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Can’t We Just Be Happy | Chapter 18 Another Point of View

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 18 | Another Point of View

GREY

“DAMN Christian, does your father know about saving trees? I understand this stuff may not have originally been saved electronically, but surely these things could’ve been scanned and sent to you?” I agree with her completely. There’s a lot of shit here.

“I agree Baby, but like you said things were done differently back in the day. But these are legal documents, so I need hardcopies for validity.  Plus, if these things were scanned at any point, we run the risk of loosing data.”

“I guess” she says, as if I’m making this up as I go along. I need this stuff, in this format, to strengthen my case against Ole’ Man Brown. “What is all of this?” She frivolously waves a stack of papers around.

“This is my life Anastasia” I snap.  My voice crisp and clear.  Her demeanor changes immediately. We found my adoption papers, the Crack-Whore’s Death Certificate, police reports about the crime scene and statements from the people who resided in the area where the body and I were found.

“Where’s your Birth Certificate Christian.” Ana is digging around, scattering pages all over the table and, now, the floor where we’ve piled things up as well.

Sitting to my right, I quickly push the paper at her then try to reorganize the mess she’s now made of my filing system, “Dammit Ana, here. Look, it took me an hour to make sense of all that shit. Put it back.”

“Make sense of huh? My ass.” She’s been mocking my organizational skills, or the lack thereof according to her, all afternoon.

Ha, ha, ha…you two are funny.

“I’ve got something for your ass Baby and I have no problem showing how well I can file it.”  I wink at her. My reward? After all this time, it’s nice to know I can still make her blush. “You still turn that beautiful shade of pink Baby. I love it.”

The blush, still shining on her cheeks she says, “Cool it Grey. We’ve got work to do. Gimme that.” She snatches the paper out of my hands.

“This is an Adoption Certificate. I’m looking for your Birth Certificate.” She flips the paper under my nose. There’s no way in Hell we could go into business together.

I know, that feisty little attitude would have her on her back on the boardroom table all the time.

No doubt.

“As far as I’m concerned that is my Birth Certificate Anastasia. I wasn’t alive until Grace and Carrick Grey rescued me.” What the fuck does she want, evidence that some sorry bitch pushed out a little bastard she didn’t really want? All she has to do is look this direction for that. I’m living proof.

“I can see the wheels spinning Grey. If you want to be able to disprove the Browns accusation, and I know that’s the only reason for this Trip Down Misery Lane, then you need to have documentation about your natural birth family.” She’s right, I know she is. I just didn’t want to delve that deep. I just want all of this to go away and leave me alone. Leave me in peace.

When have you ever found peace? Even in that God forsaken ‘Playroom’, when have you ever found peace? Aside from sailing and soaring…alone…you couldn’t spell peace before Ana came along.

I’m very well aware of that, thank you.

And while we’re at it…

Mon Dieu, aidez-moi s’il te plaît!

Call on God all you want motherfucker. We talk when I say so remember? Contrary to the world’s belief, I’m running this shit.

What the fuck do you want…this time?

Listen to what she’s telling you Grey.  Go to the Family Meeting and listen to what the Brown’s have to say. Hear them out. What’s there to lose? You keep saying you don’t want to associate with them so if you hear something to solidify that mindset then you’re all the better. If you hear something to make you feel differently then who knows what could happen. Just keep an open mind and listen.

That’s my point. I’m not sure I want to listen to what they have to say. I have questions. I want answers. I want to know why they left us in that situation. Brown has more money than I do, surely he could afford to bring us home…bring me home after she died. I want to know why he didn’t come for me.  Where the fuck was he?!

Then go to the fucking Family Meeting and ask, stupid fuck! Damn, what the hell does Steele see in you anyway?

“Christian, you have to face this. You have to speak with your grandfather at least. You have questions, I know you do.  You must. You’d be remiss if you didn’t. Ask Mr Brown or your uncle, Hell ask your cousins. Don’t be afraid. Just ask. I’ll be right there by your side if you want.” Ana crawls onto my lap and holds me around my neck. I love when she does this. It’s for my benefit, and hers as well, I think.

“Baby, Ella called me last night.” Ana’s eyes widen in surprise.

“I thought you said you didn’t have each other’s cell phone numbers” she whispers, with hurt in voice.

I shake my head at her.  “Baby, she comes from money, so I’m pretty sure Ole Man Brown is worse than me when it comes to security. I didn’t even bother wondering how she got my number, let alone ask. For all I know, she’s had the damn number since I got the phone.” I smile ruefully at Ana. No one is above a background check. It just depends on the ability of your investigators, and Brown’s men are good. All the more reason for him to have found us.

Drop it!  If you’re not going to the source then fucking forget about it.

“What did she want?” Ana murmurs, and pouts a little.

I smile. I know jealousy isn’t supposed to be attractive, but I like that she’s possessive of me. I like belonging to Ana. “She demanded I attend a Family Meeting. She gave me 24 hours notice, seeing as though I wasn’t accustomed to their way of doing things. Apparently it’s more than mandatory and unless I was in some remote area of the world without internet access, giving birth, dying or dead I have no excuse for my absence.”

“Hmm, sounds like you come by your control freak tendencies honestly.” She tries to hold her smile at bay.

“THERE IT IS! You had your arm on it all along. Why didn’t you tell me?” Ana points to the envelope on my right, under my elbow, clearly labeled Birth Records.

“I was ignoring it. I wanted it to go away.” I say, mostly to myself, as I stare at the sealed envelope.

“Well, let’s see what your options are Mr. Grey.” Huh? When did she go all business savvy on me?

She frowns as she begins, “As I see it, you can open the envelope and read its contents here, forewarned is forearmed after all. You can take the information and knowledge with you to your Family Meeting.” The word your doesn’t go unnoticed and she knows it. “You can leave the envelope sealed and open it in front of your family,” again with the word your, ”and read it together, but then you run the risk of the Browns being correct and you haven’t had a chance to mull it over beforehand.”

“You can call Carrick and ask him if this is the original and if there are any copies then decide to read it here or in front of the Browns,” good, no your “or you can destroy it altogether, forget about it and behave as if the Browns never existed. Remember, with the last option, you’ll never get answers to any of the questions you’ve ever had or will have as this races around in your waking or dreaming mind.”

Just what the fuck I told you, right?

“What’s holding you back Christian? You’re a successful man. You have a family who loves you. You have me, who loves you. What’s holding you back?” Ana whispers the words I’ve asked myself since this entire shit-storm blew up. “Talk to me Christian. Analyze it if you must, but talk to me.”

There are tears in my voice as I tell her my feelings, not just the simple facts, we’ve discussed those hundreds of times.  My feelings, then, and my feelings now, it’s rare for me to share those.  “She didn’t stop the hurt Anastasia. She didn’t stop the pain. She was in the same room with me and she would just watch. I felt like a sideshow for her entertainment…and his.”

I’m old enough now to understand she was strung out and probably didn’t even see what was going on, but the damage had been done. I manage to push those memories, those feelings back and keep them at bay most of the time, but if I begin to think about any of this my blood boils, literally.”   My voice instinctively starts to rise.

Ana holds up a hand up to my chest and I take a deep, calming breath. “I can’t get past that hurt, Ana, that pain. Pain is what’s holding me back. Pain was always on my mind. Pain was how I began my life and although Grace and Carrick didn’t perpetuate that feeling, it seemed to be ingrained in my psyche.”

“Elena got her claws into me because of pain. I wanted to have sex, I was horny as Hell. I couldn’t get close enough to the girls my age.  I couldn’t accept tenderness. The only thought in my mind was pain. I know now Elena had inside information about how to approach me, how to relate to me, how to handle me and she used it all to her advantage. She wanted to fuck me just as much as I wanted to fuck…any girl.  Hell, she could’ve been a fifteen year old girl for all I gave a damn, as long as she knew how to go about getting to me.” I shake my head at the realization. It wasn’t her I wanted, I wanted sex, I wanted closeness.  And I wanted pain.  Pain was the only way I knew to be close…to be intimate.

“I can’t say it enough Anastasia and I’m glad you don’t understand me. Pain is all there was to me.” I shrug my shoulders and say the magic word again, “Pain.” I take another deep breath and put my head in my hands. I feel like a lost cause. I feel weak and vulnerable and hurt, even now. Going back there, is what’s preventing me from moving forward, from getting on with my life.

I feel her petite, delicate hand slowly glide through my hair and stop at the back of my neck, “Christian.” I lift my head to look into her eyes, empathetic blue to agonizing grey. I shudder for a moment then give a very small smile. “Love, there are other points of view to consider in this story. There were…there are…things going on in this world, around the corner, up the street, across the pond with people you know, people you don’t know and people you never will know.”

“Remember, there are three sides to every story. You have to consider the point of view for every person involved. Your birth mother isn’t here to defend herself. You have the opportunity to speak ill of her as much as you want and she can’t contest you. You have the opportunity to curse and shun the people who knew her. You are afforded liberties she will never have.” I frown at her logic.

“You can plainly see she wasn’t born into her situation and I refuse to believe it was her life’s goal to become dependent on drugs or sell her body for any reason. I also seriously doubt she rejoiced in the vision of her only child being beaten in front of her very eyes. You’re an accomplished man Christian. You’re an intelligent man. Do you really think that’s a situation anyone aspires to?” When she puts it like that, I have to shake my head.

“Go to the Family Meeting. Listen to the Browns, ask your questions. If you don’t feel as though your getting enough answers, ask your questions again. Ask for more tangible information. Make them tell you everything you don’t know.”

She’s right. Ella’s not here to tell me herself. I’ve spent years with Flynn alone and countless other shrinks before him. My parents can only tell me so much. The Browns are my last stop when it comes to the mystery of the Crack…I mean Ella’s story.

Quietly, almost afraid of being heard I say, “You’re Ana, although I’m gonna call Dad to ask about the Birth Certificate first. Can we discuss how to handle all of this after we talk to him?”

Ana runs her fingers through my hair several times before responding. “Anything for you Christian” then she places her hand under my chin and lifts my lips to meet hers in a soft, healing kiss. “I love you” she whispers against my lips. I smile and nod the same.


Ring…Ring…Ring…

“Hello? Christian? How are you? Is Ana with you? When are you coming home? We miss you both so much!” Damn Caller ID.

“Hey Mia.” I roll my eyes and Ana stifles her giggle, “ Yeah, Ana’s here and we’re both fine. Look, may I speak to…”

“When are you coming hommme?” she whines and drags the word out as much as her breath will let her.  I have the call on speakerphone so Ana and I can hear the same information at the same time. Cut out the need to replay the conversation. Ana is sitting on my lap, as usual, and I squeeze her tightly as I try to formulate a response to Mia’s question. I look at Ana, begging for help and she quickly comes to my rescue.

Looking pointedly at me Ana jumps in, “Hi Mia, how are you? How are things with you and Ethan?” With that, Mia’s off, and running about herself first and the boring things to do in Seattle then she tell us how things with Ethan are strained at the moment due to the Grey v. Kavanaugh Feud.

“…and Kate has become simply bitch-tastic. At first Elliott and I were like, ‘ok, this’ll pass’, but after you left Ana, she just lost all sense of reason. Elliott believes she’s jealous of your happiness and he said he won’t have her projecting her problems on you, Christian or this family. They went out last night, but I haven’t seen or talked to him so I don’t know how it went. Ana, have you heard from Kate? She said she’s tried to reach you and some guy keeps answering your phone.”

I mouth ‘Barney’ to her and she continues with Mia. “Oh yeah, um…I mean no. I was having trouble with my phone and I gave it to Taylor to fix so…”

In true Mia fashion, she cuts Ana off, “I figured it was someone with GEH, which is what I told Kate when she started talking about you ‘coming to your senses’ and dumping Christian.” My eyes widen at the comment. Ana shakes her head and places a finger over my lips. “…that it had to be someone with GEH or something like that, if not Taylor himself. Well, that was like opening the floodgates. Kate rambled on and on, I couldn’t get a word in edgewise. Elliott left the room and a few minutes later we heard the door slam shut and his truck pulling out of the driveway.” Ana had to put her hands over my mouth to keep Mia from hearing my chuckle.

“Mom and Dad were too pissed, so I first took Kate back to Elliott’s. He, of course, wasn’t home, but since no one but he and Dad have keys to the new locks…” my eyes widen again and Ana nods confirmation to me. She told me Elliott put Kate out, but I figured all was well by now.

She really tore her skinny ass this time didn’t she?

I guess so.

“…we got back to her place and she didn’t even say thank you for the ride. Humpf. So how are things with you guys? How’s the weather? I bet the beaches are gorgeous aren’t they? You know I’m coming to visit Christian.” Now I know the coast is clear.

“I’m sure you want to Mia. May I speak with Dad now?”

“Dad? Oh, yeah. He’s not here.” She could’ve said that an hour ago, dammit. “He does have a job you know. Not everyone is a mega-billion-millionaire like you and you do recall the 14-hour time difference? It’ 9 AM in Seattle Big Brother.”

Oh yeah, I keep forgetting about that don’t I? Oh well, he’s been cussing me out from the privacy of his office for weeks now, what’s one more time, “Ok, I’ll try him at his off…”

“He’s in court all day. He should be home early this evening, I guess it’ll be like 7 AM your time. Give him a call then.”

“Oh hey, Mom just came downstairs, do you want to say hello? She misses you too you know.” Before I can protest I hear, “Hey Mom, Christian and Ana are on the phone!”

I lower my head and groan inwardly. Ana pats my back in a ‘there-there’ gesture then whispers in my ear, “It’ll be alright. You don’t have to work at distracting her. Just be honest.” I lift my head and nod. “Good Boy” she smirks at me.

HA, HA, HA!

Whatever.

“CHRISTIAN?” Why are they yelling? It’s not like we’re talking through tin cans…damn.

“Hi Mom,” I say, using my indoor voice, “how are you?” The weary sound in my voice is clear to my own ears.

“I’m fine Son. You sound tired Christian, are you all right?” Oh, just peachy.

“Yeah Mom, we’re good.” That’s the extent of my participation in this part of the conversation. Mom is off like a shot at the word we. I see where Mia gets it from. It’s laughable actually.

“Ana, Sweetheart how are you? I’m so pleased you’re there.” Once again, they’re talking about everything and nothing at all.

After about another hour or so of mindless chatter, as far as I’m concerned, Mom politely throws a left-cross, right-hook and upper-cut, “So, how are wedding plans going? Are you going to return to Seattle or will you hold the ceremony there?” She nailed it. When are we getting married, where are we getting married and when are we coming home?  All in foul swoop.

Ana looks at me, lost at sea. Now it’s my turn to smirk causing Ana to squints her eyes.

Like that’s gonna do anything Little Girl.

Being the gentleman I am, I come to her rescue. “We‘ve just been taking things one day at a time Mom. We haven’t even discussed the wedding. Ana’s looking into career avenues and GEH is landing new deals everyday.” Ana winces a bit when I mention career avenues.

Hell, it’s better than saying Ana’s applying for jobs.

“Well that’s good Son. I’m glad you two are together again, that’s the important thing.” I know she’s disappointed, but right now it’s not about her. As selfish as it may sound, this is about me and Ana. Grace and Carrick have helped me all they can. I have to carry the ball from here.

Hearing the sorrow in her voice, I have to give her something, “Mom, I know you want us home and we’ll visit…soon. Life here really is different and we’re enjoying it too much to walk away just yet. Please don’t be sad. I love you Mom. I’m not turning my back on you. You know I love you don’t you?” I’m desperate not to hurt this wonderful woman, the woman who saved me all those years ago and gave me the opportunity to get to this point. She gave me a life I didn’t know existed before I met her.

Another point of view in this story huh Grey?

I guess so.

“Of course I know you love me Son and I love you too. I also miss my baby boy and his beautiful fiancée.” Abruptly she calls out, “Ana?”

“Yes Mrs. Grey…I mean Grace.” I giggle at her slip. Nice save Baby.

“I’m trusting you to look after my son Ana. Take good care of him and remember to treat him like he’s your own.” I can hear her smile at the last part. I smile too.

Ana grins, “I promise I will Grace.”

“Good. Goodbye children.”

In unison we say, “Bye Mom” and end the call, somehow managing to keep the smiles on our faces after what was, in my opinion, an excruciating conversation. Ana and I share a deep kiss, our tongues reveling in their familiar and exciting dance.

When we come up for air Ana says, “Well? How would you like to proceed Mr Grey?” She’s obviously strategizing.

Oh, that’s easy because I have my own agenda. “It’s after 10 PM and there are still some virgin surfaces that require our attention Baby. We can pass the time while we wait for the Sun to rise so we can call my Dad.” My dick twitches underneath her just at the thought. My hands glide, slowly, up the sides of her delicious body to her shoulders then down her soft back. I stop midway down and quickly unfasten her bra through the fabric of her t-shirt, and smile at the look of disbelief on her face. It’s called skill Baby.

I pull her close to me and begin to lick and nip and kiss from her collarbone, up her neck to her earlobe. She willingly leans her head away from me so I have better access to her beautiful skin. I keep one hand on her back as the other rubs her thigh, then moves to her ass, up to her waist and finally reaches around her torso to her breast. I rub the palm of my hand over her nipple feeling it harden then I squeeze her sensual, full breasts causing her to moan into my mouth.

“Is that a yes Anastasia?” Unable to speak, she quickly nods her head, but that’s not good enough for me. “Say it Baby. Is that a yes?”

“Yes Christian…yes. Ah…” I stand with her in my arms and make my way to the stairs. “Where are we going?”

I smile against her lips then say, in a deep, lust-filled voice, “Second floor…Library. I’m gonna fuck you on the couch, you’re gonna ride my cock as I sit in one of the wingback chairs then I’m gonna fuck you against each and every one of the bookshelves in there. If you want, we can fuck on the desk…your desk…and in the chair behind it too.”

I’m gonna spread your legs apart, lick your sweet, slick folds and slide my tongue in and out of you until you Come like you never have before.  You can suck my balls, run your tongue along the underside of my cock and devour me with your luscious, sinful talented mouth. How does all that sound to you Baby?” Ana lets out a soft, sweet moan and she’s panting by the time we reach the Library door.


As I lift my head from between her thighs, I untie the drapery sashes from Ana’s knees. I gently massage her knees, making sure she’s not stiff, and lick the insides of her thighs as if telling the ladies bye-bye…for now. “You look so beautiful with your legs bound open to the arms of this chair Baby. I’m never going to be able to think about this room without getting hard.” I lay my head in her lap and breathe in deeply, the smell of sex on her body. Sex with me. I’m the only man to see her this way, the only man to touch her this way and only man to have her. She is mine, all mine.

“Ana…” I look at her post-coital beauty and see the love she has for me in her eyes and I feel that familiar tightness in my chest…in my heart.

I must have a frown on my face because her reply has a note of concern, “Christian?”

I shake my head, take a deep breath and say a silent pray for strength then quietly utter the words I’ve repeated to myself countless times, awake and in my sleep, “Anastasia Rose Steele, I love you. I want to love, cherish and protect you for the rest of my life. Be mine, always. Share my life with me. Marry me.”

With tears in her eyes she says, “Christian, I accepted your proposal months ago. My feelings for you haven’t changed. I still want to marry you. I still want to be your wife.” She softly touches my face and instinctively I lean into her touch.

“You misunderstand me Ana. I mean right now…right here. Not after a planned trip back to Seattle. Not after dress fittings and cake tastings. Not after guest lists, invitations and bachelor parties. Not after a practice run and a night with the families. We’ve anticipated this for months. The 30-day window I gave my mother has long past and we’ve gone through enough trials to last us from now on and even after we die. Please Ana. Marry me now.” I’m begging her. She’s my strength. She’s all the good I don’t have in me. She’s all the stamina I lack and I need her with me, forever.

“Christian, what about…” I cut her off at the pass.

“Our families? They love us and we can celebrate with them at another time. Ray gave us his blessing and if you want him to walk you down the aisle I’ll fly him here right now. Hell, I’ll swim back to Montesano and bring him to you. Whatever you want Baby it’s yours, just please marry me now.”

Her response stings a little, I’ll admit “Let’s get through this Family Meeting then we can decide how to go about getting married. I’m not going to let you go Mr. Grey. You’re stuck with me. We can be married in Seattle, in Townsville or in fucking Timbuktu for all I give a damn as long as we’re together…forever.” She takes my face in both of her hands and leans down to kiss me and it’s the softest, sweetest kiss I’ve ever felt.

“Now, let’s get your father on the phone so we can finish organizing for your meeting with the Browns.”

“We still have time baby, remember there’s a 14-hour time difference? We still have christenings to do. Next are the guest rooms. I’m angry I have neighbors now because I’d love to fuck you on each balcony of this grandiose home.”

“Alas, three out of four ain’t bad is it Mr Grey?” Is she fucking kidding me? Ain’t bad?

It’s the best fucking sex we’ve ever had and that’s saying something.

I’ve told her and told her, but she doesn’t believe me.

“Baby, you don’t know just how ain’t bad sex is with you.” I kiss the inside of her thigh, again, then run my tongue up to the apex between her legs and breathe deeply. I don’t have to look up to know she’s blushing. Her legs turn that adorable shade of pink as well.

I stand and hold my hand out to her. “Come.”

As she reaches for me, the house phone rings. What the fuck? “It might be Mom baby. Something must be wrong somewhere.” Ana, my parents, Elliott, Ros and Taylor have this number. After Taylor and Barney explained the issue with Ana’s phone I felt the need for another mode of communication. Hopefully this is secure. I reach across the desk for the receiver, “Grey!” I really need to learn to look at the Caller ID window. My ears begin to burn and my fists immediately clench at the sound of the voice on the line.


GREY
Mon Dieu, aidez-moi s’il te plaît
Dear God, help me please.

Can’t We Just Be Happy | Chapter 16 Our Spot

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 16 | Our Spot

ELLA

“Good evening gentlemen, Ella.”  Granddad is always so formal.  So much so that at some point during a conversation with him you find yourself sounding the same way, unless, however, you are a member of the Brat Pack [1].  My three brothers take nothing seriously unless it affects them directly, which this conversation will.  Since Christian deduced we’re related, Granddad is going to tell the Three Amigos [2] the same thing and how it affects them…directly.

“Hello Granddad, how are you?”  Emerson says, starting a banter Granddad never finds amusing.

“We haven’t heard much from you recently.  Are you feeling ok?” Eran, the unoriginal one, follows along.  Jeez, for a psych major he’s pretty non-fucking—observant of Granddad’s reaction.

I learned, at a young age mind you, that both Granddad and Daddy’s eyes turn translucent when they get mad.  I’ve seen my father’s eyes go almost clear.  I was never more frightened in my life.  He wasn’t mad at me, thank God, but it was still scary as all fucking Hell.

“Yeah, you look a little under the weather ole man?”

SHIT Everett, you dumb bastard!

I sneak a peek in my grandfather’s direction and…yep, there they go.  Granddad’s eyes remind you of a mood ring the way they swirl as they change color.  Grey to silver to…OH FUCK!  CLEAR!

SIT THE FUCK DOWN AND SHUT THE FUCK UP, THE LOT OF YOU!

Granddad’s face is puce and there’s fucking steam coming off him.

Smiling, and fucking chuckling as he enters the room, my father makes his happy-go-fucking-lucky appearance “Hello father.  I see your grandsons have graced you with their presence.”  Daddy’s gotten to the point where he feels if the boys believe they can take Granddad on he’ll let them, all…on …their…own.

Daddy saunters over to me.  “Hello Ellie, how was your day Love?  Have you spoken with Liam?”  I’m mute.  I simply shake my head, never taking my eyes off of Granddad.

“I have asked her not to discuss the matter with him until we have addressed YOUR sons and spoken with MY grandson further.  She can release information to him soon, but not yet.”  Granddad winks at Daddy and I.

Eran, finally paying attention, frowns for a second then laughs.  “Ha, ha, ha…your grandson?  We’re all right here Granddad, what are you talking about?”

“You’re a little off your game today Ole Boy.  Miss your midday nap?”  I choke on my water, but they all ignore me.  Everett is in for it with that one.

Emerson shakes his head in mock disapproval.  “Now, now gentlemen that’s no way to address your elderly grandfather.  In his advanced years, he’s allowed to have a slip in his memory.”  He  then looks at Granddad with some kind of mock pity in his eyes and says, “Don’t worry Granddad, we don’t hold it against you” and the fucker has the nerve to wink at the other two.

This is gonna be messy.

Granddad, not missing a beat, smiles brightly then drops the bomb, “Well youngsters, I am referring to Christian Grey and since my tenure in this family brings you such entertainment, I will begin proceedings to give he, Ella and your father a total of 75 percent controlling interest in EB, Pty.  You three mockeries can divide your paltry 25 percent any way you see fit.”

Granddad sits back in his chair with a shit-eating grin on his face.  He clasps his hands in front of his face, steeples his index fingers and rests them on his lips, it’s not enough to hide the smile residing there.  Then again, who the fuck said he had to hide his smile?

I know I wouldn’t.

You can hear a gnat gasp for breath in the room it’s so fucking quiet.

Granddad looks over at Daddy and I, his smile widening, if that’s possible, “Emmett, Ella, I do believe that got their attention.”  He looks back at my brothers then growls out in a contradictory hushed voice, “Oh, and boys,” they each nod, “your snide-ass comments will cost each of you a quarter of a million dollars.”  His grin turns into a smirk as the boys turn green.  “I want CASH!  Your fucking checks and electronic transfers are no good with me.  I do not care if you pay in large bills, small bills or fucking penny rolls.  I want my fucking money in 36 hours and you KNOW I am not pissing around.”

“Now, do you have any intelligent questions or valid concerns about my announcement?”  The bastards are in shock.  We all know they don’t give a rat’s ass about their ‘fine’.  I, and my father, on the other hand wince anytime Granddad mentions money.  “Very well.  Any salient questions or comments, at all, regarding your fines?”  Again, not a sound.  “Good…then…GET THE FUCK OUT, NOW!”  Granddad bellows!  My brothers can’t get out of their seats fast enough.  Without looking back and in order of their age Everett, Eran and Emerson vacate the room and quietly close the door behind them.

I look over my left shoulder to see my father trying to fight off his glee, “Dad, you only get better with time, that was…fucking…hilarious.”  Daddy is struggling to catch his breath and wiping tears from his eyes because he’s laughing so hard.  “That tops your conversation with the CEO from the Russian conglomerate.  Wow!  Did you see them scamper to get the fuck out of here?  It was better than comical…ha, ha, ha…WOO HOO!”

“Time to infuse some reality into the situation.  Standing in front of the two comedians, with my hands fisted on my hips and tapping my toe I reprimand my father, “Daddy, that is not nice, they are your sons after all.”  I chastise him.  One would think he didn’t care for the Three Stooges [3], I know better, but it really does look bad.  “It is in poor taste to behave this way Daddy and you know it.”  We have work to do and this shit is getting on my nerves.

Now the Peanut Gallery [4] pipes in, “Oh Ellie, let your father have his moment.  They had it coming to them, in spades.  They will be fortunate if I do not vote them out of EB all together.”  Granddad isn’t bullshitting about that one.  All’s fair in love and money with him and it is always survival of the fittest.

“They are not always my favorite animals in this zoo we affectionately refer to as our family either, but then I was not given a choice of who my siblings were, so please dispense with the frivolity and get this boxcar moving.  I am tired and I am not in the mood for bullshit.”  I cross my arms in front of my chest and give the two of them a curt nod.  I’ve had my fill of all of these bastards for one day and I still have to deal with Liam.

“Grandfather,” his eyes widen at my none-too-affectionate address, “since all of YOUR grandsons have been notified may I tend to my business, which includes updating Liam?”  The two of them are looking at me like deer caught in headlights.

Now THAT is hilarious.

Truly.

Wordlessly they nod their consent.  “Thank you. Good evening…gentlemen.”  I say as I leave Granddad’s office.


Ring…Ring…

“Hello Love, how are you?”  Liam sounds pleasant enough.  “Please let me apologize for my behavior at the Beach Party.  The sight of you with him…” Liam begins to growl.  I have to put a stop to this.

“Liam, that’s enough, I told you then and I’m telling you now, I’m not in love with Christian Grey.  If you’d like to discuss the situation further then you’ll have to get off your ass and meet me because this topic is too sensitive to discuss over an unsecured line.  Do you understand me Liam?”  I want to tell him everything that’s been going on and I want his help.  Liam has contacts in the United States who may be able to help us remove The Interference, which is the next item on our task list.

“Yes Love I understand.  I’ll be there in 15 minutes.”  Now, he sounds worried.  Don’t worry  Baby, I told you to trust me.

“I’ll be waiting Baby” I say as I hang up and race to our spot.


Whenever Liam and I talk, regardless of the time of day or the issue in front of us,  we go to the Jetty on The Strand.  At night, the Jetty is a sight to behold with lanterns hanging from both sides of the boardwalk lighting your way to the covered end of the pier, where the world is on display.  The sky is crystal clear and from this spot I can see across the Coastal Waters of the Great Barrier Reef, all the way to Magnetic Island.  The water is a deep, majestic blue, but under this night sky, the water looks almost like molten onyx.  The moon is high and large in the sky with stars twinkling all around.  Their dazzling images reflect on the vast sea.

Thinking about all the times we’ve met here brings me to the verge of tears.  Good, bad or indifferent Liam has been my ear to bend, my brain to pick and my shoulder to lean on.  Even when there were various skanks in his life, I would always bite the bullet and meet him here to talk, or to fight, whichever was necessary at the time.

Boy, we’ve had some doozies here.

Before I know it, I feel his warm body behind me then his strong arms around me.  “Have you been here long?”  He says softly in my ear.  I simply shake my head, never turning around to look at him.

“Ella, please tell me what the problem is, I’m begging you.”  Standing with my back to his front, I tilt me head back and look up into his sad-sweet smile.  Liam peers down at me, “Hello there” he says.  “You know I’m worried about you, right?”  I nod as I, not so secretly, admire his face, and his beautiful emerald green eyes.

Even upside-down, Liam is yummy.

Liam is a gorgeous man and he towers over me, like most men, but a little more somehow.  I always dreamed of being his…his one and only.  Sometimes I think I am and we just haven’t admitted it, then somehow, from out of nowhere, something happens in one or both of our lives and the possibility of us goes to piss.

“I know you do and I’m thankful for that.”  I say ever so softly, tears pooling in my eyes.

“Ellie, please, tell me.”  His eyes are wide and show the deep concern I know he feels.  I haven’t discussed this with anyone, not that I have a huge list of people to tell.  I feel bound to keep Christian’s relationship to us a secret despite having Granddad’s permission to talk with Liam.  Christian is such a private person and knowing what he went through as a child I can’t blame him one bit.  Somehow, I feel like I’m betraying a trust.  Telling an outsider about Christian’s life before Christian himself has had the opportunity…or taken the initiative, to know it all.

“Chris…” my voice cracks and I have to clear my throat. “Ahem, Christian Grey is my…c…cou…cousin.”  I finally mutter the last word.

Liam doesn’t react immediately.  He looks at me for what seems like an eternity when realization flashes across his face and through his eyes, “Your Aunt Ella?”  I nod.  “Oh my God Ella, are you alright?  How is your Grandfather?  Hell, is your father alright?  What about Everett?”

I spin around and place my hands on his chest.  “Slow down Liam, slow down.  We’re as well as can be expected, I guess.”

He furrows his brow and states, “You guess.”  It definitely wasn’t a question.  “This is the day you all have dreamt of for so long.  How can you guess about how you feel unless…” he trails off, knowing all is truly not well.

After a moment Liam’s eyes darken and he snarls, “…that bastard.  The prick lashed out at you didn’t he and now he’s off pouting like the fucking brat he is.  I’m right aren’t I Ella?  Tell me the truth.  I’ve seen that insolent fucker and his infamous temper in action.  “I know how he can behave.”  He’s right, I completely forgot.

Liam held the Stroke Seat on Yale’s Heavyweight Crew.  He told me once about his front row seat the day he saw Christian perform so badly.  Liam’s race was over and he was watching the teams.  Apparently someone got too close for comfort and Christian, true to form, started swinging.  Liam said for the remainder of the Regatta, Christian sat alone a good distance from everyone else.  Needless to say, I know Christian’s past so I understand why he reacted the way he did, but I can’t discuss that with Liam.  It’s not my business to tell.

“Yes to all of the above” I try not to sound as heart broken as I actually am, but it’s difficult.  Christian and I became friends.  I don’t have many of those.  Liam is right.  My grandfather and father were devastated for years after loosing track of Aunt Ella.  The situation was worsened when they learned of her drug overdose and became disastrous when neither of them could find Christian.  All of that is the reason for the Reconnaissance Team Granddad now employs.  The folks from the old days were sloppy and half-ass.

Daddy always blamed himself for standing beside Aunt Ellie in her decision to attend school in the United States.  She had a curriculum in mind, making sure to fulfill our family requirements.  To the business courses she added Music, specifically Piano, to her major.  Granddad didn’t want his princess leaving the roost but she was Hell bent and bound to make her dream come true…in the United States.

Both Daddy and Granddad loved Aunt Ella with a vengeance.  Daddy argued that his baby sister should be allowed to pursue her education wherever she wanted as long as she took the requisite courses, which she intended to do.  Deep down, Daddy didn’t want Aunt Ellie to go to the US either, but to him, whatever Ella wanted Ella got.  So he stood by her side.

I don’t remember the full story.  Only Daddy and Granddad can explain it, but somehow she ended up in Detroit, Michigan pregnant.  Then she found herself and her young son trapped by a pimp.  Finally, she died in front of her child.

I know Christian was abused and I know he was found with Aunt Ella’s body, but I learned that through reading reports.  I don’t know the emotional portion of the experience.  I don’t know how deeply it affected him.  In my opinion, his carriage and demeanor are simply indicative of the men in our family.  Cuss first, fight to the end and love hard…sweet and simple really.

I hear a distant sigh and remember I’m not alone.  “I apologize Liam.  My intention was to tell you that Christian knows he’s related to us.  The reason for my closeness to him all of this time was to keep him protected so he would feel comfortable here in Townsville.  He and I became fast friends and that’s the reason we spent so much time together.  As for the pictures, you know the paparazzi.  Getting a shot of the elusive Ella Brown and the enigmatic Christian Grey were jackpots.  Granddad didn’t have the photos stopped because he decided it was an easy way to keep the hyenas at bay.”  I smile to myself.

Anastasia never had a thing to worry about, but it’s good she did come to be with him because he needed her, no doubt.  There was no way any bitch was getting close to  my cousin.  I wouldn’t have allowed it.

“Thank God.”  He breathes in my ear.  “I was afraid I had lost you to that arrogant, mutherfucker.  You’re too precious for him.  He doesn’t deserve a woman as beautiful, intelligent and exciting as you.  I don’t care how wonderful his fiancée is, she can’t compete with you Ella, no one can.”  Liam kisses my cheek then rubs his nose along mine before closing his eyes and hugging me tightly.

After several exquisite moments, Liam kisses the top of my head then places two fingers under my chin, effectively tilting my head so our eyes meet, sadden blue to comforting green.  “He’ll speak with your father and grandfather.  They’ll tell him everything then he’ll be able to make an informed decision.  He’s hurt Ella.  Surely you understand how that feels.  Give the man time.  He’s a son of a…” Liam stops short, ashamed to end the phrase, “…sorry.  He’s a short-tempered prick, but he’s not stupid.  He’ll approach this like a business endeavor and make decisions accordingly.  Mark my word.  Just give him time” to that I can only nod.  I wouldn’t expect anything less.  He is, after all, my family.


“Ellie, you don’t have to go.  We can handle that asshole with kid-gloves if that’s what Granddad wants.”  Emerson tells me, as I get ready for the final Fundraising Committee meeting.

I stand tall and with a strong voice inform by brother, “I have a report to give Em.  I can’t skip out on the committee.  I won’t be intimidated by anyone, including Christian Fucking Grey.”

With smirks on their faces, each of the Three Stooges gives me a curt nod.  “Your chariot awaits m’lady.”  Everett takes a deep bow and ushers me to the front door.  “We’re leaving Dad, Granddad!”  Everett yells on our way out.

“JUST A FUCKING SECOND!”  Our father comes barreling through the foyer.  His face bright red and his breathing quickened, Daddy glares at all of us asking, “Where the fuck are the four of you going?”

The boys are dazed by his outburst.  Daddy knows where we’re going.  He already lectured us on our behavior for an hour and a half.  I look up at my father, bat my eyelashes and in a sickly sweet voice remind him, “Daddy, we’re going to the Fundraising Committee meeting.  It is the last one and we have to report out on the event as well as make tentative plans for next year.  You know all of this.”  I rise up on my tiptoes and kiss my father on the cheek before saying, “It will be a short meeting and I, for one, will be returning as soon as we’re finished.  Everett is driving.”

Although the technique is as annoying to perform as it is for Daddy to accept, I thought I had him under control until he comes back with “We want all four of you home immediately after the meeting.  We know how long it takes to get there and back and we know how long that stupid fucking meeting should take.”  Fixing his eyes on the boys he says, “Don’t fucking play with me.  I told you to leave him alone and if you disobey me there’ll be HELL to pay.  Do you all understand?”  The boys nod yes then Daddy looks down and gives me a pointed glance as he says in a softer, but not weaker tone, “That goes for you as well young lady.

Falling in line with my older siblings, I nod to my father and say “Yes Daddy, I understand” then we’re off.

GREY

Anastasia,” I whine, “I don’t want to go to this fucking meeting.  Can’t I just skip it?”  Taylor and Gail left for the US yesterday, after A LOT of coaxing from both Ana and I.  Gail has decided to come back to Townsville after settling her affairs, while Taylor has some serious thinking to do.  He can’t just up and leave.  He has his daughter to think about.  I was shocked Gail said she was coming back, I believe Taylor was too.

“Yes Christian, you have to attend.  You have no choice.”  Ana stands in the bedroom doorway with one hand on her hip and the other holding my suit jacket out to me.

How cute is that?  Yes Dear…

“I don’t wanna.”  I stomp my foot, cross my arms over my chest and give her my cutest pout.

Dude, really?  Is that the way you want to play this?  Billionaire CEO THE Christian Grey plays toddler.  You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.

Shut the fuck up.  It’s how I feel.  I…don’t…want to go.

It’s NOT…going…to work and when she laughs…

“OH MY GOD CHRISTIAN!  ARE YOU POUTING?”  HA…HA…HA…HEE, HEE, HEE…WOO.  Oh no…Oh no…Oh no…  She’s holding her sides, doubled over in hysterics.

I told you it was a stupid mov…

Whatever.

“Something amusing you Miss Steele?”  Still with my arms crossed, I stand up taller and raise an eyebrow as I gaze at her, which only sets her off more.

“OH HELL NO!  NO YOU DIDN’T TRY TO GO DOM!  NOT AFTER THAT TODDLER SHIT.  HA…HA…HA!”

Get your shit together Grey, let’s go.

“Ana, will you come with me…please.”  I flash my mega-watt, panty-dropping smile at her.  I’m not only disinterested in this meeting, but also leery of the outcome.

Straightening her stance and smoothing her clothes Ana says, still with a bit of humor in her voice, “Sure thing Baby.  I’m right by your side.”


“Ladies and gentlemen, I call this meeting to order.  In the interest of time, we will only hear from the Budget/Finance Committee.  As you recall, our goal for this year’s event was one million dollars.  “Mrs. Tate?”

“Thank you Eran…” with that, Mrs. Tate goes on to explain the event exceeded its goal.  I made an anonymous donation and absorbed the security cost myself, but that part is left out.  All Mrs. Tate knows is the invoice she received showed the expense was paid in full.

After the report, an impromptu Q&A session and tentative outline for next year, to which I refused to make any commitment, this shit still wasted an hour of my time.  Time away from Ana.  Once we’re released from this Hell Hole, I go straight to my girl, “Come on Baby, let’s get the fuck away from here.”

I want to throw Ana over my shoulder and sprint to the car.  All of the Brown kids are here tonight and while none of them has so much as looked in my direction, I don’t want that to change.  I’m not ready for them yet.  I’m not ready to deal with their shit and to tell the truth, I don’t know if I’ll ever be.  Dad’s information hasn’t arrived yet and I’d rather look at it before dealing with those little bastards.

My mind is elsewhere when Ana asks, “Christian, who’s that?”

“Huh?  Who is who Baby?”  Dammit, now I know what Dad was talking about.  I sound like a fucking owl.

“Over there Christian, he looks familiar” Ana points across the parking lot.

I stop and hold Ana tightly against me.  “I have no idea who he is Baby and furthermore, I don’t give a fuck.”  I bend down to speak directly in her ear.  “Let’s get out of here…I’m hungry.”  I growl.  She smiles up at me with lust flashing in her eyes.  It’s been all afternoon since I had Ana and the way I feel right now, she should be glad it’s Friday because she won’t get any sleep tonight.

“Over there Christian” she says as she turns me around to face the mystery man.

I shade my eyes from the setting sun to see the person Ana’s referring to, “It’s that fucker from the Beach Party, the guy who embarrassed Ella.”  What the fuck does he want?

What’s it to you?  He’s her friend let her deal with him.  I’m sure Ninja Girl can handle him.

I’m certain Ella can handle him, and her brothers are here with her, but for some reason I don’t like the look of him.  I swear I’ve seen him before that fucking party.

“Do you think she’ll be alright?  He treated her badly at the party.  Do you think we should let her know he’s out here?”  Ana’s always worried about others.

I look down at my angel and softly say, “Baby, Ella’s a grown woman and her brothers are here.  I’m absolutely certain she’ll be fine.”  I lean in to kiss her delicate lips and whisper against them, “Now let’s go.”  Ana smiles and nods.

On our way to the car we hear, “Hey Grey!”  I look over my shoulder to see the mutherfucker coming toward us.  I don’t know what he wants, but let’s get it over with so I can take Ana home.

When he reaches us I stand in front of Ana, cross my arms over my chest and stare at him.  “That’s me” I say in my driest tone.  This bastard means no good.  I can feel it.  Over the years I’ve learned to trust my gut instinct and right now it tells me this fucker is looking for trouble.

He extends his hand, but I don’t take it.  He acted an ass the last time I saw him.  Now he’s developed manners, really?  He slowly drops his hand and scowls at me.

This bastard’s got some fucking nerve.

“I see.  You fit in well with them.” he mumbles under his breath.

Without changing my tone I ask, “Fit in well with whom?”

Prick.

“The Browns, although, you’re more like the Three Stooges.  I expected better.  Based on your track record in business I thought you would be more civilized.  I see I was wrong.”

Who IS this son of a bitch?

Ana reaches up from behind me and places a hand on my bicep reminding me she’s here.

“What the fuck do you want?”  I quip.  I’m not in the mood for bullshit, but I know better than to turn my back.

“We weren’t properly introduced.  I was attempting to rectify that error.”  He then turns his gaze on Anastasia.”

Pompous fucker, we weren’t introduced because you behaved too badly and embarrassed my cousin.

Wait a fucking second.  Where did that come from?

“The error was yours.  Ella tried to introduce us when you went ballistic.  What the fuck is your problem anyway?”  His smug look is quickly replaced with annoyance, which slowly morphs into anger.

“Don’t worry about Ella.  She can take care of herself.  You’re the last thing she needs.  Matter of fact, you’re the last thing any of them need.  Why don’t you and your lovely fiancée go back where you belong?  You’re sentiments were heard loud and clear so why don’t you just fuck off?”  This prick is delirious.  Not only is he pestering Ella, now he’s invading my privacy and he dared to speak about Ana.

Oh no mutherfucker…not my girl.

There was no sound.  First there was no movement, then there was a hand on his shoulder spinning him around followed by what I can only describe as the sound of evil.

ELLA

“Thank God that shit is over.”  Eran sits on one of the tables in the conference room as Em and I collect the remaining agendas and reports.

“You can say that again brother.”  Everett chimes in.

“Boys, do we have everything?” I ask and they nod.  “Then let’s go.”  I sound as exhausted as I feel.  Sitting for an hour trying to ignore someone is one thing, but trying to ignore someone you really want to speak with is too juvenile for words.  Evy, Em and I positioned our chairs so we wouldn’t face Christian directly and we sat on the farthest side of the table.  We could look at Eran, for moral support, so he wouldn’t even have to look at Christian as he spoke to the committee.

“I mean really, how old are we.  I had more fun when Granddad cussed me out the other day for my old man jokes.  I know Dad always says looks aren’t everything, but that Grey fucker looks like Granddad and acts like him too.”  He’s right.  Christian’s presence this evening exuded hostility and we all felt it.

“Well, we’re done for this year and if he maintains his self-imposed exile from us we’ll be done with him as well.  Let’s get the fuck…” Everett doesn’t finish his sentence.  As we file out of the building, we look up and see Christian, Liam, Dad, Granddad and Anastasia together in the parking lot and it’s not a happy encounter.  Anastasia is standing behind Christian, but she is still in the line of fire.  We rush to them and I reach Ana in time to move her away from the men.  I don’t say a word.  I simply shake my head.

Daddy is holding Liam by the back of the neck almost off of the ground while Granddad is in his face, “Liam Jared Beckett!  Leave my grandson alone!  He is his own man and has the right to be treated as such.  Do not let me see nor hear that you have bothered him ever again or you will have me to deal with young man” then Granddad leans closer to Liam and continues growling, “and we all know what that can entail.”  Everyone, except Daddy’s eyes are as round as saucers.  The look of anger on Daddy and Granddad’s faces is like none I’ve ever seen before.

From somewhere near me I hear, “Oh my God.  Aunt Ellie…” Everett barely whispers as the blood slowly drains from his face.  He looks at me for confirmation. With melancholy in my eyes, I nod to him and see a lone tear trickle down his cheek as he mouths ‘I apologize’ to me.  I give him a weary smile in thanks.  Now he understands.

Suddenly, Daddy drops Liam.  “COME!”  Granddad’s voice booms over all.  “We have bothered Christian and Anastasia long enough.”  Granddad looks at Daddy, me and the boys, then nods strongly as if he’s just closed a huge business deal.  He turns to Christian and says, “I apologize for this display.”  Likewise he looks at Anastasia, smiles and takes one of her hands in both of his, as he apologizes to her.  “Miss Steele, please forgive my outburst, I do not make a habit of behaving this way in public.  I hope I have not given you cause for trepidation.”  To her credit, Anastasia smiles at him.  He kisses her hand then turns to us and utters again, although in a slightly softer tone,”Come.”

All eyes turned toward Christian and Anastasia.  We all, including Liam, look at the couple who is still in shock.  We nod our goodbyes and offer quiet apologies, like the chastened children we are, as we leave.  We hadn’t gotten far when Everett stops in his tracks and looks back over his shoulder at Christian.  “You all go on without me.  I’ll meet you back home.”

Oh shit.

Granddad halts then turns his head, slowly, to look at Everett with silver-grey narrowed eyes, but Ev holds his ground.  I’ve never been prouder of my big brother when he glares back at Daddy and Granddad, with his fists clenched at his sides, and says, “I will meet you at the Family Home later.  I wish to speak with my cousin, if he will allow it.  You have both taught me well and although I may not always exhibit the best decorum, it does not mean I do not know how.”

Granddad and Daddy look at each other impassively then the two men give simultaneous, yet almost imperceptible, nods to Everett, as the rest of us continue to walk away.  I hear Daddy quietly say to Ev, “Watch yourself young man.  He’s family.”

Ev responds in the same tone of voice, “I know Dad.  I remember them…well” then I hear footsteps as Evy walks away…toward Christian.

GREY

I turn to look at Ana who’s just as surprised by that little scene as I am.  We continue our trek toward the waiting R8 when we hear one of the Browns yell, “GREY!”  I refuse to acknowledge him and we continue on our way.  “DAMMIT GREY, STOP!”  The sound of his voice is like nails on a chalkboard to me.

“Oh Heaven help me”  I groan in mental pain.

DAMN!  Mutherfucking Son of a Bitch, REALLY?  What the fuck else do they want?

Ana tugs on my hand, “Christian, stop.”  She seems to implore me.

“No Anastasia, I don’t want to hear anything else those fuckers have to say.  They’re nothing to me.”  I snarl.

She stops dead in her tracks and tilts her head to one side as she tells me, “Christian, you and I both know that’s not true.  Just because it’s painful doesn’t mean it’s nothing.  Stand there and tell me you don’t want answers.  Stand there and tell me you don’t want to know.”  She crosses her arms over her chest and raises a beautiful eyebrow challenging me.

I sigh and look straight up into the dazzling night sky, “Anything for you my Love” then I look down at her, bend over and kiss her on those sweet pouty lips.

In true Anastasia style she shakes her head and tells me, “No Christian, for you,” she points a finger in my chest to emphasize her statement, “not for me.  This is about you and your family.  When you talk with them it’ll be because you’re ready and you want to know not because you want me to leave the subject alone.”

Come on Grey, we both know the answer to that, especially after the contact you’ve had with the Brown’s so far.  Lets hear the fucker out and take it from there.  No commitments, just listen to the spiel.

Fine, I huff at myself.

As Everett reaches us, I turn around and straighten my stance.  He’s not a little boy, but then, neither am I.  Slowly I transform into Dom Mode and it’s with a deep, strong voice I ask, “What the fuck do you want?”

He comes to a halt a few feet in front of me then softly says, “Damn.  I see it now” a look of wonder on his face.  “I knew you looked familiar, but I figured it was from all of newspaper and magazine photos I’ve seen lately.”  He sounds like he’s in awe, like he’s just solved the toughest trigonometry equation he’s ever faced.

Brown shakes his head, as if to clear his thoughts, then he extends his hand to me.  I look at him in disbelief so he says, “Yes, I’ve been a true schmuck toward you and I deserve to have my ass kicked for it.  All I can do is apologize.  I know you better than you think, I love you more than you could ever believe, I’m glad you’re alive and here.”  He smiles at my obvious shock.

Slowly, and for some reason I don’t understand, I take his hand in a firm shake.  With the speed of a lightening strike, he surprises me even more when he tugs hard on my hand and pulls me into an embrace.  My entire body stiffens and he says in my ear, “I won’t hurt you Cousin.  If I went through your trials and tribulations, I’d feel exactly the same way.  You don’t have to fear me.  I love you Christian” then, just as quickly, he lets me go, nods to Ana and leaves us beside my car.

I’m left standing in amazement.  At first, I wanted to scream and knock the shit out of him, but his words changed my mind.  I don’t understand why I didn’t beat the shit out of him when he got so close.  Why didn’t I push him away?  Now that he’s released me, why don’t I feel the burning on my chest and back?  I hear her small voice next to me, like the voice of reason she is.  I know she can read my thoughts, “He loves you Christian, that’s why you didn’t fight him.  I have a feeling you would be the same way with your grandfather and uncle as well.”

I pull Ana into my arms and see the tears streaming down her face.  “Baby, it’s alright.  I’m ok.”

She pulls away from me and says, “I’m not upset Christian.  These are happy tears.”  Gradually, she raises on her tiptoes, laying her tiny hands on my chest to balance herself, and plants a gentle kiss on my lips.


[1] The Brat Pack is a nickname given to a group of young actors who frequently appeared together in teen-oriented coming-of-age films in the 1980s.

[2] Three Amigos is a 1986 American western comedy film directed by John Landis and written by Lorne Michaels, Steve Martin, and Randy Newman.  Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, and Martin Short star as the title characters, three silent film stars who are mistaken for real heroes by a small Mexican village and must find a way to live up to that reputation.

[3] The Three Stooges were an American vaudeville and comedy act of the mid–20th century (1930–1975) best known for their numerous short subject films, still syndicated to television. Their hallmark was physical farce and slapstick.

[4] Peanut Gallery is a group of people who criticize someone, often by focusing on insignificant details

Can’t We Just Be Happy | Chapter 15 Decisions…Decisions

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 15 | Decisions…Decisions

GREY

I told you once before I do not mince words and I do not care if I step on anyone’s toes. Christian, if you are thin skinned, you will need to leave now. Those statements hold true for every conversation with every person I come into contact with and they hold true today as well.” He said with a stern expression and a deep, solid voice. Whatever was on his mind was not to be taken lightly. I understood Mr. Brown and I was forewarned.

Anastasia and I went to the Brown Family Home for brunch. Almost from the time we reached the foyer things seemed different…off. Now, granted, I was anything but a regular visitor in their home, but somehow the air was thick with tension and even general conversation seemed forced.

Ella was actually nervous when she saw Ana and I walk into the dining room and she’s never nervous, except for maybe the very first time I saw her, in the park.

Ella and her father exchanged more than a few sideways glances at one another. I was about to ask exactly what the issue was when the senior Mr. Brown began conversing with Ana. “Tell me Love, what is your occupation?”

At first Ana looked at me in shock. No doubt waiting for me to loose it over Edward’s endearment. I quietly explained “Love seems to be a general term of affection. I was thrown off when Ella said it to me as well, but it kind of grows on you.” I gave Ana a warm smile and squeezed her hand lightly.

Mr. Brown watched our exchange then sought Ana’s forgiveness. “I apologize Anastasia. Please forgive an old man his even older habits, they die hard” then he flashed Ana a bright smile.

What the fuck old man? Watch it.

“Christian! Christian! Wake up Christian!” Where is that voice coming from?

Well Mr Brown, I am just beginning my career. I am a new Acting Editor for Seattle Independent Publishing.” Her voice is soft and rather timid. Does this guy intimidate her? While I respect Mr. Brown and value his opinion, daunting my fiancée is a hard limit for me.

Well Love, Townsville really is your cup of tea.” I saw the twinkle in her eyes. She loves all things book related.

What’s he up to?

How so Mr. Brown?” Her interest was clearly piqued.

If she found a job here, on her own, she might be willing to stay, at least for a while.

Hmm. He had my attention as well.

Well,the best place for one to begin retrieving information is from the Townsville Writers & Publishers Centre. It is a not for profit group, launched in June 2011, and provides support to emerging and professional writers and publishers who live in North Queensland. I know for a fact there is a new Director position available now and you can make your application online. You can use it either as a resource to locate an organization looking for a new editor or, which I strongly suggest, work for the centre itself and enable others to realize their dream.”

Impressive.

That sounds fabulous, but…” She stopped short. I knew what she was thinking, but I didn’t want to give her away. Ana still hasn’t decided how committed she is to living in Townsville. She’s not entirely against the idea, but she still seems to be up in the air. After a long pause she told Edward, “I do not actually live in Townsville, although Christian does.” She looked so sad.

Not to be outdone Edward counseled her further, “The Australian Government, Department of Immigration and Border Protection also has a website, with information on applying for a Visa, if you are not interested in citizenship. And, in the event you change your mind sometime in the future about remaining here, the same website has information on living in Australia and becoming a citizen. Just a tidbit to think about Love” THEN THE FUCKER WINKED AT HER!

Dude, calm down. He’s old enough to be her grandfather. Take a chill pill.

Chill pill my ass. He’s a good-looking older man and he looks a fucking lot like…m…

My fork stopped, midair, and a cold chill rushed through me. “Wait a minute.” I looked around the table at each of the Brown family members. “Who are you and what do you want with me…with Anastasia?” My gut instinct was screaming at me now, albeit after the fact.

That wink, that smile, we know those looks.

“NO! Please NO!” Not this, not here, not now. I can’t believe this. Who are these people?

“CHRISTIAN! CHRISTIAN! Can you hear me Baby? Come back to me Christian.” The voice begins to shout then sob. It sounds pained and frantic. Where’s that voice coming from?

Ella finally found the courage to speak, “We have not asked you for anything and we have not asked anything of you Christian. What do you mean, ‘what do we want’?” She looked shocked…and hurt. Immediately, I felt like an ass.

Her father reached over and gently touched his daughter’s hand, “Now Ellie, Christian was simply musing out loud. Isn’t that correct Christian?” THAT LOOK! The sadness in his eyes. I turned to my right and saw the same look, mixed with concern in Edward’s eyes.

Oh my God.” I managed to whisper.

“NO! NO! NO!” It sounds like my voice. I sound angry and hurt. I sound betrayed.

Ana touched my shoulder then asks, “Christian, Baby, what’s wrong? Are you feeling ill? You look as if you’ve seen a ghost.” Ana is attuned to me, but not our surroundings, specifically our hosts.

I nod as I glare directly into Mr. Edward Rockhold-Brown’s lightening grey eyes. Humpf, I knew for certain my eyes looked exactly the same at that moment. I glanced over at Emmett, ditto, while Ella looked resigned to her fate. “I have Ana. Look around you.” I say with a stark, coldness lining my voice.

Christian, what on Earth…” I cut her off.

“Do you see anything oddly familiar about Mr. Edward Brown, Mr. Emmett Brown and myself? Do you recognize Ella? Think hard Baby. I know you don’t have the vision ingrained in your memory, but you commented about it when you saw her picture in that text message you received.” This time I glare at Ella. I trusted her. I thought she was my friend. Now I see it was all a ploy to get close to me, for what I don’t know, but surely the truth could’ve come out before now.

“Christian, I don’t understand. What’s wrong with you?” Ana was already frightened and now she was frustrated.

I calmed Ana down enough for her to understand me and just as I was about to ease her fears, Edward said, “My Dear, he is referring to our physical similarities and apparently he remembers his mother much better than I thought. The fact that he recognized the resemblance between her and Ellie is a testament to the impression she left on him.”

“I, my son and my daughter’s son have an uncanny resemblance. My daughter and my grand-daughter look strikingly alike as well. Emmett’s sons, however, resemble their mother.” He said all of that without ever batting an eyelash or taking his gaze off of me.

“NO! IT CAN’T BE! PLEASE NO!” I feel myself thrashing from side to side. I can’t stop myself. I’m fighting to get away from them.

“Christian, you have to wake up Baby. I’m here and I need you to wake up.” I hear a faint sound behind the chaos in my mind. Which is my reality? Which is my nightmare?

I abruptly stood up from the table and put out my hand to Ana, “Come Anastasia, we have to leave.”

“NO!” It can’t be true. Why didn’t they save us? Why didn’t they come for us? Why didn’t they come for me!?

Somewhere between this Hellish night terror and it’s frightening reality I hear a sweet melodic voice say, “Christian, please open your eyes. I’m right beside you Baby.” She’s beside me? Where? Why can’t I see my Ana?

“Christian, please open your eyes.” I try as hard as I can, then all of a sudden…I see her, my Ana. He beautiful baby blue eyes are round as saucers, rimmed in red and overflowing with tears.

I gasp, “Ana, you’re here!” A rush across the too-large bed and pull her to me. Oh my God she feels so good, so warm, so soft and she smells wonderful. I hold her tightly and bury my face in the valley between her breasts.

“It’s ok Christian. It was a dream Baby, just a dream. You’re safe. You’re here at home with me. You’re safe.” She coos and stokes her fingers through my hair immediately calming me, soothing my damaged soul. I nuzzle the inner mounds of her breast then begin kissing and biting her chest.

I turn my face to her left nipple and lap it quickly. The beautiful, tasty treat lengthens with each caress of my tongue and turns hard as I suckle her and bite down on the little pink pebble. “Hmm. Beautiful. Delicious” I say as my lips close over her nipple again. She tastes so sweet and feels so right in my mouth. I can’t stop sucking on her.

I turn my face to her right breast and suckle it as well. As I pull more of her breast in my mouth my member hardens and grows, pulsing, twitching, fighting to get out. “Open those pretty legs up for me Baby. Hold me the way only you can.” She parts her legs and wraps them around my waist, cradling me. I grind against her core as hard as I can, pressing my cock into her wet, warm, wonderland and feeling her juices dampen my pajama pants. I need more.

From where I lay on top of her, I feel a hum in her chest and hear a groan in her throat with each caress of my cock. No words are necessary. She releases her hold on my waist and I reluctantly take my lips from her breasts to wrestle with my pajama pants. I pull them off of my hips, ass and finally down my legs then yank her barely-there thong over her thighs. Kissing and licking my way from her groin back to her breasts, I massage her legs beginning at the soft spot behind her knees. I rub small, delicate circles on her skin with my thumbs igniting the want and need between her legs. When my hands reach her inner thighs I hold onto the flesh tightly and yank her legs open wider than before.

I reclaim her left nipple in my mouth and guide her legs around my waist so I can retake possession of her right nipple between my thumb and forefinger. I pinch and twist the lovely pink gem causing her to callout my name. My cock is erect and pointing due North, to the promise land between her legs. I grind my pelvis against hers and rub my dick against her warm, wet lips…then hiss. That’s my only preamble. Swiftly and with determination I slam into her hard and hold her beautiful, juicy hot core against me. “YYYEEESSS…” I hiss before I bury my face between her neck and shoulder and I pump into her harder and harder over and over again.

All thoughts are lost, all time is forgotten. I’m oblivious to her moans, her kisses or her gently whispered words. This is my favorite place to be in the world. This is where I belong…inside her. My Ana is here. She’ll protect me. I have to be further inside of her. I only need to feel her. Her sultry, sopping, silken pussy is my home. Her wet walls hold tightly onto my cock, rubbing against me like a velvet glove especially made for me. I can feel every ring of her vagina pulling me further inside. As my manhood continues to swell and pulse, I know I have to go deeper. I need more…balls deep.

I pull her legs from around my waist and put them on my shoulders. I lift myself up onto my arms and drive into her with all my strength, she meets me stroke for stroke, pumping against me faster and faster and it feels wonderful. I have to hold off my orgasm as I feel my balls slapping against her ass, the sweat running down my face and chest and dripping from my hair.

Suddenly, her legs begin to tremble, her stomach begins to tighten and her walls begin to quiver. I’m not ready to let her go yet. I need more. I slow my pace and take my time as I push my cock into her cunt. She opens her eyes and yells out “Christian! No!” Berating me for her missed orgasm.

I look down at her and beg her to understand my plight, “I need more from you Baby. Tonight, I need so much more. I’m safe here, with you…inside you. No one can hurt me…inside you. I’ll make you scream all night Baby, just let me be inside you.” At those words, my Ana leaned up, kissed my chest then sunk her teeth into my nipple sending an erotic volt through my torso and straight to my dick.

I pull up on my knees, never breaking our intimate connection, and hold her ass in place while I pump my cock deeper into her center…my center. I pull her ass against me with each thrust feel her legs tighten around the back of my neck. “That’s it, more Ana…more…gimme more Baby. Fuck me Ana…fuck me Baby.”

Just like a lightening strike, her walls closed, my balls tightened, her pussy gripped my throbbing cock and I felt the wave of ecstasy I was chasing run through me. Up and down my spine from the top of my head down to my toes, “AHHH, FUCK YES! YES! YES! I pump into her three more times relishing the feel of our aftershocks. Ana loudly calls out my name again and gives her orgasm to me. With a final shudder, I collapse on top of her completely spent.

All’s quite. I can’t speak anymore, I can’t think anymore and I don’t want to. All I want to do is lie here, inside her, inside my safe place, my favorite place in the world. “Christian,” Ana’s tranquil voice breaks the silence, “Baby are you alright? I’m worried about you. You haven’t had a nightmare since you’ve been away have you?” I can hear the anxiety in her sweet voice.

I nod. I want to enjoy this postcoital feeling, not talk about my nightmares. Those fucking things began reoccurring the night she left me, but I don’t want to think about that. She moves her legs from around my neck and returns them to my waist, again cradling me in her own special way.

Somehow still I can’t get them off of my mind. Somehow I still can’t get them out of my head. I pull Ana closer to me and once more bury my face between her stunning breasts, inhaling deeply. Without looking her in the eyes, I lick the side of her breast and bite down on the succulent flesh there before announcing, “Time for round two Baby.”

CARRICK

“DAMMIT CHRISTIAN I CAN’T UNDERSTAND A WORD YOU’RE SAYING! NOW CALM THE FUCK DOWN!” Good Lord in Heaven what the fuck has happened down there?

“Its five o’clock in the fucking morning Christian, that’s entirely too fucking early to call someone and ramble in a fit of rage. If you can’t speak using your indoor voice, right the fuck now, I’m going to hang up and you can call back at another time. Good… Now, I ask for the third time, what the fuck is going on?”

The last time we spoke, he was hopeful because Ana was on her way to Townsville. Now he’s clamoring about being lied to and babies and old men. If I ever get a word in edgewise I’ll ask if Ana’s pregnant. Until then, I’ll just have to ride this wave of bullshit until it ends.

To think, for someone who didn’t speak for two years, he’s got a big ass fucking mouth.

Shut up you, my son needs me. Now focus.

“…they lied to me Dad. They acted like they were my friends then they sprung this horse shit on me, like I’m supposed to just believe them.”

“Believe whom Son? Believe what? I’m lost in all of this Christian. Is Ana with you? Is she alright?”

“Yes, she’s here and she’s fine. She’s the only reason I’m not in some Australian prison right now. I can’t fucking believe this shit Dad. How the fuck did she even get to the United States? They can buy a pot of gold from a fucking leprechaun, why the fucking Hell didn’t they save her? Why didn’t they save ME!?”

Then, the line goes quiet for a few seconds. As I“m about to call his name Christian burst out with an, ”OH FUCKING HELL! Are they working with HER? This has got to be a ruse.”

“ANASTASIA!” He calls into the background. Thank God, maybe she can shed some light on this.

“We’re returning to Seattle as soon as I can contact Stephen to have the jet ready” with that statement I hear Ana gasp.

“Christian no, you’ve got to stay and get answers. We can go back once all of this is sorted out.” She’s always the voice of reason for him. He really needs to marry that girl…and soon.

I clear my throat and catch my son’s attention, “Why didn’t who save who Christian?” I sound like a fucking owl. “This is your last chance to respond to me young man, then I’m hanging up and taking YOUR jet to Townsville. Do I make myself abundantly clear?”

“Yes Dad”

“Good… Now, please answer my all-encompassing question. WHO?”

“The Browns” he sneers as if he were chewing on something nasty that he couldn’t spit out fast enough.

“You say that as if it’s an obvious answer Christian. The Browns who, and I’ll have you know I’m sick of saying that fucking word.” My blood is beginning to boil. I know he’s upset, but how the fuck am I supposed to help him when he won’t, clearly, tell me what the fucking problem is. He’d better be glad Grace had to go into the hospital early. I’d put her on the phone. Let her deal with his attitude. I swear he get’s this ranting shit from her side of the family.

“Edward and Emmett Brown” again with the clipped responses, wait a fucking second. It couldn’t be.

“Do you mean of EB, PTY Christian? Those Browns?” I whisper. Please let him say no. They’re in Melbourne. Townsville is more than 1,600 miles north of Melbourne. What the fuck is ‘ole man Brown playing at?

“You know them?” He says in the deathly quiet voice he learned from Grace and I. We never wanted to yell at our children so we agreed to lower our voices and speak distinctly. Apparently it’s a habit that rubbed off on Christian. He gets loud…REALLY loud, but the trouble doesn’t begin until he starts to whisper.

Hostile witness time Cary.

No doubt.

“Yes, I know of them Christian. Being such a large entity affords them the ability to place their mark on various facets of the world, including the law as, I imagine, their M&A acumen is deliberated in business courses.”

Be careful Cary. The boy’s not an attorney, but not because he’s stupid.

I know this all too well. Christian is absolutely brilliant, that’s why I was particularly hard on him throughout his life. The fighting, drinking and disrespect of all things academic were depressing considering the boy could out think EVERYONE, including me. Christian’s downfall is that his fuse is way too short to be allowed in a courtroom. Least until he made it to the bench, which he could’ve.

“Dad, please tell me it isn’t true. Please tell these people are just fucking with my head and out to take GEH from me. I need something to hang my hatred on. Please.” I’ve only heard this type of pain from him when he’s having a nightmare. This time his agony is real…it’s tangible. I knew this would happen when he said he was going to Australia. My concerns lessened when he finally confided he was going to Townsville, but I was still on high alert.

“I apologize Son. I wish I could tell you that.” DAMMIT! This is not a conversation to have over the phone, let alone when he’s more than 7,000 miles from home. DAMMIT!

“Son, have you questioned Mr. Brown to find out what documentation he has?” I won’t keep anything from him, especially now he’s been told, but I’m not going to bombard Christian either. One of Christian’s blessed curses, in addition to his attention to detail, is his ability to compartmentalize his thinking. Christian will actually file away a thought or question and bring it up at the most unusual or inopportune time. I think he does it for dramatic effect. Anyway, the more information he’s given the more files he creates until he can reorganize those files and formulate his plan of action.

This is what happens with his personal life. Christian’s emotional “separation of church and state” is due to his categorizing and assigning priority. Emotional thoughts get in the way of business and NOTHING is more important than business, until he met Ana at least.

Thank God.

Indeed.

He’ll keep his mind on business all of his waking hours, but when he gets tired and his mind is allowed to relax all thoughts regarding business move to the rear and his personal file explodes, thus leading to his night terrors. I keep telling myself he’ll be alright because Ana is with him. The truth of the matter is, depending on the severity of his experience while he’s sleeping, Christian can unintentionally cause physical harm to Ana in his sleep. Christian is probably a foot and a half taller than Ana and God only knows how much more he weighs, then there’s his musculature to consider. I shake my head. I’ve got to do something to either calm him down or keep her from sleeping with him, at least for a little while.

“Christian, I’m coming down there. Contact Stephen and have the jet ready by the end of business today, Pacific Time.”

“No Dad, you can’t come running every time I bump my knee. You’re right. I need to talk with Edward and find out just what he knows.” He sighs. He seems more resigned to his fate as opposed to calm.

“Are you sure Son? You know it’s no trouble for me at all and your mother doesn’t have to be involved.” In fact, this is one of the few, albeit most important things I’ve kept from my wife, the thought saddens me.

She’s going to find out.

Believe me, I know.

“I’m sure Dad. Could you send me any and all information you have about me, about my adoption and life before I came to be with you and Mom?” Research time. He’s planning an attack. Knowing my son, before long, he’ll have his eyes set on EB, Pyt. Brown had best watch out.

“I have all of your official legal and medical records. I also have a few things, mementos, if you will, that your birth mother left for you. I’ll have everything express couriered to you today. It should reach you in three or four days. Do you want me to alert Welch and Taylor as well?”

“No, Taylor is still here. He and Gail have rescheduled their flight and will be leaving for Seattle in a few hours. I’m going to address this personally. This experience has taken me back to the early days of GEH. It feels good to reacquaint myself with the way I began doing things, keeps me on my toes. As long as I have Anastasia beside me, I won’t go off the deep end, I promise Dad. Although, she may be leaving this evening as well. Taylor turned into Super Security Man after my nightmare and refused to leave until he was comfortable neither Ana nor I were in any danger.”

Taylor won’t last in Seattle without Christian. He’ll be bored shitless and dying to get back over there to keep an eye on things.

Taylor has Sophie to think about. He can’t rush out and make snap decisions like that anymore. I’m proud of Christian for not trying to force Taylor into staying in Townsville.

He’ll be back.

Bringing to halt my thoughts of Taylor, I vaguely hear Christian say something about Ana not staying in Townsville. “WHAT! WHY would she leave you?”

“Two words.” They better be two fucking spectacular words.

“Her job” I groan my disappointment. I know Ana is dedicated to following through on her career goals. Part of this is my fault with the prenuptial agreement faux pas. Grace made it all too clear Ana was hurt by the subject and while she’s always fought with Christian about working and succeeding on her own, she’s had to constantly deal with comments about the integrity of her intentions toward my son. Elena Lincoln’s gold-digger comment sits at the forefront of my mind.

She’s got some fucking nerve to talk.

“Precisely” Christian growls.

I sigh, “Well Christian, have you discussed the situation with Ana? Have you asked her to stay there with you?” I can’t imagine him not wanting her to stay. I’m sure he’s even gotten down on his knees and begged her to stay. She has that affect on him.

“No Dad I didn’t.“ WHAT?! ”I told her the decision was hers and hers alone. I don’t want her to feel controlled or pressured into doing anything. I believe she still doubts my sincerity on this point, regardless I refuse to push her.”

I scratch my head. This is a new Christian. I guess he has a point, “Good idea Son. Well, I’ll send you the material I have. I recommend you contact Edward Brown and listen to what he has to say then we can take further steps, if necessary.”

“Alright Dad, I look forward to reading the information you have and thanks again for your help.”

“Anytime son, you know we’re all here for you Christian. You never have to go through anything alone.” I don’t know why ventured across the pond, other than for business purposes, but I know he didn’t trust his mother and I to support him in any personal turmoil he may have been experiencing at the time.

After a few moments of silence Christian says, “I know Dad, really I do.“ I still wonder. ”Look, I’ve taken up enough of your early morning. I’ll talk to you later, bye Dad.”

“Bye Christian, and with that, the call is over.

I have a good mind to call Brown and ask him just what the fuck his problem is. We agreed he would leave Christian alone unless Christian, himself, expressed an interest in his birth mother or her family.

Not now, I have to get those documents together and possibly rearrange my schedule to allow for a trip Down Under.

GREY

He knew about this. He knew about all of it I’m sure. He was the go-to person with regard to securing guardianship and ultimately my adoption, while Grace took authority over my medical affairs.

He saw the pimp. He said I didn’t look like the asshole and that the fucker denied having anything to do with me.

No love lost, right?

Nope, none at all.

He has documentation and mementos? What the fuck kind of mementos, leftover crack pipe or a stray cigarette butt?

Grey, you’re NOT going to like what I have to say.

Then keep your fucking mouth shut.

Ahem, as I was saying, before I was so RUDELY interrupted

I sigh to myself, What the fuck do you want asshole?

What do YOU want?

Huh? What do you mean? I don’t want anything, except to wake up from this nightmare. I came here to get expand by business and get away from the pain and agony of Seattle then what happens? You guessed it, people I only knew of from school end up being related to me. I can’t fucking believe this.

Ok, now…what do you want?

I laugh out loud, but take no solace in the sound reverberating around me. You kill me. Question asked and answered dickwad.

Save the name calling ass-WHOLE. You and I BOTH know you want to find out about your family. You want to know where you come from and who you come from. You’re scared of the unknown and that’s reasonable to a certain degree. These people as you like to call them are your family and they’ve looked out for you since you arrived here. As far as when you were a child, well…you have to delve into the lion’s den to get answers about your history.

Suppose you and Anastasia do get married one day. You know how she is about family. She’ll want to know everything about them and you. Plus curiosity is killing you, right? I know the thing that’s fucking with your head is the fact Carrick knew about all of this and didn’t tell you, but consider how disinterested and/or non-receptive you’ve been about who you are let alone who you belong to. You need to find out…WE need to find out. Do it for my peace of mind, I promise I won’t hate you for it.

I’ll consider it. I want to see Carrick’s documentation and mementos before I go rushing over to talk with Brown. Actually, right now, we’ve got a more pressing situation to address.

Anastasia.


Knock…Knock…Knock

“Come in.” I don’t even bother looking up to see who is entering my study. If it’s not Ana they can go to Hell.

“Christian?” Her voice is as soft as a spring breeze. Her voice always calms me. It’s what I need…no what I want to hear.

“Ana”, I sound desperate to my own ears. “Baby, would you mind sitting with me for a little while?” She gives me her pretty little shy smile and meanders over to my chair. Ana climbs up on my lap and snuggles into my chest. I strum my fingers down her back causing her to hum against my neck. I close my eyes and sigh contently, “Ah, that’s nice baby, thank you. You’re the best medicine.”

I look down at her and smile, but then immediately frown. She gives me a confused look then asks, “What’s wrong Christian?”

“Baby…when are you leaving? Gail and Taylor should be going tonight. If they do, it’ll be a couple days before Stephen will be ready to make that back and forth trip again. If you plan on getting back anytime soon, you best get ready to leave with Gail and Jason.” There, I said it and I said it all. Now, will she stay with me or will she leave me?

At first, Ana frowns back at me, but quickly her eyes take on another emotion and this one I recognize loud and clear. I certainly wasn’t expecting it. I see rejection written all over her face. She lowers her head then whispers, “Do you want me to leave?”

I put my index finger under her chin and raise her eyes to meet mine. Sadden blue to confused grey, “Anastasia, I’ve been begging you to come back to me since before I went to Taiwan. My story hasn’t changed since I left the United States. No, I don’t want you to leave me, but I also don’t want your career to suffer and you resent me for it. After everything we’ve been through Baby, neither one of us could withstand that” she nods her head absentmindedly.

“If you feel it’s best for you to leave, I ask that you let me know as soon as you decide. It’s going to take some getting used to after seeing you again, and with all that’s happened recently I’d really like a head start on reorganizing my thoughts and feelings.” If I’m going to be alone, I need to know so I can get my head together. It doesn’t have to make sense to her or anyone else. It’s just how I operate.

She nods her head a few more times then staring directly into my eyes she tells me something I never would expect to hear from Ana, not in a million years, “Fuck my co-workers, fuck Roach and fuck Kate! I’m not leaving you and it has nothing to do with the latest episode in The Life and Times of Christian Grey.” I now my eyes are wide.

“I love you Christian and once again I’ve caused us both a lot of unnecessary heartache. I’ve run from you twice now and each time was based on my perceptions and mine alone. I thought the only way I could be with you was to be your submissive. I didn’t think about being honest and telling you how I felt about you. I was more worried about it being too soon or what Kate would think or how my parents would feel. I didn’t take the time to see how you and I felt…about us.” She looks at me, somehow pleading for me to hear her…to understand her but most of all to...believe in her, again.

“Now, I’ve run because I thought being in charge of my own life, being independent, made me more creditable than if you were to give me any kind of help. I’ve learned that help is nothing more than the word implies: to make it easier for someone to do something by offering one’s services or resources; offering assistance. You can help me all day, but if I don’t know what to do with that help then it’s all for naught.” I stay quite. I can’t believe I’m hearing her correctly. Is she saying we’re alright? Are we gonna be ok now?

“In the time we’ve spent apart I’ve learned to be careful who I listen to because everyone may not have my best interest at heart and even if they do, I have the final decision. I also learned I still have a long way to go in opening up and talking to you, even if that means telling you to fuck off and mind your own business.” I give her a small smile. All those lonely nights at Escala…all of the time I spent in Taiwan…even, up until recently, here in Townsville, she has no idea how much I would’ve given to hear her tell me to fuck off rather than hearing nothing from her at all.

“You’re a rich man Christian, but you’ve never rubbed that in my face. I need to accept who you are and how you are or I need to go away and leave you alone…and I’m not going anywhere. I’ve missed you so much my heart actually hurt. I let other people’s ideas about how my life should run come between us. You matter to me and I matter to you, that’s what’s important.” She gives a little nod as if to say “take that”.

My surprise and astonishment change into love and admiration, “I’ll be here for as long as you’ll have me Baby. I love you.” I wrap my arms around her little body, “Oh Ana, thank you Baby. I need you as well. I’m nothing without you. Please don’t leave me again, please.” I hold her tightly against me as if my life depends on her, which it does.

Can’t We Just Be Happy | Chapter 14 Alright

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 14 | Alright

STEELE

“Ana, honestly, I don’t know that I ever want to return to Seattle…permanently.  I know I’ll have to go there on business, but to live…I can’t say.”…

“Baby, why would I go back to that?  Can’t you feel the difference between Townsville and Seattle?  It’s in the air, the sun, and the water.  You can feel it in the sand under your feet.  I don’t want to go back to Seattle; not right now at least.”…

“Ana, in my heart of hearts, I don’t want to go back to Seattle.  I’m not trying to be mean, I’m not trying to pressure you and I’m definitely not trying to control you.  I only know that for my own peace of mind, I can’t go back there, I just can’t.”…

Stay in Australia, permanently?  I can’t stay in Australia permanently?

For the sake of argument, why not?

I’m a citizen of the United States.  I can’t just pack up and move to Australia.

Ahem, why not?

I don’t belong here.  What about my dad?

He lives in Montesano and has for quite a while now.  It’s not like he’s a 95 year old man.  He manages just fine without you.

What about my mom?

I really, really, REALLY don’t want to touch that one.  Can you come up with a few more excuses first?  I need a lot of strength to tackle that conversation.  That and…

What about Kate?

I FUCKING KNEW IT!  THAT’S IT!  I…HAVE…HAD…ENOUGH…OF THIS!  Steele, and I mean that in name only, are you SERIOUSLY going to start this bullshit bash again?  I can’t think of another way to say this to you, GROW THE FUCK UP!  That bitch…oh my God why am I bothering?  You know what, fuck it.  YOU handle this one on your own.  I’m done trying to be the voice of reason here.  You don’t listen and you won’t learn.  Wake me when it’s over.

WAIT!  I need your help.  I can’t do this alone.  I need time to process all of this.

Sweetie, what’s there to process?  You think en-fucking-tirely TOO fucking much and that’s putting it more than mildly. Rhetorical questions dear:  (1) do you love him…

I…

Ahem, which letter in the word rhetorical did I mispronounce?

None.

Thank you, and I won’t repeat myself so listen well:  (2) do you trust him and (3) how much, of each?  You take it from there honey.

Well, one and two are no-brainers, yes I love him and yes I trust him.  How much?  I don’t know.  Is there a scale from one to ten I should use to measure how much?  How the fuck do I know how much?  I’m not leaving here without him though.  He’s just having a Christian Grey sized temper tantrum.  He hasn’t thought this through entirely.  There’s no way he’s going to run GEH from Australia.

I march off in the direction of Christian’s study.  As I approach the door, I hear uncontrollable laughter and…IT’S COMNG FROM CHRISTIAN!  The sound is so strange, but also comforting.  I’ve heard him chuckle every now and then, but never a full blow laugh.  I smile imagining the look on his face as I hear him pant for air.

What’s so funny anyway?

“Tay…Taylor. Her old man…was in Vietnam. He served in the air and on the ground. Her granddad…WOO, you should see your face…her granddad served in World War Two in Europe…oh fuck, I can’t breathe…this is too much…mainly on the ground. WOW! Did you just turn green…HA HA HA…don’t hate mutherfucker. I sent you to deliver a simple report, not a warning. Oh…ok…lemme catch my breath.”

Sent Taylor where to deliver what report?  What’s going on?  I have to hear this.

How does it go?

How does what go?

“Never listen to phone call that isn’t meant for you.  Never read a letter that isn’t meant for you.  Never pay attention to a comment that isn’t meant for you.  Never violate people’s privacy.  You will save yourself a great deal of anguish…”  Joseph Kennedy, True Compass by Edward M Kennedy

I sigh, you’re absolutely right.  What kind of trust am I showing by eavesdropping on his conversation?

Come on, there has to be a book in this place somewhere.

GREY

After talking with Taylor, I went looking for my sweet Ana and found her lounging on one of the balconies.  The view of the Coral Sea is magnificent, a continuous blue, from the sky to the water, deepening, becoming more intense as it defends onto Magnetic Island and the ocean below.  If not for the island itself,  you wouldn’t be able to tell where the one ended and the next began.

A soft breeze blows through Ana’s hair as she looks off into the distance, deep in thought.  I hope nothing’s wrong.  I want her to enjoy our time in this place.  In the event it’s the last time we’re together, I want it to be memorable in a good way.  She hasn’t said she wanted to leave with Jason and Gail, but I’ve learned not to underestimate her.  She may decide once and for all that her friends are right.  She may feel that I only want to control her and moving to Australia is just a ploy to exercise that control.

That’s not the case.  It’s not fair for her to hold something like that over your head.  You didn’t forbid her from going back to the United States, you simply said you wouldn’t be going back anytime soon…for your own peace of mind, not simply for business.  She has to see things are different here…you’re different here.

We both know you can’t control her…you can’t rush her either, remember?  She has to think about what you told her.  Let’s not get into a pissing match.  She’s here, in this beautiful location and you two have had a wonderful time so far.  Enjoy this.  Don’t dwell.  Keep a cool head and go to the beach party.  We can deal with the emotional flood later.

I nod.  You’re right.  “Hey Baby, everything ok…”


“Wow Christian, this is beautiful.”  As the Sun begins to set, we arrive at The Strand, a 2.2 kilometer palm tree studded beachfront promenade with a magnificent view of the Port to Townsville and Magnetic Island as well as view stretching all the way to Cape Cleveland.  This evening, the sky shines bright orange.  The Sun has not yet touched the horizon; instead, it hovers over the water like a fireball with clouds wafting past.  The scene is splayed over a vast deep blue sea.

I initially thought a beach party was infantile, reminiscent of college days gone by or just a slacker’s way of throwing a fundraiser together.  Man was I wrong.  The bicycle and walkway paths are lit with lanterns and the glow coming from the mini-bonfires strategically placed along the beach.  Ella explained to me it was necessary to stay back at least 50 meters from the water’s edge and 2 meters above the high water mark.  The committee knew logistics for this event would be a challenge.  Taylor made certain he and the security team had additional preparedness and frontline medical aid training.  EMTs are nearby, but Ella stressed caution, even if we didn’t see warning signs.

In addition to the live music, playing a mix of jazz, 1980’s pop and R&B, the Entertainment Committee managed to procure carnival games.  Nothing major, Dime Pitch, Ping pong Ball and Fish Bowl, Balloon and Dart, a Weight Guessing Booth and what I’m told is an absolute must for a beach party…a Kissing Booth.  I shake my head at the whole lot.   The sights and sounds are wonderful and everywhere, then, gently floating through the air we hear,

Seeing that your love’s true
Never I’ll doubt you
My heart belongs to you
That’s alright with me

Worlds could end around me
So in love that I can’t see
You and me were meant to be
That’s alright with me

Friends come and friends may go
My friend, you’re real I know
True self you have shown
You’re alright with me

Through thick and thick to thin
I’ll love you till the end
You know it’s true my friend
You’re alright with me

Alright with me
(Alright with me)
Alright with me…

I look down at Ana who has a puzzled look on her face “Did you request this song?” she asks me.

“No,” I shake my head, “I was going to ask you the same thing.  Fitting though, huh?”  I pull her closer to me and we continue down the beach.

Catch a fallin’ star that shines
Make a wish clap three times
Dreams come true it’s in the mind
That’s alright with me…

I kiss the top of her head and wish for happiness.

…Your wish is my command
Never thought I’d fall in love again
Again with my best friend
That’s alright with me…

If she commanded me to return to Seattle, I’d go.  End of…  Please God let her stay here with me.

…Friends come and friends may go
My friend, you’re real I know
True self you have shown
You’re alright with me…

I think about Kate and Jose.  I wonder if keeping them in her life is more important to Ana than building a life with me.

…Through thick and thick to thin
I’ll love you till the end
You know it’s true my friend
You’re alright with me…

It’s true, I’ll love her forever, no matter the circumstance.  There’ll never be anyone else for me.  She’s ruined me for other women, no one will ever compare.

…Always and everlasting
This love is just not passing
We’re happy as can be
Alright with me…

Can’t we just be happy?

Alright with me
(Alright with me)
Alright with me

Worlds could end around me
So in love, I can’t see
You and me were meant to be
That’s your love it’s alright with me
Alright with me

Me too.

As the final words of Janet Jackson’s song Alright finish.  Ana snuggles up under my arm and we both breathe a sigh of contentment.  I whisper-sing, more to myself than to anyone else, “This is alright…with…me.”

All along The Strand we pass young and old guests alike, “It really did turn out lovely didn’t’t it?  I wasn’t sure how it would look.  This isn’t like any of the events my mother hosts,” but this isn’t her event.  I smile to myself.  I helped with this one, at least a little.  It feels good to participate, not just write a check.

Hmm, change is good after all.

No doubt.

“I think it’s wonderful, almost like going to the fair.”  Her eyes sparkle as she smiles.  I never went to the fair as a child, or as an adult for that matter.  All of the people bumping into me or touching me, even by accident, was too much for me to bear so I would stay home with the housekeeper while my family enjoyed the festivities.

We missed some great times it seems.  All the better to make up for it now.

I guess my contemplation is showing on my face, “What’s wrong Christian?”  Ana looks up at me with genuine concern in her eyes.  I shake my head, not wanting to spoil the evening, and we continue on.

After a while, we stop and eat some delicious smelling roasted pork and sample potato salad, macaroni salad, baked beans, fresh fruit salads and many more trimmings.  Even Gail joined in the festivities and made my favorite…yepper mac-n-cheese and it was enough for the masses.

How does she do that?  Did she work for the military before coming to work for you?

Not that I know of and not that I care.  I am in heaven.  The Refreshments Committee added food from a local Korean Fusion restaurant onto the menu to try and cater to varied tastes.  A few committee members did some recipe hunting with regard to American cookout choices so I would feel at home.  Ella assured them it wasn’t necessary…apparently they ignored her.

They won’t hear me complaining.

Me neither buddy.

Ana giggles at me as I eat.  I guess dropping food down the front of my shirt qualifies as humor.  God I love that sound.

I raise a brow and ask, “Miss Steele, is something amusing you?”

Her smile slowly changes from playful to lust-filled and her eyes begin to blaze.  “Yes Sir.”  She whispers, so only I can hear her.  My breathing hitches and our eyes lock.  Oh Baby, what you do to me.

I shake my head to rein in my desire, “All good things Baby, you know that.  When we get home, we can make our wishes come true.”  She smiles brightly again and I give her a loud, wet kiss on the lips.

God, this feels so good.  Just think, we have no personal security trailing us.  The only security here is for the event.  We’re free!

I don’t know why it means so much to me not to have personal protection.  I am the one who stresses the need for security and here I am, not only breaking protocol but also enjoying it.

It’s called being normal Grey; no ivory tower, no need for Secret Service Agents.  We’re just plain folk enjoying the evening’s festivities.  No women falling all over themselves, batting their eyelashes and tossing their boobs under your nose…not that there’s anything wrong with that, occasionally…I am just saying.  Ana can go, do and see whatever she wants.  No one is following her and there’s nothing to report because she’s safe.  This is what life’s supposed to be like.

Why would she want to leave here?  I don’t understand.

ELLA

“Hello Ellie, you look lovely as usual Sweetheart.”  My father strolls up from out of nowhere and kisses me on my cheek.

“Thank you Daddy.   You, however, are trying too hard.”  My father looks at me wide eyed as if he doesn’t understand.  Anytime he goes to a beach party or pig roast he wears light blue Bermuda shorts, a white polo shirt and brown flip-flops.  It’s almost his uniform; you can spot him a mile away.

He’s had a pedicure so he passes inspection.

This is true.

“Whatever do you mean Love?  The invite didn’t specify a dress code so I opted for comfort.”  He gives me a lopsided grin.  His curly, light auburn hair and grey eyes look orange as they reflect the light from the bonfires.  Even now, my father is still a very good-looking man, tall, broad chest, large biceps and a smile to die for.  Women have always been a biological hazard for him, as far as I’m concerned.  He’s my Daddy and no woman is ever going to be good enough for him in my eyes.

My brothers have dumped many a girl for making eyes at our father and Daddy eats it up.  He once bet Eran and Emerson that Everett’s new girlfriend wouldn’t make it through the first course at a family dinner before she winked at him…the first time.  When they looked stunned, he upped the anti and bet them exactly how many times she would wink at him before she left.

Not seeing Daddy for the good-looking man he is and putting entirely too much faith in the tramp population they all  seem to attract, they told my father he was senile and bet she wouldn’t give him a glance.  I had to get in on that one.  It was easy money.  Needless to say, Granddad threw her out for inappropriately addressing his son and forgetting with whom she arrived, while Daddy and I lined our pockets.  Neither Eran nor Emerson has made a bet, at least not with one of us, again.

“Sure thing Daddy,” I wave my hand at him dismissively, “whatever helps you sleep at night.”

“That’s no way to speak to your father young lady.  You were raised better than that.”  A deep voice rings out above me.  I turn my head, but no one’s there.  I look at my father who has a shit-eating grin on his face, but shrugs his shoulders nonetheless.

“Don’t look at him, you know very well that I’m right.”  This time I turn my whole body to face the sound and look up into the most beautiful, dazzling, emerald green eyes.  Eyes I know all too well.

“LIAM!”  I squeal and jump into his arms.

“Ellie, dolce, dolce Ellie.  Mi sei mancato così tanto” he whispers his endearment to me while stroking my cheek.  I’m smiling so hard I feel as if my face will crack.  He can be a very sweet man when he wants to be.  He can be every word in the definition of putz as well.

“And I you my Love.”  I whisper back to him.

My father clears his throat then speaks loudly, “Liam, it’s good to see you young man.  Are you back permanently or just stopping through?”  Liam puts me down and greets my father, who claps him on the shoulder…hard.

Must be a man thing.

No doubt.

“I am back for good Sir.  There’s only so much you can learn at school.  Sooner or later you have to put at least some of that knowledge into practice.”  Liam attended Yale…for a long time.  People make fun of we Browns, ‘Oh, they think they’re so smart…’ ’They have all of those degrees…’  ‘They’re so rich…’  “They’re TOO perfect…’  Well, I make fun of Liam.

Liam Jared Beckett graduated at the top of everything.

Well…someone has to be there, why not him?

That, my dear, is the definition of a rhetorical question.

Liam has his Bachelors of Arts in Economics and Mathematics, PhD in Economic History and was a participant in the World Fellows Program.

YUCK!

Tell me about it.

“You’ll need more than practice to beat this little one.”  Daddy says and kisses me on top of my head as he begins to walk away from us.  He turns back, grey eyes on fire as he says, “Oh, Liam, non cercare di parlare dolce mia figlia.  You’re not the only one who speaks italiano, spagnolo o francese to name a few” then he’s gone, into the crowd.

I shake my head, Liam knew Daddy would understand what he said.  We each speak various languages, especially when we’re pissed.  Granddad taught us it was necessary for business.  We’ve learned it’s a useful tool outside of business as well.

I look up at Liam again, “How are you Love?”  I’ve had a crush on Liam ever since I can remember.  We were born on the same day, six years apart.  I always took that as a sign we were meant to be together.  Although, the time he brought a girl home with him on holiday, I was devastated.  He came to visit me, out of habit.  I made sure I couldn’t be found.

There are advantages to living in a large, old house with lots and lots of hiding places.

“I’m well.  You all did a great job Ella,” he looks around the beach, “this is a new spin on an old tire.  Good to see young and old actually enjoying this event.”  He looks down at me with his green eyes dancing, as he smiles and says, “You look beautiful Baby.  How’s my little Sting Ray?”  I cringe and make a face.

I always hated him calling me that.  Just because I’m small, every man I’ve ever met has taken my diminutive size and easygoing persona for granted.  I can give better than I get and for some reason men take that as a negative.

He was twelve the first time I had to kick Liam’s ass for some reason or another.  He was picking on me, like boys always did and I got tired of his shit.  That’s when I first used my Daddy’s take down move.  Liam never knew what hit him.  His last recollection was pointing and laughing at me.  The next thing he knew, he was on the ground, face down, with my foot in his back.  When he twisted his neck to look up at me, I smiled and told him, “Liam, I’ll do this each and every time you piss me off.  Do you understand?”  He nodded his comprehension and I let him go.

That wasn’t enough for him.  The next time he felt high and mighty he was sixteen, trying to impress his friends.  He made a snide she’s just being a girl remark when suddenly, swoosh, he was on the ground wishing it would open up and swallow him.  To this day, his friends haven’t let him forget the incident and I bring it up now and again for good measure; keeps him in line.  His only response was to name me Sting Ray.

“Good, still dodging Granddad, but otherwise I’m good.”  He tilts his head to the side and raises an eyebrow.  Ok, so he doesn’t believe me.

“You know I don’t believe you, right?”  I nod.  I don’t know how, but he can tell when something’s bothering me.  It’s extremely annoying.

“I know you don’t believe me, but that doesn’t change the fact that I’m telling you I’m good.”  I nod my head with finality.

“Ok, ok, you’re good.  I’ll just have to stick with that story until the truth comes out; and you know it will.”  He says with his high and mighty tone.

Pest.

I absentmindedly nod my head.

“Ella.”  He struggles to say my name.  It’s with a mournful expression on his face that he says, “I saw the pictures of the two of you together…holding hands…laughing.”  Liam squeezes his eyes shut and asks me, “Do you love him Ella?”

When he opens his eyes, I see the hurt in them, I’m shocked and I know it shows clearly on my face.  I spent time with Christian to protect him.  When Granddad found out he was here, he knew Christian would be a target of the media as well as all of the gold-diggers on this continent.  I didn’t randomly run into Christian in the park…or at the coffee shop for that matter.  Granddad wanted Christian watched and protected.  Christian Grey didn’t know who Ella Brown was but Australia and places beyond do and I feel I’ve been effective in my task.  It was all a means to an end.

Befriending Christian afforded him the protection he needed.  No one is going to cross my grandfather, my father or me.  Sticking close to Christian prevented a lot of potential bullshit from the locals.  Holding his hand and letting shutter-fuckers get a few pics was just the way of make a broader announcement, LEAVE THIS MAN ALONE!  I wasn’t trying to tag him as mine.

“Ella?”  Liam’s strained voice brings me back from my reverie.  “Do you love him?  I have to know.”

“No Liam.”  I shake my head for emphasis, “I don’t love him…not like that at least.”  I whisper the last part or I thought I did.

“What do you mean, not like that at least?  I don’t understand Ella.  What about us?  You are mine.”  He pulls me to him.  I wrap my arms around his waist and hold him as tightly as I can.  My family followed me from Melbourne to Townsville after a graduated from Hawaii Pacific University.  I wandered over the continent and came to rest in Townsville.  I like the atmosphere, the people and the scenery.  The men in my family, and Liam, didn’t want me to be on my own so…they packed up EB, Pty and moved it to Townsville.  Granddad flat refused to be left behind and he refused to leave any portion of his business in the hands of someone unrelated to us.

We became acquainted with Liam’s family though one of my mother’s society circle things, as Daddy and Edward called them.  The boys welcomed Liam in as a snot-nose little brother and I…basically fell in love with him, forever ago.

Daddy, Everett and Liam arrived first, basically to survey the area.  They found the Family Home then sent for Granddad, Eran and Emerson.  Liam found a home for himself, but returned to Yale shortly after putting down roots.  He comes back from time to time, otherwise he’s in the united States or abroad.

Liam and I spent a lot of time together and little by little his feelings for me began to change.  He was determined to finish his education so…despite his feelings toward me, he went back to school.  He’s kept in touch and, again, visited every chance he could.

Now, he’s back for good.

Yeah, and I’ve got hot Shit Soup to serve him.

“I love you Liam.  I’m not in love with him, I never was and I never will be, I promise you that.  I love him like a…”

“There you are.  we’ve been looking for you.  How are you?”  Christian and Anastasia walk up, arm in arm, with smiles on their faces.  They’re so adorable together.

I lift my head off of Liam’s chest when feel him squeeze me tightly and look up in time to see his beautiful green eyes flash with anger before they turn fire-engine red; changing color based on his mood as opposed to the lanterns and firelight.  I know red is mad, but this is more than mad…

He’s super duper pissed.

I manage to turn and address the happy couple before Liam can, “Hello Christian, Anastasia.  I hope you’re both enjoying your evening.”  I try to sound as cheerful as I hope my face appears, but it’s not easy.  I have to straighten this out with Liam, fast.  His imagination can wreak havoc on the best intentions.

Christian smiles brightly, just like Daddy, then proceeds to introduce us, “We’re enjoying ourselves very much, thank you.  Anastasia Steele, this is Ella Brown.  Ella, this is Anastasia.”  She nods her head and offers her hand to me.  I do the same and we shake, all the while under Liam’s intense glare.

Dude, lighten up, DAMN!

“Hello Anastasia, welcome to Townsville and thank you for attending our fundraiser.”  She’s so pretty.  Her pale pink skin is flawless, her large eyes are bright blue, not tainted by the firelight and contrast well with her long, dark auburn hair.  Granddad is probably right, her eyes are a wonderful color blue.  That probably was the kicker for Christian.  I smile to myself thinking about it.

“Please call me Ana” she says, then she blushes, at me?  Why?

“This is Li…”

As I begin to make my introduction of him Liam burst out with “We’ll talk later my Love.”  He bends down, on the pretense of kissing my cheek whispers “Questa conversazione non è finita” then storms away, leaving me standing there, embarrassed.

“Ahem.”  Christian clears his throat and I reluctantly look first at Anastasia, who has a pitying expression on her face, then at Christian who looks like he’s surprised I associate with Liam.  “Is everything alright?” his smooth, baritone voice is strong and a tad bit protective in its tone; reminiscent of Daddy’s and Granddad’s.

I don’t respond.  I don’t trust my voice at this moment.  Tears I can control, I’ve learned how to hold those at bay and plaster on an impassive appearance well.  I would practice making faces in the mirror for hours at a time when I was a child until one day, I got it right, but the sound of my voice, I’m still working on that one.  Granddad always told me I would need an impassive voice as well…for the boardroom.  Well, I don’t have one so I simply shake my head no.

Finally, I muster up enough courage to say, quietly, “I apologize.  Please don’t let me dampen your evening.”  I feel like a Class-A fool.  I have to get out of here, “If you’ll excuse me.”  I duck my head down and practically run past the happy pair.  I hear Ana and Christian each call my name as I move away from them, but I don’t turn around.  I simply wave good-bye over my shoulder and takeoff…to parts unknown.


That son of a bitch has got it coming to him.  How fucking dare he speak to me like that and in front of other people too.  He has no idea if they understood him or not and even if they didn’t, I don’t give a fuck.  Rudeness is NOT permitted.

I managed to get far enough from the crowd and sit at a picnic area further up the Strand with a calming view of Magnetic Island, where I can think.

Quietly I hear, from behind me, “You cannot give him the satisfaction Ellie.  You do know that do you not Little One?”  I look over my shoulder and straight up to see Granddad standing alone with his hands in his pockets leaning against a nearby palm tree.

“You startled me Granddad.  I know I cannot let him get to me.  It is difficult sometimes.  I care a lot about Liam, I always have, but his jealousy and snap judgment are ridiculous.  Why not wait until a situation plays out or a discussion is had before commenting or criticizing?”  I’m getting angrier and angrier the more I talk this out and Granddad sees it.

“Ellie…Love…ELLIE!”  He bellows.  I quickly raise my head to see a pair of lighting silver eyes glaring down at me.  “You cannot give him the satisfaction…period.  All of his years at university have not afforded him the ability to control his emotions.  He does not know better…yet.  He will learn because you will teach him.  The same as you taught Christian.  Although, I suppose Christian learned more quickly than Liam will.” I nod.  We know how Christian learned control.

I know what he’s getting at and I know I can’t talk to Liam about this.  Granddad was clear when he gave Daddy and me our assignments, “No one can know about this until he does.  Once we have discussed everything, and I do mean everything, with him properly then he will be free to make whatever decision he likes.  Control is mandatory in this endeavor.  No one outside of this office,” he looked pointedly at Daddy then me, “can know of this situation.  Emmett, that includes the three’” that was when Christian was leaving Taiwan and things were being finalized.

“I know Granddad, I know.  I have no intention of jeopardizing our work.  His attitude being the way that it is, will be challenge enough without throwing Liam into the pissing pot.”  Granddad smirks at my choice of words.  I grew up in a house full of men.  My mother passed away when I was young.  My grandmother and aunt, my father’s only sibling, passed away before I was born, so I am not held to the same dialectical criticisms as most women.  Translation, I grew up with men who cuss like sailors and I can do the same, especially in their presence.

“Good girl.  We will take care of Liam in due time.  Have you invited them for a meal, preferably brunch.”  Granddad has it in his craw that we get this out in the open…yesterday.  Daddy and I keep trying to tell him to be patient, but that’s not a character trait Granddad recognizes.

Like someone else we know huh?

“I got side tracked Granddad.  I will invite them before the event is over.”  I try to reassure my grandfather who is neither out of the loop nor behind the times.

“Provided you can catch them before he rushes her home.  They fuck like jack rabbits you know,” again with the smirking?  He and Daddy get on my nerves with that shit.

“Yes, I know.  I guess that is something else you all have in common, unless it is simply a gender flaw.”  Now it’s my turn to raise a brow.

Slowly, my red haze lifts and I go in search of Christian and Anastasia to invite them to tomorrow’s brunch.  The evening is almost over, nothing left but the fireworks display.  I hope they’ve enjoyed themselves.  I know it was important to Christian and Anastasia feel comfortable here.  He wanted her to relax and consider staying here with him, at least for a while.  Secretly, I hope so too.

I find the happy pair locked in an embrace.  I sigh at such a romantic sight.

If Liam would get his shit together we could be like them, couldn’t we?

Eh, I guess.

He seemed genuinely happy to see you and very interested in your relationship with Christian.

I should’ve made him sweat for a while.

You know you’re no good at that.  It’ll just come back to bite you in the end…pun intended.

I shake my head at my inner musings and approach Christian and Anastasia.

The twosome are in a heavy-duty lip lock.  I try to wait it out  and not be too obvious.  Off to my left, near one of the refreshment stands, I see Daddy and Granddad laughing, heads thrown back guffawing at me.  They’re getting on my fucking nerves with that bullshit.  Just wait until I have a man I my life.  I’m going to make them regret this.

I clear my throat to try and get Christian and Ana to break it up.

That or throw some cold water on them.

Don’t give me any ideas.

“Ahem, excuse me.”  I don’t want to tap either of them on the shoulder.  I don’t want them to feel like I am invading their personal space.  I just want to deliver my invitation and get the fuck out of here.

Awkwardly, I try again, louder this time, “Christian…Anastasia?”  She’s the first to come up for air.

“Hi Ella, how are you?  We tried to find you, but you disappeared.”  Anastasia immediately assumes the role of caretaker.  She’s here to spend time with her fiancée and she’s thoughtful enough to show concern for me after Liam’s earlier display.

“Oh, I am fine, no worries.  Thank you for asking.”  I lie.

“Would the two of you be available to have brunch with us tomorrow?  Nothing fancy, just family.”  I can tell by the fire in Christian’s eyes he had other plans for tomorrow, but I seem to have piqued Anastasia’s interest.

“That would be lovely Ella.  What time?”  I almost burst out laughing at Christian.  He’s the picture of Daddy and Granddad.  I think their hair stands on end all by itself when they get aggravated.  Each man has a habit of raking his hands through his hair, but it really isn’t necessary.  The damn stuff has a mind of its own.

“Ana, I was hoping we could sleep in late tomorrow,” Christian whines.  Again, I suppress a laugh.

When Anastasia pouts at Christian, his entire demeanor changes.  Gone is Christian Grey, hotshot CEO and Master of the Universe.  Hello, love struck Christian.  I can’t help the smile that hides at the corners of my mouth.  “Ok, Ana, whatever you want Baby.  What time Ella?”  We make arrangements for late day and I tell them that Taylor and Gail are welcome as well, but I doubt they’ll attend.

I hope not.  None of us can stand that pretentious fucker.

I say my goodbyes and turn to leave, only to run straight into the all too familiar sight of Liam Jared Beckett, his eyes still flaring bight red.  As I begin to walk passed him, he grabs my arm and pulls me toward him, taking me by surprise.  I gasp then realize he’s been drinking…a lot.  Drinking is the last thing anyone should do when they’re mad, it only makes things worse.

“Liam, you’re drunk, let me go.”  I don’t raise my voice because I don’t want to cause a scene.  I know Liam would never do anything to me so I’m not afraid, but this brand of bullshit is more than annoying.  What the fuck is his problem anyway?

“We have…a conver…sation…to finish,” he slurs.  I laugh a little inside.

Not that this bastard would remember.

“You can barely finish a sentence, let ‘lone a conversation.  We can finish this when you sober up.”  I hiss and pull out of his grasp.

Liam’s eyes are wide and definitely hurt when he whispers, “It’s true, you do love him.  Why Ellie, I’ve told you how I feel.  We’ve shared so much baby.  Why him?”  The pain in his voice lances my heart, but Granddad will kill me if I give this away.

I look directly into Liam’s eyes and kiss him sweetly on his soft, full lips then tell him, “Liam, you’re the only man I love, the only man I’ve ever loved and the only man I will love.  Fidati di me.”  It is true.  I have always loved him.  There will never be another for me.

Somehow, my statement has touched his heart because he surrenders control to me by saying, “Sì il mio amore, ti darò.  My life, my heart…my soul are in your hands.”

GREY

It was a lovely evening.  We walked along the beach and talked about the music, the food, and the games.  We simply enjoyed each other like we never have before.  It felt so carefree.  It was heavenly.  I didn’t stress about coming home.  Was able to devote myself to Ana because I didn’t have to run off to my office and be debriefed about anything.  We came home, took a bath and fell into bed; into each other’s arms.

As we lay in our king sized bed, Ana takes a deep breath and sighs, “I owe you so many apologies, I don’t know where to begin.”  I turn onto my side and pull her closer to me, giving her my full attention and kiss her forehead.  She seems resigned to her fate as she continues.  “Christian, I’ve treated you unfairly.  I’ve unreasonably blamed you for things…for stifling my freedom when you haven’t.  I know you want to protect me and I know being your girlfriend puts me in the spotlight.  I, even better now, there are people who would love to get at you.  If someone could use me to achieve that goal, they would.  Unfortunately, no matter how immune I think I am, that’s not true.  I’ve even treated you like a villain for wanting to help me achieve my career goals.”  She shakes her head and I wipe the single tear that’s escaped onto her cheek.

“I’ve worried about what Kate, Jose, my co-workers and anyone else would think of me for being your girlfriend and working for you.  I worried I wouldn’t be considered an equal.  I worried my success would be due to your name, not my knowledge.”  She frowns and seems pensive as she speaks.  Why is she recounting all of this?  I thought her time away from me was so she could sort these thoughts out and come to her own conclusions, not hold onto them to rehash at a later date.  I don’t want to hear all of this anymore.

She’s a thinker Grey.  She takes her time and ponders a situation before taking action.  You, on the other hand, act out…period.  In business, thinking fast and acting quickly are virtues.  You’re not in the world of M&A right now.  Let her talk this out.  Just listen.

“…listening to Kate.  I don’t know when I gave her so much power in my life, but it happened.  I listened to what she had to say and took a lot of it to heart.  The times when I knew she was weak, I took the lead but more often than not I listened to her opinion and made it my own, that was my mistake.”  I knew Kavanagh was behind this shit.  Months of our lives wasted because of that bitch.  I don’t give a fuck what Elliott sees in her, I can’t fucking stand her…

Shut the fuck up Grey!  Listen!

“…overlooked the fact that she got her internship with her father’s company and she holds her head high when people say, ‘that’s Kavanaghs’ daughter.’”  Do you fucking mean to tell me Anastasia let that rich bitch cloud her opinion of herself?  That bitch caused Ana to doubt her own abilities?  She best be glad she is still fucking Elliott or she’d be the last one in the unemployment line…

GRRR!  If I have to tell you one…more…time…to shut the fuck up, this magnificent, multitasking brain of yours is going to shutdown and leave your carcass to the wolves.  For the last time…FOCUS!

ALRIGHT!!!

“…my opinion of me matters.  I want to be proud of my own accomplishments.  I know how hard I worked to graduate from college with my GPA in tact.  It’s unrealistic of me to want the world to even give a fuck about me, let ‘lone care about how I got from point A to point B.  The long and the short of it is I was wrong to let anyone other than me color my decisions.”

She sighs then looks me straight in my eyes and says, “I love you and you love me that was never in question.  I shouldn’t have let anyone or anything influence my self-image or our relationship.  We’re partners.  I need you to help me sort things out when I get stuck in life, that’s what partners do for each other isn’t it? “

I smile and nod, “Yes it is Baby.  And we’re going to be the best partners ever.  I love you so much Anastasia.”  I hold her tightly in my arms and kiss her deeply, with all of the love and adoration inside me.

I’ll only ever love you Ana.


We spent our morning much like we spent our evening.  We have made love in the bedroom, bathroom, our walk-in closet, the kitchen, before Mrs. Jones got up of course, and on the couch in the TV room, before Taylor started walking around the place, which I’ve told him isn’t necessary.  It felt like two teenagers hiding from Mom and Dad.  It was kind of cool.

As we get ready to go to the Brown’s for Brunch, my lovely Ana says from the bathroom doorway “Christian, do you have security in this place?”  She has a concerned look on her face.  Is she afraid of something?

I immediately become tense.  “No.  Why, are you afraid of something?  Has someone been bothering you?  Do you want me to ask Taylor to stay or send for Sawyer?  What is wrong Ana?”

She shakes her head at me and smiles, “Calm down Christian, nothing’s wrong and no one has bothered me.  I’m just surprised you don’t have security here.  I mean, this place is much bigger than Escala and you are all alone.  There are no cameras, no one walking the halls…nothing.  It feels so…” she shrugs her shoulders, “…you know…”

I smile, “Normal,” I finish the sentence.  “Yes, I know.  I came to Australia on a whim and needed a place to stay.”  It sounds impossible, but it’s true.  I couldn’t face being in Seattle without Anastasia and I promised to give her the time and space she wanted.  So for all intents and purposes, I was homeless.

“I couldn’t bear go come back to Seattle.  The work I did in Taiwan took like fifteen minutes and the touring took another twenty.  I just hung around there, keeping up with GEH affairs, hoping you would tell me you wanted me to come back home.  When you didn’t call me, I moved on.”

“Ros and I joked once that GEH should have offices worldwide.  I’ve dreamed of making GEH an International presence, but never took it seriously.  When I thought I would never see you again, I figured why not make my business dream come true.  I’ve worked, non-stop, to make this happen; just like in the beginning of GEH.

I told you, work is my therapy.  I haven’t bothered with Flynn since I left the US.  I got in touch with Claude and he helped me find a gym in Taiwan and then here.  I run, workout at the gym here at home or with my kickboxing trainer, have breakfast then head off to Grey House. “

“I know you want to talk and I know you want to talk about the pictures you’ve seen in the press, right?”  She nods her head and looks down at the floor.  “Do you remember what I told you about the press?”

She speaks solemnly, “Yes, you pointed out that you would be in the spotlight even more than before we met.  You said our relationship would be questioned and basically you’d be the number one bachelor again.  I remember saying you were threatening me.  I need to apologize for that statement too.  I don’t know why I even said it.  It seems every time you try to prepare me for something, I take it the wrong way.  I need to work on that.”  She looks up and stares at me, there’s more, I know there is.  I’m not stupid.  She wants to know if I took a submissive.

“Ana, please sit down.  Let’s clear the air, get all of this shit out of our lives so we can move forward…together.  Can we do that please?”  I want this just as much as she does and we’re in the best place to have this conversation.  There’s nothing and no one to interrupt us.  We have all the time in the world, another reason why I love it here.

She twists her fingers in front of her then whispers, “Yes”.  I walk with her over to the balcony off our bedroom, which faces Rowes Bay.  It’s a tranquil view of the water.  I often get lost in the warmth of the Sun, the breeze from the bay and the hypnotic sound of the waves.  I love the water.  It’s so open, so free.  I take a deep cleansing breath and actually forget I’m not alone.

Her voice is almost as faint as the wind when she says, “This is totally different from Escala.  This isn’t your ivory tower.  You seem so happy, at ease here, trouble-free even.  It’s a welcome change to see you this way.  You look wonderful Christian.  Time away from Seattle has done wonders for you.”

I smile and nod my head.  “You’re right.  Life is normal.  No one knows me, or so I thought.  I can be just another face in the crowd.  I can walk down the street, sightsee, shop, whatever and no one looks at me.  I say, ‘I’m Christian Grey’ and people shake their heads, silently asking if my name is supposed to mean something to them.”  I chuckle a little remembering how offended I was at first.  In business, your name is your brand and my name has always been highly marketable.  In the world of M&A, no matter what continent I’m on, the name Christian Grey means money, power and prestige, but in the city of Townsville, it means the guy who lives over there.

It’s fan-fucking-tastic!

“My ego took a bit of a blow, until Ella told me people knew who I was and basically didn’t give a fuck, I was nothing special to them.”  I shake my head remembering the conversation.  It was before I knew who she was, who her family was.  It reminded me that money doesn’t matter.

“Who is Ella?”  I look at Ana and see something in her eyes I’ve never seen before.  Not anger or jealousy, not even a look of hurt or betrayal.  I see fear.  She fears Ella.  Why?

“Ella is a girl I saw when I finally got out of this house and ventured around Townsville.  I’m sure there are pictures of she and I floating around the gossip sites.  She reminded me so much of you, I almost called her by your name.”  Ana says nothing, but I can see the gears spinning.  I know how I would feel if it was the other way around.  I’m not a hypocrite.  I can’t expect her to simply take it all in without having any emotion.  I’ll answer any and all questions honestly and wait for her to decide her next move.

“Yes, I’ve seen a lot of pictures of you with her.  Seattle Nooze has you engaged and about to be married.  I was hurt when I first saw her picture, there were so many of you smiling, laughing, even holding hands.  I cried for days and Kate tried to set me up with a dozen blind dates.”  Tears begin to form in her eyes even now.

That’s what friends are for?

Humpf.

“Then I saw a picture claiming to be her hand with an engagement ring on it.  Kate was fanatical about that picture.  When I realized it was my hand and my engagement ring, I had to pose in the same position for her to look at my ring, but she still didn’t believe me.  I remembered you took the picture after your birthday, for insurance purposes.  I found it and showed it to her, which finally shut her up.  At that point, I decided to take everything I saw with a grain of salt.”

“People made snide comments behind my back and I think a heard a couple women in my office clapping hands at the prospect of you being on the market again.”  As if anyone would have a chance with me.  “I remember wondering if they’d devote more time to their own lives maybe they wouldn’t be so miserable and happy to see someone else’s life in turmoil.”  She looks out over the bay as I move behind her wrapping my arms around her waist and pulling her into my chest.  This mess was just as hard on her as it was on me.

“Other reactions were absolutely Anti-Christian Grey.  There were comments about how could you possibly cheat on me since I was so sweet and innocent.  Others made you out to be a selfish bastard who didn’t deserve the likes of me.  There were even people who wanted to picket in front of GEH with signs saying people should stay away from your businesses and they never were and never will be in favor of you.  Watching all of that, reading all of the hateful comments against you made me see that you weren’t over exaggerating about how people see you.  The press and the public were obsessing with lives that weren’t their own.”

Guess she learned something about your world.

“Meetings at SIP were ridiculous.  Initially, my co-workers would stop talking and look anywhere except at me when I entered the room.  After seeing so many pictures of you on your own in Seattle and then in various parts of the world, they would pointedly ask me, ‘How are you today, Ana?’, ‘Did you rest well last night?’ or ‘Have you seen the latest article about Mr. Grey, Ana?’  I wanted to ask them just what the fuck their problem was.  They worked hard at getting under my skin.”  I blame that fucker Roach.  He’s the one who’s supposed to be in charge of that office.  Can’t he keep those dogs on a leash?

Just another subsidiary of GEH remember?  She can file a complaint like anyone else would…

Whatever fucker and you know it…and you agree with me.

“The end all-be-all was when Kate told me your leaving Seattle was the best thing you could ever do for me.  She was glad you finally realized you shouldn’t try to control me.  She was glad to see you tuck your tail between your legs and run because I stood up for myself and put you out of my life.  She couldn’t say enough about how horrible it was for you to be in the same breathing space as another woman and when she saw a picture of you holding hands with Ella, I thought she was going to burn a figure of you in effigy.  She was insane, all in the name of protecting me and being my one true friend.”

BITCH!

You took the words right out of my mouth Grey.

“Then there was the Grey Family Dinner night when you called home and she inserted herself in the conversation.  She and Elliott still aren’t doing well because of her comments about you.  Elliott asked her if she was jealous that you and I were together.  He asked her ‘Why the fuck didn’t you do the fucking interview your fucking self?’  He told her ‘It would’ve saved us all your unwanted behavior,’ then he told her to stop obsessing about someone else’s life or he would never speak to her again.  Needless to say, it has been a battle of wills ever since.”  Ana shakes her head and the unshed tears begin to fall.

NO COMMENT GREY AND THAT’S FINAL!

DONE.

“Ana, I told you, I promised you, I’d be faithful to you and to us.  I told you I wouldn’t be with anyone else and I haven’t gone against that.  If you want to hate me, if you want to leave me, I understand perfectly.  I know if things were the other way around, your eardrums would be pounding from all of my yelling.”

She turns around and puts her arms around my neck before looking me straight in my eyes and asking, “Christian, do you love her?”

I tighten my arms around her tiny waist and look directly into her eyes as I say, “No Ana.  I don’t love Ella or any other woman for that matter.  I only love you.  When Ella looked into my eyes, she saw my pain.  I was amazed at how intuitive she was.  She told me something that’s held me together and helped me deal with this situation so far.”

Ana looks at me expectantly, “What did she tell you?”

“She said,  ‘If you are hers, she will find you.  If she is yours, you will let her.’ that statement gave me hope that you would change your mind and come back to me.  It also helped me keep a clear head and, as odd as it seems to me, an open heart.  I can’t act as though my feelings weren’t hurt by all of this, but I refuse to just walk away.  I’m nothing without you Ana.  I’m not willing to give up, because I am yours.”

She nods her head at me, taking it all in, “The old adage is right, be careful what you ask for, you just might get it. I’ve continually told you I need to be alone to think, told you not to interfere in my affairs and told you security wasn’t necessary because I felt like I was being watched and controlled.  Then, when you give me everything I asked for, I, and it seems the rest of the world, turned on you and labeled you as contemptible and unfeeling.  You really can’t catch a break, can you Grey?”  I shake my head and hope she doesn’t hate me.

It’s all part of the package Baby.

“Christian, I know, better than you do, that you have a heart and you have feelings.  I know I hurt you with my words and my actions.  I was horribly wrong to do so.  In order for you and I to be together, I have to learn to talk to you just as much as I demand you talk to me.  Running to hide isn’t the way.”  I say nothing.  I’m still not sure where this is going so I just hear her out.

“I love you Christian and I apologize for pushing you away.  I also apologize for letting Kate cloud my thinking.  I can’t apologize for her treatment of you, she has to do that, but I apologize for not putting a stop to her chastising you.”  She hugs me tighter and lays her cheek on my chest.  I let out the breath I was holding, waiting for her tirade.

She knows this all could’ve been avoided.  This time she was wrong and she recognizes that.

Let it go.  Il est fini.

I bend over and kiss her cheek then whisper in her ear, “I love you Anastasia.”


LIAM

Ellie, dolce, dolce Ellie. Mi sei mancato così tanto. | Ellie, sweet, sweet Ellie. I missed you so much.
Questa conversazione non è finita. | This conversation is not over.
Sì il mio amore, ti darò. | Yes my love, I’ll (trust) give you.

ELLA

Fidati di me. | Trust me.

EMMETT

Liam, non cercare di parlare dolce mia figlia. | Liam, do not try to sweet talk my daughter.
…italiano, spagnolo o francese… | …Italian, Spanish or French…

GREY

C’est fini. | It’s finished.


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Can’t We Just Be Happy | Chapter 13 Now, We Can Proceed

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 13 | Now, We Can Proceed

ELLA

“Good evening Granddad, how are you?”  I walk over to my grandfather who is sitting behind his huge mahogany desk.  He’s owned that thing for as long as I can remember.  It reminds me of the movie The Godfather.  Seeing how he speaks several different languages fluently I expect him to get pissed at my brothers one day and burst out in his best Sicilian to tell them how fucking stupid they are.

“I am well Ellie.  Is your father with you?”  Granddad asks, looking at his watch.

My eyes widen and I shake my head for emphasis, “No, I thought he would be here already.  He was so eager for this meeting I thought he would beat me here.”

“One would…” The door opens, interrupting my grandfather.

“…think, yes I know Dad.  Good evening Ellie.”  My father saunters into my grandfather’s study and kisses me on the cheek; he’s late.  Granddad doesn’t do late, ever, and he doesn’t forget when someone is late.

Granddad clears his throat, “Well, now that we are all here.”  He takes a moment to glare at my father.  “I have some questions.”

Turning to me, Granddad asks, “Ella, is she here?”

“Yes Granddad, she arrived early this morning.  He was there to meet her, even ran up the steps to the cabin door.  I burst out laughing.  They look wonderful together too.  She really does look like me.  You cannot tell from the photos, you have to see her in person.  It seemed uncanny.”

“Yes, I believe those blue eyes did it to him.  Lord knows that is what attracted me to your grandmother.”  He smiles, as he always does when he remembers my grandmother.  She died before I was born, but I’ve seen numerous photos of her.  I wish I could have met her, his one true love.

Sigh.

“They went back to the house and have not left, yet.  I believe he will be at the committee meeting tonight.  It is the last one before the event.  I do not know if she will accompany him or not.”  For both their sake I really hope he skips the damn meeting.  My brothers behaved so badly at the last meeting, I’ll have to take them down in public if they harass him or her at that meeting.

“Well, do not expect her to arrive and if she does, make sure those imbeciles you so affectionately refer to as brothers… leave…her…the fuck…alone.  They were not supposed to bother him and look what happened.” I nod in agreement.  He’s right.  The Bowery Boys have made things more difficult than they already were; if that’s even possible. [1]

“Yes, if need be, I will handle them.”  I look directly at my father.  All he does is nod his consent.  He knows some of the story.

“Like I said, she is here and they look happy.  This is a wonderful place for them to reconcile and move forward.  We can only hope for the best.  I have not told him…”  Before I can finish my sentence, my father chimes in.

“Are you certain it is him?  Looks do not mean everything.”  Here we go.  I hold up my hand to stop my father.  My dad isn’t really worried about the validity of our information; he knows we’re careful.  Daddy is wary of the reaction the situation will garner.  My father hates rejection and can behave poorly when confronted with it.  Seems to be a family trait.

“I know that better than you do Daddy.  First, yes I am certain, second, I will tell him whether you like it or not and third, the fellas need to know as well…after I tell him of course.”  Those selfish little bastard brothers of mine need to be removed as well, but that is not my call.  Pity actually.

I turn toward my grandfather, “Granddad, I truly believe she should be with him when we speak.  She has a soothing affect on him.  It really is amazing.”  I sigh.  Looking at the two of them is like watching Cinderella and Prince Charming.  I can only wish for that kind of love to find me one day.

“I agree, they should be told together and they should be told here.  I want to be able to show him proof.  He does not appear to be the trusting sort so I am certain he will want cold, hard facts to back up your claim Ella.”  I wish this could just be accepted at face value.  It’s not like we want anything from him.  If nothing else, he will increase his fortune exponentially.  But I know Granddad is right.  We have to be able to prove ourselves.

“I have all of that.  My daughter was not in the best way at the end of her life, but she was still my daughter.  She knew the importance of documentation and she knew her son would one day need to know.  I have all of the proof we need.”  My grandfather somehow managed to get evidence I never knew it was possible to have.  He really outdid himself on this one.  He would not destroy the proof because he recognized others would want to see it and verify its authenticity.

“Ahem,” ever the diplomat, “Dad, have you considered how his family will respond to this news?  This can be misinterpreted as our trying to drive a wedge between them.  We don’t want him to close the lines of communication based on reaction from…” we all know he’s speaking from experience, but at this moment experience doesn’t seem to have taught my grandfather a fucking thing.

With a distinct and blatant disregard for my father’s intention my grandfather states, “I do not give a fuck if he speaks to us again or not.  He must know his position and know his entitlement.  Afterward, if he wants to denounce the Brown family then that is his right.  However, he will have been told and my documentation will be available.  Ella, you will be responsible for following through with my wishes when the time comes.”  I furrow my brow at that subject.  I always do.  He knows how I feel.

Granddad softens his feathers before telling me, “Little one, I know you had your heart set on the sea, but you will step up at EB and you will make him do the same or I will haunt you all for the remainder of your lives.”  He gives me a devilish grin and a wink.  Granddad is always promising to haunt someone when he wants his way.  The only problem is, we know for a fact it’s true, that’s why it’s so effective.  I swallow hard and nod my head.

“Emmett, what about The Interference?  What is its status?”  My grandfather cannot wait to be rid of that, quite frankly neither can I.

My father’s grey eyes flash with anger, as he growls, “No change in position Dad and no change in status either.  In fact the entire State of Washington should pay homage once this is done.”

I gasp, “What?  You mean still?  That has to stop.”  I look frantically between my father and my grandfather.  “Granddad, is there anything we can do right away…anything at all?”

Granddad shakes his head regretfully.  “No Love, we cannot, but in time.  The Interference will go…period.”


“Good evening ladies and gentlemen.  I call this meeting to order.  We only have a few loose ends to tie up; therefore, in lieu of time we will only need reports from those committee members.”

“First we will hear from Logistics, then Audio/Visual and finally Security.”  Eran looks around for Christian.  I was glad he and Anastasia skipped the meeting.  I can’t blame him for not brining her here, or coming himself.  He just reconciled with the love of his life and he’s afraid I’ll frighten her away.  I’m certain of that and I understand his position entirely.  This is when I wish he knew the truth about us.

Then there are the barracudas in the room.  Seems like the whole Brown clan is here.  Eran and Emerson invited Everett to this meeting.  I guess they thought I was kidding when I told them what I’d do should they continue to harass Christian.

I can guaran-fucking-tee you gentlemen I was not bullshitting.  Big brother can’t always save you.

I see Mr. Taylor has been assigned to discuss security for the event.  This should be interesting.  “It seems Mr. Grey has decided not to attend this evening.  Does anyone have his report?”  Eran looks at me as if to say ‘well, where the fuck is he’.  I shake my head and look at Mr. Taylor.

Eran follows my line of sight then asks, “Sir, are you here in Mr. Grey’s place?”  Taylor simply nods his head once.  “Will you please introduce yourself and give us an update on the progress of the Security Committee?”

Taylor clears his throat, “My name is Jason Taylor.  I am the Head Security Officer for Grey Enterprise Holdings.  The Security Committee enlisted five hundred personnel total.  We were instructed that one hundred individuals were necessary; however, after confirming the number of RSVPs then surveying the venue and its surrounding area, we opted to increase the number and have backup details available.”  Eran looks a little disappointed in Taylor’s progress.  I know he was hoping Christian would fail to find qualified security.  I heard Er and Em plotting how to approach Granddad about vetting and hiring security personnel.  I rolled my eyes at them.  I could have told them how to do that, but no…don’t ask the little girl surrounded by men her entire life.  Whatever.

“This document” Taylor holds up a packet of papers, “lists the names of vetted men and women awaiting instruction from you, Mr. Brown, and/or the Logistics Committee Chairman.”  Taylor raises ad eyebrow at Eran then the fucker looks at me.  Oh I can see Taylor’s in line for a good old fashion cussing out before long and I’ll be only too happy to oblige him.

Begrudgingly Eran says, “Thank you Mr. Taylor.  We appreciate your contribution to our endeavor.  Now, Logistics.”  And off we go to the rest of this pointless fucking meeting.  I think I’ll go home and change then have an evening by Rowes Bay.  This’ll prove to be a ‘fun filled’ weekend.  I can feel it now.

“…very good.  We will schedule a wrap-up meeting in approximately two weeks then we will be finished.  Meeting adjourned.  See you all at the event.”  Good, now to get the fuck out of here.  I almost run out of the meeting room when I hear.  “Not so quick Miss Brown.”  Bastard.

I turn around slowly with a smile on my face.  There big brother stands, summoning me over to him.  Taylor stopped by the door as if he were invited to the melee.  Everett and Emerson immediately flank him.  They each stand a head taller than Taylor and are much bigger.  Sometimes the fellas actually come in handy.  I really do want to laugh at Taylor.

Love, you have no idea just how outnumbered you are.  We have been known to stop fighting each other, gang up on an intruder in our argument then go back to kicking each other’s assess.  We may fight with each other…a lot, but we’ll fight for each other…always.

Taylor, wisely, leaves the room.  The boys close the door after him then Er descends on me.  “What the fuck gives Ellie?  Where was the bastard?  And who the fuck is the buzz-cut he sent over here?  I want some…” THAT’S IT!

“FREEZE Eran Rockhold-Brown!  First of all, Grey is a grown man and it’s not my job to keep him.  Forward your attendance questions to him directly or to his minion who you two,” I turn and point at Everett and Emerson, “so weakly tried to intimidate.  You wanted a security update and it sounds like you got what you wanted so why the fuck are you pestering me?”  I stand with my arms crossed daring him to start some shit.

“Something is going on with you two and we,” he gestures between the Three Amigos, “want to know what it is.  We have a right…” Oh Good Lord, not this shit again.

“PAUSE!  You have no right to anything in my life.  Any piece of information I deign to share with any of you should be considered a treasure.  Ergo, piss off, the lot of you!”  I turn sharply and proceed to march to the door of the conference room.  And of course Thing 1 and Thing 2 think they can prevent me from leaving.

If they touch a piece of lint on my shirt I will stomp the shit out of them and they know it.  In the quiet whispering groan that we all use when we get pissed I announce, “One move.  That’s all it’ll take for me to go absolutely, fucking ape-shit on YOUR ASS!”  I turn back to Eran and point.

“I have no idea why you all are intimidated by that man, but you had best put on your big boy boxers and get over it.  He’s a community member.  He’s established a lucrative business here and it seems he’s enjoying his stay, despite the three of you.  In the event he wishes to leave Townsville, I’m certain he knows his way to the airport.  Until he decides to no longer grace us with his presence, GO THE FUCK AWAY AND LEAVE HIM THE HELL ALONE!”  I shout so loud my voice can be heard echoing out in the hallway.  With that, my brothers move out of my way and I proceed to exit the building.


“Stay away from him!”  What the fuck?  I know I have the most confused look on my face as I stand facing my car.  One I’m surprised anyone is still out here and two, who the fuck does this man think he is?  I recognize the voice as that of Mr. Jason Taylor.

What the fuck is this, a testosterone convention?

I don’t bother to turn around to face him.  “Good evening Mr. Taylor.  Is there something in particular you would like to discuss with me?”  I spread the nicety on as thick as possible.  This bastard is threatened because my security checks proved better than his.  That’s easy to see.  If he worked for Granddad he would be six feet under for the shit he missed and could only speculate at.  It’s inexcusable.

“I said stay away from Mr. Grey.  He has a wonderful woman in his life and he does not need some gold-digging whore traipsing around after him.”  My eyes have popped out of my head.  This bastard has the moxie to think I am after Christian’s money.  Yeah, this fucker would not make it at EB, Pty that’s for damn sure.  His deductive reasoning is non-existent.

I’m not going to entertain this conversation.  My back is still turned toward him and I am praying he lays a hand on me.  He’s sorely underestimated me, like men always do.  I just want to see the shadow of his hand near my face and he’ll need a medic.

“STEP AWAY FROM THE YOUNG LADY YOU FUCKER!”  I look up to see the Bowery Boys standing to my right, a few feet from my car followed by another distinct voice.

“Mr. Jason Taylor I presume.”  I don’t bother to turn around.  I know from the smiles on my brothers’ faces and the smooth sound of the voice, it’s Daddy.  My father always starts out professionally, a genial greeting, even a handshake, but if you’re not responsive to his business persona, all etiquette goes out the fucking window.

“Mr. Taylor, I know you are not hard of hearing so you are well aware of my sons’ statement and my direct address.  I strongly recommend, sir, that you accept my salutation and shake my hand.  Should you decide against that, I do not want or need my sons assistance to rectify this matter.”  My brothers and I are chuckling quietly.  Our father is only this dramatic when he is pissed beyond recognition.

Granddad tried to teach us not to swing first, which was difficult when that’s still his first reaction.  He did manage to school us in the “proper way” to handle a situation, especially one that goes out of control.  Rule one, know your opponent, rule two, know your surroundings and rule three, walk, don’t run, away.  We say it all of the time, it’s almost like a family motto…we really are a sneaky bunch.

To his credit, I sense Taylor turning around and, I presume, shaking my father’s hand.  Poor sot, he has no idea what was going to hit him.  I hear the handcuff snap onto Taylor’s wrist.  I know the next moves.  I have used them myself.  Daddy has spun Taylor around, to face away from my father then clamped the other wrist with a cuff.  This is followed by a swift kick of his feet so he looses balance and ends up face down on the pavement with my father’s foot in his back.  I would have loved to see the look on Mr. Head of Security at GEH’s face as it all occurred.

I never turned around.  Then, I heard footsteps and saw my brothers’ eyes grow wide.  No need to fret, it’s just Granddad.  I wonder what he wants.  I told him I would handle Christian should he decide to attend this meeting.  These men are getting on my nerves.

I wonder, do they make pills to counteract testosterone surges?  These guys could do with a monthly dose.  Pissing contests be damned.

“Good evening Love.  How was the meeting?”  Really Granddad?  He’s so sweet sounding I want to bark laughing, but instead I turn around and smile brightly.

“Good evening Daddy, Granddad, what on Earth brings you out this evening?  Surely not this.”  I point at the now prone figure on the pavement beneath me.

“No Love”, Granddad smiles.  “You know why we are here.  Judging by the present company,” he looks down at Taylor and raises a brow, “I take it all was for naught.”  I nod.  “Pity.” He shakes his head as he gazes down at the silent victim on the ground.

By now, all of the Browns have converged on Mr. Jason Taylor who has been extremely quiet throughout this exchange.  Wise choice Taylor.  It would’ve been nice to see him run that arrogant yap of his though.  I would’ve loved to see the show.  Daddy makes doling out a good old-fashioned ass kicking look effortless.

“Mr. Taylor” my granddad has stepped forward, “I do not know what type of security you are used to, but things are very different here.  Do not approach my relatives in a hostile manner ever again.  We have no issue with you or your employer and we do not appreciate your antagonism.  Do I make myself clear Mr. Taylor?”  This really is funny.  I won’t need to distress by the bay after this show.

Taylor simply nods, he doesn’t try to look up, but that’s enough for Granddad.  The toddler section always wants eye contact and verbal confirmation they were heard, but Granddad and Daddy drilled into my head when there is no need for noise, don’t make any.  Taylor gets it.

Daddy and Granddad each kiss my forehead goodbye then, I get in my car and drive away.


Since her arrival, Christian and Anastasia have been all over Townsville.  They even took time out to go to Magnetic Island, the National Park there is wonderful.  I’m hopeful she’ll stay here for a good while.  She really is good for him.

Naturally, I’ve maintained my distance from them both and radio silence from Christian.  I saw Christian at the coffee shop the other day and made sure to keep walking past.  I shake my head and tell myself, “Sorry Love, my job is almost finished” I can only hope I still have a friend when this is all over.

Once I let him know the sordid tale then I’m sure he and Anastasia will be on their way back to Seattle.  I’ll miss him.  I wish I had met Anastasia.  She seems like a beautiful woman and I’m very glad she came here of her own accord.  He really needed her.  It’s wonderful to see him smile.  I mean truly smile, from his heart.  He looks so young and carefree.

Striking resemblance.

Family trait.

I didn’t want to do any of this in public.  I’ll invite them to the family home for brunch after the beach party and we can take it from there.  The three blind mice should still be out whoring around town so the timing can’t be better.  Granddad will sit his grandsons down when we’ve finished our conversation with Christian and deal with those fireworks later.  This is going to be an interesting weekend.

GREY

I wake up to the most wonderful feeling in the world.  Ana and I are spooning in bed.  My hands are on her firm breasts kneading them gently and occasionally pinching her nipples.  With each pinch, she wiggles her beautiful ass against my cock making me smile in anticipation.

I move to lick the shell of her ear before whispering, “Mmm, Miss Steele, good morning.  Did you sleep well?”  She doesn’t nod and she does not open her eyes, but I can see her smile.  I pull her closer to me, put my hand on her stomach, to hold her in place then grind my dick on her bare ass.  While she moans her appreciation, I trail kisses from her ear down her neck to her shoulder then back again, ending at that delightful spot behind her ear.

I can’t keep my hands off of her body.  One hand is still squeezing her breast and pinching her nipple while the other moves down from her stomach to her waist, over her hip to the back of her thigh.  I push her top leg forward and slide my cock into the crevice between her ass and her lovely folds.  Back and forth, back and forth, of course my baby is wet and ready for me and I love the feel of her juices spreading over my throbbing cock.  She feels too good not to fuck.  With no preamble, I slide quickly and quietly into her holding myself still for a moment; she grinds against me again making me gasp.  “Ah…Baby…that feels…ah…I can’t take…ah, yeah Baby just like that.  Don’t stop.”

She still doesn’t open her eyes, but makes a primal sound deep in her throat while following my command.  Holding myself up on my arms is almost impossible.  My head falls forward and I begin kissing her bicep, her shoulder then around to her pert nipple that’s standing all alone waiting for my lips, my tongue, my teeth.  I won’t thrust into her…yet.  I want to enjoy her grinding on me while I stay firmly in place.  I lave her nipple with my tongue then suck…hard.  “Oh Christian, I’ve missed you” that’s my cue.  I sit up and pull her onto my lap, her back to my front.

My hands resume their original task of fondling her beautiful breasts and pinching her taunt nipples, while I kiss her neck.  I begin to thrust into harder and harder, wrapping my arms around her waist and hold her tightly to me.  She gasps loudly and throws her head back against my shoulder.  Her long dark hair cascades down my back and sends a rush through me.  I bite down on the skin of Ana’s ivory neck and thrust into her again and again and again.  She pants, “Ahh, Christian!”

I slow myself down and slowly slide my cock back out of her while I whisper in her ear, “You like, my Sweet?  There’s more. There’s always more for you.”  When she nods, I slam back into her holding her in place on my lap.  I whisper again, “More baby?  Do you want more of me?”  Unable to speak, she nods quickly and grinds that fabulous ass against my pelvis.  It feels like we could go on forever.

Then, I feel it.  Her pussy begins to pulse and tighten more around me, squeezing me, holding me inside of her, begging me to go on.  “NO Anastasia, not yet!”  I want more of her.

I slowly pull out, turn her over and lay her down on her back on the bed.  As I lay on top of her, she wraps her arms around my neck and her legs around my waist.  We kiss deeply, as if our lives depend on one another.  Her tongue tastes sweet and her lips are plump and soft and delicious.  “I love you Anastasia.  I only ever loved you.”

“And I you Christian.  I have missed you so much.  You mean the world to me.  I’ll never let anything come between us again.”  I groan at her words and slowly slide into her heavenly core again.  She’s so soft and warm and drenching wet, all for me.   She’s mine.  She’ll always be mine.  That thought causes my dick to grow harder and my balls begin to tighten.

Her legs loosen their hold on my waist and I slide my elbows underneath her knees and shrug her legs up onto my shoulders.  I rise up on my arms and sink deeper into her.  “Oh God Ana.  Yes Baby, fuck me…that’s right, grind on me just like that Baby.  Oh fffuuuccckkk…yeeesss!”

As I pump into her I can feel her getting wetter and wetter.  Soon, I can feel her sweat mix with mine and feel her juices run down my stomach.  “Do not stop Christian.  Faster Christian… faster…harder Christian…yyyeeesss.  That’s right.  Just like that.  That’s the spot.  Keep it right there.  Oh SHIT!”

I love when she tells me exactly what she wants.  Her wish is my command.  I thrust harder and she meets me stoke for stroke.  I feel her hands on my ass, pushing me balls deep into her.  “Deeper Baby, deeper…feel all of me Baby…more Ana, gimme more.”  I say in her ear.

Her legs locked around my neck, her nails digging into my ass and I am ramming into her with everything I have.  Then, I feel it again.  Her walls start to tremble around my cock.  When my dick twitches in response it becomes a challenge.  How much longer can she last?  How much longer can I last?

“Open your eyes Anastasia, I have to see you Baby.  Look at me Ana.  She opens her beautiful blues that are now almost black, dilated from pure lust.  We stare into each other’s eyes almost unseeing, like two wild animals in heat.  Finally, we say those magic words in unison, “Come for me Baby!”  The feeling is intense, very intense.  Her back rises off of the bed, pushing her breasts into my chest.  Her mouth falls open soundlessly.  I grit my teeth and clinch my jaw.  My cock explodes pouring hot streams of my seed deep into her.  I see stars and flashes of light then…darkness.

I open my eyes to her showering me with kisses and holding me tightly against her.  “I can never tell you how much I love you Christian.”  She whispers to me.  “I can never tell you how sorry I am for pushing you away.”

I raise my head and look straight into her baby blues.  “Ana, Baby, you’re here, I’m here and that’s all that matters.  We still have some things to talk about, but as long as we have each other, everything will be fine.  No need to apologize anymore Baby.  I’m not going anywhere without you.”  I smile as brightly as I can, hoping to dispel her insecurities.

I only ever need my Ana.


“Baby, what would you like to do today?  Remember, we have the beach party this evening so we can just hang out around here unless you have your heart set on going somewhere.”  I love how effortless things are here.  No calling ahead to check a venue, no closing down stores so she can shop, which she rarely does anyway.  Simply put, nothing over the top.

“Don’t you have to get with Taylor and arrange for us to go out?”  She looks surprised when I shake my head no.

“Nope,” I pop my ‘p’, “just get up and go.  I told you, no one knows us here and even if they do, they don’t give a fuck.  It’s been like this since I set foot in Townsville.  I almost feel invisible here.  Like nothing and no one could touch me even if they wanted.  No women batting their eyelashes or drooling as I pick my nose, no one stuttering when they try to answer my question and no one staring as if I had two heads and a tail on backward.”  It was strange to me at first, almost unnerving, but once I began to relax I forgot security was not around.

She walks over and puts her arms around my neck, “In that case, I would like a tour of the new GEH office.”

“That is a given, but not today.  No work, remember?”  She nods.  “If there’s nowhere else you want to go, then we can lounge about until the party.”

She pokes her bottom lip out in an oh so cute little pout.  I love it.  “Well, then we can always talk.”

OH FUCK!  Talking, again…REALLY?  Doesn’t that shit ever get old to her?

I flop down on the couch, cover my face with my hands and sigh deeply, resigned to my fate.  “Can we at least talk about sex?”  I peek out at her with a hopeful expression, only to see Ana shaking her head no emphatically.  “Dammit.”

“What was that Mr. Grey?  I don’t believe I heard you.  Would you repeat that last statement please?”  I don’t know what she is playing at but I am not falling so easily.

“Smart-ass.”  I mumble, “What shall we talk about then Dear?”  I say as sweetly as I can.

“Well, let’s see” she taps her finger against her bottom lip and I have visions of licking her there instead “…there’s your family, your return to Seattle, the wedding and that letter.”

Oh shit, I forgot.  “The letter, where is it?”  I begin to retrace our steps to the bedroom.  I don’t remember where we laid the damn thing.  “Where did you lay it Ana?  We need to see whom it’s from.”

“Christian!”  I immediately halt my search.

“Let’s take these things in the order of importance, ok?”  I nod slowly with a stunned look on my face I’m certain.

I didn’t realize there was an agenda for this meeting.

“Good…your family.  Have you called them lately?”  She’s standing with her arms crossed over her chest, leaning against the bedroom door jam.

Why does she look so fucking sexy?

Down boy, remember, we’re talking?

FUCK!, Alright have it her way, but make this shit quick…I’ve got other plans.

I ignore him and respond to Ana, “I talk with Carrick weekly and Grace every two weeks.  Tomorrow night will be their joint call.  You’re more than welcome to join in the interrogation.”  I grumble like a sulky teenager, but I don’t care.  I’m a fucking, grown-ass man who has to call Mommy and Daddy on a regular basis.  Why?  I didn’t talk to them this much when I was away at Harvard.

“That’s a good idea and please, loose the tude.  They care about you and miss you terribly.”  I don’t comment.

Good boy.  Hold your tongue Grey.

“Now, how about Seattle?  When do you plan on going back?”  I look at her astonished.  She’s really serious about this going back to Seattle thing.

Who in the fuck said we wanted to go back to that Hellhole?  That place is the definition of trouble anymore.  That old sack of shit bitch is there and she won’t leave us alone.  Why would we go back to the doom and gloom of Seattle when we have sea, sun and splendor all around us right here?

I have to be honest, “Ana,” I can feel the sweat forming on my brow, “uh, honestly, I don’t know that I ever want to return to Seattle permanently.  I know I’ll have to go there on business, but to live…well, I can’t say.  Other than you and my family, there’s only stress, strain and heartache in Seattle.

“I know I made the art of tolerating my lifestyle look easy, but…I like my newfound freedom.  I like not having security looking over my shoulder.  I like people nodding hello and continuing on their way.  No one gives me a second glance here.  It’s fucking fabulous!  You, of all people, should appreciate those sentiments.”  Based on her look of astonishment, I guess the answer is no.

“Baby, why would I go back to that?  Can’t you feel the difference between Townsville and Seattle?  It’s in the air, the sun and the water.  You can even feel it in the sand under your feet.  I don’t want to go back to Seattle; not right now at least.”

She shakes her head and takes on the tone of a parent trying to reason with a small child. “Christian, you can’t stay here.  What about me, about us?  I can’t move to Australia.  I have a job that I love.  How can you ask me to walk away from that?”

Oh not this shit again.  Where’s that hole we wanted to crawl into?  Can the Earth open up and swallow us now…please?

I slowly approach her with a weary look on my face.  “Ana, stop, Baby please, stop.  I don’t know how we’ll deal with your job and my living in Australia.  If you really don’t want to move here, unless I want to live the reminder of my days without you, which I don’t, then I’ll have to go back to Seattle.”  That response didn’t seem to appease her though.

What the fuck else does she want?  We’re willing to walk away from peace and solitude and she still looks pissy.

“Ana, you want honesty right Baby? “  She nods.

“Ana, in my heart of hearts, I don’t want to go back to Seattle.  I’m not trying to be mean, I’m not trying to pressure you and I’m definitely not trying to control you.  I only know that for my own peace of mind, I can’t go back there, I just can’t.”  Here’s our crossroad.  I’m going to lose her for sure now.  There’s no way in Hell she’ll move around the world for me and I can’t expect her to.  I don’t expect her to.  By the same token, she can’t expect me to be unhappy either.  Realistically, she can’t demand I go back there.

I put my arms around her waist and gently pull my Angel to me.  “Ana, Baby, say something.  Yell, scream, hit me just say or do something, please.”  When she looks up at me there is a lone tear sliding down her cheek and she shakes her head.  “Silence speaks volumes Baby.”  I kiss her forehead then rest my forehead on hers.  “Silence speaks volumes.”

There was no need to take our conversation any further. She didn’t say it but I suspect Ana will be returning to Seattle. I’m trying to stay positive and focus on right now, but she’s getting more and more distant as the minutes pass.

I am sending Jason and Gail back to Seattle tomorrow. To my surprise, neither of them is thrilled about the idea. What is it with these people? Had I dictated we all traipse over here I’d never have heard the end of it. As it stands, they can come and go as they damn well please and everyone has a fucking attitude. THIS IS WHY I like control.

I find Taylor sitting at the breakfast bar talking with Mrs. Jones. “Jason.” He sits straight up when he hears my voice. “At ease Jason.” I smile at the confusion on his face. When I glace over at Gail, she’s smiling too.

“I wanted to let you and Gail know you’re welcome to stay here as long as you like, provided security in Seattle is under control. Otherwise, you two can go back to the US tonight or tomorrow if you wish. Just let me know your decision.” The look of shock is clear on their faces. They look at each other then back to me.

Is something wrong?

I’m sure I have a confused look on my face, so Taylor speaks up “Mr. Grey…um…sir. I guess this is my mistake. I expected once you and Miss Steele reconciled we would all return to Seattle.” I have seen surprise on Jason’s face before, but never to this degree.

“Well, Miss Steele may very well be going back to Seattle too. She hasn’t told me her decision. I, however, am not going back. I can’t Jason.” I can feel my heart beat hard every time I say the words out loud. I’m going to loose her. She’ll go back to Seattle and forget all about me, not that I cam blame her. I’ll never love anyone else, ever. I take a deep breath and give them a tight smile.

Jason stands up ramrod straight and asks, “Mr. Grey, may we speak in your office please sir?” Wary of this discussion, I nod my head and motion for him to lead the way. I glance back at Gail and give her a questioning look. She shrugs her shoulders and mouths ‘I have no idea what he wants’ then walks away.

Dear God, what’s happened now? Seattle brings out the worst in my life and now these people want me to go back there. Why?

When I reach my study, I see Jason Taylor standing at attention in the middle of the room. I want to laugh, but I maintain my composure and close the door. I stand in front of him, not nose-to-nose but almost as close, and look him dead in the eye. I’m more than a few inches taller than Taylor. Elliott always laughed about Taylor guarding me because when we were kids I used to kick guys like Taylor’s ass on a regular basis. I’m not saying Taylor is some scrawny little man, not by any means, but standing here like this I see what Elliott means.

“Yes Taylor, how may I help you?” I’m trying not to smile, but this shit is just too funny. I told Taylor things are different here, although I appreciate his respect of our employer-employee relationship, his stick up the ass demeanor is over the top.

“Sir, this is about an encounter I had following the event committee meeting.”

“Wednesday night!” He nods. “What the fuck happened and why did you wait until now to discuss this? What’s going on Taylor?” I’m dazed and aggravated that he didn’t tell me about any problems he had that evening. I didn’t see him when he returned that night. Ana and I were in the Jacuzzi enjoying each other’s company. That’s why I asked Jason to deliver the final report. Had I known there would be some bullshit going on I would’ve dealt with the shit myself.

He still hasn’t said anything. He’s just staring me in the eye, when it hits me, “THE BROWNS!” I growl through clenched teeth. He nods again. “THOSE FUCKERS! What did they do Taylor?” I don’t know what the fuck those bastards issue is with me. I haven’t had any business dealings with them and we haven’t clashed personally. Their sister, father and grandfather have been most respectful. They seemed concerned about me as well as helping me resolve the issue of The Interference in my life. It’s another reason I feel at ease here. In my mind, if I need assistance with anything I can ask either or both of the senior Browns. It’s almost as good as having Carrick here himself.

“I’m waiting Taylor and you know I’m not a patient man.” He appears to be torn up about something. “Come on Taylor, you called me in here. What the fuck happened?”

“I approached Miss Brown after the meeting…”

“WHAT!?” I cut him off. “Why on Earth would you bother Ella?” I haven’t seen her since Ana arrived. I wanted to introduce them, but she hasn’t been around. We don’t have one another’s phone numbers and I don’t feel comfortable just showing up at her family home unannounced.

“Why Taylor?” He takes a deep steadying breath. This is bad. This is really bad…I can feel it.

Without blinking an eye he says, “I advised Miss Brown to cease and desist her contact with you.”

HE DID WHAT!?

He nods his head and continues, still standing at full attention. “I advised Miss Brown that Miss Steele is in your life and I made it clear she should not interfere with your relationship.” Well, he’s protecting Ana. I can’t blame him for doing that. He’s concerned for her happiness and I’m not mad that he is. Who wouldn’t be, but Ella couldn’t give a rat’s ass in a rainstorm about me. I don’t know how many times I have to explain this to him. Is it such an oddity for a man and woman to be friends? Or is he protecting Ella as well. Am I so abhorrent he feels the need to guard her against me?

“Taylor…” I don’t know how to verbalize this without starting a pissing downpour. “What happened next?” Let’s get this all out before I suffer an aneurysm.

Seems to be the new theme in our life now, right Grey?

No shit Sherlock. I wonder why?

“Permission to speak freely sir?” I am so fucking sick of that question. I nod and wave my hand dismissively. If this helps Taylor relax enough to give me the full fucking story then so be it. I sit on the edge of my desk like a little kid listening while Uncle Taylor spins a yarn.

“Like I said, I told Miss Brown…” Again he hisses her name as if she were some loathsome creature.

I hold up my hand. “Taylor, like her or not, she’s been a friend to me. She’s done nothing wrong at this point so please, stop belittling her name.”

His face turns a deep shade of red as he continues, practically yelling, “I told that gold-digging whore to stay away from you! I told her you have a wonderful woman in your life and the last thing you need is her sniffing behind you!”

OH MY FUCKING GOD NO! DEEP, DEEP ,DEEP BREATH GREY! He’s just protecting Anastasia. This is what you pay him to do. He hasn’t spent any time around Ell. And think about it, she showed him and Welch up with her security checks and photographic memory. Do NOT get pissy with this man Grey. Don’t fucking do it.

It’s taking EVERYTHING…and I do mean EVERYTHING not to jump on this mutherfucker right now. I can’t explain why, but that little girl is like family to me and I’m every letter in the words PISSED TO THE GILLS right now. I take that deep breath before thinking about opening my mouth, but my thoughts are still scattered. All I can see is red.

You only get this way about Mia Grey. What is it about Ella that gets you riled up?

I have no fucking idea. Maybe it’s because she doesn’t have to give a shit about me, but she does. No offense to Gail and Jason, but no one, other than Ana and my family, has ever taken a genuine interest in my happiness without being paid or gifted in some way.

“Taylor,” I have to whisper this or I’ll break the fucking windows bellowing at him, “what, if anything, happened next?” Dear God in Heaven let that be the end of the conversation. I can hear Ella chewing his ass out now. Please let that be the end of it.

You and I both Ninja Girl can’t stand Taylor. So fuck yeah there’s more. You’re gonna have to school Mr. Taylor in Ella Brown 101.

“I approached Miss Brown and placed my hand on her shoulder. My intention was to force her to face me…”

My eyes widen in shock and I interrupt him again, “DO YOU KNOW THAT WOMAN IS A MMA FIGHTER?! And I don’t mean just a little rolling around on the floor. Taylor, I mean Sprawl-and-brawl, Clinch fighting, Ground-and-pound and Submission grappling.” His eyes widen as well at the list of things Ella can do. I haven’t mentioned her tussling with things in the sea.

Keep that to yourself Grey.

“Taylor, just like you don’t underestimate Ana, do NOT underestimate Ella Brown. She has skills you and I have never indulged in. Her father and grandfather are even worse.” Ever so slowly the blood drains from his face leaving him whiter than snow.

THAT got him. I bet her old man got hold of Taylor.

I nod my head and he shakes his in astonishment.

“That explains it then.” He remarks. I hang my head. These people will tie him up, carve him up and feed him to the fish in the local aquarium. No need to get a boat and go out to sea. The fact that he made it home is a testament to Ella’s father and/or grandfather’s civility.

I wave my hand again, “Go on Taylor.” I can’t raise my head to look at him. They scared the shit out of him. I know they did.

“A man approached me from behind and offered a handshake…” My head snaps up and I hold up my hand again.

“I am going to make this easy on you Taylor. Was the voice pleasant and smooth sounding?” He nods yes.

Yep, that’s her father.

“Did you turn around to shake his hand?” Yes again.

Wrong move Jason.

“Did he look a Hell of a lot like me?” He nods yes once more.

Bingo!

Ella did this move on me and I was so fucking insulted, I didn’t speak to her for days afterwards and it didn’t seem to bother her at all. After a committee meeting, she cussed me out when I tried to confront her about the shit then she had me apologizing for something I still don’t know what I did.

Hee,hee, hee…She had you apologizing for being an arrogant schmuck. Oh what a funny day that was. Little Miss Spitfire’s a HOOT!

Cool it asshole.

Whateva, you still got taken down by a LITTLE girl.

“Did the gentleman cuff you, take you down and put a foot in your back?”

Don’t laugh at him Grey. You remember how embarrassed and pissed you were. At least he was subdued by a grown man not one of the Lollipop Kids.

I don’t give a fuck if you call her Tinker Bell the shit’s still funny to me. Big Bad Jason Taylor jacked up by a lowly Townsville local. Seems I’m not the only arrogant schmuck in my life.

He gives a very small nod. It almost looks like he only blinked his eyes. I can’t hold it in anymore. The laugh starts deep in my chest then moves quickly to my stomach. When I see the look of indignance on his face, I fall back, rolling on the desk.

“Tay…Taylor. Her old man…was in Vietnam. He served in the air and on the ground. Her granddad…WOO, you should see your face. Her granddad served in World War Two in Europe…oh fuck, I can’t breathe…this is too much…mainly on the ground. WOW! Did you just turn green? HA HA HA…don’t hate mutherfucker. I sent you to deliver a simple report, not a warning. Oh…ok…lemme catch my breath.” As I wipe the tears from my eyes and struggle to catch my breath, I see I have clearly offended Jason.

I shake my head and walk over to him, “Jason, I’m not fucking around with Ella and she is NOT interested in me or my money. Like you, I didn’t do any research on her and I still haven’t and I don’t intend to.” His eyes widen again. I’m just full of surprises lately ain’t I?

“Taylor, I told you I met her family, they come from OLD money. Not rich…wealth. Not just billions. I mean mega-billions! They could crush me if they decided to. They‘re not recognized by Forbes and the other rag lists because they’re a private entity and have the right to stay under the radar if they so choose, which they do. I learned about EB, Pty while at Harvard so I have no question about its legitimacy.”

“I’m not interested in Ella and she’s not interested in me. She has grown to be a friend and her family, at least her father and grandfather, have proven themselves to be decent human beings. Her brothers are a bunch of spoiled, rich fuckers just like the ones I grew up with so there’s no love lost between us, but I know how to handle them regardless of how juvenile they may be.” Just thinking about those stupid bastards takes me back to high school and the fights I had in the locker rooms, the hallways and the classrooms. I sigh and continue.

“And I’ve learned, from the main three of the Brown clan, ‘they’re a bunch of sneaky fuckers’ so I highly recommend you watch your ass when it comes to them.” I raise an eyebrow to emphasize my point. He nods, but still seems troubled.

“What else Taylor? Please, speak up.”

“I cannot put my finger on it sir. Like you said, there is something shady about that crew and your disinterest in doing background checks is disturbing to me. You did a background check on Miss Steele the day you met her, but not this Ella Brown. Why not?” I think about this for a minute.

See, I told you, common theme.

Whatever. Shut up and think. Why didn’t we get a background check on her?

Do I have to remind you of everything?

…Maybe Welch can…

OH NO YOU DON’T, no stalking Grey! That’s a hard limit from this point forward. We’re done with that bullshit. She’s not looking for a job with you, ok. Background checks, stalking and monitoring are for work and the safety of loved ones ONLY. We turned over a new leaf remember? None of your bad habits or dirty tricks allowed.

So how do I know she’s not some little tramp looking to line her purse? I get background checks so I have information to protect myself, remember?

It’s what the general population calls ‘sticking your neck out’. Get used to it.

Ever consider she is wealthy in her own right? No, THAT never crossed your mind because, of course, you’re the only rich fucker on the planet. Look, if you don’t like people calling you arrogant and self-centered then stop being arrogant and self-centered.

“I didn’t see it as a necessity Taylor. I saw Ella in a park. We didn’t even speak. At first I seriously considered calling Welch and having him work his elfin magic to find out who she was, but I realized that’s how I’ve run my life for a long time and it doesn’t really protect me. If anything, it makes things worse.

When I finally did get up the nerve…yes, get up the nerve…to say hello to her, the situation quickly became a friendship. Talking to her I learned who she was and I realized there was no threat; unless I pissed her grandfather off and he came after GEH of course. So I never bothered with a background check. The Browns have become confidants, if you will, and I value their opinion.” That’s all there is to it, nothing outlandish, nothing sinister about it, sweet and simple.

“Now, I hope you and Gail will attend this evening’s event and I hope to introduce Ana to Ella.” I shake my head as the man goes pale again.

“Taylor, the only thing I have to worry about now is how to deal with the possibility that the woman I love may leave me… again. Anastasia hasn’t consented to staying in Australia and I have no intention of returning to the United States, permanently, for the foreseeable future.” He looks at me questioningly and I nod.

Speak up man.

“Sir, I know the young woman who came to Escala that night; she was distraught. It took all Gail could do to comfort her while Welch, Barney and I worked feverishly to find out what the fuck was preventing her from contacting you. There is no way she would leave.”

I smile weakly. “Taylor, sit down.” I proceed to go through the whole ridiculous tale about how I ended up in Townsville Australia. Beginning with her accepting my proposal to the day she showed up at the airport, just pertinent information of course.

“So you see Taylor, I cannot go back there. I feel like the weight of the world is off my shoulders here. As much as I would like for Ana, Gail and you to stay with me it is not fair to any of you. I know full well how important Ana’s career is to her and I knew this would be the issue.”

“Taylor, I am tired. I can’t explain how tired I am with people interfering in my life. I can’t make Ana happy because she feels trapped and stifled by me. When I’m in Seattle, I worry about her safety, not because I don’t trust her, but because I don’t trust the rest of the world, that she’s trying to live up to I might add.” She can’t see the distinction between the two for some reason. “Since I’ve been away, Sawyer’s protection seems to have been enough so it must be me.“

“Then there is Elena…” His hackles are raised now. I can see the steam jetting from the top of his head. “Yes I said it, the Bitch-Troll. Do I have to fight in the lobby of my building, foyer of my apartment, in the middle of a restaurant to keep that old sack of shit out of my life? How the fuck do I get rid of her?” I throw my hands up in frustration.

“Someone please tell me, how the fuck to I get rid of The Interference in our lives?”

Taylor and I just look at each other then down at the floor shaking our heads. There has to be a way to get free from her. There has to be.


[1] The Bowery Boys were fictional New York City characters, successors of the “The East Side Kids” who were the subject of feature films released by Monogram Pictures from 1946 through 1958.

Can’t We Just Be Happy | Chapter 12 Finally

The original characters are the property of E.L. James.  I’m just having a lil’ fun.  No copyright infringement intended.

Chapter 12 | Finally

GREY

I see it…the GEH jet.  “Finally” I say, barely above a whisper.  Taylor looks straight ahead, but nods.

Once it’s safe on the tarmac, I actually run to the plane and up the steps.  I’m about to beat on the door when Natasha opens it and I see my baby.  She runs straight into my arms and I can’t help myself.  I kiss her forehead, her eyes, her nose, her cheeks, her chin and oh, I save the best for last, I kiss her soft, plump, sexy lips.

We both groan in unison as I lick then pull her bottom lip between my teeth and bit down softly.  She gasps and I take full advantage of her open mouth as I slowly my tongue between her lips and pull her closer to me.  She tastes fucking heavenly.

One hand grazes down her body and I manage to stop myself at the small of her back and push her even closer to me, if that’s possible.  Having her body against mine, my cock begins to pound against my jeans.  I can’t control my hips as I grind into her.  All the while, her hands gently stoke my chest, my biceps, my shoulders then her fingers run through my hair pulling my face closer to hers.

“Ahem, good to see you again Mr. Grey.”

Huh?  What?  Oh shit…not now.  Don’t bother me.  The bed is so close.  We can just…

Anastasia breaks our kiss, so I say “Hello Stephen” without ever looking away from Ana’s crystal blue eyes.  “How was the flight?”  It’s pretty much a rote conversation.  Not only can I not hear but I don’t care about his response.

“Thank you Stephen.  See you next time.”

“Certainly Mr. Grey, Miss Steele.”  He smiles as he nods and returns to the cockpit.

“Come Anastasia.”  I take her hand and begin to lead her out of the plane.

“Oh wait, Miss Steele, you almost forgot your letter.”  Letter?  What letter?  We said no work.  What the fuck’s with a letter?

I raise my eyebrow and look at her quizzically.  She shrugs her shoulders and accepts the envelope from Natasha.  “I’ll take that, thank you.”  I say as a gently slide the letter out of Ana’s hand and tuck it into my jacket pocket then I lean in close to Ana and remind her,  “We said no business while you’re here and I’ve already been cheated due to the time change so, no…business…allowed.”  I kiss her on the tip of her nose.

She doesn’t argue with me, but Natasha goes on to explain that Ana did not bring this from the office.  The letter was delivered directly to the plane.  By this time, Stephen and his co-pilot have joined the conversation.  No one knows who sent the mystery correspondence.  “Thank you all.  Come Anastasia.”  Now I am pissed, but not at her.

When we reach my R8, I open her door and say, “I love you Baby.”  She lowers her gaze and blushes profusely.  I put two fingers underneath her chin to lift her head so I can see into those beautiful blue orbs.  “I’m here Baby.  Don’t look away.  Please don’t hide, not from me.  You’re finally here.  I can’t tell you how happy I am.  I’ve missed you so much Anastasia, so fucking much.”  I pull her into my arms again and told her…tightly.  She’s my life.

I lower my lips and brush them lightly against hers.  She sighs contently and it takes every ounce of control not to throw her on the hood of my car and take her right here, right now.  “You’re so beautiful Baby.  Let’s go home.

LINCOLN

“I said count!”  I bellow at this sniveling idiot.

“Twenty-One!  Thank you Mistress.”  He is trying to placate me.  I told him to count and nothing more.  All he is doing is pissing me off.

“Twenty-two!  I submit all to you Mistress.”  He practically shrieks.  The lattice design on his back will bruise nicely.  He always turns a majestic purple when he bruises.  I love it.  Isaac is a fool, as far as men go.  For a submissive, he is not bad.  Of course no one compares to my powerhouse…my grey-eyed, favorite Pet.  My clit begins to tingle and throb just thinking about his tall, muscular physique between my legs as he drives himself into me.

“Count Isaac!”  I yell even louder.  Remembering how that mousey little gold-digger managed to contact my Pet, let alone go to him, pisses me off even more.

“Twenty-five…”  I can tell he is reaching his limit as he voice gets weaker and weaker.  Christian could withstand one hundred lashes with a whip.  Just the thought of the marks and bruises he left here wearing makes me drool to this very day.

They don’t make them like that anymore, do they Mistress?

I should say not.

Isaac groans on last time before passing out cold.

REALLY?  I mean REALLY Isaac?  Give me strength.  No, rewind that; give this weakling strength and stamina.

I grab the front of his hair to pull his head back off of the floor and caress his cheek, “Rest now dear boy” then I put my lips directly against his ear, “you will NEED it”  I growl.  I lick the shell of his ear and hear him groan again.  Shaking my head and stomping out of my Dungeon, I leave Isaac in a heap on the floor.

Pathetic excuse…


I stand, sipping a glass of Pinot Blanc looking onto the back yard of my home.  Although it did not all start here, my Pet and I had some wonderful “playdates” in this place.  I sigh to myself, “Why her Pet?  You can do so much better than her.”

I cannot believe this shit is still going on.  It has been almost three months since they made that ridiculous engagement announcement then just as suddenly as my Pet announced his intention then the mousy little gold-digging whore turned tail and ran from him.  He has held up well under the media scrutiny, but then he is a master at controlling his universe.  I was so hoping this time away from that…mistake…would give him cause to rethink things; rethink our relationship.  I would help him sow his wild oats.  Anyway, doesn’t’ out of sight mean out of mind?

I have tried to coax my Pet back to me, back to my Playroom.  He always plays hard to get, but I know his body so fucking well.  For whatever reason he tries to forget there was a time when I made him whimper with one stroke of my fingernail across his amazing pecs.  Fear of touch be damned!  I own my submissives and I owned him.  As his Domme I took liberties.  I touched him, stroked him and fucked him any way I pleased.  And he loved every fucking second of it.  I still know when his body is aching for its release, aching for the exquisite sensations we shared for so many years.  One hour in my Playroom is all it will take for my Pet to feel whole again.  I am all he needs.

I’m not arrogant enough to presume he would submit to me; that would be ludicrous.  No, I will place myself at his beautiful feet in total submission.  I know how to motivate him, to encourage him and to entice him into once again being the perfect Dom…for me alone.  His beautiful cock is simply wasting away trying to get off with, and now without, that plain old bookworm bitch.  How I long to slide my hand into his jeans and cup him tenderly just as I did when he was a virgin.  Pure, innocent, untouched and untouchable, that was my Pet and I owned him.

Now, I am reduced to the likes of weaklings and imbeciles with little to no control and inferior sexual prowess.  My Pet was a man even at fledgling age of 15.  I even knew that, under my guidance, he would become a Dom one day.  It was just a matter of time and with the right motivation it happened.  Yes, I remember well the punishments I gave him, and the rewards…it was pivotal.

Now he is wasting his life waiting for that pitiful excuse someone calls a woman.  I thought putting a wedge between them would be difficult.  If that stupid bitch would listen to my Pet even once, she would realize his security measures and monitoring are for a reason.  All I had to do was plant that slack-ass Isaac at the coffee shop up the street from Anastasia’s apartment and tell him to wait.  When I wanted him back in my Playroom I would station Patrick or Christopher in the coffee shop, those two are more like men than the world realizes.  At fifteen, they can each fuck like freight trains.  Neither of them will ever replace my Pet, but they are each a nice diversion.

My thirteen-year-old triplets, Michael, Logan and Nelson, are beautiful boys who simply monitored Miss High and Mighty and kept me up to date on her comings and goings.  They were able to get closer to the apartment and pick up the Wi-Fi signal more directly on their iPhones than Isaac could in the coffee shop, so he used their devices to complete his assignments.

The pièce de résistance is my angel, Zachary.  At the pristine age of twelve, Zachary can melt the hardest of hearts with one smile.  He would just hangout with a couple of his friends to take pictures of Miss Steele and my Pet if I desired.

My men brought back any information I required and Isaac laced the pictures, emails and texts with various viruses, Trojans and annoying malware.  It only took one of these things to allow me access to Anastasia’s computer and thus her connection to my Pet.

So many communications they missed from one another.  All it took was a tap on the screen for Isaac to delete all of the messages they would have shared.  While Isaac is not the consummate submissive, he is computer savvy and a bit of an anti-romantic.  He informed me the best way to control the situation was to allow them to send messages, allow the messages, in whatever format, to reach their destination then…delete, delete, delete.  Isaac would either delete things one-by-one from Anastasia’s computer or run a program he installed onto her laptop via his visceral computer gifts.  Each evening he used it as foreplay before meeting me in my Playroom or he used it to soothe his soul after a punishment session in my Dungeon.  Whatever works for him I do not care, as long as Steele stays away from my Pet.

For now, I sent my men home.  I rewarded each of them, in my own special way, for all of the hard work they did for their Mistress.  I sigh inwardly, strong, young, eager hands, muscular, resilient legs, demanding yet enthusiastic tongues and lips and thick, ripe cocks are wonderful things to have at your beck and call.


My Second rings the doorbell.  He knows the rules and observes them from the moment he crosses the line of my property.  He does not wait until he has entered my home or my Playroom.  I open the door to a beautiful, tall, muscular young man with light auburn hair and grey, my déjà vu, “Mistress.  Your desire was to see me.  I submit myself to you.”  His deep rich voice wafts through the air, music to my ears.

“Come in Christopher.  Yes, I do desire to see you.  Where is she?”  My Men have been keeping tabs on Miss Anastasia Rose Steele since the day after my Pet’s birthday party.  I must know every…little…thing about the fiasco people are confusing with a relationship between my Pet and that nobody.

My Second knows how to treat this situation.  “She boarded the GEH jet, alone, just before 7:00 PM departing for Australia.”

“DAMMIT!”  I yell.  I blame Isaac for this.  With a curt tone I tell my Second, “That will be all for now Christopher, I will call you when I feel it is necessary.”

As a true submissive should, Christopher nods his head once then turns to leave.  No words, no looks, he simply follows my instructions.  If all my submissives were like him, I would be in heaven.  Unlike my Pet, I can sense misbehavior.  It radiates off men so I instinctively know when a punishment is necessary.  Christopher has served me well and he will be rewarded…later…and so will I.

“Isaac let her get Continue reading “Can’t We Just Be Happy | Chapter 12 Finally”

Can’t We Just Be Happy | Chapter 11 It’s Up To Me

The original characters are the property of E.L. James.  I’m just having a lil’ fun.  No copyright infringement intended.

Chapter 11 | It’s Up To Me

GREY

“TAYLOR!”  I yell from the foyer as Ella and I burst into the house.

“Yes sir.”  Taylor appears with his hand on the gun I didn’t know he had with him.

Something ELSE to discuss with dear ‘ole Taylor.

I ignore him re-holstering his gun and make introductions as we enter the living room.  “Jason Taylor, this is Ella Brown.  Ella this is Taylor, he’s my Head of Security.”

He takes his hand off his weapon then says “Ma’am.”  And gives a curt little nods, but he doesn’t accept her proffered hand.  I’m actually stunned.  Professional Taylor is nothing new, but this guy is someone I’ve never met. 

Down Jason, she’s not the enemy. 

I know he and Gail are fiercely loyal to Ana, but we’ve discussed Ella is detail so I don’t get it.

“Taylor, Miss Brown has information about the breach in Miss Steele’s computer.”

He raises an eyebrow and says, “Oh she does?  Pray tell Miss Brown?”  What is with the attitude Taylor?  She is here to help Ana as well.

“Taylor, Miss Brown is here to HELP us.  She’s not here to take over and she’s not here to be looked down upon.  Just as easily as she can give her help she can take it away.  So please, lose the ‘tude’, ok?”  I don’t want to scold a grown man, but this shit is totally out of character for him and it’s gotten on my last fucking nerve.  These people need to learn about me.  They say they care then why the fuck do I feel like they want to keep my locked away from anyone and everyone except Ana.  Am I not to be trusted around other people?

Easy Grey.  We need to get through one situation at a time.  Right now, it’s about Ana and her not being able to contact you.  Stick with me here.  You can light into his shit another time.  Right now, focus.

Fine, but later he gets it.

Fair enough.

He looks offended, but right this fucking second I don’t give a rat’s ass.  Just get this shit sorted out.

“Miss Brown, what information do you have?”  His tone is dry, his face is set on impassive and his behavior is deplorable.  I’m fucking embarrassed to call him my employee right now.

Ella goes into her monologue about Isaac, his abilities with technology specifically computer hacking.  “But that means he would have to be in the area of Miss Steele’s apartment in order to access her Internet signal.  Are you proposing he sat on her porch while he did all of this?”  She looks up slowly and I see it is the same look she gave her brothers as she reminded them of her ninja capabilities.

“Mr. Taylor is it?”  Taylor nods.

“First, I do not intend to be spoken to that way.  Second, if you do not want my information then I will gladly piss off and save my oxygen for the next time I dry heave, the choice is yours.  Third, I suspect by your obvious military training you learned how to spot bullshit at a thousand yards; therefore, based on your snide remarks, curt tone and overall chauvinistic behavior I must have hit the mark and your pride is sore.  To prevent you any further discomfort, you can grovel to me when you need more information.  Oh and I suggest you upgrade your search tactics and contact lists.”  She quips.

‘I suggest you upgrade you search tactics and contact lists.’  That remark took him for a loop.  He just stands there.

“Good evening…’gentlemen’.”  Ella nods her head quickly then marches out of the room.

What the fuck is the deal?  “Ella, wait!”  I glare at Taylor.  This woman has information we need.  Fuck his pride and mine too.  I reach her as she’s putter her hand on the doorknob, “Ella, please do not leave.  We need your help.  I need your help.  Forget about the male egos and just tell us what you know so we can get this shit fixed.”

“Love, I can out investigate him,” she motions over her shoulder at Taylor, “with instructions from a box of Cracker Jacks and tips from a Nancy Drew mystery.  If you want this sorted out, we Browns will sort it out, but that arrogant fucker won’t be involved.  Like I told you, my grandfather will be the only point of contact and his investigators do…not…fail.  Meet me at the family home tomorrow evening after work.  I’ll introduce you to two of the most civilized gentlemen in this solar system and we’ll take care of ‘the interference’.  See you then Love.”  And out she goes.

I return to the living room, tired, pissed and embarrassed.  What the fuck is Taylor’s issue?  “TAYLOR!”  I bark.  This is bullshit.  Taylor is always the epitome of professionalism no matter what the situation.  He always listens if for no other reason than to point out the inadequacies in the information he received.  This time, he didn’t even hear what the information was.

“Yes sir.”  He can snarl all he wants, we need her help.

“What the fuck is your problem?  She’s here to help.  She’s on our side, MY side, in all of this.  What the fuck gives?”

“Welch and I will gladly review whatever documentation Miss Br…”

“She doesn’t keep documentation Taylor.  She has a photographic memory.  She read the information herself and committed it to memory.  Is there a problem with that?”

Unfazed by my statement he says, “Mr. Grey, how much do you know about Miss Brown?  Who is she?  What does she want from you?  Is she asking for…”

I cut him off.  I know he of all people didn’t just say that.  He is constantly telling me to lighten up about people being after my money.  “PAY?  Is she asking for money?  Is that what you want to know Taylor?”

“Have either you or Welch ever heard of EB, Pty?”  He looks at me with a blank expression, but I know that look.  He has no fucking idea who or what I’m talking about.  “I thought not.  EB Pty is THE largest and most powerful unlimited proprietary company in the southern hemisphere.  EB Pty is what I fantasize GEH becoming one day.  Miss Brown has access to more money than I do in my wildest, wettest dream.  She gives a fuck about me, as a friend, almost family, and my happiness not my money.”  She alone, right this second is worth more than I am and she has not worked a significant job a day in her life yet.

I’m so fucking tired of bullshit.  I can’t deal with him anymore tonight.  “Good night Taylor.”  I do not wait for a response.  I march to my room, slam the door and let out a sigh of frustration.  God, please let Ella help me, please.


Hello Pet, are you not glad to hear from your Mistress?  You disappointed me, again, my beautiful Pet.  You were my favorite, but if you continue to disrespect me you will fall out of my favor.  Do you understand Pet?  I’m in her dungeon.  She has me strapped, naked, to the cold bare stone wall.  I’m blindfolded.  Her voice seems to come from everywhere around me; the sound pierces my brain and has me on high alert.  She’s never sounded this frigid and calculating before.

NO!  Go away…leave me alone…you hurt me…you’re bad, you’re mean…my voice sounds high, loud and very afraid.

Hush, hush Pet, I saved you.  I saved you from yourself.  I showed you the error of your ways and put you on the path to success.  Everything you have is because of me.  I own all of your happiness Pet.  Do not forget that.  Her cold hand is stroking my face and then my neck.  She stops at my collarbone.  She intended to touch my chest.

NO!  Go away…leave me alone…you hurt me…you didn’t love me…all I feel is pain and despair and hate; it’s seeping into my soul.  Where the fuck am I?  I can’t see anything and I only hear her voice.

LOVE IS FOR FOOLS PET!  How many times do I have to tell you that?  Love is for the weak.  Love is messy and a waste of time.  It is more trouble than it is worth Pet.  Strength, dominance and control are the only characteristics worth developing, worth having.  Only these abilities lead to success and with success these skills are honed.

NO!  Go away…leave me alone…I need love…I need friends, I need family…I feel myself getting weak.  It’s as if my life’s energy is being drained from my body the longer I’m here…wherever here is.

It is that submissive who turned you against me, that mousey, little, gold digging submissive.  You trust her, you believe her instead of your Mistress?  It angers me Pet.

I don’t have a submissive!  I have Ana and you can’t keep us apart.  I love Ana and she loves me.  Ana will be here.  Ana will help me.  Ana will save me from you.  ANA!  HELP ME ANA!  ANA!  Where is she?  Where is my Ana?  I need her help.  Only she can lead me out of this darkness.  I need her.  I need her light.

HA!  You sound pathetic Pet.  You sound like a fool.  “Ana will help me…Ana loves me…boo, hoo, hoo.  Poor Christian, he needs HIS Ana to protect him.  HA!  As she mocks me, I feel myself getting weaker.  I feel myself giving up.   Ana, where are you?

She will take all of your money, she will leave you with nothing and you will come crawling back to me.  I WILL have you again.  DO YOU HEAR ME PET?  I WILL HAVE YOU AGAIN!  YOU…ARE…MINE!

NO!  NO!  ANA!  ANA HELP ME!  The darkness.  Darkness is surrounding me.  I can’t breath.  I can’t move.  I feel the darkness taking over me.  How did I get here?  How do I get out of this place?  ANA, PLEASE HELP ME!!!

I bolt straight up in bed, sweating profusely, my hear racing and I can’t catch my breath.  I find myself tangled in the bed sheets.  It was as if I was fighting to get free.

BITCH!


As I wait for Ella to arrive, I have enough time for a quick call to the States and because the noise level is just the right decibel, I don’t sound out of place when I yell, “WELCH!  Fucking forget about it, Miss Brown is point on this.  If you want to be involved you and Taylor will have to kiss her ass and see what she tells you” then I slam the phone down.

I cussed Welch and Taylor out for hours.  I’ll let Ella, her grandfather and her father handle this one…end of.  She has the intel and better, more reliable resources.  I may not be a fucking genius but I’m not a fool either.  I know when I’m at my limit and I know to turn to the experts when it’s necessary.  Compared to the Browns, Taylor and Welch are nothing.

“Hello Love.  Waiting for me are you?”  She came sauntering over in her slim black pencil skirt, fitted white button up blouse, matching black suit jacket and a pair of black, soft tanned leather, sky-high fuck me Manolo Blahnik’s, her signature shoe.

Hmm, never considered them, huh Grey?

I guess she had interviews today.

Those shoes aren’t included in the ‘What to Wear to an Interview Handbook’ are they?

No comment.  She asked me to meet her at the coffee shop after I was done at Grey House this evening.  We are going to meet with her father and grandfather about what is now affectionately being referred to as ‘The Interference’.

“Why yes Miss Brown, I’m waiting for you.  Did you have interviews today?”  She nods yes.  “How’d they go?”

“I believe I’ll get a position with one of the local aquariums which is a good start.  I have to make my mark somehow.”  I frown at that statement.  She sounds like Ana.

“Don’t frown Love.  People know my name, my face and my family.  That means I have to work harder to prove I’m not a slacker.  My grandfather would have my ass about that.  Even I recognize that what you know allows you to capitalize on who you know.”

“Too many rich kids think their family name will take them to the top.  The only thing my family name does is open the door.  It’s up to me to step through, barge in or barely skid by on my ass.  I’m not pushy, I’m independent and will fight, but I won’t shit on the hand that feeds me.  I prefer to step in like a lamb and work like a lion.  The world will look at me because I am Ella Brown.  The world will pay attention to me because Ella Brown knows what the fuck she’s talking about.”  She ends with a curt nod of her head.

Do I dare tell Ana she needs to talk with Ella.

Hold off Grey.  Let’s get Steele here and be sure you still have a fiancée first, ok?

“Now, let’s settle this ‘interference’ of yours so you and Anastasia will be together, happily ever after.”  She smiles brightly, takes my hand and pulls me out of the coffee shop.


The Brown Family home is not far from my own.  As we step into the foyer Ella yells, “Dad, Granddad are you home?”  She sounds like a kid coming home from school.  It makes me smile.

“Ellie, we are in the study.  Is he with you?”  A deep voice booms back to her.  HE?  Damn, am I in trouble or something

“Yeah, and you just scared him.”  She giggles at the look on my face.  Then, if it is possible her smile just got bigger and she winked at me.  All I can do is shake my head.

She is too much.

“Smart boy.  Bring him in here.”  We enter the study and I freeze.  Her father and grandfather are both my height with the signature square jaw line and almond-shaped eyes, only they both have curly, light auburn hair and grey eyes.  The gentlemen smile broadly and motion for me to enter the room.  I’ve seen these men before.  Just like Ella, there’s something about them…I KNOW I’VE SEEN THEM BEFORE.

“Nice to meet you Mr. Grey,” the younger of the two men steps forward and shakes my hand, strong but still friendly “I am Ellie’s father Emmett Brown and this” he motions to the older gentleman behind the large oak desk “is my father Edward Brown.”

The senior Mr. Brown simply nods and says, “We are pleased to meet you Mr. Grey.  Our Ellie regards you highly.  That is not something we take lightly.  Ellie is a superb judge of character.  Consider yourself privileged.”

I look to my left at Ella, who is dramatically rolling her eyes.  “Thank you both for helping me Mr. Brown, Mr. Brown.  Ella has been a wonderful friend to me since I came to Townsville.  I respect her and value her opinion.”  The men exchange a glance then Ella and her father leave me alone with the patriarch of the family.

Mr. Brown moves forward in his chair then says “May I call you Christian?”

“Certainly Mr. Brown.”  As much as I won’t admit it to anyone outside of this room, the fact that this man is speaking with me about any issue, especially a non-business issue is an honor.

“Call me Edward.  Christian, I do not mince words and I do not care if I step on toes.  If you are thin-skinned, you will need to leave now and I will handle this matter according to Ella’s recommendations.  She can play liaison.”

We look each other directly in the eyes, neither of us blinking.  After a long pause he continues, “Good man.  Ella is quite taken with you.  She is never taken with anyone or anything.  She is very analytical and can be lockstep at times, but she is never emotional.  It will make her a formidable CEO when her time comes. Make no mistake, she WILL do as I say and she KNOWS it.”

Note to self, GEH needs to stay in good graces with EB, Pty.  We KNOW first hand how off the chain ‘Ninja Girl’ can get.

“My granddaughter and I have a unique relationship.  No matter how much I love my son and grandsons, as it was with her aunt before her, my counsel with Ella is the final word on any and all business deals EB, Pty has had since the day she could follow the sound of my voice as an infant.”  What the fuck!  Is this old guy crazy?  “She has never steered me wrong.”

“The interference in your life has to go…period.  It cannot be controlled, it cannot be redirected and it cannot be contained.  Those options are not sufficient to garner the desired result for the appropriate amount of time…period.  Any questions, concerns or comments Mr. Grey?”

“No sir.”

“Good, this is what we know…” the Browns found out and confirmed, with one phone call, that Isaac canvassed the Pike Market area coffee shops as well as the actual market until he got close enough to catch the ISP signal for Kate and Ana’s apartment.  Why Kavanaugh’s father let her name the network ‘Laters_Babe’ is beyond me.  Anyone who has heard Elliott fart knows that is his signature shit.  Anyway, he got the signal and breached the network security.  Once there he had free reign.  So upon whoever’s request he cut Ana and my line of communication.

The ‘tainted text’ came from a disposable cellphone number, but Mr. Brown’s forensic technology investigators traced the shit all the way back to the store where the purchase was made. CCTV showed Isaac as the buyer.

Isaac has no reason to even blink in either my or Ana’s direction.  His Mistress is a different story.  Ultimately, we have who and we have how, why is the mystery; not really.  Mr. Brown asked if we needed “further assistance with ‘the interference’”.  I thanked him for all of his efforts and told him not at this time.  I asked if there was a change in the situation would he be available and he told me, “As long as my Ella says I should be available to you, then I will” on that note we shook hands and I left.

Ella was nowhere to be found as I made my way back to the foyer.  A sound in the darkness caught me off guard.  “Ahem, Christian.”  Shit!  The fucker scared me.  They are a sneaky bunch aren’t they?

It was Ella’s father.  “Yes Mr. Brown.”

“Emmett, please.  I wanted to thank you for befriending my little Ellie.  She has always been such a lonely child.  Our money and position were a hindrance to her having genuine friends when she was younger.  Ella is a mixture of her mother’s kind, caring nature, my sister’s innocence and intelligence and my own fire and stubbornness.  Ellie will give you the shoes off her feet then carry you to safety.  They do not make women like her anymore.”

“Her kindness has been taken for blindness in the past, so much so that she closed herself off to everyone, except my father and myself.  After her mother passed away and then my sister, Ellie became more introverted.  She was ‘lost’ behind her beautiful blue eyes.”  He shakes his head as if remembering a particular instance.

“Since she met you, she has come alive.  It is almost like she has a reason for living.  Her brothers are jealous of you and your relationship with Ellie.  They are older than her and were living their own lives when Ellie was…” He does not finish.  “Do not worry about them.  I believe she put them in their place at your last committee meeting.  They will not bother you again.”  He lowers his voice when he says, “She can be VERY persuasive.  We all worry that once your situation is righted, your friendship will end and the old Ellie will return.  It is a sad thought.  So forgive us our protectiveness of our princess.”  In his grey eyes, so much like my own, I see a fear for his daughter and her wellbeing.

“Mr. Brown, Ella has taught me a great deal and I value our friendship like no other.  I can proudly say that after my fiancée, Ella is my only friend.  I have been upfront, honest and by all means respectful of her.  I have nothing to gain by breaking her heart.  Somehow, she’s become family to me.”

Mr. Brown’s face softens and his eyes shine silver in the dim light of the foyer.  “It was good to meet you Christian.  We WILL raze ‘The Interference’ should you so desire.”  We shake hands again and he claps me hard on my shoulder.  Again, somewhere in my mind registers, I’ve seen this man before.  There’s a flash in my mind’s eye of a black and white photograph, but just a quickly as it appeared, it’s gone.

“It was good to meet you as well and thank you sir.”  Once out of the house, I look up to my left and see a tiny figure in a window.  I believe it is Ella, her long hair over her shoulder and her tiny hand waving to me.  I wave back then get in my car and leave.

When I get home, I don’t even bother with Taylor.  He and Welch have proven useless in this whole matter.  I eat whatever Gail set aside for me, shower, jump into my pajama pants and rush to the telephone like a love struck teenager.

Ring…Ring…”Christian?”

“Hey Baby, how are you?  Are you excited?  I cannot wait to see you.  You are going to love the house and my new GEH office.  I can’t wait to show you my study, and the TV room and the library and the bedroom…” I can’t help my run-on of questions and statements.  Just thinking of her here has me happy, relieved and horny as hell.  God, it has been SOOO long.  I feel myself start to tingle all over.

No way buddy, we’ve made it this long.  No hand jobs and no more cold showers.  Use some of that control of yours and relax.

I can’t help but rub my cock through my pajama pants as she speaks, “I get it Christian, I get it.  I have news for you, I can’t wait to show you my new pink lace bra and panty set and my green lace bra and panty set and what is under my lace bra and panty sets” then my baby giggles and my heart melts.

“God I can’t wait to be with you.”

DAMMIT GREY!  If you don’t get your hand off of me you will need a little blue pill when she get’s here!

I hear rustling in the background.  “You know you don’t have to pack right?  We can buy whatever you want when you get here.”

“Including a toothbrush?”

I smile at her question.  “I have a sneaking suspicion I can find a toothbrush for you on this side of the Equator Miss Steele.”

“Cool.  I’ll stop packing then.  Now, let me go to work so I can get done and get to you.  I love you Christian.”

“I love you too Baby.  I love you too.”  After we end the call I sigh deeply and look at my pajama pants.  Sorry fellas, I couldn’t help it.  You know?

We know and we’re pissed.  Don’t do that shit again or you’ll regret it.  Now start the DAMN shower.  SHIT!

STEELE

Ring…Ring…Ring…”Grey Enterprise Holdings, Incorporated, Ros Bailey speaking.”  She always has that raspy sound in her voice.  I have to remember that she is not angry about something.

“Hello Ros, this is Anastasia Steele from SIP.”  I hope she remembers me.

You are kidding me…right?

“Ana?  Hi, is there something wrong?”

Like she can forget the boss’ fiancée, even though you have been an ass to him.

“No, no, no I am fine. Everything here is fine.  I know this looks bad and I’m leap frogging over Mr. Roach’s head, but I want to let you know I’m leaving the country this even…” She stops me cold.  Oh no, here it comes.  This is why you don’t try to call in favors.

“Pause Steele.  It’s about fucking time one of you two stubborn bastards came to your senses.”  I didn’t know she felt like this.  “You, my dear, are just as bad, if not worse than Grey himself and that’s some accomplishment.  Go, you have my blessing.  Travel safe and tell him to get his ass back here.  I need a day off.”  She rasps out a deep laugh.

I can’t help laughing too, “Ros, you don’t know where I am going.”

“Don’t try that shit with me Steele.  You can only be going to Australia to see him so try again.”

“Thank you Ros.  I still have to tell Mr. Roach and I know he is going to have a fit.  He already mentioned…”

“The early meeting I called for all editors and their seconds on Monday morning?  That was good of him to follow my instructions and let you know.  However, YOU will not be able to attend because YOU had best still be out of the country.  What’s he going to do, come get you and drag you back to work?”  I can she her with an eyebrow raised when she asked that last question.

“I didn’t want to look like…” She cuts me off again.

“Pause Steele.  I’ve had enough of what you do and don’t want things to look like.  Are you sitting down?”

No but I will.  “Yes.”

“Good.  Besides Claire and Hanna, you are the ONLY hardworking member of the SIP ‘team’ and I use the term loosely.  Did you know that your name has either been moved to the bottom of or blatantly removed from individual and departmental reports?”  She says.

“Uh, no.”  What the fuck?  All the work I’ve done around here, the unpaid overtime, taking home other editors manuscripts to give them a second opinion and lets not mention all the fucking dirty looks I still get after all this time.  Those bastards are taking advantage of me and making me feel inadequate at the same time.  THOSE BASTARDS!

“I thought not.  I have to call Roach EVERY time he turns in a report and you’re not listed on it.  It usually takes him twelve to fifteen minutes to ‘find’ your documentation under the guise that you finished it late.  If he would look at the time/date stamp on the electronic signature he would see that I know differently.”

‘I went through some SIP historical records, dating back to when you were hired.  The information was sorely lacking at first.  After you appeared, there was more detail on the documents where you were listed, last of course, compared to the same reports filed before your employment. Obviously, you’re still considered an assistant in Roach’s point of view.”

Ros takes a deep breath and sighs before she says, “Ana, I know the deal with you and SIP.  I didn’t get to this seat by being a dumbass broad.  You’re playing into their hands and you’re letting them win.  Your civility and desire to fit in is getting you raked over the coals and fucked in the ass at the same time.”

“You work hard Ana and everyone in that office listens to you, because you know what the fuck you are doing and what you are talking about.  They’re shitting on you because you’re not standing up for yourself and accepting the role entrusted to you.  Blending into the crowd may have worked in college, but this is the real world.  The real world ain’t fair.  If you can get a push in the right direction or introduced to the right people AND you know what you are talking about, THEN everything you learned and all the hard work you’ve done will pay off.  You can’t capitalize on whom you know if YOU don’t KNOW anything.”

“Your arms are short right now Ana and you are stretching try to grab the brass ring.  If you’re given a hand to hold so that you can stretch further you may have a better change at reaching your goal.  Receiving help does not mean you will succeed, it means you got help.  You can get all the help in the world, but if you do not know how to best use that help it will all be for naught.”

“You may think I’m rambling, but please listen to me.  Don’t take help as an insult, accept it as help and move on.”  She sighs deeply again, “There, I’m done on my soapbox.  What time does your flight leave?”

“I’m going directly from the office to Sea-Tac, so I guess 6:30PM or 7PM.”

“EWWW!  Have fun with the time change.  Your sleep pattern is gonna to be fucked.  Travel safe Steele, tell Grey I said ‘hello’.”  She laughs.

“Sure thing Ros and thank you.”

“Don’t take help as an insult, accept it as help and move on.”  Hmm sounds like she is on to something there, huh?

Not you.  Not now.  I am busy…period.


I stand outside Mr. Roach’s office door, knock…knock…knock…”COME IN!”  He bellows.  Damn what’s his issue?

I slowly open the door and say quietly, “Hello Mr. Roach.”

Without looking away from his computer screen he says, “What do you need Steele?  I’m trying to get these P/L Reports together for Monday.  Have you turned in the information for your department?”  I wonder if he is busy deleting my report as we speak.

“Yes sir.  Here is a hardcopy.  I emailed the electronically signed document to you and copied Ms Bailey as well.”  Take that shithead.

He stops typing immediately and looks at me, in amazement I believe, almost a ‘how dare you’ glance.  “Why in the fuck did you send it to her?”

“I wanted to make sure she got the information.  I won’t be here on Monday and I wanted to be certain all parties involved received the information in a timely manner.”  I cross my arms and smile brightly.

Anger follows amazement as he yells, “I NEVER APPROVED TIME OFF FOR YOU!  Who the hell…wait a minute…you went straight to Grey for this didn’t you?  You went straight to the top for a ‘special favor’ didn’t you?”  He pounds his fist on the desk making me jump.

“Mr. Roach, I planned this trip weeks ago,” I lie, “you must have misplaced the paperwork.  I mentioned it to you recently.  I guess you were busy with the restructuring and evaluations, but I assure you I did request it.”

Lie, Lie, Lie

So the fuck what?  I am being majorly screwed here and you want to jeer at me?  I need to get to Christian and Roach isn’t gonna to stop me.

“I’ll look for those forms, if I don’t find them and you aren’t here for that meeting on Monday, even Grey won’t be able to help you.”  The look on his face is one of contentment.  He won’t rest until I am out of here.

We’ll deal with that bridge…ya know.  Right now, it’s quitting time.  There is a plane waiting for us NOW!

“Thank you for your time Mr. Roach.”  With that, I turn and leave his office, without looking back.

I collect my briefcase containing the latest reports, manuscripts and policy and procedure manuals then proceed to the lobby, proud of my decision.  “Hi Sawyer, we can go now.  Also, will you take this home, to Escala, for me please?”

“Yes ma’am.”  Christian insisted additional security wasn’t necessary in Townsville so Sawyer is staying in Seattle.  He deserves a break anyway.


“Hello Stephen.”

“Hello Miss Steele, we already have clearance so if you would please take your seat we can begin takeoff immediately.”  I salute him and sit in the first seat available.

“I’m on my way Baby.  I’m on my way.”  I whisper to myself.

Once we’re airborne, Natasha serves dinner.  “Oh, Miss Steele, this letter was delivered for you.”  She hands me a plain white envelope with the letters ARS typed on the front.

“Thank you Natasha.  I’ll read it later.  I’m going to lie down.”

“Certainly Miss Steele.”  She nods and goes back to her area of the plane.

I turn the envelope over and over again in my hands.  Christian always handwrites my name on the cards, letters and notes he leaves for me.  I wonder whom it is from.

Yawn…stretch…I don’t care whom it’s from.  I’m tired.

So am I.  I’ll think about it later.

Can’t We Just Be Happy | Chapter 10 First Impressions

The original characters are the property of E.L. James.  I’m just having a lil’ fun.  No copyright infringement intended.

Chapter 10 | First Impressions

GREY

“She has a new BlackBerry and new cellphone number.  Here sir.”

I immediately search my pockets for my phone.  “I have to call her.  I have to reach her.  She’s going to think I don’t love her anymore.  I know Ana’s insecurities.   I know what she’s thinking because I get the same way when it comes to her.”

I find my phone and call her.  As I put the phone to my ear, I see Taylor looking at me with his eyes wide open, but I don’t have time for whatever he’s thinking about, my baby needs me.

Ring…Ring…Ring…Ring…”Hello, this is Ana, I am not available at this time, but if you leave a message I will return your call at my earliest convenience.  Beep.

“Ana…Baby…where are you?  I talked to Taylor and he told me about your BlackBerry and laptop.  Baby, please have Sawyer take you back to Escala and call me from my office.  Don’t use an unsecured line.  I figure you didn’t try to call from your office or your home telephone, which is good Baby.  Please call me again.  I miss you and I love you Baby…always.  Bye” then her voicemail cuts off the call.

I’m getting more and more nervous as I think over how elaborate this scheme is.  If this is Elena, who in the fuck has she paired up with to put this all in motion?  Is she that fucking brilliant?  She is a fucking glorified hairdresser for fuck sake.

I look up at Taylor, what the fuck is he still gawking at?  “WHAT?”  I bark.  I shouldn’t take this out on Taylor.  He had no way of knowing.  I’m sure Ana didn’t tell Sawyer.  She probably confided in Miss Kavanaugh though.  The Heavenly Father and all the Apostles know Miss Kavanaugh hates my fucking guts.

I sit down and put my head in my hands.  “Sir?’  I look up at Taylor with every bit of stress, fear and longing that I feel showing on my face. “She has not forgotten you.  She loves you as well.”

“Sir, we all thought you were moving on when the stories of you and the young lady…”

“Ella.  Her name is Ella Brown.  She’s originally from Melbourne.  She came to Townsville on vacation and to find an internship.  Her family then moved here as well.”  I tell Taylor in a monotone voice.

If he thought I was moving on, then I know Anastasia thought the same thing.  Two emotions I understand more than any others are anger and jealousy.

I shake my head at the irony of the situation.  I left Seattle so she could “get her thoughts and feelings straight” and what do I do?  I end up muddying the water even more.  I close my eyes, groan and shake my head again.

Stop it Grey.  You have done nothing wrong here.

“Sir?”  Taylor again?  I forgot he was sitting there.

“Yes Taylor.”  I say flatly.

“Permission…”

ENOUGH OF THAT SHIT!

“Taylor, just speak dammit!”

He straightens up in his chair, clears his throat and says, “We were all mistaken, sir.  In the past, during times of stress, various young ladies, resembling Miss Brown, have entered and exited your life in rapid succession.  I have had Welch monitoring you…”

I slowly raise my head in shock.  He’s had me under surveillance?  “How long?”  I manage to whisper.

“Since you told me you fired Reynolds and sent him back to Seattle.  It is my duty to protect you Mr. Grey, whether you want me to or not.  I notified Welch and called in a few favors to have you monitored.  Yes sir, you are still being monitored.  Once we sort out your security here, we can see about releasing the current detail.”  He sighs and sits back in his seat, no doubt waiting for me to explode.

However, because of the various arguments we’ve had, Ella has taught me better.  This time I’m able to think fast enough and say to myself, “You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength” before I speak to Taylor again.

“Taylor, I appreciate that you take your job seriously and I admire your stealth, but I’m fine.  Like I said, no one knows me here and if they do, they do not give a flying fuck about me.  I’m not the only wealthy individual under the moon and I won’t be the last.  If you want to put security alarms inside the house to detect burglars,” I look him directly in the eyes, “then fine.  Please be sure the proper authorities will be alerted if need be, otherwise, I do not need nor do I want to be monitored or assigned Close Personal Protection.  If I’m in Seattle, that will be a different story, but here it is not necessary.”

“I’m not firing you or Ryan or Sawyer because Seattle is different.  There are people and places associated with me that need to be kept secure, but I don’t need that kind of protection.  You and Welch have vetted the security personnel at Grey House Townsville and you’re more than welcome to have a surprise inspection of their functioning.  As far as I’m concerned, if you’re willing to take on the responsibility, you’re the Head of all GEH Security, but I can’t stress to you enough, I…do…not…need…protection.”  There, was that calm enough?  I think it was.

Yepper boy, you done good.

It now is Taylor’s turn to be speechless.  I want to laugh and take a picture of him.  The definition of stoicism has been blown out of the water.  I have to smile.

Once he collects his thoughts he says, “Well, sir, I appreciate the responsibility and of course I am up to the task.  I will go over to the new office tomorrow and take a look around to make sure things are up to GEH Standards.  I recommend Barney do the same for the IT Department.”

I nod my head.  “I can’t agree with you enough Taylor.  I’ll leave all of that for you and Barney to arrange.  All I ask is that you keep me up to date.”

“Mr. Grey?  Christian?  You are not returning to Seattle are you?”  He actually has a note of sadness in his voice.  I shrug my shoulders.  Taylor nods his head and goes to the kitchen for another lager.

You have to make a decision sooner or later Grey.  You know that right?  What about Anastasia?  Are you going to bring her here?  What about your family, your mom?  It would break her heart.  She likes to see you at least once per week and because of how obstinate YOU are, she gives you a pass with once per month and regular telephone calls.  So…what…?

Why do you want to stay here Grey?  What’s so special about this place, besides the obvious?

What do you mean, “the obvious”?

Not what you think, unless that’s the reason.  “The obvious” being the sand, the sun, the beauty of the seas almost everywhere you look and the newness of it all, that’s what I mean?  Why, what do YOU mean?

Ring…Ring…Ring…

“ANASTASIA?”

“Why no Pet.  I thought you were finished with…her.”  I groan at the sound of her voice.  If I thought being cussed out by my father on a continual basis was bad, this is like chewing hot glass.  Taylor gives me a questioning look and raises an eyebrow when he hears me groan.

I mouth ‘Bitch Troll’ and both of his eyebrows fly up.  He nods and puts up two fingers in a peace sign and mouths ‘two minutes’.  I nod and go back to the ‘call’.

“…wonderful to see you have found a new one.  She is quite pretty.  You really do have a standard type don’t you?”  Cackling bitch.  “I could not see her body, but I would assume since she turned your head that her figure is divine.  Is she into the scene?  What is her name?  Would you like me to do some checking into her…”I watch Taylor throughout Elena’s monologue.

All GEH BlackBerrys, including mine, are equipped with mSpy.  While Taylor is the only one with security clearance to monitor my calls he rarely does so.  I won’t say he has never monitored my calls because there have been a few instances where I asked him to listen to and record my conversation.  This is one of those times.

I do not bother to answer any of her questions I simply ask my own.  “What do you want Mrs. Lincoln?  I told you verbally and by text message to leave me alone.  I gifted you the salon chain for the sole purpose of severing all ties with you, so what the fuck do you want?”

The line goes quiet for a few seconds then I hear the venom in her voice as she hisses, “How dare you speak to me that way.  I taught you everything you needed to know in order to succeed.  I made you the man you are today.  If it were not for me you…”

SHUT THIS BITCH DOWN AGAIN GREY…PRONTO!!!

“ELENA ENOUGH!” I shout so loud the windows in the living room vibrate.  “Once and for all, the ONLY thing you did was fuck me, beat me and convince me it was exactly what I needed if I was going to succeed in life.  You did not GIVE me the brains to make not one fucking business decision.  Do you know the legal structure of an acquisition?  What is a Triangular Merger?  What are the five most common ways to value a business?  What are the fundamental differences between a merger and an acquisition?”  Nothing but silence fills the telephone line.

“That is what the fuck I thought!  When you understand the principles of business and/or M&A THEN you can talk to me about what you gave, taught and made me.  I returned the seed money you stole from your now ex-husband and as I stated earlier I GIFTED to you not SOLD to you OR out from under you, as I should have, the salon chain.  Now, what the fuck do you want?”  I am panting for breath at this point.  I know for a fact my face is fire engine red.  My hands are trembling and I feel a sharp pain in both of my temples.

Calm down Grey.  Blowing a blood vessel isn’t going to accomplish anything.  Be very careful what you say to the old cow.  We both know we need open lines of communication with this bitch to figure out what the fuck she did to Steele’s phone and laptop.  Please always remember and do not ever forget, “keep your friends close and THIS ABOMINABLE enemy closer.”

I disagree wholeheartedly with your thinking and I really don’t give a fuck.  However, I do know that ‘You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength’ is definitely needed here.

I take a couple of deep breaths then continue, “Mrs. Lincoln, I ask again.  Is there an express purpose for your call?”  I’ve relaxed the tension in my shoulders and calmed my voice without going all the way to dad’s “deadly whisper”, but the throbbing in my head is still present.

“Pet,” every fucking time she calls me that my skin crawls, “I am only concerned for your wellbeing.  I have not heard from you since before you left the United States and even then you were so harsh towards me it was very disconcerting.  I can only attribute such attitude and behavior to your being overwhelmed with that Anastasia person.  Otherwise, you would never have treated me that way.”

Wanna bet bitch.  HA!

“I was hoping your travels would calm you and give you a better perspective on where your loyalties lie.”  I have GOT to get off of this phone.

“Mrs. Lincoln, I have a meeting to attend” and with that, I end the call.

I fall into the chair behind me, drop my head back and close my eyes.  I can honestly say, for the first time in my life I feel utterly defeated.  I am never going to get rid of that woman am I?

Yes, WE’LL get rid of that battle-ax.  It may not happen as quickly as we’d like, but it WILL happen.

How?  When?  How fucking much longer?  She’s worse than…than…actually, I cannot think of anything worse than her.  God, please get that ewe out of my life, for good.  I do not care how you do it, just please do it please.  I’m begging you.

God doesn’t work that way and you know it.  Reason, season, lifetime.  She came into your life for a reason during the wrong season.  She won’t last for a lifetime.  Believe me.  She will not last.  Now, come on.  We have a fundraising committee meeting to attend or have you forgotten?

Oh fuck me.  That’s tonight isn’t it?  “FUCK!”

Oopsey…hee, hee, hee.  Someone forgot he wasn’t alone.

“Fucker.”  I look over at a confused Taylor and say, “Sorry.  I forgot I wasn’t alone.  I have a fundraising committee meeting to attend this evening so I’ll be gone for a couple of hours.  Taylor, you and Mrs. Jones make yourselves at home and I’ll see you both later.”

Since when did Taylor start rolling his eyes, let alone rolling them at me?  “Is there a problem Mr. Taylor?”

“Yes sir there is.  Security or the lack thereof.”  Oh my God does this man ever quit?  And they say I’m hardheaded.

“Taylor, N…O…means…say it with me…”

“No”, we say in unison.

“Good boy.  Now, I’ll see you later and if you have me followed I’ll dock your pay.”

Ha, ha…that one got him.

I smile and head to the car.


“Hello Love, the meeting is this way.”  I follow Ella to the meeting room.  The Brown Family is spearheading an event designed to raise funds for Townsville Communities for Children.  It’s along the same lines as my mom’s organization, Coping Together.  I’m not necessarily interested in participating in the planning but I have no problem attending the event and no problem with making a donation.

I tried to get out of going to the steering committee meeting by telling Ella I had work to do, but she was quite insistent.  Seems her grandfather and grandmother began working with the group in 2005, now it is a family legacy.

What does her family legacy have to do with us?

Just play the fuck along.  It’s this or listen to Taylor ramble on about ‘security or the lack thereof’.  Which do you prefer?

Well, when you put it like that…

Exactly.  Now shut up and listen.

“…Children are the life blood of the world, Love.  Yes we all need help, even adults, but children are the most vulnerable and most easily neglected members of us all.  If you don’t reach out and help a child in time, it becomes much harder to help them as an adult.”

She’s got a point there.

Although Ella made the concept sound as basic as ‘one plus one’, it struck a chord for me.  Elena reached me when I was a vulnerable child.  She took advantage of my weaknesses and ensnared me physically and mentally, so much so it has been almost impossible for anyone to get close to me now that I’m an adult.

Needless to say, here I am.  Ella’s brothers, Eran and Emerson are the chairman and co-chairman for this year’s event.  Their theme is a beach party, plain and simple.  Being the newcomer to the area I’m not going to try and tell anyone what to do.

You don’t really do fundraising anyway, right?  Your specialty is check writing.

It raises the funds doesn’t it?

Well…

I thought so, now shut the fuck up and listen, you may learn something asshole.

Takes one Grey.

That’s gotten really old, ya know. You need a new comeback.

No, you need to respond to the question…ha, ha, ha…so much for your ability to multitask.

Sure enough, everyone at the table is looking at me expectantly, “Pardon me, what was the question?”  I’m snapped out of my trance and can’t hide my embarrassment.

Ella smiles, “Mr. Grey,” Love she mouths, “are you in favor of a beach party for this year’s fundraising event?

Yea, nay or do you abstain?”  Then she winks, I thought at me, but the man beside me elbows me in the ribs and winks as well.

“Yea.”  I have a questioning sound in my voice, but I gather that’s what she wanted me to say.

Eran says, “Good, this year’s event will be a beach party.  Thank you all for coming to this meeting and please feel free to volunteer for any or ALL of the committees on the list that is being passed around.”  Again the man to my left elbows me, but this time Ella shakes her head at him then he gets up and walks away.

That fucker was asking for an ass whipping, you know?

I concur.

Time to get the fuck out of here Grey, before we get ambushed into something.

I am on my way out the door when Ella calls from across the room, “Mr. GREY!  Not so fast.”  Shit.  I stop dead in my tracks and turn around slowly.

When I turn I’m faced with the four Brown heirs.  Ella steps forward as her brothers stand behind her, ramrod straight, shoulder-to-shoulder with their hands clasped behind their backs.  They have a ‘we dare you to fuck with her’ look on their faces.  I’m amused, as well as impressed.

Mia would be in Heaven if she could get you and Elliott to heel like that…hee, hee, hee.

“Yes Miss Brown.  How may I help you?”  I say with a smile.

She turns to her brothers and tells them, “Back off fellas.  He’s a friend not a foe.”  The men relax their shoulders and now cross their hands in front of themselves.  Ella’s not impressed at that stance so she shouts, “Dammit BOYS I told you to stand down.  Do I have to show my ENTIRE ass to make you understand?”

I am shocked by her reaction to them but they’re not.  “Sorry Ellie.”  One of the men says with a sad puppy dog look on his face.  The other two men nod then bow their heads.  I cover my smile with my hand before I end up in trouble too.

“No, I was going to introduce you to my brothers, however, this bunch of assholes” she motions behind her, “don’t even resemble them so let me thank you for attending our meeting and hope you participate in the execution of our event as well.”  Then she turns and sticks her tongue out at the three men before turning back to me to say, “Come on Love, let them stand there and stare.”  Ella takes my hand and leads me out the door.

I take a quick look behind us to see three men arguing with each other, throwing their hands in the air and shaking their heads in exhaustion.

Oh this is too much.

As I walk Lil Miss Dynamite to her car I hear her mumbling, “…fucking assholes…all those bitches they’ve brought home…actually was a whore…gold-diggers…I can’t have a friend…bastards.”

WHOA she is pissed to the gills dude.  Watch out.

“Ella, are you ok?”  That was all I said, but apparently that was all it took.

“Those fucking asses have brought all sorts of bitches into OUR lives over the years.  From a whore, and I mean walk the street and fuck for pay whore, to three different gold-diggers who had their pregnant roommates take the pregnancy tests for them and brought those witches’ sonograms to our home for my GRANDFATHER to see then there are the various, random, plain old, everyday mean bitches.  I’ve had to politely meet them all and give them the benefit of the doubt until they proved themselves otherwise, which they ALWAYS fucking have.”  She puffing and panting at this point.

“All I wanted to do was introduce them to a friend and they act as though they’re guarding the Prime Minister.  HOW FUCKING DARE THEY!  Not once have I brought home some straggling fucker and tried to say he was a romantic interest.  This time I didn’t even bring you home.  HOW FUCKING DARE THEY!”  Once she is winded she leans against her car.

“I never had any friends in high school or even in college.  Is this how friends usually behave?”  I am being half serious and have humorous.

Ella looks up at me with soften eyes and says, “When a friend introduces you to people who don’t know you and have no reason to dislike you it is.”

I return her smile, take her hand and say “Thank you.”


Knock…Knock…that can only be Taylor.

“Come in Taylor.”  I don’t look up from my work.  “Mr. Grey, I completed my inspection of the facility.  I found a few weaknesses in the Reception and cafeteria areas, but nothing major.  Welch and I will have the personnel updated and resolve the issue before end of business tomorrow.”

That got my attention.  I raise my head and ask, “Anything specific I should know Taylor?”  What the fuck kind of trouble can there be in the cafeteria?

“The former receptionist signed for a few deliveries without checking the carriers identification and basically the same situation in the cafeteria.  The department manager accepted a provision without checking the courier’s credentials.  I will be meeting with all security personnel later today to review GEH Security Protocol, Policies and Procedures.  Tomorrow I would like to meet with the department heads for the same review.  That is why I am here.”

He loves this shit.  It’s GEH’s beginning all over again.  He feels it too I know he does.  He gets to put his foot in security detail’s asses and to torment department heads all day.  It’s a wet dream for Taylor.  I look him straight in the eyes and do not blink when I ask, “Feels good don’t it?”  He gives me a small smirk and a quick nod of his head.

“Any word from Welch?” He gives a small shake of his head and leaves.  I sigh.  This is fucking ridiculous.  A computer virus I can see, even something that will mess up emails I can just about believe that, but a cellphone?  A BlackBerry?  Really?  What the fuck?

I run my hand through my hair and stop…I haven’t done that since I’ve been here.  Seattle is no good for me.  I was so relaxed I didn’t even realize it.  Taylor and security, the Bitch Troll period and the prospect of something affecting my relationship with Ana, this shit is too much.  I shake my head and go back to my spreadsheets.

Buzz…Buzz…I catch my BlackBerry before it gets to the third ring.  “Grey!”

Short and loud as usual huh?

“CHRISTIAN!”  Oh my God.

“ANA!?  Baby is it really you?  Where are you Baby?  Taylor told me everything.  Did you get my message?  I miss you so much.”  I know she can hear the smile and relief in my voice as I fire off questions to her.

“I miss you too Christian.”  She sounds so sad it makes my heart hurt.

After a long pause she asks, “Who is the woman Christian?  Is she your submissive?”  I gasp.

What the fuck?

I can’t help but get angry.  “Do you think that little of me Anastasia?  Is it impossible for me to go without sex or a submissive?  Is that what you are worried about, whether or not I got some ass since we have been apart?  Well no.  She is not my submissive and as hard as it may be for you to believe, I have not had any since the last time we were together.  Can YOU say the same?”  Where the fuck does she get off?

I haven’t talked with her in weeks and the only thing she has to say is ‘I miss you’ and ‘who are you fucking’?  I am at an absolute loss.  It’s not like I haven’t had AMPLE opportunity to get a decent fuck and there are BDSM clubs all over the world.  For some reason it seems to be the craze.

“What do you expect me to think Christian?”  With that bitchy tone, I don’t give a fuck what she thinks or how she feels right this second.

“Miss Steele, was there a reason for your call other than to accuse me of being a man-whore?  For God sake Anastasia, I was monogamous with my subs, which I had no emotional connection to at all.  How the fuck could I cheat on you?  Why would you think I’d ever cheat on you?”  I hear her gasp.

I think she knows she fucked up…again.

I have to remember ‘You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength’.  One of these days I hope to meet Mr. Brown.  I take a deep cleansing breath then ask, “Ana, are you going to come see me?  Do you want to see me?”

“I apologize Christian.  I do not for one second think you are a man-whore.  You have never given me reason to think that way, I was just jealous.  Yes, I want to see you Christian.”  I think I can hear tears in her voice.  Oh please Baby, do not cry.

“I can have the jet ready by late tomorrow afternoon.  Tell Roach…” She stops me in my tracks.

“Oh no Christian.  I have to wait until Friday after work.”  She says it just like I asked her to go to the movies on a weekday and she needs to wait until the weekend.

“Alright Ana,” I sigh, “I’ll let Stephen know.  He needs to prepare the jet and himself for the flight.”  It is not as easy as she might think.  Stephen is a professional, but he has his limits too and I have to respect them.  “I cannot wait to see you.”  I feel at ease again.

“Neither can I.  Bye Christian.”

“Laters baby.”


“Gail, as usual that was the best meal I’ve ever had.”  It’s fucking great to come home to more than cold cereal and a take out menu.

You really need to learn how to cook something.  While Gail is here ask her for some lessons:  you know, how to boil water or make toast.

OOO! If you get REAL good, she can show you how to make a grilled cheese sandwich.  That’d be yummy, huh Grey?

If it would shut you up, I would let you starve.

Bullshit, you’d feel bad.  Get it?

“Thank you Mr. Grey.  I didn’t make dessert but if you like there’s ice cream in the freezer.”

REALLY?

“When did we get ice cream Gail?”  I don’t remember buying any.

“Oh, I picked it up when I went shopping.  It is nothing special, just plain old vanilla, but I can dress it up if you like.”

OH HELL NO!  I LOVE YOU GAIL!

I smile and shake my head.  “No Gail, not tonight.  Thank you though.”

Never thought you would say no to vanilla again did you Grey?  WOO HOO!  This is too much.

Are you finished?  We have that damn committee meeting and to get to the bottom of this fucking phone thing.

Ahem…cough…yeah I am ready now.

I turn to him at the dining room table and ask, “Ok Taylor, what do you and Welch know about this phone mess?  And for the record, this shit better be good because I still can’t believe it.”  If Taylor and Gail hadn’t showed up when they did…I can’t imagine where Ana and I’d be now.

Well, it’s not like you forgot about her.  She colors every little step you take.  The only reason you’ve been able to keep your shit to yourself is because Steele isn’t here.  It has only ever been her, you know?

Yes I know that, but does she?  I understand her being jealous, like I said I get the same way when it comes to her.  I’m not so stupid not to admit that, but her coming all this way after all this time simply because she thinks I’ve been unfaithful…really?  That’s not like Ana at all.

No, because you are destined to repeat all of this shit again at some point.  However, you’re more are important to her dude.  If she did not want you at all, she would’ve chalked it up to a loss and moved on in Seattle.

She is a kid in the most literal sense.  Your little bookworm, remember?  Her inhibitions are in control now.  Her same ‘ole same ‘ole comfort zone is in control now.  She has to see the writing on the wall and make her own decision, not listen to the decisions of those around her.  Those who see you in the suit with the shitty “motherfucker I’ll bite you” look on your pretty little face…hee, hee, hee.

As shitty as you can be, you can grow up and you can change.  She’s missing out on your change.  The change she initiated.  When she gets here, start over.  And if she pitches a bitch about something, find out why there’s a problem.  She’s away from everything here.  There are no outside influences.  She has to see you and nothing else, just like it should be.

You two aren’t going to agree on everything and that’s wonderful.  You should be friends as well as lovers and a true friend tells you like it is and pulls your ass back when you’ve gone too far.  When you can’t see the forest for the trees your friend tells you to open your eyes and look the fuck out.  She needs to do that with a few aspects of her life.  Just like you have to do it with yours and pay attention when she points out how much of a prick you’re being.  While you are one hell of a motherfucker, you aren’t perfect dude.

“…ahem, Mr. Grey?  Are you with us?”

“Huh?  I apologize Taylor.  No, I didn’t hear a word you said.  I drifted off.  I’ve been doing that a lot since I got here.”

Taylor smiles at me and says, “as long as it doesn’t affect business, then it’s not a bad thing.  Back to the matter at hand, Barney traced the virus to a plain old computer hacker…”

“O…k…”

“…there are tips and videos online that give detailed instructions on how to hack into even a secure Wired Equivalent Privacy network.  When Barney asked for Miss Steele’s computer to be set up the vendor used a Wi-Fi Protected Access II, which although it is highly secure it is not infallible.”  My head is spinning.  He sounds just like Barney.  Taylor is speaking slower than Barney does, but I’m still lost.

“So the basics are there was a breach in the Wi-Fi network for her computer and the virus was planted, is that what you are getting at?”

“Yes sir.”

“But we’re still at ground zero.  Who the fuck would bother?  Even if it was Elena, who the fuck did she find to do all of this shit for her?  This is fucking ridiculous and I have a meeting to attend.  I’ll be back.  If you’re still awake, I need to know who did this.  That’s all I care about right this second.  Who fucking broke into her computer?  Who texted her the ‘tainted’ pictures?  Who!”  I can see how easy it is to get her cellphone number and text her, that I get.  A computer virus, I get that too, but BOTH of them and with such attention to detail.  Come the fuck on.  Elena ain’t THAT smart.”

No, but there’s no telling what one, or more, of her submissive’s can do.

True.


The days events must all show on my face when I walk into the conference room because Ella looks and me and frowns.  She gets the same little “v” between her eyebrows when she frowns.  She does not get a chance to speak with me before Eran calls the meeting to order.

“Good evening ladies and gentlemen.  I call this meeting to order.  Our purpose of gathering tonight is to verify the commitments you have each made toward our event and find out the status of your progress.  So, without further ado we will hear from the Media and Communications Committee.  Since Emerson is one of the Steering Committee Chairmen he kindly handed that task off to Ella.  Ella, tell us about your progress.”

And so the night precedes, Audio/Visual, Budget/Finance, Communications, Decorations, Logistics…”Ahem, Mr. Grey?  You were in charge of Security were you not?”

What the fuck now?  Oh yeah, this committee shit.  “Yes, yes that is correct.  My Head of Security vetted one hundred perspective candidates.  He and his second are in the process of narrowing that down to seventy-five personnel.  Will that be enough?”  They have a pretty large stretch of beach open for this thing and are expecting a grand turnout so I wonder if they’ll actually need more.  I told Taylor to vet five hundred just in case.

“Actually, if you could extend your search and actually hire a full one hundred guards we would appreciate it.  Although this event is an advance pay event, we want to be prepared for possible uninvited guests as well.”  I nod and send Taylor and Welch both a text advising what Mr. Brown requested.

He raises an eyebrow at me so I tell him, “I am conveying your message.”

“Why, thank you.”  Fucker.  I did not volunteer for this shit I got drafted.  I will write a fucking check and call it a day.  I see Ella shaking her head at me from across the table.  I sigh and nod at her brother.

Prick.

He continues on with the various committee chairmen then, thankfully, this shit is over.  “Thank you for all of your effort.  We should be ready for final updates next week.  Meeting adjourned.”  Can I retreat now?

“Grey!”

Groan.  Not again.  They left us alone for the last few meetings. What the fuck do they want now?

“Hello Mr. Grey.  I am Eran Brown and this is my brother Emerson.  We wanted to properly introduce ourselves.  It seems you have become rather close to our little sister and we felt as though we should engage you in a direct conversation.”

“Yes Mr. Grey.  If you have a few moments we would like to speak with you.”  Emerson looks like he wants to crack his knuckles as he narrows his eyes at me.

“Sure thing fellas.  Let’s ‘talk’.”  I haven’t had a good ‘ole fashioned street fight in a few years, but it’s like riding a bike, you know.  These two are tall, but not quite as tall as me.  Neither guy looks like he works out and if so, they need to work harder.  You can see the family resemblance.  They each have the curly dark auburn hair, crystal blue almond-shaped eyes and a square jaw line.

“So Grey”, I guess Eran is the voice here, “you have been spending quite a bit of time with our sister.  What exactly is going on?”  The snarl on his face is unmistakable.  They remind me of Elliott and myself when it comes to Mia.

Before I can answer, Emerson chimes in, “FYI Grey, we know about you.  Anastasia Steele, isn’t that your fiancée’s name?  Where is she?  You’ve been here a long time.  Why hasn’t anyone seen her?”

Then it is back to Eran, “We did some checking into you Grey and we didn’t like what we saw.  You’re bad news and we don’t want our sister involved with the likes of you.”

Now Emerson, “So what is it Grey?  Why are you nosing around our sister?”  What the fuck, is this a tennis match?

There is a millisecond pause in the ping-pong interrogation, I open my mouth to respond when I hear from somewhere behind me…”DO…NOT…SAY…ONE…WORD!”  She didn’t yell.  It wasn’t necessary.  Although she enunciated each word almost too quietly, her intended audience heard her clearly.

“Oh shit.”  The two of them moan simultaneously.

Well fuck me upside-down. She has them by the short hairs…again.  I love this chick.

Slowly, painfully so, for her brothers, Ella strides over to where we’re standing.  You can hear the calculated clicks of her Manolo Blahnik’s on concrete the floor.  I manage not to smile, but the inside of my cheek is killing me from how hard I have to bite down on it.

Stitches may very well be in order after this plays out, but it’s so fucking worth it to see this woman in action.

She stands between us all, coming no higher than the middle of my chest.  Then she hisses, “I told you once, stay out of my affairs.  This man is my friend.  Just because you two don’t know how to keep your peckers in your pants doesn’t mean I don’t know how to keep my legs and mouth closed”

“He has been a friend to me and that…is…all.”  She growls.  “If I see or hear of this type of behavior again from either of you, I will show up on YOUR doorstep Ere, or in the hall of YOUR apartment building Em in my ninja gear and you know what’ll happen.”

The two fuckers eyebrows jump up to their foreheads and beads of sweat start to form.

OH MY FUCKING GOD!  She’s the fucking TRUTH!  Grey, stay away from her, do you understand me?  Don’t piss this broad off AT ALL!

YES SIR!

“And tell Ev exactly what the fuck I said so there’s no mistake.  If you paraphrase or half-ass on my statement, you’ll regret it.”  Then she turns to me, smiles and winks before saying, “Have a good evening Love”, as she prances away like nothing ever happened.

It goes without saying that the Brown brothers are speechless.  They each nod at me then quickly walk away.

As I let out the breath I didn’t realize I was holding I hear snickers coming from the doorway beside me.  One of the older ladies on the committee shakes her head and advises me “You really don’t want to cross Ella.  She is a wonderful girl and a beautiful young lady, but she takes no shit from anyone especially her brothers.  She’s as harmless as a lamb until you push the wrong button…then lookout.”  She raises an eyebrow at the last two words.

We walk out of the building and the woman, I can’t recall her name, continues “After Ella’s mother passed away, her brothers became quite protective of her, to the point where they didn’t want her to go to college.”

“Ella got permission from her grandfather to break family tradition and go to Hawaii Pacific rather than Melbourne just to be away from her brothers.  Since no one goes against the patriarch of the Brown family, Ella went to school in the United States and the rest is history.”  I thank my fellow committee member for the information and proceed, carefully, to my car, which is exactly where Ella is standing.

“Hello Love.  I do apologize for my brazen display of ignorance.  Those goons can bring out the worst in me sometimes.  I don’t follow my own advice when it comes to them.”

Split personality?  This is what Steele keeps telling you about.  We need to keep an eye on her.

“No apologies necessary, just don’t do that shit to me and we will be fine.”  She crosses her heart.

“I have two questions.”  I’m almost too afraid of the answers.

“Sure, what are they Love?”  She flips her hand as if whatever I have to say is of no consequence to her.

“What is your ninja gear and what WILL happen?”  She holds her forehead for a minute then turns fire engine red before clearing her throat.

“Well, my ninja gear is a black hoodie, black yoga pants and black sneakers; Chucks usually.  My weapon of choice is a black aluminum bat, Louisville Slugger works well.”  She looks me straight in the eye as if she’s daring me to say something.

When I just stand there, she continues.  “As part of my research and dissertation in Hawaii, I was given the opportunity to travel by submarine to various locations and collect algae, sea water and even marine life samples.  Deep sea diving is something to behold.”

“Anyway, one of the professors was a retired mariner who spent time on submarines.  He reminded me of my grandfather.  As I worked, he told me about “submarine safety” so to speak.  He was aware of instances where angry sailors would wait in a doorway for a shipmate to walk thorough and sucker punch them.  If the vessel was on the surface, they would simply fling the body overboard at night, into the pitch black sea.”  A shiver runs, quickly, down my spine.

YEP!  It’s official. DON’T FUCK WITH THIS BITCH!  Neither Lincoln nor Kavanaugh would stand a chance.

“When I got home, Emerson stuck his nose in my business.  One night, he was walking through the hall of the family home and I was waiting in a doorway.  When he came through I kicked him in his knee.  Once he was down I punched him as hard as I could in the face, jaw, nose, eyes it didn’t matter as long as it was his head.  Hurt the hell out of my hands.  Whenever my brothers start to crowd me, I remind them what I’m capable of and they back off.”

“I’ve had to polish my MMA technique and I use a bat instead of my hands when I am really pissed off.  An aluminum bat is a touch easier to clean and does not leave splinters like a wooden bat will.  I can hold my own against them and others when need be.”  She gives a strong nod of her head for emphasis.

“Well Miss Brown, it’s good to know you are on my side.”  Let’s keep it that way.

“Let’s keep it that way Love.  Would you care for coffee, it’s still early.”  We got out of that meeting sooner than we thought we would.

“Sure, the usual place?”  I ask.

“Yep.  See you in a bit?” Then with a little wink and a wave, she is gone.


We meet at the coffeehouse where it all started.  Hard to believe I thought she was meek and timid just because of her stature.  This woman is larger than life and she’s helped me sort through my thoughts and feelings about work, family and my personal life.  She may be a Marine Biologist, but she has Flynn beat by a mile.

“Here you go Love.  Now, when is Anastasia going to be here?”  I choke on my coffee.

“What makes you think she’s coming here?  I mean she is.  She will leave the US on Friday evening.  How did you know she was coming here?”

“The last time we spoke, you told me how much you love and miss her.  You told me you felt a hole in your heart and you didn’t know what to do to fill it.  You looked so sad Love.  What did I tell you?  What do I always tell you when is comes to your ‘one true’?”

“If am hers she will find me…”  She nods encouragingly.

“And…”  She probes; motioning for me to continue.

“If she is mine I will let her.”  It’s almost like I am afraid to think of this phrase.  I must ask her where she found it.

“Did you call her or vice versa?”

“She called me, but she had been trying to reach me for some time and wasn’t able to get through.  Apparently there was some ‘interference’.”  I say with gritted teeth, thinking about the Bitch Troll and her latest stunt.

“That would be the Bitch Troll you were mumbling about earlier this evening correct?”  She speaks before sipping her coffee.

“I never said that!”  Did I?  I was a little out of it during the meeting, but I didn’t say anything to anyone, did I?

“Good grief Charlie Brown.  I read your lips.  You were cursing a mile a minute.  You need to either cover your mouth or let that kind of shit go until you are in a more private setting Love.”  I’m not accustomed to people watching me.  I’m usually the one who does the observing.  It’s starting to get creepy.

“Christian?  I haven’t been entirely honest with you.  I want to apologize in advance, but we have come to a juncture where I feel like I can help you.  In order to do that, I have to level with you first.  Ok Love?”

“O…k…” Now I am scared.  What the fuck does she know?

“Relax Love.  I know about your beginnings, adoption, adolescent and adult academics, the history of GEH and…about…Elena Lincoln.”  My eyes are the size of saucers.  How the fuck did she find that out?  Who has she told?  What’s she trying to do, blackmail me?  I thought we were friends, I thought I could trust her.  DAMMIT I’m a STUPID fucker for trusting ANYONE, especially a woman named ‘Ella’, all of this flies through my mind at the speed of light.  It takes me a moment to hear Ella again.

“Relax Love.  I may be young, but I’m not dumb.  I’ve lived some and I’ve learned a lot during my brief stay on this Earth.  I can’t be prejudice against anyone who’s done nothing wrong.  I also know the Cinderella story of you and Anastasia.  It’s so fucking adorable I can’t believe it.”  She giggles and there is a twinkle in her eyes.  But I’m not at ease with this conversation yet.

“How?”  I whisper.  I’m in utter disbelief.  I thought I was so fucking careful.  Here this little slip of a girl has found out my work, educational and personal…VERY personal information like it was no problem.

Who does HER research?

“…Breathe Love, breathe.  I told you the first day we spoke you were the talk of the town.  You were, still are matter of fact.  We Brown’s have a lot of pull in Australia and around the world.  Finding out about a new neighbor is very easy.  Once I had your name, I Googled you to get your photo and general information.  My grandfather’s private investigation team took it from there.  Since it was my explicit request, the documents were sealed and went directly from the investigators to me.  There were no duplicates.”  I am glad she’s taken measures to keep the information she found under wraps, but I still don’t like the fact she could get it in the first place.

“I have a photographic memory.  I simply read everything twice then burned the original documents.  My grandfather’s only stipulation when I make these requests” the question is clear on my face, “yes, I’ve done this before, is that any incriminating information be turned over to him immediately.”

“Based on the information I had about you I was able to approach our conversations accordingly.  In short, you’ve been ‘shrinked’ Mr. Grey.  Like I said, I apologize for not being upfront with you.  I hope my invasion of your privacy doesn’t affect our friendship.”  She bows her head and pulls on the edges of her dark grey pencil skirt.  I’m still speechless.  She did what you told me not to do.

I guess now you know how it feels.

I guess so.

“Wow Ella.  I mean…did I scare you that much or…”

Her head jerks up immediately.  “No” she shakes her head vigorously, “not at all Love, quite the contrary.  You’re an intriguing individual.  Like I said that first day.  I could see the pain in your eyes.  I’ve seen that pain when my father remembers my mother and when my grandfather remembers my grandmother.”  They’re the two most important men in her life.  Now she looks sad.  I take her hand and give it a reassuring squeeze.  I like hearing about her family.  I mean I genuinely care.  It’s not about getting the 411 on the Browns.  I almost feel like they’re my family too.

“My brothers either don’t see, don’t understand or don’t care, but I do.  My grandfather and father mean the world to me.  I can feel their pain and I always want to help them through it.  I saw that in you and I felt the same way.”  She looks up at me straining not to let her tears fall.

“I can still see your troubled soul Love.  I can still feel your broken heart.  The difference is your one true is still alive.  You still have time to be with her.  I hope our time together has given you some things to think about, some tools to help you grow and I hope a friend you know you can turn to.  You said you didn’t have any friends in high school or college, well I believe we have made up for that.  At least I hope so.”  She pats my hand as I stare at her in awe.

This little girl has done nothing but be kind to me.  Taken my mind off my troubles by talking to me about the weather, songs on the radio, her father and her grandfather.  She has passed on the knowledge and lessons learned in her life to me like no one ever has.  She asks my opinion and debates her point of view.  Sometimes, even when she’s wrong, she plays devil’s advocate and won’t let an issue go.  No money exchanged.  No price tag involved.  No romantic interlude inferred.

“You are a fantastic woman Ella Brown.  You’re going to make some man very happy one day.”  She smiles and bows her head again.

I put my index finger under her chin and raise her crystal blue eyes to meet my grey ones, “Remember, you have a fourth brother to protect you.”  She nods and smiles.

“Well, on with my news.”  Huh, there is more?

Mood swing alert!

I must have the ever-present quizzical look on my face because she says, “Yes there is more.  The ‘interference’, do you know someone named Isaac?”  She doesn’t give a last name so I shake my head a few times then…

The light bulb comes on.  “Elena’s submissive?”  The bastard.  I knew his nose was wide open for that bitch.

“Yes.  Apparently he is rather proficient with a computer.  He’s the hacker you’re looking for.”  She says matter-of-factly as she resumes sipping her now almost cold coffee.

“How the hell did you kno…” She cuts me off.

“Love, I am a Brown.  We know lots of things.  I told you we were a sneaky bunch.”  She looks like a small child with a big secret.  A secret I need to hear.

“Come.”  I hold out my hand to her.

She hesitantly looks at me asking “Whereto?”

“My place.  Taylor needs to hear this first hand.”  She mouths ‘oh’ then takes my hand and we go out to the cars.

Can’t We Just Be Happy | Chapter 9 Temper Tantrum

The original characters are the property of E.L. James.  I’m just having a lil’ fun.  No copyright infringement intended.

Chapter 9 | Temper Tantrum

GREY

“Hello sir.  You have no security in this residence whatsoever.  It was not difficult to cross the threshold without notice.  Welch and I are in the process of remedying that situation.  Mrs. Jones is shopping as we speak.  She said water, wine, milk and Fruit Loops were not a balance diet and no way for a college student, let alone a grown man, to live.  I told her you most likely dined out.  She is very, and I do mean very, upset with you.  After reminding her how things were when she joined us at Escala she seemed slightly mollified.”  This must be “Shock the Shit Out of Me-ville” because once again I’m standing around with no fucking clue about what’s going on in front of me.

“Mr. Grey, may I speak freely?”  All I can do is nod my head, although I do manage to close my fucking mouth this time.  “There are a great many people who are concerned about you.”  He actually has a worried look on his face.  I haven’t given anyone reason to be alarmed, have I?

Not as far as I’m concerned, I mean, you contacted all of the staff, they knew their jobs were secure since Escala and Grey House Seattle both needed to be maintained so I don’t see the big deal either.

“Taylor, I’m not following you.  Why is anyone concerned?  All positions were maintained, no one has been put out of a job, except Reynolds and that was for a valid.  Security hasn’t been necessary here.  As for the house, you and Mrs. Jones vetted several qualified applicants.  I just have to make a final decision.”

“While I appreciate your loyalty, I don’t understand your visit and I use the term loosely.  I won’t get pissy this time, but don’t ever break into my house, wherever it is, again.  Do you understand?”  That’s a fucking hard limit dammit.

He nods then goes on to give me the update on all things Seattle.  All of this “catching up” makes me feel like the weight of my world is on my shoulders again, in spades.

When he finally reaches the topic of Anastasia, I have to shut him down.  “PAUSE!  Taylor I appreciate the information, but I left all of this to you and Welch.  As for Miss Steele, she knows my telephone number and she knows the extent of the situation.  There is nothing more for us to discuss about her.”  And that’s final.

However, in true Jason Taylor fashion he keeps going.  I swear he’s like my mother.  “Mr. Grey, permission to speak freely sir?”  Oh shit.

“Taylor, just say whatever it is you have to say.  I have a sneaking suspicion I’m in for an earful no matter what.”  Since I heard Gail come in I yell, “Mrs. Jones, please join us.”  Once she seats herself I lay down the ground rules for this conversation.  “Neither of you have to ask for permission speak freely.  When the talk gets to be too deep for me, the safeword is red.  Get it?”

“Got it.” They say in unison and Gail nods her head for emphasis.

“Good, go on.  Spill.”  I sigh, sit back and resign myself to my fate.

Gail starts off, “Miss Steele came to Escala in tears.  She said she tried to contact you on several occasions, but your phone always went straight to voicemail and then cut her off so that she couldn’t leave a message.  She didn’t know if you were hurt, ill or if you simply were no longer speaking to her.”

“I was nervous because I hadn’t heard from you directly since you left for Taiwan.  I knew at first you weren’t thrilled about having to go overseas.  Jason and I…I mean Mr. Taylor…” we just said this was a heart to heart talk so all formalities are out of the window.

“Gail, if I may call you by your first name”, she nods her head and I continue, “we established this is a ‘Come to Jesus’ meeting so other than what’s common courtesy and respect, formalities aren’t necessary.  Ok?”  She nods in agreement then continues her story.

“When Jason and I got back from our vacation, you were nowhere to be seen.  You called Jason and told him about Reynolds and when your call was done, Jason went ballistic and I began to worry.”  She tries to blink away her tears, but ends up having to dab her eyes to stop them from flowing down her cheeks.  Jason puts a comforting arm around her shoulder and she steadies her breathing enough to go on.

“Your parents, brother and sister called several times before you contacted them.  Afterwards, your father began speaking with Jason on a regular basis.  Ros only had information pertaining to GEH and I have no interest in that”, she is beginning to feel more comfortable with this conversation, she is speaking about her own feelings.

I know you’re not shrinking someone?

Besides business, what other field do I know?  Degree or not, my crazy ass can tell you about psychology and psychiatry for that matter.

Listen up…

“…finally, Ana came to Escala.  She told me about your few chats before you left for Taiwan and since you’ve been overseas.  Jason told me about your move here and…well…I couldn’t stay away any longer.  I understand your separation of personal and professional relationships and I respect that.  Mr. Grey, I’ve been worried about you and how you were dealing with your separation from Miss Steele.  Whether it’s my place or not, I still worry.  All I can do is not tell you.”  See what you did?  You made a grown woman who has absolutely no biological or romantic involvement with you worry like hell.

What is today’s date?  I have to mark this one off on the calendar as “Astound Grey Day”.  What have these people been thinking about?  Fuck.  I went to work.  I always go to work.  I work constantly and no one gives it a second thought, but let me step off US soil and all of a sudden emotions run high.

I’m totally out of my comfort zone.  I look to Jason and mouth the word ‘red’ so that he can take care of Gail.  I let her know she’s welcome to stay or she can finish the interview process for the applicants she approved, the choice is hers.  “Gail, Jason, please don’t be offended.  I didn’t expect either of you to pick up and relocate to parts unknown at a moments notice.  I thought it was best to undertake this endeavor alone.”

“I sent you and Taylor on vacation because you deserve that and so much more for putting up with me and my shit on a continual basis.  My actions may be unconventional, but they come from a good place.”  She nods again then goes to the kitchen.

At this point I decide to ask, “Gail, do you want to stay here?”  Her expression softens but the tears are still flowing down her cheeks.

“Mr. Grey, I have no problem remaining here with you.  However, my home is with Jason, I’m certain you know that.  If Jason is prepared to move to this lovely area then I am as well.  My sister is a big girl.  She’ll be fine without me tagging along on the weekends”, with that she gives me a little wink and turns to work on dinner.

“Taylor, we can continue this discussion here or in my study, which ever you choose.  However, I’ve been in these running shorts and t-shirt so long they are dry and I need to take a shower.”  I’m not really prepared for all of this talking.  I wanted to sit around and eat my leftovers before delving into the facts and figures Ros faxed over to me earlier today.

Jason laughs at me and says, “Actually I would like a tour or to wander around a bit.  Go take your shower and we can pick up where we left off after we eat. “

“Ok Taylor, make yourself at home.  I suggest you take your belongings to the third floor.  It’s a replica of your living area at Escala.  If not, there are guest rooms on the second floor that are available to you.  The elevator is on the left of the foyer.  My room is here on the first floor.”  He nods and we part ways.


I turn on the shower to as hot as I can stand it and let the steam fill the room.  As the water falls over me I think about Ana.  She’s been trying to contact me?  Why haven’t I received her calls?  I haven’t missed calls from Ros or Andrea or the staff at the new office.  I don’t remember seeing any missed calls on my phone and the few texts I have were from Ros.  I don’t really talk with anyone else.  Why didn’t Ana send me an email?  My address hasn’t changed.  This is strange.

Once I’m out of the shower, dried off and dressed I head out toward the kitchen.  Mrs. Jones stops in her tracks, blinks a few times and stares at me with her mouth wide open then turns to look at Jason who seems equally taken aback.

“What?  What did I miss?”  I don’t understand the looks I am getting.

“Well…um…Mr. Grey, it is just…I am used to seeing you in your white linen shirt and black jeans.  This is a change for you.”  Am I correct?  Is she blushing?

I’ve dressed like this since I arrived in Townsville.  The new setting seemed to warrant a lot of changes for me.  My attire was one of those things.  I no longer don my linen shirt and jeans.  Various color athletic fit t-shirts or a wife-beater with plan blue jeans, for out in public, or my bare chest and shorts for around the house.  Since I have house guests, I thought the bare chest and shorts weren’t appropriate.

House guests huh?  These good people have walked in on you fucking a woman’s mouth in the kitchen, heard women counting out lashes and calling you ‘Sir’ and ‘Master’, if you saw fit.  Mrs. Jones in particular has cleaned come stains from various inanimate objects throughout Escala and NOW you get bashful.  REALLY GREY?  Get fucking real.

No one asked you so fuck off.

Fucking off ‘Sir’…hee, hee,hee

“Just a small change Gail, nothing to worry about.  I’m still the same overbearing, pompous, jackass I’ve always been, but I’m trying to get a grip on that too.”  I shrug my shoulders.  Taylor, thankfully, clears his throat then actually glares at Gail.  Apparently she likes what she sees.  Now it is my turn to hide a smile.

“Oh yes, dinner.  Cesar Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette, broiled steak, medium-well and baked potato Mr. Grey?”  She seems a little flustered.  This is too much fun.

I was going to flash her my mega-watt smile, but I won’t do that to Taylor.  I’d be pissed if someone did that to me so I think better of it, “That is wonderful Gail, it’ll be good to eat real food again.”

I sit down to a Gail Jones masterpiece.  The best meal I’ve had since I left for Taiwan.  I think about everything I left behind and what I have achieved since being away from Seattle.  Part of me is happy I left and part of me does miss home.

All of this must be written on my face because Gail says, “We all miss you Mr. Grey and I’m not just saying that.  You have no idea how we feel about you because of the ‘Separation of Church and State’.  It’s hard to get close to you, but once we do you prove to be a wonderful person.”  She pats my hand and leaves Taylor and I to talk.

I look at Taylor for a clue of what Gail’s statement was about, but all he tells me is “She is right.”  I nod my head even though I do not truly understand all the fuss.

Finally I ask Taylor, “Do you want to finish our exchange here or in my office?”

“Where ever you feel most comfortable sir.”  I smile at the word ‘comfortable’.  Comfort has never really mattered to me, business was business and personal was off limits.  Things have definitely changed.

“Here is fine then.”  I take our plates to the sink, rinse them and put them in the dishwasher.  When I turn around, Jason has an all out, full-blown smile on his face.

“I know, I know, I don’t have anyone to clean up after me so I went back to basics.  The kitchen came with the place.  Since the world knows I can’t cook it could easily have been another bedroom as far as I’m concerned.  I can run the dishwasher, do my laundry and pick up after myself like a good little boy.  My mommy would be proud.”  At that statement, the smile falls from his face.

In horror I immediately ask, “Is something wrong with my mother?  Please tell me she is alright.”  I’ll be on the first thing heading stateside if she’s not well.

I talk with my dad more regularly now, but he’s always in his office in the city so he can blow up at me without fear of my mother walking in on him.  My ears start to bleed every time I see his number on the Caller ID.  The only thing he does anymore is chew me out.  It’s the ‘Harvard Drop-out’ scene over and over and over again.

“Mrs. Grey is fine sir.  She misses you, that is all.”  I let out a sigh of relief and nod my head.

“Would you like a lager?”  Taylor nods so I grab a couple Townsville Bitters hen lead the way to the living room that over looks Rowes Bay.

“What else is going on Taylor?  I’ve spoken with you, my father, Ros and various people here using the same cellphone with no problems.  Not to mention my email address has not changed so what’s the issue with Anastasia trying to contact me?”

“We believe someone has tampered with Miss Steele’s phone and computer.”  WHAT?!

The look on my face must say it all.

“She received a text and an email containing photos of you and a young woman.  The text was sent from an unidentified number, while the email was from a generic marketing company that sends out random announcements and coupons.  Barney says her email address could have been sold to any number of marketers simply from making an online purchase.  He gave her cellphone and laptop a once over and found spyware that could monitor her online movements and a zombie virus, which can be used to perform malicious tasks under remote direction, including but not limited to denial of service attacks.  Her emails were not reaching you due to the virus’ effects on her computer.”

“She is able to access her email from her BlackBerry as well.  Since BlackBerry maintains there is no such thing as a BB virus Barney is still looking at the phone.  During his research, Barney found articles to the contrary where the phone’s calling ability was affected in part or in full.  For now, we are working with the premise that both hardware items were attacked and prevented her from contacting you.”

There is only one person on Earth who would bother to keep Ana and I apart.  Taylor simply nods his head before we say in unison, “Elena Lincoln.”

STEELE

C’mon, c’om…Ring, Ring, Ring, Ring… “Grey.  Leave a message.” Beep.  Buzzz…

WHAT THE FUCK!  How the hell am I supposed to communicate with him if my calls keep going to voicemail?  And why the fuck can’t I leave a damn message?  What the fuck is he playing at?

Ring…Ring…Ring…”Hello…Chri…”

“Hey Steele, Mia and I are going to the Zig Zag for a few drinks. wanna join us?”  I guess alls well in the land of Katherine Kavanaugh

“Kate, I have a throbbing headache and booze is not going to help me.  You two enjoy yourselves.”

She sighs, “Steele, you cannot mope over…” OH NO!  NOT THIS TIME!

“KATE STOP!  Stop right there.  I CAN mope and I WILL mope.  The last time I looked in the mirror you were not there.  I appreciate you wanting to look out for me and wanting me to be happy, but I AM NOT HAPPY!  Do you understand that Kate?  No amount of Hagen Das, Chinese take-out, pizza or booze is going to make me happy.”

“All I am trying to do is…”  She has the nerve to sound defensive.

“Kate, I miss Christian.  I want to be with Christian.”

“I do not see what it is about him.  How can you stand him Steele?  He is so contro…”  REALLY?

“You mean like you are?”  I hear her gasp.

“Yeah Kate.  Where are you going to sleep tonight?  Where is Elliott?  When is the last time you spoke with him, huh Kate?”  Silence.

“That is what I thought.  Christian is not here to defend himself against you and your tirade.  And for the record, what the fuck has he done to cause you to hate him?  Huh?  What is that all about?”  Silence.

“I am waiting.”  Still nothing.

Let’s test the waters, shall we?

Be my guest.

“Kate, did I tell you Christian bought SIP and shortly afterward I was made editor?”  I cannot remember if I told her all about it or not.  That is an abridged version of the whole mess, but it is the salient information.

Another gasp, “How dare he try to buy you?”  Huh?  “What, does he think you can’t do it on your own?  Why does he want to keep you under his thumb Ana?  This is what I mean, why does he want to control your every move?”

“Do you think I should turn it down, move on to another publisher?”  Be careful Kavanaugh.

“Has his interference hurt your reputation there?”  The ‘R’ word,  “I know you are a hard worker Ana and your reputation means everything to you.  Has he damaged that with this asinine stunt?”

I grit my teeth and say, “Well, at the last staff meeting the other editors were looking at me funny, but no one came out and said anything.”  I know for a fact a few of them wanted to.  Even Roach seemed disappointed that my HR scores were high enough to allow me to stay.

“If it were me, I’d leave Steele.  I mean, I’m sure your boss would give you a good recommendation for wherever you decided to go, but you know we both worked so hard it’s a shame he couldn’t leave well enough alone so you could make it on your own.”

“You mean like you did Kate?”  Silence.

“Kate…Kate are you still there?  Do you mean like your getting an internship at your father’s company?”  Crickets.

“That is what I thought.  Kavanaugh, lets put it like this.  I love you, think the world of you, but this is my life not yours.  You have your man and I am going to have mine.  A friend will listen when I need them to, hand me a tissue when I need it or buy me a box of the damn things when I run out, but a friend is not going to tear down my confidence or self-est…”

“ANA!  I ‘ve NEVER done that to you.  How could you think that?  This is what I mean.  That self-righteous, salacious, asshole is fucking with your head.  You don’t even know who your true friend is.”  NOW DO YOU FUCKING BELIEVE ME?

“Kate, I have to go.”  I disconnect the call.

Well?

I know.  You are right about her.  I never thought of Kate as a jealous person, but then…you learn something new everyday huh?

Yepper.


First he says he loves me then I see him with some other woman, what is the damn deal?

WHOA…WHOA…WHOA!  Down Steele…down girl.

WHAT!

First of all you need an attitude change.  Second of all the man is F…I…N…E…FINE, no one can blame a woman for looking or even DROOLING at him.  You’re the one who gets her tights in a twist when that happens.  Third, YOU told the man “yes” THEN you turned around and told the man to “wait” and you practically bit his head off each time he tried to address the situation.  So WHO THE FUCK is being unreasonable here?  Wait for it…wait for it…BUZZ times up.  Still don’t know the answer?  Here, let me help…YOU!  YOU ARE BEING UNREASONABLE, CHILDISH and now you have the nerve be JEALOUS?

I told you and told you and I told you again to stop being an ass.  I told you to make sure you had your priorities straight and what did you do Miss High and Mighty?  You first sent the man around Seattle to attend any and all obligatory events stag, then you let him go to Taiwan, stag and as article after article came out you did and/or said nothing to him.  What the fuck gives you the right to utter a sound now?

Do you need assistance recalling the conversation, here let me help you:

NO!  I do not need to go back in time I was there.  I remember scripture and verse what I said to Christian and what he said to me.

Good.  There’s a reminder you do need to hear.

What the fuck could that be?

“…I want to prepare you for what the world takes seriously.  I do not want this to affect your time away from me.  I do not want you to question my love or fidelity to you no matter what the situation between us.  My heart is always in your hands baby.  I love you.”

This is not about money.  This is not about your feelings for him or his feelings for you.  This is about your insecurities and you misguided sense of independence.  What does his love have to do with your independence?

Uh…well…

Wrong answer.  He doesn’t care about what anyone else thinks.  He cares about and loves you Steele, that’s it, that’s all there is to it.  You can’t ask him for anymore.  You can’t hold your insecurities against him anymore than he can hold his insecurities against you.  You projected your fear about a situation no one can control on the man you claim to love.

Does the world take you seriously yet?

I do not know.  I mean, I go to work everyday and I carry my share of the load, so I guess I am taken seriously.

I understand you’ve shown yourself to be a dependable worker, but that’s not what I asked you.  I asked you if ‘the world’ takes you seriously yet?

HOW THE FUCK DO I KNOW?  I have not taken a before and after poll.

How do you intend to gauge the world’s view of Anastasia Rose Steele then?

I did not think about it that way.

WHAT?  WHAT WAS THAT?  I DIDN’T CATCH THAT LAST SENTENCE.  REPEAT THAT!

I SAID…I DID NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT HOW TO GAGUE WORLD OPINION OF ME!  DAMMIT!

Anastasia, what world are you even talking about?  Do you know?

I want my co-workers to take me seriously, I want my boss to take me seriously, if I get ahead in my field I want every little step to be MY win not a hand-off because someone knows Christian is part of my life.

So what world are you talking about?

ARE YOU STUPID OR SOMETHING?  I JUST TOLD YOU WHAT WORLD!  MY CO-WORKERS, KATE, JOSE, MY DAD, MY MOM!  I WANT THEM TO TAKE ME SERIOUSLY!

Where are your co-workers right now?  Where are Kate, Jose, your dad and mom right now?

I have no idea and at this very second I do not give a fuck.

Why don’t you know where they are?

I am no one’s babysitter.  My co-workers have lives of their own.  Kate is at the Zig Zag with Mia.  Jose and my mom are each somewhere in the world, I do not know where exactly.  My dad is at home in Montesano.  What does this have to do with my being taken seriously?

It has everything to do with it.  Your co-workers have lives of their own.  They’re not thinking about you sweetie.  They know you come to work on time and fulfill your assigned tasks.  Kate had her own shit-soup to sip on.  She doesn’t even work in your field, has no idea what you do for a living unless you tell her and between you, me and the lamp-post does she even give a fuck?  I think not.  What has she done to deserve to have that kind of power in your life?  Please explain that to me.

Kate graduated from college then proceeded to “inherit” an internship in her father’s company.  You see she doesn’t mind what anyone has to say about that?  Does she care what you have to say about it?  No, because that’s Kate and she knows you’d never judge her.  How does she know that?  You never have.  Why do you feel the need for her to accept you as anything other than her friend?

I wish you would see Kate for what she is.  You went to school together and she bullied you the entire time.  Her nasty attitude finally brought some good into your life that’s all.  She needs to worry about her own man before she looses him and has no one but herself to blame.  Although I’m sure she’ll come up with a way to pin it on Christian.

Your relationship with Grey is no more her business than her relationship with Elliott is yours.  The two of you have got to grow the fuck up.

Jose, well…Jose has wanted to fuck you for ages.  How you do or don’t feel about him is of no consequence.  How Jose feels has remained the same whether you reciprocated those feelings or not.  Is Grey a jealous ass?  Yes.  Does he have a valid reason to dislike Jose Rodriguez?  Yes, I believe so.  Do you have the right to expect Grey to simply forget what he saw that night outside of the bar?  No, I don’t believe you have the right to expect that from him.  You had difficulty watching him handle Leah when she had you at gunpoint and you still manage to harp on it by questioning his feelings for you.  How do you think that makes him feel?  Why is it you can walk away scot-free and Grey is left holding some kind of blame or is ‘guilty of crossing some imaginary line?  Why is he always the bad guy’?

I don’t know what else to tell you except you need to get your priorities straight.  Seeing him in a picture with another woman isn’t reason enough to contact him.  Think about it and I mean really think.  Let’s go to sleep, I’m tired and we have to be at work early tomorrow.  I’d hate for ‘the world’ to see you slipping.

Fuck you.

HA!  Is that the best you’ve got?  Grey deserves better than the way you’ve treated him and you know it.  You can lie to someone, but not to yourself.  Now, good night John Boy


As we go into SIP I ask Sawyer, “Have you heard from Christian?”  Sawyer looks at me as if I asked him to explain the meaning of life.

“No Miss Steele”, he shakes his head for emphasis, “I am assigned to protect you.  I have no knowledge of Mr. Grey’s whereabouts.”  We step to the far side of the Reception area so Claire is out of earshot.  I remember Christian saying Sawyer was head of security while Taylor was away, so he must know something. “Aren’t you currently head of security?”

His eyes widen and I raise an eyebrow.  He did not think I knew this little tidbit of information.  See caught you.  At least I thought I had until he tells me, “I was head of security while Mr. Taylor was on vacation, but he returned a while ago.  Anyway, I never spoke with Mr. Grey.  I spoke with Reynolds once or twice before Mr. Grey fired him and…” I did not let him finish.

“Mr. Grey fired Reynolds?”  I hiss as quietly as I can.  I do not remember being told this.  I remember Christian took him along to Taiwan because Taylor was on vacation and Ryan was assigned to Grey House and Escala.  What the fuck is going on here?

“Sawyer, I need to get to my office, but you and I need to have a heart to heart about what has been going on.  I am being left out of the loop.”

Ahem…

Not now.

Yes now…RIGHT NOW!

What the fuck do you want?

What the fuck makes you think you’re entitled to know about security for Grey?  Thought as long as you were free to roam about wherever you choose all was right in ‘the world’?

Ok, look.  I am going to tell you just like I told Kate.  I miss Christian.  I want to be with Christian.  I guess that means I am going to have to grow a set and fight with him tooth and nail when I feel like he is overstepping some imaginary line.  Until I get the opportunity to speak with him then I want to know WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON!  Do I make myself clear?

WOO HOO…OH SHIT!  CRYSTAL!

What the fuck is so funny?

You are.  Keep in mind, anything worth having is worth fighting for.  SWAK!  No, get to work.

Sawyer takes a deep breath before telling me, “Miss Steele, with all due respect, the actions of Mr. Grey’s security detail are none of your concern.  I am not privy to that level of information therefore I do not make inquiries about it.  I know Taylor is back from his vacation.  He is the formal Head of Security.  I recommend you speak with him concerning Mr. Grey.”  The look on his face is stern.  I nod, turn and proceed to my office.

Before I walk away I tell Sawyer, “Then speak with Taylor is what I will do.  Thank you Sawyer.”

After work is finally over, I practically sprint to the front door.  “Sawyer, I need you to take me to Escala.  I need to speak with Taylor.”

“Miss Steele, Mr. Taylor is probably still at Grey House right now.  I can call him and we can make an appointment for you to…”

“AN APPOINTMENT!  WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT ABOUT?  Let me tell you something Mr. Sawyer, Christian may not be in the United States, but until he tells me in his own voice to fuck off, not you, not Taylor not Kate, NO ONE is going to stop me from communicating with or seeing Christian Trevelyn-Grey.  Do you fucking understand me?!”  I have been pissed all day and his statement was the last straw.  I am tired of this shit.

Everyone, and I do mean everyone, in the lobby stopped to listen to my none-too-quite episode, but you know what?  I…do…not…care.  I take a step back allowing Sawyer to lead the way to the door so we can get this horse and pony show underway.

Sawyer is silent all the way to Escala.  I do not know if he calls to warn Taylor that I am on my way or not.  If I were Sawyer, I would.  I want answers.  What the fuck is going on?  Who the fuck is the bimbo?  Why can’t I get in touch with Christian?

You know you are being a…

YOU SHUT THE FUCK UP TOO!  I have had enough of your mouth.  I was wrong to think anyone’s opinion mattered other than my own and Christian’s.  OK?  I WAS WRONG!

I have told Christian so many times that I love him and I will never leave him.  This is the second time I have broken that promise.  He deserves better than for me to be wishy-washy about our relationship.  Not just for general human respect, but because he has had enough shit go on in his life.  Now, I am adding to that.

Why now?  How much did the woman in the photo affect my decision?  I would be lying if I said this has nothing to do with her.  I know how handsome, caring and fun Christian is.  I know any woman in her RIGHT MIND would be a fool to walk away from a man who loves her.  Let alone one who is willing to put up with my brand of bullshit.

From what I can tell of the photograph, she looks like me and he looked star struck.  He is mine.  He will always be mine.  He said so himself before he left, “…Quite the contrary my love.  I want to prepare you for what the world takes seriously.  I do not want this to affect your time away from me.  I do not want you to question my love or fidelity to you no matter what the situation between us.  My heart is always in your hands baby.  I love you.”

We pull into the garage at Escala and I barely wait for the car to stop moving before I jump out and race to the elevator, with Sawyer on my heels.  I punch in the code but nothing happens.  Oh shit.

I look up at Sawyer and he tells me, “The codes were changed because Reynolds is no longer part of the Security Team; it had nothing to do with you Miss Steele.  We cannot risk him bearing a grudge against Mr. Grey and getting back into the apartment.  The access codes here and at Grey House have been changed.”  I nod my head as we enter the elevator.  It makes sense.  I cannot see Reynolds bearing a grudge, but…STOP IT!  It’s not your decision to make.  Isn’t that what you tell Grey all of the time?  Well this is about his home and his responsibilities to Gail, Taylor, Ryan and Sawyer as well.  They live here even if you and he don’t, so BUTT OUT!

I stand corrected.

We enter the Great Room and no one is there.  I walk over to the breakfast bar and see Gail looking through the cupboards with her back to me.  “Hi Gail.”

I tried not to startle her but it did not work.  “AH!”  She puts her hand to her chest and tries to catch her breath.  “Hello Miss Steele.  Oh, my…I wasn’t expecting anyone.  How are you dear?”  Once her breathing calms down her eyes soften.  She looks at me like I am her long lost child.  She comes around the breakfast bar and gives me a good, hard hug.

I manage not to cry and when we break apart I ask, “Have you or Taylor heard from Christian?  Do you know how he is or where he is?  I have been trying to reach him, but he is not taking my calls and my emails keep bouncing back to me.”  I take a deep breath then continue, “He has someone else doesn’t he?”

Gail takes me in her arms and rocks me side to side.  “Oh dear, I don’t know Ana, but when Jason gets home we’ll get him to tell us everything he knows; alright?”  I nod my head without leaving her embrace.  “You go and lie down and I’ll make you some tea and put together something for you to eat, ok?”  Again I nod my head.  “Good.  I’ll bring you your tea in a few moments.”

I slowly walk to Christian’s bedroom.  It is perfect.  Just as it always is when we get home from work.  I go into his closet and see where all of my clothes are gone.  I took them with me when I told him I needed space.  What confuses me is, all of his clothes are still in his closet.  He did not take anything with him?  The first thing that catches my eye is his grey tie; our favorite tie.

As I reach for it Gail appears behind me and clears her throat.  “He didn’t take anything with him.  He usually has a wardrobe available, but then he typically only goes as far as New York.  I imagine he purchased what he needed when he reached Asia.  These things will be here for when he returns.  I am making chicken potpie; it’ll take a little while to bake.  You freshen up and rest.  I’ll call you when it’s done.  I placed a cup of water and a Twining’s, English Breakfast Tea bag on the table beside the bed.”  She pats my shoulder then quietly leaves the room.

I cannot lie down here.  It feels wrong to be here when Christian is not.  I can smell his scent throughout the room and I see the picture of him and that woman in my minds eye.  What am I going to do?


“Taylor what does this mean?  How can a cellphone get a virus and how can any of that stop me from getting in touch with Christian?”  I am confused and frustrated at all of this technology mumbo-jumbo.

“Miss Steele, I am telling you what Barney found when he remoted into your computer and the results of his overview of your phone.  Here, take this BlackBerry.  It is brand new with a different phone number, which is here.  I recommend you only give it to your parents until we can resolve this issue.  Do you have a landline at home?”

I look at him puzzled.  Doesn’t everyone have a home phone?  “Yes, but we do not really use it.”

“Good, do not use it until I give you clearance to do so.”  Huh?

“Taylor is this all really necessary?”  I mean come on dude.

I do not know what I said, but whatever it was, I pissed him off because he glares directly into my eyes and asks, “Miss Steele, do you want to see him again?”

He has got you there.  I nod without saying a word.

“That is what I thought.  Follow my instructions to the letter.  Gail and I are going to Australia.  I will update him on what is going on here.  Please keep Sawyer close to you.  If you like, you are more than welcome to stay here at Escala.”  I shake my head no, that is too much to ask, besides, I cannot stand to be here without Christian.

“That will not be necessary Taylor, but if I change my mind, would it be alright to come back?”

“Of course it is alright, anytime, no matter what.  Now if you will excuse me, I have things I need to do.”  He gives me a quick nod and a pat on my shoulder before going into his office.

I look at Gail who asks, “Ana, are you certain you don’t want to stay tonight?  You’re already here.  I’m sure Jason and I won’t be leaving immediately.  How about it?”  I know she worries about me and I miss her terribly, but I just can’t.

“Thank you, but no Gail.  I really can’t stay here without Christian.  You both travel safe.”  I give Gail a final hug before we say goodbye.


“Good night John Boy” closing dialogue from the television series The Waltons (1972-1981)

Can’t We Just Be Happy | Chapter 8 Déjà Vu

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 8 | Déjà Vu

GREY

I have absolutely no fucking idea how long I have been standing here with my eyes popped wide open.  I feel like I have just seen the Easter Bunny.

“Ana?” I whisper again.  The difference is I did not feel the current that unmistakably runs between us.  The charge, the pull is always so strong I can feel her presence before I see or hear her.  I did not feel it when I looked at that woman.  But she looks so fucking familiar.  Maybe not exactly like Steele…think Grey.  We’ve seen that face before, I’m positive.  Think DAMMT!

Huh?  What did you say?  I shake my head, more than a little confused by the situation.

All of a sudden I hear it, click-click…click-click…click-click, FUCK.  I look to my left and see a photographer a few yards away, but the clicks are in stereo.  I look to my right; yep there is another shutter-fucker.  I look over my shoulder; yep there is a third one.  These bastards must be on their coffee break.  Why in the hell are they taking pictures of me?

We have to get out of here, NOW!

I get back in the R8 and take off.  I left the top up and growl as I pull away, “Fuckers”.


 

I have been working harder than I have in years and I fucking love it. Grey House Townsville is fully functional with 25 new acquisitions under its belt.  The Taiwan shipyard is managed from this location.

I found a gym in the area and Claude recommended a kickboxing coach for me.  Claude seemed a little off during our conversation but I just wrote it off to his being busy.  “Thanks for everything Claude.”

“Not a problem Grey.  You know you can always fund my way over there for a game of golf or a good old fashioned ass kicking when ever you need it.”  Whatever fucker.  He’s just ticked he’s loosing a client.

I know, have funded his niece and nephew through college.  They both went to Stanford.

He will find another cash cow I am sure.

Me too.  “I will keep that in mind.”  I shake my head as I end the call.

I can run from my place to the gym, workout, come home, shower, dress and be off to the office.  Oddly somehow this all feels like déjà vu?  This is how things were when you first started GEH.  The only difference now is you have back up established in Seattle.  You don’t have to find a number two, so you can move forward.  This expansion thing was really a good idea.

Andrea still manages my calendar and the minute details of my life from Seattle; I cannot afford to loose Andrea.  She is the best fucking PA in the world.  She miraculously can synchronize between Australian Eastern Standard Time and United States Pacific Time. Of course, with the changes in her responsibilities managing my time between two locations she got a considerable raise.

Ros is still pissing and moaning about my office.  I told her in no uncertain terms if I find out she has been in my office I would have a bounty on her head.  She told Gwen what I said in the hopes of creating a united front against me.  Gwen simply replied, “Then keep your ass out of his office.”  Thank you Gwen.

Ros keep me up to speed on the Seattle office and she is fully aware of the operations in the Townsville office.  I love the way that sounds.  I never dreamed GEH would get this big and the sky is the limit.

It is with a light heart and clear mind I wander around the Townsville City shopping area where I find The Sweatshop Coffee House.  I grab a Chai Latte, the Financial Times and settle in for a peaceful Saturday morning.  Then, I see her.

She is probably five feet four inches tall, thin but still has a wonderful figure.  Her long auburn hair is pulled back in a loose ponytail that hangs to her shoulder blades.  She is wearing yoga pants and a tank shirt.  She places her order, a drink and a muffin then turns around.  Our eyes lock just like they did the first time we saw each other.  Though, she does not lower her head this time and she does not blush.

I do not take my eyes off of her as she pays for her order and looks for a table.

Lights…camera…action Grey!

Damn straight.  I smile to myself and get up to see where she sat down.  The shop is not crowded so it is easy to spot her in a window seat.  I run my hand through my hair and take a deep breath.

Just as I reach her table she raises her head and gives me the most beautiful smile.  It almost eclipses the sun shinning in the window beside her.  I’ve seen that smile before.

“Hello, my name is Ella.  We saw each other a few days ago in the park.  You have beautiful eyes.”  I’ve heard that voice before too.  I am stunned into silence.

LMAO!  That’s a first.  I like this little girl already.  Pull yourself together Grey.  SAY SOMETHING, STUPID!

“Hi, my name is Christian.  I have just moved here…” I do not get to finish my thought let alone my sentence when she begins to ramble.

“Yes, I know.  You emigrated here from the United States.  You really have been the talk of the town.”  The smile never leaving her face and her eyes seem to twinkle with humor at my expression.  “Please, have a seat.”  She motions me toward the chair across from her.

“I apologize for staring.  You look amazingly familiar to me, but I cannot say how.”  At closer glance, she really does not look like Ana, but she still looks like someone I know.  Not a submissive…dammit.  I know I must look like a fool staring at this woman.  This is gonna fucking drive me crazy

I shake my head and try to hold some sort of intelligent conversation.  “Are you from Townsville?  Did you grow up here?”

Ella smiles again and begins to tell me about herself.  She is originally from Melbourne, Australia.  She went to college in the United States.  I held my breath waiting for the other shoe to drop, “What school did you go to?”

“I went to Hawaii Pacific University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics as well as a Bachelors and Masters of Science in Marine Biology.”

“Oh, you want to be Jacques Cousteau when you grow up?”  I aim for lighthearted and she runs with it.

“Exactly.  What do you do for a living?”  She is almost laughing at me as she sips her coffee and nibbles on her muffin.  She is cute.  She is not shy, but not pushy either, just a welcome mix of a good sense of humor, confidence and intelligence.

“I started my own business a while back and have been fortunate enough to expand it.”  Ha, ha, ha, if that ain’t the biggest understatement I don’t know what is.  Modesty don’t become you Grey.

“Must be a hell of a business for you to be in that house up there”.  She points in the general direction of my new home.  It has more space than Escala and is absolutely ridiculous for one person, but I liked it so I bought it.

“Yes, well…like I said, I have been fortunate.”  For some reason, I am desperate to change the subject.  I do not know why but talking about my success is bothering me.

“My grandfather, father and three brothers are in M&A as well.  Did we say anything about M&A?  “I guess that is why I chose to delve into the ocean for a living.  Being stuck in an office would cramp my style.”  She wrinkles her nose like she smelled something horrible.

“Anyway, after a while it is just a bunch of zeros on paper.  It seems to be a game to them all, where real people and real lives are bartered and sold.  I know they take each transaction seriously and to their credit, the goal is to be fair as well as equitable.  However, sometimes the two are mutually exclusive.”

“I do not know about Marine Biology, but you have strong opinions about money and business.”  Now she bushes.  Hmm.

We then talked about the weather, the things to do and places to go here in Townsville.  After a while Ella says, “I don’t know about you, but I want to get out of these sweaty clothes and lounge about for a while.  It was lovely to meet you Christian.”  She extends her hand to me and we shake.  Her grip is firm for such a petite woman.

I know we’ll see each other again.  If you like, we can meet here next week.  Same bat-time, same bat-channel.”  She gives me a little smile and a wave, which I return then she is gone.

Congratulations Grey.

What are you congratulating me for?

A well maintained conversation with a woman that was completely devoid of all things BDSM.  She’s a pretty girl and she’s right, we’ll see her again.

I stay in the window seat for a while longer thinking back on our conversation.  FUCK ME SIDEWAYS!

WHAT…WHAT’s  WRONG?

Her name is Ella!  I put my head in my hands and moan as if I am in excruciating pain.  I cannot believe this, her name is Ella.

Ok, lets get out of here Grey.  We need to talk and this ain’t the place to do it.

I pace back and forth in my living room analyzing my encounter with Ella.

Now, aside from the obvious, what is wrong with the name Ella?  It’s a name not a character trait.  You can’t hold a grudge against a name.  Wait, let me rephrase that because I know you CAN hold a grudge better than Monkey Tape.  It’s unreasonable to hold a grudge against a name and project it onto someone you don’t even know.

I know you are right.  Somehow, it is more than just her name.  You said it yourself.  There is something too familiar about her.  Like I have known her a long time or knew her a long time ago.  I would remember meeting someone else named of Ella; that would stick with me for an eternity.

Relax.  We have work to do anyway.  Put the déjà vu aside for now.

True.


 

Little did I realize Ella and I have become friends.  She’s taken me rollerblading, water skiing, surfing and to a pig roast on the beach of all places.  These activities aren’t foreign or new for me.  It’s just great to go with someone who’s not family or security.  I’m sad Anastasia’s not here to enjoy this, but I’ve left all communication up to her.

By now Ana is well aware of my step back form SIP, so that can’t be a bone of contention between us.  One of my conversations with dad filled me in about the goings on after my call home.  Apparently Kate tore her ass and Elliott put her out of his place.  Just peachy.  That means she’s back at the apartment with Ana spouting off about how you ruined her relationship with El.  Ain’t that just dandy.  I guess that explains the radio silent treatment I’m getting.

After work and my workout, Ella and I have been going on expeditions in and around the area.  I had Charlie Tango brought to Townsville and we’ve taken several flights across the Coral Sea following the route of the Magnetic Island Ferry to visit the National Park there.

I’ve seriously considered having The Grace brought here as well.  Although, for some reason I can’t pinpoint, I haven’t made that of kind of commitment.  I haven’t had a session with Flynn since before I left for Taiwan and I really don’t want his point of view.  I’ve been talking things out on my own and making solid decisions so I’ll stick with my gut instinct.

I’ve enjoyed listening to Ella discuss her family.  She’s the youngest of four and the only girl.  Although she’s the princess of the family, she is by no means a prima donna.  Strong-willed, intelligent, gracious and compromising are a few of the adjectives I use to describe Ella Brown.

“Our family business has been ingrained in us our entire lives.  All five men in my family, grandfather, father and three brothers are graduates of the University of Melbourne.  They each went though the Chancellor’s Scholars Program in their chosen field and completed graduate and postgraduate degrees.”

“My grandfather, Edward Brown, obtained his Bachelors and Masters of Arts in Economics.  He went on to begin EB, Pty on his own.  He prided himself on the fact that no one helped him finance his company.  He doesn’t like to feel beholden to anyone.”  We can respect that.

“Since the company is his, he made stipulations with regard to its composition, function and maintenance.  We each were required to pair the study of Economics with another unrelated course.  His rationale was we should understand money and its function in the world and extenuating circumstances that affect money and its function in the world.”

“We make for an interesting mix.  My father, Emmett, added Commerce, my first brother, Everett, added Politics and International Studies, my second brother, Eran, included Psychology and my third brother, Emerson, included Media and Communications.”

“The psychology major was laughed at until the company met with an attempted takeover.  Eran, “the shrink”, attended one of the business meetings.  Afterward, he was able to explain the thought process of their opponent and my family was able to out think, if you will, the other company’s moves thus saving our company from being overrun.”  Interesting tactic.

“They really are a sneaky bunch.”  She smiles again and shows a definite pride in her family.  You need to keep all of this in mind Grey.

“I suppose I’m the rogue child.  While I studied Marine Biology, I included Economics, in the event the males of my family were able to thwart my effort to pursue a career in Oceanic Research or Oceanography.  Therefore, I too have met the criteria allowing me to join them in “their work” should I choose to do so.”

“I have no desire to work in the family business, but I can advise them about proposals from companies related to zoos, aquariums, fisheries and governmental research and analysis.  So I guess I can pull my weight if I am ever needed.”

“Tell me about your family Christian.”  At first I consider giving her the condensed generic pries of my family history, but seeing how she has been so forth coming about her own life it seems only fair that I do the same.

I tell her about Carrick, Grace, Elliott and Mia, how we came together, our education, or the lack thereof in my case and our professions, including the lack thereof in Mia’s case.

We end up discussing Mia in some detail.  Finally Ella says, “Sounds like your little sister could use a dose of reality.  It can be a hard pill to swallow, but well worth the effort.

“I may tell her you said that.”  Mia really could stand to talk with Ella.  Ella smiles and nods her head.

Suddenly, she raises one eyebrow then asks me, “When was the last time you spoke with your family Love?”  Love?  What the fuck is that about?

“I spoke with them just before I came to Townsville.  Why do you ask?”  I guess I had a frown on my face.

“Well, you get a faraway look in your eyes when we talk about my family, as if you long for your own.”

Just then, I feel the walls go up around me.  I actually feel myself shutdown and close off from her. “Ella, I really do not see where my personal life is any of your concern.”  That is final.  However, I am about to learn a little more about Miss Ella Brown.

Ella straightens her stance, squares her shoulders and marches directly toward me.  She then looses all facial expression and her baby blues seem to glaze over.  “Really, you think so?  Well let me tell you something Mr. Christian Grey, first it doesn’t take a degree in anything other than the fundamentals of life to see the affects of a broken heart and feel the presence of a troubled soul.  So if you think you’re hiding, you’re only fooling yourself.  Next, I may be female and diminutive in stature, but I can hold my own in any confrontation, so you can change your carriage and tone of voice if you wish to continue our little chat.”

“Believe it or not Love, we have internet access ‘Down Under’ as well.  For all you know I’ve already Googled your ass and have your basic story in mind right this minute.”  Then she raises her brow again and says, “However, that is not how I do business.  I give a person enough rope to hang himself then I move on.  At this point Mr. Grey, you’ve earned yourself a head on my mental game of hangman.”  Her arms are at her sides, her fits balled and she is on her tippy toes trying to get in my face.  Feisty huh?

“There is a way to speak to people Christian and you need to learn it.  Bullying isn’t the way to win friends and influence people for the better.  My grandfather has a mantra he recites for situations where deliberate thoughts and actions are of the utmost importance, Marcus Aurelius from Meditations, ‘You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.’  Keep it in mind the next time you are faced with a predicament you don’t like and temper your reaction accordingly.”  She takes a step back and stares at me without blinking.  I know I look like a goldfish with my mouth opening and closing with no sound coming out.

Ella smirks and says, “Shall we continue our walk or are you going to stomp off like a little girl?”

I smile, take her hand and continue on our way.  She is an insightful woman.  Like it or not, I believe some of her grandfather’s business sense rubbed off on her.


 

Ella is preparing for her internship interviews and I’m bogged down with the new deals I have in the works.  After my usual run I’m dog shit tired when I get home.  I walk through the door and am greeted by a familiar pair of dark brown eyes filled with rage.  “How the fuck did you get in here?”  Breaking and entering is against the law all over the world isn’t it?

Can’t We Just Be Happy | Chapter 7 Foolish Pride

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 7 | Foolish Pride

STEELE

I got home Friday, kicked off my shoes and settled in, I was too tired to even eat.  Some of the other editors went out for a few drinks after work.  They asked if I wanted to join them, but I declined.  I did not think it was a good idea, plus Christian would not have liked the idea anyway, anything could happen.

Since when do you give a fuck what Grey would or wouldn’t like?  Thought you said, or was it Kate?  I can’t remember; your idiotic viewpoints are so much alike.  Anyway, thought Grey was trying to run your life.  He was being overbearing and dictatorial.  Or did you forget that?

I know what you are trying to do and it will not work.  There were instances where Christian was right, but there were instances where he was wrong as well and you know it.  Do not try to put this off on me.  I stood up for myself that is all.

If that helps you sleep at night then fine, I, for one, know it doesn’t so tell it to someone who’ll listen.

Look, we have argued about this for months now.

NO YOU LOOK!  He all but got rid of your security, wiped his hands of SIP AND moved to the opposite end of the Earth and you STILL have a funky-ass attitude.  He’s going to meet someone else you know that don’t you?  He’s single and hot and alone.  And for the record, I’ve discussed and you’ve ignored me for four months, two weeks and…what time is it…18 hours.

Christian loves me he would never cheat on me.

CHEAT ON YOU?  Who the fuck has to cheat?  You told him to fuck off because he wanted to share his life with you.  The man is not destitute, he won’t behave as if he is and he shouldn’t be expected to. 

I went to school for four years.  Got good grades and secured a job in my chosen field…

Yes, yes, you also met, fell in love with and received love from Christian Grey.  No small feat all things considered.  Then you managed to throw all of that out of the window because of some foolish pride.

I just shake my head.  You do not understand.

No YOU don’t understand and it’s going to bite you in the ass one day.


 

Saturday was difficult.  I have been second and third guessing my personal life for months now.  Just as I managed to rationalize my decision to postpone Christian and my wedding, something happens, a song plays or an article comes out causing me to wonder if I am wrong.  After my conversation with Elliott, I spent time watching Christian over the Internet, looking at the various pictures of him and reading the articles that released.  Things here in Seattle calmed down but wherever Christian is, there is a following.

I did not give much thought to the picture of him at what looked like a business dinner.  He was seated between to young Taiwanese women, but they were seated beside two men who could have easily been their husbands or boyfriends.

Uh, huh.

The next picture was just taken out of context.  I mean, yeah Christian is a Dom, but I cannot fathom him letting the world see him that way and I know he does not like to share so there was no way he would be involved with the two women in the sexy ass picture of him in only a towel.

Uh, huh.

The press has its spin on words and photographers can sway your opinion based on their camera angle.  I mean, look at the stories that went on around here.  None of what they said was true and as far as the pictures go, look at the one of me walking back to work looking like a lost lamb or something.

So the women surrounding him at the Beitou Hot-Spring Area were just a fucking coincidence, the woman drinking and laughing with him at Barcode was imaginary and what about the woman he was with in front of Taipei 101 and what about…

ENOUGH!  They were pictures, nothing more.

Sunday was the icing on the cake.  I was trying to relax and get back into work mode.  I sat down to finish my notes on the last manuscript I read when I hear Brownstone’s Foolish Pride; I forgot I had this on my playlist:

Don’t let foolish pride get in the way of a good love
Like yours and mine

How could you let me walk outside your door
When there’s so much you wanted to say?
How could you just pretend you could ignore
All the feelings that true love has made, ooh baby?

Ooh baby, ah baby, I was right there by your side
Through good and bad, ooh baby
Ooh baby, ah baby, let me know the reason why
You’re treating me so bad
Don’t let foolish pride get in the way of a good love
Like yours and mine
Don’t let foolish pride make you say things
That you don’t mean

Ooh my baby, my sweet baby
I’m the one you held so dear
Now that the weather here is changing
You don’t even want me near
You know in the beginning, everything was rosy
Everything was a okay
Now you’re telling me to go
I guess I’ll be on my way

Ooh baby, ah baby, I was right there by your side
Through good and bad, ooh baby
Ooh baby, ah baby, let me know the reason why
You’re treating me so bad

Don’t let foolish pride get in the way of a good love
Like yours and mine
Don’t let foolish pride make you say things
That you don’t mean

I hit the skip button on the iPod remote but end up hearing Come Back to Me by David Cook:

You say you gotta go and find yourself
You say that you’re becoming someone else
Don’t recognize the face in the mirror looking back at you

You say you’re leaving as you look away
I know there’s really nothing left to say
Just know I’m here whenever you need me I’ll wait for you

So I’ll let you go, I’ll set you free
And when you’ve seen what you need to see
When you find you, come back to me
Take your time, I won’t go anywhere
Picture you with the wind in your hair
I’ll keep your things right where you left them
I’ll be here for you

Oh and I’ll let you go, I’ll set your free
And when you’ve seen what you need to see
When you find you, come back to me

DAMMIT!  I need to talk with Christian.  We can work this out I know we can.  It is just a matter of knowing our limits.  We are each going to cross some line somewhere.  I have to tell him I was wrong.  I have to tell him I need him here or ask him to let me come there.  I need him.  He said all I had to do was let him know when I was ready.

What about your precious job?  You’re a new editor.  Aren’t you afraid of loosing your position, the respect of your colleagues, your boss?  I thought you wanted the world to take you seriously.  I thought public opinion was more important than your personal life.

Fuck all of that.  I need Christian.

Just as I am coming to terms with mea culpa, I hear the apartment door slam open then shut and Kate barges into my room in tears mumbling incoherently, “Kate you are going to have to slow down.  I cannot understand you.”

“That good for nothing bastard ruined my life…hope he catches VD…good you got rid of that fucker…nothing but a piece of shit on legs…” she keeps this up for what seems like ages.  As I listen to Kate ramble on, I search my mind for clues as to where she was and what has happened.

Lets see, this can’t be too difficult to figure out.  She’s dressed for more than pizza and a night watching movies at home.  What’s today, oh yes, it’s Sunday that means dinner at Grey Manor.  The only person she would have all of these invectives for is Christian.  Am I close?

“I do not see how he got GEH where it is.  He has no sense of human decency what so fucking ever.”  I know she is your friend, but I’m really not in the mood her and her incessant shit.  I’ll talk with you some other time.

“Kate slow down.  Who are you talking about?  Get rid of whom?”

“Oh my God Steele, get rid of Grey!  What the fuck is wrong with you?  Christian the overbearing, self-centered, maniacal tyrant Grey that’s who.”

WHO THE FUCK IS SHE CALLING AN OVERBEARING, SELF-CENTERED, MANIACAL TYRANT?

“Kate, I do not understand.  What does Christian have to do with any of this and, no offense, what are you doing here anyway?  Why aren’t you at Elliott’s place.”  I need to get a handle on what she is even talking about.  I know Christian is not on this continent so there is no way she has seen him other than in the news.

“Elliott sided with that bastard brother of his and kicked me out of his place.”  What the fuck?  Sided with Christian over what?

“When did this happen?  How did this happen?  What brought all of this on?”  Now I am rambling just like her.

“Fuck me Steele, are you loosing your good sense too?”  You better check that bitch.

“Lookie here blondie, you have got about two more seconds of my time to waste before I leave you to wallow in whatever pit of pity you fell into.  I suggest you get your run-on sentences, dangling participles, subject predicate and verbs in good working order or just forget this conversation.”  I sneer.  I am in no mood for her brand of bullshit either.  I have my own existence to contemplate and I really do not need an armchair quarterback around.

Kate’s eyes go wide and she looks like she has just seen a ghost.  I am really tired of her bashing Christian.  Elliott made his stipulations clear the last time I heard her sputtering her garbage about Christian, so she cannot plead ignorance to his point of view.

Yeah BITCH.  Start explaining yourself and make it fucking interesting.

So Kate goes into a diatribe about her evening at the Grey’s and the weekly Sunday dinner.  Apparently she started making her usual shit soup with Christian and fell down the fucking rabbit hole.

That’s what the fuck she gets.  Elliott told her over and over again to stop it, but she just wouldn’t listen.  How the fuck would she feel if Elliott talked to and about Ethan that way?  And just what’s her problem with Grey?  It’s not his fault he met you and not her.  That’s what she gets for pawning off her responsibilities on someone else.  Spoiled little bitch.  She got Elliott so why the fuck is she always prodding Grey?

You know Kate is just being protective of me.

WELL WHO THE FUCK ASKED HER TO?  And for the record, you see where her protection landed you right?  She needs to shut that big-ass hole in her head and get a fucking clue.  So, now, thanks to Miss I’m Right and You’ll Withstand My Flagrant Disrespect you’re both shit out of luck.  Got to love that Kavanaugh lack of charisma huh?  Well it is what it is.

What is that supposed to mean?

Karma is a BITCH, that’s what!

I manage to get Kate settled down and in bed. Elliott told her he would have her belongings sent here sometime tomorrow so she will call off from work to wait for the delivery.  I offered to stay with her but she insisted I go on to work.

Oh, I see.  You can take time off to help Miss Sad Sack, but not to stay in bed with the man who thinks you walk on water; or least he used to?  Let me repeat myself, “…What about your precious job?  You’re a new editor, aren’t you afraid of loosing your position, the respect of your colleagues, your boss?  I thought you wanted the world to take you seriously…”

I swear to God if you do not leave me the fuck alone I am going to…

You are going to what, CRY?  That is all you have been doing since your stupid ass ran from Grey.  What’s it going to take to make you wake up and smell the fucking tea?

Buzz, buzz, buzz.  Who the fuck is texting me at this time of night?  The Caller ID simply displays ‘Unknown Number’.  Then, all of sudden, pictures of Christian and a petite brown-haired woman staring into each other’s eyes appear on my phone.  Then another shot comes across the little screen, the woman’s head dropped as a Submissive would to her Dom.  The final picture is of Christian alone, still staring at the spot where the woman was standing.  The geo-tags on the photos show the location as Townsville, Australia.

Are you happy now?

Can’t We Just Be Happy | Chapter 6 Carry On

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 6 | Carry On

GREY

So sleep is out of the question I take it.

My, aren’t you perceptive and for so early in the morning too.  I am impressed.

Don’t get our balls in a bunch fucker it was just a question.  We have no meetings today, Grey, so we can finish researching the Australian building site and possibly schedule a tour, that is, if you truly intend to leave Seattle.

Relocating GEH Headquarters means nothing to me.  I can run my company from anywhere on the globe and I know it, all I need is internet access and a cellular signal.  I am leaving Seattle to give Ana space.  It is all up to her now.

I never took you for a coward Grey.

That is because I am NOT a coward.  What the fuck do you suggest shit-head?  Do you have some words of wisdom to make all of this magically go the fuck away?

I do not know, you tell me.  How about we talk this through without Flynn and without Steele, hmm?

Fine, you talk…I am tired.

Ahem…we have established that Steele is not your submissive, correct?

I am going to stop you right there.  If all you are going to do is take mental inventory of the obvious or replay conversations we have already had then you might as well shut the fuck up now because I am in no mood.

As I was saying, before I was so RUDELY interrupted, we have established that Steele is not your submissive, correct?

GRRR!

GRRR all you want motherfucker, ANSWER ME!

NO!  Anastasia is NOT my submissive.  I wanted her to be my submissive when I first met her, but at some point in this bizarre bullshit we fondly refer to as our relationship, my feelings on that changed.  I want to spend time with her outside of my Playroom and outside of my apartment.  I want her to be comfortable with my family.  I want her to be actively involved in my day-to-day life.  I care about what she thinks, how she feels, her opinions and I want her love.

I find myself thinking about her for absolutely no…fucking…reason, and before you make another nasty-ass comment, I do not only think about her sexually.  I think about all of her, mentally, physically and spiritually, makes me smile.  I cannot maintain my tough guy, Master of My Universe persona when she is around, she sees right through that and gets at the heart of whatever caused me to “go Dom” in the first place.  It is all part of what I love about her.

You spend a vast majority of your time thinking about what to do for her and what to give to her.  What do you want from her?

What do you mean?

Hello there, Harvard.  We dropped out, but that was from boredom not stupidity.  It may be a difficult question for you to comprehend, so let’s ask again, slowly, what…do…YOU…want…FROM…Anastasia?

Oh, you have digs , huh? Well…I want her to be happy. I want her to feel loved and cherished. I want it to return my affection and let me express my love for her. I do not want her to shower me with gifts or to kneel and beg me to be with her, if that’s what you mean. Does that answer your question, smartass?

Oui, oui it does Mr. Grey. So this has nothing to do with money or power? I mean, you are not just out to make her a trophy wife?

No, this is not about control, power or money.  If I tried to take control of Ana or exert some kind of power over Ana, she would leave me.  Not to mention, it is an impossible feat because, as I just stated, I cannot maintain the will to do that when she is involved.  I cannot stand to hurt her in any way.

I want to make her happy and take good care of her.  As it stands, if I want to take her to Monte Carlo for a night on the town, what am I supposed to do?  Tell her to save up and pay her share?  Do I take a tugboat to get there or am I just supposed to not do anything for her that she cannot do for herself?

All you can do is wait.  We already discussed this.  It is not your fight.  You cannot make her accept you.  And I mean the entire package.  We know you do it big, from yachts to jets, from helicopters to penthouses.  You cannot force her accept those things.  Then it is no longer your Ana sharing with you, it is your submissive following your instructions.

Something is preventing Anastasia from enjoying what you have to offer. Something is causing her to have a negative impression of your actions.  It is not your job to figure out what that something is; it is hers.

Go play the piano.  How about some Rachmaninoff?  Play the one with all of the rifts and scales and please, watch your phrasing.  The challenge will do us good.

You know me so well my friend.

That I do.

And play I do, Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, Haydn and numerous others.  I played until I saw the sun on the horizon.

Fuck this, I did not come over here to waste away.  I came over here to conduct business and conduct business is precisely what I am going to do.  I went to more business dinners and network lunches than I care to acknowledge.  Every fucking single time, there is a rogue flash or a multitude of clicks going off around me.  The next thing I know…BAM!

The article following a visit to the hotel’s pool area was particularly entertaining.  I chuckled as I read the headline, “Go Get ‘Em Grey” with a picture of me naked from the waist up.  There were two women on their knees, in the submissive pose, on either side of the doorway where I stood.  I could not keep from laughing.  This clip apparently made it back to the US because it resulted in a text from the Bitch-Troll:

BT: Hello Pet.  It is nice to see you are not brooding over there.

Grey: GO THE FUCK AWAY!

BT: Now Pet, there is no reason to be hostile.  I am proud of you for exploring your surroundings and not pining away for the same ole same ole here in the States.  Enjoy Pet.  I will see you when you return.

I do not care if she is proud or not, her opinion means nothing to me.  I do not want to have contact with her ever again.

My last night in Taipei consisted of dinner with the Executive Leadership Team from my shipyard.  I was seated between the wife of one Director and the fiancée of another Director.  Of course they were beautiful women, which only lead to speculation about the seating arrangement.  You could hear the camera clicks a mile away.  Whoever the journalist was the fucker did not have the decency to find out the identity of the women seated beside.  The news about that dinner read “Business or Pleasure” 

Seated here, Mr. Christian Grey is being entertained by executives from a local shipping company.  Who are the mystery women?  Does Mr. Grey have a bigger investment here in Taipei than he is admitting?  Rest assured, we will find out.

Needless to say the outcome lead to the photographer being blackballed and Reynolds’ dismissal.

“Just where in the fuck were you?  All you have to do is look and listen.  A deaf child could hear those camera clicks.  I thought you FBI guys could hear a fly fart from 100 miles away.  Obviously I was wrong.  YOU ARE FIRED!”

“Yes sir.  I will notify Mr. Taylor immediately.” He says with his eyes looking at the floor like a kindergartener caught in a lie.

“Did I ask you to notify Mr. Taylor?” I growl, “I will take care of any notifications.  Hand over your GEH identification and that fucking BlackBerry.  I have half a mind to let you figure out how to get a commercial flight back to the States.  However, the jet is available so get your ass on it.  You are welcome; you can thank Miss Steele for my change of heart.”

“Yes sir.  Thank you sir.”

What the fuck ever, stupid little prick.  He thought no one saw him trying to make time with the maitre’d.  Well he thought wrong.

I sent Taylor a text letting him know about Reynolds and told him to immediately change all of the pass codes and locks for the areas Reynolds could access and let me know about his progress.

Just as I hit Send, my phone rang, “Sir, this means you are alone and unprotected.”

“Yes Taylor, it means I am alone and unprotected, but it is a mute point because I will be in a new location in a few hours.”

“Reynolds is returning to the US by commercial flight I take it.”  Nope, you got to give it to the bastard Grey he is thorough, nosey as all fucking hell, but thorough.

“No Taylor, the jet is taking Reynolds back.”

“Then how will you be traveling sir?”  Nosey prick.

“I have my ways Taylor.  Look, you are just returning from your vacation.  I hope you had a good time and tell Gail I said hello.  So settle in, liaise with Sawyer then take care of the security updates.  I will be fine.”

“Sir, this is…” Shut this fucker down Grey.  What the fuck did we do before Taylor came along?  We’ve been in more than our fair share of street fights, most of which we initiated by the way, beaten and fucked by a pedophile and threatened for a majority of our life over whiners and haters who cannot manage their own companies so who the fuck is he to ‘protect’ us now?

“Enough Taylor.  I will be in touch.”  I say as I hit the End button.  Give me a fucking break.  Maybe we need to be totally on our own.  There is no need for a fucking babysitter.

I spoke with Ros and updated her on the shipyard situation then told her I was on my way to Townsville Australia.  The city is on North Queensland’s east coast.  Building for the new Grey House is underway and I will have a perfect view of the Great Barrier Reef.

“…and let Human Resources know they will be receiving employment applications shortly.  I want everyone checked five times over so get Taylor and Welch involved ASAP.  We should treat this even more carefully than when GEH started.  Brush off your pointy hat and broom and be ready for Skype interviews.”  I laugh.  She loves employment interviews.  It is her time to shock the shit out of perspectives, vent her frustrations of the day and flex her muscle all at one time.  I have seen her in action.  She is a true bitch at interview time.

“Do not give me any shit Grey.  You know interview time is better than Christmas for me.  So this is really going to happen, huh?  You really are not coming back here?  Oh hey, can I have your office?”  I know good and well she is fucking serious.

“Yes it is real and FUCK no you cannot have my office.  When I DO come to Seattle I do NOT intend to be some redheaded, homeless stepchild in my own building.”  Shit.

“Whatever, it was just a question.”  And I just gave her the answer.

“Anything else Ros?”

“Yeah, SIP is doing…”  OH NO YOU DON’T.  Not this shit. She knows protocol.  When there are no issues affecting my pocket then she can have it.  We knew it was doing well based on its ratings in Barron’s and because she would have lead off with its fucked up shit if things were going badly.  So, we do not want to know.

“STOP!  Is there a problem at SIP that requires my attention?”

”No, I just thought…” I do not pay her to think for me.  I pay her to be my second and think for GEH.

“STOP!  You thought wrong.  SIP is just another GEH subsidiary.  You do not discuss subsidiaries with me unless there is a situation that only I can address, correct?”

“Yes.”  She knows this.  We have never had to have this conversation and I do not ever intend to have it again.

“This is not new protocol.  We have conducted things this way since you came onboard with GEH, correct?”

“Yes.”  Plain and simple, I wish the rest of my world functioned this way.

“Then why in the fuck would things change now?  Think very carefully before you answer that question Ros.”

“No reason, Grey.  Other than to brag on their standing with GEH.”  Good answer.

“Ok then, they are doing well.  I know that from the financial news that you know I read every fucking day.”

“Yep”, she pops her ‘p’.

Then changing the subject she says, “I will let you know when I have scheduled the interviews.  Since this year is over, will you be coming back here during the First Quarter?  If so, we should schedule the End of the Year Reports meeting.”

“I will think about that and let you know Ros.  Bye.”  Mission GEH update accomplished.

Now it is time for Operation Family Confrontation.  I am truly dreading this.  I did not call at Thanksgiving or Christmas on purpose.  I did not want to overtly ruin my mother’s holidays.  For some masochistic reason I feel the need to contact her before the New Year to let her know that I moved my company and myself to Australia.  “Please God be with me.”

She answers on the second ring, “CHRISTIAN!  Where are you son?  How are you son?  When are you coming home?  We all miss you so much. Anastasia is devastated.”  Damn caller ID.  Talk about let a guy get a word in edgewise, but that is mom for you.

I do not have the opportunity to speak when I hear a commotion in the background.  Based on the ear-piercing scream I know it is Mia.  I take it mom was trying to keep the call all to herself.  Not going to happen with Mia around.  She should have been on duty instead of Reynolds, that picture would never have made it to press.  True, very true.

“Is that Christian?”

“Yes darling it is him.  Just give me a moment…” then there is a struggle for the phone.  I have never heard my mother and sister tussle over anything.  I am picturing Mia struggling over an article of clothing at Niemen’s; it is too funny.

“…Let me talk to him mom…”

“…Mia, calm down.  I will give you the phone when I am finished.”

“Please mom…” I am on the edge of my seat betting on which one will end up with the phone.  This is better than any gift.  I should disappear more often.

“Give me that damned thing.  Christian Trevelyn-Grey, where the fuck are you?  You are killing your mother.”  Uh oh, the party is over; it is dad.

“Hello dad.  I am still in Taipei.  I thought I should call and check in before I move on.”

“Just a fucking second mister.  You will just be spending a shit-load of money on this long fucking ass distance call.  That is what you will be doing.  Now, I want answers, but your mother has been in tears since you told her you would not be in Seattle for the holidays so I will let her speak with you first.  Then you will touch base with your sister and brother and finally, you will answer to me.  Do you understand?”  Now you know why the man is a good lawyer.  If you cannot get me out of this shit-storm then just give it a fucking break and let me suffer through this.  Be my fucking guest.

“Yes sir,” I say very quietly.  He is pissed, my mom is pissed, and my sister is pissed.  I know Elliott will not give a fuck so I am not worried about him.  Mom mentioned Ana, what are you going to do about that?  That is when you can cash in your two cents, but for now, piss off. Hee, hee, hee you will need me sooner than you think.  The thing that pisses me the fuck off is I know he is right.

“Christian?”  I can hear the pain in my mother’s voice.  God I hate this.  I knew I should not have called.

“Hi mom.  I am fine.  I am still in Taipei Taiwan, but I will be leaving here on my way to Townsville Australia.  I wanted to let you know about the change in my location.”  Did I answer all of her questions?  After all the fuss, I forgot what she asked.

“I am glad you called son.  I miss you terribly, we all do.”  I want to laugh.  I know she misses me and Mia does too, but as for dad and Elliott, I know better.  My father and I have never seen eye-to-eye on a damn thing and that only got worse when I dropped out of Harvard.  Elliott, well, he is a big brother so it goes without saying.  I am too big and too ugly for him to worry his pretty little head over.

“Well, that is all I wanted to say mom.  I just wanted to give you an update.”  You did not give her an update.  You forgot one question.  What was that?  Wait for it.

“When are you coming home son?”  Oh, shit.  I did miss that one didn’t I?  Deep breath Grey, just give it to her straight.

“Mom, I am relocating myself and GEH to Australia.  Building is underway for the new office, new employee interviews will begin shortly and I have a few local companies I am looking into acquiring, so things will be really busy for me.  I will be back sometime next year for business in the Seattle office.”  That should be enough.  I am not going to promise I will visit because I probably will not.  Escala will be available for me to stay the night, as I do not plan on staying for long.

“Christian, what happened between you and Ana?  Why have you distanced yourself from us all?  It has been impossible for me to contact her and she just lives in the city.  While finding you is like looking for a needle in a haystack.”  Mom says with tears in her voice.  I can hear Mia sniffling somewhere beside her.

“More like looking for Waldo.”  Elliott yells.  For once, I am glad for his stupid sense of humor.

“It is a long story mom and not one I want to discuss.  Suffice it to say, I am expanding GEH and Anastasia is building her career.”  And she is doing it the way she wanted to, without our interference and even our knowledge at this point.

I have not spoken to Ana in about a month.  The days and nights are running together anymore.  All I have are my dreams to keep her with me.  To protect me from whatever is out there, especially at night.

“I do not believe you Christian.  You have no reason to expand GEH.  You have more money than is necessary for the Brady Bunch, let alone a single man with no dependents.  I want you back here and I want you back here now!”  My bossy mother; she makes me smile when she acts this way.  It reminds me that she is the parent and I am the child and that she really does give a damn.  The thought makes me smile.  You can never get too grown up for mommy.

“Mom, no disrespect intended, but I would if I could but I can’t so I won’t.”  She takes a deep breath and simply passes the phone to Mia.  No goodbye, no fuck you, nothing.  So I know I have fuck up that relationship for good.  Way to go Grey, two down three to go.

“Christian? “  I cannot take this.  I am going to say this shit once more then I am getting off this damn telephone.

“Mia, would you put the telephone on speaker please?”  I am trying to keep my composure.  I know I have not called and I have been gone for a while, but it is not the first time in my life that I have been away on business so I do not get the big fucking deal.

Mia announces, “Ok, we are all listening.”

“I am currently in Taipei City Taiwan and am on my way to Townsville Australia.  I am moving GEH Headquarters to Townsville.  Building is underway, sorry El, you would love Townsville.  According to the Australian Conservation Foundation, Townsville is the fourth most self-sustainable city in Australia, including building and transportation.  It is wonderful.  That is it.”

“What about Ana you pretentious, self-centered, uncaring motherfucker?”  she shouts in true self-righteous bitch fashion.  Then there is dead silence.  I mean dead silence.  Libraries should have such sound control.

Finally, I hear the low growl I recognize, without a shadow of a doubt, is my father.  In a bare whisper that sounds like a faint spring breeze I hear, “Get the fuck out of my house and do not ever return.  Do you understand me? Elliott, if you bring her back on the premises, I will have you both arrested for trespassing and you of all people know I will do it.”

So much for the ball-buster, hee, hee, hee, the bitch deserves that and worse.  It is a mystery just what the fuck Elliott sees in her, aside from possibly a decent fuck and a blowjob.  With the filth that comes out of that bitches yap it is a wonder he has not needed shots because of the tea-bagging tart.

“Mr., Mrs. Grey, I apologize for my language.  Ana has been upset and distant from me for months and it is your son’s fault.  She will not tell me what happened, but I know she never behaved this way before she met him.  And…” she does not get to say another insincere word because Elliott finally takes control.

“Kate, we have discussed this a million times.  I am tired of you belittling my brother.  Ana is a grown woman and she can stand up for herself.  Being her friend may mean listening to her when she needs you, but it most certainly does not give you free license to attack my brother.”  Now step the fuck back bitch.

“If you did not like Christian because of something he did to you personally, then I would understand the contempt you constantly display, but even then your actions, especially tonight, would not be acceptable.  However, that is not the case.  You do not like him because of the goings on in his relationship with your friend and that is not only unreasonable and utterly ridiculous on your part but also none of your fucking business,” which we have all told this whore for the longest time.

“I cannot stand by and let this continue anymore.  I will call a cab to take you back to your Pike Market Place apartment and I will pay to have your personal items delivered to you tomorrow.  Keep the key because I will have the locks changed before you get back to the city.”  Oh shit, that has got to hurt.

“Now, I believe my father told you to leave and do not for one instance think you can apologize satisfactorily enough for disrespecting my family so do not even try.  Get out.”  WOW!  YOU GO BOI!  Never in our wettest dream did we believe he had it in him.

As proud of him as I am, I do not know what possessed me, but I cannot be the reason he ends up unhappy in life.  I am not worth it, even if he does not understand why.  “Elliott don’t, I am a big boy.  She can say whatever she likes to me, although Miss Kavanaugh, I demand you make penance to both of our parents and our sister.”

“My relationship with Anastasia is none of your concern so you can stop wasting your vile breath attempting to disparage me because I know for a fact Anastasia would not appreciate your effort.”  I want Elliott to get rid of that bitch, but that will be his own choice based on whatever parameters are set in their relationship.  I want nothing to do with the situation at all, ever.

I do not need to hear anymore so I try to make my escape, “I bid you all ado.”

I am trying to give my dad the slip, when all of a sudden, the same soft, stinging voice says, “Just a fucking second son.  I am not done with you yet.  Tell everyone else good bye, but you are not getting away from me that easily.”

DAMMIT!  “Bye mom, bye Mia, bye El, take care and I love you.”

“Good-bye darling.  I wish you would come home.  I do not understand why you left, but I will not press you for an answer.  I love you too.”

“Bye Christian.  I do not care why you left.  I just want you to come back.”

“Hang tough lil bro, give the babes hell for me, will ya?  Oh, I did like that pic of you by the Jacuzzi, although, you need to workout dude.  You look like you are getting flabby around your middle.”  He does not understand what he just stepped into does he?

I cannot let that one go, “Above or below the towel?”

“EWWW, touché lil bro, touché.  Laters Chris.”  He says with a chuckle in his voice.  Score one for us.

“Laters El.”  This is the first time I have ever enjoyed his humor.  Hmm, I kind of like this feeling.

Then all is quiet on the western front again and I know my dad has taken the telephone into his office.  If he had FaceTime the damn thing would be sitting in the chair on the opposite side of his desk so he could stare at me, just like he did when I was a kid.  Thank God he has no interest in Twenty-First Century technology.

“Ok Christian, start talking.”

“What do you want to know dad?  I said my peace a few minutes ago.”  This is going to be a do not ask do not tell conversation.  He is getting truthful responses to his expressed questions, only.  He better remember you are only as good as you are specific.  No doubt.

“Why did you go to Taiwan Christian, why are you relocating GEH to Australia and when will you be back in the United States permanently?”  Pretty good, but not good enough.

I repeated the answers I gave to mom, verbatim.  I am not discussing my personal life with either of them.  This conversation is over.  “Dad, I have a flight to catch.  I need to get going.”

“Bullshit Christian, that plane leaves when you say so, even when you have a flight plan mapped out you can always arrange a delay.”

“I am not using the jet.  It is taking Reynolds back…” OH SHIT!  What have you done?

Then, we are back to the whisper, “Taking who back where?”

“Taking Reynolds back to the States.  He failed in his duties and I fired him.  I put him and his belongings on the jet and sent him back to Seattle for Taylor to handle.”  Open mouth, insert foot; you really should be conducting a seminar on your method because you are hitting the mark directly today.

“DO YOU FUCKING MEAN TO TELL ME YOU ARE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GLOBE WITH NO FUCKING SECURITY?  ARE YOU REALLY THAT FUCKING STUPID?”  I can hear him panting for breath and mom beating on his office door.

“Carrick, what is going on?  I demand you open this door.  Let me in Carrick Grey…NOW!”  Grace is frantic.  She is calling dad by his full name, he best watch out.

I hear the doorknob click then I hear, “Christian, are you without security?  Where is Taylor?  Son, what is going on?  You are never without security.”  Good grief, remind me never to call home again.  I cannot take this shit.

“Mom, yes I am without security.  Taylor is at Escala because I gave him vacation time with Gail.  I was fine without him because I had Reynolds with me until he managed to let a shutterbug get some pics and put out articles that should not have happened.  I have notified Taylor and I will be fine.”  E-fucking-nough already.  Get off the fucking telephone and it has nothing to do with call charges.  This shit is exhausting and we have traveling to do.

“Look mom, dad, I will be in touch.  I really have to go.  I love you both.”  I am trying to be sensitive to their position in all of this but I am not there, I am not coming back anytime soon and they just have to face it.  I will not be guilted into returning to Seattle.

“Alright son, I will give you a pass for now,” thank you Heavenly Father, “but if you insist on remaining out of the country and you want to avoid this type of situation in the future, I recommend we hear from you on a more regular basis.  Do you understand me?”

“Yes sir.”  Once again, the child is chastened.

“Good.  Be well Christian and travel safe son.”  My father says with as much finality as he can muster.  There is a twinge of emotion in his voice, but I cannot make out what it is so I just end the call.


I have spent what feels like hours just sitting on the balcony of my new Townsville City home with a 180 degree north facing views taking in Castle Hill, North Ward, The Palms, Magnetic Island, brilliant ocean views and surrounds proud of my decision to move.  I could not stand to be in that hotel any longer.  Do not get me wrong, Taipei is beautiful and there were any number of places to visit and sites to see, but Ana was not with me so there was really no point in a spending a night on the town alone, plus, I was ready to be somewhere more permanent.

I have to get out of here; the fucking walls are closing in on me.  I get in my new Audi Spyder R8 and drive off to parts unknown.  I get on Cape Pallarenda Road and head toward Cape Pallarenda Conservation Park.  As I ponder my next plan of action Darren Hayes’ Walk Away pulls me out of my reverie:

I’ve been polishing blame for so long now
My pride and joy
A bit of tragedy never hurt
Somehow this man become a boy
You took the blame but maybe I was wrong

Walk away now and be gone
You don’t have to want to go on
I can see it’s killing you
You don’t always have to be so strong for me
Every angel had dirty hands
Even Judas planned to just carry on
Just picking up the pieces
Of what lies behind those sorrowful eyes
You can walk away

You have been silent for so long
I let the world know
I turned a bit of my pain into a song
Then carried on
You took my shame but maybe that was wrong

Walk away now and be gone
You don’t have to want to go on
Even when they’re killing you
You don’t always have to be so strong for me
Every angel had dirty hands
Even Judas planned to just carry on
Just picking up the pieces
Of what lies behind those sorrowful eyes
You can walk away

Now and be strong
I know you can carry on

Ana is telling me to go.  I put the top up and get out of the car.  As I do, I am met by a beautiful set of crystal blue eyes staring at me.  I am speechless.

What do they tell you?  When you least expect it be prepared.

She stares back at me for a moment then lowers her head as her face turns a lovely shade of pink.  I almost call her Ana, when she suddenly turns and walks away from me.  It is a dream?  I am nailed to the spot, my eyes wide in disbelief.

Was that…?”

No, it could not be.  She would not be here and not tell me.

Then who was she?

I have no fucking idea.

They say everyone in the world has a twin. Maybe this is your second chance to make a first impression.

Do you know what angers me most?

Yes.  You are thinking it and we are saying it.  Grey, Steele left you remember not the other way around.  She told you she loved you then she walked away from you.  She got mad that you purchased SIP and when you tried to explain your actions she treated the situation as an overt attack on her free will.  Her friend and her foolish pride are misguiding her; that is the long and the short of it.  Keep in mind my friend, she had you and she let you go.  Let the chips fall…

Touché mon ami.


Touché mon ami |Touché my friend

Can’t We Just Be Happy | Chapter 5 Got ‘Til It’s Gone

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 5 | Got ‘Til It’s Gone

STEELE

Have a feelin’, now believin’
That you were the one
I was meant to be with
Oh, how I’m wishin’ Thinkin’, dreamin’ ’bout you
And the love, how’d I let you get away?
Got ’til it’s gone
Got ’til it’s gone

If I could turn back hands of time
Make you fall in love
In love with me again
So would you give me another chance to love?
To love you, love you the right way
No games
Got ’til it’s gone
Got ’til it’s gone

“CHRISTIAN!”  I wake in a cold sweat, Janet Jackson’s Got ‘Til It’s Gone playing on my iPod.  “This has got to stop.”  I shake my head.  I am not going to get any more sleep, so I might as well make myself some tea.

Christian has been in Taiwan for a month.  The last time we spoke I thought he would tell me he was coming home, instead things went from bad to worse.

“Hey baby.  It is so good to hear your voice.  How are you?”  I can hear his smile through the telephone.  It makes me smile right back at him.

“Hi Christian.  I miss you so much.  I love you.”  I can feel the tears at the back of my eyes as I speak.  Save the sprinklers Steele, you need to find out where his head is at and when he’s coming home.

“I miss you too sweetheart.  You should see there are Sakura flowers in bloom and the Hot Springs are incredible.  I wish you were here Anastasia.  How are things in the States?”

“Things are good.  As well as to be expected,  I guess.  Oh, Mr. Roach promoted me to full editor.“  I say with a pride I do not really feel.  I know Christian had something to do with my promotion.  I just do not know if and/or how to broach the subject with him.  I could tell by the way Roach discussed my performance review he was not pleased with keeping me on staff.  It was almost like he was hoping I would fail so he could get rid of me once and for allI got a dollar says Grey has no idea about any of this.  Bet.

“That is wonderful baby.  I knew you would do well.”  He actually sounds proud of me.  I cannot let this go.  I have to ask.  Do me favor, just stop, because you are obviously behind and in jeopardy of fucking up a perfectly good conversation.

“Christian?”

“Yes baby.”  His voice sounds so smooth.  I can feel his warm soft breath on my neck as we speak.  I can feel the sexy kisses he puts on that special spot behind my ear.  I have to hold back the moan forming in my throat.  I get goose bumps thinking about it.

“Did you have anything to do with my promotion?”  I hear him gasp.  Well, you fucked up this ‘lil reunion didn’t you?  Is that a new record?  It took you all of twelve minutes to ruin the mood.

She is right.  I can feel the ice in his voice when he says, “No Anastasia I did not.  I turned over the management of SIP to Ros Bailey on purpose.  If an issue arises, she will act accordingly.  Ros only informs me when it is absolutely necessary.  I am not privy to the day-to-day workings of every company I hold.  Now, if there is no other business you would like to discuss, I have a meeting to prepare for.”  OH MY GOD NO!  I fucking told you to keep your Kate-sized big ass mouth shut, but NO.  You have to let your super duper inferiority complex get in the way of our happiness.  What the fuck are you doing…DAMMIT!

“CHRISTIAN WAIT!  Please do not hang up.  I apologize.  I was not trying to offend you.  It was just a question.”  I sound pathetic even to myself.

“Anastasia, I cannot do this anymore.”  He cannot do what anymore?  Then, as if he can read my mind, he continues, “I have done everything I can think of to aid in your feeling of independence.  I am utterly powerless when it comes to you and now, unless we contact each other, I do not know what is going on with you at all.  I called you because I miss you and I wanted to tell you I was coming home.  I want us to be together.  Don’t you understand Ana, I miss you.  And to top it all off, I can finally recognize the feeling I had before I met you.”  Why does that sound like a bad thing?

“I was lonely Anastasia.  I was alone and lonely before you tripped into my office and stole my heart; a heart I did not realize I had.  I have learned from you how to treat other people.  I have learned how to take their opinions and interests into account as opposed to simply instilling my own will.  I have learned to empathize with others.  It is an entirely new mindset for me and I want to share my new experiences with you.  I am not perfect at this and when it comes to business I do not intend to go easy when I want to win, but in my personal life…I am changing baby and it is all because of you.”  He sounds happy again, like a little kid in a candy shop.

“Christian, I never wanted you to leave in the first place.  I never intended to hurt you.  I just wanted…”  We know what you wanted Steele.  Only you seem to have difficulty remembering and understanding what you wanted.

“Anastasia, please.  I remember all too well what you said you wanted.  I went over your statements with you sentence by sentence just to be certain I understood what you were saying.  This is about me.  I am hurting Anastasia.  I love you and I want to be with you.  I miss you so much, there are not enough words to explain how I feel and it scares me because I know, deep down, you do not share those feelings.  You are my everything.  My world begins and ends with you.  This entire experience is more difficult because I do have these feelings for you and…” he stops suddenly, as if he does  not want to say anything else.

“And what Christian?”  I sound desperate even to my own ears.

He whispers, “…you do not have them for me.”  He takes a deep breath before he continues.  “Ana, GEH will be an international presence.  I am expanding my company to reach overseas.  Ros will be in charge of business at the Seattle location, but GEH Headquarters must be where I am.”

What the fuck is he saying?   How can he feel like that?  What in the hell gave him that impression?  How can he see my independence as a lack of feeling for him?  My heart hurts, my head hurts and I can hardly breathe.  What is going on?   I am going to take those as rhetorical questions.

“Ana, I asked you to marry me so we could share good times and bad, not just spend money like there was no tomorrow, not to manipulate you and not to change you.  I have told you countless times you make me whole.  I cannot wait to wake up in the morning and see those heavenly blue eyes look back at me.  I cannot wait to make love to you as many times as you will let me every single day.  I want to hear about your day and your life because it is in stark contrast to mine.”

“Ana, I was an abused child and for whatever reason that affected me so deeply that I wanted to perpetuate that abuse.  My behavior and my acting out were a means to an end.  I viewed fighting the way most guys viewed a game of basketball or football.  I could hit and be hit.  I got out my aggression and would be punished at the same time.  Once puberty hit, I progressed my abuse and took it to the farthest degree imaginable.  The reason I stayed in touch, so to speak, with Elena was because that relationship was the only intimacy I knew, outside of my family.”

“The only way to disappoint Elena was to come too soon or not take a beating, safewords were irrelevant, and could handle that.  I could not handle disappointing the woman who saved me from squalor and violence.  Seeing the sorrow and distress in Grace’s eyes only solidified my self-hatred and left me with an enduring emptiness.  All that while, Christian was lost.  He never grew up, never learned how to share, never learned how to love and once he made it big, he had no desire to do any of those things or any of the number of other things he missed out on during his youth.  His shiny new toy was to buy another company and make another million, which did not make him any happier than when he started.”

“And I never lost the desire to touch and be touched.  I never lost the desire for intimacy and love, it was just too late for me to learn how to have those things; or so I thought.  I was too old for Elena and street fights were not good PR…” he chuckles to himself, “…so I was back to my pubescent coping mechanism.  The one way I learned how to be with a woman and not have to worry about what might happen.  In my playroom, I controlled touch.  With my NDAs and contracts, I controlled intimacy, for lack of a better word; there was no place for love.  Those things held me together, but also tore me apart.”

“Anastasia, meeting you was like seeing an oasis in the dessert.  People to do not talk with me, think about it.  I give orders, people follow them and I move on.  You and I had a conversation.  You were flustered and it was adorable.  I could not knock you over or break you down with a smile or a glare.  It was refreshing to me; it still is.  You are smart, compassionate, honest, strong willed and sexy as hell; especially when you are angry.”  I can hear the smile in his voice.

“Ana, simply put, your presence in my life has gradually changed me and the most important thing to me is that you are happy.  It makes me feel good to know that I can make you smile.  I want you to have whatever your heart desires, because of how much I love you, not because I want you indebted to me, not so I have something to hold over your head.  I wish you nothing but success, friendship and love in your life.”

“The more I listen to you, the more I hear you doubting my intentions.  I do not know where to go from here Ana.  I cannot compete with worldwide acceptance and recognition.  I feel like my actions, past, present and future are tainted by my mistakes and will not be good enough.  My actions will only lead us back to your not trusting me.  I am lost here baby.  I need you to help me, and the sad thing is I do not believe you can.”

“I know I cannot buy true love and affection.  There are however many people in this world willing to grant me a false sense of exactly those things for as long as my money lasts.  That is exactly how I have been living my life.  When I flash a few hundreds, heads turn and we will not discuss what the visual of a few million can do.  When I adorn that panty-dropping smile as you call it, women fall at my feet, with their legs spread wide.  I do not want that Ana.  I have never wanted that.  I have always craved true love and affection.  The only person who makes me feel that way is you…I only ever want you Anastasia.”

“From the day you left until this very second, I thought about nothing but you, me, us and where to go from here.  The only solution I come up with is for me to go away and pray that you, and I to a lesser degree, each find our happily ever after.  My moving overseas is the only way, unless you have an alternative.  Please know baby, I will always love only you, no matter the nature of our relationship.  It may sound presumptuous, but anything I have is yours Anastasia, whether we are together or not.”  Then, he reads my mind and it all becomes clear, “Do you know why Ana…because you have my heart baby.  You gave me everything I was searching for and more.  Besides my love, all I have to give you in return are material things, but if they help you at all, then it is worth it.”

Are you happy now?  This man has, once again, poured his heart out to you.  All he wants is you.  He’s not asking you to give him anything.  He’s asking you to share his life with him.  What the fuck does it take, an Act of Congress, to get it through YOUR thick skull he only wants to be with you and NOTHING MORE!  He has to learn how to be in a relationship, to learn the do’s and don’ts, but then, so do you.  Contrary to your belief, you are not perfect and you do not know everything.  AND YOUR CHOICE OF COUNSEL SUCKS!

“…Ana…Ana are you still there?”  Oh shit, all my inner musing caused me miss what he said.

“I am here Christian.  I was trying to take in everything you said.”  AGAIN WITH THE FUCKING TAKING IN OR PROCESSING OR GETTNG THOUGHTS STRAIGHT!  WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?

What he has told you is cut and dry Anastasia.  Either you want this man or you don’t.  If you don’t want him, then do the womanly thing and step the fuck away right now.  Grey deserves love and affection.  He deserves caring and support.  He deserves to be wanted for who he is, not resented for his position.  He worked damn hard to get to the top of his game.  All he wants to do is share everything he is and everything he has with you, not the Bitch-Troll, not one of the fifteen, not any of the fluttering eyelash, abundant boob, ass swinging bitches in the world.  He wants to share with you.  I’m speechless, utterly speechless.

“I was going to wait a little while longer before initiating my move, but your silence speaks volumes.  I take it you would rather I not belabor the situation and move forward with my plans.”

“No Christian, my silence does not mean that at all.  I never thought we would be at this crossroad.  Like you, I do not know what to say or what to do.”

“Well then, we are staring from an even playing field, that can only be a good thing.”  His statement gives me some sense of hope.

“Let’s table this discussion and revisit it in a few weeks.  I have no trouble keeping up with GEH from here and I can fly in if I am needed in the flesh.  I do not want to put this off indefinitely though Ana.  There are a lot of people dependent on my keeping GEH afloat so I will have to decide.  For now, I can wait.”

“Look baby, I have to go.  I love you”

“I love you too Christian.”  And then, he is gone.


 

I have seen lots of pictures of him traveling to lovely areas; Taipei, Kaohsiung and Hsinchu were just a few.  There were lots of beautiful women as well.  I could have done without the headlines, “Grey Gets A Geisha”

 

Geisha 2

or “Who Will Join Christian Grey on His Orient Express”

Orient Express

I have been in deep thought since Christian and I spoke last.  All he wants is me, nothing more.  All of his spoiling and nagging and controlling are a small cost to learn how to love and be loved, don’t you think?  Yes, I really do think you are right.  Thank fuck for that.  It’s about fucking time.

I finished my latest manuscript when the phone rings.  I wanted to chew glass when it ends up being Kate quizzing me about Christian.

“Ok Steele, I want the deets.  Why is Mr. Moneybags kicking up his heels overseas and you’re stuck here working your fingers to the bone.  Did that fucker not have enough courtesy to ask you to go with him?  The bastard is everywhere and you’re stuck here in dreary ole’ Seattle.”  Nice friend you got there.

“Kate, Christian had a business deal to finish, that is why he went to Taiwan.  As for me, I have to work.  I had just started at SIP when he left.  I could not up and fly away the first chance I got.”

“Why the hell not?  It’s the least that conceited son of a bitch could do for you.”  Is it my imagination or is she growling?  SHE’S GROWLING AND SHE BETTER FUCK OFF!

“Kate, what the fuck’s all the yelling about?  Who’s on the phone?”  I can hear Elliott in the background.  For once he does not sound happy.

“I’m talking with Ana and I’m yelling because your conceited, arrogant, aloof, control freak of a brother is in Asia while my friend is stuck in Seattle alone.  Humph.”  I do not like the grumbling I hear in the background then all of a sudden I hear Elliott bellowing.

“If you don’t stop badmouthing my brother Katherine Kavanaugh, YOU will be alone!  I’ve told you a hundred times, I can’t control whom you like and whom you don’t like, but you will respect my family or else you can KICK…FUCKING…ROCKS!  GET IT?”  WOW!  You go Lelliott, you finally grew a set.  It’s about time.  That haughty whore needed to be put in her place a LONG time ago.

“Got it.”  You can barely hear Kate’s voice.  She sounds like a severely chastened, very small child.

“Good.  Now give me the motherfucking phone.”  He is still snarling at her.  WOO HOO!  I wish Grey could hear this.  He’d fucking jump for joy.  This shit IS priceless.

“Anastasia”, it is a statement, not a question.  ANASTASIA!  Whoa, you’re in the shit now kid.  I did not know Elliott knew my full name.  He has never uses it.

“Hi Elliott, how are you?”  I try to keep my voice light.

“Don’t give me any bullshit Anastasia.  Where’s my brother, how long has he been gone and why aren’t you with him?”  Crickets.  You can actually hear crickets on the line while Elliott waits for my response.

“Well…you see Elliott…he went to Taiwan on business about a months ago and…” I did not get to finish the thought that went with my sentence when all of a sudden I swear I hear a sonic boom.

“A MOTHERFUCKING MONTH?!?  A MOTHERFUCKING MONTH AND YOU DON’T THINK TO LET ONE OF US KNOW?!?”  I do not think I can breathe.  Elliott is panting on the other end of the line, like a really big dog is chasing him.

“Elliott,” I try to reason with him, “Christian is a grown man, you know.  He told me he spoke with your mother and told her where he was going.  So, someone besides me knew where he was.  Ros also knows where he is and how to contact him so you do not have to get all bent out of shape about it.”

“Anastasia,” still on the Anastasia kick huh?  “Christian never stays away on a true business trip for more than a week, maybe two if the deal is really big and that was BEFORE he met you.  The only other time he went overseas and stayed for any length of time was after he dropped out of Harvard and then he was in France and the Caribbean.   Those are the places he loves.  For him to be across the pond, anywhere other than in France or on French related territory for any length of time, means bad news.  I don’t care what pictures he’s in or what sites he sees, this isn’t good.”  Elliott’s voice sounds grave and pained.

Did I do this to Christian?  I pushed him away.  All he wants to do is be there for me, to support me in my endeavors.  What is wrong with me?  When did I become prideful and unyielding?

“…you have my heart baby.  You gave me everything I was searching for and more.”

All he wants is you.

GREY

“Anastasia Rose Steele, I love you.  I want to love, cherish and protect you for the rest of my life.  Be mine, always.  Share my life with me.  Marry me.”

Ana, baby…where are you?

Here I am Christian…turn around.

Baby, where are you?  I cannot find you.  Please Ana, you are scaring me.

I am right here Christian…over here baby.

I cannot find her.  I can hear my Ana’s voice clearly, but I cannot see her anywhere.  I am wandering through darkness.  I know she is out there somewhere, but I cannot see her.

Please Ana, where are you.

Here I am pet…come and see Mistress…it is time to play.

OH, MY GOD NO!

I sit straight up in bed; sweat pouring off of me like a waterfall.  My hands are shaking and the room is spinning.

I cover my face with my hands.  “Not again, please, not again.”  I have had the same dream every night since I talked to Ana.  I hear her soft melodic voice calling out for me to find her.  I turn to where I think the sound is coming from, but she is not there.  This repeats several times until…

The vermin invades my consciousness.  I do not see the salacious slut.  However, her despicable voice is unmistakable.  First, I can feel the restraints tighten around my wrists and ankles then I can feel the lashes rain down on my bare chest and back then I hear her demand that I count.

You disappoint me Pet.  I taught you better than to release before I give you permission.  Have I not instructed you about this, about how to maintain control?

Yes mistress.

My voice sounds young. I remember all too well, this is my first real punishment, the beginning of my end.  At school, I spent the morning fantasizing about Elena’s mouth and how wonderful her lips felt stroking my cock while her tongue slid back and forth along its underside.  I had a boner for most of the day and I could not wait until playtime.  Needless to say, I was overly aroused.  When Elena started her control exercises, my cock twitched a few times then I came fast and hard.  I was out of breath and I knew a punishment would follow my transgression.  Up until that day, spanking was the only form of punishment I received.  I soon began to learn the depravity of this new lifestyle.

She shackled my wrists and ankles so tightly to the bare, stone, walls of her dungeon that my fingers and toes started to go numb.  What Elena had could in no way be termed as a playroom.  She blindfolded me and chastised me the entire time for being weak and unable to control my body.

This is your first lesson in our world Pet.  If you cannot control your body physically, you are doomed never to control it metaphysically.  Life is a game Pet, a playroom session with never ending scenes.  In stressful or even painful situations you must detach yourself from your feelings.  Once your emotions are under control, you can proceed with the best course of action for the situation at hand.  Call to mind the benefits gain here, with me; file those away for future reference.  You will learn my Pet.  I will teach you to be the Master of your Universe and my submissive.

Worst of all, I can feel the pain and fear I masked as pleasure and desire for so long.  Elena is here, in my dreams.  I do not know why and it scares the shit out of me.

I remember commenting to Flynn that my dreams always seem to focus on the negative occurrences in my life.  After I met Ana, the dreams lessened, although I have them when things are not right between she and I.  They serve as a reminder of how it felt to be abandoned, unloved and unable to love.  My dreams are a stark reminder of the possible consequences of my actions.    Then I end up back at square one.  Flynn told me to pay attention to my dreams.  Although he seem them as some ‘unfinished business’ my mind is struggling to sort through.  Flynn maintains that once I know what that something is, I can face it and move on.   We definitely struggled through our association with that abominable creature haven’t we?

I need my Ana.  I need my lifeline.

SaveSave

Can’t We Just Be Happy | Chapter 4 Work Is My Therapy

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 4 | Work Is My Therapy

GREY

“Dammit!”  How the fuck did I miss her call?  I never miss a call, especially not Ana’s.  I got her message from last night, or early this morning depending on how you look at it, but I did not call her right away.  I had a morning meeting and I know she is not an early riser.  Her voice sounded like an angel calling to me.

“Hi Christian.  I apologize for calling at this hour.  I could not sleep.  I wanted to hear your voice and tell you I miss you.  Give me a call when you get time.  I love you Christian.”

Now I missed her.

”Mr. Grey, I apologize sir.  I stepped away from my desk for a moment to finish preparing the Taiwan business plans.  Your telephone must have rung while I was away.  I found you as fast as I could.  I apologize sir.”  Andrea is as pale as a ghost and shaking.  Damn.  Am I THAT big of an ass?  Do you want the short answer or should I expound on your inquiry?  Neither, I know what type of son of a bitch I am, thank you very much for your two cents.  Not a problem.  Glad to help.  I have to stop talking to myself.

“Andrea, it is not your fault.  You were right to work on the business plan.  It is what I asked you to do.  I have to be in Taiwan in a few hours and I need the information.  Thank you.”  HA!  I LOVE this new look everyone gets when you behave like a human being, rather than a ranting lunatic.  So do I.  Andrea’s mouth dropped open and she is looking at me like I am standing here naked with two heads.  I want to laugh.

“Is there a problem Andrea?”

“No sir.”  She shakes her head for emphasis.  “I have more information to compile for you.”  I simply nod.  She actually backs out of the room.  I smile and shake my head.

Meetings, meetings and more meetings, I have been on the run for hours.  I called Ana, but she was in a meeting herself.  I told Hanna to let her know I called and that I will be leaving for Taiwan on business today.  Hanna is always so fucking chipper.  I just hope she gets the message to Ana before I leave.  Only time will tell.  You called, that is the important thing.  I know you wanted to hear her voice, but…all good things, you know.  Yeah, I know.  I tell her that all the time.

Hey, Grey, I feel exactly the same way, but it is what it is.  You have to work…

No I do not and you know it.

…she has to work…

Not if she does not want to work.

…and most importantly, you are giving her the time and space she said she wanted.  Every cloud man and remember, no strong-arming her from Asia.  You promised time and space, no matter how bad it hurts.  If she calls be cordial at least and pour your heart out to her at most.  If she tells you she wants to see you, offer to come home ASAP or offer to fly her to Taiwan.  It is that easy.  There is no other way to approach this situation.

Easier said my friend.

Sadly, I know.

I try to reach Ana…again.  The fuck with Hanna, I will just leave a voicemail.  “Ana, baby, I love you.  I am sorry I did not get to speak with you directly.  I am going overseas to work on the Taiwanese shipyard deal.  I do not know how long I will be away.  Your birthday will be here in a few days and I truly regret missing your celebration.  You are welcome to join me overseas any time you like baby and I will try to make it up to you.  Please remember, not a second goes by without me thinking about you.  I will call you once I get to the hotel.  I will probably have to leave a message because of the time difference. I will miss you so much. Bye baby.”

I told Ros to take time off to be with Gwen.  I also told Taylor to stay home with Gail, they both looked like I was in a wrap-around jacket when I told him.  Reynolds is back from his leave so he is going with me.  This is going to be the worst trip yet, I can tell already and I still have not talked to Ana.

I board my jet, greet Steven, the pilot, and Natasha, the flight attendant.  Ana should be here with me, not Reynolds.  I sigh as I go to the master cabin to try to reach Ana one last time before I depart.  I hold my breath while I wait for her voicemail to pick up.

“Hello, Christian!”  Finally.  I smile to myself because she sounds like a kid on Christmas morning, getting a call from Santa himself.

“Hey baby.  How are you?”  You just do not know how much I love hearing your voice.  It would be even better if you were here next to me.

“I guess I am ok.”  She guesses.  What is that supposed to mean?  Sawyer has not said anything about her being sick.  Now I am worried.  I cannot leave her if she is ill.

“Are you sick baby?  Is there anything I can do for you?  I can call mom to come and check on you.”

“No, that is not necessary Christian.  I am fine.  Where are you?  What are you doing?”

Hmm, either she did not listen to her messages, Hanna never told her I called or she is being obtuse.  Down killer, she is a busy lady.

“Nothing really, just getting ready for a business trip.”  You did not mention where you are going.  I do not believe she will care if I am out of the country or not.  Then why didn’t you say where you were going?  What the fuck difference does it make as long as I am not around to get in her way?  Fuck, aren’t you touchy.  Can I get back to my call or what?  Please do, anything to get that nasty ass attitude under control.

“Business trip?  Where are you going?”  She sounds odd, nervousness maybe.

“I am going to Taiwan.  The ship yard deal needs a little shove in the right direction.”

“Where is Ros?  Why can’t she go in your place?”

“It is my company baby, they have seen Ros now it is time for me to step in and kick some ass.  Besides, work is my therapy. You know that.”

“Yes, I know.”  She seems a little off.  Does she actually miss me or is there something or even someone else?  Please God, do not let there be anything, else, wrong.

“Anastasia, this will be good for us.”  You do not believe that for one second.  “My being away will give you the freedom you want.  I ask that you keep Sawyer with you.  He is head of Security now.”

“Sawyer, where is Taylor?  Isn’t he with you?”

“Taylor is on vacation with Gail and we assigned Ryan to cover Grey House and Escala.  This way, you do not have to worry about any intrusion on your privacy.  Sawyer will only report to Taylor and even then only if there is a danger or you succumb to a severe illness, nothing more.”  I have to admit it Grey you planned this well.  I am proud of you.  I would smile, but it hurts too fucking much.

“WHAT!  CHRISTIAN, ARE YOU CRAZY?”  What the fuck is her problem?  We are giving her time and space, ample amounts of space if you ask me.

“I am giving you time and space baby.  Please stay with Sawyer and you will be fine.”  I hope.

“I told mom and Mia not to bother you about family dinners or shopping trips because you are busy with work. They asked about wedding preparations and I told them there was no hurry.  I did not tell them we are not together.  You can tell them if you like.”

I believe this is everything.  I run through my mental task list quickly to be sure I did not forget to tell someone to leave Anastasia alone.  I think you got them all Grey.  Oh, hey…what about the publishing house?  Are you going to let her know Ros is overseeing the project from this point on?  We will handle this the same as any other GEH acquisition.  If there is a problem with negotiations, then Ros will call me.  The project is almost complete anyway so Ros will meet with Roach and the editors soon and tell them she is in charge now that they are a GEH subsidiary.  Roach will be ecstatic to know he will not have to see or deal with me anymore; at least not directly.  Anastasia can hear the news straight from Ros.  Then she does not have to question its validity.

“If there is something I missed, something you need or anything you want, please tell Sawyer and he will take care of it.  I will stay as far away as I can.”  I whisper, almost to myself.  This is killing me.  She does not know how difficult this is for me.

“Ok Christian, if that is what you want.”  She sounds so small and timid.

What I want is immaterial now baby.  Keep this at the forefront of your memory Grey.

“I am a simple girl Christian, you knew that when you met me.  I have always been very self-sufficient, I do not want your money or to be praised because of my relationship with you.  You of all people should understand.  I want to bring something to the table other than my student loans.”

“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 Christian Grey, CEO, Grey Enterprise Holding, Incorporated.”

She said she cannot get that acceptance she wants with me in the way, so I will not be in her way.  I am not trying to make her feel bad.  I simply do not know what else to do.  I have told her repeatedly, she has all the power.  I am nothing without her.  She is my lifeline.  So for now, I will wander in the darkness she helped me escape from so she can have the time and space she needs.

“No baby, this is not what I want, but this is not about me it is about you.  You told me I suffocated you.  You told me you needed time and space.  I have told you many times I want you safe and happy.  Sawyer will keep you safe, if you allow him to and my being away will give you the time and space you want so that you can reach your goal.  Ultimately, this will make you happy.  I will give you whatever your heart desires Ana including my absence.”

Come on Grey get the fuck off of the telephone.  Steven will take off soon and we can get the fuck out of dodge.  This shit is more painful than I dreamed it would be.  Now I feel like we have to justify giving her what she said she wanted in the first place.  Come on Grey, it is time to go.

“I guess when you put it like that, I understand your point of view.”  She wants this.  She was just getting tired of saying the words to me over and over.  It is time for me to listen.

“Look Ana, Steven is almost ready to take off so I have to go.  I love you and I hope to see you again soon my love.  Laters baby.”

“Laters.”  I end the call and shake my head.

I have a really bad feeling about all of this.

Ditto.


We should be married by now we should be together.  These should be the best days of our lives.  Instead, I sit here feeling like my chest is going to explode.  I can hardly fucking breathe my throat is so tight.

How long can I stay in Asia without losing my mind?  There was a deal in Australia Ros was talking about a few months back.  Maybe I will travel Down Under once I am finished in Taiwan.  The more distance between me and the States the easier it will be for Ana to succeed in her goal.

Pardon me for being the voice of reason here shit head but what the fuck about your family?

Mom will understand.  I explained this was business.  She always understands business.

Are you serious about not going straight back home when we get done in Taiwan?  I mean, the Aussie deal would be a real steal, but won’t you miss Steele even a little bit?

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?  Where the fuck have you been all this time?  I miss her now.  I will miss her a hell of a lot more than a little bit.  Do not fuck with me.  I am really not in the mood for anyone’s bullshit, including yours.

Excuse the fuck out of me.  I was just asking a question.  Who the fuck farted in your Fruit Loops?

I am losing the only woman I ever loved, that is what the fuck is wrong with me.  If anyone understands I expect it to be you.  Anastasia is my life.  She gives me a reason to function each day.  She gives me hope for a future I can share with someone.  Who would have thought, a pint-sized pip-squeak could take me down with a pair of ultra blue eyes, a sweet giggle and a fabulous smile.  I am still amazed by her.  God I miss her.

“Mr. Grey, we will be landing shortly sir.”  The flight attendant smiles and bats her eyelashes, again.  I swear the damn things have a life of their own.  Maybe I can use fluttering fucking eyelashes as a new ecologically safe means of energy.  I see enough of the shit and those damn things never seem to stop.

“Thank you Natasha.”  I flash my mega watt smile, just because and she fans herself on her way back to her seat.  When will the world learn, it is just a pretty face?  Well, get ready Grey, there will more of the same on the ground.  Yeah, I fucking know.


The headlines about me are ridiculous, “Where Is Miss Steele?”, “The Bachelor is Back!” and “Ladies of Seattle Can Relax”.  I fucking choked on my coffee when I read the shit they had on Anastasia.  Some fucker got a shot of her walking back to the office after lunch, the headline read, “Fallen Out of Favor”.  Another birdcage liner had the gall to write, “Guess He Has Changed His Taste”, which included a picture of me shaking hands with a blonde haired woman at one of the many charity events I have attended without Anastasia by my side.  The final nail in the coffin was “Flavor of the Month” with the shot Elena leaving Grey House.  My mother called me after reading that horror-tale.

“Christian!”  Oh shit, it is mom.  All of a sudden I feel like I am back in elementary school.

“Hi mom.  How are you?  Everything good at home?”  HA!  I know you are not trying to bullshit your mother.  This is going to be good.

“Christian Trevelyn-Grey, what is going on?  I have read more than my share of articles about you since you became rich and famous, but the trash troves on the market now are ghastly.  Where is Anastasia and why is that Lincoln woman leaving your office building?  I am waiting Christian.”

Hee…hee…hee…look who is in trouble now.  And you thought this kind of shit was over didn’t you?  You thought just because you left home you would not get this type of phone call.  LMAO!  This is too good to be true.

I will deal with your ass later.  Right now, get me out of this shit.

Not on your motherfucking life dude.  This is your shit storm, now ride it out.

“Mom, you know how the press is.  They do not have anything better to write about right now.  You know, no alien sightings, no crop circles and they will never figure out how Stonehenge came to be.”  I am sweating bullets.  I am really in no mood to discuss anything.  I made it to Taiwan without familial intervention and now my mommy is grilling me about shitty press clippings from across the fucking pond.  Calgon, take me away.

Oh, this is too fucking good.  Where is the Ben & Jerry’s when you need it?  Vanilla…WOO HOO!

You fucking shit-heel!

It takes one Grey.

“Do not get smart with me Christian.  Where is Anastasia and where are you for that matter?”  Is she for real?  Doesn’t anyone listen to voicemail?

“Mom, I am in Taiwan, remember?  I told you I was coming here on business.  Ana is in Seattle.  She is busy at the publishing house and could not come with me overseas.”  Sounds good, but will it hold up in Mommy’s Courtroom?

“What is the meaning behind these articles Christian?  There are speculations that you and Ana are no longer a couple.  There are not any pictures of the two of you together and she looks so sad in the ones I have seen of her.”  Mom is right.  Ana looked like she was on the verge of a breakdown in one of the photos.  It made my heart hurt to look at it.

“Mom, my PR Department has been busy dealing with the various articles and ‘no comment’ is always the rule of thumb.  You do not have anything to worry about.  It is just the usual shi…I mean stuff they like to stir up, you know how they are.  Look mom, I have another meeting now.  Take care and I will talk to you soon.  Do not worry.”

“Christian, when are you coming home?  Will you be back for the holidays?”

“No mom, I will not.  Enjoy yourself and I will see you when I am done here.”

“Alright son.  Good bye.”  She sounds so broken, but I cannot go back.  All I will want to do is be with Ana and from what I can tell she does not want me.


I worked out in the hotel gym and I read the business plan for the Taiwanese shipyard again, but I am not tired.  I need my Ana.  I will call her.  I know it is late, but I need to hear her, even if it is her voicemail, ’Hello, this is Anastasia Steele.  I am not available to take your call right now, so please leave a message and I will contact you at my earliest convenience.’  Beep.  I just called to hear her voice, not to leave a message, so I hang up.

My heart hurts.  Amazing, I thought I did not have one then just as it is found, it breaks.  I guess I am not the “flavor of the month” anymore.

Maybe Elena is right.  I should go back to my usual modus operandi?  Calm, cool and in control.  No emotional attachment.  No messy good byes.  I just cannot do it though.  I have seen paradise now that is all I want.  “Ana, baby, where are you?  Don’t you want me anymore?  I miss you.”  I finally say out loud the words that keep twirling around in my mind.

What if she is gone for good, what will I do then?

What do you want to do?  I am the first one to tell you when you are wrong, even when I know you will not listen I will still tell you when you are wrong, but I do not believe you are wrong this time.  She asked for time and space.  I am impressed and proud of the fact you have honored her requests.  She has not had to fight you tooth and nail over any of this mess.

I think I have lost her.  What is worse, I never had a chance.  I cannot compete with the world for her attention.  I really do not want to go back to Seattle.  If I cannot have Anastasia, I might as well disappear.

WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU GREY?  What is with the woe is me shit.  If anyone has anything to regret, it is Anastasia Rose Steele.

What the fuck is wrong with you?  Ana has done nothing wrong.  I have always been a problem to anyone who crosses my path and you know this, so lay off Ana.

You did not let me finish, schmuck.

Speak your peace then shut the fuck up.

You are a good guy.  You are good to her.  The only wrong you committed was falling in love with a girl who was not ready for you.  You fell fast and hard and so did she, but she is not comfortable acting on her desires.  You have encouraged her not to hide.  You tried to give her the tools to get her to her goal.  She was not ready to accept them and does not know how to work with the new hand she is being dealt.

She needs to think about you Grey.  Do not forget about her, I know you cannot anyway, but if she wants to be with you, then she will be back.  You have to let her show interest in you.  You have to keep your nose to the grindstone and carry on.  It is her game.  Let her play it out.  I am telling you, she will be back.

“I love you Anastasia.  I love you.”

STEELE

He is gone.

He went away on business.  Get your facts straight.  Why do you care?  Isn’t this what you wanted?

WHAT?  What are you talking about?  No, I never wanted Christian to go away.

You told him you needed time and space, to get your thoughts straight; whatever the fuck that is supposed to mean.

It means I need time to process the changes going on in my life.

O…k… I need to understand this.

Sigh.

Would you rather do this alone?  I can always sit quietly in the corner.  All I need is some popcorn and a Pepsi.  I will have the front row seat.  I will be able to bear true witness to how you fucked up this situation.

What do you want to understand? 

What changes are you processing?

Do we HAVE to do this AGAIN?

Yes, until I understand just what the fuck the malfunction is.  WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO PROCESS?

“Ana?”  Saved by the PA.  Hanna pops her head into my office.

“Yes Hanna.”

“There is a meeting with Roach and all the editors in five minutes.  I wanted to remind you.  The invite just came across this morning.”  Yeah I saw that.

“Ok Hanna.  Thank you.”  She gives me a small wave then she is gone.

Meetings with Roach are not my favorite.  He is not a very pleasant man.


I get to the conference room in the nick of time.  Roach rolls his eyes at me as I find a seat.  What the fuck is his problem?  I do not know and I am not interested in finding out so behave.  Right…no promises.

Roach stands at the end of the conference table, clears his throat and begins to speak, “Ladies and gentlemen, I know you have heard rumors about the Seattle Independent Publishing merger with another local business.  I want to tell you the merger is complete.  SIP is now a subsidiary of Grey Enterprise Holdings, Incorporated.  Ms. Ros Bailey is here to discuss what this merger means to each of us.”

A hush falls across the room and all eyes turn toward me.  Courtney, from the Fiction Department, has a glowing anger in her eyes.  The other editors simply look worried…worried about our jobs.

I know Christian can throw us all under the bus and start from scratch.  He would not do that.  He knows how much this job means to me.  He even had my name placed on the do not replace list when they were discussing redundancies so I know he would not fire me.

Ros is here?  Why is Ros here?  Why isn’t Christian here?  Ahem, does the word Taiwan sound familiar to you?  Oh, that is right.  He is in Taiwan.   It is strange seeing someone other than Christian talking about GEH.

“…as GEH employees, you will continue to report to Mr. Roach who then reports directly to me.”  REPORT TO HER, what the fuck?  Are there any questions?

“How does this affect our jobs?”  Anderson, from Reference, asks.

“I am glad you asked.  As GEH employees, your previous contract under SIP is no longer valid.  You are required to sign a Non Disclosure Agreement and there will be a performance review of each editor to determine his or her viability and longevity with the company.”  WOW!  Performance reviews?  How the hell are they going to pull that off?  Our individual performance has never been reviewed, to my knowledge.

Logan asks the next obvious question, “How will this review take place?  I mean, our inventory and sales are cut and dry.  I imagine you already discussed our profit and loss ration before initiating the purchase.  What is the basis for this performance review of the editors?”  he sounds a little indignant.  Logan works in Non-Fiction and has been with SIP two years.  He is still an Assistant Editor, but he can read twice as many manuscripts as all of us at this table and he has not recommended a poor author yet.  He is very respected for his work.

“Mr. Glenn is it?”  Brian nods.  “Mr. Glenn, our Human Resources Department uses a planning model which encompasses three key elements including predicting the employees GEH needs, analyzing if the supply of current, and future, employees meets our performance expectation and balancing the supply and demand of employees.  After the review is complete, Mr. Roach will meet with each editor to discuss the results.”

“And how long will this head-hunting expedition take?”  Marcus is fuming.  He is hardcore in the Reference Department.  He gives no bullshit and takes no bullshit.  Marcus would rather you give him the sack right here, right now.

“Mr. Cantor?”  Ros is trying to be diplomatic.  Marcus does not understand diplomatic.  He is a wanna-be Grey all over.

“Yes, Marcus Cantor.  I have been with SIP for five years.  My department has passed various internal and external reviews with flying colors.  It is not easy to have sources referring to ancient runes verified and approved.  The Reference Department has an impeccable reputation in the world of publishing.”

“No doubt Mr. Cantor, GEH is not here to destroy SIP.  We understand the reticence of each employee and have only your best interest at heart.  Human Resources’ review will be complete Wednesday.  You will receive your results throughout the day Thursday.”  Today is just Tuesday.  That is fast.  You cannot possibly believe this was not in process before today, can you?  Hello Steele, we are talking about Grey here.

“Are there any other questions?”  There is a long pause.  I think we are all in shock, including me.  “Well, if you think of anything, please feel free to contact Mr. Roach.  He will convey your questions and concerns to me and we will go from there.”  Ros turns and leaves.  I have to speak with her.

“Well everyone, I think we will take a thirty minute break then return for an impromptu Q&A session.  You may not have been comfortable speaking freely with Ms. Bailey here so I want to give each of you a chance to say whatever is on your mind.  Alright then, see you in thirty.”  The Roach practically runs from the room.  He built SIP from the ground up. I am sure this is killing him.

I have to catch Ros.  I find her in a side hallway on her cell phone.  I know I should not eavesdrop, but she is not exactly whispering.  “…yes, it is done…the usual reactions, you know…yes, they know about the NDA.  Roach will have a hell of a time with a few of these assholes.  I mean, they read and correct authors’ writings.  It is not like they write the stories themselves.  And the guy in Reference, oh he is a peach.  Yes, she was here too…nope, did not utter a word.  The whole bunch of them turned to sneer at her when I announced they were now GEH…nope” she pops her ‘p’ “…she did not move a muscle.  She is a pretty tough bitch to take on this cast of characters every day.”

“So, how you are you going hide over there?…Grey, give me a fucking break.  I have met you before, remember?  I have been with GEH from the start and I can tell your demeanor from across the pond and over the telephone.  The only thing Taiwan needed was to see your handsome ass face then the deal would be done.  I received the final agreement by email earlier today.  The CEO said he would send the final contract by Certified Mail.  It should get here next Monday, Tuesday at the latest.”

“So I ask again, how long are you going hide out over there?”  She creases her brow in a deep frown then exclaims, “AUSTRALIA?  I was just fucking around about that…yes, it is worth researching, but research can be done online, from home.”

She shakes her head and sighs, “Christian, my friend, I know you are a private person and I am not asking for any particulars.  What is wrong?  I can hear it in your voice.  If you need time to sort something out, I understand and I can handle GEH, just let me know.”  Then, she ends the call.

He is hiding out?  Is he hiding from me?  Why would he hide from me?

He is doing what you asked him to do.

I never asked him to leave me.

No, you asked him not to interfere in your career.  And now he will not.  You heard her, the buy-out is finished.  Now it is just another GEH business.  He does not tinker with every little company he owns you should know that by now.  This way, you have to stand on your own two feet and prove yourself to Roach or his boss will can your ass.  Hee, hee, hee…nice touch Grey.  You have to give it to the man, when he does something, he goes all out.

What the fuck is that supposed to mean?

Minimal security, no familial obligations and he is out of the country.  WOO HOO!  he left you on your own for sure.  Nice…very nice.

As I stand grumbling to myself, “OH SHIT!”  Ros runs into me coming around the corner.  “Oh, sorry Miss Steele, I did not see you there.  Was there something you needed?”  Now I turn bright red almost instantaneously.

“No, Ms. Bailey, I am good.” Ros has a pitiful look on her face and I can tell she wants to say something more, but she keeps it professional.

“Alright then, take care.”  Then she is off.

And all I can do is shake my head and wipe away the lone tear that trickles down my face, “what have I done, what have I done?”


And now I have to sit through a meeting with a room of hostiles.  I drop my head and say a silent prayer for strength and patience.  I know someone is going to say something to set me off and right now, I could go off and not dream of taking it back.  Maybe I can beg out of this meeting.  I mean, I do not have any questions; at least not ones anyone else can answer.  It is worth a shot.

Just outside of the conference room door I stop Roach.  DAMN, if looks could kill, I would be in the morgue.  “Mr. Roach, is it possible for you to excuse me from this meeting?  I really do not have any questions.  I would just like to think about what we heard and wait for the HR review.”  Please, please, please.  I have never begged this man for anything.  I even give him my best puppy dog eye look.

“No Miss Steele, you are a member of THIS team and you have to face the music WITH the rest of us.  Besides, everyone will sign their NDAs at this meeting so I need your Jane Hancock.”  SHIT, SHIT, SHIT!  Why do I have to sign another one of those fucking things?  Because no one knows he made you sign one before you fucked him that is why.

Have I ever said ‘fuck you’ before? 

Yes but “quite frankly Scarlet…”

Whatever.

If I thought Roach was bad, I was sorely mistaken.  The room is full of animated discussion about the buy-out and performance reviews for each editor.  However, when I enter the room you could hear a pin drop.

“Welcome Miss Steele, please join us.”  Roach says in a rather condescending tone.  Of course the only available chair is up front, next to Roach, on the far side of the conference table.  Hmm, no quick getaways for you.  I quietly take my seat.

“Now, I first want to thank you for being professional during the meeting with Ms Bailey.  I want everyone to keep in mind that you still report to me and as such, there is no need for hostility toward the Executive Leadership Team.”  He stares at Marcus.  Roach is walking on eggshells right now, so he will not blatantly call Marcus out, but we all know what he means.  Marcus is still pissed anyway.

“Ms. Bailey described the performance review at a very high level.  Is anyone interested in greater detail prior to having your one-on-one with me later this week?”  No one seems to be interested in that.  I know I am not.

“Good; then does anyone have any questions or concerns you would like me for me to address?”  No one looks up.  I told Roach this was a pointless meeting.  I could be filing my nails for all this meeting is worth.

“Come on people.  You mean to tell me there is nothing on your minds about all of this.  If you do not get it out now, you will have to wait until our individual meetings and I do not want any pissing and moaning when we walk out of here.  Your junior staff members will be given this information after we have finished with each of your performance reviews.”  I am just about to bolt from the room when Courtney speaks up.  Of course…

“Mr. Roach, if I may sir?”

“Of course Court. Go right ahead.”

“In the event someone does not fare well in their review, what will happen?”  Welp, this is when the shit gets good.  I know Christian will not tolerate dead-weight.  If someone cannot do their job, they will not have a job to do.

“Because we are basically starting from scratch, those who are not within the accepted performance guidelines will be relieved of their position.  Because the new GEH employment contract is now in effect, the policies and procedures take precedence.”  Huh?

“Is there a new Severance package?”

“Yes there is.  The GEH severance definition is across the board and not based on years of tenure.  The only exception is for those who have been with SIP for less than one year.”  Oh shit.  Now everyone is looking at me because I have only been here a few months.

Well played Grey.  Steele, you wanted to prove yourself.  Here you go girl.

“There will be NO bias.  Everyone is on a level playing field.  Are there any other questions?”  And just why does he have to look at me when asking that?  Because your shit stinks too now.

I am so fucking glad that shit is over.  If one more of those assholes looked at me like I was the cause of all of this shit one more time I was going to scream.

You really do owe him another, thank you, you know that right/?

Thank you for what, bailing on me when he did not get his way, sending Ros to do his dirty work or trying to make me feel guilty for standing my ground?

JUST A MOTHERFUCKING MINUTE!

Uh oh, somebody seems to be upset.

I am TOO fucking tired of your shit.  Grey gave you all the slack you wanted.  He did everything he could, short of selling SIP, which in this economy was a no-go anyway, so you could be looked at without him.  He has even moved himself, physically, out of the equation so he does not influence you on a day-to-day basis.  Now, you have the unmitigated gall and audacity to say he BAILED on you?  I wish to hell I could wring your fucking neck.  HE IS GONE DUMBASS!  HE…IS…GONE!  What the fuck else does the man have to do, slit his own wrists at your feet?

You have done nothing but find fault with him and he is not here to defend himself.  What did you say to him?  Do you even fucking remember?

“I do not want your money or to be praised because of my relationship with you…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 Christian Grey, CEO, Grey Enterprise Holding, Incorporated.”

No security, No reports about where you are, who you are with or why you are there and now, no job interference.  Since he is not here to ask you this, I will on his behalf.  Do you even want him Anastasia?  If you do not, then please just let him go.  I happen to love him and not because of anything he can or has given us.  I love his smile, his sense of humor, hell I love being protected.  You, my dear, have a lot of soul-searching to do.  I only hope he is still there when you are done.

“What am I doing?  I love Christian with all of my heart.  I do not want to live without him.  What the fuck am I going to do?”

You may have to beg.

Can’t We Just Be Happy | Chapter 3 Let’s Make My Baby Proud

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 3 | Let’s Make My Baby Proud

GREY

“Good morning Andrea, any calls?” I really do not want to be here today, or any day since Ana left me. I am sleeping and my dreams are about Ana. I can also hear her giggling throughout the apartment. I actually heard her whisper my name last night and felt her kiss my cheek in my sleep. Even thoughts of her have kept my night terrors at bay; I wonder how long that will last. It seems my relationship with her has had an even more profound effect on my life than either of us believed. Ana always worried about being enough for me. My thoughts of her and how she would react to my knee-jerk reactions causes me to take a pause and think before I act. Do not get me wrong I have not gone all hearts and flowers with my business. I will always be Christian Grey, CEO Grey Enterprise Holding, Incorporated and all that implies, but outside these doors and without this suit, it feels good to be Christian.

“Your messages are on your desk Mr. Grey.  Mrs. Lincoln has called every hour on the hour; she says it is urgent.”  I shake my head; I bet it is.  That hag will not leave me the fuck alone.  How fucking much rejection can one person take.  She always convinced me she was the epitome of control.  She has called, texted, emailed and carrier pigeon me every mother-fucking day for the past two weeks.  What kind of control does that show?  More like a desperate old bitch with nothing else better to do than bother me.  I know good and well she is slithering around trying to take Ana’s place…HA!!!

As if…it will be a cold day in these nuts if that old sack of shit even comes sniffing around down here Grey.  You can believe THAT slick.  Just try me.

“Thank you Andrea.  Mrs. Lincoln is now on the proscribed list for calls, appointments and visits.  If she gives you any trouble, let her know I added her name”, the cheesy grin on her face says it all.  I know Andrea the world does not like her and it has taken me all these years to figure out why.

Never mind that shit; hindsight is crystal clear.  Present day is all that matters and in the here and now, we are off limits to that hard up ho.  Listen to me dude.  You and I both know we where the best man to ever fuck her.  She was all over us and has managed to have a leash on the caliber of pussy available since we got away from her.  NOW there is a new sheriff in town and she cannot handle it.  She is behaving like this is some type of competition and we KNOW it is not.  Besides, if it were, she would be out of her league.

“Yes sir, Mr. Grey.  Would you like any coffee?”

“No, I will be fine Andrea.”  And I will be fine.  I have been surviving well these past three months, two weeks, four days, seven hours, twelve minutes, three seconds and counting, but I miss my Ana.

“Mr. Grey?”

“Yes Andrea.”

“Mrs. Lincoln is at the security desk and refuses to leave.  I told her, she is now on the proscribed list for appointments, calls and visits; however, she is very insistent.”  Meaning she is belligerent and raising all kinds of fucking hell downstairs.

Is that wrinkled witch of the West coast for real?

“Andrea, let security know I will be there to handle Mrs. Lincoln personally.”  I take a deep cleansing breath, public display of embarrassment is what she wants, who am I to deny her.  I guess this decent day will end badly after all.  I am so glad I followed through with John’s recommendation to contact the District Attorney about her abuse.  I filled my parents, Elliott and Mia in on every detail of our liaison.  Every whip, flogger, cane and nipple clamp.  Needless to say, I impressed Elliott…asshole.

He should stop thinking you are gay and take some fucking notes.  We can show HIM how it is done.

After an immense amount of yelling, screaming, yes there is a difference between the two, and crying I feel like the weight of the world has lifted.  Somehow I also feel closer to my family.

My father explained to all of us that the statute of limitation has run out, but recommended I still report her actions to the District Attorney, in the event someone else needs my experience as proof that she is a repeat time offender.  I explained that we had a BDSM relationship beginning at age 15.  The court officers said they only needed to know about the years when I was still a minor, nothing more.  They also told me that although 16 is the age of consent in the state of Washington that does not give an adult, someone over the age of 18, permission to have sexual encounters with a minor.

Ana and Flynn have said this to you countless times.  Does it somehow make sense or is the world conspiring to depict that overage tea-bagger as a pedophile?

How many times have I told you I understand?  You and I both know how I felt about myself at the time and I do not remember you complaining about the screw-fest schedule, correct?  Well…  That is what the fuck I thought.  So, spare me your “one-eyed” hindsight.

I also contacted my personal and business lawyers as well as the Public Relations Department at Grey House to make them a pries of the general situation, just in case.  In the event more detail is required, then I will reevaluate any additional information I give them.  The word ‘minor’ was all they needed to know.

The elevator doors open and the first floor goes silent.  I have to laugh.  Would you believe they all scatter like rats from a sinking ship?  I did not think I could clear my own lobby.  I will have to keep that in mind.  Reception and Security will be the only direct witnesses to this tete-a-tete.  No worries, this is the reason for the Non Disclosure Agreements.

Right, showtime Grey.

“Good afternoon Mrs. Lincoln.  I understand you are having difficulty comprehending my business decision by making a scene regarding your addition to the proscribed contact list.  I have come to make my wishes abundantly clear to you face to face.”  Taylor has a questioning look on his face.  He is wondering what the fuck I am up to.  I put the devil bitch on the list myself.  I did not leave this to him, although I am certain he would have loved pulling up the database and typing the shit in all capital letters himself.  I chuckle at the thought.

“Oh, Christian!  Darling!  Please explain to these imbeciles exactly who I am and why I am here.  I told you before I should have a badge and free access to your office so I do not have this type of exhausting situation.  You really should make my position in your life more widely known.”  She has an arrogant tone and is in her Domme stance.

I KNOW she is not directing that shit at us.  I told you Grey, a frigid day down here.  Just the sound of her inhaling near you and us will have to dream of how to come.

I hear you dammit.

Did you not just say ‘showtime Grey’?

All the fuck I did was walk up to the desk.  I know how the cow operates.  As do I.  Just take a rest and let me deal with this.

“Mrs. Lincoln, you will address me as Mr. Grey, only.”  She would get too much of a thrill out of calling me sir.  “I am not interested in anything you have to say.”  Taylor looks the he wants to punch the air.  I know he has waited for this day for a long time.  Judging by the shocked expression on Elena’s face, this was not a response she ever considered receiving from me, especially not in public.

“Christian!  How could you be so cold toward me?”  The bitch has the gaul and audacity to look hurt.  Nice try Elena, I know what hurt looks like and that is not it.

“Mrs. Lincoln, you will exchange any information you have for me via our respective lawyers.”  I turn to leave knowing she will have a snide remark or “attention getter”.  Watch her Grey.  No doubt buddy.  I planned this scene out in full.  I know what her next action will be.  What the world does not understand and some Dom/Dommes forget is being a Submissive does not mean being a mindless sexual tool.  A Submissive has to anticipate what their Dom/Domme wants.  The Submissive has to be ready to fulfill the Dom/Domme’s request at a moments notice.  Elena was good at simply saying, ‘pleasure me’.  Then, I used my imagination, fast, to devise a new way to get her off.  I ran through my repertoire of her preferred sex acts conscious not to repeat a recent experience.  Believe me, there is a plethora of shit she loves and we did it all.  Not fitting the bill resulted in severe punishment.  There were times I crawled in the front door of my parent’s home and laid in the foyer wiling my body to seep into the floorboards before someone saw me.  Elliott’s dumbass would laugh on his way upstairs, shake his head and tell me I was stupid for running so hard. ‘You’re gonna regret it one day’ he would say to me.  Little did he know, I regretted it then; at least at that point.  I was always ready for our next session though.

Enough memory lane shit Grey.  The ho-hag is still here; focus.

“Well, I never…” bullshit, she does not know the meaning of the word ‘never’.  “Christian, come back here right now!  I demand you speak with me!”  Whatever bitch.

And of course, in true Elena Lincoln fashion she yells across the lobby in an attempt to rattle me, “I guess you are not interested in the tidbit of information I have; even though it can affect your relationship with your fiancée’.”

I am so fucking sick of this shit Grey.  Put this “bitch from the past” out of our misery.

I stop abruptly and take another cleansing breath.

She thinks she is doing something now.  Smug bitch.

I look at Taylor then nod. The whore actually thought she was going to move past the front door. Get real troll. Ryan stepped in front of her and I came up to stand beside him.

“Christian, aren’t you going let me pass?

HA!  That is a good one; not on my life.  “No.”

“Considering the topic at hand, I do not believe it is good business to discuss this matter in the lobby of your building.”

“It is my building and my employees.  What goes on here is under my control.  Anything leaving this venue does so at it’s own risk.  Besides, coming from someone with absolutely no home training, I know for a fact you know nothing about grace or decorum, so let’s not talk about good business decisions.”  I look at my watch, she has 30 seconds to get to the point then I am gone.

“Christian, I am positive you do not want reception or security to hear what I have to say.”  No; this time she is really, really wrong.  The more people who hear this discussion and see her reaction, the better.  She shifts her beady little eyes from side to side like she is about to impart the Meaning of Life and only wants me to know it.  I have to restrain my laugh.  I look at my watch again, 25 seconds and counting.  Taylor looks like he running late for lunch; it is a comical expression and, again, I have to hold my desire to laugh.

“I told you how to deliver any information you have for me.  Since you choose not to follow simple instructions, we will have to do this with an audience.”  Never stopped her before.  She is the epitome of exhibitionism.  I look at my watch, again, 18 seconds.  Taylor has his arms crossed over his chest and a ‘hurry the fuck up bitch’ look on his face.  Ryan is almost sweating bullets.  He does not know what is going to happen.  Being new, he has not Elena and I square off.  Watch and learn.  I am not even going to tap my toe.  I clasp my hands behind and wait.  She swears she ‘knows my body language’, then she will get the fucking memo and get the fuck out of my building.

“Fine.  The Seattle Times and the Seattle Nooze each have headline articles about you going to the gala without Anastasia.  They have your statement regarding her whereabouts or the lack there of should I say.”  She should not say anything.  Is that it?  That is all she has?  I thought Taylor was playing, but now he looks like he is missing out on a quickie with Gail, Ryan looks confused and I am disappointed.  This was Elena’s chance to shine and all she can do is reiterate the statements I made.  Pauvres dans la pauvreté pusycat.  12 seconds remaining.

“Now Christian, I know you are hurting.  She has no right or reason to leave you, especially after professing your love for her.  I know what being alone does to you; how you become stressed and need help maintaining calm.  I just want to be sure you have everything you need in order to stay in control of the situation, until someone better comes along.  You know I can help with that.  Do not forget, I know you better than anyone, even your family.  You and I have a complex history.  I am here for you to lean on in your time of need.”

Is this bitch for real?  Grey, if you do not shut her down and I fucking mean now, I will drift so far into your psyche you will be too scared to keep your eyes open.  Get rid of this piece of shit.  NOW!

I know he is right; discretion be damned.

“Taylor”, I simply hold my hand open.  Taylor hands me the information I need and I pass it on Elena.

“What is this?”  I say nothing.  I do not even raise an eyebrow; curiosity killed the cat.  She will look at it:

RCW 9A.44.089 Child molestation in the third degree

A person is guilty of child molestation in the third degree when the person has or knowingly causes another person under the age of eighteen to have, sexual contact with another who is at least fourteen years old but less than sixteen years old and not married to the perpetrator and the perpetrator is at least forty-eight months older than the victim; child molestation in the third degree is a class C felony.

“What the fuck is this about?”

Is this broad dense or what?  At least the botox has not prevented all of her facial muscles from functioning.  The look in her face right now actually is priceless.

Too true my friend.

“Christian, why are you giving me this?  What is the meaning of this, this, this outrage?  I have done nothing but take you under my wing…”

Via her left tit.

“…in an attempt to sharpen your dynamic abilities…”

Translation, instruct us how not to come, even after the boys are turn blue and I am throbbing.  Then there is a not so little matter of our width and girth and the added attraction of our stamina.  I can fuck like a stallion for hours.  Bitch, please.

“…and this is the way you repay me, with threats?”

This is the same old fucking routine, pardon the pun, and we are bored.

By all means, let her have it fellas.

“Mrs. Lincoln, what you have in your hands is a reminder of the vulgarity of our relationship.  I am not 15 years old anymore and I am not on bended knee waiting for you to part your legs.  I can get a fresh, young piece of ass any-fucking-where I want.  I can even order it from Pussy’s-R-Us so do not give me your bullshit about taking me under your wing, sharpening my dynamics or our exacerbated and vulgar exploitation of my youth.  We were never friends and we will never be friends.  There is nothing you can tell me that will either surprise me or have any bearing on my life.  I already know about your ongoing contact with every fucking sub I have ever had both in my Playroom and out.  I also know about your meddling in my business ventures and your allegiance with those who would just as well have me drawn and quartered.  Then there is your perpetual inclination toward underage males.  You might want to finish reading the document in your hand.”

RCW 9A.44.086 Child molestation in the second degree

A person is guilty of child molestation in the second degree when the person has, or knowingly causes another person under the age of eighteen to have, sexual contact with another who is at least twelve years old but less than fourteen years old and not married to the perpetrator and the perpetrator is at least thirty-six months older than the victim; child molestation in the second degree is a class B felony.

Now she is frowning.  I can see the wheels and hear her thoughts, ‘ he was 15 when we started’, ‘why is he giving me information regarding a boy 14 or younger’?

RCW 9A.44.083 Child molestation in the first degree

A person is guilty of child molestation in the first degree when the person has, or knowingly causes another person under the age of eighteen to have, sexual contact with another who is less than twelve years old and not married to the perpetrator and the perpetrator is at least thirty-six months older than the victim; child molestation in the first degree is a class A felony.

And now she blanches.  I FUCKING KNEW IT!  Fuck pictures or what Welch found out.  I knew it the day she told me to go ahead to rowing practice when I desperately wanted to see her.  I just started school and the day was really fucked up.  I needed her that day and she told me she did not have time for me.  I thought she was with Linc for whatever reason.  On my home from practice, where I got into a fight with the captain of our 8-boat, I saw some little prick coming from the back of her house.  He had a confused look on his face.  I remember looking like that the day she slapped-kissed-slapped me.  I knew she was fucking around with him.  He was not a kid I recognized and since my folks refused to let me go for my run that night I could not talk to Elena about him; not that she would have told me the truth.  I would have believed anything she said though.  What a fool I have been.  I am getting more pissed at myself as the seconds pass.

Get to the fucking point Grey.

“Do not cross me bitch.”

“The statue of limitation has run out on you; you understand that right?”

“Yes, but it has not run out on Patrick and Christopher, each age 15, Michael, Logan and Nelson, each age 13 and the newest member of your brood, Zachary at the pristine young age of 12.  I have pictures of them all, in an assortment of sexual positions performing various sexual acts with you.  I will also remind you, breaking skin with instruments of punishment shows up well in black and white photographs and is the epitome of abuse in a color photo.”

I love smearing this shit in her face.

I hate to admit it, but she wears an impassive expression like none other.  However, Elena forgets that I know all of her expressions, facial and non-facial.  Being a Dom means paying close attention to detail.  To those not familiar with BDSM this is micromanaging a situation, but when doing a scene it means I am in control.  I can give either pleasure or pain depending on my desire.  At this point in time, I desire personal submission from Elena.  This is different from sexual submission for her.  This is turning over the keys to her queendom, me, which translates into pain.

There are whole body expressions ranging from a change in stance to the bat of an eye, a change in breathing pattern or the dilation of the eyes.  For Elena there is a sequence to her changes, a specific order that never changes.  First, she stops speaking for at least three minutes, next her face softens and her eyes dilate as if on cue and lastly, she smiles.  Then, she truly resembles Satan.

Let the beatings begin.

Not this time.  If “sequence” changes, if she deviates from its order, that is when the punishment is at its worse.

Hard limits be damned.

She is no longer in control.  Elena without control is like pining a pissed off alley cat in a corner; she is all claws.

“Now, you are free to leave Mrs. Lincoln.  And do not dark in any of my doorways ever again.”

“As you wish my darling boy.  Know that I will forgive you when you comeback to me; and you will comeback to me.”

Can I flip her off?

Man, how juvenile are you?

You tell me asshole.

Mission Pimp Slap the Bitch Troll accomplished.  Now, I can go back to my spreadsheets and thoughts of my Ana.  I know Ana would be proud of me.

STEELE

Anastasia Rose Steele, I love you.  I want to love, cherish and protect you for the rest of my life.  Be mine, always.  Share my life with me.  Marry me.   It feels like forever since I heard those words.

“Steele, come on, let’s go out we can have a few drinks, meet a few guys and take it from there.”

“Kate, what about Elliott?”

“I love Elliott, but I am not blind.  I can go look at whatever eye candy is on display; you can too.”

“Kate, I don’t think this is a good idea.  Christian…”

“Forget about Mr. Moneybags.  I don’t see how you put up with him anyway Steele.  He’s so controlling it’s ridiculous.  He’s an overbearing, arrogant, bully.  How can you put up with him Steele?  I know he’s gorgeous and has more money than the US Treasury, but come on get real Steele…he’s a creep.”

NO!  Oh my God.  She is as bad as you said.  She’s my best friend.  I can’t loose Kate.  Then I’ll be all alone.  Once I start crying it’s almost impossible for me to stop.  I’ve cried so much these last three and a half months, the employee’s of Puff’s should be set for life.

Yeah, you can turn on the waterworks can’t you?  What’s the matter Steele, same dream?

Yeah.  Kate’s trying to get me to go out and forget about Christian.  You have to understand, Kate loves me, she’s only thinking of my well being…my best interest.  Why do I sound like I’m defending her actions?  I know how she feels about Christian.  She never has liked him.  I’m not really sure I understand why, but I know it is true.

Are you trying to convince me or you?

I’m not trying to convince anyone.  I know Kate.  She just wants to see me happy.  She has a point.  Christian can be controlling, overbearing and arrogant.

Well, since we’ve already had this discussion and it seems as though you’re going to regurgitate what you’ve heard in your dreams, I’m going back to sleep.  You can figure this one out on your own.

NO!  WAIT!  I also dreamed of his proposal, in the boathouse.  I can still hear his words.  They were so lovely and he looked so sincere, so full of love for me.  I shake my head.  I miss Christian.  I miss talking with him about my day, I miss him telling me about his day, when he sees fit.  I miss him.  I look at the clock it’s 2AM.  I wonder if he’s asleep.

There’s no law saying you can’t call him.

I can’t do that to him.  He doesn’t sleep enough as it is.  Although, he slept well when we were together.  Part of me wonders if he’s having nightmares.  I’ve seen pictures of him in different newspapers and magazines.  He looks happy, carefree.  He looks his age, it really is wonderful to see.

I wonder if I’ve crossed his mind at all.  I haven’t heard from him since we talked about attending the gala and my security detail.

Call him.  You’re not going to get any sleep until you do, whether you reach him or not.  Dial his number.

You’re right.  I call Christian’s cell phone, it rings four times, but he doesn’t answer.

“Grey.  Leave a message.”  Beep.

“Hi Christian.  I apologize for calling at this hour.  I couldn’t sleep.  I wanted to hear your voice and tell you I miss you.  Give me a call when you get time.  I love you Christian.”

I guess he’s alright after all.

Go back to sleep Steele.  We’ll hear from him tomorrow…I hope.

Me too.


Pauvres, pauvres pussycat. | Poor, poor pussycat.
Quote from Nibbles in the cartoon Tom & Jerry: The Two Mouseketeers

Can’t We Just Be Happy | Chapter 2 Part of the Package

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

Can’t We Just Be Happy | Chapter 1 I Want to Be Certain I Understand

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 1 | I Want to Be Certain I Understand

GREY

I can’t remember life before my Ana. Those days have faded to black.

I stand staring out of the ceiling to floor window in my office at Grey House.  I’ve been alone and lonely, angry and miserable, misguided and confused for a long time.  I shake my head.  I thought my “closest friend” had my best interest at heart, that was a big joke.  And for all it’s worth, the cow still won’t leave me the fuck alone.  Now, I’ve seen love; simple, pure with no need for embellishment. I only ever wanted my Ana.

I sigh again, still staring out of the window, remembering the best decision I ever made, my heartfelt plea.  I needed to pour my soul into my second proposal to Ana.  It wasn’t just a matter of a romantic gesture.  I gave her my reasons, told her how I feel, told her my intentions and ask her to share what I have, “Anastasia Rose Steele, I love you.  I want to love, cherish and protect you for the rest of my life.  Be mine, always.  Share my life with me.  Marry me.”  I mean every fucking word.

She said she’d never leave me. She asked me to never let her go.  Now, she’s feeling overwhelmed and smothered.  She wants time to herself, away from me, so she can think things through.  I don’t understand what there is to think about, unless she feels she made a mistake by saying yes.  We told our friends and families; hell, I even got Ray’s permission.  So what’s there to think about?  I begged her not to leave me, again.  She knows my intentions are to protect her and make her happy.  To see that fabulous smile, hear her sweet, innocent giggle and have her by my side, safe and sound, but she said she had to go…for now.  What have I done wrong?  I don’t understand.

Ahem, allow me to explain.  You’re over the top.  You expect too much of the mere human population and when you finally concede you’ve made an error, you over compensate.

Pause.  I’ve heard this all before and I knew it long before I met her.  I also realize she’s young and we haven’t known each other very long.  So, unless you have an original point of view, keep your thoughts to yourself.

This has been the longest three months of my life, but I kept to my word.  Ana asked that I not try to influence her thoughts and feelings in anyway, so I haven’t.  Don’t get me wrong, I make contact with her at least once a week whether it’s by email, text or telephone, I still need my Ana.  But I’ve forgone any gifts or grand gestures that she could misconstrue as my conspiring to win her affections.  I know she could give a fuck less about my money and I’d be disappointed in her if she did.

“Hi beautiful.”  I can’t keep the smile off my face.  I love knowing she’s on the other end of the line.

“Hello Christian, how are you?”  Instantly, my smile slips with her tone of voice.

“I’m good.  I could be better.”  Oops.

Watch it Grey.

“Christian, please don’t do this.”

See what I mean?  I told you this telephone call was a bad idea.

“Don’t do what?  You asked me a question and I answered it.  End of.”  Give me a break.  I’m not gonna hide my feelings.  If she doesn’t want me anymore I might approach this situation differently, but she hasn’t said that and I’m not giving up that easily.

“I guess.”  She sounds bored with this conversation.

I’ll get to the point then, “Anastasia, I didn’t call to hassle you.  I wanted to say ‘hello’ and let you know how much I love and miss you.”

“I know Christian, I apologize.  I just…” She stops abruptly.  Have I caught her at a bad time?

“You just what Baby?”  I say with caution.

“I just need time to think.”  I sigh.

Here we go with this bullshit again, or shall I say still.

Careful, I love her.  “I understand.  Please don’t forget how much I love and miss you.”

“I’ll never forget how much you love me.  I feel the same way about you.”  Well that’s something.  I’ll leave it at that and count this as a win.

Next on the list, although, I already know the answer, “Anastasia, you do remember the gala is this Friday evening, right?  Grace is looking forward to our being there.  How would you like to do this.”  I do not want to cross the line on this one.  “Should I pick you up after work?  You can get ready at Escala then we leave together or would you rather we meet at the venue?”  Please say we can arrive together…please.  I have managed to keep my family and the Press at bay.  We haven’t been see out together since she left me and I haven’t been interested in answering any questions.  I wrote checks to the organizations of the few functions we missed.  They don’t care if I show my face or not, as long as my check clears the bank.

“Oh no, Christian, I totally forgot!  You’re being recognized as well right?  I apologize.”  For some reason, although I’m not surprised, I’m very disappointed it slipped her mind.  I thought she might miss me and want to use this time just to get reacquainted.

“That’s right, but don’t  fret, Taylor and I can pick you up at the publishing house after work.  You have gowns at the apartment, any of them can be delivered to you or you can set up an appointment with Carolyn Acton.”  Again, I want to give her as many options as I can.  Hell, she can have whatever her heart desires.

“No Christian, I think it best I not go.”  What?  Why?  I can feel an icy cold vice closing around my heart.  Is this it?  Has she decided to break off our engagement?  Is she leaving me for good this time?

“Anastasia, why don’t you want to go?”  I sound confused and heartbroken at the same time.

“Well, the paparazzi will be in full force and we both know what that means.”  Why does this sound like a lame-ass excuse to avoid me?  Put me out of my fucking misery already.  I’m getting annoyed with this bullshit.

“It means the same annoying photoflashes and off the wall questions Anastasia.  You know I don’t have a problem handling the Press.  Just stick with me kid.”  I’m trying to lighten the mood of this call, but somehow, I think it’s too little too late.  She’s already decided not to go.

“No Christian, it means questions about our engagement.  It means questions about when we’ll get married, how negotiations of the prenuptial agreement are progressing and speculations about the novelty wearing off after the wedding.”  Yep, she’s already decided and yep, this is a lame-ass excuse.

“Anastasia, do you think that little of me?  Do you think Press questions or innuendo are gonna affect how I feel about you, about us?  Do you think I give a fuck what people say?!”

Down boy, remember not crossing any lines?  Exerting control or the appearance thereof is not the best tactic, especially at this juncture of your relationship.

You’re right.  This is Anastasia Steele.  I remember.

“I know you don’t give a fuck Christian, but I do give a fuck and I always seem to be the topic of discussion.  Why can’t you understand this isn’t about you?  Why can’t you consider my feelings in all of this?  Why can’t you be sensitive to how this all affects me?”  What the fuck is she talking about?  I bust my fucking ass trying to show her I love her, show her the opinions of the rest of the fucking world don’t matter.  I told her once if my wealth bothered her so much I could arrange to be bankrupt in thirty days.  What the fuck did that offer get me?  A fucking jaw drop and deer in headlights expression on her face.  It took all I had not to laugh at her though.  I guess, she’s right, I don’t understand.  I don’t see how this affects her; but I will after this conversation.

I let out the breath I knew I was holding and ask the million-dollar question…again, “Anastasia is there anything I can do to comfort you regarding my feelings and devotion to you and our relationship?”  Tell me Baby and I’ll do it.  I’ll jump off this fucking building if that’s what you want.  Just say the word.

“NO!  How many times do I have to tell you?  I.  Love.  You.  Christian Trevelyn-Grey.  I want nothing more than to spend my life growing old with you.  I want to be your best friend.  I want to be the mother of your children.  This is about my insecurities and how I can fit into your world.  I just need time to get my thoughts straight.  I need to figure out where Christian Grey ends and Anastasia Steele begins.”

I ball my fists.  She means Anastasia Grey dammit.

Down boy, what did I just tell you?  I do agree with one thing though, it’s time for this shit to end.  It’s time for her to make her decision and for you to take a stand.  It’s shit or bust time Grey.

I need to understand this shit once and for all.  “Anastasia, exactly what do you mean by ‘need time to get your thoughts and feeling straight’?  Have your feelings for me changed?  Are you calling off our engagement?”

I’m at the end of my tether.  I love her with all that I am.  I am nothing without her, just the shell of a man, at the same time, I’m tired of straddling the fucking fence here.  If I am going to spend the rest of my life alone, I need to prepare for that.  I can stop giving to her, I can stop buying for her too if that/s what she wants, but I can’t fight an invisible foe.  Where she fits in is anywhere she wants to be; I mean that literally.  If she wants an office at Grey House, she can have it.  If she wants to go to every boring ass meeting and listen to these fuckers drone on about particulars that have nothing to do with their original assignment or the project at hand, be my guest.  Where she fits in is where she puts herself.  All the fuck I do is work.

“No, my feelings for you have not changed.  I am a simple girl Christian.  You knew that when you met me.  I’ve always been very self-sufficient, I don’t want your money or to be praised because of my relationship with you.  You of all people should understand.  I want to bring something to the table other than my student loans.”

I am so fucking sick of this speech.  I love Ana and would gladly lay down my life for her.  I have deliberately not touched her fucking student loans so she can be Miss Independent.  [1]  What the fuck does ‘bringing something to the table’ have to do with loving or sharing a life with me?  I have more money than Croesus.  Please, explain is fucking shit to me?  I’m getting tired of this same old song and dance.

“I can’t be in your shadow Christian.  The world won’t take me seriously when it turns out I have what I have because I’m engaged or married to “the Christian Grey, CEO, Grey Enterprises Holding, Incorporated.”

Ok, I’m biting my fucking tongue here so she has the opportunity to get all of this out in the open.  This is definitely a first for her, because usually I only get this type of conversation by email so I’m going to relish her verbal dialogue.  “Anastasia, I want to be certain I understand what you’re saying to me.  Is that alright?”

“Yes Christian.” she hisses.

Deep breathe Grey.  That is right; now let it out slowly, slowly.  Don’t let her hear you.

“Anastasia, what I hear you saying is that your feelings for me haven’t changed, correct?”

“Yes Christian.”  She still has a shitty tone in her voice.

Easy Grey.

“You’ve always been a self-sufficient woman and you don’t want my money, correct?”  This is not a news flash.

“Yes Christian.”  Why can I feel her fucking eyes roll?

Just keep your comments to yourself.  Fuck the eye-rolling shit.

“You also don’t want to be praised because of your relationship with me.  You want to be an equal contributor in our relationship and not live in my shadow, correct?”

“Yes Christian.”  Please God let me get through this conversation.

“And, you want ‘the world’ to take you seriously because you are Anastasia Steele not because of your association with me, correct?”

Be careful Steele, this is a big one.  She’s not listening to herself talk.

“Pre-fucking-cisely Christian.”  She almost snarls.

All I can do is shake my head.  Does she realize what she just admitted?  Yes, she should have a name and a face and a voice all her own.  Yes, she should be recognized based on her own actions and not feel as though she’s only being regarded because of who I am.  How-the-fuck-ever, does she realize, no one under God, can run the fucking world?

This is why I don’t give a fuck about what other people think.  Everyone, all my life has assumed I was some arrogant-fuck.  After I dropped out of Harvard and started GEH I became the stupid, arrogant-fuck.  Now, GEH is a force to be reckoned with, I’m the elitist, arrogant-fuck who got lucky after dropping out of Harvard.

I throw up may hands and say ‘uncle’.  She wins.  I have to give her the time and space she needs to figure this out on her own.  God, I’m going to miss her.  I pray our relationship can survive.  “Are you sure you caught that last point Anastasia?”  Now I hear crickets on the line.

I believe she realizes she’s putting her life on hold…for a long time.

“Anastasia, are you still there?”

“Yes,” she says timidly.

Yep, she knows she fucked up.

“Do you fully understand the last statement I clarified?”

Breathe Grey.  Don’t intimidate her.  She’s a bright woman; she knows what she just admitted.

“Yes”, her voice is smaller that it was before, if that’s possible.

“Then, for the record, would you please go over it once more for me?  I really want to be sure we’re on the same page?”

You’re going to bleed this one dry aren’t you?

You better fucking believe it.  This isn’t about other women ogling me, this isn’t about Elena and BDSM bullshit, this isn’t about my money or a prenup.  This about how she looks and how comfortable she feels in the world.

“I said I want the world to take me seriously because of who I am and not my association with you.”  B-I-N-G-fucking-O!

“The world huh, not the man you want to grow old with, not even the family who loves you?  The world’s view of Anastasia Rose Steele is what’s important?”  I feel like someone punched me in the ribs.  I can’t compete with the world.  I can’t reassure her that the world is what you make it.  I won’t take on the world.  If the world is what she wants, then the world is what she can have.  I just have to learn to live my life without her.

“Yes.”  I believe she understands now.  I’m not usually magnanimous, but this time I’m gonna make a huge exception and not point out that the world doesn’t count for a fucking thing.

She matters to me and I thought I mattered to her.  Our families and her friends think she walks on water.  I’m absolutely worthless without her, but she’s worried about how she looks to the world.  Well excuse the fuck out of me.  It’s nice to know where her priorities lie.

“Alright Ana, I won’t pressure you or interfere with your introspective time anymore.  You know I love you, I know you love me, that will have to be our light at the end of this tunnel and hold us through whatever life has to dish out.”

“You know how the Press will behave when they see me without you, right?  Our relationship will become suspect and the tabloids will have the time of their lives.”  I am not trying to use this against her or sway her decision.  I want to get all of this shit out in the open now.  I don’t want her wondering what’s going on and why the world has us under a microscope all of a sudden.  I’ll be considered Seattle’s most eligible bachelor, again, and women will be even worse than the were before.

Yes, but remember the world thought we were gay, so I’m sure our virility will be questioned as well.

As far as I’m concerned, that won’t be a bad thing.

“Why are you telling me this Christian?  Is this some kind of a warning?”  She has the vague sound of indigence in her voice.

“Quite the contrary my Love.  I want to prepare you for what the world takes seriously.  I don’t want this to affect your time away from me.  I don’t want you to question my love or fidelity to you no matter what the situation between us.  My heart is always in your hands Baby.  I love you” with that, I end our call.

“I’ll miss you Baby.”  I whisper as I return to my place in front of the ceiling to floor window.


Taylor thinks he knows what is wrong.  He has been quiet and staying out of my way all day.  I am sure he thinks I am going to go ballistic any second now.  Granted, I am not happy and I would like nothing better than to stay in my office tonight, but duty calls.

All I can think of on the ride home, is ‘be careful what you wish for…’ I love my Ana and I am going to miss her horribly.  The world can be a cold and cruel place.  If she is waiting for worldwide acceptance, she is going to be waiting a lifetime.


 

[1]  Miss Independent, by Ne-Yo, Year of the Gentleman, 2008

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