Summary: AU - Cristina Yang is a young, talented and ambitious photographer who seems to have everything going for her. But there’s something missing, that special someone to share it with. At her first photography exhibition a handsome artist captures her attention, but is he the one she’s been looking for…?
Disclaimer: All television shows, movies, books, and other copyrighted material referred to in this work, and the characters, settings, and events thereof, are the properties of their respective owners. As this work is an interpretation of the original material and not for-profit, it constitutes fair use. Reference to real persons, places, or events are made in a fictional context, and are not intended to be libelous, defamatory, or in any way factual.
Author's note: I'm really really sorry for letting you all wait for so long. My beta was busy with real life stuff so she didn't have time to correct my chapters, but my wonderful friend helped me out so you can finally find out what happens next.
"Okay, I'll see you during lunch," Jackson said and gave Cristina a light kiss on the lips before she walked towards her office and he headed to see Derek to talk to him about some changes they were planning to make in the magazine.
"Good morning Jackson. Seeing Cristina off to work?" April asked when she noticed her friend in the hallway. It was hard for her to see him here with his girlfriend every day, but she hoped that eventually she would get used to it and her heart would accept that pining for him was pointless.
"Good morning." Jackson greeted her with smile. "Yes, but I'm also meeting with Shepherd to talk about some changes in the magazine."
"I hope you're not planning to change the chief of editor. I'm starting to like it here." She laughed.
"I wouldn't worry about that. From what I've heard you're doing great so far." A wide smile appeared on Jackson's face. He was glad his friend liked her new job and that they found a new chief of editor that could possibly stay in the magazine for a few years.
"Thank you," April whispered, blushing a little and hoping Jackson didn't notice it. "Anyway," she said after a while of awkward silence. "My new apartment is finally finished so I was thinking… Would you and Cristina like to come over for a dinner tonight? We could finally catch up on things. And it could be fun. But of course you don't need to feel obliged to come. I just bought a lot of groceries and then realized I don't have anybody to share them with so I thought that making a nice dinner for the three of us would be a good idea," she kept rambling, unable to stop. She had always been a little nervous and awkward around Jackson, even though they were friends, but apparently not seeing him for a few years made things even worse.
"I..." Jackson hesitated for a second. He really wanted to catch up on things with April, but he also knew that Cristina found her quite annoying so spending the whole evening with April would be a torture for her. But she was trying to accept her because she was Jackson's friend and would probably agree to go anyway. Maybe if they spent more time together, Cristina would start to like her and everything would be much easier. "We'd love to come," he blurted out quickly so April wouldn't notice he was hesitating. Jackson knew that agreeing to come without asking Cristina might piss her off, but he was sure it would all go well in the end.
"Awesome," April shrieked excitedly. "I'll cook something. Does Cristina like Italian food? I could make some pasta."
"Yeah, Italian food is good."
"Great. See you at seven?" April asked and Jackson nodded. He still had a few hours to figure out how to announce his girlfriend that they were going to visit his friend for a dinner without upsetting her. Although he doubted that was even possible.
"So how is your day going?" Jackson asked casually during the lunch. He still hadn't decided how to tell Cristina about April's invitation, but he assumed it would all be easier if he knew what mood she was in.
"Ugh, awful." Cristina sighed at the thought of her day. "At first one of the models didn't show up so I had to look for someone else to shoot and then when I finally got back to my office I couldn't focus on anything because April was talking to someone in the hallway really loudly and her high pitched voice was making it even worse. I swear that if I have to spend more time with that woman than I already do, I will strangle her." Jackson gulped as Cristina talked about being annoyed by April. Maybe agreeing to come over for a dinner without discussing it with Cristina first wasn't the best idea. "But I don't want to think about that now. How is your day? Anything interesting?" Cristina asked, not noticing the thoughtful expression in Jackson's face.
"It's going okay," Jackson answered simply. He wasn't sure whether to tell her about April inviting them over for a dinner or not. She was invited so she needed to know that, but at the same time Jackson felt like not telling her would be better. Cristina didn't really like April and after what she had just told him he assumed that spending any more time with her wouldn't be the best idea. Yet he felt like Cristina would feel obliged to go anyway and he didn't want to put her through that. So not telling her would be the best option. At least that was what he thought at the moment. "Nothing too special. Just some boring paperwork with Shepherd." He rolled his eyes. "I hoped that if I became an artist I would never have to bother with that."
"Well, if you didn't try to save your girlfriend's job by buying a part of the magazine she works at, you wouldn't have to worry about paperwork." Cristina grinned at him.
"I would do it again." Jackson smiled and leaned over to kiss her.
They continued to eat in silence for a few minutes, just enjoying the food and each other's presence without having the need to say anything. Even though they had never had a problem to find a topic to talk about, they enjoyed the moments of silence just as much.
"Anyway, do you wanna come over tonight?" Cristina asked after a while as she finished her lunch. "It's been a while since we ordered some food and rented some movies, so I was thinking…" she suggested nonchalantly.
"I'm sorry. I have this... thing. With Mark," he said, trying to avoid eye contact and hoping Cristina wouldn't see he was lying. After all he was doing it for her own good. "But how about we make it tomorrow night? I can come over to your place and cook something delicious," he suggested quickly to not make Cristina think he didn't want to spend time with her.
"Oh, okay. Tomorrow's good." Cristina gave him a slight smile. She was too busy with her thoughts about work to notice Jackson's strange behavior.
April had never been into drinking but she was about to have a dinner with a man she had the biggest crush on and his girlfriend so she assumed a little bit of alcohol could only help her. An hour and half a bottle of wine later April heard a light knock on her door. "Coming," she yelled and quickly got up from her seat, suddenly feeling a little dizzy. "Hey. Come in," she said with a bright smile when she opened the door, but her smile quickly froze when except for Jackson and Cristina she only saw Jackson.
"Hi." Jackson gave her a shy smile as he walked in, still feeling guilty for lying to Cristina about where he was going. But now it was too late to change that so he had to try to push those feelings aside.
"Where is Cristina?" April asked, feeling even more nervous since it was just her and Jackson. She knew that spending evening with Jackson and Cristina may not be as comfortable as she would want it to be, but being alone with him was a whole other thing. The main reason why she invited Cristina was so she wouldn't get too nostalgic and eventually wouldn't tell Jackson all about her feelings for him. But now when Cristina wasn't there, April wasn't so sure she would manage to hold herself back. Especially after drinking much more wine than she planned. But she had to at least try and not to do anything stupid. Even though it might be hard.
"She's sorry but she couldn't come. She wasn't feeling well," Jackson answered immediately. He made up the excuse on the way to April's apartment and hoped she would believe him. He didn't want to tell April that he didn't tell Cristina about the invitation since she seemed to hate her and he assumed it wouldn't end up well if they spent the evening together. It was a little white lie that wouldn't hurt anyone. It could only help them feel more comfortable. At least that's what he was telling himself when he felt bad for lying to Cristina. He was doing it so she wouldn't feel uncomfortable, wasn't he?
"Oh, the poor thing. Tell her I hope she'll feel better soon," April said and Jackson just nodded, even though he knew he couldn't tell Cristina anything to not reveal his little secret. But she wasn't actually feeling sick anyway so it didn't matter.
Despite April's nervousness and Jackson's feeling of guilt the dinner ran smoothly. He had to admit the food was delicious and the conversation flowed quite nicely too. They talked about their times in college, the funny stories, embarrassing moments and even things the other person almost forgot about. It was nice for both of them to remember those times. After the dinner April took the dishes to the sink and they moved to the living room to talk some more.
"My mum just sent me this box with my stuff from college a couple of days ago. I haven't had time to go through it yet, but I'm sure there are some great memories in it," April said as she pulled out a big cardboard box filled with old photos and notebooks and opened it. "Look, there is a photo album from our last year of college," she cheered as she pulled out a dusty old album. She walked to the couch and sat next to Jackson, opening the album and smiling as all the old memories started flooding back. On the very first photo there were April and Jackson sitting in the library, studying for one of their exams.
"Oh, not this one." Jackson covered his eyes when he saw the photo. He hadn't seen any of his old photos for a while and almost forgot how horrible he looked back then. Even though now many women couldn't take their eyes off him, back in his college days he was wearing dreadlocks and a goatee, what, as he found out much later, didn't suit him at all. "I hoped nobody would ever see how horrible I looked back then."
"Oh, c'mon. It wasn't that bad. Even though that comes from a girl who wore her braces and big nerdy glasses through the whole time in college."
"At least you didn't look like a drug dealer from Jamaica." Jackson laughed. "And besides I think you looked cute despite the glasses and braces. I heard braces and nerdy glasses are kinda trendy lately so some of the nowadays kids might be even jealous." Jackson grinned and slowly turned the page over, preparing himself for another embarrassing photo.
"Thank you," April whispered with a small smile on her lips and felt her cheeks getting red. Despite changing a lot since college she still wasn't used to compliments. Especially not from someone as attractive as Jackson.
"Oh, look. Isn't this the photo from your birthday party?" Jackson asked, not noticing the redness in April's face as he was too busy inspecting another photo.
"Yeah, I guess it is." April nodded, but the smile from her face disappeared. She had always been kind of a loner so her birthdays, especially those she had during college, just reminded her she didn't have many people to celebrate them with. "The party wasn't a big success though," she sighed. "The few people that were there only came for the food and I think some of them didn't even know my name," she said sadly. "At least you stayed until the end of that disastrous party. I could always count on you."
"Well you have always been special to me." Jackson gave her a warm smile and April knew that if she wasn't sitting at that moment, her knees would buckle.
Jackson continued looking through the photos, but April was no longer that interested in them. All she could do now was to stare at Jackson, while thinking whether things would be different if she ever told him about her feelings for him. She always thought it was a stupid idea and there was no way he could be attracted to her, but suddenly she saw it differently. Maybe it was just all the alcohol she drank finally getting to her head, but she felt like there was something more behind that dreamy smile and nice words. That maybe she wasn't the only one who could imagine the two of them as something more than just friends. And while she knew that if she was completely sober and thinking straight she would never do that, now was not the time. It was time to do something she had wanted to do for years. So when Jackson leaned over to her to take a closer look at another photo she took his face in her hands, pressing her lips to his and softly kissing him. She didn't even take a second to look into his bright eyes, as if worried that if she didn't kiss him right away she would change her mind and the regret it for the rest of her life. What she didn't know was, that not stopping herself from kissing him could be the thing she would regret.
"Wh- what are you doing?" Jackson asked alarmed as he pulled away right after April's lips touched his. He had no idea how it happened, but he knew it wasn't right. Not when he had a girlfriend.
"I- I was just thinking…" she trailed off not being sure what to say. For a second she felt like Jackson wanted to kiss her. But maybe it was just the alcohol clouding her judgment. She didn't know for sure. "I thought… I thought you wanted to kiss me," April whispered, knowing she probably sounded ridiculous. Why would someone like Jackson want to kiss her? And if so why wouldn't he just do it instead of waiting for her to kiss him.
"What?" Jackson raised his eyebrows. "I have a girlfriend, April. A girlfriend that I love and that was supposed to be here with us tonight," he said, feeling even guiltier for not telling Cristina about the dinner with April. He already felt bad enough when he thought it was just a friendly visit not even now when April made a move on him. "How could you think I was planning to kiss you?" Jackson asked and from the look on April's face he could say that his words hurt her, but he didn't know how else to react. He had a girlfriend and April knew it so why would she think that kissing him was a good idea?
"I- I don't know. It just… For a second I thought you felt something for me. But clearly I was wrong," April mumbled, the tears building up in her eyes. She couldn't believe how stupid she was. Apparently Jackson never felt anything towards her. Maybe their friendship wasn't real either and he was just pretending to like her so she wouldn't feel so bad about herself.
Jackson didn't know what to say. Maybe Cristina really wasn't making it up when she told him that April was acting like a love struck teenager around him. Back then he thought she was just being jealous for no reason, but now he could finally see what she meant. April had feelings for him. And he had never realized that before. But even if he did, it wouldn't change much. As much as he liked April, she was never more than just a friend for him. A very good friend, but that was it. "Look, April," he started, still not sure what to say. "I like you. I always did. Just…"
"Just not in the way you like Cristina," April finished for him and quickly wiped the few tears from her cheeks. She didn't want Jackson to see her cry. Not when she was crying because of him.
"Not the way I like Cristina," Jackson repeated and the mention of his girlfriend's name made him feel guilty again. "I should go," he said after a few seconds of awkward silence and April didn't try to stop him. She knew she made a mistake and there was no way to take it back. Jackson quietly took his jacket and walked out of the apartment, having no idea what the whole evening was supposed to mean. But he knew one thing. That if Cristina found out, he would be screwed.
- Captured - Chapter 12