Bad things happen to good people...One minute you can be flying across the country to help a small hospital perform a miraculous, life changing surgery and the next...
His charming green eyes caught mine across the small aisle separating our leather cushioned plane seats. My previous words to him had been branded into my mind since the moment they left my lips. The slight drizzle that was falling outside the hospital that night still tickled the back of my neck if I thought hard enough. 'I love you', speaking those three simple words aloud were what freed me from the shackles that Mark Sloan held on me. It was like just saying them, putting it out there was enough to get the gears in his head spinning. I knew that deep down he loved me, too. He just needed to remember the love we shared.
I was nearly asleep, tying to clear my head of all things Mark Sloan. My head was resting light against the window as we glided smoothly past the clouds. He cleared his throat, making me jump a little. He pointed to the seat next to me, like he was asking permission to sit next to me.
I tried to conceal the confused look that had overcome my face and staggered to an upright position. I nodded my approval and watched Mark take the seat next to me. My skin felt like it was on fire, like an electric current was running between the two of us. It was probably strong enough to light the entire plane.
"Lexie, I've been wanted to say this for a while now," He said, staring straight ahead at the seat in front of him. "I just did not want to upset you. What you and Jackson had...it was a good thing. I wanted you to be happy." He wrung his hands nervously between his legs. I wanted to reach over and grab his hands, but I knew I needed to listen to him first. "I love you, Lexie," He whispered.
My heart stopped for a moment. I did a double take to make sure I was not dreaming. After everything the two of us had gone through in the last three years he was finally admitting his love for me? I let myself reach for his hand this time and intertwine his fingers with mine.
"I'm not done," He said pulling his hand away and digging it into the breast pocket of his scrubs. He revealed a black velvet box. I studied the small box, I knew exactly what was inside. I sucked in a gasp of air and reached up to cover my mouth.
"Mark..." My voice trailed off.
"You don't have to say anything. Just listen to me," He said. "I love you. I always have and I always will," He shook his head and opened his lips, revealing a row of his teeth. "Life is too short to not do the things we want. And I... I want to marry you." He popped open the box and slid to one knee in the small area between our seats. "Marry me, Lexie? Marry me and have my kids," He pleaded. "We'll build our own huge house and give Sofia siblings. Two sisters and brother," A genuine smile spread across my face. This is what I had been waiting for since I first slept with Mark three years ago. "We're good together Lexie and I want to wake up next to you for the rest of my life."
I gasped again, trying to take in the moment. This was it. Mark wanted me just as much as I wanted him. I nodded quickly. "Yes," Tears rolled down my face, but they were tears of joy. "Yes, Mark. I will marry you."
Mark slid the huge diamond ring onto the ring finger of my left hand and leaned forward to kiss me. I kissed him back, loving the familiar feeling of his lips against mine. I finally felt whole again.
That was the last thing I remember.
I woke up underneath a giant piece of metal pinning me to the cold forest floor. Chills ran up and down my spine, I couldn't feel either of my legs or my right arm, and blood was seeping out of the corners of my mouth. The worst part was. I was alone. Mark, Meredith, Cristina, Derek, Arizona...no body was near me. I opened my mouth to scream, but the sound was muddled by the blood in my mouth.
The pain was excruciating. I was going to die. Of that I was sure. I was alone in the forest, pinned under a piece of plane, with multiple crush injuries. The only thing making me hold onto hope was glistening engagement ring still stationed on my left hand. Mark and my sister they were out there somewhere. I imagined that because thinking of the alternative was overwhelming.
"Lexie!" Meredith's voice called, instantly calming me.
"Lexie!" Mark and Cristina cried in unison. They were all alive. At least those three were.
I struggled to search for something, anything, that would let them know where I was. A stray seatbelt glistening in the sun caught my eye. I reached for it with my good eye and smacked it repeatedly against the side of the plane. The sound echoed throughout the forest. I hoped that it would catch their attention. I needed them. They were my only chance at survival.
Mark broke through the wall of trees first. Followed closely behind by Cristina, who was hugging her right arm close to her chest and Meredith who was limping as quickly as possible. My heart leapt in my chest at the site of the three of them, which only caused the blood in my mouth to flow stronger. I choked on it a little and struggled to raise my head off the ground.
Mark reached me first, dropping to his knees before me and reaching under the plane to assess my many injuries. "What's wrong, Lexie?" He asked, his voice a veil of concern.
I shook my head. "I have multiple crush injuries. There's a lot of blood in my mouth, so I'm guessing a pneumothorax. I can't feel my right arm, if it's even still there. And probable a spinal injury, because I cannot feel either of my legs."
Mark's face drained of color. He reached for my ringed hand and squeezed it between his. "Cristina go back to the plane. Get a chest tube, a backboard, and anything you can find that can life this damn plane off of her!" Mark shouted.
Cristina stopped where she was and studied me for a moment. She obviously saw what I knew and what Mark did not want to admit. I was going to die.
"Why aren't you going!" Mark screamed.
There was a pause while Cristina's dark eyes danced between me and him. I sucked in a breath, clearing my mouth of the blood inside. "Because she knows it won't help."
Mark kicked the dirt with his sneaker. Anger was rising inside him, made obvious by the pulsing veins in his neck. "You are not going to die!" He turned to look over his shoulder at Cristina. "Go!"
Cristina nodded and ran, passing a very unstable Meredith. Mark turned back to me and cupped my face in his hand. "You're going to be okay, Lexie. I promise."
I nodded weakly, because I knew arguing with him was not going to help. I also knew that somewhere inside him he knew that this was the end for us. Meredith came closer, taking a spot next to Mark. She looked at me under the metal and reached for my shoulder, rubbing it lightly.
"You're going to be fine, Lexie. We're not going to let you die," She whispered.
Meredith was not an optimist. I knew this was an act. She was saying this, because she knew it would be something I would say. She was never good at bright and shiny. It made me laugh a little. To find her comforting me. Being optimistic. Our roles had become so reversed since we first met.
Cristina came rushing back. Cradled between her side and her left arm was a chest tube and a neck brace. Her other, limp hand held a long metal pole. It was a start. The pain was becoming lesser and lesser as the minutes ticked by. I was also becoming closer, which meant that I was losing too much blood. They were all only more insurance that my life was going to be over soon.
"Here," Cristina said, dropping the contents in her hands on the ground beside Mark.
He stared at them for a moment, probably trying to decide what the best plan was. Mark was a fighter. Especially when it came to someone he loved. I knew no amount of arguing was going to get him to stop. Even though I was aware that fighting for my life may end up killing him emotionally.
"Meredith? Can you fit under there?" He asked, nodding toward the pile of metal on top of me.
Meredith examined the plane for a moment, then started shimmying toward me. "Yeah, I can." She wedged herself between the ground and the plane. When she was next to me she smiled weakly, then reached out for the supplies Mark was handing her.
It was a long tube and a safety pin. I sucked in a breath, because I knew where that was going. If I thought the pain was bad before it was about to get a whole lot wore. Meredith repositioned herself and ripped my scrub top open.
"Open her chest with the safety pin and use the tube to drain the blood," Mark instructed, taking his old place next to the plane. "Do not puncture her heart or lung!" He warned.
Meredith sucked in a deep breath. She looked at me one last time and mouthed something I didn't quite catch. Then the pain started. She stabbed the pin into my chest, then wedged the tube between my flesh. The only good part was the sudden relief I felt at the draining blood.
"That feel better," I whispered.
Meredith smiled at me. It was a little less forced this time. "I know."
"Stabilize her head with the brace and get out of there," Mark instructed.
Meredith did as she was told, then I was alone under the plane again. The only thing that let me know they were still out there was the shuffling of their feet as they worked vigorously around he piece of plane. They had managed to wedge the pole Cristina brought between the ground and the metal.
"One three..." Mark announced. I could hear the strain in his voice. "One...two...three..." He grunted and Meredith moaned under the weight of the plane. It shifted a little, freeing my legs, then suddenly the metal was gone. I was completely free. I sucked in a deep breath, which hurt. Every small movement I made hurt. My legs and arm were still numb, but the crushing pain was slightly better.
Mark bent down next to me and smiled. "You're free," He said, smiling.
He was happy, but we both knew that this was not any clearance. There was still a good chance that I was going to die. My injuries were too severe to be treated out in the wilderness. I needed an OR and I needed one yesterday.