Hi everyone, so this is a new story I have been working on for a while. The idea has been floating around my head for a while, and it isn't until now that I have been able to put it to paper. So please tell me what you think. I think right now this will be a trilogy, but we will see where my muse takes me.
Please let me know what you think and if I should keep writing! Thanks everyone!
After the Rain
"Hey man, you comin'?" Karev asked, tapping the counter on the nurses' desk as he headed out for the night.
"I got charting," Jackson said, not breaking his gaze from his notes on a chart.
He noticed that Alex hadn't left, but was simply standing there, waiting until Jackson looked up from his chart.
Jackson sighed and looked up, impatient and annoyed.
"It's a big night for her," Alex said quietly, a note of disapproval heavy in his tone.
Jackson remained silent then said, "I know."
"You-" Alex began, but Jackson decided to cut him off.
"April and ...we aren't in a good place right now. We haven't been for a while. Trust me, she won't want me there" he said shortly, refocusing on his work.
Since her declaration after the explosion, Jackson and April's relationship went into a tailspin after Jackson rejected her. Apparently it was the straw that broke the camels back when it came to their friendship. Now they were nothing more than coworkers. They never socialized outside of work, never discussed anything other than work within the hospital, and Jackson could tell April had lost her respect for him.
Alex shook his head and pointed out, "When she failed her boards, she still celebrated with you when you passed."
Jackson looked up and shot Alex a look that told him he wasn't budging from the nurses' station.
"Fine, be a douche," Alex said, throwing his hands up in the air and walking away.
Jackson shook his head and began charting again.
He thought back to that night, the night that they all celebrated passing their boards except April. She had partied for a very different reason.
He thought it had been confusing between them then. It had only gotten worse and worse. It had peaked when she had said she wanted him after the bus exploded. Jackson shook his head, trying to forget that night:
"Unless you can give me a reason," April said, fear in her eyes...but there was something else there too. Hope.
Jackson looked down at his lap and said, "Look April. I think... I think emotions are running high and you aren't thinking this through. I don't want..."
"Me?" she asked in a small, insecure voice.
"It's not that April. Not exactly. There is a reason that it didn't work out the first time. We are different. We want different things," Jackson said, as if it was as simple as that. Really, he knew it wasn't that simple.
April suddenly came alive at his words and looked at him through slitted, angry, disbelieving eyes. Suddenly she whispered in a ragged voice, "You are a coward. You know you're wrong, you're afraid, you just won't admit it to anyone, even yourself."
Jackson felt like she had slapped him and he looked at her angrily. "Just because I don't want you, that makes me a coward?" he snapped back.
April smiled in a knowing, pitying smile that made Jackson actually shiver as she said, "No, what makes you a coward is that you feel the same way I do and you are too afraid. Afraid of getting hurt again...afraid of commitment...I don't know, but the fact that you won't even give yourself a shot at happiness...that makes you a coward, Jackson."
Jackson couldn't even respond to her, he just glared at her angrily.
"And I feel sorry for Stephanie...she is just being used by you. She is a place for you to hide. Just like Jesus, Matthew, and all the other shit that I used to hide behind. And you hid behind that too because it was easier for you to say it was me hiding. I am not hiding anymore though," she said looking at him expectantly and he noticed that little glimmer of hope in her eyes again. It was so tempting. Jackson wanted that hope too. And she was offering it to him right now!
He wanted to say something, but he couldn't. This was his chance. April was giving him the chance to break through all the crap that prevented them from being together. That's all they were. Excuses. Crap excuses. Could he take the jump? For some reason his mouth refused to open.
Jackson looked down at his lap and April exhaled in disappointment. Jackson looked up and saw tears rolling down her cheeks as she shook her head.
"I think Matthew is a great guy ...and he...he loves you. He wants to make you happy," Jackson said sadly, and then added, "I want you to be happy."
"I wanted to be happy with you," she said in a small, defeated voice that made Jackson's heart clench. He hated hurting her, but it seemed like it was all he did lately. And that's why this whole thing wasn't a good idea. He didn't want to hurt her anymore.
"It's done, It's finally done," she said finally, her voice becoming cold and distant as she straightened her spine and said over her shoulder, "Feel better, Jackson."
With that she walked out of his room and out of his life.
April had received her board certification. Now she was a fully certified surgeon and Jackson had heard that she was now seeking her trauma certifications. Jackson sighed as he focused on his work, after briefly considering actually going to Joe's.
Jackson was proud of April and it sucked that he couldn't be there for her the way he wanted to. Jackson snapped his patient chart closed and began on his next one, when he was once again interrupted.
"Hey babe, aren't you going to go to Dr. Kepner's thing tonight?" Stephanie asked as she sidled up to the desk.
Jackson growled low in frustration and looked up at her and said, "No."
Stephanie looked down at him and said, "Jeez, sorry for asking. Everything okay?"
Jackson mumbled as he went back to writing, "I'm fine."
Stephanie walked around the desk and put her hands on his shoulders and began to rub them. He tensed up even more at her touch and said, "I am busy."
"What is going on with you lately? You are impatient and mean and you always say it's because you are busy," Stephanie said walking around the desk so she could see his face as she nagged at him.
"I am busy! I am running a hospital here if you didn't notice, and I don't have the time or the patience to play boyfriend, Steph. I just want to get done with my charting," he snapped.
Stephanie flinched at his tone and Jackson knew he would feel bad later, but right now he was pissed the hell off.
Stephanie looked at him and said, "Fine!" and then stormed off.
April fumbled with her keys as she waved goodbye to Alex. He had been nice enough to drive her home. She hadn't had that much. She had surgeries in the morning and she didn't want to be hungover. But she did have fun and was surprised how many of the doctors had come to show their support for her.
April threw her keys on her living room coffee table and flung herself on the sofa as she listened to her voicemail. It was full of hospitals recruiting her. April smiled and closed her eyes. She had done it. And now she was going to take another step forward and get her trauma certifications.
Now she needed to decide on the program she wanted. She leaned forward and leafed through the pamphlets and brochures hospitals across the country had been sending her.
Since his breakup with Cristina, Chief Hunt had dove into helping April with her boards and networking to distract himself. Being in the army, Hunt had a lot of connections. April had been receiving packages and offers every day from amazing programs. Where Hunt had failed the first time around, he had more than made up for it the second time.
For the first time in a long time, April felt like she was back on track. She was board certified, she was being wooed by some amazing programs.
Even her personal life wasn't terrible. While April had been heartbroken and disappointed that Jackson hadn't been willing to give them an honest try, April felt like she had done everything she could. She had put it all on the table. For his own reasons, Jackson couldn't or wouldn't meet her halfway. And so she shut that door. She couldn't keep doing the dance they were doing. It was too draining.
And she had been honest with Matthew, which was a huge relief. He was wonderful. He was perfect, but it wasn't fair to him that she couldn't give all of herself to him. It had been a couple of days after the storm and after April had some time to think things through that she had decided that ending it with Matthew was the right thing.
April's cell phone buzzed and for a second her heart froze as it made out the name 'Avery' on her caller ID. She refocused and then sighed in relief when she saw it was Catherine.
April answered her phone and said, "Hi Dr. Avery."
"April, Richard has just told me, honey. Congratulations!" Catherine squealed over the line.
April smiled and replied, "Thank you. I am very excited."
"Well you should be. Listen honey, I wanted to congratulate you, but there is another reason for my call. I have been looking into the trauma department here and there is a fellowship out here that has your name on it, The head of trauma here is considered one of the best in the country and he would be an excellent mentor and teacher for you, especially since I hear you are going for your trauma certification. I know Jackson says it's meddling, but-"
"No...no. Catherine that is incredible. I would love that opportunity. Really. And the head of trauma? Is that Dr. Lillemoe? I have read every one of his papers and...Well he is just... incredibly brilliant."
Catherine laughed and said, "That is him. I told him there was a promising young trauma surgeon I was anxious for him to meet and he was very interested. So I was wondering if you would like to come out to Boston soon so we can get the two of you together?"
April nodded and her heart was racing with excitement. Mass Gen had the leading program in the country. The fact that she was a candidate for their program was unbelievable.
"Dr. Hunt said I could pretty much schedule anytime. I will just book a flight and hotel whenever you feel is best," April said, grabbing her calendar and looking for anything that might hold her back. There was nothing. She had work, but Hunt had assured her he was prepared for her to make inquiries into other programs.
"How about in a week? And don't bother with a hotel. I would love to have you stay with me," Catherine offered.
"Are you sure?" April asked, biting her bottom lip. Catherine had already done so much for her.
"I insist. Now go book your flight and I will make all the other arrangements," she said, her tone as excited as April felt.
April was about to hang up, but said, "Dr. Avery...this...thank you so much. It means so much to me."
"I will see you in a week honey. Again, congratulations," Catherine said, then disconnected the call.
April set her phone down, looking at it, wondering if she had imagined it. Mass Gen? April flopped back on the couch and squealed in excitement as the possibilities and opportunities danced in her mind.
April was so excited she didn't think she would be able to sleep tonight, but she at least needed to try. She skipped to her room, her smile huge as she got ready for bed.
"Page Hunt, page Kepner, page Torres!" Jackson barked as he met the ambulance and began cataloguing the patient's injuries, listening to the paramedic.
Torres was there, followed by Hunt and Jackson asked, "Where the hell is April?"
"She isn't here. She left for Boston," Hunt said, his eyes never leaving the patient as he tried to stop the bleeding, "He is going to need surgery and we don't have time to do a full assessment. Let's move."
Jackson nodded and they ran towards the OR with the medical staff lagging behind them with machines and IV bags.
Two hours later, Jackson walked out, taking off his scrub cap. The patient was out of immediate danger, but not out of the woods yet. Jackson had done everything he could and Hunt and Torres said they could finish.
Jackson scrubbed out and then left the OR, grabbing the patient's chart to update it. Jackson filled in his notes and added them electronically as well. He felt good. In the zone.
"Kepner is in Boston?" Callie asked, coming up behind him to take the chart so she could add her own notes. And now he was out of the zone.
Jackson frowned and shrugged, letting her know he knew nothing about it.
Callie nodded as she filled out the chart and Jackson's mind began to wander as he walked away from the nurses' station. He knew April was being wooed. She had been getting offers like crazy the past two weeks and Jackson wondered what her plan was.
From where Jackson stood, which had been at a distance, April seemed different. More confident than she had been before. More sure of things. Even though it was self-centered, he didn't expect it to be so easy for her to lose him as a friend. It certainly wasn't easy for him.
Jackson reached for his phone and considered calling her, but they hadn't spoken in weeks. It would be weird for him to call her out of the blue.
Instead he typed out in a text 'Boston?' His finger hovered over the send key, and without thinking he pressed send. Jackson looked at the screen of his phone, showing him he had sent the message.
"Shit," he murmured under his breath when he realized he had just texted April when she had made it pretty clear she would only interact with him professionally.
"Hi babe," Stephanie said, falling in step beside him.
"Hey," he said distractedly to Stephanie.
"Expecting a call? Do you have a transplant coming in or something?" she asked in interest, looking at his screen.
Jackson shook his head and angled his phone away from her vision. He slid it in his pocket and walked towards the attendings' lounge. It had been a long day and he had meant to leave an hour ago.
"I am getting off too," Stephanie said hopefully as she leaned against the doorframe of the lounge, "Wanna go grab a drink or go to my place?"
Jackson dressed and sighed as he said, "I actually was going to go home and get some sleep. I am pretty wiped."
They hadn't slept together in a few days which was unprecedented for their relationship.
She frowned and nodded and said, "Whatever, fine."
Jackson should have stopped her to apologize or reassure her or something, but he didn't have it in him. He dressed quickly and packed his bag up. He made sure he had his keys and left the hospital, checking his phone for a response. April was usually freakishly prompt in her responses.
He ordered himself a pizza and changed into sweats. As he waited, looking at his phone, Jackson realized he wasn't getting a response from her. She meant what she said. She was done. Jackson closed his eyes as he realized that years of friendship were gone because of their drama. It was really sad.
As he did a load of laundry and ate his pizza, he thought back to their intern year. It had gotten so messed up since then. He would never go back and change sleeping with April. He was happy it had happened, despite the stress and guilt that came with it as he saw her struggle with her newfound sexuality clashing with her faith. It wasn't easy for him either.
Jackson sipped his beer as he watched the game, not really focusing on it. He was exhausted. He hadn't been sleeping lately after he flipped the laundry over he decided to finish his beer and then go to bed.
April walked into Catherine's house, ushered by Catherine who was giving her a grand tour. This townhouse...well they were never on the market. They were inherited or won in divorces. That was it. It was absolutely gorgeous.
"Dr. Avery, this house is stunning! Is...Is that a Velázquez?" April asked in shock as she pointed a shaky finger at an exquisite painting over the fireplace.
Catherine looked impressed and asked, "You know art?"
"I... I double majored in it. For a little while I considered becoming a professor in Art History."
"Each level of the onion gets more and more interesting with you, April," Catherine said fondly, "It is a Velázquez."
Catherine told her all about the painting and then showed her around the rest of the house.
"Are you tired? You must be. Didn't you work and get on a plane right after your shift?" Catherine asked.
April nodded, appreciative of her concern. The house was beautiful and any other day she would have loved to spend time with Catherine catching up, but she was exhausted.
"Well, the top floor where all the guest bedrooms are is actually being painted and renovated. If I had known I would have you come to stay, I would have postponed such a project, so I hope you won't mind sleeping in Jackson's old room?" she asked, worriedly.
April shook her head and said, "No, uh, no that would work fine. I just appreciate you letting me stay here."
Catherine nodded and said, "Anytime dear. How about you take a nap so you are all rested before Dr. Lillemoe arrives? I will come and make sure you are up in time for you to get ready."
April nodded and smiled appreciatively as Catherine led her to a beautiful bedroom that obviously had belonged to a young man. Basketball and baseball posters littered the walls, but there were designer touches in the room that showed Catherine had her way somewhat.
April closed Jackson's bedroom door, trying not to let it get to her that she was in his childhood room. When it came to Jackson, April had decided to treat it like a bad breakup. She steered clear of Jackson whenever possible and only interacted with him on a professional level. The irony was not lost on her as April looked at a Celtics basketball packed full of signatures in Jackson's room.
It helped her not to want to blur that line between friendship and something more. It was easier this way and way less confusing for her. Jackson had hurt her, but it didn't mean April wished him anything but the best. He had been a good friend...but relationships change. And April was trying to remember that as she began to move on.
Maybe Boston would be her fresh start.
April walked over to the bed and sat on it, bouncing slightly as she looked around the room. Jackson's room was full of athletic trophies and ribbons for about every sport you could think of. Was that a polo trophy? April smiled and chuckled as she curled up in the bed and covered herself with silk quilt folded at the end of it.
It didn't take long for her to fall asleep at all and when she woke up she was briefly confused until she remembered that she was in Jackson's room in Boston.
April sat up and rubbed her eyes as they focused on the room. She looked at the clock and she was surprised she had slept so well. April had about an hour and a half until dinner. There was a light tapping on the door and Catherine stuck her head in.
"Oh good, you are up. I just wanted make sure you were getting ready. If you need anything, just holler," Catherine said warmly, closing the door behind her.
April sighed and walked into Jackson's bathroom. She spotted some fresh towels and turned the shower on after examining how it worked. She felt the water warm up and then stepped in and let the hot, highly pressured water soothe her nerves.
She scrubbed herself clean and shaved her legs before stepping out and drying off. She rubbed lotion into her skin and then wrapped herself in the towel once more before going back into Jackson's bedroom.
It was hard to see Jackson living here. His room at Meredith's had been nothing like this. It was cluttered with medical books and journals, not posters, trophies and ribbons. There were no wall adornments to his walls. Jackson had been all about functionality. A bed. A side table. A desk and chair. That was it. His comforter was a plain navy blue if April remembered correctly.
They had never slept together at the house. Only at the hospital. April shook her head, not allowing herself to get sucked into bad memories.
April walked to her suitcase and unpacked a nice dress that wasn't too fancy, but wasn't too casual either. It was a slinky, little black dress.
April slid on her black strapless bra and matching panties and then moved to the bathroom to dry her hair. She quickly dried it and then put rollers in to give it some loose curls as she put on some light makeup.
April looked herself over in the mirror as she applied her lip gloss and then walked down the stairs, looking through the bottom floor of the gorgeous townhouse for Catherine.
"Dr. Avery?" April called out, walking into the living room.
"April, you look wonderful," Catherine said, looking her up and down approvingly.
April thanked her and asked, "Do you need help with anything?"
"No. Dinner is already in order and the table is set. Would you like something to drink?" Catherine asked, walking over to her bar cart.
"Umm, maybe that isn't such a good idea," April said uncertainly, "I don't want Dr. Lillemoe thinking...well, that I'm irresponsible...or a recreational …"
"Oh for God's sake, if you knew Eric Lillemoe you wouldn't worry a thing about it," Catherine said, chuckling as she poured them both a drink.
April shrugged and said, "I guess only one wouldn't hurt."
Catherine walked forward with her drink and said, "Good."
April took a sip and was surprised how easy the tasty liquid went down. The doorbell rang and Catherine said, "I will get it, honey, you enjoy that drink."
April nodded nervously and took another sip of her cocktail, trying to steady her nerves with a deep breath.
Catherine rounded the corner, laughing and charming a truly gorgeous man. She didn't know why, but April had imagined a wizened, elderly physician who had years of experience and research under his belt.
Dr. Lillemoe couldn't be two or three years out of his fellowship. He was tall, his frame long, and perfectly chiseled, but not too much. He had blond hair and his bangs fell adorably in a messy way onto his forehead. April had the urge to push them back with her hand. His eyes were a warm brown and his smile...it rivaled Jackson's, which was saying something
April's stomach flip flopped as Catherine led him towards her. She smiled brightly and Catherine said, "Eric, this is Dr. April Kepner. She is one of the most promising surgeons in trauma."
"Nice to meet you Dr. Kepner," Dr. Lillemoe said, extending his hand.
April took his hand and shook it and said, "Nice to meet you too. Your work is very impressive," she said.
He chuckled and said, "Thank you. I understand your mentor has been Dr. Hunt. I am not familiar with any of his work."
"Dr. Hunt is a veteran. His experiences from his service has been the basis for April's training," Catherine said, handing him a drink.
"Oh, thank you," Dr. Lillemoe said as he accepted the drink, and then focused back on April. "How interesting. Sounds like Dr. Hunt runs a tight ship," he said kindly to her.
"He does. I feel privileged to have been under his tutelage during my residency," she said.
"I understand you have some interest in the fellowship at Mass Gen. It is a wonderful program," Dr. Lillemoe commented with a grin.
"I would be honored to do my fellowship under you, Dr. Lillemoe," April said honestly. His personality had caught her off guard. He was well respected in the medical community, but more so amongst trauma surgeons. But April didn't find his personality intimidating in the least. She was surprisingly at ease with him. He was...charming.
"Please call me Eric. Anyone Catherine says I need to take a look at is someone I am interested in. I understand you have been instrumental in streamlining the intake process at Grey Sloan ER down to twenty minutes. That is impressive. I would be very interested to see what you could do at Mass Gen," he said seriously.
April flushed in pleasure at his appraisal, but before she could tell him about it, a woman entered the living room and said, "Miss Catherine, the dinner is served."
"Oh wonderful," Catherine said, ushering the two trauma surgeons into the dining room.
"This looks fantastic, Dr. Avery," April said as she placed the napkin in her lap
"I didn't cook it. You should complement Marta. She is the only reason I haven't starved to death," Catherine said, chuckling. April and Eric laughed as they began to eat and talk about the program at Mass Gen. It was really interesting to hear how it was run.
"If you are still in town tomorrow, I would love to show you around out trauma unit, Dr. Kepner," Eric said.
"April, please, and I would love that. My flight isn't until tomorrow evening," she said.
As they finished dinner, they talked mainly about Boston and what it was like to live there and what there was to do. It sounded like a culturally rich community that April wasn't opposed to living in.
April and Catherine escorted Eric out and he turned and said, "I am looking forward to showing you around tomorrow, April," he said kindly, handing him her card so she would know how to contact him when she arrived at the hospital the following day.
April took it and Catherine thanked him for coming and he thanked her for the dinner before he left. As Catherine closed the door, she squealed and said, "Honey, you charmed him! That fellowship is as good as yours!"
April smiled and said, "Really? You think so?"
"I do. I think Eric is also quite taken with you," Catherine said mischievously, winking her eye suggestively to April.
April only rolled her eyes and smiled, "As if Eric is single. As if he would ever be interested in me besides as a Peds fellow," April scoffed as she slid out of her heels and followed Catherine into the living room.
Catherine handed April a second drink and poured herself one as she sat and asked, "Honey, you are a gorgeous, smart, sophisticated woman. You have this fresh faced, innocence that makes guys want to take you and show you around a bedroom," she said as she laughed at April's embarrassed face.
April gulped her drink as she shook her head. "Well it's true, even if you don't believe me. What happened to make you think anything different?" Catherine asked, genuinely curious.
Your son happened, April thought to herself, but just shook her head and mumbled, "Nothing."
"Maybe it was a who?" Catherine said knowingly, leaning forward, "Matthew?"
April chuckled and shook her head, "No, it definitely wasn't Matthew."
"Now I am intrigued," Catherine said, leaning back and sipping her drink.
April merely shrugged it off, hoping she would drop it.
"Well, whoever he was honey, he doesn't deserve you," Catherine said.
April only smiled sadly and shook her head before saying, "I didn't really deserve him. He was way out of my league and...well, he wanted someone else. Someone less...confusing, I guess."
"Well then he is an idiot too," Catherine said, getting up from her chair and walking toward the sofa to sit next to April and wrap an arm around her shoulders, "Because he has seen a diamond and has chosen glass."
April smiled weakly and then whispered in a hoarse voice, "Thank you, Catherine."
Catherine smiled and said, "Hallelujah, she called me Catherine."
April chuckled and drained her glass.
"Why don't you go take a bath?" Catherine suggested. "In the cupboard, Jackson keeps these bath balls that fizzle and make the water smell wonderful. Like eucalyptus leaves and mint. He would kill me for telling you," she said, laughing.
April smiled and said, "That actually sounds perfect. Thanks Catherine."
"Night honey. I will wake you up so we can head into the hospital together," Catherine said.
April nodded and walked slowly up the stairs, heels in hand.
Jackson walked into the lounge and sat next to Alex who was watching Wheel of Fortune, randomly guessing letters. He chewed on chips and took a drink out of his water bottle.
"Don't you have a board meeting?" he asked.
"Yeah, how did you know?" Jackson asked, taking a few chips from his bag and popping them in his mouth.
"Mer told me. I am supposed to go pick up Bailey and Zola from daycare and babysit until they get done," he said, looking at his watch.
"I got to be down there in ten minutes," Alex said, sitting up and wiping his hands on the legs of his pants. "You better get up to administration."
Jackson nodded and took one more handful of chips before he headed over to the conference room in administration. He walked in and sat down, looking over the agenda that Hunt had put on the table. Jackson grabbed his steno notepad and then looked to the board.
His eyes focused on a list of names with question marks behind them...April's name was on there.
"Okay everyone, let's get started," Hunt said, coming in and grabbing the dry erase marker. "This meeting is to discuss board certified residents that will be moving on and those that we would like to see stay. We will begin discussing who we want to offer contracts to."
Jackson and the surgeons discussed all the newly certified residents they felt would contribute to Grey-Sloan's fellowship program.
"Now that we have established who we want staying, let's talk about our candidate's other offers and what we can do to get them to stay," Hunt suggested, erasing the names that the board had decided they didn't want to make offers to.
"Ortho?" Hunt asked, getting to the end of his list.
Callie cleared her throat and then said, "Peterson is very promising. He has offers from a few programs, but I think that he will stay."
"And that leaves trauma," Meredith said, "Hunt?"
"Kepner is no longer an option for our program. She has accepted a fellowship at Mass Gen," Hunt said, erasing her name from the board. "We either recruit, or wait for a good one from the next batch of residents."
Jackson heard Cristina chatter in disbelief about April getting a position at Mass Gen and something about Jackson pulling Harper Avery Award strings to get her there, but he couldn't focus on the conversation.
Jackson's heart was racing as he watched Hunt erase her name. His eyes were now fixed to the blank space that was left behind. She was leaving? Just like that?
The meeting closed and Jackson was still staring at the space April's name had been scrawled out.
"Jackson?" someone asked from the doorway.
He ripped his eyes away from the board and Meredith was there. She walked towards the table and sat back down next to him. "Just because she is leaving doesn't mean you don't have people here. We are your people too," she said, patting his shoulder reassuringly.
Jackson nodded absentmindedly and she said, "April needs a fresh start. Away from here. Away from you, away from Matthew," Meredith said, "It doesn't mean she won't come back."
"Matthew?" Jackson asked as he connected the dots, "He isn't going with her?"
Meredith remained silent a moment and then shook her head in disbelief and said, "You don't know that she broke her engagement off with Matthew a few weeks ago? Right after the storm."
Jackson felt like he had been walloped upside the head. "She...she ended it?"
Meredith only nodded and said, "Maybe this will be good for both of you. You know I never thought Cristina going to Minnesota was a good thing. But she became a better doctor and a better teacher by growing up a little outside our little bubble here."
Jackson looked back to the whiteboard. She was leaving. April was leaving. It didn't seem right. As he thought it, he couldn't get it to make sense to him.
Jackson cleared his throat and stood. He turned and Stephanie was standing in the doorway looking confused and concerned.
"Hey, wanna go to Joe's?" she asked, glancing at Meredith.
Meredith walked by the couple and said, "Jackson, call me if you need anything. I need to go rescue my babies from Alex. I hope they are still alive."
She left and Stephanie asked, "Dr. Kepner is leaving?"
Jackson only nodded and said, "Yes, she is leaving...for Boston, I guess."
Stephanie frowned in disappointment and said, "That's too bad. She was a really good teacher and amazing in the pit. I will miss learning from her."
I will miss everything about her, Jackson thought to himself as he gathered up his notes and walked towards the doctor's lounge. She had pushed him away and now April was leaving. To live in Boston.
Boston...Jackson grabbed his phone out of his pocket and began dialing someone when he realized Stephanie was still there. Jackson slipped his phone back in his pocket and said, "I have a really important phone call to make. Can I meet you over there?"
She nodded and said, "Don't be too long."
He nodded and then grabbed his phone as he shut the door to the lounge for some privacy.
The phone rang a few times and his mom answered.
"Hey, how is my baby boy doing?" Catherine asked.
"Not good. What do you know about April getting a fellowship at Mass Gen?" he asked, getting right to the point.
"Oh, isn't that wonderful?! I had been talking to the trauma head here and told him about April. He was very excited and asked if I could arrange a meeting for them. She came here yesterday and I had them over for dinner last night. It went wonderful!" Catherine explained excitedly.
"How is that not meddling?" Jackson asked, gritting his teeth in an attempt to stay calm.
"Baby, Dr. Lillemoe is a colleague and April was happy to have the opportunity to meet him. She was thrilled when I mentioned it. You should be happy for her," Catherine said confused.
Jackson pinched the bridge of his nose and said, "She never told me she was even thinking about it."
"I think she is hung up over some guy and she wants a fresh start," his mother said.
"What guy?" Jackson asked, his interest piqued.
"I don't know. I was thinking Alex Karev. Didn't he just get with that intern? April said something about him choosing a girl over her," Catherine said in disbelief.
"Oh," Jackson said, his mind spinning.
"Do you know who it is? Is it Alex?" she asked nosily.
"Meddling," Jackson reminded her in an annoyed tone.
"How is April's love life meddling in your life?" Catherine asked.
"It's...not. I just think we should stay out of her business. She will talk to you when she is ready," Jackson said awkwardly.
"So which way is April leaning?" Catherine asked.
"Leaning?" he asked, once again confused as he paced the locker room.
"About her fellowship," his mother prompted.
"Oh, the board met tonight. She has apparently chosen Mass Gen. She must have told Hunt today."
"Oh my, that is so exciting. I am going to start looking for apartments! Maybe there is something available close by," Catherine said excitedly as Jackson rolled his eyes. "She didn't tell you?" his mother asked after what he said clicked in.
"No I...I didn't even know she was back," he said evasively.
"Oh she left after her day with Dr. Lillemoe. She even had dinner with him before her flight took off! Maybe I will set them up for real," she said, and he could hear her wheels turning in her head over the phone.
"Meddling," he said again.
"April never asked me not to meddle!" Catherine said defensively, "That girl needs to let loose for once."
Jackson only rolled his eyes and said, "Bye mother."
Jackson clicked his phone off and he walked back to his locker and began to get change out of his scrubs. His mind kept flashing back the image of Hunt erasing her name, leaving the empty space on the whiteboard...empty space. It was just so wrong. He had never believed she would leave Sloan Grace. Hunt was an amazing mentor for her.
Jackson sat on the bench in front of his locker and tied his shoes. He looked up at his locker, right next to April's. He stood and fingered her ID badge on her white lab coat. She looked excited and scared in the little picture. It had been their first day since the merger.
Jackson grabbed his jacket and his bag and headed out of the lounge. He walked across the lot to Joe's and spotted Karev at the bar, hunched over and drinking. Jackson set his bag down and took the stool next to him. He waved over the bartender and ordered a scotch straight up and then asked, "What's your problem?"
"Jo and I broke up," he said, taking a swig out of his drink.
"That sucks. Why?" Jackson asked as he sipped his scotch.
"Long story. Suffice it to say, we are too similar," Alex said, taking another drink.
Jackson nodded and took a drink before saying, "Yeah well, April is moving to Boston."
Alex looked up in shock and said, "Really? Mass Gen worked out? That's awesome. Is she here?" he asked, looking around the bar.
"No, you knew about Mass Gen?" Jackson asked in disbelief.
"Yeah, you didn't?" Karev asked, his tone just as surprised.
Jackson remained silent clenching and unclenching his jaw as his blood boiled in irritation. April had confided in Karev? Karev?
"Well...it makes sense. You two...well, you haven't been friends in a while. She probably needed somebody to be excited with and I was the unlucky guy who got to put up with her shrill, excited voice," Karev said shrugging.
"Whatever," Jackson said, "I don't even give a fuck anymore."
"Uh-huh," Karev mumbled.
"Hey!" Stephanie said as she walked up to him, her voice full of excitement, "You came!" She leaned in for a deep kiss and Jackson didn't respond at first, but then he grabbed her face and kissed her back. He heard Alex whistling low and then said, "Avery, get a room."
"Not a bad idea," Jackson responded, breaking the kiss and looking at Stephanie, "Wanna get out of here?"
Stephanie nodded her head idiotically, like a bobble head, and let Jackson pull her out of the bar.
They waited for a cab to pull up and Jackson kissed her deeply, closing his eyes. But behind his eyelids, the same empty whiteboard without April's name flashed in his vision.
He growled low in frustration, spotting a cab and dragging Stephanie towards it.
He opened the door and April climbed out of the cab, making him gasp and pause in shock.
She looked at him in shock briefly and then snapped out of it as smiled at the dazed Stephanie, who was still looking googly eyed at Jackson.
Without another glance or word to Jackson, April walked past him, towards the bar.
He watched her go and Stephanie seemed to come back to her senses because she was pulling on Jackson's arm to get into the cab with her.
"Stephanie, I-" Jackson said, looking between her and the bar entrance where April had disappeared.
"God dammit, you have got to be kidding me," Stephanie hissed out.
"I...can I call you later?" he asked desperately.
"You know what? No, no you can't," she said, her voice filled with hate and hurt. If looks could kill, Jackson would be dead.
She slammed the cab door in his face and Jackson heard April's voice in his head, I feel sorry for Stephanie...she is just being used by you...she is just a place for you to hide...
It was such an asshole thing to admit, but April had been right. He had used Stephanie. He had known that she was taking this more seriously than he was and he didn't stop. He had used her in an attempt to get past April.
The cab pulled off and Jackson ran his hands over his head as he watched it drive off. How did he become this guy?
Jackson looked to the bar...April...April was how he had become this guy.
Alex had hugged April up in congratulations and April was laughing as he set her down.
"Congratulations, Kepner," Alex said with a crooked smile, "This is...huge."
"Thanks," she said, beaming as she looked at the bartender and pointed at a bottle of beer Alex had, indicating she wanted one.
April grabbed for it when a hand jerked her roughly around. "Ouch," she squealed as she tried to regain her footing and looked at the hand and followed it to the enraged face attached to it.
"Jackson...what are you-"
"You have really fucked my life up," Jackson snarled, his grip tightening on her.
"Jackson, you are hurting me!" she said, trying to jerk her arm out of his grip.
He only tightened it and April literally had tears in her eyes.
Suddenly his hand was gone and he was knocked out on the floor as pandemonium broke out in the bar.
Alex. Alex had knocked Jackson out. April looked down in shock at Jackson, who was stirring slightly, and then back up at Alex who was looking at her in concern and gently touching her arm where Jackson had roughly gripped her.
"Did he hurt you, Kepner?" he asked as Callie and Cristina were there looking at April in the same concerned way that Alex was.
"Uh, yeah...I...I'm fine. Is he okay?" she asked, pointing at Jackson.
"Who cares? He fucking manhandled you," Cristina sneered.
"I'll make sure he gets home alright," Alex said, nodding to April, "Callie will you take April back to her place?"
Callie nodded and helped April gather up her things and leave. April trailed after her absentmindedly as she cradled her arm, shooting confused looks back at Jackson who just began to sit up. She was still shocked it even happened. Hadn't he been leaving with Stephanie earlier? April shook her head and climbed in the passenger side of Callie's car.
"April?" Callie said, jarring her out of her thoughts. It was then that April realized that Callie must have been attempting to get her attention for a while.
"Are you alright?" she asked, concerned.
"He...he never...he has never been rough with me," April said confused.
Callie was silent and didn't say anything, but the silence was thick with insinuation and meaning.
"I...I can't believe he did that," April choked out. "Why does he hate me so much?"
"He doesn't hate you. He hates himself," Callie said, her eyes focused on the road. April realized that Callie may be talking about her own situation with Arizona as well as April's situation with Jackson. She thought about it and when they pulled up to April's apartment, she was relieved.
April climbed out and thanked Callie for the ride after assuring her she would be fine on her own. As April unlocked the door, she thought to herself 'On my own...'
Maybe she needed to be on her own for a while.
April's contract ended in two weeks, which gave her enough time to post the apartment for sale, pack and begin to get out of Seattle. She would move into a temporary apartment until she had an apartment of her own near the hospital.
April inspected her arm for the first time that night. There were already marks from where Jackson had grabbed her. April sighed as she realized it would probably be bruised. Long sleeve shirts for her for a while.
April went to her room and collapsed on the bed in exhaustion. She was out before she knew it.
Jackson groaned as he sat up, looking around him in confusion.
Alex looked down at him pissed and Jackson rubbing his jaw and asked, "What the hell?"
"You fucking grabbed April, that's what the hell happened," he spit out, "Do you even realize that happened?"
Jackson remembered Stephanie leaving in a cab and then...oh fuck...he had grabbed her. And he had yelled something at her too. He was in such a fucking rage, he didn't know what he had done. Only that he blamed it all on April.
"Shit, where is she? I will apologize, I have to make it right," Jackson said, beginning to get up.
"Callie took April home," Alex said, pushing him on a stool and looking at his handiwork. "You will have a bruise, but then again, so will she more than likely, so you deserve it."
Jackson swore under his breath as Jackson took a bag of ice and handed it to Jackson.
"I didn't mean to," Jackson said, shaking his head in disappointment, placing the bag of ice on his jaw.
Karev only shook his head and handed Jackson a beer. Jackson took a swig and then decided to leave. He needed to get out of here.
Karev stopped him and said, "Don't go over there. She doesn't need it tonight. Seriously."
Jackson nodded and said, "I won't."
The next day he sought April out, but either she was scrubbed in or she was avoiding him because he couldn't find her anywhere.
Jackson went to the OR board and saw she was going to be getting out of surgery any minute.
He jogged up the OR she was in and walked into the scrub room. She was already scrubbing out and she looked up and then immediately back down at her hands as she scrubbed them thoroughly.
"What do you want?" she asked, irritably.
Jackson's gaze was focused on her arm, where bruises were creeping out from under her short sleeved scrub top. April snatched up her lab coat and jerked it on and snapped out, "I don't have time for this."
"April," Jackson said, following her out, "I am so sorry. Please talk to me."
"About what?" she said, grabbing her patient's chart, avoiding his gaze and chewing on her bottom lip.
"Don't do that. Don't pretend April," he pleaded in a whisper.
April didn't respond as she began to jot down notes and he said, "Please come to the conference room when you can. I will wait there all afternoon. If our friendship has meant anything to you, you will please come so I can talk to you about what happened," he said.
April glared at him and said, "Oh so if I don't come it makes me the asshole that fucked up our friendship and your life? Do what Jackson tells you and it validates that he is a good guy not to mention completely in control of this joke of a friendship?" she snapped.
Jackson just looked at her, and then said, "That's not what I meant. I just...we haven't had a real conversation since...that night. I need to talk to my friend."
April glanced up at him, and even though she was furious with him, he could still see a hint of concern in her eyes when she heard his earnest tone.
She was silent as she looked down at her chart, but Jackson could tell she was thinking about his request.
"Jackson," she said, sighing out, "That night I told you I wanted you. That I loved you. That night you let me walk away. Do you have any idea how much that hurt me? I...I just...this has been so hard for me, Jackson. And I am trying to just keep my head low before I leave. I just want to leave with as much dignity as I can muster, and you are making it really hard. Can you just leave me alone?" she pleaded. When she looked up at him, Jackson's heart broke as he saw how much he had hurt her. Her eyes were swirling with hurt, shame, sadness, and an alarming amount of desperation.
He had ruined her. And Jackson knew looking at her now that she had ruined him too. And she was just trying to pick up the pieces. Jackson swallowed as he saw a tear make its way down her cheek and she wiped it away as Jackson nodded.
"I am sorry for hurting you," he said gruffly as he realized he was fighting his own tears. Jackson backed away from her slowly and then finally when he couldn't look at her sad and scared eyes, he turned and left her.
So let me know if you think I should continue, please! Thanks for reading!