It had been a week since Cristina last heard Owen’s voice. The last time they spoke had been heart breaking, they both said they couldn’t do this anymore. So Cristina had stopped texting, stopped calling. Not talking was almost as hard as hearing his voice every day. She had missed him terribly, this last week had been emotional torture, Cristina was exhausted, she had barely slept, she couldn’t eat, even breathing seemed too laboring. Today should have been a good day, Parker had let her fly solo on a piggy back transplant, and she had assisted Thomas operate on an inoperable tumor. Cristina should have been on cloud 9, but instead she was at rock bottom. And she had no intention of moving from it. It was 5 o’clock in Seattle when she finished for the day, not being able to bare the thought of going home to a cold empty apartment she headed across the street to the bar she found the first night she arrived in Minnesota, she ordered a Tequila slammer and a gin and tonic. Cristina sat at the bar and watched the world go by. Drinking tequila after tequila hoping it would numb out some of the pain she was feeling. But nothing worked. Nothing made her feel better, not even flying solo on a bad ass cardio surgery.
Cristina barely noticed the guy who had taken the seat next too her, “You look like you’ve had a rough day, can I buy you a drink?” he said, smiling at her. He was a good looking guy, tall, dark, blue eyes. She smirked and rolled her eyes, “Oh, what you thought oh look at her, poor sad little girl sat at the bar on her own..” she said shaking her head, she took another sip of her gin and tonic staring into her glass after wards, ” Actually, I thought you must have been waiting on someone, you’re far too gorgeous to be drinking all alone on a friday night.” he said, flashing her a smile. “Flatter doesn’t work on me, but sure you can buy me a drink, who turns down free booze.” she said smirking. “Woman after my own heart, I like it.” he replied.
They talked for a while, getting more and more drunk as the night went on. He was a doctor too, 5th year resident. Maybe this is what I need…a distraction. She thought to herself behind her haze of tequila slammers. Before Cristina had time too think his lips were against hers, she resisted at first then kissed him back. A wave of burning guilt and hurt washed over her. This was not what she needed. Not at all. This was the last thing she wanted too happen. He wasn’t Owen. He wasn’t anything, he was just some guy in a bar…She pushed him off her, internally freaking the hell out “No..no. I can’t. I can’t. I’m married.” she blurted out before running out of the bar, she kept running, she didn’t look behind, she didn’t know where the hell she was going. But she had to get out of there.
She found herself outside her apartment, with no real clue as to how she got there. The bar was nothing but a hazy memory. One she wanted to forget. All she wanted was Owen. She needed too hear his voice. To see his face. To touch him. But they weren’t suppose to be talking “Screw this…” she mumbled getting out her cell and hitting Owen’s number, it rang and rang…and rang, it went to voice mail, and Cristina toyed with the idea of hanging up, but she couldn’t. She had to say this.
“Owen…It’s me, Cristina. I know…I know we said we couldn’t do this. We couldn’t talk..but I need you Owen, I need you so freaking much. You know what. I flew solo today on a piggy back, a freaking piggy back surgery, I helped Thomas cut out an inoperable tumor, and all I wanted too do was tell you about it. You’re the one person I wanted to talk too. When something good happens or something shitty its you…it’s always been you. And I couldn’t, because here I am in fucking Minnesota 50 thousand freaking miles away, where it snows all the freaking time…here I am and you’re not. You’re not here…And maybe this is the tequila talking, god knows I’ve had enooooough of it tonight…there was this guy in the bar, we talked…and it was nice for a little while…it was nice….and he…he kissed me, he kissed me and I freaked the hell out, because I love you. I don’t want to be kissing some guy in a bar…I miss you. I fucking miss you. I just…I can’t do this. I can’t talk to you, but I can’t not talk to you…I don’t know what to do Owen…I don’t…” she chocked the words out between sobs, she was practically hyperventilating by the end of the message, she wanted so badly to talk to him, to hear his voice. And the best she got was his lousy answer machine message “it’s owen, you know what to do” A week. A week of no communication and that was all she had. She closed her eyes, and eventually passed out on the bathroom floor of her apartment.
Owen jolted awake. His heart was racing in his chest, his breathing was ragged. He clutched his chest, trying to steady his heart rate. Was he having a heart attack? Owen felt like that was unlikely as he was a fairly healthy person but you just never knew. He took a moment to try to gather himself and took his pulse. Once he managed to clear his head for a moment, his heart still pounding, trying to escape his chest, he realized he wasn’t having a heart attack. Just a panic attack. Just the things he’d stopping having 2 years ago. Owen stared up at the ceiling of the trailer. 7 days and 2 hours, 32 minutes. His heart ached. He wasn’t exactly sure which had been worse, whether it was actually talking to her and hearing her voice or not at all. Something about being completely alone changed him entirely. He managed to work for part of the week but Wednesday, he physically could not get out of bed. Owen felt like he was underneath a huge pile of stuff and there was no escaping. It constricted his movements and his breathing. Out of sheer will, he swung his legs over the edge of the bed and stood up, stumbling across the narrow hallway and headed outside into the cold. The brisk air chilled the exposed skin. He stood out there, letting his heart try to calm down. Just breath Owen. In and out. In and out. In and out. In and out. You have to work in the morning. Just breathe. Finally, after what felt like hours, he calmed down and headed back into the trailer, crawling into bed. He managed to sleep for an hour or two before finally giving up on the concept and got up. He dragged himself from the bed and went to work at 530 in the morning.
Smile at the intern. Nod. Keep walking. Smile at that nurse. She’s really friendly. Keep that smile on your face. Just keep breathing. You just need to make it into the elevator and across the catwalk. Say something. “Cold morning..” Thanks for stating the obvious. Continue the small talk. Smile at them before you leave. Walk down the catwalk. Go into your office. Try to get this budget done. Just stay here long enough to get it done. Work until noon. Just until noon. Crap Derek. Small talk. Oh. He’s asking you to sign something. Just sign it. Smile at him a bit. Breathe. Deep breath in. Out. He’s gone. Okay. Budget. Owen worked until noon and left. Odd that he had and he’d gotten some looks. Usually he was the last to leave but he just couldn’t do it. He told those who asked that he had to go to the dentist in case they were concerned. Owen didn’t remember driving back to the trailer or taking his clothes off and laying in bed. He slept for the greater part of the afternoon until about 6 when his stomach wouldn’t stop growling. Owen opened his eyes and got up, digging in the fridge for something, anything. He found some yogurt and some crackers and ate those before heading back to bed.
Come Thursday he had called in sick. Friday he called in sick. And Saturday he spent the entire day in bed. How was he supposed to go through the rest of his life without her? Owen thought he could deal. He thought he would be able to do this, to exist without her and yet every day was harder than the last. Every night he woke up, his heart racing in his chest. He couldn’t go on like this. It was unbearable.
Sunday at 230 am, his phone went off. Owen stared at the lit up phone that sat on the table. He couldn’t bring himself to get up and look. Someone might need him and he couldn’t get up. Owen you need to get up. Just grab it and bring it to bed with you. Owen dragged himself momentarily from the bed, exhausted by the movement and grabbed the phone, bringing it back with him. He checked it and his breath hitched in his throat. CRISTINA. Owen listened to her ramble drunkenly over the phone and cried. He sobbed for ages, listening to her voice over and over again. A weird noise filled the trailer. Owen strained his ears to figure out where it was coming from. He took a deep breath and realized it had been coming from him. Owen couldn’t remember ever making that noise before but then again, he’d never been in this much pain before. “I can’t do this anymore.” He said out loud to no one. A thought occurred to him. No one would miss him. He was out here all by himself. It didn’t have to hurt anymore. As the dark thoughts creeped into his mind, Owen shook his head. He refused it. Owen pushed himself from the bed, clad only in his underwear and walked over to his computer, booking a flight to Minnesota.
Cristina woke up a few hours later, splayed out on the bathroom floor, her hand still clutching her cell phone, “oh crap” she mumbled staring at her phone in her hand. Last night seemed like a total blur, she could barely remember getting home. The guy in the bar. “Oh god.” she gasped. Had she? No surely not? Surely she had came home alone? She pulled herself to her feet and quietly crept through to the bedroom, praying she was a lone in the apartment. “oh thank god.” she said out load, practically shaking. The last thing she needed was to accidentely fall into bed with another man. She still loved Owen. He was still her husband. Despite how shitty things were, the “d” word had not yet been said. They hadn’t spoke for a week, Cristina hated it. She missed him so badly. She missed his smell, his gorgeous blue eyes, she missed the way he kissed her neck from behind her. She missed everything about her. What if she’d made a huge mistake? What if she was never going too be happy here? She had left Seattle because she was miserable; because they were making each other miserable. All they kept doing was hurting each other. The abortion. The Cheating. They were pulling each other apart, so Cristina left. She wanted to stop hurting him. She couldn’t bare the fact that the one person she loved most in the world was miserable because he loved her.
Cristina crawled into her bed, pulling the covers up to her neck, even with the heating turned up full the apartment was always freezing. Stupid Minnesota. Luckily she wasn’t in work today. There was no way she was fit for anything today. She planned on not leaving her bed for the whole day. She wasn’t even going to bother showing the stench of booze off her. What was the point? She was all alone anyway. Cristina laid there, trying to remember the events of the night before, and then it hit her. Like a ton of bricks. “Oh shit.” she cried out, reaching for her phone, “No…I didn’t…I didn’t…please say I didn’t” She muttered hitting her last dialed list. And there it was Owen - Last dialed 2.32AM.