A/N: This is the third instalment in the Dreaming With a Broken Heart arc, and takes place after the end of Kissing a Fool and has minor spoilers for Testing 1,2,3 (3.24). This also takes place directly after 3.24. Enjoy!
A/N: Edited 05/10/10 to make up for FanFiction's line break snafu. Thanks to Red Bess Rackham for pointing it out.
Callie watched George get ready the morning after the intern exams. He was nervous, flitting around and acting as though he was waiting for the other shoe to drop.
"She didn't write it, you know," George said suddenly.
"Who didn't?" She asked quietly.
"Meredith," he replied, "She froze. She didn't even answer one question. Dr. Webber had to supervise her writing it again. And all I could think was… was – at least that isn't me."
"That's a completely natural reaction," Callie soothed him.
"Not. It's not. It's a horrible one."
"What if that is me? What if I don't pass? Oh god Callie, what do I do then?"
"That will not happen, George. Do you hear me? I have every faith in you. And if, somehow, you fail – which you will NOT – we will figure something out together. Alright? Because, George, I am in this for the long haul. I'm Callie O'Malley, remember?"
"I remember," he said, some of the wildness leaving his eyes.
"Good," Callie said, chasing the rest of it away with one of her kisses, "Now we'd better get to work, or we'll be late."
She was closing the door when she heard George yelp.
"Izzie! What are you doing here?"
The blond intern looked like the proverbial deer. "George – Callie – I…"
"Let's get you back to Meredith's, what do you…" Mark's voice trailed off as he left his hotel room and joined the three others in the hall. "Well, this is awkward."
George glared at him, obviously still angry that he'd slept with Callie. She was, perversely, pleased.
"Great," Izzie sighed. The elevator was silent for two floors before George started talking to Izzie in furious undertones.
"…my wife and my best friend!"
"Well, you slept with us both too and you don't see Mark complaining!" Izzie snapped in exasperation.
In front of them, Mark and Callie froze.
"Oops." Izzie whispered
"Welcome to the Dirty Mistresses Club," Mark said, smirking. "How did I not hear about this, Stevens?"
"Well, when you're not Meredith Grey, no one feels your drunken sexcapades are worth mentioning," Izzie deadpanned, grateful when the door opened on the tenth floor.
"Come on Mark, I need to walk," she said, pulling him out after her, and then smacking him. "How could you say that, Mark? Especially in front of Callie. God, work on your sense of timing!"
"I thought my timing was pretty good last night, don't you?" Mark asked as they were pushed out of the way of the four businessmen trying to get on the elevator. Callie remained silent the rest of the way down, not eager to air their dirty laundry in front of strangers, and waited until they were in the car before saying anything.
"You slept with Izzie. Izzie Stevens, George!" she blinked back tears. "Izzie, George! Izzie!" she felt her voice growing shrill.
"She hates me, George! She didn't want us to get married! And you slept with her!" she took a deep breath, trying to calm herself down as they arrived at the hospital and got out of the car.
"Here's what we are going to do, George. We are going to go to work. I am going to calm down. You are going to explain what happened, and I am going to listen, and we will go from there. But I cannot deal with the fact that you slept with Izzie Stevens at seven in the morning, so I am going to ignore it." She started to turn and walk away, but then she turned back to George and poked him in the chest.
"And you, George O'Malley – you better have a good reason for sleeping with her!"
"He's already slept with Meredith, and Olivia, and now she joins the ranks of the women who have slept with my husband?" Callie looked tearfully at Addison. "I thought I made him happy."
"Callie, listen to me," Addison said fiercely. "You are his rock. When his father died, you were the only one that pressed him to talk. The others were used to Meredith and Izzie, who use tequila and baking to numb the pain until they can handle it. George doesn't work like that. You know that. You can reach him, Callie, see him the way no one else can."
"What if Izzie can see him in a way I can't?" Callie whispered, close to tears again.
"Izzie is a smart, beautiful woman who makes Mark happy. Not George. That's your job."
Addison helped her friend stand up, and Callie engulfed her in a hug as Addison whispered her last piece of advice.
"Don't shut him out, Callie. That's why Derek and I never worked out."
Miranda Bailey was a goddess, Callie decided a short time later. As if she had known what happened (and it was entirely possible she did know, her interns had an unfortunate habit of airing their dirty laundry while on rounds), she sent Yang over to ortho. Yang was possibly the only intern friend of George's she could deal with today. Yang didn't talk much as long as she scrubbed in, for which Callie was grateful. She had three surgeries that day – a hip replacement, a floating kneecap repair, and setting a hand that had been smashed in a door.
She was finished after George, which is why she was so surprised to find him waiting for her in the lobby.
"I thought I should wait," he explained unnecessarily.
"Thank you George," she replied, her voice tinged with tiredness and gratitude. They walked silently to the parking lot, close but not touching. George drove them back to their hotel, and then they were in their room, Callie sitting on the bed as George paced, trying to order his thoughts. Callie thought it was almost exactly like that morning, but the two of them – their entire relationship- had changed. She didn't know if they could fix it.
God, she wanted to fix it.
"I was never that guy," George said, making Callie start in surprise. She nodded for him to continue.
"The guy that made girls cry. That was always Alex's job, or Shepherd's, or Finn's. I would put Meredith and Izzie back together after tequila and baking, fix it so it was just a bad memory until the next time. I never, ever wanted you to need a guy like me."
"A fix it guy, Callie. I never wanted you to need a fix it guy. I wanted, prayed, that you would need me, want me, love me."
Her heart broke at those words. She opened her mouth to speak but he kept going.
"I swore I wouldn't hurt you, first to myself, then again to you at the church." He laughed mirthlessly. "Great job I did with that, huh? First time we have a fight and I run out and sleep with my best friend. Yes, I slept with Izzie, and you have no idea how much I wish I could take that night back. Because all it did was ruin the most important relationship I've ever had."
Callie stared at him without speaking for so long that George began contemplating just leaving to save her the trouble of having to throw him out. Because he'd screwed up so bad that was all there was left for her to do.
"George," she said slowly, gathering her thoughts as he had done earlier.
"George. I said this morning that I was in this for the long haul, and that hasn't changed. Yes, you slept with Izzie Stevens. And we'll both have to live with that. But I am willing, if you are, to accept it, work through it, and move on. If you aren't George, tell me now, because I will not be the new Addison and Derek for the whole hospital to stare at."
She pulled the covers back on his side of the bed and sat there, waiting.
"It's your choice, George. I'm not going to force you to do anything."
She waited, feeling her heart constrict until George slipped in beside her and laid down. He waited until he thought she was asleep and spoke quietly into her hair.
"You won't regret this, Callie, I swear."
I know, she answered silently.