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.

By DianeB


Part 8

Stepping through the sliding glass doors that served as the building's entrance, Erica experienced a moment of doubt, thinking maybe the old adage, "you can't go home again," might also apply to returning to one's alma mater. By the end of the interview, however, she'd been convinced otherwise.

Upon gaining her seat for the interview, she'd been advised of a very lucrative position, not the one she had originally come to interview for. Apparently, in the time it took Erica to get from Seattle to Baltimore (which had taken longer than the two weeks Erica had originally planned), another position had opened, one it was clear the administrators at Johns Hopkins desperately wanted her for.

In an effort to mask her excitement, she'd tried to ask routine questions about mission statements and policies and what her daily duties might consist of, and only ended up sounding like she couldn't wait to get started. Since that part was exactly true, the panel of doctors and administrators conducting the interview simply called the thing done and presented their offer without so much as a peep of private discussion. Since the offer was far more than satisfactory, Erica accepted immediately.

Thus it was that in less than two hours after passing through the front doors, Erica Hahn found herself on the Cardiac Surgery Team for the Johns Hopkins Heart & Vascular Institute. This team was made up of only nine doctors, as opposed to the original position, that of team member on general Cardiology, wherein she would've been part of a team of 85! It was not the same as her job at Seattle Grace, but it was definitely a welcome step up from what she'd been expecting. She would start in one week.

After the interviewers departed, a small woman who had curly brown hair and wore an understated beige business suit and comfortable shoes, appeared to show her to her office on the sixth floor. On the way, the woman introduced herself as Rosalie Marks, her office assistant. Since having an assistant was something new to Erica, she wasn't sure how to respond. Perplexity must have shown on her face, because Rosalie smiled and said, "I'm the one who keeps all the ducks in a row for you, Doctor, including paperwork and phones, so you're free to do the doctor stuff. Don't be afraid to ask me any question at all, especially as you get started. That's what I'm here for."

Taking a cue from Veronica's playbook, Erica voiced what was in her head. "Thanks, Ms. Marks, I appreciate it, because I'm sure I'll have a million questions. I've never had my own office assistant before."

"First thing, please call me Rosalie, or Rosie if you prefer." Before Erica could formulate a response, Rosalie went on. "But I will call you 'Doctor Hahn' or 'Doctor,' no matter what you say. You fix people's hearts, it's the least I can do. And don't worry," Rosalie added with a smile, "you may not be used to me now, but soon you'll find me indispensable. Here we are."

Rosalie opened the door to Erica's new office, and to Erica's delight, the well-appointed room also included a sizeable window, out of which she could actually see the water, though it was far into the distance. Erica turned to Rosalie. "You know, not very long ago, I would have insisted you always call me 'Doctor Hahn,' but things have changed dramatically for me recently, and I have no interest in being addressed as though I were some kind of higher being. How about this: call me Doctor Hahn when it's professionally necessary, but otherwise, call me Erica. How's that?

Rosalie considered this, her head tilted. "That works, Doc—Erica."

Erica smiled. "Thanks…Rosalie."

While scanning her new digs, Erica noticed Rosalie check her watch. "I see it's almost noon. Are you hungry? If so, I'd be glad to show you to the cafeteria. It was remodeled and expanded last summer, so it's pretty nice. You can get anything from a burger or pizza to salad or yogurt and everything in between. I like the self-serve fountain drinks myself. Can I show you there? First soda's on me."

Erica sighed and stepped further into the office. "You know, I think I'd just like to sit here a minute, if you don't mind."

"Oh, no, Doctor Hahn, please, go right ahead. It's your space. Can I bring you anything? One of those fountain sodas? They come as large as thirty-two ounces."

At that very moment, Erica's stomach announced its presence by growling loudly, reminding Erica that she was, indeed, hungry. The bagel with cream cheese she'd eaten that morning in the hotel hadn't lasted very long.

Rosalie cocked an eyebrow and studied Erica for a moment before saying, "Turkey and swiss on whole wheat, lettuce and tomato, mayo on the side, with a medium Diet Pepsi™?"

Erica went to the desk and set her purse on its surface, spinning the chair so it faced the window. Raising her head, she felt her stomach rumble again, thankful it did so this time without waking the dead. "Rosalie," she said, impressed with the way the woman had nailed one of her favorite sandwiches, "you got that in one. How'd you do that?"

Rosalie winked. "As I said, Doctor Hahn, indispensible."

Erica started to open her purse to get her wallet, but Rosalie waved a hand in the air. "Don't bother, I'll get it later. And remember, I said I'd pay for the first soda. Back in a few."

Alone in the office, Erica fell heavily into the chair and toed off her shoes. Squinting out the window, she could just see the glint of sunlight on the distant water and the tiny triangle of a boat's canvas sail. The window wasn't spotless, but neither was it filthy, leaving Erica to suspect quarterly cleaning by outside services.

Spinning back to face the desk, she looked around at matching forest-green desk accessories, including desk pad, a box of tissues (green), in/out boxes (currently – and amazingly – empty), a basic black phone and computer set-up, and five brightly-sheathed zip drives fanned out beside the keyboard.

Leaning back in the chair, Erica stared at the pristine ceiling. In thinking about it, it was truly hard to believe she had come so far in such a short period of time. Certainly, life was an ever-evolving process, but her recent processes had been unlike any she had ever experienced before. To think, a very short while ago, she had started as Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Seattle Grace Hospital in Washington state, content in her brusqueness and sure of her surgical skills and her future. Now here she was starting a new job and a new life on the other side of the country, an emerging lesbian with her first failed relationship already behind her, and a new friendship (and who-knew-what-else) beginning. It was heady, yet humbling, and as it stood right now, she had only one regret.

Leaning forward to rummage in her purse for her cell phone, Erica pulled it out along with a business card. Consulting the card, she dialed Veronica's work number. After the third ring, Erica knew her call would go to voicemail. Pulling a notepad and pen to her, she began to doodle while waiting out Veronica's recorded greeting. "Ronnie? This is Erica. Guess what? You're talking to the newest member of Johns Hopkins Heart & Vascular Institute's Cardiac Surgery Team, which happens to be much better than the job I came to interview for. How about that? Right now, I'm about to have lunch in my new office with my new office assistant – and how about that, I have one of those, too. After that, I'm headed back to the hotel for a nap. Please call me there this afternoon." She hesitated, unsure if she should add anything more personal, and then before she'd even made a conscious decision, the words left her lips. "I can't wait to see you again. Bye."

Grabbing the edge of the desk in preparation to swivel the chair back to face the window, Erica glanced down at her doodles and drew in a sharp breath. During her call to Veronica, her subconscious had busied itself by making sure Erica did not forget unfinished business. Amid swirls and dashes and tiny stemless flowers were the words "Call Callie."

Part 9

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