Vivian’s husband is throwing a sixty-second birthday party for her at Morton’s Steakhouse downtown and she of course invites her favorite plastic surgeon and his beautiful wife to come. She is dressed in a 1920’s inspired flapper dress and draped in diamonds, even with a diamond tiara sitting atop her head. The instant she sees Mark upon his arrival, she quickly crosses the small bar area where her party is and she gives him a tight hug before putting all of her attention on Lexie with a bright, eager smile on her face.
“Your pictures do not do you justice at all, my dear,” Vivian informs her before embracing her as well and then putting her hands on Lexie’s shoulders, she holds her at an arm-length’s away. “Yes, Mark. I definitely hate her. She is far too beautiful for it to be all natural.”
“Sorry, Viv,” Mark smirks and slips a hand onto Lexie’s lower back. “There’s never been a scalpel taken to her.”
“Despite my best efforts to get him to,” Lexie smiles and Vivian gasps, a hand fluttering to her chest.
“No, no, no, my dear. Don’t you dare change a thing about you. Your husband is absolutely right,” Vivian says, shaking her head. “Actually…” she puts her hand underneath Lexie’s chin and turns her face to the side. “Yes. Mark, I want her nose.” She then looks at Lexie. “We have to get my photographer to take a picture of you tonight so I can have a clear model.”
Lexie’s fingers go to her nose and she glances up at Mark, who is frowning.
“Vivian, I’m not giving you my wife’s nose,” he says. “What’s wrong with the nose you have now?”
“Oh, I’ve had it for so long now. Almost three years. It’s time for a change and Lexie has the absolute perfect nose. I want it,” Vivian says.
“Maybe for Christmas,” Mark smirks wryly.
“I also adore your cheekbones. They are so predominant,” Vivian comments, her fingers now on Lexie’s cheeks. She then sighs dreamily. “I envy you very much.”
“Thank you,” Lexie says unsurely because she isn’t sure what else to say. “I think you’re very beautiful as well.”
“Oh, and you’re a sweetheart,” Vivian beams and then looks at Mark. “How on earth did you manage to get this girl to marry you?”
“Nothing like a good old-fashioned brainwashing,” Mark smiles, slipping his arm around Lexie’s waist and pulling her tighter into his side, Lexie smiling up at him.
Vivian smiles as well, putting a hand over her heart. “You two are just beautiful. Lexie, dear, I have to get your picture taken tonight. You are not permitted to leave until I do. I need your nose, cheekbone implants, and possibly… mmm. Your chin.”
Mark suppresses a sigh. “We just took out your chin implant.”
“That was the wrong chin, Mark, dear. I want Lexie’s chin. She has a beautiful chin. Don’t you think she has a beautiful chin?”
Lexie almost begins laughing at the heavy sigh Mark exhales.
“Of course I think Lexie has a beautiful chin,” he says. “But that doesn’t mean I want to turn you into her clone.”
Vivian dismisses his grumbles with a wave of her hand and then takes Lexie’s hand in hers. “We must get you something to drink, dear. You are allowed to order anything you want tonight. It’s my birthday and my husband spoils me rotten when it comes to celebrating my birth.” She pulls Lexie away from Mark and slips her arm through hers. “You’re not pregnant, are you, Lexie dear?”
“Not to my knowledge,” Lexie smiles.
“Good because I have a rule at my parties. Every guest must have a drink with them at all times. Alcohol is such a huge helper in lowering people’s inhibitions and really getting a party started, don’t you think?” Vivian says, leading her over to the bar, Mark following. “Oh, I am just so happy that you both were able to come tonight. I have had many plastic surgeons in my lifetime but Mark Sloan is definitely the best.” She then moves her head closer to Lexie’s as if she is about to indulge her in some great secret. “And he knows it, too. But the man can afford to be cocky.” She looks at Mark over her shoulder. “I have plenty of guests who are very interested in meeting you tonight by the way. Be the nice, charming man I know you can be. I, of course, have never witnessed it but I’m sure your wife wouldn’t put up with you if you weren’t capable of being nice and charming occasionally.”
Mark spends the next few hours speaking with Vivian’s friends, who are all just as eccentric and interested in plastic surgery as she is, and her husband, husband number seven, just happens to be part-owner of the Seattle Mariners so Mark winds up talking baseball with the man for almost an hour.
Vivian keeps Lexie occupied for most of the party, pulling her from one friend to the next and Mark hardly is able to speak with her. Even though they sit next to one another during dinner, even then, Vivian keeps all of Lexie’s attention focused on her and Mark talks with one of her friends who is interested in calf implants.
Around midnight, the guests begin trickling out to their cars, most saying goodbye to Mark with a promise to call his office within the next week. Lexie is wearing a gold party dress with a black satin sash wrapped underneath her bodice and from the corner of his eye, Mark sees her slip her empty champagne flute onto the bar and then disappear down the hallway that leads towards the bathrooms.
Seeing that Vivian is saying goodbye to another couple of guests leaving, Mark sneaks down the hallway after Lexie, wanting to finally get a few minutes alone with her for the first time all evening.
He sees the door to the women’s bathroom being pulled open but before Lexie can step out into the hall, Mark slips his arms around her waist, hauling her body to his and she laughs, already breathless, a split second before his lips descend on hers and he guides her back into the bathroom.
The tiled wall he presses her against is cold on the skin of her back that her dress has left bare and she moans softly, one hand gripping the hairs on the back of his head while the other fists material of his suit jacket in her fingers. He kisses her as if he hasn’t done so in years and with the champagne she has drank that night, she was already feel lightheaded before Mark decided to kiss her as if he was trying to now drink her in.
She holds onto him, his kisses making her feel dizzy, and Mark holds her tightly, pressing her against the wall and one of his knees works itself between her legs, making her moan softly into his mouth.
“We have to hurry,” she murmurs. “My husband will come looking for me soon.”
Mark smirks against her mouth. “Do you usually let strange men accost you in bathrooms?”
“Just incredibly hot plastic surgeons,” she answers, smiling fully against his lips now.
“Lucky me then,” he says and then kisses her deeply, his tongue thrusting into her mouth again and swallowing the moan that bubbles from the back of her throat.
In early November, Ellie turns three and Lexie throws her a very low-key birthday party since there are only so many people that Ellie is completely comfortable around so besides the family, there is Sadie and Owen and they have chocolate cupcakes – Ellie’s favorite – and then they open presents, which takes much longer than it should because Ellie handles the wrapping paper delicately as if the paper is as much of a part of the gift as the actual present is. She doesn’t rip. She slowly peels it apart and then flattens the paper and presses it onto the kitchen table.
Sadie and Owen have gotten a present together and when Ellie opens it, seeing the complete art set for children of colored pencils, markers, crayons and paints, she gasps, her mouth in that near perfect “o” that it forms into, and then she gets up to give both of them a hug. Ally gets her a stuffed bumblebee which she also says is from Sam and Ellie hugs it tightly to her chest before giving Ally a hug.
For Mark and Lexie’s present, they have to go outside into the backyard. Owen had come over the night before to help and holding her hand, Lexie leads her across the grass to the back corner of the yard – a small area that has been fenced in with a small white picket fence and there is a small gate, which a sign is hanging from that says Ellie’s Garden. The ground has been turned up and has been separated into evenly spaced rows of dirt, each row with a small packet at the front of it to show what is planted there. A row of tulips, one of daffodils, one of alliums and the fourth of hyacinths. Ellie stares at the garden in front of her and then looks curiously up at Mark and Lexie.
Lexie smiles, kneeling down next to her. “It’s your very own garden, Ellie. And in the springtime, all of these flowers are going to bloom just for you.”
Ellie stares at her and then back at the garden, bending down and pressing her hand into a mound of dirt. She then looks at Lexie again. “Mine?”
Mark crouches down on the other side of her. “Yep, El. All yours. Your garden.”
For a moment, Lexie thinks that she still doesn’t understand and she opens her mouth to explain it again but then, Ellie suddenly throws herself against her, wrapping her arms tightly around her neck.
“Thank you, mommy,” Ellie says and Lexie smiles, her eyes brimming with tears, hugging her tightly in return. She can’t remember the last time Ellie called her that.
Ellie then kisses her on the cheek before turning and bestowing the same treatment on Mark, hugging him tightly, and Mark wraps his arms around her, standing up, picking her up with him. “Thank you, daddy,” she says in his ear and Mark squeezes her in response.
“Happy birthday, Ellie,” he says and Lexie stands up, giving her a kiss on the cheek.
Thanksgiving is at Derek and Meredith’s house as it is every year and the usual large clan of people are invited. Izzie does most of the cooking with Lexie helping out occasionally and like they keep Meredith out of the kitchen, this year, Mark and Owen make sure that Sadie stays away from the food as well.
Sam is suffering from an inner ear infection and when he starts to cry because the antibiotics Lexie gives him don’t start working right away and his ear hurts horribly, she takes him outside onto the back porch that overlooks the distant city so no one inside has to listen to a crying baby. She rocks him in her arms, making soothing shushing noises, one hand smoothing up and down his back.
“I know it hurts, Sammy. I know, baby,” she says softly, her lips in his soft baby-fine dark hair. “Just give the medicine a little to work. It won’t hurt in a little bit. I promise, Sam.”
“Mommy,” he wails, his face in her neck, his tears hot on her skin. “Ear!”
“I know, Sammy, but the medicine will help it. You just took it though so we have to give it a little bit more time,” Lexie says, keeping her voice soothing and calm.
The back door opens and turning, Lexie sees Mark step out onto the porch, holding the dirty-looking stuffed Dalmatian that Sam has had since birth and takes everywhere with him.
“Hey, Sammy,” Mark says, coming up to them, handing Sam the stuffed animal. “How are you feeling?”
“Ear,” Sam answers miserably, touching his left aching ear.
“I know, buddy, but we just got to let the medicine do its thing. Okay? As your ENT, I promise you that you are going to feel like a million bucks again soon.”
Sam nods miserably but he keeps crying, just not as loudly.
“Mark? Can you do something?” Lexie asks, still swaying her body from side to side, hoping the rocking motion is comforting Sam somewhat. “Can you see if Meredith has some milk and if some can be warmed up for him? His sip-a-cup is in the diaper bag in the kitchen.”
“You got it,” he nods and then goes back into the house, leaving Lexie and Sam alone on the back porch again.
Lexie continues trying to soothe Sam as best as she can, hating to hear any of her children in such pain.
When the back door opens again, this time it is Derek that steps out. “Mark’s heating some milk up right now,” he tells her and Lexie nods. “I remember warm milk always helped me when I was younger. And inner ear infections are the worst.”
“Derek… can you…” Lexie says, taking a step towards Derek. “Just for a minute. My baby boy is getting heavier every day.”
“Of course,” he says without hesitating and lifts Sam into his own arms, the boy resting his head on his shoulder and Derek closes his eyes, slowly beginning to sway his body back and forth like he had seen Lexie do.
Lexie watches him and smoothes a hand down Sam’s back. “You’re going to be a good father,” she tells him.
Derek looks at her. “Tell that to my wife.”
“Meredith’s just scared, Derek. I was terrified when I was pregnant with Ally.”
“Your situation was completely different,” he disagrees with a shake of his head and with some reluctance, passes Sam back into her arms. “You had just had a miscarriage and were… fragile. Meredith has no reason to be acting like this.”
“Well, maybe it will change in a few months when the baby is born. Maybe when she sees the baby for the first time and holds it, all of the doubt and fear will just go away. The instant I held Ally and Ellie and Sam… I just knew… everything was perfect,” Lexie says.
Derek stares at her and then at Sam in her arms before meeting her eyes again. He smirks slightly, almost sadly. “I hope Mark knows just how lucky he is.”
The Saturday two weeks after Thanksgiving every year, Mark and Lexie load three kids and a dog into their SUV and drive one hour east of Seattle to a tree farm to cut down their own Christmas tree. It was a tradition that Lexie had had with her family when she was younger and it had always been one she wanted with her own family.
Susan Grey had always taken Christmas seriously and now, Lexie does too. They chop down their own tree and putting it in the living room, they decorate it to the nines with strings of colorful lights and garland, of homemade ornaments and Hallmark ones that she has bought for each child. And there are precious glass ornaments that belonged to Susan that Lexie now owns that the children know not to handle and Lexie puts on the tree herself. Ally, Ellie and Sam then draw straws to see who gets to put the star on top and the one with the shortest straw, Mark will hold up in his arms so they can put it on the tree.
Putting the star on the tree, to the three Sloan children, is the greatest honor one can receive each year.
Around the holidays, the house smells of peppermint and cinnamon and the children each have their own stocking to hang on the fireplace mantel and even Charlie sports a red velvet bow around his neck during the month of December. Lexie makes sugar cookies shaped like Santa hats and Christmas trees and the three kids are able to decorate theirs however they like.
They go to the mall to get their picture taken with Santa but Ally is the only one that can do it successfully. Ellie hides behind Mark, not wanting to go near the strange man who says “Ho” too many times and who’s face is hidden behind a scratchy white beard. Sam sits on his lap too but this is his second Christmas and second time that he has cried the instant he is placed in Santa’s arms.
Every year, Ally presents her list to Mark and then helps Ellie write hers out as well, both girls flipping through the toy catalogs that come in the mail around this time of year and Mark always has to tell Ally to trim her list down after she hands him three pages of spiral notebook paper.
Lexie wants her children to have good memories of the holidays and secretly, she does it for Mark, too, who’s parents could never bother with him when he was growing up so he didn’t know about families and traditions before Lexie came along.
“The things I do for you,” Lexie murmurs to him as she crawls onto the bed wearing a sexy Santa outfit complete with very short red skirt and hat.
Mark grins, sitting comfortably, leaning back against the headboard and he watches as she straddles him, his hands instantly sliding up her thighs. “The kids have their traditions. You and me need to have ours, too.”
“So, sex on Christmas Eve with me dressed as Mrs. Claus-”
“A very naughty Mrs. Claus,” Mark adds with a smirk and mischievous gleam in his eyes, his thumbs rubbing circles on the inside of her thighs, slowly making his way upwards, pushing her skirt up around her waist as he went.
“This is our tradition?” Lexie asks even though she knows it is. This is the fourth year they have done this.
“Definitely,” he nods and slips a hand onto the back of her neck, pulling her closer until their chests are pressed together and their lips are mere centimeters apart. “Now, Mrs. Claus, why don’t you sit on my lap and tell me what you want for Christmas?”
After being woken at five o'clock the next morning by three extremely excited kids and going downstairs into their living room where there are dozens of colorfully wrapped presents and the next hour is spent with excited cries, screams and a lot of “You got it for me!” until everyone is lounging around amidst a sea of wrapping paper, bows and empty boxes.
TBS has a marathon of A Christmas Story on television and that is on in the background as the three children occupy themselves with their new toys, asking Mark and Lexie to help them put things together or show them how it works. Mark usually gets just as excited as the kids do about some hot new toy and sitting on the living room floor with them, will play with it just as much as they do.
“I brought mashed potatoes!” Sadie announces, entering the kitchen, a pot in her hands and an excited smile on her face.
“I tried to stop her,” Jeremy adds with a smile which earns him an elbow in the stomach from his wife.
“Try harder next time,” Mark tells him and then lifting the lid, looks down at the white mess in the pot. “Why are they lumpy? Mash, Sadie. The key word is mash.”
“I did mash,” she frowns. “Have you ever made mashed potatoes?”
“No,” Mark admits. “But we’re all doctors. Cooking can’t be that hard. And since you fail to remember, nee I remind you that I make a mean omelet that has helped you through plenty of hangovers?”
Every year, Lexie and Mark have Christmas dinner at their house with Owen and Sadie, and this year, Jeremy coming over. Derek, Meredith and Callie have open invitations as well but just because it is Christmas doesn’t mean the hospital is closed and they usually choose to work that day – Meredith because she hates the holidays and being at the hospital, for Derek, is the only way he can see his wife. And Callie has admitted more than once that she doesn’t feel exactly comfortable around Mark and his family – especially ever since she stupidly kissed him though that happened more than a year earlier.
The table in the dining room is covered with a red tablecloth and there are two candles lit in the middle with a poinsettia arrangement between them and they all sit down and the meal lasts at least two hours with talking and laughing and absolutely stuffing themselves on the feast that has been prepared.
Lexie loves Christmas. She always has. And she almost always cries at least once sometime during the day. She misses her mom. She wishes her dad could be there with them. She worries that her children aren’t having a good day. She is scared that Mark thinks the day is a waste of time.
She knows she is being silly but the holidays always seem to make people over-emotional and Lexie is never spared from that as Mark wipes her cheeks and tells her not to cry before kissing her.
They know something is wrong with Charlie when he begins falling up the stairs or has trouble jumping onto their bed at night and taking him to see their vet, Finn Dandridge, he informs Mark and Lexie that Charlie is losing his eyesight – which is quite common in Dalmatians.
“How old is he now?” Finn asks, shining a light in Charlie’s eyes to get a closer look at his pupils, the dog sitting there on the steel exam table, not even seeming to notice.
“We got him before we were married so… about nine and a half now,” Lexie answers.
Finn nods. “That about fits then. He’s a very healthy dog. Don’t think he isn’t. But unfortunately, this breed has lost its way over the years. After the live movie came out, everyone was buying Dalmatians and people were breeding them as quickly as possible to fill the demand without caring about bloodlines or health issues. There were hundreds of Dalmatian puppy mills popping up all over and they didn’t always breed the healthiest dogs.”
“I bought Charlie from a breeder,” Mark admits guiltily, rubbing a hand down Charlie’s back. “He seemed like he knew what he was doing.”
“Maybe he did but maybe Charlie’s mom or his dad were products of the puppy mill,” Finn answers, checking on Charlie’s teeth and then looking into his ears. “He's still in amazing shape. I bet three kids does that to him,” he smiles and then rubs behind both of his ears. “He's got a few more years in him. Just watch him closer now. He is going to be depending on his nose now to get him around.”
“He's okay now though?” Lexie asks quietly, tears beginning to sting her eyes.
She couldn’t imagine anything happening to Charlie. She couldn’t imagine not having that dog around anymore.
“He's great,” Finn smiles. “Don’t worry. Charlie is still Charlie.”
Mark nods, still rubbing a hand down the dog’s back, trying to keep calm. So Charlie was blind now. Finn says that everything else is fine. Charlie was a good, healthy dog and he was going to keep living – no matter what Mark had to do to ensure that. He and Lexie had had this dog for too long to lose him for anything. Mark isn’t going to let that happen.
The water in the bathtub is warm and gently rocks their bodies together as Lexie wraps her arms tightly around Mark’s shoulders, her mouth to his ear, each heavy exhale of breath she makes causing his body to grow hotter and harder as she lifts herself up and down in a slow, steady rhythm. Mark’s arms are wrapped around her waist, ensuring that their bodies are as tightly pressed together and not even a slip of air can fit between them.
“Mark!” Lexie gasps softly as he hits a particular nerve deep within her and she lifts herself, sinking down again with the intent of hitting that spot again.
Her fingers grip the edge of the tub and she pulls back, sitting up, both groaning as it causes him to sink as deep inside of her as possible. The water splashes a bit harder as their thrusts speed up, Mark’s fingers digging into her hips, guiding her body up and down, his own hips rising to meet her with each down movement of her thrusts.
The air is thick and heavy in the bathroom and both begin to sweat. A small bead rolls between Lexie's breasts and leaning forward, Mark licks it, causing Lexie to cry out and clench tightly around him. She bites down on her lower lip to keep from screaming as she falls apart with her orgasm and due to her tightness squeezing him torturously, it only takes a dozen more thrusts for Mark to follow, his body slamming into her one last time and he empties inside of her with shaky and slightly labored breaths.
Lexie leans forward and kisses him deeply on the lips, a kiss Mark eagerly returns, his arms wrapped around her again, still buried deep within her though both can feel him softening. When he finally slips out of her, she gives a soft moan of disappointment, convinced that it is the worst feeling in the world when their bodies are no longer connected like that. She is very thankful though that Mark has a quick recovery time. She isn’t near done with him yet that night and Mark knows it too if his smirk against her lips is any indication.