This is a work or creativity. As such, you may see words, concepts, scenes, actions, behaviors, pictures, implements, and people that may or may not be socially acceptable and/or offensive. If you are sensitive to adverse and alternative subject matter of any kind, please do not proceed, because I guarantee you’ll find it here. You have been warned. Read at your own risk.
I do not own Fifty Shades Trilogy, or the characters. They belong to E. L. James. I am only exercising my right to exploit, abuse, and mangle the characters to MY discretion in MY story in MY interpretation as a fan. If something that I say displeases you, please, just leave. If you don’t like this story or me, please don’t spoil this experience for everyone. Just go away. For the rest of you, the saga continues…
Chapter 38—A Tangled Web
“Keep your head down, damn it!” he snaps at me. Well, shit, we’ve been driving forever. I need to move around.
“Look, I don’t mean to sound like one of your crazy children or nephews or whatever, but are we fucking there yet?” I spit.
“If we were there, you wouldn’t have to stay down. I know these assholes. I used to be one of them. We have to be careful and make sure they didn’t follow us. Now shut the hell up or I’ll turn around!”
“Don’t talk to me like a child, motherfucker. I don’t dig that shit, and if you want to turn around, be my fucking guest!” Granted, I want to pull this off, but I’m not kissing this guy’s ass for shit.
“Just stay the fuck down until I’m sure that the coast is clear, okay?” he says finally.
I already regret teaming up with this guy, if that’s what you want to call it. He approached me on Monday outside of the apartment and invited me to coffee. He looked a little different than I remembered, but if this is supposed to be a disguise or something, it sucks. His hair is longer and a different color, but I could still tell immediately that it was him.
“So, what’s your fascination with this chick? I mean, yeah, she’s hot and makes a little money and everything, but you got it bad—and I know your background story. You haven’t fucked her in years. So, what’s the deal, man?” Bob had asked sitting across from me.
We sat in some dinky little coffee joint a few miles away from Rosie’s apartment.
“What does it matter? I love her and I want her and I’m going to get her. End of story.” I stirred my coffee. For all I know, Rich Boy could have sent him to befriend me and find out my plan. Well, I don’t have one, but I don’t care what Rich Boy knows. Rosie will be mine again. I will definitely see to that.
“So, what do you plan to do—just keep stalking her while Grey fucks her brains out and hopes that she just gets tired of all the sex, money, and expensive gifts?” Bob retorted. “Planning to just wait her out, are you?”
“I just need to get her alone,” I responded. “Every time I try to talk to her, we get into a fight. I just need to remind her of what we had together. Once I do that, I know I can make her mine again.”
“When have you seen her alone?” he asked. “She’s never alone. Someone is always with her.”
“Well, something’s up because she’s back at her apartment tonight and she hasn’t been there since last week. I wonder if they broke up?” I said, hopeful.
“No, they didn’t break up. Chuck was there when we left.” He took a swallow of his coffee. “Look, all you’re trying to do is get her alone? She hates you, man. I watched her pull a gun in your face, and you still want to get her alone?”
“Look, I’m telling you that’s not my Rosie…” I began.
“Rosie?” he sneered. “Who the fuck is Rosie?“
“Ana. I call her Rosie.” He laughed at me.
“Whatever floats your boat, man,” he said drinking some more of his coffee. I continue.
“I just need to get her away from all of this shit… even if I can just get her to myself for a few days, just a few days… away from the fucking security and her faggot friend and that rich prick Grey. I just need her to myself for a little while. I know that if I have her to myself for a little while, I can win her back.” We were so happy when we first got together. She was playful and funny, and I knew everything to do to her bite-sized little body to make her scream. Grey can’t be doing her like I did. I touched that kitty in ways nobody else knew how. I just have to remind her of those days—not the shit that came later, those days. “I know this woman like the back of my hand. If I can get her away from all of these fuckers whispering in her ear, I know I can win her back.”
“So, that’s your plan… get her away from everybody so that you can turn on the charm?”
“Yeah, that’s what I was hoping, but I can’t see it happening because, like you said—she’s never alone,” I answered defeated.
“Well, I know these guys and they’re good. They’re not going to turn their back on her for one minute. What’s more, they’re not going to turn their back on you,” he informs me. “If you approach her, they’re going to be on your ass like white on rice before you breathe the same air she does. If what you need is alone time, you have to be able to get near her.”
“And where do you come in, because this get-up that you’re in ain’t fooling nobody.”
“It’s fooling somebody. Nobody’s tailing me, whereas if you look out of the window and to your right about 20 feet, you will see your latest tail.” Smug ass bastard. “You need to shake your tail—for lack of a better phrase—and once you do that, you can more than likely move a little more freely.”
“So, what do you suggest?” I asked sarcastically.
“We get you away from your surveillance, get you a disguise, and wait for your chance to get close to Rosie.” He said her name with pure disdain.
“What’s in it for you?” I asked suspiciously.
“Well, first of all, you may not want me to call her a bitch, but the bitch cost me my job. Second, Little Dick Grey has arranged it so that I can’t find another job in the state of fucking Washington, so I have to relocate to someplace where this fucker isn’t so damn powerful. Anything that I can do to trip him or her up—make their lives a little miserable—runs well with my blood. And third, like I said, I know your story. You got money, and you’re going to pay me.”
“Why would I do that?” I spit.
“Because I need money to get the hell out of town and start the fuck over. Without it, I have to stay here and maybe get a job at a fast food restaurant. That’s where you come in. I know how his security works, what they’ll be looking for, and how to shake them. That’s what you need. Without me, you can go back outside, pick up your binoculars and have fun with your 1001-foot stolen glances.” He glared at me.
“How much are we talking and what exactly can you do for me?” I asked.
“Oh, you are going to pay pretty, and pretty frequently, but if you want your magic moment with your precious Princess Perfect, then it’ll be worth it. Quite frankly, I don’t know what the fuck she’s working with in that deadly twat of hers, but whatever it is, it’s going to stay a thousand fucking feet away from my dick,” he spit.
“Shut the fuck up, Asshole. You don’t even know her!” I shot.
“I know that she’s got a restraining order against you and pulled a gun in your face and you’re still gagging for her ass. And Grey? I hadn’t worked for him for that long, but I know he’s a very powerful man. He makes grown ass men piss their pants on a regular basis. That man has the kind of money that can turn rain into sunshine—but one sniff of Princess Perfect, and he turned into a pussy. She’s got two grown ass men panting after her ass like sappy, stupid little lovesick puppies. Do you know how much money that man spends to keep you away from her? You have somebody tailing you 24 hours a day. They get paid well, including benefits, paid vacations, and hazard pay. They are strapped with the latest equipment and endless expense accounts and all drive late model Audis—and there are at least three or four of them on you every day, seven days a week. Man, they know when you take a shit—all for a piece of pussy. Like I said, whatever she’s got going on in that twat should be listed as hazardous material!” I sat up straight.
“I won’t deny that I probably need your services, but you obviously need my money. So, I’m going to listen to what you have to offer and then I’ll decide if I’m going to hire you. But you need to understand something. You can feel whatever the hell you want, but you are going to stop talking about her in that fucked up way around me since—if I do choose to employ you—I assume I’m going to be paying you a pretty fucking penny to get me close enough to Princess Perfect and her toxic pussy to get her back. And you will watch how you talk to me since I’m the one that’s bankrolling this shit. Otherwise, I’ll go back to my binoculars, and you can go back to McDonald’s. Capiche… Bob?” I spit his name with as much disdain as he did Rosie’s. He glared at me for a moment and then said,
Now we’re traveling by car to some remote location after a long ass ferry ride and 45 minutes later, I’m still crouched down in this fucking back seat. I’ve dyed my hair blonde, I’m wearing blue contacts and a phony blonde beard. Bob wouldn’t tell me where we were going to keep from telling anybody else before we left. Who the fuck would I tell? I’m paying this man a small fortune to help me get Rosie alone. Why would I tell somebody my plan so that they can follow me or trip me up? It turns out that Bob knows a guy who knows a guy who has a place on Vashon Island. It’s completely untraceable to Bob or me and is the perfect place to hide out and decide my next move. Maybe Grey’s goons will think I’m dead in that apartment and leave me the hell alone.
“Alright, the coast is clear. We weren’t tailed.” Bob says and I’m finally able to sit up.
“Damn, I’ll be glad when we can get the hell out of this car. I’m stiff as hell from not being able to move on that damn ferry.”
“Quit your whining. We’re almost there now,” he says. I look around and all I see is grass and fields and a cluster of trees every now and again. This is perfect. They’ll never find me out here. Now how will I get Rosie here?
“So, what’s the latest we hear on Grey?” I ask, stretching as much as I can in the back seat of the borrowed Ford Taurus.
“He got out of the hospital yesterday. I couldn’t find out what was wrong with the guy, but it couldn’t be too serious for just an overnight stay,” he replies. There was nothing wrong with that prick. Rosie wouldn’t speak to him so he faked an illness to get her to come running back to him. Oldest trick in the book.
I had continued to watch Rosie for a couple of days after I met with Bob to see what, if anything, was happening with her. Grey never showed up Monday night. He showed up on Tuesday night but didn’t stay long from what I could tell. Even though his goon stuck close, he didn’t show up for the rest of the week and Rosie didn’t go to his place either. Bob confirmed that they were having some kind of fight. I can’t help but wonder where he’s getting his information if he doesn’t work for Grey anymore. That’s why I have to keep my eye on this guy. I don’t really know whose side he’s on, but I haven’t done anything illegal, so they can’t pin anything on me.
I was hoping I would be able to use this opportunity to get close to Rosie, but before I had the chance to make my move, she was running to that asshole’s side again and the next thing I knew, she’s at Seattle General sitting lovingly by his bedside. Well played, Prick, but I will have the last laugh in this little game.
Bob turns down another road that seems to go on forever and then another road lined by trees that—you guess it—seems to go on forever. It could just be me… I feel like I’ve been in this damn car forever! Finally, we get to a clearing and a nice-sized bungalow and a farmhouse on lots and lots of land. This is so much more perfect than I could have imagined. “Welcome to Vashon Island,” Bob says as he pulls the car to a stop. I’m only too happy to get out and stretch my legs. It’s very peaceful out here. Maybe Rosie and I can buy some land out here once we get things all straightened out.
We walk to the bungalow and it’s a little neglected inside, but no worse for wear. “The fridge is stocked thanks to you, and we get the basic cable channels out here. No use paying for premium cable if nobody lives here.” He throws his keys on the coffee table. “You should get reception to your cell if you need it. This is an island, but the Municipal Airport ain’t that far from here. There’s no such things as in town around these parts. There’s one little street that runs the length of the island where you can get just the basics if you need them. Everything is pretty much spread out here and there. If you want to go to town, get on the Fauntleroy ferry and head back to Seattle,” he instructs. I nod my head.
“This will work just fine.” I sit down and stretch out on the sofa. “So, I have a few ideas. We need to work out our next plan of action.”
“Fine by me. No offense, but I don’t want to be around you more than is utterly necessary. So, if it’s all the same to you, let’s get this plan in motion so I can get paid and get the hell out of here and leave you with Princess Perfect.” I throw a threatening glare at him. “Hey, I didn’t call her a bitch. If you don’t want me to call her a bitch, I’m calling her Princess Perfect. Get over it!” I shrug. He’s right, he didn’t call her a bitch. I don’t really like when he calls her Rosie—especially the way he says that name. So, I guess I just have to be content with that sarcastic Princess Perfect shit.
“Fine. So, obviously, the first thing we need to do is get her away from Pencil Dick. He’s with her whenever she leaves either apartment, and he either stays at her office or somewhere nearby when she’s at work.” I say.
“Man, how do you know this? Don’t you own a company or something? When do you find time to follow her around?” Bob asks.
“I don’t have as much money as Grey but, like him, I don’t need to be present every second for my company to run,” I respond. “How do you know everything you know if you don’t still work for Grey?”
“I have my ways and you’re just going to have to trust me, now aren’t you? Oh, and just so you know, they probably know that you were watching her up until at least Friday,” he says.
“Yeah, I know. You think you’re telling me something when you say that they’re watching me, but I’ve known all along, all the way back from when you were watching me. And for the record, Rosie didn’t get you fired. You and those damn prostitutes got you fired. All I had to do was sit still and wait for you to get a blowjob before I took off.” I walk into the kitchen to find something to eat.
“Sir, Manchester indicates that Mr. David hasn’t left his apartment for four days.” Taylor says to me as we’re getting ready to leave for SeaTac. I frown.
“Not that I care about the fucker at all, but are you sure?” I ask. What the hell did he do—decide to end his suffering and kill himself in there?
“There’s been no movement, sir. He was still watching her through Friday morning, but keeping legal distance. Since Friday evening when I brought her here, his car is parked at his apartment and hasn’t left since. Manchester hasn’t seen him coming or going.” Maybe the fucker doesn’t want to cross her while she’s here. She hasn’t been back to her apartment since I got back from the hospital.
“Thanks, Taylor. How much time before we leave?”
“Thirty minutes, sir,” he responds. I nod and he leaves the study.
Well, I’m about to set off on a fact-finding expedition about what happened to my Butterfly during those fateful teenage years that left her scarred for life. I feel completely bonded to her now—after yesterday. If I could propose to her without scaring her the hell away, I would do it in a heartbeat, then marry her before she had a chance to change her mind. That woman is mine, forever. She’s stuck with me and I plan to never let her go. It’s early and I know that she’s still asleep, but I need to wake her so that I can tell her that we’ll be leaving soon.
I lay next to her stroking her hair and watching her sleep. She’s breathtakingly beautiful, even more so when she sleeps. I love her so much it feels like my heart will burst open sometimes. I bring my forehead down to hers and inhale deeply, trying to hold her scent in my nostrils to tide me over for the next few days. I softly sing to her sleeping form:
All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go.
I’m standing here outside your door.
I hate to wake you up to say goodbye.
But the dawn is breakin’ it’s early morn
The taxi’s waitin’ he’s blowin’ his horn
Already I’m so lonesome I could die.
She surprises me by joining in the next verse with me, her eyes still closed:
So, kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you’ll wait for me
Hold me like you’ll never let me go.
Cause I’m leavin’ on a jet plane
Don’t know when I’ll be back again
Oh baby, I hate to go.
She opens her beautiful blue eyes and smiles at me. “Hi,” she says, softly.
“Hi,” I respond. “I didn’t know you were awake.”
“I heard you singing. I know it must be close to time for you to leave.” I pull her face to mine and kiss her gently,
“It is. I have a few minutes.”
“Leaving on a jet plane, huh?” she says with a chuckle.
“A private jet plane,” I say, rubbing my nose on hers.
“Oooo, fancy.” She giggles.
“Oh, I love that,” I say taking a deep breath.
“Hearing you giggle,” I respond.
“Then I’ll do it more often,” she says in a sweet voice. “You would never catch a taxi,” she adds.
“And I’m not standing outside your door, either,” I point out.
“And you do know when you’ll be back again,” she breathes.
“Yes, I do,” I say as I pull her to me and kiss her passionately. “I love you, Anastasia.”
“I adore you, Christian,” she whispers as she thrusts her hand in my hair and we’re lost in our kiss again.
We land at McCarran around 9:00am. I want to talk to this cop, George Sullivan, this morning as soon as possible. Lawrence was able to secure an SUV with bulletproof glass as requested and we proceed to the Bellagio.
Once my bags are brought to the room, I open my blackberry to see if there’s any news since this morning. Still no movement from David. No news should be good news, but this bastard makes me nervous. Butterfly has agreed to stay at Escala while I’m gone in light of this new information, which makes me feel so much better. I can’t stand worrying about her while I’m gone. I left instructions for another man to be put on her, discreetly, while I’m not there so that I can concentrate on the task at hand. I call her to let her know that I’ve landed safely and that my meetings should start in about an hour and should run almost back to back straight through until Friday, but I promise to call her in the evening to say Goodnight. Her voice is still full of hesitation and I know that she hates me being here. I assure her that I’ll be home soon and send her all my love.
An hour later, Taylor and I arrive at the Henderson Police Department. Officer George Sullivan is a distinguished-looking gentleman, early 40’s at the most. After I introduce myself, he invites me into his office and offers me a cup of coffee.
“So, how can I be of assistance to you, Mr. Grey?” He’s very friendly, initially at least. I soon learn that this is about to change.
“Officer Sullivan, I’m very interested in a cold case from your jurisdiction. It’s about 11 years old now. A young girl named Anastasia Steele. I understand that you were the officer that responded to the attack.” And the room instantly gets chilly.
“May I ask what your interest is in this case, Mr. Grey?” he says with a frown.
“I’m going to be honest with you, officer. I’m one of the wealthiest men in America and I’m in love with Ana. I want to know what happened to her.” He shifts uncomfortably in his seat.
“I don’t know how much I can really help you…” he says.
“Any small bit of information you can release will be helpful,” I say. “I understand that you were the first officer on the scene of the attack as well as the leading officer in the investigation. Can you tell me why no one was ever arrested?”
“Well, all of that was in my report, sir. We had no suspects and Ana couldn’t identify anyone,” he responds
“Well, what about the Ranch? Ranch hands, the owner. You can’t just walk onto someone’s property that I know of, acquire brands, brutalize someone, disfigure them, and nobody knows or sees anything.” This guy can’t be that dumb.
“The brands that were used on Ana were either homemade or personalized, like barbecue brands, so they weren’t registered,” he explains. “You can order them online.” Well, that would explain a few things. The burns are brutal, but small compared to an animal brand.
“I’ve read the report, Officer Sullivan, and there was no indication how you were drawn to the scene. Did someone call it in?” I question.
“No, sir. Officers often check the sites of bonfires, particularly with high school kids to make sure that there’s no underage drinking occurring.” Hmmm…
“That seems a little strange, Officer Sullivan. I mean, I know that occurs with desert bonfires—or so I’ve been told—but on private property? That’s like crashing someone’s backyard barbeque,” I say. Sullivan doesn’t have a ready answer for me, so I continue questioning. “Did you have a reason to believe that there may be a problem with this particular bonfire that you felt it necessary to investigate?”
“It’s like I said, Mr. Grey, officers often check the sites of bonfires…”
“… To prevent underage drinking. Yes, you said that. And just how bad of a problem is it to find underage drinking at a bonfire on private property in Green Valley? I mean, is this something that happens regularly? Occasionally? Not very often?” He eyes me suspiciously and I can tell that he is being purposely evasive.
“I’d say not very often,” he says hesitantly and I nod.
“So, what made this particular bonfire suspicious to you?” I ask. He thinks for a moment, then answers, “I heard a girl screaming.” Oh, did you now?
“I’m sorry, Officer Sullivan, that’s not in your report. Your report only says that when you arrived on the scene, several school age children ran away.” Sullivan shifts nervously.
“I’m not completely sure. It was quite some time ago, Mr. Grey,” he responds.
“Well, let me help you.” I produce a copy of the report from the inside pocket of my suit coat. “You reported, ‘there were several school age children surrounding the victim. When I arrived, they dropped her and ran away. Upon closer investigation, I discovered that she was unconscious and unresponsive.'”
“May I see that?” I give him the copy of the police report and he pretends to look it over, then he puts it in a drawer in his desk. “Like I said, Mr. Grey, it’s been quite a while.” What the fuck?
“May I have my document back?” I ask.
“I think I’ll keep it, to try to refresh my memory of the event.” Smarmy ass bastard. Does he think he’s dealing with Amateur Night here?
“That’s fine,” I say undaunted. “You might want to pull it back out then.” I pull out my blackberry and open the file on the network that has the police report and keep reading. “Again, you’ve crashed this bonfire and children all ran away. There’s no indication in your report of the name of the ranch.”
“I’m sure that there is, Mr. Grey,” He says smugly. I scroll through the report on my blackberry.
“Nope, there’s not. Please, feel free to check your copy. I’ll wait.” I sit back in my chair. He doesn’t bother to check his copy because he knows that it’s not there. Did this guy really think I was going to come in here unprepared? I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt before I got here. It never really occurred to me that the investigating officer would be part of the cover-up. Now I have to handle this differently.
“We never really did bonfires where I come from. It seems like it would be like a beach party. Kids laughing, talking, drinking maybe…” I begin.
“Yes, that’s what a bonfire would be like,” he says.
“Music, dancing. Maybe some sneaking off to the barn…” I say with a smirk.
“Yes, all of those things,” he confirms.
“Yeah, I remember those days,” I lie. “We did little campfires at the beach,” I say, pulling on Elliot’s memories and stories to help me out. “I remember my battery died and I had to call my parents to come and get me. They always use my car for the music.” Sullivan has relaxed a little bit—wrong move George.
“They’re smarter here,” he says. “They all keep battery cables in case a battery dies.” I nod.
“I wish I had thought of that. It would have saved me getting grounded a lot. Oh well…” I shrug. “So, from your own description, no one called you, you just saw a bonfire on private property which you decided to investigate. You heard a young girl screaming over a thrashing crowd of violent teenage girls and boys and music no doubt blaring from cars that must have been left behind since you said that the children all ran away. There’s no address of the ranch, no indication that you’ve spoken to the property owners, no license plates taken from the cars that were left behind, not a drop of DNA from a girl who was brutally beaten and almost killed, and no questioning of any witnesses whatsoever. Did I about sum it up correctly, Officer Sullivan?”
Sullivan is watching the entire story fall apart in front of him and now, I’m seeing the lie.
“Have there been any developments on the case since it occurred?” I ask.
“No, except for the fact that someone was looking into Anastasia a few weeks back,” He answers flatly. Surprise! Nice to meet ya!
“That somebody was me because I was trying to find out why the woman I love had two years missing out of her life.” Now, he gets the thrust of my inquiry. “Being in the public eye like I am, you can’t be too careful about who you come in contact with. Being an important man, I have to make sure that nobody’s ghost is going to come back to bite me, but it looks like they’re coming back to bite Anastasia.” The color leaves Sullivan’s face and he’s becoming more than a little nervous. “I’m going to find out who did this to her. I have unlimited resources and I’m going to throw them all into finding out who’s responsible for what happened to the woman that I love. And when I do, anyone involved in this attack is going to pay dearly for what they did one way or another.”
Sullivan squares his shoulders, straightens his back, and glares at me.
“Are you threatening me, Mr. Grey?” he says, his tone menacing. Now we’re getting somewhere.
“I don’t know, Officer Sullivan, am I?” I ask. “I’m threatening anybody who had something to do with the attack on Anastasia Steele. Did you have something to do with the attack on Anastasia? It was my understanding that you were her savior. Are you now telling me that you had something to do with her attack?” By the look on his face, I can tell that he now knows that he has not only stepped in it, but he has also tripped, fallen, and is now swimming in it!
“No, I did not,” he answers, almost sneering.
“Why, then, would you feel that I was threatening you if you had nothing to do with Anastasia’s attack?” Sullivan falls silent and I know now that I need to quickly look into this guy. I tilt my head to the side, narrow my eyes and examine him. “At least I’m sure I don’t have to worry about you telling Anastasia about this little visit.”
“What makes you so sure?” he spits.
“Well, for one thing, I’m sure you don’t want her to know just how badly you botched this up. A preschooler could have done a better job investigating this assault and murder than you did.” He straightens at my description of the crime. Yeah, jackass, assault and murder—or did you conveniently forget that a fetus was killed during this attack? “Make no mistake, Officer Sullivan. I am not a preschooler, and I will find out what happened—no matter how many police reports you hide or roadblocks that you think you can put in front of me. If you’re a good boy, and leave my girlfriend out of this until I’m ready to bring her into it, you may be able to hold on to your job for a little while.”
“What makes you think my job would be in jeopardy?” Does he really have to ask that question!? Who hires these people?
“Call Anastasia and we’ll find out for sure.” I stand. “I’ll be in touch.” I say before I leave his office. I walk out of the police station and call Welch.
“Welch, I need an immediate background check on George Sullivan. He’s the investigating officer on Ana’s case. I need relatives, friends, financials for the last 11 years, properties that he owned in the Henderson area at that time. Whatever you can get your hands on quickly. He’s hiding something and I need to know what it is before I leave Henderson—preferably today.”
“Yes, sir.” I end the call with Welch.
That little meeting takes me just about into lunchtime. I’m about to track down something to eat when I’m informed that Cody Whitmore is temporarily stationary in a public place. Since I have no specific time to meet him, now would be a good time to confront this particular demon.
Cody’s tail discovered that he has women in three cities. Today’s woman is in Summerlin. Since he technically doesn’t work, he has decided to go see Girl #2. Lawrence informs me that he has finished his midday tryst with the tramp and will most likely check in at Daddy’s office after a drink at one of his favorite afternoon spots, a place called JC Wooloughans. It takes us nearly 30 minutes to get to this little Irish pub inside of a Summerlin resort.
I was sure that we were going to miss him since it took so long for us to get there, but apparently, Girl #1… or 3… or a candidate for #4… waits tables at this establishment. He’s seated in the corner chatting her up. I sit in the center of the bar and instruct Taylor to sit at the far end, where we can both keep an eye on him. I order soda water and lime and watch while he chugs two more beers eyeing the girl’s ass at every opportunity. Did this guy drive? Has he been drinking this steadily since he arrived?
I can look at him and tell from his stance and posture that he’s a cocky son-of-a-bitch. I know this, because I’m a cocky son-of-a-bitch. He stands and makes his way to the restroom. I look over at Taylor, who nods that he’s on alert for whatever may happen. Whitmore comes back out of the bathroom and proceeds back towards his comfy corner.
“Whitmore,” I call out, loud and sharp enough to be heard without shouting. He stops and looks over his shoulder.
“Who wants to know?” he shoots.
“Temper, temper,” I begin turning around to face him. I examine the man standing in front of me. He has the look about him of someone who works hard to try to impress you. “I’m sure Dear Old Dad has already told you to expect me,” I say, sipping my soda water. He laughs in my face.
“So, you’re Grey?” he asks casually. “Yes, Dad did tell me that you were coming to town.”
“Ooo, my reputation precedes me. That makes me very happy. So, tell me, Cody, why would you be concerned about my visit?” I ask.
“Oh, I’m not. I could fucking care less,” he snaps.
“So why did your Dad warn you of my arrival, that is, since you’re so unconcerned?” I ask, flatly. He takes out his phone and hits a number.
“Because you’re harassing my entire family, and I really don’t think you know who you’re dealing with.” Oh, you have got to be kidding me. These people still haven’t looked me up? Talk about being delusional about your own power. “Dad, yeah, he’s here… no, he’s standing right here in front of me…” He hands me the phone. “My father would like to speak to you… Christian.” Oh, little boy, you are playing with fire. I take his phone.
“Do you plan on harassing my wife next, Grey?” Whitmore spits.
“If she can give me the answers that I’m looking for, yes, I will,” I say, impassively. I hear his breath catch on the other end of the phone. Wrong move, Jack-off…
“I thought it was understood that all future dealings would be directly with me!” he spits.
“You thought wrong!” I growl, looking at the man who raped my Butterfly while I prepare to eviscerate his father. His eyes narrowed and he swallowed hard as he tries to decipher our conversation. “I’m going to get the information that I came for, Whitmore. And if that requires that I interrogate your whole fucking family, then that’s what I’ll do.”
Whitmore laughs loudly in my ear. “You’re a cocky bastard, aren’t you, Grey?” he snaps in my ear.
“I can afford to be,” I respond.
“You know I can have you run out of town, right?” Whitmore threatens.
“You and what army?” I retort. And the line is quiet. “Since you seem to have run out of witty repartee, let’s get to the point. You know why I’m here and you suggested that we meet. I’m a busy man and my time is valuable—I don’t like it wasted,” I spit. It’s now or never, Asshole. I don’t need you. I’m sure that I’m face-to-face with the fucker that I want, but I’ll take the opportunity to strike a little fear in the town of fucking Green Valley.
“I’ll be at the M this evening after 8. That’ll be the only time you can meet with me,” he says like he has to squeeze me in.
“Works fine for me—I have plans for the rest of my stay.” I hang up on him and turn my attention back to Cody. If I could get away with it, I would rip him apart right here on the spot with my bare hands and drop his mangled body in the middle of the desert—leave him to the vultures, the snakes and the desert vermin. He still has the nerve to stand there looking at me with this superior glare. My work here is done.
“I’ll tell you what. You can wipe that cocky ass smirk off your face, because if I find out that you are who I think you are, I’m going to have your nuts platinum-plated and give them to my girl as a Christmas gift.” I drop his phone into my unfinished glass of soda water before I signal to Taylor that we are leaving. “Roll that around in your head for a while, Asshole.” Taylor and I leave him standing there with a not-so-smug look on his face.
Four hours. He’s only been gone for four hours and I’m sick to my stomach. Why oh why did it have to be Whitmore? Anybody but fucking Whitmore. I look out of my window at Grey House. He’s not there today.
“I miss you, baby,” I say aloud. “I wish I had told you not to go.” I go to my desk and speed dial Maxie from my iPhone.
“Hey Max… Are you busy for dinner tonight?… Can you meet me at Christian’s? I need a session… No, everything’s fine, but there has been a development and I need to talk it out… Thanks, Maxie. I know it’s short notice and I really appreciate it. Would you prefer anything in particular?… Okay, well, I’ll be out of here by five so I should be back at Escala at about 5:30. Shall we say six?… You are a life saver, Maxie. Thank you. I’ll see you then.” I hang up and call Gail.
“Hi Gail, my friend Maxie is joining me for dinner and… Yes, she is one of the Fabulous Five.” I laugh. “Would it be too much trouble if… Oh, Gail, thank you… No, she said nothing special, so whatever you were already planning should be fine… 6:00?… Thank you, Gail, I would be lost without you.” I end the call.
I love Christian. I love him so much. I don’t question my feelings for him, or the fact that we’ve only been together for such a short time. I’ve never felt this way in my life for anyone… ever… not even Edward. And as much as I hate him now, I did love Edward once—truly love him—but not like this. Christian is my heartbeat, my pulse, my love song… my reason to wake up in the morning.
Oh, I got it bad…
I scrub my hands over my face and get ready for my next patient.
“Hello, may I speak to Cynthia Crestwood, please?” I meant to call Mrs. Crestwood yesterday from the office, but I got caught up in a little thing called TPE and all things Green Valley completely slipped my mind.
“This is Mrs. Crestwood. How can I help you?”
“Mrs. Crestwood, this is Christian Grey. I’m calling on behalf of an organization in Washington called Helping Hands. Our organization offers assistance to battered women and abused children who have recently left or are trying to leave abusive situations. Recently, your name was submitted to receive recognition for your assistance to children in the community. We actually sent you a letter requesting a conference with you, and my assistant tried to contact you last week, but we received no response. We were going to send another notification to you. However, I happen to be in the Las Vegas area on a business matter and was hoping I could possibly meet with you. Is that a possibility, Mrs. Crestwood?” I’ve rehearsed that speech several times to make sure I got it right the first time. I can fill in the blanks as needed from here on out.
“Oh, how nice!” she exclaims, sincerely. “What’s the name of your organization again?”
“Helping Hands of Seattle, Ma’am. Families come to us from all over the country, having somehow or another made their way to the City of Goodwill.” I laugh to break the ice and it works like a charm.
“Well, Mr. Grey, um, what do I need to do?” she asks.
“I would love to discuss this further with you, Mrs. Crestwood. Would you possibly be available to discuss it over dinner tomorrow night? I will be leaving on Friday and I’m staying at the Bellagio. We can meet at one of the restaurants here if you like or at any one you choose.” Yes, the Bellagio, one of the more upscale hotels on the Las Vegas strip. Of course, that would pique her interest—not because she’s superficial, but because let’s face it… certain hotels on the strip mean money. The Bellagio is one of those hotels.
“Oh, no, Mr. Grey. The Bellagio is fine.” Of course, it is. “Where shall we meet?”
“How about the Jasmine? Five o’clock? Reservations under Grey,” I say sweetly.
“That would be perfect. I look forward to seeing you then.”
“The pleasure is mine, Mrs. Crestwood.” Thank God that went off without a hitch. I completely forgot to call the woman. That could have been a disaster!
In the rush to meet catch young Whitmore, I fail to eat lunch. I can see Butterfly shaking her finger at me and then I shiver remembering my punishments from yesterday. Though the sexual deprivation was agony, the spanking and flogging were superb discipline and the ultimate release was cosmic. Though I would never let on to anyone, my butt cheeks are still tender from the crop, my thigh throbs where she scratched me, and I still have stripes to admire on my abdomen and legs. I smile as I rub my thigh, then promptly cease before causing myself the worse boner in the world and no hope of Butterfly to release it. I enjoyed her so much. I have no fond memories of subbing except that I knew I would eventually fuck… maybe… until last night…
That beautiful petite Goddess wrapped in a red and black corset and nonexistent lace panties and those insanely high black stilettos… and the collar… standing next to me, legs spread apart and whacking me with that riding crop. I actually jump as I anticipate the blows I’ve already taken… and he’s up.
Down, Boy. We’ll Skype her later.
Now I have to get something to eat or I’m likely to relive my punishments from yesterday. As tempting as the riding crop and flogger were, I’m in no hurry to test my limits on her expertly executed orgasm deprivation. Also, I just don’t want to disobey my Mistress.
“Taylor, have room service deliver an early dinner immediately!”
My Butterfly has rewritten my history. Twice. I no longer relate being a submissive to that horrible woman. I now relate it to my sexy, sensual, and irresistible Mistress. And I look forward to subbing for her.
Also, I don’t feel the need to eat because of my prior food issues anymore—or because I was left alone with a dead crack whore for four days unable to find food—or because I spent so many days hungry and hurting and only wishing the pain would end. Now, I must eat because I foolishly harmed myself and my body for five days and I almost died… and this would have hurt my Mistress immensely. I’m not allowed to hurt my Mistress. I don’t desire to hurt my Mistress. So, to that end, I’m not allowed to cause myself harm ever again and must remember to eat and take care of myself… for myself… and my Mistress.
The M Casino and resort is an impressive establishment that opened in Vegas in 2009. Although it is on Las Vegas Blvd, it’s not on the part of the street that is known as The Strip. It’s about 10 miles south of The Strip—and just as far from the Bellagio. Where The Strip—the Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, Caesar’s Palace—would all be geared towards the spending tourist, the M is more geared towards attracting lucrative locals… at least that’s the impression I got of it.
Taylor and Lawrence are on high alert and conspicuously wired. I don’t want this fucker to think for one second that he is playing with small-time business here, or that I don’t have back-up. Sure enough, this asshole is in the high-rollers room, surrounded by call girls and three trying-to-look-like-tough-guys bulky security guards. This is so fucking cliché—it’s like one of those badly-written gangster movies.
I know his type. He’s been watching the door all night, waiting for an unfamiliar face to enter—and here I am. So now, he’s going to play like he doesn’t see me—as if I’m going to crawl to him like some lackey. Okay, Whitmore. Let’s see how this works out for you.
I position myself in that stance that Taylor knows well—feet apart, hands clasped in front of me, staring at this asshole who is laughing loudly and grabbing on the ass of some scantily clad cheap slut. Taylor and Lawrence both take the CIA stance behind me…
And I stare…
It only took three minutes. What a pussy! My Butterfly outstared you the first day I met her.
“Grey! That must be you. Come in. Grab a girl. Make yourself comfortable. Can we get you gentlemen a drink?” he says, gesturing to a cocktail waitress like he’s hosting a party.
“No thanks, Whitmore. I only drink socially, and this is not a social call and as for the girls, well,” I look around at the desperate tarts offering themselves like hors d’oeuvres and praying that they will be the chosen one, “I have a woman, so I have no use for girls.” Whitmore laughs loudly.
“You can’t be talking about that lying bitch Anastasia Steele?” he barks. I move to close the space between us in three quick strides. His bulky security men leap into action to subdue me. One is quickly taken down by Taylor, who is now pointing a firearm at the guy’s head who lies prostrate on the floor. The second managed to get to me right before I got to Whitmore. The hand he intended to make contact with my jaw is now crunched in my fist. I bend it back swiftly until I hear bones cracking and the man screams in pain while I hold him there. The third doesn’t bother to move at all as Lawrence already has his firearm drawn and trained on him.
“Mr. Whitmore,” I say, leaning in inches from his face, still holding his bodyguard’s broken hand, “I should inform you that I’m a bit sensitive about how you speak about my woman. So, you may want to think twice about calling her a liar and a bitch.” I say through clenched teeth. He shows no overt signs of fear or cowering, but I can see the sweat on his forehead in this very cool casino. I release his bodyguard who is now clutching his hand in pain. “When you’re done posturing for your friends, I’m staying at the Bellagio.” I pull out a wad of hundred-dollar bills and throw it at the bodyguard with the broken hand.
“You should get that checked out,” I say before leaving the high-rollers room.
As Taylor, Lawrence and I make our way back to the front of the hotel, Williams brings the SUV around. Just as I’m about to get in, Whitmore comes out of the front door with his two uninjured tough guys.
“Grey!” Oh, it appears that he has grown a new set of balls! I step back out of the SUV. Taylor and Lawrence are back at my side, hands already on their firearms.
“What the hell was that? You broke that man’s hand… for what? For protecting me from a stranger who comes into the hotel and threatens me?” he shouts.
“How did I threaten you, Mr. Whitmore?” I say with disdain, assuming the stance once again. I wait patiently for an answer that I know I’m never going to get, then I step to him again without dropping my hands so that the poor little insurance executive doesn’t feel threatened. I’ve always known that I was a tall man. I just never understood why the rest of the world seems so damn short. Now here I am again standing nose-to-eye with and looking down at yet another small man—in stature and manhood—that wants to prove that his balls are bigger than mine.
“We don’t need to meet, Whitmore. We already have, and I already know what I need to know about you. You’re a grimy little dirty, sorry excuse of a man who likes to throw money at his problems and hope that they go away. I know that tactic, Whitmore. I invented it! And when I throw money at problems, I throw the kind of money at the right people to make sure that they never show up again.” I close the space between us. In my peripheral, I can see his guards jump to attention again, but they don’t make a move in my direction.
“You told me that I didn’t know who I was dealing with, but it’s painfully obvious that you don’t know who you’re dealing with, Whitmore. You are grotesquely out of your league, and too arrogant and ignorant to even know it. You should have done some more research on me before you attempted to throw your ‘weight’ around. If you had, you would have known that I’m one of the wealthiest men in America—and I mean Bill Gates kind of wealthy not Oprah Winfrey kind of wealthy. So, if you really want to talk about being a power player, you better remember that in the Deep Blue Sea, you’re a guppy and I’m a shark. You don’t want to fuck with me.
“I’m going to find out what happened to Anastasia Steele, and when I do, the people involved are going to pay for what they’ve done—one way or another. And by all means, if you want to come at me, please do. You go right ahead. You know where to find me.”
This little man still doesn’t seem to get the picture and still wants to try to jockey for position. To the passerby or a casual observer, Whitmore is calm and collected and could possibly be dominating this conversation—that is, if he didn’t have Goliath standing in his face looking down on him while he’s trying to and failing be David. However, I’m not the casual observer. Those beads of sweat are still present on his forehead. His ears are red, but his face is pale. His fingers twitch slightly and his breath is short. His pupils are constricted and keep darting from my left to my right eye, trying but failing to read my thoughts. His fear and uncertainty are so thick, I can smell them. He’s clearly shaken. If this was any worthy competition, I’d have him on the ropes.
When you’re accustomed to being the Big Man On Campus and the real Head Man In Charge shows up, you don’t know what to do with yourself. You don’t become second-in-command; you become the last man on the totem-pole. This is proven every time your boss’s boss shows up at your job. There’s someone else in top seat and your boss is immediately turned into a gopher. In this case, Whitmore has been turned into a mouse and is still fighting to scurry back to the top of the pyramid.
“As you can see, Grey, I’m a very powerful man in this city.” Whitmore says, his voice shaking just a bit at his one last attempt at a power play.
“No, Whitmore, I can’t see that… but it really doesn’t matter to me. You may very well be powerful in this city, but I’m a very powerful man in this country!” I spit. “I have hands in pots that you can’t even imagine. My reach goes further than your little brain can even conjure. I can make it so that you would wake up in the morning and have nothing left to your name but those cheap leather shoes that you’re wearing right now.”
“I beg your pardon!” Whitmore snaps. “These are Bexleys!” Oh, you have got to be kidding me. I shake my head at him. Even one of his bodyguards behind him has a slight reaction that I register as embarrassed dismay. I’m truly wasting my time here.
“And the fact that you felt the need to tell me that right at this moment goes to show just how small your little mind really is.” I say with pure contempt and disdain. I stand up straight as I no longer want to stoop down to this little man—figuratively or literally. “Let’s go. We’re done here,” I say backing away from a shocked Whitmore and getting into the SUV once again. As we pull away from the M Resort, all doubt has been erased that Cody is the man that raped my Butterfly and that his weaselly father paid off her family to hide it. I have my primary targets. Now I have to find the rest of the offenders.
It’s about 9:30 when we get back to the Bellagio. We are stopped at the desk when the clerk informs us that there was a package left for me. Taylor and I look knowingly at each other. I wasn’t expecting anything to be delivered—and Whitmore knows where I’m staying. Noticing the look on my face, the clerk says. “We can scan the package for you if you like, Mr. Grey. It’s not something that we normally do, but I’m sure that we can make an exception.” I nod curtly at him and he disappears for a moment. After a few minutes, the clerk returns with the package.
“It’s clear, Mr. Grey. It’s a book,” he says, placing the package on the counter.
“A book?” I ask, bemused.
“Yes, sir,” he responds. Taylor takes the liberty to open the package. A knowing look comes over his face. Without removing the contents, he says, “You’re expecting this, sir.” I nod at him and hand two $100 bills to the desk clerk thanking him for his services before retiring to my room for the night. I have a lot to consider. The day was very productive in terms of getting information and I now have yet another suspect to examine—George Sullivan. All this time, he was considered one of the few good guys. He’s hiding something and I know he is. Could he be sleeping with the devil, or just dancing with danger?
“Grey,” I say as I answer my buzzing blackberry.
“Did you get the package, sir?” Welch asks
“Yes, I did. Next time, let us know to expect it so that we don’t have to scan it for explosives. I am in the lion’s den down here, you know. Now I may have made a potential enemy out of a cop,” I inform him.
“I’m sorry, sir. I was calling to tell you that I have uploaded that cop’s preliminary background check to the network. Nothing really stands out about him, but I’m checking to see if there is anything deeper that we may have missed. So far, he just looks like your everyday, average citizen… no payoffs or huge influxes of cash, no undisclosed assets, nothing remarkable or out of the ordinary whatsoever.”
“Remember, we thought that about Anastasia, too…” I remind him.
“Duly noted,” he responds.
“Besides, that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have anything to hide. He could just be scared shitless of Whitmore, who clearly has a puffed-up, delusional, high impression of the power that he wields over people since he apparently has quite the reach in Henderson… though I haven’t seen it yet.”
“Oh, one of those,” Welch says, knowingly.
“In the worst way,” I respond. “Inform legal to prepare for a possible lawsuit from one of his bodyguards.”
“Sir?” Welch inquires.
“I broke his hand.” He chuckles a bit in the phone.
“That’s actually a direct hazard of his employment, sir. He may not have grounds to sue you,” he says.
“Well, I threw more cash at him than he probably makes in a month, so he may not have the balls to sue me, but tell legal to be prepared anyway.”
“Yes, sir.” I end the call and open the envelope that Welch has forwarded to me. The 2001 Green Valley High School yearbook. I can see that there are several pages bookmarked, but honestly, I just want to see one right now. I turn to the appendix of names in the back and, as expected, there is only one page number next to her name. I go to the page in the sophomore section of the yearbook and find her near the end of the page… in the S’s…
Huge, blue unassuming orbs too big for her face. Her teenage skin is remarkably flawless, unmarred by make-up or the embarrassing pubescent acne I see in some of the other pictures. Her smile is innocent, unblemished, and a little sad—reflecting the loneliness of a naturally beautiful outcast. Her hair is pulled back into a ridiculously long ponytail with perfect bangs shaping her beautiful eyes. This picture was obviously taken before the attack, and I feel a little strange for the desire that I feel for this teenage girl that stares back at me. I take comfort in knowing that it is only because this is the younger version of my darling Butterfly—the woman who holds my heart and fate in her hands—but I can clearly see how her beauty could drive someone to untamed desire. Rape, no—but desire, absolutely.
I now have the burning need to touch her and be with her, but for right now, I have to be satisfied with Skype.
A/N: The goodbye song was “Leaving On a Jet Plane by John Denver (or Peter, Paul, and Mary depending on your preference). Very, very, very old song.
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