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…
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.”
“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, “Friday…7:00, 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?”
“‘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.
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.
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.
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…
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?”
“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…”
“… 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…” Oh, that’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.
“Taylor!” Taylor appears a moment later.
“Have the access codes to Escala changed immediately,” I say as I walk into my study.
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 name—or it could have been the voice—she 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.”
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!
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Love and Handcuffs!