Takes place three years after Things We Want for Ourselves.
Mark Sloan stood in front of the open closet doors, staring at the two suits hanging in front of him, stroking his chin thoughtfully with his finger and thumb. His eyes looked at the grey suit, assessing it, making him frown and then with a shake of his head, his eyes moved to look at the black one hanging next to it, tilting his head slightly, studying it closely.
He didn’t know if either of these were going to work.
“What are you doing, Suzie Q?” He asked, glancing at the three-year-old from the corner of his eye, watching as she bounced slightly up and down on the king-sized bed, her steel blue eyes focused on him.
The girl giggled. “Watching,” she responded through a bite of the Ritz cracker in her hand, crumbs getting on her dress and on the white goose-down comforter, Charlie, the family Dalmatian dog laying down next to her and licking up every morsel that fell down his way.
“Which one do you like more?” Mark turned towards her, crossing his arms over his chest, a smile twitching at the corner of his mouth as she grinned at him, still bouncing slightly, taking another bite of her cracker.
Susan Alexandra “Ally” Sloan was already dressed in her white flower girl dress with the emerald green sash across the middle, tied in a bow behind her. Her dark brown hair – the exact shade of her mother’s – had been put into bouncy curls and the wreath of white roses she was going to be wearing for the ceremony was downstairs, being kept safely on the kitchen table until she had to walk down the aisle.
“Black or grey?”
Ally tilted her head from side to side like he had done, squinting her eyes as she did her own version of assessing the suits that looked exactly like what Mark had been doing, chin stroking and all. She was that age where she mimicked everything and everyone around her – which could be a very dangerous thing – but at the moment, Mark seemed to be her favorite person to study and act like.
People had even started calling her “Little Sloan” because of it despite him begging them to stop for some mysterious reason.
“Black!” Ally exclaimed suddenly with a wide smile. “Mommy likes you in black.”
Mark smirked. “Does she now?”
She nodded, handing him a cracker, and he took it, popping the whole thing into his mouth before lifting her up in his arms.
“Black it is,” he said. “What would I do without you?”
“Ask mommy,” Ally answered wittily and Mark laughed before kissing her temple. She offered him another cracker and she giggled when he opened his mouth, having her feed it to him. “I’m the flower girl today,” she revealed to him proudly.
“Yes, you are and you are going to be the prettiest girl there,” he smiled.
The bathroom door connected to their master bedroom opened and Lexie rushed out, holding up the purple dress she was wearing so it would not slip off, trying to zip it up herself.
“Mark, I need you,” she said, spinning around, placing her back to him and with one hand, he easily tugged the zipper up for her. She sighed with relief. “Thank you,” she smiled, adjusting the straps on her shoulders and then turned, giving him a quick kiss on the lips. She then smiled wider at Ally. “Susan Alexandra Sloan, you are getting crumbs all over yourself.” She wiped at her mouth and at her dress and then gave Ally a kiss on the cheek. “Mark, you’re not dressed yet. Why aren’t you dressed yet? We have to be at the church in an hour.”
“Unlike you, I can get ready in less than an hour,” Mark smirked.
Lexie rolled her eyes at him, making him grin, and she took Ally from his arms, holding her, balancing her on her hip. “So get ready then.”
“I like your hair, mommy,” Ally said, playing with the end strands of one of the curls Lexie had styled her own dark brown hair in.
“I like yours, too, baby,” Lexie smiled then looked at Mark. “Have you picked a suit?”
“The black one. My fashion stylist reminded me that a particular wife of mine loves me in black,” he said with a slight smirk and Lexie smiled, a faint blush across her cheeks. His smirk faded though when his cell phone began ringing on the dresser. Going to it, he looked at the caller i.d. “It’s Owen.”
“Hi Uncle Owen!” Ally called out the instant Mark flipped the phone open to answer it.
Lexie laughed. “Come on, baby girl,” she said, shifting Ally onto her other hip. “It’s going to be a while before we can eat again and I want something else in your stomach besides crackers.”
Mark waited until Lexie and Ally left the bedroom, heading down the stairs, before Mark put the phone to his ear and he crossed the room to close the door.
“What’s going on?” Mark asked.
“I can’t go today,” Owen said.
“Bullshit. You’re going,” Mark snorted at his best friend.
“And what? Just watch as she marries another guy? No. I’m not going,” Owen argued and Mark could practically hear him shaking his head from over the phone.
Mark sighed. “We’re her best friends and she needs us there today.”
“I’m not going,” Owen said, his voice more forceful and with that, he hung up.
Lexie had just handed Ally a box of apple juice when Mark came rushing down the stairs, buttoning his white dress shirt and trying to knot his black tie at the same time. He grabbed her face and kissed her soundly on the lips before grabbing his car keys from off the counter and kissing Ally’s head.
“I have to meet you there,” he said, tucking his shirt in, his keys grasped between his teeth, muffling his words.
“What’s wrong? Is Owen alright?” Lexie frowned worriedly.
“I have to go and get him. He says he isn’t going,” Mark explained.
“But its Sadie’s wedding-”
“I know, Lex. And I will get him there.” He pressed another kiss to her lips. “You look beautiful by the way. Both of my girls do.” He kissed Ally on the head once more and then rushed towards the laundry room that led out into the garage. “I’ll call you in a little bit to let you know where I am.”
“Love you!” Lexie called out after him.
“Love you too!” He yelled back and just moments later, Lexie heard the engine of his Porsche rev up and his tires squealed out of the garage.
She smiled slightly, shaking her head and looking at Ally as the girl sat at one of the stools at the counter, sucking contently on her juice box straw. “Today should be very interesting, Ally. Wedding days usually are.”