Disclaimer: Grey's Anatomy, its characters and plotlines are not mine. I do not make any profit from this or any other story using said plotlines and characters.
A/N: I am so sorry. Anyway I'm editing all of my stories and writing new chapters too so I hope you enjoy them. Let me know.
"What if just this once, life comes down on the side of the dirty mistresses?" His voice rang in her head again as it did every night now. He had asked her that question months ago and then he had left. She'd had her answer then and now. Life never worked out for the dirty mistresses. Least of all her. Case in point? He had left her here alone. He had gone back to New York and left her to bear her pain alone. Again. She was destined to be alone. Always. She was always alone and she always would be. She knew it and she hated that fact. She couldn't do anything about it though. Destiny had never been one to be denied.
She had spent the past year in Hell and she hated him at times for not staying and going through it with her. Pain shared was pain halved after all. Even if they were both already in so much pain that it would probably have been doubled instead of halved. Still…they wouldn't have had to bear the pain alone. And she was sure he'd hate watching them together just as much as she did. He would have sat beside her at Joe's as they waited for a person that was never going to breeze those doors looking for one of them. The two of them, sitting side by side, drinks in hand, waiting. Probably waiting forever.
She stared down into her drink and blinked back the useless tears. They had been on the same wavelength. And he'd been hot. She could handle sitting in a bar next to him as they both nursed drinks and broken hearts. But he hadn't stayed. He'd gone away. He'd left his pain behind with her. And he wasn't going to come back and help her hold it together.
He wasn't here for her to commiserate with. He wasn't here for her to support. He'd just left. Left as though they'd meant nothing. He'd run from Addison and he'd run from Derek but mostly, she was sure, he had run from her. She was bad news. She ruined families. It was all she'd ever done. She knew it too, which only made everything worse in the end. She knew he hadn't really known that but he'd run away from her anyway. She wished she could run away from herself.
"Kinda crazy, innit Joe?" She asked quietly when he'd brought her another shot. "Everyone I know has a date tonight. Everyone 'cept me. And I'm pathetically sitting here waiting for a man that will never come." She shook her head at her pathetic self. She wished she could just buck up like Cris had told her too but she just didn't have the strength anymore.
Joe sighed and gave her a sad smile. He hated what Shepherd had done to the bright and shiny girl that used to be Meredith. He'd hurt her and left this shadow, all dark and twisty, in her place. "He might still come." He told her even though he knew that Shepherd was never going to show. The man was far too comfortable being the injured party in his marriage to remember the girl whose heart he'd broken. And like Alex, he hated the brain man for it.
"He's not going to, Joe." Meredith's shadow shook her head in denial. "I'm a drunken washed up surgeon—"
"You're a good surgeon, Meredith Grey," Joe objected strenuously. "Don't let me hear you say otherwise." If Shepherd tried to take that from her as well then they would never find the body. Meredith Grey had the makings of the finest surgeon Joe had ever known and owning a bar across the street from a hospital meant he'd met a lot of surgeons.
She shrugged and nodded in acceptance. "Fine, Joe. But as I was saying. I'm a surgeon, a good one, but I'm not stupid. He isn't going to ever show up here for me again. He's off having his own life with the nurses all the way across the country and probably doesn't even remember I exist." She put her head down on her arms and eyed the shot glass. "He left me here alone to deal with the perfect couple. Gag!" She lifted her head, slammed the shot down and motioned for another. Then she buried her head in her arms again.
Joe poured it and shook his head in confusion. "I thought you meant McDreamy," he told her. Had she been sitting in here nearly every night because of McSteamy instead of McDreamy? They'd chatted together the few times they'd been in at the same time but he'd never seen her leave with Sloan. He hadn't thought they'd had a relationship. But he had been wrong before. He'd also thought that he'd seen the beginning of something special the night he'd first met McDreamy and Meredith. Only McDreamy had turned into McHurtMe and Meredith had become her own shadow.
Meredith blew out a frustrated breath and rolled her eyes at his inability to follow a conversation, drunken though it was. "What would I want with that two timing bastard?" She spat out hotly, her head coming up from her arms as she stared at him crossly. "Sure, they hurt him. Sure, he was great as a boyfriend. Sure, he has great hair. Sure he's a wonderful guy that's trying to make his marriage work but that's just it. If he'd loved me like he said he did then he would have signed the divorce papers as soon as she handed them to him." She slammed back the shot he'd poured her and wiped her mouth with her sleeve as though the tequila had left a bad taste in her mouth though Joe knew it was the words and not the alcohol. "But he didn't. I understand it now though. He loves her. More than me. And that would be okay. It'd be fine and I'd be happy for them except…I'm not. I'm not because everyone, everyone has someone except me." Her indignation bled away and she slumped again.
He poured her another shot and leaned against the bar to face her seriously. He was worried about her and he knew he wasn't the only one. Bailey and Alex were watching her closely when they could but...they couldn't be around all the time. "That's the last one, Mer," he told her sternly. "You've had enough tonight." And she had. It was nearly closing and she was still here. None of her friends had even popped in though he knew they knew where she was. Normally at least one of them would pop in and try to get her to leave. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn't. Where was Alex? He never let her get this bad. "Is Alex coming to get you?"
"Surgery," Meredith said simply and then sipped at the drink a bit. "There's not enough tequila in the world for this pain, Joe." She told him sorrowfully. "Nothing's numbed it in months." Bitterness and sorrow made her voice almost inaudible. He heard her nonetheless and felt his heart break for her a little more than it already had.
"I'll call you a cab, Mer," he offered, knowing that with Alex in surgery and Bailey presumably home with her husband and son that there was really no one left to take her home. No one that cared anymore. He felt a stab of hatred at her so-called friends. Where were they when she needed them?
"Yeah, sure," she nodded absently and tossed the rest of the shot down her throat. "At least when I sleep everything seems a bit better." She set the glass on the bar and stared at it for long moments without moving.
Joe quietly called her a cab and wiped down the bar near her. He needed to keep her talking otherwise she'd get lost inside her own head and he feared that this time they'd never get her out again. "So…" he said as they waited together for the cab that would take her safely home. "You and McSteamy?"
Meredith snorted in derision. "No." She shook her head vigorously and then frowned and steadied herself against the bar at the dizziness the action had caused. "And stop taking my questionable drunkenness as an invitation to pump me for gossip." She leveled a scolding look at him that he ignored as a matter of course.
"You sure? Cuz…it's just…" he shrugged his shoulders and stared into her green eyes with a thoughtful gaze. There had been something there, he remembered, something between the two of them. Something intangible but still there for anyone that was looking to see. "There was something…when the two of you were in here together." He voiced his thoughts. "There was something." He wasn't sure what it had been. It wasn't the instant chemistry that had been there the night she'd met McDreamy…but still…
Meredith snorted again and shook her head with a mockery of her old smile on her lips. "Yeah, two losers with broken hearts hoping for something different." Her voice was full of self-loathing and contempt.
"I wouldn't say that," Joe objected sternly. "You're not a loser. And I don't think he is either. As for the broken hearts…well, they'll heal. Maybe you just need to get away from Seattle like he did. Maybe being here is only stopping you from healing like you should." He wasn't sure where the words were coming from but they felt right on his tongue and in his heart. Meredith was dying here. Dying by inches and she may never actually be free of the sorrow that was dogging her but staying was only making things worse.
Meredith stared at her empty shot glass and slowly nodded, her eyes clouded with alcohol and sorrow. "I could have gone just about anywhere for my internship, you know?" She mused quietly. She lifted those bruised green eyes from the shot glass and stared at him for a moment before averting her gaze again. "I had offers from all over. But I chose Seattle because…because it was where my mom did her internship and residency. And then we went to Boston and…I don't want to go to Boston. But I wanted…something…a connection to my past? Which is stupid. I know it's stupid. I…There was no history here. Not good anyway. I don't know why I'm staying…I really don't." She stopped rambling and drew in a deep breath. She wasn't sure where all of that had come from but there was no way she could have stopped the words once they'd begun.
Joe put a hand over hers and squeezed it in comfort. "Meredith…I don't normally advocate running away. People should face the problems in their lives but…your problems aren't anything you can solve by staying. So go. Find a new life. Find your happiness," he urged her. Suddenly her leaving seemed like the best thing that could happen to her. He wanted her to find whatever it was that was missing. And if leaving here helped her, well, then he'd back her one hundred and ten percent.
Meredith turned her hand over in his and laced their fingers together. She queezed them tightly and let a small smile drift across her lips. It was the first time in months that he'd seen even a small slice of the woman she used to be. "Maybe I should," she nodded and then let go of him and headed out the door. "Bye Joe." The tone of finality filled the now empty bar and he let a smile tug his lips up. Somehow, he knew, Meredith Grey was going to land on her feet.
"What if just this once, life comes down on the side of the dirty mistresses?" He'd known the answer before he'd ever voiced the question to her. Life never came down on the side of the dirty mistresses. Never. And it was only their bad luck that they were the dirty mistresses of this fucked up story.
He'd always known that hope was a dangerous emotion. A very dangerous emotion. He'd gone to Seattle on a fool's errand and only gotten his already broken heart smashed into a million pieces. He should have known better. He had known better but he'd let hope infect him and he'd paid for it. Paid for it in spades.
And now he had nowhere that he could go. Seattle held nothing for him but pain. New York held nothing for him but painful memories. And yet…Seattle had green eyes and soft smiles. Green eyes filled with painful hope and soft smiles strained with waiting for something that wouldn't happen. And New York had…not a damn thing but the familiar streets and people most of whom ignored him now.
He didn't know why she kept invading his mind. They'd only shared a few conversations. But she'd smiled at him every time. The first time with amusement at his comments and come on lines. And the other times with that empathic comfort of the terminally hopeful. Both smiles had tugged at his heart. He'd liked her from the first moment. Her banter and her amusement had warmed him and even her sorrow felt familiar to him.
In the dark of the night, in his lonely bed, he tried to picture Addison in his head but all he saw was bruised green eyes and a soft smile. He couldn't force himself to stop seeing those eyes in every face of every woman he'd tried to pick up since. She'd invaded his mind and his heart and sometimes he hated her for it. The rest of the time he just missed her.
Mark sighed and shut the file he'd been notating. He really didn't even want to work right now. He didn't want to do anything anymore. Any joy he'd previously found seemed to have flown away when he'd flown to Seattle. Nothing was the same and he knew it never would be.
He left his office, bid good bye to his receptionist and headed down the block to his favorite bar. Hopefully he could find someone to take to bed tonight. Maybe he'd be able to drown out the green eyes and the broken heart in someone else's flesh. Not that it had worked before but hope was a dangerous companion.
"Scotch, single malt, make it a double," he told Adam, the bartender that owned the bar. Adam was also one of the few friends he had left after the debacle with Addison and Derek.
"Sure thing, Doc," Adam nodded and poured out the glass of alcohol. "Mind if I ask you something?" His light blue eyes were grave in his sun-darkened face. He set the scotch to the side and ran a hand through his dark hair while he waited for Mark's answer.
Mark shrugged. He didn't care much for Adam's tone but he had no intention of letting the other man know that. It was hardly Adam's fault that Mark himself had made so many mistakes. "Sure."
"What the Hell are you doing here?" Adam asked and leaned against the bar. Mark looked taken aback and Adam pressed home his advantage while he could. He knew Mark's temper as well as everyone else. "I've known you for a lot of years, Doc. Nearly as long as I've owned this bar. And I just can't figure it out. You're sad and you're lonely and you obviously don't really want to pick up any girls. You're sitting with your back to the room and have been for the past few months. You barely look at the girl's that offer to buy you a drink. So what are you doing here?"
Mark opened his mouth to explode in Adam's face that it wasn't any of his business and then he abruptly closed it. He had said that Adam could ask and Adam had a point. "I'm drinking." He said instead, in a voice that he forced to be calm and controlled. "I'm drinking and trying to forget that life sucks and that hope is a bitch."
Adam shook his head and gave Mark a long look. "I'm your friend, Doc. But I gotta say that's pretty damn pathetic." He wasn't worried about Mark getting angry now. He knew Mark well enough to know that if he hadn't already exploded then he wasn't going to.
Mark snorted in disgusted amusement. "I know. Oh, I know," he said with a groan. "I'm Mark Sloan. I don't get laid low by a woman but I have. That's the life sucks part and I went to Seattle and she still didn't want me. That's the hope's a bitch part." He shook his head and sipped at his scotch.
"Really?" Adam raised an eyebrow at him. "If you're so hung up on her then why are you still here? Why not fight for her?" He thought he knew the answer but he wanted Mark to say the words so that his brain and heart would finally accept the answer.
Mark shook his head. "She doesn't want me too. She wants to save her marriage and be with her husband. It just…she doesn't want me." And that was the part that was sticking in Mark's skin. Addison had dumped him for the man she'd dumped for him. That didn't even make sense in his own head. He really was pathetic.
"The red head, right? Addie?" Adam asked. Mark nodded even as green eyes once again flashed across his sight. "Wanna know something?" Mark shrugged again, knowing that there was nothing Adam could say about Addison that he hadn't already though of himself, and drained the glass. Adam refilled it and handed it back without ever removing his blue eyes from Mark's. "She wasn't the right one for you anyway. I saw you with her, man. You never really laughed. A relationship needs to have some laughter or it's too much. If you can't laugh together then you can't cry together."
A lilting laugh and sparkling green eyes. "Sensitivity, I like that in a stranger." And that laugh…God that lovely laugh.
"Yeah," Mark nodded soberly to Adam. "Yeah, I know."
"Then why are you still moping around here?" Adam was surprised at Mark's easy acceptance. The Doc should have spluttered and raged and then eventually calmed and listened to Adam's advice. Instead, the other man just seemed too tired to do anything other than agree with Adam's assessment.
Mark shrugged and took a large swallow of his drink. "Too many damned memories, man. He was my brother. And I fell in love with his wife and she left me to go back to him. Everywhere I go I still see them. I still expect him to storm into my office and flop down in my chair to bitch about something. I still expect her to bring us lunch and sit around gabbing about our patients. I just can't seem to escape them." He shook his head again and rubbed a hand over his eyes. He didn't know why he stayed here either. He hated his office and even his patients anymore.
Adam gave a laconic shrug. "So leave. Nothing's holding you here. His family wrote you off for sleeping with her. Only thing keeping you in Manhattan is you." He stared at his friend for another long moment and thought he could see his words seeping through Mark's skin and into his heart and brain. Finally. About time Mark listened to reason. Staying in Manhattan would kill sim eventually.
Mark tilted his head in thought. Adam moved off down the bar to wait on another customer and leave Mark to think about what he'd said. He knew there was more to the story than Mark would admit but he didn't push. Mark would tell him if he needed to know. And he probably didn't need to know. Knowing Mark it involved a girl.
Mark stared unseeing into his glass of scotch. Why was he still in Manhattan? There was even less here for him than there had been in Seattle. He couldn't walk around a corner without remembering something from his life before. He and Derek had grown up here. There wasn't a part of the city that they hadn't been together in. Every place showed him what he'd lost with his selfishness.
Even his apartment reminded him of Addison. In the two months she'd lived there with him she'd change all of the furniture to suit her tastes. It still carried her mark. And all his favorite restaurants were ones he'd taken her too. He couldn't even move around is city anymore. Not without being bombarded by images of them.
Maybe it was time to move on, he thought to himself. To leave the city and its memories. Maybe it was time he really did grab that fresh start. Maybe the green eyes would disappear then and that sweet smile would go away. Maybe.