Author's Note: Thank you all for your reviews! Quick question to anon "DahliaAvers," what did you mean in your review? I couldn't understand your middle sentence, about something being cliché and you hoping Lexie would…something? And anon "anon," I agree with you. But sometimes people are asses.
7: 35 PM, Archfield Hotel
"Can I buy you a drink?"
His inquiry is low and quiet; clearly meant for her ears only.
"I don't want a drink." She stares ahead, her eyes tracing the letters of the labels on each bottle of liquor on the bar. If she hadn't replied, he would have thought she was doing so just to blatantly ignore him.
"Can I take you home, then?"
Lexie purses her lips in a hard line for a few seconds before finally turning in her chair to face him. "I heard her shouting, Mark." She speaks before either has a chance to even recognize the other. He grimaces slightly, shifting in his seat as he realizes just how loud Julia's side of the conversation must've been. "Lex..."
"And everyone knows," she continues in a whisper. "Everyone knows what we did, everyone knows you left her for me, that you left because we slept together last night."
"I left her for more than just sex," he defends himself softly.
"I know that," Lexie sighs. She takes a moment, finally looking into his eyes and noting the concern that colors their grey-blue surface. "But not everyone else does."
"Who cares what other people think?" He asks. "What does it matter—"
"It matters because I care!" Lexie protests, more passionately than she'd intended. "I care, Mark! It matters to me what other people think!"
"Okay..." He draws out the world slowly, shifting in his seat again, but doing so this time to face her more fully. He looks her dead-on in the eyes, intent on showing her how serious he is about this second chance they've given themselves. "What can I do, then? Do you want me to broadcast the truth to the whole hospital?"
"No," Lexie mumbles, automatically looking away the second he gets earnest. "There's nothing you can do. It's just..." She sighs, studying the bar's wooden countertop. "Derek hates me," she finally settles on, picking the first problem she could think of.
Mark frowns. "Why would Derek hate you?" He wonders aloud. "What does he have to do with any of this?"
"Because... Because he's the reason I found the guts to call you and—and tell you that I still love you—"
"I should send him a thank-you card," Mark notes.
Her voice snaps like a whip. "This isn't a joke, Mark."
"I know," he replies. "I was serious."
She shakes her head, already fed up with his sarcastic behavior. "Never mind," she mutters, pushing away from the bar and putting her feet on the ground again. "You don't get it."
He's by her side in an instant, his hand grabbing onto her arm. She doesn't shake him off as he'd expected; instead, she stills beneath his light touch. Her eyes fall closed as she whispers, "What are we going to do?"
"What do you mean, 'What are we going to do?'" He repeats. "We can do anything we want."
"We slept together. While I was dating someone else. But I broke up with her—" He pauses to look Lexie in the eye "—so now there's no conflict anymore."
"Tell that to Julia," Lexie mutters morosely. "I'm sure she wants to kill me."
"She wants to kill me," Mark corrects, "not you."
Lexie's eyebrows furrow, and as she turns to him for further explanation, his hand falls from her arm. "What do you mean? I started it."
"She doesn't know that."
"You didn't tell her—?"
He shakes his head. "There was no point," he replies softly, "because that would have only made things worse for you."
"You're my priority, Lex."
Lexie stares up into his honest blue eyes for a moment before ducking her head again. "She deserved to know what happened," Lexie returns quietly. "If I were her…"
Mark shakes his head again. "She wouldn't have wanted to know."
"But you made her think you went after me," Lexie replies. "When what really happened—"
"Honestly, Lex," he interrupts in exasperation, "I thought it would sound better coming off as a quick night with an ex-girlfriend than…" He looks away for a moment. "What it was."
Lexie holds her breath. "And what was it, exactly?"
Mark turns back, staring at her. A second later, he takes her hand, leading her out of the bar and through the hotel lobby. They come to a stop just a few feet from the front door, away from any prying eyes or ears. He stares into her dark brown eyes for what seems to be an eternity before he speaks.
"Last night," he begins softly, "was one of the most important times of my life." He blinks, and even with the momentary reprieve from his penetrating gaze, Lexie can't find her breath. "It was me reconciling with the woman I love. It was me… coming back to you, once and for all. Despite the situation, despite her… I still came back. Because—I need you in my life, really in my life."
Lexie closes her eyes, trying not to let his words seep into her heart too quickly. "I… I'm sorry I put you in that position," she whispers, still not looking at him. "I'm sorry I called, I'm sorry I invited you inside and—and—"
"And made me the happiest I've been in months?"
His words make her eyes flash open in surprise. "Mark…" She whispers, awestruck and scared.
"And made me finally feel like me again, finally whole?"
"I don't regret it, Lex. Not for a second. I don't regret anything we did—"
"You have to regret something," Lexie butts in.
Mark stares at her for a moment, hard, obviously wanting to contest her statement. But he finally just fives in. "Fine," he allows. "I regret how it was handled after the fact, how I told her. But other than that…" He gives her a small smile, stepping forward and reaching for her hand. She lets his fingers slide between her own, relishing in the feel of his skin against hers again. Try as she might to not think about their liaison the previous night, his touch evokes nothing but those thoughts, remembrances, memories… Don't go. Please don't go.
"I don't regret a thing. I couldn't. I couldn't regret something that brought you back to me."
She bites her lip at his words, forcing him and his light, innocent touch not to get the better of her. "Even—Even if it was cheating?" She manages to ask.
He nods. "Even so." He takes a breath, watching her. "And I don't care what other people think, Lex. I care what you think and I care what I think." His blue eyes sharpen. "But no one else. Not Derek, not Meredith, not Julia… They aren't a part of this. It's you and me here, okay? Just you and me."
She stares back, taking in his words and searching his open face for lies. She finds none. "Okay," she whispers back, squeezing his hand in soft reassurance.
"Wanna go home?" He asks quietly, his eyes resting intently on hers. "To talk about this some more?"
A tentative smile spreads over her face. "Okay," she nods, following him to the door. "Let's go."
"You know," he murmurs nearly an hour later, as they lie side-by-side facing each other in bed, "I honestly can't say I'm sorry." He meant it as a compliment, but the second he saw her eyes close, he knew that's not how she perceived it. "Lex," he begins, reaching out to her across the still-made bed. "Lex—"
"You can't say that," Lexie cuts in, her voice shaking with what he's sure is anger. His hand pauses on its journey between them. "What she said to you, it must, it must've made some kind of impact. It must've—meant something. It must've made you feel regret. Mark, you can't just pretend that she didn't matter—"
"And I'm not." The lines of his face draw together to form an insulted picture. "I'm not saying she didn't matter, Lexie, I've never said that. She's a person, so of course she mattered. And she was my girlfriend, so she mattered even more… But I was just saying that, even though it was hard and even though it hurt her… Lex, I don't regret it. I…" He looks down for a moment, and she zeroes in on him as his voice falters. "I can't."
Even though she knows she shouldn't, Lexie feels the smallest smile tug up the corners of her lips. "Because of me?" She finds herself whispering, unconsciously leaning towards him.
He nods slowly. "Yeah." Even more slowly, he reaches out, resting his warm palm on the side of her neck. "Yeah," he whispers again, threading his first and second fingers through her dark hair, "because of you."
She closes her eyes, letting her head fall forward to get closer to him.
He stretches forward, letting his lips touch her on both cheeks, but not the mouth. "You're the reason I have no regrets," he whispers against her skin, his warm breath heating her cheeks.
He waits until she opens her eyes to speak.
"And I want you to know," he tells her softly, "that what happened with you last night, that… Lex, that was the first time I'd ever cheated on someone, or done any type of wrong, while knowing that truly… Truly, I was doing the right thing. Truly, it was right."
Her eyes fall closed sadly. "Mark," she whispers, sure knowing they're headed for an early disaster with sentiments like these. "Mark, it really…"
"Hey," he mutters, firming up his grip on the back of her neck for a second to grab her attention, "I know what we talked about last night. I know you were certain none of this was right, and—one some level—you were right."
"On the only level that counted, I was right," Lexie counters.
His blue eyes invade hers with their seriousness. "So what I feel for you doesn't count?" He questions. "And what you feel for me? You told me you loved me; you told me it felt right. That doesn't count? That doesn't matter?"
She doesn't reply.
"In a way," he tries again, softer this time, "anything and everything we've ever done together was the wrong thing. You showing up at the hotel, my inviting you back over, all our secret meetings in the hospital and in Meredith's attic… It was all wrong on some level, Lexie." He stares at her. "But it was also right, wasn't it? You can't deny that it was right at the time."
"This is different," Lexie replies stubbornly, averting her eyes and staring at the foot of the bed. "This was cheating. Back then…Back then was just you and me."
"I know," he agrees. "But last night…" He gives her a small smile. "It was only me and you last night. It's only you and me right now. Just like I said. And," he adds, "I'm telling you the truth when I say thi: last night was the only time I've ever cheated on someone knowing that it was the right thing, knowing that the woman I was sleeping with was the one that mattered most." He leans forward, leveling their faces. "The one that I was in love with." His hands move to cup her cheeks fully. "The one that I don't ever want to be without."
"It still…" She looks down, forcing herself to hold back. "It still wasn't right."
"I know that." He waits until her eyes meet his. "It wasn't right." He pauses a beat, studying her. "But right now? This is right."
Lexie swallows, searching his eyes, his face, his soul… Trying to find something to tell her to back off, to stay away… Because she can't do it herself. She can't leave again, she can't give up on them again, no matter how bad things get. But after a minute, she realizes that there's nothing. There's no reason to stay away, no reason to slow down. Not now.
So she leans forward and lets her lips cover his in silent affirmation of his words. He pulls her close immediately, one hand cupping her neck as the other guides her waist towards his. She whispers I love you into the kiss when she finds a break, and it isn't a second later that he replies, matching her word for word.
"Thank you for telling her." She pulls back to speak, making sure to look him in the eyes.
He smiles at the gratefulness all over her face. He reaches up, his hands cupping her cheeks, to kiss her forehead firmly. "You're welcome," he whispers in reply. His eyes fall to hers. "I wish it had happened sooner."
"Me too," Lexie mumbles.
"But you're here now," he replies, reaching out and brushing a section of her bangs back into place. She can't help but smile at the gesture. "And that's all that matters."
"All that matters," she agrees softly, dipping her mouth to his again.
And then they pull each other closer, losing themselves in agreement for the rest of the night and discovering, once again, the rightness they'd always found when in each other's arms.
And she only sleeps when it's raining
And she screams and her voice is strained and she says
"Baby, it's 3 AM, I must be lonely"
Well, heavens, she says, "Baby,"
Well, I can't help but be scared of it all sometimes.
And the rain's gonna wash away, I believe… this.
Author's Note: I know, it was a short, quick chapter… And I believe with it, I'm done with this story. I know some of you might've wanted some Derek/Lexie conflict resolution, but this story has always been more about Mark/Lexie resolution than anything else… As is the trend in all my stories, I guess. So thank you all for reading; I hope you liked how it ended!
Please leave me a review!