Author: Chelle Storey-Daniel
Pairing: Mark/Callie Callie/Hahn
Summary: What happens when a man steps up and offers you everything you've ever wanted at the same time that a woman does? What happens when you're feeling things that you've never felt before and you question everything you thought you knew about yourself. Callie takes a journey that is rocky, wonderful, terrifying, and breathtaking as she realizes that there is one heart too many in her life and that's the one that she will have to break.
Dedicated: To anyone who has ever questioned who they are.
aclairec, you continue to amaze me. I adore you.
Everything you have ever heard about straight jackets is true.
You feel like they’re restricting your air and you can’t break free no matter how hard you try.
My life? It has become a straight jacket and before you assume that I need one of those, a padded room, and a body full of Lithium ... I’m speaking metaphorically, okay? And the straight jacket I tried on was after I lost a bet in college ... and then again for sex because I had an ex boyfriend who was just that kinky.
What I’m saying is ... I don’t do love triangles. The one that I was forced into by George and Izzie was technically a square because both of them have split personalities and I was a random line that cut across it. Whatever. Geometry sucks, but I can assure you now without fail that I am in a bona fide triangle and I’m the top most point and two people are making me insane. I’ve never really been the object of any one person’s affection, but now I have two people who want to be with me and I am at the crossroads. Two roads lie before me ... one is dangerous to the point of risking my heart again and the other is safe because that person looks at me and I know that they would hurt themselves before they hurt me. It’s not a high road/low road scenario, either. They both say and do things that I want to believe because I’ve never had anyone go out of their way to make me feel important, but I can’t choose. The really fucked up part is that neither one of them has said I should choose.
But I want to.
Because I’m not into triangles. Or squares. I want a point A and a point B and one of those needs to be me.
I guess it all started with Addison coming back and assuming that I was with Erica. She referred to us as ‘a happy couple’ and I pretty much freaked out. Addison knows me better than just about anyone in this world. So what if I had thought, drunkenly, that Erica was pretty hot. So what if Erica saying that she liked my hair curly had me retiring my straightening iron. So what if making Erica laugh felt like I had accomplished something with my day. It didn’t mean that we were a couple or that I wanted to be. It meant that she was my friend and I cared about her. Right?
Well, I cared about her so much that I went to the Archfield with Mark Sloan and let him do every dirty, raunchy, incredibly sexy thing that a man can do to a woman. Repeatedly. All night. And then again before work. By the time we got to Seattle Grace that day we were late, my body was sore in that good, kinky way that means you know what you’re doing in bed, and Chief Webber was on the warpath.
So, let’s just start there.
Coming off the elevator, Mark put his arm around me. It was something he had done many, many times before. We had become fairly decent friends after George ripped my heart out and threw it in my face. Mark had sat in the dark with me after I was fired as Chief Resident and Mark had taken me to see some stupid plotless movie that same night and he didn’t make any sexual references because I would have killed him. We were comfortable. The kind of comfortable that let him call me at one in the morning to ask about a football score because his surgery ran long. The kind of comfortable that meant he thought nothing of picking up my coffee cup at the morning meeting and finishing it off or helping himself to half of my honey bun in the monthly M&M.
He also thought nothing of over sharing his abundant sex life with me by pointing out this intern, that nurse, or one of *those* volunteers that had warmed his sheets the night before.
So, he had his arm around me and he was whispering in my ear that we should meet in the on call room later, that he really enjoyed that thing I did with my hips, and that I smelled good when Chief Webber shouted at him and came charging like a mad bull toward us. For weeks, I felt Webber’s wraith as Chief Resident and I decided right around that time that he wasn’t particularly fond of me so I made a hasty retreat and ran straight into Cristina.
"Do something about Hahn!" she snapped, her hands on her hips. She really can be impressively pissy.
"What?" I asked, watching Webber and Mark out of the corner of my eye.
"I tried to get her to talk to me last night while you did the Mating Dance of Gay Denial with Sloan and she -"
"Wait - what? While I did the what?"
"Everyone knows so stop trying to infect yourself with an STD and embrace it. You’re the reason she’s in a bad mood today anyway." Cristina narrowed her eyes into slits. "She listens to you. Make her teach me, Callie. Make her let me operate on hearts because I’m wasting my time with banged up knees and ulcers and my hands are way too skilled for that!"
"I cannot make Erica do anything! And I am not with her!"
"I know, I know ... you love penis. You’re a big fan of penis. The entire cafeteria heard you yesterday." Cristina met my eyes and I looked away. "If you don’t make her stop treating me, the me who is your roommate, like shit ... then you gotta go."
"You cannot keep threatening to kick me out! That’s unfair."
"Well, hell! Life is unfair! I’m scrubbing in on a tonsillectomy while Meredith just went into angioplasty. With Hahn!"
I watched her walk away and closed my eyes wondering if this is how George felt when I got in his face about Izzie. I hope so. Because I felt like crap.
Mark touched my arm a second later and when I looked up at him ... I knew that something was wrong. He didn’t have to invite me to follow him, one slight incline of his head and we were shut behind the doors of the on call room. I leaned against the wall and watched him pace back and forth and rake his fingers through his hair until it stood on end. "What’s wrong?" I finally asked.
"A few of the nurses talked to a lawyer. They’re considering a sexual harassment suit against the hospital. Against me."
"What’s a few?"
"An even dozen."
The poor guy looked scared shitless. I sat next to him on the bed and put an arm around his shoulder. He was actually shaking. I didn’t need to ask why. His career made him happy and as much as he bitched about the rain and Seattle in general ... this was where his family was. Derek Shepherd was his brother, his best friend, and the true reason he had left behind a life in New York. Any trace of a scandal would stop Mr. Plastic Surgeon in his tracks and make it very hard to find work in Washington. Hell, anywhere. I patted his arm and he stared at me. He really, really stared at me. Dead in the eye. "What do I do?"
I shrugged. "Don’t talk to anyone unless it’s a patient. And hire a good lawyer."
Now, don’t ask me how my advice to him warranted me being naked, under him, and thrashing wildly within seconds because I do not know. I do not want to know. But it did. And it was so damn good that I didn’t care how much noise I made or he made or about the fact that the slats on the bunk bed fell out with a loud thud and the mattress crashed through. I didn’t care that all the blood was rushing to my head because the foot of the bed was still up and Mark was deeper inside of me than anyone had ever been because my body cut off all the signals to my brain and I just went with it. Twice. Let it be said here and now that Mark Sloan knows his way around a woman’s body and I had no problem benefitting from that.
But we didn’t care. There was an unspoken need to prove something for both of us and that’s exactly what we did. Mark apparently wanted to prove that the threat of a lawsuit had not broken his dick ... and I wanted to prove that I was still a big fan of said dick. When we emerged a while later there were several conspiratorial looks cast our way and a nice, big announcement pinned to the board that said every staff member would have to disclose their sexual partners, previous and current. I filled my paperwork out next to Mark.
It took me all of three seconds.
It took him three sheets of paper.
The chatter in the cafeteria was all about the new hospital policy. Listening to it as I searched for an empty table reminded me of my Freshman year in high school, when I had fallen down the stairs because my thick glasses had fogged up after science. Yes, I was a geek. Braces, trumpet, glasses, and the requisite ponytail that had flyaways all around my face by the end of the day. I’d like to think that I had grown out of that awkward phase but as I passed a table of nurses and heard my name ... I felt fourteen all over again. I felt like there was something stuck in my braces and they were looking at it and laughing.
I decided to take my lunch to the Resident’s lounge instead.
I jumped at the sound of my name, dropping my can of Coke in the floor, causing it to leak. Erica picked it up and tossed it into the trash, then fed a dollar into the machine and bought me another one. That simple act shouldn’t have warmed by heart, but it did. She smiled at me when she set it down on my tray and took it upon herself to tuck a strand of hair that was tickling my nose back behind my ear. "Hey." I said absently, my stomach fluttering the way a school girl flutters the first time someone passes a note asking if she wants to go steady. I didn’t understand it at all. "What’s up?"
"You disappeared on me last night." She grins that special way that seems to be reserved just for me. She usually purses her lips together and regards people as gnats that she is watching gravitate toward an electric zapper. She usually cocks her head to one side and scoffs at the mere suggestion that any one of the hospital peons would dare address her and interrupt her day. For me, she smiles full out and laughs easily. It’s a gut laugh. I think she means it when she does it. "So, what did you do?"
"Eh, you know." That’s all I can think to say and she looks away, back at the Coke machine. Her smile isn’t there anymore and maybe I’m reading too much into it because I’m slightly paranoid and maybe a little guilty for ditching her, but her jaw tightens and her nostrils flare. She looks *angry*. "So - uh - what did you do last night?"
"All the men at Joe’s last night and you pick Sloan? Wouldn’t you call that scraping the fucking barrel?"
The Coke falls off my tray again. So does my sandwich. We bend at the same time and my hand touches hers as we both reach for the can. I pull away as if I’ve been burned and she sighs. It’s a sad, strange sound coming from her and I clear my throat. She looks expectantly at me, like she’s waiting for me to say something, anything, but I grab the can and my sandwich and drop it back on my tray. Erica pushes herself to her feet and points at the drink machine. "You want another drink? That’s gonna spew when you open it. Sorta like I did last night when you danced out of the bar and left with *him*."
I force myself to laugh. It’s that same strange sounding and high pitched keening that I indulged in when Addison asked if I was speaking ‘The Vagina Monologues’. I mean ... who asks that? And who does Erica think she is to make me feel bad for being human? I have needs! "Wow. Tell me how you really feel."
"Okay." She nods at me, ignoring the fact that we’re in a crowded hallway. "You and me? We spent *hours* bonding over the fact that Mark Sloan was chasing after *me* like a puppy. We spent hours talking about his impressive black book and the fact that he had Don Juan’d his way all over the hospital. You even joked that he could hire himself out for stud service and never have to work again. So, what are you doing?"
I’m not laughing now. And people are stopping to stare so I try to keep it light. "I, uh, guess I hired him."
"Was it worth it?"
"You murdered your self respect and let him make you a notch on his bedpost."
"Don’t." Now my nostrils were flaring.
Okay, that pissed me off. "You need to walk away before you eat this tray."
She gives me a look of utter disgust. It makes me feel dirty. "I thought better of you."
"Then don’t think!" My hands are shaking a little as I kick the door open to the lounge and stalk inside.
Cristina is standing with her mouth agape. "Way to go, freak! Now she’s *never* going to let me scrub in!"
And that ... that’s really how I lost control of my life and became someone I never, ever thought I'd be.
"Penny for your thoughts."
It’s been a while since I bellied up to The Emerald City Bar without Erica in tow and even longer since I asked for a bottle of Joe’s best whiskey, but there it is. I’m five shots into it and that’s probably why he pauses in front of me to wipe non-existent dirt from the counter. "How are the kids?"
"How are you?"
I take a shot and stare at him. Good, reliable Joe. Great adviser, great listener, great guy. "How did you know you were gay?"
"This is about Erica, right?"
"I dated women," he says, leaning his elbows on the bar. "I just didn’t connect with a woman the way that I do with men. One man, actually. Walter ... he made me laugh. He made me feel good on the worst days. And I knew I was gay because that’s who I am. I looked in the mirror one day and I knew."
I glance into the row of mirrors behind the bar and stare at my reflection. Sunrise Yoga has been good to me. I’ve lost weight since George made his asinine comment about me being ‘curvy’. I didn’t do it intentionally really. I did it because I could and because I became more active after I started hanging out with Erica. She likes to hike and I like to climb mountains so we combined the two. We went camping a couple of times and embraced the outdoors until Poison Ivy embraced us both. And okay ... maybe I wanted to look really, really hot for the divorce paper signing, but I could have shown up naked and drenched in chocolate for as much attention as George paid to me. Thank God I’m over that.
As I gaze at myself in the mirror, Mark walks in and spots me. I watch him make his way toward me and take another shot. He sits down and helps himself to my bottle and the glass and drains two generous helpings before he speaks. "I need to break something."
Joe cautiously moves several tumblers out of the vicinity and says, "What would you like?"
"This is fine." Mark points at my bottle and Joe makes himself scarce. "This day? Fuck it."
"It had a few highlights." I give him a knowing smile, but he doesn’t return it. "Mark?"
"I had four surgeries scheduled for today and not one nurse would scrub in. So, they all got cancelled. I’m a surgeon." He fills the glass again and kicks it back. "I operate. My hands are steady and my ability is known from coast to coast. And the only thing I’m recognized for now ... is being a whore."
This is one of those moments where you don’t know what to say, by the way, so forgive me for what came next. "Well, you’re a good whore. I heartily approve."
He sets the glass down a little harder than he needs to. "This is where I remind you that I mopped up your puke after you got fired as Chief Resident so could you please not do that?"
"That wasn’t when I puked. That was when you took me to see Jack Black not act his way through an hour and a half. I puked when I had the flu and Cristina kicked me out so she wouldn’t catch it."
"Oh." He fills the glass once again. "Well, you would have died in the on call room if I hadn’t shot your ass full of medicine so pretend I have the flu and ... help me."
"You want a shot of Phenergan?"
"No! I want you to ... damn, this liquor is going to my head." He rubs his face and for the first time ... I notice that his hair has a lot of gray in it. And he looks tired. He has luggage under his blue eyes that makes him look haggard. "When Derek married Addison ... I pretended she walking toward me. I pretended that all the people in the church were there to see me, to shake my hand, to wish me a happy life. I hated him for having someone."
"Is that why you slept with her?"
"No. I slept with her because I loved her. And she wasn’t happy with him. She deserved to be happy."
I nudge him with my shoulder. "What makes you happy?"
I’m generally immune to pick up lines, but I guess I’m drunk enough to let those words slide over me like honey because I pay the tab, grab my purse, and invite myself back to his room again. We make great use of the hot tub, the shower, the sofa, and the bed. I wake up at five the following morning and watch the sunrise. He joins me before the light show is over, standing behind me with his body pressed against mine and his robe wrapped around both of us. I like the feel of his strong, sturdy arms and the way his breath against my neck causes me to shiver.
I like *him*.
I’m working my way through the chart from hell and scribbling frantic notes about which intern to yell at for making a mess of my instructions when a Caramel Frappuchino is thrust under my nose. I have to grin. Erica mocked me for days about my ‘girly’ taste in coffee while she talked rapturously about espresso shots and house blend the first time we visited Starbucks. "Did you turn bright red when you ordered this?"
"No, but I did do it through the drive through so I wouldn’t have to walk out with it. I do have my pride."
My mind wonders if that pride happens to be gay, but I can’t ask that. I’m mortified that I asked Joe about his sexuality. I’m so mortified, in fact, that I sent him a fruit basket. Don’t ask, okay. The Archfield is limited on what they can accomplish at the spur of the moment and I was in a hurry because Mark was waiting in the car. Anyway, I accept the coffee and smile at her. "Which part are you trying to make peace with? The part where you basically implied that I’m a whore or the part where you said outright that I have no self respect?"
"I’m actually very sorry about that." She clasps her hands in front of her. It’s a nervous habit that she has. If she crosses them, watch out, but if she clasps her hands and slumps her shoulders a little ... she’s worried. "And I’m making peace with the whole ... boyfriend ... thing."
"Mark is *not* my boyfriend."
"What is he?"
Hmm. I wasn’t expecting that. "He’s fun."
"Fun? That’s all he is?" Erica looks thoughtful for a second. "Well, I’m fun, too. And I’m a way better dancer and I let you win sometimes at darts. And I’m also your friend so if you’d let me buy you dinner tonight to apologize ... I’d appreciate that."
"You don’t have to do that." I take a sip of the coffee and moan in gratification. "This is more than enough."
She holds her hand out. "Give it here."
"No way. You can’t take it back just because I won’t let you buy me dinner. Buy me coffee daily, for heaven’s sake!"
"I wanna try it."
Erica sips out of my straw and so help me God ... I’m drawn to her lips. I’m drawn the way she licks them when a little of the frozen coffee drops from the straw and lands on the bottom one. It shouldn’t be a thought, but my own tongue moves out just a little as if it wants to volunteer to help with that tiny spill. I rationalize it by telling myself that any drop of Caramel goodness that is wasted is a drop to cry buckets over, but I know that it’s something more. And I swear on the ring my dad gave me for graduation ... she knows what I’m thinking because she does it again.
I keep watching.
Finally, she hands it back to me and I say, "Do you like it?"
I’ve become mute.
"I like it." She winks at me. So help me GOD ... she winks at me. "But the coffee is disgusting."
I notice Cristina standing a few feet away. She’s doing some kind of gestures with her hands that absolutely cannot be considered American Sign Language, but I get it. She’s asking me to get her into Erica’s surgery and the fact that she’s pointing at the surgical board means that it’s happening soon. "Erica, do you have a resident yet?"
She nods, "Stevens, why?"
"You know ... Stevens ... doesn’t really appreciate cardio. Cristina does so -"
Erica realizes that Cristina is watching us and gives her that patented death glare of doom. Cristina stops gesturing and folds her hands primly, acting like she’s interested in an ugly piece of art that would look really, really great in a landfill. She’s so transparent I could laugh, but I don’t. "Let me buy you dinner," she says, "And Yang is in on this surgery and the next three."
Cristina is now whistling some off key something that sounds vaguely like Madonna, but could be a cantata and I feel so bad for her that I agree. But, let’s be honest, that’s not the only reason I say yes. Erica became my best friend in a short span of time. She kept me sane when my life was going through a million changes, she answered my cell phone and told my father I was in surgery when I text messaged him that the divorce was final, and every time we get dressed up to go out ... she tells me I’m beautiful. What she actually says is some variation of ‘Woo, every guy in the place better watch out’. I’ve never told her that what *she* says matters more than how much attention my cleavage gets by every Tom, Dick, and Harry in the room. I’m more than flattered by her ... I actually value her opinion.
So, we meet at seven thirty and she tells me that it’s raining. I never have an umbrella, but she does. She opens it and lets me get under as we walk toward a cute little seafood place that is shaped like a boat. I’m wearing jeans and my leather jacket is a stark contrast to the tailored suit that she is wearing. It’s beige and looks amazing with her skin tone and I’d never be caught dead in anything so conservative, but it works for her. We get a table near the back of the restaurant and hang my jacket on the back of the seat. She keeps hers on.
We don’t talk about Mark Sloan.
She never skirts close to that topic.
When we’re finished with our crab legs and she has paid the bill, we stand in front of the restaurant like two uncomfortable teenagers on a first date. We both speak at once, then laugh nervously, and look away. I can’t take the pressure of it so I say, "Thank you for dinner. You really didn’t have to buy."
"You really didn’t have to threaten to make me eat your lunch tray. I knew I had crossed a line before that."
"I’m big with the hollow threats."
She smiles a little and opens the door of the cab that was waiting. "I’ll see you tomorrow."
"You don’t want to go to Joe’s?"
When the cab driver asks me where we’re going ... I give him the address to the apartment that I share with Cristina.
I don’t even know if Hahn is gay or if I’m being paranoid enough to read ‘gay’ in everything she does. And I don’t know why I’m paranoid.
I guess maybe it’s because I’ve never found another woman attractive. I’ve never had the hairs on the back of my neck dance upward because a woman comments on my form during Yoga. I’ve never had these thoughts about ANY woman (with the exception of maybe Angelina Jolie and I can’t really help the pornographic value of my dreams), but Erica is affecting me in a way that I don’t understand and wasn’t prepared for. God damn Addison Montgomery for planting this seed. That’s all I can say. I was fine until she suggested it.
But what I have been doing with the suggestion ... the obsessing, the worry, the sorta semi-fantasizing is all me.
I think I like her.
LIKE her, like her.
When I get home and drop my purse on the counter, Cristina is watching television. I flop down beside her and say, "How was your surgery with Hahn today?"
"Your pimp hand is strong. She let me assist."
I glance at the television and gasp. "What the hell are you watching?"
"I ordered extended cable so you can watch ‘The L Word’. Think of it as a course study."
"For the last time ... I am not gay."
"You like penis."
"I like penis."
She smirks at me. "You ever been with a woman?"
"You didn’t sleep with Addison?"
"What!? No, I did not! Why would you - SHIT! Does everyone think I’m gay?"
"Not gay. You are, after all, enamored with the man meat ... but maybe you’re bi-sexual."
"It is impossible to be bi-sexual if you’ve never been ... bi-sexual."
I turn my head and look at her closely. "Are you ... bi-sexual?"
"I have been known to experiment." She points at the television and I watch two women going at it. I’ve never been a porn watcher ... I tend to make my own ... but I can’t look away. It’s pretty tame, erotic and not dirty, and I find myself wondering what it would feel like to have soft hands instead of rough and hairless skin instead of hairy touching me that way. Maybe I am curious. "Callie?"
"People wonder if the two of you are a couple because you’re the only person who makes her human. And she’s the only person who makes you forget that were were sad enough to move onto my couch and cry yourself to sleep every night." She gets up and hands me the remote. "I’m throwing my support behind her because Mark Sloan isn’t a heart surgeon and you sleeping with him will do nothing for me."
"I’m not finished." She waits until I look at her. "You can sleep with every man in Seattle, hell, on the East Coast, but that won’t erase what you know you’re feeling. It simply makes you look like a homophobic asshole who has to prove her heterosexuality a little too hard. I’m just sayin’."
She leaves me to the television and I half pay attention to the drama unfolding on the screen.
See, I have this vision for what my life is supposed to be. I want what my parents have. Marriage, kids, and fat grandbabies who spend summers with me and keep me young. I want to be on the PTA at school and volunteer to chaperone school dances. I want to go to bed with the same person every single night and never have to wonder where I stand with that person because we have the promise, the rings, the whole nine yards.
Realizing that there’s a blond, nicely shaped wrench that has been thrown into the gears of your life is pretty jarring. I’ve never wanted to touch another woman or have her touch me ... but I’ve never known Erica Hahn before, either. It’s taking me off guard and it’s making me question everything I think I know and I can’t decide if I hate it or love the intrigue.
My phone beeps, cutting across my thoughts and I pick it up. It’s a text message from Mark.
‘Hey, Cal. I was just thinking about you and wondered if you wanted to meet me early tomorrow for breakfast. I need to talk to you.’
I text back that I’ll be happy to meet him and we make sunrise waffle plans.
I don’t know it then ... but my life is about to become so complicated that I wouldn’t even recognize it or myself anymore.
And Joe’s advice to look in the mirror will become something that I actively avoid.
The truth is all over my face and I can’t handle the truth.
Soooo.... this is a new format of writing for me. I'm not sure if I'm doing it justice, but I hope you'll hang around for the ride. Oh ... and weigh in. Please tell me what you think. :)