This is a work of creativity. As such, you may see words, concepts, scenes, actions, behaviors, pictures, implements, and people that may or may not be socially acceptable and/or offensive. If you are sensitive to adverse and alternative subject matter of any kind, please do not proceed, because I guarantee you’ll find it here. You have been warned. Read at your own risk.
I do not own Fifty Shades Trilogy, or the characters. They belong to E. L. James. I am only exercising my right to exploit, abuse, and mangle the characters to MY discretion in MY story in MY interpretation as a fan. If something that I say displeases you, please, just leave. If you don’t like this story or me, please don’t spoil this experience for everyone. Just go away. For the rest of you, the saga continues…
Chapter 64—The Best Laid Plans
At 10:00 sharp, Francesca Meyers walks into my office. She’s dressed in Prada and, like I said, has the orangest red hair that I have ever seen. Jason is placed strategically in the secret room off of the side of my office monitoring and recording this meeting on the CCTV system that I use for possible dealings with shady characters. I’m well-armed with the information I need to scare the shit out of this woman and wring every bit of Intel she may have in her possession.
“Have a seat, Ms. Meyers.” I say without rising from my chair. She sits in the seat across from my desk and her skirt hikes a little higher than it should have. Oh no, Little Lady, that’s not how this is going to work.
“You may want to adjust your skirt, Ms. Meyers. This is a place of business,” I say flatly, then wait while she adjusts her skirt to a respectable length. “I’m sure you know why I’ve called you in here.”
“No, sir, I don’t know,” she replies.
“Well, you must have some idea,” I say impassively.
“No, sir, I’m sorry, but I don’t.”
“I called you in here because I know that you have been feeding information about me and my movements to people outside my company, and the first thing that I want to do is give you an opportunity to explain yourself.” I fold my hands on the desk, and she begins to fidget nervously.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Mr. Grey.”
“Okay, let’s try this.” I sit back in my chair. “You know who I am. You know how powerful I am, and I will destroy you. Then I’ll press criminal charges on you for industrial espionage. Then I’ll sue you for invading my privacy and causing mental duress to my girlfriend who was accosted by paparazzi on our vacation while trying to recuperate from a kidnapping ordeal. Would you like to see how many other things I can come up with, because I can get really creative. By the time I’m done with you, no one will come near you with a 10-foot pole,” I spit now rising from my seat and coming around the desk. “Assuming you’re not spending several years in jail on white-collar criminal charges, you won’t even be able to get a job as a cashier. The choice is yours.”
I stand over her glaring down at her and her demeanor changes immediately. Her lips part and her breathing shifts.
What the hell?
She uncrosses her legs and places her feet flat on the floor. Her back straightens, her hands spread flat on her thighs, and her head drops.
“I’ll tell you whatever you want to know, Sir,” she says quietly.
Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!
She’s a sub!
Lincoln! Elena fucking Lincoln!
“How did you get into my fucking company?” I snap, instinctively going into Dom mode to play this little trick like a violin. She must have recognized the mannerisms. I’m infuriated, but I plan to use this completely to my advantage.
“I had instructions and a connection, Sir.”
“Where is she?” I’m boiling right now. She looks up at me through her lashes.
“I don’t know what you mean, Sir,” she says coyly.
“Don’t play games with me! Where is she?” I glare at her and wait for my answer. She shrinks back a bit in the seat.
“She took the first flight to Anguilla yesterday to look for you.” She drops her eyes again. How’s that working out for you, Pedophile? You’re there and I’m here. When will you fucking learn?
“How did she get you hired into my company?” I hiss.
“I’m not sure, Sir. All I know is that Mistress told me that she needed me to be working here, to keep an eye on you and give her updates on your activities. She somehow got my resume information submitted to GEH’s Human Resources department, and I was called in for an interview. I was hired within two days. I don’t know anything else about how I was hired.”
Her information was submitted on my log in from my home computer. The Pedophile had free reign of my apartment three years ago. It must have been her. Of course, no one would question it if it came from me and Welch definitely wouldn’t see a problem if it came from my home computer.
She was most likely brunette at the time, too. That’s a whole different can of worms.
I have access to everything. She could easily tell when someone was needed in any department by simply logging in with my ID and wandering around.
“What were your instructions?”
“To let Mistress know what your schedule was, if you had any dates or women coming around, or anything that may have been newsworthy,” she says meekly.
“What was your connection to Robert Harris?” Her eyes shoot up at me with this question, but she quickly drops them again.
“I… I dated him for a while, Sir.” Her voice is shaking.
“Was he part of this, too?”
“For a while, but he didn’t know. He would give me more detailed information just in our daily conversation and I would give it to Mistress.” She knew my every move, my every damn move for…
“How long has this been going on?” I growl.
“Since I started working here,” she replies.
“You’ve fed her Intel on my every move for three years?”
“Yes, Sir,” she says just above a whisper. I slam my hand on the desk and she jumps and whimpers a bit. No, I’m not going to hit you, you simple bitch, although I want to.
“Harris was getting information even after he was fired, information that he couldn’t have known… personal information. Was that you, too?”
“Yes, Sir,” she whispers.
“There were personal things, things no one else knew… how did you find out?”
“Any way I could… eavesdropping on private conversations, logging in on other people’s ID’s, listening to you on the elevator… I just know how to listen.” She never raises her head.
“There was no part of my life that was ever private, was it? No part of my life that you didn’t either tell that asshole Harris or that bleached-blonde Pedophile?” Her head shoots up and she stares at me with large, surprised eyes.
“Pedoph—no! She’s not…”
“Answer me! Is there nothing that was kept private!? Everything that you knew, you told one or both of them!?” I’m yelling at her and she presses herself back in her chair.
“Yes Sir, I told them everything!” she cries. Oh, dear Lord, keep me from killing someone right now. I look at her through narrowed eyes.
“You know about my lifestyle, don’t you?” I ask her flatly.
“What did she promise you? You were brunette when you started here, and I never saw you. What did she promise you?” I already know the answer, but I want to hear her say it.
“That I would be your sub,” she confesses. I run my hands through my hair.
“Unbelievable. Unbe-fucking-leivable.” How many lives is this woman going to ruin before someone stops her? She must have known that she was losing control of me and this was her way of trying to maintain it.
“You’ve signed an NDA and you know the rules of the community. If you say anything…”
“I’d never say anything, Sir.” She never lifts her head. Time to twist the knife.
“You’re aware that you’re an accessory to the kidnapping of Anastasia Steele, correct?” Her eyes are as big as saucers again as she glares at me.
“No, Sir. I had nothing to do with that! I swear to you!” She’s completely panicked now.
“Oh, but you did,” I retort. “You fed Harris information about my whereabouts and my comings and goings that let him know that Ms. Steele was vulnerable. He used that information to time her abduction. That makes you an accessory to her kidnapping. You withheld information that could have led the police to Ms. Steele’s captors sooner, and maybe she wouldn’t have been brutalized so badly by him. Do you realize the pain and the anguish that you’ve caused? To that poor woman? To me? Even to that dead fucker Harris? Is your Mistress pleased?” I’m barking at her now.
“She’s not my Mistress anymore, Sir,” she replies, trembling.
“Then why did you keep feeding her information? How did she know that I was in Anguilla?”
“I needed the money! Bobby promised me a payout when this was all over. He didn’t tell me that he was going to kidnap Ms. Steele, I swear. I wouldn’t have told him anything if I had known. He just told me that he had something in the works and that there would be a big payout in it for me when it was done. He left me in debt, Sir, and he swore he would pay me back… and then he died, and I was left with the debt. Mistress paid the debts and got Bobby’s loan sharks off me and in return, I had to give her more information about you and Ms. Steele.” She’s in tears now.
“So now she’s in Anguilla looking for me. When will this woman ever learn?”
“Actually, Sir, she’s on her way back to the States now. She learned along with everyone else that you and Ms. Steele were back, and she couldn’t get a flight back until today,” Meyers replies meekly.
“How did the paparazzi know that I was in Anguilla?” I bark.
“I put the word on the wire, Sir. She wanted them to do the heavy lifting for her and locate you without tipping you off. They wouldn’t have pursued the lead unless it came from a reliable source.” No longer reliable after today.
“Well, then you can contact your Mistress and see if she can use her sneaky little ways to find you another place of employment,” I say walking back around my desk and taking my seat. All of a sudden, this little mouse decides to grow some balls.
“With all due respect, Mr. Grey,” she spits, sitting up taller now, “I think I deserve some kind of compensation for keeping my mouth shut!”
“Excuse me? Are you insane or just delusional?” This woman has to be out of her mind. She’s been running her mouth since she’s been hired here and now, she’s asking for compensation for silence?
“As I see it, you’re a very powerful man as you said yourself, and I’ve been in this office for quite some time… alone, with you. I could very easily run out of this office screaming, right now, and declare that you tried to sexually assault me.” She smiles a fiendish smile and I must be looking at her in horror, because she continues as if she has the upper hand. “True, I may not win a case since it’s my word against yours, but could you or your company withstand that kind of publicity? What about that pretty new girlfriend of yours? How long would she stick around with a stigma like this hanging over your head?” She sits back in her chair and crosses her legs triumphantly. “I’d say $500,000 is enough to keep me quiet and out of Seattle. It’s a drop in the bucket to you, I know, but to me, it’s a whole new life.” I just shake my head at this poor misguided waif.
“Boy, the Pedophile sure can pick ’em, can’t she? You must really be a glutton for punishment. You must have been highly degraded by your Masters. Missing that now, are you?” I say sarcastically. She’s been sitting here playing the cooperative little submissive role thinking that if she capitulated that she would get what she wanted, maybe even become my submissive. When she discovered that I wasn’t biting, she completely flipped the script on me.
“I wouldn’t worry about that if I were you. I would worry about what I’m going to say when I leave the room,” she says confidently.
“You can say whatever the fuck you want to say, but before you speak, know this. I’m not as sloppy as your Mistress. I don’t knowingly leave myself in a position to be fucked over. Taylor!”
Jason comes from behind the sliding wall and pushes a few buttons on a remote. In seconds, a screen is revealed from the bookshelves behind me. It comes alive with a recording of my meeting with Ms. Meyers about her covert activities in my company. Her face falls immediately as she realizes that there’s absolutely no way that her scheme can work.
“You’ve just sealed your fate, Ms. Meyers. I suggest you leave Washington as soon as possible, because I can assure you that bitch is going down and if you’re not careful, you’ll be going down with her. Give your badge to Mr. Taylor. Your access and clearances have all been removed. Your employment here at GEH is irrevocably terminated. Your personal belongings are waiting for you at the front security gate… collect them on your way out.” I lean forward on my desk. “Oh, and I’ll also make sure that the community is well aware of how much of a bad faith bitch you are. Good luck finding a job or a Dom.” I sit back in my chair.
“Get this female off of my property. I wouldn’t dare make the mistake of calling her a woman.” I say with disdain. Utter horror and humiliation decorate her face as Taylor waits patiently for her to rise out of her seat, and subsequently escorts her out of my office.
I take a deep breath and release it. I’m ecstatic that I’ve found the mole, but still quite livid that so many things occurred that led to so many disasters and mishaps. I know that I have to do something about it.
“Andrea, come in here please, and bring your tablet.” Andrea steps into the office and takes the seat recently vacated by Ms. Meyers. “I need you to send a memo to all department heads that there will be a meeting tomorrow at 1:30pm in the Palladium Conference Room. I expect to see all leaders and their assistant heads in this meeting. They need to be prepared to take notes and if they’re really wise, they’ll bring recording devices as each person will be held responsible for the contents of this meeting. It’s a closed meeting, which means that only department heads and their seconds will be in attendance, and I’ll be discussing the possible restructuring of GEH.” Andrea’s head shoots up at that statement.
“Restructuring? You want to use that word, sir?” she confirms.
“Yes, I do.”
Butterfly comes strolling into my office at 1:00 in that lovely black, white and gray dress she chose last night. She looks stunning. Her hair is styled in a classy chignon with tendrils of hair falling loose in various places. She’s wearing a plain leather pair of black Louboutin stilettos and I swear I have never seen a pair of legs look so good.
“Are we ready, baby?” I ask as I pull her into my arms and kiss her cheek.
“As ready as I’ll every be, I guess,” she responds. “How did it go this morning with the mole?” I scoff at her question.
“Oh, God. Just wretched. I mean I found out everything that I wanted to know, but I can’t believe that someone like that has worked for me for three years.’
“Will you tell me the details?” she asks. At that moment, McIntyre knocks on the open door of my office. Saved by the bell.
“Later,” I whisper, as McIntyre comes into the office.
“Are we ready?” she asks, and Butterfly rolls her eyes.
“Is there anything I need to know? Anything I shouldn’t say?” she asks a little perturbed.
“I’m glad you asked…”
McIntyre sits us down and runs through the format of how the press conference would go and the most likely questions that will be asked. No insights into our personal life or any hints about plans for the future, nothing that can be cause for speculation. Don’t be caught off guard by inappropriate questions, and McIntyre will dictate the flow of questions and which ones will be answered. The press has been warned about guerrilla journalism attempts and surprise attacks which will cause the press conference to be ended immediately. Once the pep talk is over, there’s just enough time for a very flustered Butterfly to go powder her nose before we’re due downstairs.
“Do you think she’ll be okay? She looks a little rattled,” McIntyre asks me when Butterfly disappears into the restroom.
“Next to my mother, that’s the strongest woman that I know. She’ll be fine,” I answer definitively. A few moments later, a refreshed Ana emerges from the restroom.
“Okay, let’s get this egg cracked, fried, and served,” she says straightening her dress. That’s a strange expression… but whatever works.
Davenport and Jason follow us into the elevator, and we’re greeted on the first floor by a throng of reporters that couldn’t fit into the conference room. The flashes are going insane. I take Butterfly’s hand in mine and we exit the elevator. She pastes that beautiful smile on her lips and waves at the cameras as we pass by to get to the back entrance of the conference room.
“Okay, remember. I’m going to be right there. I’ll be telling them what they can and can’t ask and if an inappropriate question comes your way, I’m going to shut it down, okay?” McIntyre reassures Ana.
“Got it,” she replies confidently.
“If you get stuck anywhere or you feel uncomfortable answering any question, look at me or let Mr. Grey know and we’ll handle it.”
“Okay,” Butterfly nods.
“Any questions before we go in?”
“I don’t think so,” she responds. I squeeze Butterfly’s hand and press my lips to her knuckles.
“Are you ready?” I ask softly and she nods.
We walk through the doors and I’m blinded by the flashes going off in the conference room. They couldn’t fit more people in this room if they tried and it’s very hot in here! Geez! Christian and I are led to a table set up on a stage with three chairs. Vee and Christian sit on either side of me while Jason and Chuck stand close by. Vee makes the announcement that the press conference will begin and reminds the members of the press that this is the official story to be released announcing our relationship and any further attempts at contact after this point will be met with whatever legal action is available. I’m happy to hear that as I would like to get back to work tomorrow.
Vee starts with a general statement about our relationship. We tweaked the details of how we met as we certainly didn’t want to announce that I was the facilitator of the group therapy to which Mr. Grey was assigned as the result of decking one of Seattle’s citizens. Instead, we tell them that we met as a result of a community program in which we were both involved and quickly followed that with the fact that I’m a psychiatrist with a thriving practice, currently working with Dr. Grace Grey and the Helping Hands project. That, of course, leads them to believe that the community program of which we are speaking is Helping Hands. Now, the floor is open for questions.
“How long have you two been dating?”
“Our relationship is still very new,” I answer. “It’s been just about six weeks now.”
“But you live with Mr. Grey…”
“No, I own a condo downtown. I’ve been staying with Christian at his request since the kidnapping as a safety precaution. I’m sure you can understand why I wouldn’t want to be alone at this time and, of course, Christian agrees with me.”
“So, you plan on staying there?”
“I think Ms. Steele has answered that question,” Vee interjects. “She has informed you that she owns a condo but is currently staying with Mr. Grey in the wake of her recent kidnapping. Next question, please. Vera?” She points to another reporter to the right.
“Yes, Ms. Steele, no offense, but you seem like pretty much an unknown. How did you manage to land Seattle’s most eligible bachelor?” I laugh at this question, because I knew it was coming.
“You’d have to ask Christian that question. He pursued me,” I respond, good-naturedly and there’s a wave of light laughter over the room.
“Many women have tried and failed to catch his eye. What would you say is different about you?” Before I have a chance to respond, Christian leans into the microphone.
“I think that question should be directed towards me,” he begins. “I don’t know about many other men, but a gentleman likes to be the one that pursues the lady. Yes, many women have shown interest in me over the years. Some of them have been downright predatory. Ms. Steele epitomizes how a lady should carry herself and what a lady should be. She’s beautiful, caring, and loyal, but she’s also very strong and quite independent. She tends to draw people to her, and I was not immune to the charm. I hope that answers your question.”
Somebody’s getting laid tonight!
“Where are you from, Ms. Steele?”
“Right here in Washington,” I say with no further information.
The questions go on for about twenty or thirty minutes or so, ranging from the mundane to the obscene. On more than one occasion, Vee had to curtail questions about our sex life and how well the great Christian Grey was endowed. The next line of questioning doesn’t surprise me, but nearly ignites a war.
“Ms. Steele,” the blonde reporter began, her voice clearly dripping with distaste, “who are you wearing?” Several eyes turn to her in question and she doesn’t flinch.
“Um… okay. Well, I’m not wearing anybody, but if you are referring to my attire, my dress is no one in particular, my shoes are Louboutin, and my jewelry is Cartier.” I try to keep my displeasure hidden and Christian squeezes my hand under the table.
“I see,” she purrs, her voice still oozing condescension. “Did you dress like that before you met Mr. Grey?” Now the room has fallen silent, because everyone wants to see what happens. Vee makes to say something, but I beat her to the punch.
“Like what, exactly?” I ask.
“Oh, Louboutin, Cartier… you know…” She waves her hand dismissively.
“No, unfortunately, I don’t know. Do you care to clarify?” I say with no malice, though I’m chomping at the bit.
“Okay, here’s this young woman who comes out of nowhere and lands the city’s—if not the state’s or the country’s—most eligible bachelor. Now she’s living in his penthouse, scooting away to exotic locales, and dressing like a society housewife. Could it be that he’s paying for your upkeep now?” Oh, this bitch! Vee opens her mouth to say something, but before she can, Blondie says “Let’s just cut to the chase. Are you with Mr. Grey for his money? You know that everybody wants to know what you have to say about that.”
“That is highly inappro—” Vee breaks in and I interrupt her.
“No, I’d like to answer that,” I say, holding a hand up to Vee. Christian and Vee both throw cautionary glances at me. “What is her name?” I ask Vee.
“Cheryl Deems, she’s with Seattle Snoops,” Vee responds. Hmm. I would have thought that we would have kept the gossip rags out of this conference, but I guess if you don’t let them in, they’ll make something up. Loosely speaking, they’re reporters, too, right? Christian is still squeezing my hand and I squeeze back, letting him know that I have this under control.
“Cheryl, how long have you been a reporter?” I ask. She is taken aback a bit, but answers, “Three years.”
“I happen to be a wealth of useless information, and I know that a good reporter averages about $45,000 a year now, not including bonuses or freelance, correct?” I look to the other reporters in the room who make that “more or less” gesture with their heads. “I mean I’m sure that some make more, and some make less, but I’m in the general ballpark, right?” I say making the general gesture with my hands and many of the reporters nod and murmur their agreement.
“How about you, Cheryl, around that much? Maybe a little more?” I ask.
“Well, maybe a little more, but I hardly see what that has to do with the question that I asked you,” Cheryl says trying to direct the attention back to her accusation.
“Well, guess what, Cheryl? It has everything to do with the question that you just asked me because I make a lot more than that. As a reporter, you probably should have had that information by now. Yet… you’re wearing Prada and Jimmy Choo,” I say, gesturing to her apparel, “but I have to justify to you why I’m wearing nobody in particular, Louboutin, and Cartier.” As if it could, the room has fallen more silent. You could hear an ant whispering to a mosquito. Even the Almighty Cheryl has nothing to say… but I’m not done.
“You can dress however you like on your salary. However, because my boyfriend is a billionaire, does that mean that I couldn’t have dressed however I wanted before I met him?”
“Well, that wasn’t what I meant,” Cheryl answers defensively.
“Of course, it wasn’t what you meant. What you meant was because I’m now with a billionaire, I’ve gone from wearing bargain basement clothing to high-end platform stilettos. So, I guess that I should clarify for you that I was a Fashionista years before I met Christian.”
“There’s no need to get offended, Ms. Steele,” Cheryl purrs, smiling that smug “I’ve got you on the run now” smile. I smile back at her.
“Cheryl, you asked me questions about my life pre-Christian Grey that you should have known before you got here. You should have known what a psychiatrist makes in today’s economy. That would have shed light on what lifestyle I’m accustomed to living. I know what a reporter makes and it’s not even in my job description. The paparazzi has been hanging around my home and my office, so you know where I live and where I work, and it can’t be that much harder to figure out what I drive. This is Journalism 101, Cheryl—even a kid on the high school newspaper knows to come to the party with his facts straight. So, tell me, why would I be offended that you were so eager to get the story that you showed up at a major press conference ill-prepared because you didn’t do your homework?”
I look at her innocently with no malice so that it can’t be said that I sliced up the “poor little reporter.” A few cameras flash in her direction and she realizes that she is now the story. I continue to speak before she has a chance to offer a rebuttal.
“Nonetheless, none of that really matters. I’m going to answer your question because I don’t want to be accused of evading it.” I shift in my seat and sit up straighter. Let me show you how this is really done, Bitch.
“I make enough of my own money where if I want to wear Louboutin and Cartier, I can wear Louboutin and Cartier without Christian Grey’s assistance. Like I said, I own a condo that overlooks Elliot Bay. I drive a late-model Chrysler 300 that I pay for myself. I’m a doctor with a thriving practice with several patients and a waiting list and I have recently taken another position and I’m on staff at Helping Hands. I have more than a few pennies to rub together. I can take care of myself without Christian Grey’s assistance. I was taking care of myself when he met me. Our meeting was a chance occurrence and the only reason that I know of him is because he told me to Google him.” A few of the reporters snicker a bit.
Oh! Laughter! Let’s ride with that!
“Yes, Christian does like to shower me with gifts. He’s extremely generous. Like any other woman with a billionaire boyfriend, I graciously and happily accept his gifts. What am I supposed to do, turn him down? ‘Oh no, Dear, I will not accept your Cartier. What will people think?'”
Now the laughter is a little louder and Cheryl is turning a little green in the face.
“To answer your question, I have no interest in Mr. Grey’s money. Oh, it’s a huge perk! Let’s be realistic!” More laughter erupts from the room. “However, I have no interest in how much he’s worth. I wasn’t drawn to him for his money. Look at him! He’s masculine perfection!” Again, more laughter from the not-malicious reporters in the room. “If he was a street sweeper, I’d still be crawling all over him. So no, his money didn’t attract me to him, and he didn’t win me over with gifts. To be quite honest with you, when we met, I couldn’t stand him. He won me over with chivalry… by literally rescuing me from a bad situation and making sure that I got home safely. That’s what made me fall for him. Will he buy me more gifts? Of course, he will. Will I gladly accept them? Absolutely. Did I get with him for his money? Absolutely not. Am I still with him for his money? Absolutely not. Did I answer your question?”
Cricket. Cricket. Cricket.
After about 10 seconds of complete silence, somebody starts clapping. Two or three more people clap and then the room erupts in applause. I put on my pretty smile and the cameras start flashing again. At that moment, Vee leans over to us with a satisfied smile and says, “I think that’s a wrap.” She turns to the throng of reporters and says, “Thank you all for coming.”
The three of us stand and walk out of the side door with Chuck and Jason close behind. As we wait for the elevator, Christian turns around and takes me in his arms. We pose for a couple of pictures for the reporters that couldn’t fit into the room and had to watch the interview on the monitors outside. He puts his hand in the small of my back and deliberately puts my hand on his chest. I know he’s sending a message to anyone who has known him intimately. Nobody touches Christian Grey’s chest…
Except Anastasia Steele.
He takes my hand and looks lovingly into my eyes, then he kisses me softly on my temple. I know the cameras are going wild, but I can only see him… my masculine perfection street sweeper. The quiet ring of the elevator snaps me out of my gaze and the five of us enter, cameras still snapping as the doors close.
“That was brilliant! Absolutely brilliant! I told you, just let her be herself. You can’t script shit like that. Boy, I bet Cheryl will think twice before she comes back at you again!” Vee is thrilled with the results. “You were fabulous!” she says to me. “I can guarantee you that there will be no paps bothering you for a while… until the next catastrophe strikes, that is.” She throws her hand in the air and turns to Christian. “Should I prepare for any backlash from the Golden Girl?”
“I don’t think we have to worry about her anymore, but keep your ear to the ground anyway. I’m sure you’ve heard about the staff meeting I’m calling tomorrow,” he says to her.
“Who hasn’t? Every department is crawling through issues over the last several years and looking for scapegoats as we speak,” Vee responds.
“Well, that won’t help them. People are getting sloppy and lax and this cannot happen anymore. I’m not looking to place blame on anybody. I just want this shit to stop.” The elevator rings that we have arrived at Christian’s office. As soon as the doors open, Welch and Al are standing in the lobby.
“Oh God, what is it?” Christian asks, preparing himself for bad news.
“Well, I don’t know why this gentleman is here, Boss, but I needed to see my girl. I haven’t seen her in nearly two weeks.” Al holds his arms out to me, and I gladly run to them. “Oh, Jewel, I’ve missed you so much.”
“I’ve missed you, too, Baby,” I say, squeezing him close, then pulling him back to peck him on the lips. I look up to see a room full of people staring at us. Then Christian announces, “Stop gawking. They’ve been best friends for 14 years.”
“I thought he was part of legal,” Vee says, puzzled.
“He is, but he was Butterfly’s best friend first,” Christian clarifies.
“Oh, well that explains the dick and balls comment,” Vee says more to herself than anything.
“What?” I ask turning around to face Vee. I have got to know what this is about. “Dick and balls comment?”
“When we were looking for you, Mr. Grey said that he would have your captors’ heads on a platter. Mr. Forsythe indicated that he would have their dick and balls,” Vee informs me. “I couldn’t understand why legal would feel so passionately about the boss’s girlfriend. Now, I know.” I look lovingly at Al.
“You said that?” I ask.
“I certainly did. I was going to rip them off with my bare hands. Nobody fucks with my Jewel.” I hug Al again.
“Hmm. Jewel and Butterfly. You have quite the effect on people, don’t you?” Vee asks. I shrug and point to Jason.
“He calls me Your Highness.”
“Your Highness!?” Vee repeats in utter disbelief.
“Yeah. He refused to call me Ana, he kept calling me Ma’am and I wanted to choke him. So, I ran down a list of names that were acceptable for him to call me and he chose Your Highness.”
“I always wondered how that came about,” Welch says quietly.
“Your Highness was on a list of acceptable names?” Vee questions.
“It was a joke,” I defend, waving my hands. “It was on a list with names like Pookie and Doctor Lady!” Vee breaks out in nearly uncontrollable laughter.
“Classic. Absolutely classic,” she says.
“Mr. Grey,” Welch’s controlled voice captures my attention. “Lincoln has arrived at SeaTac, sir.” I frown.
“SeaTac?” The word comes out of my mouth involuntarily. I probably wasn’t supposed to be part of this conversation. I quickly look anywhere but at Christian or Welch.
“I’ll go… to the ladies room.” I take off down the hall. I know someone is saying something behind me, but I can’t hear them. I burst into the ladies room and take a deep breath. That was some experience. When that bitch made that comment about me being with Christian for his money… I knew some people thought that, but it’s not the same as people saying it to your face. I splash a little water on my face. Luckily, the banter and laughter of the other reporters at my sad attempt at jokes assured that my adrenaline didn’t go too far, but I could still feel it pumping a bit. I could just imagine what kind of news my turning into a blubbering idiot would have made.
“That first press conference is always the worst,” Vee says coming into the restroom.
“Yeah, that Cheryl bitch almost made me lose it,” I admit. “It took every bit of etiquette, decorum, and Communications 101 not to tell her to go fuck herself! Why is it that when you’re dealing with a man with money, that’s the first thing that people assume?”
“Because, unfortunately, Sugar, it has been my experience that this is usually the case,” Vee says.
“Well, people suck!” I put a little more cold water on my face then dry my face and hands.
“Is that your professional opinion, Doctor?” Vee jests.
“It most certainly is!”
I decide to leave Christian with the running of his empire before I butt my big mouth into his business again and head over to my office to see if it was safe to enter. Apparently, the paparazzi is either still recoiling from that interview at GEH or they got the message loud and clear about legal action and decided to leave me alone. There are no appointments today, but I see Marilyn’s car in the parking lot, which makes me very happy. We can start getting things running again and contacting patients to let them know that I’m back at work.
I step off the elevator and the closer I get to my reception area, I hear the distinct sounds of moaning. Oh, give me a break! Is she getting laid in my reception area!? I charge in to find Marilyn pinned against the wall—fully dressed, thank God—being accosted by a very gropey Gary!
Get outta here! Love is in the air, Man.
I should be angry with this blatant show of unprofessionalism, but I can’t help but smile. I stand there for about a full minute waiting for them to notice me. When Marilyn’s leg rises, I know I have to stop this before it goes any further. I put my hands on my hips in a very disapproving stance and clear my throat loudly.
Gary and Marilyn jump like a sonic boom has gone off in the office. Marilyn is straightening her dress and Gary is unsuccessfully trying to wipe the pink lipstick off his mouth.
“I… um… I’m… sorry, Ana… I didn’t expect you to be in today,” Marilyn stutters trying to catch her breath.
“Obviously not,” I reply.
“There… wasn’t supposed to be… anybody here today… I was… just getting ready for tomorrow,” she continues trying to make excuses while Gary slowly inches his way to the elevator.
“I’ll… see you later, M,” he says, trying to make a quick getaway.
“Oh, no you don’t, Garrett Emmanuel Pope! Get your ass back here!” I chastise before he makes it to the elevator. “You’re standing in my lobby, dry-humping my assistant and you think you’re going to walk away and let her take the blame all by herself?”
“I… I…” Gary is at a complete loss for words.
“You two are worse than a couple of teenagers! You couldn’t take this to a conference room or a restroom or something? You had to do this right in the middle of my lobby?” They both look at me like the chastised children that they are. “No making out in my damn lobby… and I would prefer that you don’t do it in my conference room or my restroom either!”
“Yes, ma’am,” they answer simultaneously.
“‘Food and Libations’ this weekend?” I ask sternly.
“Yes, ma’am,” they respond again. Sarcastic asses.
“Fine, now get your ass down to City of Music, and no more groping my assistant in the middle of the business day!”
“Yes, Dr. Steele,” Gary says before blowing a kiss to Marilyn and escaping to the elevator. I turn back to Marilyn and tut at her.
“For shame. Have you no dignity?” I tease while walking into my office.
“I really am sorry. I didn’t know that you were coming in today. Nobody was supposed to be here,” she says.
“No fooling around in the office. For God’s sake, Marilyn, you didn’t even lock the door,” I scold.
“It wasn’t supposed to happen, I swear. We were just making plans to go out for drinks later and the next thing I know, he’s all over me. One minute, we’re talking and smiling and enjoying each other’s company and the next minute, he’s all hands and lips and grabby and I’m all hot and bothered!” I can hear the sexual frustration oozing out of her. “He’s like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde!” I sit down at my desk and fold my arms.
“You haven’t sealed the deal yet!” I exclaim. She quickly takes the seat in front of my desk.
“I’m trying not to be a desperate slut, but I’m going to jump his bones any minute!” she says, clasping her hands together tightly. Oh, good grief! Before Marilyn, Gary was with Bethany. I don’t even think that relationship lasted a month. If he’s taking this long to put the moves on Marilyn and he’s clearly attracted to her, how long did it take him to put the moves on Bethany? Did he put the moves on Bethany? If he didn’t, that would explain why she was a bitch in heat coming on to Christian.
No moves on Marilyn.
No moves on Bethany.
Nobody before Bethany…
I gasp loudly when the realization hits me. Marilyn is looking at me oddly as my hands fly up to my mouth.
“What is it, Ana? Is he a serial killer and you just never told me?” Um… no…
“I think… Gary… may be a virgin,” I say to her. She smacks her lips at me.
“Well, duh!” she says matter-of-factly. I glare at her.
“How did you know? Did he tell you?”
“No! It’s written all over him!” she exclaims.
“How?” I nearly shriek. “The way that he was mauling you when I came in the room, I was sure that you two had rounded the bases a couple of times by now.”
“God! I know, right?” she says, her voice full of frustration. “He’s like that all the time. I think he’s going to rip off my clothes any second, but we never get past ‘PG.'”
“Well, you were on your way to ‘R’ a minute ago,” I say rolling my eyes. God, I thought my love life was stunted before Christian. These people have folks that want to be with them and jump their bones and they can’t seem to make it happen. “Listen, I can’t even begin to tell you what to do in this situation. I haven’t the faintest idea had to get a man who has never been… had. All I can tell is that if he’s working you up as much as you say he is, work him up, too—and then don’t let him walk away.”
“Yeah, but I don’t want him to think I’m easy,” she complains. Is she serious?
“I just walked into my lobby and he had a handful of boob and you had your leg wrapped around him. Do you want to get laid or not?” I ask. I don’t want to listen to another bleeding-heart woman who doesn’t want to go after what she wants when it’s right there in front of her begging her to take it.
“If he doesn’t want to screw you then you two need to come to some agreement where he’s not groping you all the time. You’re clearly going to be pulling your hair out in no time and he’s steadily setting the fire and walking away. Pull out your battery-operated boyfriend and deal with it or tell him what you want. The choice is yours. Now go get your tablet and let’s see what we can do about this week’s appointments.”
I drove my car today. It doesn’t feel the same. Something’s just not right. It’s not my baby anymore. When I pull into the parking bin at Escala, I reach over and take My Boo out of the glove compartment. I can’t say what’s wrong, but something’s wrong. Christian was sure to get the car completely repaired and detailed so that it would be ready when we got back from Anguilla. Whoever he hired did a fantastic job. The car looks new—better than new, in fact—but something’s off. It’s just not my car anymore.
“You know, this parking is more secure than the parking at your condo,” Chuck says as he meets me at the elevator. I look at him strangely.
“I don’t doubt it, but what made you say that?” I ask bemused.
“You always left your Glock in the car at the condo. Now, you’re taking it out,” he observes. What do I do, tell him that I don’t want to drive the car? It’s so ungrateful, after Christian went through the trouble of restoring the car to better-than-perfect condition.
“I don’t know, I just feel better bringing it inside,” I say, casually. “Is Christian home or is he still in the office?”
“Still in the office, I think. One of the Audis is still missing.” I nod. Today has been a trying day and I think I just want to take a bath and listen to some music. Chuck hands me my briefcase as I head to the en suite and start a bath. Christian is still at work for whatever reason and hasn’t left me a message that he was going to be late. I can only assume that there were some loose ends to tie up in relation to the press conference… or some issue with the Pedo-Bitch landing at SeaTac. I have a feeling that’s going to piss me off, but he hasn’t offered me any information and until he does, it’s none of my business.
I put my jewelry in my jewelry box except for my promise ring which I put on the nightstand. I strip out of my clothes and sink completely into my lemongrass bubble bath, completely covering my head, then coming back up to rest on the bath pillow, submerged to my chin. I haven’t heard from anybody in the crew today, except Al and, accidentally, Gary. I won’t make any assumptions about Val and Elliot, but I’ll need to call Maxie tomorrow and touch bases—on our sessions as well as her wedding.
I open my eyes and the water has gotten cold. The bubbles are all gone, and I have no idea how long I’ve been in the bath. I quickly wash myself and my hair and get out as my fingers and toes have begun to shrivel. I dry my hair and put it in a ponytail, then put on a comfy pair of shorts and a tank top. I notice that I was in the bath for 25 minutes… barely enough time for shriveling to occur. I put my promise ring back on, run up to my office and lock my Boo in the safe. When I walk into the kitchen, Gail is all alone making dinner.
“Hi Gail. No word from our men yet?” I ask.
“No, but it’s early yet. We’ll either be seeing them or hearing from them very soon.” I nod and go to the wine rack. I retrieve a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, uncork the bottle and pour myself a glass.
“Are you okay, Ana?” Gail asks.
“Sure, I’m fine. Why do you ask?”
“You seem a little out of sorts,” she replies concerned. I roll my eyes.
“It was just a really weird day. Among many other things, some catty female reporter asked me if I was with Christian for his money.” I sigh heavily.
“Well, you had to know that was coming,” she says, sounding apologetic.
“Yeah, I did, but still… I mean, I had all of my own stuff before I met Christian. I make good money. Granted, I don’t carry as many zeroes as he does, but I do pretty well for myself. Nobody looks at that. It’s totally publicly obtainable knowledge that I’m a doctor who has a condo that’s worth more than a million dollars, a late-model car, and a thriving practice—all things that I had before I met Christian Grey. It couldn’t possibly be that I love him. No, I have to be after his money. Blonde bitch!” I say before taking a healthy swallow of my wine. Gail is glaring at me in horror before my brain finally registers… she’s blonde, idiot!
“Oh, dear God! Not you!” I exclaim, realizing my faux pas. “No! The bitch who accused me of being a gold digger, she was a blonde.”
“I was pretty certain it wasn’t me, but it’s good to be sure,” Gail says, stirring whatever is in the pot in front of her. All of a sudden, I remember that I was exhausted when I came in.
“I’m going to go… check emails or something… anything where I don’t have to talk.” I turn to leave.
“I’m fine, Ana, really. I knew that you weren’t talking about me,” Gail says.
“No, I’ve tripped over my tongue more than once today and I think it might just be a good idea for me to roll it up, put it in my mouth, go somewhere quiet and contemplate the meaning of life,” I say, throwing a smile at her.
“Okay, well let me know if you need anything,” she calls to me as I walk away.
I’m back in the bedroom, scrolling through Google. I guess I’m a glutton for punishment. Vee was right—the hate site is down and so far, none have taken its place. Nothing is up yet about the press conference today, but there are still the usual pictures and the live feed from the kidnapping. There is a still photograph of Christian and Al sitting together. Christian looks so broken and lost. Four days of having no idea whatsoever if I was dead or alive—he must have been going crazy. He looks like he hadn’t been sleeping, but didn’t look nearly as bad as the day we had to take him to the hospital.
I open my music player on my iPod and go to one of my old faithful jazz playlists. Beach sounds fill the room, followed by the smooth sounds, synthesizers, and guitars of Blank and Jones. I lay back on the pillow and decide to Google Christian to see what the news says about him instead of what it says about me. Sure enough, there are several new stories on him and his “new love.” Funny, I Google Christian and I see all the latest pictures of me… shopping at Nordstrom before the trip, being carried out of the hospital by my beloved after the kidnapping, even running into GEH today with Chuck before the press conference.
The one picture that really holds my attention is one of the pictures of us taken in front of the elevator. Someone had the perfect angle and just the right lighting. I was looking off at another camera somewhere I think, and Christian had just turned his head to kiss my temple. My hand is still resting on his chest and his hand is resting on top of mine. That was just before he took my hand in his. His other hand is gently holding the small of my back and he’s pressing me into him. It’s quite clear that he’s holding me as close to him as he can without being obscene in public. The caption says it all:
The secret is out. Christian Grey is taken… and happy. Grey is seen here holding his girlfriend, Anastasia Steele, following a press conference this afternoon at Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc’s corporate headquarters downtown. Pack away your billionaire hopes and dreams, girls. This is the real deal.
Damn straight, it’s the real deal, and I’m not going anywhere!
I copy the picture from the internet and save it to file. Then I assign it as the picture for my wallpaper. I stare at it for a while and I can see the love radiating between us. I wonder if others can see what I see, or do they still just see a gold-digging female out for Christian’s money? I know there’ll be some that will see that no matter what. I could give the man a damn kidney and they would still say that I was doing it for money. I must admit, that hurts, but there’s always going to be someone who’ll say or do something hurtful, just because they have nothing better to occupy their time and mind. I try to remember that as I look at the picture of me and Christian. I try to remember that out of all the reporters in that room, only one of them had the audacity to accuse me being after Christian’s money, that most of them took the same stance as this caption… that this is the real deal and that I truly love this man, and he truly loves me.
Butterfly only stuck her head in briefly to tell me that she was going into her office for the rest of the afternoon assuming that the coast is clear. We really should have just gone home for the rest of the day and it’s nearly half past three, but I have a feeling that I need to listen to what Welch has to say about the Pedophile and for some reason, Butterfly feels the need to make a hasty getaway. I don’t press the issue and we say our goodbyes until later.
“So, she has landed at SeaTac. Has she gone through customs yet?” I ask.
‘She has, sir. It appears that she had plans to go by the hospital, but she didn’t know that Shane had already been released,” Welch replies.
“Where is Shane now?”
“He’s at home recuperating. He’s still pretty weak, but he was well enough to go home.”
“Do the police have any leads?” I ask.
“No, sir. He’s not talking, so they don’t know where to start. You were right about the investigation into his parents. As soon as the doctors saw the bruising on his back and the signs of bondage, procedures were begun to remove him from the home. Your father represented the Hemsteads and worked it out so that Shane would be able to return to his parents. I don’t know how he convinced the authorities and the court in such a short time, but I’m pretty certain that it has to do with the fact that they were not present when he was beaten and brought to the hospital, so it’s perfectly believable that they had nothing to do with his earlier abuse as well. In addition, he won’t give any information concerning who is responsible for the abuse as well as who beat him to a pulp. So, we’re pretty much back at square one on all fronts, sir, because you know that his parents aren’t going to let him out of their sight… unless, of course, that woman convinces them to let her mentor him or look out for him.” Like she did to Grace with me.
“Fuck!” I run my hands through my hair. “He’s a sitting duck unless someone tells the Hemsteads about the Pedophile and that won’t fly without proof.”
“No offense, sir, but aren’t those bruises proof enough?”
“They’re proof of what, but not who,” I inform him. “You’ve got pictures of her in sexually compromising positions with this child! How much more do you need?”
“I’m not sure if it’s enough,” he responds. “The pictures are compromising but not necessarily damning.”
“You only have to kill someone once to be charged with their murder. We need to make this stick.” There simply has to be a way. “Where’s Stampwell?” Welch punches a few numbers in his blackberry.
“Well, he should be in class, but he’s at a little deli in the Marketplace right now.” I rub my chin in contemplation.
“Let’s go. I need to talk to this kid.”
He’s sitting at the counter with his head down. He’s not a bad-looking kid—dark brown hair, tall, muscular build… she certainly has a type. From a distance, he looks like a younger version of me… except for the hair color, that is. I take a seat next to him. Even his mannerisms are a little like mine. His hair is mussed all over his head, a total telltale that he has been pulling on it or running his hands through it. He’s nursing a cup of coffee and he really looks like shit—bags under his eyes, cheeks sunken a bit—kind of like I looked when Butterfly wouldn’t speak to me. How long has it been for this kid? Did she recently release him? It’s clear that he’s nursing a broken heart.
“It’s fucked up when you really want her and she doesn’t want you anymore,” I say gesturing to the waitress.
“Excuse me?” Stampwell says, bemused.
“What can I get for you, Handsome?” The waitress says to me.
“Coffee, please.” She nods, puts a cup in front of me and pours the coffee. “Let me know if I can get anything else for you, Sugar,” she says before going to the other end of the counter. I take a sip of my coffee.
“She does all of this stuff to you. She gets you hooked. She makes you want to be around her all the time. She makes you want to be with her. She makes you think you’re special. She makes you think you’re the only one. The next thing you know, you go off to college or you grow up and you start a business and she doesn’t want you anymore.”
Stampwell looks at me like a UFO has just landed and he just watched me step out of it. I can read his facial expressions because I used to be him, so I know what he’s thinking:
Does he know?
“Yes, I know,” I continue. “You don’t want to believe it, but what she did to you was abuse, and you’re feeling the results of it right now because you can’t even get on with your life. All you can do is follow her around and want to be with her and see who she’s with to the degree that now, you’re beating up on her current lover because she’s showing him more attention than she’s showing you.” His pale blue eyes get large—very pale blue, almost gray… almost like mine.
“Are you a cop?” he asks, swallowing hard. Here it comes. I’m taking a big chance doing this, but I have to do something. I can’t let this go on.
“No, kid. You don’t know who I am?” He shakes his head. “I’m Christian Grey.” He again looks at me like a little green man from Mars, then his face fills with disbelief.
“The Christian Grey? Get outta here, you’re not Christian Grey,” he says.
“I need you to keep it down, kid. This is very serious. If you don’t believe me, you’ve got your iPad there. Google me.” I take another drink of my coffee and I watch picture after picture of Anastasia pop up on the screen before even one picture of me shows up. Even then it’s a picture of me standing next to Anastasia.
Good grief. They’re besotted with her.
“Okay, so you’re Christian Grey. What do you want with me?” he deadpans.
“I’d like to talk to you further, but I need your assurance that our conversation will stay between us and I won’t talk about it in a public coffee shop. The information that I have to share is too delicate for that.” He pauses for a moment.
“You have my word,” he says. I think he’s more curious about the information I have than he is loyal to his silence, but I’ll have to trust it.
“No, kid, I need it in writing.” He looks at me strangely, but then nods.
“I’m only doing this because I want to know what this is about,” he says, looking back at his iPad and confirming my suspicions. “Cute girl. That your girlfriend?” I nod.
“That’s my Butterfly.” He nods this time.
“So, what do I need to do, get a letter from Mommy or what?” Smart ass, yeah… he’s me.
“Come with me back to my office, GEH headquarters.”
“How do I know you’re not some crazed, psycho, rapist guy or something?” he asks.
“You just Googled me!” I almost lose my temper. “Drive your own car, meet me at GEH. I’ll be waiting for you.” I leave $20 with the waitress and leave the deli with Welch and Jason in tow. “Good God, she found somebody just like me and he’s getting on my fucking nerves already. How do you deal with me on a long-term basis?” How will Butterfly?
“Lots of practice,” Jason replies.
Twenty minutes later, I’m waiting in the lobby hoping that Stampwell decides to come and hear what I have to say. His Mercedes SLS Roadster convertible pulls up in front of the building and I send Taylor to go and park it in the garage while Welch escorts Stampwell into the lobby. I point to the visitor’s log at the information desk.
“Sign in.” He looks at me then signs in. Evans, the front desk night guard, gives him a visitors pass, then he, Welch and I take the express elevator up to my office.
Once in my office, I explain to him that he has to sign an NDA and that I was going to tell him very confidential information about me that only a handful of people know. So, if it gets out, I’ll know who said something.
“Be very certain that you will not say anything about what I’m about to tell you, because I’ll ruin you if you do.” He nods uncertainly and signs the NDA.
“She did the same thing to me,” I begin. “She made it damn near impossible for me to have a normal relationship with a normal woman once she was done with me. It took several years to escape the hold that she had on me. Now that I have, I just want to help others that she has hurt… hopefully stop her from getting her clutches into more young boys.”
“But you’re rich and successful,” he protests. “She calls you her greatest accomplishment.” My eyes get large.
“She talks about me?” I bark.
“Not by name, no, but once you told me who you were and how you’re talking about her, I know that it’s you she’s talking about. I didn’t know you were… like me… young. I thought you were older. I thought I was special.” Yeah, so did I, kid. “She wanted me to be like you. She called you ‘her favorite pet.'” He shakes his head in disgust. “I hated that.”
“I can imagine,” I say. “So how old were you when this started?” He looks up at me then down at his hands.
“Fourteen. My parents were getting a divorce and they were so busy trying to hurt each other that they just forgot that I even existed. Our personal lives—all of our dirty laundry—was splashed all over the news for everybody to see. God, I hated it so much. They were having a custody battle over me, but I don’t know why because neither of them acted like they wanted me. I found out later that whoever got the kid got child support. From beginning to end, it was all about the money. The whole thing was all about the money.” He looks downright maudlin when he discusses this part of his life.
“How did she get to you?” I ask.
“She was sexy. She was interested. She showed me attention when nobody else did. I would have done anything she asked,” he confesses.
“You do realize what she did to you is considered abuse, don’t you?” His eyes shoot up and he glares at me sharply.
“No! She didn’t abuse me! I consented to it! She approached me and I said ‘yes.’ This is what I wanted. I even want it now,” he defends.
And another one bites the dust.
“That’s just it, Morgan. Your brain is not going to accept that you were abused because you consented to it… because it was what you wanted. There’s a reason that we have this thing called a legal age of consent. Before that age of consent, you can’t consent. So, no, you didn’t consent to it! It’s no different from me screwing an underage girl. Just because she said yes, does that make it okay?
“I have a little sister, and I always ask myself how I would have reacted if this had happened to her. People hate to personalize this type of thing. People hate to hear ‘What if this was your child?’ People hate when they’re put in that situation where they have to face what they would do if this happened to their teenage daughter or sister or son or brother, but it’s still the same. If you had a little sister or a little girl, would you still be willing to say that it was okay that a grown ass man had sex with your teenage sister?”
“That’s different,” he protests.
“How?” I ask appalled.
“She’s a girl!” he says like it’s supposed to be obvious.
“She’s a child!” I insist. “Girl or boy, she’s a child! Just like you were a child, she’s a child! These laws are in place to keep these damn predators from getting their hands on children… not to mention that for an experienced adult to sexually lust after a child is morally reprehensible and downright sick!” I say in frustration. I run my hands through my hair, and it seems that Morgan has been stunned into silence again.
“I said the same thing, kid. I wanted it. I liked it. I didn’t want it to end. I kept coming back for it. My head was telling me that it was okay while it was happening. I loved it… it felt right. Even when it felt wrong, it felt right, but the way that you’re feeling right now is the very reason that there’s an age of consent. In their infinite wisdom, someone somewhere thought that by a certain age, you should have learned enough and had enough experience and knowledge to be able to rationally make your own decisions or at the very least be responsible for your own actions. Those same wise people felt that until you reached that age, you should be protected. Thus was born the age of consent, and at 14—no matter how grown you think you are or how maturely you acted—you. Weren’t. There. Yet.
“How you’re feeling right now—broken, angry, and empty—is the very reason a grown, mature, experienced woman should not be seducing a young boy. Maybe, five out of ten of these young boys seduced by these pedophiles come out feeling great. They were approached by a hot older woman who wanted to show them the ropes and take their virginity. She made them feel good and it was all wonderful and, hey, they can go back and brag to their friends. However, she was still a dirty old bitch for touching that child. Also, for every one that came out of that smiling and happy like it was okay for this predator to exploit their arousal and weakness, there’s more than one that didn’t come out okay. That’s why it is not legal or moral for a grown woman to seduce or molest a young boy.”
The more I talk, the more he listens, the more it seems he can see the truth in what I’m saying.
“Young boys think with their dicks and young girls think with their hearts. Predators thrive on that. They’re counting on a young boy’s desire to screw a hot older woman or a young girl’s desire to feel special and loved. They’re counting on either that or the chance that the child may be easily influenced for whatever reason like you were influenced because of what was going on with your family or like I was influenced because I was a troubled teen.
“They use whatever assets they have to snare in these hormonal youngsters. They prey on them. Instead going out to find another grown, experienced adult to fulfill their needs, they ensnare these children to satisfy them and their sick desires. It’s no more correct for a predatory female to grab a 14-year-old boy than it is for a dirty old man to grab a 14-year-old girl. There’s no difference, son.” I say calmly.
He’s sinking further and further down in the seat the more I show him that even though he was convinced that it was, this actually wasn’t his decision. He was controlled by something bigger than him. He was controlled by his nature and by the knowledge of an older, more experienced woman that he could be manipulated.
“She had you brainwashed; she had you all sexed up; she had you feeling like a million bucks. Now she’s got you feeling like two cents. This is why there’s a legal age of consent. If you make a bad decision at a legal age, that’s your bad decision to live with. If there’s a bad decision made for you before you are a legal age, you still have to live with it. Who’s fault is that? It’s one thing to have a relationship go sour and you have to get over the heartache of that relationship. It’s another thing altogether to take advantage of a child and then use the excuse that the child said that it was okay for you to do it.
“In no context is it okay for a grown woman to seduce a young boy—even if he likes it, even if he supposedly consents. In absolutely no context is it okay. When a kid doesn’t consent to it, they label it molestation. When a kid supposedly consents to it, they call it statutory rape. Either way, it’s amoral and illegal. You can dress it up, justify it, excuse it, and add any kind of pretty little bow on that you want—believe me, I was there for 14 years—but it’s still abuse. You were still statutorily raped and she’s still a pedophile.” He wipes away a few tears as I continue.
“By the way, I’d like to make one thing perfectly clear. I am not her accomplishment! I built this on my own and I’m not going to let her take credit for this one more second! She took an unhealthy boy’s obsession with his past and refocused it to another obsession that was just as unhealthy for a 15-year-old boy. When I became an adult, I couldn’t function without her or it. I’m almost 30 years old and I’m just now having my very first healthy romantic relationship. That’s what she created—she created a man who was socially incapable of connecting to another person. How many friends do you have, Morgan?”
He drops his head. No answer.
“What do you do on a Friday night besides follow her around?”
Still no answer.
“Are you fully into the lifestyle? Do you have a sub or a Domme?”
He shakes his head.
“Have you had a girlfriend since she left you high and dry for another teenager?”
He shakes his head again.
“Have you even gotten laid since her?”
He shakes his head again.
“That’s what she creates, Morgan—mindless, soulless men that follow her like puppies walking around waiting for her to give them that love that she says is for fools. I don’t know how many of us there are because she’s been doing this for at least 17 years and most likely longer than that.” He glares at me.
“How do you know that?” he breathes, horrified.
“I was 15. I wasn’t her first. Three years before I fell into the net, she approached my brother. He was 14 at the time. You do the math.” His head falls again. “You weren’t the first and you already know that you’re not the last.” He shakes his head.
“She’s a sick bitch,” he says, softly and sorrowfully.
“Yes, she is,” I confirm, “and I need you to help me stop her.” He looks up at me with teary eyes.
“Why are you so concerned?” he asks suspiciously. I sigh.
“Because it took me 14 years to escape her grasp. It took me 14 years to even start to attempt to live a normal life—with friends and a beautiful woman. It took me 14 years of closeted relationships with subs, hiding in shame, contracts and NDAs to realize what she had done to me. Only the love of a wonderful woman is helping me through the process of becoming human again, of being able to do all of those things that I missed out on because that sick bitch had me brainwashed—convinced that I wasn’t worthy of love and that love, inside or outside of the lifestyle, was not for me.
“She had me completely convinced that her interpretation of the lifestyle was the closest to normal that I could ever have. As angry as I am though, it’s not about revenge. It’s about shame, and it’s about my responsibility. If I had spoken up before my statute had run out, she wouldn’t have gotten to you… or Shane… or countless other boys that she has victimized over the last two decades. Your statute hasn’t run out yet, Morgan. Will you help me?”
He pauses and I can see the obvious war going on inside of him. He’s in pain. He has just found out that the woman he loved—misguided as that love may be—is a sick pedophile that sleeps with young boys, turns them out, then throws them away when they’re too old. The only one that she refuses to release is me—her favorite pet—and every boy since me has been compared to me, held to that standard. No one has ever been good enough, so they’re broken when she is done with them. Young Morgan screws his resolve after wiping away the tears that have fallen and asks,
“What do you need me to do?”
A/N: It was kind of rough to write this one because Christian had to go into that place where he had to admit that he had been victimized by Elena and then he had to share it with another victim. Both boys had “consented” to the relationship and it affected each boy—now men—quite differently. Nonetheless, both were victims and had to come to grips with it. Christian has been feeling mostly anger at this realization up until the point, but it’s going to affect him differently in the near future even though for years prior he thought it was okay. Stay tuned…
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