Author's Note: This story
was written for ga_fanfic's Secret Santa fanfiction
exchange. I hope you like it and you've spent a very merry
Christmas! Happy new year everyone!
A big shout out and thank you to my lovely beta Hannah who did a great job.
This story is going to consist of three parts where I'll explore the relationship/friendship between Addison/Mark, Addison/Derek and Mark/Derek.
Summary: Addison and Mark have not seen each other in five years. They run into each other two days before Christmas on the streets of Hartford. What happens? What has changed? How have they changed? With appearances from Derek, Bizzy Montgomery and various members of the Shepherd clan in chapters two and three.
Disclaimer: All television shows, movies, books, and other copyrighted material referred to in this work, and the characters, settings, and events thereof, are the properties of their respective owners. As this work is an interpretation of the original material and not for-profit, it constitutes fair use. Reference to real persons, places, or events are made in a fictional context, and are not intended to be libelous, defamatory, or in any way factual.
The how I cant
this is where you are
But im staring at
What once was the wall
Separating east and west
Now they meet admidst
The broad daylight
And this is where I am
Unsure and a hundred
this is where you are
The Fray – Hundred
The snow fell steadily, covering the streets of Hartford, Connecticut, on the day before Christmas Eve. The air was crisp and the passersby clad in woolen coats, mittens and scarves. It was a perfect December day. At least it was perfect for Addison Montgomery who was also wearing thick woolen clothes and was warming herself with hot cocoa. But Addison did not mind the cold, not in this very moment and especially not with the tiny, glove-covered hand in hers. The look on her daughter Kathy's face erased any doubt in Addison's mind that the little blonde girl might not like the short Christmas trip to New England. Kathy had a bright smile on her face that helped light up her eyes as she was staring at the tall Christmas tree in front of them with her mouth open.
When Addison was finished with her cocoa, she threw it in a trash can close by and lifted her daughter up off the ground and snuggled her close to her chest, placing several soft kisses on her daughter's cheek. The little girl giggled but did not let her Mom distract her from watching the many, many Christmas lights that lit up the square and the darkening afternoon sky.
"Mommy?" Kathy began quietly, turning her head and looking at Addison with a beaming smile on her face. "Can we get a tree like that too?"
Addison laughed lightly, but stopped as she saw her daughter's expression change from excitement to embarrassment. "I wish we could sweetie, but where would we fit a tree that size? Besides, we are going to see Grandma soon and she'll have a Christmas tree. It won't be as tall as this one, but I promise it'll be all lit up and covered in glitter and ornaments. You'll love it."
When Addison saw her daughter nod shyly at the mention of her grandmother, she placed another feather light kiss of reassurance on Kathy's cheek. Her daughter had yet to meet her grandmother. Addison had not visited her mother in eight years. Their relationship was complicated and had always been. Addison was - or at least she thought she was everything that her mother despised; an independent and strong-willed woman who was a divorced, single parent. Furthermore she was an adulterer, a woman who had cheated on her husband and broken the wedding vows, something her mother would not forgive easily.
Even though the relationship between Addison and her mother was at its best strained, all Addison wanted for her daughter was to have a family and a place to come to when the world seemed to be throwing her for a loop one too many times. So Addison had called her mother a couple of weeks ago and asked her if she would like to see them for Christmas? To Addison's surprise Bizzy Montgomery had told her she would love to spend Christmas with them, the tears she had been holding back at her daughter's question, making it hard for her to speak clearly. Maybe, Addison thought, Christmas was really all about forgiveness and Derek had been right many years ago when he had said that this time of year simply made you want to be with the people you loved most.
Addison hugged her daughter closer to her chest before she readjusted the purple beanie her daughter always insisted on wearing.
"You ready to meet grandma? She is very excited to meet you."
"Yes." Kathy said quietly and nodded her head softly. Addison knew that her daughter was still nervous about meeting the woman who was supposed to be her grandmother. She knew what that meant. She was going to meet her mommy's mommy. Her teacher at daycare had told her so. She also knew that her friends at daycare had grandmothers as well and they got to see them regularly because they lived in Los Angeles too. Nonetheless Kathy was wary about meeting her grandma who lived so far away that they had to take a plane to a city which was so cold that it was covered in snow and made your breath foggy.
"Okay, let's go then." Addison said and started to walk down the sidewalk towards her childhood home.
"Mommy!" Kathy piped up and squirmed in her mother's arms, "I'm a big girl. I can walk myself."
"Of course, you are." Addison agreed and put her daughter safely down on the sidewalk with a wry smile.
Together the two Montgomery women walked slowly past shop windows which were lit up with Christmas lights and alongside women and men who were busy buying the last presents for their family and friends.
At the next corner, a man stood on the sidewalk with his guitar singing Holy Night and smiling at Addison and Kathy as they walked by.
"Mommy! Mommy!" Kathy squealed in delight as she ran towards a shop window before she pressed her nose and hands against the cold glass. "Look at the snow globe! It's so big!"
Addison shook her head at her daughter's ability to speak in exclamation marks only. She had been warned before by various friends, but when reality set in and her little girl grew up, the volume of her voice and the knowledge of the English language increased exponentially.
Quickly Addison walked the few steps over to the shop window with the snow globe Kathy was fascinated by and kneeled down next to her daughter. Addison ran her fingers slowly through Kathy's blonde curls and kissed the side of her head before she turned around and searched for the object of her daughter's desire.
When she did turn her head, though, Addison's eyes did not land on the massive glass ball, but instead her gaze was drawn to a man standing by the cash register who was talking to the lady behind the counter animatedly. Addison thought her mind was playing tricks on her because this could impossibly be the man who was supposed to be 3000 miles away in the land of constant precipitation and endless grey skies.
Addison was lost in thought when she felt someone tug at her coat sleeve. When she felt her daughter's tiny hand grab hers and a voice break the silence, she averted her eyes from the man who was standing only a couple of feet away behind a glass window.
"Mommy, can we go in there!" Kathy squealed in delight while she tugged at Addison's hand impatiently.
Addison barely had time to nod when Kathy walked quickly around the corner and into the shop. She stood in front of the many different snow globes and waved a her mother who was turning her head once more and when she looked at the man she had been before, she caught her breath.
He looked back at her, obviously realizing who he was facing. He leaned his head a little to the side in contemplation before a small smile spread across his lips and he made his way out of the shop and over to her.
"Addison." He said softly and with one of his trademark smiles on his lips. It was exactly that moment and that smile which did her in. A realization one might say that some things don't change, not even with time.
"Mark." She replied smilingly, after the initial shock at seeing him had worn off. Mark. He still looked the same. His hair was grayer, but other than that not much had changed. He was still the very same man she had left five years ago. Physically speaking that was.
"What are you doing here?" She asked quietly, holding his intense gaze.
Days, weeks, months and years had passed since they had last seen each other and the occasional phone call or Christmas card which had stopped coming shortly after the move could not convey the magnitude of change they had both experienced.
It appeared as if they were trying to screen each other with their eyes, lay all of those days, weeks, months and years they had missed out in the open.
"I flew home for Christmas." He smiled and shoved his hands in his pants' pockets.
"You're going to see Emil and Nora?" Addison asked surprised with an arched eyebrow. Mark did not have a very good relationship with his parents, if what they had and always have had could be called anything close to a relationship at all.
"No." He said quickly and then moved to lean against the shop window. "I am driving up to Catherine's tomorrow. "
"Yeah. Derek was meant to come, but he got paged back." Mark shrugged. "He is booked on a flight tomorrow. If he gets here late in the afternoon, we'll get on the road then."
"Oh, that's…" Addison was interrupted by a familiar voice and her daughter's voice. She kneeled down, so she could be at eye level with the three-year old. She softly brushed over her daughter's forehead and pushed the strands of hair which had fallen across her face back in place and behind her ears.
"Mommy, see what I got?" Kathy squealed in delight as she presented the object in her hands. A snow globe, small enough to fit in her tiny hands, but big enough to show off a miniature Hartford.
"Kathy, where did you get that from? You can't just take it. We have to pay for it first." Addison told her daughter sternly.
Kathy looked up at her mother with her lower lip slightly trembling at her mother's words. Then she looked down at the pavement in embarrassment.
"The woman there," she said quietly, pointing in the direction of the saleswoman Mark had just been talking to, "gave it to me."
"Oh." Addison felt bad for snapping at her daughter and quickly picked her to cuddle Kathy against her chest. She run her fingers softly over her daughter's hair once more and placed a kiss on her cheek. "Did you say thank you?"
Kathy nodded softly against Addison chest and said as quietly, "Yes."
Addison had lost herself in the scene with her daughter and had forgotten about Mark standing right next to her. When she looked up from her daughter and at him, she was unsure about his reaction. But when she finally caught his gaze, he smiled at her brightly with a look of admiration in his eyes.
"Motherhood suits you very well, Addie."
She smiled at him as she nodded and thanked him. If things had gone slightly different, the little girl with the blonde curls and green eyes could have been Mark's child. He wondered how old she was, who her father was or if Addison was seeing someone.
As if she was reading his mind, she told him, "Kathy? "She paused and waited for the girl to look up from her comfortable spot cuddled to her mom's chest. "This is Mommy's old friend Mark." Kathy looked up at him shyly before turning her head again and pressing it against Addison's neck. "Mark, that's my daughter Kathy who is a little bit shy." She said before pressing a soft kiss to the little girl's forehead. "She is three and half. My little butterfly."
"Don't be fooled, she is a bundle of energy and talks like a waterfall."
"Just like her Mom then." Mark said smilingly, expecting a punch to his arm.
"Hey!" Addison said in mock hurt. "Kathy say hi to Uncle Mark."
Kathy turned her head hesitantly. "Hi," she says breathily.
"Hi Kathy." Mark looks at her in astonishment. She was a beautiful little girl just like her mother, even though they did not look much alike. Mark guessed that she must come after her father. "That is a very nice snow globe, you got there." He pointed towards the object in Kathy's hands.
Kathy nodded and stretched her hand, so Mark could have a better look at it. "It snows when you shake it." She demonstrated with a shake of her hand and the sky above the plastic Hartford began to open and release thousands of miniature snowflakes.
"Do you like snow?" Mark asked, a smile on his lips.
"Yes." Kathy says also smiling up at Mark and surprising Addison in the process at how she was so quickly opening up to a stranger, albeit Mark was far from that to her. "It doesn't snow in Cali- fon-ica."
"You mean California?" Addison corrected her daughter.
"Have you ever made a snow angel?" Mark asked as he formed a pair of wings with his hands in the air.
Kathy shook her head and said, "No."
"Do you want to?" Mark looked from Kathy to Addison, silently asking for permission and hoping he was not crossing a line. Surprisingly, this little girl intrigued him and he wanted to get to know her. Maybe, he thought, she was the key to a door that connected their past and their present.
Kathy told him she wanted to quietly, but looked up at her mother hesitantly. "Can we Mommy?"
"Of course, sweetie."
Addison set her down on her feet and took her hand in hers. She waved her hand at Mark, turned her body to the side and said, "Let's get going then. It's getting dark soon and Grandma is expecting us for dinner."
They walked in silence for a few moments over to the park opposite the Forbes Montgomery residence. Addison watched Mark and Kathy interact. She was surprised to see how well they both connected and it made her thoughts drift off. Furthermore it raised doubts in her mind. Observing Mark's ability to make her daughter smile and laugh with seemingly so little effort, made her question her decisions of the past. Maybe he had always been a man not only to catch her, but also to play catch with their kids and to barbecue in the backyard. Maybe, just maybe she had not been the one to see it or been ready for it to become their reality.
Maybe, she thought, all they would have needed was trust; patience and faith that time would be their healer.
"She's a great kid." Mark said a little breathily as he came up beside her. His cheeks were rose colored from the cold and his eyes held a glimmer of mischief which made him seem like a boy rather than a man in his forties.
Addison turned her body towards him and put a strand of red hair behind her ear with her clove-covered hand. She smiled proudly first at her daughter than up at him, as she said softly, "Thank you."
"She's so," Mark held her gaze, "you."
For a moment Mark was lost in this moment with Addison and Kathy. This could have been his life if some decisions had been made differently or if, just for once, Addison could have looked past her trust issues and his infidelities and he could have believed that he was more to her than a fuck buddy and that he actually could be everything she wanted for her life.
"She's not mine." Addison turned her head once more to look at her daughter. "I mean, she is mine in every way that matters, but..." She paused and smiled at her daughter who was still busy making snow angels.
Mark nodded. He had been wondering why Kathy did not look like Addison. He had always imagined how their children would look nothing like him and be a spitting image of her. Genetics, he knew, did not matter. Only love mattered and from what he saw Kathy was Addison's everything and would always be exactly that. Kathy was blessed because she was loved by a great woman who was kind, caring and self-sacrificing.
"I got her when she was a couple of days old. She has been with me ever since."
Addison remembered the day she first saw those light blue eyes that later turned into a vibrant shade of green and lost herself in them. Addison had given up on the dream of being a mom. She tried with fertility treatments at first and later she applied for adoption. Neither had been successful when she applied to become a foster parent.
Kathryn Margaret Forbes Montgomery had become Addison's miracle.
Addison had proven to everyone, most of all the state, that she could take care of a child as a single parent, be successful at her job and, most of all, be a dedicated mother. It had not always been easy, some days she would admit she had been in way over her head and still was. Being a mother did not come to her effortlessly simply because she worked with expectant mothers and babies all day. Addison was terrified at first and it never completely vanished, but with time she realized that being a good mother meant not to be scared to make mistakes, but know and notice when you did something wrong and to work hard to undo those mistakes. It was all trial and error.
"Mommy! Mommy!" Kathy came running towards Addison with her hands stretched out. Addison lifted her up and cuddled her to her chest. Kathy put her head down in between Addison shoulder and neck.
"You tired, Kat?" Addison asked brushing her knuckles over her daughter's cheeks.
Kathy nodded against Addison's chest.
"I should be heading back to the hotel, too." Mark said quietly.
Addison looked up at him and, without much thought, she asked," Why don't you come eat dinner with us?"
"I don't know." He said while shifting his weight from foot to the other. "What about your - Bizzy?"
"It'll be fine." Addison reassured. Even if it was not fine with her mother, Addison did not care in that moment. All she wanted was for the afternoon they had spend together not to be over. She wanted to hold on to something, a possibility maybe;
"What do you think, Kathy? Should Uncle Mark come have dinner with us and Grandma?"
The little girl turned her head around to glance at Mark who was smiling brightly back at her. She nodded and said with a sheepish grin on her lips, "Yes."
Mark chuckled, put his arm around Addison's shoulders and kissed the top of Kathy's beanie-covered head.
"How could I possibly resist the request of beautiful girls like the two of you are?"
End of chapter one…