"Hi, I'm Erica." Erica rose extending her hand.
Callie automatically extended her own and felt strong but slender fingers curl over her hand. Through the bleary smoke, Callie looked up into the bluest most mesmerizing eyes she had ever seen.
"Hey," she managed.
"This is Callie. She's a fifth year resident at Seattle Grace," shouted Christina.
"Nice to meet you Callie. I seem to have taken your chair." Erica moved slowly away from the chair never taking her eyes off Callie.
"Thanks," answered Callie nervously. "I'm sure a big shot like you has some connections - enough to get you a chair at least."
"Hey you can have this one Erica."
Erica turned her head toward the voice which seemed to belong to the woman sitting at the next table. "Thanks," she smiled meekly at the stranger offering her a chair.
"S'alright" the short woman answered. "My friend has effectively left for the evening. She only came to see you gals play."
She tried to give Erica a flirtatious come hither look, failing miserably. Erica gave her a friendly, but somewhat confused half smile as she took the offered chair from the stranger's table and set it down in front of Christina's. She turned back to Christina.
"Sorry. All the smoke and loud music gets to my head, makes me slower. I have no idea who that is or how she knows my name. Thank God I don't do this regularly or all my brain cells would be gone."
Callie watched the confident woman babble surprised at the nervousness she was sensing. There was no way this woman had any reason to be nervous about anything. She took a sip of her beer and settled in to watch Christina and her friend.
Erica was babbling and she knew it and she also knew the reason and if she could, she would just kick herself. She had come over immediately after her set was over, somewhat disappointed to find the very cute and sexy brunette that had been sitting next to Christina gone. She tried for nonchalant, but couldn't hide the grin that came to her face when Christina told her that the brunette had not left the bar and was in fact only visiting the restroom. Dropping all pretenses she hurriedly taken the vacant seat at the table and whispered in Christina's ear.
"Please don't tell me that you have come out and that hot little number that was sitting next to you is with you."
It was unfamiliar the teasing with Christina and so it was not a surprise that Christina practically choked on the beer she was drinking.
"No, sorry to disappoint, but still straight," said Christina after a few coughs. She tilted her almost empty bottle of beer toward the restroom as she continued. "Sorry, but Callie also plays for my team."
Disappointment clouded Erica's eyes but only for a few fleeting moments.
"Always liked a challenge," she smirked seconds before Callie walked up to their table.
And now she was feeling guilty about that comment. She didn't have those kinds of thoughts anymore or at least she didn't want to have them. Lucas had changed that. She did not have to time to play around. She spared a thought for the sweet seven year old boy who was now legally her son. He had been the catalyst for important changes in her life. For example, she no longer trolled bars chasing women she had no intention of seeing again, just for the perverse thrill of the chase. No, the old Erica would have relished chasing the brunette, straight or gay. The new Erica would need to lock up those out of control desires somewhere. A waitress approached with three new beers just as she and Callie settled into their chairs.
"So, you work at Seattle Grace. Do you like it?" asked Erica directing the conversation toward Callie.
"Yeah. I love my job. Hate the hours, but that's a resident's life. It's exciting, it challenges me and I think in a small way I'm helping people."
"Don't think like that," answered Erica. "Small," she clarified at Callie's confused look. "I'm sure you're helping people in a big way. We're doctors. It's what we do, help people, I mean. Don't shy away from it. It's important what we do."
Erica regretted her brash tone. She was usually brash and aggressive, but she had been trying to tone it down lately. She was not naturally social so social situations tended to rattle her and a rattled Erica put up shields and deflected and was decidedly unfriendly and a little gruff. That was why she liked the trolling. Those were not exactly social situations; it was about meeting a very specific need. She was trying to change and be more social, but change was difficult and yet tonight she wanted to get it right. It was a new beginning for her and Lucas. She would be starting a new job soon and that provided her with an opportunity to try and earn a new nickname besides bitch.
This would be a good start, right here with Christina and most especially with this sexy fifth year resident, looking a bit dazed and flushed right now. Erica turned a somewhat worried glance toward Callie afraid she might have offended her.
"Are you okay?"
"Yeah" Callie rubbed her forehead with the back of her hand. "Haven't done this in a while, sorry. Hey your set was great by the way. Do you do this often?"
"Actually no. The band has been here a few times, hence their," Erica extended her long arms outward indicating the small crowd, "legions of fans. A friend of mine is in the band. She asked me to fill-in for their regular lead guitar who has a broken wrist. I did. People seem to think its okay, so here I am."
"Hey how come this is the first time you've asked me to come out and watch?" said Christina.
"It's not the first time I've asked you to come out, but you keep refusing," Erica teased putting a noticeable emphasis on the 'coming out' portion of the sentence. She loved teasing Christina if for nothing else because it was somewhat easy to get a rise out of her. Christina was brilliant, but her focus was rarely on people and their interactions which meant plenty of opportunities to bewilder and confuse her. And sure enough, Christina was getting confused.
"No you haven't...wait...What?" Her eyes got wide as understanding finally
dawned on her. "Whatever," she said to Erica as she sipped from her
"Seriously, I wanted to give you some news and ask for your help," continued Erica.
Her eyes which had been playful only a few seconds before now turned serious causing Christina to unconsciously straighten her posture in the uncomfortable chair.
"Okay," said Christina in a somewhat grave tone. "What's going on?"
Erica smiled. "Christina I am not about to tell you that the world is ending or anything, or that I'm straight and married with a seven year-old – nothing earth shattering like that." She rolled her eyes at Callie who was smiling at the interactions.
"I'm starting a new job. I'll be coming to Seattle Grace in about a month and I was wondering…"
Christina slammed her drink down. "Get out! You're coming to Grace?"
She looked at Callie as if wanting her to confirm that she was not in some dream.
"Yeah and I was wondering if you could help with a few things. I need to find a place to live and I need to know a little about the area - where the good schools are, safe neighborhoods, that kind of thing. I've done all the research, but those stats can be pretty deceiving. I thought maybe you could help."
"For real, you're coming to Grace?" asked Christina again in disbelief.
"Yes, in a month. I'll be heading up your cardio-thoracic department."
Christina's eyes widened further. "We are so going to be kick ass!" she shouted. "Whatever you need, Hahn, I'll help. You need me to help you move, set up your office, whatever, I'll do whatever."
"You're getting annoying Yang."
"Okay, yeah, I see that, okay. Well, what do you need Dr. Hahn?"
Erica rolled her eyes. "Okay the whole Dr. Hahn thing is even more annoying. I just need you to point me to the right neighborhood. I need to find a decent neighborhood with good schools."
Christina was confused. "Why do you need to know about the schools?" She was smirking as she continued, "It's not like you're married and have a seven-year-old kid or anything, right?"
"No, not married, but yes to the kid part," Erica answered.
Christina dropped her beer. Thankfully her hands were on the table, so the bottle didn't have far to go. Callie reacting on instinct and adept at preventing spills lunged for the beer as it hit the table and started to tip. She righted it immediately and looked between the two friends. She was intrigued. She rested her forearms on the edge of the table, circling her own beer bottle with two hands. Christina was still in shock.
"You have a seven-year old kid?" she asked in disbelief.
"Yes" was Erica's single-word response.
"You? You are a mom? When the hell did that happen and why didn't you tell me! Jesus, Hahn we've been friends for a damn long time and I don't keep in touch with most people, but I do with you. A seven year old?"
Christina slumped back in her chair. Erica did not know whether Christina was mad or hurt that she had not shared her news before this moment. It was unlike Yang to be hurt by anything even remotely personal. And it was completely out of character for Erica to apologize for anything, but especially anything having to with her personal life. But here they were, Yang pouting just slightly and she about to apologize.
"I'm sorry. It was a…delicate situation and I was trying to keep it low-profile. The only people that knew were Sam and Danielle and ..." She hesitated, seeming to find something intriguing at the bottom of her now empty beer bottle. "And of course my mother, who doesn't give a damn, so she doesn't count," she was able to get out in a rush.
Erica set the beer down, wishing internally for a full bottle when a waitress with three freshly opened beer bottles approached again. "I like this service," she said to herself, but her voice carried to the other two women as the lights dimmed and the next set of performers prepared to take the stage. She distinctly heard Callie chuckle.
The three of them remained at the table during the less than stellar performances. Every once in awhile Christina glared at Erica and shook her head. Erica could not quite believe Christina was all that upset. Maybe she was putting on a show for Callie, she thought. She looked over at Callie and felt bad that this woman had to witness what was a very stupid little spat. She didn't want this beautiful woman's first impression of her to be of childish nonsense. Beautiful women should never have to see any ugliness, no matter how stupid and petty.
She nudged Callie lightly with a hand, the other was casually holding up Erica's heavy head. Callie turned slowly. For a moment, Erica wondered if the news had also upset Callie. There was no reason it should, should it? Unless she thought lesbians shouldn't be raising children. But if her thoughts went along those lines, what was she doing here? She pushed those questions aside and focused on the beauty in front her; the dark hair over a soft delicate face that was open and inviting with dark brown eyes that were a little cloudy, most likely from the beers she'd been drinking. Erica was mesmerized. This was a woman who liked to smile. I bet her whole face lights up when she smiles. Callie turned at the nudge, lifting an inquiring brow and bringing Erica back to the moment and the reason for the nudge.
"I'm sorry," she mouthed. Callie gave her a confused look. Erica smiled at her quickly recognizing that her apology could neither be shouted over loud music nor mouthed silently. She leaned over placing her lips near Callie's ear. "I'm sorry, you had to witness that. I mean see us fighting...sort of. I didn't really think Christina would care."
She sat back in her chair, hoping that her rather terse apology would convey what she wanted and acutely aware that she could not have continued whispering in Callie's ear without betraying how her body seemed to be responding to the dark-haired woman. She tried relaxing, glad for the music and the beer she held in her hand. She sighed. Sometimes life was a little too complex for her taste. Simple was the way to go and simple meant putting a cork on the hormones being stirred up tonight by a very hot, but seemingly very straight surgical resident.
Thirty-five most uncomfortable minutes later the music in the bar subsided to a more bearable decibel as the live performers left the stage. Christina seemed to have forgotten that she was supposed to be upset, but she was still giving Erica curious looks.
"How could you have a seven year old kid? It's impossible." Realization seemed to dawn on her. "It's totally impossible," she said as she slowly turned a serious gaze on Erica. "I've known you for at least six years and you didn't have a kid then. Plus I don't think you've ever been pregnant."
"Wondered when you'd come around to that. Lucas is my sister's kid. She and my brother-in-law died six months ago."
Erica looked down wistfully, willing the pain that always accompanied thoughts of her sister to recede into the background with the thumping music. In a rare moment of compassion, Christina placed a hand on Erica's arm, but said nothing. Erica continued.
"Anna had already made me his legal guardian in case…anything happened to her and shortly after her death I adopted him. He has…" she paused "changed my entire life."
"I'll bet," piped in Callie. The other two women looked at her surprised. Callie ignored their shocked faces and simply shrugged. Erica took that as a sign to continue.
"Anyway, my mother and her new husband fought me. They tried to challenge the guardianship. Lucas was forced to stay with them for a short time." She looked at Callie.
"They did not approve of my lifestyle and so they didn't want their grandson raised by me. They had never even attempted to have a relationship with him before Anna died, since they did not approve of her Mexican husband. Anyway, the custody issue has been sorted out, but well it's one of the reasons I'm changing jobs. Presbyterian was not as accommodating as I wanted them to be about my schedule. Seattle has promised me decent hours on most days. So…" She looked up at Christina and Callie with all the self-confident determination that she could muster. "That's where I'll be." Her glance returned to Christina.
"So will you help?" she asked Christina hopefully.
"Well, I'm not sure I can. I mean it's awesome and all that you'll be at Seattle Grace, but I live in an apartment building. I don't know anything about the housing market or the schools in this area."
"I do," said Callie. "I could help if you wouldn't mind being dragged all around town. I did the same thing when I moved out here with my daughter 5 years ago."
"Are you sure?" asked Erica ignoring the pounding in her heart at the possibility of seeing Callie again. That Callie had a daughter surprised her but the shock of that revelation took a backseat to the disappointment she felt at the knowledge that Callie was not only straight but quite probably attached. She had only managed to settle her stomach and drive out the bats that had settled there from a few moments ago when she realized that she and Callie would be working at the same hospital. Now they were coming back in full force despite the niggling disappointment.
"I would love to," said Callie excitement showing on her face as she flashed Erica an infectious grin. Erica smiled back unable to resist Callie's pull.
"Okay," she said.