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Can’t We Just Be Happy | Chapter 27 You’re Home!?

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 27 | You’re Home!?

GREY

“That was a lovely meal Anastasia. You and Mrs Taylor astound me.” Everett sings praises to my baby over her culinary prowess. “Perhaps I can beg you to cook for a single man and his teenage son sometime? Please?” Bright blue puppy dog eyes on display have me sputtering into my wine glass.

“Look fucker…” I begin to growl at Everett as he sits across the sofa from Ana and I. A slight lift of the left side of his mouth gives way to a boisterous laugh from my Ana, effectively cutting off my tirade.

“Pay no attention to him Everett. I’d love to cook for you and Christopher sometime. We should all get together for dinner once we’re back home.” He and I smile at one another as she refers to Townsville as home.

Our conversation moves to the topic of when we should leave Seattle. We still haven’t heard from Christopher’s mother regarding her son’s disappearance, which has Everett in a foul mood, despite his best efforts. He hides it well, but there’s no mistaking the crispness in his voice when he agrees Stephen deserves to rest and he’s willing to wait until tomorrow afternoon to leave.

I’m simply not prepared to discuss the reason for this visit with my family. No doubt mine and Everett’s entrance into GEH this morning caused quite a stir, just how much remains to be seen. All talk about our departure halts when Taylor storms into the Great Room, “Sir.”

We’re all taken off guard by his entrance. “What’s wrong Taylor?” He looks like he’s ready to explode.

“You have a visitor Sir” He hisses and stares at me, hard. I don’t have to ask who it is. Although I’m shocked it’s taken this long.

I sigh out loud and turn to Ana, “Baby, do you want to be here for this conversation or would you rather go to bed?”

Her response is quick and to the point, “This is my home too, right?” I nod, of course it’s her home too. “I’m not going anywhere.” Her eyes fill with the strength and stubbornness I’ve come to love. My Ana.

With a smile on my face and in my voice I look to my cousin, “Ev, same goes for you. Do you want to…” as if I thought I could finish my sentence. He doesn’t speak, he simply raises a questioning eyebrow as his eyes flash a sinister gleam I’ve never seen before.

I turn and nod to Taylor, who also smiles, letting me know he’s not going to leave the room either. “Yes Sir.” He does a sharp about-face and proceeds to the foyer.

One-one thousand, two-one thousand, three-one… She marches through the foyer. The distinct click of her Stuart Weitzman stilettos in tune with the indignant sound of her voice as her mouth runs a mile a minute, ”I really don’t understand why you haven’t contacted me before now. You leave abruptly then you return and you don’t let me know. Of all things Chris..tian, Dar…ling…” She stops, dead in her tracks, when she sees my ’full house’. In an instant she remembers herself, stands up straighter and clears her throat, as if she needs to be heard loud and clear, “Ahem, how are you Darling? When I heard you were back, I couldn’t believe it. Why haven’t you called me?”

I automatically take my Dom stance and inquire, “Who told you we were here?” I emphasize we because it’s obvious I’m not alone.

First I detect a small smile on her face, that is, until Anastasia stands beside me and says, “Hello”, followed by Everett’s unique observations.

Never vacating the comfort of his spot on the sofa, Everett cocks his head to the side, furrows his brow then says, “Grey, I didn’t know your grandmother lived in Seattle.” Elena takes in a sharp breath. Standing behind her, Taylor is staring off into outer space, but I swear I saw the corner of his mouth twitch. Ana does some kind of grunt-giggle thing. While I have to hold my fucking breath.

Everett then leans back in his seat, making himself even more comfortable. He crosses his arms and places his index finger to his lips, as if pondering the Meaning of Life, before commenting further. “I must say, you Americans certainly do believe in the power of hydrogen peroxide and the elasticity of silicon as a means of self-preservation, don’t you?” Ana hiccups another giggle while covering her mouth.  This time, I have to smirk at Elena, who’s now clenching her teeth and turning bright red.

Still in his seat of power with his arms crossed, Everett glances at me and states, loud and clear, as if addressing a boardroom filled with potential clients, “The old man can rest assured his investments are sound. I’m going to have to purchase a chemical company or two for myself when we get back home.” I absent-mindedly nod, as if commiserating about his investment choice.

As if all of that wasn’t bad enough, Everett stands and saunters toward Elena stopping inches in front of her. With his hands stuffed down in his pockets, he rocks back and forth from his heels to his toes then with a child-like smile in his voice he asks her, “Tell me Granny, which products do you swear by?”

OH, FUCKING HELL-FIRE AND BRIMSTONE! Grey, if you give him anymore shit…I’ll make up a dream just to scare the fuck out of you. Get it?

Got it.

Good. I love this bastard even if you don’t.

He is quite witty isn’t he.

Her face is the same color as the walls in my fucking Playroom. It’s fucking picture perfect.

Anastasia giggles, laughs then snorts with abandon over Everett’s question. Taylor is still standing behind Elena, at the entrance to the Great Room, now with tears shining in his eyes. Somehow, one manages to escape, trailing down his cheek.

I, on the other hand, never break my stance. I’m going to fucking die laughing when this conversation is over, but only after it’s over. I act as if I didn’t hear Everett and repeat my question, louder this time, “Who told you we were here?”

Elena looks at me like a deer in headlights. Yes bitch, I asked you a fucking question. “I…um…well the…the press reported you arrived earlier today. I waited for you to call me and when I didn’t hear from you I called your office. Your assistant told me you were busy. I waited until I thought you might be home and decided to come to you. Christian, are you really going to let him speak to me this way?”

Before I can think about responding, Everett speaks for himself jumping straight into her ass with both boots. “He doesn’t let me do, say or think a fucking thing. Any questions you have with regard to me, you direct them to me, because I won’t let him speak for me.”

Now her face is as white as the walls here in the Great Room. This would be pathetic if it weren’t so damn entertaining.

Yes, as entertaining as it is, enough of this bullshit, what the fuck does this whore want? Get to the heart of the matter. I’d rather watch fleas fuck than deal with her.

Exasperated I growl, “What. The fuck. Do you want. Elena?” Get on with it bitch.

“I told you Dar…”

Let’s nip that fake-ass endearment shit in the bud, “I’m not your darling. What the fuck do you want!? I’m not going to ask again.” She remains mute. I’m finished with her. “Taylor, throw this bag of bullshit out.”

Taylor smiles like a little kid with an ice cream cone, “Yes Sir. Let’s go Wicked Witch.” He grabs her by her upper arm and begins to drag her out of the room, but of course she can’t just go the fuck away. For some reason, she seems to think last-chance jabs work to her advantage.

“Christian! Why are you letting her do this to me…to us? All she wants is your money Darling. Can’t you see that? Does she even begin to fulfill your needs in that big house in Townsville, Australia? On the water isn’t it Darling? The Corral Reef?”

THAT BITCH! WHAT THE FUCK?!

“Taylor! Stop!“ He stops on a dime and creeps an about-face. I can see steam coming out of his ears.

How the fuck does she know where I am in the world? Until I revealed my whereabouts to Carrick, my parents couldn’t find me with a search warrant. Now this old crow does everything but call out the name of my street.

“What did you say? Australia. House. Corral Reef.”  I repeat keywords from her rant and stand up even taller, if that’s possible, as I do. Elena’s eyes widen. I haven’t told her I was in Australia. The last she heard I was in Taiwan. The last time we spoke there was no mention of where I was, other than to confirm I was still outside of the United States. I knew she was watching Ana, Taylor and Welch figured it out, but now she’s shown her hand.  ”What are you talking about?”

Dumb bitch.

She’s watching me too.

She rallies back at first, or so she thought, “The press knows your life Dar…” I clear my throat and she cuts herself off, “Christian. It’s no secret you went to Australia from Taiwan. I mean…”

She forgot he was in the room, as did I, until we hear here him bellow, “Liar!” Elena jumps then begins to shake.  Everett caught her off guard. “Yes the fuck it is a secret.  I’m the reason it’s a secret. Just what the fuck are you up to you old cow?”

SECOND

“Liar!”

What the fuck is all the noise? I was actually getting some sleep. It’s been a while since I’ve really slept. School, sports, work and my Mistress all keep me pretty busy.

“Yes the fuck it is a secret.  I’m the reason it’s a secret. Just what the fuck are you up to you old cow?” Shit! Dad’s pissed at someone. Who’s he shouting at? Did Mom call him. I doubt it. I can’t see him speaking that way to Anastasia. She the nicest little thing I’ve ever met. She looks a lot like Aunt Ellie too. I know those big blue eyes are what captured Grey’s attention. They really are stunning.

“…I want you Christian. I can make you happy, don’t you remember? There’s no one for me, but you.” WHAT?! No! It can’t be! She wouldn’t be here, not after how discrete we all were in collecting the information she requested. No way Mistress would show up on his doorstep like this and what does she mean there’s no one for me, but you? What the fuck am I, chopped liver? This has to be a mistake. There has to be a rational explanation.

“Elena enough!” That’s the last thing I remember before standing in front of the woman I’ve called Mistress. The woman I devoted myself to, mind, body and soul. I’ve allowed her to control me, what I think, how I feel, how I fuck. She had more control over me than my mother. My own flesh and blood. The only person in the world who can trump either one of these women is my father. He’s my lifeline. He keeps me grounded when the rest of the world is pulling me away from my sanity.

I don’t know how I got downstairs without any of them hearing or seeing me. Well, that’s a lie, it was easy with all attention focused on her, as well as the bellowing and screeching going on. I know one thing, Everett’s is pissed…and so am I.

“Mistress?” I hiss with all the venom I can muster. “What are you doing here? What’s going on?” The sound of my voice, my stance, my emotion is Everett Rockhold-Brown, even to my own ears. I have to understand what could’ve possibly brought her here.

They all look at me as if I were up past my bedtime. Only Anastasia approaches me. With a soothing and considerate voice she says, “I apologize Christopher, we didn’t mean to disturb you? Please, go back to bed and rest.” She walks over and places one of her small hands on my cheek, turning my face and focus to her and her bright smile. She reminds me so much of Aunt Ellie. Innocent, caring, compassionate and strong. She’s all things good and kind. All of the things a woman should be. All of the things I see in my family, except for my mother. I nod, absent-mindedly, at her suggestion.

Why does Mistress hate her?

My eyes veer over to Mistress who’s wearing a straight, impassive mask. It’s the expression she uses when she’s hiding an error or…making up a lie. She’s wrong, about Anastasia. She’s wrong about something else as well. I don’t know what it is. Yet. But Everett will find out and if Everett knows, so will I.

She may have taught me control, but the Rockhold-Brown Family taught me everything else. I pull from my father’s strength and Anastasia’s goodness when I hiss, “Mistress.” then turn and go back to my room. Anastasia is right. I’ve heard as much as I can stand right now. I know there’s more and it affects my family, which is unacceptable and unforgivable.

As if on cue I hear my father bellow, “WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT ABOUT?! MISTRESS!? YOU FILTHY WHORE!  I’LL.  MAKE SURE.  YOU.  FRY!”

I smile as I ascend the stairs. The ole man means what he says and not the way she thinks. Everett Rockhold-Brown doesn’t speak in the abstract or figurative sense. He doesn’t do puns or innuendo. He goes straight for the jugular.

She’ll soon learn, we really are a sneaky bunch.

GREY

Good grief Charlie Brown. I thought I was gonna have to kill Everett after Christopher’s appearance. Taylor couldn’t get that old crow out of here fast enough. Ana was able to calm the bear down while I could restrain him, with great effort mind you.

Damn that fucker is strong. You’ll have to work at kicking his ass Grey.

Yeah, but I never back down from a challenge. So if the time comes, it’ll be a battle of the gladiators I guarantee you.

Ring…Buzzzz…Buzz-Buzz…

“Daddy”…

“Grey!”…

“Hi Emmett…”

A distraction. Just in the nick of time. We look at each other and grin when our phones go off simultaneously and we each respond to our parents, almost in unison.

“Hi Daddy, how are you? Yes, Christian and I are in Seattle right now.” She always sounds so bright when she talks to Ray. “No Daddy, we aren’t staying long. Christian had some business to handle and I didn’t want to stay in Townsville by myself.”

My mother takes me away from eavesdropping on Ana, “Hello Dear, how are you? I’m so glad your here. How long are you going to be home? Have you moved back to Seattle? Why haven’t you called? Is everything alright? Is Ana with you? It would be wonderful to see you both. We miss you both so much Christian.” As she fires away questions and comments Grace sounds eager and solemn at the same time, if that’s even possible.

I lower my head , shake it back and forth and rub my forehead with my free hand. I hate to do this to her. My mother doesn’t whine, she just gets this ‘motherly plea’ demeanor and it breaks my heart; the one I didn’t know I had.

Just as I’m about to respond to Grace, I hear a distinctive hiss coming from Everett’s direction, “The old bitch showed up here in the wrinkled, sagging flesh! It took everything…yes, he’s back upstairs. His ass better be asleep or I’ll beat him till he drifts off. He wandered his ass down here during part of the discussion, if you can call it that. Oh, by the way, Edward’s US investments are definitely paying off, that bitch was a walking billboard for peroxide and plastic surgery. Yeah…no need to worry…” Everett and his ole man have a totally different relationship than what I’m used to.

“Christian?!…” Oh shit, Grace.

“I’m here Mom…I…” I don’t have a chance in Hell against her.

“Please don’t tell me no Christian. You and Ana have a wedding to plan. We need to get started as soon as possible.” She’s silent for a few seconds and I’m still trying to formulate how to tell her we can’t come for a visit.  She misunderstood my hesitation because she asks, “You are still getting married aren’t you Christian?” She sounds more leery than inquisitive. Things between Ana and I are great. Better than ever actually. It makes me wonder where our problems really lie.

I stop my child-like, excuse conjuring and manage not to roll my eyes. “Yes Mom, we’re still getting married.” I say with a smile in my voice and in my heart. My cousin’s conversation, however, gives Grace cause for alarm.

“What the fuck do you mean her lawyer says? I don’t give a flying fuck…” I spin around and glare hard at Everett. The bastard and his bullshit is gonna make Grace to come over here.

Shut the fuck up dude!

He simply glares back at me and balls the fist of his free hand. I stab the mute button on my phone then whisper a shout, “If you don’t keep your fucking voice down, you’ll have to explain this fucking shit-storm to Grace.” If I could disguise the sound of breaking glass, I’d hit Everett over the head with a vase.

“Christian! Where are you?! Who’s that talking?! Is everything alright?! You’re not in any trouble are you?! I’m coming over there!” Fuck!

Oh shit!

I turn back to my call, quickly unmutting the phone, “No Mom! There’s no need to come over. Everything is fine. It’s just a movie Ana has on. Baby, turn the volume down please. It’s upsetting Mom.” Everett grins at Ana so hard, I think his cheeks are gonna crack. My baby’s none too happy with being the heavy in this conversation.

She hits mute on her phone then whisper-shouts as well, “The two of you are on dishwashing duty, no matter what country we are in, anytime I or Ella cook.” She hit mute again and without missing a beat says, “Yes Daddy, he’s right here. He’s talking with Grace right now, but I can put him on the line.” I wave my hand to stop her, but it’s too late.

“Hey Christian. How are you Son? Good to hear you two are back. Annie said you’re talking to your mom so I won’t keep you. I just wanted to say hello. Tell your mom I said hi too. Bye Son.” Here I am, with a phone in each hand. I can hear the glee in Ray’s voice while Everett and Ana stand shaking their heads and holding their hands over their mouths to muffle the sound of their combined laughter.

“Mom, hang on a second. Hi Ray, I’m good. How are you? Yeah. Yes, your daughter is ever the little prankster. Yeah, my mom’s on the phone in my other ear. I’ll tell her. Take care Ray. Bye.” I hand the phone back to Ana and raise my brow letting her know there’ll be retribution for this misdemeanor.

Still talking to Ray, Ana walks off to our bedroom while I head to my study, followed closely behind by my vociferous cousin. I have to keep mouthing and waving at him to lower his fucking voice or, even better, shut the fuck up.

“Mom, would it be alright for you and I to sit down and talk? Alone.” There are a few things I need to ask and a few things I need to share with my mother. I need to know where she falls in this entire Brown Family blow-up. Did she know they existed too?

“Of course Son. You can always talk to me, you know that.” Good, although I’m not in the mood for a family thing. I’ve been in regular touch with Carrick so I can do without an ass reaming for one conversation.

Mom’s voice catches me completely off guard, “Christian, you didn’t answer me. How long are you going to be home? Have you moved back to Seattle?” She doesn’t usually call me out on my vagueness. Here we go.

“I won’t lie Mom. No, I haven’t moved back to Seattle and no, we’re not staying.” My mother’s gasp sends a pain shooting straight through my chest.

“You’re not staying? Why not? Christian, this temper tantrum of yours has got to end! We supported your choice to tend to business abroad and relegated ourselves to staying in the dark about your self-imposed exile, but enough is enough! You and Ana have reconciled. Now it’s time to come home!” I smile a little. I can just see her with her hand on her hip as she gives me what for.

“Mom, I came home on emergency business and I didn’t want to leave Ana in Townsville. We’ve been apart long enough. I’ve met with the immediate contacts. Now the situation needs research and evaluation. I’ll do that in Townsville. I have responsibilities there too Mom.” I look over at Everett who seems to have finished his conversation with his father. His face takes on a concerned expression as he witnesses my struggle.

“Well, when are you leaving for Australia? “ She sounds defeated. There’s no background noise, which leads me to believe she’s alone, that makes me feel even worse.

“As soon as Stephen and his co-pilot are rested enough for the return flight.” I need to talk with my mother before we leave. It’s only fair. “Mom, I’d like to come over and talk with you. Would that be alright? I know you’re disappointed with our leaving and all…” Please say yes Mom. Please say yes.

“Oh, of course Son, whenever you like just let me know.” Her voice is soft and she sounds like she’s lost her best friend.

“How about breakfast. Tomorrow? Pancakes, bacon, eggs and toast? Like old times?” I try to have a smile in my voice as I will my mother not to hurt over my decision to leave Seattle, again.

Somehow it works. I can hear her responding smile as she says, “With sliced strawberries and whipped cream I suppose. Of course Dear. Anything for you Christian. May I speak with Ana please Son?” My smile widens at the calmness in her voice.

“Let me see if she’s off the phone. She got a call from Ray.” I stand from behind my desk and move toward my study door when Mom stops me.

“Christian, no!” What the… “Don’t interrupt her conversation with her father. I know Ray misses talking with Ana. Whether she lives in Seattle or Timbuktu, he wants time with his little girl.  I love you Christian. Give Ana my love as well and I’ll see you bright and early for breakfast. Be sure to shower after your run Dear. You know sweaty hair and clothes are not appropriate attire for the breakfast table.” Boo-ya! She does remember.  I knew she would.

“Yes ma’am. I love you Mom,” with that, we end our call. I lower my head and stare at my phone as I stand at the door to my study for a moment or two recalling her comments.

Warmth returns to my heart placing a small smile on my lips, which causes Everett to speak. “Care to share with the class?” No, but he seems genuinely interested so I’ll give him this.

Without raising my head or my gaze, I share, “Grace misses me and I feel like a heel for not spending time with her. I’m going to Bellevue in the morning to have  breakfast with her.” My eyes wander from the phone to his face as I confess, “It was something we shared.” He nods, encouraging me to continue.

I take a deep breath. “When I would fuck up in school, which usually resulted in a suspension,” He doesn’t seem astonished, “before I ended up in Elena’s clutches, I would get up early, before everyone else and go for a run. I’d run as far away as I could then trudge back, almost crawling in the front door. Grace would cook pancakes topped with strawberries and whipped cream, eggs and bacon. Just for she. And I.” I smile at the thought, just for she and I.

“Elliott and Mia left for school and Carrick stormed out of the house long before I got back, so it was just she and I. Mom would harass me to hurry up and shower before the food got cold because ‘sweaty hair and sweaty clothes are not appropriate attire for the breakfast table.’ I would grumble all the way up the stairs and piss-fart around in the shower. But no matter how much time I wasted, my breakfast was always hot and delicious.”

“We would talk about what went wrong at school. She would point out to me I was too intelligent for such behavior and encourage me to do better, to be better.” My voice cracks on the last part.

“I’ve always felt like a disappointment to her. She was the angel who saved me from a Hell of filth, drugs, abuse and starvation. How did I repay her? I fought, drank then became an unlovable monster.”  I don’t know why I’m telling him this. He’s a fucking stranger for all intents and purposes. He doesn’t want to hear this shit.

“Stop it!” Huh? What the fuck is he yelling about now?

“Stop kicking yourself. And regardless of the thoughts spinning around in that brilliant mind of yours, I do…we do give a fuck about you.  We do want to know what happened to you Cousin. None of us wants to separate you from your family. They saved you, they love you and they miss you. If you didn’t feel for them, well, first I’d know you were Edwards grandson, but also, what did Emmett and I tell you about apathy?”

“There’s nothing wrong with having feelings, love, loyalty, allegiance with your family. You have to recognize those emotions and act accordingly. I’m not proud of my aunt at the moment. I’ll always love her, but at the same time you were hurt due to her actions, her inactions, her apathy. Go to your mother. Take Anastasia with you. Christopher and I need to talk as well and it’s best we have that discussion alone. Townsville will be there when you get back.”

Everett never ceases to amaze me.

“Once we get that thing under control, you can come back here for good, if you like. Right now, this place isn’t conducive to a genial life for you and Anastasia with that…that…THAT…grazing the land. Edward gets on my last fucking nerves a lot of the time, but the bastard works hard and has been through a lot of shit. It’s even colored his point of view. His experiences don’t prevent me from respecting him or loving him, even if I don’t like him all the time. We need him to help us plan our next move. It’s good business sense.”

He shakes his head and this time I have to stop him. “Don’t” he looks at me questioningly, “your family did everything they could. She did what she wanted and I’m in a good place now. Don’t blame yourself for the crack…” I catch myself at the last-minute. The forlorn look in his eyes flashes to rage.

“Crack…what? What were you going to say?” He says through gritted teeth.

“Gentlemen.” Saved by my Baby.

I don’t break eye contact with Everett, “Hey Baby. Everything alright with Ray?” Not that I give a fuck, but I don’t want to continue this conversation with Everett.

You were getting along pretty well until…

I know dammit. Shut the fuck up.

Ana sighs, “He misses us.” Us? That catches my attention and turns my head to her.

My Baby takes in the scene in front of her. The venomous scowl on Everett’s face, the lost, miserable look I’m certain she can see in my eyes lead to her quick assessment of the situation.

He fucked up again. Rescue him.  Fast.

She puts on her prettiest smile and looks at Everett, “What do you say we all get some sleep? We’re leaving tomorrow, right?”

Returning to the scowl on Everett’s face I say, “Yes, either midday or late evening. Taylor needs to speak with Stephen again.”

Ana knows me, she knows something happened, she just doesn’t know exactly what. Conveying concern in her voice she pulls his attention to her when she asks, “Everett? Are you ok?” He nods, never taking the scowl off his face or his eyes off of me.

“Good. If you’ll come with me, I’ll show you to your room or you can bunk with Christopher if you’d rather.” That turns his head.

He smiles, a wholehearted, genial expression and injects his smooth, suave voice, “My dear Anastasia, there’s no way on God’s green Earth with that Bitch-Troll’s wrinkled red skin I would, as you put it, bunk with my son. I have a few more calls to make anyway and they’re nothing I want him to hear. So please, lead the way.” He casts a final glare in my direction before nodding his head at me, “Cousin.”

I sigh, “Good night Everett.”

Good job Grey. You did it again.

Shut. The fuck. Up.


“Mind telling me what that was about?” Anastasia says casually as she puts on her camisole and pajama shorts.

“I almost called Everett’s aunt a crack-whore. He wasn’t pleased.”

She stops in her tracks and slowly turns around to face me with shock and disbelief in her eyes. “I can only imagine he wasn’t. What made you say such a thing Christian? You’ve got to know that isn’t acceptable. Grace and I have told you countless times not to use those words to describe Ella.”

“The woman was in a bad way, Christian. Do you want to be remembered by your family as an unfeeling monster? No, you don’t. So stop behaving as if the woman’s birth-right was to be a drug addict.”

“Clearly you can see she was a beautiful person, in love with the man of her dreams and excited to have and be with her son. Don’t let the re-appearance of the Bitch-Troll change your mindset. You’ve…we’ve…come a long way…too long to let her jeopardize our happiness, which includes the Browns.”

She walks back over to me, puts her arms around my waist and lays her head on my chest. “I understand better what you and Everett mean about Seattle not being the right place for us now. As much as I love Ray and your family, we’ve gotten spoiled being on our own. Family and friends mean a lot, but when we close the door and turn out the lights it’s just you and I. We deserve all the time to ourselves we want. We’ve earned it.”

It’s my turn to look shocked. I just knew coming back here would make her want to stay. I was fully prepared to go back to Townsville alone. Yes, I would be lonely and yes, I would be back at square one, but like I told her I’m not ready to come back to Seattle for good, yet and I’m not holding her prisoner at my side. In my confusion I say, “I’m not complaining at all. What brought this on Baby?” It has to be something about her conversation with Ray. She takes a long time to respond.

“Ray told me how much he loved me and wants me to be happy. Since he doesn’t live in Seattle, it’s not like he was right next door and I moved away from him. As long as I’m happy, my Dad’s happy.” She takes a deep breath and sighs, “I, told Daddy I want to get married in Townsville and that it would mean the world to me for him to walk me down the aisle.  I also told him we would be sure to get him there, so he didn’t have to worry about travel cost and what not.” She peeks up at me through her eyelashes on the last part of her sentence.

Oh, Baby. Anything for you. She’s taken my breath away. She wants to get married in Townsville! She wants to go ahead with the wedding! We’re FINALLY getting married!

I can’t contain my happiness anymore. I pick her up and pull her tightly against me as I spin her around, her arms and legs squeeze tightly around my neck and waist. “We’re FINALLY getting married!” I shout. She giggles like a schoolgirl and it’s the most wonderful sound I’ve ever heard. I slowly come to a stop and gently slide her down my body. “Thank you Baby.” I say as I kiss the tip of her nose.

She wrinkles her nose and furrows her brow as she asks, “Thank me for what?”

“For saying ‘yes’. Again.” I hold her face in my hands and bend over to gently touch my lips to hers. “Mmm, so soft. So sweet.” I love kissing her. I love holding her. I love her.

She pulls back from me and asks, “How about we get some sleep?” I step out of my shoes and socks then strip off my shirt, jeans and boxer briefs in light seconds to stand in front of her, naked as the day I was born. She crosses her arms under her breasts and taps an index finger to her lips. “So, you’re not tired huh?”

I shake my head, “Fuck no Baby, I’m wide awake now.” I pull her back into my arms and kiss her passionately. “I’ve wanted to do that since we came home from Grey House. I can’t stand all these fucking people around. I’ve become quite accustomed to being on our own.” I wiggle my eyebrows up and down just for the fun of it.

“I like being able to take you to any room in our house, to kneel down in front of you and lick your mouth-watering clit and folds until your knees get weak. I can lay you on any surface, slide my fingers in and out of your wet core while I lick, suck and bite your beautiful pink nipples.” Her eyes glaze over. I can feel her heart hammering in her chest as I hold her against me. Her panting makes my cock stiffen between us.

Out of nowhere, she finds her voice. “Anytime of day or night I can slide my hand down your leg to cup your balls and stroke your strong, warm cock. I can unzip your slacks or your jeans and ease them down your thighs, take you in my mouth and stroke your manhood with my tongue. Watch your head fall back. Hear you moan in pleasure.” A moan escapes from somewhere deep inside my chest as I nibble her earlobe and squeeze her sweet, firm ass cheeks, pulling and holding her against my pelvis.

I kiss down her neck to her collarbone then across her throat over to her shoulder, I feel her tiny hands doing what she just described. In her one hand she’s stroking my dick, up and down, up and down, with a wonderful firm grip, while her other hand gently massages my balls. The feelings are indescribable and they take my breath away.

I kiss my way up the other side of her neck and pause at her ear, “Ana, I want you Baby. I need you.” I can hear the desire in my own voice as I begin walking us to the bed. When we reach our destination, I pull away and gently push her onto the mattress. Lust shines and twinkles in her eyes. The emotion is so strong, so vibrant, my heart stops as I look at her. It’s magnificent. She’s magnificent.

I crawl onto the bed while she slides away from me, on our ultra-king, oversized bed. “I know we have house guests and security detail within earshot. Are you alright with this?” We’ve been on our own for so long now, it feels strange having anyone else in our personal space. No matter how large that space may be.

With a small smirk on her beautiful lips she tells me, “We know you can be quiet. I guess now I need to practice. Lock the door Baby. Let the games begin.” She ain’t gotta tell me twice! I spring from the bed, jet to the fucking door and lock it, scolding myself for not making this room sound proof.

Taylor and the other security detail know not to come into my room. Even when I had nightmares, Taylor stayed away. I’m sure Everett and Christopher understand the sound of a man and woman fucking is an audible “Do No Enter” signal. She knows I don’t give a fuck who hears us. It’s my home and my woman. As long as she’s ready so am I, but if it makes her feel comfortable to lock the door, her wish is my command.

I look over my should at her as I click the lock then I creep back to the bed where she’s still seated in the middle, wearing entirely too many clothes. “Raise.” I whisper. She says nothing. She raises onto her knees, never taking her dark blues off my steel greys. I join her in our haven, bend over and brush my lips over hers as I bring my hands to the bottom of her camisole. “Arms up Baby.” I whisper against her soft, sweet lips. She follows my instruction and I slowly remove her camisole then toss it off to somewhere in the room. We’ll find it in the morning. If we look.

I kiss down her front to take her left nipple between my lips and begin to suckle, purposefully leaving its mate to stand-alone. I stroke her sides and slide my hands down her back. All the while, I hear her breath quickening and feel her heart pound against my face. I continue to suck, lick, nibble and kiss her little pink pebble. When she brings her hand up behind my head to runs her fingers through my hair, I shake my head and give her a sharp nip with my teeth. This is my party. I turn my attention to my other little playmate.

“I know I say this a lot Baby, because it’s true, you have beautiful,” lick “luscious,” kiss “succulent,” nip “firm breasts. I love the way they look, in clothes and out. I love the way they feel against my chest, my back, my lips, in my hands and in my mouth and I dearly love their flavor. Mmm.” She gasps again as, I hum against her skin, causing her body to tremble.

“Hold on Baby,” I whisper against her skin, “not yet.” I stop my ministrations and coax her to lie back on the bed. I pull her pajama shorts down over her magnificent legs, helping her out of the obstructing garment.

“No panties Miss Steele?” I move between her legs, tossing each one over my forearms. With my hands on her waist I tug her closer to me. I bend over and reward myself by running my nose over her soft brown curls, inhaling deeply and squeeze her legs in my arms. “I approve my dear Anastasia. You know how exquisite your scent is to me. You’re so ready aren’t you Baby?” I breathe against her belly and lick her navel, to prolong the moment.

I don’t look up at her for my answer. I pull her legs further apart, slide her them further up my arms and move my hands toward her ass. She glides her legs from my arms, up my biceps to my shoulders and arches her back so my hands can continue their smooth passage over her ass to her back. Then I stand, cradling her head and back in my hands and on my arms. She squeals and immediately locks her ankles behind my head. Game on Baby.

I move her further up the bed to lay her down on our favorite hideaway. I kiss each ankle, inner side of her calves, knees and thighs. I take her legs from around my neck then move on all fours up her body, trailing kisses along the way to her tastiest spot.

When I reach my destination, my satisfaction is immediate as I take the plunge, “Mmm Baby. You taste.” lick “So fucking.” kiss “Delicious.” lick, lick, suck. “Mmm.” I can’t wait anymore. My dick is throbbing between my legs and my balls are tingling, but I don’t want to break our contact. I slide two fingers inside her slick, hot core and massage her from the inside as I rise up on my knees to let her see me stoking my cock.

She begins to close her eyes and raise her back off of the bed when I command her, “Stop Anastasia!” Her torso flattens on the bed and her eyes blink open, unseeing. “Watch me Baby. Watch us.” Without breaking contact with my beautiful girl, I rub my cock over her clit as I continue to finger her. Playing the piano lends to well executed “fingering” and I enjoy playing her body like my Grand.

“Keep your eyes open Baby. I want you to watch me. Watch what I do to you, to your beautiful body.” She gives me a little nod as I first slide my cock inside her, without removing my fingers.

“Ahhh.” Is all she can say.

My stokes are long and opposing. As I slide my cock into her, I pull my fingers out of her sweet, soft haven. As I slide my cock out of her, I push my fingers back into her again, massaging the front wall of her vagina. I never leaving her bereft of some part of me.

My voice is deep and thick with desire, “Do you like that Baby?” Her eyes have glazed over again as she stares at me and nods her head. She’s lost. Totally lost in the sensations of the moment.

I gently brush my thumb over her clit causing her legs to twitch and her breath to catch. I place my free hand on the bed beside her and bend down to pull her right nipple between my lips. “Mmm…” is all I can say. I feel her eyes closing, causing me to halt all movements. I don’t raise my eyes from her breast, speak to her with her nipple between my teeth.

“Anastasia, keep your eyes open. I need you here with me Baby.” She takes a deep breath then nods again and runs her hands over my shoulders and down my back. “That’s it Baby, feel me too, inside and out. Make love to me too Ana. Make love to me too.”

I raise my eyes to watch her. To see her enjoy what I’m doing to her body. In a flash, her eyes focus and lock on mine as she mouths, “I love you Christian”. I continue moving in and out of her, using my cock and my fingers both. She slides one hand up my back, my shoulders and into my hair, gently, yet firmly, holding my eyes on hers. Her other hand descends down my chest, over my abs, around my hand, past my cock and closes over my balls. Palming me with care. The heat between us builds immediately and moan because I feel her walls begin to tremble. My cock grows thicker insider of her. I can feel it. My balls throb against her palm. The feeling is astounding, second only to her lips and tongue around my member.

“Ssshhhiiittt Baby.” I rasp with uncontrolled hunger and love. “We have to be quiet, right?” She doesn’t answer. Her walls simply tighten around my cock and fingers as her back once again rises off of the bed. She even has the wherewithal to cradle my balls in her hand. When she opens her mouth I hear a low rumble. As the rumble changes to a growl then a deep wonton sound, I quickly cover her lips with my own and push my tongue deep inside her mouth. As she sucks my tongue I realize they’re not her moans being captured. They’re mine.


After what seemed like endless love-making, I’m wide awake with Ana snuggled into my body. I stoke her arm and kiss her temple, “I love you Baby” I tell her.

“I love you too Christian.” She whimpers and sighs in her sleep. I smile widely, both from her sleepy confession and the knowledge that she really does love me.

I creep out of our bed and tip to door, which I unlock with the utmost care, so as not to wake Ana then I slip out and move toward the Great Room. What I find there astonishes me, “Good God, does anyone in this family sleep?” I avoided leaving Ana to play my beloved piano because I didn’t want to be away from and I didn’t want to wake anyone. I know we’re not alone here and while I really don’t give a fuck who hears me or sees me, I don’t like explaining myself even more. How long has this fucker been in here. He’s still in his suit pants, dress shirt and shoes. It doesn’t look like he’s slept at all.

“Oh? You’re the only one allowed to be awake in the wee hours of the morning?” Everett stares out the floor to ceiling window at the impending Seattle sunrise. His back is to me, but I detect something in his voice. I’m not sure what it is. His dry, monotone spreads throughout the Great Room, then dies immediately. Silent. Not a soft hush, just a flat, dead silence. It’s not the booming sound I’ve grown accustomed to, even when he’s calls himself whispering, especially when he’s angry or happy or…shit, anytime. There’s no sarcasm, no whit, no childish goading. I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all, but…I don’t know why.

“Everett, how long have you been awake?” I take my time approaching him, as I do I see an empty glass tumbler in his hand and an almost empty carafe of amber liquid on the floor beside his foot. “Everett, are you alright?” I’ve never seen him drunk so I don’t know what to expect.

He’s related to you…use caution.

Are you really giving me pointers on how to approach a drunk man? Gimme a fucking break.

Ok. When he knocks you on your ass, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

His voice, devoid of feeling, snatches me out of my inner bickering. “What the fuck are you doing out here Grey? Go back to Anastasia and get your beauty rest.” The words are him, but his snide remark sounds bitter, cold even. I know aloof. I invented the word, but this is more than standoffish or even unapproachable. This is seclusion.

“Everett, what’s going on? I thought you had calls to make. Now’s the perfect time to call back to…” I don’t get to finish my sentence.

Everett spins around to face me, nose to nose. Using an insidious whisper he says, “What the fuck are you doing out here? Go the fuck away and leave me the Hell alone. I’m not invading your precious privacy so until I can get back to the comfort and confines of my own haven, leave. Me. The fuck. Alone.” Using military precision, he does an about-face back to the window.

I step away from my usual and customary reaction, I keep my voice even and my fists to myself. If he’s anything like me, a touch will only ignite the booze surging through his veins. As much as I haven’t admitted it yet, personal experience reminds me I use this behavior when I’m trying to pick a fight. Well, dear Cousin, I’m not going to give you the fucking satisfaction, although I refuse to take down to him either. “Everett, save the intimidation shit for the boardroom. You’re not the head of a fucking thing in Seattle and especially not in my penthouse.”

I see the fist of his free hand open and close a couple times, he takes a deep breath and growls as he releases it before looking over his shoulder at me. This time, and I want to laugh at the attempted fearsome expression on his face and the gleam in his eyes. Man, I’ve held onto that look everyday for the past twenty some odd years, before I met my Ana. Mine’s a bit scarier than his though, I have to admit.

If that’s all you’ve got Brown, you better take it back to the drawing board. I almost laugh out loud then, I see the cause of his expression. The cause of the gleam. A single tear seeps from the corner of his eye and slowly wanders down his cheek.

I stifle my gasp and lower my voice, “Everett, what the fuck is wrong? Don’t make me call Emmett. You know he’ll shit a cinderblock if I do.” He returns his gaze to the window and shakes his head, refusing to address the issue, whatever it is. I rush though scenarios in my mind, trying to ascertain what could bring this type of reaction out of him. I know he spoke with Emmett. Is Ella alright? Edward? Hell are “The Bookends” safe?

Before I can speak again, he shocks me when he says, just above a whisper, “I’ll kill that bitch if she comes near my son again. I told Emmett I wouldn’t do anything I would regret while I’m here…and I won’t. Regret it. Christopher’s mother is a fucking , money-grubbing leach. A big enough check and she’ll sign Christopher’s soul to the Devil. I’m sure my lawyers can pay her to give me back my son.”

Facing me one last time Everett snarls, “However, as for that BITCH acquaintance of yours and my son’s…I have an entirely different program in mind. This shit. Stops. Now. Emmett couldn’t protect Aunt Ellie or you. I can. I will protect my son…and my Cousin. Like it or not” then he breezes past me out of the Great Room.

I can’t begin to fathom his anger or his pain. His son has been molested and the woman who was supposed to protect him was too busy thinking of herself. Taking his money and doing God only know what with it and her time. While the scenario is in no way the same, the emotion it invokes seems nostalgic. Somehow, I wonder if this is how Emmett felt about his baby sister. And her son.


“Baby. Ana. Come on Sweetheart wake up.” I kiss her cheek and whisper softly in her ear. Ana isn’t a morning person I know and jet lag has got to be hitting her hard after staying up so long yesterday, but I don’t want her to wake up alone. We each hate waking up without the other beside us. It makes for a shitty day. “Ana…” I whisper again and kiss the corner of her mouth.

“Mmm”, she groans, “five more minutes Christian. Please,” she whines before burrowing further down into her pillow. I’ve got her five more minutes alright.

After I came back to bed this morning, I pulled her close to me and watched her sleep as the sun rose. Even though I’m not a religious man, I’m not conceited enough to ignore the fact of a divine being. I thanked God over and over again for bringing Anastasia into my life and for giving her the strength to show me the way out of Elena’s darkness.

The heart I never believed I owned goes out to Everett and his son. I couldn’t get the scene from earlier out of my mind. It solidified my decision to go spend time with my mom. I just wish I could take Ana with me. She’s been getting left out of a lot of family conversations lately. I’ll make it up to her when we get back to Townsville.

“Come on Baby.” I kiss her behind her ear and nuzzle her neck. She wiggles her ass against my cock and purrs. My breath catches and I gasp. “Anastasia, I’m going to Mom’s for breakfast, remember?”

“Mmm” is all she says. I pull her to me, my hands instinctively cupping her beautiful full breasts. I gently massage the soft, supple flesh as I try to rouse her again. I’m rewarded with the feeling of her nipples hardening against my palms. I give each of the ladies a quick pinch then slide one hand from her breast over her stomach, around to her hip, down her thigh all the way to her knee, which I push forward with my own giving me free access to tickle her succulent dripping folds. She unconsciously contracts and relaxes her vaginal muscles around my fingers and she purrs again. “Mmm. Feels sooo good.” FUCK ANA!

My Morning Woody is wide awake and in need. I pull Ana even tighter against my chest and slowly, softly re-trace the path of my fingers, with the head of my cock, up one side, down the other then through the middle. I rub and caress myself against her, hearing the sweet, moist kisses her pussy gives the head of my cock.

Finally, I can’t take it anymore. I have to be inside of her. “Baby, are you awake yet?” I’ll give her the best “wake-up call” there is if she’s not. This’ll make the need for an alarm clock null and void.

She groans again and I think it’s because of our ‘kiss’ until she repeats her prior request, “Five more minutes Christian. Please.” I chuckle to myself then lick the shell of her ear.

I lower my voice and in the faintest whisper I tell her, “Sleep as long as you like Baby, but I’m gonna fuck you in and out of your dreams.” She nods her head and takes a deep breath. She’s not asleep. This makes for an interesting playtime though.

No doubt.

Gently, I slide my pulsating cock halfway into her savory cunt. She moans again and grinds her ass against me. “Shhh Anastasia. Sleep Baby, if you can.” I suck her earlobe and pull back out of her only to slide my thick, heavy cock all the way inside my favorite place in the world.

“I’m awake now” she hisses. “Yessss…”

Can’t We Just Be Happy | Chapter 26 I Want My Son

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 26 | I Want My Son

GREY

“I have to tell you, I’m scared now.  The look on your faces has me on high alert.  Do I need to go get my boy? I’m a pro at enduring jet lag so if I need to leave right this second I will.”

“Yes.” I growl the simple one word answer.  He has to understand how serious the situation is.  I haven’t had time to talk to Ana about Elena and the things I learned before leaving Seattle.  We’ve been so caught up in our reconciliation then this family shit was dumped into my lap. I haven’t given the Bitch-Troll a second thought.

What about that phone call?

I’ll get back to that.

I’ll make sure of it.

No doubt.

Right now, how do you tell a man, your new-found, volatile cousin that your former confidante, and pedophile, is now molesting his son?

There’s no easy way. You can either give him the details now then send him off to get his son or you can just stress the need for him to get the kid and deal with the emotional shit later.

I know I don’t want to involve Mom or Dad in this mess.  I’ll have to call my legal team in Seattle.

And Taylor…

And Taylor, then there’s the fact the kid’s father wants to take him out of the country, which is definitely the safest bet.  My head is spinning, I think I’m going to be sick.

I forgot I wasn’t alone all this time, but when I hear, “GREY!” It snaps me out of my tailspin.  “What the fuck is the deal?”  As I start to speak he’s dialing on his Silent Circle Blackphone, putting his hand up to halt me.

What the fuck? Who the fuck does this prick think he is?

I look at Ana, “Do I do that shit?”  She raises a ‘now you know how it feels’ eyebrow and nods. I turn toward Everett and just stare.  If people think I bark, this fucker woofs.

“This is Brown 3. Get that fucking thing ready for me to leave. YESTERDAY DAMMIT!  When I say it, YOU do it.” Whoever it is had best arrange his transportation toot-sweet.

“Destination, SEA TAC. And I want to land in the fucking front yard, I pay enough for the shit.” Oh fuck, he’s getting outlandish now. “YYYEEESSS,” he hisses loudly, “you need to have the helicopter ready.  How the fuck else do you think I’m going to land in the fucking front yard?” I just shake my head.

There’s a slight pause then he makes a deep growling noise. Suddenly, “I DON’T GIVE A RAT’S ASS ABOUT THE FUCKING POLICE!  I WANT MY SON AND I WANT HIM YESTERDAY!  Get that flying fucker ready for me to get my son.  I’m on my way NOW!  FUCK EDWARD!”

Damn he’s a son of a bitch ain’t he?

“If you fucking defy ME, you’ll lose MORE than your job.  I’LL deal with Edward Brown.  If I have to buy the fucking plane from him to get my way I WILL!”  Then he hangs up.

WOW! I’m mildly impressed.

I know, me too, but I won’t show it.

Everett rubs his forehead so hard there’s a huge, red smudge left in the wake of his hand.  “Everett, I’ll go with you.”  I’ll have to brief him on the way.

“I’m going too.”  Ana jumps from her seat totally ignoring the disapproving look on my face.  She puts her hands on her hips and informs me “I’m going too Christian and that’s final.”  Everett smiles at the two of us.

Once again calm and collected, Everett tries to decline our offer. “There’s no reason to disrupt your lives for a quick trip to Seattle. Security says he’s running errands right now or I’d have them pick him up and hold him until I get there…” the look on my and Ana’s faces cut him off. “He’s in danger isn’t he?”  Ana and I both slowly nod as I spin Everett around and push him out the door.

“You’re in no condition to drive Everett, just get in the Audi and let me know which runway.”  He doesn’t give me any trouble, thank God.  He’s worried about his son and truth be told, so am I.


The flights from TSV to BNE and from LAX to SEA TAC are about two hours each…no big deal.  The time warp is from BNE to LAX, which is about 27 hours, give or take.

Ana tried to stay awake, but she fell asleep on the flight to LAX, which I knew she would.  Once I got her settled in bed, Everett and I went into the same emotionally charged conversation Emmett and I had over my childhood with and without my birth mother.

He was appalled, sorrow-filled and enraged all in one foul swoop. I knew it would be a lot for him to take in all at once and I’m positive he has unanswered questions. He had to know as much as I could tell him ahead of time. I didn’t want him to walk in and be completely blindsided. However, his, like Emmett’s, reaction was likewise a lot for me to take in. When all was said and done, we were descending into LAX.

I contacted Taylor to have the GEH jet ready to take us to LAX and I told him we needed covert surveillance on Elena and Christopher as well as all the other boys Welch tagged her with seeing.  Everett sent Taylor a picture of Christopher. Never loosing his professionalism, the brief pause on the phone alerted me to Taylor’s shock as we went through our final checklist.

We landed in Seattle at about 3AM. It took Sawyer, Taylor and I to persuade Everett not to take his helicopter, also readied at SEA TAC as instructed, and land in his son’s front yard as he had originally intended.  I understood his vehemence, but being arrested would put the kibosh on his soon to be custody battle with Chris’ mother.

I refused to contact Mom and Dad. Anyway, I’m in no mood to field questions I have no intention of answering. We all went to Escala for a sleepless few hours then I’ll force Everett to go to Grey House with me and Reynolds while Taylor and Everett’s security team intercept Christopher somewhere near his school.  Ana will stay at Escala with Gail and Sawyer to rest; plausible deniability.

“I’m not fucking interested in your fucking company Grey!  Now is NOT the time to show off!”

I’m sick of this motherfucker’s bullshit. I’m not his fucking underling and I won’t take-down to him or any-fucking-body else. I’m done being nice to this son of a bitch, “Look, Cousin,” that grabbed his ass, “I’m not interested in showing off.  I don’t have anything to prove to you or anyone else in the business world.  The only person I have to prove myself to is my fiancée and that’s none of your business.”

“Now you’ll bring your raving, fucking belligerent ass to my building and behave like the fucking loud, obnoxious, COO bastard you are or I’ll beat your crazy, arrogant ass like I would my brother’s!”  My fists are balled and little did I know, I’ve moved into Dom mode. His shit-eating grin breaks through my annoyance to makes me smile as well.  I know what he’s going to say before he opens his asinine mouth.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah…I know.”  He raises an ‘oh, you know what I’m thinking, huh?’ eyebrow and interjects anyway.

“Cousin?”

Whatev asshole.


“Christian, Everett I know you’re in a rush, but you have to eat something. Passing out during one of your egocentric adrenaline rushes won’t help anyone’s cause.”  Ana stands in the middle of the kitchen with her hands on her hips, tapping her toe while Everett and I look at each other and smile.

“Bossy lil thing ain’t she.” It’s obviously a statement, not a question as Everett gives his take on the situation at hand.

“I wouldn’t have her any other way.”  I smile and wink at Ana.

“Save it Grey, you too Brown.”  We wince at her use of our surnames.

“Baby, I’m not…”

She holds up her hand, much like Everett did, and finishes my sentence, her own way, “…gonna give me any trouble, exactly, neither of you are.  Now EAT!”  She points to the egg white omelets, bacon, toast, fruit and coffee sitting on the breakfast bar waiting for us.

As is becoming the usual and customary, we look at each other than at Ana and respond in unison, “Ma’am, yes ma’am.”

After breakfast and quick showers we each don our executive attire. I dress in a dark grey Canali, Fine Tonal Stripe suit, crisp white Canali Herringbone dress shirt with my Harrods Of London Mother of Pearl cufflinks, burgundy Harrods Of London Grosgrain silk tie and onyx black Kurt Geiger London, Grant Derby shoes.

Apparently Everett intends to scare the dog shit out of anyone he meets today. While it took a lot of coaxing from Ana, my dear cousin opted to buy a black Paul Smith London, Soho Windowpane Check suit, snow-white Paul Smith London, Contrast Cuff Byard dress shirt with Tateossian, Cabochon Onyx Round cufflinks and polished black Paul Smith, Berty Punched Oxford shoes from the clothier who met us at Escala in the wee hours of the morning. Ana had to fucking humiliate Everett to reconsider the Alexander McQueen, Knotted Skull cufflinks he saw, which was no easy task. All I could do was shake my head.

As we reconvene in the Great Room, Ana surprises us both when she asks, “Ok fellas, will Christopher come directly here or is he going to Grey House once Taylor picks him up?” I don’t want her involved in this mess in any way, shape or fucking form. I didn’t want to bring her with me so how in the Hell does she think I’m going to let her babysit this kid until we get home this afternoon?

NO FUCKING WAY!

Everett and I decided, somewhere during the time warp flight, to keep Christopher with us at Grey House until we finished the workday.  We intend to pick Ana up at Escala then all board the GEH jet to LAX. Our intention is to be between LAX and BNE before Christopher’s mother realizes he’s gone. It should be easy to do since the woman’s background check shows she’s not a suitable guardian for a house pet let alone a child, particularly a teenage boy, so neither of us sees a problem with our plan. The catch being how rested Steven and his co-pilot are. We may have to wait until tomorrow afternoon to leave, since neither of us wants to risk anyone’s life.

I let Everett run through our intentions. I’m very pleased when he stresses to Anastasia that Christopher will come to Grey House. “There’s no reason to burden you with him or any possible fallout accompanying our ‘acquisition reclamation’. Get your rest Love.  Besides, Christian and I need to speak with Christopher about just what the fuck is going on. If things are as bad as they seem, you don’t want to be subject to my histrionics and your fiancé’s ass-whipping as he and his Keystone Cops will, no doubt, attempt to restrain me from leaving his castle and storming to my Kirkwood estate where I’ll deal with Christopher’s mother in my own fashion.”

Ana shakes her head then softly reminds him, “You’ll only make a bad situation worse Everett and you know it. Don’t be foolish. Let security handle this as much as possible. Focus on getting Christopher back here then on to Townsville.” My baby handled the great, big mutherfucker as if he was a fine violin then she gives Everett an encouraging hug before we leave.


The trip to Grey House is silent.  Each of us is lost in his own thoughts.  I feel like an ass for not reporting that bitch years ago and an accomplice for not turning over the evidence we have on all the boys.  Welch assured me we didn’t have enough concrete documentation to convict her.  We also hadn’t worked out how to approach any of the boys, so she was only under covert surveillance.

We enter my building through the underground parking structure. As we exit the vehicle and approach the entrance I vaguely hear someone say, “Stop it Cousin.”  Huh, stop what? Without acknowledging his statement, I give Everett a questioning glance as we continue into the building.

Ignoring the shocked stares, gasps and butterfly fluttering eyelashes, we make our way across the lobby to the express elevator. Apparently my staff are in awe and getting an eye-full of Everett Rockhold-Brown and Christian Trevelyn-Grey together.

Makes you wanna laugh don’t it?

Hardly.

Once the elevator doors close I address Everett’s prior demand, “Stop what?”

As if addressing the elevator doors, his feet shoulder width apart, his hands crossed in front of him, looking military, but still nonchalant, Everett explains, “Emmett gets the same look on his face you had. I know immediately he’s chastising himself about something. It usually concerns you and Aunt Ellie.”

“You’ve explained the fact this disgusting whore is under covert surveillance while you gather evidence. I understand you don’t have enough information to make the authorities take notice and you didn’t want to risk tipping her off by approaching the lads involved with this menace to even the dregs of society. Logically, I understand it all.”

While his gaze remains focused on the polished, reflective, elevator doors , his voice changes, infinitesimally, to that of a disheartened parent lamenting the predicament of his child. “What I don’t understand is how Chris’ mother didn’t know and why she didn’t care where our son spends his time. How could she turn a blind eye to what he’s doing and what’s happening to our flesh and blood.” He shakes his head, as if to ward off a thought or wipe one away. I observe Everett very closely as he speaks about his son and now his son’s mother. If I don’t know anything else, I know people. There’s more than meets the eye with this situation.

I let the subject drop for the time being, but Everett’s not finished, “I don’t understand my son not talking to me.  I know I’m not here every day, but he’s talked to me about a lot of rabbit-ass crazy, kid stuff.  Why not bring this to me?”  He utters the last sentence so softly I almost missed it. He sounds defeated and the closer I watch him I can see he looks distraught.

I wonder if Emmett looked that way about his sister…and you?

It’s my turn to wipe away an errant thought, “I don’t know your relationship with your son Everett, but regardless, this isn’t something you run home to tell your folks. Believe me, I know.” He nods, recalling our conversation on the flight. “We’ll get him back, sit him down and talk to him about what he’s been through then see if he can tell Taylor and Welch how to contact the other boys. Once Taylor and Welch have the information they need, you, Christopher, Ana and I can go back to Townsville.  It’ll work out. It just won’t be pleasant.” I place a hand on his shoulder and he nods again, restrained and solemn. I’ve not seen this side of The Great Everett Rockhold-Brown. I don’t like what I’m seeing, although I can’t determine why.

Not now. We’ll toss it around later.

You’re right, there’s too much to do at the moment.

The elevator doors slide open to my direct reports standing in the foyer. Everyone at attention.  Andrea doesn’t miss a beat, “Good morning Mr. Grey, Mr Brown.

Mr Grey, I moved your morning meeting to tomorrow as you requested.  You have a 1:30 PM call with Taiwan and a 2 PM call with Mr. Welch.  The remaining End of the Year Reports are on your desk.  Would you like to schedule the Executive meeting for some time during your stay or will you be returning to Seattle at a later date?”

Everett looks at me and smirks.  Ok, ok, so I fired off some emails this morning about business.  Kill two birds you know.  I narrow my eyes at him as I say, “What?”

He narrows his right back at me and retorts, “Watch it!”  Our spectators grimace at the exchange, but neither of us take notice of them.

Fuck you Brown. I’m in charge here.

“My office is this way, unless,” I turn to look at Andrea over my shoulder, “Ms Bailey managed to commandeer it.”

“No sir, it’s still your office.”  She says proudly.  I wonder what kind of discussions they’ve had over my office.

“Thank you Andrea, that’ll be all for now.”  Andrea nods and goes back to her spot at the Reception Desk.  All this time people are looking at Everett and me like we’re lab rats on display.

After closing my office door Everett asks, “Do you deal with that eyelash batting bullshit all the time?” as he flops into the chair in front of my desk.

I turn on my computer, preparing for my day as I tell him, “You’d be surprised. I see them, but I don’t see them.” Turning to face him, I point out the obvious, “I only have eyes for my Ana.”

“No fucking wonder you like Townsville.  I mean, the office building is nice and all, but those women are a fucking nuisance.  How do they keep their jobs? Emmett and Edward would send them off to the gallows at first glance.”

Everett pulls out his phone, preparing for his business day, no doubt. “Those bitches are right up Eran and Emerson’s alley though.  I can let you borrow ‘The Bookends’ if you ever want to clean house.” He says with a huge smile.

I laugh only because I know he’s 100 percent serious.

Hmm, Ana wouldn’t mind that at all.

I know.

“I may take you up on that Everett.  I’ll let you know.”

“No problem Cousin” I shake my head and proceed to work.

Everett tends to EB business from his customized Silent Circle Blackphone with a converted and secured iOS, as opposed to the customary Android OS. He waits for a call from his son on his iPhone.  Apparently family and Christopher’s school administrators have his International iPhone number. Everyone else, including his son’s mother, contacts him on his Silent Suite secure line, which gives him the ability to record calls. Seems precise documentation is needed when it comes to Ms Yvonne Brenda Pope. He figures the kid’ll call once my security team approaches him.

I agree to let Everett sit in during my business call to Taiwan. The mutherfucker makes more noise about incompetence than I ever dreamed possible.

I already knew the P/L Report lacked information from the last two days. I planned to address the faux pas. However, when the Execs tried to give some weak-ass explanation about ‘the report being prepared a week in advance’, Everett beat me to the punch, which is rare, if not impossible. My dear cousin pointed out to the newly acquired Taiwanese executives they were full of shit. He proved himself by directing their attention to the document’s property information, which clearly stated the file was updated last night. He also reamed them for trying to take advantage of the time difference as an excuse for submitting the original report to me after its deadline.

Everett went on to remind them we each could read and make decisions regarding a P/L based on the first few lines, basically calling out their figures as elementary and riddled with mistakes, making the entire report null and void. Everett’s tirade went on to chastise my employees for what he unaffectionately referred to as ‘fucking kiss-ass fluffy shit’ in an attempt to draw attention away from their overall dismal performance. I almost lost it. I had to put the call on mute so many times it was ridiculous. It was comical.

They all but forgot I was involved once Everett started speaking, so I was able to take Taylor’s call and let Everett vent for a while.  It seemed to be a welcome distraction for him. “Taylor, give me an update.”

“We have the boy and we’re on our way to Grey House.”  Fine with me, but his ole man is gonna have a coronary. Reading my mind as he always does Taylor added, ”He didn’t have his phone with him. It’s the reason he didn’t call Mr. Brown.  We did a search of him and his belongings, much to his dismay, and verified he didn’t have the phone.” I see, Elena wants this one all to herself.

What’s so special about this kid?

Snapping my out of my pondering, I hear Taylor’s distress, “Sir, there was a tracking device found on young Mr Brown. We found it in the…the…um…” I know what he’s trying not to say.

“Let me help you Taylor.  There’s a tracking device in his collar?”  Taylor quietly, almost silently, releases his breath.  In his professionalism Taylor forgets who he’s talking to and what he’s talking about, which I can and do appreciate…greatly. “I understand Taylor.  I’ll let his father know you’re en route.  What’s your ETA?”

“Yes sir, we’ll be there in 15.”  With the way Everett is ranting and raving on the phone, that’s not enough time to explain why his son didn’t call and what Taylor found on the kid in private.  I’ll get a feel for the boy. Depending on how defensive he is, I’ll ease the information out of him in front of Everett. I basically prepped Everett on the trip over. I told him a lot, but that’s never going to be enough. This topic isn’t a casual conversation for those unfamiliar with the lifestyle.

“Thanks Taylor.”

When I re-engage in the thrashing Everett Brown, COO of EB, Pty is giving Soon Liu, the Executive Director of my new Taiwanese shipyard, I have to stop Everett from going through the fucking phone.  The nutty bastard even promised to stop off in Taiwan on the return trip just to kick someone’s fucking ass.

DAMN!  He’s worse than me. You can’t tell me I’m anywhere near that bad.

Hmm, you have your moments Grey.

Whatev.

“Gentlemen, gentlemen,” I shout. “Thank you for the enlightening information Mr. Brown.  Mr. Liu, please review the documents you provided, make the necessary changes then resend the report to me. Andrea will reschedule this meeting.  You and your team have two days Mr. Liu”. I say, trying to prevent a fucking walkout in my new acquisition.

“MAKE THAT 36 HOURS YOU INCOMPETENT ASS!”  I throw Everett a censoring glare, which goes completely unacknowledged.

“Um…Mr. Brown, we need to…”

This isn’t Everett’s show. He can save his fucking, crazy-ass bullshit for his own boardroom. Once again, Dom Grey steps into view, “As I stated Mr. Liu, make the updates and Andrea will contact you in two American business days.  Do you have any questions?”

“No Mr. Grey.  Thank you.  Goodbye” and the fucker hangs up on me.

“Père céleste me donner de la force” [1]

“Our Father in Heaven has nothing to do with their incompetence, Cousin.”

“Unless you can run a shipyard, stop berating my staff.”

“I can do better than those assholes with my dick in my hand.”  He mumbles.

“Tais-toi Cousin” that made him smile, anything to make the guy feel better. [2]

Face it Grey, it’s kind of nice having family around, ain’t it? Even if it is crazy-ass family.

I have a family.

Not like this one.

That’s for damn sure.

Thankfully, the intercom goes off, Andrea to the rescue, “Mr Grey, Mr. Welch is on line three and Mr. Taylor and young Mr. Brown are here in the reception area.”

“Tell Taylor to take young Mr. Brown to the Executive Boardroom then come back to my office. The senior Mr. Brown will tend to his son shortly.”

“Yes sir” she says.

I look over to see glistening, deep, blue eyes. It’s clear Everett wants to bolt from his seat. I soften my voice, simply because I can see the yearning and terror on his face, “Go to your son Everett.  I’ll let you know what I find out.” I don’t have to tell him twice, immediately he’s up and at Andrea’s desk.

Andrea sends Olivia to show Everett to the boardroom. I know this is a mistake, so I stand at my office door, which is uncommon for me, waiting for the show. Andrea sits up in her chair preparing to speak, I presume to see if something’s wrong. With my index finger to my lips, I shake my head to shush her the I mouth, “Wait.” Three, tw…

As they walk away I hear Everett bark, “If you’re gonna bat your fucking eyelashes at people use less mascara.  The shit makes your lashes look like fucking, creepy-ass tarantula legs.”

The laughter escapes my chest, “Shut up Cousin” I call after them.

Without missing a beat or turning around Everett shouts, “Retour à tu Cousin” [3] and laughs as they continue down the corridor.

I turn my attention to my stunned Personal Assistant and Head of Personal Security, “Come in Taylor.” Let’s get this shit over and done.


While Everett gets reacquainted with Christopher, Taylor and I hold a debriefing with Welch.  Basically there’s no more information than before I left the United States.

“Mr. Grey, if you can get young Mr. Brown to tell you anything it may help, but there’s no guarantee.  Taylor, you said the kid had a tracking device on him?”

“Yeah, it was in his…collar.”  Taylor best lose his inhibition. I guarantee this situation is going to get worse before it gets better.

“Ok Welch.  Maintain surveillance and we’ll get back to you with whatever Christopher does or even doesn’t say.”

“Yes Sir” he says and I end the call. I take a deep cleansing breath as I run my fingers through my hair. There’s got to be a way to tag this bitch. She has to fuck up somehow and this kid knows how.

Tracking device in the collar huh?  Why’s she got the kid on such a short leash?  Pun intended.

It’s my question as well.  Perhaps he knows a lot or even too much. At the risk of being arrogant…

Never stopped you before.

Fuck you.

No thank you. Now get to the point.  At the risk of being yourself, what?

I need information, I need it now and that kid is the lynch-pen in her whole monkey-works. “Taylor, let’s meet with Everett and his son.”

“Yes sir.”

Taylor and I get to the boardroom door in the nick of time.  Everett is more than berating his son. His shouts can be heard in the hall. Luckily, you can’t discern exactly what he’s saying.

If that bastard causes this to get out, I’ll beat his ass on the return trip then hide the body until Taylor can get rid of it for me.

My sideways glance at Taylor reminds me just how well he knows me. Taylor simply shakes his head, telling me to reconsider my plan. To drive his point home he speaks, “No way. Ana will have *both* our asses.” It’s enough to redirect my thoughts.

“Then the soundproofing on that room has to be improved.”

I know he’s relieved with my decision when I hear, “Yes sir.”

I open the closed boardroom door to a roaring Everett and shut the damn thing as fast as I can. “DAMMIT CHRISTOPHER!  What the fuck is going on! You can tell me when your mother gives you shit, school gives you shit, Hell, when the fucking silly-ass kids in the neighborhood and at school get on your fucking nerves, whatever that means to a teenager. But some OLD-ASS BATTLELAX wants to BEAT and FUCK you and you’re quiet as a fucking church mouse on Easter Sunday!  WHAT THE FUCK!? And don’t give me any shit about ‘you just wouldn’t understand Dad’ because that shit won’t work.  Now SPILL!”

I wave Taylor off through the floor to ceiling glass wall of the boardroom. He, ever so appreciatively, returns to his office while I see about my…family. What a fucking way to meet, ‘Hi Christopher, I’m your long-lost cousin who used to be molested by your now pedophile Domme.’

I look to the Heavens for help.  Dieu du Ciel, give me the strength to have this conversation. I lower the privacy screen on the boardroom walls then turn around to face the duo. Thankfully, Everett’s huge back has completely blocked the scene from passersby. [4]

I walk around the left side of the conference table and stop cold, ”Oh mon Dieu. C’est moi.”  My eyes have to be as big as saucers. [5]

The look on his face and snide tone in his voice say it all, “Bonjour Cousin, good to finally meet you.” [6]

He’s me…all over…my hair, my eyes, even the shitty scowl on his face.  It all screams Christian Grey. Still staring at my reflection I say, “Everett, your picture didn’t do him justice.”

An irritated Everett flippantly remarks, “What do you mean?”  Everett either can’t see it or he doesn’t understand the ramifications. Since he doesn’t know Elena, it’s the later of the two.

“I mean he looks more like me than either Emmett or Edward do.”  Everett squints his eyes then tilts his head from side to side.

“I guess, but that’s just you copper-headed pretty boys with those funny color eyes.  It’s no big deal to me, remember.”

“No, but it’s a big deal to her.  Ain’t it Kid?”  Christopher stares at me, like this is some kind of competition.

Oh yeah, he’s a special one.

“What does she call you Kid?”  A look of surprise sparks in his eyes, but he recovers quickly.

I guess he thinks he’s gonna shock someone because he gets a shit-eating grin on his face before proudly uttering, “Second.”

As sad as it is I still laugh, out loud.  My chuckle takes the grin right off his face.  “Really?  Second?  And you’re proud of that?”

I take it, from the now sour look on his face, he didn’t appreciate my making fun of his pet name.  Everett, looking very confused narrows his eyes at me and asks, “Just what the fuck is so fucking funny Grey?”

Unfazed by his expression or tone, I wipe the laugh-induced tears from my eyes and explain, “Everett, Cousin, the Bitch-Troll, as Anastasia so unaffectionately refers to her, gives her submissive pets names.  I was simply, Pet.  I’m laughing because, sadly, it appears Christopher is pleased with his name.  He fails to realize, one, having a pet name is degrading and two, his name implies he is second…to her favorite.” I narrow my eyes at my reflection.

Obviously displeased with my reaction, Christopher asks his father “Dad, are we staying here or are you gonna take me home?  I’ve got fencing practice in a few…”

“YOU’VE GOT NOTHING BUT TIME DAMMIT!”  Everett really needs to get control of himself. I guarantee this shit is going to get more emotional before it’s over.

“Everett, Taylor will take you and Christopher back to Escala?  Rest up and have something to eat.  I’ll let Ana and Gail know to expect you both. I’ll be there in a few hours.  I’ve got some more calls to make.” Everett nods his consent and I simply ignore the nasty look from his son.

That kid needs his ass kicked.

My sentiments exactly.


Buzz…Bu…

“Christian!  How did everything go?  Did you get Christopher?  Are you coming home?”

Even barraging me with questions, it’s absolutely wonderful to hear Ana’s voice and know she’s mine.  I immediately recall how I felt the last time I spoke to Ana while sitting in this chair, “Hey Baby, everything’s fine.  Taylor got Christopher.  I’m sending Everett and his son back to Escala right now.  I’ll be there in a few hours.  There are some calls I need to make.”

The line is quite for a moment.  I can feel the tension building when she quietly asks me, “Who do you have to call Christian?”  Ana’s not going to like this, but I have to do it.  Elena trusts me and knowing how fond she is of her Second, now I have some leverage.

I take a deep breath and sigh, “I need to call Elena, Baby.  I have to…” I knew she wouldn’t let me finish.  I barely got the phone away from my ear fast enough.  I’m glad as fuck I didn’t put her on speaker, not that there was a need.  They can hear her in Townsville.

“YOU’RE GONNA CALL THAT BITCH?!  Over YOUR dead body GREY.  Now you listen to me and you listen good, I don’t question you or tell you what to do, until now.  Christian Trevelyn-Grey, if you call that whore I’ll stay in Seattle.  You can go back to Townsville…alone.”

What the fu…I didn’t get to finish my thought.

“It’s up to you Grey, but if Everett and Christopher walk through that door and you’re not with them, don’t bother calling, texting, sending Sawyer, Taylor or anyone else to look for me.  You won’t fucking find me, I’m sure Kate will see to it”  then she slammed the phone in my ear.

FUCK!  The sound of the dial tone reminds me there’s no need to hit the End button.  Tossing the phone across my desk, I run my fingers through my hair.

When I look up, I see Everett in my office, leaning against the closed door, arms folded across his chest, a ‘she told you’ smile on his face, waiting for me.  As engrossed as I was in having my ass handed to me, it’s no wonder I didn’t hear him come in.  “Come on Cousin.  I need to cool down and you need to get home before I have to keep your fiancée from beating your ass.”

I guess my expression was less than receptive to his suggestion.  “You can narrow your funny-color eyes and tune up your pretty face all you want.  There’s no fucking way in Hell I’m going to let you save my son and ruin your future.  Besides Grandmom would fucking haunt us both.”

“Everett, I have calls…”  He cuts me off, finishing my sentence his own way.

“…that you can easily make from that lavish penthouse of yours.  Wait.  We need a solid game plan before you make contact with this…Bitch-Troll anyway.  It may mean another trip to Seattle, but if you don’t mind dealing with this, I don’t mind giving your Executives Hell while we sort out that pedophile.”  He looks gleeful at the thought of harassing my employees.

You know he’s right.  You need a strategy and you need Steele.  Get your sorry ass up and go back to Escala before you fucking regret it.

I get up and tell him, “Let’s go…Cousin” and we’re out the door.


“Nice digs Cousin.”  Christopher strolls into the foyer of my penthouse ahead of Everett and me like he owns the place.

SWAT!

“Hey Grey, what the…” the boy spins around expecting to see me behind him, after his father gives him a good, hard smack to the back of the head.

In a low, menacing tone Everett declares, “That female you’ve lived with all these years may not have introduced you to the concepts of etiquette and decorum, but times…they are a changing my boy.  You will behave with a lot of dignity or I will kick the shit out of you…a lot.  You are Christopher Ellis Brown and you will live up to the name.  Get it?”

Maybe Grace should’ve let Carrick light into you on occasion.

The world, will never know my friend.

Rubbing the back of his head and looking down at the floor, obviously chastened, Christopher mumbles, “Got it.”

“Good,” the conversation forgotten as Everett turns to me and asks, “Now, what are we having for dinner Cousin?”

I move ahead of Everett and Christopher and smile when, out of the corner of my eye, I see the boy still rubbing the back of his head.

Shut you the fuck up didn’t he.

We walk into the Great Room as I call out, “Honey, we’re home.”

“CHRISTIAN!”  Ana yells as she comes barreling through the Great Room and leaps into my arms.  She wraps her arms around my neck and her legs around my waist so tight, I don’t know if I want to fuck her or gasp for breath.  After a strong, but all too brief, kiss on the lips she pulls back and looks me in the eyes as she whispers, “Thank God.  Townsville is really too lovely a place to leave.”

“And here I thought it was me.”  I pout.

“Your smiling face, twinkling eyes and close proximity are also appealing factors Mr Grey.” She kisses me on the lips again then jumps down out of my arms to greet our guests.

“Hello Everett, I’m sure I have you to thank for bringing him home safe and sound” Ana gives Everett a hug.

Looking at the sullen teen standing beside his father, first Ana gasps then she says, almost in awe, “You must be Christopher.”

Christopher has that mischievous look in his eyes again as he smiles and offers his hand to shake with Ana, “Guilty as charged.”

SWAT!

Everett nailed him again.  No words are spoken this time, just a menacing glare from father to son does the trick.  The boy contritely changes his tune to correct himself, “Yes Anastasia, I’m Christopher.  It’s wonderful to meet you.”

Ignoring the parental exchange, my Baby greets the kid warmly, “It’s wonderful to meet you as well Christopher.  I’ve heard a lot of good things about you.  It seems your dad tries to keep you busy, even from overseas.”

Christopher gives her a knowing glance and nods his head, “He says it’s to keep me out of trouble.” then with a bit a sadness in his voice he mumbles, “I only wish it worked.”

Everett puts his arm around his son’s shoulders, in a silent promise to the boy that it’ll be alright once Christopher gets to Townsville.  At this point, my wheels are spinning as I try to figure out how to resolve this once and for all.

Everett ruffles his son’s hair then goes to one of the guest rooms to change into some comfortable clothes and Ana returns to the kitchen to check on dinner, leaving Christopher and I alone.

I find my way to the sofa, nose stuck in my BlackBerry.  It’s almost like old times until I’m reminded otherwise, “So, what was it like for you?”  The kid catches me off guard.  My finger stops mid-scroll through the emails I’m reading on my BlackBerry.

I shake my head.  Surely I heard him wrong.  Did he just question my relationship with Elena?  “Excuse me.”

He smiles like he’s got me between a rock and a hard place.  “You heard me.” He has the nerve to snap.  “What was it like for you, Pet?”  I guess he’s trying to impersonate his father by crossing his arms over his chest and raising he voice.  I’m sure he’s seen it work a number of times.

Not here sonny-boy.

This isn’t a fucking game Kid.  My time with Elena was nothing to brag about and I’ll be damned if I do the cock-strut with this little fucker.  “Christopher…” he cuts me off, just like his old-man.

“Second.”  He says with an impish grin.

“What!?”  I whisper in shock.

“I’m called Second.”

“And you’re proud of that…why?  You understand you’re Second to her favorite Pet, right?”  He furrows his brow and nods his head.

“And do you know who her favorite Pet was?”  I’m sure to reiterate the name Elena used to refer to me by, as much as possible.  His expression darkens and his eyes turn the color of storm-clouds as I watch him fight to maintain control.  I take it he’s had this conversation with his Mistress, possibly more than once.

“I know of him.” The boy finally growls.  “He can’t be all that if she let him go.” he says trying to mask his the disappointment at not being all that himself.

I shake my head and try to remember how I felt at his age, but the Dom in me will not be disrespected.  No matter what.  I bend over and get in his face, nose to nose.  The kid is tall, but he hasn’t caught up with me yet.  “He aged out, became her Dom then cut her loose.”  His eyes widen and I slowly nod my head to emphasize my point.  “Remember thatSecond.”  I snarl.


Airport Abbreviations

TSV | Townsville Airport
BNE | Brisbane International Airport
LAX | Los Angeles International Airport
SEA TAC | Seattle Tacoma International Airport

GREY

[1] Père céleste me donner de la force. | Father in Heaven give me strength.
[2] Tais-toi Cousin. | Shut up Cousin.
[4] Dieu du Ciel | God in Heaven
[5] Oh mon Dieu, c’est moi. | Oh my God, It’s me.

EVERETT

[3] Retour à tu Cousin. | Back at you Cousin.

CHRISTOPHER

[6] Bonjour Cousin. | Hello Cousin.

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 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 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

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