Author: Chelle Storey-Daniel
Rating: NC-17!! (and kinda dark and twisty)
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 the readers. Thank you!
Warren’s Pub is exactly as nondescript as it sounds. I’m pretty sure the original Warren has been dead since the eighteen hundreds because there’s a bar, a few ramshackle tables and booths, and a shelf full of booze, but not much else. Nothing is on tap ... it’s all in bottles. I don’t think the place is *dirty*, really, but it’s not The Emerald City Bar. There isn’t even a neon sign and the brightest light in the place is the one bulb that hangs down in the middle of the bathroom and even then ... you have to squint to see what you’re doing. I like it because most of the employees at Seattle Grace are too snooty to hang out here. I see the occasional intern and a nurse or two trickle through, but it’s mostly bikers, fishermen, and truck drivers. That makes me the object of every stare when I walk in on Thursday wearing a tank top and tight jeans. I’ve got my leather jacket over my arm, but it’s there for show because it’s warm outside and the sun is shining. It’s my outward way of saying ‘maybe I drive a truck, too, so don’t fuck with me’, but my tits make a louder announcement and someone catcalls. I scowl in that direction and flip my hair, which I spent three hours curling in the mirror ... before I walk to the booth in the corner and sit down. The seats are padded, but ripped and when I slide onto it ... I feel ten thousand pounds.
It’s only four o’clock and I think the next thirty minutes may feel heavier than I do.
Erica hasn’t called me. She hasn’t texted me. She hasn’t confirmed our tentative plans where she penciled me the fuck in like a dental appointment.
You know what? Fuck her.
I should just leave and go get piss drunk at Joe’s and find some random person to have sex with. Maybe a girl. Maybe that’s exactly what I’ll do and then -
I freeze in the middle of grabbing my purse. She’s early. I take a steadying breath before I look up at her and when I do ... that breath catches in my throat. She’s wearing her hair down and it’s curly like it was on the beach. It’s carelessly curly and I feel dumb as hell for spending so long curling mine into big fake Shirley Temple shitlets that I could *die*. Hell, I burned my fucking ear. Three times. That was such a sign. "Hey." Yeah, there I go saying everything I want to say. Watch me roar.
She looks from my face to my hair and then grins as she drops her purse and sits across from me. The bitch probably thinks I did it for her ... to impress her. And she’s right. I hate her. I squirm uncomfortably and she finally takes pity on me. "How is Jasper?"
"And your family?"
"Can you tell me how you are with more than one word?"
"Is that your way of saying that I suck?"
"No, Erica, it’s my way of saying that you exhaust me." I stop talking when a waiter in a stained shirt walks up and asks what we want. "Water."
"Beer," she says, looking at me curiously. "Water? Seriously?"
"I spent the wee hours of Sunday watching Addison puke and trying to figure out if we were going to be booked for -"
She yells it so loudly that several heads turn our way. I’m suddenly feeling very much like phlegm under a microscope. "What is wrong with you?"
"Addison was there?"
"Yeah ... she came for Jasper’s birthday party and -"
"Fuck you, Callie."
I watch with shock and abject horror when she gets to her feet and grabs her purse. "Wait! What the hell are you -"
She’s stalking across the seedy little place before I can get my thoughts together. I pull a twenty from my purse and leave it on the table to cover her beer and the commotion and run after her. This is absolutely not going the way I planned. Granted, I’m mad as hell at HER, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I want her mad as hell at ME. I wait until we’re in the parking lot before I say her name again. She’s parked her Lexus beside my pathetic excuse for a Range Rover (I'm not the world's greatest driver so it's got more dings than dongs ... pardon the pun) and she whirls around to face me. "You would *dare* call *me* a whore in front of EVERYONE?! When you-"
"Oh ... you’re still mad about that?" I hold my hands up in surrender. "Okay ... okay ... I get that and I see your point and like I told you the other day ... I am very sorr-"
"Did you fuck her again?"
"Addison! Did you fuck her again!?"
I can feel my eyes widen in shock and I self consciously look around us like the implication of me having sex with Addison will suddenly make a flock of buzzards fall to their deaths. "What in the hell are you talking about!?"
"Sloan told me! He told me allllll about your ‘best friend’ and how the two of you had sex with him and then each other while he watched!" She crosses her arms over her chest and I swear to God she does it to keep from hitting me. "I knew it. That first night with you ... you played dumb, but you knew exactly what you were doing. You took control and I. Knew. It. So fuck you! Go to hell!"
"Wait!" I grab her arm and then let go a lot faster because her looks could kill and now I’m mostly dead. "I have never slept with Addison and if Mark said that to you then he’s either imagining things or he’s trying to get to you."
"If Mark said it? You calling me a liar now? Because you covered whore and you made me feel like every other horrible thing you can possibly say ... so ... fuck off."
I stare at her for what feels like an eternity. I had forgotten for just a second how blue her eyes are. They’re like the sky ... only deeper. And her hair ... it’s the kind of hair that begs you to touch it. My hands feel as empty as my soul when I realize that I actually did more damage than I can undo by sulking and ranting and trying to get my way. "I didn’t sleep with her," I repeat, then turn and walk away.
I quickly realize that my car is next to hers and I look like a complete ass as I walk toward ... nothing. I decide to save face and walk around the block because that will give her time to leave and time for me to cry and not bore her with the details of my pain. I’m just past the front door of Warren’s Pub when she falls in step beside me. An entire half block passes and I can’t tell you what the scenery is or what some random guy says when he yells out the window ... but I can tell you exactly what lilacs on a light breeze smell like and how soft her hand feels when she swings her arm next to mine and touches me. The smell is enough to calm me like a warm bath and her skin is like a cool touch on fevered skin. Hot and cold. Story of me. At the halfway point, I hear her sigh, but I don’t look at her because if she’s crying I’m going to snap like Jasper did in the living room on his birthday, but I won’t throw things ... I’ll throw myself at her and I can’t do that yet.
"Callie, this is not us. We’re not these women who do this to each other. We’re not. So ... if you say that you didn’t sleep with her -"
"I did say it."
"- then I believe you."
I stop walking. My arm is sweating under my folded jacket and I want to kick myself for bringing it along like a cow ass accessory could ever be a shield when you’re in a war over hearts and who rightfully owns them. "I don’t know what to say now."
"Well, we can try for casual conversation because -"
"No. I’m not making small talk or circling this issue anymore." I pull on every ounce of courage that I have to say what comes next. "You slept with that woman and -"
Okay, for her to tell me that her sex life is off limits after she just grilled me about Addison ... well, that pisses me off. See, this is exactly why I forwarded through the drama on 'The L Word' and went right for the porn. I'm not trying to fight with her or have angst out the ass ... what I want is for her to tell me that her little fling was just a fling and that she's over it. I sometimes suffer a disconnect between my brain and my tongue, though, and I am wholly not responsible for what comes next. "Forget it then. You go your way ... I'll go mine and then everything can be off limits. You damn pain in the ass."
"You need to not go to Miami. You become a child every single time you do."
"What is that supposed to mean?"
"Well, let's see ... you became a sullen infant on the flight home last time and wouldn't speak to me. Now you've graduated to toddler and you're trying to make me feel bad for something that you did first. You were with Mark and -"
"No, I wasn't."
"I didn't sleep with him at ALL after Miami. I didn't sleep with him .... until the night I came to your house. After I left your house."
I see something in her face then. It's hard to look at it and not hug her. She looks like a balloon that is slowly losing its air ... and the painted face on the outside deflates down to nothing. "You did it to punish me."
"Punishing you would be telling you that from start to finish we used twelve condoms and I got off so many times I was like a rag doll." I challenge her with a raised brow.
She wasn't supposed to rise from that.
"Nice," she says. "Then I don't feel bad for telling you that the convenient girl is pretty damn amazing and I like her a lot."
I can't rise from that.
I can't rise from that so much that I lean back against a light pole and put my hands on my stomach to keep my insides from boiling out. We stand that way, her regal, her spine straight ... and me with my shoulders slumped and my jacket held in my crossed arms like it could protect me after all. Traffic goes by and I don't care that we're in the bad part of town or that I should apologize or maybe tell her that the convenient girl will never love her the way I do. I used to think that the Grand Canyon was between us but now I know that she's one planet and I'm another and the space between us can't be breached in our lifetime. The sadness of goodbye is that you tell yourself you have to say that word before you can say hello again ... but there's a reason why it hurts so bad to say it at all.
"I'm sorry," she finally says. It's a whisper, but I still feel it against me. It cuts instead of cleanses. "I didn’t meant to-"
"That night I came to your house ... I was there to tell you that I love you. I was there to tell you that I'm *in* love with you and I couldn't let Mark touch what belonged to you. I had this big speech about how you're in my head, but you live in my heart. I wanted to tell you ... that smelling your shampoo in the hallway can take a bad day and turn it around and I wanted to make sure you knew to be careful with me because I'm scared of you and what you make me feel." I look at her and her eyes are full of tears. My own have sand in them. "I think maybe I'll love you for the rest of my life and I came here today to see if you wanted me to, but -"
"Callie, I d-"
"No ... don't say anything else. Because if you say that you don't want me ... I'm gonna bleed to death before you can even find the wound. And if you say that you do want me ... I'm gonna hurt your feelings because you're with *her* and there are a million hateful things I want to say." I push myself off the pole and take a deep breath. "So ... I'll see you at work and ..."
She stalks toward me so fast that I back up like a coward. Her jaw is set, her mouth is a thin line, and then she's on me. It's teeth, tongues and my back against the pole until every inch of her is against me. Her fingers go into my hair and it doesn't matter that it's sprayed and gelled and hard with finish ... she finds a way to tangle herself in it until my scalp tingles from her nails raking against it. One of her legs slide between mine and I swear to God it's enough to lift me the two inches she has on me in height and all of my weight seems to settle at the meeting of my thighs. I'm vaguely aware that our breathing is labored and that I will probably need a paper sack to breathe into if this really is goodbye and then she's backing up and I'm the deflated balloon now. She moves her leg and I drop harder than if I had fallen fifty feet.
Her eyes are on mine when she says, "Come with me."
In a complete daze, I take the hand she holds out and we cross the street. Imagine the motel in every scary movie, the one with half the vacancy light blown and the cracked pavement parking lot that is full of cigarette butts, and the creepy slow eyed man behind the counter who doesn’t look at anything but your tits. Yeah, that's what Seattle Skyline Inn looks like, but I don't really notice any of that because she's a little in front of me and I can see the swell of her ass and the way her hips swing like a pendulum of sin. My mouth is dry and my heart is pounding and what I didn't expect was to ache so much that I'm crying by the time she unlocks Room 205 and pulls me in behind her, but that's exactly what I'm doing and it dawns on me that I've cried enough over her and FOR her that she doesn't need to see the Ocean again ... I've given it to her with my pain.
She snatches my jacket and my purse, slinging both onto the table and when she pins me against the wall ... I'm ready for her. I drag her hips to mine and we kiss hungrily, pushing and pulling and straining at each other until my shirt is torn and hers is up around her neck. She leans back to yank it free and then she has mine gone in the blink of an eye. I didn't wear a bra again, hey, I'm pretty perky, and she doesn't touch my breasts gently at all. She squeezes hard enough to make me cry out in pain. I push her away angrily and reach for the strap of her bra because I want to peel it from her slowly and ... she beats me to it and her bra hits me in the face while she kicks off her shoes. I watch, holding my breath, as she exposes every milky white inch of her skin, her bra still hanging on my head. When she's naked, she rolls her eyes and snatches it off me. My hair snags and I can feel roots rip from my scalp.
"Fuck!" I hiss, my hand going to my head. "What the hell is wrong with you!?"
She replies by reaching for the button of my jeans and deftly opening them. This is not the slow, sensual and *wonderful* exploration I thought it would be. I'm in a motel room where the curtains might have been green at one time, but they're gray with dust and age now. I can see through the carpet in spots and even her lilacs can't mask the smell of mothballs and sweat. Her nails scraping my hips causes me to hiss and I put my hands over hers before she can push my jeans down. "No. Not like this."
"It’s horrible. You- you’re not -."
"You want to leave?"
"I just don’t want you to be so -"
"There's the door."
My body, for the record, revolts at the thought of stopping. My feet will not walk me across the room to get my shirt. They stay glued to the spot. I can't control my hands, either, and when I watch them move to her breasts ... I feel like maybe they're possessed and I'm not really in control. I think maybe I've never been in control because I should be mad as hell about how she's treating me, but I let her. With the decision obviously made, she pulls my pants down and trails her hand over the Wonder Woman boy shorts I'm wearing. Shit ... does that prove how much I wasn't expecting this?
She doesn't smile at them. She doesn't make a joke about my stupid comic books or tell me they're sexy. All she does is hook her fingers around the waist and pull them down. It's not even a pleasant experience. I swear on my Wii that she goes through the motion of it like she's not undressing *forever* the way I want her to be and when I step out of them ... I feel too exposed. I feel bashful and not petite like YOU KNOW WHO and I hate that she's looking at me with just a little contempt. I don't really understand it.
And then I'm flat on my back on the bed and I wonder where she's been hiding her muscles because I'm down for the count. She's on top of me and she pins both of my arms over my head. She doesn't do it by threading our fingers ... she does it by holding my wrists hard enough to bruise them. And it wouldn't suck if I could just UNDERSTAND it all, but when I say her name she kisses me again and her tongue rolls against mine like sandpaper ... I don't hate it ... but I do. It’s cheap. The whole thing between us has now been reduced to the seventy nine dollar room and the knotty comforter against my back and the urge she has to make me miserable. She's making feel as dirty as the motel we're in and when she shoves her fingers into me ... I'm not wet. I'm not ready. I'm not anything.
That doesn't stop her.
She stares down at me with a look of ... vengeance ... as she slams those long digits in and out of me. I know that she can see that she's hurting me and I can see that she doesn't fucking care. I finally grab her shoulder, then her arm and stop her. "Don't!"
"Isn't this how Mark does it? Isn't this what makes you come more than you ever have? Until you're a ragdoll?"
"Why are you doing this to me?"
"This is how a whore does it."
I push her away and sit up. The room feels like a burning, overused oven and I'm sweating where her chest touched mine, where our legs twined together. "I said I'm sorry. I don’t know what else to say. I’m sorry."
"Yeah." She slides down and sits beside me, her thigh against mine. It's narrower than mine and my tan makes her look even paler ... we’re like ebony and ivory with less singing. None of me is singing right now. "You asked me to be careful with you, Callie, but you weren't careful with me."
"And your pretty speeches about what you feel for me ... they're hollow. You - you made me hollow." She trembles a little. "All my life ... I've been afraid to love anything. When Rachel died ... I hated her for leaving me because she let me let my guard down and never made me regret it until right then. I needed her and she was gone. So, I hate her stupid dog because I can't really hate her. And you ... you let me love you out loud for two fucking days and I tried to hate you, but I couldn't, because you were sick and I missed my best friend. I want to hate you now, though. I can't touch you the way I did because he's all over you."
"She's all over me."
If a dagger has to be in my heart ... can’t it just be still and not repeatedly stab me? Really. I only have so much of a sense of humor. "You're with her? In a relationship?"
That's all the wind that my sails need to move. I dart across the room and pull my tank top on. The side of it is ripped and she's stretched it until it hangs from me, but I don't care. I pick up my panties and pull them on and reach for my pants, but she slides them toward her with her foot. I take two steps closer to her than I want to be and she stands up, trapping the leg of my jeans under her bare feet. I blow my hair out of my face and say, "Listen, Erica, you are two seconds away from-"
"God, you're beautiful."
"Do not even try it, Hahn! The moment has passed!"
"Have we? Passed?"
I stand there clutching one leg of my pants while she stands on the other. This tug of war is nothing new to me. I go back and forth with her when she's not even there. I've been going back and forth with myself, too, and it stings bone deep that I can't pull both of us out of the Pit of Perpetual Pussification that we're both in. THIS IS NOT US! We're stronger than this, braver than this, but we've become cowards who check into a seedy motel and tear each other apart because we'd rather tear than be torn.
"Let go," I finally say softly, tugging at the denim.
"I can't." Reaching out, she touches my face, then my curly hair. "I can't, Callie. And I can't make her you. That's all I do with her ... I pretend."
That shocks me. "Okay?"
She takes a step toward me and when she kisses me now ... its tentative ... just like our first kiss. This ... this could seduce me, but she pulls away. "Erica -"
"I’m really sorry. I say things before I think about it."
Ugh. Let me stay pissed. Let me stay pissed. Let me stay pissed. "I have the same problem."
Lifting my hand, she kisses it and I freaking *melt* when she looks at me over it and says, "I miss you. All the time."
"I have that same problem, too." If I can't be pissed then let me be slightly annoyed.
"Do you want to come to my place for dinner tonight? I'll throw something together and we can talk."
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is how fucked up my life is. The woman went from mauling me to molesting me and now we've arrived at something so mundane as an invitation and the truly messed up part is that I agree to go. Even though I can’t go another round with her. Not today. I agree to go so that she will let me LEAVE. She spent seventy nine dollars to drive home the point that she’s got the upper hand and I freakin’ followed her like a calf to slaughter. She killed a little piece of me. Something has changed between us. I don’t know if it’s her tough exterior going back into place or if she’s hell bent on making me walk through hot glass to get to her. All I know is that I apparently un-did us enough that she’s leveling the battlefield until she decides I’m punished enough.
I get it.
I cry the entire way home.
Lying on the couch makes sense.
It makes a lot of sense to flop down and stare at the ceiling because it’s the only thing that can’t possibly fall on me right now. There are spider webs on it and a small hole where Cristina rammed the broom handle through it after the people above us had a fight at four in the morning. I’m not sure if I had a fight with Erica or what the hell that shit was. It felt sort of like a fight when it was happening and sort of like a good mangling by a Pit Bull. My heart hurts ... it feels like Cristina put her broom handle through it when it started making too much noise, too. My cell phone alarm goes off ... reminding me that I told Erica I’d be at her place tonight. I have an hour and a half to get ready and go.
I still don’t move.
I hit the snooze and listen to it go off every ten minutes for thirty minutes. I have an hour left to find clothing, fix my hair (I faced the fact that it’s horrible after the last curl was wound into place), and drive the twenty four miles to her house. My lack of motivation stems from the fact that I don’t want to be where the brown haired girl who is pretty amazing and a little convenient and pretending to be me has been. I just ... don’t. I don’t want to sit where she’s sat or eat where she’s eaten or ... trespass on what could technically still be hers. Erica said she was ending it, but who the hell knows? I don’t. I just can’t be there and I can’t call and say, "I’m cancelling because I can’t stand the thought of picturing HER all over your house so I’ll see you around, ‘kay?’. I can’t do anything but stare at the ceiling and think and *be*. When do you stop being and start BEING? I want to live in all caps instead of this whisper.
Someone knocks at the door and I sigh.
It takes me a full minute and three more raps on the door to push myself upright and trudge toward it. I pull my robe a little tighter (hey, you’d shower too if you had been felt up in roach hell) and when I open the door ... my eyes widen. "Hey, what are you -"
Mark holds up a box. "You left some stuff at my place. Cristina said you were home so ... here."
There’s something so final about seeing all that’s left of a chapter of your life haphazardly tossed into a medium sized Pop Tarts shipping box. I see concert tickets that I meant to throw away, a couple of hair scrunchies, a book that I had been reading and left open on the nightstand, and ... the photos of us from the photo booth in Canada. He used to have them in his locker. I pick the photo up and glance at him. He isn’t looking at me ... he’s looking at my hand ... and what we were. Smiling, kissing, laughing, playing. That’s not us now. "I’m sorry, Mark."
His eyes meet mine. "Are you?"
"You should be."
"I know. Look ... do you want to come in?"
With one curt nod, he walks past me. I watch him stalk to the living room and sit down and I know that this could potentially be worse than what happened earlier in the day with Erica, but I’m still acting like a calf being led to slaughter. I deserve it, God, I get it. I set the box on the end of the counter and ask him if he wants something to drink. He replies that he doesn’t and I sit down across from him. When he doesn’t talk ... I know it’s my cue to say something. "Look ... I get that you have every right to be pissed at me and to even hate me, but -"
"I don’t hate you." He leans back, rigidly, in the same chair he sat in for two days when I was practically comatose. "It’d be a hell of a lot easier if I did."
So much of my life lately has been one extreme to the other. I’m either full of silent reflection or I’m screaming at the top of my lungs to make those reflections heard. Most of the silences are uncomfortable and I squirm with my thoughts ... but sitting here with Mark ... we share the fact that we’re mute and it wears like a comfortable t-shirt. It dawns on me ... as he gazes out the window at our entire lack of a view ... that maybe he likes to smell my cherry blossom soap the same way I like to smell her lilacs. Maybe he finds solace in the sound of my breathing the same way I did with her and maybe sitting in the same room with me makes it hurt a little less for him.
"I didn’t really sleep with that nurse with one tit."
"And I don’t really wish you’d die in a blazing car crash that chars every inch of you until there’s nothing left."
"That’s oddly soothing."
"But I did have a threesome with twins and I’m pretty sure I’m keeping the nurses happy enough not to sue me."
"Do you feel better?"
"I’m sorry to hear that."
There’s quiet again.
When he sighs, his chest looks huge. "What did I do wrong, Callie?"
"You didn’t do a single thing wrong. I couldn’t have asked for a better boyfriend. You were everything I should have wanted and I’m very, very sorry that I couldn't be that for you."
"Hahn is not even pretty. She's uglier than a goat's ass."
"Uh ... you do remember spending weeks trying to sleep with her ... right? You do remember asking me to help you out."
"I wanted to sleep with her *brain* ... which ... ew ... that ... sounded less disgusting in my head."
I laugh when he does. It almost feels like old times ... when he was my friend and we could say anything at all to one another. This is the same man who viewed my happiness as his most important task of the day after I divorced George. He's the same man who used to regale me with stories that I know he made up, but it made me laugh anyway (I'm fairly certain that neither Shepherd or Sloan would have lived through being chased by Big Foot in the New York woods). This is Mark. The first guy I ever told about Jasper and the only one who accepted my parent's money without batting an eye. This is Mark ... who not only loved me ... he changed himself so that I could love him back without worry.
I miss the friend he was to me.
And I think I'll miss the man he became just as much.
"Addison told me about the jail in Miami."
"I'm surprised Addison remembers the jail in Miami. That woman nearly got us booked for the sheer volume of her stupidity alone." I laugh again. "She was very amusing in that ... 'I want to kill you later' kind of way."
His smile fades and he looks back out the window. "She also told me about your family and how they treated you. That's not right."
"You want to know what else is not right, Mark? You telling Erica that I slept with Addison. I know why you-"
"That bitch told me that you were having an affair with her all along! She told me that all the nights you hung out with her -"
"That's not true and you know me better than that."
"Do I? Here's a newsflash for you ... I didn't even know that you were bisexual."
Hmmm. Bisexual. Something that isn't straight. Something that isn't gay. I can't deny that one. "Well, neither did I!"
"So you didn't cheat on me the whole time?"
"If it makes you feel better ... I have only been with one woman. I spent two nights with her in Miami ... and only two nights ... and I haven't don't anything since."
"And you're in love with her."
"But not me?"
You know what? This is actually worse than what Erica put me through earlier. At least she was physically punishing me ... this is a boxing match of the soul. "I love you, too. I didn't lie to you when I said it. It's just that ... I didn't expect her, you know? I didn't expect to look at her one day and want her. It's sorta ... well, you love Derek and-"
"I am not IN LOVE with Derek! And the thought of that is worse that *her* face!"
"Can you hear me out?"
"You love Derek. He's the best friend you've ever had and you would probably die for him and not think twice about it. That love you feel for him, though ... it didn't stop you from sleeping with his wife or falling in love with her." I watch storm clouds roll across his face. "The love I have for you ... is very similar to the way you love Derek. I would probably die for you because you brought me back to life again and again and I won't forget that. The love I have for you didn't stop me from wanting Erica and that's not fair to you ... anymore than you loving Addison was fair to Derek. And how you felt then ... that's how I feel now. I never wanted to hurt you."
"But ... you did. You made me become Derek. Now I know how he felt."
"For what it's worth ... now I know how George felt when he was trying to stay with me and deal with wanting Stevens." I meet his eyes and hold them. "And I've realized that all the self doubt I felt after that and all the blame I put on myself ... I shouldn't have. There was nothing wrong with me. I tried my best to be what George needed and you tried your best to be what I needed, but at the end of the day ... it wasn't about you ... it was about me. You're the most amazing man I've ever known."
He digests that slowly.
So do I.
He finally leans forward, his elbows on his knees. "I don't forgive you for this and I'm not going to lay off her any time soon ... but ..."
The house phone rings. I pick up and listen to Cristina's tirade about losing her pager and missing a chance to scrub in with Webber. At her command, I go check the bedroom and the bathroom to see if she has left it at home, but it's not there. When I hang up and go back to the living room, Mark's gone. The weight of being alone settles on me like a hot blanket and I go to the kitchen and run water on my face. When I turn around to grab a towel ... I notice that the box Mark brought me has been moved.
I peer inside it.
The photo of us in our four poses is gone.
The weight of carrying someone's pain? Bone crushing.
I'm two hours late for dinner at Erica's. I've stopped looking at the ceiling which feels like amazing progress to me. Now I'm curled on my side, staring at my phone, and willing it to ring. Damn her willpower all to hell and back. She should have been on the phone with me the second I was late, demanding to know where I was. But it's silent. Her ring tone, because I'm pathetic and anal and morbidly transparent, is 'Bleeding Love' by Leona Lewis. It's the part of the song that I paid attention to in Miami. 'My heart is crippled by the vein that I keep on closing ... you cut me open and I keep bleeding love'. Whoever wrote that song must have known an Erica. I wonder if the songwriter bled the fuck out before they could be helped.
I'm doing that pathetic movie theater dialing, where I listen to movie times to make sure my phone is working and I'm not alone in the world, when someone knocks. Mark probably wants to give me back the picture in pieces. I'm still in my robe and my hair, which I washed earlier, has dried in fluffy waves that needed to be gelled right out of the shower, but I didn't care. There's no one to see me.
Two things go through my head at once when I see Erica standing on the other side of the door. 'Oh shit' and 'Damn, she even looks good in faded jeans and a lime green t-shirt.'
I notice that her eyes are puffy and she has on no makeup but before I can invite her in, she says, "I don't blame you for not coming. The things I said and did to you today - would you believe me if I said I'm sorry?"
She bites her bottom lip and nods at me. Her chin is about to tremble and I stare at it until it does. She's a pretty crier. I have a tendency to get red and splotchy and I swear my nose doubles in size, but when she does it ... she stays pretty. Mark was wrong. She's not ugly in the slightest. I pull the door all the way open and she walks past me. She doesn't sit on the chair the way Mark did. She sits on the sofa and I sit down a few inches away. This? It isn't comfortable in the least. It feels like too tight pants that you're ashamed to wear because they push a fat roll up ... so you spend the whole day with your arms folded over your waist to hide it. Like you're ashamed to be less than perfect.
I want to wear her like a second skin instead of this horrible day and everything that happened.
"I don't know what's wrong with me, Callie. Hurting you ... that's the last thing I want to do."
I want to say something, anything. I open my mouth twice, but no sound comes out. I'm gearing up to ask her what she had for dinner because that's safe ... when she leans down and puts her head in my lap. One of her arms wraps around the front of my legs and she clutches at me. When she sobs ... I rest my hand on her curls and smooth them away from her face like my mother does with me. She's not pretty now. Pain makes a person contort their face and she's just like everyone else as she cries in a harsh, out loud kind of way that reminds me of the Quiet Room at the hospital. That room knows pain, it echoes it. She knows that she killed me a little in that hotel room and she's mourning the loss now. I look at the ceiling again as I rub her head, then her back. I was wrong ... that ceiling can and does crash down on me and when it does ... I cry with her. I'm quieter, probably uglier, but I still do it. This is how you cry when the traffic accident has been cleared and you're happy to be alive, but you don't know how you'll get home now.
We don't know how to reach one another now that we can. We're stuck being reminded of what COULD have been and that what we exchanged today doesn't measure up. What happened today ... rotted us both. What happened today ... hurt me, but maybe it obliterated her. It takes me a moment to realize that there are apologies mixed into her chest heaving sobs. I know she means it. You don't lie when you're being ravaged to death by guilt. I lean down and kiss her head, then rest my cheek against her hair . "It's okay. I'm sorry, too."
When I put my hand on her waist ... she slowly sits up and wipes her face. "I didn't mean to-"
"And I don't think that you -"
"Shut up, Yellow.." I reach out and pull a curl off her cheek. It's wet and matted together with her tears. She leaked through my robe. It breaks my heart to see Erica Hahn, Miss In Control and Hard as Stone, fall apart. "I'm gonna kiss you in a few seconds and it's gonna be so good that you're gonna forget everything that happened today."
She wipes her face again and I can see a smile tug at the corner of her mouth. "You are a little cocky and far too sure of yourself, Torres."
I lean a little closer to her and I watch her eyes move to my mouth in anticipation. "You are a little soft and far too unsure of yourself, Hahn."
I don’t let her reply. I tug her hair and pull her forward. This kiss ... this one isn’t tentative at all. I won’t let it be. It’s not rushed or timid or anything except *right*. I feel her hands move to my face and it reminds me that she likes to hold onto me, she likes to hold me in her hands and when she does it I feel safe and secure in all that I am. I feel secure in my decision to be with her, content with my sexuality, and more confident than I ever have in my life. She makes me beautiful. She makes me feel like I can do anything, be anything, and accomplish anything. When her tongue touches mine ... I feel it all the way to the soles of my feet and I moan against it, changing the angle of my head and pulling her closer. We don’t break apart as she slips one leg over my thighs and I settle my hands on her hips as she straddles me. I can’t leave them there ... they inch under the back of her shirt and she’s soft, unspeakably soft ... I wasn’t wrong about that.
"I DON'T SEE A THING! NOTHING!"
We break apart and watch in horror as Cristina puts a hand over her eyes to shield us from her view as she stumbles toward her bedroom. We’re still sitting there like stunned idiots while we listen to her rifle through her things and then she reappears, still not looking. "Found my pager! Not like it’ll do much good. Dead battery."
"Cristina -" I begin.
She lowers her hand and looks from me to Erica. "Am I supposed to keep this a secret?"
Erica and I exchange a look. It passes unspoken between us that we’re not ready for everyone to know. This is ours for now. Only ours. And ... apparently Cristina’s. And Mark’s. And Addison’s. Because they all know it, too.
"It would be nice if you keep it to yourself," I reply. "We have enough to deal with right now and -"
"I’ll be scrubbing in with Dr. Hahn tomorrow, then." Cristina crosses her arms over her chest and looks at Erica. "And you *will* teach me every time you get the chance. Uh ... Dr. Hahn, ma’am."
"You little SHIT!" Erica starts to stand up but I don’t let her. "Blackmailing and -"
"Is it a deal?" Cristina asks quietly.
"FINE!" Erica snaps. "But we’ll eventually tell and when *that* happens ... you’re on your own, Yang!"
"Carry on." Cristina walks out the same way she walked in ... quickly and quietly.
I start to laugh and then Erica follows suit and the insanely hot moment we were enjoying unfortunately passes ... but so does the anger. This is us. We laugh and have fun and we can talk about anything. We can even weather any storm that may be coming because we’ve sailed through rough waters before and came out on the other side ... only not literally. We’ll have to eventually ‘come out’ in the conventional, or unconventional depending on your view, sense. I don’t want to do that yet, though. I want to be her secret and for her to be mine until we’ve loved away the chains that have kept us in bonds for so long. Then ... when we’re stronger and we’re not haunted ... and we’re not still a little broken from falling so many times over our good intentions ... then ... I’ll take her hand in the hallway. I'll coax her into an on call room ... and everyone will know. I won’t care.
My stomach rumbles and I realize that I haven’t eaten all day. "That was -"
"Are you hungry?" She looks down at my gurgling belly and puts her hands on her hips. God ... she’s cute. "Did you not eat today?"
Erica stands up ... and smacks my hand away when I try to pull her back to me. "What do you have in the kitchen?"
"Beer and ... beer."
"Jesus." I watch her walk across the room and open and close cabinets. I wasn’t lying to her. There’s plenty of beer and what didn’t fit in the fridge is stored in the cabinet with the liquor. We have more beer than Joe’s bar and when she looks at me again, she sighs. "Great. The woman I love is a lush and I have an alcoholic resident scrubbing in with me in the morning."
"I know the number for pizza by heart. Jalapeño peppers, sausage, and black olives. Oh, and hot wings. Fiery hot. Sound good?"
"No wonder you had a stomach ulcer." She joins me on the couch again, facing me, her thigh against mine. "I ate already. Alone, remember?"
"What did you cook?"
"Now *that* would have hit the spot."
"Order your pizza ... and I’ll hit the spot while you wait for it."
Shit ... she’s good. She’s is SOOO fucking good at jarring me senseless. I screw the number up twice before I get through and then I can’t remember my credit card number so she hands me hers ... and then ... then I hang up and nearly swallow my tongue when she pulls her shirt over her head. I'm not the only perky one ... and she doesn’t have a bra on. I was too freaked out in the motel room to appreciate her body and when she walks to the stereo and flips it on ... I don’t know if she wants to relax me or drown out the noises she knows I will make for her. She tunes it to some easy listening shit and I make a mental note to loan her my iPod so that she can better understand what real music is ... and then I don’t do anything mental at all ... because she finds a rhythm in the music that I didn’t pick up on and she sways her hips a little as she unbuttons her jeans. My mouth is suddenly too dry and I’m lightheaded from *her* and not lack of food when she kicks off her shoes and slides the denim over her legs. You wouldn’t peg Erica Hahn for the lacy panty type ... she looks like a cotton kind of girl, simple and plain ... possibly with white being the raciest color ... but she’s wearing royal blue lace panties that are see through.
Blue may be my favorite color right now.
I watch her hips move in a circle for a second longer ... then she slides her hands over those panties and upward ... cupping her breasts as she continues to sway. I don’t think that Sarah McLachlan ever intended her music to be interpreted this way.
Erica turns her back to me and I watch with wide eyes as her head falls back and her curtain of blond hair nearly touches the top of her panties. OMFG, nearly a thong.
Into this night I wander
It's morning that I dread
Another day of knowing of
The path I fear to tread
Oh into the sea of waking dreams
I follow without pride
Nothing stands between us here
And I won't be denied
Oh. My. God.
Could there be a more fitting song?
We’re going forward with this ... not showing any gay pride yet because we’re secrets for now ... but we’re GOING forward.
Jesus H. Christ ... and she’s going to take her panties off RIGHT NOW.
And I would be the one
To hold you down
Kiss you so hard
I'll take your breath away
And after I
Wipe away the tears
Just close your eyes dear
It takes the ENTIRE CHORUS for her to pull them down and by then I’m on my feet. I catch them when she throws them my way and then she’s coming toward me and I’m so fucking glad that I only have on a robe and my panties that I could die. I pull the belt and swear because now I’ve knotted it and it’s going to take me ten minutes to work it out ... then she’s kissing me and I feel her hands manipulating the knot and her foot sliding up my leg. *I* am supposed to be the sexy one, okay? It’s what I do. I take control, I’m in charge, and I’m *sexy* as HELL and I know it ... but she makes me fumble all over the place. She makes me tremble and forget to breathe and roll over like a good dog with just one look at me.
She has the knot under control in under five seconds and my robe falls around our feet.
Touching her cuts both ways. I ache when I do and I ache when I don’t.
When she touches me ... I don’t ache ... I burn.
We kiss our way through something by Elton John and she urges me backward until I feel the couch behind my legs. I start to sit down, but she stops me and sits down first. I watch her lie back against the comforter I used the night before and motion for me. Instead of falling onto her like I’m frantic (which, okay, I am) ... I touch her knee and just as slowly as she undressed, I walk my fingers up her inner thigh until I touch her center. I hear her say my name, but I ignore her and slide my fingers against her. She parts her legs and her hips slowly move upward while I lick my lips and watch her unfold. I want to make her squirm and when she starts to do just that ... I feel triumphant.
She tells me exactly what she wants in vivid and shocking detail. I never pegged her for a phone sex operator, but something tells me she could have done that in the past. Her voice gets a little deeper and she punctuates each dirty, dirty thought with her finger gently popping the hem of my panties. Vixen. She knows exactly what she’s doing to me and I hesitate over jumping to do her bidding simply because I *can* and not because I have any intention of *not* doing what she so eloquently demanded. It’s basically the most pornographic one sided conversation I’ve ever had and if she doesn’t do every last thing she implied ... I’ll ... well ... be glad for anything she does do. Because I'm that bad off.
I shed my panties and ease one leg over her head, straddling her face the same way she straddled my legs. When she lifts her mouth against me ... I lower mine against her. For the record ... sixty-nine has *never* been my favorite position until right now. I wrap one arm under her thigh and slide a finger into her while my tongue remembers every spot that makes her gasp with pleasure. I didn’t forget. I didn’t forget *one* thing. And ohmygodsheisdoingthatthingwhereshehums ... neither did she. Sensory overload makes me forget my name, but I know exactly how to touch her. I know where to put pressure, where to ease up, which side of clit is the most sensitive and that she likes to feel my teeth against it. When I do that ... I feel her fingernails dig into my thighs and she fastens her lips around the tight bud at the center of my nervous system.
I do the same thing.
She comes fast, her hands squeezing my ass as she lets her mouth fall away from me, and cries out. I’m so close to being there myself that I resort to begging, but she rides out her release without touching me. Considering the noises that she makes ... I can’t hold it against her. I eventually want to tell her to finish what she started right fucking now, but I do what she eventually says and get to my feet to swap places with her. When I’m flat on my back, she kneels beside the sofa and I reach up to touch the red streaks on her chest where her body flushed with pleasure. She doesn’t turn very red when she cries ... but when she comes ... her body is an inferno. I want to kiss every fucking inch of that redness until it does it again and again. I push myself onto my elbows and try to do just that, but she kisses me instead. I can taste her ... and me ... and the fire that has been scorching both of us for so long that we became mostly ash, mostly scattered ... mostly gone ... goes away.
She moves her hand between my thighs while our tongues are dueling and I open for her. When she eases two fingers into me and barely moves them ... I know what she’s doing. She’s erasing what she did to me at the Seattle Skyline Inn. She’s doing it *right* this time and I’m so wet and ready that I pull away from her kiss and fall back against the sofa as all of it builds inside me ... her, me ... us ... it’s all there. Her thumb moves against me, not urgent, but persistent and when I start to vocalize that ... she whispers, "Look at me."
I do ... her blue eyes lock on my brown ones and with her empty hand, she brushes back my hair and lowers her head. With her face just inches from mine, her breathing increases. That’s how you know you’re with a good lover ... when they feel you start to come and hyperventilate with you ... it's all good from there. "Let me hear it, Callie. Let it go."
I grab onto her arm and do exactly that. The sound I make as my body shatters and the shards race through my veins is louder than the radio. I think it was supposed to be her name, but only the ‘Ahhhhhhhhh’ part at the end of it actually comes out. I shudder hard and the relief is so fucking BIG that I can’t move a muscle except to convulse and spasm and shiver with it. Never ... in all my life ... not since I figured out what my body could do or how many times I made it do it myself ... has an orgasm felt like *that*. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry or ... possibly faint. I’m definitely dizzy enough to faint and when she sucks one of my turgid nipples into her mouth and I feel her tongue flick against it ... I do it again! I get off without her even trying to push that hard. I hear her chuckle and watch her smirk with smug satisfaction as she leans down and kisses the scar that she gave me. It’s about eight inches long and starts just below my ribcage, pointing straight downward toward my crotch. As her tongue trails over it ... she shifts the hand between my legs and moves her fingers a little deeper.
She’s gonna kill me.
When my fourth orgasm rockets through me a little while later (but who’s counting!?), there’s a knock at the door and Erica slips her hand from me. I protest, but not much because I’m too weak to do more than mewl like a kitten. Not even the smell of pizza can pull me together and I don’t make a sound until she kisses me and then I pull her down on top of me. With my arms around her waist ... I say, "It’s worth it."
"Anything that went wrong in the past ... anything else that happens ... it’s worth it for this right here."
I mean every word of it.
She winds up staying all night and we make a pallet in the floor because the only way we fit on the sofa is on top of one another and I don’t mind that ... but she doesn’t think we’ll get much rest. She sets her clock early and when it goes off, I wake up to watch her fumble for it. She sets snooze and looks like she’s gonna do just that until she notices that I’m awake. When it goes off again ... we pull apart with a groan and she says, "I’ve got surgery, baby. I should go."
That’s what the OTHER WOMAN called her.
"Don’t call me that."
She pushes herself on her elbow and looks down at me. "Oooh, someone’s cranky in the morning."
Just like that ... my good, happy, sated mood is GONE. Morning has sucked it dry. "Did you break up with her yet?"
I watch Erica’s eyebrows shoot upward. "Well, I haven’t talked to her ... I mean ... I was expecting you last night so I didn’t -"
"You haven’t told her yet!?"
"I just said I haven’t talked to her."
"Great! Really fucking great! You made *me* the other woman and -"
"Whoa!" She puts a hand on my stomach. "It’s not like that with her. She’s not -"
"Just ... go to work."
Erica slings a leg over mine when I start to sit up. "Nuh uh, we’re not doing this. Not today."
"What’s today?" I snap.
"New beginnings. And I don’t have to tell her anything, Callie, because I already told her weeks ago exactly where she stood."
"Tell her anyway."
"Will that make you feel better?"
"Tying a cement block to her ankles and dropping her in the bay would not even make me feel better."
"Daaaaamn. I didn’t peg you for the jealous type."
"I didn’t peg you for the -"
"Don’t say it." Erica puts her finger over my lips and shakes her head. "You want to meet me for lunch later? You need to go in and talk to Richard. If he knows that I’m lying about giving you samples of Ambien he isn’t letting on and by the way ... we need to talk about that."
"Or ... not."
"Where did you get it?"
"It belonged to Burke."
She swears under her breath. "That man ... not only does he cost me every influential award and write up ... he’s careless with his drugs."
"That’s a huge stretch and you know it."
"Yeah, but it’s not like I need another reason to hate him." She kisses me, lingering over it like it’s a chore to pull away. "Mind if I use the shower?"
"Mind if I join you?"
"You’re gonna make me late, huh?"
I do make her late. I make her leave a half hour past the time she was supposed to scrub in. She bitches on her way out the door that she’s going to be starving by lunchtime and says that I suck for not even having a *bagel*, but I flash my boobs at her and she stops talking. Even though she has one foot out the door ... she comes back and kisses me one more time. With her mouth against mine, she says, "I love you."
"I love you back."
She gropes my boob. "I love your front."
When she goes, I flop down on our pallet and bury my face in her pillow. I’m smiling so much it hurts.
I spent weeks telling myself that I’d never find the kind of happiness I feel in her arms with anyone else and I was not wrong. I come to life with her. I’m aware of everything and nothing when she pulls me against her shoulder and I sleep better there than I have ever slept before. She’s not large or overpowering. She doesn’t have broad shoulders or muscles that ripple in her back, but I feel like she could fight my demons off with one hand and still be able to hang onto me with the other.
Her ability to be so strong will come in handy. I just don’t know it yet.
Erica saved me once on the operating table. She charged the paddles again and again until my heart was too scared of her to not beat. Maybe that’s why it answers to her so easily and leads me to hers without hesitation.
Happiness is the most fleeting feeling in the world and when people figure out that you’re happy ... they work together like a colony of ants to tear you down. It won’t be any different for me. For us.
But while her pillow still smells like lilacs and my skin is still tingling from her touch ... I don’t entertain the thought of what could happen ... I’m thinking about what *has* happened. I’m off the hanger, but not *quite* out of the closet and I’ve got company for a change.
For a while ... that will be enough.
They were not supposed to have sex yet ... but they wouldn't listen to me. ;)
Are you happy about that? Sad? Tell me what you think. :) :)