Author's note: Written for Cassievalentine as part of the "Five Things" meme. Spoilers for seasons 1 and 2 through the season 2finale.
Disclaimer: Characters and places belong to Shonda Rimes. No profit or infringement intended.
5. The third night in a row he comes in after midnight, Addison doesn't say hello or ask him if she can fix him a sandwich. It's not so much that she's tired of the fighting -- at least the fighting means there's some energy left in their marriage -- but the fact is, Derek doesn't really look at her anymore when he's yelling. She watches from her perch on the sofa as Derek takes off his shoes, drops his blazer on the kitchen table, and unsnaps his wrist watch. She opens her mouth to ask where he's been, and she doesn't just mean physically, but before she can get the words out, he's kneeling in front of her, his hands on her knees, as if he were a supplicant. His palms are hot against her skin, and he leans towards her, his lips pressing hard against any words she might have to say. For the third night in a row, Addison forgives him.
4. The bar is dank and dusty, and it's the last place Addison would ever set foot in. The bartender is burly guy, wearing a gray t-shirt, and his accent gives him away as a native Bostonian, most probably from the North Shore. In other circumstances, Derek would ask what brought the guy down to New York City, but as he takes another gulp of his beer, Derek decides he doesn't care.
"Last call," the bartender says. "You okay?"
"You ought to go home. Aren't you a doctor?"
"You sound like my wife."
"More reason to go home."
"Not tonight," Derek says. He sighs heavily. "I've already been home."
There's a moment of silence, and the neon glow from the Budweiser sign reflects streaks of red and blue on the wall. The bartender puts some newly washed glasses away, each one settling into the crate with a clink.
"There's nothing you can't fix," the bartender says with all the confidence of someone who's never been there, never done that.
"I found her in bed with my best friend."
More silence, more clinking. Derek picks at an imaginary piece of lint on his blazer jacket. He thinks about Addison, sitting up in bed, clutching the flannel sheet to her chest, her red hair falling around her face, and the way the early evening light cut through the slats of the blinds, criss-crossing her body. He wonders if she meant for him to find them, because after all, they -- Addison and Mark -- could have gone to a hotel.
"That's rough, man. I'm sorry," the bartender says. "What are you going to do?"
"I don’t know."
The bartender leans on the counter, his weight on his forearms. "Go home," he says. "Ask her why. There are two sides to every story." He straightens up and resumes tidying up. "You can decide in the morning. When you're rested, when your head is cleared, when your anger isn't set on slow burn."
Derek nods slowly. He pushes a couple of twenties across the bar. He can afford to be generous tonight, his last night in New York City.
"Go home," the bartender says. "Talk to her."
"Yeah," Derek says. "Thanks." He shoves his hands in his pockets and walks out into the night.
3. The problem with the trailer, Addison decides, is that it's not large enough for two egos, a dog (which she keeps tripping over), and Meredith Grey. She admits there's a certain efficiency in being able to be able to reach for a piece of toast while in the shower, but she also hates the fact there's nowhere to put her vast collection of shoes (currently stored beneath the bed and the tiny table in the breakfast 'room'; it's also starting to really annoy her how Derek refers to each segment of the trailer as a 'room'). Plus, given the size, she knows there's nowhere Meredith Grey hasn't been.
The only good thing about the trailer, she thinks, is the fact when Derek starts to descend into moodiness, his eyes growing dark with anger (or more likely, resentment, but Addison doesn't like to think he resents her), Addison can flee into the wide open spaces, turning her face up to the sky, and letting the wind ruffle through her hair. Addison is starting to develop a love for nature.
Still there are times, when she stands on the porch, watching Derek (always in flannel plaid and blue jeans when at home) firing up the grill, when she wants to say, "How about we look into buying a house? I hear they have them here in Seattle." But she's afraid of his answer, because there are times when she thinks he loves the trailer (and what it represents) more than her.
2. Addison tilts her face towards the night sky. Out here, well away from the lights of the city, she can see the Milky Way. It's been years since she's seen the stars quite like this -– diamonds thrown up against velvet in a haphazard embarrassment of riches -- and she has to admit, she likes it. The air is sticky sweet with the smell of spring rain, and the symphony of crickets, owls, and other creatures of the night is strangely beautiful. Addison steals a sideways glance at Derek, who is sitting on the porch, brooding, his fingers wrapped around a sweating bottle of beer. He doesn't need to know, Addison decides, that Seattle is growing on her.
1. She hears the way he says 'Meredith' and she shivers. She hates the fact of not knowing when the elevator doors open, when she turns a corner, when she enters the cafeteria, whether she'll see Derek there. With Meredith. She hates the way he says 'Meredith' and she's running out of snappy, witty sayings to make them think she doesn't care when she sees them together, but as she walks away from them, she'll twist her engagement and wedding rings around her fingers.
On the rare occasions she and Derek share a meal together, Addison desperately wants to ask him what he's thinking, what he's feeling. But she knows the response -- it's been the same for years: "Not now, Addison" or worse, because she knows it's not true, "I'm fine, Addison." She hates the way he says her name, with the emphasis on the last syllable, as if he's scolding her. There's no softness to his voice when he speaks to her, no rounded syllables, no gentleness, and she hates hearing the formality of 'Addison'. She thinks she could bear this assault on her name if she didn't have to see him on a daily basis speaking to Meredith, knowing so well that there’s a difference in tone, in cadence, in emotion.
So for this dinner, just before the prom, they're sitting in a fancy French restaurant, their silverware blinking against the china plates. Derek is wearing his tux, she's wearing red because he once told her he liked her best in red. She reaches forward, brushes his hand with the tips of her fingers. Derek lifts his hand, smiles wanly at her, and she decides not to ask if he is willing to let Meredith go. She lifts her wine glass, the merlot swirling at the bottom of the goblet.
"To us," she says, her voice scratchy with emotion.
Derek hesitates and then he nods slowly. His glass taps gently against hers. "To us." He draws back, clears his throat. He has that faraway look in his eyes, the one that makes her afraid of what he's going to say. "You look beautiful tonight, Addie."
She smiles. Yes, she was right not to ask him how he truly feels about Meredith.
~ the end
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