Disclaimer: Still don't own anything, still not making money off of this! Everything you recognize belongs to ABC and Shonda Rhimes.
A/N This is somewhat of a sequel to my story 'And Now What', though no prior knowledge is required. In it, Alex and Izzie were forced to take a two-week vacation as they hadn't had that time off in between their internship and residency. They spent some time in Miami, Florida, where they basically got back together. After returning home, they decided to keep their new relationship a secret for a while, to see where it would go without being scrutinized by their friends and colleagues.
Six weeks later
"We're going out tonight." Izzie looked up from her newspaper, wondering who Meredith was talking to. After making sure that no one else was around, she dared to ask. "Who's we?"
"You and I. I feel like catching up," her roommate replied casually as she went through their fridge, looking for some milk that had actually run out last week or so.
"Mer, I told you at work already, I don't feel like going to Joe's…"
"We're not going to Joe's."
Izzie rolled her eyes at 'we'. "You mean you're not going to Joe's. And where else would you possibly venture to?"
"I don't know," Meredith stated in her matter-of-fact, 'this is not up for discussion'-voice, finally giving up on her fruitless search for some liquid to pour over her cereal. "We'll be spontaneous. Come on, get dressed."
The blonde doctor sighed and gave her expression an exhausted edge just to highlight her point. "You do realize I'm almost falling asleep talking to you, right?"
Meredith was having none of it though. "Izzie. You haven't been out of the house in forever. You just go to work, come back home, eat and sleep. I barely see you anymore, even at Joe's." Izzie inwardly groaned. She could hardly tell her friend that she spent her nights having amazing sex with her even more amazing boyfriend, who just happened to be their other roommate. No, she and Alex were not ready to tell people about their relationship yet, they had just talked about it the other week. They liked having their privacy, and it wasn't like they had to sneak around much either. Meredith still spent most of her free time with Derek or Christina, so she usually wasn't present in her own house, leaving Alex and Izzie to do as they pleased. And where they pleased. Apparently, tonight was not one of those nights.
Meredith tried a different approach. "Come on, Izzie. When was the last time the two of us did something? Just us, no one else? We're both not on call. When does that ever happen? And besides, …"
"OK!! Ok…I'll go, but Mer, please stop talking..."
A couple of hours later, the two friends were sat in a bar that wasn't Joe's, in another part of town. Meredith had excused herself to the restroom some minutes ago, leaving Izzie to sit in their corner booth, staring into space. She hadn't lied earlier, she wasn't feeling well at all. She'd been sick all morning, throwing up the contents of her non-existent dinner from the night before. She had a terrible headache, and to top it off, she was dead on her feet. So as she sat in a bar, nursing her second mug of hot chamomile tea (the bartender had looked at her quite funny after she'd ordered her second cup), Izzie felt like crying. Nothing was going according to plan, and it was not the best feeling in the world.
Meredith had thankfully forgotten she'd wanted more details on why Izzie was acting weird lately – and on her and Alex's Miami vacation. A few weeks, six to be exact, had passed since their return and so far, their game of hide-and-seek was going well. It also was a challenge at times, and not even nearly as funny as Monica and Chandler had made it seem on 'Friends' all those years ago. However, things were going well. Or, to rephrase that, things HAD been going well. Ever since Monday, when she'd seen all those very many sticks turn blue (or yellow, pink, double- or single-lined and plus-signed – those pregnancy tests were a science in and of themselves really, and Izzie thought it was no wonder there were so many false positives) in the sanctuary of her bathroom, she wasn't so sure of anything anymore.
It was times like these that Izzie wished for a girlfriend. Not just your regular female friend that you go out and have fun with, or that you chat to on the phone about the latest sweater you bought. Not just another roommate or co-worker that you adore, but would never share your darkest secrets with. No, a real, for better-or-worse girlfriend who knows you better than you know yourself. Growing up in a trailer park, there were no lifetime friends to be made, most neighbors moving in and out of there within months. The model business was nothing if not fake and shallow, so Izzie doubted that any of her acquaintances from back then would even remember her stage name, much less her real one.
And what hurt her most was that she could not turn to her Mom in times of need either. Grace Marie Stevens had never understood her daughter's ambition to achieve more than what was presented to her. Waitress in a dingy diner, hostess in a bar, a cleaning lady at the local McDonalds – those were some of the highlights of her career. She had never needed more because the idea of self-fulfillment and a successful career were concepts she deemed out of her realm of possibility. So the day Izzie had given up her daughter Sarah and headed out into the great big world to achieve more, her Mom had told her in very few words that if the life she had provided for her was not good enough anymore, she could walk and never look back. When an angry Izzie replied that the life that had been provided had never really ever been good enough in the first place, the battle lines had been drawn. After that, apart from a few strained phone conversation here and there, contact had been kept to a minimum by both parties, both too stubborn to admit they needed each other.
Izzie cleared her throat and took another sip of the hot liquid in front of her. She had been thinking a lot about her Mom in these past five days, and wondered if the gap between them could ever be lessened, or preferably, bridged completely. Neither her nor Alex had any family to speak of, at least none that she knew about, and she didn't want to raise her little one without a support group around her. Especially since she had no clue how her beloved boyfriend would take the news. Izzie herself had already decided that she was going to keep the baby – no matter what. Going through the trauma of giving up a child – your own flesh and blood – had been unbearable the first time around, without prior knowledge of the amount of guilt and pain that was to come. Now that she knew how it felt – like your own heart was being ripped out of your body while you were alive and watching – she was 100% sure she could never go through it again. She didn't believe in abortion either, there was still too much of the sweet little Christian girl in her that had been taught in school that killing your child was the ultimate sin in the Lord's eye. And while she had long ago started to question many things she had been told in church, she couldn't help but agree on the matter of abortion. She imagined it'd be kind of like giving up a child for the ultimate adoption – only that you couldn't tell yourself they were better off dead. She had the slight hope that maybe Alex would see it the same way.
Which brought her to the next dilemma. In order to explain her thought processes to her boyfriend, she would have to start off by actually admitting to him for the first time that she'd been pregnant once before. And while she didn't think he would make a big deal out of it, she was scared of his reaction nonetheless. True, they had no rules about telling the other every single detail of their lives before they met – she certainly had no idea about much of Alex's past – but she did think that holding back the fact that she had an unknown daughter somewhere out there was more than just a small tidbit of info that you conveniently forgot to mention.
When Meredith approached their table sometime later, she was chatting on her cell to what could only be Derek. No one else was able to evoke that kind of silly grin from her usually slightly pessimistic roommate. Said girl flipped her phone shut as she sat back down.
"That was Derek."
"No way! Judging from your smile I thought it might have been Santa Claus."
Meredith just shrugged her shoulders nonchalantly. "He wants to move in."
"Izzie. I know it's a lot to take in right now. And I'm not kicking you or Alex out. At least not yet." She smiled. "Just, you know…whenever you find something is totally fine. But I guess I'm telling you to maybe start looking into things…"
A huge grin spread across Izzie's face as her eyes started to water slightly. She opened her mouth to reply, to tell her friend that she was happy for her and that of course she'd be looking for another place to stay, but no words came out. Meredith looked at her and was about to launch into another explanation when Izzie couldn't hold it back any longer. She started laughing hysterically. She couldn't have stopped if her life had depended upon it.
Meredith, along with the few other patrons that were scattered about the bar, started to look at her as if she'd gone crazy. Funny, Izzie thought to herself, because that was the exact feeling she had. Homeless and alone, with a baby on the way that she had no time to raise as she was in one of the most time-consuming jobs ever, in one of the most competitive programs in the country. So while she was at work, it would actually just be her baby that was homeless and alone. Izzie had no clue when she'd stopped laughing and started full-on sobbing, but at that particular moment, she just didn't care.
Meredith closed the door to Izzie's bedroom softly just as Alex was ascending the stairs. It had taken forever to get Izzie to quiet down, so Mer put her index finger to her lips, signaling to her friend to remain silent. To answer Alex's questioning glance, she just pointed downstairs, indicating that she'd be right behind him. After changing into something more comfortable, she found him in the living room, staring absent-mindedly at the TV. "What happened?" were the first words out of his mouth, and Meredith thought it sounded a bit too anxious and accusatory to pass as a worried friend. But then again, Alex always cared deeply for Izzie, no matter their personal situation. So she sighed and decided to tell him the full truth.
"It was probably my fault Alex. Izzie was tired and didn't really feel like going out, but I kind of forced her anyway. Then I mentioned that Derek was planning on moving in, and she kind of just started crying hysterically."
Alex shrugged his shoulders. "Don't beat yourself up over it, you know Izzie. She gets emotional sometimes, she'll be better once she's had some sleep."
"I guess…I just feel bad, you know? It's like I told Iz, I don't want you out on the streets next week. Just…maybe you could start looking for a place. You know, eventually…"
"Don't worry, I will. Don't wanna be kept up by you and Shepherd doing nasty things up there."
Meredith rolled her eyes. "Good night Alex. Thanks for understanding."
"Night Mer. And don't worry about Iz. I'll talk to her tomorrow, alright?"
After Meredith left, Alex sat in front of the muted television, thinking back on his conversation with his roommate. It was true what he'd told her, Izzie was indeed quite emotional. To completely break down in a public place out of nowhere…that might have been a bit much, even for his girlfriend. Oh well. He'd let her get a good night's rest and ask her about it in the morning. After all, the prospect of getting a place together with the pretense of having to move out was too good an opportunity to pass up. Surely Izzie would see it the same way.
A/N I know, I know…how predictable is a baby? But hey, it's what I wrote, so it's what's there ;) Please review and thanks for reading!!!