Author: Chelle Storey-Daniel
Rating: This part PG with implied NC17
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
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When Callie got home, she bypassed the living room and headed straight for the study. George followed her, watching as she poured herself a very liberal shot of cognac. She downed it in two gulps and poured herself another, then filled a glass for George. She held it out, but he shook his head. With a shrug, she drank the contents of both glasses, then wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. "Okay," she said. "We may as well get this over with."
George wondered how much alcohol she could consume before she passed out. She had enjoyed at least two glasses of wine with dinner, a beer on top of the mountain, and she had not been stingy with her helpings of cognac. He bit back the comment that he was tempted to make because he didn’t want to add to her angst, but it took all of his self control. People who drank while they were under extreme stress set off warning bells in his head. "Are you okay?"
She took a deep breath and slowly let it out. "I will be."
"Is your dad anything like your mom?"
"In some ways he can be worse. He’s not a forceful as my mother by a long shot. He’s usually pretty calm and collected and very rarely takes a stand unless it’s for something on his movies." Callie shrugged. "He’s never stood up for me once. Sometimes having a parent NOT be interested is even worse than having one who tries to run your life."
George lowered his gaze, suddenly feeling very small. He had never really taken up for her with his friends, either. All that would change, though. He held out his hand to her. "Let’s do this."
She laced her fingers with his and they headed for the living room. The first thing George noticed was that Callie was the spitting image of her father. They had the same full lips and curly black hair. When she stepped into his arms, he saw that only an inch separated them in height. He shook the man’s hand as introductions were made and then followed Callie to the couch, sitting next to her.
"So," Miguel said, sitting in one of the leather chairs opposite them. "How long have you two been together?"
"Long enough," she replied.
Turning his attention to George, Miguel smiled. "I was told that you have balls of steel. You’ll need them if you tangle with my daughter’s mother. Or my daughter for that matter."
"I can hold my own." George held the man’s steady gaze without blinking.
Miguel looked away first and leaned toward Callie, not revealing what he thought of George’s response. "When is the hearing?"
"I don’t know for sure," Callie replied. "I haven’t opened the letter."
"Is there a reason for that?"
"Is there a reason why you’re here?"
"Is that a trick question?"
Callie raised an eyebrow. "Is there a mutant father gene you’ve just discovered and now you want to try your hand at it?"
"Is that your attempt at being cute?"
"Is it not apparent that I succeeded?"
"Is this how our conversation is going to go all night?"
"Is that how long you’re staying?"
"Is that a problem?"
"Isn’t it always?"
"You win. I’m not asking any more questions." Miguel smiled. "I just wanted to see for myself that you were okay after Hurricane Olivia blew through. And I wanted to know if there was anything I could do."
"No on both counts," she replied. "And you could have called instead of coming all this way."
"I asked him to come."
Callie turned and felt her stomach flip over a couple of times. Her mother stood in the doorway next to Pop, who looked apologetic. "Did you invite them here?" she asked her grandfather.
"No," the old man replied and walked to Callie’s side, showing where his loyalty lay. "I most certainly did not."
Callie turned to look at George. "Are you ready to go back home?"
George nodded. "If you want to go we can."
"Wait," Olivia crossed the room as if a runway had been erected in her honor, tossing her fur coat onto the sofa. Her hips swayed as she placed one foot in front of the other, finally striking a pose next to Miguel. "I have carefully considered our options. I think if we have a press conference we can generate enough public interest to sway the parole panel. If we tell what happened to you ahead of time, set the record straight, no one would dare sign papers giving Porter his freedom."
"Really? And it would probably generate a lot of sympathy for you. Especially right now since it’s award season and you haven’t had any accolades in a while." Callie got to her feet. "Not that you would ever use me for your own personal gain or anything."
"I didn’t plan this, Calliope. You can’t possibly blame me for the timing of it, but it would certainly put my name back in the headlines. I can’t complain about that. Even negative publicity is a godsend for me. I can see it the headlines now. My name in bold print and -"
"You are freakin’ unbelievable," Callie growled. "What about *my* name? I’m trying to have a decent career! If I wind up all over the news then it’s career suicide for me. Doctors can’t do that! You think I want the entire world to know what happened to me?"
"No one will care about you, honey. It would be about *me*." Olivia smiled as though she had just discovered the cure for cancer. "Believe me, no one is going to be looking at you during the press conference."
"That’s enough," George snapped.
Olivia gave him a haughty look. "Young man, you have lost the right to address me."
"Old lady," George replied. "You have lost the right to be a mother."
Chloe, who had entered the room unnoticed, burst into applause. "Score one for the young man."
"Shouldn’t you be in the kitchen?" Olivia crossed her arms over her chest. "Isn’t that where your kind is paid to stay?"
"I’m gonna kill her." Callie started toward her mother, but George and her grandfather both grabbed her.
"Miguel, I think it’s time that you leave," Chloe suggested. "And I think you should take this *thing* with you."
"You can think?" Olivia fired back. "That’s news to me! We should have swept you out with the trash a long time ago!"
"The broom had all it could handle with you, Olivia Archfield. Now get out of this house!" Chloe pointed at the door, her hand on her hip.
"This is my father’s house!" Olivia cried. "You’ll never belong here! You’re nothing but his dirty whore!"
"Leave her alone!" Callie shouted, renewing her efforts to get within striking distance of her mother. "She’s twice the woman you could ever hope to be! And this is *my* house! You’re not welcome here!"
Recoiling as if she had been slapped, Olivia gasped. "That’s a lie! My father-"
"Gave this place to Callie when she graduated medical school. It’s hers. Everything I have is hers," Pop cut her off. "And she asked you to leave."
Olivia shook her head, her eyes full of enraged tears. "You gave everything to *her*?"
"Everything," Pop replied.
"This place was supposed to be *mine*." Turning narrowed eyes on Callie, Olivia spat out, "I can forgive you for ruining my life. I can even forgive you for having Miguel’s blood in your veins and not Donte’s, but I will *never* forgive you for this. Never!"
"And I’ll never forgive you, either!" Callie yelled. She finally wrestled free from George and stalked forward. Her mother actually took several steps back. Miguel interceded, stepping between them. "Just so we’re clear ... if you tell *anyone* what happened to me then I’ll tell *everyone* the true story of how you got where you are today."
Olivia’s eyes widened and she pulled herself up to her full height. "You are the worst thing that ever happened to me, Calliope. The very worst."
"And you are the best thing that ever happened to me. I have a wonderful life because of you, because you let Pop take me. Because you stepped aside." Callie actually smiled, but it was a cruel smile. "And no matter how many awards you win or how big your show is ... take a look around ... I’m already worth five of you. You think of *that* when you think of me."
"I don’t plan on thinking of you at all."
Callie watched as her mother gathered her fur coat and wrapped it around her shoulders. Her father squeezed her arm as he walked past her and Callie pulled away. He had not uttered a single word in her defense and she hated him for it. "Hey," she called, as Olivia climbed the steps into the foyer. "You never could have played ‘Sybil’. They wanted an actress. Not the real thing."
When the last faint sounds of the helicopter faded, everyone in the living room took a deep breath. Pop sat down on the sofa and Chloe moved to his side, taking his hand in hers. He put his arm around her, kissing her lightly on the cheek, then the temple. Callie raised an eyebrow. It was the first time she had ever seen any public affection between the two of them and while she had known that they were together, actually seeing it was startling.
Chloe met her gaze and quickly sat up. "I bet you two are exhausted. I’ve prepared the blue guest room for George."
"George and I only need one room. And so do the two of you."
The water that pulsated against George’s back was a painful reminder of how much stress he had been under. He rolled his neck in an attempt to work on the kinks, but it didn’t seem to help. He was wound tight, consumed with worry for Callie, concern for his father, and the overwhelming desire to set it all right. As he shampooed his hair he considered his options and came up empty handed. There was no amount of book smarts and schooling that could give him the answers. With a sigh, he adjusted the temperature, making it as hot as he could stand, and shifted so that his neck got the full effect.
Callie stood in the bathroom, naked, watching him through the clear glass doors. Her vision was impeded by the amount of steam, but she saw enough to make her heart race. In the conventional sense, he wasn’t ‘hot’. He wasn’t ruggedly handsome like Mark Sloan or drop dead gorgeous like Derek Shepherd, but to her, he was even better. George O’Malley was *hers* and from the moment she had first looked into his eyes she knew that she wanted nothing else. She padded across the cool tiles and quietly opened the doors.
George grinned when he felt her arms go around his waist. "You know, I was just thinking that this is an awful big shower for just one person."
"You smell good." She pressed a kiss against his mouth and mussed his hair, which was slicked back from the water. "You know what?"
"I’m going to show you what big showers are good for."
He grinned at her. "The suspense is killing me."
Her hands spanned his chest, his shoulders. Leaning closer to him, she nipped his earlobe and neck, then trailed a path down his body until she was kneeling at his feet. When she took him into her mouth, he gripped a handful of her hair and softly moaned her name. She teased him relentlessly, pushing him to the brink several times only to hold back at the last minute and prolong his release. He was begging her, promising her the world, by the time she finally drove him over the edge. When she got to her feet again and rinsed her mouth, she saw that he was leaning against the wall, legs still shaking. "Did you like that?"
"Understatement." Through hooded eyes, he watched as she shampooed her long, black hair and scrubbed the makeup from her face. After he regained his composure, he soaped the loofah and ran it over her back. "You know what?"
"What?" she asked, tilting her head so he could soap her neck.
"Your mother is jealous of you."
"Okay, the last thing I expected you to mention was my mother." Callie wrinkled her nose. "And why would she be jealous of me?"
He turned her, soaping her stomach, then lazily drawing the loofah across her breasts. "If you took all her makeup off, took the hairspray out of her hair, and really looked at her it would be a rude awakening. And I’m looking at you, totally bare, your face so clean it shines and all I can think is that you’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. I can barely look away.
"Your mom is alone, Cal. She’s completely by herself and she knows that no one wants her. She looks at you and she sees how much Pop and Chloe love you. She has to see how much I love you. She resents you for what Pop has given you, but she’s jealous of you because you earned something she couldn’t." He let the sponge drop to the shower floor and cupped her face when her eyes welled with tears. "Don’t cry, baby. She’s not worth it."
"It’s not because of her. It’s because you somehow know exactly what to say to me."
"I’m not a toddler anymore. I found my words, Callie. They were hiding in my heart and I finally let you open the door." He kissed her, clinging to her heated body. "I’m sorry I made you wait."
"It was worth it."
They stayed in the shower, exploring one another until the water finally cooled, then they wrapped themselves in thick, burgundy towels and headed for Callie’s bed. He helped her pull the cover back and grinned when he saw the satin sheets. "Mmm, kinky," he smiled his approval.
"Mmmm, Chloe! It’s scary how well she knows me. She knew you’d be in here tonight."
George’s face reddened a little, recalling the fact that Callie had made it very plain that they would be sleeping together. "I dunno," he replied. "They probably think we’re playing videogames up here."
Callie shrugged. "We’re playing the mature kind."
On her knees, she walked across the bed and pulled the towel from his waist. He responded in kind, slowly unwrapping hers and tossing it onto the floor behind him. Leaning down, he breathed in her scent. "You smell so good. While we were apart every single time I smelled jasmine or gardenia or whatever this is ... I had physical pain just thinking about how much I wanted to touch you again."
"So touch me."
He didn’t have to be told twice.
A shrill beeping roused Addison from a very, very pleasant dream. She felt Alex shut off the alarm and sighed, curling closer against him. "It is cruel and unusual to be forced out of bed at the butt crack of dawn."
Alex chuckled a little. "At least you have the day off. You can nap. I was kept up all night by a ravenous woman who refused to take pity on me."
"Only that I don’t have enough time to pick up where we left off." He kissed her forehead and rolled away, sitting up.
She watched the muscles in his back ripple as he stretched and yawned. They had made love over and over again the previous night and she wondered if his body felt as good as hers still did. She was contemplating asking him when her pager sounded in the other room. "Can you get that?"
Alex hurried into the living room and grabbed her purse. Addison dug through it and finally located her pager. She checked the number and frowned. "It’s the hospital."
He watched as she pulled out her cellphone and quickly called in. From the one sided conversation he was able to glean enough information to rapidly gather her clothing and put it beside her. He dressed quickly and was waiting to help her when she hung up.
"It’s bad," she told him, quickly pulling on her panties. "We have to hurry."
They were on their way to the hospital within minutes, where she finally filled him in on what had happened. Alex followed her into the ER, noting that one of the orderlies was mopping up a thin line of blood in the hallway. He was the first intern on duty and Bailey charged forward. "Karev, change into your scrubs right now and report to trauma three."
"Yes, ma’am." He reached out, squeezing Addison’s hand. "Are you going to be okay?"
She nodded. "It just hits close to home. After what happened to Callie. You know?"
"Karev! Now!" Bailey shouted.
Addison hurried down the hallway and into trauma one. Chief Webber was leaning over the woman on the stretcher, listening to her heart beat. Addison swallowed hard, shocked at the amount of blood that covered the stretcher and the floor. "Richard?"
Webber took the stethoscope from his ears and shook his head. "The sick bastard who did this to her is in trauma three."
She leaned her crutches against the wall when Olivia rushed in carrying the yellow disposable scrubs that were used in trauma cases. It was difficult work, but soon Addison’s street clothes were soon covered and she had pulled on gloves. Moving slowly to avoid slipping on one of the many patches of blood, Addison did a mental inventory of the apparent wounds to the young woman.
A long laceration ran the length of the woman’s forehead and both eyes were swollen shut from massive swelling. A breathing tube had been inserted and Addison could see that the woman’s teeth had been broken and the pointy edges had ripped the woman’s lips to shreds. Lifting the sheet, she swore under her breath and tried to shake the image away. There were enough stab wounds present to allow the intestines to peek through in numerous locations.
Olivia pulled a cart to the foot of the bed. "I have the rape kit, Dr. Montgomery."
Taking a deep breath, Addison lowered the sheet and moved to the foot of the bed. This was her job. She had done it at least a hundred times, but it never got any easier. "What’s her name?" she asked.
Richard picked up the chart and scanned it. "Marlie Jones, age twenty seven." His eyes met Addison’s over the chart. "Her husband is the one responsible for it."
Addison struggled to lift the woman’s feet into the stirrups so Olivia and Richard both helped. She began the exam, trying hard to concentrate on Marlie, but in her mind’s eyes, she saw Callie lying on the bed. Callie crying, Callie being terrified.
Callie being a rape victim.
It was too much to deal with.
The drive back to the was more enjoyable for Callie and George than the ride up had been. He sang along to the radio, horribly off key and changing all the lyrics in very perverted ways. They stopped for breakfast and to his delight, she actually ate enough to satisfy him. As they walked into the hospital, he patted the small box in his pocket. Pop had taken him aside that morning, giving him the most beautiful ring that George had ever laid his eyes on. It was heart shaped with smaller diamonds on either side, set in a white gold band. Inscribed on the inside was one word ... ‘eternity’.
He had promised Pop that he would come up with a romantic and memorable way to ask Callie to marry him and he was determined to do just that. He could barely wait to show the ring to Harold. As the elevator doors opened, he leaned over and kissed her cheek. "Are you-"
"Oh my god." Callie froze, staring at the camera man who stood a few feet away. A news reporter was nearby, having makeup dusted over his already orange face.
George could barely believe his eyes. When she had mentioned the possibility of having her story exposed, he had not really taken it seriously. "Come on. Just keep your head down."
She nodded and followed him, not making eye contact with anyone. No one seemed to notice them however and as she ducked into Harold’s room, she was so relieved that she leaned back against the wall. Harold, who was digging into a bowl of green jello, looked up at the two of them. "Well, hello strangers!"
"Hey," George replied, smiling at the older man. He took Callie’s hand in his and whispered, "See? It’s okay."
Louise came out of the bathroom and hugged George, then Callie. "Where have you two been?"
"Callie took me to her place so I could meet her grandparents." George beamed. "We spent the night."
"Well, that sounds lovely!" Louise replied. "Did you have a nice time?"
"We did. Well, *I* did. I don’t think George has quite gotten over the horseback ride." Callie told her.
"Georgie! You went riding?" Harold laughed. "You haven’t done that since you fell off the side of that little pony when you were a kid. I remember that like it was yesterday." He smiled at Callie. "He wet his pants and the horse took offense to the shower and hopped a little. George went flying."
"Awww." Callie hugged George, who looked mortified that his father had shared something so embarrassing. "After seeing you ride ... it’s so easy for me to picture you doing that."
George goosed her in the ribs, causing her to yelp. "It’s so easy for me to picture tickling you until you pee in *your* pants."
Louise and Harold both grinned at one another as the couple playfully sparred back and forth. It felt good to see their son so happy. And so oblivious to anyone but his girlfriend. A nurse entered and began to take Harold’s vital signs, and when she lifted the sheet to check the catheter, Callie and Louise both made themselves scarce.
In the hallway, Louise threaded her arm through Callie’s and said, "I need coffee, honey."
"You and me both," Callie replied, patting the woman’s hand. "Did you spend the night here?"
"Harold refused to let me." Louise greeted one of the nurse’s by name as they walked toward the cafeteria. "He thinks that he’s an inconvenience."
"That’s normal for people in the hospital. They start to feel guilty when they see the toll it takes on their loved ones."
"Can I ask you something? And can you be brutally honest with me?"
Callie glanced down at the shorter woman. "Uh, sure."
"The doctors here have given me brochures and printouts, but I want to know more. What can I really expect from the chemotherapy?"
It would have been much easier to answer a question about whether or not she had slept with Mark Sloane or about what she was planning where George was concerned. This was never an easy topic and the answers were rarely comforting. "Louise, maybe you should talk to the -"
"I want to talk to you."
They entered the cafeteria and ordered the biggest coffees available. Callie led the way to a table in the back of the room and added two sugars to her cup. Louise sat across from her and stared at her expectantly. "Okay," Callie said, resigned to the fact that the topic wasn’t going away. "Not everyone is affected by the treatment in the same way. Some people never have a single side effect and others experience every one of them. Worst case scenario would be severe nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. There can also be mouth sores, ulcers, and trouble breathing. His skin may become incredibly dry or sensitive to touch. He may lose all of his hair and a ton of weight because his appetite is affected. Or he may not."
Louise nodded. "And how long will it take for it to work?"
Callie sipped her coffee, stalling for time while she searched for the right answer. "Remission, when and if it happens, can take several months, even years. It depends on how aggressive the cancer is and what other organs are affected by it. People on chemo often become depressed and withdrawn because they feel sick all the time so it’s important to keep that person happy and content and loved because I really believe that the mind impacts the healing."
Louise swallowed hard. "I’ll be beside him every step of the way. It’s just - it’s hard. I hurt when he hurts. I cry when he cries."
"You love him." Callie reached for the other woman’s hand. "That’s the most powerful medicine in the world."
"Oh, enough of this sad talk!" Louise blotted at her eyes with her napkin and sniffled. "I’ve never seen Georgie look so happy. How did he do with your family?"
"He was amazing. Pop loved him."
Callie, who had lifted her coffee, sat it back down without taking a drink. "Yes, I do. Very much."
"Good. Because we’re pretty crazy about you. Harold and I. As a matter of fact, we kinda love the heck out of you. You’re family as far as we’re concerned. The fact that you’re crazy about our son and he’s crazy about you is just an added bonus."
It took every ounce of her strength not to cry, but somehow Callie managed. "Thank you, Louise. I kinda love the heck out of you guys, too. Ronnie, Jerry, all of you. I can’t imagine a better family than yours and I am so blessed that you let me be a part of it."
Louise beamed at her, her smile widening. "You speak of the devils and they arrive."
Ronnie and Jerry were both crossing the cafeteria and they plopped down on either side of Callie, nudging her with their shoulders. "What are you ladies doing?" Jerry asked.
"We’re having a hen party and you two roosters are not invited." Louise slapped Ronnie’s hand when he reached for her coffee. "Get your own!"
"So," Jerry said, glancing over at Callie. "Your annoying little boyfriend wouldn’t let us go in dad’s room. They’re changing his cath. What does that mean?"
Both boys grabbed their crotches as groaned.
A set of x-rays caught Callie’s eye as she walked back toward Harold’s room with the O’Malleys. She excused herself and went to the light panel, studying the film. A series of small, jagged fractures ran through the small bones of a right hand and the wrist was dislocated. She moved closer, tracing the series of breaks with her pinky. It was bad. Whoever it was had done a number on their hand. Probably a hockey injury. Or a bad fall.
"Whose are these?" she asked Olivia, the cute little red haired nurse, who was making notes in a chart nearby.
"Man named Randal Jones. Did you get the Chief’s page?"
Callie patted her pocket, then remembered that she had left her pager and cellphone in the car. "Did he want me to see this?"
"Yeah, he wanted a second opinion." Olivia closed the chart. "I’ll let him know you’re here."
Callie added another film to the light panel and thoughtfully chewed her bottom lip. Whoever the poor soul was would need surgery to repair his scaphoid and triquetral. The wrist would need to be popped back into place immediately. Chief Webber tapped her on the shoulder and she turned, shaking her head at him. "I’m sorry I didn’t get your page."
"It’s fine." He nodded at the film. "What do you think?"
She gave him her opinion and said, "If you need me to do it I’d be happy to."
Webber looked relieved and held out the chart to her. "I would appreciate it. It’s been a mad house around here today. I have about a million patients still waiting to be seen."
"I’m on it." She headed down the hallway, retrieving her long white medical jacket from her locker and changing into a pair of dark blue scrubs. After she had secured her hair in a high ponytail, she walked into Randal Jones’ room and drew up short. There were at least five police officers milling around. Izzie and Alex were tightening restraints on the Mr. Jones’ legs and Mr. Jones was bellowing a string of swear words that were nothing short of impressive. Callie sized him up, taking in the claw marks on his cheek and the drying blood that dotted his face and arms. His left hand was cuffed to the bed and his right hand was covered with a towel. Despite the nasty break, he was punching the air with the broken hand, trying to land a blow on anyone who got close enough.
When he almost clipped Izzie on the cheek, Callie yanked her backwards and said, "Be careful."
"Hey," Izzie said, breathing hard as she pushed her hair out of her face. "He’s psychotic."
"Sir," Callie attempted to get his attention. "Sir, you have a significant break in your hand. Please try to stop moving it."
"Ooh wee!" the man said, reaching out toward her. "You’re a pretty little thing. Wanna suck my di-"
"Mr. Jones," Callie shouted. "You will lose your hand if we don’t go in and repair the extensive damage. I need you to sign a consent form and-"
"I’m not signing a damn thing," he shot back. "You assholes are not cutting me open."
Callie glanced at Alex, who was clenching and unclenching his fist as if he ached to punch the man. She knew the feeling. Turning to one of the officers, she said, "Can you secure his broken wrist long enough for me to pop it back in place?"
"Don’t touch me!" Jones yelled, beginning to struggle against the binds. "I’m refusing treatment! Do you hear me? I am refusing treatment and if you touch me I’ll sue!"
Izzie crossed her arms over her chest. "Let him refuse. Let him suffer. He deserves it."
Alex nodded. "Screw him."
Ignoring them both, Callie took a tentative step forward, careful to stay out of strike range. "Mr. Jones, I need you to understand that by refusing treatment you will not only lose function in that hand, but you could eventually face amputation. The surgery that you need will only take a few hours and the recovery will be less painful than leaving it like it is."
"NOOOOO!" Randal Jones screamed, the veins in his neck bulging as much as his eyes. "I DON’T WANT A FUCKING SURGERY! NOW GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY ROOM!"
"I’m done," Izzie threw her hands up and stalked from the room.
Alex started to follow her, but paused next to Callie and in a low voice, said, "He killed his wife. He beat her for days, raped her repeatedly, and then stabbed her seventeen times. If he refuses treatment then he also refuses pain medicine. Let the son of a bitch burn."
Randal laughed maniacally as Alex left the room. "It’s just you and me, pretty lady. Want me to show you why I only need one good hand? I can get you off in two seconds. C’mere and we can entertain our audience. Hey, cop, push her over here."
She glared at him as he extended his tongue, wiggling it up and down. He began to lift his hips off the bed, simulating sex and started moaning and groaning, "Doctor... oh doctor. That’s it. Ride it, baby. Ride it."
The chart in Callie’s hand suddenly felt like it weighed eight hundred pounds. The room tilted, the walls began to spin, and she sat down on the rolling stool in the corner. Two officers were beside her instantly and she shook her head, telling them she was fine. When she glanced back at the bed, Randal Jones was no longer there. Roy Porter was there, smirking at her, laughing at her, telling her that she was too pretty to be a doctor as he stroked his crotch with his broken hand.
Slowly getting to her feet, she took a deep breath and glared at him. She wanted to say ten million things. She wanted to leap onto the bed and beat him to death. She wanted to kick him, cut him, bite him. Instead, she cleared her throat and looked away, directing her comments to the officer nearest her. "He’s refusing treatment. I can’t do anything without his signature. And since he probably won’t sign the refusal form either, I’ll need one of you to do so." She pulled the proper form from the chart and held it out. "Who wants the honor?"
An older cop stepped forward and took the form. Without looking back at Randal, she explained that the signature would confirm that she had repeatedly attempted to gain authorization for treatment and failed. She was releasing him, against her will, into the officer’s custody and would not be held liable for any complications that arose. With the signature in place, she stalked out of the room and handed the file to Olivia.
In the bathroom, she splashed water on her face and studied her reflection. She was ashamed of herself. She had said *nothing* to the man. She had let him verbally berate her, sexually harass her, and she had clammed up like someone had hit her mute button. Nausea washed over her and she ran into the bathroom, emptying her stomach of the breakfast and coffee she had enjoyed earlier.
"Callie?" Addison glanced under the stall, recognizing her shoes. "Alex said you were in here. Are you okay?"
"Did you work on his wife?"
"Yeah," she replied honestly.
"Where is she?"
"She died. They took her down to the morgue a little while ago."
Callie wiped her mouth with a wad of tissue and flushed the toilet. When she emerged, she was pale and shaky. "I need to see her."
"What?" Addison shook her head. "No. No, you don’t."
Callie brushed past her and Addison followed, much slower, on her crutches. By the time she rounded the corner, Callie was already in the elevator and the doors were sliding shut. She turned and saw that Alex was a few steps behind her. "Get George," she told him. "Bring him to the morgue."
The wait for the elevator felt like a day and a half. If her knee hadn’t been injured, Addison would have happily sprinted down the stairs. Instead, by the time the lift arrived, George was jogging down the hallway with Alex and both joined her as she stepped inside. She explained what had happened and George swore under his breath.
Alex stayed close to Addison when the doors slid open and George sprinted ahead of them. His sneakers squeaked on the tiles as he skidded to a stop and walked into the morgue. Callie had already opened the drawer and unzipped the bag. "Hey," he said softly. "You shouldn’t be in here."
She brushed a lock of the woman’s hair from her cheek, pulling it from the dried blood there. Her mind flashed to Molly. Molly curled in a fetal position, crying that her hands were hurting. Molly with dried blood on her face, her left eye swollen shut from the many beatings that Callie had witnessed. Molly whimpering that she was hungry, that she was cold, that she wanted her mother. Molly asking why her father had hurt them both. Sweet, innocent Molly who had once bought Callie a doll with her allowance because Callie had the flu. Molly begging to be left alone, asking if Callie was okay, rolling until she was close enough to Callie to share her warmth.
Molly had taken the witness stand, back straight, and spoken about what Roy Porter, her father, had done to the two of them. She had lifted her arms, showing that she had no hands, but her voice never wavered once. Over the years she had learned to function without her hands, had triumphed, written a book about the ordeal, was a spokesperson against violence against women and children.
And Molly had killed herself.
She would never speak again.
Addison quietly entered the room and stopped next to George. "What is she-"
"She never woke up did she?" Callie asked, glancing up at Addison. "She died before she could give a statement?"
"Right," Addison replied. "She never regained consciousness."
With shaking hands, Callie pulled the zipper up and pushed the drawer back in place. She closed the door and latched it, then turned toward the others. She pulled in a deep breath and said, "I know what I have to say now. At the hearing."
"You’re going?" George asked.
Addison and George both grabbed her, hugging her at the same time. Alex grinned a little, watching the exchange, and threw his arms around all of them.