Title: Staying with Aunt Sadie
Summary: When Mark and Lexie have to go to Vancouver for an important medical convention for a couple of days, the three Sloan children: Ally, Ellie and Sam have to stay with their Aunt Sadie while they are away. Babysitting for a few hours is one thing but Sadie is about to discover that this is completely different.
Lexie Sloan is stressed as she rubs her forehead with one hand while the other rests on her hip, staring at the two suitcases open on the bed in front of her, both in complete disarray and not nearly close to being packed.
One of the nurses at Mark’s practice had just called her to let her know that his surgery Is going longer than he had first planned so it is up to Lexie now to pack both of their bags and then make sure all of the kids are packed and ready to go and she can only hope that Mark will be home by that time so he can help her with last minute things before they have to leave.
Five-year-old Ellie Sloan is sitting on the bed, having stacked all of the pillows up in one pile from largest to smallest, and she now watches her mom. Dodger, the family Dalmatian dog, is stretched out next to her and Ellie, as she always does, taps each of his black spots with her index finger, her eyes never leaving Lexie as she goes to the dresser and the closet, pulling out clothes before dumping them in either the suitcase on the left or the suitcase on the right.
Lexie sighs and then noticing that Ellie is watching her, she gives her a soft smile. She then glances at the clock on the nightstand next to Mark’s side of the bed and her smile disappears. “I hope he’s home soon.” She releases another sigh and then looks back at Ellie. “I need to talk with you about something, Ellie.”
Ellie nods her head but remains silent.
Lexie comes around the bed to sit next to her, slipping an arm around Ellie’s shoulders. “You know your daddy and me are going away for a few days?” Again, Ellie nods her head. “And you remember that you, Ally and Sam are going to be staying with Aunt Sadie and Uncle Jeremy while we’re gone?” She pauses and Ellie gives her another nod. “I’m worried about you,” Lexie finally confesses.
That makes Ellie frown, not understanding. “Why?”
Lexie squeezes her arm around her, smiling faintly. “Because I’m your mommy and I worry about you all of the time.” She gives Ellie a kiss on the head and then stands up, not wanting to start smothering the girl which is what Ellie feels like after receiving, what she feels like, is too much affection. Lexie kneels down next to the bed, brushing some of Ellie’s dark hair – the same shade as hers – behind her ear. “Promise me that you’ll be okay this weekend.”
Ellie blinks at her and then obediently nods her head. “I’ll be okay this weekend.”
Not able to help herself, Lexie kisses her head again.
“Bam!” Three-year-old Sam Sloan suddenly bursts into the room. “Look, mommy! I dressed myself!”
Lexie smiles despite what he is actually wearing. “You certainly did, sweetheart.”
Sam is wearing a dark blue New York Yankees tee-shirt, white underwear with red fire trucks printed on them, a red cape tied around his neck, yellow rain galoshes on his feet and his fleece hat shaped like a lamb’s head – complete with two lamb ears – on his head.
“Is that what you want to wear for the rest of the day?” She asks, standing up again and going back around the bed to the suitcases.
“Yep!” Sam grins, nodding and Lexie laughs, picking him up and setting him on the bed. Sam immediately crawls into the suitcase Lexie is packing for Mark and he begins rolling the shirts up in the way Owen Hunt showed him how to do to save space while packing. “Where are you going?”
“Vancouver,” Lexie tells him though she and Mark have already talked about this with all three children.
“Why?” Sam asks.
“There is a medical conference there that your daddy and me are going to,” she answers patiently, folding her own clothes and placing them much carefully in the suitcase than when she had initially tossed them.
Lexie laughs slightly. “Because we’re doctors and we go to conferences to learn.”
Sam makes a face at that and she laughs again, leaning over and giving him a kiss.
“Why can’t we come?” Nine-year-old Ally Sloan asks, appearing in the doorway, looking less than pleased with the entire situation.
“You know why, Ally,” Lexie answers, watching as her oldest child crawls onto the bed, stretching out across the foot of the bed and Dodger lifts his head, moving it so he now rests it on her shoulder. “Your dad and me are leaving tonight and will be back on Sunday afternoon. It’s just for the weekend and we are going to be in lectures that entire time. Boring speeches and a bunch of diagrams. You three would be stuck in a hotel room for two days.”
“I like diagrams,” Ally pouts softly, crossing her arms over her chest with a soft humph and staring up at the ceiling.
“Because you’re my daughter,” Lexie replies and smiles when she sees one pulling at the corner of Ally’s mouth despite the girl’s best efforts to keep it from forming. “Now listen up, you three. Your Aunt Sadie is doing your daddy and me a huge favor by watching you for the weekend and I only want the best report when we come back. And if Uncle Owen comes over, I don’t want to find out that you tied him to a chair again.”
“We told you, mommy,” Ally insists, sitting up. “He asked us to tie him to a chair.”
“He was showing us knots,” Sam adds with a fond grin.
Lexie finishes her suitcase and after zipping it shut, she then picks up Sam and holding him on her hip with one arm, she begins working on Mark’s suitcase.
“Despite what did or did not happen, I want you all to be on her best behavior this weekend,” Lexie says.
“Do we get a present?” Sam asks, playing with the strings of the cape that are tied around his neck.
“Good behavior shouldn’t be rewarded, Sammy. It should be expected,” Lexie tells him matter-of-factly even though the three-year-old doesn’t understand that at all.
The front door opens and then is slammed shut again and footsteps are heard hurrying up the stairs. Ally and Dodger both leap off the bed and Sam wiggles to be put down, which Lexie does, and as soon as Mark comes into the hallway and before he can come into the bedroom, he is bombarded with greetings, Ally hugging him and Dodger leaping up, his tail wagging fiercely and Sam stretching his arms up, wanting to be picked up. Mark gives them all attention, hugging Ally tightly before rubbing Dodger’s head and then swooping Sam up into his arms, hardly blinking at what the boy is wearing as the two children begin talking at the same time, eagerly telling him all about their days.
Mark brings the commotion into the bedroom and Lexie smiles with relief upon seeing him. Giving Sam a kiss on the head, he then sets the boy down and strides straight to Lexie, kissing her like he always does every other day after coming home from work.
Lexie lifts her hands to his cheeks, cupping his face. “Thank god you’re here. How’d your surgery go?”
He opens his mouth to answer but then remembering the kids, he simply closes his eyes for a brief second and shakes his head. Lexie immediately understands.
“I’m sorry,” she tells him softly but he simply shrugs.
“Unfortunately, it happens,” he says, his hands giving her hips a quick squeeze and he looks at the bags on the bed. “What do you need me to do?”
“I’m almost done here and I know Ally’s already packed her bag but neither Ellie or Sam are packed yet,” Lexie says. “And I still have to get all of Dodger’s things together.” She sighs heavily and Mark smiles slightly, giving her another kiss.
“No problem,” he says and then turns, grinning at Ellie. “Come on, Ellie bean. Let’s get you packed. Do you know what you want to take to Aunt Sadie’s?” The girl shakes her head as Mark picks her up in his arms. “Let’s go, Sammy. You do realize you’re not wearing pants by the way, right?”
“Yep,” Sam giggles as he trails after Mark as they leave the bedroom.
Sadie Harris-Bloom has traveled all over the world and she has the collection of souvenirs to show for it. A tea set from England. Brightly woven rugs from Morocco. A collection of antique apothecary jars from Amsterdam. Paintings of ancient Egyptian artwork on the walls. Handmade beaded boxes from a fabulous market in India that she always went to whenever she could. A few vases from China and a low table from Japan complete with pillows that she and Jeremy, her husband, sit at and eat dinner most nights instead of sitting in the kitchen.
Every piece in their house has been chosen with care and Mark sometimes jokes that some of the rooms are like museums – very cold and don’t even think about touching anything. The three Sloan children have been over to Sadie and Jeremy’s house countless times since they moved there but they have never been there without their parents. Sadie, along with Owen Hunt, is a constant babysitter whenever Mark and Lexie need one but that is usually for just a few hours. Usually, they all go see a movie or go to the park.
Mark and Lexie had gone to a medical conference in New York before Sam was born but that had been different. Sadie had watched Ally and Ellie but Owen had helped and so had Callie and Derek. For some reason, Sadie thinks that this weekend is going to be much more difficult. She is going to have all three Sloan children in her house for the weekend – a weekend that Jeremy just happens to be working through most of. They are going to be in her house – the three of them and her and though she is practically family – their aunt and godmother – she is truly panicking about this.
She doesn’t mind watching them for a few hours at a time. She adores them all and they love her because she is the free-spirit who lets them do anything while feeding them all the junk food they want. But this isn’t for a few hours. This is days. Plural.
Oh, and Dodger the dog is coming as well. Mark swears that since their backyard is fenced in, the dog won’t be a problem but Mark forgets that Sadie knows that dog and he is nothing like Charlie, the Sloan family’s previous dog. That dog was sweet and kind and loving. Dodger is a monster. An overactive, hyper puppy. Possibly possessed too.
She is also extremely worried about Sam and Ellie. Ellie, with her autism, can have difficult moods that only Lexie or Mark can seem to break her out of and Sam has never really been apart from his parents before. Sadie has no idea how either of them are going to be this weekend. She enjoys religions and reading about them but she isn’t so sure that she believes in any of them. She hopes though, and prays to whatever is up there – if there is something up there – that this weekend goes okay.
Sadie, Owen, Mark and Lexie have been friends for so long now and they have become one another’s family. Of course, when Lexie had called the week before, asking her for the gigantic favor, Sadie hadn’t been able to say no. How could she? Lexie is like her sister, these kids are her godchildren and though Lexie is taking time off from her residency to be a mother, Sadie knows how important this plastics conference is in Vancouver for her to go to. Lexie does everything for her family and friends and she deserves people to help her out.
Sadie has just finished putting the last of the groceries that she has bought for the weekend away in the kitchen cabinets when the doorbell rings and she nervously licks her lips with the tip of her tongue as she walks down the hallway from the back kitchen. She can hear Sam screaming and Dodger barking and Sadie can feel her heart begin to pound in her chest. Already, this wasn’t sounding so great.
Opening the door, she sees why.
Sam is crying his eyes out, his mouth open in a wail, his cheeks flushed, and he is tightening his arms in a lock around Mark’s leg, refusing to let go despite Lexie and Mark both trying to get him to.
“Sammy, it’s okay, baby. I promise,” Lexie is saying, kneeling down, trying to get him to loosen his arms from around Mark’s leg. “Your daddy and me will only be gone for a couple of days. You knew we were leaving and you love your Aunt Sadie.”
Sam shakes his head and Mark has no idea how a three-year-old has such a death grip on his leg. Mark looks at Ally, who is standing on the other side of him, holding onto Dodger’s leash, trying to stop him from barking, and looking bored.
“Want to help me out?” Mark asks her but she merely shrugs. Mark sighs heavily and then looks at Sadie. “At least he should sleep well tonight if he’s using all of his energy right now.”
With another sigh, he bends down and grabs Sam, making sure not to hurt him, and finally is able to hoist him up in his arms. Mark remembers when he was a young boy and his father, whenever his father was around, and Mark would start crying, Richard Sloan would tell the young Mark to “man up”. Mark would be damned if he ever said that to his own crying son.
Lexie breathes with relief and stands up, giving Sadie an apologetic smile.
“If we get some chocolate in him, he will be just fine,” Lexie says.
Sadie takes a deep breath and nods her head. “I think Sam and me could both use some chocolate.”