After All This Time...
By Bella Taggart
Lunch hour found Callie sitting in the cafeteria, stuffing her face with pizza and coffee, trying to pull back the reins of her wandering mind.
"That can't be healthy." Mark Sloan said far too loudly for her liking as he lowered his tray onto the table and pulled up a chair to sit next to her.
"It is." She said grumpily, taking another mouthful. "There is pineapple in it, that gives you fruit. Cheese is the protein, and I'm getting my carbs from the dough. Its all that my body needs, wrapped up in a slice of deliciousness." She took a sip of her coffee. "And with the hot beverage to wash it down, it's perfect."
"Hmm hmm, right, all I see is grease and caffeine." He said mockingly, lifting a forkful of green salad into his mouth.
"I need those too, if you want me to function at all today, you won't mess with my lunch." She said taking another bite.
"Rough night?" he asked slowly.
"Don't ask." She mumbled shaking her head, and wincing at the movement. Her headache had returned with a vengeance and it seemed like the painkillers she had popped into her mouth 20 minutes ago were taking a day off.
They ate in silence for a while until finally Sloan couldn't take Callie's huffing and puffing any longer.
"What's wrong?" he asked, lowering his fork to rest on his almost empty plate.
"Its nothing." Callie replied reflexively, and then met his eyes. Seeing his resolve, she quickly surrendered. "It's just, this girl I met."
"I should have known." He chuckled, picking his fork back up.
"No, it's not like that... she just said some things." Callie replied, her mind getting lost in Jane's words.
"What?" Sloan asked, cutting through her unnecessary babble and bringing a fleeting smile to her lips with his familiar directness.
"Apparently I have a reputation now." Callie said in a singsong voice.
At the rise of his eyebrows, she continued; "Yeah, similar much to the one you used to have... and it appears that, people talk."
"And nothing, I guess I didn't realize. I mean, I think I am the new McSteamy now. I don't know what I think about that."
"I'm McSteamy," Sloan stated firmly, finally finishing his food and sitting up in his chair, his height rising by a few inches as he straightened his back. "Find your own nick-name." he ordered. After a moment a smirk crossed his face, "You can be McSlutty."
"Hey!" Callie smacked him on the arm.
"That's what happens when you are a woman. I get called a stud, and you get called a slut. Aren't you gals always the ones saying that? Its an unfair world, get used to it." He said dryly.
She rolled her eyes and shook her head amusedly. "Seriously though, I guess I just didn't think about it. I mean, in a way its kinda cool I guess, this image of 'unattainableness'." She listened to herself and questioned, "is that even a word?"
Mark waved his hand dismissively "I get what you mean" he said, looking at her expectantly, urging her to continue. Callie nodded "Right, but, it also made me sound so.." she took a deep breath, searching for a way to put it correctly and after a moment said, "so absent of feeling, you know? Like, like I was using these women."
"Cal, you go through women faster than you go through socks. If Lexie wouldn't kill me, I don't even know that I could keep up with you. Don't get me wrong, I think its great. I'm all about the girl on girl, with as much detail as you want to share. You know that, but it's been this way for a while now."
"And?" She asked seriously.
"And nothing. I'm just saying, you might wanna slow down if its starting to bother you." When she didn't say anything to contradict him, he continued. "Lets face it, this is not about what this chick thinks of you. There is only a problem here, if you agree with her."
"Right," Callie nodded after a moment. "You're right." She said, patting Mark on his back.
"Yes I am." Mark confirmed, taking a sip of his iced-tea.
"Anyway, she didn't come right out and say that. But, oh I don't know, maybe I just took it that way."
She thought about Jane, one minute panting beneath her and the next, so fragile, asking Callie to call her. "She was actually, nice. Different, but nice."
"Nice enough to see her again?" He asked, trying to keep the traces of hope out of his voice. Callie smiled at his question and shrugged. "I don't know, we'll see."
"What's her name anyway?" He asked, just as Christina flopped down next to them, with a half eaten doughnut in each hand.
"Whose name?" she asked through a mouthful of sugary goodness.
"Jane's." Callie answered.
"This chick Callie bagged last night." Sloan clarified.
"Mark!" Callie said loudly, chastising.
"What? It's true." He replied, feigning innocence.
Shaking her head, Callie repeated. "Jane Miller... You guys know her?"
"I don't think so." Sloan said, holding her eyes.
Christina shook her head as well and suddenly snapped her fingers. "Hey, when exactly is the Chief leaving?"
"He'll be out that door, as soon as his replacement is appointed." Callie said, as she grabbed Christina's left wrist, brought it close to her mouth and took a bite out of the jelly doughnut in her hand, smiling cheekily at her friend.
"Which should be any day now," Sloan added, "he gave his recommendation to the board yesterday. We should know who it is by tomorrow."
Christina picked up Callie's coffee and took a sip. "Who do you guys think is gonna get it?"
"Derek." They both said at the same time, and grinned in amusement.
Callie picked up the chart sitting next to her plate, and scribbled something on it.
"What does she look like, this Jane?" Sloan asked, scratching his chin.
"Tall, blonde, blue eyes." Callie listed distractedly.
Sloan snorted at that. "Figures." he mumbled under his breath, too quietly for Callie to hear, but Christina caught it and snickered.
Callie looked up. "What?"
"Nothing... just saying that the board doesn't have to listen to the chief." Christina said. "They don't have to stick to Seattle Grace, when they're narrowing down the options."
"They wouldn't go looking anywhere else." Callie shook her head. At Christina's doubtful look, she continued. "Why should they? We've got a world-class neuro-surgeon that's been published a million times. Hell, he's even got his own method. There is no way they won't bank on that." Callie stated confidently, flipping a page of her chart, going back to her reading.
"I don't know. I heard that professionalism is going to be the deciding factor in who gets it and as professional as Derek may be, his 'favoritism' towards some people might get in his way this time." Christina said, taking another bite from her doughnut.
"No way. You think so?" Callie asked, looking up once again. Christina shrugged in response. Callie touched Sloan's arm and asked him what he thought about it.
"She might have a point." He said, cracking his fingers. "That time he saved Meredith's ass, he got an official warning." He added, as Christina nodded in agreement.
"That was ages ago." Callie replied. "They're not gonna check back that far." She added, though she sounded less sure. "And anyway, even if they do, and that's a big if, and it ends up costing him the job, which I highly doubt, there is always Bailey. If by some bad luck, he doesn't get it, Bailey definitely will." She finished, closing up the chart in her hand. "Right?" she asked Christina. When she didn't get a response, she turned to Sloan and repeated. "Right?"
"We'll see," he replied after a moment, getting up and bringing an end to the conversation. "I gotta go play with boobs. I'll see you ladies later."
Christina got up as well, "I'll walk with you." She said, and then facing Callie, she started walking backwards. "I'm right, you'll see I'm right," she said then turned around, caught up with Sloan and disappeared from view.
Callie slumped in her chair in displeasure. That was all that was missing from her life; A new chief to impress. Some pompous ass she would have to prove herself to.
If that was the case, at the very least she would have to make an effort and be polite while she learned the way he dealt with things. His way, because every surgeon had a way. She knew how Shepherd dealt with things, she knew how Miranda dealt with things. And she knew how to deal with them, her way. She really didn't feel like learning anybody else's way at the moment.
She took a deep breath and massaged her temples. Christina had to be wrong. Callie was just going to sit back, relax and wait for this headache to pass, not get worked up over unlikely scenarios. The chances were, one of her friends would get the promotion and all this worrying would prove to have been unnecessary. The chances were, Christina would be proven wrong.
There was only one problem with that; Christina Yang was never wrong.