Living With This Regret

Summary: Addison called Mark to Seattle to make her feel beautiful. Will she regret that decision, or will it be the best she's ever made? And now that Derek is out of her life ... well, is he even out of her life? Plus, Alex, Izzie, Meredith, and a startling discovery or two … or three.

IMPORTANT! :: There are three relationship possibilities with our lovely Addison. I am up for all of them! So, if you prefer a certain ship, review! Heck, review more than once, and let me know. As the story draws to a close, I will see how many reviewers are in favor of each ship, and will end the fanfiction thusly. I have the whole story outlined out to a T, but the very ending is open to what YOU, the reader, would like. That said, I prefer Addek, but I'm partial to whatever makes my readers happy.

Disclaimer: Shonda &co. own, not I.

A/N: This chapter is the shortest of the series by more than half the other chapters.

Addison wasn't ready to call it quits with Derek. She wasn't ready, and furthermore, she wasn't sure she would ever be. She had realized for some time that he wasn't trying as hard as he might have at one time, but still she wanted to keep him to herself. Maybe that was selfish, or maybe it was the mark of a devoted wife. Either way, she was simply too stubborn to let him go.

But Derek had made the choice for her when he slept with his intern. Addison didn't like not being in control, and she especially didn't like it when her husband made decisions on her behalf. She didn't want to get a divorce in the first place, so why should Derek get to go have slutty sex because he felt like it and not even give his wife a say in where this would leave their marriage? It wasn't the infidelity. She could have handled that much better than she could the fact that she knew it was over with her husband but couldn't do anything about it. That they didn't even talk about it before he chose a younger woman over her. Therein was the problem.

She couldn't grasp all of that alone. She needed a guiding hand, and at first thought about going to Richard. She realized quickly that—as much as he adored her—Richard couldn't help her, not when his own marriage was dissolving and when he treated Meredith the same way he treated Addison herself. So instead she turned to alcohol.

She had never been a heavy drinker. Even when Derek left her, she was too numb to pick up the bottle. But this? This was hell. He had not left her and slept with some intern for revenge. He had made love to a beautiful young woman with whom he was apparently in love. Knowing that this was it, that there was no going back, drove her to alcohol.

She spent the entire day at Joe's, who kept sneaking sad, consoling looks in her direction. Addison knew he liked Meredith, and at one point confronted him on it.

"Is she better than me, Joe?"

"Of course not, Dr. Shepherd."

"I'm not Dr. Shepherd."

"Er, okay."

"She is better than me. Everyone says so. Everyone just loves Meredith! Derek does, you do, Richard does, the vet does. Everyone loves her." She paused long enough to down the shot Joe had just placed before her. "Why doesn't everyone love me? They loved me in New York. What's wrong with people in Seattle? I'm beautiful, Joe." She had been repeating the same thing to him all day, and it wasn't even twelve o'clock. Then, suddenly, an idea occurred to her. "You know what? New York did think I was beautiful."

With that she stood from the barstool she had been occupying most of the morning and slipped into the restroom. She stepped into one of the stalls and shut and locked the door. Not wasting any time, she pulled out her Blackberry and made what could potentially be a Very Big Mistake. She dialed the 212 area code, succeeded by those seven familiar digits, waited, and all but gushed when she heard Mark's voice on the other side.

A/N: Reviews keep me a-goin'!