Chapter 1: Part One
The Beauty of the World
She was furious. How could she not be? She felt completely and utterly betrayed, but at the same time, the self-doubt crept in. Maybe it was her fault this happened. Maybe she didn’t love him enough or treasure him enough. No, no, that wasn’t it. She gave everything to him, and it was thrown back in her face. On their honeymoon none the less. How ridiculous was that?! She walked in on him, in their honeymoon suite, with a girl he met on the plane ride here. It was sickening.
“Sylvie. I – I thought you would be gone for the evening at your yoga class.”
Not even an apology in sight. His first go to was to make excuses.
“What a weasel…” she grumbled as she plonked down on the sand. Their hotel was situated by a beach in Australia none the less. She couldn’t even run home if she wanted to. She could just hop on a plane, but she’d rather not blow through her savings doing that. More than that, the last thing she wanted to do was go home to her judgey friends and family who would somehow try and make excuses for Harrison’s shitty behaviour. She decided there and then as she sat in the sand that this was it. She wasn’t going to stick around and let him get away with it. She deserved better – and she deserved this honeymoon.
“Who’s a weasel?” she heard a voice say behind her as she jumped out of her skin and a hand flew to her heart.
“Do you make a habit of scaring the crap out of strangers you meet on the beach?” she demanded to know.
He snorted, “Only the ones mumbling to themselves.”
She turned around and looked at the guy. She was momentarily taken aback by how cute he was. His wetsuit was half on half off, he was muscular but not too muscular, sun kissed, blonde, a well-trimmed beard and had the most piercing blue eyes. He was also American, which she found oddly comforting right now – stranger or not.
“Are you uh – are you planning on surfing? In the dark?” she asked, trying to distract herself from staring at him for too long.
He dug his surfboard into the sand and rested his arm on the side of it; “There’s no better time to surf than at night.”
“Isn’t it a little dangerous?” she asked as she scrunched up her nose.
“You’re the one sitting out here alone in the dark… not sure you can judge me about danger. Besides – what’s life without a little risk anyway?” he challenged.
She rolled her eyes. “You sound like a typical, egotistical guy who thinks he can get away with anything.” She grumbled.
He quirked an eyebrow. She was clearly holding some sort of grudge but the fire he could see in her – he really liked it. There was something truly captivating about her and he found himself wanting to know more in those few short moments he spoke to her.
“Matt Casey.” He said as he extended his hand to help her up off the sand.
She looked at his hand momentarily before slightly begrudgingly accepting it. It seemed like the more graceful way to get up anyway.
“Sylvie Brett” she replied. Why the hell was she telling a stranger her name? Her parents would curse the heavens if they knew. They would feel like all the stranger-danger lessons they gave her went straight out the window.
“Alright Brett… you up for a surf?” he asked.
“Brett? Do you call everybody by their surname?”
Matt chuckled, “Occupational hazard.” He responded as Sylvie merely nodded her head. “So what do you say? You can’t come to Australia and not night surf.”
Sylvie contemplated it for a moment. She looked between her hotel and the ocean. It seemed reckless but… she was done playing safe. It had gotten her nowhere, it was time to make a change – and it started right here, right now. Besides – it wasn’t like she had a husband to get back to.
“Ok. You’re on.” Sylvie said as she took off her sundress to reveal a white bikini that highlighted her newly developing tan. For someone who was normally a pastey white, she’d surprised herself by how well she took to the sun.
Sylvie began walking – or marching confidently depending on what way you looked at it – towards the ocean. Matt held back for a little bit and furrowed his eyebrows in further intrigue. Sylvie had no idea what she was getting herself into – and neither did he.
“That was amazing!” Sylvie said with a laugh and a bright smile as she and Matt came out of the water. “I had no idea surfing could feel like that at night. I had no idea the ocean could feel like that at night, it was just – it was bliss.” For a little while, all of Sylvie’s problems felt like they had disappeared. It was just her, the ocean, a surfboard and a pair of blue eyes that often felt like they were piercing her soul.
Matt smiled, “Yeah, you’re not bad at it, Brett.” He complimented her. He truly meant that. At first she was a little wobbly and there were some monumental splashes. Sylvie was also convinced she was going to have some hefty bruises from whacking her legs off the board. But once she got the hang of the technique, she was a natural. Matt was also quick to notice that the weight she appeared to be carrying on her shoulders lifted. She was beaming and laughing and making him laugh just talking about anything and everything. They were having fun – and they both certainly needed it.
Where abouts in the states are you from?”
“Indiana. So no – I haven’t surfed before I came here.” She said with a little laugh. It was remarkable. This guy made her feel so full of light in the hour she had spent with him. She hadn't felt this peaceful for the whole week she had been here with Harrison.
“I guess you’re just a natural.” He complimented as Sylvie turned around to look at him. She hadn’t realised how close he was standing behind her, but she didn’t step back. It was as if something was drawing her to him like a moth is drawn to a flame.
“Yeah. I guess so.” She said quietly as they stood just a breath apart.
They stared at each other; their breathing slightly laboured from rushing out of the ocean. Sylvie involuntarily bit her lower lip in anticipation. What was it about this guy that made her feel so… alive? He moved his head that little bit closer and Sylvie suddenly came back to her senses.
“I can’t” she mumbled out as she closed her eyes and scrunched up her face. If she did anything with this guy, then she was no better than Harrison.
“I was wondering when you were going to bring up the fact that you’re sporting a rather glitzy wedding ring.” He said as he motioned to her hand. Sylvie looked down at it. Even just the sight of the gold bands made her want to scream.
“Yeah, well… not anymore.” She said as she took the ring off and walked a few steps back to the ocean. She stared at it for a brief moment – before flinging her rings into the sea.
“Wow… I’m going to need to hear the story behind this one.” He said with a scoff of confusion. He knew from the moment he saw her there was a story to tell. He’d been trying to work it out all night, but now he was hoping she could put the pieces together for him.
“You just met me and you want to know about my baggage?” Sylvie asked sceptically as she turned around and folded her arms over her chest, like she was trying to protect herself from something. She felt like her vulnerability was shining through right now and she hated it.
Matt ran his hand over his wet hair before his face winced slightly. “You haven’t heard anything until you’ve heard about my luck with love.” He replied with an encouraging smile. It was clear to Sylvie that wasn’t a statement he liked to make. Either his pride wouldn’t allow it or he was genuinely too hurt to talk about it. The fact that he’d shared that with a stranger too didn’t go unnoticed by her.
Sylvie looked to her feet and kicked the sand beneath it, maybe it would be good to get everything off her chest. Even better was the fact that she could tell it to a stranger and not fear anyone placing the blame on her or trying to rationalise Harrison’s stupid actions. In many people’s eyes, Harrison could do no wrong.
“I’m currently on my honeymoon.” She began as Matt nodded his head to show he was listening. “About an hour and a half ago I walked in on my husband in bed with a girl we met on our flight here. All he could say was ‘I didn’t think you’d be back till later.’ So yeah – I’m going to chuck my wedding rings in the sea and hope that the only time I ever see that bastard again is in a lawyer’s office.” She confessed.
“Damn… I’d chuck the rings in the sea too.” He supported with a little awkward laugh. Matt really wasn’t sure what to say. He was expecting something not so nice, but he really wasn’t expect that. This guy sounded like a right piece of work – he picked up a girl on a flight?! Damn.
“Yeah… I’m sure he’ll want me to pay him back for that one, but you know… these things happen” she said with a little shrug and a smirk. She was incredibly grateful that the stranger had rocked up on the beach and somehow allowed her to joke in the midst of the chaos.
Matt held up his hands, “I’ll happily attest to any story you want to tell if needs be.” He said as Sylvie smiled gratefully.
“So…what’s your story?” she asked curiously. If she was going to spill her issues then it only seemed fair that he did the same.
“My fiancée died in a fire a little while back. I thought I was going to be with her forever but uh… it appeared that the universe had other plans.” He told her sadly. “Travelling to the other side of the world and surfing all day and night remind me that there is still some beauty in the world. Even without Hallie in it.”
Sylvie’s face fell a thousand miles. She could only imagine how unbearable that loss must have been to him. She all of a sudden felt stupid for making such a scene over Harrison. Matt’s pain was so deep and it was remarkable to her that he still searched for the beauty in the world even without the person that he loved.
“Do you come out here often?” Sylvie asked. It was the only thing she could really think to say. From the look in his eyes, she could tell that sympathy wasn’t something he wanted from her. He wanted someone to treat him like a human being who was capable of continuing with his life and living it how Hallie would have wanted him to.
Matt shrugged, “Whenever I can.” He didn’t get many furloughs, but he tried to use them wisely – and this was the wisest thing he could think of. He’d travelled a little bit after high school and learned how to surf, so it only came naturally to pick it back up again. In a strange way, these trips had been his saving grace.
“I uh – I have to ask…” Sylvie began as she stepped closer towards him again. “Why did you stop to talk to me? I’m a stranger. You didn’t have to do all this.” Her curiosity about this man was growing by the minute. Most people she knew would have just walked straight by a huffing stranger – but not him. He cared. The look in his eyes proved that.
“Again – occupational hazard. It’s in my job description to care.” He replied. Truth was, it was a little bit more than that. He saw her and he just felt something pulling him towards her. He didn’t know why but it was like the universe was trying to tell him she was someone worth talking to.
“What do you do?”
“I’m a firefighter.” He said, a little reluctantly. He always felt like people’s perceptions of him changed a little when they learnt that fact about it. It’s like they always wanted more. They saw him as some sort of hero and they needed someone like that in their life to rescue them from pain – physical and emotional.
Sylvie smiled widely. “You’re kidding”
“Nope… I’m a lieutenant in the Chicago Fire Department.” He elaborated as Sylvie smiled further at him. He furrowed his brow. “Why are you looking at me like that?”
“I should have guessed from the occupational hazards… I guess they’re occupational hazards of mine too.”
“… you’re a firefighter?”
Sylvie shook her head, “I’m a paramedic with the Indianapolis Fire Department. Well – I trained in Indianapolis; I work in a little town called Fowlerton. There’s not much going on there… certainly not the big leagues like Chicago.” She said with a little laugh. “But I uh – I’m thinking of making a change.”
“You seem to be making a lot of those tonight.” He observed.
“Well… I came down to this beach and I really wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I was still in my mad phase, hence the talking to myself part which I’m sure you remember…” she joked as Matt smiled at her. She was funny in such a sweet way. He couldn’t get enough of it. “But then I met this guy…” she said as she took another step forward and spoke a little quieter. “and he made me laugh and he reminded me that what I do matters and that there is a heck of a lot of beauty in the world if you look for it in the right places.”
“Wow, must be some guy to teach you all of that…” he teased. “Well, I met a girl here tonight too.” He said as Sylvie quirked a brow.
“Yeah… and she really made me laugh too.” He said with a chuckle as Sylvie blushed slightly. “I haven’t truly laughed in a long time. If she learnt that there’s beauty in this world then I learnt that there’s beauty in the people who live in it too. I learnt that just because the beauty of one person is gone, doesn’t mean there isn’t more to be found in others.” He'd shut himself off after Hallie, but now he felt like it was time to open up again.
Sylvie nodded her head slowly as she stared through his blue eyes. She’d never been made to feel like she’d really made an impact on someone. She wasn’t used to appreciation and admiration. She didn’t know how to respond.
Unfortunately, she didn’t even have the chance to try and respond. A booming voice appeared behind them that sent shivers down Sylvie’s spine.
“Sylvie. Where the hell have you been?!” Harrison questioned as he grabbed Sylvie’s elbow and turned her around to face him. Sylvie immediately snapped her arm away and glared at him. “What do you think you’re doing just running off like that?”
“Where did you want me to go? You were fucking someone else in our hotel room!” she challenged as Harrison’s jaw clenched.
Matt had seen this look before. It was the look of a man who was desperate to get out of this situation. He figured that his next move would be to somehow blame Sylvie for his indiscretions – but he knew that Sylvie could handle herself.
“Sylvie, sweetie, it was a mistake. You were gone all day exploring the coast—”
“So that’s your excuse? I was gone so… what? You were lonely?” she patronised – and rightfully so. There was no excuse that she would buy right now. “You’re disgusting and if you came here expecting me to believe anything you say, you can think again.”
“I guess it was my fault.” He began. Sylvie couldn’t quite believe that he was taking any semblance of responsibility for his actions, so her deep glare didn’t falter as she waited to see where this was going. She watched as his eyes darked and he clicked his tongue against his teeth. Whatever was coming next was no doubt doing to be a brutal, unfair blow.
“I guess it was my fault for marrying such a boring bitch in the first place.”
Sylvie’s mouth fell open slightly in shock at his words before she felt Matt move from behind her.
“Yeah, that doesn’t sit too well with me.” He said before he swiftly lifted his fist and punched Harrison square in the jaw. Harrison fell back onto the sand with a bit of a thump as Matt shook out his fist. That was for a multitude of things. It was for cheating on Sylvie, it was for calling her names – which he sensed hadn’t been for the first time – and it was for his won frustrations with this world. Why was it so damn hard for this man to show some respect?
Sylvie’s mouth fell open further as she gasped slightly. She’d pegged him for the calm, cool and collected type – but it appeared he had his moments of madness when the situation called for it.
Matt turned to Sylvie, his own face holding a sense of shock. “… I haven’t punched someone since high school.”
Sylvie let out a laugh, “Yet you punched a guy for a total stranger?”
Matt smirked, “You’re the best damn stranger I’ve ever met.” He told her honestly. He’d known her for a little over an hour and it was easily the best hour he’d had in a long time.
Harrison still lay on the sand, rubbing the speckle of blood from his lip. “What the—who the hell are you?!” he questioned. Before Matt could say anything, Harrison started up again. “I don’t even care who you are, I am going to sue your ass and you will regret even breathing in my direction!”
Sylvie bent over Harrison’s figure, “If you sue anybody, I’m going to sue you right back in our divorce proceedings which you and I both know won’t go well for you considering what you did.” She taunted as Harrison quietened down. For the first time, it appeared that Harrison realised he’d truly fucked up.
Sylvie turned around and grabbed Matt’s hand before pulling him off the beach.
“Where are we going?” he asked curiously.
Sylvie turned back to look at him, a sense of peace covering her face. “Exploring.”
Sylvie couldn’t remember the last time she’d stayed up all night. She guessed it was maybe prom night or a night in college with her best friends. What she was sure about, however, was that she hadn’t spent a night as good as this maybe ever.
As someone who had frequented the Gold Coast often, Matt took her to some beautiful spots. Firstly, he took her to some secret food spots that served the best fast food she’d ever had. He’d then driven her around the Coast, pointing out some of the most picturesque spots. Somehow, they were still magical in the dark.
By 6am, they had landed at a secluded spot at Snapper Rocks Beach and they were waiting for the sun to rise. All night they had talked like they were the best of friends. They spoke about their lives – the good, the bad, the ugly and the darn right hilarious. They shared tales of their experiences in the fire department, though anything Sylvie told flailed in comparison to the epic calls Matt had been on in Chicago. She got such a rush thinking about it – it was rush she wanted to experience for herself.
While the talking was great, there was something truly perfect about this moment they were spending in silence, just staring out at the ocean and watching the sun as it creeped over the horizon. Sylvie’s head was resting gently on his shoulder as if it belonged there. In one night, they’d made each other feel more comfortable than they had felt in a long time and they didn’t want that comfort to end – but they knew that it had to.
The silence continued as they made their way back to Sylvie’s hotel. She knew she had to face the mess that was waiting for her, but she was doing so with a secure sense of confidence in making the change she’d been desperately looking for.
They stopped just outside of the doors, Matt’s hands securely in his short pockets. Before anything was said, he look a moment to take her and her beauty in. If there was a chance he was never going to see her again, then he was desperate to remember her just like this. Her blonde hair in beachy waves, sun kissed and wide awake and ready to take the world by storm.
“Well…” Sylvie began as she folded her arms. “This was a clandestine meeting I hope the universe allows us to have again.” She told him as she nudged him slightly with her elbow. Right now, it was just him and her in this world. She hoped that if the universe allowed it happen once, it would allow it to happen again.
“Me too.” He replied. “And if you’re still looking for that change when you get back to the states – Chicago is definitely a good place to start.” He advised. He could leave their next meeting up to chance, but he was also eager to make it that little bit easier for them.
“Good to know.” She said with a smile and a nod. She had a funny feeling that he was onto something with that one.
Sylvie realised her arms from her hold, and she took a step forward. She lifted her hand and rested it on the back of Matt’s neck. She wanted to take one last look into his captivating eyes before she returned to reality. They made her wish that this was her reality. She slowly reached up and delicately kissed his cheek.
Matt closed his eyes at the touch. It was perfect but at the same time it didn’t feel like enough – but he knew it would have to be for now.
She pulled back and looked at him again, the faintest – but sincerest – of smiles on her face. “Goodbye Matt Casey” she said in a whisper before her hand slipped away from his neck. She backed away a few steps before she found the courage to turn around completely and walk back into the hotel.
“Goodbye Sylvie Brett.” He whispered as soon as she disappeared behind the doors.
Despite saying goodbye, it didn’t really feel like a goodbye. He had a funny feeling that this strange evening wasn’t the only evening they’d spend together.
How could he let that go when he’d finally found the beauty in the world?
Chapter 2: Part Two
Sylvie and Matt meet again in Chicago.
I caved on a part two lol I knew I wouldn't be able to leave it alone!!
I hope you enjoy it!
The Beauty of the World - Part Two
Ever since that night in Australia, Matt had been looking at the world a little differently. He’d gone back to Chicago with a renewed sense of hope for the future. When Hallie died, he’d pretty much shut himself off to the possibility of ever finding fulfilment again, but Sylvie had changed that. She showed him that there is more beauty to be found and he was determined to find it again.
His optimism came as a surprise to the people of 51. They hadn’t expected Casey to go to Australia and come back a changed man. They hadn’t expected him to walk into 51 with a spring in his step. They hadn’t expected him to laugh so much with his crew. They were incredibly thankful for it, but they were nonetheless confused. Nobody said anything, however. They didn’t want to draw attention to in case it sent Casey back into a bad mood – it wasn’t until 6 months later that Severide finally cracked.
“6 months.” He called after Casey as he caught up with him in the hallways of 51.
Matt frowned at his friend, “… ok?” he said as more of a question to his friend’s statement.
“I mean…” Severide began to clarify. “It’s been 6 months since you got back from Australia and you’re still walking around here with a new lease of life. Something changed out there are you are being mum about what.”
Matt stopped and looked at Severide, “I haven’t been mum about anything. Nobody’s asked and I haven’t felt the need to drag my business all over the firehouse.” He explained reasonably. He may have been in a happier place, but he was still the same, reserved and cautious guy. His business was his and his alone.
Severide nodded his head, “Ok, I’ll ask then… what happened out there?”
Matt shrugged, “I just decided it’s time to move forward. That’s all.”
Matt’s response seemed to satisfy his friend. Severide knew that there was probably more to this story, but Matt would tell him when he was ready, or if he wanted to at all. All Severide knew was that something or someone had altered his outlook on life – and he was grateful on behalf of his friend.
Matt was grateful too. He was thriving in his job and in his friendships and for the first time in a long time he actually longed for the future. He longed for the future because there was a chance that he would see her again. He couldn’t quite accept that this beautiful stranger would walk into his life, change his world and then just disappear again.
Severide briefly glanced into the lounge that they had stopped in front of. He immediately noticed that Gabby Dawson was staring in their direction. Her eyes peeping ever so slightly over the top of her magazine. Severide smirked. Matt may have been oblivious to Gabby’s huge crush on him – but Severide wasn’t. He loved both of his friends dearly and saw a certain spark between then. They had always gotten along well, they trusted each other, and they respected each other as colleagues and friends. Gabby had really stepped up in the friendship department when Hallie died. Maybe this could be the future Matt was talking about grabbing by the horns.
“Since you think it’s time to move forward…” Severide began as Matt eyed him curiously. “Maybe it’s time you give it a chance with Dawson.”
Matt looked into the lounge and saw Gabby set her magazine down and walk in their direction.
“I don’t know man…” Matt mumbled. Before Matt could continue, Severide backed away slightly to let Gabby talk to Matt.
“Hey Casey” she greeted with a smile as she awkwardly rubbed her hands together.
“Hey. What’s up?” Matt asked as he shifted awkwardly, briefly sending a glare in Severide’s direction as he stood behind them holding in a little laugh. His friend had really landed him in this one.
“Uh… nothing much.” She said with a shrug. “I was just – I was wondering what you were doing off shift?” she asked curiously.
“A couple of construction gigs and I might try and see Christie and Violet at some point.” he said. “Nothing too exciting. You?” he asked back, trying to be friendly, and hoping this wasn’t going somewhere Severide seemed to imply it was going.
Gabby smiled and appeared hopeful, “Well, there’s a new restaurant down on Shore Road that’s supposed to do the best steaks in all of Chicago and I was wondering if you wanted to go and check it out?”
Matt nodded, “Yeah, yeah, I know the place. Severide’s been wanting to go for ages, we should totally get everyone together and go.” He said excitedly. He genuinely wanted to try this place out and would happily go… with a bunch of friends. Gabby’s face fell a thousand miles as he clearly missed what she was trying to ask him. She didn’t want to get steak with Severide, she wanted to get stake with Casey and Casey alone.
“Oh, I—” she began to protest, but the bells went off and she stopped talking as they called for truck, squad and ambo to attend to a car accident downtown.
Matt set his papers down on a nearby table before briefly turning back to Gabby, “Text me with the details?” he asked as Gabby clenched her jaw and nodded her head.
Nice try Dawson. Real nice try.
The car accident was a fairly straight forward one to deal with. There was one person trapped and a few ambulances were needed to transport victims with non-life-threatening issues, so they dealt with it quickly and efficiently. Now, they were just tidying up the scene a little bit before the cars were taken away.
“So…” Severide said as he walked over to Casey, taking the opportunity to question his friend about Gabby’s advances while their crews cleaned up. “Why did you completely friendzone Dawson like that? She’s clearly into you and you get along…”
“Gabby and I are like oil and water.” Matt began. He just knew they were not a good mix. “I mean, I value her friendship, I really do, but it would be chaos if we ever went beyond that.”
“You can’t know until you try” Severide suggested.
“Gabby doesn’t want a partner, she wants someone who will just do as she asks.” Matt said. He knew it was a little harsh, but it was the simplest way he could put it. Gabby Dawson did what was best for Gabby Dawson and nobody else. “No matter what anybody says, she always does what she wants to do, and I don’t want that. I want someone that wants to work through life with me together. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable thing to want.” He explained.
Severide nodded his head in understanding as he put his hand on Matt’s shoulder, “After everything you’ve been through man, you deserve to find exactly what you want.”
“Thanks man” Matt said appreciatively. It was nice to have his friend on board, rather than having something thrown upon him.
“And I’m sure this partner you want is out there” Severide added before he started to walk away.
“I know she’s out there.” Matt replied almost immediately.
Severide froze in a moment of realisation. He slowly turned back around and looked at his friend with a growing smirk on his face.
“You met someone.”
Matt frowned, “What?”
“In Australia. You met someone who made you realise that a true partnership is possible.” Severide said as he put the pieces together. The details were obviously non-existent but for Matt to be so sure that she was out there, he had to have met someone who made him think like that. There had to be someone who made him realise that he could fall in love again.
Matt sighed, “… it’s a long story.”
Severide looked at his watch, “Well… we’ve got another 18 hours left on this shift. I’ve got time.” He said with a bright grin. He couldn’t wait to hear about this one.
“Oh crap…” he heard someone mumble from behind the fire truck. The accident damaged another car that was parked on the side of the road. It wasn’t much – there was a slight dent in the door and the wing mirror would need replacing, but the car was in no way a write-off.
Matt started to walk towards the figure to explain what happened and give them any details they needed. The more he walked, however, the more things started to click in his brain. He knew that mumbling voice. The figure finally came into his line of view, and although her back was to him – he knew exactly who it was. He could never forget those blonde curls.
His heart started to beat a little it faster. She was here, she was actually here – in Chicago – at his accident scene. He heard a few of his crew ask some questions, but he was in no mind to respond. His entire focus was on her and her alone.
He walked slowly behind her, thinking about what to say. The last time this happened, it was just an off-handed comment that he hadn’t expected much of a response to, but now – now the stakes somehow felt higher. This wasn’t a comment he was going to get back again.
He paused behind her. Short and simple Casey. You got this man. His internal monologue told him as he opened his mouth to speak.
“What’s crap?” he asked – much like he had asked ‘who’s a weasel?’ to her mumbling six months ago.
She jumped slightly before she stood up a little straighter and froze with her back to him. After a momentary silence she slowly turned around and as she realised her suspicions were correct, her face lit up like a Christmas tree.
She folded her arms across her chest and quirked an eyebrow, “Do you make a habit of scaring the crap out of strangers you meet in the middle of the street?” she teased, also using her words from their previous moment together. She felt a flutter in her chest as the memories of that night six months ago came flooding back. Somehow, the crappiness of that evening somehow was made insignificant compared to the brief memories she made with him.
Matt smirked back, his nervousness immediately disappearing, “Only the ones who are mumbling to themselves… besides – you’re the best damn stranger I’ve ever met.”
“It is so good to see you Matt Casey” she said as she finally dropped their little game.
“Of all the accident scenes in all the towns in all the world, I can’t quite believe that Sylvie Brett would walk into mine...” He joked as the other members of 51 finally became aware of Matt’s interaction with what looked like a friend. A very good friend.
“Well I’ll not hug you and embarrass you in front of your crew lieutenant, but you can expect one at a later date.” She told him sincerely. She didn’t think it was possible to miss the touch of someone she knew for around 8 hours – but it was. She missed him deeply and from the way he was looking at her right now, it was clear he had too.
“A later date, huh?” he asked, wondering if that meant he would be seeing her again soon.
"Well it didn’t take much to convince a judge that I need to divorce Harrison’s ass.” She began as Matt nodded supportively. He didn’t think that would be difficult for her and he was glad she was right. “And when that was done, I remembered that I met this guy in Australia who had a real love for Chicago…” she began as Matt couldn’t help but grin. “And he also said that it was a great place to make a change so – here I am.”
Sylvie beamed, “I’m staying. For now, anyway. I’m going to see what this place has to offer.”
“Trust me – it has a lot to offer.” He assured her as their eyes met with the same intensity they had met in Australia. It was then that Sylvie realised they were standing dangerously close – and that they also had an audience. The entirety of truck and squad were standing staring at this interaction completely confused.
Sylvie awkwardly cleared her throat and stepped back slightly before giving them a slight wave. “Hi…” she greeted as they all cautiously waved back in confusion – everyone except Gabby of course. In all honesty, she looked a little cross by what was going on here. Her pride wasn’t up for seeing Matt flirting so openly with someone else. “Any chance you know a good mechanic who can fix this for me?” she asked, turning her attention back to her damaged car.
“Yeah, you got a pen?” He asked as she rummaged through her bag and handed Matt a pen and a notebook. He wrote down all the necessary details for insurance and a mechanic. “Mike is the best, tell him I sent you and he’ll give you a great deal. I’ll get any insurance details from the other driver later, so don’t worry about that.” Matt told her.
“Boy am I lucky to have run into you… yet again.” She teased as she took the items back from him. “I’ll let you guys get back to it” she said as she smiled at the others who couldn’t help but smile back. They had no idea who this woman was – but they were already charmed by her. She seemed really sweet from her smile alone. “I will see you soon.” She said as she backed away to her car.
“Wait” Matt called as he stepped toward just as she opened her car door. “Are you ever going to give me your number?” he asked hopefully.
“I don’t know… I kind of like leaving these meetings open to chance.” She replied. As special as chance was, Matt was sure he could rely on it for much longer. “Something tells me I’ll be seeing you very soon…” she said cryptically before getting in her car and speeding away.
Matt watched after the car for a moment before turning back to 51. They were all staring intensely at Matt, hoping he would explain what just happened. He was openly, and comfortably, flirting with a beautiful stranger – that didn’t really seem like the lieutenant they knew.
“Who was that?” Gabby asked, sounding a little more bitter than she intended to.
Matt shrugged nonchalantly, “Just someone I know.” He said vaguely. Who Sylvie was really wasn’t anybody’s business but his. He kind of liked that she was only his to know about among 51. “I think we’re done here, let’s head back to the firehouse.” He instructed as everyone realised they weren’t getting anything more out of Casey and jumped into the truck.
Severide, however, couldn’t help but make one last comment to Matt. “Now I understand why you’ve been on cloud 9… I would be too if I’d met her in Australia.” He teased as Matt punched his arm while his friend laughed.
As they drove back to the firehouse, Matt’s mind was solely on Sylvie. He already couldn’t wait for their next meeting.
When everyone got back to 51, Matt immediately went to his quarters to catch up on some paperwork. While it needed done, he also wanted to avoid the questions of his colleagues. As much as he loved his 51 family, they could be overly nosey when they wanted to be.
He’d managed to be left in peace until just before dinner, but the interruption was better than he could have expected. There was a soft knock on the door and his head shot up to see Sylvie Brett standing behind the glass. He smiled and nodded for her to come in as he turned and leaned back in his chair.
“Now this meeting couldn’t be a coincidence… right?” He asked. She’d joked about meeting by chance, but there was no way she just stumbled across his quarters at the back of a firehouse.
“In a weird way… I think it is a coincidence.” She said cryptically as she closed the door behind her and leaned against it. “It seems fitting in all honesty.”
Matt looked at her, the confusion written all over his face. “What does?”
“I went to the CFD headquarters today to finish up some paperwork to start as a paramedic and they told me that a spot has just opened up at a firehouse downtown.” She began explaining. “They told me that the house as a reputation of being a problem house… two brash and cocky officers were apparently the big issue…” she teased as things started to click together in Matt’s head. “But alongside being a problem house – they also said that it’s the best damn firehouse in the CFD and if the officers are going to be brash and cocky, they need a good paramedic to stitch them back up again.” She said as she smiled widely.
“… you’re joining 51.” He stated quietly as he took the news in. His heart was thumping against his chest at the thought of being around her so regularly. He was also thrown by how big an impact she was having on his life already. He barely knew her, but he also knew that she was someone he would be honoured to know.
Sylvie shrugged lightly, “Seemed like too good an opportunity to pass up.”
Matt nodded, “It would be. And Severide and I are not brash and cocky. We’re confident in taking calculated risks.” He immediately defended.
Sylvie chuckled lightly, “Well I can’t wait to see those calculated risks in action. If you’re willing to make sure a mumbling stranger on the beach is ok, I can only imagine what you’d be willing to do for someone in a burning building.”
“I guess you’ll find out soon.” He said as they remained in a momentary silence, before Matt had the confidence to speak again. “I’m really excited to have you around here.” He confessed as Sylvie gave him the softest look. “It’ll be nice not having to wonder when our next fateful meeting will be.” He joked.
Sylvie smiled, “Me too. Moving to Chicago is a pretty big step for me, but it’s nice knowing I’m working with someone I trust and I know will have my back. I know that night in Australia was a fleeting moment of time but – I can’t quite begin to explain the impact it had on me. I can’t quite begin to explain the impact you had on me. I found a new lease of life and a renewed confidence that I wasn’t convinced I would ever have again.” She confessed sweetly. It was so rare to find someone that she felt so comfortable sharing things with, so she was determined to take advantage of it. She was determined to trust her gut telling her that he was someone worth sharing with.
“Any confidence you have is all yours and yours alone Sylvie. I’m not the one who threw my wedding rings in the sea after all…” He joked. He wasn’t about to take any kind of credit for the inner strength Sylvie didn’t realise she had until that night. “I’m just glad I could be there to encourage it and to see it. It had a pretty big impact on me too.”
“You are too good for this world Matt Casey.” Sylvie said quietly. She’d never known a man to be so cautious and humble and caring. It was truly a breath of fresh air.
“Back at you Sylvie Brett.” He repeated with just as much sincerity in his voice.
Sylvie took a step forward, “Does this mean you’re my boss now?” she asked. She knew the answer was no, not really, but she wanted to hear his thoughts on the matter.
“Not really, no.” he said with a shake of his head. “The only person you really need to answer to is Dawson and the chief.”
Sylvie slowly nodded her head as she took another step forward, “Right… that’s good then.”
Matt raised a brow, “How so?”
Sylvie slowly leaned forward and held his cheeks in her hands, her thumbs instinctively running across his cheek bones.
“Because I don’t think it would be appropriate to do this with your boss.” She said quietly as she slowly leaned down and gave him the softest kiss.
As soft as it was, it seared through Matt. It felt like the kiss, the right kiss. It felt like all the pieces of his world were finally falling into place. She pulled back, their eyes staying closed for a lingering second, not wanting the moment to be over.
Matt heard Sylvie let out a momentary breathy laugh and he finally opened his eyes to see her smiling at him, “I’ve never had the confidence to kiss someone like that.” She told him quietly as he stood up, towering over her slightly.
“Must have been a pretty great guy for you to do that then.” He teased as Sylvie playfully rolled his eyes.
“I’m glad he realises that.” She replied. “I should go… I have a lot of unpacking to do.”
“Right…” he said reluctantly. He wished they could stay like this for a moment longer, but he also knew that he would be seeing her again very soon. “I guess I’ll see you next shift Brett.”
Sylvie nodded, “Yeah, I guess you will. See you later Lieutenant Casey” she said as she backed away to the door before slipping out of it.
6 months. 6 months of uncertainty over when he would see her again. While those 6 months felt like the dragged, seeing her now felt like they had never been apart. He knew this was only the beginning for them and he couldn’t wait to see what the future would bring.
He had a feeling that it would be nothing but good.
Chapter 3: Part Three
Thank you SO much to everyone who has read/kudos/commented on this story... the response has been AMAZING and I'm so grateful. It's so lovely to know there are some wonderful Brettsey fans out there enjoying this world with me!
I know I keep saying that the last chapter is the last chapter lol... but I couldn't resist writing a little more!
I hope you enjoy part three as Sylvie has her first shift at 51...
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The Beauty of the World - Part Three
Sylvie didn’t sleep the night before her first shift at 51. She dozed a little, but her nerves were getting the better of her. As excited as she was, she also felt like she was about to walk into the lion’s den.
Firstly, Chicago was a huge step up from Fowlerton and she would have to be on her a-game to prove that she could stick the pace of the windy city.
Secondly, the stars had quite frankly aligned and placed her in the fire house of Lieutenant Casey – the first man she’d ever had a deeply sincere and quick connection with. She had also kissed him in a moment of uncharacteristic confidence, and it was without a doubt the best kiss she’d ever had. It just worked to prove to her that he was someone worth having in her life and their connection was something worth pursuing.
Thirdly, Firehouse 51 were like family – a nosey, protective family. She was a stranger, but a stranger that they knew had some sort of connection to their truck Lieutenant, and wanted to know the story. It wasn’t like it was a big secret, but she knew that Casey was a private person and the last thing she wanted to do was blurt out their business across their place of work. She also knew that she sucked at keeping her mouth closed. She was a talker and once someone earned her trust, her heart was wide open to them. Her clandestine evening with Casey in Australia was case and point.
Overall, her new job in a new city was a lot to contend with. When she got up the next morning, she was in desperate need of some good coffee. She got dressed and made her way downstairs, only to find that she’d completely forgotten to buy some in her recent grocery shop. A solid start to an already nerve wrecking day.
She figured the firehouse would have some coffee, so decided to just chance it and head there early. She figured being early wasn’t such a bad idea anyway. She wanted to make as good a first impression as she could. She left the house, turned to lock the front door and as she was walking down the front steps, she was met with a surprise.
Matt was leaning on the hood of his bonnet with coffee and bagels in hand. She was a little dumbstruck as she stared at him, a smile creeping onto her face. He turned his head after a few seconds, finally realising that she was there.
He walked over to her and stood at the end of the steps before holding the coffee and bagels up.
“Coffee and bagels – the fuel of 24-hour shift champions.” He joked.
“The angels are looking out for me today in the form of a firefighter.” Sylvie said as she and Matt sat on the steps in front of her door. “I don’t have any coffee in the house, and I didn’t sleep very well, so this is amazing. Thank you.”
Matt shrugged nonchalantly, “It’s cool. I figured you would be nervous, so this is the least I could do to help.” He insisted as he handed her the bag to lift out whatever bagel she wanted.
“It’s so early, you really got up at the crack of down to do this for me?” she asked in disbelief. She wasn’t used to someone being so kind to her. She was relieved to know that not everybody she would come across in life would just walk all over her.
“I’m an early riser, don’t worry.” He said with a little laugh. “I uh – I assume you didn’t sleep well because you’re nervous about starting today?” he asked. Her earlier comment hadn’t gone unnoticed by him and he needed to make sure she was ok.
Sylvie nodded, “Yeah, just a little. I know it’s only natural to be nervous, but I remember how you spoke about 51 when we were in Australia. They’re your family and they sound like they’re amazing people – I don’t want to let them down. I want to feel good enough to be a part of it.”
Matt smiled at her encouragingly, “I don’t think you’ll have any problems fitting in Sylvie. This house could definitely use your optimism.”
Sylvie scoffed lightly, “After all the crap I’ve been through over the past 6 months, you’d think that my optimistic spirit would have died along the way but… I can’t help it.” She said with a cute giggle at the end. “I’m nervous as hell – but I’m optimistic that this is going to work out for me.”
“The job?” he asked, wondering what ‘this’ was.
“The job, the house… you.” She clarified.
Matt looked at her with a faint smile on his face. He had a funny feeling that this was going to work for him too. The most unexpected things in life often did.
“Well tomorrow night we’re celebrating what will no doubt be a successful first shift.” He proposed as Sylvie sat up a little straighter, excited by the prospect of spending more time with him.
“Lieutenant Casey are you asking me out on a date?” she teased as Matt gave her a lopsided smirk.
“Yeah, I guess I am. I waited six months for you to come into my life again, I don’t really want to wait any longer to make my move.” He told her boldly. He knew the world was showing him the beauty it held through the pretty paramedic, and he was determined to embrace it and start living life to the full again.
“Well tomorrow I was planning on getting to work on this house” she said as she nodded behind her. “It’s a bit of a fixer upper but I love a challenge and I have watched more than enough Flip or Flop to get my creative juices flowing.” She joked.
Matt chuckled, “that sounds like a perfect date to me.”
Sylvie quirked an eyebrow, “Really?”
“Yeah” Matt nodded absolutely, “Fixing stuff relaxes me.”
“Well then you’ll be glad to know that the door of my kitchen cabinet fell off last night…” she told him with a grimace. All she did was pull the handle and down it came – the house being a bit of a fixer upper was definitely an understatement…
“I’ll bring my toolbox.” He assured her as she nodded gratefully. “I’ll also cook you some dinner.”
“Oh my god, he cooks too?! Is there anything you can’t do?” she teased. At this point, he really did seem like her dream man. Where the hell was the catch?
“All I know is that I will be making you the best chicken parm you will ever have.” He boasted as Sylvie nodded curiously.
“I look forward to it”
“Alright… I better get going. I’ve got far too much paperwork waiting for me at the station.” He said as he stood from the steps. He was going to offer her a ride, but he knew this was probably something she’d want to do alone. He didn’t want to get in the way of her making her own mark on 51 from the outset, and walking into the firehouse with him may not be the best idea. “I will see you at work Brett.” He emphasised. He was excited to work with her and see her in action – he had no doubt she would impress him.
“Yeah. See you there, Lieutenant” she replied quietly as she watched him leave. Seeing him this morning calmed her nerves a little bit. While they hadn’t gone away completely, she felt a surge of confidence run through her. She chose to trust the feeling in her gut telling her that this firehouse would bring nothing but good into her life. When she said she was making a change, she was determined to make the most of it. She stood up after a few moments and confidently walked towards her car.
This is going to be a good day Sylvie. Believe it.
Soon enough, Sylvie walked through the doors of Firehouse 51, ready to start her day. She saw a few people gathered in the common room getting ready for breakfast and figured that they were her first port of call to finding out who she needed to talk to and where she needed to go. She took a breath before walking in and stopping by the table as four sets of eyes looked up at her.
“Hi” she greeted with a tight-lipped smile. “I’m Sylvie Brett, I’m the new paramedic on 61” she explained as three of the people around the table’s faces brightened and they stood to greet the newest member of 51. Before they could introduce themselves, however, a voice at the top of the table interrupted from her chair.
“You’re Casey’s friend. From the accident the other day.” The voice said. She looked at the other three members of 51 who had knowing looks on their face. They were thinking the same thing, but clearly didn’t want to make a big deal out of it.
“Uh… yeah, yeah I know Casey.” Sylvie confirmed.
The woman let out a barely audible scoff – but Sylvie heard it loud and clear. “Did he score you this job?” she asked boldly as the others’ eyes widened, and Sylvie clenched her jaw. She didn’t need Matt – or anybody – to get her anything. It was clear this woman had a chip on her shoulder about something…
“No, I got it by myself because I’m good at my job. But I’m so glad to see that somebody is on the look out for nepotism in the house.” Sylvie replied with as sweet a smile as she could muster. She meant it when she said she was done letting people walk all over her. She was prepared to give as good as she got – while being as respectful as possible. She didn’t want to alienate people before she’d even begun. “And it’s nice to meet you too.” She said, adding one more punch to her reply.
Everything in her was screaming at her to apologise, but she stood her ground. She was even more confident in standing her ground when she looked at the others who appeared to have impressed looks on their faces.
“I’m sorry” the woman at the end of the table said with a sigh, much to Sylvie’s disbelief. “That was really rude of me, I guess I woke up on the wrong side of the bed.” She said genuinely as she stood and walked over to Sylvie. “I’m Gabby Dawson, your partner on ambo.” She said as she held out her hand to shake, which Sylvie gratefully took. If that handshake hadn’t been extended, riding on ambo together would have been far from fun.
“And anybody who is a friend of Casey’s is a friend of ours” one of the men said with a bright and welcoming smile that Sylvie returned. “Joe Cruz” he introduced. “This is Otis and Mouch.” He said, as Sylvie shook all their hands.
“Mouch?” Sylvie asked curiously.
“Half man, half couch.” Joe explained succinctly as Sylvie nodded. She figured she’d learn why that was an appropriate nickname soon enough.
“It’s really great to meet you all. I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things about 51, I feel really lucky to be joining you all.” Sylvie told them earnestly as they nodded their heads gratefully. They were always glad to hear that 51’s reputation proceeded itself.
“It’s good to have you with us. Honestly, it’ll be nice to find out more about Casey’s mystery friend.” Otis said with a laugh as Cruz nudged him in the stomach with his elbow, as Sylvie awkwardly shifted on her feet and scratched the back of her neck.
“He doesn’t mean to pry. The Lieutenant is a private guy, and we respect that wholeheartedly.” Cruz quickly said. Sylvie knew Matt was a closed book with a lot of people, but she couldn’t help but find the humour in this situation. She had clearly been a talking point from her meeting with Casey at the accident scene and they were trying to be cool about it – but ultimately failing.
“But also…” Mouch said as he stepped forward. “How do you know the Captain?” he asked. Of all people in the house, Mouch never held back. He wasn’t even remotely subtle and discreet.
Cruz groaned as Sylvie laughed lightly, “It’s ok, really. I met him in Australia 6 or so months ago, that’s it.” She vaguely explained, trying to downplay the whole thing as much as possible. The details of that night were between her and Matt, and she was determined to keep it that way.
“Australia, huh?” Gabby asked. The pieces started to click into place for her in that moment. Matt came back from Australia a changed man – and she had a funny feeling it had to do with her new partner.
“I uh – I should go find the chief. Introduce myself--” Sylvie said, wanting to remove herself from this interrogation.
“Ah, not so fast!” a voice from the door said as another member of 51 came in her direction. “Christopher Hermann, you must be Dawson’s new partner on ambo” he said as they shook hands.
“Yeah, that’s me, Sylvie Brett.” she confirmed as more and more people came into the room and crowded around her.
“Where you from Brett?” Hermann asked eagerly. 51 strongly believed that if they were going to work with someone long term, then they needed to know their story – the good, the bad and the ugly.
“Indiana. A little town called Fowlerton”
Hermann beamed, “Ah, I have a cousin in the IFD, Howard Hermann, you know him?” he asked as the others rolled their eyes. According to Hermann, he had cousins in every fire department in the country…
Sylvie shook her head, “Afraid not—”
“Brett knows Casey from Australia” Otis said as Hermann’s face shifted in interest as if he’d just heard some crucial information.
“Australia you say?” he asked as Sylvie nodded her head. She was more and more convinced that she had been right to think that she was walking into the lion’s den today. She’d been in the common room for 5 minutes and already people were trying digging. “You know…” Hermann began again, “the Lieutenant was a changed man when he came back from Australia. He had a new lease of life… that wouldn’t have anything to do with you would it?”
Sylvie’s pushed her tongue against the inside of her cheek to try and stop herself from smiling. A changed man, huh? He’d certainly changed her, and while he’d told her she’d made an impact on him too, it was nice hearing that other people had noticed it. It was confirmation that his words weren’t just words and he was as honest as she thought he was.
“Alright guys, let’s give her a break, come on, she just got here” Sylvie heard another voice say as a woman pushed through the crowd. “I’m Stella Kidd, please ignore these knuckle heads” she said as she playfully glared at them all. “Let’s get you a locker before briefing starts.” Stella said as she pulled Sylvie away from them all and out of the lounge.
As soon as they were out of ear shot of the common room, Stella turned to talk to Sylvie. “They are all a bunch of gossip rags and since they get nothing out of Casey because he has some sense, they’ll try and get it through you – but they really are harmless.”
Sylvie laughed lightly, “I gathered as much… I’m uh… I’m not so sure Dawson is as harmless though.” She confessed with a gulp. It appeared that Dawson had a problem with her before she’d even met her. She’d heard Casey mention her name in passing, but that was it. Dawson was just as much a mystery to Brett as Brett was to Dawson.
Stella sighed and grimaced slightly, “Dawson and Casey are good friends and she can be a little protective over him sometimes. She can be a bit frosty at first, but once she sees you in action, you’ll be great.” She assured her. Dawson always appreciated people who were good at their jobs – it was what they were here to do after all. “You seem really sweet Brett, I can’t imagine not liking you” she added with a short laugh as they walked into the locker room. “Aw would you lookie here…” Stella said as she walked over to an empty locker. “An empty locker right beside Casey’s… very sweet.” She teased as Sylvie playfully rolled her eyes and set her bag down on the bench.
“I’m here to be a paramedic, nothing else.” Sylvie made clear. She didn’t want her relationship with Casey to get in the way of her job and vice-versa. She especially didn’t want anybody treating her differently because of him.
Stella nodded, “I get it… the lieutenant is just a bonus” she said with a wink that Sylvie couldn’t help but smile at. “They will move on from the Casey stuff soon enough. It’s just something new and exciting to them, but once they see you as a paramedic, they’ll respect you for that and leave you and Casey alone.”
“You haven’t even seen me as a paramedic – how do you know I’m any good?” she asked curiously.
Stella shrugged, “I just have a good feeling about you Brett.”
Stella’s gut instinct about Sylvie was right. They were called out only a few minutes later to the site of a vehicle accident and Sylvie immediately jumped into action when called upon. There was a little girl trapped in the back of a vehicle with a bad head laceration on her head. Sylvie instantly climbed through the front of the car and into the back seat to calm the little girl down and control the bleeding. Her earnestness to do her job and the ease at which she did it did not go unnoticed by anybody at 51.
It certainly didn’t go unnoticed by Gabby. She’d felt a little guilty about her rude greeting this morning. She knew it was uncalled for, but sometimes she spoke before she’d really thought things through. She was taken aback by Casey’s friend showing up here and honestly – she was a little jealous too. She’d known as soon as Casey looked at Brett at the accident scene that she was someone pretty special to him. Casey looked at Brett in a way that he never looked at Dawson – and the reality of that stung.
As she and Sylvie were driving back to the station after dropping the little girl to med, Gabby took the opportunity to apologise and start over with her new partner.
“Hey Brett, I just wanted to say I’m sorry again about earlier. I’m always a little on edge about getting a new partner, but it’s not an excuse for being rude. I should have been welcoming so… I’m sorry. I hope we can start fresh?” Gabby asked hopefully.
Sylvie was always willing to give people second chances. It was ingrained in her to look for the good in people. “Absolutely. Consider this morning forgotten.”
“Alright… so, you said you were from Indiana?”
“Yeah, Fowlerton. It’s a tiny town, nothing really going on. I was more than relieved to get out of there.” Sylvie said with a little laugh. While she missed her parents and her brother deeply, she knew it was time for her to move on. There was nothing else she missed about the place and she’d quickly adapted to the fast living Chicago required.
“I’m guessing Australia was a big adventure for you then.” Gabby commented as Sylvie remained quiet for a moment. She knew this was Gabby’s way of prying a little more subtly than her colleagues. She wasn’t stupid.
“Yeah, it was. It was a crazy trip.” She said vaguely. She knew what it was like having a partner on ambo. It was like having another half. There wasn’t much she didn’t know about her partner in Fowlerton and she suspected it would be the same with Dawson soon enough. What harm could it do telling her a little bit about why she was out there?
“Crazy how?” she asked as she looked at her curiously.
Sylvie gulped as she pulled into 51. She turned the engine off before leaning back in her seat. “I went to Australia for my honeymoon.”
Gabby’s eyes widened – she did not expect that at all. The way she was flirting with Casey at the accident scene the other day gave an indication that she was interested in him. But now she was hearing there was a husband?
“I didn’t realise you were married.” Gabby mumbled.
“I’m not anymore. My husband cheated on me during our honeymoon with a woman he met on the plane.” Sylvie confessed, leaving Gabby at a loss for words. “It’s like something out of a soap opera, I know.” She added with an eyeroll. “But sadly, it’s my life…”
Sylvie let out a breath as she looked in her wing mirror and saw Matt talking to the truck guys about something. A small smile rose to her face. She really loved seeing him in action today. He spoke about his job with such passion and to see that passion in action was amazing. He was amazing and her heart fluttered that little bit more because of it.
“If you don’t mind me asking…” Gabby began, snapping Sylvie out of her trance. “How does Casey fit into all of this? You guys seemed pretty close the other day.”
“It’s kind of a long story but I met Casey on the beach the night I found husband with that woman and we hung out. That’s it really” Sylvie told her. She was still determined to keep that night as private as possible, so that was all Gabby was getting.
Gabby nodded her head, “Cool…” she totally wasn’t buying that it was as simple as that. How could it be? But she knew better than to pry in that moment. She hoped more information would come later as Sylvie learned to trust her more.
Sylvie hopped out of the rig just as the members of truck 81 walked away from Matt. She hadn’t really seen him in the firehouse yet since they were called out pretty much as soon as she arrived, so it was nice to see him now that she’d found her feet a little and had swiftly made her mark on the job.
“Busy morning” Matt commented as Sylvie put her hands in her coat pockets as she approached him.
“Just a little…” she joked. “You were amazing out there.”
Matt shrugged, “Just doing my job.” He downplayed. He was way too self-deprecating in Sylvie’s mind.
“You need to learn to give yourself a little more credit.”
“What about you Brett? Climbing into the back of that car…”
“I was doing what any paramedic worth their money would have done.” She reasoned.
“Now who needs to learn to give themselves a little more credit?” he said as teasingly squeezed her elbow.
“Touché…” she said as she playfully narrowed her eyes.
“How was riding with Dawson?” he asked, not thinking that it was that big of a question. She guessed he hadn’t heard about their slightly frosty start.
“Good, yeah… I guess it just takes a while to get used to a new partner.” She said, not wanting to cause any issues but also wanting to be honest.
Matt frowned, “Did something happen?”
“We just don’t really know each other, that’s all.” Sylvie insisted as Matt hesitantly nodded his head. It wouldn’t have surprised him in the slightest if Dawson was a little frosty. It sometimes took her a while to open up to new people. “I am going to get my stuff in my locker, I didn’t get a chance earlier.” Sylvie said as she walked towards the door. “You know…” she began as she turned around to look at him again. “I see what you mean about this place.”
“Oh yeah?” he asked with a small smile. He was glad that in such a short space of time Sylvie already felt like she belonged.
“Yeah. I don’t know why but… I have a feeling that this place going to feel like home pretty quickly.” She told him honestly. Ever since she’d met Matt, she’d been trying to trust her gut more – it had been entirely right about him, so why wouldn’t it be right about Firehouse 51?
Sylvie flashed her smile that made Matt go weak at the knees. She was pure sunshine in human form and seeing doing her job so earnestly and with such ease made him fall that little bit harder.
He really couldn’t wait for their date tomorrow.
Well... I guess a part four is in order now too!
Chapter 4: Part Four
Matt and Sylvie have their first date.
This story has started to take on a life of its own... I hope you enjoy Matt and Sylvie's first date!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The Beauty of the World - Part Four
When Sylvie finished her first shift at 51, she was on cloud nine. It was hectic and exhausting but for the first time in her life she felt like she was in the right place at the right time. She felt that being in Chicago, in this firehouse, with these people was exactly where she was meant to be and exactly where she was meant to thrive. It somehow made all the crap she’d been through in Fowlerton worth it.
She didn’t expect every day here to be amazing. That wasn’t a reality and she knew life wasn’t that simple. But she did know that she had a pretty great group of people around her to back her up when one of those days hit. She quickly knew she’d soon have a best friend in Stella, a brother in Joe, a father figure in Hermann. More than anything – she knew she had Matt. The man almost seemed too good to be true, but she was determined to relish in the good. She’d started to doubt her instincts over the years, but her instincts were telling her that he was someone she wanted to keep in her life and she wasn’t going to go against them now. Not when being with him felt so right.
She felt like a teenage girl with a puppy dog crush when she left 51 that morning. Along with the excitement of her first day, she had her date with Matt tonight. She had that butterfly feeling in her stomach that she hadn’t had since she was 14 and seriously crushing out on the captain of the football team John Walker. He’d flashed one dazzling smile at her on her first day of high school and she was sunk. That crush soon ended – but she never forgot that feeling. She had that feeling right now and it was a heck of a lot stronger than anything John Walker made her feel. This felt right and true and just darn right perfect.
Sylvie spent the rest of the day preparing for her date. She made a list of things that needed fixed around her house before tidying up a little. She knew the house was going to get messy again as they got to work, but she didn’t want Matt thinking she was a complete slob. She was actually a total clean freak and organisation soothed her, but her house wasn’t revealing any of that right now.
When she was finished she texted Matt to ask if she needed to pick up anything for the dinner he promised he’d cook her tonight, but he assured her he had it all under control. She couldn’t wait to see if his legendary chicken parm lived up to the hype. She’d even heard it mentioned on shift yesterday. Mouch said that it was the best chicken parm he’d ever had – and that was high praise from Mouch. He loved his food.
It hit her at around 4pm that she had been running around all day out of nervousness and excitement. She figured it would be a good idea to rest before Matt arrived. The last thing she wanted was to be yawning through their date. She changed into grey sweat shorts and an old white t-shirt before curling up into bed. She only expected to have a light nap - but it appeared her body wanted more than that. Unfortunately for her, she was a lot more tired than she realised. She woke up with a jump 3 hours later when she heard the doorbell ring. It took her a minute to get her bearings. She lifted her phone and grimaced at the brightness of it before her stomach turned when she saw the time. It was past 7pm. Matt was supposed to be here at 7pm – he was ringing her doorbell and she was a mess. She scrambled out of bed and looked in the mirror as the doorbell went off again – her hair was all over the place, her eyes were bloodshot and her attire wasn't exactly date worthy.
The doorbell rang again as Sylvie ran down the stairs. She made a split-second decision that she would rather have Matt see her like this than have him leave thinking she’d bailed on the date. She flung the door open and watched as Matt’s face moved from confused, to surprised, to confused again.
Maybe getting changed would have been such a bad idea…
“… hi” he greeted cautiously as Sylvie gulped and ran a hand through her hair.
“Hi…” she replied quietly.
“Are you ok?” he asked, as his confusion moved to concern. She looked flustered and a little dazed and he was worried something had happened. He sometimes went to the worst-case scenario because it was often the reality on too many occasions in his life.
“I’m fine, I just fell asleep and I guess I was more tired than I thought. I only woke up when you rang the doorbell. I’m so sorry, I am such a mess.” She apologised with a sigh.
Matt smiled as he gazed at her with the sweetest look in his eyes. He’d seen her in so many different ways. He’d seen her in a sundress and a bikini. He’d seen her when she hadn’t slept all night and still looked totally radiant. He’d seen her normally going about her day in Chicago, he’d seen her in her paramedic uniform – but this. Seeing her looking a little messy and frazzled and comfortable was the best way he had seen her. She looked adorably dazed, but her eyes still shone as brightly as they always did.
“What?” Sylvie asked quietly, as Matt soon realised that he was staring at her.
He shook his head as he instinctively flattened out a piece of her hair that was sticking up “You just – you look beautiful.” He insisted. He wasn’t playing lip service or trying to make her feel better. He genuinely meant it. He was fairly convinced that she would look beautiful no matter what.
Sylvie couldn’t help but smile as she put her hands on her hips and shook her head, “You amaze me.” She complimented. He had such a deep sincerity in his eyes that she knew he meant everything he said. “Come on in.” she said as she finally moved out of the way of the door and let him in. She pointed towards the back of the house and followed him into the kitchen as he set his shopping bags on the counter. “You know it’s probably a good thing that I’m a little messy right now since we’ll be fixing this place up.” She reasoned as she sat on a stool by the tag on island while Matt lifted the ingredients for dinner out.
“That’s very true.” He agreed with a nod.
Sylvie rested her chin in her hand, “this probably isn’t the most typical first date…”
“It’s the perfect first date.” He said without hesitation. He loved casual dates. It allowed them to be as comfortable as possible with each other and any pretences could be dropped. Though, in all honesty, all pretences had been dropped the moment they met each other. “Besides, there will be plenty of time to do something a little fancier.” He said with a shrug.
Sylvie quirked a brow, “Very presumptuous that you’ll even be getting a second date Lieutenant…” she teased.
Matt leaned on the counter, “Once you taste this chicken parm, you’ll be begging for a second date.” He confidently joked as Sylvie giggled.
“Once you fix my cabinet, I’ll be begging for a second date.” She replied as they looked over at the broken door that was lying by the sink.
“What else needs done?”
“Cabinets need fixed and painted, I’ve done all the walls, and then I just need to take stuff out of boxes. That bookshelf needs filled.” She said as she pointed to the empty shelves in the sitting area.
“Ok… I say we eat first then fix it up.” He proposed.
“Sounds good.” Sylvie said with a nod as she pulled her hair back into a neat ponytail to make herself look at least a little more presentable.
“So” Matt began as he seamlessly moved around Sylvie’s kitchen gathering the utensils he needed to cook. “What’s been happening with you for the past 6 months?” he asked with a little laugh. It was crazy that they were only getting round to properly catching up now.
“Other than getting a divorce?” she asked as Matt grimaced slightly. He didn’t want to directly ask how that was cause he imagined it was a little messy.
“I got back from Australia and I went straight to the lawyer’s office to get divorce papers drawn up. Harrison fought it a little, but he didn’t have a leg to stand on after what happened. It was done in around a month. I tried to stay in Fowlerton for my parents and friends, but small towns can be annoyingly judgey.” She said with a scoff. “Even people I thought were friends couldn’t help but pass unwelcome comments. I reckon Harrison got in their heads a little, told them I was difficult, and it wasn’t his fault that he looked elsewhere. One night something just clicked in me and I realised that life was too short for that kind of bull - so I decided to get out of there. I decided to start fresh.”
“And you came to Chicago” Matt said, finishing off the tale that brought her to where she was now.
Sylvie nodded and shrugged, “Some guy I met told me it was a good place to go if you wanted a welcomed change.” she reminded him.
“That guy must be pretty smart.” Matt bragged. The only time he could ever brag about himself was in a joking manner – no matter how much truth there actually was in his words. He was the most self-deprecating person Sylvie had ever met.
Sylvie moved around the island and took the knife from him to finish the chopping while he moved on to something else. “Jury’s out until I taste the dinner he’s making me…” she teased as she nudged him with her hip. “But so far – I think this is probably the best decision I’ve ever made.”
“I’m glad to hear it. You’ve definitely landed on your feet with 51. It really is a family and you don’t get that at every firehouse.” Matt insisted. He loved his 51 family more than anything, and he really didn’t open himself up readily with people. It’s what amazed him so much about his connection with Sylvie. He’d never grown so close to someone so quickly – it’s how he just knew that she was someone who would be in his life for a long time.
“Yeah, I feel pretty lucky. It’s also nice to put some faces to the stories you told me in Australia.” She said with a laugh. “But what about you? I heard you had a new lease of life since you got back from your trip.” Admittedly, she felt a little giddy and proud that she had a part to play in that. That she had made as big an impact on him as he had made on her.
Matt blushed slightly. The crew at 51 really couldn’t keep anything to themselves. “What else did those clowns tell you?” he grumbled, wondering if his face was about to get even redder.
“Nothing bad.” She assured him. “They just wanted to know how we know each other and whether I had something to with your newfound brightness.”
Matt laughed, “Those guys have never been subtle.”
Sylvie shrugged, “Maybe not, but it was nice to hear you’ve been doing good. It anybody deserves a slice of happiness it’s you.”
Sylvie often thought about what Matt had been through when they were apart. She couldn’t begin to image how hard it must have been for him to lose Hallie in a fire of all things. She knew he’d struggled to make sense of it, but it seemed he had found some strength in dealing with it since Australia. It made her heart soar that he was able to find some semblance of happiness again.
“Yeah… after that trip, I realised that Hallie wouldn’t want me living like a ghost for the rest of my life. She’d want me to find the beauty in the world. So I turned that pain into my greatest strength. It made me a better firefighter.” He told her as Sylvie nodded. "It became the armour I wear in the battle."
“That’s definitely the best thing we can do with our pain.” She agreed. “How’s finding the beauty in the world going?”
Matt stopped what he was doing and turned to look at her, “Pretty good.”
Sylvie’s lips parted slightly as she looked down at his, willing him to lean forward and make the move. He moved his head down slightly to test how she’d react, and she instantly titled her head up slightly to meet him.
He took that as all the confirmation he needed as he slowly moved the rest of the way and softly kissed her. The kiss lasted for only a few seconds, but it was perfect. It was the perfect kiss for the perfect moment. Their hearts beat that little bit faster as the kiss felt as good as it had felt the first time. It had felt so right.
“We should probably get this food on if we ever want to get those cabinets fixed” Matt told her quietly as she almost reluctantly nodded.
“Yeah. The kissing can wait till later” she said with a wink as Matt grinned.
He had a feeling that this would turn out to be the best first date he’d ever had.
“Um… Sylvie?” Matt asked as he looked down at the book in his hand. “Is there a particular reason that you own 10 copies of A Little Princess?” he asked. He’d picked them out of the box and was about to put them in the shelf when he read the spines and realised. He fixed the cabinet after dinner – the chicken parm was a huge hit of course – and they’d done a little painting before they moved to the shelves. While they worked, they talked about anything and everything. Matt learned of Sylvie's fear of clowns and her obsession with HGTV, while Sylvie learnt that Matt's Blackhawks memorabilia collection was a little out of control and the worst thing he did as a kid, that he can remember anyway, was steal a baseball mit from the local sports store. The conversation had been as easy and comfortable as it was that night in Australia. They more they talked, the more they wanted to know about each other - through they were fairly convinced they'd covered most bases already.
Sylvie smiled as she walked into the room with another pile of book in her hands. “Uh… I actually have 20” she said as she showed him the other copies. “It was my favourite book as a child, so every Christmas from when I was around 6 my dad hunted near and far for the oldest copy of the book he could find to add to my collection.” She said as she handed him a copy. “This is the earliest one I have. 1931.” She said as he delicately opened the book with a smile.
“This is amazing…” he said. “I wish I had stuff like this from my childhood.”
“It’s never too late to start a collection like this.” Sylvie insisted.
Matt held back as Sylvie moved past him to fill the shelves with some more books. He watched as she stood on her tippy toes, trying to reach a book into the top shelf. She couldn’t quite get it, so he stepped forward and stood behind her, reaching up and slipping the book in the shelf for her. His chest was pressed against her back, sending shivers down her spine. He lowered his arm, his fingers grazing against hers. His breath was hot on her neck as she let out a sigh and leaned into him a little further. The evening had taken a sudden, but welcomed, turn.
Matt opened his mouth slightly to say something, but before he could, Sylvie turned around, reached her hand around the back of his head and pulled him down for a firm kiss. It took him only a split second to respond as his hands found her waist and his lips moved in perfect sync with hers. This kiss was completely different from the first and the second. They had been gentle and sweet, but this was full of passion. It was full of the tension that had been evident between them since the moment they met.
She fit perfectly in his arms as he deepened the kiss. The way her body curved into his felt natural. It was like they were made for each other. Matt moved Sylvie back a few steps till her back hit the bookshelf. His hands slid from her waist to her bare thighs. In one swift motion, Sylvie felt her feet leave the floor and her legs wrapped around his waist. The movement caused Matt to break the kiss as he moved down her jaw before kissing down her neck. Sylvie’s hands ran ragged through his hair, biting her lower lip as he found her sweet spot.
Sylvie’s head was in a total spin and the filter between her head and her mouth failed in that moment as she thought out loud.
“I don’t normally do this on the first date” she said, her breathing a little ragged.
Matt’s head immediately shot up, “We don’t have to do anything else—”
Sylvie silenced him with a deep, earth-shattering kiss. There was nothing normal about this relationship. It all happened so fast, yet at the same time, not fast at all. Already, she knew Matt just about as well as she knew anybody and she had never met someone like Matt who wanted to know every little thing about her. How could she put a stop to something that felt so right?
She pulled back from the kiss, allowing their lips to still graze past each other.
“There’s nothing normal about this situation.”
“If this isn’t normal then I never want to experience normal again.” He told her with a little laugh before he turned her around and began carrying her out of the room. Sylvie buried her head in the crook of his neck, trying to hide the unbelievably wide grin that was covering her face.
Yep – best first date ever.
Yes, there will be a part five, cause Gabby has some things she wants to say... ;)
Chapter 5: Part Five
This was a fun one to write. Strangely cathartic.
I hope you enjoy!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The Beauty of the World - Part Five
Sylvie woke up peacefully the following morning to little tickles working up her exposed back. She moved her head to the side to see Matt delicately kissing up her spine.
“I could get used to being woken up like this every morning.” She mumbled as he reached her cheek and placed a lingering kiss on it before grinning against her soft skin.
“I can confirm – falling asleep and waking up next to you feels as good as I thought it would.”
Sylvie couldn’t contain her smile as she rolled over onto her back to face him. She was about to reach up and kiss him when she realised that he was dressed. She pouted.
“Don’t tell me you’re a hit it and quit it guy?” she teased as she fiddled with the ends of the collar on his shirt.
“I wouldn’t have woken you up if I was a hit it and quit it guy” he challenged as he brushed his nose against hers before sweetly kissing her. “As much as I would like to be naked and in this bed with you right now – I have a construction job to get to.” He said with a sigh. If he could, he would spend all of his time with her, but life wouldn’t allow it. “Though, now I know the extent of your HGTV obsession, I’ll have to enlist your expertise at some point on a job.”
“That sounds like the perfect second date… though I think this one will be hard to top.” She told him as he beamed down at her. Neither of them had ever been on a date like it. They’d clicked from the moment they’d met and last night proved that it was meant to be a lasting connection. They felt like they knew so much about each other, yet they craved to know more. They knew something like this was so rare and they never wanted it to disappear.
“Definitely… but something tells me that a date with you could never be disappointing.” He responded. He just couldn’t get enough of her and her smile and her earnestly blue eyes.
Sylvie giggled, “We broke down a lot of barriers last night. The biggest barrier being that I opened up the door looking like I’d been dragged through a bush and you didn’t run a mile.”
“There was nothing to run a mile from. You just – you looked as perfect as you did the first night I met you.” He complimented as Sylvie blushed.
“You always know exactly what to say, huh?” she asked as he replied with a deep kiss.
As he pulled back, Sylvie’s eyes remained closed. His kisses were hypnotic. They ignited something inside her and in a strange way that she didn’t full understand – they felt like home. He felt like home.
“I only speak the truth.” He replied as he gave her another quick kiss before climbing off the bed. “There’s some breakfast being delivered in about 15 minutes since I couldn’t make you pancakes this morning.”
“My god, I hit the jackpot with you” she joked as she sat up in her bed as he pulled his shoes on at the end of it.
Matt chuckled, “Happy to provide. I’ll call you later” he said as he moved to her side of the bed to steal one more kiss before he had to go. “I had a great time last night.”
“It definitely made the past six months worthwhile” she replied as he kissed her slowly, wanting it to last as long as it could.
“Definitely. See you later Brett” he replied with a wink before he left the house.
Sylvie couldn’t stop herself from grinning widely, even long after he’d left. This was how being with someone was supposed to feel. She hated that it took till now to realise that, but at the same time, she wouldn’t change anything that she’d been through for the world. It all led her to him and the way her heart was beating for him – she knew that was one in a million and she couldn’t wait to see what the future brought them.
Gabby had spent the past few days in a confused daze. She liked Brett, she did, but there was just something that bothered her about the whole thing. To any rational outsider, they could see that Gabby was clearly struggling with jealousy, but to Gabby that wasn’t it. No way. She just didn’t understand. She didn’t understand how Casey could fall into such an easy rhythm with someone after spending one night with them in another country. She couldn’t understand why they could never form something like that when they’d known each other for far longer.
She wondered out loud to Stella the night after shift as they worked behind the bar at Molly’s. She’d asked where Casey was and Stella said she didn’t know. She guessed he was maybe with Brett, but couldn’t be sure. That was when something snapped in Gabby. She’d scoffed and questioned how Casey could be falling at her feet so quickly.
Stella wasn’t about to pander to Gabby. She was a straight shooter and Gabby’s jealousy and confusion was her problem. There was also the fact that she really liked Sylvie. She liked her for Matt, Severide liked her for Matt and that really meant something. As long as their friend continued to remain happy, that was all that mattered to them.
“Sometimes, when you know you know.” Was the only thing Stella said. Gabby had mumbled a ‘maybe’ in return.
A part of Stella couldn’t help but feel bad for Gabby. It was never a nice feeling when the guy you liked didn’t like you back. Unfortunately, the situation was made worse by the fact that Casey had very clearly hit it off with someone else. But Stella was also worried. She was worried that Gabby would stick her foot in it and say something she would most likely regret. She had a nasty habit of saying or doing something uncalled for, apologising and then doing it again. Stella just hoped she needed to huff for a little while and then things would get back to normal.
Gabby also hoped that she just needed some time to get over it all, but when she walked into the firehouse for their next shift, the first sight she saw was Brett and Casey giggling over something by the coffee pot. Their backs were to her, but they were standing annoyingly close to one another, their profiles visible as Casey spoke to Brett and she nodded along, listening intently to whatever he was telling her.
When Brett’s hand moved to Casey’s back, Gabby’s hurt shot through her like a knife. She loudly dropped her bag down on the table, causing Matt and Sylvie to turn around and look at her.
Sylvie smiled at her, “Morning Dawson. How was off shift?” she asked kindly. She and Gabby had ended last shift on a better note than they started and Sylvie was hopeful that it could continue that way.
“Fine.” She replied coldly as Sylvie’s smile fell and she awkwardly nodded. “You?”
“Yeah, it was good. Just fixed up my house a little. I’ll have to get you and Stella over some time for dinner.” Sylvie offered.
Gabby nodded, “Yeah, that would be cool.”
“Alright… I’m going to get started on inventory.” Sylvie told her as she set her mug down and smiled at both Gabby and Matt who was leaning against the kitchen counter. “I'll see you guys at briefing.”
As Sylvie left the room, Matt took his opportunity to go and get started on some paperwork. Before he could get a few feet, Gabby walked towards him.
“Hey Casey, you got a minute?” she asked quickly.
“Yeah, what’s up?”
Matt frowned, “Uh… sure.” As usual, his mind went to a worst case scenario and he worried that something was wrong with Gabby. In his defensive, any time she wanted to speak to him privately, she had done something that needed fixing.
They made their way round to his quarters and went in, Gabby closing the door behind them.
“We’ve known each other for a long time now and I know you’ll always have my back.” Gabby began.
Matt nodded slowly, “Of course. Are you ok?” he asked, growing more nervous by the second.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m fine. I just – want to be there for you too, I want to have your back.” Gabby made clear as she awkwardly cleared her throat. She normally wasn’t a very tactile person, so maybe it would be best for her to just come out with it. “Are you and Brett together?” she blurted out as Matt’s eyes widened in surprise. Though, he really shouldn’t have been that surprised. Gabby was never known to hold back.
“We’re uh… we’re hanging out I guess.” He replied vaguely. Just like the details of their night together in Australia, their first date was also something that would stay between the two of them. He had always been a private person and that wasn’t going to change, no matter how hard Gabby tried to pry.
“She told me what happened with you guys in Australia. About her husband and you guys spending the night together.” Gabby told him.
“Ok…?” Matt said, though it was more of a question. Where the hell was she going with this?
“I just want to make sure you’re ok and you’re being careful. The last thing you need is to be getting into a situation in which you could get hurt again.” Gabby reasoned. Matt could tell that she really believed that that was why she chose to speak to him. Maybe that was part of it, but Matt wasn’t stupid. He knew how she felt and he knew how hot headed Gabby could be. She often acted before thinking and he had a feeling that this was one of those moments. He took a minute and drew a deep breath to keep himself calm. He really hated it when people told him what they thought he needed or how they thought he should feel.
“Dawson” he began with a sigh, “I think I know a little more about my personal situations than you do. I’m perfectly capable of handling myself.” He reasoned. “What do you have against Brett anyway? She has been nothing but kind to you and you’ve been so up and down with her.” He queried.
“Did she tell you that?” Gabby asked as she clenched her jaw and crossed her arms over her chest, moving into defensive mode.
“No, she didn’t. I have eyes Dawson and people talk. You’re rude to her and then you apologise only to do it again.” Matt told her. He’d heard about their first encounter from Otis and he figured it would happen again. He’d also heard that Sylvie held herself perfectly well and he couldn’t help but smirk. Of course she did. The woman threw her wedding rings in the damn ocean – she was ready for anything.
“This isn’t about me right now Casey, this is about you. This is about me looking out for you.” Gabby made clear, trying to turn the heat off her.
Matt raised his brows, “Really? That’s what this is?” he questioned. He really seemed like Gabby was trying to get him to second guess himself.
“I’m just saying how much do you really know about her? You spent one night with her in Australia after her husband cheated on her and all of a sudden you think she’s the one for you?” she snapped.
“She has an intense fear of clowns. She thinks their makeup is creepy because it distorts their true emotions.” He explained as Gabby opened her mouth to say something but nothing came out. What could she say to that? Matt took her silence as an opportunity to continue. “There isn’t a trashy romance novel that she hasn’t read, she has binged watched all 195 seasons of House Hunters and she gets intensely excited about Flip or Flop. She takes mom jokes to a whole new level of terrible and she thinks skunks are horribly misunderstood animals. Her belief about skunks comes from the fact that she grew up on a farm and I’ve seen videos of her driving a tractor and they made me wonder whether she should be driving our truck.” He said with a little laugh.
“Those are little things Casey.” Gabby said quietly. “I could tell you things like that about half the people in this firehouse—”
“I’m not finished.” He interrupted. “She always sees the good in people, no matter what and she is the biggest badass I know. I watched her throw her wedding rings into the sea, I watched her walk away from her asshole of a husband with such conviction and I watched her climb into the back seat of a crushed vehicle to help a little girl. She will always fight for the underdog, the people she loves and for what is right. I don’t think I’ve ever met another person who is as earnest and sincere and good as her and if you think it makes me a fool for running towards that – then I guess I must be the biggest fool in the world.”
Gabby was stunned into silence. He hadn’t expected him to reply with something so… romantic. He really knew her. Gabby had never had anybody know her like that – she wasn’t even convinced it was possible. But Matt knew Sylvie.
“Gabby, I appreciate that you want to look out for me.” Matt began. As much as he thought Gabby was out of line right now, he didn’t want to upset her. He never wanted that. She was his friend and his heart wouldn’t allow it. “But I know what I’m doing – and I will gladly be a fool for her any day.” he replied boldly.
“I – I don’t really know what to say.” Gabby replied quietly. She knew she should probably apologise, but her pride wouldn’t let her. Not yet anyway. Not when she was digesting a heck of a lot.
“If you got to know her, I think you’d really like her too.” Matt assured her. If they were going to be partners, then getting along and finding their rhythm was kind of a requirement.
“Right” Gabby replied before she turned and left the room.
As she left, Sylvie came into the bunk and stopped in her steps when she saw the angry look that clouded Gabby’s face. She looked towards Matt’s quarters and saw that he looked concerned more than anything. Before Sylvie could say anything, they bells went off calling all units to a fire downtown.
51 didn’t return to the station until late that afternoon. They had been dealing with an apartment complex fire and it took a while to knock down. Everyone was thankfully ok, but it had been a tough one. Everyone was exhausted and ready to crash which they had every intention of doing once they got cleaned up and had some dinner.
Later that evening after debriefing with Boden and Severide, Matt made his way round to his quarters. He closed the door behind him and jumped slightly when he realised Sylvie was sitting on his bed.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you” she immediately apologised.
He smiled softly at her as he sat beside her, bumping his shoulder against hers, “You didn’t, I’m just a little tried after that call.”
“It was pretty intense.”
“Yeah you’ve really been thrown in the deep end since you got here.”
Sylvie shrugged lightly, “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
They sat in silence for a few moments before Sylvie decided to speak up. She knew that if this was going to work between them then they needed to communicate. They needed to be open and honest no matter what the situation.
“I don’t want to cause problems for you.” Sylvie blurted out as Matt turned to look at her, the confusion written all over his face. “I don’t know what the deal is with you and Gabby, but I do know that she’s your friend and if our partnership on ambo is getting in the way—”
“Sylvie, stop.” Matt interrupted. “Gabby’s feelings are hers and hers alone. She can be hot headed and impulsive but her heart is normally in the right place. She just needs some time to get her head straight. You are not a problem, you could never be a problem.” He insisted. Sylvie wasn’t the root of Gabby’s concerns. She and Matt could never have worked and he knew she was just coming to terms with that.
“Actually…” Matt began as Sylvie’s face fell. “There is one thing that could be a problem.”
“What?” she asked in a whisper, almost unsure if she wanted to know the answer. She really didn’t want to lose something this good. After everything she wasn’t sure she could take it.
“The only problem I would have is if this ended.” Matt said as Sylvie felt her nerves settle. "Sylvie you are the best thing that has happened to me in a very long time. I really didn’t see this coming and it freaks me out but – sometimes the best things in life are the things that surprise you and knock you off your feet. I don’t want to screw that up.”
Sylvie stared at him, her eyes full of wonder. She remembered looking into his eyes just before their night in Australia ended. She remembered wishing that looking into his eyes could be her reality every day - and now here they were. Her whole being felt at peace by just looking at him and it was the greatest feeling in the world. “Is it normal to feel this strongly about someone after so little time?” she asked.
Matt gave her a lopsided smirk, “What are you talking about? We’ve been stewing in our feelings for 6 months now…” he teased.
Sylvie giggled as he wrapped his arm around her shoulder and rested his forehead against hers. “That’s true…” they sat comfortably in each other’s arms for a moment before Sylvie spoke again. “I really care about you Matt. I care about you in a really big way and I don’t want to let that go.”
“Then don’t. I promise to hold onto you in everything life throws at you – as long as you promise to hold onto me too.” He proposed.
“Deal” Sylvie said instantly as she tilted her head as he lowered his head and kissed her. There was nothing in this world that made then feel the same electricity than kissing each other did. In that moment, they knew that this kiss was only one of many to come. Their future was sitting at their feet and they knew they had finally found the beauty of the world in each other.
Matt's little speech to Gabby was one of my favourite things to write maybe ever...
For now, I'm going to leave this story as a five parter - but who knows where inspiration might strike in the future... :D