Meredith Grey was a walking contradiction. She was small and skinny yet still had her womanly curves. Her long dirty blonde hair gave no indication to how smart she actually was, and her job as a surgeon hid very well the fact that she was an exceedingly talented baker.
Not many except Merediths close family knew about her hidden secret. Her little sister Lexie could never understand why it was something she didn't want people to know about. However her brother Alex, no relation by blood but of a strong bond since their internship, completely got it. Meredith had to fight tooth and nail to gain her position as head of neurosurgery at Seattle Grace, which is not only the second-best teaching hospital in the country but also the same place where her mother, the late Ellis Grey, had pioneered many a surgical technique and established herself as one of the first great women pioneers in surgery. Alex knew that if Merediths soft side was shown at the hospital she would take a big hit to the reputation she made for herself.
With this knowledge is cam as a shock to Meredith that Lexie and Alex were now pestering her non-stop.
"Leave me alone, guys. It's not funny anymore"
"But Mer, there's nothing funny about it" Lexie said, whilst trailing after her older sister like a puppy.
"Yeah Mer, we aren't kidding, it's a good opportunity for you to get away" Alex backed Lexie up, without the same persistence that the younger Grey held.
Meredith stopped what she where she was in the aisle of the supermarket and turned to face her annoying family members with an exasperated expression on her face.
"So tell me, why exactly would a baking contest help me, a surgeon, who has almost reached a groundbreaking discovery in her clinical trial, get away?" She said sarcastically. " oh yeah, that's right it won't, I do not need any more distractions, I haven't been on my game recently and I need to step it up."
"Pfft what groundbreaker is that you're talking about?" Alex remarked as they continued to follow Meredith down the aisle.
Lexie whacked him in the chest before they almost bumped into Meredith after she had stopped again rather abruptly after his comment.
"Excuse me?" Meredith said, narrowing her eyes at her brother.
"He didn't mean that Mer. Alex shut up." Said Lexie with a look that only a grey woman could muster. "What he meant Mer was that you have been asking the same questions in your research for the past three months now, maybe you've hit a dead end?" She finished timidly.
"Dead end…" Meredith said with an eerily quiet, "dead end? Do you not think I know that?" Her voice got louder, starting to gain stares from other shoppers. " I do not need some resident" she looked at her sister, " or a pediatric surgeon to tell me the NEURO surgeon that I've hit a dead end! That's why I've been working my ass off for three months trying to fix the holes in my trial, I know it hasn't been working, I know that better than anyone, okay. So I suggest if you two want a lift home and you want to be fed tonight, I'd shut up right about now." She finished just as she'd run out of breath after her rant.
Alex and Lexie continued to follow Meredith, but this time choosing to remain silent as she picked out various food items she knew they needed for their very bare fridge at home. All three being doctors meant that there was very rarely time for their house to be stocked full with food, as they never knew when they'd be home to eat it and this way they could avoid it going off. But this week the three doctors had exceeded their 80-hour limit at the hospital, and Alex's girlfriends birthday was coming up and he had asked his fake sister to make her a surprise birthday cake.
When they had reached home, Meredith took the bags into the kitchen refusing help from the others. Meredith sighed, as she unloaded their groceries, her brain going over the endless possibilities of how to fix her trial. Maybe she did need to take a step back to evaluate, take a vacation to come up with fresh ideas. She hadn't made any progress with her work in a very long time, not since she lost her last patient in the trial, almost 4 months ago. Plus she did love baking, it gave her a sort of achievement which was always consistent, not like surgery which could be unpredictable and result in the worst possible consequences. When Meredith baked she could always produce something that tasted amazing and looks like something out of a magazine. Truth be told if Meredith had had her way she would have been a baker rather than go to med school in the first place. But her mother, being her mother, refused to consider anything other than life as a surgeon for her daughter, let alone a lowly baker. So Meredith had never even brought it up to her, knowing what the answer would have been.
With the last of the ingredients put away, she noticed one of her sneaky siblings had left the flyer that had caused such disagreements between her family members on the side. A 10-week baking competition, which would challenge bakers to their limits to produce things they had never done before, all to get a grand prize of $100,000 and the prestigious title of America's best baker. Not to mention meet some of the best bakers in the industry. If she were to enter this contest it wouldn't be for the prizes, money wasn't an issue, despite what people thought of her being a 30 year old woman still having roommates. She had been on a six figure salary for the past two years, and her house was long since paid off considering it was her mothers originally.
No if she were to go for it, she would do it for the serenity that baking gave her, the peace she felt in the kitchen all whilst having the competitive edge of being able to beat others in something she excelled at. She smiled to herself, she was a competitive surgeon at heart and therefore in everything else she did.
"Why so happy Mer?" Alex said as he walked in.
"Am I not allowed to be happy just because?" She snapped, her day dream long forgotten.
"Gee Mer, just asking, look if you won't do the contest, maybe consider taking some sort or vacation? Or at least get laid, you're so uptight"
"I'm not uptight" Meredith huffed.
"Okay okay you're not uptight." But in a tone which made Meredith think that he didn't really believe her. "Hey Mer, Jo likes chocolate cake, and she's never had anyone make her something homemade before with her crapy childhood and whatever, so could you do something special?"
Meredith laughed, "So now you lack faith in my abilities?"
"What no? It's just I love her and I want to make her first birthday that we're spending together special and I just know that I love it when you make stuff for us, so maybe when you make…"
"Alex" Meredith cut him off. " I'm kidding, you don't need to ramble out your reasons to me, I said I'd do it and I'll do it, now have her here tonight at 8 and keep her out of here until then, I don't want the surprise ruined okay?" She smiled.
"Haha thanks, Mer" he kissed her cheek and walked out of the kitchen and yelled behind him, "and I DO NOT ramble!"
Meredith smiled again to herself and allowed herself to get lost in her own world of cooking. She had put a time limit on herself to make it more challenging to create something amazing for her brothers love. Alex was one of her people and she'd do anything for him, not that she'd tell him that. But she knew what it was like to have a crap childhood, with an absent mother and a father who abandoned her, Meredith could now appreciate the little things her family did for one another, and if baking a cake was something that could make Jo and Alex happy then that's what she would do.
3 and a half hours later, a new record. Stood a four-tiered milk and white chocolate cake. Decorated with surgical tools made out of caramel and spun sugar which gave a magical feel to the whole creation. On the top layer read Jo made from chocolate e with happy birthday cascading on the next two layers. Overall Meredith was impressed with her work, she allowed her mind to wonder if the judges in the competition would agree. She shook her head letting the thoughts leave her head, who cares what they thought, Meredith new that her cake looked and tasted good, if there was one thing she didn't lack, it was confidence. Being a surgeon, you didn't have room to doubt yourself, so why should she doubt her bakes.
Looking at the clock she knew Alex and Jo would be back anytime soon from their fancy dinner. She called Lexie and her boyfriend, Mark, into the kitchen so that they'd be ready to surprise the birthday girl.
"Holy crap Mer, that's insane, you know I should introduce you to my brother he is really into cooking and baking and stuff," Mark said.
"Mmm I don't think so, but thanks Mark" Meredith replied. Mark and Lexie had been dating for two months, he was a hotshot plastic surgeon and when they had first started dating there were questions about his intentions with her, but Meredith had come to accept him, and despite his reputation for being a manwhore, he had never done anything to Lexie to suggest he was less than honourable.
"Oh yeah Derek is really cool Mer" Lexie back up her boyfriend putting her arm around him, "but don't worry sis, you are still the best baker I know, you've really outdone yourself this time." She eyed the cake mischievously.
"Alexandra Grey, if you so much as touch this cake before Jo has seen it you won't even get to sniff it" Meredith exclaimed, eyeing her sister with a knowing look.
The three of them laughed as they heard the key turn in the front door and heard Jo's excited voice fill through the hall way.
"Thank you Alex, today has been amazing." They heard jo say.
"Well it's not over yet, come on let's go see the others" Alex said as he led them to the kitchen.
"HAPPY BIRTHDAY JO!" The three kitchen occupants screamed together.
"Oh my god, thank you guys, look at this cake, I can't believe it, is this for me?" Jo said, whilst tears filled her eyes.
"Of course Jo, you deserve it!" Meredith laughed taking in the younger doctor for a hug.
They sung happy birthday to Jo and watched her blow out the candle, all whilst the smile never left the interns face. Jo let Meredith cut the slices in fear of ruining something. There was silence through the kitchen whilst they all tried the birthday cake.
"Holy shit Mer, this is amazing" Alex said.
"Wait Dr Gr... Meredith you made this?" Jo asked, shocked at her mentors skills.
"Yes and you'll be quiet about it at work if you know what's good for you" Meredith replied, giving Jo the look she would in the OR when she was trying to get her point across.
Jo zipped her lip with her finger, "you won't hear a peep from me"
Alex smiled at his girlfriend, "Come on Jo, let's go upstairs we can take some of this with us" he looked at her cheekily.
"Oh god, I don't think I wanna be here tonight," Lexie said, as she watched Alex and Jo say their goodnights as they walked upstairs with more cake. "Let's go to yours Mark"
"Okay lex, but only If I can take some of this with me?" He asked looking at Meredith.
"Sure thing, there's gonna be loads left over anyway, I think Im gonna head to Joe's bar and wait till I know the lovebirds are sound asleep," Meredith said with a chuckle.
"Come with us to Mark's Mer, we can watch a movie or something?" Lexie said to both Mark and Merediths horror.
"I don't think so Lex, ummm but maybe another time" Meredith stuttered out trying to not seem ungrateful to her younger sisters offer. But spending the evening third wheeling her little sister and her boyfriend was not how she wanted to spend her night off.
Mark looked relieved also, "Come on Lex lets go" Lexie just shrugged and followed her boyfriend out after wishing her sister night.
Meredith began to clean up the plates, but quickly abandoned her idea when she started to hear noises from upstairs. She grabbed her keys and her jacket and headed out the door hoping her best friend Cristina would be at the bar.
"The usual please Joe" Meredith said to the bartender she considered a fiend as she sat down in her usual seat.
"Hey Mer how was work today?" Joe asked his favorite and most regular customer.
"It was a day off today for me, I made other Jo a birthday cake" she said with a smile.
Joe was one of the other few people that knew of Merediths skills in the kitchen after she had baked him a tray bake to apologize for breaking multiple glasses after one night of heavy tequila shots.
"What did you make? Something incredible I'm sure?" He asked. Meredith got out her phone and showed him what she'd done with her day, as she usually took pictures in case she ever wanted to recreate, however she tended to never make the same thing twice.
"Holy crap Mer" he said, as Meredith laughed at his statement.
"A lot of people have said that to me today"
"Well I can see why that's amazing" Joe exclaimed getting a closer look at the picture.
"What's amazing?" A low voice came from beside Meredith.
Meredith quickly pout her phone away and turned to face the stranger. Her green eyes were met with bright blue ones. Quite possibly the most gorgeous man she'd ever seen. Her throat went dry and her heart rate increased. He had dark black hair that would put any model to shame, but gave off the impression it was all natural. He was tall and broad, with a perfectly macho figure, with suggested he worked out a lot. Meredith let her eyes trail down his chest along his arms which were covered with a tight fitting red shirt which mad everything else about him stand out. Meredith gulped and took a breath before speaking,
"Oh nothing important" she mumbled, before looking away, to her drink.
" Single malt scotch, please" The stranger asked Joe, not taking his eyes off Meredith. The blonde emerald eyed woman in front of him, intrigued him to know end. From the floral smell she was emitting to her quite giggle she had heard when he had walked up to her. Joe handed him his drink and started to wipe down the sides pretending not to listen to the two people infant of him. Joe had known Meredith a long time and he had not once seen her date, but maybe this guy who was very attractive in his eyes, would change that.
"So is this a good place to hang out?" The dark haired stranger asked Meredith.
"Mmm I don't know" she looked to Joe with a cheeky smile, "what would you say? Is this a good place to hang out?"
Joe looked up at Meredith, knowing she was avoiding talking to the guy on her own, just smiled and said,
"I would say you think so Meredith" he said with an emphasis on her name, " as my most loyal and best customer I'd say you do think so, but I'm the owner so I may be bias., I'm Joe by the way" he added holding his hand out to his new customer.
The stranger laughed, and shook Joe's hand.
"Derek, and I have a feeling I am going to be here often, I'm here in Seattle for the next four months for work, I was skeptical about coming here at first but I think I may come to change my mind." He said with a smirk and a glance at Meredith.
Meredith downed the shot in front of her, trying to use the liquid courage to not go home with this gorgeous Derek.
"And on that note, I'm leaving, I'll see you tomorrow Joe after work," Meredith said getting up.
"One drink is that all Mer, that's not like you," Joe said jokingly.
"Ha ha Joe thank you for letting the whole bar know of my relationship with alcohol, can always rely on you to put me in a good light" Meredith smirked at her friend
"Please don't leave on my account, I'm someone you can get to know love," Derek said quickly in an attempt to get to know this Meredith better.
"I have an early start in the morning so I'm gonna go with a solid no, but enjoy Seattle" Meredith looked at Derek before leaning into him, "and you get used to the rain" she said with a wink, her drink giving her the courage to make a bold move in front of this Derek.
Derek gulped and looked Meredith one last time in the eye, before she turned on her heel and walked out of the bar, his eyes following her small but curvy figure as it walked out the bar. When she was gone from his sight he turned back around and downed his drink,
"Yep, I think I'm gonna like it here" he said whilst calling for another drink.