Lexie crawled into bed and pulled the covers over her head, she had so much to think about. The hug this morning seemed to feel like a start to a new relationship with Stephanie, but after overhearing her talking to Sarah, well she just wasn't so sure anymore.
Jon made sure the alarms were set, checked on all the kids and made sure they were all tucked in. He was about to leave Stephanie's room when he noticed that she was still awake.
“Still excited about graduating on Monday?” Jon asked. “Or are you waiting to sneak out once I go to bed?”
“Can it be both?” Stephanie asked with a laugh, sitting up in the bed.
“After Monday maybe but now I rather it be the first, just to be honest with you.” Jon told as he turned back and went to sit on the foot of her bed. “I was proud of you tonight.”
“Because I didn’t smoke weed?” Stephanie asked him. She had been tempted, and if he hadn’t caught her, before she could escape to meet Sarah, she would be stoned by now.
“Because you acted like an adult tonight. Several of your friends had to be poured into a taxi, but you, I saw you switching to juice.” Jon reached for her hand and looked at the Poly Prep senior ring on her right hand. “Just know that I’m really proud of you.”
Stephanie dipped her head to hide the tears filling her eyes.
“Did you know Lexie got the boys to go down and see Mom?” She had to change the subject, or she would be a ball of tears.
“She did, so she’s not a Disney Evil Stepmother after all?" Jon grinned. "And she wants us all to be happy! And if the boys are involved with Dotty, it makes you happy.” Secretly, Jon was shocked that Lexie got the boys to go down to visit Dotty and Graham.
“Yeah, she told me that. I guess I always knew it, but, all my friends have their mom. This is such an important time when a girl just needs her mom.” She looked up at her dad and the tears started to flow. “Mommy has been with me since I was a baby, I’ve just known Lexie for a little over a year. You met Lexie in January, married her in the fall and had babies the next year. That’s a lot to take in, ya know?”
“But that’s the way life happens Steph. I wasn’t planning to marry again, but there was just something about Lexie.” Jon told her as he reached up and wiped the tears off her cheek.
“What made her so special?” Stephanie wasn’t sure she wanted all the details, but she always wondered what Lexie had that he lost with mommy.
“When I came down the stairs that first morning at the cabin and saw her fixing breakfast, I just knew she was special.” Jon thought back to that first day in the cabin. “She shared her food with me and Romey, would you believe, she tossed a loaf of bread at me and told me to make toast.” He chuckled a little at the memory.
“She didn’t know who you were and that you can’t make toast?” Stephanie was shocked, he never told them about his first meeting with Lexie. She could see the love in his face, and she remembered how cute they were this morning. She missed seeing that with her mom and dad toward the end. They just grew apart and her mom was so in love with Graham, and they had their cute moments too.
“She knew who I was, but I didn’t know who she was. Boy, did I get a shock walking into the grocery store and seeing that photo of her on the display. I was shocked, I have read all of her books and they were sitting by my bed, and I never hooked it up in my mind that it was her.” Jon told her.
They both sat there digesting what the other said.
“So you going to meet Sarah tonight?” Jon asked her.
“Nope, not tonight, I can see her tomorrow before they leave.” Stephanie said getting out of bed, fully dressed and reached for her pajamas.
Jon got up and headed for the door.
“Night baby girl, See you in the morning. You riding back with me or Lexie?” He stopped at the door and waited till he heard her get back into bed.
“I think I’ll ride back with Lexie and Hellen to help with the Trips.” She said reaching for the lamp and turned it off.
“Okay, see you in the morning.” He left and finally made it to the master bedroom.
As he slipped into the room, the light on his side of the bed was on, but he knew Lexie was sound asleep. She had been busy, once the trio had been put to bed, making sure the food stayed full, the bar was manned at all times. Dotty had sat her ass down and acted like Lady of the Manor, which had pissed him off. He had actually read her the riot act and told her to get and start helping. He got ready for bed and climbed in and spooned to her back, sighing he kissed her on her shoulder and closed his eyes, willing himself to sleep.
Graduation was another family photo op. Tuesday was Lexie's meeting with Thomas, which didn’t go so good,especially after she told him she was going on a sabbatical. She had hinted to Jon that she was thinking about taking some time off from writing. They argued for an hour with Thomas threatening to cut her from his writing staff, she agreed to keep writing but not doing the conference appearance. He finally agreed. The whole ride to the townhouse just seemed longer than usual, she hated that he only agreed to give her a year of no publicity appearances, but she’d take it. Jon and the band were heading on tour and she would need to be there for the kids.
Pulling into the garage she headed across the street to the townhouse. Jon was to drop of Snow at the vet, while they were gone on vacation. She had wanted to just go to the cabin, but she had been outvoted, and they were heading to St. Barthes . Since the family always went there in the summer, it was a tradition. And to a Sicilian family traditions were important. She and Hellen had been packing the Trio for the trip, they could buy diapers and other things that babies needed there. But packing for seven kids was a huge job. Lexie checked the boys to make sure underwear and swim trunks were packed along with enough clothes for the trip. She checked on Stephanie’s too, then she went to make dinner and afterwards she had to pack hers and Jon’s suitcases. Needless to say, her emotions were wound tighter than a spring.
The kids were hyper at dinner, Jon still noticed how quiet his wife was. He had noticed a change in her since the graduation party. He had tried to talk to her, see what had her so upset, but she just pushed it off as being tired. He asked the kids to clear the table and load the dishwasher. When they left the room, he reached across the table and took her hand.
“Did Thomas give you any problems today?” Jon asked her. He could feel the tension in her hand.
“Not really, he gave me a year, I told him I was still going to be writing, just no personal appearances.” Lexie said as she took a deep breath.
“Do you need me to talk to him?” Jon came around the table and pulled her up into his arms. “I got contacts ya know.” He was trying to get her to relax and laugh.
He got a chuckle, just a sad one. “As much as he deserves it, I’ll be fine. I’m just tired, trips with seven kids and two adults, with three of these kids under the age of one, it’s like moving your band for a week. Wish we could hire some roadies to handle it all!” She put her head on his shoulder and sighed.
“My roadies wouldn’t touch this bunch with a ten foot poll, but I did call Matty to come by and help get the luggage to the airport and loaded for tomorrow.” He rubbed her back and just held her.
“Got the drops for the Trio, doctor said we give it to them an hour before we take off, Hellen and I have diaper bags packed, bottles, diapers and passies. I think after this trip I can be a roadie.” She stepped back and kissed him on the nose. “I can’t lie, really wish we were going to the cabin instead.”
“We can slip off, just the two of us, like when we met.” He placed his forehead to hers.
“We’d have to bring Romey with us.” She laughed.
“Once we get Steph to her dorm we can take the long way back and go to the cabin.” Jon told her. “It would give us some alone time before I head on this leg of the tour.”
“That would be nice, like a second honeymoon.” She smiled. Jon had a way of making everything right.
“Minus the morning sickness and the cracker crumbs in bed.” Jon laughed.
“Yeah that was a little downer.” Lexie agreed.
Stephanie and Jesse were listening from the kitchen.
“Did we do the right thing by going to Saint Barth instead of the cabin?” Jesse asked his sister.
“There isn’t as much to do there, just the community pool, Saint Barth's has the beach.” Stephanie told him.
“What about that guy you met, you seemed to enjoy him.” Jesse reminded her.
“I haven’t even heard from him since the wedding. I hadn’t thought of Mark in a long time. I’ll call him, its short notice, think Uncle Matty will help us?” Stephanie asked
“I’ll call Uncle Matt, you call Mark.” Jesse told her.
They split up and headed to their rooms. Jesse stopped in his brothers room along the way and told them what they were going to do. After a little back and forth they agreed. Now he had to get Uncle Matt on board.
Around Midnight Stephanie and Jesse went to talk to their dad.
“Daddy,” Stephanie whispered. Trying hard not to wake Lexie.
“Steph, I got to be up at 6! Is this important?” Jon whispered back.
“Yeah dad it is.” Jesse whispered back.
Jon got out of bed and grabbed his robe and followed his oldest two to the hall.
“Ok what’s up?” He asked as he shut the bedroom door.
“Well, we voted last night after dinner, we want to go to the cabin.” Stephanie told him.