Callie sat at the table in the lounge, her nervous energy causing her right leg to shake uncontrollably. She was pissed that she had been called in, but that irritation did not overshadow the nervousness and outright alienness she was feeling. Things were not right. The night was slow and there wasn't much to do. She had already slept three hours in an on-call room, but as Christina had reminded her repeatedly tonight, she was literally the only ortho resident in the building right now, which meant she had dibs on whatever came in.
"Just suck it up, Torres," was Christina's response to all her whining. But having nothing to do gave her too much time to think.
"Hey Christina, can I ask you something?"
Christina was reading on the couch in the resident's lounge. They were alone. "Okay, shoot."
"How would you know if you're gay?"
"What the hell? How would I know something like that? Go ask Hahn, you two are like inseparable these days."
"No, I mean intellectually, how do you think people know they're gay?"
Christina put her journal down. "I don't know," she said slowly and more loudly as if Callie was some kind of mental patient.
"I'm serious, how do you think people figure that stuff out?"
"Well, usually which gender you want to have sex with is a dead give-away."
"Yeah, but is it really that simple? What about those people that are like married and go along in their happy little straight lives and then they just meet someone and bam, all of sudden they're gay. That happens, right?"
"I don't know, Callie. I suppose all sorts of weird things happen."
Callie was sitting at the table fidgeting. She needed this question answered and she had nowhere else to go and no place to be right now, so she was prepared to force the issue with Christina.
"Yeah, but how do they make that decision that it's not just some fleeting attraction, some temporary insanity or something?"
"Seriously, Callie, you're being really stupid right now. It's not temporary insanity."
"You know what I mean."
"No, not really. It's probably different for everybody, like most things. Ask 10 gay people and they'll tell you 10 different things. Why don't you ask Gretchen? She's supposed to be here tonight."
Gretchen. It was Gretchen's fault she was in this predicament. It was Gretchen who pushed her into initiating something with Erica she wasn't ready for. She was so not asking Gretchen anything.
"Come on Christina, help me out here."
Christina got up from the couch and approached the table. "Why so curious? Something going on with you and Hahn?"
Callie looked down, "Why would you say that?"
"Probably all the drool you leave on the floor whenever Hahn's around. You do realize everyone can see what you look like when you look at her, right? There's even some sort of pool about it."
"Get out! Really?" she laughed. "If Erica knew she would freak."
Even now, even with everything so messed up, she liked the idea of people thinking about them as a couple. She waited a heartbeat.
"Does um, Gretchen know...about the pool I mean?"
Christina eyed her taking a seat at the table. "Yes, but she's not participating, mostly because she says you and Hahn will never happen. Is she right or are you considering it?"
Callie looked away.
"We kissed," she said trying to figure out how to explain. Her hands began moving in front of her seemingly trying to pull the words from thin air, making Christina's eyes dart up and down like a cat's. It was useless, better to not explain and stick with the facts. "After Cement boy, we kissed after Cement boy."
Christina blinked. "Seriously? Okay so you're together now? Score, I was betting it would be sooner rather than later."
"No. Not together. I'm not sure what's going on. I mean, I'm not gay. At least I didn't think I was."
"I wonder if kissing counts as together for the pool?"
"Christina! I'm being serious here."
"I don't talk girl, Callie."
"Okay, fine then we won't talk girl. Just tell me, how would I know if I'm really gay."
"Does that matter?" asked Christina with a confused look.
"You're still trying to win the pool aren't you? Of course it matters! I can't date someone I have no future with. I don't have time to experiment. I can't do that, not when Allie is involved."
"Okay, relax you freak. Well, if I was trying to decide between two flavors of ice cream, I would just try both and see which one I liked better. So do that."
Callie glared at her. "Try both? That's your advice, try both?"
Christina shrugged. "I don't know. Isn't that how gay people decide? Most gay people I know have been with both genders, so I don't know, maybe that's how they decide." Christina had had enough. "I'm gonna check tomorrow's surgical schedule. You here until 6, right?"
"Yeah," she said thinking through her conversation with Christina as she watched her leave the lounge.
Maybe Christina was right. Maybe she needed to just remind herself what it was like to be with a guy. Maybe Diego was right and she was just confusing things, thinking of Erica in inappropriate ways because she was there and she was hot and she was available.
The emergency came in an hour before her shift ended. An elderly woman apparently tripped by her cat landed badly on her coffee table popping out her knee and breaking her hip in the process. It had taken the woman a good part of the night to just get to the phone. It was a mess and it meant at least another 5 hours at the hospital. She left Erica a text message before going in to surgery, wanting to assure her that she would be picking up both kids at school that afternoon like she usually did.
The surgery was rough at the start; the damage so extensive that Callie had a hell of time mapping out what to do first. Eventually the path became clear, the music blared and they were well on their way. By the end of it she was bone tired, seriously bone tired of work and of her personal problems.
She wanted to just go home, curl up in Erica's bed, think about the short night they had spent together in it and forget Diego's warnings and Christina's dumb ass advice about ice cream.
But it was her very unlucky day. The chief found her as she was finishing the chart for the elderly woman and told her to take a nap in the on-call room because he needed her. There had been an ugly pile up near Bentley and they were sending the worse cases to Seattle Grace. They would be arriving in a few hours. If she stayed, she could go home later and he would forego her overnights for the rest of the week.
She sighed. Her whole day had just changed. She called Nell and asked her to pick the kids up from school since she wasn't going to be able to do it and went in search of Erica. Erica was in surgery, so Callie left her a note that she would be at the hospital late and then went to look for of an empty on-call room. She slept in fits waking up frequently from weird dreams of robotic monsters on bicycles and other disjointed things she didn't really recall.
She woke not feeling very rested and went in search of the traumas that were supposed to be on their way. It was two in the afternoon and they should have been here by now.
"Torres," said Bailey from across the hall.
"Traumas got diverted to Mercy West, so we don't need you after all. The Chief is pissed, but you stayed so can I ask you to supervise on Samson's procedure? I know he's the attending, but the interns don't really like him and I'm not sure they learn anything from him anyway. It's simple and then you can have the rest of the night off. I know the Chief promised no overnights for the rest of the week if you stayed, so I'll work it out if you do me this favor."
"Yeah, whatever. Hey is Erica still in surgery?" she asked.
"Dr. Hahn? No, I think she's harassing one of Yang's interns. He apparently misplaced a chart she's looking for. Why? Something going on with Allie and Lucas?"
Callie smiled. "No, I was just wondering. I left her a note earlier about my schedule change, but haven't heard from her, so I was just wondering."
"The two of you have an interesting arrangement. It's nice though, isn't it, to have someone to share that with."
"It is," said Callie.
Bailey was looking at her strangely. "What?"
"Nothing," she patted Callie's arm before walking away. "You deserve some happiness Torres."
It was weird. She and Bailey bonded over their children after Bailey had Tuck and of all the people in the hospital, Bailey had always been the most understanding about Callie's struggles with being a parent and a doctor, but they had never been close. She shrugged off the somewhat strange interaction and went to find Samson.
Bailey was right, it was short and Samson didn't really screw it up, although she had to intervene on two occasions when he failed to instruct interns properly. Samson was losing it. In the last few years he hadn't really been keeping up to date on new procedures and advancements. He had been a great surgeon once, but she could tell he was losing it.
She was at the Nurse's station charting and still thinking about her little "am I gay" problem when Mark walked up to her looking clean and fresh.
"Just get here?" she asked.
"No, but all of my surgeries got cancelled again."
"No, Hahn and Shepherd have been hogging the OR rooms and I guess I haven't been here long enough to trump that idiot Samson."
"He's not an idiot; he's just...getting up there."
"I'm bored. I don't suppose you have a need that requires satisfaction," he said suggestively.
It wasn't the first time he had made the suggestion. She usually gave him a disgusted look or ignored him outright. But today she gave it some consideration. Maybe Christina was right and she needed to try being with a guy again. Maybe it would help her figure out if this thing with Erica was real or just desperation or confusion. He was encouraged by her look.
"On-call room?" he asked leering at her.
She said nothing, still not fully committed, but getting there. He saw it and moved away from her, slowly making his way to the on-call room, but not taking his eyes off of her. Reluctantly she followed. It felt wrong to follow him, but she needed an answer and maybe this would give her the answer she was looking for.
She was being kissed roughly and had a fleeting thought to the last time she had been kissed. It felt so different. The thrashing motion, the force, even the rough stubbly face was alien to her. Big hands were on her waist and making their way up her body, also rough and hurried. They squeezed her breast hard and she winced. She was being pushed backward onto the small cot that served as a bed. She felt the back of her legs hit the bed and tumbled into it. Her hands went automatically to the chest of the person falling on top of her. The force of the impact and his weight took all the air out of her lungs. She struggled to break free of the rough kiss and thrashing tongue. Her mouth hurt. He let go of her mouth, and braced his hands on each side of her. He was breathing hard into her neck and sliding his body along side hers. She felt him on her thigh and wanted to cry.
This was wrong. It was wrong. It was all so wrong.
"Stop," she choked out pushing him away and trying to ease out from under him.
"What?" he asked sounding confused.
His hands didn't move. Instead he turned his attention to her neck and ear. "Do you need something else, baby? Do you need me to…"
"NO!" she shouted. "I want to stop. Please, just stop."
He stopped immediately pushing himself off of her and leaning on his side. She started to cry. She didn't want this, not him, no matter how easy and convenient. She didn't want him. She shook her head trying to grasp and absorb everything that was coming at her. Oh God, it wasn't about hims or hers, vaginas or penises, it was about Erica. She had been asking the wrong question or rather the question she had been asking didn't matter at all. What mattered was wrong and right. This was wrong, Erica was right. It had never felt wrong with Erica.
"I'm sorry," she said her voice cracking, hands shielding her eyes, wanting to hide the tears that had finally broken through.
"Hey, hey, it's okay Torres. Did I do something wrong?"
"No, I did something wrong. This is wrong. I'm wrong."
He rubbed her bare stomach.
"Please don't do that," she said.
"Callie, it's okay. We don't have to. I thought… We don't have to do anything."
She took a few moments to take deep breaths. "I am so messed up."
"We all are," he said. "You're no different than anyone else."
"No, I think I take the entire cake on being messed up," she responded closing her eyes tightly. "But thank you. You're sweet to say that."
"You okay?" he asked.
"No, I'm not, but it's not something I can talk about right now."
She let her mind drift for a few seconds, wanting to not be here, in this room, this hospital, wanting to be somewhere else, some magical place where everything was simple and fears were easily dismissed by light breezes. She wanted to be somewhere where she could process this thing that had just smacked her upside the head. She loved Erica and the rest of it, the complications, the fears, none of it could really compete with that.
"Is it you and Hahn?" Mark asked.
She sat up abruptly and started looking for her shirt. He lay back on the bed.
"That is the question isn't it? Is there a me and Erica?" she said hoping Erica hadn't completely given up on her.
"I'm guessing by your openness to a quickie that things aren't going well. What, not enjoying the sex?"
"The sex is awesome. This, this with you was a mistake, but a good mistake," she said as she spotted her shirt on the ground near the door and went toward it.
Sometimes you had to be taken to the edge before you could see the whole forest. This was her edge and she was seeing the forest so clearly and in such detail that she could tell you the shade of every single leaf. She was starting to feel more confident. She didn't want him. She was buzzing with the excitement of knowing that it wasn't about he's and she's. It was exactly what she had told Diego. It was just this one girl. Nothing else mattered. She picked up her shirt and tossed his to the side.
He rose from the bed slowly and started walking to where his shirt landed, tying up his scrub pants as he did so.
"I've been called a mistake before, but never a good mistake, especially when we didn't…"
The door opened. One of the faceless interns Callie never recognized walked in talking to someone. He didn't even glance their way, apparently oblivious to everything.
"I'm sorry. I brought the chart in here with me. It should be right here."
He was as white as a sheet as he walked to the bed on the other side of the room and started tossing pillows and blankets.
Callie was finishing straightening her shirt when she heard him and her own face blanched. Please God, don't let it be...
"Find it number 4 or whatever Yang calls you or you will never see the inside of an OR again."
Erica had been focusing on the intern she was following, but was not as oblivious to her surroundings as he was. She saw it all in a few seconds: a shirtless Mark Sloan tying his scrub pants and Callie straightening her shirt, hair all askew.
"Erica," said Callie, but Erica turned her back to them.
The intern was practically under the bed when he located the missing chart. He leapt up off the floor. "Got it, Dr. Hahn, here it is!"
Erica snatched the chart from him and disappeared without another word, the intern trailing after her, leaving a frightened Callie standing in shock in the middle of the on-call room.