“T-minus four months until the wedding! Cruz, you ready?” Herrmann teased as he and the others changed out in preparation for the upcoming shift.
“Guest list is set, venue is confirmed, the DJ cashed the first part of his payment yesterday, and first tux fittings are tomorrow after shift.” Cruz answered happily, before pointing an admonishing finger at the room’s male occupants. “Don’t be late.” He ignored Herrmann’s indignant scoff and slammed his locker shut before walking away, whistling.
“Guest list…hmm. Do you think Gabby might fly in for the wedding?” Brett wondered absently out loud, fiddling with her watch band. “Dang it! Can one of you – “ She looked up to see Herrmann and Mouch hightailing it out of the room as Foster and Kidd exchanged a panicked look. “What’s going on?”
“I thought you told her!” Stella hissed, glaring.
“You know all of them and the history better than I do! I thought you told her!” Foster retorted.
“Told me what?” Brett demanded impatiently. “Stella. What happened?”
The brunette winced, pulling her down to sit on the bench. “Well, you see, back in February…”
Brett listened in shocked dismay as her friend told her about the bachelor auction, Dawson showing up, and the confrontations that had followed. When she was done she sat there dumbly, still processing.
“So let me make sure I got everything,” she said slowly. “Gabby is pregnant, by Peter Mills no less, and she actually thought that it was a good idea to run back to her ex-husband that she left because she wanted biological children and he didn’t want her to risk her life with a pregnancy?” Leaping up, she began to pace in the extremely limited space. “And then, to rescue him, Emily, you go and pretend to be Casey’s girlfriend and make out with him, in front of Dawson?”
“Not make out,” Emily defended hastily. “Just a kiss on the lips. It was nothing really, more of a peck. Completely platonic, I swear.”
“Aw, Em,” a new familiar voice drawled from the doorway. “Always so complimentary of my kissing skills.” Casey watched as all three women scrambled up to face him, looking guilty. “Roll call in ten minutes, so if you want to grab breakfast or coffee, I would go now.”
Kidd and Foster exchanged a wide eyed look and bolted, taking the hint to escape. Brett moved to follow but he blocked her path, leaning against the lockers and crossing his arms.
“You know,” he mused thoughtfully. “There were a lot of parts to that story, yet you were awfully focused on the fact that Foster kissed me.”
She sucked in a sharp breath, trying not to notice how his white polo shirt only emphasized his chest and arms, or how his collar revealed a small patch of his tanned throat and collarbone that made her mouth water with the sudden need to bite it.
“In fact,” he continued, moving closer to deliberately invade her personal space as his voice dropped to an intimate murmur. “One might even say that you, Sylvie Brett, were jealous.”
She looked up into his waiting gaze, the usually bright blue darkened with intensity and a challenging glint as he waited for her to reply.
The simplest response would be to give in and admit that yes, she was insanely jealous and a bit resentful that Emily had kissed him, that their relationship had evolved into a new found closeness while she had been in Fowlerton. Casey didn’t trust very many people to let them in on an intimate, touchy feely level; she could count maybe three at most.
Severride was at the top of that list, mainly because he usually ignored or busted through any barriers or distance that Casey tried to put up between them whenever they had one of their blowups or had suffered an emotional blow. Gabby had done the same thing, to a point, being naturally more physically affectionate than the more reserved Truck Captain.
Sylvie had started to count herself as the third person on that list as her friendship – relationship?- with Casey had slowly deepened into something more the year before, but whatever they had had seemed to have disappeared, at least on his part. He had been careful to keep a deliberate distance between them at all times, avoiding even the smallest accidental brush of skin. But Foster, who had only been at 51 for just under two years, was now trusted enough for her to kiss him?
She gritted her teeth, clenching her jaw so what she really wanted to say wouldn’t come tumbling out as she glared mutinously up at him. “I have to go,” she mumbled, pushing past him.
Casey let her go – for now – giving her a few seconds head start before heading to the briefing room. She was already there, cradling a mug of coffee and staring into it like it held all the answers to the universe and Stella and Foster whispered urgently to her. He hid his grin as he leaned against the wall in his usual spot next to Severride, who quirked a brow at him. They didn’t have time to speak though, as Boden entered the room and immediately began with morning announcements and assignments, no nonsense as usual.
He deliberately stayed away from Brett and Foster for the entire shift, knowing that both woman were going to certainly be riled up when he saw them next.
You are so much trouble, Matt Casey! Brett is PISSED! At you and at me, but it’s Brett so she’s pretending like nothing is wrong. If she grits her teeth any harder though, she’s going to break a crown. I’m mad at you too, for the record! A little warning would’ve been nice!
His shoulders shook as he read Emily’s text later that afternoon.
If Sylvie wants to yell at me, then she knows where to find me, although she’s going to have to articulate exactly why and what she’s so mad about.
…Playing with fire here, Casey.
Guess I made the right choice on career day then. He hit send, already hearing her spluttering reply.
It was strange, having outside relationship help, but Emily had been determined, cornering him in his quarters just after shift had ended a couple of weeks before….
“So. Brett is back in town.” She announced, slipping into his office and closing the door.
Casey froze for a second before his finished zipping his bag shut and turning to face her. “Back in town because they decided to have the wedding here, or…” he replied neutrally, ignoring the small glimmer of hope deep inside.
“No, back as in permanently because she called off the engagement on her own and had actually already packed when Stella and I showed up to bring her home.” Foster answered triumphantly, frowning when he didn’t react. “I thought that you’d be more excited.”
“Of course I’m excited. Brett is a good friend and a fantastic paramedic, and it’ll be good to get Collins out of here with his smelly ass cologne that he saturates everything in,” Casey replied, moving to lean against the wall and cross his arms. Conversations with Emily Foster, he was finding, were best done on his feet – physically and mentally. The woman was scarily intuitive, and had a way of prying the truth out of him before he knew what he was saying, which he still wasn’t sure he liked.
At the moment, she was rolling her eyes at him with an air of exasperation only perfected by (adopted) siblings. He sighed, bracing himself for the lecture.
“You did not just try that casual BS with me!” She scolded. “I am not doing this for another year!”
“Watching you two dance in circles around each other and date other people when you’re obviously perfect for each other!”
“Emily, you’re the one who set Brett up with the chaplain the first place!” He countered, not denying her claim.
“Well, yeah, but that was before I had gotten to know either of you.” She pouted. “And you were busy with that reporter chick, plus it was barely six months since your ex had left. The timing wasn’t right. Now it is.” She eyed him. “Don’t try to tell me that you’re not interested anymore.”
He sighed heavily. “So what if I am? She just got out of an engagement, Em. She doesn’t know what she wants right now. I’m not going to push her into something before she’s ready.”
“But – “
“Leave it alone, Emily.” He warned.
“She’s meeting that Ryan guy for drinks tonight,” Emily said in a rush. “The social worker. She put him off for the past two weeks, and now all of a sudden she said yes. I don’t think the timing is coincidence.”
He frowned impatiently. “What are you talking about?”
“Don’t you find it interesting that she agreed to drinks after you hooked up with Smart Girl?” She smirked when his eyes narrowed in interest and surprise. “Looks like you’re not the only one who needed a distraction and a bit of extra denial. How’d that work out for you, by the way?”
Lord, it was like having a female version of Severride prying into his business. “I don’t want to talk about it.”
Her smirk widened. “That good, huh?”
Casey huffed, picking up his bag. “What exactly do you expect me to do about all of this? Brett is free to have drinks with whomever she wants, Emily.”
“Okay fine.” She conceded, holding up her hands. “I just thought you might be interested. My bad.”
“Go home, Emily.” He sighed, again not confirming or denying anything. “I’ll see you tonight or tomorrow at Molly’s.”
She left reluctantly, though without further protest. Her main purpose was done. She had put the idea in his head. Now she just had to wait and see how he responded.
That had been a week ago, and Casey had taken his sweet time, much to Foster’s frustration. Until that morning. when Brett’s casual and genuine happiness over Issac’s homecoming had finally triggered a response in the Truck Captain. Foster had been a bit impressed, actually, but far more amused at the both of them. It had been like watching the adult version of kids on the playground, poking a bit just to goad a reaction out of their crush and redirect their attention back onto them. And it had worked like a charm; the slight frown and distracted expression on her usually cheery PIC’s face had been more than enough evidence, and her look of stubborn determination when they returned to 51 after the last morning call had been a definite sign that she had worked herself up enough to go confront Casey directly about his comments that morning.