[identity profile] angelamermaid.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] in_the_after
Title: "With the Notes In My Ears"
Author: [livejournal.com profile] angelamermaid
Rating: Teen
Disclaimer: Characters from the show are not of our creation and belong to Shonda and ABC. No monetary compensations were gained from this fictitious work.
Author's notes: Thanks for the feedback and suggestions from [livejournal.com profile] lovemesomeowen and [livejournal.com profile] shli1117. Enjoy, and let us know what you think!


“oh the ones i often dreamt of
with the notes in my ears
and the ones i often mimicked
with the notes in my fingers

and my bed is on the floor
yes my bed is on the floor
of one of the ones i often dreamt of
with the notes in my ears

and that's why i know that i can say
i'm lucky today
and that's how i know that it's time
to be brave”


With The Notes In My Ears – Peter Broderick


“Dad!” Tricia ran to the door, as Owen entered his house. She flung her arms around him. “Welcome back!”

He kissed her forehead and chuckled. “Thank you.”

Mrs Hunt and Kyle came out of the kitchen. Owen's mother beamed and Kyle grinned. “You came back.”

“Of course I did,” Owen smiled. His face lit up as Smitty ran towards him and jumped on him. “Hello big guy.”

“We were a little worried that you might not want to leave Cristina,” Tricia teased.

Owen paused, and looked down at his dog, who was enjoying having his ears scratched.

“Owen?” His mother sounded worried. “Are you okay?”

He looked up at his family, who were looking at him with varying degrees of concern. Owen knew that he couldn't conceal his conflicting emotions any longer. “Why don't we go sit down?”

They followed him to the living room. Owen sat down in his chair, and Smitty laid down at his feet. His mother sat on the other chair, while the teens sat on the couch.

“So ...” Owen breathed in, deeply. “It ... was hard to leave Cristina.”

Mrs Hunt smiled softly.

“She um ... she asked me to come to Switzerland not just to visit ....” Owen swallowed and decided to lay his cards on the table. “But to see if I would like living there ...”

Tricia gasped as Kyle's eyes widened. His mother looked delighted.

“What?” Tricia was stunned.

“I didn't say anything, because I really wanted to think about it,” he continued. “Now that I've seen Zurich, and travelled a bit ... and received two job offers, I'm seriously considering it.”

Everyone raised their eyebrows.

“It's a big decision,” Owen acknowledged. “And one that would affect all of us. Tricia, you'd .... you'd move with me ... Cristina and I would have separate residences ... I'd get a housekeeper for Tricia since one of the jobs involves travel ....”

His daughter blinked at him.

“Kyle, I know you'd be in the Navy but we would be a lot farther away,” Owen continued. “Don't think I'm not taking that into consideration.”

Kyle smiled crookedly at him.

“And Mom ...” He looked guilty. “I don't like the idea of leaving you again ...”

“You should be with Cristina,” she told him firmly. “Don't worry about me.”

“I think if Cristina makes you happy, maybe you should go,” Kyle added, softly.

They all glanced at Tricia, who was staring, open-mouthed, at Owen.

“You've had so much upheaval in your life,” Owen told her. “I don't want to upset you. It's hard to think of moving, I love our life in Seattle ...”

Slowly, she nodded.

“So ... are you getting married?” Kyle asked.

Owen shook his head. “It's not the right time. At this time, we want to work on being in the same city.”

Mrs Hunt smiled. “But you're not ruling out a future wedding.”

He grinned then. “I'm not saying it won't happen.”

“Wow,” Tricia whispered.

“Yeah.” Owen chuckled awkwardly. “So. What did I miss while I was gone?”

OooOo

Five minutes after rolling out of bed, Cristina was on the phone to Owen.

“I miss you already,” she yawned. “Now tell me how it went with the kids and your mom.”

“Okay, I think.” Owen flopped down on his bed. “They were surprised. But Mom and Kyle are telling me to do what it takes to be with you.”

“And Tricia?”

He shrugged. “She was speechless. I told her to think about it. She didn't seem to hate the idea.”

“Good.” Cristina smiled. “I woke up and my sheets smelled like you. I can't wait for you to come back.”

He grinned. “Hopefully it won't be long before we see each other again.”

“I hope that when you do return, it will be to look for a new home.” She paused. “You should bring the kids with you.”

“Really?” Owen sat up, pleased.

“Well, if your new home base is going to be here ... they should see it for themselves. I imagine Tricia is going to want a say in where she lives.”

“Will she ever.” He paused. “Then I will bring them, the next time. They'll love Zurich.”

“Good.”

oOoOo

Two days later, Owen sat down with Tricia in the kitchen. “I really want to know your thoughts about moving to Switzerland,” he said.

“Well,” she said. “It would be a big change...”

He nodded.

“But I never thought I would live anywhere but Seattle,” Tricia mused. “Going to Europe sounds really exciting.”

Owen coughed. “You'd be far from your friends ... and your relatives here.”

She scrunched up her face. “I only see my other family on Facebook, so why I should care about moving away from them?”

“I know ... I just want you to really think about it. We're talking about a different culture, different languages....”

Tricia's eyes brightened. “I have thought about it. And ... you've given me so much, I don't want to be the reason you can't be with Cristina.”

He frowned. “I want you to move because you want to, not to make me happy.”

“But it would be cool to live in Europe, really,” she said. Then she smiled, shyly. “And I'd be getting a new mom.”

Owen felt punched to the gut. “That ... that's not the way things are going to happen ....”

“Why not?” Tricia looked confused. “You're going to be with Cristina -”

“She doesn't want to be a mother,” he reminded her, gently. “That's part of why we're not going to live together ....”

Tricia burst into tears. “But I thought ... I thought we were going to be a family ... eventually ...”

“I'm so sorry,” Owen said, reaching for her hands. She drew back from him, crying. “Oh Tricia, I'm sorry that you misunderstood ....”

“Leave me alone,” she screamed, before jumping up and running out of the room.

oOoOo

Cristina smiled as she opened up Skype on her computer. She'd gotten an urgent message from Owen and an impromptu session would be just delightful ... Her fingers toyed with the buttons on her blouse. Until Owen appeared onscreen, looking somber.

“What's wrong?” She felt a chill. Was he going to stay in Seattle after all?

“It's Tricia.” Owen nervously coughed. “She ... we had a talk and ... I messed it up. She thought you were going to be her new mother.”

“What?” Cristina shook her head. “That is not what I want-”

“I know and I told her that,” Owen assured her. “I should have specified in the beginning that you are her friend, not her future stepmom.”

Cristina sighed. “How is she?”

“Not talking to me.”

She thought for a few seconds. “Should I speak with her? Do you think that would help?”

He shrugged, helplessly. “Maybe.”

“Well this is a fine mess.” She sighed and sat back in her chair.

“I'm sorry, I should have thought ahead.” Owen grimaced. “You and I, we were so careful with each other's hearts. I forgot to be so careful with my daughter's.”

“Don't.” Cristina leaned towards the webcam. “Don't blame yourself, you're taking on too much blame again. You can't predict everything.”

oOoOo

“Hello!” Owen's mother greeted him warmly at the door of her house. “Come on in, this is a nice surprise. And good timing, I just made some tea.” She gestured for him to sit down, then she brought him a cup.

“Thanks.” Owen sat back in his father's chair and sighed. “I have a problem with Tricia.”

“I know, she called me,” his mother smiled, sitting across from him. “I'm sorry.”

“She's not talking to me about it.”

Mrs Hunt nodded. “I tried to help where I could. I told her that Cristina has never wanted to be a mother.”

“It's so hard to discuss,” he said, running his fingers through his hair. “This is the issue that tore our marriage apart. Cristina has offered to talk with her, I don't know if that will help.”

“I think she should try,” his mother mused. “I love Cristina but I can't say that I really understand her point of view, so she would be the best to speak to it.”

Owen smiled softly. “It took me a long time to accept what she wants, however I don't know that I could explain it.”

“And I would love to see her again,” Mrs Hunt smiled. “Speaking of which, I have something I want to discuss with you.”

“Oh?”

She sat up a little straighter. “If you move to Zurich – and I think you should – you said you would get a housekeeper to be there for Tricia when you're travelling for work or spending some private time with Cristina.”

He nodded.

“You'd probably want someone who cares about Tricia very much and knows how you like to have your home kept,” she smiled. “Someone like me.”

“Well yes ...” Owen stared at his mother, understanding dawning. “I can't ask you to move to Switzerland-”

“You won't ask me, so I'm volunteering,” she replied. “You're not the only one in the family who wants to see the world.”

“Mom ...” Moved, he could only stare at her. “Are you sure?”

“I think it would be an adventure!” Mrs Hunt beamed. “I'd rent out my house and spend a couple of years with you and Tricia, and you know I love her. I would take very good care of her.”

“But you've lived your whole life in Seattle-”

“-And I'm retired and now is the time for me to see Europe!” She chuckled. “Think about it, I already have.”

Owen smiled, his eyes twinkling. “You really want to do this, don't you?”

“I do.”

“I have the best mom,” he laughed, getting up to hug her. “Thank you.”

oOoOo

“What?” Cristina grinned delightedly as she listened to Owen. She put her feet up on her desk. “That's terrific! Your mom is better than Marta!”

“I know,” he chuckled. “It's a load off of my mind, knowing that she'll come with me ... when we do eventually move.”

Cristina felt the world stand still. “Eventually?”

“Well, Tricia is not wanting to talk about anything,” Owen admitted. “So I don't want to say when exactly we move because I have to make sure she really wants to ...”

“Owen!” Cristina rubbed her forehead. “We've made plans, you've got two job offers. I – I need you here with me.”

“I need to be with you too,” he assured her. “I'm trying to talk with her but I also think maybe that will be a while. Cristina, we have months to work this out.”

“But I thought your mind was made up.” She gestured helplessly. “I guess this was too good to be true.”

“Cristina, I'm moving to Zurich at some time in the future,” Owen said. “I just need more time to work it out with Tricia, that's all. We'll probably still move in the summer.”

“Okay,” Cristina said, trying to mask her fear. She saw Veronika gesturing to her outside of her office. “Look, I need to go.”

“I love you, we'll talk later.”

“Bye.” She ended the call and waved Veronika in.

“I've got the information on the International School you requested for Tricia ...” Veronika paused. “What's wrong?”

“He's a dad,” Cristina said, sadly. “I don't know when he's moving now ... I thought everything was pretty much decided.”

“I have seen you two together, he will come here.” Her friend sat down. “What's wrong? Is Tricia still upset?”

“Yes.” Cristina swallowed. “This is harder than I expected, dating someone with kids. Dating Owen with kids.”

Veronika smiled sympathetically.

“I feel that I should talk with her but ... I don't know how,” Cristina confessed. “I'm scared of making this worse. What do I know about talking to a teenage girl about not wanting to be her mom?”

oOoOo

Halfway through a quiet meal at home with his kids, Owen felt frustrated at the silent treatment he was getting from Tricia. He put down his utensils. “Cristina doesn't hate you, you know.”

Tricia glanced at him but said nothing.

“Do you really not want to move?” Owen asked. “I know you had a lot of instability when you were younger, do you want everything to stay the same?”

“Dad has given us a really good life for the last five years,” Kyle quietly added. “I think the least you could do is listen to him.”

She looked at her brother, who smiled a little at her.

Tricia sighed and put down her own utensils. “I'm listening.”

“We both feel bad that you thought you were getting a new mother,” Owen told her, sincerely. “What can we do to make it right?”

“Explain to me how it's going to work,” she spat out. “Because the way I see it, she doesn't really want me to move-”

“That is not true-” Owen insisted.

“Well why should she? It sounds like she only wants you!” Tricia shouted, before slamming a fist on the table. “Two separate homes? I thought she liked me but she doesn't want to be my stepmom? What is going on?” Her eyes full of tears, she jumped up and left the room, Smitty following her.

Stunned, Owen and Kyle stared at each other.

oOoOo

Cristina checked her watch before picking up her phone. Callie had texted her, wanting to talk, and they'd arranged a time when they would both be free. She dialled.

“Hi!” Callie sounded a bit harried among the shrieks of her girls. “Let me go into the bedroom where it's quieter.”

“No problem.” Cristina sipped some coffee and settled onto the couch in her living room.

“Okay.” Callie sighed. “So, Tricia called, with a great big explosion of FEELS ...”

Cristina grimaced and tucked her feet under her.

“... And I just wanted to talk with you and see if I could help,” her friend continued. “I love you both.”

“Does she hate me?” Cristina frowned.

“No! She ... she has mommy issues, Cristina.”

“Okay.” Cristina sat a little straighter. “Talk to me.”

“Owen is a terrific father, which you know,” Callie said. “I don't think Kyle really misses having a mom, he's never said anything about their mother. I know the aunts and cousins who took them in weren't exactly nurturing.”

“I thought they didn't need a mother figure, considering they have Owen the Super Dad,” Cristina admitted.

“Well, Tricia's different.” There was a pause. “Sometimes when we go to a mall or Starbucks and she sees a mother spending time with her daughter ... you can see it in her face, she knows what she doesn't have.”

Cristina sighed. “But I don't want to be a mom ... I just want to be her friend.”

“I know. What you need to do is to step up and be her best friend. Let her know that you will be there 100% for her.”

“I don't want her to get confused ... get her hopes up ... I don't know if I can do it.” Cristina looked down. “She's Owen's daughter, if I screw this up ... he won't move here and it will be over.”

“Oh stop with the dramatics,” Callie scoffed. “Look, I really think you should talk with her. Because I know you, Cristina Yang, and I know you can do it. When the shit hits the fan, you are there for your friends. It's time you were there for her.”

“Okay,” Cristina said, faintly.

oOoOo

Owen came home on another rainy night. The house seemed downcast, matching the drizzling evening outside.

“Hey.” Kyle was putting pasta into boiling water in the kitchen.

“Hey.” Owen put down his briefcase. “Where's your sister?”

“Upstairs.”

“How is she doing?”

Kyle shrugged. “She doesn't want to talk about Cristina or Zurich.”

“Okay.” Owen sighed. “I'm going up, wish me luck.”

His son smiled crookedly. “Good luck.”

Owen paused to pat Smitty before going upstairs. He braced himself before knocking on Tricia's bedroom door. “Trish? How are you?”

“Okay,” came a muffled reply.

“Can I come in?”

“I'm busy.” Her tone was firmer.

Shaking his head, Owen went into his bedroom to change. He hung up his tie, his fingers brushing up against the red one from the wedding.

Conflicted, he sat down on the bed. Doubt began to creep in. Was he being selfish, asking his daughter to move when her feelings were hurt? Would it be wiser to wait a couple more years?

He winced. It didn't feel right to ask Cristina to continue dating long-distance for so long. They were still renewing their bond ... would she even wait? They had hurt each other so deeply in the past, was this leading to another round of heartbreak?

His reverie was interrupted by the doorbell. “I got it!” Kyle yelled from downstairs.

Sighing, Owen removed his cufflinks and put them away. He could hear Kyle say “What - hello!” with great surprise.

Curious, Owen moved to the top of the stairs. His mouth fell open, to see Cristina climbing towards him, her arms full of tulips.

“Hey.” She smiled before kissing him.

“Cristina!” Grinning, he kissed her back, mindful of the bouquet she was holding.

The door to Tricia's bedroom door opened. His daughter stood there, staring at Cristina.

“These are for you!” Cristina handed her the flowers. Dazed, Tricia nodded as she accepted the gift.

“I brought Kyle something too.” Cristina rummaged in her pockets and pulled out a box of Swiss chocolate.

“Thanks,” he grinned.

“So ... you're here,” Owen said, confused. “It's great to see you.”

“I am here,” she nodded. “Because you said I am part of your family and a member of the family is feeling sad so I came to speak with Tricia.”

“You flew all this way to see me?” Tricia asked in a small voice.

“Yes,” Cristina replied. “And to affirm to this guy here that I am in this. No matter how long it takes him to get to Zurich.” She kissed Owen again.

Kyle grinned while Tricia stared at Cristina.

“May I come in?” Cristina gestured toward the bedroom door.

“Come in,” Tricia mumbled, looking at the floor.

“I'll put your flowers in water,” Owen offered, taking the bouquet from her.

“And I'd better go check on supper,” Kyle mumbled.

“Thank you.” Nervously, Cristina stepped in and closed the door behind her.

Tricia sat on the edge of her bed and indicated that Cristina could sit beside her, which she did.

“I'm so sorry,” Cristina began. “I never meant for you to think – I wish – I'm sorry.”

The girl nodded.

“It's not personal,” Cristina told her, gently. “I don't want to be anyone's mother.”

“But what would you be?” Tricia frowned. “Just my dad's girlfriend? Lame.”

“I would like to be your friend,” Cristina replied.

“I have friends.”

“But not in Switzerland. Not yet.” Cristina sighed. “Look – we would be spending time together, and you could ... count on me.”

“But what would we do?” Tricia rolled her eyes. “Are you going to visit and ... what? Just be with my dad?”

“No, I won't ignore you or your grandmother,” Cristina said firmly. “You are both important to me and I want you in my life.” The girl looked at her skeptically.

“In fact, I think it would be great if we could sometimes all travel together, your grandmother included,” Cristina mused. “The four of us, in two separate hotel rooms ...”

Tricia looked intrigued.

“And you won't be losing a father,” Cristina said. “You'd be gaining a friend.”

The girl's face dropped. “But we wouldn't be a family.”

Thinking quickly, Cristina replied. “Not the traditional kind of family, no. But, we can be our own kind of family.”

Tricia nodded, but she remained downcast.

“I'm not perfect but I do try very hard to keep my word,” Cristina said. “And I meant it – I want to be your friend. And Kyle's too. I love your grandmother and I wouldn't just be with Owen, you're a package deal. And Smitty too.”

“But what if you eventually marry Dad?” Tricia frowned. “You'd be my stepmother...”

“Technically yes, but I would really prefer to be called your friend,” Cristina said. “I'm just not that into the mom thing.”

“Is this some sort of psychological issue with you?”

Cristina spoke firmly but not unkindly. “It's who I am.”

“Sorry.” Tricia looked chagrined.

Sitting back, Cristina looked at Tricia. She didn't see a little girl, she saw an uncertain teenager on the verge of being a young woman. A woman who could accomplish great things with the right opportunities.

“You know what I think?” Cristina chose her words carefully. “You need to be guided more than you need to be mothered, at your age.”

Tricia raised her eyebrows.

“You've recently turned 16. You're focused on your education, which I completely approve of, and you need someone to mentor you into being an adult.”

Puzzled, Tricia continued to listen.

“So I'm going to be ... your life mentor,” Cristina declared. “I'll do what Callie and Arizona and Meredith have been doing with you.”

Tricia looked doubtful.

“I mean it,” Cristina said. “We would do things together. Like ... what do you do with them now?”

“Callie takes me shopping ...” Tricia looked hopeful. “And then we go out for coffee.”

“I see.” Cristina paused. “I usually order things online, but I could go into an actual store or two. And I'm always up for a good cup of coffee. I know the best cafes in Zurich.”

“And Arizona helps me with school projects...”

“I can help. I have a world-class clinic, after all.”

Tricia smiled a little. “Could I ... come see your clinic?”

“You can visit as many times as you want and I'll give you a personal tour,” Cristina promised. “Maybe we can find a job for you in the summers, and I promise you can be an intern when you're old enough. What do you do with Meredith?”

The girl smirked. “She listens to me talk about boys and she gives me a lot of lectures about not being a teen mom.”

“Which you shouldn't be.”

“I know.” Tricia made a face. “Some of my cousins have babies now. I'm so glad we got adopted because I don't want to end up like them. I don't want to do pre-med with a baby.”

“Smart girl.” Cristina shifted closer. “If you want birth control pills or condoms, I'd help you out. I know your dad would, but maybe you'd want to talk to a woman about that. I could be your woman.”

Tricia looked at her and nodded.

“Is there something else you want to ask me or tell me?” Cristina asked. “What do you want our relationship to be like, outside of being a mom?”

“Well...” She nibbled on her lower lip. “I think you should come over and have supper with Grandma and me sometimes even if Dad is out of town or at work. Since we're family.”

“You certainly don't want me to cook.” She tentatively placed a hand on Tricia's shoulder. “I'll be there.”

Tricia's expression turned sly. “I think if you want to mentor me and be my woman, you should help me get into the pre-med program of my choice. And then medical school.”

“I like the way you think,” Cristina said. “I have connections everywhere. It's done.”

“Okay.” Tricia sighed. “I'm sorry I thought you were going to be my mom.”

“It's all right, this is a complicated situation.” Cristina paused. “Do ... do you remember your mother?”

The teen nodded, before speaking quietly. “People think that I was too young, but I do have a few memories.”

Cristina smiled softly.

“She ... tried,” Tricia said. “I remember her taking us to get ice cream with money she earned working in a store. She was really happy that she could do that for us. That was before she got fired.”

She looked at Cristina. “I remember her leaving the apartment with Christmas money my grandmother gave her, saying she was going to buy us really special presents. And then she was dead. Another promise she didn't keep.”

“I'm sorry,” Cristina said. “Your father told me.”

Tricia nodded.

“I'm sorry she ... wasn't there for you,” Cristina told her. “I know that quite a lot of people let you down before you were placed with Owen.”

“It's okay,” Tricia whispered. “I just ... got my hopes up.”

“So are we good?” Cristina asked. “Do you think that you want to move to Switzerland? Do you not hate me?”

“I don't hate you,” the girl said with a small smile. “I think you're a little weird about the mom thing but I do really want to move to Europe and go travelling with you, and if there is a particularly cute Swiss guy, I will let you know if I need something. Thank you.”

“Fair enough.” Cristina grinned. “You will see that I can be a good friend. I'll make sure that you turn into a brilliant doctor with the best education and a killer wardrobe.”

Tricia beamed. “I'd like that.”

“Shall we tell your dad the good news?”

“Sure!” Tricia hopped up and opened the door to her room. She quickly went downstairs, followed by Cristina. When they entered the kitchen, Owen and Kyle looked hopefully at her.

“I think I should go with you to Zurich to pick out our next home,” Tricia informed Owen. “Since I'm going to move so far away, I should have a say in what my bedroom looks like.”

“Deal,” Owen laughed, wrapping her up in a bear hug. He grinned at Cristina and mouthed “thank you” at her. Kyle smiled happily.

Cristina winked at Owen before checking her phone. “Uh oh. Mer and Derek are tied up at the hospital.”

“Yes, it's a busy night.” Owen rubbed his hands together. “Supper's almost ready.”

“Shouldn't you go in?” Cristina frowned. “Why are you still here?”

You're here.” Owen grinned at her. “And, Kepner can handle everything. Hey, you going to spend the night? You can't go stay with Meredith, she's busy.”

She looked questioningly at the teens, who rolled their eyes.

“You are in a relationship,” Tricia said.

“We know how to knock,” Kyle laughed.

“You'd better,” Cristina said, before turning back to Owen. “Sure, I'll spend the night. As long as Smitty isn't in the bed too.”

“He can sleep in my room,” Kyle said. He elbowed his sister, who was watching the scene raptly.

“You two are cute together,” Tricia grinned.

“I want some fresh air.” Owen quickly escorted Cristina to the backyard. Grinning, he wrapped Cristina up in his arms before kissing her. “I'm happy.”

“Me too.”

“Is there anything I need to know about your talk with Tricia?”

Cristina shrugged. “She thinks I'm a little weird but we're friends now. Somehow she got me to commit to take her shopping.”

He laughed. “Oh, you do not want to go to a mall with her without setting a time limit. And a dollar limit. I learned that the hard way.”

“Thanks for the warning.”

Owen began to nuzzle her neck. “Thank you for being my daughter's friend.”

“Please, I need to be thanking you over and over. For uprooting your life and moving to be closer to me.”

“You can thank me later,” he whispered in her ear. “After they're asleep.”

oOoOo

Cristina felt a touch of deja vu when she got into bed with Owen that night. It was the way things had been, and would be again, she told herself.

And yet some things had been different. Dinner with his kids, then watching TV with a dog draped over her feet. It was weirdly domestic and nice.

“I like this,” Owen murmured, shifting over so that he could kiss her. “Everyone under the same roof.”

“You and me in the same bed ...” She grinned, before tugging off his t-shirt. “And we'll be in the same country ... when?”

He sighed. “Well, we need to stay in Seattle until Kyle graduates in June.”

Cristina made a pouting face.

“In the meantime, I'll submit my resignation, look for a place in Zurich, sell this house ...” He paused so she kissed him.

“I will make the move worth it,” Cristina vowed.

“We're going to make this work,” Owen said. “Because I'm done being broken up with you.”

“Me too.” She looked at him directly. “I mean it. You're making a huge sacrifice and I respect that. I promise that I will do my part to make us work-”

Owen kissed her deeply, his tongue sliding sinuously against hers.

“And blah blah blah I will love you forevercakes,” Cristina laughed. “I don't like making big speeches.”

He gazed at her, with a mixture of amusement and love that left her speechless. “I can't breathe without you,” she finally said.

Owen kissed her again, this time tenderly. “I think you're beautiful.”

She grinned. “I love you. Me. Cristina Yang. I said 'I love you'.”

His eyes turned mischievous. “So?”

Laughing, Cristina pulled him close before nipping his neck. “You gonna tell the kids that a hickey is a birthmark?”

His warm breath tickled her ear. “Take care now.”

Groaning, she ran her fingers through his hair as he moved to suckle the skin on her neck. “Yes. Oh yes.”

“Cristina ...” Owen shifted to kiss her again. “You are single malt scotch.”

“Smooth talker,” she laughed, her hands beginning to roam. “So we're doing this. You, me. Plus the kids, the dog, your mom.”

He kissed her hand. “You and me together. Forever.”

Reaching out to grab the truest desire of our heart is an act of remarkable courage. When that decision also involves risk and change and personal vulnerability, it's an even more impressive feat. But sometimes we just have to go for it. At the heart of any dream coming true is the willingness of the dreamer to act by faith and not by sight, to believe that happy endings are possible, to step out and to step up as if failure weren't even an option, to take a chance on forever. So be daring. Be brave. Forge your own fate. Choose your own destiny. You never know. That forty years you've been longing for might just be yours for the taking. All you have to do is say 'yes'.


This chapter written by angelamermaid with voiceovers by lovemesomeowen.

Thank you for sticking with us through this journey. Real life dealt us a few whallops this summer, but we were determined to end this story the right way.

Is this the end of the In the Between stories? We wouldn't say that ...
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