Summary: 'Cause when a heart breaks, it don't break even.
Disclaimer: All television shows, movies, books, and other copyrighted material referred to in this work, and the characters, settings, and events thereof, are the properties of their respective owners. As this work is an interpretation of the original material and not for-profit, it constitutes fair use. Reference to real persons, places, or events are made in a fictional context, and are not intended to be libelous, defamatory, or in any way factual.
Note: It's been close to a million years since I posted anything (college has that effect on people, I hear), but now that I have an actual DEGREE in writing, I decided it was time to put it to good use. I still love Alex and Addison and I like to play with them, even though it's not going to happen. But mostly, I missed you guys and it's just good to be back. :)
“Sloe gin fizz, please, Joe.”
He’s half-convinced that he imagined her voice and he turns his head slowly, partially because he’s dunk and partially because he’s afraid he’s going crazy too. He catches the shock of her hair almost glowing in the dim bar light. “Why’re you here?”
Addison takes a long drink from the glass Joe hands her and clears her throat. “I heard about Izzie.”
He snorts. Of course.
“And I thought maybe you could use a friend.”
Something in his resolve melts away just like it always does when Addison shows up out of the blue. He can’t explain it, but his connection with her has always extended beyond the walls of the hospital. He’d kissed her in this very bar, three seats down, and he’d made love to her once in an on-call room. It confuses him a little because there wasn’t really any difference between her and all the other one-night stands he’d had.
Only there was. He couldn’t name it, couldn’t put a finger on it, but it was there.
He drinks deeply from the bottle. Not even his lengthy relationship with Izzie had the kind of fire he and Addison had during their fifteen-minute encounter. And look where he and Izzie had ended up.
He waits for Addison to say something, to explain her sudden reappearance in Seattle and in his life and he waits for her to start looking at him like Meredith and Cristina and everyone else does. But she just sits there, nursing her pink sloe gin fizz and acting like everything is completely normal, like Izzie hadn’t happened, like maybe they still had a chance.
He slides the band from around his finger and pushes it across the bar top to her. “I married her.”
She takes the ring, smiles gently, and rolls it between her fingers. “Yeah, I heard that.”
He dares to look at her for the first time that evening. Despite a new tan and shorter hair, she’s still Addison, still just as devastatingly gorgeous and chronically sad. “Who called you?”
She sighs and shrugs out of her black coat, draping it across the back of the barstool. “Callie.” She downs the rest of her drink. “Told me Derek and Meredith gave their wedding to you and Izzie.”
“She had cancer. It’s not like I could say no.”
Addison gratefully accepts the new drink Joe hands her. “I didn’t question it. I think what you did was very noble.”
“It wasn’t noble, Addison.” He glares at her, angry that for once, she can’t see what an utter asshole he’s being. “I did it because she wanted me to and I knew she’d probably be dead in a week. What I did by marrying her, it wasn’t fucking noble.” Swallow. “She was hurting and when someone you love’s hurting, you can’t tell them no.”
She lowers her head and studies the band in her hands. “I’d have laughed in the face of whoever would have told me Alex Karev would be married by now.”
“Can we just drop it?” He rolls his eyes. Suddenly, he longs for the silence he detested only minutes before.
“Fine.” She nods and they drink together in silence for a long while.
He hopes that she can’t tell that he’s more bothered than he’s letting on. And he wants to be pissed at her, seriously pissed. Because the only reason he’d even befriended her in the first place is because she wouldn’t give up on him. Only then she’d had to go and leave him. Just like everyone else. Just like Izzie.
“She didn’t die, you know.” Her voice is so bright, so matter-of-fact, and so Addison that Alex starts to wonder if maybe she hasn’t heard the punch line of the joke. Maybe she doesn’t actually know that Izzie took off for Tacoma, and yeah, maybe he’d told her to because he knows he deserves better but still. Everyone leaves eventually. That part never changes.
“I know.” He drains his bottle. “She voluntarily left me.”
Addison inhales deeply. “Well, Tacoma’s not far. I’ll go with you if—“
“No,” he interjects, shoving the empty beer bottle from him. “I don’t wanna…” He sighs. “I don’t wanna see her. Not yet.”
Joe brings her another drink and tells her it’s good to have her back and Alex wonders if maybe this whole thing could have been avoided if he’d just grown a pair and told her the truth at the Yang/Burke wedding fiasco.
“I lied to you.”
She smiles sadly into her drink. “I wouldn’t have stayed.”
“I should have followed you. I should have driven after you and not Rebecca.” Alex shakes his head. “That would have changed everything.”
“Maybe.” She shrugs. “Maybe it all would have gone to shit anyway.”
“How did you handle it? When Derek left you.”
“Hmm.” She chuckles a little. “I dyed my hair blonde. And had an affair with Mark, but you knew that part.”
“Everybody says they understand, says they sympathize but—“
“They don’t.” Addison shakes her head. “You cope however you need to cope. If you wanna drink, you drink.” She motions to his empty bottle. “If you wanna dye your hair, you dye your hair. You just do whatever feels right. There’s no judgment, not from me anyway, because I do get it.”
He assumes he’s been cut off because Joe hasn’t brought him a new beer since Addison showed up. And that doesn’t even make sense, because although the world has taken on the slow, thick nature of intoxication, he can still see clearly (for the most part) and walk in a relatively straight line. He slides his coat on and Addison pushes her credit card to Joe and motions between the two of them.
“You don’t have to do that, Ads.”
She retrieves her card from Joe and stands beside him, coat slung over her arm. “You can owe me.” She winds her arm around his back and guides him up the stairs and into the street.
It’s understood that they’ll share a cab because Queen Anne Hill is on the way to the Archfield and probably she doesn’t trust that he’ll be able to get himself back to Meredith’s house in one piece anyway. Outwardly, he acts offended, but inwardly, he’s glad for the company, especially since it’s Addison’s company and so far she hasn’t cast one toward him of those piteous looks he hates so much.
Their ride is quiet until they pull up to the curb and Alex leans over to her. “Would it be really inappropriate to ask you to come in?” With a crooked smile, he extends a hand to her.
He watches the debate in her eyes and he knows he’s won when she sighs. She pays the cabbie and slides her hand into his.
He can’t understand how she has any time to talk because he’s doing his best to keep her mouth occupied.
“Alex.” With a hand on his chest, she shoves him away. “Alex, I’m not Izzie.”
“I’m coping. No judgment. I am coping.”
She nods and lets him pull her back into his arms.
He pulls her soft, white cashmere sweater from her shoulders and kisses her neck gently. Her pants come off next and he guides her to his bed slowly, never breaking the steady rhythm of his kisses. He strips quickly and lies on top of her, poised, just waiting for her to look up at him.
This won’t be like last time, he promises himself and her, silently. This won’t be a quick fuck in an on-call room. He’s going to make love to her, show her exactly how much she means to him and exactly how he feels about her.
Addison places a finger over his lips to quiet him before she grasps his arms firmly and finally, finally looks into his eyes.
It’s slow and passionate and everything that Alex has been missing since Izzie left him again. And he knows the story he gave her about being too good to deserve her just showing up and taking off whenever she felt like it. He’ll even admit that Addison kind of does the same thing, but at least she’s never told him she loves him and that’s gotta count for something.
They lie next to each other for god knows how long after, just watching and waiting for something to make sense.
“Did you love her?”
It’s a fair question, he guesses, especially since this whole thing with Addison makes it seem like he hasn’t changed his man-whoring ways at all. But he has changed. And he finally feels like maybe he can tell her the truth.
“Yes.” She doesn’t look surprised. “But not the way I loved you.”
“I’m sorry I left you.”
“I’m sorry I let you.”
He sleeps better that night than he has in years or at least in the months since Rebecca took off, Izzie got cancer and died and left, and how funny it is that Addison in his arms fixes his insomnia better than anything else has.
Alex watches her pull on her sweater and wind her shorter hair into a ponytail. “Thank you.”
She looks down at her black leather purse and kind of smiles.
“I guess you’re going back to Los Angeles.” It’s more a question and Alex is terrified of the answer he knows she’s going to give.
Addison chews on her lips and shifts her weight from foot to foot for an uncomfortable, pregnant pause. Finally, after what seems like an eternity to Alex but what’s probably only been around thirty seconds, she shrugs. “Do you want me to?”
He jerks his shoulders noncommittally. Of course he doesn’t want her to go back to Los Angeles. He just wants someone to stick around with him, someone to love him absolutely unconditionally. He realizes his mistake. “No. No, I don’t want you to go back. ‘Cause I think love you. And I’m pretty sure we can't damage each other any more than anyone else has. So stay. Please. Stay for me.”
The side of her mouth turns up in a funny little half-smile and she shrugs. “Okay.”
“Really? It’s that easy?” Alex crosses the short distance between them in three steps. “All I had to do was ask?”
She puts a hand to his cheek and kisses him softly. “When someone you love is hurting, you can’t tell them no.”