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 30—99 Problems…
My Beretta. Somebody’s got my fucking gun.
Marilyn comes in to tell me that Christian wants to meet for lunch to finalize our wedding list and all I can think about is that someone has my damn gun. Shit! Who knew that I kept it in that drawer? Only people close to me… and Edward… and probably Harris, who may have heard me say something about it the day that he was here, but he’s dead now. The security staff… they were the only ones in the apartment today beside me and Christian. It couldn’t have been Chuck or Ben. Goddammit fucking motherfucking bitches from hell, who has my goddamn gun?
“Tell him to meet me here and bring whatever he feels like eating,” I say, waving my hand at Marilyn. I fold my arms and walk over to my window… my thinking spot. This is where I have always sorted my issues and solved my problems—this and the aquarium, that is…
I must find time to go back there. I can’t let Edward and that fucker Harris take that away from me.
Who has my fucking gun?
Two more patients later and it’s just about lunchtime. I was focused enough for the sessions and I have three new patients that I am taking on from my waiting list. I never filled Melanie’s Thursday slot and I lost two patients due to recent out-of-state relocations. I will be seeing one of my new patients today—Robin Myrick. He’s been on the waiting list almost since I began a waiting list. Marilyn says he jumped at the chance when she called and asked if he wanted one of the open slots. He must be in pretty bad shape, although I won’t know until he actually gets her. I’m reading the questionnaire that he completed—which was pretty generic—when Christian appears at my office door.
“Hey,” he says while entering. Noting my expression, he asks, “what’s wrong?”
“I want to know who has my damn Beretta. I’m sitting on pins and needles here. That’s my gun, and someone took it out of my apartment!” I rub my forehead. “I’m not going to be able to relax until I find out where my gun is.”
“Butterfly,” Christian crosses the office and takes me in his arms. “I hate to tell you this, but sometimes, they never find stolen guns. It’s very likely that you may never see your Beretta again.” I sigh heavily. I know that he’s telling the truth, but I am on edge for so many reasons.
“They got into my apartment, Christian. They only took one thing… my gun. Somebody is trying to play with my mind here, and I have no idea who it is.” He gives me a gentle kiss on my lips.
“I should have the information from Vansteen when I get back to the office, Butterfly. Whoever it is, we’ll find them. Now come on, I want you to eat and we need to discuss this wedding list.”
Christian and I mull over the lists that we have while we eat a lunch of avocado chicken wraps and shrimp panzanella. Christian truly didn’t have many people to invite and by the time I added the few people I may have wanted there—including Aunt Cynthia—and the people Daddy wanted to invite, our list barely made it to 70 people. This will make Grace happy since this leaves more room for guests on her end. However, we opt not to tell her that yet. Christian has already vetoed five of the guests on her list—3 couples and two with “plus 1’s”—so she already has room for 10 more not including the “do-drops” that will appear between now and the wedding day.
“I, um, had a talk with Cholometes today.” These are not words that I expected to hear and I had to hurriedly swallow my shrimp before I choked on it.
“And?” I ask with an expecting frown.
“It didn’t go well,” he says, “for him anyway, but I think we have an understanding now.” I put my fork on my plate and stare at him.
“Did you threaten that man, Christian?” I ask.
“I certainly did,” he says definitely. I gasp. What the hell? Seriously, Christian? “Only after he threatened me, Anastasia.” I jerk back from the surprise.
“He threatened you?”
“Yes, he did, and it wasn’t veiled. He told me that he could destroy me—cost me my reputation and everything I hold dear, including you.” I shake my head.
“Why was he talking to you anyway?” I ask. What the hell is wrong with Brian? I told him that I would not speak to him anymore if he interfered in my relationship again and now he’s calling Christian?
“I called him.”
Whoa! Pump the brakes.
“You called him?” He looks at me with impassive gray eyes. “Why did you call him?”
“Because I knew that he wasn’t going to just walk away quietly, Anastasia. He knows that I’m a Dominant, and if he had any intention on leaving well enough alone, there would be no way in hell that he would have said that to you. He didn’t tell you that out of concern for you. He told you that to smoke me out. He even expressed his surprise that it took me so long to call.” What is this shit all about? What kind of game are these guys playing with each other? “He’s a sub, Ana.”
He’s a what??
“Oh, come on, Christian. You’re reaching now,” I say, incredulously.
“No, I’m not,” he tells me. “He crossed over into my territory and I played my Dom card. The man shrunk like a cheap T-shirt in hot water,” he adds. “In case you haven’t noticed, most subs are not submissive in their everyday lives. There are many subs who have high-profile positions and are very powerful. Being a Dom and being a sub serves very different purposes for different people, and I am here to tell you—that man is a sub. That’s how he knew that I was a Dom, and I am praying to God that he has nothing to do with Lincoln.”
Oh shit! Is that possible? He would have had to come to Seattle to hook up with She-Thing, but he had to see Christian somewhere… be in one of his circles somehow…
“How likely is it that he would know Elena?” I ask, frowning even harder now. Christian shakes his head.
“I don’t know, very likely or not likely at all. Either way, he knew that I was a Dom, so we have been hanging around the same places,” he says. I shake my head and rub my forehead. Christian takes my hand from my forehead. “Butterfly, I think I have made it pretty clear that it would benefit him in no way whatsoever to try to challenge me. I’m sure that he got the message. He’s not nearly as desperate as the Pedophile, but I don’t know if they are in cahoots. I will try to find out as much as I can and I will let you know.” I sigh.
“Christian, how is what you did with Brian different from what I did with Cassie?” I ask, not because I want to fight, but because I really want to know. He frowns.
“In so many ways, but I really need to know where you’re going with this so I can have some direction here,” he responds. I stand and start pacing.
“Cassie threw down the gauntlet and made it clear that she wanted you when she walked out of her office dressed like a hoochie. Everything that I did from that point on was exactly what you did on the phone with Brian today—staking my claim and letting her know that she couldn’t have my man. So I really need to know why it was okay for you to seek out Brian and not okay for me to seek out Cassie.” I make my point with no anger or malice, and his face travels through at least four expressions that I can’t interpret.
Please let’s not fight. I just want to know. Please let’s not fight.
As if he heard my plea, he answers, “You sought out Cassie, Baby. She never sought you out… or me. Was she right in what she did? No. She took advantage of an opportunity to possibly get back into my good graces by taking an appointment to plan our wedding when she knew that there was no way in hell that she actually intended to do it. I never thought that you were wrong for giving her a piece of your mind, Ana, which I know that you did. I thought it was a bad idea for you to take the appointment at all and then when I saw you that evening, the outcome was somehow my fault.
“On the contrary, Cholometes sought you out—sent you flowers two days after we announced our engagement and did something that everyone in the BDSM community knows should not be done. You never ‘out’ someone else like that. The results can be catastrophic! There are many, many people in the lifestyle that practice undercover. That’s why everyone at the club had an alias. Some people are in relationships or married and practice without their significant others. It’s an unwritten rule and he clearly broke it. What’s more, he did it to gain an upper hand and to get someone else’s woman. He clearly drew the battle lines and waited for me to cross them. If I had let that go, he never would have stopped. I’m not sure that he’s going to stop now, but at least at this point, he knows what kind of pure hell is waiting for him if he really wants to cross that bridge.”
What the hell happened on that phone call?
“What did Brian say to you, Christian?” I ask. He stands and walks over to me.
“It’s not important,” he says, taking my hands in his. “What is important is what I said to him—that nothing and no one would ever be successful in taking you away from me; that nothing that I have or will have is of any importance without you, and that anyone who was willing to try to take you from me had better be as willing to lose everything in their life to do so as I am… well, maybe not in those words, but that was the thrust of what I said.”
Looking in his soft gray gaze, I can tell that he means exactly what he just said and that if that’s not what he said to Brian, that he came pretty damn close. I launch myself into his arms and kiss him feverishly. He wraps his arms around me and I feel my feet leave the floor.
My man. This is my man. No Cassie Hamiltons or Elena Lincolns or Brian Cholometes‘ will ever change that.
“I’ll never speak to him again,” I whisper when our lips part, his mouth only breaths away from mine. He gently kisses my lips again.
“Thank you, Baby,” he replies. I know that he wouldn’t ask me, but he needed that from me. Brian has gone too far and I can’t encourage him anymore—not even unintentionally. Christian is my man, my soon-to-be husband, and nothing that Brian or anyone else can do is going to change that.
Once again hearing my thoughts, Christian plunges his tongue into my mouth, his right arm pressing me possessively against his body and his left hand tangled in my hair at the nape of my neck. My feet are dangling a few inches from the floor and he has me locked helplessly in his kiss. He groans into my mouth and I feel fire ignite in me as I feel his erection grow against me.
“We have to stop,” he says, breaking the kiss and breathing heavily. “We both have things to do and I will never leave this office at this rate.” I nod helplessly, taking in his smell with my eyes closed. This man is way too much sometimes. He places me back on my feet and kisses me again.
“I love you, Anastasia,” he says, closing his eyes and leaning his forehead against mine.
“I love you more,” I say softly, touching his beautiful face and remembering the feel of his skin against my fingertips. He kisses my lips once more, then turns his face to kiss my palm before wordlessly leaving my office. I sigh as I watch the door that he just exited, wondering if we will always feel this way for one another. That man is literally the air that I breathe, and Brian must be out of his rabbit ass mind if he thinks he’s going to ever be able to steal me away from Christian.
I take a few moments to tidy up—my hair, my lip gloss, my no-doubt flushed skin—before I step out of the office into my lobby.
“Marilyn, scan this list please and email it to Tammy ASAP. She probably thinks I forgot about it.” Marilyn nods and goes about her task before I go back into the office. There’s only 160 people on the preliminary list so that shouldn’t have to wait until next week… I hope. I go back to reviewing Robin’s questionnaire. He’s pretty nondescript for the most part. Nothing stands out about him except that he appears to have some anger issues that he wants to address about his family. Marilyn informs me of his arrival and I remind her to make sure that the cameras are recording.
“Mr. Myrick,” I extend my hand to him as he enters the office. He looks familiar, but I can’t place him at all—black hair slicked back, green eyes, average build. I gesture to a chair. “Please, have a seat.”
“Thank you, Dr. Steele, and please call me Robin. Mr. Myrick is my father,” he says with an uneasy smile. He seems nervous, but most people are when the meet with a new shrink. “I can’t tell you how happy I was to get the call from your receptionist. I’ve been on your waiting list for quite some time.”
“Have you seen other therapists?” I ask him. He nods.
“Yes, but they didn’t seem to help me at all. I just—they didn’t… give me what I need, I guess,” he shrugs, dropping his shoulders and his head. He’s carrying a heavy weight, very heavy.
“How long have you been in therapy, Robin? And call me Ana.” He raises his head and smiles at me, and there’s that feeling again. I know him, and he’s making me feel a bit uneasy.
“Many years, Ana,” he says. “I have some deep-seated family issues stemming from my brother and my father.”
“We’re you abused?”
“No, I was abandoned. Well, maybe not abandoned… I don’t think that’s the word I’m looking for. My father was ripped from me when I was very young and I never knew my mother. She left me on his doorstep, so I guess she abandoned me—but since I never knew her, I just don’t feel anything for or against her. My father raised me until I was eight and then…” he trails off.
“Did he die?” I ask softly. He shakes his head.
“No… no, he didn’t die but… well, I’ll just say for now that he was taken away from me and I’m very bitter about it.”
“So you and your brother had to fend for yourselves,” I ask. He raises his face to me again. Damn it! Who the fuck are you? I know you.
“No, I’ve only met my brother once or twice, and then only briefly. He’s the reason my father is… went away.” Where the hell did his father go?
“Robin, you do realize that everything that you say to me is kept in the strictest confidence. Not only am I trustworthy, but it’s the law, so you can tell me anything. There’s no judgment here and I can’t help you if I don’t know the whole story.” I speak in a reassuring tone. He smiles at me, and I start to feel my skin crawl. I’m quickly going though my mental Rolodex to figure out how I know this guy. He’s not from my past—we’ve met fairly recently. Scratch anyone from Green Valley.
“I’ve always wanted to meet you,” he says, a smile stretching across his face and adding to my discomfort. “I’ve heard wonderful things about you when I was doing my ‘doctor’ research. I wasn’t sure if I would ever get in to talk to you but here we are. You’re very pretty and you make your patients feel comfortable. I bet you do that with everyone around you. I do feel like I can tell you anything,” he says leaning forward. Shit! You may feel comfortable around me, but it’s taking everything in me not to crawl backwards in this seat and poke you with a stick, hoping you’ll scurry away like the bug that you are.
“Okay, so… why don’t you tell me where your father is?” I ask, trying to maintain my professionalism. He sighs.
“He’s in jail. He’s been convicted of crimes that he didn’t commit and he’s been locked up since I was eight. I vowed that I would find the people responsible and make them pay, but so far, it’s become a task more difficult than I can carry out.”
“Do you really want to do that, Robin? I mean, depending on the circumstances, that can be dangerous,” I warn.
“I don’t think so,” he says, shooting a pointed glare at me. “Even if it is, it will be worth it to get back at the people responsible for me not having my dad in my life all these years.”
“What were the charges?”
“Drug charges, some battery charges…” Drug and battery charges? What the hell happened that he’s been locked up for over 15 years? “I know what you’re thinking. It’s a long story, Ana and I’m sure you will hear it, but let’s just say that I have quite the score to settle.” He trains his eyes on me and something clicks. I don’t know who you are, Mr. Myrick, but you are creepy as fuck.
“Can you excuse me for just one moment?” I say calmly. He nods, unassuming. I walk over to my desk and calmly press the panic button several times. Chuck, get off your ass and get in here!
Chuck comes bursting through the door ready for action. “What is it?” he asks.
“Get him out of here!” I yell, pointing at Ginger Creepy Guy, who stands looking at me bemused.
“What did I do?” he says, nearly gasping as Chuck seizes him.
“I know who you are. I don’t remember your name, but I know who you are. You’re that guy that works for Grace and Carrick. I’m calling them and I’m calling Christian, but I want you out of my office now!”
He looks from me and back to Chuck then back to me.
“I’m sorry! I was on your waiting list long before I even met the Greys, I swear!” he protests.
“This is not a coincidence, Robin… or whatever your name is! I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m calling Christian right now!”
Several minutes later, I am hidden away in my office, shaking and unnerved and waiting for Christian. I’m looking at my monitor, watching the CCTV camera feed from the lobby. Marilyn is sitting at her desk like a statue and Chuck is standing over Ginger Creepy Guy like a trained watchdog, daring him to move from his seat. The elevator opens and Jason steps out dressed in his signature black suit. His facial expression is dark and chiseled—menacing even—and he looks every bit of FBI/CIA/MIB. Don’t make any sudden moves, Creepy.
Christian steps out of the elevator and walks into the lobby with all the casual grace and intimidation that makes him sexy and scary at the same time. Marilyn scrambles out of her seat and can’t get into my office fast enough. We both stand there wordlessly staring at my computer screen as Creepy slowly rises from his seat.
“Have you lost your mind?” he asks Ginger Creepy Guy in a low, soft growl. I can tell that he wants to rip this guy limb from limb where he stands. Creepy doesn’t answer. “I’m talking to you, Louisssssss!” Louis! That’s what his name is! Or is it Robin? Which one is he? “What are you doing in my fiancée’s office?”
“He used an alias,” I hear Chuck say. “I don’t know which is his real name, but he signed in as Robin Myrick.” Christian turns a death glare back to Louis-Robin-Ginger-Creepy-Guy.
“Start talking or I swear that I will beat the truth out of you and enjoy every second of it!” Christian hisses. Creepy withdraws for a fleeting moment, and then smiles—a smile that creeps sinisterly over his face and clearly shakes Christian’s resolve. What the hell?
“Yeah, you recognize me,” Creepy says, snarling. “Somewhere in the recesses of your mind, back where you don’t let anybody go, my face is familiar. I know all about you, Christian, and I’m not afraid you.”
“You should be, because I’m about to be your worst nightmare,” Christian says, his eyes narrowed.
“You already are!” Creepy hisses loudly. “I have been waiting for this moment my whole life—the first moment where I get to pull your comfortable little rug right out from under you. I adored the look on your face a moment ago—that look of frightened realization, not complete but enough to shake your façade. Yeah, that gets me off!” Christian grabs his neck, and pushes him against the wall.
“Who the fuck are you!?” He’s losing his control and Creepy just laughs at him. His hand comes up hard to Christian’s chin, knocking him slightly off-balance and causing him to release Creepy’s neck. Before Creepy has a chance to coordinate his second hit, Chuck delivers a swift, hard, and accurate blow to his gut knocking the wind out of him. He is bent over and gasping for air while Christian is rubbing his sore chin.
“So,” Creepy chokes, “you’re going… to let your… goons do your dirty work… Figures.” Chuck bends down to his face.
“You talk big shit, Little Man, but you better be glad it’s me that hit you because if I let him loose on you right now, you’ll be unrecognizable when it’s done and I won’t even have to interfere,” Chuck warns in a voice that I have never heard before. The cocky bravado of Little Man cracks visibly and he turns a hateful, upward glare back to Christian.
“You want to know who I am? I’m Robin Myrick. My father is Anton Myrick. I was born in Detroit, 24 years ago. Red is my natural hair color, my eyes are ice blue—and I’m your fucking brother!”
I freeze. My brother? What the fuck is he talking about?
“My birth mother didn’t have any other children after me!” I bark. “She died when I was four. I sat there with her body for days after her lowlife, drug dealer, pimp boyfriend left us there!” I bark. This fucker has the nerve to lunge at me and Jason catches him by the arm.
“Don’t you dare talk about my father that way, you pompous, arrogant, asshole!” he spits. His father. His father? That crack whore’s pimp is his father? The wheels are turning in my head and I suddenly get the gist of what he’s trying to tell me. He’s telling me that Anton Myrick is his father… and mine, too!
“I don’t know what that sick son-of-a-bitch has pumped into your head, but he’s not my fucking father, and you’re not my brother.”
“Trust me, I don’t like it any more than you do, but it’s true. You don’t look like me or him now, but you are my brother,” he hisses like the words burn his mouth. Does this fucker actually believe that the pimp is my father? Grace and Carrick told me that I looked nothing like him and that he disavowed any relation to me. So what if this idiot has red hair? I’m not buying it for a second.
“What’s your game, Myrick? I only have one brother and his name is Elliot Grey, so I’m not buying whatever it is that you’re selling. So you can take whatever hopes of a family reunion that you may have and shove them up your ass!”
“Family reunion??” he scoffs. “You’re kidding, right? You think I’m here because I want you to claim me as your brother? You really are a stuck-up, delusional fuck, just like Dad said. Knowing that I’m related to you makes me physically ill! Nothing about you has any real substance, not even that gold-digging bitch that you are about to marry!”
With lightening speed, it’s Jason this time that gives him a swift and hard punch to the gut. He’s temporarily winded again.
“The truth hurts, doesn’t it?” he says, gasping for breath. This idiot is doubled over and still trying to take shots at me.
“I don’t know. You’re the one in pain right now and I haven’t heard any truth come from your mouth yet,” I respond impassively.
“You laugh all you want now, Grey, but I guarantee that I will have the last laugh. Just wait and see.” This fucker doesn’t know when to quit!
“Do you enjoy pain or what?” Davenport says with a chuckle. Chuck chuckled. It would be funny if I wasn’t so pissed off right now.
“You can do whatever you want to me,” he says, his voice still laced with pain. “It’s like I said, I’ll have the last laugh. You’ve already caused me enough pain. What’s a little more?”
“What exactly is it that I supposedly did to you?” I ask. He sneers at me.
“You are so full of shit, Grey,” he hisses. “You broke my father! He tried his best to be a good dad, but you were always in the back of his mind. The little shit—that’s what he called you. I never knew who you really were until you sent my Dad to jail.”
What?! I sent his dad to jail? What the fuck is he talking about?
“What kind of bullshit has he been feeding you? I haven’t seen or even heard of your father since I was adopted, you idiot! You said that he’s been in jail since you were eight. If you know so much about me, then you know that made me 12 or 13! I was in Seattle by then! What could I have possibly done to put your fucking father in jail?”
“You watch how you talk about my father, you piece of shit! He’s more of a man than you will ever be and your money and your little tramp won’t change that!” That earned him another gut shot from Jason.
“I can do this all day,” Jason warns him.
“You’re really pretty pathetic, Grey,” Myrick says. “Is that your weak spot—your little piece of ass in the next room? You might want to watch these two around her. They might be fucking her when you’re not looking.”
Both of them head in on him this time, but I hold my hands up for them to stop. I step in to the little weasel and pick him up by his neck with both hands. His feet are dangling from the ground and he’s struggling to get out of my grasp. This is the first time that I see pure fear in his eyes and I only imagine that there must be pure rage in mine. He’s trying to kick me, but I’m too close for him to get a good hit. I bring my face close to his.
“Do you know how long it takes for someone to die from choking?” I taunt coolly. “I heard that it’s kind of painful—not too slow, maybe three or four minutes tops. I can imagine that must be a particularly long four minutes, helplessly feeling your life slipping away from you knowing that your only relief will be your death.” I squeeze a little harder and his face turns a lovely shade of dark red.
“I can probably make that four minutes last an hour… maybe two.” I prove my point by loosening my grip on his neck, allowing in just enough air to tease him. He’s gasping to get in as much as he can and when he starts to gag, I tighten my grip again. His eyes are pleading.
“To answer your question, yes! She is my weak spot. Keep talking about her that way and we’ll see how long I can make it last!” I add, squeezing tighter and watching his eyes slowly close. I don’t hear her come behind me. I only feel her hands grabbing my arms.
“Stop! Christian, please!” she screams. I hear her voice but continue to glare at the fading Myrick. I release his neck and he drops to the floor in a gasping, coughing mound. “What is wrong with you two?” she shrieks and Jason and Davenport. “He could have killed him!”
“Did you hear what he was saying about you?” Davenport asks almost horrified.
“Yes, I did and I don’t care!” she screams. She is hysterically livid. We have to consider that I could have easily taken this man’s life in her office, no doubt while she watched. Tears are flowing freely and quickly down her face as she looks at Myrick.
“Please! Please just leave!” she wails. She is clearly shaking and upset. Marilyn puts her hand on Butterfly’s shoulder and Butterfly’s thrusts herself into Marilyn’s arms, grasping her around the neck and weeping mournfully. Shit! I set off the adrenaline tears. Davenport tries to help her and she wildly slaps his hands away without even looking back to see who it is. I turn a hateful glare to Myrick who looks impassively at Butterfly from the floor. I don’t like the way that he examining her, like he’s not quite sure what he’s seeing. Oh, how many ways could I fuck you up right now?
“P-please… go, now… g-go away… b-before he… h-hurts you…” she says to Myrick without turning around as Marilyn guides her back into her office and closes the door. We all stare at the door a bit stunned I think, including Myrick. I look down at his expression and it’s written all over his face…
He was wrong about her.
To drive it home, I used his terminology.
“That gold-digging bitch just saved your life!” I hiss. “Get him the fuck out of here!”
“On your feet, Fucker,” Davenport hisses. I know that he’s salty about Butterfly not allowing him to help her. I have watched their relationship grow over the past few months and I know that he considers her part of his family as she does him. So, he could crush this guy at this moment and not give it a second thought. Myrick rises to his feet.
“I may have been wrong about her, but this isn’t over, Grey. If you get the chance to kill me, go right ahead. One way or another, I’ll still get the last laugh—even if it’s in death,” he says.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, very profound. Now move your fucking ass!” Jason says pushing him towards the elevator.
“Oh, and Grey, is Ms. Steele missing anything?” We all freeze. Fuck! He knows about her gun. What the fuck does he have to do with her missing gun?” I nod at Jason who gets into the elevator with Davenport. When the doors close, I call Jason.
“Awaiting instructions, Sir,” he says.
“I don’t care what you do or how you do it, but find out how he got into her apartment and where her fucking gun is,” I say.
“Consider it done, Sir.” I end the call and look at the door through which Butterfly just retreated. I take a deep breath and run my hands through my hair before entering to face the firing squad.
She is looking out of her window, still crying… or breathing shuddering breaths, I can’t tell. Marilyn is nowhere to be seen. She must be in the restroom. I approached cautiously but still stand several feet from her.
“Don’t!” she says, her voice thick with her tears and raising her hand to silence me at the same time. I roll my eyes. She’s not even going to give me an opportunity to explain or defend myself? I don’t want this to be a fight, but she will hear me.
Marilyn comes out of the restroom and freezes when she sees me. She has a wet washcloth and a glass of water. She proceeds over to Butterfly and hands her the washcloth. Butterfly puts it on her face covering her eyes and holds it there for several minutes while we all stand in silence. Finally, she hands the washcloth back to Marilyn and examines the glass in her hand.
“What is that?” she asks. Marilyn frown.
“Water,” she says with an obvious tone, thinking the same thing I am. Butterfly turns back to the window.
“I need something stronger.”
Marilyn’s surprise is visible, as is mine, no doubt. She walks over to a wooden cabinet built into the wall, opens it, and pulls out a glass and a bottle of vodka. She pours two fingers, puts the bottle away, and closes the cabinet. It looks like Butterfly has a stash for hard days, too.
Marilyn hands her the glass and retrieves the water from the desk where she had set it moments earlier. Neither of them have made eye-contact with me yet, and Marilyn still manages to look anywhere but at me as she walks past me back to the bathroom with the glass. A few moments later, she comes back to the office and stands just inside the door.
“Leave us,” I instruct her. She glares at me, though not without a hair of fear in her eyes.
“Ana?” she says trepidatiously. Butterfly doesn’t reply.
“Can’t you take a simple instruction?” I bark angrily. What does she think, that I’ll hurt Ana? Now her glare becomes angry.
“No offense, Mr. Grey,” she snaps, “but you’re not my boss!” She glares at me for a moment, making sure that her words sink in. With a hard, obvious, and angry eye-roll, she looks back to Butterfly who still has her back to us. “Ana, are you okay?” she asks, her voice softer. Butterfly nods almost imperceptibly. “Do you want me to leave?” Marilyn asks. Another nearly imperceptible nod. “I’ll be in the lobby,” she says before walking out and closing the door.
“Butterfly…” I begin.
“You could have killed him, Christian,” she says, sharply interrupting. She turns around to face me. “Would you have killed him if I hadn’t stopped you?” I don’t answer her because I really don’t know. Watching that asshole going unconscious in my hands was liberating, especially knowing that he was the direct offspring of the crack whore’s pimp and was trying to get me to believe that I was, too.
“Jason and Davenport wouldn’t have let that happen,” I say in a failed attempt at defense. Wrong thing to say.
“Oh, yes!” she hisses. “They were doing so much to stop you! I think they were enjoying the show more than you were!” She folds her arms and narrows her eyes, nearly closing them. I’m feeling a bit angry that she seems to be concerned whether this guy lives or dies.
“Why do you care about that fucker anyway? Did you hear the things he was saying about you? About us?”
“I don’t give a fuck about that piece of shit I care about you!” she screams all in one breath. “Your life—our life—would have been over if you had killed him! Don’t you see that? Can’t you see anything beyond your anger and immediate emotions? You’re such a fucking brilliant businessman, but you do some stupid shit sometimes!” Oh, she is mad—seething, fire-breathing mad! Her face is turning red and she is about to pop.
I didn’t think about that, about how ridding the world of this worthless piece of vermin would affect Butterfly, about her watching me do this from her office—because I know that she was watching. I’m still very angry, but in my haze, I can understand how she feels. I don’t know if I would have killed the fucker, but I know for certain that Jason would have stopped me before he was dead… or that he would at least hide the body for me.
“Ana, that man has it in for me. There was no fear in his eyes and no concern for his own well-being until I started to choke him. He said horrible things and he is coming after me. I don’t know what his plan is or what he is doing, but he’s coming for me. The way that he sounds, he wouldn’t care if he got you, too. It might even be a bonus for him!”
“I heard what he said, but that’s no excuse, Christian. If you had killed him, it would have been for what he said, not for what he had done!”
“Do you hear what you’re saying?” I bark at her. “Were you thinking this way when you held a knife to Elena’s throat in my kitchen!?” She gasps at me and her eyes are large and angry. I feel the exact same way right now that she probably felt when she wanted to kill Elena and wouldn’t listen to anyone.
“That was different and you know it!” she nearly screams. “That woman was like the Energizer Bunny! She kept coming and coming and coming! Even after we got a restraining order, she wouldn’t stay away! We’ve only had one encounter with this asshole!”
“No! We’ve had more than one!” I scream back. “He’s been working in my parents’ home… for months! I don’t know what he has done at their house—set booby traps, fucked with their finances… He’s got it in for me and he probably knows everything there is to know about my entire family. He set up a completely different identity that we didn’t catch until he used his real name—if that is his real name—and a disguise to get to you! He’s claiming to be the son of the man who caused me the worst trauma of my entire life and he’s convinced that I’m his brother and he’s convinced that I’m the reason his father is locked up. I can’t stand to think what would have happened to you if you hadn’t recognized him when you did, if you had been left in this office with him any longer. He loathes you! He hates you just because you’re with me! At least he did when he got here—I don’t know, now, since you basically saved his life. You’re right, Anastasia! This is nothing like the situation with Elena! It’s much, much worse!”
She is stunned into silence, her eyes large and surprised. I run my hands through my hair and close my eyes, trying to control my thoughts. The more I think about this fuck left alone with my woman—the shit he said about her, about us, that his is the direct offspring of what has to be the worse monster that I have met in my entire life and full of rage and the lust of vengeance against me… and he was in the room with my fiancée! It might as well have been the pimp himself in here with her! The thought makes me cringe and scream inside, the raging monster in me wanting to find him again—find them both—and make them pay for his sins.
I turn my gaze onto Butterfly. She’s still stunned, but there is caution in her eyes. I quickly and deliberately close the space between us and snatch her into my arms before she has a chance to protest. I hold her so close to me—like I did that first day in my office, the first time that I kissed her. She’s holding her breath, I can tell, but I continue to press her against me. Feel me, Butterfly. We are one person and I need you to feel me at this moment.
“Do you know how much I love you!? How much I need you in my life!?” I hiss. I hear the urgency in my voice. I need her to feel it as I clutch her in my arms, wanting us to feel the same heartbeat and breathe the same air. She’s staring at me looking almost like a frightened rabbit, but that’s not fear in her eyes. It looks more like surprise or… desperation.
“Yes!” she breathes urgently. I smash my lips to hers, trying to absorb her into me. She whimpers then thrusts her hands into my hair, pulling hard and matching the passion that I’m giving her. Good God, the emotions that I am feeling right now are so powerful, it feels like this room can’t contain them. I might just fucking explode!
I can’t fuck her here… not with what I want to do with her. I don’t want to fuck her here, but I feel like I might combust if I don’t take her. I push her against the wall and push her dress up, not all the way, but just enough to allow her open her legs. I lift one of her legs and put it around my hip. Looking down into her eyes, I grind into her, my erection straining against my pants and now against her panties. She gasps as her surprised glare meets mine. I grind into her again, moving my hips and giving us both the sensation without the skin-to-skin contact. She gasps and whimpers, then shivers as the pleasure shoots through her. My dick is throbbing now and I need more friction. I grind into her harder and faster, tormenting us both as we both want more but each take pleasure in the stimulation. Butterfly’s mouth falls open and I know that she is rising, as am I. I kiss her hard and rough as I continue to grind into her over and over.
“You are mine!” I growl into her mouth. “No one else will ever have you and no one will ever hurt you again. I will protect you!” She lets out a short, passion-filled cry and drops her head back. She grabs my hair as her body begins to shudder. I close my mouth hard on her neck and the exposed part of her shoulder and she cries out again. That sets me off and I am grinding harder and deeper into her. A few moments later, I find a powerful release while Butterfly’s body continues to shiver in my arms.
We are breathing heavily into each other’s neck. I place desperate kisses along her shoulders, neck, and jaw until I reach her mouth and swallow her breaths and whimpers.
“I love you, Ana. I can’t help it. I couldn’t stop it if I tried. All of me loves all of you. I can’t control it… I can’t…” I don’t know what I’m trying to say but I can’t find my words. I’m trying to tell her what I feel, but it’s not coming out right. I love her so much… so much… Yes. Yes, I would kill Myrick in a heartbeat with my bare hands if I thought he would come anywhere near my precious, beautiful Butterfly. When he asked if she was my weakness, something snapped inside of me. Of course, she’s my weakness! That’s why I have K&R insurance on her. There’s nothing that I wouldn’t give—nothing that I wouldn’t do—to keep her safe. Good Lord, I almost feel like I’m falling apart here. I gently release her leg so she can stand and I put my hands on her waist. Touching my forehead to hers and closing my eyes, I will her to feel what I feel.
She holds my face in her hands and kisses me repeatedly. “I know, Christian,” she says, desperation in her voice again, “I know.” She kisses me again then raises my head to look at her. Her eyes tell it all. “I know.”
I feel like a little boy again, a helpless fucking little boy. I don’t know what to do in this moment. I love her so much I feel like I could break down right now. To add to that, this fucker has brought the crack whore’s pimp to the forefront. Anton Myrick, that’s his name. I never tried to find out because I never wanted to know. Now, I have to find out what the hell is going on with him and why he is claiming to be my fucking father.
“Do you want to use the restroom first or should I?” I ask her. She chuckles a bit.
“You go,” she says, kissing me again before releasing my face. I’m almost afraid of what will be waiting for me when I get there, but I’m glad that I’m wearing black today.
When we emerge from the office, Marilyn is sitting behind her desk. Her face is flushed and Garrett is standing in front of her desk. What did he say to her that put so much color into her cheeks.
“Chris, Ana,” Garrett says, greeting us both.
“Hi, Gary,” Butterfly says softly and I nod in his direction. I turn to Marilyn.
“I apologize for snapping at you earlier. I was…” I trail off, unable to find the right word for the emotion that had taken over at that moment.
“It’s okay. I think emotions have run high for all of us today,” she replies. Our heads all snap in the direction of the elevator when we hear the bell ring and a red-haired woman steps out. Caught in our glares, she freezes.
“Oh, hell, I am still at work, aren’t I?” Butterfly exclaims. “Stephanie, please come in.” She walks over to the startled redhead and escorts her to her office. “Please forgive this little display. We had a small incident earlier and we’re all still recoiling a bit, but it’s all under control now.”
“Um… okay,” Stephanie says.
“Have a seat and I’ll be right with you, okay?” Butterfly says ushering Stephanie into her office and closing the door. She comes back to Marilyn. “Who else is on the books today?”
“After Stephanie, you have Paula and then Mr. Sheffield,” Marilyn answers. Butterfly sighs.
“Okay, I can handle that,” she says. Looking around she asks, “Where’s Chuck?” I stiffen, a little too visibly. She cocks her head knowingly. “Where’s Jason?” she says, her voice sharper now.
“Oh!” Marilyn cuts in. “Mr. Taylor called. He said he tried to call your phone but there was no answer.” No doubt. I was occupied and didn’t even feel it ring. “He says Mr. Williams and Mr. Lawrence are on their way. He wants you to call him as soon as possible.” Thanks, Marilyn.
“Christian…” Butterfly’s voice is laced with anxiety and anger.
“I promise, I will tell you everything when we get home. In the meantime, please don’t worry,” I try to assure her. She still looks at me skeptically. “I promise,” I reinforce. Her shoulders fall and she rolls her eyes.
“Okay,” she relents before turning to go back to her office.
“Butterfly,” I close the space between us before she gets inside the door. I plant a gentle kiss on her lips. “I love you.”
“I know… I love you, too,” she says before disappearing into her office and closing the door. I sigh heavily, placing my hand on the door. I turn around to the stares of Garrett and Marilyn.
“You got it bad, Man,” Garrett teases.
“Worst than you’ll ever know,” I shake my head.
“I hope you’re wrong about that part,” he says, turning his gaze to Marilyn who smiles shyly back at him. I put my hand on his shoulder before walking to a quieter place on the floor.
“Sir,” Jason answers on the first ring.
“Talk to me.”
“Ben… Lawrence will stay with Her Highness today and Williams will take you to GEH. Afterwards, they will take you both back to Escala.” Escala?
“It’s safe to go back?” I ask him.
“For now, it is, Sir. The phones have been reset and we can’t tell how they were disabled. Nothing physically happened to the phones so we may have been a bit paranoid. However, with this fucking crackpot out here now, you can never be too sure. The locks have all been changed and the software for the phones has been reset and rebooted by the phone company which seems to have solved the problem. The phone company says that sometimes this happens. I don’t buy it, but we’ve checked everything. There is no sign of a real and present danger. The apartment has been completely swept and there are no weak spots anywhere that anyone can breach at this time. We have also swept Ana’s apartment again and nothing, yet, but with this new information, I still want to keep an eye on her apartment and possibly do a more thorough search.”
“New information?” I ask him. What new information?
“Myrick took Ana’s keys during one of your visits to your parents’ home. He didn’t tell us that outright, but he made enough inferences that we know that’s what he did. This is why there is no forced entry. Whoever got in used a key—to the door and to the drawer where her gun is kept. He has to be working with someone because Ana doesn’t make it public that she keeps a gun in her nightstand. He would have had to find that out some other way.” I sigh. I knew this threat was real. Butterfly can’t see it yet, but I knew it.
“Where is he now?” I ask.
“It’s better that you don’t know, Sir. He’s not giving up his accomplice, but we know there is one.” I don’t like the sound of that, but I did tell him to do what he has to do.
“My parents, how should we handle this?”
“You can tell them what we discovered, nothing about this phone call but whatever you want about him being Myrick’s son and claiming to be your brother. Alex is already working to see if that’s his real name and if there is any validity to the story. You definitely want to make sure that they don’t let him on the premises again and see if we can get permission to have their property thoroughly swept. He’s been working there for quite some time with basically unfettered access. There’s no telling what he’s set up there,” Jason warns.
“Could Liona have been in on this?” I ask him. She’s been working for my family almost all of my adult life, but I trust no one right now.
“I can find out if she knows anything—ask your parents for permission to question her—but we don’t want to turn this into a witch hunt. We will have to question your parents’ staff anyway because we need to know if any of them know anything.” I nod.
“Okay. I’m going back to GEH for a couple of hours. I have some things that I want to look into as well. No dead bodies and no evidence, Jason. Butterfly is extremely upset.”
“Have you met me?” he asks as an answer to my request. I end the call and go back to Butterfly’s lobby. Lawrence and Williams have arrived and Williams rises when I enter. I shake Garrett’s hand.
“You’ll make sure she gets home safely,” I say to him gesturing to Marilyn.
“I’ll take care of her, Chris,” he says shaking my hand. I nod and leave with Williams.
I’m not pleased when I get back to GEH and see the security tapes from Vansteen that have been delivered to me. A copy has also been turned over to Gerald as well. The tapes indicate that it was a woman entered the apartment, but we can’t tell who it is. I can’t see any distinguishing characteristics, but you can tell that it is most likely a woman—or a boy with a very small frame. It looks like she entered using a key, but she is wearing all black baggy clothes with a hooded sweatshirt so that her face is covered. Whoever it was knew that there would be surveillance, so she made it impossible for us to identify her. She is even wearing gloves so the fingerprints will be useless. She is only in the apartment for about 10 minutes and then she is gone. There was no forced entry, as there wouldn’t be since Myrick had the key.
Shit. This means that we actually need to go all the way back to when Myrick started working at my parents’ house if we hope to find anything useful—maybe even further than that. Even then, we may come up empty-handed. I am so sick of bungling idiots working for me!
“Welch!” I yell into the phone.
“Sir,” he answers calmly.
“Is Robin Myrick a real person?” I ask. I want answers now!
“So far, yes, but he’s real dead,” Welch answers. I swallow hard. Did Jason kill him?
“When did this happen?” I ask cautiously.
“About 6 years ago,” Welch answers. “According to my sources, Robin Myrick was killed in a car accident when he was 18. He has no other family, so he was buried in an unmarked grave since his father was in prison at the time.” The plot thickens.
“So who is this fucker walking around claiming to be Robin Myrick?”
“I’m still looking into it, Sir, but as far as I can tell, he’s Louis Millfeld… and probably Robin Myrick, too.”
“How is it that you were able to find Anastasia Lambert and not Robin Myrick?” I ask him.
“Because Myrick convincingly filled in the blacks for the story that was his life while a teenage girl doesn’t just disappear for two years. What’s concerning me more is how he managed to ‘die’ and come back to life. I can tell you from experience, that’s not easy… or cheap.”
“So not only is he a delusional psycho—like I don’t have enough of those in my life—but he also has friends in high places as well as money in his mattress,” I lament.
“If he does, that’s where it has to be hiding, because I have looked everywhere and he has no traceable assets. Fingerprints would help a lot if I could get them.” As if in answer to Welch’s request, Jason walks into my office.
“I’ll see what I can do.” I end the call and turn to Jason. “Is it safe to ask if he’s still alive?”
“Very much. Not very happy, but very much alive. He’s not someone that we want to turn our back on, Sir. Revenge is his agenda and he sincerely hates you. He is certain that you are the cause of all of his suffering and he wants you to suffer, too. He’s on indefinite close surveillance right not—two guys working together and one independently at all times. We will not have a repeat of the Harris situation.”
“Yes. Definitely that serious. I can tell that he hasn’t had any type of special training, although he’s not being truthful about his background. Right now, he’s just a determined nut with a high pain threshold. We couldn’t break him about his accomplice no matter what we did and we don’t want to cause him traceable injuries, but this won’t be the last time that he hears from us,” he assures me.
“What makes you think he isn’t being truthful about his background?” I know this is the case but I want to know what he knows.
“Tell-tale signs that I’m trained to notice. He definitely has two different backgrounds, maybe more. He may even suffer from a split-personality—unless he’s just having a problem keeping his lies straight.” Jason shrugs. “We swabbed his mouth, Sir,” he says. I glare at him waiting for the punchline. “DNA… Sir… in case you wanted to know.”
“Oh,” I reply. “Well, I don’t believe him for shit, but documented proof that he’s full of it would be just fabulous. You wouldn’t have happened to get fingerprints too, would you?” I ask.
“As a matter of fact, I did. Pretty basic—I made him hold a water glass. Chuck is delivering the DNA and fingerprints to Alex as we speak. You will need to get swabbed, too, Sir. Damn near had to suffocate him to get the swab, so he definitely has something to hide. ”
“Yeah, like he’s full of shit and not really my brother,” I respond. “I thought you were going to have Williams and Lawrence take us back to Escala.”
“We knew that we hit a brick wall, Sir. We’ll bring him back in when we need him. Let this little experience marinate a bit.” He acts like he enjoyed it. I shake my head.
“You scare me, Jason,” I tell him. At that moment, there is a knock at my door. “Come in!”
“I have some information on the Cassie Hamilton situation,” Welch says walking into my office. I gesture for him to sit.
“Let’s have it.”
“Ms. Hamilton opened her business under an alias and a dba—Shelly Fisher and Matrimonial Dreams. It only took a year for her business to fall through the floor. Instead of closing, she was bought by another company who restructured her business and basically put her on the map. That company subsequently fell under, too, and was bought out by another company. Matrimonial Dreams was listed under ‘miscellaneous subsidiaries’ on the books.”
“What was the name of the company that bought her out?” I ask.
“Hildenbrandt LTD.” Why does that name sound familiar to me?
“Okay, and Hildenbrandt went under. Who owns them now?” There is a pause.
“You do, Sir,” he says, flatly. I am out of my seat in no time.
“What!? Are you telling me that I have financed the bitch for… how long?”
“About a year now, Sir.” Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!
“Can somebody fucking tell me how this shit got past us… again?” I bark.
“That’s easy, Sir. Miscellaneous subsidiaries are only checked for current financials and paperwork as well as illegal activities or seedy business practices. If we keep them, we keep them as a whole. If we sell them, we sell them as part of the company or back to the original owners. This is part of the protocol, Sir. We never look into miscellaneous subsidiaries unless they would have a detrimental impact on the purchase or on GEH.” He’s right. I don’t waste resources looking into small fish. However, here is yet another example of how the enemy can infiltrate the camp right under our noses.
“We might have to change that, Mr. Welch,” I say between gritted teeth. “Fuck, how many more of my damn ex-subs are working for me?”
“I don’t know, Sir, but I can check it out.” At first that was a joke, but now I’m beginning to think that might be a good idea.
“Get it done. What is Hamilton’s contract with Hildenbrant?”
“Iron-clad, Sir, which means it’s iron-clad with you.” Shit, I can’t get her that way. Back to the dirty way.
“Blackball her. Does she have a Dom?”
“Her financials indicate that she gets a regular transfer from a gentleman named Harland Becker, most likely her Dom…”
“Definitely her Dom, I know who he is. I’ll take care of that.” While I ruin her business, I’ll spread the word that she has loose lips—both when she was my sub and now. Then, I’ll tell Becker that she basically told my soon-to-be wife that she was my sub. I’m sure that he doesn’t want his wife to know that about him.
A/N: Because I adore you all so much, I will let you know that there is some SERIOUS ANGST about to come up in the next few chapters. I tried to steer clear of this particular storyline, but it kept presenting itself in different ways so I finally put it down on paper. I have huge pieces of the future written and the characters would not allow the future to connect to what I have already written with this bit of storytelling. Again, I think it’s what people who realistically endure going through what our lovers have gone through and some of you may not like it. THERE WILL BE NO CHEATING… I REPEAT… NO CHEATING… just in case some of you were thinking it might go in that direction, but it will be angsty as fuck. Warning you in advance… So prepare yourselves.
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Love and Handcuffs!