The Middle of the Morning (growing in twelve ways)
Callie peered at Addison across the young woman on the operating table. "What are you still doing here?"
"Lots of erasing," the departing doc said. "Making sure that everyone in the Pacific Northwest knows I am done with Seattle. And you? Taking a patient from the Pit?"
"I was walking by, someone said broken bones, and my heart went all pitter-patter."
Addison chuckled. "Sounds like you."
Callie smiled underneath her mask. "Ouch. Just for that you have to move to California."
"Okay. If I gotta." Addison looked over from the monitor. "How's that broken shoulder look?"
"Nasty. Not virgin territory. There's been a lot of damage to the joint, probably dislocated at least - " Then her eyes caught something. "Where's the patient's history?"
"What is it?" Addison asked.
"See this?" Callie asked, gesturing to the monitor.
Addison's eyes caught the glimmer right away. "A screw? That shoulder was - "
"Rebuilt." Callie sighed unhappily. "Recently."
"Doctor Torres?" the nervous intern interjected. "Nine months ago...patient had surgery to repair the broken joint."
"How did I miss that?" Callie wondered aloud.
"Yeah, how? Here I was thinking you were perfect - " Addison snarked.
"I am perfect, Little Miss 'Abandoning-Me-In-Seattle'," Callie groaned. "The bruising around the injury site obscured the scars, I guess. What was the reported cause of the last break?"
The intern looked in the record, then replied, "Bicycle crash."
"Probably where she got those pretty broken ribs, huh?" Callie asked.
"Oh, yeah. Bicycle crashes are the second-leading cause of fist-shaped bruises, you know," Addison said.
"Followed closely by walking into doors," Callie replied.
Alex's eyes were frowning as he entered the room. "Sorry, Doctor Montgomery...I had to finish - " His gaze became more alarmed when he noticed the woman's injuries.
Both of the surgeons noticed his sudden silence. "Karev?" Addison asked.
"Sorry," Alex said, snapping out of his trance. "Haven't had much sleep last couple nights."
"Get bright, Karev," Addison said. "And watch that fetal monitor like your life depends on it – 'cause it does."
Cristina wasn't particularly happy now, sitting alone on a gurney, her untouched coffee growing cold. Thrown out of a simple surgery. Kicked out like a common first-year resident. Her jaw was beginning to tighten, which was starting to ache a little. Then she heard a voice that wasn't going to raise her spirits in the slightest.
"Yang," Erica Hahn said. "You look exhausted."
Cristina wanted to crawl under the table. She didn't, of course. "Not my best day," she grimaced.
"Not your worst, either, I'll bet. Mind if I sit?"
As she sat, Hahn's eyes never left Cristina, and her gaze – as close to friendly as her eyes probably got - was stinging. It was a surgeon's gaze. Burke had it, too. Most people when they look at you, they just look. A surgeon is sizing you up, considering situational options like they were on three-by-five cards. Cristina was loath to admit that even Burke's eyes sometimes made her feel like she was being prepped for a procedure.
"Sorry about Burke, Yang," she said. It sounded a little forced, like she was trying to access some untapped resource of personality, and not quite finding it.
"Me, too," Cristina replied. "But I'm pushing on."
"Always a good idea. Put your head down and muscle through. That's the way I'd do it. You've got your career ahead of you."
"Yeah," Cristina said.
"I noticed your relationship with your attending this morning."
Cristina frowned. "You saw that?"
"I came here to talk to you, you happened to be in surgery," Hahn said, sounding bored. "So you and your attending don't exactly get along."
"He was a Burke disciple."
"A lot of people were, I'm sure," Hahn said.
Cristina nodded. "So I'm not very popular around here."
"You're also a talented surgeon with real potential for greatness, and the drive to get there." Hahn snorted. "That tends to hurt the popularity as well."
"Right." Cristina reached for her now-cool coffee.
Hahn leaned forward a bit. "Yang, I have to ask...how attached are you to this hospital? Really."
"To Seattle Grace?"
"This hospital, this program," Hahn said.
Cristina narrowed her gaze at the woman. "What are you asking me?"
"Nothing, really," Hahn said, tilting her head. "I mean, I can't speak in absolutes, but hypothetically, if I were to invite you to join a hand-picked team of the best young heart doctors in the United States to start a fully-funded independent cardiac care clinic, would you be interested?" She sat back again. "Just thinking out loud, of course."
Yang felt the air rush out of her lungs.
"I hate your sister," Izzie said, flopping down on the cafeteria bench next to Meredith and taking a bite out of her tuna sandwich.
"Half, three-eighths, twenty percent, whatever. Still hate her." Izzie sneered. "And I can not get away from her, either. You're avoiding her – how do you pull it off?"
Meredith grinned a little. "I know her schedule. Where she'll be and so on, most of the time."
She said it triumphally. "Resident. Not an intern. We get to see those things now."
"We do? Awesome. Now I can avoid them all together," Izzie groaned.
"Your fractional sibling...and...him."
"Stop it. You said you loved him."
"Well, I was confused," Izzie replied. "Out of my head. I'm fine now, and that means that I don't feel anything for him."
"That's right." Izzie took a sip of her iced tea, and the ice clinked against the glass. She was about to take another bite of her sandwich when she said, "So what if he's not wearing his ring anymore?"
"I noticed that," Meredith said. "Has – uh – the reason – been confirmed yet?"
"How should I know?" Izzie replied. "And that's the last time we discuss him."
"Don't say his name. Just don't. It'll make life easier."
"Okay," Meredith said.
They went back to reading and eating, until Izzie couldn't keep it in. "She hangs all over him," she said.
"Lexie," Izzie said with disdain for the word. "Such a cutesy name."
Meredith squinted at her friend. "Nothing like Izzie."
Izzie missed the joke, because she was gone before then. "Massages his neck. Watches his mouth move when he talks. Looks into his eyes all the time. They talk and laugh and eat and...they're everywhere..."
"I thought we weren't talking about Geo – him."
"We're not. We're talking about her." Izzie snapped her teeth into a carrot. "She wanted to girl talk with me while I was giving a surgical consult, if you can believe that."
Izzie snorted. "Complimented my lipstick."
"It does look nice on you."
"Doesn't it, though? I wish they hadn't discontinued the shade. I bought four tubes when I heard they weren't going to make it anymore." Izzie caught herself. "Anyway, she starts going on and on to me about him, about how he's always talking about me, about how much he cares about me, that sort of thing. I wanted to hit her."
"Yeah, because that's just inappropriate."
"Absolutely. She's rubbing it in."
"What?" Meredith frowned.
"She has him, and I don't, and she wants to make it clear. Marking her territory, which is him."
"Him? I thought we weren't talking about - "
"We aren't," Izzie said.
Meredith bit into a lip. "Of course not. How silly of me."
George sipped his coffee and stared out the window into the ambulance bay. "She won't talk to me," he said.
Lexie tore open another sugar packet and dumped it into her steaming paper cup. "Not when you hiccup through an aborted conversation," she said.
"She didn't even look at me," he groaned. "Not once."
"Because you froze at the door. Sometimes you have to put in the effort."
"Effort? I wrote a letter, Lexie." George's eyes kept scanning the bay, like he was searching for something. "I went to her door. I'm all about effort," he said, his voice slowly drifting into distraction.
"No, George. Real effort. You have to - " Then she noticed his eyes and it stopped the conversation cold. "What?"
George dropped his coffee and sprinted for the door. Lexie spun to the window, and her eyes caught the sight, too: a man in a denim work shirt carrying a black garbage bag in his arms, a tiny arm hanging from the plastic. She took off on her friend's heels.
George was through the doors in a flash. "What happened?" he demanded, enveloping the man and leading him through the doors.
"I – I found this – on my way to work," the man said.
"I need help here!" George cried as he tried to find a heartbeat on the body under the stretched plastic.
"George! What can I - " Lexie said.
His eyes widened and all the color drained from his cheeks. "Bailey! Get Bailey!" he ordered.
"What? Why?" she asked, craning to see what he saw.
"Go! NOW!" he cried.
Lexie sprinted away, just as Chief Webber rushed to him. "What is it, O'Malley - " he managed to say in the instant before he noticed the toddler's body. "Holy – make a path! Make a path!" he shouted over the din of the Pit.
"Easy, careful," George said, as he and the man rested the body on a gurney. He grabbed a scissors to cut the bag off the body, while Webber listened intently to the chest.
"There's a beat, but it's weak," Webber said. "He's still breathing on his own."
"Is he gonna be okay?" the man asked. "I mean, I was on my way to work - "
"Sir, you need to go to the waiting room," George said.
"But is he gonna - "
"Sir!" George barked. "You need to let us do our job."
Lexie returned with Bailey, who took one look at the tiny child, and let her heartbreak hide behind her resolve. "Grey," she said, looking over at the man who'd carried the child in, "take that gentleman to the waiting room and get as much information as you can."
"But I - " Lexie protested.
"Go!" Bailey fired back.
Lexie nodded, then motioned for the man to follow her. He shifted uncomfortably. "How long is this - I mean – I'm really late for work," he grimaced.
Lexie noticed the cell phone on his belt. "Call 'em," she said. "I'll have my resident write you a note."
"But if I'm not there - " the man argued.
Lexie looked back at the trio of doctors working on the boy. "A lot of us want to be somewhere else, sir. Just come with me, please," she said, taking him by the elbow and leading him away.
(Act Three just ahead...)