I hope everyone had a fantastic 4th of July who celebrates it. I ate too much as usual and my brother, sister and I were out in the alleyway shooting fireworks off until midnight. I love this holiday.
Please check out the next set of vignettes for me and let me know what you think. As always, drop me a comment to let me know what you like (or hate) and also, suggestions are always welcome. Thank you very much and I hope everyone has an excellent day. Now, I am running off to Target!
The house is clean from top to bottom and has the faintest hint of lemon scented dust spray and vanilla air freshener. Everything is dusted and vacuumed and polished, there are fresh flowers on the coffee and dining room tables, and there is a fresh pot of coffee brewing in the kitchen. Mark and Lexie sit on the couch with the principal of Explorer Academy, Karen Mathis, sitting on the loveseat and the president of the school’s board, Michael Crane, sitting in the leather armchair. Ellie is in front of Mark and Lexie, bending over the coffee table, drawing a picture.
“Eleanor is three years old now, correct?” Michael asks, a pen in his hand, ready to scribble down more notes in the notepad in his lap.
“Yes,” Lexie nods. “Ellie will be turning four on November 10th.”
“And when was she diagnosed with her autism?”
“Just after her second birthday,” Mark answers this time.
“And I see that you have two other children,” Michael says, looking down at the application Mark and Lexie have filled out. “Susan and Samuel.”
“Ally is turning eight in the beginning of June and Sam is turning two at the end of that same month,” Lexie says, folding and unfolding her hands nervously in her lap.
“And I am sure all of your children have different interests,” Karen speaks up. “Do you have difficulty keeping up with all of them?”
Mark shakes his head. “No,” he says without adding anything further.
“With three children, Mark and I have become experts at juggling and we live by schedules,” Lexie furthers.
“And has Eleanor shown any interests in things yet? I notice that she doesn’t talk,” Michael says.
“No… she will talk if we ask her to say something or if she hears a word she doesn’t recognize but wants to try,” Lexie explains. “And she loves to color and is actually fascinated with flowers. We built her own garden in the backyard.”
“Really?” Karen asks with raised eyebrows. “We have gardens on the grounds that we allow some of our students to tend to.”
“Oh, Ellie would love that,” Lexie smiles, reaching out and running a hand through Ellie’s hair and she smiles wider when Ellie turns and gives her a smile over her shoulder. “Mark and I have been researching all of the schools in the city and we feel that the Explorer Academy is the best fit for Ellie. We feel that if she goes to a school that will give her the attention she needs, she will be able to flourish.”
“Well, Dr. Sloan is a pillar in the Seattle community and has the respect of many parents of students at the school as well as members on the board,” Michael states with a slight nod of his head in Mark’s direction. “And from our individual interview with her, your daughter is a beautiful, charming girl.”
Both Mark and Lexie smile at that.
“We are going to enroll Eleanor for our school year beginning next September before her fifth birthday,” Michael informs them. “Because her birthday is so late in the year, and we do not admit students once the school term has already started, we need to wait until she is of age next year.”
“But she’s in?” Lexie asks, nearly holding her breath.
Michael and Karen look at one another and Karen nods. “Yes,” she states. “There is some paperwork that you will need to fill out but Eleanor is definitely in.”
“Oh, thank god,” Lexie breathes out in a whisper and turns to give Mark a quick kiss before leaning forward and picking Ellie up, sitting her down in her lap, squeezing her arms around her in a tight hug.
Mark leans over and gives Ellie a kiss on the head and the girl turns to smile at him, not at all understanding why her parents suddenly seem so happy.
“Daddy,” Ally limps into the kitchen, putting most of her weight on her right foot. “I need a Band-Aid.”
Mark turns the water in the sink off and turns to look at her, instantly seeing the river of blood trickling down her leg. “Ally, what the hell happened to you?” He scoops her up and sits her down on the kitchen counter before going into the bathroom to collect the bandages and antiseptic to clean the wound. “Were you doing something stupid?”
“Not too stupid,” Ally says, watching as Mark kneels in front of her and begins cleaning the cut, only flinching slightly as it stings. “Me and Brandon-”
Mark snorts. “I should have known Brandon had something to do with this.”
Like Lexie does all of the time, Ally continues on as if she hasn’t heard Mark say anything at all.
“Me and Brandon were trying to do this new trick with our skateboards so we lined up some of Sam’s dump trucks in a row in the driveway and we were going to jump over them-”
“Just stop,” Mark shakes his head.
“No, daddy!” Ally suddenly exclaims, grabbing his hand. “That’s the wrong one.”
He frowns, looking down at the plain bandage in his hand. “What do you mean?”
“This is a cut. And cuts get the Scooby-Doo Band-Aid,” she tells him matter-of-factly and with a firm nod of her head. “Whenever one of us gets a cut, mommy gives us the Scooby-Doo Band-Aid.”
Mark stares at her for a moment and then nods his head. “Scooby Doo it is.” He gets up and goes back into the bathroom, coming back with the proper bandage. “This good?” He asks, holding it up, and Ally smiles, nodding and watching as Mark kneels back down in front of her. “Sorry about that.”
Ally shrugs. “Don’t worry, daddy. You’ll get the hang of it,” she reassures him with a pat of her hand on his shoulder. “How long does mommy’s residency last?”
“Just four more years,” Mark answers, smoothing the bandage down over her cut and then stands up.
She tilts her head up to look at him. “Four years?” She asks softly with a frown.
“Your mommy wants to be a surgeon and it takes a long time to become one. You know that, Ally,” Mark says gently, picking her up from the counter and setting her back down on her feet on the floor. “And your mommy does everything for us so we really need to support her with this because this is what she wants.”
Ally nods. “I know.”
“Atta girl, Suzie Q,” he says and she smiles up at him. “Go and play but be more careful. I want to be able to go one day without you coming in here, limping and bleeding.”
She giggles. “Don’t worry, daddy. You’ll get used to it.”
Lexie is exhausted and after checking on all of the children, seeing that they are asleep and kissing them good night, she barely has the energy to strip off her clothes and climb into bed. She feels as if she can’t even remember the last time she has laid down in her own bed.
The instant she slips in between the cool covers, she rolls her body over and rests her head on Mark’s chest and drapes her arm across his bare stomach. He is asleep but even then, he wraps his arm around her shoulders, holding her close to him. His hand slowly trails down her naked back and he shifts slightly.
“What are wearing?” He murmurs, still half asleep.
She manages a tired smile. “Just my underwear.”
His arm squeezes around her. “Why do you hate me?”
She laughs quietly, pressing her lips to his chest, and within minutes, she is asleep.
“What’s this?” Sam asks, holding up one of his animal crackers in the cafeteria of the hospital as they eat their lunch.
If Lexie isn’t busy and is able to, she will take Ellie and Sam from the daycare and bring them to the cafeteria for lunch. Unfortunately, this is one of the few times she now gets to see two out of three children when they are still awake.
Lexie peers closely at it. “I think that’s a zebra.”
“Zebra,” Sam repeats with a laugh and then bites the cookie’s head off. “Zebras taste good, mommy.”
Lexie smiles at him, leaning across the table and brushing a few strands of hair from off his forehead before looking at Ellie. “Did you get enough to eat, El?” The girl nods her head, still working on finishing her bowl of macaroni and cheese. “We will get you both some ice cream before I take you back to the daycare.”
Sam frowns despite the promise of ice cream – which he constantly declares to be his absolute favorite food. “No. I don’t want to go.”
Lexie closes her eyes for a moment, swallowing the lump that almost immediately forms in her throat from hearing her son’s words. She does her best to smile. “I know, Sammy, but it’s just for a few more hours until your daddy comes to get you.”
Sam and Ellie both stare at her for a moment and then Ellie looks down at her bowl, guiding another forkful of macaroni and cheese to her mouth and Sam slowly nods his head.
“Okay,” he says softly before taking another animal cracker from the red box. It breaks Lexie’s heart to see the sadness in their eyes, the disappointment in his tone. Sam sighs softly, almost dejectedly, that feels as if Lexie has just been kicked square in the stomach and she feels tears begin to sting her eyes. “Mommy?” Sam asks, holding up a giraffe-shaped animal cracker. “What’s this?”
Ally rides the bus home every day from school, sharing a seat with Brandon, and knows that Mrs. Parker, their next door neighbor, is waiting to walk her home and sit with her until either her mommy or daddy get back from work. It is something that took some getting used to on Ally’s part. Ever since she has been going to school, her mommy was always the one to either pick her up from school or be the one standing on the corner at the bus stop, waiting for her.
She knows she can’t complain though and say that Mrs. Parker wears too much perfume and almost chokes Ally with the overpowering scent. She can’t say that Mrs. Parker tells her that little girls don’t need a glass of milk and two Oreo cookies for an after-school snack that mommy always gave her.
Ally may be only seven – eight in June – but she picks up on things her parents don’t think she does. When she was three years old and her parents had separated for months, she knew something wasn’t right then and she knows something isn’t right now. Her parents are fine. She knows what it looks like if they’re not. But Ally can tell that something is wrong with her mommy. She’s never home and when she is, she always seems sad and is constantly hugging and kissing one of the children.
“Maybe your dad is cheating on your mom,” Brandon suggests after Ally tells him about it. “When my mom was always sad like that, my dad was cheating on my mom.”
Ally frowns. “What does that mean?”
“It means that my dad was sleeping in another bed with another woman,” Brandon answers. “And when my mom found out, she was really sad.”
Ally continues to frown, staring at him. “My daddy wouldn’t do that to my mommy. My daddy loves my mommy.”
Brandon shrugs. “That doesn’t matter.”
The bus pulls to a stop at the street corner of Ally’s stop and after bidding farewell to Brandon, she pulls on her book bag and heads down the aisle. She comes to a sudden stop on the bottom step however when she sees Lexie standing on the curb, waiting for her, a smile on her face.
For a moment, Ally doesn’t understand what she is doing there. Lexie is always working now and can never come and pick her up. But then, she bursts into a wide smile and runs off the bus.
“Mommy!” Ally exclaims and Lexie laughs, dropping onto her knees seconds before Ally collides into her, throwing her arms around her, hugging her so tightly, she almost knocks Lexie backwards. “You’re here!”
Lexie nods, smiling, laughing slightly. “I’m here,” she says, kissing Ally on the cheek. She then stands up and takes Ally’s hand in hers, beginning to walk them back towards home. “How about some milk and Oreo cookies?” She asks and Ally nods her head enthusiastically, her smile wide and unfaltering. “And then you can tell me all about your day. I want to hear everything.”
Mark drives home from the hospital after having one of the staff members in the daycare tell him that his wife has already taken Ellie and Sam home for the day and the first thing he hears when he steps through the front door is laughter. He toes off his shoes by the front door and rubs a hand on Charlie’s head before following the sound – the sound it feels as if he hasn’t heard in weeks.
In the kitchen, Lexie is holding Sam, resting him on her hip, as Ally and Ellie stand on stools at the counter, all three children getting to decorate their own small pizzas for dinner with pepperoni, sausage and mushrooms as Lexie supervises them, a bright, happy smile on her face and the instant Mark sees it, he feels as if he takes the biggest sigh of relief; almost as if he has been subconsciously terrified of never seeing it again.
Without saying a work, Mark comes into the kitchen and walking straight to Lexie, he slides his hands onto her cheeks and tilts her face up towards his. He stares at her closely, trying to discern her actual mood. Lexie smiles up at him, reaching her free hand up to rest on his chest.
“You’re happy,” he murmurs in near amazement, exhaling another sigh of relief.
Lexie doesn’t say anything. She merely nods her head and continues to smile up at him and Mark feels one corner of his own mouth twitch up before lowering his lips to hers, kissing her.
Derek and Meredith ask Mark and Lexie to be Amy’s godparents and during the christening, Lexie holds the baby in her arms, keeping one eye on her while keeping the other on her own three children, sitting in the front pew, making sure that they are behaving themselves and staying clean because if there was a way to get dirty in a church, her children would find it.
Afterwards, there is a party at Derek and Meredith’s with their closest friends and family present including Richard Webber and Carolyn Shepherd as well as a couple of Derek’s sisters, brothers-in-laws and nephews and nieces who were able to make the trip. The house feels packed, almost bordering on claustrophobic, but everyone is having fun, laughing and talking loudly, drinking and feasting upon the piles of food that had been catered. Derek had spared no expense for his first child’s christening celebration and Amy is passed around from one pair of arms to the next so he can proudly show her off to everyone.
Mark, Owen and Alex are sitting outside at the back patio table, smoking cigars and when Lexie comes up to them, Mark instantly grabs her hand and gently pulls her down to sit on his lap. She rolls her eyes but smiles as she sits down, slipping one arm around his shoulders.
“You smell disgusting,” she informs him but he only smirks and takes another puff, making sure to turn his head and exhale the smoke away from her.
“So, Lexie, taking another break, huh?” Alex asks. “There was a pool going around the hospital, wondering how long you would last.”
Mark tenses and Lexie can feel it but she only smiles and shrugs.
“I hope I helped you win some money then,” she replies in a sweetly tone.
“You actually lasted longer than I thought you would,” Alex tells her.
Again, Lexie only smiles, her fingers slipping through the hairs on the back of Mark’s head, soothingly scratching him there, able to feel his anger begin to rise. This almost always worked in keeping him calm and though he is still tense, he slips his free arm around her waist, tugging her closer against his chest, and she presses her lips to his temple in a kiss.
Mark’s body covers hers entirely and Lexie’s arms are wrapped tightly around him, keeping him pressed on top of her as he thrusts slowly in and out of her, causing quiet gasps to rise from her throat, each one being exhaled into his ear. His hips press against hers, pausing, holding himself buried deep within her, and she arches her back from the bed, wanting him to move again, needing him to move again.
She spreads her legs wider, whispering his name over and over, and her hands drop down to his hips, squeezing her fingers there. Mark kisses her deeply as he pulls back and thrusts forward again, harder and faster and she cries out softly with whole-hearted approval, her mouth breaking away from his.
He shifts slightly, lifting one of her legs over his shoulder, his hand gripping the back of her thigh, and his thrusts continue fast and hard, watching as her mouth remains open in a constant moan and her fingers grip the bed sheets. Putting his hand on the headboard behind her, he begins to give her exactly what she wants but is too breathless to ask for, thrusting harder and harder, her body inching up the bed slightly with each meeting of their hips.
They are sweating and gasping and Mark covers her mouth with his as she clenches around him, smothering her screaming of his name, and she somehow managed to squeeze around him even tighter as he empties himself within her and when he collapses on top of her, both of them panting, she wraps her arms around him, holding her closely to him, not letting him slip his body off of hers.
She kisses his forehead, his sharp breathing exhaling onto the side of her neck, and she closes her eyes, feeling his beard scratch against her jaw as he kisses her there.
“Hi, Jen,” Lexie smiles, walking into Mark’s office and greeting his newest receptionist, a forty-something old woman in a happy marriage with her own child. Lexie won’t admit it but she thinks Jen is infinitely better than Megan ever was. “Mark called me and told me to get down here as soon as possible. Is he alright?”
“As far as I know, Dr. Sloan,” Jen smiles in return. “He said to send you straight back to the O.R. as soon as you get here.”
“Okay,” Lexie nods, a quizzical expression on her face, confusion in her tone. Dropping down in front of Ellie and Sam, she kisses them both. “Go and play with the toys in your daddy’s office but only the toys in the box he has for you. Don’t touch anything else or daddy will be upset with you. Okay?”
“Okay,” Sam nods and then turns and scurries down the hallway and into Mark’s office with Ellie on his heels.
Lexie follows Mark’s given instructions and goes into the operating room set up in his practice. entering the scrub room where Mark is waiting for her, leaning against the sink, a smile on his face and a pair of blue scrubs in his hands.
“Are you okay?” Lexie asks, going to him, frowning with concern. “You sounded so strange on the phone.”
Mark cocks his head towards the window glass that looks into the O.R. where several of the nurses and assistants he has working for him are prepping a patient for surgery. “That’s Edward Paine. He flew here all the way from Wisconsin for a hypopharynx reconstruction.”
Lexie smiles. “Do I get to watch?”
“No,” he shakes his head and hands her the pair of scrubs. “Change and scrub in. I'm going to need your help in there today.”
Lexie stares down at the scrubs in her hands and then up at him, frowning. “Mark-”
“I know you want to scrub in, Lex,” Mark smiles. “Don’t you want to help me out?”
She looks through the window for a moment before looking at him. “Of course I do-”
“Then get changed and scrub in. I won’t start without you. I still have a lot of things I need to teach you.”
Lexie bursts into a wide smile, her heart fluttering in her chest, and she then throws her arms around his neck, hugging him as tightly as she can.
Richard Webber retires and it comes as no surprise that Derek Shepherd is named as his replacement. Meredith is happy for him until she realizes that like Richard, Derek is beginning to spend more time at the hospital than at home and she is always at home with Amy instead of getting work done at the hospital. They begin to fight more and one night, their doorbell begins to ring, waking Mark out of a dead sleep.
Grumbling, he goes downstairs in nothing but his boxer shorts to see who is at their door at the time of night and a part of him isn’t even that surprise to see that it is Meredith, holding a crying Amy in her arms.
“I just got paged and I have to go in but Derek isn’t home either and I didn’t know what else I could do with her,” Meredith explained, dropping the diaper bag on the floor in the hallway and then gently passing Amy into a still half-asleep Mark’s arms. “She has bottles and diapers in the bag and I promise that either me or Derek will be here in the morning to pick her up. Thanks, Mark! And thank Lexie for me!”
Without another word, and a quick kiss to Amy’s forehead, Meredith turns and races down the steps of the porch to her still-running car parked in the driveway. It all happens so fast, Mark’s tired mind is still trying to catch up when Lexie comes downstairs to see what is going on. She takes Amy from his arms and slinging the bag onto her shoulder, she takes the crying baby into the kitchen where she begins warming one of the bottles of milk.
It is almost nine o'clock the next night when Derek finally comes to pick Amy up again.
“Ow!” Sam wails as Arizona quickly gives him the shot in his arm and looking up at Lexie, fat tears begin rolling down his cheeks.
“I know it hurts, Sam, but she's almost done,” Lexie smiles at him, wiping at his cheeks, leaning down to rest her forehead against his. “It’s okay, baby. Just a few seconds longer…”
“There!” Arizona exclaims with a smile as she pulls the needle from his arm and rubs the small area before stretching a Band-Aid over it. “All done, Sam.”
“See, Sammy? That wasn’t so bad,” Lexie says, giving his forehead a kiss. “But I will get you an ice cream cone anyway.”
Immediately, the tears are forgotten and Sam gives her the biggest, brightest smile.