I am actually very nervous about this one. It focuses a lot on Ellie and reading through the comments, some hit it right on the head. I am nervous just because I promised fluff in these stories and I am not sure if anyone will want to read about this. Nevertheless, I hope some of you like it. If I could, I would hug all of you. You continue to blow me away with the comments. I am so happy that these are being enjoyed because I really do love writing them and I love sharing what I write. An added bonus is having people like what I write so thank you!
“What’s that for?” Mark asks after they are seated at their table and Lexie leans over to kiss him.
She smiles, the light from the candle in the center of their table flickering in her eyes, dancing off of her face, and Mark can’t help but stare at her. She looks so beautiful that night. Almost ethereal in her dark red dress and her hair curled in that style that he secretly loves and the silver locket necklace hanging around her neck that he had gotten her for their fifth wedding anniversary. She had sworn to him when he gave it to her that she would never take it off and leave it to Lexie to actually mean that.
He has bought her plenty of jewelry over the years but the only pieces she ever wears consistently are her wedding and engagement rings and the locket.
“That is a thank you for not punching that man in the face,” she replies, opening her menu that has been handed to her.
“Even though he deserved it,” Mark says.
She laughs slightly, nodding in agreement. “Even though he deserved it.”
“Well, the night is still young. And my fist is anxious now,” he smirks. “The kids were alright with Owen when you left?”
“They do know him, Mark, and it isn’t as if Owen has never done this before,” she smiles teasingly. “How did your surgery go?”
“Fine. Just longer than I wanted it to go,” he shrugs. He glances down at the menu before back at Lexie sitting across the small round table. “How did Owen seem to you?”
“Quiet as always. He seemed eager to have the distraction of babysitting though.”
Mark nods, looking to his menu again. “You should know before we order that I am probably going to eat as quickly as possible tonight.”
Lexie quirks an eyebrow up that. “And why are you set on indigestion tonight?”
He smirks. “Because I want to take my wife to the backseat of the car.”
“Romantic,” she laughs and his smirk turns into a smile. “I thought you promised me a date night.”
“This is a date, Lex. Dinner and then fucking,” he says and even in the low light of the restaurant, he can see her start to blush.
“Well, I did shave today for you,” she informs him.
“Did you shave… everywhere?” He asks with a suggestive smirk and almost laughs when her blush deepens even more.
“Mark,” she scolds him softly as she tries to keep from smiling herself. “Besides, we can eat dinner and have sex at home. I thought the whole point of date night was getting out of the house and doing something we don’t do on a nearly daily basis.”
“Alright. So what do you want to do?”
She is quiet for a moment, thinking it through. “I want to go for a walk by the water,” she decides.
Mark stares at her. “A walk?” He repeats as if he can’t quite understand. “You want to go for a walk? Our first night away from the house and the kids in months and you want to go for a walk?”
Lexie laughs. “A walk, mister. A nice, innocent walk.”
Mark sighs, swinging Lexie up in his arms, and continues to walk down the pier towards a bench he sees.
“A nice walk,” he mocks and she can’t help but laugh despite the excruciating pain in her feet. “In nice forty-degree weather.”
“Oh, shut up,” she says, still laughing. “Okay. So maybe taking a walk in these heels wasn’t the brightest idea-” Mark gives her a pointed look. “But you carrying me around like this is romantic which is what I was going for so date night accomplished.” She wraps her arms around his shoulders and kisses his cheek. “You are very sweet to me, Mark Sloan.”
He grunts. “Don’t say that out loud. I still have a certain reputation to uphold.”
He sits her down gently on the bench and she stretches across it, Mark sitting down and draping her legs across his lap. He takes off her heels, handing them to her and she smiles as he begins to slowly massage and rub her feet. Lexie sighs pleasantly and putting her heels in her lap, she closes her eyes and leans back on her hands.
She moans as he rubs a particularly tender spot. “Mmmm, Mark. That feels perfect.”
With one hand, he continues rubbing her foot while his other begins trailing slowly up her leg, caressing her ankle, the back of her calf, sweeping around to her kneecap. He watches her face and smiles at her as she opens her eyes to look at him.
“That doesn’t feel like my foot,” she comments as his fingertips slowly caress her lower inner thigh.
“No, that definitely doesn’t feel like your foot,” he agrees. “When I touch your feet, it doesn’t start to make you breathe heavily like that.”
Lexie bites on her lower lip, her eyelids growing heavy as Mark moves his hand higher up underneath her dress and coat. She knows she shouldn’t but she can never seem to control herself when Mark is concerned and she spreads her legs a little wider for him.
She lowers herself to her elbows as she feels Mark shift himself on the bench and he slowly crawls on top of her, knocking her shoes onto the ground, his body covering hers, and she tilts her head up to meet his, their lips meeting in a soft, yet fiery kiss.
“We can get arrested for this,” Lexie breathes into his mouth, one of her hands sliding onto the back of his head.
“What? Lewd acts in public on a pier bench?” Mark suggests and then slips his tongue into her mouth, silencing her for a moment as he torturously sucks the air from her lungs with that kiss.
“Police reports are public,” she says. “All of our friends would be able to read about this if they wanted to if we get caught.”
She gasps as his hands slowly beginning pushing her skirt up her thighs.
“They would expect nothing less of us,” he smirks and then kisses her deeply again, his fingers running in circles on her bare skin. “Besides, Lex, it’s too cold out here and nobody except us are here tonight. We’re not going to get caught.”
“Famous last words.” Lexie wraps her arms around his neck, pulling him down completely on top of her as she lays down on the bench. “We should do these date nights every week.”
Dr. Kramer is a child therapist from the hospital that Arizona recommended to them and Mark is making it obvious that he doesn’t want to be there. He sits in the man’s office, his knee bouncing up and down, looking at his watch every few minutes and Lexie sits next to him, watching through the glass window in the office into the other room that Ellie is sitting in with the doctor and a doctor’s aid, coloring a picture as Dr. Kramer talks to her.
“This is ridiculous,” Mark says, crossing his arms over his chest. “So she doesn’t talk. She doesn’t need to be here, Lex.”
Lexie tears her eyes away from the glass to look at him. “Mark, you know something isn’t right. Whether or not you want to admit that out loud, you know it.”
He lets out a heavy breath but he doesn’t say anything further and instead, stares straight ahead, clenching his jaw so tightly, she can see the muscles twitch in his face. She reaches over and puts a hand on his knee, wanting it to be still but he keeps bouncing it despite reaching out and covering her hand with one of his.
The door from the room opens and Dr. Kramer steps back into his office, leaving Ellie and the aid in the other room. He give the couple a warm smile and sits down in a chair across from the couch they are sitting on.
“How is she?” Lexie instantly asks, sitting up a bit straighter, gripping Mark’s hand.
“Ellie just turned two, correct?” Dr. Kramer asks, glancing down at her chart in his hands before back at them.
Mark nods. “Last month.”
“You both have a beautiful, sweet and intelligent child,” the doctor says. “And she also has autism.”
Mark and Lexie stare at him for a minute as if the word hasn’t registered in their minds and then Lexie releases a shaky breath, her eyes welling with tears, and she looks back towards the glass, seeing Ellie grabbing a different color crayon from the container in the center of the small table she is sitting at. Mark exhales heavily, standing up, beginning to pace, feeling as if he trying to rip from his skin.
“Jesus,” he breathes, rubbing the back of his neck. He then stops at stares at the doctor. “Are you sure?”
“Yes,” the doctor nods. “Some of the things you told me about her are large indicators. She doesn’t really talk unless she is repeating something that someone says. She keeps to herself and when at the playground, you say that she either stays with you or with her big sister instead of socializing with the other children. She plays by herself and you notice that she prefers stacking blocks or toys or even cans from your pantry. She also lines toys up almost in an almost meticulous, obsessive order from largest to smallest.”
“So that means she has autism? What the fuck does any of that mean? It could just mean that she’s two years old,” Mark says, snapping.
“Mark,” Lexie says softly and then looks at the doctor. “So… what happens?”
Dr. Kramer smiles faintly, kindly. “She grows up. There are medications that may help her and there are also schools for autism that she can go to that when she’s of age that will help her with socializing and learning at her own pace. There are many misconceptions about autism. Ellie is very bright and curious. She just doesn’t express that in ways that people have come to expect from children.”
Lexie feels as if she has just been kicked square in the chest and the wind has been knocked out of her and as Mark drives them back home from the hospital nearly an hour later of more talking with Dr. Kramer, she still feels as if she can’t breathe. Mark is silent as well, his hands tight around the steering wheel and his jaw clenches again. Lexie turns in her seat, smiling faintly at Ellie as she sits in her car seat in the back, sipping quietly on the juice box that Mark has bought her from the vending machine in the break room before they left.
“Don’t be angry,” Lexie tells Mark in a quiet voice. “That isn’t going to help.”
“Well, I don’t know how else to be right now,” he retorts back, glancing at her from the corner of his eye. “How are you feeling?”
“Like someone just shoved me into a completely dark room and locked the door,” she answers, turning back to look at Ellie. She reaches out and brushes a few strands of hair behind her ear and Ellie smiles at her. Lexie smiles back before looking at Mark. “We’re going to be okay.”
He pulls the car into the driveway of their house and shifts the gear into park but neither make a move to get out and he looks at her. “We don’t really have a choice, Lex. We have to be.”
They stare at one another for another moment before Lexie nods her head and Mark sighs heavily again. He lifts a hand to her cheek and she closes her eyes, exhaling a shaky breath. He pulls her into a hug and she holds onto him tightly, almost desperately, trying to keep herself under control but before she can stop herself, she starts to cry and Mark hugs her tighter.
Lexie goes to Barnes and Noble with Sam in one arm, resting him on her hip, and her other hand holding onto Ellie’s, and she gets nearly every single book on autism that the store has stocked on their shelves. She then takes them into the children’s section and lets Ellie pick out a book for herself. The cover of one with different colorful flowers and plants on it attracts her attention and she holds it up.
“This one?” Lexie asks, smiling. The Children’s Guide to Flora of the World.
“This one,” Ellie nods.
“Should we get something for Sam and Ally, too?”
Ellie nods and then turns, continuing down the aisle, cradling her book underneath her arm, and Lexie follows. Ellie pulls another book from off the shelf, seeing all of the different animals on the cover and spinning around, she holds it up for Lexie to see. The Animal Kingdom A-Z Encyclopedia.
“For Ally?” Lexie asks and Ellie nods. “That’s absolutely perfect for her.” Ellie smiles proudly and Lexie takes the book from her. “And what should we get for Sam?” Ellie shrugs and Lexie looks at the shelves. “How about this one?” It is a cardboard book with zippers and ties and Velcro for the baby to play with. Ellie nods and Lexie smiles again. “What would I do without you, El?” She asks and Ellie beams happily up at her.
It is almost midnight but Mark and Lexie haven’t gone to bed yet. Mark is lying stretched out on the couch, reading one of the paperback books Lexie bought, and Lexie is curled up on the loveseat, a thick medical textbook propped open in her lap. Charlie is lying next to her, keeping her feet warm, and she absentmindedly scratches his head as she reads.
Lexie lifts her head and sees Ally standing in the entryway of the living room, rubbing at one of her eyes while yawning.
“Is everything okay, Ally?” Lexie asks, closing the book and setting it aside as Ally nods, climbing onto her lap. “You should be asleep. You have school tomorrow.”
“You and daddy are still up,” Ally points out as if they didn’t know that themselves.
“We’re adults, Suzie Q. We can run on very little sleep,” Mark says as he continues reading his own book.
Ally looks at all of the books piled on the coffee table and then turns her head and looks at Lexie. “Is something wrong with Ellie?”
Lexie frowns. “Why would you think that?”
“Because you took her to the hospital and then you and daddy have been reading books ever since and daddy doesn’t read unless he’s writing one of those papers and you and daddy have been watching her for the past couple of days,” Ally informs both of them.
Lexie smiles, shaking her head slightly. Ally sometimes was far too intelligent.
“Nothing is wrong with Ellie. If there was, your daddy and me would tell you.”
Ally nods and then points to the word that is on every single one of the book covers, the word she has been seeing for the past couple of days that she doesn’t recognize.
“What is that?”
“Autism,” Mark tells her, sitting up, rolling the paperback in his hand. “Ellie has autism, Ally.”
“Is she going to die?” Ally whispers, her steel eyes glassing over with tears.
“Of course not, baby,” Lexie says, squeezing her arms around her and kissing her head. “Ellie is just fine. She just… her brain works a little differently than yours. She figures things out and see things differently than you or your daddy and me do.”
Ally nods her head again. “She likes lines. When she’s in my room, she lines all of my stuffed animals up.”
“Kids with autism like things in an order and it’s always the same order. Ellie knows what she likes already and to her, that’s how things are supposed to be,” Mark says. “She’s really going to need her big sister, Ally.”
Ally nods eagerly. “If anyone makes fun of her or makes her cry, I’ll beat them up!”
“Sounds good,” Mark smirks.
Lexie gives him an exasperated look and he smiles – his first real smile since he and Lexie had left Dr. Kramer’s office three days earlier.
“She just needs you to be there for her, Ally,” Lexie tells her. “Can you do that?”
“I can do that,” Ally says without pause and Lexie smiles, giving her another kiss on the head.
“Right now though, you need to be in bed.”
Ally slides off of Lexie’s lap and then turns to hug her, kissing Lexie on the cheek, and then goes to Mark to hug him as well. When she disappears back up the stairs, Mark reaches over and gently wrapping his fingers around Lexie’s wrist, he pulls on her, beckoning her, and she stands up, coming to sit down next to him on the couch. He rests his arm around her shoulders and she nestles into his side, sighing softly, closing her eyes.
“I love you so much,” she murmurs to him, turning her head, nuzzling her nose against his scratchy jaw.
Mark closes his own eyes, feeling her soft, warm breath exhaling onto his skin. “I love you, too, Lex. And you are one hell of a mom.”
She smiles, bringing her head back, tilting it up to look at him. “And you’re one hell of a dad. Even if you constantly encourage Ally’s inexplicable violent streak,” she teases and he smirks before lowering his mouth to hers and giving her a kiss.
“I don’t want to complain to you,” Derek shakes his head as they sit side by side at Joe’s, nursing their glasses of scotch.
“Please, Derek. I beg you,” Mark says. “I just found out my two-year-old daughter is going to probably have a very difficult life ahead of her. I need your petty distractions for a little bit.”
Derek smirks but then it fades and he sighs heavily. “I want our marriage to work. I may have quit with Addison… even before you and her… but I don’t want to quit with Meredith. She’s… Meredith.”
“So make it work,” Mark shrugs.
“Easier said than done. We are two completely different people,” Derek sighs again. “I look at you and Lexie and I think that me and Meredith can make it but some days, it seems impossible. We want such different things.”
“So you compromise. And adjust. And not give up just because it’s hard,” Mark advises. “Shit, Shep. You and me both hate to fail so why would you even consider it now? You’re right. She’s Meredith.”
Derek looks him silently for a moment. “You’ve changed.”
Mark smirks. “It took you eight years to realize that?”
Sam learns to sit up on his own and Lexie is so excited, telling her how proud she is of him, she takes a picture of him sitting in the middle of his blanket on the floor of the living room and emails it to Mark at work. Sam doesn’t understand why she is so happy but he smiles, completely hamming it up for the camera and Lexie can’t believe that at five months old, Sam already has the Sloan charm down pat.
Lexie turns thirty-two and she wakes up with Ally, Ellie and Charlie jumping onto the bed, Ally singing “Happy Birthday” as Mark stands at the foot of the bed, holding Sam. Lexie smiles, hugging and kissing Ally and Ellie and gushing and thanking them profusely for the handmade cards they present her with.
“We made you breakfast too but daddy says you have to come down to the kitchen for it because it’s too messy to bring up here!” Ally announces and Lexie laughs, looking at Mark and he smiles at her. “And we got you presents too but those are downstairs too. Daddy calls it a… a cent?” She turns to look at Mark for help.
“Incentive,” he tells her.
“Right! Incentive!” Ally exclaims, looking back at Lexie. “An incentive to get your lazy ass out of bed.”
“Sounds exactly like something your daddy would say,” Lexie smiles before shooting Mark a look but he merely smiles innocently at her.
In the kitchen, there is a bowl of Rice Krispies, the bowl overflowing with the cereal and milk, a cup of orange juice and a side of toast and bacon.
“No eggs,” Ally tells her proudly and Lexie gives all of them hugs and kisses again, unable to keep herself from crying.
Ally gives her a stuffed animal of a seal that Mark took her to the store to buy. “I wanted a northern fur seal but the store didn’t have one,” she explains.
“And why a northern fur seal?” Lexie asks.
“After the mom gives birth, she goes looking for food and when she gets back, she has to find her pup in a sea of hundreds of other seals so she and the pup will call out to one another until they meet again. Northern fur seals are the best moms.”
Lexie smiles, more tears streaming down her cheeks and she gives Ally a tight hug. “How do you know all of that?”
“Zoobooks,” Ally shrugs casually as if these are facts every person knows.
“And Ellie got these. She picked them out herself,” Mark says, handing the bouquet of daises to Ellie to hand to Lexie.
“They are so beautiful, Ellie. Thank you so much,” Lexie says and Ellie smiles before standing on the tips of her toes and Lexie picks her up, hugging her tightly.
Ally and Ellie sit down at the table for breakfast and Mark sits Sam down in his high chair but before he can sit down himself, Lexie hugs him tightly and kisses him.
“Patience, Lexie,” Mark teases her with a smirk but he kisses her again. “I’m giving you my present tonight after the kids are asleep.”