Izzie stared up at her ceiling. She couldn't sleep. She had gotten back from the bar hours ago, and had gone straight to bed, only to keep tossing and turning. All she could think about was coming up with a plan to fix the tangled mess that was her friends' relationships. She kept running through everything in her head, but always arrived back at square one. There wasn't any sort of wacky plan or scheme that was going to fix this.
Then it hit her. She smiled into the darkness. Suddenly, she was actually looking forward to going to work in the morning. She had a plan.
"That's not a plan!" Mark protested, sitting across a cafeteria table, a cup of coffee and a doughnut in front of him.
"Exactly," Izzie said proudly.
"That's the plan."
Mark shook his head. "The plan is that there is no plan?"
Izzie nodded. "Yep.
"And you think that'll work," Mark asked doubtfully.
"I don't know. But I think it's the only thing that even has a chance."
Mark shrugged and took a bite us his doughnut. "Okay. But your the one who gets to tell that to them."
He gestured behind Izzie and she turned to see Addison and Derek approaching the table.
"Mark said you had a plan?" Derek asked as he sat down.
"Sort of," Izzie said.
Derek and Addison exchanged looks. "What's a sort of plan?" Addison asked.
"That there isn't a plan."
Addison warily glanced from Izzie to Mark to Derek and then back again.
"You want to run that by us again?"
"You can't wave a magic wand and fix this. There's no complicated, whacky scheme to work this all out. You have to talk to them. Like adults."
"They don't seem in any sort of mood to listen," Derek pointed out.
"Then make them. Talk to them. Keep talking to them. Yeah, they're pissed. And frankly, they have a right to be."
Addison and Derek both protested, but Izzie waved it away.
"Look. I believe that nothing actually happened between you two. Otherwise, believe me, I wouldn't be having this conversation with you right now. But what Alex walked in on...how could he have taken it any other way. Of course they're pissed. So you have to make them listen. You have to explain and apologize and keep explaining and apologizing. You might not have had an affair, but you did screw up.
If you really want them, if you really love them...you're going to have to fight. Yes, they'll yell. Yes, they'll probably say some pretty nasty things. But you keep talking. You make them believe the truth. That you didn't betray them. And you keep at it. Because, giving up? That'd be the real betrayal."
Addison's first few tries didn't go very well. The first attempt was on the elevator. She got as far as "You need to know what really happened" before Alex got off on a floor that Addison knew was six stories below the one he was headed for.
The second time was in the on-call room. She barely even finished saying his name before he was storming out the door.
What she really wanted was a place where Alex couldn't just leave. Some place he'd be forced to listen to her. But the place that was really true of was the operating room during a surgery. Which is hardly the best place for the kind of conversation they needed to have. She wasn't going to put a patient at risk just to have it out with her boyfriend.
At the end of the day, Addison was frustrated and exhausted. She sighed heaving as she slipped in a booth at Joe's, gratefully accepting the beer that Derek slid across the table.
"Any luck?" Derek asked.
"Would I be here right now if there had been?" Addison replied.
"You know," Mark said as he sat down next to Addison, "You two probably aren't doing yourselves any favors by hanging out together."
Derek shrugged. "We made an agreement on that. We've been in each other's lives too long to stop talking now. We've been through so much and are finally at a place where we can be friends."
"Just friends," Addison interjected.
Derek agreed, then continued. "Christ, we work at the same hospital, we can't just ignore each other. I want Meredith back, I do. But I also don't want to give up a friendship I've had for all of my adult life."
"So what now?" Mark asked.
"Try, try again." Addison raised her beer and took a long swig.
"The frustrating thing is I think we could work things out if I could just get him to actually listen to me," Addison lamented. "But he just walks off before I can say two words.
"You should yell at him," Mark suggested.
Addison raised an eyebrow. "I should yell at him?" she asked skeptically.
"He'd listen if you'd yell," Mark continued. "You're scary when you yell."
Derek nodded in hearty agreement. "Seriously, you really are."
"So I should scare my boyfriend into forgiving me? That's really what you're suggesting?"
"Worth a shot," Mark said. "After all, it's not like you could make thing any worse."
"Yell at him..." Addison mused. "I suppose it's worth a try."
"Somehow I don't think that same move will work with Meredith," Derek said glumly, staring at his drink.
"No," Addison said. "Probably not."
"Sorry, man." Mark shook his head. "I think you're probably screwed.
"Seriously?" Meredith asked as she sat down at a table on the other side of the bar. "Seriously?"
Izzie looked across the room to where Mark, Derek and Addison were seated. "We don't have to stay here."
"We're staying," Alex said as he slammed his glass on the table and sat down. "They're not driving me out of my bar."
Izzie looked at the trio at the table, then back to her friends. "Did you talk to them at all today?" she asked, trying not to sound too hopeful.
Alex snorted. "No. Addison tried a couple of times, but there was no way I was listening to that crap."
"Same with me and Derek," Meredith said with a sigh.
"Good for you," Cristina said.
"Maybe you should hear them out. Come one, there could be a logical explanation for what happened."
"Izzie," Cristina said, rolling her eyes, "The logical explanation is that they had sex."
Izzie frowned. She knew the truth, but they didn't need to hear it from her. They probably wouldn't believe it from her either. What was she going to say, "Mark told me that Addison and Derek told him that they didn't have sex"? Yeah, that was sure to go over perfectly well. No reason they'd doubt that whatsoever. She sighed and glanced at her watch.
"Actually guys, I've got to go."
"What?" Meredith protested. "Izzie, this was supposed to 'drinking our troubles away night.'"
"I thought that was last night," Cristina pointed out.
"It's probably going to be a lot of nights," Meredith countered.
"And as much as I'd love to be here for this one," Izzie began, "I've actually got a date."
Cristina wrinkled her nose. "Like an actually date, date? Who with?"
That question was answered by the appearance of a certain surgeon who was rapidly approaching their table.
"Hey, Stevens," Mark said with a smile. "You ready to go?"
Izzie rolled her eyes, "Okay, first rule of the real date is that you have to use my first name."
"Izzie," Mark said grinning, a friendly mocking tone in his voice. "Are you ready for our real date?"
"Let's go," Izzie said shaking her head. She smiled and linked her arm through his. "I'll see you guys later, alright?" she called over her shoulder as she and Mark headed out. She turned back to her date and asked how Derek and Addison were doing.
Mark sighed. "Okay, second rule of the real date is we don't talk about the messed up romantic lives of our friends, deal?"
"Deal," Izzie nodded. "But you better be taking me somewhere nice."
As couple left the bar, several pairs of eyes watched them go.
"Did that just really happen?" Cristina asked.
"I think so," Meredith said warily.
"Sloan and Izzie are going on a date. Like an actual date?" Cristina shook her head. "What the hell?"
Alex motioned toward the window where Mark and Izzie could be seen waiting to cross the street. "That right there is another weeks worth of 'drinking out troubles away' waiting to happen."
Yeah, so it's almost been a whole year since I updated. One more chapter. Then maybe an epilogue. I'm not going to give a promise on a date. It's really hard for me to write final chapters. But I can say it's not going to be another year. Hopefully sometime this month. For those who are still reading: you guys are awesome. And I'm sorry I've strung you along for such a long time.