemail. Maya starts walking. She hits call again. And again, it rings until it goes to voicemail. Maya huffs in frustration. She hopes that carina isn’t just ignoring her call. That would be worst case scenario right now. She’s hoping that Carina is just busy, or doesn’t have her phone right next to her, or is in the shower, or the phone is on silent. Anything but ignoring Maya’s calls.

She walks the few blocks to Carina’s apartment in five minutes. She pushes Carina’s apartment button and waits.

“Who is it?” Carina asks in a tired voice. Maya can almost imagine the matching look on the Italian’s face.

“It’s me. Let me in.” Maya practically demands.

“Are you here to yell at me?” Carina is frustrated with the blonde right now.

“No. I’m sorry. No. Now let me in.”

The door buzzes and Maya pulls it open. She runs up the stairs two at a time, she nearly knocks an old lady over at the top of the stairs. “Sorry ma’am.” She grabs onto her elbows.

“Where’s the fire?” The old lady says in a soft voice.

The joke is not lost on Maya but she’s in a hurry.

“Are you okay?” The old lady nods at Maya. “Okay. Good. Sorry I’m in a hurry to-“ Maya doesn’t need to explain anything to this stranger. “I’m sorry. I have to go.” She looks over her shoulder towards Carina’s apartment. She releases the woman’s elbows and the old lady stays standing upright, so Maya knows she’s good. “Okay.”

“Maya?” She hears Carina’s voice from down the hall.

“Bye.” Maya smiles at the old lady before spinning around and jogging down the hall.

“What are you doing to Mrs. Johnson?” Carina asks as Maya gets to her apartment door.

Maya tilts her head to the side. “I’m not doing anything to her.” She looks back down the hall at the old lady. She hasn’t moved from the spot that Maya left her in. Carina looks down the hall too, leaning into Maya and putting a hand on her shoulder for balance. “I bumped into her on my way up. That’s all. I was making sure she was alright.”

“You’re such an upstanding citizen, Maya Bishop.” Carina teases. That frustrating she had with Maya dissipated as soon as she saw Maya down the hall.

Maya snaps her head back around to look at Carina. She’s standing directly in front of her. She looks the woman up and down. “How are you?” Maya asks and puts her hand on Carina’s hip.

Carina’s eyes slowly shift to Maya’s from Mrs. Johnson. She looks into Maya’s eyes and sees the concern there. “I feel-“ She takes a deep breath. “-relieved.” She sighs. “I know that’s terrible to say.”

“No.” Maya shakes her head. “It’s not.” Maya looks back to Mrs. Johnson. “Let’s go inside.” She nods at Carina’s apartment. Carina takes a step backwards and Maya takes a step forward. Then another and another until they can close the door. “I feel it too.” And Maya does. She feels the relief wafting off of Carina. But she also feels relief knowing that the worst part is likely over, that everyone can move forward now, that things aren’t at a standstill regarding Andrew’s illness anymore. There’s a path forward now and it’s a relief to know that and to get to this point.

“Maya.” Carina sighs and collapses against her.

“I’ve got you.” She wraps her arms around Carina. “Let’s sit down.”

Carina nods but is no help in moving her body to the couch. Maya does most of the work.

“What happened?” Maya asks.

Carina shakes her head. “I didn’t know it was going to happen today but then Erin Banks came in and she wouldn’t talk to anybody but Andrea. Which was a good thing but at the same time I didn’t want him treating patients. He’s in a depressive state. He shouldn’t be anywhere near patients.”

“That’s probably a good idea.”

“So, while he was busy with that, I got Dr. Bailey and Dr. Grey together and we decided it was going to happen today. I went to get the therapist and Dr. Grey contacted Dr. Webber. They were all there.” Carina explains.

Maya puts her hand on Carina’s thigh. “I’m glad he has people to support him. You’re a good sister.”

Carina hangs her head. “He tried to fight it and argue it. And he eventually broke down. He said he has one goal in life. Not to be like papa. But he’s not. He’s so much better than papa. By getting treatment. That’s something papa has never done and will never do.”

Maya takes in a quick breath. “I’m sorry I wasn’t there.”

Carina looks over at Maya now for the first time since they’ve been seated. “I didn’t ask you to be.” She says with a sigh.

Maya shakes her head lightly. “No. I said I would do whatever it was that I could to help and then- then-“ She doesn’t want to have to bring up last night again. She doesn’t want to remind Carina that she yelled but she knows Carina is thinking about it. “I’m sorry about yesterday. I’m sorry I yelled at you. It wasn’t your fault.”

“I know, bella.”

“And I’m sorry because of that you didn’t feel like you wanted me around today.”

Carina sighs. “It’s not that I didn’t want you around.”

“Isn’t it?” Maya gets a little defensive.

“Well, maybe a little. I would have called you eventually.”

“When?” The irritation is evident in Maya’s voice.

“Maya. Can we not?”

Maya takes a deep breath. Carina is right. Now is not the time to rehash what did or didn’t happen.

“You didn’t call me either.” Carina adds. “Or text. Or anything. Actually, how did you know?” The thought occurs to Carina now. Maya must have found out about Andrea from somebody, otherwise she wouldn’t be here.

Maya runs her hand through her hair, nervous to explain. “I went to the hospital. To find you. To apologize.”

“Oh.” So, Maya did reach out. It may have been much later than Carina would have liked.

“I talked to a nurse on your floor that said you weren’t there. And then I ran into Bailey on my way out. Then I came straight here. You didn’t answer your phone.”

Carina can see the worry on Maya’s face, even now, after she’s arrived and found Carina. “I put it on silent. I don’t want to talk to anyone right now.”

“Even me?” Maya whispers.

Carina closes her eyes and shakes her head. “I’m glad you’re here. And you were right. It’s not that I didn’t want you around today but after last night. I didn’t feel- I didn’t know- it was a weird feeling. I don’t like that feeling with us.”

“I know. Me neither. And I’m sorry again. I didn’t mean to make you feel that way. I didn’t want you to feel like I was just casting you aside or disregarding you or anything like that. I know that I shouldn’t have taken my anger out on you. I shouldn’t have yelled. All you were was kind and gentle yesterday and I turned into an ugly yelling monster.”

Carina lays her head on Maya’s shoulder. “It would have been nice if you had been here today when I got home. Or that you knew what was going on and you could have come over after I got home. I guess that’s my fault. I wanted to rub it in your face?” Carina isn’t sure if that’s the right phrase. “About yesterday. Like if you didn’t want me around yesterday then I didn’t want you around today.” Carina gets more comfortable. She turns and brings her legs up on the couch, laying them across Maya’s thighs, turning sideways and leaning against Maya. “But that’s not true. I wanted you around today. I just felt hurt about yesterday.”

Maya sighs and nods. She finds Carina’s hands in her lap and wraps hers around them. “It’s not that I didn’t want you around yesterday. I always want you around. I just felt ambushed, I think. My mom and you. I just- it was too much.”

“Maya?”

“Yeah.”

“Baciami.” She can’t believe Maya hasn’t kissed her yet since she’s been here.

“Oh.” Maya looks into Carina’s eyes. Carina nods and smiles a little. Maya wasn’t sure the reception she was going to receive from Carina when she showed up at her apartment so she didn’t make any moves that might have gotten rejected.

Carina leans in, just centimeters from Maya’s face. She waits for Maya to connect their lips. When she does, Carina sighs into the kiss. Maya smiles into the kiss and tilts her head a little, getting a better angle, to give Carina a proper kiss.

Carina slips her palm up to the back of Maya’s neck, making sure she isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. She needs this. She needs Maya’s kisses, Maya’s soft affection, Maya’s attention.

They stay like that for a long few minutes, trading kisses, and smiles, and little smirks. Eventually, Carina sighs and rests her head on Maya’s shoulder.

“How did everything go?” Maya whispers.

Carina knows she means with Andrea. “Better than I expected. Honestly. I thought there would have been more of a fight. But I think a part of him was just done too. Which is good. I know it’s scary and that’s part of it but I’m proud of him.”

Maya hums. “What can I do?”

“What do you mean?” Carina lifts her head from Maya’s shoulder and looks at her with wrinkled brow.

“Like now.” Maya rolls her eyes. “I wasn’t around today but what can I do? Now.” She waits for Carina to say something. There must be something Maya can do to help. Even if it’s just a little thing. “I can make something to eat. Have you eaten?” Maya suddenly feels like the tables have turned. She’s the one making sure Carina is eating and taking care of herself. “I could order something. Or could whip something up. What do you have in the kitchen? Or I could clean the kitchen if you aren’t hungry and need a little alone time to process. I could run out to the store too. I can clean and organize. I’m good at that.”

Carina shakes her head. “I’m good, bella. I just want you here. But maybe I should eat something soon.”

“Low blood sugar? Cuz I don’t need you passing out on me.” Maya smiles, a little joke.

“Well, if I do, I have a hot firefighter to resuscitate me.” They share a laugh. “I just haven’t had anything to eat since breakfast. It’s been a hectic day.”

Maya nods, understanding completely.

“Would you really clean my whole apartment for me?”

“In a heartbeat.” Maya nods eagerly.

“You’re a bit neurotic, you know that, right?”

Maya laughs. “Thanks, babe.” She runs her hand up and down Carina’s back mindlessly as she thinks about all the things she’d do for Carina and realizes that there’s likely nothing that she wouldn’t do. She distracts herself from that thought. “What should we do tonight? After we eat, of course.”

“I don’t know.” Carina sighs. She’s content with just sitting here with Maya.

“I know. Those pictures.”

Carina doesn’t know what Maya is talking about. “Oh.” Then it hits her.

“Little Carina. I bet you were the cutest kid.”

Carina hums. “I’m not so sure about that. I had wild frizzy wavy hair. I had skinny arms and legs. I looked like one of those stick figures with a full head of hair.”

“Can I see? Pleeeease?” Maya begs. “Pretty please with a cherry on top?”

“Okay. Okay.” Carina rolls her eyes. “But first you have to make me dinner.”

Maya laughs, full, hearty. “You got it, babe.” She gets Carina to move her legs so she can get up and make something to eat. She’s not sure when she turned into this domestic, caring, nurturing version of herself, but Maya finds it doesn’t bother her so much anymore. She used to think it was foreign and unnatural for her but now it’s just how it is.

She leaves Carina sat on the couch and starts rummaging through the cupboards for something to make. A sense of calm washes over Maya as she takes a deep breath. The day turned out completely different than she was expecting. Maya was so worried about apologizing for her bad behavior that she got lost in that and hadn’t even checked in with Carina and didn’t know what was going on with Andrew. She feels a little guilty about that, but knows that they are both a little bit at fault for not communicating better about yesterday’s events.

Maya’s minds flashes to yesterday, to the spaghetti dinner, to finding her mother and Carina talking and laughing when they returned from their call. She wonders what they were talking about. Maya thinks it was probably her. She being the common denominator between her mother and her girlfriend.

She’d ask Carina but Maya isn’t sure she wants to know what they were talking about.

“Do you need any help?” The question shakes Maya from her thoughts.

“No.” She gets a pan out. “I’ve got this. You stay there. Relax. Do you want some wine?”

Carina sighs. “No. Can I have a glass of water though?” She’s feeling a bit dehydrated. Maya brings her over a glass of water a few seconds later. Maya’s hand runs over her head, the back of her hair, over her shoulder. She presses a kiss to Carina’s forehead. Carina lifts her chin to look up at Maya and Maya presses a kiss to her lips. “Thanks.” She accepts the glass from Maya.

Maya hums. “I’ll let you know when dinner is ready.”