Finding our Way…

By: lfbrox

Rating: T bordering on M (for later chapters)

Timeline: Early season 4. But I'm mixing things up as I please. Addison went to LA…but came back.

Disclaimer: I own a car and a laptop. That's all I have. So if you wanne sue me – you can sue me for that.

AN: Hi. Sorry about the long wait. I wasn't sure if I ever feel inspired again to add to this story. But I hate unfinished things so I thought I give this another shot. Any takers?

Chapter 2: We really are just friends

August 7th. Seattle. SGH Cafeteria

"So you're staying?" Miranda Bailey stated and asked at the same time.

"I'm staying!" Addison replied distractedly, for she was too busy screening the printouts of the apartments and houses her new broker provided for her.

"Has nothing to do with a man," Callie mocked.

"It doesn't!" Addison confirmed.

"What do I not know? And do I really wanne know?" Bailey asked in her usual nazi-tone.

Addison: "There is nothing to know"

Callie: "She has her own intern"

They answered at the same time.

"Oh Addison. What did you do this time?" Bailey asked with exasperation. "Didn't I tell you to keep your knees closed? Who is it? And please don't tell me it's one of mine!"

"It's nobody Miranda. Seriously! My decision to stay has nothing to do with a man. Especially not with one of your ex-interns." Addison assured her, which earned her an "Oh please" look from Callie.

"I'm serious Callie. Alex and I are just friends. Just because you had to go and marry your intern doesn't mean we all have to follow in your footsteps." Addison defended herself, not noticing that she just gave away who 'her intern' was.

"Karev? Seriously Addison?" Bailey hissed shooting a nazi look first at Addison and then at Alex who sat with his friends a few tables away.

"If looks could kill - Bailey would have killed you just now. What did you do this time evil spawn?" Christina asked Alex, having just seen the look Bailey sent him from a few tables away.

"What?" Alex asked, nearly choking on his sandwich. He turned to look over to Bailey's table and flinched a little when he saw that Addison and Callie sat with an angry and wildly gesturing Dr. Bailey. They weren't looking over anymore, but from the guilty look on Addison's face and the smirk on Callie's face he could just imagine what that conversation was all about. Girltalk during lunch. Just what he needed.

"I did nothing." Alex assured quickly. "I might have just pissed of Sloan a little. Don't know why Bailey cares."

"So you're back on gynie squad now? They really could come up with a more creative punishment." Meredith commented turning back to her lunch.

"Yeah. They really could." Alex returned, taking a huge bite out of his sandwich and hoping the conversation would return to something not related to him, Addison and the gynie squad.

"Miranda. I swear. It was nothing more than a harmless flirt that went a little too far. I felt wanted and desired and god knows I needed that. And he just...I don't know. He was just Karev. But we talked about it. Cleared the air. We're friends and we work well together. That's the whole story." Addison explained after Bailey was done with her tirade about attendings and interns.

"Friends, huh?" Callie asked with amusement. "With benefits?"

"No. Of course not. God Callie. Can't two grown up professionals just work together and have a drink and a conversation without having sex?" Addison asked with frustration.

"Of course they can." Callie agreed with a smirk. "But once the lines of deliciousness are getting blurred then the "just friends" thing is just a waiting game."

"Oh just shut up. I'm gonna show you that Alex and I can be friends and nothing more. Now can we go back to choosing an apartment for me?" Addison asked hoping the conversation would return to something not related to her, Alex and their 'just friends' thing.

August 9th. Joe's

"So those three?" Alex asked looking at the printouts of the three apartments that Addison, Callie and Bailey shortlisted.

"Yep. What do you think?" Addison replied.

They decided to have a drink after work at Joe's hoping to finalize her decision for an apartment she wanted to buy. Three different locations, three different styles. She just couldn't decide. Callie, Bailey and her had discussed this over and over again and now she wanted a male opinion. And since they were friends – who better to ask than Alex.

"Well. This one," Alex said showing her the printout of a posh, luxurious apartment in one of the more noble districts of Seattle, "would be the place that people – who don't know you – expect you to have. Big, expensive, spacious with designer furniture and expressionist art on the walls. Cold, clean and stylish." With that he dropped the printout and moved to the next one.

"And this one," he said showing her the picture of an artsy loft in downtown Seattle, "would be something nobody would picture you living in. And that's why you would choose it. Cause you want everybody to believe that you are not the 'New York City Girl' anymore and that you've changed and that you are more zen now or whatever." Alex explained tossing the printout to the first one – discarded.

"Now this one," Alex announced holding up the last one, "is you. It's located in a nice neighbourhood, close to the hospital. It's spacious but not too big for one person. Hardwood floors, that's always a plus. Nice big windows. A balcony. A yard. Big kitchen. A nice view over the city. It looks expensive but it still looks like you could feel at home...compfy you know. Like you could throw big dinner parties but you could also hang out on the couch and relax." Alex finished handing her the picture.

"Wow. That was a very insightful analysis Dr. Karev." Addison said amused, taking the picture from him and looking at it thoughtfully.

"Not that you really know me or anything. But do you really think this is me?" She asked still looking at the printout.

"I know more about you than you might think," Alex said raising his beer and his eyebrows.

"Do you now?" Addison replied raising her martini to toast with him.

"Yes I do. And I think we just found your new place." Alex answered with a smirk and clinked his glass with hers.

"What exactly are those two doing?" Derek asked Meredith, watching his ex-wife and Karev at the bar.

"Don't know." Meredith answered turning around to look. "George said something about them being friends. And that Addison is looking for a permanent place to live. Looks like she still hasn't chosen yet." She pointed out with a shrug and returned her attention to her drink.

"Friends? Seriously? Addison and Karev?" Derek asked, his eyes still fixed on Alex and Addison at the bar.

"Why not? They're working close together. It's inevitable to talk about private things." Meredith reasoned not really that interested in the topic.

"He just wants to get into her pants," Derek scoffed – which got Meredith's attention.

"And what's it to you? You divorced her. She's your ex-wife. Whether she is sleeping with him or not shouldn't be of your concern. Maybe they really are just friends. Maybe not. I don't care. And neither should you." Meredith finished, downing her drink and grabbing her purse. "Stop staring Derek. We're going home." And with that she walked towards the exit with a still staring and growling Derek in tow.

All that went unnoticed by Alex and Addison who still sat at the bar discussing how to furnish her new apartment.

"So you wanne go with me tomorrow and seal the deal?" Addison asked, looking at the picture of the apartment she and Alex have apparently just chosen.

"Seal the deal Montgomery? What happened to just friends?" Alex replied with a smirk.

"Funny Karev. Really." Addison answered with an eyeroll. "I'm gonna meet the realtor tomorrow and sign the contract for, well, apparently this apartment." Addison explained, holding up the picture of the apartment they chose to be her new home. "It's probably easier to decide on furnishing when you are actually in the apartment. So you wanne come?" Addison asked expectantly.

"And talk about colour patterns and atmospheric lighting? How could I resist? I would love to." Alex mocked.

"I choose to overhear the sarcasm here Alex and I'm glad you are coming with me. But don't worry. The colour patterns and the atmospheric anything will be discussed with my "girl" friends. I need you – as a "boy" friend – to help with the more 'manly' things." Addison explained.

"Like what?" Alex asked.

"Like measurements and power supplies. I need to know that I buy the right size of furniture and fitting electrical appliances." Addison provided.

"That I can do." Alex agreed. "I also come in handy as a carpenter in case you need a bigger shoe closet, clothes closet, handbag closet or whatever your girly heart desires." He mockingly offered.

"Good to know. I will certainly take you up on that offer." Addison stated. "Now. One last drink to toast to my new place and then we go home. We have a pretty hectic day tomorrow and I don't want you to be too exhausted tomorrow night to take measurements of my new shoe closet. I buy." Addison concluded.

"Don't worry. I'll be there." Alex promised and raised his fresh beer to toast to Addison's new apartment.

August 10th. Seattle. Addison's new place

"Congratulations Dr. Montgomery. This place is now officially yours." The broker said after Addison signed the papers.

"Thank you. I can't believe I actually just did that. But it feels good." Addison replied, still on a high after just buying her own place.

"I'm sure it does," the realtor answered unceremoniously. Now that the deal was sealed she had no more interest in small talk or ass kissing. "Here are your keys. Spare keys. Papers. Phone numbers for telephone company, electricity supplier and anything else you need to set you up. Again congratulations. All yours now. I'll leave you to it." The realtor rattled down her list of things to say and then made a hasty exit.

"Thanks." Addison replied silently long after the realtor had left. "I'm on my own now I guess." She said to herself and the high of just a few minutes ago was replaced with sadness. "All alone." She whispered and looked out the window into her lonely backyard. Was this the right decision? To stay in Seattle. Why was she buying a house in Seattle? A year ago Seattle was just a city in a state called Washington. A few month ago Seattle was just a place her ex-husband had fled to and a place she came to, to chase after him and fight for him. She lost that fight. And fight she did. But why stay here after the fight was lost? Why not move on to sunnier places? Where there were no ex-husband run-ins on a daily basis. "Why the hell am I here?" Addison said out loud this time.

"So I can take measurements for your walk-in shoe closet?" Alex answered/asked as he walked through the front door and heard Addison's question.

Addison was startled at Alex voice and turned around in shock. "God. You scared me." She stated holding a hand to her heart for emphasis.

"Sorry." Alex replied, taken aback. "I thought you saw me coming and were talking to me." He explained, then added an "But I guess you were just talking to yourself" with a smirk.

"I guess I was." Addison answered absentmindedly, not noticing the humour in his voice.

Alex quickly noticed her discombobulation and rushed to her side. He new that look on her. He'd seen it numerous times in the hospital. She had that look in her eyes whenever she passed Shepherd and Meredith smooching in the hallways. The fleeting look that spoke of defeat, of heartbreak, of loneliness and fear. She always recovered quickly. She didn't want anyone to see. And nobody did. Nobody but him. He always saw it. And he saw it now.

"Hey. Addison. Addie. You okay?" He asked as he approached her and put a comforting arm around her.

His voice and his gesture made her snap out of her daze. She could feel Alex' strong arm around her. She could hear the worry in his voice and the fact that he called her Addie didn't go unnoticed by her. She liked both more that she would willingly admit to anyone. So for just a few seconds she let herself enjoy it before answering him.

"Yeah. I'm okay. Just overwhelmed I guess." She explained with a little laugh and moved out of his embrace.

"Good. You got me worried there for a second." Alex answered and felt a slight loss of not having her in his arms anymore. "So what do you say we christen this place properly and leave the measuring for tomorrow?" He asked and produced a bottle of Champagne and two glasses from his bag.

"That sounds like a perfect idea." Addison agreed and looked around her new home. "Well. I don't have any furniture yet, so how about we sit outside?"

"No objection on my part. Let's celebrate your new beginnings." Alex stated and popped the champagne.

"Yes. New beginnings. I'm all for that." Addison said and led them outside. Her face now sported a genuine smile. A minute ago she doubted her decision to do this. A minute ago she asked herself what the hell she was doing here. And then Alex came around. He might only be a friend, but he gave her the answer to her question. She had a friend here. Someone who really new and understood her. Someone who wouldn't judge but would understand and listen. If only he weren't just a friend. With those thought she settled down on the steps leading to her backyard to toast with Alex to her new home.

Alex followed her with similar thoughts. He didn't like to see her sad. He didn't like to see the always brewing hurt within her. So the second she flashed him a genuine smile - caused by him - he relaxed and followed her outside. If only he hadn't been such a jerk. If only he had handled the conversation in her office better. If only he had said what he truly felt. Then maybe he would be more than just a friend to cheer her up. Maybe he'd be more than a shoulder to lean onto. But she wanted to be friends. He had to respect that.

So he settled down on the steps leading to her backyard and toasted with her to her new home.

AN: So there it is. Any takers? Lemme know.

lfbrox