She was asking me whether she should bring Casey or Mills to her family event- and all I could do was nod my head and smile at whatever justification she came up with next.
Sure, I was basically a drug mule, and hung up on Clarise, but she didn't know all of that- and I was her best friend.
How was I not a candidate?
I snort, how was Herman or Chief not a candidate?
She didn't want me.
So I sat there, reading a newspaper, as she talked to Casey, and tried not to look at them. But I didn't have to, because as soon as she walked towards me her smile was through the roof radiant, and she was telling me she needed a dress. A new dress, not the recycled dress she would have thrown on for anyone but Casey.
Of course, I would be the one to help her pick it out.
Should we go for 'Get thee to a nunnery' or something a little less provocative?
Or does it even matter what she wears, and how little she shows, because sure, Casey might look at her cleavage and ass, who wouldn't, but most of the time he would be distracted by her smile, and her eyes- and her collarbones.
I mean, sure, I was worried about her ass getting screwed over because of my decision to help out Severide, who was now hooked on anit-pain drugs, and that was a little distracting. How could I put her job on the line like that? What kind of friend-
But as soon as she came out of that dressing room, I couldn't help but forget about my roommate and the missing injections. Or the possibly horrible friend I was. Because when she stepped out of that changing room, I couldn't help but react, respond, blurt.
"Damn girl, you wear that dress, I'll be your date."
There was a pause, and for a second I thought she was done with me, done with my bullshit. Done with my flirting, that isn't flirting. I realized she was just scrutinizing the dress for any imperfections.
"I don't know, I feel kind of naked."
I looked her figure up and down again, "It's perfect."
Suddenly she asked me if I was okay, and by then I was starring at her body. No way to hide it. Maybe she thought I was staring into space worrying about the missing injections.
Maybe I would have been if her body wasn't so perfect, and that dress didn't hug it in all the right places.
"I'm not worried."
Of course I was worried, about Severide and her, and our career. But I was also worried about her, aside from the drug bust scare- what if Casey wasn't ready to be with someone new, no matter how breathtaking, or funny, she was? What if she ended up on the floor, and I was the one picking her up this time?
What if she didn't want me to?
I shook my head, she didn't choose the dress I had endorsed quite vocally. Was that a hint?
I couldn't help but think it meant I don't want you, as my pager beeped and we were out the door.
She thought the dress was perfect. How could I wear it to my cousin's Christmas party now? Now, when all I could think was how she would be my date if I did?
I had wanted Casey for so long, or so everyone thought. I had lusted over him, longed for him, waited for him- but one comment from Shay, and I forgot about him.
Forgot about the date I had wanted for so damn long.
How was it fair?
I pick her up off that Godforsaken floor, I drag her against her will back to our ambulance, because she's just had a breakdown and is crying there, on the ground. I tell her everything is going to be okay as she cries into a tub of icecream, not even hearing me. I sleep next to her so that when she wakes up screaming from her latest nightmare, I can comfort her, and she knows I'll be there for her.
I battle with my family's traditions, beliefs- that I share, so I could sleep in that bed with her. I make sure the blinds were closed after a particularly rough night of drinking, so that her precious head wouldn't hurt anymore than it was.
I ignore what Severide assumed was going on between us, I lose my boyfriend because he didn't understand why my lesbian friend needed me in her bed.
And I never once complain, the first time around, because Shay needs me and I don't turn my back on people that need me. My friends, my family, or anyone else.
I never once complained until I unsuspectingly walked into that room, and a very pregnant Clarise stood before me, next to a man with glasses and a beard, holding her hand.
I never once complained until Shay contemplated calling Clarise, contemplated going back to the hurt like before. Contemplated giving up all the progress we made.
Contemplated giving in to her ex girlfrien and taking her back.
Not until my blood ran too hot to bear, and I couldn't stand the sight of Clarise in our home, with the guys.
So when she said, "Damn girl, you wear that dress, I'll be your date," I paused.
Because I put up with all her heartache, all her bullshit, all her hurtful comments- but as soon as Clarise asked for her back, asked to take the heart I had glued together as carefully as an anthropologist would a shattered skull, I had to wonder.
I had to doubt.
So yes, I, Gabrielle Dawson, did not complain about Leslie Shay.
Until I realized I wanted her be my date.