[identity profile] lovemesomeowen.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] in_the_after
Title: "Walking on Broken Glass"
Author: [livejournal.com profile] lovemesomeowen
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Episode 3 of Grey's Anatomy Season 10.5
Disclaimer: All characters belong to Shonda Rhimes, Grey's Anatomy, and ABC.
Author's Note: Thanks, as ever, to my fellow 10.5 team members [livejournal.com profile] angelamermaid and [livejournal.com profile] shli1117 for their insights, ideas, support and encouragement.

(Cristina's Voice): There's often a difference between what we do and what we know we should do. As doctors we guide our patients on a daily basis. Eat right. Exercise regularly. Drink only in moderation. Get enough sleep. Yet long-ingrained habits and deeply-rooted desires often trump the advice we humans know intellectually is best for us. Often it takes a life-shattering trauma to get us to finally make a change in hopes of doing better this time around.


“So we're in agreement?” said Arizona.

Cristina nodded. “I think it's his best shot.”

“Okay,” said Alex. “We'll tell his parents. You'll clear things with the Chief?”

“I will,” Cristina replied.

“What are you clearing with me?” Owen said, having come up quietly behind her.

Cristina jumped and whirled around as Robbins and Karev strode off, smiling.

“Don't do that! You scared me to death!” Cristina exclaimed.

“Sorry.” Owen smiled as he held out a cup of coffee. “Peace offering?”

Cristina accepted it gratefully and took a sip. “Thank you.”

“My pleasure. What's up?”

“We've decided tomorrow is the day for Adam's surgery. We've been trying to hold off in order to build his strength, but the time has come. We can't delay any longer. We'd like to start at 7 a.m.”

“I can make that happen,” Owen said. “No problem. Timeline?”

“Best-case scenario? I'd say 12-15 hours. That's assuming no major complications.”

“All right. I'll set it up. Are you okay with having the gallery open? I'd really like the students to be able to observe.”

“That's fine,” Cristina said. “It's a complex and fairly rare procedure. They won't see it often.” She paused. “So, tomorrow is Wednesday...”

Owen's face fell as he made the connection. “And you're no longer free for supper...”

“I'm sorry. Can we do it another night?” she asked, hopefully.

Happy that she wasn't canceling outright, Owen pulled out his phone. “Let's see.” He skimmed the week's schedule. “Tonight the kids have track practice. Tomorrow you have surgery. Thursday's open. Will that work?”

“That works,” Cristina said, relieved. “What can I bring?” Seeing his bemused expression she made a face. “You know what I mean. A bottle of wine? A dessert I didn't make myself?”

Owen chuckled. “Tricia's got her heart set on making dessert, but wine would be fine. I'm grilling steaks.”

“Nice. I'm looking forward to it.”

“Me, too.” He hesitated, then added. “You have plans for lunch today?”

Cristina shook her head. “Nope.”

“Meet me in the cafeteria?” he asked, checking his watch. “Say...around 11:30?”

“Okay. It's a date.” Seeing his look of delight, she back-pedaled immediately. “It's an expression!”

Grinning, he retorted. “No taking it back! We have a lunch date. See you later.”

She rolled her eyes but he couldn't have cared less, sauntering off with a definite spring in his step.


Five Years Ago

“Was it really that bad or are you exaggerating?”

“I'm not kidding, Mer. It was bad. Heinrich turned out to have the personality of a turnip. And he had about seven hands. I couldn't get out of there fast enough. Total train wreck”

Meredith groaned. “I'm sorry it was so awful. Handsy AND boring? Yuck. But please tell me you'll try again. It was just one bad date...”

“I've had five bad dates with five different men who all turned out to be duds. I'm done. It's probably for the best. I don't have time for this, anyway. I work eighteen hours most days.”

“Which is why you need to have a social life!” Meredith interrupted. “Your life can't just be work.”

“I am running the clinic, performing surgeries, doing my research, and preparing for three professional conferences. Even if I should find a suitable guy to date, I don't have time for him.”

Meredith paused, then threw caution to the wind. “Cristina, have you considered that all of these men have one thing in common? Their names aren't Owen Hunt.” Cristina said nothing and there was a long silence before Meredith continued, “You've got a new life now, but you can't move on because your heart is still with Owen...”

“My heart is always going to be with Owen,” Cristina said quietly.

“But you and Owen can't be together,” Meredith said gently. “I'm just saying...maybe someday you could make some room for someone else? In time?”

“Maybe in time,” Cristina said, knowing in her heart it was a lie. “But not right now. Please don't push me on this.”

“Okay, I'll back off. But you still need something other than work. Does your apartment have any furniture yet?” Meredith asked, trying to change the subject.

“I have a bed,” Cristina replied defensively. “And a TV...”

“That's a start, I suppose. So don't date right now. Do your work and decorate your apartment. When I come to visit I expect to have a place to sleep, eat and sit!”

Cristina sighed, “Fine. I have a project now. Satisfied?” She tried to push thoughts of Owen from her mind as she remembered how he had turned a broken down firehouse into a beautiful home for them. “Let's talk about something else. Tell me about your research...”


“Hey!” Cristina said as she walked towards the table where Callie, Arizona, and Meredith were eating lunch.

Meredith looked up from the medical journal she was reading. “I thought you were meeting Owen.”

“I was,” Cristina said, plopping down into the empty chair. She opened her bag of potato chips. “But he's stuck in the Pit. Had to cancel.”

Arizona and Callie exchanged glances.

“You seem kind of disappointed...” Arizona ventured carefully.

“Yeah,” Cristina admitted. “I'm leaving soon, so I just want to spend some time with him while I can.”

“So ask him out,” Arizona said, pulling the lid off of her yogurt. “Maybe he's free tonight.”

Cristina looked at her incredulously. “Please. I don't ask men out. And, besides, it's not like we're dating, because that would be a horrible idea...we have separate lives now and...”

“Whoa! Slow down!” Callie interjected. “Who said anything about dates and lives? This isn't 'men.' This is Owen. Just see if he wants to have dinner tonight. What's the big deal?”

“Everything between Cristina and Owen is a big deal, Callie,” Arizona said sagely. “Everyone knows that...”

Meredith smiled but kept reading.

“What's that supposed to mean?” Cristina snapped. She met Arizona's gaze fiercely.

“Just that whatever is between you and Owen is … unresolved,” Arizona said, unperturbed.

“You're over thinking this,” Callie said. “It's just dinner.”

“I'm not over thinking,” Cristina said. “I don't know what it is or what we're doing, but it's not just dinner.”

“Oooh, do tell,” said Callie, her eyes twinkling.

“There's nothing to tell. I'm having dinner at his house on Thursday...”

“You're having dinner at the house!” Callie squealed as Meredith gave an imperceptible shake of her head. “That's...um...nice”

“Yeah,” Cristina continued, “but that's two days away and I'm probably leaving Sunday...and...I don't know...” she finished lamely. She turned to Meredith. “A little help here?”

Meredith looked up. “You know how I feel about this. If you want to spend time with Owen, spend time with Owen.”

Cristina smirked in disgust. “Why did I bother asking? You're no help at all.”

“Callie's right,” Meredith continued. “You're making things way too complicated. Text Owen. See if he'd like to have dinner with you tonight. End of story. Now stop talking to me. I need to read this.”

Cristina's brow was furrowed as she picked up her sandwich. “Fine. I'll think about it.” Chewing vigorously, she paused to swallow and said, “I never did get to the Seattle Space Needle. You think he'd like to go there? Or is that too hokey?”

Callie brightened immediately. “It's not hokey at all! It's beautiful and very...” She stopped abruptly as Meredith shot her a warning glance. “...um...fun. Very, very fun.”

“Okay...” Cristina said, “Now you're just being weird. But I kind of like that idea. I think I'll text him.”


“Wow,” Cristina said, gazing down upon the city below. “It really is stunning.”

“Didn't I tell you?” asked her friend, Veronika. “One cannot visit Paris without making a stop at the Eiffel Tower. The view is spectacular. I never tire of it.”

“I'm glad we came,” Cristina admitted. “Thank you for encouraging me.” After delivering the keynote address at the conference, she had earned some down time. She was grateful that her colleague from the clinic had insisted that they have some fun before returning to Zurich.

“Dragging you kicking and screaming would be more accurate but you're welcome,” Veronika said with a smile. “I had a feeling you would like it. Though I will say,” she paused to observe a young couple kissing with a frenzied urgency, “that it is even more enjoyable under more romantic circumstances. Paris is, after all, a city for lovers. Sorry you're stuck with me!”

Cristina grinned. “No worries. It's fun with a friend, too.”

She watched the people around the tower's base, scurrying about like so many ants. Suddenly there was a great shriek behind them. Cristina turned to see a man twirling a woman in his arms as she nodded joyfully. Everyone on the observation deck applauded as he slipped an engagement ring on her finger. They looked ridiculously happy and Cristina found she had to look away.

“Cristina?” Veronika asked carefully. “Are you alright?”

Cristina nodded, wiping a tear from her cheek. “I am. I'm just...missing someone.”

“Your husband?” Veronika said consolingly. “How long has he been gone?”

Cristina looked confused. “I'm sorry...I don't understand.”

It was Veronika's turned to be perplexed. “Your husband...how long has he been dead?”

“Dead?” Cristina said, shocked. “He's not dead.”

Veronika looked aghast. “I'm so sorry. I saw the wedding photograph in your office. You never speak of him and you don't wear a ring. I assumed...that was foolish of me. Please accept my apology.”

“It's fine,” Cristina said hastily. “You didn't know. You're right. I never talk about him. Owen and I are divorced.” They stood silently for a moment. “You're not going to ask me why?”

“That's none of my business,” Veronika said in a solemn voice. “If you wish to tell me, I am happy to listen.” Cristina looked bewildered. “What?”

“It's just funny,” Cristina said. “People are so different here. In Seattle everyone is always into everyone else's business. It's ridiculous, really.” She thought for a moment about what to say. Finally, she said simply, “He wants kids. I don't.”

“Was that the only reason?” Veronika said.

Cristina nodded. “Pretty much. We were perfect for each other in every other way. But we couldn't get past it...kept trying...kept hurting each other. It had to stop, for both our sakes.”

“This still hurts you.” It was a statement, not a question.

“Yes,” Cristina said. “It still hurts me.”

“I'm sorry.”

“Me, too.”


“This is so incredibly beautiful!” Cristina exclaimed. “I can't believe we never made the time to come up here.”

Owen wrapped his arms around her as they looked out on the Seattle skyline. “It is lovely,” he said, nuzzling her neck. “Although I like the view right here just as much.”

She leaned back into him, loving the feeling of being in his arms again. It felt like home.

“I like it here, too,” she admitted. “Too much.”

He turned her around to face him. “Why too much? I can never get enough of you.”

“And I never get enough of you,” she said, trying not to drown in the blue of his eyes. “That's the problem, Owen. We can never get enough of each other. What are we gonna do?”

He smiled at her, his eyes brimming with both affection and desire. He started to kiss her left temple as he whispered, “I've got some ideas...”

“Stop...” she said laughing, yet serious. “This is exactly what I mean. We're going to end up doing something crazy and then I'll go back to Zurich and you'll stay here and we'll both be heartbroken again.”

Owen pulled back and looked into her eyes, struck by how open she was being...how vulnerable. “Were you heartbroken when you left for Switzerland, Cristina?”

She chided him with her eyes. “You know I was. I know it probably seemed like I was always leaving you...” He barely breathed, afraid to break the spell. “But that doesn't mean it was easy.” She looked at him imploringly. “It's always been you, Owen. Always. But I have managed to build a life for myself in Switzerland. A life I like. A life that suits me. And if I'm not careful that life is going to unravel because I lost my head this week. I can't do it.”

He looked at her earnestly, overwhelmed by the enormity of the love he still had for this woman. “Exactly what do you think is going to happen? We're spending time together...enjoying each other's company. There's nothing wrong with that.”

“There's nothing wrong with that,” she agreed. “But if we're not very careful, we're going to go down a familiar path. We're going to fall into bed. And the sex will be amazing. And then we're going to hurt each other again. Because we still don't want the same things. I don't want that. I don't want to hurt you and I don't want to be hurt. I've spent five years trying to breathe without you. And it's still not easy.”

“You still take my breath away...” Owen said quietly. “Seeing you again...it's like everything I've built for the last five years is right there on the edge, ready to shatter. So I get it.”

They didn't speak for several moments.

Finally, Cristina asked again, “So...what are we gonna do?”

Owen exhaled. “I think we take it as it comes...one day at a time...maybe one moment at a time. We keep our heads and don't get reckless. But we don't waste this time, either. This time together is a gift and I want to enjoy it. No strings attached. No expectations.”

“Promise?” she said shakily.

“Promise,” he replied.

“Okay,” she said. “I believe you. Kiss me again...”


It was past seven o'clock Wednesday night when Owen slipped into the surgical gallery and sat down next to Meredith. Interns, residents, fellows, and attendings had been in and out all day long, but now, in the quiet of the evening, they were alone.

“Hey,” she said. “You're back.” He raised an eyebrow curiously. “I heard you've been up here a lot today.”

“As much as my schedule allowed,” Owen admitted, trying to sound nonchalant. “It's not every day we have the renowned Dr. Cristina Yang in our hospital performing miracle surgeries.” His eyes twinkled.

“Right?” Meredith smiled. “To think that used to be a daily occurrence.”

They sat in silence as Karev, Robbins, and Yang worked.

“Are they getting close now?” Owen finally asked her.

“I think so,” Meredith said. She glanced up at the clock. “It's been nearly fourteen hours, but so far, so good. No complications.”

“That's good,” Owen said, his eyes firmly fixed on Cristina.

“So, I hear you two went to the Space Needle last night,” Meredith said, in what she hoped was a casual voice.

Owen looked at her sideways. “We did...”

“Cristina said you had fun.”

“Yes,” he said. “Clearly you want to say something, Meredith, so just say it.”

“It's not my business,” she began, pausing when she realized that he agreed. “But I care about you both. Truly. Cristina...well, that goes without saying. But you and I have become friends. Real, actual friends. At least I think we have, right?”

He nodded.

“I just don't want to see either of you hurt again. That's all. It's taken a long time to put the two of you back together and...” she stopped, at a loss for what to say.

“And you don't want us to break again,” Owen said. Meredith nodded. “Believe me. We don't want that either. I'm not sure either of us could take it.”

“Just be careful. Please?” she implored.

“We're being careful,” he assured her. “We are.”

“I believe that you're both trying,” Meredith said. “I also know you still love each other.”

Owen was silent.

“You want her back, Owen,” Meredith said.

“I do,” Owen said, realizing it was the truth. “But we can't always get what we want. I promise, Meredith, we're being careful. We both know what's at stake here. We can't afford to go off the rails. One step at a time. No expectations. We're just trying to enjoy the week.”

“Okay,” Meredith said. But her voice was filled with doubt. “Okay.”


“I know you have something on your mind, Mer. Just spit it out,” Cristina said finally. “Stop dancing around whatever it is you want to tell me.”

Meredith took a deep breath. “He's adopting two children, Cristina. Owen's adopting two kids.”

There was dead silence from Cristina.

“Cristina?” Meredith said tentatively.

“I'm alright,” Cristina lied. Her mind was reeling.“I'm just...surprised, I guess. Is there a woman? Has he found someone?”

“There's no woman,” Meredith said. “They're kids he's been fostering...”

“So he's adopting his foster children...” Cristina said trying to piece it together.

“Yes. A boy and a girl. They're not babies. They're older. I've met them. I like them.”

But Cristina had stopped listening. “I've gotta go, Mer. Thanks for telling me...”

“Cristina...Cristina!” Meredith sounded desperate. “Don't hang up. Talk to me.”

“I can't right now. I just...can't. I'll call you back in a few days,” Cristina insisted. “I will.”

She hung up the phone and sank into a chair, her body wracked with sobs.


“Almost there,” Meredith said as they turned the corner onto a tree-lined street.

Cristina felt a rush of anxiety and tried to steady herself.

It's just dinner, she thought. Dinner with Owen. At his house. With his kids. And his dog.

She decided not to dwell on any of that. One thing at a time. She scanned the addresses on the houses and then spotted the correct number two houses down on the right, a tan two-story bungalow set back from the road. There were several large shade trees in the yard, which was immaculately kept with tidy grass and neatly trimmed shrubs. They pulled into the driveway and Meredith put the car into “park”.

“This is it,” she said. “You ready?”

“Ready as I'll ever be,” Cristina said, clutching a bottle of red wine in one hand and a bouquet of flowers in the other. “Thanks for the ride. Owen said he can bring me home.” She got out of the car and then paused. “I can do this, right?”

Meredith smiled. “Of course you can do this. You're good with older kids.” Cristina looked doubtful. “Just talk to them like you talk to your patients.”

“They're Owen's children...” Cristina said.

“They're people. And they're bright and engaging kids. You'll be fine. I'm going now.”


“I'm putting the car into 'reverse'! Close the door! Bye!” Meredith said, waving as she pulled out of the driveway.

Cristina exhaled. Okay. I'm here. Now what? But as she turned around her question was answered.

Kyle had appeared at the front door and came outside to greet her. “Hi, Dr. Yang!”

“Hi, Kyle,” Cristina said. “It's good to see you again. Um...I brought flowers...”

“Thanks. I can take them if you want. We have a vase inside. Come on in...”

Cristina followed Kyle towards the house, still carrying the bottle of wine. There was a swing on the covered front porch along with two wicker chairs. Stepping through the front door, Cristina could see immediately that the living room was cozy and inviting, though very much tilted towards the masculine.

There were small signs of Owen everywhere including, she realized with a start, the white fire hat that had hung in their firehouse. Photos were nestled throughout the space and she was a little surprised to see a photo of her and Owen. She was on his lap and they were both smiling. They had been so happy then, before everything came crashing down.

She pulled herself back to the present and realized that Kyle had gone through all the way to the kitchen. She wondered if she should go, too.

“Hi, Dr. Yang!” Tricia called. “Come on back. I'm just finishing the salad.”

Cristina walked through into the sunny yellow kitchen. Tricia was drizzling olive oil and balsamic vinegar over an arrangement of fresh mozzarella cheese, tomato slices, and basil leaves.

“That looks great,” Cristina said, setting down the bottle of wine on the kitchen counter.

“Thanks,” Tricia replied. “That was mostly Kyle. I'm bad with tomatoes, but even I can't screw up the dressing. We've got a fruit salad, too, and a loaf of Italian bread. We're eating outside. Would you mind giving this to my Dad?” She handed Cristina a platter of raw steaks.

“Um...no,” Cristina replied. “Through there?” She gestured toward the back door. Tricia nodded.

Cristina stepped out onto the back patio. A round table was set for four. The flowers Cristina had brought were already in a vase on the table as a centerpiece. There was a second rectangular picnic table off to the side, covered with a checked cloth. Owen was at the grill.

“Hey...” she said.

He turned around, his face lighting up. “You made it!”

“Of course I made it,” she said, smiling. “This is really beautiful, Owen. I love the yard.”

“Thanks,” he said, a touch of pride in his voice. “I'll show you the rest of the house after dinner.”

“I'd like that,” she said, handing him the meat.

He leaned forward and kissed her lightly on the lips. “Thanks for the flowers,” he said. “Tricia loves tulips.”

“I may have had some help with that,” she said, silently thanking Callie. “Mind if I sit?”

“Go for it. Smitty might be under there somewhere sleeping, though. Consider yourself warned.”

Cristina glanced down at the picnic table and found that the large golden retriever was, indeed, napping underneath. He was breathing heavily and snoring loudly. She opted for a seat at the round table instead and settled in as Owen put the steaks on the grill. Kyle and Tricia emerged from the kitchen each carrying a salad which they placed on the long table. They went back again and then returned with the wine and the bread. A final trip yielded butter, olive oil and a pitcher of lemonade.

A few minutes later they were all four seated at the round table, plates full and glasses raised.

“To a special evening with special people,” Owen said. Having Kyle, Tricia, and Cristina all with him at this supper was a dream coming true. He planned to savor every moment of it. “Salut!”


“So, AP Chemistry and AP World History,” Cristina said. “That's ambitious for your sophomore year.”

“I was considering a third, but Dad says two Advance Placement courses are plenty. He's probably right. I've got cross country in the fall, volleyball in the winter, and track in the spring. It's enough.”

Tricia and Cristina were chatting at the table as Kyle and Owen threw a football at the far end of the yard. Smitty was running around enthusiastically chasing squirrels.

“Did you want another brownie, Dr. Yang?” Tricia asked.

Cristina shook her head. “Can't do it. I'm stuffed. But in a good way,” she added. “I can't cook to save my life, but I do love to eat. Everything was delicious. Thank you. And call me Cristina.”

Tricia blushed with pleasure. “You're welcome, Cristina. I'm still learning. Sometimes I mess things up like crazy, but I'm getting better. I bake better than I cook. Dad said I should pick something I make well for tonight, so I did. Brownies are my specialty.”

Cristina smiled. “Your dad gives good advice. Have you though much about college yet?”

“A little bit,” Tricia replied. “I know I want to be a doctor. You went to Stanford, right?”

“I did,” Cristina answered, surprised. “That was for my medical degree. I also went to Berkeley and to Smith College. You'll want to find a good pre-med program. There are lots of options.”

“I'm trying to convince Dad to let me job shadow at the hospital over summer vacation. I think I could learn a lot.”

“I think that's a great idea...”


“It was a big decision,” Kyle continued, “...especially since Dad was in the Army, but I finally decided the Navy was more for me. He's cool with it.”

“He would be,” Cristina said. “He's a very supportive person, your dad.” She paused a moment, trying to come up with another topic for discussion. Kyle was more shy than Tricia and not nearly as talkative. “You're on the track team, right? Tell me about that.”

“I'm a sprinter. Short distances. But Tricia is a middle-distance runner. I do golf in the fall and swimming in the winter. Honestly,” he confided, “swimming is really my best sport. I'm just okay at golf. I guess I'm a little better at running.”

“Don't believe him,” Owen said. He and Tricia had taken Smitty for a walk. “He's very good at all three. He just has incredibly high standards for himself. Like someone else I know.” Owen's eyes danced as he looked at Cristina who shook her head in amusement. “Okay you two,” he said to Kyle and Tricia. “Dishes and then homework. I'm going to build a fire for Dr. Yang and myself.”

“She said we can call her Cristina, Dad...” Tricia said, grabbing the last few dishes off of the table.

Owen raised an eyebrow, but Cristina nodded her affirmation.

“If she said so, then fine. I'm going to build a fire for Cristina and myself. The key part of that sentence is that you will not be there with us,” he said, grinning. “Dishes. Homework. I'll let you know when I'm leaving to drive her home. Say your goodbyes, please.”

“Bye, Cristina,” Kyle said. “I'm glad you could come over tonight.”

“Me, too,” Cristina said sincerely. “Thank you for having me.”

“Goodbye, Cristina,” Tricia said earnestly. “I hope we'll see you again.”

Cristina realized that she hoped that as well. “I do, too. I've enjoyed getting to know you better.”


The temperature had dropped considerably as the evening wore on. Cristina was grateful for the fire.

She and Owen were seated on one blanket but were wrapped in another as they snuggled in front of the flames. The night sky was clear and they could even see a few stars, despite the light from the city.

“I like your kids,” Cristina said, finally. “I really do. You're doing such a good job with them.”

Owen squeezed her tighter. “Thank you. They've brought me a lot of happiness. I love being their dad.”

“I know.” She paused. “I'm happy for you. I know you've wanted that for...a long time.”

He nodded. “How's Adam coming along? Karev and Robbins seemed to think he's stabilizing nicely.”

“I'd say that's accurate,” Cristina said. “We're pleased. I think he'll have a good outcome.”

“You're leaving Sunday?” Owen asked, dreading her answer.

Cristina nodded. “I've got to get back. The clinic doesn't run itself.”

“You've got Ross,” Owen said, with a distinct edge to his voice.

Cristina looked up at him, startled. “Are you jealous of Shane Ross? Seriously?”

Owen looked uncomfortable. “I'm sorry. That was out of line. It's none of my business.”

“It's not, but it's also ancient history,” she said. “Ross has a wife. They're expecting a baby at any moment.”

Owen looked surprised and slightly satisfied. “Good for him.” They sat in silence for a few moments. “Look, I shouldn't have brought it up. Let's talk about something else.”

“No,” Cristina said. “Let's not. We're clearing the air about this right now. It's the only way it will go away.” She looked at Owen directly and spoke firmly. “It was a mistake to get involved with Ross all those years ago. It was unprofessional and inappropriate. I was lonely.” Owen tilted his head. “I was. I was fighting with Meredith and you were dating Emma.” Owen winced slightly. “He was a port in the storm. But it was still wrong and I called it off and that was that. It meant nothing. It was just sex. There has been nothing between us since then. At all. That was a condition of him coming with me to Switzerland. I'm his teacher. He's my protegee'. That's it. Understood?”

Owen nodded. “Understood. I really am sorry. It just...made me crazy back then and apparently it still makes me crazy now. I hate the thought of other men touching you...” His eyes were burning hot.

“I get that,” Cristina said. “I do. I don't really want to know about all of the soccer moms who've tried to jump your bones over the years either. So I vote we instigate a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy, effective immediately. As far as I'm concerned you've been a monk for the last five years.”

Owen laughed out loud. “Yes! How did you know? And you've been a nun.”

She nodded solemnly. “That's right. Untouched. Pure as the driven snow. Deal?”

“Deal.” They shook hands and then he put his arm around her shoulders again. “So about Sunday...”

“What about Sunday?”

“You're leaving,” he said.

“I am.” She sighed. “I have to...”

“I know. But we've got tonight. And we've got Saturday,” he said cryptically.

“What's Saturday?” Cristina asked.

“You're going out with me.”

“I am?”

“You are.”

“What about the kids?”

“They have plans with friends and then they're staying at my mom's house...”

“Oh, really?” Cristina said with a knowing look. “Sounds like you've got plans of your own for Saturday night...”

“Maybe,” he said. “One thing at a time. One moment at a time. Just keeping our options open.”

“I like keeping our options open,” she said, her voice growing husky with desire.

Owen leaned in and kissed her, first gently, then more insistently, as his fingers worked their way through her hair. He laid Cristina back on the blanket as she pulled him closer. Their kisses intensified as their hands roamed, their breathing becoming ragged, their bodies growing hot and hard.



“I can't do this...”

He looked up. “We'll figure things out. I'm not losing you again. I can't lose you again.”

“I know,” she agreed. “I can't lose you again, either. I mean I can't do this now. Here. Your kids are in the house and Smitty is licking my ankle.”

“What?” Owen sat bolt upright and twisted around.

Smitty looked back at him then barked.

They broke out laughing at the absurdity of it all.

“You better have something good planned for Saturday,” Cristina said.

“Oh, I do. Pulling out all the stops,” he said. “I think you'll like it.”

“No doubt,” Cristina said. “But one step at a time, right? Let's dial it down a little tonight, soldier.”

“Yes, ma'am,” he said, pulling her towards him again. “I can still make out with my girl by the fire?”

“Permission granted.”

He began to plant a string of kisses on her neck. “Excellent...”


(Cristina's Voice): Knowing something in your head and actually putting it into action are two very different things. But, sometimes, after an event that breaks your life into a million pieces, you not only survive. You get a second chance to do things better. To make better choices. To break old cycles. To try things differently. Sometimes, you get another ride on the carousel. And bit by bit, choice by choice you slowly put yourself back together and emerge stronger and more healthy than ever before.


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In the After

December 2014

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