I know I keep jumping back and forth between Things We Want for Ourselves and this epilogue of sorts story but my muse has bitten me hard in the past few days and I have been writing like crazy - if you haven't been able to tell.
“Here, Ally. Hold my hand,” Lexie said once she had unbuckled her from the car seat and she jumped down from the back onto the asphalt of the parking lot.
Ally obediently took her mother’s outstretched hand and smiled when Lexie gave it a squeeze before reaching into the back and pulling out Ally’s Hello Kitty back pack, the girl eagerly reaching for it. Lexie kneeled down and slipped Ally’s arms through it, resting the straps on her shoulders.
“What did you pack in there?” Lexie asked curiously, taking her hand in hers again.
“Things I bring when I go see daddy,” Ally answered, skipping her steps as she and Lexie began crossing the parking lot of the church where the wedding was going to be later that afternoon. “Is daddy staying for good now?”
“I think so, baby,” Lexie answered.
“I miss him when he goes.”
Lexie looked down at her daughter, giving her a small smile. “Me, too,” she said softly, sadly.
“Mommy, do you love daddy?” Ally asked innocently but the question brought Lexie to a sudden halt, her eyes slightly wide.
“Ally, why would you ask that?”
Ally shrugged. “He loves you. He tells me how much he loves you and me.”
Lexie struggled to swallow the growing dry lump in her throat. “I do love him, Ally. Your daddy and I love each other very much. And we love you more than anything.”
“I know,” Ally replied with a nod of her head, kicking a small pebble with the toe of her white Mary-Jane shoe, careful not to scuff them up.
Lexie looked down at her and took a deep breath though why she felt the need to further explain things, she didn’t know. Ally was three-years-old and far too intelligent for her age. She noticed things. Three was a horribly observant and retaining age for children and things happening between Mark and Lexie could no longer be hidden from their daughter.
She didn’t know how to explain it though or if she should even try to. Ally was their daughter and what happened between Lexie and Mark directly affected her. But she and Mark were trying. It felt as if for the past few years, all they had been doing was trying with one another but in Lexie’s opinion, at least they were still trying. At least they hadn’t gotten a divorce like most couples would have.
Marriage wasn’t easy. Lexie knew that. It wasn’t all happily-ever-after and riding off into the sunset together. It was challenging and every day was work but Lexie knew that she still loved Mark as much as she had when she was just an intern and their relationship had started.
Sadie’s father had spared no expense for his daughter’s wedding and people were bustling in every direction in the church, arranging the flowers, setting up the cameras, and making sure that everything was in order for that day’s ceremony.
In one of the back rooms of the large church, Sadie Harris stood in front of the full-length sized mirror in nothing but a white chemise, already in the middle of downing her second flute glass of champagne. She felt sick to her stomach and she kept looking at the clock on the wall, wondering where the hell Lexie was. She promised that she would be there by eleven and it was already five after. Lexie was never late.
She took a deep breath. “Sadie Harris-Karev,” she said, ignoring the way her face almost cringed upon saying it. “Sadie Karev. Dr. Sadie Karev. Alex and Sadie Karev.”
None of it sounded right to her ears and she knocked her head back, downing the rest of the champagne in the glass. Where the hell was Lexie? Sadie needed her and she needed her right now. She was two seconds away from a full-blown bridal meltdown and if her mother came in to check on her one more time, Sadie could not be held for the homicide that would more than likely result.
There was a soft knock on the door, almost hesitant, and Lexie poked her head in, not sure what she was expecting to find on the other side. “Hi,” she smiled.
“Aunt Sadie!” Ally happily exclaimed, breaking away from her mother’s hand and running to her godmother and favorite aunt.
Sadie slid her now empty glass onto the vanity in the room and smiled, bending down to hug Ally tightly. “You look so gorgeous, Ally,” she said, leaning back so she could look at the little girl. “Much more gorgeous than I’ll look today.”
Ally looked at the cream-colored silk chemise she was wearing. “Is that your dress?”
“No, Ally,” Lexie smiled, laughing slightly. “I have to help her with the dress. Can you be a good girl and sit over there while I help Aunt Sadie get ready for her wedding?” She asked, pointing towards a red chaise lounger in the corner.
Ally nodded and obediently went to sit down, taking her book bag off as she did so. Unzipping it, she reached in and pulled out a portable DVD player, the copy of Wall-E that she and Mark had watched together no less than fifty times together, and her rather worn-looking teddy bear that she had had since the day she was born and she took practically everywhere with her.
“Mommy,” Ally said, holding up the plastic movie case and Lexie went to her, turning on the player and slipping the disc in.
Once she made sure the movie was playing and Ally was comfortable without wrinkling her dress too badly, Lexie turned back towards Sadie, who was holding a bottle of champagne, pouring it into two glasses.
“How many have you had already?” Lexie asked.
“Not nearly enough for me to feel ready for today,” Sadie answered.
“Everyone’s nervous on their wedding day,” Lexie offered. “Remember me on mine? I was throwing up in the bathroom.”
“You were pregnant. That had nothing to do with nerves. I remember Mark practically breaking down the door because he wanted to marry you so badly and he was convinced you were sneaking out the window.”
Lexie felt a small smile tug at one corner of her mouth. Marrying Mark nearly four years earlier had been one of the happiest days of her life. They hadn’t done this huge church production that Sadie was going through with and instead had opted to get married at the courthouse. She had gotten a white dress and a bouquet of flowers and he had worn a suit and their closest friends had been there for them. It had been small and absolutely perfect and Lexie had fallen in love with Mark all over again that day.
She still smiled whenever she thought about it. A lot had happened between them since that day but she would never, ever regret marrying him. No matter what.
“Shit,” Sadie swore, looking down at the two glasses and then at Lexie. “I just completely forgot. I’m sorry.”
Lexie shrugged. “You know me and champagne don’t mix anyway.”
Sadie sighed heavily nonetheless. “Have you told him yet?”
“Not yet. I’m…” Lexie trailed off, trying to pick and choose her words carefully. “He just moved back in. We’re… taking our time. I don’t want to throw this at him right now. Especially with the way he acted after Ally was born…”
“That was your first baby though. Neither of you knew what you were doing,” Sadie offered. She picked up one of the glasses and took a greedy gulp. “You’ll have to tell him eventually. You’re already two months along and he will start to notice it.”
Lexie shook her head. “Let’s focus on you,” she said with an overly-bright smile, the last thing she wanted on her mind was telling Mark her news. She knew she would have to tell him eventually, obviously, but for the moment, she didn’t want to think about it. “Do you want to start getting into your dress?”
“How did you decide to take Mark’s last name?” Sadie asked, sitting down at the stool of the vanity, clinging to her flute of champagne so tightly, her knuckles almost began turning white.
“I guess I’m just old-fashioned,” Lexie shrugged. “And it sounded right to me.”
“I think I’m going to stay Sadie Harris, which he’ll probably hate.” Sadie took another gulp of champagne. “What Owen said about him… do you believe it?”
“It doesn’t matter what I or anyone else thinks. You’re marrying him. All that matters is what you believe,” Lexie said. “You love him, don’t you, Sadie?”
It was a question every bride on her wedding day should have been able to answer immediately without hesitation.
Sadie was not like every bride though and instead, she downed the rest of champagne before taking the glass she had poured for Lexie.
“You’ve had enough,” Lexie said, snatching the glass from her hand. “Sadie-”
“The sex is fantastic,” Sadie answered.
Lexie glanced over at Ally but the girl was completely immersed in the movie and she wouldn’t understand what they were talking about anyway.
“And sex can’t be fantastic like that if there isn’t some sort of a connection between the two people,” she continued.
“There’s more to a marriage than sex though. A lot more,” Lexie said, rubbing her forehead, feeling a strong headache coming on. The wedding was in less than three hours.
“You and Owen and Mark, you three are my best friends. My family,” Sadie said. “And when Owen said those things…” she shook her head slightly. “Should I believe him? Should I take his word over the word of the guy I’m going to be marrying?”
“I can’t answer that for you,” Lexie said softly, feeling helpless. Wasn’t the maid of honor supposed to have all of the answers for a bride on the day of the wedding? “But, if you’re not even sure whether or not you love Alex… maybe you should-”
“Cancel?” Sadie suggested. “I can’t cancel. Everyone’s coming. My father has spent too much money already. I can’t act like Crazy Sadie today.”
“Well, then, at least talk to Alex. Or Owen. Or whoever you need to so you can try and put your mind to rest today,” Lexie suggested. “You should be happy today. Of all days, Sadie.”
Sadie smiled wryly, grabbing the bottle of champagne from the vanity, not even bothering with a glass this time. “Tell you what. I will talk to both Alex and Owen today before the ceremony but only if you tell Mark today that you’re pregnant.”