I think this story is going to have eight chapters so we are almost done with this one. This chapter is not as humorous as the past couple have been but there is some attention on Ellie, appearances from both Owen and Jeremy, and Mark on the verge of being pissed off and possessive - which is always fun. I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend. Happy Monday!
“Does that hurt?” Sadie asks as she dabs the cotton ball of hydrogen peroxide on the split lip. Ellie is sitting on the kitchen counter with Sadie standing before her and when she asks the question, Ellie shakes her head, glancing off to the side, not liking to meet anyone’s eyes for a long period of time. “Let me know if that hurts, alright?” Sadie says and Ellie nods this time as Sadie continues cleaning up the cut.
The rain is still pouring outside, pounding down on the roof above them and Sadie is beginning to feel a headache coming on. Ally and Sam have already eaten their lunches and are now in the living room with Jeremy and Owen, playing a game of Twister, their shouts and laughter echoing throughout the house and with that as well as the Stevie Wonder cd playing on the stereo, there is a lot of noise to get used to – especially when hers and Jeremy’s house is normally so quiet.
She honestly doesn’t understand how Mark and Lexie do this every single day. Sadie loves those three kids to death but they are completely exhausting and have to have an eye kept on them at all times.
Ally can be a little troublemaker. She always has been. Together with her best friend, Brandon, their nickname is Bonnie and Clyde. They always seem to be getting into something or other. Neither are bad children. They just are adventurous and fearless and it seems as if Sam is following in his oldest sister’s footsteps.
Sam can be just like Lexie one minute and just like Mark the next. He is a mama’s boy and his dad’s little buddy. He loves going to football games with his dad and helping Lexie in the kitchen when she makes dinner. He is a little spoiled – though all of the Sloan children are – but not only is Sam the youngest, but he is the only boy and though he knows what he can and cannot do when Mark and Lexie are concerned, Aunt Sadie knows that he is trying to take advantage of her. And he is at that toddler stage where he gets into absolutely everything.
And then there is Ellie. She is a complete mystery to Sadie and she wonders if Mark and Lexie ever get frustrated because honestly, who is Ellie? She is quiet, practically silent, and she only speaks when spoken to and even then sometimes, she will only use nods or shakes of her head to communicate. She likes everything a certain way and she doesn’t adjust well to change – especially when Mark and Lexie aren’t around to help her through it. Ellie is beautiful though and she has such a gentle way about her – the complete opposite of Ally and Sam. They are loud and energetic and love being the center of the attention. Ellie is like the calm of the storm.
“Don’t tell anyone this, Ellie,” Sadie whispers. “But I am absolutely exhausted.” She dabs a bit more of the hydrogen peroxide onto the cotton ball and continues cleaning her lip, wanting to make sure that it is completely disinfected. “Do you miss your mommy and daddy?” Ellie nods her head. “I know you do. But they’ll be home soon.”
“When?” Ellie asks softly.
“Tomorrow. I promise,” Sadie says and Ellie finally looks at her again. She has Mark’s sharp blue eyes but her face is all Lexie. All of the Sloan children have Mark’s eyes but Ally and Sam are a mixture of both parents. Sadie has seen pictures of Lexie when she was a little girl and Ellie could pass as her sister. “Do you want to call them?” She asks and Ellie stares at her for a moment before breaking out into that rare bright smile of her and she nods her head quickly and eagerly.
In their hotel room, Lexie laughs quietly as Mark slides his hands up her legs, pushing her dress up as he does, exposing inch after inch of pale smooth skin. He presses a kiss to one of her knees and his beard tickles her, making her laugh, making him smile against her as he slowly begins trailing his lips up her thigh.
“How do you talk me into doing this?” She asks him. “I wanted to go to that rhinoplasty lecture.”
He smirks, lifting his head, looking at her. “You would rather go look at nose jobs than do this? I’m a little insulted.”
She laughs again, shifting her head on the pillow so she can look at him better. “Oh, please. You are thinking of this as a challenge now. I know you, Mark.”
“A challenge?” His lips go to her other knee, brushing against it, tickling her again.
“A challenge to make me forget all about rhinoplasty lectures,” she smiles and he smirks again, sliding his hands to the inside of her thighs, pushing them open, and she gasps as he nips at a patch of her skin.
He chuckles. “Challenge accepted,” he murmurs and she laughs again though it comes out more like a shaky exhale of breath and she drops her hands to his head, tunneling her fingers through his grey locks, gripping a few.
“Mark,” Lexie exhales as he spreads her legs just a little bit wider so he can put his head between them and she moans softly. “Mark, wait. Stop.”
“Stop?” He frowns, lifting his eyes at her sudden change of mood.
“Stop. The phone…”
And now that she has said it, Mark can hear her cell phone ringing on the bed next to them. Lexie reaches out to grab it but Mark snatches her hand.
“Don’t even think about it,” he tells her.
“But it’s Sadie’s ring,” Lexie sighs and Mark groans with frustration, pulling away from her but just enough to rest his head on her knee as she flips open the phone, still feeling slightly out of breath. “Hi, Sadie,” she greets, still tunneling her fingers of one hand through Mark’s hair.
“Hey. Someone wants to talk to you,” Sadie informs her and then there is a moment of silence.
“Hi, mommy,” Ellie’s soft voice fills her ear and Lexie instantly smiles widely.
“Hi, Ellie! Oh, it is so good to hear from you. How are you?”
“Yeah? Are you having fun with your Aunt Sadie and Uncle Jeremy?” Lexie asks.
“No,” Ellie says in her blunt manner and Lexie cannot help but laugh.
“I promise that your daddy and me are going to be there tomorrow to pick you up and you will be back in your own home before you know it.” Lexie sits up slightly. “I miss you so much, Ellie.”
Ellie is quiet for a nearly a full thirty seconds and Lexie listens to her breathe. She then lets out a tiny sigh.
“I want you to come home, mommy.”
Lexie manages to keep the smile on her face though she felts her heart twist in her chest at her daughter’s words. “Tomorrow, Ellie. Tomorrow will be here before you know it. Do you want to talk to your daddy?”
“Yes,” Ellie nods.
“I love you so much, Ellie.” Lexie pushes herself up on her elbows and extends the phone to Mark. “Ellie wants to talk to you.”
That makes Mark smile and he sits up, taking the phone from her. “Hey, Ellie bean.”
“Hi, daddy,” Ellie greets softly. “Tomorrow?”
“Tomorrow. As soon as the plane lands, we are coming to get you,” Mark assures her. He lays back down, his head resting on Lexie’s stomach and she begins running her fingers through his hair again. “What have you been doing today?” He asks though he knows she won’t answer. If he asked Ally or Sam, he would be listening for the next ten minutes as they jabber on. But Ellie isn’t Ally or Sam and it has taken Mark a few years – ever since her diagnosis of autism – to get used to that.
“You want to hear what I’ve been doing?” He may be on the phone but he can hear her nodding. “I went to this lecture this morning on extreme head and neck reconstructive surgery and I was able to hear about all of these new state of the art techniques that can treat extreme defects that I am going to use in my practice.”
“Is it fun?” Ellie asks and Mark smiles because she is showing curiosity and that is always a good thing to see or hear.
She has only been in the Explorer Academy, a private school in Seattle for autistic children, since the beginning of September and it is now only the second week of November, but already, Mark and Lexie can see the slightest changes in Ellie. With their permission, the school therapist, who meets with each student twice a week for forty-five minutes sessions, has begun using the Tomatis Method on her, which uses sound, mostly music, to help realign the mind and body. Lexie and Mark have both read several books on the subject and found that it has benefited people with ADD, ADHD as well as children with autism.
They know it isn’t going to cure her. She is always going to have autism but they are willing to do almost anything to help her. Mark was weary at first, not understanding how listening to music is supposed to help, but he will admit that he can see the small changes. She doesn’t scream, for one, at loud noises anymore.
“I am having a lot of fun. Your mom is too,” Mark nods. “But we miss you and your brother and sister.”
“Is that mommy?” Sam’s voice can suddenly be heard. “Let me talk!”
“Your sister is talking to your parents right now,” Sadie says. “Wait your turn, Sam.”
“I want to talk to them!” Sam exclaims.
“Bye, daddy,” Ellie says quietly.
“Ellie, you don’t-” Mark sighs.
“Hi!” Sam greets loudly into the phone.
“Hey, Sammy,” Mark says, sitting up. “Your sister was talking on the phone.”
“I know but she gave it to me because her lip is hurting and Aunt Sadie still has to put a Band-Aid on it.”
Mark sighs heavily. “How did Ellie’s lip get hurt?”
“I don’t know,” Sam answers quickly – too quickly which means that he knows exactly how Ellie’s lip got hurt.
And Mark almost smirks because Sam sounds just like him in that moment.
“Are you being good?” Mark asks.
“Do you think you want a souvenir from mommy and me when we get back?”
“Yep!” Sam exclaims, nearly jumping up and down with excitement. “Yes!”
“Mark,” Lexie whispers. “We have to get going. The rhinoplasty lecture starts in ten minutes and then we have lunch.”
Mark nods, watching her as she gets off the bed and then crosses the room to stand in front of the full length mirror hanging on the wall next to the bathroom door, straightening her hair and dress.
“Sammy, we got to get going, okay? Call us if you need anything,” Mark says, also standing up from the bed.
“Okay! Love you daddy!” And then the line goes dead.
Mark slaps the phone shut and hands it back to Lexie. “Ellie doesn’t sound good.”
Lexie sighs softly. “She’s sad and she misses us.” She slips the phone into her purse and taking it and the room key, she opens the door to their hotel room, stepping out into the hallway, Mark following her.
“Is it wrong of me to say that it makes me happy to hear that she misses us?” He asks her, his hand sliding onto the small of her back as they walk down the hallway towards the elevators.
Lexie tilts her head up to look at him, giving him a faint, almost sad, smile. “I know exactly what you mean.”
Jeremy can’t help but choke on the mouthful of water, in the middle of laughing, as Ally begins dancing, soon joined by Sam, their sock-clad feet slipping on the Twister mat still spread out on the floor. Ally has been flipping through their cd collection and found The Best of 90s Dance Music and after putting it in the cd player, “Come Baby Come” by K7 begins playing loudly through the speakers.
The two dance, laughing, and Jeremy sits on the couch, watching them, laughing as they each try to outdo one another with their dance moves. Dodger stands up on his hind legs and Ally holds his front paws, laughing as she begins dancing with him, his tail wagging the entire time and his tongue hanging out of his mouth.
Ellie comes into the living room, the bleeding having stopped and a Band-Aid no longer needed, from the kitchen and instead of dancing with Ally and Sam, she climbs onto the imported leather armchair from Naples and watches instead. Sadie comes in as well and putting a hand on Jeremy’s shoulder, she bends down, putting her mouth to his ear.
“I’m going to go lay down for a little bit,” she tells him and then without looking at him, she leaves the room, heading up the stairs, a hand on her forehead.
Jeremy watches her and then looks at Owen, who is sitting on the other end of the couch, used to seeing the Sloan children dance and is watching the television instead.
“I’ll be right back,” Jeremy says and then getting up from the couch, he follows after Sadie, finding her in their bedroom upstairs, lying across the bed. “What is it?”
“I have a headache,” Sadie answers, her eyes closed. “And unless I drink an entire pot of coffee or snort some blow, I feel like I am about to fall over asleep.”
Jeremy smirks, sitting down on the side of the bed and moving her head, she rests it on his thigh. “Just twenty-four more hours.”
She smiles, her eyes remaining closed and just feeling the warmth of his body, she begins to slowly drift off to sleep. “A lot can happen in twenty-four hours.”
“It hasn’t been that bad,” he shrugs. “I was expecting it to go a lot worse.”
Both Jeremy and Sadie stiffen for a second upon hearing the sound of something breaking from the floor below and then Sadie can’t help but laugh slightly, tiredly, and rolling away from him, she rests her head on her pillow, more than prepared to take an afternoon nap that will hopefully last until tomorrow when Mark and Lexie come and pick their brood up.
“You can clean that up,” she lets him know.
When Jeremy goes downstairs again, he finds Sam and Owen in the kitchen, Owen kneeling down and making sure that Sam doesn’t step on any of the broken glass from the one Sam has accidentally dropped onto the floor.
“Do you want to know something?” Owen asks and Sam nods his head, looking miserable. “When your mom and dad bought the house you live in, me and your Aunt Sadie helped them move in and do you know what your Aunt Sadie did?” Sam shakes his head and Owen smiles at him. “She dropped an entire box of glasses that your mom and dad had just bought, breaking every single one of them.”
Sam slowly breaks into a smile. “Really?”
“Really. Your dad was already tired because your mom could not decide where she wanted to put the couch so me and him were moving it everywhere and then your Aunt Sadie broke that box.” Owen finishes picking up the last of the glass. “Your dad hates moving.”
Sam grins widely at that. “Daddy told mommy that we need a bigger house.”
Owen shakes his head slightly. “I can’t imagine you guys not living there.”
“Mommy got really upset and said that daddy bought her that house and she doesn’t want to move,” Sam continues. “My daddy makes a lot of money.”
“Your dad’s one of the best at what he does.”
“The best!” Sam corrects him and Owen smiles, nodding his head.
“The best,” he rectifies himself. “There, Sammy. All cleaned up. No harm, no foul.”
Jeremy enters the kitchen from having been standing in the doorway and he goes to the cabinet, taking down another glass. “What did you want, Sam?”
Jeremy pours him a glass and then hands it to the boy, Sam gripping the cup in both of his hands as he takes a gulp, some of the milk dribbling down his chin and onto his shirt.
“Uncle Jeremy?” Ally says, coming up behind him and tugging on his shirt. “I was dancing and not paying attention and Dodger had an accident behind the couch.”
Jeremy suppresses a sigh, knowing that it isn’t the dog’s fault. It is pouring outside and he hasn’t been able to have a good, long time outside all day. “Number one or number two.”
“Um…” Ally glances away. “One and two. Please don’t be mad at him, Uncle Jeremy. He didn’t know. He’s just as confused with being here and it’s raining outside and he is used to being outside all of the time. He isn’t like Charlie. Charlie was a good dog-”
“Dodger is a fine dog. He may be fully grown but he’s still a puppy. I know that, Ally,” Jeremy calmly reassures her. “You get the paper towels. I’ll get the spray and the plastic bag.” And then he quickly adds, “Don’t tell your Aunt Sadie.”
“A few of our old friends are going out for drinks tonight after dinner and I am going to ask Sloan to come along,” Neil says, coming up behind her as she slowly moves through the lunch buffet line that has been set up in one of the ballrooms. “Is he allowed to come out or does he have to ask you for permission?”
Lexie sighs heavily, not looking at him. “Mark can do whatever he wants. I don’t keep him on a chain.”
“Hmm. Kinky,” Neil smirks and Lexie nearly shudders. “I just know that my friend isn’t the guy I used to know and he hasn’t been ever since you traipsed into his life.”
“I didn’t traipse.”
Neil grabs one of the plates and begins helping himself to one of the salads. “I get why he’s with you. Besides the whole nailing a chick so much younger than him, you’re hot as hell. I would probably put up with you for a while.” Lexie is holding onto her plate so tightly, her knuckles are turning white and she is nearly gritting her teeth together. “Mark and I have both slept with our fair share of girls though so when he told me he got married, I couldn’t believe it. Mark Sloan would never get married. And then when I met you, yeah, you look good but come on. I couldn’t figure it out what you had that pulled him in for good.”
Lexie knows that Neil doesn’t like her just like she cannot stand him and she knows what he is doing. He is trying to piss her off and provoke her and she knows that she shouldn’t give him the satisfaction but this one man can infuriate her like no other. She knows that he is Mark’s friend and Mark likes him but all Lexie wants to do is turn around and slap him right across the face.
“I know Mark used to like his girls tight as hell but after popping out like three kids, I can’t imagine you being tight anymore.” Neil pauses. “Maybe he’s getting it from somewhere else. I can help him pick some chick up tonight at the bar if he wants.”
Lexie storms from the line, his chuckle in her ears, and slamming her plate down on the nearest table, she rushes through the ballroom towards the doors. She definitely has lost her appetite for a while.
“Lexie,” Mark says, having just returned from the bathroom, and he grabs her arm as she walks right past him. “Lex, hey.” He instantly sees how angry she is. “What is it?”
Lexie pulls her arm from his grasp, not wanting to be around anyone at the moment, Mark included. “Why don’t you ask Neil? I know how good of a friend you consider him to be even though I would rather deal with Derek any day over that man.”
“What?” Mark frowns, confused. “What did Draper say?”
“I am not even going to repeat it.” She shakes her head.
“Was it about you?” His eyes begin to harden.
Lexie sighs, tucking strands of hair behind her ears before crossing her arms over her chest. “I…” she sighs again. “I have to go. That man makes me want to take a shower.”
Mark grabs her arm again though before she can walk away. “What did he say?”
“No. I am not telling you. Neil Draper is your friend-”
“And you’re my wife. There really isn’t a choice here, Lex. Tell me what he said.”
“Why? So you can punch him in front of all of your colleagues?”
“So it’s bad enough where I would punch him,” Mark concludes.
“I just… I know you. A guy even glances at me and you want to punch him.”
Mark clenches his jaw tightly for a moment before turning his head, trying to find Neil in the crowded ballroom. He then looks back at Lexie. “Was he hitting on you?”
“It doesn’t matter.”
“What are you- of course it matters, Lexie,” Mark says, his fingers tightening ever so slightly around her arm. “What did he say to you?”
Lexie stares at him for a moment. “How long have you known him? Twenty years? How long have we been married? Ten. He’s been your friend-”
“None of that factors into this.” Mark shakes his head and then with one more glance towards the rest of the ballroom, he pulls her out into the hallway, the door closing shut behind them and he guides her towards the double doors at the end that lead into the hotel pool area. He stops them and he faces her, crossing his arms over his chest. “Now tell me everything he said.”