Author: Chelle Storey-Daniel
Rating: Strong R for content.
Summary: You know there had to be fallout after the last chapter!
A/N: This follows *some* of the show with a few liberties taken.
Addison hobbled through the lobby of the hotel, trying to remember which room was Callie’s. The ‘bone crusher’, as Callie was affectionately called, had never returned to view the x-rays. Chief Webber had seen Addison propped up, with a ice pack on her leg, and had taken over. Naturally, a chart had been made and she had gotten a very liberal tongue lashing about hospital policy and reporting accidents. After he prescribed medication, bandaged her leg, and supplied crutches, he gave her a week off. She didn’t want a week off, but at least she could use that time to get the ball rolling on the apartment front.
Now she just needed to find her roommate and get to the bottom of whatever had happened to her. She knew Callie was on the fourteenth floor, but which room? Addison had never bothered to look when they had retreated to Callie’s room for pizza. In the elevator, she hit the button, and watched the doors sliding shut. An arm shot through at the last minute and she instinctively stuck her crutch out, helping hold the door back. George O’Malley entered a second later. "Hey," she said. "How’s your dad?"
"He’s doing okay. Thank you," he replied with a nod. "How are you? Alex told us what happened."
"I’ll survive." She shrugged, not needing to question the ‘us’ in his sentence. She knew that the happy little family of interns told each other everything. "Are you here to see Callie?"
"Mind if I follow you? She was supposed to be taking care of my leg, but she never came back. We’re meeting for dinner tonight which is definitely going to be something better than the greasy pizza we had last night."
George looked a little shocked. Considering Addison’s history with Mark Sloan, the last thing he expected was for her to be on good terms with Callie. "I didn’t know you were friends."
"We’re getting an apartment together." Addison limped to one side as two women boarded the elevator. "We’ve both had it with hotel living."
They arrived on the fourteenth floor and George held the door, allowing her to exit first. Together, they slowly walked down the hallway. Addison stopped with him next to 1432 and watched as he knocked. "What happened to her face?" she asked. "She didn’t get a chance to tell me."
"Some guy punched her when she went to set his bone."
"I almost punched her when she set my knee. But she did it so fast I couldn’t even think."
"That’s how I met her. My shoulder was dislocated and she popped it back in." George smiled and knocked again. "Told me after the fact that it hurts less if you don’t know."
"She used those same words on me." With a frown, Addison stared at the closed door. "I’m worried. Something’s going on with her."
"Yeah, something is." He pulled out his cellphone and dialed her number. Leaning against the door, he listened to see if he could hear it ringing on the other side. After a few seconds, he shook his head. "She’s not here."
"Clue me in, O’Malley. What do you know?"
"What do you know?"
She regarded him for a second. "I know that you know about Mark Sloan and I also know that she feels horrible about it and she’s miserable and completely in love with you. Is that enough?"
"You know about Callie and Sloan? And it doesn’t bother you?"
"Why would it? I’ve been there myself," she replied. "I know that Mark loves women who are broken or neglected or ... well ... breathing and he knows just the things to say and do to get them while they’re down. I also know that Callie was pretty down at the time. For what it’s worth, she thought it was completely over with you. She was stunned when you started pursuing her after she had already - you know."
"I don’t want to talk about that," he said after a few long seconds. Inwardly, her words hit home. Callie had never been first in his life. Until now. "She lost a patient today."
"No. Straight forward hip replacement and he arrested on the table. DNR." George slumped against the opposite wall. "I blamed her for it. To her face."
Her expression changed to one of scorn. "Considering that your father has heart issues, I would think that you’d know better! Surgeons can’t predict heart attacks, O’Malley! It could have been a reaction to the anesthesthia or an underlying problem that she had no control over!"
George didn’t want to mention the man’s blood pressure. He closed his eyes for a second and took a deep breath. He didn’t feel comfortable telling Addison what he had overheard in the hallway about the rape. His mind was still refusing to let him believe it was true. If Callie wanted anyone to know then Callie would have to tell it.
"Oh, Jesus," Addison said suddenly. "She helped me the other day on a woman who had a stillborn baby and she told me that she didn’t know how I did it. She said she had never lost a patient before. She said that she had assisted on a few trauma cases where the patient died, but she had never lost one on her own. The first death is always the hardest."
George wished that the ground would open up and swallow him. That certainly explained why she had fought so hard to revive the man. "She told me that she went into Ortho because the mortality rate was so low."
The door across the room from Callie’s opened and a guy poked his head out. He looked from George to Addison and then shut the door. Hard. Addison smiled at George, "I’m going to my room. I think a pain pill is just what the doctor ordered."
"You need help?" George followed along behind her.
"No, thanks." Addison smiled at him. "For what it’s worth, O’Malley, she’s a good person. We all make mistakes."
George parked beside Derek’s car in the driveway. It was commonplace to see Dr. Shepherd walking around the house, cooking, and sitting next to Meredith on the sofa. It didn’t bother George. He enjoyed seeing Meredith so happy and the house was certainly big enough. He shut the car door and leaned back against it, thinking about the week that Callie had spent with him there. He had not handled it well at all. He had viewed it as an invasion of his personal space instead of an opportunity to know her better. In retrospect, he knew how badly he must have hurt her, but she still tried to give him another chance. An undeserved chance.
Flipping out his cell, he dialed her number again. When it switched to voice mail, he said, "Callie, it’s George. I - I just want to talk to you about today. I’m sorry. For everything and I’d like the chance to tell you that face to face. Please call me. I - I miss you."
When he hung up and turned, Derek was standing at the trunk of his car, removing his overnight bag. "Hey, Dr. Shepherd." George put his cell phone in his pocket and locked his own car. "How are you?"
"Great," Derek replied, smiling. "Hey, do you have a second?"
"How are things with Dr. Torres?"
George frowned. "Uhm, not good. Why?"
Closing his trunk, Derek leaned back against it, resting the bag at his feet. "Can I give you some unsolicited advice?"
"Uh, sure," George replied, confused.
"You remember when we were under quarantine and you told me that you could love Callie ‘soonish’?" Derek asked. When George nodded at him, he continued, "I watched her rush into your arms, scared to death for you, and tell you that she loved you. You didn’t even reply. So, before you decide to write her off, just bear in mind that she loved you and she didn’t know that you could love her ‘soonish’. All she knew is that you didn’t love her right now. That must’ve hurt, man."
The front door opened and Meredith appeared on the porch. "You guys okay?" she called. "It’s freezing out here!"
"I’m coming." Derek picked up his bag and squeezed George’s shoulder. "I’m not saying that what she did is right. I’ve been in your shoes, man. It’s devastating. But I was guilty of my own mistakes. And so are you."
George watched him walk across the lawn. "Hey! Will you let Meredith and Izzy know that I have a few errands to run."
Derek nodded. "I think that’s probably a good idea."
George called her cellphone at every red light he stopped at. He also called the Archfield Hotel twice on the ferry ride back to town, leaving messages both times. The first stop he made was at the hospital, where he checked the basement, scouring the small area that she had called home. After he checked the roof and the cafeteria, he had her paged. He waited thirty minutes before heading on foot to the Emerald City Bar.
Joe confirmed that he had not seen Callie in a couple of days and inquired about George’s father. As distracted as he was, he still made small talk for a few minutes before heading back to his car. He was stunned when he saw Callie’s car in the parking lot. He peered in the windows and called the nurse’s station, only to be told that she had never answered the page. Concerned, he made it to his car right before a heavy rain started to fall.
He arrived at the Archfield in record time. In the lobby, he asked the bellhop if he had seen her, but the man said he had just come onto the shift. George checked the lounge and the bar, then headed to the elevator. There was no answer at her door and once again, he leaned against it, listening to see if he could hear her on the other side. He gave it ten minutes then trudged back up the hallway, pressing the button to go back downstairs.
Callie emerged from the elevator when the doors opened, dripping wet and shivering. Without thinking, he grabbed her and pulled her against him. "Oh my god! Where have you been!? I was so worried!"
Callie stiffened and pushed him away. "I - Something came up."
"Are you okay?" George was stung by her greeting, but didn’t let it deter him.
"I’m tired. I’m gonna go to bed."
She started around him, but George caught her arm. "Callie, I need to talk to you."
Pulling free, she shook her head. "No."
"I can’t," Callie replied, her voice cracking a little. She honestly doubted that she had another tear to cry, but she felt her eyes well. "I just - I just want to sleep."
Wordlessly, he followed her to her room. She was shaking too much to handle the key properly so he gently took it from her and opened the door. When she held her hand out to take it back, he slipped it in his pocket. "Give me half and hour. You owe me that much."
"I don’t owe you a damn thing." She looked at him for the first time and anger simmered inside her, overshadowing the anxiety she had been fighting all night. "Don’t throw Mark Sloan in my face one more time. I broke up with you before I slept with him and it was horrible and wrong and stupid and pathetic and you have made me pay for it until I’m broke. I owe you nothing else. I have nothing left to give."
"Can we start over?"
"I’m not leaving."
"I don’t want you here."
"You don’t need to be alone."
"George, you told your entire family that I cheated on you! You called me a slut! Given the options I’d pick this empty room over five seconds with you any day of the week!"
"I know about the parole hearing. I - I know what that man did to you."
She gasped. "What?"
"I was in the hallway. I overheard the conversation."
Callie closed her eyes, wishing that the floor would open and swallow her. For the briefest moment, she had allowed herself to believe that he was there because he had forgiven her and wanted to try again. Instead, he simply felt sorry for her. "That’s what you get for eavesdropping," she finally snapped. "I know why you’re here. You’re gonna tell me that what happened to me is horrible. Then you’re going to pretend that you don’t hate me and tell me that if I need anything or want to talk about it then you’re here for me. Am I right?"
"I want to help you! And I could never hate-"
"Saint George the Great. You’re always there for the *friends* who need you. Always ready to listen, ready to help out, ready to sacrifice yourself for their needs. Well, we’re not friends. So I’m letting you off the hook. Pretend that you didn’t hear it. Pretend that you don’t know. And I’ll pretend that you didn’t rip my heart out and throw it at me." She felt her chin tremble and hated herself for it. "Give me the key."
He shook his head, slowly processing her words and pushed past her into her room. "I’m staying."
"Suit yourself." Callie stepped back into the hallway and shut the door behind her.
He caught her at the elevator and yanked her around to face him. "You had your say now it’s my turn."
"Let go." She tugged her arm, but he tightened his grip. "George-"
"We can do this here or we can back to your room and do it privately. Either way, you’re going to hear me out!"
"I heard everything I want to hear from you."
"No, you haven’t." Still holding onto her he led her down the hallway. "But it's high time you did."
The same man who had poked his head out earlier in the day stepped into the hallway wearing a robe. He put his hands on his hips and said, "Could you people please shut up?"
George used the key to open her door again and motioned for her to enter before him. He glared at the man for a second, thought better of saying what he was thinking, and shut the door behind them. He watched her progression as she paced across the room and kicked her shoes off. Glaring at him, she grabbed her robe and went into the bathroom. When he heard the shower turn on, he sat down on the bed and waited for her.
So many things needed to be said and he had no clue where to begin. She was angrier than he had ever seen her and he couldn’t really blame her. He had crossed a line in front of his parents and he prayed that he could find the words to take it back ... and help ease the agony that she was obviously going through.
The letter that she had been given rested on the bureau and he lifted it. She had not opened it, but it was crinkled where she had clutched it firmly in her hand. She must have returned to her room sometime during the afternoon, because she hadn’t been holding it when she came in. His thumb traced over her name and he sighed, wondering why she had never told him about the attack.
"It’s illegal to open someone’s mail."
George turned at the sound of her voice and quickly put the letter down. "I wasn’t going to open it."
"Me either." Callie secured the towel on her head a little tighter and shrugged. "So what the hell did you need to say to me? Because you’ve already covered hurtful and humiliating and I’d appreciate if you skipped blaming me for anything else today because I can’t possibly feel worse than I already do."
"I’m sorry." His heart was pounding in his chest and he felt it crack a little at her words. "I shouldn’t have said any of those things to you. I’ve just had a lot to deal with and I’ve been angry at everyone. You just happened to catch the brunt of it. You didn’t deserve it and I’m very, very sorry."
"Is that it?"
"Can you cut me a little slack?" he asked, running his hand through his hair in exasperation. "I’m trying, Callie."
"Trying to what, George?" Her voice rose. "Let me ask you something. If you had not heard my conversation with Jake ... would you be standing there right now?"
"The reason I was in the hallway is because I was coming after you! Look, hearing what happened to you felt like someone had taken a scalpel to me! I hurt for you and I *am* sorry it happened to you, but that’s not the only reason I’m here." He took a step toward her. "I’m here to tell you that I’m not mad at you anymore. I can’t be because it’s partly my fault. No ... it is my fault. You thought I didn’t care about you and I didn’t give you any reason to believe otherwise. But if you give me a chance, I will."
Callie shook her head and the towel fell. She caught it and pushed her tangled hair away from her face. "Stop."
George took the towel from her and reached for her hand. "Callie, I’m telling you that I want to be with you. I know I’m defective, but maybe you could fix me."
"You’re not defective. You’re just not ready."
"I am ready!"
"You’re not! And neither am I. George, there’s this old saying ... if you don’t learn from the past then you’re doomed to repeat it. I can’t go down this road again."
"We have learned! It will be better than before."
"No. My answer is no."
"Don’t." He closed the distance between them, pulling her into his arms. He felt her stiffen and take a step back, but held onto her. "Please?"
"Let me go."
"George, I can’t do this." She began to cry, her face against his neck. "I’m so tired."
He gave a sigh of relief when he felt her arms around his waist. He let her cry, massaging small circles on her back while he spoke softly against her ear. When she quieted, he pulled back a little and wiped the tears from her cheeks. "It’s gonna be okay," he told her, laying his thumb against her lips when she started to speak again. "Go to sleep, Callie. I’ll be here."
Callie pulled away from him and turned, picking up the towel that had secured her hair earlier. She blotted at her face and said, "I want you to go. Look, just give me my key."
"I’m not leaving."
"I’m staying!" He pulled the cover back on the bed and toed his shoes off.
She watched for a second, then picked up one of the pillows and a spare blanket that was folded at the foot of the bed. She handed it to him and pointed at the stiff backed chair in the corner. "I’m sure you’ll be very uncomfortable."
He sighed, scratching the back of his head. "I’m sure I will."