Author: Chelle Storey-Daniel
Summary: Callie and Mark become friends ... then more. And there's a little sweet revenge along the way. :)
A/N: To vietangel80 for helping me with the smut and for being such a wonderful person. To _nigella_, tv_junkie118 ,greys_addict, callieluvr and nycbadgirl ... because the world has a shortage of cool people and these are a few of the good ones.
"So, I filed for an annulment today," Callie said casually, sliding her lunch tray onto the table across from Mark’s. For close to four weeks, they had made it a habit of eating together. It had been Mark’s idea ... he had suggested that she needed a friend as much as he did and she had agreed. A failed marriage, watching her husband fawn over his Barbie doll, and losing her job as Chief Resident had left her ready to topple and he had been there to catch her.
"Are you okay?" he asked, putting his Blackberry back in his pocket. "Because if you are we should go to Joe’s and celebrate and if you’re not we should go to Joe’s and get you drunk enough that you don’t care."
"I’m okay, but I still want to get my drink on."
"Then it’s a date." As soon as he said it, his forehead creased and he closed his eyes. "Did I just make it weird?"
"No." Callie smiled at him. "We are going to prove to the world that a man and woman can be platonic friends."
The line on Mark’s forehead stayed there as he watched her dig into her salad. She was wrong. She was very, very wrong and he would find a way to show her that if it was the last thing he did.
"How much has she had to drink?" Cristina asked, dropping her jacket on the back of the bar stool as she watched Callie dance with one of the lab technicians in the corner of the bar. "She looks toasted."
"I tried to cut her off at the eighth shot," Joe said, "but she threatened to break my hand. That’s what’s left of the bottle."
"I’m cutting her off." Cristina picked it up and drained it. She turned and watched as Callie swayed, bumping and grinding her hips in a sexy, gyrating circle.
The door opened a second later and Mark walked in, brushing rain from his hair. He drew up short when he saw Callie, who was now sandwiched in between the lab tech and Nurse Tyler, who was gripping her hips in a way that caused him to see red. Out for blood, he tossed his umbrella to the floor and stalked across the room, gripping her arm. "Come with me!"
"The song’s not over!" Callie said, her voice slurred. "I love Fifty Cent."
Mark shot a look at Nurse Tyler, who held his hands up and walked away. The lab tech was more persistent and Mark threatened to make him a woman if he didn’t get away. Callie, oblivious, went right on dancing. It took a few seconds for her to realize that her dance partners were missing and she looked around, shocked. "What did you do?"
"Let’s go sit down."
"I am *dancing*." To prove her point, she raised her arms over her head and moved her body in a way that should only be done in the cover of darkness when she was astride a man.
The song ended and Mark took her arm. "Come on, Britney Six Six Six, you’re drunk and -"
"Wait." Callie closed her eyes as another song began to play. "I spent all my dollars on this damn jukebox and you came in just in time to dance with me. I think you’ll like this song. Listen really close, Mark."
The song was slow and when Callie stepped into his arms, they found a natural rhythm and began to sway as one.
What's it gonna be
Cuz I can't pretend
Don't you wanna be more than friends
Hold me tight and don't let go
Don't let go
Have the right to loose control
Don't let go
Mark tightened his grip on her hips and licked his lips. She smiled up at him and he had to wonder if she was as drunk as he thought she was. She had made it very clear that they were friends and nothing more, but -
I often tell myself
That we could be more than just friends
I know you think that if we move to soon
It would all end
I live in misery when you're not around
And I won't be satisfied 'till we're taking those vows
There'll be some lovemaking, heartbreaking, soul shaking
Oh, lovemaking, heartbreaking, soul shaking
As he listened to the lyrics and saw the unmistakable look in her eyes he knew that he wasn’t the only one who had been feeling a little something more. He pulled her closer and brushed her hair over her shoulder. She ran her foot up the side of his leg and he caught her behind the thigh, one hand on the small of her back and she leaned away from him, grinding against him. He thought he would die on the spot and knew that she could feel the erection that had been building from the moment she got near him.
I often fantasize
The stars above are watching you
They know my heart and speak to yours
Like only lovers do
If I could wear your clothes
I'd pretend I was you and lose control
There'll be some lovemaking, heartbreaking, soul shaking
Oh lovemaking, heartbreaking, soul shaking, oh yeah
Cristina raised her eyebrows and ordered a beer as she watched her new roommate doing what could only be described as fully clothed sex on the dance floor. As she lifted the bottle to her lips, the door opened again and George walked in, his cell phone against his ear. He waved at Cristina, who shot him a bird, then smiled and pointed at Callie. The look on O’Malley’s face was even more entertaining than the mating dance and she couldn’t decide which picture she enjoyed more. When Mark buried his face in Callie’s cleavage, however, she was riveted and forgot all about Bambi acting like a deer frozen in headlights.
"Holy crap," Joe said, filling a glass of ice water for himself. "Is it just me or did it get a lot hotter in here?"
On the dance floor, Mark’s hands had gone to Callie’s backside and she had her hands under his shirt. Cristina licked her lips and said, "You may want to get the hose ready. If they tangle up you may have to soak them to get them apart."
George was jarred out of his stupor by Izzie and Meredith arriving. He pretended to be unaffected for Izzie’s benefit and sat down beside her at the table nearest the door. Meredith took one look at the dancing duo and made a beeline for Cristina. "Okay, that’s hot. That’s dirty, sexy hot."
"You should have been here for the hands on the ass, face in cleavage action." Cristina smiled when Mark caught a handful of Callie’s ebony hair and pulled her head back, latching onto her neck with his mouth. "Okay, maybe that’s hotter."
Mark had forgotten how good her skin tasted. It was sinfully sweet and she smelled dangerous, like she could do things to him that had never been done to any man before. "Callie-" he growled her name, close to her ear so he could breathe her in. "You’re killing me."
"Maybe you should kiss me before you die."
He didn’t have to be invited twice. With his hand still tangled in her hair, he crushed her mouth with his. Her plump lips tasted like cherries and when her tongue met his, he could taste the tequila. The feel of her body flush against his was more intoxicating than all the alcohol behind the bar and he couldn’t pull away. He didn’t want to pull away because he was right where he wanted to be.
Knowing what it was like to share her bed was enough to buckle his knees. Three times with her had not been enough the one night they had shared. He had practically begged her for another night and even that ... even if he had stayed awake to touch her until dawn ... it wouldn’t have been enough.
He wanted more.
He wanted Callie Torres for more than one night, for more than a friends with benefits arrangement. If anyone could tame the manwhore ... she could. And he wanted to be tamed for the first time in his life. He needed someone, only one. He needed her. The song faded and he gritted his teeth, feeling like an ass as he said, "I could have danced all night."
Another song began to play and she said, "Then you’re in luck."
"I have a better idea." He nodded toward the empty booth in the corner and said, "We need to talk."
"I’m not drunk enough to talk."
"Good, then maybe you’ll hear me." He put his hand on the small of her back and led her to the booth, watching as she slid across the leather seat. Instead of sitting across from her, he sat beside her, effectively keeping her in one spot. "Callie, I -"
"If you want to keep it friends only then tell me. Because I don’t plan on going home alone tonight and if you -"
"You just want to get laid?" he asked, his tone clipped. "If that’s what you want then I’m sure Nurse Tyler or that other kid will scratch your itch. I’m not interested in fucking you ... I want more."
"You want more?"
"Have you not noticed that I spend every waking moment with you? I don’t date anymore. I don’t hang out in the nurse’s lounge to try to score. I am with you all the time and ... and, Callie, I like it. I really like it and I don’t see any reason for us to pretend that it’s not there."
"Did you actually hear the part where I filed for an annulment today? I’ve been separated for *four* weeks and -"
"The first night I met you ... I asked you if starting over existed and you didn’t answer me. I know the answer now." He touched her face. "Anyone can start over if they find a reason to."
"We’re good in bed. We’re insanely good in bed and I have to be honest and tell you that I think about that every time you’re near me so no ... I don’t want to keep it just friends, but I don’t want to be your fling either."
She wrinkled her nose. "When did you become a *woman*?"
"When did you become the -" Trailing off, he looked away.
"Whore?" Cocking her head to one side, Callie studied him. "Is that what you were going to say? I guess it takes one to know one. Get out of my way."
"Cal, come on. I’m trying to tell you that I - I’m falling for you. I want to be with you. Only you." He touched her cheek. "I think that if you give me a chance, you’ll forget all about the fact that you just filed for an annulment today."
"You don’t have to say all these things to me. I’m not asking you for promises or declarations. I’m asking you for one night."
"No," he replied. "And you’re not having one night with any guy in this place either. I mean it. I’m saying this to you as your friend and not a jealous asshole ... you’ll regret it in the morning and you don’t need any more regret in your life."
Her eyes filled with tears and she looked away. "I don’t want to be alone. Not tonight."
A while later, Callie emerged from Mark’s bathroom wearing one of his button down shirts. She had soaked in the tub until her skin pruned and she gave him a grin when she saw the room service cart. It was loaded with enough food for a small army and she happily obliged him and sat down. He handed her a glass of wine and she held it up, "To best friends ... because I really needed one."
He didn’t raise his glass. "That’s all you want from me?"
"I’m not playing games with you, Callie. I’m not saying pretty things to get you in that bed. I’m telling you the truth. For the first time in my life ... my heart is talking louder than my body and considering how much I want you ... what I *feel* is pretty damn deafening."
"You don’t want me. I’m a complete fucking mess."
"I happen to be very good with my hands. I can clean that mess up if you let me." He finally held up his glass. "How about we toast to starting over? You can start over with me or you can start over on your own ... but you ARE starting over and that’s a damn good thing."
She gave him a sad smile. "To starting over."
They clicked their glasses and ate their dinner in a comfortable silence.
Afterwards, Mark pulled the cover back and smiled at her. "If memory serves ... you don’t snore, you don’t hog the cover, but you do have cold feet so keep them on your side of the bed, okay?"
Laughing, she crawled in beside him and watched him plump his pillows. She ached to curl against him, to feel his arms around her and he took one look at her and read her mind ... pulling her into the comfortable crook against his chest. "Thank you," she whispered.
"You’re gonna fall in love with me. You are."
"You’re a cocky bastard."
"I’m a convinced bastard."
For the next two weeks, Callie alternated between sleeping on the sofa at the apartment she shared with Cristina and sleeping, *just* sleeping, with Mark. He completely stopped all sexual innuendo with her and instead talked about things like the future and how great he could be as a boyfriend. They watched movies, took long walks at the park, and *dated*. It was surreal to have someone open the door for her and insist on buying her dinner. He truly pulled out all the boyfriend stops as well, going so far as to build her a McSteamy bear at the Build A Bear workshop at the mall. He put extra stuffing in the bear’s crotch, he told her, to remind her of what she was missing by not agreeing to make their couplehood ‘official’.
She was taping photos of herself and Mark from a dinky little photobooth to her locker when George approached her. "Hey," he said, gazing at the photo. "What are you doing?"
"Getting ready for work. Or was that hypothetical?" she asked, arching a brow. Her ex husband didn’t generally speak to her unless he had to. "What are *you* doing?"
"He’s using you." George pointed at the photos. "Sloan, I mean."
"Me saying ‘this is none of your fucking business’ doesn’t seem blunt enough, but there it is."
"What are you thinking, Callie? Everyone’s talking about you."
"I’m used to that. What do you think they did when you left me? Or when you moved on to *her*?"
He leaned a shoulder against the row of lockers, his eyes never leaving hers. "Izzie and I aren’t together anymore. We broke up."
"Of course you did," Callie sneered. "Because you were *her* rebound the same way I was yours after Meredith. She used you to help get over Denny. You were her safety net. Now you’re in my shoes. Walk a mile, George, I bet you have to start crawling at the halfway point."
"I never meant to hurt you," he said.
She laughed. "What? You thought I’d jump for joy to find out that you were cheating on me with the lunatic who made my life hell for months? Wow, George, you get mad points for being observant."
"This was hard on me, too."
"I’m sure it was. Sleeping in the on call room for a full week before you moved into your slut’s bedroom must have been horrible for you."
He glared at her for a second. "I thought we were gonna be friends. You said that you had let go and -"
"I did!" she snapped. "And if you want to be a friend then congratulate me on keeping my word. I let you go and I moved on. You have no right to stand there and tell me that Mark and I are-"
"He’s going to hurt you!" George replied. "A friend would tell you *that*."
"Okay, fine. Duly noted." She narrowed her eyes at him. "Anything else?"
"I miss you."
"You can’t miss what you never really had."
"I have to get to work. And unless you want to repeat the year *again* ... I’d suggest that you do the same."
He gasped. "That was pretty low."
"Sorry, I had to get down to your level so you’d hear it loud and clear."
Callie walked toward him and he pressed his back against the lockers, moving away from her. She only breezed past him however. She didn’t hit him like he expected. With nothing else to do, he followed along behind her and watched as Erica Hahn emerged from a room down the hallway. The two women looped their arms together, speaking in low voices. Erica turned and looked him up and down, then burst out laughing, saying something to Callie that caused her to cross her legs and announce that she needed to pee.
In that moment, George O’Malley realized that Erica Hahn had made him feel the same way that Izzie made Callie feel.
All the time.
"What are you doing, O’Malley!? I said to use the suction! Not the flush!" Mark snapped, grabbing the correct hose and holding it out to the shorter man. "I hate first year interns!"
"It’s technically my second year," George replied, his eyes slits.
"Then I hate first years who don’t learn a damn thing their first or *second* year. Is that better?"
"I’d say I learned a lot."
"Have you learned to turn the suction on? Because that might help." Mark glared at him. "Now!"
George complied and sucked the excess blood from the patient’s incision. "What are you doing with Callie?"
Mark’s jaw tightened behind his mask and he was grateful that his face was hidden. "Anything I want. As much as I want. A lot, by the way."
One of the interns behind George cleared his throat and George shifted uncomfortably. "Everyone knows what you’re doing. It’s not like people don’t have you figured out."
"Everyone knows, huh?" Mark glanced at the anesthesiologist. "You know what I’m doing?"
"You’re operating, sir," the man replied.
"That’s right." Mark moved his head from side to side to take the tension out. "We’re all professionals here ... well, some of us. And we’re all fairly well versed in surgical technique ... well, some of us. O’Malley, since you know exactly what I’m doing ... tell me, what comes next?"
George didn’t reply.
Mark chuckled and asked for another scalpel, a smaller on. A few minutes passed in silence and Mark gasped, glancing up at O’Malley. "Wait ... did you want to know what I’m doing with Callie personally or professionally?"
"You know exactly what I meant!"
"Ohhh!" Mark nodded. "If we’re going to talk about personal lives then we should start with yours. It’s far more sordid than anything I have accomplished."
George heard someone snicker behind him and shifted from one foot to the other. "You can’t judge anyone."
"Okay then." Mark’s smile was evidenced by the crinkling around his eyes. "Let’s get back to everyone knowing what I’m doing with Callie *personally*."
"You’re using her." George stated as fact.
Mark looked at the anesthesiologist again. "Dr. Sims, did you know that Callie is teaching me to Salsa and I’m teaching her to do the Two Step, but she hates country music so it’s slow going. And she likes to mock old movies so we’ve been meeting at my place to watch AMC because they show that old stuff twenty four seven. Did you know that?"
Sims shook his head. "No, sir."
"I see." Mark continued, undaunted. "Did you know that Callie’s allergic to bees so we have to be very careful about walking in the park because there are so many hives? But she does it anyway because she loves feeding the ducks so much. I don’t know how, but she can get them to take bread right from her hand. Did you know that we like to get up early to watch the sunrise because Callie says that when you welcome it ... the day is kind to you and I believe her ... because every day with her is pretty damn good. Did you know any of that, Dr. Sims?"
"No, Dr. Sloan. None of that."
Mark regarded George again, his scalpel stilled in his hand. "Did you, O’Malley? Know that?"
George focused on the wall behind Mark and said nothing.
"Then I guess," Mark said," what I’m doing ... is better than you ever did."
Cristina smiled behind her mask when Callie snorted at a dirty joke that Hahn had just told them. Next to Cristina, Hahn worked her magic on a heart valve that Izzie Stevens was assisting her with. Hearing Callie laughing at Erica’s stupid jokes almost made up for not being chosen to assist Hahn herself, but Cristina was close enough to soak up the wisdom the woman imparted on Izzie and that was enough. Opening a package of sterile pins, she held one out to Callie before her friend could even ask. Callie thanked her and gave her the honor of inserting it. She worked quickly and pulled her hands out of the way as Callie drilled the rod into place. "Are you coming home tonight, Cal?"
"I don’t know," Callie replied, glancing at her roommate. "Do you need me to?"
Hahn chuckled. "I’m so glad I told Mark to wake up and realize which one of us was the better option. You guys fit."
"So, that’s why he started chasing me!" Callie laughed. "Erica, you’re a dirty matchmaker and I approve."
"Both of you are sex on a stick," Erica shrugged. "So, what did O’Malley want this morning? That was intense."
Callie groaned. "Apparently he’s single, he misses me, and he doesn’t like that I’ve moved on."
Izzie dropped the clamp she was holding. Every eye fell on her as she mumbled a terse apology. Erica regarded her long than anyone else. "You’re sweating, Stevens. Is there a problem?"
Cristina shot the blond a look, feeling evil and elated at the same time. "Callie, are you remotely interested in what George thinks or feels?"
"Not even a little bit," Callie assured her. "Been there, done that. Luckily escaped the fleas."
Hahn instructed Izzie, then watched as the other woman did the opposite of what she said. "Stevens! Pay attention!" she chided. "Are you trying to kill my patient!?"
"It’s the running whip stitch," Cristina pointed out. "It gets a lot of first timers."
Erica shot Yang a look. "I don’t require an explanation for her incompetency, but thank you for chiming in."
Callie snorted again. "You think *that’s* incompetent?"
"You have juicy gossip, Torres!" Erica accused. "I hate being the new kid! Tell me now!"
"Surely," Callie said easily. "You’ve heard about the intern last year who stole a heart from UNOS?"
"WHAT!?" Erica cried.
Callie pretended that Cristina and Izzie had not frozen like deer in headlights. "Apparently this *doctor*, and I use that term lightly, decided to date a patient. A bed ridden patient who needed a heart transplant. Why, almost overnight, she fell in love and wanted to marry him. I’ve been accused of moving fast, but at least I move fast with men who I see outside of work, you know? At any rate, this *doctor* fell so hard for this patient that she cut his LVAD wire to fool UNOS into moving him further up the donor list. She stole that heart from a man who was open and on the table at Mercy West. Wait ... I think you performed the transplant, Erica. Denny Duquette?"
Erica’s scalpel clattered the floor. "Are you kidding me!? That heart ... are you telling me that Duquette wasn’t really ... my patient *died*! He left behind a pregnant wife and children! The last thing he said to me was, ‘make sure I wake up before you bring my kids in. I want them to see me with a smile’."
"The truly ironic part," Callie continued. "is that Denny died anyway. And less than two months later, this girl was in love again. With a married man. So, she basically destroyed countless lives and is still working today, though I heard through the grapevine that she should have been a vet. She did save Bambi a few weeks ago."
"This doctor is still employed?!" Hahn cried. "Here!?"
Callie screwed another bolt into place. "She so is."
"I’ll be taking this up with the Chief!" Hahn growled, her fury causing her forehead to turn bright red.
Izzie dropped another clamp and Hahn screamed at her.
Callie winked at Yang. "Erica?"
"Perhaps you’d like to illustrate to Dr. Stevens the correct way to utilize the LVAD wire. I’ve heard that her knowledge is limited only to the amount of pressure it takes to sever one."
A pin being dropped would have sounded like a plane crashing.
Wordlessly, Izzie stepped away from the table, then ran from the room.
Callie took the package of pins from Cristina and put them on the tray next to her. "I don’t need Cristina for anything else, Erica. She’s well versed in the running whip stitch and I think she’d like the opportunity to work with you."
"Yang, take over for Stevens. She better hope she’s going to the chapel because the only thing that will keep me from killing her is an act of divine intervention."
Mark smiled when he opened the door of his room at the Archfield. Callie was lying on her stomach with a book open in front of her on the bed. She didn’t hear him because her iPod buds were in her ears and he took a moment to enjoy the view. Her bare feet were in the air, tapping in time to whatever she was listening to and her cleavage was eye popping in the halter top she wore. He had only kissed her twice since they had begun ‘dating’ and both of those times ... she had been asleep. He decided to remedy that. Setting his briefcase on the floor, he tossed his jacket on top of it and hurried across the room, still unseen. Wordlessly, he leaned down and kissed her shoulder, catching the wire of the ear piece with his thumb.
Callie gasped and looked up at him. "You’re early!"
Cupping her cheek, he gave her a kiss. It wasn’t a hungry, lover’s kiss, but it wasn’t a peck of friendship either. "You’re wearing my boxers."
She licked her lips, tasting him. "Uh ... I got in your hot tub and couldn’t stand the thought of putting my jeans back on. It was too hot."
"I like it," he assured her, his hand moving to the waistband, which she had turned down. "How was your day? I made your ex-husband cry."
"I made his ex-girlfriend cry."
"So, we both had a productive day." His hand slid lower, over her backside. "I’m glad you’re here."
"I like seeing you, Callie. I like seeing you here when I wake up and seeing you when I open the door after a long day. I like *seeing* you." He tucked her hair behind her ear. "I’d rather see you naked, but -"
"How did this happen?" she asked seriously. "You and me?"
"How could it not?" He kissed her again, relieved when she didn’t pull away. He deepened it, his tongue gingerly touching hers. When her hand went to his head, he climbed into the bed beside her, clinging to her. "Callie -"
"Don’t say anything."
"Do you love me yet?"
"Didn’t I just tell you not to say anything?" She shook her head. "Hush."
"Are we together or not?"
"Ask me that after we have riotous sex, Mark, not before." Sitting up, she pulled her shirt over her head. "It has been way too long since I -"
He stopped her. "Are we a couple?"
"Fine! We’re a couple!" She reached for the button on his pants. "A couple of what ... I don’t know."
Smacking her hand away, Mark got to his feet. "You know what? Fuck it! And fuck you, too! Have I been wasting my time all these weeks? Have I?"
"What!?" Callie cried. One arm was out of her shirt and it should have been comical, but neither laughed. "Did you just say ‘fuck you’ to me?"
"It’s what you want, isn’t it? You don’t want to make love. You don’t want any kind of real connection. You want to get fucked and leave."
"No, mostly I just want to leave." Jumping to her feet, she felt around for her shoes and snatched them off the floor.
"You’re not taking my boxers!" Mark bellowed. "Those are Armani!"
Wordlessly, she shoved them down her legs and kicked them into his face. He balled them into a fist and snatched up her jeans, dangling them from his fingertips. "Give me those!" she snapped, holding out her hand.
Mark carried them to the balcony and tossed them into the hot tub. "Go get them yourself!"
"You asshole!" she yelled, snatching them from the water. "What am I supposed to wear now!?"
"Parade down the street in your panties and I’m sure someone will give you what you want so damn much!"
"Oooooh," she seethed. "I hate you!"
"You’re a liar! You don’t hate me! You hate yourself because you’re falling for me and we both know it!"
"If anyone falls here ... it’ll be you falling over the side of this damned railing!"
"I fell weeks ago, Callie, I’m hanging in limbo waiting for you to catch up!"
"You don’t want me, Mark! You don’t! You think you do, but you don’t and I can’t do a halfway relationship again!" Her eyes filled with tears and she closed them, trying in vain to will them away. "It doesn’t have to be so fucking complicated! Just ... stop."
"Don’t cry." Mark closed the distance between them, pulling her against his chest. "I’m sorry. Please ... don’t leave." Holding out his hand, he offered her his boxer shorts again. "Put them back on and stay. You said you’d spend the night tonight and ... I want you to."
"You made it weird."
"You made it weirder. Hello, mixed signals." Giving her a smile, he kissed her again. "I’m gonna get a shower. Would you order some room service? You know what I like and I’m starving."
When she nodded, he brushed his thumb over her cheek and walked back into the room, leaving her standing alone, clutching her wet jeans in one hand and his boxers in the other. The jeans, a pair that she had purchased on her honeymoon in Vegas, felt heavy. It felt as if her tears could have soaked them through. His boxers, on the other hand, felt light and clean and when she slid them over her hips ... it was like coming home. It was like rushing through the rain only to be wrapped up in a soft hug. She left her jeans lying in a lump in the corner of the balcony, not looking back at them when she returned to the room. She ordered their dinner, smiling a little as she specified his particular instructions for his steak. She liked that she knew so much about him. And he knew that much and more about her.
With a frown, she sat down on the edge of the bed and dialed a number she knew by heart.
"Addison, it’s me."
"Callie! Oh my god! I was just thinking about you!"
Callie grinned. "I miss you."
"I miss you, too. How are you?"
"Can I ask you something?"
"Oh God." Addison took a deep breath. "You’re pregnant and you want me to come deliver it?"
"No. I need advice about a man."
"You want me to give you man advice? Because my track record is so great?"
"Because you know this man," Callie replied. "I need to know about Mark."
There was a long pause. "Are you with him?"
"Not technically, but ... in my heart, I think so," Callie rubbed her forehead. "He says that he’s falling for me and that he doesn’t want to sleep with me until I say we’re a couple and make it official."
"What!? That’s not Mark Sloan. Cal, he doesn’t do couples or official anything. He even bought black market baseball cards and *pretended* they were official."
"I don’t doubt that," Callie replied. "But ... I’m sleeping in his bed and we’re watching movies and taking walks in the park and he suddenly knows me better than I know myself and ... he wants more."
"Have you checked his temperature?" Addison laughed. "Because maybe he’s sick."
Callie didn’t crack a smile at all. "What do I do? Can I trust him? Can I fall for him? Is he real or is he just fucking with me?"
On the other end of the line, Addison cleared her throat. "I don’t think he’s fucking with you. Mark doesn’t play mind games, Cal. He just ... doesn’t. And he isn’t prone to saying anything unless he means it. I’m the last person to tell you whether or not you can trust him because I trusted him and it didn’t work, but you’re not me, and ... if anyone could make Mark think with his heart and not his dick ... you could. Do you want to fall for him?"
"I think it’s a little late to ask that." Callie picked up his pillow, hugging it to her chest. "I can’t think straight when I’m around him and I can’t think at all when I’m not. I want to believe him ... I do. I need to believe in *someone* and ... he makes me laugh and he doesn’t make me feel bad for being ... me."
"Then give him a chance, Cal. What do have to lose?"
"I only gave him a piece of mine," Addison replied. "But he took really good care of that piece and he didn’t want to give it back to me."
"How do I know he’s not a rebound? It’s so soon after George and -"
"When you look at Mark ... do you want to have sex with him?"
"Yeah," Callie admitted. "But mostly I want to hear his stupid jokes and tell him how my day was and laugh at the way he interrupts my surgeries to ask me what I want for lunch and ... oh my god ... he’s not a rebound."
"Apparently not," Addison said. "So, grab the bull by the horns or ... horn ... or whatever ... and be happy, Callie. Life is pretty short and ... what are you waiting for?"
"Thank you, Addy. Really."
"You talked yourself into it, kiddo, I was just here to listen." Addison laughed. "Go get your man."
"Going." Callie chuckled. "I’ll talk to you soon."
After dinner, Callie and Mark climbed into the bed to watch an old black and white movie that neither had seen before. Forty minutes into it, she still had no idea what was going on. She was too busy concentrating on the feel of his leg against hers and the way his fingertips casually traced a pattern on her arm as he gazed at the screen. A jumble of words were in her head, things she wanted to say, things she needed to say, but she held her tongue and tried to keep her breathing under control. How was she supposed to tell him that they were definitely a couple when she had spent weeks arguing otherwise?
"Who did you call earlier? I heard you talking to someone," he asked casually during a commercial break.
"I thought I was your girl ... uhm ... that didn’t come out right. What did you talk about?"
He groaned. "I can almost guarantee you that anything she said about me is untrue. And exaggerated. And quite possibly out of the question."
"The movie’s back on." Callie pointed at the screen.
Putting it on mute, he rolled over and looked at her, propping his head in his palm. "What did she tell you?"
"She said I should give you a chance."
His eyes widened. "She did? Are you going to?"
"I’m going to ... with the reminder that I’m very, very easily breakable and I’m trusting you to keep that in mind." She felt her eyes swim with tears again and hated that he could see just how true her words were. "I can’t get hurt again and if you hurt me ... I’m not just gonna be losing a lover ... I’m going to be losing my best friend and I can’t. I can’t do that, Mark, because I really need you now."
He picked up her hand and laid it on his chest. "Do you feel that?"
"My heart just stood still. Now, I’m not an expert, but I’d say that any woman who can make a man’s heart stand still is a woman worth taking care of. And I will take care of you. I swear." Moving closer, he pulled her against him. "It feels right ... having you here."
"It feels right being here." She trailed her hand over his cheek. "I think I’ll die if we don’t get naked."
Sitting up, Mark shoved the cover to their ankles and pulled his shirt over his head. Wasting no time, he stripped off his underwear and tossed them into the corner. Grinning devilishly at her, he arched a brow. "I’m way ahead of you."
Callie smiled when he slid his hand up her leg, hooking his fingertips in the crotch of his boxers, which she still wore. She gasped a moment later when he ripped them. "Those were Armani!"
"What’s under them is a little more valuable." He kissed her knee. "Lift your hips."
She complied and he grabbed the boxers, and her panties, yanking them over her feet. "When did you go hairless, Torres?"
"Shut up," she shot back, sitting up to pull her shirt off. "I like it better."
"I like it better, too." Leaning down, he kissed below her belly button, licking a path lower and lower, toward the apex of her thighs.
Callie closed her eyes when he settled between her legs. It took him exactly five seconds to cause her toes to curl. He had apparently remembered everything from their one and only night together. He remembered to touch her ... right there ... and that she liked the feel of his hand kneading her ass as he devoured her flesh. Arching her back off the bed, she cried out when he slipped two fingers inside her. His name rolled off her tongue with the same rhythm that he used his own to massage her aching clit and before she knew what was happening, she was coming fast and hard, clamping down on his digits. And he didn’t stop. He continued to pump in and out of her while his tongue rubbed and taunted her aching skin.
He could almost hear her body calling him and he knew he couldn't stop now. He gentled his ministrations a bit, allowing her to slowly descend. Without removing his fingers he crawled slowly up her body, stopping to suck a nipple into his mouth on the way. Something between a moan and a sigh escaped her lips as his tongue painted magic pictures on the chocolate colored bud. When he finally attacked her mouth, he knew that she could taste herself there and it only added to the sweet intoxication he had felt since the moment she walked into his heart. "Callie -"
"I know," she whispered, hooking her foot behind his leg. "Please ... don’t make me beg."
Never one to disappoint ... he pulled her leg over his shoulder and plunged into her with one rough thrust. Her mouth opened and she gasped, her eyes on his. Leaning down, he kissed her again, signaling the end to the sweetness when he bit her bottom lip. Pulling back, he slammed into her again and again, dragging her up to meet him every time. It was frenzied, crazy, and so gratifying that they were both breathless as they raced for the finish line. Foreheads together, he growled her name and the moment she felt him swell and release inside her ... she joined him ... crying out her pleasure.
"Better?" he asked, kissing her neck.
"Oh, honey, I’m fine now."
"Honey?" Mark made a face. "Did you just call me honey?"
"Do you prefer sweetie?"
"We’re doing pet names?"
"You’re the one who wanted to be a couple. We might as well live the cliché."
"Baby, everything with you is a cliché."
She smiled up at him. "Did you just call me baby?"
"Would you prefer sugar tits?"
Laughing, she slapped him on the arm. "If you want to live to see round two, you better never say that again."
"We had three the last time. You’ve spoiled me."
"We’re not stopping until tomorrow." He glanced at the clock. "Let’s aim for eight times, but if we stop at seven and a half, we’ll call it a draw."
"Death by sex ... I’m in."
"All the way?"
"All the way." She nodded at him. "We’re official. Okay?"
Not wanting to crush her with his full weight, he pushed himself over and flopped onto his back beside her. She instantly missed the warmth of his skin on hers and curled up against him, throwing a leg across his waist as if he would become nothing more than a faded memory if she wasn't there to anchor him. He chuckled and pulled her on top of him. Wasting no time at all, she pushed herself to her knees and rotated her hips in a slow, lazy circle. "Wanna go again?"
"I told you you’d fall in love with me." He smirked at her, knowing that she could feel him hardening against. "Go ahead and say it ... I was right."
"Your ego is horrible."
"But you love it, don’t you?"
"I’m not saying it yet."
"You don’t have to." He kissed her, lingering over her plump, wet lips. A moment later, she gripped him and led him to her center. "Everything you do tells me loud and clear."
"Don’t let go of me, Mark."
"You might fall if I do."
"I already did."
Mark kept his word. They made it to number eight just before dawn and when she finally collapsed in his arms, spent and sweaty, he kissed the nape of her neck and spooned against her. In soft, exhausted voices, they talked about the future as something real, something they could both look forward to together. When she fell asleep, he held onto her, rubbing her back, memorizing her mind blowing curves and thinking of all the things he would do to her when she woke up. It had been the longest relationship of Mark’s life thus far ... and it was a shock to his system ... because it had only just begun.
And he already loved her enough to last a lifetime.