Tom Sez: My fifth anniversary as a writer here. Where did the time go?

Oh. Yeah.

How It Feels For A Girl

Lexie Grey stared at the spidery crack in the plaster over her bed, tracing the dark lines with her eyes like she did every night. It was a form of hypnosis, she guessed – a way to get past all the things she'd think about in the day. But tonight as she mapped the micro-crevasses, she couldn't help but ruminate over her friend and roommate and colleague, one George O'Malley.

She noticed him. Nobody else might, but she did. She saw his tenderness, his kindness, his decency, and not occasionally, but regularly. Her first day in the interns' locker room sprung to mind. He was throwing the contents of his locker into a garbage can, and she wondered why he seemed so defeated and disgusted, and she wanted to draw him out, distract him from himself.

And that's when he told her to learn how to do an appendectomy from start to finish by the end of her first day. Even in his obvious exhaustion from swimming in a darkness she didn't understand then, he paused – he let go of his own self-concern for a moment and spoke softly and directly to her. He didn't bark at her, or tell her to leave him alone, or even give her the proverbial pat on the head just before he sent her away. He actually gave her something useful, a piece of advice that he wasn't obligated to give.

She'd put her finger on it: that's the precise moment she noticed him. And she kept noticing as he worked harder than he probably had to, if only to keep the wolves at bay, many of which he had apparently invited to the door himself.

What she wasn't privy to about his romantic entanglement with Izzie Stevens, she didn't ask about. Of course, she didn't have to – his collapsing marriage, his failing the intern exam, his choice of bed partners, his surprising reputation, these topics and many others seemed to swirl around the halls of Seattle Grace like angry clouds of gnats. Lexie didn't want to hear gossip – but she did want the two of them to have a real chance at a real relationship. For his sake, anyway. To watch him struggle down the hallways, not able to raise his head sometimes, so lost in thought that it was weighing him down, occasionally brightening when the woman he loved looked his way, and darkening when she was nowhere to be seen. Sure, he missed the other friends he'd made the first time around, but Izzie was the sun and moon and stars to his world. And Lexie would have been lying if she said that she hadn't developed a cold nugget of anger about that, about how Izzie was rarely there when George needed something, but how he'd drop everything to run to her side. It made Lexie mad at Izzie – for her usual absence – and at George – for his usual presence. She wasn't prepared to call it jealousy – not yet – but maybe it was.

Because she noticed him. His eyes. His hands. His arms. His smile.

She had to admit, he was cute. No, 'cute' was the wrong word. He was just – different – than the rest of the boys and men she'd known. He looked like he was finally growing into his body, getting more comfortable in his own skin. There were a lot of lookers in the male staff at Seattle Grace, but he was the only one who actually seemed to be improving day-to-day, not just holding steady, maintaining, or repeatedly adjusting the appearance. She was sure he'd gone through that phase – even her own life experience, brief as it was, said that all men tended to – but right now, he was finding himself, and that had a definite appeal to it.

Plus, she'd seen him without a shirt a couple times - totally by accident, of course.

Still, rrrooowwwrrrr….

And now she had been kissed by him. A stunning smack on the lips. Nothing romantic about it. There was no passion in it, no long look in the eyes, no words promising a forever in love, no heat, no sweat, no lust, no nothing.

Except. It wasn't nothing.

It was a genuine and gentle and sweet gift from a genuine and gentle and sweet man.

And in the seconds after, she couldn't help feel her heart leap with sheer joy when she replayed the moment in her mind, feeling the contact, the pressure, the pleasure. She found herself touching her lips, even tasting them – tasting them hours later, for Pete's sake, as her brain replayed the event over and over and over – and found that the flavor of his was still on hers. And it was…it was…

Yummy. Yeah. That's what his kiss was. It was yummy.

She didn't know a simple kiss – an absolutely innocent peck between friends, really – could ever feel so…so…you know. How could she? It wasn't like it was anything more than him being happy, and her being happy for him, right?

Now she understood why more than a few of the nursing staff would get all giggly and girly and gushy around him. If that's how a tiny smack on the lips from George O'Malley made a female feel – then what did a real kiss do to you?

She considered Izzie. And Callie Torres. And that whole twisted-up mess the three of them slogged through.

That should have been the end of it for her. Lexie Grey needed no additional complications in her life. George, for his part, had never stopped talking about how he loved Izzie, how he felt like 'such a creep' for how his marriage to Callie ended, and how he hoped that he would eventually be able to be with Izzie, which was, as far as Lexie could tell, his ultimate goal.

So his kiss was nothing more than that. A gesture from one friend to another. Which made sense.

The problem for Lexie came as she tried to make all those lovely sensations go away. See, instead of her affections passing, like she wanted, they clung to her insides, and dug in deep.

Lexie stared at that cracked ceiling, lost in the crevices of her own thoughts. It was impossible to deny her innermost feelings. She noticed George O'Malley.

She tested the words in her head just as sleep began to take over, and decided that they were right before giving over to the night. But right then, a still small voice asked a simple question, which began to buzz in her brain, and continued to do so, even after most of her was deep in slumber.

Simply put:

Does George O'Malley notice her?

The End