The original characters are the property of E.L. James. I’m just having a lil’ fun. No copyright infringement intended.
Chapter 22 Late Night…Early Morning Chat
Between my nightmare and witnessing Emmett’s, I couldn’t be less interested in sleeping if my life depended on it. I made certain Ana settled into bed then we chatted for a long while before she succumbed to sleep. I hold her and replayed our conversation.
“There was something in his eyes Ana. Some kind of deep pain and…I saw…her there.” I saw my birth mother in his eyes. I remember that look from one of her lucid moments, after I would brush her hair, as if she was going to miss me. I remember seeing that look in her eyes before she fell asleep…and never woke up again.
Did he really try to find us? Did he try to find me after she died?
“There was more emotion in his eyes than his words conveyed this evening, but I don’t know what it is. Guilt…remorse…mourning? I want to know everything Ana. Is that selfish of me? I want to know everything that happened with him while he was looking. I want to know if someone stood between me and my natural family.” The newfound determination in my voice surprises Ana. It even surprises me. I want to know. I need to know. I have a right to know.
Ana shakes her head and quietly says, “No Christian, it’s not selfish. They told you to ask any questions you wanted and they said they would answer you. If that wasn’t true then they shouldn’t’ have opened Pandora’s Box.”
Ana and I discussed everything I was told at the Brown Family Meeting. I don’t give a shit about their fucking Rules. Ana and I can’t keep secrets from one another if we plan to move forward. Not ever again. I have to man up and tell her everything.
“Do you believe him Christian? Do you believe Emmett? It all sounds plausible, but what do you think? How do you feel about what you heard, both during and now after…” She’s referring to Emmett’s night terror.
“I don’t know Baby, I honestly don’t know. I haven’t been given any proof that they really are my family.” She raises a skeptical eyebrow at me and I smirk at her, knowing what she’s thinking, “Looks aren’t everything Ana. All I’ve been given is a story. Albeit very tragic and possibly heartfelt, it’s just a story. I need concrete proof these people are related to me before I can even begin to consider the tale I heard tonight.”
“What about the nightmare Christian? Surely you can understand that.” Yes, she’s right I can, but anyone can have a nightmare, even a seemingly severe nightmare. We didn’t see what he saw or feel what he felt at that time so I cant’ discount his terror, however…
“Baby, as harsh as it sounds, for all we know that was the guilty conscious of a man who’s just told the lie of a lifetime.“ Her mouth falls open in shock at my statement, but I stand by my statement. “My gut instinct tells me to be very careful where this situation is concerned and I’ve learned to follow my gut instinct. When I don’t, I suffer grave consequences.” She nods at me absent-mindedly then snuggles into me. Her back to my front.
I kiss her cheek and let her know, “I told Emmett we could talk again tomorrow. He has back-to-back meetings so it won’t be until evening. We can go home and I can make love to you until then.” I pull her closer to me and grind my erection against her fabulous ass. When she looks over her shoulder at me I give her my thousand mega-watt smile. “Wha’da ya say Baby?”
Ana giggles and I kiss her on her nose before she informs me, “We’ll see Mr Grey…we’ll see.” I sigh and wrap my arms around her as she falls off into sweet-dreamland.
My mind continues to race. I want to believe him, for his sake as well as my own. Is it so far fetched? Is it absolutely impossible and if so, why? It just seems too bizarre to be true.
Humpf…truth is stranger than fiction my friend. You are living proof of that as I recall. Your mother was loved and she loved you. We may never know exactly how you ended up in Detroit. I’m sure if we kept hunting we could find out more. Consider the fact that you have family right here in front of you who are willing to tell you their side of things. Remember our conversation about points of view?
I remember, I understand and I’m willing to hear Emmett out. That old fucker on the other hand can kiss my ass. I’m not impressed with Edward. Everett was young and stressed by the events that were affecting his life. No matter what he remembers it’s likely to be skewed.
You mean like yours is skewed when you remember…
Don’t fucking go there. That’s different and you fucking well know it! That shit happened to me first hand, it wasn’t simply going on around me. It was all up close and personal.
Do you know what the climate was in this house when Emmett was looking for you? Do you know how Everett felt with his father being away? The man told you he loved you, he’s glad you’re alive and here. Did he believe you were dead? What was going on? You said you wanted to know everything. How far are you willing to go?
“Je ne sais pas. Je ne sais pas”
“Oh, pardon me. I didn’t mean to disturb you Emmett.” I decided to look over some spreadsheets while Ana slept. We’re not at home so I don’t have my piano and Ana’s not comfortable having sex in someone else’s home so…I’m relegated to either lie beside her with an erection or work and try to forget I have an erection. So, with my laptop in hand I ventured to the Great Room only to walk in on Emmett Brown.
“No worries. You didn’t disturb me Christian. There’s more than enough room here for both of us. Would you like something to eat or drink?” I shake my head and sit down then begin the task of sorting through the hundreds of emails that seem to simply materialize out of nowhere.
We checked this shit before we left home, what the fuck is going on in Seattle?
We work in silence for a while then Emmett speaks up, “I sincerely apologize Christian, to you and Anastasia.” What is he apologizing for? My frown gives me away, “For the abominable racket I made earlier this evening. I hope I didn’t frighten Anastasia…or you.”
The strength from earlier this evening has gone out of his eyes. He looks tired, drained, physically and emotionally. He looks like he’s lost his best friend with no hope of ever seeing them again. He looks lost. I know that look and the feelings that accompany it…well. If that’s the look Ella described seeing in her father’s eyes, it’s not for the loss of his wife. He’s still mourning his sister.
I suppose now is as good a time as any. “You didn’t disturb us Emmett.” I’m not ready to discuss my nightmares just yet but… “Are you alright? You said something about back-to-back meetings tomorrow, today rather. Don’t you need to get some rest?” He gives me a weary smile and shakes his head.
“No, Christian, I can function just fine on practically no sleep at all. A skill I’ve developed over the years. I haven’t slept, decently, since before…” The far away look never leaving his face…never leaving his eyes.
I take mercy and finish his thought. “Before you lost contact with your sister.” He nods his head slowly and his eyes begin to glaze over with what might be tears. “You loved her very much, didn’t you?” I whisper, still surprised by the concept of someone loving or missing the Crack-Whore.
“I loved my sister very much indeed. She was the light of our home. She was carefree and curious, strong and stubborn, the definition of a spitfire.” He smiles to himself. “She would blowup like someone set off a powder keg then calmly tell you she loved you, kiss you on your cheek and leave the room. She gave Edward what for on many occasions.” He smiles to himself as he recalls a memory. Ever so slightly, his smile fades until a grimace appears, which morphs, bringing us full circle back to the lost look he had a few moments ago.
When he remembers he’s not alone, he looks at me and sighs. “I’m certain you have hundreds of questions for me, don’t you?” I nod. I want to know everything, but I don’t tell him that…just yet.
“How long did you spend looking for her…for us?” I add the last part in an almost desperate attempt to know more about what was going on with people I never knew existed, never dreamed cared about her…or me.
“Not long enough.” He mutters almost to himself.
“Why do you say that Emmett?” He told me he looked everywhere he could think of. He even retraced his steps before starting a new search. Why does he feel he didn’t look long enough?
“I didn’t find you Christian. I didn’t find my sister. My father was notified his daughter was dead then I was arrested while searching for you and trying to arrange for my sister’s return . Had it not been for your father, I don’t know where I’d be. I failed all the way around.” He pauses and runs his fingers through his hair. He takes a deep cleansing breath. “Look, we can take this up later.” Is he getting annoyed at my questions? His attitude won’t deter me.
“How did your wife and sons take you being away from them? Everett seemed…relieved, for lack of a better word, to know who I am, but your other two sons, no offense, behaved like bitches.” There’s no nice way to tell a man his sons are weak and shallow so why try to sugarcoat things. Emmett frowns at my description.
“Eran and Emerson are more thoughtful and intelligent than they seem. While they may not appear to be the epitome of the men in our family, they may surprise you one day Christian.” He doesn’t sound defensive when he responds to me, but I can tell he doesn’t like having to stick up for them either.
“Everett knows what was going on at that time from this end, somehow, I believe he knows more than he lets on. He’s a good bit older than you and conspicuously observant, to the point of being nosey. It’s an attribute that enabled him to work his way up the ladder and earn his role at EB.”
“I told you about my wife. Eran and Emerson seemed oblivious to everything that didn’t revolve around them and little Ella was still a baby. Everett became the man of my portion of the family. Being that man, he gave me a debriefing upon my return and I’m forever grateful. Things were strained between Everett and I, almost to the breaking point, but ultimately he remained on my side. He loves his Aunt Ella to this day just as much as I do and he loves you as well.” He raises an eyebrow to emphasize his statement.
“Everett puts on a good front, that’s why he so successful in the boardroom. He doesn’t have any patience for bullshit so we don’t have him appear when negotiations are underway. Once the deal is made proper, Everett comes in and executes the stipulations of the contract. No emotions, just ‘fuck the world and full steam ahead’. When he gets home, he’s as docile as a Labrador. I’ve watched him interact with Ellie after a ridiculous day at the office and it’s like watching Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It can be quite amusing at times.” He chuckles a bit then goes back to his work.
Our conversation steers back to business as we each rattle off the history of our respective companies. It’s interesting to hear about the accomplishments of EB, Pty and the Brown Family. Ella understated everything she told me, but then that’s her, modest to a fault. There’s another lull in our casual chat. Emmett breaks the silence once again.
“What’s your schedule like day after tomorrow?” WHAT! Is he weaseling out on our meeting? “I’m still interested in speaking with you this evening Christian. I have a feeling I’m going to open the lid on Pandora’s Box even further and I won’t be able to address all of your questions in one sitting. I don’t know where would be most comfortable for you, but I don’t believe the Family Home is that place. Am I correct?”
Is it that obvious?
“You’re absolutely correct Emmett, this is not my favorite place in the world. Who came up with the concept of the ‘Family Meeting’ anyway? My temper is world renown and it’s never been something I pride myself on, but here, with you all, it seems as though it’s a virtue.” It goes against everything Grace and Carrick taught me. I have always felt like a sideshow in the circus of my life when it came to my temper. In fact, Elliott makes a point of jeering at me when he sees me getting pissed, only to piss me off more.
“No one regards anger or physical violence as a virtue. Rather we identify it as the honest portrayal of your emotions. It’s how we gauge a person’s point of view especially when it comes to family matters. We involve everyone because something that affects one of us affects all of us, directly or indirectly. Everyone has an opportunity to voice his or her opinion clearly, with no question about the meaning, without feeling hindered or obligated to appease anyone else in the group. Unfortunately, that can lead to bruised egos, hurt feelings and anger. The next natural expression of one of those sentiments must be resolved immediately in order to prevent a worsening of the situation.”
“We love each other fiercely and we get pissed at each other fiercely. If someone has no interest, no attachment, no reaction to the situation then in our eyes that person doesn’t care and apathy hurts us all. Like I said we love each other, good, bad, pretty, ugly, right or wrong, we do. We stick up for one another. If that means pointing out your errors when we get home then so be it, but that’s none of the rest of the worlds business.”
“We, I wanted to tell you everything imaginable about your mother. Beginning with the day she was born to the last moments I spent with you and her. I knew that would be more than you could possibly handle and not address your questions. So everyone agreed to let you make your own inquiries, but you wouldn’t open up. I don’t mind telling you, was frightened at your reaction.” The frown on my face caused him to explain further.
“Your impassiveness, in my mind, could be taken in a variety of ways, you didn’t give a fuck and there was no possible way to reach out to you, you were so overwhelmed you didn’t know where to begin or you didn’t believe us and felt we had some diabolical, ulterior motive for speaking with you. While it would be difficult to break through scenario two or three, there would be no recovering from scenario one. Once an individual has decided firmly in their heart and mind to disengage from a situation…it’s the point of no return.”
“Apathy, again in my experience, is more than just a state of indifference or suppression of emotion. You can spur someone who appears apathetic to act depending on how you approach them then the lines of communication flow like a river, which is what happened when Everett ran on about your name.” Yeah, that fucker’s got a good ass-whipping coming from me for that bullshit.
“An apathetic individual cannot be challenged. They either don’t see the situation as being worth their time and effort or they don’t have the necessary skills to confront the challenge facing them. Now, just as you are known for your temper you are known to never back down from a challenge, that only left scenario one. You didn’t see us as being worth your time or effort.”
“We were worthless to you and once you left this house we would never see you again. You probably would have returned to Seattle and we never would have crossed your mind again. Anastasia would remember us, but she wouldn’t and shouldn’t affect your decisions. I couldn’t take that chance.” My expression feels blank, but his response tells me that’s not the case.
“Why?” I nod at his question and wonder about his ability to read my mind. “It’s as I said earlier, we love each other fiercely and we get pissed at each other fiercely. If someone has no interest, no attachment, no emotion toward a situation then in our eyes that person doesn’t care and apathy hurts us all. We love each other, good, bad, pretty, ugly, right or wrong and we stick up for one another. It affected us all in our own ways when you and Ellie went missing then we learned Ellie was dead then we couldn’t find you. For all we knew you were dead as well.” He shudders at the thought.
“I meant what I said Christian, you can blame me for everything that happened. You can blame me for not finding you in time, you can blame me for not protecting you, but please, I beg you, don’t blame your mother for your ultimate circumstances. She wasn’t world-wise and apparently she got in over her head. I was her big brother. I was supposed to protect her. Like it or not, I’m your uncle and it’s my responsibility to protect you as well. I let you both down and not a second has gone by without my thinking about that.”
Protect me huh? HA, that’s a joke!
Calm down Grey. You didn’t come in here to start a fight with the man. Do your work and let him do his. In the morning we’ll grab Anastasia and get the fuck out of this crazy house.
“Emmett, you’ll have to forgive me. My take on this situation is quite different. I didn’t know any of you existed before a few weeks ago and now there’s a plethora of questions running though my mind. I can see your pain Emmett. I’ve been in pain too, for many, many years, and just when the pain begins to lessen something or someone comes along to test the waters.” My voice is beginning to shake with fury. I’m trying not to take his head off yet get my point across at the same time. It’s not easy because I want to scream from the rafters that these fuckers abandoned me…abandoned us. Exactly when I began using the word us I don’t know, but it seems fitting.
“Christian…Christian…please, I don’t want to upset you. Please sit down, take care of your work and go back to Anastasia. I’m sure she doesn’t like waking up in a cold, empty bed.” I shake my head because she doesn’t and neither do I.
“Good, then it’s settled. We’ll talk and I’ll give you as many answers as I can. This evening at your home?” I nod. “Fine, good evening…or good morning rather, Nephew. Enjoy your day.” He stands and leaves the room. I want to run after him and shake the answers from him right now.
He’s gonna tell you what he knows. I’m sure he doesn’t want to feed you false information so you’re gonna have to listen well and not interrupt him this evening.
I sigh inwardly. I guess. All I know is this is not what I bargained for when I came to Australia. Nightmares of the Bitch-Troll, the Crack-Whore and her pimp and now meeting my family with its fucked up set of circumstances, what did I do to deserve all of this?
Cela va passer mon ami. And with the love of your life beside you, all will be well. You’ll see.
Je prie que tu as raison.
Believe me, it will.
Je ne sais pas. Je ne sais pas.
I don’t know. I don’t know.
Cela va passer mon ami.
This will pass my friend.
Je prie que tu as raison.
I pray you’re right.