Sloane cannot concentrate at work, since the argument with her mother things have been off. She and Fitz are not okay, they have not been together in over two months and this thing with Bella is consuming all of them. The parents are still on the outs with the children, mother more like, and their father is disappointed which is infinitely much worse than their mother’s outrage. It is that silent disappointment that makes one question everything about their existence and right now it is taking a toll. And now it seems her marriage is not safe from the shenanigans… ‘Let’s have lunch this afternoon.’ Fitz said to Sloane as she got ready for work. Since the fight with her mother she has clammed up, they are tense around each other. Sloane can become so cold sometimes, and it is hard to reach her when she is that way, but he is tired of walking on egg shells around his wife.
‘I can’t Fitz, it’s the wind down to the holidays and-’
‘Yeah Sloane I get it. You’re busy, so am I. When do we stop doing this?’
‘You get into a thing with your mom and we have to suffer for it. We haven’t been together for over two months-’
‘You were out of town working, and so was I. Since when do I get to be the only one who pays for that?’
‘I’m not asking you to pay for anything, no one has to, all I wanted was to have lunch with my wife and it feels like I’m being punished for even thinking about that.’ Fitz grabbed his jacket from the chair heading out, ‘I get it, Bella got married and everything is a toss-up, but please don’t take it out on us.’
She felt like an idiot. He was right. Her mother gets to her, more than she wants to admit, the call with her after Bella’s news broke put her in a funk and since then she and Fitz have had this weird static. He flew out for business a few times in the week and she is running flat out at work and now, thanks to her mother she has this messy morning to deal with.
Serena waits outside the school gates for the children, she has not done this in over two weeks; the nanny steps in when she and Gabriel cannot do the run. She’s missed too many moments in their lives, school plays, bake days, field trips… life and its demands, not to mention a sister marrying in secret. Since returning from New York she and Gabriel are slowly getting better, they spent the weekend in bed, whilst the kids were out with the grandparents. It felt good to feel their way back to each other. The fog is clearing, they laugh a little longer, smile a little deeper, lean in a little closer to each other. The bells goes and out they come. She sees her three, and they are so happy to see her with their big smiles, legging it towards her. Astrid and Arlo are both holding on to Sawyer, helping him keep up.
‘Mommy!!!’ All three children suffocate her with welcome hugs and for a while, Serena did not want to let go. Her little loves.
‘Mommy what are you doing here?’ Astrid asks after they finally let go of each other.
‘Picking you up of course.’ She lifts Sawyer up in her arms.
‘Hey little man.’ She musses his messy little fro.
‘I missed you all so much.’ Sawyer rests his head on her shoulders lovingly,
‘I missed you too mommy.’
‘We saw you this morning mommy.’ Arlo says. ‘How come you miss us?’
‘Because… there is no time limit on missing a loved one.’ Children. What do they know?
The drive to Gabriel’s office is filled with stories of school, holidays and Christmas. They stop on the way for some, strictly forbidden until the weekend, ice-cream at their favourite ice cream place; Harrods ice cream parlour.
‘Daddy!’ Astrid is the first to reach her father, bounding into his office without care in the world, the cheeky little thing.
‘Hello little darling.’ Astrid jumps into her father’s arms just as the others join them. As they did with their mother, all three children bury their father in hugs and he smothers them in kisses. Serena watches her family with much love, how did she get so lucky?
‘Hey beautiful.’ Gabriel pulls Serena into a warm hug.
‘Hi. We come bearing food and ice-cream. I know you have to work late so we’ll wait here.’
Gabe smiled, ‘I love you.’ He needed to say that and she needed to know. They are trying, desperately trying, and slowly getting there.
‘I love you too.’ She plants a kiss on his lips. ‘Go save the environment we’ll be waiting.’
Beatrix is just wrapping up some prints for collection when she feels Edward’s arms around her waist. It brings a smile to her face, that smile only he can induce.
‘What’s up?’ He plants a kiss on her shoulder. Bea turns round to face her husband; things are still weird between them.
‘Nothing. What’s up?’
‘I’m sorry. I should have said much more to my mother, but Bea, I love you, you’re my wife, the mother of my children. You are the most amazing human I know. Let’s not let my mother come between us. We have a whole life time of her trying to do that, and you know she will, but I need you to know that I love you and I’ve got your back, always. That will never change.’
‘I love you, and a crazy as it sounds, I do love your mother. I should never have taken off the way I did off to New York and risking being thrown in jail by my sister who would’ve had every right to.’ She laughs a little. ‘I need to work on my irrational outbursts.’
‘I love you my darling. You and all your irrational outbursts.’
‘I love you too.’
…Sloane arrives at Fitz’s office a little after noon; she cancelled the rest of her day and left her office early. ‘Hey Claude.’
‘Mrs Fitzgerald’ Claude, Fitz’s secretary, greets Sloane when she walks through the door. ‘How are you?’
‘Very well thank you. How are you?’
‘Likewise. It’s good to see you again.’ He comes out from behind his desk and they exchange a hug.
‘Is he in his office?’
‘He was pulled into a strategy meeting that will go on for most of the afternoon, but I know he would love to come out to see you.’
‘No don’t. I’ll wait.’
‘He could be hours.’
Sloane shrugs discarding her coat. ‘I’ll wait with you if you don’t mind the company.’
‘I would love that.’
Claude pulls out a chair. Sloane and Fitz are two of the kindest people he has ever met. Especially when you consider that they are a powerhouse couple, billionaires with wildly successful businesses and supremely talented. Together they make an incredibly sexy and cool couple; the press is obsessed with them and their elusiveness only adds to the mystery. Claude is very fond of them. Sloane orders in lunch and they spend the afternoon enjoying each other’s company, catching up on months of travel and life as the hours roll by. Claude has worked for Fitz since before she came along, and they both trust him implicitly.
‘Yeah…uh huh. Nope I gotta check in with Sloane…the holidays and all… okay. I’ll holla back.’ Fitz makes his way up the stairs, he’d been in a meeting for five hours and all he could really think about was his wife. He was such a dick to her this morning but only because he misses her. He called her a few times but it rolled on to voicemail. ‘Claude can you find out where my wife is I can’t… hi.’ Fitz’s face breaks into a smile upon seeing Sloane, the best sight he’d seen all day. ‘You’re here.’
‘I am. Hi.’
‘Hey my love.’ He kisses her softly. ‘How long have you been here?’
‘Five hours!’ Claude interjects accusatorially. ‘She wouldn’t let me call you out of the meeting.’
‘I didn’t want to disturb you.’
‘Come here.’ Fitz gives his wife another kiss. ‘Hey…’
‘Claude take off, I’m gonna hang with my wife.’
‘Have a good evening you two.’
Fitz and Sloane make it to his office where they cannot keep their hands off each other. ‘I love that you’re here. I love that you blew work off to be with me. I fucking love that you waited five hours for me. I love you. And I’m sorry for being a dick to you this morning.’
‘You weren’t. I’m sorry you felt that way. I love you Fitz and I don’t want you to ever forget that.’
‘I won’t. Let’s get outta here?’