I do not own the Fifty Shades Trilogy or its characters; those belong to E. L. James. However, my characters do belong to me.

Chapter 2 | Part of the Package

GREY

“Ok Ros, as long as you have it under control…yes, I will go to Taiwan, you stay with Gwen, I am sure she misses you. I am absolutely positive Anastasia will not mind…no, she would not accompany me.” I am so sick of having to explain why I can run my company. No Anastasia does not give a rat’s ass in a rainstorm whether I am in the United States or Timbuk-fucking-tu, as long as the world takes her seriously. No, I am not just saying that to wallow in my own mire. I made sure to keep my mouth shut and repeat her words to her for clarification. I cannot compete with the world. Got to give it to her, when she aims, she aims big.

So, I am alone once more. I think I am holding up better this time. Neither Taylor nor Gail has had to listen to me bitch for no good reason. Ryan and Reynolds are on leave of absence, since I do not need that kind of protection. Sawyer declined my offer for vacation time by saying he knew I would want Miss Steele safe. He is absolutely right. I even made sure it was all right with her first.

Out of character for you Grey. Don’t tell me you’re getting soft.

What the fuck ever; am I not allowed to change, to grow? I have to be the stagnant miser huh? Sorry to disappoint you. It’s my turn to change.

“Hello, again, Christian.” What is with the fucking attitude? Who pissed in her porridge?

“I will make this brief Anastasia. Do you want personal protection during our estrangement?”

I think estrangement is a decent way of describing your situation.

“Oh, I guess I should have someone with me. I had not thought of that. Thank you Christian.” She sounds like she is a million miles away.

That was easier than I thought it would be. For some odd reason, that makes me leery. “Anastasia, please do not take this the wrong way, but is there anything I should know?”

“What makes you ask that?” That is not an answer to my question.

Shut up Grey. You called her about protection and you said it would be a brief call. A brief call does not include an interrogation. State your point, show your appreciation and keep it movin’.

“I apologize, no reason in particular reason. Thank you for accepting the protection. Goodnight.”

“Christian, wait!”

What the fuck is this about?

“Yes Ana, are you ok? Is everything alright?” She is scaring me.

“I…I love you. Goodnight.” Then she is gone. I take a deep breath and put down my phone.

It is time to go to the umpteenth charity event of my lifetime. I swear, they all run to-fucking-gether anymore. I have been to at least a dozen of these damn things since Ana and I separated and they never get any easier.

There was no need for Taylor to accompany me, like I always say, ‘I am big enough and ugly enough to take care of myself’. Anyway, he deserves to be with his woman. Who am I to cock-block?

I pray I do not see my family at this damn thing. I have been able to keep them at bay with a few phone calls and even a Skype or two. Between, New York and Grey House, busy has been my first name. I am still toying with the idea of going to Taiwan. So far it is not necessary. I work to keep from sleeping. Being in that big ass fucking bed is depressing without my Ana. The nightmares have not returned, much to my surprise. But this loneliness is ever-present.

I pull up in front of the venue and toss my keys to the valet. “The name is Grey.” I smile; I love doing that. I guess it is the little things that will have to keep me happy for now. The valet certainly is happy. I mean, how many Audi R8 Spyder convertibles do you get to drive in your life, hmm? I sigh and step onto the red carpet.

Let’s get this shit done.

“Congratulations Mr. Grey, it is always wonderful to see someone reach out and help our communities.”

Nod, smile and say thank you Grey. We have to make it to the door without you turning into an utter shit heel.

“Mr. Grey, how long have you been a sponsor for this event?” Why in the hell is he asking this? Number one, this is not a fucking interview. Number two, has he heard of Google?

Look it the fuck up.

See, this proves they are not here for the event; they are here for the people. Let me get inside before I show my ass.

“Mr. Grey…Mr. Grey, where is Miss Steele Mr. Grey? We have not seen the two of you together for a while now. Is there trouble at home? Why have you spent so much time traveling Mr. Grey? Are your travels business related or have you found something better elsewhere?” The bastard has the nerve to look smug about this shit. I so badly want to tell him to fuck off, but that is just playing into their hands. I have worked long and hard with my PR people to address these kinds of shitty questions. I am actually surprised it has not surfaced before now.

“My fiancée is well. I will be certain to extend your best wishes to her.” With that, I take my leave. Whew, my fucking head hurts.

Your head hurts, what the fuck about me?

I told you, when she comes back you will get some. Until that time, you are shit out of luck dude. We were monogamous with the subs, are you going to tell me you can hold out for contracted ass, but not for the one I want to spend my life with?

Well, um…when you put it like that…

There’s no other fucking way to put it. When Ana is back THEN you’ll get some, until that time, pas de cul pour te…pun intended.

Whew. No Mom, no Dad, no Mia. I did not expect to see Elliott or Miss Kavanaugh. Dinner went well and of course there are some new members of the “Christian Grey Fan Club”. Ana would be giggling like a schoolgirl watching these suits trying to get in good with me. And of the women, really!?! Does no one have any home training anymore? The standard attire consists of doily dresses and brazen bust dropping. If I were available and interested, which I am neither, I would need to shower with a bottle of disinfectant just to stand myself. This is another reason I need Ana here. She shines her smile on a room and has everyone at her feet. No one bothers to talk to me when Ana is around. She captivates hearts and minds without trying. I wish I could get her to see that the world does take her seriously. I intimidate people to get my way, I always have and in the world of business, I always will. People love Anastasia’s whit, wisdom, genuine interest in any piece of information someone deigns to give her and most of all, her compassion for others. She has to realize fear is not respect. When you captivate someone’s heart and engage their mind, that is when people respect you and take you seriously.


 

My speech was short and sweet, ‘give until it hurts folks’.  I am at home in my study, what else is new.  This is the only place of solace I have for the duration I guess.  I really want to call Ana and stay on the telephone with her until I fall asleep, but I know that will mean taking her away from her introspection.  I cannot do that to her.  I gave her my word I would leave her alone and I am a man of my word.

Lying in this too large bed, I start to search my own soul.  Maybe this time alone can be good for us both.  Humpf, the first and foremost thing that comes to my mind is I am not searching for a Submissive.

Can we spell progress?

Is it wrong to pat yourself on the back for being normal?

In your case, I believe it is.

Next, although I am lonely, somehow I feel at ease with myself.  I know I am not a worthless human being, Ana showed me that, I know I have not done anything to push Ana away or hurt her and I know Ana loves me.  Ana loving me is the biggest factor in my calm.  It feels good to be at ease even if she is not in the same room as me.  I hope, she is thinking about me.

STEELE

You sent him to that event on his own. You were invited ages ago. He did not just spring this on you all of a sudden so do not give him that woe is me crap. You let him wander into the lion’s den…alone.

I know already. He told me what the press would do and what they would say to the world, I guess I just did not believe it. I mean, we have been apart for three months. He has not been sitting home twiddling his thumbs.

You mean like you have?

Shut up! He has gone to several functions and there has been no mention of our engagement or me. Why last night?

Seattle Times – Headline: Coping Together…or are they?

The enigmatic Christian Grey, seen here alone at last night’s Coping Together Charity Gala. Mr. Grey was recognized for his support and success in expanding the local group. Chapters of the Coping Together organization will be established in Oregon and Montana allowing the entity to further its support of children and families here in Pacific Northwest.

When asked about his fiancé, Anastasia Rose Steele, Mr. Grey simply stated, “… Miss Steele, my fiancée is well. I will be certain to extend your best wishes to her.”

No one has heard from or seen Miss Steele since the couple became engaged in June. Did someone get cold feet or has this farce run its course? Was there a payoff? What is the real story here?  We’ll find out.

Seattle Nooze – Headline: Where is Seattle’s future “First Lady”?

The Christian Trevelyn-Grey appeared unaccompanied at the Coping Together Charity Gala. Where was Miss Anastasia Rose Steele? Mr. Grey gave no clear indication of her whereabouts and sidestepped a direct question regarding their engagement.

Ladies, it looks like you may still have a chance. What has Miss Steele done to loose favor in those gorgeous gray eyes? Have the wedding bells been silenced? We will let you know, when we find out.

I have put these damn papers down if I intend to get any work done. I have three manuscripts in the works and a new one was just put on my desk. I miss sparing with Christian over morning emails.

You still could if you’d just let go and enjoy life.

What is that supposed to mean? I enjoy my life, I always have. My world did not start the day I fell into his office you know.

Oh yes, I know, remember me, I’ve been here a long time. You were oh so fascinated with your work at Clayton’s I don’t see how you could put it behind you.

Oh, give me a break. This is why I need time away from Christian Grey. I was ok on my own, I mean, there were not any charity functions or family dinners, unless I hung out with Kate and her family, but you make it sound like I was Little Orphan Annie. I do not want to simply fall in line behind ‘The Christian Grey’ in order to be noticed.

Let me ask you something.

Can I stop you?

Not really, no.

What do you want?

What is wrong about being with Christian? Don’t sugarcoat anything; what’s so fucking horrible about being with Christian Trevelyn-Grey?

I never said there was anything bad, wrong, or horrible about being with Christian. What I said was…

What you said was, “I cannot be in your shadow Christian. The world will not take me seriously when it turns out that I have what I have because I am engaged or married to the company’s CEO, “the Christian Grey, CEO, Grey Enterprise Holding, Incorporated.” Now, explain that to me, please, because I don’t think you even understand what you are saying.

How are you in his shadow? What has he done to stop you from being Anastasia Rose Steele? He gave you a publishing company for Pete’s sake. You dreamed your way through college wanting to work as a publisher and now you have the chance realize that dream and learn how to run your own business as well.

I never asked him to buy SIP and I have absolutely no desire to own my own company.

Is that why we are going through this? Are you still harping on that?

I wanted the opportunity to work my way up, not step in off the street and be perched in the catbird seat.

Did you go to school to learn about books and language and literature?

Now you are being stupid, of course WE did; I thought you just said you have been here for a long time.

I want to make sure you are the same Steele I have grown up with. MY Ana did not back down from a challenge. So he gave you the keys to the castle, YOU STILL have to live there. Grey has his own company to run and he offered to be a point of reference for you when times got tough. Isn’t that what a loving fiancé and husband would do?

Did Grey go to school to learn about books and language and literature?

No.

Then what the fuck are you bitching about? How is this any different from any other gift you have ever received, from anyone; including you lack of gratitude?

Being given something means the giver trusts you to take care of it. They trust your judgment and ability to be a good steward of the present you got from them. You make it sound like a crime to give a damn about you.

I am not that bad.

OH REALLY?!?! You pitch a bitch about ANY and EVERY gift that man puts in your hands and every compliment he gives you, rather sincerely I must say, you basically call him a liar.

I DO NOT!

YOU DO SO!

Look Steele, I am all for taking the high road, maintaining moral standards and integrity, you know that, but you have taken this way too far. Grey loves you. He falls to pieces when he does not hear from you. He cuts his work day down to nil at the snap of YOUR fingers. What else do you want from him? He respects your opinion, your point of view and he loves your free spirit. He told you himself, you are one of the few people he listens to.

Are you finished?

Actually…

ENOUGH! Now it is MY turn to talk, so you listen up. I will agree he loves me; I love him too.

You have a funny way of showing it.

Didn’t I tell you to shut up? If you want to have this conversation, then listen. I want to establish myself in my career and yeah, in the world, so that I have something to share with him. Christian can be sweet, caring, attentive and loving. He can also be overbearing, controlling and turns a blind eye to anything he thinks is conflicting with is agenda.

You have been listening to Kate too much.

GRRR!

What? You sound like her more and more all the time. If you get into a sticky situation with anything, especially Christian, the first thing you do is run to Kate. How many failed relationships has she been in? And how many of those relationships ended, badly, due to her own tenacity, as you like to put it?

Kate is not that bad.

No, she is worse. I understand she is your friend, I even understand, better than you do, that she is your protector, but it is time to grow up Steele. She is just finding a decent relationship of her own. She did not write the book on relationships and she is NOT the one Grey loves, you are. So please, let’s stick to the true Anastasia Steele and not the Kate Kavanaugh replica.

Do I really behave that badly?

Does Grey sulk?

Wow! Ok, you have got my attention. I guess my true feeling is resentment.

Resentment of what?

He gave me this company without a second thought. What if I said ‘no thanks’; then where would he be?

Well…

I’ll tell you where. He would try to “convince” me that accepting his gift was in my best interest.

Isn’t it?

DAMMIT, whose side are you on?

I am on the side that is right. You wanted to work your way to the top, correct.

Yes.

You still have to prove yourself.

Huh? I am at the top, what are you talking about?

You know, for a woman with a 4.0, you do not understand a damn thing. I will slow down so you can understand.

Whatever.

He gave you the company. You have to learn how to run it. You have to learn how to structure it so you fit in wherever your little heart desires. You have to know every aspect of the organization so you can tell if someone is not doing their job or when a job is not being done properly.

You mean micromanage.

Are you for real? Just because you know how to perform CPR does not make you a doctor; smart arse. In this case, you should be the go to person. You should have all the answers because you know how to get the job done. Once you know, then you can teach someone else, so they can stand in when necessary. I you intend to succeed and establish yourself, then take this opportunity for what is it worth. That is what you want…isn’t it?

He did not and does not have to give you anything. Resentment huh. Do you mean you resent his struggle and the fact that he has built himself from the ground up or do you resent the fact that he listens and acts on what he sees is the situation at hand? Resentment, that is what you want to hang your hat on? You know Webster defines resentment as a feeling of indignant displeasure or persistent ill will at something regarded as a wrong, insult, or injury. So I ask, again, what is so wrong with being Christian Trevelyn-Grey?

I do not know? My mind and feelings are scattered all over the place.

It sounds like you are looking at the glass as half empty and want someone to put a pitcher in front of you. He gave you the company because you said you wanted to be in publishing. You still have to make it in publishing. You have not just walked into the top spot. It is going to take work. Stop shitting on the blank canvas, get out your watercolors and start painting.

Oh, and you know what else?

No, but I am sure you are going to tell me.

Watch it. You are going to need my help one day.

I apologize.

You will get out of this what you put into it.

Fair point, well made.


pas de cul pour te no ass for you