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 07—Let Your Hair Down
I’m at the front desk of the Inn at the Market waiting for Ray to come down from his room. I’m wondering if his new girlfriend will be joining us right away. I would like a little time with my dad first, but who knows? I didn’t really know what to wear tonight, so I settled on a gray Alfani sleeveless ruched blouse with the matching Alfani black skinny zip-pocket pants with gray kidskin stilettos with lightly jeweled platforms and heels. Ray is always kind of casual, so I’m not surprised when I see him step off the elevator in black jeans and white polo… alone.
“Hi Dad.” I hug Ray as he approaches the front desk.
“Hey Annie. You’re looking good.” He returns my hug. “I’ve missed you.”
“I’ve missed you, too, Dad. No more letting this much time go by again, okay?” Ray holds up three fingers close together.
“Scouts honor,” he says with a smile.
Ray has reservations at Maché and the reservation is for three, so I assume that our guest should be joining us soon. I take this time to find out what has brought my dad to Seattle, besides the obvious.
“Well, I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone. I’m trying to get this new client. It could really make or break my business right now.”
“I didn’t the business was in trouble,” I say bemused.
“I’ve been doing okay so far, more or less breaking even with a little profit, but you know I can’t go on like that indefinitely. So, hopefully I’ll get this contract which could lead to some other smaller contracts and everything will be okay.”
“And what if you don’t get the contract?” Ray sighs heavily.
“Then I might have to consider bankruptcy.”
“Bankruptcy?” I ask, horrified. “Is that the only other option?”
“It might be, Annie. I tried to get a loan from the bank, but my financials aren’t that strong, so the bank considers me a bad risk.” I shake my head.
“Is there anything I can do?” I ask.
“Now, Annie,” he says, his tone a little chiding, “I did not come down here for a handout.” I knew Ray wouldn’t accept any help from me. He’s too proud, but I had to ask. “Don’t worry about your old man. I’ll be just fine.” He smiles that warm smile that always makes everything okay. “So… tell me what’s been going on with you lately? It’s been a while since we talked.”
I don’t bother asking when our guest is going to show up because I keep expecting her to walk in any second. We order drinks and I tell Ray about the volunteer work that I’m doing at the community center.
“Well, it sounds like a really good thing you’re doing, but… you don’t sound really excited about it,” he observes. I sip my wine and sigh.
“It’s just not what I thought it would be.” I admit, as I accept the fact that I am completely disillusioned about my work at the community center. “When I interned at CCFW, those people had real problems and they were looking for real solutions. These people…” I shake my head. “It seems like they just want to whine about where they are, but they don’t want to change. You know I got into this because of… well… what happened to me…” We never talk about that in detail; we just kind of brush over it. Ray nods as he respects my feelings on that particular topic. “I wanted to make a difference, Ray, but it just seems like I’m wasting my time. There are so many people in this for the money. Don’t get me wrong—the money is great, but that’s not why I do this.”
“But you said this is a ‘volunteer‘ position…” he states, a bit puzzled.
“That’s my problem! The ‘volunteer’ part! I’m putting in my time two days a week—time that I could be devoting to paying patients, but no. I’m donating my time and effort to try to help these people. I don’t know if they can’t afford group therapy or if one-on-one therapy doesn’t work for them… I don’t know why most of them are even there. I had this one lady, middle-aged, children off to college, very well off—why is this woman at a community center? She’s got the money to pay for a good psychologist. Hell, she could pay me, but I wouldn’t take her. I wouldn’t take her because I couldn’t tolerate her. Her husband left her for another woman. She was compensated handsomely—nearly got his entire fortune, but she won’t let go. The worst part is that she’s not mourning the break-up of the marriage or the loneliness. She’s mourning the years she lost, over and over and over again. She spent these years of her life raising her children and living, traveling and making friends. Yet, she acts like the only thing of any importance in those years was her failed marriage. Her marriage was a huge aspect of her life and I understand that. I don’t expect her to wave her magic wand and just get over it—I live in the real world—but it wasn’t the only aspect of her life. She can’t move on, and her divorce has been final for three years!” I put my hand on my forehead.
“Oh, they can’t all be that bad, Annie.” Ray takes a drag of his beer. I look up at him.
“Oh, Dad, you have no idea. She’s one of the good ones. Don’t even let me get started on my court-ordered participants.” Visions of Grey flash through my brain and literally make me shiver. “Macho, conceited, self-centered, arrogant, testosterone-driven… they give me nightmares!”
You call that a nightmare?
BITCH, not fucking now, okay?
“Maybe you should consider stepping away from that aspect of it.” Ray seems logical, but there’s more to it than that.
“Won’t that make me a quitter… admitting that I failed?” I really feel like I can do this. I just don’t know why I can’t get through to these people.
“No, it doesn’t. It means that you can’t fix everything, honey… that some situations are just unreachable and unfixable, and you have to let them go.” Ray rests his hand on mine and smiles warmly at me. Just when I thought I was all grown up, it turns out I just needed my dad. I squeeze his hand.
“Thanks, Dad.” I smile back. “I’ll give it some thought.”
So, we’ve been talking for 25 minutes and our mystery guest has still not arrived. Now would be the time to ask Ray what this is all about.
“So, Ray. Tell me about this young lady who will be joining us for dinner.” Ray gets immediately tense. This is unfamiliar territory for both of us.
“Well,” he swallows hard, “her name is Amanda. I met her on one of my trips down here taking care of some business. We were both going into a sandwich shop and I dropped my cell. She picked it up and handed it to me, and we had lunch together. We hit it off really well.”
“How long have you been seeing her?” I take another drink of my wine. I’ve been nursing the same glass for half an hour.
“It’s been about six months now. We’re just now starting to get kind of serious, so… I want you to meet her.”
“What does she do?”
“She’s a court reporter.” Just as Ray says that, his attention is drawn to the door. He stands and I know our mystery guest has arrived. He puts his arm around her and kisses her chastely.
Holy. Cow. Batman.
Standing before me is a gorgeous, 30-something woman with long blonde hair, beautiful blue eyes, and a figure to die for. We could be friends! What the hell does this hussy want with my dad? He’s an average-looking guy, nearly 50, no big money to speak of, and just told me that his business could be failing. What the hell?
Could it be that she really likes him?
I don’t even acknowledge the presence of the Bitch. I have to put on a happy face and be pleasant to Mandy. Good grief.
“You must be Ana. Ray’s told me a lot about you.” She smiles a perfect smile at me.
“I wish I could say the same,” I reply facetiously. “It’s nice to meet you, Amanda.”
“Please, call me Mandy.” See? I was right!
“Mandy,” I say as I gesture to the empty seat between me and my father. We all take a seat, and I finish the bottom of my wine.
Dinner is a bit awkward, but only because I can’t wrap my head around this youngster hanging on my dad’s every word. Does she have a daddy complex or something? And why my daddy? Geez!
“So, Mandy,” I ask when dessert is served. “If you don’t mind my asking, how old are you?” Ray shoots a death glare at me and I look back at him.
“Seriously, Ray, did you not expect me to ask?” I ask bewildered.
“Honestly, I’m surprised it took you so long,” Mandy says, with no malice. “I’m 35.”
Thirty-five? Dad’s 48! The horror must show on my face.
“Annie, we are both consenting adults.”
“I know, Dad,” I say calmly. How do you tell your father that you don’t expect for the first woman he dates in something like 15 years to be a toddler?
She’s older than you!
She still nearly 15 years younger than him!
Get over it! Look how happy he is! And she seems to just dote on him.
I look at them looking at me, and they do seem very happy together. Who am I to stand in the way of possible true love?
“Well, it’s a shock to me. You have to know that,” I said, holding my head down.
“I know, Annie. I didn’t go looking for a younger woman. It just… happened,” Dad says, almost apologetically.
“And your father is one of the most remarkable men I’ve ever met, Ana. I don’t know how no one has snapped him up before now, but I’m sure glad they didn’t.” She looks over at Ray with genuine adoration.
“Well, if you’re truly happy, then I’m happy for you both.” I plaster that smile on my face again. Ray sighs with relief.
“Thank you, Annie,” he says, his relief evident.
“You’re welcome, Dad.”
When the waitress comes over with the check, I hand her my credit card.
“No, Annie,” Dad protests. “We invited you to dinner. This is on me.” We. They’re a “we” already.
“Please, Daddy. Let me do this,” I say contritely, and I think he knows there’s not fighting me on this one, so he concedes. “I’ll be right back; I need the ladies room.”
I just need to gather my wits a bit. I check myself in the mirror and decide I better look like I had a reason for coming in here. So, I smooth a few wayward hairs and touch up my lip gloss. As I’m putting it back in my purse, Mandy comes to join me in the ladies’ room.
“I know what you’re thinking,” she begins.
“And what would that be?” I’m intrigued.
“‘What is this 35-year-old woman doing with my father?'” I nod.
“Yep. You hit that nail right on the head. I have no clue what a young, attractive woman would want with my 50-year-old father.”
“He’s 48.” I cock my head to the side like two years really makes a difference? She holds her hands up in resignation. “Okay. Okay. I get it.” She sighs heavily. “All I can tell you, Ana, is that in 35 years, I’ve never felt what I feel with your father. He makes me feel alive and treasured and loved. I feel like I can do anything as long as he’s with me. He makes me feel special, like a teenager in high school. I know it sounds ridiculous…” She trails off.
“No, it doesn’t,” I say almost defeated. “I see my dad with you and he looks young and vibrant. I haven’t seen him like this in years, and I can only attribute that to you. And if what you say is true, then I wish you guys every happiness. But know this,” I put my clutch under my arm and turn to face her. “If you hurt my daddy, I will hunt you down like a dog—and I don’t care if you tell him I said that.” I am glaring straight in her eyes because I want her to know that game time is over! She meets my glare head on.
“For you to say that, you must really love him. And that’s fine, because I really love him, too. So, I’d say we have a deal.” She proffers her hand for me to shake it. I accept the gesture and we shake.
“Don’t expect me to call you ‘Mom,'” I tease.
“God, I hope not,” she laughs.
I’m okay to drive since I stuck to one glass of wine at the beginning of dinner. With my phone in the carriage, I say “Call Allen.” Blackberry Voice Control obeys my command and Allen’s voice is booming through my car.
“Hey, Jewel. Don’t even think about cancelling, girlfriend.”
“Au contraire! I need libations in the worst way. I’ll be home in five. When does the merriment begin?”
“French… that must have been some dinner with Ray!”
“Il était tout à fait tragique. Je dois boire pour noyer mes problèmes et danser pour oublier ma douleur!”
“English, baby, English!” Allen knows it’s a really bad day in the neighborhood when I resort to French. It’s like I was a French maid in a past life and I resort to my native tongue when I’m really flustered. I’ve been doing it since we were kids.
“I need to party in the worst way!” I confirm.
“How long before you’re home?”
“I’m turning into the parking lot as we speak!”
“Be ready in an hour.”
“I’ll be ready in half!”
Thank God Allen gave me an hour. Forty-five minutes after I hang up from him, I’m showered, plucked, waxed and ready to go. I’m donning a lavender Rare strapless bandeau mini-dress with a silver sequin bodice and a draping flare skirt with silver strappy heels. My hair is pinned up at the top with a swoop in the front and long curly waves cascading down my back. Long earrings and a matching necklace complete the ensemble. I am ready to party.
“Hot damn! I thought you said you didn’t want stalkers!” Allen exclaims as I get into his Jag.
“Oh, shut up, Al.” I blush
“You’re going to have every guy in the place all over you in that outfit. Garrett and I are going to have to keep an eye on you all night.”
“Gary’s coming?” I say with trepidation, suddenly feeling the 9th wheel syndrome creeping up on me again.
“Yes, and Val, too. Strictly stag, baby. Strictly stag.” I relax into the seat and await our arrival at the McElvoy.
There’s a short line outside when we get there, but we’re inside within 20 minutes. I’ve always loved the McElvoy, but I stopped coming when I broke up with Edward. It was called something else back then… the Viceroy? I don’t remember, but the atmosphere is still the same. The music is eclectic. Depending on the DJ’s mood, you could get Motown or funk one minute and pop or jazz the next. The bar takes up a large portion of the left wall and protrudes out into the center of the room with large cream-colored leather bar stools. There are tables and booths scattered about and lining the walls, but the rest is the dance floor, including a stage with mirrors. Like most nightclubs, the room is dimly lit and there’s a “den” off the main hall for quieter more intimate exchanges. We find Val and Gary and I quickly order my first Cosmo.
“So, Steele, I hear Ray has a new love interest.” Val is prodding me for information two Cosmos later. I throw a death glare at Allen. “Don’t look at Allen! You should have told me yourself!” I’m finishing my second Cosmo and waving the waitress over for a third when I start the story.
“She’s a teenager.” The occupants of the table gasp. Okay, let me clarify that… my father is not a pedophile. “She’s not that much older than me.”
“How old is she?” Gary asks.
“She is that much older than you, Ana,” Val says.
“Yes, but Dad is 50!” I protest.
“I thought he was 48,” Al corrects.
“Dammit to hell motherfucker, what’s two years?” I get a little sweary when I start drinking.
“The difference between 48 and 50,” Val says, matter-of-factly. The only reason why I don’t throw my third Cosmo on her is because I don’t want to waste a perfectly good drink.
“She’s tall, with blonde hair down to there, a perfect size six, blue eyes, perky tits, no kids, and she’s 35. What does she want with my dad?” I think I may be starting to slur a bit.
“Your dad’s not a bad looking guy, Ana,” Val interjects, “Maybe she likes him.”
“You’re supposed to be my friends!” I don’t want to listen to reason! I want you to agree with me.
“You’re right. We hate her. Don’t we, guys?” Gary leads the charge.
“Can’t stand her,” Al chimes in.
“Hate her guts,” Val agrees.
“Good! Thank you! That’s all I’m saying,” I slur.
“Come on, let’s dance. You need to burn off some of this alcohol.” Gary takes my hand and drags me to the dance floor. At first, I’m having a hard time standing. Then I find my footing when I hear Marvin Gaye piping out one of Ray’s favorites.
Oooo, I bet you’re wondering how I knew
‘Bout your plans to make me blue…
Now my hips are rolling and my fingers are snapping and Gary and I are gliding across the floor having the time of our lives.
It took me by surprise, I must say
When I found out yesterday
Don’t you know that
I heard it through the grapevine
Not much longer would you be mine…
Gary grabs me around the waist and is dancing with me dramatically. He spins me out and spins me back in and dips me in dramatic Hollywood fashion and we are cracking up.
I love my crazy friends.
Since I don’t do “dates,” I recruit Elliot to join me to check out this club downtown. The owners have fallen on some financial trouble and, even though it’s supposed to be a Seattle hot spot, the business is in need of investors. I already have one club, but I agree to check it out anyway, just to see if it would be worth my time. Elliot The Man Whore was only too happy to tag along with me.
Since I don’t want to have to fight crowds to get in, I show up early to talk to the owner, Richard Costa. The McElvoy is centrally located near the Market District. Early evening on weekdays is Happy Hour catering to the after-work crowd and after 9 (and all night on Saturday) is when the drinkers and the dance crowd shows up. I’m curious as to why the bar has fallen on hard times—great location, good ambience, caters to the perfect crowd, good music—what’s the problem? It turns out that he had another partner that was siphoning money out of the business. In order to avoid criminal charges, the partner sold his shares to Richard for a song, but now he needs financial backing to stay afloat. Let’s see how I feel before the night is over.
I get a brandy and Elliot gets a beer. We settle into one of the booths near the back to watch the crowd and the door. I’m looking because I want to know just how profitable this club can really be. Elliot’s looking for his next piece of ass, which is amazing to me since he’s already taken. Hell, I’m not my brother’s keeper… at least, not tonight.
I’m nursing the second brandy of the night. I’ve been here for hours and Elliot is off somewhere setting up his latest conquest. I have to admit that the place certainly does have potential from a business standpoint. It’s not necessarily a “meat market” scene—thank fuck for that—but it does have that potential, too. Wherever Elliot is, he should feel right at home. I’ve tried not to make eye contact with these women for more than a second or two since most of them appear to be on the prowl and I am sitting here alone looking like I just might be on the menu. Yeah, this place has profit written all over it. I can go, now. Just when I think I’ve seen enough, I get the glimpse of a familiar face in the crowd.
It couldn’t be!
I sit very still and strain my eyes through the crowd. It is! Ms. Steele. Well, well, well. Not as stiff as I thought you were, are you, Little Ms. Doctor Girl? Her dress is just long enough to be decent… just barely. She’s wearing strappy sandals that make her legs go on and on and on…
I watch her dance for a while, watching the hem of her dress brush against her creamy pale thighs. Damn! My mouth is starting to water. What the fuck is this? Wait a minute. Who is this fucker grabbing all over her? He’s tossing her around like a rag doll… and she seems to like it. I wonder if she has sub potential?
Fuck, Grey! You’re still considering Greta—you know, the absolutely perfect sub? Why are you fantasizing about this ball-busting bimbo? Just as I am sure that I’ve seen enough and I rise to leave, her “dance partner” dips her on the dance floor. Ms. Steele’s leg comes up and wraps around her partner to maintain her balance. Fuck…
Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
That leg is a mile long. The front hem of her barely-there dress lies delicately tucked between her and her dance partner. She’s laughing hysterically, obviously having a good time—and every time she chuckles, the back of her dress sways just enough for me to see the mound of her ass cheek. I find myself slipping back down into my seat. I’m intrigued and mesmerized by this creature. And right now, all I want to do is watch her.
Oh, this dancing is cathartic! I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun.
You’ve been cooped up in that apartment of yours mourning the loss of Edward!
You know what, Bitch? You’re right! Let’s have another drink!
Bottoms up, baby!
I drag Gary over to the bar and we order two double-shots of Grey Goose. “¡Salud!” We yell at each other before throwing back the shots and slamming our glasses on the counter. I start to hear the drum beat of Enigma playing, and Gary can see it in my eyes.
“This is all you, Ana. I’m exhausted! I’ll see you back at the crew, hon.”
“Okay, I’m going on the stage with the single dancers!” I bounce off my bar stool.
“I’ll be at the table!” he yells behind me. I put up the “okay” sign and proceed to the stage.
I turn around briefly and see Gary walking back to the table. Funny, it feels like someone is watching me. I look around the bar, but I recognize no one but my friends at the table, waving at me.
It’s the Cosmos.
Right. Let’s dance!
Lead the way!
I (along with the Bitch) find my place on the stage, near the mirrors. I like to watch myself. The beat of the music is hypnotic.
Cum angelis et pueris, fideles inveniamur
Attollite portas, principles, vestras…
I let the music start in my hips. They sway from left to right. I close my eyes.
I bend my knees and continue to sway. My arms are in the air and the music transports me to another level—a celestial time and place.
Sade, dis-moi, qu’est-ce que tu cas chercher?
Le bien par le mal? La virtue par le vice?
Sade, dis-moi, pourquoi l’evangile du mal?
Quelle est ta religion? Ousnt tes fideles?
I am floating on the notes now. The feeling is euphoric. No concerns for young tarts who may hurt my father; or disappointing results of disastrous group sessions; or cheating boyfriends who charmed and sexed me into submission and stole my identity; or vicious angry mobs of jealous, teenage girls; or hospitals…
The principles of lust are easy to understand.
Do what you feel, feel until the end.
The principles of lust are burned in your mind.
Do what you want, do it until you find love.
I know someone is here. I know they’re near. But I’m floating. I’m flying above every care in the world. The stars are my companions and I’m enjoying a heavenly escape as my hips, my hands, my arms, my legs, my feet succumb to the changing tempo of the music.
The principles of lust are easy to understand.
Do what you feel, feel until the end.
The principles of lust are burned in your mind.
Do what you want, do it until you find love.
I am to come…
I am transported to my own Nirvana where nothing matters but me and the music. I feel the presence. The connection is electric. The girl in the song breathes heavily, like she’s in the throes of passion. I find myself mimicking her breathing. I’m afraid to open my eyes. I’m floating in a different realm now. Electric blues and shock waves. It’s energizing—and the tempo changes again.
I’m coming back to earth now. My subconscious knows the song is about to end. I let my arms fall as I continue to gently sway from side to side.
Sade, dis-moi… Hosanna
Sade, donnes-moi… Hosanna
Sade, dis-moi… Hosanna
I’ve returned now. The aura has disintegrated. The electric blues have faded, leaving me with a delicious aftershock. I have no idea what happened while I was lost in the music. I finally open my eyes and look around. Nothing seems amiss—the same single dancers on stage with me, now gyrating to an 80’s pop tune. I indulge in a sensual stretch and walk back to the table with my friends.
“Damn, Steele. I haven’t seen those moves since college!” Val playfully punches me in the arm and hands me another Cosmo. “You still got it, girl. You looked hot!” I smile coyly at her.
“And who was the hottie dancing with you?” Allen squeals. I look at him, bemused.
“Excuse me?” There was someone dancing with me?
“Oh, come on, Jewel. You didn’t see him?” My expression doesn’t change. “He was delicious! We thought you shut him down because just before the song ended, he did a bee-line to the door!” Dammit! I had a hottie?
I didn’t even get to see who it was…
I never paid attention to how captivating she is. I always thought of her as attractive, but this is different. True, she showed up in my fantasies once… and now I know why. She always looks so serious, so stressed at those damn sessions; but now, she’s vibrant and youthful and beautiful. Her long, chestnut curls are fondling her bare back. And her smile… her smile is mesmerizing; and her laugh… to watch her be this carefree—she’s enchanting.
I take another drink of my brandy. I need the amber liquid to wake me out of this trance. How can I be this drawn to her? She’s not some random beautiful woman in the club. I know her. I know her personally and I don’t particularly like her. But tonight, watching her dance and be free, it’s so different. Where is this Ana in group session?
She and her dance partner have just downed a couple of shots at the bar and now she’s headed for the stage alone. Exhibitionist, are we, Ms. Steele? I watch as she connects with the music. It’s like she’s all alone up there. Her moves are sensual, the way she curves her body, like she’s a puppet to the notes. Her hands lift her hair and then allow it to fall onto her back. She rolls her head and then throws it back as if she is in ecstasy.
Good God, she is hot!
Although she’s not moving in my direction, I find that she’s getting closer to me. We’re being drawn to one another. She’s right in front of me, now. I trace her beautiful frame without touching her. Her hands are in the air, moving slowly and begging to be held. As I watch her move, something has awakened in me—something unfamiliar—and a jolt of electricity surges through me. It stuns me a bit. I haven’t even touched her!
Her breath catches. She felt it, too! Does she know I’m here? I look at her reflection and her eyes are still closed. I lean down and take a deep breath, breathing in the scent of her hair. It’s strangely comforting, like… home. I stand there for a few more moments and let this feeling wash over me.
Not realizing I had closed my eyes, I open them and she’s standing nearly still, her back to my front, gently swaying from side to side. We are so close; I can feel the heat from her body. Shit, Grey! What the fuck are you doing? If this woman turns around and sees you behind her, she’s likely to scream. I take one final look at the exquisite temptress and begrudgingly tear myself away from her and head for the door.
“Taylor. I’m at the McElvoy. I’ve had a couple of brandies. Bring someone with you to pick up the RS7.”
I end the call and text Elliot.
**I’m leaving now. Are you coming? **
In true Elliot fashion, he responds:
**Not yet, but it’s looking good for later! It’s all good, Bro. **
Ask a stupid question…
I don’t bother responding as my mind drifts to the vision of Ms. Steele on the dance floor and her beautifully fluid movements. Talk about seeing someone in a whole new light. She was mesmerizing. Her scent was magical. And I’m standing outside of a fucking nightclub daydreaming about a woman who really doesn’t like me as a person.
“My special gift is impossible relationships,” I groan as I run my hands through my hair. Taylor arrives a few moments later with backup to escort me and my RS7 to sweet solitude… well, tonight, maybe not so sweet…
Saturday night was a blast. I had the time of my life. It took all of Sunday to recover from the numerous Cosmos and shots I drank, but it was soooooo worth it! I miss those days; I really must do that more often. I don’t know how I’m going to do that, though, with all my friends having significant others now. There are only so many pity outings you can do, even for a close friend. I hate that I didn’t get to meet the hottie that was apparently stalking me on the dance floor. Oh well, everything happens for a reason.
And now, I am back at the dreaded community center. Session 3 of 12 for this group, and I am not looking forward to it. Christian Grey sat there staring at me for two hours last week, and I wonder if he’s going to take the same tactic tonight. I’m not sure I’m ready for it if he does. I’m still feeling a bit euphoric from Saturday night’s dance party. I’m trying to hold on to the feeling as long as possible.
I don’t prepare anything for this class. I want these people to talk. I’m tired of prompting them and prodding them. They’re adults. It’s time for them to tell me what they need so I can give it to them or stop beating myself up because I don’t have it. I’m sitting in 239, twenty minutes before class is supposed to start. The lights are out and I’m just contemplating. Ray is meeting with his potential new client today. I hope everything goes well for him. Dad has put everything he is into that business and I would hate to see him lose it. I think about my current situation and our talk about it:
“Maybe you should consider stepping away from that aspect of it.”
“Won’t that make me a quitter… admitting that I failed?”
“No, it doesn’t. It means that you can’t fix everything, honey; that some situations are just unreachable and unfixable, and you have to let them go.”
My dad is very taciturn, not too cultured in any way, but he’s the wisest man I’ve ever met.
My thoughts are interrupted when light floods the classroom. I’m a little embarrassed that I was sitting here alone in the dark. I turn around and Ron is standing in the doorway.
“What are you doing sitting in here in the dark?”
“Just thinking about some things.” I stand up and straighten my shirt.
“Is everything okay?” he asks, concerned.
“Everything’s fine, Ron. Don’t worry about me.” I give his arm a squeeze. He tilts his head at me.
“Well, okay. But you know where to find me if you need me, Kid. Now look lively. Your group is starting to arrive.” Oh, joy! And here we go.
“I think I may have found something, sir.” Welch says as he comes into my office on Monday morning handing me a file. “This may answer our questions about the missing two years for Anastasia Steele.” I’m damn near chomping at the bit to get this information. This woman has been the only thing I’ve been able to think about for the past two days ever since I saw her at that damn club. Nothing has changed. I’m going to group session this evening and she’s likely to be the same miserable, self-righteous little tart she’s been for the last two sessions.
So why is she dancing in my dreams?
“Lambert?” I question Welch, “I’m not quite following.”
“The procedure for enrolling a child in school in Las Vegas is a little more relaxed than in other areas, sir. Her birth father’s last name was Lambert. It’s very likely that she was enrolled in Chaparral High School in Las Vegas as Anastasia Lambert, but there are a few things involved in doing that.”
“First, she would have to be rezoned by the Clark County School District, which wouldn’t have been impossible, but wouldn’t have been particularly easy in this case considering that Chaparral is a good distance from Green Valley.”
“She would have had to come up with a really good reason for wanting to transfer somewhere so far from home.” I say, thumbing through the other papers in the file. This Lambert kid’s information is all “undisclosed” including her address.
“That’s the other thing, sir. Most times you can rezone if you have been expelled from school for some reason or if a school doesn’t have the curriculum that you seek. But even then, they would have zoned her somewhere closer to home. There aren’t many reasons to zone someone to a public school that’s 10 miles away, especially since Green Valley is one of the prominent areas just outside of Las Vegas—so it’s unlikely that they didn’t have the necessary curriculum.”
“What about expulsion?”
“It’s a possibility, but that wouldn’t explain why she changed her name. The only logical reason that she would have changed her name would be if…”
“… Her safety was threatened or she was hiding from someone.” I finish the sentence for him. Now more than ever, I want to find out what happened with Ms. Steele during those two years. “See what you can tie to this ‘Lambert’ kid; find out everything you possibly can.”
My original reasons for wanting a background check on Ms. Steele were simply to get inside her head, to see what’s important to her… what I could use against her if I need to. Now, I simply must know what happened during those two years. Was she in danger? Is that danger still prevalent? If so, why did she resume using her original name after high school? I run my hands through my hair. She was a 15-year-old kid. We shouldn’t have this much trouble finding information on a 15-year-old kid!
Why is this so important to me, now? I can’t let her have this much control over me! It’s ridiculous! She’s just the psychologist in the fucking community center that won’t sign off on the fucking papers I need to get my Monday and Thursday nights back—nothing more. Speaking of which… I snatch my suit coat off my chair and call Taylor to meet me downstairs.
Marvin Gaye—Heard It Through the Grapevine
Enigma—Principles of Lust (Extended Version)
“My special gift is impossible relationships.” Richard Gere, Pretty Woman
Though most of my locations are actual locations, the McElvoy is fictional because I couldn’t find a bar in Seattle that served my purposes. If you want to get an idea of what it looks like, Google “The Viceroy,” “The Triple Door,” and “Baltic Room.” I took aspects from all three clubs to make my “McElvoy.”
It really is a bit easy to register a kid in a Las Vegas school without the proper documentation. I did it twice.
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!