Chapter 1: Chills in Elevators.
It was just too bad to be true. There was no way that she could continue on working at that hospital with the recent complete demise of everything aside from her career. Not only had she been bulldozed with the fact that her not-so-perfect marriage was over, really over because her ever successful, ever charming, ever nauseatingly vague husband couldn't keep away from his girlfriend. So she was done, done holding on to someone that didn't want to fight for what they had, for their history, so that maybe the future could be better. It was also completely too much to ask that her husband's ex-best friend, her ex-something take a second and rethink excepting a position as one of the head plastic surgeons at Seattle Grace. Why was he torturing her? He served as a constant reminder to everyone around her that had a mouth and ears that she did, in fact, cheat on the staggering and electrifyingly talented Dr. McDreamy.
Whatever, she thought. People didn't know as much as they thought, they didn't know all the angles.
Addison Montgomery walked swiftly through the hospital's halls in an effort to catch the elevator that had just let off about a half dozen people. Her heels clicked softly as she quickened her pace and eased silently into the, what she assumed, empty elevator. She was so preoccupied with her thoughts she hadn't even noticed Alex Karev in the corner of the elevator, studying her apprehensive demeanor.
"I'm sure the pen's sorry." He whispered, completely startling Addison who's eyes darted to where the voice was coming from. She saw Alex Karev, who looked quite resigned with his arms crossed, leaning casually against the back of the elevator.
"Excuse me?" She offered, as she regained her nerves from being startled, she looked back at the chart in her hands, running her left hand through her tousled red, auburn hair.
Suddenly she felt Alex's hand reach out and remove her thumb from the top of the pen that hadn't ceased clicking up and down since Addison had stepped into the elevator. Addison looked down at her hand, and only then did she see how tightly she was clenching the pen. Alex tentatively pulled the pen away from her, studying her intently, noticing the ridged ness in her stance, she let go of the pen and took a deep breathe. Her eyes darted from the pen to Alex's gaze to the elevator doors. She remained silent while Alex leaned back against the wall.
He wasn't used to this silence from her, she was always so fierce, so determined, so ridiculously authoritative. She wasn't barking requests, making a point, proving him wrong. Nothing. She was completely silent. She stood there, next to him, silent and pensive.
"I ordered those labs, they should be ready in an hour." He said.
Addison looked at him briefly, "Good. Let me know when you get them." She responded lightly, staring back off into space.
Finally Alex's curiosity got the best of him, "You wanna talk about it?"
"It?" Addison questioned, like she hadn't the faintest clue what he is alluding too.
"Whatever's the matter with you today?" He stated, as she met his stare, trying to assess if he was actually being serious. Trying to determine if he really even gave two shits. She squinted her eyes briefly at him. Just then, the elevator halted completely and almost threw Addison off balance, she put a hand to the wall to steady herself and looked at the elevator panel.
"What the hell was that?" She questioned, looking at the numbers that light up above the elevator doors; they were blank.
Alex stood up straight and walked around Addison to study the elevator panel, he tried pushing some buttons, but he got nothing.
"Looks like we're stuck." He laments, still looking at the panel. Pushing the alarm button but getting no sound.
"You're kidding right?" Addison said with some dread in her tone. She put her hand to her forehead and squeezed her eyes shut to calm her growing anxiety.
"I wish I was."
"This is just great," Addison exclaimed, raising her voice slightly, "Just what I need, to be stuck in an elevator at work. Because there is nothing like having time to actually think about all the things in your life that are going totally and completely wrong while there is absolutely no distractions. Damnit!" She swung the chart in her hand in an effort to get out some frustration and hit the doors, making a loud noise that completely startled Alex.
He turned around and stared at her as she stood there, both hands on her hips, flushed, running her hands threw her hair. She finally looked back at him.
"You know what? I give up." She said bitterly, throwing her hands in the air. "None of this is even worth it."
"What's not worth it?" He asked, still shocked about how positively unglued she seemed at that very moment and more surprisingly, how fragile. This wasn't the Addison he knew. It almost freaked him out.
"Forget it. It's not like you care to hear about it."
"How do you know that?" He questioned slowly.
"Um, I don't know. Maybe because you got the lying, cheating wife part from your friend Meredith or maybe because you strike me as the type who really doesn't care one way or the other." She said dryly.
"Try me." He said easily, walking back to where he had previously been standing, folding his arms, he continued to eye her, "It's not like we're going anywhere anytime soon."
"I'm surprised you haven't already made up your own conclusions." She remarked sarcastically as she leaned against the wall about a couple feet away from him, mimicking his stance slightly.
"People talk. I know that, you know that. It doesn't necessarily mean everything that they say is true." He offered, as she clutched the chart to her chest like her life depended on it.
"Hey, stop it," he started lightly, "you're going to hurt your hands." As he gestured toward the almost death-like grip she had on the chart. Addison looked down at it and loosened her grip. Now lightly holding the chart in her arms.
"You ever been so lonely you felt like you just didn't exist?" She asked suddenly, looking briefly at the elevator doors, then back at Alex. His face softened a little bit and he broke her gaze by looking down.
"Sure," He said softly, "We've all felt like that, right?"
"Yeah, I guess." She responded hesitantly, "But, I never thought that could happen in a marriage. With someone you considered your soul mate, to just become completely vacant to them. Like they don't see you the way they used to." She finished, as his heart leapt because he could see the obvious sadness take over her face.
"Is that what happened?" he pressed, "With you and Shepard?"
Addison looked up to meet Alex's questioning gaze, she was almost unprepared for what she saw. She saw actual kind concern and it blew her away. Alex was entirely too egocentric and self-involved to care in the least bit what were the reasons for anything that went on in her failed marriage. She broke his eye contact and exhaled.
"I suppose it doesn't matter." She concluded, she looked back at him briefly and changed the subject. "Can I have my pen back?" She questioned unenthusiastically as she put her hand out in his direction, clearing her throat.
Alex rolled his eyes and handed her pen back to her. "I'm not as callous as you presume you know." He stated somewhat bitterly. She smiled slightly, for the first time, but then it was gone again, almost faster than it came.
"How would I know that? When you're around me you don't really exude compassion."
"Whatever, I'm just not the ass everybody seems so inclined to label me as."
"Oh, really? How do you figure?" She questioned, slightly interested in his response.
"Well, maybe not to you, but that's only because you enjoy torturing me."
She laughed lightly, and he found himself glad, almost relieved that in her sadness she could still afford those momentary off-guard moments where laughter is necessary.
"It's not torture, Karev. I happen to think you have talent. You're just sort of rough around the edges."
"Exactly, much to rough to be around a whole bunch of estrogen all day." He joked lightly.
"You'll get over it." She stated plainly, she reverted back to that place in her mind where she drove herself crazy. Alex gave her a look that she didn't even notice.
He slid down the wall until he was sitting on the ground of the elevator with his knees in front of him, he rested his head back against the wall and took a breath. He was oddly intrigued by her apparent sadness. It made him question his previous notions of her. Maybe she was just broken and sad and…lonely.
"How's Izzie?" She asked suddenly, and nearly completely out of the blue. Alex looked up at her rather strangely but she had decided to start flipping through her chart to keep herself occupied. Every now and then she'd scribble something down and move on, obviously waiting for his response.
"She's as good as can be expected I guess." He said flatly. Almost like, it wasn't something he was entirely thrilled talking about.
"I heard she may be coming back. Any truth to that?" She questioned as she crossed something out on her chart as she then closed it and set it on the floor.
"I hope so." He said lightly.
"She was a good doctor."
"Almost too good of one."
"What do you mean? Because she fell in love with the guy?"
"It really doesn't matter whether she did or didn't. She got involved with a patient. You and I both know that's not supposed to happen." he said evenly.
"Well, a lot of things aren't supposed to happen, Karev. That doesn't mean they don't just…happen." She trailed off slightly.
Getting back to his feet he walked over to the elevator doors. He stopped in front of them, turned to his left, took a few steps to that wall, turned around, and walked the small distance to the other wall. He continued to pace back and forth in the elevator while Addison eyed him.
"You should stop. You're making me nervous." She said quietly.
"Nervous?" he questioned, looking up at her, but didn't stop slowly pacing. "Why?"
"I don't know. You just look pent up."
"Being stuck in elevators isn't exactly great fun."
"You've got a point." She said, refolding her arms and tapping her heel lightly against the ground. "It's got a weird symmetry to it, don't you think?"
"What does?" He asked, walking much slower now, but still walking the length of the elevator.
"Izzie chooses Denny. Derek chooses Meredith." she said carefully.
"Derek chose you." he said plainly, glancing over at her.
"At first he did, but he didn't mean it."
"How do you know he didn't mean it?" He questioned suddenly.
"Because if he did, I wouldn't have found panties that weren't mine in the pocket of his tux." She said easily, it just sort of came out. But it made her feel good to say it. To admit it. Derek had had no real intention of trying to make their marriage work. If he had, it was all shot to hell anyways.
"I'm sorry," Alex said lightly, slowing his pace further and further.
"Yeah," She said "Me too."
"So uh, where does hot shot plastics guy fit into all this?" Alex asked.
Addison sighed loudly and straightened her white lab coat. "Just when I was gonna switch the subject back on you."
Alex laughed slightly, "You're more interesting anyway."
"I don't know about that." She said.
"I do. So…Sloan, you really like the talented, cocky type huh?"
"We aren't anything. Okay, yes, he came here because I called him but that was in pure weakness. I didn't want him to stay and I certainly didn't want him working here. I mean, if there isn't already enough drama. He's got to bring the past with him and shove it in Derek's face."
"Well, you don't care what gets thrown in Shepard's face anyway, right? After all, look what got shoved in yours."
"I don't want him to hate me though." She replied quickly.
"So you think he hates you?"
"He doesn't know enough to yet." She said carefully, sucking in a breath between her teeth. Running her hands over her face, she breathed, "Remind me to never get stuck in an elevator again."
Alex finally ceased his pacing and stood a foot away from Addison. "Yeah, remind me the same thing." He said.
She smiled slightly at the young man in front of her. It was the first time she could remember ever having any real type of conversation with Alex, as many times as they'd worked on cases together and the like she'd never been so candid or comfortable with him. It was almost like she was dealing with a much softer, gentler version of the macho, irritating intern she dealt with on a regular basis.
Addison's thoughts were interrupted when the elevator jolted suddenly throwing them both completely off balance and into each other. Alex fell forward towards Addison as she fell backwards clutching the steel railing that lined the elevator. As he fell towards her, he tried steadying himself by bracing his hand against the wall, above her head while the other hand, instinctually grabbed her waist. Only when they caught each other's eyes did they realize the physical closeness of the situation. Neither said a thing as the eye contact continued and their bodies remained almost in complete contact.
Addison wasn't even able to wrap her brain around the tremendous amount of chills that ran down her spin when Alex's eyes dropped from hers to her lips and then back. She felt the strength of his hand on her waist and it almost made her knees give way.
"You okay?" He whispered softly searching her face for some sort of reaction to their current position. All he knew was, he wasn't ready to back up.
"Yeah." She whispered back, searching his eyes. Their noses just inches apart, everything inside of Addison's head screamed for her to dismantle this highly inappropriate moment they were sharing. But she was frozen, the intensity in his eyes held her there.
Alex slowly took in the contours of her face with his eyes, remaining silent; he removed his hand from above her head and softly ran the back of his pinkie and ring fingers underneath a lock of hair that had fallen in her face. He was in awe of the angles of her face, it was almost as if she was too perfect up close, too real. The physical closeness of Alex, in all his masculine glory was almost too much for Addison to endure and she became slightly dizzy. Their proximity continued to consume rationale thought as Addison let go of the steel bar and put her hands lightly on Alex's chest. She almost felt better like that, like she had somehow created a needed barrier between them.
Suddenly the elevator jolted again, and Addison gripped the front of Alex's scrubs as he pushed himself off of her creating a bit of room between their bodies but not nearly enough space where Addison could think clearly. His fingers lightly grazed the side of her face; the urgency yet care in his touch made her breathe catch. Addison had to end this moment they were having before it really got out of hand, and she feared she wouldn't have the good sense to stop it.
As if on cue, once Addison looked down to finally break the eye contact from sexual tension heaven, the elevator doors opened. Alex stepped back slightly as they opened and quickly picked up Addison's chart. He extended it to her, lowering his head to try and catch her eyes, as she continued to look down. She extended her hand in an effort to take the chart from him. When he wouldn't let it go, she gave in and looked up putting on her bravest face. She couldn't possibly display the fact that what had just happened between them had most certainly rocked her. After she finally met his eyes, he let go of the chart and turned on his heels and silently walked out of the elevator.
Addison exhaled loudly, watching him disappear and wondering what the hell had just happened and why her knees were still trembling.