DISCLAIMER: The characters herein are used without permission. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Please. It's not the easiest of pairings, so any and all input is greatly appreciated. I'm toying with the idea of expanding it into a series of fics.
SETTING: Starts a few days after West Wing 3x22 "Posse Comitatus" and before Grey's 3x07 "Where the boys are". In other words, Addison just got officially divorced and CJ's agent-could-be-boyfriend got killed.
BETA: Wonderful Lisa (so, feel free to throw all rotten tomatoes in her direction)
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
By Suzy Creamcheese
"A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle" Gloria Steinem, feminist
FASE ONE: Getting back on the
"Agent Buttercup." His mouth twitches and if she wasn't trying not to think of everything that happened in the past forty-eight hours, she would've smiled to match her expression to the faux-cheer in her voice.
He lets the nickname slide. Damn special agents. "I watched the briefing, we all did." He can't look at her and doesn't see it when she falters in her pretense of being just peachy. "You did him justice."
"It's the best I could do."
Josh breaks the ensuing silence to ask her out for drinks, for which she's ever so grateful. For all her training and experience, she just doesn't know how to deal with Simon's colleagues hovering around her.
For a moment, her empty apartment lures with promises of darkness and solitude, but she only knew Simon for a few weeks and nothing happened, certainly not enough to excuse hiding, so she accepts.
There's relief on his face, though he masks it well. "'K, holler when you're ready."
"I was just leaving."
"Excellent!" He bounces a little on the balls of his feet and takes off, presumably to grab his coat and wallet. It's Friday and while they all need to come in on Sunday, it looks like Saturday at least will be a genuine day off and God knows she needs it.
"We'll drive you."
Ron's offer knocks the wind out of her, but when she turns to face him, she's wearing a smile, forced though it may be. "I thought you guys gave up on me?" She makes it a joke, because she's too raw to handle it in any other way. "My car's in the garage, I can get home."
The agent looks away guiltily. "It's still missing its sparkplug."
"I wish they'd leave me alone," CJ complains when Josh hands her a new flying grasshopper.
"They're Secret Service."
As if that explains everything. She got their colleague killed, why coddle her? The green liquid slides down her throat, it's slight kick exactly what she needs, though it doesn't temper her frustration. "You been here before?"
Decidedly more relaxed, Josh takes a swig of his beer. He shakes his head, "you?" Her answer is cut off by the incessant ringing of a cell phone. She watches with a fair amount of suspicion as he fishes his phone from his pocket and answers it with a curt "yeah?"
In the grand scheme of things, they haven't worked together all that long, but she can name every emotion that flickers across his face and it's enough to make her nervous. Stubbornly she lurks on her drink while keeping an eye on him. She needs this night, please let it not be a big Thing. His eyes don't bode well, so she continues to hide in her drink. When he hangs up, she almost doesn't dare to ask. "Do we have a Thing?"
"Nah." It's not much of an assurance, because he puts the bottle to his lips and puts it down again without taking a sip. "It's an Amy-thing."
Considering Amy Gardner's track record, that could easily turn into a real thing. "I want my day off tomorrow Josh, go fix it."
There's doubt on his face, as if he worries she'll do something stupid if he leaves her alone. At the same time, it's clear he wants to go and fix whatever it is Amy's done. They're all obsessed with fixing things and they have to be. "You don't mind?"
CJ knows she can't be fixed tonight, so really, he should do something useful. Something that means she can sleep in in the morning and nurse a hangover. "Certain. Go kick her butt, and take the car with you, please?"
The rarely seen 'big brother' smile makes an appearance, dimples at each side. "They're just looking out for you Ceej."
"I'm fine, they did catch the guy. No more creepy stalkers out to get me, so I get to have a life again."
"That's not how it works, trust me." It's the voice of experience, but their stories are not the same. She didn't get shot and almost die. She was perfectly fine until someone decided she needed protection.
Josh kisses her cheek and settles their bill. "Don't do anything crazy," he says, concern clouding his brown eyes.
"I'm the queen of crazy, mi amour."
He holds her eyes for a moment, then relents. "See ya Sunday."
"Bright and shiny," she promises halfheartedly and watches him weave through the other patrons. It takes him a few minutes to convince the two agents sitting discreetly by the door to follow him, but as always, he gets the job done.
When she turns back to the bar, there's a new drink waiting for her. The bartender shrugs. With a silent thanks to Josh, she knocks back half of the green liquid and pretends the two young kids behind the bar aren't talking about her. Their wide eyes give away admiration, but it only makes her feel claustrophobic. This part of her job she'll never get used to.
"You look like you could use another drink."
"I'm fine," she retorts, only glancing up briefly at the new occupant of Josh' deserted barstool.
The redhead, unimpressed by CJ's inhospitable attitude, shrugs. "Well, I could use one."
While CJ gets instant service because in Washington even most bartenders know who she is, the woman at her side has the looks that will ensure quick service no matter where she goes. Red lipstick sets off sharply against pale, flawless skin. An order of tequila shots surprises her; she wouldn't have taken the other woman for the tequila type. She looks more like someone used to expensive red wines and cocktails.
CJ sighs into her glass and empties it in one long swallow. When she moves to fish her purse from beneath her feet, the red-haired stranger motions the bartender for two more shots. "Don't let me chase you away, I'll be quiet." She does the self-deprecating smile rather well, her eyes warm but sad even in the dim lighting. The second CJ hesitates, she flashes pearly teeth. "I'd feel better if it doesn't look like I'm all alone while I drink myself into a coma."
Against her better judgment, CJ retakes her seat. She didn't really want to go home anyway. She takes one of the shots put in front of her and clinks it against the stranger's. The woman's smile widens further, pleased. "To temporary amnesia."
The alcohol screws up CJ's face for a second, but still feels good going down.
"Addison." The woman offers, after emptying her measure of tequila in one go.
So much for the promised silence. CJ surprises herself when she answers, "Claudia." The redhead doesn't appear to recognize her and she doesn't feel like volunteering her position.
Silence returns when they both turn back to their respective drinks and she does feel a little better now that she's not so obviously alone drowning her sorrows. Still she's careful and alert. Journalists are crafty beasts and she knows squat about her neighbor, or anyone else in this joint. This might be one of the more upscale and discreet bars, as Ron put it, but they still let Joshua Lyman in. So clearly, the standards here aren't all that high.
Ruefully she smirks into her glass, casting a sidelong glance to the redhead. Three years in office and she can't remember how to make polite small talk, they're all going to need rehabilitation before they're allowed back into the general population.
Well into her second drink, curiosity gets the better of her companion. "Work, sex or love?"
"The reason you were nursing that nuclear concoction." Addison's blue eyes are playful, but she's pulled her lips into a twisted smile that betrays her true mood. The woman, thirty-ish, is impeccably groomed. The long, red tresses shimmer healthily in the dim lighting and flawlessly applied make-up, though noticeable, doesn't overwhelm her naturally angled features.
For now, CJ decides she's game. "All of the above."
"Wanna talk about it?"
"No." The answer holds more venom than she intends and gives away more than she can afford. The redhead's expression softens and CJ orders them both another drink to cover up the crack in her façade.
The bartender kindly reminds her Josh settled the bill, but shuts up and gets them their drinks when she glares. Addison calls after him to put the drinks on her tab. She doesn't look like the type who needs to worry about money, but then neither does CJ.
On the off chance this woman is a reporter of some kind (the clothes and finely manicured hands say no), she won't give her the satisfaction of feeding Bartlet's press secretary drunk. That CJ can accomplish all by herself, thank you very much.
"I'm a Doctor, I can help." Her smile is on the good side of sassy.
"Doctors are part of the problem."
"We usually are," the redhead deadpans. "But we can help too. What are the symptoms?"
"Where are you from?" CJ asks, because a question is always a better distraction than an answer, especially if that answer is death.
"New York. Well, I guess Seattle now." Her expression falls, but she pulls it together. "I'm giving a couple of lectures at Georgetown, it seemed like the perfect chance to get away from my husband and his dirty, little mistress for a few days."
Surprised, CJ turns and studies the other woman. She looks like she could be Andi's younger sister, not as habitually angry as Toby's ex-wife is these days and CJ likes her shade of red better. Maybe she should introduce Toby to this woman. Or Sam. Addison seems a little neurotic and naïve in the same way that Sam can be, has a similar open expression. And she's always felt his only fault is his height. He's just not tall enough for his looks, although she'll admit to a possible bias on the subject. They'd make beautiful children. Perhaps too beautiful. She decides she refuses to inflict that kind of perfection on the world. The train of thought cracks her up and adequately distracts her from her own maybe-something a few days ago. She swallows a guffaw and displays genuine sympathy instead. "Sorry."
Addison smiles coldly, "it's okay, I cheated on him first."
"Why?" At least the one word question doesn't betray the curiosity she feels. She's been wondering what could've motivated the First Lady to kiss her and Addison doesn't appear to be anymore the cheating type than Abbey.
"I know I should have an answer and I did at the time, but there really isn't one." She sets her glass down forcefully and tells the bartender she wants to switch to martini's. CJ decides on vodka on the rocks. She might be off tomorrow, but vodka is easier on the hangover. When their glasses are full and within easy reach again, Addison looks ahead. "I was lonely, angry and I couldn't figure out how to close the distance between us. He was 'with me', he'd say, but then wouldn't do anything that actually supported that. He was always working and I get that, I'm a surgeon too, but we all need human contact, you know." She meets CJ's eyes and shrugs, "someone who makes you feel like you matter."
The lump in her throat is stubborn and won't go down until she's poured half of her vodka down her throat. "Yeah."
"Anyway," the left corner of Addison's mouth pulls up, "we're okay now. We work together, we're friends. I just needed a break."
There's some truth to it, CJ can tell because it's her job to. It's her job to figure out if someone is being truthful or possibly luring them into a PR-trap. Communication, verbal and otherwise is her livelihood and the woman next to her hasn't finished her story. "We all need a break every now and then."
"Hmmm." The redhead knocks back the rest of her martini and shakes her head. "You ever feel like you screwed up and no matter how hard you try to be good, you just keep making more of a mess?"
CJ laughs humorlessly. This whole year has been one mistake after another. She lost her footing the day Leo told her about the MS and hasn't regained it since.
"So what's your story?" Addison wonders aloud, her eyes inquisitive. "Cheating husband? Scumbag boyfriend?"
She laughs despite herself. "God, no." The redhead seems trustworthy enough and doesn't know anything about CJ's life, which is refreshing, but she can't talk about him. She can't let this stranger into what was the only private part of her life. "No husband, or boyfriend."
"Do you miss it?" Her surprise must be clear on her face, because Addison blushes and ducks. "Sorry, that was a little inappropriate."
After a swig of her drink, CJ shakes off her initial discomfort. "It's okay, we're drinking." It earns her a smile, but doesn't change the subject and she really doesn't want to talk about the poor state of her love life. "So you're a surgeon?"
"Neonatal surgeon, actually. You?"
"I'm in communications. I talk a lot without saying anything for a living." It's embarrassing, so painfully useless in comparison and it's almost amusing to watch the other woman try to keep a neutral expression. "Must be nice," CJ muses, "to save lives every day."
Addison's voice doesn't hold any pride when she responds, instead she sounds hollow and it's enough of a surprise to shake CJ from her own misery. "Yeah, it is, but you're constantly reminded how much you don't know, that there are patients for whom your best just isn't good enough and never will be."
They talk or Addison does about everything and nothing. From the Seattle weather to childhood memories. Nothing too serious and yet CJ never had many friends, since her childhood she's had little time or energy to maintain friendships. Of the few she did cultivate only two survived her transition into the White House.
It's forced her to hone her social skills, to read people in relatively short amounts of time and she likes to think she's good at figuring out people, at anticipating their motives and actions. And, at looking beyond façades. This redheaded Doctor, for all her cockiness and self-deprecating smiles, has a sadness that lingers even behind the most hilarious stories.
At least the constant stream of inconsequential anecdotes allows CJ to watch the door. There could be any number of journalists here and she's too aware of today's constant flow of information between regular citizens and those with column-space in respected news-outlets (and less respected ones) to fully relax. The more vodka she pours down her throat, the more nervous she gets and it's not really how she planned on spending her one free night this week.
The company is good though. Addison is two shots ahead by now and not holding her liquor all that well. Even her insanely pretty red hair (no amount of styling gives CJ's hair that movie-star quality) seems bogged down by the percentage of alcohol in her system.
She's quite content to let the other woman do the talking, public image a factor even with this stranger so she's trying divulge as little as possible. Besides, it's nice to be Claudia for a night and not the face of the White House.
CJ considers it, but hasn't heard from Josh. "I'm good, Doc. Thanks."
"Lightweight," Addison bristles, "and I never liked that nickname."
"Oh, very original. I'll do without." She does something with her eye that might've been a blink, CJ's vision is a little too blurred for her to be sure. Even so, she recognizes a challenge when she sees one.
"I give people nicknames, that's what I do. Pokey, Sparky, Chaz, Fishboy"
"I think I'll pass."
She feigns hurt at her companion's horrified expression. "They're good nicknames, very appropriate."
"Well," the other woman tries, "you don't know me well enough."
"Hmm, you're a surgeon, I could call you Surg." Oh no, she's got a better one. "Serge! That's it, it's perfect." Pleased with herself she empties her glass and orders a refill anyway. Who knew the President's inane trivia knowledge of famous redheads would come in handy when she's four drinks from wasted.
Her new friend looks doubtful. "It is?"
Smiling to herself, Claudia Jean nods vigorously. "Yes, yes it is."
Addison sighs. "At least it's not Satan."
"This is nice," Addison concludes after a long discussion about women's rights, abortion and other fun stuff.
The redhead gestures, something, a fair amount of martini sloshing over the rim of her glass, though she doesn't appear to notice. CJ smirks; this is fun and she's almost drunk. "That you don't know me, or Derek, or Mark, or Meredith, or Alex, or"
"You don't have any friends?" The question sobers her and CJ feels a little bad. Clearly, Addison is the kind of person who needs to verbalize things. "I'm not judging," she amends, "my colleagues are my only friends."
"'Cisely, so this is good."
Claudia gives the statement some consideration and finishes her vodka. "It is." She's not sure when it happened, but at some point between one drink and another they actually settled into amicable, substantive conversation.
Addison's eyes light up, but the sadness still doesn't leave. "Yeah." Her face turns into a scowl when the bartender puts down two more drinks and tells them it's the last round. The surgeon is genuinely surprised. "This is not the New York I remember."
CJ can't help but laugh out loud, effectively covering the memory of his lips on hers. "We're in Washington, Serge."
Blushing, her companion takes a long draught of her new drink. "Let's pretend I did not just say that." The dorky smile she flashes is disarmingly cute for someone so self-possessed and poised.
"Okay." Because, really, they both came here to forget as much as they could and it at least seems to be working for Addison.
The temperature outside has dropped significantly by the time they're leaving and CJ actually shivers. Of course, there's no cab in sight. She could call Ron, but the taxpayers tend to frown on such use of security personnel and material.
Next to her, Addison actually chatters her teeth. "My hotel isn't far, we could get you a cab there. Or wait inside."
"Aren't you used to this kind of weather, living in the Windy City?"
She stomps her foot and starts walking, her attitude every bit the spoilt, rich girl CJ imagines her to have been. "I'll never get used to this weather."
The hotel is in fact nearby and the streets are quiet for a Friday night.
"I can see the White House from my room."
"Really." It's hard to muster enthusiasm, so CJ doesn't bother. She does curse inwardly when two cabs pass her by and a third is already taken.
"I voted for him." Strange how she's still relieved this woman isn't a Republican, even though her stance on abortion already said as much and would it really matter? She got along just fine with Ainsley Hayes. After breaking her office door.
"So did I." In hindsight, it's a little embarrassing how she's fallen victim to the 'us versus them' mentality. When it comes down to it, she truly believes Republicans want what's best for the country as much as she and her friends do. It's just that their ideas of how to improve the country can be so backwards and oppressive and unfair and elitist and, well, stupid. She doesn't always agree with the Democrats agenda either feels her party's stance on same-sex marriage, the right to choose and separation of Church and State is too safe. And she hates, violently, the amount of effort and means politicians on either side put into not alienating any potential voter or ally, it only results in less substance and lesser results. "Are you going to vote for him again?"
She doesn't know what she'll do if the answer's 'no', has little inclination to try and change the woman's mind. Parting ways would be her first choice, but she still hasn't claimed a cab. Addison shrugs and kicks at a discarded cigarette bud. "I used to work with his wife. Can we just go inside? I'm not drunk enough not to feel the cold."
CJ frowns, surprised and manages not to pounce the first half of those strung-together sentences. "Wuss." This woman wouldn't survive two seconds with the President.
"Yeah, yeah, you're tough as nails. Just come inside." She follows without much protest. After all, she's only wearing a thin blouse under her summer coat and she definitely wants to know more. They pause by the front desk and the hotel is high-end, so CJ is sure she'll be recognized as soon as the clerk sees her.
This could be one hell of a story, Bartlet's drunk Press Secretary checking in with a redheaded, female lover. Not that that's actually the case, but that's what the little rats will make of it. The responsible thing to do, is to turn around and leave, but she's thought about that a number of times during this night. The company is too good to pass up and the prospect of her dark and deserted flat utterly unappealing.
Is one friend, one friend who doesn't have anything to do with the White House, politicians or press really too much to ask?
Mind made up, she turns to Addison. "How's the room service?"
The woman's face lights up, a twinkle of mischief in her eyes as she grabs CJ's hand and pulls her into the nearest elevator. "Room service is excellent so is the minibar."
They've installed themselves on the floor, backs against the couch. It's not exactly her typical choice of surfaces to sit on, but the carpet is soft and woolly and the room is very nice. Georgetown doesn't spring for this, CJ knows.
Room service brought up some coffee and grilled sandwiches, but they surrounded themselves with tiny bottles of fun nonetheless. Right now, Addison is unscrewing numbers three and four and CJ feels obliged to warn her new friend that she doesn't have any cash on her.
The redhead smirks sassily, "I can make you pay in other ways."
"I don't doubt it, Serge." They clink and Addison's eyes cross a little when she puts the small bottle to her lips. CJ laughs, the last time she was this drunk was at Abbey's birthday party. "So you worked with the First Lady?"
"Hmmm, did my internship under her."
"Isn't Abbey in cardio-thora-ra-cics?" At least her companion doesn't seem to notice how she totally tripped over her tongue.
"We don't choose out specialty right away. I thought I wanted to be a neurosurgeon at first, then cardio. I didn't want to be a walking cliché."
CJ raises her eyebrows questioningly and finishes another grilled sandwich, washes it down with vodka.
Next to her, the surgeon half-smiles. "You know, the pretty little rich girl who's a hopeless romantic and just wants to play with babies. I'm a kickass surgeon," she adds for good measure, "I could have chosen any specialty, but babies they haven't done anything yet, you know? They have their whole lives ahead of them, they deserve every chance."
Her words are so earnest, they cut through the drunken haze surrounding them. "Do you have children?" She forces the question past the lump in her throat and briefly meets the redhead's eyes.
"No." She delicately places the small and now empty bottle of gin next to its slain brothers. "I want to, but the timing just hasn't been right. You?"
"I made a choice," CJ states matter-of-factly, "I chose a job over kids never really wanted them that badly anyway."
Addison studies her frankly, "you're not that old and I would say that we no longer have to choose one or the other. You could work and be a mother."
"Not with the hours I'm making, besides, the last functioning relationship I had ended in 1992."
"You're kidding, right?"
Amused, rather than feeling sorry for herself, CJ snatches another small bottle from the line-up and unscrews the cap. "I'm not big on relationships," she admits before putting the bottle to her lips.
Her new friend looks skeptical. Not much of a surprise, considering the stories Addison told earlier. "Why not?"
"They just never seem to work for me."
"So you just give up?"
"No, I just do the things I love which happen to take up most of my time anyway."
"Must be some job," the surgeon comments dryly.
And despite the horrendous week, the losses and unreachable goals that she and her friends carry with them every day, CJ smiles fondly. "It is." Yes, the White House eats every spare moment, drains her energy and challenges her ideals and principles on an almost daily basis. She's lost friends and for a while, she's lost trust in the most important person in her life. This job keeps her away from her ailing father and anything resembling a social life, but she loves it anyway and although she may forget it some days, this is where she wants to be. "It really is."
"There's nothing like surgery," the redhead shares, "It's like you're in this bubble and nothing outside the OR matters. All that matters is you and the patient and you have to believe in yourself, because nothing, no one will save that life, but you."
They sit in silence, commiserating their respective lives while each finishing another bottle which, by the way, really are too small. CJ doesn't mind the silence, since there is so little of it in her life, but Addison obviously feels differently.
"How long has it been since you you know "
"Since I, what, Serge?"
The woman blushes slightly, but that could just be the alcohol. "Had sex?" She giggles like a teenage girl and CJ is less annoyed that she thought she'd be.
Still, no point in just rolling over. "A while."
"Oh come on, Claudia, humor me."
It's the eyes that do her in, beseeching her for more than just gossip, but something to chase away whatever demons showed up in those few moments of silence. "Six years, give or take."
Addison's eyes blow up to saucers. "Seriously?!"
She redoes the math in her head. There hasn't been anyone the four years she's been in the White House, or since the early weeks of the campaign. Public image and all. She repeats Addison's exclamation back to her, a little confused by the unreadable look that crosses the redhead's angular face. "Seriously."
"Wow. You haven't done anything?"
"There've been kisses," she allows, thinking of Simon and Danny, and decides against more alcohol when the room starts warping. The edges of her vision have been blurred for a while. It's been a long time since she's been this drunk, but she still recognizes the point of no return and doesn't feel like crossing it.
The memory of Simon's lips on hers feels real and she wonders, not for the first time, if she'd have memorized those moments more precisely if she'd known if the kiss would've been even better. Forever, that great kiss will go hand in hand with one of the worst days of her life. "Yeah, really good ones."
"When was the last?" The look in Addison's eyes right now, is exactly the same as the one Carol gets when she pries into her boss' personal life and it makes CJ smile even though the question hits a little too close to home. She's never been very good at this girl talk.
"Maybe you should consider one-night stands?"
"Are you offering?"
The surgeon snorts. "Ha! Funny. Very funny."
"I am a funny woman. And one," she adds after a beat, "who really needs to pee."
"No funny business in my bathroom," Addie calls after her.
Pretty, little rich girl indeed, CJ mutters to herself. The bathroom is almost as large as her office. She takes her time, silence a nice reprieve. Even though she's enjoying Addison's company, the woman does have a mouth on her. Her eyes are wide and unfocused when she studies herself in the ornately decorated mirror and her hair is nearing its expiration date.
Somehow her current situation reminds her of Abbey's birthday. Of beautiful, drunk women and blurred boundaries. At least tonight she doesn't have to be on dangling modifier patrol, can't really get herself in trouble, so it's safe to let her guard down.
"Took you long enough," the redhead complains when CJ ventures back out into the main room.
Incredulously she stares at her host. "You have to go again? I thought you had all this WASP-training."
It earns her a glare and although Addison does an impressive job, it's nothing compared to Leo's. "Your phone rang, the Apocalypse Now theme."
"Great." She fishes her phone from her purse. Apocalypse means Josh and considering the late hour, it can't possibly be good news.
She doesn't need to answer and waits until the bathroom door is shut before giving the call-back command. "Josh? Tell me you fixed the Thing."
"I did!" Her colleague insists. "I fixed the Thing" She might actually believe him, except that he's calling her at two in the morning.
"So go home and get some sleep."
"You fixed the Thing."
"Yeah, but Toby broke it again."
She wishes she hadn't seen that coming. "Then he'd better fix it before I sic the Secret Service on him they'll help me this time."
"Probably," he agrees. "We'll fix it, I just need your campaign-file on Mrs. Bartlet's press."
"Left bottom drawer of my desk, Leo has a key. And Josh, you know what's going to happen if this reaches the Oval "
On the other side of the airwaves she can hear Josh slump when he answers with a despondent 'yeah' and hangs up. For a moment CJ considers the empty bottles neatly lined up next to each other. He's the best, she reminds herself. Not just one of the best, but the best. He'll fix the Thing.
Convinced or at least half way there she makes a quick trip to the minibar and fishes out two more bottles. "Last one," she mutters, just as the redhead emerges from the bathroom.
"Bad news?" She grunts an affirmative and passes one of the bottles. "If you have to go?"
"I'm getting the feeling it's not any old PR-job," Addison comments, not quite teasing. She's a Doctor, so her curiosity doesn't surprise CJ.
"It's not." When she doesn't elaborate, the redhead crosses her arms sternly and looks up at her a little. They're no longer at eye-level, though the difference is minimal. "Can we leave it at that?"
Sure enough, when she looks down, the other woman's pale toes and bright red nails contrast sharply with the plush, dark brown carpet. Her shoes, shiny leather with killer heels the First Lady would approve , lie discarded under the salon table and probably have been for a while. "Because this has been fun and uncomplicated. Talking about my job will make it complicated. I really just want to not think about the complicated tonight." CJ looks up slowly and finds that Addison has schooled her face into an almost neutral expression.
There's just a hint of mischief in her unfocused eyes. "See something you like?"
She's drunk enough, damaged enough, to play along and does. Holds the stare without allowing a chuckle or smile to light the sudden tension.
Predictably, Addison looks away and it's probably a good thing. One-night stands with women aren't a good idea when you're the face of an administration. She misses that part of her life though. This woman reminds her of one of her old girlfriends and in an odd way of Abbey. They have that same kind of effortless sexuality and are very much aware of it. Not that she thinks about the First Lady like that, she doesn't. Not even when four drinks past buzzed.
She thought about Simon like that, but Simon's gone.
Suddenly she's not sure what she would've done if the Doctor called her bluff. Disillusioned, she drops onto the couch, elbows on her knees, tiny bottle of vodka dangling in between. Addison's eyes are boring holes into her temple. The mood's changed and it's her fault.
CJ sighs and rolls the bottle between her fingers. Unscrews the cap and allows the liquor to sit in her mouth for a few moments before swallowing. The silence drags. Usually that wouldn't bother her, but now she feels guilty because it's clear these are all her dark clouds. Still, she can't squeeze out an apology, so instead she looks up slightly and forces a smile.
"You know, Claudia, this turned out to be a pretty fun night." Addison declares with a shit-eating grin that takes a few seconds to become genuine.
The sky clears and CJ chuckles, grateful. "Pretty fun?"
There's just the slightest hint of lines around the surgeon's eyes when the grin turns into a mock-pout. "There hasn't been any sex."
Oh, there's no way the redhead doesn't know what she's doing. "That could still change." This time, Addison doesn't look away and it forces CJ to rethink her options. It's spring, which she keeps forgetting and it's just one night. This woman isn't exactly the type to sell a juicy story for a quick buck. Besides, she's so earned a little treat after Simon and the crap with Abbey.
"I don't know," Addie sighs and moves directly in front of the press secretary. Deliberately, without any signs of hesitation or anxiety, she tugs at CJ's blouse, pulling it free from her pants. "Are you sure you remember how?"
She feigns insult, but can't keep a straight face. Throwing the remnants of caution into the wind, CJ stands up and gently places her hands on Addison's hips. She leans in to kiss those finely shaped lips, but somehow misjudges the height difference and aims too low. A chuckle covers up her embarrassment. "Maybe not."
The redhead's lips curve, tongue darting out to wet them. It's been too long since someone looked at her like that, the press secretary decides. "It's just like riding a bicycle," Addison assures huskily, "it's all about making things spin."
Things are certainly spinning when her aim improves and their lips meet and it's not because of the alcohol. Not entirely anyway. Within seconds, her entire body tingles and the taste of Addison replaces the chemicals of her lipstick. There's nothing soft or romantic about the kiss; it's all lips and tongues, impatient and urgent.
She grips the other woman tightly, her fingers digging into soft skin and her breath hitches when the surgeon sucks on her tongue and presses herself flush against her body. The rules set, CJ gives in, slides her hands up over hips and underneath the redhead's cashmere tunic. Addison smiles into their kiss and arches a little as Claudia covers full breasts with her hands.
Heat pools between her legs when the redhead breaks the kiss and exhales shakily. The urgency of it overwhelms her, overrules any notion of gentle or sensual, of taking time. So she lifts the woman's tunic up over her head, mesmerized by the grace with which she moves her arms. Her nails rake along the soft skin, following the edges of Addison's lace bra to quickly undo the clasps.
She tangles her fingers through the surgeon's red locks and kisses her again hard and demanding, mashing their mouths together as if her life depends on it.
Addison isn't complaining, works the buttons of CJ's blouse and uses her teeth to nip at the press secretary's lips and tongue. Somehow they manage to undress each other without falling. Hands are everywhere and CJ breaks the kiss to run her tongue along the redhead's throat. "Bed." She directs, breathing heavily and taking in the woman's curves and swollen lips. Addison moves gracefully, clad only in matching puce panties.
She follows, heart pounding. Smiles and watches closely as her host turns and poses with her hands on her hips. "Well?"
Actions speak louder than words as CJ catches her by the neck, kisses her roughly and pushes her backwards until Addison falls onto the mattress. She climbs on top of the other woman, knees and hands on either side. "I think I remember after all." To prove it, she dips her head and draws a rosy nipple into her mouth.
Addison's reaction is immediate. She shudders and gasps, arches slightly off the bed and it reminds CJ perfectly of why she's missed this. The surgeon's skin is warm and slightly salty, with just the barest hint of sandalwood. Impatiently, Claudia tugs at the now erect tip, sucks hard and lets go, smiling when the other woman whines, "you do remember."
"It's coming back to me."
The redhead bites cutely on her bottom lip, eyes blazing. CJ is about ready to jump out of her skin. Desire low in her belly, combined with the alcohol overrules any rational thought. She just wants to touch and taste and does, kisses the woman's lips, chin and paints a path down her throat and between her breasts, always lower.
Addison's stomach ripples beneath her mouth and sleek thighs tremble with anticipation before Claudia even reaches her belly-button. She doesn't touch now, all that belies her intention is her breath on the flawless skin.
She can't get over how responsive the other woman is as she explores her body. Each contact between them, no matter how light, elicits a soft gasp or moan and when she pulls away, Addison arches her back to keep contact.
She's so ready. CJ inhales sharply when she pulls the damp panties down impossibly long legs and catches the unmistakable scent of need. Addison is a natural redhead and somehow that does not surprise her. Then, finally, drops her head and draws the redhead's clit into her mouth. Addison shudders "oh God "
Is it wrong of her to feel a little triumph? CJ doesn't think so, not when the taste of this woman pushes all rational thoughts far, far away. She worries the hard little nub with her tongue, each flick reverberating through the redhead's entire body. Fingers tangle in her hair, pull hard and she obliges, sucks harder and purrs.
"That's fuck don't" the plea dies in a high pitched whine when she releases the throbbing clit and smiles against the surgeon's wet folds. She's not going to make it easy for her.
So, she dips her tongue lower, even as sharp nails dig into her skull, and explores every fold and crease of the soaked, swollen flesh. Liquid desire coats her lips and chin and she squirms to ease the pressure between her own thighs. Addison cries out, stills completely when CJ pushes her tongue teasingly against her opening.
"Did I mention," she questions innocently when she pulls back, her fingers tracing lazy circles on Addie's inner thighs, "I am great in bed?"
"Didn't. Really. Have to." Addison grunts and pulls at the press secretary's hair. "You plan on finishing what you started?" She questions irritably, still panting.
The redhead's cockiness is a turn on, it's that feeling of entitlement she's never had, the way she carries herself as if the world should consider itself lucky that Addison has chosen to walk on it. She's learned enough tonight to know that it's mostly a front, but that only makes it more of a turn on not that she'd ever admit it out loud and CJ slowly pushes herself up and over the other woman until their faces are inches apart. She runs her tongue along Addison's smudged lips and takes the surgeon's mouth with her own, pushing her tongue deep into her.
What Addison hasn't figured out yet, is that it's CJ's job to always be two steps ahead of everyone else and while she may not have done this in far too long, it is just like riding a bicycle and she has every intention of making things spin.
She repositions herself slightly just so her knee settles between the redhead's thighs. Addison shuts her eyes, mouth slack under CJ's assault and arches her back, pushing herself against Claudia's knee. Shifting her weight, she frees one hand and smoothes it down the surgeon's ribs and waist, runs her nails sharply over the prominent hipbone and through damp curls.
The small circles she rubs on the redhead's throbbing clit soon have her on edge, her breathing quick. Sharp nails dig into her shoulder blades and CJ slides her fingers further between them, the wet heat she encounters coiling up her wrist and arm, for a moment taking her breath away.
Addison's reaction is immediate. "Oh, god, Claudia "
"Hold on, just let me "
But the redhead is too far gone, can't keep still as her fingers explore. "So close, please just, I need "
They're both panting, wound tight with anticipation and lust. There's something familiar in the way Addison glares at her.
CJ defiantly nibbles on the woman's lower lip. "Say it."
She has the upper hand, quite literally so as she slides her fingers down, one on each side of the redhead's throbbing clit and holds them there, wedged tightly between her own knee and Addison's swollen folds.
Addison moans, rotates her hips in a desperate attempt to get CJ's fingers when she wants them. Failing. She brings her arms up around Claudia's neck, trembling as she pulls herself up. Moist lips barely graze the sensitive skin below her ear, making her shudder.
She's reminded once more that Addison knows exactly what she's doing when the redhead's answer drools from hot lips onto her skin, voice low and all around throaty. "Fuck me."
She does. Thrusts two fingers into the waiting heat, drenched instantly by the other woman's arousal. Addison is hot and tight around her, arching up sharply to meet each thrust as she strives to fuck her fingers deeper into the redhead.
"Oh yes fuck Claud that's, right There." She finishes on a sharp moan, body straining as CJ's fingers hit a particularly sensitive spot.
Every bit as impatient, Claudia decides enough is enough. She wants to make the redhead scream and come. Pushes her thumb against Addison hot, little clit to accomplish just that, fucking her harder, deeper. Fixated by the wetness, the feel of this stunning woman wrapped around her, she barely notices when Addison reaches the point of no return, or the nails that dig deep into her skin.
Addison is glorious when she comes. She thrashes wildly, bucks up against CJ's hand and screams her pleasure, curses and hisses and all the while CJ keeps her rhythm, pushes for more. Until Addison jerks away with a final wail, her whole body shuddering.
Her own breathing erratic, CJ sits back and watches the redhead come down from her high.
"See," Addison breathes, "just like riding bicycles."
She laughs and stretches herself out on the mattress. "I almost forgot how much fun it is," she admits. The sheen of sweat on her skin slowly dissolves, cooling her.
Next to her, Addison's breathing is still shaky, but slowing down and turns into a giggle, ends in a shudder. "That was... wow. I don't think I can move."
"Hmmm, that's the general idea."
But after a few moments, she feels the woman shift. Still unable to do much more than roll her head to the side, herself. "I don't usually " the redhead starts, then corrects herself morosely, "no, sorry, this is exactly what I do."
"Have hot sex?" The bad joke earns her a smile, though it's not enough to light Addison's sudden, dark mood. Oh well, you can't win 'em all. "What is?"
"Turn something that's easy into a complicated, elaborate, convoluted mess."
"You just used three words that all mean the same thing. Also," she adds when her brief stint as thesaurus is clearly not appreciated, "what mess?"
Addison looks over incredulously. "The mess this is going to turn into when we sober up."
"Do you usually do this? Create a problem before there is one?" The other woman actually looks offended huffs to stress her displeasure. CJ just shrugs. They're no college kids. "We're not friends. We don't even know each other's last names."
It's the perfect set-up, she realizes with a fair amount of trepidation. For a second it feels like Addison might offer up that tidbit of information, instead the redhead deflates and giggles nervously. "You're right."
"I usually am." Addison appears to consider that, cocks her eyebrow and Claudia thinks she really is hot and they're already in trouble, so what the hell? By her count, she's owed one orgasm and she's acutely aware of her own juices on her thighs. So she raises her eyebrow too, runs her hand over the surgeon's flat stomach. "Anyway, I think I need more practice."
It looks like the redhead intends to settle her debt when Addison quickly straddles her with feline grace. Her long, fiery hair falls down around CJ's face as they stare at each other. "Practice is good," Addison murmurs before fastening her mouth on the sensitive skin just below Claudia's ear.
The first thing she's aware of, other than the buzzing of her pager, is the sluggishness in her limbs. It's been a while, but CJ recognizes the feeling instantly and grins to herself. While she feels around for the offending piece of technology, she manages not to think about the many, many ways this could be a Very Bad Thing and instead studies the sleeping woman at her side.
It's been a ridiculously long time since she's had sex and even longer since she's slept with a woman, but it is just like riding a bicycle and this stranger was exactly what she needed; no pressure, no competing and someone who is a complete stranger to her life. It doesn't hurt that Addison is stunning. She doesn't look much different sleeping, but the relaxed state brings just a hint of soft vulnerability to her features.
Now real life is calling in the form of a panicky message on her pager and stinging eyes because she forgot to take out her lenses. The satisfied feeling she wallowed in disappears like snow under the sun. Cursing under her breath, CJ slips out from under the covers and ignores the dull throbbing of her temples. She picks up her bag from the nightstand and gathers her clothes in her arms, the trail of garments leads her out into the lounge. Carefully she closes the door behind her and drops her collection of clothes on the couch.
With her cell tucked into the crook of her neck, she struggles to put on her panties and hops inelegantly on one foot. Her eyes hurt, but at least she can see and avoid bumping into furniture. The hangover that's not quite a hangover, is still partying on in her head, so by the time Josh picks up, her mood has plummeted to new depths. "Tell me we don't have a Thing, Josh."
He hems and haws, mumbles something about 'not a problem' and 'tiny hitch', but the press secretary has already given up.
"You said you'd fix this!" She brings her voice down to a loud whisper, not wanting to wake Addison.
"I did, I did," he promises. CJ struggles with the catch of her bra when he admits, "I had her on our side again, really, but then "
"But then you had to go ahead and say something stupid."
"No! Well, yeah, kinda. She got the First Lady involved."
Her phone starts to slip, but it's impossible to close her blouse with only one hand. The first day in ages that started well and within ten minutes, it's disintegrated into the hot mess that is her daily life. Leaving her blouse alone, she drops onto the couch. "Damn it! One day, Josh, one day to pretend that I have a normal life. Sleeping in, shopping, catching up with friends."
"You have no friends."
"One damn day!" She knows instinctively that he just shrank away from his phone, can picture his expression clearly, but though it usually goes a long way in making her feel better, now it does little to alleviate her frustration.
"Look, it's a Thing, but not a Big Thing, Ceej. We just need you to come in for a few hours to handle the First Lady."
CJ freezes, one foot poised in mid-air while she's trying to put on a sock and surprisingly managing. "I have to give up my Saturday because you're too scared to handle Abbey?" It's a weak recovery, but Josh doesn't notice.
She sighs audibly on purpose. "Talk to me." As Josh explains her mission and the many ways in which he and Toby screwed up last night, CJ actually manages to pull on both her socks and collect her shoes from under the sofa. She gives buttoning up her blouse another try now that her phone is staying put and nudges her shoes to line up with her feet while trying to pay attention to Josh' narrative.
"So really," he concludes, "it's not a Big Thing."
With one foot in a shoe, CJ is momentarily distracted by her reflection in a mirror. She plucks at her hair, which looks as if a family of birds nested in it. "It could be a Big Thing if you don't fix it. Soon, Josh."
"Leo wants to know when you get here."
Suddenly aware of grey/blue eyes watching her, CJ turns and comes face to face with her one-night stand. "Uhh " The surgeon gestures, something, and approaches. She's sporting a textbook example of bed head, tousled copper hair sprouting out in all directions and there's little left of last night's make-up. She looks gorgeous, all naked and sleepy. Despite herself, CJ smirks, then blushes when Addison starts to unbutton her blouse and rematch the buttons with the right holes. "I'm a klutz," she admits with a quirk of her mouth.
"Who are you talking to?"
Shit. "I'll be there in thirty." But as usual, ignoring Josh is a tactic doomed to fail.
His voice rises a pitch, "you went home with someone!"
"Is it someone I know? It's not Danny, is it?"
"Thirty minutes, Josh and please get one of the kids to distract Abbey for the next hour or so." She wants to be more explicit, make sure he understands she's talking about one of the First Daughters and not Donna or Sam, but she's not alone and has no desire to admit her lies of omission. Without giving him a chance to respond, she snaps her phone shut and shrugs in Addison's direction. "Sorry."
The redhead nods, seemingly unperturbed and CJ hangs on to the offer of normalcy for a moment longer and kisses her. It's a good kiss, considering they're both suffering from morning breath and neither are immune to the usual morning-after-awkwardness. For CJ it's a last chance to distract herself from what she's about to do. She's about to spend her morning off handling the First Lady and definitely needs to stop by the gym for a quick shower before facing Mrs. Bartlet.
"Gotta brush my teeth." Thank God for the extra toothbrush in her bag and the comb. She watches her face in the mirror and considers how much of her conversation with Josh the other woman could've overheard. It's a small measure of comfort, knowing that she's been careful and didn't expose any national security secrets. When she comes out of the bathroom, Addison has disposed of the dirty dishes and empty bottles and pulled on a long blouse. "This was supposed to be my day off," she offers lamely.
The surgeon laughs. "Sounds familiar. It's okay."
They lock eyes for a moment and CJ tries to tell herself she wouldn't leave this hastily if there wasn't a Thing. The thing is, she doesn't know this woman, doesn't have time to address what they did or define what they did. She doesn't want to, because she'll never see her again, so all she wants is to leave this room with her anonymity intact. "Thank you. For, well," she gestures helplessly. "I had a good time."
"So did I. I would have without the, you know, sex thing."
"Yeah." With her hand already on the door she can't escape Addison's blue eyes. There's no reproach there, or hurt, merely understanding. They were both looking for someone new, one night to pretend life isn't all that complicated. This could be potentially disastrous, CJ decides, but she takes a blank card from her purse, scrawls her number on it and wedges it between the door and its golden handle. "Bye."
FASE TWO: A balancing act
Her week is finally over. Addison drops on the bed and for the first time in ages she misses having a home that's hers. A place to hide out while the latest depression blows over. The Carr-case still hangs over her head, as cases like that tend to do. Birth should be joyous, a new baby, hope. Love. All beautiful things that happy couples like Jamie and Ted Carr deserve.
Instead, their baby died, leaving nothing for her to fix because for all the things she can do, all the help she can offer, fixing death isn't one of them. As gut wrenching as it is for her, she can't imagine what the Carrs must be going through, what Jamie must've felt giving birth to a child they'd already loved with all their hearts, knowing it died still inside her.
Between her fingers, is the card to another life. She resolved not to take it with her, but curiosity always kills the cat. Now she's kind of glad she did. This is the point where she needs to talk to someone. Not to Derek, because, well, they're divorced now and she just tossed her, his? Their? rings into the water. Not Mark either, he's a man-whore, possibly gloating about her divorce, and she's not stable enough to resist him and the last thing she needs right now is time with the man who's baby she aborted. McSatan indeed, baby killer.
She pushes the thought from her mind. It's not like that, she knows that. But on little sleep, difficult surgeries and horrible nightmares, reality starts to warp. Not that calling a one-night stand will restore her sanity, but it might. It did before.
She stares at the card, it's been little over a week and she didn't intend to call at all. Still, she's curious. Claudia is different than anyone she knows and it was refreshing to talk to someone who knew nothing about her.
Of course, Addison being Addison, she couldn't keep her mouth shut and filled the other woman in on every sordid detail of her love life. So maybe she shouldn't call and risk embarrassing herself further.
With a sigh she drops the card and lifts her legs up on the bed. She calls room service for dinner and martinis and while she waits, reminds herself that she's fine. Divorced and lonely and haunted by dead babies, but fine. She has friends and a job she loves most days. And awesome sex with strangers.
Okay, this has to stop. Maybe she should just call Eleanor instead, let her old friend laugh at her for a few minutes and remind her once again that leaving New York was a mistake. They could be having martini's at Eleanor's hotel and shop for ridiculously expensive clothes. How WASPy. Truth be told, the long standing offer has rarely been more attractive.
No, no, she is a grown woman, perfectly capable of being on her own and she doesn't need to turn one night stands into friends to prove she's not just after the sex.
Which she isn't, wasn't. She went into that bar for two drinks at most and still doesn't quite know why she chose to sit next to that lonely figure at the bar. Sure, Claudia looked sad and Addison was so not in the mood to fend off whatever man-whores might be lurking in the Washington night. And then, when the stranger looked up to her with those blue eyes, she could've sworn she knew who she was and it added to the intrigue. Addison is a sucker for intrigue.
Despite all the things they shared that night, that feeling hadn't left. Frustrated with herself, she rolls over onto her side. It's the one thing she's good at; running when things get too difficult. That's why she slept with Mark, why she came to Seattle and why she slept with Mark again. Every bone in her body has wanted to run since the divorce finalized, but she has a good thing going career-wise. Not to mention she isn't getting any younger and the little bit of wisdom she's gained is enough to at least try to break the cycle.
So, she grabs her phone, eyes the card with a healthy dose of trepidation and dials. She's got nothing to lose. Her heart thumps impatiently, then skips a beat when a voice on the other side tells her, "CJ Cregg's office, Carol speaking. How may I help you?"
Addison scrapes her throat, she hadn't really expected a business number and is a little surprise to be talking to an assistant at eight p.m. She gathers her wits. "This is, uh, Addison, Doctor Montgomery, I'm looking for Claudia?"
"She's in a meeting ma'am, can I pass a message?" The woman on the other side of the line sounds a little stressed and it makes her feel bad for calling.
"That's okay," what kind of message could she possibly leave? "I'll"
"Hold on a moment," Carol urges, "she just came out." Oh joy. She has half a mind to hang up and almost does, when she hears the woman faintly call to her boss. "CJ, I have a Doctor Addison or something holding for you."
It's the answer that floors her and puts all the pieces together. "Addison? Right, uhm, I'm late for a dressing down from the President. Get her number and tell her I'll call back."
The assistant, back in full volume, dutifully repeats the message. Addison can hardly hear her over the roar in her ears. CJ fucking Cregg. God she knows how to pick them. She gives her number because she's too stunned not to and hangs up when Carol says good bye.
Speechless, she stares at the piece of paper in her hand and tries to wrap her head around what just happened. What are the odds? Her first night in Washington and she runs into the President's freaking Press Secretary. How could she not have recognized her? Sure, she spends too much time in the hospital to pay much attention to politics and C-Span, but they all followed the whole MS debacle with interest, she's seen the woman more than her own mother during the last five years. Admittedly that doesn't say much, but still.
When her cellphone rings two hours later, she's just finished her third (and last) martini. She stares at the lit-up screen, pondering courage. It's not like she has to pick it up. Caller-ID says nothing, so it's not anyone important. Except that it probably is.
Uncomplicated would be so nice. And it's not that she's intimidated. She's a WASP, they don't do that. They just smile, nod and drink. Quickly, before she can change her mind, she snatches her phone off the covers and flips it open. "Addison."
"Hi, it's Claudia. You called me?"
Addie swallows, unsure why she's this nervous. " Yeah, uh, we met last week."
"I remember, Serge." There's just the hint of a smile in her voice. "Did the break help?"
"Yeah, well, for a day or so."
"Bad case," Claudia states simply, clearly in a kitchen judging by the myriad of harsh sounds traveling the airwaves.
"Horrible." She closes her eyes and sits back against the pillows. She can't get the sight of that tiny baby out of her mind. So small and so very dead. It's heart wrenching and makes her want to cry all over again.
"Do you need to talk about it?"
The question, simple and gentle, brings new tears to her eyes and she almost does. Talk about it. But takes a deep breath instead. Now that she knows, it's impossible to forget just who Claudia is. "What about your Thing?"
There's a slight snort, just audible over the sound of something - coffee?- being poured. "it didn't make the news, we fixed it."
"It's something. Mind if I eat while we talk?"
"Not at all. Late dinner?"
"Uh, yeah. Sure."
She knows it's well past anything considered dinner-time in D.C. but still redoes the math in her head and holds back an AMA-approved lecture.
"Are you sure you don't want to talk about it? The case?"
"No. Well, yes, but no."In the ensuing silence, she listens carefully for any slurping or chewing noises. Claudia CJ either has impeccable table manners or still has to start her meal.
"The First Lady said you were good."
It's finally a quiet acknowledgment of the other woman's position very WASP-like and saves Addison from embarrassing herself by admitting she's watched C-SPAN tonight. "I'm surprised she remembers me."
"She speaks fondly of you."
"Really?" Somehow it makes her feel better. As an intern, residents and attendings inspire you, drive you to become better. Doctor Bartlet was one of the most challenging and skilled attendings she ever worked with.
"Yeah, I'm supposed to extend you an open invitation to the White House."
She regrets the tease when the press secretary states matter-of-factly, "well, I didn't think I'd hear from you."
"I wasn't going to call," she admits, "but I had a crappy few days and needed to talk to someone outside the hospital."
It's impossible to gauge Claudia's reaction and it makes her uncomfortable. Sex is odd that way. If they hadn't crossed that line, she's sure they could be friends. Now, she'd like to be, but what if CJ has other ideas? "I did leave my number behind," CJ says evenly. "Did something else happen?"
Switching subjects takes her a second and she's sure she can hear Claudia munch on something. Exhales, relaxes. This friend-thing could work. "I took off my wedding rings."
"Yeah. It was time."
"That's good. Ellie and Zoey were really waxing about your lectures, by the way."
Again it takes her a few seconds to catch up. Claudia is one of those people whose thoughts go seventy miles a minute and whose mouth can almost keep up. "Doctor B.'s kids? Is that why there was so much security?"
"They didn't tell you?"
"No, though in hindsight, maybe the background check they did should've tipped me off."
It's funny how she can practically hear the other woman shrug. "They can be discreet."
"I met them once Doctor B.'s kids." Not long before she married Derek, in fact. At the hospital, Abigail Bartlet was known for her technical skills and her ability to put patients at ease, gain their trust. Rare traits for a Cardio-thoracic surgeon. "She brought them to the hospital once; left the eldest in her office to do homework."
"Right. Her sister, Eleanor needed some tests." The girl, with her wide, inquisitive eyes and mess of blonde, unruly curls, was so different from Addie's friend Eleanor that there'd been no shortage of entertainment that day, as O'Hara tried desperately to get along with the kid in an effort to impress their attending. "She had so many questions even escaped and snuck into the gallery to watch her mother perform emergency surgery on a gunshot victim. She couldn't have been more than eleven or twelve."
"She's a Doctor too," Claudia shares, clearly talking with her mouth full of something or other. "Cancer research."
"What about her sisters?"
"Elizabeth has two kids and the youngest, Zoey, is a student at Georgetown."
Funny how times works. She knows, rationally, that they'd be older, but kids? That young, surly adolescent who stomped away when her mother tried to introduce her. "Now I feel old," Addison complains, not entirely joking.
"What was Mrs. Bartlet like, as a Doctor?" There's a new dept to the other woman's voice, but she could be imagining that. She doesn't think back to her intern days much. At the time they seemed to be the best and worst days off her life.
Now she knows better. But there have been a few instances friends leaving medicine to have a family, her divorce, the coverage on the President's MS and most recently, the news of Doctor B.'s suspended license, when she's found herself wondering about the Doctors she used to work with before she became one herself. And once in a while, something Bailey says will suddenly bring one of Doctor B.'s many dressing-downs to mind. "We used to call her Doctor Hardass behind her back." It makes her new friend snort to the point of coughing, the sound rich and deep. "And I'm pretty sure everyone in our year had a little crush on her. I was shocked when she gave up practicing, but I guess you can't really combine that with, you know, First Lady-stuff."
"She misses it."
"Of course, she's a surgeon. That's not something you do, it's what you are. We don't know how to be anything else. It must kill her not to have her license, even if she's not practicing."
The silence on the other end tells her she's crossed a line of some sort, or maybe it just means Claudia doesn't know.
Then again, the other woman strikes Addison as observant, but now she feels uneasy. She blabs when she's uneasy. At least Derek isn't here to make fun of her anymore and she wishes she would feel something other than regret about that. "So... We're doing this?"
"Talking? Yeah, sounds like we are."
"No," Addie sighs, "This the friend-thing."
"Oh." As if it's such a novel concept. "Seems like we are."
"No more sex then," Addison concludes, "I've ruined too many friendships with sex."
"We're on different sides of the country," CJ teases, "I don't think you have to worry about sex." Her last few sexual encounters have created such a mess, she's almost forgotten that sex doesn't always equal awkward and complicated.
The woman has a point though, one solid enough to stop her thoughts from going there. Pleased with the newfound status quo, Addison sits back on her bed and settles in, finally at ease. "Great sex though."
Claudia hums her agreement.
After half a dozen conversations, Addison still thinks about the sex. Of course, that could be because Mark accused her of having sex the second she came back from Washington and has been relentlessly teasing her to cover up what exactly, she doesn't know. It's not jealousy, maybe flirting? She's been firm with him, but he's not giving up.
The thing is, he's actually not having sex with every random girl that crosses his path. Just every other random girl. Could it be he's growing up? And why does that freak her out? Mark is hot, intelligent (when his brain does the thinking anyway), a world class surgeon. Well, a world class plastic surgeon. He's fun and one of her best friends, and he's he's Mark.
She sighs into her coffee. He is Mark, he'll always be Mark. Even if by some miracle he grows up enough to have a steady, monogamous, adult relationship. He'll always be the guy she cheated on her husband with.
Then there's Karev, who is Mark twenty years ago, damaged but not yet beyond repair. She put him on her service as punishment, but he shows real promise. He's the kind of Mark that would make a good father, eventually. And he's an intern, she's so not going there. At this point, being the only attending not to have slept with an intern is what keeps her head high and the embarrassment at bay.
So, she thinks about the hot lesbian sex, because she can't think about her colleagues. That's it. That's all there is to it. Claudia is her friend now and friends don't have sex. She's growing up and she's not thinking about sex with friends, she's just thinking about sex. Freaking hot, drunken, blurred sex.
"You taking a little vacation there, Ads?"
Startled, she nearly drops the coffee. "Wha?"
Callie one of the few friends she hasn't slept with sits down next to her, slightly jostling the table as she puts her tray down and for a brief second blocking the sun. "You look like you're far away on a tropical beach with hot, naked men entertainin you."
"Something like that," Addison admits with a smile. Denying it won't get her anywhere. "How's O'Malley's dad?"
Her friend's face falls a little. "I don't think he's " she stuffs her face with a large bite of her sandwich, chews and sighs. "George still won't let me in."
"He'll come around."
"It's been a weird few weeks," she consoles her friend, "things will calm down."
"This is Seattle Grace, things never calm down."
If that wasn't so annoyingly true, she might laugh. Instead she brings the styrofoam cup to her mouth and takes a sip. "Yuck!" Out of reflex, she spits the foul liquid back into the cup. "Gross! It's cold,"
Torres just laughs at her, munching cheerfully on a sandwich. At least momentarily happy and carefree, her dark eyes twinkling. "How long have you been sitting here?"
"Too long, it seems." They watch, although they try not to, as Cristina walks up to Bailey only to be completely ignored and after a few moments slink off to sit with the other interns. "Who would've thought Cristina Yang would risk her career for love."
"And surgeries," Callie points out, "let's not forget about the surgeries."
"I just can't believe he didn't tell Derek about the tremors."
"How are things with Mark?" Callie questions when she catches the interns watching them.
Addie shrugs while she gingerly picks at the salad in front of her. "Back to the usual mess."
"He's really trying."
"Yeah. So can I ask you something?" She's quick to ask before Callie can react to her less than enthusiastic tone.
"I have this friend "
Callie glances up and squints her eyes to brave the unusually bright spring sun, "if this is another hypothetical."
Waving off her friend's concerns, Addison pulls her chair closer to the table and starts picking at her lunch in earnest. "It's not, I do have friends."
"Hmm, not really. I mean, you have me and your ex-husband and, Mark." The resident's tone of voice doesn't hold the ridicule her words imply and it's hard to be offended when she smiles like that. Still.
"And I have other friends," Addie insists, because she does.
"Okay, so what about this friend."
"No, no, forget it." The pile of tomato at the edge of her plate grows steadily as she rids her salad of the bloody little devils. She doesn't look at her friend, but doesn't complain either when Callie stabs her fork in the pile and stuffs her mouth.
"Oh come on, you know you want to tell me."
Unfortunately, the Ortho-surgeon is right, so she sighs to hide it. "I have this friend and it's kind of a new friend. They're not a Doctor." She falters when her friend looks at her inquisitively, complete with one artfully raised eyebrow. "I've never had a friend before who didn't know Derek, or Mark, or who wasn't a Doctor."
"Not sure where you're going with this."
"Well, see, the first time we met..." She can't say it and it's not because she's a prude which she isn't. She doesn't have to either, because Callie figures out the dirty, little secret easily enough. It's really no surprise the brunette catches on almost immediately.
"Addie has a little crush!"
Not the deduction she was hoping for. "That's just the thing, I don't. Don't get me wrong, the sex was great, amazing even, but it was just sex. No pressure and we'd never see each other again. But then I don't know. I wanted someone new, you know? Untainted by all the sluttiness. So we've been talking, as friends and it's been good." She implores Callie with her eyes, lunch all but forgotten. Begging her friend to be serious and not dissolve into girl-gossip. Which although fun is not what she needs right now.
"So you go from sex to friends, what's the but?"
"But," she takes a deep breath and quickly scoops out the cafeteria. "The sex was really hot."
"You look as if you just signed a death sentence. Good sex is a good thing, Ads."
She laughs at the brunette's wide grin, relaxes "Yeah. But their friendship is more important to me. You think that can work?"
"Sure," the younger woman shrugs, "you've never become friends with someone you slept with?"
"I usually sleep with friends," Addie admits quietly.
"As long as she's on the same page, I don't see why you can't be friends and have a little McFun."
"McFun? wait, she?"
Callie laughs out loud, clearly pleased with herself as she smugly announces: "the careful gender-neutral pronouns? Come on." It's not that she was actually fearful of that revelation in the first place, so Addison sags in her chair and relents, then immediately regrets letting Callie have her moment because her friend starts chanting. "Addison has a girlfriend, Addison has a girl"
"Shh! And it's not like that." She might be fine with Callie knowing, but this really does not need to become part of Seattle Grace's gossip circuit. She's suffered enough with the Derek-Meredith-Mark-cheating-divorce-mess. Besides, it's not like that.
"What? She's your friend and she's a girl, you have a girl friend."
Of course, right at that moment, Preston Burke pauses at their table, eyebrows raised almost into his hairline, "who has a girlfriend?"
Taking a leaf from her treacherous friend, Addison defends herself. "I have a friend who is a girl."
Preston, in that condescending tone he does so well even now, concludes, "Ah, a girl friend," and sits down just as another familiar face walks up to them. And why would it be anyone but Derek?
She glares at the two men. "Oh, for the love of God." By now, Callie can barely breathe, she's laughing so hard and her ex-husband just smiles his McDreamy-smile. "I do not have a girlfriend! I have a friend, who is a girl."
Her exclamation couldn't have been better timed if she tried of course, this was a bad, bad, bad idea and Callie will pay. "Is she hot? Can I watch?" Mark questions brightly and takes the last seat.
Defeated, Addison pushes her tray away and drops her head on the table. "I hate you all."
Barely off the hospital's parking lot, Addison drops down on a bench overlooking a small strip of grass. The air is mercifully fresh and the slight chill of dusk gives her some much needed energy. She places her purse carefully next to her, takes out her phone and dials. "I hope your week is going better than mine." Her voice hitches a little, rough after a long day in surgery.
The chuckle she expects never comes. Instead, Claudia's voice is as dull as her own. "Sure, if you ignore the two hour monologue about the Fighting Irish Leprechaun, a summer-giddy press corps and Henry my deputy accidentally taking a pivotal report with him to Timbuktu."
"Impressive, but it doesn't beat mine. I spent two days trying to save Meredith's newborn niece, Mark has been a pain in the ass more than usual, no one knows what to do about Burke and I sort of, kind of kissed Karev."
There's a long silence, some muffled voices and eventually CJ resurfaces with a curt "I've got it Leo, go home."
"You're still at work."
"I'm always at work", comes the dry response. "I'm just waiting for a Thing, depending on which I may have to kill Sam and dump his body in the Potomac."
"All in a day."
CJ snorts. "Meredith is the slutty intern slash dirty mistress, right?"
"Yeah. She's the new girlfriend." She closes her eyes and sits back. For twelve years he's been her husband. It's still weird to think of him as anything other than that, as having a girlfriend - even if it's Meredith, even if it's all her own fault.
"So why would they bring that baby to you, you know, considering "
"Hey!" Addison exclaims, insulted even though she wondered the same thing. Not that Grey's semi-family knew anything about her and Derek, or Derek and Meredith. "I happen to be the best in my field."
"So you tell me."
She smirks at the good-natured jest. "And I would know what I'm talking about, wouldn't I."
"How's the baby now?"
"She might need another surgery, but she'll be fine."
"Some way to start your life."
"I hope she's got the bad part over and done with now." Addison sighs as she pulls her coat together with her free hand and scoots down a little, realizing belatedly the rough wood might catch her skirt. "Derek kept checking in on me, all overdone smiles and friendliness, as if he thought I'd just let her die."
"Did he say anything?"
"He's Derek, of course he didn't. He's the master of not saying anything. He didn't say anything when I told him I wasn't ready for kids, or when we fought over patients. When he caught me with Mark, he just turned around and left. Never said a word." The words rush out of her, leaving a bitter taste in her mouth. Maybe she's a little more upset with him than she initially thought.
"I wish my boys were like that," Claudia counters tiredly, "I swear, if I have to listen to Josh and Toby butt heads one more time this week I might just make Sam's execution a three-for-one deal."
"Silence is overrated. Nothing good comes from it, nothing at all. Stupid kisses with stupid teenagers, that's what silence begets." She doesn't appreciate being laughed at, but the low rumble coming from her friend takes the sting out of it. "Don't laugh", she warns just the same.
"Sorry, Serge, but really, it's like one big orgy."
"It's not funny. " Addison sighs and stares at the stars above. "It's high school with scalpels."
"It's disturbing, that's what it is." And clearly she means it, all traces of amusement gone. "Stay away from the teenagers, Addison."
"That would be a lot easier if they weren't all over the place. Freaking teenagers everywhere, even Mark and Burke are acting like twelve-year-olds. Granted, that's par of the course for Mark, but Burke? He's been operating with a tremor and still manages to act as if we're out of line for calling him on it. I never should've left New York. No one slept with interns there, or operated with potentially deadly tremors."
"Now I'm having horror images of deranged surgeons with shaking scalpels. Thanks."
It's always sad when someone has had such bad experiences in hospitals, but at the same time CJ's admission is endearing. For the sake of collegiality, she puts up a token defense. "He didn't kill or hurt anyone."
"I don't really want to know how much of that was luck instead of skill."
"Yeah." As much as she understands Preston's fear, his instinct to hold on to and protect an outstanding career, it was still stupid, dangerous and on the bad side of arrogant. Without a scalpel, he is no one they are nobodies, she feels that as acutely as he does. They're surgeons first and everything else second. But to put patients at risk, to put such pressure on an intern even one as promising and talented as Cristina Yang She sighs. "Men are idiots."
"Where are you?" Claudia questions when a car pulls up screeching.
She laughs at herself. "I'm sitting outside."
"I know it's spring, but it can't be that warm."
"It's not. The fresh air is good though. Healthy and stuff."
"Right. Next you'll tell me you gave up coffee and alcohol."
Addison feigns horror, laughing with her friend. "I'm a WASP, I might as well stop breathing."
"Do not talk about WASPs today."
"DAR still giving you trouble?"
CJ sighs dramatically. "The First Lady has a social secretary, I don't understand how I get stuck with these assignments. Sweet talking isn't one of my strengths. I think Mrs. Bartlet does it just for kicks."
"You are good with your tongue," Addison jokes, pleased CJ can't actually see her, because there are certain memories popping in her head that leave a blush on her cheeks. The adrenaline of the last few days still playing havoc with her hormones.
"I don't think that's the kind of skill the DAR president would appreciate."
"Rumor has it, Mrs. Sherman's husband is doing the pool boy. Maybe she's keeping busy with the maid?"
"I'll be sure to ask her that," Claudia promises dryly, amused but clearly unwilling to admit to it.
"Take a picture when you do, I could make a lot of money with that." The mere idea is almost enough for her to call the Captain and borrow the jet, just so she can witness Alice's reaction in person.
"Far be it from me to stand between you and your next four hundred pairs of shoes."
"Don't knock my shoes, they're my babies."
"You have serious issues, Serge, serious issues."
She dismisses the observation true for different reasons and decides to walk back to the hotel before the cold really sets in. "That reminds me; I have a few days off coming up, perfect time to go shopping."
"It's a good thing you save lives, or you'd have no redeeming qualities whatsoever."
"None whatsoever, really? Because I did teach you how to ride bicycles again."
"You seem to have more of a one-track mind than usual, Doctor Montgomery."
"It's the surgeries," she admits, dropping her voice when she passes a hand-holding couple, "they turn me on."
"And the teenager." Her friend surmises succinctly. Claudia is uncanny that way. At least she sounds a little more sympathetic this time.
"Right." It's easier to agree wiser and it's not a lie. Maybe an omission and that's okay. Omissions are good, necessary. You don't tell a woman who's about to give birth about all the nasty things no one has warned her about. They don't matter. And it doesn't matter that yes kissing Karev turned her on, but not as much as kissing Claudia had. "Anyway, I'm, uh, at the hotel now. So I'm gonna, you know, sleep."
"Right. Have fun with that, Serge."
She opens her mouth to deny whatever her friend has concocted up in that mind of hers, but thinks the better of it. She's probably right anyway. "Shut up."
Claudia's laughter rings in her ears all the way up to her room. Friends are a pain in the ass.
It's well over a week before she picks up her phone again, except for a brief conversation with Claudia when Meredith was still fighting for her life and she had no idea how to handle Derek. The ferry-crash has kept the entire hospital so busy she can't remember when she had her last solid meal, or how many days it's been since she made it off the hospital's parking lot. She's also rarely felt more 'in the zone'. Give her back-to-back, challenging surgeries for days in a row and she's walking on water. Floating on saved lives and breaking under the weight of losses. She's a surgeon, she lives and dies with each of her surgeries.
Her room is much too quiet after days of chaos. The difference so stark the walls are closing in on her. When her phone rings, it is actually a welcome distraction. Caller-ID takes her by surprise. Curious, she brings the phone to her ear. "Claudia?"
"Hey Serge, how are you?"
"Fine." She's unable to shake the uneasy feeling. CJ usually doesn't call. "You okay?"
"Just peachy. Meredith?"
"Still recovering, but she'll be okay, amazingly."
"That's good. Did you ever get that day off?"
Although the other woman can't see her, she shakes her head. "We have a huge backlog because of the crash. No free days for a while."
There's a pause the ominous kind. When CJ speaks, the uncharacteristic hesitation in her voice catches Addie off guard. "Yeah, about that... the First Lady wants to visit."
"Seattle Grace," CJ corrects bemusedly. "She and the Surgeon General are impressed by how the city has handled the aftermath of the crash. They want to come down and talk to some of the staff and patients. I thought I'd give you a heads up."
"Wow. Okay. I hope she brings a thick skin."
"We shouldn't expect an enthusiastic welcome, hmm?" To her credit, CJ doesn't seem surprised or disappointed.
Addison can't help but remember Callie's frustrated rambling about the media-coverage, or how yesterday's visit from the mayor had completely messed with everyone's already clogged schedules. "We're Doctors. We prefer saving lives over making nice with people on high horses."
She regrets the snide come-back instantly. Even more so when Claudia's response is calm and gentle. "They're both Doctors. They'll stay out of your way."
"Are you coming along as well?" The question comes out a little more eager than she would've liked. But really, hanging out with a non-Doctor might help her to not think about Dead Meredith or Devastated Derek. All Callie can talk about is George and though she supports her friend and it's nice to see her happy again, something about the couple just doesn't sit right with her. She hopes fervently she's wrong.
"I can't really say."
It takes some getting used to that 'can't really say' means 'I'll be sued and convicted for treason if I do'. She gets that it's kind of like medical confidentiality on steroids, but that doesn't make her any less curious. "Okay. If you do, think you'll have time to go out for dinner? I've been stuck in this place for the last week, I'm afraid I'll forget it's actually possible to leave."
"We'll see." She's not sure if the other woman's hedging or not. Decides that if she is, Addison doesn't mind. She's never had to work at forging friendships like this. They usually come easy and break easily. But they have a lot in common and it offers both of them a distraction from their high-pressure positions.
"Just don't expect to get any," the surgeon jokes awkwardly. Shooting off her mouth as she always does when the silence feels uncomfortable and immediately berating herself for it.
Claudia chuckles, then awwws. "You say that now."
"I do. I'm saying it and I'm sticking to it. No sex, not with you, not with teenagers. I'm celibate." She's being laughed at and is so very grateful they're on opposite sides of the country because her cheeks are burning. "Anyway, why Seattle Grace?"
"The original plan also included a visit to Mercy West," CJ reveals, "but there's no time for a two-day trip, so Seattle Grace will have to do."
"I'll wear my fancy scrubs, give the place some class."
Her resolve not to think about not wearing scrubs, or any type of clothing, goes out the window with the nonchalance with which Claudia asks, "do they come with fancy underwear?"
It's been a long time since she's been honest-to-God excited about something other than surgery. There's still a surgery to be excited about. One she's been reading up on for the better part of the night, in fact. But Doctor Montgomery's excitement is for other reasons as well.
Of course, at Seattle Grace, excitement never lasts long and as soon as she strides through the 'authorized personnel only' doors, she falls right into the first squabble of the day. Yang and Burke are blocking the Board, their voices easily carrying over to the nurses' station and making it hard to focus on the chart in her hands.
"People make mistakes, Doctor Yang." His infliction short of complete indignation, but close, as if he's explaining why pregnant women shouldn't do drugs.
"It was not a mistake! It was a deliberate, conscious decision. She didn't accidentally cover-up his condition. She knew exactly what she was doing. She shouldn't be here."
Preston huffs and before he goes in for the kill, Addison can tell where he's going braces herself because men like Preston have been groomed to be polite and well-mannered, but really, they're not. "License or not, Doctor Bartlet deserves your respect and will have it, because she's ten times the Doctor you'll ever be."
Cristina actually looks affected, which is new and quite probably has something to do with the Tremor Cover-up, but she still comes up to the station and slams a chart down. "I have no respect for someone who throws a brilliant career away. Love does not make it okay." Her voice cracks just a little, but Addison has no time to think about it. On some level, Yang is right (if maybe hypocritical, considering) and she can't think about that, because Doctor Bartlet was her mentor and mentors shouldn't be falling off their pedestals.
No, she needs to focus on her surgery. Before she makes it anywhere near her patient's room however, the Chief calls the staff together. Addison is a little taken aback by the number of people who show up.
They're standing neatly lined up. The four usual suspects whispering amongst each other while Karev sulks on the side. It's Meredith's first day back, so Addison is a little surprised at the dark cloud hanging over her ex-husband's head.
"Like we have nothing better to do," Callie complains and is immediately shushed by an excited Burke. It's hard not to laugh at this talented bunch of misfits. Bailey is the only one who seems unaffected; casually flipping through charts and occasionally glancing over at her interns.
"The First Lady is not a real Doctor, is she?" Stevens questions. "Probably derm or plastics."
Yang grunts and before Mark can protest the implied slandering of his specialty, Burke leans in and sneers, "she's board-certified in thoracic surgery and internal medicine, Doctor Stevens. If you're going to act superior, you might want to get your facts straight."
Izzie rolls her eyes and petulantly plunges her fists in the pockets of her lab coat, but wisely shuts up. The exchange puts a hint of a smile on Callie's face. Derek is still brooding and it makes Addie nervous, because he has a tendency to do stupid, pigheaded things when he's in that kind of mood.
When the doors open, the whole group falls silent and even Karev straightens, though he tries to act casual about it. Richard appears, followed by the three visitors and half a dozen men in black. Predictably, Mark whistles appreciatively as his eyes fall on Claudia and he jabs his elbow into Derek's side.
Without being too obvious about it, she studies the women while Webber introduces them. She's sure that if Claudia had looked like that when they met, she'd have recognized her instantly. The tailored suit fits fluently around CJ's frame, her hair neatly styled and she exudes a confidence Addie didn't see that night. Claudia is easily the tallest of the three, even has an inch or so on the Chief and it's a weird realization that her admiration for Doctor Bartlet may have added a few inches to the memories she has of the older woman.
It's clear Cristina is not at all willing to follow her fiancées instructions and she's busily complaining to Grey while Preston drills holes in the back of her skull. At least it's sort of amusing and watching their passive-aggressive antics keeps Addison from thinking too much about what Claudia looked like naked and how much they're not having sex again.
While the Chief explains today's schedule, she studies Doctor Bartlet. There are more lines on her former mentor's face, but other than that, she hasn't changed much and clearly still favors the tight-fitting power suits and stiletto's. She's distracted when her name passes the Chief's lips. "-mery's in-utero repair of a congenital diaphragmatic hernia in OR1. Doctors Bartlet and Griffith will be watching from the gallery. Everyone who would like to attend is requested to sign up before eleven this morning due to security measures."
Fantastic. No pressure there at all! Mark casts a sympathetic glance in her direction. Despite her resolve not to have any expectations of her new friend, Addison does glare at the press secretary. A warning would've been nice.
"Doctor Griffith has requested a tour of the Denny Duquette Memorial clinic," the Chief continues and gestures towards the crowd. "Doctor Bailey, would you do the honors."
Miranda responds with a curt "yes, sir" coming from somewhere to the left of her.
"I'm sure Doctor Bartlet would like a tour of our Cardio-thoracic facilities, Doctor Burke, Yang." Cristina actually huffs and tosses her head back. "All right people, let's go save lives."
On cue, the group dissolves, except for the Doctors mentioned by name. Addison hovers, because she might as well get the introductions over with now. Webber approaches her while the various M.Ds exchange pleasantries. "You worked with her, didn't you?"
"A long time ago," she acknowledges. "She pushed me to go for a second specialty."
On the best of days, she can't quite read Richard and as his mouth thins into a set line, she isn't sure what he's thinking. Here is a man who, like Doctor B. was once her mentor, but she's worked with him longer and their relationship evolved. Her admiration for Abigail Bartlet on the other hand, has frozen in time. "She specifically asked to observe one of your surgeries."
It's almost an apology, though she's not sure why. "That's okay."
"I assume Karev is keeping an eye on your patients." Although he makes it a question, he barges ahead without waiting for an answer. "So if you have time, could you give Miss Cregg a quick tour while I find a place for her to work?"
She glances back at the tall woman, who's politely listening to Mark. "She can use my office, I'm not going to need it today."
"I appreciate that, Addie."
"I'll tell her." For a second he looks doubtful, but she knows him and he'd rather talk to the visiting M.Ds. He doesn't stop her as she heads over to Claudia. "Mark, she's too smart for you, say bye." She shoves him away, ignoring his protests, but not CJ's low chuckle. As often happens in her private life, she forgot to think ahead. Now she's alone with the woman and realizes that a dozen calls and a one-night stand really don't make a friendship.
"Hey." In the harsh hospital lights and perfectly groomed, Claudia looks every bit the powerful, in control secretary Addison has seen on TV. And though the loose-falling Armani-suit is not something she would ever choose to wear, the older woman pulls it off with casual class.
"Hi. I'll, uhm, show you my office."
"Lead the way."
They take off, or Addison does and expects the visitor to follow. The uneasy feeling in the pit of her stomach bothers her, because damn it, she's got nothing to be nervous about. She's Addison freakin' Montgomery.
And she's wearing fancy underwear to go with her fancy scrubs, you know, just in case.
After taking a deep breath and releasing it, she halts mid-step. When she turns, she finds the other woman appraising her solemnly, completely at ease. It could be a big lie, a mask like the one she wears when giving a patient bad news, but she can't tell for sure.
"You were right about Mark." The way she scrunches up her nose is enough to break the tension.
Addison laughs. "He's a good guy, but predictable."
"And very good-looking."
"You think they call him McSteamy for his dry-cleaning skills?"
"Does he have any? Because I might be interested if he does." CJ deadpans. Her voice perfectly even, but her blue eyes give away amusement.
"Ha. Not a chance. So what do you think?" She asks, gesturing at the walls.
Her guest glances around and smiles gently, "it looks pretty modern."
"Ah, you haven't seen many hospitals, have you?"
The smile fades. "Just two. Not pleasant experiences."
The words have scarcely left her mouth, or they round the corner and come up to one of Addie's favorite sights in the hospital. "This always makes me feel better."
"There's so many of them," CJ says with awe.
For a few precious seconds, the world pauses and settles into serenity. On the worst of days, a few seconds at the window of perpetual cuteness lift her spirit and give her much needed strength to fight again. "Eleven. Little Jimmy," she points to the wriggling newborn on the far right, wrapped up tightly in a blue blanket, "was born two hours after we spoke last night."
"You've been here all night?"
"That's what the on-call rooms are for."
Claudia arches one eyebrow. "Really? That's not what you"
"Officially they're for sleeping." She pulls the visitor away from the window, "come on, I'll take you to my office."
They're barely two steps away from the window, or her beeper goes off. With an apologetic look she fishes it out of her pocket. "Sorry, I have to "
CJ shakes her head, russet hair brushing her shoulders. "No problem."
Reluctantly, Addison calls over the first familiar person she sees, a little surprised by the dark-haired surgeon's presence in this part of the hospital. "Callie! I'll see you, later," she tells the press secretary.
Callie's smile is a too-polite version of her usual wide, toothy one as she introduces herself . Her eyebrows crawl way up on her forehead when Addison stupidly requests, "can you show Claudia my office? I have to check on Mrs. Wilkinson."
"Sure," answers her fellow surgeon, drawing out the words and glancing back and forth between them until she catches herself. "Right this way, Ms. Cregg."
Addison lingers long enough to catch the Look Callie tosses over her shoulder and glare back.
"So." Addison jumps, nearly knocks over the juice she's absently staring at. She's just calming down from the surgery which had a few complications but went relatively smooth despite them. For some unknown reason she's left feeling jarred and inadequate just the same. "I've been here less than twelve hours and I haven't figured it out yet." Claudia sits down next to her and places a pile of papers securely in front of her on the table. She points at the four interns sitting on the other side of the cantina. "The sad, blonde one, that's Meredith, she died. The perky blonde one accidentally killed her fiancé and before that, slept with your teenager, Karev."
Having collected herself, Addison nods. "So far so good."
"Okay then, the girl who's been giving Abbey the evil eye is engaged to the shaky cardio-surgeon and," she pauses and looks at the redhead, "we won't talk about Mark."
"I gotta say, there are a lot of good-looking Doctors here. I may have chosen the wrong zoo to work in. What did I miss?"
"Okay, the other intern, O'Malley, he slept with Meredith not a big success." It's too much like high-school gossip, including the low voices and pointed stares, but damn if she isn't enjoying herself. It certainly beats redoing today's surgery over and over again in her head. "He's the one who married Callie, in Vegas."
"I like Callie," CJ interrupts, "she showed me an on-call room. I think she's figured you out."
For now, she ignores it, sure that Callie will grill her later and preferring not to think about that just yet. "He and Karev also slept with the same nurse and got syphilis."
Appropriately disgusted, Claudia snickers.
"Stevens dated Karev, before he cheated on her with said nurse." And sometimes she gets the distinct impression something is going on between Stevens and O'Malley, but she prefers not to think about that especially because Callie thinks so too and she wishes good things for her friend. Someone in this damn place should have a happy marriage.
"And you have the hots for him?" CJ wonders incredulously, but doesn't wait for an answer. "Anything else?"
Suitably embarrassed, Addie sighs. "Well, there's Mark, but if I have to talk you through all his partners we'll still be here in the morning."
"I can live without that," the press secretary says dryly. "It was quite an experience, watching your surgery. It's impressive how calm you stayed throughout the whole thing."
"You have no idea what happened, do you?"
Claudia shrugs, her smile self-deprecating and encouraging at once. "I really didn't, but it looked complicated and you fixed it."
"Yeah." Though she tries to sound pleased, it's not working. Surgeries like today's are supposed to give her a rush, get her high, remind her why she's doing this. For some reason, she just feels empty and anxious now. Maybe she was too prepared for things to go wrong it doesn't matter. She pulled it off, the baby's fine and so is mom. "So you're flying back tonight."
"The First Lady and Surgeon General will. I am scheduled for what will undoubtedly be a very entertaining and inspiring meeting with the city council tomorrow, followed by a sit-down with the Governor." Her voice indicates the exact opposite and Addison seriously starts to question her sanity, because she's excited.
"Where are you staying?"
"Uh Carol made a reservation somewhere." She grins sheepishly and rummages through the pile of papers. Addison is fixated when the other woman licks her thumb for better grip. "Ah. The Archfield Hotel, room twenty-one ten."
"We're not having sex."
CJ, apparently unsurprised by the non-sequitur, shrugs. "Okay."
Still, the surgeon repeats it in her head, over and over. Because she feels like crap and sex always makes her feel better (until the morning after, anyway) and by some twist of fate, her one-night-stand-turned-friend has a room one floor above hers. But they're friends now and she's been bothering the other woman with calls about two times a week, so she owes her something. Something that doesn't include her fancy underwear or has anything to do with riding bicycles. "We can have dinner."
They both scramble for their pagers when one goes off. CJ is the lucky one, announcing with fake cheer, "time to check in with the mothership." She watches her leave, amazed how she looks completely at home and yet so out of place.
Still looking, she doesn't see Calliope Torres coming up to her table. "That's your McFun? Dude!"
"No. NO. No no. She's not McFun."
But her friend is having none of it. "She's hot." At that, Addison turns and studies Callie's expression, absently chewing on a mouth full of green. She's ready to deny everything, but what's the point? Under the scrutiny, the orthopedic surgeon blushes a little, but doesn't back down.
"Not a word," she hisses under her breath. "Seriously Torres, not a word."
"You're no fun."
"She's my friend, that's it."
Finally realizing Addison is dead serious, the dark-haired surgeon calms. "So you're friends."
Addie shrugs. "I think so. No offense, but it's refreshing to talk with someone who doesn't live and breathe medicine."
"I get that. I showed her an on-call room," Callie snickers. "I don't think I want to know what you told her."
"Nothing that isn't true."
"Probably not and probably nothing she doesn't want to try herself."
"Shut up." She tosses a small piece of bread against her friend's cheek to add a little umph to her order, but Torres just laughs in her face and balls up the cellophane wrapping of the just-consumed energy bar.
"Right, you're just friends."
"We are." She really wishes Callie wouldn't look at her as if she's crazy, she's not the one who got married to an intern in Vegas. She has no romantic feelings for Claudia, just sexual ones. Lots of sexual ones. Admittedly, she's never been good at sex for sex' sake. Perhaps she's growing up, or maybe it's a simple matter of realizing that falling in love with this woman won't get her anywhere. She doesn't really care and it doesn't matter anyway.
Callie stands up and jabs her index finger at her friend as she backs away. "In that case, you might wanna not be so defensive about it, Montgomery."
A soft knock draws Addison's attention away from the chart she's studying. CJ is nowhere to be seen, so she's temporarily reclaimed her office to escape Preston and Derek butting heads in the attendings' lounge. "Come in."
The words have barely left her mouth, or two men in crisp, black suits enter her office and quickly check the scene before disappearing again. A familiar voice precedes the next visitor. "I've been looking for you. Your surgery was flawless."
Refusing to show her surprise, and automatically falling back into that intern habit of groveling, she stands up and greets her former mentor. "Doctor Bartlet." Abigail's dark hair is styled to the nines, nothing like the wild mane of unruly waves pinned back by a few clips she remembers.
"Doctor Montgomery. You've made quite a name for yourself."
At thirty-eight, this is the first time Addison sees what must be maternal pride of some sort, because no one else has ever looked at her quite like that and she's blushing. Montgomeries don't blush. "I had a good role model."
Abigail waves off the compliment and takes a seat, as if this is her office and Addie doesn't even think to mark her territory, because, really, this is her boss and just watching the older woman makes her feel like an intern all over again. "I miss surgery, holding a scalpel, feeling flesh give away to the blade."
Hearing the regret mixed with reverence in the older woman's voice, brings all the questions she has to the front of her mind. And, as she often does, Addison speaks before she thinks. "Why did you do it? Treat him and hide "
"I can't talk about that, Montgomery."
"Oh." Should've seen that one coming.
"Let's just say," Doctor Bartlet confesses tiredly, "that I had good reasons at the time, which in hindsight weren't that good at all." Addie can sympathize with that. Hindsight is a bitch.
"What did you think of our cardio-thoracic facilities?"
"Very impressive. You have an odd bunch of colleagues though." At that Addison lets out a laugh. Does she ever. "There seems to be a fair amount of tension."
"I'm Gynie, I don't know anything," she hedges.
"I'm sure," Abigail agrees dryly. "And the Preston Burke isn't operating because he wants to skip around in the sun and pick flowers instead."
Despite herself, she laughs out loud, then almost chokes when she imagines what Yang's response to such a sight would be. "I'll tell him you wondered."
"He must've done something." The older woman presses, all pretense of friendly interest out the window. "A surgeon of his caliber doesn't just take a break. Does it have something to do with his intern?" Addison opens her mouth to claim ignorance again, but is shushed before she can utter a syllable. "Don't bother. I may be out of practice, but I don't believe for a second Doctors and nurses can now keep secrets."
It's been close to thirteen years since she's worked with this woman, but Addie almost tells her just the same. The thoracic-surgeon's hazel eyes are as piercing as they were years ago when pressing the interns for diagnosis' or medical histories. Pavlov one, Addie nil. But she's an attending herself now, nothing like the over-eager intern she was back then. Considering recent history, her former mentor is hardly in a position to judge anyway. "It's not my place."
"Fair enough." Her features soften. "You've done well Addison, I knew you'd be brilliant."
The heartfelt compliment creates a lump in her throat. She's not used to such earnest pride and laughing it off is all she can do. "I'm sure you had your doubts; the Wasala-case, or that time I eloquently shouted at the wrong parents for neglecting their child."
Doctor Bartlet smiles ruefully. "We all make mistakes, but you learn and move on."
"Do you think you'll go back to practicing when he steps down?"
"I hope so," Abbey says softly, eyes sparkling fondly. "I still have something to offer."
The doors opens without warning and an agents peers into the room. "Ma'am, Miss Cregg and the Surgeon General are waiting for you in Chief Webber's office."
"I'm almost done here Nick," the First Lady retorts casually, not even turning her head to face him. Obediently, the man closes the door. "So you and Claudia Jean."
"Yeah?" Inside, she's stammering and her heart skips a beat, but she knows she isn't showing any of it. For the love of her, she can't figure out why that question would have that effect. What the hell did Claudia tell her? And what does that look in Doctor B.'s eyes mean?
The older surgeon tilts her head, eyes narrowing. "She says you've been talking."
"We have," she agrees quickly, "it's good to talk to someone who's not a Doctor."
"I miss talking to Doctors," Abigail breathes with a pained twist of her lips. "Has Claudia Jean invited you to the White House?"
"I'm not sure if, or when I"
"You don't turn down a personal invitation from the First Lady, Montgomery," Abigail cuts in sharply while getting up. "Your parents taught you better than that."
Begrudgingly, Addison has to agree, because for all the things her parents didn't teach her, proper etiquette in high social circles isn't one of them. She rises as well.
"I look forward to your visit," her former mentor says sternly and heads for the door.
With the door half-open, Doctor B. turns back to face her. "And Addison, I'm glad you and CJ are getting along, she needs a friend. Especially after what happened to Simon."
The parting comment, friendly as it was, leaves her staring after the First Lady. The whole visit has made her feel a little unearthed somehow. Her relationship with Doctor B. never outgrew that of mentor-student the way her relationship with the Chief has and she can't think of the woman as a peer, not in the span of half a day anyway. Also, who's Simon and what happened to him?
After her second glass of wine, Addison switches to iced-tea. They've seen Doctors Bartlet and Griffith off and she's left Karev in charge of her patients to grab dinner. His unusual attentive attitude towards Jane Doe still unsettles her. The last thing the hospital needs is another cut LVAD.
For now, she's not thinking about it. Barring crashes or disasters, she might actually not have to go back to the hospital until morning and she's celebrating by not thinking about her patients or colleagues when at all possible. In spite of two surgeries hanging over her head, she's relaxed and laughing at Claudia's retelling of a root-canal related incident.
The remains of dinner sit between them and CJ slouches in her chair as if she's a regular at the hotel's restaurant. They're interrupted twice by eagle-eyed patrons who recognize the taller woman. For her, watching the other woman keep a polite smile in place as she answers a few questions is amusing more than anything else. There is something intimate about watching Claudia switch into Press Secretary Cregg and back. It's in the way she sets her jaw and straightens her shoulders.
"You get that a lot?"
Claudia shrugs and munches absently on a piece of bread, slouching again. "Not really, usually there's a line of agents with guns in the way."
Her tone indicates amusement, but Addison can't help her curiosity or what the answer implies. "What, you never just eat out?"
"Not anymore. We used to. Now I don't get a lot of free time and I don't live in a hotel."
"Hmm, point taken, though I'm starting to miss a place of my own," Addison admits. "It's easy though, I'm not much of a cleaner."
"I can't cook."
"Me neither." Apparently, that's funny, because CJ chuckles lowly. With her face half-cast in shadows and the body language of someone comfortable, but alert, she fascinates Addison and the surgeon repeatedly has to drag her eyes away from the expanse of soft skin exposed by a teasing v-neck shirt.
"We're good at what we do, but somewhere along the way clearly missed out on any kind of domestic training."
"Speak for yourself, I was married for twelve years."
"'Was' being the operative word."
She fights the surge of emotions, fails and instead watches Claudia's face fall.
"Sorry, that was insensitive."
"My marriage has been over for a long time, even if I wasn't ready to accept that."
"Twelve years is a long time."
They're quiet as a waiter clears the table and she's not surprised when Claudia gives her credit card to him, or when he looks over at her to check. Addison just stares back until he takes the card and turns away. It's the first time since she's been here that someone else paid anything for her.
"Who's Simon?" As a Doctor, you learn to observe patients not just for symptoms, but for clues about their state of mind, their emotions and Addison has become adept at deciphering facial expressions. So she watches her friend closely and is able to name most of the emotions that cross her face. Surprise, dismay, hurt regret shines brightest in her eyes though and suddenly Addie feels horrible for even asking.
"Abbey." Claudia surmises. There's no clear 'shut up' undertone, just resignation and there's something endearing about the way CJ can't keep her hands still. "Simon was an agent on my detail. He was shot."
Okay, that really just raises more questions than it answers, but this time she bites her tongue. They're not that close, she has to remind herself of that, remember that CJ isn't a patient either and doesn't owe her any answers. "Sorry."
CJ shrugs, accepts her credit card when the waiter returns and stands up. Addison follows.
"Okay, it's okay if you don't want to talk about it," she offers once they're in the relative private elevator cab. "Just, if you want to you can." Carefully she shifts her gaze from the closed doors to the woman next to her. They're at eyelevel with each other, almost exactly as tall thanks to her heels. CJ's height still takes her by surprise. Not that she's that tall, but certainly taller and that's a rarity in Addison's life.
"I don't," Claudia states through gritted teeth and stays silent for the next few floors.
"I didn't mean to bring up a sensitive subject." The atmosphere in the cab thaws a little and she dares to move back until she's right next to her friend, can smell the faintest trace of her perfume.
"It's fine, there's just nothing to talk about."
A change of subject, then. "Think you'll have time for lunch tomorrow? It'll have to be the cafeteria I'm afraid, we're still catching up. The food's decent though you know, as far as hospital food goes."
"Addison " there's a hint of warning in her voice, but just then the lift stops and the doors slide apart.
They walk in silence and it's not until she's opening her door that she realizes CJ's room is actually one floor up. She's about to say so, but Claudia speaks first. "Can I come inside?"
Somehow, between her reaching for the light switch and her guest closing the doors, they wind up closer than they've been all day and she can't ignore the thrill that shoots up her spine. It's only a second before CJ moves further into the room.
Addison kicks off her shoes, sighing contently as she digs her toes into the plush carpet.
"Look, just so we're clear, this isn't " the press secretary gestures helplessly and sighs. "I'm not looking for a relationship, okay?"
Addie freezes. "What? I don't that's not..." She meets the other woman's gaze, Doctor's mask firmly in place because no way she's going to let her see that she's embarrassed, so she takes a breath and calms herself. "Neither am I." This is what sex does, she gripes silently, it adds a whole, new dimension to innocent suggestions. "Friends can lunch together and we are pretty good at this 'hanging-out' thing."
"I just want to make sure "
"We're on the same page," she assures curtly because they are. "I have a high-stress job that I love, but it's taxing. It's nice to have a break from medicine and we get along. That's all."
It seems to do the trick. "Good. Lunch it is then, barring national disasters and critical patients of course." She nods and expects the other woman to leave. She makes no move to do so and it leaves them stuck in an uneasy limbo. It also makes it too easy to study CJ, especially the way the cut of her slacks makes her legs look even longer.
"Good." She's not the most self-aware person on the planet she knows that much, but silences always make her uncomfortable. She'll start babbling or if she can't, walk herself through complex medical procedures. CJ's blank expression is enough to trigger the former. "'Cause I'm all for just friends and sex." Fuck. "I mean, friends and no sex. Definitely no sex. Sex is bad, very bad. It gets me into trouble. Stupid, stupid sex"
"That's a shame," Claudia teases, laughing at her dorky ramble. "You're quite good at it."
She snaps, "of course I'm good, I'm brilliant."
"You're a little crazy."
Addison opens her mouth to protest, but can't really do anything but agree. "I am a little crazy." Embarrassed she sits down on the sofa and momentarily hides her face in her hands. "Sorry. Apparently I'm domestically and socially challenged."
When she looks up because the cushions dip under the weight of her friend, the calm understanding in CJ's blue eyes both relaxes and intimidates her. "Comes with the job, doesn't it?"
"Sometimes I almost forget there's a world outside the hospital, with, you know, normal people."
Claudia chuckles humorlessly. "I've been up for four consecutive days, by the end of which I honestly couldn't tell whether I was awake, dreaming or dead, let alone comprehend the concept of a world outside the West Wing. There's nothing about my life I would describe as normal."
"I'd like to take Doctor B. up on her invitation to visit, meet Josh and Toby, see what the White House is like. You've seen mine, it's only fair for you to show me yours." She wriggles her eyebrows suggestively, already laughing at herself when suddenly Claudia is kissing her.
Without thinking about it, she falls into the kiss, pushes her tongue past CJ's lips and moans because the kiss sends jolts down her spine and Claudia is cupping her breasts. "We shouldn't be doing this," Addison gasps when they break apart for air and she manages to think for a second. Though she doesn't really want to, she jumps up from the sofa.
The taller woman watches her with piercing eyes. She slowly unfolds her long body, never breaking eye contact as she stands up and approaches. "Sticking to the rules." The seductive smile that accompanies the statement (accusation?) makes Addie weak in the knees. She wants sex, of course she does. Still, she fights it, because she promised herself to adhere to her new rules.
Her breath quick and her body very much turned on from just that one kiss, those rules aren't foremost on her mind however and with a slight twist of her mouth, she admits "I was never a good girl."
Claudia's smile deepens and reaches blue eyes. It's the glint in those eyes, the confidence that exudes from this woman, that sends shivers along Addison's spine. Suddenly she's pressed flush against the wall of her room and Claudia's tongue is in her mouth. She doesn't remember many details of that night in Washington and each kiss is familiar, yet new.
They kiss again and she whimpers a little because, damn, Claudia can kiss. With a little effort Addison sneaks her hands between them and makes quick work of the other woman's expensive blouse. "They're proper rules..." she tries again for form, "decent..."
Her neighbor pulls back and smirks. "Break them." With an undone blouse and slightly tousled hair, she looks far more approachable than she did all day. The white camisole she's wearing underneath her blouse drives Addison crazy because it's all class and effortless elegance. The shimmering fabric drapes loosely around the woman's breasts. Her fingers itch to rip it off.
Instead she tries to slow her breathing, watches carefully as CJ starts to pluck at the knot that holds her own wrap-around top together. Every time long fingers accidentally graze her skin, her breath hitches in her throat. She's been thinking about this all damn day longer really.
When the knot finally comes undone Addison decides she's waited long enough and grips the hem of Claudia's camisole. She has to stand on her toes to pull it off over her friend's raised arms. Transfixed by the soft flesh, she runs her fingers along the edge of CJ's bra and unhooks it. Her own bra is quickly taken care off as well, the cold air teasing her breasts.
For a long moment they stare at each other, seizing up the other's half-exposed body with unabashed intensity. Fingers splayed over the curve of Addie's hip, her guest moves first, dipping below her skirt, catching the surgeon's mouth with her own.
Claudia tastes of coffee and pepper and maybe just a hint of mint. Her tongue catches in the slight gap between the woman's front teeth and fingers leave her skin, then burn the inside of her leg when they slowly creep up under her skirt. Addison rakes her nails along Claudia's spine, smiles into their kiss when the taller woman shudders. She's always had a thing for backs. With men, it's shoulders, with women, definitely backs.
Out of habit she names each vertebrae that passes under her fingers and moves lower, into casual slacks, to the woman's ass and brings her hands round to work on the buttons and zipper. She has to hurry, because CJ's fingers are steadily traveling higher and she knows she can't take much more. She's burning up, can't get enough of the way this woman tastes and feels.
Breaking the kiss, she nudges Claudia's hair aside and runs her tongue up the woman's throat. They pause again and this time, Addison moves first. Smiles, suddenly awkward. "You wanna..." she nods in the general direction of the bed and forces herself to focus. She can do this. She's done this, wants this. Her memories of that night in Washington are vague, blurred by alcohol, but her body seems to remember what to do and how to make Claudia moan.
CJ's fingers leave her thigh and Addison regrets their absence instantly. She watches as the other woman tilts her head, starts when she rubs her thumbs gently across Addie's nipples. "Bed's good."
Confidence regained, she pulls the zipper down all the way and unceremoniously pushes the woman's pants past her hips. They both kick off their shoes and quickly take off their nylons and stockings.
They reach the bed in less than a second and CJ goes down first. Addison takes the opportunity to straddle her, one knee on either side of the willing body below her. She blows her hair out of the way and leans in for more eager, sloppy kissing. Claudia runs her hands up the backs of Addie's legs, up under her restricting skirt and it makes her moan as much as the little bolts of electricity that shoot down her spine every time their breasts touch.
"I'd forgotten " the words catch in her throat when her panties are pulled down as far as they'll go, the black lace digging into the flesh just above her knees stretched across CJ's stomach. She knows she's wet, very wet from all the making out and touching and nakedness. Goosebumps break out all over her body as cold air hits her.
Claudia's eyes darken another shade, her face only half illuminated, and groans when she slides slender fingers between Addison's legs. On instinct, she pushes herself against the woman's hand, moaning with her and drops her head onto CJ's shoulder, breathing heavily against fragrant skin.
With her palm pressed firmly against the surgeon's throbbing clit, CJ slowly explores wet, swollen folds with nimble fingers. Each touch and stroke further fanning the flames between them. It takes a lot of effort, but Addison raises herself up on her arms, breathes heavily. "Enough with the teasing."
The hand falls away and she can't help herself, pushes her hips forward to try and reconnect. CJ's eyes gleam. "Take off the skirt."
Usually not one to defer without at least a token rebellion, Addison hurriedly does as told. As she struggles with the stiff fabric of the pencil skirt and underskirt, CJ shimmies out of her panties. The surgeon watches her friend breathlessly. She's gorgeous, her body toned and curved in all the right places.
Impatiently she straddles Claudia's hips and rakes her nails across a flat tummy before leaning in and drawing a rosy nipple into her mouth. The small bundle of nerves hardens instantly against her tongue. The noise of approval CJ makes does little to alleviate the throbbing between her legs and neither do the skilled hands that drift from her ribs to her hips. She worries the hard tip between her teeth, bites down a little sharper than intended when those hands curve to the inside of her spread thighs, so close to her aching center.
She places soft kisses on Claudia's breasts and raises herself up to kiss the other woman. The heat in CJ's blue eyes takes her breath away and the press secretary takes that moment to run a thumb lightly across her clit.
Addison hisses and barely has a chance to process the touch before Claudia deftly slides long fingers through her wet folds.
"Oh god "
The obvious pleasure Claudia gets from touching her like that is just as much a turn on as the dexterous fingers teasing her slit. She's slick with want, painfully ready.
Slender fingers cover her completely and she cries out when they slide into her without warning. "Fuck!" Addison starts, every part of her focused only on the intrusion, on the way Claudia's fingers push against her inner walls, flushing her with heat.
It's not enough. Even as the pressure builds, setting her insides on fire, her clit pulses with need. She works desperately to draw those fingers deeper inside. Instead, they slowly pull out, but then thrust back in to the hilt. The rush of arousal is so strong, her arms give out and she buries her face in the crook of Claudia's neck, moaning helplessly.
"You're soaked, god, Addison " CJ's voice is husky, deep and dripping desire. Hearing her name said like that might just be the most erotic thing she's ever heard, each syllable sending shivers down to Addie's throbbing clit. The two fingers, strong and slender, hit all the good spots as they fuck deeper and deeper into her.
She sinks her teeth into Claudia's shoulder to keep herself from crying out, each consecutive thrust building the pressure within her, but it's still not enough. Not when she pushes herself back against CJ's hand, or clamps down on CJ's fingers. "More."
The other woman sucks on her jugular, scrapes sharp teeth along the expanse of her neck. "Lift up a bit."
She does so, trembling because she's so damn close and impatient and then freezes when Claudia shifts below her. The fingers inside her, the pressure against her clit increases, pushes her forward and suddenly the sheer anticipation of what's coming next is almost enough to make her cum. "Don't stop," she pleads when Claudia holds her fingers still, deep inside her.
"Patience", is all she gets and it's enough because hot lips close around her left nipple, suck hard and then there's a not-so-gently nip of teeth and the fingers are moving fucking again.
Addison rocks herself back and forth, whining because CJ releases her nipple. There's a second hand placed squarely on her ass, pushing her forward until she loses her balance. She crashes into an oversized pillow, ass unceremoniously thrust up in the air. She curses as CJ's fingers slip out of her and don't return.
"Move your knees apart, Addison."
She does as told, every muscle in her body drawn tight because even in this state of all-consuming arousal she knows.
Her thigh muscles strain and there's a good chance she'll be sore in the morning, but none of that matters now, not when she can feel Claudia's breath against her clit. "Please. Claudia, plea--"
Suddenly she's there, lapping at her clit, strong hands wrapped around her thighs to keep her still. She still squirms, grinds herself against Claudia's mouth. The woman's tongue leaves liquid trails of fire on her flesh, draws tight circles on her clit and dips inside her, drinking her juices. She can barely breathe, wave after wave of burning hot desire crashing through her body and converging low in her belly.
"Just fuck Claudplease! Fuck me need "
She doesn't even know what she needs, just more. More of Claudia's tongue, more of her inside her, more of everything because she's so damn close and just needs more.
And Claudia knows, draws Addison's clit deep into her mouth and sucks hard at the sensitive bundle of nerves. She flicks her tongue rapidly back and forth, alternating with small circles until Addison is trembling, almost vibrating with the tension coiled inside her.
"I'm so fuck. Fuc--!"
Then it's over, she's there. Pulsing and clenching when Claudia thrusts three fingers deep inside her, fucking without preamble, hard and fast and God her fingers are long and her tongue is almost unbearably quick and her teeth sharp, fucking hot and Addison can't "Come."
Nails dig into her skin, the slight pain breaking through the deadlock she's in and the fingers inside her, fucking, find her g-spot and that mouth. That mouth. And she's coming. Just like that everywhere, grinding herself against CJ, straining, bearing down on the fingers so deep inside her and her clit explodes in Claudia's mouth. And she's still being fucked, sucked, even as the delicious tension finally drains, gushes out of her.
Addison jerks away sharply, too sensitive now and shakes uncontrollably, desperate to catch her breath because holy fuck. She feels Claudia wriggle out from under her, but can't move or speak. Boneless and breathless and thoroughly sated.
Hands caress her ass and soft kisses are pressed against her spine, climbing up until the other woman reaches her neck and whispers into her ear, "you're hot, Serge." CJ settles down next to her, grinning from ear to ear and kisses her, sharing the taste of her come. It makes her shudder all over again.
"You're getting pretty good at this cycling thing," she offers when she finally catches her breath a little and licks at her lips.
Claudia looks over at her and smirks, clearly pleased with her handiwork. "It's matter of practice."
She watches CJ's breasts rise and fall with each breath the woman takes, smiling at the occasional purr. It's been a long time since she's had sex without a sizeable guilt-trip following post-coital bliss. Just lying here in silence, the last remnants of stress the ones not taken care of by Claudia's very skilled hands and mouth fall away. "Do we need to talk about it?" She questions anyway, just in case.
"I don't. Do you?"
The redhead thinks about it for a while. At this point she might not recognize romance if it smacked her on the head and dragged her off to church, but she's quite sure this isn't it. This is just easy, so she turns on her side and rubs her thumb across Claudia's nipple. "Nope."
CJ sucks in a tremulous breath and nods. "Okay."
Her limbs still feel sluggish, but Claudia's reaction to her touch says the other woman isn't going to need much stimulation. She runs her fingers down between hard-tipped breasts and nudges CJ's long legs apart. "Here, let me " With her other hand in her friend's hair, she presses her lips against Claudia's, kissing her leisurely as her fingers discover slick folds.
She explores slowly, careful to avoid any parts too sensitive and takes her time tasting and feeling the other woman's skin. Her fingers are soon coated in liquid desire and she brings them to her mouth to suck off the fluids. Claudia watches her closely, blue eyes flashing with arousal.
The taste of her goes straight to Addie's head, it fills her mouth and coats her throat. A moan escapes her. "Nice," she whispers naughtily when her fingers are clean and kisses the other woman hard to share the taste.
She can't keep her hands off the body next to her for long. The curves of firm breasts are especially tantalizing and Claudia's reaction every time she runs a nail along the lower curve of a breast is immediate; a sharp inhalation of air and a soft sigh.
There's something inherently beautiful to having a woman like Claudia to touch and taste, the killer body, sure, but mostly it has to do with the intimacy of bringing someone strong and self-possessed down to a quivering puddle of desire and need.
She comes a long way to accomplishing just that with just her hands and her mouth on Claudia's ear telling the other woman just how much she enjoyed the first round and she did, is really still caught in a post-orgasmic haze. Her fingers tease hard nipples, rubbing across the tender peaks and pinching them until Claudia is writhing restlessly on the bed, clawing at Addison's hair to pull her in for a hard kiss. Their legs tangle just so her thigh is pressed between CJ's and her friend rubs herself against her. The wet heat eases the friction and burns into Addie's skin.
It's faint, but she can still taste herself on Claudia's lips. It makes her smile. The soft whine she elicits by sucking on CJ's tongue causes a new rush of desire between her legs and her friend finally cracks.
"Addison, stop messing around. Please."
Laughing, she gives in, settles herself between CJ's slender legs. When she starts running her hands over sleek thighs, Claudia reaches for her hands and firmly pulls them to her hips. Acquiescing Addison teases the neatly trimmed curls, inhales the musky scent. She branches out, running her fingers over CJ's pronounced hipbones, for moments intrigued by the small imperfections she feels there, but can't see in the dim lighting.
Claudia tilts her hips, crosses ankles over the redhead's back. It's too hard to resist the view before her; pink, flushed skin and a swollen clit begging for attention, so Addison relents and brings her fingers down to tease Claudia's slit. Hands pull at the back of her scalp and CJ's voice halts when her breath hits heated skin. "Just"
As soon as she gives in and her mouth closes around the straining bundle of nerves, Claudia lets out the most gorgeous, deep-throated moan and rolls her hips up against Addison's mouth. There's been enough teasing tonight and she's eager to watch an orgasm shatter her friend's control. She nibbles and sucks hungrily on Claudia's sex, sucking in those delicious juices and running her tongue up and down the other woman's slit, dipping her tongue inside on each pass.
CJ spreads her legs wide and it allows Addison to push her tongue all the way in, lapping at her friend's quivering inner walls. She reaches one hand up to pinch erect nipples, drawing sharp moans from deep within the older woman.
There are no more words as she wraps her lips tightly around Claudia's throbbing clit and sucks hard, tirelessly flicking the tip of her tongue against the tortured nub. At the same time, she quickly pushes three fingers into CJ's soaked pussy, finding a rhythm that almost matches that of her tongue.
Within seconds Claudia's entire body quakes with ever increasing need. Addison has to work hard against the muscles clenching tightly around her fingers, but she manages, fucks Claudia with long, deep strokes and curls her fingers against that sensitive, spongy area.
When CJ stills completely, trembling from the tension in her body, she instinctively knows what to do and every so lightly scrapes her teeth along Claudia's clit.
"Addison! Oh god, fuck, fuck, FUCK!"
She has to pull away or risk breaking her nose, but keeps thrusting her fingers into Claudia, stubbornly holding onto the rhythm even as Claudia thrashes, twists and bucks, releasing a string of expletives as she comes hard around Addison's fingers. It's beautiful. She's beautiful.
There's a sense of loss when she withdraws her fingers, coated in layers of cum. She licks them clean, reveling in the taste and observes the aftershocks course through CJ's lean frame.
Worn out herself, she lies down next to Claudia and pulls to covers up to shield their bodies, smiling. "We're getting good at this."
She takes the murmur as a complement, quite happy to just lay there and listen to her friend's breathing. Addison closes her eyes for a second, her body and mind languid, sated. She could get used to this.
When the mattress rocks beneath her, she opens her eyes with some effort and watches her friend's every move as the taller woman slips from the under the covers and stretches. She is gorgeous, all height and smooth skin. "You're not staying?"
"I'm just one floor up, I think I'll make it back in one piece." Claudia draws her fingers through tousled hair, smoothing it down to a presentable coif. "You should get some sleep," she orders for good measure. And she's probably right, as Addison has been pretty much deprived of anything but catnaps.
Her current position, snuggled securely under the covers is awfully comfortable. But Claudia bends over to pick up her clothes and gets dressed in full view and really, that's about enough to make Addison ignore the sluggishness in her limbs. "Nice view."
"My alarm goes off at four-thirty, but thank you."
That settles it then. "Get out."
CJ just laughs at her. "See ya at lunch Serge."
When she's gone, Addison sinks deeper into the mattress, a final post-coital shudder shooting up her spine. McFun indeed.
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