He held a scotch in one hand and in the other he held the silver plated frame that held the picture of Lexie and him in their wedding garb. Him in tux with tails and her in that white silk, full skirted dress. She'd been beautiful that day. Smiling. And he'd been handsome. And wearing a smile.

Wearing a smile as miles and miles away from the Boston wedding, Calliope Torres gave birth to his daughter Ashlyn Nayeli Torres Sloan.

The wedding hadn't been planned to coincide with the baby's birth. Lexie and Mark's mother had timed it all (wedding and honeymoon) to finish a week before the baby's due date. But
Ashlyn had decided to come three weeks early. Three weeks. So he'd been in Boston, standing before Father O'Hallan, family, and a few friends, promising to support, love, and honor Lexie Grey.

He'd missed out on what should have been the most important day of his life, because he was at his wedding. It was fucked up.

But then, it had all been fucked up. When he'd found out that Callie was pregnant. That she was giving birth to his child, he'd been happy. And scared. And fucking confused.

He'd wanted to do the right thing. Be there for Callie. Be there for his daughter. And be there for Lexie the woman he was suppose to have a future with.

And so he'd found himself torn between too many women. Too many options. Too many futures.

The easy way out.

He'd always taken the easy way out.

And this had been no different.

It was easy to say 'yes' to Lexie when she forgave him for impregnating Callie. Easy to say yes to her request for a future. Easy to let her pick out a ring, and buy a dress, and plan a wedding.

It had been even easier to sit down with the Chief of Surgery at Beth Israel Hospital, on Lexie's suggestion, and interview for the position of Lead Plastic Surgeon.

The house. The car. The dog. The never returning Seattle... all to easy.

Mark took a sip of his scotch and putting the picture down, he reached in to the lower right hand drawer of his Branbury Oak desk. Lifting up a few files, he reached for the small thin, well worn, cardboard folder. Flipping it open, he stared at the picture, the only picture, he had of his daughter. Beautiful Ashlyn. She'd only been a couple of hours old when the picture was taken. And even then, she looked just like her mother. Dark hair, dark eyes. So beautiful.

He'd wanted to be a father to her.

A better father than he'd been to Sloan, who he'd never known about.

He'd wanted to be a better man for her.

So much more.

And instead, he'd proved to himself that he was so much less.