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. I hope you—as a fellow fan—enjoy it, too.
Chapter 68—Before the Swan Song
Butterfly seemed fine as we were finishing dinner, but I didn’t want her out of my sight for the rest of the day. She still seemed a little tense, not completely herself but not that cold being that inhabited my kitchen earlier this afternoon. I can’t shake that dismal feeling I got from her telling me that she would have killed the Pedophile if this would have happened at her condo. Yes, I have a problem with Butterfly wanting to kill someone, but I have more of a problem that she initially wouldn’t kill her here because this is not her home. What kind of sick fuck am I?
“How’s she doing?” Allen asks when he arrived.
“Okay, I guess,” I respond, “better than before, but she’s still making me nervous.”
“How is she talking?” he inquires.
“Like she’s going to kill Lincoln—that hasn’t changed. She has just agreed not to kill her on sight.” Allen sighs heavily.
“Chris, if Jewel gets to the point of no return, there’s nothing that you or I or anybody is going to be able to say to her. What did this woman do?” he asks. Okay, I’m not going to tell him everything unless I absolutely have to, but it’s clear that I have to give him something if I want him to help me with Butterfly.
“She’s obsessed with me. She has been for years, but I’m just finding out now that I’ve been trying to get her out of my life.” I run my hand through my hair. “She won’t take ‘no’ for an answer. She just keeps coming back and keeps coming back. She thinks Butterfly took me away from her, so every time she sees Butterfly, a horrible fight ensues and Butterfly has had enough.”
“Did Jewel take you away from her?” I know what he’s asking, and the answer is of course a resounding…
“HELL NO!” That’s a little louder than I liked. “First of all, I wasn’t hers. We were seeing each other years ago—like eight years—and we remained friends after the breakup.” Well, that’s kind of true, anyway. “We were business partners, but we didn’t have an intimate relationship.” Well, we kept the friends with benefits aspect for a moment for when I couldn’t readily find a sub, but even that ended years ago. “Second, I ended our friendship before I actually started seeing Anastasia. It was close—like the same day—but one had absolutely nothing to do with the other.”
“I thought you said this woman molested you,” Al says confused.
“Well, how could you have been friends and business partners then?” I sigh.
“That’s a long story—a long, confused, fucked-up story—but let’s just say that my finally accepting that fact is why we aren’t friends anymore,” I reply.
“Does Jewel know all this?”
“Yes, she does. She knows everything,” and I mean everything! “A week earlier, my brother told me that Lincoln tried to recruit him when he was 14.”
“Oy!” Allen exclaims. “She molested you and your brother…? Wait… you said you had a relationship with her?” And here comes the floodgates.
“I didn’t see what she did as molestation until I discovered that she tried to sleep with my brother,” I confess.
“Even as an adult, Christian?” he asked in disbelief.
“Even as an adult. I’d have to go through my entire screwed up childhood with you to explain that theory, so don’t even bother.” I sigh. “For the record, she didn’t molest my brother, but once I realized what was going on, I withdrew as her business partner and that’s where that new contract came from. Then I had Welch put surveillance on her and that’s how we found out about her most recent victims. So unless she took a break, she’s been fucking children for 17 years.” Allen shakes his head.
“Why would you want to even continue to be attached at all to someone like this?” Too long of a story to tell you, Al.
“I want to make her pay. The only way that I could do it was to keep my hand in her business a bit. That’s why the new contract has a morality clause. I could have bankrupted her by pulling the backing from her loans, which I had actually started doing, but bankrupted just means that she can file the papers and restructure. Not only that, but pulling my backing would have put me in a bad light with people who may want to go to bed with GEH in the future. With this latest development in her life, I could have done whatever the hell I wanted to do even without the morality clause. The business world understands that you don’t want to be associated with anything like that.
“Everything that happened was completely Elena’s fault, but it happened right on the heels of me beginning a new relationship with Anastasia, not to mention that I’ve never had a serious relationship before in my life…”
“You’re kidding,” Allen interrupts.
“No, I’m not. That woman took a fucked up kid and fucked him up worse. One day, I may feel the need to tell you about it, but today is not that day.” Allen just nods his understanding. I’m hoping that having a best friend with a troubled past assists in knowing that not all things are dinner conversation. He doesn’t press me for details.
“I’m acting strangely compared to who I was just two months ago, and I know this—my family sees it, my colleagues see it, my staff sees it, and of course ‘Dragon Lady’ sees it. For all intents and purposes it’s ‘strange’ in a good way, but not for her. My coming into the light and seeing everything for what it really is means that I have taken off the shit-colored glasses and there’s no place in my life for her anymore. The thing is that only when I pulled my friendship and support from her life did I realize how much of her life was dependent upon me.” Allen cocks his head at me.
“Surely you’re not feeling any sympathy for this woman,” he inquires accusingly.
“Not a bit,” I reply immediately. “This is her mess, not mine. She created this all on her own. The whole truth is that there’s no reason for her to be upset with me or with Anastasia except for the fact that she is obsessed with me. She is obsessed to the degree of needing professional help because her sense of self-preservation has not kicked in. Every time that she has come in physical contact with Anastasia, Butterfly has caused some harm to come to that woman. The first time was here in this apartment and Elena left here bleeding. The second time was at my parents’ house and Butterfly knocked her on her ass… hard! The third time was today and Butterfly almost killed her… twice. What’s so bad about it is that I can guarantee that’s not the last we’ve seen of her. She’ll be back if we don’t get a restraining order and even then she’ll probably be back, but at least I can have her arrested and her bail revoked.”
“Well, unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until Monday because I couldn’t get an emergency restraining order against her with the information that you gave me… not without telling them that you were one of the boys that she molested. I’ll use this weekend to gather more evidence and get some folks to come in and testify to the harassment then we’ll have it by the end of the business day. In the meantime…”
“I know, keep her away from Butterfly.” I sigh. “Can you sit with her while I go shower and change? It’s been a long day.”
“Sure, do what you need to do.”
I leave Allen to keep an eye on Butterfly while I take a quick shower and change into a pair of Hugo Boss Cagan plain front gray slacks and a Pronto Uomo burgundy Merino Polo sweater with a plain pair of black leather shoes. Just as I am coming out of the bedroom, Butterfly is going in to shower and change. I greet her with a kiss and go to join the guests. The moment I step into the great room, I see the immediate stress written on Allen’s face as he speaks to Phillip and Maxine.
“What is it?” I ask while walking over to join them.
“There’s some woman downstairs giving the doorman hell about not letting her come up here,” Phillip says. “I figured I’d come and tell you just in case she was invited. She tried to get in with us when he coded the elevator, but he stopped her and now she’s really giving him ‘what for.'” Like a bad rash, she just never goes away. I go to the kitchen and ask Gail to keep an eye on things for a few minutes while I handle a situation in the lobby. On my way out the door, I say, “Allen, come with me.”
Sure enough, I step out of the elevator and the night desk clerk Frank is arguing with the Pedophile who constantly puts on the superior air that no one has the right to tell her what she can’t do… including employees and security who are paid to tell you that you can’t enter the building. I shake my head and take a deep breath before walking over to the desk. She sees me and sighs a heavy sigh of relief, smiling widely like I have come to rescue her—obsessed, delusional bitch.
“Do I even want to ask why you are here now?” I say. Apparently, this was not the greeting that she expected. She looks curiously at Allen then back at me.
“He’s shorter than your usual security,” she says in the usual condescending manner.
“Oh, she’s just a breath of fresh air, isn’t she?” Allen says sarcastically while glaring at the Pedophile. She just smiles at him.
“Allen, this is Elena Lincoln. You may recognize her from the news reports yesterday of her being led away in handcuffs by the police on various charges of exploitation of children.” Her face fell immediately at her introduction. “Pedophile, this is Allen Forsythe, the newest addition to my legal team.”
“Ah, Dragon Lady,” Allen says unapologetic.
“You have nothing to say that I want to hear so you should just leave,” I tell her.
“I can’t do that, Christian. I’m just trying to get you to see what a horrible mistake you are making. You have to see that this woman is no good for you. She has completely changed the man that you are. Gone is my once strong, dominant, take-charge man and she has replaced it with this wimpy, emotional bag of goo! I’m trying to bring you back, Christian, back to the magnificent, powerful, strong man that you once were…”
“Back to you,” I say flatly. She straightens her back and says,
“Yes, back to me, back where you belong,” she says definitively.
“Indeed,” I say without emotion, “back to contracts and hiding and shame and loneliness and emptiness and sorrow and pain and nightmares. That’s where you want me—back to a dependence on an unhealthy relationship, to making no connections with no one but you. Thanks, but no thanks.”
“Christian, please… please don’t do this to me… to us! Please!”
“There. Is. No. Us! What is wrong with you that you can’t see that? I am so tired of talking to you and telling you that there is no place for you in my life. I want nothing else to do with you… ever! I want you to go away and leave us alone. You claim to care about me, then let me live my life. Just. Go. Away!” I turn to Frank. “As you know, this is Elena Lincoln. I am the only resident in this building that she has ever come to see. Please make a permanent note that she is no longer welcome in my residence and therefore in this building. If she ever enters this property again, please have her arrested for trespassing.”
I turn back to the elevator without even looking at her and Allen doesn’t move. I hear the Pedophile wailing while I wait for the elevator to come back which doesn’t take long. I can only assume that Allen is holding her back because she begins barking at him to get his hands off of her.
“You wait one second, Ms. Thing,” I hear Allen say and I turn around to see what is happening. “I realize that you don’t know this yet, but that woman who you keep antagonizing upstairs, that’s my sister and best friend. So you believe me when I tell you that I have no problem whipping your haggard ass and leaving you for dead on the sidewalk!” he growls. Needless to say, that got her attention. “At this very moment, there is a penthouse full of people upstairs who will gladly finish the job if I can’t. So for your own health and safety, I suggest you leave now!” She looks from Allen to me and back to Allen.
“This is not over!” she hisses. She keeps saying that… famous last words.
“Oh, yes, Ms. Thing, it is over—and if you get any bright ideas, there are about 10 people upstairs not including the two staring you down right now that will be more than happy to help convince you!” She laughs in his face. Like I said, no sense of self-preservation.
“You’re nothing, just like she is, you little qu…” Allen is in her face before she gets the chance to get the word out of her mouth.
“Say it! Please! Say it! I dare you!” he growls in her face, his fists clenched. Damn! That man is scaring me right now. The Pedophile is actually bending backwards a little to get away from him and she is terrified. “You should be walking away, or do you need help?” He says gutturally. She starts to back away and he walks with her until she turns around and scrambles out of the building. He turns around and walks into the elevator.
“Now I understand why Jewel wants to kill her,” he says as the doors close.
We get back to the apartment with just enough time for me and Allen to grab a beer and join in the conversation with Elliot, James, Phil, Ethan, and Gary about one of the upcoming boxing matches in Tacoma. I’m personally not really a fan of boxing, but I had to try to look as natural as possible although Allen was revved up and ready to fight. I was hoping that Butterfly wouldn’t notice until I got a good look at what she was wearing when she finally emerged from the bedroom.
Hot damn! What in the world…?
She is wearing this sexy, tight ass red dress with black accessories that all look like Domme gear… or slave gear. I am doing everything I can to control myself until I see that her hair is pulled into this “don’t fuck with me” high as hell ponytail to show off a black lace choker. She never wears chokers. I feel like I am about to break into a cold sweat and I have to use every bit of control not to get a boner in the presence of all these guys. I’m pretty certain they would have understood when three of the men in the group—including Allen’s boyfriend—all fell silent staring at her when she walked from the hallway to the kitchen.
“Good God!” Gary is the first to speak up. “What’s going on with Ana?” I turn to look at him .
“What do you mean?” I ask.
“I’ve known that girl for six years,” Gary says pointing towards the kitchen. “In case you haven’t noticed by now, she dresses how she feels.” Actually, I have noticed that. “That outfit says that she’s pissed at somebody.”
“How did you get that from that outfit?” I ask. That outfit looks to me like she wants to have hot sex!
“It means what you’re thinking, too, Chris,” Allen chimes in, “but Gary’s right, she’s pissed.” I watch her come from the kitchen and place various dishes on the dining table and some on the breakfast bar then disappear back into the kitchen. God, she looks so hot with her little ass twitching in that dress.
“Bro, for crying out loud, pick up your tongue, Man! You look like you’re going to hump her in the middle of the dining table!” Don’t tempt me, Elliot. It’s taking every trick I know to keep my dick from exploding from my pants as we speak.
The women have converged on the table, still chit-chatting about this and that while nibbling on Caprese skewers and rainbow fruit skewers, bacon jalapeño deviled eggs, and some sort of crispy fried cheese—goat cheese I think. As the rest of the guys and I head to the dining room, my sex goddess comes out of the kitchen with a gorgeous Chateaubriand, cooked to perfection and sits it in the middle of the table. Even the guys can’t help but exclaim how good it looks. Butterfly smiles shyly and steps back into the kitchen to get more food, no doubt. I’m behind her before she can reach the counter.
I can’t help but touch her; she looks perfectly edible in this outfit. I do everything I can to control what I’m feeling right now but hell, I would love to just pound her right here against this wall… again! Well, I can hardly call what we did today a pounding even though we both found our release, but damn she is teasing me beyond my limit. I reach up and hold her firmly at her collar… I mean choker… and kiss her deeply. Oh, do I have plans for you, little Anastasia.
When we bring the rest of the meal out to the table, I can’t take my eyes off of her. I don’t care who sees me staring—I want her now! I sit down quickly, so that no one was able to see the out-of-control erection that is likely to tip the table by itself if I make any sudden moves. Maxine teases me about wearing Ana’s lipstick and I realize that I hadn’t cleaned my face from our kiss in the kitchen.
“Yes, I was necking with my boyfriend in the kitchen. Now eat!” Butterfly barks and various people laugh at her comment. She is so in her element. I watch her interact with her friends through dinner and it makes me so happy that she allowed me into her special group of people—not just as her lover, but also as her friend.
“What are you thinking about, Boss?” Jason silently breaks my train of thought.
“I can’t believe my luck, Man,” I say sipping a bit of the Tua Rita Redigaff 2008 Italian Merlot that I chose to compliment Butterfly’s perfect Chateaubriand.
“You mean her?” Jason says, gesturing inconspicuously towards Butterfly and I nod. “That wasn’t luck—that was fate.” I look at him.
“I have a hard time believing in fate, Jason,” I respond. “Fate would mean that all the horrible things that happened to me were meant to happen to me and that would make me one bitter motherfucker.” Jason shrugs.
“I wouldn’t look at it that way if I were you,” he responds. “I would look at it like this: all these horrible things happened that were meant to destroy you, but before they got the chance, fate sent her to you.” He drinks some of his beer. That is actually a good way to look at things. She pulled me out of a horrible darkness. I would have been completely lost without her—lost in empty, non-fulling relationships convinced that this was my destiny because I had no way of connecting with another human being. I watch her as she laughs genuinely as something that Valerie has just said, showing no signs of the prior stress of the day.
“I think I’ll take your advice on this one, Jason,” I say as I clink my glass with his beer bottle. I take another drink of the silky Merlot and rest my gaze upon her again. Her eyes catch mine and she smiles sweetly at me. I wink and kiss at her from across the table causing her to blush deliciously.
This is the latest F&L has ever run, but it seems like we had so much to catch up on with Maxie and Phil’s upcoming nuptials and the discussion of who not to invite. Then there was the third degree that Marilyn and Gary received since no one was actually informed that they were dating. We all suspected and, of course, I knew, but no one else was any wiser until this evening. Elliot and Val, however, were a completely different story. Everybody knew that they were an item—they didn’t bother to keep it a secret! I thought it was cute, seriously cute. What I didn’t think was cute was that these two still hadn’t talked about taking their relationship to the next level.
I watch them interact, I mean really watch them—not as a friend and a new-found sister, but as a psychologist watching two people that I had never met. The signs were blaring in the sky like trumpets and thunder—the way his fingers instinctively entwined in hers when they were near each other; how she effortlessly melded into his body when they sat together; the small impulsive touches that seem insignificant but are meaningful to a new couple. Face it, you idiots—you’re falling in love! I just shake my head, silently berating them for putting themselves and each other through this torment.
I did finally get to spend some time with Mia’s boyfriend and Kate’s brother, Ethan. He has the same blonde hair and striking good looks as Kate, but honestly, that’s where it ends. Ethan is very friendly and approachable, quite talkative in fact. He wants nothing to do with the family business and instead has chosen to follow his own path and go into finance. He’s a personal financial adviser with one of the top firms in Washington with hopes of becoming a financial manager in the near future. I have the gift of engaging people to talk about themselves and hearing Ethan talk about his plans for the future clearly made Mia very proud. However, Christian didn’t seem so comfortable with our conversation. I don’t know if it was because this was Mia’s boyfriend or because he was having this conversation with me. The way that he hovered over me makes me believe it was the latter.
I am clearing the dishes from the dining table and Gail is gathering the wine glasses and stray beer bottles from around the apartment—not many left to gather, just a few here and there. Marilyn has left with Gary, guaranteeing me that tonight would be the night that she jumps his bones. I wish her luck in her endeavors and send them on their way. Gail and I have cleaned the remnants of the party and put the food away and I go out to see who the stragglers are. Elliot is on the balcony chatting with James and Al while Valerie is sitting in the great room staring at the fireplace. Gail decides to call it a night as she is certain that Christian and Jason are in the study talking about God knows what and she heads back to their apartment. I grab a bottle of water and go to the great room with a daydreaming Val.
“What’s with the faraway look?” I ask her as I sit next to her. She smiles dismissively and takes a sip of her Chardonnay.
“I’m 26 years old and I haven’t had one serious relationship since Green Lake Boy.” Ah, Green Lake Boy. How can we forget him? I made damn sure his ass wouldn’t be putting his hand on another woman ever again. “What did you do to him anyway?” She asks.
“I could tell you, but I would have to kill you,” I say taking a swallow of my water.
“Come on, Ana. We’re long out of college now—you can tell me.”
“Val, trust me… some things are better left unsaid,” I winked at her. “What brought this on anyway?”
“Elliot,” she sighs. Just as she says it, Al and James come in from the balcony.
“We’re going to call it a night, my beloved Jewel. We are just coherent enough to get home,” he says.
“You haven’t drank too much, have you?” I look from him to James.
“No,” James assures me, “just tired from the merriment.”
“You know we have a guest room if you need it, right?” I press.
“Yes, Darling, we know.” James kisses me on the cheek. “Thank you, but we’ll be fine.”
“If you’re sure…” I try to persuade them once more.
“Don’t worry, I won’t let anything happen to my baby,” James says with a reassuring smile.
“That’s all I ask,” I say squeezing his hand, “and you’ve kind of grown on me too, so please be careful.” I say now kissing him on the cheek.
“Hey! No flirting with my boyfriend, Jewel!” Allen chides me as we walk to the door.
“Apologies, Mr. Forsythe,” I say with a bow, followed by a hug and a kiss.
“Love you, Jewel,” he says as I see him and James out to the foyer.
“Love you more,” I say and I watch them disappear, hand in hand, into the elevator.
After I close the door, I turn back around to face Val who is daydreaming into the fire again.
“I might need that guest room tonight if it’s okay,” she says impassively.
“Of course it is,” I respond. Why wouldn’t she go home with Elliot? “Did you guys have a fight?” She looks up at me.
“No… no, nothing like that. I just…” she sighs again. “I’m in love with him, Ana. I know I am. I know that it hasn’t been that long but we’ve spent nearly every waking moment together since we’ve met outside of work and I know that I’m in love with him. It scares me shitless.” She finishes her wine.
“Why does it scare you, Val?” I ask.
“Because if he doesn’t feel the same way about me, I will die of humiliation and probably heartbreak.” That’s it! I’ve had enough of this. I stand up and grab her by the hand. “Get your ass up!” I command.
“Why? Where are we going?” She protests, not willing to stand.
“Get your ass up or I will drag you and you know that I can!” I shout.
“Okay! God! What is it?” She rises from the couch and I march her ass out to the balcony where Elliot is staring off into the night, probably having the same thoughts as Val.
“I don’t care how this turns out at this point,” I spit at them both and they are staring at me wide-eyed. “You two need to talk—talk damn it, and I mean really talk! Quit pussy-footing around! You’re getting on my damn nerves! There’s absolutely no reason you two can’t get this shit together! Talk before I kick both of your asses… you stubborn idiots!” I march back into the apartment and tuck myself just out of sight so that I can hear them. I mean it—if they don’t talk, I’m going to kick both of their asses.
“Good grief what is her problem?” Val starts the conversation. My problem is you, you moron!
“I don’t know,” Elliot answers. “I thought you were supposed to be more relaxed when you come back from vacation.”
“So did I. What the hell happened in Anguilla?”
“I don’t know and I don’t think I want to know,” he responds. Alright already, enough about me, get to the damn point!
“So… she seems to think we need to talk,” Val says nervously.
“Yeah, it… kinda looks that way,” Elliot is just as trepidatious.
“Why… do you think… that is?” Val says, her voice so soft I could barely hear her. There is a long pause, longer than I would like. Tell her, Elliot, I will him.
“Well… it could be because I told her that… I’m falling in love with you,” he says. Val gasps loudly.
“Oh El… you are?” she says, her voice still soft, but full of surprise. I hear no sound, so I can only assume that he’s nodding. “Well, that would be why she’s so crazy,” Val adds.
Elliot’s voice is even softer than Val’s when he asks “Why?”
“Because… I told her the same thing,” she confesses her voice now barely above a whisper. Again, I hear nothing but silence for several moments.
“Oh, Val…” I hear Val gasp then moan, followed by the unmistakable but quiet sounds of necking.
“Thank God!” I say under my breath and turn to walk away. I don’t get two steps and I bump into a solid wall of man… my man.
“Damn it, Christian!” I curse him in a whisper for startling me.
“You know, it’s not nice to eavesdrop,” he says, lowly.
“Well, in this case, it was necessary!” I tell him. “If they hadn’t told each other tonight that they loved each other, I was going to kill them both and make it look like an accident.” I walk past him to the great room where I pick up my water bottle and Val’s empty wine glass. I am completely wiped out. “Jason’s gone to bed?” I put the glass in the dishwasher and finally start it, then finish my water, depositing the bottle in the recycle bin.
“Yes. We had to go over a few things and I’m going to have to go into the office for a few hours in the morning. I’m sorry Baby,” he says apologetic.
“Oh, don’t worry about it. I’m sorry that you have to go in on a Saturday. It may have been avoided if you didn’t have to babysit me all afternoon,” I admit, knowing that’s why he has to go into the office tomorrow.
“Well, yes, that’s part of it, but that’s not all of it,” he admits, pulling me into his arms as I yawn deeply. “I’m officially pulling my backing from the rest of Lincoln’s loans. I’m using the morality clause as a reason in case she’s dumb enough to take me to court. That will cause the banks to call in her loans. She will have to sell the business or liquidate some assets to pay the loans. However, she can’t liquidate the assets because they are going to be frozen, in which case the banks will seize her properties and assets to pay her loans.”
“What if she finds another buyer like she did with the first loan?” I ask, laying my head on his shoulder. God, I am so tired.
“She won’t. Whoever she finds to buy must be willing to pay off all the loans. If she finds one buyer to purchase one property, each of the lenders are going to come after that money because each of the lenders will be entitled to it. One buyer is not going to buy one property that’s still going to be under a lien from the bank. She has to find one buyer to purchase all locations and pay the liens or she has to find several buyers at the same time to buy all of her locations where the total of all the purchases would at least equal the total of her loans.” I followed what he said, but my head is heavy and I feel a little… light… headed…
I open my eyes and I am lying in the bed and Christian is undressing me. “Mmmm,” I protest, “I can do it.”
“Yeah… you just fell asleep standing up. It’s time for bed Butterfly.” He continues to undress me, and I don’t remember anything else.
“Um, Anastasia…hello. I didn’t expect this visit,” he says as he opens the door and allows me in.
“Nor did I, but I think it’s time that we talked,” I say stepping inside. “Hopefully I haven’t interrupted you.”
“No, not at all. I actually only came in to catch up on some paperwork. It’s a lucky coincidence that you happened to catch me in the office today. I normally don’t work on weekends. So what can I do for you? Please, have a seat.”
I take a moment to look around John Flynn’s exquisitely masculine office. Once you pass the plain wooden door, the first thing that you notice are the floor-to-ceiling windows to your left that boast a view of a concrete patio that shares a line of trees with the parking lot. A contemporary-style charcoal gray leather Chesterfield sofa with thin cushions sits in front of the window, an identical sofa placed on its right in an L-shape with a square mahogany end table between them. On the other side of the sofa against the window is an octagon shaped end table made of the same mahogany wood. The seating circle is completed with two chocolate wing-back armchairs with the same tailored tufting and rounded armrests as older fashioned classic Chesterfield sofas—a plane brown end table between them. A large brown area rug with buff accents as well as scarcely placed, tan-based mismatched pillows and mismatched lamps with ecru shades that cast yellow lighting pull the sitting area together giving the effect of more of a gentleman’s parlor than a psychiatrist’s office.
There is a gorgeous mahogany hutch just beyond the sitting area against the right wall that houses John’s degrees, pictures of his family, some books and miscellaneous chachkies. His mahogany desk and executive office chair are placed in front of two more long windows against the far wall with another less formal armchair next to it—same Chesterfield tufting but with wooden armrests. Keeping with the mahogany theme, there is bookshelf somewhat facing the sitting area only housing a plaque or two and there is a bronze Buddha statue on top. More mismatched lamps and paintings decorate this end of the office and off to the left out of immediate sight is the door leading to the patio.
“Your office is lovely, John,” I say, taking a seat on the sofa against the window.
“Thank you. Can I offer you some coffee or water?”
“No, but thank you.” I rub my forehead.
“Something’s bothering you,” he says sitting on the sofa across from me. I look up at him, questioning. “Christian told me that you rub your forehead when something is wrong.” Of course he did.
“Well, that’s why I’m here.” I try to get comfortable. “I… know that you’ve known Christian for many years. I’m just not sure how I feel about you… personally, that it. Christian trusts you and I trust Christian, but the way that you came at me when we met…” I trail off.
“I can understand why you’re feeling some hesitation, Anastasia. I can only tell you that I was trying to assure that my patient was coping with the changes in his life as healthily as possible and—forgive my frankness—that he was not being taken advantage of by another predator. He had already faced that in his life, as you are well aware, and he was just coming out of that situation. I needed to feel you out, to analyze your intentions. I’m sorry if that has cast me in a bad light, but I can’t tell you that I would have done anything differently.” He is firm in his statement and unapologetic of his concern for Christian.
“I appreciate your honesty, John. I, too, am quite concerned for Christian which is why I’m here.” I shift in my seat. “I don’t know how to handle this because I don’t want to say anything that I shouldn’t, and of course, I don’t expect you to give me any privileged information.”
“As long as we can agree that we are both concerned with Christian’s well-being, I will speak as candidly as possibly without revealing what you know I can’t.” I nod at his compromise.
“I don’t know how much of what has gone on over the last couple weeks Christian’s has told you, but it has been a bit of a bumpy ride for us. We are each having some… difficulties… and they are affecting our relationship.”
“Do you feel like these difficulties are pushing you apart?” he asks. Are they? No! Absolutely not.
“No,” I say, “that’s not how I feel at all, although we did have one conversation where I told him that he couldn’t treat me like a sub. I know he’s accustomed to women obeying him blindly and not having a mind of their own, but I’m just not that girl.”
“How did he take that?” John asks.
“The jury’s still out. We haven’t had any problems like that again, but he did remind me that he is predominantly a Dominant and I can’t expect him to roll over and not be one overnight.”
“You don’t like his Dominant personality?”
“I love his Dominant personality. I just don’t want to be treated like a sub,” I clarify.
“You know that’s a contradiction, right?” John asks, his head tilted to the side.
“No, it’s not,” I correct him. “I can love his strength and personality and still not want to be his sub 24/7.” John nods.
“That’s true.” There is a momentary pause.
“We’re going to be coming up on some hard times, John,” I say, concern evident in my voice. “I’m still dealing with the demons from my ordeal and I don’t know if Christian has shared everything with you, but I’ve had a horrid childhood, too… well, at least from age 15.” I can’t help but see the correlation in mine and Christian’s life with that particular piece of information. He looks at me puzzled and I know that he has no idea what I am talking about. “I was raped and brutalized at the age of 15. My mother emotionally abandoned me and allowed my stepfather to mentally torment me. As a result, we no longer have a relationship.”
“Oh,” John says, realization and some unknown characteristic in his voice—sympathy? I don’t know.
“He told me that he came and talked to you about his incidents… which I’m glad that he did because even as a shrink, he scared the shit out of me!” I exclaim. John chuckles a bit.
“Yes, he did tell me about those,” he says non-committing.
“We… need to adjust our relationship, and I need your help. I haven’t talked to Christian in detail yet and I plan to—he doesn’t even know that I’m here today—but I know that you already know that he’s going to need a lot of help processing these new emotions. I mean, he’s been hiding from them for so long that when they hit him, they seem debilitating. The shrink just goes away and the scared girlfriend is sitting there like, ‘Oh my God, what do I do?’ I don’t want to be the puppet master. I don’t want to manipulate him in anyway—that’s why I try very hard to keep the shrink and the girlfriend separate. I want him to still be the same dynamic, powerful, confident man that he is, but he needs to learn to process his emotions better so that he doesn’t come off looking like a complete asshole or an emotional pile of goo. And when he comes off like an asshole, I fight fire with fire—and even as the irrational girlfriend, I know that the only thing that happens is that you get a bigger fire!”
I stand up from the couch and start to pace a bit, rubbing my forehead feverishly. I make my way over to window and lean my head against the wall.
“There’s so much. There’s Elena and David and Green Valley and that play session and the candy breakdown and flashback breakdown and…” I look over at John and realize that he’s even more out of the loop than I thought. “I’m sorry, I have a therapist, too. She knows most of this, so forgive me if I go off on a ‘you should know this’ tangent.” I walk away from the window as John nods. “We have to restructure our relationship because we both like the lifestyle, but not all aspects of it. Without getting too detailed, we had one session that was disastrous.”
“He told me about that… without going into too much detail.” I look over at him.
“I haven’t been able to tell my therapist. She doesn’t even know that I practice this lifestyle. She’s been my therapist for years. We’ve been friends for longer… and I can’t tell her about it.”
“He didn’t hurt you, did he?” John asks me candidly. I look down and my shoes and back up at him.
“Not physically,” I say, my voice small. John sits up straight.
“Do you need to talk about it?” he asks. I shake my head.
“No. I’ll need to tell Maxie because our lifestyle spills into so much more of our life, but it’s nothing that I need to discuss in detail. I’ve discussed it with Christian and he knows that it’s something that can’t happen again… thus, the need for us to restructure our relationship.” I shrug.
“I see,” he says, rubbing his chin.
“I’m not sure what we’re going to do. We haven’t even discussed it yet, but I love him, John. I love him with everything in me. In order for me not to lose myself in him, I need for him to find himself—to be strong through these transitions that are coming, to not be afraid and not forget that he is and always will be the great Christian Grey. We have more ahead of us than I can share with you and we are both very fragile even if the invincible Mr. Grey doesn’t want to admit it.”
“Are you willing to come in sometimes for joint sessions to voice these concerns to Christian?” John asks.
“I don’t know,” I say uncertainly.
“Is it something that you would like for me to present to Christian?” he offers.
“Oh, no, that’s not the problem. I don’t have a problem talking to Christian. I just want to make sure that were all on the same page,” I clarify, and John’s brow furrows.
“I’m not sure that I follow you,” he says, a bit defensively.
“When I talk to Christian and he comes to talk to you, I’m afraid that some of the concerns that we have voiced will get lost in translation. At the same time, I don’t want to make it seem like I have to hold his hand through therapy so that he can get it right. I’m on the fence about the best way to handle this.” I rub my forehead and John has become eerily quiet. I raise my head to look at him and it’s clear that’s not what he expected to hear. “What did you think it was?” I ask dropping my hands to my sides. He just shrugs.
“I’m not sure. You come to me with all of this information and these concerns about Christian’s and your relationship, but then you tell me that you don’t know if you want joint sessions. When I ask why, you say that you want to make sure that we’re all on the same page. That’s clearly a vague statement, but normally that means that you would have something to say about his treatment that you didn’t want him to hear… like right now,” he replies.
And we’re back here again.
“What?” I ask in disbelief. “After everything I’ve told you… about Christian, about myself, about how I feel… you’re still on this shit?”
“I’m afraid that I have a natural distrust for people, Anastasia. In my book, you are guilty until proven innocent. It’s something that I am trying to work on, and I will working on be until my dying day, but it has served me well because unfortunately most often, my instincts are right on the money. Not always… but most often they are. I had that Lincoln woman pegged as trouble from the moment I met her, but no one listened so…” he shrugged.
“You’re really going to have to work on that a little harder, John. You have people on the defensive when you walk into the room, and that’s one of the reasons why I’m not sure about joint sessions.” I pick up my purse and head for the door.
“Anastasia, please,” John stands from the sofa. “Don’t be angry.”
“I’m not angry, John. I’m disillusioned. I only want to help Christian, but I’m not going to continue to butt heads with you to do it, nor do I intend to spend the rest of my life with him trying to prove to you that we’re on the same team.” I open the door and walk out of his office.
Chuck is driving me back to my condo so that I can check it out and pick up a few things that I want to take to Escala with me. I have had it with John Flynn. I have given him two chances and he fucked them both. I don’t even know if I want to work with him at Helping Hands now. I understand being cautious, but this man trusts nobody. The fact that he had She-Thing pegged could just be coincidence. If you have a good heart and you trust people but you peg someone as a bad egg from the beginning, that’s an accomplishment. If you already expect everyone to be dirty and someone turns out to be dirty, that’s no big deal. I don’t know why I thought I could have gotten anywhere talking to him. I tried, I really tried, and I sincerely hope that he is really helping Christian because I won’t be in that man’s office again.
Chuck and I pull into my parking spot in the underground parking and take the recently unfamiliar ride up the elevator. I stop in the lobby to get my mail and notice that there is an unfamiliar guard at the desk. He is looking down at some papers and raises his head to acknowledge me.
“How can I help you, Ma’am?” he greets me pleasantly.
“Are you new?” I asked him.
“Yes, Ma’am. The entire staff is new.” Christian. Good grief.
“Do we have a new security company?”
“No, Ma’am, just new officers. The previous officers were assigned to other posts.” Well, at least they didn’t get fired.
“Okay, well, I’m Anastasia Steele. I have a condo on the 19th floor. I don’t get here often…”
“Oh, Allen’s friend,” he says with recognition. I should have known he would have already met Al. He checked on the condo the entire time that I was on vacation.
“Yeah, that would be me,” I said with a chuckle.
“Well, I’m Bill. Bill Mitchell. It’s nice to meet you, Ms. Steele.” He shakes my hand.
“Ana, please. The old officers didn’t get fired?”
“No, ma… Ana, but they did get demoted.” Well, they should have done their jobs.
“Hmm, did they?” I ask feigning ignorance.
“Yeah, apparently they let someone’s car get vandalized when they should have been watching the monitors. They told us it was on camera and everything. I always wondered what the three of them were doing in there that nobody was looking at the cameras. I mean it was three of them… one of them should have seen the cameras, don’t you think?” I shrug.
“I think you’re right, and wherever they are, they now have time to think about that.” I nod at him. “Nice to meet you, Bill.” I wave as I get on the elevator.
“You, too, Ana,” I hear him say as the doors close.
I only remember how much I miss my condo when I get home. Only the bare necessities are in my refrigerator since I don’t stay here often anymore—water, some juices, nothing much else. I wonder how we’re going to handle this situation? A few more trips back here and all of my clothes will be out of here. Is that why Christian expanded the closet? Why else would he do it? There was plenty of room for “sleepover” items before. Should I ask him… just come out and ask him if he wants me to move in with him? I don’t want to ambush the man, but the closet… it speaks for itself. Wouldn’t he have asked me by now if he wanted me to move in with him? Of course he would have. Get it out of your head, Steele. You love your condo anyway. You could never sell it. Besides, the market is terrible right now.
“Make yourself comfortable, Chuck. I’m going to take a look at the mail and check some things out.”
“Will do, Ana.”
I walk back to my bedroom and grab one of my large wheeled suitcases. More of the fabulous Louboutin shoes, more lingerie and underwear, a few outfits… I look over at the chair and there is Christian’s suit coat. It’s been sitting there for over a month. I pick it up and smell it… it still smells like Christian. Should I take it? Should I leave it? I think I’ll leave it… for whenever I come back. It will always be here to admire.
I sit at my desk and start to go through my mail. I have to pay the bills for this month as well as send off my student loan payment. My computer is at Christian’s, so I’ll just run through these and see what I need to take with me: Seattle City Light, Seattle Public Utilities, Office of Cable Communications, Washington State Corrections Center, Puget Sound Finance, Wells…
I flip back through the envelopes again and see the letter from Washington State Corrections Center. What the hell?
Washington State Corrections Center
Edward David, DOC#021546
Why is he writing to me? What could he possibly want to say to me?
My hands are shaking as I hold the letter wondering if it could be booby-trapped in any way. Anthax? Acid? Anything? Should I tell Chuck? Yes, I should tell Chuck. Let’s be smart about this.
“Chuck, can you please come here for a minute?” I take a few deep breaths to calm myself before he gets to the bedroom. It doesn’t help.
“What’s up, An… what’s wrong? You’re as white as a sheet!” he exclaims. I show him the letter that I am holding and he looks carefully at the return address and he blanches as well.
“What do you want to do?” he asks. Hell if I know, but I’m not going to run from this fucker and he can’t hurt me now.
“I think I want to read it,” I respond.
“That’s not a good idea, Ana,” Chuck warns.
“Why not? He can’t hurt me now. Can the envelope be booby-trapped?” I ask.
“Are you picking fun at me?” he asks and I shake my head and hand him the envelope.
“Can it be booby-trapped?”
“No, Ana, there’s no way he could booby-trap the envelope in jail.” I look at him expecting. He sighs and opens the envelope, proving that it is not booby-trapped, and hands it back to me. I opened the letter and began to read:
As you can see, I have made it to my new “home.” I am desperate to see you. I want to show you exactly how I feel. I hate that things turned out the way that they did. I had big plans for our future and they are all ruined now, all because of a psychopathic maniac and his bright ideas. You managed to put an end to that, didn’t you? It’s all because of you. Now he’s dead and can’t screw anything up anymore. It’s okay though. Once the court sees that none of this stuff is attached to me, they will see who was really behind all of this and I’ll be free. Then I can come back to you and finish what we started. I have only ever loved you, Rosie. I have never hurt or harmed you. I have only been tender and caring with you, even during that fated plan I only took care of you. I wish you could see that I’ve only ever been loving to you. I know that asshole has you brainwashed with his money right now, but he doesn’t love you. He’s going to leave you high and dry the moment he tires of you, just like you did to me. That’s okay, though. When I get out of here, I will fix everything. I will put everything right, exactly like it should be. There’s nothing that rich bastard or anyone else can do to keep me away from you, Rosie. No matter where you are, I’ll find you and show you exactly how I feel. Until that day when I see you again, think of me often… very often
I shakily hand the letter over to Chuck who quickly reads it and says, “This guy is really delusional. He really thinks that he’s going to get out of there and you guys are going to walk off into the sunset.” I look up at him. How can he not see this?
“That’s not what he thinks at all,” I say, my voice shaking. “This is a threat, a veiled threat. This fucker is trying to control me even from fucking jail!” I snatch my mail and shove it in my purse. I pick up my suitcase and start rolling it to the door. “Bring the letter,” I say as I rush to get to the elevator, to the car, and back to Escala.
I’m taking an afternoon bath when Christian gets home and comes into the en suite.
“Butterfly, are you okay?” He says, kneeling down by the tub in his suit and gently brushing my cheek.
“I’m fine, Christian. I called Al and gave him the letter. Let him decide what to do with it.”
“I wish I could have seen it before you turned it over to Allen,” he said.
“I made a copy for you. It’s on your desk.” I say pointing a bubbly hand towards the door.
“I’ll look at it later,” he says taking off his jacket and cufflinks and rolling up his sleeves. He takes the bath sponge and gently washes my body from outside of the tub. He takes loving care with my hands and feet, my legs and arms, my back, making sure that I am clean and comfortable, scooting around on the floor in his black pants and linen shirt. When I am clean, he helps me out of the bath and wraps me in a soft bath blanket.
“You got them,” I say, recognizing the luxurious bath blankets from Saba Island.
“You said you liked them. What Butterfly wants, Butterfly gets.” He pulls me to him and kisses me passionately. “I love you, Butterfly. I’m sorry that you had to go through this today.”
“I’m fine, Christian, really. I knew he was as delusion psychopath before I read his threat.” I walk into the room.
“Davenport says he thinks it’s just the ramblings of a lovesick puppy.” He says coming into the room with me.
“No, it’s a threat. I’m sure of it.”
“I’ll be back.” He leaves the room and I know that he’s going to get his copy of the letter. He comes back into the bedroom reading the jailhouse correspondence.
“You’re right. It’s a threat,” he says impassively. “Every time he talks about showing you how he feels, he’s talking about revenge.”
“I know, and when he’s talking about it all being over because of me, he’s talking about his master plan, not the fact that Harris is dead. He’s constantly blaming Harris for everything that he did, but then he talks about wanted to finish what we started. What we started was when he tried to rape me and he couldn’t finish because I was screaming bloody murder.” Christian nods.
“I see exactly what you mean. He was clever in how he worded it so that if you did take it to the police, there’s no clear threat in it.”
“I’m still not going to let him dictate my life.” I stand at the mirror and put moisturizer on my face. Christian walks up behind me.
“Good, because I have plans for us tonight.” He puts his arms around me.
“Really? What did you have in mind, Mr. Grey?”
“Well, first, we’re going to have dinner and then I’m going to take you somewhere. Do you trust me?” he asks.
“I’ll always trust you, Christian,” I respond.
“Good, because I need you to be relaxed,” he kisses me on my neck, “receptive,” he kisses me on the other side, “and sexy.”
“Sexy?” I ask bemused.
“Very sexy. Something black, slinky, and hot. Can you do that?” His voice is soft and seductive.
“I can,” I say, matching his tone.
“Good, now get dressed quickly in something comfy and let’s go have dinner.”
After a quiet dinner, I step into my LOCOMO black halter mini-dress. The dress has a deep-V opening in the front that comes down past my sternum but above my abdomen, boasting a fantastic view of the round inner mounds of my breasts. The back of the dress is cut out just above my ass, only crisscrossed strips of material and the zipper holding it together. My skin is exposed through the strips on material with just a promise of seeing the crease of my butt without delivering. My upper back is completely exposed and my hair is cascading in large curls over my shoulders and back. My shoes are black spiked heels with an inch-wide strap across the toe and four inch-wide straps around the ankles making the shoes into booties that zips in the back. All five straps are covered in crystals. Under the dress, I am wearing a simple black thong and no bra. I’ve decided on no make-up besides my slightly tinted moisturizer and a crimson red lipstick to contrast against my pale skin He wanted hot… I look hot!
“Oh. My. God.” His voice behind me confirms what I already know. I turn around to face him and nearly cream my thong. He looks dangerously delicious in black slacks and a black sport coat with a black dress shirt unbuttoned down to the third button and Prada cap toe Balmoral shoes.
“Christian,” I whimper, so aroused by his presence that I can hardly breathe. A crisp intake of air and a noticeable twitch in his pants let me know that I have affected him as well.
“Baby,” his voice is nearly a growl, “if you want us to get out of here, don’t do that again.” What am I supposed to do? You’ve got me trembling over here! He closes the space between and tells me to close my eyes, which I do. I feel him slipping some earring into my ears.
“You can open them now.” He turns me to face the mirror and I am wearing beautiful silver drop heart earrings with a single diamond in the middle… understated and classy. While I am admiring my earrings, he proceeds to put one of my collars around my neck—the aluminum link slave collar. What does this mean? Is he expecting me to submit in public? I take a deep breath and let it out. He asked me to trust him and that’s what I’m going to do. He pulls my hair back and wraps his hand around my neck, licking the shell of my ear, then kissing me right above the collar. I gasp as a spark of fire shoots straight from his kiss to my core. Good God, how will I survive this night?
“You look stunning,” he whispers into my ear and I try to maintain my composure. He reaches on something behind him and produces his arm to me. “Pick one.” On his arm hangs all the collars that I chose for him. He’s wearing a collar, too! Excitement boils in me as I calmly pick the black leather locking collar. “I knew you would pick that one,” he says with a sexy smirk.
“You don’t have to wear the lock if you don’t want to,” I say softly.
“Oh yes, I do,” he replies, his voice betraying his arousal. He hands me the collar then reaches into his pocket and pulls out a silver heart key chain on a heart-shaped ring with one single key on it. He hands me the key chain and I use the key to unlock the miniature padlock on the back of the collar. He walks over to the armchair and sits down. Oh, I’m going to savor this moment. I saunter over to him and sit seductively in his lap. He hisses as my ass finds its place over his cock, but keeps his hands planted on the armrest. I reach around his neck and slowly buckle the collar onto him. His breathing picks up as I slide the belt into the loop and attach the padlock, pushing it together gently until it clicks. I hand him the key and he slowly and methodically attaches it to the leash hook in my collar. It matches my earrings.
He roughly runs his hands up my body, still breathing heavily as he savagely caresses me.
“Open your mouth,” he groans. He doesn’t want to ruin my lipstick. I open my mouth and he caresses my tongue so deliciously. We usually keep our eyes opens during this ritual, but I can feel his need matching the fever of my own. I close my eyes as he tastes my tongue and the inside of my mouth. An involuntary groan escapes me as I attempt to control the fire raging within and he abruptly stops, taking my face in his hands and leaning his forehead on mine.
“Baby,” he breathes, “I want to love you so badly, watch you come right here and now, but we really have to go.” I nod helplessly. Whatever you want, Sir.
“Okay,” I whisper, slowly catching my breath. He helps me up off his lap and stands adjusting his pants to accommodate his erection.
“Have you figured it out yet?” he asks mischievously. He requested that I dress sexy—not just sexy, but hot and slinky. We are both wearing all black and we are both wearing collars. Yeah, I’ve figured it out. A satisfied smirk grows across my face as I say,
“We’re going to a BDSM club.”
A/N: Ana’s first visit to the wild side… well, second actually if we count that little excursion in college. What do you think this experience holds for our couple? (smiling fiendishly).
The next time that I post with be the end of the beginning of our journey. One more chapter, my lovelies. Don’t forget to check out the Pinterest board at http://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/paging-dr-steele/
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Love and Handcuffs!