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 19—White Knights… Well, Maybe Not Just White
I keep my appointment with my new therapist on Monday since last Friday found me in the bowels of hell. I had no idea what I was in for with our first real session. Ace is a no-nonsense doctor. He doesn’t beat around the bush or sugarcoat anything. While he is not unusually brutal or harsh, he certainly gets right to the point.
“Well, Ana. I have to say that reading your file was like doing research for my dissertation. It’s unusual to have a doctor as a patient that has had as many harrowing experiences as you have. From Dr. Saunders’ notes, it looks like you were digging pretty deep into the attack on you when you were a teenager. Is that correct?” Ace looks from his extensive notes to my file while asking his questions.
“Yes, that’s correct.”
“And you just returned from your stepfather’s funeral. How did that go?” I sigh.
“Pretty much like I expected. The bastard is dead. He’s in the ground. No one showed up at his funeral besides my mother, not one person. My mother is still a bitch—even more so now in my opinion. I did get to see my aunt, though.”
“Your aunt?” he asks, waiting for clarification.
“Cynthia. I don’t know if she’s in the file. I didn’t talk about her much. She was… is… was… Stephen’s sister-in-law. It’s just easier to call her my aunt.” Ace flips through the file a bit.
“No, I don’t recall seeing her name or even a mention of her. How did that go for you?”
“It was nice. I was glad to see her again. She looks good and she’s doing well.” I smile remembering my reunion with Auntie Cyn. I won’t lose touch with her again.
“So you and she were close.” I shrug.
“As close as we could be, I guess. She helped me get out of Green Valley.” Ace nods.
“We’ll revisit this relationship. I’d like to move on to some other things if that’s okay with you.” I nod. “Is there anything that you need to get off of your chest right now?” I nod.
“I went to see Melanie.” He examines my file, no doubt to see who Melanie is. “Look in the most recent notes.” He looks up at me and nods.
“Keep talking. I can multi-task,” he says.
“After ‘talking’ to Stephen at his grave site, I realized that he was absolutely irredeemable. I hate him and that will never change. Then I thought of what I will be doing to myself—and to Melanie—if I let her die without her redemption.” A look of realization comes over Ace’s face as he reads the file. “You found it, didn’t you?” He nods.
“Yes, I did,” he says. He is trying to remain impassive, but his slight changes in facial expression are giving away his thoughts.
“Yeah, it’s pretty ugly, and it’s only going to get uglier as we talk about it,” I confess.
“Yes. Yes, I can see that.” He closes my file and picks up his pen. “Please, continue.”
“Well, Stephen never seemed to feel any remorse whatsoever for his part in my suffering—much like Carla—whereas Melanie was very remorseful, quite contrite, and begging for forgiveness. I was very angry with her and I didn’t want to forgive her. She sat on this story for 11 years. For all she knew, I could have been dead by now. I felt like it was very fortuitous for her that not only was I still alive and she was able to ask forgiveness for her transgression, but that I also happened to be in the perfect position to assist her with her end-of-life therapy. That’s what pissed me off the most, I think—the fact that she used me to help her die before she told me what she had done. That was very selfish. She should have told me first and let me make the decision, even though I’m sure that she knew what my decision would be. I felt like she got one over on me twice.” A lone tear falls from my eyes and I quickly wipe it away.
“Yet, you went to see her anyway,” Ace probes. I raise my head and look at him.
“I have a feeling that years and years and years of therapy will never remove the hatred that I feel towards Stephen Morton. I couldn’t do that to myself twice… and don’t tell me about how unhealthy that behavior is. I already know. I’m a shrink, remember?” I wipe my cheeks again and Ace hands me a box of tissue before sitting back in his seat.
“How did your visit with Melanie go?” he asks. I sigh again.
“It was awful!” I weep. I immediately have visions in my head of this frail, bald woman clinging onto the last strings of life that were as weak a spider web only hoping and waiting for me to come and give her absolution. The emotional torment was far worse than the pain, I would imagine. What a horrible way to die. “I have never watched someone die, Ace—never. She was so sick and so frail. She could barely see, barely breathe… I think of all of the days that Michael called and texted and emailed me, begging me to come and put her out of her misery. He loved her and he had to watch her die that way.”
I bury my face in my hands and sob. I can only imagine the pain he must have felt watching his ‘Laney’ die. I envision being in his place and watching my love Christian slowly and painfully slipping away from me, but refusing to let go because of some unfinished business. That would be my Christian. He would not “go gentle into that good night.”
I sob harder thinking that I could have ended her suffering sooner. I still know and believe that I would have been completely within my rights to let her die without redemption, but at the end of the day I am a healer. It is not in my nature—emotionally or professionally—to purposely allow someone to be in pain when they have come to me for help. Stephen never once apologized; never asked for forgiveness or tried to make amends. Melanie did. I felt hurt and angry and betrayed, but I can’t deny that she did what she could in her last days to try to right her wrongs.
My sobs have become uncontrollable and I feel someone’s arms tight around me. I continue to weep for several more minutes before a cold compress on my face and wiping my eyes starts to bring my out of my mourning. I look up into the face of Amber, who is comforting me, stroking my hair while smiling compassionately. I smile weakly and gratefully back at her and sink into her embrace again. After a few more moments, I am able to compose myself.
“Better now?” she says softly. I squeeze her hands thankfully and nod. She smiles at me before she leaves the room again.
“I understand the need for a cleansing cry, but you understand how inappropriate it would have been for me to hug you, right?” Ace asks looking into my eyes. I nod.
“Yes, I know. I’m glad you have her around. It’s good to have someone willing to step in that way,” I say, trying to control my shuddering breaths.
“Do you want to talk about Melanie anymore?” he asks. I take a deep breath.
“There’s really nothing more to say. I let her know how her actions affected me and my life and told her that I forgive her. It was the least I could do when she had done so much in the end of her life to make things right.” Ace frowns.
“I think I’m a little confused. I think it’s very noble of you to give her the absolution that she needed to rest, but what exactly did she do to make things right besides saying that she was sorry?” Oh, I didn’t tell him that part, did I? When the scene plays over in your head, you think you are telling it when in actuality, you are only seeing it.
“When I went to Vegas this weekend, I visited the Attorney General’s office to turn in the video and give my statement. When I got there, she had already sent the video to the AG’s office. My video is just a copy, which means that it could have been altered and couldn’t be used as evidence. Her video is the original. So after they do their testing or whatever they do to be sure it is authentic, it can be used as evidence.”
“Ooh, yeah, that’s pretty big,” Ace agrees. “So was that why you decided to forgive her?”
“It was part of it. The biggest part of it is that every time I think about Stephen and my mother, my soul burns and I have to live with that now. I didn’t want to live with that with Melanie. I didn’t want to carry that around with me. I’m not ashamed to say that my reasons for forgiving her were mostly selfish—not one bit—but I will admit that, right or wrong, being able to see her rest in peace did my soul some good.”
“So… she’s gone now,” he says, more of a statement than a question. I nod.
“I told her how I felt, forgave her, and held her hand as she fell asleep. I’d say maybe about an hour later, she died.”
“You held her hand for an hour while she died?” he asks and I nod. “Why?”
“I don’t know. It just felt necessary.” I respond.
“Did you know that she was going to die?” he asks. I think for a moment.
“I… think… I did. I think I may have had a feeling.”
“Didn’t you say her lover was there?”
“Yes, Michael… and her sister,” I respond.
“Why didn’t you let one of them hold her hand?”
“They had already been holding her hand. They couldn’t bring her comfort. She needed me.” Ace raised his eyebrow.
“That’s exactly right, Doctor. She needed you… and you needed her. You needed her to close that particular door in your life as much as she needed you for the same purpose. So I have to say, well done.” I sigh heavily. It feels like a huge weight has been lifted off of my back and shoulders. Why did I need someone else to confirm that for me? I don’t know, but it sure feels good not to be carrying it anymore.
“Okay, Ana. I don’t want us to start from scratch with your treatment, so this is what we’re going to do. I want you to write a list for me.” He hands me a piece of paper and a pen. “I’m going to leave the room for 10 minutes. I want you to make a list of all of the important people in your life—dead or alive. I’ll be right back.”
The list wasn’t very long, so I took a few minutes to write the list and a few minutes to ponder exactly what he was trying to do with the list. When he came back, he had a second request.
“Now, on this second list, I want you to write all of the people who have impacted your life in some way—good or bad, dead or alive. I’ll give you 10 minutes for that as well.”
He left the room again, and it took a little longer to make that second list. There were more people on that list, but I was still able to finish the list in just under 10 minutes. Ace returned to the room and had one final assignment for me.
“I want you to take the list you just wrote and write it again in the order of importance or impact to your life right now. You have 10 minutes.”
This was a lot harder than I thought. I found myself changing the order several times. He wasn’t specific on if he wanted good impact versus bad impact first. What if the impact was severe but short-lived versus mild to medium but long lasting? When he came back into the room, I hadn’t finished the list, so he told me to put the remaining people in now no matter what the order. He took the three lists and examined them.
“We are almost out of time, so I’m going to make this quick.” He spreads the three lists out in front of me side by side. “Do you notice something about all three lists?” I look at all three lists and immediately see it.
“The first person is Christian.”
“Mm-hmm, and even though the order has changed, do you notice anything about the last people on all three lists?” I see the same pattern.
“Those are the guys from the Scooby Gang.” He raises an eyebrow at me. “It’s hard to explain.”
“And you will explain it, but another time. The people on the top of your list and the bottom of your list are your anchors—some in a good way and some in a bad way. Right now, Christian is most prevalent in your life. Whether he is holding you together or tearing you apart remains to be seen…”
“Why would you say something like that?” I snap, rudely interrupting him. He raises his head and his eyebrow. He does that a lot.
“You’re offended by that statement,” he observes.
“A bit!” I hiss. He twists his face.
“Well, then, all I can say is that it’s a good thing that your previous therapist quit, because there is little to nothing in this file about who appears to be the most important person in your life. So that either means that she took good notes on everything except Christian, or that you didn’t feel comfortable talking to her about him. Is it A or B?” He didn’t even flinch. He knew it was one of them.
“It’s B,” I say, a bit forlorn. More and more, Ace is pointing out that my stint with Maxine had truly run its course. Although I didn’t like her method of departure, it was truly time.
“Are you in love with him?” he asks.
“With everything in me,” I respond without hesitating or breaking eye contact. He examines me for a few seconds, then nods.
“Yes, you are,” he says, then looks at my list again. “Gary and Phil, the last two people on each list—not as significant, but important enough that you refused to leave them out.” I nod.
“Yes, I’d have to agree.”
“Ray and Al… father and best friend, right?” I nod. “Always in the top five, even when you had to include those who had a negative impact on you, and of course a lot of those were only in the second and third lists.”
“Those are the only two people that I can remember always, always being in my life from the moment that I became conscious of their existence. Even when Allen and I fell apart because of distance or my shame to tell him that I was back in Washington, we still managed to stay connected.”
“Well, we will be giving each of these people on these lists an entire session—some of them will need it, some will not. Some may even need more, but we will try to keep that to a minimum and keep it to one session. There are some doors that you need to close, Doctor, and some others that need to be blown wide open. Hopefully, we’ll get to that on Friday, okay?” I nod. “Is there anything else that you want to quickly address before we end our session today?” I shake my head. “Good, then I’ll see you Friday.” I smile and stand.
“Thanks, Ace.” I walk into the reception area and Amber smiles at me.
“May I ask if you went to college, Amber?” I ask her.
“Yes, but I only attended community college—for business administration. It wasn’t my thing.”
“You have an amazing knack for knowing what people need. You are a gold mine!” I tell her. She smiles again. She really has a beautiful smile.
“Thank you very much. I’m so glad that I could help.”
“You did more than help… twice. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart,” I say. She looks like she might cry behind her smile. I squeeze her hand again before Chuck and I leave the office.
Dr. Lordis Avery, M.D., 47, African American, born 6/16/1967 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Yet another example of how people from all over the place end up in Seattle. Dr. Avery’s background check is extremely unremarkable. Butterfly’s story was more riveting than his and not because of that Green Valley bullshit. He did some studying abroad on adverse human behaviors and violent mental disorders, but besides that, nothing out of the ordinary—college, grad school, Med school, internship, residency, etc, etc, etc. He’s married—Amber Ann Avery… AAA, I bet that was an adjustment after she was married. Amber is 43 and from Philadelphia. They actually met at a party in Philadelphia where Dr. Avery was visiting someone 25 years ago, and the rest is history. She’s the receptionist at his practice. He doesn’t seem to pose any kind of threat—romantically or physically—but even I have to admit that the fucker is handsome.
Later that day, I finally get some news from Allen about just what’s going on with David’s insanity plea. Unfortunately, it certainly wasn’t what I wanted to hear.
“Well, he managed to get some quack to confirm that he may have acted under duress.” I slam my hands down on the desk as Allen gives me the progress on David’s defense. His trial was set to begin in December, but his attorney got the trial pushed all the way back to June. So much for a speedy trial.
“Does the fucker want to rot in jail before and after his trial?” I ask Allen. He shrugs.
“He doesn’t mind rotting in jail before his trial if there is a hope that he’s going to get off. He hasn’t stopped sending letters to Jewel, but I’ve intercepted each one and I’m holding them to turn in as evidence. I think the letters are a way to solidify that he’s not of sound mind even now so I’m not so sure about turning them in.”
“How can he still be sending letters to Anastasia? She still has a standing protection order against him.”
“I don’t know how he’s doing it, Chris, but he’s doing it. That’s why this is a catch-22. I can turn them in as evidence that he is still harassing her, but that blade can cut both ways. He could use them to build a case that a man of sound mind would not consistently send letters to the woman that he’s being tried for kidnapping.”
“He can’t build a trial on this. He drugged her! They disguised themselves, ambushed her, and then drugged her.” I’m getting more frustrated as this conversation continues. We just barely got home from dealing with burying Morton, turning in the Green Valley video, and facing Melanie Coleman right before she died. Now, I may have to tell Butterfly that this asshole is actually building a plausible defense.
“He’s using the 911 tapes. She said some things on the tapes that I’m sure that she said to keep him talking or get him to let her go, but he’s using them as evidence.” The 911 tapes… I don’t remember what she said.
“What did she say that he could use?” I ask. Allen sighs. He pulls out a small stack of papers and starts to read.
“‘I don’t know what lies Robert Harris has been feeding you and how he convinced you to get in cahoots with him…’ ‘you haven’t hurt me—Harris did. I’ll make sure that they know you haven’t hurt me…'”
“Are you telling me that these fuckers really can’t tell that she’s bargaining for her life?” On top of everything that’s happening, after all of the pictures and the time in the hospital, having to fly her back in my helicopter… “Harris was gone, possibly outside dead already, and this fucker still had the key to her cuffs in his pocket!”
“Edward shows genuine surprise when he discovers that Harris beat her.” He reads David’s response to Butterfly’s accusation. ‘I did not let him do that to you! I would never just let him hurt you. He waited until my back was turned…'”
“I don’t care if he was surprised! He still kidnapped her and endangered her life. Fuck! This is not happening!” I angrily clear my desk again.
“Chris, it’s going to be up to a jury. It’s all going to come down to who are the most believable witnesses.” Allen tries to console me. I fall down in my seat.
“Allen, you don’t get it. You don’t see what she goes through,” I say.
“The fuck I don’t!” he snaps. “I’ve been here through all of this shit! I’ve seen what she’s been through with this fucker kidnapping her and these assholes brutalizing her and her sometime/no-time bitch of a mother! I’ve seen it all!”
“You haven’t seen it all, Allen!” I yell. “You’ve seen a lot of it, but you haven’t seen it all! You haven’t seen her wake up in cold sweats crying for Mommy because she’s reliving that fucking beating! You haven’t seen her walking on beaches and balconies in the middle of the night because she’s been fighting with Harris in her sleep. You haven’t awakened in the morning and she’s not there, and you’re scared to death that she might be stunned again, only to find her sitting in front of a fireplace blankly staring at the flames and when you approach her, she can only ask you why are people so horrible. You weren’t at that drunk’s funeral when she passed out at the grave site and her mother tried to steal her purse when she was unconscious. You didn’t have to talk her through having a stranger take pictures of her nearly naked body for evidence because she was curled up in a corner in the observation room. You didn’t watch her vomit her way through telling the AG who those fuckers were on that goddamn video.”
My voice is muffled now and I don’t know why. My head is starting to swim and I fall into my chair. “You didn’t have to kiss her when her face was swollen, bruised, and mangled so that she could know that she truly is the most beautiful woman in the world. You don’t wake up every morning afraid that insanity or some other man is going to take her away from you…” I can’t breathe. I am so angry, I want to hurt someone. Why does she have to keep suffering this way?
“Okay, Chris. I’m sorry. You’re right, I haven’t seen it all. I’m sorry.” Allen voice is soft and accommodating. I notice now that I have covered my face and I’m trembling. My anger is controlling me and it can’t let that happen.
I sit up straight in my seat and put my hands flat on my desk. I can’t be seen like this is the office. Get your shit together, Grey!
“She doesn’t want anybody else, Christian,” Allen says to me as he sets a shot of bourbon down in front me. “She’s a strong woman and she’ll get through this… all of this. It won’t be easy, but she’ll get through it. Rest assured, I don’t care who’s stalking her, admiring her from afar, watching her, or wanting her, she’s doesn’t want anybody else. She only wants you. You need to believe that.” I swallow the shot of bourbon.
“Allen, my life has been so fucked up, just one bad thing after another. I don’t see how anything good can survive around me. How can she possibly survive around me?” I croak.
“You are a good person, Christian. I’m not just saying that because my best friend is in love with you. You are a good person. You will give your last to anyone who deserves it, and I’ve seen it over the months that I’ve worked for you. You have a good heart. You were dealt a bad hand and even though you are still fighting some of those demons, someone in your position could easily make everyone you come in contact with pay for your misery—but you don’t. If it hadn’t been for you and Jewel telling me about your childhood and your experiences, I never would have known. You’re a good person, Man, and Jewel loves you. So get that idea out of your head that someone is going to take her away from you.” He scoots his chair closer to my desk.
“Now listen to me carefully, because I’m not going to say this to you again.” Okay, he’s got my full attention. “Jewel has a heart of gold and she’s loyal to a fault. If she says that she’s loves you, rest assured that she loves you. Her love is not flighty or flaky and she doesn’t give it away easily. Count it an honor to be among the people that she says that she loves. Know that when you say that another man can take her from you that you’re selling her short. You’re calling her a liar every time that she says she loves you. If that’s what you believe, then you’re wasting your time.” That’s not what I meant at all.
“I’m not saying that she’s a liar or disloyal. I’m saying that I’m not worthy…” I protest.
“… Which is again calling her a liar, because she thinks you are.” He folds his arms and crosses his legs. This is Allen’s tell that he is dug in and nothing that I say at this point is going to matter and I should just shut the fuck up. I stand up and begin to gather the items from my desk off the floor. “Are we going to have this conversation ever again, Chris?” I sigh.
“No. We’re not,” I say as I put my laptop back on the desk, no worse for wear.
“Good. I’m sorry I didn’t consider what all you were going through trying to hold Jewel together these past months.” He stacks some of the papers and places them back on my desk.
“It’s not like I was telling a lot of people,” I say. “My therapist, yes, to some degree. She’s been helping me deal with my… feelings.” I place my picture of Ana back on my desk.
“How’s that working out for you?” Allen asks. I glare at him. Is he being a smart ass right now? “Oookay, forget I asked.” He puts some miscellaneous items back on my desk.
“So, what do we do now?” I ask, referring to David and his bogus insanity plea. Allen shakes his head and sighs.
“There’s nothing that we can do but wait,” he says. “Are you asking me if we should tell Jewel?” I drop my shoulders. I already know the answer to that question. I just can’t stand lighting yet another fire in her life when the blazes already in her eyesight have yet to be extinguished.
“Let her have a couple of weeks of peace and then I’ll tell her. Nothing is going to happen until June anyway and maybe the D.A. will contact her before then to prep her anyway.”
“That’s a good idea. She’s a strong woman, but we all have our breaking point. Now, about that engagement ring…” Allen has been pressuring me a bit to stop beating around the bush and I am now inclined to definitely push forward with the decision.
“The ring is on standby. I’m just waiting for the perfect setting,” I tell him, which is true. I’ve taken her to the most fabulous restaurants. We’ve been to the most remarkable parties and functions. Hell, I took her to an exclusive island one month into our relationship. I don’t know what could possibly top all of those things.
“I have the perfect setting,” Allen declares. I sit up straight.
“You do? Tell me!” I’m all ears while Allen tells me his idea for me to pop the question. When he tells me, I frown. He can’t be serious!
“Are you kidding me? She’ll never go for that. That’s insane! I don’t even know how you could suggest something like that!” What has he been drinking?
“It wasn’t my idea,” he says, looking me in the eye and waiting for me to get the hint. My shoulders fall.
“Oh my God, really?” He wouldn’t even suggest this to me without prior approval.
“Really,” he confirms. That was it.
“Well, I guess we had better set this puppy in motion, then. She’s certainly waited long enough…”
Butterfly seems distant when I first come in from work. She doesn’t even react when I walk into our bedroom. She’s mindlessly thumbing backwards through some magazine and doesn’t even raise her head. Her hair is damp and she looks like she has recently taken a shower.
Did I do something wrong?
I quietly walk over to our bed and sit down and she nearly jumps out of her skin. Where was her mind that she didn’t hear me walk in? After she clutches her chest, clearly startled, she crawls over to me and embraces me warmly.
Okay, she’s not mad at me, but something is wrong.
“Just hold me for a minute, please?” she says, her face buried in my neck. I wrap my arms around her and pull her close to me. She inhales deeply, then lets it out, relaxing into my arms. “You know that I had my first real session today,” she says.
“Yes. How did it go?” I ask, still holding her close to me.
“It was rough,” she answers, and sighs again.
“You’re not rehashing all of the old shit all back over again, are you, Baby?”
“No, new shit,” she says, pulling herself back so that she could look into my face. “We talked about Melanie and how I had to forgive her to free myself from her. Then I started thinking about Michael and how he watched her die—begging me to come and see her so that she could let go. I broke down pretty hard.” This surprises me. She was the picture of calm as she said her goodbyes to Melanie.
“Why did you break down?” I ask bemused.
“Michael… watching her die… I thought about you and…” She’s weeping into my neck again. She thought about me, what—dying? Is that why she’s crying?
“Baby, I’m as healthy as a horse. I’m not going anywhere,” I try to assure her.
“I know, it just…” she chokes through her sobs. “If anything ever happened to you, Christian… if you ever left me… ever died… I don’t know if I could go on without you!” Her body shakes as she weeps. I pull her close to me again. Poor Butterfly. All this shit that she has to deal with and now she’s worried about me dying, of all things!
“Sshh, stop this now, okay?” I coo softly in her ear. “I’m not going anywhere. I love you too much to die and leave you behind, you hear me?” She is crying so hard that she starts to hiccup.
“O-o-kay,” she says, between her sobs, thrusting her hands in my hair. “I… love y-you… so… mu-much… Christian…” My heart melts. I pull her closer to me, as if I could, and bury my face in her hair. “I’m… s-sorry.”
“For what?” I say without releasing her.
“For b-being… such… a fucking… w-wuss! I’ll be stronger… I’ll… d-do b-better… I p-promise!” She breaks down weeping again.
“None of that, Butterfly. You’re one of the strongest women I know. A weaker woman would be in a straitjacket right now dealing with half of the stuff you have had to face. You’re doing fine, Baby. You’re facing your demons now. It’s going to be hard, but you are my strong, brave girl and I know you will come out better for it.” Her cries subside a little.
“You… do?” she whimpers in my neck.
“Absolutely. You can do anything that you set your mind to… I know it.” I pull her back and take her face in my hands. “You don’t know how to fail, Anastasia. I’ve seen you at your worst and you refuse to fail.” Her shuddering stops as she looks up at me with large, sad, blue eyes. She reaches right down into my soul and I have to stop myself from doubling over from the pain I feel radiating from her into me. “You are mine, Anastasia, and I am yours. I will never leave you. You are stuck with me for life. Not selfish mothers, psycho exes, brutal, vicious mobs, or ex-marines are ever going to take you away from me, or me away from you. Do you understand me?” I will her to feel what I am feeling now. We are joined at the heart, Baby. Nothing can tear us apart.
She nods at me without blinking. “Make love to me, Christian. I need you to love me… please…” she beseeches me. No need to beg, my love. I ache to love you every day. I rise from the bed, walk over to the door and close it. When I turn back to her, she looks helpless and lost. Oh, Butterfly, please don’t look at me like that. I step out of my shoes and drop my suit jacket on the floor as I hastily make my way back to her. I take her face in my hands again and gently kiss her soft, tear-soaked lips over and over again.
“Open your mouth,” I whisper to her and like a good little girl, she does. I slip my tongue into her mouth and caress hers the same way that I did when I brought her home after David and Harris kidnapped her, when her lips were too swollen and painful to kiss, but I couldn’t keep my hands off of her. Recalling that moment, her breath catches and she closes her eyes, gently stroking my tongue with a caress of her own. She thrust her hands in my hair, whimpering erotically and trying to control herself. My lips travel from her lips to her cheek, her jaw, her neck, her chest, and she is panting shamelessly—not even attempting to control her breathing. I must have her… I must have her now.
I quickly remove my shirt and proceed with the task of unbuttoning hers, kissing her body on the way down—her beautiful mounds, her sternum, her abdomen. I’m delighted to see that she’s not wearing a bra. Her skin tastes divine and feels exquisite. She arches her back as I get down to the waistband of her miniskirt. I pull the barely-there little thing off of her hips and discover that she is sans underwear as well. I will ask about her state of dress—or undress—at another time. Right now, I need to love my woman.
As I pull her skirt down her hips, her flower is glistening at me—shiny and wet and beckoning. I climb back up her legs and sniff my prize. It’s heavenly. I gently part her legs and examine the cute amount of fuzz that is growing on her little pussy. I smile to myself and lick her outside lips, allowing the hair to tickle my tongue.
“Ah!” she breathes, arching her back again. Her mouth is open as she bends her neck on the bed and looks down at me, her eyes filled with salacious need.
Oh yes, Baby. Watch me.
I gently part her lips with my thumbs taste the tender meat inside. She almost sounds like she’s crying as she grabs my hair and holds on, still watching me from the head of the bed. Her legs are trembling as she attempts to keep her hips still. She’s still breathing heavily, panting, sexy as fuck as I continue to explore her core.
“Christian,” she breathes, “I don’t want to come yet…”
“Then don’t,” I say into her pussy. “Hold on, Baby. Enjoy it a little longer.” She throws her head back and grabs the sheets with her free hand. Oh my God, she is so fucking hot and she looks tantalizingly good. My pants are tight and my dick is pounding angrily into the mattress. Greystone is ready! For a moment, I forget myself and stick my tongue deep into her hole, tasting the juices inside.
“Ah! Christian! I’m going to come!” she cries out, and I pull back quickly, blowing on her clit and cooling the orgasm hiding there. She whimpers a bit again, then relaxes onto the bed. I quickly remove my remaining clothing and examine her lying on our bed, her shirt open and her breasts exposed, the nipples at full attention.
“Do you know how sexy you are… how much I want you?” I groan.
“Show me,” she breathes. Oh. My. God. I just felt my dick jerk up and beat against my stomach. Oh, Ana, with pleasure.
I climb over her again and immediately begin to torture those succulent breasts peeking out at me from under her shirt. She grabs onto the sheets again and her breathing quickens.
“S’il te plaît… Christian, s’il te plaît!” she breathes, her head thrown back as she writhes in passion.
“What do you want, Baby?” I croon.
“Toi… toi, s’il te plaît…” she beseeches me again. I spread her legs with my knees, position myself at her opening and slowly sink into her. Fuck, she is hot and tight!
“Yes! Oh, yes!” she declares, and she’s crying again. I almost want to stop. I have never had a woman cry while we are having sex. “Please, Christian, please don’t stop,” she whispers as if she is reading my thoughts. I begin to move, slowly in and out of her. She feels fantastic and she is keening softly. Suddenly, our coupling takes on a whole new life. She wraps one leg around me gently and we move… together, almost as one body.
“Oh, Baby,” I groan as I appear to melt into her, and she into me. I am inside of her and I still feel as if I need to be closer. I kiss her face all over, kissing away the tears as they fall. She caresses every part of my body that she can reach. This is my woman. My other half. She is so beautiful, so flawless, so perfect, and she’s mine. I want to say so much to her right now, but I can’t find the words. I bury myself inside of her over and over again, slowly and lovingly, hoping I am bringing her as much pleasure as she is bringing me.
“My beautiful Butterfly,” I whisper against her lips, my eyes closed and my hands holding either side of her head, lost in this moment, lost in her touch… her love…
“Mine,” she whimpers. “You are mine.” With those words, she bursts into her orgasm and I can feel the explosion in my chest. She is wheezing as she comes and I keep loving her, still slowly burying myself inside of her as she rides out her release. As she comes down, she is still keening, still softly weeping.
“I love you, Christian,” she breathes through her tears, and I continue to kiss them as they fall.
“And I love you, Anastasia,” I reply softly, still loving her slowly. This moment is spiritual, our connection is cosmic, and I need for her to feel it like I do. She strokes my hair again and looks up at me with those salacious, loving blue eyes again, causing me to quicken my stroke just a bit and bringing a tearful, erotic whimper from her once again. I sink into my love, into my home, and slowly make love to her for hours, over and over again, until the tears stop.
It’s been a couple of weeks since Butterfly’s emotional breakdown and our subsequent sexual healing. The time has been floating by nearly effortlessly. Butterfly seems to be doing so much better these last several days. She and Maxine had a very long and candid talk—so I’m told—about the impact of Maxine’s actions on her as well as the timing. Although it all turned out better for Butterfly in the end, the journey could have been a lot easier for her had Maxine behaved a little more professionally. However, they seem to have mended the fences for the most part and today marks one of the traditional events of the wedding—Maxine’s bridal shower.
Butterfly was very excited about it when I left this morning. More and more she is becoming the carefree, light-hearted woman that I first saw dancing in McElvoy that night… the first night that I knew without a doubt that she had to be mine. At first I was concerned about this new therapist. She saw him twice that first week and, both times, she came home completely shattered and needing me to love her whole again. Of course, I’m the last person in the world to complain about being able to make love to that exquisite creature, but I hate to see her ripped to shreds so badly.
By the weekend, she was healed and happy and yearning for some fun. We went hiking up at Wallace Falls and had a lovely picnic lunch. She was playful and cheerful—the Butterfly that I hadn’t seen in such a long time. Although the sessions seem to wring her out, the long-term effects seem to be quite beneficial. I hate to say it, but I believe Maxine did the right thing by “dumping” her. It forced her to actively go looking for someone who could really help her. Although she cries a lot when they are done, she hasn’t shut down and hasn’t been shrinking anymore… not even once! It’s Friday again and she is due for another session. Even though she was excited about Maxine’s bridal shower, we will have to see what kind of condition she is in when she has finished her session.
“Mr. Marshall says that you need to sign these, Ms. McIntyre said there’s something on the wire and be sure to watch the evening news, and Mr. Taylor told me to give you this envelope. He’s says it’s something about the Thing Lady and a salon?” Marlow says while handing me some papers from legal and an envelope from Jason, breaking my thoughts about Butterfly. Hmm, that last part means that the Pedophile has been seen hanging around one of the Miana’s salons. Since we returned from Vegas, I have actively been mentoring Marlow Whitehead as I promised, and he has really been valuable to me here at Grey House. He’s turning out to be quite the protégé.
When I asked him about his interests, he informed me that he really was interested in business. Marlow explained to me that he’s not necessarily interested in mergers and acquisitions, but that he’s more interested in business management. He has seen too many businesses fail in his neighborhood and, even at his age, he could see that most of the affairs of the businesses weren’t handled properly. After talking to this young man, I realize that he is quite brilliant, but bored in his current educational setting and far too preoccupied with protecting his mother and sister from his violent father. He’s eager to learn and to please and I’m fairly certain that once he’s finished with college, I’m going to hire him in some capacity in my company. We’ll have to see what the future holds.
“Thanks, Marlow. Have you had time to look at your homework yet?” I ask him, gesturing to the seat in front of my desk. He sits down and says, “I’ve already done it, Sir.” I raise my eyebrow at him. “I did! I did it before I left school while I was waiting for Mr. Youngblood to pick me up.” Marlow is wearing a pale blue dress shirt and tie, navy blue slacks and shiny black patent-leather shoes. He has a new haircut and looks quite different than the young man that visited Ana in the hospital after the kidnapping.
“Okay, I’ll take your word for it. I want you to know that this is not a free ride, Son. Ana speaks very highly of you and I want to afford you the opportunity to further your education and pursue your goals. I know that Ana made sure that you got some new clothes and a cell phone. It’s not so that you can play Angry Birds or text your friends. It’s so that I can contact you and you can contact me. If your grades slip in school, I will take that as a sign that this is too much for you and we will stop. Do you have any questions?”
“No Sir, but you don’t have to worry about my grades. All that stuff is really easy.” He assures me. I’m afraid it may be too easy if he can finish his homework in the short time that it takes for Youngblood to get from here to his school in the afternoon.
“How would you feel about changing schools—maybe going to a school that challenges you more and prepares you for college?” He looks at me a bit strangely.
“I don’t know. I’ve never thought about anything like that. Most of the kids in my neighborhood just graduate and go to community college. I thought maybe I could get my associates in Management and go from there… maybe try to save some of the businesses that are still in my neighborhood if they’re still there when I’m done, I don’t know.” He shrugs. Nobody has ever pushed him and I think it’s time to push.
“Well, it might be time to think bigger, Marlow. You’ve only been here for a couple of weeks and I see amazing potential in you—more than just an associate from community college. Now you already know that I’m going to pay for your college education, but I want to know if you could go to any college in the country, where would you go?” His eyes grow large.
“Morehouse or Howard.” His voice actually sound wistful when he says the name. He has some very lofty goals as those are highly impressive schools.
“Okay, then I think you really need to consider what their entrance expectations are. That’s going to be your ‘Grey House’ homework for the next couple of weeks. Find out what Morehouse and Howard are looking for in a prospective student. Research carefully and don’t give up because you see something that you think you can’t achieve. Since you are still a sophomore in high school, we have plenty of time to make this dream a reality. Once you’re done, bring all of the information to me and we’ll discuss what you need to do—maybe even getting you into a school with a higher curriculum.” Marlow frowns a bit.
“Why would you do all that for me?” he asks. I sigh.
“Several reasons that I can’t explain right now, but I’ll give you two. First, my girlfriend really likes you and thinks you are worth the extra effort… and I really like making my girlfriend happy.” He smiles at the reference to Ana. I know that they are very good friends and he might even have a little crush on her. The kid having a crush I can deal with. It’s the men that gets my feathers all ruffled. “Second, you remind me a lot of myself. I was so bored with school, but I still made the best of a boring situation. I would like to see what you can do if given the opportunity,” I tell him.
“Okay, you’ve got a deal, Sir.” He reaches across my desk for my hand and we shake on it.
“That’s what I like—a man who is willing to strike a deal, but you have to always keep your word or a deal is worthless.”
“Don’t worry, Mr. Grey. I’ll do the research.” Good. I’ll make sure that he has access to a computer while he’s here and I see how his mother feels about the idea. I certainly don’t want to overstep my boundaries.
“Do you mind telling me about your father?” I ask him after we had been talking for several minutes.
“He’s an asshole,” he said, without thinking, and then straightened in his chair. “Excuse me, Sir. He’s a jerk. He’s been beating my mom for as long as I can remember. I don’t even know when they made time to have kids. We would leave, and then he would find us and beg us to come home. He would promise to never do it again, and we would come home. Everything would be okay for a while and then something would happen that would set him off and he would start hitting her again. A few years ago, he started hitting me. He would tell me that I was just like her. I couldn’t do anything right. I didn’t know when to make eye contact with him because if this is one of those days that he’s pissed… I mean, upset with my mom, he’s going to beat me because I’ve got her eyes. If he’s not, then I’ll get beaten for not making eye contact with him. I swear, he just made up reasons to hit me. Luckily, he hadn’t started hitting Magpie yet, but it was only a matter of time.”
“Magpie?” I ask.
“Maggie… my little sister. I was born black with my mom’s green eyes. She was born white with my dad’s brown eyes. Sooner or later, something about her would have set him off, her white skin or something.” This young man has a lot of venom still stuck in his heart over this situation. Luckily, I have a lot of experience with shrinks.
I’m even in love with one… his, in fact.
“Have you eaten, Marlow? Are you hungry?” I ask.
“I could definitely eat, Sir,” he says and I laugh.
“Well, let’s get you some food.” I grab my suit jacket and lead Marlow to the elevator. “Marlow and Maggie—is that a coincidence?”
“No,” he says, “my mom’s OCD. It’s part of what made her such an easy target for my dad. He played on her emotions and her weaknesses. Whenever she threatened to leave, he convinced her that she wasn’t a good mother and the state would take us away. As it turns out, she was more in danger of us being taken away if she stayed.”
“How did he keep finding you?” He shrugged.
“I don’t know. He knows people. Mom would get a temporary restraining order and by the time it ran out, he had found us. It was like he was counting the days until the damn…” He stops every time he’s about to curse. I know how it feels to be an angry teenager.
“Son, I don’t condone kids using profanity. So when we’re talking business, I expect you to remember that, but when we’re talking man-to-man like we are right now, you have amnesty.” He smiles at me.
“Thanks, Mr. Grey.”
The elevator opens and Marlow, Jason and I all head to the garage.
“What do you have a taste for?” I ask Marlow.
“Oh! I know a deli that has the best corned beef sandwiches ever made!” he says.
A little while later, Marlow and I are eating at the same deli where I met up with Morgan Stampwell last year to talk about Elena. It turns out that they do have great corned beef sandwiches. Marlow told me more about how he and his family were abused by his father and at the end of each restraining order, he was right there to take them back to hell.
“It won’t happen this time, though,” he says.
“Why not this time?” I ask.
“He crushed Mom’s eye socket. It was really bad. Wild horses couldn’t drag her back there now.” He takes a healthy bite of his sandwich.
“Do you miss him?” I ask, taking a bite of mine as well. He shakes his head. “Do I miss being thrown against the wall, slapped and beat in the face and stomach until I can’t move, knocked unconscious and missing days of school? Nope, I can’t say that I do, Sir.”
“What is your father’s name?” I ask.
“Damon,” he says.
“Whitehead?” He shakes his head.
“Johnson.” I look up at Jason who is sitting at another table and I nod. He’s on his phone immediately.
“Where is he now?” I ask.
“Last I knew, he was in jail, but that was a while ago. He’s probably out now.”
“Has he ever done any time for what he did to your family?” Marlow shakes his head.
“Mom never pressed charges. She did this time, but even though it was bad, it was technically a first offense. So he got a slap on the wrist—a few months, I think. She got a permanent protection order against him, though.”
“What does he do?”
“He works here and there, wherever he can find a job. That’s why he knows so many people. Every time somebody sees Mom or me or Magpie somewhere, they call him and…” Marlow freezes in his seat and his eyes are filled with fear. I follow his gaze and I see a man—African American—standing inside the door of the deli glaring at him. I look over to Jason and he nods. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that this is Damon Johnson. How much of a coincidence is it that he shows up here right at the same time that his son is here? I look around the deli for a guilty face and I find one—behind the counter, watching the door. I glare at her and she knows that I am on to her. She makes a hasty retreat to the kitchen.
The cocky bastard walks right over to our table. He clearly doesn’t know who I am, nor does he know that I will kick his ass if he breathes in the wrong direction and leave the scraps for Jason.
“Hello, Son,” he hisses. “Long time no see.” Marlow doesn’t respond. “What? No words for your father?”
“I don’t think he has anything to say to you, Mr. Johnson,” I say. He turns a stony, brown-eyed glare to me.
“Are you Marcia’s new piece of ass?” he says with disdain. I look at Marlow.
“My mom,” he says under his breath.
“Oh. Ms. Whitehead. No, I know his mother, but not in that way.”
“You’re her fancy new boyfriend, aren’t you? You’re keeping me from seeing my kids!”
“Are you deaf? I said I am not her boyfriend,” I say again.
“Well, why are you buying my son all this fancy new shit?” he barks. “He’s walking around with these new sneakers and new clothes, expensive phones… Do you think you’re better than me? You think you can take my place?”
“You know what? You need help and when you get the help that you need and you go to some therapy or something, then you can be a father to this boy; but beating him and his mother—using them as punching bags because of your shortcomings—they don’t need that from you!” I growl. I know his type. He’s so transparent, it’s ridiculous. Whatever is going wrong in his life, he takes out on his family and Marlow is right. That little girl would be next.
“I don’t have to stand here and listen to this shit from you.” He snatches Marlow by the arm and drags him out of the seat. “Bring your ass on!”
“No! Don’t let him take me. My mom has a PPO on him—500 feet!” That’s all I needed to hear.
“I think that there’s a standing protection order against you that you are not supposed to be within 500 feet of this young man.” I hiss at Johnson. I’ll give you a chance, Fucker.
“This is my son. You stay the fuck out of this!” he barks at me.
“Um, I don’t think so. Like I said, there is a standing protection order against you where you are not supposed to be within 500 feet of this young man and you need to let him go and step back right now!”
“Fuck you! You’re not going to tell me that I can’t see my son. He’s leaving here with me and you can’t do a damn thing about it.”
“Ow! Let me go. You’re not supposed to touch me!” Marlow squeals and my fists clench.
“I’m only going to tell you one more time to get your hands off of this young man,” I hiss.
“Or what?” Johnson squeezes Marlow’s arm once more and he’s going to go down because he’s hurting. Before I know it, I unleash hell on his ass. I keep hitting him until he releases Marlow’s arm. The fucker is resilient. It takes a few punches to get him to let go. At the same time, Jason is calling the police and informing them that the man now on the floor has a PPO against him to stay away from this child and everyone in the restaurant just saw him assault Marlow and try to take him out of the restaurant. I look at Marlow and reach for his arm and Marlow flinches. I know that feeling only too well.
“Will you raise your sleeve so that I can see your arm? I need to see if he bruised you.” Marlow hesitates for a moment and then raises his sleeve. His arm is red where Johnson squeezed him. I take a picture with my blackberry.
“That is going to bruise,” I warn him.
“I’m used to it,” he says impassively. I run my hands through my hair.
“Not the response I wanted to hear,” I say as I give his nearly unconscious father a kick. He stirs and looks up at me. “The police are on their way to get you, and if you move or try to leave, I will beat your ass and really knock you out this time.” I say, impassively. “If you can’t see anything wrong with how you are treating this young man—in a public place—and you treat his mother this way, too… I understand why Ms. Whitehead left you.”
“Mrs. Johnson!” he spits.
“That’s between you and her. That has nothing to do with me. What I’m concerned with right now is keeping your ass here until the police arrive.”
“To hell with that!” He struggles a bit to get up. I give him a swift kick in the side and he doubles over. I take off my suit jacket and hand it to Marlow before stooping down to a groaning Bully Johnson.
“Let me try to explain your situation here. I am not a helpless teenager that you can push around. Did you think I was kidding when I said I would kick your ass again? I will pound on you until you don’t know your name anymore. You have broken the law, and I am detaining you until the police arrive. If you try to leave, you are attempting to flee the scene of a crime, and it is my duty and my privilege as a citizen of the city of Seattle to prevent you from doing that, which I will by any means necessary. In addition, you have assaulted this young man in the presence of all of these witnesses… myself included. He has bruises on his arm from your hand and you, Sir, have been served with papers that say you’re not even supposed to be close enough to touch him. So in case you don’t know, as a good Samaritan, I have to protect that child from you right now. That means that I am completely within my rights to beat your ass from here to Calcutta to keep you from harming that boy. So that’s two things against you.” I lean in so that only he can hear me. “But here’s a third. If you come anywhere near this young man again, I will break both of you fucking legs. If you threaten him or his mother ever again, I and my bodyguards will beat you within an inch of your life, and once you are well, we’ll beat your ass again. I’m a very powerful man and there is nowhere that you can hide from me. You have bullied this child and his mother for the last time. Do not test me. I will crush you like a bug, you dickless, soulless coward. Have I made myself clear?” His eyes widen.
“Are you threatening me?” Why do people always do that? I clearly threaten them and they always ask if I’m threatening them.
“Are you just stupid? I mean really… are you stupid? I just looked you in the eye and told you that I would mercilessly kick your ass and you’re asking me if I threatened you? Seriously, is that a joke? You don’t know a threat when you hear one?” He smiles venomously.
“There’s nothing you can do to stop me. I’ll find them wherever they go.” Fuck. This guy is another Edward David. I can tell.
“You know what? That’s bad news for you, because I believe you. Jason!” Jason comes over and stoops down next to me.
“Would you please show this gentleman your little friend?” Jason slightly opens his jacket to reveal the firearm that I know he’s carrying then closes his jacket again. “Did you see that? Now, hear me clearly. From this day on, Maggie, Marcia, and Marlow will have covert security following them everywhere they go. You won’t be able to see them, but they will sure as fuck see you, and they will have orders to take you down on sight. Now you may be able to find them, but it would be better for your health if you left them the fuck alone.” I stand up. “Watch his ass until the police get here.”
Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night—a poem by Dylan Thomas that talks about death.
“S’il te plaît… Christian, s’il te plaît!” – Please, Christian, please!
“Tu… tu, s’il te plaît…” – You.. you, please!
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Love and Handcuffs!