This is the first full-length fic I've ever attempted, so feedback and constructive criticism is very much appreciated :)
Arizona looked around as she entered the bar, blue eyes scanning the room. She smoothed her button-down shirt as she sat down on a barstool, smiling sweetly at the bartender.
"A vodka and coke, please," she requested, reaching into her bag. The bar wasn't as busy as she'd anticipated, it being a Friday night. She said as much to the bartender, who smiled wryly. "Not so many doctors in tonight," he explained, leaning over the bar to make himself heard over the jukebox. "Friday's a big night for trauma so they're mostly all over the road."
"At the hospital?" Arizona took a sip of her drink, giving the man a quizzical expression. "Oh. I'm starting work there on Monday, thought I'd come get a feel for the place, maybe meet some people…" She shrugged, trying not to show her disappointment. Years of travelling, first for her father's job and more recently for herself, had given her plenty of experience in being the new kid, but it would've been nice to start her job knowing at least one of her new colleagues.
The bartender looked over her shoulder and nodded at someone behind her. "You want to meet colleagues? Here's one now," he said, fumbling with glasses behind the bar.
As Arizona turned, a tall, dark man approached the bar. Throwing himself onto a stool, he had eyes only for the drink already being poured in front of him. "Thanks, Joe," he mumbled, downing the whiskey in one.
"Dr Mark Sloan, plastics." Joe raised his eyebrows at Arizona before heading off to serve another patron.
Arizona threw a bewildered look in Joe's direction before turning again to face the newcomer, who was now cradling his head in his hands and staring dismally into the bottom of his glass. Smiling brightly, she offered him her hand. "Arizona Robbins, peds." Her smile faltered a little when her introduction got no reaction. "I'm new," she added, somewhat unnecessarily. Silence greeted her. It was as if she hadn't even spoken: the man didn't move a muscle.
"Okay, I get that we don't know each other, and you clearly have something going on, but there's no need to be rude," she frowned, turning back to her drink. If this man was anything to go by, maybe relocating to Seattle had been a bad idea.
She didn't notice as the man glanced at her, seemingly grappling with something internally. He looked from her, to his empty glass, then back again, before he reached a decision. Raising his hand, he attracted the barman's attention and called him over. "Another for me," he ordered, before turning to Arizona and looking her up and down. "And another for Dr Robbins."
Joe couldn't help rolling his eyes, although he hid it from both of his patrons. Not that they were watching him, anyway – Mark only had eyes for Arizona, who looked confused.
"Um, thanks?" she ventured, as Joe placed a drink before her.
Sloan's eyes crinkled as he smiled at her. "So you're new here, huh?"
"I- yeah, I arrived his morning." Arizona shot a confused glance at Joe. She was already finding it hard to keep up with this man and his sudden mood changes.
"New to Seattle," he mused, knocking back another drink in one. "Maybe I could show you the sights." He raised an eyebrow suggestively.
Arizona almost choked on her drink, unsure whether she had imagined the double entendre in that sentence. "Well, um, I guess a tour guide would be nice," she hedged. "There's a space needle, right?"
Sloan smirked. "There sure is." Waving Joe over again, he declared, "More drinks!"
The blonde looked desperately at Joe again. She had a sinking feeling that she knew where this conversation was heading, and she didn't like it. "Um, thanks," she managed, as a drink appeared before her. "So, um, what's it like working at Seattle Grace?" she asked in a desperate bid to derail Mark's none-too-subtle flirting.
He rolled his eyes. "Drama," he declared. "Nonstop drama." Sloan lapsed into silence and she wondered if she'd provoked another melancholy spell. He soon recovered, adding, "But I came here to forget about that." Turning to her, he looked her up and down again. "So how about it, blondie? You're just a girl in a bar, and I'm just a guy…" Arizona gulped as Mark leaned in, starting as he brushed her wavy blonde hair out of her face with his hand. This had definitely not been in her plan for the evening. Drinks, yes; colleagues, yes; drunken dancing til late with said colleagues, yes. Getting hit on by a drunken male colleague, not so much.
"Dr Sloan – I – no," she protested firmly as Mark leaned in further, pushing him away with a hand on his chest. He looked hurt. "That – that, no, is not happening. I'm sorry if I gave you that impression, but… No." She frowned apologetically.
For a moment he stared at her, before turning back to the bar and waving Joe over again. "Another drink," he ordered sullenly. Arizona watched him with a look of slight panic.
"This is unbelievable," he declared. "I get thrown out, I nearly get run over on my way to the goddamn bar, and then I get rejected. What's a guy got to do?" Sloan turned back to Arizona. "Is it because I'm not pretty enough?"
She gave him an incredulous look. "First of all, no. And second, you got thrown out? By your girlfriend or boyfriend? And you hit on me anyway?" Arizona couldn't help being slightly angry at the man. So far what she knew of him wasn't pretty.
Sloan shrugged, spreading his hands as if puzzled. "I didn't do anything!" he protested defensively. "She threw me out for no good reason." Slightly cowed by Arizona's icy stare, he admitted, "Okay, I flirted with a nurse. But nothing actually happened. She flirts with people all the time! Nobody yells at her for it!"
Arizona narrowed her eyes. "Firstly, if you two have a problem maybe you should talk about it rather than throwing each other out and bitching at bars. And secondly, you shouldn't have been flirting with the nurse!"
"I know your type," Sloan complained, a pitiful expression on his face. "Monogamist. That's what you are. You're just as bad as the rest of them. I bet you're even worse: you do everything by the book. I bet you're still with your high school sweetheart. You married him in your parish church and have two kids."
She rolled her eyes. "My high school sweetheart was a girl," she stated, raising her eyebrows challengingly. "And no. I'm not still with her."
That made him sit up and take notice, regarding her suspiciously. "You're too hot to be into girls."
Joe tried to conceal a laugh and failed. Pouring the pair another round of drinks, he settled in for a long night of arguments.
Arizona rubbed her eyes blearily. Her head hurt like hell. Or like shots. Lots of them. She frowned, trying to remember what happened the night before. She was lying on someone's sofa, but it wasn't her own, and given she didn't know anybody in Seattle… Looking down she realised she'd slept in the clothes she'd left her apartment in when she'd gone out last night. Pushing her hair out of her face, she winced as it set off fresh pain in her head.
A door slammed upstairs. She heard shouting, a woman's voice. "Mark Sloan! I threw you out of this house, that doesn't mean I expect to trip over you when I walk out of the bedroom!" Mark Sloan. It was his sofa. She heard a low voice protesting, footsteps growing louder as somebody stormed down the stairs. The pain in her head only increased as she saw what was about to happen, and realised she had no way of stopping it.
The door to the living room flew open and a red-headed woman appeared, immaculate in business dress and with alarmingly straight hair. Arizona felt even more conscious of her own smudged make-up and clubbing outfit as the woman stopped in her tracks, staring at her in a mixture of resignation and anger. "Mark Sloan!" she shouted back up the stairs. "Get out of here. And take your…" she waved her hands exasperatedly, "prostitute… with you."
Arizona tried to protest, standing up so quickly that her head span. She held out a hand. "Arizona Robbins," she smiled. "We met at a bar – I mean – well, I met Sloan – Mark – and we had drinks –"
But the redhead hadn't even stopped in her tracks, heading into the adjoining kitchen and pouring coffee. Grabbing her bag, she walked back past Arizona towards the front door, pausing with her hand on the door handle. "Arizona," she said, in a tone so patient it bordered on patronising. "I do not care. Whatever you did or did not do with my boyfriend, trust me, you are not the first." Turning on her heel, she walked out of the door.
"But we didn't –" Arizona protested as the door slammed shut. Her head throbbed and she sank back onto the sofa. Just then Mark appeared, having apparently struggled with being vertical as much as Arizona had. "Sloan… What happened last night?"
He laughed with difficulty as he collapsed into a chair. "Shots. Lots of them. We tore up the town. You kissed a stripper, I kissed a stripper… We kissed a lot of strippers. And got really drunk. Then we crashed here cos you couldn't remember your address."
He laughed even harder as she crumpled in embarrassment, remembering tiptoeing hysterically up the steps to Mark's place at the crack of dawn. "Anyway, point is, you kissed just as many people as I did. You're like me, just a girl instead of a sexy guy with a six-pack."
Arizona rolled her eyes. "I am not in a relationship. I'm allowed to kiss loads of girls." Covering her face with a cushion as the memories came flooding back – why had she thought dancing on the table was a good idea? And why had nobody stopped her? – she moaned, "Get me a coffee!"
First day on the job and she'd thankfully just about got over the hangover. She'd left in plenty of time, determined to make a good impression.
She was standing in front of the hospital taking a breather when Mark bounded up, full of beans and carrying a coffee cup. "I brought you coffee. Now you owe me, Blondie," he grinned.
She smiled, accepting the coffee. "It's a relief to see a familiar face!" she exclaimed. "I think I've just about got all the names down but at least I know yours for sure… Matt, was it?" she teased.
Sloan hit her playfully. They both watched as a moped zoomed into the carpark, its' driver parking it diagonally across two spaces. The driver got off, running in their direction whilst pulling off the helmet and shaking out her wild black hair.
"Watch it, Yang!" Mark shouted as the woman shot past them, almost taking Arizona out with her bag.
"Sorry!" the woman yelled, not looking back.
Arizona shot Mark a nonplussed look. "She seemed… intense."
"She definitely is," Mark replied. "Cristina Yang, cardiothoracic whore. Do not get between her and the OR."
"I'll bear it in mind…" Sighing, she looked at her watch. "I should really get back. Dr Shepherd and I –"
"Oh, you already met Derek?" Mark looked disappointed. Catching sight of Arizona's face, he shut up. "Sorry. Carry on," he apologised, looking for all the world like a chastised schoolboy.
"Dr Shepherd and I," Arizona smiled sweetly, "are trying to figure out a treatment for this patient we have. His parents are pretty overbearing, I mean, they're right, we're his last hope, so we have to find a fix. So I should get back."
"I'll walk you in," Mark frowned sympathetically. "I have to get back to my patients. Pretty sure O'Malley will've killed someone by now." At Arizona's incredulous look, he said pompously, "You haven't met him. Plastics requires finesse and care. He has neither."
Walking through the lobby, Arizona soon spotted Derek in a group of other doctors, his back to her. Mark steered her towards him, smiling as he clapped his friend on the back. "Derek!" he greeted. "I hear you've already met Dr Robbins." Gesturing to her, he began to introduce her to the other doctors in the circle.
Arizona smiled as she was introduced to yet more doctors. Every time she started somewhere new, it was as if there were more names to learn than last time. Dr Karev gave her only a brief nod in response before heading off, and she recognised Dr Bailey from earlier. But the next name made her heart drop through her stomach.
"Arizona, this is Callie Torres," Mark finished, looking proud of himself.
Arizona gulped. The woman in front of her looked just as shocked. She was older, looked harder, but she was unmistakeably Callie.
She tried desperately for a smile but the pounding of her heart made her hands clammy. "Hi," she managed, swallowing the lump in her throat.
Callie stared at her. It seemed like hours passed before she uttered a word. "Hey," she managed. "I, um, I have to go, do, a thing." She turned on her heel and fled, leaving silence in her wake.
Arizona stood and watched her go, oblivious to the curious stares of the other doctors.