Author: Chelle Storey-Daniel
Rating: NC17 for make up sex:)
Summary: Making amends can be the hardest thing in the world. But sometimes the chaos is worth it.
Pairings: Alex/Addison George/Callie Meredith/Derek implied
"I need a shower." George still had not gone home for clean clothing and he suspected that his deodorant had stopped working hours ago. Probably right after the first argument he’d had with Callie that morning. With a sigh, he sat down in the chair he had slept in the night before and glanced at the clock. It wasn’t as late as he expected, but his exhaustion wasn’t running on a time table. "Why don’t you come back to my place? We can order a pizza, watch movies in my room, maybe do other fun things."
"No." Callie took off her boots and tossed them across the room. "I’ve had enough of your roommates to last a while."
"If you try to say something that makes it okay for Izzie to treat me the way she does ... I will throw your ass off the balcony. I’m not even kidding!"
"I wasn’t going to. I was gonna apologize to you for it and assure you that I’ll say something to her."
"She hates me."
"I don’t really care what she thinks."
Sitting on the edge of the bed, Callie sighed. "Why don’t you get a shower and I’ll call room service."
"Is there a laundry service that can wash my clothes? They’re stiff enough to walk on their own at this point."
She grinned at him. "You do get that there are two clothing shops in the lobby, right?"
"You do get that they’re probably closed, right?"
"Oh how quickly you forget who I am." She slipped on a pair of backless sneakers and nodded at the door. "Come on."
Together, they made their way back downstairs and Callie tried the door at the first shop. It was locked and George gave her an ‘I told you so’ look. Wordlessly, she headed to the front desk and spoke to the gentleman there. Within minutes, a handsomely dressed middle aged man appeared from the back room and rushed forward. "Are you all right, Miss Callie?"
"I’m fine, Howard. I need the key to Marcel’s."
"Certainly." The man pulled a large ring of keys from his pocket and held them out to her without question. "It’s the red one."
"I’ll return this when we’re through."
"Yes, ma’am," Howard replied, nodding at her. "Will there be anything else?"
She remembered George mentioning his hunger earlier in the day and nodded. "Please ask Pierre to prepare two dinners of his choice including a bottle of wine that complements the dish and have it delivered to my room in an hour."
"Consider it done."
Callie nodded and walked across the lobby, opening the door to the shop and stepping aside for George to enter. When she pocketed the keys she noticed the look on his face. "What?"
"I had forgotten that your grandfather owns this place."
"Well, people have a tendency to change when they realize who my parents are or where I come from. I’ve always been a social outcast. Actually, I think I’m socially retarded, but no matter what new school I was at or what was going on, the kids who picked on me would suddenly love me when they realized who I was. It makes it hard to trust people. So, I’m glad that you didn’t remember."
"You could have been born to a pack of wolves and I’d still love you."
"What makes you think I wasn’t?" she asked, then bit her lip. Talking about her family was the verbal equivalent of stabbing herself repeatedly. It hurt. Changing the subject, she pointed at a frilly dress and said, "I don’t think it’s your size, but the color is okay."
He was well aware that she was dodging the conversation, but he obliged her, even though he would have liked to pursue the topic. "I don’t know. Salmon does nothing for my eyes."
In the men’s section, which was considerably smaller than the women’s, they located a pair of jeans and a nice button down shirt. Completing the ensemble with socks, underwear and a t-shirt, Callie headed back up to the cash register where she wrote down what she had taken on a slip of paper and clipped the tags, leaving them behind. "You need anything else?"
"Uh ... I need to pay for this."
"Nah, they just adjust it out of the stock. It’s nothing."
He glanced down at the tags for the first time and his eyes bulged. "These jeans are a hundred and forty dollars! That’s not nothing."
"Trust me, it’s fine." She took the clothing from him, folded it neatly, and slid it into a large bag. "Ready?"
"We can’t do this. This is stealing."
"My grandfather paid for everything in here."
"Are you going to stand there and argue or are we going back upstairs where you *know* you can have your way with me?"
"This is me. Shutting up."
She handed him the bag and waited for him to exit, then locked the store behind them. She found Howard waiting near the frontdesk, supervising the arrangement of a rather ornate flower basket. "What’s the occasion?" she asked.
"We are expecting a VIP tomorrow."
"Anyone I know?"
"I’m not sure, ma’am. Your grandfather simply left a message requesting that we clear the Lennox Suite for a special guest and that we had fresh flowers in the lobbies and elevators." He stepped forward, plucking a fallen leaf from the cherry wood of the table. "Your dinner should arrive shortly. Did you find everything you needed?"
"Where are you keeping the new guest packages?"
"I’ll have one brought to your room immediately."
"Thank you for your help," she replied. When he meticulously stepped forward and adjusted the flowers himself, she added, "Everything looks nice. I’ll be sure to let my grandfather know how accommodating you’ve been."
"I appreciate that, miss."
George followed her silently back to her room. Once inside, he deposited his new clothing on the dresser. When he turned back around, she was pulling her shirt over her head and he watched her, enjoying the view. Never in his life had he known a woman who was so comfortable in her own skin. She was unashamed of her nudity, confident in her sexiness and it drove him wild. He smiled when she glanced over her shoulder at him and arched an eyebrow. "By all means," he said. "Keep going."
Callie unhooked her bra and tossed it at him. It hit him in the face and she grinned a little. Her back was still turned to him and she reached up, massaging her scalp as she freed her raven locks from the ponytail holder. She smiled at him again, loving the fact that his enjoyment was evident in the front of his pants. Turning to face him, she unbuttoned her pants and slipped them over her hips. When she looked at him again, he was frowning and his hands had gone to his hips. She quickly glanced down at her underwear, which were certainly not the prettiest pair she had, but were definitely not enough to raise his ire. "George-"
"You’ve lost weight. I can’t believe I didn’t notice."
This was not news to her. Her appetite had fled right around the same time their relationship came to a screeching halt. Twenty five pounds had melted from her frame almost overnight. Of course, underneath scrubs and a loose white coat it wasn’t very apparent, but now there was nothing to hide behind. Shifting uncomfortably, she picked up the robe that was laid across the foot of her bed and slipped it on. "It’s cold in here."
"Have you been dieting?" He watched as she cinched the belt on the robe and crossed his arms over his chest. "Well?"
"In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been under a little stress."
"What I’ve noticed is that you haven’t eaten in two days."
There was a knock at the door and she pointed at it. "Check it out! Food!"
He watched as she padded across the room, feeling very much like a jackass for not seeing what was so clearly evident all along. He should have noticed, should have said something. A nice reply formed in the back of his mind, but Callie opened the door and he didn’t speak. A cart with the most appetizing aroma he had ever smelled was wheeled in and he watched as two very well dressed men pulled the large round table away from the wall and covered it with a tablecloth. They arranged the food beautifully, not stopping until the wine was chilling in an ornate dish and two tall candles had been lit. He reached into his pocket for a tip, but the men quickly excused themselves.
Callie lifted the lid on one of the dishes and smiled. Then pointed at the welcome basket that had arrived with the food. It contained a robe, slippers, toothbrush, and fancy soaps and shampoos. "You want to shower first or eat first?"
George quickly crossed the room, his stomach propelling his feet to a near run. "I am so hungry I could eat my own arm."
"Then by all means," Callie said, lifting the lid from his plate. "Eat. Drink. Be merry."
He held her chair out for her before he took a seat across from her. The food was elegantly displayed. It was prettier than anything Izzie had concocted and she had done her fair share of cute food. He dug in immediately and moaned. "God, it tastes better than it looks! How is that possible?"
Callie took a small bite of her salad. "Pierre used to cook for our family when I was a kid. He always wanted his own restaurant so when I went away to college the house was officially empty, my grandfather gave him complete control of Cloud Nine."
George studied her for a second. "You know, I had this picture in my head of you growing up in a huge, dysfunctional family in a house that was too small, but full of love."
"You got the dysfunctional part right and our house was definitely full of something."
"But you’re so protective of your family. I mean, when you told us about your parents this morning you were adamant about this issue with the trial not interfering with their careers."
"It’s not that I’m protective of *them* ... I’m protective of *myself*. I think my parents, my mom especially, have a lot of resentment toward me. It’s better for everyone involved if she doesn’t acknowledge the fact that she’s my mother and I keep pretending that I’m not who I am."
"I have a very complicated relationship with my mom. She feels like I stole something from her."
"Tell me what happened." He reached across the table and covered her hand with his. "Please. You know everything there is to know about me, thanks to my mom and her wallet full of every school picture I ever took."
"The crooked bowl cut phase was my favorite."
He smiled, his thumb stroking her wrist. "So, talk to me. Tell me what your life was like."
"To understand it, you’d have to hear how I came to be." Callie took another bite of her salad and chewed it slowly while she considered her reply. "My mother began her career when she was thirteen years old. She grew up very sheltered on movie sets and you know, she was an heiress so she had to behave a certain way. This was a long time before the Paris Hiltons of the world so she honored her responsibilities at a very young age. She had a flirtation with Donte Carrne, while he directed her in ‘Phantom Roses’. Everyone assumed that they would get married, even though he was twenty years older. She was only seventeen.
"While they were filming the movie, one of the camera men began to flirt with her. They secretly dated and had a great time with one another. That man was my father, Miguel Torres. My grandfather hated him and when he found out about their relationship, he had my father fired. A few weeks later, my mom found out she was pregnant and claimed that I belonged to Donte, who agreed to forgive her and marry her. As soon as I was born they all knew that Miguel was my father. I was clearly half Latino.
"Donte divorced her. That’s just one of many things that she blames me for. To hear her tell it, I ruined her figure. I ruined her chance to play the lead in ‘Sybil’, which went to Sally Field and earned her critical acclaim. I ruined her marriage. I ruined her life. My grandfather basically disowned the both of us. She never forgave me for it. Mom left me with my dad and resumed her career full time. For about five years, I didn’t see her once. My dad managed me, managed my acting and occasionally remembered my birthday and Christmas. I was never acknowledged as Olivia Archfield’s daughter. She refused to admit that she’d had an illegitimate baby, especially by someone other than her ex-husband and no one really speculated much about whether or not she had given birth. There weren’t tabloids back then like there are now.
"But my dad did have a pretty publicized drug problem and I didn’t really mind that he was never home with me because he could get pretty mean. I lived with him in a string of small apartments that I paid for with my work and stuff, but we were always moving because of his very expensive habits. My mom paid child support and we got by. When my dad eventually sobered up and his directing thing took off, I rarely saw him. He bought a fancy house, sent me to fancy schools, bought me everything under the sun including a vocal coach, but he never stopped to hear me sing. The only time I saw my mother and father together was when I was kidnapped. The night I was found they visited me at the hospital and told me that my mom was taking me to Los Angeles with her full time. That only lasted a few months because they caught Roy Porter and set a trial date. Out of nowhere, my grandfather sued both of them and became my legal guardian and helped me through the trial."
Callie drained the wine in her glass, then liberally refilled more than she had taken. "My grandfather is a good, decent man. He felt a lot of guilt for the way things were handled when I was a baby. No one wanted me, I was just this extra bit of luggage that had to be hauled back and forth. He was partly to blame for that and we made our peace with it. But I was a misfit when he finally brought me to live with him. He accepted me and even encouraged my goth phase that kinda still resonates to this day." She pointed at her black hair. "But it was nice to have roots for once in my life. I rarely saw my grandpa, which wasn’t his fault because he’s a very busy man, so the staff at his house became my family. Pierre, the guy who cooked this incredible food, took me shopping for a prom dress and fixed my hair that night. My nanny, Chloe, taught me the joys of math and science and encouraged me to read everything I could get my hands on. So it was always bad, it just wasn’t great either."
George watched as she picked through her salad, then put the lid back on it. She had only taken a couple of bites. She was, however, enjoying the wine. He stared at her until she took the hint and sliced into her own dinner. "So what happened after the trial?"
"I made it very plain to my grandfather that I was done with singing, finished with acting, and wanted a normal life. I had been in private schools off and on my entire life. I hated the kids there so I made the decision to go to public school. Major culture shock. I was tall and gothic and usually made my own clothes so I was the butt of every joke, the place where you tossed your chewed gum, had the perfect hair for spit balls. In my freshman year I closed myself off and started to study all the time. By the time graduation rolled around I was selected for valedictorian, which I didn’t do. I showed up to get my diploma and then headed off to college without looking back. That’s about it."
"And your parents? They don’t call or come around?"
"My mom likes to call and give me a heads up when she’s done something amazing on her show and my dad will call and ask me if I want something from some exotic locale he’s going to. But for the most part, it’s just me and my grandfather."
"And Pierre." George held up a bite of his steak. "What’s his secret anyway? This is amazing."
"Rum soak," Callie replied, taking another small bite of her own steak. "When I get moved into my apartment in a few days, I’ll have to show you what he taught me."
George nodded. "Or you could not get an apartment and come back home with me."
"Mmmm," She drained her second glass of wine and poured a third. "No just doesn’t seem like a strong enough word. I would kill Izzie. Or vice versa. And no offense, I’ve never lived well with other girls."
"But you’re moving in with Addison."
"I like her. And the apartment is very, very big. So if we need to draw a line down the middle we’ll still have plenty of room."
He finished the last of his steak, rubbing his stomach in contentment. "You’re not eating."
With a small shrug, she placed the silver lid back on her food and lifted another, revealing an assortment of deserts and fruits. "Pick your poison."
George took the lid from her, placing it back on the tray and moved around the table, kneeling beside her. "You’re going to get sick if you don’t eat."
"I’m just not hungry, George."
"But your body needs vitamins and -"
"Don’t be a doctor."
"I’m not. I’m a concerned boyfriend. I’m stunned that I didn’t notice before and I’m sorry for the part I played in keeping you so stressed."
"Don’t apologize. It’s fine. And if I survive this move, whatever happens with Roy Porter, whatever happens with Uly’s death, and your father is given a clean bill of health I’ll probably be ravenous. But right now I don’t want anything and I’m going to get sick if I force myself."
"Leave it alone."
"If you promise me I can take you out for breakfast then I’ll leave it alone."
"You planning on spending the night, O’Malley?"
"I plan on spending forever." George stood and urged her to her feet as well. He wrapped her in a tight hug, gathering a fist full of her hair as he held on to her. "I love you, Callie. I really do."
She held on to him, her cheek against his shoulder. Her heart ached to reply in kind, but her throat closed every single time she opened her mouth to tell him. The very last time she had spoken of her love had been the day he had been quarantined at the hospital. The second he came home, she had dropped what she was doing and rushed into his arms. She had never felt so relieved, so happy to see anyone in her life. And he had not said it back. No, he had kissed her instead and that had been enough for a while. Using every ounce of strength she had, she pulled away and smiled at him. "Do you want to take a shower or soak in the tub?"
George was stung by the change of subject and let his hands drop to his sides. He started to ask her if she still loved him, but let it go when she drained her third glass of wine. The last thing she needed was another argument. "Which is better?"
She led him into the bathroom and pointed at the incredibly large whirlpool tub. "This is my second favorite spot in the hotel."
"What’s your first?"
"The hot tub on the deck, which is where I’ll be when you’re finished."
"I’m taking a ten minute shower and then I’m there!"
"I’ll be naked."
She left him to his devices and headed out to the patio. The hot tub was bubbling when she wrestled the lid off and she turned on the dim lights that were situated under the water. There were a million stars in the sky and the moon appeared to hang directly across from the balcony, larger than life. Slipping back inside, she grabbed the bottle of wine and their glasses, and put them on the ledge of the tub. They were higher than any of the buildings around them so there was no need to worry about privacy as she slipped off her robe, then her panties and moaned a little as she sank into the warmth, her back against one of the jets.
George stood in the doorway, watching her. He had missed her big unveiling, but her naked silhouette was enough to make him want to dive headfirst into the water. Her eyes were closed, her long hair fanned out around her and it took his breath away. He eased his robe off, smiling when she opened her eyes and her gaze roamed over his bare body. "This is okay, right? I can be naked out here?"
"I’d rather you be naked in here, but I’m enjoying it either way."
He stepped over the edge and hissed as the hot water splashed over him. "We’re going to boil to death."
"Not a fan of hot water?"
"I’ve taken many, many cold showers lately so my body is going into shock." He pushed her hair back as he settled next to her and kissed her shoulder. "This is nice. The view is amazing."
"The city looks so pretty from up here."
"I wasn’t talking about the city." He let his fingertips dance across the top of her breasts. "You’re so beautiful."
"You’re the only person who has ever made me believe that."
"Do you believe me when I tell you that I love you?"
She swallowed hard, avoiding his gaze. "I want to. I - I mean, I do believe you, but, I - George, I’m scared."
"Of us. We can be so hurtful to one another and I just don’t know if my heart can take it again."
"I’d like to think that we’ve both grown and learned from what we went through."
"What’s with you having all the answers all of a sudden? It’s odd." She reached for her wine glass, but he stopped her. "You don’t want any more wine?"
"I want you."
Callie let him pull her into his arms and kissed him, hard. His hair was still wet from the shower and it curled around his face. She tangled her hands into it, tilting his head so she could kiss his neck, his ear. She smiled when he urged her legs on either side of him and gripped her hips, letting her feel exactly how much he wanted her. Wordlessly, she eased herself down onto him, causing his breath to catch and his eyes to widen.
"We’re good. Diaphragm’s firmly in place."
He let his head fall back against the rim of the tub when she moved against him. "We skipped foreplay."
"I could stop." She ground against him and locked her legs, not moving.
"Don’t you dare."
There was something about sex in water that absolutely drove her insane. The fire that began in her groin seemed to radiate outward, making the water seem even hotter, stoking her flame. His name escaped her parted lips in a whisper as she rotated her hips. She watched as he laved her nipple with his tongue and almost came just from the sight of it. This was George. *Her* George. The George she had wanted since the moment she met him.
And it was perfect.
George was cupping her breast when he heard her sniffle. He was shocked to see the tears on her cheeks and he pulled her down, hugging him against her. "What’s wrong?"
"I love you," she cried, wrapping her arms around his neck. "I love you so much."
Relief washed through him as he massaged her back. "And that makes you cry?"
"I should have said it. I should have said it earlier today."
"You’re saying it now. It’s enough, Callie. It’s enough." Lightning flashed in the distance, illuminating the balcony and he groaned. "As much as I’m enjoying this and really, really hate myself for saying it, maybe we should go inside."
"And ruin the moment? I don’t think so."
"We’re going to get struck by lightning."
"I already have been."
George opened his mouth to reply, but she kissed him, moving against him again. Grabbing her legs, he surged upward, hard enough to push her out of the water. She gasped and her hands flew to his shoulders, then the marble ledge. Her feet found purchase on the wall behind him and her pace reached a fevered frenzy, sending water flying all around them. When he slid his thumb against her center, she cried out her release. A second later he joined her, his fingers rough against her hips.
Not even the loud clap of thunder was pull them from the moment. She sagged against him, her eyes glassy, her breathing heavy. "That was incredible," she finally said, her voice hoarse.
"I can’t move."
"I don’t really want you to." A cold wind signaled the approaching storm and rapidly changed her mind. "Oh god, it’s freezing!"
Pushing herself upward, she gasped. "We knocked half the water out."
"And enjoyed every minute of it."
She eased off him and stood, grabbing her robe. It took both of them to get the lid back on and when they finally did, their teeth were chattering. As one, they bounded to the bed and jumped under the cover, entangling their arms and legs for warmth. George felt her nestle against him and smiled when she yawned. "You are *not* falling asleep on me, Torres. Make up sex is supposed to last for hours."
"Hours? I was aiming for days."
He slipped his arm from around her and kissed the valley between her breasts. Then her ribcage. "I guess we better get cracking then, huh?"
Within minutes, the chill was gone and she was gripping the cover in her hands as he pushed her over the edge again.
Addison was all smiles as she recalled the previous night with Alex. For once, she didn’t really care about the current fashion statement she was making. She wore a fairly nice jogging suit and sneakers and her hair had obliged her and curled perfectly, but the huge backpack she wore was laugh worthy. It was also heavy enough to almost make her topple backwards as she hobbled on her crutches down the hospital corridor.
"What the hell are you doing?" Callie asked and grabbed her before she could hit the floor. "You look like one of those idiotic people who strap a fifty pound tent to their back and expect to still be able to breathe when they get to the top of Mount Everest."
Addison happily surrendered the pack and smiled gratefully. "What are you doing here? I thought you took a few days off."
"I did. We’re visiting George’s dad."
"We?" The redhead arched an eyebrow. "Who is the ‘we’ in this equation?"
Callie grinned at her. "Yes, we’re back together."
"I could have guessed that by the way you’re smiling. I’m very happy for you," Addison replied.
"Thanks! Are you here for a checkup or something? I’ll do it. Off the record of course."
"No, I’m good." She scanned the surgical board. "Have you seen Alex today?"
"Karev? Yeah, he’s with Sloane. Why?" Callie studied her friend’s face and cocked her head to one side. "Tell me you have nothing to do with the fact that he’s walking around here even cockier than usual."
"Who me?" Addison asked innocently, then narrowed her eyes. "Is it that obvious?"
"Addison Forbes Montgomery! Tell me you didn’t!"
"Oh, I did. In every conceivable way. And even some that you probably couldn’t conceive of."
"Girl, I wrote the book on every inconceivable way." Callie hefted the backpack. "Damn! What is in this bag?"
"Lunch for Alex."
"I’m officially nauseated. Lunch? I have so much to teach you. Addison, you bring them lunch *after* you break them."
Flashing a secretive smile, Addy shrugged. "Maybe he broke me. And maybe I liked it."
"You’re sick. I’m so glad we’re gonna be roommates."
"As my roommate to be, I really think you should carry that bag to the cafeteria for me."
Addison chose a table in the back corner of the room and repeatedly thanked Callie for helping her unpack everything and set it up. Callie, who would know Pierre’s work anywhere, did justice to the artful display and stood back to survey her handiwork. "I’m such a good friend. I don’t even like Karev."
"He grows on you. Trust me. I didn’t like him either."
"I can’t wait to hear how this happened. I’ll make sure I have plenty of alcohol to help me absorb it all."
Addison threw a salt packet at her and stuck out her tongue. Callie tossed it back and made her way across the room in search of coffee. Smiling, Addison leaned her elbows on the table and messaged Alex on her Blackberry. As she waited, she nodded at Meredith and Izzie, who took the table nearest her. Without meaning to, she overheard parts of their conversation. Izzie was voicing her displeasure over Callie and George’s apparent reconciliation. When Izzie implied that Callie was using George’s dad’s health to ingratiate herself with them, Addison slammed her Blackberry on the table and turned. "What the hell is wrong with you people?"
Meredith and Izzie both regarded her with the same puzzled expression. Izzie finally said, "Excuse me?"
"What has Callie ever done to you? Other than fall in love with your best friend! That’s not a crime, Stevens. And you should be happy as hell that George has someone who loves him as much as she does. And make no mistake, she is madly in love with him. She loves him the way you loved Denny. And you." Addison pointed at Meredith. "How can you sit there and listen to her imply that Callie’s intentions are anything other than pure when you know better! The two of you amaze me with your juvenile cruelty. She’s a good person and she loves him. If that’s not enough reason for you to give her a break then I’m going to be the first one to laugh my ass off at you when he chooses her and cuts you out of his life for good."
Meredith glanced at Izzie, who had lowered her gaze to the untouched tray in front of her. "Addison’s right," she said in a low voice.
Izzie glanced up at her, then shook her head. "She naked peed in front of us!"
"And she cooked for you when Denny died," Meredith replied. "And she does love George."
"Why does she love George?" Izzie cried. "She’s not his type!"
"Shut up," Addison snapped, the pointed across the cafeteria where Callie had just bumped into George. "And open your eyes!"
Callie laughed at George, who grabbed her and kissed her. "I have an announcement to make," he said, still gripping her face.
"You want to pull me into the supply closet again and you must do it right now?"
"Well, there is that, but before I do that ... my dad just walked the hallway three times and was able to take a shower."
"Get out!" Callie beamed at him. "That’s amazing!"
"Chief Webber said that they’ll schedule the surgery for the cancer in a couple of days." His smile faltered a little, but he shook it away. "Now, what was that about a closet? Unless my ears were deceiving me there was a hint of promise in your voice."
"Mmm, who needs the closet when we have the roof?"
"Oooh, Dr. Torres, kinky suits you."
"Wait til you see the full extent of my kinks, Dr. O’Malley."
"My legs are buckling. Stop it."
She kissed him again, holding him against her. A couple of people issued catcalls and someone whistled, but she ignored them. Finally breaking the kiss, she said, "I love an audience as much as the next girl, but maybe we should head inside."
"Calliope, is this why you went to medical school? To play Dirty Doctor in front of your peers?"
As if she had been struck, Callie jumped away from George. Less than three feet from the couple, in all her regal glory, stood Olivia Archfield. Dressed in a charcoal grey suit, her chestnut hair brushed to perfection, and flanked on either side by two burly bodyguards, Olivia looked every bit the celebrity. Even the scowl on her face could not mar its beauty.
"Calliope, did you hear me?" When Callie said nothing, Olivia took a step forward and held her hand out to George. "Young man, apparently you still have my daughter’s tongue. You are?"
"Mother!" Callie growled, pushing George’s hand away before the older woman could take it. "What are you doing here?"
Several people gasped around them and Olivia tsk’d under her breath. "It’s nice to see you, too. I’m here because your friend called and told me that you needed me."
Callie blinked several times, then glared at George, who emphatically shook his head. "It wasn’t me," he said.
Callie’s gaze fell on Addison, who had gotten to her feet and was watching the exchange closely. When the redhead looked at the floor, Callie began to seethe. "She was mistaken," Callie finally said to her mother. "So you should go back to Hollywood."
"Nonsense. I’m here. I may as well handle the situation since you apparently have no intention of doing it properly."
"I’m handling it just fine!"
"Really? Trying to publicly mate with this young man is not the best image to convey in light of everything. If you want to be credible, then you need to be subdued. When is the hearing?"
"None of your business."
"You’ll need a new look for it. One that doesn’t scream oversexed fashion victim. Must you show so much cleavage? It’s not appealing and you know better. Always leave them guessing. Never flaunt your wares." Olivia tapped her chin with her index finger, looking her daughter up and down. "You’ve lost weight since I saw you last, but the hair is all wrong. For the life of me, Calliope, I don’t understand why you put that horrid black dye on it. You could almost look like my sister if you’d let it stay brown."
"Why would I want to look like the devil?"
Olivia tossed her head back and laughed, laying a hand over her chest. "The day you learned to talk was a truly, truly horrific day."
"It’s not like you were there to hear it." Callie was painfully aware that the entire cafeteria was quiet enough for a pin to drop. She closed her eyes, praying that when she opened them it would all have been a nightmare. Unfortunately, her mother was the first thing she saw when she finally opened them. "Would it be wrong to pray for a bolt of lightning to hit her?" she mumbled.
"Callie, this is ridiculous," George whispered. He lightly touched her on the arm. "Maybe you guys should go inside, to one of the family rooms."
Olivia’s gaze rested on their entwined fingers, then roamed down to the young man’s scuffed sneakers. Callie was at least an inch taller than the boy and something about his baby face reminded her of Callie’s father. It was unsettling. "What is your name?" she asked him.
"George O’Malley." He didn’t extend his hand to her, instead he stood a little taller and evenly met her gaze. She had openly sized him up and he could tell that she found him lacking. "This isn’t the place to have this conversation, ma’am. This is a hospital, this is where Callie works. You need to -"
"Mr. O’Malley, regardless of how many liberties you feel comfortable taking with my daughter’s person in public, you would be wise to keep your opinions to yourself. And you are too *short* to say anything of worth."
"That’s it! I’m done!" Callie spun on her heel and stalked into the hospital. She made a beeline for the bathroom and locked herself in the stall at the end of the row. Her heart slammed against her chest and her ears were ringing loud enough to drown her sobs. She slid down the wall and buried her face against her knees.
The door opened a second later and she expected to hear George’s voice, but it was Addison who clomped across the linoleum on her crutches. "I am so sorry, Callie. I had no idea. I - I saw her on The Ellen Degeneres Show the other day and I was thinking that if I were in your shoes I’d want my mother. My mother’s dead, though, and I was just trying to help. I had no clue what she was like."
Callie sobbed again and Addison leaned her crutches against the stall next to hers. "Let me in, Cal. Please? I can’t offer to climb over because well, my climber is broken, but I’ll drop to my stomach and slide under and we both know what’s on these floors."
"Just go, Addison. I’m fine."
"You’re not fine. Please let me in?" When the door didn’t open, she shifted uncomfortably. "George got into an argument with your mom and called Bailey over. Bailey threatened to have security remove her from the building and your mom tried to intimidate her which was a huge mistake. I think the bodyguards were scared enough of ‘the Nazi’ to pick your mother up and run from the building."
Callie chuckled through her tears. "Did Bailey stare them down?"
"She did." Addison was relieved to hear Callie blowing her nose. The worst of it seemed to have passed. "George went with Bailey to personally escort them out of the building."
Callie pushed herself to her feet and tossed her tissue into the toilet, flushing it. When she opened the door, Addison was right in front of her and grabbed her in a tight hug, promptly bursting into tears. Callie hugged her, patting her on the back. "We have to stop using the crapper to fall apart in. It’s not sanitary."
Addison laughed a little through her tears and hugged her a little tighter. "I’m not letting go until you tell me that you forgive me ... and help me get to my crutches again."
Callie grinned through her fresh tears. "I forgive you, idiot. You didn’t know. Now, hop backwards, you’re practically in the stall with me."
Once Addison was braced on her crutches again, she watched as Callie washed her face. "Are you gonna be okay?"
"No," she admitted as she dried her face. "I had penciled in a nervous breakdown for after Mr. O’Malley’s surgery, but I think I’m going to have to rearrange my schedule and go ahead and have it now."
"Can I do anything?"
The door opened and Bailey entered, nodding at Callie. "She’s gone and I take back what I said about talking smack about your mama. The next time you want to go there I’ll go with you, girl."
Callie shrugged. "Told you she was insane."
Bailey glanced behind her. "Calm down, O’Malley, before you have a stroke." She looked at Callie and said, "This fool is practically bouncing off the walls. Can he come in?"
"I’m going," Addison replied, reaching out and squeezing Callie’s hand. "I’ll be outside."
George rushed past Addison, wrapping Callie in his arms. "I am so sorry," he said softly. "I don’t know what to do to make this better, but whatever you need, Callie, whatever you need just ask me."
She sagged against him. "This is a good start."
Izzie and Meredith entered the bathroom, looking equal parts stunned and sympathetic. George stepped away from Callie and shot them both warning looks. Izzie stepped up first, looking awkward as she patted Callie on the back. "Dude, your mother is hard core."
"And also ... she’s Olivia Archfield." Meredith squeezed Callie’s hand. "Like, *the* Olivia Archfield. Oh my god."
"Yeah," Callie replied. "She is."
Izzie patted her back again and said, "I’m going to cook comfort food tonight. A whole lot of carbs and muffins and I expect you guys there at eight. Okay?"
George smiled at her and nodded. He waited for his roommates to leave the room before he turned back to Callie. "See? It’s gonna be okay. Izzie’s a good cook and it’ll be fun."
"Don’t you get it? Don’t you see? This? This the story of my life. When people find out who my mother is they suddenly like me. They suddenly invite me places and it’s not real, it’s not because of me, it’s because of her. And I hate it! I hate it!"
He hugged her again, hating the fact that she was right.