The roads were always icy in the winter so Chrisie took extra care parking up outside Molly's, the bar that Herrmann, Otis and her Aunt Gabby owned. Molly's was without a doubt the best bar in Chicago. The winter had just begun, the pavements glittering in the light of the street lamps, a thin crust of snow settling atop the trees. Chrisie's favourite time of year was winter, but it meant that her job in Firehouse 51 was going to prove a whole lot more difficult, especially as a Candidate.
As she opened the door and stepped inside Molly's, she remembered what her Dad had told her that morning. Where would she and her siblings live? How would they cope without any parents for six months? Ever since their Mom had left them, it'd been just Chrisie, Eva, Diego and their father Antonio. Somehow Chrisie didn't want that to change.
"Chrisie!" Herrmann shouted over the music and loud voices, "What can I get ya kid?"
"Hey Christopher, just a beer this time."
"Coming right up."
She sat down in front of the main bar, next to Jay who had just finished his tequila. "Is my Dad around here somewhere?"
"Oh hi Chrisie, no he just left a half hour ago."
Chrisie nodded and took the beer off Herrmann, giving him a half-hearted smile. "Right. Hey, look, I'm sorry about storming out earlier this morning, it was not-"
"Don't apologize," said Jay, taking a swig of his refilled tequila glass, "I understand how you feel. Antonio moving 5000 miles away for six months is going to be hard for you, but you have friends to help you through it. Me, for one. And Erin."
Chrisie sipped at her beer. "But where will we live? I'm nineteen, I can't look after Eva and Diego on my own."
"That's where we come in." A male voice behind her almost made her jump. She turned to see Matt standing there with his arm around Gabby. He put a hand firmly on her shoulder. "Antonio has entrusted your Aunt and I as your guardians while he's away."
"You, Eva and Diego will be living with us." Gabby added.
A single tear rolled down Chrisie's cheek, though she didn't know why she was crying. Jay reached out and wiped it away, pulling her into a hug. "You're gonna be okay, I promise you. You know we all love you, right?"
Chrisie smiled at him, she was so lucky to have amazing friends like Jay and everyone at CPD and 51. Her life would be a mess without them. "C'mon, you can now watch me absolutely fail at karaoke." He said and pulled her off the stool over to the small stage in the corner.
"Haha bet you'll be better than me!"
"Oh, oh, you wanna bet now huh? How much?" Jay said teasingly, his words slurred with laughter.
"Aaah you gotta be kidding me!"
Chrisie laughed for the first time in what seemed like ages. She grabbed a second beer off the bar. She definitely needed more than one drink to calm her nerves tonight.