In Which Addison meets Meredith in a bar. Things spiral from there.
Chapter 1: Bring The Pain
"You're not Derek..."
Meredith Grey slurs before she even looks up to see that the person behind her, not only is it certainly not Derek Christopher Shepherd, but it is the one person she least expected to greet her with her own name that night at the bar this very evening.
"I'm not Derek," says Addison Forbes Montgomery.
She is out of her hospital clothes again and she's dressed to the nines in those beautiful pearls that accentuate her curves in her long black dress that always makes Addison seem to Meredith even more formidable than she already was in the first place.
"Where IS Derek?"
Meredith insists and she's sure she's about lost it now because if Derek didn't come to meet her at the bar then surely he'd be at home with his wife, right and so surely his wife wouldn't be - shouldn't be- standing right behind her in this godforsaken place without her godforsaken husband or ex-husband or whoever he was to her - to him - to whomever.
"He's not coming," Addison says flatly.
And the compassion in Addison's voice is carrying over into her speech now and it's making Meredith even more confused. Why on earth would Addison be standing right behind her, sounding sad about being alone? Why is she here without Derek on this disgustingly rainy evening - when she could be holed up in that trailer of his in his arms or something sickly domestic and refined like what real married people with real jobs and real lives do.
"How did you even know he was supposed to be coming?" Meredith asks and she's not entirely sure why Doctor Montgomery-Shepherd is still answering the long list of questions because it's not like she's ever cared to answer any of Meredith Grey's questions before.
"He told me," Addison says simply as if that says it all.
And the weight of Addison's words sinks into Meredith's bones as she's just about realized that that means that Doctor Addison Forbes Montgomery-Shepherd has heard a Derek Shepherd impersonation of Meredith Grey's voice pleading to him to "Pick Me, Choose Me, Love Me" and that he's shared that with the very last person on earth that she'd want to hear those words that had come out of her mouth.
"Oh god just bring the pain already just pile it all on top of itself," Meredith says frustratedly.
"He told me he wasn't sure whether or not he was going to pick you or me, in the end. And before Derek could ever decide, I decided to decide and I decided to end it all for both of us. I left him. For good." Addison says sadly and now Meredith Grey is absolutely sure she can hear the compassion creeping into Addison's words.
And she's so sure that Addison's voice is going to break if Meredith makes her keep talking again.
And so Meredith doesn't.
Instead, Meredith slides her purse and her coat off of the barstool and gestures to the other doctor.
And as she looks up into Addison's eyes for the first time she has that evening, she offers for her, to sit-
And Addison does.
*****END OF CHAPTER 1
At its inception, "Falling Apart, Barely Breathing," was written one chapter a day, from April 1st through April 30th, 2020. Subsequently, the first 40 chapters were finished in a total of 42 days. Since then, it's updates have been sporadic but always up and coming, in general. I'd like to thank everyone who has taken the time to read this work so far; it's the closest thing I'll probably ever come to a 'masterwork,' and all of the encouragement along the way has been magical. Take care, and have a great one! With love,