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A/N: Okay, so I am sooo sorry that this took so long. School and life have started catching up with me as the end of the year is coming and I’m preparing to finish school. But hopefully you stuck around to read this and if it’s any consolation to you, this chapter is a little longer than the rest. I have great plans for this story, and the good stuff is coming soon
You guys rock! Now, without further ado…
Callie shuffled around the apartment, retrieving stray items from the closet to put in her and the baby’s room. She wanted so badly to give her son a room of his own, but she new it was best to keep his crib in her room until he was older and she could move out of Mark’s apartment. Earlier that morning Mark had finished putting the crib together and now they needed to put the finishing touches on her son’s makeshift room. A plastic mobile with dangling stars hung above the crib, blue and silver to match the crib bedding. After much debate in the middle of the baby superstore, Callie had finally decided on a soft, dark blue and white plaid bedding for the mahogany crib. A small changing table rested against the opposite wall, her double bed separating it from the crib. Mark had insisted on buying a small, brown bear for the baby and was pleased to see her placing it in the corner of the crib as he walked into her room.
“All set for the little man?”
Callie turned to smile at Mark and nodded softly.
“I think so,” she sighed and then sat on her bed, Mark following her, stretching out beside her. They both laid in silence for a few moments, each contemplating the future and reflecting on the past.
After 9 long and cranky months of pregnancy, Callie was due tomorrow. But so far the little guy showed no indication of being in any hurry to make his way into the world.
Each month brought a new challenge, a new thing to look forward to and she and Mark had braved it together. She giggled softly thinking about how much Mark really did have to endure for the better part of the year.
“Mark...” Callie leaned over her friend, his sleeping form barely visible under the mess of covers in his bed. “Mark…” She whispered a little more insistently. Deciding that he wasn’t going to wake up anytime soon, she poked his shoulder softly. Receiving no response from her friend she weighed her options. She didn’t want to go back to sleep yet so she needed him to be awake…now.
“MARK! Look at that sexy woman walking across the room! She wants you!”
Mark shot up from under his covers and looked around wildly and Callie snickered quietly as she watched his face fall when he realized he must have been dreaming.
“Where’s they sexy woman?” Mark pouted and Callie shrugged then pointed to herself.
“Right here, of course.”
“Cal,” Mark shook his head. “I know its been a long time since you’ve been laid, but its” he glanced over at the alarm clock. “2 am. So go back to sleep.”
Crossing her arms over her chest, Callie frowned down at Mark. That’s not what I want, Sloan. You only wish I wanted you. Besides…it must suck to see all of this,” Callie swayed her hips for good measure. She was pregnant, yes, but she knew she was still sexy. “And know that you can’t have it because I go the other way.”
Mark made a face and laid back down, sticking his tongue out like a child.
“Mark really though I need you.” Callie spoke loudly, her urge becoming more insistent and not showing any signs of letting up.
He shot back up out of his bed and gave her a suggestive smile. “Then hop on into the bed so I can show you the Sloan Method.”
Mark really was a great guy, but he can still be such a whore when he wanted to be. This caused Callie to laugh a little then frown.
“I already told you that’s not what I want.”
“Then what is it, Cal,” Mark’s face suddenly went rigid with worry. “It’s not the baby is it? Is he okay? Are you alright?”
The worry that was evident on her friend’s face made Callie feel nothing but love and respect for Mark and she found herself grateful for the millionth time that she had him.
“No, everything is okay. Well, it sort of is. I actually…ummm…I need a favor.”
Mark waited for the woman’s request and rubbed his sleepy eyes.
“I need you to run to the store.”
“At 2 am? What in the world for?” Mark loved his sleep and as much as he loved Callie, he was not readily willing to get out of bed to go to the store at ungodly hours of the morning.
“For um…” Callie blushed and ran a hand through her hair. “Brownies and mustard.”
She watched as Mark twisted his face in disgust. “Are you serious. Torres?”
Blushing, Callie nodded and spoke sheepishly. “Um, yes. I know its weird, but I’m craving that really badly right now and I can’t sleep until I have it.” She heard the soft whine in her voice and knew that maybe she was being irrational about having to eat those foods at this particular moment, but she couldn’t avoid it, it was all her body’s fault.
Mark groaned and scratched his head. “Alright, Callie. Just this once though, this is hurting my beauty sleep.”
Callie laughed light heartedly and kissed his temple. “Thank you so much.”
With that she waited impatiently until Mark came back to the apartment with a bag full of store-bought brownies and two bottles of mustard.
She drenched the fudgy goodness with the bitter, yellow condiment and groaned happily as she ate every last bit of four mustard coated brownies. Mark watched, more than grossed out, and shook his head. Noticing this, Callie shrugged, her food induced bliss making her less aware of the disgust plastered on Mark’s face.
When she finished eating, she kissed Mark’s forehead and hugged him tight. “Thank you again. Now I can sleep, and so can you.”
Mark smiled and rubbed her back. “It’s not a problem this time, but don’t make a habit of it Torres. Like I said,” he gestured to his face. “This man needs his beauty sleep.”
He winked and each friend went back to their respective rooms to fall asleep quickly, resting happily knowing that even though it may be stressful to have these absurd cravings, they were all for the baby.
Callie was soon brought out of her memories as Mark started to rub circles on her dark hand. She was suddenly grateful that he was on call today and not at the hospital yet. He had been here for her this whole time, never letting her be completely alone, no matter how frustrating it was at times. She had been working up until 3 weeks ago, and then the Chief had graciously given her maternity leave. An interval head of Ortho would take her place until the baby was a month old and though she would miss her job like crazy, she knew that she was going to be very busy with the baby for a long while.
Being a single mother was going to be difficult and at times she wished that she had a partner to help her through this, to share the experience of raising a child. But she knew that she could do it alone. She had psyched herself up for the past few months, telling herself that she would be an amazing mom. And now she believed it. Her son would be loved beyond any love that she had ever given to anyone. And Mark…she had Mark. Even though he wasn’t the father and she had no intention of him ever being the father, he was still there, willing to help her with the baby. She had agreed that it might be best to stay here and let him help until her nerves settled and she became more comfortable with being so highly responsible for a new little life.
“Mark?” Callie spoke softly and turned her head to face her friend, who looked as deep in thought as she had just been.
“Thanks again for everything. This-” She waved her free hand at the room around her. “This is all so amazing. You- you are amazing. You didn’t have to do any of this, so all I can say is thank you.” She flashed a wide grin, causing Mark to smile in return. He loved her smile and he could see the happiness and thankfulness in her toothy grin, but it was nothing compared to how she used to smile when she was in love. He once again thought about how much he hates Erica for taking that smile away. But hey, he would take what he could get.
“Cal, you and the baby are the closest things I have to a family. Sloane is gone and she took my only grandchild with her.” Mark sighed and rubbed his eyes with his free hand. “Addison aborted my baby, and I wasn’t even ever there for Sloane or her mother.”
“I’ve lost my chance at having a family, a family that I truly want. I’m not getting any younger and here I am, single and pining over the woman that I love, but doesn’t love me back. It’s a bit pathetic and not at all how I imagined I would be living my life right now.”
Callie nodded in agreeance, knowing full well how much Mark really wanted to be with Lexie, but Alex Karev stood in his way. Sloane had scared her off and everyone except for Lexie could see how much Mark was hurting. Slowly, she moved to rest her head on his solid chest, feeling his chest heave slightly as he fought to control bitter tears. It was rare that Mark ever showed any emotion except for…horny.
The air was still with unspoken words and unshed tears as Mark chose his next words carefully.
“I just can’t lose you or the little man. I mean, I know you two aren’t technically mine, but I feel responsible for both of you. You two are my second chance, maybe even my last chance at having some semblance of a family. Lexie…she doesn’t want me, at least not right now. I’m still in love with her, Cal. But she doesn’t want a family.”
Children had never been a particularly thrilling idea for Mark when he was younger, but now as he aged he knew something was missing in his life, and he had come to realize that that something was a family of his own.
“Mark, you won’t lose me or the baby. You have us here and you have taken such good care of the both of us. I’m sure you won’t ever be absent from our lives. In fact-” Callie stopped and began to twirl her thumbs together, something Mark had learned meant she had something on her mind.
“I would really love it if you would be his godfather.”
A huge smile spread slowly across the man’s face, replacing the somber look that was in place only moments ago. He touched Callie’s stomach tenderly and nodded.
“Cal, that would be amazing. I would love that more than anything.” His eyes glistened with both excited and mournful unshed tears as Callie kissed his cheek, his stubble prickling her lips.
“He is going to really love his uncle Mark.” Mark smiled in response then frowned as the moment was ruined, as always, by his ever-annoying pager. They both glared at the little, black pager on the nightstand and Mark picked it up to read it.
“Crap. I’m sorry, but I have to go. There’s been an 11 car collision on the interstate. They need all hands on deck.”
The Latina frowned softly, thinking about tonight. “But you will be back in time for the shower, right?”
Pulling on his shoes, Mark nodded and made his way to the door to leave. “Sure thing, Torres. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
Mark had planned a baby shower for her, upon her insistence. He knew that she wanted one, so he had been sure to have one, even if their crazy surgery schedules only allowed the day before she was due to be able to have the shower.
Soft laughs began to shake the Latina’s body as she thought about Mark’s enthusiasm about her pregnancy. Everyone at Seattle Grace Mercy West found out quickly after the child was conceived. The nurses, being the constant source of gossip chains, spread rumors that were confirmed as she become unable to hide her growing stomach. Congratulatory expressions were aimed towards her as she walked the halls of the hospital.
But however positive the looks appeared to be, Callie could still see the looks of pity in her co-workers eyes, mixed with looks of, dare she say, ‘told ya so’ or ‘you deserve it’ as many of the hospital staff were never accepting of her open relationship with a woman. When they had first started dating, disapproving whispers could be heard mingling with curious glances in their direction as they, rarely, walked around the hospital holding hands. Most of the hospital employees gradually became accustomed to, or even accepted the two as an item as they had dated for two solid years, with only a few bumps along the way. When the blonde “mysteriously” disappeared from the hospital, the rumors spread like a wildfire and Callie was helpless to avoid the stares cast upon her as she walked the hospital halls alone for the first time in a very long while.
Through all the careful glances she received after her break up with Erica, she could tell that everyone knew she was having a hard time. More often than not, she would show up to work looking disheveled with tear-induced red eyes and a solemn attitude. Mark soon became her “best friend in shining armor” as the whispers gradually grew quieter, at least when she was around, probably a direct result of Mark’s threat of no more “on call room consults”.
She was bad ass, she knew she shouldn’t let the whispers get to her, but they did. Though they never distracted her from her work, they did quite the opposite in fact. She immersed herself in her work and now she was so very close to making cartilage from scratch, a project she had started right before Erica had left. If all went well with the baby, she would readily jump back into her work to complete her research as soon as possible.
So now here she was, pregnant and happy with Mark taking care of her this whole time, with only a few complaints made under his breath, usually at unholy hours of the morning. He really was a great guy, even though he sleeps with one too many nurses. But since she had become pregnant, she watched as something slowly started to change in him. She never saw him bring home any random women from one too many drinks at Joe’s and he seemed to only have eyes for Lexie Grey now. He was maturing, as weird as it may seem to her, and she was proud of him for stepping up and preparing to be a “father figure”.
I guess that old saying about boys maturing later than girls really was true.
Callie grinned and stood up, looking at the alarm clock that now read 11:50 am. The baby shower wasn’t until 5, so she had time to decorate. But with a rather large belly and swollen feet, she figured it would be best to start sooner than later, seeing as how it might take her longer to decorate than the average person not carrying a tiny human inside of them.
Boxes of various sizes littered the living room, all full of decorations; streamers, balloons, gift bags, and…onsies? Callie laughed quietly, shaking her head as she held up a tiny, white onsie, waiting to be decorated by guests.
A soft, but excited knocking sounded from her door and startled her.
Who on earth? That can’t be Mark, he has a key…and isn’t everyone else at the hospital?
She cautiously opened the door, confusion and shock consuming her features as a tall red-head smiled brightly in greeting; her arms extended obviously waiting for a hug.
Callie found her voice and smiled in excitement, walking forward to pull the woman into a huge hug, despite the awkwardness created by her swollen stomach.
- A Life Worth Living-Chapter 4