As promised, here is the fifth chapter of this story and it is kind of based on a true story. Growing up, me, my brother and sister fought like cats and dogs but we were also all extremely close and never told on one another to anyone. There was a sense of loyalty between us that we all still have. I suppose my siblings and myself are inspiration for Ally, Ellie and Sam Sloan. I hope this chapter is as well-liked as the previous four. I am having such a blast writing this story.
Also, I found this amazing piece of fanart randomly on some site of Mark and Lexie and posted it at the end of this chapter. If you know who made it, please let me know so I can give proper credit. It is exactly how I imagine Mark and Lexie in this story.
“Dr. Lexie Sloan.”
The instant she hears the man’s voice from behind her, she closes her eyes and resists the urge to shudder. She is standing outside of the hotel ballroom before the start of the lecture on Comprehensive Microsurgical Breast Reconstruction, her cell phone pressed to her ear and listening to it ring endlessly on the other end without Sadie or Jeremy or any of the children picking up. She has a feeling that that is a very bad sign. Hopefully, none of the children have been killed by Sadie.
Lexie turns, forces a polite smile, ignoring the way this man makes her skin feel as if it is literally crawling. “Dr. Neil Draper,” she says and forces herself to not turn and run when he closes the distance between them, standing far too close for her liking.
“I was wondering if you and that husband of yours would be attending this year,” he says, clasping his hands behind his back, his eyes making a point to rove up and down her body. He smirks when she crosses her arms over her chest. “Where is Mark anyway?”
“He’s around here somewhere. I’m not in charge of him,” Lexie almost rolls her eyes.
She had met Neil Draper three years earlier, before Sam was born, at a medical conference in New York. Mark and him had worked at the same hospital in the city before Mark left to come to Seattle and unfortunately for Lexie, Mark still considers Neil to be one of his friends. It is for that reason and that reason only that Lexie even tolerates being around the man even though whenever Mark isn’t looking, the man obviously is trying to imagine her naked.
“I’m actually surprised you’re here,” Neil continues. “Have you started your residency again yet or are you still a S.A.H.M.?”
Lexie almost cringed at the term. Stay at home mom. She hated how people said it as if it was something be ashamed of. “Yes. Our middle daughter has just started school in September but-”
“The autistic one, right?” Neil interrupts.
“Yes,” Lexie grinds out. “We just call her Ellie though.”
“And you have another one, right? The youngest… the boy.”
“Right, Sam,” Neil nods. “He’s how old?”
“And are you putting him in daycare or something?”
Lexie shakes her head. “I’m not comfortable doing that. Sam is used to being at home with me and he’s very attached-”
“You have to cut that umbilical cord eventual, Lexie,” Neil laughs and Lexie’s hands tighten around her cell phone, not really wanting to punch a man, not caring that he is Mark’s friend but being more concerned with assaulting another doctor in front of fellow colleagues. That might not go over too well.
“Draper!” Mark exclaims.
“Sloan,” Neil grins and the two men shake hands.
Mark stands next to Lexie, his arm instantly winding around her waist like it always does, his hand resting on her hip. It is a subtle move, one that lets everyone within the vicinity know that she belongs to him. Lexie knows that she should hate him claiming her as if she is his property but truth be told, even after all of these years, it still gives her a flutter in her stomach.
“I was just talking with your beautiful wife about those kids of yours,” Neil says.
“At least I’m pretty sure they’re mine,” Mark smirks. “Lexie claims they are.”
Lexie can’t help but smile. “They are just like you, Mark, and you know it.”
Mark opens his mouth to respond but Lexie’s phone begins to vibrate between her hands and she quickly looks down at the caller i.d. to see who it is. She takes a deep breath, preparing herself for the worst.
“It’s Sadie,” she tells him and then flipping open the phone, she steps away from the men to try and speak with her privately. “Hi, Sadie. How is everything?” She asked and she was surprised to hear how quiet it was on the other end of the phone.
Sadie sighs heavily. “Ally is in the living room, watching television and Sam had a sugar high but he has now passed out for a nap and Ellie…” she pauses. “Ellie is under the bed in the upstairs guest room and refuses to come out.”
“Oh,” Lexie smiles. “That’s alright.”
“Yes. She crawls under her bed at home, too. Ally calls it her treasure cave. She hides things under there and will sometimes be there for hours.”
Sadie releases a heavy sigh of relief. “Oh, thank god.” She is standing in the kitchen, staring out the window above the sink, watching as the rain falls down in heavy torrents, pounding down and not looking as if it is going to let up anytime soon. She wishes it would. She had hoped that at least during the weekend, the children would be able to play outside and lose some of that seemingly endless energy. “How’s the conference so far?”
“It’s alright,” Lexie shrugs. “I’m just about to go into another lecture. I just… I’m worried. About the kids. And you.”
“Me?” Sadie can’t help but laugh slightly. “I think I’m doing pretty damn good.”
“No, no. You are. You definitely are,” Lexie rushes to assure her. “I know though how big of a handful they can be and I will never be able to thank you enough-”
“Just stop, Lexie,” Sadie jumps in. “Don’t thank me until tomorrow afternoon when you come back and see that all three children are alive. And hopefully well,” she adds and Lexie laughs slightly, nodding her head.
Upstairs, Ellie is underneath the bed, lying on her back, staring up at the mattress springs above her. Sam is lying next to her, sound asleep, having run around the house for almost an hour after eating the chocolate donut before he crawled underneath the bed to join his sister and promptly fell asleep. That was almost forty minutes earlier. Ellie hasn’t moved in that time. Even though she has to go to the bathroom, is hungry and Dodger crawled underneath the bed as well and licked at her elbow, which tickled, she hasn’t moved and continues staring up at the springs.
She likes it under here. She knows Uncle Jeremy and Aunt Sadie but they aren’t her mom and dad and they don’t do things right. Their towels in the bathroom are the wrong color. The water here tastes weird when she wants a drink at night. Aunt Sadie doesn’t sing like her mommy does when she is combing her hair. The blankets on the bed are too scratchy. Everything here is wrong and Ellie can’t stand it.
She misses Lexie and she doesn’t understand where she is. She said that she and daddy would come back but where were they? Shouldn’t they be back by now? Haven’t they been gone long enough? Ellie doesn’t like it here and she wants to go home. She doesn’t want to be here anymore.
The light blue cotton skirt of the bed is lifted and Ally pokes her head underneath the bed with a smile. “Hey, Elle. Whatcha doing?” She crawls under to join her, lying down on the other side of her. “Did you bring any of your treasures with you?”
Ellie nods and reaching into the front pouch of the pink GAP fleece hooded sweatshirt, she pulls out a small ivory elephant carving with a chipped tusk that Lexie had found for her when she had gone antique shopping one day with Sadie. It was just like the one from The Secret Garden, Ellie’s favorite movie.
“That’s my favorite,” Ally says and Ellie nods again, this time in agreement before tucking it away safely again in the pouch pocket. “Aunt Sadie is making lunch. I told her that you like peanut butter and banana sandwiches and I showed her how to cut up the banana so you have six evenly spaced slices. Mommy made her a list but I wanted to make sure that she got it.”
“Thank you,” Ellie says softly.
Ally is quiet for a moment and then turns her head to look at her. “It’s just for a little bit longer, Ellie. I promise. I know you don’t like it here.”
Sam stirs on the other side of Ellie, slowly waking up. “I’m hungry,” he declares.
Ally rolls her eyes. “You’re always hungry.”
Lifting his head carefully so not to hit the mattress above them, Sam leans over Ellie and slugs Ally in the thigh with his fist.
“Don’t hit me, Sam!” She exclaims, leaning over Ellie to smack Sam on his own thigh. “And don’t lean over Ellie to hit me!”
“You’re not the boss of me!” Sam yells back, hitting her again.
“Yes, I am! I’m older!” Ally shouts, now pushing him.
“Just wait until I’m older! You won’t be older forever!”
“You’re an idiot!”
And as they continue hitting one another with Ellie literally in the middle, Sam accidentally brings down his fist too soon and punches Ellie right in the lower lip. All three Sloan children instantly freeze and Sam’s eyes widen as he sees blood slowly begin to seep from the bottom lip and start trailing down her chin. Ellie is too stunned to do anything except slowly lift her fingertips and touch where she feels the blood. Ally snatches her hand away though.
“Don’t touch it, Ellie. We have to clean it up,” Ally says.
“Ellie, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry,” Sam insists, his eyes welling with tears. “I didn’t mean to hit you. You know I didn’t mean to hit you.”
Ellie still won’t make a sound and she stares up at Ally as Ally peers in closely, inspecting the bleeding, and now swelling, lip herself.
“Daddy and mommy are gonna be so mad at me!” Sam is now wailing but he instantly quiets himself when Ally leans over and slaps a hand over his mouth.
“Shut up, Sammy. You have to shut up. I have an idea but we all have to work together and mommy and daddy and Aunt Sadie don’t have to know. Okay?”
Sam nods his head, his eyes still wide, her hand still pressed against his mouth.
“Ellie, are you okay?” Ally asks and Ellie nods her head, still not making a sound. She pulls her hand away from Sam’s mouth. “We’re going to go into the bathroom across the hall and we’re going to be quiet. Okay?” Sam nods again as does Ellie. Ally takes a deep breath. “Okay. Let’s go.”
She slides out from under the bed first, followed by Ellie and then Sam. Dodger gets out as well, shaking himself out and then stretching his body before trotting after them as they slowly tiptoe from the bedroom. Ally pokes her head out the door, looking up and down the hallway, making sure the coast is clear before quickly and quietly ushering Ellie and Sam into the bathroom, Dodger edging himself in as well. She shuts and locks the door firmly behind them and then turns on the water in the sink to try and muffle some of their sounds.
Ally closes the toilet lid. “Sit there, Ellie,” she orders and then looks at Sam. “Get me that washcloth.” Sam instantly obeys, grabbing it from the bathtub as Ally begins opening cabinets and drawers, looking for a box of Band-Aids.
“Here, Ally,” Sam says.
Taking the washcloth, she makes sure that the water flowing from the tap is as cold as possible before wetting it and then turning towards Ellie. “Okay, Elle. Tilt your head up. This is going to be really cold but it will help with the swelling and should numb it before it starts to really hurt. Okay?”
Ellie nods and doesn’t even gasp or flinch as Ally gently presses the cold washcloth to her still bleeding lip.
“Hold that there,” Ally tells her and then begins her search for bandages again.
Opening the two cabinet doors underneath the sink, Ally gets down on her knees and with Dodger getting next to her, both sticking their heads underneath the sink, Dodger sniffing and Ally sifting and searching.
“What’s this?” Sam asks, reaching into an open box next to Ally’s hand and pulling out a narrow tube wrapped in white plastic. “It looks like a bubblegum cigar.”
Ally looks at what he is holding and then at the box he took it out of. She isn’t exactly sure what it is but she knows that Lexie has the same box underneath the sink in hers and Mark’s bathroom at home. She does know though that those aren’t toys and with an impatient sigh, she snatches it from Sam’s hand and returns it to the box he took it from that says Tampax.
“Sam, help me find Band-Aids.” Feeling the cell phone in the pocket of the wool buttoned sweater she is wearing, she grabs Sam’s hand, stopping him. “Wait.” She pulls the phone out and sees that it is Mark calling. “It’s daddy. Talk to him and I’ll find the Band-Aids.”
Sam takes the phone but he doesn’t say anything, audibly gulping as he looks at Dad flashing across the small screen on the front of the phone. “He knows. He’s calling ‘cause he knows-”
“Sammy!” Ally snaps. “Answer. The. Phone.”
He flips open the phone and grins widely. “Hi, daddy!” Sam exclaims.
“Hey, buddy. What are you up to?” Mark asks, one hand in his pants pocket as he walks up and down the hallway outside the ballroom. He had been bored with the lecture and had told Lexie had needed to go to the bathroom. He isn’t in any hurry to get back in there. “I was thinking Ally would pick up.”
“I stole her phone,” Sam says with a shrug.
“What are you guys doing?”
“Nothing!” Sam answers too quickly and Mark immediately picks up on it.
“What are you doing, Sam?” Mark asks again.
Ally finally finds the box of Band-Aids and taking three out, she rips the paper away and going to Ellie, she pulls the washcloth away, wiping at some of the blood that has smeared on her chin.
“Open your mouth,” she says softly and Ellie does, remaining perfectly still as Ally carefully puts the bandage on, folding it over into the inside of her lip. “Good?”
Ellie nods, closing her mouth again.
“Sam, what are you and your sisters doing?” Mark asks again, his voice more stern and Sam knows that it is his serious tone – the “don’t mess around” tone.
“We’re just playing,” Sam answers. “I swear.”
Ally opens her own mouth and puts one of the Band-Aids on her lip, looking into the mirror as she does so, making sure it’s in the same general area as Ellie’s is. She then turns and signaling to Sam to open his mouth, she puts the last Band-Aid on his lip, taking a step back to assess her handy work before nodding her head. She then takes the phone from Sam.
“Hi Daddy,” she smiles.
“What’s going on, Ally?” Mark asks, frowning deeply, his paternal instincts on high. He knows those kids. They’re his kids and he knows without a doubt that they are up to something. Something bad. “What’s that water in the background?”
Ally instantly turns and shuts the water off in the sink. “We’re playing in the bathroom,” she explains as close to the truth as possible.
“Why not?” She challenges back.
“Don’t bullshit a bullshitter, Susan Alexandra Sloan,” Mark warns her though he and Lexie do their best to not curse around the children, especially Ally since at nine-years-old, she already has a mouth on her. “What are you doing in the bathroom?”
“Kids?” Sadie’s voice comes from the other side of the locked bathroom door as she knocks on it.
Sam’s eyes widen as he spins to look at Ally. “We’re stuck!” He hisses.
“Lunch is ready,” Sadie says, knocking again. “Who’s in there?”
Mark sighs heavily. “Put your aunt on the phone, Ally.”
With a matching heavy sigh, Ally reluctantly unlocks the door and opens it, Sadie freezing upon seeing all Sloan children with Band-Aids on their lips. “What the-”
“My dad wants to talk to you,” Ally informs her, holding the phone out to her.
Sadie is still confused as she puts the phone to her hear. “Mark?”
“What are you looking at right now?” He asks without any other greeting.
“All three of your children are wearing Band-Aids on their lips,” she says.
He sighs again. “That means one of them is hurt and the other two are trying to cover it up.”
“Really?” Sadie frowns.
“Yeah. This is what they do. They’ve done this before. They’re always covering and hiding for each other. Especially Ally and Sam.”
He scratches the back of his head. The door to the ballroom opens and he watches as Lexie slips out, her eyes instantly landing upon him and she begins towards him, hugging the folder of information that had been handed out at the beginning of the lecture to her chest. Her smile fades however when she sees the frown on his face and the phone to his ear.
“My god,” Sadie shakes her head and then sighs. “Alright. I’ll take care of this. Anything else?”
“Not at the moment. We’ll call again after lunch.”
When Mark slaps his phone shut, he looks at Lexie and can’t help but smirk.
“What?” She asks.
He doesn’t answer immediately. Instead he slides his arms around her waist, hauling her body tightly pressed to his and lowers his mouth to hers, giving her a kiss, his tongue instantly slipping into her mouth, making her moan softly. One of his hands lifts to the back of her neck, keeping her lips firmly formed to his and slowly turning her, he pins her to the wall behind her, not caring that they are standing in the hallway outside the ballroom and anyone can walk past them and see their unforeseen make-out session.
“Mmmmm,” Lexie moans softly with a faint smile across her face when they separate for air. “That was nice.”
He smirks. “What are you doing out here?”
“I can’t stare at another before and after shot of surgically enhanced breasts. And I can’t sit next to Neil anymore,” she says. “How are the kids?”
He kisses her again, pressing her harder against the wall, Lexie instantly melting into his embrace, holding the folder in one arm as she lifts the other around his neck.
“I can’t believe you seriously think about having another one,” Mark tells her against her lips before kissing her once more.
“Well, stop kissing me like that so I won’t think about it anymore,” she frowns.
He laughs slightly, softly, his lips brushing against hers. “Do you know how many kids we would have if every time we had sex, we had a kid because of it?”
She smiles. “Hundreds.”
“Are you kidding? It’s at least over a thousand.”
“That is a lot of sex,” Lexie says, her eyes falling shut as his mouth drags across her jawline, his scruffy beard scratching deliciously at her skin.
One of his hands drops down to her thigh and begins pushing the hem of her dress up slightly. “How about we go up to the room and make it a thousand and one?”
She laughs slightly. “We have that rhinoplasty lecture in an hour. We’d be cutting it very close.”
“I promise we can be quick.”
That makes her laugh again and she kisses him, still smiling against his lips. “Now that’s the way to convince me to go upstairs with you.”
Mark smirked and then sighed as if he was agreeing to some torturous chore. “Fine. I promise to spend the next few hours ravishing every inch of your body.”
He smiles when she laughs but when he goes in for another kiss, she pulls her head back, keeping her lips away from his.
“First… tell me what’s going on with our kids,” she says.
“You mean the only three kids we’re ever having?” He asks and laughs slightly when she rolls her eyes at him. “I told Sadie we would call her after lunch.”
“What’s going on?”
He shakes his head, leaning in again to kiss her. “You’re right. They’re definitely my kids.”
In the bathroom, Sadie looks at all of them closely and sighs upon seeing Ellie’s swollen lip behind the Band-Aid.
“What happened?” She asks though she honestly isn’t expecting an answer from any of them and she is right in assuming that. All three Sloan children remain silent. “Come on, Ellie. Let’s go downstairs and get that cleaned up.”
Ellie nods and slides off the toilet.
“Are you guys hungry?” Sadie asks as they all leave the bathroom and head down the stairs for the kitchen. “I think I have lunch all ready. Uncle Jeremy and Uncle Owen had to run out and get a couple more things from the store but they should be back any minute and then we can all eat.”
“I’m hungry!” Sam exclaims eagerly.
Ally rolls her eyes. “You’re always hungry,” she says, thus starting the initial fight between them all over again.