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Falling Apart, Barely Breathing

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Chapter 2: Into You Like A Train

 


 

"How do you know he's not coming?" Meredith asks Addison again. "I know you said he told you but what did he say about why?" Meredith clarifies and Addison clears her throat to answer.

"He said he had to take some time to think and figure things out," Addison said. "He said he'd been looking for me all day. I said he'd finally found me. I asked him if he was going to sign the divorce papers or not. And then he told me what you said. And then he cried a little. And then he drank a whole lot. And finally, he said he'd sign our divorce papers if he had our lawyers talk to each other and if he'd had a little less to drink already" Addison continued.

"Scotch," Meredith says simply. "Scotch," says Addison sadly. "Coming right up," says the bartender and Meredith's too weak to make a big deal of his misunderstanding so Addison waves her hand over the bar to be clear that when she and Meredith had said "Scotch." together that it wasn't because they'd wanted one it was because they're Doctor Shepherd's favorite drink that he was drunk off of right now, probably and that neither of them is his greatest fan for the moment.

It occurs to Meredith then that it's possible that Addison was only lying to her when she said that Derek wasn't coming and that maybe he actually was and she knew that and Addison just didn't want to see him score.

 


 

But when Meredith looks up at Addison's scared expression again,

Somehow she knows that no matter what she has ever thought or used to think-

About Addison Montgomery-Shepherd;

That she isn't a liar.

Addison isn't lying to her tonight, about this, at least.

 


 

And the realization washes over Meredith then as she starts to feel sorry for Addison.

For having come out to Joes, having come out to her all the way here.

Just to tell her that one sentence, that she is 'not Derek.'

And that 'Derek isn't coming'. 

That 'Derek isn't coming' back. For either of them. 

 


 

"I'll take the tequila instead" Meredith insists in a rough and low voice as she nods as if to thank Addison for speaking up for them and then she adds "and add one to my tab for her, too, please" before gesturing towards Addison's surprised sort of half-smile and binging the plate of pretzels closer to where they'd been sitting.

"So." Meredith starts. "So." Mirrors Addison back at her.

"So why didn't you let Derek pick me or choose you or love either one of us?" asks Meredith in a questioning tone. But as if she's genuinely curious and not as if she's angry she didn't give Derek a chance to consider her as an option. Or to consider HER as an option...?

"Because he didn't deserve to," Addison answers almost immediately.

"He doesn't deserve the love that either of us had to offer him" she finishes her sentence honestly.

 


 

And Meredith doesn't answer back immediately as Addison had, she sort of stares right back at her as if she's rolling the words inside of her mind and she's trying to spin them into a way that they make sense to her.

"But how the hell do you know what kind of love I deserve?" Meredith asks of Addison finally. As if she REALLY wants to know.

"Meredith, I think we accept the love we think we deserve," Addison says softly.

And she's looking her right in the eye but the cloudy look in those pale green eyes tells Meredith that she's somewhere else entirely.

And then Meredith realizes that in saying that to her that Addison is also saying that phrase about herself, and it stops her in her tracks for a second.

And for some unreasonable reason, it makes her want to reach out and lay her hands on top of Addison's hands and give them a reassuring squeeze. But she doesn't. She continues with what she was going to say anyway.

"Hell, you hardly know me. " Meredith says even more desperately. She feels like she's shouting even though she's hardly speaking above a whisper.

"You met me after flying in from New York to tell me that I'm the woman who's been screwing your husband and you barely have spoken a word to me except to tell me that you don't want someone who doesn't love you but if there's the slightest chance that Derek does that you're not leaving Seattle," Meredith says all of that in one breath.

Addison sighs at that one. That hadn't been one of her finest moments in Seattle, so to speak.

 


 

"How have you not left Seattle then if he doesn't love you no more" now Meredith has started to slur her words a little more than the last time.

"He still has to sign the divorce papers and so do I" Addison answers curtly before she looks up into Meredith's eyes and she realizes that that in no way suffices as an answer.

"Besides," Addison continues. "I see no reason not to enjoy one of my last few free nights in Seattle before I go," she says in a sort of sad but hopeful tone and Meredith thinks that the glint of 'almost optimistic and hopeful' tearing through Addison's tearful tone might just be even sadder than the just plain regular sad Addison Montgomery-Shepherd voice she's gotten to know so well over the past couple of hours.

Addison looks down as she reaches her right hand to her left hand as a habit to worry a set of rings on her finger that aren't there anymore and for some reason, Meredith doesn't take the comfort in the motion that her situation would suggest she might have.

"Well enjoy the rain while you can" Meredith stirs as she finally looks up and answers Addison with a sigh. "In Seattle when it rains, it pours" she sighs again sharply as if she were speaking metaphorically now about the both of their sad sad lifestyle that's caused for them to wait out here like some blithering idiots for someone who is clearly not coming despite what their stupid blind and darling hopes might say.

 


 

"I was into that man like a train" Meredith tries to explain. "Like it was going at full speed and I just wanted to ride it so badly that I just walked right in front of it and impaled in a gazillion places" she tries to conjure up an image but seems to be failing spectacularly at the metaphors at the moment.

"See, you saying that you wanted to ride my husband so badly would have sounded kinda dirty if you didn't just go on to say that being with him felt a bit like you're being hit by a semi afterward" Addison chuckles at her.

"Well, it seems like at least someone is getting something out of my misery at least it's my sense of humor" Meredith sighs.

"So why are you here alone anyway?" Addison asks Meredith.

"I could ask you the same" Meredith reacts right back.

"But you have your best friends here, why aren't they here forgetting all of the terrible trials that have happened to them too?" Addison inquires sincerely.

"Well my friends started here until I sent them away with how pathetic I was being and I think they're at Seattle Grace now trolling for cool surgeries. And I'm too drunk to join them" Meredith speaks up. "Still I don't blame them there are sometimes cool cases that come in this late at night" Meredith continues.

"Sure there are and sometimes there aren't and I guess it's all luck is the name of the game," Addison says wisely.

 


 

"So why are you out here all alone anyway?" Meredith asks again as if she's suddenly remembered she hasn't gotten an answer out of Addison yet.

"Well unlike you I don't really have any friends here in Seattle," says Addison. "I came out here to get Derek back and I have all of my other friends in New York so really right now all I have for friends is the alcohol," Addison says, and as she says it she realizes how pathetic it must all sound. "And I think I might be drunk also," Addison adds as well.

"So you have no one to drink with you," Meredith asks.

"So I have no one to drink with me," Addison answered.

"So you're drinking with me," Meredith asks another question.

"Yes, so I'm drinking with you" Addison answers again but without all the bitterness that either of them would expect to come out of Addison's mouth after all of that alcohol in her system has lifted her inhibitions.

"Well cheers to the I slept with Derek and now life sucks club" Meredith raises her glass as if it were a nod.

"Cheers to another" Addison raises her glass in return and nods back.

 


 

Somewhere along in the bitterness Meredith might have expected Addison to chew her out or to demean her for all the damage she's done to her marriage, or for Meredith to chew Addison out or to demean her for cheating on Derek with Mark or for telling her she shouldn't go back to him right away.

But Addison doesn't. And Meredith doesn't. And neither of them wants to try to even go there now.

So instead they just sit together, feeling all alone in the Emerald City Bar as they stir their drinks with their straws and let the sharp bite of the ice cubes feel cool upon their weary lips.

 


 

And for some inexplicable reason Meredith and Addison each feel somehow soothed by the solemn grace that is their current and unlikely companionship.

 


 

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***** END OF CHAPTER 2