Sylvie stood at the back of the Ambo on the app floor, jump bag open, arranged with scissors, gauze and tape as she tried to plan how she might bandage the stupid burn on the inside of her wrist all on her own. She glanced down at the mark again, it was likely only a first degree burn but she had inflicted by her own hand with a curling wand endeavoring to style the wisps around her face. They always seemed to creep free anyways, so this morning she thought some effort to tame them may assist. Unfortunately, her concentration had not been fully attuned to the task, having yet again wandered to vast expanse of her mind and heart that had been eroded for a certain blonde and blue eyed Captain. The resulting deep red welt on her forearm had continued its heated sting even after arriving at the firehouse. She now had a clear visual and physical reminder of just how often Matt Casey stole her attention, which she thought best to cover up. She really hoped it didn’t scar, as living with it as a daily reminder would be… She shook her head not wanting to consider a long term effect.
“Hey what’s this?” a voice said directly at her side.
She jumps at his immediate and surprising closeness. Seriously! Focus up Brett! Now you are letting him literally sneak up on you in the open.
“Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you.” Matt said apologetically. “Everything okay?” he says as he surveys the supplies.
“It’s nothing really,” she responds attempting to sound causal. She flashes her wrist at him momentarily. “Inflicted with a minor injury, just attempting to bandage myself up.”
“I can help…” Matt offered.
Even though she instinctively knew he would offer, the minute it dropped from his lips, Sylvie finds herself reflectively pulling her arm tight to her chest, as if to now hide from his view the ugly burn. As if doing so, would disguise the reason as to why she had been so preoccupied as to accidently injure herself. To hide from him the feelings, that despite all her efforts, had not ceased but only seemed to intensify during the period in which she had previously asked for “space”. They had since been working their way back to communicating as friends, which was both wonderful in terms of the idea but also felt like a hot poker in a fresh wound, because despite everything it was not what she really wanted. Yes, despite everything… the mess around Gabby, Sidney and Greg, she still wanted him, Matthew Casey to be hers. She quite simply wanted to be enough for him to choose her, end of discussion, period, and end of sentence.
“Please Sylvie, let me help?” his voice softer this time.
It was the ‘please’ that echoed like a deeply resolute plea between her ears. She was sure she was imagining it, but it seemed to her like he believed her answer was either to be their life-long happiness or their resolute and eternal despair. Either way it had her issuing the faintest of nods to accept his offer.
He mirrored her action with a small nod of his own. She then observed his noticeable intake of breath which seemed to become puffed and trapped in the expanse of his wide chest. He reached towards her tentatively, like approaching a nervous filly, as though he was uncertain if she would jump or flee. But she remained quietly and securely in her place.
His hand reached first for her upper arm that had been tucked against her side as her forearm crossed her chest. His fingers gently but firmly issued a squeeze through her jacket, shirt and into her flesh. She wanted to groan in frustration, it was ‘that perfect squeeze’, the one he gave her countless times before to an arm, a shoulder and thigh. ‘Good god I missed that’ a voice screamed in her head. Just like every time previous the strength in his finger-tips untangled the unwelcomed stiffness, intensity or unease throughout her body into a coziness, relief and warmth which overtook her system. It simply made her melt.
As his capable and confident hand journeyed downward to cradle her elbow, its travelled path bloomed a garden of dancing goose bumps. Like his touch provided both the rain and sunlight for their rapid growth.
With the tenderest of coaxing he urged her entire arm towards his own body. She allowed the bent limb to uncurl before him. Now she held onto her own breath, forcefully, as it felt like she was presenting not just the burn on her skin, but once again putting her heart on display. His other hand laid out like a table to support her face-up wrist. The hairs on the back of her arm felt like they were arching into the temperate nature of his palm.
He studied the burn with the same intensity and attention as his typically issued ‘Matt Casey stare’. And just like when he bore this stare into her eyes, she experienced the mixture of being both wrapped in a warm blanket and a birthing of butterflies around her core.
“How did this happen?” he asked with heavy concern in his voice.
“Cu- curling iron…” She squeaked out when his calloused thumb began to stroke a circle around the outside of the angry looking blemish like a he was mapping out a protective defense.
She wanted to cry at his action, completely uncertain if it would be a release of pain or pleasure.
“I wish you would be more careful with yourself” he muttered softly still staring at her wrist. It wasn’t scornful or patronizing… it was authentic and truthful, perhaps even a touch of over-encompassing worry or fear.
She was completely unprepared for his next action. Simultaneously he slowly lifted her wrist and bent his head. She watched in awe as his lashes closed to conceal his previous stare and his lips lowered to the mark on her wrist. She felt his breath first, like a surprising delicate evening breeze against her arm.
A sound escaped Sylvie’s mouth, some odd mixture of a squeak, moan and sigh. It was so completely perfect. This moment it was wistful, blindly sweet and probably the most intimate occurrence of Sylvie’s life.
She was well aware of the term ‘kiss it better’ and in that instant decided that Matt Casey’s mouth truly had healing powers. The throbbing ache that had been present since the iron had touched her seemed to float away like a balloon snatched by a gentle wind. It was replaced by her own sense of weightlessness. It started in her arm, spanning out like the roll of a tide to all areas of her body. As it waved down her torso to her legs, she became concerned of her ability to hold herself upright. And when it hit her heart the beat skipped repeatedly like a stone bouncing across a clear, still and tranquil lake. His mouth grazing the damaged flesh with such affection and care… it was like he regarded her like a spun crystal, precious, revered and priceless. And most importantly enough, she felt much more than enough at his actions.
She was so completely lost in the experience she did not even notice that he had already applied gauze and tape to the injury until she felt his sure fingers massaging the tape into her skin.
“So, I’ve been told, with burns like this, that the bandages require regular changing…” he humms still holding her arms in his palm.
She can’t help but smile tenderly at his reference to her previous aftercare lectures.
“I hope you to come find at the end of shift, so I can change this again for you,” he says. The comment hangs in the air, as a plea, a promise, a hope between them.
‘Yes’ she thought, she would find him at the end of shift because she knew she would give Matt every opportunity he requested to ‘kiss it all better”.