Chapter Seven: Scary is good.
Addison checked herself in the full length mirror for what seemed like the hundredth time – she had been pacing Sam's living room for the past half an hour, preparing to meet Marion properly. She suddenly understood what it must be like for the relatives of her patients, feeling helpless, out of control, their world in the hands of someone else. She moved over to the window and looked out into the cold December night, she reminded herself that it was just one night, that it was just one meal – she could get through it.
Sam, knowing that Addison would be experiencing the longest half an hour of her life, put his key noisily into the lock on the front door – affording her a chance to take a deep breath and steady herself.
At the sound of the key turning in the lock Addison smoothed her dress over her hips and planted a welcoming smile on her lips. Her anxiety filled silence was infiltrated as a happy and chatting Marion entered the house, followed closely behind by Sam.
"Addison," Marion smiled as she stepped into the warmth of Sam's house "nice to see you again dear" Marion's voice and smile were both genuine and showed Addison that, despite the previous day's interrogation, she was a kind and gentle woman.
"Marion," Addison replied, returning the smile "I'm glad you could come."
"Well, I don't know where that son of mine gets his ideas from but I for one wasn't going to see you spend Christmas alone." Marion smiled as she moved closer to Addison.
Addison, unsure how to react to Marion's comment, found her eyes connecting with Sam's. Sam flashed her a smile that told her that Marion was teasing and meant no harm.
"Sit down and let me get you a drink Mom" Sam offered in an attempt to take the heat off Addison.
"Thank you Samuel" Marion replied as she made her way to the sofa and took a seat.
Addison, thankful for Sam's quick thinking, felt a brief moment of relief before she realised Sam was about to leave her and Marion alone. She took a deep breath as she watched Sam leave the room and head to the kitchen.
"Come and join me Addison" Marion ordered kindly, she could feel the young woman's apprehension and wanted to make her feel more comfortable. Unbeknownst to Addison, she already had Marion's approval – Maya had made certain of that. It seemed this woman was loved, in one way or another, by every member of the Bennett family, not least by her son, that much was obvious!
"Sam tells me that you're very accomplished in your line of work" Marion began, hoping to make Addison fell comfortable.
"I enjoy my work" Addison managed to smile.
"Your expertise helped Maya and Olivia," Marion stated "I'm glad you were there" Marion continued "Maya means a lot to me, she has grown up so quickly"
Addison was struck silent by the sudden change in intensity, she was comfortable talking about her work, about the practice, but Marion had made the conversation personal quicker than she'd expected.
"I…. Maya…" Addison started, she wanted to tell Marion that she cared about Maya too, that the night Olivia was born was one of the darkest times she'd experienced but also one of the greatest because it had been that night that she had given herself to Sam, that she had laid herself and her heart in his hands and prayed that she could be what he deserved. Her voice remained buried as Marion looked at her, waiting for her to say something.
"I hope you still like your Christmas sherry," Sam smiled, breaking the awkward silence as he entered the room clutching a glass of sherry in one hand and a glass of red wine in the other.
Addison took a breath as the tension eased, she chastised herself for not being able to say what she felt; for letting Marion sit there expectantly.
"Perfect Samuel, thank you" Marion smiled as she took the glass from Sam's hand.
"Addison and I were just talking about Olivia's birth" Marion smiled as Sam handed Addison the glass of wine from this other hand.
There was a silence in the room as the words echoed between the three of them.
"Oh" Sam replied. He guessed that Marion had done most of the talking as he knew that Olivia's birth and Dell's death wasn't something that Addison was ready to talk about. In the weeks following the accident he had tried to talk to her about it, had tried to thank her for what she did for Maya but the moment he mentioned it she shut down and backed away, he knew it wasn't healthy but he knew it was Addison's way and he was sure that in time they would be able to talk about it.
Marion felt the atmosphere in the room change, it was obvious that it wasn't a topic either of them wanted to discuss with her. She remembered Maya mentioning a friend that was hurt in the accident although she hadn't elaborated either, realising it was a subject best left alone she decided to change the subject and lighten the atmosphere
"Such a splendid view you have here Samuel," Marion remarked positively as she left her seat and headed towards the patio door "I always find the ocean so comforting and consoling, I find it helps to put things into context. I must be delightful in the summer."
"Yes it's beautiful" Sam replied, thankful that his mom and recognised the need to change the tone of the conversation.
"And what about you Addison? Where do you live? Somewhere just as spectacular I'm sure."
"l live next door actually" Addison smiled.
"Ah, the girl next door" Marion smiled.
Addison blushed, she wasn't sure a failed marriage, an abortion and an unhealthy dependence on red wine were quite 'girl next door' attributes.
Sam smiled as he watched Addison blush and squirm, she was sweet and beautiful, that was for sure but innocent? Not so much!
"You should visit in the summer Mom," Sam smiled "see the view for yourself."
"That would be nice" Marion smiled.
"That was lovely Sam, thank you" Marion remarked as Sam took her plate from the table "I see you did pay attention in the kitchen when you were a boy."
Sam smiled as he headed towards the kitchen with the plates.
"I fancy a bit of air" Marion said as she stood up "will you join me Addison?"
Addison, knowing she couldn't hide any longer, stood up and accepted Marion's invitation. She crossed the room and grabbed their coats.
As she closed the sliding doors behind them Addison felt the cool wind ripple around her bare neck, she wished she had had the sense to put her scarf on. She thought about slipping back inside and grabbing it but she knew Marion would interpret it as her trying to stall, avoiding the inevitable, the 'Sam' conversation. She tightened her shoulders and pulled the collar of her coat around her neck.
The two women walked towards the beach in relative silence. Addison looked at the ocean, she envied Marion's vision if it because to her, the vastness of it made her confused and uncertain, reminded her of all the nights she had sat on her deck deliberating about her and Sam. During those long lonely evenings it wasn't perspective and clarity she was looking for, it was pure strength, the strength to stop herself from going over to his house and collapsing in his arms.
"Do your parents visit often Addison?" Marion said as they walked slowly across the sand.
"No, they, well, they're busy" Addison smiled "we live separate lives"
"Oh, I'm sure that's not true dear," Marion smiled "a mother and her child, they can never truly live separate lives" Marion remarked kindly "no matter how hard they try."
Addison smiled; Marion hadn't met Bizzy and The Captain!
"When you're a mother Addison you're never separate from your child. No matter where they go, what they do, who they love, a mother and her child are always inextricably linked. You never know anyone else like you know your child. Just like I always knew Sam was going to be a doctor."
"He never wanted to be anything else?" Addison enquired, drawn in by the conversation.
"From the age of about thirteen it was all about medicine," Marion reminisced "it went over my head, the books he read, the documentaries he watched" Marion laughed happily.
"Sam is a good doctor" Addison stated softly "and a good man."
Marion smiled. Addison had finally cracked, had managed to say something that was more than a polite pleasantry.
"He is" Marion replied "which is exactly why he was able to do the right thing with Naomi. It takes a good man to admit when things aren't going right, to act in the interest of his family's happiness."
"He and Naomi…" Addison began
"Sam and Naomi were young" Marion sighed "I knew that at the time but they loved each other and I had to let them do it. Turns out it was one of the best things Samuel ever did – a beautiful daughter, a stunning granddaughter and years of happy marriage. But they were young, they didn't know themselves. People change and grow and not always in the same way and at the same time."
Addison looked over at Marion and saw her for properly for the first time, she was wise – sure she was intelligent but she had something that could never be learnt in a lab or in the O.R.; she had life experience.
"Naomi and Sam achieved amazing things together," Addison remarked "the practice was their vision, they built it together, made it what it is today."
"They did" Marion agreed "but that doesn't mean that they can't build things with other people, that you and Sam can't build something together – achievements come in all forms Addison, not just bricks and mortar."
"Sam and I, we're…." Addison searched for the words she so desperately wanted to share with Marion "we don't have that partnership, we…"
"Of course you don't dear" Marion kindly "you're still getting to know each other, to trust each other. I know you've been friends for a long time but taking that step, letting someone into all parts of your life, of your heart, that takes time."
Addison didn't attempt to hide the smile that passed her lips, Marion knew her better than she knew herself – a trait her son had inherited.
"I can't say whether you and Sam will make it or not Addison" Marion said kindly as she slipped her arm into Addison's "but I know that you'll try, I can tell from the way he talks about you that you'll try and that is the most important thing. People who think that love is effortless haven't been in love, love is bitter sweet but if you can work together to weather the bitterness then the sweetness is more than can be imagined."
Sam smiled as he watched Addison and Marion embrace on his doorstep, he wasn't sure what had been said between the two women and he was pretty sure he'd never know the full story but he was happy to see Addison relaxed with is Mom.
"Don't forget that summer view" Addison smiled and she released Marion.
"I'm already looking forward to it" Marion smiled "Bye Addison and Merry Christmas."
"Merry Christmas Marion" Addison smiled as she shut the car's passenger door and watched the car disappear into the night.
Addison exhaled as she stepped back into Sam's empty house, she knew he wouldn't be long dropping Marion off and so she decided to pour them both a glass of wine and wait for him to return.
As she took her shoes off and curled onto the sofa she thought about what Marion had said about her and Sam, she knew relationships took work- she had learnt that a long time ago, but this time, this time it was different – Sam was different. She realised now that Derek and Mark had been too scared to push her, to challenge her, but Sam wasn't scared of her and he made her face up to the things that scared her, with Sam she knew she couldn't run away. He made her stronger, he made her accountable for her actions; he made her a better person. A feeling of fear and inadequacy fell over her as she thought of how much she had grown in the short time she and Sam had been together and doubted her ability to be for Sam what he was for her. She knew, beyond doubt, that she loved him, that she wanted to be strong and faithful for him but he made her feel so new, so different that she couldn't predict how she would act, it was as if she was learning to be herself all over again, except this time there was nowhere to hide.
Addison's thoughts were interrupted as Sam let himself back into the house. He slipped his shoes off and made his way over to the sofa.
"Hello," Sam smiled as he crawled onto the sofa beside Addison.
"Hello" Addison smiled back. A smile spread across her lips as she looked at him, it was just a word, a word they said to each other often but it was much more than a greeting, it was their way of reminding each other that they were not alone, that no matter how crazy the day got, no matter what they encountered they would always have each other's arms to go home to.
Sam looked at Addison, he thought about what she had done for him, how accepting she had been of the mess he had made. He felt his stomach leap as he thought of how close they had come to missing out on this chance, on the chance to make each other happy. He reached behind his back and fingered the present he had brought in with him.
"Merry Christmas Addison" he said with a soft smile as he passed the present to her.
Addison smiled as she took the gift, just time alone with Sam had seemed like enough of a gift, she had been sharing him all week and the chance to have him all to herself felt special. She ran her finger under the fold in the wrapping paper and felt the paper unfurl in her hand. The paper fell away and she was presented with a brown leather bound book, she turned it over to look at the front. Her stomach churned and she could feel the colour leave her cheeks and she saw the carefully written words 'Our Family' staring up at her. With trembling hands she gripped the leather cover and opened the book, she found small clear plastic pouches lying ready to receive photographs. Addison's world seemed to stop, everything around her seemed to lose its colour, she stared at Sam through her watery eyes wondering what he was trying to tell her.
"So we never miss a moment" Sam smiled "with our family, with our child."
A sound somewhere between a laugh and a gasp of surprise escaped Addison's mouth, she had accepted Sam's reasons for not wanting a child yet, she knew, that despite her longing for a child, he needed time. She felt her heart quicken as she thought of the journey ahead of them, both of them knew it wouldn't be easy, that their relationship would be tested but she knew that they were strong enough, that she was strong enough.
"What made you?...you said" Addison had a thousand questions swimming around in her head, what had changed his mind?
"It was never a case of 'if' Addison, only 'when'" Sam explained "I know there is nothing we can't achieve together Addison but the thought of having another child after what happened with Maya and with Olivia, well….." Sam, uncharacteristically searching for words, tried to explain "I was scared"
Addison moved closer to Sam and took his face in her hands, she felt the cool tears sliding down her cheeks now "I'm terrified" she admitted with a smile "but the last time I let fear take over I almost missed out on this" she explained, referring to their relationship.
"Scary is good" Sam smiled as he moved closer to Addison and pressed his forehead against hers and took a deep breath.
"Scary is good" Addison replied with a smile before leaning in and indulging in the kiss she had been waiting all day for.
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