Disclaimer: I don't own anything, I'm merely borrowing, so thanks for letting me.
Not Another Day
Izzie usually loved driving back from work alone. After a long, hectic day, when it was just her, her car and the road, music turned up all the way to whatever station the radio was tuned to, singing along loudly and probably very off-key…It gave her time to wind down, think back on the day's events and relax a bit before returning to Meredith's house – the place she had called home now for a little more than a year.
That was 'usually'.
Lately, or rather for the past eleven days to be exact, driving home by herself had not been such a pleasurable experience. In fact, it had turned out to be quite the opposite. Lately, she did not think about the day's events that had transpired before. Instead, she thought about what lay ahead. And what lay ahead was silence. And not the comfortable kind either. So for the past, she guessed about nine, days she had actually come to dread the drive home, which was not filled with songs now but rather with dark brooding.
Not only did she dread the car-ride though. It was also the 'walking up to the front door, turning the key and opening'-part that had her worried. But not so much as what came after. Silence.
For Izzie, silence was like fingernails on a chalkboard. The thought of it made her shiver. It wasn't that she felt every moment of tranquility had to be filled with unnecessary blabber about unimportant things. She could appreciate a moment of stillness in today's fast-paced world. It was more the reason for it that had her worried in the first place.
Exactly eleven days ago today, Alex had broken down in her arms after the whole Ava/Rebecca debacle, and had made coming home so much more…difficult.
She had held him as he cried that night, not being able to let go even as he fell into a fitful sleep. She didn't want to be presumptuous, but she had a feeling she knew almost exactly how he felt. Loss was what described it best, she guessed. The thought of him trying to make up to Rebecca where he had, in his eyes, failed his Mom, was heartbreaking at best, and just thinking about it brought tears to her eyes. But she knew him well enough by now to understand that as much as Alex hated showing that he had actual feelings, he despised pity even more. So when she had woken up the next morning - in his bed, in her crumpled clothes - without him in it (or the entire house for that matter), she just knew something between them had irreversibly shifted. To what, she still wasn't sure. Couldn't be sure, because ever since then, he had mastered the art of 'avoidance-while-living-together'.
He had let his guard down with her, and was embarrassed about it. This much Izzie gathered from just seeing him briefly around the house or hospital. He had started working extra hours immediately after that day, avoided looking into her eyes should he have to talk to her and took showers at all ungodly hours of the night just so he wouldn't run into her. And while she understood, to a certain extent, that this was his 'manly' way of getting his pride back, she could not fathom why it had to be done in a way that completely and utterly shut her out.
With Meredith basically out of her own house, for reasons unbeknownst to Izzie apparently preferring to live on her McDreamy land with Derek in their McDreamy trailer waiting for their McDream-House to be built, it was just Alex and her left. And because communication between them had come to an abrupt halt, she had no other distraction. That lead to time, which lead to thinking, which lead to baking. But even that didn't offer the refuge it once did, and having her precious 'driving home relaxation time' taken away was really just the last straw. So while driving home after a grueling shift, she decided that the eleventh day would be the last. Of what she didn't know yet, but any change would be good.
After she entered the house, her new-found resolve still intact, she put her purse and keys on the little side-table and shrugged off her jacket. She had seen the light on in his room from outside and thought she would try to be civil first.
"Alex…?" Silence greeted her for the 11th day in a row. She tried again. Nothing. No news there.
She took one more deep breath and walked up the stairs. Yes, she was hungry, but that would have to wait. Instead of eating, Izzie did the next best thing and stormed, quite literally, into Alex's room. Thankfully the door was not locked, because looking back, she really could have done some damage to her face. He was sitting in the middle of his bed, medical journal on his lap, about to take a sip of water, and was probably as shocked at her grand entrance as she was at actually pulling it off. At least the look on his face was priceless. It was a mixture of dread and anxiety, mixed with a little bit of…relieve? Maybe he had wanted to talk all this time too? She couldn't be sure, but liked to think so anyway. It would definitely make the next few minutes or so run a bit smoother. In a way she was still reeling from having taken that 'brave' first step. Now if that step would only lead her onto the path of finding the right words.
She must have been concentrating on that thought for a bit longer than she realized, because the first words spoken that night were actually out of his mouth.
"What was that?"
Well, she guessed, it was a start.
"I'm tired of you avoiding me like that". No time like the present, and since she couldn't be sure how long she had before he started to either blatantly ignore her, yell at her or gently remove her from his room, she had to get a head start. Thesis first, backing up the theory later, or something to that extent. English class had never been her favorite.
Her voice was firm when she continued.
"Ever since that night, you go out of your way to not talk to me. And yes, I do realize you talk to me at work, but that's not the same, and you know it."
She felt like she was being repetitive, but maybe that was because she had gone over this in her head A LOT. And there was no stopping now anyway.
"And while I totally respect that you need time, I'm also your friend. Or at least I hope I'm still your friend. I know that I still want to be your friend. And Alex…you're really important to me. And I might not ever have said it. But you shutting me out like that? It's not acceptable. I won't accept it. That's what friends do, right? They're there for each other no matter what. And Alex…you've been there for me many times, when you didn't have to, and I know I might not ever have properly thanked you, or even acknowledged it, but I am now. You've gone out of your way to…well…you know."
She took a breath.
"And so what that I've seen you cry. You think that makes me think less of you? You think that I would call my 'cool' friends and tell on you? Alex, I would question your sanity if the shit you went through had left you unaffected. So this silence thing? It has to stop. I don't care what you say…hell, you can even yell if you want to. But please let me in…and if you can't do that just now, then at least don't shut me out."
She stopped her pacing that had started mid-way through her little speech and looked at him expectantly. She wasn't actually sure what she was waiting for, she hadn't thought that far ahead. So she just…waited.
And after staring at her for a good minute with those eyes, those beautiful eyes of his that were able to express so much, yet said so little at this particular moment in time, he mumbled a "Sit," scooted over and patted the spot next to him on his bed.
He had always had the ability to transfer so much meaning with just one word, its intonation and the melody of his voice always conveying…something…anything. But his 'sit', just a second ago…nothing. She eyed him for a short while, but decided it was safe enough to actually 'sit'. It wasn't like he would ever do anything to hurt her physically, she knew that one hundred percent, even though he had implied otherwise on that one fateful day. She had never believed for a second that he would be capable of laying hands on anyone, especially a woman, especially her.
Right now, the apprehensiveness stemmed more from the fact that she didn't know what he was going to think of her little outburst of emotions, and wondered if maybe she should give them some time to cool off. If he even needed it. She sure did. Curiosity won out though, and so she sat next to him slowly, stalling for a little bit more time. As she leaned against his headboard, avoiding his eyes yet noticing them following her anyway, she thought that maybe she should have left it at 'silence' after all. At least then, she could still pretend everything was semi-fine.
When he spoke, his voice had once again taken on the soft tone it often had when he was talking to her and her only. He also sounded a little bit more unsure of himself.
"Iz, the thing is…I don't do feelings. Or at least I thought I didn't…" he trailed off, taking a deep breath.
"Everything is just kind of…fucked up right now. And I don't know…". "It's just…ah…hard I guess…right now."
He was sort of at a loss for words and even though she wanted him to say more, for her sake just as much as for his, she didn't pry.
Instead, she nudged him gently, smiling at him and taking his hand in hers, giving it a slight squeeze, telling him it was ok. It was soft and warm, just as she remembered it. She had said her piece and hoped with everything she had that he believed her. That he would come around…eventually. He leaned in closer and kissed her softly on the cheek, a silent thank you. And just when she suspected that that was all she would get out of him that night he said softly
"I'm just not ready to talk about it."
"Yet," he added as she was about to open her mouth. And since the way he said it implied that when he was indeed willing to open up, she would be the one he'd come to, she left it at that. For tonight it was progress, and that was enough.
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