This is a work of 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 57—Mrs. Taylor
I’ve always enjoyed rock-climbing and hiking and with Butterfly off at the spa, this is the perfect opportunity to embark upon one of the more challenging Anguillan trails without the feeling of leaving her behind. Davenport was just about to entertain some young woman as I was leaving and was concerned that I would make him tag alone. He can stay, enjoy the villa. No reason why he shouldn’t get laid on this trip if the opportunity presents itself.
A couple of hours before sunset, I venture off on a hike called Anguillta. This isn’t for the amateur or the faint of heart. This trek takes you up the north side of the Western Tip of the island. Once you get through some very thick brush, you’re faced with very high cliffs that could make you dizzy if you’re not careful—which isn’t a good thing since these cliffs can go up to 100 feet high and you’re walking along a very narrow path cliffside right along the edge. I’m quite stricken with the beauty of the view that awaits me when I clear the trees and the brush the get to the cliffside path.
The majestic beauty of the islands and the bluest of the Caribbean Sea has me nearly speechless. My only regret is that Butterfly isn’t here to share it with me, but I would be a nervous wreck with her walking on these paths. I take a picture with my blackberry to show her later. I want to see if I can get a view of Anguillita Island before it gets too late as I don’t want to be maneuvering these paths after sunset. It’s nothing spectacular, just something to be able to say that you’ve done while you’re on the island. It’s grueling trying to watch your footing and not fall into the precipice, but it also keeps your mind occupied from other things…
…like why you are repeatedly hurting the people who you care about the most.
I make it to my destination with plenty of time to spare and decide to rest and hydrate myself some more as I gaze across to the small patch of rock known as Anguillita Island. Like I said, it’s nothing spectacular, but very few people can say they’ve made this trek and saw the beautiful island of Anguilla and the Caribbean Sea from the side of a cliff. I take another picture of the island, then scroll back to take a look at it. Of course, I run across a picture of Butterfly. I have no idea where this picture was taken. I don’t even recognize the background. She’s standing against a brown wall with Tiffany blue dots looking playfully over her shoulder at me. I have no idea how old this picture is or where we were when we took it. I just look into those playful, beautiful, guileless, glass-blue eyes and all I can think is… I want my Butterfly.
I begin making my way back down the cliff.
Are they having a party in there!? I drive up to the villa and I hear loud pop music and laughter. Well, at least there’s fun to be had… too bad they had to wait until after I was gone to have it.
I come into to the great room and I immediately spy a huge pitcher of iced tea on the counter. As I get closer to it, I notice that the color is wrong for iced tea and I can smell the distinct fragrance of alcohol… rum to be exact.
I’m now drawn to the very loud sound of karaoke coming from the pool. I take position out of sight and now hear my very drunk girlfriend belting out a tune at full volume about flying.
“Yeah, you’re flying alright, Baby,” I laugh to myself. At least she’s at the villa in the midst of two of my security personnel although everyone seems to be completely relaxed, only the women indulging in the rum punch. She looks heavenly out there. Her skin is glowing… even after sunset… and her hair is floating flawlessly in the Caribbean breeze. She’s talking to Gail about nicknames and my eyes drift to her smooth beautiful thigh peeking out from this flowy black and white creation that she’s wearing. Suddenly, she’s on her feet belting out another song from a boy band… Backstreet Boys, I think. No one notices when her expression changes and she momentarily freezes in her spot.
I noticed… something’s wrong.
She takes her drink from a nearby table and excuses herself from the party. When she clears the pool area, I make my presence known.
“Good evening everyone,” I say walking out to the pool. I get casual greetings from the group. “How was the spa?”
“Seemed okay,” Jason says. “Gail?”
“She seems a little distracted,” Gail says to me. “Overwhelmed a bit I think, but the spa was very good for her.” I’m thankful that Gail was there with her. With the way that I treated her, she may not have wanted to come back.
“I’m very glad to hear that. Where is she now?” I ask.
“You just missed her. She went off that way,” Davenport responds pointing in the direction that Butterfly left. “She has been partaking in libations this evening. She may need some alone time.”
“Libations?” I ask, pretending not to know.
“Ma’s Rum Punch,” the golden beauty at Davenport’s side says to me, gesturing to the near-empty pitcher of alcoholic libation. Good God, there were two pitchers!? It’s a wonder these people aren’t pickled… unless…
“She didn’t drink this all by herself, did she?” I ask concerned.
“No,” Gail says calmly. “Keri and I helped. Jason may have had a sip or two. Charles, as I discover I am the last to know, is a teetotaler.” I smile as I see the punch has relaxed her a bit as well.
“Have some,” the young lady identified as Keri offers as she lifts her glass to me from the other end of the pool.
“Maybe I will… but later. I want to make sure my girlfriend hasn’t fallen into the Caribbean Sea,” I say with a chuckle to keep the mood light. “Don’t mind me… I’m going to go find a pickled Butterfly.”
They laugh as I leave the pool area and I’m relieved that my presence didn’t dampen the merriment. My relief fades when I find Butterfly looking forlorn on the exact spot where we shared magical moments not three days earlier. She’s quite fermented, I discover, as she’s having an extensive conversation with her phone.
“What should I do with my life?” she asks. Whatever the answer, Butterfly is not pleased with it. “I cut my hair today.” You did what!? I look at her beautiful locks to see just how much of it is gone. I didn’t notice it had been cut when she was at the pool. Maybe she just got a trim.
“Should I cut it all off?” I’m remembering the day that her lovely hair caressed my body and sent me into a near-orgasmic haze.
“I’m sure I don’t know,” the damn phone responds. No! Fuck, no! How about fuck, no!?
“Don’t you dare,” I say to her, trying to push all the desire that I can into my voice to influence her not to trim away that gorgeous mahogany mane. Her head tilts a little in my direction, but she doesn’t raise her eyes to mine.
Oh Butterfly… please still love me. I know I’ve put you through so much and I’m going to fix that. Just don’t give up on me.
I squat so that I am eye level with her.
Please look at me, my beautiful lifeline.
“How was your day? Did you enjoy the spa?” I say softly, careful not to touch her unless she invites me. She embraces me so hard and so fast that I am momentarily stunned, and I don’t know what to do. When she buries her nose in my neck and inhales, she literally sucks all the uncertainty out of me, and I pull her close to me with a combination of force and restraint.
Oh, you wonderful, magical, beautiful woman… you’re my life. I don’t know what I would do without you. You’re my everything.
I stand with her in my arms and she wraps her legs around me clasping her feet behind me like she’s afraid that I will let her go.
No, my soul’s nectar, I’ll never let you go.
The conversation at the pool screeches to a halt as I carry Butterfly past the small party and into the villa. I enter the elevator to take her to our suite and her body goes a little limp on me. I start to panic momentarily when I get her to the bedroom, but then realize that she’s only falling asleep as when I try to lay her on the bed, she instinctively tightens her grip on me.
I sit on the bed and manage to untie my boots then kick them off with my feet. I step on each sock and remove them from my feet. She’s still semi-consciously clinging to me and I just lie back on the bed. One or both of us will have some sleeping limbs in the morning, but I don’t think either of us cares at this moment. I stroke her back, her cheek, her hair. She moans contentedly.
How many times can you call someone beautiful before it gets old?
“I hiked up the Western tip today,” I say softly to her sleeping form. “I walked over cliffside paths with gorgeous views of the island and the water.”
“You did?” she whimpers. I know she’s asleep and she’s not going to remember this conversation, but I keep talking anyway.
“I did,” I say. “It was gorgeous, and I had never done it before. I walked nearly all the way to the tip, and I could see Anguillita Island from there.”
“Hmm,” she moans. I close my arms around her again.
“It was beautiful and majestic and spiritual… and all I could think is that I wanted you there with me… to share its beauty… though I wouldn’t have been able to stomach you walking on those cliffs,” I say honestly. “One of the most emotionally significant moments that I think I’ve ever had—and you weren’t with me. It was all I could do to get my ass down that mountain and get back to you.”
“Really?” she squeaks, her eyes still closed. Her mind and body are exhausted… but her soul still clings to me, even on a subconscious level. So, I keep speaking to her soul.
“Really. All I want to do is make you happy. All I need is your love and I can do anything. I can rule the world if you still love me. I can give you anything and everything you want—emotionally, physically, and financially. I’ll do everything in my power to be your dream come true if you promise me that you’ll still be my dream come true.”
I bring my lips to hers and kiss her gently, deepening the kiss a few times then remembering that she’s barely conscious, and I should probably try to control myself. I want to make love to her so badly that my soul aches, but I won’t. She needs to be comfortable, and I won’t take advantage of her or seduce her. The next time we make love, she’ll have to initiate.
“Hmm… I love you, Christian…” Her words are a sweet harmonic tune to my ears and heart. I pull her closer to me and she nuzzles into my neck.
“I love you, too, Anastasia Rose Steele,” I say, squeezing my eyes together as one lone tear slides down my temple before I drift off to sleep.
I’m cold. I awake soaked through my T-shirt with sweat but I’m shivering cold. I had returned to Escala and she was gone. Her clothes, her car… everything. My Butterfly had left me with no explanation. We fell asleep fully dressed… in Anguilla… and for one brief, terrifying moment, I was back in Seattle—alone and without my love. I reach over to touch her, reassure myself that it was a dream… and she’s gone.
It was a dream, wasn’t it?
I leap from the bed and snatch a linen shirt to cover my sweat-drenched T-shirt and go in search of Anastasia. It’s 3:00 in the morning, the sun isn’t even rising yet. Where could she be? I quietly check all the rooms on this floor, then the third floor, then the second-floor—minus Gail and Jason’s room that is—then the first floor. I peek into Davenport’s room when there is no answer after a light knock. I don’t want to see the man’s dick swinging in his sleep.
It was worse.
Yes, I saw more of a sleeping Davenport than I wanted, but I also saw more of a sleeping Keri than I should have. Shit! I have to find Ana. I walk into his room—I’ve seen the woman now.
“Davenport,” I say loud enough to wake him but hopefully not wake his companion. He sleepily opens his eyes and takes a moment to focus on what’s happening. When he realizes that it’s me standing over him, he goes to cover his nakedness. Dude, fucking seriously?
“I’ve got that equipment!” I scold quietly. “Cover her!” I add, gesturing to Keri’s naked form. Davenport gains his senses and gently throws a sheet over Keri before reaching for his boxers. “Meet me in the great room.” I say before leaving his room.
“Sir, I’m sorry about Keri…” he begins when he comes into the great room. He thinks this is about her… like I’m going to sneak around in the middle of the night trying to catch my employees getting laid!? I wave my hand.
“I knocked. You didn’t answer. I can’t find Ana,” I say. I don’t care if you get some ass, I want to find my girl.
“Um…” He’s a little stunned. “I assumed you’ve checked the entire house. Did she take one of the cars?” I didn’t check that. We both look outside and both cars are still there. We check the pool, the patio, our special place… no Butterfly. The dream is starting to feel more and more real and I’m feeling a little sick. I didn’t check to see if her things were gone, but I don’t want Davenport to know that I’m thinking along these lines.
“Have you checked the beach, sir?”
The beach… of course.
We both head out the back patio door and start in opposite directions down the beach. I break into a run in my direction as I’m anxious to find her. I don’t know how far down the beach I run when I realize there are no footprints in the sand and she probably didn’t come this way. I start back and a little ways down the beach I bump into a breathless Davenport.
“Do you run marathons, sir?” he says trying to catch his breath.
“Did you find her?” I ask, irritated.
“Yeah, she’s at the other end of the beach. I didn’t disturb her,” he says. At least she’s still here.
“Thank you. I’m sorry to wake you.” He nods and returns towards the villa. I break in a sprint in the other direction towards my Butterfly. I have to touch her… be near her. I almost can’t breathe. I see her in the distance, staring out at the water like she did the night before. I don’t like that far away distant look that she gets when she’s looking at the water, like she’s going to walk out into it and never come back. By the time I reach her, I’m panting like a sick dog. I’ve run further than this in the city, but for some reason now, I can’t breathe. She’s standing there in that same black and white dress with a shawl or a wrap over her arms. I snatch her in my arms and pull her close to me, panting frantically.
“Christian!” she gasps. “You’re soaked! What’s wrong!?”
Her voice is full of concern. It was a dream… It was just a dream…
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens,
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens,
Tied up in Christian Grey’s arms like a string,
These are a few of my favorite things…
I lay here now for about an hour wrapped around Christian and his arms clamped behind me. I don’t want to move. I want to stay here and not go back to any of the things that threaten to tear away my sanity… including Harris chasing me in my sleep, which is why I’m awake now. He was a sick, evil bastard when he was alive. Why wouldn’t I expect him to be the same when he’s dead?
For some reason this time, he just looked at me. He never said anything, and he never got close. As I walked away from him, he followed me, but he still stayed several feet away. As I ran away from him, he chased me, but he never caught me… never got close… never got the chance to hit me like he did in my first dream.
I have no idea why.
I stopped running and stood there looking at him. I finally yelled, “What do you want, you fucker?” He never spoke and he never got close. I just shook my head at him and said, “Go the fuck away, you bastard!”
And he did.
When I woke, it was more out of confusion than anything, but I couldn’t get back to sleep. That was probably because I slept a little at the Viceroy and I’m not as tired as I should be. Christian’s face is so peaceful, like he is utterly exhausted and lost in a deep sleep. I don’t move… I relax in the rise and fall of his chest. The outdoor scent has dissipated and there’s only his fragrance now. I seem to remember something about cliffs and islands, but I can’t completely recall the conversation. No doubt he went hiking—he was certainly dressed for it. Was I that drunk? Did we have a conversation and I don’t even remember it? It couldn’t have been too bad if I wake tangled in his warm embrace… and now I have to pee.
I try to ignore it, but my bladder isn’t having it. I slowly and gently pry myself from his grasp, then kiss him lightly on the lips when he starts to stir. He quickly settles back down into sleep and I dash to the en suite.
Aaaaaahh! Sweet relief!
I return to our room and sit on the edge of the bed. There’s no way that I’m going to get back to sleep now. Christian looks so peaceful… I don’t want to disturb him. I grab my wrap from the closet and decide to go for a walk on the beach.
I don’t know how long I stand there looking out on the water and letting it soothe my ravaged soul when I look over and Christian is barreling at me like the house is on fire. He’s usually approaching like the male models in the movies running on the beach in slow motion, pecks glistening and biceps flexing, beautiful locks bouncing behind him in the wind.
No, not this time.
I mean he’s stumbling towards me like Fred Flintstone on roller skates! He slams into me with the grace of a cyclops and I think he’s going to knock me over! He clutches me in his arms and his shirt feels like he’s been searching for me in the damn ocean.
“Christian! You’re soaked! What’s wrong!?” Is somebody hurt? What’s the matter? He’s shaking! He has me pressed to his chest and I can’t move, so I’ll just have to wait until he calms down. After a few moments, he’s finally able to talk. He holds my arms in his hands and looks me in my eyes.
“I’m sorry,” he gasps. I frown and shake my head.
“For what?” I ask, bewildered. He squeezes his eyes shut and shakes his head.
“For… everything… I’m sorry.” He sounds a little delirious. He’s not sleep-walking… what’s going on?
“Christian, has something happened? I need you to tell me what’s wrong…” I need him to make sense. I don’t know why he’s apologizing, and I don’t know what’s wrong.
“You… were gone… you left me…” he sputters.
“I didn’t go anywhere, Christian. I just came to the water.” I’m still confused. We’re on an island… where the hell am I going to go?
“No… your things were gone… you left me… your car…” My car!? What the hell!? That’s when it finally occurs to me. He was dreaming. I left him in a dream, then he awoke and I was gone.
“Christian, it’s chilly and you’re drenched. We need to get you inside before you catch cold,” I say, soothing.
“I’m sorry…” He keeps repeating it.
“Okay, Baby. I’m not going anywhere, but I’m getting cold. Will you come in with me, please?” I plead. He nods meekly and I take his hand and lead him back to the house. It’s about 4am and the house is quiet except for some muffled moaning I hear off to my right.
I lead Christian over to the elevator and we go to our room. I sit him on the bed and take off his wet shirts. I get a towel and dry his chest and back and he starts to shiver a bit. I put a fresh t-shirt on his body and he looks up at me.
“Better now?” I say and he nods. “Do you want some pajama pants?”
“Please,” he says softly, contritely. I pull some pajama pants out of the drawer while he removes his cargo shorts. While he dons his pajama pants, I replace my dress with one of his t-shirts. I gather our things from the floor and put them in a nearby chair. He comes behind me and clamps his arms tight around me, resting his head on my shoulder.
“Ana,” he breathes. Wow… that must have been some dream. I grasp his hands in mine and squeeze tightly.
“I’m not going anywhere, Christian,” I say softly. I feel him nod and I lead him to the bed. He climbs in first and I turn out the light and climb in with him. As we snuggle under the sheets, I lie on my side, partly on my back, and wrap my arms and legs around him again. He wraps his arms around me and nuzzles into my chest. He sighs heavily once he’s comfortable, and I begin to play in his hair.
“Why were you out at the water again?” he asks, exhaustion in his voice but also a hint of fear. I sigh. I have to let him know that it wasn’t him.
“I dreamed of Harris again,” I say softly. “I lay here for an hour—in your arms—trying to get back to sleep, but then I had to go to the bathroom and… by then, I knew I wouldn’t get back to sleep.”
“The last time you stood by the water, you were running away from me,” he says.
“Not so much running away as… trying to breathe…” I correct him.
“I smother you?” he asks, his voice a bit forlorn. Well, yes, but no more than I want.
“No… it was the situation… the circumstances that were smothering me.”
“Which I caused,” he adds.
“Nope, we both had a hand in that, along with some other people and things,” I say, with a yawn.
“I’m the reason the Pedophile kept calling,” he laments.
“And I certainly won’t ever sit and listen to you take responsibility for the actions of that sick bitch. Understand?” I chastise.
“Understand,” he says. Good. I thought I’d get more of a fight from that. ‘I’m pulling more of my backing from her and I blocked all of her numbers from my phones.”
“Well, that’s good to hear,” I say, my eyelids getting heavy. His head is starting to sink into my breast.
“Butterfly?” he says, sleepily.
“Hmm?” I respond.
“Will you marry me?” Okay, I’m awake now! When I look at Christian, I can tell that he’s not. So, he’s not even going to remember this conversation. I stroke his hair again as he’s drifting off into sleep.
“Yes, Christian. When the time is right for both of us, I will marry you. Don’t ever forget that,” I say softly.
“Okaaay…” he says, slipping further into unconsciousness. I smile at him as his breathing regulates and he produces a very light snore. I cradle his head in my arms, and I’m asleep in no time.
I awake in the same position I fell asleep. Nothing is tingly or asleep and I feel all snugly and comfy holding my man. The sun is up in the sky and I would guess by its position that it’s about 9:00. It’s Gail and Jason’s wedding day and we should get up to see if there’s anything that they need. I was thinking to reach for my phone when it starts ringing… but… it’s ringing Christian’s ringtone. Christian is here with me… what the hell? As I am about to investigate, he shifts a bit and it starts to ring again. I wait for a moment to see if he’s doing what I think he’s doing. Sure enough, it stops ringing, I feel him shift… and it starts ringing again. God, he such a teenager!
“So now, I’m going to have 25 missed calls from Baby,” I scold him. He lifts his head and looks at me.
“That’s what I’m saved in your phone as… Baby?” he asks. I reach over to the nightstand and pick up my iPhone. After unlocking it, I go to “missed calls” and show him 32 missed calls from “Baby.” He laughs. “That’s sweet,” he says looking up at me. “May I kiss you?”
“Christian… of course you may.” Why would he ask if he could kiss me? He puts his lips on mine and kisses me with reverence… and then with earnest. It’s one of those kisses that suck the life out of you and infuse you with energy at the same time. I feel that familiar spark go through me as his hands stroke my back and his tongue explores my mouth. I thrust my hands into his hair and devour his kiss as much as he devours mine. I tighten my legs around him as I feel his erection rising between us. He moans into my mouth as he strokes himself against me once then stops.
“Oh, God, Baby, please…” His voice is tortured and thick with arousal as he breaks his kiss. “We have to get up. Gail and Jason have the whole day planned and we have to get up.” I know he’s right, but he feels so good between my legs. I squeeze once more and grind my pelvis against him.
“Ah!” His grunt sounds painful as he grabs my ass to hold me in place. “Baby, please!” He begs and almost sounds like he could cry. I stroke the hair off his forehead. After what has happened with Gail and Jason, he probably just doesn’t want to let them down today.
“Okay, Baby.” I kiss him on his forehead and release my legs. He’s breathing heavily, and I know that he’s so aroused right now that he can’t stand it. I know that when he usually has bad dreams or trouble sleeping, we make love if I’m awake, but last night he just fell asleep in my arms. Today he’s most likely climbing the walls, but we both want to be there for Gail and Jason, so we’ll have to put our needs aside for right now. I don’t know what the plans are for the day, so I just don a robe and go in search of Gail.
“Well,” she begins as we’re sitting in the second-floor lounge, “I picked up a few things in the boutique yesterday and I really don’t want to make a big fuss out of things. I want to have breakfast with you all, then I want to go on the beach walk that we were supposed to have on Sunday. Then the girls and the guys split up and get ready for the wedding. We’ll meet at the church…”
“Church? You decided to have the ceremony at a church?” I ask.
“Well… yes,” she says a bit bemused.
“I’m sorry. It’s just that the last I heard, things were rushed, and you were just going to have an officiant… and now you’re having it at a church. I think that’s wonderful!” I take her hand and she smiles.
“Thank you, Ana. I’m so glad you’re here.”
“Me, too,” I squeak like a school girl. “So, I guess we should get dressed and head out for the beach walk, then, right?”
“I guess so. All of this sun is doing wonders for me. I’m going to have to start taking my vacation time from now on. I’ve lived like a hermit for so long working for Mr. Grey that I didn’t know what I was missing. He didn’t force me to live that way, I just rarely got out.”
“You’re never going to be able to call him ‘Christian’ are you?” I ask, noticing that she’s still calling him Mr. Grey. She shrugs.
“It’ll probably come with time, but old habits are hard to break,” she says. “So, let’s wrangle these men and I’ll meet you downstairs in twenty!”
A beach walk turns out to be just what it sounds like. We don bathing suits and cover-ups and go out to walk around and catch some sun. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Keri agreed to come back and join us for the day as this will certainly be a day full of romance and couples things and Chuck would certainly have been the odd man out. No, I don’t expect for them to go running off into the sunset and live happily ever after, but at least he has a companion for the festivities.
Around the noon hour, the girls go back to the villa while the men go off to parts unknown. Of course, Christian has the stylists from the Viceroy come to the villa and doll us up… simple styles and make-up, including the bride… and the mimosas are flowing as we talk candidly about the wedding night, with Jason and Gail foolishly deciding to spend it at the villa instead of getting a room!
“Ana, it’s such a waste of money… then I would have to deal with checking out at a certain time when we could just stay at this beautiful villa with the pool and the Jacuzzi and the beach not 100 feet away from the back door! It’s ridiculous to go to a hotel,” she argues.
“I know, but it’s your wedding night! I mean, you know… I don’t know…” I chicken out trying to tell her that she might want to have some loud animal sex and not worry about what will be said in the morning, but she reads my body language.
“If you and Christian can have your fun on the fourth floor and we not hear you, we can have our fun on the second floor and you not hear us.” She takes a large drink of her mimosa.
“Oh my God,” I say, turning beet red and the three of us burst into a fit of giggles.
“What you wear for de wedding night?” Keri asks in her beautiful accent. Now it’s Gail’s turn to blush.
“Is it one of the things we got from Nordstrom?” I ask curiously.
“Yes…” she pauses nervously. “The Joquil Casablanca,” she says, shyly. I gasp.
“Oh my God, that’s perfect!” I squeal. “Who would have thought we were buying that for your wedding night.” She smiles, but it doesn’t reach her eyes. “What’s wrong, Gail?” She sighs heavily and tears begin to fall.
“I love Jason. I truly do.” I get on my knees next to her lounge chair.
“I know,” I say taking her hand.
“Then why am I thinking of Douglas now… and of our wedding day?” she says weeping.
“Him tink of you, Chile,” Keri says, taking Gail’s other hand. “Me no know who dis Douglas is, but him tink of you, now. Him gone to da udder side?” Gail looks at her sorrowfully and then drops her head and nods. “You love him… veddy much!” Gail nods again, the tears falling harder. “Dis a wonderful ting, Guhl! Many no find good love once… you find twice. Beautiful ting!” The young island girl speaks with the wisdom of Solomon.
“Ya stop dat cryin’ now! Douglas love you. Him want you to be happy. Ya Jason treat ya good or Douglas make ‘im pay!” She nods as she speaks with all seriousness. I think Jason better be good to Gail. I don’t take that spirit thing lightly, especially right now with Harris haunting my nights. Gail nods again and pulls herself together.
“It’s a good thing the make-up is simple because now, they have to fix you up,” I say and wink at her, eliciting a small laugh from her. I turn to Keri and mouth “thank you” to which she nods kindly.
Promptly at 3pm, Chuck returns to retrieve the women. Gail is wearing the maxi dress that I suggested and she looks stunning. It’s double layered white chiffon with crystal beading that crisscrosses over the ruched breast then comes up around the neck in a halter. She’s wearing diamond swirl earrings set in yellow gold that look a lot like her engagement ring and a diamond and yellow gold tennis bracelet. Her hair is swooped in the front and gathered in the back in an intricate curly bun decorated with white flowers with a splash of red.
This turned out to be an extremely untraditional wedding as the men will be very casually dressed in that typical white shirt and khaki pants with comfy shoes that you see in many beach weddings, as evidenced by Chuck’s attire when he comes to pick us up. What’s more, Gail insisted that if she had to wear a white dress, we would be forced to wear one as well. I tried to tell her how ridiculous that is as she’s the damn bride. Her response was, “It’s no more ridiculous than my walking down the aisle at 38 years old in a white dress. Now chop, let’s see what you got.”
Beautiful as it was, Gail replaces Keri’s lavender sundress with a simple white spaghetti string maxi Gail had picked up from the boutique yesterday. Keri is already wearing a pair of diamond and pearl drop earrings and a beautiful silver necklace with a small circle of stones and a pearl attached to the end. The hair stylists performed a fast miracle when they arrange at least two feet of impeccable locks into the most beautifully sculpted coif of natural hair that I’ve ever seen. They did some of that magic “Val” work because I only see two hair decorations in the back of this magnificent creation.
For me, Gail picks my white spaghetti string maxi dress that is almost identical to the one that she lent to Keri. Mine is decorated with butterflies on the breast and hip on one side and from the knee to the hem on the other side. I wear my imitation Maria Mancini diamond and teardrop pearl earrings and my South Sea pearl necklace with it. My hair is pulled into a side-back bun much like Gail’s with a side loose bang in the front. They didn’t have butterfly pins for me, but they had a cute dragonfly and two hairpins that looked like butterflies so that was close enough. We all wear satin ballet slippers acquired at the last minute for a little reveal when we got to the church… which means that I will spend a day being 8″ to a whole foot shorter than everyone else. It’s a sacrifice that I’m willing to make today.
Chuck is pretty speechless seeing Keri in her white dress with her hair pinned up in this magnificent style. I know that we aren’t seeing anything long-term here—or at least I don’t think so—but it’s nice to see him so taken with her at that moment. We quickly load into the car and we’re off to Ebenezer Methodist Church. It’s a beautiful little brick building with blue shutters and a steeple. There are several locals gathered outside and around the church. When we look to Chuck for an explanation, he says, “Apparently, in these parts, if your wedding party and guests are less than 10 people, it’s not a good sign.” We look at Keri and she nods.
“My people come ta bless de union. Come! Come! We go get ya Jason!” she says with urgency. We quickly remove our ballet slippers to reveal our other last-minute acquisition. We’re each wearing barefoot sandals in a style unique to ourselves. Holding a small bunch of bougainvillea flowers, Keri is escorted into the church first on Chuck’s arm. Her sandals are pearls and narrow beads with a double-string of pearls down the foot and tiny clear beads that wrap around the second toe. Mine are pearls and tiny clear beads around the ankle with a double-strand of tiny clear beads down the foot to my second toe—the strings held together by two white butterflies. Gail’s are iridescent beads—tiny and small—around her ankle, down her foot, and around her second toe with a cluster of rhinestones at the top where the strands meet around the ankle in front of the foot.
I step in the door of the church with my flowers after Keri to see a few of the local folks sitting in the pews and smiling. I notice that Jason is at the front standing with Chuck, but I can’t see Christian. I find him standing inconspicuously off to the side as I enter the church. He starts to make his way to the back but gestures to me to walk on down the aisle alone before putting his fingers to his lips to “shush” me and then blow me a kiss. What the hell is he doing? I just follow directions and walk down the aisle alone.
When I get to the front, I see Gail walking into the church holding a beautiful bouquet of wildflowers. In a moment, Christian is by her side proffering his arm to her with a huge, 32-teeth blinding smile.
“May I?” I hear him say, and it’s everything that I can do to keep from bursting into tears at that moment. Gail’s not so lucky. Her body is nearly shaking with sobs as she takes Christian’s arm and allows him to walk her down the aisle. Behind the gentlemen, I hear a piano playing and a young man singing in a beautiful falsetto voice about letting go of past promises and two lovers facing the rest of their lives together…
So tonight, I lay me down to sleep…
And pray my soul to keep…
In that your love will rescue me, for the rest of my life…
I live to say goodbye…
To all the promises left behind…
Here we are you and I…
A second chance…
I later found out that Jason chose that song especially for Gail as a surprise for her to be sung at their wedding.
When they reach the front of the church, Christian again kisses Gail on the cheek and gives her hand to Jason before taking his place next to Chuck. I’m looking at my man standing there smiling sincerely at his friends and all I can think is how much I love him. I’m remembering his words to me last night as he was falling asleep…
Butterfly…will you marry me?
I’m wondering if he remembers saying them. More so, I wonder if he remembers my response. I’m pulled from my thoughts by a part of the ceremony that slipped everyone’s mind…
“Who gives this woman to this man?”
Gail’s head drops immediately as she doesn’t know what to do at this moment… explain that there’s no father of the bride? Badly hide the fact that she is now thinking of Doug? I look at Christian in a panic and he speaks to me with his eyes. I immediately read his thoughts and we nod at each other before looking at the minister and simultaneously saying,
“We do, sir.”
Gail is crying again as her free hand reaches for me and I grasp it tightly hoping to give her some strength. I see Jason extend his hand to Christian who shakes it firmly then covers Gail’s hand with his. Once Gail is able to stop crying, the ceremony continues, and with the exchange of beautiful gold and diamond wedding bands, the world is introduced to Mr. and Mrs. Jason Taylor.
She’s absolutely breathtaking.
I’m sitting at a table sipping fine rum from a sifter and watching her float around the beach dancing to a reggae/calypso mix with Keri, Chuck, and Gail… and whatever locals wander by and want to dance. It has been everything I could do not to run up and punch the last 12 guys in the jaw that have danced with her. Instead, I sit here sipping my drink and watching her enchant people like she always has.
Fifty-eight days. Fifty-eight days ago, she wandered into my life. I looked at her and I knew that she would be mine. I thought she would be a sub, of course, but I knew that she would be mine. None of that heavy-handed stuff worked with her… not even the heavy-handed charm. She saw right through me. She turned those blue eyes on me and I was empty… and shallow… and hollow. There was nothing there—nothing there at all. She turned my whole world on its axis before I even touched her once. She’s strong and classy, sweet and loving, when everything that has ever happened to her says that she shouldn’t be. Everything that has happened to her says that she should be as fucked up as the Pedophile. Yet she has gone through all of this and has emerged as a shining example of what a human being—a real woman—should be, while Lincoln has always had the world handed to her in one way or another and turned out to be the scum of the fucking earth…
Kind of like me… but not…
I have the crack whore and her pimp… and the Pedophile to thank for my screwed-up sensibilities, that is until this tiny miracle breezed through my life. Five foot three with shining dark brown hair half as long as she is tall, now completely enchanted with butterflies since I gave her the nickname, dancing barefoot on the beach while the Caribbean breeze caresses her skin. We’re at a restaurant named Mango’s—excellent food and it sits right on the beach. This is where Mr. and Mrs. Taylor decided to have their reception, as it were… just food and music and whomever wants to dance. Butterfly has had a couple of drinks again and now she’s floating around, dancing, laughing, and having a wonderful time… while I sit back here in the restaurant afraid that my fifty shades of fucked up will ruin her once and for all.
“She’s not going to disappear,” I hear Jason say from behind me.
“What are you talking about?” I ask.
“She’s not going to disappear. You’re watching her like if you blink, she’ll disappear,” he says, taking a seat and handing me one of the two beers he had in his hand. I take a long drag. Quite frankly, I was sick of that rum.
“Do I destroy everything I touch?” I ask him honestly. He looks at me and frowns.
“I think that’s a bit drastic, don’t you, Boss?”
“Could be, but those assholes never would have gotten their hands on her if it weren’t for me.” I drink more of the beer.
“You couldn’t have prevented that. David was unstable before we even met him. Did you forget what we found out about Cedar Rapids?” Jason reminds me.
“That may be true, but if it weren’t for me, he never would have hooked up with Harris.”
“Okay, that’s an altogether different kind of sick, Boss. I found out later that the reason he lost David was because he was getting blowjobs from prostitutes… three and four times a day!” Jason shakes his head. “Man, my dick would fall off!”
“Mine wouldn’t,” I say, triumphantly.
“And that is too much information,” he says, taking another drink of his beer. “That woman, she’ll walk through fire for you. You could take her right to the gates of hell and as long as you hold her hand, she would cross that threshold with you. She loves you, Christian… no matter what. It doesn’t matter what you do, or what you say, she loves you through and through. You’re a brilliant man, but you don’t make the soundest decisions all the time. As long as she’s with you, I don’t worry about you at all. Whatever you’re thinking, know that you are going to crumble and die without her. I’ve watched you and I know that I’m right. You need to go dance with your woman instead of sitting back here trying to plan your escape.”
He knows me too damn well. Only, it wasn’t my escape that I was planning. She has been through so much… so much… that I just can’t help but wonder in light of the last few days, if she would just be better off without me.
“I’m going to go dance with my wife,” he says, standing from the table. “And Boss… you’ve done some pretty good things in the time I’ve known you. Don’t be so hard on yourself.” He turns and joins the group dancing in the sand.
I don’t know about doing good or whatever else he’s talking about, but I know he’s right about one thing—I would die without her. Ever since I met her, I know what it feels like to have a soul. I know the feeling of being hopelessly joined to another person to the degree that you cannot breathe without them. I know that no matter what happens, I must have her with me… near me… or I won’t survive—that in all of my fucked-upedness, I have to make it work for us… because I love her more than I love myself.
I leave the table and walk over to my beloved Butterfly. Her back is to me and her hands are in the air. She’s moving her round little hips the same way that she was that first night I watched her at the McElvoy. She mesmerized me then and she’s mesmerizing me now. I outline her body the same way that I did that night, without touching her… only this time, she’s mine! I can touch her. I start with her hands, gently touching them—holding them for a moment—and then slowly slide my hands down her arms from her wrists to her forearms to her biceps…
She feels divine.
She responds to my touch and slows her movements only momentarily, then she begins to sway in my hands. I point my fingers down and slide my hands along the sides of her body. She’s so tiny without her stilettos or her wedges, but her bare feet look so sexy in that beach jewelry that she’s wearing. Her gyrations continue against my hands and I slide them around her waist, pulling her to my body and matching her movements. She moans softly as I bring my lips to her shoulder, gently kissing the skin before resting my head there. Her eyes are closed as she leans back into me.
“My soul adores you, Anastasia,” I breathe, helplessly snared by her charms.
“And mine longs for you, Mr. Grey,” she says as one hand tangles into my hair and the other covers my hands around her waist. I feel a warmth wash over me as she pulls me into her, our bodies still swaying to the music. I turn my head into her neck and inhale her scent. It’s delightful. She turns her head to face me and our lips catch each other in a deep, passionate kiss. All of my synapses begin firing at once and all I can think is that I want to be everything for this woman. She makes my spirit sing—that dark place that I never knew was hollow and empty and lost, she has filled it with love, longing and hope.
“I love you, Christian,” she whispers against my lips.
“Oh, Butterfly, I love you so much…”
Butterfly had another one of her nighttime walks last night. Apparently, the dreams of Harris are plaguing her much like my dreams of my childhood did. I wish I could comfort her and tell her that they will go away. The truth of the matter is the only thing that helps my nightmares is Butterfly. I still have them occasionally, but when I wake and she’s next to me, I settle right back down and sleep. When she wakes, however, her rest is broken, and she has to wander. What is she going to do when we get back to Seattle?
I didn’t panic this time when I saw that she wasn’t there. I just went out to the beach and watched her for a while… let her clear her thoughts of whatever was haunting her that evening—or morning I should say. When I went back inside to get water, she came in right behind me. After assuring me that she was okay, we returned to our suite to get some more rest. She still seemed a bit restless but settled down into sleep after a short while.
We didn’t make love last night and my body is yearning for her. This will now be day four without having her and my resistance is weakening, but after that session that I would much rather soon forget no matter how much immediate good it did for me, I want to make sure that things happen on her time the next time. I would make love to her every night if she would let me, but it still has to be on her terms.
I finish looking over some contracts and sending notes back to Ros on changes that I want when my blackberry rings. It’s Carrick.
“Hi Dad,” I answer.
“Hi, Son. How is Anguilla?”
“Beautiful as always. There was a wedding yesterday.” There’s silence on the line.
“Ana…?” Oh, I guess that’s how it sounded, huh?
“Oh, sorry. No, Dad. Gail and Jason exchanged vows. It was very nice.”
“Oh, how wonderful. I’m glad you’re enjoying yourself, Son. Maybe now we can get you on a trip with the family where you might actually do something besides work.” He laughs.
“It’s very likely, Dad. So, what can I do for you? Is everything okay?”
“Yes, Son, everything’s fine except…well, Shane Hemstead was taken into the ER last night while your mother was on duty.” I freeze.
“Was it…?” I’ve blocked her from my phones and I’m pulling my backing from another one of the banks. I’ve cut all lines of communication with her and now the kid ends up in the hospital.
“We don’t know, but somebody has done a real number on this kid and he’s not talking.” That sounds like her. “Contusions, broken ribs, his nose may be broken…”
“His nose?” Red flag.
“Yes. He looks like he was put in the ring with someone. They worked him over pretty well.”
“Dad, is there any other bruising on him?” I ask. Something’s not right.
“He’s got some old bruises on his wrists and ankles, possible signs of abuse on his legs and back.”
“You need to get him to talk. I’m telling you that the bruising on his legs and his back are most likely from Elena Lincoln as well as the ones on his wrist and ankles, but broken ribs and face injuries, that’s not her signature.”
“Do you think he was in a fight?”
“He was in some kind of fight, but I don’t know with whom. Have you had a chance to talk to his parents or his grandfather?”
“Bob said his grades were improving… that’s why he was in summer school. He did very well. He complained about it at first but then he went every day. Then according to Sarah, he had gotten a job somewhere and was buying all kinds of new clothes and things…an iPad, a new phone. I had a feeling these were the things he got from Lincoln.”
“Most likely. What did they say about his behavior?”
“He was fine up until about a week ago. He became very moody, stopped going to his job… what happened Christian?”
“Just about a week ago, I rejected Elena Lincoln… again. She’s been trying to talk to me… to regain control… ever since the whole meltdown at Bellevue. Each time something happens with me, something happens to Shane. Now I don’t know what happened this time because it doesn’t have any of Lincoln’s benchmarks.”
“He looks like he was beaten out of pure rage. I don’t know how he was still standing—if he was still standing.”
“That definitely was not Lincoln. Our intel says that she dismissed him a couple of weeks ago, we think it was in hopes of getting me back. She would have certainly brainwashed him not to tell his parents. She has no fear of exposure so there’s no reason she would have to do this to him. She called my phone on Monday and Butterfly answered…”
Butterfly answered my phone. Nobody answers my phone. Lincoln knows that.
“I’m sure this has something to do with her, but I’m also sure that she didn’t do it. Why don’t you…” As I’m talking to Carrick, a call is coming in. It’s Welch. Most likely to tell me about young Hemstead.
“I have to take this, Dad. Talk to the Hemsteads again if you can. See if anything changed in the last few days.”
“Okay, Christian, let me know what you find out.” I click over to Welch just before it goes to voicemail.
“What’s up, Welch?”
“Sir, Shane Hemstead was admitted to the hospital late last night.”
“Yes, my father just told me.”
“From what we can tell, he was attacked on his way home last night. He is… well, he saw Mrs. Lincoln again…”
“Why didn’t somebody tell me!?” I snap. He was back in the belly of the beast and nobody said anything?
“Because nothing happened, sir. They met up at McDonald’s and he left. From the looks of things, they were planning to pick up where they left off and he was quite chipper when he left the restaurant. Then our next word was that he was hospitalized. We have double surveillance on Lincoln but minimal on Hemstead since he was homebound for a while.”
“So, nobody saw what happened to this kid?” I ask.
“But we know that he wasn’t with Lincoln.”
“Yes sir, we know that.” I’m quickly running through scenarios in my head.
“Where is Stampwell?” I ask about Lincoln’s little lovesick stalker.
“He’s still around. Not much coming from him, but he’s still stalking around.”
“Where was he last night?”
“We didn’t see him, sir. We had close eyes on Lincoln, and he was nowhere to be found.”
“I’m betting that he had something to do with this. See what you can find out. If he saw what you saw, he’s pissed. And Welch, you need to move quickly on this. If Shane doesn’t talk, they’re going to remove him from the home on an investigation of abuse.”
“Yes sir.” I end the call with Welch and turn around to find Butterfly standing just to my right.
“Hi. How long have you been standing there?” I ask.
“Long enough to know that the Pedo-Bitch She-Thing has her claws in another child,” she says, angrily. I run my hands through my hair and nod.
“We’ve been trying to catch her. I know from experience that the kid isn’t going to turn on her. So, if we don’t get good solid information to use in court, we can’t do anything. And now, the kid has ended up in the hospital.”
“So I gathered.” She sounds really angry. “So, did she do that to him?” I shake my head…
“It’s not her style, but it had something to do with her. I think he may have been jumped by one of her previous admirers.” I put my head in my hands. If I had said something before now… when she could have been arrested for what she did to me, I could have prevented God knows how many kids from suffering my fate.
“Oh, Christian.” Butterfly comes over and climbs into my lap. “There has to be another way. I mean, she can’t just keep molesting little boys like this. How old is this kid?”
“Fourteen,” I say leaning my head against the chair.
“Oh my God,” she exclaims, covering her mouth.
“I know. She has to be stopped…”
“Well, what does the little boy’s parents say?” she asks. Oh, hell.
“They don’t know yet.” Her head jerks back.
“They don’t know yet? How could they not know?” She’s horrified.
“My parents didn’t know about me, either, baby,” I say, clasping my hands around her waist.
“Yeah, but nobody knew about you, Christian. Your whole security staff knows about this boy… and it’s still going on?” How do I explain this to her so that it doesn’t sound bad? I can’t.
“We have to get some evidence on her that will stick so that we can put her away. If we don’t—if we just open up and say, ‘Hey, she’s molesting this kid’—she’ll just stop… until the next kid… and the next kid… and the next kid. She’s a habitual pedophile, a serial child molester. We know that she has been molesting boys for at least 17 years. We don’t know how much longer. So, with no one ready to stand up and speak out against her—I hate to say this, and I know how bad it’s going to sound before it comes out of my mouth—one kid is going to have to be the sacrificial lamb so that we can save so many more.” She’s glaring at me like she could truly hit me right now.
“You’re right! That sounds awful!” she spits. Then she sighs heavily. “…But I live in the real world, and I know how these things work. It’s so unfair.” She holds her head down.
“I know, baby. Believe me, I know.” She looks up at me with those beautiful, guileless blue eyes again. She puts her arms around my neck and plants a sweet kiss on my lips.
“Are you okay with this?” she asks softly.
“Honestly… no. I wish I had spoken up instead. I wish that all the boys that fell into her hands after me hadn’t fallen. If it weren’t for Elliot telling me what she did to him—and later, you talking to me—I would still be under her influence, and I don’t know where my life would end up. The kid that I think is responsible for this… he’s 19. He just ‘aged out’ of her clutches… and he didn’t want to go. So, we think he’s the one that attacked Shane… or at least I do. I know what it’s like to be under her command long after you are no longer one of her pets. This kid can’t cope with it. She wants a boy and he’s a man.” She sighs again.
“Well, at the risk of sounding selfish, I have been on this island for five days, and I’m not getting the decompression that I was promised. Now we only have a few more days left, and I want to have lots and lots of fun. So, it’s time to forget about spreadsheets and companies and crazy pedophiles and have a little fun for Christ’s sake… or maybe even a lot a fun!” she says, defiantly.
“Oh, Ms. Steele, you definitely have the right idea. Shall we rouse the lovebirds?” I say playfully. She laughs at me.
“The lovebirds walked past you twenty minutes ago,” she snickers. Yeah, it’s definitely time to get the hell out of here.
A/N: Cyclops: Another creature from mythology (there she goes again). Evil giant with one eye in the middle of his forehead.
Solomon: Known to be the wisest man in the Bible and the richest of all the kings in the world (The Holy Bible: KJV – Books of I & II Samuel, I & II Kings, I & II Chronicles, Song of Solomon)
The wedding song is El DeBarge – Second Chance
Don’t forget to check the Pinterest page at http://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/paging-dr-steele-the-trip-to-anquilla/ for pictures of the dresses, the rings, the restaurant, the hairstyles, the jewelry, and a video of Gail and Jason’s wedding song.
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.