The Best Man
A Private Practice fic by Gigi
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Chapter 8: Miss Manners
A/N: So this has taken way too long to update, and I'm really sorry for that. I have no excuse except life is really busy once you begin college. And I also have like twenty other fics to update, so yeah, that takes time. Anyway, enjoy!
Miss Manners probably disapproved of Addison now. The last time Addison checked, it was impolite for the Maid of Honor to go MIA during the rehearsal dinner. But after a dinner filled with laughter and light flirting with her former intern and envious glances and significant looks from her former husband, Addison was at her wit's end. Pete kept sending her smiles, as did Mark, who also tended to look murderously jealous when he looked at who sat beside her.
It was all too much. She couldn't decide, and constant kisses from Derek, Alex and Pete were not helping. Which was why she was currently hiding in the ladies' room, sitting with her legs crossed on the plush red sofa inside and staring at the patterned wallpaper directly across from her. The sounds of laughter and of people enjoying themselves filtered through the closed lounge door, making it even more obvious that Addison really shouldn't be hiding out in here.
Alex's hand kept brushing hers on the table, or his leg would accidentally knock against hers. Then he would make a sarcastic comment and smirk that infuriating smirk that made her want to slap him and kiss him at the same time—and it was driving her insane. She felt almost guilty for enjoying herself with Alex when her ex-husband, who confessed he still wanted her and kissed her just four days prior, was sitting right across the table from her and staring at her as if she was some beautiful masterpiece. She found herself blushing every time his eyes met hers, watching how his features softened upon looking at her, as if she calmed him down just by being near him. It made her feel beautiful and wanted and loved, but then she was also feeling giddy and nervous and gorgeous around Alex, and warm and cozy and content with Pete…and Mark went sixty days without sex just so he could win back her trust!
And of course, they all just had to be some of the best kissers ever to walk the earth!
Every nerve in her body felt like it was going to emit sparks any time any one of them looked at her, and she felt like she would explode at a touch. So really, she was hiding out in the bathroom for her own health. She can't just go around the rehearsal dinner as if everything was normal when she could spontaneously combust at any moment!
Unfortunately, Addison couldn't take that justification any further than that, thanks to Violet poking her head into the bathroom looking for her.
"There you are, Addison," she breathed in relief. "Naomi is looking for you. The toasts are about to start."
Barely suppressing a groan, Addison put on a brave smile and heaved herself up off the couch. "Great, I just needed a moment to myself is all," she apologized, seeing Violet's inquiring eyes. "Shall we?"
Addison ignored the still-curious gaze of her psychiatrist friend and instead led the way out of the bathroom. All too soon, she was sliding back into her seat next to Alex.
"Where'd you disappear to?" he whispered in her ear, sending involuntary shivers down her back as she occupied herself with replacing her napkin on her lap.
"Just needed some time to gather myself," she excused, avoiding his eyes. Thankfully, he didn't get the chance to ask her why she needed to gather herself because Sam was standing up with a champagne glass in his hand.
"Thank you all so much for coming tonight," his began. "Now, I don't really have much to say. Strike that—I have no idea what to say." Sam's bright white teeth flashed in an amused smile at the laughs his statement elicited around the room. "I just know that I'm extremely grateful to be standing here today, next to the love of my life for the second time. Now, obviously, I'm really not all that great with speeches, but my best man, Derek Shepherd, is, and he was more than happy to step in and make up for my lack of eloquence. So, without any further ado, Derek, would you like to say a few words?"
Derek stood up smoothly and flashed a friendly smile towards the groom. "Thank you, Sam. The first time I gave this sort of speech was at the first go-around with these two. Hopefully, it'll stick this time," he joked, earning himself a light punch in his side from the man sitting to his right. "I'm not really worried, though." His eyes searched the room and finally locked with the eyes of the maid of honor. "When two people have such a deep and precious history as theirs, when they have seen each other at their absolute worst and still never hesitated in loving the other, that is when you know those two are meant for each other." His bright blue eyes shone as he memorized Addison's every feature and nuance, from the red hair to the way she chewed the inside of her cheek when she was nervous—which she was doing right then. "Throughout the last two decades, they have wandered away from and found their way back to each other, unable to deny that what they have is special. The hard part was just getting them to admit it, and believe me when I say that took far too long for my taste." The occupants of the room chuckled, all but Addison and Alex. They both knew this speech was no longer about Sam and Naomi. Alex was glowering, but Addison looked helplessly lost. "I'm going to save my truly amazing toast for tomorrow night, but just one last thing: I couldn't be happier that Naomi and Sam found each other again. I have no doubt you two will be happy together until death do you part."
Derek raised his glass, as did the rest of the room, all chiming, "To Sam and Naomi."
Alex leaned over to whisper in Addison's ear, sending her jumping a foot out of her seat in surprise. "To be fair," Alex murmured after he'd finished laughing, "not all of us have the opportunity to stand up and give a fancy speech to get your attention."
"I don't know what you're talking about," Addison lied haughtily, trying to ignore the way his breath ghosted across her ear at the same time as she tried to forget the look in Derek's eyes when he was speaking. "That speech was for Naomi and Sam."
Alex chuckled darkly. "Sure it was, Addison," he whispered in response before straightening and returning to his dessert.
Addison shot him a small glare before doing the same.
Addison collapsed onto her couch, utterly exhausted. It was nearing one in the morning, and she was finally done preparing for the wedding the next day. All she could think about was how her life got so complicated. Why did none of these men want her when they actually had her for the first time? Okay, so Derek did, but then he stopped and she slept with Mark and that whole mess started.
Groaning, Addison heaved herself off her couch and made her way down the hallway. She was crossing her foyer and had her foot on the first step when the doorbell rang. Her eyes darted to the clock on her wall—12:45 a.m. Who on earth would be at her doorstep so late?
She peeked through her window and felt her eyes go wide. She unlocked the door, seeing him standing on her doorstep as if nothing were out of the ordinary, his black leather jacket hanging open and his hands thrust into the pockets of his slacks, smiling that smile that made her go all melt-y inside.
He didn't even respond. He surged forward and brought his lips crashing down on hers. Addison was lost. Like a good hostess, she invited him in, and Pete was gentlemanly enough to shut the door behind him by pressing her up against it.
A/N: You guys probably hate me right now. Maddie fans, especially. I'm sorry about that, but boy do I have plans for this story! I hope you still enjoyed this chapter, so please let me know and REVIEW!