"Want another one Doc?" Joe asked me.
I nodded my head as he poured me another glass of scotch, smiling at me sympathetically. Which was probably to be expected. A man sitting in a bar, wearing a rumpled tux, eyes rimmed red had a way of attracting sympathetic smiles. The smiles were better than people trying to get me to talk…Joe, Alex…even nurse Tyler. Apparently I looked like shit.
Not that I cared at this point.
I wasn't even sure what had brought me here. I couldn't go to the hospital, cutting when I felt like I did would be generally a bad idea. The trailer was in horrible shape, and tonight I wasn't in the mood to deal with the invading raccoons. Meredith's was…Meredith's wasn't an option anymore, which made me feel pretty damn homeless.
Joe's was the last place on the list.
It's over. It's so over.
The words kept running through my head, like a damn broken record. I definitely wanted to turn it off, but the scotch wasn't helping with that. If anything it was making it louder. Maybe she hadn't been talking about us, maybe she had been just referring to the wedding and it had been nothing more than that. Because the wedding had definitely been over. There was a small iota of a possibility that the tears I had shed on the drive over here and the scotch I had consumed had been a waste.
Of course, she had looked at me.
And that was the damn problem. When she had reached the altar she had looked at me. It wasn't the happy, in love Meredith look. It was the tormented, dark and twisty look.
Then she had said that.
There was no way she had just been referring to the wedding. They were over. Meredith Grey and Derek Shepherd were over. Done. Finished. Finito. Kaput. Not curtain call. No nothing. Just over.
I didn't even know why.
"Another bachelor party?" a vaguely familiar voice came from somewhere beside me.
I turned to find the cute young thing from the night before looking at me. Actually looking at me probably wasn't the best description. She was undressing me with her eyes. Or eating me with her eyes. She was doing something with her eyes that went far beyond looking.
And reminded me of the way Meredith used to look at me.
"Nope," I sighed. "Tonight it was the wedding."
"And from the looks of it, it didn't turn out so well?" she laughed. It was a good laugh. Loud and confident. At one point, I would have probably thought it was a cute laugh. But nothing compared to Meredith's giggles.
"You could say that," I chuckled. "The groom left the bride at the altar. Or the bride left the groom. Hell, I don't know, someone left someone. Actually…everyone left someone."
"Are you okay?" she asked softly.
"No…no, I don't think I am," I shook my head, blinking my eyes quickly, because I wasn't about to cry at Joe's. Not where I knew everyone. And not in front of some cute young thing that was obviously interested.
"Do you want to talk about it?" she asked.
"No, not really," I said, looking at the glass in my hands. "Right now, I just want to drink."
"Drinking is good," the brunette nodded. "Drinking helps all sorts of problems."
"It does," I nodded as I gestured to Joe to come refill the glass. I ignored the warning look that he gave me. Joe didn't know. He had no idea that I was free to flirt with any girl I wanted.
"So apparently you come here often, two nights in a row now," she laughed.
"That's purely a fluke," I chuckled softly. "I actually haven't been coming here at all. But as I said, tonight I needed a drink."
"I guess I got lucky then," she smiled.
"I guess you did," I sighed, not feeling all that lucky myself. Being at Joe's without Meredith felt wrong. Being anywhere without Meredith felt wrong.
But that was over…that was so over.
"Could I be forward again, and offer to buy you a drink? Since you're not with your friends tonight…" she suggested, smiling. She smiled a lot.
Something about that smile…
It brought me back and I squeezed my eyes shut at the memory of my first time sitting in this bar. That night when the beautiful blonde had walked in, wearing the black dress and looking miserable. Everything had stopped for me that night, and I didn't want it to restart. For no reason at all I had approached her, I had gone after her. I had forgotten about everything, all the pain, the wife, everything and I had flirted. I had flirted terribly, but somehow it had worked. She had smiled at me and everything had been done.
And now she was gone. Now she had finished them.
Something about the young thing's smile brought me back to that.
I opened my eyes to see her examining me, concern etched on her face. She was here. The night was repeating itself…me, sitting in Joe's, miserable about my failed love life, nursing my pain with scotch, a beautiful girl smiling at me. It was like the night I had met Meredith all over again.
Except for this girl wasn't Meredith.
She could never be Meredith.
"No," I shook my head. "I think…I think I'm done."
The bell on the door tinkled and I turned quickly, watching the former interns walk in, Meredith walking behind them, grinning at something one of the others must have said. Her mouth looked happy, but her eyes, they were haunted by tears. Others probably wouldn't have even noticed, but when you look at someone as often as I looked at Mer, you started to learn these details. I saw things in Meredith others never would. She was mine.
And she wasn't happy. She wasn't happy at all.
Her eyes caught mine across the crowded room, and I had to blink quickly again to stop the instant tear flow as time stopped as we looked at each other. She looked beautiful tonight and completely broken. Her eyes filled with tears as they held mine and the small grin disappeared. She looked like me.
And then her eyes drifted to the girl beside me, who was now grasping my arm and saying something I had long since stopped listening to.
Meredith, my Meredith, turned away in disgust.
"….or we could head to your place. I have roommates so it's complicated, but your place is always an option," the girl said, her voice coming back into focus as the emptiness that was my life without Meredith surrounded me.
"No it's not," I shook my head.
"Oh…ummm….there's hotels. It seems a little tacky but we could rent a hotel room," she smiled, flirtatiously at me.
I felt something roll in my stomach. I couldn't flirt, I couldn't pretend to be gunning after another girl. I didn't want another girl. I wanted Meredith. She was my everything. Less than twelve hours ago, I told her she was the love of my life. And that wasn't going to change because some brunette in the bar reminded me of her. If I couldn't have her, I didn't want anyone else.
It's over, it's so over.
"I can't," I shook my head. "I'm spoken for."
"Oh…" she frowned, releasing my arm. "You're…you are here alone again, and you look sad and alone. And there's no ring. …I just thought…"
"I'm alone," I nodded, sadly, willing myself not to glance in my beautiful blonde's direction. She didn't want me. "But that doesn't mean I'm not spoken for."
She opened her mouth to answer but I moved before she said a thing, placing some bills on the counter as I gestured to Joe that I was leaving. I was wasting my time here. I could go across the street and crash in an on call room, sleep it off till tomorrow. I didn't have to be here. I had no reason to be here. Coming to Joe's, trying to be a man that wasn't completely tangled up in love, was a waste of time.
I started to walk towards the door but paused as I felt eyes on me, and turned to see my Meredith, staring at me, her lip trembling ever so slightly as she gazed at me, tears and something else in her eyes.
I wanted to go to her. I wanted to go hug her and tell her that we'd be okay, that we would figure this out. Everything in my body ached for me to do that.
But I couldn't.
Because she didn't want me.
She cuts me and the pain is all I want to feel.