DISCLAIMER: They are not mine, I'm just rubbing them together to see what happens. The story however, is mine. (as are any original characters or concepts in it)
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This fanfiction would not have been possible without pandora007, my person and my editor. Without her help, ideas, editorial skills, encouragement and support Domino Effect would be, Domino Dysfunctional. Even the original concept was hers, actually. She really is the best! :)
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: Yes (most seasons one way or another)

By The Raven


Chapter 1

It was just another day when Meredith Grey arrived at work. The morning had gone smoothly and just for once she had slept enough. Or what felt like enough in any case. If she had experienced any sort of dreams she could not remember them and so as she changed into scrubs and into her crisp white coat and checked her pockets, Meredith was expecting just another ordinary day at the hospital.

By the time she had coffee in her hand and was standing in front of the board, wondering what her day would entail, Meredith was completely absorbed in her own persona musings and thoughts. Thus, she failed to notice the arrival of her best friend, Cristina. So, just another day in the hospital, ordinary in every aspect...

"Hey." Cristina said, causing Meredith to jump ever so slightly.

Only years of practise stopped her from spilling her coffee. "Hey yourself." Meredith answered warmly at her friend.

"Addison is here." Cristina offered after she had examined the board with the intensity of a laser.

Meredith blinked at the apparent non sequitur. "She is?" Curious. Derek had said nothing and Meredith was at a loss as to why Derek's ex-wife was at the hospital.

"Yep. And you're on her service today." Cristina helpfully pointed out as she gestured at the board.

"I am?" Meredith answered, turning her attention to the board.

She had simply been drinking her coffee before. Standing in front of the board had simply been an excuse to look busy, nothing else.

As she examined the board with care, Meredith realised that she was indeed in the service of the venerable Addison Montgomery for the day. But why? Addison was no longer on staff here at the hospital. The board was in Derek's handwriting, with evidence of Bailey's distinctive scrawl here and there. Meredith's name was in Derek's handwriting.

Why had he failed to mention this to her?

Perhaps it had been a surprise?

Meredith wanted to know, but suddenly there was an upsurge in energy among the Interns, Residents, and Attending doctors who had gradually gathered in the vicinity of the board. The day was about to begin, and Meredith considered that perhaps today was not going to be an ordinary day after all, despite how it had seemed when she had arrived just a little while ago.

"Hello, Meredith." Addison said by way of greeting when Meredith moved up to make her presence known.

"Hi." Meredith answered.

How did one address the ex-wife of one's current post-it-note husband anyway? Especially considering the history that they shared.

Addison seemed to be happy with the greeting and without further ado she began to assign tasks to Residents and Interns who had gathered around her. Mainly surgical prep, and somewhat menial seeming tasks that were the usual fare. Curiously enough, she did not provide any for Meredith.

"Come with me." Addison said to Meredith when she had finally finished with the others and then Meredith found herself trailing behind Addison in the hallway as the other woman moved towards the elevators.

By now Meredith was very curious despite herself.

"Get in." Addison's short command brooked no refusal.

Once in the elevator, Addison seemed to make a study of the control panel as if it was the most fascinating thing that she had ever seen. Meredith was starting to feel uncomfortable. She was still more curious than uncomfortable though.

"Where are we going?" Meredith asked as she waited for Addison to choose a button.

It seemed that the other woman was intent on doing some sort of Zen meditation before they did much else. "You'll see." Addison said evasively as she smashed at the buttons and finally the elevator started to move up.

Everything seemed to be going according to plan until the lights flickered, then went out and the elevator came to a sudden jarring halt. Meredith struggled to maintain her footing and grabbed at the walls as Addison failed to keep her footing and crashed to the floor.

"What the fuck?" Addison exclaimed angrily from the floor, and in the darkness Meredith could hear her moving around and moved automatically towards her.

Relieved to contact Addison's warm skin, Meredith resisted the urge to cling and instead proceeded to haul Addison to her feet as they tried to get their bearings. The lift was still and the lack of emergency lights indicated that the hospital generators were occupied in other things. This was not a patient lift, it would have low priority regardless of whatever was going on outside.

"Well, so much for this being an ordinary day." Meredith muttered under her breath as she felt her way to the control panel.

"What do you want to bet that the phone is out?" Addison said from the darkness.

"Well, I have five bucks in my pocket and a stick of gum. You up for it, Doctor Montgomery?" Meredith quipped after she had finally managed to pry open the panel in questions and felt the familiar shape of the emergency phone under her hand.

"Bring it." Addison replied, a smile evident in her voice.

Ten minutes later Meredith was short five dollars and a stick of gum. Addison was short on smiles. They were stuck in the elevator, the phone did not work and the power was still out. Neither Meredith or Addison rated high on the list of priorities. Sure, someone would miss them eventually, but not soon enough.

"Would it be unseemly if I kicked the walls?" Addison mused from the darkness.

"Last I checked, you were wearing crocs, not steel toes boots. You might break something and I am not Callie Torres." Meredith replied in an absent fashion as she tried to remember what floor they were on.

"You check my feet out?" Addison queried. She sounded very much like the Cheshire Cat that had swallowed the canary.

"Do you have any idea what floor we are on?" Meredith said by way of reply, deflecting the question with a question of her own.

"Hm. I think we were riding for at least a minute before this fuckuppery happened. I don't know." Addison replied and Meredith heard her shift in the darkness. "I was told there would be no math." Addison added, sounding a bit peeved.

Meredith gave up her contemplation of the darkness and moved to Addison, carefully sitting herself down next to the other woman. She might as well get comfortable; they might be in here for a while.

Idly, Meredith noted that Addison smelled of clean laundry with a feint overlaying hint of shampoo. It was comforting to have some sensory information in the darkness. Meredith hoped that she smelled okay. The last thing she needed was Addison Montgomery thinking that she stank.

"Well, what do you propose we do with ourselves as we wait?" Somehow Addison's question sounded suggestive to Meredith's ears.

Clearly she was going mad, and she estimated they had only been in the elevator about fifteen minutes, tops. "Um. Not really. I had not really planned for the contingency of being stuck in an elevator in the dark, actually." Meredith replied, turning her face to look at Addison even though she could not see the other woman.

"Would you mind if we sat closer? It's so dark." Meredith said after a long pause.

Instead of replying, Addison shifted closer and almost snuggled into Meredith. Immediately Meredith felt more at ease and relaxed. Safe almost.

"This is a bit surreal: The ex-wife snuggling up to the dirty mistress in the dark." Addison murmured after a beat passed.

Meredith giggled and felt the last of her tension drain from her bones. So they were stuck in an elevator for however long. They had a stick of gum, five bucks, and each other. Things could be a lot worse.

Meredith startled awake, unaware that she had dozed off. The space around her was still dark and it was actually becoming oppressive. Reaching for her beeper, Meredith glanced at the display in the dark. There were half a dozen pages, but both she and Addison had put their pagers on silent after a while as it had become annoying to be paged when they could do nothing about it.

However, Meredith was interested in the time. They had been in the elevator for two hours now. A gentle snore caught Meredith's attention and she realised that Addison had also fallen asleep. It's not like they had a lot else to do in the darkness.

"Addison." Meredith whispered.

She figured that her companion would not want to sleep for too long. For one, her neck would be killing her and for two, well they were likely to throw off their sleep schedules. A thing that was vitally important for surgeons to keep track of.

"Tell me you have managed to conjure up some coffee." Addison said as she raised her head from Meredith's shoulder and yawned in the blackness.

"Nope. But when this is over, we'll go get some. My treat." Meredith said as she shifted uncomfortably.

Her ass was asleep.

"We're still here I see." Addison murmured.

"Yep. I have six pages and no cell reception. You?" Meredith replied and rose unsteadily to her feet by feel alone.

"Ten pages, I win." Addison replied as she too rose to her feet. Meredith did not bother to ask her to elaborate on her cell service.

"What would MacGyver do?" Meredith queried from the elevator wall as she considered their predicament.

"He'd hot wire the door with a paper clip, and then create a climbing harness out of duct tape and carpet fibres. All by the end of a single episode." Addison replied, sounding dead serious.

Meredith burst out laughing.

"I don't suppose you have a paperclip?" She asked.

"I am so sick of being here. No offence." Meredith was tempted to kick the elevator.

"Phone's still out." Addison supplied.

"Fantastic." Meredith was starting to feel like she needed to use the bathroom.

Just as well they were surgeons. If needed, they could hold their bladders for hours, but it did not mean it would be fun.

"Have some gum." Addison pressed half a stick of gum into Meredith's hand and for a while the two of them chewed vigorously in companionable silence.

"I have to go to the bathroom. Damn it." Meredith said once they had finished their delicious chewing gum interlude.

"No talk about bathrooms, Meredith." Addison replied, sounding a bit strained.

"Fine. How about food then?" Meredith felt her temper start to flare as she spoke.

Who knows what on earth was happening in the hospital and this was really too much to deal with. "We need a paperclip." Meredith continued as she started to run her hands along the doors of the elevator.

"I don't think that's going to help." Addison said from right next to Meredith's ear making her jump a foot off the ground.

"Jesus. Could you put a bell on or something before you start sneaking around in the dark?" Meredith almost yelled.

"We need to get out of this damn elevator. Why don't you see if your million dollar hands can do something useful like help me get this door open." Meredith was fed up and it was starting to show.

"Meredith. Unless we are on a floor, this is only going to make things worse." Addison said after a moment, pulling Meredith away from the door.

Meredith attempted to struggle free of Addison's grip, only to find herself enfolded in strong arms and for long, heavenly moments, Meredith felt herself surrounded by peace, the smell of clean laundry, and Addison.

As if summoned by their collective wish not to have to pee on the floor in the elevator, the lights flickered weakly and the elevator stuttered into motion. Meredith instinctively gripped Addison tighter as the elevator came to a sudden stop and the doors opened.

"Come on, before there is another outage." Addison urged and almost carried Meredith out of the cramped space.

Blinking at the bright light after such a prolonged period of darkness, Meredith pointed down the hallway. "Bathrooms." She said in emphasis and the two of them quickly made their way to the bathrooms.

First things first, then they would see what the hell was going on in the hospital that had kept them trapped in a blackout crippled elevator for over two hours. Then there was the no-small matter of coffee, and of food.

As Meredith rushed to an empty stall, she considered that despite the rather odd way that her day had started, it was still not a bad day. For one, she had learned quickly that not only was Addison Montgomery pleasant to be around, she was also good company. Meredith reasoned that if she would have to pick someone to be stuck in an elevator with again, she would choose Addison, hands down.

"Where were you for the past three hours? It was mayhem!" Meredith had no sooner located Cristina when her best friend posed this question in her usual sharp, undiplomatic fashion.

"Stuck in an elevator with Addison Montgomery. That's where." Meredith replied, sucking down a desperately needed cup of coffee and making sure the pages, voicemail and messages she had received while in elevator confinement were attended to.

"You were stuck in an elevator with Satan?" Cristina asked, looking and sounding quite incredulous.

"Cristina. She's not Satan anymore." Meredith replied absently before wandering away from her friend.

She was still on Addison's service today, so she needed to get her ass into gear and find the Doctor in question. Despite the elevator escapades and the chaos caused by a city-wide power outage, the day was still young and there was lots to do.

Also, she and Addison were scheduled to go have some coffee together at some point in time.

While Meredith sought out her Attending, she considered the fact that she was really looking forward to going out for coffee with Addison. Their elevator bonding had made Meredith realise that she would actually like to get to know Addison better. Much better. Privately she wondered what Derek would think of all of this, but then she considered that she did not really care.

Meredith was an adult, she could choose her own friends and whatever anyone thought about it was of no consequence. Meredith just hoped that Addison was amenable to the idea and that this new-found interest was not just one sided.

That would hurt.

Meredith paused mid-step. Since when had Addison Montgomery possessed the ability to hurt her, Meredith Grey?

How bizarre.

Thankfully, Addison had not gotten far and once Meredith made her presence known, Addison was quick to take her aside and tell her that Meredith was going to scrub in for a surgery in a little while.

Apparently they had been on their way to do just that when the power-outage had overtaken the hospital and thrown a wrench into their plans.

Meredith found that she was looking forward to seeing Addison's genius, and hopefully being able to assist her with it tool. Meredith had no illusions about her own abilities in comparison to Addison's, but she knew that she, Meredith Grey, was no slouch when it came to surgery in her own right.

The prodigal daughter of the famed Doctor Ellis Grey had come into her own in the past year and she had the record, reputation and confidence to prove it.

She just hoped that when Addison saw her in action, that she would agree with Meredith's personal assessment of herself. As Meredith carefully scrubbed her hands and arms in preparation for the surgery, she was again overcome with the curious sensation of wanting to get to know Addison Montgomery more. She wanted to know what made the fiery redhead tick and she wanted to see what made Addison laugh. As in really laugh.

Meredith pondered what her therapist would make of all of this for a few moments, and then eventually decided that whatever her therapist might think, did not matter. What mattered was that Meredith herself thought and what Addison thought, too.

"Grey!" Meredith jumped as Doctor Miranda Bailey came into the scrub room and spat out the word.

"Jesus, Bailey." Meredith gasped as she tried to maintain her concentration.

"No need to be so formal, Meredith. I came to tell you that you must have done something seriously screwed up as Doctor Montgomery requested me to fill in for you for this surgery. So, out." Bailey said without further preamble and Meredith could only blink in confusion.

"What on earth?" She queried under her breath.

She and Addison had gotten along so well in the morning during their enforced confinement in the elevator and after that. So what the hell had happened in the meantime?

Bailey was not going to be forthcoming, this much Meredith did know. Bailey probably had no idea either. It would be Meredith's chore to find out and as Addison was about to start a relatively demanding surgery without her, she would need to wait until later. Maybe they could yell at each other over coffee or something?

Giving up, Meredith made her way out of the area and sought out something else to do. There were labs, classes, patients, and other doctors that she could consult, deal with, and follow around for the next few hours. One thing was for certain: Neither she nor Addison Montgomery would be leaving the hospital until Meredith knew what was going on. Even if she went down in flames, she wanted to know, so she would find out.

As she stormed down the corridors of the surgical wing, Meredith spared a thought for Derek and wondered how his day was going. Then she considered that aside from giving him an update as to where she had been during the morning, she had barely spared him a thought or a word all day.

Today was definitely not turning out to be an ordinary day at all.


Chapter 2

"Why did you cut me from your service?" Meredith asked without preamble, anger evident in her tone.

"Not that I have to justify myself to you, Doctor Grey, but you undermined my authority, went behind my back and talked to a patient about a course of treatment that I had already gone over with her and which in the end would have injured her health." Addison replied at once, ice lacing her voice.

"You're mad at me for talking to a patient?" Meredith spluttered.

"You did not just talk to a patient. You almost convinced her to forego a surgery that would improve her life an immeasurable amount, but which would probably save her life in the end." Addison said angrily, her temper obviously getting the better of her.

"Her life?" Meredith let disbelief colour her tone.

"Yes. You do realise that in the end, her uterus would have to be removed anyway and if she had followed your advice, she probably would have incurred more damage in the long run." Addison countered.

By now they were in the Resident's Lounge, obviously Addison wanted a measure of privacy. Not that anything stayed private in this hospital for any length of time.

"I wanted her to know her options." Meredith insisted, still not grasping why Addison was so furious.

"She knew her options. She had been struggling with her issues for over five years and her body, from her medical history, had always been at war with her. Some women are simply born with a reproductive system that is hell bent on their destruction!" Addison was right up in Meredith's face as she said this.

"And you're mad at me because I wanted to make sure that a woman who was about to lose every chance that she would have at ever carrying a child, was sure of her decision. This is why you're mad at me, just so I am absolutely clear?" Meredith pushed on Addison as she said this, feeling a measure of satisfaction as the other woman stumbled backwards slightly.

"You just don't get it, do you Meredith?" Addison replied angrily.

"The patient was having fourteen day periods and pain that made her want to die. She was on a permanent course of iron pills that was wreaking havoc with her body. Other treatments had been tried, and they had failed. Nothing else had worked. This was the last and final option and it was almost too late." Addison spoke with a deathly calm, but she had resumed her position right in Meredith's face as she did.

"It's never too late!" Meredith yelled.

"Yes, it is! She had to have a blood transfusion. Not because of the blood she lost to the surgery, but because despite every effort, her bone marrow could not keep up with the blood loss from her period. It was too late!" Addison raised her voice and punctuated her words with angry pokes at Meredith's chest.

It hurt, and it made Meredith angry.

"So, you butchered her because you gave up and now she will never carry a child of her own." Meredith hissed in an angry whisper and grabbed the offending hand, tired of being poked.

"How dare you, Meredith. How dare you say such a thing to me? You know nothing about me, Meredith Grey!" Addison hissed in response, her face only inches away from Meredith's. "And if you had bothered to read back in the patient's history, you would have seen that her uterus was no longer viable. Too much scar tissue and damage from previous attempts to save it." She added after a moment.

Addison made no effort to rescue her hand from Meredith's hand and despite the reasons for their proximity, Meredith could not help but notice how Addison smelled. So different from this morning.

Now she smelled of sweat, and astringents, and surgery and anger. The combination caused something to roil inside of Meredith's abdomen and she lost her focus for a moment before she was able to gather herself back together again.

"I can't have children, Meredith. I may have a uterus, but I am infertile. I know what it means. Don't you ever presume to think that I make or take this sort of decision lightly. And don't you ever undermine me this way again." Addison said after long moments passed in silence.

Meredith felt everything stop inside of her at Addison's words and all at once her indignation vanished and was replaced by something else.

"Don't you pity me, Meredith. I don't want your pity. Spare me it. You took my husband from me; at the very least you could do is let me keep my dignity." The nasty words washed over Meredith and she lunged at Addison who reacted at once, grabbing Meredith's wrists tightly.

Teetering dangerously, Meredith fell against Addison and the two of them stumbled back against one of the benches and the next moment Meredith found herself straddling the good Doctor Montgomery. Meredith gasped as a rush of sensation flooded her body and a heartbeat later before she could think better of it, she leaned in and kissed Addison.

It was not a tender kiss.

It was raw, hungry, angry. Meredith could feel Addison respond and she lost herself in the moment. Addison tasted of coffee and chewing gum and heat and Meredith was addicted at once. As Addison clawed at Meredith's back she could feel herself become wet and knew without a doubt that until this moment in time, she had truly never been turned on. Until right now, she had never truly been alive.

Sanity returned.

Meredith pushed Addison away from her and gasped for breath. "I can't react to you. I can't..do..this." She moaned and stood up shakily.

Without a backward glance, Meredith fled.

Oh, shit...

Oh, shit! Shit! Shit! Shit on a stick!

Meredith practically ran out of the hospital in her haste to get away from Addison and away from the Resident's Lounge, and away from the kiss that the two of them had shared in the Resident's Lounge.

With her thoughts wildly careening in her head, Meredith could only hold onto the last threads of her mind as she made her way to Cristina's place. Hopefully her friend would not be there and Callie Torres would not be too inquisitive if she was there. Meredith needed a safe place to think, and to be. Just for a little while.


Not good. Not good at all. She had just kissed the ex-wife of the man that she was currently married to, or well, married to in the spirit of marriage. Derek and her were not married legally, not that it made any difference. But it was an observation that Meredith's mind insisted on making as she slammed Cristina's front door shut and made her way to the couch that occupied the centre of the living space.

What would happen now?

Addison was due to leave back for California this evening, actually. Maybe Meredith could simply pretend none of this had ever happened? She was sure that Addison would be more than willing to play along with the charade if needed.

Meredith was jolted out of her musings by the sound of her phone.

Without thought she answered the phone automatically. "Hello?" She queried in a distracted tone of voice.

"We need to talk." Addison's voice said succinctly through the tiny speaker of the handset.

"There is nothing to talk about. You are going back to California and I am going back to my life here. End of story." Meredith countered.

"Tell me, Meredith. Tell me this: Tonight, when you finally lay down to go to sleep, or pretend to sleep. What will you be thinking about?" Addison asked in a softly dangerous voice. "Will you be thinking about sutures and surgery? How about Derek, will you think of him? Or will you be thinking about how wet, hot, and fucked up kissing me made you?" Addison continued.

"You don't need to answer, Meredith. I know what you will be thinking about. I will be thinking the same thing you see." With those words Addison hung up and Meredith was left staring at her phone in stunned silence.



Chapter 3

"What's wrong?" Callie asked finally. She had come home a little while ago and unhelpfully told Meredith that Cristina was spending the night at the hospital.

"It's complicated." Meredith finally allowed.

She liked Callie Torres just fine, but she did not know her really well. Not like she knew Cristina in any case.

"Life is pretty complicated, Meredith." Callie allowed and handed Meredith a beer to go with the Chinese food they had ordered a while ago.

Apparently Arizona was also at the hospital for the night, or at least until late, so they were in each other's company for the time being. Meredith found that she did not really mind. Callie was very straightforward and uncomplicated in many ways, but she was also very good friends with Addison, or had been very close to her at one point.

So, that could be an advantage or a disadvantage depending on how one looked at it. "Yes, it is. I would like to have some simple months, or even days, though. Just once in a while." Meredith said after they had both meditated into their beers for a while.

"Listen, I know I am not Cristina, but you look like you are about to explode. I promise not to tell anyone, though I will add a caveat that I will tell Arizona if I need to." Callie's words were comforting.

Meredith was not worried if Callie would tell her girlfriend anything. She was not even thinking about anyone knowing. Not at this stage anyway. Right now the only thing on her mind was Addison Montgomery and the taste of her mouth and the weight of her desire. Fuck.

The fact that Callie was not her person did not preclude the fact that Meredith was desperate to tell someone and Callie would at the very least provide a sympathetic ear until she could find and corner Cristina. If only her best friend was not working tonight, but there was little to do about that now.

"I kissed Addison." Meredith finally allowed.

Callie slammed down her beer onto the table.

"You what?" She spluttered slightly.

"I kissed Addison. Today. I wish I could say I am sorry, but I can't." Meredith repeated, leaning her head back and closing her eyes. "This is so screwed up." She added.

"Honey. You're not kidding." Callie replied and rose to fetch some more beer.

"You have any tequila?" Meredith asked. She was not going to be able to have this conversation without being considerably more loosened up than she was.

"Sure." Callie replied and Meredith listened to the other woman rummage around for the needed ingredients to get Meredith drunk enough to talk.

When she returned and sat down again she was carrying a tray loaded with things and Meredith felt her spirits brighten a little. Maybe this would not be so hard. Also, Callie had herself just recently had a personal crisis when she discovered women. In a way, she made a suitable audience. With some tequila that is.

"Why don't you start from the beginning. I don't have any advice, but at least more than one person will know and maybe that helps you figure out what to do." Callie said after a beat.

Just then the door opened and Arizona walked in.

Meredith closed her eyes again and considered her options as Callie rose to greet her girlfriend. If nothing else she would have a sympathetic ear and she was not concerned that the pair would blab at the hospital.

Despite whatever flaws they may have had, both Arizona and Callie were good people. Meredith considered that she was very happy that they had found each other. She hoped that they would, live long and prosper.

Great, now I am using Star Trek metaphors. I must have lost my mind today...

Meredith thought as she waited while Callie found some plates and Arizona settled down with a serving of food and beer. It was sweet and endearing to watch and listen to. And it gave Meredith something else to think about for a few minutes which was a blessing.

"What are you going to do?" Arizona asked after Meredith had recounted the day's events and had polished off a goodly amount of tequila in the process.

Dinner had been cleared away and now the three of them were comfortably settled together and Meredith discovered that she did indeed feel relieved for having shared her secret. She just wished Cristina was here. There was going to be hell to pay when her best friend learned that she was the third to know this piece of information.

Thankfully Cristina would take it in her stride and she would take Meredith's side, no matter what Meredith did in the end. She was good like that. The intense woman did have boundaries and places where it was not safe to tread, but overall she was the best person that Meredith had ever met when it came to compatibility.

But, that was neither here nor there right now. The issue at hand was the fact that she had kissed Addison Montgomery and she could not think of anything else. She wanted to do it again, but she knew that was impossible.

"I don't know." Meredith said and mentally decided that she needed to stop drinking for the night or there could easily be a real mess to deal with in short order.

"Thanks for listening." She murmured after a beat. "Can I crash here?" She asked and stood up. She would sleep in Cristina's bed if Callie was cool with it.

"Of course." Callie said and with that, Meredith nodded to the two women and disappeared into Cristina's room with no further words spoken.

She might not have any intention of sleeping, but at least it was a quiet space without distractions that would let her think of what she should do next. Meredith did not even consider the fact that it was only in afterthought that she sent Derek a text message telling him where she was and wishing him good night.

Damn that Addison. She had been right. All Meredith could think about was how wet, and hot, and fucked up she had become because of a simple kiss.

Except there was nothing simple about that kiss. Nothing.

Meredith did not realise that she had fallen asleep when she felt someone shake her awake gently. Opening her eyes she looked around and was momentarily confused as to where she was exactly. Her comprehension solidified almost at once when she realised that Addison Montgomery was leaning over her. What the hell?

Meredith rolled away from Addison and rose to her feet in a smooth movement and blinked at her visitor in confusion. "What are you doing here?" She spluttered, feeling more confused than she thought was possible.

"I'm leaving back to California, Meredith. You are so hard to track down you know that? I only remembered at the last moment that I thought to check to see if you were here." Addison sounded so damn conversational that Meredith was not sure if she should laugh, or scream in frustration.

"Meredith. Say something." Addison said, dark humour evident in her voice.

"Why are you here?" Meredith asked.

She needed answers. She needed to kiss Addison again. She needed to run out into the Seattle night and breathe.

Mostly though, she needed to kiss Addison again and so she kept the bed carefully between them. She could not kiss Addison again. She was with Derek. She was otherwise occupied. This was not happening.

"You wear your heart on your sleeve, Meredith." Addison commented, licking her lips as she did.

Meredith felt her self control slip from her fingers and as she scrambled to regain it, she felt like she was trying to hold onto dry sand on a windy day.

"You need to leave, Addison. Have a nice trip, and a nice life." Meredith managed to say, moving to stand against the wall of Cristina's room as far away as possible from Addison.

"So this is it?" Addison asked as she walked with casual grace around the bed that Meredith was hiding behind.

"Yes." Meredith did not sound convincing to even her own ears.

"I don't believe you." Addison murmured as she came to a stop right in front of Meredith.

"Look me in the eye, Meredith. Look me in the eye, and then tell me you do not want to kiss me again and this will be it." Addison whispered, leaning closer to Meredith.

She smelled of clean laundry again, and of warm skin; she smelled good enough to eat and Meredith shivered despite herself. This could not be happening. Why was this happening to her? Was this karma?

Meredith raised her eyes to look at Addison and at once realised her mistake. It was too late though. She wanted to kiss Addison again, more than she could properly quantify. Chocking against her desire Meredith attempted to speak.

"This..." She half moaned, hating herself for being so weak.

"You kissed me in the Resident's Lounge, Meredith. You can't just do that and then expect to walk away. I have bruises on my shoulders from your fingers and you bit my tongue." Addison's voice purred like a river of silk over Meredith's senses and she felt the last traces of her self control vanish.

"Stop talking." Meredith breathed and grabbed Addison, pulling her closer, not believing what was happening.

Addison did not hesitate and a heartbeat later they were kissing. Oh my God, they were kissing. Meredith felt her bones turn to water as her body gave itself over to sensation. When Addison's tongue pushed its way into Meredith's mouth sanity fled. Hunger replaced reason and Meredith buried her hands in the coveted red locks that graced the other woman's head.

When Addison moaned into her mouth and pushed Meredith into the wall with considerable strength. Meredith could feel herself soaking her underwear and her scrubs with a desire she could barely believe. It was like she was being driven by a force much more powerful than herself.

"I want you." Addison whispered against Meredith's when their kiss broke.

Dizzy with desire and drugged by sensation, Meredith could only lean her head against Addison's shoulder and breathe.

"This can't be, Addison. I can't..." Meredith thought that her own voice sounded pained to her ears as she said that.

"You're words do not match your body, or your eyes, or your mouth, Meredith." Addison replied and then she pressed Meredith against the wall, hard and kissed her again.

"Fuck." Meredith ground out as she gave into sensation and kissed Addison back with all that she was.

It was suddenly so easy just to let go and as she did, Meredith felt the freedom that came with that. Right now, she did not care what that freedom cost her. Right now, she only wanted to keep kissing Addison and to never stop.

When Addison's leg made its way between Meredith's thighs she moaned wantonly and without shame. Startled by her own reaction, Meredith had no time at all to think about it as Addison became more assertive.

Determined not to be a passive partner in the proceedings, Meredith slid her hands up the back of Addison's shirt and drank in her soon to be lover's reaction. Addison was panting now and Meredith could feel them both slipping into a wild frenzy of hear, and passion and primal hunger.

Addison moaned into Meredith's ear and the sound scorched her. She had to feel Addison right now. Had to know. Had to. "Addison." Meredith gasped into the other woman's ear. She was desperate. Either Addison touched her, or she would go mad.

The redhead was not one to dawdle, this much Meredith did know and a moment later, she could feel Addison slide her hands into the waist of the scrubs that Meredith was wearing. One of the hands went around back to cup Meredith's ass and the other slid around the front, almost casually shifting aside panties that were by now a sodden mess before long fingers slid into Meredith's wetness.

It was exquisite. Meredith felt herself melt into Addison as her body ignited into flame from the agonising pleasure that engulfed her.

It was glorious. She never wanted it to end.

Meredith however, was becoming confused by the sensation of falling and as she desperately tried to hold onto Addison to keep herself upright, she suddenly felt the rude impact of the floor which was jarring to say the least.

Opening her eyes, Meredith looked around in confusion. She was still in Cristina's room and it was early in the morning. She was hot, sweaty and she could feel the slick of her own arousal on her inner thighs as she rolled over on the floor trying to get her bearings.

It had been a dream. Fuck!

Meredith sat up, panting and clenching her fists.

Oh my God. She was going insane.


Chapter 4

"What's going on?" Cristina asked her the next day. Meredith was doing her best to focus on work but it was proving to be impossible.

Obviously Cristina had heard from Callie that Meredith had spent the night at their place and Meredith knew that until she actually told Cristina what was going on, her friend would not let it rest.

"It's complicated." Meredith hedged as she tried to figure out how to tell Cristina.

"Everything with you is complicated. I mean you are like a human Rube Goldberg machine. So, what is going on?" Cristina continued her line of inquiry relentlessly.

"I kissed Addison Montgomery." Meredith finally whispered, thankful that the hallway they were in was empty.

"You what?" Cristina, bless her, actually looked shocked.

"I kissed her. Yesterday, in the Resident's Lounge." Meredith repeated.

"It's complicated." She added for extra emphasis.

"Complicated? Sounds pretty simple to me. You kissed Addison Montgomery. I never figured you for the type. So, did she give you a toaster oven at least?" Meredith felt some of the tightness that was in her chest abate as her friend teased her.

Just by a fraction.

"Don't ever change, Cristina." Meredith said as they rounded to the board.

"Why mess with perfection?" Cristina said, sounding pleased despite her snark.

"Wait, what about Derek?" Cristina continued.

So much for the tightness in Meredith's chest easing.

"Complicated?" Cristina offered, obviously picking up on Meredith's mood shift.

"Listen, we need to talk. I'll find you." Cristina was very good at interpreting what Meredith needed.

"Okay. Don't take too long." Meredith could hear the note of pleading in her voice when she said that. Cristina was safe though, she would understand.

With that, Meredith gave a little wave by way of goodbye and made her way to find Doctor Owen Hunt. She was on his service today. Meredith was almost relieved as if there was someone in the hospital who had no history with Addison, it was Owen. Hopefully he would be able to keep her distracted for the day.

Meredith desperately needed it. She had to have some mental peace to think.

When she rounded on the doctor, though, she realised that Owen Hunt was not going to be nearly as helpful as she had hoped; he had red hair.

Addison had red hair.

The day was just getting better and better every moment and still Meredith had no solutions or ideas as to what she was going to do about a problem like Doctor Addison Montgomery. Never mind the problem of Doctor Meredith Grey herself.


"Is there something wrong?" Meredith looked across the table at Doctor Derek Shepherd.

This man was her de-facto husband, her lover, her friend. He had been her one night stand, and at that point in time, he had been Addison's husband. Her legal husband, actually. The story was of course, much more complicated than that, but the gist of it was there.

And now all Meredith could do was sit and squirm, and try not to shift as nervous sweat trickled down her back and her nerve endings cried out to find Addison and fuck her senseless. The whole experience and the conflicting emotions that it came with was something Meredith was completely unprepared for.

"Yeah. I am okay. Just a lot on my mind and I am trying to work it out. Sorry. It's not about you." Meredith was not really telling a lie, it's just that she was not telling the whole truth.

"Okay. But I am here and listening, no matter what." Derek's sweet reassurance did nothing at all to calm Meredith down.

She resolved to see how much overtime and extra shifts she could do at the hospital so as to avoid facing the reality of home. This was all getting to be too much. As Meredith choked down the rest of her lunch and gulped the last of her coffee, her pager went off, thankfully.

Not even reading the display, Meredith glanced at the device and rose to her feet, eager to just get away, to anyplace. She's be happy to study tissue cultures at this point. She just needed space.

She needed Addison.

This was madness.

Depositing her tray, Meredith took her pager and looked at the display properly and sighed deeply. Owen, with his red hair and intense manner wanted her.

Maybe Meredith needed a vacation? She needed space to think and nothing about the hospital was letting her have it. There were questions, concerned looks and reminders everywhere.

The solution was at once so simple, and so complex. She could go to Addison and work this out of her system and then perhaps be able to move on with her life. Somehow Meredith knew that there would be no working Addison out of her system.

She had taken a sip from the devil's cup, and now she was tainted, corrupted; she was doomed.

Meredith's pager went off again.

Irritated now, Meredith snatched the device from her waist and looked at the display expecting there to be a message from Doctor Hunt. He could get a little impatient at times.

Stopping in her tracks, Meredith blinked at the pager and reread the message again: We need to talk....


Meredith felt heat floor her body at the words as her senses were immediately engaged in a tug-of-war battle with her sensibilities and she was transported back to earlier in the day to Cristina's bedroom and to her erotic dream, and earlier still to the Resident's Lounge and even the elevator the previous morning. It was sensory overload and Meredith was at a loss as to how to deal with it, or even if she could deal with it.

She was doomed.

"Spill." Cristina demanded simply.

Meredith had finally been hunted down by Cristina and in an almost unheard of act, Cristina had told her bluntly that she had cleared an hour from her schedule and they were going to talk. It was just that simple.

"I kissed Addison. Yesterday in the Resident's Lounge. I don't know why. We were arguing, and she shoved me, or I shoved her, and then the next moment we were kissing. Or well, I kissed her and she kissed me back." Meredith said in a rush.

"This does not happen out of the blue you know." Cristina said bluntly.

"But, I don't know how it happened but now I can't think of anything else." Meredith replied.

"Spill." Cristina repeated.

Realising that her friend knew that there was more, Meredith sighed deeply. "I had a dream about her last night." Meredith could feel her body flush as she thought about it, as the relived the dream.

"From the look on your face, it was not a dream about surgical procedures." Cristina said after a beat.

"No. I think it was the most erotic dream I have ever had, about anyone. Ever." Meredith put her face into her hands and considered her predicament.

There seemed to be no solution that was going to solve anything. One the one hand, she had Derek. The man that she had signed vows with, albeit written on post-it notes, but vows nonetheless, and with whom she had planned to have a future with. She had signed a contract with him with every intention of keeping it, and now she was seriously and seemingly inevitably thinking of breaking that contract. On the other hand she had Addison, a woman with whom she felt alive and who turned her on more than Meredith had thought possible.

How could this be happening? How could she be thinking of betraying Derek?

How could she not betray him?

The whole situation was making her feel unhinged. Meredith wanted to kiss Addison again. She wanted to feel her, fuck her. Meredith considered that she would not be able to maintain her self control if Addison crossed paths with her again anytime soon. But, Derek was also there.

"How fucked up is this?" Meredith asked Cristina and leaned into her friend.

"It's actually kind of funny." Cristina muttered.

"I mean, you were the other woman, and now she is. Except you're the one they are both after." Cristina continued. "It is pretty fucked up." Cristina concluded.

"And it is funny." Meredith giggled.

"I don't know what to do. It was just a kiss, but it was everything. I had no idea I could feel so completely alive." Meredith felt a sense of panic start to overwhelm her.

"Hey." Cristina leaned in closer to Meredith. "Whatever you decide to do, I love you. You know, in a completely un-lesbo way. Not that there is anything wrong with lesbians or anything." Cristina's words were comforting and for a while Meredith simply absorbed the presence of her friend and closed her eyes.

She had another half hour to go, after all. Might as well make the most of it.

"This is the hug and soothing touch quotient for the year, you realise that right?" Cristina said from someplace close by.

Meredith giggled. "Don't ever change, Cristina. Ever." She whispered and felt rather than heard Cristina's amusement at the words.

Meredith did not want to go home. It was not that she did not love Derek, or that she did not enjoy his company. But she had other things on her mind right now and if he started to press her for answers, she would be hard pressed to give them.

At the same time, she did need to go home. He was an understanding kind of guy, but he deserved her presence, especially as she had given him no real reasons for her absence the previous night and also, she had pretty much been avoiding him for the last thirty six hours.

She needed to go home.

A quick shower and a change into clean scrubs and Meredith was finally on her way. She needed to eat and she needed to sleep, but right now she could not imagine doing either of those things. Her stomach was in knots and after last night's dream, it was hard to imagine that she would be resting easy any time soon.

What if she was to have a dream like that and Derek was in bed with her?

The prospect was almost unimaginable.

As she crossed her threshold Meredith groped for her phone. She could hear it ringing. With any luck it was the hospital and they wanted her back there. She could do hat. A bit of food, and some coffee and a nap, and she'd be ready for another twelve hour shift. Anything was better than the possible scenarios of being at home could cause.

Answering without looking at her call info display, Meredith slammed the door behind her and made a beeline for the kitchen. "Meredith." Addison's smooth voice spoke right into her ear, causing her to drop her keys.

"Addison. I can't do this. I can't." Meredith started to scan the house for evidence that Derek was home as she spoke.

Thankfully he seemed to still be at the hospital, at least for now.

"You have to." Addison pressed and Meredith could hear her shift on the other side of the line.

Addison was probably wearing scrubs, no doubt reclining in her chair in her office, tormenting Meredith from so far away. "I don't know how." Meredith finally said, admitting to the other party in this problematic equation what the major issue at hand was.

Sure, she had to deal with this. And yes, she would need to handle it somehow, but she could not figure out how, or what to do. She had no idea where to begin.

This was insane.

"Me either." Addison admitted and Meredith sighed.

What a pair they made. "I want to kiss you again. Damn you, Grey, what have you done to me?" Addison said after a protracted silence that was not uncomfortable.

"Goodbye, Addison." Meredith said gently into the phone and then hit the end call button.

She just could not face Addison. Not yet, and it was too easy to be on the phone with her. It was too easy to be around her, and it was too easy to want her. Meredith was supposed to want the life that she had constructed with Derek. She was not supposed to want to get on the next plane and go to Addison and...

Shaking her head with frustration, Meredith decided that she would eat, and then she would go to bed. Tomorrow was another day and it was coming no matter what Meredith did so there was nothing else she could do. Also, as petty as it sounded, she wanted to be asleep, or at least to be able to feign sleep when Derek came home.

Tomorrow was another day, she'd try to deal with the madness then.


Chapter 5

Meredith was woken from a dreamless sleep by the bed moving as Derek came home and climbed in. Startled into wakefulness, she tried to get her bearings and calm her heartbeat. It was only Derek. A man she liked, thought she loved, and whom she trusted. It was not Addison, who haunted her dreams, made her breathless with desire and who was driving her nuts even while not being present in person.

"Sorry." Derek whispered and kissed her shoulder.

Closing her eyes, Meredith felt a wave of guilt overcome her.

This was not fair to Derek. He had no idea what was going on and would not know if she could help it. But there was no escaping reality. Her whole world had been turned upside down and it was up to her to figure out how to right it. The thought made Meredith's stomach churn and she wished for dreamless sleep again. Just a few hours of oblivion would give her a little more time to live in denial.

Thankfully Derek seemed to be quite tired and it was only moments before Meredith heard his familiar breathing as he fell asleep. The sound was normally comforting for her but tonight it was disquieting. It was a sound that she had expected to sleep with for the rest of her life and now this.

Technically all that had happened between her and Addison was a simple kiss, lasting only a few seconds, in a situation that made no sense at all. But the reality was that Meredith knew in her heart of hearts that her allegiances had shifted and so had her heart. There was no, simple kiss, about it. The subsequent dream and the obsession and preoccupation that had followed were testament to that.

God, what a mess.

Meredith cursed herself and her impulses.

Except it had not been an impulse. As far as she could remember, the heat of the moment combined with Addison's proximity had instigated a situation where kissing the redhead had seemed as natural as breathing. The fact that the kiss had been reciprocated with such voracity told Meredith that the reasons behind the kiss were very complex and not at all black and white.

Slipping out of bed, Meredith made her way silently to the kitchen. She needed coffee and breakfast and then she would go to the hospital. It was very early in the morning, but there was always work to be done and maybe she could take a nap there. Derek would understand, mostly because he had no idea what was going on and was used to Meredith being moody and complicated.

Bacon and eggs, toast, orange juice, coffee, butter and thick strawberry jam. Perfect. Meredith decided to indulge herself. Food could be a refuge just as surely as tequila and maybe the relatively pure act of making breakfast would soothe her enough to allow her to think without her mind being clouded by variables and possibilities that she could not control and had no real way of predicting.

The real problem was Derek. The fact remained that Meredith did not have any real compunctions about kissing a woman, or kissing Addison for that matter. The issue was Derek. And the shared past and present that the three of them shared. And while Meredith did not have any issues with her burgeoning lesbianism, it was just a little bit odd for her to be experiencing this sort of apparent identity crisis at this stage in her life.

Thankfully her appetite did not betray her and she was able to finish her breakfast and clear up without any mental interruptions. Something was going right at least.

As Meredith washed up, changed and got herself ready to leave, she reasoned that it was not necessarily an identity crisis focused on her apparent bisexuality, or emerging lesbianism. It was most likely simply a matter of Addison being a person who rang Meredith's bell. In more ways than one. Addison's gender was pretty much irrelevant, it was because Addison was Addison that this was happening.

And just what the hell was this?

Endless questions and no answers were going to give Meredith an ulcer.

"Meredith." Doctor Richard Webber seemed to appear at Meredith's elbow out of thin air.

He was a conflicting person in Meredith's life. The man who had an affair with her mother while she had been a small child and the man who seemed to have taken it upon himself to mentor and be a surrogate father figure now that Meredith was an adult. She had mixed feelings about him, but since Derek had taken over the position as Chief of Surgery and Doctor Webber had been forced to deal with his own issues, their relationship had become more sanguine.

"Hi." Meredith said by way of reply, sensing that the man wanted some sort of reaction from her.

He was probably wondering what she was doing in the hospital hours before her shift was due to begin. Meredith wondered if he ever left the hospital himself as he always seemed to be here.

Perhaps sensing that he was not going to get any answers from Meredith, he left after a few more moments and she was left alone with her thoughts in the skills lab. Might as well hone her muscle memory while her mind wrecked itself upon the shores of her conscience.

She needed to talk with Addison.

And she sensed that Addison was not going to let it rest until they did talk. But Meredith also sensed that they would have to conduct the conversation from a distance as Meredith was very sure that if they enclosed themselves into a private space, they would not be talking. They would give into the carnal call and damned the consequences.

Meredith knew this about herself and while she had a feeling Addison was a more restrained person, there was only so much restraint that was possible given this sort of situation. Or so she speculated anyway.

Addison may well be as self controlled as a nun.

For all Meredith knew.

She just somehow suspected that the opposite would prove to be true, and if life had taught her anything it was that following her gut feelings was sometimes a very good idea. However, talking to Addison was going to require that she somehow overcome her paralysis and grow up enough to actually do it. Never mind finding a time and a place for this conversation to occur. And deciding on a method.

A week later Meredith was still in the same predicament that she had been in a week before, but it was fast becoming unbearable to deal with. Derek was being patient and sweet and part of Meredith simply wanted him to start demanding answers, or to behave in an unreasonable way.

Meredith was being unreasonable, after all. Or she felt like she was being unreasonable anyway.

Addison had not called or paged her, but that meant nothing. Addison had been visiting Meredith's dreams and every spare moment that Meredith had, were filled with thoughts of the redhead.

Cristina was the only one who really knew the extent of what was going on and had even gone as far as to label her the devil's mistress. Meredith found it to be darkly amusing. Thankfully though, her work performance was not suffering.

In fact it was improving. Meredith was doing anything and using anything to distract herself and occupy herself. She drew the line at tequila, though. Her liver was still in need of tender handling and she did not want to become her father anyway. She already knew that she could easily become her mother, so it was only through sheer determination that she was trying to keep herself on an even keel.

Right at the moment she found herself assisting Bailey on a complex operation and the intensity of the situation made her blissfully ignorant of whatever else was going on around her. This was the sort of thing that she needed but the nature of being a Resident meant that this sort of work was variable.

After the surgery ended, Meredith found herself at a loss. There were no more procedures on her schedule for the day and she did not want to go home. Maybe she could drum up some extra hours by volunteering her time in post op, or the ER. She needed to fill the hours and she needed not to think.

Rounding a corner, Meredith did a double take and almost stumbled as she saw a striking redhead walk past. The woman was too far away for Meredith to make her out but she was almost certain that it was Addison. Rushing forward, she tried to catch another glimpse but the woman had already disappeared into the bowels of the hospital.


Grabbing her phone she quickly paged Cristina. Maybe her friend would have some information. Meredith did allow that perhaps she was jumping the gun and the redhead was simply some other redhead, but logic and reason had very little to do with her emotional state right now.

If it was Addison. Oh my.

Meredith tried to think of ways and places she could avoid the woman and she hoped that whatever the reason Addison was here, if indeed it was Addison, it was only for a few hours at most. There were plenty of reasons for her to come to Seattle, not all of which involved the hospital.

Cristina, bless her, paged Meredith back and told her succinctly that she had no idea if Addison was in the hospital, but that she would let Meredith know if she learned more or if she saw Addison in person.


Just great.


Chapter 6

"Meredith." Hearing her name, Meredith turned to look at Doctor Webber expectantly.

"Yes?" She queried.

Avoiding Richard Webber had become another pastime of Meredith's. The man was far too concerned about her private business and Meredith simply did not want to deal with his possible nosiness right now.

Right now based on how he was looking at her, she was pretty sure he was going to intrude. "I don't want to, butt in, but are you okay?" His fatherly concern might have warmed Meredith's heart another time, but they had a mixed up history and right now Meredith was just not in the right frame of mind to deal with it.

Just as she was about to lie to him and tell him that she was fine, her pager went off. Saved by the bell!

"I've got to go." Meredith demurred and walked away.

It was only when she glanced at her pager that she wished that she had stayed with Doctor Webber to talk. It was Derek paging her and he wanted to see her in his office. Feeling frantic, Meredith considered ignoring the page, but knew that if she did it would be a line she had crossed that she would have to explain.

So, with a resigned sigh she made her way to the office of the Chief of Surgery and prayed to whatever God that might be listening that it would not be as bad as her overactive imagination was gibbering about. Might be nothing. Maybe he wanted to tell her something job related.


Knocking once on the door, Meredith stepped into the office and was confronted with her worst fear made flesh. Doctor Addison Montgomery, live and in person.

"Meredith. Thank you for coming." Derek said and base Meredith to enter.

Meanwhile Meredith was consumed by panic, desire, and curiosity, all bundled into one. Fighting to retain her composure, Meredith did as she was told, just for once and came to stand silently somewhat near Derek's desk, but as far away as possible from Addison.

"In two and a half weeks, Doctor Montgomery will be coming to the hospital for a three week consult. She has a patient who is expecting sextuplets and some of the babies are in breach position." Derek was good at getting to the point sometimes.

"The patient is a private patient of Addison's and lives in the Seattle area, so naturally this event will be occurring here." Derek continued.

"I see. And you felt the need to tell me this, because?" Meredith asked in what she hoped was a controlled tone of voice.

In reality she was seething at Derek, angry at Addison, and furious at the as yet unknown woman who was bringing about a situation that Meredith had hoped to avoid, possibly for the rest of her life, actually.

"I felt the need to tell you because you are going to be working on the case with Addison on permanent assignment. Other Residents, Interns, and Attending doctors will be involved, but you will be assigned as a permanent resident for the interim." Derek explained.

"I see." Meredith croaked, even though she really did not see.

"Is that all?" She asked, desperate to get away and to somehow collect her thoughts, what little she had left of them anyway.

Derek seemed surprised at her question and Addison was still carefully avoiding eye contact with Meredith so she had no real idea what the redhead was thinking.

"No, I'd like you to stay for a minute after Doctor Montgomery leaves." Derek answered and Meredith barely controlled the urge to run away.

Addison took her cue and moved away towards the door. Meredith could not help herself and she glanced over at the other woman as she heard the door open. To her delight and dismay, Addison was looking back at her and there was something unidentifiable in her eyes that made Meredith's insides clench.

A moment later, Addison had left and Meredith was standing alone with Derek in his office with a jumble of emotions overwhelming her to the point where she was sure that she was going to have a panic attack any moment.

"Just what is your problem, Meredith?" Derek asked without preamble.

"What do you mean?" Meredith countered, even though she knew full well what Derek meant by his question.

"You've been acting weird for what, a week now? And right now, you acted as if I had handed you a rotting corpse, not a huge opportunity. So, what is the problem?" The question rankled Meredith and as she tried to keep a lid on her temper, she realised that she was going to fail when it was much too late.

She should have ignored the page.

"You could have asked me before assigning me to this case." Meredith tried to sound reasonable but she could hear her own tone of voice.

"And just what is the problem with this case?" Derek asked, starting to become visibly agitated.

"Everything is the problem." Meredith hissed.

"It's Addison isn't it?" Meredith's blood chilled at Derek's words.

"Are you jealous?" Meredith would have laughed at the absurdity of the statement but really she was just too horrified about the whole situation to react in any seeming normal fashion.

"Don't be stupid." Meredith countered, feeling her blood pressure raise.

"How am I supposed to react, Meredith?" Derek demanded to know.

He had the right to know. Meredith did not know how to tell him. Would she ever be able to tell him?

"You should have asked." Meredith said.

"I don't have to ask, Meredith. I am Chief of Surgery. I delegate and you are going to do this and I don't care what your personal feelings are about it. Be a professional and get to know her and learn to work with her." Derek actually raised his voice a little and then handed Meredith some papers.

"This is a summary of the case." Derek said tersely.

Meredith took the papers and turned and left without another word. How dare he speak to her like that? Chief of Surgery! He should have asked if she was prepared to work for weeks on end with his ex-wife. And as for her feelings about Addison, they were nothing approaching professional and Meredith doubted they ever would be.

As she stalked away towards the Resident's Lounge, Meredith's phone rang.

"I had no idea." Addison said as soon as Meredith answered and despite herself, Meredith felt a shiver travel down her spine in an involuntary reaction.

"No idea of what? You knew you were coming here." Meredith countered as she sat down on a bench in the Resident's Lounge.

"Yes, but it was his idea to assign you to me." Addison murmured.

"I bet you did not try to talk him out of it, though." Meredith accused.

Silence was her only reply and Meredith closed her eyes in despair. "I knew it." She whispered into the phone.

"Meredith..." Addison began.

Whatever she was going to say next was lost as Meredith hung up the phone once more and then burried her face in her hands.

What the hell was she going to do now?

By that evening, Meredith had calmed down just enough to apologize about her somewhat irrational behaviour towards Derek, but she felt no better for having done so. Hopefully he would, though.

The fact remained, that in her mind Meredith was not being faithful to Derek and while this may have simply been a mental or emotional state, she knew that if she had any sort of private or prolonged exposure to the redheaded doctor, she was going to be in serious trouble. And now she was expected to deal with this complex case and with working together with Addison. All the while attempting to maintain her sanity.

As Meredith got out of bed yet again for another night of interrupted sleep, she wondered if anything would ever be normal again in her life. Not that normal was something that she craved, per se. In her opinion, normal was a setting on a washing machine. It was not a setting that existed in life.

Meredith would have been happy though if she could have had some peace and quiet. Why the hell had she kissed Addison and what on earth had caused that to happen? The obsession she had developed a little over a week ago was not abating, it was becoming worse and it showed no signs of letting up anytime soon.

At this rate she was going to damage her life in an irreparable way.

While Meredith prepared yet another lonely breakfast and watched the world go by outside the window, she was unaware of Derek's approach until she felt his hand touch her shoulder. It made her jump right out of her seat.

"Sorry. I thought you heard me." Derek mumbled, looking sleepy and adorable and Meredith felt her heart clench.

How could she hurt this man? He was well intentioned, somewhat simple, and saw the world in black and white. But he was very good for her, or he had been. In fact, Meredith had been so sure that he was perfect for her that she had improvised a wedding of sorts with him. They were married, albeit not in the eyes of the law, but in the eyes of each other and their friends, and even some of their family members, they were married.

And now this?

What was Meredith thinking?

And yet, the very idea of not following her heart and her impulses and her desire seemed impossible to Meredith.

"You hungry?" She asked, automatically proceeding to make Derek a full breakfast as well.

They had no really eaten together in a while so perhaps this morning they could come to some sort of peace about things, at least for a while. Meredith figured that she should be able to at least do this for him and then maybe she could get back to her own thoughts and he would not worry so much.

Not that he did not have a very good reason to worry, but he would have no idea as to the actual reason behind all of this mess.

Meredith was falling in love with another person, and was falling out of love with Derek. In fact, if she was completely honest with herself, she felt like she had already fallen out of love with Derek. It was a frightening thought and one that confused Meredith terribly.

She could do nothing to stop it though.

A week of trying had been for nought and now she was faced with her dream come true and her worst nightmare all at the same time just as soon as Addison arrived at the hospital in a couple of weeks.

What would happen then?

Meredith knew that she would be unable to resist; it would be the beginning of the end, and the start of a new beginning.

Sighing into her coffee, Meredith tried to quash her feelings and focus on Derek and breakfast. It was the least she could do, for both of them.


Chapter 7

The day had come. Addison was due to arrive in an hour and Meredith was already in the hospital room helping her patient settle in. The woman was enormously pregnant and Meredith had spent a considerable amount of time studying her case. If her babies all survived it would be a rare an unusual thing and it would certainly bring even more fame to Addison and notoriety to the hospital.

Over the past few weeks, Meredith had spent considerable amounts of time forcing herself to calm down and trying to learn how to deal with the situation that she had found herself in. Her relationship with Derek was still strained and she was avoiding people who had too many questions about her behaviour.

Cristina had been her rock and not for the first time, Meredith wondered what she would do without her friend. On the other hand, she had made an interesting ally out of Callie and her girlfriend Arizona. While they were not exactly bosom buddies, or spending lots of time talking, Meredith at least knew she had the empathy of a good friend of Addison's and the support of a well liked and respected pair of doctors.

It was not so bad. Except that it was. In forty five minutes or less, Addison would be walking into this hospital room and Meredith would need to be prepared to work with her, intimately for a protracted amount of time.

Meredith was still dreaming of Addison and for the life of her, she could not get it up for Derek right now. It was only because he was sweet and considerate and relatively adaptable to her moods that he did not seem to be protesting too much about it, but Meredith still felt guilty. They had, up until about a month ago, shared a healthy sex life and now, well, it seemed that Derek was simply a weight in the bed with her.

It was disquieting, to say the least.

Try as she might though, Meredith could not imagine being intimate with Derek. Of course, depending on how this situation resolved itself, perhaps she would not have to consider the need to be intimate with him ever again. It was a sad thought and it brought home to Meredith once again just how severe and confusing this whole situation was.

"Okay, Mrs. Bulfinch, you're all set." Meredith said to her patient. "Doctor Montgomery will be here very shortly to answer any further questions that you may have." She added.

"Thank you, Doctor Grey. You've been very helpful." Meredith smiled slightly at the automatic response.

Hopefully in time the woman would warm up to her, but until then Meredith was content with social niceties. Whatever made life a little less complicated suited her just fine. Turning back to the chart in her hand, Meredith double checked everything, glanced at the various machines and monitors that were safeguarding her patient and then excused herself.

She needed to try to collect her wits. Addison would be arriving any minute and it was going to be emotionally chaotic, whatever happened next.

"Mrs. Bulfinch likes you." Addison said by way of greeting some time after she had been in to visit her patient.

"Good." Meredith managed, feeling her face flush in reaction to Addison's proximity.

Meredith swore she could almost feel the intensity vibrating off the other woman. It was playing havoc with her body and Meredith had no real idea how she was going to be able to deal with this for weeks.

Surely her adrenal glands would give out after a few days, or that was how it felt anyway.

"Meredith." Addison said quietly.

Feeling her emotions starting to choke her, Meredith moved away from Addison and walked away. She was not technically needed anymore, it was the end of the day. However, Addison had not dismissed her so Meredith could only really go as far as being available would let her.

Pushing her way into a supply closet, Meredith looked around at piles of linens and hospital garments and leaned against the cool wall of the room, trying to collect herself. how was she going to do this? Being around Addison for even a few minutes was almost too much to handle with and she had days of this to deal with now. How was she going to manage it.

Absorbed as she was in her own thoughts, Meredith failed to notice the door opening until she heard it close. Looking up, her breath caught when she realised that Addison had entered the small space. Meredith wanted to run, she wanted to run and never look back. But her feet were frozen to the ground and she could only swallow nervously as Addison came closer.

Suddenly she did not want to run. The seesaw of emotion that possessed her these days was becoming difficult to deal with.

"You can't keep running, Meredith." Addison said softly.

Meredith rolled her shoulders, feeling tense. Her pulse was racing and she wanted to cry. She wanted to bury herself in Addison and she wanted to scream.

By now, Addison had moved well into Meredith's personal space and Meredith was forced to grab the sides of her scrubs to stop herself from grabbing Addison and never letting go of her.

"Stop running." Addison ordered and Meredith felt gentle fingers touch her chin as the other woman leaned in and kissed her lightly.

For a heartbeat, Meredith did not react, but then her hands came free from her sides and wrapped themselves around Addison and pulled on her as the kiss deepened. Opening her mouth, Meredith invited Addison in and the redhead did not refuse.

Stunned by desire and overwhelmed by the tenderness of the moment, Meredith felt herself begin to cry. The taste of Addison and the burn of desire in her body was joined by the taste of salt as Meredith tightened her hold on Addison and pulled her even closer.

Addison tried to pull away, reacting to Meredith's tears, but Meredith was not going to have any of it. She pushed Addison against the towels and sheets and kissed her with all the sadness and desire that she had. This may well be the last time she ever kissed Addison. The thought made her cry harder, and finally she had to break the kiss as she was gasping for breath.

Leaning against Addison, she allowed herself a few more moments of bliss and closed her eyes to simply absorb and memorise the moment.

"Meredith." Addison's voice was hoarse with emotion, with desire and Meredith moaned softly at the sound, her fingers clenching tighter into the crisp white jacket that the other woman wore.

It was too much.

"I can't do this Addison, but I don't know how not to." Meredith whispered, pulling herself away and buried her face in her hands for a moment.

"I'll figure out how to work with you. Don't worry." She whispered and turned away.

"Don't I get to say anything?" Addison queried, her voice sounding almost broken.

Meredith turned back to Addison and decided that she could not face whatever Addison wanted to tell her.

"No." Meredith said simply. "Not right now anyway. I need to figure out how to hear what you have to say." She added.

It was too late. Meredith knew in her heart of hearts that there was only heartache in store for her and that no matter what she chose or how she did this, either Derek or Addison was going to be hurt as well.

"What's up, oh Mistress of the Devil?" Cristina asked when she caught up with Meredith a little while later.

Meredith was preparing to leave and was slowly changing in the Resident's Lounge and contemplating her predicament as she did so. "I kissed Addison, again." Meredith supplied by way of explanation to her friend's query.

"Geez. You're just a glutton for punishment, aren't you?" Cristina said as she prepared to leave.

"Says you, who's dating Mister PTSD." Meredith countered.

It was a lame comeback but Meredith was out of ideas. The only thing she truly wanted to do was find Addison and kiss her again, and somehow be able to deal with Derek in a way that would save his feelings.

She knew it was impossible to have both wishes come true, but it never hurt to hope.

"Speaking of people, I overheard Addison talking to Callie on the phone earlier. Satan is really messed up by this too, if that is any consolation." Cristina offered as the pulled on her coat.

"It's not, really, but at least I know that the issue is not just one sided." Meredith extrapolated after a moment.

"It's not. The good Doctor Montgomery has it bad. I think as bad as you do, actually. Worse even." Meredith looked up at her friend.

"Great. What am I going to do about Derek?" She asked, mostly in a rhetorical way.

"No idea, but I'll help you hide the bodies. What are friends for?" Cristina said flippantly before she wandered out of the Resident's Lounge leaving Meredith alone with her thoughts once more.

Meredith closed her eyes and was brought back to the store room just a few hours before. Kissing Addison had told her what she needed to know about herself and it has simply confirmed what she already knew.

The only choice was to follow her heart, but in doing so she was going to hurt people she really did not have any reason or desire to hurt. But if she did not choose, she was going to tear herself to pieces. It was only a matter of time.

"Was it really that bad?" Derek's question came out of the blue, startling Meredith out of her thoughts.

"Was what really so bad?" She asked without thinking.

"Working with Addison." He elaborated.

"You should have asked me." Meredith sniped in response and sighed.

Was there no escape for her?

"That would have been showing you favouritism." Derek said simply.

"I know, but here in private, you could have warned me, asked me, or at least given me a hint about it." Meredith said tiredly.

"Why do you have such a problem with this? And what is the matter with you? You have not been yourself for the past month." Derek sounded frustrated and Meredith presumed that this was going to escalate into an argument.

"Not everyone has a black and white outlook on life, Derek." Meredith replied through gritted teeth.

"I'm your husband, Meredith. But you spend more time with Cristina and when you're not talking with her, or hanging out with her, you're at work, or sleeping. You're doing everything except telling me what is going on or spending time with me." Derek countered.

"Don't you bring Cristina into this." Meredith knew her temper was making her unreasonable and that she was hearing only part of what he was saying no matter how reasonable he apparently was.

"Why not? You might as well be married to her instead of me." Derek's angry reply snapped the last of Meredith's nerves.

"Not everything about me has to focus on you, Derek. Get over yourself and, leave Cristina out of this. If you make me choose, you will lose." Meredith stood up as she said this and moved away from Derek.

He caught her arm as she passed. "Why are you running away? You're always running away." He demanded, trying to hold her in place and look into her eyes.

"Let go of me." Meredith demanded icily.

Derek's eyes widened and he let go of her arms at once, stepping back. Wordlessly Meredith moved towards the bedroom, intent on getting showered and getting out of the house. She knew that she was going to have to confront Derek and that by now there was probably damage to their relationship that would take time to repair.

The fact of the matter was though, that Meredith was unsure if she wanted to repair their relationship. What she wanted, was to kiss Addison. She wanted to get to know the redhead. She wanted her life back.

Her life now demanded that Addison was entwined with it.

Could she make it happen? Would she have the courage to do the right thing?

What the hell was she doing?

Two days later found Meredith at Joe's with Derek. They were trying. Or rather, Meredith was trying and Derek was being Derek; bland, sweet, good looking. No longer the perfect person for Meredith. But she was trying.

Tequila made it easier.

Mostly she was happy that Derek was happy to be doing something seeming normal with her. Perhaps this would keep him happy for a while and give her some space to think and to work. She knew that it was only a matter of time before things came to a head and she would have to face reality, but anything she could do to delay this would be good. Denial was not just a river in Egypt.

Not that Meredith was in denial, she was just trying to hide from reality. Pathetic.

Something in Derek's posture caught her attention and Meredith followed his gaze and almost dropped her drink she spied Addison enter the bar with Doctor Mark Sloan, the local lothario of the hospital. Meredith felt her hackles rise when Addison laughed at something that Sloan said. She knew that the two of them had a long and complicated history that involved Derek and his previous marriage to Addison.

It did not help.

Excusing herself Meredith made her way to the bathroom, only barely avoiding the urge to look back. She thought that if she did look back that her head might explode and brains and rage would splatter everywhere.

Meredith was not stupid. She knew that she was experiencing jealousy. Seeing red by the time she arrived at the bathroom door, she managed to not slam it open and made her way inside, her breathing almost out of control.

How could Addison effect her this way?

Two kisses, a few looks and a few hundred words, and this was the result?


Maybe Cristina was right and Meredith would need help to hide the bodies.

Meredith was not aware how much time passed before the bathroom door opened but when it did she somehow knew that it was Addison who had joined her. She also heard Addison latch the door and in the tight, enclosed space she swore that she could hear the other woman breathing.

"No more running, Meredith." Addison said by way of greeting.

"How is your date with Mark going?" Meredith asked, hearing her voice but not really recognising it.

She sounded strangled, almost.

Addison sighed and moved closer to Meredith. "Considering that you are with Derek I don't think you are in a position to judge." Addison said, the calm of her voice not fooling Meredith for a moment.

"Funny, it seems Mark was the catalyst that ended you and Derek." Meredith said casually, knowing that she was gauging at an old wound.

Anger flared in Addison's eyes and Meredith felt her breath catch at the sight.

"And will be the end of us, Meredith?" Addison was by now standing very close to Meredith.

"I doubt it. But what exactly are we, Addison?" Meredith asked.

"If you would stand still for a moment, maybe we could figure it out." Addison offered.

"I can't. I don't want to deal with this!" Meredith raised her voice, feeling her self control unravel even more.

"Well that's nice, Meredith, but there is more to this than just you and your feelings. What about my feelings? What about how I feel? How dare you assume that you are the only one who is struggling and having to deal with issues, I never figured you for being stupid!" Addison was shouting now, though not loud enough for it to carry outside of the bathroom, hopefully.

"How do you feel?" Meredith asked, trying to get her libido under control.

Seeing Addison's anger roused was having a completely unreasonable effect on her and she was dangerously close to throwing all sanity and any caution to the wind.

"I feel like I could fall in love with you." Addison whispered, standing in Meredith's personal space now. "This is impossible." She added and Meredith could almost taste her, she was so close.

"Then we have to stop." Meredith murmured in response, feeling Addison's breath on her own lips.

"Tell me to stop." Addison said quietly, curling herself around Meredith.

Meredith did not such thing, rather she wrapped her arms around Addison and pulled her in hard and kissed her like it was the first time and the last time she had ever done it. Addison moaned into her mouth and the sound and feeling of the moan broke something free in Meredith.

Addison seemed to sense the change in Meredith and suddenly Meredith found herself pushed against the wall of the bathroom and the moments drew out in a series of slow heartbeats that were filled with feeling. Too much feeling. Then, just as suddenly as it had began, it was over.

Untangling herself from Meredith and pulling away, Addison looked at her with sad eyes. "I will not be your dirty mistress, Meredith." She said between heaving breaths and Meredith felt her heart break a little more.

Pulling a willing Addison close once more, Meredith wrapped herself around the redhead and hugged her, holding tight like if she did not, her grip would falter. And her heart would break completely. She could feel Addison's heartbeat and for long moments there was peace.

"Goodbye, Meredith." Addison whispered into Meredith's ear and then she was gone with only her taste in Meredith's mouth and the indelible mark on Meredith's heart as evidence of her having been there at all.

Alone again, Meredith slid down the wall and buried her face in her hands. She could feel her raging pulse and her deep sadness and she felt so totally and completely lost now that Addison had left.

"I think I could fall in love with you too." Meredith said into the empty room as she finally managed to haul herself to her feet and move towards the sink to clean herself up.

The idea of joining Derek in the after this seemed impossible. Yet sooner or later, she was going to have to face Derek. Probably sooner.

It was already too late for later...


Chapter 8

"At this stage it is as safe as can be expected to deliver the babies, but we are going to try to hang on for two or three more days." Meredith was prepping Mrs. Bulfinch for an ultrasound scan as Addison explained the situation to her.

So far the day had gone fine. Meredith had worked in other areas of the hospital for a few hours and now was working with Addison and this complex case. Mrs. Bulfinch seemed to have warmed to Meredith and this was good. A patient had to have confidence in her doctor, especially an expectant mother. Any other option was really a recipe for misunderstandings at best, and complications at worst.

"Doctor Grey is going to set up the ultrasound and I will be back in five minutes, I need to make a phone call." Addison explained gently and with that she left.

Meredith worked in comfortable silence for a while, doing her best to warm up the ultrasound gel and getting ready to drape Mrs. Bulfinch's enormous abdomen so as to try to preserve her comfort, body temperature and modesty as much as possible.

"Ready?" Meredith inquired gently.

She quite liked Mrs. Bulfinch. Also, the truly unique thing about this patient, was that her sextuplets were the result of natural fertility. "Yes, I am." The woman's reply told Meredith that it was not only ultrasounds that she was talking about.

Meredith applied the slightly warmed gel and proceeded to gently rub the ultrasound wand across the swollen flesh before her. Her mind automatically catalogued the locations of the crammed babies and she begun to decipher heartbeats, possible genders and other items of interest.

Absorbed as she was in her task, Meredith took a moment to realise the chilling indications that the ultrasound was telling her until she had almost missed it. Fighting to keep her face neutral, she gently scanned the wand back and started to count heartbeats again.

Where was Addison?

"Okay, Mrs. Bulfinch, I am going to cover you up and go find Doctor Montgomery. I will be right back." Meredith fought to keep her voice neutral and then proceeded to make her patient as comfortable as possible.

Thankfully Mrs. Bulfinch seemed to be content with her position in the bed and had not picked up on the stress in Meredith's voice.

Small mercies.

Walking out of the hospital room, Meredith immediately located Addison and made a beeline towards her. "I need to talk to you. Now." Meredith said, completely ignoring protocol and oblivious to the fact hat Derek was standing right next to Addison.

"Yes?" Addison seemed to sense that Meredith was on a mission and did not call her on her tone or choice of words.

"I can only count five heartbeats." Meredith said, her voice flat and emotionless.

"What?" Addison's eyes betrayed her shock and surprise. "Are you sure?" She queried. It was a fair question.

"Yes." Meredith answered.

"How can you be sure, this is not your specialty." Derek cut in and Meredith turned towards him, shock evident on her face.

"Counting to six hardly requires a degree, Doctor Shepherd." Meredith's voice was cold as she spoke. "Do you really think that I would rush out here and report this if I was not certain of my findings?" Meredith bit out angrily as she continued.

"Doctor Shepherd." Addison said, her voice carefully neutral. "Doctor Grey has been an excellent assistant in this matter and her aptitude for the field is evident. While I will of course, double check her findings I am confident that they are accurate." Addison seemed to sparkle with barely concealed ire.

Meredith was perplexed at best. Why was Addison taking her side in this matter? It was a big deal to defend a resident to the Chief of Surgery.

Derek, perhaps sensing that he gonads were outnumbered two to one, backed down at once and then excused himself with the request that Addison update him as soon as she knew anything for certain.

"You need to book an OR, Derek. I am certain that Meredith is correct." Addison said pointedly before she grabbed Meredith's arm and walked them back towards Mrs. Bulfinch's room.

Why had Addison defended her so voraciously? The question plagued Meredith as she followed the other doctor back to the patient's room.

What did she want? Had she chosen Meredith over Derek? And what about Mark?

So many questions that were distracting Meredith. Forcing herself to focus she helped Addison with the ultrasound prep again and a few minutes later she watched as Addison assessed the situation for herself.

When had she learned to read the subtle play of emotion on Addison's face?

"Mrs. Bulfinch." Addison began as she packed up the machine and rearranged the blankets around her patient.

"Is there something wrong?" The woman sounded afraid, and Meredith wondered where her husband was.

"We are going to have to bring up the surgery." Addison continued and Meredith could hear the slight edge of stress in her voice.

She would not want to play poker with Addison, she'd lose her shirt. Perhaps she did want to play poker with Addison, actually.

"We have lost a heartbeat." Addison said sadly, but her voice was full of compassion and reassurance.

"What?" The woman visibly paled and Meredith cast a nervous glance at the machines that were monitoring her.

"It may simply be that the ultrasound cannot detect it. It was there last night." Addison added. "We will call your husband in and then begin preoperative procedures." Addison nodded to Meredith who went to inform the nurses, Derek and the department of paediatrics.

She had just ended a series of phone calls when Addison walked up to her. Meredith was still nervous as to Addison's motivations. "What do you want from me, Addison? Why did you defend me against Derek?" Meredith asked without preamble as soon as they had a measure of privacy.

"You're a good doctor, Meredith. I defended you because that has merit. Stop reading into everything." Addison sounded tired. "As to what I want. Meredith, I wanted you." The redhead added and with those words she collected her papers.

They needed to get ready for surgery.

"Ready?" Addison queried and Meredith nodded solemnly, her face obscured by the surgical mask that she wore.

Standing by were neonatal intensive care nurses, ready to receive the babies. Also, a whole hoard of other staff, nurses and technicians, all ready to do whatever Addison or Meredith needed.

It was time to begin.

Meredith watched as Addison worked quickly. Despite the gravity of the situation, the actual caesarian had to be performed quickly as otherwise the babies would be too affected by the anaesthetic and that was dangerous.

One baby. Addison cut the cord and handed the child off while Meredith acted as a second pair of hands.

The second baby was handed off a moment later. They were all so tiny.

"This is the child with no heartbeat. Doctor Grey, confirm and call it." Addison said simply and handed the child to a waiting nurse.

Quickly Meredith confirmed that the child was indeed dead and called it. There was no time for emotion just yet.

The next child was apparently healthy but as soon as Addison looked it, she nodded to Meredith and indicated that she was to go with the nurse and attend to the child.

"Page Doctor Robbins." Meredith called out and immediately moved to care for the baby.

An examination told Meredith that the child had an obstruction in its throat. A serious one. "Prepare for tracheotomy." Meredith said succinctly.

"Doctor Grey." Derek's voice called over the intercom.

"Doctor Grey, you will wait for Doctor Robbins to perform this procedure." Meredith glanced at Addison and received a nod from her.

Ignoring Derek and devoting her whole attention to the infant in her care, Meredith gathered her focus and felt the world melt away as she worked. Thankfully the nurses were highly trained and she did not have to ask for anything. Every second counted and Meredith did not waste a single one.

Arizona arrived in record time, but it would have been too late for the child and Meredith, Addison and Arizona all knew it.

"Doctor Grey, when you have scrubbed out see me in my office." Derek's voice was flat even though the tinny speaker of the intercom then there was silence.

"We will perform a hysterectomy now." Addison said. "The patient has requested it." Addison added and Meredith focused once more on the patient. Right now she could do nothing about the children, or the tracheotomy, or the dead baby.

She could however, do this.

"Just what do you think you were doing?" Derek asked without preamble as soon as the door to his office was closed.

"Saving that child's life." Meredith replied coldly.

"You were not qualified to do that. If something had gone wrong, the consequences would have been immensurable." Derek continued as if Meredith had not spoken.

"By the time Arizona arrived, the child would have either been dead, or severely brain damaged. How about that for consequences, Derek?" Meredith hissed, not believing that she was defending herself against Derek for actions that two highly qualified doctors and a room full of other medical staff had praised her for.

"It was not your call to make." Derek countered.

"Yes, it was." Meredith said and turned to leave and a moment later she was back in the corridor.


"Meredith." Great, more problems.

"What?" Not in the mood to play nice anymore, Meredith was starting to feel like she wanted to kick walls.

"Come with me." Addison herded Meredith along the corridor and they found an empty room.

"You did the right thing." Addison said without preamble. "Without you, the baby would have died, or been severely retarded." Addison added.

"I know. You know, Arizona knows. Even the anaesthesiologist knows. So what the hell is Derek's problem?" Meredith was too worked up to really notice her physiological reactions to Addison's presence.

"You've not been yourself for a while now, Meredith. He's a good guy, but he can have a hard time seeing life in shades of grey and keeping his emotions out of work." Addison offered.

"Great." Meredith sat down on a chair in the room and burried her face in her hands.

"What are you doing to me?" She asked Addison after a few moments.

"You're doing this to yourself, Meredith." Addison answered. "You need to choose. You must stop sitting on the fence." Addison sounded tired, sad.

"I am leaving tomorrow. The patient is stable and there are lots of doctors here in case something comes up that can't wait for my return." Addison said after some more silence had passed.

"Leaving? But, what about the babies?" Meredith asked.

It was not the question that she really wanted to ask, though. What she wanted to ask was, what about me?

"Not my department. I have spoken with the patient. She is happy to have you do her follow ups in the hospital and she has a private doctor once she gets out." Addison answered.

"Is this because of me?" Meredith asked, standing up and moving towards Addison.

The pull of the other woman was so strong. Meredith wanted to kiss her, and hold her. Meredith wanted to have Addison and she wanted her forever. But it was not that simple. It was not only about what she wanted; there were other considerations.

"Don't." Addison said firmly just as Meredith was leaning forward, intent on getting one more kiss.

"Why?" Meredith asked, not really understanding Addison's reluctance.

"I will not be your dirty little secret, Meredith. You have to choose. Me or him." Addison replied. "My mother is a lesbian, but she lived a lie for decades with my father. I will not do this, not even for a minute." Addison continued.

Meredith was stunned by this information. It seemed that they both had some serious baggage when it came to their mothers. Despite herself, Meredith wanted to know more about Addison's mother, but now was certainly not the time to ask.

Would there ever be such a time?

"I want to believe in this, Meredith. But I have already played and lost once before. I lost to you with Derek. I am not going to put myself into the position of being so easily hurt again. I will not be second choice and I will not fight to be first. I can't. Not anymore. Not again. Not this time." Addison extrapolated and Meredith fought the urge to cringe and close her eyes at the steel fist in velvet glove approach.

"You have to make a decision, Meredith and every day and every moment you wait and think the decision will make itself is going to make it more and more impossible to make. Right now you are lying, to Derek, to me, and to yourself." Addison seemed to come to the end of her lecture with the words and Meredith felt an equal measure of guilt and relief at that.

"Don't wait too long." Addison sounded like she was in pain as she spoke those final words and Meredith could only watch as she left the room and left Meredith alone with her thoughts.

She had to choose, but she had no idea how to do it. But she had to. This she did know. It was not fair to Derek, it was not fair to Addison and most of all, it was not fair to herself.


Chapter 9

Addison was leaving. Meredith had no idea where she was but somehow she wanted to talk to the redhead before she went. She had no idea what she would say to Addison, but she somehow wanted to say something.

Where the hell was she?

A quick page to Cristina came up negative and she even inquired from Callie where Addison might be and came up blank. That meant that she would have to find the other woman herself. But where the hell was she?

Thankfully Mrs. Bulfinch seemed to be settled for the time being and she was not needed at the moment. A psychologist, her husband and a whole band of medical staff were attending to the woman. Meredith considered that perhaps in time she herself might seek out some therapy with regards to the whole incident, but she doubted it.

She'd just talk with Cristina about it.

Where was Addison?

In her frantic search Meredith almost barged right into the lab but caught herself just in time when she realised that it contained not only Addison, but Bailey.


"I don't know what to do." Addison's voice carried through the partially open door faintly.

"It would seem to be that you have a predicament, Addison and you better work a way through it." Bailey's voice carried more clearly. Hardly a surprise.

"But I don't know how? She is sitting on the fence, driving me crazy and confusing Derek to the point where he is being combative towards her. Can you believe that? " Addison sounded desperate.

"It takes two to tango. Grey may be indecisive, but you are probably not making her decisions any easier." Bailey pointed out.

Meredith had heard enough. Opening the door she stepped into the room and closed the door behind her.

"Oh, no. No, no, no. Do I look like a couples counsellor? No. We are not doing this, not here and not ever." Bailey said as soon as she had registered Meredith's presence.

"But.." Meredith tried to get a word in edgeways.

"Now look here, Grey. I do not want to be the Oracle that people come to whenever they feel like they are in some sort of conflict. And you two? My goodness. Will you two just decide to go for what you want and leave the rest of us poor souls to be miserable as we can't seem to find our happiness?" Bailey was downright comical.

Meredith knew that Bailey had found a measure of happiness with her hot gas man and was planning on making that relationship more serious, but she decided that now was not the time to mention that.

"I am going to go now and when I come back the two of you will not be here. You will have either kissed and made up and are living happily ever after, or you will have decided to be cowards and have slunk away in awkward silence." Bailey slammed shut the book that she was using and without another word she marched out of the room

As Addison and Meredith stood there in stunned silence, Meredith giggled a little. "I think she likes us." She murmured and looked at Addison shyly.

"You know how to reach me, Meredith. I have a plane to catch." Addison did not look at Meredith before she too left the lab and closed the door not too gently behind her.


Two days later Doctor Richard Webber finally caught up with Meredith as she sat in a conference room doing paperwork. It was the less cheery part of being a doctor. Paperwork and more paperwork. But, if anyone tried to get away with not doing it, the hospitals legal department would be all over them and that was infinitely worse.

"Meredith." Richard said by way of greeting and placed a cup of coffee before her before he sat down.

It was clear that he was not going to let her run away this time.

"What can I do for you, Richard?" Meredith asked, looking up into the eyes of the man who had loved her mother and with whom she had such a mixed history.

"I loved your mother, Meredith. If I had possessed the courage your history and my history, and even the history of your mother might have been different." Meredith could hear the regret in his voice as he spoke.

It cut at her, despite her desire to remain impartial.

"I am not your father, Meredith. But as someone who would like to be your friend, and as a friend who would like to see you happy, I will say to you that you should follow your heart." Meredith wondered just exactly what Richard knew.

"Don't go for duty, or obligation. Don't think so hard about what is right or what will cause the least amount of waves. This is your life, Meredith. Your life." He seemed to be finished and as they sat and sipped their coffee in companionable silence, Meredith decided that as far as semi-father figures went that perhaps Richard Webber did not make a bad one.

"Don't live a life of regret and what ifs, Meredith." He added after a long pause and then rose to his feet and left without another word.

Meredith stared after him, her thoughts going at a thousand miles per hour as she considered her options and tried to decide what to do.

Taking out her phone, she quickly fired off a message to Addison before she could change her mind.

I want to talk to you. Let me know when you have the time and privacy and I will call you.

Glad that she could not take the message back, but breathless and scared about the prospect of calling and talking to Addison, Meredith tried to focus once more on her paperwork. Maybe she could go to Cristina's tonight, in case Addison could talk. She did not want to have this conversation anywhere that reminded her of Derek or where he could interrupt even by accident.

It was time for her to do something, she just hoped that she could do the right thing.

"Hello?" Meredith felt a rush of adrenalin when she heard Addison's voice over the phone. She was in an On Call room laying down and had made sure to bring along her charger for the case that it would be needed.

"How was your day?" Meredith finally asked after listening to Addison breathe for a few minutes.

"Small talk, Meredith?" Addison queried, a smile in her voice.

"Give me a break. I'll get to big talk soon enough." Meredith countered quickly.

She was rewarded with a chuckle on the other end of the line.

"What do you want, Meredith?" Addison finally asked.

"I want you." Meredith answered and heard a sharp intake of breath on the other end of the line.

"You could have me, Meredith." Addison supplied after a beat.

"I don't know how." It was not the truth. Meredith did know how, she just did not know how to gather the courage to do this.

"Well, you had better figure that out before it is too late." Addison's voice sounded close and Meredith fancied that she could hear the other woman shift.

"Are you in bed?" Meredith asked before she could think better of it.

"Yes. I am." Addison said and Meredith felt herself get hot at the thought.

"Breathe, Meredith." Addison laughed at her from so far away.

"You make it kind of hard, Addison. I don't know how you scrambled my brain so completely, but you did." Meredith took a deep breath and forged forward. "I want to somehow make this work between us." She continued.

"My day was fine, Meredith, and I want this to somehow work between us as well. But simply saying the words is not enough. Things have to happen." Addison cut her off gently.

Meredith threw her head back and sighed. It was true. She needed to get off her fence and somehow face the music.

But how?


Chapter 10

Two weeks passed mostly smoothly. The one thing that changed significantly for Meredith was that she spoke with Addison on the phone almost daily. The calls were mostly scheduled due to considerations of their work and the need for some discretion, but they did have an air of whimsy about them.

Meredith knew more about Addison after two weeks of phone calls than she had learned about the other woman in the entire time prior to it. She found that she wanted to know more. Had to know more. And each night as she tried to fall asleep, she found her mind completely distracted by thoughts of the redhead.

However on the home front her life had become a disaster. Derek and her were barely speaking and they had not been intimate since all of this began. He had tried to initiate of course, and she had tried to be nice about saying not, but the fact remained that it was the elephant in the room that neither of them were talking about and it was starting to become very stressful.

The whole mess was starting to affect their working relationship as well and today Meredith was on eggshells as she had a feeling that things were going to get ugly. She had been told to scrub in on one of Derek's surgeries and there would be a whole host of observers in the gallery.

Derek's unpredictable behaviour lately meant that anything could happen.

"Try not to screw up anything today." Derek said testily as they scrubbed in.

"What?" Meredith asked, forgetting what she was doing for a heartbeat.

"This hospital does not need any more lawsuits and I am tired of picking up your mess." Meredith was incredulous at the words.

"My mess?" She spluttered.

"Yes." Derek said pointedly and then walked out of the room without another word.

Great, it promised to be a fun surgery.

Once in the OR, Meredith did her best to thrust Derek's hurtful words out of her mind. She knew that her distant manner was partially to blame, but the power of being Chief of Surgery and the fact that he was a bit of a spoiled brat who was used to getting his own way had a lot to do with it as well.

Richard Webber may have been flawed, but he was human and he understood that everyone was flawed. Derek seemed much less likely to accept aberrations from the norm. It was something that Meredith knew other doctors and staff felt as well, but it seemed the Board was happy. Meredith supposed that in the end it was their opinion that counted the most.

However, it has been Derek who had ensured Richard's removal from his post and while Meredith understood that in part it had been due to the fact that the Chief was not performing his duties as needed and as required, Meredith knew that in large part it was also Derek's ambition that had played a roll.

Now that he had gotten what he wanted, he was becoming a bit insufferable.

Worse still, because he no longer seemed to be able to have Meredith, his darker nature had started to rear its head in earnest and Meredith realised that she was not especially pleased with Derek as a whole, regardless of what had been the catalyst for his current bout of bad behaviour.

By the time lunch rolled around, Meredith was angry, hungry, and she really wanted to talk with Addison. But, sitting with her best friend and having an overpriced sandwich that was not very good anyway was certainly the next best thing. Cristina had been remarkably supportive and had also provided much needed levity and comic relief during this time of Meredith's personal crisis.

Her friend was probably the main reason that Meredith had not buried herself in a bottle of tequila. That and she was pretty sure that Addison would not be especially pleased by a love interest who was perpetually sloshed.

Love interest.

Was this love?

Meredith was distracted by her phone and answered it without looking. "Hello there." Addison's voice whispered across her nerves and Meredith forgot where she was for an instant.

"Hi Addison." Meredith almost squeaked.

Across from her, Cristina rolled her eyes and mouthed, whipped, at her. Meredith retaliated by throwing the paper wrapper of her straw at Cristina, who shook her head and rose to leave. They would catch up later.

"What's up?" Meredith asked, playing with the remaining food that was on her tray in a disinterested fashion.

Her hunger would only really be appeased by the woman she was talking with. Everything else was a footnote right now.

"I will be coming to Seattle tomorrow. I only just found out like ten minutes ago." Addison replied without much preamble.

"Why?" Meredith blurted, and then immediately wanted to take the words back.

"I have a patient." Addison said dryly.

"But, I would also like to see you. Do you think you can manage to pencil me in, Doctor Grey?" Addison asked with saccharine sweetness.

"I'll have to check, Doctor Montgomery, but I am certain I can fit you in." Meredith realised the double-entendre as soon as it had left her mouth.

Addison coughed as she choked back her laughter.

"You do that, Meredith. We'll talk tomorrow, alright?" Addison said and Meredith could still hear the laughter in her voice.

She wanted to kiss the other woman more than she had ever wanted anything else in her life right up until this moment. "Okay, Addison. Call me anytime." Meredith said bravely. She would make time for Addison, somehow.

"I'd rather call you baby." Addison whispered and the hung up before Meredith could reply.

Ecstasy poured through Meredith's body for long, relished moments, before it was replaced my dread. Addison was coming tomorrow. She still had not gotten any further with resolving things with Derek. She had maybe twenty four hours at most before she would finally have to make a decision once and for all.

Oh shit.

The next day Meredith felt herself in a tizzy as she anticipated Addison's arrival in Seattle. It felt like she was beginning something new. Weeks of phone calls and discussion had really solidified Meredith's mind on what she wanted in life. She just needed to grab it with both hands and hold on even if the ride was rough.

It turned out that Addison was not due at the hospital today, so Meredith had made plans to see her later, after her shift was over. She could barely wait and felt a spring in her step and had to stop herself from smiling like an idiot in love.

Was she an idiot in love?

It was impossible to say definitively but it felt like it.

Arriving to check the board, Meredith cringed when she saw Derek. This was becoming a problem. She could not avoid him for much longer and the whole situation was messy as hell. Meredith had a feeling that he would not react well to losing her. He was not reacting well to the changes in her behaviour, so no doubt this would send him over the edge.

Thankfully Richard was also there and Meredith knew that if Derek started anything Richard would stand up for her, and so would Cristina. In fact she was somewhat sure that many of the Residents and Interns standing around, and several of the Attending Doctors would also jump on Derek. Hopefully he realised this as well. Since his accusation that she had been causing messes in his hospital, Meredith had been wary of him and his intentions.

Even without the influence of Addison, it seemed that they were destined to grow apart.

"I see you decided to grace us with your presence at last." Derek said loudly enough for everyone to hear.

Meredith checked the time. It was an hour before her shift was due to start. What was he talking about?

Was he really so petty that he was going to do this, here, in front of everyone?

"I'm on time. Early, in fact." Meredith replied to him blithely.

He scowled deeply.

So it was going to be this way, then.


After absorbing her schedule for the day, Meredith moved away from the board. She was due to be in Cardiology today. Mainly pre op stuff and consults, but there was always the possibility that she would have the opportunity to scrub in for surgery.

"Meredith." Derek's voice cut into her musings.

"Yes?" Meredith asked, keeping her voice cool and neutral.

"Planning on coming home tonight?" Derek asked sardonically.

"No." Meredith said succinctly.

"You know, if it was not for the fact that I know you had been spending most of your nights either here or at Cristina's, I would think you were having an affair." Derek was causing a scene and Meredith could feel her face begin to flush.

Was he trying to harm her reputation?

The comforting presence of Richard Webber moved up to join them. "I don't think this is a place for the type of personal discussion this is." He murmured, looking pointedly at Derek.

"And I don't think this is any of your business." Derek challenged Richard openly.

"Look around you, Derek. You're setting a very bad example. Are you going to be Chief, or are you going to be a spoiled brat?" Richard was completely unfazed by Derek and after a few more moments Derek walked away in a huff.

"Thank you." Meredith whispered to Richard.

He looked thoughtful. "You know, Meredith. I may not be Chief anymore, but my door is still open. I know something is going on in your life, I have no real idea what, but something is going on." His tone was earnest and comforting and it made Meredith think that she would confide in him if the need arose or she felt inspired to.

"I'll think about it." She finally said and he seemed satisfied with that answer.

Nodding to the older man, Meredith continued her path towards Cardiology. There was still work to be done before Addison arrived.

"He said that?" Cristina asked, a measure of disgust evident in her voice.

"Yep, and he did it in front of everyone." Meredith took an angry bite of her sandwich.

"McJerk." Cristina concluded the topic with the word and Meredith felt immeasurably better for some reason.

Cristina was very good for Meredith. Such an opposite personality, but somehow the two of them were incredibly well suited for each other in their friendship. Meredith reasoned that she would truly be lost without her person.

"So, what are you going to do tonight?" Cristina asked and Meredith sighed.

"Maybe dinner? We need to talk, seriously, face to face and try to figure out where this is going and what we are going to do about it." Meredith answered after a moment.

"Well, you know my number. Remember what I said about hiding bodies." Cristina was in a hurry to get back to work, but Meredith knew that in just that simple statement a whole world of emotion and feeling were spoken.

Cristina was Cristina. Meredith hoped that she would never change.

Left alone again, Meredith allowed her mind to delve into daydreams about Addison and she neatly managed to avoid at least in her mind the possible ensuing incredible complications that could so easily happen in the next few days. Even just a few minutes of mental vacation was welcome.

Finally her shift was over. There was just enough time to shower and change into actual clothes before she needed to find Addison and get on with the night, whatever it would bring. Hopefully good things. Meredith really wanted good things for a change.

Derek had paid her no further attention that day and she had heard through Mark that they were planning a night of beer, wings, and ESPN. Just as well she was not going to be home to witness it. Not that she had a problem with any of those things, but due to the current home climate it would be uncomfortable to say the least.

Meredith did realise and admit to herself that she was a large part of the problem that she and Derek were having at home. She had become distant, he had become insanely busy and power mad with his new position in the hospital. The rift had been caused and the fact that it could happen at all made Meredith wonder if what they had shared was what it had appeared to be from the outside.

She did not want to think about it for now. Right now, she had Addison on her mind and as she drive her car through the streets of Seattle, she wanted to bring her focus together. Tomorrow was another day and while Meredith did realise that she had perhaps days to finally come to a decision, she probably did not have make it tonight.

"I'll be there in three minutes." Meredith said into her phone to Addison, knowing that the other woman would be eager to get away from the hotel and to have some free time and fun.

Sure enough, when Meredith pulled up to the hotel Addison was waiting.

"Get in." Meredith called out to the redhead and a couple of moments later they were driving through the night together.

The thrill of being in Addison's presence again powered through Meredith's senses as she attempted to keep proper focus on the road. The other woman was making it hard for her to think though. Meredith wanted to touch her, she wanted to kiss her. Meredith wanted her and having Addison live and in person just illustrated this point and then underlined it for good measure.

"How has your day been?" Meredith asked Addison while they scanned for parking.

"Oh you know, planes, patients, paperwork. Nothing to write home about." It was clear from that response that Addison would rather be talking about something else.

Efficiently parking the car, Meredith finally turned around and looked at Addison, seeing her properly for the first time since she had gotten into the car. The effect was instant. The hot tendril of arousal curled its way around Meredith's lower abdomen, but even more profound, was how Meredith's heart clenched and her breathlessness.

And her profound, and complete happiness as well.

She was with Addison and it felt so right, so good; so perfectly wonderful.

Meredith realised that she was an idiot in love.

And she knew that she would have to act. The old adage of she who hesitates is lost, held true in this sort of situation. Addison was a woman to fight for and Meredith intended to do just that. Addison was worth it, and more importantly, Meredith herself was worth it as well.

"Ready to eat?" Addison asked after another moment passed.

Something tender blazed inside of Meredith for just a moment before she smiled and nodded. It was time to eat. Meredith realised that she was famished.


Chapter 11

As far as dinner went, it had been very pleasant and comfortable. The two of them wanted to have a private space in which they could discuss their future. They also wanted to discuss the present. They needed to.

In the matter of just a few kisses and a smattering of phone calls, something had happened and it was significant enough that it had to be addressed. They could no longer deny the facts.

Not that Addison seemed to be denying anything, if nothing else she seemed to be patient on an almost supernatural scale as far as Meredith was concerned. But, things were not at a point where it was make or break time. Perhaps not tonight, but very soon. Meredith doubted that Addison would be willing to leave Seattle without some definitive answers and then patiently keep taking Meredith's phone calls.

The redhead did have her pride and well, time was passing quickly. They both needed to figure out how achieve their dreams and Meredith sincerely hoped that Addison's dreams included her.

She was a fool in love, after all.

By the time coffee was served, Meredith had relaxed to the point where she was openly laughing at Addison and her heart felt like it did not have a care in the world, actually.

"I can't stand the idea of you going home to him." Addison said abruptly, her expression darkening with something primal and intense.

"I don't have to." Meredith said at once. "I have not been going home a lot for a while now. It's no wonder he is furious at me all the time." Meredith added.

"Your behaviour, or apparent behaviour, does not excuse his. And from what I have heard he is being a little bitch around the hospital and that has nothing to do with you, Meredith." Addison countered at once.

Meredith looked at the other woman thoughtfully. It felt good to be defended so quickly and she allowed herself to bask in the sensation of Addison's attention and focus and protectiveness.

She wanted this. She had to have it.

"Shall we go?" Meredith said after a while spent in comfortable silence.

"Sure." Addison said easily and they were soon back in Meredith's car on their way back to the hotel.

The ride was done in a type of electric silence that could herald just about anything. Meredith desperately wanted to kiss Addison, she needed to hold her. Meredith's body was also screaming to know Addison's.

How far down did those freckles extend? Would Addison's skin flush an edible shade of pink when she was aroused? What did she sound like when she had an orgasm?

The thoughts were almost enough to derail Meredith from the road as she drove and when she looked over at Addison she was sure that the other woman knew exactly what she was thinking about. Meredith could only hope that Addison was having similar thoughts about Meredith.

Deciding to take the reins in her own hands, Meredith parked the car and got out when Addison did, intent on walking the other woman home, as it were. If nothing else it would allow her to spend a few more minutes in Addison's company and if she was super lucky, she may get a kiss out of the bargain.

Addison for her part did not seem to mind this turn of developments and they moved in easy consort through the hotel lobby towards the bank of elevators. Meredith made careful note of which floor they were going to and in just moments they were standing in front of Addison's door. Meredith did not fail to memorise the room number, either. One never knew when this sort of information would come in handy.

"Would you like to come in for a while?" Addison asked out of the blue.

Meredith controlled her reaction as best she was able, but inside of herself a miniature version of her was jumping up and down and screaming: Jackpot!

"I'd love to." Meredith answered at once and a moment later the door was locked behind them and she was alone, in private with Addison.

Her knees were threatening to turn to water as she watched Addison deposit her bag on a table and kick off her shoes. The languid stretch that followed reminded Meredith of a feline reclining in a dapple of sunlight. It made Meredith's mouth water to watch.

As if suddenly becoming aware of Meredith's scrutiny, Addison looked over at her and smiled a smile that Meredith could not interpret. She was still trying to when Addison seemed to swoop down on her and in the blink of an eye they were kissing. It was the sort of kiss that dreams were made of and as Addison pushed her tongue into Meredith's mouth the world turned to white noise in the background.

Overwhelmed by sensation Meredith gave herself over to the experience. Her hands pulled on Addison and as Meredith sobbed with pleasure into the kiss, she realised on some level that she was not able to get close enough to Addison. Clothes, molecules and other obstacles were in the way. Meredith pulled away gasping for breath and held onto Addison as if her life depended on it.

Addison was idle and when Meredith felt those coveted lips kiss the line of her jaw, self control was becoming a distant memory. She wanted Addison, she had to feel her skin flush with her own. With nothing in the way. Meredith had to know what Addison's weight felt like on her. She had to know.

She would go mad if she failed to glean this knowledge as soon as possible, if not sooner.

"I want you." Meredith breathed hotly into Addison's ear and she could feel Addison react with her whole body.

The reaction emboldened her and Meredith leaned in and kissed Addison again and at the same time she began to gently move Addison backwards, towards the bed. Addison did not resist and as they kissed, while Meredith tasted Addison's mouth and her desire, she speculated that up until this moment in her life she had never truly been turned on.

When she felt Addison's hands gripped at her back and Meredith felt the low vibration of Addison moaning in her mouth, Meredith though that at this rate she was going to have an orgasm without any further stimulation and it was going to happen before they reached the bed even.

"Oh my God." Meredith moaned when their momentum was stopped by the edge of the bed and their mouths broke apart.

Addison was breathing hard against her mouth and Meredith could feel that the redhead's skin was burning hot. It drove Meredith insane with lust, with love. It just made her crazy. Plain and simple.

It was easy to get Addison to sit down and a moment later, Meredith straddled the other woman and moved to kiss the side of her neck. Addison's head fell back and she seemed to be ready to burst into flames any moment. Meredith had never had this kind of affect on anyone before. Ever. It was intoxicating and Meredith wanted more. With Addison, nothing short of everything would ever be enough.

"Meredith." Addison moaned between impassioned kisses.

Taking it as a sign of encouragement, Meredith moved to kiss the side of Addison's neck. "Meredith, stop." Addison breathlessly panted.

"What?" Meredith gasped, feeling unfocussed and confused. She was sure that she had heard that wrong.

"Meredith. We are not going to make love." Addison seemed to be in pain as she said the words.

"We're not?" Meredith blinked as she said the words, trying her damndest to bring her raging hormones under control and her scattered thoughts into some sort of order.

"I want to, Meredith. I want to make love with you. Know that. This is not easy for me." Addison leaned into Meredith and Meredith could feel her raging heartbeat and the hot heat of her skin.

It was almost too much to deal with and Meredith felt tears begin to escape from her eyes as she struggled with her feelings.

"I won't be the other woman, Meredith. You have to choose." Addison said gently as she pulled them apart so she could look at Meredith.

"Hey, don't cry." Addison's face was transformed into the very picture of loving concern and it only made Meredith cry harder.

"Come here." Addison said and she pulled an unresisting Meredith into a reclining position on the bed and gently arranged them so that they were comfortable.

"We'll rest a while, okay? Tomorrow is another day, Meredith." A gentle kiss punctuated Addison's words and with them Meredith felt the last of her tension drain away.

They needed to remove their clothes if they planned to sleep anytime soon and they most certainly needed to brush their teeth, but for the moment nothing else mattered except that she was being held, and protected by Addison. It felt like she was loved and Meredith had forgotten how good that felt.

She knew that she was in love with Addison.

It only it was that simple and easy. If only that was enough.

Resolutely Meredith thrust her errant thoughts from her head and closed her eyes and listened to Addison's steady heartbeat instead.

Tomorrow was another day.


Chapter 12

Morning poured its light over the bed and Meredith blinked, having become unaccustomed to it during her many recent nights in the hospital. For a few moments, Meredith was confused as to where she was and what she was doing there. She was wearing her panties and what felt like the top half of a pair of scrubs and she was deliciously comfortable, warm and she felt safe.

Gradually she became aware that she was not alone in the bed and as this awareness seeped in, she remembered exactly where she was and what she was doing there. She was in bed with Addison and they had slept together. No sex, no games, just comfortable silence interspersed by talking and Meredith speculated that she had not slept this well in years even.

After Meredith had calmed down the night before Addison had been patient and gentle and had explained to her in no uncertain terms that she wanted to make love with Meredith as much as Meredith wanted to make love with her. But until Meredith was single, and until she had decided her own destiny, Addison would not allow it to happen.

"Besides, we need to date a little. What sort of woman do you take me for?" Addison had said playfully and Meredith remembered her own delighted laughter.

She needed to get going though, she was due at the hospital in a ridiculously short period of time and she needed to shower and get some fresh scrubs on and gather her wits before then, somehow.

Addison chose this moment to shift under Meredith and it took a serious exercise in willpower to not simply bury herself in Addison and forget the day. That would never do though. She had to get up and she had to go to work.

Gently, she extricated herself from Addison and sat up slowly. The redhead protested mildly in her sleep and Meredith again had to fight with herself about not crawling into the bed and saying fuck you to the day. Addison was just so tempting.

"Hey." Meredith was determined not to leave without saying good bye. "Wake up, Addie." The term of endearment felt new and different in her mouth, but it was also good.

Meredith decided that she liked it. "You're leaving?" Addison asked sleepily and Meredith's libido decided to sit up and say howdy right at that moment in huge part because of the gravelly, husky quality that was Addison's morning voice.

"No rest for the wicked." Meredith whispered and leaned down to kiss Addison's temple gently. "I'll see you later." She added and stood up, making a beeline for the bathroom before her desire overcame her willpower.

A four minute shower and some useless primping in front of the mirror and Meredith was sort of ready to face the world. She would need to remember to replenish the emergency panties that lived in a small bag at the bottom of her purse. As a doctor she had learned long ago to be prepared. It had served her well in situations like this in the past. She'd have to change into some fresh scrubs at the hospital before her shift began.

This time however, Meredith would not be doing the walk of shame.

She doubted she would ever be doing anything that was a shame with Addison. The only thing she would have to be careful about was making sure she did not waste too much more time being indecisive.

With a final look at the still semi-sleeping woman laying in the king sized bed, Meredith made her way out of the room and quickly found her way to her car. Even the parking ticket on her window did not faze her. She was deliriously happy and decided that this had been one of the most unique first times for her. Addison would no doubt provide her with many unique first times as time went by.

Meredith was looking forward to finding out about each and every one of them.

"Well, look what the cat dragged in." Cristina said as she cornered Meredith a short while later at the hospital.

"I have it on good authority that you did not spend the night in the hospital last night and you certainly did not spend the night at my place." Her friend added and Meredith blushed to the roots of her hair despite herself.

"Nothing. Everything." Meredith did not even know where to begin. "We had some food and talked and then went back to her hotel." It all felt so surreal as Meredith described it to Cristina.

"Did you bump pelvises?" Cristina inquired in her non delicate way.

"I don't think women bump pelvises, Cristina." Meredith replied in all seriousness.

"Semantics." Cristina countered flippantly. "Don't keep me in suspense." She said more forcefully after that.

"We talked, and kissed, and did not have sex. I fell asleep in her arms, in her bed. It was wonderful. Perfect actually." Meredith knew her voice had a dreamy quality as she spoke.

"This must be love then." Cristina said, sounding every bit like the antithesis of a romantic.

"Must be." Meredith said happily.

"Oh God. Are you going to get mushy on me?" Meredith rolled her eyes at her friend. "Perish the thought." She murmured quietly.

"I knew McDull was not going to be the one for you. I just knew it." Cristina said after a moment and then wandered away to proceed with her own day.

Meredith felt a little of her peace and happiness fade at the mention of Derek. Now there was a problem she had to contend with, somehow. She also needed to think about where to take Addison on a date and when she could finagle such an opportunity with the other woman.

Addison would be leaving soon and this time Meredith was determined that the redhead would not be leaving under a cloud of uncertainty and questions like she had other times. This time, Addison would leave knowing that Meredith was hers, and hers alone.

The next day Meredith found herself missing Addison terribly. They had been unable to connect any further the day before after waking up together. Whatever Addison was doing seemed to take up all her time for the interim at least and Meredith herself found that she was unusually busy as well.

But, Meredith was determined to connect with the redhead soon, if not sooner and with that mission in mind she made her way through the hospital searching. She had asked Cristina to let her know if she spotted Addison first, but really, Meredith wanted to be the one who found her.

She spared a brief thought to Derek. She had actually gone home the night before but Derek had already been asleep so she had not woken him. Meredith knew that she was simply putting off the inevitable but she wanted to bask in her own personal happiness for a little while longer before she dealt with the ugliness of her private life's less desirable aspects.

Rounding a corner, Meredith spotted her prey. Addison was alone. Fantastic! Meredith was feeling lucky, so without further ado she walked up to Addison, grabbed her arm and gently but firmly led her to one of the notorious On Call rooms that the hospital maintained. They were rarely used for their intended purpose, but for now Meredith determined that this one would suit her purpose fine.

Closing the door behind them, Meredith took a long moment to drink in Addison. She had missed the redhead terribly. "I just wanted to see you, privately, for a moment. I have missed you and we have not really spoken since the other morning." Meredith explained when Addison looked at her questioningly.

"Ah. I have missed you too, Meredith." Addison said warmly and moved closer to Meredith as she spoke.

The rush of sensation, desire and emotion that cascaded over Meredith when Addison stopped within touching distance was overwhelming. "Soon, Meredith." Addison said gently, seeming to pick up on Meredith's mood easily.

Meredith said nothing, rather she pulled Addison closer and wrapped her arms around the other woman, simply absorbing her presence and filling her heart with the sensory information of simply being so near to Addison. The hot curl of desire that seemed to have settled permanently in her lower abdomen whenever Addison so much as crossed her mind, let alone whenever the redhead was near, made Meredith breathless.

"Kiss me." Meredith requested, breathing against Addison's mouth.

She knew that Addison had boundaries that Meredith would need to respect and she understood them, but she wanted to kiss Addison and she hoped that the redhead would be amenable to the suggestion. Prayed actually.

Addison licked her lips and the intensity in her eyes when she looked at Meredith made Meredith think that maybe she would melt right on the spot. Addison seemed to come to a decision, as she leaned in and brushed her lips against Meredith's in a promise that Meredith intended to collect on.

"Soon, Meredith." Addison whispered against Meredith's mouth and Meredith was unable to keep her hands from gripping at the redhead's back at the words.

It felt like her whole world was on fire and Meredith could not help but bask in the heat of it. It was glorious.

Oblivious to the world at large, Meredith failed to notice the fact that they now had an audience until said audience spoke. "Oh my God!" Meredith jumped at the words and felt Addison almost flinch away from her.

Meredith turned and blinked uncomprehendingly at the intruder.

Oh shit!

"Jesus Christ on a bicycle, Lexie!" Meredith exclaimed, feeling a surge of anger, or laughter, or insanity when she realised that her half-sister had walked in on them.

"You two?" Lexie said, seeming oblivious to Meredith's words.

"Oh my God. I did not see this!" Lexie seemed to be on the verse of some sort of nervous breakdown.

This did not bode well.

"Lexie!" Meredith grabbed her sister and shook her gently.

"You two?" Lexie seemed to come into focus as Meredith grabbed her.

"Eventually." Meredith allowed, wondering how she was going to explain this to Lexie.

Addison meanwhile was obviously trying to hold in inappropriate laughter.

"You're not helping." Meredith pointed out and at the words Addison started to laugh out loud.

It was contagious and a moment later Meredith was also laughing and a second later Lexie was also laughing hysterically at their mutual predicament.

"Oh God. I need a vacation." Meredith murmured after they had all calmed down.

Addison snorted at the words and Lexie just looked perplexed.

"You can't tell anyone, Lexie. Not anyone." Meredith finally said to her sister, trying to impart the seriousness of the situation on her younger half-sibling.

"You can't keep this a secret for long, Meredith." Lexie pointed out, showing a maturity that was atypical.

"Uhm." Meredith offered.

"Oh God. Now who has her heart in her vagina?" Lexie countered to Meredith and the shook her head.

"I did not see this." She murmured and made her way out of the On Call hurriedly.

After a long pause in which Meredith and Addison simply stared at the door, Meredith finally sighed and turned towards Addison. "That went well." She said lamely.

"She's right. You can't keep this a secret, Meredith. I don't want to be your dirty little secret." Addison said pointedly and with a probing look at Meredith the redhead made her way out of the On Call room and left Meredith alone with her thoughts.


Later that afternoon Meredith found herself scrubbing in for surgery with Derek. It was an uncomfortable and awkward situation to find herself in. She and Derek had not really spoken much in what seemed like weeks. Granted, it was in part due to the pressures of their respective jobs and their conflicting schedules, but for the most part it had everything to do with the fact that they had grown apart and were now almost strangers with each other.

Strangers with lots of baggage that neither of them seemed to know how to deal with.

"I am going to ask Addison to sign a contract to consult here on a regular basis." Derek stated out of the blue while Meredith was intent on cleaning her hands on what felt like a molecular level.

"What?" She blurted out, surprised.

"Yes. One week a month for the next six months. For starters anyway." Derek stated, sounding far too pleased with himself. "You have a problem with that?" He asked and now Meredith thought that he sounded almost hopeful.

Was he hoping to make her jealous?

Oh boy. Was he in for a surprise when he figured out the truth.

"No." Meredith said simply and then turned and walked out of the scrub room, wanting to get away from Derek as quickly as possible and trying to mentally steel herself to spending the next few hours in such close proximity to him in the OR.

She was a professional, she's manage somehow.

As she entered the theatre, she thought about Addison and wondered if the redhead knew what Derek had planned to ask her. Probably not, it was something that Addison would probably have mentioned if she knew.

Meredith hoped that Addison would accept the contract, but she speculated that her acceptance of it would depend in part on what Meredith did in the next few days.

They had reached a point in their relationship where Meredith could no longer effectively keep sitting on the fence. She would have to choose and her decision would undoubtedly have repercussions that she had not taken in to account. She had to decide though and soon.

Lexie was right: She would no be able to keep this secret for much longer.


Chapter 13

"Addison is looking for you." Cristina told her in between bites of apple when Meredith crossed paths with her friend much later in the day.

"Is she?" Meredith asked. "Why didn't she just page me, or call me?" Meredith added, mostly to herself.

"I dunno, but I do know that when Satan saw me, she veered right off her course and came to ask me if I knew where you were." Cristina extrapolated and continued to chew on her apple.

"Guess I better go find her." Meredith murmured, feeling butterflies in her stomach.

"Guess so." Cristina waved with her apple as Meredith moved to begin the mission of finding Addison.

What did the redhead want?

Hopefully something good.

Meredith felt the flutter of anticipation as she tried to think where Addison might be right now. The most likely location was probably near Derek's office, especially if Derek was planning to spring the consulting question on Addison today.

A few minutes later, Meredith arrived at Derek's office, only to find it empty. No Derek and more significantly, no Addison. Meredith pondered where she should search next. The break room? It seemed like a logical choice. Turning on her heel, Meredith started to make her way back in the direction she had come from.

She had no sooner taken a few steps when her pager went off and she immediately snatched it off her waistband and looked at it. Addison, querying where she was. Grabbing at her phone, Meredith quickly replied to the page and asked where Addison was. The reply was instant.

Stay there, I will come to you.

The problem was that Meredith was already someplace else entirely. Great. Suddenly in the back of her mind Meredith started to hear Yakety Sax start to play as she replied to Addison that she was not at Derek's office anymore. Again, the reply was instant.

Then where are you?

Meredith was tempted to laugh out loud at this point. Quickly she stopped moving and replied. Addison seemed to be determined to find her, so Meredith would oblige and make it as easy as possible. If that was possible.

It only took Addison about five minutes to find her, but in that time Meredith's mind had run gamut as to what exactly the other woman wanted from her. They had not spoken since the earlier incident with Lexie in the On Call room, but their parting has been amicable and Meredith just hoped that everything was okay.

Breathlessly Addison rushed up to her.

"Hi." She offered and Meredith smiled.

"Hi yourself." Meredith replied.

"Um, so. Derek has asked me to consult for the hospital and I said yes." Addison started to talk without any preamble.

"I need to go home the day after tomorrow to get some things. I will be back on Friday." Addison continued and Meredith felt her heart sink and soar all in the same moment.

"Okay." Meredith said easily, wondering what Addison was getting at.

"Well, hm. I wanted to ask you what you were doing tonight?" Addison finally managed.

"Nothing." Meredith said without even bothering to think of her schedule or look at it.

She did not care if she had anything going on tonight; she would reschedule it if needed. "Well okay. Would you like to go out for dinner?" Meredith blinked once at the question.

"Yes." She answered before she could think better of it.

"Okay. I'd offer to come pick you up, but that might not work so well." Addison continued.

"I'll come to the hotel." Meredith offered.

"Good. Semi formal, and bring a warm jacket. Be at the hotel by seven, if you can be." Addison smiled at Meredith and then she was gone.

What was going on?

It sounded to Meredith as if Addison had just asked her out on a date. But she was technically still with Derek. So, what was going on?

Meredith walked away from where she had been leaning against the wall waiting for Addison. As she wandered down the corridor, she hit upon the inspiration as to just exactly what Addison was up to.

The redhead had decided to take matters into her own hands as much as she could, and now that she had the definitive knowledge that she would be spending more time with Meredith, she was unwilling to let chance possibly decide that Meredith would be better off with Derek.

It was the best explanation that Meredith could come up with.

There was no chance that Meredith would pick Derek over Addison, but she was certainly flattered by the attention and decided that she would enjoy it to the fullest. It's not like Derek had done anything in the last month or so except sulk. That made Meredith wonder if he loved her at all, or if he simply loved what she represented to him and now that he was losing that, he was becoming petty and stupid, rather than trying woo her back.

Addison could not help but win this contest. Meredith just wondered how she would manage to end things with Derek without there being too much emotional or actual bloodshed involved. It was a daunting thought and one which Meredith resolutely thrust out of her mind.

She was going on a date with Addison tonight and that was what she wanted to think about.

Meredith did not pause to consider how Derek might react if he came upon her getting ready to go out. If he asked, she would tell him honestly that she was going out with Addison and he could make whatever he wanted from that.

It was the truth, though it was not the whole truth. God help her.

A page to him told her not to wait up and that he was going out with some friends. It took two people to create a relationship, and so far Meredith had only kissed Addison, though in her heart and in her body she was not with Derek anymore. One would think that he would make some effort to figure out what was going on, or to try to regain her attention, but it seemed that he truly did not care.

Casting him out of her mind, Meredith made her way to the bathroom and quickly stepped into the shower. It was time to primp and preen and prepare.

Body soap, her razor, shampoo and conditioner, body oil, deodorant, perfume and moisturiser and she was standing in front of the mirror with hair dryer and hair curler in hand without really remembering how she got to this point. As she stared at herself in the mirror, she tried to recognise her face.

She looked different. Excited, in love. Could one look in love?

Shaking her head impatiently, Meredith moved to dry and style her hair. Addison seemed to be intent on taking her someplace nice and Meredith wanted to make a good showing of wherever that was. She wanted Addison to be unable to look anyplace else and she wanted to look good on Addison's arm. Or just with Addison.

What to wear?

This was the question that Meredith pondered as she sat in front of her vanity table and applied makeup. Not too much, would not want it to smear off on anything and anyway, Addison had seen her splattered in blood and as bedraggled as she could look, so it would create a false illusion that she was certain that the redhead would not appreciate if she plastered makeup on.

Addison had said semi formal. What did that mean? Well, it would depend mainly on what her closer contained, aside from herself that is.

Deciding that semi formal with a warm jacket meant that Addison intended them to spend some time outdoors tonight, Meredith opted for slacks, a blouse, medium heeled boots and an elegantly tailored blazer. Jewellery, a final touch of lip gloss and a miniature purse completed the look.

Some other time when it was a more formal occasion, Meredith would wear a dress. She doubted it would be suitable for tonight.

As she made her way out of the house, she paused to leaving Derek a note, should he care. Meredith found that personally she did not care. She was more interested in what Addison would be wearing, and where they would be going and what or who would be on the menu.

With that thought, Meredith made her way to the care and quickly headed out to Addison's hotel with anticipation and excitement making her insides flutter as she drove.

She wondered if Addison would like some flowers or something?

Half an hour later, Meredith was sitting in a limousine with Addison and trying not to choke on her tongue as she took in what the other woman was wearing. Thankfully basic etiquette was not something she needed her brain to do.

The way Addison's clothes embraced her body was probably illegal in a few states and several countries. Never mind anything else, Addison would simply cause traffic to pile up if she walked around dressed like that in the daylight.

Addison had taken a similar route to Meredith, dressed in more practical clothing, obviously in deference to whatever they were going to do, but that is where the similarities ended. Every item of clothing that Addison had on was immaculately tailored and while Meredith was no expert, she would lay money on the fact that the heels that Addison had on were made for her and were on of a kind.

Meredith did not often have pause to think about it, but occasionally she was reminded that Addison was in fact, fabulously wealthy.

Tonight she did have a reason to think about it. Addison looked fabulous and Meredith wondered if she would be able to keep her hands to herself. "Where are we going? " Meredith queried once she had recovered her voice.

Addison smiled knowingly at her. It was clear that the redhead knew the effect that she had on Meredith and that she was enjoying it tremendously. It made Meredith wonder what else Addison had in store for her tonight. Meredith shivered slightly in anticipation.

Meredith wondered where they were going.

"You'll see." Addison said, answering Meredith's unspoken question.

Reaching into her folded coat, Meredith pulled up the flowers she had bought earlier. Really, it was a simple bouquet but Meredith had been taken by its beauty. She did not know a lot about wooing someone. Usually she was the one being wooed, and this seemed to be the case this time as well, but this time she wanted to join in on the action.

"Thank you. They are beautiful." Addison said after a long pause in which she seemed to be enraptured by the flowers.

The brilliant smile that Meredith received was reward enough that she resolved to buy Addison flowers whenever a special bouquet caught her eye.

Meredith found that she wanted to spoil the redhead. Lavish her with attention and make her feel desired, beautiful, wanted.

The very thought of doing this made Meredith feel happy and warm inside.

The interior of the limousine was opulent and comfortable and they had perfect privacy as the car sped through the streets of Seattle. It was mesmerising to watch the play of light and shadow on Addison's face and Meredith could feel the steady burn of desire and the breathlessness of love inside of herself as they sat in comfortable silence close together on the luxurious leather seat.

When the limousine pulled up to the waterfront, Meredith was even more curious as to just where Addison was taking them. The other woman moved out the limo with practised ease and Meredith was determined to put on a good showing. Just because she was not used to limos, did not mean that she would act like a rube; she wanted Addison to be proud of her, proud to be with her.

"Here we are." Addison said, offering Meredith her arm and guiding her a short distance into the doorway a somewhat cosy looking restaurant.

A simple neon sign with the words Maximilien French Cafe on it welcomed them and the entranceway was inviting and warm. It looked like the sort of place where one could have lunch, or bring one's family as well. It looked like it served food that meant to be eaten, versus simply poked at while it congealed in a pretty, but unappetising mess on a highly frivolous plate.

"Just because I wanted to arrive in style, does not mean that I wanted to eat ostentatious food. I like food, Meredith. And I like you." Addison said obviously interpreting Meredith's expression.

Once inside, Addison spoke briefly to the Maître d' briefly and they were at once ushered to the large outdoor area of the establishment. Meredith only had a few seconds to glimpse the interior. It was open and airy and looked very comfortable and the people she could see were obviously enjoying themselves.

The patio, however. As soon as Meredith saw the view she was struck speechless. It was gorgeous. "Oh my God, Addison. This is beautiful." Meredith breathed and walked to the railing, oblivious to anything else for the moment.

Addison followed her and for several long moments they stood with their shoulders and flanks touching and simply revelled in the exprience. Feeling the breeze on her sensitised skin, Meredith turned to Addison and had the overwhelming urge to kiss her.

From the sparkle in the redhead's eye Meredith could tell that Addison was thinking the same thing.

"Shall we?" Addison asked, offering Meredith her arm once more and they walked to the table.

The table?

The patio could hold many more tables that it did, but instead there was just one table, perfectly situated to showcase the beautiful vista. At a discreet distance and carefully hidden in a shadow was a heater. Some guttering torches and the intimacy of the setting was perfect.

Where were the other tables?

Meredith ceased to wonder when Addison guided her to her chair and waited for her to be seated before she moved around the table. She was completely at ease with someone puling out her chair and pushing it in again, and not for the first time Meredith was curious about Addison's upbringing.

"You look beautiful tonight." Addison said once they had settled in and their jackets has been whisked away by a very efficient waiter who had been standing by to see if they were going to put them on or not.

Meredith did not know how to respond to that. She did not remember the last time someone had called her beautiful.

"Thank you." Meredith managed to say and found herself wanting to return the compliment but fumbling with how exactly to do it.

"You too." She finally murmured, blushing.

Addison smiled fully at her and it suddenly did not matter that Meredith's inexperience was on display.

It seemed that Addison had that affect on her; she made Meredith comfortable.

"Everything on the menu here is delicious, but there are of course some things that you may prefer not to eat." Addison told Meredith after they had settled into their seats and were handed menus while a whole legion of waiters stood by ready attend to their every whim or need.

Now they were examining menus and Meredith noted that her menu had no prices on it and she had no idea what this sort of food cost anyway. Obviously Addison intended for Meredith to simply enjoy her experience and for her own part, Meredith intended to do just that.

On Addison's suggestion, Meredith ordered the Seabass and then listened as Addison ordered the Salmon Coulibiac in flawless French. Meredith deferred to Addison to choose wine and then they were left to their own devices with a promise that appetisers would be arriving shortly.

The efficiency of the staff was noticeable even for Meredith.

"Why is the patio empty?" Meredith queried while Addison sniffed the cork of the wine bottle that she had just been offered.

"I wanted to share it only with you." Addison replied, nodding minutely to the sommelier who carefully placed the wine on the table and vanished.

"Only with me? You rented the whole patio?" Meredith asked in a soft tone.

"It's nothing, Meredith. I wanted to enjoy the view and enjoy you." Addison waved her hand as she spoke and then reached over to grab Meredith's hand.

"Let's just enjoy the evening, alright? I have plans for later if you're up for it." Addison said after a moment and Meredith nodded.

She had never been wooed quite like this before. She felt pretty much swept off her feet, actually. "Okay." Meredith said happily.

Addison seemed to be happy with her reply and she settled back into her seat with a smile.

"What do you have planned for later?" Meredith asked after a long silence had passed.

"That would be telling." Addison said with a mischievous smile. "You'll see." She added and her grip on Meredith's hand tightened.

"Tell me something about you that I do not know." Addison offered by way of a conversational gambit.

"I wanted to be a fireman." Meredith said out of the blue.

"You what?" Addison said in reply.

"My mother would not hear of it." Meredith continued, laughing now at the memory of her mother's horror.

"I could love you, Meredith." Addison said after a comfortable pause in the conversation.

"I..." Addison seemed to want to add something, but then she fell silent and returned her gaze to the view.

What? Meredith felt her mind go at fever pitch as she tried to glean what Addison had intended to say. Had Addison been going to say, I love you?

"Hey." Meredith said, causing Addison to look over at her.

"It will be okay." She whispered, gathering up Addison's hand in both her own.

She just hoped that her words would come true.

A cadre of waiters brought appetisers, freshened up their water glasses, inquired obliquely if they needed anything else and then vanished once more. As the patio became more shrouded in longer shadows, the torches had been moved closer and the heater was ensuring that the chill of the evening did not disrupt their experience.

"Let's eat." Addison suggested and Meredith smiled.

"Yes, let's." She concurred.

"You have to try this." Addison said after a single bite of her dish and without preamble she placed some of her food on her bread dish and handed it over to Meredith.

The intimacy of the gesture was not lost on Meredith and as she forked some of the delicious looking food into her mouth, she felt her tongue become enveloped in a taste sensation that overtook the rest of her senses. Closing her eyes, Meredith almost moaned her appreciation.

When she opened her eyes again, she found Addison looking at her with an intent expression on her face and Meredith felt her breath catch at the look. "You don't make it easy for me to stand by my principles, Doctor Grey." Addison said tightly as she licked her lips and Meredith felt the words shiver their way down into her lower abdomen.

It reminded her of just why exactly they were sitting in this beautifully romantic setting. Chemistry, emotions, decisions. Love, lust, and longing.

Swallowing hard, Meredith took the opportunity to return Addison's gesture and shared some of her appetiser. When she handed the plate over, Addison caught her wrist with her other hand and after she set down the plate, she caressed Meredith's palm with an intricate, sensual gesture that made Meredith forget exactly what she was doing.

Yes. Love, lust and longing.

It would be interesting to see just exactly where this evening was headed. Meredith hoped that the night would end with Addison kissing her at least. She knew it was unlikely, regardless of how much temptation there was, that the redhead would break her convictions, but Meredith knew that a simple, single kiss from Addison would crown the night beautifully. She looked forward to it and hoped that it would happen.

Addison proved herself to be a wonderful hostess. She kept the conversation light while they ate their appetiser and when the main course was served Meredith was so relaxed that she had forgotten that Addison had rented an entire patio and that the menus and wine list did not have prices on them.

Meredith did not fail to notice when Addison ordered another bottle of wine, but she was determined to be careful about overindulging. Some other time it may be fun to get drunk with Addison, but not tonight. Also, she wanted to remember every moment of the evening.

"This is delicious." Meredith said after they had eaten some bites of their meal.

She was rewarded with a brilliant smile from Addison. "I think the company enhances the flavour; never mind the view." The redhead replied and Meredith had to agree with that sentiment completely.

"I am glad I said yes. I have never experienced anything like this before." Meredith said after a short pause.

"No? Well, we shall have to rectify these omissions in your experience then, Meredith." Addison's voice had taken on a smoky quality as the wine, the food and the night had taken hold.

"Only if you'll join me in experiencing them." Meredith said softly in reply.

The fish on her plate was almost gone and she felt sated and slightly buzzed, not least because of the excellent company. The overall effect was exhilarating and peaceful all at the same time.

Addison reached over to take Meredith's hand again and the warmth of her skin infused it's way into Meredith's heart. It could have been zero degrees out here, but she felt safe, cosy and protected.

She wanted this feeling to be a permanent one.

The shadows on the patio had grown long by the time dessert arrived. Leaving the ordering up to Addison's discretion, Meredith was surprised and delighted when the decadent looking creation was served on one plate with two spoons. Addison's eyes had sparkled when the dish had been set down and what had followed was an erotic food experience that Meredith was certain she would remember for the rest of her life.

Addison had carefully, delicately and oh so sensually fed Meredith little spoonfuls of the delicious chocolate sin that was the conclusion to their mean. For her own part, Meredith had become aroused enough by the process and not least by the look in Addison's eyes, that she had almost omitted the taste of the sweet itself.

Sometime later, Addison had asked if Meredith was ready to go and then they had risen and been helped with their coats and had sojourned to the limousine once more. Addison had only paused to thank the Chef and the Maître d' who had both blustered slightly at her praise.

There had been no bill, no tipping, no pause in Addison's momentum or in their evening and Meredith again found herself marvelling at the highly superior wooing ability of the redhead. This sort of treatment could really turn a girl's head and Meredith was made breathless by the gentle, yet constantly hungry attention that Addison paid her.

Now Meredith had found herself in a situation she had never expected to find herself in her life. Addison was standing next to a gorgeous horse, gently stroking its nose and speaking to the man who was going to drive them around the streets of Seattle until it became almost too late for them to be out anymore.

A horse and buggy ride to conclude their fantastic evening.

Meredith was glad she was not the swooning type, but she speculated that she could become just that with the correct impetus.

"Ready?" Addison inquired, seeming to have finished with her equine ministrations.

"For you, always." Meredith replied and with that Addison handed Meredith into the coach and rose in after her.

A few moments of arranging soft woollen blankets around them and Meredith found herself snuggled up against Addison's side as they set off. The sensation of the buggy moving and the sound of the horse's hoofs on the pavement lulled Meredith for a while, as did the warmth of Addison's body and her steady breath in Meredith's hair.

She was in love.

And she had a dilemma, but she did not want to think about that tonight. Tonight was going to be an idyll that she would encapsulate into her memories to call upon for years to come. Tonight was going to be beautiful and perfect.

Meredith just knew it.

"Did you have horses when you grew up?" Meredith asked after a few minutes of peaceful travel and cuddling against Addison.

"Yes. Or well, I rode horses I suppose." Addison replied after a beat and brought the blanket to cover them better.

"I bet you were a holy terror when you were little. I can imagine it now, pigtails, freckles, and attitude. A regular North American Pippi Longstocking." Meredith commented.

"Hmm. Well I am not sure that my parents would disagree with that assessment." Addison said and squeezed Meredith playfully.

"I don't want this evening to end." Meredith sighed.

It was true. Given a choice she would never leave Addison's arms again.

"It does not have to, Meredith." Addison said softly. "Or well, tonight will have to end, but this does not have to." Addison sounded wistful as she continued to talk.

"What about your job in LA?" Meredith asked, it was a pertinent question after all.

"I only need a reason to stay here, Meredith. I can work anywhere I want to. I am in high demand you know." Addison replied evenly.

Meredith looked out at the city vista that was being displayed so uniquely to them and knew that Addison was right. The only question mark in this whole equation was Meredith herself and her issues and hesitations that were impeding whatever that was happening between Addison and her.

Addison kissed the top of her head, and Meredith felt a thrill run through her body as she shifted slightly and turned her face. "Kiss me." She requested gently.

Eyes that were made almost black by the night sparkled and Addison seemed to pause to think for a moment, no doubt considering her options. Meredith reached for the redhead and pulled on her slightly. Tomorrow was another day to consider options, but tonight they were on a date and it was about them.

Addison took the hint and leaned down slightly, ghosting her lips across Meredith's in a touch so soft that it felt like the brush of a shadow. "I don't want this to end either, Meredith." Addison whispered against her lips before she deepened the kiss.

Overwhelmed by the moment, by the feel of Addison wrapped around her, warming her, protecting her, Meredith lost herself in Addison. Their mouths explored gently, hungrily and Meredith could taste wine and something unique to the redhead herself. It was intoxicating, as was the smoothness of the skin on Addison's face and the feel of her strong, competent hands gripping at Meredith's sides and then her face.

It was suddenly very warm under the blankets, even in the chill of the night.

"You're not making it very easy to resist you." Addison said as they leaned their foreheads together breathing deeply once the kiss had come to its natural end.

"Good." Meredith replied and laughed softly.

"You're so bad." Addison's voice was tinged by a smile.

"Good." Meredith said again and snuggled into Addison as the night and the sound of the horse's hoofs and the feeling of love surrounded them.

When it was time for Meredith to walk Addison from the limousine to her hotel room, it became evident that the night was indeed over. For now at least. It was close to midnight and the hotel lobby was almost empty as they made their way to the elevators. Meredith was feeling tired and happy and euphoric, all at the same time.

Maybe she could get another kiss from Addison?

A girl could always hope.

It only took a couple of minutes for them to reach Addison's hotel room and as Addison slipped her key into the lock, she looked at Meredith with an expression that Meredith could not interpret. When the lock gave way, Addison pushed the door open and stepped into her room before she turned around.

"I'll see you tomorrow, Meredith." She whispered and ran a soft finger along Meredith's jaw line.

The touch was electric and made Meredith's insides heave with emotion and arousal and sensation. "Alright." Meredith murmured before she snagged Addison's finger with her mouth and licked the soft pad of it.

Something flashed in Addison's eyes and Meredith forgot how to breathe.

Had anyone ever looked at her like that before?

Before Meredith could find the answer to her question Addison was kissing her. The kiss was not gentle as it had been during their nighttime ride through the city. This kiss was animalistic, demanding. It made Meredith's heart stop and caused a bead of sweat to begin at the small of her back. The kiss promised Meredith pleasure and exquisite ecstasy and for long endless moments, Meredith lost herself in Addison.

"Goodnight, Meredith." Addison said breathlessly when they separated.

"Goodnight, Addison." Meredith replied and stepped back from the other woman reluctantly.

Addison closed the door and Meredith stood there for a moment and listened while latch being thrown.

"Sleep well, Addison." Meredith whispered.

She heard Addison walk away from the door and slowly made her way out of the hotel and back to her truck that was parked outside.

The night was concluded, but this was the beginning of something new, and beautiful, and wonderful.

Meredith could not wait to see what would happen next.

By the time Meredith got home, she was exhausted and she was also fervently hoping that Derek would still be out, be asleep, or just be someplace else. Anything but awake and waiting for her. Meredith did not want to face him and have the flavour of her evening spoiled in the process.

Opening her front door quietly, Meredith crept through the house and looked around. It only took her a moment to find Derek. He was asleep on the sofa. He looked unwashed, unshaven and oily. Obviously still soused with the booze of his evening and Meredith was incredibly grateful that he was sleeping soundly for once.

Moving towards the bedroom Meredith began to remove her clothing and found that she was smiling to herself as she prepared for bed. Derek disappeared from her mind as thoughts of Addison and then even more Addison took over.

Meredith had fallen in love, and she had fallen hard.

Restless in her bed, Meredith rolled over and pulled out the Polaroid that the driver of the carriage had taken of them just before the conclusion of their evening. He had taken two of them actually, Addison had the second one.

The picture showed Addison and Meredith snuggled together, comfortable and glowing. It was easy to see that they were in love.

If only it was that simple.

Maybe it was.


Chapter 14

Meredith woke up determined to hopefully catch the other woman the next morning before either of them went to work. With that in mind, Meredith found herself driving to Addison's hotel the next day at the brink of dawn. Though she was tired and sleep deprived, she felt energised and happy and excited. She was going to see Addison and she could barely wait.

She had barely been able to sleep the night before, with her mind filled with dreams and thoughts of Addison, their date and the sheer wonder of what was going on between them. It had been a night unlike anything else Meredith had ever experienced before in her life.

So, she was now on the way to hopefully intercept Addison on the way to the hospital. She could hardly wait to see the other woman.

Rushing through the hotel lobby, she blissfully made her way to Addison's hotel room with her phone in hand. "Hey." Meredith said into the tiny speaker of the phone and Addison's warm reply was her reward.

"You're up early." Addison remarked, and Meredith fancied that she could hear the rustle of cloth in the background.

What bliss, maybe Addison was still in bed?

"Yeah. I woke up thinking about you. In fact I am not sure I even slept, to be honest." It was not an inaccurate statement.

Coming to Addison's hotel room door, Meredith knocked confidently, eager now to see Addison to the point of fervour. Meredith heard Addison say to someone else, get that will you, and before she could properly process the information the hotel room door opened and before her stood a stunningly handsome example of male humanity. He was not wearing a shirt and he had I've just been fucked hair.

Shocked beyond words, Meredith glanced desperately into the hotel room and fancied that she saw Addison standing in the bathroom doorway which was open. The redhead was wearing a robe and her hair was wet and she had an easy and content smile on her face. Forgetting that she was on the phone with said redhead, Meredith backed away from the doorway and turned away, trying to remember where the elevators were as she felt her heart begin to break.

"Meredith!" Addison's voice caught her in the hallway and Meredith looked over at the other woman who had burst into the hallway and was now chasing after her intently.

Addison was not wearing anything under her robe and even in her own personal torment, Meredith could not help but notice the delicious slope of the other woman's cleavage as it disappeared into a shadowed fold of the robe.

It seemed that the freckles did in fact go all the way down.

The knowledge hurt Meredith more than she could imagine and she backed further away from Addison. "Meredith wait. What is the matter with you?" Addison asked, sounding bewildered and a little cross.

"I don't share, Addison." Meredith whispered, feeling her heart moan in agony in her own chest.

Maybe she should see Cristina about this heartache?

"What do you mean share? What?" Addison attempted to grab at Meredith but it was already too late.

"I thought we had something." Meredith whispered and pointed at the man who was now standing in the doorway of the hotel room, looking every bit like a statue of Adonis.

"What?" Addison said, obviously confused.

It made Meredith wonder as to what exactly was the standard norm for behaviour in the other woman.

Without any more words, Meredith turned and made her way into the fire escape and started to race down the stairs, oblivious to the ringing phone in her hand and uncaring if she plunged head first to her own death as she took the stairs four or five at a time.

How could this have happened?

Why did this have to happen?

Tears were streaming down her face now and Meredith could barely see as she plunged into her car and desperately tried to organise her keys and her mind enough to start the car.

Her phone rang again. Meredith stabbed at the keyboard angrily and wiped her eyes harshly with her arm, glad when it hurt.

It was time to go to work and to forget.

It was too late though, if Meredith had any doubts at all about how she felt about Addison, they had been dashed when she had seen that handsome shirtless man in the redhead's hotel room.

She was in love with Addison Montgomery and she was going to die from heartache as she could not have her. How impossible was this?

Fuck it all!

Angrily, Meredith drove her car aggressively towards the hospital, determined to somehow manage to move on with her life. Maybe she could get a transfer to the East Coast somewhere? Anyplace but here...

Damn Cristina for not being at work yet.

Meredith desperately wanted to talk to her friend. She needed to hear Cristina say something unsuitable and funny and needed to feel loved. But, it seemed that Cristina was nowhere in the hospital so Meredith found herself standing in front of the board trying to see it through the layer of tears that obscured her vision.

Her phone had stopped ringing; apparently Addison had given up trying to call her. Just as well, Meredith was sure that she never wanted to hear from or see the other woman again.

Wrapped up in her thoughts, Meredith failed to notice the arrival of Doctor Mark Sloan until the man was basically standing on top of her. Looking up absently, Meredith felt her heart seize in her chest.

Mark was standing with Mr. Adonis from the hotel room.

Confusion clouded Meredith's mind and after a moment Mark seemed to take her silence as his cue to speak.

"Meredith. I want you to meet someone." He began cordially and Meredith felt her stomach twist itself into a Gordian knot of epic proportions.

"Oh?" She managed to squeak out.

"Yeah. This is my brother, Jason." Mark continued, oblivious to Meredith's confusion and angst.

"He's come to help Addison with a consult and to check out the Seattle nightlife." Mark added.

Meredith automatically reached out her hand and felt it grabbed by the man. "You were at the hotel this morning, right? Addison said you were a friend and she seemed really upset that she missed you." Jason, the man, said pleasantly.

Pleasantly? She wanted to rip this man's face off and he was being so nice.

"Man, you Sloans don't waste any time do you?" Meredith said sharply as she pulled her hand back and wondered if she had any hand sanitizer handy.

"What?" Mark asked, incredulous.

"First you, and now your brother. Don't you think Addison has had enough issues already because of a single Sloan?"

Mark started to laugh and his brother just looked bewildered.

"You know, Meredith, if I did not know any better I would swear you were jealous." Mark said between guffaws.

Meredith wanted to kick him in the balls.

"Jason, my brother is as gay as a three dollar bill. If anyone is on his radar here it certainly is not Addison." Mark extrapolated and Meredith felt her indignation and anger slowly start to turn to horror and mortification.

"I had dropped some coffee on my shirt and she mentioned that she had a tee shirt that might fit me and so I answered the door while she was running some cold water over my ruined shirt." Jason seemed so pleasant, and so reasonable, and now that Meredith actually paused to look at him for a moment, so very, very gay.

Jason turned away for a moment to admire a passing Intern, a male one, and Meredith took the opportunity to look at Mark and raise her eyebrows at him. Figured that there would be a gay version of the plastic surgeon. A man-whore as it were.

However, Meredith's main concern now was Addison and what had happened in the past hour.

Oh shit...


Chapter 15

"Have you seen Addison?" Meredith asked as soon as she came upon Richard Webber the moment she found him.

He would have a good idea where she was if anyone did. Addison was not answering her phone, or her pages and an attempt to call her hotel room had also been unsuccessful. Meredith was starting to feel frantic.

What if she could not fix this?

"Only briefly. She told me she was leaving early and that she would be back on Friday." Richard replied and Meredith nodded her thanks.

Where was she?

A quick series of pages to Cristina, Callie and Alex did not yield any fruitful results either. Great. Meredith made a decision and also paged Mark and Bailey, asking them to let her know if they saw Addison anyplace.

Meredith had a feeling though that the other woman was not in the hospital at all. Meredith could not blame her. What she had done this morning at the hotel to Addison was unforgivable. She just hoped that Addison would find it within herself to forgive her. Meredith pounded through the last hiding places that she thought that Addison might be in and kicked herself as she did.

Why had she done this?

Why had she assumed the worst?

Why didn't she listen?

Would she ever learn?

The questions were endless and there did not seem to be any answers just quickly available. She had to find Addison.


Swinging by the Resident's Lounge to get her stuff, Meredith made her way as quickly as possible to the bar in question and confirmed within the span of a glance that the redhead was not there.

Which was good, but also bad.

Not in the hospital and not at Joe's. Not answering at the hotel or anywhere else.

If only she knew more about Addison she might be able to figure out where the other woman would go to vent her anger or her sorrows, or just her frustrations for that matter. What if she never had the opportunity to find out?

Oh my God, what had she done?

Getting into her car Meredith sent off a message to Bailey telling her that she had some urgent personal business to attend to and would be back as soon as possible, Meredith started the engine and tapped the wheel impatiently.

Where do you go when you have a disposable income, traffic stopping looks that could get you into anywhere and were pissed off at your sort-of girlfriend?

It took her an hour, but Meredith finally decided that she would go to the hotel and wait for Addison to show up if she had to. Addison would have to come back to pick up her luggage before going to California. So, unless some major disaster at the hospital called her away, she would wait and hope that Addison was ready to hear her out.

Parking the car in what was becoming a familiar spot, Meredith made her way to the hotel and decided that first she would go and knock on Addison's door. It did not seem to be like the sort of thing that Addison would do; drown her sorrows with the mini bar, but Meredith was determined to cover all avenues.

The doors of the hotel opened obediently before her and Meredith walked into the now familiar lobby. Making her way to the elevators, Meredith quickly found herself in front of Addison's hotel room door. Taking a deep breath, Meredith knocked firmly, feeling her heart in her throat.

Listening intently, Meredith heard absolutely no sounds or movements from within the room and after a few moments concluded that Addison was not there.

Fantastic. Now what should she do?

Feeling despair creep over her, Meredith leaned against the wall next to Addison's door and slid down to a sitting position. It all felt so hopeless. What was she going to do? She had fucked it up, badly. Her insecurities, her lack of self worth, and her history had polluted a relationship even before it really began.

Was there a way that she could salvage this?

Self pity and remorse overwhelmed Meredith as she sat by the door and she felt hot tears begin to streak down her face.

Damn it.

"Hey, are you okay?" A voice asked her, startling her from her miserable reverie.

Looking up into the kindly face of what looked to be the hotel janitor, Meredith blinked in incomprehension.

"What?" She asked, despite herself.

"You looked like your dog just died. Are you okay?" The man repeated gently.

"Uhm." Meredith offered, wiping her eyes with the sleeve of her jacket.

"Guess not, huh." The man said after a moment and then offered her a package of tissues.

"No, I am not okay. I messed up something important, and now I have no idea how I can fix it. She's not here, and she's not answering her phone. I don't know what to do." Meredith shocked herself by actually answering the man's question.

Why not though, he was a complete stranger that she was unlikely to ever meet again and he had a gentleness about his face that made him seem safe to talk to.

"You gotta do what your heart tells you to." The man offered after a moment, shuffling his scuffed work boots and scratching his left ear.

"But I can't find her." Meredith agonised out loud.

"Have you tried the hotel bar? It's where people go to drown their demons and from the sounds of it, she probably has a demon to drown." The man said with a smile in his voice.

Meredith looked up at him, wondering if he was laughing at her. Instead she just saw that he was offering her some hope. "Come on then." He continued, offering her his hand and a moment later she was standing on her feet and marching down the hallway to the elevators.

Before turning the corner, she glanced back at the man and smiled. "Thank you." She called out and received a friendly wave in return.

Making a mental note to pay the good deed of the anonymous man forward one day, Meredith got into the elevator with a pounding heart and headed down to the hotel lobby. Of course, that was the most natural place for Addison to be. Well, at least Meredith had gotten something right, she had found her way to the hotel.

True enough, when Meredith took some time to look at the bar from a distance, she could see Addison sitting in it. Why had she not thought of it sooner? Maybe she was intended to meet the kind man with the tissues and the sagely advice. Maybe.

Approaching the bar carefully Meredith wondered when Addison would notice her and choose to leave before she got there. The other woman seemed to have found a spot in the bar where she could observe all, but it would be somewhat harder to approach her without being noticed.

Meredith was sort of obvious wearing scrubs under her jacket and looking quite out of place overall. Addison noticed her almost at once. For a long moment, Meredith was certain that Addison would get up and leave but then she seemed to settle back down and Meredith took that as her cue to approach.

This was up to her now. She had to convince Addison that she was sorry and that it would not happen again and that it was worth it for Addison to give her a second chance. When Meredith reached the small table that Addison was sitting at, she wondered if it would be too presumptuous of her to sit down.

"Sit, Meredith. People are paying too much attention and it's none of their business." Addison's voice was cool and hard and Meredith wanted to cry when she heard it.

"I'm sorry." Meredith said just as soon as she had sat.

"It's going to take a lot more than, I'm sorry, Meredith." Addison said after a pause, finally raising her eyes to look at Meredith.

Addison looked hurt, deeply hurt. She also looked angry.

This was not going to be easy and Meredith knew it. It was worth it though, even if it took her days to talk Addison around. If she could have a second chance she would show Addison that her trust was not misplaces. Meredith swore this to herself as looked at Addison who was looking back at her expectantly.

"I know. But I have to start someplace." Meredith offered.

Addison did not smile. "What is the matter with you that you would immediately jump to such a conclusion about me, especially faced with such scant evidence. Especially without letting me get a word in edgeways." Addison said in an angry rush.

"I'm not done yet." Addison continued when Meredith started to reply.

Meredith decided that it was best if she let Addison say her piece before anything else happened.

"You ignored my pages and my calls and you were so jealous and petty and for what? For nothing." Addison pushed aside her untouched drink. "I was looking forward to seeing you and this is how you reward me?" Addison looked like she was going to cry tears of frustration.

"It was inexcusable, Addison. I am so sorry. I don't know what came over me, I just don't." Meredith finally said when Addison seemed to be done and was expecting her to say something.

"You'd better figure it out, Meredith. I haven't got all night." Addison replied, clearly unmoved by Meredith's initial attempts to make amends.

"Can we go to your room?" Meredith pleaded gently.

She did not want to make a scene in the bar and she doubted Addison would want to either. "No, but we can go for a walk." Addison said at once, beginning to gather up her things and Meredith hurried to do the same.

Clearly Addison was not in the mood to be in an enclosed space with her just yet. Hopefully Meredith would be able to persuade her to change her mind before too long, she'd take a walk though. Anything was better than nothing. Meredith could not bear the thought of not having Addison in her life anymore.

She had to make this right.

"No talking, Meredith. Not yet anyway." Addison said firmly as soon as they reached the street.

Meredith decided that obeying Addison right now would be a good thing. They walked in silence for a couple of blocks and then Addison guided Meredith to a small park. Really, it was barely more than a couple of benches and some flower beds and some old shade trees, but it was deserted.

"So, Meredith. Is sorry all you have to say for yourself?" Addison asked, her voice hard and angry.

"How could you do this to me? To us?" Addison demanded.

Meredith tried to reply but was not given any opportunity to do so. "Is it your way to sabotage relationships? Is this what you do?" Addison's voice was low, but Meredith could hear her anger and hurt and bewilderment clearly.

It tore at her and made her wish that she could turn back time. She wished she could take it back, get over her insecurities and grow up and then bound into Addison's hotel this morning and kiss her and bring her coffee and wish her good morning.

Instead, she had done this.

She had hurt the woman she was in love with and who had given her an evening that she would not soon forget. Why had she done this?

"I haven't got all day, Meredith." Addison probed pointedly.

"I don't know why I did it. I saw Mark's brother and just my mind decided to assume the worst. I think I just. I don't..." Meredith fumbled for words and when she looked at Addison she only saw a closed expression and frustration on the other woman's face.

"Try harder, Meredith." Addison finally said.

Meredith took a deep breath and started again. "I have trust issues. I think I was expecting the worst, or thinking you may not be real. I was jealous, insecure and unable or unwilling to stop myself from freaking out." Meredith hoped that Addison would at least be willing to hear what she had to say.

She seemed to be, but the park they were in made it easy to walk away. Meredith could no bear the thought of Addison walking away from her.

"I understand issues, Meredith. But you did not let me explain, and I should not have had to explain myself anyway. You should have said hi to Jason, or let him tell you who he was. He knew who you were, I had just been telling him about you." Addison said, her voice quiet.

"Oh, God." Meredith burried her face in her hands.

"God is not going to help you here, Meredith." Addison replied.

"What can I do?" Meredith asked finally after trying vainly to come up with something herself.

"I don't know, Meredith. I want to understand, but at the same time I just want to shake you or cry or walk away." Addison replied.

Meredith felt her heart seize in reaction to Addison's words.

"I grew up being told I was never good enough and somehow trying to live up to a woman who was impossible to please." Meredith said in a rush, hoping to at least delay Addison from walking away if it came to that.

"I'm broken, Addison" Meredith added. "It's not your job to fix me, but please give me a chance to fix myself." She added.

"I have mommy issues too." Addison said softly.

At least her voice was not so hard anymore. "I think everyone has mommy issues." Meredith allowed.

Addison nodded at her assessment. "I won't be treated this way, Meredith. I won't." She sounded frustrated now. "This is not high school, this is life." Addison finally sat down next to Meredith and they spent a few moments watching a pigeon peck at the dirt.

"If you can't give me the benefit of the doubt, especially when I have given you no reason to doubt me, we can't be." Addison finally said.

"You have to decide who you want. You don't have to tell Derek about me, but you have to choose which one of us you will be with." Meredith nodded as the redhead spoke.

"I know." She said softly. "You are being very patient." She murmured.

"Do not mistake my patience with me being a pushover or someone you can treat like you did this morning." Addison's voice was hard and Meredith felt the threat of tears as she listened.

What has she done?

"I have to get ready, I am leaving tomorrow back to California." Addison sighed as she spoke.

"Why did you have to do this? Why Meredith?" Addison demanded as she crossed her arms and continued to glare at the pigeon.

"I won't do it again, I promise." Meredith said with all the sincerely that she felt.

"Huh." Addison replied but did not elaborate further.

Meredith hoped that it was a sign that Addison was going to give her another chance.

They walked back to the hotel in a more companionable silence than they had left and when Addison did not seem to object, Meredith decided to accompany the redhead to her hotel room.

Addison did not speak for the duration of the elevator trip or the walk through the corridors of the hotel. Once at her door, Addison quickly unlocked the door and stepped into her room. Meredith waited until Addison had turned towards her once more before taking a step closer.

"Are we okay?" Meredith asked.

"I don't know, Meredith." Addison replied, her face a study of emotion. "I'll see you when I get back." Meredith took a step back at the words.

She realised that Addison was not going to be receptive to any attempts to lighten the situation and the tears that had been threatening since Meredith had arrived at the hotel finally spilled down her cheeks. They were hot, filled with anger and sorrow, heartache and shame.

Why had she done this?

Looking up at Addison, she saw that the other woman's face had grown impassive, but her eyes, they spoke volumes.

Meredith wondered if she could possibly hold on to hope while Addison was gone. She would have to. This was worth it.

Finally Addison stepped back from the doorway and began to close the door. "Have a safe trip." Meredith managed to say before the door was completely closed.

"Goodbye, Meredith." Addison said by way of reply and Meredith felt her heart seize in her chest at the finality of the words.

Somehow she was going to have to hold on to hope; despite the overwhelming odds that a contrary action would be more logical.


Chapter 16

When Meredith arrived back at the hospital she was almost at once informed by Bailey that Derek wanted to see her.

Great, a crowning moment for her day. A surefire argument with her boyfriend-cum-husband whom she no longer wished to know in any of those contexts. Add to that, he was her boss, in more ways than one.

She needed to talk to Cristina.

Derek first, though. Might as well get it over with as soon as possible.

Arriving at his office a few minutes later, Meredith knocked once and stepped inside, closing the door behind her.

"Where have you been?" Derek asked without preamble.

"I had a personal matter to attend to." Meredith replied, feeling defensive.

"And you won't tell me what it is?" Derek inquired, shuffling some papers on his desk.

"You know, if it were not for the fact that all the attending doctors are giving you good reviews, I would be tempted to put you on suspension." Derek said after a moment.

"For what? A personal matter?" Meredith asked, incredulous.

It was an incredibly hypocritical thing for him to say. Not too long ago he had skipped work for almost a week while he held a drunken self-pity party in the woods.

"What's going on with you?" Derek asked, ignoring her question which infuriated Meredith.

"I am having some personal issues, Derek. I don't have to share everything with you, do I? I mean you don't share everything with me." Meredith replied.

She was not lying, she just was not telling the whole truth.

"I'd think you were having an affair, but everyone I ask says they have only seen you with Cristina, Callie, Bailey or Addison and there is no time to do anything except work anyway." Derek said after a beat.

"Is this what you called me in here for, to discuss personal matters?" Meredith fumed at him.

How dare he use his position to do this. At least Richard had backed down when she had made it clear that she did not want to deal with the mixture of the professional and the personal in this manner.

"I can't seem to get hold of you otherwise." Derek replied, sounding pleased with himself.

"Well, make sure you include, it's personal, in your page next time so I can save the bother of coming here. If you want to talk to me about personal stuff, then you're going to have to face me at home. So either stay up, come home earlier, or deal with it in some other way." Meredith said firmly.

"I warned Richard to not do things like this. Don't make me have to tell you where the line is as well." With those words, Meredith decided that she was fed up with the conversation so she turned and started to walk out.

"This isn't over, Meredith." Derek said just as she opened the door.

Nice. As if she did not have enough to think about as it was.

"Meredith." Hearing the sound of Richard Webber's voice made Meredith pause mid-stride.

"Yes?" Meredith asked warily.

She was trying to make sure that she could leave the hospital soon. She needed to get away from prying eyes, she wanted to talk with Cristina. She needed to cry and she needed to pray or yell at the sky, or something.

Richard caught up with her and Meredith looked at him expectantly. "What can I do for you, Doctor Webber?" Meredith had preferred it when Richard had been Chief.

Her mother's former lover may have had his flaws, but as Chief he had been very good and he lacked the arrogance that Derek had. Being Chief was not about ego, it was about pride and people.

"Have you got a few minutes to talk?" Before Richard may have simply assumed that she had the time, now he asked.

"Okay." Meredith could only guess at what the man wanted to talk to her about, but she could not ignore it, not really.

"Good." Richard said and a few moments later they were safely ensconced in a conference room, away from prying eyes and ears.

"What's going on between you and Addison?" Doctor Webber asked without preamble once Meredith had sat down and began to fidget.

At the mention of Addison's name, Meredith felt the threat of tears. She had been trying to hold it together at work. She needed to break down and freak out, but because of Derek and because of so many reasons she could not do that at the hospital, or at least she did not want to.

"Meredith." Richard said softly, moving closer to her and touching her hand gently.

Looking up at her quasi father figure, Meredith felt a single tear escape her eyes and lowered her gaze once more.

"Oh Meredith." Richard said after a moment.

"What are you going to do?" He asked, obviously picking up on her distress.

"She's going back to California and she's mad at me and I don't know if I can handle it and then there is Derek." Meredith said in a rush.

"It's not about what Derek wants, Meredith. This is about you and your life." Richard said soothingly. "It's time you live it." He added.

Meredith nodded, feeling another tear escape.

"You should get out of here soon." Richard handed Meredith a tissue as he said this and for a few moments Meredith felt a sense of relief that someone else knew her secret.

"What if she does not forgive me?" Meredith asked as she blew her nose.

"You'll have to fight that battle when it comes then, Meredith." Richard replied.

Meredith nodded and rose to her feet, squeezing the man's hand briefly before she left the conference room and closed the door softly behind her.

Richard Webber was a good man, but Addison was still mad at her and Meredith could feel the threat of a major breakdown lingering on the edges of her mind. She needed to get away from the hospital and maybe see if Addison would take a call from her, or something.

She could not just let the other woman go back to California still angry. Anything could happen in a few days and Meredith had learned the hard way not to leave things unsaid or undone until tomorrow; tomorrow may never come.

No Cristina. Meredith finally had to give up on trying to find her friend and simply asked Cristina to call her as soon as she could. Meredith desperately wanted to talk with her person.

Meredith had already decided that she was not going to give Addison up without a fight. Right now though, she was in despair as to how exactly she was going to accomplish that. Now however, she wanted to get out of the hospital and get some privacy.

Rushing out to her car, she drove home quickly and then hurried up to her room. It was late, really late and she wanted to see if she could catch Addison still awake.

The phone was answered after one ring. "Meredith." Addison's voice purred over the line and Meredith felt her heart catch.

"Addison." She replied, hoping that her voice did not give her nerves away too much.

"I wanted to talk with you some more." Meredith swore to herself that she would not cry.

"Okay." Addison said and Meredith could hear the shift of cloth as she moved.

Addison was in bed and the knowledge brought Meredith's problems to the forefront. Just a little while ago she had spent the night sleeping against Addison's side in that very bed and now they were here right now in this mess. All because Meredith had issues and those issues had clouded her judgement and had made her act like a bitch towards one of the most important persons in her life.

"Please give me another chance, Addison. I really don't want to fuck this up. I want this to be good. I want you and me, I want us." Meredith finally found her voice.

"This is not about another chance, Meredith. It is about respect and how little you respected me this morning. And it is also about trust." Addison sighed into the phone.

"You're right." Meredith said at once.

"Please don't walk away from me." Meredith realised that she really did not have the right to ask Addison this, after all she herself had walked away this morning.

"You need to give me reasons not to." Addison moved again in her bed and Meredith realised once more that she would not be able to live without knowing what it felt like to sleep with Addison again.

"I'm sorry, Addison. It won't happen again. I promise you." Meredith said softly into the phone.

"I know, Meredith. The problem is though that this was not a simple thing, or a small thing. This was major. It should not have happened in the first place." Addison sounded much warmed than she had before in the day when they had spoken face to face.

Meredith supposed that the phone allowed a level of intimacy and privacy that was suitable for this particular situation.

"Forgive me. I know this is not as simple as that, we need to talk about it and I need to remember the lessons." Meredith whispered.

"It's going to take time Meredith. I can't forgive you right now." Addison said softly in reply

"Goodnight, Meredith." Addison said after some silence.

"Goodnight." Meredith replied and when she heard the phone go dead, the tears that had been threatening to escape all afternoon and evening finally did escape.

Rolling over, she burried her face in her pillow and wept, almost keening with the pain caused by the possibility of losing someone she cared for. This could not happen. Not this time and not with this woman.

There had to be a way to make it right.

Meredith had been staring at her phone for at least fifteen minutes when she heard her doorbell. Great, just what she needed, a visitor.

Hopefully it was not her father, or her sister. Meredith was not sure that she could deal with either person at this time. Lexie was too emotional, her father was a stranger she only liked sometimes and he was fraught with issues when it came to interactions with Meredith. It would be hard for her to be civil to either person tonight.

Opening her door, Meredith almost sagged in relief when she saw Cristina standing at her door with a six pack in one hand and a bag of takeout in another.

"Apparently you are in need of Doctor Yang." Her best friend said without preamble and stepped into the house.

"Is McDipshit here?" Cristina asked in a stage whisper.

"No." Meredith said simply and followed Cristina to the kitchen.

"So, what's going on that has you leaving fifty messages for me and paging me twenty times?" Cristina inquired, sitting down and looking at Meredith.

"I fucked up." Meredith said, feeling the threat of tears.

"Mommy issues again?" Cristina asked, offering Meredith an open beer and a plate of greasy food.

"Yeah." Meredith replied.

"Well, let's eat, insult the intelligence of our bosses, our boyfriends, and complain about our mothers after that." Cristina did not ask for further details. "And you can insult your girlfriend too, if you like. I'll add my roommate to the insult list that way we have even more to complain about."

It made Cristina the perfect friend. She was happy to simply let Meredith be Meredith and Cristina loved her anyway. It had not always been an easy path or a smooth road between them but Meredith knew that she always had Cristina.

It was better than being alone.

It was only some hours later when she was alone again and not approaching any sort of somnolence, that she felt her anguish and fear overwhelm her again. What if Addison did not forgive her?

It was an unbearable thought.

Meredith could have kicked herself. Maybe she should get a kicking machine to kick herself one of these days.

The roil of oily food and beer in her stomach was not encouraging, so Meredith rose from the bed and wandered into her living room and sat down on the sofa, staring into the dimness of the space and wishing that just for one she could have a normal reaction to something, whatever the hell normal was.

What if Addison did not forgive her?

Meredith felt fresh fear and new tears overwhelm her as she pulled her legs up, hugging them herself and looked out into the night beyond the windows. It was dark, hard to see and with long shadows outside. Somehow it was a fitting metaphor for how Meredith felt inside of herself.

What if Addison did not forgive her?

Six am. Meredith blinked at the dawn as it started to sneak its way across the sky. She had not been to bed yet and was now sitting in the kitchen, sipping bad coffee and willing her phone to ring.

Meredith had already run out of prayers, not that she was the praying sort anyway. She had also run out of tears and had spent the last few hours emotionally and mentally kicking herself and had run out of things to kick herself about.

Maybe her mother was right; she was simply not good enough.

The sun began to crawl along the table and soon its light and warmth snuck up Meredith's arm and to her face and for long moments Meredith was blinded by its brilliance. It felt wonderful, even though it stung. Like a moment of clarity but as soon as it arrived it was gone and after it had left and moved further along the morning, Meredith was left with her questions, and doubts and fears once more.

Her coffee was cold and she needed to go to work soon. Thankfully she did not have the obscenely early shift today, she would not have been able to face it with any sort of alacrity.

Her phone vibrated and Meredith almost spilled her cold coffee in startled reaction.

It was a text message. Meredith snatched up the phone and quickly checked. It was from Addison. Did she dare to actually read the message?

I forgive you. See you in three days. - Addison

Meredith blinked at the message, feeling an overpowering sense of relief flood her system. It felt like she was going to throw up, actually.

Quickly Meredith rose to her feet and rushed to the kitchen sink and stood there shaking for what felt like a long time.

Oh my God.

Eventually Meredith lit a fire under herself and started to get ready for work. She had three days to figure out a plan on how to win back Addison's trust. Three days to stew in her own thoughts. She would also need to deal with Derek.

So much to do, but now there was hope.

With a huge sigh, Meredith managed to type out a quick reply to Addison before closing her phone.

Thank you. See you in three days. - Meredith


Chapter 17

Meredith hurried to work, deciding on an intuitive level that Addison would need some space and peace while she was in California. Meredith for her part intended to use the time to come up with something to resume wooing Addison and to bring their relationship back on track. And she needed to do something about Derek.

In some ways Derek was a more pressing problem than Addison as he was part of the problem with everything. Addison was showing remarkable restraint and patience about Meredith's indecisiveness. Meredith had actually made her decision, she was just reluctant to implement it.

She had better get a move on or she may lose more than one relationship.

However, she doubted that Derek would make it simple or easy and she was forced to work with him, so actually implementing her wishes and thoughts was another thing altogether. If only just one thing was a little less complicated than impossible seeming.

Meredith sighed in frustration as she pulled into the hospital parking lot and turned off the ignition. Talking with Cristina was extremely cathartic and Cristina was her person, but Meredith really felt like she needed someone else to talk to. Someone more experienced with life, perhaps?

Maybe she would take Richard up on his offer to listen.

Meredith doubted that the man would object to Meredith following her heart. He was nothing, if not committed to Meredith's happiness.

It might take some persuading though to convince him that with Addison she would really be happy. Richard would be on her side though. He had been a good friend to Derek at one point, and the two men did still get along most of the time, but the friendship had existed at another time, and this was now.

She had better get a move on. If she intended to woo Addison, plan a date and do her job, there would not be a whole lot of time to sit around woolgathering over the next few days.

She also needed to figure out how to break up with Derek.

Meredith found that she felt a huge sense of relief, tinged though it was with sadness, at the idea of getting away from Derek. His presence in her life had complicated things and made her feel sometimes like she was no longer Meredith, like she had become another person separate from who she was.

Addison did not make her feel that way. With her there was an ease and a casualness and an understated sensuality that was captivating yet not overpowering in the oftentimes suffocating way that Derek has, even when he was trying not to pressure her or said he would wait or that he had no conditions.

With him there were always conditions, one just had to learn how to find them.

"Grey!" Meredith looked up at her voice being called out.

"You're with Doctor Robbins today." Meredith blinked a little at Bailey's words, but she did not especially object though.

Doctor Robbins was an excellent doctor and Meredith liked the woman. Maybe she would pick up some tips on how to woo a woman from the Paediatric Surgeon?


Things between Callie and Arizona had been the talk of the hospital briefly, but when the relationship has settled down into what it was right now, it had dropped off the radar. Hospital gossip was only interesting when it was juicy.

Meredith cringed inwardly at what the grapevine would say when she and Addison managed to get mixed up in it. Would it become non-news in time?

Probably not. Well, maybe eventually, but it would not be an easy road.

Meredith was used to things being complicated, though.

She'd manage. She always did in the end.

Making her way to Paediatrics, Meredith put on her game face and tried to bring in her scattered focus. She would have time soon enough to start to plan for Addison's return and with some luck, she would be able to consult the hospital's foremost expert in women, get some tips about dating or something?

Maybe. Provided no one was there listening to the conversation that is. She did not know Arizona so well, maybe she should go to Callie instead, though?

In any case, it was time to get to work. The rest of the day would wait until she could get to it.

"Doctor Grey, I need you to bring these scans to Doctor Shepherd." Arizona Robbins said to Meredith.

It was just past noon and the morning had gone smoothly thus far. Meredith sighed silently and took the scans from the cheerful surgeon. Meredith speculated that she might be cheerful if she was sleeping with Callie Torres and there were no problems on the horizon to cloud the situation.

"The patient needs a shunt and I want you to scrub in on the surgery with us." Doctor Robbins went on to say and Meredith felt a flicker of anticipation at the idea of being involved with the surgery.

Arizona would be performing an additional procedure while Derek worked on the boy's spinal fluid issue. Well, the blonde doctor would probably ensure that Derek behaved herself. Despite her disposition, Arizona Robbins was no shrinking violent by any means.

Hurrying off to do the good doctor's bidding, Meredith obsessively checked her phone, no message from Addison. That was okay though, Meredith intended to have a plan ready when the redhead came back and it would succeed. Failure was not an option.

"Doctor Shepherd." Meredith said as she arrived.

Derek looked up at her and scowled slightly. How mature.

"Doctor Robbins wants you to look at these scans and let her know when you are available for surgery." Meredith said as she handed the scans over to Derek.

"I'll be scrubbing in on this one." She added almost absently.

Derek did not react and deciding that his silence was a dismissal, Meredith left and decided to head back to the paediatrics ward. Derek could call Arizona himself, she was not about to act as a messenger for him.

Stepping into an elevator, Meredith felt almost pleased when Richard Webber stepped in behind her and acknowledged her warmly.

"Doctor Grey." He said, a smile in his voice.

"Doctor Webber." Meredith replied, unable to stop her face from grinning at the man.

Making a sudden decision, Meredith hit the emergency stop button and turned to her boss cum mentor. "I have a question for you." She began, unsure of how exactly she would proceed.

"Go ahead." The man said warmly.

"If you could do it over, would you choose my mother?" The question was slightly unfair, but it was highly applicable to her own situation.

"I would." He replied at once.

Meredith blinked at the lack of hesitation in his reply.

"You should go with your heart, Meredith." He added. "Living a life of second guessing your decisions and not doing what you truly desire is no way to live." He continued.

Meredith stood in silence for a long moment and then she nodded. "Thank you." She whispered and hit the emergency stop button again, allowing the elevator to jerk into motion.

Richard smiled at her and then stepped off at the next floor, leaving Meredith with a greater sense of peace than she had started her day with.

"What do you mean I won't be scrubbing in?" Meredith asked, incredulous.

What had happened in the past two hours to cause this?

"I'm sorry, Doctor Grey, but Doctor Shepherd specifically requested Doctor Karev." Arizona Robbins looked very apologetic, but why was Derek able to call the shots on this?

Meredith would have been assisting both Doctors as needed, but she was working with Doctor Robbins today, so it would seem that the Paediatric Surgeon would have had the final say as to if she would be scrubbing in or not.

Why had Derek done this?

Deciding to find out, she stalked off in search of her de-facto husband.

She did not have to look far, she practically ran into him coming around the corner on his way to the surgery that she should have been scrubbing into. "What are you doing, Derek. This was my surgery!" Meredith raised her voice, uncaring of who overheard or how Derek reacted.

"It's mine now, Meredith and I think you are professionally compromised when it comes to me, so I don't want you in my OR. End of story." Derek hissed, obviously embarrassed at the scene that Meredith was causing.

"Professionally? What are you talking about? This is personal with you. There is absolutely nothing in my performance to suggest we don't work well together. Damn it! " Meredith was fuming.

So it had come to this. Derek was unable to separate the professional from the personal anymore. Meredith would double her efforts to make sure that she would be able to maintain those boundaries, starting now.

"Very well, Doctor Shepherd." Meredith said coldly.

If he wanted professional, he would get it.

He would also regret it.

With barely concealed anger, Meredith walked away oblivious to whatever Derek might have been going to say next. You could never un-ring a bell and Derek had just rang the bell.

What an arrogant, controlling asshole!

Just wait until Cristina found out.

"He what?" Cristina asked in a suitably outraged tone of voice.

"Yeah." Meredith answered glumly.

"You need help to hide the bodies yet?" Cristina asked as she took a bite of her salad.

"It's beginning to feel like it." Meredith murmured.

"I gotta go, you let me know if I need to bring shovels someplace, okay?" Cristina hauled herself up and left with a wave of her hand.

"Well, I suppose I should also get going as well." Meredith said to herself and rose to her feet.

Just because Arizona was in surgery without Meredith, did not mean that there was no work to be done in the Paediatrics Ward.

It took Meredith a scant give minutes to reach her destination and only half a minute before she was snagged by another doctor for help. "Have you got a minute, Doctor Grey?" Meredith head snapped up at the voice.

Doctor Jason Sloan.

"Uh, sure." Meredith replied, feeling her shame, jealousy, and ire all mix into one as she followed the handsome man down the hallway.

"I need a good surgeon to assist me with a case and you come highly recommended." Jason Sloan said as they walked together into a room.

"I do?" Meredith asked.

"You do. Or so Addison told me and that counts for a very high recommendation indeed." He continued.

"I see." Meredith replied as she came to a stop in front of some scans and pictures.

Addison has told him this about her? It made her wonder what else Addison had told him about her. It was becoming hard to think all of a sudden.

"So, what do you think?" The doctor asked when Meredith had spent some moments looking at the scans blankly.

"Looks simple enough. But why are you doing this?" Meredith was not one to beat around the bush.

Thankfully she could think on her feet easily enough. Lot's of practise.

"It's my speciality." He replied easily.

It was easy to see that he was Mark Sloan's brother.

"Your speciality is Paediatric Oncology?" Meredith was surprised.

"Yep." He answered in the same easy way as before.

"So, tell me Doctor Grey and this is between just you and me of course. Is there something going on with you and Addison." Jason asked her after a moment passed.

Meredith coughed slightly in shock and felt a flush crawl up her face from her neck.

Jason laughed and squeezed her arm gently at her reaction shocking Meredith again. She was not used to people just casually touching her, and especially not virtual strangers that she wanted to kick down stairs barely thirty-six hours prior.

"I see. She's pretty mad at you. You better do something more than simply give her flowers when she gets back from California." He said, easily divining her answer even though she did not technically give it to him.

"I don't know what, actually." Meredith said before she could think better of it.

"Ah, well then, it's good that you are working here today then as I am here and let me tell you, I know just what to do. I'm just that fabulous." Meredith laughed out loud at that.

"So, have you had any ideas at all?" The man asked after a beat.

"Not really. The problem is I don't really know her all that well. I was the dirty mistress in the beginning, and technically she is that right now." Meredith extrapolated, feeling somehow instantly and quickly comfortable with the man who was Mark Sloan's brother.

"Well, everyone needs a gay friend, trust me on this." Jason said lightly, sounding very pleased with himself.

"Addison likes the outdoors." Jason began conspiratorially.

Meredith leaned in to listen to what he had to say as if he had the answers to the meaning of life and was giving them away for free.

It would seem that it was a good thing that Derek has stolen her surgery after all.


Chapter 18

By evening Meredith was armed with a much better understanding of Addison Montgomery and using that knowledge, so let her fingers do the walking, or well her mouse button do the walking and found out some information online.

Tomorrow she would make some phone calls and hopefully be able to make some arrangements with regards to the plan to woo Addison back. It had to work and talking with Jason Sloan had really been an education to say the least.

He was talkative, but also extremely easy to talk to and it seemed that he had an intuitive grasp of not only Addison, but the importance that Meredith had in Addison's life. So, while he was forthcoming with suggestions and ideas, he never seemed to cross the boundary into sharing too much. Meredith hoped that she would have a lifetime to learn the rest.

Hearing the front door close, Meredith put away her research and feigned sleep. Hopefully Derek would not want sex tonight. He had been getting more and more insistent in the last week or two and Meredith was running out of valid reasons to say no. Soon she would have to tell him the actual reason.

It was over.

She worked with Derek and shared a house with him, so it was, or at least it did not seem to be so simple to get out of this situation.

Meredith reasoned with herself that she was probably over thinking the situation, but that was what she did; she over thought everything.

Derek did not come to bed and Meredith supposed he had decided to sleep on the couch or in the study and it made Meredith infinitely glad. Even something as minor as not having to deal with his angry breathing for a night was a huge relief.

Rolling over, Meredith decided to try to get some sleep. Tomorrow would be a long day and she would need to find the time and energy to make some plans. Meredith wanted the second date with Addison to be as memorable and as special as the first had been. Of course, it remained to be seen if Addison could be persuade to go on another date with Meredith.

She's have to persuade Addison, there was not other choice.

As sleep overcame her, Meredith wondered how the redhead was doing. Just another thirty six hours and Addison would be arriving at the airport again.

Meredith could barely wait.

"I need it for the weekend. Is that possible?" Meredith said into her phone as she walked through the hospital the next morning. "For Sunday." She added for emphasis.

"Okay, I will call back in the afternoon to confirm the reservation." Meredith said pleasantly and then thanked the person on the other end of the line before hanging up.

Things were looking up. Now the only thing that remained was to persuade Addison to go out with her. She needed to find Jason again soon and go over some details with him. It seemed somehow hysterical that she was consulting with a flamboyantly gay man about how best to get back into the good graces of a woman. The world never ceased to amaze her, even as it made her roll her eyes until her brain hurt sometimes.

Maybe she was starting to channel Doctor Bailey.

"Meredith." Hearing her name Meredith looked over at Little Grey.

Her half-sister. It was such a mixed feeling, but one that Meredith was invested enough in to have given her estranged father a piece of her liver for. The things the illogically logical world made us do. Meredith mused this briefly as she waited for Lexie to say whatever she was going to say.

"I haven't got all day, Lexie. Get to the point." Meredith eventually prompted when it looked like Lexie was going to spend the next few minutes alternating between blushing and not saying anything.

"Don't you think Derek should know?" Lexie finally managed to cough out.

Meredith felt a chill at her sister's words.

"Eventually. It's not really any of your business, Lexie, so please, just keep your mouth shut about it. If you tell even one person and that person is the wrong person, the whole hospital will know within an hour." Meredith said firmly.

God, she hoped that Lexie would keep her mouth shut. She was a good kid, but she did not have the discretion or the knowledge to know who not to tell.

"Okay." Lexie said, obviously wanting to remain in Meredith's good graces.

Hopefully that would remain her modus operandi.

"You'll be among the first to know when I have decided what to do." Meredith assured her sister and then disengaged the conversation.

She was not ready to get this intimate with her half-sister. Maybe some day.

Just not now.

It had taken her ten minutes to have a run in with Derek. While on the one hand she was glad that she had missed the surgery yesterday she was still furious about it.

"I'm sorry about yesterday, I was out of line." Derek said as he stood next to her in front of the board.

"Yes, you were." Meredith conceded, wondering why he was being nice all of a sudden.

Was he worried that he had pushed too hard?

It was too late.

"I'm sorry." He said again, sounding like a windup doll.

"Okay, Derek. I hear you." Meredith said and after committing her schedule to memory she walked away from him.

It was too late to say sorry. He had been an oppressive and suffocating presence in her life for too long now and Meredith just wanted to live now. He was only a factor in that she was going to have to figure out how to disentangle him from her life with hopefully minimal damage.

Fat chance of that.

The fallout was going to be devastating.

Meredith cringed at the thought as she went off in search of Doctor Bailey, who would be assisting Doctor Robbins and Doctor Jason Sloan today in removing a difficult tumour from a child. Meredith had seen the scans the day before and she had been requested to be part of the team.

It was not a surgery that Derek could be involved with unless he really decided to get into Meredith's face, so she was grateful that his interference would be minimal, at least for today.

Eventually Meredith found her fellow doctors and felt a surge of warmth when each one looked at her in a very welcoming fashion. Derek may see her as a problem and not want to operate with her, but plenty of others felt the opposite was true.

Screw Derek.

Happily anticipating the surgery, working with Bailey, Gay Sloan and Arizona and also with finalising her Sunday plans, Meredith quickly focused on what she was doing and went into full doctor mode.

She had a reputation to build and a reputation to uphold, after all. She also wanted her mentors, friends, and colleagues to be proud of her. She wanted to be proud of herself as well.

"Hold here." It was Bailey who spoke as the foursome of doctors worked in synch to save this child's life in the OR.

Meredith reached into the body cavity of the patient without hesitation, marvelling as she always did at the fact that she had her hands in and on the living viscera of another human being. It was a thrill that was tinged with fear and the adrenalin rush that accompanied it was intense.

She sometimes wondered if she would have become a surgeon had her mother not been so famous and so intense about being a surgeon. It no longer mattered though, Meredith was a surgeon and she was earning herself a reputation and an identity that was separate from her mother.

As she worked, she heard her cell phone vibrate on the tray of phones and pagers that accompanied all doctors into surgery these days. A nurse went and checked the phone and then looked up at Meredith.

"Doctor Grey, do you want me to check this message for you?" The woman asked.

It was unlikely to be an urgent message so Meredith shook her head, she would check it later when the surgery was done. Nurses generally did not answer the phones or text messages, their main job was to check pages in case something urgent came up. But with surgeons easily spending four, or six or ten hours in surgery, cell phones and sometimes even laptops came along.

It was a brave new world.

Sometime later found Meredith exhausted and in an On Call room laying down just as soon as she had been able to tear herself away.

With her eyes closed and wearing fresh scrubs, Meredith willed her phone to vibrate or ring, even though she knew that Addison was unlikely to call her unless there was some emergency, or her schedule changed.

Still, Meredith liked to hope.

The text she had received in the OR was a short message confirming that her plans for the weekend were on. All she needed to do was muster the energy to call and confirm reservations and to make sure that her plans for the weekend would run smoothly. All of it of course hinged on Addison and getting her to participate, but Meredith was confident. She had everything to gain by doing this right.

Her pager went off.

Hauling herself upright, Meredith made her way quickly to her patient's room. He was waking up and there would be questions and Meredith was expected to be there as she was part of the team.

She liked that turn of phrase. Part of the team.

"Yes." Meredith was haggling with her credit card company.

Finally they acquiesced to her wishes and allowed the deposit to be charged and Meredith was able to relax. What a disaster it would be if her credit card was rejected at this point. She was not as tight up for money as many other Residents, but she was not exactly rolling in dough and life was expensive.

Finally as she sat down to have some coffee and some minutes off her feet, Meredith decided that she was going to send Addison a text message. Carefully she composed the missive on the tiny screen of her phone and tried to calm her pounding heart.

Funny how 140 characters could mean so much.

Hi, it's raining here. You will bring the sunshine when you come back. - Meredith

Almost deciding not to send the message, Meredith finally pressed send and slapped shut her phone.

It was done.

Putting her phone down she took a nervous sip of her coffee. Hopefully Addison would not mind her message, not that Meredith expected her to. It's just that she was so out of touch with how to woo and how to communicate with someone that you wanted to date.

In some ways she felt an affinity for the Chief, or well, Doctor Webber. She was out of touch with dating due to not having to put it into practise for a long time. Maybe they could have a chat and give each other pointers?

Meredith laughed at herself.

The phone vibrated with a message.

Almost chocking on her sip of coffee, Meredith snatched it up and opened it, quickly accessing her text messages.

It was from Addison.

Opening the message, she carefully read the little screen.

I think the sunshine is in Seattle already. - Addison

After reading the message four more times, Meredith finally took a deep breath and felt her body and soul sag with relief.

This would work.

It would.

Ellis Grey, for all her shortcomings had not raised a quitter and Meredith would not quit on Addison. Failure was not an option.

By the time came to go home, Meredith was giddy with anticipation. Tomorrow Addison would be back and so fat Meredith's plans were going well. Her credit card had been accepted and she had found someone to cover for her on the weekend and Derek was mostly staying out of her way as well.

Also, no one had died today and she had participated in a complex and demanding surgery with doctors that she both liked and respected.

It has been a good day.

When she got into bed to sleep, Meredith felt a happiness that had eluded her for a long time. She was asleep before she realised what had happened.

When morning came, Meredith woke with her alarm clock for a change and made her way through the house. No evidence of Derek. She wondered where he was spending his nights these days. She also wondered if she cared.

It was time to shower and get to work. Addison would undoubtedly make her way to the hospital as soon as she had situated herself at the hotel so Meredith wanted to make sure to be at the hospital as well. Missing Addison today would be impossible. It was Friday, she had plans for them on Sunday.

Deciding that she did not care where Derek had been last night, Meredith made her way to the car and quickly drove herself to the hospital.

Cristina was waiting for Meredith by the doorway holding two cups of coffee in her hands. Meredith was very glad to see her friend. Cristina almost always made her feel better, and if nothing else, Cristina made her feel loved. It was a special bond they shared and Meredith treasured it.

"How are things?" Cristina asked as they walked together into the hospital.

"Addison is coming back today." Meredith said by way of reply.

She felt unreasonably exited about it. Meredith could not wait to see the redhead and she could not wait until Sunday.

"I need to talk her into going on a date with me." Meredith added after they had stepped into the elevator together.

"Ambush. Catch her at a moment when she is off guard and in a good mood and she is bound to say yes." Cristina advised.

It was a good idea.

Meredith nudged her friend and smiled at her. "She can't say no to me, right? I mean you'd go on a date with me, right?" It was fun to watch Cristina's face react to the statement.

"With kissing and stuff?" Cristina asked, sounding like she has just been asked to scrub in for an orthopaedic surgery.

Meredith just laughed happily at Cristina.

Addison was coming back to Seattle today.

The morning went smoothly and Meredith found herself about to scrub for an orthopaedic surgery of all things. Well, Callie was unique to be around and Meredith knew that despite Cristina's assessment that the speciality was about as subtle as carpentry, it was actually an extremely demanding field.

Meredith was just about to make her way get ready when Addison arrived and Addison knew how to make an entrance, even when she was not trying to.

"Hi." Addison said when she arrived within earshot of Meredith.

Meredith struggled to contain her reaction at Addison's presence, but she needed to.

"Hi." Meredith replied, feeling a blush start to creep up her face and neck.

"There is something for you in your cubby in the Resident's Lounge." Addison said with a smile that made Meredith think of many things, none of them especially related to being at work.

Meredith found herself fascinated at once. Addison had gotten her something? She wanted to rush off and get it, at once. First things first, though.

"How are you?" Meredith managed to ask Addison.

At this point, everyone was looking at Meredith, including Derek.

"Go check your things, Meredith. We'll talk later." Addison said with a mischievous twinkle in her eye.

"Okay. See you later." Meredith replied and smiled at Addison with barely contained joy.

Oh God, what would the rumour mill make of this? Meredith was certain that someone would tell her before long. Until then, she had a surgery to scrub in for and she had a new cap to wear for it.

Addison was back and she had brought a present for Meredith.

Happiness infused Meredith and she almost skipped as she hurried to get to the Lounge before she had to be at surgery. Almost running now, Meredith slammed open the door and skidded to a halt.

"Cristina!" Meredith gasped her friend's name out, happy to see her.

"Addison got me something." She exclaimed as she rushed to rummage through her things.

"What?" Cristina asked as Meredith resisted the urge to just dump everything on the floor.

"This." Meredith said in triumph, holding up a brown paper package.

"What's next, whiskers on kittens?" Cristina said sardonically.

"Hey, it's not tied up with strings, it's taped." Meredith laughed and quickly opened the package and drew in a quick breath.

Inside was a scrub cap. A green scrub cap with little stars on it.

"It matches your eyes." Cristina read off the attached note.

Meredith read the note and then reread it again to make sure she understood what it said. It matched her eyes?

Wow. Meredith was stunned to say the least and both she and Cristina simply stood there taking it all in for long moments.

"She's into you." Her friend whispered conspiratorially, earning a shove from Meredith.

Well, now Meredith knew what she was wearing to work. She could feel her heart beat with excitement at the thought that Addison had spent time selecting this gift for her. Meredith could not wait to see the redhead later. She was counting down the minutes until then.

Now however, she had to hurry, she needed to scrub in and get down to business before the next stage of her plan could come to fruition.

"Have you seen Addison?" Meredith asked Bailey, namely because she was the first person who might have a clue that Meredith had seen after leaving surgery.

"She was looking for a cup of coffee earlier." Bailey said distractedly and Meredith gathered that she would not be able to get a more specific answer from Miranda.

Well, coffee was a start.

Meredith wanted to thank the redhead for the gift and she needed to ask her to go on a date, pronto. The day was waning and in a few hours Meredith might miss her chance to ask Addison face to face, which she wanted to do.

Never mind that she wanted to ask Addison how she was doing and she simply wanted to be with Addison.

Rounding a corner, Meredith saw the tail-end of the woman in question.

"Doctor Montgomery." She called out, hoping to catch Addison's attention without having to catch her.

The elegant form of the woman in question turned towards her and an eyebrow was raised. "May I speak to you for a moment?" Meredith inquired, her voice the epitome of politeness while her heart was trying to beat its way out of her chest.

A slight nod was Meredith's answer and a few minutes later Meredith found herself enclosed in one of the small offices that the hospital provided on a first come, first serve basis.

"How are you?" Meredith inquired as she closed the door behind her and leaned against it.

Addison looked at Meredith and the gaze was like a touch, reminding Meredith that despite whatever misunderstandings or disagreements they had been having, the chemistry between them was undeniable.

"I'm fine." Addison drawled as she took a step closer.

Meredith felt her pulse skyrocket in reaction.

"Thank's for the present, I wore it today." Meredith murmured as Addison came within touching distance.

Thinking was becoming hard to do.

"I'm still mad at you." Addison whispered as she came to a stop just a hair's breadth away from Meredith.

"Are you?" Meredith breathed, her senses filling up with Addison and making it hard to think of anything at all.

"Yes." Addison mouthed just before she brushed her lips against Meredith's.

The feel of Addison against her was instantly overwhelming. Meredith coiled her arm's around Addison and pulled her in tighter as she opened her mouth to the redhead and allowed her body to feel.

Instantly and utterly aroused, Meredith moaned and Addison responded, arching beautifully into her and crushing her against the door. It was heaven. The redhead tasted of coffee and of something that Meredith would never get enough of. Ever.

Addison seemed to choke off a moan of her own and Meredith suddenly became obsessed with the idea of getting Addison to moan without restraint. She had to know, and thus she renewed her efforts, flipping them around so that she was pressing Addison into the door and then Meredith deepened the kiss.

She could not get close enough and as they moved, Meredith speculated on whether her scrubs were going to catch fire as heat, lust, love and longing obliterated her mind.

The redhead's mouth was so soft, so delicious. It would only take a little tiny push and Meredith would never be able to stop. Addison for her own part seemed to be in no hurry for the kiss to end and for long minutes their mouths made love and it was heaven. Pure, unadulterated heaven.

When they finally broke apart, Meredith found herself gasping and leaning hard against Addison while she revelled in the sensation of having those strong arms wrapped around her. "I've missed you so much." Meredith said into the fabric that encased Addison's shoulder.

"I missed you too. Don't ever do anything like that again, Meredith. It's not fair." Addison whispered into her hair.

"I won't." Meredith replied, feeling a peace and a relief and an energy that had been missing since the misunderstanding flood her body again.

She had missed it.

"Will you go on a date with me this Sunday?" Meredith asked out of the blue.

"Sunday?" Addison's reply was instant.

"Yes." Meredith said and pulled back slightly to look into Addison's eyes.

Big mistake. Unable to help herself, Meredith leaned in and kissed Addison again, this time not closing her eyes, but revelling in seeing what she was feeling reflected on Addison's face.

A minute later they pulled apart and Addison's gaze had a wildness to it when she looked at Meredith.

"Yes, I will." Addison replied.

"What?" Meredith asked, dazed slightly by the kiss.

"Go on a date with you." Addison supplied, kissing the tip of Meredith's nose.

"Oh wow." Meredith said happily. "I'll come pick you up at the hotel at about four on Sunday, okay?" Meredith continued in a rush.

"Okay." Addison replied, releasing Meredith at last.

They really did need to get back to work.

Meredith could feel the hum of barely contained arousal in her body and wondered how she was going to survive until the next time she kissed Addison.


Chapter 19


Meredith woke up early. She only had a few hours to prepare for tomorrow. Clothes, manicure, pedicure, waxing; she had already seen her regular hairstylist a week ago. Plans. She needed to plan.

Where was Derek?

Despite his arrogance, he was not obtuse. What was he up to and where was he?

Deciding not to think about him until she had to, Meredith focused once more on the task at hand which was to get ready for tomorrow. It was too bad Cristina had to work today. Meredith would have wanted her help or even just her company but if Meredith went to the hospital she would be snagged into work regardless of her schedule. She'd just have to deal with this herself as much as was possible.

Wondering what Addison might be up to, Meredith laid out clothes and thought about Sunday and about Addison. It was going to be great. She needed to get to her appointments though and then she wanted a nice long bath. Meredith would need to do some paperwork later and some reading, but for the most part today was all for her.

Hearing the front door close, Meredith deduced that Derek had come home. Hopefully this would not be too unpleasant to deal with. She really did not want a mood breaker right now, but she supposed that she would deal with it if she had to.

"What are you doing?" Derek's voice asked from the doorway.

"Getting ready, I am going out with Addison tomorrow." Meredith said truthfully.

He was going to find out eventually anyway. "I see." He murmured and wandered off with a scowl on his face.

Somehow Meredith felt that this was not the last she was going to hear of this, or many other things either. It was just a matter of time, really.

Meredith was not looking forward to that conversation.

It was time to leave though, her appointment was in an hour and she had to get across town. She would worry about Derek some other day, or at least not now.

Rushing out to the car, Meredith scrambled into the driver's seat and quickly made her way through the streets of Seattle. As she drove, Meredith considered that it felt good, the idea of pampering herself. She should do it more often.

Even just for herself.

Right now however, she was going it for Addison.

Meredith wanted Addison. She hungered for the redhead and the feeling was getting out of control almost in her body and in her mind. It was not am ephemeral feeling either. It was growing, feeding upon itself and making Meredith lose herself completely.

She absolutely could not wait until tomorrow.

Sunday arrived without incident and as Meredith made some last minute calls to make sure nothing would go wrong, she started to experience a serious case of nerves. Would Addison enjoy today? Would Addison really forgive her for being stupid and laden with baggage?

Where was Cristina? She had promised to come and hang out with Meredith before her shift began at the hospital. Meredith had swapped with Cristina, agreeing to do her shift in the Pit in exchange for Meredith's Sunday of being available to whichever Attending needed something.

It was a more than fair trade in Meredith's mind anyway. Cristina could easily end up in Cardio after all. Meredith secretly hoped that her friend would end up with something that challenged and excited her. Giving Cristina surgeries was better than giving her diamonds.

Meredith smiled as she heard her front door open and close. That would be Cristina now. Hearing footsteps, Meredith turned to see Derek standing in the doorway. Frowning and feeling a stab of anxiety, she waited for him to speak, distantly aware that the front door was opening and closing again.

"So, I have an offer for you." Derek began.

Meredith hoped that he was not going to proposition her for sex, that would just be too awkward.

"Yes?" She asked, noting that Cristina had come to stand behind Derek and was staring a hole in the back of his head.

"I want to make it up to you, the surgery that I stole. I have to work on an aneurysm on an expectant woman, I want you to scrub in for me." Derek said, looking confident that Meredith would accept.

"Cristina is covering for me today, get her to scrub in for you." Meredith said, nodding to Cristina who was standing behind Derek.

"You're saying no?" Derek asked, incredulous.

"I'm saying no. I have plans for today and they are set in concrete. The world does not actually revolve around surgery and the hospital or for that matter, you, all the time." Meredith explained and finished dressing, eager to get away from Derek.

Maybe she and Cristina could go someplace and have coffee, or whatever.

"Okay." Derek said defensively, looking deeply perplexed and not a little angry and then he turned to Cristina.

"Well, come on then." He said to her friend and Meredith could tell that Cristina only barely avoided rolling her eyes at Derek.

Without a doubt he would end up grilling Cristina today about Meredith.

Meredith looked at her friend apologetically but knew that Cristina would enjoy the challenging surgery and it would at least give her an opportunity to work in the more refined, precise and demanding surgical fields that appealed to her.

With a shrug, Cristina turned to follow Derek but before she was out of sight she gave Meredith a big smile and a thumbs up sign. It warmed Meredith's heart; at least someone else was on her side this morning.

"No, Derek. I have plans today." Meredith frowned as she walked up to Addison in front of the hotel.

Why was Addison on the phone with Derek?

Then it dawned on Meredith. Derek was asking her to scrub in on the surgery that Meredith had turned down. Would he know that she and Addison were going out? Did it matter?

"Hi Meredith." Addison said brightly as she closed her phone and turned to Meredith.

"I think Derek knows about us." Meredith said by way of greeting.

"Of course he knows, but what he knows is another matter. Don't let it worry you too much Meredith. The ball is rolling, either we allow it to crush us, or we jump out of the way, or we get on top and go with it. I vote for number three, even though it will be tricky." Addison said with laughter in her voice and linked her arm with Meredith's.

"Come on now, let's go have some of this coffee you promised me. The date does not start for another hour, but since we're early we can at least have cappuccinos and get over our butterflies, alright?" Meredith laughed at Addison's words.

It was such a relief to be around someone who was as complex as she was, but who did not spent a bunch of time complicating things.

Cappuccino and butterflies before their date began. It sounded perfect.

"Okay, Doctor Montgomery. Let me show you the best little coffee shop in Seattle. It's a well kept secret that everyone knows." Meredith said as she guided Addison to her car.

Today was not going to be formal or dressy like their first date had been, though they would be having dinner eventually of course. Today Meredith had also seriously considered sacrificing her kidney in a jar to the weather gods, if only they would keep the rain at bay at least until late in the evening.

So far her willingness to be the Abraham of the Isaac kidney seemed to be working.

Addison climbed into the car and soon Meredith was speeding them towards the best little coffee shop in question.

She'd worry about Derek later. Right now and today was about her and Addison and with some luck, it would remain that way.

As she drove, Meredith hope that Cristina would have a good time with the surgery and that by Monday, Derek would be less combative about Meredith having a life outside of the hospital, surgeries and him.

She did concede that she needed to confront her demons and make some hard choices, but it was not only up to her. Would Derek be willing to listen?

That remained to be seen.

He had decided early on that it was Meredith or nothing, but his own track record in the department had been sketchy. Their personalities were not compatible on many levels, one of which was the shades of grey that Meredith operated in and the black and white that Derek functioned under.

Time to focus on the now, though. She had Addison in her car, there was going to be coffee and a date and dinner too.

With a huge smile, Meredith reached over and squeezed Addison's hand. She wanted to kiss the redhead, but that would wait until a little later.

Meredith could almost taste Addison's mouth and skin already, and the thrill of anticipation coursed through her body.

Today was going to be fantastic. She just knew it. The answering squeeze from Addison that she felt seemed to confirm this assessment.

"Cappuccino okay? It's the best drink they have." Meredith asked Addison once they had found a nice table and were comfortably situated.

She wanted to spoil Addison in any way she could today, or always really.

"Sure. I am at your disposal and mercy today, Meredith." Addison replied with a slight incline of her head.

There was something breathtakingly sexy in her eyes and Meredith found herself unable to think clearly until she turned away and went to place their order. Addison had the uncanny ability to make Meredith simply forget everything except the moment that they were in and sharing.

Returning to the table quickly, Meredith found Addison staring off into space.

"Hey, are you okay?" She asked gently, wondering what was on the redheads mind.

It occurred to Meredith that she had been pretty much focused on her own issues in the past while when it came to Addison and what they were, or may become. It was time she started to pay more attention to Addison herself, especially if she wanted to regain the other woman's trust and have a future with her.

"I am just wondering." Addison began and then trailed off while she played with her napkin.

"Wondering what?" Meredith inquired after a moment.

"About you, and me, and us. About how Derek is going to react when he finds out." Addison continued, putting down her napkin and staring at a space somewhere to the side of Meredith's head.

"About us?" Meredith asked, feeling the butterflies in her stomach start a stampede.

Could butterflies stampede?

Meredith gave in to the urge to hold Addison's hand and reached across the table to do just that. "Talk to me." She urged.

"I am not looking for some casual fling, or a part time lover, Meredith. I want it all." Addison finally said, sighing a little before she looked at Meredith.

"What do you want? You're young, attractive and have not even decided your speciality yet." Addison queried.

"I want you." Meredith said without hesitation.

"I don't mean just physically. I want you in my life, and I want to be in your life. This is not some casual thing for me, I am not looking for a fling." Meredith continued after a moment.

"As for my speciality, I don't have to decide that yet, but you are not surgery, Addison. I am not going to flit about and hem and haw about what I may or may not want to do with you. You are my speciality, my romantic career culminates in you. I want you." Meredith knew she sounded a bit insistent.

"My friend, Naomi, she says I am crazy to do this." Addison said in a measured way after she had considered Meredith's words for a while.

"She says you are too wild and untamed and too young and too hung up on Derek." Addison seemed to put emphasis on the last word as she said it.

"Is she wrong?" Addison asked when Meredith did not speak.

"Yes, she is." Meredith was quick to say. "I doubt you would want me to be especially tame and while I know I am young, I am not a spring chicken. I was not born yesterday." Meredith added.

"I know. It's just that these things need to be said. Silence is a killer in a relationship. It breeds misunderstanding, assumption and when there is lack of information based on facts, it causes the imagination to fill the void with speculative fiction, which is never a good thing." Addison seemed to be warming up again as she spoke.

"Case in point, the other day and your reaction to Jason. Part of it was insecurities and stupidity, but part of it was lack of information. I could have told you on the phone that I had company, it would have been a natural thing to do. If you had known then maybe your reaction to a bare chested man in my hotel room would not have been so extreme." Addison smiled warmly now and Meredith was dazzled.

"You're right." Meredith said after their coffee was served. "I will work on my communication skills, but your friend, Naomi, is wrong. I won't be bad for you, I'llbe good for you, and to you." Meredith believed what she said and just hoped that she sounded convincing to Addison.

"And Derek?" Addison asked pointedly.

"I have hade my choice, Addison. I chose you, now I just need to tell the third person in this equation about it." Meredith was quick to reassure the redhead.

"I know I have to, soon, but it's not so black and white or simple." Meredith mused as she stirred her coffee and gazed into the depths of the foam peaks on it as if they could provide her with the answers to life's questions.

"No, not simple, but you have to do it. For yourself, for me. For us, but also and this is important, you have to do it for him. He may have a hard time letting you go, but you have to set him free and you have to do this very soon. It is time to prove you are not a spring chicken, Meredith." Addison was very calm and gentle as she spoke and Meredith knew that she was not making demands, she was just telling it like it is.

"I'll do it this week." Meredith said confidently and hoped that she would be able to follow through on her brave words.

Addison seemed to be satisfied by them though and a moment later they seemed to come to a silent agreement to drink their coffee. They would talk more later in the day no doubt, but right now the peace of the moment and the coffee seemed to infuse them both with a comfort and an ease that was delightful.

This was what Meredith wanted. Love and life without the insistent pressure of expectation and demands for communication or action that she was not ready to do, give or say.

She would make this work between Addison and herself. Failure was not an option.

"Ready to go?" Meredith asked some time after they had finished the coffee.

Addison seemed to be very relaxed now and Meredith was warm and happy about it. Seeing this side of the redhead was extraordinary and Meredith found that she wanted to see more of it and more of whatever it was that made Addison Montgomery tick.

"I am all yours." Addison replied with an easy smile, that sexy one that made Meredith's toes curl in her shoes.

"Well then, let's go." Meredith rose to her feet as she spoke and some moments later they were piling into the car once more and Meredith felt a flutter at the thought of what Addison might think of the date she had planned.

"You're not going to tell me where we are going are you?" Addison asked playfully.

"If you give me a kiss I might consider it." Meredith offered as she turned a corner and eagerly made her way to her destination.

Addison leaned over and kissed the side of Meredith's face right next to her ear. Her breath was warm and her lips were cool and Meredith felt a stab of arousal travel down her body and settle in her abdomen. They really did need to make love soon, preferably before Meredith suffered from spontaneous combustion.

Turning another corner, Addison figured out where they were going. "The marina?" She asked, leaning forward eagerly.

"Yep." Meredith replied and found a parking spot.

"What are we doing here?" Addison asked as she got out of the car.

"You'll see." Meredith replied, linking her arm with Addison's and then walked towards one of the more decent sized boats.

Stopping, Meredith pointed at the vessel and smiled at Addison. "Dinner, you and me, clear water and open skies." She extrapolated and hoped that Addison would approve.

Looking over at Addison, she saw a huge smile on the other woman's face. It seemed her choice was good. "Come on then." Meredith urged and without further ado they were on board.

"Good afternoon, Doctor Grey." The first mate said as the two women made their way aft.

Meredith smiled at the man warmly. They had never met, but that did not matter. The boat had a staff of five and it was obvious who she was to them.

"Good afternoon." Meredith replied shaking the man's hand.

"Doctor Montgomery." The man tipped his hat at Addison and a stunned Addison offered her hand to him as well.

After he had left to go about his business, Addison turned to Meredith and looked at her speculatively.

"Why did he know who we are?" She asked, sounding very curious.

"Well, we are his passengers." Meredith explained patiently.

"Yes, but still. Why did he know specifically who we are?" The redhead queried as they found a place to sit that offered them a splendid view.

One of the crew was walking towards them with refreshments in hand but before he arrived Meredith smiled at Addison and decided to spill the beans. "We're the only passengers, Addison."

A slight frown marred the space between Addison's eyes for a moment but it was soon replaced by a look of sheer delight on the beautiful face that Meredith had grown to love.

"You didn't!" Addison exclaimed.

"I did." Meredith laughed in reply and then offered Addison one of the drinks that she had been handed a moment before.

"Wow. You certainly know how to make an impression, Doctor Grey." Addison commented after she took a sip of her drink.

Meredith smiled. She was going to have to send Jason flowers, or a stripper-gram or something. He had earned it and the look on Addison's face right now made the planning and everything, this moment, make everything worth it.

Taking a sip of her drink to cover the urge to blush, or bluster or babble. Addison seemed to sense her need for reassurance and moved closer, slipping her arm around Meredith as they watched the water and the sky.

"What are you thinking about?" Meredith asked after a while.

They had an excellent vantage point from where they were sitting and it truly was beautiful. It was hard to imagine they were so close to such a major city.

"I am thinking about you, Meredith." Addison replied, lifting Meredith's hand to kiss it.

"What about me?" Meredith queried, curious.

"How do you think this happened?" Addison asked and when Meredith would have replied Addison continued to talk. "I am glad it did. It's a dichotomy of feeling you know. I was devastated when my marriage to Derek broke apart, but if it had not then you and I would not be sitting here right now." Addison extrapolated and took a deep breath; she seemed to want to keep going but did not.

"Do you think this was going on for a while and we did not notice it?" Meredith asked, leaning into Addison and getting more comfortable as the boat slowed to allow them to watch a raft of sea lions frolicking nearby.

Addison seemed mesmerised by the animals playing and did not answer for a few long moments. "It could be. I would not be surprised." She finally said, turning her attention back to Meredith.

"Me either." Meredith found that she had to agree with the assessment.

In any case, she was glad for whatever the reasons or origins of this. She did not have a name for it yet, but what Meredith had with Addison was becoming something that Meredith felt that she could not live without anymore.

"I'm glad." She finally said aloud to Addison.

Sparkling eyes turned towards her and Addison smiled fully. "Me too." She whispered, leaning in to Meredith and resuming her watch of the water.

This felt like one of those perfect moments everyone was always talking about.

"This is perfect, Meredith. Just you and me and no distractions." Addison said as she took in a deep breath of air.

"I'm glad." Meredith replied happily.

"I want that kiss now." She added. "You did not tell me where we were going." Addison bargained. "No, but I showed you." Meredith countered. "I already kissed you." Addison said in a gentle riposte. "You call that a kiss?" Meredith asked.

"Huh." Addison said after a pause and moved closer to Meredith. "I'll show you a kiss." She murmured almost against Meredith's lips. "I can't wait." Meredith whispered in reply.

A moment later she was being kissed by Addison Montgomery while the gentle breeze lifting from Puget Sound caressed her skin. It was divine and it was making her knees turn to water. Thankfully Addison seemed to have the strength to hold her up against the railing as their mouths and souls moved in unison.

Leaning against Addison she breathed heavily and felt Addison's arms hold her tightly. It felt so right, she felt so safe.

She wanted to hold Addison forever and right now she was fighting the urge to say, I love you, and yet she could not figure out why she was fighting the urge.

Now was just not the time, but when would be the time?


Chapter 20

"You hungry?" Meredith asked after an indeterminate amount of time had passed, maybe half an hour.

"Not yet, but soon." Addison replied.

They were at the stern of the boat watching the water churn from the engines and they were now used to the gentle sway of the waves as the sleek vessel cut through the water. As powerful as the engines were, the craft was modern enough that normal conversation tones were possible even so close to the engines themselves.

"What will you do?" Meredith asked after a comfortable while had passed.

"About what?" Addison queried, even though Meredith had a feeling that the other woman knew what Meredith was asking.

"Will you move back to Seattle?" Meredith clarified.

She did not want any further misunderstandings with Addison if she could help them so being coy, dropping hints and hoping a question was obvious enough so as not to need a more direct approach was out of the question. For now at least.

Maybe once they knew more about each other and had a better handle on body language and other cues they could be a little less blunt about stuff. Maybe.

"I only need a reason to, Meredith." Addison replied as she stared down at their joined hands intently.

"Am I reason enough?" Meredith hoped that the redhead would say yes.

"Yes, you are. Why do you think I am waiting so patiently? It's not exactly easy, but you are reason enough to be patient." Addison spoke into the wind, but Meredith heard her clearly.

It was true, Addison had been showing an almost saintly degree of patience over the past few weeks. Meredith only hoped that if a similar degree of patience was ever required on her behalf for Addison, that she would be able to reciprocate in kind.

"Thank you." Meredith said simply and leaned in to place a kiss on the side of Addison's face.

The temptation to kiss the other woman was overwhelming. Meredith wanted to lose herself in Addison and only come up for air in a few days or weeks. To begin with. Hopefully the opportunity would come soon when she could do this. Hopefully everything would work out. Meredith was not prone to blind optimism, life was just too many shades of grey to simply allow that to be a realistic outlook, but she wanted to be optimistic about this.

She had to be.

"What's for dinner?" Addison finally asked after another while of watching the world go by had passed.

Meredith, who had been completely distracted from watching the wind play in Addison's hair and with relishing the sight of the other woman's face so relaxed and at peace blinked at the question.


She had no idea what was for dinner, though part of her reasoned that she should know as she had ordered it after all.

"Let's go see." Meredith suggested.

Addison smiled at Meredith. "Sure." She acquiesced.

Wandering towards the cabin, Meredith glanced at a member of the crew who was busy working on the deck. This was a very peaceful cruise, it was obvious that everyone was a professional and that they all got along. Meredith was glad for that, hopefully dinner would be just as successful and without any fuss.

Meredith wanted to focus on Addison and her alone.

"You want to meet the Captain?" Meredith asked as they moved into the cabin.

Inside it was spacious, despite the relatively small size of the boat. It was obvious that this was a luxury cruise. Addison seemed to appreciate the teak and brass accents and she walked over to a porthole to look outside.

"You think we could eat outside?" She asked, not really answering Meredith's question.

"Of course." A foreign voice said and both Meredith and Addison looked up at the newcomer.

"Ah, Captain." Meredith said pleasantly, looking at the striking woman who had joined them.

This was another reason that Meredith had chosen this particular company. She and Addison would both appreciate the fact that the captain of this particular boat was female. In a testosterone fuelled world, this sort of happenstance was always welcome.

"Doctor Grey, Doctor Montgomery." The stately woman said nodding to each of them respectively.

They all shook hands before the captain spoke again. "We have calm water and no wind, you may eat wherever you like. Dinner will be ready in about half an hour. Would you like to speak to our cook for any reason?" The captain asked pleasantly as she explained the situation.

"I think I'd like to be surprised." Addison said, obviously pleased at the whole arrangement and Meredith decided that whatever Addison wanted this evening was what she wanted as well.

"Very well. Please make yourselves at home anywhere, someone will find you when it is time to eat." The captain continued and then smiled at them both.

"Thank you." Meredith said and then the captain returned to her duties.

"Want to take a look down here or go back to the deck?" Meredith asked after watching Addison explore the cabin for a few more minutes.

Addison looked up at Meredith and something sparkled in her eyes. "I'd like to explore you a little more, Meredith Grey, but I suppose the deck will be a suitable alternative for now." The way Addison spoke caused another shimmer of arousal to flood Meredith's body.

"Two can play this game, Doctor Montgomery." Meredith eventually said, moving closer to Addison and running her hands up the exposed arms of the redhead.

Addison snatched her hands into her own and pulled Meredith closer. "No one is playing any games, Meredith." She whispered before she leaned in to kiss Meredith again.

It was intoxicating, this hunger yet restraint. In Addison's kiss it was obvious that what the other woman wanted was to lift Meredith onto a table or to push her against a wall and give in. To desire, to this moment and to the sizzle of passion and chemistry that burned between them.

But, also in her kiss was the restraint of wanting to wait, of wanting to do things right. In the hunger and the flame of their passion, was gentleness that simply took Meredith's breath away.

They parted breathing heavily and Meredith felt unfocused. Oh but Addison could kiss. It was going to be something that they had to do a lot of, Meredith decided.

"Come." Addison instructed and pulled Meredith gently towards the stairs that led to the deck.

Meredith reasoned that she would follow Addison anyplace at this point. With those kiss bruised lips and the wildness in the redhead's eyes, Meredith felt like a moth being drawn to a flame but this flame would not be her doom--it would be her salvation.

The crew did indeed manage to create a space for them to have dinner outdoors and the boat's speed was reduced to a steady crawl to make the meal as smooth as possible and also to reduce noise. The sun was setting as Meredith and Addison sat down to eat and as they were out on the water and Seattle was famous for its seafood, Meredith had chosen a feast of seafood for them to eat.

Addison for her part seemed to be delighted with the first course, even managing to make Meredith laugh herself to tears by remarking that muscles looked just little vulvas just as Meredith was going to eat one. Addison looked far too pleased with herself at Meredith's reaction and for that, Meredith resolved to see Addison laugh fully before the night was through.

After the remnants of the muscles had been cleared away and they were relaxing with a glass of wine while the main course was being brought up, Meredith could not help but stare at Addison.

In the evening light, she was breathtaking. "What?" Addison asked, her face alive with warmth.

"You're beautiful." Meredith said shyly, blurting the words out before she could stop herself.

The redhead had that effect on Meredith; she found herself doing things before she could stop herself because of Addison.

"Thank you." Addison finally replied and put her wineglass own as she leaned closer to Meredith from across the table.

Meredith was glad for the evening light as she was certain her face would be on fire otherwise. The focused attention of this woman sitting across from her could be overwhelming sometimes and Meredith found that she enjoyed it, craved it and wanted it; all of it.

More food arrived as the two of them were busy watching the water and looking at each other. "This looks delicious." Addison commented as the plates were set down.

Smiling with pleasure Meredith reached over and took Addison's hand. "I am glad you are here with me." She remarked and was rewarded with a look of pleasure from the other woman.

"Me too." Addison said softly and Meredith almost glowed with happiness.

The boat was making its way back to harbour and the two of them were standing at the bow once more, watching the world and the water go by. It was full evening now and there was only the vestige of light in the sky which meant that it was chilly. Meredith stood in the protective embrace of Addison and despite the best efforts of the impeding night she felt warm.

She felt warm and happy and content. Good food, excellent company, wine and a miniature adventure that had turned out so well meant that she was experiencing a lightness of being that was not ordinary for her. It felt great.

As the boat slowly docked, Meredith felt almost sad that the journey was over, but they would take another one, some other time, soon. Meredith would make sure of that. "Ready to go?" Addison asked after a while.

Neither of them had made any more to leave the bow and the crew seemed to be content to leave them as they tied off the boat and put it to bed, as it were. "No, but we should go. These good people want to go to bed." Meredith replied and reluctantly disentangled herself from Addison.

They walked towards the gangplank and Addison showing her charm and grace managed to thank each one using their names. Meredith was impressed and after she followed suit, without all the names the two of them soon found themselves walking arm in arm back to Meredith's car as night finally settled over Seattle.

"This has been fantastic, Meredith. Like nothing I have ever experienced before." Addison remarked as they arrived at the car.

"Yes. This has been new for me as well. Thank you for sharing it with me, tonight was fantastic." Meredith said in reply.

"Was?" Addison asked, leaning in to kiss Meredith lightly in the lips. "It's not over yet, Doctor Grey." She added, brushing a finger along Meredith's side and then moving towards the passenger seat of the car.

Oh boy.

Meredith swallowed hard and quickly moved to get into the driver's seat. "You want to go back to the hotel?" Meredith asked, feeling her pulse pound in her veins as she did.

"Yes." Addison replied in a tone that made Meredith's socks twirl on her feet.

"Right." Meredith just needed to make sure that they made it there in one piece despite her raging hormones and the intoxicating distraction of Addison sitting next to her and looking so damn delicious.

"Right." She murmured under her breath and mentally mapped out the shortest route back to the hotel.

Beside her Addison shifted and Meredith fought the urge to reach over and touch the other woman. She needed to focus on driving, or she would drive them off the road and that just would not do. She needed Addison at the hotel, post haste. Any other option simply would not do at all.

Traffic was light as it was late on a Sunday night so it took Meredith a relatively short amount of time to reach Addison's hotel. The two of them made their way through the lobby and after a quick and quiet elevator ride found themselves at Addison's hotel room door. Meredith was not ready for the evening to end and it seemed that Addison was in agreement as after she had opened the door, she stood aside and looked at Meredith expectantly.

Meredith hurried into the room and heard the muted snick of the latches and locks of the door being closed as she moved further into the room. She could hear Addison moving around behind her and while Meredith waited for Addison's next move she went to look out the large window that graced the room.

The lighted, electric skyline of Seattle was visible, like a colourful blinking collage light and movement and for long moments Meredith was captivated. That is until she felt Addison's arms encircle her from behind and those soft, hot, coveted lips kissed the side of Meredith's neck.

It was as if someone had poured gasoline on an open flame; in the blink of an eye Meredith felt every nerve and cell and fibre of her being come alive. Leaning into Addison and moved her hair aside to allow Addison unrestricted access to her neck. There was no hesitation and a moment later the redhead was kissing along her jaw-line and just below Meredith's ear.

It was becoming difficult to breathe and this simply from Addison barely touching her. Meredith gasped for air and felt her body contract as strong, able hands felt along her body and moved to embrace her and to caress her. The unbearable pleasure that Meredith felt was making it impossible to think, she only wanted to feel and nothing else.

She only wanted Addison.

Turning in the circle of Addison's arms, Meredith freed one of her arms and buried her hand in Addison's rich, luxurious hair, pulling the other woman closer, closer still, until they were breathing the same air. Addison's eyes were dark, only the slightest corona of colour was visible and she was breathing heavily. It was an image that seared itself into Meredith's mind and in doing so it branded her soul.


Addison seemed to break free of her spell of immobility and leaned in to kiss Meredith gently at first, but then fully. Meredith reacted at once, feeling the cool window behind her back as Addison pressed her into the glass and the contrast between that and the delicious heat of Addison's body at her front was making her delirious with pleasure.

When had she ever reacted this way before? Had she ever? Meredith did not think so.

Dangerously aroused now, Meredith opened her mouth and invited Addison deeper. The redhead did not hesitate and in the blink of an eye things escalated, became hotter and Meredith was fast approaching the point of no return.

"I want you." Addison breathed into Meredith's ear when they finally separated.

The feel of her words against Meredith's ear was the stuff of madness and as Meredith felt her own sanity flee she started to desperately attempt to regain her self control. Addison seemed to be determined to allow things to proceed to their inevitable conclusion tonight, but Meredith knew that the redhead wanted to wait.

Addison wanted to wait until Meredith had made a definite break with Derek and right now whatever self control Addison had seemed to have scattered itself into the four winds and it was up to Meredith to honour Addison's wishes, no matter how much she wanted to simply give in and allow things to happen.

She did not want to be Addison's regret. They would do this right. Somehow.

"Addison." Meredith gasped as she felt those wicked, wonderful hands begin to worm their way under her clothing.

"Addison, stop." Meredith tried again, desperately fighting with herself.

Oh how she wanted this. She could feel herself wet, ready and swollen. Her breasts ached to be touched; she wanted Addison's mouth on her skin more than she had ever wanted anything else in her life up until this moment.

"Addison." Meredith managed to pry Addison loose finally and brought the other woman's head up so that the could look into Addison's eyes.

"We need to stop." Meredith said, trying to regain control of her breathing.

There was a blink of confusion as Addison tried to process what Meredith was saying and then slowly, so slowly, comprehension and sanity began to dawn once more in Addison's gaze.

Meredith smiled at Addison, leaning in to kiss the end of her nose. "I'll stay the night, okay?" Meredith whispered softly.

Addison nodded and stepped away from Meredith, clenching her fists a few times and regaining control over her breathing.

"Thank you." Addison finally said, sitting down on the edge of the bed and looking up at Meredith.

Meredith smiled. For Addison she would do anything, it was really a very easy decision to make.

Part 21

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