Second Time Around

A Private Practice fic by Gigi

Disclaimer: As much as I wish it weren't so, the only part of Private Practice that I own is what I create in Gigi-land.

Chapter 1: Make it Stop

A/N: So I got this idea from ppplily, who made this really gorgeous video called Forgive Me, and I just fell in love with the concept. As much as I don't like Addison being a cheater, I really want to write this story, and I hope you want to read it!

Addison Forbes Montgomery, formerly Addison Forbes Montgomery-Shepherd, had been Addison Forbes Montgomery-Nelson for three years now. It had been a pretty good three years. Things at the practice were good. Kevin was so sweet and so giving to her when she got home from work: he would comfort her after she had a particularly emotional case; he would listen calmly to her rant about her difficult patients and massage her feet. He seemed like the perfect husband.

But Addison Forbes Montgomery-Nelson sat huddled in her closet, feeling an overwhelmingly unpleasant sense of déjà vu. A box of tissues rested on her left and a pile of used tissues on her right, and Addison stared at something on a hanger right in front her: a negligee nightgown—that wasn't hers. It wasn't even her size.

She'd checked her husband's cell phone while he was showering and found ten of the last fifteen calls had been made to a Karen Milner. They had always been made right before he said he had to go to work—at 10 p.m.

"God, why didn't I see this coming?" she cried softly to herself, letting her tears fall freely in her closet sanctuary. "It was so damn obvious."

8D

Something was off about Addison. She normally came into the office at 8:30 sharp, looking professional yet incredibly sexy as hell. Today, her office was empty until 9 o'clock, when she rushed in with slightly red eyes and dropped her stuff off at her desk before sitting down at the conference table just before the morning meeting began.

Her appearance was off, too. She still looked fine, professional enough but not her professional. Her shirt had a few wrinkles in it, as did her skirt. Her hair had been straightened, as per her usual, but the ends curled every which way, as if she had given up. Addison never gave up.

"Pete!" the redhead barked—which was another thing she rarely did—at him, trying to get his attention.

"What?"

"This is when you're supposed to tell us any patients we might need to be aware of," she declared, almost glaring at him. The other doctors surrounding the table begged him with their eyes to answer her so they could avoid any more unpleasantness.

8D

"Pete?" Addison asked later, poking her head into his office. He looked up at her, questions swimming in his eyes. She may have stopped randomly yelling at him, but she still looked upset.

"What's up?"

"Do you have anything for headaches that won't make me drowsy?" She let herself in and closed the door behind her. "I left my bottle of aspirin at home."

Pete stood up and started searching his cabinet for his patent tea. Turning back around with tea in hand, he refused to give it to her. "Not until you tell me what's wrong," he mandated.

Her eyes pleaded him not to make her tell him, but he just stared her down until she collapsed on his couch and buried her face in her hands. Bringing her hands down to her chin, she looked off into space for a minute. "I was just incredibly stupid, that's all," she finally excused, her voice hitching as the tears started leaking out of her eyes.

"How?" Pete persisted, grabbing a box of tissues and sitting down next to her on the couch.

"Kevin..." she choked out, the tears falling faster now. Pete started rubbing circles on her back, trying to soothe her but to no avail. "Kevin's having an affair." She buried her face in her hands again, her engagement and wedding rings glistening on her left ring finger.

Whatever Pete had expected Addison to say, he had certainly not expected that. Kevin had always seemed so completely in love with his wife, so head over heels devoted to her. Pete never thought Kevin would ever feel the need to cheat, not when he had such an amazing woman to come home to every night. This threw Pete for a loop, and for once in his life, he was at a loss for words. His hand stopped rubbing circles on her back.

"He's what?" he asked quietly. He hated seeing this strong, confident woman break at having to utter the words of her husband's infidelity, and he hated her husband for doing this to her.

"He's having an affair," she repeated. She grabbed a tissue from the box in his hand and blew her nose loudly. "He's seeing a woman named Karen every few nights, and last night I found a piece of her lingerie."

"How did you know it was hers?" Addison looked over at her friend, smiling forlornly at his attempt to search for any other explanation for the nightgown than the truth.

"Do I look like a five-six double-D to you?" the five-nine C replied. Realization flashed in Pete's dark eyes as he slowly shook his head. "That's how."

Pete wrapped his arms around his best friend, hugging her hard as if that would help take away her pain, as if her hurt could seep out of her into him. "Is there anything I can do?"

"Make the pain stop," she sobbed into his chest.

8D

Pete watched her chest rise and fall with the slow, even breaths of slumber. The moonlight filtered through the window blinds and softly illuminated her arms, her legs, any part of her that wasn't covered with his bedsheets. Her red hair fanned out on her pillow, and her forehead had lost its tension. For the first time all day, she looked truly at peace.

Staring at Addison Forbes Montgomery-Nelson, asleep in his bed, Pete Wilder reflected on how she got there and hoped she wouldn't regret it in the morning.

Addison had stayed at work much later than she usually did, and Pete came out of his office to see her standing in front of the elevator, but the down button hadn't been pushed. He walked across the lobby and stood beside her, looking directly ahead as if he, too, was waiting for the elevator that wasn't going to come.

"He's been home for the last two nights," she breathed out when she felt him beside her. Pete turned his head to look at her. "I don't want to go home to an empty house when I know why it's that way."

Pete stayed silent. He pushed the button for the elevator and returned to watching the doors. "You shouldn't go home, not tonight," he said. "Spend the night at a friend's."

Addison laughed hollowly at his suggestion. "Whose? Nobody else knows, Pete. Nobody but you."

"Then stay at my house," he followed up. The light above the elevator glowed and signaled the doors' opening. Pete gently guided his friend into the cabin with a hand on her elbow. "I'll take care of you tonight."

At last, she looked at Pete, considering the idea, and nodded. "Thank you," she whispered.

They both took their own cars to Pete's house, and the first thing Pete did when they entered his place was point her up the stairs to his bedroom. "You wait upstairs. I'll bring us up some dinner."

He came into his room carrying a tray with two plates of pasta and two glasses of water. She had discarded her heels on the floor and sat cross-legged on one side of the bed. "I'm not really hungry," she confessed sadly.

"I don't care," Pete responded, placing a plate in front of her and her water on the nightstand beside her. "You need to eat." He handed her a fork, which she took solemnly. She began picking at her pasta, but Pete didn't even look at his own plate until she had put a bite in her mouth.

They ate in silence, and when they finished, Pete took the plates back downstairs. He returned to find her standing in front of his closet, going through his button-up shirts and picking out a black one. "Wasn't this the one you were wearing that night at my house when we...?" Pete nodded. She started to unbutton her own shirt right then and there. Pete turned around and let her have some privacy as she undressed and donned his shirt. "It's big," she commented when she was done. Pete looked and saw how right she was. The sleeves came down way past her hands, and the tails extended almost to her knees. Despite the shirt almost dwarfing her, it fit her. Her vibrant red hair fell in soft curls on her shoulders, standing out even more on the black of the shirt. She looked comfortable. She looked breathtaking.

"How bad is the pain?" he asked when she had returned to her seated position on his bed.

"On a scale of one to ten? Eighteen."

"Any way I can help that go down at all?" Pete felt helpless as his closest friend's face fell. He sat in front of her and made her look him in the eye.

Her blue eyes searched his, straining to see an answer in them to her marital problems but knowing that was an impossibility. "Make the pain stop," she repeated her earlier words. She leaned forward and touched her lips softly to his, her eyes drifting closed. A few seconds later, she pulled away and opened her eyes, hoping he'd get the message.

This time, he leaned forward.

A/N: Wow, this was emotional. Don't worry, this isn't going to be a Meredith-George situation. There will be some lighter moments, but not unless you review. So please review. Please.