Disclaimer: If I owned Grey's, we'd know a lot more about Alex' past. Do we know details about Alex' past? No. What does that tell you?
A/N: I must apologize. Every single chapter takes ages. I wish I could change that, but due to different things I never do get to update regularly. I'm truly sorry about that. At least this one's a bit longer.
I'm really happy you like this story, since it probably is the story that means the most to me. Thank you for your reviews, I can't express how much they help me.
Do enjoy the chapter, yeah? I really like it. And - if you have a little bit of time - check out my McRamblings at my McBlog.
Shards of glass - Chapter VII: At Joe's
Staind - It's been awile
Its been awhile It's been a while
Since I could look at myself straight
and it's been awhile
since i said i'm sorry
It's been awhile
Since I've seen the way the candles light your face
It's been awhile
But I can still remember just the way you taste
But everything I can't remember as fucked up as it may seem
I know it's me - I cannot blame this on my father
he did the best he could for me
Since I could hold my head up high
and it's been a while since i said i'm sorry
It's been a while
He was having a bad day. A very, very bad day. Not only was he sleep-deprived to no end and currently running on approximately two litres of pure caffein, but also working with – or was it 'for'? - the guy who was screwing the love of his life (no, that was not the exact term he used when he thought about her, but pretty much what she meant to him). Yeah. Bad day indeed.
Addison was with Mark Sloan. THE Mark Sloan. Not only did he look like every chick would want to jump in the sack with him as soon as they even saw him from afar (he'd heard the expression "walking around in a steam cloud" at the nurses station), but also was he rich, famous and – frankly – brilliant. Damn. How could he compete with that?
Then again, did he want to? Yeah, he did, but really? Wasn't she better off happy with that jackass instead of bothered and hurt, because he, Alex, was trying to win her (back)? Sure, he was different now, a little less messed up, with not having to take care of what was left of his family anymore, but... Nope, she deserved better. Always had, always would.
What didn't help was that Sloan turned out to be a real asshole. When he wasn't busy flirting shamelessly with nurses (the main reason why Alex wasn't all that fond of that cheater: Addie deserved better than some guy who didn't bother trying to be faithful), he didn't let Alex do a thing. Picking up his laundry, fetching him coffee or sandwiches. Sutures, dabbing blood, changing bandages if he was lucky. That was that. Plastics was so much fun.
Addison had disappeared right away, finding she was unable to handle the situation (the love of her life finding out his idol was her boyfriend). This was beyond bad. Alex' excited face falling as soon as he'd seen Mark... Ouch. Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch. Bad, bad thing.
He should be happy. Whenever she'd thought about him the past nine years, she'd always pictured him happy, maybe with a wife and kids (yeah, a little bit unrealistic, but anyway). She'd told herself he'd move on quickly, from both, his messed up family and what had happened between him and her. To find he really hadn't... Not the best feeling in the world.
Thus, she was spending her night at the bar across the street. She'd only been here twice before, not because she didn't like the place – lovingly called 'Joe's' by regulars – but because she tried not to drink too much. Not only did she fear if she ever started she wouldn't be able to stop – especially now – but also she couldn't get Alex' face out of her head when he'd caught her sipping vodka a long time ago. With his father being an alcoholic and all.
She'd switched from vodka to martini almost as soon as she'd moved to Manhatten. Still, only drinking when there was a special occasion. Very special ones, like anniversaries. No, not birthdays, her very own anniversaries. Hardly ever as a respond to present life. All the drinking she'd done in New York had been caused by her past.
Now was time for an act of desperation, though. As tired and exhausted – mentally and physically - as she was, she could not go home now. She was glad enough she'd managed to avoid Alex for the rest of the day. The image of him trotting after Mark, seeming somewhat defeated was burned too deeply into her brain already. So yeah. Drinking time.
She frowned when she spotted Derek (her ex-boyfriend) hitting on one of her interns (the dirty blonde) and realized he must have been the guy that Meredith Grey had thrown out of her bed the night before her first shift. Interesting. Now, however, she seemed to be a little embarrassed and wanting to get away. Ashamed she'd slept with her boss, he? Hehe, funny. The next time Addie'd see him, she'd laugh at him (not to mention question him).
Okay, that was the martini talking. She, Dr Addison Forbes Montgomery, had her own intern problems, after all. Even though hypothetically he and everything she'd experienced with him should be completely in her past. A long time ago. Nope, it wasn't that funny. Not at all, actually. It was painful to remember. Where was her next drink?
Looking at people through a empty martini glass soon seemed like an interesting way of spending her time, after she'd given up staring at the peanuts in abject horror. These things tended to hurt her (she was allergic). She was sitting at a table in a corner, the perfect place to simply watching what was going on around her. The martinis had made her sleepy and the warmth of the bar enveloped her perfectly. Drowsiness was a beautiful thing. She'd only had to be careful not to fall asleep with her head on the table (as it was right now). That'd be a little bad.
And then the door opened, while she fought a silent but exhausting battle with her eyelids, and as soon as her tired eyes fell on who'd just entered the bar, she didn't feel all that tired anymore. In fact, the usual jolts of lightning going up and down her spine did a pretty good job waking her up.
Ah. Drunk, sleep-deprived and deeply depressed. What a wonderful combination to watch Alex Karev from afar. If it hadn't been so sad, it might just have made her day.
If anyone had told him only days ago that his first day on the service of THE Mark Sloan would result in him having to pay his favorite bar a visit even though he was about to fall asleep standing, he'd have laughed in their faces. It wasn't that he was planning on getting drunk – hell, he couldn't remember a single time he'd gotten really, seriously pissed – it was more like not wanting to be alone right now. And Joe's was the closest thing to a home he had right now.
It'd been the first thing he'd done as soon as he'd moved to Seattle: Check out whether there were any bars around. And interesting enough, The Emerald City Bar had had it's opening three days later. So he'd showed up there and hadn't spent an evening away from it ever since. Save from last night, of course. He'd been too shaken then to even think about it; absolutely unable to be around people. Now, he wasn't anxious and hurt and in shock anymore, he was simply exhausted.
So he ordered a beer – as usual – and sat down at the bar – his usual seat. Joe, the bartender and some sort of friend, always provided him with a beer or two and information of who might be interested in spending a night with him. Right now, Alex wasn't all that keen on a one-night-stand (as a matter of fact, he was pretty sure he'd fall asleep half-way through), even though female company would probably help get over the fact that Mark Sloan was screwing his redhead. He simply wasn't in the mood. Probably because Mark Sloan was screwing his redhead.
He only realized he had to have been staring at the wall for a few minutes at least when some guy came over to him and – for a reason he did not quite get – started talking to him.
"Hey.", he said.
"Hey.", Alex answered, lacking a better response, since he had no freaking clue what the dude wanted from him.
"You're Addison's intern, right?", the guy asked.
Alex snorted, not even caring that hypothetically he shouldn't know who the hell "Addie" was – he did know her as Dr Montgomery, after all.
"What's your name?"
He had to try hard not to be rude and say something along the lines of "Piss off! What the hell do you want from me?". Right now, he was too tired to deal with whatever it was.
"Alex Karev.", he forced out, still staring at the wall, "Yours?"
A second of silence, either brooding – wondering where the hell they'd heard their respective names before – then they blurred out simultaneously:
"Fucking hell! You're-..."
"Yeah. And you're the guy next door."
"Dude, when will the weirdness stop?", he shook his head with a little forced-amused smile (haha, so funny) and took a sip of his drink.
"Why didn't she tell me you were here?"
Alex almost choked on his beer.
"You still dating?"
Was she cheating on Shepherd with Sloan or what was going on? Well, no judgement (jealousy, though) if she was, but it'd seemed a little too obvious to have been a spontaneous or once-in–a-lifetime or secret meeting he'd witnessed last night, it definitely hadn't looked like an affair behind Shepherds back (right in front of his face, more like it) or whatever. Alex had simply assumed that jackass was her boyfriend and hadn't heard it contradicted yet.
"No, we broke up right after she moved to New York.", the other guy shook his head (with a real horrible amount of hair on it) with a smile and once more Alex's beer seemed unwilling to go down throught the esophagus instead of the trachea. Right after she'd moved to New York? But why? Surely, she couldn't have felt that guilty, could she?
"But she's my best friend.", Shepherd continued, "Apart from Mark, of course, but he doesn't count."
Now was perhaps the moment when Alex realized he should stop drinking while around people who were talking to him. They tended to say shocking things, and his reaction was clearly not good for his beer. He'd just knocked it over.
"Sloan?", he coughed.
"That's just messed up.", Alex shook his head.
"Kind of.", then, quickly – as if remembering what he'd come over to talk to him in the first place, "Listen, do you know anything about Meredith?"
Huh? Who? Apparently the question mark plastered on his forehead, since Shepherd quickly added:
Grey? Meredith Grey? Who was that agai-... Ah! One of the other interns. Hot chick. Not as hot as the model, but definitely not bad.
"Why would I? Only just met her.", he shrugged.
"Pity.", Shepherd stood up. Apparently he'd only gone over to him to talk about that Meredith chick.
"Nice meeting you anyway. I'm sure Addie's thrilled to see you again."
"I dare to doubt that.", Alex muttered to himself and his – half-spilled - beer while that Shepherd guy was already walking out the door of the bar.
Only a few sips later, the bartender himself seemed to decide paying Alex a visit would be worth it. Not that he had to go very far. And noone wanted a drink right now anyway, so it wasn't that much of a surprise Joe found a little time to talk to a regular. 'Cause that, he was. Alex considered himself at home here. Kind of.
"What's up? You've been sulking all night.", Joe asked, emptying the counter of peanuts and peanutshells. People never ate them. They only cracked them open and then forgot them on the never really completely clean surface. Alex found peanuts to be rather depressing. Addison was allergic to them. A very, very small smile briefly crossed his lips when he remembered how she'd gotten these weird red spots all over once.
"Don't wanna talk about it."
"Okay. Any chance you're interested in a one-night-stand?"
Apparently, the bartender was trying to cheer him up. He wished it was working.
"Dude, you're really not my type.", Alex smirked mockingly.
"I wasn't talking about myself. The redhead over there's been staring at you ever since you entered my bar."
His heart fell about the same time his head automatically jerked around to meet – who else could it be – Addison's eyes. Shocked about the sudden surge of lust that shot through his entire body, he immediately adverted his eyes again, but his head seemed to be slightly reluctant moving away from his redhead.
"Oh.", was all he could utter.
"You know, she kinda looks like she wants to eat you."
"She has a boyfriend, okay?", he stated hastily and with a certain amount of bitterness.
"That stopping you?", Joe asked genuinly surprised.
"Why?", now the bartender looked as if Alex had just told him the earth wasn't round after all. Great.
To his shame, Alex had to admit that girls having boyfriends never had stopped him from having a good time with them. When they were willing, it wasn't his fault they were cheating, was it? He didn't think it was that much of a big deal anyway, cheating. Not that that was anywhere close to his mind. Right now, said mind was very busy shooting into overdrive with worry.
"Does she come here often? You know, to drink?"
Oh, he should not be asking this. It was none of his business.
"Nope. Only seen her twice, I think."
A double wave of both, relief and disappointment washed over him. Relief, because the last thing he wanted was for Addison to turn into someone he actually had to take care of, whether she wanted to or not, because she needed help. Disappointment, because it'd mean she wouldn't be here very often after this night and he wouldn't get chances to simply stare at her for a few minutes from a far corner. Damn.
He abruptly got up.
"Alright, I'm calling it a night. See you tomorrow."
And before Joe even had time to yell a...
... after him, he had left the bar.
Addison was still staring at the now closed door of the bar, half-slumbering again, when suddenly a voice behind her made her jerk around (and possibly awake).
"So, lady, care to tell me why my favorite regular just fled the scene after doing as much as looking in your general direction?"
Her heart dropped when she realized he had to be talking about Alex. He couldn't be talking about someone else, could he? But it wasn't so much the fact that he'd "fled the scene", it was more that...
"He's a regular?", she asked automatically.
"Been here every night since I opened the bar.", the bartender nodded frowning slightly.
Alex. ALEX KAREV! She should have known better than to go to a bar this close to the hospital. She knew the guy next door, after all. He'd grown up in a bar and obviously he considered this one his new kind-of home in Seattle. And now she'd chased him away. From his bar. She'd really have to talk to him about that. Tell him she'd never show up there again. Anything to make him not lose the little taste of being genuinly comfortable somewhere.
"You alright?", the guy asked, seeming a little concerned. Hah! He shouldn't be. Not for her, anyway. Alex, yeah, definitely, but she was not someone one should care for much.
"I'm an idiot. Please kill me.", she uttered dully, burying her head in her hands. Just in case her hangover wouldn't do that for her.
"I sense an interesting story."
With that, she looked up from her palms again.
"He hasn't mentioned me? Ever?"
Urgh... She had to sound beyond pathetic, desperate even! She wasn't desperate. Fine, maybe the tiniest bit? Oh, she couldn't be blamed for that, right? Due to alcohol and severe lack of sleep and the latest interaction with the guy she'd always loved, her desperation and patheticness couldn't be judged.
"Who are you?", the guy frowned, which made her extend her hand.
"Dr Addison Forbes Montgomery, pleased to make your acquaintance."
"Joe, nice to meet you."
He shook it. A few seconds of silence, then she remembered what they'd been talking about.
"So, ever heard of me?"
Damn indeed. She wasn't quite sure whether that meant he didn't/hadn't care(d) for her, but it certainly hurt. Sure, Alex Karev was not exactly famous for (willingly) coming out with the story of his life to everyone he ever met, but he must have said something to the bartender, right? Bars were his home, after all.
"Sorry.", Joe said, apparently trying to express his condolences for not having heard of her. Haha, funny. No, not really.
"I'm tired and drunk...", she muttered, checking the already empty glasses for little drops of alcohol that she could consume. Yup, drinking was a bad idea. Having come here in the first place had been a very bad plan. Now she'd have to talk to him. Alex could not lose his home because of her. It only bugged her that he didn't consider her his home. But then again, how could he? Argh, internal ramblings sucked...
"Want a cab?", the bartender offered, obviously catching on to the fact that Addison was slurring and depressed and needed to go home now.
"Yup. Thanks.", she nodded.
And that was the end of her night. She fell asleep in the cab, was woken rather rudely, then forced herself to walk into her apartment and ultimately passed out on the living room floor.
IMPORTANT A/N: Since I'm not quite sure how I want to continue this, you get to choose. Either the next chapter will continue the storyline, or it'll deal with Alex and how bars are his home, using flashbacks. Please tell me what you'd like to read. Thanks!