The Third Time's The Charm

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The first time Addison kissed Callie she was drunk. It was three weeks after Jamie Carr lost her baby and they finally found time to head to Joeís bar. They had shared a few lunches, had dinner together at the hotel, and spent a good bit of time chatting in the hallway, but the lure of alcohol finally won out. After a hard day, they bellied up to the bar.

"So, he dumped you?" Addison asked, downing her fourth shot of tequila.

"Yeah," Callie replied, nibbling on a peanut. "After he called me a whore."

"I canít see George OíMalley calling anyone anything."

"Thatís exactly how he prefaced it. ĎI donít usually say things like this to women, but youíre a whore.í" She used air quotes and sighed. "It was devastating with or without the disclaimer."

Addison had told her about the night that Derek found her in bed with Mark Sloan. During the tale, she had two more shots and shed a few tears. It was an intense story and Callie felt her heart breaking for what Addison had gone through. Yes, she had cheated, but it was obvious to anyone with eyes that the remorse ran deep and the wound was still fresh. Callie dubbed the two of them ĎThe Cheating Bitchesí and Addison said that ĎCheating Whores, Esquireí sounded better.

They stayed until two in the morning, chatting with Joe as he counted out the cash register while they waited for their cab. The cab never made it and they found out two days later that the driver en route had been robbed and shot, but they grumbled about it fiercely while they waited over an hour for him to arrive. Walter had eventually driven them back to their hotel and walked them into the lobby. They giggled in the elevator because the heady scent of cheap perfume inside was overwhelming and they speculated that the woman who had bathed in it would *have* to be the tawdry lounge singer theyíd heard a few nights before.

Callie, who had only enjoyed three shots, decided not to get off on the seventeenth floor and instead supported Addison as she stumbled down the hallway of the twenty second floor. Addison had trouble with the key and Callie opened the door for her. "Will you be okay?" she asked.

"Iím going straight to bed. Iím exhausted," Addy replied, letting her jacket drop to the floor.

Callie picked it up and laid it on the desk in the corner. "Okay, Iíll see you tomorrow."

"Cal?" Addison toed off her shoes and walked across the room, stopping in front of her. "Youíre the best friend Iíve ever had."

"God help you, Addy. Iíve never been a best friend before. Iíve never even been a friend."

"You are now."

And just like that, Addison leaned forward and pressed a kiss to Callieís lips. It was brief, chaste, and sweet, but Callie was still stunned. Itís not like she had seen Izzie and Meredith kissing before and they were insanely close friends. Addison smiled, her glassy eyes out of focus, and turned away, curling up on the bed.

Callie left the key on the table and let herself out.

She didnít get much sleep that night.

-----

The second time Addison kissed Callie she was laughing hysterically. It was five months after Jamie Carr had lost her baby and they had finally found time to rent a house together. They had exhausted themselves searching for the perfect place and were close to giving up when they saw an ad in the paper during lunch. After viewing it that same evening, they signed the papers. It was beautiful, large and spacious with two master suites and a gourmet kitchen.

Callie volunteered to cook dinner on their first night and Addison bought an expensive bottle of red wine. It took both of them to find a cork screw amid the boxes and bags and the roast had wound up burning, setting off the fire alarm. Thirty minutes later, with the charred roast out of the oven and the smoke finally cleared, they sat on the sofa enjoying the wine while they waited for pizza to arrive.

"On the plus side," Addison told her, patting her hand. "Iím sure three hundred dollar wine will complement anything, even greasy cheese and pepperoni."

Callie sighed. "Iím a good cook! I really am."

"I believe you."

"Iíll cook tomorrow and youíll be amazed."

"We have to shop tomorrow. We need more towels and an ironing board and - god, so much stuff." Addison frowned. "I should have just had everything from the brownstone in New York sent out here."

"It would cost more. Besides, the only reason I bought a plane ticket to New York for the new year is because you said I wouldnít have to stay in a hotel. Iíve heard horrible things about hotels in the city."

"Itíll be fun. Youíll like the brownstone. Itís got an amazing view of the city and itís within walking distance of all the action." Addison drained the rest of her wine. "And your very own tour guide. What more could you ask for?"

"I canít think of another thing." Callie grinned, then looked around the living room which Addison had decorated beautifully. "This is going to be nice, Adds. Itís the first time Iíve really had a place. Did I tell you about my dad? He was so shocked that Iím finally Ďresponsibleí that he decided to send us a washer and dryer as a gift. It should be here Wednesday."

"Domestic bliss." Addison glanced at her. "I hope you wash clothes better than cook. Or decorate. Your room is just ... bad."

"Hey!" Callie picked up one of the pillows that Addison had insisted on buying with the new sofa and hit her in the face with it. "Itís not my fault if you donít like my taste in paint! My burgundy room is way better than your sunny yellow happy place."

Addison threw it back. "At least your aim is good."

"Keep on," Callie told her, pointing a finger at her. "And the next thing I throw will be you."

"Domestic violence." Addison laughed and grabbed her finger, tugging her forward.

This time Callie gasped when Addisonís lips met hers. Once again, it was quick and proper, but it caught her off guard. The doorbell rang and Addison leapt to her feet, grabbing a twenty dollar bill off the coffee table. "Yay! Edible food!" she said as she literally skipped across the living room. "No offense."

"Non taken," Callie replied, her fingertips pressed to her lips. Her heart was threatening to pound out of her chest.

They ate their pizza while they watched ER. Addison kept an easygoing, running commentary on the featured cases and they cleaned up the mess in the kitchen together. Callie was quiet, but Addison didnít comment on it. She did catch the redhead watching her a couple of times, but there was nothing to say.

She didnít get that much sleep that night, either.

*~*~*~*~*~

The third time Addison kissed Callie she was crying. They both were. It was a year to the day since Jamie Carr had lost her baby and they had finally witnessed a miracle. Jamie held two healthy, beautiful babies that Addison had delivered and Callie stepped forward, putting her hand on Addyís shoulder exactly the way she had the year before. This time, however, there were tears of joy.

They shared in the coupleís happiness, taking turns cooing over the little boy and girl who had stopped crying and were blinking against the harsh lights. The four adults had literally been through hell together and it made sense that they would celebrate with one another a little longer than doctors would usually enjoy their patients. A while later, Callie and Addison sat side by side in the floor outside the room. "Sometimes life comes full circle, doesnít it?" Addison asked her, sounding exhausted. "Wounds heal. People move on."

Callie dried her eyes and nodded. "Can you believe itís been a year?"

"It feels like ten."

"Ten?"

Addison glanced over at her. "It feels like time stops when youíre waiting for something."

"I know, right? I didnít think sheíd ever have those babies!"

"Thatís not what I was talking about."

"Enlighten me, Obi-Wan."

Addison shook her head and looked away. "Are you really this blind? Damn you, Callie."

"Okay, if youíre trying to piss me off itís working." Callie turned a little, facing her. "What did I do?"

"You donít see anything!"

"Then draw me a picture! What the hell *are* you talking about?"

"You! You know me better than anyone in the world and you *still* donít see me!"

"Iím looking right at you!"

"Look harder!" Addisonís voice rose. "Unless you plan on being a chicken shit the rest of your life!"

"Okay, now Iím pissed." Callie narrowed her eyes. "Why donít you talk to me when you come back from your vacation in passive aggressive land."

Addison caught Callieís arm when she started to stand. "Wait."

Yanking free, she stood and shook her head. "No, Addison! When you want to talk to me in a way that I can handle hearing, Iíll be at home."

But Callie didnít go straight home. She went to the park and walked around the track about a million times, trying to wrap her head around what could have gone wrong. In her heart, she knew exactly what she wanted Addisonís words to mean, but her brain would not let her accept it. There was just no way -

She had been kissed twice by Addison Montgomery and neither time was remotely sexual or romantic, unless you counted what her dreams conjured up almost every night.

No, it couldnít be that. Women like Addison didnít fall for women like Callie. It just couldnít happen. Addison wanted her out of the house. Thatís all it could be. Maybe she had been acting differently toward Callie and Callie really hadnít noticed. Thatís what it was ... Addison wanted her out of the house. She was still telling herself that when she unlocked the door and hung her jacket on the coat rack.

"Hey," Addison said softly. "I - I was getting worried."

Callie turned, smiling a little when Addison tentatively held out a fully bloomed red rose. "Peace offering?" she asked.

"Yeah," Addison nodded at her as she took the rose. "Maybe we should sit down?"

"If youíre evicting me could you just do it now?"

"Iím not- Where do you come up with this stuff? Callie, I love living with you! Thatís the problem. I love it a little too much if you get my drift. Is that a clear enough picture for you?"

Callie took the couple of steps that led up into the living room and studied the redhead. Her heart was suddenly telling her mind to shut the hell up. "No. Itís not. You have to say it. I wonít believe you unless you say it."

"Fine." Addisonís eyes filled with tears. "I love you. Iím *in* love with you."

Exhaling the breath that she had not even realized she was holding, Callie smiled at her. "In my defense, you were playing it pretty close to the chest."

"I was not! I kissed you! *Twice*!"

Taking a step forward, she rested her hands on Addisonís slim hips. It felt real and so right that her heart flipped over in her chest. "The third time may be the charm."

"*May* be?"

"Youíd have to do a lot better than the other two. My grandmother could do better."

The smile faded from Addyís face and she took a deep breath. "I canít believe this could really happen. That you could feel the same and that we could -"

"I love you too, Addison." Callie felt the tears fall freely, relief and happiness mingled together.

Addison wiped them from her face, ignoring her own. She leaned in, cupping Callieís cheeks. She kissed her softly, then more insistently. When Callie tangled her hands in her hair, Addison pushed her back against the wall, her leg inching up the outside of Callieís. Breathless, Callie broke the kiss, shaking her head. "Addy-"

"Shut up." Addison traced the shape of Callieís mouth with her fingertip. "We can rationalize it later."

"I donít want to rationalize it. I was just wondering if you wanted to sleep in my room. Or if I was sleeping in yours."

"You can sleep in mine. Forever."

"You really, really hate the way I decorated my room."

"It's *red*"

"It's *merlot*. And *you* have red hair!"

"I have auburn hair!"

"Addison-"

"I also have satin sheets."

"You really were sure of yourself, weren't you?" Callie smiled. "Race you?"

"Either way I win."

Neither woman got much sleep that night.

-Fin