Disclaimers: All characters referenced in this story are mine and mine alone. Any similarities between them and anyone else living, dead, or fictional, is purely accidental/coincidental. Basically, hands off without my permission-pretty please.

If you like them, feel free to let me know about it at Jeaninehemail-public@yahoo.com if you don’t, please don’t be mean.

Warnings: This story will depict relationships between women. If that bothers you, I’m sorry for your narrow-minded approach but please leave now and come back when you come out. If it is illegal for you to view this type of story due to age or location then please come back when you age or move. There will at times be somewhat graphic descriptions of medical events, nothing too graphic but not for those who faint at the mention of an IV. With that said, I hope you enjoy!

I’d like to thank Vic and Trish, the two people that encouraged me to put this out to let others decide its fate.

Also, for Sue, the reason I want to do my best is to be the woman you deserve-I’m always on call for you!

Chapter Nine

            “I don’t know what to say to her? How do I go up to someone that has mentored me for years and ask her if she’s having a breakdown?” I collapsed onto the couch when I could pace no more. “I don’t have any idea how to broach that conversation, let along guide her into getting help.

Cait took my hand and held it as she tried to help me figure out what to say to Spike. We were having her and Pauly over for dinner the next night and I was totally losing my mind.

            “Baby, you have to trust yourself. If she needs help then we’ll help her get it. This could just be a case of a recent class making my sister jumpy. There might not be anything going on to worry about. Even if she is going through something, it might have nothing to do with the job.”

            “Yeah but, I thought about this last night after you fell asleep. She doesn’t have anyone to talk to about her bad days or bad calls. I’ve had you around, you’ve had me around, even before we knew we had a different future in store for us. She doesn’t have anyone that I know of that she talks to like that outside of work. At work, she’s all business and doesn’t speak to the rest of the crew about stuff like this unless it is to help someone else deal with something. I never thought about it before because it just is who she is, but I’ve never seen her cry during a debrief, or express much emotion at all. Even the guys break down sometimes. It’s as if she needs to be the toughest kid on the block or something.”

            “Honey, maybe she has someone we don’t know about. Let’s not worry about it until we talk to her, okay? Are we doing this at my place or yours? And, what time should I expect her and Pauly?”

            “I thought we could do it here, at my place. I have more space than you do, and I like my grills better.” I gave her a cheeky grin, the grill debate raged long and hard between us. I used two different grills depending upon the food, one charcoal that also functioned as a smoker, and one gas grill, for the times I just needed something done quickly or in bad weather. She was a gas girl when it came to use, though she did admit the superiority of the hardwood charcoal taste.

            Tossing an exasperated look at me she said, “yeah whatever! You just like having control.”

I laughed, “Honey, I haven’t had control in a long time and we both know it.” Smirking, I continued, “I think they’ll both be over around six-thirty, so we have plenty of time during the day to handle getting set up. Do you work tomorrow?”

            “Nope, I’m off today and tomorrow since I’m taking the weekend shifts. The scheduler had no problem arranging for me to work so I could have some time off with you. Weekends are tougher to fill, so whenever you work one, I usually can also.”

            I gave her a hug and stroked her soft hair through my fingers, reveling in the texture as I did so. “You are so sweet Caty. Does this mean I have you all to myself for the rest of today?” I started getting ideas on how we could spend at least part of that time.

            “Mmm hmmm, all yours today. Did you have plans? I don’t want to impose or take you away from anything.”

            “No imposition at all, in fact, there is no one I would rather spend the time with today. I even know what we can do!” I was slowly stroking my hand along her rib cage as I spoke. I bent my head and placed light kisses along the line of her neck as let my hand drift towards the upper part of her ribcage. As I slowly moved my hand towards her breasts, she moaned and pushed against my hand.

            “I think I like your plan. Does it involve staying on the couch or can we go back to bed?”

            She looked at me with slightly hooded eyes, her hazel eyes growing dark with desire. I felt myself get hard and I could barely stand on my quivering legs. I reached down and pulled her from the couch, leading her into the bedroom.

            “Strip for me Chloe, I need to see you naked.” Caty leaned back on the bed and watched me as I shed my clothes. I moved to take hers off as well but she pushed me away.

            “I have plans of my own for you! I want you to lie down on your back.”

            I complied. I was turned on even more by her take charge attitude. She grabbed something from the floor and starting tying my wrists to the bed frame.

            “You don’t mind, do you? I don’t want your hands distracting me from my plan. It isn’t too tight, is it?”

            I shook my head since my mouth was too dry to speak. I couldn’t wait to find out what she would do next. She reached down under the bed and pulled out a bag that I hadn’t seen before. She pulled out a couple of toys and put them out of my sight at the end of the bed, then she pulled out some lube and gave me a wicked grin.

            “I brought these over the last time I stayed but got distracted.” She started gently playing with my stiff nipples as she continued. “You’ve been working too hard honey. All work and no play makes Donny a dull Medic. Time to sharpen you up!”

            She paused and looked into my eyes before asking me, “Do you trust me? I mean, really trust me? If this gets uncomfortable or anything, just tell me to stop and I will, okay?”

            “Oh God Caty, if I get any more turned on, I’ll come without you touching me! This is all fine and I do trust you. I trust you with my heart, mind, and body. Please, please make love to me!”

            She turned around after giving me a gentle kiss. She pulled out the first toy, a vibrating bullet, and starting rubbing it over my over heated body. She started up at my breasts, running it over my painfully hard nipples before using her tongue and lips to soothe the ache. As she used her mouth on my breasts, she ran the vibrater down my stomach and I could feel the muscles twitch and clench as it circled my navel.

            “That feels so amazing honey,” I groaned as she continued to play with my body. I could feel how wet I was already and she hadn’t even touched below my waist.

            Caty groaned, “You taste so damn good! I could feast on you for days. I hope you aren’t tired baby, no rest for the sexy today!”

            She starting moving the bullet down towards my vulva but only ran it lightly across before she ran it down one thigh in a tantalizingly slow tease. I bucked my hips, trying to make contact with something but all I found was air. She chuckled, and moved the vibrating bullet up the other leg and stopped just short of my pussy. I groaned and starting trying to get relief by grinding into her hand. She was having none of that though. I was forced to wait as I felt my clit grow as hard and erect as it ever had before.

            “Ready for some more fun baby? I’m not even close to done yet,” said Caty. “I’ve got a few other things to do to you before you can come. Can you hold out if I promise it will be worth it?”

            I was starting to sweat and I couldn’t stop my hips from moving as she glided over me, but I nodded and grimaced. “Please baby, soon, I need you. I need to come!” I could hardly speak, all I could focus on was that hand, the buzzing near my clit and the pounding pulse between my legs. Caty leaned away from me, grabbing something from behind her and slathered lube on it quickly.

She looked me in the eye again asked, “Are you sure you are ready? I wouldn’t want you to come to soon.”

She leaned over me and gave me a kiss that stole my breath. Tongues were battling, I could hardly tell whose tongue was whose, whose lips were whose. It didn’t matter, all that mattered was the contact of that sweet mouth and those talented hands. Oh those hands, I felt them moving up my legs again, brushing the bullet against my opening, teasing around the edges as I thrust towards it. Her other hand moved something else between my ass cheeks, a small dildo. I stiffened briefly, but she kissed me again and I relaxed into it. She eased it into me and I felt my clit stiffen even more. Caty kissed her way down my body, teasing, licking, nibbling, and soothing my hot body even as she excited it further.

“Baby, you smell so good! You’re so hot and wet. Is this for me? Do I do this to you?”

 There was something like wonder in her voice, but also a little pride. She groaned and leaned her head down, brushing her lips against my labia. I felt myself tighten as she slowly pushed a finger into me and ran her tongue up my clit, just once.

I couldn’t stop myself. My hips started bucking, my legs spread as far as they could, and I started crying out for relief. “Please baby, please! Suck me, let me come Caty! Oh Caty, I love you so much, please let me come.” Over and over, I heard myself beg for release.

“Soon baby, so soon. I promise, it will be worth. God, you taste so good, I could lick you all day!”

Her words worked to inflame me so much that I thought I would lose it right then. She suddenly slipped the small dildo the rest of the way into my ass as she started licking and sucking my clit hard and fast. I thought I might die from the sensation of her fingers in me as she worked the dildo in my ass, and sucked me off.

“Oh, oh God, oh Caty! I’m gonna come, I’m coooomming!” I lost it, I shuddered and bucked without control as bright lights went off behind my eyes. I felt her ease out of me and soothe my clit gently with her tongue before she moved up the bed to hold me. I couldn’t move. I still felt tremors moving through my body. The last thing I remember is her holding me tightly and telling me to take a nap.


I awoke to find Caty stroking my hair gently. I looked up at her and saw a twinkle in her eyes and I was fairly certain what had put it there. “Can’t get enough of me, huh?” I teased.

She leaned down to kiss me, nibbling at my lower lip. “Not really. Are you complaining?” She raised her left eyebrow and looked at me, trying not to smile.

“Who me? What am I, crazy? A beautiful woman wants to make love to me and I’m dumb enough to complain? I think not! The question is, does that woman want more time in bed, or is it time to feed her stomach? I heard that little growl just now.” I grinned up at her before nibbling at her neck.

“Hmm, well, I like the bed idea, but honestly, it will be here and I’m starving! Cook something for me, anything at all, but I love when you cook for me.” She batted her eyes in a satirically coquettish maneuver.

Laughing, I tossed the blanket aside, grabbed some sweats from the dresser, and pulled on a t-shirt. “Your wish, is my pleasure to fulfill. Any special requests? If I have the ingredients, I will make it.”

Caty’s brow wrinkled in thought before she exclaimed, “I have a craving for your Matzah Brie! Do you have what you need?”

Now, I should explain, I’m not from a Jewish family, but my grandmother’s best friend was Jewish and she learned to make Matzah Brie from her. The dish was handed down in our family and it was something I adored. A true comfort food for me.

“I have good news, I happen to have all the stuff I need, I’ll go get it started.”

Caty said she’d be down in a few minutes, so I headed into the kitchen to rummage around for my special pan. Normally, I believe in multi-purpose kitchen tools, but for this dish, I had a special, very heavy, steel with copper sandwiched inside, oval omelet pan. It was about forty years old and was something from my grandmother. This pan has only been used for this dish ever, and it will stay that way. I won’t be the one to tempt fate! It has a hinge holding two identical pans together so it can be folded up. That way the mixture can be flipped for perfectly even cooking on both sides.

I found the pan, resting in the special bag I keep it in so that it doesn’t get damaged between uses. I pulled it out, rinsed it, and put it on the counter to dry. I gathered the ingredients and implements I would need before getting started on the actual food prep. I heard Caty coming down the stairs so I figured it was time to start the turkey bacon.

“Can I help with anything?” asked Caty.

“If you want to grab some juice for us, and the plates, that is plenty, I’ve got the rest. Besides you earned a breakfast.” I tried to leer at her as I said that, but I never really learned how to leer properly, so she laughed at me.

“If you’re sure, then I’ll keep you company while you cook. Now that we’re together, can I learn how you make this stuff?”

“Sure, I’ll talk you through it, it’s pretty easy. First, I’m going to put the bacon in. Then I’ll get the rest started.”

I laid out the turkey bacon on a broiler pan, so the fat would drip away, and put it in the oven. I’d started it preheating while I was gathering things, so that it was fully heated. Next, I grabbed the eggs and matzah. “Ready? First lesson, crack the boards of matzah up into bits about an inch square, give or take. Put them in a colander and run some hot water over them. Just enough to get them wet, but not too mushy. Let that drain while the onions get diced.”

“I could have done the onions honey.”

“Oh, I know, but it is how I time the drying process.” I took the medium sized sweet onion, and cut it into a rough chop, with bits just smaller than the size of the matzo pieces. I turned on the burner and started heating the special pan.

“Okay, here is where there are differences. Some people swear by butter, other people use oil. I tend towards either really good butter, or I just use a bit of spray stuff from a can. Today, I think we can spare the calories, so I’m using the Danish butter I picked up last week.”

“Wow, I must have done something well, you love that stuff.” Caty actually looked impressed that I would use that butter. She was so cute that I had to kiss her.

I went over to her and leaned down. “I love you even more.” I kissed her on her forehead and went back to my cooking duties. I turned around and saw her blushing, which made me need to look away before I scrapped breakfast and took her on the floor.

Clearing my throat, I continued, “Now that the pan is hot, the butter goes in and coats both sides of the pan. Once it is coated, I toss in the onion and give them a shake to get them all coated before closing up the lid and turning down the heat a bit. I want them to start to caramelize, not fry. Are you with me so far?”

“Oh yeah, I’m with you sweetie.”

Somehow, she had snuck up behind me and held me from behind as she spoke. I wasn’t complaining, I just couldn’t figure out how she had managed it.

“Careful, no distracting the cook while she’s working with flames.” I did lean back into the embrace for a moment before reluctantly leaving her arms to get the eggs ready for the pan.

I cracked the eggs, two per person and this pan was large enough to accommodate that amount of food and then some. I whipped them together with about two tablespoons of water, a dash of salt, some freshly ground white pepper, and a dash of white table sugar. Once it was combined, I gently folded in the damp matzah bits. That meant it was time to shake up the onion some more and give it a quick peek.

Everything looked great, the onions were translucent and getting soft but still had some texture. I pulled the pan off the heat, scooped the onions into the egg mixture, and stirred gently. I recoated the pan with a bit more butter and gently poured the mixture into the pan before closing the lid and setting the pan on a med low flame. Caty watched in silence as I worked, but she stayed close enough to rest a hand on the small of my back most of the time.

I cleared the debris into the garbage can and sink, then I pulled the bacon out of the oven to drain. The magic pan was starting to release a fragrant and wonderful odor of cooking onions and eggs. I checked the pan by raising the lid carefully. The top of the mixture was still slightly soupy but the edged were firm. I ran a silicone spatula around the edges to ensure the super sized omelet was loose enough for the next maneuver. I closed the lid and looked at Caty. “This is it, mess this up and I ruin the presentation, and according to some, the taste. Ready?”

She nodded at me and smiled. “I really love your dramatic flair, it is so cute!”

I mock glared at her before I readied myself. “One, two, three. Voila!” As I counted, I lifted the pan and readied my grip. On three, I quickly and gently flipped the pan and gave it one, and only one, tap on the burner. When I said “Voila,” I opened the lid to show the entire omelet had flipped without sticking, and we could see a perfect, lightly browned side facing us.

Cait clapped for me and I took a half bow. “I know, I know, it is hard to live up to the high standards I’ve set here today. But if you follow my example and train for years, you too could make a perfect Matzah Brie!” I was laying it on thick but I figured she started it, so it was only fair that I play it up.

“Goofball! It is impressive and I’m starving. I’ll get the plates.”

When she brought the plates over, I slid the entire dish onto one plate, even though it hardly fit, and dusted the top with a little more table sugar. I cut it in half, moved one half to the second plate and divided up the turkey bacon. We took the dishes to the table and prepared to enjoy the feast.

“I remember the first time you made this for me. I thought you were nuts, bringing your “special pan” and adding sugar to a savory dish.”

I remembered it well. We had been friends for about a year, and she was starting to look for houses. We had planned on going to a bunch of open houses to look, so I offered to take care of breakfast. I brought everything to her place to cook for us and made another convert to the mixture of sweet and savory.

“See how well that worked out? Why did you ever doubt me?”

She chuckled and then moaned as she took her first bite of breakfast. “That is still so good! Every time you make it, I know I’ll love it, but it takes me by surprise a bit too. Thanks honey, I appreciate not only the meal, but the lesson too. Maybe I’ll make it for you sometime!”

“You are the best reason I’ve had in a long time to cook. I’m just glad you like it. Speaking of which, do we need to pick anything up for tomorrow? Pauly and Spike are coming over.”

She sighed, “I know, I haven’t forgotten. Let’s run through the menu and ingredients after we eat. If we need anything, one of us can go out and the other can start food prep.”

“Sounds like a plan.”

We ate in relative silence after that, both of us worried about the two women coming over the next night.


It was getting close to the time we expected Pauly and Spike and we were ready. The appetizer tray was prepared, plastic wrapped in the fridge for later. The chicken was marinating on the counter, allowing it to warm to room temperature before cooking. The veggies were all arranged in foil packages, one per person, with seasoning, and ready for the grill. I had the charcoal ready to light, figuring I would wait until the women were there. We could graze until the meal was ready and try to relax before tackling the heavier topics of the night.

Cait came down the stairs from my bedroom looking relaxed and adorable. She was dressed in cream-colored cotton shorts, with a yellow polo shirt, and her feet were bare. I felt my heart jump at how perfect it felt to watch her come down the stairs, as if she belonged there. I went over to her and put my arms around her. “You look great baby!”

She grinned at me, “Thanks but you’re nuts. I’m just wearing shorts and a polo for goodness sakes. However, for being so sweet, you get a reward.”

She gave me a sweet but quick kiss, then ran her hand over my breasts as she walked past.

“Hey, no teasing the animals! That was so not fair of you!” I complained but I loved the attention and she knew it.

“Uh huh, sure honey, I’ll stop teasing later, when we’re alone for the night.”

I sighed in contentment. Those moments of feeling uncomfortable about our physical interactions long gone. “Hey, can I ask a question Caty?”

“Of course, what’s up? Problem with the food?”

“No, nothing like that, just something that I remembered from when we first admitted that we wanted to date each other. I was kind of feeling awkward about touching you, cuddling, all the physical stuff was strange for me at first. Now, I can’t imagine going without your touch on my skin. Did you have anything like that? Just feeling odd about the sudden change?”

Caty looked thoughtful and took a moment to reply. She took my hand pulled me to her, hugging me tightly. “The night I took things into my own hands, so to speak, I knew it would be different, but I didn’t understand yet how different. There were times when I would look at you holding me, or holding my hand, and want to pinch myself. I remember thinking, “Chloe and I are actually a couple!” I couldn’t believe how lucky I felt. I still feel lucky, but I feel the same way about touching you. I need to feel your hands and skin, even if it just for a moment.”

I blushed, but kissed her palm, relishing the feel of her skin against my lips. “I think we may have to talk about our living arrangements soon, don’t you? I hate it when we don’t spend our time off together. Is it too soon?”

Caty started to chuckle, then laughed outright. I wasn’t sure why she was laughing and I started to worry. I knew she loved me, but I couldn’t understand her reaction. She pulled away from me, went to her backpack, and pulled out what looked like a greeting card. She handed it to me, still chuckling.

“What is it? Did I miss something?”

“Trust me baby, just open it. I was going to give it to you tonight or tomorrow morning, depending on our mood after they leave.”

I tore open the envelope and pulled out the card. On the front was a picture of a U-Haul being loaded by very butch looking women. I opened it and saw the printed words, “Let’s live together! Your place or mine?” Caty had written in the card as well. Why should we wait? We’ve been best friends for so long. Let’s do it, let’s make the move! Live with me? Love always, your Caty.”

What could I say? I knew the answer since I was prepared to ask the question also. “Of course baby! I’m so glad we’re on the same page!” I pulled her back in my arms to kiss her just as the doorbell rang. Giving out a frustrated groan, I settled for a quick brush of my lips across hers, before heading for the door.

When I opened the door, I was surprised to see both of our guests waiting for me. I grinned and stepped back to let them in. “Hey guys! Nice of you to save me from answering the door twice. How are you?”

Both women greeted me and showed me their contributions for dinner. Spike brought an apple pie, the mile high kind, that she had baked herself. Pauly had brought the salad, a great mix of different lettuces with all sorts of vegetables in it from the looks of things. She held up a cruet of homemade dressing to go with it.

“Looks like we’re eating well tonight! Excellent! Let’s go drop this stuff off in the kitchen. Caty should have the patio set up, and I brought a cooler out there earlier for drinks so we wouldn’t have to run back and forth.”

We all headed out there after dropping the food off in the kitchen. Caty did have the chairs and table ready to go. She went over to Pauly and gave her a big hug, teasing her about not keeping in touch with her big sister often enough. She went to Spike next, and gave her a hug as well, before offering them both drinks.

We all took seats and hung out, picking at the cheese, crackers, and fruit tray that Cait had set up earlier. We kept the topics clear of anything too emotional, just local happenings, moves within the department, basic small talk. Cait and Pauly started talking about some family stuff, while Spike and I went to start the charcoal for the grill.

While we were away from the other two women, Spike asked me about my thoughts regarding Pauly. I made a show of lighting the grill and arranging the charcoal precisely how I wanted it, stalling on my answer. Finally, I had to turn to her and tell her something to hold the conversation.

“Well, I didn’t really see anything out of the ordinary since we’ve been running together. I’m not sure, let’s talk about it later, I need to get some stuff together for the grill and start setting up the food stuff.” She looked at me with suspicion, but she let it slide for the moment. As I headed back towards the patio table and the house, I noticed that Caty and Pauly seemed to be having an intense conversation. It looked like we would be in for one heck of a night!

I went into the house to grab everything I needed and Pauly slipped in behind me.

“Need a hand Donny?”

“Thanks, you wanna grab that tray over there? It has everything I need for the grill, I’ll grab the food.”

“You got it. So, what do you think? Are we going to be able to help Spike? I don’t want to look like an ass to the company for starting trouble with her. I mean, she is a walking legend! But I’m worried, ya know?”

Pauly looked more scared than I’ve ever seen her look. I realized that she was really tearing herself up over this, so I tried to find some words of comfort. “Look Pauly, technically, I’m your supervisor, right?” She nodded. “So, the way I see it, you were doing your job by looking out for one of our own. It is our obligation to each other to help if one of us is in trouble. That could mean trapped in a fire, the victim of a violent call, or any number of other dangerous things we deal with everyday. How is this any different? You followed channels, you came to me, you didn’t spread rumors, and you had enough to back your statements up. If anything, you did exactly the right thing. Ignoring warning signs of a problem is putting us all at risk.”

“I guess, I just feel like such a snitch. What if I’m just overreacting because of the classes I’ve been taking? Maybe I’m just looking for stuff that isn’t there. I want to be wrong, but I don’t want her to hate me.”

I sighed, “Pauly, if Spike went down on a call, would you be doing the right thing if you didn’t radio it in and get her help? Of course not! You did the right thing, no matter the outcome. I thought enough of your suspicions to bring us all together tonight. Let’s just go get dinner ready, eat, and then we’ll tackle the talk. Okay?”

She looked at me hard before giving me a small smile as she nodded her agreement. We grabbed our trays and headed back outside. I stopped by the table to drop some of the stuff off and collect a kiss. Cait and I traded looks when we kissed and agreed silently that tonight wasn’t the night to make the announcement about us moving in together. For now, it was enough that we knew, and that we were going to try to help our friend and family.


We all took seats in the living room, settling in with tea mugs firmly in hand. I looked over at both of my friends and felt Caty squeeze my hand in encouragement. With a deep breath, I started speaking. “All right, you both came to me with worries about each other. Instead of playing games, going back and forth, and before it has to go to the Captain, I wanted to try to handle this between us. You both have to be willing to answer honestly, the questions we ask. Are you guys willing to give this a try?”

They looked at each other, then at me. I didn’t know what to expect next as neither one looked happy about my statement. I nervously sipped my tea, but I kept my eyes on them, waiting for an answer.

Pauly finally made her choice, “Okay Donny, I’m willing to give it a try tonight. I’ll answer whatever questions you want me to answer.”

Spike gave me a look that conveyed disappointment and pain. “I don’t know what you think is going on. I’m not sure what you hope to gain from this, but I’ll play along for now.”

I pulled out the information I had received from the counselor who helped during our last Critical Incident Debfriefing. “I have a list here of questions to ask you guys. I need you both to think about the answers and answer me honestly. Do you have trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep?”

“I’ve had problems in the past, but since I’ve been in therapy, it is getting much better,” said Pauly.

“Yeah, sometimes I can’t sleep if I’m wound up after a shift or something. It goes away if I drink a beer or something. I’ve been a restless sleeper since I was a kid, what does that prove?” Spike was already proving to be resentful of the questions, but I went on.

“Do you find it hard to concentrate on tasks for long periods of time?”

Pauly laughed, “I’ve had that problem since I was a kid! The doctor finally realized I have ADD and I’ve been better since they gave me medication for it.”

Spike glared at Pauly, then at me. “I do just fine on calls and you both know it. I’m the best damn medic we have out there! So what if I can’t spend a lot of time doing paperwork or stuff? I have it when I need it, on the streets!”

“Do you find it hard to connect to other people in caring and loving relationships?” I was getting less comfortable with these questions as they continued.

“Is that some kind of dig Donny? You’re hooked up and happy, so the rest of us need to be in couples? Is that what this is about? You know I haven’t dated in years! I just don’t have any interest in it. I like my space!”

Spike was getting defensive and argumentative, one of the signs I was supposed to look for during this session.

“Do you think that your willingness to participate in social activities has decreased?” I kept asking questions instead of responding to Spike.

“So what? Like I said, I like my space! The older I get the more I like some alone time!”

“Okay, what about talking to people? So you talk about the events of your day with anyone? Do you plan on a future with anyone?”

There wasn’t even a pretense of Pauly trying to answer now. We were all focused on Spike.

“You know that answer Donny! You know that with my family history and the work I do that I don’t figure I’ll live long enough to bother anyone else. Besides, I talk to you guys at the station, doesn’t that count?” She started to raise her voice now, “I’m sick of this shit! All I do is bust my ass every day to save the lives of repeat drug overdoses, heart patients who still eat at fast food burger joints, drivers who ignore speed limits and seatbelt laws, and the victims of bullies! For that, I’m getting hung out to dry by you guys! You’re supposed to have my back, not stick knives in it!”

We all looked at Spike, but Cait left her seat beside me and walked over to her. She put a hand on Spike’s shoulder and knelt down in front of her. “Kristy, you know damn well how much I love you and respect you. You should know that Chloe and Pauly think you practically walk on water. No one is here to throw stones sweetie. The truth is, Pauly has been in therapy and is worried about you. She came to us out of concern for your well being. Please, don’t feel as if we are attacking you or questioning your life. We just want to help you if you need it.”

I watched as Cait leaned forward, preventing Spike from standing. Instead, Cait wrapped her arms around Spike and hugged her until she started to relax into it. Eventually, Cait eased away from her and spent a few moments looking the other woman in the eyes. “Are we okay? Are you ready to talk about this stuff?”

Spike sighed, shrugged her shoulders, and finally, answered with a meek, “Yeah, I guess.” She looked over at Pauly, “I’m sorry kid, maybe I have been on edge. We cool?”

Pauly grinned and nodded. “Hey, I’m just worried, you know? Nothing has to leave this room, but I’d like to help you, like you’ve helped me. I went to the head doc because I was having nightmares about some of our calls. I couldn’t sleep, I wasn’t interested in stuff I normally liked, and I couldn’t even talk to my big sister about it. I decided to get some help before I ended up like some of the cases we bring in to the ER all the time.”

I looked over at Pauly with a new respect. I knew that she was seeing someone, but I had no idea that she was there for the same thing we thought was wrong with Spike.

I spoke up then. “Call it burnout, call it over working, but the truth is, in this line of work, we are prime candidates for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I spoke to the counselor about it and it hits a lot of EMS responders eventually. If you work in the field for long enough, you see all sorts of nasty stuff. We have all seen a lot of crap and it is normal for it to bother us. Some people deal with it by working out, or talking, or many different ways. I get anal about my lawn and outdoor chores when it is warm enough. In cold weather, I cook a lot and that’s when I do my woodworking. Plus, I’ve had someone to talk to for years. Cait and I have talked about this stuff since we first became friends. She’s helped me get through some of my tougher calls.”

“Chloe’s helped me deal with tough days also. When I get the kind of call that makes me feel horrible about just being a voice on the phone, she helps me to deal with it. She reminds me of how much I do contribute on so many calls to the dispatch center.” Cait moved back to the couch to sit by me as she spoke. “Us being together is great, I’m very happy, but being a couple isn’t why we think you need someone to talk to, Kristy. I think it would help you deal with so much of the pain you’ve seen out on the streets.”

We waited in silence then for Spike to speak. Everyone shifted nervously while she thought about what had been said. After a few minutes of silence, she looked up at me. “So, what is it you think I need to do? See a shrink? Go on medication? Why can’t I just deal with it myself?”

I felt so horrible at that moment that I had no idea how to tell her what I thought she needed most. I knew I had to though. I owed it to her to tell her the truth. “I think you should take some time off, take vacation time or take a leave of absence, whatever. I think that while you are off from work, you should look into some therapy of some kind. I could help you find someone or a program. I just think that you need to deal with this before it turns into a bigger deal than it already is.”

I’d never seen Spike look so defeated. She slumped forward in her seat, her head hung down, and I could tell she was trying to keep the tears from falling. When she lifted her head, she looked at the ceiling, instead of at any of us in the room.

“So, if I take some time off, get a head checkup, and chill, you guys won’t tell anyone at the station, including the Captain? Is that the deal?”

Cait spoke up then, “If that is how you want it for now, then yes. No one wants to cause you any problems in your career. We just want to see you healthy and happy. So, will you do it?”

Grunting assent, Spike agreed to take the time off and meet with Pauly’s therapist. For some reason, I wasn’t reassured. I felt as if the whole thing might have gone a little too easily. My Medic senses were tingling, but I couldn’t figure out why.

Continued in Part 10

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