I do not own Fifty Shades Trilogy, or the characters. They belong to E. L. James. I am only exercising my right to exploit, abuse, and mangle the characters to MY discretion in MY story in MY interpretation as a fan. I hope you—as a fellow fan—enjoy it, too.
Chapter 28—Family Ties
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.
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.
What a fucking disaster! I turned into Sha-Za Queen of the Fucking Amazons in front of Christian’s parents. I am 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.”
“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 psychologist.
“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.
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 am 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 is 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 is 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.
“How did she threaten you?” I sigh heavily. I have to tell him everything.
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 am 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!