A Grey's Anatomy fic by Gigi
Disclaimer: I obviously do not own a single shred of Grey's Anatomy, its characters or Shonda, otherwise you would be seeing my story lines Thursdays at 9 on ABC, not on this.
Chapter 5: When We Can't Be Seen
A/N: So I'm kind of really, insanely sorry for taking over six months to update this. I hope that you guys are used to my really crappy updating habits and think well enough of this story to stick it through. I hope you enjoy my present to all you amazingly loyal and wonderful readers!
Taking a deep breath, Derek took the plunge. "I want to see you again. I want to keep seeing you. I want to be us again," he announced.
All the breath left Addison's lungs, and she couldn't form any words. Her eyes were still as wide as saucers, and they showed no sign of going back to normal anytime soon.
The longer Addison stayed quiet—well, as quiet as one could be when one was sputtering in shock, unable to find words—the more and more anxious Derek became. Doubt crept across his front of determination, spider-webbing it with cracks. It would only need a good hit to break it all down and leave him defenseless. And Addison held the sledgehammer, still unsure of whether or not to use it.
"Say something," he almost begged.
Finally, Addison responded, blinking several times in order to make up the extended period she'd gone without closing her eyes. She squeezed her eyes shut in consternation. "Um," she began, "I promised myself that I'd never do to another woman what Meredith did to me."
Derek's heart sank as he started to realize where this was going. "Addison, I—"
"Uh, uh," she cut him off. "Let me finish. I don't blame Meredith or even resent her for doing what she did. I know she tried not to, and I know she never did anything with you with a clear conscience." She paused, taking a deep breath before she could continue. "But I still never want to be the woman who takes another woman's guy, no matter how much I want to."
A few beats passed after her last words before Derek spoke once more. "So…what are you saying?"
Addison sighed, feeling helpless. "We've already cheated on Meredith, and we're kind of committed to this whole marriage thing at least for another month because of Bizzy." She looked up and saw the desperation and hurt swimming in her ex-husband's eyes. Unable to help herself, she reached up and stroked his cheek softly. "I want to be us again, too, Derek. But I won't let that happen until you're no longer cheating on Meredith."
Understanding and something akin to hope stole across the neurosurgeon's face. "So you're saying you want me to break up with Meredith?"
"If you want to actually be with me again, yes, but don't do it just for me," Addison said resolutely. "I don't want a pair of panties in your pocket to do the job for you, but I don't want you to leave her for another woman either."
"What?" Derek asked, confused.
Addison shook her head almost in amusement. "If you leave Meredith just to be with me, you'll regret it and probably change your mind later. I couldn't survive that, and neither could you, because you'd just be leaving me for another woman again. If you're going to break things off with Meredith, do it because you want to," she urged, "not because I want you to."
Derek nodded slowly. "Okay, I'll talk to her when I get back to Seattle," he declared in a soft, determined voice. "I'll make sure she knows that I'm not just breaking up with her to be with someone else."
A small smile worked its way onto her face, relief coming off her in waves. "Thank you, Derek," she said quietly.
Once the pair walked inside and looked at the king-sized bed, Addison froze. After this rather enlightening discussion, neither of them was quite in the mood for anything other than sleep. But up until then, the nights were always spent in each other's arms in post-coital bliss. Not once had they just gone straight to sleep. She couldn't help but notice the difference.
It was easier to fall asleep in a person's arms after sex; to fall asleep in a person's arms in the absence of sex…meant intimacy. It meant they were them again. That they were satisfied just by being close to one another, and they didn't need lust to desire the other person's company. Could they really do that yet? Wouldn't it be going against all that she just firmly told her ex-husband?
"Addison?" Derek's voice broke into her reverie.
"Yeah?" she answered absently.
"Are you okay?"
Calm down, Addie, she thought to herself. It's not like you're not already intimate with him. Dinner proved that. Stop freaking out and just sleep. Nothing's official yet so just stop! She surprised herself with the vehemence behind her own thoughts, but they still rang true nonetheless. She smiled and gave Derek's hand a squeeze. "Yeah, just tired."
With that, she let go of the hand she'd been holding since getting off the elevator and left to get ready for bed. Within ten minutes, the room was dark as Derek climbed under the covers next to Addison. He gave her a quick kiss on her cheek before wrapping his arm around her waist and bringing her back flush against his chest. "Thank you," he whispered into her hair.
Puzzled, she turned her head as far as she could to look at him. "What are you thanking me for?"
"For forgiving me." Derek's bright blue eyes sparkled in the darkness as they caught the moonlight spilling in from the window. One look into those eyes told Addison just how grateful he was that she was giving him another chance. Guilt filled Addison looking at those eyes. He seemed to have completely forgotten that she'd been the one who effectively ruined their marriage.
"There's nothing to forgive," she insisted softly. Derek responded with a kiss before she turned back around. "Goodnight, Derek."
Day Four of the medical conference began with a bleary-eyed Addison as she watched Derek hurry to get dressed and pack at the same time. In her pre-coffee state of mind, she was hopelessly confused. She'd woken up to Derek's phone practically buzzing off the nightstand at four in the morning. The next thing she knew, he was rushing around the hotel room and gathering all his belongings.
Groggy and frustrated, Addison sat up and ran a hand through her tangled mane of red hair. "Mind letting me in on what you're doing?" she asked in the middle of a yawn.
Derek turned away from his suitcase, which had clothes spilling out of it, with a harried expression on his face. "I have to go back to Seattle," he declared.
That was absolutely no help. "Why?"
"The Board is trying to force Richard out." Addison, especially with no caffeine in her system, had no control over her facial expressions and felt her jaw drop. "That was the Chairman of the Board calling to ask me to meet with them as soon as possible. They already bought me a plane ticket back to Seattle for one o'clock."
After a few seconds of spluttering, the redhead got out of bed to help him pack. "I don't get it. Why do they need to meet with you?"
"Jennings came by the hospital a few weeks ago, and he hinted that the Board wanted me to be the next Chief of Surgery," Derek explained, handing his clothes to Addison to fold and put into the suitcase. "I just didn't realize they were thinking about making me Chief so soon."
Addison froze in her ministration at his words. "So you'd be helping the Board force Richard out?"
Her voice and her entire stance were stiff, and Derek's voice carried the same feeling of betrayal. "I don't know what I'm going to do, honestly," he said tiredly. "I don't want to do that to Richard. I don't think he deserves it."
"Has the hospital been doing badly?" She resumed folding.
"We fell in the rankings. We're not even top ten anymore, and it's getting to Richard more than he'd like to admit."
"What are you going to tell the Board?"
Derek sighed. "I'm going to tell them they need to discuss the situation with Richard first before I make any commitments." He stood up and rubbed his face as if wanting to wipe away the intense conflict of interest going on in his head. "It's all I can think to do."
Addison bit her lip and zipped up the suitcase. "I just hope it's enough," she murmured.
At the end of the day, Addison walked into her hotel room and collapsed on the bed in exhaustion. Every lecture, every social event that day had been nothing but a chore to attend. Her old friends and acquaintances kept asking her where her husband was, and it was all they seemed to focus on. It was as if her own presence didn't matter if that of her husband's was missing. It was one part about being married that never sat well with Addison; her individual identity disappeared and she became defined solely by her husband. But it was never that way with the husband.
She turned her head to look at the digital clock on the bedside table. Eight o'clock. Derek should have been home and settled in by then. His meeting with the Board wasn't until the next day.
As if her thoughts prompted him, Addison's phone lit up with Derek's picture, name and number while it buzzed to announce he was calling. She grabbed it from where it rested on the bed beside her and answered with a simple, "Hey." She was too tired to say anything more.
"We have a problem," came Derek's voice through the small BlackBerry speaker. He was whispering.
Addison sat up in trepidation. "What's wrong? Where are you?"
"In the bathroom. Meredith thinks I'm showering, but that's not the problem."
"Then what is the problem, Derek?"
"I forgot to take off the ring before coming back, and Meredith saw it."
That was a problem. A big problem. Now, if Derek broke up with her, she'd see it as if he was leaving her for another woman, the very thing Addison had been trying to avoid. She fell back onto the bed and stared up at the ceiling with widened eyes. She didn't even register the single word falling past her lips.
A/N: So what'd you think? This chapter was kind of difficult to write because all I knew about it going in was that they couldn't be blissfully happy anymore. That sounds mean, but even they would get sick of themselves if they continued in that direction. I haven't yet decided whether or not to keep Richard's drinking problem in the mix, and don't forget Addison hasn't been back to Seattle in two years, when she left. I hope you enjoyed it and please review!