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 fanfic in MY interpretation as a fan. I hope you—as a fellow fan—enjoy it, too.
Chapter 35—Hold or Fold
Six hundred people are employed by Vansteen Security, approximately. Of that 600 people, 200 are administrative and office staff and 400 are security staff and supervisors. They facilitate an average of 25 clients depending on need. Out of those 25 clients, 17 have had serious complaints in the past year—some of them repeatedly, and some of them are still pending. When a client complains, the ex-director placates the complaint by whatever means—like replacing the windshield and detailing the car of the resident whose car was vandalized during business hours when the security staff should have been watching the parking lot. The guards on site are switched out with different guards—not better guards, just different ones. This game of musical guards has been going on for longer than the audit can even track. Training and screening are inadequate. There is little to no disciplinary action for breaking rules, failure to perform job duties, insubordination, or the multiple complaints that have been lodged by Vansteen’s clients. It’s amazing to me that this company and I haven’t been sued yet.
After examining the results of the internal audit, I’m afraid that restructuring Vansteen Security and retraining all the staff would be too costly an undertaking and not worth keeping the company in tact. Walker did everything in his power to convince me to the contrary and I had to admire his vigilance and loyalty to the employees, but it’s just not happening. I decide that at the end of the month, Vansteen will close. I will send representatives to the 25 clients that Vansteen now has and offer the services of one of my more reliable security companies with a free month of service for the inconvenience. The guards that reapplied for their jobs can be merged into the existing companies only if they were not some of the “musical chairs” guards in the complaints. In addition, they will unfortunately lose their seniority and come in as entry-level employees and be retrained to perform their job duties as they should be performed. The administrative staff may be in line for new jobs if there is nowhere for them to go in the company. I send an email to HR to prepare severance packages for those who will not be able to be placed somewhere else in the company. I hate to do this, but I have to send the message to the other companies that playtime is over and the boss is back in town.
Allen put together a core research group to review my finding on the miscellaneous subsidiaries like I asked, leaving me more time to focus on the weak spots that I have identified. He took the day off and a few hours tomorrow to do his Man of Honor duties with Butterfly. They’re meeting dressmakers today as Butterfly has been informed that she has to choose a design by the end of next week. Personally, I don’t see what the big deal is—line them all up on the wall and throw a dart. She look good in a potato sack!
I walk over to the table where the blueprints are for the quarters that I am having built behind my office. I almost decided to call it off since Butterfly came home, but truth be told, I think it might be a good idea to continue. I’ve always wanted quarters in my office if I needed to freshen up or take a nap or—heaven forbid—pull an all-nighter. I did that a few times on some of my more difficult acquisitions, particularly when I was dealing with countries in completely different time zones.
Workers have been in and out of the conference room installing the studs for the new wall and in and out of my office all day taking measurements for the door that has to be cut. I’ll be taking a couple of days off when the heavy banging starts and moving to a spare office down the hall on days that I have to be here. The renovation, I am told, shouldn’t take more than a week to complete. I’m a bit torn about it because I don’t know how Butterfly will feel. Will she think I’m trying to escape? I sure as hell hope not, not after last night.
When she awoke this morning, she was exhausted from last night and still in a bit of a recoil. As I had suspected, her empathy button got stuck in the “on” position and she couldn’t turn it off. She was reliving all of her pain from the separation as well as mine. I was hoping that I wasn’t taking advantage of her, but I needed her so badly—more than I ever remember needing her before in my life. I needed to love her, to feel her, to be inside her. It was almost more than I could bear. Then when I gave myself over to her, it turned out to be more than she could bear.
She confessed that she had heard part of my conversation with Dr. Baker but that she immediately stopped listening when she realized that it was a session. Though she apologized profusely, I could tell that her heart was still heavy. I resisted the urge to sex the problem away—she’s right, that is how I handle all my problems—and asked if she wanted to talk about it.
“No,” she said. “This is one of those things that just has to heal. The deed is done and we both know where our errors were, but the memory from the resulting pain is something that’s going to stick around for a while and we just have to deal with that.” Feeling lost and adrift, I asked her if there was anything that I could do. “Remember how this made us feel,” she said. “Remember that an action that you may think is small has consequences and that we were both caused immeasurable pain because of this series of events.”
“I hardly considered my decision to call off the wedding a small thing,” I told her.
“No, of course not. I just want you to know that even though you’ve heard it your whole life, it’s very true that every action that we take results in a series of events that can change someone’s whole life—or even our own. You seem to know this when it comes to business, but when it comes to your personal life, something seems to get lost in translation,” she informed me with no malice.
“That’s because there are some things that apply to both situations and some things that don’t, and I have a hard time distinguishing the two,” I confessed. “I may need your help with that one… I’m still learning, you know.”
“I know,” she said sweetly. She seemed so vulnerable looking up at me and I just wanted to hold her. “Is there anything else that I can do?” I asked sincerely.
“Yes,” she said stroking my face, “you can love me.”
“I do love you, Anastasia, with all of my heart.”
“I know that you do,” she said while running her tongue up my neck to my ear, sucking my earlobe into her mouth and biting just hard enough to cause the perfect amount of pain. The jolt went to my dick so fast that it shocked me and I jumped… and so did my dick.
“I… thought you said that we can’t solve our problems through sex,” I replied, hearing the need in my voice as I tried to resist her assault on my ear and neck.
“This is different,” she said huskily in my ear while biting the lobe again. Fuck! “We have discussed our issue.” She pushed her hand into my pajama pants and wrapped it around my now pulsing erection. Fuck! “We basically know what we did wrong and not to let it happen again…”
“What I did wrong,” I corrected her trying to concentrate over the pleasure she brought me while pumping my dick. She stopped and looked me in my eyes. Shit! Don’t stop.
“No, what we did wrong,” she said. “Remember, it’s never all black and white. It’s always gray.” I nodded as I could see where she was going. There were things that each of us could have done very differently even though we may have felt that we had no other choice at the time.
“Always gray,” I said and she started pumping Greystone again. “Ah!”
“What we’re doing now…” she rolled over on top of me, “is healing. We are loving each other and mending the hurt that we felt.” I am trying to concentrate while she rubs her wet core against my shaft.
“Is it really that simple, Baby?” I asked, stroking her sides and her hips while she glided along my length, simultaneously pushing my pajama pants down my legs.
“This part is,” she said, her voice husky with desire. “We are both hurting from our actions, and we both know what caused it. Now…” She entwined the fingers of her right hand with the fingers of my left. “…we both want to heal, and to heal each other.” She skillfully pulled my T-shirt off of her with one hand before shifting her hips and guiding me inside of her.
“Ooooo,” I groaned as I slid into her, kicking my pajama pants off my feet. She gasped as I filled her, then laid down on top of me—her torso covering mine and her head on my shoulder. We were close, unbelievably close. Her free hand cupped my face as she kissed my cheek, neck and ear. “Oh, Baby,” I groaned as she started to move, clinging to my left hand. My free hand traveled around her body, stopping at the garden momentarily then rubbing her delectable ass while she ground into me. She whimpered and shivered a bit, prompting me to ask her an important question.
“You’re not… going to cry again… are you, Baby?” I had to focus to get those word out around the mindless pleasure that I was feeling at the moment.
“No,” she breathed seductively into my neck, never stopping her stroke, “not this time…”
That woman does things to me that no one else ever has; makes me feel things that I didn’t think were possible. I have no idea what ever made me think it was even possible not to want to marry her right this very moment.
It’s well into the afternoon when I get a call from Allen.
“Your lady needs you,” he says into the phone, mocking a royal tone. What? What is it now?
“Oookaaay,” I say waiting for him to hand the phone to Butterfly.
“Heeeelllllp…” She sounds like a mouse and I’m trying not to laugh.
“I’m going insane,” she says, her voice mournful. “If I have to look at one more roll of lace or try on one more ball of taffeta, I’m going to scream…” Oh, it’s time to get her out of there.
“I can’t leave just yet, but have the court jester there bring you to my tower, M’lady. I’ll have a late lunch waiting for you.”
“Uuhm,” she grunts before handing the phone back to Allen. “Yes, M’Lord?” he answers.
“Knock it off and bring her back here. I’ll have food and cranberry spritzers waiting for her,” I say. Allen laughs.
“Yes, Sire. We’ll be there in ten,” Allen laughs and ends the call. I shake my head and go to the door.
“Andrea, can you have some steak kabobs, wild rice, and side salads delivered from that restaurant down the street? Oh… and cranberry spritzers?”
“Yes, sir,” she says, picking up the phone to make the call. I close the door and turn around to a frightful sight.
“How the hell did you get in here?” I ask the Pedophile. She’s looking at me with a vacant stare in her eye. When is the last time I saw her… New Year’s Eve at Ray’s wedding, I think? She’s lifeless—walking dead. I don’t feel any sympathy for her, not after everything she has done. She stands in the back of my office wearing one of the jumpsuits that the workmen were wearing with her hands in her pockets. Her hair is hiding completely under a painter’s cap and brassy blond strands stick out in various places. She has dark circles under her eyes and she is wearing no make-up. She looks like she has aged several years in a matter of months. He face shows signs of exhaustion. She says nothing. She just stands there staring at me.
I don’t have time for games. I reach for the intercom to call Andrea.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” she says, her voice cold. It was cold enough to chill me to my bones, but the next sound that I hear has me frozen to the spot. I’ve heard it many times during one of Butterfly’s famous cleanings…
…the sound the carriage makes when you pull it back to load a round.
She has completely lost her mind. Her cold gaze is trained on me along with the barrel of a gun.
“Not so high and mighty now, are we, Mr. Grey?” she hisses. I don’t even know what to say to the woman. I won’t give her the satisfaction of groveling although I’m not ashamed to say that I’m more than a tad bit frightened right now. Crazy, psychotic, delusional, blond Pedophile bitch has me pinned in my office staring down the barrel of a gun. How do you handle that shit?
“What do you want, Elena?” I say with no warmth in my voice. “There’s nothing I can do for you now. You’re totally fucked…”
“Yes, no thanks to you!” she shrieks. “I knew it! I knew that if I looked deep enough that I would find you and that brunette bitch! I know she convinced you to do this shit! I know she did! Morgan, my salons, my money, my reputation—I know she put you up to this! And you followed her! You followed her like a sad, disgusting, pathetic, love-sick loser!” She’s becoming completely unglued.
“Oh, here we go with this again…” I begin.
“Shut up!” she screams and scares the shit out of me. “I’m talking now! You’re going to listen to me now!” she weeps. I don’t know what look I am giving her, but I know what I’m thinking. This bitch has lost her marbles! She goes from viciously angry to tearful and maudlin in a nanosecond. “Why, Christian?” she cries. “Why did you let her ruin me? Ruin us? We could have been extraordinary, you and me! It would have been phenomenal and you let her ruin it all!” she wails.
I am only barely listening to her words as I am watching the gun shaking wildly in her hand.
“How did you get in here, Elena?” I ask. Keep her talking, keep her talking.
“Who the fuck cares how I got in here, you bastard?” she shrieks. “I’m here now, looking right in your arrogant ass face. The mighty and powerful Christian Grey, standing there with a gun in his face and all he can ask is ‘how did you get in here, Elena?'” she mocks. Boy, she is really gone. I can handle angry businessmen and board members who don’t want to give up their seats. I can even handle telling 600 people that they may be out of a job by month’s end, but I can’t handle a delusional, hysterical bleached blond waving a gun in my face. Butterfly is the shrink. I bet she could get…
Oh shit! Butterfly!
I can’t let her get in here. I can’t let anything happen to Butterfly.
“Tell me what you want, Elena,” I say trying to soften my voice. I need to get her out of here. Butterfly will be here any minute.
“Why? Are you going to make all of my dreams come true now?” she says, sarcastically. “Going to make everything all better, are you? Fix everything that you broke? Restore my reputation? My standing in the community? My wealth?”
“I could help you start over, Elena. I could arrange for you to escape, give you some money and help you get out of town…”
“And go where!?” she shrieks. “And do what!? You and you father have the world convinced that I’m a menace to society! What do you suggest that I do, go to a farm in Oklahoma and raise corn?” Okay… so that didn’t work.
“Just tell me what you need, Elena, and I’ll make it happen…” just please get out of here before Butterfly gets here. Her gaze softens a bit, her blue eyes longingly looking at me.
“Isn’t it obvious?” she squeaks. “Hasn’t it been obvious all of this time? I want you, Christian. It’s always been you. None of them ever compared to you. It was always only you. Can’t you see that? Can’t you see that everything was for you? I love you, Christian! I love you!” She starts to weep and I see this as my opportunity to close the distance between us. Just let me get that gun…
My approach is halted by the sound of my office door flying open. The sight there scares me more than anything I’ve seen or felt all day.
Butterfly. Butterfly is in danger.
The look on my face says it all, and the psycho Pedophile has morphed back into her psycho self. “You son-of-a-bitch! Get your ass over here!” she screams at me. Anything! Anything, just please don’t hurt Butterfly. She has changed places with me and now she stands in the middle of my office off to the side while I am standing at the far end near my wet bar and bathroom. Butterfly is frozen in place by the door.
“What a wonderful surprise,” Elena says sinisterly. “You are just in time to see mine and Christian’s reunion.”
What the fuck?
David Tutera was our first stop this morning. Allen was beside himself! David is unfortunately on the outs with his “hunky husband” as Al calls him, and is throwing himself into his L.A. wedding planning business. I don’t know what his usual style is, but to me, it looks like go big or go home. He brought several designs then dragged me to several boutiques before his time was up. Then it was right on to see a local designer for something different.
Are you kidding me?
There is only one word that I could use to describe this woman’s work. Horrible!
Horrible! Horrible! Horrible!
The dresses were clunky, the colors were gaudy, and the fits were dreadful! I almost wanted to slap Tammy for wasting my precious time! I sat through about 30 minutes of torture before I was tearing down the door to get out of her studio.
“Ana!” Tammy and Al are nearly running to catch up with me. “That was a little rude, don’t you think?” Tammy scolds. I whirl around on her.
“Are you serious?” I nearly bark at her. “In the time that we have spent together, you didn’t have the slightest clue that I would hate those designs? They’re atrocious! You tell me that we have limited time to find someone that’s going to make the ‘dress of a lifetime,’ and then you present something to me that you know that I’m going to detest? Can you even picture me wearing one of those hideous creations? In front of Christian’s family? In a castle!? Seriously!?” I am clearly having an anxiety attack on the street. Tammy’s eyes get large and Al looks like he’s poised to catch me if I fall.
“Okay! Okay! Bad call!” Tammy says, her voice a little shaken. “We won’t go for unique…”
“Oh, unique I can do,” I hiss. “That was macabre!”
“Don’t you think that’s a bit dramatic, Jewel?” Al says. I whip around and glare at him. I actually see my best friend shiver.
“How about couture?” Tammy says, trying to throw some water on the fire. I narrow my eyes at her.
“Show me what you got,” I grumble, and we are off to the next victim…er, I mean designer.
The two couture houses put me in a better mood. The designs were absolutely divine. Some were not quite my taste, but beautiful nonetheless. By the end of the day, I had truly seen all the tulle and satin and silk and lace I could stomach for one day. It may have been a little easier to deal with had I not had that horror show right in the middle. What the hell was Tammy thinking? Was that supposed to be a bad joke?
“If anybody else looks like that Nightmare Before Christmas we saw earlier, scratch them off the list now!” I command Tammy. She nods timidly and goes back to her iPad. Tutera and the coutures are definitely in the running, but now I need to get the hell out of this setting. Almost like bells from Heaven, Al hands me his phone.
“It’s your fiancé. Talk to him and calm yourself.” I take the phone and I can only mutter one word.
He instructs me to join him for a late lunch at Grey House, which I am only too happy to oblige. I’m going to vomit taffeta and lace any second now.
“Come on, Jewel. I think you’ve had quite enough wedding for one day.” Al and Chuck escort me back to Grey House and I am nearly sprinting to the elevator to get to my man. Chuck just shakes his head at me.
“I’m technically still not on the payroll, so I’ll be waiting in your car if you need me,” he says. I nod.
“We’ll get that straightened out soon enough,” I tell him as I step into the elevator and take it up to Christian’s office. When I step off of the elevator, Andrea is a pale as a ghost. Her assistant is standing there staring at the door. Both of their eyes grow large when they see me emerge from the elevator.
“Ladies?” I say, questioning their glare. I soon figure out why they are staring at me strange. There is a woman screaming in Christian’s office—and when I say screaming, I mean screeching like a witch. I look at his door and back at Andrea.
“Who’s in there?” I ask.
“We thought it was you!” Andrea confesses. “We were trying to figure out how you got past us!” I look at each woman’s face and literally storm into Christian’s office. Christian’s expression is a combination of horror and dismay. Why the fuck are you looking at me like that? You told me to come here!
It takes about three seconds for me to analyze what has just happened.
Standing on the other end of Christian’s massive office is the stank-ass, slutty, nasty, filthy, slimy, Pedo-Bitch She-Thing demon from hell, and she’s waving a gun at my fiancé…
Wait a minute… motherfucking goddamn bitches from the lowest fucking pits of fucking hell! That’s my motherfucking Beretta!
“You son-of-a-bitch! Get your ass over here!” She-Thing commands my boyfriend, who quickly moves to the other side of the room—as far away from me as he can get, it seems. I’m still stunned that this bitch is carrying my Beretta… and waving it at my man! She takes the place where he was standing in the middle of his office, midway between the two of us and off to the far right.
She’s been crying, and she looks like shit. She’s hysterical, and most likely still delusional.
“What a wonderful surprise. You are just in time to see mine and Christian’s reunion.” Yep, still delusional.
“Wha… what is this all about?” I say, trying to keep her talking. She glares at me.
“This is about you, Dear!” she hisses at me. I see Christian in my peripheral vision reaching for something near his wet bar. Please, Baby. Please don’t try to be a hero. I glare straight at Elena. Eyes on me, Bitch.
“What do you mean this is about me?” I ask. Don’t rile her, just keep her talking.
“This! This is all about you!” she’s screaming again. “Oh, FUCK!” she exclaims looking briefly up to the ceiling but now training her eyes onto Christian again, who has his hands back down to his sides. Thank God. No sudden moves, Baby, please. I just got you back, I can’t lose you again. “I thought she was gone! I thought you had finally come to your senses and sent her packing! He’s seen his mistake, I said. Now I can have him back, but I had to wait for the right time—the right opportunity to come to you and comfort you, to help you see all that you could be without her!” she barks in my direction. “You’ve turned him into a shadow of the man he once was! I thought I was rid of you!” She pulls at her hair from under the painter’s cap that she’s wearing. What is this, some kind of really bad disguise? “Then I look at the paper, and you’re back!” she wails. “Leaving hand-in-hand from my salon! And to add insult to injury, you put her name on it… you fucking bastard!”
This is getting worse and worse. She has completely checked out of all reality. She really could get away with an insanity plea because she has taken leave of her senses. Everyone is out to get Elena. Everyone is conspiring against Elena. Elena hasn’t done anything wrong—everything that has happened to her is everybody’s fucking fault but her own. I know that chewing into her ass again at this point would be futile, not only because she can’t hear a thing anybody says to her about how she fucked up her own life, but also because she’s on the giving end of a gun… my fucking gun!
“Oh God, I should just shoot you right now!” she yells at me and Christian turns white as a ghost.
“No…” It’s barely audible, but I heard it… and so did she.
“No!? No!? You don’t want me to shoot your precious Butterfly?” she spits the word with contempt. Oh, I hate this woman. I hate everything about her. I want to wring her scrawny little neck! Now I understand how Christian felt when he was facing Robin Myrick. I knew this bitch was too quiet for too long. Now, she’s somehow in cahoots with this fucker and has managed to get into my apartment and steal my gun. Now, she just might shoot me with it. Talk about ironic.
“Wouldn’t that be something?” she says, as if she were reading my mind, “to die with a bullet from your own gun?” Christian’s head snaps over to me and I nod. I don’t know if she was the one that actually broke into my apartment, but she’s in with this nut who claims to be your brother. I’m running scenarios in my head as quickly as I can. The Beretta is cocked, loaded, and aimed and she is looking wildly back and forth between Christian and me. She is highly irrational with her finger on a delicate trigger. If I try to pull my Glock out right now, she’ll likely have two rounds off before I get the damn thing out of my purse. I don’t know what I’m going to do yet, but I’ll be damned if this is where our story ends!
“Elena… please… just take the money. I’ll have the jet take you anywhere you want to go. Please…” Christian begs. She turns her glare back to him.
“You see!? You see what I mean?” Her head snaps back to me. “Do you see what you’ve done to him? He’s a groveling fool! The man I made—the god that I created—he would have had this situation in hand in no time. I knew you destroyed him. I knew it!” she turns back to Christian. “I’m going to save you from her though, my love,” she says softly. “I’m going to release you from the hell that she has created.”
“Elena, please,” Christian’s voice is desperate now. “Please, don’t hurt her. I’ll give you whatever you want.”
“You can’t give me whatever I want, Christian, because I want you… and you want her!” she points the gun back at me and Christian gasps. I don’t know what to expect. I know that there’s a bullet in the chamber because it’s cocked and ready to fire. I can see it from here, and with the way that she’s waving that thing around, it’s going to fire. My God in Heaven…
“Don’t worry, Mr. Grey,” she says with a smile. “I won’t kill your precious Butterfly. No, you see, dying is too good for you. It’s quick and painless, and I want you to suffer!” What the hell is she going to do, then? “I’ve lost everything, Christian. I have nothing else to lose at this point. You were my last hope. You were all I have left, and now, it’s clear that I’ve lost you, too. So you see, I have nothing else left to live for. I’m not going to run all over the country… the world… waiting for the authorities to catch up with me, all because of a few worthless little boys! None of them measured up to you, none of them!” Christian’s face changes and he looks like he’s going to be sick. However, when she turns the gun on him, the color all leaves again.
“If I can’t have you, she sure as hell can’t have you. You don’t want me now, but you will in the afterlife, when you remember how good it used to be between us, when she’s not there anymore to interfere!” She steadies herself putting both hands on the gun and aiming it at Christian. He doesn’t move. “I’ll leave her here to mourn, to know that it was her fault that you died. I want her to see you die, then I’ll come and be with you, my love.”
“No…” I whimper. Please, God, no…
“I love you, Anastasia,” he says. Oh, God… please, God, no. He turns his gray gaze to me and looks lovingly into my eyes. No, please! My heart is beating so fast that I can barely breathe.
“Christian…” I whisper.
“See you soon, my love,” Elena says, and a shot rips through the silence in the office.
Am I hit? Shit! Am I hit? I feel heavy. What’s going on?
There’s blood on my hand… but… I’m not hit. Butterfly is too far away. What’s going on?
“Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!” I hear Butterfly’s scream… right after the shot. What’s going on?
“You fucking bitch!” I have about five seconds to reconcile everything that’s happening. The heavy weight that I feel, the blood on my hands, it’s not mine—it’s Jason’s. I pressed the panic button near my wet bar and that was his cue to come in through the sliding wall on the side. I didn’t tell the fool to jump in front of the damn bullet, though. It’s his weight that’s bearing on me as he falls over into my arms and we both hit the floor from the weight.
“Fuck! Jason! Fuck!” I’m holding onto him and I can vaguely see brutal hell break loose in my office. Butterfly goes kamikaze on Elena—and I do mean kamikaze, because Elena could have killed her. Butterfly has somehow disarmed this woman and is beating the ever-loving holy hell out of her. There are no rules of engagement, no play-by-play. This is a street-fight, and although Elena is fighting with the strength and tenacity of a woman with nothing to lose, she is truly losing this fight with flying colors.
“You sick crazy fucking bitch!” Butterfly lands blow after vicious blow onto Elena’s face and body—kicks and punches like I have never seen. She may actually have some internal bleeding after this.
Butterfly is going to kill her… and I couldn’t care less. Rid the world of that piece of shit. Everyone in the room saw her shoot Jason.
“Jason! Goddammit, Jason! Why the fuck did you do that?” I say to him, realizing now that his head is in my lap. The color is leaving his face. Where did she hit him? He opens his eyes. “Jason! Where are you hit?”
“Hi, Boss…” Oh shit, he’s loopy. I press the panic button under my desk that goes to Welch and the police, but I’m hoping that the gunshot prompted someone to already call them.
“I’m okay, Boss,” he says slurring a bit. “I caught it in the shoulder, but you want to get me to the hospital soon because… it could get worse.” Shit! This is why I fucking hate guns! Shit!
“Jason!” Butterfly has apparently finished her task and has come to tend to Jason. “Jason, where are you hit?”
“Right… shoulder…” She lifts his suit jacket to survey the damage.
“You’re going to be fine.” She reaches for me and I jump. My nerves are destroyed. I was almost killed. My best friend just took a bullet for me.
My best friend… fuck.
“Jason, you’re fired,” I say shaking my head. He starts to laugh then winces and stops from the pain. A lot of blood gushes out of the wound.
“Lie him flat, Christian, on the floor, please.” I lay him flat on the floor and he protests.
“Get away from me, you pussy ass. Your tears are falling all over me.” I didn’t realize that I was crying until he said that. I’m sure it’s the adrenaline of the whole thing, because I’m truly not feeling that emotional. Butterfly on the other hand…
I hadn’t noticed that she had gone to my bathroom and gotten some washcloths. When she returns, she is weeping.
“Christian, get a bottle of water, please.” I jump up from my seat and go to the wet bar and retrieve a bottle of water. “Open it,” she tells me, I crack the seal and hand it to her. “Now drink it.” I frown at her. “Drink the damn water!” she snaps after she puts the washcloths under Jason’s suit jacket and presses down hard. He lets out a painful wail.
“What are you doing?” I bark at her,
“I have to stop the bleeding!” she barks back. She summons me to her. “I want you to sing with me.”
“You want me to do what?”
“I want you to sing with me, come on… The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout.”
“Oh, Ana, come on, seriously?” I protest.
“Sing the goddamn song!” she yells. “The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout…”
By the time the spider was going back up the spout again, I was singing the damn song and drinking the damn water. I look down at Jason, and he’s actually singing, too. We sing a second round… and a third round… and I start to feel my heartbeat slowing a bit. Butterfly has stopped crying though her face is still streaked with tears. Jason just keeps singing.
“Your Highness?” Jason raises large blue eyes to Butterfly. How did I not realize his eyes were blue? Well, it’s not like I sit gazing into them for long periods of time.
“Yes, Jason?” she says softly.
“When are the paramedics coming?”
“They should be here any minute,” she replies, another tear falling from her face.
“Good… please listen. There’s an instruction card in my wallet. I’m allergic to penicillin and… something else but I can’t think of it right now.” His speech is very slurred and his eyes keep rolling back in his head. “Alex… has a copy… of my medical history. Make… sure it…” He’s beginning to fade.
“Jason!” Butterfly nearly barks at him. He jumps.
“Don’t chastise me now, Your Highness. I’m shot here…” he says softly and with a weak smile. “Call my wife.”
Shit! Gail! I forgot all about Gail. I’m fumbling with my phone but when I catch Butterfly’s eye, she is shaking her head. Jason groans.
“Jason, keep still, please,” Butterfly beseeches. He nods.
“It won’t be a problem in a moment, Your Highness,” he says and I hear the elevator bell ring. Who’s coming? Please be the fucking paramedics. There’s a knock at the door.
“Are you fucking kidding me come in!” Butterfly says all in one breath. Yep, it’s the paramedics. Where are the goddamn police?
“I’ll take it from here, Ma’am,” one of the gloved medics says to Ana. She stands and moves away, her eyes never leaving Jason’s. I move and stand next to her.
“I’ll be fine, Your Highness,” he says to her, “just… fi…” and he’s out. Butterfly’s knees nearly buckle beneath her and I catch her before she falls.
“Jason?” she calls out to him. “Jason?”
“We’ve got to get him out of here. His pressure is dropping.” One medic says to the other. They stabilize his shoulder and put on an oxygen mask… and the police are still not here.
“What happened to her?” I hear Butterfly ask. I turn around to see what she’s looking at. She looking at a badly bruised, bloodied, and battered Pedophile, who is still breathing but quite unconscious. I glare at her.
“You… don’t remember?” I ask her. She shakes her head. Another set of paramedics come into the office and begin to tend to her.
“Do not touch that woman until you have put her in handcuffs!” I order the paramedics and they glare at me. “Are you deaf?” I continue at the glaring medics. “That woman tried to kill me, shot my best friend, attacked my fiancée, and if she moves before the police get here, I’m going to kick her in the head. So you may want to wait until they cuff her… for her own protection!” They look back and forth from each other to me before their eyes rest on Butterfly.
“Can we take a look at her?” one of them says.
“Why? What’s wrong with me?” Butterfly asks, the conversation keeping her occupied while the first two medics remove Jason from the room.
“You’ve been in a fight, Baby,” I say to her. Of course, she hasn’t seen herself. She’s been too busy taking care of everyone else. Her hands tighten around my waist and she lays her head on my shoulder. “You might want to wait a moment,” I inform the paramedics just as the police arrive. Good fuck! It’s about damn time! Shots were fired, what took them so damn long?
“Sir, Ma’am? Officer Greenfield. Can someone tell me what’s going on?”
“Not until you cuff her,” I say pulling Butterfly close to me.
“Why? Who is she?” he says walking over to Lincoln. “It looks like somebody worked her over pretty good. Is she dead?”
“Unfortunately not,” I say before I can stop the words. The cop looks at me suspiciously. “That,” I say, pointing to the Pedophile, “is Elena Lincoln. She is in direct violation of a protection order and currently, she is at large evading countless charges of molestation and child pornography. If that’s not enough, she used that gun…” I point to Butterfly’s Beretta, now lying harmlessly on the floor nearby, “…which my fiancée reported stolen nearly a month ago, to hold us all hostage. She would have killed me, but my best friend and bodyguard who just rolled out of here on a stretcher took the bullet for me. Once the shots were fired, my fiancée tried to disarm her, but she wouldn’t go down. Ana is lucky that the gun didn’t go off and injure her as well.” Butterfly looks at me in horror.
“I did that?” she asks, pointing at the pedophile. I nod and her hand flies to her mouth as she gasps. “You don’t remember?” She shakes her head. “What do you remember?”
“Don’t say anything.” Allen comes bursting into the room and walks over to me and Butterfly. “Don’t say a word. Nothing.”
“But… I don’t… know what happened…” Butterfly says, clearly unnerved.
“Jewel, you need to get checked out. You’ve got some nasty cuts and bruises, and now you’ve got Jason’s blood all over you.”
“I’m sorry, but until we figure out what’s going on here, she can’t go anywhere,” Officer Greenfield says.
“Well, she can’t walk around like this!” I bark. Her clothes are all torn and her breasts are actually exposed. Except for when she put pressure on Jason’s wound, she’s been holding her shirt closed.
“Mr. Grey,” the second officer chimes in. “I’m sorry to have to be the one to tell you this, but this office is now a crime scene. The paramedics can check on Ms. Lincoln and determine if she needs additional care as well as Ms. Steele, but no one is leaving this room without our say-so.”
“She’s definitely going to need additional care,” one of the paramedics says, leaning over the Pedophile. “She has been choked to unconsciousness and we need to get her to the hospital…”
“Not without cuffs,” I reiterate. “She just shot a man and right now, she’s a fugitive!” Greenfield rolls his eyes and puts handcuffs on the unconscious Pedophile.
“Don’t let her out of your sight. Have her swabbed for gunshot residue immediately,” he says to one of the other officers in the lobby. I’m only just noticing how many of them are there. He gestures to the paramedic. “Check her out. Does she need additional care?” he says pointing to Butterfly. One of the remaining paramedics comes over and checks on Butterfly.
“Yeah. She’s going to need stitches in that gash over her eye. Besides getting these cuts cleaned and dressed, I seriously recommend a tetanus shot.” Butterfly groans.
“How bad is the bruising, Christian?” she asks. I know she’s concerned about a repeat of the scars from after the kidnapping.
“Not good, but not nearly as bad as you’re thinking,” I say, kissing her gently on her cheek. “We need to get you to the hospital.”
“Ms. Steele, I’m afraid that I’m going to have to place you under arrest,” Officer Greenfield says. Butterfly’s face turns white.
“What?” she squeaks. “Why?”
“Mrs. Lincoln was assaulted very badly. Until we can get to the bottom of what happened here, we have to keep you in custody,” he says. Butterfly’s breathing hastens and she’s starting to shake.
“Butterfly…” She’s not listening to me. She is freaking out, whimpering and crying and wringing her hands. As soon as she sees the cuffs coming out, her skin flashes hot in my hands and her eyes go so blue that the black almost disappears… and down she goes.
“Shit!” I exclaim. I catch her and save her from the near miss of her head hitting my desk.
“Oh, good Lord, seriously?” the second officer says. “That’s the oldest trick in the book. Ms. Steele, if you don’t walk out, we’re going to have to hogtie you and drag you out in front of the press!”
Nothing. Not even a flinch.
“Butterfly, I need you to wake up, Baby. We’ll fix it. Whatever it is, we’ll fix it, but I can’t let them carry you out of here like that. I need you to wake up.”
Not a twitch.
I look over at the paramedic that’s not working on the pedophile. Tell me what’s wrong with her, I will him. He takes a penlight out of his pocket and leans down to examine Butterfly’s eyes. He shines the light into her eyes a few times and then hits some pressure point and her leg jumps… but still nothing.
“Oh, she’s gone,” he says. “Something scared the shit out of her and she wasn’t staying awake for the show. Do what you have to do, but if she awakes in cuffs, she’s going to need a sedative. I’ve seen people freak out, but fainting… that’s extreme. That’s psychological and physiological.” I shake my head and groan.
“She was kidnapped last year,” I inform them. “She was cuffed to a bed for several days. She didn’t eat nor drink, she was nearly raped and very badly beaten.”
“Oh, shit! That’s who this is?” I can see the light of realization switch on in Greenfield’s eyes.
“Yes, that’s who this is.”
We all turn around to see Gerald standing in the door. He comes over to where I am holding Butterfly in my lap. “I’m not on this case, but I heard ‘Grey House’ on the police radio. The press is en masse outside. They could barely get Jason to the ambulance.”
“They want to arrest her, Gerald,” I tell them.
“For what?” he asks.
“For assaulting Elena Lincoln! She disarmed her after Elena shot Jason. She was aiming for me and they want to arrest her!” My voice is pleading.
“Christian, a man was shot today and the possible perpetrator is unconscious and…” he turns around to look at Elena, “…very badly beaten. They’re not going to let any of you go anywhere. It’s your word against hers—both of you. With your connection to Lincoln, it’s not very credible right now.”
“No, it’s more than that.” Welch speaks up after standing quietly in a corner with Allen all of this time. “We have video.” I glare at him, happy that we may have video but angry that I didn’t know I was under that kind of surveillance.
“We do?” I hiss, trying not to be angry.
“Yes, Sir,” he says. “When you hit a panic button in this office, hidden cameras begin recording from angles that you’re not even aware of. Everything from the moment that you hit the first panic button is recorded and the cameras are still recording now.
“No shit?” I ask, a little stunned. “Would a recorded floor show save my fiancée from the slammer?” I ask Greenfield, who appears to be nervously adjusting his tie.
“Um, yes Sir,” he says. I instruct Welch to fire up the monitor hiding in the cabinet behind my desk in the bookshelf and cue up the video. It takes him about three minutes before we are all silently watching Elena waving Butterfly’s gun at us declaring that she going to kill me and then herself and leave Ana to mourn. Both mine and Butterfly’s expressions are pleading with the other—for what, I don’t know—but we both felt like this was this end of our lives. You can see it in our faces.
The whole scene from the moment after I hit the panic button to the moment that the gun goes off only looks to have been five or six minutes, and I am glad that Butterfly is not conscious to relive it. I kiss her gently on her temple and rub her hair. I don’t need to relive it either. I hear her screech, no doubt thinking that the bullet had hit me, and then judgment begins.
Elena put up a good fight, but the gun was out of her hands with the first hit. Ana was a machine bent on vengeance fighting a psychotic woman with nothing to left to lose. They tear into each other like wild animals—relentlessly, angrily, and mercilessly. Butterfly finally gets the best of her and clasps her fingers around the Pedophile’s neck. No doubt a combination of exhaustion, dwindling adrenaline, and the beating she had just taken all contributed to Elena’s speedy surrender and she is on the floor unconscious in less than two minutes. Butterfly leaves her like the sack of shit and silicone that she is and scrambles over to tend to Jason.
“Seen enough so far?” I ask, still stroking Butterfly’s hair and willing her to wake up.
“Um, yes… we… don’t have to arrest her, but we still can’t let you all out of our sight. Of course, you understand,” Greenfield says.
“Of course,” I respond sarcastically. “Can I get my fiancée to the hospital now so that she can get stitches?” I hiss. I note that they have already removed the Pedophile and Butterfly is still here, unconscious with this weeping gash over her eye.
“Yes, Sir. An officer will have to accompany you…”
“I will,” Gerald says, thank God. He gestures to one of the remaining paramedics who cleans Butterfly’s wound as well as he could. They wanted to put her on a stretcher but getting me to let her go was going to be a task fit for Hercules.
I step out of the elevator downstairs and Davenport is standing in the lobby. I pause for a moment and look at him and he glares at me, unflinching. I gesture with my head for him to follow me and he is right in line, opening the door to the lobby. Unfortunately, there was no quiet escape for us as we had to ride with Gerald in the unmarked car. So out we go into the mass of paparazzi, Butterfly unconscious in my arms and her face looking like she had gone three rounds in a prize-fight.
“We’re going to the hospital,” I tell Davenport. “Meet us there and coordinate with Welch for a security detail. Jason is down and I don’t have details yet. I will expect everything in place by the time we arrive.”
“Yes, Sir,” he says, and it’s like nothing has changed.
Gerald puts the portable light on top of the unmarked car and we are flying through the streets of Seattle towards the hospital.
“We’ve got to stop meeting like this, Christian,” he says, trying to lighten the situation.
“I know, but it’s not very likely when you are surrounded by psychos and lunatics. Fuck, I wish we could just get all these damn people out of our lives!” I hiss.
“What happened today?” Gerald asks.
“In a nutshell, psycho ex. I’m beginning to feel like we’re never going to have any peace.” I look over at Butterfly who now looks more like she’s sleeping than unconscious. “Wake up, Baby,” I say softly, but there’s no response. “Come on, Baby, wake up. You’re scaring me,” I say brushing my lips against hers and willing her to come out of her terror-induced unconsciousness.
We’re really going to have to see someone about this fainting—first, Morton’s funeral and now today. This can’t be good. I was hoping that it may be a sign that she was pregnant, but she has informed me that her IUD is well in place and still working properly. We’re going to have to talk about that if we plan on getting pregnant.
“Christian…” Her voice is soft and squeaky, and music to my ears.
“Butterfly?” I hold her tighter in my arms and brush the hair out of her face. He eyes flutter open slowly and she flinches a bit in pain.
“Where are we?” she asks weakly.
“We’re on our way to the hospital. You need to get checked out and you need stitches. She takes a moment to observe her surroundings then looks up at me.
“Am I under arrest?” she asks cautiously, tears threatening her beautiful blue eyes.
“No, Baby, you’re not. We have to keep an officer with us though until the questioning is done. That’s why we have that flatfoot.” I gesture towards our driver. She turns her head slowly.
“Hi, Gerald,” she says softly, her voice still weak.
“Hi Ana,” he replies, throwing a quick look over his shoulder before turning his attention back to the road. She looks back at me.
“Why didn’t they arrest me? They said that they would. Are they waiting until I get back from the hospital? What’s wrong with me?”
“Nothing, Baby. You need stitches and a tetanus shot, but I’d like to know what triggers these fainting spells…”
“Too much adrenaline,” she interrupts me. “It’s crying or fainting. It’s been that way since I was a kid. Too much, I cry; too fast, I faint.” I remember the night that we had it out at the community center. She came out of the back door looking like she was going to pass out. I guess that was a delayed reaction and that’s why she called Allen to come and get her—she knew it was coming.
“It would have been nice if you had informed me of this little condition,” I say, kissing her gently on the temple.
“Sorry. This particular topic just never came up… and I was a bit preoccupied in Las Vegas. Forgive me?”
“Always.” I press my lips against hers while gently stroking her cheek. She melts into my kiss and for a brief moment, all is right with the world.
“Hey, no making out in the back of the police car.” Gerald’s voice reminds us that we are not alone. “Besides, we’re here… and it’s showtime.” We both look up with dismay as the paparazzi basically have the hospital entrance blocked—which is illegal but these bastards don’t care. “I’ll be right back. Don’t move.”
Gerald jumps out of the car and addresses the crowd. “You are all breaking the law by blocking the hospital entrance. Move away from the door or I’ll have you arrested.”
“We have a right to report the news!” one reporter shouts and the others cheer him on.
“But not to block people from getting care. This woman is hurt and you are preventing her from getting treatment. Now move, or I’ll have you arrested!”
“You and what army?” another reporter declares and they nearly rush the car. Almost on cue, two black Audis drive up behind us like the fucking Calvary. Davenport, Williams, Lawrence, Welch, and two others that I don’t know yet all spill out of the vehicles and move on either side of Gerald.
“Get the fuck out of the way or we’ll start kicking your asses!” Welch hisses.
“Can’t they be arrested for that?” I hear from the crowd.
“Oh, now you want me to be a fucking cop! A minute ago, it was me and what army… how about this army? Now move your inconsiderate, selfish, greedy asses out the motherfucking way!” Whoa! Way to go, Gerald! Just like that, there’s a path to the door of the hospital.
“The first flash I see, I’m going to break somebody’s fucking nose—and I’ve got a huge bail fund!” Welch declares. Knowing that they are about to open the door, I take off my jacket and wrap it around Butterfly.
“Just like we did when we left the hospital the last time, okay?” I instruct her. She nods, burying herself in my jacket. When Williams opens the door, I slide out and quickly lean back in for Butterfly. “Come on, Baby.”
She slides over to me and I lift her into my arms and quickly carry her into the hospital, not waiting to see or caring if Welch has to break someone’s nose.
Gerald leads us through the ER to a private room since we have to remain under surveillance. An intern is there almost immediately administering anesthetic and stitching Butterfly’s wound. It turns out that she also sprained her wrist and her clothes are just destroyed. I call Allen to bring her a change of clothes and he informs me that he has already stopped by Escala and is outside the hospital now. Since he is now known as the attorney attached to Christian Grey, he has just about as hard a time getting around as I do when something happens. He may need his own security detail when this is all said and done.
He also reminds Butterfly not to make a statement until he gets here as the detective in charge of the case is right behind him. Good Lord in Heaven, please don’t let this be another Roach situation. Gerald retains Butterfly’s clothing in an evidence bag as they will have to be checked for gunpowder residue and any other potential evidence.
Butterfly’s wounds are all dressed and she has had her tetanus shot by the time Allen and the detective arrive.
“Jewel, Jewel, Jewel… how do we keep finding ourselves in these situations?” he says, wrapping his arms around her.
“I don’t know, but I’d like to make a reservation for a nice, quiet insane asylum after this. I don’t know how much more of this I can take!” she says, covering her face with her uninjured hand. Allen examines her bandage.
“What happened here?” he asks.
“Apparently, it was sprained in the melee,” she replies. “That bitch must be pretty damn strong.” Allen puts his finger to his lip to shush Butterfly and gestures his head to waiting detective.
“Crab? Is that you?” I hear the detective say. Oh hell! Gerald turns around and smiles widely.
“Fish! What the hell!” Okay, what is it with these damn names? “How the hell are you, Man?” He crosses the room and proffers his hand to “Fish.”
“I’m good. I’m good,” Fish says, happily accepting Gerald’s hand. Okay, I’m feeling a little better. “I just passed the exam. Finally moving up in the world.”
“It’s great to see you, Fish. Listen, these are friends of mine, so treat them right, okay. They’ve been through a lot in the last year.”
“So I’ve heard.” He looks down at the evidence bag. “What’s that?”
“Ms. Steele’s clothes. Chain of custody. I’ll be holding onto this until it gets back to the lab.” Fish nods then makes his way into the room and proffers his hand to me. “Mr. Grey, I’m Detective Randall Fischer.” Ah… Fish, I get it. “I’m going to be assigned to this case.” I take his hand.
“Detective Fischer,” I shake firmly. “This is my fiancée, Anastasia Steele…” He nods to Butterfly. “…And this is our attorney, Allen Forsythe.” Allen proffers his hand.
“Mr. Forsythe.” They shake hands as well. “Okay, so I have to question Mr. Grey and Ms. Steele separately since they were both at the scene of the crime.”
“Yes, I know. Which do you want first?” Allen asks.
“It doesn’t matter. Do either of you care?” he asks and we both shrug, non-committal. “Okay, I’ll talk to Ms. Steele first. Crab, you’ll stay with Mr. Grey?” Gerald nods and we both leave the room.
“I’d like to find out what’s going on with Jason,” I tell him. He nods and we walk to the nurse’s desk. “Excuse me, but I’d like to get some information on Jason Taylor please?”
“Are you a relative?” she asks, stoically.
“No, he’s my bodyguard… and my best friend,” I say the last part a little quietly. She looks up at me.
“Mr. Grey?” she says softly. I nod. “Take those elevators up to the third floor. When you get off, make a right, then another right at the nurses station. Mrs. Taylor is already up there.” Gail… fuck! What do I say to Gail?
I follow the nurse’s directions and take the elevator to the third floor. As soon as I get off and turn right, Gail is standing at the nurse’s station. She turns to me and I am frozen. I can’t move my feet. What if he dies? It will be my fault. What if he can’t do the job that he loves after this? Or if he loses the use of his arm? What if he never speaks to me again? What if…
“Christian?” Her gentle voice brings me back. I look into her blue eyes. More blue eyes. How did I not know she had blue eyes?
“Gail…” I don’t recognize my voice. “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t you dare!” she chastises me. “That woman is sick and delusional and this is not your fault. Jason knew the risks when he took the job…”
“But… he blocked me, Gail. He dived in front of me and took the bullet… that was meant for me… he saved my life.” I cover my face with my hands. “He’s my best friend, Gail, my best friend. If he dies…” She puts her arms around me.
“He won’t die, Christian,” she says softly. “They’re concerned about the blood loss and he’s getting transfusions. They are removing the bullet and assessing the damage, but he won’t die. The biggest damage is that it hit some major artery and he may need shoulder repair and therapy. At the most, he’ll be out of commission for a while and very grumpy because of it. He’ll be fine.”
I won’t cry. I won’t bitch up. Jason will never let me live it down. I shiver a bit trying to shake the thought of losing my best friend. Then I nod and acknowledge Gail’s words.
“Do you need anything? Anything at all? Should I call someone here to sit with you?” I ask her.
“I would really like to see Ana,” she says softly. Yeah, so would I.
“Um, she’s talking to the police right now. She was pretty beat up…”
“Beat up?” Gail says, horrified. “What do you mean ‘beat up?’ What happened to her now?” Oh, Gail hasn’t heard the entire story. Great!
“I can’t tell you everything just yet, Gail, but I promise to tell you after I have given my statement to the police. I know how horrible it feels to be out of the loop, but I don’t want anything to prevent this woman finally going to jail and staying there where she belongs. So I won’t say anything to anyone about what I saw until I talk to the police.” I tell her.
“That’s a good idea, Mr. Grey.” I hear from behind me.
I turn around to see Detective Fischer standing in the door. That was fast. This can’t be good.
A/N: So, the crazy Pedophile resurfaces. Stay tuned to see how Christian handles the branches of this particular situation.
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Love and Handcuffs!