"Oh good lord!" April Kepner threw her hands in exasperation.
"No! You don't get to shut me out without listening to-"
"I know what you're about to say!" April shrieked. She then turned her head the side, her whole body radiating with tension, "I already told you a thousand times Elle! I'm not that-I just can't-argh!"
Elle St. Claire leaned back on her seat, not even a bit surprised with her friend's reaction. "It's not like I'm asking you to grab some random bloke from the street and shag him senseless so you can get rid of it."
"It's the same thing! What difference does it make if it's a bar or the street? The idea of-of doing it with someone I've met for like five minutes is unacceptable, not to mention totally unsafe!"
Rolling her eyes, Elle grabbed a stick from her cigarette packet, knowing full well that she wouldn't survive this conversation without lighting these little buggers. "Remind me again, how old are you?"
April scrunched her nose with obvious distaste, "I thought I told you to stop smoking? Those things will kill-"
"Spare me the whinging, luv, the packets come with ample warnings," Elle said as she lit the stick. She took a lungful of smoke before speaking again, her brow arching, "But then again, I know you can't help it, years of training does that."
"That was years ago, I'm no longer a doctor" April softly said, her hazel eyes swirling with emotions.
Elle suddenly felt guilty for broaching the topic. She knew her friend doesn't really want to talk about what happened and basing it from her reaction, she clearly hasn't moved on. She cleared her throat and waved her hand dismissively, "Who cares about that? You're brilliant with what you do, Pastry Chefs always trumps Surgeons in my book," she said.
The corner of April's lips started quirking up, "You only say that because you're a Pastry Chef yourself," she said.
Elle returned the smile, "And I'm chuffed," she said smugly.
Giggles bubbled up from April's lips, making her dimples more prominent, "Oh my gosh, you're speaking like Harry Potter again!" she teased.
"I'm English, what do you expect?" Elle shrugged.
Four years. It has been exactly four years since she left that life behind, a life of a surgeon. The funny thing was, it was all she ever dreamed of being ever since she was a little girl.
She made that come true though, if only for awhile. She aced her MCATS and was able to finish med school with flying colors. She even got accepted into Mercy West and managed not get cut when the hospital has gone under and had to merge with Seattle Grace. She almost had everything she wanted and was on her way into reaching her end game. She was so close to the finish line, that she can almost touch it with her finger tips. But then, Gary Clark happened, shattering the picture-perfect life she planned into millions of pieces.
"Are you almost done?"
April felt her heart jumped out of her chest, "What the bloody hell - don't you know how to knock?" she hissed as she nursed the finger that was nicked by the curling iron.
Elle stared at her bemusedly, "I'm rubbing off on you, you're starting to use bloody in a sentence" she smirked.
She threw her friend a scowl as she shoved her hand under cold water, "Should I thank you for that?" she asked sarcastically.
"You're welcome then," Elle said, ignoring the obvious sarcasm. "Back to my question, are you done?"
April turned the tap off and started drying her hand, "I really don't know how you managed to convince me to do this."
"Simple, you love me."
She rolled her eyes, "Understatement of the year" she drawled. She then turned around and opened her arms, ready for inspection, "Good enough for you?"
Elle playfully narrowed her eyes, "I think you'll do" she said.
April looked affronted, "That's all you have to say? That I look passable?"
"I didn't say passable, your over reactive brain came up with that conclusion," Elle said. She then lifted her arm and twirled her fingers, "Turn around," she ordered.
April tugged the hem of her dress down as she turned around, "This dress is ridiculously short. One wrong move and I'll be flashing everyone, possibly scarring them for life."
"I hope you're not wearing your Granny knickers then," Elle mused.
"You burned them all, remember?" April huffed as she turned to face Elle again.
Elle sniffed, "They're hideous, you can't blame me," she said without even a hint of remorse. She folded her arms on top of her chest and smiled, "You're gorgeous April - you looked wicked in that dress! You won't have any problems getting laid-"
"Whoa! Hold it right there!" April interjected, her face turning as red as her hair. "I'm not going out with you to - for that!" she shrilled.
"Famous last words," Elle thought as she fought the urge to roll her eyes. She shook her head and let her hands drop to her side, "Whatever, let's just go before you change your mind" she said before stepping out of the bathroom.
April waited for a few beats before letting out sigh. She turned towards the mirror and studied her reflection, "You can do this, it's not as if you haven't gone clubbing before. Just grab a drink, don't bend down and you'll be fine" she said to herself.
Jackson Avery braced his hands on his waist, eyeing the people standing in line to get inside Le Baron. "I thought you said that we'll be going somewhere low key," he paused to look at Mara Keaton. "This doesn't exactly spell low key to me" he said with a hint of irritation.
Blake de Luci wrapped his arm around his girlfriend's waist, pulling her closer. "Come on mate, we're here to celebrate passing the boards, loosen up a bit."
Mara nodded enthusiastically, "He's right, and don't be fooled by the line, I'm super sure that not all of them will get inside, it's a private club after all" she explained.
"How do we get in then?" Jackson asked with confusion.
A smug grin curled on Blake's lips, "Don't worry, leave that to me," he kissed Mara's cheek before walking towards the entrance.
Jackson turned his eyes towards Mara, "Where did you meet him again?"
Mara cuffed Jackson's shoulder, "Don't be such an arse!" she chided.
Jackson shrugged his shoulders, "Just asking," he replied, his lips curling up into a smirk.
Two bottles of Heineken and half a bottle of Bombay Sapphire, that's what it took to make Jackson loosen up. He tipped the tumbler to his lips, taking a huge gulp of his drink, "So...Blake, have you already decided about your Fellowship?" he asked.
Blake took a swig from his bottle before responding, "I think I'm sticking with Brigham. The offer is not that bad and the Attendings' run a tight ship. No need to rock the boat when you're not sinking."
Jackson found himself nodding at Blake's words. The Gyne surgeon does make an excellent point.
"You're still going to Tulane, right?" Mara asked.
Jackson turned his eyes to his friend, "I haven't decided anything yet," he replied.
Mara threw him a confused look, "You haven't?"
"Nah, I'm still sitting on it," Jackson replied.
"Good move, no need to rush things" Blake said in full agreement. He then emptied the bottle and shot up from his seat, "I love this song, let's hit the dance floor!" he said while rubbing his hands together.
Mara didn't need to be asked twice; she placed her glass on top of the table and stood up. "Come on Jackson."
Jackson waved his tumbler; "I'm good, you go on ahead," he declined.
"You sure mate?" Blake asked.
"Yeah," he replied.
"Okay, be back in a sec!" Mara chirped.
Jackson watched his friends walk towards the dance floor, his mind drifting back to Blake's words; Why rock the boat when you're not sinking. Eight words, but they're enough to shake his burgeoning resolve. When he left Seattle for a short get away after the boards, his mind was already partially made up. He knew that going to Tulane was the right move for his career. It was the Plastic Surgeonspseudo Mecca, as per his mentor, Mark Sloan. But as good as that sounds, there's still a huge chunk of him that points the other way, asking him to stay right where he is. He let out a sigh as he leaned towards the table to refill his drink, "You're here to relax man, not to over think things" he shook his head to clear his conflicting thoughts. He then leaned back on his seat and placed the rim of the glass to his lips, he was about to drink a mouthful when something his eye.
"I can't believe you got us in!" April said, her voice tinged with excitement.
Elle threw April an indulgent smile, enjoying how her friend seems to loosen up after a glass of Jack and Coke. "Connections does wonders."
April balanced her glass as she tugged her dress down, "You have to be well connected for this," she said.
Elle leaned forward and swatted April's hand, "Stop fidgeting with your dress, you look okay," she chided.
"It's too short" April mumbled.
"It's supposed to be short," Elle said with an eye roll.
April let out a defeated sigh as placed her glass on top of the table. She leaned back on her seat and started pulling her long auburn curls to the side, "It's so hot," she said as she fanned her face with her hand.
Elle relaxed back on her seat, her eye scanning the crowd. "It seems to be fuller than usual."
"It's Friday," April replied.
"Lots of-" Elle paused when something caught her attention, her lips curling into a grin.
April grabbed some nuts, "Lots of what?" she asked before popping a few into her mouth.
Elle stared at the stranger for a few seconds before moving her eyes back to her oblivious friend, "Someone's eye shagging you," she said, her voice full of glee.
April felt the nuts go down the wrong pipe, sending her into a coughing fit.
Elle laughed as she pushed a bottle of water towards April, "Here you go."
April snatched the bottle and hastily uncapped it, taking two large gulps in succession. "For goodness sake Elle! Warn a woman first before you start spouting nonsensical things, you almost made me choke!"
"You did choke," Elle pointed out. She then crossed her legs and gestured towards the side, "It's not nonsensical. He's been eyeing for a few minutes now, and it's pretty hot - the way he stares at you, I mean."
April turned her head to the side, "Who?" she asked while scanning the crowd.
"3 o'clock, the bloke in wearing black."
April turned on her seat to get a better view, looking for the man that's supposedly eye shagging her.
"You okay mate?"
Jackson tore his eyes away from the familiar woman sitting nearby, "Y-yeah," he breathed out.
Mara turned towards the spot that seemed to keep Jackson transfixed. She scanned the tables until her eyes landed on a familiar face, "Isn't that your friend from Seattle Grace?" she asked.
Jackson's head snapped to the side, squinting to get a clear view amidst the blinking lights.
Blake followed their gaze, his face lighting up with recognition. "I know her!" he blurted out.
Mara quirked a brow, "You know her?"
"She owns a Patisserie down Champs-Elyses. I've talked to her countless of times, Mum loves her candied lemon tarts!" Blake explained enthusiastically.
Mara looked confused, "She's a surgeon, why would she own a Patisserie?"
Jackson shot out of his seat, "That's because she left before she even finished it," he said before rounding the table.
April hastily turned towards Elle, her eyes wide in panic, "Bloody buggering hell!"
Elle's eyes widen in shock, "He's coming this way, do you know him?"
Elle opened her mouth to speak but snapped it shut when she saw the man standing behind April.
"April, it's been a long time."
April winced as she slowly turned around, "Err - Jackson, Hi."