They spend the night out with Maya’s crew after their shift. They go to the bar. Go back to Maya’s place and wake up in the morning to find everything in Seattle is shutting down. They are aware of the rise in cases, both being in first responder professions. But to have everything shut down all of a sudden is jarring.
Seattle is hit hard. It’s one of the first place in the US to really be hit hard.
Maya sits in front of the tv with the local news on, in her underwear, completely entranced by the news coverage. She wants to get as much information as she can. She knows she’ll be getting more when she goes into work but she’s trying to glean as much as she can right now.
“Why don’t you come eat something?” Carina suggests.
“In a minute.” Maya waves Carina off.
Carina frowns. She’s seen the cases steadily rising at the hospital. She knew this day was coming. The rules of the game have changed and now they are down, and the opponent has taken the lead. It’s not fair but it necessary.
“We need to talk.”
Maya’s head snaps away from the tv at that. Those are the dreaded words that nobody in a relationship ever wants to hear. “Why?” It’s hard to hide the panic in her voice.
Carina comes over and sits next to her. “It’s not bad, bambina. Well, it is, but not like I’m breaking up with you bad.”
Maya clenches her jaw.
“Things are likely to get bad here. In Seattle. At the hospital. I might be working longer hours. I might be working different shifts. I might be handling Covid patients and not just OB patients.” They’ve already warned all the doctors at the hospital that this virus is going to affect them all. Schedules, rotations, specialties. All of it will likely be flipped on its head. It’s the nature of the business.
“And?” Maya knows there’s more.
“We might not be able to see each other.” Carina tells her. It pains her to say this, but she knows that’s what must happen so that they are safe, and they are keeping everyone else safe. They need to prepare for the possibility.
Maya nods slowly. She’s thought about that already. She just pushed it to the back of her mind deciding that if it happens, she can deal with it then, but until then she wasn’t going to think about it.
“I just want you to know. And I just want to make sure you are okay with it.”
Maya pops up from her seat. “Okay with it?” She runs a hand through her hair. “How can I be okay with it? No, I’m not okay with it.” She paces the room.
“Maya, there are rules and protocols at the hospital already. They are only going to get more restrictive as this thing moves forward. I’m sure the same will happen with the fire station.”
Maya furrows her brow. She wonders for a moment who at the station is in charge of making the protocols and rules and making sure they are followed. Is it her?
She sits down again. “Sorry.” Maya mumbles.
Carina takes Maya’s hand. “We’ll talk every day. I’ll call you whenever I can. Video calls too. Even though they’re not my favorite because I’d much rather see this beautiful face in person.”
Maya rolls her eyes. “You’re just trying to sweet talk me now.” She smirks.
“Maybe. But it’s still true.”
Maya leans in and kisses Carina. “I love you.” She whispers.
Carina hums and kisses Maya. “Ti amo, bambina. Ti amo.” She sighs and rests her forehead against Maya’s for a few seconds, just taking this moment in. “Why don’t you come eat now? Enough of the news for a while. We’ll see plenty of stories and firsthand accounts. This is going to affect your job too.”
Maya is not looking forward to it. “I know.”
“Hey, babe.” Maya answers the phone. Carina doesn’t usually call her during the middle of the day, during the middle of her shift. But it’s been happening more often since Covid.
“Maya.” Carina cries. “I lost another one.”
The sounds of Carina crying is heart wrenching and Maya would give anything to be able to go to her, and comfort her, and hold her, and just be with her, but she can’t. And it frustrates Maya beyond belief. Carina set up the rules and how they can’t see each other because of all the Covid restrictions and protocols but she hates it. Maya absolutely hates it.
She can hears Carina hyperventilating. “Just breath. I know it’s hard to. But just breathe for me baby.” Maya hears the puffs of struggled breath through the phone. “One at a time. In and out.” She coaches her through it. The crying slows down, it’s more like sniffles after a few minutes. Carina hiccups and Maya finds it simply adorable. “Are you better?”
Carina sucks in a deep breath. “Yeah, grazie.”
“Not a problem. That’s what I’m here for. You lean on me, I lean on you.” Maya repeats the words Carina used on her when she was at her lowest point. “If you need me, you call me, anytime, day or night. I’ll be there.” She wants to do more. She wants to go to Carina. She wants to wipe away her tears and kiss her cheeks and hold her in her arms.
She been thinking about breaking the rules for days. She’s thinking about just saying screw it and going to find Carina. The responsible fire captain side of her keeps Maya in check though. Carina who hasn’t lost any patients before Covid and who has now lost multiple patients. Maya knows that Carina cares so much for her patients. How can you not as an OB? You are with them through their entire pregnancy. You develop a relationship and a closeness in some cases. A genuine care. And she knows Carina cares about each and every one of her patients. So, it’s even more devastating when she loses them or their babies.
She wants this Covid mess to just be over so she can see Carina again in person. They were just getting to a really good place again and now they have to be separated because of a virus and rules and restrictions. The whiny, needy part of Maya just wants it all to end.
She sighs because she is needy when it comes to Carina sometimes. It’s disgusting. Maya has never been that person. She takes a deep breath and tries to reel it in. Maya doesn’t need Carina to be okay herself. She’s okay. She can handle work, and Covid, and life, by herself.
Except that she’s still thinking about asking Carina to move in with her. The thought just won’t leave her brain.
“Tell me one good thing that’s happened so far today.” Maya asks.
“I delivered two babies and there were no complications and they or their mothers didn’t have Covid.”
“See, that’s good. Think of the positives.”
“But it’s so sad. They are all alone. Usually, the daddy or partner is there. And sometimes the grandma or an auntie. They have to have baby all alone.” Carina is nearly in tears again.
“But you’re there so they’re not alone. You probably don’t realize it, but they are probably super grateful that you are with them. Not just as a doctor but someone to support and encourage them. I’m sure it means a lot, especially since they can’t have any family there.” Maya encourages.
“Maya.” Carina sighs. She’s going to cry again at Maya’s sweet words.
“You got this, babe. You’re an awesome doctor.” She hates that Carina isn’t her happy, bubbly self because work and Covid are so sad and devastating.
Carina sniffles. “Thank you, Maya. I miss you.”
“I miss you too.” Maya looks around to make sure no one in the station heard her. People have an uncanny way of sneaking into her office without her noticing or without permission. “And I love you. And you are amazing. Just remember that.”
Carina sighs. “I love you too.” She’s just so overwhelmed sometimes by everything that’s going on. It’s good to call Maya, to hear her voice, to hear her encouragement. To remember that she has people to support her. She just needs to let Maya support her. Carina isn’t really good at that. She’s always the one supporting everyone else. A role she thrives in, but when it comes to herself, it’s hard to ask for help or seek out support from anyone. But then here is Maya learning how to support her and noticing and figuring out that Carina need support.
She just can’t take it anymore. It’s the third patient she’s lost. It’s three too many. Carina isn’t used to feeling like this. Feeling the devastation, the despair, like she’s doing something wrong, or that she’s failing at her job.
Carina hurries down the stairs. She can’t wait for the elevator and then if there’s restriction on the number of people in an elevator at one time. She rushes down the first flight, then another and another.
She feels the tightening in her chest; the labored, inconsistent breathing. She needs fresh air, to take her mask off. Is this what Maya feels like when she’s having a panic attack?
The ground floor is busy when she gets out of the stair well. She rushes through the people that are separated by six feet that fill the entire room. She pushes the door open and rips her mask off taking deep breathes of fresh air from the ambulance bay.
Carina doesn’t even see Ben standing there at the back of the ambulance. She paces and starts ranting about how she lost another mother. And the baby. And how they were alone and how after her shift is over, she’s going to be alone.
Carina thought she was fine with being alone. In the past, she was fine with it. She needed her space, she needed her alone time. Just time away from everyone and anyone. It was good. It was healthy. But since Covid, she doesn’t want to be alone. She doesn’t want to be separated from her friends, from her family, from her brother, from anyone. She wants to be able to touch them and hug them and put a hand on their shoulders when they are having a bad day or need comfort. She never realized how much she needed human contact until it was completely taken away from her.
Ben gives her advice. Advice that she desperately needs. “What the hell is the point of finding your person if you don’t get to weather the storms together.”
Carina nods through her tears.
“Go get your girl.” Ben turns back to the ambulance. He hopes his parting words stick with the Italian. He knows it’s difficult. And Maya and Carina quarantining apart is a noble thing to do. But it also might be the dumbest thing he’s heard from them. He knows they have their issues, everybody does. But he also knows that they have a solid base for their relationship and a connection like he’s rarely seen. There’s something there that makes what they have special. He can see it when he sees at the pair together. It’s the silent conversations they have with their eyes. It’s the gentle touch of comfort or just to say I’m here. It’s the smiles that light up their faces, even on the worst of days, when she see each other. That’s rare. And that’s special.
Carina feels guilty, still, that Ben and Miranda are apart, but he just gave her his blessing. What that means for her and Maya, though, Carina isn’t completely sure.
Should she go see her? Maya practically begged her to come down to the station for a little visit. Would they still have to wear masks and stay six feet apart? Would she be able to restrict herself to that? Carina doesn’t think so. She doesn’t think she could ever be in the same room as Maya and not go to her at some point. That just seems cruel.
Should they still not visit each other’s apartments? Should they not share meals together? What should they do?
Carina runs over all the possibilities in her head. She needs to be able to hold Maya and kiss her and see her smile and look into her eyes. There’s only one real possibility.
She thinks it over and over, in the spare minutes she has on her lunch break, before it’s back to work and thinking about that instead.
The next day, Carina takes two rapid Covid tests from the testing area. She makes sure it’s okay to take them though. She doesn’t want the supply to run low or out because she took two for personal use. Jackson tells her it’s fine, so she goes.
The walk to the station is a quick one. Probably because Carina is so anxious to get there and to see Maya and to ask her to move in with her. It’s something she thought about yesterday, and something she’s slept on. Carina has no idea how it’s all going to work out, but they need to be in the same place if they are going to get through Covid and still be together. That’s what she wants. For them to be together. She knows they both have to work, and Carina is working longer hours, so she’s not going to be home a lot of the time, and they won’t be home at the same times most of the time. But that all makes this even more important; that they are in the same place, so when they do get a few hours together they can actually be together and not in separate apartments.
She enters the station. The first door is open, but the second door is locked. It different and she knows it’s because of Covid but it reminds Carina that she hasn’t been to the station in quite some time. Carina knocks and looks inside to the reception desk. She sees Vic sitting at the desk and waves at her.
Vic buzzes her in. She’s about to stand up and greet Carina but remembers Covid protocol, even if Carina is a friendly face and not some random civilian.
“Is Maya-?” She points to the closed office door, the blinds drawn.
Vic nods. “We just-“ She waves off what she was about to say. “She’s on the phone, but go in.”
Carina hides the tests behind her back and slips into the room quietly. Maya has her back to her at first and it gives Carina the opportunity to just take in Maya with her eyes. The captain, in her uniform, on the phone. She hurries over to the other side of the room as Maya spins around and spots her.
At first, Maya can’t believe Carina is standing there. And then she beats Carina to the question. “Move in with me.” And Carina can’t believe it. She stands there, a bit stunned and listens as Maya continues to talk, giving her reasons and explanation.
“-but I’m hoping that me asking you to move in with me is a sign that I’m all the way in.” Maya has never been more sure about something. She’s all the way in with Carina. Everything. All of it. The good and bad. Anything and everything.
“Actually, I came here to ask you the exact same thing.”
The little lip bite and dopey smile that Maya gives her is well worth it. Carina pulls out the tests from behind her back.
“I’ll do yours if you do mine.”
“How do you make even nasal swabbing sound sexy.”
Carina grins, happy that they are on the same page. This has gone better than Carina could have imagined.
Maya puts her mask back on. “So, we’re doing this, huh?”
Carina nods. She holds one of the tests over to Maya. “If our tests come back negative.” She tilts her head back. Maya takes a step forward and as gently as possible sticks the swab up Carina’s nose. She moves it around, making sure she gets a good sample. She collects the sample and takes a step back. Carina puts her mask back on and does Maya’s test.
“It’s extremely difficult to be this close to you and not touch you.” Carina mumbles.
Maya can hear the disappointment in Carina’s voice. “I know.”
Carina sets the tests aside. She has to get them back to the hospital soon.
Maya comes over to Carina, holding her hand out. “Did you come right in here when you got here?”
“I didn’t want to come into contact with anyone. I saw Vic at the reception desk, but I came straight in here.”
“You didn’t see all the commotion then?”
Carina shakes her head, thoroughly confused. “What’s happening?”
“Come.” Maya drags Carina behind her. She knows it’s breaking protocol but since they are going to be moving in together, she figures it doesn’t matter. She just won’t let Carina within six feet of anyone else. And they’ll keep their masks on. They go up the stairs and stand over the barn on the skywalk. “Look.”
Animal Control has the tiger cornered. All they have to do is catch it, but they’ve been trying for thirty minutes, and the tiger has outsmarted them at every move. They are currently setting up a big cage in the other corner of the barn. The last thing they have to do is put some meat in there.
“How did a tiger get in here?” Carina whispers.
Maya shrugs. “We’ve been looking for it all afternoon. I’m glad it’s here and not out in the community.”
“They’re not going to hurt it, are they?”
“No, they’re taking it to the zoo.”
“Bene.” Carina hums.
“Hey, Carina.” Jack walks by behind them.
“Hi.” Is all Carina can muster. She doesn’t want to be mad or hold a grudge or anything but seeing Jack makes her stomach turn.
He stops, much to Carina and Maya’s displeasure.
“Listen, I’m sorry-“
“Keep walking, Gibson.” Maya tells him in a clipped tone.
He looks down at his feet. “Right. Okay.”
Maya looks over to Carina. “Are you okay?” She puts a hand on the small of Carina’s back. Carina nods but Maya doesn’t think she’s okay. She rubs her back though as they stand there watching Animal Control do its job. Fifteen minutes later, the tiger is in the cage and everyone in the station claps and cheers as they bring it outside.
“I’ve missed you.” Maya admits. “Just this. Being in your presence.” She’s just standing next to Carina, but she feels better than she has at any time in the last three weeks.
“I’ve missed you too. So much. You don’t know how much I want to kiss you right now.” Carina tells her. It’s like her fingers and toes are itchy, like they needed to go to Maya, to reach out to her. She knows they have to wait for the test results. “I should go. Get the tests back to the hospital. So, we can get our results.”
“When do you want to move in?” Maya blurts.
Carina chuckles lightly. “Tomorrow?”
Maya laughs. “This is too fast, isn’t it?”
“Yes.” Carina knows it is. But the alternative is not seeing Maya for many many more weeks. “We’ll make it work. When is your next day off?”
“The day after tomorrow?” Maya informs her of her schedule.
“I’ll see if I can get that afternoon off. But I need your help.” Carina goes through logistics in her mind. Maya raises an eyebrow, waiting. “I don’t have much time. And if we want to do this in two days then I need you to go get boxes and then go to my apartment after your shift today and start packing my belongings.”
“I can do that. Can Vic help?” Maya asks, she wants to make sure that it’s okay if Vic is in her apartment and touching her belongings. It’ll give Vic something to do to.
“That’s fine. Just get the clothes and all the stuff in the kitchen. Towels, laundry, anything in the cabinets or cupboards. The furniture can all stay expect for the table next to the bed and the coffee table. Those things are mine. The rest was there when I moved in.” Carina gives Maya the instructions. “Oh and the art. Don’t forget the art.”
Maya nods, committing it all to memory. “Got it. I’ll asks Dean and Ben if they could spare a couple hours to help move all the boxes.”
“You’re not going to do it all yourself?” Carina jokes. She knows Maya totally would.
Maya thinks about it. “I could but-“
“I’m joking.” Carina finds Maya’s hand, giving it a squeeze. It’s not a kiss, and it’s not a hug, but it’s the best she can do for right now. “I don’t want you to hurt yourself.”
“I know you are. That’s not the thing. It’s the number of boxes, and going up and down the stairs over and over that I would be worried about. So yes, ask the guys, get a couple extra pairs of hands so you don’t have to do it all. Cuz I love you and I don’t need you injured.”
Maya sighs. “Okay.” She knows realistically she can’t do it all herself. She just needed to hear someone, Carina, say it out loud.