A Far Away Place So Near

By Seema

Author's note: Set sometime during season 1
Disclaimer: Shonda Rimes owns them all. I'm just playing.


You don't want to admit it, but you miss her.

It's been five days since Addison left.

It's been six days since she caught you in bed with another woman.

You've called her cell phone seven times.

You left three messages.

More than once, you've checked the weather in Seattle. On Monday, you wondered if Addison remembered her umbrella. You pace the length of the bedroom, playing back the memory of Addison, dressed all in black, throwing clothes haphazardly into her suitcase. You're not sure she remembered the umbrella.

"I'm sorry," you said to her back, even though you aren't the apologizing type.

You don't think Addison heard your apology because she had her cell phone to her ear, and she was standing next to the window, running her other hand through her hair. She said "Derek" and what was left of your pride dissolved among the piles of designer clothing and shoes on the floor.

"Don't leave," you said, even though you aren't the begging type. It's usually the other way around; the woman clinging to you as you try to ease out of her bed in the early morning hours. "Please," you said, because Addison once told you that when it came to the finer points of etiquette, you came up short. You watched Addison press down on the suitcase with her right elbow as she struggled to zip it with her left hand. You would have offered to help but you were afraid she might do something to your hands. It's why you never follow an angry woman out of a room or even hold a car door open for her; the thought of a door slamming on your million-dollar fingers is almost too much to bear. If there's anything you love more than beautiful women, it's making women beautiful.

"It was just sex," you said, and that's the truth, even though you aren't the type who is terribly invested in the truth.

"I have to go," she said coolly. "The cab is waiting."

You hate the fact she walked out without touching you, without looking at you. It was as if you didn't exist, that you hadn't spent the last two months together sleeping side by side, skin against skin. You stood just outside the front door as the cab driver loaded her bulging suitcase into the truck. You watched as she folded her long, lithe body into the back seat. You're a leg man, so you indulged in a few seconds of ankle and calf worship. You would have liked to have looked her in the eye, but -- and this is the second thing you don't want to admit, even now, five days later -- you were a little afraid.

As the cab drove away, you reminded yourself Addison bought a round-trip ticket. She would go to Seattle, she would take care of the medical case, she would give Derek the divorce papers, and then she would be back, you would grovel, and then the two of you could start over again. You checked the Internet incessantly for her flight status. You knew she was sitting in first class, and you wondered if she had a seatmate, and if so, what were they talking about. Maybe she was reading the newspapers instead. She'd taken the morning's New York Times and the Wall Street Journal that you subscribed to because you dated an investment banker once. You never told Addison or even Derek but for a few months there, you thought the investment banker was the one.

You knew when her plane touched down in Denver. You imagined her striding authoritatively across the airport in her precarious high heels. She had a short layover and it's a big airport so you didn't get too disappointed when she didn't call to check in. Several hours later, when you checked, you learned her flight had arrived in Seattle. You figured it'd take her a couple hours to settle in, to check into her hotel room, and because she's Addison, she probably went straight to the hospital to check on the patient. You imagine Richard Webber, who has always had a soft spot for Addison, probably invited her to dinner. So you were impatient, but not too worried, when she didn't call that first night.

But now, you admit you're getting a little obsessive; you keep checking your email with alarming frequency and you jump every time your cell phone rings. Getting your hope smashed into the ground by a $400 stiletto heel is starting to get old. Day one wasn't so bad because you could make excuses for her silence. She was settling into the new hospital, she was tired, she was jetlagged, she was settling in. Day two, you made more excuses: long day at the hospital, new patients, giving Derek divorce papers, talking to Richard, and of course, more jetlag. Day three you wondered if Seattle had internet access; maybe Addison couldn't find a computer. But then, there was her cell phone, the cell phone that now (annoyingly) went to voice mail every time you dialed. Maybe Seattle didn't have cell phone reception. Maybe she was staying in a mountain resort where there was no internet or cell phone reception. You realized on day four that Derek was the one who loved the great outdoors, that Addison preferred marble floors to dirt ones, and the idea she'd buried herself away from civilization was preposterous.

On day five, you realized the truth. Not one truth, even. That would have been hard enough. But no, you realized several, and as much as you want to talk to Addison, the fact she's not talking to you makes things a little hard. You think about picking up the phone and spilling your heart to Addison's voice mail again. You'll tell her you're sorry again. You'll take a few deep breaths before you speak, that way your voice won't crack. Then you'll tell her the first truth, that you miss her more than you thought possible, and not in a "it was just sex" way either. Then you'll tell her the second truth, the one you should have told her from the very beginning, that if you weren't so afraid of hurting your hands, you would have grabbed the cab door in the seconds before it closed and you would have asked her again to stay and that time, you would have made sure she heard you.

Of course you don't call, because you are Mark Sloan, and you have pride, and you have women. There are women everywhere you realize. Tall women, short ones, women of all different shapes, sizes, colors, ages. You're not particularly picky anymore. You just hate sleeping alone. Addison knew this about you, and before things went bad with Derek, she used to tease you about it. So you take an intern home, a bubbly golden-curled blue-eyed ingénue from Indiana. She giggles a lot in bed and isn't shy about telling you that your million-dollar hands are too cold. You don't apologize, and afterwards, you halfheartedly drape your arm across her stomach. Under the circumstances, it's the best you can do.

You're glad the intern has an early morning shift and after she's gone, you sit in the kitchen reading your Wall Street Journal and sipping coffee, black, no sugar. It's instant coffee, but what's the point of dragging out the heavy machinery and measuring out the beans for just one person? You're reading the editorial page when your cell phone rings. You nearly spill coffee all over yourself.

"Addison," you say, and you try not to sound like a man who has been obsessively checking the weather forecast for Seattle.

"I'm not coming home," she says without preamble. The connection is clear, and now you know for sure that cell phone reception in Seattle is just fine.


"At least not right now. I need you to go to the house and make sure it's okay. Lock it up, whatever. If you can't, I'll hire a management company--"

"No, no. I'll go," you say. "Addy --"

"I've got to go. I'm busy."

"Okay. Call me later?"

There's a pause. In the background, you can hear the PA system paging a nurse to the main desk. In that moment, you imagine Addison standing in the corridors of Seattle Grace in her salmon pink scrubs, hand on her hip, her hair piled on top of her head, with just a few ringlets falling free to frame her face. You suck in your breath. How many times have you seen her like that, pensive, maybe even a little sad, and when she'd see you coming, she would smile.

"Things have changed," Addison says. "I'm in Seattle now."

"That's just a change in geography," you tell her. "We can still talk."

"No, we can't. *I* can't," she says. "Good-bye, Mark."

The click is firm and final in a way you didn't know could hurt so bad. Without thinking, you throw the phone across the room. It skids across the marble before coming to a resting spot next to the hall closet. Then you crumple up the Wall Street Journal and stuff it into the trash compactor. In the next room, you hear the grandfather clock chiming on the hour. You stand in the kitchen, your hands balled into fists, and curse the limitations of physics which won't let you revisit that moment eight days ago when you should have walked away from that woman rather than kissing her and then inviting her into your bed.

That's when you realize the third thing you want to tell Addison, that the two of you are two halves of the same person. It sounds cliché to most people, but you know women like this kind of romantic sap. You say stuff like this all the time, to all sorts of women. And if you feel a little guilty because their eyes light up, because there's that little smile on their lips that reveal now they have expectations of something more, you ease your conscience because you tell yourself that in that one moment in time, you made them happy. You said all sorts of things to all sorts of women, but Addison's different. Addison's different because you meant every word you said.

You pick up the cell phone, which is bruised and battered, but surprisingly still works. You open the hall closet door, looking for your running shoes, and that's when you see Addison's umbrella. You think about the decisiveness of her good-bye and then you realize you don't care because you're not the type to give up so easily. As expected, the call goes directly to voice mail. You listen to the recording and then leave your fourth message. "Addy, you forgot your umbrella here. It's going to rain through next Wednesday, and it's a good umbrella, strong too and I hear the wind can be something in Seattle. You should have it with you." You pause for a moment, because you're Mark Sloan and you're not the type who comes easily unglued. "I'll send it to you, care of the hospital." You decide to hang up without saying good-bye. After all, you think, Seattle is only all the way across the country. For Addison, you'd go further.

~ the end

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