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 66—You’ve Made Your Bed…
It was a good idea to keep my workload light for the rest of the week. I need to re-acclimate myself to being back at work and being able to listen to people’s life stories and help them through their difficulties. I do admit that I have missed this after having been gone for more than two weeks. It also helps to keep my mind off of my own issues. This morning, I went down to the garage to get in my car and the desire to drive it just wasn’t there. I gave Chuck the excuse that I was a little weary and didn’t want to drive, so he brought me in to work this morning. Driving is one of those things that makes me feel free and independent. However, when driving feels like a task, I just won’t do it and driving that car just doesn’t feel right anymore.
Maybe I just don’t feel right in it since the Aquarium incident. Maybe it’s because the police department destroyed it and even though it has been restored, it just doesn’t seem like my car anymore. I still have seven months left on my damn lease. I should be able to trade it in and get something else. I’ll check with the dealer, maybe later today. In the meantime, I prepare to see the first of only two patients.
At lunchtime, I stand at my window and stare across the tall buildings at GEH. I’m so in love with this man that I can hardly see straight sometimes. Now we have officially announced our relationship to the world. I wonder what kind of psychos are going to come wandering out of the woodwork. It’s bound to happen. I totally refuse to believe that She-Thing is the only woman on the planet who has fallen in love with my man or that has some kind of sick obsession with him, especially with his remarkable sexual prowess. No doubt, there are women fantasizing about him right now that haven’t even met him, let alone those women who have been subjected to the pleasure and pain experience that is the Playroom. I should surely prepare myself for the crazy parade that will soon follow the announcement of our relationship.
I sit down at my desk to enjoy the grilled chicken and dried cranberry salad that Gail made for me for lunch today. Chuck has to attend this dreaded meeting at GEH, and I have assured him and Christian that I would stay put until he returned. It’s not like I could go anywhere; I rode in with him this morning. Marilyn and I managed to get all of the clients back on track for next week, but as it stands, the only other client that was willing to keep her appointment on such short notice was Melanie, the young lady that does the dignity therapy. She has agreed to come in later this afternoon to keep me from having to come in tomorrow since no one else will be coming.
Melanie looks frailer than she did when I left, and I realize that her sickness is really taking a toll on her. I’m immediately filled with sympathy for the young woman. We’re around the same age and her life is ending, while mine seems like it’s just beginning. She weakly meanders through her session today, barely lifting her head from the headrest of her tall wheelchair. For some reason today, she wants to go through a list of probable—and improbable—”what if” situations. I have no idea why she’s going through this line of discussion, but I can tell by the pained look in her weary eyes that she’s holding something back. I immediately ask her if she wants to go back to the “no regrets” part of the therapy, but she declines and says that we would cover it next time and leaves with a strained version of the smile that she gives me every week.
Since I have nothing else to do until Chuck retrieves me, I decide to send a text to the Scooby gang:
**Any suggestions for food and libations this week? **
The responses are almost immediate.
**When and where? **
**Are we having it in the penthouse? **
**What’s for dinner? I’m thinking beef. **
**Stag or Drag? **
**Drag I hope, nobody’s single, anymore are they? **
**Good job at the press conference, Ana. You told that bitch! **
**Oh yeah, was that the Cartier Love Collection that you were wearing? **
**Chris has great taste in jewelry, girl! **
**Maxie, do you still have my pink shirt? Bring it to F&L. **
**Hello? WHERE AND WHEN? **
When they finally stop chatting in the group text, I type in,
**Are we done, now? Should I continue? **
**Yes, Madam! ** Okay, that shit wasn’t funny.
**You are uninvited, Phil. The rest of you, Friday night at Christian’s. Somebody bring the makings for Sangria. **
**Hey, I was just kidding! **
**Say you’re sorry, Phil. **
**I’m sorry, Madam. **
**Okay, okay, I’m sorry Ana. 😝 **
**Asshole. Who has the Sangria? **
**I’ll do the Sangria. **
**Thanks, Val. I’ll let Al know. Most likely, he’s in a meeting with Christian right now. **
**He’ll know when he turns on his phone and sees the group text. **
**Nonetheless, I’ll talk to him anyway. Maxie, call me. **
**Will do. **
A few minutes later, my cell phone rings.
“Hey, Babe, how are the wedding plans going?”
“Terrible! We want a winter wedding, but we don’t know what month. We’ve been together so long, there’s really no need to wait a whole year to get married. I don’t want a Christmas wedding or a New Year’s…”
“What about just after Valentine’s Day? Not right on the day, for Christ’s sake, but around that time. Still winter themed, all of the Christmas lights and decorations are gone. There will be hearts everywhere because love is in the air. You’ll have the spirit of Valentine’s without actually hijacking the day.”
“Oh, God, that’s a great idea!” she exclaims. “It’s so simple—why didn’t I think of that?”
“That’s why I’m you MOA, Babe. What about colors?”
“I don’t know. I don’t want anything too dark. I know that I want blue, but I’m torn on which shade. I can’t decide on what other color,” she laments.
“Well, you said that you don’t want anything too dark, so we know that midnight and navy are out. Is royal too dark?” I ask.
“Not too dark, but it is too deep,” She responds.
“Okay, so you are looking at lighter shades of blue—ice blue, azure blue, Tiffany blue, baby blue…”
“Ooooo, Tiffany or baby blue.” I can hear her typing on her computer, and I assume she is searching for the colors.
“If you’re going with Tiffany blue, you’ll want to go with brown or some shade of white, like almond or ecru. Since you said you didn’t want to do dark colors, I’d say brown is out. If you want to go with baby blue, you should go with beige or champagne, which I think is a better option.” Maxie is typing on the computer again.
“Oh, Ana, I think champagne is a fabulous idea…”
After some time, we have worked out her color scheme, her date, most of her guest list—her side anyway—and many of the minor details of her wedding. She has a lot of homework to do as we really can’t work out locale until she and Phil decide on the guest list. With the wedding now officially being six months away, she can’t afford to dally on the subject.
I didn’t have a full-fledged session with her, but I did voice my concerns about the meaning of the nightmares that I had in Anguilla, the disagreements that Christian and I had as well as my candy breakdown but more importantly, the breakdowns Christian has been having and how they have affected me. Although our talks are protected, I feel a little funny having conversations with her about Christian’s personal story, which is going to present a problem since I’m going to have to reveal our lifestyle to her at some point. She helps me work through some of the things that I’m feeling and has given me homework to talk to Christian about his breakdowns, particularly the one when he was discussing the situation with Morgan. I haven’t told her all of the details, but she’s a smart woman and I’m pretty certain that she has put two and two together. Nonetheless, it’s pretty late in the afternoon when we end our conversation and there’s still no sign of Chuck.
It’s getting late and I really want to leave now, but I promised that I would stay put until Chuck returned. If it gets too late, I’ll ask Phil or Gary to come and take me back to Escala and just let Christian and Chuck know that I didn’t want to stay any longer since there’s nothing else for me to do in the office. I walk back over to the window and look across at my man’s building once again when I hear Marilyn talking to someone in the lobby. I come out of my office to see a clearly frazzled Chuck standing there rubbing the back of his head. He looks like he has truly been taken to task.
“Chuck, geez, what happened?” I ask cautiously. He shakes his head.
“I don’t want to talk about it. Are you ready to go?” He’s very short with me and I know this had to be one hell of a meeting.
“Um, yeah. Let me get my briefcase. Go on home, Marilyn. Food and libations on Friday.”
“Sure, Ana,” she says, uncertainty lacing her voice as she looks from me to Chuck. “I’ll see you then. Call me if you need me.”
The ride back to Escala is quiet. Chuck is looking straight ahead; his jaw is tight, and I don’t even think he’s blinking.
“I don’t want to know what happened in the meeting because it’s none of my business, but did Christian say that you couldn’t speak to me anymore?” I ask Chuck. Why is he being so cold towards me? Have I said or done something wrong?
“No, Ana, he didn’t say that, but we’ve all gotten our asses handed to us. So, you have to forgive me if I’m a little uptight right now,” he says sternly. Okay, Steele, leave that bull alone.
“Understood,” I reply softly.
Chuck takes my briefcase when we get back to Escala and as we walk to the elevator, I glance over at the 300. I forgot to call the dealer today to see what my options are for trade-in and a new lease. I’ll try to remember tomorrow.
“Will I be driving you to work again tomorrow, Ana?” Chuck asks as he hands me my briefcase in the great room. I ponder for a moment and realize that I’m not going to drive that car again.
“Yes, please,” I reply.
“If you need me, I’ll be in the security office until Jason and Mr. Grey get here. They may be a little late this evening,” he informs me.
“Thanks for letting me know.” He nods and heads off to Jason’s office.
I shake my head and turn around into the puzzled face of Gail Taylor.
“What’s up with him?” she asks. I shake my head again.
“Christian had a meeting with all of his department heads today and I can only suspect that it didn’t go well,” I tell her. “I don’t know if Jason chewed out his staff or Christian chewed him out, but he’s been like that ever since he picked me up from the office. Did you hear him say that our guys might be late?”
“Yes, I heard.”
“Well, I’m not going to wait for dinner tonight. If he’s not here in an hour, we’ll all just sit down and eat,” I say. She nods and I go to the bedroom to change out of my work clothes.
Elena Lincoln has been arrested.
Elena Lincoln has been arrested.
Elena Lincoln has been arrested.
The words play over and over like harps and church bells in my head.
“Christian, did you hear me?”
“Yes, Dad, I heard you. How is Morgan?”
“As well as can be expected, I guess. He decided to tell the Hemsteads that he was the one that attacked Shane. Under the circumstances, they agreed not to press charges if he agrees to seek therapy. Needless to say, he agreed.”
“Do you think I should refer him to Flynn, or should he go through Helping Hands?” I ask.
“That’s a tough call, Son. Let me ask Morgan how he wants to handle it. I’ll let you know.”
“Dad, what are the charges?”
“Sexual exploitation of a child, child abuse, statutory rape, child molestation—third degree…”
“Why third degree? Why not first degree?” I ask.
“Because her victims were both 14 or older.” Shit. I wanted this woman to fry! “Christian, I know we want to throw the book at this woman, but with the evidence that they have found along with Morgan’s testimony, she’s looking at something like 25 years and $100,000 if convicted on all charges and they’re not even finished yet.”
“She can spit and put her hands on $100,000!” I snap.
“Can she spit and put her hands on 25 years?” Good point, Dad. Well, that’s some consolation.
“Duly noted. What about bail?”
“They’ll most likely let her out on bail if she can post it, so you might want to enforce that clause in Lincoln’s contract.”
“She’s a flight risk. Why would they let her out?”
“Nothing that she has done is a Class A felony. Her bail will be high due to the number of offenses, but she’ll still most likely have bail since they are not Level I crimes.”
“What the hell is a Level I crime? Did she have to kill someone?”
“Uh… as a matter of fact, yes.” Oh, good grief! God, this woman… I can freeze her business assets, but I don’t know what she has in personal assets.
“Is the house still a crime scene?” I ask.
“Yes. They’re trying to get the blueprints from the builders to find secret rooms as you suggested… unless you can remember any.” I think carefully, but I don’t remember any secret rooms in that house.
“That house is so large, Dad, I’m sure there has to be some secret panels there somewhere, but I don’t remember any. I’ll be sure to tell you if I remember anything, though. I want them to lock her ass up and throw away the damn key.”
“My sentiments as well, Son.”
“Tell them to check that library with a fine-toothed comb. Pull every book out of the shelves, even check the floorboards. She was adamant in telling Annette not to let them in there.”
“I have to go now,” I tell him. “I have a conference room full of frightened departments heads staring at me through glass doors and walls and I need to put a call in to legal about Lincoln’s arrest.”
“Very well, Christian. I’ll talk to you soon then.”
“Thanks for your help with this. It means a lot.”
“It’s the very least I could do.”
I hang up from my father and stick my head in the door of the conference room. “Mr. Forsythe, may I see you for a moment?” Allen comes out of the office with a puzzled look on his face.
“Yes, Mr. Grey?” I appreciate that he maintains the professionalism when we are in the workplace.
“I just received word that Elena Lincoln has been arrested. I need you to initiate the arrest clause in her contract immediately.”
“I don’t want to miss any of the meeting, sir. Do you want me to do this right now?” he asks.
“How long will it take you to get up to legal and get this ball rolling?”
“About 15 minutes,” he responds.
“Well, I have a ‘heads will roll’ speech that I’m about to give. Do you think you need to be around for that?”
“No, sir, I don’t think so.”
“Good. Then get downstairs, get the ball rolling, and get your ass back up here,” I instruct him.
“Yes, sir,” he says as he walks to the elevator. I straighten my suit and walk into the conference room. Backs straighten, legs uncross, and voices get quiet as all attention is now on me in anticipation of exactly whose head is on the chopping block.
“I’ve called this meeting to discuss what has happened in the last month concerning me and concerning my company.” No preamble, I just want to get to it. “It has been painfully brought to my attention that there are some severe weaknesses in certain departments in my company. To say that these weaknesses have caused me great distress would be a massive understatement. I have hired each of you because you were proven to be the best in your fields. I have trusted you to be the leaders that dictate the direction of your individual departments. As it turns out, there are very serious details that have slipped through the cracks. The situations attached to these details were disastrous, but they could have been catastrophic.
“I had an adviser tell me that these situations were just a series of unlikely events. On the one hand, I tend to agree that several small things happened that, had they been isolated incidents, any one of them could have slipped past our radar. The problem is that too many of them went undetected, and no matter how many excuses are made, or explanations and justifications are offered, my life has been a living hell because of these events that went unchecked.
“This is unacceptable. This is sloppy. As a matter of fact, if for any reason any one of these events made it to the media along with the reasons that they occurred, GEH would be a sitting duck prime for picking by anyone capable of exploiting these weaknesses. Mine would be the type of company that I would normally pursue to acquire because there is obviously something wrong with the infrastructure.
“If you can’t mend the discrepancies that are in your individual departments, I will do it for you. I did not become the businessman that I am today by turning a blind eye to weaknesses in my company. As you have seen, I know how to sniff them out and if for any reason I find that I am out of my element, I know how to find someone to find those weaknesses for me. Playtime is over and the shit has officially hit the fan.
“Human Resources made assumptions about Ms. Meyers and pushed her through the hiring process without following proper protocol and without even checking with me. Public Relations also made assumptions about her and let her get away with more than she should have. Security made assumptions about her and didn’t perform the necessary background checks, which would have revealed that something was obviously amiss. Information Technology never found any of her footprints, and even though her actions were quite covert, there were still footprints that could have sent up red flags—such as her attempting to log-in with a terminated security personnel’s ID from her own station.
“We won’t even discuss the amount of errors that my security staff has made in the last month. What I would really like to know is how information about my whereabouts ended up in the hands of the paparazzi and my PR department wasn’t aware that they knew. I’m sure that once the paps find out about something, it hits a hotline somewhere and I’m sure that my PR department should know about this hotline—especially when this information has to do with me. Do I need to hire someone else to figure this out for me?
“It’s my job to run this company; to make it profitable; to seek out issues and to eliminate them; to seek out ventures that will enhance our profitability. I’m not naïve enough to believe that I can do this on my own. Any chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and I am fully prepared to eliminate weak links to be sure that my company is as strong as it can possibly be. I have left the management of your respective departments and employees to each of you. Now, two of the employees of two separate departments have caused me great distress while they were employed by my company and one of them even after he was terminated.
“This is unquestionably unacceptable. I don’t care about unlikely events, coincidences, and small mishaps. A small mishap here and there that causes a ripple in the pond that doesn’t go any further than that ripple happens in every company… you expect that. A mistake that causes a ripple in the pond that results in a tsunami somewhere… that I cannot have, and that’s exactly what’s been happening.
“There will most likely be some restructuring in some departments and there will be full audits and investigations of policy and procedure as well as reviews of clearances and access to be sure that we’re running at peak performance. This is something that should be done on a regular basis, and I’m aware that we’ve done something like this before. However, it’s a necessary evil that I now begin to keep a close eye on what’s going on in my company and in each department. So, you need to inform your departments and your employees that from now on, Big Brother is watching.”
There are various gasps in the conference room as some know exactly what’s about to happen, some are trying to figure out exactly what’s about to happen, and some have absolutely no clue exactly what’s about to happen.
“I’ll be meeting separately with key members of each department in the coming days and weeks to review protocols and discuss weaknesses that I’ve noted and changes that may be occurring in your departments. To emphasize how serious this is, one or more members of my legal staff will be present at every meeting and each meeting will be recorded as this one is right now.”
More gasping comes from the meeting’s participants.
“I have sent you all information that I want to discuss specifically, and I’m expecting you to address my concerns as well as contribute information about your department. This afternoon, it’s my intention to meet with Security, Information Technology, and Public Relations, in that order. My security team will remain in the conference room. IT, expect to get a call in about an hour or whenever I have finished speaking to Security. PR, you’re on standby. All other departments expect an email from my assistant concerning when your appointments will be. I’m waiting for my legal counsel to return, at which time, I’ll begin the meeting with security. The rest of you, meeting adjourned.”
Once Allen returns to the conference room, I am not kind to my security staff by any means. There is no excuse possible that they could give me to explain why two men that were under surveillance were able to kidnap my girlfriend—absolutely none! I don’t use outside agencies to do background checks for my company. When it came time to give Meyers access to my building and interoffice information, the fact that my security team did not perform her background check is a red flag that should not have been ignored. The fact that Harris even made it to the interview process is well beyond my comprehension. How in the hell did a sex-addicted gambler end up on my security staff?
I even speak to Welch, Davenport, and Jason privately about the fact that Davenport is a recovering alcoholic and that although I appreciate his plight and commend him for his journey in conquering his addiction, my company is a zero-tolerance organization and he shouldn’t have passed the background check either. I assure him that his position is secure as long as he continues to operate at his current level of performance.
However, I also strike some fear into him.
“Make no mistake, Mr. Davenport,” Mr. definitely gets his attention, “you are personally responsible on a day-to-day basis of an asset more valuable to me than anything in my company. If this is something that you cannot handle, I need to know now because if anything ever happens to her again on your watch, I will decimate your ass. Is there anything unclear about what I just said?”
I know that he’s not pleased with my choice of words, but right now, I don’t care. If anything happens to my Butterfly ever again because these monkeys can’t get their shit together, somebody is very likely to pay with their life. So, I don’t really care about their feelings or their egos right now, and I’m very certain that these gentlemen are well aware of this as the knowing look passing from Jason to Welch does not escape me.
“There is nothing unclear, Mr. Grey,” Davenport responds mechanically, and I dismiss him to go get lunch and get back to Butterfly with a message that I will most likely be late this evening.
“Mr. Welch,” I turn to Welch once Davenport has left, “I understand that you have a skill set not attainable by most, and I appreciate that. Your expertise has been invaluable to me and this company for the last several years. I would have to hire five or more people to pin down the skills, knowledge, and ability that you possess as one person; but, Mr. Welch, I can do that. I can locate someone—or several people, if I must—that have your skip tracing and fact-finding abilities. Remember that the next time your brain convinces you that you can take that tone with me ever again that you took in my home on Monday night.
“You have enough information on my company and my life to bring me to my knees and that still doesn’t impress me. No matter what happens, I’m still the boss and you’re still the employee. Let this serve as your first and final warning that if you ever forget again that I’m the one that signs your paychecks, you can find someone else to sign them.”
I’m glaring him straight in the eyes. If you want Battle of the Gladiators, let’s do this shit now. He squares his shoulders, straightens his jacket, and I have to say that I’m actually surprised by what comes out of his mouth.
“I was angry, and I did take a tone on Monday evening. It won’t happen again, sir. My apologies.”
He doesn’t kowtow in his apology—he’s very firm about it. I know exactly what he’s doing. He’s sending the message that he will not be emasculated by me, but that he’s also man enough to admit when he’s wrong. I nod my understanding and we continue on with the current issues as well as possible changes that Security could expect. The meetings with Security and IT run much longer than I expected, and I’m certain that I have a few people pissing in their pants right now. I’m also certain that at the end of this endeavor, more than one person will unfortunately be out of a job.
Jason and I pull up at John’s office just after 5:30 as he could only squeeze me in this evening. Squeeze me in, indeed—with what I pay him, he should never have to squeeze me in. Nonetheless, I walk into his office and past his swooning secretary to meet with him and discuss the things that have happened over the last week.
“I… had… a couple of incidents, John.”
“Incidents?” he repeats the word. “Okay, the floor is yours.” I sigh heavily.
“Our last weekend in Anguilla, I took Ana to Saba Island. I felt we needed some time alone before we returned to Seattle. That night at dinner, she worked me up something fierce, John. Once we got back to the cottage, she bound me.”
John’s head jerks back, and his eyebrows reach for his hairline.
“It’s not the first time she has done it, but… let’s just say that it was the most orgasmic experience that I’ve ever had.”
“Whoa!” John exclaims unashamed. “That says a lot, Christian.”
“Yes, it does,” I breathe heavily.
“Um, do you care to tell me why this was the case? I mean, I don’t want a play-by-play, but when you say ‘orgasmic,’ do you mean quality or quantity?”
“Both!” I answer with fervor. He leans in to me.
“Really?” He puts his face on his chin.
“She… wanted to see how many times I could ejaculate, so she came up with these fantastic, creative ways to do so, promising not to stop until I begged her to… and even after that, I think I came again…”
“You think? I’m intrigued, how do you not know?” I’ve really got his attention now.
“That’s why I’m here.” I’m about to talk about something really uncomfortable and I sink back in my chair because it’s not something I want to do. “I gave her control over my body—trusted her with my orgasms—and it was phenomenal, but the fifth time…”
“The fifth time!?” he gasps.
“John, focus!” I chide. He shakes his head and waves his hand dismissively.
“The fifth time, she used a wand on me… very close to my anal area.” John nods. I choke down my pride and press forward. “The only person that I had ever given control of my body in that way before was Lincoln. Of course, I came when Lincoln used to stimulate me, but it was nothing like this. With Lincoln, it was release as opposed to satisfaction.”
“Are you saying that you’ve never been sexually satisfied?” he asks.
“No, that’s not what I’m saying,” I retort. “Subs have satisfied me, but that’s because I’ve taken control of their bodies, and I sought my satisfaction using them as vessels in whatever way I needed it. So, yes, I’ve been sexually satisfied before. However, I’ve let Lincoln physically take control of my body several times and she has never once made me feel the way that Ana did. One of the clear reasons for that is Ana made this experience all about me. The only enjoyment that she got out of it was watching me come. A few times, she almost came herself in the process. She was determined that I would be sated to the point of begging before she came even once. It was the hottest, sexiest, most sensual and emotional thing I’ve ever felt in my life!”
“I can imagine…” John looks a little dazed with the content of this conversation. He is a man, after all, and I can only imagine what must be going through his mind right now. He runs his hand over his hair and shifts in his chair. Mrs. John is most likely in for a pounding when this session is over. He clears his throat and regains his composure.
“I can’t help but notice that you used the word emotional in your description. I’ve not heard you use that word before when describing your sexual escapades. Care to elaborate?” He has returned to professional Dr. Flynn now.
“I was vulnerable—completely exposed—and she used a toy on me. I was very uncomfortable at first, but then she worked me into it and the experience turned out to be amazing. Except…” I pause for a moment to gather my thoughts. “It took be back to when Lincoln used…” I sigh and run my hands through my hair. “You once told me that doors work both ways—they keep things out and they also keep things in. I’m not sure if I was let out or I let Ana in or vice versa but… there in the midst of it all was Lincoln.” I put my head in my hands, and John remains silent. “That bitch penetrated me with a strap-on when I was her sub,” I spit.
“Wha…? Christian, you never told me this!” John exclaims.
“I told you that I was her sub. I told you that she was not a kind Domme. I was subjected to nearly every degradation imaginable.” John shakes his head at this revelation.
“Christian, how could it have possibly taken you so long to realize that this relationship was toxic and wrong?”
“We’ve had this conversation, John. As a teenager, I was convinced that this was the way that things were supposed to go with the lifestyle. Even as an adult, I was sure that I was such a difficult teenager that I required a firmer hand. It wasn’t until I discovered that she had done this to several teenagers that I realized it was wrong.”
“So as long as she did it to just you, it was okay, but once she did it to other teenagers, that’s what made it wrong,” John summarized for clarity.
“Yeah, pretty much,” I nod.
“So, if you had never discovered that she molested other children, you would have continued to believe that what she did to you was okay?” he asks in disbelief.
“Most likely,” I admit.
“Do you still feel that way? Do you still think that if it had just been you, that it would have been okay?” John nearly screeches. I can see it in his eyes; he sees all of his hard work going down the drain.
“John, Dr. Flynn, I realize that this journey has been fascinating for you. However, if you want me to get from point A to point B, you’re going to have to let me finish. It’s already difficult for me to talk about this.” I look at him and wait for his response. He sits back in his chair and crosses his legs, resigned to let me get to my point. I sigh again.
“Lincoln knew that I hated that strap-on. It hurt, it ripped away my masculinity, it actually made me physically ill—but she wanted me to remember that she was in control. She’s the reason that I can’t even experiment with ass-play, and this wand this weekend was the closest that any woman has ever gotten to my ass since that bitch. Ana… erased all of that. I can remember the times that Lincoln penetrated me with that fucking dildo, but each time it comes to mind, I think about the pleasure that Anastasia brought me. She was so loving and attentive. She took special care to gradually bring me to a fever point of arousal and by the time I released… when I released… holy Mother of God! Lincoln who?” I shake my head to regather my thoughts.
“She was so wound up from the experience that once we were done, I satisfied her a few times which didn’t take long by the way. Then, for some reason, all of the demons showed up. It was like I opened myself to love and tenderness, and all of the darkness and hatred and demons and monsters and nightmares came rushing out at me all at once! I was completely incapacitated with fear and anxiety. Anastasia was making love to me again and I didn’t even know it!”
John moves to say something again but thinks better of it.
“We were talking, and I was able to completely open myself to Anastasia and tell her how I felt about her, but the emotion behind what had transpired sexually between us opened all the floodgates that I had closed for so many years. The next thing I know, I’m flashing back to memories of hiding in the closet from that asshole and hoping that he wouldn’t find me. All of the things that I had run from, the things that I kept bottled up, the things I ignored, the things that haunted my nightmares, they all came rushing at me. I was living this out while I was awake, and I was scared shitless. I felt everything like it was happening right there and then and I was paralyzed with fear.
“Slowly, I started to hear Butterfly’s voice and then she came into focus. She was talking softly and sweetly to me, telling me that she loved me and that she would take care of me—of my heart… and she was making love to me! Fuck if I know how that happened. Five orgasms! I was tender! I thought my dick was out for the count! Lo and behold…” I gesture towards my genitals and shrug.
“Again, it was amazing. It was like she reached into the dark and pulled me out… and I mean literally pulled me out! She pulled the scared little boy out of the closet and she pulled the scared man out of the flashback. She loved me tenderly and when I think I came; I didn’t feel it in my dick… I felt it everywhere else! I know that shit is strange, but that’s what happened. I don’t know if I ejaculated or not, but I know something fucking happened because I saw stars and the next thing I knew I was crying myself to sleep.”
John has a look on his face that I can only describe as astounded.
“Say something, Man. I don’t pay you to sit there and look at me,” I say. John actually cracks his neck like he’s going into a prize fight.
“First of all, what Elena Lincoln did to you was for the sole purpose of your degradation. A woman gets no sexual satisfaction on the giving end of a strap-on unless there is something on the other side of the strap-on to stimulate her. From your description, I’m assuming that there was nothing.”
I nod in agreement.
“This is why you can’t partake in anal play when it’s performed on you. I take it that Anastasia didn’t penetrate you in any way.”
I shake my head.
“Would you have allowed her to do so?”
I shake my head again.
“Would you allow her to do so now?”
I look up at him. I can’t answer the question because I honestly don’t know. I know that Butterfly wouldn’t hurt me in any way which is why I allowed her to have her way with me in the first place. Before then, I never would have allowed her to penetrate me anally with anything. Now, I just don’t know. I shrug non-committing while shaking my head.
“That’s not a definite no,” he says. I sigh.
“No, it’s not,” I admit.
“That’s something, Christian. I really want you to think about that—not about allowing Anastasia to penetrate you, but about the fact that you’re not completely against it anymore.” I know what he’s getting at—breakthroughs and all that—but it all still seems so fucked up to me.
“You’ve been haunted by your nightmares for decades, even after you became an adult and could no longer be harmed by those events. We’ve talked about this ad nauseam before, but now maybe you can see my point more clearly.
“You said yourself that you had been running from these things, and that’s exactly right. You never really got over what happened to you as a child. You never really dealt with these things. You say that you want to just forget these things, but you can’t just forget them. They stay with you your whole life and you have to learn to heal those wounds. You can’t just shut them down and lock them away and hope that they never resurface. That’s why they haunt you in your sleep, because that’s when you are most vulnerable.
“Your second most vulnerable time is when you’re dealing with emotional overload. You’ve professed your love to Anastasia, and you’ve opened your heart and your mind to these emotions and that exposes you to every other emotion. It’s a package deal, Christian. You can’t feel extreme love and not know extreme hate. You can’t feel extreme joy and pleasure and not know extreme fear and pain. The extreme bad makes you appreciate the extreme good, but one doesn’t exist without the other. It’s a painful reality, and it’s the reason you haven’t faced your demons before now.”
“I just wanted to leave it behind me. If it’s behind me, if it can’t get to me, then it can’t hurt me. Those things can’t hurt me anymore. He can’t hurt me anymore,” I point out.
“This is true, he can’t hurt you anymore, but the fact that you kept running from it instead of dealing with it is why it has all caught up with you now… while you’re trying to process these extremely intense feelings that you have for Anastasia. Now you’re all raw and exposed because you never properly laid these demons to rest. You beat them away or sexed them away on your subs, but they always came back—whenever you lost control in the boardroom, whenever you had nightmares, and now when you have opened your heart to genuine love. How long are you going to let these demons control you?”
Oh, I fucking hate this! All of these years of therapy and I’m just now getting to the point where I might be able to make a breakthrough and live a normal life?
“I’m a businessman, John. I can’t turn into a blubbering ball of goo every time something happens—which reminds me. I haven’t told you that Lincoln was arrested today.”
“What!?” John shoots up in his chair. “How? Why?”
“Without saying too much, I located one of her victims whose statute was still active and convinced him to come forth. His statement along with some other damning evidence led to a search warrant and the Pedophile was arrested,” I tell him.
“Well, that should help with some closure for you,” John says triumphantly.
“It does, but…” I sigh again, “yesterday, I was telling Butterfly about it—about how I was trying to explain to this young man that he didn’t consent to what happened to him even though he verbally said ‘yes.’ The fact that he was only 14-years-old means that he didn’t consent. Then I started thinking about the things that he said to me. He almost looked just like me at his age, John. She found another boy who looked like me that had a troubled past, and I found out from him that she talks about me constantly—trying to turn these boys into me. She doesn’t use my name, but even this kid knew that it was me that she was talking about.
“John, what she has done to these boys is even worse than what she did to me. I moved on. She was still there, but I was no longer infatuated with her. I moved on to other subs and had other contracts. These boys are following her blindly. They are sickly in love and unable to function without her. The kid I spoke to yesterday—the one that actually turned her in—he was flunking out of college, following her around like a lost dog, angry because she had moved on to another child. When I explained to him the reality of what was going on with him, his pain was so deep it was palpable. I saw my 15-year-old self all over again, only much worse.
“When I went home to talk to Ana and tell her the results of the conversation, I just kept seeing young boys lined up being taken down by her like bowling pins—kids just being used and thrown away. It made me sick, John. She’s such a heartless, soulless, creepy bitch and I can’t understand why she would do this to these children and not feel anything! How can she get sexual gratification out of making these children suffer? How can a child possibly turn you on?”
I can feel my pulse racing and I’m starting to get the dizzy feeling again. I grab my head to stop the thumping. It’s like I can actually hear my heart pumping my blood through my veins.
“Christian, can you hear me?” I hear John’s voice floating into my ears as I try to breathe deeply to control this feeling. I nod that I can hear him.
“Tell me what you’re feeling,” he instructs.
“Claustrophobic,” I choke, “hot… angry… dizzy…”
“Sick,” I seethe, “I hate her. I hate her for what she did… to them… to me… I hate her!”
My head feels like it’s going to explode.
“Breathe, Christian. Deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth… breathe slowly.”
I follow John’s directions and breathe. I try not to think about the wretched, horrible bitch or my pulse starts to race again. I think about my Butterfly, my beautiful Butterfly, and all that is good about her… and the fact that she loves me. John hands me a glass of water and I drink it down.
“Is that what happened yesterday… when you tried to talk to Anastasia?” he asks. I nod.
“One minute we were talking and the next thing I knew, I was on the floor and Butterfly was leaning over me crying,” I say. He nods and takes his seat again.
“It sounds like a classic anxiety attack. It’s not unusual, especially now since you’re being introduced to these new emotions. Now, you have another one to add to your list… empathy.”
“Okay… that’s not a word that’s ever been used to describe me,” I admit.
“Well, you have to be able to relate to something to be empathetic. You relate completely to what has happened to these boys. In talking to one of them, you were able to relate to his pain. In not knowing how to process those feelings, you had an anxiety attack. Don’t worry—we’ve identified what it is, so we can easily help you control it so that you don’t crumple into a ball when this happens again.” He sits back in his seat. “Welcome to the human race, Christian.” I make a face at him.
“Asshole.” Don’t rub it in.
“We have a lot of new ground to cover, Christian. I’m amazed at the breakthroughs this relationship has brought about in you. I’d definitely like to see you on a more regular basis, now. I know that we’ve been ‘as needed’ as of late, and we can maintain that, but I would also like to have a standing appointment with you for the next few weeks to work through these feelings and issues. What do you think?”
As much as I hate to admit it or to commit to a standing appointment, I know that he’s right. I nod.
“Good,” he says. “Talk to Falon and have her pencil you in for the standing appointment of your choice for the next four weeks and we’ll see how it goes. Sound good to you?” he says as he stands, indicating that our time is up.
“Sure, John,” I say, proffering my hand. Once we shake, I turn to leave. Before I open the door, I say, “To answer your question, I was molested. I was sexually abused and statutorily raped by Elena Lincoln. If it had just been me and no other young boys, it would still be abuse and statutory rape. Satisfied?”
John smiles at me and I nod as I open the door, step into the lobby, and close the door behind me.
I have the next two days off from my office, although I do plan to go into Helping Hands tomorrow and see how Marlow and his mom are doing. I called them from the office this morning and Marlow was very happy to hear from me. His mom says he’s still having some trouble in school and I do plan on talking to him about that tomorrow, but for the most part he’s doing okay. That makes me feel good, that he didn’t fall apart completely because I wasn’t there… not that I expected it.
Gail, Chuck and I had dinner about an hour ago. Chuck had loosened up a bit by then, but I dare not ask him about his day or the meeting that he had with Christian. Not only was it not my business, but it seemed like a sore spot with Chuck, so I’ll make damn sure that I don’t ask Christian about it either. Chuck did mention that he and I have a working relationship and a friendship and that won’t change, but that if he ever goes on a vacation destination with us again that he won’t interact with us like he did in Anguilla. Damn, what exactly happened in that meeting?
Dinner was pleasant nonetheless, and we all head in different directions once it’s over. I’m surfing the internet to see what kind of car I may want to replace the 300 when I hear the distinct sound of running through the house.
“Ana! Charles! Come quick!” Gail is screaming. I take the 10 seconds it takes to open my safe and I’m down the stairs in a second. Gail is running to the television room and I’m two steps behind her. She has the remote. The remote? She was screaming like she was being attacked and she has the remote!? She quickly flips to the news channel and there on the screen is what looks like a stock photo of a beautifully coiffed and flawlessly made-up Elena Lincoln.
“Socialite and local entrepreneur Elena Lincoln was arrested today on charges of third-degree child molestation, sexual exploitation of a child, and statutory rape,” the newscaster says.
I gasp as my free hand flies to my mouth. They arrested her! They finally arrested her!
“Nineteen-year-old Morgan Stampwell indicates that he had sexual relations of an alternative nature with Mrs. Lincoln from the ages of 14 to 17. Washington law states that a victim can report these types of charges until three years after their 18th birthday. Stampwell and his attorney produced evidence that Mrs. Lincoln may still be having sexual relationships with minors, resulting in an emergency search warrant being issued for her home in Kirkland. The search produced damning evidence, including several pictures and videos of BDSM activities with children taken in various parts of Mrs. Lincoln’s home, including her bedroom and two separate rooms converted into BDSM dungeons. Due to the magnitude of the case, it has been handed over to the Seattle Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Unit.”
The screen flashes the outside of She-Thing’s posh Kirkland manor, then to one of the officers who executed the search warrant.
“I’ve never seen anything like this, and I’ve seen a lot,” says Officer Nivell of the Seattle Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Unit. “This is an upstanding community and I can only imagine what the people who live here must be thinking now. You never know what’s happening right under your nose or right next door.”
“Police are asking that parents in the Bellevue communities and surrounding areas to discuss this matter with their children,” the newscaster says again as cameras follow a cuffed Elena Lincoln being led from her home in a black pants suit, her head bowed. “Evidence shows that Mrs. Lincoln’s illicit activities with children have most likely been going on for several years with what appears to be at least five to ten different children, though some of them could not be identified.”
Oh, my God, are there any pictures of Christian in there?
Mrs. Lincoln is the former wife of Caldwell Lincoln, owner of Lincoln Timber. Their high-profile divorce nearly a decade ago took a shocking turn when, for undisclosed reasons, Mrs. Lincoln walked away nearly penniless after being awarded a comparatively small amount of money and one of Mr. Lincoln’s cars in the settlement. Mrs. Lincoln is the owner of the well-known Esclava Salon chain in the greater metropolitan Seattle area. If convicted, Mrs. Lincoln could be facing a lengthy jail term and anywhere from $50,000 to $200,000 or more in fines. Arraignment and bail hearings are set for tomorrow morning.”
Holy cow, Batman. Talk about getting your just desserts.
“Can you believe this?” I gesture to the television. “When did Christian have time to orchestrate this? I thought the ‘meeting’ took up his entire day.”
“Ana!” Chuck points to my other hand and yes, my Beretta is locked and loaded.
“She was screaming!” I exclaim. “I didn’t know what was going on.” I quickly pop the magazine out and release the round in the chamber loading it into the magazine as well. Chuck just shakes his head.
“What do you need with me?” he asks dismayed. “I’ve got a feeling that you could take me down.”
“Well, I could, but I do still need you… seriously,” I respond sincerely. We all step out of the television room and are confronted with a confused Jason and Christian, both looking at the gun and magazine in my hand.
“Buuut-terfly? Something going on here?” Christian asks calmly. I sigh heavily.
“She was screaming!” I defend again. “I overreacted.”
“Actually, no you didn’t,” Chuck interjects, “I came out with my hand on my firearm, too.”
“What the hell?” Jason asks. “Who was screaming? What happened?”
“I was in my office. Chuck was in the security office. Gail starts screaming for both of us. Instinctively, I grabbed my gun. It turns out that she just wanted us to see Elena do the perp-walk,” I say.
“The perp-walk?” Christian says. “It made the news?”
“You didn’t expect that?” I ask surprised. “High profile socialite? Child molestation? Oh, yeah. She’s lucky they didn’t get in to get a shot of the playrooms.” Christian runs his hand through his hair.
“I’ll be so glad when this is over,” he says leaving us in the hallway and heading towards the kitchen. I point at him and look at Jason, who says, “It’s been a bad day.” I sigh heavily. I don’t think I can give him sex tonight. We made beautiful love last night and had a fabulous quickie this morning. I think I should really let the coochie rest tonight. Yet, if he needs me, I’ll be prepared. I quickly take the stairs and lock my firearm and the magazine in the safe in my office and come back down to the kitchen. Christian has cracked open a beer and is leaning on the counter, looking at the now half-empty bottle. Boy, it has been a bad day. I walk over to him and brush his hair off his forehead.
“What can I do?” I ask, trying to soothe his thoughts. He puts his hand on my cheek.
“Just… spend some time with me… if you don’t mind.” He sounds a little broken. What could this be? Is he sad about She-Thing’s arrest?
“Of course, I don’t mind,” I say, turning my face to kiss his palm. “Why don’t I warm you some dinner? It’s late and I’m sure you haven’t eaten yet.” I head for the kitchen and he grabs my arm.
“I’m not hungry,” he says quietly. Whoa—shut the front door! What? He is clearly not himself today.
“Christian,” I say softly, “please?” He looks up into my beseeching eyes and nods. I go to the kitchen and quickly heat his dinner before he changes his mind. Good Lord, what happened today? I place his plate in front of him at the breakfast bar along with flatware and a napkin. I make myself a cranberry spritzer and when I turn around to face him, he’s tearing into his meal. Good… I feel a little better now.
I sit next to him and let him finish eating in silence, then I clear and wash his plate and flatware and turn off the kitchen lights. I take his hand and lead him over to the sofa. I turn on the fireplace and sit his beer and my spritzer on coasters on the coffee table.
“Talk to me,” I say taking his hand. He sighs heavily and lays his head in my lap.
“I threatened to fire my entire security team today,” he confesses. Wow, that’s smart. “I know what you’re thinking and you’re right—the people responsible for my safety and yours as well as the security of my company and I piss them all off.” Yeah, something like that. “Ana, the messes that I found when I audited my company, it’s unreal. I don’t know what I’ve been doing that I let it get that bad.”
“Could it be that you’re preoccupied with me?” I ask.
Please say no, please say no…
“And where were you three years ago when they hired Francesca Meyers?” Hmm, good point. “She slipped past four departments. One of those overpaid assholes should have found her out. Instead, everybody in my company assumed that I would be dumb enough to push someone through my company without the proper clearances. I met with Security and IT today. The protocols were all in place—everybody just ignored them. Nobody even asked me, they just assumed. As a result, a sex-addict with a gambling problem ended up on my private security team and his mole girlfriend landed a seat in Public Relations. It’s just one big clusterfuckathon.”
He shakes his head as much as he can in my lap. I run my fingers through his hair and gently scratch his scalp.
“Mmm, that feels good,” he purrs. “I went to see Flynn today.” I almost stop scratching.
“How did that go?’ I ask.
“It went okay. It was rough.” I won’t ask him to share. He’ll share if he wants to. I keep gently scratching his scalp. “The good doctor has informed me that I’ve set all of my emotions loose since I met you and you’ve broken down all of my walls. He says it’s a good thing, that you’re helping him do what he’s been trying to do for years. He’s going to help me deal with the onslaught of emotions and not have anxiety attacks. That’s what happened yesterday when I was talking about Morgan and Elena. God, I hate her so much. I hate her more than the crack whore and her pimp.”
“Really? Not that I want you to love her in any way, but why do you hate her so much? I mean, they were all responsible for your abuse in one way or another.”
“She was worse. She knew what I had been through. In addition, she did it under the pretense of doing it for me… of trying to help me. That’s why when I think of what she did to these other kids, I go into a blind rage that ends in a panic attack. I fucking hate her more than anybody in this world.”
I keep scratching to try to distract him from thoughts of her and anxiety attacks and it appears to be working.
“So, what’s next?” I ask. Think end-state, Grey.
“She’ll get bail, but she won’t have anywhere to stay because her house is going to be a crime scene. She won’t have any of her assets associated with the salon because of the contract that she signed. She’ll basically only have her car and her personal bank accounts which are only going to be a couple of hundred thousand. I know her bail is going to be insane and she’s going to shit bricks when she finds out that Esclava is being seized and most likely sold.” I can’t help it; I wish that I could be a fly on the wall when she finds that out. “Depending on how many charges they pile on her, she may not even be able to make bail.”
“Why would they even grant her bail? I mean, they don’t know that you are seizing her businesses. For all they know, she could skip town the moment she’s free,” I protest.
“Well, Dad said that although the crimes are heinous in a moral perspective, they’re not violent crimes in and of themselves, so they can’t hold her without bail. I have no idea how they plan to keep her from leaving town.” His voice sounds more relaxed now. Good, I was worried he was going to be wound up all night.
Not violent crimes? She was beating those kids! They don’t call that a violent crime? These weren’t adults that partook in a consensual lifestyle—these were brainwashed children! I keep my rage inside because I don’t want to dump it on Christian.
“I finally got the chance to see some pieces of our press conference today,” I say.
“You did?” he purrs as I continue to gently scratch his scalp. “What did you think?”
“I think I have a future in film.” We both laugh softly. “Really, though, we both looked really good on camera, which worries me since I’ve always heard that the camera adds 10 pounds. I particularly like that the segment that they keep playing is the one where I keep telling that Cheryl bitch where she can shove her money theories. That’s the worst for me… for people to think that I’m only with you for your money. I didn’t even know who you were, not that you weren’t important or anything, but I don’t know every billionaire in the country. I don’t think anybody does. Do you even know every billionaire in the country? Christian?”
I look down at my lap and he’s fast asleep, breathing softly. I examine his lovely face while he’s sleeping and content—no furrowed brow, no piercing white-gray eyes, no yelling… no anxiety attacks or emotional breakdowns or crying. My man has such a long way to go, and I know from experience that this is not going to be easy for him. I’m afraid for him—more afraid for him than I am for myself. I’ve dealt with heavy emotion before, he hasn’t. This is going to be very scary.
I stroke his hair off of his face and he stirs just a bit, but falls immediately back into slumber. I promise myself that I’ll be there for him, to hold his hand and scratch his scalp and help him through the rough parts that he’ll be facing very soon. I love this man with all my heart, and I don’t care what the press says about our relationship. I plan to spend the rest of my life proving to him how much he means to me.
A/N: Four or five more chapters, my lovelies. Don’t forget to check out the Pinterest board at http://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/paging-dr-steele/
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