DISCLAIMER: Watch out, this is femslash (lite). Don't read it if you're not into this sort of thing. I own nothing of Grey's Anatomy. I'm only having fun with the characters I'm fast becoming obsessed with.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is a story about Erica Hahn finding another "pair of glasses" after the events of the S5 episode, "Rise Up." This chapter was written in late February, 2009. Thanks to Jules68 for her honest and objective opinions. See Chapter 1 for original Author's Notes and Disclaimer. "Odd accents" and overuse of the word "hon" are strictly Baltimorean.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Since this was not the fantasy of television, Erica Hahn didn't end up sitting next to Veronica Taylor on the plane to Baltimore, so they did not fall madly in love over Ohio, nor begin planning a wedding replete with everything from rice to registries.
Instead, Erica ended up next to a middle-aged balding man who, once seated, passed out and snored until the plane's touchdown awakened him with a startled grunt. Oddly enough, his snoring didn't bother Erica, given she was totally preoccupied with thoughts of a slender redhead sitting somewhere else on the plane.
Back in St. Louis, their flight had been called before they'd had a chance to exchange anything more than their names and the facts that Veronica "Ronnie" Taylor worked at a brokerage firm in downtown Baltimore, near the waterfront, and Erica was of course headed for an interview at Johns Hopkins.
As they'd walked together down the plane's walkway, Veronica had managed to provide one more thing, a thing Erica held in her hand the entirety of the flight. It was an unadorned business card that contained on its reverse Veronica's home and cell phone numbers. As the plane hit the runway at BWI, Erica glanced at the card and was dismayed to find her sweating palm had smudged the numbers. A closer look brought relief that they hadn't been smeared beyond recognition. Shaking her head to clear the hormonal fog this relief engendered, she jammed the little card into her coat pocket and huffed in frustration. Her reaction to Veronica Taylor was all out of character for her, making her a little bit nuts, and above all, distracting her from the job interview that should have been foremost in her mind.
Thankfully, the guy next to her was busy righting himself for disembarking, so Erica was spared an audience for her show of annoyance. As the plane braked to a halt and the pilot thanked everyone for flying with his sainted airline, Erica gathered her belongings and her wits, and resisted the urge to look around for Veronica.
Turned out she needn't have bothered about any of it. Veronica, clearly on the hunt for Erica, came hurrying up to her as Erica waited by the baggage carousel.
"Doctor Hahn! There you are, thank God! I swear, I got up twenty times looking for you. If we hadn't entered the plane together, I would've said you weren't on board!" By this time, she had arrived at Erica's side and was holding out another business card. "Here," she said, "I realized I gave you the wrong cell number. That's my business phone, which you would have discovered if you had tried it, and I wanted you to have my personal number. I wrote down my landline at home again, too."
"Thanks." Erica took the card, once again rendered monosyllabic by the vivacious young woman. Veronica continued talking as her eyes scanned the now-grinding carousel, hoping along with everyone else that her luggage might be first off.
"So where are you staying and are you going to wait until you find out if you have the job before going back to Seattle?"
"I'm not going back to Seattle." It was out of her mouth before she realized she'd said it, and Veronica immediately stopped her scanning to look square into Erica's face. Though Erica tried to keep her expression neutral, it was clear whatever Veronica saw there was far too easily recognizable.
"Oh, my God. What was her name, the little bitch? I'll go kill her for you, how's that?"
Luggage rumbled by unnoticed, reality stepped back, and Erica turned her head away, looking up at the people walking across the bridge to the parking garage. A woman with a baby in a purple sling, a sharp-dressed guy rolling a suitcase the size of a refrigerator, a uniformed airport worker. In spite of her dissociation, Erica heard Veronica's attempt to lighten the moment. Forcing her gaze back, Erica managed a tiny smile and a huff of amusement. "I appreciate the offer, but " Belatedly, Erica realized exactly which pronoun Veronica had used. This was personal information they had not shared in the airport bar at least not out loud. "Her? H-how did you ?"
Veronica placed a hand on Erica's arm. "Hon, I knew the moment I saw you. And don't ask me how, either. It's another of those things my friends say I'm famous for." She leaned in and winked conspiratorially, "It's called 'gaydar,' doncha know." Veronica straightened up, patted Erica's arm as if what she'd just said was not an earth-shattering revelation, and returned to luggage lookout. "So, which hotel? We're within spittin' distance of downtown. If you're going there, how 'bout I just take you?"
Erica heard all Veronica had said, but she'd stalled on gaydar. Good Lord, she thought, maybe she did have a lavender 'L' on her forehead. Clearly, there was much to learn on this front, but an airport baggage claim area was not the place for a lesson. Deciding it was better to stay on firmer ground, Erica responded to Veronica's invitation. "Oh, no, I mean, yes, I'm going downtown, but you don't need to take me. I was planning to rent a car. Just to get around. You know, for the interview and all."
Veronica snickered. "Know your way around Baltimore, do you?"
Erica was caught again by this woman's directness, but this time it brought out her usual brusqueness. "Not so much," she snapped, "but I have a map, and I am a grown woman."
"Oh, here's my luggage, hooray! Excuse me." Veronica maneuvered around an older couple and reached onto the moving carousel to snatch her suitcase before it rumbled too far past, heaving it to her side. "Whew. There. See yours yet?"
Erica had by this time forgotten she was even supposed to be watching for her suitcase, figuring it had gone around two hundred times by now. Glancing ahead on the grumbling feat of ancient engineering, she saw her bag slowly coming her way. "There it is. The black one with the yellow ribbon."
The redhead never hesitated. "Got it!"
Just as Veronica picked up Erica's suitcase, the carousel ground to a halt. Another flight number buzzed onto the board, and the rotation started up again as a new planeload of people flooded into the cramped area. The two women quickly found an open spot outside the press of people.
"Now then, where were we? Oh, yes, I was offering you a ride to your hotel, and you were getting all pissy about it. I'm sorry, okay? You want to rent a car, go ahead and rent a car. I just thought I'd save you some trouble and expense. You're new in town, I like you, and I'm trying to be friendly here."
Erica recognized defeat when it was beating her over the head. Feeling slightly overwhelmed by circumstances both in and out of her control, she recalled what Callie had taught her about being spontaneous and allowing people to befriend her. "Okay, okay, I'm sorry, too. I'd appreciate the lift, Veronica"
"Ronnie. I'm at the Intercontinental Harbor Court Hotel."
"Oo, nice digs. And," she winked, "a short taxi ride to Hopkins." She glanced down. "Have we got everything? Yes? Okay, let's roll! And, hon, if you're so darned anxious to pay for a vehicle, you can pay my satellite parking fee. How's that?"
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