Chapter 1 - Life Is UnExpected
"Thank you for walking me to my door," Izzie Stevens smiled and fumbled with the keys to her apartment as she turned to face her boyfriend.
"Of course," Alex Karev smiled and leaned in, placing a kiss to the corner of her mouth.
Izzie caught his lips, deepening the kiss as her arms wrapped around his neck and she pulled him closer to her. "Do you want to come in?" she breathed when they parted.
Alex hesitated, giving the idea a moment's thought. "I can't," he groaned, forcing himself away from her. "I've got to pull some extra hours at the clinic tomorrow, and if I come inside...I'm not going in tomorrow, I know that." His hand moved to her hip, stroking the flesh there as the temptation of the beautiful blonde was almost too much to resist.
"But tomorrow is Saturday," Izzie pouted, that full lip tempting him even more.
"Just because your clinic is closed doesn't mean mine is," Alex smirked and leaned in, placing a few kisses to her neck, causing Izzie to groan softly. "I'll call you later."
Alex turned and moved towards his black Challenger, forcing himself to not cast a second glance to his girlfriend. If he did, Alex would be hauling Izzie into her bedroom and spending the night with her. That was the last thing he needed to be doing when he was so far behind on his work. Izzie had already enticed him away for lunch earlier that day with a quickie in the parking lot for desert, and it had set him back a couple of hours. Completely worth it though, Alex thought to himself as he sped away from the apartment complex.
Alex Karev had the perfect charmed life. He was quickly becoming one of the countries best pediatricians and currently worked at the Grey Sloan Memorial Children's Clinic, a spin off clinic from the Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital where he completed his internship and residency. Alex was basically able to kill two birds with one stone at the children's clinic-he was able to be in charge of a clinic, which granted him a bigger salary, but he was also able to immediately whisk a child into surgery if he/she needed it. He was living the dream life. He no longer had to suffer the long hours of residency, but he could still perform a surgery whenever he itched for the OR.
Being head of the children's clinic also gave Alex more time to spend with his gorgeous girlfriend Izzie Stevens.
Alex and Izzie met during their first year as interns. It was a bumpy road, and neither of them really cared for the other, but somehow, a friendship began to form. They had ups and downs like everyone, but strangely enough, after residency was when they were able to become close as a couple. Just as Alex predicted, Izzie ditched surgery, but chose to become a Dermatologist instead when she had a scare of skin cancer. Izzie's near-death cancer sparked an interest in her, and she switched specialties. Izzie headed up her own dermatology clinic in the middle of the city, and due to her history of cancer, business was booming. Everyone believed that Izzie could spot skin cancer a mile away, so they wanted her to be the one to take care of every bump, mole, and blemish.
Alex was successful, and Izzie was successful, but together, they were one hell of a power couple. They had the looks, the money, and the fame. The only storm cloud hovering over Alex's life was that Izzie wanted marriage, and Alex wasn't ready. Alex couldn't figure out why he wasn't ready though. Izzie was a good person, and she was beautiful; completely out of his league. She was in the same field as he was, so Alex knew that Izzie wasn't a gold digger. He still couldn't figure out why he didn't have the desire to propose to Izzie.
Alex was financially ready for a wife. In fact, he even wanted a few kids. What was stopping him? What was holding him back from taking that next step into adult hood?
His life was perfect.
The only thing about perfection...it doesn't usually last long.
Alex parked his car outside of his town house and whistled to himself as he set the alarm and started towards the door. His brows furrowed as he neared his front door and saw someone sitting on the doorstep. "Who's there?" he frowned as the figure shifted positions. "Amber?"
"Hey, Alex," Amber Karev sighed as her oldest brother approached. "I was hoping you still lived here."
Alex pursed his lips. He loved his sister dearly, but...whenever Amber showed up, it usually wasn't for good news. "What's wrong? Did Aaron try to hurt you again?"
"No, he's still in the institution," Amber replied and moved to her feet. "Ssshhhh," she soothed as the child in her arms began to squawk.
Alex stopped, his hand half-way to the doorknob. "Is that your baby?" he asked through gritted teeth.
"Not now, Alex," Amber sighed heavily. "Please, just let me in, and I'll tell you everything."
Alex looked to his sister, shaking his head. Typical, just typical. He knew that whenever Amber showed up, she brought along a tornado of insanity. After unlocking the door, Alex ushered Amber inside and closed the door behind him. "Out with it," he ordered and flipped on a lamp.
"Nice place," Amber mused as she looked around. "You're really making money now, aren't you?"
"Something like that," Alex replied carefully. He'd just managed to pay off his student loans last month, so he finally had some financial breathing room. He didn't want Amber thinking he was loaded or anything. "Who's the kid?"
"This is Sarah," Amber smiled, looking down to her daughter. "She's three months old."
"Adorable," Alex replied dryly, barely glancing at the baby as he ran his hand through his hair. "What happened, Amber? I thought we had everything planned! Last I heard, you were going to college to major in business, and you had your head on straight! What the hell happened?!"
"Ssshhhh," Amber hissed as Sarah begin to cry in her arms. "She doesn't like yelling!"
"Where did she even come from?!" Alex exclaimed, throwing a hand in the child's direction. He watched as his sister attempted to handle the fussing infant. "Here, give her to me." Alex plucked the squawking baby from his sister's arms and cuddled her against his chest. "Ssshhh," he soothed, bouncing her gently and walking with her around his living room. "There you go," he smiled, looking down into her big blue eyes as she stared up at him. "She's beautiful, Ambs."
"You're a natural," Amber remarked quietly as she watched her big brother with her baby. "She loves you already."
"Who doesn't?" Alex smirked and placed a kiss to the baby's head. "Why didn't you tell me you were pregnant?" he asked as he sat in the recliner and cradled Sarah in his arms.
"I knew you were going to freak out," Amber confessed and dropped onto the couch. "It wasn't planned or anything, it just happened."
"Didn't I give you the safe sex talk when you were thirteen?" Alex frowned. "What, you get out of the house and forget all of that?"
"Stop nagging me!" Amber snapped. "You're not my dad!"
"You better be glad of that," Alex warned with dark eyes. "I'd give you the beating you deserve and put you in a convent."
"I'm too evil for a convent," Amber chuckled and looked down to her hands. "His name is Billy," she sighed, glancing back to Alex. "We've been dating off and on for a few months. One night I got really drunk at this party, and..." She bit her lip as Alex frowned at her. "Anyway, when I found out I was pregnant, Billy kicked me out. He's not ready to be a father."
"Clearly," Alex remarked dryly.
"I fell behind in my classes, so I failed out," Amber sighed, tears filling her eyes. "Then, I lost my job, and now I have nowhere to go."
Alex grit his teeth and shook his head. He couldn't stay angry with Amber; she was barely an adult who ran into some hard times. Lord knows it could have been Alex with the way he was sleeping around for a while there. "Do you want to stay here for a while?" he asked, rocking Sarah gently in his arms as her eyes drifted closed.
"Thanks, but I've got somewhere to go," Amber replied, her gaze shifting to the ground. "I, umm, called Aunt Charlotte. She's going to let me live with her for a while until I get back on my feet."
"That's good," Alex nodded. Charlotte was the one person in their family who wasn't batshit crazy. "Getting back to Iowa will be good for you."
"I thought that too," Amber agreed and bit her nail. "I just, uh..." She sighed and ran her hand through her dark hair. "Can you float me some money for a bus ticket? I swear, I'll pay you back as soon as I get a job."
"You better," Alex remarked and stood, cradling Sarah in one arm and working his wallet from the back pocket of his jeans. "Here," he said and handed his sister a few hundreds. "That should hold you over for a little while."
"Thank you, Alex," Amber said through watered eyes and wrapped her arms around him. "I knew I could count on you."
Alex wrapped his free arm around his sister and placed a kiss to her temple. "Next time call me, okay? You know I'll help you."
"I know," Amber whispered and stuffed the money into her back pocket. She wandered his living room, looking at the paintings on the walls. "Do you have something to drink?" she asked, clearing her throat.
"Yeah, hold on," Alex said and moved towards the kitchen. "I don't like the circumstances," he called over his shoulder, "but I love getting to meet my niece." He opened the refrigerator door and held Sarah close to his chest. Leaning over carefully, Alex rifled through the refrigerator and pulled out a bottle of water. "You know, you could stay here for a few days if you wanted, Ambs. I wouldn't mind spending time with my niece." He looked down to the baby who was now blinking up at him. "No, I wouldn't," he cooed and put a kiss to her round cheeks, causing the infant to laugh.
Alex returned to the living room and scanned the vacant room. "Amber?" he asked, looking around. "Amber!" Alex moved down the hall and checked the bathroom. Empty. "Amber!" he yelled, throwing open the door to every bedroom as he cradled the child against his chest. "Amber!" Alex ran for the front door and threw it open, looking up and down the street frantically. "Aaammmbbbeeerrrrrrr!"
Amber was gone!
Alex looked to the now crying infant in his arms as he moved back inside. "Ssshhhh," he soothed, rocking her gently. Alex worked the cellphone from his pocket and dialed his sister's number.
The number you've dialed has been disconnected. Please check the number and try your call again later
"Damnit!" Alex cursed and threw the phone onto the sofa. Amber had dropped her child in his lap and left! He wasn't ready to take care of a baby! Alex had a job, not just a job, but a career! He had patients to see and surgeries to perform! He didn't have time for a baby right now!
Alex snatched up the phone and dialed Amber's number again, only to get the same message. "Bitch!" he spat and threw the phone onto the sofa again. Amber had completely played him! She'd set him up and like an idiot, he fell for it! When was Alex going to learn that his siblings only came to him when they needed something? They weren't the type of family to drop in for lovey-dovey visits with no hidden agenda.
Alex paced the living room of his home for an hour as his mind ran a mile a second. How was he going to do this? He didn't even own a baby bed! Or diapers! Or formula! It was clear that Sarah was getting hungry because she was getting fussy and sucking her thumb. Alex couldn't even go to the drugstore up the street because he didn't have a car seat! If Amber was going to drop the baby in his lap, why didn't she at least pack a diaper bag?!
Alex took a slow, deep breath and picked up his cell, dialing the number of the one person he knew he could count on.
"Thank you for coming," Alex sighed an hour later as he opened the door to his home.
"No problem," Arizona chirped as she and Callie swooped in with an arm load of baby supplies.
"We'd have been here sooner, but we had to go to storage to get Sophia's things," Callie said as she dropped a diaper bag onto Alex's sofa. "You don't mind using hand-me-downs, do you?"
"I'll take anything and be grateful," Alex sighed.
"We got her the formula Sophia used," Arizona informed him as she retrieved bottles and formula from a shopping bag. "It's gentle on the stomach." Arizona walked over to him and gazed at the baby. "She's gorgeous, Karev," she smiled and ran her fingers over the locks of brown hair. "She looks just like you."
"The Karev genes are very pronounced," Alex smirked. "Thank you, Arizona, I don't know how I would have survived tonight without you."
Arizona gave him a smile and patted his arm. "I'll take her if you'd like to help Callie bring in the rest of the baby stuff."
Alex handed his niece to his mentor and joined Callie outside, helping her unload everything he'd need for a new baby. A baby bed, a changing table, a car seat, a playpen, diapers, formula, clothes, and plenty of toys. Once everything was unloaded, Alex assembled the baby bed in the bedroom across the hall from his room while Callie set up the baby monitors. Arizona fed Sarah, changed her, and put her to bed as Alex started up the mobile.
"She just dropped her here and left?" Callie gaped as the three adults collapsed in the living room.
"Yeah," Alex sighed and made sure the monitor was on. "I dropped Izzie off after dinner, and when I got home, Amber was sitting on my doorstep."
"What did she want?" Arizona asked as Callie shook her head.
Alex ran his hand over his head and took a drink of his beer. "She said she was going to Iowa to live with Aunt Charlotte for a while, and she needed some money. I gave it to her and went to get her some water. When I came back, she was gone."
"Did you call her?" Callie asked as she and Arizona exchanged a look.
"Her phone is cut off."
The women groaned. "She set you up good," Arizona shook her head.
"Tell me about it," Alex muttered and dropped his head onto the back of the couch. "I don't know what to do! I don't have time for a kid right now!"
"No one ever has time for a kid, Karev," Callie chuckled.
"You know what I mean!" Alex snapped. "I didn't even have a bed! If it weren't for you two, Sarah would have slept on the floor!" He closed his eyes and brought his fingers to the bridge of his nose. "And what am I going to do with her when I have to work? She can't come to the clinic!" He sighed heavily and opened his eyes, looking to his coworkers. "Do you think she'd be eligible for childcare at the hospital?"
Arizona and Callie exchanged another look as Arizona winced. "Yeah, uh, about that..."
"The Avery foundation cut the child care last month," Callie informed him.
"What?!" Alex exploded, jumping to his feet.
"They're cutting costs," Arizona nodded. "I think they're turning the area into another lab."
"Great!" Alex exclaimed and threw up his hands. "What am I going to do?! I don't have time for this!"
"Karev, relax," Arizona instructed, moving to her feet. "It's going to be okay, you'll see. Just spend the weekend getting to know your niece. Babies are awesome."
"Totally awesome," Callie smiled, joining her wife's side.
"Then, on Monday, take a few days off from the clinic," Arizona suggested. "George can handle it just fine. Spend that time to get Sarah into a daycare."
"Piece of cake," Callie chirped.
"Yeah," Alex muttered. "Piece of cake." There went his savings.
"You paged me nine one one?" Arizona asked Wednesday afternoon as she ran into the children's clinic. "Hey, Sarah," she cooed, lavishing kisses on the baby girl's cheeks.
"I've called every daycare in Seattle!" Alex exclaimed. "There's a waiting list at every one! Every freaking one! I don't know what I'm going to do with her!"
Arizona made a face and looked to him. "And you still haven't located Amber?"
"No!" Alex exclaimed. "No one has heard from her in a week!"
Arizona grabbed Alex's shoulders and shook him. "Get a grip!" she exclaimed. "Take a breath." Arizona watched as Alex took a slow breath. "Okay, here's what you're going to do. You're going to put out an ad for a nanny."
"A nanny?!" Alex spat. "Seriously?"
"Do you have a better idea?" Arizona snapped. Alex went mute. "Put out an ad for a nanny. Everyone is doing it now-a-days, especially those with careers. Callie and I got one last month when they closed down the daycare. How much can you afford?"
"Not much," Alex admitted and made a face. "I just got all of my loans paid off, so I don't have much to spare."
"Hmmmm," Arizona mused and began pacing the floor of the clinic. "I've got it," she snapped her fingers. "You've got a nice house, so make it live-in."
"Live in?!" Alex exploded. "No way! I'm not having some stranger live in my house to take care of a baby that's not even mine!" Not to mention that Izzie would freak out.
"What else can you do?" Arizona asked. "Or do you plan to quit your career now?"
Alex grasped for straws, but couldn't come up with anything. "I'm going to murder Amber the next time I see her," he grumbled and looked to the sleeping baby.
Arizona smiled triumphantly. "It's better to have a live-in nanny anyway," she reasoned, "in case you're called out in the middle of the night for an emergency."
"Yeah, okay," Alex agreed, then hesitated. "I don't even know what qualifications to look for. I've never done this before."
"Don't worry, me and Callie will be there," Arizona smirked. "If we leave it up to you, you'll hire the one with the biggest boobs whether she's qualified or not."
"You got that right," Alex grinned and looked to the sleeping child. He never knew that in a matter of minutes, his life was going to be turned upside down.