“Stop it.” Leaning against the counter besides her, Jackson shot her a reproachful look, though his lips twitched, threatening to break into a smile at any second. It was hard not to smile when she was beaming like a child on Halloween. Still, he wouldn’t be doing his job as her best and oldest friend if he didn’t judge her just a little bit (read: a lot).
“I’m not doing anything!” Maggie exclaimed flustered at being caught spying on Meredith, grabbing his hand to tug him away to a nearby corridor, not wanting her sister to turn around and see her lurking. “It was the sisterly thing to do Jackson. I couldn’t let it go on! Mer had been moping ever since Derek got back together with Addison, and Dr. Marsh spent the last ten years raising his niece. He was clueless! He had no idea how to pick up a girl anymore. I was doing everyone a favor by setting them up, I mean, look at them.”
Peeking his head into the corridor, Jackson hated to admit it, but Maggie was right -- Meredith, even though she was trying very hard to hide it, was radiant as she chatted with the transplant surgeon, who seemed equally besotted with her. Jackson felt protective over her, they had known each other basically all their lives, met in middle school after Meredith transferred to his school in Boston and their similar backgrounds kept them in each other’s orbits all their lives (even during Meredith’s pink hair faze which he still swears gives him nightmares).
He would describe her as his best friend, if her little sister hadn’t stolen that title when she joined them at Dartmouth. They were still undergrads and Maggie was the bright medical student the medical school had stolen from Yale by offering her everything her little heart could desire. Until then, he hadn’t really payed attention to her, she was Meredith’s genius little sister who spoke too fast and constantly said the wrong thing when she was nervous, and suddenly she was everywhere, sharing an apartment with Meredith, going to parties with them, prattling on about the new Star Trek season and before he realized, he was dropping by the apartment to see her and not her older sister (who complained for 2.5 seconds that she was being abandoned until she realized now people would stop assuming she and Jackson were a thing and start hitting on her).
And since they are best friends, he feels like it’s his sacred duty to guide her in the right direction when she is wrong. And right now, she is very very wrong.
“They do look happy,” he admitted when she tugged him back, whispering that he was being too obvious and they were going to notice him, “but you didn’t set them up, you had nothing to do with them getting together. Mer told me she thought he was hot and funny months ago, and didn’t he ask Dr. Bailey if she was single a few weeks ago?”
“He did! That’s when I got the idea. Well, not at that moment, I was too busy laughing at the way he ran away when she glared at him, but it’s when I realized that they would be perfect for each other.” he has heard this story from ten different people, with wildly different details and embellishments, but the consistent parts are: Marsh asked Bailey if Meredith was single, Bailey glared at him until he started to blabber (a common side-effect to the Bailey patented glare) and then she ranted for two minutes about attendings who can’t keep it in their pants and how they won’t leave her intern alone, and something nerdy that Maggie explained to him was from an episode of Star Trek that involve pheromones.
Raising an eyebrow, Jackson expected her to take the the next logical leap in that reasoning and agree with him but she seemed too distracted observing the new shiny thing she had created to realize she had nothing at all to do with its inception. “You had nothing to do with this.” he repeated waving a finger at her.
“Shoosh, of course I did. I think it’s my new talent, like that patient Dr. Webber had a few months ago, Cece? She was a matchmaker, I think I can be one too! I’m good at this, like, I may be really good at this.” she was a genius, she could do anything she set her mind to. “I should set more people up. Do you think Bailey is dating after her divorce? She deserves love, everyone deserves love.”
“Do those still exist? Thought Tinder would have…” shaking his head, he leaned against the wall, rubbing his temple. “Maggie! Seriously, you are not a matchmaker.. Don’t you walk away from me!” before he could start telling her all of the reasons why she was wrong, she started walking away from him (it was a pretty good list, and he loved it when she got angry with him, the way her eyes cross).
Peeling himself from the wall, it took him two quick steps he caught up with her, delighting in her frustrated huff. “Sorry couldn’t hear you from up here, what did you say?” he teased, sidestepping as she tried to shove him, “Look, Meredith and Marsh already liked each other, they are both single, they are attractive. Yeah, he is an attending and I had hoped she had learned her lesson with Shepherd but I don’t think Marsh also has a secret wife.”
“But they never would have gotten together if I didn’t push them in the right direction. I mentioned we had a problem in our pipes the other day and that we needed help fixing them. Which reminds me, Marsh is a terrible plumber and we still need help with our pipes, but volunteered immediately and when he stopped by and all he did was gaze at Meredith and eat our food. And, I abandoned Meredith three times this week at Joe’s when he was there. It might have moved along faster if Cristina didn’t show up the first two times to rant about her problems, but they kissed yesterday and now I think they are officially together. Thanks to me .”
Smiling victoriously, Maggie opened grabbed a few charts from the nurse’s station and before Jackson had the time to open his mouth and argue some more, she shoved three charts into his chest. “Room 3456 needs a dressing change, room 4632 and room 1564 both need a central line and room 3578 needs a rectal exam.”
He looked at the charts and then back at her. “This conversation is not over.” he threatened, repeating the room numbers in his mind over and over, “you are wrong and I’ll get you to admit it.”
Waving him off, she ignored his threats and basked in the power of being chief resident and of a job well done. Her sister was happy, Dr. Riggs already offered her a fellowship at the hospital in Cardio after she passed her boards and there was nothing Jackson could say or do to change her mind.
Now, who would be next?
Which person at this hospital would benefit from her new found powers?
At lunch, Jackson sat down in one of the gurneys in the tunnels next to Cristina, slapping her hand away when she tried to steal one of his fries. They were the only ones there, Meredith was enjoying her new relationship with Marsh, something he did not want to think about. April was probably shadowing a resident, taking compulsive notes in that little notebook of hers, and Alex…
“Where is Karev?” he asked, reading over her shoulder, unsurprised to see a medical journal propped open on her lap. “Thought you guys were on the same service today. I’m stuck with Altman who thinks I’m just a pretty boy with nothing to contribute.”
“You are just a pretty boy with nothing to contribute,” she replied instantly, her eyes never leaving the page. “And don’t complain, I’d kill to be in the cardio today, I’d kill to be in cardio for just one hour. I am on babysitting duty today, and if that wasn’t bad enough, Robbins is a lunatic. She smiles at everyone and keeps acting like I am the worst intern she ever came across. I am the best intern she ever met! I am the best intern this hospital has ever had but instead of using me and my brilliance--” the intern ranted, finally turning around to face Jackson, her long black hair bouncing as she talked “-- I’m stuck running labs and doing charts.”
“You didn’t answer my question,” he remarked, simply nodding at her other statements, knowing better than to argue with Yang, “what happened to Karev?”
“Why? Are you missing your boyfriend?”
“You know, this is why no one likes you.” he said slapping her hand again, making a tsking noise with his tongue. “All you gotta do is say please.”
“I don’t wanna be liked. I wanna be feared, I wanna be revered and worshipped. Interns, residents, attendings, they will scatter when they see me.”
Cocking his head to the side, he waited for her to answer his question.
“Fine, your boyfriend is in surgery with Robbins.” she said turning the page of the journal with a little more force than necessary.
Grinning, Jackson snapped his fingers, biting his lower lip to keep himself from laughing, blue eyes twinkling with myrrh -- he is not going to let her live this down anytime soon. “So that’s why you are even more angry than normal today. Robbins choose Karev over you to scrub in. That makes sense.”
And just like he expected, that got a huge rise out of Cristina, who instantly closed the journal with a bang, opening her mouth to yell at him, but seeing his laughing face, decided to hit him with the journal instead. “Ow. Ow, what was that for?” he asked rubbing his shoulder, despite the pain, his lips were still quirked in a smile.
“Ugh, I’m over this. I’m going to go to the E.R. and if I’m lucky, someone somewhere crashed their car and there will be an amazing surgery for me to scrub in. Laters.” leaving her mess still in the gurney, Cristina sauntered off, yelling at him to leave the journal at her locker later because she hadn’t finished reading the article on bypass surgery.
Sighing, he cleaned the mess and finished eating his lunch.
He needs new friends.
Preferably ones who don’t make his head hurt.
The new intern batch was good -- Jackson and Meredith were naturally brilliant and hard workers; Cristina Yang was nothing short of genius and spent more hours in the hospital than the rest combined; Alex Karev… as his chief resident, Maggie knows the attendings agree there is some untapped potential there, but that they also agree that it seems like it’s buried pretty deep. And then there is April, quiet, awkward, kind, pays attention to every detail, but misses the big picture April Kepner whose head seems to be constantly buried in that little notebook of hers. Maggie wants to grab it, throw it in the distance and throw April to the lions. She knows the girl can do better and help with the patients more, but she seems stuck with this coping method.
Also, if the rumor mill is to be believed, she hasn’t dated or slept with anyone since her intern year began. Which is just, not healthy.
Observing the intern from afar, Maggie cocks her head to the side, looking her up and down. She is going to help her regardless, it’s part of her job, but there is a difference between offering advice and showing the girl the ropes, and giving her the Maggie All Inclusive Treatment (newly coined term, it’s going to be what she calls her matchmaking skills).
April is walking backwards, taking notes, her head in the clouds (or, more likely, in the exams Dr. Altman had requested), so she didn’t realize there was a paramedic heading in the same direction às she did. Grimacing, Maggie looked away as they crashed, biting her lip to stop herself from laughing. Oh, April definetly needs her help, the sooner the better.
“Oops, sorry! Didn’t see you there!” the loud chirp is accompanied by a soft it’s okay from a paramedic, and just a few seconds later, a crash as April stumbles into a shelf. Poor girl, blushing like that over a paramedic? And what even if she doing with her hands? She is like a little lost lamb, begging for help, desiring guidance, a rose almost ready to bloom, and she will do it.
After Matthew leaves (and god, did he find reasons to linger, always looking at April like she is the shiniest toy in the room), Maggie walks over to her, smiling excitedly.
“Kepner! I’ve got a case and I could use an intern, why don’t you join me? I haven’t seen you working in cardio a lot lately, Dr. Riggs mentioned liking your work a few months ago but nothing since. Don’t tell me you think our field is boring?”
“No! No! Absolutely not! I find it fascinating, I love it. I’ve just been, you know, a little lost. I was really into Neuro but then Dr. Shepherd left, and I was a little lost I guess, disappointed really. I started working more in the ER and I actually really like how things work down here you know? and --” April babbled, growing a little more excited at the end, eager to talk about how she loved the busy schedule of the ER and all of the people she could help.
“Well, as fun as the ER is, you are a surgical intern and you need to focus on doing more operations. You have 20 less hours than the rest of your year.” she remarked, interrupting April. Seeing the intern’s face fall, Maggie put an arm around the taller girl her and started guiding her to the surgical wing, “but it’s not too late to change that. Today you are with me, and I arranged your schedule for the next of the week to be very busy with surgeries. We will get you caught up in no time! Yang is going to be very jealous of you.” she added in the end with a laugh, grinning brighter when April joined her. “Cardio with me today, Cardio with Riggs for the next two days, the day after that you will be assisting Dr. Koracick whose schedule is packed with procedures, so make sure to read up on all of them. Think you can handle it?”
This was the moment, while she had decided she wanted to help April, her assistance will be useless if April doesn’t want to improve herself as well. This is a busy schedule, but nothing the other interns (even Karev) wouldn’t be able to handle, but it will be different from April’s endless days handling trauma in the ER.
She notes with pleasure that April squares her shoulders before replying, her chin raising as she says, a resounding yes.
Let operation “Make April Kepner a brilliant surgeon and the girlfriend of someone who matches and appreciates her brilliance” begin!
Most people did not notice the change, Maggie was known for her dedication so her extra attention to one specific intern didn’t raise any eyebrows. And the people who did notice, well, they were happy to see April getting out of her shell, speaking up, actively participating in surgeries instead of just watching from the wall of the O.R. The effect was positive and almost instantaneous (to the outside eye, in reality Maggie was working all hours to put her plan into effect). The only two people who were unhappy with the change were Jackson and Meredith, who could see all of the negative effects people were overlooking.
For one, April hanged on to every word Maggie said, which was a tremendous ego boost to the woman who knows she is already smarter than all those around her; and speaking of being smarter, April is now measuring herself up against Maggie, which no one should ever do, it’s unhealthy and impossible to try and keep up with her.
And, it was distracting Maggie from more important things (read: her sister and best friend).
If Maggie isn’t in surgery or sleeping, she is talking to April, shoving medical journals at her, talking about her wardrobe and what she could change to spice things up (somehow Maggie learned that April is the only non-redhead of her family and wants to change that).
April is slowly turning into little Maggie.
“I bet that in two weeks Kepner is going to faint with exhaustion and Maggie will be so disappointed that she will forget this whole thing and go back to her normal self” Meredith remarked, stealing a fry from Jackson’s plate. This act would usually result in him slapping her hand away and pulling the plate closer to himself, but he is so distracted by watching Maggie teach April how to do a special suture on a banana that she steals almost half of his plate.
“I don’t know, Kepner seems to be handling it better than I thought she would be. Riggs requested her to be put in his service again, and I saw your frown when Koracick complimented her.” it had pissed her off, she has been trying to get on Koracick’s good graces for months now, hoping to get more neuro surgeries but the man only seemed interested in making remarks about her relationship with Derek and coffee runs. Frowning, she steals another fry, leaning back against the crappy cafeteria table, her eyes joining his in spying Maggie and April.
“I was tired.” Nick had gotten an earful last night after she came home, it was his fault she was tired, consequently it was his fault she was too slow in answering his question about an obscure treatment she knew about (it was her neuro journals that Maggie kept giving April!). “This is driving me crazy, yesterday I came home and they were discussing a cardio procedure and choosing a hair dye to apply to Kepner’s hair.” a trace of jealousy twisted her voice, it wasn’t just the procedure she was upset about, Maggie was now too busy to spend time with her.
Jackson can relate to that, it’s been weeks since Maggie stopped by his place just to chat. Weeks since they cooked a meal together. She was so busy trying to make Kepner a mini-white version of herself that she forgot her old friends. “Do you think we can steal Kepner back? Distract her with intern stuff?”
“Nah, me and Cristina tried that yesterday, she is not happy about this at all. But before we could finish our offer she was running back to Maggie.”
“We have to find a way to break that up, it’s not good for either of them and I think April is going to get hurt.” everyone in the intern group had a soft spot for April (even if they tried to deny it by grunting and looking away), and while Meredith and Jackson were close, the intern group slowly divided into two subcategories -- Meredith, Cristina and Alex versus Jackson and April, so he felt responsible for her.
“Hurt? I think you are being a little over dramatic now Jackson.”
“I don’t think I am,” shaking his head, he finally tore his gaze away from the table and turned to Meredith, “two weeks ago April was excitedly telling me about her date plans with Matthew. Yesterday I asked her about it and she said she forgot and accidentally stood him up. I saw him today, he looked dejected and she seemed like she wanted to talk to him but Maggie walked in the other direction and she followed her. Look, I’m sure Maggie has good intentions, but what is good for Maggie, might not be good for April and she is going to get hurt.”
She hadn’t really thought about it like that, a part of her wanted to defend Maggie, just because she was her little sister and she didn’t to hear negative things about her, but this was Jackson, the only person who loved Maggie as much as she did (and sometimes, she thought, when their gazes lingered too long, that maybe their feelings weren’t as platonic as they insisted they were), if he was worried that Maggie was doing something like this, than maybe she should have a talk with her.
“You are right. They want completely different things, I mean, April is still a virgin, and Maggie is definetly not.” she said shuddering, as Jackson groaned.
“I didn’t need to hear that.”
“And I didn’t need to hear her and…”
“-Shut up! Shut up! Don’t finish that sentence.” chucking a napkin at her mouth, Jackson glared at her until she shut up. Interesting, he didn’t used to react like that. He would groan, playfully cover his ears with his hands, but this was new. Things had changed ever since they reunited in Seattle,maybe she had underestimated how much.
Her pager beeped before she could probe further into the matter.
“It’s Koracick, I better get there before Kepner does. I’ll talk to Maggie about this after our shift. If she is even home.” waving Jackson off, Meredith takes another look at the table with her sister and her new pet project, her lips curling in distaste. Maggie is playing with April’s hair and showing her a picture on her phone, apparently they are still talking about making April a redhead which is just ridiculous, and it especially annoys Meredith because the last redhead that walked these halls was Addison and, well, that’s a can of worms she still hasn’t fully dealt with.
Feeling an arm wrap around her waist, Meredith grins and looks up at Nick, tilting her head up for a kiss almost automatically. Walking backwards, they kiss for a few seconds in a corner away from prying eyes, grinning into each other’s months. The relationship is brand new, she expected more awkwardness and ignoring each other at work, but his slow pursuit of her meant that she has gotten used to his presence, craves it even. Before he can deepen the kiss and distract her, she pulls away, her hands curled against his dark scrub top.
“Gotta run, I need to impress Koracick and get there before Kepner does.”
“I think Kepner passed by us a minute ago.” he said letting go of her waist, barely flinching when she slapped his chest.
“No more kissing! Ever! Shit!”
Maggie doesn’t get crushes, not anymore. After the embarrassment of crushing on so many guys who thought she was just a kid during med school, Maggie made the choice to stop getting crushes. And most of the time, she can force herself to forget dazzling smiles and pretty blue eyes, she has control over her emotions, thank you very much. She once got a crush when she was fourteen and denied its existence and to this day she is still denying it. She is a strong, independent, brilliant, masterful -- the eyes are not just pretty, they are blue and he has an accent and she is only human.
So, when Dr. Riggs, Nathan, casually mentioned that during his residency there were so many parties and he thinks it’s weird how “well-behaved” the hospital is, well, she has no option but to throw a rocking party to impress him? He is her boss. It’s her job to impress him. And he had looked so happy when she mentioned she might be throwing a party soon, she had been hoping for a positive reaction, but it shocked her how quickly he agreed to come and how he offered to bring her anything she needed.
I mean, I have a crush on him and everything, but I was not expecting that much? It’s kinda weird, do I even like him as much as he likes me? Oh god, this is going to be a problem.
It was a jocks only party -- surgeons only. Originally she wanted to invite some of the firefighters as well, Andy, Vic, Dean are amazing and it’s been a while since she had to the chance to hang with them, but if she invited the firefighters, the paramedics might decide to join as well. And while there is nothing wrong with the paramedics, it’s just she wants to keep April away from Matthew, who is a sweet dear boy and does a great job, but he brings nothing to the table. He is too similar to the world April already knows, too safe, too boring, he won’t challenge her in anyway that matters, they will just have five generic kids that she will never be able to tell apart, a picket fence and a strange devotion to a man in the sky. Her party on the other hand, will be filled with amazing surgeons that will expand April’s horizons, rock her world!
Hearing a car stop on the driveway, she jumped and opened the door, smiling brightly at Nick and Meredith and their one thousand shopping bags.
“Is this much tequila necessary?” he asked with a groan, carrying his bags to the kitchen.
“It’s not enough.” Meredith chirps, dropping the bags in the couch and arranging the bottles on the table. “You’ve seen me drinking Marsh, this table is just for me, the rest of the party can drink what you got.”
Their mom’s Seattle house had been empty for two decades when Maggie moved in, she decorated a little bit during the years she lived alone, but it was only after Meredith moved in that the house started getting more of a homey-feel. Not because Meredith has any particular decorating skills (if it was up to her, she would have probably left the house in boxes) but because they started spending more time in the house. The two of them at first, Jackson quickly joined them and then the rest of their intern group started showing up. Before that, the only visitors were her one night stands and Amelia and Callie.
“The house looks good right?” arranging a pillow for the fifth time, Maggie worried her bottom lip, “I think it looks good. It looks clean, and homey and it doesn’t look like a dump, because seven months ago it looked like a dump, but now it looks like a housey-house. Like, two functioning human beings live here and they they are fun and sexy.” luckily for Meredith and Nick, Maggie started talking again, saving them from having to reply to all of that.
“Okay, so, drinks are settled and Nick, you gotta promise me you won’t let Meredith get wasted tonight, I’m not going to clean up this place by myself, again.” technically he was her superior, but her imitation of the Bailey glare had him nodding yes before she finished speaking. “I got food in the kitchen and April is bringing the rest, she made pizza rolls and brownies!” Maggie turned around to inspect the staircase, missing Meredith mocking April behind her back.
“Stop it.” Nick whispered pulling Meredith into the kitchen, “you guys just started talking again and while I loved having you in my apartment this past week, you were all mopey.”
The conversation between them had not gone well, Maggie had accused Meredith of not believing in her, that she thought wasn’t capable of helping anyone because she couldn’t even help herself, that Meredith still saw her as a lost little kid with no friends who needed her big sister to protect her. And while part of that was true, Meredith still saw her as the little kid who used to follow her around the house sometimes, it wasn’t why she tried to talk Maggie out of this ridiculous plan to mold April into her image; this friendship was already having bad side effects -- April got cocky the other day in the O.R. while assisting Dr. Bailey, threw a stitch she shouldn’t have and the patient almost bled out.
“I wasn’t mopey. And I was right, she has gotten só used to April saying yes to everything she suggests, that she can’t heard the word no anymore!”
“Yes, you were.” cupping her chin, he smiled softly at her, eyes crinkling in the corner. “Now come on, let me get all of this beer in the freezer before Maggie decided to send me on another shopping run, my back can’t handle it.”
“Alright, old man.”
The party was in full swing two hours later, interns, residents and a few more adventurous attendings danced to the perfectly curated playlist that Maggie had spent hours working on. Alcohol was flowing, snacks were being eaten and April was standing in the corner, nursing the same bottle of beer she had been drinking half an hour ago when she had last seen her. She was smiling, waving at people and, Maggie noted, bopped her head out of rhythm to the song.
Maggie and Jackson were in the kitchen, refilling the snack plates and cleaning things up.
“You tried to seduce her?” passing him another plate to clean, Maggie shakes her head in shock. “You tried to seduce my boss.”
“Not seduce her, not exactly… More like, impress her?”
“With your flirting skills?”
“No! With my surgical skills, which she has been ignoring. I thought that maybe, if I flirted with her, she would put her in her next surgery and I could impress her then.” he explained, grimacing as he spoke.
“Yeah, and you tell me my plans are bad.” she says bumping their hips together. “I can’t believe you tried to seduce Dr. Altman for a surgery, I expected better from you Avery.”
Looking down at her, Jackson smiled, grabbing the last dirty plate from her and proceeded to clean it up. “Do you want me to take out the trash?”
Closing the sink, Maggie took the plate away from his hands and finished cleaning it, drying it before he had a chance to protest. “It’s a party Jackson, go have fun.”
“I am having fun, I’m with you aren’t it?” grabbing a towel, he wiped his hands but made no move to walk away. It was nice to spend time with her, it’s been too long since he has been able to steal a few moments with her, just the two of them. “Besides, you won’t wanna clean this place tomorrow morning. You’ll be too hungover.”
“I won’t,” she protested weakly, knowing he was probably right. She would stay sober until just a few moments before the party ended and then get ridiculously and gloriously drunk.
“Okay, I will. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go out there and have some fun Jackson.”
He frowned, unhappy her insistence that he leave. “I mean, if you are sure…”
Nodding, she pushed him out of the kitchen, insisting that she was about to leave as well and he shouldn’t spend his time only with her (even if she had been enjoying herself more cleaning dirty dishes than actually partying).
Staring after him, Maggie considers pulling him back, closing the kitchen’s door and stealing a few more moments before she has to go back, but April appears and pulls her to the middle of the action, babbling on about an unexpected nurse and attending hook up.
“Cool party,” appearing suddenly at her side, Riggs throws an arm around her shoulders, smiling crookedly at her “this is what I am talking about! This is a party.” Flinching, Maggie stepped away from his embrace, happy that he seemed to be enjoying herself, but feeling oddly calm about it. She had been looking forward to seeing his face, to seeing him enjoy himself, but now that he was here, she realized the crush she had do desperately tried to crush before was smaller than she realized. Sure, he was cute, and they got along, but maybe -- and he was talking, he was talking and she should definetly pay attention to that, he has a what ?
“Your fiance is deployed?” she asked frowning, trying to rewind the conversation and fill in the gaps.
“For three more months. It’s her last tour, we plan on getting married in a few months. Adopt a dog, maybe buy a house by the marina? Always wanted to live by the ocean.” he looked so happy, his eyes shining with love as he spoke about her fiance, whispering her name like it was a precious jewel, “Megan was supposed to be done a year ago, but her stupid brother decided to take on another tour so she joined him. I came early, to you know, get our life started.”
“You don’t go out much do you?” she asked, her mouth moving faster than her brain. Brown eyes widened with shock when she realized how blunt her question was, but he took it in stride, laughing and nodding.
“Yeah, still making friends.”
“And that’s why you were so excited for a party.” the dots were finally being connected and she couldn’t be happier about the image they formed.
“I think I may have overreacted.”
“You did, a bit.” laughing, she rested a hand on his shoulder, feeling finally relaxed around him. He was a good guy, and she always wanted new friends. “Tell me about Megan, how did you convince her to marry you?”
“Now, that’s a story…”
On the other side of the room, Jackson took a long sip of his beer and glowered at Riggs.
Riggs, who had been making Maggie laugh for the last hour, who apparently knew card tricks and was entertaining people with them. Riggs, whose hand was currently on Maggie’s lower back.
Riggs, another person who Maggie now preferred to spend her time with. Did she push him out of the kitchen so she could leave and spend time with him? He missed her, more and more each day, he was so used to seeing her everywhere that her absence is an ache inside of him. No more spontaneous visits to his apartment, no more inviting him over for dinner (read: invite him over to cook) on a whim, she was too busy with her new friends. He wants not to be jealous, to be happy for her, the party is a success and she is thriving, but he misses the time when a party would include her standing by his side most of the night; they would tease their friends, dance together, make sure Meredith didn’t drink herself to death and clean up after, all the while enjoying each other’s company.
On the edge of the group, like always, is April. Maggie keeps inviting her over but she fails time and time again to incorporate into the group, a pesky nurse keeps elbowing her out. The first time it makes him laugh, the second it makes him frown, the third he is setting his beer down and inviting April to dance with him.
Spinning her around the room, he smiles as she starts laughing and jumping up and down. She is incredibly off rhythm but she doesn’t seem to mind, the tears that had been filling her eyes roll out at once, her green eyes shining now with happiness.
Looking over April’s head, he sees Maggie looking directly at him and April, beaming and mouthing thank you. Shrugging his shoulders, he looks down for a second and then meets her eyes again.
Jackson is momentarily stunned by how beautiful she looks, how the light of the candles reflects in her eyes, makes her brown skin shine. How did he never realize his best friend is the most beautiful creature in the room?
The feeling that’s been gnawing him from inside, ever since she started pulling away suddenly seems so clear to him he feels like a good for not realizing it sooner.
Riggs leans closer to whisper something in her ear, breaking their connection, leaving him bereft, craving for another second of her warm brown eyes on him.
Of course he has been missing her, he is in love with her and she is (probably) with someone else.
After Rose, the nurse that she definetly did not invite, is rude to April for the third time, Maggie is more than ready to fight for her friend. April looks so small and sad, and no one is doing anything even though she has been trying to drift their attention over to her this whole time. She looks so pretty! The red hair was definetly the right choice, it makes her complexion smoother and brings out the green in her eyes.
But, she doesn’t need to, Jackson comes in like the knight in armour that he can be starts dancing with April.
She watches them dance, well, mostly she watches Jackson dance, completely ignoring the conversation she was having with a neuro fellow and Riggs. It’s been too long since she has had the chance to properly talk to him, these days all they do is steal a few moments, catch up quickly and go on their separate ways.
When he meets her eyes, she mouths thank you. No one in the circle had done anything for April, no matter how much she urged, but Jackson from the other side of the party had noticed something was wrong and stepped in. He was something else.
She kept watching him, smiling until Riggs whispered he was leaving so he could skype his fiancee. Walking him to the door, she waits until his car rounds the corner before rejoining the party.
Closing the door behind her, Maggie grins as she sees a familiar shape in the entrance hall waiting for her.
“Got tired of dancing?”
“Just wanted a different partner.” grabbing his hand, Maggie drags Jackson to the dancefloor.