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From the Beginning

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“Then I think you should go.” Maya can’t handle this right now. She can’t handle Carina pushing her and trying to get her to admit something that isn’t true. She doesn’t know why the woman has to keep going on about this. She wishes Carina would just drop it already. First, it was talking to her mother that Carina wanted her to do. And now she wants to talk about abuse and denial again.

“What?” Carina snaps. “This is not how you handle a fight.”

Maya nods, agreeing.

“Maya, I-“ Carina could just say it. She could spit it out, but she knows that if she does right now that it will come back to bite her in the end. She could tell Maya that she loves her right here and now. But the fact that they are arguing will make Maya think she only said it because of that. Out of spite.

“-I’m here for you.” Carina says instead. “I’m not leaving.” She wants to make sure Maya knows that at least.

Maya pauses, almost short-circuiting. “Okay, Okay. I’m- I’m- I’m gonna.” She puts her hand on her chest. “I need- I need to run.” Figuratively. Literally. “So I’m gonna- gonna go on a run.”

Maya can barely get the words out. She feels like she is suffocating. Like her apartment is too crowded, too small. The anxiety rises in her throat as she throws her coat on. She doesn’t know where she’s going to go but Maya feels the need to run.

Carina spins around on her stool and watches in shock as Maya collects her things and leaves the apartment. She sits there for a moment after the door closes. She thinks it’s such an odd way to react. Maybe not for Maya, but for people in general. Who leaves their own apartment and leaves someone behind?

Carina frowns and looks down at the floor. Now what? She knows she shouldn’t have pushed Maya. She knows she shouldn’t have brought up the abuse again, but Carina believes you can’t just let stuff like that hang around and fester. She believes problems need to be dealt with head on.

She goes to the bedroom and gets Maya’s laptop. She thinks about watching a movie until Maya gets back. Or maybe putting on some calming music. Carina wants to be mad at Maya but something in her just can’t be. She wants to be there for her more.

Carina opens up the laptop and settles in bed and opens the browser history to see if there are any recent links to movies. What she finds instead are links to articles. One that reads ‘Most Romantic Places in Seattle.’

She smiles. “Maya Bishop.” The name is accompanied by a happy little sigh.

‘The Best Resturant for a Date.’

‘Most Beautiful Parks and Scenic Areas.’

Carina isn’t sure if Maya is planning something for them but by the looks of it the blonde has been doing some research. Carina looks at the bookmarks tab and finds bookmarks for different fires and the history of fire. Some are recent fires, but others go back over a hundred years.

She needs some soothing music. Carina opens up Spotify. She’s just looking for something to listen to. It doesn’t have to be anything specific. She’s looking over the page when something catches her eye. A playlist with her name as the title. Of course, she clicks on it.

The thought goes through her head that maybe she shouldn’t. That Maya wouldn’t want her look at or listening to this. But it’s not like Maya has ever restricted her from using her laptop before. Maya often has Carina use the laptop to look up a phrase or quote or search for a movie for them to watch or put on some music. But Carina has never seen this playlist before. It must have been added fairly recently.

There doesn’t seem to be one genre of music. It’s a mix. A number of different songs that are listed in alphabetical order by artist. Very Maya like. Some songs that Carina recognizes by name but most she doesn’t know. She thinks if she listens to them she might recognize them by ear rather than by name.

The first song is Alanis Morissette Head Over Feet. Carina has heard of Alanis but doesn’t know what song is which from her number of hits.

There is Let Me Take You Home Tonight by Boston. Carina knows she doesn’t know that song but smirks at the title alone.

Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis is on there about halfway down the playlist. That’s a song she knows and loves.

Carina starts at the top of the playlist and lets it run all the way to the bottom where the last song is She Looks So Perfect by 5 Seconds of Summer.

Some songs are love ballads, some are goofy upbeat pop songs, there are the romantic 80’s rock songs, and others that don’t seem to have any rhyme or reason as to why they are in the playlist.

Carina listens to the songs as she reads about the Great Seattle Fire, the worst fire in Seattle history. A fire that had started accidentally by an overturned glue pot in a carpentry shop.

She ends up spending over two hours reading about fires, and explosions, and the worst fires in Seattle history and the deadliest fires. The playlist playing in the background the entire time.

A break is needed. Carina rubs her eyes as they are fatigued from staring at the laptop screen for so long. She looks around the bedroom and wonders when Maya is going to be back. Two hours is a long time for a run, unless Maya went and entered a marathon. She has called and texted Maya a few times but doesn’t want to bother or bug the woman too much. She knows Maya is irritated and on edge. Carina knows she can be annoying and pushy and overbearing sometimes. Andrea has told her that more than once. She doesn’t want to be that way with Maya. She doesn’t want Maya to resent her the way Andrea sometimes does.

She sighs and runs her hands through her hair. Carina gets up and goes to get a snack. She brings her phone with her to the kitchen. She goes through all of Maya cupboards and finds some peanut butter. There is jam and bread in the fridge, so she makes a sandwich. She eats her sandwich at the kitchen island before going to get the laptop and resuming her fire reading at the island.

Carina reads a few more articles before she starts yawning. She switches to watching some episodes of Friends. She realizes about halfway through the first episode that she’s seen it already, but Carina doesn’t really care. She brings her feet up onto the stool and finishes the episode before she hops off the stool and brings the laptop back to the bedroom and plugs it in.

She uses the bathroom and is starting to think about leaving. She thought Maya would be back by now. She has no idea where she went or what could be taking her so long. Carina tries not to worry about it as she goes to sit in a different spot in the apartment. On the little bench at the end of the hall. It’s a cute little corner with a cute little orchid plant. And she cuddles up there.


Maya runs. It doesn’t work.

She goes to the station and starts working out. It doesn’t work.

She goes into her office to catch up on some paperwork. It doesn’t work.

Nothing works to get rid of the feeling that Maya currently has. She’s on edge. She yelled at Andy about how she is grieving.

Jack comes in and starts talking about Andy and Sullivan and Pruitt. She starts yelling at him and he yells right back at her. Both of them arguing about their daddy issues. Maya grabs a fistful of his shirt and looks at him for a second before kissing him.

In bed, after their angry hook up, Maya admits to Jack that she is broken. He says they both are.

Gross. That’s how Maya feels. Sick to her stomach and gross. And maybe that’s the point. That feeling that she had earlier is gone, replaced with this gross, sick feeling. So, in a way, having sex with Jack worked. She did that. She did that to herself.

Maya has never been one to feel shame or embarrassment about her sexual encounters. Until now. She’s never experienced the ‘walk of shame’. But her walk home is filled with nothing but disgust and regret. She just wants to get home, shower, and go to bed. Maya wants to just forget that today ever happened. It was bad from the very beginning. No, the beginning was great, when she woke up in bed with Carina and they had amazing morning sex. That was great but things went downhill from that point.

She thinks about stopping somewhere to get something to eat. Her mind wanders back to earlier in the day when she was chopping vegetables. She wonders if Carina put everything away after she left. She wonders what Carina did after she left. She wonders how long she waited to see if Maya returned before she left the apartment too.

She skips the food and just heads home.

Maya opens the door. It’s quiet. She looks left, not seeing anything. And then she looks right. There she is. Sitting at the end of the hall. Carina is there still.

She hasn’t thought about this part yet. Well, she did. She thought about Carina, but she hasn’t thought about how she was going to tell Carina or explain this to her. She needed time to figure that out. But she doesn’t have time as Carina is sitting there giving her a small wave and a pinched smile.

And she doesn’t know what to say or how to explain it. Does she even say anything or just keep it a secret?

“I thought you left.” Maya had hoped Carina had left. She might not have returned home if she knew Carina was still here.

“I- I- I almost did. But then I thought you might need-“

“I don’t need anything except space.”

“I can see that you’re pushing me away and I wanna give you space-“

“So give me space.” Maya’s not sure why she’s saying what she’s saying but she is. Everything is so mixed up right now.

“I understand that you’re going through a lot and I- I’m trying not to be mad at you but-“

“Well, I just slept with Jack an hour ago so be mad at that.” Maya walks to her bedroom and opens the door and slams it shut. She closes her eyes and leans back against the door. She couldn’t witness the heartbreak on Carina’s face. She can’t face that right now.

Carina is devastated as she sits there in the hallway. She starts crying and hyperventilating.

Maya sinks to the floor, her back still against the door, as she listens. She knows she just destroyed Carina’s entire world. She knows and she feels terrible about it, but the woman wouldn’t listen to her. She wouldn’t listen when she said she needed space. And now, she’s still here in her apartment, even after Maya has been gone for hours.

Why? The question circles in Carina’s mind. It’s the first rational thought she has. Why did Maya sleep with Jack? Why Jack? Of all people. Would it have been better if it were someone else? A random stranger? Why? When Maya said she was going on a run. Was that just an excuse or did Maya really go on a run? Why now? They had been so good. Up until Carina wanted to talk about Maya’s dad. They had been so good together.

Carina sits there in the hall for a long time. Really, she doesn’t have the strength to get up. She knows she has to leave. She has to go now. That’s more evident than ever. Maya proved that to her. Maya wanted space and she sure found a way to create that space.

She wipes at her eyes, trying to get the tears to stop falling. It’s useless. She tries to get her breathing to even out. After a few minutes of deep in and out breaths, it does, and the tears subside when her normal breathing returns. Carina looks around. Her shoes are by the door. Her bag is on the kitchen counter. She gets up and carries herself on shaky legs to her items, gathering them and slipping out the apartment door with a sigh. She pulls the door closed and pauses there for a moment. Carina swallows down the tears that are threatening again. She thinks about her half draw of things in Maya’s dresser in her bedroom. She thinks about one of her favorite shirts that is in the laundry basket in the closet that she was wearing yesterday when she showed up at Maya’s place. A little evil voice in her head says they’re just things, they’re replaceable.”

Barefoot, with her shoes and bag in her arms, she walks down the hall and then down the stairs. Carina hopes no one sees her. She knows she must look like a hot mess right now. Red puffy eyes, tear-stained cheeks, a snotty nose.

She doesn’t really know how she gets back to her apartment. Carina’s body takes her there of its own accord, on auto-pilot.

As soon as she closes the door she collapses onto the floor, dropping her shoes and her bag in the process. Her body can’t take anymore. She lays there in a heap.

Carina doesn’t know for how long she is on the floor but eventually the awkward position makes her back hurt. So, she can feel something other than sorrow. Physical pain means she is still alive, still human. She gets to her hands and knees and crawls to her bed, climbing in.

The numbness strikes next. She doesn’t know if it’s disbelief or something else; but Carina just lays there staring up at the ceiling, her brain void of any thoughts except for the color of the ceiling.

White.

That’s all she thinks about. The ceiling, how it was made, how it was painted, who chose the color, what the color represents. White is the color of purity.

There’s nothing pure right now though. Carina rolls onto her side and curls up in a ball, her knees tucked to her chest. The sorrow and despair return as her mind rolls Maya’s words again.

I just slept with Jack an hour ago.

Jack.

That means it’s personal. Maya did it with Jack because it’s personal. Carina wonders if this means they are getting back together. Have they been seeing each other and Carina just didn’t know about it? Is that why Maya is so on edge and doesn’t want to talk about her father? Does it have something to do with Jack? Does Jack know about Maya’s father? Is that why? Carina ponders about the Jack of it all. He must have something to do with this. If it were someone else, Carina knows it wouldn’t hurt this much. Maybe that’s not true, but it makes it worse because it’s Jack.

The sob that escapes her catches even Carina by surprise. It hurts. It really hurts. Painful, excruciatingly painful. A pain that Carina has never felt before in her life.


Maya sits against the bedroom door for a long time. She listens to Carina crying and it’s the most heartbreaking thing she’s ever experienced. She did that. She made that happen. She caused that pain. Maya is to blame. So, she forces herself to sit there and listen.

It seems to take a long time, Maya doesn’t know how long, before Carina gets up and leaves. She hangs her head is shame. Broken Maya has now broken sweet, wonderful, beautiful Carina. She wonders if this was always going to happen. That at some point her brokenness would ruin them. And it has.

She pushes herself to her feet and goes to shower. She stays in the shower until the water runs cold and then gets out and goes to bed.

Maya doesn’t sleep. She just lays there. She’s not sure what she’s supposed to feel. Shame, regret, anger. Still with the anger. Sadness?

Maya doesn’t know if she’s sad. She got what she wanted. Space. But now the space feels like too much, like the void is too large. Maya reaches out with her hand and runs it over the empty space next to her in bed. She reaches up and takes the pillow and pulls it to her chest. It smells like Carina and Maya takes in a deep breath of that scent. She closes her eyes, not allowing herself to cry.


In the morning Carina gets up and goes to work as if nothing happened. She puts on a happy face for her patients. She’s not hungry but needs to eat something so she goes to the cafeteria to get something to eat. She’s standing in line when Teddy Altman waves her over. Carina nods. She gets her food and goes to sit with Teddy.

“You look like shit.” Teddy appraises the Italian, always telling it like it is.

Carina hums but doesn’t say anything about it. She picks at her food. Some vegetables and mashed potatoes and a piece of salmon. She’s really not hungry.

“Any interesting cases today?” Teddy asks. She needs a distraction from her own cases, her own personal life.

“No. Just basic stuff.” For that, Carina is glad. Her emotions are strung out. She feels like she’s a little twig and could snap at any moment. She just wants a nice, easy day so she can go home at the end of it and climb into bed and hide from everything.

Teddy grumbles. “Boring.” That doesn’t help Teddy any.

Carina’s not sure what she’s going to do about her Maya problem. That’s what she’s decided to call it.

Her Maya problem is always lingering in the back of her mind. While she’s doing charting, while she’s with a patient. Her Maya problem is always in the back of her mind. And she doesn’t know what she wants to do about it. For now, Carina has decided to do nothing.

Just like she planned, Carina goes home at the end of her shift and climbs into bed and hides under the covers. She has her phone with her and starts looking through the pictures on her phone. There are some of her trips to Italy. There are some of her family and Andrea. There are some of Maya or with Maya. A few sexy photos but most are just selfies or pics of the two of them together. She thinks about deleting them but can’t bring herself to actually do it.

She looks at their smiles, their happy faces, and wonders if that’s ever possible again. Carina isn’t happy now and she doesn’t know if she is going to be for a long time again. It’s going to be hard to get over this one. Not that she particularly wants to get over Maya.

When things started with Maya, she knew the woman had unresolved issue. In a way, everyone does. Demons. Past traumas. And Maya was not so nice with her at the beginning too. But they got past that, and it didn’t bother Carina too much. Maya had opened up with her and she had let Maya in too. They were good.

At least, she thought they were good. Now Carina doesn’t know what to think. A part of her feels like a fool. Like she was played somehow. She thought Maya loved her. No, Maya hadn’t said it, but she could feel it, see it. Actions speak louder than words, right. But if actions speak louder than words what does that mean about what happened with Jack. Maybe she was wrong. But Carina isn’t usually wrong about stuff like that, about feelings. She good at reading people, it’s part of her job. Carina starts second guessing her feelings and emotions. Could she be wrong?


Maya sleeps in. Or more like lays in. She didn’t do much sleeping. She initially got to sleep but then woke up after a couple of hours and just tossed and turned the rest of the night. She screwed up. She knows that. That’s not even a question. But how to fix it. That’s the real question. Is it even fixable? Is her relationship with Carina forever broken because of this? Maya thinks it might be.

She reaches for her phone and is disappointed that there are no missed calls or texts. She knows Carina is working. She could go there but she doesn’t want to cause a scene. She knows the emotions are too raw yet and that the fiery Italian would no doubt yell and shout, likely in her native tongue, at her in front anyone who could see them.

Maya’s thumb hovers over Carina contact information. She hits the call icon and brings her phone to her ear. She knows Carina is working and knows she won’t answer her phone. The call goes to voicemail. Maya sighs as she listens to the recording of Carina’s voice. She hangs up, not leaving a message. She’s tempted to call again just to hear her voice again, but knows that would look crazy and creepy and stalkery.

She gets out of bed after a while and goes to take another shower subconscious, or maybe not so subconsciously, trying to wash the shame and regret from her body. That gross feeling just won’t go away.


Vic and Maya bond over having broken up with their doctor lovers.

Maya needs a break from dancing with Vic. She goes and sits on the couch. Vic comes over and sits with her. Maya swallows a drink from her beer. “What kind of gift do you get someone that you cheated on but are madly in love with?” She stares down into her beer.

Vic laughs. “That’s ridiculous. I don’t think that type of gift exists. What would you even be trying to say, sorry I banged someone else but I still get points cuz I love you, right?.”

Maya releases a long sigh.

Vic looks over at her friend and sees the sad look on Maya’s face. “Oh, you’re serious. Okay.”

“Forget I said anything.” Maya huff and pushes herself up from the couch.

“Hey, where are you going? We were having fun-“ Vic’s words die off as Maya leaves. “-earlier. We were having fun earlier.” She mumbles to herself.

Maya walks through the party and steps outside into the cool night air. It’s crisp and Maya inhales deeply and looks up at the sky. There is too much light pollution where they are to see the stars but it’s a cloudless sky so Maya knows she would be able to see them better if she weren’t in the city. Part of her wishes it was cloudy. Cloudy so she could dream about them. See them and think about how soft they are and would feel. Think about dying.

Maya hasn’t thought about dying in a long time. Not since before Carina. But now. She’s thought about it every night for the last three nights. Since she got home and found Carina still sitting there. Since she told her she slept with Jack.

The after Carina version of Maya thinks about dying all the time again. How can she not? She craves that peace that she thought she had when she was with Carina. It’s gone now. She’ll put a smile on her face and go through the day but then she goes home and lays in bed thinking about how peaceful dying would be. Then she wouldn’t have to live in this hell that she’s created for herself.

At first, she was angry. At herself. At everyone. At Jack. At Carina. At Andy. But in reality, she’s the only one to blame. She was projecting her feelings onto all of them when really, she just didn’t want to deal with her own problems.

Maya has been thinking about her father a lot too. He was tough. It was tough love. But Maya knows somewhere in her mind that what Lane did was far beyond what any other parent that she knows did for their kids. Maya still thinks it was to benefit her, even if everyone else thinks it was something else.

She looks up at the moon. It hangs low in the sky. Maya thinks maybe she is the moon. Only out some of the time. Only really visible at night. If she is the moon then Carina is the sun, burning bright and hot in the sky. Big and visible all day long.

“There you are.” Vic steps up next to her. She looks over at Maya. “What are you thinking about?” She watches Maya look up at the moon.

Maya sighs. “I miss her.”

“Ah.” Vic pinches her lips together tightly and nods. “What are you going to do about it?”

Maya’s head snaps over to look at Vic. “Haven’t I done enough already?” She’s angry again. She rubs her hand over her beanie and lets out a low growl.

Vic holds her hands up in front of herself in innocence.

Maya sighs, realizing that she is again letting her frustration out on yet another person. “Sorry.”

“Maybe do that.” Vic whispers.

Maya shakes her head. An apology isn’t enough to fix what she broke with Carina.

“Or get her a gift.” Vic shrugs. She wraps an arm around Maya’s back and leans into her side. “But she doesn’t seem like the type of girl who would accept a gift as an apology.”

“I know.” Maya sighs and hangs her head. The anger fades again and the regret creeps back in.


Maya is surprised to find her father at the station. She wonders if her mother has something to do with this. She wishes her parents would quit showing up at her job. It’s distracting. Maya has enough distractions right now she doesn’t need any more. So, him showing up makes the hair on the back of her neck stand at attention. At least, that’s why Maya thinks it prickles up uncomfortably.

He’s talking and she’s not listening to him. She’s thinking about what Jack said and what Andy said and what Carina and her mother said about Lane. He’s standing right in front of her, and she blinks at him but doesn’t hear his words.

The call comes in and Maya asks him to stick around until she gets back.

The situation at Pac-North is intense. There’s a fire and explosions. They get word that there is a bomb inside the building. Maya takes a few deep breaths and focuses on the task at hand.

But then she sees him or hears him. Maya can’t believe that he is here. She goes over to her father to tell him to leave but he doesn’t take orders from his daughter.

She turns around and he reaches out and grabs her hair, pulling her ponytail, pulling her back. The rage ignites in Maya in an instant.

She spins around. “Get your hands off of me.”

That’s it. In that moment, Maya knows. Whatever doubts or denial she had are gone. It’s funny that that’s all it took. One moment for her to see her dad for real. He’s not the man that she’s built up in her head for years. He’s not some amazing trainer. He’s not supportive and loving. He’s not after anything that doesn’t benefit him.

That gross feeling that she got after she slept with Jack returns in full force. She feels gross and maybe a little stupid that she couldn’t see it before now. But Maya didn’t want to see it. She didn’t want to see who her father truly was. She had built him up to be this great man, put him on a pedestal, when he’s nothing more than a weak, sad man.

Maya returns to her scene. It’s total chaos but Maya thrives with that. She focuses on what needs to happen and how to get everyone out of the building.

It’s not until she’s back at the station and had some time to think that Maya knows things have to change. She has to change. She wants to change.

Maya doesn’t know if there is any hope for her and Carina anymore. The woman won’t answer her calls or texts. Maya calls her once, and only once, a day. She sends random texts with a little meme or joke but all go unanswered. She thinks about leaving a voicemail but what would she say in a few seconds that could possibly help. She wants to change if she still has a shot with Carina. She needs to.

And change starts with the physical. The thing that helped her realize, the thing that her father violated has to go. She stares at herself in the mirror, scissors in hand. Maya takes a deep breath and starts cutting.

It’s supposed to be like therapy. A new beginning. Taking control back from her father. All of it.

When she’s done her hair is lopsided and jagged. She feels how it looks.

She’ll donate the hair to some wig cancer program and be done with it. Maya knows it’s not that easy though. She knows that the emotional trauma is there and it’s not just going to go away by cutting her own hair off. But it’s a start.