This is a work of creativity. As such, you may see words, concepts, scenes, actions, behaviors, pictures, implements, and people that may or may not be socially acceptable and/or offensive. If you are sensitive to adverse and alternative subject matter of any kind, please do not proceed, because I guarantee you’ll find it here. You have been warned. Read at your own risk.
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 06—Grey Nights
I’m sitting on my couch in the great room when Elena arrives. She gives me her phony little air kiss, then presents me with this beautiful bite-sized brunette doll. She’s magnificent. I don’t know where Elena found this one, but she is a true beauty—long natural eyelashes that frame deep green eyes, a luscious pouty mouth, lovely pale skin and beautiful supple breasts.
“What’s your name?” I ask the tender little morsel in front of me.
“Greta Ellison, Sir,” she says, softly. I feel my cock twitch watching her mouth move. I want to do some unthinkable things to this little dish. I walk around her to examine the merchandise. Greta… is that her real name? I don’t do pseudonyms, but Elena knows that.
“You’ve done the preliminary background check?” I ask Elena.
“Of course, Christian,” she says, slightly affronted. “I’m not new to this, you know.” She reaches into her purse and pulls out some documentation. “Here is her NDA and a list of her hard limits.” I take the list from Elena and scan it briefly before telling Elena, “Leave us. I would like some time alone with Ms. Ellison. I’ll contact you when we’re done.”
Elena and Greta exchange glances, after which Elena air kisses me once more and leaves. “Please, sit, Ms. Ellison.” I watch her as she walks over to my sofa to take a seat. She’s knows I’m watching her walk. I want her to know. I want her to want to please me. Her long chocolate hair stops just short of her round, firm ass. Very nice ass. I can do wonderful things to that ass. I have to adjust my pants before I go over to the sofa.
“How long have you been a submissive, Ms. Ellison?”
“I’ve been in the community for seven years, Sir,” she says, her head down, hands on her thighs. Nice.
“You may look at me.” She raises her head slowly and makes eye contact. Control, Grey. She hasn’t signed anything yet. I caught the distinction in her answer. That’s what makes me a shrewd businessman.
“Have you always been a sub?”
“No, Sir.” Intriguing.
“You’ve been a Domme before.” It’s more a statement than a question.
“Yes, Sir, I have.” There’s still something else. I can hear it.
“What was your last position?”
“And why did you leave your Dom?’
“She locked me in her playroom for three days, Sir.” She. “Captivity is a hard limit for me.”
“So, you’re bisexual?”
“Which do you prefer?” I lean back on the sofa.
“May I speak freely, Sir?”
“Right now, I’d prefer it.” She smiles seductively. She sits back on the sofa and crosses her legs.
“I can’t say that I like one more than the other because I like them both for different reasons. A woman’s body is soft and supple. She has the curve of her breast and her hips, the pliancy of her thighs and her ass. You touch her in the right way and her body sings. All you want to do is explore the mysteries of her skin. Her smell is intoxicating and her taste is divine.” I’m fascinated. She’s not telling me anything I didn’t already know; it’s just interesting to hear it from a woman—from anyone else’s mouth for that matter.
“And a man?” I ask, using a little of my Dom voice. She smiles seductively again.
“Ah, a man… now that’s a different flavor altogether. You see, most men are dominant by nature. Their bodies are strong and chiseled, made to conquer. With a man, it’s more about him taking me than it is about me taking him. Strong chests, arms, and backs. There is a force in his handling and his demeanor.” She’s squirming a bit as she speaks and I can tell, she prefers men over women, but I won’t expose her—at least not yet.
“A man has strong thighs that get hard when he fucks, just like his dick. His ass contracts and flexes. His arousal scent is much different. It’s musky and enticing. There are parts of a woman that has to be taken, but a man has to allow you to take him. A woman gets hot, and she moans, but a man gets hard.” For fuck’s sake, it’s everything I can do not to jump this woman right here on the sofa.
“He has his own little toy that you can play with. Nothing else feels like it, smells like it, or tastes like it. You get to play with it and watch it grow and suck it and when it’s all done, you get a prize.” She smiles fiendishly when she says that. I’m sure that my cock is going to explode out of my pants any minute.
“But that’s not the best part.”
Oh shit, there’s more.
“When a woman comes, she arches her back. When a man comes, he grabs whatever part of your body is satisfying him and thrusts his hips forward.” I never really paid attention to that… but she’s right. “That is… if you’re doing it right,” she adds. Oh, she’s good.
“So, which do you prefer as subs and which as Doms?” She has me so intrigued.
“As subs, either… both serve a purpose. As Doms, definitely men.” Oh, now she really has my attention.
“Why is that, Ms. Ellison?”
“It seems like women as Dommes feel like they have something to prove. It’s not about satisfaction or pleasure or tension release or any of those things. It’s almost always about pure dominance—total control and nothing else. It’s like she has to prove that she has as much power as a man, and that’s not what the community should be about. It’s about trust and of course control, but not like that.”
“But how does that differ from a man?”
“Well,” she folds her hands and contemplates her answer, “I can’t speak for everyone, but with all of my Doms… it’s been about pleasure and pain; about control, yes, that’s the definition of a Dom, but controlling my pleasure, my pain, my punishments, my orgasms, my obedience… not my mind and my behavior and everything about me.” She seems to be going back to a time and place where this has happened to her before, but she waves it away. “Case and point, most female Dommes are boss with a whip, while most male Doms prefer floggers and cats.”
“You got me there, but I must warn you. I’m a master with a cane.” Her eyes widen a bit. We may have to discuss that one in soft limits. “Why do you think that is, Ms. Ellison?” She looks at me bemused.
“Why you’re a master with a cane?” I chuckle a bit. That is the last thing I said, isn’t it?
“I mean, why do you think women prefer whips and men prefer floggers and cats?”
“Oh, that’s easy. It’s all about purpose. Whips are all about pain. It takes no finesse to crack a whip, maybe a little style and a lot of power, but no finesse. But the things a cat can do…” She looks almost dreamy, longing… fucking hell! “The perfect flick of a flogger or a cat can be exquisitely excruciating… or excruciatingly exquisite, whichever works for you.”
“And which do you prefer, being a sub or being a Domme?” She turns to me and rests her elbow on the back of the sofa while leaning her head on her fist.
“Whatever the situation calls for,” she purrs.
She’s topping from the bottom—or maybe she’s topping from the top, if there is such a thing—and it’s almost unbearable. I pull out my blackberry and text Elena that Ms. Ellison is ready to leave. Elena is at my door almost immediately. What the hell… did she sit in the fucking parking lot?
I walk Elena and Ms. Ellison to the door where we shake hands. “It has been most enlightening, Ms. Ellison.”
“Yes, it has, Sir. I hope we meet again,” she coos. I smile.
Elena is a bit bewildered and says in my ear, “Did it go well, Christian?” She’s masking her question. What she really wants to know is why Ms. Ellison is not staying.
“I’ll be in touch,” I respond.
“Should I keep looking?” She’s still looking for answers.
“I’ll be in touch,” I repeat, and she knows that’s the only answer she’s going to get. She turns around almost military style and marches out of the room. She was my Domme for six years—a position she clearly doesn’t seem to understand is not in effect anymore.
I walk into my bedroom running my hands through my hair. I turn on the shower and watch the steam fill the en suite.
Greta Ellison is perfect. Abso-fucking-lutely perfect. Where has Elena hidden her all this time?
So why aren’t we discussing hard and soft limits right now?
Why didn’t I have her sign a contract and proceed with a full background check?
Why aren’t I making arrangements to decorate the sub’s room to her specifications?
Or for Carolyn Acton to provide me with a new wardrobe in her size?
Or for a new A8 to be delivered next week?
I get undressed for my shower and I noticed that our conversation has left me, once again, hard as a fucking rock. Fuck! I step into the shower and begin to wash my hair. My dick is pulsating like a horny teenager, and exercise and cold water are not going to take care of this one. I’m going to have to take matters into my own hand.
I grab my cock and start to stroke slowly. I close my eyes and there is the vision of a brown-haired beauty tied to the four-poster bed in my playroom, eagle-spread and ready. She’s blindfolded and waiting for me, her beautiful pink bud open and glistening.
I’m stroking the soft skin of her thighs as I crawl on top of her, but I don’t stop at her sex. I crawl up to her mouth and part her lips with the tip of my cock. Her lips close over the head and she licks the slit with her tongue.
“Shit!” I stroke harder as I imagine pushing my dick further into her pink pouty lips while she’s lying on red satin sheets. I’m fucking her mouth, slowly and deeply. I push myself further in and grind my hips until I’m filling her hot, wet orifice over and over as I support my weight on my arms.
“Fuck! Fuck!” I’m stroking myself fast and hard now as I see her raise her head to meet my thrust. With one of my hands, I remove her blindfold—and her eyes are blue!
She’s sucking me hard and fast and I’m fucking her mouth relentlessly on the bed in my playroom!
“Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck!” I come ferociously in the shower. If this were anywhere else, I’d have one hell of a mess to clean up. I can hardly fucking breathe. I lean against the shower wall while I try to get some air into my lungs and some strength back in my legs.
“Fuck me…” I can’t remember the last time I came that hard, much less from jerking myself off! What the hell is this? I’ve got the perfect sub just waiting for a contract. Why the fuck am I thinking about Little Miss Doctor Girl?
He’s hovering over me and I can feel his hot breath on my lips.
“Edward, no,” I protest weakly.
“Please, baby, just let me take care of you.” He’s kissing my neck and his hand goes to my breast. I moan softly as he teases my breast with his fingertip, no pinching, just rubbing. Then he’s kissing my chest, my navel, and right at my pubic line.
“Edward!” I moan. He feels so good, and it’s been so long.
“Oh, baby. Let me taste you.” His lips move to my sex and gently he licks my clitoris once, twice…
At the mention of his nickname, he heightens his assault. He’s relentless. His hands are clamped down on my thighs, holding me open and preventing my escape.
“Ah… ah… Eddie… oh… my God… Eddie…” I’m building higher and higher until I explode, loudly calling his name and arching my back off the bed as he licks and teases every bit of my release from me. He starts to kiss his way back up my body as I’m breathing heavily, a sheen of sweat covering my skin. And when I look up at him, I come face to face with piercing gray eyes and flopsy copper-colored hair.
“Grey!” I gasp.
I sit straight up in my bed, alone—no Edward, no Grey—still breathing hard, still sweating, my clit still throbbing from my nocturnal orgasm. What the fuck was that? Fucking hell! I can’t have a wet dream about Gilles Marini or Patrick Dempsey. No, I have to fucking come on myself dreaming of a no-good lying cheating ass bastard and a self-absorbed, egotistical, arrogant asshole! I say again, fucking hell! I look at the clock. 5:34a.m. I might as well get up. It looks like I’m going to need a shower anyway!
“Good morning, Marilyn,” I say as I walk into the waiting room of my practice.
“Good morning, Dr. Steele. Coffee?” Marilyn is extra chipper this morning.
“Please? Thank you.” I take my mail from her desk and walk into my office. Nothing of any real importance this morning. I turn on my computer to look at my calendar. Three appointments this morning and one for this afternoon. Oh, and Ray will be here this evening. Not that I forgot, but it’s not like I have to set up the guest room or anything. I like days like this. I like dealing with my one-on-one patients enough, but short days and then afternoons to myself, I really like that. The three days that I’m in the office are usually jam-packed with patients from morning to late evening and sometimes into the night, but not today. I can’t help feeling a bit bereft though. I do my group sessions at the community center on a volunteer basis, but I just don’t feel like I’m getting through to these people. I want to be able to help them, but they all seem to have their fists clenched so tightly on the past that they can’t open up to the future.
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
Oh, hell, do I really have to spend my day with this Bitch?
Get over it, Steele. There’s only one way to get rid of me and you don’t strike me as the suicidal type.
If I were, I sure as hell would be dead by now, wouldn’t I?
Why the hell do you think you’re having wet dreams about men that you say you don’t want?”
Fuck if I know.
Oh, you know.
Oh, Great Guru! Please tell me! I can probably figure out why I’m dreaming about Edward, but why Grey?
One represents your past, and one your future. I have to tell you this, really? You’re the one with the degree!
Okay, I’m crazy! I’m officially crazy. I’m literally having an argument in my head with myself—and I’M LOSING! Wait a minute…
How the fuck does Grey represent my future?
When is the last time you got some? Snarky Bitch.
You know the last man I was with was Edward.
And now this hot hunk of deliciousness walks into your life and as much as he’s pissing you off, you’re having wet dreams about him. YOU NEED TO GET LAID!
Oh, I so hate when that Bitch is right, but I’m not going to go out and offer myself up to just anybody and my battery-operated-boyfriend is just not cutting it these days.
It’s been three and a half years…
I get it, okay?
Maybe it is time for me to get back out there… And all of this before I’ve even had my coffee.
“Hi Ray. How was your drive?” I call Ray as soon as I get home.
“It was fine, Annie. A little tiring, but overall it was okay.”
“Did you get settled in okay?”
“Just fine, Just fine. I’m probably going to order up some room service or something and watch the Mariners game.”
“Do you want me to come see you, Ray?”
“It’s Friday night. I know you must have some kind of plans other than spending the night with a cantankerous old man!” I laugh.
“You’re not old and you’re not cantankerous, Ray!”
“Well, I’m glad you said that. Nonetheless, you need to go out and be young!”
“Well, as a matter of fact, I do have plans. The gang and I are going out to meet Garrett’s new girlfriend.” I think I hear my father gasp.
“Garrett has a girlfriend?” he asks incredulously.
“I know, right?” I laugh. “But it’s true. He dropped the bomb on us last week.”
“Well, well, well.” Ray gets a little quiet. I can smell the smoke from across town. His gears are turning.
“Ray….” I begin scolding.
“I know, Annie. I know. It just seems like that Edward guy broke you, and after everything that’s happened…”
“Please, Dad,” I plead, “Let’s not bring it up right now.” I hear my father sigh.
“I just don’t want to see you end up alone, Annie. No one deserves to be alone. Remember that.” I wipe a stray tear from my cheek.
“Okay, Dad. I will. I’ll see you at dinner tomorrow?”
“Sure, Annie. Talk to you soon.”
We’ve agreed to gather at a charming little spot called “The Hideout” to meet Gary’s girl. At first, the name made me a little uneasy. It turns out that it’s this kind of cute artsy bar downtown, and I know Gary had to pick it. From the outside, you would never know it was a bar. It looks like someone’s small office, like legal aid or something. Once you cross the threshold, it’s like a time warp! The bar is dimly lit by large crystal chandeliers, with just the right amount of glamour, style, and culture. The dark red walls are covered in eclectic artwork all by local artists. It has a “speakeasy” charm to it. Al, James, and I sit on the green leather bench that lines the wall underneath some of the artwork while Maxie and Phil sit in chairs opposite us sipping their drinks. We’re all talking about how our week went and I’m doing everything possible to steer the conversation away from me. I can’t dodge the bullet for long, but luckily when it finally does get to me, Vivacious Valerie shows up with her latest conquest and steals the show.
“This is Charles Knight everyone. Charles, this is Ana, Maxie, Phil, Al and… I’m so sorry, I can’t remember your name,” Val looks at James with contrition. He shows all 32 of his pearly whites as he offers his hand for Charles to shake.
“Don’t worry about it, Valerie. Hi, I’m James.” Charles shakes his hand.
“Nice to meet you all,” he says as he and Valerie take a seat. True to Val’s prototype, he’s six two, blonde hair, blue eyes, gorgeous, but way too metro-sexual for my taste… perfect for Val, though.
“So,” she leans into the table like she is about to reveal government secrets, “What do you guys think? Is she going to be a bookworm, the artsy type, or a real hottie?” As everyone is throwing in their votes on what they think Gary’s new girlfriend looks like, I have a bird’s-eye view of the door… and here they come. Without taking my eyes off of the couple headed towards us, I announce, “I vote for hottie.”
Everyone at the table follows my gaze and then fall silent. Our shy, six-foot, bookworm Gary has gone out and found himself a butterfly… and she’s gorgeous! She can’t be taller than 5′ 3″ and Gary towers over her. She’s got short, curly strawberry blonde hair and green eyes. Her figure is astounding and her skin is flawless.
“Hi everybody,” Gary says nervously as he approaches the table.
“Well, hi, Gary. Who’s your friend?” Maxie breaks the ice for us all.
“This is Bethany Shepherd.” Gary is sporting the biggest smile I’ve ever seen in the entire six years that I’ve known him. We all welcome Bethany to our little group and she seems to fit right in. We all get our rags in at poor little Gary’s expense, but hey, he’s like the little brother none of us have… I think. Bethany hangs on to him for dear life, but I think it’s more because of the new people and surroundings.
I take this moment to look around at the beautiful artwork on the walls. They range from animals to people to abstract shapes and colors. There’s even a picture of a retro big-wheel as well as a full-figured woman in a polka-dot bikini hanging over the bar. I suddenly feel a little guilty letting my mind wander off instead of talking to my friends when I realize they wouldn’t have missed me anyway. Maxie and Phil are always all over each other and every other couple—Allen and James, Valerie and Charles, and Gary and Bethany—are all cooing at each other submerged in their new love. That’s when it hits me—like a freight train. I am officially the third wheel—or in this case, the ninth wheel. There’s not another “single” person in this group now… it’s just me. And after the discussion that I had with The Bitch earlier, I feel like the bearded lady in the circus sitting amongst a band of super models. I have to get out of here—now!
I reach for my purse and pull out my wallet. I hand Allen $20 for the sodas that I drank. “I have to go home. I really have a massive headache,” I lie.
“Do you need me to drive you, babe?” He looks concerned and James is looking over his shoulder at me.
“Oh no, please, stay. I’ll be fine. I think I just really need some rest. It’s been one hell of a week.” I rub my forehead and I have learned that is my telltale sign that all is definitely not well.
“Are you sure?” Al is very skeptical.
“What’s wrong, Ana?” Val has now picked up on my “tell,” and now the attention of the entire table is focused on me. Oh, God, the very last thing I need right now is pity.
“Please, guys, it’s no big deal. I’m going home. I’m tired and my head hurts. It felt the headache coming on before I got here, but I really wanted to meet Bethany. Please don’t let me spoil your fun. It’ll just make me feel worse,” I plead.
“Well, at least let one of us take you home,” Maxie bargains. I sigh. I realize that I cannot negotiate with these people. I just have to leave. I stand up and pick up my purse. Time to make a speedy getaway.
“No, really, I’ll be fine. I’m a big girl; I can take care of myself.” I bend down and kiss Al. “It was so nice meeting you Bethany, Charles. You guys have a good time!” I plaster on my biggest fake smile and wave as I make my escape.
I’m so glad to get out into the air… and so depressed at the same time. I get in the car and sit in the driver’s seat for a moment. If I sit here for too long, I’m sure that one of them is going to follow me out to the parking lot. I start the ignition, throw that puppy in gear, and drive home as fast as I can.
I now find myself sitting in the parking garage, alone. I’ve turned off the car and I just sit there. I just walked out on all of my dearest friends at one of the coolest hangouts I’ve ever seen at 9:30 on a Friday night because I was the only one in the group that didn’t have a date. I feel the tears streaming down my face before I even realize that I’m crying. I’m waiting for The Bitch to say something snarky right now. I realize that she must be cuddled in a corner wrapped in a Snuggie and wallowing in self-pity as well because she has nothing to say.
Edward sent me to the furthest reaches of paranoia when he cheated on me. I knew something was going on all along, but I didn’t have any proof. I was running around like a crazy woman trying to connect the dots. It was right there in my face all along. Everybody knew it, but I couldn’t swallow it. I don’t know if I was hopelessly in love, afraid to be alone, or simply didn’t want to lose him.
He so vehemently denied everything and I was living on the very edge of sanity. I knew what my gut was telling me; I knew what the signs were telling me; but he was steering my fragile heart and mind in a completely different direction. I lived in Paranoiaville for months until Al literally dragged me to the restaurant where he and Charlotte were having dinner that night. There was absolutely no mistaking the intimacy between them, and in what I like to call the “three-second-funnel,” our entire relationship flashed through my mind:
All of the times that I knew something was going on and he told me I was wrong.
The times that I begged him not to stay out all night and asked him what the hell was going on and he convinced me that I was being paranoid.
The times that I pleaded with him to make love to me, but instead he left and was gone for hours, leaving me unsatisfied time and time again.
The strange phone calls, all the secrecy, women being so cozy with him when we went out to functions, different pseudonyms that he had—it was as clear as day.
But I chose to ignore it.
I was miserable, unhappy, and lonely for months.
And he just let me suffer while he ran the streets doing what he wanted to do with whomever he wanted to do it.
I doubted myself, I doubted my worth, I doubted everything.
I almost dropped out of school.
In that three seconds of clarity, standing in that restaurant, watching him snuggle up to this other woman, all of the heartache and crap and madness ran through my head and five words came out of the funnel:
I was right all along.
I remember walking over to the table, looking at him directly in his face. At first, he looked at me in surprise. Then, his face fell to calm indifference. He admitted nothing, apologized for nothing, and even said nothing. He didn’t even have the decency to show the slightest bit of remorse. I walked out without a word. There was really nothing to say. I could never be that woman again—that paranoid, lonely, broken woman. I would never be her again.
He didn’t come home that night. He always felt like it was better to ask for forgiveness than permission. Whoever thought of that rule should have added a qualifier. Be prepared to lose that fight if you make that decision, because hearing “no” when you ask for permission is easier than hearing “no” when you ask for forgiveness. That night, I called a 24-hour to change my locks. The next day, I asked Allen to come over and pack his things for me, which he was only too happy to do. The remorse didn’t come until several months later when he came back begging for forgiveness and I refused to talk to him.
And now, every few months for the past three and a half years, that’s what he has done. He’s quiet for a little while and as soon as I think he’s gone, he shows up again trying to insert himself back into my life like nothing has happened. And now I get it. I get what the Bitch was trying to get me to see. When I said that the members of the group sessions all seem to have their fists clenched so tightly on the past that they can’t open up to the future, it was a mirror into myself. I’ve shut myself off from love and affection for three and a half years because Edward broke me, just like Ray said! He really broke me! And while I’m running around trying to fix the ills of the world, I haven’t even fixed what’s wrong with me yet! It’s high school all back over again.
Physician, heal thyself.
Her only three words all night.
I put my head on the steering wheel and cry until it feels like my chest is going to cave in.
“ANA! Fuck! Ana! Wake the fuck up!” It’s not the yelling that wakes me. It’s the banging… and it’s right next to my head. Where the hell am I?
“ANASTASIA ROSE STEELE!”
Okay, somebody used my full name. I am in trouble! I open my eyes to see that I’m still in my car in the parking garage. Shit, I fell asleep in my car? I turn to my left and I see a very irate Allen looking at me through the window. He is pissed! He rarely ever calls me Ana, let alone Anastasia, but this time he has used my full government name. I hit the automatic locks to open the door.
“Why are you here, Al?” My head is banging now.
“I could ask you the same damn thing! What the hell, Heifer?” He’s standing there with his hands on his hips as I try to gather myself to get out of the damn car. “Well?”
“I fell asleep.” I finally get out of the car.
“No shit, Sherlock!” he says, closing the car door behind me. “You scared the shit out of me! I thought you were dead, Cow!”
“Well, I’m not!” I say walking to the elevator. “I just have a massive headache.” Allen stops walking.
“Are you telling me that your head hurt so bad that you couldn’t make it up to the apartment?” He’s concerned now
“No,” I say, honestly. “I’m telling you my head hurts now.”
“Mm hmm.” He’s shaking his head as he enters the elevator. “That’s what I thought.”
“Really, Allen, why are you here at…” I look at my watch, “…12:30 on a Friday night?” I ask, sitting at my dining room table.
“Actually, it’s Saturday morning, and I came to see about you.” He hands me two Advil and a glass of orange juice.
“Well, I’m fine.” He snaps his head at me like I just slapped him.
“The hell you are! I just found you passed out in your car in the parking lot in the wee hours of the morning. I think it’s safe to say you are definitely not fine!” He’s rolling his head on every word. Dear God, he’s worse than a father.
FATHER! I have to meet Ray later! Shit.
“Why are you here instead of with James?” I put my elbows on the bar and lean my forehead in my hands. Al takes a seat and sighs heavily.
“Because we’ve been friends for 14 years and I know when you’re handing me a load of bullshit.” I look into the eyes of my best friend and I know I can’t hide anything from him.
“What exactly do you think is going on, Al?” I say, fighting back the tears.
“I think you were smack dab in the middle of ‘summer love’ and you were the only ‘stag’ at the party.” With his usual precision, he has hit the nail on the head. I fight the tears—I will not cry again. He sits next to me and put his arm around my shoulders.
“Does everybody know?” I say, my voice thick and heavy.
“I think Val may have a clue, but everybody else is pretty much zoned.” My shoulders shake as my body shivers from unshed tears. I’m completely humiliated.
“He broke me, Al,” I squeak. “I’m so closed off; I don’t even know how to put myself out there anymore.” Al rubs my back.
“As hot as you are, you don’t know how to put yourself out there? It’s time to go clubbin‘, Honey.”
“Oh-ho, no…” I groan. “I don’t want to meet some random guy from a club.” Al laughs at me.
“You’re not trying to marry him, Honey. You’re just trying to get yourself out there again, break the ice, maybe even dust the pipes a bit…”
“Al!” I exclaim, horrified.
“Seriously, Jewel, when’s the last time you got some? Edward?” Oh, good God, and the Bitch’s words come back to haunt me.
“Al, please….” I get up from the breakfast bar and walk to my bedroom, knowing that he’ll follow me.
“I’m just saying, Jewel. A good dustin‘ and cleanin‘ might be just what you need!” He can be so vulgar sometimes. I reach into my chest of drawers and pull out my light blue Shimera silk pajama short set. I know he might be right, but casual sex has just never been my thing.
“Al, you know I’m not into that kind of thing. I never have been.” I go into my en suite to change into my pajamas.
“Well, it might be time for a change!” he yells through the door. “Try something new! You never know what might happen.”
“Yes, I do know what might happen! I go into a club looking for a little fun and I come out with a stalker, a loser, a cheater, or a disease.”
“Come on, Jewel. We’re not talking about some North Seattle, Aurora Avenue hole in the wall. I wouldn’t do that to you. We’re talking about the McElvoy, honey. Classy crowd, good food and drink, and great music. And I will be your designated driver, so I do intend to get you drunk.” I surface from the bathroom in my pajamas.
“And, pray tell, when will this revelry take place?” I ask, removing the duvet from my bed.
“Tomorrow night, my precious flower… well, tonight I should say.”
“Did you forget I have this thing with Ray tonight?” I protest.
“You’re pretty certain that Ray is meeting you to tell you about his woman, right?”
“Right,” I say, yawning and climbing into bed.
“You won’t be with Ray all night.” Al comes over and pulls the covers over me. Kissing me on the forehead, he says, “Love you, Jewel.”
“Love you more.” I almost start crying again. He turns the light off as he’s leaving.
“Call me when you’re done with Ray, and we’re breaking you out of jail.” He winks at me and closes my bedroom door. I can hear him leave the apartment and lock my deadbolt with his emergency key. I’m going clubbing tomorrow. Not necessarily something that I’m really looking forward to, but he’s right. I have to get back out there. I’ve been living like a hermit for years now.
I close my eyes and slip into a dreamless sleep.
My fingers flow effortlessly over the ebony and ivory keys of my piano. The music is beautiful and soothing and, as usual, I can’t sleep.
Once I’ve completed the piece, I go over to the glass wall and look out over sleeping Seattle. Business has been going very well. I’ve closed three acquisitions this week and I’m working on a fourth. What’s more, I’ve found the perfect potential submissive in Greta. Her background check confirms everything in our conversation; she’s beautiful, sexy, and experienced. I don’t doubt that she would be everything that I need.
So why am I being haunted by chestnut hair and blue eyes when I close my eyes?
A/N: “Physician, heal thyself.” The Holy Bible, KJV Luke 4:23
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