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 4: A Little Too Much Joy
A/N: I know, I know, I'm ridiculously behind on updating my stories. I'm going to try to update one story a week now, so that should make you happy. People keep messaging me and wondering if I fell of the face of the earth. I'm still here! Just super busy with frosh year, so without any further adieu, I present to you chapter 4!
Addison couldn't get that question out of her mind, no matter how hard she tried to. Could he really have been having this affair—or worse, multiple ones—since they got married three years ago? The thought continued to send chills down her back even now, a month after Thanksgiving dinner. Physical chills. She literally shivered as she walked down the street, and it had nothing to do with the only somewhat cold morning air around her—she lived in Santa Monica, after all.
She hadn't seen Pete in anything but a professional manner since the week before Thanksgiving. After that dinner, she couldn't bear to go over to Pete's house on the nights when Kevin wouldn't come home. All she could think of was trying to figure out when the affair(s) started. She spent those nights logging what she could remember of Kevin's behavior toward her over the past three years, trying to determine where he changed from the sweet, loving husband she knew to the lying, cheating scumbag she still unfortunately loved.
Glancing at a clock as she passed by a Time After Time store, Addison noted that she had an hour and a half before she had to be at the office. She returned her gaze forward and buried her hands into the pockets of her trench coat before trudging onto her destination.
"Pete?" Addison's voice rang timidly through the mahogany door. Within seconds, the door swung open to reveal a disheveled Pete still in his pajamas. Addison bit her lip and fiddled with her purse in her hands. "Can I come in?"
Pete found his voice finally when she asked him that question. Stepping to the side, he quickly ushered her inside. "What's up?"
The next thing Pete knew, Addison was buried in his chest inhaling deep, shuddering breaths. Concerned, Pete let his arms snake around her back, bringing her even further into his embrace as she continued to attempt to compose herself. "Addison?" he asked quietly after some time.
"I can't figure it out," Addison declared brokenly into his chest.
"Figure what out?"
"When it all started," came the distraught reply. "When he stopped being only mine."
"Addison," Pete started, bringing her out of the hug so that he could look her in the face. He still held her gently but firmly by the shoulders, but he needed to talk to her face, not her hair. "Why do you need to know this?"
Addison sniffed and stubbornly blinked away the tears that threatened to fall, bring Pete's surprised attention to the lack of wetness on his shirt. "Because he's acting just the same as he always has. If he hadn't gotten careless, and I hadn't seen that damn nightgown, I never would have known he was having an affair."
Pete's eyes softened in understanding, and he quickly moved to alleviate her fears. Bringing her back into a warm embrace, his hand went to smooth down her hair as he spoke. "Addison, he was not having an affair when he married you."
"How do you know that?"
"I was there. I had never met a happier man in my life than Kevin was when he talked about you. He wasn't proud that he had an incredibly gorgeous, successful and sexy wife on top of a girlfriend who satisfied his needs whenever you weren't around. He was genuinely happy and thankful that someone as kind, beautiful and intelligent as you had actually chosen to be with him," Pete insisted, no matter how much the words made his heart clench. He left out the part about him being jealous enough to consider not even going to the wedding—Addison didn't need to know how long he'd been pining after her. First of all, it was embarrassing, and secondly, that really wasn't what Addison needed to hear at the moment. She needed the reassurance that her entire marriage wasn't a lie.
Addison didn't respond, choosing instead to continue to breathe in Pete's calming scent and savor the soothing feel of his hand on her hair. She closed her eyes and buried her face further into his chest, willing the pain to stop. It didn't.
Later that day, Addison pressed the heels of her hands into her eyes to ward off the headache that was looming over her like a dark cloud threatening to pour down buckets on her. The patient she had just left was the fourth one that day in a holiday sweater, and the lobby was filled to the brim with Christmas cheer. From the gigantic fir tree in the corner to the wreaths hanging on every door, the office just exuded Christmas. Yet another holiday that was effectively ruined for Addison.
It was honestly like everything good about any holiday just stopped applying to her as soon as she left New York. Her first Christmas present in Seattle was her then-husband telling her he loved Meredith Grey. The next two consisted of her alone on her couch, curled up in a blanket with a mug of hot cocoa and watching Elf because every other movie depressed her to no end. Even Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel got their happy ending in that movie. What the hell was wrong with Addison that she couldn't hold onto a man?
Addison couldn't help but picture her curled up on that couch again in a few days, with a box of tissues and that mug of hot cocoa. Kevin would no doubt rather "work" on that night instead of watch it with her, and at this point, she didn't even know if she wanted him to. All she knew was that there was just a little too much joy in the air for her.
The receptionist's voice rang through her intercom. "Dr. Montgomery, your next patient is in Exam Room 3."
Lowering her hands from her eyes, Addison sighed and pressed the speaker button. "Okay, thank you." She stood up once she stopped speaking and picked up the file for her next patient before making her way out of her office. Approaching Exam Room 3, she peeked through the half-open blinds to catch a look at her patient—a red sweater with holly leaves printed all over it. A sound suspiciously similar to a desperate sob escaped her lips before she gathered herself enough to plaster a fake smile on her face and walk in the room.
Addison stood at the threshold of her living room, staring into the room almost loathingly. On that incredibly comfortable couch innocently lay her cozy fleece blanket. On the table in front of it was the open DVD case for Elf, with the remote resting beside it. Feeling the warmth of the hot cocoa seep into her ice-cold hands, Addison couldn't bring herself to step into that room and spend another Christmas night alone. She'd thought that, once she'd married Kevin, she was done spending Christmases alone. Obviously, she was wrong.
She turned on her heel and walked back into the kitchen, picking up the phone and dialing a familiar number. The phone rang for a few times before a husky voice answered. "Hello?"
"Can you come over?" Addison asked softly. "Kevin's working, and I really would rather not spend tonight alone."
"Sure, what'd you have in mind?" Pete's voice came through.
"I was planning on watching Elf. It's my go-to Christmas movie," Addison answered. "I can make you some of my world-famous hot cocoa."
"Well, I'm not one to turn down hot cocoa," came Pete's lighter reply, making Addison's lips quirk upward slightly. "I'll be there in twenty minutes."
Half an hour later found Addison curled up against Pete on the couch as the opening sequence of the movie lit up the large television. The cozy fleece blanket draped across both of them, and Pete's arm rested on top of the couch, conveniently brushing the tops of her shoulders and the back of her head. "You like the hot cocoa?" Addison asked, tilting back her face to look Pete in the face.
Pete flashed her a fond smile. "It's the best hot cocoa I've ever tasted," he praised. "I don't think I'll ever be able to go back to my old hot cocoa after this."
For the first time in what felt like forever, Addison felt her face break into a genuine smile before snuggling herself deeper into the blanket and using Pete's chest as a pillow. "Thanks for coming tonight."
"Anytime, Addie," Pete whispered, kissing the top of her hair before returning his attention to the movie.
Kevin came home early the next morning in an extremely cheerful mood, but when he pulled into the driveway, he couldn't help but feel a little confused at seeing another car at his and Addison's house so early in the morning. Letting himself into the house quietly, he strained his ears for any sounds. Dropping off his keys on the kitchen counter, he tiptoed into the living room, where a shocking sight froze him in his tracks.
On the end of the couch nearest to him lay his wife, fast asleep and hugging a pillow desperately close to her chest. On the other end lay another man, who he recognized as Pete, Addison's close friend, just as dead to the world as the redhead at his feet. Two empty mugs rested on the floor, and a DVD case and remote were on the coffee table. It all looked very unassuming, but for the fact that there was another man in his house at 5:30 in the morning!
Trying desperately to squash the anger that flared up in his gut, Kevin rapped his knuckles loudly on the wooden doorframe beside him to rouse the sleeping pair. He watched as his wife's eyes blinked open blearily, and she poked Pete, whose hand somehow rested on the coffee table, in his leg to wake him.
"Wha…?" Pete growled, keeping his eyes shut.
"Why are you making so much noise?" Addison complained sleepily.
"What? You're the one who woke me up," Pete replied, still refusing to open his eyes.
"Then who was knocking on wood just now?"
"That would be me," Kevin supplied sourly, causing two doctors to bolt into sitting positions in surprise. "Mind explaining what the hell is going on here?"
A/N: I actually didn't mean for this moment to get here so soon, but rarely do my fingers ever listen to what my brain wants them to do. I hope you like my fingers' rebellion anyway. I won't know that, however, unless you REVIEW!