Callie was tired. She had just come off back to back surgeries, had charts to finish and only a few minutes in which to do that before her shift ended. She sneaked a peak at tomorrow's surgery schedule to make sure no new surgeries had been added to her rotation for the next day. If nothing new had been added, she could get away with charting for a few minutes and still leave on time. She would finish the rest of the charts she had not gotten to today, tomorrow.
"So what did you think Lucas?"
Callie spun around. She knew that voice. She searched the corridor to her left and then glanced to her right at the waiting area where she saw Lucas and Erica making their way through worried people waiting for loved ones. Callie smiled. She felt her insides do that thing they did every time her and Erica talked, except with Erica here they were doing it to the nth degree.
"Hey, you two, what are you doing here?"
Two heads swiveled in her direction. Erica smiled for a moment before her arm was almost taken off. Lucas started running as soon as he recognized Callie, but neglected to let go of the hand holding his. Erica was jerked, but went with the motion until Lucas, realizing that his mother was just slowing him down, let go of her hand.
"Aunt Cal, Aunt Cal, do you work here too? My Mom's gonna work here. Does Allie stay here when you're working? We were in the place they take care of kids, but I didn't like it. Does Allie like it?"
He jumped into her arms which surprised Callie a little, but she went with it. She held him trying to recall all of his questions as Erica walked up.
"Lucas, I'm not sure Callie appreciated being attacked like that," said Erica as she reached for him. Callie ignored her engulfing him in a hug.
"Are you kidding? It's the best thing that's happened to me today. How are you?"
"Okay," he said nodding his head. "Is Allie here?"
"No, she's at home with my friend Nell."
His face fell. Erica grabbed him.
"Come on kid, you're kind of heavy." She put him down and turned to Callie. "Sorry about that. We were just checking out the child care situation. I'm trying to figure out the best plan."
Callie nodded as she grabbed Lucas's hand. "So you saw the daycare. What did you think Lucas?"
He shook his head. "I don't like it. There are a lot of babies in there."
"But you'll be close to your Mom."
"Can't I stay where Allie stays?" he asked his mother.
Erica looked uneasily at Callie before turning her attention to Lucas.
"Sweetie, if you don't like the daycare, we can find someone to stay at home with you. We'll figure it out, okay?"
He nodded burying his face in her legs. Erica stroked his head.
"He's having a hard time. Right now my friend Danielle takes care of him, but she's in Bentley and I can't convince her to move in with me, so I have to find an alternative."
Callie's stomach lurched. "Oh. Is Danielle your...um girlfriend?"
Erica laughed. "God no! She's a friend. We met in college. She and her partner live in Bentley. Why would you think...oh sorry I was just kidding about getting her to move in with me, although I did try to convince them to move to Seattle, but alas, Sam likes being a cop in Bentley."
Callie felt her stomach return to normal. "Sorry, I just assumed... wow, so sorry." There was a pause.
"Listen, I don't want to get your hopes up or anything, but maybe I can talk to Nell and see if she'd be willing to take Lucas as well. She'll probably double her rate, but I trust her and then he'll only be across the street. I don't know if she'd go for it, but I could ask."
Lucas's head snapped to Callie. "I'd get to stay with Allie?"
"Lucas, don't get ahead of yourself. Callie said she would ask. Go wait for me over there. I'm sure there are some magazines with nice pictures by those seats."
He looked around wearily, but trotted over to one of the seats and started picking through all the magazines.
"Callie that sounds fantastic, but I seem to be getting into more and more debt with you."
"What do you mean?" Callie frowned.
"Let's see, I'm starting at your hospital, you got me my house and now quite possibly a babysitter. I think I'll owe you dinner for a year if this works out."
"I had nothing to do with you getting hired here. Yes, I did find your house, but you don't have a babysitter yet. Although I think I like the idea of being in your debt. I get to have dinner with you anytime?"
"Anytime," said Erica looking at her in that way that made Callie feel tingly and nervous.
They both looked up and stepped away from each other as a tall heavy set man with a distinguished air about him walked up to them.
"Dr. Webber, I was just on my way up to see you," said Erica as she extended her hand to her new boss.
"Good. I just need to go over some of the details of your schedule. Thanks for stopping by."
"No problem. I needed to see the daycare anyway."
"Well this should only take a few minutes." Erica turned toward Lucas and called him.
"Hey Erica, if it's only a few minutes, I can watch him. I'll just be here charting," said Callie.
"Are you sure?"
Callie nodded, "Go, we'll be here when you get back."
"Okay thanks," she turned to Lucas. "Lucas stay with Callie, I'll be back in a few minutes."
Lucas nodded and watched her walk away. He turned his attention to Callie who had been watching him. She motioned for him to join her and he smiled tossing the magazines aside and running toward her. She picked him up and placed him on the counter.
"Can you just hang out for a few minutes while I fill this out?" she asked. He nodded enthusiastically.
"She's great. She asks about you all the time. She's really excited that you're moving across the street."
"Me too, Mom says we're gonna move soon and that Allie and I will be in the same school when it starts. Cool huh?"
"Very cool," she responded.
"I hope I get to stay with her instead of here."
"Me too Lucas, but even if you don't, this place is nice too. They have toys and books and other kids."
"It smells funny and there's too many people and there's a lot of babies down there."
"But it's an exciting place to be. Lots of things happen here."
Callie was perplexed by his attitude.
"But your Mom will be working here. She doesn't think it's yucky."
"She has to work here cause she saves lives."
"But you don't like it here?"
He shook his head vigorously and then continued firing questions at her about Allie, the school, asking if he could come over to see her and Allie anytime he wanted. She answered his questions while she filled out her charts, pausing every once in a while to tickle him just to see him squirm.
"Torres, you give new meaning to the term cradle robbing."
Mark Sloan walked up to the both of them and settled himself next to Lucas, leaning on the counter.
"Hi," he said tersely to Lucas.
Lucas looked at Callie, sliding closer to her. "Hi," he said shyly looking at Mark suspiciously.
Callie stopped writing in her chart and placed a hand on Lucas's knee. "Don't worry Lucas, no one likes him."
Lucas moved even closer to her.
"I'm insulted. Everyone likes me, well all the women like me and I seem to recall a time when you liked me Torres. In fact, you really, really liked me not to long ago."
Mark was trying to be friendly or as friendly as he could be, but his big body was standing too close to them and he was a stranger to Lucas.
Callie gave him a hard look before turning back to Lucas who was stretching toward her, arms reaching for her neck. He slid off the counter wrapping his little legs around her waist as Mark continued spouting nonsense.
Erica's stomach was doing happy little flips as she made her way back from Dr. Webber's office. She had been so happy to see Callie. In fact she had been contemplating how to see her again since the day Callie had driven her and Lucas around researching Seattle neighborhoods. She didn't want to be pushy, so she said nothing about them getting together during their phone conversations. She still had that damn to-go cup at her house, one of the few things that had not yet been packed in a box since she was currently using it for her own coffee. It was a constant reminder of Callie, which made her feel cheery, even if there were issues with that. Thinking of Callie meant thinking about how sweet and kind and cool Callie was. But she also thought about how beautiful and sexy she was, how she made Erica think of things like slow, long, wet three day kisses. It made her think of lengthy black hair and wonder how it would feel tangled in her hands. Her mind had been wandering there more and more, but especially after their phone conversations, which had increased in frequency and length.
Erica had not seen her since the day they spent together and truth be told she was a little scared of seeing Callie again. She liked Callie as a friend and well as more than a friend, which wasn't really a possibility. As a result she got nervous every time she thought about seeing her; afraid she would say or do something wildly inappropriate and ruin their developing friendship. She thought she had done well this afternoon. Their meeting had been unexpected and short, but much to her delight, she hadn't been a total idiot.
She hadn't planned on visiting Seattle Grace today, but the Chief asked to speak to her. He wanted to go over her schedule which was important to her. She had come to Seattle because they promised a decent schedule that would allow her to be home most week nights and weekends. When the real estate agent called wanting to do a final walk-through of the house before the closing, she had taken it as a sign and scheduled a trip into Seattle. She had planned on calling Callie, but when the child care business blew up and became an issue, she didn't know if she would have time to see Callie and ultimately she never made the call. Danielle had recommended a woman who bailed on Erica at the last minute, saying she was too busy to take on additional nanny duties, so Erica found herself back at the beginning in terms of finding a workable solution to childcare.
It was a bonus really to run into Callie, more than a bonus since Callie had come to her rescue again with a possible solution to her dilemma. God it would be perfect if Callie's sitter took Lucas as well as Allie. All in all she was pretty satisfied that all the problems that had plagued her this morning were resolving themselves without too much effort from her. She still had the walk-through this afternoon, but even the whole process of buying the house had gone smoother than she anticipated and she had no doubt the walk-through would be just a formality. It helped that she was pre-approved for a loan and that she could offer the buyer her asking price. There had been no haggling. Erica wanted that house. It belonged to an elderly widowed woman who was looking forward to moving in with her son in Florida. She had raised her three children in that house, but the place was too big and it was getting harder for her to manage. She was anxious to sell and move away from rainy Seattle to the warm comfortable weather that Florida offered.
The whole thing had moved so fast. Her offer was made a week after she contacted the real estate agent and accepted shortly after that. The next few days had been paperwork and inspections. Now she was less than two weeks from moving and everything else was falling into place. She had lined up movers, was set to start a very nice job in two weeks, her son's daycare situation might be take care of and best of all she had gotten to see Callie.
She saw them at the counter where she left them. A man was standing with them now and she wondered if he was also a surgeon. She met some of her colleagues when she interviewed, knew Shepherd by name and reputation, but she didn't recognize the man standing next to Callie. She saw Lucas scooting away from him and quickened her pace. She was within earshot in a few paces and heard the man saying something just as Lucas lunged for Callie's neck with outstretched arms.
"Torres likes me," he was saying to Lucas. "She even calls out my name when we're..."
"Stop scaring my kid," she said in a very harsh voice. She hadn't wanted him to finish his sentence. Lucas wouldn't understand what he was trying to say, but she did and it made her stomach recoil and knot itself up.
"Mom" he shouted and reached for her.
Erica took him from Callie who looked a little shocked and confused at Erica's tone. Callie was looking from Mark to Erica unsure of what to say. She wanted to tell Erica that Mark hadn't really meant anything by it and she wanted to tell Mark to just go away because she knew Mark and he was going to start.
"Well, what do we have here? A beautiful woman and her beautiful child. Please tell me Dad is not in the picture."
"Don't," said Erica her voice as cold as a frigid icy wind. "I don't know who you are and I don't care." She turned to Callie. "Thanks for watching him."
Without another word, she turned and walked away.
"You're an ass," said Callie to Mark punching him in the shoulder before she picked up her chart and ran after Erica.
"What? I didn't do anything," he shouted after her.
She turned to glare at him and ran right into Dr. Samson who looked pissed.
"Dr. Torres, you should know better than to run in a hospital." He was practically sneering at her.
"What?" she asked confused.
He had just uttered the stupidest thing in the world. People were constantly running in hospitals. It was a place where lots of emergencies occurred and emergencies often required speed.
"This is not a playground," he continued sounding like an old British guy.Even though he was an attending and the head of her department, she frowned at him. "Whatever," she said as she rushed past him, tossing the chart in her hand into the pile before heading for the elevators.
Erica walked to the elevators, put Lucas down and knelt next to him. "You okay, kiddo?"
He nodded, but said, "Can we go? I don't like this place."
"I know. I don't like it too much right now either. We're going." She got up angry with herself. She was due to start work in two weeks and had just been rude to someone who was probably a colleague. She didn't know who he was. She let out a breath wondering what was taking the elevator so long. She knew he hadn't really done anything to scare Lucas. Lucas hated hospitals, had since his parents had died and he had been left in the waiting room for hours by himself by her idiot of a mother. No, she was pissed at the familiarity the man seemed to have with Callie and at his comment. She's straight. It makes sense that she would have a boyfriend or whatever that guy was. Of course, she hadn't mentioned a boyfriend before.
The ding of the elevators broke through her thoughts. She let passengers out and led Lucas inside pushing the button for the main floor. The doors started to close when she saw Callie running toward them. Instinctually she reached out her hand and held the elevator for her.
"Thanks. I was trying to catch you guys. Are you leaving?"
"Yes," said Erica trying to tone down the attitude. It wasn't Callie's fault that Erica was crushing on her and pissed that she had someone.
"Hey, are you alright? I'm sorry about Mark. He's a bit of a pig. He is our local man-whore," she whispered to Erica.
Erica looked confused. "What?"
"He will do anything that moves, has actually. He's just bored because his surgeries have been put on hold. None of the nurses will assist. They're on some sort of work stoppage because I think he's slept with all of them."
Erica frowned. "What does he do?"
The elevator hit the main floor and all three of them walked out.
"What are you guys up to for the rest of the day? I get off in a few minutes; maybe we can have one of those dinners you keep promising me," asked Callie hopefully.
"What about your… boyfriend?" asked Erica. She was still completely at a loss. Callie didn't seem to be the type of person who would date someone with a reputation like the one she had just described and yet...he had definitely suggested that he and Callie had ...been together.
Callie was laughing. "Did you say boyfriend? No, he is not my boyfriend. No way, no how. No boyfriend. No thank you."
"But he said... Sorry I just assumed from his comment," said Erica feeling a little foolish.
"Don't worry about it, but he's not my boyfriend. We are not together. He's just a..." She scratched her head seeming very uncomfortable.
"Just a what?" asked Erica.
"He's a friend," she said simply, looking away as if considering something.
"Look, my shift's over, how about I make you dinner? You and Lucas can come over and I can whip up a..."
"No, I don't think so. I owe you way too much already," said Erica hurriedly. Callie looked away disappointed.
Erica mirrored her trying to figure out how to respond. She had promised dinner, but the whole incident with what's his name was throwing her off. Oh hell, you know you want to. She took a deep breath and plunged.
"I have to do a final walk through of the house. I'm on my way there now. Why don't we come over after and I'll take everyone out, wherever you want."
"YES!" she heard Lucas shout. "Can we have pizza? Can we go to the place with all the games? We should go get Allie right now," he said pulling on Erica's hand.
Erica smiled at him, pulling him toward her as he tugged. "Slow down Lucas. We still have to go see the house."
Callie was beaming. "Okay, I'm going to go sign out and change. I'll see you after the walk-through. Don't stand us up, or you won't get the full explanation about Mark. It's a sad story, but then mine mostly are," she said over her shoulder.
Erica watched her go still resisting Lucas's pull on her arm and wondering about Callie's comment. There was no way she could even contemplate standing Callie up. Finally she saw Callie get on another elevator. She turned to Lucas, "Ready to see the house?"
He nodded, "Come on Mom," and this time she let him tug her toward the door. Callie had promised an explanation. She was uncomfortable thinking about it, but ultimately whatever the story, if it involved Callie she wanted to know. She wanted to know everything about her.