Hey, everyone! I'm back. For those of you who haven't read my other story, The Truth About Love, this is the sequel and this story might not make much sense without reading the other one first. :D Enjoy!
Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
Chapter One: Real Life Fairytale
You are my light, you are my star
You are my sunshine and my dark
You are the everything I dreamed about
You are the guy who stole my heart
I am the girl you're always smiling for
We have a love people dream about
A real life fairytale
If you ask someone who's never lived in Seattle to tell you something about the city, chances are, they'll mention one of three things: the coffee, the Space Needle, or the rain. Seattle is, after all, infamous for rain. So, what is it with our fascination with rain? Even as children, nothing is quite as exciting as splashing through puddles while a gentle shower falls; and every little girl who's seen Breakfast at Tiffany's dreams about someday having her own romantic kiss in the rain. Throughout history, the rain has been symbolic of healing and cleansing and starting new. But what happens when a simple spring shower becomes a life-changing storm? What do you do when something that's supposed to be healing ends up causing the most damage? Because once it starts, there's no way to stop the rain from falling.
A gentle cry over the baby monitor woke Derek Shepherd early one morning. Next to him, his wife Meredith was still fast asleep, and he kissed her lips softly before rising to tend to their newborn daughter.
However, when he crossed the hall, he realized that baby Aida was already being well taken care of. And what he saw brought a smile to his face and warmed his heart.
Six-year-old Elena, his other daughter and the light of his life since the very beginning of hers, was leaning over her sister's crib and whispering words of comfort and reassurance. "Hey, Princess," he whispered, and Elena looked up at him and smiled.
"Hi, Daddy. Aida's awake; I think she's probably hungry."
He nodded and lifted the infant up out of her crib. "How's my beautiful Aida Grace? Are you hungry, Sweetheart? You know what, Elle; I think you're right. I'll take care of her, and you should try to go back to sleep. It's still pretty early."
But Elena shook her head, sending her dark curls bouncing. "I'm not sleepy. I'm still used to New York time. Can I sit with you while you feed Aida?"
For the past week, Elena had been living with them while Addison—Elena's mother and Derek's ex-wife—took care of once again transferring their lives from New York to Seattle. And for the past week, he had been relishing having all three of his children—Elena, Aida, and his four-year-old son Hayden—under one roof. "Of course you can," he permitted, and Elena slipped her tiny hand into his as they started downstairs.
"Daddy, do you have to go to the hospital today?" she wondered as she sat at the kitchen table watching him prepare her sister's bottle.
Derek nodded. "I have a lumbar laminectomy at ten, then I have to check on a few patients. Hayden'll be at preschool until this afternoon, so it'll just be you, Meredith, and the baby. I can count on you to look after them while I'm gone, right?"
"Yes, Daddy," Elena nodded, but Derek noticed that she looked a little bit sad.
If it had been up to him, he would have opted to spend every moment of every day with his family. However, as a surgeon he had an obligation to his patients and to the hospital. Derek knew that as the daughter of two surgeons, Elena understood that obligation particularly well. "I'll be back before dinner."
"It's okay, Daddy," she assured him with a well-rehearsed smile.
"Did you know that your mom's coming back tonight?" he offered and watched Elena's face light up at the news.
"She is? Seriously? When did she tell you that?"
Derek himself found it odd that in the middle of the night after he'd gotten Aida back to sleep, he'd picked up the phone and called his ex-wife. She had sounded just as surprised to hear him, but some had been more than happy to talk despite the late hour. "I talked to her last night; the house sold faster than she'd expected, and her contract with Manhattan General has been settled."
"It just means that she's made arrangements to move her primary practice back to Seattle but will still fly out to New York depending on the case," Derek explained, and Elena nodded.
"Well, look who's awake," Meredith smiled, holding a still half-asleep Hayden in her arms. "I guess it's gonna be an early day."
"Good morning," Derek greeted his wife with a kiss on the cheek.
As though watching a scene from a movie, Elena remained sitting quietly at the kitchen table. Every memory of Seattle—of her father and stepmother—had always been so happy; she was pretty sure that when the authors of the fairytales wrote about "happily ever after," this is what they meant.
"Hey, Sweetie, you're up early, too. Were you helping your dad with the baby?" Meredith smiled at her stepdaughter, although she loved the little girl as her own.
Elena found it somewhat amusing that technically, Meredith had actually known her even longer than her own mother—if only by a matter of moments. But then again, if you counted the surgery that she'd had when she was still inside her mother's stomach, that would mean that Addison was the first to meet her. Either way, she was amused. The little girl loved to hear the exciting story of her birth as told by the then-interns who had delivered her. She also loved to hear anything about her birthmother, Leni, who had passed away when she was only a baby. "I wanted to keep Daddy company."
Meredith placed Hayden in a chair beside his sister and lovingly put her hand to the little girl's cheek. "You hungry, Elle? I think that if we both give your dad the puppy face that we can get him to make pancakes before he leaves," she whispered just loud enough for her husband to hear.
"You know, I have a feeling that someone around here wants pancakes," Derek remarked humorously, and Hayden's hand shot up.
"I do, Daddy!" the little boy announced, now fully awake at the mention of breakfast.
"All right, pal," Derek laughed and exchanged a playful glance with his wife. "So, that's pancakes for four, then? Any other requests for Iron Chef Shepherd?"
Elena grinned and added, "While you're at it, we could probably use some eggs and bacon, too."
"Yeah! Cook bacon and eggs, too," Hayden nodded, grinning widely.
Meredith rose to get Aida while Derek prepared their breakfast feast. "Hayden, could you please get the milk out of the refrigerator? Thank you, Sweetheart. And Elle, would you please get your sister's blanket for me? It's the pink one with the lambs on the chair in your room."
"Okay," Elena obliged, eager to do as her father had asked and help with the baby. After all, if she was going to become a neonatal surgeon like her mother, she knew that it was probably important to learn how to take care of babies when they were healthy so that she could heal them when they were sick.
The room that Elena currently shared with her baby sister was her favorite in the entire house. Upon finding out that the newest addition to their family would be a little girl, Elena had insisted that the room that had once belonged to her should become her little sister's as well. A brother and a sister had been a dream come true for Elena, who had realized very early in her life just how important family was.
She could have easily spent hours in the room, thinking and reminiscing, but she instead grabbed her sister's blanket from the chair and hurried back downstairs where Meredith was waiting. "Here you go, Mer. Breakfast smells good, Daddy."
Derek smiled and scooped his daughter in to his arms, and Elena burst into laughter. He often wondered if it was possible for a person to have two soul mates; if so, he knew that Meredith and Elena were his. "So, are my beautiful girls and my little champ ready for this fantastic meal?"
They all confirmed enthusiastically that they were, and Derek sent Elena to sit at the table before serving them all and finally taking a seat himself.
"Doesn't Aida want any?" Hayden questioned suddenly, noticing that she was the only one without a plate.
Meredith leaned over and kissed her son atop his golden hair and smiled before explaining, "Remember that talk we had about how babies are different from big kids like you and Elle?"
He pondered her words for a moment, then said, "Oh, yeah. Aida doesn't have teeth yet."
"That's right," Derek grinned.
"'Kay, I'm all full now," Hayden announced a moment later. "I ate all my pancake. See? And two bacons and a bite of egg. I wanna go get dressed for school now."
"All right. I'll go with you in just a minute," his mother said, but Elena cheerfully volunteered. "Thank you, Elle. You're such a good helper," Meredith praised. "Make sure you two pick out something warm. It's starting to get a little chilly out."
"Okay, Meredith," Elena called back, holding Hayden's hand as they hurried upstairs. "What color sweater do you wanna wear today?" she asked as she laid out a pair of jeans and proceeded to find the missing partner of her brother's favorite shoes.
"I like the red one," he decided and grabbed the burgundy sweater out of the closet.
"And put this shirt on first," she instructed, and the little boy did as he was told. "Wanna practice tying your shoes?" she offered, and he nodded eagerly. "Okay. I'll do one, then you do one. First, you put this string under this one, then pull. Make a loop, wrap it around, push the other loop through, then pull again. Got it?"
Hayden held the shoestrings in his hand for a moment and stared at them silently before sighing in exasperation. "I can't do it yet, Elle."
"That's okay. We'll try again tomorrow," she assured him, taking over the shoe that had been discouraging him.
"Where did your mommy go? Did she leave you here so you could live with us forever?" he wondered.
Elena smiled and explained, "My mom is in New York, where we used to live. But she'll be back in Seattle tonight. When she gets back and we find a house and get settled, I'm gonna go live with her again, but we won't be far away anymore."
"So I'll see you all the time?"
She nodded. "Probably almost every day. Then, next year, when you're in kindergarten, we'll be at the same school."
"Yeah, really. My interview at Rosebrook is next week, but Cristina told your mommy that she heard from George that I'm probably going to get in."
Hayden, however, was still all smiles at the news of his sister's permanent stay in Seattle. He was also glad that Addie was going to be close by, too. She always thought of the best things to do when they visited New York; and sometimes she even convinced his mom and dad to let Elena and him have dessert before dinner if they had been extra well-behaved that day. He still wasn't quite sure how their family was a family, but he knew that somehow they all were. "Do you miss your mommy, Elle?"
She nodded; she always missed her mother when they were apart. Yet at the same time, she loved the time that she had with her father. For her entire life so far, that time had been so precious and rare; now, however, she knew that those precious moments with him would fill each and every day. She knew that everything she ever wished for in her young life would finally be hers.
Okay, so here's the deal. Usually, I don't start posting my stories until they're almost done being written, but this is "hot off the press," so to speak. Do you guys want me to post as I write (the updates will probably be only once a week since my schedule is super-crazy right now) or should I just wait until I'm pretty much done and post then? Let me know!