This chapter is homage to "The Beginning", an episode of 'The X-Files' written by Chris Carter.
Beginning: The point in which something begins. Origin or source.
ThanX go out to my beta Agent Extremis.
Disclaimer: Don't own them, just borrowing them for a bit.
The Ouroboros often represents self-reflexity or cyclicality, especially in the sense of something constantly recreating itself, the eternal return and other things perceived as cycles that begin anew as soon as they end like a phoenix.
It can also represent the idea of primordial unity related to something existing in, or persisting from, the beginning, with such force or qualities, it cannot be extinguished.
Chapter 25: The Beginning
So many things in life are uncertain. You never know what awaits you...there's twist and turns along the way. Surprises always seem to await you around the corner. The only things that any one person can be sure of, is that there is always an end and a beginning.
Our life together has always been in a circular pattern. We go 'round and 'round making the same mistakes at different magnitudes. It's almost like we are constantly testing each other and self-sabotaging. We don't mean to do it. I know Addison doesn't want to hurt me and I certainly don't mean to hurt her either. I honestly think we're afraid to fully embrace what we have, it can be all consuming at times. Sometimes it feels like we'd rather just have each other in moments, than not at all, because then, we'd only have ourselves to blame if we fail. We broke this ongoing cycle a few years ago. I became extremely absent, she slept with Mark, and I thought I'd fallen in love with Meredith. It was never meant to be broken, we were supposed to find our way back to each other eventually. That's how it had always seemed to work out. It took us a hell of a lot longer than either of us expected, but here we are, and no matter what, I'll be damned if I ever let her go again.
He'd been silent for far too long. Was he filled with so much anger that he couldn't even bring himself to say anything to her? Addison bit into her bottom lip a little harder than she intended to and drew blood. She was nervous. Why wouldn't she be? This was one of those moments that could drastically change everything again. She wanted to give him a few more seconds to take it all in. Addison was consoled only by the fact that at least he hadn't hung up on her. He was still on the other line, she could hear him breathing. She let out the breath she'd been holding, then spoke.
"Derek, please say something." Addison pleaded. "It didn't mean anything, I swear. I don't know why I let it happen…I mean, I do know why I kissed him, but it's…he's not who I want. I'm sure now. I'm sure more than ever that I really want to make this work. I want you…only you, it's…it's always been you." She said desperately.
"Addie." He called out her name, but not loud enough for her to hear him.
"Derek!" She pleaded again.
"Addie?" He said her name louder and finally grabbed her attention. "I know." Derek simply stated.
"You do?" She asked with apprehension.
"Yeah I do."
"Derek I'm so sorry."
"Please stop apologizing Addison."
"No, I want to. I didn't even want to tell you because I was so afraid of your reaction, but I knew I had to, I…"
"Addie shh..it's okay."
"How can it be okay? I told you I wanted to be with you and then I come home and I kiss Pete. Who does that?"
"Addison, I'm not going to lie to you. For a moment, anger and jealously did course through my body, but then I thought about all the things that have happened to keep us apart...and this is not even a blip on that radar. Look, we do things, you and I, we do things that derail us from the life we started together so long ago, but I think it's time we stopped. Let's stop fighting against it, let's give into this…you and me, and let's be happy. I love you, I want you, and I will fight for you, for us."
Addison had expected many reactions from Derek, but certainly this was not one of them. "Derek, I don't know what to say…I"
"Say that you're just as tired of this as I am. Say that you don't want to keep making it a challenge for us to be together...that you love me, want me, and that you're just as tired of fighting it as I am."
"I do and I am. God Derek, I'm so tired. I just want us again."
"Okay then." He said with a relieved smile. "Look Addie, we both know it won't always be easy. We are who we are, and we'll probably repeat some of the same mistakes, but I promise you that I won't ever let it go as far as it did. Never again, I promise you that." He said this with so much conviction that she didn't doubt a single word.
Addison had tears cascading down her face. He was right. They always liked to learn the hard way, but here they were again, both willing to jump back into the insanity that was them. "I promise too. I love you." Was all she could bring herself to say.
They were quiet for several minutes, both taking in the moment and the silent vows they were making to each other.
"You okay?" He asked.
"I'm okay, but I'd be better if I was with you." He stated genuinely.
"I wish you were here too." She sniffled.
"What would you say if I flew out there in two days?"
"Really? What about the hospital? You're not even done packing."
"I can always get Mark and Callie to help me pack, and I only have one more surgery left since I performed two others earlier today. After tomorrow's surgery I'm done. Richard said I could go sign the paperwork, then I was free to go."
"Yeah. I miss you and I want you here with me. So, okay."
"Okay then. I'll go ahead and book my flight… Wow! I can't believe we're actually doing this."
"It's been a long time coming."
"Yes it has." He said with a chuckle. They fell silent for a few moments, taking it all in. Addison exhaled softly, then quickly blurted out.
"I'm taking some time off."
"Because I want to give them time at the office to get past this."
"How about you?" He asked with concern for her and not so much for the people she worked with.
"Yes me too, but everyone else as well."
"What happens when you go back?"
"Hopefully, things will go back to the way they used to be."
"Whatever you feel you need to do Addie, I fully support you."
"Thank you." She said appreciatively. "I think it will be good for us too, you know?"
"Yeah. We'll be able to be together without any interruptions. Just finding our way back to each other."
"I'd like that." He said with a wicked grin.
"When do you start at St. Ambrose?
"Well, I told Dr. King that I needed to finish out 2 weeks in Seattle and that then I would still need time to move and settle in. So I think I'll probably have a month before I start…Addie?"
"For what?" She asked incredulously.
"For giving us another chance."
"We're both giving us another chance."
"Yeah, I guess that's true. Hey, I'm gonna get going. I have to finish up packing and make a few phone calls to make some arrangements. Can I call you later?"
"Of course. Email me your flight information once you have it. I'll talk to you later."
"I love you."
"I love you too."
She clicked the phone off and regardless of what took place earlier, she couldn't help but smile. Derek was coming home. It sounded funny saying that but he was. Even if he'd never lived in this house with her, this was their home. She quickly stood up, gathered her items and swiftly made her way inside. She had so much to do before he arrived.
First things first, she needed to call Naomi and let her know about her temporary leave, and then of course do some shopping.
"Okay, what was so important that you made me leave a very hot, very annoyed, sexy Latina woman in my bed?" Mark asked as he walked into the trailer.
"Why didn't you bring her with you? I actually needed both of you to help me." Derek said as he continued to look through his cabinets.
"Uhm…because she was pissed off that I actually said I'd come over when I had promised her we would be staying in. So…"
"Well, call her and tell her to get over here. I really need both of you. If it helps, tell her it's for Addison." He offered.
"Fine, but you're going to make it up to her by providing the pizza and beer." Derek waved him off, then turned around to keep piling items into cardboard boxes.
"Addison?" Naomi called out as she entered the front door.
"Back here!" Addison yelled out. Naomi followed the sound of her friend's voice as she tried to make her way through the many shopping bags scattered around the living room. "Uhmm...where?"
Addison raised her hand from behind a pile of towels. "Here."
"Someone went a little nuts while shopping today. What gives?"
Addison stretched out her hand to Naomi, "Help me up please?" Naomi obliged. "Wanna join me outside? I have a bottle of red ready to go." She offered with a wink and a smile.
Naomi watched her curiously, then quickly followed. "So what's with all the new stuff?" She asked as she took a seat and grabbed the glass of wine that Addison handed her.
"I'm taking you up on your offer?"
"You know from earlier...you said I should take some time off."
"I did say that didn't I?"
"Yeah, are you taking it back?...because I've already decided that I was going to. So you can't take it back."
"No. No no…I'm not taking it back. I just ah…I thought it was going to be a lot harder for you to take the offer. Why the sudden interest?"
"Well, that's why I asked you over. I spoke with Derek today. I told him what happened with Pete and uhh…"
"Oh my god! Did he honestly break it off with you because of one stupid kiss?! The nerve of that man, Addie you deserve so much better. He's infuriating! He comes out here and professes his undying love, then in one instant, he just changes his mind?!" Addison was going to interrupt her, to finish telling her what they discussed, but she knew that once Naomi got into one of her rants, the best thing to do was to let her finish. All she could do was listen and smile. "You take all the time you need honey, I'm here for you and so is Sam. I need to call that man and give him a piece of my mind!" Naomi reached for her cell phone, ready to dial.
"Nai. No don't call him. Please just put the phone down."
"Are you still defending him, after all of this?"
"I'm not defending him. He hasn't done anything that I need to defend him for."
"Okay, now I'm confused."
"Well, if you let me finish, I could have saved you the confusion."
"Well, alright then. Go ahead."
"We talked, he understood, and we've moved past it."
"Just like that?"
"Yup, just like that."
"Wow! I'm shocked. I expected worse... a lot worse."
"He's changed Nai, he really has."
"Well good. I'm glad."
"He's moving sooner than we originally thought." She quickly stated.
"He'll be here day after tomorrow." She said with a tentative smile.
"Wow!! That's really soon. I thought he wouldn't be here for at least a few weeks. Why the sudden urge?"
"It just feels right Nai. We both want it."
"Then I'm happy for you…so, is that why you went on a massive shopping spree?" She asked with a chuckle, trying to lighten up the conversation.
"Yeah…I guess I did go a little nuts huh?"
"Well…yeah. You kind of did."
"I wanted to get things that I know he likes. Plus, I wanted a whole new comforter set...new sheets, towels...you know, just everything. I even got a new bed, it should be delivered tomorrow morning."
"I know this might sound silly, but I just wanted the bed that we sleep in to only have been slept in by him and I. It's our bedroom you know. I'm not getting rid of the old bed completely though, I'm just adding it to the other guest room. You know, the one with the twin bed. I have no idea why I got a twin bed for that one when the other room has a queen size bed in it." She laughed nervously.
"It's not silly Addie. I get it." Naomi said with a comforting smile.
"Good, because I was starting to think that maybe I was loosing it...I just really want things at home to be perfect. We aren't, and we won't be, but our home is something that I know I can do." They both contemplated her words silently. She was taking a risk with her heart again, with someone who had devastatingly hurt her before, but she had to be admired for her strength and hopefulness.
Naomi decided to change the subject back to her excessive shopping. "So, what else did you get?"
Addison smiled at her appreciatively, knowing that she was helping her not dwell on her fears. She cleared her throat, then turned to grab a bag near the couch. "Well, I got him some stuff for the office here and the one at hospital. I even got him some new scrub caps."
"Tell me again why we're helping him pack?" Callie asked for the hundredth time since she arrived.
"Because he can't do it all by himself Cal. Besides, the sooner he's done, the sooner he can get to Addison. And the sooner she'll be happy." Mark offered her with a smile.
"Fine, fine, fine…but I'm only doing this for her. Then I'm going to constantly remind her when we visit them." She said with a devilish grin.
"Wow, you really are all about the love aren't you?" He teased.
"Oh shut it Sloan. You know you still owe me for leaving me in bed to come and help your moronic friend, right?"
"Yes Ma'am." He said with a mock salute.
"Are you still complaining about helping me pack Torres?" Derek said as he re-entered the trailer.
"Don't even start with me Shepherd. Did you bring me my goodies?"
"Yes. It's the bag on top."
Callie quickly made her way over to Derek and snatched the brown paper bag. She dug through it and found the objects of her craving desire. Watermelon Sour Patch candy, she couldn't help but smile. "Thank you. These will keep me quiet for the next 30 minutes, then you'll have to find something else to bribe me with."
"Well, I'm glad you brought that up because I did my research, and by research, I mean that I asked Mark. " Derek set down the pizza on the counter, opened the box, and waited for a reaction.
"Mmmhmmm…doing good so far. My favorite...thin and crispy pepperoni and jalapenos."
"And I got this too..." He stated as he pulled out a two 12 pack of Guinness Stout. He watched her for a reaction. Callie's facial expression was stoic at first, then she got a glint in her eyes and a huge smile graced her face. He couldn't' help but chuckle. "That's exactly what Mark said would happen." He said, pleased with himself.
"Alright, you've got me. I'll be your pack slave until all this runs out."
"We'll be done before then."
"All joking aside Derek, I'm happy for Addison. I'm happy for both of you."
"You're welcome…so you know Mark and I will be visiting right?"
"Yup. I think Addie already has a specific room designated for you."
"As she should. She knows what's what."
"Hey Derek?" Mark yelled from outside.
"The moving truck is here."
"I guess we better keep packing so we can get all of this out by tonight. Are you going to stay at Mark's until you leave?"
"I think I will. It'd be crazy to get a room for a day and a half and then have Mark pick me up to drive me to the airport."
Callie chuckled. "What?" He asked confused.
"You don't have to give me an explanation, I was just curious."
"I know…but since you stay there often, I didn't know if you'd mind?"
"Not at all. Besides, it's his place."
"Callie, you know as well as I do, that Mark considers it your place...that he'd give you anything you want, right?"
"Yeah I know." She looked down to play with the bottle cap. "I just…do you think it's all happening too soon?"
"No. If it feels right, it's right. Just go with it. Addie and I learned that the hard way."
"Don't do that."
"Don't second guess what's going on between you two. I've never seen him like this over anyone."
"Except for Addison?" She said insecurely.
Derek was taken aback, paused, then softly said, "You're here, you're his future, trust in that." Then his tone changed and he teased, "Besides, you're the one who tamed the beast."
Callie laughed a good hearty laugh, "You make it sound so dirty."
"Wow, you went there. You two were made for each other."
"Let's get out there before he starts throwing a tantrum." She said with a chuckle and a wink as she headed out.
"Hello…?" She answered groggily.
"Oh Addie…I'm so sorry, I shouldn't have called so late."
"Derek?" She asked as the haziness started to wear off.
"Yeah it's me. Look, I'll call you back tomorrow morning okay? Just go back to sleep."
"No…no, I'm up, I'm up. What time is it?
"It's a little past eleven."
"Oh wow. I guess I was a little more exhausted than I thought." She chuckled lightly.
"Yeah, I guess you could say that. I did a lot of shopping."
"Then I'm surprised you're not completely dead to the world." He teased.
"Hey." She said in mock offense.
"What? It's true." He said half jokingly.
"Fine, be that way. You just won't get all the presents I bought you."
"Presents? Really? So aside from the presents I'm no longer getting, what else did you buy?"
"Stuff for the house mainly. Things for our bedroom."
"I like the sound of that."
"So I booked my ticket."
"When do you get here?"
"In about 33 hours."
"Yup, I arrive at nine Sunday morning. I emailed you all my flight info."
"Did you finish up all your packing?"
"Yeah I did. It took some bribing, but eventually we got it done. The moving truck is leaving early tomorrow morning, so it should arrive a few hours after I get there."
"It takes that long to get here?"
"Yeah, it's about a 17 to 18 hour drive if you calculate the driver getting some sleep. It's about a full day."
"Do you need me to ask Sam or Nai to wait here while I go pick you up?"
"Yeah, that might actually be a good idea."
"Okay, I'll let them know."
"You should go back to sleep. I just wanted to call you and tell you about my flight and to say goodnight."
"Are you off to bed too?"
"Yeah, I've got my final surgery at 9 a.m., but I have to start my prep at 7."
"Then you should get to sleep soon or you won't be well rested."
"I will. Goodnight.
"I'm coming!" Addison yelled out as she rushed to the front door. It was only 9 a.m. and she had already been rushing around the house like a mad woman.
"Good morning. I'm looking for Ms. Montgomery?"
"I'm here from Spacify. Came to drop off a few items you purchased yesterday."
"Oh yes. Sorry, come in." She said as she stepped aside and opened the door for the deliveryman to enter.
"We'll go ahead and start unloading the furniture. Will you need us to set it up for you?"
"Yes, that would be great. I still have the old bedroom set in my room, would you mind helping me move it to another room?"
"Not at all. We're here to help you with whatever you need."
"Oh thank you. That's so kind of you." She smiled appreciatively.
"Okay ma'am, if we can go over the items on this list, just to make sure we have everything."
"I have here an order for the master queen bedroom suite by Fratelli Rossetto, which includes...the master bed, master headboard, master two drawer nightstands, slats to support the mattress, master six drawer single tall chest, as well as a Celsius mattress."
"That all sounds about right. Do I sign here?"
"Yes. Thank you." He replied as he took the clipboard back. "We'll go ahead and get started.
"So I guess this is it..." Richard stated as he looked over Derek's paperwork.
"Richard, it's not like it's forever. I'm sure that I can consult on different cases when needed, and so will Addison. Besides, it's not like you and Adele can't visit us. I know Addie would be thrilled to see both of you."
"I know it's not forever, and I'll probably be seeing you and Addie soon, but it's not only a personal loss but a professional one as well. I'm losing my dream team."
"Well to be fair, Addie left a while ago, so you lost half of that dream team when she left."
"So now you're telling me how to feel?" He said in mock annoyance.
"Well Derek, I must say it was a privilege and a pleasure working with you again. I wish you and Addison all the best. I know you'll make it this time."
Derek stood up to shake Richard's hand but Richard walked around his desk and embraced him instead. "Thank you Richard. Thank you."
"Now if you ever need anything, like say Addison and you decide you want to come back to Seattle and you need help packing and possibly a job....give me a call." He said with a chuckle and a wink. Derek couldn't help but join his friend and mentor with a laugh of his own.
"I'll keep that in mind. Okay, well...I guess I should get going.
"What about your things...have you've gotten all of that in order?"
"Yeah, my stuff left earlier today and so did my truck. So I'm all set."
"Well okay then. Don't be a stranger Derek."
"I won't. So long Richard."
"So long Derek."
He exited the chief's office feeling a sense of easiness and happiness he hadn't felt in a long time. It felt like things were finally settling the way they should have been since the beginning. All he had left to do was go to his office and grab a few boxes that needed to be shipped.
"Derek." A familiar voice called out to him. He stopped in his tracks and slowly turned around.
"Yes Dr. Grey."
"I hate when you call me that. It's Meredith, remember?"
"I'm sorry Dr. Grey, if you have a question, I'd rather you address it to your new head of neurosurgery. As of..." He looks down at his watch. "...1:23 this afternoon, I stopped working for this hospital." He said with a tight smile.
"Look, I just came to tell you...good luck."
His eyes softened when he realized she was being genuine.
"I know things between us ended badly...and I didn't make it easy on you or Addison when she was here, but I get it, I do. You love her,always have...guess I just didn't want to see it."
"I'm sorry…Meredith." She instantly smiled when he said her name. He hadn't referred to her as Meredith since he broke it off. "I'm sorry that I dragged you into this. You didn't deserve any of it. You're a beautiful, smart woman and I'm sure you'll find a man that truly deserves you."
"Thank you Derek. So I guess this is it, huh?"
"Yeah, I fly out to L.A. tomorrow."
"Well, I wish you the best. I wish both of you the best." She said with such melancholy in her voice that his heart ached for her. He realized how hard coming up to him and saying what she was saying must have been for her. He nodded slightly.
"Thank you. You too. I know you'll probably give me a run for my money one of these days." He said with a slight grin.
She joined. "Ha, maybe." The sadness was only gone for that instant. "Goodbye Derek." She said barely above a whisper as she leaned up to give him a kiss. He stiffened at first, then relaxed when he acknowledged that this is what she needed to let go. He didn't return the kiss, he just let her be. She pulled away, then stared him in the eye.
"Goodbye Meredith." He smiled and then continued on to his office.
She watched him walk away, her heart still beating rapidly. A part of her still hoping that he would feel something when she kissed him, but if anything, that kiss only confirmed what she already knew...he was in love with his wife. She smiled sadly, then walked away.
Addison stood by the door, taking in the new look of the room. She loved it. A smile graced her face as she went and took a seat on the bed. The room had that fresh crisp "new" smell. She knew Derek would love it.
She quickly stood up, then went to one of the guest bedrooms. Since she had been in a redecorating mood, she had changed the décor of both guest rooms. She glanced into one, then the other. They looked amazing...she couldn't help but be pleased with her accomplishment.
The slight slam of the front door brought her out of her thoughts. "Hello?"
"Hey Addie, it's me." Naomi shouted as she walked in.
"Hey Nai, what's up?" She said as she came down the stairs.
"Not much, just came by to check on you. Did your stuff arrive?"
"Yeah, it got here a few hours ago. It's all set."
"That was quick."
"Yeah. The delivery men were very helpful. They assembled everything and even helped me out with the other rooms."
"I think delivery men are just helpful to you. You seem to charm the pants off of them. I'm lucky if I get them to unload the stuff I order, let alone have them assemble anything."
"Oh shut it. You know you can charm them if you wanted to."
"Sure I can..anyway, I came by to see if you wanted to do a little shopping?"
"Shopping? You really think I need to do more of that? I mean, don't get me wrong I love it, but I really outdid myself yesterday."
"I don't mean shopping for the house, I'm talking about shopping for you and Derek by extension." She said with a wiggle of her eyebrows."
"Nai…" Addison said as she began to blush.
"What? Don't tell me you haven't thought about it? I figured if you went out to get a new bed and all, you'd want to get new lingerie too."
"I can't believe you just said that."
"Don't be such a prude Addison."
"I'm not. I just…you know what, let me grab my purse."
"Ha, I knew it!"
"Callie, that smells incredible." Derek said as he and Mark sat at the table, ready to be served. They had decided that a quiet evening at Mark's was better than being at a loud bar.
"I told you she could cook like no other." Mark said with such pride.
"Well, I hope you boys are hungry...because I cooked two different kinds of fajitas, chicken and steak. Plus, I made some fresh pico de gallo and guacamole, Spanish rice, and pinto beans." She stated as she set down the flour tortillas.
"So when you come to visit, you mind showing Addison a thing or two about cooking?" He said jokingly.
"Ooh you are so gonna be in trouble when I tell her that…"
"What? Even she knows she's not a good cook."
"You're so gonna be in the dog house, and you're not even there yet. This must be some sort of a new record for you." Mark teased.
"Wow, these tortillas look really good Callie, how did you make'em?"
"Yeah, way to change the topic buddy."
Callie was about to answer, then saw Derek's face and broke out into laughter. "You're afraid of what she'll say if I tell her? Haha that's funny."
"I'm glad my fear of Addison's wrath when it come her cooking entertains you. She knows you know. She just doesn't like it much when it's pointed out, especially by my mother."
"Speaking of your mother, does she know?" Mark questioned.
"About Addison and I?" Mark nodded. "No, but honestly, it's none of her business. I know she was happy to hear when we ended. She was always expecting Addison to mess things up... and when she did, according to my mother, she pretty much said 'I told you so'. I don't get it, Addison was nothing but nice, kind, and generous to her, but she never liked her."
"I think your mom always thought she was this privileged girl who never had to work a day in her life. One who didn't know the meaning of struggling to get what you want. I think if Carolyn had actually taken the time to know Addie, she would have realized that just because she had money, didn't mean that she was happy. I mean, come on, we've both met her parents. Archer was the only stable person in her life."
"Well, I'm done wishing my mother gets along with Addie. All I know, is that if she doesn't accept Addie, then she won't be seeing me a lot."
"I'm glad you're standing up for her. She always felt like you didn't say anything to Carolyn when she would make snide remarks in front of the family."
"Well those days are over."
"Okay boys, hate to break up this road trip down memory lane, but the food's ready."
Callie set down two steaming hot plates filled with chicken and steak fajitas. The different flavors filled the air around them as they happily dug in.
"Bye Nai. Thanks again."
"Hey, what time do you want us here tomorrow?"
"Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Well, I'm leaving around 8 a.m. to the airport, so if you can be here by then, that would be great."
"You better have some breakfast waiting for me when I get here." Naomi teased.
"I will, I promise. Goodnight Nai."
Addison walked straight to the couch and plopped down. She was exhausted. Who knew that buying lingerie could be so tiring? She had tried on a million things and ultimately walked out with five bags filled with new stuff. She had also done a little shoe and clothes shopping because she simply couldn't help herself. She smiled at thought of Derek's face when he saw her in the different selections she'd purchased.
Addison rubbed her eyes, she was getting sleepy. She knew she should probably get to bed soon since she had a pretty busy day tomorrow, but she wanted to give Derek a call before she went to bed. Making her way upstairs, she set her bags on the sofa in her bedroom. She picked up the phone and dialed.
"Hey, were you asleep?"
"Nah…just sitting and talking with Mark in his living room. He says hello."
"Tell him and Callie I say hi."
"Mark said you should make me sleep on the couch for a week, because I told Callie that when they came to visit, she should give you a few cooking pointers…"
"Ahhh well Mark's a smart man, so I guess you will be sleeping on the couch."
"You know I love your cooking...no matter how bad OR good it is."
"Sure you do."
"Callie's already gone to bed, but I'll be sure to tell her you said hello."
"Smooth…" She chuckled.
"What?" He feigned innocence.
"Funny Shepherd. Well I don't want you to be rude, so I'll let you go. I'm off to bed myself. I've got a busy day tomorrow."
"Hmmm, I wonder with who or what?"
"Oh you know, this man that I can't seem to shake."
"Well this man doesn't want to be shaken. I love you."
"Love you too. Goodnight."
Derek closed his phone, then turned his attention back to Mark who was drinking his beer. He watched him for a second and Mark noticed. "Does it bother you that you can't drink anymore?" Mark asked curiously.
"Not really. I mean, it's not like I can't drink. I'm just choosing not to. I became someone different when I did...I lost control…can I ask you something?"
"Sure, go ahead."
"I don't even know how to ask this...we've come such a long way since all of this happened, I guess I'm just curious. Also, I just need to know. I need to be reassured that it's over…"
"Whoa…Derek, I thought we'd moved passed this. I thought you had forgiven Addison and I…"
"I have. I just…I don't want to make the same mistakes...and even though I know what lead us down that path, and you sort of told me how it happened, I still don't know…"
"What do you want to know? If I'm still in love with her? If she was ever in love with me? What?"
"Shh…keep your voice down, Callie could hear you, you know."
"We're very honest with each other. I know she has her insecurities about Addison, but mostly they stem from what that stupid ex-husband of hers did. Just tell me what you want to know?"
"Honestly, I don't know...I guess I just want reassurance. I'm uprooting my life tomorrow to be with her."
"She did it for you."
"I know, I know. I guess some doubt still remains. I don't want to feel this way, but I do. You know, she told me yesterday she kissed Pete, and for a moment I was so ready to walk away from her again." Mark stared at his friend curiously. "Meredith kissed me today."
"What? Derek, you aren't going there again are you? I get that what happened between Addison and I hurt you, but you can't keep punishing her."
"No it wasn't like that. It was goodbye for her. I didn't respond. I felt nothing but sadness...I felt sorry for her."
"What is it that you want Derek?"
"I want things to go back to the way they used to be before everything fell apart. I want to be able to leave you and Addison alone and not have that nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach. I want my wife back. I want her to forget the pain I caused her. I want to know that you're no longer in love with her."
Mark took a deep breath. He knew that he had to be careful with how he said the next few words that came out of his mouth. "Derek, I won't lie to you. A part of me will always be in love with Addison."
Derek stiffened at this but continued to listen.
"She was the love of my life." Mark simply stated.
"She's the love of mine." Derek responded softly.
"I know, and you're hers. I couldn't ever really come between you two even if I wanted to. In the end, you found your way back to each other and I almost lost my brother and my best friend because of it. I've accepted that and I've managed to move on with Caliie. She reminds me of Addie in a way, but she's still very much her own woman. You don't have to worry Derek, Addison's only ever loved one man and you can be certain that you are that lucky son of a bitch." He finished with a chuckle.
Derek was quiet at first, absorbing what Mark had just said, then joined his friend. "Thank you for being honest. I'm sorry."
"Don't be. Because of all this mess I met another amazing woman. I'm good."
The steaming water hitting the back of her neck was lulling her. She ran her fingertips onto either shoulder as she massaged in the citrus scented body wash. Addison had woken up early to start her day without rushing. She wanted things in the house to be in order for Derek's arrival, and she wanted to take a nice relaxing shower before she went off to the airport to pick him up.
She could feel the butterflies in her stomach buzzing all around her body, and the urge to break out into giggles. She was excited, there was no other way to describe it.
Addison shut off the water, then reached for a towel hanging on the closest towel rack. She quickly dried off and then padded her way into the bedroom. She had spread out her outfit on the bed. The one she had purchased yesterday specifically for today. She smiled. The dress was colorful and cheery just like she felt. She had debated between four dresses, finally settling on a violet Stella McCartney silk twill strapless dress. She had also had a hard time picking out the perfect shoes. Since the dress was a bit girly, she wanted something chunky and hard to off set it and give it an edge. It took her a while, but she finally found the perfect pair at Bergdorf's. They were a pair of Christian Dior extreme cutout sandals in silver nappa leather.
Addison quickly dressed, then began applying her makeup and jewelry. The ringing of the phone stopped her down pat routine.
"Hi, this is Stella from A Votre Sante."
"Oh yes, what can I do for you?"
"I was just calling to let you know that Jose, our deliveryman, is on his way with your breakfast order. Will he be needing a code to enter your building?"
"No. It's a house. Just have him come to the front door, someone will be here."
"Okay, thank you."
"No, thank you."
She hung up the phone, then proceeded to do her makeup.
"Hey, you almost ready?" Naomi asked as she approached her. Addison, who hadn't heard her walking towards her, jumped in surprise.
"Jesus Naomi, you scared the hell out of me!"
"I'm so sorry! I thought you heard me call out your name."
"No, I'd just gotten of the phone." She said as she placed her hand over her racing heart. "It was A Votre Sante. They should be delivering the food soon."
"Ooh Votre. I love that place."
"I know...Okay I need to finish up, I don't want to be late."
"I'll wait for the food."
"Thanks. The money's on the counter."
He stood in front of the departure board. His flight was on time and he'd be leaving soon. He would be arriving in Los Angeles in less than three hours. Three hours and he'd be with Addison. He ran his hand roughly through his hair as he found his way towards a seat in the far left of the waiting area. Derek was nervous. His stomach felt queasy. He was breaking into a sweat, his knuckles were white from being so tightly wound. He would soon be with her and they would be starting anew, but could he really go through with this? Throughout these past few months, he wanted nothing else but to get her back...for Addison to forgive him for what he put her through. Now that this was about to happen, he couldn't help but have doubts. Not doubts about being with her, but doubts about himself. Could he be absolutely certain that he wouldn't hurt her again? What if he fell off the wagon and reverted back to his old ways? What if she could be much happier with someone else? Did she trust him? Did he really trust her?
Many questions were spinning in his head. Could he really get on that plane? Would it be the end of them if he didn't go? Of course it would, she would probably never forgive him. His fear was that if he showed up, eventually he would cause her pain...but if he didn't he would still hurt her.
He stood up and began to pace. He had to think. He had to make a choice.
The drive to the airport had been uncharacteristically fast. No traffic, it was almost as if the roads opened up so that she could be right on time to pick Derek up. Almost as if the universe was saying everything was aligning the way it should be. She smiled. She couldn't help herself, Derek would be coming out of those double doors in less than five minutes.
To say that she was nervous was an understatement. Today was the beginning, or a continuation if you will, of their life together. Even though she had her doubts, she felt somewhat confident in their ability to do this because of Derek...because throughout this whole ordeal, he somehow believed they would make it. She wished she could have his optimism, but she couldn't help herself, she was always waiting for the other shoe to drop. After all, karma had a sick sense of humor when it came to her. Karma seemed to have gotten comfortable about being around her. She shook her head. Those days were over.
Addison tried to get a good look through the door's windows, but she couldn't see him yet. He must've been held up or something, she thought to herself. She paced around for a bit, then went to check the arrivals board. Addison scanned it and quickly found his flight number, it was on time. She decided to take a seat while she waited. Her phone rang, which she happily picked up, glad that it could distract her for the interim.
"Hey, is he there yet?"
"Nope, not yet. Still waiting. What's up?"
"His stuff arrived. Sam's parking his jeep and the movers are starting to bring stuff in. Is there anywhere you want me to direct them to?...or just the living room for now?"
"Living room's fine. Did he bring a lot of stuff?" She asked curiously.
Naomi couldn't help but laugh. "What?" Addison asked nonchalantly.
"Oh Addie, you are too funny. No, the man kept it to a minimum. I think he knows you well enough."
"What? I didn't mean anything by it, I was just wondering how much stuff we had to rearrange. That's all."
"Is it weird that I'm nervous? It almost feels like we've never done this before, I mean...live together."
"No, I don't think it's weird at all. Actually, I'd be surprised if you weren't. Addison, you and Derek have grown a lot over the past couple of years, you're different but the same, and you just have to learn each other again."
"I guess we do. That's why I think taking some time off will be good for me, for us."
"Yeah, I think it is. But you are coming back right?"
"Of course! I love the practice Nai, why wouldn't I?"
"I don't know. I just want to be reassured. It feels like I just got you back into my life, and as selfish as it may sound, I don't want to lose my someone. You're my someone."
"Well, now we've gone all sappy. We're such women."
"Yeah we are."
"So when does he arrive?"
"Well, his flight arrived like fifteen minutes ago, so I'm guessing he should be coming out any minute now."
"Are you gonna run into his arms like those mushy movies we both love so much?"
"Ha!! Who me? Noooo…maybe."
"I'd love to see that."
"I bet you would. You're just gonna have to settle with hearing about it."
"Fine, but I want all the lovey-dovey details."
"Deal. I should probably get off the phone. I'll see you in a bit."
"Kay. See ya soon."
Addison hung up the phone and continued to wait. There was still no sign of Derek. She looked around a bit ,then walked towards the ticketing counter. Maybe the arrival board was wrong?
"One minute please." Said the attendant behind the counter who was busy typing away on the computer. "Okay, sorry about that. What can I do for you?"
"Uhmm…I just wanted to make sure that Flight XF1121 arrived on time? I'm waiting for someone and I haven't seen them come out of the terminal."
"Flight XF1121 you said?" Addison nodded her head. "Okay, let's see…hmmmm…yes it was on time, actually it got here twenty minutes early and it looks like everyone should be out."
Addison instantly felt a panic hit the pit of her stomach. She could feel the color drain from her completely, her worst fears were coming true. The ticket agent quickly noticed and watched her with concern. "Miss, are you okay?"
She swallowed the lump that was beginning to thicken in her throat and nodded. She was probably overreacting. Derek was probably on his way out, something must've held him up. "Yes, I'm sorry, I just felt a little light-headed that's all. Thank you for checking."
Addison walked back to the double doors and stared at them...wishing and hoping that this was not really happening, that Derek hadn't changed his mind. She watched those doors, willing them to open, with Derek walking out, apologies spilling out of his mouth for losing track of time. Her heart was beating rapidly, her palms were beginning to sweat, her body was trembling lightly. Where was he? His flight had arrived before she had and she had been waiting for at least thirty minutes. It had been nearly an hour. Maybe he was by the carousel waiting for his luggage? But he would have seen her by now, she would have seen him by now.
Addison began to pace a bit more frantically. Would he really do this to her? After everything that had happened, would he really not show up? She had just spoken to him, he seemed fine, happy even. What could have changed his mind? She could feel the tears begin to build. He wasn't coming. He, once again, didn't show up. How could she fall for his empty words again? She couldn't take it anymore. She turned around to walk away, she had to get out of there, it was almost suffocating her.
It was a slow pace at first, she was trying not to draw any attention to herself, but then her strides became longer. She could hear the rapid pounding of her heart. Her hands were shaking from hurt and anger, the tears she had been holding back were beginning to spill down her cheeks. Addison could hear all these voices around her, surrounding her, invading her racing mind. It was too crowded in her head, she couldn't get out of there fast enough, and as she took that final step out, she heard someone faintly call out her name.
Addison turned slowly and there he was. Was it really him? Or was she so distraught that she was now seeing things? He looked worried. She could see a crease forming on his forehead as he tried to gage her appearance. He walked towards her while she stood still. She was dumbfounded and glued to her spot. All the emotions still running like crazy through her entire body.
"Addie?" He asked with concern.
"You came?" Her voice was hardly more than a whisper.
"Of course, why wouldn't I?"
"I…I thought you weren't coming. You're late." Was all she could bring herself to say.
"I know. I'm sorry. I missed my flight and I took the one right after. I'm so sorry. I should have called but I didn't have time. Are you okay?" He went to reach for her but she pulled away.
Logically, she knew that it wasn't his intention to put her through what she'd just gone through, but it didn't change the fact that she still felt hurt.
"I'm sorry. I just… I thought you weren't coming and I was standing here…waiting and I didn't see you…and…" She couldn't continue, her throat felt constricted.
He reached for her again, this time she let him take her in his arms. He held her tightly to him, she adjusted her head on the crook of his neck, breathing his scent in. It felt amazing having him hold her. Derek stroked her back to try and soothe her.
"I'm here Addie. I'm here." He said reassuring her.
"I can't believe I thought you weren't coming." She whispered onto his chest.
Derek tensed up a bit. Should he tell her that her fears weren't unwarranted? What difference would it make if she knew? It would only hurt her, right? He inhaled sharply, he had to tell her. They had said no more secrets, no miscommunication...honesty was essential in their new beginning.
"Derek?" She asked confused at the sudden tension she felt radiating off his body.
"I had doubts..." He stated quickly.
Addison watched him, not understanding at first, and then it suddenly dawned on her. He had had doubts about her, about coming here. She instantly pulled away, he tried to grab her but she was too quick.
"You had doubts? What?"
"I had a moment of panic. I was afraid…"
"Of what exactly? Derek…"
"Addie, let me explain…"
"You don't have to. You weren't coming were you? You were going to leave me here waiting for you?"
"No!! Absolutely not!! For a minute, I thought that maybe I shouldn't come, but it had nothing to do with you. Don't you get it? It was about me, Addison. I was afraid I was making a mistake by coming, because I might not be the one who can give you the happiness you so deserve. I love you so much and I'm terrified of hurting you. And I did, I inadvertently hurt you again. This was what I was afraid of, but I couldn't not come, because I love you and I believe in us." He reached for her again, she was still pulling away, so he reached for her face and put his hands on either side of her, holding her gaze to his. "I want to explore things and I want someone who wants to explore them with me. I want to have someone who can change my mind and I can change theirs. I want to have as much doubt as I do certainty. I want those things with you Addie. We had them before and we can have them again. All the choices we've made, have only added to the people we have become, and will become, together."
She didn't know what to say, she was stunned. Only a few moments ago, she thought he wasn't coming, and now, he's telling her that he did have doubts, but he still came. What was she supposed to do with this? "I don't know Derek."
"Addie, look at me. I'm here. I'm not going anywhere. I'm still me. My heart, my mind, my soul, the man you fell in love with...I'm still here, he's right here." Derek said as he reached for her hand and placed it over his heart. "I just lost my way, but together, we can find that path we began so long ago. Tell me you still want that too?"
She was quiet, all she could do was look him in the eye. She could see the truth in them, this was her Derek. "I do."
Derek couldn't help himself, he swiftly pulled her into an embrace and began his onslaught on her inviting mouth. Addison quickly tightened her arms around him as well and matched his fervor. After a few moments, they pulled away, realizing that they were still in public. She smiled sheepishly as she looked around, a few passersby were staring at them. Derek watched her incredulously, even with the smudged eye makeup, she was still breathtaking. "You look beautiful."
She was caught off-guard but then grinned happily at him. "Thank you."
"I think that might be my new favorite color on you. It suits you."
"Even more so that my salmon colored scrubs?" She teased with a crinkle of her nose.
"Even more." He teased back.
"I can't believe you're really here."
"I can't believe we're really here."
"For you? Always."They both stared into each other's eyes with genuine emotion, then walked out hand-in-hand.
Well there you have it, the end!!! Finally!! It's been a long road to this ending. It took me forever and a day, but it's done. I have to say that writing this story was such a wonderful experience. It has helped me grow as a writer and lyricist. It has given me confidence to begin other stories with these characters that I enjoy writing for, and given me a better appreciation for them. Obviously, this couldn't have been done without my PHENOMENAL beta Agent Extremis, who was patient, tolerant, and understanding through this long journey. As of right now, this is the end, but I might be persuaded to write an Epilogue when you all review.
So once again, thank you so much for reading. Now I'm off to write for my other babies that I've neglected. Check'em out if you get a chance.