Whatever she had sensed from him, it was gone by the time she found him again at 51. He was walking down the main corridor, just passing the doors leading out to the app floor, so she slipped in behind and around him, bumping his shoulder companionably with hers as she matched his long strides.
“So,” she began cheerfully as he jumped in surprise. “I managed to get home and out again early-“
“Good morning to you too.”
“-and I had a little extra time, so I stopped by Chocolatte and got you coffee and donuts as a thank you.” She finished with a grin as they walked towards the common room. “Ty says hi, by the way.”
Casey accepted the cup and bag with a laugh. “I bet that’s not the only thing that Ty said.”
“Of course not,” she agreed, her lips twitching in amusement. “Daria was there to keep him in line as always though. She said to tell you that you got the last creampuff, but she’ll have a fresh batch before next shift.” She tsked at him. “Who knew that Matt Casey had such a sweet tooth?”
Casey bit back the suggestive response that flew to his lips, instead offering a sheepish smile and shrug as they stepped into the room. “Not my fault that all the women in my life are fantastic cooks and bakers,” he protested good naturedly, sitting next to Severride and kicking his friend’s chair in greeting.
“You are so full of crap.” The other man snorted. “Brett, don’t let Casey sucker you in. For some reason women fall for the wide eyed golden boy charm in inevitably start clucking and cooing over how he needs a good home cooked meal, or some bull. He’s been pulling this crap since Academy.”
“Hey, you weren’t complaining when you made the mistake of letting Shay try to cook for Thanksgiving and she nearly burned your apartment down,” Casey retorted, gesturing with his cup. “It was too late in the day for me to start over since you both insisted that she had it handled, so Cindy took pity on all three of us and invited us over to Herrmann’s for dinner instead.” He raised his brows at his friend pointedly. “That was the year that she perfected her brownie recipe, and you bribed Annabelle with the last one so that she would finally go to sleep afterward.”
“Oh yeah.” Severride smirked. “It worked though.”
“Yeah, but you failed to tell her that it was actually only about a quarter of the last brownie, because you had stuffed the rest in your mouth coming up the stairs.” Casey snorted, pulling out the creampuff.
“Hey, she was only five. Sweets before bedtime weren’t good for her.” He laughingly swatted away a couple of the paper balls tossed at him from the others, including one Herrmann himself who hadn’t heard that particular story, as the bells rang for Ambo.
“Here,” Casey said to Brett as she passed by, holding out the pastry bag. “Coffee isn’t much of a breakfast.”
He knew as well as she did that she liked getting through a few calls before eating, since the antiseptic smell of the hospitals and some of the early calls didn’t always agree with a hearty breakfast, but he thought a couple of donuts would be okay. She was tough. Her sidelong look said she thought he was being extra bossy this morning, but she took it. Foster shot him a smirk as she followed her partner out.
He returned his own attention to his food and coffee, only to pause mid bite when he noticed both Severride and Kidd watching him. “What?”
“Cruz said that Brett stayed at your place last night,” Kidd replied as the burly firefighter moved closer. “Something you want to share with the class there Casey?”
He shook his head. “Not what you think,” he said, ignoring Severride’s snort of disbelief. “Not my story to tell either, but…Brett’s birth mom has been trying to contact her recently.”
They tensed, instantly dropping the teasing. “Is that why she’s been so distracted and stressed lately?” Kidd frowned. “I thought it was because she as helping Chloe out with wedding details. She’s tougher than I am; I don’t know if I could deal with all of that after two failed engagements.”
“Chloe brought that up too, but Sylvie insisted; recommended some really great businesses and things that we never would’ve thought of,” Cruz told her. “Is the birth mom thing why she came to see you last night, Casey?”
Casey stifled a groan; he loved his 51 family, but they gossiped worse than anyone he knew, and had no hesitations with doing some well intentioned meddling if they thought it would help.
“You two have been spending a lot of time together lately,” Cruz continued, oblivious to the sudden raised brows and looks exchanged between Severride, Kidd, and Casey, who glared at them in warning.
“Just helping out a friend,” he said pointedly as the bells rang again, this time calling Truck out to an accident.
“Yup. Of course. Whatever you say, Capt,” Kidd nodded as they headed for the rig. “Whatever you say.”
The call turned out to be a multi car accident; chain reaction started a student driver slamming on his brakes to avoid the bicyclist that darted out in front of him and instead getting rear ended by the driver being a jerk and following way too close. Luckily for the kid, his teacher was an off duty cop who was in no way intimidated by the blustery anger of the businessman now late to his meeting through his own carelessness, and luckily for everyone involved, there were no major injuries.
Casey listened for a minute to the rather impressive lecture from the cop to the now cowed man, before exchanging amused grins with Mouch. “Okay guys, pack it up!”
They returned to the house, Mouch already poking at Gallo about lunch – or at least a proper late breakfast as they headed inside. Casey paused he as rounded the front of the rig, noticing that 61 was still gone.
“Ambo still isn’t back from that call this morning?” he questioned, stopping at the Squad table.
“No, they came back long enough to restock before they were gone again,” Severride replied. “Two jacks.”
The Truck Captain watched as Capp eagerly plucked three cards out of his hand and laid them on the thick pile. “Three queens.”
Severride’s eyes flickered to Casey, who smirked, shaking his head in an abbreviated negative sign. His friend returned the smirk. “Bullshit,” he challenged, as Capp groaned. “Yup, that’s right, pick them allll up…”
Satisfied that he had done his part to disrupt at least one Squad member’s day, Casey snickered and continued on his way. He had just settled at his desk with another cup of coffee when his phone rang.
“Hey Jay,” he greeted the caller, putting him on speaker so he could continue writing.
“Hey,” the detective replied, sounding weary. “I know you asked if I could stop by but things have been crazy and I haven’t been able to get away. What’s up?”
“Nothing, hopefully.” Casey sighed. “Sylvie’s birth mom contacted her after over 30 years of nothing. Hope it’s genuine, but I was wondering if you could run her name through the system? Make sure there aren’t any surprises or red flags before Sylvie meets her in person.”
“Yeah, I hear you,” Jay replied. “Give me the name and I’ll see what I can do.”
“Julie Winters. She lives in Rockford, apparently. Thanks, Jay.”
“Anytime, bro. Give me a few hours and I’ll be in touch when I have something, even if it’s nothing.”
“Appreciate it. And I owe you, big time.”
The other man’s warm laugh filled the room. “Nah, but you know that I will never say no to a free beer at Molly’s.”
Casey chuckled. “I got you covered.”
“Awesome. Later, man.”
They hung up, and he breathed a sigh of relief. He knew Sylvie, and how stubborn she could be when she set her mind to something. Now that she knew where her birth mother lived, there was no way she wouldn’t seek her out at some point. At least this way she wouldn’t go in fully blind, although he was determined that she wasn’t going alone either way.