Disclaimer: The characters used in this story belongs to creator Shonda Rhimes, ShondaLand, The Mark Gordon Company and ABC Studios. No copyright infringements intended.

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The first thing Pete sees as he reaches the bottom of the staircase is his wife slamming the phone down onto the living room table, gritting her teeth in frustration. Violet's expression instantly softens when she notices Lucas looking up from his spot on the floor, where he's been playing with his new favorite toy for the past fifteen minutes. A large, bulky and bright red fire truck that uncle Coop surprised him with the last time he came over to baby-sit. Not really meant for a kid only a few months shy of his second birthday, but it has no choking hazards and Lucas likes making the wheels spin round and round.

“Your mom again?” Pete inquires as Violet leans down to pick up their child.

Violet screws up her face, “Is it that obvious?”

Pete plants a gentle kiss on her forehead, then one on Lucas’ temple, “It’s the third time this week,” he reminds her.

“Only third?” she asks miserably.

“What was it this time?”

“The same. With the book out and selling, my mother has decided it’s the opportune time to have me fly across the country under the guise of her wanting to bond with her only grandson. However we both know what she’s really after is another chance to parade my new ‘accomplishment’ around her circle of friends and coworkers. It’s always been like that. You won’t see a lot of cozy family photos around that house; instead you’ll see thorough documentation of every diploma, every prize, every accomplishment... It’s a shrine, not a home.”

“Bana,” Lucas exclaims, his word of the week, pointing to the kitchen, breaking the tension and causing both parents to laugh.

“Okay, big man,” Pete chuckles as Violet hands the child over, “Let’s see if we can find you that banana.” Heading into the kitchen, he places the boy in his high chair before grabbing the fruit from the basket on the counter. He peals it and cuts a third of it up into small chunks and puts the plate in front of the child.

It’s always messy when Lucas handles the food on his own; some of it always ends up on his clothes or on the floor. Sometimes, when the child either tires of the food or he’s full, it ends up smeared into his hair, or he chucks it across the table. One time the boy managed to nail his father in the eye with a grape in the middle of Sunday breakfast. It didn’t hurt; in fact it was quite comical to have their mundane conversation suddenly interrupted by the propelling fruit. It’s less fun, though, when it’s something sticky and prone to causing permanent stains, which is why they only give him a few pieces at a time.

Violet strokes the child’s soft, silky hair and sighs, “I know I don’t have many nice things to say about my parents, and God knows they won’t be winning any parenting awards anytime soon… But I don’t want to leave you with the impression that they are these monsters. They’re just… misguided…”

Pete tucks a stray lock of her hair behind her ear. “You almost died,” he reminds her, “You almost died and they didn’t come, didn’t call. Hell, I barely left your side for a month and not once do I remember them calling to check up on you, their only daughter. Finally your mother makes contact and it’s about the book. It’s one thing to forgive the past, but she’s still doing it. I’m surprised you’re still taking her calls. You said it yourself; your mother wants in on the glory surrounding your accomplishment, and you can’t let her. I know you’re far more understanding than I am, but… there’s a line.”

Violet shrugs, a sad smile on her face, “They’re my parents,” she says matter-of-factly, “I don’t have to like them or even love them, but I can’t cut them out. With your mother…” she cuts herself off, the pain in his eyes still too fresh, “They’re the only grandparents Lucas has left.”

Pete is about to voice his objection, but Violet doesn’t let him, “I’m not saying I’ll give into their demands. I didn’t invite them to our wedding, and I am not about to take my son and fly across the country so they can look good in front of their friends. But for my sake and for Lucas’ sake, I need to at least leave the door open, you know?”

Cupping her cheek with his right hand, Pete leans in and plants a kiss on her forehead, “You’re far too forgiving, has anyone ever told you that?”

Meeting his gaze, Violet gives him one of her trademark wide smiles, “My husband does… all the time.”


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