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From the Beginning

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Maya has the day off. She texts Carina in the morning.

“I have the day off. Can I come see you?”

Maya knows it’s rather forward, but she has an idea. She’s just not sure if it would be appropriate to show up unannounced at the hospital with where their relationship is at right now. She wouldn’t say it’s rocky, but she would say that she’s in the doghouse, sort of.

Carina says she is free from 11:30 until almost 1.

“I’ll come by, and we can have lunch.”

Maya goes on a little mission before she goes to the hospital. The little bell above the door jingles as she enters the flower shop. She looks over all of the arrangements in the shop.

“Are there any other choices?” Maya asks the shop owner. She isn’t satisfied with anything she sees.

“No ma’am. This is it. But-“ He raises an eyebrow at Maya. “If you wanted to create your own selection, you can do that.”

He helps Maya look through all the different flowers and colors that he has. She spends a long time looking everything over and thinking about what she wants to see in the arrangement. Type of flower, colors, what they could represent.

Maya isn’t sure about flower meanings, and she thinks ultimately it doesn’t really matter. It just needs to look nice. And Carina has to like it, of course.

She frets over the choices for thirty minutes. The shop owner quits helping her after about fifteen minutes, telling Maya that she is free to mix and match as long as she doesn’t damage anything.

In the end, Maya chooses an arrangement with some pink carnations, three red roses, three orange roses, a bit of baby’s breath for a splash of white, and some black-eyed susans to add a little yellow.

“So, who’s the lucky person that is receiving such a thoughtful bouquet?” The shop owner asks as he rings up Maya’s flowers.

“Oh.” Maya blushes. “My girlfriend.”

The old man just nods as he focuses on the price. “Well, it’s a good, unique selection. Most folks just come in here and pick up something that’s already put together. They don’t have the time or patience to select each individual flower like you did.”

Maya gives him a tight-lipped smile. “She’s pretty special.”

“She must be.” He tells Maya the total and she pays and makes her way to the hospital, vase of flowers in her hand.

She gets to the cafeteria at 11:31. Only a minute late. She sends Carina a text to let her know that she has arrived and that she’s waiting in the cafeteria.

Maya sits down at a table and wishes there were somewhere she could hide the flowers, so Carina didn’t see them as soon as she walked in. But there isn’t. So, she sits there, flower vase directly in front of her, her hands folded together on the tabletop. Her left leg bounces anxiously underneath the tabletop.

It’s about five minutes before she sees Carina walk through the door. Maya sighs, a peaceful smile spread across her lips, replacing the anxious expression she had previously. There Carina is, in her white lab coat, deep red turtleneck, and grey pencil thin dress slacks, looking as gorgeous as Maya has ever seen her.

Carina comes in and stops and looks around to find Maya. “Oh, dio mio.” She spots Maya over in the corner with a bouquet of flowers sitting in front of her. Carina holds her hand over her heart as she crosses the room. “Maya Bishop, che cosa hai fatto?”

Maya stands up as Carina approaches her. She shrugs. “I thought it would be nice.”

Carina leans into Maya’s side. Maya wraps an arm around her back, and they share a quick kiss.

“They’re lovely.” Carina appraises the flowers.

“Good. I’m glad you like them cuz I picked each one out individually. I think the shop owner was rather annoyed with me. Or maybe he was just curious as to what kind of nut I am to spend half an hour looking at flowers before being satisfied.” Maya blushes a little at the admission.

“They’re wonderful. You’re wonderful.” Carina presses a kiss to Maya’s temple. Maya glances over at Carina with big hopeful eyes. “Should we get something to eat?”

“Sure.” Maya nods.

Carina finds Maya’s hand, tangling their fingers together and leading her to the food line.

“Do they have any good food here?” Maya asks as they wait for the few people in front of them. She hasn’t been to the hospital cafeteria yet.

“Sometimes yes and sometimes no.” Carina tells her honestly.

“You’d think a hospital would serve only healthy food.” Maya comments.

“You’d think a hospital would serve comfort food.” Carina counters. Maya hums.

They go back to the table with the flowers and sit next to each other. They eat quietly.

“You got corn.” Maya comments.

“I did.” Carina raises a curious eyebrow over at Maya, wondering why she’s pointing out the corn.

“Ya know, you’re going to have corn poops.” She points her fork at Carina and smirks.

“Maya!”

“What?”

“We’re eating.” Carina can’t believe that this is the topic of conversation that Maya has decided to go with.

“Yes. And if you eat that corn, you’ll have corn poops.” She giggles childishly.

Carina shakes her head but there is a smile on her face. She can’t help it.

Maya leans into Carina’s side and whispers. “Corn poops.”

“S-stop.” Carina giggles.

Maya nudges her with her elbow. “Corn poops.”

That gets Carina really laughing. Maya laughs too. Carina’s laugh is just too infectious not to laugh. “You’re thinking about it now, aren’t you?”

“Maya. Stop.” Carina holds onto her stomach as she can’t stop laughing. They giggle like school children for a little bit.

“Why doesn’t the body digest corn?” Maya asks seriously.

“I don’t know.”

Maya scoffs. “You’re a doctor and you don’t know?”

“I’m not a corn doctor.” Carina bites her lip; they share a look and start laughing again. She sighs happily and rests her hand on Maya’s thigh. “Thanks for coming down.” She whispers.

“I wanted to see you.” Maya shrugs. Sometimes it’s as simple as that. There is a certain comfort for Maya by just being in Carina’s presence. She’s never felt that before with someone and sometimes she just needs it and today she was able to achieve that.

“Thank you for the flowers.”

“You’re welcome.” Maya puts her hand on top of Carina’s on her leg, giving it a squeeze and then leaving it in place there. She strokes her thumb over Carina’s skin automatically.

“I’ll put them on my desk in my office.”

“Okay.”

“Do you work tomorrow?” Carina asks. She wants to see Maya outside of a work setting.

“I work the next two days. Day shift.”

Carina is disappointed to hear that.

“That’s why I wanted to come see you today.” Maya admits.

Carina nods. It makes sense.

“Oh, nice flowers Dr. DeLuca.” Levi Schmitt comments as he walks past their table.

“Thanks. Maya got them for me.” Carina smiles, bashful.

He stops and grins at the pair. “That’s really cute.”

Maya blushes a little. She recognizes the doctor from when she was in the hospital after she fainted.

“Any special occasion?” He inquires.

Maya shakes her head.

“No.” Carina says verbally.

He wishes he had someone that would get him flowers for no good reason. He wishes Nico would get him flowers for no good reason. “Okay, well, have a good day.” Levi rushes off.

“A friend of yours?” Maya asks.

Carina hums. “Not particularly. I don’t really know him. I see him in passing all the time though. He always seems to be running all over the hospital.”

“He’s cute.”

“He is cute.”

“Oh, you thinking of leaving me for him?” Maya jokes.

Carina frowns, not finding it funny. “No.”

“Too soon?”

Carina nods. “Plus, he’s gay.”

Maya hums and nods. She realized that she dampened the mood with her stupid little joke. “I could talk about corn poops again.” She grins, trying to get Carina to smile.

“Maya, no.” She giggles and wraps her arms around Maya.

Maya smirks pleased that she got Carina to laugh today. It feels good. She got to laugh today too. They’ve had too many days recently where there hasn’t been any laughter, so this is a wonderful little change. “Cuz you thought that was funny.”

“No, it’s gross.” Carina shakes her head.

“Well, if you’re going to eat corn then you’re going to have corn poops.”

“Stop.” Carina whines and presses her forehead to Maya’s shoulder.

“Kiss me and I’ll stop.” Maya surprises herself as the words tumble from her mouth.

Carina looks up. She catches Maya’s eyes and stares into them before reaching up and resting her hand on Maya’s cheek, turning her face slightly so she is aligned for a kiss. Carina leans in slowly and licks her lips as she does. She doesn’t even care that they are in the hospital cafeteria and there are people around them. She presses her lips to Maya’s softly. She shifts her lips against Maya’s before pulling back slightly. She looks down at Maya’s lips before leaning in again.

Maya brings her hand up to wrap around the wrist of the hand that Carina has on her cheek. She parts her lips slightly, changing the kiss, poking her tongue out to flick against Carina’s lips.

This feels monumental considering Maya has been struggling with the physical aspects of their relationships since they’ve been back together.

Carina sucks in a quick breath when she feels Maya’s tongue. “Maya.” She whispers and rests her forehead against Maya’s.

“Sorry.” Maya couldn’t help herself.

Carina rolls her head back and forth against Maya’s forehead. “Come up to my office with me.”

Maya pulls back with shocked eyes. The shock changes to apprehension at the thought of what Carina possibly wants to do in her office.

“Not like that. I have an appointment at one.” She rubs her thumb over Maya’s lips. “I need someone to carry my flowers up to my office for me.” She makes up an excuse just to spend a few more minutes with Maya.

“I can do that.” Maya grins.

“Good.” Carina moves to stand. “I’ll take care of the plates. You grab the flowers.”

They meet at the door and Carina holds out her hand. Maya looks around before shifting the flowers into the crook of her right arm and taking Carina’s hand.

Maya has never really been one for PDA but with Carina she finds herself breaking that rule. She feels proud to hold Carina’s hand. She feels like everyone can see and know that she’s proud to be with this amazing woman. It’s also more intimate than she ever imagined holding hands could be. Maya always thought that holding hands was some silly thing that kids did and giggled about. But there’s a connection there. A connection that can’t be broken. A connection that keeps them tied together even though they are in public spaces, even though they aren’t alone, aren’t at home in their most comfortable zone. Maya feels a certain power in that.


“Can we go somewhere?” Maya thinks a break from their everyday lives is what she might need right now. “Like just a short weekend trip. Maybe Vancouver.” She’s just thinking out loud, basically.

Carina sits on the stool at the island in the kitchen. “What about Victoria on Vancouver Island?” She’s always wanted to go there since she’s lived in Seattle. “Have you ever been?” Carina asks.

“Once, when I was little kid. I don’t really remember much other than that I was excited that I was in Canada.”

“Can we go then?” Carina gets excited about the possibility. It could be a good chance for them to start over, to get reacquainted.

Maya doesn’t see why not. “Okay.”

Carina bites her lip, guilty. “I have a confession to make.”

“Oh?”

Carina nods and grins. Maya looks over expecting Carina to continue talking. She’s been making them lunch with her back turned to Carina but now that Carina hasn’t said anything for a moment she turns around and raises an eyebrow at her.

“I may have- the day we got into that fight- and you left-“

Maya sighs. “Just say it.” She’s ready for a bombshell.

“I was on your laptop looking for a movie to watch but I never got that far. Your search history? Were you planning something, Maya?”

Maya frowns. “Not in particular. I just felt like I needed ideas. I’m crap at dates and activities and stuff. I mean, I’ve lived here my whole life, I should be able to figure out something for us to do. And yet, I can’t.”

“Vieni.”

Maya sets the knife in her hand on the counter and walks over to Carina. It’s very reminiscent of that day they had the fight about Maya’s dad and being in denial. She comes to stand in front of Carina. Carina reaches out and wraps her arms around Maya’s waist, looking up at Maya with a soft smile. “You worry too much.”

Maya rolls her eyes.

“I’m serious. That crap doesn’t matter. We can just sit in the park or watch the sunset. Go for a walk on the beach or go to the pier. Maya, I’d do anything with you. It doesn’t have to be fancy. You know that.”

“I know. I just want-“ She looks away from Carina. “I want to impress you.”

Carina hums. “You know what’s impressive? That playlist you have on your laptop with my name on it. It’s quite the list.”

Maya’s cheeks heat up. “You saw that?” She licks her lips and looks back to Carina.

“I did. I listened to it. I hope that’s okay.”

Maya hums. “Well, I don’t have anything to say to defend myself. They’re all songs that make me think of you when I hear them.” She’s not bothered that Carina was on her laptop or that she saw the playlist or even that she listened to it.

“I like that.” Carina purrs. “I like that you think about me.”

“All the time.” Maya lifts her hands to Carina’s shoulders, massaging them softly.

“Bene. I think about you all the time too.”

“I love you.” Maya sighs happily.

“I love you, too, bambina.” She tugs on Maya’s hips a little.

Maya gets the hint and bends to give Carina a soft kiss. “What are you reading?”

Carina glances over at the magazine. “Medical journal. It’s about catching birth defects.”

“Sounds scary.”

She looks back to Maya. “Not when you know how to treat or correct the defect.”

“And that’s why you are good at your job. Helping mamas out since- how long have you been an OB?” Maya tries to joke.

Carina laughs. She runs her hands down to Maya’s backside. “Longer than you’ve been a firefighter.”

“This isn’t a competition.” Maya warns her.

“No, but if it were, I’m winning.” Carina bites her lip. “It’s not exactly light reading but I need to stay up to date on the latest tests, trials, and procedures.”

Maya nods. “Shall I finish lunch?”

“Si, I’m starving.”

“Then you’ll have to let go of my ass.” Maya smirks.

“Fine.” Carina huffs and releases Maya from her grip. “So, we’re going to Canada then?”

“It sounds like it.” Maya smiles into the pan on the stove. “Do you want to plan it?”

“No, you do it.” Carina knows Maya strives to do something like that. She’s not going to get in the way of that. “Just remember that we can’t spend the entire time out of doors, or indoors, for that matter. I want to see all the buildings and the sights, but I don’t want to spend the entire day on my feet.”

“Got it.”

Carina flips the page on her medical journal. “And we should have a nice dinner at least one of the nights we are there. Nothing too fancy but somewhere where you can’t wear shorts, a t-shirt, and foot thongs.”

“Foot thongs?” Maya smiles at that one. “You mean flip flops.”

“I do. I prefer to call them foot thongs though.” Carina starts reading the next paragraph of her article.

Maya throws some vegetables in the pan. They sizzle in the olive oil.

It’s quiet between them and Maya looks over her shoulder to make sure Carina is still there. Sometimes she’ll do that now. She’ll check to see that Carina hasn’t just got up and left her. Because she knows that she doesn’t deserve Carina and that if the Italian got up and left at any minute that she couldn’t be mad at that for what Maya did to her.


They take the ferry over. The water is rough, and Maya feels a little sick. Carina goes to the gift shop on the boat and buys her some Dramamine. Coming back with two bottles of water and the medicine she sits next to Maya again. She holds out two tablets for Maya to take and then cracks the water open.

“Thanks.” Maya takes the tablets and swallows some water. She rests her head on Carina’s shoulder. “Oh god.” She feels nauseous and it just won’t go away.

“They should kick in in a few minutes. Just close your eyes. And if you have to barf, don’t do it on me.” Carina tells her. She takes Maya’s right hand in hers and rubs circles over the back of it with her thumb.

Maya’s body shakes with a light chuckle. “I’ll definitely try to miss you.”

“Grazie.” Carina looks around the ferry, people watching.

They get to Victoria and make there way to the hotel where they’ll be staying for the next three nights. Dropping off their bags before heading out again.

Maya and Carina spend the afternoon in the harbor area. They see the Parliament buildings, the Empress Hotel. Both of which are huge and very impressive. The spend a lot of time down in the marina. Carina is fascinated by the sea planes. She’s seen them before but hasn’t seen so many in one place taking off and landing all afternoon like she has here.

They get ice cream from a little ice cream stand that is across the street from the Parliament building and start their walk back to their hotel.

“Oh Maya.” Carina goes into the bathroom. They had really just dropped their bags off and were back out exploring. “Look at this tub.” Carina isn’t really one for taking baths. The water usage and all but this bathtub is magnificent.

Maya steps into the bathroom behind her. She puts a hand on Carina’s hip and leans into her from behind. “It’s very- big.” She rests her chin on Carina’s shoulder.

“Will you-“ She knows Maya has been struggling with physical intimate and personal space lately. “Will you take a bath with me?” She turns her head to look back at Maya.

She sees Maya frowning. “I will try.” That’s Maya’s new mantra. I will try.

“Okay.” Carina lets out a long sigh. “That’s all I can ask.”

Maya nods against her shoulder. “Did you want to do that now or after we have something to eat?” She presses her lips to Carina’s shoulder.

“Now?” She gives Maya a warm smile. “Let the ice cream settle before we eat again.”

Maya says she’ll start the bath and Carina goes into the other room and unpacks her bag. She finds pajamas and returns to the bathroom. She takes her shirt off and throws her hair up into a bun, watching her movements in the bathroom mirror.

Maya is done running the bath. “That’s ready. I’m going to grab some clothes for after.”

“Or you could- not.”

Maya scrunches up her face, questioning Carina.

Carina sighs, knowing it too much right now. “Go.” She wonders if Maya is going to go through with this whole bath thing. She understands the problem but it frustrating. It’s even more frustrating that she can’t really do anything to help. She removes her remaining clothes and slips into the tub, relaxing. She waits for Maya but minutes pass by. Carina tips her head back and closes her eyes with a long sigh, figuring that Maya won’t be joining her.

To her surprise, she hears feet padding across the floor a few minutes later. The water has started to cool but isn’t cold yet. If she needs to, Carina will let some water out and add more hot water.

“Hi.” She says just above a whisper.

Maya doesn’t say anything. She puts some clothes on the sink top and starts to peel her clothes off. She doesn’t look at Carina as she does so. She strips and steps into the tub.

Carina sits up a little bit, giving Maya room.

Maya sinks down into the water in the middle of the bathtub. Carina reaches a hand out of the water and puts it on Maya’s shoulder. Maya flinches but then relaxes under the touch. She sighs and sits back, leaning against Carina, sitting between her legs.

“Thank you for joining me, bella. I was getting awfully lonely.” Carina says lightly.

Maya smiles a little. “Yeah. Sorry it took me so long. I was organizing my things in the room. I was- stalling.”

Carina hums. “Can I hold you?”

Maya nods and Carina slips her arms around Maya’s waist. Maya relaxes further, slipping further into Carina’s touch. “This is nice.” Maya hums.

“Very nice.” Carina adds and closes her eyes.

They sit like that for a long time. Maya plays with the bubbles that reside on the top of the water, aimlessly. They add more hot water.

“Can I ask you a question?” Carina feels like now is the right time. Maya is relaxed, she’s relaxed, she’s ready to ask it.

“Go ahead.”

“Why Jack?”

Maya’s hand stills on the top of the water where she was waving it back and forth. “What?” The level of anxiety rises in her body. She was so relaxed for the first time in a long time.

“Why did you sleep with Jack? Not like, why, but why him?”

Maya hums and nods. “Because he was there. Because he walked into my office and started arguing with me. That’s why.”

“So if he hadn’t walked into your office-“ Carina realizes something. “In your office, Maya?” She doesn’t mean to raise her voice, but she was just caught off guard.

Maya sits up suddenly, alarmed at the level of Carina’s voice. She turns to look at her. “Unfortunately, yes.” She gives Carina a pinched smile. “In my bunk.” She shakes her head. “Don’t worry, I threw the sheets away.” Maya reaches up and runs her wet hand over her face in frustration.

Carina didn’t know that little detail. And somehow it makes what Maya did seem new again, fresh again. Carina runs a wet hand down her face, mimicking Maya’s action.

“And, no, if he hadn’t walked into my office, I wouldn’t have cheated on you that day.”

Carina huffs.

“I was angry, and he was angry. It’s a bad habit- No, not habit. Poor decision making on both of our parts. It didn’t mean anything, you know that, right? It was just a release for all that anger.”

Carina nods. “When you said it was Jack, I thought that initially-“ Carina chooses her words carefully. “-that you guys were getting back together or something.”

“God no.” Maya pulls a disgusted face.

“I thought all sorts of things. That’s why I didn’t want to talk to you or return your texts. I thought because it was Jack that it meant something or there was some meaning that I didn’t understand.” Carina pinches at the fading bubbles in the bathwater, avoiding Maya’s intense gaze. “I guess I didn’t know what was happening.”

“I’m sorry.”

Carina chuckles a little. “I forgive you, Maya, you don’t have to keep apologizing.”

“No, but I do. I can see that this has hurt you all over again.” She reaches up and rubs her thumb over Carina’s cheek. “And I don’t want to do that. And I hate that I keep doing that. It breaks my heart to see you sad.” Maya speaks softly but makes sure that Carina hears what she is saying, understand what she is saying.

“What else happened that day? That I don’t know about.” Carina thinks if they just get it all out there right now then the hurt can be over, and there won’t be anymore surprise hurt in the future.

Maya shrugs. “Not much. I went for a run. I ended up at the station. I spent over at hour working out in the gym. I yelled at Andy. I went to my office to do paperwork. Jack came in. We yelled at each other and yeah. Then I came home.”

Carina sighs. “Sounds like a busy day.”

“I was behaving badly, projecting my feelings onto others, and burning with rage and anger that I couldn’t get rid of, so yeah. I was on the warpath, and I didn’t care who I hurt along the way. I wanted to hurt myself the most. That was my main goal. And I managed to do that too. Trying to sabotage my relationships because I couldn’t be honest about my relationship with my father.”

“You really made a mess of things.” Carina looks down at the water.

“I did and that’s why I need to keep apologizing. To remind myself of what I’ve done.” She closes her eyes at the sad reality.

“Maya.” Even though Carina is upset all over again she hates that Maya is still beating herself up about everything.

“I know. I know.” Maya sighs. “Do you want to get out or stay in here?” Maya isn’t really feeling very welcomed in their bath anymore. She starts to stand up but Carina’s hand on her wrist keeps her from getting out entirely.

“Stay.” Carina tugs gently on that wrist to get Maya to sit back down. Maya nods and sits between Carina’s legs with her back pressed up against the Italian’s front again. Carina kisses the side of Maya’s head. “I love you.” She whispers, reminding both of them.

Maya sighs. “I love you too, Carina.”

“Thank you for telling me.”

“Thank you for finally being able to talk about it.” Maya has been waiting for this moment since she approached Carina at the coffee cart.

Carina hums and sets her chin on Maya’s shoulder. She’s going to think of Maya’s office and bunk differently from now on and probably avoid that area for a while; but it’s good to have everything out in the open now, even if it hurts.

The evening is quiet, calm, casual. They order room service for dinner. They eat sitting next to each other on the bed, sharing their meals.

This will be the first time they’ve slept in the same bed. The time they’ve spent together over the last few weeks has mostly been during the day or running into the evening, but they always go home to their respective beds, except for the one night. It’s something that Maya has spent a lot of time thinking about the last few days, knowing the trip was coming up, know they would be sharing a bed.

So, when Maya comes out of the bathroom and sees Carina laying in bed reading a book, she pauses. It doesn’t have to be weird. Maya doesn’t want it to be weird. And she’s not uncomfortable to be around Carina. That’s not the problem. She’s just worried about the intimacy of it all. She’s worried she’d going to freak out again on Carina. She survived the bath though and that was nice. It’s mostly just a lingering thought now because Carina has been so amazing, and caring, and gentle, and sweet, and everything that Maya has needed; but that thought is still there.

Carina looks up from her book. “Ready for bed?” She notices Maya standing there awkwardly. She pats the spot to her right.

Maya nods, jump starting herself. She hurries over to the bed and slips in under the covers. She lays on her back, her hand folded together over her stomach, looking up at the ceiling.

Carina sets her book on the nightstand and turns back towards Maya. She lays on her side and watches Maya. It’s quiet for a long time.

“Can you turn the light off?” Maya mumbles.

The light on Carina’s nightstand is on still.

“Maya?”

Maya hums.

“It’s just me.” Carina whispers and runs her finger gently up and down Maya’s upper arm.

“I know that.” There’s some agitation in Maya’s voice. “It’s just- we-“

“What are you thinking? Just say that. You don’t have to explain it.”

Maya lets out a long breath. “I don’t want to freak out again.”

Carina is a little surprised by that but it’s not an unreasonable thought. “Okay.” That’s understandable. “Do you feel like you might?”

Maya thinks about it, appraising herself. “No, not really.”

“Okay, then. Can you turn to face me?”

Maya sighs and turns onto her side to face Carina. She tucks her hands up under her chin.

Carina smiles warmly. She reaches out with her left hand, slipping it up between Maya’s hands slowly. She finds Maya’s left hand, untucks it from her chin, holding it between their faces on her pillow. “There.” She kisses Maya’s knuckles. “You’re alright.” Carina encourages. She rubs her thumb over Maya’s hand. Back and forth, back and forth. “Close your eyes.”

Instead of closing her eyes, Maya leans forward and kisses Carina quickly before resting her head back on her pillow. A thank you. She squeezes Carina’s hand.

Maya falls asleep to Carina’s thumb rubbing soothingly across the thin skin on her hand and the sound her soft voice as she whispers little sentences in Italian.

“You’re the strongest person I’ve ever met.” Carina whispers in English and presses her lips to Maya’s forehead before reaching back and shutting off the light. “Goodnight, bella.” She settles back onto her side, still with a grip on Maya’s hand.