It takes ten days.
One short week and a half that seems like never-ending time until she begins to pick herself up, to mend her life. She can't heal just yet, probably won't be able to for the longest time, but she's trying.
She'd talked to Arizona for hours. Sobbed tears and emptied tissue boxes.
She'd listened to Meredith's helpful words, understanding the words 'healing' and 'it'll get better' was a dead-end.
Callie had offered her a shoulder, multiple hugs and a talking to. She knew this, what it was like. What it what to lose someone close, to lose your best friend, though she failed to sympathise with a loss of a spouse.
Bailey had extended a hand, letting the trauma surgeon sleep in her guest bedroom for a good seven days because she couldn't face going back there, to their place. Where they lived, where they slept, where they made love, where they had laughed and just rejoiced in each other's company.
Hunt had understood her pain, her grief, putting her on leave for as long as she wanted as long as she needed. And everybody else had at least tried to help her, aid in the healing process. But the truth was, nobody could.
She only needed her best friend. He was the only one who could ever help her through this, but he was no longer an option. He was the reason for her endless tears and pain-filled cries.
It takes ten days.
Ten days, until she can finally return home, their home, and stand in the doorway of their bedroom alone. She grasps the frame and sighs, unable to let her eyes wander over to the bed, avoiding the pictures spread across her dresser like the plague.
She can't bare it, she can't see it. She doesn't want to, she never will.
A while later, she manages to work her way into some clean sweats, a pair of her own and she slips his old ratty Harvard t-shirt over her head. She'd claimed it two days after they'd gotten married three years ago. She faintly smiles as she glances down at the cotton shirt, remembering the time she'd claimed it was her 'something old'. And then he'd joked that it was also he 'something new'.
She shakily chews on her lip at the memory, collapsing down into a ball against the side of the bed. She pulls her legs up to her chest and pulls down the sleeves of the shirt, wrapping it safely around her body.
She leans up and grabs her cell phone from the bedside table, having previously chosen to forget about its existence. She couldn't handle pitiful calls, apologies and condolences. How could she? They wouldn't make any difference, they wouldn't change anything. He was gone. He wasn't ever coming back. That was all there was to it.
It was full of remorseful messages and abandoned voicemails. People wishing her the best and offering their help. She still had a funeral to plan, but her mother-in-law had been in town since the day they'd lost him and she'd been taking charge of everything the best she could, given her own grief and heartache at the loss of her only son.
Reaching the last couple messages, she almost smiles at a quick voicemail left by Cristina about her latest achievement. They'd been keeping in touch since she left for Europe, for 'greater pastures'. She'd won her Harper Avery Award, and Cristina had been a great friend to her over the past week. She couldn't thank her enough. The message ends and she sighs, pressing the button to listen to the last one.
Her heart almost stops at the sound, tears springing to her eyes and lips turning dry.
"Hey, I'm gonna be running a little late because I had to call a board meeting. Shepherd's being sued again, no surprise there." His lost voice laughs down the line before he lets out a yawn, "So, I will meet you back at the house pretty soon, alright? You'd better be in the bathtub though, babe, because I have had a really long day and I need a little time with my wife right now."
Her soft face breaks and lifts a hand to cover her eyes, collecting her tears on the pad of her thumb as she listens to the rest, allowing her heart to melt at the sound of his voice. She misses it, misses him. Always will.
"I'm gonna pick up some wine on the way home, d'you want red or white? Yeah, you're right, I'll just get both." A small smile erupts on her lips as she lets out a sob at his chuckle, the noise of his laughter making her heart ache, "So, we'll have dinner and drink some wine, in the bath, of course, and then you can tell me whatever it was you had to tell me earlier, okay? You said it was important so I will be all ears. Okay? I'll see you soon. I'm gonna go change and then head home, so... get naked. I love you." She can hear his smile on the other end, her stomach tightening at the vision of his grin, arms erupting in goosebumps beneath his shirt as she softly giggles, caught up in the moment, in the bittersweet memory.
Maybe she can live like this.
Like she only heard the phone call just now, like he was still on his way home.
And he makes it home before she gets to listen to his message.
And he surprises her with wine and dinner, and they have their bath and she's his wife and he's her husband.
And she gets the chance to tell him what she needed to.
That it wasn't just going to be the two of them anymore, that they'd created a perfect fragile life.
That he was going to be a father, that they were going to be a family.
Maybe she can live like this.
Imagine all of the above and create a small world for herself and for her child, their child. His child.
Maybe those past ten days never happen and they can live happily ever after.