Paging Dr. Steele: Chapter 28: Family Ties

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 28—Family Ties

GREY

I’m frozen. I’m frozen to the spot. And she’s touching me. Her hands are on my shoulders and she’s moving them down to my chest. “Get away from me, you bitch!” But she won’t. She won’t let go. There’s blood coming from my shoulders and chest where she’s touching me. The pain is excruciating. I want to hit her—I want to hit her so hard that she never wants to touch me again. Please… help me… please, someone… help me.

I’m here, Christian.” I hear her voice. Butterfly! Please save me! Save me Butterfly.

Come to me, Christian. I’m here,” she coaxes gently, but I can’t find her.

Ana! Ana!” I call to her. I have to find her… but I can’t move. “Ana, help me!”

Christian, can you hear me?” she says softly.

Yes. Please help me!”

I’m right here, Christian. Wake up!”

I wake up drenched in sweat, lying in my childhood bed with my T-shirt and pajama pants sticking to my body and Ana—my Ana—looking down on me with loving, caring, concerned eyes.

“I’m here, Christian,” she says as she strokes my sweat drenched face. She saved me! She came into my nightmare and got me! She pulled me out—like a lifeguard saving a drowning man. I’ve had people wake me from my night terrors, but nobody has ever come into the dream and gotten me. No one has ever come in and pulled me out.

“Oh, Ana. Don’t ever leave me, please,” I beg gathering her in my arms.

“Why would I ever leave you, Christian?” she asks incredulously. Because I’m a sick, sadistic fuck who beats brunette women to get back at my crack whore mother.

But do you still do that, Grey? Ana has transformed you, and you don’t do it anymore. The acts now are strictly for your and her enjoyment.

Can I live with that rationalization? No, I know it’s bullshit. I will tell Ana the truth one day. I just hope she doesn’t leave me.

She gets up from the bed and goes to the en suite. I hear the faucet, and she returns with a cool face cloth and a glass of water. The face towel is soothing on my over-heated skin. I drink the water like a good boy. She takes my glass and sets it down on the nightstand. Butterfly props herself up on the pillows and draws me to her. I lay my head on her chest and she strokes my hair. It would have put me to sleep under normal circumstances, but now, I’m wide awake. After several minutes, I ask, “Butterfly?”

“Yes?” she answers softly.

“Are you awake?” She laughs lightly.

“No, I’m sleeping. This is unconscious Ana speaking; how can I help you?” That smart mouth. That smart, talented mouth…

“You’re beautiful and magnificent and way too good for me,” I proclaim.

“I know, but it’s too late. I love you already,” she answers. God, I love this woman. I take her face in my hands and kiss her gently, ending with a brush of my nose against hers.

“I want to show you something,” I say getting out of the bed and taking her hand. She’s wearing a set of blue silk pajamas that my mom bought me back in high school, but she never knew that I didn’t wear them. Ana looks like a child dressed in Daddy’s clothes. I take her downstairs to the library where my mother’s grand piano resides. This is something that I want to share with my Butterfly. I’ve never shared it with anyone outside of my family unless one of my subs dared to interrupt one of my nighttime sonatas—and that usually didn’t end well for them.

Another first.

We sit on the bench together. Normally I would want to play something maudlin or forlorn on these nights when I’m awake and battling my demons. But tonight, I can only think of the beautiful woman sitting next to me. The first song that comes to me is “Truly” by Lionel Ritchie. Ana’s face lights up as I begin to strike the keys. I don’t know if I ever told her that I could play, so this is a surprise for her. The motion of my fingers over the instrument always tends to calm my mind, while the terrestrial combination of notes serves to soothe my soul. Butterfly eventually lays her head on my shoulder as I continue to serenade her with an old school love song. As I strike the final note of the song, I look down at her and tears are streaming from her eyes.

“Will you play another one?” she asks, her voice cracking. How could I say no? I strike up the ivories again and play “One and Only” by Adele. The tune wraps us both in comfort and I soon feel my Butterfly getting heavy on my arm. It’s late and she needs her rest after the night we’ve had. Meeting my family sure could have gone a hell of a lot better, and she hasn’t even met Mia yet! But Ana handled it like a pro—all the way down to knocking the Pedophile on her ass… again! And she really took the wind out of Kavanaugh’s sails. I finish the tune and look over at her again. She’s fighting the good fight, but I know she’s tired.

“I love you, Christian,” she says softly, in her sleepy voice.

“I love you, too, Anastasia,” I say before scooping her into my arms to carry her back to my room. As I clear the library door, I see someone standing in the shadows. I shift a bit to find a timid Mia looking back at me. I look over and Butterfly has instantly fallen asleep in my arms.

“Cwis,” Mia greets me with a delicate smile.

“Meelo,” I greet back with a wink and take my girl to bed.


STEELE

What a fucking disaster! I turned into Sha-Za Queen of the Fucking Amazons in front of Christian’s parents. I’m so unbelievably humiliated that I can’t even speak. I just sit there holding Christian and his mother, crying.

I want to go home. I want to crawl up under the covers and hide for three days and pretend this whole thing never happened, but Christian lifts his head and he’s been crying, too. He looks utterly exhausted and I don’t think anyone can take anymore merriment for the night. Grace had the cooks prepare a huge meal for dinner that no one ate, and Christian looks like he’s going to just roll off the sofa in a mound.

“Why don’t you stay the night?” Grace suggests, as she delicately strokes tendrils of hair out of her son’s face. I hear Kate gasp behind me, again. She’s been doing a lot of gasping and bitter-looking tonight. Well, she might as well get used to it, because I’m not going anywhere, thank you very much!

Grace leads us up to Christian’s old bedroom and I send him into the en suite to take a shower. I’m sitting on his bed, my head in my hands when Grace comes into the room.

“Ana?” she says softly to gain my attention. I slowly raise my head and look at her. “Here’s some fresh linen for you two and some of Christian’s old pajamas. They might be a bit large for you, but they’ve never been worn. He doesn’t know that I know.” She smiles.

“Thank you, Grace. That’s very kind.” She places the linens and pajamas on the bed and turns to leave. “Grace?” She stops and turns to me.

“Yes, dear?” Her kindness brings me to tears again. If she only knew how badly I want to hide my face under a rock right now. Will she ever invite me to anything at her home again?

“I’m sorry,” I say through my tears. “My behavior was deplorable! You must be mortified!” She sits down next to me.

“You dry those tears, now,” she says, putting her arm around my shoulder. “All I saw was a young lady that I had just met trying to protect my son. What I don’t understand is why Elena behaved that way.” Uh oh, Pandora is peeking out of her box. I wipe my face and straighten up.

“Grace, I’ll be honest. I was getting dirty looks all night—from the girls, from their mothers, even from one of the kitchen staff. And Kate… ugh! What was that all about?” Grace just shakes her head.

“It’s obviously no secret that many of them had their sights set on Christian. Some thought he was gay and hoped for the chance to convert him. As long as no other girl came around, they always had hope. And then you showed up and… well you know the rest. As for Katherine,” Grace rises to close Christian’s door. “I can’t tell you what her problem is,” Grace says, returning to her seat on the bed next to me. “She comes from one of the best families… if you really care about that kind of thing. I only say that because I can’t see anything in her life that would make her so eternally bitter. She’s not pleasant to be around and I hold my tongue for Elliot’s sake, but I can’t for the life of me see what he sees in her. She’s not a nice person. She doesn’t seem happy. Everything is about status to her. Oh, she puts on a good show and she’s poised and elegant when the situation calls for it, but I just don’t take to her well.”

I’m amazed that Grace is sharing this information with me and she’s only known me for about five hours.

“She and Elliot met through my daughter, Mia. Mia’s beau, Ethan, Katherine’s brother. She and Ethan have been dating for about three years now. They met while they were both on a trip abroad and, as luck would have it, were both from the Seattle area. Ethan is a nice enough young man—nothing like Katherine. I get the feeling that he would rather not be around her most of the time. You know how you love someone but you don’t necessarily like them?”

I nod. That’s exactly how I felt through my last two years of high school.

“Katherine came along when we had invited Ethan and their parents to dinner. Elliot was stricken right away. That brings us to here.”

“Could it have anything to do with her parents’ outlook? You know how it is living in a class-based society. Most rich parents want their children to marry up or at the very least, laterally.” She shakes her head.

“No, her parents are lovely people as far as I can tell. I think Katherine has just been around too many snobs in her life and it has rubbed off on her. She has attempted several times to get into my good graces—no pun intended—but we just don’t meld well. Her spirit is all wrong. She makes you ill when she enters the room and her voice irritates your eardrums.” In other words, another She-Thing.

“What does she do?” I ask.

“She’s a journalist, and a pretty good one. She works for her father’s company, Kavanaugh Media…”

“Ugh… she’s one of those Kavanaughs?” I ask, my voice dripping with dread. No wonder we don’t mix.

“Yes, do you know them?” Grace asks.

“No, not at all. But I first-hand watched one if their reporters wrongly obliterate a client of mine who eventually ended up committing suicide. It’s a very sad story and unfortunately, a testament to the power of the press—for good and for evil.” I say.

“Oh, dear. I’m so sorry to hear that,” Grace says. “I’ll tell you this, though. After tonight, I’ve had all that I’m going to take from that self-absorbed Kewpie doll. She’s going to act with some decorum and treat my guests with respect or she’ll no longer be allowed in my home. Elliot can either put her on a leash or send her outside to run with the rest of the dogs!” Boy, when this woman gets mad, she lets them rip!

“Remind me never to piss you off,” I say playfully, and we laugh.

“After tonight, I don’t think that’s possible, dear.” Grace says, kindly. She stands and smiles at me, then walks to the door. “Goodnight, Ana.”

“Goodnight, Grace.”

*-*

“Get away from me…”

I’m roused from my sleep by Christian’s tortured voice.

“Somebody, please…” He has rolled to the edge of the bed and is thrashing about in what looks like a very violent dream. I know that he can injure himself or me if I try to jolt him out of it, so I begin to stroke his arms and his face.

“I’m here, Christian,” I say softly. He’s still thrashing around. “Come to me, Christian. I’m here.”

“Ana! Ana! Ana, help me!” he cries.

“Christian, can you hear me?” I call to break through his night terror.

“Yes. Please help me!” he begs. I’ve got him.

“I’m right here, Christian. Wake up!” I command.

Christian bolts out of his sleep, terrified gray eyes searching around the room and trying to identify his surroundings. He looks up at me like a frightened child.

“Oh, Ana. Don’t ever leave me, please!” he pleads, crushing me in his arms. Damn, that must’ve been some dream! Where would he ever get an idea like that?

“Why would I ever leave you, Christian?” I comfort him. He stiffens a bit, but continues to hold me. I release his grip and go to the bathroom for some water and a cool towel to help him relax him. I hold him for a while, then after a very short tête-à-tête, he takes me down to the library where there is a beautiful black grand piano. It’s easily 2am as Christian guides me to the bench to sit beside him. His long fingers masterfully glide across the ebony and ivory keys and I’m in awe. I had no idea he could play! And he’s so good! I recognize the song as “Truly” almost immediately. As the music swells into a crescendo where Lionel would hold the high note, I hear the words in my head being translated through Christian’s fingers. My heart swells with love and my eyes burst with the tears again.

Damn it, Steele, you’re really going to have to get a grip!
I know, but it’s so beautiful.
Yeah, yeah, it’s beautiful… now WOMAN UP!

She’s right… again. This constant crying shit is so not me!

When Christian finishes his song and looks at me, I ask him to play another one. So, he starts to play “One and Only,” another beautiful song. I let the melody and his expert technique lull me into comfort. When he’s done with his instrumental serenade, I feel him lift me into his arms. I’m too tired to protest.

We wake to the sun shining through Christian’s window. Christian is wrapped around me, my back to his front, his face buried in my hair. He has taken the role of protector now. He was right—we’ll know exactly when to switch roles.

A few moments later, there is a soft knock at the door. I assume that it’s Grace. “Come in,” I say, sleepily. Christian stirs a bit, but doesn’t wake. I see hair before I see the person. Raven black and gorgeous!

“Are you decent?” The peppy little soft voice calls out.

“Yes,” I answer with uncertainty. Does she have the wrong room? She steps into the room and I swear she looks like a fashion model—gorgeous, tall, slender, striking features, designer clothes, beautiful smile. She and Val could be sisters.

“Hi. Ana, right?” She smiles. Friendly. Good start.

“Yes,” I say, still groggy, “and you are…?”

“I’m Mia. It’s nice to meet you!” she says proffering her hand. I shake her hand.

“It’s nice to meet you too, Mia,” I say, trying to sit up, Christian has me in a vice grip.

“I would sit up, but it appears my boyfriend has me on lockdown,” I say with a yawn, rubbing my eyes.

“I do not. Have you. On lockdown.” Christian protests, his head buried in my hair.

“Then let me up. Your sister’s here,” I say. Without moving too much, Christian says, “Meelo.”

“Cwis,” Mia answers. It’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.

“Oooh-ho!” I exclaim. “That is so cute!”

“Kate thinks it’s juvenile,” Mia says with a frown.

“It’s supposed to be juvenile!” I declare. “Weren’t you children when you came up with the names?”

“Well, yes,” Mia says.

“Well, then the next time that cow says something about it being juvenile, look her in the eye and say, ‘damn straight!'” Mia and Christian both laugh.

“So, you’ve met her, I see?” Mia says.

“Boy, have I!” I lament. “She had the nerve to give me that phony Beverly Hills three-finger handshake… ‘enchanté!'” I mimic in the worst, pretentious voice that I could muster. Mia laughs. “Oh, but it gets better. She greeted me in French, but then got pissed at me for speaking French. What kind of logic is that?”

“She was just bitchy because she can’t speak the language,” Mia announces.

“Well then don’t throw the words!” I state. Mia smiles

“Parle-tu français?” Mia asks.

“Oui, oui, belle dame,” I respond.

“Whoa, no!” Christian sits up slicing the air between Mia and me. “It’s too damn early in the morning for that shit!” Mia and I laugh.

“Il est grincheux,” Mia says.

“Oui, sans doute il a faim,” I concur.

“I am not cranky,” he says, pulling the covers off us both, “but you’re right about the hungry part. So, get your ass up so we can eat!”

“Oui, monsieur,” I say sweetly. Christian’s pupils dilate and his eyes droop a bit. “Was it something I said?” I say innocently.

“Oh, Ms. Steele,” he says, shaking his head as he goes to the en suite. Mia and I laugh some more.

“Well, I got sidetracked but the reason I came in was because Mom suggested I bring you some clothes since you didn’t bring anything to wear, so I brought you a few choices.” She lays some outfits out on the bed. Oh, my—a girl with fashion sense that lets me borrow clothes! I’m in heaven.

“Thanks, Mia. That’s really sweet of you,” I say.

“Don’t mention it. Just you and my brother come on down to breakfast so that we can eat!” she says as she trots out of the room. Christian comes out of the bathroom with toothbrush in hand.

“I’m going to take a quick shower, babe,” I say and he nods. I grab two of the clean towels that Grace left and get in a hot shower. Oh, I love hot showers—they wash away all the trouble of the day! I’ve lathered up and I’m rinsing the last of Christian’s shampoo from my hair when I feel a cold draft and then strong hands turning me around and pushing me against the shower wall.

“Christian!” I gasp. He’s standing there in all his naked glory, his member at full attention.

‘Oui, monsieur?’” he says in that voice. Why would he use that voice with me here? I’m a cornered rat, my knees are getting weak, and there’s nowhere to sit!

“Oui, monsieur,” I breathe and he pounces before I get the words out of my mouth.

Christian lovingly dries my hair when our morning tryst is complete and put it in a ponytail for me. I opt for an Ali & Kris stud collar chiffon white swing shirt and teal Capri jeans with zippers on the calf, completed with a pair of Michael Kors black crinkled patent leather zipper heels. It turns out that Mia and I are a perfect fit down to the shoes, even though she has to be a good half a foot taller than me.

We join the family in the dining room and speak to everyone. Kate has the guns loaded before we even take a seat.

“So glad you could join us,” she says in her normal snide tone. I look at her as if to say Already? I haven’t even gotten a piece of toast in my mouth yet!

You’re going to have to put her in her place. You know that right?
Girl, yeah. But let’s try not to have any more scenes in Christian’s parents’ house, okay?
I’ll try, but I’m stacking up the zingers in case her mouth gets going.
Stack away, Baby.

“Well, you look fresh as a daisy this morning, Ana,” Carrick says. I smile.

“Thank you, Carrick. A good shower does wonders for you.” If they only knew. “And then Mia let me borrow this beautiful ensemble.” Kate tenses up again. Is she constipated!? “By the way, where is Mia?”

“Right behind you, Anakins.” She comes into the dining room and looks me over. “Ho-ho-ho! Très magnifique!”

“Merci, chérie. Je n’aurais pas pu le faire sans toi,” I say and we break into giggles like schoolgirls.

“Ugh… I thought we had this conversation about speaking a common language last night,” Kate snaps.

“Sorry, Kate,” Mia says, walking over to her parents, “but I don’t think anybody else at the table speaks Pig Latin.” Three points for Mia. She kisses Grace on the cheek. “Hi Mom.” She hugs Carrick’s shoulders. “Hi Dad.”

We sit down to breakfast and normal conversation is going around the table. Mia is telling me about her and Ethan’s plans for the next few months. They’re considering moving in together. He sounds like a really nice guy. Maybe all the nice genes went to him and there were none left for Katherine.

“That’s it!” Grace exclaims out of nowhere. Everyone at the table jumps and looks to each other for possible answers.

“What is it, Mom?” Elliot asks.

“CCFW—I knew I recognized her name from somewhere. Anastasia Steele. Ana Steele.” I look at her expecting. Kate expression is clearly hoping a shoe is about to drop. “One of my Helping Hands families dealt with you at CCFW.” Sorry, Kate.

“What’s the name?” I ask Grace.

“Murphy,” she answers. I think for a moment.

“Oh!” I exclaim. “Bonnie and her kids, um… Rachel and… Vicky!”

“Yes! Yes!” Grace is clapping like she just won on a game show. “Bonnie was constantly going on and on about how wonderful and helpful you were to her and her children! And now I get to meet you. What’s more, you’re dating my son! This is wonderful!” Kate’s face is the color of my pants. I swear she looks like she has gangrene.

“Oh, my God! How are they doing?” I ask. “I haven’t heard from them for so long, which is good because if I don’t hear from them, then I know they’re doing well.” Grace and I take off in our own conversation about the families at Helping Hands. Since we didn’t really have a chance to discuss it last night at the fundraiser meeting, I ask Grace exactly what Helping Hands does. Grace is off again, talking about all the battered wives and abused children helped by the program. I think it’s a wonderful thing. It’s exactly why I became a psychiatrist.

“Is there anything I can do to help, Grace, in a personal or professional capacity?” I ask. In a not-so-subtle voice, I hear Kate say, “Suck up.”

Grace closes her eyes and her face changes. At first, I think she’s in pain, but I’m soon to find out that’s not exactly the case. Carrick looks at his wife and it’s clear by his expression that he knows what’s about to happen. He looks over at Elliot, who simply rolls his eyes and drops his head. I look over at Christian for some kind of clue, and he just puts his arm around the back of my chair and drops his head as well. Kate and I are truly both clueless—probably the only thing we have in common right now—except for the whole “pussy” thing. Mia, who’s seated on the other side of me, softly says “Here it comes…” and drops her head, too.

Here what comes?

Grace slams her fork onto her plate and I jump again. “Katherine, I don’t know how they do things where you come from, but in my home, we treat people with respect. If you’re unable to do that, you are welcome to leave!” Grace spits vehemently. Kate gawks at her, eyes wide and totally appalled. “And wipe that phony doe-eyed look off your face! You have deplorable manners, no tact whatsoever, a wretched attitude, and if I hadn’t met your parents and your brother, I would believe you were raised in the wilderness by wild beasts!”

Holy. Cow. Batman. Grace is on a rampage, and nobody dare stop her. All of her adult children have dropped their heads like they are the ones being chastised. I think they know this stance well. I drop my head, too, because I feel conspicuous sitting up. Kate is still glaring at Grace in disbelief.

“I have sat and listened to you throw snide, nasty, insinuating, derogatory remarks at Ana repeatedly! And you have the nerve to imply that she’s not a lady for defending my son last night?? Do you even know the meaning of the word, Katherine? Because if you do, I haven’t seen it. Your mother is the picture of decorum, but you have about as much class as a sow’s ear!”

Whoa! We don’t need any zingers! Grace has them all!
Yeah, girl. But keep stacking because I might need them later.
You got it.

“Elliot…” Kate whines a bit, seeking some assistance from her fiancée.

“Don’t look at me,” Elliot rebuts softly. “I keep telling you to cut that shit out, and you won’t listen. Now if you think I’m going to check my Mom in her house at her table, you are seriously mistaken.” When Elliot is done, Grace takes off on Kate again.

“My son clearly loves you. Why, I’ll never know. But don’t think for one second that his feelings give you the right to act superior to everyone. I don’t know why you have your nose so high in the air anyway. You’re a physical beautiful girl, but your attitude is gruesome!” she snaps. Kate is gasping… again.

“I don’t have to sit here and be insulted like this,” she says, near tears—crocodile tears, that is.

“Oh no? You don’t? But you can subject everybody else to it? You can dish it out, but you can’t take it? That’s okay, Katherine. You’re right. You do not have to sit here and be insulted. You can leave and don’t return to my home until you’ve learned to behave yourself!” Grace proceeds to storm out of the room when Elliot says, “I’m sorry, Mom.”

“YOU!” She turns around on Elliot. Mia and Christian chins seem to go further into their chests. “You do not get to apologize for her anymore. She has no problem throwing daggers and she had no problem speaking for you yesterday. She can speak for herself, but not until she gains some dignity, humility, and grace!” And she’s gone.

Swish—nothing but net. And the buzzer goes off. Game over!

Elliot gets up from the table to follow his mother. Carrick rises and puts his hand up.

“I’ll go,” he says. “You better take care of that.” He gestures to Kate before leaving the table to find his wife. Kate is breathing heavily like she was holding her breath. Elliot is lost in thought. Now would be a good time to not be here.

“I’m going to get some air, Christian. Would you like to come with me?” I ask.

“Certainly,” he says, putting his napkin on the table and following me out to the patio. I take in a deep breath to smell the Washington summer air.

“You guys knew that was going to happen, didn’t you?” I ask. He nods.

“You see everybody assumed the position. Smart move on your part, by the way.”

“I didn’t want to be the odd girl out,” I say.

“Good call,” he says, “because the odd man out is usually the one that gets hit next. ” He walks over to me and puts his arms around me. “She likes you, though, so I don’t think you have to worry about the wrath of Grace anytime soon.” I smile as he kisses my nose. I take his hand and walk away from the door.

“She asked me about Elena last night, Christian.” He sighs heavily.

“What did you tell her?” he asks.

“I didn’t tell her anything. I diverted the conversation.” He runs his hands through his hair. “You need to tell her, Christian.” He looks at me horrified.

“I can’t tell my mother about that!” he exclaims.

“I’m not telling you to tell her everything. But you’re going to have to tell her. The woman that I saw in there just now is not going to stop until she gets some answers as to why Elena was insistent on touching you last night. Do you want her to hear Elena’s version, or yours?” He shakes his head. It’s a grim reality that he doesn’t want to face.

“She’s going to blame herself,” he says contritely, dropping his head.

“Then it’s up to you to make sure that she doesn’t. You have to take responsibility for not telling her sooner, but you have to let her know why you didn’t.” He sighs again.

“Will you come with me?” My head jerks back.

“Do you really want me to?” I ask. He nods. I reach up and touch his cheek. “Then of course, I’ll be there.” I smile.

“Good,” he says. “I’m going for a walk. I need a few moments to myself.”

“Okay, baby.” He kisses my hand and heads off towards the lake. I watch him as he walks away, wondering how he is going to break this horrible news to his mother.

“Wow, you’re shorter than I thought.” She’s standing behind me, still spitting venom. Grace’s conversation did absolutely nothing.

“Yeah, and natural light does nothing for your complexion,” I shoot back at Kate, “but we all have our flaws.”

“Don’t think I don’t know what you were trying to do last night.” Oh, here we go.

“What are you talking about, now, Kate?” I ask, turning around to face Her Royal Bitchiness.

“I can see right through you. You’re about as interested in architecture as I am in psychiatry. You were flirting with my fiancée!” she snaps. I throw my hands in the air.

“Oh, you have completely lost it now. Have you been sniffing glue?” What the hell!? “Yes, Elliot is attractive, but Christian is all I could ever want… in every way!” I announce.

“Oh, please! He’s a dull, cold, heartless businessman. Elliot is gorgeous, funny, kind…” Which begs to reason why he’s with Kate! “… And he’s a real animal in bed,” she says lustfully. She’s got to be kidding! How crude can you be? “I bet you can’t say that about Mr. Hard-nosed CEO!” She folds her arms with a smirk.

“I don’t know what your problem is, but I’m not trying to compete with you. I don’t even know you. But you think I’m going to reveal mine and my boyfriend’s bedroom stories just to try to one-up you? And you call them juvenile! You’re delusional!” I say, aghast. “You were a bitch to me the moment I stepped through the door and now you’re trying to concoct a reason for your behavior? And even if I was that kind of skanktastic, trashy whore, who the hell is dumb enough to do it right in front of her boyfriend!?”

“I’m not here to judge your intelligence level, Little Lady. I’m telling you to stay away from my man!” she shoots. I close the space between us and get right in her face.

“I may be a little lady, but at least I’m not a small woman,” I spit. Her eyes narrow as she digests the full thrust of the insult.

“You really don’t want to fuck with me,” she threatens.

“And you really don’t want to fuck with me,” I snap back, “because whatever you may have in your pocket, I can guarantee you that I have a few extra magic tricks up my sleeve. And whoever you may have in your corner, make sure you ask them if they really want to go toe-to-toe with CEO billionaire Christian Grey’s latest love interest!” She doesn’t even know me, and she’s threatening me! I haven’t even done anything to her… yet.

“You mean latest plaything,” she says between her teeth. I shrug.

“Believe what you want, but I’m here meeting his family, wearing his sister’s clothes, conversing with your boyfriend and his father and connecting with his mother who, if I’m not mistaken, just kicked you out of her house. So why are you even still here? A lady always knows when to leave!”

“Then leave!” she spits.

“Oh, my time’s not up yet, but yours was up about half an hour ago!” I snap. She stands there glaring at me again. I have so had enough of this cow. It’s time to put this bitch in her place. “I don’t know where your insecurities lie, and I really don’t care. But you’re going to stop taking them out on me. Who was your target before me… Mia? Did you see fresh meat when I walked in the door? You’re nothing but a stuck-up bully, but you’ve got the wrong girl, because you’re not going to bully me. I’m sorry to disappoint you, Ms. Kavanaugh, but that’s not the way that this game is going to play out. You’re going to stop harassing me and you’re going to stop trying to intimidate me, because it’s only going to piss. Me. Off. And when I finally get to the point where my cup runneth over, it’s going to run all over you! That conversation Grace just had with you is going to seem like idle chit chat when I’m done with you. And wherever it happens, it happens. We seem to agree that we don’t want to be bothered with each other. So, step out of my presence and stay out of my presence, and stop pitching those little snide ass remarks at me because I’m throwing down the gauntlet on your ass. Right. Now!”

Kate is completely at a loss for words. I don’t think she has ever had someone stand up to her in her life. You can see the thoughts going through her brain at a million miles an hour. She’s desperately searching her mental Rolodex for a comeback.

“You’ve got them all wrapped around your fingers, eating out of your phony little hands!” she says, her voice a little shakier than usual.

“What do you mean? What kind of nonsense are you talking about now?” I ask.

“Everybody’s falling all over you. I know this is all an act. When the real you comes out, the gig is going to be up!” That’s when it dawns on me. No one in the family likes Kate except Elliot. Over the last 18 hours, everything that anyone has said about Kate has been vicious. Now, here I come, just some girlfriend, and everybody seems to like me.

“You’re jealous,” I say in awe as the realization dawns.

“In your dreams,” she scoffs. “Why would I be jealous of you? You’re nobody!”

“Why would you care if his family likes me or not? Why would it matter to you at all… unless none of them likes you? They don’t like you because you’re vicious. You walk around with this air of entitlement like everybody is supposed to bow down to you like the Queen of England. And maybe that’s how it’s done in your circles, but real people have to earn respect. You were born into money and you’re pretty and you think that makes you better than everybody—but it doesn’t, Kate. Right now, what it makes you is an ugly, disagreeable snob. I don’t know if you’ve noticed this about the family you are about to marry into, but the Greys. Are not. Snobs. You’ve had to know them for quite some time to be engaged to Elliot. I’ve known them for less than 24 hours and I can see that.

“If you want to know why they don’t like you, it’s because your attitude is deplorable! You’re conniving, unpleasant, and underhanded—and they see it the moment you walk into the room. And no matter how much sucking up you tried to do, your true colors showed through. I am who I am 24 hours a day, seven days a week—I don’t change. Whoever likes me, likes me. Whoever doesn’t, doesn’t. I don’t care. But for you, it’s a necessity, and if anybody in the room is getting more attention than you, they become the center of your ire. It’s really pretty pathetic when you think about it. You’re angry at me because the man who couldn’t love anybody loves me, his brother is nice to me, his sister lets me wear her clothes and has already given me a nickname, Carrick calls me Lovely Lady, and Grace wanted to meet me before she even knew who I was.

“On top of that, last night I came to my man’s defense to the point of a physical altercation. Would you do that for Elliot? Would you put yourself on the line and ruin your French manicure if Elliot really needed you in that way? Don’t ever compare yourself to me, Kate. You can’t compare to me. You may have money and you may have come from a good family, but that’s where the line stops. That’s all you’re worth! I worked hard to be who I am and to get where I am. So, you can have your money and your family name. I’ll take my integrity, my dignity, and my character and all of the people that love me to you and your money and your attitude and your misery any day!” I glare at her. What next, Bitch?

Again, Kate has fallen silent and is looking for something to say. The best she could come up with was, “Well, a lot of women are just after Christian for his money.” Oh, give me a break. She’s grasping for straws now.

“Get the wax out of your ears, Blondie. I’m a doctor in case you didn’t notice. I don’t need Christian’s money. Oh, and by the way, he pursued me. Ask him if you don’t believe me.” I turn away from her. I’m tired of talking to her now. From behind me she says,

“So, there’s some big secret between Elena and Christian, huh?” I turn around slowly to face her again.

“Excuse me?” I say, trying to maintain my composure.

“I just heard you telling Christian that he needs to tell his mother something before Elena does.” She smirks. My eyes narrow. This bitch must not remember that I damn near tackled She-Thing last night in a room full of people for trying to hurt my man. “Being a journalist,” she continued, “I know just how harmful a rumor can be. It would terrible for anything to get into the mainstream media that would sully the great Christian Grey, much less one of Grace’s oldest friends.” Oh, she has done it now. She doesn’t know that I know exactly how harmful a rumor can be. I pull my iPhone out of my bra and talk to Siri.

“Text Christian,” I say, my eyes never leaving Kate. Siri’s voice comes back: What do you want to say to Christian Grey? I reply, “Oh Christian, I need you to meet me on the patio right away. I think there’s something that we need to discuss.”

Kate’s skin pales, realizing that I’ve summoned Christian to the conversation. “What are you doing?” she gasps. She gasps a lot.

“Well, it’s like you said,” I begin. “It would terrible for anything to get into the mainstream media that would sully the great Christian Grey. So, we should probably formulate a course of action since a journalist just came to me and told me that she overheard a private conversation and has ever so thoroughly informed me of the danger that could be lurking behind said conversation. I’ll make sure that I relay your concerns to Christian.”

“You’re trying to get him to fight your battles now?” she taunts, trying to delay or circumvent the inevitable explosion that is about to occur.

“Oh, no. This isn’t my battle, this is his. You said, ‘the great Christian Grey,’ not ‘Little Lady Anastasia Steele,'” I say in a mocking voice. “I’m not the one in any danger here. Apparently, Christian is the one who needs to cover his back.”

“I wasn’t trying to imply…” Kate stops mid-sentence and I look over my shoulder to see Christian walking up behind me.

“Baby, what’s up?” he says, looking from me to Kate.

“Just a second, I think you interrupted Kate,” I say, turning to Kate. “You were saying?” I ask. Kate pauses and looks from me to Christian and back to me. She looks like a cornered rabbit.

“… That I think I need to go find Elliot,” she says as she turns on her heels and marches back into the house.

“Good Idea,” I say to her retreating back. I turn to look at a confused Christian.


GREY

Tell my mother. I can’t tell my mother. She’ll be crushed. She confided in Elena—a lot of information. Elena knew more details about me than anybody. She knew my past. She knew my habits. She knew my problems. How do you tell your mother that she unwittingly aided and abetted the Pedophile who molested you? I can’t do that to Grace. She’s good and she’s kind and she has a wonderful heart, and Elena is an evil, wicked witch! Mom was confiding in a friend who betrayed her trust and used it to her own advantage. How can I get her to see that when I didn’t tell her what was going on from the beginning?

When I was a teenager, I used to wish I was Elliot. I used to wish that my parents had just died and left me instead of the horror story that was my childhood. I used to wish that I was funny and outgoing like he was, popular like he was. I wanted to fit in like he did. I wished I could stand to be touched. I wanted my whole life to be different. I didn’t want to be the son of a crack whore. Elliot lived a charmed life with the Greys and I’ve always been the problem—never behaving, always getting into fights, drinking, getting kicked out of school…

Now I wish I was Elliot again; I wish I had avoided that evil bitch.

My blackberry goes off in my pocket and I’m wondering what the hell is going on now. I’m pleased that it’s my butterfly.

** Oh Christian, I need you to meet me on the patio right away. I think there’s something that we need to discuss. **

Oh hell. I just left her not ten minutes ago. What could have happened in that small amount of time? I come around the fountain to the patio.

Kavanaugh. I should’ve known.

I walk up to Butterfly and Kavanaugh in the midst of a not-so-pleasant conversation. Kavanaugh is about to say something, but stops short when I move next to Butterfly.

“Baby, what’s up?” I say, expecting. Kavanaugh has suddenly gotten nervous. As a matter of fact, that’s the first time I’ve ever seen Kavanaugh nervous. Bitchy, irritating, cranky, rude… but never nervous.

“Just a second, I think you interrupted Kate,” Butterfly says, turning back to face Kavanaugh. “You were saying?” Well, out with it, Bitcherosa, we don’t have all damn day!

“… That I think I need to go find Elliot,” Kavanaugh says as she scrambles away like she’s fleeing a crime scene. My Butterfly says after her, “Good Idea.” What the hell? Something’s rotten in Denmark.

“Baby, what just happened?” I know something just transpired here, but I’m not sure what it was.

“You’ve got a new problem and you need to tell your mother what’s going on.” Oh, shit.

“What does this have to do with Kavanaugh?” I ask.

“She just came out here with blow after blow after blow of everything that she thought she could hit me with. She started with me being short, then proceeded to accuse me of flirting with Elliot last night. Then she tries to compare yours and Elliot’s bedroom skills, as if I would ever tell her anything about that!” She stops and takes a breath.

“I still don’t see—” I’m interrupted by Butterfly’s little hand flying in the air.

“Oh, no. I’m not done.” I shift on my feet and cross one arm across my body, my free hand rubbing my chin as she continues. “When none of that worked, she then blatantly threatened me, after which she called me you latest plaything. Then she tried to kick me out!”

Is Kavanaugh on medication!?

“When that didn’t work, she called me a phony because your family likes me and not her. And then when I called her a jealous snob and a bully, she called me a gold digger.”

“A gold digger? Are you kidding me?” Oh, Katherine. You couldn’t be further from the truth with this one.

“Nope. Serious as cancer,” she says, shaking her head. “But that’s still not the worst of it.” Oh, shit, there’s more? “When everything else failed, she told me that she had overheard our conversation about you and Elena. Her exact words were, and I quote, ‘Being a journalist, I know just how harmful a rumor can be. It would terrible for anything to get into the mainstream media that would sully the great Christian Grey, much less one of Grace’s oldest friends.’ End quote.”

What the fuck is she playing at? Does she really want to cross me like that? I quickly replayed the conversation in my head and neither of us said anything damaging that I can remember, but it was enough to cause speculation. “I know that she doesn’t like you and she could pretty much stand by and watch me die, but this ridiculous, I haven’t known this woman for a full 24 hours yet and she has my head on a chopping block already to the degree that she’ll take you down, too, if it means that I’ll be hurt in the process,” Butterfly adds.

“I knew she was vicious, but this is truly ridiculous.” I run my hand through my hair.

“I know, baby. She’s particularly angry that every member of your family seems to get on with me, but not with her. She’s going to do whatever she can to drive a rift in with the hope that she can somehow fit… even though it appears that she didn’t fit before I even got here.” Oh, is that what she thinks she’s going to do? Over my dead body!

“The fuck she is!” I storm back into the house looking for Elliot. Being catty is one thing, but this is going too far. We find Kavanaugh in the dining room, feverishly trying to get Elliot to take her home.

“Kate, I’m not leaving until I talk to my mother. She’s very upset and hasn’t come down yet. Haven’t you done enough for one day?” Elliot says.

“Apparently not!” I growl. Kavanaugh and Elliot both look up at us. Elliot is confused and Kavanaugh looks like she’s ready to bolt for the door. “Elliot, I need to talk to you,” I bark. Kavanaugh flips out.

“Don’t listen to anything he says, Elliot. He’s lying!” She’s terrified.

“He hasn’t said anything yet, Kate,” Elliot snaps.

“He has it in for me, Elliot. I know it. I know he’s going to tell you all kinds of lies about me that she fed to him.” She sneers at Ana.

“And what exactly would he be lying about?” Elliot’s getting agitated. Kavanaugh is searching for words.

“Well, I don’t know. I don’t know what she told him,” she lies.

“Yes, you do,” Ana chimes in. “I told him the exact same thing that you told me.”

“Elliot.” I say again. He’s going to have to put that bitch on a leash or I will. Elliot stands to walk toward me. Kavanaugh freaks out again, grabbing Elliot’s arm.

“Elliot, please,” she begs.

“Kate! The sooner I hear what my brother has to say, the sooner we can get to the bottom of this,” Elliot snaps before leaving to join me in Dad’s study.

“Okay, Christian, what’s this all about?” Elliot asks me impatiently.

“You know when it comes to Katherine, I have no love lost. So, I wouldn’t blame you if you don’t believe what I’m going to tell you. But so that you know that I’m serious before I say anything, I’m going to tell you this. Put your girl on a leash… or I will.” Elliot rushes me, enraged.

“What the fuck does that mean?” he growls in my face.

“Exactly what I said! Now sit down! Nobody can ever talk to you about her even though you see how she treats people!” That statement must have gotten to him because he backs up and sits in one of Dad’s wingback chairs—still pissed. “She’s been antagonizing my girl all night and all day. And then when she got her alone, she threatened her and insulted her and then she threatened me.” Elliot’s eyes grow wide and his mouth falls open.

“She did what?” he asks in disbelief. I recounted Ana’s story to him about the many accusations that Kavanaugh had thrown at her, from the short comment to the flirting to being a gold digger. Elliot puts his head in his hands.

“Elliot, why? I’ve never asked you this, but why her?” I ask. Elliot shakes his head in defeat.

“I love her, Bro. You can’t pick who you fall in love with.”

“Well, you got that right,” I say sitting in the wingback chair next to him. “I tried to convince myself for weeks that Ana wasn’t for me. You see how that worked out.” He chuckles nervously. “But if you’re so in love with her, why are you still acting like a single man when she’s not around? I mean, I know you were looking to get laid that night at the club and then last week with the daughters…”

“I know, Man,” he says, putting his hand on the back of his neck. “It’s just… Sometimes I just can’t deal with her. I do love her, but this is not the same woman I met!” He says sadly. I can’t comfort him because although I never really liked Kavanaugh, even I know what he says is the truth.

“Christian?” Elliot says.

“Yeah?”

“How did she threaten you?” I sigh heavily. I have to tell him everything.


STEELE

I’m nervously watching the study door. Christian and Elliot have been in there for quite some time. Grace and Carrick have still not emerged, and Mia disappeared to parts unknown just after breakfast. I’m drawn from my thoughts by a cold hand grabbing my forearm and spinning me around.

“What did you tell him?” I’m now facing a frightened and angry Katherine Kavanaugh. I reflexively push her in her chest until she backs up about a foot.

“Did you just touch me!?” I snap. She gathers her bearings a bit and glares at me. “Don’t fucking touch me!”

“What did you tell him?” she repeats.

“I told him the truth!” I reply. “I know that you don’t know me very well, but somebody should have warned you about walking into dens that you aren’t familiar with. Christian, who is a very powerful billionaire, threatened my career when we first met and that didn’t work on me. I don’t respond well to threats, Katherine. They don’t scare me and they don’t make me bend. I’m a cover-your-ass kind of girl and I do it very well, because I don’t like being exposed. So, the next time you come at me with something, it had better be something better than that.”

“I would listen to her if I were you.” Christian’s voice comes booming from my right. Kate and I turn to see Christian and Elliot watching our exchange.

“Elliot!” Kate immediately goes into damsel in distress. “She pushed me!” she whines.

“Oh, save it, Kate!” Elliot snaps. Uh-oh. Sounds like somebody’s pissed. Elliot looks at Kate then turns around and leaves the room.

“Elliot!” Kate is running after him, trying to stop him. I walk over to Christian and put my arms around him.

“How did it go, baby?” I ask cautiously.

“About as well as can be expected,” he answers, wrapping his arms around me and kissing my forehead. “You’re right. I have to tell Grace. It can only get worse from here.” I lay my head on his chest.

“Your brother deserves so much better,” I say softly. He lifts my chin with his hand.

“We can’t pick who we fall in love with,” he says with a smile and kisses me gently on the lips. “I’m going to see if I can find Grace, okay?”

“I’ll be right here if you need me.” I smile as he goes off towards the stairs. So, now I’m alone in the dining room. This has been some damn day. Is it even noon, yet? I walk out of the patio doors and spy the garden. That looks like a good place for a few moments of silence.

The garden truly is beautiful. The grounds are impeccably groomed of course and the small gazebo is a wonderful place to sit and think on a beautiful day, surrounded by wildflowers and perennials with a perfect view of the water. I had just found my serenity when nails on the chalkboard break my peace.

“Enjoy it while you can, because he’s going to wake up one day and realize that he misses what he had.” She-Bitch shows her face again. “You’re a backstabbing excuse of a woman for turning a man against his oldest and dearest friend!” Fuck! What’s wrong with these crazy ass women!?

“I don’t really care if you hate me. It doesn’t make me any difference, but you need to hate me for the right reason. He told me about your relationship. He told me that he didn’t want to be friends with you anymore because he finally understands that you’re nothing but a pedophile. He told me that your relationship was over before I even knew who you were. I didn’t even know who you were until you walked into the house on Sunday.” Her eyes grow wide.

“I don’t believe you. That’s a lie!” she exclaims incredulously.

“I really don’t care if you believe me, as long as you know. I didn’t tell him anything about you that he didn’t come to the conclusion about on his own. He told me that he wanted nothing else to do with you because you came on to his brother and you probably molested more children before them and more children after them. So, stop blaming me because you’re a dirty, nasty old pedophile and one of your victims has finally seen you for what you really are!” She looks as if she’s going to break down and cry.

“You think you know it all,” she snaps. “You don’t know anything. You don’t know anything about me, about us, about our lifestyle. What we share runs deeper than anything you have to offer. This is just a phase for Christian. You’ll see!”

I don’t have time for this conversation, nor do I want to have it in Christian’s parents’ home. I turn to leave and Elena grabs my arm. I slowly turn my head and look at where her hand is contacting my arm. I lift only my eyes to glare at her and speak for me how fucking dare you put your hands on me. I could clearly see the chill run through her body and momentarily show in her eyes before she regains her bearings and attempt to maintain some semblance of control over the situation.

“I’m not afraid of you,” she sneers. Did this bitch forget last night?

“You should be,” I growl.

With my free hand, I grab hold of the wrist attached to the hand holding my arm, and just squeeze. It didn’t take long for that hand to lose color and turn paler than her face, causing her to release her grip on me. I hold her hand up for her to see it, then throw it away from me as I begin to walk away.

“You little bit…” Within seconds, I’m back in her face and she gasps.

“You misunderstand!” I snap. “You are under the impression that we have something to discuss. I have nothing to say to you. I am not going to get into a war of words with you because it’s not worth my time. It serves me no. Purpose. Whatsoever! But know this—if you see me—anywhere—keep walking… because when I see you coming, I’m going to take it as a threat to my personal safety and I’m going to attack you with the nearest object I can reach…” I lean in a little closer, “… just so we’re clear.”

“You won’t see me coming,” she threatens.

“You fucking well better hope not!” I reinforce.

Not to be trumped, Elena declares shakily, “There are others, you know. I’m not the only one.”

Unperturbed, I reply, “Well, you had better tell the ‘others’ that I’m licensed to carry and always packing. I can hit a fly off a soda can and never touch the aluminum. So, they better be as psycho as I am when they show up!” I growl that last sentence through clenched teeth.

I could see her conclusion about me written all over her face. If she could have said it out loud, it would have said, “this bitch is crazy!” Knowing that I’ve made my point, I leave her standing there with that priceless expression on her face.


A/N: It’s late again. Hopefully, I won’t go to my reviews and find another psycho bitch cursing me out again!

Thank you to Nessi, my French interpreter!

“Parle-tu français?” – Do you speak French?
“Oui, oui, belle dame.” – Yes, yes, beautiful lady!
“Il est grincheux.” – He’s cranky.
“Oui, sans doute il a faim.” – “Yes, no doubt he’s hungry.”
“Oui, monsieur – Yes, sir
“Très magnifique!” – Very Beautiful
“Merci, chérie. Je n’aurais pas pu le faire sans toi.” – “Thank you, darling. Could not have done it without you.”

A lady always knows when to leave.” Cicely Tyson, Fried Green Tomatoes

Throwing down the gauntlet.” Many of you probably already know this, but in Medieval days, knights wore heavy gloves called gauntlets. Throwing the glove on the ground was a knight’s method of choice for challenging another knight to a duel—effectively, “calling him out.” Today, it pretty much means the same thing—Ana is calling Kate out; she’s declaring war, letting Kate know “if it’s a fight you want, it’s a fight you’ll get.” It’s pretty much the same thing as when she told Edward “All bets are off.”

If you’re too young to know what a Rolodex is, please go Google it, lol. I don’t know if they still use them in offices, because I don’t use them anymore, but just Google it.

Something’s rotten in Denmark.” Hamlet, William Shakespeare

The potato recipe and more clothes and location can be found on my Pinterest page at  http://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/paging-dr-steele/

Next chapter – The Pedophile Showdown

~~love and handcuffs

 

Paging Dr. Steele: Chapter 27: Tiger Lioness Leopard Cougar

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 27—Tiger Lioness Leopard Cougar

STEELE

I’m as giddy as a teenager. Tonight, I’m having my first dinner party with Christian! And only a week after we’ve consummated our relationship. I know it seems fast—hell, it’s a whirlwind—but I love him and I know without a doubt that this is where I want to be.

I’m trying to figure out my menu for the party tonight. I know that we’ll definitely have ten people in attendance and no concerns of do-drops at Escala—thank God. I usually have a menu planned well in advance, but since this is so spur of the moment, I have to come up with something quick, efficient, and delicious. Thank God for Gail—she’s magnificent! I call her to discuss some meal ideas since we’re pressed for time and between the two of us, we come up with:

Lemon chicken
Lamb and shrimp kebabs
Sun-dried tomato and ricotta bruschetta (you know I have to have my bruschetta)
Deviled eggs with cilantro and curry
Orzo salad with grape tomatoes, feta, and mint
Asparagus and snow peas sautéed in a lime vinaigrette
Butter garlic cheesy crusted potatoes (of course)
Honey-Vanilla ice cream sandwiches (which is just butter cookies and honey-vanilla ice cream)
Caramelized plum pound cake
Ginger Iced Tea topped with sparkling Moscato
Carolina Peach Sangria
And whatever libations are brought

I shut the office down at 1:00pm and Chuck and I go to the Marketplace to meet Gail. She’s a joy to shop with—she knows that place like the back of her hand. She introduced me to her favorite spice stand that has exotic concoctions from all around the world. I didn’t even know the stand was there, and I come to the Marketplace almost every weekend!

“Apparently, I’m to ask you for your recipe for butter garlic cheesy crusted potatoes,” Gail says to me as we’re picking the flowers for the centerpieces. I sink into myself a little. I remember that although it was a source of humor for me and Christian, it could also have been a slight point of contention for Taylor and Gail. She smiles kindly at me. “Don’t worry, anything that I can do that keeps these men happy is fine by me. Do you mind sharing it with me?” I release the breath I didn’t know that I was holding.

“Of course, I’ll share it with you, Gail,” I say, returning her smile. “We’ll be making it tonight. They’re really easy…”

Gail and I get lost in our conversation about dinner and my crazy friends. She mentions that Christian has never had people over to the apartment en masse like this—no one besides his family and that “awful woman” as Gail calls her. I find it strange that she can be best friends with his mother, but no one else close to Christian seems to like her—no one I’ve met anyway. It makes me question what I’m going to be facing tomorrow.

“Can you tell me anything about Christian’s family?” I ask. “I’m going to be meeting them tomorrow and I just don’t know what to expect. To be honest, I’m a little afraid. I mean, if Elena is any indication…” Gail smiles at me.

“I can’t tell you much,” she begins. “I can tell you that his parents are wonderful people and I’m just as bewildered as you are that Mrs. Lincoln is a friend of the family. It just doesn’t fit.” She puts her hand on my back. “I wouldn’t worry if I were you, Ana. Besides having to deal with that vulture, I think you’ll do just fine tomorrow.” Our conversation is interrupted by Chuck.

“Ana, I think we need to wrap things up here and leave,” he says with urgency.

“Why?” I say with a frown. I’m enjoying my outing with Gail and getting the supplies for our dinner party.

“I just received word from Manchester. He’s David’s new tail. David is somewhere in the Marketplace.” Shit! Are you kidding me? Is he here for a purpose or is he still stalking me? This man had better leave me alone if he knows what’s good for him. I do a quick scan of the general vicinity. No Edward. I sigh deeply.

“Chuck, you’ll protect me if Edward comes anywhere near me, correct?” I ask.

“Of course I will. Absolutely,” he says, definitively.

“And I have my little friend,” I say patting my purse. Chuck nods his acknowledgement.

“That’s good to know,” he states matter-of-factly.

“Okay, so Gail and I are going to finish our shopping. Please keep your eyes open, as will I and call the police immediately if he violates the restraining order. Once the authorities have been contacted, do whatever you need to do to keep his ass away from me, because I will lay him down. Are we in agreement?” I state.

“Total,” he agrees.

Gail and I continue with our shopping while Chuck keeps a watchful eye on both of his bosses’ most prized possessions. Once we have completed our perfectly delightful outing without incident, Gail heads back to Escala while Chuck and I head to my apartment so that I can pick my wardrobe for the weekend.

It’s about 3:30 when I get to my apartment and I notice that Al’s car is there. What the hell? Poor Al, he’s so confused. I shake my head and warn Chuck not to panic as someone will be in my apartment. I open the door to find Al leisurely sitting on my sofa watching some dreary program on the news channel. He flicks it off when I enter. I walk over and hug him.

“Al. Baby.” I begin, chastising. “Way too early and wrong apartment,” I say shaking my head.

“Oh no, darling,” he says, kissing me on the cheek. “I was summoned.” He smiles. My head jerks back in surprise.

“Summoned!? By whom?” I yelp. He takes my hand.

“Come with me.” He leads me back into my bedroom and into my walk-in closet. It has been revamped and rearranged—masterfully, I might add—to make room for what appears to be a white princess-style armoire.

“What is this?” I say, my voice squeaking with surprise.

“Open it,” Al says, releasing my hand. I open the doors and immediately know who the culprit is that invaded my closet. I drop everything in my hand as they both fly up to my mouth and I gasp loudly. Shelf after shelf of red and tan soles are staring back at me. What looks to be a harmless armoire is really a floor to ceiling shoe closet filled with countless pairs of Louboutin stilettos. My heart nearly stops!

“Girl, I don’t know what you’re doing to that man, but you must teach me!” Al says while Chuck looks on, laughing. I look at him shaking my head, my eyes filling with tears as my adrenaline has shot off the Richter scale and there is no avoiding them.

“I said I wanted a pair of Louboutins…” I say, my voice squeaking like a little girl, “and he bought me this!” I gesture to the work of art standing in front of me. Al laughs.

“Wow! I’m glad you didn’t ask for a car! We may have had to clear out the parking garage!” he says facetiously. I laugh through my tears.

“So, he enlisted you as his partner-in-crime?” I say, trying to ebb the water flow from my eyes.

“Hey, somebody had to let him in,” Al says. “He really likes his shrine over there in your chair, too.” I look over at the chair. I had forgotten that I had left his pin-striped suit where we had undressed him a few nights prior. I feel a tightening at the apex of my thighs remembering that night. I’m only too sure that Al and Chuck notice the color change in my cheeks. Oh well, c’est la vie. I rush to Al and embrace him.

“Thank you, Al,” I say, kissing him on his cheek.

“Hey, don’t thank me. Thank your fairy godfather,” he says with a chuckle.

“Yeah, I guess I better, huh?” I say as I pull out my phone and instruct Siri to call Christian.

Grey,” he answers in his normal brisk tone. I assume he didn’t look at the caller ID.

“Christian Trevelyan Marcus Michael John Arnold Richard Matthew Grey!” I bark into the phone through my tears. He bursts into laughter.

“When did I get all of those names!?” he says through his own laughter.

“It’s a quirk of mine it happens sometimes!” I nearly yell all in one breath. “I ask for A pair of Louboutins… a pair!” I stress the word “a” both times.

Ah, ah, ah… I beg to differ. Your exact words were ‘I would love some of those Louboutins platform stilettos.’ That is what you said, Ms. Steele,” he says finitely. I replay the conversation in my head. I don’t know if that’s what I said.

“You know what I meant,” I say, weakly, wiping away my tears and admiring the gorgeous collection of shoes in front of me.

Yes, I know what you meant. Then I took what you said and did what I wanted,” he says softly. I take out a pair of strappy purple bandage sandals. I know just what to wear these with—it’ll be perfect.

“They’re exquisite, Christian. I could wear a pair every day for a month and still not run out. I don’t know how to thank you,” I say, my voice full of gratitude.

Try three months, and I can think of a few ways you could thank me,” he says, seductively.

“Make a list,” I reply, just as seductively. I hear a sharp intake of breath and Christian gets quiet for a moment.

Are you trying to make me come in the middle of my office?” he asks, his voice strained.

“In the middle of your office… hmmm. I hadn’t thought about it, but that’s an idea,” I purr.

“Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Other people in the room here!” Al waves his hands maniacally. I have to admit—I did forget there were other people in the room. For a moment, it was just me and my two Christians—Grey and Louboutin.

“I’m sorry, you guys.” I look from Al to Chuck. “I get carried away sometimes.”

“Yeah, I love you, Jewel, but that’s a picture that I don’t need in my head.”

“Honestly, me either,” Chuck adds. I raise my eyebrow at him and Christian questions what he said. “Hey, you guys are my bosses! I know what you do, but don’t need that visual!” he defends and Christian laughs.

Okay, I’ll let them off the hook. What time will you be back at my place?” Christian asks. I look at my watch.

“Within the hour. I just need to grab a few things from here and I should be on my way,” I answer.

Okay. I should be leaving here shortly. No more than 90 minutes, I promise.”

“Okay, Baby. I see you later then. Love you.”

I love you, too, Butterfly.” I end the call and look back at the shoe closet.

“Can you believe this?” I say to Al, gesturing to the closet. “Does this happen in real life!?”

“Hey, I was here for the assembly,” he jests, taking a pair of jeweled heeled tan-soled Louboutins out of the clothes.

“Oooo, I’ll wear those tomorrow!” I exclaim. “I’m going to meet his family.” Al eyes me carefully.

“So soon, Jewel?” he says, his voice dripping with caution. I take his hand.

“I know,” I answer, understanding. “But no, it’s not too soon. This is the real thing, Al. It really is,” I say with certainty. He smiles at me.

“Well, he can’t be too bad. Watch your step, I might snatch him from you.” He laughs.

“Sorry, Babe. As irresistible as you are, you don’t have the equipment.” We laugh.


GREY

Luckily the Algona situation was handled without too much fanfare and I haven’t heard anything from the Pedophile in a couple of days. Welch hasn’t found anything definitive on her yet, but he has put a tail on her nonetheless in the hopes that we’ll find something out from her comings and goings. I have a few minor things to handle, then I can go home to this dinner party that we have planned. I’m a little nervous. The boardroom, I can handle. Large charity events with nameless, faceless crowds, no problem. Little intimate soirees with eight people who are all coming to “get to know” me… scares me shitless. I’ll be taking cues from Butterfly tonight and doing my best to acclimate instead of being the usual recluse I have become. Step one of my transformation… or is it step two? Step three? Twelve? Who knows?

My thoughts are interrupted by my ringing blackberry. I answer it without looking at it and I’m greeted with a string of strange names—and I think I heard mine somewhere in there. I can’t contain my laughter or my surprise.

“When did I get all of those names!?” I ask. Butterfly can barely string together a coherent sentence. She got the shoes. Good. I wish I could have been there to see here face when she opened the shoe closet, but that would have ruined the surprise. She protests only slightly until I explain that 90 pairs of Louboutins is my idea of “some.” After some of our usual sexual banter and a heart-felt “thank you” from the most beautiful woman in the world, we end the call and I go back to finishing my workday with a smile.

I enter my apartment—or what I think is my apartment—a couple of hours later and I’m completely surprised. It has never felt like this. A fire is going in the fireplace—I expected that. The balcony doors are open and there are various candles and lanterns strategically placed inside and out. There are two arrangements of wild flowers—one on the dining room table and one on the coffee table in the great room. There’s the distinct smell of citrus and jasmine in the air along with the delectable fragrances emanating from the kitchen. Gail and Butterfly are laughing and interacting there like two old friends, and they don’t even notice our arrival.

“She’s making those potatoes, sir. I can smell them,” Taylor says quietly.

“I know, so can I,” I say almost nostalgically. We watch as Butterfly instructs Gail to remove the potatoes from the oven and place them on the cooling rack on the counter.

“Beautifully done, Gail,” Butterfly praises. “They look perfect. We’ll let them cool and see how you did.”

I look over at Taylor, who smiles slightly knowing that his girlfriend now knows how to make the coveted cheesy potatoes. There are various attractive dishes spread across the breakfast bar and some on the dining room table. There are about four wine buckets filled with ice as well as the beer bucket on the balcony—again, only ice. I see wine in the cooler, so this confuses me a bit.

“Honeys, we’re home,” I announce our arrival to the two oblivious women in the kitchen. Butterfly emerges, still in her work clothes and stilettos, wearing her chef’s apron.

“There’s my Santa Claus,” she says, wrapping her arms around my waist and kissing me gently on the lips.

“Santa Claus, huh?” I say, enveloping her in my arms and brushing my lips against her cheek.

“A tiara and the shoes? Yeah, Santa Claus… what is that tiara made of anyway?” she asks.

“Platinum and diamonds,” I respond. Her mouth falls open and her eyes almost pop out. I put my finger on her chin and push up. “Close your mouth, Baby.”

“Platinum and diamonds? Where in the world can I wear that?” she asks.

“Oh, I can’t think of a few places,” I say, but I won’t elaborate right now. “I’ll make the suggestions when the time comes.” I kiss her gently. “You haven’t changed yet. Should I wear this?” I gesture to my suit.

“Absolutely not! You’ll scare my guests away with that CEO garb!” she chastises. “I never change until Al gets here. He’s my alarm and he allows me to work until the last minute while he greets the guests. Although with you here, I may not need Al.” She squeezes me closer.

“Oh, no, we need Allen. I’m new at this remember?” I protest.

“Oh yeah, I forgot about that. Well, Al will be here shortly and Gail has saved me an immense amount of time! I never would have gotten all of this done on such short notice without her.” Butterfly smiles at Gail.

“Happy to be of service, M’lady,” Gail curtsies.

“Madam.” Butterfly returns the curtsy before they burst into giggles. Like I said, Butterfly is quite personable.

“I smell those potatoes, don’t I?” I ask.

“Yes, you do,” Butterfly announces. “But Gail made them this time. Why don’t we see how she did?” She winks at Gail.

“Yes, I’m so anxious to see if they measure up,” Gail says. “And don’t sugarcoat it—I want the truth, you two.” Gail shakes her finger at Taylor who holds his hands up in surrender. Butterfly goes over to the cooling potatoes and puts a small amount on a little plate. She takes a fork and gives a fork to Gail. They each take a small amount of the potatoes to taste for themselves.

“These are very good,” Gail says, proudly. Butterfly closes her eyes to savor the flavor.

“Gail, they’re perfection,” she says, as she takes a forkful and gives it to me. She’s right. They’re delicious. Taylor takes a taste from Gail’s fork and mimics the face Butterfly made before he kisses Gail reverently on the cheek. I’d say the potatoes are a hit.

Butterfly informs me that we have about twenty minutes before Allen gets here, so that gives me time to take a quick shower and freshen up before I go into “host training.” As I come out of the shower, Butterfly is in the bedroom taking two dresses out of a garment bag and hanging one in the closet.

“I’m going to have to make some room for you to put some things in my closet, aren’t I?” I say coming up behind her and putting my arms around her. She stiffens a bit and turns around to face me.

“Do you want to do that?” she says softly. “I don’t want to appear to be invading your space.”

“I absolutely want to do that, Butterfly,” I say. “I see that my blue Anderson Sheppard has taken up permanent residence in your bedroom.” She blushes.

“I like having it there… and your shirts…” She pauses. “I guess that means I should make some room for you, too, huh?”

“Only if you want to,” I say, my voice a little more hopeful than I want to portray.

“I absolutely want to do that.” She repeats my words to me, her eyes ocean blue and longing.

“Don’t look at me like that, Butterfly, or we’ll never get to our guests,” I say, gently pulling her against me and closing the space between us.

“Okay,” she says wistfully before closing her eyes. I take her mouth with mine and savor her flavor. My Ana. My Butterfly. I could never get enough of her. Our kiss goes from touching to yearning and lustful as she tangles her fingers in my hair and moans into my mouth. I clutch her tightly—possessively.

My Ana.

I run my hands down to her ass and forcefully push her against me.

Mine!

I reluctantly break our passionate exchange and pepper her lips with tender kisses. “I would love to bury myself in you, but we have guests coming and I assume by your presence here that Allen has already arrived.” She reluctantly pulls away from me.

“You assume correctly,” she says. “I’ll try to control myself,” she adds with a smile.

“What should I wear for this event, Ms. Steele?” I ask. She puts her hand on her chin and eyes me carefully, then goes to my closet. I trust her completely—her taste is impeccable. She returns with my Ralph Lauren black label long-sleeved cotton jersey button down shirt and my Boss Dr. Hook tan pleated trousers with my Salvatore Ferragamo Faraone black leather dress shoes and matching Salvatore Ferragamo Italian leather Plaque belt. I’m glad she picked for me. I would have gone for something dressier and ended up overdressed.

“This will do nicely, Mr. Grey,” she says seductively.

“Cut it out with that Mr. Grey shit. It’s taking everything in me not to take you right now, woman,” I threaten and she raises an eyebrow.

“Fair enough,” she says as she pulls some jewelry from a travel case and one of the Louboutin boxes left behind for just such an emergency. “Oh, I asked Gail and Taylor to join us for dinner. She did so much work helping me with the dinner and she was so excited that you were having people over that it just seemed criminal not to ask them to stick around. I hope you don’t mind,” she adds.

“Well, I’m new to this whole thing myself, but I can’t say that I care one way or the other if they join us. They may not feel the same, though. Gail has always been so professional…” I say.

“You doubt my powers of persuasion, Mr. Grey?” she says before sauntering into the en suite. I lick my lips after her.

“Not at all, Ms. Steele,” I say to myself. “Not at all.”


Allen is sitting on the sofa in the great room when I return. Alex Bugnon is playing from the sound system. My girl has great taste in music.

“Allen.” I extend my hand to him.

“Christian.” He shakes my hand rising from the sofa. “Lovely place you have here. Quite over the top, I must say.”

“Yes, I know,” I say. “I have to admit, I’m a little out of my element. I’ve never entertained before now… well, not more than one person at a time anyway, so I’m kind of being thrown into the deep end of the pool here.”

“I got you. Well, social skills are something that you just have to let grab you. I have the advantage of knowing everyone that’s going to be here tonight. You know no one, so yeah, you’ll have to play it by ear. All of our friends are laid back and relaxed. The stuffiest amongst us is probably my James, and even he’s pretty laid back by most people’s standards. Just loosen up, relax. Try to enjoy yourself. Open up as much as is comfortable for you. You’ll be fine.” I hear the phone ring in the kitchen and I know it’s Marc. He’s probably shell-shocked from the amount of new faces he’s seen just in the last week and it’s only just begun.

“Grey.”

“Mr. Grey, it’s Marc at the front desk. There are some people here that say they are expected.”

“Just a moment, Marc. Allen, can you come and talk to my doorman, please?” I hand him the phone. As he talks to Marc, I notice that the beer bucket on the balcony is now full and one of the wine buckets has a bottle of Chardonnay chilling inside.

“You first guests arriving, Mr. Grey,” Allen says.

“Allen, I have to ask, what’s with all the buckets and ice? I have plenty of wine.” He smiles at me.

“Jewel didn’t explain Food and Libations to you?” he asks.

“No,” I say crinkling my eyebrows.

“She supplies us with a fabulous meal, we all must bring libations—either to be consumed tonight or at a later date. She has a guest bedroom in case anybody drinks too much and we do the dishes so she doesn’t have to,” Allen responds.

“Not in my kitchen!” Gail announces facetiously as she and Taylor return from changing. Gail is wearing a beautiful blue A-line flowy tea-length short sleeved dress with nude sandals, her hair pulled neatly into a bun. Taylor has changed into a simple dress shirt and some black slacks. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the two of them look so… normal.

“Sir, Ms. Steele insisted… profusely!” Taylor defends.

“I know. It’s okay, Taylor. Could you please help Allen here make sure that no riff-raff gets into our little party?” I say with a smile. I think I’ve shocked my head of private security. “I’m trying, okay?” I add. He smiles at me and heads off towards Allen. “For her, I’m trying…”


STEELE

I emerge from the bedroom in my Herve Leger purple and silver bandage dress with matching jewelry and of course my brand new purple Louboutin Tinazata suede strappy stiletto peep-toe ankle boots. I’m frozen in my steps by the picture of Christian with a beer in his hand, sitting with Taylor, James, and Phil having a heated discussion about the terrible season the Mariners are having.

“You’re crazy, man. Hernandez hasn’t done anything for that team. They’ve never been to the World Series and this year is no different,” he says very animated to Phil.

“Come on, you’re not even considering Ackley and Ichiro. Something’s gotta give this year, Chris.” Chris!? “Season tickets cost a fortune and I have to get my money’s worth sooner or later.”

“Well, I hate to tell you, but you just threw your money down the drain! They won’t even make the playoffs,” Christian says before swigging his beer and sending the other two men into laughter. I turn and look at Al who just shrugs. I walk over to the girls, my presence clearly not needed to assist dear “Chris!”

It’s well into the evening and I’m on the balcony talking to Gail, Val and Maxie before Christian comes looking for me.

“How’re you ladies doing out here?” he says like the quintessential host. I’m impressed.

“Just fine, Christian. You have a very lovely home here,” Val says.

“Thank you,” Christian replies. “I didn’t mean to interrupt you. I just wanted to steal a kiss from my girlfriend,” he says as he bends down and plants a chaste kiss on my lips. I flutter my eyelashes at him and he smiles and goes back inside.

“Oh, my God, Ana. How do you resist him?” Maxie says.

“It ain’t easy!” I exclaim. “He’s sex on a stick, but I must manage to refrain from jumping his bones all the time,” I laugh.

“Where’s Bethany? Why hasn’t she come out here with us?” Maxie adds. “Is she attached to Gary by the hip?”

“I guess so,” Val responds.

“She seems like a lovely girl for the most part,” Gail adds. “How long have you all known her?”

“Not long actually. We only met her a couple of weeks ago when Gary brought her to one of our get-togethers. He’s completely stricken with her, though,” I respond. Gail makes a face.

“Oh, okay. Excuse me for a moment, ladies. Ana, Dear, can I see you in the kitchen for a moment?” She rises and goes to the kitchen. I shrug at Maxie and Val and follow Gail to the kitchen.

“Is everything okay, Gail?” I ask with concern.

“It could be nothing, but I just thought you should know. Your friend, Bethany, has not stopped looking at Mr. Grey for more than five seconds all night. Now I’m certain that he has gone to the wine room for more Bollinger because I saw him headed that way. Your friend Bethany has gone in that direction as well,” she says. I frown. “I don’t doubt Mr. Grey’s commitment to you one bit, Ana. He’s a completely different man in one week than I’ve ever seen and I’ve worked for him for six years. But since none of you really know this Bethany girl, I think you should really go to the wine room.” She points me in the direction. I nod at her and head towards the wine room.

The door to the wine room is slightly ajar. Sure enough, I stand on the wall between the kitchen and the wine room and I can hear their voices.

“No one would know,” she says. “It would just be me and you, a cozy private hotel room somewhere…”

“And what about your boyfriend?” Christian says. What? Is this really happening? My heart starts pounding hard in my chest, so hard I’m sure they can hear it and will come out any second. Thank God, the wall is holding me up or I would be on the floor by now. Christian is at my dinner party negotiating a rendezvous with another woman. This cannot be happening!

“Don’t worry about him. He believes anything I tell him. I have him wrapped around my little finger,” she says seductively and laughs. Christian laughs with her.

“How fortunate for you, Ms. Shepherd,” he says, smoothly. Fucking bastard.

“Bethany,” she coos.

“Bethany,” he repeats. I’m just about to end this cozy little exchange when he says, “Here’s the thing. You say nobody would know, right?”

“Absolutely,” she purrs.

“But I would know, Ms. Shepherd!” he says, his voice now cold and piercing. “I would know that I reduced myself to being seduced by a woman—and I use that term loosely—who was invited by her boyfriend to the party of one of his closest friends, only to come on to that friend’s boyfriend. First of all, do you think I would stoop that low to sleep with someone who has such deplorable moral character? I’ve done some pretty shady things in my life, but that would be pretty detestable,” he says in that CEO voice that can cut anyone down to size.

… And now I feel like shit.
It was reasonable. You had to hear the rest.
Yeah, I know, but I shouldn’t have doubted him.

“Well, excuse me!” she scoffs. “What makes you think you’re so high and mighty? You’re just a man with the same equipment as the rest of them,” she says, affronted.

“You mean besides the fact that I’m a billionaire and you’re currently standing in my multi-million-dollar penthouse propositioning me and drinking my expensive champagne from crystal stemware? Well, besides that, the fact that I’m turning you down. You’re a very attractive woman, Ms. Shepherd, and I don’t know why you’re offering yourself like a dress on the sales rack, but I’m not buying. Why would I want you? Do you see what I have? That woman is exceptional! She’s everything that you should strive to be! Her beauty, kindness, and intelligence are unparalleled, and her bedroom skills would make you blush. Why in the world would you believe for one second that I would invite her closest friends to my home and then try to sneak off with one of you? Are you insane?”

“We’re not friends!” she snaps as if that makes it any better.

“Well, thank God for that!” he exclaims. “While I trust my girl implicitly, I was beginning to question her judgement in choosing you as a friend. I’ve never been so happy to be wrong in my life! I regret even letting you in my home, and I’d like for you to leave!” he snaps and she gasps.

“Stuck up asshole!” she hisses as she walks out of the wine room and runs face-to-face into me. At first, she’s expressionless, but then becomes horrified by something behind me. I turn to see Gary standing there.

Shit!

I don’t know how long he’s been there, but his face is completely impassive.

“Gary, I can explain everything,” she begins, her voice shaking.

“I’m sure you can,” Gary says impassively. Christian comes out of the wine room and his face goes pale. He knows how this looks, but he doesn’t know that Gary and I heard the whole exchange—or at least enough of it.

“I think I’ll be going now,” Gary says calmly. Fuck, he’s hurt. I know this voice. I can’t let him leave like this. He walks around Bethany and me to Christian, who straightens—apparently preparing for a confrontation. “It’s been a pleasure, Chris. I hope to see you again soon. You have a very lovely home.” He proffers his hand to Christian who takes it, bemused.

“Don’t mention it. I hope to see you again soon as well,” Christian responds.

“I’m sorry about that!” Gary spits, gesturing his head towards Bethany. “Had I known…”

Christian visibly relaxes. “Don’t worry about it,” he says. “I understand completely.” Gary nods and comes over to me without acknowledging Bethany.

“I’m really sorry, Ana,” he says, contritely. “I never would have brought her, if…”

“I know, Gary,” I say taking his hand. “Would you do me a favor?” I ask.

“Anything,” he says with a smile.

“Would you go out on the balcony with Val and Maxie for a moment? Don’t leave yet.” He looks at me for a minute then nods.

“Sure.” He squeezes my hand and goes to the balcony. I turn my attention to this bitch Bethany.

“I believe my man told you to leave!” I spit between clenched teeth.

“Of course, he did after I sucked his dick!” she snaps. Before I could think, my hand flies so fast and hard across her face that she yelps in surprise and drops Christian’s crystal champagne glass. It shatters into pieces on the marble floor.

“How do I taste?” I hiss, leaning into her face and daring her to say another word. She’s holding her cheek, pure fear in her eyes. “Since your ride will be staying, I suggest you go and find a taxi—now!” I growl. She runs around me and heads straight for the door. I don’t know if she had a purse, but if she did, she left it behind on her way out. I turn to Christian and jump into his arms, kissing him feverishly. He holds onto me like I’m his life’s breath, devouring my lips just as earnestly—my feet dangling from the ground.

“I’ll replace your champagne glass,” I say breathlessly between kisses.

“Don’t you dare!” he responds.

“I love you!” I say, continuing my oral onslaught.

“I love you, too, baby,” he says, pressing his lips harder into mine.


GREY

I wish I could say that the party went off without a hitch, but apparently there were some wolves in with the sheep. I thought my life was ending when I stepped out the wine room and saw Butterfly and Garrett standing there facing off against this little blonde bimbo that had propositioned me moments before.

How did she know we were back here? Has my redemption ended before it even began? I feel all the blood leave my face and I am ill.

My fears are soon calmed by Garrett’s words to me and Butterfly. Apparently, they heard the whole thing. Thank God for that! Ana convinces Garrett to stay, but continues with my efforts to remove the bimbo. Then the little bitch made the mistake of trying to say that something had happened between us. Oh… you’re dealing with the Tiger…

Wrong move! Duck! Run, Bitch, run! Oh, too late.

The wrath of the Butterfly sends one blonde bimbo running to the door with a sore face and one Mikasa crystal champagne glass broken on the floor. Thank God it wasn’t the Waterford.

After an impromptu make-out session by the wine room, Ana and I go to the balcony to have a talk with Garrett. Thankfully, their relationship had only just begun. He admits that he was fond of her, but not in love with her, and very happy that he saw this side of her before it got to be too late. Once we say our goodbyes to everyone later that evening, I offer the guestroom to Garrett just in case, but he assures me that he’s fine to drive home instead. Except for the one fox in the hen house, I would say the night went pretty well.

Saturday is now upon us and it’s time to meet the family. I’m wearing black Canali pants with a navy blue Tilford Samuelsohn Herringbone blazer and a lightweight cashmere sweater underneath. I find my Butterfly in my room wearing a basic black dress that hugs her curves perfectly with a pair of sky high Louboutin stilettos—black suede with rhinestone encrusted heels. She’s wearing silver flower earrings and a matching silver medallion. Her black clutch purse has the same silver flowers on it and she’s topping the ensemble off with a stylish short white fitted jacket. Her hair is in a twisted chignon style that I have no idea how she did on her own. She looks stunning. Any man would be proud to take her home to meet Mom and Dad.

“Are you ready to meet the folks?” I say as we pull up to my parents’ house.

“As ready as I’ll ever be,” Butterfly responds.

“Last chance to back out,” I say kissing her hands. She smiles sweetly at me.

“Not a chance.” I release her hand and get out of the car rushing to her side to open her door. To my dismay, I see the Pedophile’s Ashton Martin is already here. I smile at Ana and take her hand as we walk to the door.

“Chri—” My mother stops short after she opens the door and looks at me like I have two heads. I can only guess she is astounded by the fact that I’ve brought someone with me. Remembering herself, she proceeds, “Christian. It’s good to see you, son,” she says sincerely as she kisses me on the cheek.

“Hello, Mother,” I greet. “It’s good to see you, too.”

“And who is this lovely flower?” Actually, she’s a butterfly, Mom, but I’ll let it slide.

“Mother, this is Dr. Anastasia Steele. Anastasia, this is my mother, Dr. Grace Trevelyan Grey.” Mom takes Butterfly’s hand and smiles widely.

“It’s so good to meet you, Dr. Steele,” she says sweetly.

“Please, call me Ana. It’s wonderful to meet you, too. Dr. Grey,” she responds.

“Now, if I’m to call you Ana, then you’re to call me Grace.” Ana smiles.

“By all means, Grace.” Mom leads us into the living room where everyone is seated and my baby is ready to face the firing squad.


STEELE

Christian gave me one last chance to make a run for it before we got to his parents’ doorstep, but like hell am I going to let She-Thing prevent me from meeting his parents. I was almost scared back to the car when Christian’s mother momentarily stood gawking at me. Is there something stuck in my teeth? She snaps out of her trance to greet us, insisting that I call her Grace, as I insisted she calls me Ana.

“I’m sorry… crash course in 15 seconds…”

What the hell?

“I’ve never brought a girl home to meet my family, so they may look at you like an anomaly.” Now why didn’t I figure that out for myself? He’s only had subs before me. Of course, none of them would meet his folks.

I walk into the living room and do a quick scan. There are a few women scattered about; some are clearly mother and daughter. The daughters—and some of the mothers—are glaring at me like I’m an extraterrestrial being come to suck out their souls. I see only a few other gentlemen present and of course, She-Thing is sitting on one of the love seats. She doesn’t show any signs that we were in a fight five days ago, but I smirk at the thought anyway. Most of the younger women are looking at me like a leper, but one in particular is clinging to the attractive blonde guy and looking at me very distastefully. I don’t know who she is, but already she rubs me the wrong way and I haven’t even met her yet.

One of the men comes over and shakes Christian’s hand—gorgeous older gentleman, tall and handsome, impeccably dressed in summer linen with salt and pepper hair—mostly pepper.

“Son, glad you could make it!” he says.

“Ana, this is my father, Carrick Grey. Father, this is Dr. Anastasia Steele… my girlfriend.”

There’s the magic word that makes whole room fall silent. Even Grace pauses for a moment.

“Methinks you have the floor now,” I whisper loudly to Christian, causing a few chuckles here and there. The handsome blonde leaves his little blonde bracelet on the sofa and makes a bee-line to Christian, Carrick and me.

“Dr. Steele, you’re a lovely girl.” Carrick takes my hand like a gentleman. “Do you prefer Dr. Steele or Anastasia?” he asks.

“Actually, I prefer Ana, please.” I return his genuine smile.

“Ana, then. And please, call me Carrick.”

“Wonderful to meet you, Carrick.” So far, so good.

“Bro!” The handsome blonde says. “You snagged a doctor! How did you manage that?”

“Fuck off, Elliot!” Christian says, softly. Elliot punches him lightly in the arm and I immediately recognize the brotherly banter.

“I’m Elliot,” he says, taking my hand, “Christian’s older and much more attractive brother.”

“I’d have to disagree with you on that one, Elliot, but it’s lovely to meet you.” I say with a smile. Christian slips his arm around my waist at that statement. I think I did him proud. I guess Elliot’s blonde bracelet didn’t appreciate being left on the sofa so she bounces up and quickly latches onto his arm. She’s wearing a lovely leopard print silk halter dress. It has a sweetheart neckline trimmed in cream satin that continues up around the neck into cream straps, mid-calf with a split in the back. She is also wearing cream Louboutin peeptoe stilettos. Her hair is pulled back in a style like Princess Grace Kelly. She’s wearing way too much foundation and blush and her lips are way too red for a family function. I’ll say this for her, though. The girl has great taste in clothes. Christian immediately tenses as Elliot does the introductions. “Ana, this is my girl, Katherine Kavanaugh. Kate, Ana.” I proffer my hand, and she takes my hand with her three fingers as if she were offering her hand for me to kiss it.

“Enchanté,” she says, lacking any sincerity and promptly snatches her hand away from mine. I shoot a look over to Christian and then back over to Kate, who is smiling smugly and still clinging to Elliot’s arm. Oh, you want to play, huh? Okay, let’s play. I look at my hand as if I had something nasty on it and wipe it on my dress. Christian clears his throat and Kate looks clearly affronted.

“Enchanté? Elle ne me semble pas enchanté,” I say to Christian. Pull my language out on me, Bitch…

“Ne t’inquiète pas. Personne ne se soucie vraiment ce qu’elle pense,” he responds. I look over at her and she is a bit flushed now.

“Je comprend pourquoi. C’est une vraie salope!” I snap. Christian chuckles a bit.

“You know, it’s rude to speak in a different language around other people. They might think you were talking about them,” she snaps. My head whips around to her.

“You probably should have considered that before you greeted me in French,” I say calmly. Trying to save face, she says,

“It’s an expression!” Who does she think she’s talking to?

“Yes! In France! What you probably meant to say is enchanted, which is the English translation for enchanté. ‘How do you do,’ ‘hello,’ and ‘nice to meet you’ would have all worked as well,” I say matter-of-factly. Duly chastised, Ms. Kavanaugh turns her attention to Christian.

“Grey,” she says in a haughty, unwelcoming voice.

“Kavanaugh,” he responds. These two can barely tolerate each other, it seems. I look from Kate to Christian and start laughing. Christian is looking at me strangely and I say, “You affect everybody that way, huh?”

“Affect everybody what way?” Elliot pipes in.

“Well, when I first met Christian, he insisted that I just call him ‘Grey.’ That soon turned to ‘Mr. Grey.’ Then when we started fighting, it went back to ‘Grey.’ We had this whole battle of wills going on for a few weeks. So, when your girlfriend…”

“Oh, no, hon,” Kate interrupts me. “You’re a girlfriend. I’m a fiancée,” she says very nasty. I glare at her. Christian takes my hand because he sees the look on my face. I look gently over my shoulder and put my hand up to him so that he knows I have control and he releases my hand. I lean in to Kate and I say between clenched teeth with all the ferocity I can muster without making a scene:

Don’t. Call me Hon. We are not. Friends… fiancée!” I spit the last word hard at her. She’s now glaring back to me. Challenge me if you want to, Bitch. You will lose. I turn my attention back to Elliot.

“So, when she…” I spit “… called him Grey that’s when I said, ‘You affect everybody that way, huh?’ Now I realize that in this case, however, it may not be his fault.” I finish looking Kate up and down and turning my back on her to go find a drink of some kind.

“Elliot,” I hear Christian say behind me.

“Christian,” Elliot responds and Christian is by my side in moments. Just then, I hear Carrick’s voice sarcastically say, “Looks like Kate’s made another friend.”

I’m already exhausted and the night is just getting started. Cougar-from-Hell-She-Bitch’s presence makes my skin crawl and now Christian’s brother’s fiancée turns out to be a leopard-clad socialite who hates me already for no apparent reason. He catches me and escorts me into the kitchen. There we find a few staff and yet another woman around my age throwing the evil eye at me while smiling lovingly at Christian.

“Christian!” The older lady in the apron calls to him. “It’s good to see you. How have you been?”

“I should be asking you that, Mrs. Thompson,” he says, taking her hand. “I take it that your husband’s surgery went well?”

“Oh, yes. He’s doing much better, thank you for asking. And who is this lovely young thing?” she says, gesturing to me and causing me to blush a little.

“This is Ana Steele, Mrs. Thompson. She’s my girlfriend.” The blonde in the corner gasps and turns away from us. Now, what was that all about?

“It’s lovely to meet you, Ana. Christian never brings ladies home to meet his family. This is a real treat.”

“I’m getting that impression, Mrs. Thompson,” I say looking at the blonde in the corner who appears to be having a nervous breakdown. “Is she okay?” I ask.

“She’s fine, dear,” Mrs. Thompson says. “She just needs a few moments to swallow a pill.” Christian clears his throat again and I now identify it as his attempt not to laugh.

“Ah, I’ve made another friend,” I say under my breath. Mrs. Thompson looks puzzled from me to Christian who informs her, “She just met Katherine.” Realization dawns on her face as she says,

“Oh mon pauvre chose! Quelle tragedie pour vous!” Another one?

“Oui! Oui! Tres tragique!” I exclaim, my voice dripping with mock despair. Mrs. Thompson laughs heartily.

“I like her!” she says to Christian, patting me on the back. “You hold onto her. She’s good people.”

“I intend to, ma’am,” Christian says, taking my hand. “Please excuse us.” He smiles as he leads me to the dining room. I let out a huge sigh as I lean against the wall.

“Exactly how many of the women currently in this house had their sights set on you?” I ask defensively. “I feel like I’ve been thrown into the lion’s den!”

“I’m sorry, baby,” he says putting his arms around me. “I didn’t think it would be this bad. I mean Kate’s always catty, but I’ve never shown any interest in any of those women whatsoever, including Liona.” I look at him confused. “The blonde in the corner, swallowing the ‘girlfriend’ pill.”

“Oh.” I nod.

“We can come up with a headache and leave right now if you want. Heaven knows being around Kavanaugh is enough to make anyone physically ill.” I want to take him up on his offer so badly. I want to just take him home and make love until we fall into a coma-like sleep, then wake up in the morning and do it again, but I won’t be selfish.

“No, I can stand one dinner with a few harpies. I just don’t know how many more of these I can stand in the future,” I state looking up at him through my eyelashes with exhausted eyes.

“I’ll try to be more informed on the guest list in the future. I’ve spent so much time ignoring them, I didn’t consider how it might affect you. Forgive me?” he says sincerely.

“Of course, I do. I know you didn’t plan this.”

“No, I didn’t. I didn’t even know there would be this many people here,” he states. I’m so ready to go home. Instead, I let him peck me on the cheek and lead me back to the living room. Grace hands me a glass of wine when she sees me and smiles sympathetically. Carrick must have been talking to her when he mentioned that Kate had made another friend.

She-Bitch makes her rounds in the room, but is careful to avoid Christian and me. She’s talking to the women in the room who subsequently throw a look at me. I know they’re all talking shit about me—especially her—but this is not my circle of people, so I really don’t care. I mean, I care what his parents think, but that’s about it. I decide to piss off every yearning female and hopeful mother in the room. I look lovingly into Christian’s eyes, silently letting him know that I plan on focusing solely on him the entire night unless someone says something nice to me. Almost on cue, Carrick says, “So, Ana, what’s your specialization?”

“I’m a psychaitrist.” He nods.

“Strong practice?” he asks. Why does Carrick’s look familiar to me?

“Very strong. I’ve done pretty well for myself. I own a condo overlooking Elliot Bay… no pun intended, Elliot…” He laughs, Kate sneers. “I have a practice downtown. I was doing part-time, but I’ve recently gone back to full time to accommodate patients on my waiting list.”

“Why were you part-time if you don’t mind my asking? Continuing education?” he asks. Kate seems to be getting increasingly uncomfortable with this conversation. What is her fucking problem?

“So to speak,” I answer. “I was doing volunteer work for a while, but it turned out not to be my forte.”

“What kind of volunteer work?” he asks. He’s nice for engaging me in conversation.

“Group counseling at the international community center.” Carrick nods, then realization shows on his face. He points to me and looks at Christian. I look over at Christian, who is nodding his head. I put the confused look on and Carrick breaks out laughing. I know where I saw him now! At the courthouse on the stairs talking to Christian.

“I guess that worked out for you, huh, son?” Carrick says, raising his glass to Christian.

“It did, indeed,” Christian replies.

“The Courthouse,” I say. Christian and Carrick both look at me. “That’s where I saw you.” I say, pointing to Carrick.

“Most likely,” Carrick responds.

“He is a lawyer,” Kate says almost under her breath and Elliot nudges her slightly. I ignore her.

“You were there, too.” I point to Christian. At first, confusion shows on his face, then realization.

“You were there,” he says. “I thought I was seeing things.”

“Nope. I was there,” I laugh.

“I knew I wasn’t crazy,” he states.

“Well, yes, you are… but not in this case.” His eyes shift… playful Christian is lurking behind them.

“Oh, you are so going to pay for that later,” he vows.

“I look forward to it,” I retort.

“Oh, please…” Kate just keeps them coming… only loud enough for me to hear.

“So, Elliot, what do you do?” I ask. Before he gets to say anything, Kate answers proudly, “He’s an architect.”

Acknowledging her words, but not her presence, I continue, “An architect. Impressive.” I nod at Christian and he nods back. “So what firm are you with?” Again, Kate pipes in.

“He owns his own company,” she answers for him.

“Entrepreneur! Even more impressive. Good for you.”

“Thank you,” Elliot says a little sharply, directing it at Kate, who isn’t paying any attention to him. Let’s see how far she’s willing to go.

“How long have you been in business, Elliot?” I ask.

“Grey Construction has been in business for seven years,” Kate shoots off again.

“Elliot, do you need a PR person?” I question.

“Why would he need a PR person? He’s in construction!” Kate snaps, as if the answer is obvious—which it is.

“Because you keep answering all his questions for him,” I shoot back. “Are you his representative?” She’s glaring at me again, but won’t answer. “Elliot, do you need an interpreter?”

“No. I do not,” Elliot answers even more sharply at Kate, now gaining her attention. “Knock it off,” he says quietly to her.

“Good. So, what’s your latest project? Did you work on any of the restorations in the historical district or is your specialty smaller, more intimate projects?”

Elliot and I are finally able to speak without interruption and he tells me all about his business and how he got started. I’m a psychiatrist, so I’m trained to engage the speaker. Christian knows exactly what I’m doing and he graciously lets me have the floor for about 25 minutes to talk to Elliot and get to know him. He’s a really good guy. I wonder how he ended up with a barracuda like Kate? He’s got a cute, but twisted sense of humor and I really like that. If he wasn’t engaged to Kate, I could see couples’ dates in our future. Unfortunately, I don’t want to be around this harpy any more than absolutely necessary! And I know that Christian would agree with me. So, that’s out!

“Ana, if I may ask,” Grace joins the group on the family side of the large living room. “Where did you study?”

“Well, I started at Bates, but then I got a full-ride scholarship to U-Dub. So, I finished there and did my internship at the Center for Child and Family Well-Being while I was in grad school.” Graces face lights up.

“Did you like it there?” she asks. Kate is again getting the look like she ate something bad.

“I loved it there! I made most of my friends in college except for my best friend whom I have known for 14 years. It was a good experience, but I think the best experience was CCFW.”

“What makes you say that, dear?” Grace asks. Christian perks up next to me as does Elliot, who looks over at Kate who is rolling her eyes. This girl needs an attitude transplant.

“It’s hard to explain, Grace.” I cross my legs and turn my attention to her. “I had some difficulty of my own as a child. So, I wanted very much to not only handle my own issues, but to help other people handle theirs, too. My problem is that I expected everyone to be like the people who came to CCFW—people who really needed help. They had real problems that needed real solutions. When I got into the real world, not so much.”

“Do you take joy in other people’s calamity?” Kate says snidely.

“No, Katherine. Do you?” I say just as snidely. Again, she has been temporarily shut down. Grace takes this opportunity to continue our conversation.

“Your name just seems so familiar to me. I’m sure I’ve heard it somewhere,” Grace says.

“America’s Most Wanted?” Kate zings again under her breath. That’s it. I’ve had enough of this shit.

“Do you have a problem with me, Ms. Kavanaugh?” Using her last name got her attention.

“Whatever do you mean, Anastasia?” she asks, a very bad attempt at faking innocence.

“She means all the snide remarks you make every time she says something,” Christian adds. “You think nobody can hear you?”

“I don’t know what you mean,” she contends.

“Well, maybe you’ll know what I mean,” Elliot pipes in. “You’re embarrassing me in front of my family. Stop it!” She looks at Elliot completely aghast, stands up and storms out of the room. I fully expected Elliot to follow her, but he doesn’t make a move. Grace puts her hand gently on his shoulder and he takes her hand in his with a smile.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to cause any trouble,” I say looking at each of the Greys.

“Nonsense!” Carrick says. “It’s clear that you were not the one causing the trouble.”

“Maybe I should just go. I don’t know why I’m making her so uncomfortable,” I say.

“You’ll do no such thing!” Grace says. “You’re my son’s girlfriend and you have just as much right to be here as she does.” The poise that Grace has exhibited throughout the evening has been retracted and the mother lioness has her claws out ready to strike. Does Kate bring out the worst in everybody? And how long is she going to hover wherever she’s hovering before she realizes that Elliot is not going to follow her?

“Grace, dear. We’ve just about wrapped things up for the planning of the fundraiser. We just need your input on a few matters.” Her voice is like nails on a chalkboard.

“Of course, Elena. I’ll be there in a moment,” Grace answers. Christian suddenly stiffens next to me. I look over and see two manicured hands with long red nails rubbing his shoulders and traveling down his chest.

“Christian, dear. How have you been?” she purrs. Elliot looks on in disgust while Christian’s parents are simply confused.

“Mrs. Lincoln. You’ve been friends with my mother for a long time.” He’s speaking through clenched teeth. “I’m sure she has told you about my dislike for being touched in this manner.”

“Oh, I’m sorry, Christian,” she coos insincerely. “It’s just that I saw Anabelle here put her hands all over you and I thought you had been cured.” Without turning to look at her, he says,

“First, I can understand how, at your age, you may be prone to forgetfulness, but her name is Anastasia.” I can tell that statement cut her to the quick. “Secondly, I owe you no explanation. Get. Your hands. Off. Of me!”

“I don’t understand what the issue is. Only Appalachia can touch you? No one else? Not even your dear mother?” She’s trying to push him—to touch him for as long as possible and hopefully break him down.

“Mother?” Christian says flatly, asking the assistance of his mother to remove this parasite from his shoulder.

“Elena, you’ve known for years that Christian doesn’t like to be touched. Please get your hands off him,” Grace says in a commanding tone.

“I don’t see what the problem is,” She-Thing protests. “I’ve known him most of his life. If Alameda can touch him, why can’t I?” Christian’s breathing is labored. I have to do something. I stand up in front of Christian facing She-Thing, who is wearing a victorious smirk.

“Get. Your hands. Off him. Now!” I snap. The room has gone so silent again, you can hear a mouse pissing on cotton.

“Listen, Alexandra…” she starts.

“I don’t care what you call me! Get. Your hands. Off him!” I warn again. She stands there smiling at me. Christian is basically immobile. He lets no one touch him that way but me, and if he were anywhere but at his parent’s house, he would have decked her by now and she knows it. And she’s using it against him. Sorry, Grace and Carrick, but this is my man. I take off my jacket and lay it on the sofa. I wouldn’t want to get any blood on it. Noting that there is only a wall behind her, I start counting.

“One.” I never break eye contact with her.

“What is she doing?” I hear someone whisper to my left.

“Two.” I’m still glaring at her.

“What are you supposed to be doing?” She-Thing sneers. Christian is starting to sweat, tendrils of hair sticking to his face.

“Three… don’t let me get to ten.”

“Somebody better put a leash on this rabid dog!” she shoots. Behind me, I hear that Kate has come back into the room and is now snickering at this comment. FLAME ON!

“TEN!” I push that bitch with so much force, I don’t think her feet touch the ground before she hit the wall. Some of the women jump from their seats and I hear Kate gasp behind me.

“So unladylike!” she exclaims.

“Don’t you start!” I whip around and point in Kate’s direction. She silences immediately. Christian releases the breath that he was holding, gasping for air and panting wildly. I hear Elliot explaining to the Barbie bitch that Christian has a phobia of being touched a certain way because of his childhood, but he doesn’t go into any details. I kneel in front of my man who is grasping at his collar to get air.

“Baby? Baby? Baby, listen to me.” I’m trying to get to him but he is panicking. I put my mouth right next to his ear. “Listen to me, baby. You’re fine now. You’re fine now. You’re safe, okay?”

“Ana…” His voice is raspy.

“Yes, baby. I’m here.” Carrick and Grace watch in awe while the rest of the party in the living room isn’t sure what to do.

“I’m sorry,” he says, his voice hoarse. “I froze.”

“I know, baby,” I say, holding his face in my hands while I wipe the sweat off his forehead. “You’re fine now, okay? I’m here.” He grabs me fiercely and pulls me to him, holding on for dear life. What’s amazing is that not one person in the room comes to the aid of She-Thing. I don’t know if she hit her head on the wall and passed out or what, but it takes her a long time to get up.

“I wanted to hit her,” he says softly in my ear, “but I couldn’t, not in my parents’ house…”

“I know, I know,” I say, stroking his hair and rubbing his back.

“Christian!” Grace gasps, but he just clenches tighter to me.

“He’s fine, Grace. He’s going to be fine,” I say, trying to comfort his mother. I’m fighting back the adrenaline tears and my voice is cracking a bit. The tears dry up like the desert when I see She-Thing rise like a zombie from the grave and reach out for Christian.

“Are you reaching out to touch my man?” I growl at her, aiming every molecule of hatred at her that I can muster in my body. I must have gotten through to her because she freezes in her tracks. As if he could hold me any closer, Christian squeezes tighter. I think I hear him whimper and I see the little boy begging me to keep the monster away from him. I have to take care of him. He is mine. MINE, Bitch! And I have to take care of him. I’m cradling his head in my arms in the protective hold that he has become accustomed to, and he rests his head on my shoulders. I’m looking at this predator with pure venom in my eyes. I want to kill her. I want to rip her apart with my bare hands. She hasn’t moved from her spot, still poised to touch my man.

“Go ahead. Touch him. I dare you. I dare you to touch him. One. More. Time!” I growl. There’s nobody else in the room right now, but the Tiger and the Cougar… and the cub that I’m protecting… and I will rip her to shreds.

“Christian,” she whimpers.

“He can’t hear you!” I snap. “You touched him in his no-go zone, and he can’t hear you now!”

“Why is it that you can touch him and I can’t?” she cries.

“Go ahead,” I say fiendishly, “touch him. Go ahead and touch him. And when you do, I’ll beat your ass into next week.” I spit. “I’ll beat you until I get tired, and then I’ll lay down, take a break, get up and beat you some more!” I hear Elliot snicker behind me, but he stops abruptly. I think Grace or Carrick must have shot a look at him to make him stop. She-Thing’s hand is still poised for action, and Christian’s breathing is becoming more regulated. I can’t let her near him. I can’t let her touch him.

“Elena Lincoln!” The next voice I hear is Grace’s. “What is wrong with you? Do you have some kind of unhealthy infatuation with my son?” Lady, if you only knew. I know Christian is hearing this unfold, but he still clings to me for comfort. She-Thing doesn’t answer Grace, but stares at her in horror, not knowing what to say, I’m sure.

“Meeting is adjourned. Everybody out!” Nobody moves. “Everybody out!” Grace screams. “Get out of my house, now! I need to be alone with my family!”

A gaggle of astonished women begins to move towards the door. She-Thing is still caught in suspended animation, her arm hanging longingly in Christian’s direction while her questioning gaze rests unmoving on Grace. Carrick moves between her and Grace, breaking her line and sight. She now raises a questioning glare to him that changes to chastisement sprinkled with a bit of fear when she sees unforgiving, angry blue eyes staring down at her. She rises to her feet with as much dignity as she can muster in this situation and, while attempting to straighten her hair and clothing, marches out behind the rest of that cackling women with Carrick on her heels.

“Ana!” Kate says sarcastically, denoting that I’m not part of the family. Bitch, you may be wearing a ring, but you’re not a Grey yet. Get a fucking grip. I reach back without moving my head and flip her the bird.

“I’ve had about all I’m going to take from you tonight, Katherine!” Grace snaps.

Gracious Grace has left the building.

An astonished and embarrassed Katherine Kavanaugh falls completely silent. Carrick returns to the living room and announces that everyone is gone. Grace turns her attention to me and Christian, who is shaking in my arms now. She kneels on the other side of him, feeling helpless that she can’t comfort her baby boy. She looks at me and I nod slowly. He needs his mother’s touch; he’s never really had it.

“Christian?” she says, her voice thick with tears and reaching out to touch his face. As if he heard my thoughts, he releases one of his arms from around me and snatches Grace into his grasp. Everybody in the room except for Kate gasps… and Grace begins to weep. I can only imagine that this is the first time her son has held her like this. Her hand is flailing behind him because she doesn’t know what to do with it. So, I grab it and lay it flat on his back and put my hand on top of it. She wraps her other arm around me and she just loses it. This woman is crying from her soul. I soon lose my battle with the adrenaline tears. The last time I kept it in, it exhausted me—so I’m going to let them out this time.

So here we all sit, clustered together, holding each other, crying. The Lioness, the Tiger, and the cub.


A/N: French Translation (as close as I could get with my French):

Ana: “Enchanté? Elle ne me semble pas enchanté.” – “Enchanted? She did not seem enchanted to me.”

Christian: “Ne t’inquiète pas. Personne ne se soucie vraiment ce qu’elle pense.” – “Do not worry. Nobody really cares what she thinks.”

Ana: “Je comprend pourquoi. C’est une vraie salope!” – “I can see why. She’s a real bitch!” 

Mrs. Thompson: “Oh mon pauvre chose! Quelle tragedie pour vous!” – “Oh, poor thing, what a tragedy for you!”

Ana: “Oui! Oui! Tres tragique!” – “Yes! Yes! Very tragic!”

There is LOTS to see on the Pinterest page this time! I only just discovered that Louboutin has shoes that don’t have the red soles. I picked the shoes for Ana’s outfit to meet the folks and didn’t even know that they were Louboutins—how about that? I have great taste. 😉 Shoe and clothes of course can be found on my Pinterest page at http://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/paging-dr-steele/

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

~~love and handcuffs

Paging Dr. Steele: Chapter 26: What You Need

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 26—What You Need

STEELE

I can’t believe I’ve come to this man’s house uninvited wearing nothing but a trench coat and at least $1500 in Agent Provocateur lingerie!

I’ve had this stuff for years, but never found cause to wear it. Now here I sit in Christian’s playroom on his gorgeous four poster bed with satin sheets wearing the Whitney collection—bra, panties and suspender garter belt. The Whitney collection is bondage style. The bra is only a ¼ cup with thick straps that cross the top of the cup right across the center of each breast just above my nipples to allow for easy access. Various thin straps are situated in a cage-effect pattern, strategically placed around each breast where my cleavage is, over the top of my breast, up the middle to another wider strip that connects two final thin straps that go over my shoulder.

The Whitney thong is merely a thick strap that goes around my waist that splits into two straps at my butt and drops into a provocative crisscross “V” that attaches to two narrow straps that wrap around each thigh. The thick strap disappears into my crevice to connect in the front with a small square crisscross of straps that connect to the wide strap at the top and the thinner straps at the bottom.

The Whitney garter belt is made with the same cage-effect pattern as the bra—various thick and thin straps that crisscross and connect to top and bottom straps with hook and eye fasteners in the back for easy release.

“Covering” this ensemble is the Alina Babydoll—a completely sheer mesh, barely-there nightie trimmed in lace around the hem, up the open front, and around the off-the-shoulder sleeves with satin sashes to tie it together just at the bust. Black silk stockings and black patent-leather Giuseppe Zanotti peep-toe stilettos with ankle straps complete the outfit. To say that I look like I’m ready for action is an understatement.

The keyword here is “look” like I’m ready. Inside, I’m fucking terrified.

I don’t know what the hell I’m getting myself into. I have no idea what’s going to happen…

You can still get up and make a run for it!

Just as I was contemplating the thought, the door opens and I see light come into the room from the hallway.

Too late.

He treads slowly over to meprolonging my agony, I think. Fuck, I hope I did the right thing.

“Ms. Steele.” His voice comes out smooth and deep, in such a way that it reverberates through my body and snatches the air out of my chest.

“Yes, Sir,” I say. Good God, I’m panting already.

“Why are you here?” Oh, shit. I think I messed up. In the only voice I can muster, I tell him the truth.

“I thought that Sir may need me.” I heard it in his voice. I know I did. I heard it in every word, every pause, every breath. I can be what he needs; and right now, he needs control. I can do this. I know I can.

“Stand!” he nearly barks at me and my legs respond all on their own. I’m on my feet before my brain gets a chance to send the message to my body. He follows with commands to stand in the middle of the room and turn away from him, to which I comply. “Stay there,” is his last command before he leaves the room and shuts the door behind him. I let out a breath I was holding and almost hyperventilate.

Why did he leave me here?

Is he coming back?

Did I piss him off? Take control away from him by topping from the bottom?

A thousand thoughts go through my head as I wait for what seems like an eternity for Christian to return. I’m fighting to control my breathing, but I’m not very successful. I can’t let him see me like this. If he sees me all flustered and frightened, he’ll immediately back off and be concerned. This is not about me tonight. This is about him.

Get a grip, Steele!

A few deep breaths later and I’ve relaxed enough to fend off a panic attack or hyperventilating or any other number of embarrassing physical responses to fear. Finally, I hear the door open and close behind me. One last breath…

I hear drawers opening and closing behind me.

He’s choosing his “weapons.”
Oh, why did you have to say that?

I can hear him padding over to me.

“There are rules for the playroom, Anastasia.” Anastasia. Here we go. “First, when you come into this room, I will expect for you to be in one of three positions. The position that you are in now is position one. Get on your knees.” I drop to my knees as easily as I can in stilettos. “Spread your legs and put your hands on your thighs.” I do as I’m instructed. “Wider!” His voice commanding, he startled me. I jump and quickly spread my legs as wide as they could go in this position. “Good. This is position two. Go over to the sofa and sit.” Again, I squirm to my feet and do as I’m told.

“Come all the way to the edge.” I scoot my butt to the edge of the sofa.

“Hands in your lap.” I obey. “This is position three. Do you understand the positions, Anastasia?”

There is a lump in my throat, but I manage to choke out, “Ye-yes, Sir.”

“In this room, you speak only when you are addressed. Do not look at me unless I tell you to. If you make a sound or look at me without permission, you will be punished. Do you understand, Anastasia?”

“Yes, Sir.” I feel chastised. His voice is deep, harsh, and commanding. I feel the breath leaving my body again. Hold it together, Steele. We haven’t even started yet.

“What are your safewords, Anastasia?” he commands, his voice a little gentler than before.

See? You can’t do this. You’re already wimping out and nothing’s even happened yet.
I can do this and I will!

“Bells and whistles, Sir,” I say clearly

“Good. Stand.” I stand as commanded, and he pulls the satin straps of my babydoll to untie it. I watch the satin loosen and I hear My Dom gasp as the babydoll falls open to further reveal the intricate crisscross bondage-style patterns of the ensemble underneath. His fingers only barely touch my skin and I shiver. As he stands closer to me, I now notice that he’s wearing faded, worn jeans that fit him just so right with the button open at the waist.

Fuck.

I want to look at him so badly. I don’t know how long I’ve been here already and I haven’t been permitted to look at him once. I know it hasn’t been long, but it seems like forever. He pushes the babydoll off my shoulders by its tiny straps and it falls to the floor.

Hey! Pick that up! That’s a $700 piece of lingerie!
Shut. The fuck. Up! This is not the time for you to be talking!

“Take off your panties.” Without raising my head, I unhook the suspenders and slide out of the panties, attaching the suspenders back to the stockings when I’m done.

“Yes,” he hisses. “You are a beautiful sight, Ms. Steele,” he says, walking around me and examining me. He’s out of my sight for a moment and I wonder what he’s doing. Suddenly he snatches me from the side and pulls me roughly against him. I gasp as his hand smacks hard against my ass cheek, grabbing and squeezing it roughly. He holds it there as he growls in my ear.

“This is mine,” he says. “You are here for my pleasure. You belong to me. Say it!”

“I belong to you,” I say, my voice shaking a bit from the shock of the smack. “Only you, Sir.” His hand gently rubs the spot where he smacked me. Then it’s gone, and a few moments later, it comes down hard on the other cheek. I whimper involuntarily, then remember that is cause for punishment. Shit. What’s he going to do to me?


GREY

She looks utterly exquisite standing there with her back to me when I return in my playroom jeans. She’s here… in my playroom… and she brought me here. I take a few items from the museum chest and place them on top.

“There are rules for the playroom, Anastasia.” I say as I approach her. She compliantly obeys as I instruct her on the three most basic positions in which I expect to find her when I come into this room. She seems like she may be losing her nerve when I discuss punishments for speaking out of turn or looking at me, so I soften my voice just a hair when I ask her to recall her safewords and that seems to bring her back a bit.

“Bells and whistles, Sir,” she says, her voice stronger than it was a moment ago. Good girl.

“Good. Stand.” It’s time for me to unwrap my present, not that I can’t already see the Agent Provocateur set that she’s wearing underneath. Excellent choice, Ms. Steele, I think to myself as I feel my jeans tighten a bit in the groin area. The straps on the bra cup around her tits perfectly like her breasts are bound by silk Japanese bondage rope. The suspender makes you want to grab on to it and fuck her—hard—and she can’t get away.

“Take off your panties,” I command, and she complies immediately, reattaching her stockings to the suspender when she has completed her task. I must touch her.

“Yes! You are a beautiful sight, Ms. Steele,” I say as I circle her, trying to decide which part of her I plan to dominate first. That delicious ass. Yes! I snatch her to me and slap it hard, clutching it to make the sting sink in while relishing the feeling of her skin on my own. Fuck, one hit and I’m ready to come. I’m so going to enjoy this.

“This is mine. You are here for my pleasure. You belong to me. Say it!”

Reeling a bit from the strike, she says “I belong to you; only you, Sir.” Yes, only me, Anastasia. I caress her cheek and slap the other one—hard like the first time. She makes a small sound. Hmm, should I punish her? Let’s see.

I go over to the iPod dock and pick a song for tonight’s session, something I haven’t played in here before. I go back to the museum chest, retrieve my items and put them on the Chesterfield sofa behind her. I need her to be a little mobile but not much, so I also retrieve two of the chains hanging from my suspension system. Adjusting them to her height, I position them where she’s standing. I attach a fur-lined leather cuff to each of her wrists. “Turn around.” She turns around to face me and the Chesterfield sofa.

“Arms above your head.” She tentatively raises her hands above her head and I attach the cuffs to the chains hanging from the carabiners.

“Spread your legs.” Her breath quickens as she spreads her legs. Now she looks like she’s attached to my cross—only she’s standing in the middle of the room. She looks abso-fucking-lutely glorious. Her head is still down and her chest is rising and falling frantically. She reacted the same way when I bound her with my tie. Something about being bound…

“Look at me Anastasia.” She hesitates, attempting to regulate her breathing before raising her eyes—but not her head—to mine. “Breathe.” I put my hand under her chin and lift her head and she takes two deep breaths. When she’s a bit calmer I tell her, “I’m going to punish you, Anastasia.” She gulps. “Do you know why?”

“Because I made a sound, Sir,” she responds.

“Yes, and what else?” She looks at me confused, my hand still holding her chin.

“I don’t know, Sir,” she answers.

“For coming to my apartment and enlisting my staff to help you get into my playroom… without permission.” She swallows.

“Yes, Sir,” she says softly. In the same spread leg position, I put my arm around the front of her and begin.

She once said she could do anything in stilettos. Let’s see how true that is.


STEELE

He likes music when he plays, I see. A sensual song plays in the background about making love outside. With one arm around the front of me, my arms in the air held by cuffs and chains, my Dom begins to spank me—hard! The slaps are solid, and they sting! I bite my lip to keep from crying out. My legs are spread apart and there’s a certain warmth that I feel in my groin with each smack. I can’t explain it. The moment that his hand lands, the pain shoots through my cheeks and down my legs, nearly causing my knees to buckle. But the combination of the hit and the subsequent caress is shooting jolts of pleasure right to my core. This shit is scary—and HOT! I’m trying to process this pain, this pleasure, this unfamiliar ache and I completely lose count of how many times he hit me. Pretty soon, one sting continues into the next, and the next, and the next. I push my weight back on my heels for fear my legs will give out, but that only sticks my ass out further for the next few hits.

Good Lord, how much more of this can I take?

A woman is making sounds of ecstasy in the song now and I almost want to mimic her. As the strikes reverberate through me sending those same shock waves to my center, I feel the need to release. It’s rising inside of me, spurred by my Dom’s continued punishment, but nothing to bring it forward since there is no stimulation my pleasure center. This is torture. This is punishment. I want to come. Please let me come.

The Bitch dare not speak right now. She knows as well as I do that we are in no way, shape or form in control of this situation. My Dom lands another strike on my tender ass and I now realize that I’m biting my lip almost to the point of breaking the skin. As soon as I release it, he strikes me again and I gasp audibly, releasing my breath that I had no idea I was holding. Though my legs and my blessed stilettos are still holding me up, my head has dropped back to sub position and I’m wheezing trying to drag in precious oxygen. My Dom is still holding me, the hand that was once striking me is now caressing my sore butt and thighs.

“My God, Anastasia!” he says, his voice growling and his breath just as rapid as mine. “I struck you 32 times before you even flinched.” I sure as hell hope that’s a good thing because I’m wet as fuck and I don’t know if I can take anymore spanking! He holds me until my breathing is somewhat back to normal, then he walks around behind me… what is he doing?

He’s braiding my hair! Okay, this is kinky.

I assume he uses a tie or a rubber band or something to keep the braid from unraveling before he comes back around to the front of me. I’m still panting a bit when he reaches his hands between my legs. I gasp again.

“Anastasia!” he gasps in amazement. “You’re drenched!” As he begins to rub the moisture around my folds. Oh, fuck, what am I supposed to do now? I’m on fire! He inserts one, then two fingers into me and I cry out before I can catch myself. Those jolts from before all shoot to my Dom’s fingers and my legs start to shake. “You like being spanked, don’t you?”

“Yes—yes, Sir…” I can barely get the words out. My orgasm is coming. Will he let me…?

“Come on, Baby. Give it to me,” he groans, and away I go.


GREY

Thirty-two. Thirty-two strikes and she still didn’t buckle! When she finally gasped, I knew I had to stop. My hand is stinging deliciously and her ass is a most glorious shade of pink… dark pink. I feel marvelous! Every bit of the day’s stress is gone… and we’re just getting started. Her spanking was pretty brutal—I didn’t go easy on her. I wanted to see what she could take, and she took it all. A punishment spanking is much rougher than an erotic spanking. Hell, not only is her ass going to need some cream, but my palm might need some, too. Of course, when I saw how turned on she was from her spanking, I had to reward her with her first orgasm. She was dripping fucking wet! I couldn’t let that go to waste. I move to hold her up as she rides out her orgasm, but she has her legs locked and she’s not buckling.

This woman is right. She can do anything in stilettos. I’m not easily impressed, but I must say—I’m impressed!

I lick my fingers still dripping with her juices—for my pleasure, because she’s not looking at me. Then again, she can’t now, can she? And now for phase two.

“I know that you were afraid, Ms. Steele,” I say, “which is why I didn’t blindfold you.” I pull the blindfold out of my back pocket and show it to her. “What are your safewords, Anastasia?”

“Bells and whistles, Sir,” she says softly.

“And when do you use them?” She takes a breath.

“Bells when I’m reaching my limits and whistles when I want you to stop immediately, Sir.”

“Good, be sure to use the safewords if you need them. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Sir,” she answers nervously. Once I put the blindfold over her eyes, her breathing changes immediately. She’s always so responsive to the smallest things. A blindfold heightens your senses anyway, but I think doubly so for Anastasia. Beautiful, exquisite Anastasia. Control yourself, Grey, I think to myself as I rub my pulsing cock through my jeans. As I examine her perfect petite frame, her breathing becomes more controlled. I touch her stomach with just my fingertips, and she jumps. She doesn’t know where to expect my caress next. I gently tickle her thigh above the line of her stockings. Her breathing picks up again. That familiar sheen of sweat is slowly starting to form on her skin. I pull down the quarter flaps of her bra, leaving the strap across her breast in place and exposing her nipple. It responds immediately to the release and perks up in anticipation of the next step.

I’m going to recreate the scene she described to me from the BDSM club.

I pick up a pair of adjustable nipple clamps with a chain attached. I fondle her beautiful perky nipples with my finger and thumb. She’s breathing heavily again trying to not make a sound.

“You can make sounds, Anastasia, but no words, understand?” I say.

Yes, Si… ah!” Before she finishes her response, I suck her tasty nipple into my mouth. Her head falls back as I tease and torment her nipple and she moans in ecstasy. From my pocket, I remove a set of adjustable nipple clamps attached to a chain. I attach the first one to her tender nipple, tightening until it holds just enough to stay put. Anastasia’s breathing has become very erratic. She doesn’t know what to make of this latest sensation. I take her free breast in my hand and bring my lips to her ear.

“Breathe, Anastasia,” I whisper before licking the shell of her ear and watching the resulting shudder. I’m teasing her breast and nipple in my hand as I watch her chest rise and fall in anticipation, fear, and arousal. Again, I suck and tease her nipple to prepare it for the clamp while I gently tug the chain on the already attached nipple.

“Aaahhh!” she moans. This is wonderful! Her first time in the playroom and it’s splendid. I attach the second clamp and adjust it accordingly. I step back and take in the sight. Anastasia standing eagle spread in the middle of my playroom in stilettos and sexy fucking bondage lingerie chained to the ceiling—nipple clamps hanging from her beautiful breasts, shooting just enough pleasure and pain to her core to be only just bearable. And her ass is a delicious shade of pink. I rub my dick again as I walk around her while she is panting in obvious arousal. I pull gently on the chain again and watch her breathing respond.

“Do you like that, Anastasia?” I ask.

Ye… yes, Sir… very… much!” she breathes. I swear she looks like she could come again right now. I take my deerskin flogger from the wall. I rub her stomach gently, then her back, then her thighs. Then I strike—just the way that she described it to me that night—strike and pull, so that the straps wrap gently around her body in a caress, but the ends pierce like little pins… pain and pleasure.

“Aaarrrggg!” she cries out. “Oh, God!”


STEELE

“No words, Anastasia!” he commands, and I immediately bite my lip. What is he doing? What is he hitting me with? Is that a flogger? My mind immediately goes back to the S&M scene that I described and the way the beautiful young girl enjoyed her torment. Before I can finish my thought, he strikes again, across my stomach so that it wraps around my side and pierces my back—also hitting the chain attached to the nipple clamps and sending a myriad of sensation through my body.

“Ah… ah… ah…” I’m trying to catch my breath. You asked for it, Steele, and now you’re getting it. Another strike across my legs wraps around and tortures the tender meat of my inner thigh. I won’t be able to take 32 of these, but for right now…

“More… please… Sir…” He stops for a moment. I hear his breath catch. He’s behind me. His hand falls hard on my ass and I scream from the pain.

“Silence!” he growls, arousal thick in his voice, his erection pressing hard into my back and his hand around my neck holding my chin. “No words! Understand?”

“Yes… yes, Sir,” I whimper. He is feral… and primal… and frightening right now. Fuck, I feel like I’m going to combust! What’s happening to me?

Christian.
Oh, no, we’re not having it this time.
This ain’t for you! This is for me.
Oh shit, let her fucking talk. You’re gone anyway.

The flogger soon makes contact with my skin again and I writhe from the pain… and the pleasure. My Dom strikes me several more times before dropping the instrument and planting gentle kisses on my shoulders. The air on my skin feels intense—every sensation is heightened. For the first time, I feel my stilettos failing me, like I might buckle any second. I’m so aroused; I almost can’t catch my breath.

“Are you enjoying this, Anastasia?” he says, his hands roughly holding my cheeks.

“Yes Sir… yes…” I say between breaths.

“Good, because I have one more present for you,” he says. He inserts something into me, short and wide, made of rubber. I gasp! It almost made me come.

Oh, Christian.

I feel him attaching straps to my thighs. What the hell is this? Something long and lumpy is between my legs reaching to the back of me. That’s when I feel the lube massaging my rosebud, his finger requesting entry into my ass.

Oh, yes, Christian.

As if he heard the Bitch, his finger breaks past the barrier massaging the sensitive nerves found there.

Oh, FUCK!

“Aaaaahhh!” Oh, God, this is delectable! I push my ass against his hand for deeper stimulation and he pulls me against him.

“Still,” he breathes. “I want you still.” Oh, my God.

My body is yours, Christian. Do what you want to me…

I feel something inserted into my ass—rubbery, like what is in my pussy, but not as wide—a little longer, maybe, I don’t know. He adjusts this instrument and now something is also touching my clit. I can now tell that this is one piece—touching my clit, in my pussy, and in my ass.

He removes my blindfold and he’s standing in front of me, his erection freed from those sexy ass jeans, and he’s stroking himself—his eyes blazing silver. This is definitely not the same tortured man that was on the phone with me earlier. He is so fucking hot.

I drop my head almost immediately. He hasn’t given me permission to look at him yet. He raises my chin with his hand, forcing me to look him in the eye. He backs away from me a couple of steps and sits on the Chesterfield sofa facing me and still stroking himself. My mouth starts to water as I watch him pleasuring himself. My muscles start to clench deliciously on whatever this is that he has strapped between my legs. He’s gripping himself hard and stroking deep, his throbbing member engorged as he eyes me carefully. His finger pushes a button on a remote in his free hand and…

FUCKING HELL!

“Hhaaaaaaahhhhhh! Hah! Aaah!” I squeal as this… thing… that he has strapped to me starts to vibrate inside my pussy, inside my ass and mercilessly against my clit. I’m watching my Dom grunting and stroking fiercely at his dick while I’m forced to absorb the constant tingling and vibration in my nether-regions.

“Oh, God!” I scream! Fuck silence, this is unbearable! “Oh, God!” My Dom’s face is strained and I watch as he ejaculates, long streams of cum shooting impressively into the air. My legs begin to shake violently as I watch him squeeze every bit of pleasure out of himself, and I grab the chains holding my cuffs in an attempt to steady myself. While he’s panting heavily on the Chesterfield, I freefall from whatever willpower I had previously. I release a piercing scream as my body erupts into an earth-shattering orgasm—the force of which causes the chain to swing and the clamps to pull mercilessly on my nipples, drawing out the sensation even more.

I have no idea what my Dom saw because I have transcended this plane and I am gone—floating around somewhere in Orgasmland. I just know that when I float back down to planet Earth, he has removed his jeans and is holding me around my waist while he’s un-strapping the tantalizing torture device from my thighs. I shudder in pleasure when he pulls it out of my rectum and again when he pulls it from my core.

“Aaah!” I say, releasing a breath I was holding and collapsing into him as much as the chains above me will allow. He carries me to the big four-poster bed and sits me down.

“On your knees, Anastasia,” he commands. Oh, my God, we’re not done, yet?

I obediently scramble to my knees on the bed, the chains above me giving me more purchase to move since my body is higher than it was when I was standing. My arms are at a 90-degree angle now, which provides sweet relief to my aching shoulders. “Face the head of the bed.” Grasping the chains for leverage, I turn my body so that my behind is facing the foot of the bed and I’m looking directly at the intricate headboard far at the head of the bed while my Dom adjusts the chains. He climbs onto the bed in front of me, on his knees. He once again has to lift my chin to look at him as I follow the rules and don’t look at him without permission.

“You’re beautiful, Anastasia,” he says softly, his voice full of reverence before he kisses me softly then deeply. I was spent a moment ago, but now arrows of arousal shoot through my body again. What this man does to me! He breaks the kiss just as he pulls gently on the chain.

“Ah…ohoo…” I gasp. My nipples are getting tender from the weight of the chain and the clamps, but the pain only adds to the excitement. He licks my lips again before he says,

“Don’t come.” Then he slides his head between my legs and the torture begins anew.


GREY

I normally don’t jack off with my subs, but this is different. Anastasia is unbelievably desirable standing there with the Stinger attached to her and when I see her body start to shake, I can’t hold back anymore. I have, of course, completely destroyed my playroom jeans and as I stand to take them off, she detonates into an orgasm, the accompanying shrill I’m sure they heard all the way in the Marketplace.

And she’s going down.

I step out of my jeans and move like a panther to get to her before she drops or she may dislocate her shoulder. After I release the Stinger, I take her to the bed for our last activity of the evening. I can’t help but kiss her beautiful lips—first the soft delicious pair on her face and now the ones in the valley below. I’m underneath her so that my hands clasp over her thighs and cup her behind. At the right angle, my nose could tickle her behind while my tongue slurps lavishly at her delicious mound. Her erotic noises fuel me to suck and tease her tender flesh relentlessly. I’m holding her still against my face so she can’t grind, her legs open, exposing her juicy, sweet fruit to my hot, hungry tongue. Her juices slide down to my mouth as I greedily lap every drop, engorging myself on her magnificent flavor. She’s lost in the throes of passion and I feel her clit start to stiffen and pulsate. I know that she’s close.

Not yet, Baby. Not yet.

I slide out from under Anastasia and turn so that I’m lying on the bed facing her.

“Come here, Anastasia,” I command. She again uses the chains to steady herself as she crawls up the bed to straddle me. She knows what’s about to happen.

“Fuck me,” I say. She climbs over me and slowly lowers herself onto my waiting erection. Damn, she feels good. She’s so wet and tight. She rises and falls slowly, her pussy wrapping tight around my dick.

“Harder!” I growl as I grab her thighs. She begins to bounce—hard!

“Yessss,” I hiss as I raise my hips to meet her every time she drops. I pull gently on the chain for the nipple clamps.

“Aahh. Aahhh!” she whimpers and I swear her walls get tighter. Milk me, Baby. That’s what I’m talking about!

“Is it deep enough for you, Baby?” I ask. “You want it deeper?” I grab her hips and slam up into her bring her down hard on my cock and holding her there while I circle my hips.

“Fuuuuck!” she screams, the nipple chain jerking up and down from the impact. “Fuck, fuck, fuck,” she mumbles.

“Did you say something, Ms. Steele?” I say, digging my fingers into her hips and slamming into her again, circling my hips.

“Aaaahhh. No, Sir!” she screams, panting in ecstasy.

“Are you sure?” Slam! “I thought…” Slam! “… I heard…” Slam! “… you say…” Slam! “… something!” Slam, wiggle! She is shaking.

“Oh, God! No, Sir! No, Sir!” she wails. “Aaaaahhh.” She’s going to come any second. I still and let her catch her breath. I told her not to come.

“Fuck me, Anastasia,” I growl. “Fuck me hard and fast! Make me come.” That’s when she does something that even surprises me. She takes the excess chain from the ceiling and wraps it around each of her wrists where the cuffs are so that she can get a firmer grip on the chain to stabilize her upper body and allow more movement in her hips and legs.

Boy, did that work! She is riding my dick with friction, power and conviction!

“That’s right, Baby. Fuck me!” I growl, my fingers digging deeper into her hips.

“Ah… ah… ah… ah... ah...” Each moan is getting higher and higher and I’ll know she’ll be coming soon. I raise my hips to give her a deeper stroke. Fuck, this shit is good. They don’t make pornos that look like this!

“Yeah, baby! Take it! Sssssss.” I hiss as I feel my release coming. Her head is thrown back and I feel her begin to shake. I stroke deeper with her as I feel her begin to clench around me.

“Oh, fuck, baby, Yes! Yes!” It’s right there, right there waiting for me. “Come, Anastasia. Now!” And there it is. She detonates into untamed screams of passion, bouncing off the walls of my playroom and floating over Elliot Bay and Puget Sound!

“Ah… Ah… ah fuck! Baby!” Three more thrus,ts and I empty violently into her and I collapse onto the bed to catch my breath! Fuck! That was one of the best sessions this room has seen in… I don’t know… ever? Every other session had no meaning, no feeling… but this time, fucking hell! I raise my head to look at her and her head is hanging back while she hangs breathlessly suspended from the chains.

Oh, shit! I have to get her down from there!

She whimpers as I lift her off of my flaccid member. I have to lift her a bit to untangle the chains from her hands and wrists. I unhook the restraints from the chains and her arms drop to her sides while her head lolls on my shoulder. I lay her gently on the bed. She’s going to need a lot after that session. First, I release and remove the nipple clamps and she whines a bit from the release. The lips and tongue are still the best soothing for that discomfort, so I gently lick and suckle her nipples to give her a little relief.

“Roll over, Baby,” I say, and she rolls, the best that she can—nearly unable to move. When she makes it to her stomach, I get a better look at her beautiful ass—still pink from her spanking. She has mild striping here and there from the flogger. I remove the wrist restraints which, of course, left no marks, but she has some pretty brutal bruising from holding onto the chains. I remove her sexy shoes from her tiny feet. Size 5—yes, I will need that information. I unhook her stocking from her suspenders and gently roll them off her legs. The suspender is hook-and-eye in the back so I open it and her bra to examine the damage more closely. Not too bad and nothing permanent. I go to the en suite and get the Arnica cream and begin to massage her back, her behind, her thighs, and her shoulders. She moans appreciatively as I begin to soothe the pains in her muscles and her skin. I massage her feet and her legs and I can hear her breathing change. I know she’s falling asleep. I grab the robe from the en suite to cover myself, then I gather our clothes and put them in a pile to pick up later. I wrap my baby in the satin sheet and carry her downstairs to my room… our room.

That feels strange… but… not.

I lay her on the bed and she just falls like a sack of potatoes. I quickly go to the kitchen to grab some Advil and a glass of juice. She really should take a bath, but she’s completely wrung out.

“Baby?” I gently rouse her from her sleep. “Baby?”

“Hmm?” she whimpers.

“I need you to take these or you’re going to hurt in the morning.” She’s going to hurt anyway. She sits up as much as she can and I put the pills in her mouth. She sips a little juice to swallow the Advil and falls back down on the pillows. Shit! I forgot her hands. I go into the en suite for more Arnica cream and gently apply it to the bruises in her hands. I hope these don’t bother her too much. I don’t want her to not be able to use her hands. Once I’m done, I gently kiss each of her fingers. She just subbed for me… when I really needed it, she subbed for me. She’s probably never subbed in her life, and she did it for me. I turn out the bedside light and lie next to her. She rolls over and snuggles her body into mine, her face in my chest.

My Butterfly.

I put my arms around her and hold her close to me. I gently unravel the braid in her hair and let it cascade beautifully over her pillow. I kiss her forehead and her hair. This is where she belongs. Here in my arms. Always.

“I love you, Anastasia,” I say, right before I fall into a blissful sleep.


STEELE

Oh, hell! Hell, hell, hell, hell! I’m so sore! I whimper as I try to move my arms. They’re stiffer than I think they’ve ever been… ever! I have patients to see—I can be lying here unable to move! Good God, that was more of a workout than I thought it would be. I definitely don’t welcome the sunshine this morning. No wonder his subs only did this shit on the weekends. You need a whole damn day to recuperate! I’m never going to be able to keep up with this man. I make a mental note to have Marilyn make me another appointment with Luc—I’ve got to rebuild my stamina.

“Oh, God, help me,” I whine as I try to push myself off the bed. I hear the bathroom door open and within moments, strong hands are helping me into a sitting position and rubbing my aching shoulders.

“Oho God…” I whimper as Christian starts to massage the kinks out of my shoulders. I look at my hands. There’s slight bruising from when I was gripping the chains. The memory sends a chill down my spine and straight to my core.

“Too much?” he says, softly while gently kissing my back.

“I may need to pace myself a bit in some areas next time,” I say, rolling my neck. He freezes for a moment. I look over my shoulder. “Christian…?”

“I wasn’t sure how you would feel after your first experience. It’s good to hear you say, ‘next time.'” He kisses my shoulder again. I turn around as much as I can and touch his cheek. Looking him lovingly in the eyes, I kiss him gently. He takes my hand in his and touches his forehead to mine. “How did you know?” he asks. I sigh heavily.

“I could hear it in your voice. I don’t know what happened yesterday, but I knew you needed me… and you weren’t going to ask,” I reply. I wince as he gathers me into his arms and kisses me deeply.

“I knew you would be good for me,” he says between kisses. “I knew you would.” He set me gently back down on the bed. “What’s hurting, Butterfly?” I mentally survey the damage.

“My muscles hurt more than anything. That means I need to get back to the gym.” He raises an eyebrow at me.

“Klevnar?” he says, tentatively.

“Yeah. He’ll get his shit together and do his job if he knows what’s good for him!” I snap. Christian laughs at me.

“Settle down, killer,” he says with mirth. I smile back.

“My hands hurt a bit,” I say.

“Yeah,” he says opening my palm. “I saw them last night. I knew you might have some problems with them today.” He picks up two Advil from the night table. “Open.” I open my mouth and he put the pills in, then gives me some orange juice. “What time is your first patient?”

“Ten o’clock,” I say, trying to stretch again.

“You have time for a bath. You should soak a bit,” he coaxes.

“If I soak, I’ll never get out of here,” I protest.

“If you don’t, you’ll never make it through the day,” he retorts. I know he’s right. My muscles are way too sore to even get out of bed and my butt hurts, too. Oh, and my nipples are tender.

“Okay, but I may fall asleep in there,” I say truthfully. When he goes into the bathroom and fills the tub, I smell my Banbu lemongrass citrus bath oil. I know you have to order that especially from Wynn. When he comes back into the bedroom, I ask, “Christian, how did you know?”

“I pay attention,” he says, sitting on the bed next to me and kissing my hand again. He pulls the covers down and looks at my body. “You don’t have any bruising from the flogger. How do you feel?” I shiver again thinking about the gentle lashing from last night. He looks at me concerned.

“Was it too much, Baby? Really?” he asks.

“No, I…” I pause and drop my head. He puts his hand in my hair.

“Baby… please, tell me,” he beseeches. I don’t know why I’m so embarrassed by this.

“I… liked it, Christian,” I say, shyly. I know my face is turning every shade of pink…

Maroon…
Cupid…
Wineberry…
Fuchsia…

Hello World, I’m Ana and I’m a closet freak.
Yeah, I think that was you I heard last night calling his name…
Uh… yeah.

Christian takes my head in his hands. “Oh, Baby…” he says with longing in his voice before he plants another dizzying mind-blowing kiss on my lips. His mouth travels down my neck and then to my tender nipples where his tongue gently massages them.

“Ah… Christian,” I moan tangling my fingers in his hair. “We don’t have time, Baby,” I say, dropping my head back and getting lost in his sensual massage.

“I know, Baby,” he says against my breast. “I know they’re tender and I’m just trying to give you some relief.” He’s right, I’m feeling some relief from the tenderness. He switches to the other nipple and I almost leap off the bed.

“Christian, please,” I protest. I swear my nipples are so sensitive I might come any second. He has mercy on me and stops his massage, smiling knowingly at me.

“Better? A little at least?” he asks.

“Better,” I say, taking deep breaths to calm myself. He lifts me off the bed and carries me to the bathroom.

“I can walk, you know,” I tease.

“I know,” he says, smelling my hair before putting me down. “But I like carrying you.”

“Why?” I ask. He shrugs.

“I don’t know. I just do.” He holds my hand as I step into the water. Whew! It’s hot! Good God, this man must scald himself in the bathtub.

“I know it’s hot, but you need it for your muscles. Is it too hot?” he asks.

“No, I can take it,” I say as I lower myself into the tub. Christian stays in the bathroom with me, though he doesn’t get into the tub with me. I guess he draws the line at going into the office smelling like lemongrass. He takes a glass from the sink and kneels by the tub.

“Hold your head back,” he says. I hold my head back and he fills the glass with water from the tub to wet my hair. The hot water feels so good on my scalp.

“Mmmmm,” I purr as he adds his shampoo and massages my scalp.

“Are there still any doubts?” he asks softly.

“Doubts about what?” I question.

“That we’ll know who needs to sub and who needs to dominate and when,” he says. I smile to myself.

*-*

It was very hard tearing myself away from Christian and that wonderful bath this morning, but I have responsibilities. I get to the office just in time to grab another coffee before my 10:00 gets there. It’s a new patient since I’ve opened my waiting list to fill my newly opened Mondays and Thursdays. I still haven’t completely filled the days, but it’s a start. My new patient, Melanie, has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. It’s a perfectly curable ailment with a survival rate of 85% if it is caught in time. In Melanie’s case, it wasn’t. She’s now at stage IV and doesn’t expect to live much longer. I normally don’t do dignity therapy since it’s not my specialty, but Melanie was very insistent that I came highly recommended and I was who she needed to see.

When she’s wheeled into my office, she looks as if she doesn’t have much time left at all. She’s very pale and frail, easily not more than 100 pounds. Her clothes are bright and colorful and she has lost all of her hair due to the chemotherapy, even her eyebrows and her eyelashes. She doesn’t bother wearing the customary scarf to cover her baldness. When I asked her why, she answered with mirth, “That scarf is to make others around me feel comfortable. I’m not comfortable. Why should they be?” I have to say that I like Melanie. She reminds me in more ways than one to remember what’s important in life—to grab it with both hands, hold on tight and make the most of it. I can’t help thinking about Ray and Christian while Melanie talks. I see flashbacks of the happy times in my life…

Allen and me jumping off the rocks into the water in the creek behind our house in Montesano…

Walking across the stage with my degree from U-Dub…

The great times I have with my friends…

Being with Christian…

Watching someone recap the events of their life has a way of making you truly think about your own.

I send Melanie out to make another appointment with Marilyn when her session is complete. I realize that my Saturday standing date with the gang will have to be cancelled due to the meeting of Christian’s folks on Saturday, so I summon Siri on my iPhone to mass-text the partners in crime.

**Food and libations tomorrow night. What do you say? **

Within moments, I start to get responses from my familiar five.

**No Saturday this week? **
**My evening’s free **
**Short notice. Let me get back to you **
**Sounds like a plan **
**Stag or drag? **

That last statement made me think. I’ve spent every night this week with Christian. I have no desire to change anything, but he might. Granted, I fulfilled a definite need for him last night, but maybe he was looking for some time to himself. There’s only one way to find out, right? I fire off a text to Christian. Easier to reject someone by text than in person, right?

**Hey Babe. Thinking about doing one of my dinner parties tomorrow. Just me and my friends, do you mind? **

I wait for a moment, thinking that he could be in a meeting or anything right now and I’m sending him silly texts about dinner. He does respond:

**Just your friends? No significant others? **

Hmm… how do I take that?

**Did you want to come? **

There’s a step out onto the plank. You know he’s no good in groups, Steele. Why would you put him on the spot like that?

**Would you like for me to come? **

Is he leaving this up to me, now, or trying to get out of it? Fine—just put it out there.

**Yes, I would. I know all of my friends’ significant others, but they don’t know mine. If it’s not too much trouble. I know about you and crowds… **

Ticky tock. Ticky tock. Ticky tock. Ticky tock. Ticky tock. Ticky tock…

**How about my place? There’s plenty of room. **

Am I seeing this correctly? Party at Christian’s! Heeeeeeyyy!

**Are you sure you don’t mind? I would love that! **

I barely hit send, I get a response.

**Not at all. Just tell them to go easy on me. 😉 **

I’m all giddy! I’m going to have a dinner party at Christian’s fabulous penthouse! I will, that is, assuming I can rally the troops. I fire off another mass message:

**Drag. Tomorrow night at Christian’s penthouse **

Again, barely hit the send button when:

**Oh, count me in! **
**We’ll be there, fa’ sho’! **
**Changing my plans… what’s the address? **
**Oh, hell yes! **


GREY

Another dull day at the office. I spend most of the time thinking about Butterfly and the remarkable session that we had in my playroom last night. My hand still stings a bit from that masterful spanking she withstood and I have to adjust my pants thinking about her glorious ass all pink and beautiful for me. I still can’t believe her very first time she just offered herself up to me… no coaxing, no convincing, no prep. And boy did I need it bad yesterday. I just felt like my mojo was off and I just needed something to straighten it back out again. Thinking about what the Pedophile actually did to me has left a bad taste in my mouth for the really hard shit—the whips, the canes, the paddles, the belts—but I’ll admit that I still need some of it. And Butterfly likes the flogger…

Down, Greystone!

I’m lost in thoughts of a beautiful Butterfly fucking me relentlessly on my four-poster playroom bed when my blackberry goes off. Butterfly wants to see her friends tomorrow night, probably because of the Helping Hands meeting on Saturday. I can barely stand going the days without her, let alone the nights. If she hadn’t ignored my request last night and stayed at home instead, I’d probably be climbing the damn walls by now. I can’t keep her from her friends. The last thing I would want is for her to become a recluse like me…

A recluse like me…

She’s taught me so much already. I wonder…

**Just your friends? No significant others? **

Damn! Did I just covertly invite myself out with Ana and her friends? What if she doesn’t want me to come?

**Did you want to come? **

Of course, I want to go! But I don’t want to sound too eager:

**Would you like for me to come? **

Shit… that might not be eager enough. If we keep going back and forth, I’ll let her off the hook.

**Yes, I would. I know all of my friends’ significant others, but they don’t know mine. If it’s not too much trouble. I know about you and crowds… **

Why do I feel like the kid who just asked the most popular girl in school for a date to the prom and she said “yes?” Hell, I didn’t even go to my prom. More of my life just lost because of that damn blonde woman. All the more reason to jump head first into life now:

**How about my place? There’s plenty of room. **

Home court advantage may be a little less intimidating for me. Hell, I’m a little scared, I’ll admit it.

**Are you sure you don’t mind? I would love that! **

And the fear just drifted away:

**Not at all. Just tell them to go easy on me. 😉 **

*-*

Later that night, Butterfly and I go to an exclusive adult toy store in Bellevue and shop for collars. She gets to pick mine and I get to pick hers. We can’t seem to decide on just one—so we each get five to test out. My favorites for her have to be the pearl glamorous choker collar (it has matching earrings) and aluminum link collar. I swear I almost nut myself when I see her wearing it. We also get her a pink one, a braided pearl one and a black leather one with white trim. For me, she picks a woven metal and leather collar (I think that’s her favorite), a black leather and chrome collar (a close second), a black and blue collar (of course—blue is her favorite color), a wide black locking leather collar, and a black collar with hearts. I tell her that the last one looks a little girlie. She disagrees. Hey, she has to look at it, not me.

At Butterfly’s prompting, I also got the silk restraints, the deluxe door cuffs, and some liquid latex. As much as I would like to test some of our new toys, I really put Butterfly through the paces last night. So instead, I treat her to another hot bath and a hot oil massage to help with the aches. The massage knocks her right out pretty early. I take this moment to set a plan in motion that I had been thinking about for a couple of days. I pull the business card out of my wallet and dial the number.

“Hello, Allen?… This is Christian Grey… I’m good, how about you?… Yes, I’m looking forward to it, too… Listen, I have something that I want to do for Ana, but I need a little help… are you busy around lunchtime tomorrow?”

After I end the call with Allen, I treat myself to Butterfly falling asleep in my arms yet again.

“Good morning, Gail,” I speak as I’m walking to the breakfast bar.

“Good morning, Mr. Grey,” she says as she sits my breakfast in front of me. “Is Ms. Steele joining you?”

“In a moment, and it’s okay, I know that she calls you Gail.” I begin to eat my breakfast trying to ignore Gail’s knowing smile. “We’re going to be having guests tonight,” I add. Now she’s looking at me like the beast with two heads.

“Guests? Is your family coming tonight, Mr. Grey?” she asks.

“No, friends of Ana’s. It’s a dinner party—she does it all the time. I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind sticking around and helping for a while. I know it’s usually your night off and…” She’s staring at me like I just hit her. “If you already have plans…” I continue. She blinks her eyes a few times.

“No… it’s just… a party, sir?” she asks incredulously. “You’ve just never had a party here before.”

“Well, apparently, that’s about to change,” I say as I continue to eat my breakfast, trying to hide my smile and my excitement. I look up to find Mrs. Jones smiling back at me.

“Yes, sir,” she says, “I’d be more than happy to stick around.” She refills my coffee as Ana comes out of the bedroom.

“Good morning,” she says kissing me on the cheek. “Good morning, Mrs. Jones.”

“Good morning, Ana. We can drop it… he knows,” Gail says to her. She looks at Gail and just laughs.

“Good!” she exclaims as she sits on the stool next to me.

“Your bagel is in the toaster. Coffee?” Gail offers.

“Please,” she responds.

“Mr. Grey tells me that we’re having a party this evening. Do you need me to go by the market for anything? I can start hors d’oeuvres before you get back if you like,” Gail says, bringing Butterfly her coffee. She looks from me back to Gail.

“Oh, no, you don’t have to do that. I do this alone all the time,” Butterfly protests.

“Oh, I would love to help out. We’ve never had a party here. It would be my pleasure,” Gail assures her.

“If you’re sure you don’t mind… I mean, it’s supposed to be your night off.”

“Oh, no, I’d love to!” Gail says. Butterfly smiles.

“Well, I would really love the help!” she finally agrees.

“Good! Then it’s settled,” Gail says.

“Okay. I’ll call you around 11 when I get a break and we’ll map out a game plan. Today is my short day and I’ll be off at 1.” Shit! I forgot Fridays are short days for Butterfly. I have to rework my plan.

After Butterfly finishes her bagel and coffee, she and Davenport head to her office. I quickly call Forsythe.

“Allen… change of plans…”


A/N: Playroom song: Trey Songz—Inside, Pt 2

I’ll try to get the story right when I discuss Melanie and her illness. I’m not 100% familiar with it, but my little brother died of it, so I’m a little acquainted with it.

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

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

~~love and handcuffs

Paging Dr. Steele: Chapter 25: What You Want

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 25—What You Want

GREY

Good God, I thought this day would never end. I planned on being out of here at least an hour ago, but the meeting with the Pedophile and the subsequent revelations about David and the Mortons took more time than I thought. I’m still wondering if I should tell Ana about Phyllis Studdard. My decision not to say anything is nagging at me a bit. She already knows the guy is certifiable. He was One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest before he met Ana. No doubt losing any chance he had with her was the last straw. Like I said, the power of Ana’s love would drive a lesser man crazy. It did. It drove David crazy to be without her. Now he’s unstable. I’m already checking into the Green Valley situation without her knowledge. I think I better tell her this one or it’ll be hell, fire, and brimstone if I don’t.

I step into the great room and I see my flowers arranged masterfully on the dining room table. She’s here. “Hello, Mrs. Jones,” I greet.

“Mr. Grey.” She smiles. “Dinner is ready whenever you are, sir.”

“Thank you. Has Ms. Steele eaten already?”

“No, sir. She’s been in the bedroom for about the last hour. I haven’t heard a peep out of her,” she answers.

“Is she well?” I ask concerned. “She didn’t seem sick or anything when she came in, did she?” Mrs. Jones shakes her head.

“Not at all, Mr. Grey. She came out of the room with this huge blue bouquet, bouncing like a teenager and asking me to please find something to put them in,” she laughs. I smile too.

“Let me go see what’s keeping her.” I say before walking to my bedroom.

When I walk into the bedroom, it’s empty except for the invitation and the empty Cartier box on the bed. The light is on in the en suite, so I check there. No Ana. Where did she go? Mrs. Jones said she’s still in the bedroom—and she left every light on. I reach into the closet to turn off the light… and there she is, sleeping soundly on the floor wearing my ocean blue Tom Ford sport coat and her tiara, and holding a blue rose. I can’t resist. I pull out my blackberry and snap a few pictures of my Sleeping Beauty. She is so adorable, and I want to remember this moment. I crouch down and lift her sleeping body from the floor. She whimpers a bit before laying her head on my chest. Just before I get to the bed, she very softly and sleepily says, “Hi, baby.”

Thank God, I’m a strong man because her delicate, beautiful voice can truly make you weak.

“Hey,” I respond softly.

“I love my flowers,” she says, eyes still closed and voice still sleepy. I would think she was talking in her sleep again if she weren’t talking directly to me.

“I’m glad. I couldn’t decide which one to get, so I got them all.”

“That sounds like you,” she chuckles a bit and kisses me gently on my neck. Mmmm. Oh boy… “Christian, the tiara. It’s exquisite… why?” I know what she’s asking. This is how I show affection—besides the obvious—I shower you with gifts.

“Because I want you to know that you can have whatever you want…  and not the knockoffs.” She opens her eyes.

“You know you don’t have to buy me, right? I’m already yours,” she says. Don’t give me a hard time about this, woman.

“Yes, Ana. I know that you’re not for sale,” I say, a bit chastised.

“Good,” she says, now wide awake. “As long as you know, I would love some of those Louboutin platform stilettos.” I laugh as I place her feet on the floor.

“Oh really? Holly Golightly didn’t wear those,” I tease.

“No, but Anastasia Steele does!” she says, rolling her neck a bit, and I laugh. “Or she would like to, anyway. I’ve always wanted some, but I would have to take out a second mortgage on my condo to afford them!”

She could have asked for anything—a new condo, a new car, more jewelry, cash—she asks for shoes. She’s going to be so much fun!

“If it’s Louboutins you want, my love, it’s Louboutins you shall have,” I say. She squeals.

“I’m finally going to own a pair of Louboutin shoes!” So much fun.

“Come, Ana. Time for dinner.” I take my sport coat off of her and lay it on the bed. I delicately remove the tiara and put it back in the Cartier box. Then I slap her ass hard and she freezes. Oh, shit.

“You okay, Baby?” I ask, approaching with caution.

“Uh huh,” she answers.

“Did I do something wrong?” What’s this?

“Oh, no. Not at all,” she says, her voice shaking just a bit and her breath coming in short. “We’ll talk about it later. Let’s eat.” And she walks out of the room. Get outta here—she liked it!

So much fun…

*-*

I find myself using the fireplace more in the last few days than I have since I moved here. Ana likes the fire—even in the summertime—and I like Ana. So, here we are sitting in front of the fireplace after dinner. Ana is nestled between my legs, her back to my front, and we are each enjoying a nice Bollinger. Perfect time to talk about a few things.

“Remember when I said I had a business venture that I needed to discuss with you?” I begin.

“Um-hmm,” Ana says, sipping her wine, “though I have no idea why you would want to discuss it with me. You’re the businessman, Christian.”

“Well, the venture is financially sound and very profitable, but there’s more to it than that which is why I need to talk to you.”

“Okay, I’m listening,” she replies. I take a breath.

“Elena came to my office today.” Ana stiffens.

“She just doesn’t learn, does she?” Ana spits.

“Well, no, she doesn’t. Of course, she was trying to tell me how wrong I was about her and that you had poisoned my mind against her and a whole lot of other nonsense, but that’s not the issue at hand.” I sit up a bit and Butterfly turns a little to face me. “Elena lent me the money to start my business after I dropped out of school. I paid her back, of course. But after she and her husband were divorced, she was pretty much left with nothing because of the prenuptial agreement. She’s a licensed beautician and she owns a chain of salons. Her business was suffering due to the divorced, so…. I financed her salons.” Butterfly is looking up at me like there should be more to the story. She’s right, there is. “I’m still a silent partner in the business.” Realization dawns.

“Oh,” she says very matter-of-factly. “I see. What’s the name of her salons?”

“Esclava,” I answer. Butterfly nods.

“‘Salon to the celebs.’ I’ve been there before. You’re right, with the prices she charges I could pay a car note. The business is very lucrative,” she says flatly.

“And in light of recent developments, I don’t know what I should do with my end of the business.” I finish. Butterfly twists her face in deep thought.

“How often did you have to see her to discuss business before now?” she asked.

“Not often that I remember, but now since I’m not speaking to her anymore, she’ll find a reason for those encounters be more frequent, I’m sure,” I answer.

“So, here are the questions that you need to ask.” She sits up and turns to me. Oh, hell, she’s serious, though her voice is very controlled. “First off, you’re in the business of making money, and this venture is making money for you, correct?”

“Yes, the salons do very well,” I reply.

“Now, that’s about the only pro that you have in your list of pros and cons. Here are all the cons.” She begins counting off on her fingers. “One—she’s a pedophile. How many children has she molested? Do you want to be associated with that if this comes out? Everything you do in the dark is one day brought to the light, Christian. Don’t think she’s going to get away with this forever.

“Two—you have severed every other relationship with her. She’s going to try to find reasons to get in touch with you. She will use those opportunities to attempt to sway you back under her control. Any weakness that she can exploit against you, she will. Any trump card she has to play, she’ going to play it. Do you feel like dealing with that?

“Three—I had to sing in your ear to keep you from killing that woman. I’m not going to be there to sing to you every time she shows up.

“Four—I hate her fucking guts. She treats me like pond scum because I had the nerve to fall in love with you. When she walks in, I can smell evil, and I don’t want to be anywhere near that woman. If you decide to continue to business with her, that’s going to be your decision—I just hate her, and I know that’s one of the reasons that you are presenting this to me.

“Finally, this woman is a friend of your mother’s which makes the whole thing doubly disgusting, but that’s an altogether different conversation. You’re going to have to keep up some kind of decorum when she’s around your mother or the cat will be out of the bag.

“She’s not going to give up, Christian, I know it. She’s like a parasite and she feeds off your need for her and the power she once held over you. I watched this woman scream for her life, obey my orders until I could get you to let her go, and then sit right on that stool and wait for you. She is absolutely, positively convinced that she can sway you back to her side and she’s not going to stop until she does it. Now, there it is in a nutshell.”

“There’s one thing you forgot to mention. Besides the fact that you hate her, how will it affect you and us if I stay in business with her?” I ask.

“Well, I would never tell you how to run your business, just like you can’t tell me how to treat patients. But know this—I won’t let it affect me that you are doing business with her. I trust you, Christian, and I will trust you until you give me a reason not to; it’s her that I don’t trust. So, if you so choose to remain in business with her, keep her away from me,” she says with finality.

“That opens up another problem, then.” I scratch the small amount of stubble on my face.

“What’s that?” she asks.

“She’s a friend of the family. She’s always at the house for family functions or even just because. You will see her again—most likely this Saturday for the Helping Hands meeting.”

I can see it in her face. She already wants to ditch. Should I ask her to endure Mrs. Lincoln for my sake? Hell, I don’t want to endure Mrs. Lincoln. I don’t want to uninvite her, but on the other hand, I don’t want her to feel like she has to attend just for me. Just as I’m about to let her off the hook, she speaks.

“I’m not in the practice of hiding from anyone,” she says. “It’s unfortunate that she’s friends with your mother, but it’s a necessary evil that I can endure for us.” For us—she didn’t say “for me;” she said “for us!” I like that.

“Have I mentioned how incredible you are?” I say, softly.

“Hmm, not today,” she says playfully. I kiss her gently on the cheek.

“There’s something else I need to tell you.” She sighs heavily.

“Oh God, there’s more?” she asks.

“I’m afraid so,” I answer. “You know that we’re keeping an eye on David and what he’s doing as well as what he was doing over the last few years.”

“Okay,” she says expecting.

“A few months ago, he was… dating, I guess… a woman who ended up in the hospital, badly beaten like Camilla Johannson. She claims that he didn’t rape her, but he paid her off to get out of town. She destroyed his reputation before she left.”


STEELE

That’s what I get for thinking I was going to have a quiet evening alone snuggling with my boyfriend. He bought me those beautiful flowers and that to-die-for tiara—I’m going to have to ask him what it’s made of—and we had a fabulous dinner. Now I have to sit here and endure conversation about She-Thing.

Why the hell would he want to go into business with her? I understand that she helped him when he wanted to start his business, but why couldn’t he just do the same thing—just lend her the money and let her pay him back when she was back on her feet? I know what it is, but I don’t want it to affect his decision about a potentially lucrative business. This was just another way to keep him close… to be able to watch him.

No doubt, his subs all used her services. Of course, they did; they were her girls. She was keeping tabs on Christian in every way that she could, and this is just another method. I explain to him that she’s a parasite trying to get under his skin and hold on any way that she can. I think he heard me and I’m not sure what he’s going to do about it, but I won’t tell him to let go of a profitable venture just because the business associate is a demon from hell. It has to be his decision.

I could live with that. There’s no reason for me to come into contact with the nasty, low life pedophile—until he reminds me that she’s a friend of his mother’s. Fuck, I forgot about that! I’ll definitely see this silicon-filled, pulled, plucked, lifted, skinned, colored and stuffed Thanksgiving Turkey again. Well, Christian and I are a couple and the offensive pedo-bitch is not going to cause me to tuck tail and hide.

“I’m not in the practice of hiding from anyone. It’s unfortunate that she’s friends with your mother, but it’s a necessary evil that I can endure for us.” I think he’s very pleased with that answer.

“Have I mentioned how incredible you are?” he says in a soft, sweet voice that warms me right down to my toes.

“Hmm, not today,” I reply, my voice filled with mirth as he kisses me on the cheek.

Just as I’m about to settle back into the comfort of his arms, he informs me that a few months back Edward assaulted another woman pretty much that same way that he assaulted that girl back in Iowa; that he paid her off, but his reputation has been ruined in the Seattle circles.

“I knew it! I knew it was something like that!” I say, recalling the conversation that I had with Edward in the parking structure where he refused to answer my questions. Christian looks at me questioning. “I asked him in the parking garage ‘why me?’ He never answered me. I deduced that his reputation had been ruined in the circles that we travelled in, but he never answered. I knew something had happened.” I turn to Christian. “Do you see what I mean when I say that everything you do in the dark will one day be brought to the light?” Christian turns pale as a ghost and his eyes turn almost white.

“I’m going to liquidate my interests in her business tomorrow. I’ll gift her the shops so that I have nothing else to do with them,” he says. I examine him closely.

“Are you positive that’s what you want to do? I want you to make this decision based on what you want to do,” I say sternly. He sits up again.

“Do you remember when you read me that report at our third meeting?” Boy, do I!

“Yes,” I say with a small chuckle.

“I saw everything that I built, my life’s work, crumbling at my feet. I freaked out at the possibility that my reputation could take a hit. The business world is brutal, and the business I’m in is particularly brutal. I have a whole PR department and a very extensive legal team that regularly fends off rumors before they start. I felt like I would never be able to recover from having to do jail time—the possibility of it sent me into a tailspin. My business would have been ruined! How could I possibly spin the fact that I’m in business with a pedophile? She came on to my brother 17 years ago and I found out. Somebody’s going to find out what she’s doing—and I don’t want to be on that sinking ship when they do.” He gathers me up in his arms and kisses me on the temple. “Thank you, Butterfly.” I breathe a huge sigh of relief as I slide my arms around his waist and snuggle into his chest.

“Now I have something that I want to discuss with you,” I say.

“And what’s that?” he asks.

Mistress?” He stiffens.

“You don’t like it?” he questions.

“Oh, quite the contrary. I love it.” I feel his body relax again. “It’s just… I don’t know what it entails—what it means for us. I’ve never done anything like that before. I know each relationship is defined by its participants and I just want us to define ours, so that we know what to expect.” He rubs circles on my back. It’s very soothing.

“In a D/s relationship, the Domme or Dom is responsible for the well-being of the sub. The things that are practiced are not to harm the sub or put them in jeopardy in any way. There’s pleasure and pain involved—but pain only to the degree that it evokes pleasure or induces punishment, whichever is intended. There are times when one wants to exercise control and there are times when one wants to relinquish control. I’m predominantly a Dom. I haven’t subbed for many years since…”

He trails off and I immediately know what he is talking about. He’s talking about the She-Bitch and that she was his Domme. I take his free hand in mine and kiss his palm, then entwine my fingers with his and snuggle back into his chest. He takes a deep breath and relaxes significantly, then continues.

“I didn’t feel comfortable submitting once I became a Dom. I didn’t trust anyone… until you.” He drops his head in this shy way that I’ve never seen in the weeks that I’ve known him. I can tell that he has never had this conversation with anyone before.

“So… as a sub, is it your sole purpose to please me?” I ask.

“Yes, and to be punished if I don’t,” he responds.

“Punished? How!?” I say, aghast. If he expects me to use one of those whips or some of that torture shit I saw online, he’s crazy!

“However you see fit,” he responds. “Most D/s relationships start with an agreement, as you know, about hard limits and soft limits, what’s allowed and what’s intolerable. My relationships have always been in writing.”

“You mean, like a contract?” I question.

“No, not like a contract, it was a contract, clearly spelling out the parameters of the arrangement. It was strictly business, and the contract was retractable at will by either party. This way my subs knew what was expected of them as well as what they could expect from me,” he states. Good God, he even handled sex like a merger. No wonder he’s so hungry for love now. I turn around to face him on the sofa, on my knees between his legs. I gently rub his chest and his breath becomes labored.

“So, when I was giving you oral pleasure, and I told you not to move my hair or I would stop, stopping would have been your punishment—not letting you come, correct?” I don’t know where I dig that voice from, but he responds to it immediately.

“Yes, Mistress.” His voice is raspy, and he chokes out the words.

“And if I tell you that you cannot touch me while I caress you, like this,” his breath hitches as I straddle his body with mine, running my hands gently up and down his arms, his fingers clenching the cushions of the sofa, “would that be considered a punishment as well?”

“Not always, Mistress,” he responds, still trying to control his breathing.

“Elaborate, Mr. Grey.” He looks like he’s going to combust, his Adam’s apple bobbing as he swallows.

“Mistress may be testing my limits, seeing how much I can exercise control. It would only be considered punishment if I have done something that displeases you,” he says, his voice breathy and his eyes hooded. Oh, Christian. You make me so hot, but we have to bring the conversation back. I kiss him gently on the lips.

“I need my Christian back. I have a lot of questions,” I say softly. He blinks and takes in a deep breath, then lets it out as his arms slide around me.

“What is it that makes me worthy to be your Domme? You’ve never had anyone but the Unmentionable One and now after all these years, you chose me…” I say.

“Well, first of all, I think worthy is definitely the wrong choice of word. A more appropriate word in this instance would be trustworthy. I have to trust you to take care of me when I submit to you; not to take advantage of me in a vulnerable condition.”

That’s what I was feeling last night, like I was responsible for him—and he almost seems to zone out a bit on me, like he’s someone else, somewhere else.

“Secondly, I didn’t choose you. I didn’t wake up that morning and just say, ‘hmm, guess I’ll submit to Butterfly.’ Something inside of me chose you. Whatever it was, it knew that you were the one; I could be totally free and let go, and I don’t have to worry what’s going to happen because ultimately, it’ll end in our mutual pleasure unless I have displeased you and you choose to punish me. And that’s perfectly acceptable.”

Punish Christian. I’ll have to give that some thought. He’s got one thing right, though, about not being the one to choose. My Inner Mistress chose him—I personally would never choose to dominate anyone… ever! But with Christian, as soon as he called me Mistress, she rose up from wherever she was hiding and seems to appear whenever she’s needed. Hell if I have any fucking idea what I’m doing. The slightly scary thing, though, is that there’s another side hiding in there as well.

“I’ve never been a submissive, Christian,” I start slowly.

“I know,” he replies.

“So, what happens when we change roles?” His pupils dilate a little and I swear I feel a little throb in his groin area. Mr. Grey!

“You mean, you sub for me?” I nod tentatively. “You would do that?” he asks. I swallow hard.

“If you trust me to take care of you when you’re being submissive to me, I have to trust you, too… right?” I hear my voice squeaking nervously. He gives me the same tentative nod that I gave him moments before. “And even though there’s pain involved in the experience, you know that I would never hurt you beyond your limits and I have to expect the same from you, right?” He nods again. “So how would we know when the time is correct for one to be the sub and the other to dominate?”

“Oh, trust me,” he says, his voice deep and sure, “we’ll know.”


GREY

I cannot explain the joy that I felt when Butterfly’s eyes lit up when I asked her about being my Mistress. I need to learn to trust again and to open up—not that I ever really did; the only person that I somewhat trusted outside of my family was that wretched blonde woman. So, the best place for me to start to begin to break these walls down and become a semi-normal person is with someone that holds my heart and makes me weak in the knees anyway. If I turn out to be wrong about her and she hurts or mistreats me, I’ll never want anyone else in that way again anyway.

It’s refreshing and rejuvenating to be able to let my guard down and submit to someone else for a change. Not to have to be in charge for a few precious moments. To know that the vital decisions are being made by someone else—it’s euphoric! I almost transcend this plane of life and existence and I’m someone and somewhere else completely, though I’m still able to function perfectly—to obey commands and enjoy the pleasure she brings me, even when she’s torturing me. She’s incredible, exquisite… fuck-mazing! She makes my heart want to burst open with love and affection.

Since she’s a novice to all of this, notwithstanding her previous studies in college, I start to explain to her the basic concept of BDSM. Before I can get too conceptually deep in the conversation, she questions me about a sub’s objective. It’s always the sub’s objective to please the Master or Mistress—whatever that may entail—and be punished if they don’t. I can see the wheels turning when the topic of punishment arises, but she quickly deduces that not all punishments are painful. She slides into Domme mode so effortlessly, like she was born to dominate to some degree, and it immediately triggers submissive Christian. It’s her voice. It’s something in her voice—I don’t know what it is—but she could ask me to do anything and I would. I knew the moment I heard it that she was my Mistress. It couldn’t be any other way. I would have to say, though, that the most shocking thing is when she asks about subbing for me.

Is it Christmas already? My birthday has already passed so it can’t be that. How did I get such a gift? How did I get to be so damn lucky?

You’re a lucky son of a bitch, Grey.
Yeah, I know.

In Butterfly’s eyes, the D/s relationship as we define it should be quid pro quo. We should be Sir/sub or Mistress/sub as needed. She’s unsure as to when we’ll know what’s needed. I’m positive that we’ll be 100% certain who needs to be in charge and who needs to submit as the situation arises… especially as we get to know one another more. We spend the rest of the evening discussing hard limits, soft limits and D/s expectations. Though I have a high pain tolerance, Butterfly is averse to intense pain—giving or receiving. We’ll experiment with different devices, toys, techniques to see which ones work best for us. I was over-the-moon to discover that she was open—pun intended—to anal. It turned me on immensely and completely sent her over the edge when I initiated ass play during our last sex session.

This conversation leads to our going to the playroom and my introducing her to all the toys and devices therein, as items are purchased new when a sub’s contract is ended. It just feels strange to use the same toys on different subs—except for my dick, of course, as long as they check out. Ana has informed me that she has recently switched birth control methods from the pill to the IUD, so I know that she had a check-up before they inserted the device. I never knew, though, when she was on birth control if the last man that she was active with was David four years ago. I’m really curious about that… is it bad form to ask?

Anyway, she winced at the idea of the genital clamps, but thought that the adjustable nipple clamps might be fun. When we got to the punishment devices, she was an unequivocal “No” on whips, canes, and belts. She doesn’t mind being bound, but she doesn’t like ropes and she’s not very fond of gags. Neither one of us wants any of that radical cattle prod/blood play/needle crap that we saw online, but both of us have decided that we want to experiment with collars. I’ve never collared a sub though I have been collared before. It wasn’t a pleasant experience for me, so I’m hoping I can replace that memory with a good one from my Butterfly. We reserve the right to introduce new items and aspects with the approval of the other as time goes on.

No NDAs.
No contracts.
No three-month terms.
No sub-mobiles
Just me and my Butterfly, loving each other and meeting each other’s needs.

It doesn’t get any better than this.

*-*

Wednesday morning, I quickly set the wheels in motion to sever my ties with The Pedophile. Once I review our business arrangement—if you can call it that—I quickly have legal draw up the papers to return my portion of the business with no strings attached… except one. I have covertly included a morality clause with two parts.

First, if Mrs. Lincoln is arrested, any assets associated with the Esclava Salon chain are to be frozen and maintained by an outside executor pending the outcome of the arrest.

Second, if that arrest becomes a conviction—conviction of a crime being defined as all felonies and any misdemeanors except for traffic violations—that the salons and all assets are to be liquidated and the proceeds turned over to the Helping Hands foundation.

Someone is going to get that woman and I’ll be damned if she’s going to continue to use profits acquired from the assistance of one of her victims to help with her defense against others.

I’m banking on the fact that she won’t even read this clause, but even if she does, it really doesn’t matter. Either she’ll accept my terms, or I’ll simply liquidate my interest with the financial institutions and let them know that I’ll no longer be backing Mrs. Lincoln. That will officially leave her bankrupt since most of her business is cosigned by me, and all of her loans will become due immediately. By signing this agreement, I pull out my interest in her business, but she gets to keep the financial backing. I sent her a text asking her to meet me in my office at 2pm and bring her legal counsel. She was unsure about the legal counsel, but of course, agreed to meet me.

I discover that I may have to wait a little longer than usual for the information on the background checks that Welch is doing. The Pedophile, of course, is not going to leave a paper trail of her illegal child sex activities. Whatever evidence there may be is most likely under lock and key. Even her phone records are coming up empty. Explicit texts concerning sexual activities are made to disposable phones… phones that she probably supplies for her subs until she’s finished with them. I tell him to concentrate more on her financials. See where she’s spending her money. There has to be some evidence somewhere, and I’m going to find it. I have a feeling that I’m going to need some leverage in the future—but more importantly, I want her to stop fucking little boys!

The information from Nevada proves much more fruitful. Cynthia Morton still works for the Clark County School District but is now remarried as Cynthia Crestwood. She has no children but supports many abused children’s charities. That will be my way in to talk to her about Anastasia. I wonder if Anastasia’s ordeal is what fueled her passion to rally behind this particular cause? She’ll be one of the stops on my visit to Nevada. I haven’t decided when I’m going yet. I need to get my ducks in a roll and a game plan, first.

A little more poking around on Morton uncovered that he’s an alcoholic. He has unsuccessfully been to rehab three times. His third failure resulted in his dismissal from his position at the water board—no severance, no pension, no unemployment compensation. He hasn’t been able to find work since. Older man in this economy, fired from his old job for drinking—he’s likely to never find work again. So now it’s up to Mrs. Morton to take care of the household expenses on a nurse assistant’s salary—living in Green Valley. They won’t be living there too much longer. I tell Welch to put a tail on Morton and see what his activities are over the next few weeks. He’ll be an easy berry to pop.

Now for the Whitmores. Amber hadn’t spoken to her family in years—supposedly a disagreement over whom she decided to marry. I guess it didn’t matter to them that she moved to New York and is making good money in the fashion industry. She actually has her own line of women’s clothing. I need to have Andrea find out how I can set up a phone interview with her… nothing like a little animosity to fuel the giving of information.

Landon left Green Valley in 2001 after he graduated and has only gone back sporadically—for the occasional holiday gathering and even then, not every year. He was engaged to be married in 2006 but the bride never showed up to the wedding. That had to hurt. The fact that he was in such a hurry to leave after graduation reeks of the exile in which David currently finds himself. The situations are eerily similar—young girl gets assaulted and raped; well-to-do family pays off the victim’s family; the accused leaves town. The only thing that doesn’t add up is that Landon left for UCLA immediately after graduating and appeared to have returned to Green Valley for the holidays in his freshman year and for summer vacation the next year. That doesn’t sound like a guilty kid in exile. Also, what was the need for payoff and bringing Ana back to Henderson if the threat had now gone to UCLA? Bearing those thoughts in mind, arrows now point to either young Amber or our last candidate, Cody.

It appears that Cody never made it to the altar either, but not for lack of effort from a certain young thing named Carly Madison—also once a student at Green Valley High School. I may need to check her out, too. They were to be married in 2007, but two weeks before the wedding, Cody decided he needed to spend some time in Cabo—and didn’t return for six months. This was just after he dropped out of college for the second time. I have no problem with choosing to drop out of college. Hell, I dropped out of college and I’m one of the 10 richest people in America—I think I may have moved up to five now, but I digress. Cody is definitely not making his family proud at the moment. It appears he had no prospects when he dropped out of college and no real concern for his future, so he just went back home and went to work for dear old dad.

Probably the best news I receive from the background checks concerns one Everest Billings—Mr. David’s college roommate from University of Washington. As it turns out, armed with a degree in telecommunications, Mr. Billings applied and was accepted as an intern for a very reputable company in the Seattle area. He moved up the ranks quickly and was soon granted an upper-management position at Noticon Mobile Communications—a subsidiary of Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc.

This small bright spot is marred by the news that there was a fire in one of my smaller businesses today—a restaurant in Algona—and I already know what this means. The news won’t read:

Fire in Restaurant in Algona

It’ll say:

Christian Grey’s Algona Interest Goes Up in Flames! Insurance Fraud? Is Grey Enterprises in Financial Trouble?

One of the main reasons why I need to get the hell away from Elena Lincoln. Once again, a headline that should say:

Salon Owner and Seattle Socialite Elena Lincoln Arrested on Charges of Child Molestation

would actually read

Christian Grey’s Close Personal Friend and Business Partner Involved in Child Trafficking Ring

I know it’s sounds paranoid, but I speak from experience. Any second now, PR is going to ask me how I want to handle the Algona situation. Oh, the horror!

At 1:45pm, Andrea informs me that the Pedophile has arrived. I summon Marshall from legal to bring the revised business agreement as well as Taylor to keep me from killing the bitch. Once I have all my people in place, I activate the recording device in my office that I had installed for all business dealings I thought may be shady, and tell Andrea to send her in. She marches in and stands in front of my desk, waiting for me to dismiss my staff.

“Have a seat, Mrs. Lincoln. Where’s your legal counsel?” I say. Her face falls. Yeah, Bitch. It’s not a ruse; this really is a business meeting.

“We’ve never needed attorneys in our dealings before, Christian,” she says, affronted.

“Clearly you have forgotten the rules since our last meeting. You will address me as Mr. Grey, and I would suggest we reschedule this meeting until you can secure your legal counsel.” I say flatly. I don’t even know if she has legal counsel. She has always deferred to me and my legal counsel… or Carrick.

“What’s this all about, Chri-” She starts to do it again.

Mr. Grey!” I bark cutting her off, glaring at her, and causing everyone within the sound of my voice to jump, including Taylor. She gawks at me for a moment.

“Fine!” she spits. “Mr. Grey, what is this about?”

“Are you waiving the option to have legal counsel present at this meeting, Mrs. Lincoln?” I ask.

“What is going on?” She’s clearly losing patience, straightening her back and obviously getting into her Domme stance. Oh, no, Lady. This is CEO Christian Grey you are dealing with now. That shit definitely won’t work.

“Are you. Waiving the option. To have legal counsel. Present at this meeting, Mrs. Lincoln?” I ask, slowly, indicating that something may be wrong with her hearing after all. When the Domme stance doesn’t work, she walks over to my desk and does the same “boob move” that Butterfly did for me on the counter… only now, I have a face full of silicon.

“Do we really need these people present… Mr. Grey?” she purrs. Bitch, step back before you give me cooties!

“Mrs. Lincoln, please step away from my desk,” I say sternly. She doesn’t move but continues to bobble her fake boobs at me.

“Mrs. Lincoln, step away from my desk and sit down or I’ll have Mr. Taylor remove you.” Her face, once again, turns whiter than usual and she straightens herself and takes a seat.

“Once again, I ask if you are waiving the option to have legal counsel present at this meeting, Mrs. Lincoln?”

“Yes, I’m waiving my right to counsel. I just want to know what the hell this is about,” she snaps. I nod at Marshall who hands her the documents, in triplicate, already signed by me. She starts to read the heading and recognizes it as the severance of our business arrangement.

“Christian…” I glare at her. “Mr. Grey, fine. What is this?” She’s confused and angry.

“What does it look like, Mrs. Lincoln? I’m severing our business agreement and gifting you my portion of your salons,” I reply.

“Gifting me… Why?” she inquires.

“It’s not my intention to see you in financial hardship, Mrs. Lincoln. I simply no longer want to be in business with you.”

“Why not?” she snaps.

“It’s no longer a desirable venture for me,” I say flatly. She scowls.

“It’s because of her, isn’t it?” she spits.

“Mrs. Lincoln before you say anything else, I need to let you know that this meeting is being recorded.” Her face falls again. What did you think this was—an excuse to see you? As delusional as she is, she probably did!

“Why is the venture undesirable, Chri… Mr. Grey?” she sneers.

“Being in business with you is no longer in my best interest, and that’s all that I have to say on the matter. Please read the agreement.” She looks down at the document and pretends to scan it. I know she has little to no idea what she is reading.

“If you pull out of the salons, I’ll lose everything. As you know, most of my business is based on your goodwill with the financial institutions.” She knows that much.

“If you read the contract, Mrs. Lincoln, you will see that I’m only pulling my interest in your salon chain, not my backing with the financial institutions. However, if you refuse this new agreement, I will liquidate my interests and pull my backing with the financial institutions. That is also there if you read the contract.” I make sure that I repeat that phrase. The bitch should have brought a lawyer, but no. She’s so busy thinking that she still has control over me that she doesn’t see I’m the man holding the cards right now.

Silly little Pedophile.

She sits for several moments scanning the contract and still mentions nothing about the morality clause. Either she didn’t see it, wasn’t looking for it, or just didn’t care. She sighs heavily and closes the folder.

“Is everything to your satisfaction, Mrs. Lincoln?” I ask, formally.

“Well, honestly, no.” Shit! Did she catch me?

“What do you take issue with?” I ask.

“I take issue with severing our business arrangement,” she snaps

“Unfortunately, that’s not one of the options offered,” I say in full CEO mode. “You have two options. Option A—I gift you my interest and you sign the contract. Option B—I liquidate my interest and pull my backing. And because I’m not interested in any of your stalling tactics, one of those options will be implemented by the end of business today. The choice is yours, which one it will be?” She looks at me in horror.

“She’s making you cut me off completely.” No longer willing to bicker with this woman about her own actions having consequences, I fold my hands on my desk and wait for her decision. This bitch is draining me, and one way or another, I’m going to be done with her today.

“A friendship that has lasted for many years and you’re just going to throw it away,” she continues.

Still nothing.

“I deserve better than this, Christian. I can’t believe you would do this to me.”

Got nothing for you, lady.

“She has you so brainwashed, you can’t even make sound business decisions anymore!” she spits. Oh, I’m about to make one right now, bitch.

“I see you’ve chosen not to sign the contract, in which case, you’ve chosen Option B. Mr. Taylor, will you please remove Mrs. Lincoln?”

Just as Taylor makes to remove her, the Pedophile protests, “No. No. No. I’ll sign the damn contract!”

She snatches her arm away from Taylor and proceeds to angrily initial page after page after page of the contract, finally affixing her signature to the final page. After reviewing the contract for her signature, I give a copy to her, one to legal and I let her watch me conspicuously put a copy in my safe.

“One more thing before you leave, Mrs. Lincoln. You may want to take a good look at page four.” She flips to page four and reads.

“A non-disclosure agreement!?” she gasps. “You think you need an NDA against me?”

“I certainly do!” I spit. “And you had better read it carefully, because it’s retroactive.” I warn. “It covers our business dealings as well as any personal dealings you may have had with me and my family.”

“Is this reciprocal?” she asks.

“No, it’s not!” I snap. She’s seething now.

“You don’t need one for me! You better get one for that little bitch!” she snaps. I won’t let her see that I want to rip her throat out right now.

“That’s no longer your concern. Goodbye, Mrs. Lincoln. Taylor…” Take out the trash! Taylor walks over to the Pedophile, who throws one last look at me before leaving. I breathe a sigh of relief that she’s finally out of my midst and turn off the office’s recording device.

“She is one piece of work,” Marshall says.

“Tell me about it,” I respond. Before I get the words out of my mouth, my desk phone rings.

“Grey.”

“Mr. Grey, it’s Sheila in PR. How do you want us to handle the Algona situation?”

See what I mean?

*-*

Most of my day has been pretty fucked up. I’m pissed that I’m getting nowhere in my search for evidence against the Pedophile. I know that it’s only been one day, but I’m just too damn impatient to bring this situation to a close. I also have to see Carlisle this evening in lieu of those damn group meetings. He has agreed to give me the standing appointment on Wednesday at 4:00. However, his schedule won’t accommodate anything else for the second session, so I’m stuck with Monday at 6:30 after the group. Two more weeks and I’ll be done with this shit. We were supposed to spend Wednesday night at Butterfly’s, but I was so damn wound up from the stress of the day that I just go back to Escala and text her, telling her that I need to go for a run. I’m glad that she doesn’t call because I know she’s disappointed—I am, too, but I have to work off this stress.

Taylor and I run our usual route to Flynn’s office. I haven’t talked to Flynn since last Thursday, and I’m not in the mood to drop in on him, especially after I had to fluff up some shit for Carlisle to put in his report. It’s amazing to me how most shrinks don’t see right through me… except for John…

… And Butterfly.

Sometimes it’s hard to remember that she’s a psychiatrist. I just see this beautiful, sexy, woman that is the culmination of all I could have possibly hoped for—not a fucking shrink.

One day, that’s going to bite me in the ass.

As I’m trying to rid myself of today’s stress, my blackberry starts to ring in my ankle-band. I slow down to a fast walk and look at my blackberry. It’s Butterfly. So much for not having to hear the disappointment in her voice.

“Hey, baby,” I answer breathlessly.

“Hey,” she says, slowly, her voice concerned. “Are you still running?”

“Yes, I am. I’m sorry, I should have called you…”

“No, it’s fine. I just… wanted to make sure that you were okay,” she says, tentatively. I wish I could say that I’m okay, but I’m not. This is one of those days where I would come home and work over a sub, but I’m not in that kind of relationship anymore. I don’t have the need to inflict the pain, just the need to control. I won’t tell her that. I don’t know if she’s ready yet—or if she’ll ever be.

“It’s been a really fucked up day, Butterfly. Things just… didn’t seem to fall into place,” I say as my fast walk turns into a stroll.

“I see,” she says softly. “Well, I don’t want to interrupt your run. I understand what you need, now.” I can’t help but feel like her voice sounds a little rejected.

“You know this has nothing to do with you… don’t you, baby?” I ask.

“Yes, I know,” she says, her voice still soft.

“I love you, Butterfly.”

“I love you, too, baby.” I reluctantly end the call and finish my run home with Taylor right behind me, feeling like a piece of shit because I rejected the one person that I need the most right now. I immediately take to my shower the minute I hit the door and stand under scalding hot water, hoping to wash away the scent of “Asshole.”


STEELE

I’m taking a big chance by doing this. I really don’t know what I’m setting myself up for, but I could hear it in his voice. I’m going to take this chance, though. I’m scared as shit, but I just need to jump. I throw on my coat and set out on my task. When I arrive at my destination, a familiar face greets me and gives me the key that I need. After leaving a trail, I go inside, remove my coat, sit down, and wait.


GREY

The shower did little to help my mood. I would call Anastasia, but I think I’ve left her feeling bad enough tonight. I grab some flannel pants and a T-shirt and head out of my bedroom with intent to get some work done. What the fuck…?

Is that a rose petal? What the hell is this?

Single rose petals lead a trail from my bedroom door, up the stairs, and end at the playroom. Is this what I think it is? Taylor and Mrs. Jones have conspicuously disappeared. I slowly open the door… and there she is—sitting on the large playroom bed, her head bowed, and her hands folded in her lap. She’s wearing black lingerie that makes her look like she is already bound, and my dick immediately jumps to attention. She’s extraordinarily perfect. I walk over to her and stand in front of her. She doesn’t raise her head.

“Ms. Steele,” I say, in that voice mainly reserved for this room.

“Yes, Sir,” she says, her breathing quickening.

“Why are you here?” I ask. She swallows audibly.

“I thought that Sir may need me,” she answers timidly. I can’t believe this. How could she know? We’ve never done this before. How could she know?

“Stand!” I command, and she stands without hesitation. “Walk to the middle of the room.” She obediently walks to the middle of the room and awaits instruction. “Turn around and face the back of the room.” She turns and I get a look at her beautiful ass, peaking out of the sheer negligee that she’s wearing, the “binding” thong putting everything on display. Okay, Ms. Steele. The Dom is here.

“Stay there,” I say before I go to change.

It’s time to play.


A/N:

Cooties: Remember when you were a kid and Mom and/or Dad told you not to kiss the opposite sex because they would give you cooties? Yeah, Christian is talking about that.

Reciprocal: She-Thing wanted to know if the NDA was reciprocal, which meant that not only could she not say anything to anyone about their past relationship, but Christian couldn’t say anything either. Christian let her know that he can tell whoever the fuck he wants to, but she can’t tell anybody.

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

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

~~love and handcuffs

Paging Dr. Steele: Chapter 24: Digging Dirt and Cleaning House

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 24—Digging Dirt and Cleaning House

STEELE

I awake in a strange position. Christian and I are facing each other, holding each other. His head is nuzzled into my chest and he’s holding me around my waist. I’m holding his head close to me with my hands in his hair and my legs wrapped around him. Although I don’t remember it and I don’t know how, we’ve fallen asleep in the same position that we were in when we made love, only now, we’re lying on our sides—and we never moved all night. I just want to stay here and hold him—block the world out, the Edward Davids, the Robert Harrises, the Elena Lincolns… I just want to love my man with every bit of me. But I know we both have responsibilities and we have to leave our little cocoon.

I gently run my fingers through his messy copper locks. “Baby?” I say, gently trying to rouse him from his slumber. His breathing changes slightly. “Baby?” I say again, stroking his face.

“No,” he moans, pulling me closer to him. “I don’t want to get up.”

“We have people that depend on us, dear,” I say kissing his forehead. He sighs heavily.

“Yeah, I know,” he says kissing my breast. Oh, Mr. Grey, that’s wonderful, but…

“Christian…” I say, my resolve slipping fast, “we really need to shower and get dressed.” His tongue sticks out and runs salaciously over my breast before he takes the nipple into his mouth.

“I know, baby. We won’t be long,” he says as he crawls up the bed to meet my mouth.

“Christian,” I whine. “I have patients to see today.” His hands slip to my butt and he starts to fondle my rosette. Now how would he know I would like that? I reflexively move my hips against his hand.

Oooo,” I say before I can stop myself. That was Mr. Grey’s cue to make his move, and I’m already perfectly positioned for his morning wood since my legs are wrapped around him. With one smooth move, he’s inside of me. I gasp as he rocks gently inside me, massaging and applying pressure to my clitoris with his pelvis.

“Do you still want me to stop?” he says, his voice deep and smooth like caramel.

“No,” I breathe, pressing myself against him, his length filling me from base to tip.

“Are you sure?” he taunts, his voice controlled, and he sticks his index finger in my ass, massaging gently.

Aah! Yes! Yes! I’m sure!” I exclaim, panting now.

“Oh, baby! This turns me on so much!” he says as he begins a deeper stroke into me, his finger massaging me closer and closer to orgasm. I don’t know which one to focus on, his finger deliciously stimulating my ass or the incredible stroke of his cock.

“Kiss me, Christian,” I say, my voice raw. His lips seize mine, his tongue playing lusciously with mine. He moans into my mouth and I feel his length get harder and his stroke quicken. He’s racing to his release and driving me to my own.

“Oh, Ana… shit. I’m gonna come… come with me, Baby,” he growls and sticks his finger further into my ass.

“Oh, fuck!” I scream as I explode around him and he’s right behind me, pumping his seed into me. Oh, I’m so glad I didn’t have to tell him I like anal!

“Shit, Ana. You are so hot!” he says, breathlessly. He pulls his finger out and I grab onto his arm. Shit, I almost came again! “We’re going to have to explore that avenue when we have more time,” he says fiendishly.

“Yes… by all means…” I say, just as breathless as he is. He pulls out of me and I whimper a bit at the tenderness and the emptiness. He plants gentle kisses on my lips.

“My Ana,” he says, between kisses.

“Yes, Mr. Grey,” I reply, tasting his delicious lips. “Only yours.” He groans into my mouth.

“We better get up now or I’m never letting you out of this bed,” he says, grabbing my ass and pulling me against him.

“Yes, yes. You’re right,” I say as I reluctantly unwrap myself from around him. I stretch my stiff limbs. Being wrapped around Christian Grey is a lot of fun, but it can leave you needing a massage when it’s done. “Do you want the shower first, baby?” I ask. “Or you can use the guest shower if you like.”

“What? No shower together?” he says, tilting his head.

“Not if we want to get to work,” I say, matter-of-factly. He nods in agreement.

“True. Taylor is most likely downstairs with a change of clothes for me. You go ahead—I’ll use the guest bathroom.”

Half an hour later, I’m in the kitchen in my Lindy Bop “Delores” Red Vintage 1950’s pencil wiggle dress with the sweetheart neckline, capped sleeves and ruched with buttons at the bust and a kick pleat in the front left with decorative buttons at my thigh. My hair is in a tight bun and I’m wearing my black suede platform stilettos with the snakeskin heel. I whip up some eggs scrambled with cheese and mushrooms and some bacon and toast. Christian comes out of the bathroom in a light gray suit—Cesare Attolini, I would say—with a white dress shirt open at the collar, no tie. He’s wearing Cesare Paciotti gray leather shoes and his hair is still slightly wet, mussed up…

Fuck. Me.

I’m so busy trying not to drool over him that I hadn’t noticed he’s frozen in his spot eyeing me with the same lust that I’m giving him.

“Ms. Steele, has anyone ever told you that you dress way too sexy for work?” he says, his voice low and sensual. I look down at my dress. Nope, just fine.

“You just don’t want anyone else to see me,” I say, putting his breakfast on the breakfast bar. I turn back to the refrigerator and pull out a bagel.

“That’s true, but you’re still sexy as fuck,” he responds. I look over my shoulder after I put my bagel in the toaster.

“You’re pretty delectable yourself this morning, Mr. Grey.” I turn back to my bagel to add cream cheese and jelly.

“How do you cook in those?” he asks, and I know he’s referring to my shoes.

“I can do anything in stilettos. It’s one of the benefits of having to compensate for being so short.” He raises his eyebrow.

“Anything?” he says, seductively. I walk over the breakfast bar and lean over to him so that he gets an eyeful of my cleavage. I put my hands on the counter spread out so that my upper arms push my bosom together and up.

“Anything,” I confirm, my voice dripping with sex. He tries, but he fails. His eyes dart down to my hoisted breasts and he licks his lips.

“Ms. Steele, you’re playing with fire,” he warns.

“Oh, no, Mr. Grey. You are,” I say in that voice that dominated him during our love making session last night. He recognizes it immediately. His eyes become hooded; his pupils dilate. I smile at him and kiss him across the breakfast bar. “Coffee, Christian?” He blinks once.

“You’re going to be the death of me. You know that, don’t you?” he says, his baritone voice betraying his arousal.

“I hope not,” I say, with a smile as I give him his coffee. I sit down with him and eat my bagel and coffee while he enjoys his breakfast.

“Aren’t you going to eat more than that?” he asks about my continental breakfast. I sigh.

“I told you—no big breakfasts before I have to listen to someone spill their guts. I’ll be asleep by noon.” I know he wants to argue with me, but I think he knows he won’t win.

“I have to ask you a serious question,” he says, after he swallows the last of his eggs. I put his plate and fork in the sink.

“Shoot,” I say, before sipping my coffee.

“Interesting choice of words,” he says, shaking his head. I frown showing my confusion. “Gun, Ana?” I still look at him questioning.

“Yes,” I answer.

“Ana, I’m very anti-gun.” I find that hard to believe.

“You told me that people are always after you. How can you be anti-gun?” I ask.

“Because I have the best security force that money can buy.” Except for Harris, I think to myself.

“And don’t they carry guns?” I question.

“Not all of them, and not all the time,” he replies.

“But they’re armed sometimes,” I push. He sighs heavily.

“Yes, sometimes they are,” he replies.

“Good. So, now you understand the need for me to be armed… sometimes,” I say, folding my hands. He sighs, heavily.

“A Glock, huh?” he says, a little disgusted. Might as well get this out of the way now.

“Do you know anything about guns, Christian?” I ask.

“Only that they kill people,” he says.

“Guns don’t kill people, people…” I start.

“Yeah, yeah, I know. People kill people,” he says, sarcastically. I sigh again. I’m trying not to lose my patience with this man. Time to dazzle him with my gun knowledge. Maybe that will put him at ease a bit.


GREY

“You should probably know that I have more than one gun, Christian.” Oh, for fuck’s sake. What would she need with more than one gun? The look of horror on my face prompts her to continue. “I’ve been shooting ever since I was old enough to hold a firearm properly, aim, and pull the trigger,” she says.

“I don’t see how that is supposed to make me feel better, Ana.”

“It’s supposed to make you feel better because I know what I’m doing. I’m not out there just swinging the damn thing around because I can!” Okay, I can hear that she’s getting a little irritated, but I’m irritated, too. I don’t want my Butterfly carrying a gun. If she’s likely to point a gun, she’s likely to have one pointed at her. I visibly shudder at the thought.

“Christian,” she says, her voice softer this time, “I don’t pull it out unless I feel threatened, really threatened, like with Edward in the parking garage yesterday. And from what you’ve told me, I should feel really threatened by him. I’m not stupid, Christian. I would much rather not have to shoot anyone, although make no mistake. I’m fully prepared to do so if I must—but it’s not on my bucket list.” I know I’m not going to win this one, though I want to argue her down about the many, many reasons she shouldn’t be carrying that thing… those things. Fuck!

“What do you carry?” I ask reluctantly. She takes a breath.

“I keep the 9mm Glock G19C with a slide lock and integrated compensator in the car. In the apartment near my bed, I keep a Beretta Px4 Storm Type F Sub-Compact with a reversible magazine—also a 9mm. When I choose to carry, it’s a .44 Magnum 629 double-action S&W Special.”

“A Magnum?” I ask in horror. “What are you doing? Robbing stagecoaches!?” She laughs a little.

“It’s a mini-magnum, baby. It’s only about seven inches long.” She smiles. I throw my hands up.

“Fuck. I’m in love with Wild Bill Hickok!” I shake my head. She comes over and puts her arms around my neck.

“I’m a very responsible gun owner. I’m proficient with my weapon and I’m fully aware of all the dangers involved,” she says. I put my arms around her and sniff her hair.

“I would die if something happened to you.” I hold her close to me. Why can’t I just put her away for safe keeping like they do with all the Butterflies on the farm?

“Nothing is going to happen to me, Christian,” she says softly.

“Why do you carry them, Ana? Are you afraid?” She stiffens. “What? What is it?”

“Well,” she begins slowly. “I had stopped carrying them for about two years or so. I even let my CCW lapse, but then something happened that frightened me. So, I renewed my CCW and got my weapons out of storage.”

“What happened?” I snap. I’ll kill the fucker who scared my Ana like this. She shifts uncomfortably in my arms.

“I got word that someone was looking into Anastasia Lambert,” she says trepidatiously.

Shit! The fucker was me.

“I’m sorry, Ana. Why had you never told me?” I ask.

“Well, I did, sort of,” she says. “The day that I came to your office, but we were both in a different state of mind, then.” I hold her close to me.

“Well, now that you know it was me, can’t you get rid of the guns?” I question. I so don’t want her carrying those things.

“Well, now we have Mr. David to be concerned about,” she protests.

“But you’ll have close personal protection now,” I argue. She sighs.

“I still feel safer with my guns, Christian. Look what I had to do yesterday to show that bastard that I was serious.” I’m still seeing her looking like a sexy Charlie’s Angel pointing that damnable thing in Edward’s face. So glad I wasn’t the one looking down the barrel of that piece.

“I’m going to relent for now, Ana, but I reserve the right to revisit this at a later date,” I say in pure CEO form.

“I wouldn’t expect anything less.” She smiles as she pulls me in and kisses me tenderly.

“I fired Harris, by the way,” I say.

“Good riddance,” she adds. We stand there for a few more moments.

“Do you know one of the reasons why I’m so drawn to you?” I ask.

“Why?

“Because you treat me like a normal guy. From day one you never treated me like Christian Grey Billionaire CEO. Even my subs treated me that way, but not you. You always treated me like… Christian.”

Just Grey,” she says softly.

Just Grey,” I repeat.

“Well, when I first met you, you were an ass, Mr. Grey,” she says, as she releases me and goes to her room. She’s right, I was an ass.

“Was I?” I say to Ana, now returning with her briefcase.

“A big one!” she replies. “It wasn’t too hard to treat you like everyone else, except…” She pauses.

“Except what?” I say, closing the space between us.

“Well, it was kind of hard… because… you’re gorgeous,” she breathes.

“And you’re breathtaking,” I say putting one arm around her and pulling her gently to me.

“Mr. Grey,” she whispers closing her eyes, “we have to get to work.”

“I know.” I close my lips over hers. Her kiss is delicious. I could stay lost here forever, but she’s right. We have work to do. I reluctantly pull myself away from her sweetness. “You ready to face the world?”

“Yes,” she said after a deep breath. “Am I riding in with you and Taylor?”

“No, baby. Davenport left the Audi here last night and Taylor brought him back this morning, so he’ll be going in with you today,” I respond, as we leave her apartment and she locks the door.

“Okay… so…” she pauses, as we wait for the elevator.

“So?” I ask.

“We’ll talk later?” she says. I know what she’s aiming at. We haven’t really defined our relationship or how we are going to handle it. How do I tell her that I want to spend every waking moment with her that I possibly can? That I have spent so much of my time locked in a lonely hellish lifestyle under the guise that I was content and in control and now I don’t want to waste another minute? Right now, all I can say is, “Yes, we’ll talk later.” And I kiss her again before we get on the elevator.

*-*

I think I’ve caused some people to feel like they are in the Twilight Zone this morning. I’ve been pleasant and happy… I’ve even smiled a few times before I even realized it. It’s the Ana Effect. She makes me happy. She makes me look forward to the future now. Before it was just day by day, going along—each day dragging into the next merger or acquisition… or submissive. After Ana made love to me last night, I have no idea how I’ve gone all my life without it. I have no idea how I’ve survived this long without this connection. Now that I have it—with Ana—I can never go back.

She took care of me last night… completely. We never discussed her being my Domme. It’s just understood. I don’t know how it happened and I don’t care. It just feels right—and she knows exactly when I need it. When I want to play, she’ll let me play. And when she wants to lead, I gladly let her lead. It’s liberating! I never thought I could sub again—especially after the realization that Elena had me under her thumb for all these years. But with Butterfly, it’s different. It’s so different—and I love it! How it that possible? I’m a Dom! Who the fuck cares? When it comes to my Butterfly, I’m whatever she wants me to be.

I go back to my office and wait for the department head meeting this morning. I really hate this meeting, but I have to keep them on their toes, or my business will go to shit! I’m scrolling through my emails again. More from Elena—when will that woman get a clue? I will have to talk to her at some point to discuss how we’ll be handling the Esclava salons after this. I don’t want anything to do with her anymore. I don’t want her near me or in my life in any way, but the salons are profitable, and I would be a fool to let them go. I’ll talk to Ana and see what she thinks. I never told her that Elena and I are still in business—especially since the last time I saw her, I wanted to kill the bitch and Ana effectively beat her ass without touching her… much. The sooner I tell her that, the better. I think this will be tonight’s discussion.

Tonight. Her place or mine? Will she want to spend the night with me again after spending four nights with me already? Am I crowding her? Shit, this is all so new to me. I’ll have to ask Butterfly how this is done. I’ll follow her lead. She’s had a bad experience, and I’ve had no experience, so she’s a better teacher at this sort of thing.

I’ve just talked to Mr. Walker and Ms. Sims about the bungling idiots that they have working at Ana’s condominium. Although I don’t want them fired, I do want them replaced—all of them. I want competent guards watching over my Butterfly and her belongings. I also informed them that I want to know how none of these officers had a clue what was happening for nearly two hours and I expect answers by the end of the day. I will hold them personally responsible for that structure from now on. Nothing gets you results like holding someone personally responsible for something.

I look at my wall clock—9:54am. Time to go scare some department heads.

This has to be the most boring meeting I have ever attended. These people are droning on about projections and possible projects and I couldn’t care less. I’m into hard core numbers and results. I don’t want to see what you think is going to happen—I want the bottom line.

“How much time and effort have we put into marketing research on this project?” I ask the suit babbling at the other end of the table. Get me down to some dollars and cents, man, and stop with all the not-so-impressive jargon. As he’s going into a gaggle of information that I can easily—and more effectively—get from a spreadsheet, my blackberry buzzes. I have a text from my Butterfly.

** Just finished my second patient. Thinking of you. **

How sweet is that? She lightens my mood immediately, but I can’t break into the Cheshire grin that I want in front of the suits. So, my face remains impassive as I respond:

** In a room full of suits and all I can think of is kissing you. **

That ought to give you something to think about while you’re seeing your next patient. My phone buzzes again.

** I’m thinking about kissing you, too, in many, many different ways.  **

No boners in the boardroom, Grey. I shift in my seat as I look up and see a few of the department heads looking at me with interest. I glare at each of them momentarily and they each clear their throats and pay attention to the suit currently speaking.

** No fair making me squirm in front of all these men. You know how you affect me, Ms. Steele. **

I put my blackberry down and stand causing the room to get quiet. “Mr. Anderson, did I just hear you say that the product didn’t score well with the 21 to 30 age demographics and only marginally better in the 31 to 40?” Anderson adjusts his tie. I don’t understand why these people still haven’t figured out that I can do several things at once. It’s called multitasking, you assholes. That’s why I’m the Chief.

“Um, y-yes, sir, that’s correct,” he stutters.

“And how much money have we thrown behind this?” He fumbles with his paperwork. “Never mind. I don’t need to know. I didn’t make it to where I am today throwing good money behind bad products. What I would like to know, Mr. Anderson, is why you continue to push a product that didn’t test well in two of the highest paid demographics in Seattle.”

I lean forward on the table, my glare focused solely on Anderson. He’s starting to sweat now. Every so often, you have to make an example of one person so that the whole team falls in line. Today, that person is Anderson, and rightly so.

“What’s more, why am I only just now hearing about this? Last week…” As if on cue, Andrea hands me her iPad with last week’s notes and key points. “You were testing in Tacoma, Montesano, and Bellevue. Seattle testing had been done and you were about to test in Kirkland and Newcastle. Are you telling me that between last week and this week, the results were so bad that you had no advance warning that we were wasting our time?” My blackberry buzzes again. Give me a moment, Butterfly.

“Um, no sir… um, yes sir… um…” Did I hire this guy?

“Get this stuttering idiot out of my face,” I say, standing up straight. “Does anybody have any news on any projects or developments that’s going to make me very happy this morning?” I look from face to face and a timid hand goes up next to where Anderson has vacated his seat.

“Yes, Ms. Simpson?” I say, impatiently. She clears her throat.

“The three buildings that you purchased for half-way houses in Highland Park and Cass Corridors have been fully renovated. We have a contract in place with Detroit Receiving and Babesworld for counseling and outpatient medical treatment,” she says quietly. This is good news. I have no love lost for Detroit after my horrific experience there as a child, but if I can prevent one child from suffering the abuse and neglect that I did, then I will do whatever is in my power to make that happen—short of adopting the lot myself.

“Thank you, Ms. Simpson. That is good news.” I reward her with the 32-teeth smile and of course, she blushes. “Anyone else?” Either there’s no more good news or these lemmings don’t have the balls to speak up. “Go back to your departments and bring me something I can work with. I have no problem replacing the management that can’t get me solid results, as Mr. Anderson may soon discover. Meeting is adjourned.”

I sit down at the conference table and watch the heads leave the conference room. These are the people to whom I entrust the fate of my empire? I’ll have to get with Andrea to set up some individual meetings with the departments and then possibly bring in an outside auditing team. I may be letting some things slip by that need my attention. There might be some restructuring in GEH’s future.

I pick up my blackberry and I’m reminded that I have a text. Ah, yes, the lovely Ms. Steele.

** Would I be too presumptuous in asking my place or yours tonight? **

“Yes!” I say, as I do a fist pump in the air. She wants to see me, too.

** Of course not, Butterfly. Either is fine with me, as long as I get to see you. **

Does one man deserve this much happiness? I see that I have another text—from Elena. This woman, I swear.

** Why are you avoiding me, Christian? We need to talk! **

No, we don’t, Elena… or what was it that Butterfly called her? Oh yes, Pedo-Bitch She-Thing. I love that. Just as I’m chuckling to myself, Taylor steps into the conference room.

“Sir. Mrs. Lincoln is here to see you,” he says.

“Is she up here or down in the lobby?” I ask perturbed.

“She on this floor, Sir.”

“Let security know that Mrs. Lincoln is no longer allowed in this building without an appointment… and that Anastasia never needs one,” I say as I rise from my chair and head to my office. I see Elena standing there at Andrea’s desk in her normal funeral garb, a large black purse tucked under her arm.

“Christian,” she says upon seeing me. “This is ridiculous! We really need to talk about this!” I walk over to Andrea without looking at Elena.

“Does Mrs. Lincoln have an appointment?” I ask a bewildered Andrea.

“Um, no, sir.” I turn to Elena.

“Make an appointment with my assistant,” I say to her. “Andrea, if my girlfriend Anastasia Steele shows up here, always send her right through. If she calls, find me wherever I am.” Both Elena and Andrea are awestruck.

Your… girlfriend, sir?” Andrea repeats.

“Yes. My girlfriend. Make sure all of the required people are informed. Is that clear?” Andrea fights a smirk.

“Yes, sir,” she says in her usual professional manner. I turn to my office, go inside and close the door. Elena storms into my office two steps behind me.

“You can’t avoid me forever, Christian. We have to discuss this,” she says.

“Andrea, get me Welch and Taylor, please,” I say through the speaker.

“Yes, sir,” Andrea’s disembodied voice calls back.

“There’s nothing left for us to talk about, Mrs. Lincoln,” I say curtly. “We are no longer friends. That topic is not up for discussion. You have nothing to do with my personal life anymore. That topic is also not up for discussion. As for our professional relationship, I haven’t decided its fate as yet.” She turns pale.

“What do you mean?” Her whole life is the Esclava salon chain since her divorce from Linc. I’m a heartless bastard, granted—except when it comes to Butterfly—but I wouldn’t dream of taking the salons away from her. I’m not that heartless.

“Don’t worry, Mrs. Lincoln. You get to keep your salons. I just don’t know if I want to be part of that venture anymore.” My blackberry is buzzing again.

“Christian… why?” I can see that she is shocked and maybe a little hurt, but I don’t care.

“Because you’re a fucking pedophile! And I don’t want anything to do with you. I don’t even want to be associated with you. The thought makes me sick; don’t you understand? As much as I don’t want my parents to know about my lifestyle, I’m tempted to tell my mother what happened just so that she knows what she’s dealing with!” I snap. As if her face could get any paler under all that make-up, Elena turns as white as a sheet.

“She really has turned you against me!” she says, tears in her eyes. I throw my hands up.

“And. You. Still don’t get it!” I say flustered. “Listen to me carefully—assuming all of that plastic surgery hasn’t affected your eardrums.” Her head pops back in surprise at the insult. “You came on to my brother when he was 14-years-old. I found that out on Thursday. I talked to you on Friday and gave you a chance to come clean about it. Not only did you lie about it happening, but then you turned around and blamed my brother! My brother, Mrs. Lincoln. That means that I had to decide whether you were lying to me or whether my brother was lying to me. Do you understand that? Don’t you see the ramifications of that statement? Get it through your bleached blonde head that Anastasia had nothing to do with this!”

I come around my desk and tower over her.

“I love my family over and above anything in my life. These are the only people who loved me when no one else would.”

I love you, Christian,” she says, her voice shaking. And again, I see the beast with two heads.

“Isn’t that convenient? You told me that love was for fools and now you love me?”

“I’ve always loved you, Christian.” She drops her head. “And there were no other children,” she lies.

“Oh, no, just me and my brother, right?” I say, flatly. She sighs.

“Christian, I…” She trails off. Taylor sticks his head in the door. I wave him off, and he closes it.

“You what?” I ask.

“I… never touched anyone who wasn’t willing.” What the fuck? Well, at least the bitch finally admitted it.

“Are you fucking serious? Horny hormonal teenage boys are always willing, you sick bitch! That’s why I was willing… and you knew that. But you ran up against my brother, and to your surprise, he wasn’t willing. Do you understand that if I had believed you, I would be in a feud with my brother right now? Don’t you get that? Do you even care?”

She’s weeping now. I’ve asked her three times if she understands what I’m saying.

“You need to understand that the breakdown in this relationship is because of you… because of your actions. You could have cost me my relationship with my brother because you have some kind of sick appetite for children. Our lifestyle is taboo enough without involving children! But you know what the worst part about it is?”

I walk up to her and stand in her face. I hear my Butterfly singing in my ear, so I don’t have to grab this bitch and shake her—although shaking some sense into her might be a good idea.

“I thought I was special. I thought there was nobody else like me… that you only did this for me. But you did it for yourself, to fulfill your own sick needs. I had already been abused—and you abused me again and God knows how many others. This was your doing, Mrs. Lincoln. This has abso-fucking-lutely nothing to do with Anastasia Steele.” At the mention of her name, Elena’s eyes narrow and her nostrils flare.

“She’s the reason you didn’t want Greta!” she spits. I nod.

“Yes, she is the reason.” I confirm. “I’ve known her for three weeks, but she wanted nothing to do with me. I thought she hated me. Every time we were in a space together, we were scratching at each other. I threatened to ruin her career. She did a background check on me; can you believe that?” I laughed. “And she’s got good people working for her because they found shit that most people couldn’t.”

“How do you know that she’s not just another opportunist?” she shoots.

“Because she didn’t pursue me. I pursued her! She didn’t even know. The only reason she got a background check on me is because I got one on her and she wanted to know who was digging around in her past,” I say.

“Does she have something to hide?” Elena sneers. It’s time to bring this conversation to an end.

“I’ll tell you this, Mrs. Lincoln. There is a specific reason why other than Grace Trevelyan Grey, Dr. Anastasia Steele is the strongest woman that I’ve ever met. You don’t want to know why, and you don’t want to meet that woman. I watched as she had a martial arts master begging her to let him get up. Yesterday, I watched her make five men grovel while a sixth went running away with his tail between his legs—all while dressed like a teenager. She was able to acquire classified information on me, including who I was before I became Christian Grey. She’s the only woman that I have ever known who has looked me in my eye and taken me on, balls to the walls, without flinching or patronizing me. She’s a remarkable woman, and you don’t want to bring out her bad side. You. Will. Lose.”

“Why are you calling me Mrs. Lincoln, Christian?” she asks, her voice pleading.

“Because we still have a questionable business arrangement and that’s how I address all of my business associates.” I press the button to the intercom. “Taylor!” I know he’s still out there.

“Christian, please. There must be some way we can mend this.” I have never seen Elena beg. It’s kind of refreshing. She almost looks human…

… Almost.

Taylor comes into the office and remains silent.

“I will be in touch about our business arrangement, Mrs. Lincoln. I hope you heard that carefully. will be in touch with you. Since you can’t seem to hear me each time I say it, let me make this perfectly clear this time. Do not contact me unless I summon you. Do not come to see me without an appointment. Do not come to my home anymore. Address me as Mr. Grey when you see me, except around my mother. I want to spare her the embarrassment of knowing that she had been friends with a pedophile for so long—but make no mistake, Mrs. Lincoln. I value my privacy, but I will publicly out myself before I ever allow you to have control over me again. Do I make myself clear?” I glare at her and await an answer. A single tear falls down her cheek.

“Perfectly,” she says flatly.

“Good. Taylor will see you out.” I turn and go back to my seat and take out my blackberry. Taylor stands aside and waits for Elena. She pauses before leaving.

“When you come to your senses and realize that little tart can’t fulfill your needs, I’ll be here. I’ll always be here, Christian,” she says, softly.

“Address me as Mr. Grey or don’t address me at all. Goodbye, Mrs. Lincoln,” I say without looking up from my blackberry. She solemnly leaves my office and I can hear her weeping in the hallway.

Poor little pedophile.

“Welch!” I yell as I check my latest texts from Butterfly.

** That sounds wonderful. I’ll stop by my place and pick up a few things, then meet you at your place after work. I can’t wait to see you. **

I can’t wait to see you either, Butterfly.

** Strangely, I need your advice on a business venture. We’ll talk this evening. Love you. **

I don’t think I’ve ever written that in a text before… feels good. Welch comes into the office.

“She doesn’t look too happy,” he says about the Pedophile as he closes my office door.

“Yeah, well, I can imagine there are quite a few people that wouldn’t be too happy with her right now,” I respond, thinking of the families of the unknown number of children she has molested over the years, mine included. “What do you have for me today?” Welch opens his tablet and starts to scroll.

“I’m sending you an email right now, sir. I would have sent it sooner, but I wanted to discuss some of the things that I found.” My blackberry buzzes again. I open the email on my touch screen computer instead. Two attachments—one about David and the other about the Mortons.

“Which one first?” I ask.

“Let’s start with the Mortons,” he answers still looking at his tablet. I open the attachment on Ana’s “guardians,” as she calls them. Carla seemed to jump from mindless job to mindless job for many years and then last year she settled in as a nurse’s aide in a convalescent home/assisted living facility in Boulder City. I personally thought she seemed to be a little up in age to be a nurse’s aide, but in these times, you get work wherever you can find it. Stephen Morton worked with the water board for many years and was let go just before Carla started working with the elderly. Unless he has been collecting some sort of unemployment compensation or had one hell of a severance package, they have been living off Carla’s meager wages for the last 13 months.

“What do their finances look like?” I ask Welch.

“Not too good right now.,” he says as he scrolls through his tablet. “They were fair to midland for a while. His salary seemed to pay their way for the most part. However, in 2001, they received a pretty big payout from an unknown source. I had to pull in a few favors to get to the bottom of that one, sir.”

“That big, huh?” I ask looking up at Welch.

“I would say so. The payout came from Franklin Whitmore. He’s a high-level executive for an insurance company out there.”

“Why would a man on the water board be getting a payout from an insurance company?” I ask. “Was there an accident or something? Those are usually kept pretty private.”

“You misunderstand, sir. Morton didn’t get a payout from the insurance company. He got a payout from Whitmore’s personal accounts.” I do a double-take on that statement. I’m a businessman and that stinks to me.

“How much was the payout?” I ask.

“Three quarters of a mil,” Welch answers. This was not business, this was personal.

“What did Morton’s finances look like in 2001? Could this have been a loan from a friend? Did he ever pay it back? Was his house in foreclosure…?” I’m firing off questions as quickly as they come to me.

“Sir, slow down.” Welch interrupts. “I don’t see any outstanding debts or problems in the Mortons’ financials at that time. The house was gifted to Morton years before when his father passed away, so he only had to pay taxes and a small home equity loan on the property. From what I can tell, everything was fine until…” Welch trails off. I look up from scrolling the information on the screen and wait for him to finish his statement.

“Until what?” I prompt.

“Sir, 2001 was the same year that Anastasia Steele was attacked.” Okay, now he’s got my attention.

“Give me all of the information without me having to ask you any questions. I need to know exactly where you are headed with this.” I sit back in my chair.

“I have a theory, but I don’t know how accurate it is.” Welch takes a deep breath. “Ana Steele gets beaten and burned in February but doesn’t know what happened to her when she awakes.” Yes, she did. She just couldn’t turn anybody in because she couldn’t see their faces. “Nobody is arrested for the crime. Ms. Steele disappears for the summer and everything is quiet in Green Valley… maybe too quiet for what just happened a few months prior…”

“The locals are getting restless,” I observe.

“Exactly,” Welch confirms. “Somebody gets nervous and maybe talks to Daddy about making this whole thing go away. Whitmore has three children—all of whom were attending Green Valley High at the time. The next thing you know, Morton is getting a huge payout in August from Whitmore and a few days later, Ms. Steele is dragged back to Henderson…”

“To a school she can’t even attend and a bunch of people who don’t want her around, including her parents.” Welch looks at me puzzled. “We’ve talked. Her mother ignored her, and Morton treated her like crap. She never went home for more than a few hours at a time in the middle of the night. She left as soon as she was able, and they don’t even speak now. Why did they bring her back?” I question.

“To keep her close,” Welch responds. Shit, it makes perfect sense. They didn’t know that she remembered what happened to her, and they couldn’t take the chance of it all coming back to her when she was here in Montesano with Ray Steele. They had to be able keep an eye on her in case details started coming back to her. “It wasn’t a payout, sir…”

“It was a payoff. He fucking sold out his stepdaughter and brought her back to hell for $750,000… and her mother let it happen.” I stand up and run my hands through my hair as I pace my office. “He probably bought their silence. I’m certain Ana doesn’t know about this.”

“How certain are you, sir?” Welch asks.

“Ana repeatedly contends that she doesn’t know why they brought her back to Henderson. It’s a major point of contention for her. Had she known it was money-based, it would have still been a point of contention, but it would have been different. She would be angry for being sold-out… What were the Whitmore children’s names?” Welch scrolls a bit.

“Two boys and a girl—Amber is the youngest at 25. Then there’s Cody, who just turned 27 and Landon who is 28,” he says. So, Amber would have been a grade under Ana, Cody would have in the same grade or a grade over Ana, and Landon would have been a senior. I can’t rule any of them out just yet.

“What are they doing now?” I ask.

“Amber married and moved to New York, now in the fashion industry, but still using her maiden name. Landon is a sports commentator in Texas. Cody went to Harvard, then to Columbia, then dropped out and went back to Green Valley. He’s been working for his dad’s company for the last three years, but he doesn’t appear to be doing very well as most of his money is coming from his father. He is effectively spending his inheritance right now.”

So, which one of these people had something to do with Ana’s attack? Were they all involved? I have no idea how to approach this and I can’t just come out and ask her.

“I’m thinking that I should probably talk to the Mortons. I just need a reason to do it,” I say. Welch shrugs.

“IRS, maybe? They’d want to know about this little gift,” he says. He’s right, of course, but I’m not sure I want to go that far unless it’s utterly necessary.

“Let me think about that for a moment. What happened to the money?”

“Well, the money was spent pretty quickly—cars, clothes, high roller nightlife in Vegas and Lake Tahoe—nothing set aside for Ms. Steele, further emphasizing that your assumption may be correct that she didn’t know about it.” Of course, she didn’t. She stayed at a shelter for battered women when she first moved here. “Besides that, I’m still looking to see if I’ve missed anything.”

“Anything else of any great importance right now?” I ask.

“Not really, except for the relative in Las Vegas. Ms. Steele used Morton’s sister-in-law’s address to zone for Chaparral. Her name is Cynthia Morton and she works for the Clark County School District, so no doubt she probably did some things on the inside to allow ‘Steele’ to finish as ‘Lambert.’ Cynthia and Morton are estranged, though, so it’s possible that she did this solely to help Ms. Steele. She may be worth talking to.”

“She may indeed. Okay, so what about David?” I ask.

“Ah yes… we’ve saved the best for last… or worst I should say.” Oh shit. I open David’s file. Fuck! What the hell…?

“What is all of this?” I ask.

“That is a list of all of the women that David has slept with over the past ten years.” Who the hell has this kind of time on their hands!? Good grief, man! I do a search for Ana’s name and before I can hit enter, Welch says, “She’s number 22, sir.” Good God. She dodged a damn bullet! It’s a wonder he hasn’t been killed by any deadly sexually transmitted diseases by now!

“He’s been a busy boy, hasn’t he?” I say sarcastically.

“Very!” Welch answers.

“Any of these of interest?” I ask.

“Fifth from the bottom—Phyllis Studdard. Ms. Studdard was admitted to the hospital three months ago badly beaten. She had recently had sexual intercourse but contends that she was not raped—just that her lover got carried away. When the police asked for his name, she refused to give it to them. She was released from the hospital four days later. A transfer of $50,000 was made into her account from Mr. David and she subsequently left town… but not before she had already planted the seeds in the proper circles that David is the pariah that landed her in the hospital. Some of the stories of their encounter are pretty gruesome. I have no doubt that they have gone through the rumor mill a few times and some have been exaggerated, but the basis is pretty sound. It’s almost identical to the attack on Camilla Johannson except that supposedly there was no rape. It’s enough to say that he couldn’t get a date in the greater Seattle area if his dick were dipped in platinum.

Damn! And now he’s after my Ana. Over my dead body, fucker.

“How were you able to single out Ms. Studdard?” I ask.

“After I saw what happened with Ms. Johannson, I cross referenced possible hospital stays and MO’s with the girls and the times they were noted seeing David, and we got this hit. If there are others, they weren’t bad enough to be hospitalized.” I’m wondering if I should tell Ana about this. She has already agreed to close protection, and she knows this guy is crazy already… and she carries a fucking gun! Three fucking guns! No, I won’t tell her. She’s taking enough precautions already.

“There’s more, sir.” More? What more? “Look at Mr. David’s college roommates. I scroll through the list of his roommates.

“What should I be seeing?” I say scrolling through the years… 2004… 2005… 2006…

… 2006… FUCK!

“Do you see it, sir?” Welch says, noticing the change in my expression.

“This is not a coincidence! It’s not a coincidence that this was one of his roommates and he ends up dating Anastasia!”

“I don’t think so either, sir,” Welch concurs.

“Find out everything you can about this guy. Every. Little. Thing. Back at least 15 years!”

“Yes, sir. Will that be all, sir?”

“One more thing. I need any information that you can get me on Elena Lincoln’s personal affairs.” Welch looks questioningly at me.

“Personal affairs?” he repeats. I run my hands through my hair.

“I have it on authority that Mrs. Lincoln has been—and may still be—molesting teenage boys.” Welch’s eyes turn cold.

“Okay,” he says with a bitter tone that I can’t place.

“Will this be a problem for you, Welch?” He straightens his jacket.

“Absolutely not, sir. I’ll get right on it,” he says with conviction in his voice. I don’t ask why.

“I don’t care what it takes to find the information. Hack her computers, search her office, break into her car, hack her cell phone. Hell, climb a tree outside of her house if you have to…”

“I understand completely, sir,” Welch says. I want to know if she’s still doing this sick shit. How and where does she find her candidates? Hell, I was delivered to her on a silver platter, but Elliot wasn’t. He just had the misfortune of being her best friend’s son.

Most of all, I need to know if a check on her would reveal anything about me.

“I don’t need to tell you how delicate this situation is, correct? I can trust you to handle this with the utmost discretion—need-to-know basis only?”

“Absolutely, Mr. Grey.” His demeanor tells me that this means something personal to him, but I won’t ask if he won’t tell me.

“Thank you, Welch. That will be all.” As he closes my office door. I look at David’s roommates:

Fall 2004—Kip Johnson, Sioux Falls, SD

Spring 2005—Marshall Brookings, Des Moines, IA

Fall 2005—Dennis Jackley, Missoula, MT

Spring 2006—Everest Billings, Henderson, NV

I asked Ana if she thought she was profiled, and she said no. Could he have known something about her before he met her? It’s certainly possible. I’ll know more once I find out about this Billings guy. I pick up my blackberry and realize that the last buzz was not the email from Welch after all. It was a message from my favorite person:

** I love you too**


STEELE

“Hello, Ms. Steele, this is Mr. Robinson at the Cristalla Condos. I’m calling to let you know that your windshield has been replaced and your car has been detailed, ma’am. You may pick up your keys and your warranty paperwork at the security office anytime you like.”

“Thank you, Mr. Robinson. How late will you be there this evening?”

“As late as you need me to stay, ma’am.” Suck up. Christian must’ve scared the pants off this guy.

“I’ll be there between 5:00 and 6:00,” I say.

“That’s fine, ma’am,” Mr. Robinson says. “I’ll see you then.” I end the call.

I haven’t heard anything from Christian since my last text, but the man does have a multi-billion-dollar company to run, and I need to get a grip. We have such fun together and I feel so free. I haven’t felt this way in a long time. It always seems like I have to be on my guard… but not with Christian. He’s just as bruised and guarded as I am, making it easy for us to let go around each other. And when he called me Mistress last night…

Oh. My. God!

The power was insane. It fueled my inner Nympho more and more! I have no idea where it came from—it felt like I could do anything, but I also had a responsibility. I can’t explain it—he was mine. Not just my man—he was MINE! I had to love him and I had to take care of him—but he had to do what I said. It was amazing, and he submitted so freely. I’ll have to ask him about that.

We’ll have to set some parameters. Maybe I’ll do some more research. Each BDSM relationship is defined by its participants—I know that much. He and I will set our parameters. Ours is a relationship without borders to begin with—totally undefined, except that we love each other. I have no doubt that we’ll have a wonderful time discovering our mutual wants, needs, and desires.

I kind of liked it when he tied us up.
Yeah, me too! That’s his Dom side coming out.
That slap on the ass was kind of hot, too.
I know, right?
Okay, now I’m getting horny.
Me, too. Shut up, already! I’ve got another patient to see!

The Bitch finally goes silent just as Marilyn announces that my next patient is here. A few moments later… “Monica, it’s good to see you. Come in and sit down. Where would you like to start today?”

*-*

Good grief! My car is spotless! And beautiful! It almost looks better than when I bought it! Good job, Mr. Robinson! Chuck and I run up to my apartment so that I can grab some things before I head to Christian’s—a couple of outfits, tops and bottoms; a dress; several changes of underwear and bras, a few pairs of stockings with garter suspenders and a couple pairs of shoes. I’ll leave everything in my bag so that I don’t scare the man half to death.

His blue Anderson Sheppard pinstripe suit lay in the chair where I left it last night. I think I’ll leave it there. I like it there. I pick up his shirt and inhale—it smells divine, like Christian. Suddenly, I need to be near my man in the worst way.

I reach in my dresser drawer for My Boo. I pull the magazine out and release the slide to pop out the round in the chamber. I load the loose round back into the magazine and relock the slide. Putting the Glock and the magazine in my purse, I grab my makeup kit and a couple of ponytail holders just in case and Chuck and I are off.

“I want to drive, Chuck. Will you follow me?”

“Sure, Ana. Right behind you.”

Once in my car, I put My Boo and the magazine back in the glove box and head off to Escala.

Once we get there, Chuck has to go in before me since I don’t know the codes to the underground garage. Chuck has been given instructions to have me stop at the front desk before I go upstairs. I get to meet Marc, the clerk who called Christian in a tizzy on Sunday when She-Thing showed up.

“Hi, are you Marc?” I say to the gentleman behind the counter.

“Yes, ma’am. How can I help you?” he says with a pleasant smile.

“I was told to stop at the front desk. My name is Anastasia Steele.” His face lights up with recognition.

“Ms. Steele, yes. Just a moment.” He goes into the office and comes out with two boxes, one large and one small, as well as two envelopes, also one large and one small. “You’ll need to open the small envelope now, ma’am. Mr. Grey isn’t home yet, but he should be here shortly.”

“Thank you, Marc.” I smile warmly. I open the small envelope and it contains a small embossed card that contains the codes to the garage and to the elevator to get to the penthouse. Underneath the codes in the same lovely script as his “I’m Sorry” business card is written:

You have the magic code to my heart. Now here are the codes to my home. Christian.

Oh, that man can really make my heart go thumpity-thump! I run to the elevator giggling like a schoolgirl. When we get inside, Chuck goes to punch in the code.

“No!” I squeal, and Chuck jumps back like I hit him. “I’m sorry. I mean… I want to do it.” I say, kind of whiny.

Chuck works hard to force back a smile, but steps away from the console to let me punch the numbers in. I enter the six-digit code and the elevator slides shut and smoothly glides to the penthouse. I hug the boxes close to me, but not too hard as it is clear to see that one of the boxes contains flowers. When the elevator opens at Christian’s foyer, Chuck and I step out and he steps aside with a flourish, allowing me to the front door first.

He’s teasing me.

“Ha, ha! Very funny.” I turn the doorknob and enter the great room. The air is different. I can’t quite place it, but I feel more… welcome—not so much like a guest anymore.

“Ana!” I’m greeted by a chipper voice and a smile.

“Gail, hi,” I pause. “May I call you Gail?” I never asked permission.

“It’s fine by me, but I don’t know about Mr. Grey,” she whispers to me like it’s a conspiracy. “It looks like you have some packages there.”

“Yeah, it looks like it.” I smile widely. “Where should I sit them down to open them?”

“Anywhere you like, Ana. Mr. Grey insisted that you make yourself at home.” Her voice is warm and inviting like the mom I never had… which is pretty sad since I grew up with the woman that birthed me.

“Thank you, Gail.” I smile and decide to take my packages and bag to Christian’s bedroom. I put the huge box and the small box on the bed with the envelope. Which one to open first? The flowers! I open the flower box to reveal a gorgeous assortment of exotic and wildflowers—all in blue! Roses, hydrangeas, morning glories, dayflowers, chaste plants, bluebonnets, bluebells, and of course a few light blue rhodies. The flowers are exquisite, and I’m blown away. Of course, there’s a card:

Blue… your favorite color, just like your beautiful eyes. Christian X

Oooohh! He put a little kiss on his name! Before I open the small box and the envelope, I bring the flowers back out to the kitchen.

“Gail, please tell me that there is a vase somewhere large enough to accommodate this magnificent arrangement.” I put the flowers on the breakfast bar.

“Oh, Ana!” she exclaims. “They’re breathtaking!”

“Aren’t they?” I say, breathily. My heart is doing cartwheels in my chest. “Please tell me there’s something we can put them in.” She smiles at me.

“I’ll take care of it for you.”

“Thank you,” I say before taking one of the roses from the arrangement and returning to my other packages. I decide to open the envelope next. It’s an invitation:

Anastasia Steele
Your presence is requested at
The fundraiser meeting
of the Helping Hands Association
Saturday, July 7, 2012
At the home of
Carrick Grey and Dr. Grace Trevelyan Grey
Bellevue, Washington

At first, I’m confused because I’m not exactly sure what this means, then it hits me… Christian wants me to meet his family! I’m excited and nervous all at the same time. He wants me to meet his family and that’s a good thing, but what will they think of me? Hell, I’m a doctor and I know that counts for something—but Christian comes from real money. Will they think I’m after his fortune? Well, we’ll just have to see because I’m sure as hell going!

I finally reach for the little box that’s left. I pull off the beautiful ribbon and remove the top to find another box inside. The unmistakable red leather of Cartier.

“Oooooo!” I squeal like a schoolgirl. Cartier means jewelry.

Give it to me, Daddy!

I remove the Cartier box and open it and holy. Cow. Batman. There is a perfect replica of the tiara that Audrey Hepburn wore in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I don’t know if it’s silver or platinum, diamonds or Swarovski crystals, but when I tell you that it’s the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life, that would be an understatement. This piece of jewelry is thoughtful… and priceless… and splendid!

“Oh, my God, I’m dating Santa Claus,” I say, stunned at the exquisite creation before me. I wonder how long he had this one cooking. I know even the powerful Christian Grey can’t get something like this done overnight. Well, maybe he could. What the hell does it matter, I think to myself as I run to the mirror to put it on. Oh, my God, I’m Holly Golightly and I immediately hear “Moon River” playing in my head. A small smile creeps across my face as I think about the day I told the group about Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

I was wearing that little blue dress—the one that I said was too short for work, but I wore it anyway. I think I was trying to impress him even then. That’s one of the days he tried that awful staring crap with me. Yeah, blew up in your face, didn’t it, Grey? Come to think of it, it blew up in both of our faces. I pick up my bag from the floor and carry it to the closet. Various Christian Grey suits greet me from various designers.

My boyfriend is so hot!

And he knows his fashion… Armani, Paul Stuart, Borelli, Canali… and those are just the ones that I know! Beautiful Caesar Picotti, John Lobb, and Tanino Crisci leather shoes line the shoe shelves—again, just the ones I know. I have a feeling I’ll know a lot more before long. Crisp white shirts pressed to perfection, ties and cufflinks organized by color and style. I think Christian might be just a little OCD on top of everything else, but the neatness and organization are comforting. I run my hands over Prince Charming’s suits as I peruse his closet wearing my tiara. I get to meet his family on Saturday. I will do him proud. I smell one of his suits. If it has been cleaned, it still smells like him. I take the jacket off the hanger and wrap it around me. It is way too large and I can’t roll up the sleeves like I do with his shirts, but I sit on the floor of his closet with my rose and my tiara and cocoon myself in Christian’s jacket—and his smell.


A/N: “That’s why I’m the Chief.” Greys Anatomy, Season 2, Episode 22, said by James Pickens as Chief of Surgery Richard Webber.

Holly Golightly is of course Audrey Hepburn’s character in Breakfast at Tiffany’s and there is a scene where she sits on the balcony with a guitar singing “Moon River.”

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