Paging Dr. Steele: Chapter 15: In With The New

I do not own Fifty Shades Trilogy, or the characters. They belong to E. LJames. I am only exercising my right to exploit, abuse, and mangle the characters to MY discretion in MY story in MY interpretation as a fan. I hope you—as a fellow fan—enjoy it, too.

Chapter 15—In With The New

STEELE

Dinner with the ex… oh goody.

I’m dreading this in the worst way, but if I want to get on with my life, I need to have this talk with him. I need to take away all of his excuses and dash all of his hopes. And if he comes at me with some bullshit, I’m going to turn around and walk away, change my number, and get a restraining order if I have to. He kept asking to pick me up, but I was insistent on driving my own car. I’m not going to be stuck anywhere at his mercy.

“I don’t know why you just won’t tell the bastard to ‘go to hell.’ What could this possibly prove, Ana?” Val is lying across my bed with her legs bent behind her while I get dressed. “I mean, why would you want to go on a date with this fucker after all this time?”

“It’s not a date,” I protest quietly, “It’s an appointment.”

“Well, at least you have the right idea about the whole thing but still…”

“I don’t want to go, Val. Really, I don’t.” I reach for my NoeMie purple summer New Elegance fold dress. “But he called me just as I was going to bed on Monday night and I wanted to get some sleep. I wasn’t going to get any peace if I didn’t agree to go.” I sigh heavily. I remove my robe to get dressed and Val gasps.

“Anastasia!” What the fuck…? “Are you planning on sleeping with him?”

“Are you crazy? What the hell?” I glare at her.

“Then why are you wearing Agent Provocateur?” I look down and review my lingerie. I’m wearing the Love strapless bra with the Joseline suspender garter belt with matching thong and Diabolo stockings.

“Have we met?” I snap. “When I have not worn sexy underwear on an evening out, Val?”

“But AP, Ana? That getup is screaming ‘fuck me!'” she says accusingly.

“So what if it is?” I defend, pulling my dress on over my head. “Who the hell is going to see it?” I zip my dress on the side. “And anyway, I paid a fucking fortune for this garter and I’m going to wear it somewhere, okay?” I growl. She puts her hands up in surrender.

“Okay, okay. Just please don’t fall into bed with Casanova David,” she warns.

“Give me some credit, okay?” I say as I step into my purple velour stilettos with black platform and heel. “The last thing I plan on doing is falling prey to Edward David.” I sit on the bed next to her. “But I do plan on making him suffer as much as possible tonight before I tell him that he will never get another whiff of this!” I smile innocently.

“That’s my girl.” Val pats me on my back. “Now let’s get your hair done.”

Val has painstakingly curled my brunette locks all over and scooped them up to the top of my head. With some form of wizardry of which I am still not aware, she manages to pin all of my hair to the top of my head with two black embellished hair combs that lay daintily on the sides of my head, the curls cascading down the back and just barely kissing my shoulders. A few tendrils fall provocatively around my face and stray curls fly strategically around various parts of the style, giving it a slightly unkempt, “JBF” look. She knows I like my make-up subtle, so she just gives me a touch of color on my cheeks and lips and a little mascara. I complete the outfit with my onyx earrings and ring and a couple of large black bangle bracelets. I am ready to go and break the heart of the one who broke mine.

I arrive at Canlis at 7:00 sharp, not because I’m excited to see Edward—I just hate being late. I give my keys to the valet and wait outside for David to arrive, as we agreed. Moments later, his BMW drives up and he steps out, looking stunning in a tan summer suit and tie. “Ana,” he breathes as he walks over to me and kisses me on the cheek. “You look breathtaking.” I smile politely, but don’t respond. He holds his arm out, gesturing to the door. “Shall we?” I walk ahead of him into the restaurant.

Canlis is a beautiful, exclusive restaurant that sits near the water. The two-story family-owned establishment has an award-winning wine cellar and world-renowned chefs. The floor plan is open and cozy at the same time. You can choose to dine in a private den with sofas and a fireplace, in the main dining room where the atmosphere is friendly and inviting, or at a quiet table next to a wall of windows overlooking the marina. To complete the presentation, there’s a house band that complements your meal with sophisticated live music. I have to give it to Mr. David… he has great taste.

We are shown to our table in the corner with a view of the water and residences stretching off into the distance. It’s all very romantic, but that’s not why I’m here. I need the proper goodbye that I didn’t get three and a half years ago and then I plan on moving on from here. I almost feel sorry for Edward, because I know that he’s expecting some sort of reconciliation that I simply can’t give him.

Edward orders a bottle of the Jordan Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon—a very nice vintage. He has started the night out trying to impress me, I see. When the waiter comes and uncorks the bottle, he insists that I do the tasting. When I approve, the waiter serves the wine and leaves. Edward places his hand on top of mine sitting on the table.

“I’ve missed you so much, Ana,” he says softly. I feel the same jolt I’ve always felt when he touches me—not as powerful as it used to be, but still a jolt—so I move my hand. I take another drink of my wine, but say nothing. “You’re not going to make this easy for me, are you?” he asks.

“You didn’t make it easy for me, Edward,” I reply, flatly. He sighs heavily.

“I know. Believe me, I know.”

“Do you?” My head snaps up to look at him. “All those sleepless nights; all those days that I was completely convinced that I was crazy and paranoid; all our friends laughing at me—I was so blind.” I shake my head and drop my eyes again. “You have no idea what you put me through. You never will. You know why? Because I’d never do that to you. Whatever you’re feeling for however long you have felt it, it doesn’t compare to what you put me through. How could you do that to me, then just stand there and watch?” I glare at him waiting for an answer. I know that he doesn’t have one that will satisfy me, but I really want to know what he has to say for himself.

“I don’t know, Ana. I don’t have an answer that can make this all right. I was a fool. I was stupid. I didn’t know what I had. I was cocky and unfeeling and inconsiderate, but I swear to you that I’m not that man anymore. I’ve changed, Ana, and I only want the chance to show you how much I’ve changed—to treasure you like I should have done four years ago, to treat you the way that you deserve to be treated.”

“But why now, Edward? What’s different now?” I want to wail.

“I am!” he answers earnestly. “I’m a different man. I know what I lost. I know what I had in you and what I threw away…”

“And how did you come to that conclusion? From all the skanks and floozies that you slept with? You didn’t even have enough discretion stay outside our circle of friends. You just grabbed anybody who handed it to you.” I’m fighting to keep my voice low. The waiter comes back and asks if we are ready to order. I can’t even think about food, so I’m grateful when Edward orders for me. I take another drink of my wine. Suddenly, it doesn’t have the same delicious flavor it had a moment ago. It’s mixing with the flavor of bile threatening to present in the back of my throat as I and my cheating ex-boyfriend rehash the painful details of what was our relationship. “Why, Edward? Can you tell me why?”

He sighs. “It made me feel like a man.” I literally have to do a double-take on him when he says that. He continues. “Knowing that I could have any woman that I wanted at any time made me feel like a man. It fed my ego. And each time another one ended up on her back, the beast got bigger and bigger. It was out of control. I was out of control. And when you cried to me, I couldn’t hear you. And when you suffered, I couldn’t see you. And when you left me or put me out I should say, you were just one gone. It was no big deal—there was always another one right behind you. And when that faggot friend of yours dropped off my stuff, I knew that you were gone for sure.” I glare at him

“Don’t. Call. My. Friend. A. Faggot!” I growl through clenched teeth. He drops his head and straightens his tie. He doesn’t acknowledge what I said or what he had said. He just continues with his tale.

“The next day, I moved into a hotel like nothing had happened. I kept right on going with my activities—it was no big deal to me. So you were gone. So what? So you were hurt. Big deal. None of it mattered to me, then. I don’t know what happened, Ana. I had women on top of women on top of women and one day, I just woke up. I looked around and realized that I had lost the best thing that ever happened to me. You were gone and I didn’t know what to do with myself.” He drops his head again. I’m about to speak when the waiter shows up with our appetizers—Peter Canlis prawns and Dungeness crab cake. They look delicious. I know I need to eat something to offset this wine, and to push this bile back down my throat. The appetizers don’t disappoint—they’re as delicious as they look. We sit in silence for a moment while we eat. I drink a bit more of the wine before I start to talk again.

“You’re basically telling me that the more women you had, the more you wanted. That all the crying… and begging… and pleading… and hurting that I did meant absolutely nothing to you, as long as you can get your dick wet in as many holes that would take you,” I say flatly. He sighs.

“Yes,” he answers, shame evident in his voice.

“And one day you just miraculously came to the conclusion that the woman who had been there waiting for you and loving you for years—the woman that you left behind—was the right woman all along?” I’m fighting back angry tears. He swallows.

“Yes.”

“And now, I’m supposed to run into your arms like nothing happened? Like none of this pain ever occurred? I’m supposed to fall back into your bed like one of those stupid little bimbos that have been chasing you around for the last four years?” I’m gladly interrupted when the owner comes over to the table with a waiter carrying another bottle of wine.

“Hello, ma’am, sir. Excuse the interruption. My name is Brian. I’m the owner of the establishment. How is your meal so far?” I have to muster up politeness, now. I assume this is part of the service here, so I’ll play along.

“Excellent, thank you very much.” I smile. “The prawns were superb. Did I taste the slight flavor of vermouth?” Brian is impressed.

“You have an excellent palette. That is dry vermouth you detected. Most people can’t tell that.” I laugh coyly.

“It’s a real treat for me to be here, Brian. I have champagne taste and beer money.” He laughs with me.

“Well, hopefully this token will assist in your tastes. This is a 2004 Grace Family Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, compliments of a gentleman that hopes that you both enjoy your meal and wants to apologize profusely for all of the difficulties that he has caused you over the past three weeks.” He gestures across the table to a gentleman sitting three tables away, looking out of the window at the marina like a GQ model.

Hell! It’s Christian!

My pulse feels as if it doubles while I’m sitting there. The waiter uncorks the bottle and pours the tasting for me in a fresh glass. It’s like silk. I nod once for him to fill my glass and I relish the flavor. It’s the most divine wine I have ever had in my life.

“Please tell the gentleman that I said, ‘thank you,'” I say to Brian. He smiles widely, nods, and leaves the table with the waiter. Edward has fallen deathly silent as he surveys the wine menu. The look in his eyes tells me that he has located this vintage.

“This is a $1500 bottle.” He looks up at me. “You know this guy?”

“It’s Christian Grey,” I say, flatly.

“Christian Grey,” he repeats as he looks over at Christian. “Christian Grey sent a $1500 bottle of wine.”

“Looks that way,” I say as I savor the nectar in the wine glass.

“While you’re sitting here with me, he sent you the most expensive Cabernet on the wine list.”

“Actually, if you listened to Brian, he sent us the bottle of wine. He sent me his apology.” I sip the wine again. It’s tasting better and better with every swallow.

“Well, if you hadn’t been sitting here, I’m pretty certain that he wouldn’t have sent a $1500 bottle of wine to me. So, it’s safe to say that he sent the bottle of wine to you.” I pour myself another drink. This is delicious. “And why is he apologizing? What did he do to you?” Edward asks, a bit demanding.

“Not that it’s any of your business, but he was an asshole!” I snap, a little louder than I intended. The wine is getting to me.

“Well, excuse me if I’m a little put off by the fact that I’m sitting here pouring my heart out to you and another man in the restaurant sends you a bottle of wine. A very expensive bottle of wine!” he shoots. He has the nerve to feel affronted? Seriously?

I knew it!

I knew it!
I knew it!
I knew it!

I knew I shouldn’t have come, but noooooooo. I wanted closure. I wanted to give the cheating liar with two first names the opportunity to speak his piece. Well, now he has. Now I know how he feels. Now I know why he did it. And now he’s going to get it. I finish off the second glass of silk.

“Ana, you have to drive,” he comments. I’m coherent enough not to slur and not to stumble, so I got this. I keep my voice just loud enough for him to hear me.

“You flaunted your affairs in my face for years. You made me sit at home waiting for you while you were out night after night laying up under some hoe. You made me doubt everything I am, everything I knew. I tried everything to make you love me, to make you pay attention to me, to make you want me, and nothing worked! You turned me into a shadow of myself. You turned me into a laughingstock to all of our friends. And when the cat was completely out of the bag and I walked in on you and one of your fucking bimbos, you didn’t even have the guts to apologize. And four years after this has all occurred, I still can’t seem to get myself together to allow anybody to love me!”

I love you…” he begins.

“I’m not finished!” I snap. I think I scare the shit out of him because he jumps in his chair and snaps his mouth shut. “I finally open myself back up to try to have some kind of life again and just when I do, you show up begging me to subject myself to you again? You expect me to trust you? To put my life, my love, and my heart in your hands again?”

“I swear to you, Ana, I’ve changed. I only ask that you give me time… give me a chance to show you. Please…” He’s desperate, but I can’t hear him. There’s no way in hell I’m going to subject myself to this man ever again.

“I’m so happy for you that you have changed,” I begin softly. I take his hand. “I am so glad that you have seen the err of your ways, because that means that you’re a better man, and a better human being. We all have to grow and we all have to understand that we can’t stay the same. But I can’t do this. You had your chance with me, and you blew it, and I can’t let you in again.” He drops his head.

“Ana, please…” His voice is shaking. I have to leave… soon. I can’t sit here and watch him break down.

“Never, Edward. Never again. I’m so glad that you’re a better man, but you’re a better man for someone else now. I’m part of your past, not your future,” I say with no malice. He looks at me with pain-filled eyes. I kiss him tenderly on the lips, then I stand and pick up my purse.

“Goodbye, Edward,” I say before I stroll quickly out of the restaurant.

I step into the night air and breathe it in. The valet comes over to me expecting my ticket. I drop my head and compose myself. I speak very slowly to prevent the inevitable tears that I know are coming.

“I need the keys to my car, but I would like to leave it here because I think I’ve had a little too much wine. Is that okay?” The young valet looks at me kindly, with a little sympathy.

“Yes. ma’am, that’s fine.” He nods.

“Would you mind terribly calling me a taxi?” I say, my voice finally cracking on the last word.

“That won’t be necessary,” the smooth caramel voice says from behind me.


GREY

When she kissed the guy, I nearly want to crawl over three tables to get to them. I want to choke the fucker. But then she stands up and damn near runs out of the restaurant. That looks like goodbye to me. Was that goodbye?

I discreetly follow her out of the restaurant and spot her over by the valet. I get just close enough to hear her conversation with the young man.

“I need the keys to my car, but I would like to leave it here because I think I’ve had a little too much wine. Is that okay?” Her voice is soft and melodic, almost forced.

“Yes. ma’am, that’s fine,” the valet responds.

“Would you mind terribly calling me a taxi?” she asks, and it sounds like she’s going to break down any minute. I walk over to the valet.

“That won’t be necessary,” I say, taking her ticket from her hand and giving it to the valet. She turns around and looks at me, tears brimming in her eyes. “I’ll make sure that you and your car get home safely.” The valet looks at me and then at her, awaiting her approval. She nods to him and he’s off to get her car. She stands there momentarily with her head down, clinging to her purse, until the valet returns with her car. She walks to the passenger side and almost flinches a bit when I open the door for her. She mutters a barely audible “Thank you” before sitting in the passenger seat. I palm the valet a large tip before getting in the driver’s seat. I turn to her and ask, “What’s your address?” She looks over at me with a half sneer on her face.

“I’m sure you already know,” she says softly, before dropping her head. I guess there’s no use in pretending anymore, is there?

“Well, I do, but I haven’t memorized it,” I lie. She gives me her address and I call Taylor, informing him to meet me at her apartment and pretending he needs the address, too. I feel like she should have some of her dignity intact after what looked like a very public break-up.

“Boyfriend?” I ask cautiously. She looks over at me. “I’m sorry. I don’t mean to pry.”

She sighs. “Ex.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be,” she continues. “It was nearly four years ago.”

“Oh,” I say, pretending not to already know, but glad to find out that the relationship hasn’t been rekindled.

“He was trying to reconnect.” She’s had a bit of wine in her and I’m sure that it’s making her a little chatty.

“We don’t have to talk about this if you don’t want to,” I say.

“It’s okay,” she says, looking out the window and wiping one lone tear from her face. “It’s definitely over now.” She clears her throat.

“Do you still love him?” I ask, after a beat. She takes a moment to answer the question, a little too long for my taste.

“He’ll always have a place in my heart,” she says. “I don’t want to see him hurt, that’s painful. I think about him a lot when I’m alone because he’s all I know.” She pauses again. “But, no. I don’t love him anymore. I needed closure, and I got that tonight. I just didn’t expect it to feel so… final.” That’s the definition of closure, Dear. “I don’t understand you people!” she snaps.

“‘You people?'” I ask. I’m sure I’m supposed to know what this means, but I don’t.

“You people with the penises! The only good ones I’ve ever met are my friends and my dad… the rest of you are… idiots.” I laugh aloud.

“Thanks!” I say, shaking my head.

“Oh, come on, Christian. You‘ve been a real asshole for the last three weeks. I was beginning to think you weren’t even human.” She lays her head against the window. She’s right as usual, but the way she says my name… something shot through me. I don’t know what it was, but I have to get her to say it again.

“Nobody calls me that,” I chuckle. She looks over at me.

“Calls you what?” she asks.

“By my first name.”

“Christian?” Music. I hear violins and cellos, beautiful piano concertos when she says it.

“Yes,” I say, a little breathy. “Only my family…” and the crazy pedophile bitch that I need to get out of my life.

“There’s someone else.” She picks up on it immediately.

“Someone that I used to call ‘friend.'” I say matter-of-factly. “Other than that, everybody calls me ‘Sir,’ ‘Mr. Grey,’ or just ‘Grey.'”

“Just Grey,” she repeats. I smirk a bit and look over at her.

“Just Grey,” I say, knowing that she’s recalling our initial introduction. She looks back out the window.

“No girlfriend?” she asks cautiously.

“I’ve never had a girlfriend.” She looks at me skeptically. “It’s a long story. Maybe one day, I’ll tell you.” She rolls her eyes.

“I’ll hold my breath.” Oh, Ms. Steele, don’t tempt me tonight. I have had many dreams about bringing you into submission, and whether they can come true or not, I sure as hell would love to try. I turn into her parking garage and wait for instructions. She looks at me expecting.

“You don’t know it already?” she laughs.

“No, Ms. Steele. That bit of information did not come up on your background check.” She shifts uncomfortably.

“Ana.”

“That’s your code?” I say, puzzled.

“No. Call me Ana. My code is 2715,” she says solemnly. I punch in the code and she directs me to her assigned spot.


STEELE

“Would you like to come in?” I find myself asking as he hands me my car keys. He looks at me skeptically. “Don’t worry. I’m not some drunken college student that makes bad decisions and forgets them in the morning. Your virtue is safe.” I push the button to call the elevator. He strides in behind me when it arrives and just as the doors close, I feel the electricity again. It’s that same electricity I thought I would only feel for Edward, but it’s different. With Edward, it’s a spark—a jolt. With Christian, it’s like fire! I stay on my side of the elevator for fear that I will turn into a drunken teenager and jump his bones! Come on, come on, come on, I inwardly urge the elevator to hurry up. I think I gasp with relief when it finally gets to my floor.

I scramble a bit to get out of the elevator and my heel gets caught in the opening on the floor. Almost in slow motion I’m tumbling to the floor before strong arms wrap around me and pull me back up, close to his body. His muscles feel like steel, but warm. I’m panting, but I don’t know if it’s from the shock of a near fall or from being this close to this wall of beautiful man. Maybe it’s a bit of both.

“Methinks the wine may be getting to you a bit, Ana,” he says, a little mockingly.

“No,” I say, pointing to the shoe now stuck in the elevator, “Methinks my shoe got stuck.” He looks at the shoe.

“Could be that, too,” he snickers.

He lets me go and I’m now on my hands and knees trying to pry my shoe out of the slot between the door and the floor. I’m just about to declare victory when the heel breaks and the elevator doors close.

“Dammit!” I exclaim getting to my feet and examining the now useless beautiful purple stiletto. “I loved these shoes.” I lift my foot and snatch the other stiletto off. “That’s what I get for wearing some of my favorite shoes to a bloodbath.” I walk to my apartment door and open it. “Welcome to my humble abode,” I say as I throw my purse and keys on the dining table. “Make yourself at home.” I walk into the kitchen examining my dead stilettos. “Shit!” I say aloud as I toss them in the garbage. “Can I offer you something to drink?

“What do you have?” he asks.

“Cabernet Sauvignon—unfortunately, not as good as the bottle you bought—Chardonnay, beer—domestic, orange juice, sparkling water and cranberry, bottled water, tea and coffee. Hard stuff’s in the bar.” I point to the wet bar at the end of the dining room. “I’m going to opt for the coffee and the water.” I go to the refrigerator and crack open a bottle of water.

“Coffee sounds good to me,” he says.

“I have gourmet, Colombian, French Roast, and good old-fashioned Folgers. Do you have a preference?” He laughs a little.

“Whatever you brew is fine.”

“Are you laughing at me, Christian?” I ask, coyly. He flashes the biggest, brightest smile I’ve ever seen. My knees go weak and I think I just got a coochie boner.

“I’m just amazed by how prepared you are. You’re like a boy scout.”

“I’ve never been compared to a boy scout,” I say, as I start the coffee maker.

“Well, I’ve never seen a boy scout that looked like you,” he says, almost seductively. Oh boy, this is going to be a long night.

“Well, while the coffee is brewing, I’m going to go change into something other than this beautiful dress before it gets ruined along with my sexy stilettos.” I pause. “My best friend usually keeps some clothes here for when he needs to crash. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind you borrowing some if you want to get more comfortable, but…” I eye him from top to bottom, “I’m afraid you’re a bit bigger than Al.” He smiles again. Heaven help me.

“If you don’t mind, I can just take off my jacket and my dress shirt and wear my T-shirt and that will be fine.”

“Fine by me. Be right back.” I dash into my bedroom and take off the purple fold dress. I feel the need to remain pretty and I’m going to need a little help, so I leave on the Agent Provocateur lingerie and just grab my princess seam floral mini-sundress—easy to put on and comfortable—and a pair of slides. When I come back out of the room, he’s standing with his back to me. He has just removed his shirt and he’s draping it over one of my dining chairs along with his navy suit jacket. His T-shirt is clinging to his muscular form and his pants are hanging off his hips just so, framing one very sexy ass. Bon Dieu Tout-Puissant! Where does God get off creating such wonderful specimens as this! He turns around to face me and the front looks as good as the back. Strong, chiseled chest, easily definable six-pack abs

“Hasn’t anyone ever told you that it’s not nice to stare, Ms. Steele?” Oh shit! There’s a mouth attached to this vision of sexiness. I completely forgot. I shake my head a bit and drop my eyes.

“I’m… sorry,” I mutter.

Well, fuck, I’m not. Look again! Look again!
Will you please try to control yourself, you horny heifer?
Oh, and you’re not? I saw your eyes headed towards his dick! If he hadn’t said anything, you’d be gawking at it right now. Go ahead, tell me you wouldn’t! I dare you!
Oh dear Lord, please let her shut up tonight? In my not-quite-dissipated wine-induced haze, I might start talking to her crazy ass out loud.

“Are you alright, Ana?” Christian questions. I am able to gain a bit of my senses.

“A little embarrassed,” I say as I make my way to the cabinet to get coffee cups. “You… caught me a bit off guard.”

“Don’t be,” he says in his deep, sexy voice and I have to stop myself from almost staring again.

“Cream or sugar?” I ask as I hand him his coffee.

“No thanks,” he replies taking a sip. I smile.

“Black… a man after my own heart.” The words are out of my mouth before I have a chance to catch them. I silently curse myself as I replace the coffee pot and sit down across from him at the breakfast bar.

“Why did you quit?” he asks as I take a sip of my coffee.

“Excuse me?” I put my cup on the counter.

“Why did you quit? Was it because of me?” He wraps his hands around the cup. I look down at my coffee and tuck a curl behind my ear.

“Not entirely,” I begin nervously. “I wasn’t doing my job. I wasn’t helping anyone. No matter how hard I tried, I had become cynical. Each face ran into the next. It was bound to happen sooner or later.”

“What about your practice?” he asks.

Oh, I love my practice. It was the group thing that was slowly draining the life out of me. I guess everything that helps you may not necessarily be for you.” I notice he stiffens a bit with that statement.

“Yes. I’m realizing that lately.” He takes another sip of his coffee. We sit in an uncomfortable silence for a moment, then I stand up from my stool.

“Are you hungry, because I’m starving.” I walk over to the refrigerator to raid what I may have. “I only have leftovers hiding in here, probably nothing to match your delicate palate,” I say playfully mocking, “but I only had appetizers this evening, so I’m going to try to throw something together.” When I turn around to him, he looks quite pleased with the idea.

“I could definitely eat something since I was slightly distracted at ‘dinner.'”

“Do I even want to know how you knew where I was?” I ask as I place an antipasto tray on the breakfast bar between our two seats. He shifts uncomfortably.

“I’ve been keeping an eye on you since our encounter last week,” he admits. I pull some French bread from the refrigerator and put in under the warmer.

“Which means you been having me followed,” I say flatly. He sighs and runs a hand through his hair.

“I wanted to make sure you were okay… and I wanted to see if I needed to turn myself into the authorities!” he states, a little sarcastically. “It seems like I scared you.”

“You did scare me,” I say, moving the bread to the chopping board and cutting a few thin slices, “mostly because I had no idea why you were kissing me,” I add softly.

“I was caught in the moment,” he says, his voice getting slightly deeper. “You have to know that you’re a very beautiful woman.” Oh, boy… breathe, Anastasia, breathe.

“No prettier than the next girl,” I say, as I mix drinks of sparkling water and cranberry to accompany our light dinner.

“Oh, seriously, Ana? You have to know what you do to men. That’s why this David fellow is panting after you like a sick puppy,” he states. I pause for a moment, wondering how he knows Edward’s last name. Then I remember… background check.

“Oh, please, let’s not talk about him. He’s panting after me because he was a lying, cheating dog. I broke up with him years ago and now he wants me back. End of story.” I grab an olive and a chunk of provolone. “So, tell me, Christian, why no girlfriends?” He looks at me like I’ve just asked him for the secrets of the Da Vinci Code.

“I don’t think I’m ready to tell you that just yet, Ms. Steele,” he says, taking pieces from the tray for himself.

“Ana, and why not?” I ask before chewing and swallowing a piece of salami. “We already have background checks on each other. All that’s left is to fill in the blanks.” I sip my water and cranberry. He takes out his blackberry and starts typing away. “That’s so rude. What are you doing?”

“I’m telling Taylor that he can leave and I’ll call him when I am ready to go. He’s been sitting outside waiting for me all this time.” Oh. Okay.

“Sorry,” I say quickly. “So… girlfriends?” I say, still munching away.

“I have a question for you first,” he says, trying to redirect the conversation, no doubt. But okay, I’ll bite.

“Fine. What is it?”

“Lambert. Why?” A terrible chill runs through me. I feel myself starting to shake before I get a little light-headed. The next thing I know, I’ve fallen off the stool. I don’t know when or how it happened, but I am nearly on the floor, in his arms… again.

How the hell did he get here? Did he jump over the damn bar?

“What happened?” I gasp.

“I think I may have asked a question that I shouldn’t have asked,” he says, concerned. “I’m sorry.” I look up at him and his eyes are a gentle, soft, concerned silver gray. He lifts me back up and sets me gently on my feet. I’m holding on to his biceps trying to steady myself.

“Are you okay?” he asks softly.

“Yes,” I breathe and swallow hard, as that electricity from the elevator resurfaces and threatens to burn through every bit of my sanity. I bite my lip as I try to regulate my breathing and my heartbeat. He puts his thumb on my chin and releases my lip from my teeth. “Please don’t bite your lip,” he says, just above a whisper.

“Why not?” I say, my voice still breathy. Without warning, he bends down and traces my lips with his tongue. I feel as if I will truly combust any second. Oh God, he smells so good. His lips replace his tongue, brushing against the left corner of my mouth, then the top lip, working his way over to the right corner, and finally my bottom lip to end up back where he started. When he starts the journey again with his tongue, my tongue reflexively comes out to meet his. Then, he pounces, pulling me hard against him, his arms snaking possessively around my body. He’s kissing me feverishly and every part of my body that was asleep has now awakened for sure. I thread my fingers into his feathery soft hair and return the kiss, rewarded by a deep moan in his chest.

I’m a goner.

I don’t know how long we stand there making out in my kitchen, but when he pulls his mouth from my lips and presses his forehead against mine, we’re both completely breathless.

“Good grief!” I whisper, panting, the first to break the silence. His hand is on the side of my face and neck, and he’s peppering my lips with gentle kisses again. I whimper softly as his hands slide back into my hair, still scooped up in the magical Valerie Marshall up-do. I can only feel heat. Heat everywhere. Heat from his body, heat from his lips, heat from his fingertips, heat from his erection pressing against my belly…

“Ana,” he moans as his lips travel down to my neck. I’m fighting for precious air. My limbs feel like spaghetti. “Do you want me to stop?” He’s kissing and licking the tender skin on my neck. I’m once again holding onto his biceps to steady myself, not that I need to because he’s not letting me go anywhere.

“Christian…” I breathe. Against everything my body is screaming, I manage to say, “Wait… please…”

He lets me go quickly, much like he did in his office a week ago, only this time he doesn’t turn away. I am leaning against my refrigerator, my chest rising and falling almost violently. I can almost imagine the many shades of pale and pink that must be coursing through my face right now. Christian is leaning against my breakfast bar a few feet away, examining me with slate gray eyes filled with desire. He’s breaking me down just by standing there. Jésus-Christ, aide-moi!

Are you crazy? Why would you deny me when I’m so close?
Oh, for the love of God, please shut up and let me think!
Don’t think! I’m horny! I can’t take it anymore! I’m losing my mind!
Okay, this is it. Insanity is officially setting in.

“You want me.” His voice breaks me from the internal argument with the Bitch.

“Huh?” I‘m still kiss-dazed and confused. He’s walking slowly towards me, stalking me, closing the space between us.

“I don’t know when it happened and I don’t care when it happened, but I want you, and I know that you want me. So, are we going to continue to pretend that’s not what’s going on between us or are you going to let me take you to bed and give your body what it so richly deserves?”

Saint. Vache. Batman.

My mouth is hanging open and I can’t even form my words. I can imagine that I must look like a deer caught in headlights. I’m certainly going to expire. Death by anticipation.

Here lies Ana—all she really needed was a good fuck.

He’s so close to me, but not touching. I can’t think. I close my eyes for a moment— respirer, Ana, respirer.

“Open your eyes…” he commands gently. I look up at him, molten gray eyes piercing through me and snatching away all of my resistance. “What’s it going to be, Ana?” He cups the side of my face with his huge hand. “Do you want me to go home alone and sleep tonight, or do you want me to stay here with you and make you scream all night?”

Wha… wha…? All I can do it nod. He brings his lips feverishly close to my ear.

“You have to tell me, baby.” His breath in my ear is sending shock waves through my knees. I don’t think they’re going to hold much longer. “What’s it going to be?”

“Take me to bed,” I whisper.

He pushes me hard against the refrigerator and bends his knees slightly so that he’s at my level. He’s kissing me so deeply and so passionately, like he’s been without human contact for just as long as I have if not longer. I feel as if I’ll physically sink down into him and disappear. I wrap my arms around his neck and bury my hands in his hair again and pull slightly.

“Fuck!” he groans into my mouth as his hands travel down to my ass. He grabs the cheeks and forcefully pushes me against his growing erection.

Sacre bleu! Pyrotechnics in my crotch!

I lift my legs and wrap them around his hips. He stumbles a bit trying to catch us both before we fall. With one arm around my waist, the other hand pushes my dress up and he grasps my thigh. He buries his face in my neck and groans loudly. “Shit, Ana! Are you wearing stockings?”

“Uh-huh!” I gasp, holding my head back to give him better access to his target. He starts to carry me through the apartment.

“Which is your bedroom?” he mumbles.

“End of the hall… to the left,” I pant. He bursts through the door of my bedroom like a man breaking out of jail. He slides me down his body onto the floor and reaches around to remove my arms from his neck. He strokes my arms from my shoulders all the way down to my hands, dropping to his knees in front of me as he goes. It’s taking everything in me to control my breathing as I look down at him, running his hands up my calves to my thighs, then lifting my dress so that he can see the tops of my stockings. He gasps as he’s presented with the sensual lace at the top of my delicate jet-black hosiery.

“Beautiful,” he says as he kisses the tender exposed flesh of my thigh. Jolts of pleasure shoot straight from his lips to my center and I whimper as I grab on to his shoulder to keep from collapsing. I can feel my poor little thong getting drenched from my juices as his hands travel back up to my bare ass and his tongue continues to tease the pale skin of my thighs.

“Christian…!” I whine, unable to stand on my own. He stands quickly and turns me around.

“Let’s get you out of this, shall we?” He unzips my dress. He gently takes the straps in his fingers and pulls them off my shoulders, allowing the feather-light material to billow gently to the floor. I step out of my dress and my slides simultaneously. His touch on my skin is sending delicious twangs of desire coursing through every inch of my body. I close my eyes and absorb this feeling that has eluded me for so many years. He pulls me close to him as he cups my breasts in his hands from behind, teasing my nipples through the material. He’s licking the back of my neck, peppering soft and wet kisses and nips along my collarbone, my bare shoulders, my back. “Oh, Christian, please…” I breathe.

“Impatient, Ana?” he coaxes.

“Yes,” I close my eyes and lean back into him. “It’s been too long.”

“Well,” he says as he reaches back and unhooks my bra, “we’ll have to rectify that, won’t we?”


GREY

I turn her around to face me and she looks exquisite in her lingerie, naked from the waist up. My own little Ana doll that I get to play with as I please. She will forget about everything tonight—all the demons following her, the painful memories of ex-boyfriends, the long time it’s been since someone has touched her body right. It’s my job to make her forget it all.

I lay her on the bed, her chest heaving a frantic pace. “Relax, Baby.” I kiss her gently on the lips and look into her timid blue eyes. “Are you nervous?”

“A little,” she says softly.

“Why?” I ask. She bites her lip again. Fuck, that is so sexy.

“It’s been a long time and… I’m… out of practice.” Is she worried about satisfying me? Isn’t she sweet?

“Oh, Ana. This is all about you. So, you just relax and enjoy.” I can still see trepidations in those deep blue pools, so I kiss her left eyelid, then her right. “Relax, baby.” I gently kiss her cheek, then her jawbone around to her ear. “Let me handle it,” I breathe into her ear before nibbling her earlobe, “okay?”

“Okay,” she whimpers softly and I can tell that she’s trying to control her breathing again.

I trail kisses down her neck to her chest before taking one of her beautiful breasts in my mouth. I torture her nipple with my tongue and teeth while I pinch and tease the other one between my fingers. She’s writhing underneath me as I hear her whimper repeatedly, “No… no… no…” more to herself than to me. I recognize this as an attempt to fend off a pending orgasm.

Oh goody! This is going to be so much fun!

“You like that, baby?” I breathe against her nipple.

“Oh, God, yes!” she gasps. She’s likely to come any second, but I want to play some more, so she will have to wait. I move from her breast down to the portion of her stomach at the top of the suspender garter belt. This is so hot and sexy… I think we’ll leave this. I move down to her pretty lacy transparent thong. Brazilian wax.

Oh, fuck! My manhood twitches wildly in my pants. It feels like Christmas.

“Ana, are you on birth control?” I ask cautiously.

“Yes,” she breathes, “Ever since… for many years.” Her mood shifts slightly. I need to bring her back—back to ecstasy with me. I nestle my head between her thighs and rub my nose against the flimsy thong. “Ah!” she calls out, more from surprise I think.

“Oh, baby. Your smell is so alluring.” I lick her lips through the thin material.

Mmm!” she whimpers. It almost sounds like she’s going to cry. When I look up at her, her head is thrown back in pure passion and she’s grabbing the sheets. Let’s not make this little flower wait any longer. I pull her thong to the side and begin my assault on her clitoris, around and around. Fuck, she tastes divine.

Aaggghh… Christian!” she almost screams as she grabs fistfuls of my hair. “Oh, God… no… no…” She’s thrusting her hips into my mouth, positively primal. I loop my arms underneath her thighs and clamp them over her hips, basically immobilizing her.

“You’re going to have to keep still, baby,” I growl as she attempts to regain control of her body. I kick off my shoes as I resume the stimulation of her most sensitive parts.

Aaaaaaaaaahhhhh,” she screams again as she attempts to withstand the torment. Now she must endure the pleasure, unable to move her hips. “Christian! Fuck!” She’s still trying to fend off her orgasm. Baby, don’t you know I plan to make you come all night? But that’s okay. You’ve waited a long time for this. You fight it as much as you like… but that doesn’t mean I’m going easy on you.

I feel her clit stiffen and begin to pulsate and I know her orgasm is seconds away, so I stop the stimulation and blow gently on her exposed clit through her panties. “Christian…no…” she mewls.

Ssshhhh,” I soothe as I place her hips gently back on the bed. I stand and quickly remove my pants, boxers, and socks. She gasps at the size of my fully erect member. “We’ll go slow, baby. I know it’s been a long time.” I crawl between her legs again and part her thighs. In two swift movements, her flimsy thong is a small piece of useless material tossed somewhere on the floor.

I position my head right at her entrance. I’m throbbing as I reach between us and stroke up and down teasing just inside the lips on the side of her clitoris before gently massaging the nub with my fingers.

“Mon Dieu… Christian!” she begs as she arches her back slightly. Shit! Was that French? That was fucking hot!

“You like that?” I tease, fueled by her bilingual reaction.

Yeeessssss!” she moans.

I separate her folds with my cock and then gently slip into the wetness inside. I can feel her folding around me, welcoming this invasion like a long-awaited visitor. “Ooooooohh… aaahhhh,” she cries out at the fullness.

Oh fuck. She feels just as good as I thought she would. Better, in fact. I can’t move. She’s so tight that if I stroke now, I’ll most certainly come immediately.

“Please…” she whispers in my ear. Control, Grey. I move slowly, gently grinding my hips into her.

“Ah!” she moans into my neck. Oh… shit. I take her mouth and start to fuck—deep and hard. Her feet clamp together behind my back and I groan into her mouth as I rock my pelvis, my dick sinking into her soft, hot, wet velvet folds all the way to the hilt. I can feel her start to quiver. Not yet, baby, not yet. It’s too soon. I pause moving until the vibrations stop.

“Christian, please!” she whimpers.

“I know, baby,” I start to move again, relishing the feeling of her wrapped around me. It’s exquisite. I’m rubbing the delicate skin on her ass and she feels divine.

“Fuck,” I growl as I bend to taste her neck and her jaw. I feel a small sheen of sweat develop on her skin as I take her nipple between my fingers and tease it until it is hard and pink.

“Ah… Christian…” she’s panting now and I can feel her hips move to meet me. “Please… don’t stop… please…” she begs through her breaths. Shit, she is so hot. I can’t hold on much longer. She’s a perfect fit and my cock is begging to be buried here forever. Fuck! Control, Man, control. My mouth is back on to hers and my hand travels up to her neck. I hold with the slightest firmness, my lips grazing her cheek as I drive my cock into her over and over again—deep and slow, then a little faster.

“Oh, God… Christian…” she whimpers again, and I feel the quivering again. It won’t be long now. I pull her thighs further apart and gyrate my hips a bit to open her vaginal lips. I feel her clit against my pelvis.

“Ah… ah… ah… ” I take her mouth, swallowing her moans, feeding off her pleasure, mercilessly hitting her clit each time I pound into her precious wet flesh. “Shiiiiit!” I hiss as I feel my own release, hovering just beyond my reach. This is sensuous, carnal, searing pleasure. It almost makes me feel like I have a soul… almost. I look at my Ana. Her mouth is open and her eyes are closed. Pure ecstasy. Oh, fuck, she is too much. I need her to give herself to me… now!

“I’ve got you, Baby,” I say in her ear. “Give it to me.” I feel her stiffen and her pussy clamps down on me like a vice. She starts to wail almost and my mouth covers hers, claiming her cries as my prize. As she rides out her orgasm, my release comes like a burning tidal wave—searing and burning from my feet up through my calves and thighs and through my balls and cock like flaming fucking hot lava.

Arrgh… ah… fuuuck!” My teeth are clenched and I can’t move. I feel like the bottom half of my body has literally separated from the top, and I can do nothing but ride out this agonizing, intense, pleasure/pain experience. “Oh… fuck… Ana!” It seems to go on forever. After an eternity, it finally subsides and we’re both lying on her bed, gasping for precious air.


A/N:

I’m sure that you all know this already, but there may be a few that do not. The “JBF” look-JBF hair is “just been fucked” hair. It’s how Christian’s hair looks all the time, but Ana’s sported a sexy JBF look for dinner with Edward.

I had someone tell me that they didn’t know what a “Coochie boner” is. Your coochie is your vagina. You know what a “boner” is. Figure it out. 😉

I picked the Joseline garter because it is wide enough and high enough in the back to cover her brand… so, no, Christian hasn’t seen it yet.

Make sure that you check out my Pinterest page for Ana clothes and lingerie at  http://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/paging-dr-steele/

Was it worth the wait? (Hiding my headmy first lemon EVER)

You can join my mailing list on the “Contact Me” page. Just indicate in the message that you would like to join the mailing list.

Love and Handcuffs!
Lynn x

Paging Dr. Steele: Chapter 14: Out With The Old…

I do not own Fifty Shades Trilogy, or the characters. They belong to E. L. James. I am only exercising my right to exploit, abuse, and mangle the characters to MY discretion in MY story in MY interpretation as a fan. I hope you—as a fellow fan—enjoy it, too.

Chapter 14—Out With The Old…

STEELE

Oh, good grief. It’s too late at night to deal with this man, especially after the day I’ve had. I could just hang up, but he would just keep calling back if I did that. I could just turn off my phone, but then I would have a hundred drunk voice mails in the morning. I’m sure that’s the only reason why he’s calling me… this late… on a Monday night. I sigh heavily into the phone.

“No, I have not been drinking,” he says with a clear strong voice. He knows that’s what I’m thinking.

“Then why are you calling me?” I protest. I hear him sigh.

“I need to apologize… for what happened in your apartment.” Dude, really? That’s what you need to apologize for? “I’m not sorry that it happened, but I should have controlled myself, and I am sorry for that.”

“Fine, Edward. I need to go to sleep now.”

“Rosie, please…”

“Ana!” I correct him.

“Ana…” He sounds completely broken. What the hell has happened to him?

“What’s wrong, Edward?” I ask, exacerbated.

Nothing… everything… I miss you, Ana. I can’t sleep at night. I think about you all the time. Please, please tell me what I can do to make this right between us.” I hate to hurt anybody. Really, I do, but if this man thinks he’s getting within ten feet of me in that way, he’s out of his mind.

“I don’t know how many ways I can tell you that it’s not going to happen. I don’t understand why you don’t get it.”

“Ana, we never talked. We never really broke up. You just put me out.”

“I’m too sleepy to even begin to debate all the flaws in the statement you just made,” I say while yawning. “I’m going to bed. Goodnight, Edward.”

“Ana wait! Please, just have dinner with me on Friday. Let’s just talk, please.” I pause, shaking my head. If I don’t agree, I’ll never get to go to bed. “Please, Ana…”

“Dinner on Friday,” I agree.

“Thank you, baby.” I can hear him smiling on the phone.

“Don’t call me ‘baby’ or I’ll cancel right now and hang up in your ear!” I snap. This is a pity date, and a chance for me to lay everything on the line and be done with him once and for all.

“Okay, okay. I’m sorry about that.” After a pause, he says, “Friday7:00, okay?”

“Okay. Goodnight, Edward.”

Goodnight, Ana.” I hang up. I must have stepped off into the fifth dimension somewhere. Not two weeks ago, my biggest concern was whether or not I would find those cute peep-toe platforms online at Asos. Now two of the hottest, sexiest men in Seattle have my panties in a wad—one of them, I don’t know what his intentions are and the other one I don’t care. I definitely need sleep… now!

*-*

It’s about 1:00pm and I’ve been worthless the whole day. I’ve seen four patients already and I have two more to see before the day is complete. I’m going to rework my schedule and take in more patients from my waiting list to fill my Mondays and Thursdays. Since I plan on being a revived party girl on the prowl, I’m going to leave my Fridays light, which should be easy to do since I have five days to work with now instead of three. Marilyn buzzes into my office.

Ana, you have a visitor.”

“Who is it?”

Mr. Ronald Carlisle.” What does he want? Why couldn’t he just call?

“Send him in.” I hope he’s not here for a showdown, because I’m not in the mood. When he walks into my office, I gesture to one of the chairs in front of my desk.

“Have a seat,” I say. He sits down.

“Ana… we may have both acted in haste last night,” he begins. When I don’t respond, he continues. “I know that this Grey situation has you on edge and I should have recognized that maybe you should have taken last night off as well. In the few minutes that I observed, your class showed that they are very unique.” That’s an understatement. “I’m sure that it must take a lot of patience to deal with a group of people so eclectic, especially when one is as… demanding… as Christian Grey.” You have no idea. “I just wanted to give you an opportunity to speak your piece without all the hostility that we were feeling last night… if you want to, that is.”

I drop my head for a moment, then I stand up and walk to my window. “Charles Stoles.”

Ron looks at me confused. “Excuse me?”

“Charles Stoles. He’s as 52-year-old gentleman who lost his wife in a car accident about two years ago. He reminds me a lot of my dad. Maybe that’s why I liked him so much.” I fold my arms and continue to look out the window.

“Okay,” Ron says, expecting.

“I called him ‘Stoley.’ He liked that. Stoley was in bad shape when he came to the group. He had been to several therapists, churches, transcendental practitioners, even a hypnotist to try to help him move on with his life. By the time he got to me, he was emaciated, sick, and nearly suicidal. He clung to almost every member of the group for some kind of relief, healing, something. Stoley participated in two separate groups, which means he was actually with me for 12 weeks. The first six weeks he was actually on the list and the second six weeks, he just wanted to sit in, to hopefully reinforce what he had acquired. He was a wreck. I felt it necessary to invite him to my office one evening after group and ask him what he needed. Do you know what he said?”

“What?”

“‘I just want to sleep.'”

“Sleep? All he wanted was sleep? What was the problem?” I turn around to look at him.

“Exactly what you just said,” I say, gesturing in the air at him. “That was the problem. The doctors prescribed sleeping pills. The churches told him to pray. The quacks told him to meditate. The hypnotist tried to trick his mind into sleeping. After several thousands of dollars, endless doctors and practitioners, shamans, medicine men, preachers, priests, and popes… nobody could see the simple truth. This man had been sleeping next to the same person for twenty-five years. That’s more than 9000 nights with the same woman, and she was just snatched away from him without warning. He didn’t want to move on. He didn’t want to forget. He didn’t even want to heal at that point. He just. Wanted. To sleep.” I turn back around to look out of the window.

“Sometimes, the solution to a problem can be so simple, but because of the severity of the problem, we convince ourselves that the answer must be riddled with difficult twists and turns and complicated formulas. Remember the KISS theory?”

Ron nodded. “Keep It Simple, Stupid.”

“It didn’t matter what they did to him. They diagnosed him with depression. Of course, he’s depressed—his wife had died—but he was not suffering from depression. He was suffering from grief. So here they are loading him up with anti-depressants and sleeping pills, acupuncture, meditation, music therapy, casting out demons—hell, I’m surprised they didn’t bleed the poor man! But nobody bothered to treat his grief. A simple human emotion that we all experience, and nobody bothered to treat it. They couldn’t understand that they could dope him up, pray over him, use him as a pin cushion… they could even hit him over the head with a sledge hammer, but the moment he rolled over and felt that empty space he was wide awake again… and grieving.” I sigh.

Stoley and I talked that night until well after midnight. We talked about his wife and their kids, about his memories, their trip to Disneyland. We talked about a cruise that he had taken her on three months before she was killed. And you know what Stoley did at about 12:35 that morning?” I look at Ron, who sits there waiting for an answer.

“He yawned.” I reply. “Nobody told Stoley that it was okay to think about his wife, even if he did so for hours. Nobody told him that it was okay to remember, and to grieve, not even his children. They were too busy trying to help him get over his loss to see that he needed to celebrate his love. Stoley went home and slept like a baby, and never had another sleepless night since.” I turn around to face Ron, then point to something behind him. “Do you see that?” I ask. Ron looks over to where I’m pointing to the bottle in the glass cabinet behind him. “That is a 1965 bottle of Rare Edition Remy Martin Cognac… valued at $5,175.00.” Ron whistles. “Stoley gave that to me. He bought it at auction and he was going to use it to take some pills so that he could go and be with his wife. And when I helped him out of his sleep-deprived ‘depression,’ he gave it to me instead.”

“That’s a wonderful story, Ana, but why are you telling me this?” Ron asks.

“There are 52 weeks in a year, Ron. Fifty-two. I spent the better part of half of that time in that room trying to help people that didn’t want to be helped. Out of 100 people, I only helped Stoley. He’s the only one. I can’t help people who don’t want to be helped. I can’t point you to the light if you refuse to look in that direction. I can’t pull you out of misery if you like it there. And week after week after week of 99 out of 100 participants that seemed to want to wallow in darkness was consuming me. I was a ticking time bomb and I didn’t even know it. It was just waiting to explode. And yes, Grey was demeaning, obnoxious, and rude, but he was just the catalyst to the avalanche that was waiting to happen. So, you see, I don’t think I acted or spoke in haste last night. If anything, I think I waited too long. And if I hadn’t waited so long, maybe I wouldn’t have been so disrespectful to Mr. Grey. So, you’ll get your wish. In my own time, I will be apologizing to Mr. Grey for my outburst, but I won’t be coming back to the center.” Ron looks down and sighs heavily.

“Well, you’ve answered one of my questions. Now I need to know the answer to this one.” He put Grey’s file on my desk. I know what’s in it, so I don’t need to open it.

“I didn’t spend enough time with him to be able to do an adequate evaluation,” I say.

“But where are your notes? I know that you had plenty to say about Mr. Grey. I also know that this report was complete the last time that I saw it.” I sigh again.

“He needs another evaluator, Ron, not me. I don’t need to influence his evaluation in any way. Handle it however you’re going to handle it, but you’re going to have to do it without my input.”

“And that leads me to my third question. Is there something going on between you and Grey?”

“Excuse me?” I almost choke on the words as I say them.

“To say that the man was all a-flutter when you weren’t in group on Thursday is an understatement. You two took some very strong liberties when you spoke to each other on Monday. There’s a thin line between love and hate and I need to know if you’ve crossed it,” he states plainly. I chuckle lightly.

“You know, Ron, I no longer work for you, so that’s really none of your business—but I’m going to say this anyway so that you can put your little mind at ease. I have too much unfinished business to have feelings for anybody, much less somebody that I’ve only known for less than three weeks.” I’d like to thank the Academy…

“Well, then, I guess this is it.” He stands and extends his hand.

“I guess it is.” I shake his hand.

“Good luck, kid.” He turns to leave and just as he gets to the door, “Ron?” He turns around.

“Don’t call me ‘kid.'” He smiles at me and closes the door behind him.

I go back to the window and look out over Seattle. I can see Grey House from here. I know which one it is now. Was I trying to convince myself or Ron that I felt no attraction to Grey? The truth is that something strange has been blossoming in me since day one, only fed by our battles of will, combusted by that kiss, and now fueled by the secret dance at the nightclub, the silent observations at the gym and the restaurant, and the business card tucked neatly in my wallet with the expertly scribbled message on the back. And now, Ron waltzes in here and tells me that Christian was affected by my absence on Thursday.

Christian… I like the way that sounds.

“Christian.”

I feel like Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, tricked into loving a man that she hated. That’s not to say that I love Christian Grey—I don’t even know him really, but as I stand here looking at Grey House and knowing that he’s there, for some reason I can’t shake the feeling of being in his arms.


GREY

Three days.

Three fucking days since I left her my business card and I’ve heard nothing.

Shit! Is she torturing me on purpose? I’ve never been itching to get to this group thing before, but I have to see her. She has to talk to me tonight. For one thing, this is the sixth session and I need to know what she’s going to do. But most of all, I need to know how she felt about my feeble attempt at an apology since she hasn’t said anything. I’m sitting impatiently in this room again, waiting for her to arrive. I don’t bother mulling around, and just sit down and go through the hundreds of emails that I seem to accumulate during any given day. I look again at the information that Welch has sent me on Greta Ellison’s financials. Sure enough, there was a $20,000 deposit into her account on the day that she and I met and a $30,000 deposit the next Monday… both from Elena. It’s not unusual for Elena to reward her girls, but this doesn’t usually happen until after the contract is signed and Elena has been paid her finder’s fee. And $50,000? Elena knows I take very good care of my subs, so what’s with the padding of the account? I don’t know what’s going on, but I suddenly have a really bad feeling about it—especially since I’ve never heard of this girl before, and with her special tastes and skills, she would have surely been a commodity in my circle.

I almost hate for the ladies to start arriving because I know there’s going to be the mad dash for seating when they get here. I make sure to pay no attention when they do. I notice at least ten emails from Elena as I scroll through my blackberry. I still take issue with her and this revelation about Elliot. I’m not quite sure what to make of it, but I have an appointment with Flynn tomorrow so I’ll run it by him. I figure I had better get in some sessions with him soon since it’s possible I could be spending some time in the pokey!

There didn’t seem to be as much musical chairs today. I guess the ladies were duly chastised on Monday and quickly learned their lessons. Promptly at 4:00, Carlisle comes into the room. I wonder where Ana is? Is she taking every Thursday off now? And for what reason? My question is soon answered when Carlisle announces that he’ll be facilitating group sessions from now on, after which everyone—including Carlisle—turns to look at me.

“What?” I snap. If they all have the audacity to glare at me, I have the audacity to ask them why. Of course, none of them have the guts to answer, but some of them do have the balls to roll their eyes at me. Fucking sycophants. We love Ana! Why did you make her go away? I can read it in their eyes.

Fuck.
She’s gone.

I run my hands through my hair as I sit through this agonizing two hours… without Ana. During the break, I instruct Taylor to find out where she is and what she was doing for the last two hours. The newest guy—Davenport—has been assigned to her this evening and he claims that she’s been at Forsythe’s for a while and then went back to her apartment. At the end of the session, I make a beeline for the door and Taylor only to be stopped by Carlisle.

“Mr. Grey, if I could have a moment, please?” I want to tell him to fuck off, but I really need to know what’s going to happen with the court order. “I’ll try not to keep you too long, Mr. Grey. I can appreciate that you are a busy man.” We make our way to his office and I sit down in the chair opposite his desk.

“First, I would like to apologize for your experience here at the center on Monday. That’s not how we handle things here and it won’t happen again.”

“Was An… Dr. Steele dismissed for that incident? Is that why she’s not here anymore?” The asshole tilts his head. I know he’s trying to read me, but I remain impassive. I fucking hate shrinks.

“She wasn’t dismissed at all, Mr. Grey. She quit.” The shock that must’ve registered on my face kicked “impassive” out the door, into the hallway, and down the elevator shaft.

“Did she say why?” I ask. Carlisle gets that I know something you don’t know look on his face. It’s that same look that Flynn gets when he’s about to announce some big revelation about me and he’s hit the nail square on the head. Did I mention that I hate shrinks?

Well… maybe except one.

“I’m not at liberty to say. However, I’m going to need your help with something else.” He pulls out a file and pushes it over to me. It has my name on it. There’s only one piece of paper in it—the court order… and it’s blank! What’s this? I know for sure she filled this out. She read it to me—word for vindictive word.

“I’m not sure that I understand.” I frown. He put his hands in what I like to call the Shrink Steeple.

“You don’t talk in group, Mr. Grey, and I have no notes on you. Nothing. She shredded everything and left me only this.” He gestures to the blank court order. She shredded everything? Fuck! What does that mean? I’m feeling that emptiness again that I felt on Monday when she wouldn’t let me into her office. “That leaves me in a difficult place, Mr. Grey. If you don’t talk in group, I have nothing to give the court, which won’t fare well for you. So, like I said, I need your help here.”

I’m not stupid enough to repeat the same mistake I did with Ana. So, I just ask, “What am I supposed to do?”

“You’ve got to give me something, Mr. Grey. Like I said, Ana shredded all of her notes, you don’t talk in group. Except for the outburst that you two had on Monday, I have nothing.” I sit back in the chair. What does this asshole want from me? “May I ask you a question, Mr. Grey?”

“Shoot.” I sure as hell have nothing to lose at this point.

“What did Ana mean by ‘dead mommy issues?'” I knew it was coming. It had to. Time to pull out Broken Christian and another Jedi mind trick.

“I can’t talk in front of the group. My whole life will be tabloid fodder if I do. I tried to tell… Dr. Steele this same thing and it didn’t go over well… probably because I was a first-class asshole the first time I spoke to her.” Well, that part is true. “To say that I had a fucked-up childhood is an understatement…”

I give him about 15 minutes of the Poor Little Christian spiel until he seems satisfied that I can’t talk about my issues in front of the group.

“Well, we may need to work out some sort of one-on-one sessions because I have to be able to submit something to the court. So, we’ll see what we can work out on Monday if that’s alright with you.”

“That’s fine with me,” I reply. The sooner I can put this behind me, the better!

“Again, I’m very sorry about your experience here on Monday. By the way, Ana says that she would also be offering you her apologies.” Fucker called her Ana. How cozy is he?

“How can she offer apologies if she doesn’t work here anymore?” I ask.

“I don’t know, but she indicated that she’ll offer apologies in her own time,” In her own time? “Which led me to believe that there was a relationship outside of the group.” I glare at him. What is he getting at? “Coupled with your obvious concern for her absence both this week and last week, I have to ask. Are you in love with her?” What the hell? Is this guy for real?

“That’s none of your business, Carlisle. Where do you get off asking me something like that?”

“I’m a psychiatrist. Mr. Grey, and we’re trained to listen to what people say as well as to what they don’t say. What I noticed about you and about Ana is that you both answered that question the same way. You both said that it was none of my business, but neither one of you said ‘no.’ Neither one of you said how ridiculous it was that I asked the questions. Neither one of you denied it. Her behavior suggests that there could be something going on between the two of you. Your behavior screams it. So, either there is something going on between you two, or there’s some insane UST in effect here and it’s palpable when you two are in the same room. So, I’m just trying to tell you that whatever is or isn’t going on between you two, the only people that you’re fooling are yourselves. I just call them like I see them.” He rises out of his chair. “There’s nothing that I can do about it since she doesn’t work here anymore, not that there’s anything I wish to do about it. I’m just letting you know that it’s pretty obvious, okay?” He proffers his hand. “Tell the kid, I said hello when she gives you that apology and I’ll see you on Monday.” I accept his hand.

“Not much gets past you, does it, doctor?” I say, sort of begrudgingly.

“Not much, Mr. Grey.”

*-*

On Friday afternoon, I find myself in John’s office about to partake in one of the most difficult sessions we’ve ever had… although I don’t know it yet.

“Why don’t you start with the baser feelings that you are feeling right now?” John begins.

“That’s the problem. I don’t know what they are.”

“Just start talking, and let’s see where it goes.”

“Well, Elliot’s an idiot. He always has been… an idiot in a fun way, I guess.” I run my hands through my hair, trying to place the sentences in the right boxes and slots in my brain. “I used to be a little jealous of how he and Mia seemed to fit in so well and I didn’t… but you already knew that. Elliot was the life of the party. Everybody liked him. Still do.”

“Could it be that you may have felt that he was getting all of the attention that you weren’t?” You’re getting warmer, John.

“Somewhat, but at the time, it seemed normal to me. I was an imperfect kid in a perfect family. It was no big deal that he was given the attention over me… especially since I was always in trouble.”

“Okay, so let’s relate this to Mrs. Lincoln. For the sake of argument, let’s assume that she did make a pass at Elliot. Let’s assume that she approached Elliot in the same way—or similar—that she approached you. What if Elliot had accepted?” John leans in to me.

“That’s where I start to feel a little strange…”

“Think back on your relationship with Mrs. Lincoln. How did it make you feel? How did she make you feel?”

“Well, you know all of that, John. She helped me when I was out of control. She gave me direction and a sense of purpose. True, it was unconventional…”

… And illegal…” John adds. I scowl at him.

… But it put me on the right track. It gave me control and made me the man that I am today.” I finish the thought.

“Okay, so that’s supposedly what she did for you, but how did she make you feel?”

I have to ponder that for a moment. “It’s hard for me to pinpoint what I felt. I was a horny teenage boy. I wanted to fuck. If I did what she said, she fucked me. The collars, gags, and whips all just seemed like part of the game until she started to teach me control.”

“We’re getting closer, Christian. You are telling me how you felt physically. How about emotionally?”

I’m completely out of my realm here. Elena always told me that love was for fools, so she never taught me how to put a label on my feelings. To avoid doing so, I accepted that I didn’t have a heart or a soul. But I’m feeling something here… something right now. In order to determine what it is, I have to explore what I felt then.

“I felt like I belonged,” I admit. “I felt like Elena and I were part of our own secret club where we didn’t have to explain to other people what we did. Hell, even now, it’s still the same. Nobody understands our lifestyle unless they’re a part of it. Outsiders look at it as taboo and brutal and violent and vicious. We look at it as a preference. We relate to each other now through that preference and we related to each other then.”

“But do you understand that you were a kid, then?” John interjects, and I start to scowl. “You need to hear this out, Christian, because every time anyone brings this to your attention, you immediately get defensive and shut down. And now you are trying to explore some mystery feelings about the situation, but you refuse to see it for what it was. Congratulations, you learned control from a situation that you should never have been exposed to at your age in the first place. You were a kid; an impressionable, horny, misguided kid. She exploited your weaknesses to her advantage for years until you learned how to use what you learned to your advantage, but you should never have been exposed to that lifestyle at that age. Do you understand that?”

And for the first time, it starts to sink in. It would infuriate me when he would call her a pedophile because he never understood what she did for me. What she did wasn’t so wrong as when she did it. There was still one big problem though…

“You do understand though, that if she hadn’t done what she did when she did, I might be in jail or dead right now?” I protest quietly.

“That’s something that we’ll never know. We know that because she did what she did when she did it that you didn’t end up in jail or dead. We don’t know that if she hadn’t done what she did when she did it that something else may not have come along that would have put you on the right track or straightened you out.” My silence was his cue to continue. “So now you have this club to which you and Mrs. Lincoln belonged where you felt normal—more normal than you felt when you were with the family that loved you, when you went to school…” I nod at the comparison.

… And now there’s a possibility that she may have been trying to recruit Elliot.” My head snaps up at him. It was like he had hit me. Elena trying to recruit Elliot into our club… The feeling is becoming more and more pronounced now, along with all of the other feelings associated with it.

“Do you have any reason to believe that Elliot would lie about this?” John asks. I shake my head.

“Is there any reason why Elliot would have been mistaken about her intentions?” He continues. The man whore? Not after all of these years, absolutely not.

“No… he’s telling the truth, and he wasn’t mistaken.” I say flatly.

“So, what does this mean? How does this make you feel?” John asks.

“I thought she did it for me.” I shake my head. I hate this feeling. I can’t believe this. All this time, I’ve been so fucking blind. “I thought she saw a troubled boy and taught him how to control himself, his behavior, and his surroundings.” I stand up and start to pace. “It could have been Elliot.” I look at John. “It could have been anybody.” She was just trolling for young boys. She wasn’t looking to help me. She would have taken whoever came first… or both! Is she still doing this? How long had she been doing this before me? Was I the first to succumb? “Shit! Was I the last?” I didn’t realize I had said that last part aloud.

“So, Christian, besides obvious outrage, how did you feel about this now?”

All of the myriad of emotions and anger, questions, frustration, everything that I couldn’t put into words jumbled around in my head and came out with the one word that I had been searching for, that I couldn’t pinpoint from the moment that Elliot told me what happened…

“Betrayed.”

I thought I was special. I thought she singled me out to save me—to put me on the right track. I thought this was something that she and I shared. I don’t know why I felt that way. She was in the lifestyle before we met and she’s still in it now. But somehow, I always thought we were different. We were supposed to be connected in a way that no other Domme/sub would be. That’s why she remained a part of my life long after our sexual relationship had ended. Now, I realize that I wasn’t special at all. I was never special to her… I was just the next kid in line. The next kid in line. The words burn at the back of my throat and threaten to come out in hot, molten lava and destroy Flynn’s office. Flynn notices the intensity of my introspection and attempts to bring me back.

“Christian? Are you okay?” I shake my head. I’m not saying No, I’m not okay. I’m more saying No, this isn’t right. This can’t be right. I had already been victimized. I had been victimized terribly by the crack whore’s pimp—and Grace saved me. Now along comes this woman—bored with her life as a trophy wife with an inclination towards little boys—and victimizes me again! What’s even worse is that she did it under the guise of helping me, of saving me—and I bought it! Hook, line, and sinker, I swallowed this line of bullshit. I think I’m going to be sick.

“I need you to talk to me, Christian,” John prompts.

“She’s a pedophile. She’s a fucking pedophile,” I squeak, my fists balled so tight that I can feel my nails digging into my palms. John sighs heavily.

“I’ve been trying to tell you that for years,” he says softly. I drop my head.

“Everything I ever knew is a lie. Everything I thought I knew is a goddamn lie.” I shake my head. “I have no life, John. I haven’t had a sub in weeks, and now I go home at night and sit around and wonder what I’m supposed to do next.” I’m still shaking my head. “I can run my business without a glitch—there will never be a bump in that road… but my personal life…” I run my hand through my hair. “This is what she taught me. This is all I know. I don’t know how to be normal.” I’m pacing Flynn’s office, looking for some kind of answer. “And now there’s this woman…” I can feel John’s expression change even though I’m not looking at him.

“Go on,” he coaxes when I stop talking. I clasp my hands.

“She’s a shrink, can you believe that?” I snicker at John. “I fucking hate shrinks.”

“Well, at the rate that you pay me, you can hate me all you want, but what about this girl?” John goads.

“She’s headstrong and mouthy and fucking annoying. She drives me fucking crazy! And I can’t stop thinking about her,” I say in defeat.

“Where did you meet this girl?” John asks.

“The group sessions,” I confess. The light of realization dawns on John’s face.

“Dr. Steele?” he asks incredulously.

“The one and only.” John laughs aloud. Well, that’s really professional. I’m so glad that you can have such a hearty laugh at my expense, you asshole.

“I’m sorry, Christian, but—this is classic. I mean, you can’t write this stuff.” He leans in to me to better illustrate his point. “You hit this guy and end up having to go to group therapy. You meet the therapist who now has a modicum of control over you for a total of six weeks—and she looks just like one of your subs. You attempt several times to exercise some dominion over her and each attempt is a more miserable failure than the last, all the way up to the point where she could possibly put you in jail. And now, you have discovered that you may have feelings for her—right after you discover that your closest friend and mentor is actually a pedophile that has taken advantage of you and tried to seduce your big brother. This is tragic, Christian. You can’t make this stuff up!”

Yes, I know. Thanks for the summary, Dr. Mudd. “She can’t put me in jail anymore.” John’s laughter subsides.

“And why is that?” he asks.

“She doesn’t facilitate the group sessions anymore. She quit.” John’s face falls.

“Because of you?”

“Most likely,” I conclude. “I tried to apologize the best I could on short notice, but I haven’t heard anything from her, so…” I trail off.

“Have you tried to contact her?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“What do I say? ‘I’m sorry I chased you away from your job. Now can I tie you up and beat you?'” John’s expression changes drastically.

“You want this woman to be your sub?” His tone of voice made it sound like the possibility was utterly preposterous.

“It’s all I know, John.” I shrug.

“How likely is that, Christian?” He looks at me wide-eyed. “From what you’ve told me about this woman, you can’t even get her to sign a form and you think you’re going to get her to submit?” John’s tone of voice is getting more and more disbelieving as the conversation continues. But now that he has put it that way, he may have a point.

“What am I supposed to do, John?” I’m defeated again.

“Well, if you like this girl, you’re going to have to rethink how you’re going to pursue her. You can’t pursue her as a sub.” I’ve only pursued subs, but all of my subs have been women. The pursuit of a sub is as simple as an interview and finding a common ground. That’s not going to work with Ana, but all of those women do like nice things and being treated like a lady, and that I can do.

“Looks like I’ve got some work to do,” I say.

“Looks like it,” John nods, sitting back in his chair. I stand up.

“Sorry I took up so much of your time today, but hell, you’re a richer man for it,” I say as I walk to the door.

“Always the charmer, Christian,” he says sarcastically. “Next week?”

“Next week, John. I’ll call you.” I close the door behind me and head to the SUV. I have some things that I need to set in motion, but first, I need to have a little chat with one Mrs. Elena Lincoln. On the way back to Escala, I text her.

**How soon can you be at Escala? We need to talk**

Almost immediately she responds”
**Is everything alright**

I type in my response:
**Couldn’t be better. We need to talk**

Rooting for information, she asks:
**Should I contact Ms. Ellison to join us**

Silly little pedophile…
**No. Just you for now. How soon**

Again, almost instantly she says:
**Twenty minutes**

I type back:
**Good. I’ll see you then**

*-*

“I’m so glad you contacted me. You had me worried for a moment.” Elena purrs as she sits at the breakfast bar in my apartment.

“Why were you worried, Elena?” I ask as I pour us both a glass of Sancerre.

“You just haven’t been acting like yourself is all,” she answers sweetly. “I was wondering why you wanted to see me so urgently. Have you made a decision about Greta?” she prompts before she takes a drink of her wine.

“First things first.” I sit on the other side of the breakfast bar. “I’d like to talk about my brother’s unhealthy discomfort around you.” She freezes momentarily, then places her glass on the counter.

“‘Unhealthy’ is right. I mean, I have no idea where Elliot would get the idea that I would have been coming on to him all those years ago,” she says, trying to exude confidence but failing miserably.

“Yes, I’ve been trying to figure that out myself.” I rub my chin. “He was after all only… how old?”

“Fourteen… I think you said.” She nervously takes a drink of her wine.

“Yes… he did tell me that he was 14,” I lean into the counter, “but I never told you that.”

“Of course, you did, Christian.” She callously waves me off. “How else would I know?”

My point exactly.

“I. Never. Told. You. That!” I make sure that she knows not to try to convince me otherwise. She’s starting to fidget with her ring. She decides to try another tactic.

“Christian,” she begins nervously, “I remember the age because… Elliot actually tried to come on to me.”

It’s a good thing I don’t have any wine in my mouth at this moment or she’d be wearing it right now. If I was shocked and appalled before, I’m thoroughly horrified now.

“What?” I say in complete horror and disbelief.

“I know,” she says, her voice shaking. “I was just as shocked as you are right now. I couldn’t believe it was happening.” I run my hands through my hair. What does this woman take me for?

“If that were true, Elena, why wouldn’t you have said something before now?” I snap.

“Oh, what would you suggest I do… tell one of my closest friends that her teenage son was making advances toward me?” I can’t believe my ears. This woman would do absolutely anything… say absolutely anything… to save her own ass—and that includes throwing a 14-year-old kid under the bus. I just look at this woman. I had considered her my friend for many years, someone who would surely always look out for my best interests. I was her protégé, so to speak—or so I thought. I’m looking so hard, trying to read into her black soul—blacker than mine, I think. I mean, I would never fuck a child! I don’t understand why it seems so repulsive to me that she was mostly likely doing this to other children, but not so repulsive when it happened to me. I think it has something to do with Flynn’s theory of my own self-degradation—or it could be that I thought it was something altogether different between us…

“Christian? What is it?” she asks, fear clearly evident in her voice. I hadn’t noticed that I had fallen into my patented stare, but Elena is one person who never fell prey to it, even though I could tell that it visibly gave her chills.

“What exactly happened between you and my brother, Elena?” Even under her salon tan, I can see the color leave her face.

“What do you mean, Christian?” she gasps. “Nothing happened between Elliot and me. Nothing at all!”

“I’ve heard Elliot’s side of the story, and now I want to hear yours. What exactly happened when my brother was 14?” She’s staring at me horrified now. I want answers and I’m going to get them, and if she doesn’t give them to me, then I’ve already got my answers. I sit silently and wait for her response. The wheels are turning feverishly in her mind as she attempts to concoct a story that she thinks will appease me, but it’s too late now. I know the truth. I’ve heard all that I need to hear from this vile human being.

“Elena… you can go now,” I say, flatly. She’s terrified now.

“Christian, what does all this mean?” she gasps. “You believe me, don’t you?”

“Elena! You can go now,” I repeat. She stands indignantly and snatches her clutch from the breakfast bar. In an attempt to save some of her dignity, she asks, “What should I tell Ms. Ellison?” Her last “hole card”… she’s playing her trumps—or so she thinks—because she feels her power slipping away. What she doesn’t understand is that it’s already gone.

“You really want to talk to me about a sub now?” I ask impassively.

“Well, forgive my confusion, Christian! Less than three weeks ago, you acted as if you would have fucked anything willing…”

Almost anything….

… And now you’re behaving as if you’ve lost your nerve.” Wrong move, Elena.

I close the distance between us until I’m face to face with the cocky Mrs. Lincoln. “One of these days, you’re going to get the message that you can no longer control what I do with my dick. Now leave my home and don’t come back unless I summon you.” I growl.

I can only describe her expression as aghast because surprise just doesn’t cut it. “Christian, there’s no need to be so dramatic,” she’s almost pleading. “I’ve only ever tried to help you, to be your friend…” Ohthat’s rich! Yeah, that’s what I thought, too.

“Then it would do you well to remember that I am not your sub anymore—that I fuck who I want, when I want, and how I want and you are not going to dictate how that happens. Do I make myself clear?”

After a frightened pause, she responds, “Crystal.” She speaks just above a whisper. Although I was completely unaware of it, I have moved into dominant mode.

I take a single step back from Elena, trying to remember that once upon a time I valued her as a friend and not the harpy that just tried to manipulate me by insulting my manhood and my dominance as well as tried to seduce my brother and God only knows how many other children before and after us.

“Tell Ms. Ellison that I won’t be requiring her services.” Elena gasps. It’s about time that I start to separate myself from this woman. She still sees that 15-year-old hormonal boy that she victimized, and I can’t have that anymore.

“But Christian! She’s perfect! Don’t let a disagreement between us cause you to make a rash decision.” She’s right, of course. Greta is perfect, but she has two major flaws. One, she’s associated with Elena and right now, I don’t know exactly what that association is. Two, she’s not Ana. I don’t know what I want from Ana. All I know is that whatever it is that I see in Ana, I can’t get from Greta.

“Oh, don’t worry yourself. I’m not. She’s just not going to meet my particular needs right now. Goodbye, Elena.”

“Christian…” she protests.

“Elena,” I interrupt, “I suggest you leave before I forget that sometimes, I’m a gentleman.” Elena opens her mouth to say something, but immediately thinks better of it as she quietly turns around and leaves the apartment.

Good girl.

“Taylor!” Taylor appears a moment later.

“Sir.”

“Have the access codes to Escala changed immediately,” I say as I walk into my study.

“Yes, sir.”

*-*

It takes less than an hour to get the codes changed. It’s about 7:30pm when I ask Taylor where Ana is.

“She’s having dinner with a gentleman, sir.”

“Forsythe?” I assume. I learned his name once I saw them together at the restaurant right before Flemings showed up. She’s been spending her weekends with him so far.

No, sir, another gentleman.” Maybe it was the guy who was coming on to her at the bar.

“Where are they?” I ask.

Canlis, sir.” Shit! This is a date. He’s definitely trying to impress her. I’ve got to think fast.

“Do we know who this guy is?”

No, we don’t, but Davenport has the license plate of the car he’s driving. Dr. Steele met him at the restaurant.” Hmm, separate cars. Maybe it’s not a date. I can’t take the chance.

“Get the information over to Welch and have him run it immediately. I need his intel in five minutes. What is Ms. Steele wearing this evening?” Most likely something blue. After a few moments, Taylor says, “Purple off-the-shoulder cocktail dress with matching shoes, sir.”

Purple. It’s worse than I thought. A few minutes later, I have the intel on her date. Shit—it’s her ex-boyfriend. I remember this from her background check. Not a good sign. I grab my suit jacket and head for the door, Taylor two steps behind. Once in the SUV, I scroll through my blackberry and find the contact name I’m looking for.

“Thank you for calling Canlis, this is Sarah.”

“Hello, Sarah. This is Christian Grey. Is Mark or Brian in the restaurant tonight?” At the mention of my nameor it could have been the voiceshe turns into a stuttering idiot.

“Um… y-yes sir, Mr. G-Grey. Brian is here this evening. I’ll… get him for you.” A few moments later…

“Christian! You devil! To what do I owe this honor?” Brian’s jovial voice rings through my blackberry.

“Brian, good to talk to you. How are Chris and Alice?” I ask about his parents who ran the restaurant before he and his brother Mark took control of the family business a few years ago.

“Just fine, just fine. Living the easy life while my brother and I slave over the business. You know how that goes.” We laugh heartily. “And how are Grace and Carrick? Doing well, I hope.”

“They’re wonderful, Brian. Thanks for asking. We really must get together soon,” I add.

“Yes, yes, we must. I know my parents would be thrilled to see you guys, and I haven’t kicked your ass in racquetball in years!” He laughs.

“Don’t worry, I haven’t played in years!” I laugh as well. “Listen, I need a really big favor from you. I know it’s Friday night and you’re packed to the walls, but I’m on my way there right now and I’m going to need a little help pulling something off. Do you think you can accommodate me?” Brian knows not to turn me down.

“Anything for an old friend of the family. You name it. What can I do for you?”

“Look around. Do you see a woman there—brunette, blue eyes, small frame, wearing a purple off-the-shoulder dress?”

After a few moments, Brian says “Yeah, a real bombshell. She’s with a date… and she doesn’t look too thrilled.” All the better for me.

“How far into their meal are they?” He pauses for another moment and says, “They just finished appetizers.” Luckily for me, Canlis is only four miles from Escala.

“Okay, I’ll be there momentarily. This is what I need you to do for me.”


A/N:

Dr. Mudd is the doctor that treated John Wilkes Booth for a broken leg after he assassinated President Abraham Lincoln. Mudd went to jail for conspiracy to assassinate the President even though he didn’t know that Booth had just killed the President, hence the American saying that when someone is in deep trouble, “my name is Mudd.” This was Christian’s way of calling John a quack.

I’d like to thank the Academy”—during the Oscars, the winners usually thank the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for being nominated. This is Ana’s way of acknowledging that this is a performance for Ron’s benefit, even though she hasn’t completely admitted having feelings for Christian yet.

Make sure you go to http://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/paging-dr-steele/ to see the restaurant that made Christian dash out of Escala in hopes of crashing this date.

I would love to know what you guys think could possibly happen next!

You can join my mailing list on the “Contact Me” page. Just indicate in the message that you would like to join the mailing list.

Love and Handcuffs!
Lynn x

 

Paging Dr. Steele: Chapter 13: Day of Reckoning

I do not own Fifty Shades Trilogy, or the characters. They belong to E. LJames. I am only exercising my right to exploit, abuse, and mangle the characters to MY discretion in MY story in MY interpretation as a fan. I hope you—as a fellow fan—enjoy it, too.

Chapter 13—Day of Reckoning

STEELE

Yeah, so, I’m not the happiest camper on Monday morning. Sunday afternoon, I called the jerk who gave me his business card at the New Orleans on Saturday night… and his wife answers his cell phone!

Fucking seriously?

Did I have “skank” stamped on my forehead or something? Good grief. This is one of the reasons that I was dreading getting back into the dating game. At least Al had his happy ending, thank God. Needless to say, I’m in a terribly foul mood when I get ready for group on Monday.

I haven’t spoken to Grey since the infamous kiss on Friday, and I can’t help but wonder what he expects to happen now. Does he think that I’ll fall at his feet and sign off on his paperwork? It might have been easier to say “no” had I not been thinking about him all damn weekend. Shit! Hopefully this feeling will go away soon and I can get my bearings about me again.

I just wish I knew why he kissed me in the first place…?

“Hey, Ana, you got a minute?” Ron summons me to his office just as I’m heading to 239.

“Yeah, just a minute, though. The session is about to start shortly.”

“That’s what I want to talk to you about. Do you mind if I sit in with you today?” I’m a bit taken aback.

“Not at all. I’d welcome it, as a matter of fact.” I tilt my head a bit. “It’s your prerogative, of course, but may I ask why?” Ron sits back in his chair.

“I’ve made a few observations along with some of the things you’ve said to me and… I’d like to see what’s the deal with this Grey guy for myself.” Now, the puzzle pieces are starting to fit together.

“I can tell you whatever you need to know, but… what brought this on and what is it you plan to accomplish?” I question sincerely.

“Well, when we talked in your office last week, you were clearly completely fed up with this guy. Then you called off on Thursday which is something you’ve never done in the seven months that you’ve been volunteering here. That same day, Grey is all ‘I hope she’s okay’ when I tell him you’re not coming and coincidentally, I find out that you pressed the panic button on Monday and Mr. Grey had to be escorted from the building. Don’t bother trying to deny that he was definitely part of the reason that you didn’t come in on Thursday because I could hear it in your voice when I asked about it; his behavior just drove it home for me. What I plan to do, I don’t know, but I just want to see how this guy interacts in class.” I almost laugh at the word “interact.”

“He doesn’t. Most of the time, he just sits there staring at me! That’s why I want him out of my class! I talked to my attorney friend and he told me I can’t even turn in the court order until after the sixth session!” Ron makes a face.

“Yeah… I could have told you that.” Now I’m irritated.

“Well, why didn’t you?” I demand.  “I’m sitting in my office all high and mighty like I’m about to get rid of this leprosy, and now I have to sit in front of him for at least two more sessions!”

“You didn’t ask me!” Ron defends. “I would have told you if you had asked me!” My hand flies to my forehead. Great! Now I have a headache before the session even starts.

“We need to go. We’re already late.” I stand up and leave Ron’s office.

“Everybody take your seats, please.” I’m wound tighter than a chainsaw and I can go off at any minute. I don’t bother to scan the group to see where Grey is trying to sit as I just need to follow the clamor of women attempting to get a seat next to him. This spectacle is really getting on my nerves. I wonder what he’s thinking when these women are all willing to get into a cage fight if it means they’ll be able to sit near Christian Grey. Part of it has to do with a slight possessiveness that I don’t want to admit that I’ve begun to feel towards him—even though I clearly have no right. The other part has to do with the fact that my patience is completely non-existent today and I already know that I shouldn’t be here, but it’s too late now… Medusa is loose.

I fold one arm under the other and put my free hand on my chin and watch the show. It’s going on a little longer than usual today. Ron and I are still standing, as is my tradition, to allow everyone to get a seat first. I can see Ron in my peripheral, and he is clearly puzzled while watching these women throwing dirty looks and snide comments at each other vying for optimum seating. So, while gesturing to the spectacle, I turn to him and say loudly, “It happens every class. It usually takes about five minutes for us to get seated.”

This declaration has accomplished two things. First, it has brought the spotlight on to these women who—with the exception of Evelyn—are now chastised enough to be embarrassed by their behavior and find a seat. Second, it proves—though I haven’t yet acknowledged the fact—that my brain-to-mouth filters are malfunctioning if not completely disconnected. Houston, we have a problem.

Ron is looking over at me with that look on his face like he swallowed something bad, so I know that he knows this is going to be an interesting night, to say the very least.

“Ana, are you okay?” he asks quietly and cautiously. If I had any good sense, I would take this opportunity to graciously bow out of the tragedy that’s about to transpire before me; but, no, I—Dr. Anastasia Rose Steele, PsyD—am a gluten for punishment. So, instead of telling Ron that I’m in a foul ass mood and should probably go back to my office for a much-needed “time-out,” I turn to him and matter-of-factly reply:

“Oh, yeah, I’m fine.”

Once all the commotion has ceased, I pause for another ten or twenty seconds for effect before leaning down to Martin, who’s sitting in the seat next to the one that I plan to occupy. “Martin,” I say softly, “would you mind terribly surrendering your seat so that my boss can sit and observe?”

“Oh, no, not at all, Dr. Steele.” Martin kindly moves to another empty seat in the group and Ron and I take a seat. I must admit that I’m truly at a loss on how to proceed right now, so I start like I normally do:

“Does anybody have anything that they want to share? I truly want to hear something about someone’s interesting weekend. Anything?” The group falls silent and I have no desire whatsoever to rescue them. For all I care, we can all sit here for two hours and ponder life’s special moments and mysteries because quite frankly, you guys have the problems… not me. Imagine my surprise when the next voice that I hear comes from the last place I expect.


GREY

Well, hell, if I can be here on time I would think the good doctor would at least have the courtesy to be prompt as well. I have no plan of “attack” today, except to “cease and desist” with the staring. I guess I could give a little insight without spilling my fucking guts. Shit, there’s got to be an easier way to do this. I sigh heavily. Fuck it. Anything to keep from going to county jail.

I need to find some kind of way to apologize to Ana, but I’m sure as hell not going to do it in front of the group and she most likely won’t be caught within 15 feet of me in a room alone after that debacle on Friday. That point was driven home when, after hearing her voice, I turn around to see that smug Carlisle fucker walk into the room with her. Great, she’s brought reinforcements. Her expression is unreadable and she’s clearly avoiding eye contact with me. I take my seat and watch her take what I would consider a clearly defensive stance until she loudly announces, “It happens every class. It usually takes about five minutes for us to get seated.” That’s when I realize that she’s referring to the usual seating chaos that takes place in my general vicinity by a cluster of horny women who don’t have the good sense to be embarrassed by their behavior.

It doesn’t take long for me to recognize that this isn’t our usual Dr. Steele. I don’t know what her day has been like, but it is clear to see that this is not the Breakfast at Tiffany’s, tiara wearing, “just call me Ana” that we have become accustomed to. There’s a bit of musical chairs going on while she and Carlisle take a seat before she asks if anyone wants to share. A dead silence falls over the room and nobody says anything for about a full minute. Oh well, might as well rip the Band-Aid off…

“I’d like to say something.” Was that me? Shit!

Ana’s head shoots over to me and I can only interpret the look in her eyes as horror! Fuck! You’ve wanted me to talk and now, I’m talking! I clear my throat simply because I have no fucking idea what to say next. Flynn’s words come back to me.

“You may even have to give her a little insight into yourself and your past for her to understand why you are the way you are.”

She’s knows my past, now… some of it anyway. Here goes…

“It takes a lot to get to where I am. You don’t just wake up one day and you’re here. You must have a lot of drive and determination… and control.” I know there are several sets of eyes on me, but I am focused solely on hers, which have now moved from horrified to surprise. “I come from humble beginnings and all I will say is that I won’t ever go back there again.” Thoughts of the crack whore lying prostrate on a filthy couch in a drug-induced stupor while I sit famished and emaciated on the kitchen floor flood my brain momentarily. “I’ve worked very hard to achieve what I have, to be who I am.” Flynn’s words come to me again.

“You are threatening everything she has worked for. How would you feel if it were you…?”

Fucking furious! “It’s obvious that you don’t get to be who I am overnight, but nothing was ever just handed to me. This kind of success takes more than most people are capable of sacrificing.” This sharing shit is just not working for me, and Ana’s expression has now moved from surprise to confusion. “People are always out to get me,” I continue, thinking about the asshole judge who put me here in the first place. “They want to make a name for themselves by taking down or exposing the great Christian Grey,” I say sarcastically. “And anything I do in defense of myself is always taken out of context or splashed all over the media. I’ve never been a ‘regular guy’ and with the life I’ve lived, I don’t think I’d ever want to be, but sometimes I wish to hell people would just leave me alone.”

“Mr. Grey, what is it you’re saying?” Ana has broken the deafening silence that has fallen over the class. “Because what it sounds like is that you want someone to take pity on you for being successful.”

Where the fuck did she get that from? I’m trying to fucking humble myself here, and she translates it as a call for pity? That’s what the fuck I get for trying to relate to a concept of which I have no idea.

“Pity? That’s what you heard? Pity?” My voice is a little harsher than I intended. She picks up on it immediately.


STEELE

What the hell? He sits here silently for three sessions, two of which he stared at me. Every time he opened his mouth, he bullied someone and most often that someone was me. And now he has the nerve to sit here and try to solicit… what? Sympathy? Pity? Understanding? What? And why the hell is taking a tone with me?

I’m not wearing any gloves today, Grey. Did no one warn you?

Well, excuse me, Mr. Grey, but all you’ve ever thrown towards me is hostility and intimidation. So, forgive me if I can’t recognize an attempt at sincerity… assuming that’s what that was.”

Wait, that kiss wasn’t hostile.
That was intimidation.
Shit! Intimidate me!
Shut the fuck up, Bitch. I’m handling this!

“You are impossible!” he bellows. “There’s absolutely no way to win with you, is there? I should just lie down and take my punishment, right?”

“Punishment? Are you kidding me? What do you expect? For us to sit here and pat you on the head because you are a little more famous than the rest of us? Poor little billionaire!” Ron’s head snaps over to me and Grey looks at me like I have just hit him.

“Ana, maybe you should step outside for a moment…” Ron recognizes the dynamite a moment too late.

“What the hell is your fucking problem? You have no fucking idea what this means to me, do you? No fucking idea at all! The wrong move in any direction can be the absolute end of everything I have ever built! One word to the wrong person in the wrong way can be the end of my whole fucking career! All the goodwill I’ve built and all the influence of the Grey name can be shattered in an instant! And I have to sit here and take this bullshit twice a week so that I don’t see my life’s work shot to hell at a moment’s notice by some fucking temperamental female!” Grey shoots at me.

Mother fucking ass hole shit eating bitches from hell—are you fucking serious!? Is he really sitting here saying this shit to me after what he has put me through in the two horrific weeks I have known him? So, let’s review, shall we?

This man has dug into my past and exposed one of the most horrific occurrences of my life. His actions have sent me into full-scale reversal. I am now once again a nightmare having, ghost fighting, gun-toting, paranoid “Ana” Oakley. Right when I decide to fight the emotional romantic demons that have put my life on hold for nearly four years, Grey comes and in one day he destroys everything that I had accomplished in attempting to fight off decade-old fears and monsters. And now he has the audacity to sit here in this class, look me in my eyes and insinuate that he needs to protect himself and his empire from me

That’s it! I simply cannot take this anymore. I have sat through two and a half weeks of watching this man treat people like we are all put here for his personal use and entertainment. Ron can see that I’m at the end of my rope, and I think he is gesturing to me in an attempt to defuse the situation, but it’s too late. I cannot go another moment without telling Mr. Master of the Universe exactly what I think of him.

“You know what, Grey? Some of us didn’t have a savior to come and rescue us from the hell we were in. Some of us had to ride it out and just survive no matter what happened. And heaven forbid some of us become better people in spite of the circumstances! I mean, what’s the world coming to when we can’t all become gorgeous, egomaniacal, self-absorbed, narcissistic billionaires who feel the need to treat people in the worst way possible based on some twisted sense of entitlement!? Take a look at yourself. You live in an ivory tower, you hold the future of tens of thousands of people in the palm of your hand, your net worth exceeds everyone in this building combined, and that suit you’re wearing probably costs six months of my salary. News flash, Grey. You WON! You’ve achieved the brass ring and crushed all your enemies under your foot. So, while you’re walking around crying your ‘woe me’s’ and blaming your dead mommy for issues that you have been holding on to for decades, just remember that you’re not the only fucked up individual in the world!” I knew it was death the minute the words left my mouth. I stand up and fling my portfolio across the room where it strikes a bulletin board hanging on the wall, causing the board to fall and land flat on the floor with a loud “clap!” I turn around and march out of the room mumbling, “Fucking arrogant asshole.”

I fling the door open, hoping to get a moment to myself to catch my breath before plotting my escape. Unfortunately, I come face to face with Taylor as soon as I slam the door behind me. I drop my head and put my hand over my eyes, pushing my glasses up a bit. Dead mommy issues? Did I really say that out loud… to a group participant… in front of the entire group? Holy cow, Batman. This is information that I read from his background check. Why in the hell would I bring that up in front of the group!? I hear the door open behind me and I pray to God that it isn’t Grey.

“My office. Now!” Ron growls as I watch him storm pass me. He’s mad… really mad. I’m shaking a bit and I take a few deep breaths to try to calm myself before the adrenaline causes the tears. I drop my head and shake it, hoping that this is a dream and I’m just going to wake up. No such luck.

“Are you okay, ma’am?” I almost jump out of my skin. I forgot Taylor is standing there. He must think I’m having a seizure with all the twitching and shaking I’m doing.

“I’m fine, thank you,” I respond nervously before I walk down the hall to face the firing squad.

“What the hell was that?” Ron snaps, as I close the door. I’m dumbstruck. Am I in the Twilight Zone?

“Are you kidding me? You saw for yourself! That man is impossible and you saw a tame version tonight!” I shoot. I know he can’t be sitting here calling me to task about my behavior. Harsh though it may have been, it doesn’t come close to what Grey has put me through!

“Dead! Mommy! Issues! Ana? Seriously?” He’s yelling. Okay, that was bad I’ll admit, but couldn’t he see what I was going through? My hand shoots to my forehead again.

“You will go back in there and you will apologize to Mr. Grey and hope he doesn’t sue the center for your gross misconduct!” Oh, you have got to be kidding me. This has to be a bad joke!

“The hell I will!” I yell, glaring at him. If he thinks for one moment that I’m going to go and apologize to that man, he’s the one in need of a psychiatrist! “I meant every word I said to that pompous asshole, no matter how harsh, and I am not apologizing to him. If this was my practice, he would be out on his ass. Nobody treats me that way! I didn’t sign up to be abused by him!”

“But this is not your practice, Anastasia! This is a community center. We serve the community. And you are expected to behave like a professional…”

“I am a person, first!” My voice is so high-pitched; I can hear it cracking.

… And sometimes the professional has to override the person. If you were an employee here, Ana, I would consider firing you right now.” Now, I’m gaping at this man. I can see that I’m clearly not going to get him to see my point of view. In the years that I spent at CCFW, I had never encountered anything like this. And now, this man expects me to take this crap off Grey and smile, and I’m not even getting paid for it. I don’t know what the expression on my face is saying right now, but Ron clearly changes his demeanor and he’s going into business mode.

“You are a volunteer here, Dr. Steele,” he says flatly, “and everything you do inside these walls reflects directly on the center. You will go and apologize to Mr. Grey for your outburst or you may want to consider disassociating yourself with the center.”

As I stand there looking at Ron for I don’t know how long—seconds, minutes, who knows—I see all the men who came into the group sessions calling me Sweetheart, Honey, and Doll. I see Luc knocking the fucking wind out of me and attacking me from behind when I tried to get away on Saturday. And then I see all the Flashdance Thatchers and Malibu Barbies and Melba Sornsons that I couldn’t help. I feel like a failure at the one thing I thought I was good at—helping people help themselves by helping each other. It comes flooding in on me like a tidal wave. I feel my knees get weak for a second. I have to wrangle my feelings in for just a few more moments.

“You’re right,” I answer. Ron sits back in his seat and folds his hands on his desk. He thinks he has gotten through to me. He’s right; he has. I turn around and open the door. Before leaving, I say, “I’ll have my office cleared out in an hour.” I close the door behind me and quickly walk to the elevator. I only have time to glance at it momentarily before I slam through the door to the stairwell and take the stairs, two at a time, eight flights, in stilettos.

When I make it to my borrowed office, I haven’t even broken a sweat. I close the door and lock it, pulling down the shade to the window. Again, I’m taking deep breaths, trying to calm myself. Seven months. I have volunteered at this place for seven months. That’s five group sessions… twenty participants each session… one hundred people in total… and I may have helped one. One. Remind me again why I decided to do this?

Um, if I remember correctly, the theory was that you could get over your own fucked up shit by helping other people get over theirs. How’s that working out for you?
Bitch, you have no idea how unwelcome you are right now. I will send my imaginary friend in there to beat your motherfucking ass if you don’t leave me alone!

Silence.

I didn’t accumulate much in this space in seven months. All of my personal effects are downtown at my office. I could never allow myself to get comfortable here. Maybe I knew all along that I didn’t belong here. I don’t even need a box to remove the piddling amount of stuff in this room that I called “mine.” I only need to straighten up what was already here. I start to file all my stray papers into the large metal filing cabinet. I don’t feel anything while I’m doing this. It’s mechanical. Get everything in order for the next poor sucker who feels like they can fix the world through one big group hug. Oh shit. My portfolio is still in 239. Did anybody pick it up? I wonder if they’re reading it? Probably the Grey fucker, no doubt. I’ll just finish my filing here and go down and get it.

Apparently, I lied to Ron when I told him that I would be out in an hour. Filing all of that crap took three at least. I can’t help but wonder why I had so many notes on these people, but I never helped anybody except Stoley? It’s dark outside now, and I should really be leaving soon. I guess I should see if my portfolio is still downstairs before I go.

I cautiously lift my shade to see if anybody is still on this floor. There were several knocks at my door while I was filing, but there was no reason to answer them as there’s nothing to say. Seeing that the coast is clear, I walk down the hall and call the elevator. The second floor is just as desolate as the tenth. I walk over to 239. Still unlocked, thank God.

I turn on the lights and examine the room. Everything is just as I had left it—the bulletin board is still facing down on the floor and my portfolio is splayed open next to it, various papers from inside strewn on the floor. I replace the bulletin board and gather my papers into my portfolio. I don’t care if anything is missing—it really doesn’t matter. I go back over and turn out the lights. Looking back at the empty room, I feel a bit of melancholy.

I walk over to a chair and sit down in the quiet, dark, empty space. I look at each empty chair and think about the people who would normally sit there. I had failed them. I had failed them all. Or had they failed me? I don’t know. But I had some big dreams when I first stepped into this room. Working at CCFW really made you feel like you could repair the world and all of its ails… until you get out into the real world. Nobody told me that everybody out here is as fucked up as I am, if not more.

Hugging my portfolio to my chest, I feel my body shaking from sobbing. I don’t know why I’m crying. It’s really going to be a relief not having to deal with Christian Master of the Universe Grey anymore. How someone can make your pulse race and make you physically ill at the same time I’ll never know, but the days of worrying about it are over for me. I’m getting the hell out of here and going back to my practice—five days a week—while I decide if this is really what I want to do for the rest of my life. I wipe my eyes and walk to the door, leaving 239 behind forever this time.

Back in the office, I go through the papers in the portfolio. There’s Frank’s blank report for the court as well as the court order for Grey that I had completed the week before. I file all the notes on all the other participants, including Frank, and look carefully at Grey’s notes and reports. I have a folder prepared for him, ready for all of his documentation, but inspiration strikes and I have a better idea.

I empty my shredder into the garbage and take out Frank’s blank court report. I copy the report, white out all of Frank’s information on the copy and replace it with Grey’s information. Then I proceed to shred every piece of information I have related to him from these sessions—notes, contact information, even his completed court order. At first, I thought about placing the shreds into his file to let him know what I really thought of him, but I’m sure I would spend time wondering what the finder of the masterpiece would think of my gesture… and I had already spent too much time thinking about all things Grey. Instead, I simply put the blank court order in Grey’s file all by itself and leave it in the center of the desk. I pick up my purse, briefcase, and few meager belongings, turn out the lights and lock the door. After I drop off the key in Ron’s mailbox, I go home to find some alcoholic beverage with my name on it.


GREY

What the fuck did she just say? What the fuck did she say to me in front of all these fucking people? Face it, Grey, I think to myself, you threw her monsters at her and she threw yours right back. What did I expect? She spit all of my achievements at me like they were bad words… and the dead mommy comment? That little tart should lose her license for that shit. Dead mommy issues! Now I have to wait here to see if she’s going to return. If I leave, I don’t get credit for this session.

“Oh, Mr. Grey. Are you alright?” A voice comes oozing at me from the left. I turn to see one of the chair fighting ladies leaning close to me.

“I’m fine, thank you.” I say coolly, turning my attention to my blackberry.

“That was just horrible, Mr. Grey, what you had to go through at that woman’s hand. And she calls herself a therapist.” She is fluttering false eyelashes at me that are buried under heavy mascara.

“I assure you, I will survive, Miss…”

“Evelyn,” she coos, “Call me Evelyn.” I smile, but it doesn’t reach my eyes.

“Evelyn. There is no permanent damage. I shall recover. If you’ll excuse me,” I say as I stand to move to another part of the room. She grabs my forearm to keep me from leaving. She’s saying something else, but I can’t hear her. She’s touching me! What the hell? As I’m glaring at this hand on my forearm, waiting for it to be moved, I can hear Taylor speaking.

“Sir, we should probably leave now.” I’m still waiting for this hand to move from my forearm. You desperate cooch, can you not tell when somebody doesn’t want you? She stands there holding on to my arm for another full minute before Taylor finally had to tell her to let me go. I thought my silence would have been a dead giveaway, but apparently, it wasn’t. When she finally releases me, my trance is broken and I must have shot her a look from hell because she flinches and sinks back into her chair. I walk over to the door with Taylor.

“Why should we leave? I can’t leave or I won’t get credit for the session.” I ask Taylor.

“I don’t think Dr. Steele will be coming back this evening.”

“What makes you say that?” My interest is piqued.

“She had a heated conversation with Mr. Carlisle after she left the room, sir. I couldn’t hear it, but there was quite a bit of yelling. Shortly thereafter, she ran out of the stairwell door.”

“The stairwell? How long ago was this?”

“Not long, Sir. Just a few minutes.” I should go talk to this Carlisle character. I’m all for getting the hell out of here, but not if I don’t get credit for sitting through this bloodbath up until now. I brush past Taylor and knock on Mr. Carlisle’s open door.

“Mr. Grey!” Carlisle looks like a bundle of nerves. “Please allow me to apologize…”

“No apologies necessary,” I hold my hand up impatiently to stop his talking, “Will Dr. Steele be back tonight?”

“Well, um, no….” Still not interested in explanations, I ask, “Will someone be taking her place for the evening or is it okay to leave? I would like to get credit for this session. I’m sure you understand.”

“Oh, yes, yes sir, completely. No, the session is over for the night. Feel free to leave.”

“Thank you, Mr. Carlisle.” I turn towards the door with Taylor close behind.

When we get out to the SUV, I notice that her pearl blue 300 is still in the parking lot. If she’s still here, why the hell doesn’t she finish the damn session? I have a few more things I want to say to her if she’s going to facilitate my demise no matter what I do. Taylor starts the car. “One minute, Taylor.” I get out of the car and he jumps out behind me.

“Sir…?” he protests.

“I’ll only be a minute, Taylor.” I say as I dash back into the building and head for the elevator. Once on the tenth floor, I knock on Ms. Steele’s locked door. I know that she’s in there because her light is on and I can hear movement. I knock again. I fucking hate being ignored. I’m almost tempted to announce myself and demand that she answer the door, but I know that’ll get me nowhere. There’s nothing productive I can say to this woman. No matter what happens now, she can’t do anything until after the next session. So, I might as well just wait until then and see what my fate will be.

I turn from the door, feeling a little like a rejected lover though I don’t know where the hell that’s coming from. I push the button to the elevator and go back to Taylor waiting in the SUV. I suddenly feel this huge sense of loss—I’m not sure where it’s coming from. It must have been written all over my face because Taylor asks if I’m okay when I get back to the car. I watch the door for a moment, willing her to come out so I can just see her one more time. I’m afraid if I let her get away tonight that I’ll never see her again. I’m so fucking angry, though. I can’t believe she said the things that she said to me… and in front of everyone. Fuck, people who tell me about my temper should meet this firecracker! I put my hands in my hair and rest my elbows on my knees, not too sure what to do next.

“Sir?” Taylor breaks my concentration.

“Just give me a minute, Taylor.” I say without raising my head. It seems like every time I feel like I may be getting somewhat closer to her, I always do something to push her away. I don’t know what I can do to make this right. Little by little, I don’t really give a fuck about what she said in session. It’s not like she said anything that wasn’t true. From the day I met her, she had me pegged. She put me in my place from the very beginning. She never let me run over her or control her even when I tried my best to do just that. She’s exquisite—the most enchanting woman I have ever met in my life.

And I feel her slipping away from me.

Every time I’ve tried to apologize to her, whenever I may find the opportunity, I end up either putting my foot in my mouth or doing something monumentally stupid…

… Like kissing her.

I don’t know what’s going to happen after this. All I know is that she’s locked in her office—away from me, and I feel like if I don’t do something right now I’ll never see her again. But what the fuck do I do? I knock on her door and she won’t answer. I must be the very last person that she wants to see right now. I can’t just ring her up and say “Hi.” What the hell do I do?

I look over at her 300 still sitting in the parking lot. I could leave her a note… but who the fuck leaves notes anymore? A man who desperately doesn’t want to lose touch with the woman who seduces him in his sleep like a succubus, that’s who. I can’t bring myself to leave a note, so I opt for a business card. Yeah, that’s the ticket! Nothing says, “I really want to see you again” like a business card! She already knows where to find me, so hopefully she’ll see this as a gesture to reach out… or something. I put the card under her windshield wiper and turn to leave. But what’s to stop her from just throwing the card away? I go back and pull the card off the windshield. I pull out my Visconti fountain pen and scribble my message on the card and replace it under the wiper. Now I’m running back to the SUV, afraid that she’ll come out of the building and catch me at my moment of weakness.

Who are you kidding, Grey? She is your weakness.

“Fuck!” I say aloud. I won’t say it. I won’t fucking say it. “Let’s go, Taylor.”

Taylor starts the car and pulls into traffic, and I can only hope… beyond hope… that she’ll accept my gesture and reach out to me. I feel an alien, crushing tightness comes over me, and I can only look out of the window watching the cityscape and hope that it passes.


STEELE

I turn into the parking structure at my condo. I pull into my space, turn off the car, and sit there for a moment.

I did it.
I really did it.

I walked away from something that I wanted to do with all my heart. I wanted to help people the same way that I was helped… by talking to other people who had hurdles to jump and fears to overcome. I wanted to facilitate the same growth and healing that helped me piece my life together when I was afraid to reach out to anyone… afraid to share my story on any level for fear that I would give it new life if I spoke about it. I walked away from the biggest thing I have wanted to do with my education since the day that I walked across the stage and accepted my degree.

And I feel free.
I’ve never felt freer in my entire life.
No more Flashdance Thatchers or Melba Sornsons…
… Or Christian Greys.

Christian Grey. I’ve let him off the hook. I didn’t file that court order that I planned to file that could have put him in jail.

So, now he doesn’t have to ruin my career… or look into my past… or ever see me again.

We don’t even work out at the same gym anymore.

Why does it feel like somebody just hit me in the chest with a sledge-hammer?

I hold my head down and try to shake off the feeling of doom. As I raise my head, I catch the corner of a piece of paper or card on my windshield. How did I not see that before? I grab my purse and briefcase and my few belongings and get out of the car. I see that the object is actually a business card. The front of the card is a picture taken from the ground up of a beautiful building downtown with a gorgeous blue Seattle sky with big fluffy clouds behind it. They must have waited for weeks to get that picture because we hardly ever see days like that in Seattle. That’s when I realize I recognize the building. I’ve only been there once, but I would know the building anywhere. It’s Grey House!

Holy. Cow. Batman.

Christian Grey left his business card on my windshield. What the hell? I don’t know how to respond to this. Is he trying to remind me that he has some kind of control over me? Okay, so you know my car. Have you been watching me? What the hell does this mean? I turn the card over and I’m nearly floored by the very few words I find in beautiful handwritten script on the back of the card.

I’m sorry. CG

I am speechless. Is he just groveling because he doesn’t know what’s going to happen next?

Or could it be that he wants to see you again?

Could that be it? I feel a catch in my chest and a feeling of relief works its way through my legs. I’ve got to give this a little thought. Every single meeting we’ve had so far has been fraught with angst. What could he possibly really want with me? He’s rich and beautiful and arrogant as hell. Five minutes in each other’s company and we’d surely rip one another to shreds. Who the hell am I fooling?

“Okay, so you’re sorry. Thanks.” I let the business card fall to the ground and walk to the elevator.

I’ve brushed my teeth and my hair and put on my comfy pajama pants with a camisole. I need to rethink the direction of my life a bit. It’s about 9:30pm, so I give my best friend a call.

Hey Jewel, what’s up, baby?”

“You sound a whole lot better than the last time I talked to you. How are you doing?” I ask.

Wonderful. Everything’s wonderful.” I can hear him smiling through the phone. “James wants us to move in together.” I gasp.

“Really? That’s great! I’m so happy for you, Al. See? I told you everything was going to be okay.” I really am happy for my friend. He’s had many flings and a few semi-long-term relationships since we’ve been friends, but I’ve never seen him over the moon for anyone until now.

I’m really excited about it. We’re just trying to decide if we are going to live at his place or my place or just buy a new place and start over.” He sounds like a little schoolgirl.

“Well, it’s a buyer’s market if you want to buy a new place. Then of course that leaves the burden of getting rid of your old places.”

Yeah, we’ve been pondering that, too. For right now, we’ve been staying in both places, whichever is convenient for the night… I love him, Jewel.”

“I know, Al.” I smile.

I’m scared.”

“Of what?”

Of getting hurt. Of having my heart broken. Of him not loving me the way that I love him. You name it.”

“That man loves you, Al. You better sit and enjoy it, because it doesn’t come along often.” I say these words with a bit of melancholy. “Anyone could look at you guys on Saturday and seethat he loves you. Hell, he risked getting his Benz towed to get to you in that restaurant!” Al laughs loudly on the line.

Yeah, I forgot about that. Oh! That reminds me. James swears he saw Grey at the New Orleans that night.”

I swallow hard. He what? Did he just say that Grey was at the restaurant?

“Christian Grey? He must have been mistaken.” I say, aghast.

Well, I didn’t see him and you didn’t see him, but I’ll tell you this. I Googled him to see if we were talking about the same guy because I’ve never seen him before. James said that’s who it was—and he was sitting close to the door.” I’m scanning the room in my memory and I’m coming up completely blank. “There’s more, Jewel.”

“What?” What more could there be?

Remember the ‘hottie’ from the club last week that you never got to see?”

“Yes…?” I answer expecting.

It was Grey. He was the guy dancing with you on the stage.”

“No fucking way! Are you absolutely certain?” This can’t be right.

I’m 100% certain… about six feet tall, reddish brownish hair, gray eyes, body like a god, buns of steel…”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s him.” I have to stop his description as I feel some significant heat in my lower regions. Just the thought of this man makes me hot.

Jewel, this guy didn’t look like someone who wants to ruin your career.”

“You haven’t met him, Al.”

I don’t need to meet him! The way he was looking at you on the dance floor? Like he wanted to sop you up with grits and a biscuit? Hell, I thought the sprinklers would come on any second!” Is this real? The McElroy, the gym, and now the New Orleans? Is the universe trying to tell me something here?

“Al, I’m not doing group sessions anymore.”

Whoa! Talk about change of gear! How did we get from hot club dancing to group sessions?”

“That’s where I normally saw Grey… and it was usually a nightmare. It’s no coincidence that he saw me at these places. He’s probably following me. Did I tell you he did a background check on me?”

He did WHAT?” Al asks horrified. “Why?”

“I don’t know. I went to his office to find out and we had a horrible argument, then we…” I trail off.

What Jewel? What happened?” Al is feverish for me to finish the sentence.

“We… kissed.” I say just above a whisper.

Hold on… I didn’t hear that. What did you say?”

“We kissed!” Al gasps.

You kissed that hot hunk of deliciousness? And you didn’t tell me? I feel so forlorn!” He exclaims. “When did this happen?”

“Last Friday.” I put my hand on my forehead. “One minute we’re gnarling at each other and the next minute, he’s got his tongue down my throat.”

Well, spill, how was he, Jewel?” Al nearly squeals.

“Masterful,” I breathe. “I thought my thighs were going to explode!” Al laughs heartily at me.

So, what happened next?”

“I ran away.” I can almost hear him drop his head.

Please tell me I didn’t hear you just say that you ran away… from this gorgeous, chiseled chunk of loveliness… after he kissed you!”

“I panicked, Al! I mean seriously, we were screaming and snarling at each other. It was absolutely brutal! And the next thing I know, this man has got me in a vice grip and my body is on fire! I fucking panicked!” I defend.

Well, I can see why.” Al says almost sarcastically. “I would have panicked, too, but I would have stood my ass right there until it passed!”

I sigh heavily. “It gets worse, Al.” I hear him scoff.

Oh, you have got to tell me how it gets worse than you were kissed by Zeus and you ran away.”

“I decimated him in group session today… in front of the entire group… and then I quit.” Al was very quiet on the other end for quite some time. I thought we were disconnected. “Al? Are you still there?”

I’m trying to process this, Jewel. I don’t know what’s more shocking out of what I just heard—that you humiliated Billionaire Boy in front of a group of people, or that you quit something that I know you love.” He says concerned. He didn’t hear me the first time I said I wasn’t doing group sessions anymore?

“I haven’t quit my practice… only the group sessions. They were so draining and they felt like a waste of time. No one was being helped by them, not even me. And after tonight’s debacle, I knew it was time for me to walk away from it. I’m surprised the whole thing didn’t go nuclear before now.”

Well… how did that turn out for you?”

“I’m relieved. I didn’t want to admit it at first, but I’m relieved. I can concentrate on my practice now and on helping the people that really want to be helped.”

What about Grey? Do you think he still wants to ruin your career? You didn’t make it to six sessions with him so you can’t turn in that court report… which means you can’t ruin his life now.”

“I know, right? I’m not sure what he wants since he… OH MY GOD!” I dash from my living room to the elevator and frantically push the button. “Come on, come on, come on…” I will the damn thing to move faster. “Come on, dammit!” The “ding” signals that my salvation has arrived. I scurry inside and push the “P” button for the parking structure. A few seconds later, I’m scrambling into the parking structure in my pajamas and bare feet searching frantically on the ground around my car. “Where is it? Where the hell is it?” Tucked partially under the driver’s side tire is the small picture of Grey House. I fall to my knees and grab the card like I had just found the winning lottery ticket to the 10-million-dollar Big Game. I let out a huge sigh as I turn the card over and examine Christian Grey’s exquisite handwriting. That’s when I realize that my blackberry is still in my other hand.

“Al?!”

You know I was on my way over there, right?” he says, matter-of-factly, “which would not have made my boyfriend happy right now, I might add.”

“No no no, no need, Al.” As I return to my apartment, I explain to him the events that occurred that evening up to and including my mad dash to the parking lot in my PJ’s. Another laugh for my best friend at my expense.

So, what now, Jewel? You know he wants you… or he wants something. How do you proceed?”

“I don’t know. Our interaction is pretty volatile…” I trail off.

Hey, that makes for hot sex!” Al adds.

“Al!” I scold.

Well, it does! Shit, didn’t you say your hips almost exploded with that kiss?”

“I said my thighs, but hell, my hips too.”

Well, there’s one good thing about letting go of the group sessions. Technically, he’s not a ‘patient’ anymore.” This is true—I hadn’t thought of that. “What are you going to do?”

“I have no fucking idea. Right now, I’m going to bed. I have a lot of thinking and rearranging to do already, but when I decide what I will do, you’ll be the first to know.”

That’s all I ask. Love you, Jewel.”

“Love you more.” I end the call, lock the door, turn out the lights and head to my bedroom. As I remove the duvet from the bed, my blackberry rings again. Damn, Al, what did you forget to tell me?

“Didn’t I tell you I was going to sleep?” No voice on the other end. “Hello? Hello?”

Rosie?”

Fuck!

Edward.


A/N: “Houston, we have a problem.” Tom Hanks, Apollo 13

Pictures of places, cars, fashion, etc., can be found at http://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/paging-dr-steele/

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Love and Handcuffs!
Lynn x

Paging Dr. Steele: Chapter 12: Release the Tiger

I do not own Fifty Shades Trilogy, or  the characters. They belong to E. LJames. I am only exercising my right to exploit, abuse, and mangle the characters to MY discretion in MY story in MY interpretation as a fan. I hope you—as a fellow fan—enjoy it, too.

Chapter 12—Release the Tiger

STEELE

I have to admit that I am glad I am seeing Luc today. Luc Klevna trained me in Krav Maga shortly after I moved to Seattle. It helped me to feel safe and gain some control over my fears. I still need to regain the control that I feel I have lost since Grey started digging into the painful recesses of my mind. In addition to that, he has lit a fire under the nymphomaniac that laid dormant for damn near four years and now I must exert some serious energy to keep her under control.

I’m feeling a grand myriad of emotions after the events of this week. First, there’s the need to live again—to break free from my Alabaster Box and explore life and love. Next, there’s the scared teenager that needs to be assured that the Boogie Man isn’t waiting under her bed to jump out gobble her up—that some nosey bastard just went poking around in dusty boxes that he should have left dusty, and there’s really no reason to be concerned for my safety. Finally, there’s this scalding, scorching desire that has been ignited by that same nosey bastard—that desire that has me literally oozing sex and wanton lust from every pore; the desire that has caused me to choose to wear a nearly nothing exercise outfit with only a small athletic back brace to cover my tramp stamp to a gym full of sweaty men on a Saturday morning.

The Sleeper has awakened!

Luc is none too happy with the “awakening,” so to speak.

“Fuck a duck! I haven’t seen you for a year and you come into my gym dressed like that!? I’m really going to fuck you up, Steele.”

“Well, hello to you, too, Luc. Great to see you, how have you been?” I snap.

“Don’t give me that shit, Steele! You were one of my best students, then you just decide to quit. Now you show up looking like you’re ready to work the pole!” What the fuck! Okay, granted, this red and black sports bra and matching exercise shorts may be a little skimpy, but hell—was the pole comment really necessary? I mean I’m not wearing sparkly body make-up and acrylic heels, for fuck’s sake. “And I just bet your technique sucks and your muscles are shit!” Oh, now he’s just being mean.

“Lighten up, Luc. I’ve kept my muscles toned with yoga.” Would have done better to slap him in the face.

“Yoga?” he says, condescendingly. “You’re kidding, right? You’re fucking kidding me? This is a fucking joke. You’re seriously going to stand there and try to impress me with yoga? Seriously?”

“No, I’m not!” He’s really getting under my skin here. What the hell is his problem? “Damn, what the hell is wrong with you, today? Whoever pissed in your Cheerios, it wasn’t me!”

“You might as well have to be coming in here talking about yoga!” Is he pissed or just trying to egg me on? “A whole damn year, Ana?”

“Okay. I’m here now. Can we please just get on with it?” I can’t believe I’m paying this fucker to abuse me. He folds his arms across his chest.

“Hit the punching bag and hit it hard—I want you well warmed up. I’ll see you in the exhibition room in twenty minutes.”

“The exhibition room?” I ask in horror. What the hell, man?

“You’ve got all your goods on display, so why not let them see it? And be ready, Steele, because I’m going to kick your ass!”

“Luc, have I ever told you that you’re a real bastard?” I say matter-of-factly.

“Save it for the mat, Steele.”

*-*

“Oh, Ana, we’re waiting for you.” Mo-ther-fucker! He is really going to rub this shit in deep. Hearing a name over the loud-speaker in this infamous establishment serves as the announcement that somebody is about to be offered up for sacrifice in the exhibition room. Let me just describe this Room of Shame. Imagine yourself in a 30×30 box with four walls and a ceiling of two-way mirrors and a completely padded floor. The entire gym and even spectators walking by outside can see in, but you can’t see out. You just get to see yourself getting your ass kicked from every angle. People have left this room with fractures, stitches, black eyes, busted lips, and even unconscious. I have only been in this room once. I left on a stretcher.

That won’t be happening today.

I leave the punching bag and march my ass on over to the exhibition room. A few gentlemen have started to gather upon hearing the announcement, but most of the time, they wait until the drills are over so they can sit back and watch the ass whipping. Upon seeing my skimpy workout gear, I have a larger crowd than expected. Fucking vultures.

You asked for it.
You’re right. I wanted the attention. Let’s get this shit over with.

We run through about 20 more minutes of drills and then Luc instructs me (more like orders me) to put on my helmet and gloves and assume the position. I don’t even get a choice in the matter here. I have to strike, which means he’s on the defensive. He wants to make an example out of me and I’m about to get my ass kicked by a 6th Dan black belt in Krav Maga while a gaggle of hunky, beautiful, sweaty men watch. Oh, glee!

I know better than to come at him with everything because I would surely just end up hard on my ass, but I do at least try some basic take-down moves. He and I both know that this is grossly unfair and I really don’t know what Luc is trying to prove. It’s not like I competed professionally or anything like that. I was just learning self-defense so that I didn’t ever get attacked from behind again. True, I was pretty enthusiastic about it, but it still wasn’t my life’s blood. So why did he take it so fucking personally when I left? And if he didn’t want to train me now, all he had to do was turn me down. He didn’t even give me a chance to re-acclimate—he just took me straight to the exhibition room.

And nobody turns down the exhibition room.

I don’t know how much time had passed or how many times I had been hit, knocked down, had the wind blasted out of me, you name it. I go to the corner for a moment to catch my breath. My hands are on my knees and I am taking in huge gulps of air. “Had enough, Steele?” he calls from across the room. Asshole bastard. “Tired yet? How’s that yoga working out for you?” He’s taunting me, and I know that every open spot at every window is occupied by now, even though I can’t see it. I feel like I’m being humiliated in front of the whole of Seattle on a Saturday morning. I’m hurting, I’m mortified, and what’s more, I need to be fucked!

I stand up, pop my neck, roll my shoulders and face Luc. Fine, Klevna, you want to beat my ass, then beat my ass, but you are about to know that you’ve been in a fight.

Oh, you‘re coming back for more?” He teases. I slowly walk over to him and catch him in a basic shoulder hold. As expected, he breaks the hold from above bringing me down into a 45-degree bend. When I come up out of the bend, he catches a right fist to the gut and a left palm to the chin. To add insult to injury, I do a 360 which ends with my right elbow in his neck. I don’t know if I surprise him or knock the fucking wind out of him, but he stumbles backward and catches himself just as he’s about to hit the glass. I’m standing there in home stance waiting for his next move.

“Have we released the tiger?” He teases, coming back over to me.

“You tell me,” I say, impassively.

He comes at me low and attacks my center of gravity. A swift, hard hit to my inner thigh and I am on my knees. Fuck, that hurt! I raise up with a fist to his groin. He knew it was coming and bends to avoid the hit, allowing me to clamp onto his neck, scramble to my feet and twist and flip him under my arms so that he’s on his back now. I have my forearm in his throat, holding him down. I feel water fall from my face and watch it fall onto his. He uses his leg strength to twist from under me and now the tables have turned again. I am flat on my back having been slammed—HARD—by a man at least twice my size. Shit! Shit! Shit! He is now straddling me, one hand on my forehead, the other on my chest. “What’s wrong, Ana?” He’s breathing heavily now. “Was that a tear I felt?” he taunts.

“No! SWEAT!” I bring my hands together on either side of his head and face—flat—as hard as I can, temporarily disorienting him and giving me enough time to scoot from underneath him. As soon as I stand, he chokes me with both hands from behind. I reach back with both hands, grab his thumbs and pull down. Using the momentum from the pull, I step back and my hand continues down into the groin strike I missed earlier. Now, while he’s bent in half, reeling from the pain that is no doubt resonating in his balls and the ringing that he probably still feels in his ears, I bring my elbow up to meet his face, then spin in a 180 and finish it with a double hit—elbow to the chin and palm strike to the face, and now he’s down for sure.

I feel like it’s over once I see blood. So, I start to walk past him to the door. But, no, Mr. Klevna still seems to think he has a lesson to teach me. He grabs my foot as I pass and if my reflexes had been any slower, I would have face planted on the mat.

Fucking asshole shit head testosterone driven piece of shit! I’m mad now.

As fast as I go down, I catch myself on my palms and use my free leg to donkey-kick the fuck out of that bastard. Three times it takes to get him to let go of my damn leg. Attack me while my back is turned, huh? Okay…

He’s face down on the mat and I scramble on top of him. I sit on his back, put my right knee at the base of his neck and put all my weight into it, my left leg bent with my left foot flat on the mat. I clasp my fingers around his face and pull back. He’s struggling to get me off of him, but I keep pulling. I only planned on doing this for a moment because I know he’s in a lot of pain, but something in me snaps. If I let him up, he’s going to hurt me. He wants to make an example of me and I don’t know why. I won’t let him hurt me again. I’ll keep him like this until he passes out if I have to, but I won’t let him hurt me again.

“Ana!”

I cannot release him. If I release him, he’s going to attack me again. I won’t let him attack me again.

“Ana, matté, matté Ana!”

I can hear him calling for surrender; I can see him tapping the mat, but my hands can’t let go. He must stop moving. When he stops moving, I’ll let him go. That way, I know he won’t attack me again.

Apparently, the other guys in the gym have other plans. I can hear them coming from behind me, telling me to release him, trying to lift me off his back.

“Let him go, lady, you’ll break his neck.”
“He’s going to pass out, lady. Let him go!”
“Release, lady! Release!”

I finally come back to myself to see three guys trying to coax me off Luc’s back. He’s breathing heavily and he has stopped fighting me now that someone has come to his rescue. I unclasp my fingers and release him. His face falls to the mat with a “thud.” I scramble off of him and back away while the other guys make sure he is still conscious. He shakes off the pain a bit before turning to his side to look over his shoulder at me. He’s glaring at me with a mixture of emotions in his eyes, the most prevalent being confusion. I could have killed him… but he took me there. He should have just let me walk away. I can barely make out what people are saying to me, and I’m seeing red.

Let’s try this again.

I start to remove my helmet and walk to the other end of the room. I burst through the doors, launching my helmet somewhere to the right of me, cursing that asshole out in two different languages. I can see grown men in my peripheral jumping just a bit at the amazing flying helmet, but being very careful not to approach me or piss me off. I served my purpose. I exerted some energy. I regained some control. I gave the fuckers a show, and I beat up the schoolyard bully. Now it’s time to get the hell out of here!


GREY

I’ve landed Bastille on his ass twice to his three times and I need redemption. Just as I’m about to execute a move, we’re both brought to silence by the announcement that someone is about to be put through the paces.

“Oh, Ana, we’re waiting for you.”

Ana? Fuck, even at the gym, I can’t escape that name. Now some poor wench is about to be publicly chastised in the exhibition room. I wonder what she did to piss Luc off?

“You want to go watch?” Claude offers.

“Yeah, but after this round. Let’s see if I can get my point back.” I assume the position again.

Claude and I finish our round in time to look up and see a cluster of people gathered around the exhibition room. A bunch of horny men gathering to see some piece of ass waving around in gym shorts, I think to myself. Hell, I’m doing the same thing. My attention is drawn to the fact that these men keep wincing and jumping, making comments about how much these hits must’ve hurt. I’m not really sure that I want to watch Luc beating up on some woman, but I’m drawn to the scene like a train wreck.

When I find a place near the window, I see this tiny frame bent over in the corner fighting for air. She looks fucking hot in those tiny ass shorts, showing just enough ass cheek to keep you interested. Her face is blocked by the helmet that she’s wearing, but when she turns around, you know the show is about to begin.

An unbelievable melee follows between the two of them. This woman is taking hits that would have immobilized most men. Shit, she’s strong as fuck. Luc says something about releasing a tiger, and every hit that connects with him after that is accompanied by what I can only characterize as a fucking battle cry. She’s taking hit after hit and coming back on him like a machine. Groin cuts, flying elbows, chest hits, palm strikes, everything! I’ve never seen a woman fight like this. It looks like the fight is over and I take a moment to admire her tight abs being showcased by her skimpy little bra and shorts. She starts to pass Luc and the fucker grabs her leg and pulls her back.

I’ll never forget the next series of events as long as I live.

She lands effortlessly on her hands and, while using them to support her weight, repeatedly kicks the shit out of Luc with her free leg. When he’s duly subdued, she scrambles on top of him with the speed and precision of a panther, locking him into some kind of submission hold that you only see in the WWE. He is fighting to get free from her, but to no avail.

“Ana!” He calls her name again. Now I’m focusing again. I can’t see under that helmet. Small brunette with a delectable body. It looks like her… but it can’t be her!

“Ana!” Is that Ana? Is that the exquisite, beautiful Dr. Anastasia Steele in there beating the hell out of one of Seattle’s most decorated martial arts trainers?

“Ana, matté, matté Ana!” He’s begging her for mercy, and she is transfixed. She’s not going to let him go. Good for her. That’ll teach him to brutalize my Ana and attack her from behind.

My Ana? What the fuck?

Everything from here seems to move in slow motion. I want that to be Ana—just so that I can look at her, gaze on her for a while. I’ll pretend that it is her… just for a moment. Pretend that look of determination on her face is actually a look of ecstasy right before she comes; that she’s sweating from an afternoon of fucking and sucking and not from beating the shit out of a puffed-up asshole. Somebody should probably go and help this guy… but it won’t be me. I guess some guys from the other end get the same idea and go in to coax “Ana” off the asshole’s back. She finally lets him go and that’s when I see them—the big, beautiful blue eyes, regarding her instructor with disdain and resentment before she starts traveling to the exit on my end of the exhibition room.

As she slams noisily out of the room, she removes her helmet and it goes flying randomly in some direction, and I can see her.

My Ana. My beautiful Ana.

She’s storming back to the lockers and showers and I can’t help feeling anything but immense pride when I think of her bringing Luc to submission. Not only that, but I could swear I just heard her call him an asshole in French—that’s hot! I watch as Luc sits against the wall for a moment and gets his bearings a bit before he rises and storms toward the doors himself. Oh no, Buddy. You won’t get the same chance again. Whatever the hell is going on in that pea brain of yours, you’re going to have to take it up with me. I step inside the exhibition room just as he is about to step out and cut him off at the doors.

“Now might be a good time to turn around and go the other way, Luc.”

“What are you talking about, Grey?” He’s clearly angry and impatient, chomping at the bit to confront Ana, no doubt.

“I think you’ve put that little lady through enough. I think she’s put you through quite a bit, too.”

“Don’t tell me how to train my students!” he snaps. Seriously?

“Oh, she’s a student? Because from where I was standing, it looks like you were being taught.”

“Fuck off, Grey!” He’s getting pissed. Seems like he’s the one that needs a bit of group therapy, not me. He goes to walk pass me and I stick my arm out to stop him.

“Leave. Her. Alone.” He tilts his head at me and looks at my arm blocking his way.

“You don’t want none of this, Grey,” he says through clenched teeth. I smirk at him.

“Those are pretty big words for a man who just got his ass beat by a girl.” He gasps a bit. He’ s seething and it just occurred to me that he may take his anger out on Ana. I get right in his face and grab his arm because I want him to know that I’m serious. “If you fuck with her like that again, you’re going to have to deal with me… and you don’t want none of this!” I growl. He stands there looking at me through narrowed eyes for a moment. We both know that neither of us will back down, but he’s not going to challenge me either… not after the whole “ass kicked by a girl” statement. He snatches his arm from my grasp and walks out of the exhibition room. I follow shortly behind him and go back to the ring with Claude.

“We don’t get many women in here,” Claude begins as I step back into the ring.

“And now I see why. What’s up with that guy?” I ask as I do a few stretches.

“I don’t know. I know the girl used to be a student of his a while back, but she stopped coming. I didn’t think It was that big a deal… they come and they go, you know.”

“Well, it must be a big thing for him because he was obviously pissed at her.” I know all about punishments, exerting control, and teaching a woman a lesson… and that’s what he was doing in that room. “What is he… MMA? Ultimate fighter?”

“Krav Maga… 6th dan,” Claude says. I’m taken aback a bit.

“Sixth dan? Are you fucking kidding me? Manhandling that woman like that?” My eyes are huge.

“Hey, what can I say? She knows what she signed up for.” Claude shrugs. I shake my head in disgust. She didn’t sign up for that.

Since when are you the defender of women, Grey? You have a secret red room where you beat little brown haired girls that look like the crack whore. Yeah, but they do sign up for that. Just over my shoulder I hear the Tiger preparing to attack… or defend, I should say.

“Get your fucking hands off me!” she shrieks.


STEELE

I really should be in the sauna or the hot tub right now getting some relief for these muscles, but all I want to do is get out of here. I’ll even forgo the damn shower. I put my yoga pants and tank top on right over my sweaty workout clothes. I’ll take a bath when I get home… to MY apartment… in MY bathtub… with MY bubbles!

Fucking Asshole.
Yeah!

I have to pause for a moment because I feel the adrenaline tears coming and I can’t stop them. Hell if I’m going to let him or any of the other barbarians see me like this. I sit on the bench and let them flow. I know they’re a physical response and not an emotional one, but it still makes me feel weak sometimes. It means that I can’t get truly mad and give someone the cursing out they may so richly deserve without turning into a blubbering idiot shortly thereafter. I don’t let them go on and on and on—first, because I’ll have a headache when it’s done and second, because I will not be one of those weepy girls who’s fucking crying all the damn time. When I feel like they’ve run their course enough, I wash my face and stand there a moment to get my bearings. I’ve calmed down a bit, but just a bit. I wouldn’t recommend anybody crossing me right now.

I walk out of the locker room and just as I’m about to leave, I see him. Grey? Here? Well, hell, why not? It’s a gym. He’s standing in the ring talking to another one of the trainers. He’s wearing gym shorts and a tank top and he looks absolutely delicious. The muscle tone in his legs and arms is completely insane! I find myself staring a bit too long when a grim realization hits me.

Was he here the whole time? Did he see that awful display in the exhibition room?
If he’s here now, most likely he did…
… And my humiliation is now complete. Thanks, Luc. I definitely have to get out of here now. I turn to leave and run face first into a wall of Luc.

“What the fuck was that, Ana?” I just shake my head and go to walk around him. When he grabs my arm to stop me, I turn around and push him with all the force I can muster.

“Get your fucking hands off me!” He almost lands on one of the weight benches, but catches himself just shy of it.

“You could have killed me in there! What the hell were you thinking?” he snaps.

“I was thinking that I needed this fucking bully to stay down so I can get the hell away from him! What the hell were you trying to prove in there? Who pissed you off so bad that you had to take it out on me? So what I haven’t been here in a year? What you did in there was completely uncalled for!” I realize that I’m screaming and drawing attention to myself, so I turn to leave again.

“I was pushing your limits, Ana,” he protests, his voice calming a bit. I turn around gaping at him.

“Pushing my limits? Bullshit! You were making a fucking spectacle of me, and I have no idea why. But, you know what? I don’t need to know.” I’m trying to leave again.

“You need to soak your muscles,” he says almost quietly. Now he’s concerned?

“I’ll soak them when I get home,” I snap.

“They’ll lock up by then,” he persists.

“I’ll take my chances!” I yell, still walking towards the door.

“I’ll see you next week,” he says, finally.

“No! You won’t!” I walk out and slam the door behind me… and you better hope I pay you for this session!


GREY

“You’ll never believe who was at the gym today,” I say to Taylor as I get into the SUV.

“Try me, sir.”

“You already know, don’t you?”

“Yes, sir.”

“It would have been nice if someone told me. What am I paying you guys for?” I ask, puzzled.

“Besides the fact that I saw her storm out twenty minutes before you came out, I didn’t get the intel until you were already in with Bastille. There was no security threat, so I didn’t think it was necessary to inform you immediately.” That’s bullshit and he knows it.

“Yeah, yeah… you’re fired… again!”

Yes, sir. Where to, sir?”

I’m back at Escala trying to decide what I want to do with my Saturday night. I normally spend these evenings working—or working over a sub—which reminds me. I still have Greta Ellison on hold. I don’t know what it is, but something about this whole situation just doesn’t sit well with me. In my experience, when something looks too good to be true, it usually is. I need one more check before I make my decision about Ms. Ellison. I call Welch.

“Yes, sir?”

Perform one more thorough check on Greta Ellison’s financials. I need you to pay attention to recurring debits and large transfers. See if she has any offshore accounts or assets. Let me know if you find anything, even if you think it’s nothing significant.”

“Am I looking for something specific, sir?”

“Anything that may lead me to her last few employers or contracts, what she’s been doing in the immediate past.”

Yes, sir.” I end the call. I can hardly believe it, but I don’t feel like working, and I hate the night club scene… except for last week, when I watched Ana dancing center stage in my latest partnership. I wonder what she’s doing tonight?

“Sir?” As if in answer to my question, Taylor shows up with the latest report on Ms. Steele’s whereabouts. She went home right after the gym, followed by shopping a few hours later. The long-distance surveillance pictures show bags from Victoria’s Secret. I wonder what little goodies you picked up from Vickie’s, Ms. Steele. I still haven’t figured out a way to smooth things over with her. I hope she didn’t interpret that kiss as my trying to influence her decision. Granted, I may have been trying to influence her… subconsciously, or… consciously… I don’t know, but I certainly wasn’t trying to affect her decision about the court order with that kiss. It could actually be a perfect icebreaker—if I had a good explanation for the kiss. Yes, Ms. Steele, I sincerely apologize for my behavior in the office yesterday. It was inappropriate and I won’t let it happen again… will I? Why did I kiss you…?

Because I had to touch you.
Because I dream about you almost every night.
Because in spite of everything I know to be true, I can’t stop thinking about you.
Because even though I know we could never be, I still want you.
And by the way, you looked hot as fuck in those gym shorts today.

And again… a bit too far, Grey.

I grab my jacket and the keys to the RS7. “Taylor!” He emerges from his study. “I’m going for a drive. I shouldn’t be too long.”

“Would you like me to come, sir?”

“No, it’s not necessary. I just need some air.”

I’m headed in no particular direction. I just have to find a way to get this woman off my mind. She haunts me day and night.

I go to a random nightclub, she’s there.
I go to the gym to work out, she’s there.
I’m at work celebrating this week’s fourth acquisition, she shows up.

The way that she decimated Luc in the exhibition room; the raw, carnal, savage expression on her face—I bet she’s a wildcat in bed. I can only think of purely sinful, sensual thoughts when I think of her. Not being able to have her is driving me out of my mind. For the first time in forever, I want a woman and I have no idea how to approach her… if I can approach her. The sun is setting on the Sound and all I can think is Ana… Ana… Ana…

Somehow, I find myself parked outside of her condo. I can’t go in… certainly not! She would definitely want to know how I know where she lives. You’ve got her background check, Grey. She knows that. Although this is true, my showing up would exacerbate that particular situation. I could tell her that I was just checking on her after the incident at the gym. Did she even know I was there? I was standing in the ring when she had that blowup with Luc. She couldn’t miss me. She was distracted, though, so she may not have seen me at all. I run my hands through my hair. Is this how normal people fret over a date?

I must’ve sat there for 30 or 40 more minutes when I see Ms. Steele come out the front door. Strange, no doubt her car is in the garage. She looks stunning standing there with a slight summer breeze blowing through her hair. Why is she coming out the front door? I soon get my answer when a black Jaguar pulls up and she gets inside. What’s this? A date? I feel a strange twinge in my chest as I follow Ms. Steele and the mystery driver to their destination.

A little while later, I find myself at the New Orleans Creole Restaurant in Pioneer Square. It’s a quaint little place in the historic district. I never would have known it was here. It’s very cozy and small inside, so I have to almost sit against a wall to avoid being seen while I observe Ana and her companion having dinner.


STEELE

I draw a steaming hot bath the moment I get back to the apartment. I think I made it in time to avoid any real damage and locking of my muscles, but I’ll take some ibuprofen just in case. If I take it now, it will have made its way through my system by the time Al and I go to dinner later.

I’m back in the bathtub… thinking about Grey. Not a good combination. If I flick my clit one more time in the next 24 hours, it’s going to fall off! But the thought of him standing there in those gym shorts, hanging off his hips just so… and it’s amazing how my choice of song always seems to fit the mood perfectly. This afternoon, I’m soaking to the soulful sounds of the extended jazz version of Smooth Operator by Sade.

Diamond life, lover boy.
We move in space with minimum waste and maximum joy.
City lights and business nights.
When you require streetcar desire for higher heights.

I’m not completely sure, but I always thought this song was talking about a gigolo. Christian Grey—gigolo. I can see it. He has that jet set playboy philanderer look about him, but he’s never seen in public with a woman. I looked… no girls…

Oh, fuck! Is he gay?
Yeah, right. What do you think? You kissed him yesterday.
Oh yeah, there is that…

No place for beginners or sensitive hearts
When sentiment is left to chance.
No place to be ending but somewhere to start.
No need to ask.
He’s a smooth operator.

Smooth operator indeed. That man had me wet in the panties before I made it back home and coming on myself at the front door… and several times since then.

Coast to coast, LA to Chicago, western male.
Across the north and south, to Key Largo, love for sale.
F
ace to face, each classic case.
We shadow box and double cross,
Y
et need the chaseA license to love, insurance to hold.
Melts all your memories, change into gold.
His eyes are like angels, his heart is cold.

Cold heart—Grey to a “T.” But what do I know of his heart? I only know of his ego—that he’s very self-important and it’s infuriating.

I’m too angry to masturbate. Crazy ass Luc trying to kill me and I can’t fucking sleep without thinking about Grey and those damn lipsand those handsand that scentand those eyes…

I let the jazz beat play while the hot water lulls the tension from my muscles. It’s definitely time for a trip to Victoria’s Secret. I need some new pieces because I certainly plan on getting fucked… soon!

*-*

“So, where are we going, Al?” I ask when I get into his Jag.

“We’re going to New Orleans, chile,” he says in that over-exaggerated phony Southern drawl he loves to use.

“New Orleans? Aren’t we about 3000 miles out of the way?”

“So coy, Ms. Steele. No, I found a lovely little spot on First called the New Orleans. Fabulous food and live jazz and blues bands. I thought you might enjoy it after the day you’ve had.” He looks over at me.

“You thought right. Lead the way, my friend.”

When we get to the restaurant, I am glad that I chose the ensemble that I did. I’m wearing a simple Motel blue chiffon sleeveless tunic shirt dress with cream leggings and Faith Cadbury blue platform court shoes. We decide to eat at the bar in the lounge section of this little gem that Al has found. I was thinking that maybe we would go to a club tonight, but in true “Al” fashion, my best friend has read me like a book and chosen the perfect evening to help me unwind from the horrendous day that I’ve had. I decide on the Seafood Etoufee while Al has the Chicken Au Vin with red beans and rice.

“Al, you’ve been out with me for two Saturdays now. What’s going on with James?” I ask as I sip a Chateau Ste. Michelle Sauvignon Blanc. Al drops his head. Oh shit!

“We had a fight.” He sips his wine.

“Why? About what? And why didn’t you tell me?” I ask horrified.

“You already have so much on your plate, Jewel. I didn’t want to bother you with this.” Okay, so now I feel like the worst friend in the world. Al has never cared about anyone the way he cares about James. I know—I’ve been around him for 14 years. Now, they’ve had a fight and he felt he couldn’t tell me about it. I rub my forehead with my hand.

“Jewel….” he says in a scolding tone, noting my tell.

“Do you know how it makes me feel that you were having a problem and you couldn’t come to me because I was so busy with my own?” I rub his arm as a mask of shame slowly descends on his face. “What happened, Al?” Al’s a very sensitive man and I see that he’s becoming emotional.

“His ex has moved back to town—some artsy guy that went away to Madrid or Italy or Tim-buk-fucking-tu to follow his craft. And now he’s back, and he’s asking to see James. So, I told him that I didn’t want him to go.” Al tries to smile to hide the fact that he really wants to cry, but he wouldn’t cry in public if you paid him. I feel his pain, though. I put my hand on his cheek.

“Do you think this guy wants James back?” I say, softly.

“Well, of course he does. Look at him. He’s gorgeous, successful, he’s a master in bed… who wouldn’t want him?” He’s right about that. We’re batting for the same team and I wanted him for a moment.

“Al, have you told James how you feel about him? Does he know that you’re in love with him?” Al drops his head again.

“I don’t know how to tell him.” He shakes his head. “I’m new at this, remember?”

“How about you take him by the hand, you look him in the eye, and you tell him that you love him. Tell him that you are scared to death for him to see this guy and you’re afraid that this guy may take him away from you because you’re in love with him.” He looks up through his eyelashes at me.

“That simple, huh?” he says as a single tear falls down his cheek. I wipe it away with my thumb and smile. I guess I was wrong about crying in public… this is big.

That simple.”

“What if it’s too late?” he says, mournfully.

“What do you mean?” I frown.

“He’s seeing him now.” My mouth falls open.

Seeing him seeing him or just seeing him?” I ask cautiously.

“Just seeing him.” He sighs. “They’re having dinner. That’s why we fought.” He’s drinking more wine than usual and I decide that it’s probably a good idea that I don’t drink anymore since somebody is going to have to get us home.

“What did he say? Why did he decide to go to dinner with this guy… what’s his name?”

“Jose. Jose Rodriguez. They went to WSU together. They had a long-term relationship and then Jose’s photography took him overseas a few years ago and they broke up.”

“So why does he want to see him now? Why not just let it go? Do you think he wants Jose back?”

“I don’t know the answer to any of that, Jewel. I’m afraid that I’ve given my heart to someone who wasn’t ready to give their heart to me. You warned me…” He sniffles just a bit.

“Yes, I did warn you, but I think you may be wrong about James.” He looks up at me. “Whatever unfinished business he has with Jose, it’s going to be finished tonight. And if it’s not, then I’ll help you hide the body… because he had us both fooled.” I push my unfinished glass of wine over to Al. He smiles sadly and finishes off my wine.

As he holds his head down, clearly trying to hold it together, the band starts to play “The Way You Look Tonight.” I take my friend’s hand and pull him to a small open space on the floor. He lays his head on my shoulder and I stroke his hair while we dance, trying to comfort him knowing that it’s impossible right now.

Someday, when I’m awfully low,
When the world is cold,
I will feel a glow just thinking of you,
And the way you look tonight.

You’re lovely, with your smile so warm
And your cheeks so soft,
There is nothing for me but to love you,
And the way you look tonight.

Al buries his face in my shoulder. I pull his face back and hold it in my hands. “It’ll be okay.” I smile at him. He nods and buries his face back in my shoulder, wrapping his arms tight around me and trying so hard not to fall apart. I feel like we should probably just go back to my apartment and get lost in a bottle of tequila, but I don’t think he could bring himself to do anything right now but sway side to side like we’re doing. So, I just hold my friend and let him sway.

With each word your tenderness grows,
Tearing my fears apart
And that laugh that wrinkles your nose,
Touches my foolish heart.

I’m soon very happy that we didn’t leave. I feel a gentle tap on my shoulder. I turn around and look up into the face of the gorgeous bronze god. I smile at him and raise Al’s head so that he can see the beautiful man that has come for him. He’s completely awestruck. I take James’ hand and kiss him on the cheek. Then I take my friend’s hand kiss him on the cheek while whispering in his ear, “I told you it’ll be okay.” I put his hand in James’ hand and go back to the bar. When I look back, my best friend and his boyfriend are holding each other, dancing like there’s no one else in the room.


GREY

She’s very comfortable with this guy. That’s the same guy that drove her car home on Monday night. I guess it’s safe to say that he wasn’t taking advantage of her on Monday night.

At least not unwillingly.

I sip on soda while I watch them talk and laugh easily, then the conversation appears to take a solemn turn. It’s like someone has died and she’s consoling him. I can’t help but wonder what happened in the conversation that changed the mood so quickly. The way she’s touching him, so gently and so kind—I feel a pang of… what? Jealousy. Possessiveness? I want her to touch me that way. Am I falling for this girl? Everything she does makes me want her.

She comes to my office to curse me out, and I want her.
She kicks the living shit out of a martial arts master, and I want her.
She’s cuddling some guy at the bar, and I want her.

I watch as she leads him to the dance floor… if you can call it that. It’s more like just a little space they chose to dance in. She’s definitely comforting him. She’s so tender with him and he holds her very close to him, like she’s going to heal whatever ails him. Some guy walks up and taps her on the shoulder. It’s Flemings. What’s he doing here? Is there about to be trouble? Is he Ana’s boyfriend after all? I sit up a little in my seat waiting to see what he’s going to do.

Ana smiles widely. She’s obviously happy to see him. She’s kissing him on the cheek. I feel my fist clench a little tighter. Shit! He must be her boyfriend. There’s some kind of exchange between her and the first guy then she goes back to the bar.

What the…? Fuck me! The guys are dancing together! Fuck! Why didn’t I get that before?

They’re gay!

An unbelievable feeling of relief flashes over me when I realize that these two want each other and neither of them want my Ana. I almost laugh out loud at my reaction to this whole thing. Thank fuck I’m not drinking anything alcoholic. This might have been one bad night, and all for nothing. I finish my soda just as I see something that makes me lose that warm and fuzzy feeling just as quickly as it came upon me.

Some guy is standing next to her at the bar just chatting her up. She’s not all giggly and girly with him, but she’s not sending him away either. They talk for a few minutes while Flemings and his boyfriend continue to spend some quality time together. After a while, he hands her a business card and walks away after placing a lingering kiss on her hand. She smiles coyly and drops the card in her purse. A little while later, Flemings and her friend come over to her and it appears they’re all leaving.

Shit! They’re coming this way! She’s going to see me! There’s nowhere for me to fucking hide!


STEELE

“How much has he had to drink, Ana?” James asks while Al is in the restroom.

“Enough to be coherent, but too much to drive.” James puts his hand on the back of his neck.

“Do you mind taking his car home tonight and we’ll pick it up tomorrow?” he asks.

“Not at all. You guys go ahead.” I want to tell him so badly that they need to talk, but I think he already knows.

“Thanks, Ana. You’re a really good friend to him.” He smiles.

“I told you… he’s my split apart. We’d be married right now… if it weren’t for that whole ‘gay’ thing.” He laughs aloud.

“Yeah, that could present a problem, couldn’t it?” I put my forefinger and thumb close together.

“Little bit!” I laugh.

“Hey, you guys are having too much fun without me,” Al announces as he comes back.

“I have a feeling that’s about to change.” I smile as I pat him on the back. “Give me your keys, Hon.” Al fishes out his keys.

“I’m sorry, Ana,” he says remorsefully.

“Are you kidding me? I had a great time having a great dinner with a great friend. I helped to heal his wounded heart and…” I reach into my purse for the business card, “… I got a number.”

“No shit?” Al’s eyes get wide.

“Yep. I’d say this was a pretty productive night and I should probably go home now while I’m still ahead!” We all have a hearty laugh.

“You ready, baby?” James says to Al. I think I actually see him blush. It’s the sweetest thing.

“Yes,” he says almost like a school girl and we head out. As we get to the door I turn around to retrieve Al’s keys.

“Did you valet, James?” I ask as we reach the night air.

“No, I’m right there.” He points to his CLS double-parked across the street.

“James, you’re lucky you didn’t get a ticket—or worse, towed!”

“It wouldn’t have mattered,” he says, looking lovingly at Al. “I had something important to do.” And again, I feel the slightest tinge of jealousy for my gay friend.

“Well, I’m going to take off and get my friend’s baby to a safe place,” I says, waving Al’s Jaguar keys. I lean in and kiss him on the cheek. “I love you bunches and bunches,” I whisper in his ear.

“I love you more,” he says, unshed tears in his eyes.


GREY

Shit, that was fucking close! I was sure she was going to look me dead in the eye! She turned around just in time or I would have been busted. When they clear the door, I leave money on the table and go to the front window to watch. They stand on the sidewalk exchanging pleasantries until Flemings and his boyfriend get in his CLS parked across the street. They wait there while the valet gets the Jaguar that Ana arrived in earlier with the first guy. She’s standing there looking like a vixen. Those heels must be six inches tall. She looks delicious in stilettos. The only time I ever saw her in anything but stilettos was today when she beat the shit out of Klevna… and those shorts made up for the stilettos. I love how her hair always seems to ride the wind in delicate brown waves. I lean against the wall and watch her get into the Jaguar and drive away.

I wish she were going home with me.

I step outside and give my ticket to the valet and wait for him to bring my car…

Later that night, I’m looking out over the sleeping city of Seattle. I’m at home now with no worry of driving, so I decide to have something a little stronger. I’m hoping that the liquid going down my throat will numb the obvious unfamiliar aching in my chest. She has affected me. No matter how much I try to deny it, she has affected me. She has completely changed the routine of my nights because I lay in bed at night thinking of her. I have women falling at my feet—one woman in particular waiting for me to call her and just say the word—and yet,  I’m always thinking of her.

Only her…

Only Ana…


STEELE

Later that night, I’m looking out over the sleeping city of Seattle. I’m at home now with no worry of driving, so I decide to have something a little stronger. I’m hoping that the liquid going down my throat will numb the obvious familiar aching in my chest. He has affected me. No matter how much I try to deny it, he has affected me. He has completely changed the routine of my nights because I lay in bed at night thinking of him. I have men hitting on me—one man in particular waiting for me to call him and just say the word—and yet, I’m always thinking of him.

Always him…

Always Christian…

Yes, you’re lovely, never, ever change
Keep that breathless charm
Won’t you please arrange it?
Cause I love you
Just the way you look tonight.


A/N: WWE–World Wrestling Entertainment

The Sleeper has awakened.” Kyle MacLachlan, Dune (1984)

Smooth Operator by Sade

The Way You Look Tonight by Michael Buble or Frank Sinatra—whichever you prefer

Pictures of places, cars, fashion, etc., can be found at http://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/paging-dr-steele/

You can join my mailing list on the “Contact Me” page. Just indicate in the message that you would like to join the mailing list.

Love and Handcuffs!
Lynn x

Paging Dr. Steele: Chapter 11: Skyrockets and Firecrackers

I do not own Fifty Shades Trilogy, or the characters. They belong to E. LJames. I am only exercising my right to exploit, abuse, and mangle the characters to MY discretion in MY story in MY interpretation as a fan. I hope you—as a fellow fan—enjoy it, too.

Chapter 11—Skyrockets and Firecrackers

GREY

“That’s four… in one week, Ros. I’d say that’s definitely a record.” I raise my glass of champagne to my second in command.

“I’d say you were right.” She raises her glass and we clink. “So, this stuff comes so easy for you. We’ve taken over four companies in one week… what the hell can you do to top that?”

I don’t know if there’s anything that I can do to top that. This shit gives me such a rush. One in a week is the rush from hell. Four in a week is fucking Nirvana!

“So, now you’re sitting on top of the world, right?” Not quite, but I’m not going to tell her that.

“On top of the world,” I lie, as I raise my glass again.

I’ve sent Ros back to her office before I open the right-side drawer of my desk where I keep Ana’s file. I often look at the picture of this battered girl from more than 10 years ago to try to ascertain how someone could do this to another person. Our stories are similar in a lot of ways, but so different in others. I buzz Andrea to tell her to send Welch to my office again.

“Sir?” He has come in many times to find me gazing at this picture. I don’t think it surprises him anymore.

“Is there any way to find out how this happened?” I ask my head of security.

“There’s always a way, sir, but somebody has to want to talk. So far…”

… Nobody’s talking,” I finish his sentence. I hand him the picture. “I’ve been looking at this for days, and I can’t figure out what that is. Is that a burn?”

“Yes, sir, it is,” he says flatly.

“What kind of burn is that?” Who does shit like this? What could this child have possibly done to bring something like this upon herself?

“I’m not completely sure. I can say for sure that it was deliberate, but because it’s so… brutal… I can’t see the bruising, so I can’t tell what was used or how it was done.” Granted, I was a toddler when I was tortured, but I can bet that my scars don’t compare to the ones left by this injury.

“If you wanted to try to find out what happened and who did this, where would you start?” I don’t know why I have to know who did this and why they did it, but I have to know. Welch shakes his head and holds up the picture.

“I’d start with her,” he answers. I shake my head, too. That’s definitely not going to happen.

Grey,” I answer my ringing desk phone.

Sir, you have an unscheduled visitor in the lobby,” Taylor’s voice informs me.

“Get to the point, Taylor.” There must be something up because Taylor knows that no one gets in to see me without an appointment.

It’s Dr. Steele, sir.” Ana? Why is she here? This can’t be good.

“Send her up.” I end the call. “Would you like to see what she looks like now?” I say to Welch.

“Who? Her?” he asks as he hands me back the picture.

“Yes. Taylor is sending her to my office as we speak.” I put the picture back in my desk drawer.

“Why is she here?” Welch vocalizes my thoughts.

“I have no idea…”


STEELE

What the hell am I doing here?
You said no more running.
I know, but what the hell am I doing here? I don’t know what to say to this guy. I can’t even control him in group session. How am I going to handle him when he’s got a home court advantage?
Because the rules are different. This is personal. You said no more running.
I said no more running.
So go handle ya‘ business!

I take a deep breath and enter the revolving doors of the huge building labeled “Grey House.” I was right. I can see it from my office window. Since I don’t see a building directory, I go to the security desk.

Yes, ma’am, how can I help you?” Do all of his guards look like giant ex-CIA agents?

“Hi, I would like to see Mr. Christian Grey, please,” I say as officially as possible.

“Do you have an appointment, ma’am?”

“No, I don’t.” All of a sudden, he regards me like a rodent.

“I’m sorry, but you need an appointment to see Mr. Grey.”

“Of course, I do,” I say, my voice dripping with sarcasm. He can run amuck at will all over everyone else’s life, but you have to have an appointment to run all over his! “Can you at least call Mr. Grey and tell him that I’m here? He may want to see me.”

“I’m sorry, ma’am,” he says a little more forcefully, “but you have to have an appointment to see Mr. Grey.” Keep it under control, Steele.

“And how do I get an appointment to see Mr. Grey?” I say, softly.

“You would have to contact his personal assistant or his receptionist.”

“And how do I do that?”

“I’m not allowed to divulge that information, ma’am.” Are you fucking kidding me? What the hell do I need to do—fill out a fucking application to see the guy?

“I’m not looking for government secrets here; I’m just trying to get an appointment to see Mr. Grey.” I can hear the elevator ring behind me and Mr. Rent-A-Cop gesture to someone in that direction. Great. I know what’s next. I put my hand on my forehead as I prepare for the corporate version of the “Walk of Shame” as I will soon be ceremoniously escorted off the premises. “Ma’am…” I hear to my left. I put my hand up to stop the spiel of the wall of man that I see in my peripheral standing next to me.

“Yeah, I know.” I obediently turn to leave.

“Dr. Steele?” What the…? I turn around to face the voice that called my name.

“Taylor?” I walk back over to him.

“May I ask why you’re here, ma’am?” They’re all polite if nothing else.

“I was trying to see Mr. Grey,” I say, sort of defeated.

“He doesn’t normally see people with…” he begins.

… I know, without an appointment.” I roll my eyes. Taylor chuckles.

“He’s a very busy man, Ms. Steele…” I throw a look at him. “My apologies… Dr. Steele.” he says softly, laughter in his voice.

“Well, that’s what I was trying to do. One more second and I thought he would arrest me for violation of the Patriot Act!” I snap toward Robo-Security-Man behind the desk.

“Let me see if he’s available.” Taylor reaches behind the desk and picks up the phone. I rub my forehead while he’s on the phone with whomever. What the hell am I going to say to this guy if I do get up there to see him? I discover that I’m about to find out as Taylor informs me that Mr. Grey will see me and leads me to the express elevator that will take me to his Tower in the Sky.

I’m led into Grey’s office by a petite blonde girl who announces my arrival before I enter. This has to be the biggest office I‘ve ever seen. Who needs this much room? I saw a conference room to the left just around the corner from the office, so I know he doesn’t conduct massive meetings in here. Waaaaaaay over there behind the desk, Grey stands when I enter the room. Another gentleman sitting across from him stands as well. Even from across the room, these gentlemen are commanding. Tall, handsome…


GREY

“Is someone after you?” she asks, matter-of-factly as she enters the double doors of my office.

“Someone’s always after me, but to what exactly are you referring?” I respond, questioningly.

“Because not only is it easier to get in to see the President than it is to see you, but also, you’re a tree,” she gestures to me, “surrounded by more trees!” She gestures to Welch. He and I smirk at each other.

“It just could be that you’re short, Dr. Steele,” I say with mirth.

“I am short, Mr. Grey, but everyone on your security staff is at least 6-2.” She responds flatly. That’s actually a requirement of being on my security staff, but how the hell does she know that?

“How do you know that?” I ask with genuine curiosity as Welch is making his way to the door.

“It’s a self-defense thing, Mr. Grey,” she says never taking her eyes off Welch. “I can tell how tall a person is by looking at them so that I can determine their weak points in relation to their height. For example, you’re 6-3, aren’t you, Mr. …?”

“Welch, and yes, I am. She’s good,” he says, throwing a knowing look at me.

“Oh! So, you’re Welch,” she adds. “Maybe you can tell me…” Okay, this is starting to irritate me… How the hell does she know of Welch?

“Tell you what, ma’am?” Welch asks.

“Why you’re digging around in my past,” she says impassively with just enough frost to make Welch straighten his tie and look to me for guidance. The plot thickens.

“That’ll be all, Welch. Thank you.” I dismiss him, clearly letting him off the hook. Welch beats a semi-hasty retreat from the office, leaving me to face Ana alone. This itsybitsy-teeny-weeny-ball-of-fire-mini-meanie damn near brought a grown man to his knees with a look. Hell hath no fury, I know, but damn, Welch. I’m never going to let you live that down. He couldn’t get out of here fast enough when Anastasia told him that she knew he had been digging into her past. He hadn’t cleared my office door 10 seconds before he texts back:

**She’s HOT**

I chuckle a bit and before I can put my blackberry away he texts again:

**And a little bit scary**

“Am I keeping you, Mr. Grey?” I look up at her as I put my blackberry away.

“As a matter of fact, you are, Dr. Steele. Or have you forgotten that you interrupted my work day?” I snap.

“Well, excuse me, but you interrupted my life!” she shoots back at me.

“Don’t be so dramatic, Ms. Steele…” She certainly has a flair for it.

“Dramatic!? Dramatic!? You know everything about me now, Mr. Grey. Exactly where and when do you see my behavior as being dramatic? I’m pretty certain that, from what you now know about me, I’m far from dramatic!”

Well, I can’t tell right now, because you’re screaming like a banshee!” Her head starts shaking like she’s having conniptions. I seriously think for a moment that it’s about to pop off like a top of a soda bottle.

“Why in the hell are you digging around in my past? What could you possibly want to know about me? Why would you go into someone’s life like that stirring up old ghosts?” Who the hell did Welch tip off when he went looking into this girl’s past? This girl literally looks like she is about to go into seizures any second. She has got to calm down… she can’t have a stroke in my office.

“Ms. Steele, I’m going to have to insist that you calm the fuck down!” That didn’t make matters any better.

“Calm down? Do you have any idea what you’ve done?? Do you even care?? Do you just go around ruining peoples’ lives and making people miserable without a second thought? Just because you can? Has your own experience taught you nothing about human kindness?”

Human kindness? Is she kidding?


STEELE

I am seething. I want to rip off his fucking head and shit down his throat! You callous, pompous…

“It was attack as a form of defense! It seems to me that you have plans on ruining my life, Ms. Steele. That report that you plan on submitting to the court will almost surely result in revocation of my plea. And where does that leave me? In jail like some common criminal because some drunken fuck-off ran into my car!” he spits.

“What you did was illegal—and the court is trying to give you an opportunity to rectify the situation! But you’re so damn certain that you’re right that you won’t even bother to do what the court tells you to do! You don’t get special treatment! You do something wrong, you have to pay just like the rest of us!”

“For fuck’s sake! You sound just like that asshole judge. I don’t walk around the streets of Seattle randomly punching people! The guy hit my car—while I was sitting at a red light! A fucking red light! Then he tried to say it was my fault. I reacted! That’s all!” His hands are flailing in the air to emphasize his point.

“That’s no excuse, Grey. You may have felt justified in what you did, but it was still wrong. And now you choose to make my life a living hell because I was the poor sucker who got assigned to your case!” We’re screaming at each other.

“You could have made this all go away with the swipe of a pen!”

“And you could have avoided this whole thing by just controlling your fucking temper!”

He pauses for a beat then, as if a light has gone off in his head, he bellows “Wait a minute—what the fuck do you know about my experience!?”

My voice softens, but only by a fraction. “I know they you weren’t always Christian Trevelyan Grey. I know that you were adopted and you were once a scared little boy named Christian Fields.”

The look that he gave me would strike fear into a gladiator! He slams his fists down on his desk and comes around it, charging at me. He stops not an inch from my face. His voice is loud and deep when he roars:

“How the FUCK DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THAT!?”

Without missing a beat—my voice a little squeaky, but just as loud—I scream:

“THE SAME WAY YOU KNOW ABOUT ANASTASIA LAMBERT!”

It’s a Mexican Standoff. He’s staring me down and I’m giving it right back. I’m afraid. I’ll admit it—I’m scared shitless! My heart is beating so fast and hard that it feels like it’s going to burst out of my chest any minute. I’m breathing heavily looking up at him, glaring into his steel-gray eyes. I feel those adrenaline tears rearing up again, butrefuse to let them fall.

I peeled back a layer he wasn’t willing to give me, and now he’s standing here in my presence, demanding… what? What is he demanding of me that I don’t have a right to demand from him? Yes, I invaded his privacy, but he invaded mine, too. As far as he’s concerned, I was intruding while he was justified. Now what are you going to do about it, Mr. Grey?

I don’t have to wait long for my answer.

He takes my face in his hands and smashes his lips against mine. I don’t have a chance to think… to protest.

What the… what the hell is he doing?
I know, right?

As he moves to my face just before the kiss, my hands came up in defense, so now my arms are smashed between us and I can’t move. My eyes are closed tight and I’m stunned. Wha… wha….?

And then I feel it.

The pull. The electricity. It’s so much stronger than I am. I feel my body relax against his, even though I’m nearly fighting for breath. He must have felt it too, because his tongue is taunting my lips, asking for entry—and before I know it, I grant it. His tongue slips between my lips, his left hand into my hair, and his right hand flat against my upper back pressing me into him.

Oh.
My.
God!

He adjusts my head to grant him purchase to my mouth and he is devouring me—his tongue massaging my tongue, his lips caressing my lips. He tastes delicious and his smell… oh God, his smell. Somebody help me!

I got nothing…
Of course, you don’t.

He’s awakening the beast. Fire is shooting from my mouth, my nose, my hair, and my back, down my legs to my feet and back up to my core. If he were not holding me up so tightly, I would be in a mound on the floor right now. I feel everything tingling, burning. I’m completely at his mercy. I couldn’t move away if I wanted to. But in a moment of clarity, he releases me and steps away. I stumble backwards and land on the door, panting heavily.

He’s leaning against his desk with his back to me, running his hands through his hair and breathing just as heavily as I am. I shake my head as if I’m going to wake from this dream, but I’m not. This really happened, and I don’t know what to do. I’m staring at his back. He’s heaving heavily and trying to catch his breath. He almost sounds like he’s growling—his broad shoulders draped beautifully in a black suit jacket, rising and falling, like any second he’s going to turn around, throw me on the floor and ravage me. My clit is throbbing feverishly at the thought and all of a sudden, I feel like a caged animal.

I have to get out of here!

I fumble with the door behind me and just as I get it open, he turns around. I bolt out of the office just as I hear him call my name.

“Ana!”

I’m running for the elevator. I’m nothing but emotional, confused, weak, horny mush and at this moment, I would do anything he asked of me. I have to get away from him now. I push the button for the elevator and luckily, it’s right there waiting for me. I dash inside and push the button for the lobby, afraid to look up and see him following me.

The express elevator moves almost at the speed of light, thank God. I’m whimpering the entire time, trying to drag in precious oxygen. I stumble out of the elevator into the lobby and walk as fast as my feet can take me towards the front door, still panting. I get almost past the front desk when someone calls my name.

“Dr. Steele…?”

I gasp and break into a run, burst out the front doors and haul ass to my car. I don’t know why I’m running. All I know is that I have to get the fuck out of here! As I approach my car, I hit the alarm and the automatic starter so that I can quickly facilitate my escape. I don’t think I breathed once, until I cleared the underground garage and could no longer see “Grey House” in my rearview mirror.

I slam the door to my apartment and drop everything in my hands right there on the floor. Nobody has made me feel that way since Edward. Hell, even Edward didn’t make me feel that way. I’m leaning against the door and I can’t catch my breath. I bring my hands up to my neck and feel the thin sheen of sweat there that always seems to accompany my arousal.

I can still feel his lips.

I run my hands down my body to my breasts and my nipples are tender and taut—about to burst out of my blouse.

I am on FIRE!

I lift my skirt and close my eyes. His tongue… I can feel his tongue invading my mouth, and the fire in my loins as my hand searches through my lace panties and finds my clitoris.

Aahh.” He has me smashed against his body, licking and tasting me, sucking the breath from me with his tortuous technique. He’s hungry and ravenous, and I revel in his desire.

“Ah… ah…” His fingers replace mine, and he’s stroking feverishly, relentlessly as his tongue explores my mouth and his free hand holds my head in place. I’m at his mercy. His presence captivates me, his demeanor ensnares me, his eyes, his voice and oh God… that kiss!

“Ah… ah… aahh…” My free hand journeys up to my breast and brushes against my sensitive nipple aching to be freed from its prison… but it’s too late. The shiver from the contact, the massage of my clitoris, and the memory of that kiss…

“Oh... God… aaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!” And I explode. I succumb to my orgasm as it ripples through my body, my clit throbbing continuously. I slide to the floor against the door to ride it out… it won’t stop.

“Oh… God… oh… God… oh… God…” I have to stop with my stimulation as it’s becoming slightly painful, but the sensation continues for quite some time after.

“Fuck! Holy shit!” I sit on the floor in my post-orgasmic state, trying to catch my breath, and still remembering that kiss.


GREY

Shit! This fucking woman is standing so close to me. I can smell her—she smells like fear… and anger… and pure primal unmitigated lust. I am furious! And with every breath I take she’s invading my nostrils. This fucking, infuriating, unreasonable, desirable, irresistible, sexy woman! I have to have her… now!

Her lips are like ripe strawberries—delicious, juicy. Open your mouth, baby. That’s it. Oh, yes! Hot and soft and wet. Fuck, I can’t get enough. I have to hold her… closer. She’s electric. Her body is so soft; she feels so good. She’s melting into me… we fit together… her smell… her touch… her taste…

Snap out of it, Grey!

Fuck! The spell is broken just as quickly as it was cast. Step away from her, Grey. You’re fucking everything up! Breathe, Man, breathe. Shit! Why the fuck did I just do that? Why the hell does this woman seem to make me lose my good sense when I’m around her? I run my hand through my hair and vaguely remember that I’m not alone in the room. Damn! What the fuck must she be thinking? I compose myself to turn around and face the music, but she’s not there anymore.

“Ana!” I step out of my office to see Andrea and Olivia looking at me confused. “Where is she?” I bark.

“In the elevator, sir,” Andrea answers.

I pick up the phone to call Taylor.

“Sir?”

“Ms. Steele is in the express elevator. Stop her! Don’t let her leave!”

“How do you expect me to detain her, sir?’

“Just catch her and tell her to wait, please…” I hear him call her name, and I can hear her shoes clicking across the lobby floor at high speed. Shit! She’s running! “Taylor!” I yell.

“Sir!” he yells back. I forgot about the earpiece in his ear. I can tell by the dissipating clicks that she’s already out of the building. I sigh heavily.

“Have Reynolds follow her,” I say more quietly. “She drives a pearl blue Chrysler 300.”

“I remember, sir. For how long?”

“Until further notice. Light surveillance. I want reports every four hours and as needed. Tell him to use whomever he needs.”

“Yes, sir.”

I go back into my office and lean on my desk, resisting the urge to clear it off in an angry frenzy. What is this woman doing to me? I had the perfect opportunity to sit her down and talk to her, to apologize for my behavior and try to make things right so that she wouldn’t file that fucking report… and what do I do?

I insult her, verbally attack her, accost her, and then send her running from my office in some sort of frenzy. Boy, Grey, when you fuck up, you fuck up BIG!

*-*

“Where did she go?” I ask Taylor in the SUV later that evening.

“Back to her apartment, sir. Reynolds says she hasn’t left all afternoon.” I run my hands through my hair. I watch the scenery go pass as we’re on our way to Bellevue. Women don’t do this to me. I do this to women. How the hell does she have this much control over me? Yes, she’s visually pleasing, but as a person, she’s a fucking pill!

She thaws out very nicely when you kiss her, though.

I can’t think of this woman this way! I fucking can’t. I have to find a way to change her mind about filing that report to the court. I can’t let her do it. I have to be able to convince her somehow.

Without kissing her.

Mia bolts to my arms as soon as I’m out of the car. “Dad said you might be here, but I didn’t believe him!”

“Hi, Mia.” I hold my little sister. She’s the only one that really hugs me like this.

“Mom has a few of her friends in the parlor, so we’re all out on the patio waiting for them to leave.” I see a few cars in front of the house as I walk in, but I don’t pay much attention to them.

“Christian,” Carrick greets as I enter the kitchen with Mia.

“Dad.” We shake hands. “How’s the case going?”

“As well as can be expected.” He takes a drink of his wine. “Yours?” I shoot a look at him. I really don’t want to talk about this in front of Mia, but she doesn’t seem to be able to take a hint as she stands there looking at me expecting.

“Not so much,” I say as I pour myself a glass of Sancerre.

“Oh?” Carrick wants more answers and Mia’s still standing there looking down my throat. There’s no way I’m telling him about the kiss, or about the background check, until they’re possibly cuffing me and hauling me off to jail.

“Session was cancelled yesterday, so I didn’t get a chance to talk to the facilitator.”

“I see,” Carrick responds, enigmatically. “Do you have any idea why it was cancelled?”

“No,” I answer, “and the director of the place was being a real asshole when I tried to find out.”

“Christian!” Mia scolds me for my language.

“Little sister,” I say, turning to Mia, “In case you haven’t noticed, I’m having a conversation with Dad where the words are strategically placed such that if you don’t know who we’re talking about, you don’t know what we’re talking about. But since you still can’t seem to be able to take the hint, pretty soon I’m going to start a very graphic discussion about big, hairy, sweaty testicles and any other topic of conversation that may induce discomfort!” Carrick is stifling a laugh while Mia regards me wide-eyed and open mouthed.

“How vulgar! All you had to do was say so!” Mia snaps, affronted.

“I just did… and you’re still here. You’re my favorite person. Please leave.” I kiss her on the forehead to lighten the blow. She frowns at me and marches out of the kitchen and onto the patio.

“I think something was wrong with the doctor, Dad. I don’t know if she was sick or…”

… Or trying to avoid you.” He finishes my thought. I sigh.

“If she’s trying to avoid me, I still get credit for my sessions, but I don’t get a chance to talk to her before she can submit the paperwork.”

“You’ve got a bigger problem than that, son. There is a lot being suggested by the fact that she would be willing to just wait this out.”

“But if she does wait it out, won’t the same rules apply… that she has only seen me for three sessions?” I ask, desperate.

“Yes, but by the time they sort that out, the damage could already be done.” I know what he’s referring to. One day of Christian Grey in jail could be the destruction of all my credibility in the business world.

“I suggest that you wait until Monday and see if she shows up for the group session. If she doesn’t, you can petition the court on Tuesday to be reassigned to another group session on the basis that this facilitator is unexplainably unavailable, and the center can’t supply you with another facilitator. This way, even if she does submit the documentation that she has completed, the credibility of the report is questioned because she has missed two of the sessions that should have been used for evaluation. Also, your request would trump hers in court because you filed yours first.”

“Well, can’t I file a request to be reassigned now?” That would solve my entire Anastasia Steele problem altogether.

“No reasonable cause.” Shit! It was worth a try.

“So… now we wait,” I sigh.

“Now we wait,” Carrick confirms.

“Yo, Little Bro!” Elliot comes bursting into the kitchen in usual Elliot fashion.

“Hey, Elliot,” I sip my Sancerre.

“Yo… Dude… cheer down,” he says sarcastically.

“Where’ve you been hiding?” I ask.

“I was in the parlor with the ladies and their daughters,” he proclaims. “I always see if there’s any fresh meat when Mom has one of these fundraiser meetings.”

“And…?” Not that I’m really interested, Carrick even less so as he nods to both of us and goes to the patio with Mia.

“There’s some potential in the room. Hell, most often, they come hoping to get to you.” Oh, yes, the mothers trying to marry off their daughters and the desperate women trying to bag a billionaire. How exciting.

Well, why did you leave all of that ‘potential’ behind?” I inquire.

“Because ‘Her Royal Creepiness’ showed up,” Elliot says as he takes a beer from the refrigerator and I almost spray my wine.

“Who the hell is ‘Her Royal Creepiness?'” I must know who warranted this name.

“Mom’s friend, you know, the Princess of Darkness with the fake boobs, endless plastic surgery, and platinum blonde hair.” I’d know that description anywhere.

“Elena Lincoln.”

“Yeah, her!” Elliot actually got a visible chill talking about Elena, which piques my curiosity.

“Why do you call her that?” I ask Elliot.

“What, Princess of Darkness?” No, I figured that one out on my own.

“No, ‘Her Royal Creepiness.'”

Just as Elliot is about to divulge the origins of his nickname for Elena, the parlor door opens and drones of older women and a few younger ones come flooding out—and there we stand, like Thanksgiving turkeys ready to be plucked. While I’m contemplating the nearest escape route, Elliot sort of throws me to the wolves like a sacrificial lamb while he makes a mad dash to the dining room. He shouldn’t be scoping them anyway, since he’s actually off the market. Sure enough, they descend upon me like I’m the last sale item on the discount rack. I’m only too happy when Elena makes her way through the crowd to me.

“Christian, dear, can I steal you away for just a moment?”

“Of course, Elena. Excuse me, Ladies.” Elena and I walk out to the den and I close the door. “God, I hate when you all get together. I wish Mom had told me; I would have stayed home.” I take a sip of my wine before sitting on the sofa.”

“In that case, I’m glad she didn’t tell you.” Elena sits next to me. “You’re avoiding me, Christian.”

“I’m not avoiding you, Elena. I’m running a business. I may not give you a play by play of everything, but I sealed four acquisitions this week. That shit doesn’t happen by itself.”

Well, excuse me!” she snaps. “I jump through hoops to get Ms. Ellison to you since you were chomping at the bit, and you act like you’re too busy to even consider her now.” I shoot a look of death at her.

“Elena! I will not discuss this with you in my parents’ home. Have you completely lost it?” I say through clenched teeth.

“I’m sorry,” she says, chastised. “You just seemed so… anxious, and now…”

“I’m going to repeat that I am not going to discuss this with you in my parents’ home!” I snap at her again. At that moment, one of the nosy ladies knock on the door to the den.

“Excuse me,” she says insincerely. “I was just coming to say ‘goodbye’ to Christian.”

“Goodbye. Mrs. Bell,” I say politely.

“I was wondering,” she begins as she invites herself into the den, “if you would be interested in joining us for dinner on Sunday. You haven’t been by in so long and my daughter Madeline will be there.” Just what I need—another matchmaking mother.

“I’m sorry, Mrs. Bell, but I’ll have to decline your kind invitation.” The disappointment is written all over her face while Elena is stifling a laugh.

“Oh, well, maybe I could just give you her number…” She doesn’t quit, does she? Should I just say I don’t want to date your daughter? What the hell?

“No, thank you, Mrs. Bell. If you ladies will excuse me…” Now it’s my turn to beat a hasty retreat to the dining room. Elliot is still hiding out in there waiting for the crowd to disperse.

“Thanks for your help, big brother,” I say, sarcastically.

“Hey, you snooze, you lose. And I had already done my time with that group,” he says, finishing his beer. “What were you doing in the den with the Lincoln Lady?”

“We’re in business together. I‘m the financial backer for her Esclava Salon chain.” I sure as hell wasn’t going to tell him that we were discussing a sub.

“Why did you do that?” he questions.

“Because she lent me the money to start my business after I dropped out of Harvard.” I respond. “Oh, yeah… ‘Her Royal Creepiness?'” Elliot shakes his head.

“Dude, she came on to me when I was 14.” What the fuck?

“Elliot, are you sure? That’s a pretty heavy accusation.” Elliot put his empty beer bottle on the dining room table.

“Look, all I know is that every time she came around, she kept touching me. She was always talking about how strong my back muscles could be. She was always touching my face and my arms and looking at me funny. Now at 14, I didn’t know what that funny look was. By 16, I was getting a pretty good idea. At 32, I can look back in hindsight and tell you that chick wanted to fuck me!” I’m completely floored. Why would Elena proposition Elliot? It makes absolutely no sense. Elliot was perfectly normal, not completely fucked up like me. He didn’t have any problems… did he?”

“What did she say to you?” I question.

“What do you mean ‘what did she say?’ Do you mean did she ask me to fuck her? No.”

“Well, what did she say to make you think she wanted you to fuck her?” He had to be mistaken.

“I don’t remember verbatim, man. It was a long time ago. Why are you so damn curious?”

“Because I‘m in business with this woman!” I answer to throw him off the scent, which is the truth, but the biggest part of me wants to know if she really came on to my brother.

“I don’t remember what she said, but she touched me a lot… I mean a lot, Bro. And she gave me the creeps. I’m surprised you never heard my nicknames for her before now, but whenever she’s around, I make it my business not to be.” As if she was summoned, Elena walked into the back entrance of the dining room from the kitchen. “And that’s my cue,” Elliot says as he walks out of the front end of the dining room into the great room.

“Well, what was that all about?” Elena says, clearly affronted.

“My brother is uncomfortable around you. Do you have any idea why?” Noticing that some of the color has left Elena’s face, I’m starting to wonder if there’s any truth to what Elliot is claiming.

“Why would he have reason to be uncomfortable around me?” she laughs nervously. Oh, there’s definitely a story here.

“He seems to think that you may have shown an unhealthy interest in him when he was younger.” Elena’s expression falls.

“What?” she says, her voice cracking. “What gave him that idea?” She’s almost in full-blown panic mode now.

“I’m not completely sure, but he’s a grown man now, and still very uncomfortable around you,” I answer flatly.

“Well,” she says, relaxing a bit, “some men are intimidated by strong women.” She straightens her back. “Besides, clearly he must have been mistaken. I mean, that was so many years ago, there’s no telling what was going through the mind of a 14-year-old boy.” She looks nervously at her watch. “I really have to be going now, but I’ll need an answer from you about our little situation pretty soon, so if you could… look into that please and let me know.” And with her usual Hollywood air kisses, she’s gone…

… Having done nothing to quell my suspicion, especially since I never mentioned to her that Elliot indicated that he was 14 at the time.

I can’t quite define this feeling that I have about Elena possibly making a pass at my big brother.

Jealousy? No—I really don’t care about that.
Repulsed? Maybe a little. I’ve shared a lot of things with Elliot in the past, but women are definitely not one of them.
Why would I be feeling anything? I certainly don’t care who she fucks. I knew she was married when we started, so we certainly weren’t exclusive.
Maybe a little protective of my brother? I don’t know… maybe.

I need to talk to Flynn about this one. I just can’t place what it is that I am feeling and it’s going to bug the fuck out of me until I do.


STEELE

I’ve washed my hair thoroughly and now, I’m sitting in my bathtub up to my neck in bubbles. My sound system is playing one of my favorite songs and I can only think about him as I sing along.

I was just a stand-in, someone love abandoned
Not the leading man, but my heart yelled “Action.”
What does “fall in love” mean?
We rehearsed a love scene
Unaware of this till we tried The Kiss and

It used to make me think of Edward. Now, it’s him. I can smell his scent. It’s been in my nose since I left his office and it won’t go away. It’s like I had a secret date all afternoon. Even my bath soap doesn’t wash it away. I don’t ever remember standing that close to him until today. Well, of course I wouldn’t have, right?

Now… now you’re in my dreams
Now… now you’re in my dreams
When I dream, when I dream, in my dream, it’s you
Now… now you’re in my dreams

His gray eyes are staring at me hungrily, his breath on my neck. His lips are just a hair away from mine… taunting me. Oh, my God, he’s so hot. I feel the flame growing again…

Love was such a mystery, Love was ancient history
Pleasure chased with pain, till you whispered your name
In the soundstage moonlight, we could not say goodnight,
Unaccustomed to happiness so new and

I’m running my hands across my flat stomach, imagining it’s his hand, his arm holding me close to him…
Careful, Ana, or you’ll end up wiggling your bean again.
I ignore her. It’s my bean and I’ll wiggle it if I want. I reach down to the magic spot as Michael Franks continues to serenade my fantasy.

Now… now you’re in my dreams
Now… now you’re in my dreams
When I dream, when I dream, in my dream, it’s you
Now… now you’re in my dreams

The water wraps me in warmth as my hand works my clitoris into a sensual frenzy.

Now the close-up me and you and every old cliché rings true
The Samba begins, fate to the winds

I sink further into the water, succumbing to the pleasure once again, for the second time this evening.

First, it smolders then it burns, you
Pass the point of no return, do
Lovers stay in love by learning
How to leave the world at the door and live
Live inside their dreams?

“Christian….”

Now… now you’re in my dreams
Now… now you’re in my dreams
When I dream, when I dream, in my dream, it’s you
Now… now you’re in my dreams
Now… now you’re in my dreams
When I dream, when I dream, in my dream, it’s you
Now… now you’re in my dreams
Now… now you’re in my dreams
When I dream, when I dream, in my dream, it’s you…


GREY

I’m at my piano again. It’s 3am and I was awakened by the sound of stilettos running away from me on marble floors…

I’ve played this song three times and it brings me no comfort. I decide to change up and play a Michael Bublé tune that fits the situation perfectly.

She is so beautiful when she’s angry… and hot! I bet angry sex would be a fucking mind trip with her!

I don’t know why I want this woman so badly—why do I see her face every single time I close my eyes.

She’s infuriating, and mouthy, and defiant—everything I can’t stand in a woman…

… And I can’t stop thinking about her.

She holds my life in her hands… literally, right now, she has the power to throw me in jail and bring me to ruin…

… And she’s all I can think about.

When I‘m around her, everything goes haywire. I can be in complete control when I walk into a room with her, and by the time I leave, I’m totally worthless.

She sees past all my bullshit. Everything I’ve built up to protect myself—all the facades; all of the defense mechanisms—it’s like glass to her.

Nobody has ever spoken to me the way that she speaks to me. There’s absolutely no way there can ever be anything between us.

We’re from two completely different plains, different universes, different dimensions…

… And she’s all I ever think about—I can’t get her out of my mind.

I have the perfect sub—the perfect sub—just aching to sign on the dotted line…

… but I don’t want her.

I want Anastasia.

What the fuck am I going to do?


A/N:

Ana’s bathtub song is Michael Franks—Now You’re In My Dreams

Christian’s piano song is Michael Bublé —Always On My Mind

What do you think will arise from Eliot’s revelation? Anything? Nothing?

Pictures of places, cars, fashion, etc., can be found at http://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/paging-dr-steele/

You can join my mailing list on the “Contact Me” page. Just indicate in the message that you would like to join the mailing list.

Love and Handcuffs!
Lynn x

Paging Dr. Steele: Chapter 10: Revelations

I do not own Fifty Shades Trilogy, or the characters. They belong to E. L. James. I am only exercising my right to exploit, abuse, and mangle the characters to MY discretion in MY story in MY interpretation as a fan. If something that I say displeases you, please, just leave. If you don’t like this story or me, please don’t spoil this experience for everyone. Just go away. For the rest of you, the saga continues…

Chapter 10—Revelations

STEELE

“OH, MY GOD! ANA! JESUS CHRIST!” Maxie screams. Even though I knew this would be her reaction, I’m still not prepared for the immense humiliation I feel every time I dare to get undressed in front of someone. Even facing away from her, I can feel her glaring at the mutilated scarring on my lower back. I can’t prevent the mournful tears that follow. I know the thing looks absolutely hideous even though it’s all “healed up.” I hear her rise from her chair before she spins me around and holds me in her arms as I sob. I don’t know how long we stand there. It seems like forever. When I’m all cried out, she helps me back down to my seat, takes out her phone and hit some numbers.

“Amy… I’m not going to be back in today. Reschedule everyone for whatever openings I have tomorrow and next week… Everything’s fine, Amy just… please reschedule everyone… Thank you.” She ends the call. “Ana, why didn’t you ever tell me?”

“I never told anybody,” I answer, never raising my head to look at her. “It’s one of the reasons I got into psychology. I thought I could heal myself… and it was working… until…” I put my hands over my face. Maxie takes my hands down.

“Until what, Ana?”

I sigh. “When I was well enough to travel, Ray took me back to Montesano. I think Mom let me go so that she and Stephen could deal with the social ‘fall-out’ of what had happened, I don’t know. She was, after all, more concerned about what the neighbors were thinking than what was going on with me.” I sneer. “When I came to live with Ray, I gave him the same story… that I didn’t remember what happened. We didn’t talk about it much, either. He tried to get me to open up about it, but I just couldn’t. I was there for months and I felt like I was at home again. Mom never called me once… not… once.” I wipe a stray tear from my face.

“Thinking I had finally escaped from the hell that was my life in Green Valley, I registered for school in Montesano for that fall, but I never got a chance to go. Mom and Stephen showed up to take me back to Henderson—back to the place that was the source of all of my nightmares; back to where the most horrific things happened to me that have ever happened even to this date.” I shake my head. “I don’t know why. I still don’t know why they brought me back. I begged them to let me stay, but they completely ignored me. I know they didn’t want me there. I was more of an embarrassment and a burden to them than anything. I don’t understand why they didn’t just let me stay with Ray. I was happy again in Montesano… and they brought me back… back to hell…

“None of the Henderson schools would take me—none of them. I’m surprised any school in Clark County took me. But Mom came up with the great idea to let me use my bio dad’s name and registered me in the closest school in Las Vegas.

“I was in school from 7am until 5 or 6pm every day, with extra classes, extracurricular activities, anything that kept me out of Henderson. I was out before dawn and never home before dark. I did babysitting jobs, went to summer school, cleaned houses in Summerlin and Northtown, anything to not go home. Stephen treated me like a pure and utter shit—like a rodent. He never put his hands on me, but the mental warfare was cruel and unusual.”

“Where was your mom during all of this, Ana?” Maxie asks.

“Oh, Carla had ringside seats—but she just pretended not to see it. She pretended not to hear him call me all those horrible names and tell me how I had completely ruined their lives and reputations in Henderson. A lot of times, as soon as he started berating me, she just left—got up, got in her car and took off to parts unknown.” I put my head in my hands again. “I cried for months… six, maybe seven. Every day, I cried. My soul hurt. I was sure that death was better than what I was feeling… but I wouldn’t give any of them the satisfaction of giving up. I can’t even remember my mom speaking to me after I came back from Montesano. I’m sure it happened once or twice, I just don’t remember it.” I stand up and zip my dress. I go to the kitchen and put a bagel in the toaster. The liquor is starting to make me a little sick and I need something in my stomach.

“Anyway, long story shorter, Anastasia Lambert graduated from high school and the very next day, I took whatever could fit in a backpack and a duffel bag and caught the first bus back to Washington. I didn’t want to go to Ray. I knew that would be the first place they would look for me. So, I went to Tacoma instead, stayed at a homeless shelter for battered women, worked for a while until I got a grant to go to Bates. Then I got the scholarship to go to U-Dub, and you know the rest.” I take a bite of my bagel.

“So, what caused today’s breakdown?” she asks, taking another sip of her second double-shot. Oh yeah, I forgot about that part.

“I used to have terrible nightmares,” I begin, taking a seat at the dining room table. “For years, I relived that beating over and over and over again. I learned some coping techniques, did my best to deal with the past since I would never get justice, and I was able to live a semi-normal life. The nightmares eventually went away. Well, on Tuesday, I got a call from a friend in the Henderson Police Department. He was the same guy that worked my case and, I’m told, he was the officer that got me to the hospital that night. Anyway, he called me to tell me that someone is looking into Anastasia Lambert.” Maxie gasps.

“Why?!” she asks.

“I have no idea. Anastasia Lambert did nothing remarkable at all. She went to school for two years, got a diploma and disappeared. There’s absolutely no reason to look into her. I have no idea who’s looking or why, so needless to say, I’m scared to death. And last night, the fear sparked the dreams.”

“Oh,” Maxie nods. “Hence the need for the friend and professional.” She grabs my hand. “You came to the right place, Steele!” She smiles, then her mood goes somber. “So… now what?”

“Well, Ray has a friend from the military who… let’s just say he’s pretty resourceful. He’s looking into it for me and he should have some answers pretty soon.”

“So, I know you don’t know who it is, but who do you think it could be?

“I have no idea. One of the girls who beat me up? The bastard who raped me? I don’t know.”

“So, what are you going to do when you find out?”

“I’m going to face them head on!” I say angrily. “This is my life. It’s been more than 10 years; they can’t have it anymore! I’m not running this time!” Before I know it, I pick up my drink glass and dash it across the room and against the farthest wall shattering it to pieces. “I’m not fucking hiding anymore, Maxie.” I scream through angry tears. “They scarred me for life—physically and emotionally—so if they want me, come and fucking get me!”

Maxie scrambles out of her seat and embraces me again. “I need you to calm down, Anastasia,” she says in my ear as I try to regulate my breathing. “You’re absolutely right to be mad as hell for what those bastards did to you, but no use taking it out on your beautiful apartment,” she laughs. I chuckled a bit, too.

After Maxie calms me down a bit, I decide that the sycophants can do without me for one day… and I really don’t want to face Grey either. So, I call Ron and let him know that I won’t be able to cover the group session this evening.

“Are you alright, Ana? This doesn’t have anything to do with that guy, Grey, does it?”

“No,” I lie. I had had a long talk with Ron about all that was going on with Grey the day that I made him wait outside my office for me. He knew the outcome would not be pleasant. I don’t think either of us had any idea that it would be catastrophic. “It’s not that at all, Ron. I’m just not feeling well at all today and I really need to rest.”

“Okay, Ana,” he says, his voice laced with concern. “Feel better and let me know if there’s anything that I can do.”

“Thanks, Ron.” I hang up the phone and turn back to Maxie.

“There’s something else I need to tell you, Max.” She sits back in the chair and sips her drink again. “Yesterday, I renewed my CCW.” She put her hand over her mouth.

“You have a CCW?” she gasps.

“Ever since I turned 21.” She sinks down into her seat. “I just thought you should know. I meant it when I said I’m not running, and I need someone to know that anything that happens is not premeditated, but I will do whatever I have to do to protect myself.”

“What do you carry?” I can see that it’s morbid curiosity. Hold on to your pants, Max.

Glock in my car, Beretta in my night stand, .44 Magnum mini in my purse.” She slumps in her chair.

“Shit, Steele, they’ve got you terrified,” she says just above a whisper.

“Oh no, not anymore. This is just a side of me that you guys haven’t seen,” I sigh. I didn’t know I was going to have to tell anybody my life story, except maybe Edward since I was so convinced that he was the one. Thank God, I didn’t spill the beans to him!

“After I turned 18 and I knew Carla and Stephen couldn’t drag me back to Henderson, I contacted Ray and told him where I was and where I had been staying. He helped me out because I was already in school by then and didn’t want to move to Montesano. Between my little job and grants and Ray, I had a little money to work with, so I started looking for an apartment. I met Val and we became roommates since the rent was in my range and her apartment was right on campus. I told Ray that I was afraid for my safety. I didn’t give him any details, but hell, he was there while I was comatose for three weeks, so he really didn’t need any explanation, did he?” I go to the kitchen to find the broom and dustpan to clean up the broken glass.

“Ray started teaching me self-defense and instructing me on how to shoot. It made me feel a little safer knowing that I could defend myself, but I wasn’t able to carry until I turned 21, and Ray wouldn’t tolerate me carrying without a license. So, I learned to immobilize an assailant with other items and I had three years to practice before I got my CCW.”

“So how precise are you with that firearm, Calamity Jane?” she jokes.

“I can hit a paper clip stuck in a fence post at a hundred feet,” I say blankly. Maxie is visibly surprised.

“That’s pretty fucking precise.”

“Yeah, I’m a surgeon with a nine.”

“A nine?” She shakes her head, confused.

“A nine millimeter.” Maxie seems to be a little apprehensive now.

“So why don’t you own one of those?” I laugh at her gently. Poor little naive Maxie.

“That’s the Glock, Hon,” I say a little slowly with a laugh, but Maxie doesn’t seem to be laughing with me so I stop laughing. “I wasn’t trying to scare you or anything, Max, but I had to tell someone. I’ve been holding on to this for ten years. I couldn’t even tell Ed, and he saw the brand.”

“Didn’t he ever ask you about that? I mean… in… certain… positions, you can’t miss it!”

“Yeah, unfortunately, that was kind of the idea. It’s a ‘tramp stamp.’ But I asked him not to ask me about it, and he never did. Strange thing was… I subconsciously wanted him to ask. It would have meant that he cared. At least that’s how I saw it.”

“You saw correctly,” Maxie nods. “There’s no way you would see that on someone you claim to love and not want to know how it got there… no way in hell, but…” I can tell she’s curious but didn’t want to ask.

“I was unconscious after the first brand. My guess is that someone came upon the scene and stopped them before they could finish.” I shiver at the reminder of the metal searing my skin. “You know what the worst thing about this whole thing was, Maxie?” She shakes her head, amazed and bewildered by my tale.

“These were kids,” I finish.

She seems a little confused by my meaning, so I elaborate.

“These were children that did this to me. No one in the group was over the age of 18. We’re not talking about merely humiliating me in front of the whole school or the whole town even—which was the ultimate outcome nonetheless. We’re talking about gravely injuring another human being to the point where I was comatose for three weeks. Do you know how much hatred you have to have in your heart to do that to another person?” I ask incredulously. “How vicious and vindictive you have to be to stand there and burn another person’s flesh… like it’s a party game? How do you hurt someone that way and not feel it? How do you qualify that, how do you justify that in your brain? Do these people have nightmares about what they did to me, or do they chalk it up to ‘one of those crazy things I did back in high school?’” I say the last part in a mocking tone.

“And these were children, half of them I’m sure I didn’t even know me… raised with that kind of hatred in their hearts. And now… they’re adults… all of them. They’re members of society somewhere in this world, some of them most likely very powerful members of society—deciding someone’s future in some way. Some of them are most likely raising children of their own—little entitled sadists growing up to be just like their hateful parents—and that really scares the shit out of me. If I were to have children any time soon, they would grow up with these little… ” Before I can complete my thought, my blackberry rings. I don’t recognize the number, but like I said, I’m not running anymore.

“Dr. Steele,” I answer.

Ana? Hi… it’s Brian.” Finally! The news I’ve been waiting for.

“Hi, Brian. Thanks for calling me back.”

No problem, Ana. As for you ‘seeker…'”

“What do you have for me?”

The person digging into your background is Alexander Welch. Does that ring any bells to you?” I wrack my brain but nothing comes up.

“No, nothing. I don’t know who that could be.”

Have you applied for any jobs lately… or for a loan?”

“Nothing like that, Brian. Nothing at all. Why would this guy be looking into my background… and so deep into my background? Is he local?”

Yeah, he is. He works for a huge company there in Seattle. That’s why I asked if you might have applied for a job or a loan or anything like that.”

“Well, what company does he work for?”

He’s head of security for Grey Enterprises.”

Grey Enterprises? Why would Grey Enterprises be doing a background check on me…?

Then it hit me.

In all its horror, one word came flying at me in fabulous technicolor.

“GREY!” I whisper with dread.


GREY

I can run six miles in 30 minutes.
I have masterful techniques that I employ on a woman’s body that will have her speaking in tongues.
I acquire multi-million dollar companies without even being in the room.
I strike fear and induce cold sweats in a board room full of grown men.
I can say my name, wave my hand, speak a command, or smile and basically have anything I want anywhere in the world.

But I have no idea how to formulate a fucking apology, much less to a woman who probably despises me now.

When is the last time I had to apologize to anybody? Hell, I don’t know… when I was a teenager, maybe? These are situations that I normally walk away from. It’s a no-win for me, because I never apologize. I’d be putting myself in a position of weakness, and I just don’t do that. But now I have to. I played my cards all wrong and now I have to go all contrite to the good doctor or I may end up in jail. This could’ve all turned out so differently, I think to myself as I look out over Seattle from my office window. I would so much rather be testing her limits, tantalizing her core and bringing her right to the edge, torturing the sensitive flesh of her inner thigh…

My mind wanders back to the night I watched her dance. Her moves were so fluid, almost poetic. The way her hair swayed, as if it were also part of the perfect ballet. I can still smell her scent… captivating. And again, I’m adjusting my pants.

Fuck, Grey. Why are you thinking about the one woman in Seattle that you definitely cannot have? Because I have to find some way to apologize to her and save my ass.

I run my hands through my hair. I guess I just have to bite the bullet and simply say…

“I’m sorry.”

Shit! It sounded fucking weird coming out of my mouth, but it’s a start. Hell, what am I sorry for? Staring at her in group? Threatening her job? Calling her “Ms.” instead of “Dr.?”

How about the truth… being an ass.
Yeah, that about covers it.

*-*

Even though I hate coming here, I hate being late even more. Today, I have more of a reason to be early than anything. As I walk to the last office at the end of the hall on the 10th floor. I notice the light is out and the door is locked. It’s almost time for group to start—where is she? I knock just in case. Of course, there’s no answer. I look bemused over at Taylor, like he would have a solution to this problem. His impassive gaze only pisses me off as I turn and walk back to the elevator.

Before walking down to an obviously dark and empty 239, I knock on the door of the gentleman that had been talking to Ana in her office on Monday. I open the door after a voice from the other side invites me in.

“Excuse the interruption, Mr. …” I begin.

“Carlisle. Ronald Carlisle.” He extends his hand.

“Mr. Carlisle,” I accept the shake, “Have the group sessions been moved to another room?”

“No, sir, I apologize, Mr. … Grey, correct?”

“Yes.” Carlisle pauses for a moment, answering my question that he knows who I am most likely from some not-so-flattering comments about me from Ana.

“Mr. Grey,” he continues. “There’s supposed to be a sign on the door. The session has been cancelled for the day. However, if you sign in, you will still get credit for attending.” Now I’m certain he knows who I am and exactly why I’m here.

“If you don’t mind my asking, why has it been cancelled?”

“Dr. Steele is unavailable,” he says, coolly. Unavailable? What the fuck does that mean?

“Oh, I hope it’s nothing serious.” He tilts his head at me.

“Please excuse my candor, Mr. Grey, but I was led to believe that you were—how should I say this gently—less than enthusiastic about the group sessions. You seem to have had a change of heart?” He eyes me suspiciously. I can’t say that I blame him even though it’s still pissing me off.

“I was just inquiring about the well-being of Dr. Steele, Mr. Carlisle. Nothing more.” I answer coolly. He nods, knowingly. Fucking asshole.

“Dr. Steele did not share with me her reasons for being unable to facilitate the session this afternoon, Mr. Grey. I’m sure if her… well-being… was compromised in any way, she’d say so. She probably just needed a moment or two for herself to regroup and seeing as to how she has never taken a day off, I deemed it appropriate to allot her this time to herself without prying too much as to the reasons for her actions.” You snide little fucker! He’s taking a jab at me! Is he trying to say that I’m the reason why she’s not here today?

Well, you could be, Grey. She was pretty fucking upset when she left Monday night. Fuck! This is going to be harder than I thought.

“Is there anything else I can do for you, Mr. Grey?” Fucking Carlisle asks impatiently as I stand there glaring at him.

“Where do I sign in, Mr. Carlisle?” The asshole hands me a copy of one of the sign-in sheets for the session and I sign my name on the top line. “Please give Dr. Steele my regards… in case she’s not feeling well.”

“You’ll be able to give your regards to her yourself on Monday, Mr. Grey.” That’s his snide little way of telling me that he won’t be passing along my message, but from the irritated tone in his voice, I’m sure that he will. I smirk at him and walk out of his office.

What’s wrong with Ana? Is she not well? Did I really upset her that badly?

Of course, you did, you asshole. Do you not remember watching her get into someone else’s car while a third person drove her car back to her apartment after you eviscerated her on Monday evening? Didn’t you just tell yourself that you could induce cold sweats on boardrooms full of businessmen? What do you think a good old fashioned Christian Grey threat can do to Little Ms. Doctor Girl?

Such a fucking asshole, Grey. Such. A. Fucking. Asshole.


STEELE

He’s going to do it. He’s really going to do it. He’s going to ruin my career. That’s the only reason he can be looking into my past. That’s the only thing it could be. I have no idea what he’s planning… no idea he’s going to do…

I stand up and start pacing the dining and living room area, nervously gnawing on my bottom lip. What’s his plan? What can he do with this information?

Ana?” Brian’s voice wakes me from my internal interrogation.

“What does he know, Brian?”

You know him, Ana!?” he asks incredulously.

“Yes, Brian, I know him,” I sigh, putting my hand on my forehead. Maxie takes notice to my “tell.”

“Well, he knows everything about Lambert, which honestly isn’t much to know. I don’t know how much he knows about pre-Lambert but if he’s gotten this far, it’s easy for him to find out about the incident. So, I’m sure he knows about that, too. To be honest, I would say he knows everything that Henderson Police knows.” Fuck. Me.

I knew it. I don’t know how I knew, but I knew it. I knew that one way or another, he would end up in my secret place. I have no plan of defense against this guy because I have no idea what he’s going to do.

Why would Christian Grey want information on you, Ana?” I can’t tell Brian that he’s one of my “patients,” so to speak.

“I don’t know.”

You have an idea, though.”

“Let’s just say that I was uncooperative with him.” I rub my forehead again.

Is this something I need to handle, Ana?” I can hear it in his voice. Oh, fuck! No!

“No! Brian, no!” I exclaim. “It’s nothing like that!” I sigh again. “Can you find out anything on him?” I ask as a last resort.

I knew you would ask. Check your email.”

I don’t know if information on Christian Grey would be of any assistance to me, but hell, he’s knows my life story. I might as well know his.

“Thanks… for everything,” I say to Brian.

You’ll call me if you need me?” He’s almost begging.

“Yes, I will. I promise.”

I hang up from Brian and turn into the searching eyes of Maxine. “Well, I know who’s looking into Lambert now.”

“Who?” She leans in.

“Christian Grey,” I answer dismally.

“Christian Grey?” she says with disbelief. “The Christian Grey?” I’m still nodding. “Billionaire bachelor Christian Grey?” The nodding continues. “Hot, fine, sexy ass CEO of Grey Enterprises Christian Grey?”

“For fuck’s sake, YES! Dammit!” I’m starting to feel like a bobble-head here!

“Why in the hell is Christian Grey….”

“Stop right there!” I interrupt her. “I. Don’t. Know.”

“Oh, you know something.” Maxie points a long, polished fingernail at me. “I heard that conversation. If you can’t trust me after what you just told me, who can you trust?”

I sigh heavily. “It’s doctor/patient type stuff, Max.” I look at her defeated.

“And I am operating in the capacity of a professional. Spill it!” She sits up and folds her arms.

I sigh again. “He’s one of the participants in my Monday/Thursday group sessions.” Her mouth flies open.

“Why in the world would Christian Grey take part in group sessions at a neighborhood community center? He could buy any shrink he wanted!”

“Yeah, that’s the problem. He couldn’t buy me! He couldn’t convince me or coerce me or intimidate me or whatever it is that he does to get people to do what he wants them to do!”

“What did he need from you?” she asks incredulously.

“He’s a COA.” And the light goes on in Maxie’s expression. “And now you see my problem. He has been a thorn in my side since the day I met him. It is so hard to believe that somebody so hot can be so relentlessly annoying and callous. It’s awful!”

“How hot?” Is that all she heard out of that whole spiel?

“You have no idea.” I’m almost panting.

That hot, huh?”

“Fucking gorgeous!” Okay, I’m borderline salivating now.

Get a fucking grip, Steele. He’s the enemy!
Oh, and now here you go! Where the fuck were you when I was falling the fuck apart?
Um… er… uh…
I thought not! As per usual, shut the fuck up, Bitch!

It’s a good thing I cancelled session tonight. There’s no way in hell I would be able to face that man… not after this. This bastard is the reason these fucking dreams are back—why I have to go through all of my exercises and overcome this shit again.

“Come on, Maxie. I need a massage.”

When I need to unwind and get the stress worked out of me, I have two choices.
Hot sex—not an option right now. Shit!
Dreamclinic—now we’re talking.

Dreamclinic is the only place I can go to where I don’t have to repeatedly tell them, “Do not move the towel and do not massage anywhere covered by the towel.”

I don’t like for strangers to see my brand.
I don’t like having to deal with the awkward silence that goes along with strangers seeing my brand.
I don’t like for anybody to touch my brand.
I don’t like for anybody to talk about my brand.

I can’t tell you how many strange looks I have gotten from massage therapists who don’t understand why I will stop them in the middle of a massage, turn around full frontal, swing my tits in their face and ask them why the fuck they are moving my damn towel when I asked them not to. I had one remark to me that my ass is not that big and I should not be ashamed of it. I went the fuck off on her.

I had another one, out of morbid curiosity I guess, blatantly snatch my towel off of me claiming that it fell—like I don’t know the difference between a falling towel and a snatched towel. We came to blows and I was almost arrested.

I went to a few massages wearing a tank top after that. That was an exercise in futility. I even stopped going completely for a while.

Then I found Dreamclinic.

I only had to instruct Sylvia one time on what I needed and as soon as she asked me if I was sensitive in any areas, I knew I had found home. Walking in without an appointment can be iffy sometimes. Sylvia may not be available and I have to deal with some of the newer therapists trying to get me on their table, but I am totally faithful to Sylvia—sorry guys. Can’t blame ‘em for trying.

Luckily for me, Sylvia has an opening in about half an hour and I’m willing to wait while Maxie goes in for a full body treatment. I ponder opening my email to see what Brian has sent me on Mr. Christian Grey, but I decide that I don’t want to do that in the middle of the lobby at Dreamclinic. So, I put Mr. Grey out of my head and, after a while, go back for my massage.

An hour and a half and a whole lot of de-stress later, we decide to go to The Crab Pot for dinner. I’m just dying for some coconut shrimp and calamari. I pick off some of Maxie’s salmon, too. It’s a very nice short escape from the pressures of life. Since we took Maxie’s car, she drops me off at my apartment after dinner and, after making sure I would be okay, she goes home to snuggle with Phil. I always feel a small pang of jealousy for the happiness that they share. I have no one to blame but myself for my current lack of companionship. I shut myself down completely after Edward, and now I am “Single in Seattle…” and I hate it.

I did receive a missed call from Ron while I was out with Maxie. I didn’t bother answering since I had already told him that I wouldn’t be in tonight, but I see that he left me a message. Don’t tell me the bleeding hearts are complaining.

Hey Ana, it’s Ron. I hope you’re doing okay. Listen, that guy Grey came to my office and couldn’t stop asking about you. I thought you said he was a real asshole. Granted, he seemed like a real asshole to me, but when it came down to you he was just oozing with concern. Kept saying he was just worried about your ‘well-being.’ You may want to talk to this guy. If he is the asshole you say he is, you might be the one that can save him. I hope you’re doing better, Kid. I’ll see you on Monday!”

Concern my ass! That wasn’t concern. That was disappointment that he wasn’t able to torture me tonight.

I open my Acer and go to my email. I open the email from Brian and start going through the information.

To: Anastasia Steele
Re: Tit for Tat
Date: Thursday, June 21, 2012, 8:15
From: Brian Cholometes

Hey Ana,

Here is some valuable information on your stalker. This information is not completely public, but it’s not that hard to find if you know who to ask and how to ask them. Let me know if you need any help with anything, okay? Dinner sometime, maybe?

A guy’s gotta try…

Brian

Poor Brian. I may have gone out with him had he not been a friend of my dad’s. Granted, he’s significantly younger than my father, but he’s still my father’s friend. Maybe if I went out with Brian, Ray would see how ridiculous he looks with Mandy.

That wouldn’t be very nice, though.

I open the attachments he has forwarded to me concerning Mr. Christian Trevelyan Grey. He’s originally from Detroit—29 years old. He plays the piano and speaks fluent French. Fucker—he would have to choose my language!

«Égocentrique riche magnifique fils arrogante de pute!” Translate that, Asshole!

He started Grey Enterprises when he was 19 and made his first million by age 21. No wonder he’s so damn cocky. One thing in particular that I notice about Mr. Grey is that he wasn’t born Christian Grey. He was Christian Fields. He was adopted at the age of four by Grace Trevelyan Grey and Carrick Grey. There are pictures of him as a child. He’s got some terrible black and blue bruising on his side. On his chest, those look like… they can’t be… How could they be? He looks to only be about two years old here, but those scars are unmistakable! I, of all people, would know a burn when I see one, but he’s so young. Oh well, I can’t very well ask him, can I?

And why not? He’s got a background check on you. Turnabout is fair play!

This is one of those few moments where the Bitch is actually right, but how do you broach this topic? So, Mr. Grey, you blatantly disregarded my right to privacy and delved into my very painful past so guess what? I did the same thing to you. Now tell me, are those burn marks all over your chest?

Probably not the best way to approach that topic…

After reviewing all the other miscellaneous information Brian has sent me—his insanely high net worth, the fact that he lives in the most expensive edifice in the state, the fact that he was once one of Barbara Walters’ “Most Fascinating People,”—I decide to take his advice and Google him.

Pictures everywhere of this strikingly beautiful man—at fundraisers and red carpet events… never with a date, though.

Probably because he feels like there’s not a woman beautiful enough to share a frame with him.
Good one!

I do wonder why he’s never photographed with a date. He is so hot. Why is this unbelievably, breathtaking man cursed with such a terrible temperament?

Why, God? Why!?

There is one picture of him with his mother, Grace. She’s gorgeous, too. This would be his adopted mother. Gorgeous young doctor and her husband adopts troubled, beautiful little boy who grows up to be an arrogant, self-absorbed egomaniac. I wonder what went wrong there?

I spend well too much time going over pictures of Mr. Grey as well as his many philanthropic endeavors (who knew?) before I realize that it’s well past midnight and I need to get some rest if I plan on facing any of my patients tomorrow. After I changed into my pajamas and snuggled under my sheets, I drifted off to sleep with visions of a beautiful man in a black Caraceni tuxedo and bow tie beaconing me to join him on the red carpet…

and the nightmares didn’t follow me that night.


It’s about 1:30 on Friday afternoon. I know one of the crew has decided to be my babysitter tomorrow evening, though I don’t know which one and I have no idea where we’re going. I have seen my last patient for the day and I am sitting at my desk, mulling over some information and deciding my next move. Although I now know who has shaken the hornet’s nest and allowed my past to make an appearance into my once-content present again, I still have no idea what he plans on doing with the information. It has sent me into a complete state of unease that massages and yoga can’t seem to alleviate.

“Marilyn?” I call through the speaker.

Yeah, Ana?” her disembodied voice responds.

“Can you see if Luc has any openings for the next few days?” There’s a long pause, I’m just about to hit the button and ask if she heard me when she responds,

Did you say ‘Luc?'” Marilyn has been with me for a while. She’s a bright girl. She’s knows there’s a problem if I’m asking for an appointment with Luc.

“Yes, I did.” I wait for her response.

I’m on it.” She knows not to say much more.

As I continue to examine the information that Brian sent to me as well as some additional information I found from searching the internet, I walk over to my window. From the address and location given, I look off to the north and I think I can probably see Grey House from here. There are more than a few large buildings in that direction and it’s not far from here at all. However, standing here in my office, I don’t know which building is his. Marilyn’s voice startles me from my daydream.

Ana, Luc has an opening in an hour and two for tomorrow.” An hour is too short notice. I don’t even have a change of clothes here.

“What does he have for tomorrow?”

10:30am and 2:00pm.”

“Make it 10:30.” Luc is my self-defense coach. I know he’ll put me through the paces since he hasn’t seen me in a year. I’ll definitely need a good night’s sleep for that.

I walk back over to the window and look at the ominous buildings downtown. Grey is in one of those buildings… looking down on the world and deciding people’s fates with the wave of a hand or the push of a button.

“Marilyn?”

Yes, Ana?”

“Go home. We’re calling it a day.” After a pause,

Okay. Thanks, Ana. Have a good weekend.”

“You, too.”

I’m not running anymore…


A/N:

If you would like more information on branding, YouTube has quite a bit of videos on branding animals AND humans.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvvjGTHDRg4 – Quick video on horse branding

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QmCtG8dy3o – Human branding with a cauterizer (kind of like a tattoo)

http://www.youtube.com/watch/?feature=player_embedded&v=wg-Z0pYw79E#t=7s – This is more like what would have been done to Ana, but not as civil and not as quickly. Oh, and it was more than once.

There are a couple of pictures of some voluntary brands on my Paging Dr. Steele Pinterest at http://www.pinterest.com/pin/2040762303518306/

I did find some brands that were done for punishment, but they were so disturbing that I couldn’t put them on my page. The picture embedded in the story was a voluntary brand done as a protest to animal cruelty. 

Just a little bit of background. As you can see from Ana’s description of the event, this was a vicious premeditated act against her. I had someone remind me that livestock brands are registered to their owners. I kind of knew that (kind of), but this particular attack was not performed with a livestock brand… she may not have survived that, I don’t know. Keep in mind that they were trying to mark her AND hurt her. So, whereas animal branding takes a couple of seconds and it’s done, we can assume that if she passed out from the pain that her brand sat on her longer than a couple of seconds. Livestock brands are normally made of iron, made to burn through coarse fur and animal skins. This attack was performed with stainless steel brands. They are easy to get—you can find them in some specialty stores in some areas. There’s even a company in Texas that will ship you a personalized brand in one day—and they are very cheap; we’re talking like $20 American. So, I just wanted to point out that these kids didn’t use a registered branding iron.

Someone else asked why she didn’t get the brand removed. In general, burns aren’t something that can be removed like that. We all know at least one person who has a burn scar (or even some pretty brutal burn scars) on their skin that never went away. Human branding is irreversible—it’s a scar. They do designer branding in Singapore in a controlled environment with sterile cauterization tools and those tiny little brands are irreversible. So, unfortunately, a vicious “sit a branding iron on my back” scar is not something the knife can cut away.

Pictures of places, cars, fashion, etc., can be found at http://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/paging-dr-steele/

You can join my mailing list on the “Contact Me” page. Just indicate in the message that you would like to join the mailing list.

Love and Handcuffs!
Lynn x

Paging Dr. Steele: Chapter 9: Private Eyes and Old Ghosts

I do not own Fifty Shades Trilogy, or the characters. They belong to E. L. James. I am only exercising my right to exploit, abuse, and mangle the characters to MY discretion in MY story in MY interpretation as a fan. If something that I say displeases you, please, just leave. If you don’t like this story or me, please don’t spoil this experience for everyone. Just go away. For the rest of you, the saga continues…

Chapter 9—Private Eyes and Old Ghosts

GREY

I sit in stunned silence looking at the information before me. I haven’t been able to say anything since Welch put this envelope in front of me. How much time has passed? Minutes? Hours? I have no idea. All I know is that some time ago, Welch brought me evidence of the second most horrific thing I’ve ever witnessed.

Mr. Grey?” Welch is standing in the doorway of my office with a folder in his hand.

Come in, Welch.” He steps into my office and closes the door.

I’ve got some information for you.” He sits down in the chair in front of my desk. “The driver of the CLS—James Flemings.” He hands me the file. As I look over his background check, there’s nothing immediately significant about Mr. James Marcus Flemings. He’s 28 years old, successful tech development exec, born in Tucson, AZ. How the hell did he end up here? Why isn’t this guy in Silicon Valley somewhere instead of here pawing all over Ana? He works for one of the companies partnering with GEH. There’s no information on here about his current relationships, so I have no idea if this is her boyfriend. But then, who was the guy hanging all over her in the night club? I’ll have to look further into this.

Anything on Ms. Steele, Welch?” He clears his throat and shifts uncomfortably. This behavior is not normal for Welch. Is he… nervous?

It appears that I was correct, sir. Anastasia Lambert and Anastasia Steele are one and the same.” I knew it! I knew she was hiding something and now I’m going to find out what it is.

What did you find out?” I sit back in my chair.

Well, she did finish her first semester of her sophomore year at Green Valley.” He hands me her Green Valley transcripts. This is information of which I’m already aware. I do notice, however, that her identifying information is prominently displayed on this transcript whereas there was nothing of the sort on the Lambert transcripts.

You’re stalling, Welch.”

In April, she came back to Montesano for a few months. She registered at Montesano High School for the fall semester, but she never attended there. She suddenly turned up back in Vegas at Chaparral instead as Anastasia Lambert.” I’m getting frustrated. I can tell by his demeanor that he’s keeping something from me.

But why, man? Why?” I’m losing my patience.

Apparently, she was quite desperate to separate herself from Green Valley, which appears to be the reason why she returned to Montesano and Ray Steele. It’s unclear why she went back to Las Vegas. As a means of staying separate from Anastasia Steele and Green Valley High School, she zoned to Chaparral using the address of a relative of her mother’s third husband Stephen Morton and donned her birth father’s last name to ensure her anonymity.

She took several extra classes and AP classes to ensure graduation at 17 so that she could quickly go to college. And when I say quickly, I mean quickly! She graduated on June 15 and she was on a bus to Washington on June 16. She used money from babysitting and her part-time job at Tropical Smoothie to get here, which means she had to save every penny! Once she got here, she got the grant for Bates and the job as the cashier and you know the rest.”

I glare at this man. I didn’t build an empire by being stupid. He’s been working for me for years. I’m not going to ask him again to fill in the obvious blanks as to why Ana felt the need to become someone else. My game of stare with him is not as kind or intriguing as it was with Ms. Steele. He has exactly two minutes to give me the rest of the information or he will find himself unemployed.

He reads my thoughts like a book. He leans forward, his forearms on his knees. “Mr. Grey, in all the years I have worked for you, I have never asked you this question—quite frankly, because most often, I never wanted to know. This time, I have to ask. What do you plan on doing with this information, sir?”

If looks could kill, they would be removing the mutilated body of my head of security off my office floor and parts of him off the walls. “It’s none of your fucking business what I plan to do with the information, Welch! Remember that you work for me—and if you have a problem with that arrangement, that situation can easily be rectified!” I bark.

His facial expression never changes. He doesn’t even flinch. What the fuck is he playing at?

He pulls a smaller 6×8 goldenrod envelope out of his jacket. As he stands, he says, “This is why Anastasia Steele became Anastasia Lambert. Let me say that if I find out that you used this information against her in any way, I’ll rectify the situation myself and tender my resignationsir.” He drops the envelope on my desk and makes for the door.

Welch!” I snap. He turns around just before he opens the door. “Where the fuck do you get off speaking to me like that? I should fucking fire your ass right now!”

If that’s what you want, then fine. But before you dismiss me, I did a job for you and I got you the information you requested. Now you sit down there and you look at it. And when you’re done, know that I want nothing to do with the misuse of the information that you are about to see.” He opens the door and before stepping out and closing it behind him, he says, “I’ll be in my office, sir.”

I’m looking at my office door where Welch stood seconds ago like this empty space is going to hold the secrets to life’s unanswered questions. Welch has never reacted this way to any assignment I have ever given him, and I tell you, there have been some real fucking gems! What in the name of God is in this envelope? I sit back down in my seat and open the envelope to examine its contents.

Picture after picture after picture from every possible angle of a petite young girl apparently tortured and beaten within an inch of her life. I can only assume that this must be Anastasia as the only thing recognizable is her long, blood soaked brown hair. She can’t be more than 14 or 15 years old. Her face is so swollen and bruised that I can’t begin to fathom how this poor, mutilated child can be the same beautiful, frustrating creature that I see every Monday and Thursday evening. The pictures of her lower back are the worst though. It looks like something was used to rip the skin off her back. If I look closely at the grotesquely seared flesh, it looks like I can almost make out an “h.”

I barely make it to the restroom before my lunch makes a return visit and is launched into the toilet. What kind of sick, demented, twisted shit is this? And who would do this to a child? Did she fall prey to the same insane bastard I did? After I don’t know how much time has passed, I tell Andrea to send Welch back to my office.

“What is this? What happened to her?” I scream horrified as Welch returns to my office.

“It’s an open investigation, sir.”

“Open…?” After all these years, nobody’s been brought to justice for this brutality? As if reading my thoughts, Welch solemnly replies, “‘Open’ in that it hasn’t been closed, sir. It’s a cold case. There are no suspects, no witnesses, and no one wants to come forth with any information… not even Ms. Steele.”

I’m dumbfounded. I walk over to the desk and pick up one of the pictures of her face. Blue and purple bruises and swelling all over. I try not to go into dry heaves as I hold the picture up for Welch to see.

“Do you know this kid turned out to be a psychologist?” I ask, softly.

“Yes, sir,” he sighs, “I do.”

You are such a piece of shit, Grey, I think to myself.


STEELE

“Thank you for seeing me, Ray. I know it’s short notice and you’re supposed to be leaving.”

“No worries, Annie,” he says, taking me into a hug. “Tell me what’s wrong.”

I never told Ray everything that happened in Henderson. I never told anybody everything that happened in Henderson. True, it’s hard to hide from them that you’ve been beaten to a fucking pulp, especially when you are unconscious for three weeks. But when I woke up, I claimed short-term memory loss so that I wouldn’t have to relive the whole terrible experience again. My mother and her husband never really cared about the story anyway, but every now and again, Ray will try to get some more details out of me. I have a strong feeling that if I told him the whole story, he’d go “Dirty Harry” and I don’t want that to happen.

“I need your help. Are you still in touch with Brian?” Ray looks at me suspiciously.

“Yes,” he answers, with trepidation.

“I really need him to look into something for me, Dad.” I hold my head down and put my hand on my forehead.

“What is it, Annie?” I sigh heavily.

“Someone is doing a check on Anastasia Lambert.” He gasps a bit.

“Oh,” he answers knowingly.

“Dad, I’ve got to know who it is and why. I can’t let this shit creep up on me again… I can’t live like that…” I start shaking. Ray takes my hand to calm me down.

“Don’t you worry, Annie. I’ll call Brian right now. We’ll get to the bottom of this, I promise you. Okay?”

“Okay, Dad.” I’m doing my best to calm down, while my dad calls in the cavalry.

After I talk to Brian for a little while, I turn back to my dad. This business with Henderson popping up makes me feel like little Annie all back over again, and I really need my daddy. I throw my arms around him.

“I wish you didn’t have to leave, Daddy,” I say stifling a sob and burying my face in his neck.

“I know, Annie. I wish I could stick around a bit, too.”

“Because of Mandy?” I laugh through my tears.

“Well, yeah, her too, but mostly you.” He pulls me back to look at my face. “You’re my only little girl, you know.”

“I know.” I wipe my tears.

“But you know I’ve got to get back. I’ve got a lot of work to do.” He does? Just a couple of days ago, he told me that he may be bankrupt, unless…

“You got the contract?” I squeal.

“I got the contract,” he smiles. I hug him again.

“Oh, Dad, I’m so happy for you!” I exclaim.

“Thanks, Annie. Hey, why don’t you come to dinner with Mandy and me? We can celebrate!” I smile at him.

“No, I’m fine. This is your last evening here, and if this was my boyfriend’s last evening in town, I’d want to be alone with him.” I kiss him on the cheek.

“How did you ever get to be so wise?” I sigh as I give his arm a gentle squeeze.

The hard way, Dad.” I smile sadly.

After I leave Ray, I return to work to tend to my other patients. Thankfully, the afternoon flies by quickly and I still have enough time to make it to the King County Superior Court to drop off the documentation from my three other court ordered group members from the last session. I’m still disappointed that I can’t get rid of Grey. That man is a real conundrum for me. He makes my skin crawl when we’re in session, but at night when I am alone, I find myself seeing those gorgeous gray orbs when I close my eyes. And we won’t even discuss the dreams. That’s one of the reasons why this situation is so difficult for me. He’s so fucking hot—his gorgeous eyes; his sexy, disheveled copper hair; those pouty lips; that tall hot, hot bod; and that voice.

Fuck! That voice!

Any other time, a man like that could have me at his beck and call just panting for him 24/7. But, no—I had to meet the totally self-important version. I drop my head in visible disappointment. Let me know when the attitude upgraded version shows up and I’ll be first in line! My fucking luck so totally sucks… and I’m just about to find out how badly.

I make it just in time before the clerk’s office closes to drop off my documentation. I really didn’t want to have to come back down here again until it was time to ditch Grey… and speak of the fucking devil. Just as I am leaving the clerk’s office, who else but Christian Grey is coming down the marble stairs leading from the courtroom area. He pauses at the bottom of the stairs talking to an older gentleman, probably his attorney and probably about me. He’s wearing a midnight blue two-piece suit with a jonquil tie—most likely Armani or Belvest, but with his money it could even be Brioni or Prada! He looks utterly delicious. He has his back towards me and his left hand in his pocket, showing just enough of his very finely-toned ass. His right hand is running through his sexy hair. I bite my lip as I imagine myself clutching onto it in the throes of passion.

This is why this situation is so difficult for me—I don’t have the good sense not to torture myself! I put my hand on my forehead and shake my head in an attempt to shake off the ludicrous idea that Christian Grey and I could ever be lost in the throes of passion. I then quickly walk in the opposite direction, towards the door and closer to my car and a bottle of red waiting for me back at home at the “Bat Cave.”


GREY

It’s amazing to me how hard it is to find out any information on a kid who has been brutally beaten—a kid. How could they not have pursued something this serious? I guess if you don’t have the cooperation of the victim, it can be kind of difficult.

I need to ask Carrick about the situation with the court order. I need to know just how bad it can get. I need to talk to him soon, this can’t wait—especially if Ana plans on turning in her report before the next session. I call Carrick’s office and his receptionist says he’s in court all day, so I’ll have to meet him there.

“Christian! What are you doing here? Is everything okay, son?” Carrick is just coming out of the courtroom and is shocked to see me waiting for him on the bench outside.

“Everything’s fine, Dad.” I shake his hand. “I have a little situation, and I need to talk to you about it.”

“Okay. Am I going to need a drink?”

“I don’t think so.” I smirk.

As we walk, I explain my problem. I want to know the worst that can happen to me if Ana does submit that report to the court. My Dad rubs his chin thoughtfully.

“Well, the worst that could happen is that the judge revokes your plea and you would be required to serve some time and pay a fine.” Shit. I knew he was going to say that. I can see the headlines now…

Billionaire Does Bid in the Big House

“That’s not very likely, but it’s possible—especially with this judge. We can petition to go before a different judge, but that may not work without a justifiable cause,” he adds.

“Do I have any options?” I run my hand through my hair.

“Yes, you do. Convince her not to file the paperwork against you.” I roll my eyes.

“Yeah. Tried that. Didn’t turn out too well,” I say, sarcastically.

“Well, you still have a couple of weeks to try.” He shrugs. A couple of weeks? I thought she said she was filing the report sooner than that.

“What do you mean a couple of weeks?” I ask.

“How many sessions have you been to?”

“Three,” I answer, questioningly.

“And you are required to attend twelve in total?” I nod. “She can’t submit anything to the court before the sixth session. So, you have three more sessions to prove to her that you’re not a completely lost cause.”

Reprieve! I’ve been granted a reprieve! Well, more like a temporary stay of execution because the Sword of Damocles is still technically hanging over my head. I’ve conquered businesses in less than two weeks. I can win Little Ms. Doctor Girl back to my side between now and then, especially since we so clearly have a common ground now. The problem is that I can’t really let on that I know we have a common ground, so I have to find another way to approach this. I shift on my feet a bit and I swear I see her… just through the crowd—those beautiful blue eyes and that cascading brunette hair. I rub my eyes quickly and refocus… and she’s gone. Now I’m hallucinating about her! Get it together, Grey, for Christ’s sakes!

“Christian?” I completely forget I’m standing here with Carrick.

“How do I go about showing her that I’m not a lost cause? I think I’ve pretty much screwed it up with this,” I question. Women come to me, I don’t go to them. I sure as hell don’t grovel so I don’t have the slightest clue what I should do next.

“Well, son, if you were dating this girl, I would tell you to start with flowers and an apology. But since you’re not, you’ve got me pretty well stomped, too.” Yeah, I don’t think that would work with Anastasia anyway. She seems like a no-nonsense kind of woman who wouldn’t take kindly to that small, insincere gesture-type shit. “You need to bounce some ideas off of someone who can empathize with how she feels.” And again, I’ve never really been too much concerned with feelings.

Brick wall… brick wall… brick wall…

Like whom? Another woman? Ask Elena? Andrea? Ros? Mom?

Dad must have recognized the dear stuck in headlights look on my face and decides to elaborate on his point.

“Well, you threatened to ruin this woman’s career when she was only trying to do her job—which, by the way, was to try to help you. When she didn’t play your game, you pulled out the heavy ammunition and it still didn’t penetrate her walls. In fact, those walls may be even more impenetrable now than they were before. Now, you have to get around those walls—on a personal and a professional level. Who do you think can help you with that?”

Still… nothing.

“That’s how you’re going to have to approach it, so give it some thought. I’m sure you’ll come up with something.” He pats me sternly on the shoulder before walking away. “Dinner on Friday?” he asks over his shoulder.

“Yeah, Dad. Thanks,” I call after him.

I walk in the other direction towards the door where Taylor has brought the SUV around. I can read minds when it comes to a woman’s body—to seeking out her needs and fulfilling them. Maybe that’s why I can’t seem to shake some of these psycho subs.

Fuck, focus, Grey!

But shit, there are a set of rules and these women are supposed to follow them! They’re supposed to know what’s acceptable and what’s not. It’s a business arrangement… it’s supposed to be professional…

Professional…
Someone who can empathize with how she feels…
FLYNN!

I wave my hand toward Taylor indicating that I’m not getting in the SUV. I’m walking down 3rd Avenue as I call Flynn. Escala is less than a mile from the court and I could use the fresh air. Taylor is driving slowly, looking over at me periodically, almost willing me to get into the car.

Hello, Christian. What can I do for you?”

“I need your help with a delicate situation, John. Do you have any openings today?”

I’m afraid not. I’m booked all the way into the evening. Is it something we can discuss over the phone?”

I’m silent for a moment. I don’t really know what to ask so I think it requires some face-to-face interaction to get the answers that I need. And I certainly don’t want to have this conversation while walking down 3rd Avenue.

“How about tomorrow? Early.”

After a moment of silence, Flynn says, “I can see you tomorrow at 8:00 or at noon, whichever you prefer.”

“Eight is fine,” I confirm.

Is everything alright, Christian? This isn’t some sort of emergency, is it?” He sounds a bit concerned.

“No, nothing like that,” I assure him. “I just need your professional opinion on a very important matter.”

Okay, I’ll see you at 8:00 then.” I end the call.

Mrs. Jones has prepared lobster pasta with herb cream sauce when I return to Escala. As I enjoy the decadent dish with a glass of Bollinger, my mind drifts to the young girl in the photo. It’s truly hard to believe that poor broken little caterpillar and the beautiful, headstrong, outspoken Dr. Anastasia Steele are one and the same. The horror that child must have experienced at the hand of… whom? What in God’s name could have possibly happened that resulted in that kind of brutal attack on a teenage girl?

I finish my dinner and pour another glass of Bollinger before I head to my study to get some work done. When I turn on my computer, there is an email from Elena.

To: Christian Grey
Re: Ms. Ellison’s Qualifications
Date: Tuesday, June 19, 2012, 18:17
From: Elena Lincoln

Christian,

Greta informs me that your conversation last week was very productive concerning her abilities and qualifications, yet I have heard nothing from you concerning your decision to engage her services as your submissive. You must know that with her exquisite beauty, talents, and versatility, she is a highly marketable commodity. Though she has expressed a keen interest in signing with you, she cannot wait forever even for someone as undeniably charming as yourself. I told her that you were eager to sign someone—which is what you led me to believe—so I do not understand the hesitance to seal the deal. I am sure that you have had ample time to complete your thorough background check. So be a dear and sign the woman already!

Elena Lincoln, Owner and Operator, Esclava Salons Washington

Shit. I had completely forgotten about Greta. She has the potential to be one of the best subs I have ever had. Unfortunately, I can’t get Anastasia Steele off my mind.

To: Elena Lincoln
Re: Ms. Ellison’s Qualifications
Date: Tuesday, June 19, 2012, 19:42
From: Christian Grey

Elena,

Unfortunately, more pressing issues have arisen during these past few days that have prevented my considering Ms. Ellison’s qualifications. If she is impatient to be signed, please inform her that she is free to go with another client. When I have the opportunity to address the issue, I will do so and contact you at that time. You should know better than anyone that, even in my eagerness, I don’t rush important decisions—nor do I allow anyone to pressure me into making one. I will contact you when I have made my decision.

Christian Grey, CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc.

I scroll through the rest of my emails attempting to rid my mind of the image of a black and blue teenage girl with long brown hair lying naked and badly beaten on a dirt floor.

*-*

“So, Christian, what’s say we get right to it? What’s brought you here today?”

As I sit on John Flynn’s couch—the couch—I’m trying to figure out the best what to approach this topic with him.

“I’ve offended someone,” I state, blankly.

“Well, this isn’t new, Christian. Would you care to elaborate?”

Not really, but I guess I have no choice, do I?

“Well, that little issue surrounding the R8 a few weeks back?” John nods. “I was assigned community service and required to attend group therapy for six weeks.”

“Okay, and how is that going?”

“I’m getting to that, John.” I shift uncomfortably in my seat. “Community service, well, all I’ll say is that you have plausible deniability so let’s just keep it that way.” John shakes his head at me.

“You know, we’ve talked numerous times about you throwing money at your problems to make them go away, and it looks like you haven’t learned a thing!” I can hear the frustration in his voice.

“For fuck’s sake, John, the man ran into me! I was sitting at a stop light and he ran into me! He was so drunk he couldn’t even stand, let alone drive! And once he realized that he had gotten into an accident with the Christian Grey, all of a sudden he was hurt and the accident was my fault!” I jump off the sofa and start pacing his office. “And this judge,” I’m flailing my hands wildly in the air, “he wanted to throw me in jail! I hit the guy one time—one time, John—I didn’t beat him to a pulp or try to run him over with my car! I decked him for trying to say that the accident was my fault and the guy wanted to put me in jail. I swear he kept making all these speeches about crime in Seattle and the rich getting away with anything. It’s like I have a target on my back because I’m Christian Grey.”

“Well, Christian, sometimes you have to be patient and let the justice system run its course.”

“Justice,” I chuckle, “Yeah, right.”

“Yes, the justice system! If the gentleman was as inebriated as you say he was, he would have surely been given a breathalyzer test—which I’m certain he was anyway. Once it was determined that he was drunk, they would have suspended his license and your R8 would be fixed by now. He would be locked up with a suspended license and paying for the damages on your car, and you would be Scot free right now to go on your merry little way!”

I fucking hate when he’s this fucking logical. “Well…” I don’t want to acquiesce, “I could’ve broken the guy’s fingernail and this Hammer-Ass would have nailed me anyway. He had it in for me.” John raises his head suspiciously.

Hammerstone? Judge Marvin Hammerstone?” he inquires.

I shrug. “Yeah, that’s him.” John chuckles a bit and shakes his head. “Would you like to let me in on the joke?” I snap.

“I’m sorry, Christian. It just seems like you had one hell of a stroke of bad luck.”

Now I’m really confused. “What do you mean?”

“Well,” he shifts in his seat, “You’re one of Seattle’s most influential citizens, and you committed a crime…” I sigh heavily.

“I reacted like anybody else would have reacted in the situation.” I defend.

“Well, not anybody, but we’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and say, ‘most people.’ Nonetheless, this is an election year, and his seat is on the line in King County, and his platform has always been tight on crime.”

Fuck!

And they had to put me in front of this fucker, who apparently has something to prove so that he can keep his seat. Now, this meeting becomes more important than ever.

“Please tell me this is not the person that you offended…” John protests.

“No, no… but it might as well be for where I’m sitting right now.” I run my hand through my hair. “I offended the facilitator of the court ordered group sessions.” John grimaces.

“How badly?”

“Nuclear!” I growl. He leans in closer to me.

“What exactly did you do, Christian?”

I explain the entire nasty mess to him. Honestly, everything that I know about her now, and how I see the meeting affected her after I left on Monday, I’m embarrassed just telling him the story. I don’t bother telling him what I found out about her childhood. I don’t think it’s relevant, and even if it were, I wouldn’t use it. But threatening to destroy her career, glaring at her in session—yeah, I spilled my guts on that shit. I even told him what my father said about the whole thing.

“Well, Carrick may be on to something, Christian, when he talked about how to handle someone you are dating.”

“But we’re not dating. And if we were, I still wouldn’t know what the fuck to do in this situation.” Christ, Flynn… have you met me?

“Ultimately, people just want to be shown some consideration. No one anywhere expects you to be perfect, they already know that you’re not. We’re all flawed human beings thrust down here in the same mishmash of confusion just trying to make it from day to day. And here you have this woman who has dedicated her life to helping other people straighten out their mishmash, and she has to contend with the attitude of one Mr. Christian Grey. She no more cares about how you got there than you care for being there. All she knows is that you’re there for a reason, it’s her job to help you, and you’re throwing rocks at her at every turn. No matter how she has tried to engage you, the only thing you feel that she can possibly do for you is to sign your papers and set you free. She can’t do that, though, not in good conscience. It’s against her oath and it’s against the law. If she capitulated to your demands, she would risk everything. If she were to be exposed, she could not only lose her license, but she could also be charged with perjury, evidence tampering, and falsification of documents for turning that order in to the court. You put her in an impossible position and then you basically have a temper-tantrum when she doesn’t play by your rules. You’re a grown man running a mega-empire acting like a toddler with A.D.H.D.—and she has to deal with it. And when she has decided not to deal with it any longer, you threaten her livelihood. She didn’t know who you were, personally, two weeks ago and now you are threatening everything she has worked for. How would you feel if it were you… if you were in her shoes?”

Here we go with the feelings again…”I don’t have a heart, John. I don’t feel.”

“Well, we’ll discuss your supposed non-existent feelings at another time. But you don’t even need those emotions that you so fervently deny having to know that if someone attacked everything that you strived for that you would come at them with everything that you have! And all she has on you is that court order. By her logic, if you do destroy her, at least you’ll be doing it from jail—especially if you’re dealing with Hammerstone.”

Fuck. Fuck. Fuckity fuck fuckerific!

“So, what do I do, John? I’ve been a real arrogant asshole.” You know, my usual self.

“You’re going to have to charm her… and not in the way in which you have become accustomed. You’re going to have to show her some sincerity, because if you come at her with bullshit, she’s going to see right through you. You need to start with an apology and let her know that you are an ‘arrogant asshole’ as you so put it, and that’s how you’re accustomed to handling things. You may even have to give her a little insight into yourself and your past for her to understand why you are the way you are. You may not like this, but you’re at her mercy right now. You’re going to have to act like it.”

Oh, I hate the sound of that.


STEELE

I’m cold. I can’t see where I am but it’s so cold. The moon gives off just enough light where I can see forms. People moving around. There’s a stable, and a light—almost a haze—on the other side of it. I’m being dragged… to the other side of the stable.

It’s a bonfire.

Are they going to burn me alive?

No… please…” I’m crying. “Please…”

Oh, poor baby.” Her face is covered, but I recognize her voice. “Are you scared, you lying BITCH?” She slaps me… hard! “This is what we do to slutty little lying bitches like you!” I see lightening everywhere. I don’t have a chance to see where the blows are coming from; no chance to scream; no chance to cry. But inside my head, I am screaming….”Mommy! Mommy! Mooooooooommy!”

I hear the word echo in my head when I sit up in bed, drenched in sweat and breathing heavily.

“Oh, noooooooooo,” I weep into my hands. The dreams are back. I had escaped them for a long time and now, they’re back.

A few hours later, I’m sitting at my breakfast bar still in my pajamas. I’m sipping on a cup of herbal tea and looking at my blackberry sitting on the counter. I want to call Ray to see if he’s heard anything from Brian. I need to know who wants to know about Anastasia Lambert; who’s digging into a time in my life that should’ve stayed buried; who brought these nightmares back to my nights. Instead, I pick up the phone and dial another number.

Dr. Saunders’ office,” the perky voice announces.

“Yes, is Dr. Saunders available right now?” I ask, trying to steady my voice.

No, she’s in with a patient right now. Can I take a message? Is this an emergency, ma’am?”

“No, no, it’s not an emergency,” I take a deep breath. “It’s Anastasia Steele.”

Ana?” the voice says with recognition. “It’s Amy.”

I’m glad to hear someone’s voice that I know. “Hi, Amy, how are you?”

I’m fine. Still doing the same thing I’ve been doing, as you can see. How are you?” she asks, trying to mask her concern.

“I’m doing okay. I just had a rough night. I was hoping to speak to Maxie.”

I can have her call you when she’s done with her patient. It should be about twenty minutes or so.”

“Thanks, Amy. I really appreciate it,” I say before we say our goodbyes and end the call.

I have just enough time to take a quick shower before Maxie calls. I attempt to wash as much of the dream away as I can. I hadn’t intended on washing my hair, but I find myself scrubbing every inch of my body thoroughly almost to the point of pain. I force myself out of the shower as I see that I am repeating old habits.

“It’s over. You’re okay. They can’t hurt you anymore. It’s over. You’re okay. They can’t hurt you anymore.” I repeat the mantra until my breathing regulates and I’m able to think clearly.

I don my Victoria’s Secret Bombshell black bra and panties just as my blackberry starts to ring. It’s Maxie.

“Hi Maxie.”

Hey, Ana. What’s going on? Amy says you didn’t sound too good when you called.” I’m trying not to go into a panic attack while I talk to her.

“Maxie, I really need to talk to you about something, but I don’t know if I can drive,” I say, my voice shaking. I hear a pause, then Maxie’s voice talking to the receptionist.

Amy, clear my schedule for this morning. I have an emergency. Ana, I’ll be there in twenty minutes.”

“Thank you, Maxie. I wouldn’t ask you to do this, but I’m a little desperate.”

Say no more, Ana. I’m on my way.”

By the time Maxie gets there, I’ve donned one of the many dresses from my Lindy Bop collection—the Laney chic vintage black Bengaline high waist pencil wiggle dress with short sleeved white top with black polka dots, collar, cuffs, and bow. My hair has air dried and I brush it and pull it into a high ponytail.

“What’s going on, Ana?” Maxie asks when I let her in. I guide her to the dining room table where I sit down at the end and she takes the chair to my left. I’m wringing my hands having such a hard time discussing this, but now is definitely the time.

“I’ve never openly discussed this with anyone. Allen knows bits of it, but not all of it. But I need my friend and a professional, so…” I swallow hard. She sits up straight because she knows this is going to be a session.

“Is this going to be a doctor/patient privilege thing, Ana? I need to know if I need to call in reinforcements… or the police…” She’s cautious. I wave my hand.

“It’s too late for all that,” I choke. I break down momentarily before I can continue. “I would appreciate it if this could stay between us, though.” She takes my hand.

“You have my word.” I take a deep breath and begin my horrific tale.

czech-republic-israel_horo-1“Have you ever heard of human branding?” Maxie shakes her head and furrows her brow. “Well, it was a practice that was common in the 15th or 16th century but was abolished in 1822. Humans were branded in various parts of the world for lots of reasons—for committing crimes, for being vagabonds or gypsies, even for committing adultery…”

“Like The Scarlet Letter,” she interjects.

I nod. “Yeah, exactly like that, only a whole lot more permanent.” I pause and Maxie is staring at me, her face is full of confusion.

“Ana, what does this have to do with…” I hold my hand up to interrupt her. I take a deep breath and spit it out.

“I have one.” She’s momentarily still confused, and then realization dawns.

“You have a brand?!” she nearly screams. I nod. “How? Were you hazed!?” she asks, knowing that some fraternities still use branding in the “crossing over” process as a show of brotherhood.

“No. That’s not…” I still find it hard to discuss, but Pandora’s Box was opened when Anastasia Lambert came back, so there’s no turning back now. I hold up my finger for us to pause for a moment.

I go over to my wet bar and grab two glass tumblers and a bottle of Absolut before coming back to the dining room table.

“I know you’re still on the clock, but you may need this.” She declines, but I pour myself a double and throw it back quickly—at 9:00 in the morning.

“When my mother got married for the third time, we moved to Nevada. I used to live in a suburb of Las Vegas called Henderson. A portion of Henderson, called Green Valley, is the Beverly Hills of the area—very affluent neighborhood. That’s where the celebrities have homes—Janet Jackson, Andre Agassi, David Coverdale, Gladys Knight… you get the idea. You didn’t live in Green Valley if you didn’t have money… unless you were me.” I fight back tears that threatened to fall and pour myself another drink.

“I don’t know how my mom’s husband lived in this city, but he did. We had a huge house with nice things and a swimming pool in a wonderful location… and no money.” I swirl the clear liquid around in the glass, but haven’t taken another drink yet.

“In Henderson, not having money and being allowed to mingle with those who do is a social crime. So needless to say, I wasn’t the most popular kid in school. But I could live with that. What I’m about to tell you… I wouldn’t believe could happen in America in the 21st century if it didn’t happen to me.” I have her undivided attention now.

“I was 15 years old and I was raped by one of the most popular boys in school. His name was Cody. He pretended to like me, he offered me a ride home, he took me to a desert field and he raped me in his car then left me there. I made it home, and I told Stephen… Husband #3. He went to Cody’s house and confronted him and his father. Cody said it was consensual and that was the end of it. Stephen wasn’t going to fight it because Cody’s father intimidated him and quite frankly, he didn’t have the money that this kid’s father had. So that was it. I was a dirty little lying whore—and Cody made sure that everybody in Green Valley High knew about it. I was a total outcast—it was worse than Carrie.

“One day, I was walking home from school and somebody hit me over the head from behind. All I remember is that I was walking, and then pain and darkness, and then waking up somewhere dark and cold with my hands tied. I didn’t know where I was until the trunk was opened and lights were shining in my face. When hands came at me and dragged me out, that’s when I realized I was naked. It was dark, it was cold, and I was at a horse boarding stable somewhere.

“They dragged me around to where they had started a bonfire and there was a cluster of kids over there. I was sure that they were going to throw me in the fire, so I started begging for my life. They were all wearing masks and capes, like it was some cult ritual—it was all very dramatic. I knew he was there, though. I knew he was watching, helping, something…” I drop my head. “I couldn’t see anybody’s face, but I knew he was there.” Now I have to take a drink before I can continue.

“What happened, Ana?” Her voice is barely above a whisper. I can feel the tears, but they just won’t come. Not this time, they just won’t come. I have to finish the story—the story I never told anyone.

“The ring leader was Carly Madison. I didn’t see her face, but I recognized her voice. She and Cody were dating and I was just the lying low-class white trash whore who seduced her boyfriend. So, she drew first blood. She laughed at me while I was crying and called me a lying bitch… and then she slapped me so hard that I saw stars, but those would not be the last stars I saw that night.” Maxie’s hand flies up to her mouth, her eyes bulging nearly out of their sockets.

“Ana, no!” she croaks.

I shake my head as if I could shake the memory away. “I couldn’t even tell you who was hitting me, there were so many of them. They… beat me… everywhere! They even beat the bottom of my feet.” I can hear my voice leaving me, but I can’t stop now. “There wasn’t a piece of skin they didn’t touch… not an inch. And when I thought I would pass out from the pain, they stopped. They untied my hands and held me down, spread eagle face down in the dirt. Carly was saying something to me, but I was just on the edge of consciousness so I couldn’t even hear. The next thing I felt can only be described as someone cutting a hole out of the middle of my back. I could smell burning flesh. I screamed and I must have blacked out because that’s all I remember.”

Maxie sits there in stunned silence. Then, without a word, she pours a double-shot and drinks it down in one pass.

“When I awoke, it was three weeks later. And when the police asked me what happened, I really didn’t know. I didn’t lie, because I didn’t know. Hell, I didn’t even know about all the damage that was done to me until they showed me the pictures. All I knew is that I couldn’t move. Three weeks later, and I was still in so much pain that I couldn’t move. And to top it all off, I had been carrying that bastard’s baby.” Her hand flies up to her mouth again. “I lost it during the beating. I didn’t care. I didn’t want anything to remind me of him and what he did to me. But… we can’t always get what we want.” My voice is cracking again. “I still don’t know the whole story of how I was found or how I ended up in the hospital. I just know that they never got a chance to finish the job and they’ve never been punished as far as I know.”

“What do you mean they never got a chance to finish the job?” she asks, horrified. “You were beaten damn near to death, unconscious for three weeks… I think they were pretty fucking thorough!”

“Oh, they were, but they didn’t finish the job.” I stand up, unzip my dress, turn around and show her my “brand.”

Maxie gasps loud and long.


A/N: For those of you who are not aware of the “Dirty Harry” reference, an American actor named Clint Eastwood has a famous line from a 1971 movie called Dirty Harry where he is about to shoot this guy and he says, “Do you feel lucky? Well, do you, punk?” Unless you have been living under a rock, everybody in America (and probably other parts of the world) has heard some variation of that line at least once. In the movie, there’s a killer that got away with several murders by getting off on a technicality. A detective named Harry Callahan played by Clint Eastwood got pissed and chased him down—on and off the clock—until he finally killed him right after he quoted that famous line. Hence, Ana is afraid Ray will go “Dirty Harry” on the people that attacked her.

The Scarlet Letter was a novel written by Nathaniel Hawthorne set in the 17th century. A Puritan woman is deemed an adulteress and forced to wear a scarlet “A” attached to her clothing for conceiving a daughter while her husband was presumably lost at sea.

Carrie was a novel by Stephen King that was made into a horror movie in 1976 and remade in 2013 about a misfit girl who turned out to have telekinetic powers. I didn’t see the 2013 version, but in the 1976 version, she was hazed horribly at the prom. The vote was fixed and she was voted prom queen just so that she could end up on stage and they could dump a bucket of pig’s blood all over her. She was so humiliated that she used her telekinesis to set the auditorium on fire, cause all kinds of accidents, wreak total havoc and kill everybody at the prom while she calmly walks out of the auditorium and down the street to her home. Her final acts were to flip the car containing the couple that orchestrated the whole thing—adding an explosion for good measure—and to finish off Mom and herself after Mom tried to kill her. 

Pictures of places, cars, fashion, etc., can be found at http://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/paging-dr-steele/

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Love and Handcuffs!
Lynn x