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 41—It All Goes South
Her voice is soft and cold, and it’s very evident that she has been crying.
“Long and lonely without you.” I answer as I approach her cautiously. “What’s wrong, Baby?”
“How did things turn out with Mr. Whitmore? Did everything go as planned?” She asks, her voice still soft. No malice, but very cold. I still can’t tell if she knows.
“Yes, it did. That’s something that I need to talk to you about,” I say as I stand by her side.
“Oh?” she says, wiping away some tears, but not making eye contact with me.
“Baby, please look at me,” I plead. She wipes away more tears and looks up at me, her beautiful blue eyes pooling and glassy, faded azure orbs screaming with pain and confusion, her arms folded protectively around herself.
I wanted to be the one to tell her. I wanted to tell her that I had found some answers for her, that we can finally bring these assholes to justice because we know where to start—but I know that look. That look is screaming pain and betrayal. So much for dinner at Rover’s and breaking it to her gently.
“Baby, I should have told you this sooner, but I know who Whitmore is,” I confess.
“You do?” she asks, no surprise in her voice. She lets me take her elbows in my hands, but she doesn’t reach out to me.
“Yes, I do. I know what his son did to you.”
“How do you know?” she asks flatly. I sigh.
“I… followed some leads that led me to Whitmore.”
“Leads? What leads?”
“Baby, can we please go sit down? There’s so much that I have to tell you,” I say.
“Things that you probably should have told me before you left,” she says, again—cold and soft, no malice. This Ana is making me nervous. I hope I haven’t fucked up beyond repair.
“You’re right. I should have,” I say, dropping my shoulders.
“Then why didn’t you?” she snaps, her anger growing with each second.
“Because I didn’t want you to try to stop me,” I answer honestly. “If I had told you what I was doing, you would have told me not to go—and if you had told me not to go, I wouldn’t have gone.”
“But I did tell you not to go,” she cries. “I told you not to go when you first asked me about this… and you said you wouldn’t. You lied to me, Christian!”
The words stab me like a thousand knives. I could dress up my words and tell her that I didn’t lie to her, I just changed my mind and didn’t inform her—that’s the truth. From the moment that she told me not to pursue it, I told myself that I wouldn’t pursue it yet, but I always knew that eventually I would get to the bottom of what happened to her.
“Butterfly, I’m sorry…”
“Sorry for what!?” she spit, cutting me off. “Sorry for lying to me? Sorry that you went? Or are you just sorry that you got caught?”
“You didn’t let me finish,” I say, curtly, and she jerks from my grasp. “I’m sorry that I wasn’t completely honest with you, but I’m not sorry that I went. I’m not sorry that I was able to find some of the bastards that did this to you, and I’m not sorry that I’m going to be able to bring some resolution to this situation.” She drops her arms and her mouth is gaping.
“Resolution!? For whom? For you? For me? Who?” She is very angry Ana now.
“For both of us,” I say, my voice rising more than I wanted. “Every time I see the evidence of what those monsters did to you, it makes me love you more, it makes me want to protect you, but most of all it makes me angry beyond measure that someone could do something like this to another person—least of all, you! I couldn’t be that powerless that I couldn’t get you some form of justice!”
“Is that what this is about for you? Power? You didn’t have power over this situation, so you go traipsing off to Green Valley to throw your weight around a bit?” She’s roaring now. If I scream, this’ll be a screaming match that’ll only end badly—not that I don’t want to fucking scream right now, fuck knows that I do. I sigh and drop my head, running my hands through my hair.
“Do you know what it’s like to see someone that you love hurt and you can’t do anything about it? Do you have any idea how helpless that makes you feel—how sick you feel inside that they were in pain and you couldn’t stop it?” I ask, my tone measured.
“Yes, Christian, I do,” she says, matter-of-factly. “I felt that way last weekend when you were unconscious and starving yourself to death!” I take her arms in my hands again.
“Exactly! I hurt myself! I almost died. You had to watch that… but Ana, you helped me! You sat with me in the hospital. You slept with me when I could barely move. You spoke for me when I couldn’t speak. You took care of me and made me feel cherished. You stayed with me and nursed and loved me back to health. I just wanted to do that for you… I wanted you to have some closure, not to have to worry if one of those fuckers was walking behind you and you had no idea who it was. Please, Ana…” I drop my head. I don’t know how to tell her what I’m feeling. I know that fear that she must have felt as a teenager. I know how you bring those feelings into adulthood with you. “You’re such a good and kind and beautiful person. I… I didn’t want you to feel like me.” She takes a step back from me. I look up and see her expression and she’s puzzled. What door have I opened now?
“Is this about you, Christian?” she asks. “Is this about what you went through? By getting justice for me, you somehow get justice for yourself?”
“No!” The word is out of my mouth before I could even think about it. “How could I look at that scar and not want justice for you? What’s the use of having money and power if I can’t use it to help the people that I love? You are my world now, Anastasia, and I couldn’t let this situation go on the way it has for the last 11 years! Now, I’m so glad that I went! The cover-up was atrocious—this thing goes deeper than you can even imagine!” If my motives were selfish at all, it was only to the degree that I couldn’t stand the thought of her suffering at the hands of these bastards, and nobody paid for it. It was all for her… all for her.
“You should have told me, Christian. You should have explained it to me, at least let me have some kind of say-so in the decision instead of doing this behind my back.” She walks into the penthouse and picks up her purse. Oh, fuck, where is she going?
“Anastasia…” She puts her hand up.
“I need some time to myself. I’ll be back… please, just leave me alone,” she says as she walks to the door.
“I’ll text Chuck,” I say in defeat. She turns around.
“I said alone!” she screams. “If you send one of your goons behind me, I’m going to shoot him in the balls!” she declares as she storms out.
“Fuck!” All this pent-up anger and nothing to throw. Although it’s not a good idea to start throwing shit when you live in a glass house… literally. Taylor emerges from wherever he was.
“That went well,” he says sarcastically.
“You were listening?” I ask appalled.
“I didn’t have to, sir. They heard her in Bellevue,” he responds. I push my hands through my hair.
“Now is not the time, Taylor,” I warn. He puts his hands up in surrender and I brush past him to my study and close the door behind me. I’ll admit that I didn’t expect her to be falling at my feet with gratitude, but I didn’t expect this. Can’t she see that I had to do this? She fell apart at the mere mention of Whitmore’s name. No matter how she tried to deny it, no matter how well adjusted she is, this situation carried the weight of Atlas on her back. I just want her happy… that’s all I want. I can’t help but consider what she mentioned—about this being partially for me…
Was I really doing it for Ana? Could it have been for myself—restitution for what the crack whore and her pimp did to me, vicariously through justice for Ana? I don’t know. I can’t be 100% certain that there wasn’t a bit of vengeance mixed in with my actions, but ever since she told me her story, I have wanted to see those bastards pay. It was always about her from the very beginning.
I love this woman, but I haven’t had one quiet, simple weekend since the day that we started dating.
We have never had an argument—a real argument—since we’ve been together, but I can’t just let it pass that Christian lied to me. I hate nothing in the world more than a liar—nothing. Once someone lies to you, you look at them differently. You never know if they’re ever telling you the truth. You question everything that they do, and you just can’t function the same with that person.
I listen to him give me his reasons for making the trip, his impassioned pleas about having to find justice for me and all I can focus on right now is his dishonesty. Why was it so important for him to pursue something that in a fit of stuttering tears, I asked him not to? Anger and betrayal boiled up in me until I listened to him explain his feelings of helplessness and I could see and hear the pain on his face and in his voice. I had to get out of there. I have to clear my head, to think about this logically. I’m so hurt that he went behind my back that I can’t even stick around to hear what he discovered. I’m happy to discover that he respected my wishes to be alone and, as I turn off 4th Avenue and onto Lenore, I notice that none of his prized Audis are following me.
Only a mile away from Escala, I find the refuge that I seek to soothe my troubled thoughts—the Seattle Aquarium at Waterfront Park on Elliot Bay. I take my Magnum out of my purse and put it in the glove box—they wouldn’t like my bringing it into the aquarium. I walk into the Aquarium as one of the last patrons of the day and turn off my phone so that I won’t be disturbed by endless phone calls and text messages from Christian. This place always calms me… something about the water. The fish are beautiful, but it’s the water that draws me here. It helps to cleanse me—my mind and my soul. It was one of the first places I came to when I moved to Seattle. But now I have a pressing matter on my soul and I’m not sure the water can cleanse it this time.
Christian lied to me.
He told me that he would drop the Green Valley incident when the whole time, he was digging up more and more information. I don’t want to relive this. I want to forget it. I want it behind me…
But every time something goes “bump,” you are looking over your shoulder wondering if they are coming to get you again.
It’s not that bad. Stop exaggerating.
It is that bad. I’m here, remember? I’m part of you and I say it is that bad. You’re carrying your guns again for Christ’s sake!
The Bitch does have a point. But why couldn’t he just tell me? Why did he have to lie about it? Why did he hide it from me and let me find out from somebody else? I told him from the beginning that I could not accept dishonesty. Why would he do that?
How would you have reacted if he had come to you and told you what he was doing?
I would have been pissed!
Would you have let him continue?
Hell, no! I want to let this go.
He wants that for you, too. And you can’t let it go—not without closure. And if you had closure, you wouldn’t be so pissed about it.
Where the fuck did you come from?
I put my hand on my forehead as I look at the triggerfish and the wrasses in the coral reef exhibit. I love the bright colors of this tank. It makes me feel like the world is such a big place and my problems are so small. I thought I had closure on this until people and circumstance started bringing it up again!
Then why does it still scare you so much?
I don’t know.
You don’t have closure, hon.
I walk through the Life on the Edge exhibit. I love sitting on the rocks running my fingers through the tide pools. Although I hate the hermit crabs, I love the sea urchins. They don’t have brains, you know… kind of like many humans I’m acquainted with.
So now he’s brainless because he wants to protect you.
I didn’t mean him, and you know it.
Yeah, but you were kind of thinking it.
Well, it is pretty brainless to keep something from someone that you claim to love when they have repeatedly asked you not to.
Ahem! Ahem! Are you serious Steele? Are we really going to have this conversation?
Yeah, I guess I am sort of the pot calling the kettle black since Christian had to find out about Cody on his own…
The Bitch and I argue—or reason, I should say—all the way from the Window on Washington Waters, around the Ocean Oddities exhibit and back around to the Seal and Sea Otters exhibits. By the time we’re down in the Underwater Viewing Dome, I’ve lost the fight.
He needs to do this. He needs to know who hurt you. He loves you.
Then what’s the problem?
He lied about it. I can’t deal with that. He can’t lie to me. He can’t keep things from me.
Then maybe you should go back to your man and talk about this instead of running away.
And there’s the knife. I don’t want to fight. I don’t even want to be right. I just want Christian. I sit in the area watching the fish go by for a few more minutes… or what I thought was a few more minutes… until I‘m interrupted by a man’s voice. “Ma’am?” Security has startled me from my thoughts. “The aquarium is closed, ma’am.”
“Oh! Oh, I’m sorry. I lost track of time!” I rise from my thoughts and head towards the exit. Just as I get outside, someone snatches my purse!
“Hello, bitch!” he greets with an evil smirk on his face. Fuck, it’s Harris. What the fuck is he doing here? Without thinking, I immediately kick him in the balls. When he goes down, I kick him in the face. While he’s on the ground I lean down and relieve him of my purse. When I stand up to make my getaway, I feel a sharp pinch in my neck. As the world goes dark, I hear a familiar voice say, “Nighty night, Rosie.”
I’m still so groggy. I can’t see anything yet. I hear a voice… very faint.
“You are so beautiful.”
Christian? Is it Christian? I try to speak, but it only comes out as a whimper. I’m cold… and I can’t move my arms. Christian, untie me. I don’t like this.
“I’ve wanted this for so long.”
That’s not Christian, but the voice is familiar. He’s touching me now, but I still can’t see clearly. I’m cold. I’m naked! What’s going on? His lips are on me… on my nipples. I try to speak again, but only a whimper.
“You like that, baby?”
No! No! I do not like that! And I’m not your baby. Who are you? Where’s Christian? Where am I?
My eyes are focusing a little more, but everything is still a blur—and I recognize the voice. It’s Edward! Why is Edward touching me? How is Edward touching me?
He’s on top of me now. Oh God! He wouldn’t. Not while I’m damn near unconscious! He couldn’t! I’m still so weak that I can’t prevent him from opening my legs. When he positions himself at my opening to drive into me, I find my voice and scream:
It’s time. I’ve followed her from her office to her apartment. She’s pissed off about something because she’s driving like a bat out of hell. Her guard is having a hard time keeping up with her and I’m having a harder time keeping up with him. So, either she’s pissed at him or she’s pissed at Grey. This is perfect, especially if she sends him away. I drive right into the parking structure behind them in the borrowed Taurus that we’ve been driving.
“Man, what are you doing?” Bob says lying down in the back seat. “They’ll see you.”
“No better time to test this disguise, right?” I drive right past them and they don’t recognize me. They don’t even look at me. Rosie gets into the elevator while her guard stands outside. After a moment, he gets in with her. Damn! That would have been too easy. They seem awfully comfortable with each other. I wonder if he’s fucking her behind Rich Boy’s back? That would be his just desserts! I push the thought out of my head as quickly as it enters. I can barely stomach the idea of Grey drilling my girl… only just barely. I exit back out of the garage and park down the street.
“You can sit up now.” I say to Bob. He rises and takes in our location.
“I take it they didn’t recognize you,” he says, lighting a cigarette.
“They didn’t even look at me,” I respond. “She’s pissed about something. She wouldn’t even let him get into the elevator with her. He talked her into it though.” Last week when they were fighting, she sent the guard away and stayed at home alone—except for when the faggot was here with her. If she does that tonight, it’ll be perfect. She doesn’t recognize me with the facial hair and shit. I’ll disable that security camera and go right up to her door and knock.
“So, what do we do now, Loverboy?” Bob says sarcastically.
After about an hour, she and the guard are on the move again. This time, they’re back at Rich Boy’s glass tower.
“I think you missed your chance, Casanova,” Bob taunts from the back seat.
“Maybe. Maybe not,” I say. She’s pissed at somebody. I know her. I’m going to wait for a while to see what happens.
“Yeah, I’d say you fucked up,” Bob says, after we have waited another hour.
“Man, just give it a little more time. We’ll get to her,” I snap.
“If you say so. I’d just like to know how you’re going to get through that.” He points to a black SUV speeding up the street. Please don’t turn into the garage. Please don’t turn into the garage. “Wish all you want, Buddy. That’s Grey.” Sure enough, the SUV turns into the garage.
Fuck! I probably have missed my chance.
“I thought you said he wasn’t supposed to be back until tonight!” I snap at Bob.
“Hey, that’s what my information said,” he says, callously.
“Does this look like night to you?” I snap. I hold up my watch. “Does this even look like evening to you?”
“Look, I gave you the information that I had. Don’t bite my fucking head off!”
“I’m fucking paying you for this shit! If your information is no good, what the fuck am I paying you for!?” I spit.
“Well, excuse the hell outta me if the guy had a last-minute change in plans! This shit is not my fault!” he defends.
“Man, I’ve paid you all this money and as soon as I’m ready to make my move, your information is faulty. Shut the hell up and sit back there and let me think!” I bark. Bob lights up another cigarette and we wait a while longer. As if the planets are aligning themselves in my favor, I see her 300 come out of the garage. “Get your ass ready—we’re making our move,” I say. We wait until she goes pass Virginia Street and turns on Lenore. Still no Audi. I look at Bob and I know that we’re thinking the same thing…
“No security? Shit!”
I drive quickly down 4th and catch up with her on Lenore before she turns onto Western. Is she going where I think she’s going? I laugh aloud.
“What’s so funny?” Bob asks.
“This is going to be like taking candy from a baby.” I answer. He snickers.
“Did you forget that bitch carries a gun… Oh, I’m sorry, Princess Perfect carries a gun?”
“Even so,” I say. “Where she’s going, she most likely won’t take her gun.” If I know my angry little Rosie well enough, she’s going to look at some fishies.
Like I said, candy from a baby. The exit to the aquarium is concealed enough to block a clear view from the street. So, while Bob finally earned some of the money I’ve been paying him by distracting her, I subdued Rosie with a tiny—well, maybe not-so-tiny—dose of Propofol. And now, here she is… lying in bed, in front of me—naked. She’s less likely to run away if she can’t find clothes. Since Bob is so afraid of her “toxic pussy,” I’m not concerned about him seeing her naked, her hands cuffed together on the headboard.
“Isn’t she beautiful?” I ask, admiring her.
“Yeah, yeah, whatever. So now you’ve got Sleeping Beauty. When do I get the rest of my money?” he asks. I laugh.
“Did you think that my having her here would make me so euphoric that I would forget our deal? Five days, or until she agrees to come back to me… whichever comes first. If after five days I can’t convince her, we go somewhere not even you can find us, and then you get the rest of your money. Now if you don’t mind, I need some alone time with my girl.”
“Whatever, man.” He leaves and closes the door behind him.
I didn’t have enough time to furnish the room like I wanted, so this old country look will have to do for now. I sit on the bed next to my Rosie… beautiful Rosie. The Propofol is starting to wear off and she squirms. She looks like a beautiful nymph, writhing delicately on top of the bedding.
Oh, God, I have to have her.
I quickly shed my clothing and climb in bed with her. I caress her beautiful skin, just like I used to.
“Remember when I use to make your body sing, Rosie?” I say as I stroke her soft thighs. “You told me that nobody could make you feel like I could. I bet that’s still true.” I kiss her navel and her tight stomach. I’ve missed her so much. I don’t know how I could have ever thought there could be anyone else for me except Rosie… my Rosie. I move her hair away from her face and she whimpers a bit. So fragile… so perfect…
“You are so beautiful.” I kiss her lips, her neck, her shoulders and she whimpers again… just like old times.
“I’ve wanted this for so long.” I cup her beautiful breast and take her nipple in my mouth. Oh, Rosie, my body still yearns for you. After all this time, I ache to be inside you. She moans in response to my lips.
“You like that, baby?” Not another moment. I can’t wait another moment. I’ll make love to you, Rosie. I’ll make love to you, like I use to and you’ll forget all about anyone else. I lay on top of her and gently part her legs. Just as I am about to enter my Nirvana…
What the fuck?
Is she delirious? I’m not Christian! Even with this blonde hair, I don’t look like fucking Christian. She finds super-human strength from God knows where and she is kicking the fuck out of me!
“OH GOD! NO! NO! CHRISTIAN! HELP ME! OH GOD!” She’s hysterical. Does Propofol do this!?
“Rosie, it’s me!” I yell, but she’s screaming like a banshee. I can’t stop her. I put my clothes back on and sit on the bed next to her. She screams until she is just too tired to scream anymore.
“Rosie, it’s Ed. Calm down.” I try to soothe her. She’s pulling frantically—but uselessly—at her cuffs.
“Why am I here? What’s going on?” she wails mournfully. She looks at me like she doesn’t know me. Oh! The disguise! I remove the beard and carefully take out the contacts. She’s still breathing hard, but the crying stops as she begins to recognize me. Oh, thank…
“You sick fuck! What the hell are you doing!? Have you lost your ever-loving mind!?” She screams as she fights maniacally to free herself from the cuffs. Oh, shit…this isn’t going as planned at all.
“Rosie, stop it! You’re going to hurt yourself!” I say.
“Get these off me! Let me out of here! Oh, God, help me!” And she’s screaming again. Fuck, I didn’t expect it to be this bad.
“Rosie, let me talk to you, please,” I beg.
“I don’t want to hear anything you have to say! Let me go! Let me out of here!”
“Rosie, stop screaming. Nobody can hear you,” I yell. The screaming stops like someone pulled the plug on a radio. Thank God for that. However, I would have taken the screaming to the look that she has on her face right now—pure unadulterated fear. I don’t want her to look at me like that. She won’t let me anywhere near her like that. I reach out to touch her and she scrambles to the head of the bed like a scared rabbit.
“No,” I say. “No, Rosie, I won’t hurt you. I would never hurt you. I love you.” She just looks at me, like she’s a cornered animal and I am a wild beast about to rip her to shreds. I can’t take her looking at me this way. She just needs a moment to be resigned to her fate. I pull the blankets back and cover her. She shrinks at my touch. I thought I could talk to her, finally explain my feelings to her now that I had gotten her away from everyone. But she can’t hear me. She’s frightened right now and she has to be assured that I won’t hurt her. I’ll leave her alone for a while and go fix her something to eat. When I leave the room, I hear her sobbing uncontrollably.
Bob is sitting at the kitchen table, smoking a cigarette with a smug ass look on his face.
“Not quite the reception you were expecting, was it?” he says through cocky laughter.
“She’ll be fine, she just needs a little time,” I reply, trying to make myself believe the words.
“Well, good luck with that. If this little reunion of yours doesn’t work out, I still want my money,” he says.
“You’ll get your fucking money,” I reply as I start to prepare dinner for Rosie.
It’s 9:00pm and the sun is setting over the sound… and still no word from Butterfly. She said she would be back and I’m trusting that she will, but it’s been hours now. I try to call her cell phone for the 100th time this evening and it goes straight to voice mail. I haven’t left a message all the other times, but I finally decide to leave one now:
“Butterfly, please talk to me. I only did what I thought was best. Please, I miss you so much. Call me.”
I end the call and Gail comes to the door of my study.
“Mr. Grey, your dinner… please eat, sir,” she coaxes. Butterfly’s TPE comes to mind, and then Grace crying in my arms. I rise from my chair and go to the breakfast bar to eat my dinner alone.
I thought we would be making love tonight. I thought I would be holding her in my arms and declaring my undying love to her. Instead, I sit here choking down some beef dish that Gail made so that I won’t disappoint her when she returns. My heart aches… again. I didn’t think she would be so angry with me. I thought that once I explained to her what I did and what I found that she would understand why this trip was so necessary, even if neither of us knew just how necessary it was in the beginning.
Gail sits a bottle of water next to my empty plate, and I obediently take several swallows. I know what I put them all through and I won’t do it again, but I feel just as forlorn now as I did then. I don’t know if I can go without her for days again. I don’t think I could take it. It would just be too much for me. I would rather she leave me and never come back than to keep putting me through this repeated torture…
What the fuck am I saying!?
Before I know it, I’m back on my piano again, and Moon River is keeping me company.
I awake and it’s dark in the room. I have no concept of time and I think it’s still Friday night… or early Saturday morning. I had screamed and cried myself into exhaustion and now I’m awake. I’m still chained to this damn bed and my throat feels like sandpaper… and I have to pee! Badly! Did anybody allow for this contingency or are we just playing this shit by ear?
“Oh, boy.” I whimper to myself. Suddenly I hear movement in the room. A light comes on at the foot of the bed and as I adjust my eyes, I see Edward with eerily blonde hair sitting at a desk.
“What do you need?” he says softly. Oh, how nice… my kidnapper is kind—fucker. I don’t want to say a damn word to him, but if I don’t I’m going to piss on myself. Second only to being cuffed to this damn bed in this strange place with this fucking psychopath sitting over me, the last place I want to spend the night is in a puddle of my own piss.
“I have to pee,” I murmur. He comes over to me and pulls a bedpan from underneath the antiquated faded brass bed.
Oh, you must be kidding me!
The look on my face must have said it all.
“It’s either this, or you wait until I bind your hands and feet and gag you to carry you to the bathroom,” he says, calmly.
“Why would you gag me? You said no one could hear me.”
“So that you don’t bite me,” he responds. I’m definitely not going to be able to hold it until he’s done binding and gagging me, though part of me wants to give it a shot just so that I can piss all over him. I decide against it since I’m hopelessly cuffed to the bed and opt for the bedpan. It’s still not the most sanitary decision since I can’t clean myself afterward… and he thought I was going to let him do it. I decide to part my legs slightly under the covers and let air do the rest.
“You need to eat, Rosie.” I just glare at him. I will starve to death, and I mean that I will starve to death, before I eat anything that he puts before me. This man drugged me in broad daylight. I’m not putting anything in my mouth that he presents to me… Not food, not water, not anything. “You’ll have to eat sometime,” he says.
“You think so, huh?” I mutter. He sighs heavily. “What are you doing Edward? Why am I here? Do you hate me that much?” His face changes to something I can’t read.
“No, Rosie. I love you,” he says. What!? What in the blue hell…?
“You call this love?” I say, holding my raw wrists up for him to see. “You have me chained to a bed, naked, peeing in a bowl. This is your idea of love?”
“I had to talk to you, Rosie. I had to get you alone, but you wouldn’t let me. You got that damn restraining order. You pulled a gun on me, and that fucking guard is always around.” His voice is almost whiny and he’s pleading, but I can only hear the devil himself. “You’re always with him… with Grey. At your office, at his office, at your place, at his place, that house in Bellevue… even in the hospital. You couldn’t even leave him for one night in the hospital!”
Oh, my God. This man has been watching every single move I’ve been making for weeks! What good is a damn restraining order if he was still able to follow me everywhere I went?
“I didn’t break the law, Rosie.” Huh!? “I was always 1001 feet away from you and your location at all times, but I just had to be near you, to see you.” He drops his head. “I just couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t be without you one more minute. It took everything that I had in me not to throw you over my shoulder and take you away the day that you wore that red dress.”
This is insane! Where was his tail? How could he get that close to me? Even with the blonde hair and blue eyes…
Of course, they didn’t know it was him. Hell, I fucked him for two and a half years and I didn’t know it was him. Oh, God. He could have been in the room right next to me and I wouldn’t have known it.
“I just had to get you away from them—from all of them—so that I could talk to you. I just want things to be the way that they used to be, before I turned into the asshole that had to sleep with everybody in Seattle; when I was your whole life and you were mine. Remember when we talked about getting that place in Richmond Beach?” he laughs, like we’re sitting here reminiscing about old times. Maybe he is, but I’m horrified. “You remember, the two-bedroom with the vaulted ceilings and the view of the Sound. We said we’d expand when we had kids. Somebody bought that little house a while back, but it’s back on the market now—still on that huge plot of land and still as beautiful as ever. I want to buy that house for you, Rosie, get you away from Seattle and the distractions there.”
Well, wherever we are right now, we’re not in Seattle.
“We could make all new friends and have a whole new life. You would love it. I know you would.” I can’t believe what I’m hearing. I don’t dare answer him or dispute him. Right now, I’m scared out of my wits. What does he plan to do, keep me prisoner? Chain me to the stove and force me to be his happy housewife? Drug me whenever we need to leave the house? Keep me naked and tied to a bed for the rest of my life? This has to be a nightmare! I was on my way home to Christian! This can’t be real? Why did I leave without Chuck? Why didn’t I just let Chuck follow me? Oh, God, this can’t be happening. This just can’t be happening…
The entire time that he’s describing this scene, I’m hearing The Turtles singing “Happy Together” in my head while Edward and I are holding hands, skipping across a field of green towards a little house in Richmond Beach. The only problem with this lovely scene is that I’m wearing a filthy, muddy wedding dress, my hair is nasty and putrid, and my wrists and ankles are shackled leaving only the freedom to skip. Edward, on the other hand, is wearing dirty, tattered clothing and a hockey mask and carrying a machete!
“Why did you sleep with him, Rosie? You broke my heart when you slept with him.”
Is he going to beat me… like he did those two girls? I can’t even defend myself. The most I can do is kick and he can immobilize me by sitting on my legs. Oh, God, please, no…
“You had dinner with me, you got my hopes up, and then you dumped me and slept with him.”
I didn’t dump you. We weren’t together!
“And when I came to talk to you the next day, he was there, leaving your apartment…” He’s getting angrier, I can hear it in his voice. “All I wanted to do was talk, but you’re standing there damn near naked with this fucker leaving your apartment! Then the minute he comes back, you kick me out!”
He’s blaming me again. He was harsh and cruel to me that day, and my hands were free. Now I’m helpless, and he’s getting pissed all back over again.
I curl my body up to the headboard and bury my face in my arms. I make myself as small as I can and hopefully, when he hits me, he won’t have much area to hit. I close my eyes and think of some other place… any other place but here. I can’t hear him anymore as my mind drifts to many of the wonderful memories Christian and I have made in the brief time that we’ve been together. I think of watching the sky while lying on the grass in the backyard at his parents’ house; playing Charades when he had no voice last weekend; walking out of the bedroom and watching him comfortably chatting about the Mariners at our first dinner party.
I feel a hand touch me and I immediately know that it’s not Christian’s. This is it! Here it comes! I pull myself in tighter and shriek like the touch is burning. Actually, it is. It’s burning my soul and my heart. He’s going to hurt me and he’s going to keep me away from Christian.
“Rosie! I’m sorry! Did I hurt you?” His voice is full of concern. No, he didn’t hurt me. I was just afraid that he would, but he might as well to keep me away from my love. Oh, please go away. Go away so that I can be with my love, even if it’s only in my mind. The hopelessness of the situation envelopes me, and I begin to weep. How will I get out of this? What am I going to do?
I miss Christian.
The sun is rising over the buildings and I still haven’t heard anything from Butterfly. She said that she would come back, and we promised one another that we wouldn’t do anything like this again. I only spent half of the night at my piano this time before going to my bedroom and running my hands over her clothes hanging in my closet. I aimlessly tried to get some sleep, but I ended up only lying there looking at the ceiling until the sun invaded my bedroom. I purposely make myself do everything I would do if all was well with Butterfly and me—six miles on the treadmill, shower and shave, get dressed, eat breakfast, check my emails…
Still no Butterfly.
Should I go to her apartment? I truly don’t want to barge in and I know she is mega-pissed at me, but I can’t go without her like I did before. I have to see her, to hear her, even if she’s angry with me. I grab the keys to the RS7 and walk to the elevator.
Her parking spot is empty when I get to her condo. She’s not here. I try her cell again. Still going to voice mail. I send her text number 12 begging her, again, to please call me. With nothing else that I can do at this point, I turn around to go back to Escala. Ray LaMontagne strums a guitar softly on my iPod playing through my radio, and I just want to hold my Butterfly. The ache that I feel for her is getting stronger and stronger. I keep driving and trying to figure out what I can do to fix this. I want to say that I would have done things differently had I known she would be so upset, but I can’t. I love her, and I still would have to get to the bottom of what those monsters did to her… even if it was possible that she never speak to me again. I could still give her the peace of knowing that those bastards are going to pay—even if I was never at peace again.
I’m still driving, past trees and houses, and Frou Frou sings about the beauty in breaking down. If that’s true, then I must be fucking gorgeous right now. I just want her back home and the pain of being without her is killing me. My blackberry interrupts my maudlin thoughts as well as my iPod and I answer it without looking—not wanting to be hopeful that it’s her.
“Sir, Gail asked me to find out if you were returning for dinner.” I know this is just an excuse to call me and make sure that I hadn’t driven my sports car into the Sound.
“Yes, I am,” I respond. “Taylor?”
“Can we track her phone?” I ask hopeful. I just want to see her.
“Not unless it’s on, sir.” I know that it’s off so that’s a no-go.
“I’ll be there later,” I say before ending the call. I pull the car over to the side of the road and just sit there. I clear my mind and let the music play from the iPod. I don’t want to think of anything right now. I want complete nothingness… if only for a moment.
Several hours and a near-empty tank of gas later, I pull into the garage at Escala. Her car isn’t in any of the parking bins. I was hopeful, although I know someone would have contacted me had she returned. Dusk has now fallen over Seattle and I’m feeling a combination of anger and sorrow. I choke down my dinner once more with a bottle of water, then call Butterfly again. When her voice mail immediately picks up, I’m unable to holster my feelings:
“Anastasia, why are you doing this? We promised that we wouldn’t do this again. Why are you shutting me out? I don’t understand. I gave you your space and I accept that what I did was dishonest, but this behavior is so unfair to me… to us. I’m eating and drinking, but I’ll admit that I’m not resting well. I’m trying but sleep just won’t come to me. I miss you, Ana. I need you. I only did this because I love you. Please call me, baby. Please come home.”
I end the call feeling completely helpless. I don’t know why she’s doing this. I didn’t do this to hurt her, she knows that. I know that I should have handled things differently, but this is not solving anything. She has got to call me so that we can talk about this. I go to iTunes and search for the song. I should have found it way before now, but something always seemed to sidetrack me. I find it and download it to my iPod. Instead of going to my piano, I go to my bedroom and put on my pajama pants and a t-shirt—one of the ones that has her scent in it. I put in my ear buds and lay on her side of the bed. I put the song on repeat. I don’t know how long it takes, but I finally fall into a fitful sleep.
Daylight is invading my senses, but I do not welcome the dawn. I’m not in the soft, warm king-sized bed that I was dreaming about, wrapped in the arms of my beloved. I’m in a room with ugly yellow walls plastered with hideous flowers, old ugly nightstands and an equally ugly desk and chair at the foot of the bed—an uncomfortable, outdated, tarnished brass bed with knotted bedding from the 1960’s and old pillows that smell of mildew. Nothing in this room matches, including the heavy drapes that show signs that they were once lavender, but are now a nasty faded gray.
Gray… like his eyes…
Edward returns to the room with a tray of breakfast food, the smell of which only serves to turn my stomach.
“I know you’re hungry, Rosie. You didn’t eat dinner.”
I know how he felt now. I know why he couldn’t eat… I hope he’s eating now. I turn away from Edward without a word.
“Dammit, Rosie, you have to eat!” he says, forceful but concerned. I don’t respond and I don’t turn around.
“Well, I know you have to pee.” Damn! That’s one bodily function that I can’t deny, but I still don’t move. He gets the bedpan and positions me so that I can pee. I take pleasure in that small relief, the only relief I will afford myself today besides thinking of Christian… and sleep. I don’t know how I could do it, but ever since I was a kid, I could sleep at will—tell myself to go to sleep and then I’d sleep. When he removes the bedpan, I turn away from him again. He abandons the effort of trying to make me eat, but leaves the tray of food on the desk. I guess he figures that the smell will be so overwhelming that my hunger will get the best of me.
Nope, not working.
I close my eyes again and dream of the bathtub at Escala filled with lemongrass bubbles.
“How do you expect to win her over? She hates you.” I hear voices outside the door.
“You let me worry about that. I’m working on it. I’m talking to her.” That’s Edward.
“Well, one of your five days is already up, man, and she don’t seem no closer to seeing things your way.” Five days? What’s happening in five days?
“And again, you don’t have to worry about that. When our five days are up, we’ll go our way and you go yours.” He’s talking to Harris. That must be Harris. How did they know that I would be alone at the Aquarium? Nobody knew where I was going! And what’s happening in five days? His words play over again in my head.
“When our five days are up, we’ll go our way and you go yours.”
Fuck! He’s going to move me to another location, and nobody is going to know where I am. Hell, I don’t even know where I am now! This is fucking insane. He can’t believe he can get away with this. The door opens and now Edward has appeared with a lunch tray.
“I know you must be hungry, now, Butterfly,” he says as he sets the tray on the desk. My head snaps over to him immediately.
“What did you just call me?” I gasp.
“Butterfly. Isn’t that your name now?” he says, smiling. I have gone from hopeless and helpless to seething and livid. The hell if I let him taint that name for me!
“You don’t get it, do you, Edward?” I say, turning to him, my soul full of rage. “You just can’t see the forest for the trees. I will never love you, I will never be with you. I don’t care what you do to me, because there’s nothing that you can do to me that is worse than what has already been done to me. So, nothing that you can do to me can scare me, coerce me, or convince me to be with you. This whole thing is an exercise in futility. There’s nothing that you can do to me that hasn’t already been done except kill me, and although I do not want to die, I am not afraid of death.
“Do you even understand the magnitude of what you’ve done here? Christian is never going to rest until you’re dead or in jail. No matter what happens to me, he’s never going to rest until he takes you down. You don’t understand what you’ve done at this point, do you? You have no idea how serious your actions are. I don’t know what’s wrong with you. I will never want you, Edward. Ever! And everything that you do just further enforces the fact that I will never, ever want you. So, beat me, rape me, kill me, torture me, do whatever you want to do. But in the end, you are still not. Going. To get. What you want. Get over it. Understand it. Now you’ve made a decision that guarantees that it will be impossible for you to even just get on with your life. You have now even thrown that option away. Are you happy now? Was it worth it? What is wrong with you? What screws are loose in your head that you can’t figure out when a woman doesn’t want you? Either she wants you or your rape her, torture her, and beat her? What is wrong with you?”
His face has lost all color. He didn’t know that I was aware of Camilla and Phyllis. Oh yeah, I know, Asshole.
“I would never do those things to you. I love you, Butterfly…”
“Don’t you ever fucking call me Butterfly again as long as you fucking live! You have no idea what that means, and it has absolutely nothing to do with you and never will. And what do you call this… some new love potion that I’m not aware of? You tried to fuck me when I was unconscious for Christ’s sake! You’ve got me chained up in a room in the middle of God knows where and you have the nerve to talk to me about love? Did you love those girls when you raped them and beat them? Am I next if I don’t fall in line?” I spit.
“Oh, God, Rosie, I would never hurt you, I swear,” he pleads. Well, at least we’re back to fucking Rosie!
“You’re hurting me now, you sick, sadistic, twisted fuck! Are you enjoying this!? I don’t know what in the world made me ever love you in the first place. I don’t know if I was just in a bad place in my life, or I was just fucked up and screwy as you are, but I can’t see for the life of me what made me think that I wanted to spend more than a moment with you, much less a lifetime! This is insane. Why would you even want a woman that doesn’t want you? What major malfunction is going on in your mind that you would want to be with a woman that doesn’t want you? Are you sick?”
I’m spitting the words out without even thinking. This man has pushed me beyond all limits and I no longer have anything to lose. He is going to move me to parts unknown in five days—four now.
“You just need time, Rosie,” he says, his head down as he opens the door to leave.
“Time isn’t going to make one bit of difference, David. I hate you now, and I’ll hate you later,” I spit before he leaves. I turn on that automatic sleep mechanism and pray for dreams of my man.
“Rosie, wake up.” It’s getting harder to open my eyes now. My stomach is growling, and I do feel hungry—but I refuse to eat a thing. My head is hurting now, too—probably from lack of fluids—but if I lay still, it doesn’t hurt as much. “You need to eat, or you are going to make yourself really sick. I don’t want to have to force feed you.” Doesn’t he know that there really is no such thing? Swallowing is not an automatic mechanism. You have to make yourself swallow. He’s stupid.
“You kept calling me a whore that day in the parking garage.” I say, my voice weak. He looks at me. “You knew, didn’t you?” He shifts uncomfortably.
“Yeah, I knew,” he confesses. This doesn’t surprise me.
“Ev,” he says. Is this supposed to mean something to me?
“Everest Billings. He was my roommate at U-Dub the year that we met. We saw you at that dorm party. He told me about it,” he answers.
“How did he know about it?” I ask.
“He graduated from Green Valley.” he says matter-of-factly. Fuck my life! Christian was right. I’ll never be free of this shit if he doesn’t get to the bottom of it—but that’s not all.
“Christian was right! You profiled me, didn’t you?” I ask in horror. He twitches a bit at the word. At least he had enough conscience to feel ashamed about it.
“I wouldn’t call it profiling,” he responds, obviously searching for a better word.
“What would you call it then?” I snap. “You saw a girl that you thought was weak because of what happened to her years ago. Truthfully, I was weak. It was you and your crazy ass antics—your cheating and your lying—that made me strong. But you profiled me because you saw that I was weak, and you thought that you could control me. And for a couple of years, you did control me. That’s really twisted. You’re more sick and twisted than I even imagined.” He picks up a forkful of food.
“Enough of this yapping, you have to eat!” he says, forcefully. He tries to push the food into my mouth, but I won’t open. He pinches my nose to force my mouth open for air. I part my lips, but not my teeth. He loses his patience and grabs my hair, pulling it back forcefully. When I cry out, he shoves the food in my mouth. I spit the mouthful back in his face. His anger rises in him and he snatches my hair again. His free hand is in the air, in position to strike. I look at him square on with tears in my eyes.
“You’d never hurt me, huh?” I say. His eyes soften immediately, but his hand is still in position, the other one still holding my hair. “Go ahead. Remember, there’s nothing that you can do to me that’s worse than what has already been done… but of course you already know that.” A single angry tear rolls down my face. He releases my hair with a frustrated jerk, picks up the tray and leaves the room.
I now know that I have to put a plan in motion or I’ll never see the people that I love again. This man is sick and unstable, and I can’t play his game… I have to play my own.
Christian went down after four and a half days. I weigh considerably less than he does, so that should take me down at least one day. Even though I’m getting rest and he didn’t, Dr. Fischer said that it wasn’t exhaustion that made him drop… it was dehydration. Christian ate breakfast on Monday and was hospitalized on Friday evening. I’m at least 60 pounds lighter than he and almost a foot shorter. My last meal was breakfast yesterday. Even with rest, by tomorrow night—Monday morning at the latest—I’ll be down for the count. Ed will either have to let me die or get me some help. By then, I’m praying that Al has kicked in the contingency plan. If he hasn’t, I’m fucked
A/N: Atlas—again with the Greek mythology. After losing a war with the Olympians, Atlas was sentenced to hold up the sky to keep it from combining with the Earth. Classic art shows Atlas holding celestial spheres that represent the sky, which lead to the misinterpretation that he was actually carrying the Earth on his back, hence the origination of the saying “Carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders.” This is how Christian envisioned Ana must have felt bearing the burden of the Green Valley incident all these years.
Unfortunately, if you have the right connections, you can get Propofol recreationally. I would have thought “not so” after the death of Michael Jackson. But alas, it’s true. 😦
Edwards clothes are a tribute to Jason of Friday the 13th. Ana in the dirty wedding dress is just… sad and twisted.
I’m sorry that I can’t remember the reviewer’s name that gave me the idea for “Happy Together” but thanks and let me know who you are.
Be Here – Ray LaMontagne
Let Go – Frou Frou
The song that lulled Christian to sleep was their song, Love All the Hurt Away.
As always, pictures can be found on Pinterest at http://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/paging-dr-steele/
You can join my mailing list on the “Contact Me” page. Just click the link and it will lead you to a form to join the list.