We Were Made For Each Other
You Can Breathe
Song by Jack's Mannequin. This is a product of my sickness/boredom today. I, of course, do not own Grey's.
On the day that disillusionment becomes inevitable, that whatever fantasies I have must be banished, never to twist their near-irresistible threads behind my eyelids again, I still immerse myself in the source of the pain that is to come. It is silly for me to mourn this day that is supposed to be of greatest joy, especially when I have known for months that it is coming. But I cannot help it – there are some concepts that no matter how many times you try to familiarize yourself with them, they remain slightly out of your comprehension.
For me, it's the marriage of my ex-wife. To another man.
This would be extremely simple if I did not care about her. If I didn't care for her, in ways that I shouldn't. But I do.
Long before my relationship with Meredith fizzled out, not possessing the stamina to last a lifetime, not to mention the actual wedding day, Addison began appearing in my dreams. Usually she just stood there, the epitome of alluring with her sapphire eyes wide and vulnerable, staring at me, the one constant in the hurricane of events that was my life. I finally gave in to the ethereal urgings and called her, making the mistake of talking for over four hours. That was when she began to unknowingly entrap my heart in enthralling tendrils once again. Many calls followed after that, some to merely talk about what we were doing at the moment, some to discuss our current love interests or the dilemmas of our friends.
Over the long term, Meredith and my differences became flamboyantly apparent. She spent her time with her friends, trying to piece together their little quartet after the loss of one member. She expressed her desire for space and I gave it to her, devoting my time to work and occasional drinks with Mark, Richard, or Owen. When we were together, we fought about the time we weren't spending together, and finally I took pity on our deteriorating relationship and ended it myself.
The next morning found me looking up flights to LA on the side of trying to juggle the various victims of a devastating pile-up on I-5. Cracked skulls and craniotomies hampered my efforts to purchase a ticket for the next two days, and by the time I got around to actually checking which days I had off, Addison called with news.
Right after I said I needed a vacation from Seattle and was planning on visiting, she told me, in an adorable, excited voice I had not heard issue from her lips in far too long, that she was getting married.
Oh, and if I didn't mind, I could help with the wedding.
And so that is how I end up in the honeymoon suite of an upscale LA hotel, my back turned as Addison sprints around naked looking for the lingerie she misplaced. "Have you found it yet?" I call from the bed she banished me to five minutes ago while I attempt to adjust my tie without a mirror.
"Yeah – but don't – Derek, I said don't look!" she shrieks in alarm as I glance over my shoulder and obtain a tantalizing view of her long, tanned legs as she pulls on scraps of lace that barely qualify as undergarments of any kind. "Look away," she commands. "I'm in my underwear."
I shrug; trying to discreetly drink in the view of Addison's perfectly toned body, carrying a sun-glow that makes it darker than I have ever seen it. She is absolutely breathtaking, and my feelings threaten to make themselves known, begging me to take the few necessary steps forward and sweep her off her feet. But I don't. Addison deserves whatever happiness she has found with this man in LA, whose name I don't like to think if I can help it.
After fussing for five minutes, Addison settles in front of the mirror and I gather her hair behind her shoulders, the pads of my fingers brushing the fine, smooth skin of her shoulder blades. I shudder delicately and I strive for an ounce of control, knowing that if my body responds the way it wants to, my ex-wife will certainly feel it and it will not be easy to explain away.
I drag a brush through Addison's shimmering, rose colored hair and begin to shape it in the updo she described, a style I helped her with many times during our marriage. I apply pins and hairspray as needed, wielding the curler with skill that cannot be considered masculine.
"You know," Addison says musingly as I arrange the curls at the back of her head. "I know Naomi is my official maid of honor, but she's so busy with the food and the bouquets and the freaking leaves of the bouquets that you're my honorary maid of honor."
"Lovely," I say. "Exactly what I always wanted."
"Nancy says you've had lots of practice," she grins, and I frown, imagining all the stories Nancy must have told her in revenge for my assorted 'crimes.' As the youngest child and only boy, I was often forced into frilly princess dresses and high heels. "But if it threatens your manhood that much, we'll call you the best man."
"So," I say. "What is it about this guy that made you want to get married again?"
I expect gushing about various attributes that will drive me to the point of nausea, but my question is met with silence instead. Addison seems frozen, staring at her creamy, bronzed cheeks in the mirror. "I -"
"Addison?" I ask in alarm when she pales. She shakes her head and stares at her lap, so, sensing the need for distraction, I hold up the sapphire adorned jeweled clips Naomi had handed to me for safekeeping. "Ready for something blue?"
"Thanks," she mutters after a moment, awarding me with a hesitant smile. The pins are azure poppies in a red sky that I desperately want to run my fingertips through. "I guess I – I haven't thought about it exactly like that, I suppose. He, uh, well, we work well together, and we care about each other, and it's comfortable."
I clench my teeth, but the words spilled out despite my best efforts. "Sounds like good grounds for marriage."
"What does that mean?" she demands dangerously.
"Well, it's just that I didn't hear you mention love," I remind her gently as I tuck and loop her curls into a strawberry perfection atop her head.
"I … I love him," Addison stutter. "I do, it's just …" Her tired sigh hangs in the air. "It's just, when he asked me to marry him, I thought everything was so perfect, but now I'm not so sure."
"Mmhmm," I encourage, telling myself that burying my thumbs in the tense skin of her back and easing the muscles underneath is not wrong, that my mind is not wandering to what I know lies under the dress. I have made the first pinprick in her balloon of happiness, planted the first seed of doubt and before my eyes it flourishes and blossoms. I tell myself it's not selfish, that I just want the best for her. But then, maybe I never was the best for her.
"Everything was good, you know, at first. New and different and there was very little baggage and it was just nice. Marriage just seemed like the next sensible step, like he was supposed to ask and I was supposed to say yes because that was what everyone was expecting. I was always a marriage kind of girl, you know. But now I wonder if it was too fast because I don't feel like I did about yo - about other people, in the past, and we just don't connect like we used to."
"So the sex is bad," I infer with a smirk after wrestling with her vague statements in my head. Sure, she didn't say it, but I've known the woman for fifteen years and she definitely alluded to it.
"Derek!" She swats my head, displaying the 'annoyed' version of her infamous pout, and I pretend that the light slap was actually painful. I can tell, though, by the set of her lips and the guilty longing in the serene oceans of her eyes that I have guessed correctly.
"Well, is it?"
"Sometimes I wish your parents had never met," Addison mutters petulantly, staring down at the poofy chiffon princess skirt of her second wedding dress.
"You didn't deny it," I sing, barely daring to hope that it is a taste of uncertainty she is exuding. Hope is dangerous. Last time I hoped she informed me that she was getting married. "And you are very glad my parents met because otherwise I wouldn't be here," I add, just to wind her up.
"Fine. The sex is … not bad, but definitely not good either." She refuses to look up and meet my eyes and guilt curdles in my stomach. I shouldn't have made her say it but curiosity is an overpowering beast that has been known to kill cats. Still, the merit of my ex-wife's sex life should not be a primary concern, but it is. I could push her up against the wall right now, pull those bouncing white layers up over her endless creamy legs and kiss her until she forgets how to think …
A single tear makes a break for freedom and I catch it on my thumb as it takes a crystalline dive from her chin. "Boring sex 'til death do you part?" I tease, hoping to make her laugh.
It has the opposite effect and alarm pulses through me as her sobs increase in frequency and volume. I wonder offhandedly how many hours it took her to do her makeup and try not to be thankful for a possible delay of that finalizing walk down the aisle.
"Maybe it's me," she sniffles despondently; the worry that cracks her voice constricts my heart, a malicious tangle of snakes around the tender organ. "Maybe I'm just expecting too much – I mean, it can't be perfect all the time, I know that. And we are happy, I guess, not fairytale happy or anything but it's probably time I grew out of that …"
I give in to the tugs of longing and embrace her carefully, memorizing the feel of her heart fluttering against my chest because I treasure every moment with her in case there is a specific amount I am allotted, especially after she's married. "You shouldn't be ashamed of how you feel, Addison, and you shouldn't settle. Just because the two of you appear to be the perfect couple to everyone else doesn't mean you have to pretend to be."
"I guess I don't know when I started … well … pretending to be happy," she admits. Her mascara is making inky, uneven blotches on the white dress shirt under my tux but I cannot bring myself to care, because this is Addison and she's telling this to me of all people.
"You shouldn't have to pretend. Just think back to the last time you actually were happy." I am stepping over the line, sure, but I never wanted to make her doubt. I just want to be sure she's happy.
"Were you happy with Meredith?" she counters.
"Fleetingly, maybe, but it wasn't the happiness that lasted. I tried to make her into something she wasn't and in the end it didn't work for either of us," I tell her, letting sadness and regret leak out through my voice, hoping she'll catch the subtle undertones.
"The last time I was really, truly happy? Do you really wish to know? Fine," she rants. "Fine. It was when we were married, before we were the best at our jobs and before you were absent and before what I did with Mark." Her hands have entwined themselves in her perfect hairdo and they are slowly but surely unraveling it, just as I am unwittingly tearing down invisible walls I have blundered into.
"Crap, Derek. Crap," she moans, teeth digging ruthlessly into the velvety temptation that is her lower lip. "Why do you have to do this to me? I convinced myself I was ready and then you show up and be all 'McDreamy' and I remember what we had and now all I can think about is kissing you …"
Damn. She wants to kiss me as bad as I want to kiss her. This must bode ill, but I cast my cares to the gentle breezes sweeping the balcony outside …
"Wanting to kiss another man is never a good pre-wedding omen," I whisper, proffering one more second of pondering for us both, a bit of calm for whatever storm will follow our declarations.
Addison deflates. "Am I freaking out for no reason? Just the usual cold feet?"
I have little to offer to assuage her doubt, just a truth weathered through many years of trial. "I didn't have cold feet before our wedding."
"Neither did I. I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you," she whispers, as if afraid of her own words. She stands, an unsuspecting temptress in front of me, draped in silk and chiffon and lace and pearls, imploring something I cannot give her.
We're stuck, each afraid to move forward and into the other again but also unwilling to go back to our private lands of denial now that we've broken free. I memorize the details, just in case this turns into the best or worst moment of my life. There is a grainy trail of mascara left behind from the tear I caught. Her hair hangs in loose spirals, protesting spray and clips, just like we protest sanity. Her feet are still bare, toes peeking out from the long hem of her gracefully puffed gown.
Then her mouth is on mine, kissing me fiercely, wanting and needing to know whether the distilled happiness she seeks is concealed behind my lips. In her eagerness she stumbles and I catch her elbows as her tongue pushes into my mouth, joining with mine and engaging in a furious battle. Whatever she was looking for she must have found because I can feel her fingers in my thick, dark locks and the way her mouth is moving with mine is no longer desperate, it has become passionate, wanting, ravishing, loving, almost.
I pull back, cheating has always been the integral third person in our relationship and if, if this is what I think it is, I want to do it right. "I called a taxi," I say, my tone neutral. "Just in case."
She doesn't say a word, just grabs my hand and pulls me to the door. When she turns the handle the words come gushing out. "I'll have to send all the presents back. And oh, God, Derek, he'll hate me. And Sav and Weiss flew all the way out here …"
"Don't think about them. Think about you," I advise her.
"Me? I … I can't do this."
"Then come on," I tell her.
We travel through the floors hand in hand, a wrecked bride and her seducing 'best man', two imperfect people that have rediscovered perfection. We draw stares; everyone turns as the runaway bride flees the scene, like an act from a perfectly choreographed movie. It is still surreal, to me, the hands we have been dealt, but I focus on saving Addie from a lackluster marriage and getting her out to her mustard yellow sanctuary.
As she clambers into the taxi, tucking the white folds in around her body, I pull out my cell phone and dial Mark, who had offered to 'sample the cuisine', or, really, get drunk before the wedding. I explain quickly and he agrees to take care of the guests while I ensure that Addison is cared for.
"Thanks," she says softly as I slip the phone back into my pocket. "I don't know what you did but you kept me from making the biggest mistake of my life … so thank you, Derek."
"What's a best man for?" I smile, leaning against the door of the taxi. The man in front reclines, watching as the red numbers climb. I don't care. Looking into Addison's clear green-blue eyes is more than worth every penny.
She sighs. "I feel so … liberated. Like I can do anything I want now."
"You can," I assure her. "So go do it. Let loose. Skydive. Swim with sharks. Do whatever." She's laughing, looking every bit as beautiful as the day she wore a white dress for me. I step back, rest my hand against the door, and get ready to close the door to the rest of her life. She is smiling softly.
"I plan on it," she promises. "But I need someone to protect me from the sharks I'm apparently swimming with." With a great rustling of fairy-spun fabric, she leaves the seat next to her open. "If you're up for it."
I take the offer, climb in, close the door, grab her hand. My lips find her cheek. "Always."
A little fluffy, a little happy, a little pointless, but hey, I was in the mood today. Also, I left you to decide who Addison was going to marry - be it Pete, Kevin, Wyatt, Noah, or someone else entirely. As long as there's Addeky goodness I couldn't care less. Hey, you could even resurrect George for the role, although I really doubt anyone would be inclined to do that. Anyway, leave me a review and tell me what you thought and who Addison was going to marry (in your mind) and I'll drink 'em all down like medicine and hopefully feel well enough to write some more for you!