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 22—Wonder Woman
The adrenaline tears are fighting the good fight. My body is shaking almost violently, and my chest is heaving with unshed tears. Al is rubbing my back, trying to comfort me.
“You got to let it out, Jewel,” he coaxes.
“NO!” I snap, pressing my face into his chest. “I won’t cry another tear over that asshole, I WON’T!”
“Okay. Okay,” he soothes.
“Um, Ms. Steele…” Officer Richards interjects. “Ma’am, I need to give you your copy of the protection order.” I lift my head to look at Al, who rubs my arms and smiles at me. I take a deep breath and turn around to Richards. I’m only half paying attention to him because I’m wondering why I haven’t heard a peep from Christian yet. Al reads my face and asks, “What’s wrong, Jewel?” I shake my head.
“I’m just wondering why Christian hasn’t shown up yet.”
“We haven’t notified him, ma’am,” Chuck answers my question. I’m a little horrified.
“You what?” I ask stunned.
“We haven’t notified him… yet,” Chuck says, clearing his throat.
“And when did you plan on notifying him?” I ask.
“Once the situation had been rectified, ma’am,” Harris pipes in. I glare at him. Is this guy for real?
“Hold that thought.” I turn back to Richards. “Is there anything else I need to do?”
“Well, we’ve served Mr. David and you have your copy. So that’s it for that situation.”
“What about my car?”
“Well, we have your report and we’re going to take it to the station and file it. At this point, you would just want to get your windshield fixed.” I know this is not a priority for him, so I’ll just check with building security to see if they can tell me who vandalized my car—as if I didn’t already know.
“Thank you for your time and assistance, officers. I really appreciate it,” I say.
“No problem, ma’am. Have a better day,” Lewis says before they get back into the car and leave. I turn my attention back to Davenport.
“Chuck, I haven’t known Christian Grey for very long, but I’ve known him long enough to know that he’s very intense and he doesn’t like mistakes. Now, somebody fucked up here. I don’t know who, but somebody fucked up—I know that much. You’ve been following me since before Christian and I were dating. Did you know that?”
“No, ma’am,” Chuck responds, a frown forming on his face.
“Yeah. We kissed in his office… and that’s it. I ran out… and he’s had you tracking me ever since. Do you get the idea that he might be a bit intense?” Chuck adjusts his tie.
“A bit,” he says nervously.
“Here’s one more.” I walk over to Chuck standing by my car. “I texted Christian that day at the Marketplace. I told him that I felt uncomfortable… like someone other than you was watching me. Moments after I texted him, he called me. While I was still on the phone with him, he pinpointed Edward’s location and subsequently discovered that we were at the same place. You remember the altercation between me and Edward, correct?”
“Did you see the whole thing?”
“Yes, ma’am,” he answers, snickering a bit—obviously recalling Edward in the nut grip.
“Do you remember approximately how long it lasted?”
“Thankfully for Mr. David, only a couple of minutes.”
“Exactly. That’s how long it took for Christian to hang up the phone from me, get intel on my location, and get out there in enough time to stand casually against the car and send you over to get me. Do you remember that?”
“Yes, ma’am,” he nods, questioning.
“Now… one last scenario for you. You just brought me back to my apartment. My car has been vandalized, the man that isn’t supposed to get within 1000 feet of me was standing here in my parking structure, telling me to my face that he was never, ever going to go away simply because he cannot handle the fact that I rejected him. I had to pull my Glock on him so that he would know that I’m serious and he had better leave me alone! The Sheriffs were here… I could have been arrested! My attorney was here. Hell, even you were here. But Christian Grey wasn’t here. Doesn’t know anything about it. Edward David could be lying dead on the ground right now—because Daddy always taught me don’t ever pull your gun unless you plan to use it. I could be posting bail right now. But nobody has called Christian Grey. The Sherriff was here—and Christian Grey doesn’t know yet.” Chuck is now losing the color in his face. I think the realization has finally hit him. “Yeah! You get it now!” I say. Idiots! These are the people Christian sent to protect me? I really like Chuck, but he’s a little slow on the pickup right now. I reach in the glove box and pull out my Glock. I double-check the safety, then put it in my purse.
“Do you think someone is in the apartment, ma’am?” Harris asks. I don’t even want to hear his voice right now.
“No, why do you ask?” I say in the friendliest tone I can muster at this moment.
“Because you’ve put a loaded firearm in your purse, ma’am,” he says in a snarky tone. I can’t believe this idiot. I need him away from me now.
“Would you suggest I leave the loaded firearm in the unsecured car?” I bark. He blushes a bit at the realization. “And aren’t you David’s detail? Why are you still here?” Harris now goes from red to white, realizing that he has effectively “lost” the person he was tailing. I shake my head. “Mr. Davenport,” I am so flustered with this pair right now, I think I should stick to last names. “I think you had better call Mr. Grey or Mr. Taylor or whomever you need to check in with and tell them what happened here. Al and I are going upstairs, and I’m going to pour myself an obscenely large glass of wine—after which I’m going to call Christian Grey. I’m certain that if hears about today’s events from me instead of some member of his security staff, someone’s going to be unemployed by this time tomorrow.” I push the button to call the elevator. In a last-ditch attempt to be useful, Harris asks, “Do you want us to come up and secure the apartment, ma’am?” Is he fucking serious?
“I have a loaded firearm in my purse, remember? I’ll secure my own goddamn apartment!” I spit before stepping onto the elevator and pushing the button to my floor. Al is quiet the entire ride up. I don’t think he knows how to approach me right now. I step off the elevator and dig for my keys. Al finds his first and proceeds to unlock the door. As he starts to open it, Harris’ words come back to my mind. I kick the door open and pull out My Boo.
“I have a loaded Glock with a full magazine! Come out now because if I see you later, we’ll be calling the morgue!” I yell into my apartment.
“I’d say it’s secure,” I say to Al as I put my gun back in my purse and go to the kitchen for a glass of Cabernet. Al is still stunned standing at the door. I pull out my large bowl wine glass and fill it to the rim. I don’t want to get falling-down drunk, but hell if I’m going to be ladylike after the day I’ve had—and it hasn’t even hit 2pm yet! Al finally makes his way into the apartment and just looks at me.
“Jewel, what the hell just happened?” he asks, reaching for the wine bottle. I take a long swallow of wine and wipe my mouth with the back of my hand. Al just sits in the seat at the breakfast bar staring at me. I grab a glass and hand it to him.
“Did you see my car?” I ask.
“I didn’t get a chance!” he replies.
“Windshield… gone!” I say, swiping my hands wide on the last word like an umpire. Al gasps.
“Double-dicker?” he asks.
“He’s taking credit for it,” I reply before taking another large gulp of wine and finally beginning to feel the calming effects.
“The two secret agents?” he asks.
“Members of Christian’s security team. Chuck is mine. Harris was supposed to make sure Edward didn’t get near me. He failed miserably.”
“When did you start packing again?” he asks cautiously. Damn. I thought I told him.
“Last week when Christian ordered a background check on me. He stirred…” I still find it hard to talk about. “He stirred the Green Valley pot and… I got scared.”
“Jewel!” Al comes around the bar and embraces me. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I’m sorry Al,” I say, returning his embrace. “I was so confused… I thought I did tell you. You know I never keep anything from you,” I say contritely. He rubs my back.
“It’s okay, Hon. I know you didn’t do it on purpose, so I’ll let you get away with it this time,” he says, smiling before he kisses me on the forehead and goes back to his seat. “So now he knows all about it?”
“Well, not all about it, but a lot,” I answer. I don’t know why I poured this big ass glass of wine. Even with the big gulps, I didn’t drink half. “He wanted Cody’s name and I wouldn’t give it to him.”
“Because he’d go looking for him. I could see it in his eyes. All of Green Valley would burn to the ground at the hands of Christian Grey!”
“Would that be such a terrible thing, Jewel?” I look at him wide-eyed.
“I just don’t think I want him stirring that hornet’s nest,” I say holding my head down.
“Don’t you want justice for what happened to you? Or closure?” he asks.
“I had closure. I was fine until…”
“Until someone dug it up again,” Al interrupts. “The minute someone opened the file on Green Valley and Cody, you exercised your 2nd Amendment rights! That’s not closure. That’s denial,” he states. “C’mon, Ana. You’re the psychologist here. I don’t have to tell you this.” He’s right and I know it.
“I’ll think about it… maybe. I just… I don’t want to deal with it right now,” I say, waving my hands and walking around the breakfast bar. I can hear voices outside of my door.
“Well, all I can say is…” I shush Al so that I can hear what’s going on outside of my door. I look through the peephole and see Chuck and Harris, standing outside of my door like the Nutcracker soldiers. I gesture for Al to come over so that we can eavesdrop on their conversation.
“Hey, I don’t know what to tell you. I was on her the whole time.” That’s Chuck.
“On her, huh? Is that why she calls you Chuck? You’ve gotten awful cozy for one day.” Snide ass bastard.
“Look, I’m only doing my job. You’re the one that let the perp get onto her property, accost her, and vandalize her car. How did you let that happen?”
“I don’t know, Man. He was there one minute and he was gone the next.”
“Well, what happened Saturday?” Chuck asks. “The same thing?”
“Look, Chuck,” Harris is getting agitated, “I’m already going to hear it from Grey. I don’t need to hear it from you, too.”
“Oh yes you do,” Chuck says, trying to control his tone, “because I got pulled into the office today, and my job is to protect her, and you are making my job harder by not doing yours!” He spits. “Whatever other things you have on your ‘busy schedule,’ first and foremost our instructions are to keep that bastard away from Ms. Steele. Why the fuck couldn’t you do that today?” That’s a good question. Where was Harris when Chuck was restraining Edward? I’m Chuck’s charge. Edward was Harris’ charge. Why did he show up later? What if I had been alone? What if I had caught a taxi home?
“Man, fuck you!” Harris says loudly.
“Keep your fucking voice down!” Chuck chides quietly. “You let David walk right out of the parking structure. Why the hell would you do that?”
“What was I supposed to do?” Harris defends. “Walk out right behind him so that he could know I was following him?”
“You’re trained in this shit, Rob. You’re supposed to know how to handle this. You’re making us all look bad!”
“You’re just pissed because your chance got blocked today,” Harris shoots.
“What the fuck are you talking about?” Chuck snaps.
“You pulled the cushy job. You get to follow that little bit of hotness around all day—you even got her calling you Chuck. Did I interrupt your plans today because I lost sight of David?” he says snidely.
“You’re so full of it, Harris. You messed up and now you’re trying to make me look bad. That’s okay though. The only thing I’m worried about is that I didn’t contact Mr. Grey as this was going on.”
“What the hell are we supposed to do? Call him every time the bitch breaks a nail?” That’s it. I’ve heard all I’m going to hear from this fucker. I snatch the door open and turn to Harris.
“What time did you lose sight of David?” I shoot at him.
“Excuse me?” he snaps.
“What. Time. Did you. Lose sight. Of David?” I say slowly so the preschooler can understand me. He glares at me like I have no right to ask him any questions. So, I move over in front of him for the showdown that he wants. I’m sick of people mistaking my stature for weakness. “Listen to me, you piece of shit useless bad excuse for a rent-a-cop, because to me that’s all you are right now. Because of you, my car has been vandalized and I could have killed somebody today. Now what time did your incompetent ass lose sight of David, you worthless sack of goo?” I spit up at him. I’m glaring at him so hard that if looks could kill, he’d be dead.
“Ana, was that necessary?” Al states.
“He called me a bitch!” I spit the last word out as I glance at Al, then turn my attention back to Harris. We stare for several moments until he realizes that I’m not going to back down. Then he finally answers, “About 11:00am.”
“About 11:00,” I repeat. I turn to Chuck. “We left Christian’s at about noon, right?” Chuck nods. “We stopped at the Apple store to replace my phone and that put us here at about one?”
“One oh six,” Chuck corrects me.
“So, between 11:00 and 1:00, this asshole vandalized my car.” I turn back to Harris. “Don’t feel bad. You’re not the only incompetent idiot in the world. This place has guard-watched CCTV and my car was still vandalized.” I turn to Al. “Lock up for me. I need to go downstairs and curse out some more guards. You’re with me, Chuck.” I stress his nickname for Harris’ benefit. Upon seeing his smirk, I feel that there’s one more thing that he needs to hear. I get in his face again.
“I realize that you don’t know me very well, but let me make something very clear. I am a doctor—educated and interned for several years and practicing. So, I’m not one of these little skanks and tramps that you may be accustomed to dealing with and I’m not some little gold digger out for Christian Grey’s money because, as you can see, I have my own. Don’t let the cute little denim shorts fool you! If you have no idea how to deal with an independent, strong, educated, and sophisticated woman, then maybe you should get out of my sight right now and go back to whatever floozies and bimbos you’re accustomed to because I. Am not. Them! And if you ever call me a bitch again, you will sorely regret it!” I pause to catch my breath and make sure it sinks in. I can’t even begin to decipher what emotion is written on his face. “Now you can stand here if you want to, or you can go in search of Mr. David or Mr. Grey. Hell, you can go jump off a bridge into Lake Union for all I care. But don’t you ever in your life disrespect me again!” I look at him through narrowed eyes. “Here’s hoping we never meet again.” I say as I turn on my heels and walk to the elevator. As Al is locking my door, I hear Chuck say, “Bad move, Man. The boss is in love with her.” That statement is going to come back on me later. Right now, I’m focused on the guard’s desk. Al and Chuck join me shortly after the elevator comes.
When we get to the first floor, I walk straight past the guard post and knock on the security door. “Um, ma’am?” the guard starts to protest, but Chuck, who is clearly half a foot taller than this guy stands between him and me while I knock repeatedly on the door. A gentleman in a suit walks out—not the blazers like the rest of the guards. He must be in charge.
“Are you the supervisor?” I ask. I can see the monitors over his shoulder and two guards looking at me through the door.
“Yes, I am. How can I assist you?” he asks.
“My name is Dr. Anastasia Steele. I’m the resident in 1909. This is my personal security Charles Davenport and my attorney Allen Forsythe.” They all nod at each other. “I would like to know which of your guards were on duty between 11:00am and 1:00pm today.”
“May I ask why?” he says, snottily. Okay, have it your way.
“Because my attorney here would like to depose them for the lawsuit.” Al immediately straightens behind me to get into character.
“Lawsuit?” he says, his voice clearly changing tone at the mention of the word. “What lawsuit, ma’am?” Now I’m ma’am.
“The one that I’ll be filing for monetary damages and for the trauma I experienced on the premises today.” He looks back at the two guards sitting in the office, who both shrug at him. That lets me know that this was the crew on staff when this happened. “Where can I see the surveillance of the parking structure between those hours?”
“You would need a subpoena, ma’am.” Oh, okay. Have it your way.
“Mr. Forsythe, please make a note that once we get the reports from the sheriff’s office that we need to go by the KC Superior court and file the documents for the lawsuit against Vansteen Security as well as these three gentlemen—jointly and severally—so that we can get that subpoena that we need,” I state as I’m walking away from the door.
“Yes, ma’am,” Al says quite officially as he turns to follow me.
“Um… Ms. Steele?” The supervisor calls after me. “If it will assist you in any way, I’ll be happy to show you the recordings.” Now he’s back-peddling. I know he’s not supposed to do this, but he’s shaking in his pants at the thought of being personally sued.
“Dr. Steele, and yes, it’ll assist me greatly.” As I walk back to the door, we’re invited into the back office where I’m placed in front of one of the blank monitors. One of the guards cues up the parking structure at 11:00am. He’s standing very close to me like he’s hoping to climb into my lap. I throw a glare at him that lets him know that he should probably keep his distance and he puts a little space between us.
“Can you please highlight the camera that watches space #29E?” With a little adjusting my car shows up on the screen. “That’s my car. Is there any way to fast forward the recording without missing anything?” He fast forwards through the recording until we see someone dressed in black approach my car. “STOP!” We watch at regular speed as Edward viciously destroys my windshield with what looks like a tire iron or a crowbar. He then kicks it a couple of times and walks away. “Can you roll back to the beginning of the incident, please?” They roll back to the beginning and the time stamp reads 11:49am. “Okay, 11:49am. Do you see that? Who was on duty then?” The supervisor looks over at the two guards, who clearly look at each other for answers. “Please fast forward to 1:06pm.” They fast forward the tape to 1:06pm and watch the entire horror story unfold again from my discovery of my car to pulling my gun on Edward to the sheriff’s arrival… in glorious Technicolor.
“This appears to be a state of the art system to me. So, I would really like to know how your camera system caught approximately 90 minutes’ worth of activity between the vandalizing of my car and the events that followed, but it appeared to get past your staff!” I ask incredulously. “Doesn’t my outrageous mortgage and very expensive management and homeowners’ association fees going into paying your salary?”
“Yes, ma’am, it does,” the supervisor says.
“And how pleased would you think your company would be knowing that this happened on your watch in this building?” I question.
“Not pleased at all, ma’am,” he responds.
“I trust that my attorney and the sheriff’s department will get a copy of this tape considering that I currently have a restraining order in place against the person who vandalized my car.”
“Yes, ma’am. Absolutely, and we will be more than happy to cover the damage to your vehicle.”
“Thank you, that’s very kind of you.” That’s the least they can do under the circumstances.
“No problem at all, Ms.… Who are you?” He says to someone over my shoulder.
“Christian Grey.” The beautiful baritone voice says from my far left. I snap my head to see my gorgeous boyfriend standing just inside the security room door, larger than life. “I’m actually your boss… well, your boss’s boss’s boss,” he says flatly.
“Do you mean that you own this building?” Robinson says sarcastically, knowing that the units are independently owned.
“No,” Christian says, clearly irritated. “I own Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc., which in turn owns Vansteen Security.”
Leaving Ana this morning was a bit depressing. I had become accustomed to her closeness and now I have to face the big bad world of mergers and acquisitions—which really isn’t all that big and bad, but everything pales in comparison to my beautiful Butterfly. Welch is sitting in front of me and we’re trying to concoct a plan to get more information on this Green Valley incident without alerting Ana.
“She’s not very close with her parents at all. They probably don’t even know how to reach her. I could try that route,” I say to Welch.
“How cooperative will they be? For that matter, how truthful will they be? My sources are usually impeccable, so I know that the info I give you is verified. With this pair…” He trails off and rolls his eyes.
“It’s all in how you handle it, Welch,” I say folding my hands on my desk. He shakes his head.
“I trust ‘purchased’ intel even less, sir, particularly the word of mouth kind,” he cautions.
“Well, we don’t have a lot of options here. We have to start somewhere,” I say looking at Ana’s background check again to try to get some information on her parents. Not too much at all since the check was not focused on them.
“How soon can you get me current information on them?” I ask my head of security.
“Let me see what I can get this afternoon—definitely by the morning at the latest,” he responds.
“See what you can get me on this relative that she used when she went to Chaparral. That might prove to be helpful, too.”
“Yes, sir,” Welch says as he taps something into his phone.
“So, what do we have on Mr. David?” I ask.
“Didn’t you get my email, sir?” he says. I turn to my computer and scroll through my emails. There it is as big as day.
“How did I miss that?” I ask myself aloud. And then I remember. The beautiful and sexy Anastasia Steele distracted me this morning, resulting in a slight lapse of concentration, so…
“Sir?” Welch’s voice brings me back to the here and now. I clear my throat and take a second look at David’s background check.
“Do we know why he transfers from U of I to come to U-Dub? We both know from experience that sudden changes like that often have a reason.”
“Keep reading, sir.” I note that there are more pages than I originally thought. Damn Anastasia and her thighs! Get it together, Grey. I scroll through more pages of college years and college transcripts, starting his own business, on and on. The last pages truly catch my attention. Fucking hell.
“Why is this at the end?” I gasp in horror. Welch just shrugs.
“It’s the last piece of information that I gathered,” he answers. Does Ana know about this?
“Was this public information? Most often it is,” I say.
“Not in this case, sir, or any case like this honestly. It was as hard to acquire as the information on Anastasia Lambert… only made easier because Edward David is a real person.”
“Are we sure that he met her in college? She wasn’t profiled or anything?” I ask.
“All evidence points to a chance meeting, but anything is possible.” I’ve got to tell Ana as soon as possible. Now she’ll really understand the importance of close protection over surveillance.
“What about other girlfriends? Any intel on that? Before or after college?” As Welch is about to answer my question, there’s a knock at my office door, then Taylor comes in.
“Sir, I apologize for the interruption, but there’s been a development at Ms. Steele’s apartment.” I stand up.
“A development?” I repeat his terminology.
“Yes, sir. Ms. Steele’s car has been vandalized and there was an altercation with Edward David.” My heart clenches when he says this.
“Was she hurt? Is she okay?” I ask anxiously.
“Ms. Steele is fine, sir. David didn’t touch her, but I think we should go over there right away.” Taylor is concerned. I can see why. Butterfly is very easy to like… and love.
There’s that word again, Grey.
Not right now. I’ve got to get to Ana… and in light of this new information on David…
“I’m fucking going to kill this fucker as soon as I get my fucking hands on him!” I slam my fists on the desk. “Welch, see if you can find anything on ex-girlfriends, ex-lovers, one-night stands—this is probably some sort of pattern. I know sick when I see it. Taylor, let’s go.” I snatch my jacket from my chair and we’re out the door.
I arrive at Ana’s apartment and immediately examine the damage to her car. This is pure rage. If David did this, he’s already pretty far over the edge. There’s not one shard of her windshield left. Nothing but a big gaping hole. I need to find Anastasia now. I push the button to go to her floor and I find Harris standing at her door. What the fuck is he doing here. Isn’t he assigned to David? Is Butterfly okay? “Is she in there?” I hiss.
“No, sir,” he responds flatly.
“Where the fuck is she?” I bark.
“Downstairs at the security desk.” I do a double-take at the soon-to-be-unemployed idiot standing in front of me.
“Why is she downstairs and you’re up here?” I ask curiously. He adjusts his tie.
“In Ms. Steele’s current demeanor, I thought it best that I stay here and wait, sir,” he says. I look over at Taylor.
“Where did you find this guy?” I say to Taylor, who adjusts his tie uncomfortably and throws a chastising look at his colleague. I shake my head and walk to the elevator. “Come with me.” After a few moments, I hear Taylor quietly tell Harris, “He’s talking to you. He doesn’t have to tell me to follow him!” Mother of fuck. As soon as I get to the bottom of what’s going on, this guy is history!
I get to the main floor and I know something is amiss because the guard at the desk is concentrating on something happening behind him. He turns his attention to me as I approach.
“How can I help you, sir?” He greets as I approach the desk, I look behind him into the security office where I see Butterfly sitting with her back to me—really giving someone a mouthful of hell! Forsythe and Davenport are in the office with her. Eyeing the bodyguard standing next to me, little guard boy says, “You’re with her, aren’t you?” I simply turn my glare to him, which causes him to shake his head and usher me into the office with his hand without leaving his seat.
Butterfly is blasting who appears to be the manager about the fact that a gentleman who has been served with a restraining order—which, by the way, is good to hear… that David’s restraining order is in place, meaning he has actually been served… not that it will do much good—was able to breach the premises and vandalize her car while their state-of-the-art security system recorded the entire thing. She gives him another healthy earful about the fact that she pays an outrageous amount of money for services that she’s apparently not receiving.
The guy in the knockoff designer suit is doing his best to kowtow to her, but she’s having none of it. She’s getting down to brass tacks about getting the evidence to the police and Allen and has gotten him to agree not only that his company would not be pleased with this report—a very accurate answer, by the way—but also that “they” would be happy to repair her car. I wonder who he meant when he said “they…” certainly not the company, since he doesn’t have that authority. It’s about time that I make my presence known and find out who this guy is and exactly who this “they” is that he is referring to that will be fixing my girl’s car. He’s still shoveling shit and eating crow when he finally gets a glance at me. “Who are you?” he asks, abruptly cutting off his conversation with Butterfly.
“Christian Grey,” I say calmly. All three heads on Team Butterfly turn to look at me. Even fire-breathing mad, she is fucking breathtaking. Focus, Grey. “I’m actually your boss… well, your boss’s boss’s boss,” I add.
“Do you mean that you own this building?” Snide ass fucker. Time to put him in his place.
“No, I own Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc., which in turn owns Vansteen Security.” Quickly chastened, the guy straightens up.
“Oh. Okay. Well, um… we’re very sorry about this, Mr. Grey…” he stutters.
“Oh, I’m sure you are, Mr. …” I wait for an answer.
“Robinson. Fred Robinson.” He extends his hand to me, and I just look at him. Why the hell would I want to shake your hand right now, you moron? He soon drops his hand.
“And these two gentlemen?” I point at the two Keystone cops in the room, one of whom rolls his chair a little closer to Ana, almost possessively. Before Robinson or I could say anything, Butterfly rolls her head around to Keystone Cop #2 and says,
“You might want to back up. That’s my boyfriend.”
He looks nervously from Ana, then to me, then back to Ana, then stands up and moves back against the wall. That’s right, Asshole. Raise your ass up away from my girl. I turn back to Robinson.
Keystone Cop #2 is sweating profusely under his uniform. The last thing he wants right now is for me to know his name.
“This is Harland Jones and that,” he says, pointing to Casanova back there, “is Stanley Duncan.”
“Mr. Jones, Mr. Duncan, Mr. Robinson, would one of you like to tell me how this incident managed to slip by you?” I ask.
“Ugh! I can’t go through this again.” Butterfly says, standing from her seat.
“Oh, you’ve already heard it?” I ask.
“No,” she says, clearly flustered. “I haven’t heard it. That’s the problem. Nobody seems to think I need to know. In fact, I’m still waiting to hear it from him!” Everyone follows her glare and finger to none other than a very pale Harris.
“Harris?” I ask bemused. Why would he know why in-house security screwed up?
“Yes! Apparently, this group,” she gestures to the Vansteen guards, “aren’t the only ones who let Edward ‘slip by’ today!” she snaps.
“Baby, what are you talking about?” I’m so lost right now. She looks around the room to each member of my security, then she does that seizure thing that she does that I would find funny any other time, but not now. Her eyes land on me.
“Fuck me! They still haven’t told you?” she says aghast. I have a feeling that I am not going to like this.
“I’m afraid not,” I respond. She puts her hand or her forehead. This is going to be really bad. Now she’s laughing. It starts out as a chuckle and moves quickly into near-hysteria. I may just need a drink for this!
“Oh boy,” she says through her laughter while wiping her eyes. “This day just keeps getting better and better.” She folds her arms and leans against the counter.
“Sir…” Davenport starts and I put my hand up to silence him.
“I want to hear from her,” I say, flatly.
“Well,” she begins, pushing off the counter, “I’m going to give you the condensed version and then I’m going to let them,” she gestures to my security team, “and them,” she gestures to the Vansteen Security team, “fill in the blanks.” She tells the story almost without taking a breath:
“Edward wrecked my car when Harris was supposed to be watching him. Davenport protected me and restrained him while Harris came up shortly behind. I could have been arrested—they’ll tell you why. Al and the sheriffs show up, serve Edward with his papers. Harris is still standing there. Hell, Harris is still standing here—where’s Edward? We don’t know. Why? Because while Davenport was doing his job keeping an eye on me, Harris was busy letting Edward give him the slip, making derogatory statements about Davenport’s and my relationship—or lack thereof, I should say—and, am I forgetting something? Oh yeah! Calling me a bitch!”
It takes me a moment to register what she just said, because as the last words are coming out of her mouth, Taylor hisses; and when I look over at him, he has a grimace on his face like someone has just hit him. I’m momentarily distracted by Taylor’s expression when some words come floating past my ears…
Calling me a bitch…
“Sir, I think the conversation was taken out of context…” I hear Harris say as my head is down and my hand is on my chin.
Calling me a bitch…
“Oh, really?” I hear Ana’s voice now. “Let’s see, I think your words were ‘You’ve gotten awful cozy for one day…'” She’s mimicking Harris now.
Calling me a bitch…
“‘You’re just pissed because your chance got blocked today… You get to follow that little bit of hotness around all day… you even got her calling you Chuck. Did I interrupt your plans today because I lost sight of David…?'” She’s still making her point.
Calling me a bitch…
“‘What the hell are we supposed to do? Call him every time the bitch breaks a nail?'” And that’s the point that snaps me out of my contemplation. “Please, Rob,” she spits venomously, “Tell me how I was supposed to take what you said. Tell me how I was supposed to construe those statements and I’ll be glad to reconsider my interpretation!” she snaps finally. Harris stands there glaring at Ana like he wants to physically attack her.
“Don’t stare at her for too long. I might get jealous,” I say in my Dom voice. I need it now, or somebody’s going to get killed. It has the desired effect. Harris quickly diverts his attention and I think I see Forsythe… er, Allen shiver. Ana walks over to me.
“I know they’re your staff and I can’t tell you what to do with them,” she begins, then she points to Harris, “but if any of them ever disrespect me like he did today, I’m going to give them the same treatment that I gave Luc. And not you, Taylor, or anybody else is going to be able to get me off ’em!” She finishes that last statement pointing in my face.
I don’t know why I ever thought there was submissive in this little ball of hell. She turns to leave and grabs Allen by the arm to follow her.
“Ana, where are you going?” I ask.
“There’s half a goblet of wine on my counter waiting for me. I’m going to go upstairs to make lunch for my best friend and myself and finish my wine!” she snaps.
“Take Davenport with you,” I say.
“I don’t need any of them right now. You need them more than I do at this moment. They will tell you why.” She walks back over to me and gives me a soft peck on the lips. “Don’t spend too much time down here; you have an appointment later.” Fuck, it is Monday, isn’t it? I forgot about this group therapy shit I have to attend.
“She’s a real ball-buster, isn’t she?” I hear from somewhere on my right. I follow the voice to see that it has come from the first guard who has been somewhat invisible through all of this. I run my hands through my hair and count. I swear they just want to see me kill someone with my bare hands.
“Let me make something clear.” The Dom is back. I need control. I’m losing it here. “Everyone under the sound of my voice at this moment is in some way or another on my payroll. The next person that makes a derogatory statement about my girlfriend is going to find themselves without a job and unemployable in at least three states—Washington included. Do I make myself clear?” I hear various “yes, sirs” around the room, but I’m keen on my listening skills, so I clearly know that one is missing. I look over at Mr. Duncan—and we are playing the stare game. He doesn’t last 30 seconds.
“Yes, sir,” he says meekly.
I point to Jones. “You’re calling her a ball-buster because she’s pissed that you allowed her car to be vandalized. You,” I’m pointing at Harris now, “are calling her a bitch because you lost David and she had to defend herself… again. What’s she supposed to do, throw flowers at your feet, you idiots?” The room falls silent. I put my fingers on the bridge of my nose. “Mr. Robinson, I need a room where I can speak with my private security. Do you have one available?”
“Yes, sir.” He shows me and the three members of my security team to a separate room just off the lobby.
“Mr. Robinson, who is your direct supervisor at Vansteen?” I ask when he turns to leave. He gulps audibly.
“Martin Walker, Mr. Grey,” he says.
“And who is his supervisor?”
“Marsha Sims, sir.”
“I don’t know who’s above her, sir,” he says nervously.
“Thank you, Robinson. I will be with you and your colleagues shortly. Please have the tapes cued so that I can see what occurred with Ms. Steele’s car,” I say, dismissing him as I quickly search the internet for the number to the community center.
“Yes, sir,” he says as he closes the door and I dial the number.
“International Community Center, how may I direct your call?”
“Ronald Carlisle, please.” I’m never going to make it there in time. It’s already 3:15 and I’m not going to have this fiasco wrapped up in time to get there by 4:00.
“Ron Carlisle,” he pipes into the phone.
“Mr. Carlisle, this is Christian Grey.”
“Mr. Grey, what can I do for you?” he asks casually.
“I have an organizational situation here that requires my immediate attention and I’m afraid that it won’t be concluded by 4pm. I will be there, but I’ll be unavoidably tardy,” I explain.
“Well, we’ve already determined that you won’t flourish with the group, so why don’t you just come to my office at 6:30 and we’ll have a little chat?” Great. Two shrinks. Carlisle and Flynn. At least Carlisle is only for another few weeks.
“That’s fine, Mr. Carlisle. I appreciate your flexibility in this matter.”
“I’ll see you at 6:30 then, Mr. Grey,” he says before ending the call. I turn to Harris and Davenport.
“Somebody needs to tell me what the fuck happened right now,” I bark. Harris has adjusted his tie so many times that I don’t know why he doesn’t just take it off.
“Sir, we are not 100% sure,” he begins, his voice shaking a bit. “Davenport and Ms. Steele arrived to discover that Ms. Steele’s car had been vandalized. I had been on Mr. David all day. I’m not sure how he did it, but the security tapes confirm that it was he who vandalized her car.”
“How did he get to her this morning?” I ask.
“It was actually afternoon, sir,” Harris says.
“Afternoon?” I ask. I thought it was morning when she and Davenport left my apartment.
“Yes, sir,” Harris perks up. “Davenport and Ms. Steele arrived at the apartment complex shortly after 1:00.”
“How would you know? You weren’t here,” Davenport says. He’s barely audible and it wasn’t meant for me to hear, I’m sure, but I did.
“What was that?” I ask, shooting a look at Davenport.
“Nothing, sir,” he replies. Now, this is intriguing. It is only too obvious that this ship is sinking and somebody is going down with it. The question is will one there be one or two people on the ship when it sinks? Harris already knows that he’s a rat on this ship because he called my girl a bitch, but now he’s trying to pull anyone down with him that he can. Davenport just made a comment about Harris that he thinks I didn’t hear—one that’s certain to seal Harris’ fate if Butterfly’s car was vandalized when they arrived and he was nowhere to be found.
I glare at Davenport and then back at Harris. Let’s give him a little more rope.
“Continue,” I tell him. His posture and demeanor change and now he thinks he’s in the catbird seat.
“I followed David here,” he continues, “and I was following orders that if he came anywhere Ms. Steele, we were to take him down. So, as he got closer to Ms. Steele, I engaged him, as did Davenport. When we did and Ms. Steele saw the condition of her car, she ordered us to let him go, and you are not going to believe this, sir.”
Tell me what the fuck happened, you incompetent imbecile.
“Sir, she went into the car, pulled out a Glock, and pointed it in his face. She pretty much made him swear to never contact her again and kept him subdued until the Sheriff’s department arrived.”
I stand there gawking at these two numbskulls like they have just hit me.
“Are you fucking serious?” I ask, nearly dumbfounded.
“Yes, sir. She has a 9mm Glock G19C that she keeps in the glove box. When Mr. David approached her in the parking garage, she told us to step away from him and put that piece in his face.”
I’ll have to talk to Ana about this gun later, but right now, all I can feel is rage at these incompetent assholes standing in front of me.
“Davenport, what took so long to return here?” I ask. Harris is smirking now. Oh, don’t smirk, Dickwad… you’re next.
“Ms. Steele stopped by the Apple store to get a new phone and change her number. She said she texted you, sir,” Davenport explains.
“I don’t recall seeing a text from Anastasia,” I say.
“It would have been from her new number, sir.”
“Ah,” I say going to my text messages. “That would explain it.” I locate the text from the odd number and open it.
**Hey Everyone. It’s Anastasia Steele. I have a new number. Save this in your phones, please. The old one is void effective immediately. Rocking the new iPhone, too! **
I turn back to Davenport. “Chuck, huh?” I say.
“Yes, sir.” He’s clearly nervous. Good, he should be.
“She’s got my housekeeper calling her Ana. You, too?” I say curtly. He shifts uncomfortably.
“Yes, sir. She suggested that when we’re in public situations that we keep the relationship, formal and use Davenport and Ms. Steele or ma’am, but that those formalities were not necessary in a one-on-one situation,” he chokes.
“I’m surprised she didn’t say Dr. Steele. She’s a real stickler on that.” Harris seems a little uncomfortable with that statement. “Something wrong, Harris?” I ask.
“No, sir,” Harris says nervously. I look to Davenport.
“Ms. Steele informed him that she’s a doctor a few moments before she came down to speak to security, sir.” Davenport says flatly. That lets me know that there was more to the story.
“I told you she was personable, didn’t I?” I say to Davenport.
“Yes, sir, you did,” he responds.
“Having said that,” I begin, “do you realize that this is twice—twice—that this lady has shown you fuckers up? This is twice that she has come face to face with this bastard and took care of herself. Maybe she’s right! Maybe she doesn’t need a security detail because she is making you CIA/FBI/military-trained mother fuckers look like fools! And you,” I turn my attention to Harris, “did you not think I paid attention to what my girl said? Did you not hear her tell me that Davenport subdued David before you even got there? What did you think—that you could blatantly lie and throw a colleague under the bus and earn brownie points with me? You lost your mark and you blamed someone else for your mistake, but worst of all… you called my girl a bitch. Nobody will trust you. Nobody will want to work with you. And I’m certainly not going to spend my hard-earned money to watch you fuck up repeatedly. You’re fired. You are fy-errd. You are so fired that if I could fire you twice, I would. Turn in your keys to Taylor immediately.”
He scowls and turns in his keys. He then turns to me and says, “You can’t handle that little trick, so you need a whole damn security staff to cover your back. She’s going to run you over and bust your little balls just like she did that bastard in the parking lot.”
I want to punch him, but I do him one better. I pull out my blackberry and call Welch. “Welch.”
“Robert Harris has been fired from my staff. Deactivate his clearance and security card effective immediately. Oh, and blackball him.”
“Yes, sir.” I hang up. Harris is glaring at me, no doubt wondering what I just did.
“Leave town, you are officially unemployable in Washington, California, and New York, and any other state where I can make my influence reach… which you know is not hard to do.” His expression is horrified.
“You son of a bitch!” he spits.
“Hey, I warned you. And if you keep talking, I’ll make sure that you can’t get work anywhere. You’ll be lucky to land a job as security for a supermarket!” He wants to say something more, but thinks better of it and storms out of the room. I look at Taylor.
“There’s another one we have to watch,” he says.
“Yeah, I know,” I respond. “Get another man on David.”
“Yes, sir.” Taylor pulls out his phone. I turn back to Davenport.
“Ana seems to like you,” I say. He twitches a little nervously.
“Um, yes, sir,” he responds.
“Follow me.” Without missing a beat, he falls in behind me. Yeah, I guess I’ll keep him… for now.
We go back to the security office where Robinson, Duncan, and Jones are all trying to figure out who to blame for this fiasco.
“Let me see the footage,” I say curtly. I watch as David wildly destroys Ana’s windshield. She may not need security per se, but she does need someone to watch her back from this jerk. When the deed is done, Davenport informs them where to forward the tape to Ana and David’s confrontation. I see Davenport subdue David, just like Ana said, and a few moments later Harris shows up. Where was he—out scratching his ass somewhere? They then let him go and Davenport stands behind Ana. He’s very professional; I’ll give him that. Within minutes, I see my delicate little Butterfly go to her car and emerge with a firearm.
Shit! She’s scaring me right now.
She says a few words to David and the next thing I see, she parts her legs and aims that gun straight up at his face. I detest firearms, I really do, but she looks fucking hot—standing there looking like a sexy brunette Charlie’s Angel holding this asshole at bay with a gun. I can see Davenport talking to her, but she doesn’t flinch. Next, Allen enters the frame and convinces her to put the firearm away. There’s some conversation between the cops and Ana, and she hands over her purse to one while the other is in her car. I almost shit myself when they find her gun, but they put it back and return her purse. I look at Davenport.
“She’s licensed?” I ask, bewildered.
“Yes, sir,” he responds. I shake my head and put my hands over my lips while I continue to watch the footage. She says something else to David and goes over to Allen, who puts his arms around her. Davenport shifts uncomfortably. I look over at him as the sheriff is obviously serving papers to David.
“He’s gay,” I say. Davenport looks shocked. “Don’t worry. I didn’t know at first either. Now that you know, he’s going to seem like the gayest man you’ve ever met,” I add.
“I never would have known, sir,” he says as we continue to watch the footage. “Very impressive when he’s operating in an official capacity. He’s very professional —I’d want him on my side in a legal battle!”
“Really?” I comment. The sheriff gives David the papers and he leaves… and Harris is still there! I swear, where was this man trained? “You say he’s one of the best?” I look to Taylor who shrugs.
“He used to be, sir. I apologize. I don’t know what happened to him.” I just wave him off.
“You’ve got another guy on David?” I ask as I watch Ana take the gun from her car, spit a few words at Harris and get on the elevator with Allen.
“Yes, sir,” Taylor responds. I nod and turn to Davenport.
“Why didn’t you go up with her?” I watch as the two men exchange some not-so-pleasantries.
“She ordered us not to follow her, sir. She was so pissed off at Harris, her exact words were, ‘I have a loaded firearm in my purse. I’ll secure my own goddamn apartment.'”
“Oh yeah,” I said resignedly. “You did best to leave her alone. When did that fucker call her a bitch?” Davenport looks from me to Taylor, who nods at him. Amazing! Harris has been fired and Davenport is still honoring The Code.
“We were reporting to Taylor right there, sir.” He points to the footage. “Since the crisis had been averted and the police had gotten involved, we didn’t see the need to call you sooner. Ms. Steele thought otherwise. She pointed out how much of a mistake it was for us to wait to contact you before she went up to her apartment. There, sir,” he’s pointing to them getting on the elevator. “We both go up to Ms. Steele’s door and wait for further instructions from her or from Taylor.”
“Do you have coverage of the 19th floor and Ms. Steele’s hallway?” I say to Robinson. He gets onto another machine and cues up to Davenport and Harris outside of Ana’s door. It’s kind of a side view, so you can see all of Harris and part of Davenport.
“She must’ve heard our conversation through the door, sir. She recited it back to you verbatim. Right after he made the…” he cleared his throat, “‘bitch’ comment, she came out and confronted him.”
“What did she say?” I ask.
“She asked him when did he lose David, and he didn’t want to tell her. She called him a line of very unflattering names and told him that she knew he called her a bitch. He told her that he lost David at 11:00 and that’s how we knew what time to look for him.” How did we manage to hire such a loser?
“Congratulations, Davenport. You get to keep your job… again,” I say. I turn to Robinson.
“When you told Ms. Steele that you would handle the repairs to her car, I assume that you meant you personally since you are responsible for security on the premises and failed to secure her vehicle.” He twitches a bit. Yeah, squirm, motherfucker.
“Absolutely, Mr. Grey,” he chokes.
“State of the art? Shatterproof glass?” I push.
“Yes, sir,” he croaks.
“Oh, and the detailing…” I begin.
“Not to worry, Mr. Grey. We will take care of everything,” he says shooting a look at the two gentlemen sitting behind him.
“Very good, very good,” I respond. “I just fired Mr. Harris for his incompetence as this was his second misstep. I’m not accustomed to giving people repeated chances, Mr. Robinson, Mr. Duncan, Mr. Jones,” I say looking at each of them. They are equally uncomfortable. “I have decided to forego my usual policy in this instance only because you are repairing the damage to Ms. Steele’s car. I will however be speaking to Mr. Walker and Ms. Sims in the morning. I trust that Ms. Steele will be bringing you a copy of her protection order against Mr. David and you have many pictures of him in your surveillance, so I don’t need to be concerned about her safety on that end, correct?”
“No, sir. This won’t happen again Mr. Grey,” Robinson assures me.
“And her car will be repaired…” I wait for an answer.
“Tomorrow, sir,” he responds.
“Good. Thank you, gentlemen.” I look at my watch as I leave the office. It’s nearly 5:00. What a fucking day!
“I’m going up to see Ana. Taylor, I have that appointment, but it’s been moved to 6:30. Davenport, once I leave, stay as close to Ana as she will allow you. She doesn’t have a car now, not until tomorrow at least.”
“Yes, sir,” they answer in unison. I call the elevator to go see my girl.
“Come in, but be quiet,” Allen says quietly as he opens the door. He points to Ana on the sofa. “It was a combination. She wouldn’t shed those angry tears, you know the ones…” Yeah, I know the ones. “And she had quite a bit of wine.” It looks like she had a bad day, too… and it started out so well. “I’ve got to get going. Will you tell her to call me later so that I don’t worry about her? And let me know if she needs me,” he says, handing me his business card. I reach into my card case and give him one of mine as well.
“I have an appointment at 6:30, but my guy will be with her while I’m gone. Don’t worry, she’ll be fine,” I say, proffering my hand to him.
“Thanks,” he says, shaking my hand. He picks up his briefcase and heads for the door. “Christian?” he says, stopping at the door. I turn to look at him. “She’s my best friend. I’d kill for her. I love her,” he says softly. “I’ve known her for 14 years. I know her better than anybody. She’d probably kill me for this, but I think she loves you.” He looks up so that his eyes meet mine. “Please don’t hurt her.” Those last four words are more powerful than anything he said, including the fact that he thinks Butterfly loves me—which is pretty fucking powerful, by the way.
“I won’t hurt her, Allen. I promise you that,” I respond.
“I’m going to hold you to that,” he says in all seriousness before he walks through the door and closes it behind him. I truly believe that man would hunt me down if I hurt Ana. So, I’m going to do everything in my power not to allow that to happen.
I walk over to the sofa, and there’s my Butterfly, curled up in the fetal position sleeping soundly, her hair cascading beautifully down her back. I sit on the floor right at her face so that I can stroke her skin and her hair. Her lips are so kissable right now. I can’t help but plant a gentle, chaste kiss there so as not to wake her. In three days, she has transformed me. She has made my body feel like no other woman has. She has opened me up to hopes and dreams I never thought possible. She has unleashed the heart in a heartless man and redeemed the soul of a soulless demon.
And she touched me.
She touched my chest and my back… and the coffin in which I spent most of my days and nights was opened, and I’ve been released from condemnable hell and eternal solitude. She released me… by opening her own wounds to me, she set me free. Free to feel, free to hope, free to…
She is everything to me. I never thought I could feel anything like this for another human being. I can’t breathe without her… can’t be without her. She makes me feel new and fresh and light. She makes me feel whole. My soul subconsciously reaches for her. She has woven herself into me and I ache to touch her and be near her. It’s better than flying, better than gliding, better than kickboxing. It’s better than mergers and acquisitions, better than Mrs. Jones’ mashed potatoes, better than Bollinger.
Better than sailing…
Better than ice cream…
Better than Michelangelo’s David…
Better than flawless diamonds and Tahitian pearls…
She whimpers softly. What are you dreaming now, my beautiful Butterfly? What lovely visions are dancing through your head to cause that faint upturn I see on your lips? And in her slumber, she speaks.
“I love you, Christian,” she whispers.
My heart dies, then comes back to life. I stroke her beautiful face and whisper,
“I love you, too.”
I need to say that I don’t mean to insinuate that a gay man looks a certain way. However, when you are in my best friend’s presence, you know that he is a gay man. Allen is fashioned after my best friend only Allen is more effeminate than my best friend. So, this is why it was surprising to Davenport that he was gay and surprising to Christian that Davenport didn’t identify that.
The Code of Silence—Christian mentions that even after Harris is fired, Davenport still honors “The Code.” It’s just what it sounds like—keep your mouth shut or you will be deemed a traitor. Harris blatantly and inadvertently broke the code several times in his conversation with Christian in an attempt to save his own ass, but Davenport wouldn’t break it without permission.
For those who may think this relationship is moving too fast (sleep together on Friday, “I love you” on Monday), I have two things to say to that. First, they were attracted to each other the day they met three weeks prior. They had been subconsciously growing closer ever since then, despite themselves. Also remember they gave in to temptation the week before, so the flood gates had really been opened. Second, my husband told me he loved me eight days after we met. I knew I loved him the same day, even though I denied it for a couple of days. We are now 12 years together, 7 years married. Yes, it does happen in real life. 😉
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Love and Handcuffs!