I do not own Fifty Shades Trilogy or the characters. They belong to E. L. James. I am only exercising my right to exploit, abuse, and mangle the characters to MY discretion in MY fanfic in MY interpretation as a fan. I hope you—as a fellow fan—enjoy it, too.
Chapter 40—Getting Back On Track
“You are officially being removed from wedding planning duty,” Al says to me when I finally stop bawling.
“No!” I protest. “That’s the best part of my life right now.”
“Ana, you are stretched to the limits,” Tammy protests. “You can’t seem to hold it together.”
“You planned your father’s wedding and nearly all the details for Maxie and Phil’s wedding and that was no small feat…”
“And now I’m planning my wedding. Please, Allen, you can’t take this away from me. Except for my crazy bridesmaids and the occasional over-the-top dressmaker, this is my only escape. Please…” Al examines my eyes.
“Fine, but something has to give because if you keep breaking down in these damn crying spells, I’m going to be fired as GEH attorney, man of honor and best friend. Are you pregnant, Jewel?”
“Nice try. I had a pregnancy test at the hospital and I’m still on birth control,” I tell him.
“Why did you have one at the hospital?” Al asks. “Did you suspect…?”
“No. Procedure, I think. I was bruised up pretty badly.”
“Well, I’ll compromise with you. You make your plans, put together your ideas, make all the final decisions. Tammy and I will do all the heavy lifting—dealing with the vendors and the temperamental bridesmaids and cursing people out. Deal?” I can’t argue with that.
“Deal. I have a meeting with the possible photographer tomorrow. Christian will be there, so you don’t have to, but I’ll let him know to correspond with you if Christian agrees to hire him,” I say.
“Good. Now where’s your list?” Al asks.
“The list that drives every bride batshit with things that she should have done by now. Come, come, where’s the list?” I shake my head. My best friend knows me only too well. I open my laptop and punch a few keys, then show him my list. He does the little “tsk” sound and turns my laptop away from me, clicking away at the screen.
“We know what flowers you want. Tammy and I will search for a florist and have some selections for you by next weekend. We’ve already got a DJ for the reception. I’ve got some choices for your band, so I’m deciding for you. I’ll see if I can get the name of that delightful band that played at the charity event that had everyone dancing with their daddies. You and Christian are dealing with the photographer tomorrow. How about the videographer?”
“Nothing yet. We were going to ask our photographer tomorrow,” I say weakly.
“Good. Let me know how that turns out.” Tammy is typing madly on her iPad while Al is running feverishly down my list. “Guest list and officiant?”
“Meeting with the minister next month. Christian was supposed to get the final guests from Grace. I don’t know if he has yet.”
“I’ll ask him,” Al says. His phone is buzzing away in his pocket and I know that he is sending key parts of my list to himself. As much as I hate to admit it, I feel a bit of weight lifting from my shoulders already. “Music at the ceremony… music playing? Someone singing? Band?”
“I have no idea,” I reply. Tammy and Al throw a knowing look at each other.
“Back burner,” Al says quickly moving on to the next item on the list. “Cake? Groom’s cake? Rehearsal dinner?”
“Grace wants to handle the rehearsal dinner, so I let her have that. We have the baker, but we haven’t chosen the flavors yet…”
“That’s easy, what’s your favorite?”
“German chocolate.” Tammy frowns.
“That never goes over well as a wedding cake,” she laments. “What about Christian’s?”
“Chocolate,” I say.
“We may be able to work with that. We’ll arrange for some tastings maybe week after next. You’re going to have to go with something not so traditional if you guys don’t want to do the standard marble or yellow. There are some excellent choices,” she assures me and I nod. She nods to Al, turning the floor back over to him.
“As requested, I have chosen the charities that will act as your registry: the Harborview Center for Sexual Assault, CCSW, Helping Hands, Childhaven, and Village Reach. What do you think?” Again, he reads my mind and I can only nod. “And don’t get all sappy on me. This list is ridiculous. It’s no wonder you’re always crying! You will nonetheless have someone bring gifts to the reception. Tammy, make sure that we have a gift table. The guests that want to be known will be over the top with their items. You’ll have to decide if you want to keep them or donate them, Jewel. I will take the girls and we will pick out the shoes and accessories for the dresses. I will not let those heifers chose anything gaudy or tacky and nothing that will upstage you as the bride.”
“Just shoes, Al. Their accessories will be my gifts to them. I’ve already picked them out.” He nods.
“There’s hope for you yet, Jewel. I know the castle is handling the food for the reception. Does that include the alcohol?”
“Yes,” Tammy interjects, madly typing away.
“Good. You already know that we have to narrow the dress choices down by Friday—focus on that.” He stands. “Just like that, your wedding ‘to-do-past-due’ list is cut in half.” I sigh again. Al kisses me on the cheek. “You start looking at those gorgeous dresses that we saw and decide how you want to look on your magnificent day. We are going to start tackling the rest of this for you… okay?” I nod fighting the tears again, this time tears of gratitude towards my best friend. “We’ll show ourselves out.”
My meeting with Ray was a bit scary, but I have to say “mission accomplished” for session one. I know that Butterfly is back at the condo by now and the fact that I didn’t answer my blackberry is going to leave room for speculation. What do I tell her? I don’t want to lie to her but I don’t quite want to tell her what was going on either. This is going to be a tough square to circle.
I didn’t hear my blackberry—that’s the truth. What’s the likelihood that she won’t ask me about it? Not very likely. What do I tell her?
When I come into the apartment, I see her sitting in the great room looking at the fire. Uh oh, have I fucked up again by not answering my phone?
“Butterfly?” I approach with caution. “Are you okay?” I walk over to her and find her drinking the gourmet coffee again. I think it may have a calming effect on her.
“Why does everything have to be a fight?” she asks weakly. Oh, shit, I don’t like where this is going.
“What do you mean?” I ask her. She looks all worn and beat down.
“I spent most of the day fighting with Valerie and Maxine.” What? “I’m so tired, Christian. I beginning to just want this all to go away.” I sit down next to her.
“Do you want to talk about it?” I ask.
“Where were you?” she asks. Oh hell. No prelim, no nothing.
“I was handling some very important business.” Well, that’s the truth. “I’m sorry I didn’t get to my phone in time to answer your call. By the time I thought about it, I just came home instead.” That’s the truth, too. “Are you mad at me?” She looks at me and drops her head.
“No,” she relents, “I’m mad at my so-called friends for making my day and my situation all about them. I don’t know what’s going on anymore, Christian. Are we growing apart?” I pull her into my arms.
“No, Butterfly. You’re stressed out right now and dealing with a lot of things at once. Your friends love you just as much now as they ever did, but where they are being included in a lot of things, they are being left out of other things. That’s what the fights were about, weren’t they?” She nods. “You should consider handing off some of the wedding planning to Tamara. That’s why you hired her, isn’t it? I know that you want to be hands-on with everything, but you are running yourself to death and I don’t want you to have a heart attack or stroke before we even get to the wedding… not that I want you to have one after, but I think you know what I’m getting at.”
“Yes, I know, and Al beat you to it. He left here today with half of my to-do list barking orders at Tammy and forbidding me to make any decisions for now, except for my wedding dress.” Her face is in her hands and her voice is muffled.
“What happened, Butterfly?”
She tells me about the fight where Valerie guilt-tripped her about Gary, Philip, and Elliot and nearly got kicked out of the wedding. Then she informed me of the subsequent showdown with Maxine in a public bathroom. I want to chew out both of these women as Butterfly is currently in a very delicate mental state, not to mention that my fight with my brother has nothing whatsoever to do with Valerie Marshall. Couple that with the fact that the paparazzi could have easily gotten a picture or recording of Butterfly and Maxine fighting in the restroom—it’s taking everything in me not to lower the boom and tell her that these meddling harpies cannot be in our wedding.
“I know that you want to run in and rescue me from my friends,” she says, reading my mind in that way that we do each other, “but I don’t want that. I just want the fighting to stop. I don’t want to have to explain myself at every corner or justify my actions at every turn. It’s exhausting and I don’t want to do it anymore…”
“And you shouldn’t have to, Butterfly. I swear to God that I’m going to take you up on your suggestion to elope if this shit keeps happening.” I’m tired of this, too. “It shouldn’t be this hard. We love each other and we want to be together. That’s all that should matter. Why is that so hard to swallow?”
“I don’t know,” she says, shaking her head, “but I agree.” Okay… what is she saying?
“With what?” She looks up at me.
“If this doesn’t get easier very quickly, I want to elope. I don’t care where we go. We can take John and his wife if you want and Allen and James and just go. We don’t even have to tell anyone that we’re leaving—just go and come back married.” She looks me squarely in the eye when she says it.
“You’re serious,” I say.
“Yes, I am. I can’t take this anymore, Christian. If one more thing goes wrong—one more person comes around acting like a bruised kitten, like this is happening to them instead of us—I want you to take me the fuck out of here and marry me and I mean it!” I stare at her for a moment, then pull her close to me again.
“I will do whatever you ask, Butterfly. You say the word and I will have the jet ready before you know it.” She nods again.
“I’m going to take a nap,” she says rising from the sofa.
“Do you want me to come with you?” I ask. She looks at me.
“If you want to,” she says, shyly. I tilt my head at her.
“I always want to, Butterfly,” I reply, rising off the bed and leading her to our bedroom.
I hold Butterfly until I know that she falls asleep. She didn’t even take off her clothes. She just fell on the bed like a rag doll. I had to take off her shoes and cover her so that she would be comfortable. Once I know that she is out cold, I leave the bedroom and close the door behind me.
Sitting at my desk in my study, I call Allen.
“Chris, what’s up?”
“Hey, Allen. I need you to call Valerie and Maxine and get them on Skype. I need to talk to you. Can you get the wedding planner, too?”
“Sure. What’s going on?”
“Just get them all together in a conference and Skype me back when it’s done.”
“Okay. Is something wrong?” he asks, clearly concerned.
“Yes, something is wrong. Please get everyone together and connect me when you’ve done it.”
About twenty minutes later, I hear the unmistakable tone of a Skype call coming from EsquireAllen. I open the screen and look into the curious faces of four people.
“There’s about to be no wedding again,” I say to them with no prelim.
“What the hell happened now?” Valerie spits.
“Apparently, you happened!” I spit back. Her demeanor immediately goes from accusing to chastised. “I need to make it clear that I don’t really care anymore what you people think of me with the exception of Allen because we spend so much time together. You can make me the villain if it floats your boat, but my concern is this woman over here that will soon be carrying my name. You can cooperate with me or I can head-butt every last one of you to make her happy, but right now, she’s about to call off her wedding. She about to forgo her castle because she can’t stand bickering with you anymore! Believe me when I tell you that I will snatch a handful of people, herd them onto my jet and fly her out of here in a New York minute if that’s what she tells me that she wants. So you can do whatever the hell you want to do, but I’m telling you that if things keep going the way that they are going, she’s going to call off her wedding and she’s going to miss out on her castle and her Cinderella story and she’s never going to forget it. Oh, and unlike you, don’t think for a second that she’s going to blame me for it!”
“Chris, what did Jewel say?”
“Her exact words?” he nods. “She said that if this doesn’t get easier that she wants to elope. She said that we would tell nobody, just run away and come back married. She says that she is tired of people acting like—what was the phrase? Oh, ‘bruised kittens… like this is happening to them instead of us.’ She said that if one more thing goes wrong, quote ‘I want you to take me the fuck out of here and marry me and I mean it’ end-quote.”
Valerie drops her head and Maxine wipes a tear away. Tamara sits there in stunned silence while Allen’s eyes and head roll.
“She’s burning out,” he says. “I saw it at the restaurant.”
“That would be my fault,” Maxine says, her voice thick with tears.
“That was just the last straw, Maxie,” Allen says. “This was on its way well before now. That’s why I took that damn list from her. I’ll have most of that shit done by the end of the week. Chris, she’s not allowed to do anything but look at wedding dresses.”
“Yeah, I’ll let you tell her that she can’t do anything…” I begin.
“I already did,” he says. I’m shocked.
“How did she take it?”
“She was relieved, although she tried not to show it.” I nod.
“Well, I’m glad to hear that. She is clinging to a very delicate thread right now and I just want this to go off well. I know that this is what she wants in her heart, but she’ll give it all up if it means that she can have peace. That’s what I want for her. I want her happy and peaceful and believe me when I tell you that I don’t have a problem physically putting myself between her and her closest friends if you are going to threaten her peace. Her opinion of me counts, not yours, and if she tells me to pour her into a plane and take her to Timbuktu, then that’s what I’ll do. Is there any misunderstanding here?”
“No misunderstanding, Chris. Right ladies?”
“None whatsoever,” Maxine says, still crying.
“I’m sorry, Christian,” Valerie begins.
“Don’t apologize to me,” I say to her, mainly because I really don’t want to hear their apologies anymore. “You don’t owe me an apology. Did you apologize to Anastasia?” She nods, still never fully lifting her head. “Then that’s all that matters. If you’re concerned about her happiness then we are on the same team, because I’m concerned about her happiness, too. Let’s focus on the main goal and we’ll be fine. Allen, Tamara, do you need anything from me?”
“The rest of your mother’s guest list,” Allen says.
“And the fittings for the tuxes for the groomsmen,” Tamara says. I run my hands through my hair.
“That will be this Thursday. Allen, will you and James be available?”
“I think so. I’ll let you know if it’s otherwise.”
“Good.” I pause for a moment. “Let Elliot know, Valerie.” She raises her head to me in shock. “My tailor will be here at seven. Tell him not to be late—6:30 at the latest.” She nods, completely mute and stunned. “Allen, I’ll remind my mom about her guest list and get it to you no later than Monday. You know that there will be someone added somewhere around the middle of June, right?”
“Oh, I’ve already allowed for that contingency,” Tamara says. Contingency… interesting choice of words.
“Other than that, just take as much control of that photographer meeting tomorrow as possible and let me know how it goes. Jewel says that she was going to ask him about a videographer, too.” Shit, I didn’t even think about that. I guess if I’m a little more hands on with things, it won’t be so hard on Butterfly.
“Consider it done,” I tell him. “Is there anything else?” No one has anything to add. “Okay, you have your assignments. We’ll talk later, Allen. Tamara, if there are any problems or hang-ups, I want to know first, then I’ll tell Ana. If it’s business as usual, go ahead and proceed.” She nods and ends her conference. Maxine ends without another word as does Valerie.
“We’ll talk later, Chris?” Allen says.
“Of course.” With a nod, he is gone. Before I can close the program, the Skype tone plays again with a call from RavenhairedAdGirl.
Valerie. Fine. I open the conversation and she has the same chastised look on her face that she had before, well, the part of her face that I could see anyway.
“I’m sorry, Christian,” she says.
“You don’t owe me an apology…”
“But I do,” she says, finally raising her head. “When Ana was gone, I was angry. I’m guilty of shutting you out, but if you remember, I tried to have your side. I told Elliot to stop being mean, and I held your hand while you cried. I wasn’t the best friend, but with my torn feelings, you have to see that I tried.” I can give her that. She did try, but I still don’t really want to call her “friend.” I think I would rather not. However, I’m not a complete asshole.
“You’re right,” I say. “You did make an effort.”
“I’m sorry that I couldn’t be a better friend to you. I know that Ana would have wanted me—us—to be there for each other and for you and we failed, but I want her to have her castle and her dream wedding and I promise that I won’t be a problem anymore.”
“That’s all that I ask,” I tell her.
“I know that you probably won’t trust any of us again and I can’t say that I blame you, but if you ever find yourself in a place where you need a friend that way, I won’t let you down again if you let me in. I won’t push, I just want you to know.” I appreciate the sentiment, and I won’t forget it, but that ship has sailed.
“Thank you. I won’t forget the gesture.” She nods as I am sure that she gets the full meaning of that statement.
“One more thing,” she says nervously. “I won’t interfere in the situation between you and your brother, but I will tell you that he’s having a really hard time with this. He’s really crushed, and if he could take back his actions, I’m certain that he would.”
“That’s the problem though, Valerie. When you make someone feel like shit, you can’t take that back,” I tell her, which is more than I should have said.
“Will you ever forgive him?” she beseeches.
“That’s between me and my brother,” I tell her with no malice. She puts her hands up.
“I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have said anything. I didn’t mean to… I’m sorry…”
“It’s fine,” I tell her. “I know that you love him. I understand what you are trying to do.” She nods.
“I’m… going to go now.” I nod. She ends the call and I shut down the program. A few moments later, I feel her presence next to me.
“How long have you been standing there?” I say without raising my eyes to her.
“From somewhere around something about my peace.” That’s a long time.
“I meant every word.”
“I know.” I look up at her and there are tears threatening again. “You are a wonderful man, and I love you.” I stand up and walk to her. “I need…” she trails off.
“What?” I ask her.
“I…” She’s having an extremely hard time with this request whatever it is. I put my hand on her cheek where a tear has just fallen. Her eyes capture mine, begging, before she drops her eyes and whispers, “I don’t want to think.”
I stand there gazing at her for a moment before I wipe her tears and bring her hand to my mouth, placing a gentle kiss on her palm. I take her by the hand to our bedroom where I completely undress her. It’s late afternoon and she never took her full nap, but I don’t think she could sleep now. I run a bath and lead her into it while I choose her clothes. I always like for her to wear white when I do this. None of the others wore white… ever. I prefer to see Butterfly in white because I see her as pure and good and beautiful, even when I dominate her.
I bring her out of the bath and into our bedroom. After drying her body, I squat in front of her.
“Step,” I command, and she obediently steps one foot and then the other into a slinky pair of white thongs. I stand, pulling the thongs up her legs with me and placing them on her hips, gently caressing her skin as I do. Her breath catches, but releases immediately and she never raises her head.
“Arms up,” I tell her and she raises her arms. I slide a sexy white lace nightgown over her arms and down her body. It is long in the back and drapes up to a sexy split on the right side in the front. I stand behind her and apply the collar that I have chosen for today—her braided pearl collar. Taking the few pins from her hair, I allow it to fall over her shoulders and cascade in large curls instead of the traditional braid—another thing I think I will do away with. I walk to the front of her and she clasps her hands in front of her.
“When did you last eat?” I ask.
“Lunchtime, Sir,” she replies.
“Did you finish?” she pauses for a moment. She was upset. She doesn’t even have to answer that question. I already know.
“Were you going to tell me?”
“No, Sir.” Hmm, I should punish her for that, but she really doesn’t need that at this very moment.
“You get a pass for your honesty. Good girl,” I say trailing my finger down her cheek to her chin. She shivers involuntarily
“Thank you, Sir,” she replies, her voice betraying her lust.
“Go to the kitchen, Ms. Steele. Fix those delightful chicken skewers that you make and a proper vegetable for dinner. Let me know the moment that dinner is served.”
“Yes, Sir,” she says and proceeds to the kitchen. I know what she needs. She doesn’t want to think. There’s only two ways for that to happen and she knows it—sleep, which she refused by coming into my office, or allowing me to do the thinking for her… to make her decisions for her. TPE. That’s what she wants. She wants me to do the thinking for her.
I can certainly oblige.
I go to my study and sit down for a moment. She came to me. This is bad. I mean, it’s good because she came to me and she trusts me to do this for her. It’s bad because she had to come to me. This whole situation is becoming more than she can handle. With these latest revelations into her past and her therapy, she certainly won’t last much longer without having a nervous breakdown.
I can hear the saxophone playing in the distance. Either Butterfly doesn’t hear it, or she’s ignoring it. When the sax plays again, then stops with still no movement from Butterfly, I make my way to our bedroom. There on the bedside table is Butterfly’s cell phone, buzzing away as Dr. Sax plays some more indicating an incoming call. The caller shows up as “unknown.” Nope, we won’t be answering that. I put her phone on the charger so that she will be able to find it when she’s ready for it, but turn off the ringer. I remove my socks and shoes, then my shirt and T-shirt before I hear her timid voice behind me.
“Excuse me, Sir,” she says softly. I turn around to see her standing there with her head down, her hair framing her face and cascading over her shoulders. My God, she looks heavenly.
“Dinner is ready.”
“Very well. Lead the way.” She turns around dutifully and walks back to the dining room. I allow her to proceed in front of me so that I can watch her walk. She glides when she walks. Her cute, tight little ass makes the negligée swing from side to side, but her stride lacks the confidence to which I have become accustomed. She looks different today…
I feel the protector in me rising, wanting to shield her from any and everything that could possibly harm her. As she disappears around the corner, I have to adjust my pants just a bit. She is at her most submissive right now, completely at my beck and call and ready to bend totally to my will. It has the opposite effect on me that I thought it would. I thought I would want to use her—her body and her mind—and bask in her submission to me, but I don’t. I want to preserve her and keep her safe. The Dom is taking on a different form.
I follow her path around the corner and I see her standing at the dining table, head down and hands clasped in front of her. There are two plates prepared on the table—the chicken skewers and a vegetable medley of broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots.
She is so beautiful.
I stride over to her and brush her hair over her shoulder. I run my hand gently over her collar.
“You look stunning in this collar, Ms. Steele,” I say.
“Thank you, Sir,” she replies softly. I bring my hands down to my sides.
“You are mine,” I declare.
“Ssh!” I silence her. She’s immediately quiet. “You are mine. You belong to me.” I gently touch her lips with my index finger and feel her shiver. “I will always protect you… keep you safe from harm.” I walk into her, forcing her back into the chair behind her. Putting my hand under her chin, I lift her face until her eyes meet mine. “I will take care of you.” Her eyes are full of gratitude while also questioning. I take the seat next to her and take the fork from her plate. Filling the fork with meat and vegetables, I lift it to her lips. She pauses for a moment, then takes the food from the fork.
“Good girl,” I say as she chews her food. “Is it tasty?” I ask and she nods as she swallows the food. I take a forkful from my plate. “Mmmm, it is tasty.” I load her fork again. “Would you like some more?” A coy smile forms on her face as she nods. I feed her another forkful and she dutifully takes the food while leaving her hands resting in her lap. I feed us both from both plates until the plates are clean, then instruct her to clear the dishes. Once the kitchen is clean and the dishes are in the dishwasher, I lead her to the great room.
I turn off all the lights and start the fireplace. The blue and orange flames illuminate our bodies as I snuggle with her on the sofa. I cuddle her and stroke her hair while she lays in my lap. I tell her all about my conversation with Robyn and about what I know of his father, the crack whore’s pimp. I talk about Elena and the arraignment, how the last words she got from me—if you could call it that—was “fuck you.” I tell her about my conversation with Elliot and how he made me feel both while she was away and that day while he stood in my office and declared that he had treated me like shit because of his own issues with his ex. I tell her how brave she was to disarm Elena before she had the chance to get off another shot, even though she could have been killed herself. I beg her not to ever do that again as I could not endure living life without her.
I stroke her hair and keep talking about nothing and everything until I hear her rhythmic breathing. Then I sit there talking to her sleeping form—about everything and nothing. I talk to her about the nightmares that I had for years and years while waiting for the crack whore’s pimp to come back and get me after she died. I tell her how before she came into my life, I really did think that my heart had frozen and died because I truly felt nothing. I felt nothing for the subs who wanted so much more from me or the woman who sits in a jail cell right now pledging her undying devotion to me. My love for my family felt more like duty—like an intense need to keep them safe and make sure that they were never unhappy. It wasn’t until I fell in love with her that I realized the warmth and affection that I felt for Mia and Grace; the camaraderie and brotherhood that I felt for Elliot; the loyalty and respect I felt for Carrick as well as the undying gratitude that I feel for both of my parents. I wasn’t able to identify any of these things until I met her. I had always felt them; I just didn’t know what they were.
I watch the flames crackle in the fireplace as I think about how different my life was just under a year ago. My birthday is coming up soon and for the first time, I am looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to spending time with Butterfly and whatever we may have planned. I’m looking forward to celebrating growing a year older with the woman who will spend the rest of her life with me. I’m looking forward to every day now, waking up in her arms and kissing her—holding her and loving her and falling asleep with her. I never thought I would be that guy, but surprise, I am. The flames dance a hypnotic samba while I consider what I would have been doing had I not met her…
It’s after nightfall now. Her whimpering voice wakes me from my slumber. She is curled up small on my lap, still asleep and now trembling.
“Please… no… Christian…”
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know what she’s dreaming about. I kind of hoped we could skip over this part of the trauma, but I was almost certain that would be impossible.
“I’m right here,” I say softly into her ear while stroking her hair and caressing her head. “I’m not going anywhere Butterfly. I’m right here with you and I always will be.” Her nervous twitching body whimpers a few more times before she falls back into an undisturbed sleep. I shift so that I am lying down and pull her into my arms, wrapping us both in the throw that hangs over the end of the sofa.
“I’ll never leave you, Butterfly. I’ll always protect you and I’ll always love you,” I whisper to her sleeping form. Her body melts into mine and immediately coerces me into a deep sleep.
I awake with the hardest, most uncomfortable erection I think I have ever had—well, maybe not ever, but it’s hard and uncomfortable! Butterfly has turned around to face me and she is snuggled into my chest. Good God, I was having the most erotic dream about her. I don’t know where it came from, but I need to fuck her—right here and right now!
I run my hands down her body and squeeze her ass, hard. She awakes with a jolt. After she stretches, it only takes her a moment to realize where we are. Her eyes meet mine briefly then drop almost instantly.
“I need your body. I’ve been dreaming about you and I’m going to use you this morning. Do you understand?” I say, still roughly grasping her behind.
“Yes, Sir,” she says without hesitation.
“Good. On your knees, lie flat on the cushion.” She quickly obeys and her ass is on glorious display through the lace nightdress. I realize that Jason and Gail can come out any minute, but right now, I don’t care.
“Mmmm, yes,” I say as I admire her lovely ass caressing it through the lace. “Don’t move.” I dash quickly up the stairs to the Playroom, my dick thrumming harder and harder in anticipation of what I am going to do to her. I lock the door after grabbing the heating lube and nearly skip back down to the great room.
She is still in position like a good little submissive. I lift her nightdress over her ass onto her back and caress some more. It’s beautiful and round, soft and calling me. I divest myself of my slacks and boxers before toying with her thong, tantalizingly disappearing into her ass and teasing me. I snap the little useless thing and toss the strings of material over with my clothes. I squirt the lube at the base of her tailbone and watch it slide between her cheeks.
“Hold you ass open, Anastasia,” I say, lust heavy in my voice as Greystone twitches in excitement. She reaches back and spreads her cheeks, allowing the lube to slide over and into her rosette. My God, it’s so seductive and hot, and Greystone jumps around a little more. I squirt some lube into my hand and rub it along my burning cock while spreading lube over Anastasia with my other hand. She whimpers a bit as her anus responds to my touch and Greystone can take no more.
I crouch behind her, one foot on the floor and the other on the sofa beside her. Slowly, I press the head against her protesting asshole. She whimpers again, fueling my need to be inside her. With a gentle push, I breach the barrier of her rosette and she gasps. Her breathing becomes a little labored as I push further into her.
“Relax,” I soothe, and her breathing calms a bit. I push further, then withdraw. Her ass is so tight. I squirt a little more of the lube between us and let it work its way in. Her breathing slows some more and I can feel her body begin to adjust to me. With slow, short strokes, I begin to intensify the friction between us and the lube starts to heat. She opens her cheeks a little wider to welcome me in and I gladly oblige.
“Sssssss,” I hiss. “You are so tight.” The movement becomes easier and she is moving slightly against me. Once we get started, I know that she loves a good ass fuck. “Still, Anastasia,” I chide, and she reluctantly stops her movement, her aroused breathing becoming more and more evident. I put my hands around her waist to steady her and I thrust, short and slow, into her. I watch her bite her lip to keep from crying out and her body starts to shake. The lube is getting warmer and I have to concentrate to prolong the pleasure and not blow my load too quickly. She is struggling not to make any sound.
“Are you… enjoying this… Anastasia?” I say between strokes, the pleasure nearly too much for me to bear now that I am sliding effortlessly in and out of her ass.
“Yes… Sir,” she whimpers, and I hear her orgasm hiding in her voice. I thrust deeper into her, a little more quickly and rhythmically. She can’t resist a moan at my change of pace.
“Play with your clit,” I command. “I want you to come… hard.” Like a good little marionette, she reaches between her legs and begins to rub her clit. Her body starts to shake almost immediately. I steady myself with my hands on her shoulders and speed up my stroke, not too fast—just fast enough. Fuck, this is so damn good. She better hurry or I might come without her.
“Squeeze your muscles against me,” I instruct her. She tightens her ass muscles and I am losing the fight. Thankfully, however, not before she does. She cries out and her head lifts as her body tenses. Holy fuck! Her ass squeezes against me tight—so fucking tight. I pull her body upright in a kneeling position and cup her breasts hard, pulling her ass back against me as my orgasm begins to ooze into her. She’s coming so hard and her ass is gripping me with immense intensity. Coupled with the heat from the lube, this vise grip causes me to explode spectacularly inside her as she wheezes out her orgasm. I am shaking ferociously as I thrust into her sporadically to prolong my aftershocks while holding her body against mine.
I look over her shoulder and realize that she is still madly manipulating her clitoris.
“Ah, you still have one in there, don’t you?” I taunt.
“Yes.. Sir,” she breathes while chasing her orgasm. I thrust into her again, my still-hard member yet encased in her ass. She cries out and continues her assault on her clit. I thrust again and move one hand to her collar, squeezing gently and holding her upright while the other hand assists in the manipulation.
“Don’t stop,” I tell her, as my hand moves further down and I thrust two fingers inside of her. She cries out again and her knees start to wobble. She sounds as if she might cry from the passion. “That’s my sweet girl. Give it to me. You know you want to.” I run my tongue up her neck and suck her earlobe into my mouth, biting it gently. This sends her over the edge as I thrust into her two more times and she cries out loudly. I take her mouth with mine, absorbing her cries as she grabs on to any part of the sofa that will hold her up and my hand replaces hers, thrusting my fingers into her and manipulating her clit until she trembles madly in my arms. Oh, yes! That’s the reaction that I was looking for.
I hold her close to me—her back to my front—as she trembles out her orgasm, trying to catch her breath. She has told me on more than one occasion that she can climax vaginally as well as anally. I think that’s what happened here. I remove my hand from her tender, throbbing pussy and wrap my arm around her waist, my other hand still holding her neck and her collar. While she attempts to catch her breath, I quickly slide out of her ass in an effort to cause as little discomfort as possible. She whines slightly at the separation.
“Are you okay?” I ask while gently kissing her cheeks and hair.
“Yes Sir,” she pants, still trying to catch her breath.
“Good.” I stand and help her to her feet. Lifting her in my arms, I carry her to the bedroom. “Bathtime, Sweet Girl.”
According to his background check, Joshua Shaler is 25 years old, an only child and a Seattle native. He holds a two-year degree in photography, but dropped out of undergrad school in his third after having honed his craft as well as sharpened his journalistic skills. He’s done quite a bit of freelance work, but his big break didn’t come along until he bumped into Butterfly in St. Maarten. He’s been getting an influx of work and freelance assignments ever since.
“Mr. Shaler, I’m Christian Grey. Of course, you remember Anastasia.” I proffer my hand to him.
“Mr. Grey, it’s truly an honor to meet you. Please, call me Josh.” He shakes my hand. “Ana, it’s good to see you again.”
“You too, Josh. Please have a seat,” she says with a polite smile as she gestures towards the sofa. Josh returns her smile and takes a seat on the sofa. “I see you’ve been pretty busy since we last met,” she adds taking the seat next to me on the sofa to the left of Josh.
“Oh, yes. Everyone wants to know how I was able to get the first really ‘talkie’ from you after your accident—besides the little bite outside of Nordstrom. Of course, I won’t tell them.”
“Of course,” I say. “I hear that it’s you that I must thank for finding the mole in my company.” He shifts uncomfortably.
“I can’t take credit for that,” he says. “As a matter of fact, I had better not take credit for that or I may become known as a reporter who reveals his sources.” He’s half-joking and half-serious when he says that, so I decide to move the conversation forward.
“My fiancée says that she has been following your work. Not only does she think you are quite talented, but she also feels that she can trust you. I’m a very private man, Mr. Shaler, and I don’t want the media all over my wedding. As it is, it’s going to be damn near impossible to keep it a secret with the recent events, but I still want to do everything that I can to make this day special for my Butterfly. Since she feels that you are the man for the job and I trust her instincts implicitly, let’s see what you’ve got.”
Joshua lays out a rather large portfolio of his work, not only wedding shots and news articles, but also candid shots and captured moments of exquisite backdrops, children playing, a little old lady with a single tear in her eye contemplating her past.
A black and white picture of a beautiful blonde woman lying on a highly-polished floor. Only her head and shoulders, but he has captured her reflection bouncing off the floor as she gazes into the camera.
A close-up of ladybugs walking on a female hand. You can see the legs of the ladybug as well as count the dots on their backs.
A pregnant woman wearing a bikini, walking on the beach at sunset while gently cradling her stomach.
A little girl standing under an apple blossom tree. She is looking up at the tree and catching the blossoms as they fall.
A self-portrait, captured in the sunglasses of another subject and cropped to only him aiming his camera and the streets of Seattle as his backdrop.
The pictures go on and on and on and to be quite honest, they are exquisite.
“Joshua, these are breathtaking!” Ana finally says after being lost in the portfolio for several minutes. She raises her eyes to me and I know in a moment that she wants him to do our wedding photos. Without a word, she drops her eyes back to the portfolio.
“Joshua, you will have to sign a non-disclosure agreement, meaning that you can tell no one that you are doing the photos nor can you disclose any details of our personal life or the ceremony before or after the wedding without our permission.” His eyes grow large.
“Does that mean… I’ve got the job?” he asks incredulously.
“Yes,” Butterfly breathes wistfully, still looking at the portfolio. Neither Josh nor I know if that was a reaction to a picture she saw or a response to his question. I smile at her while watching her get lost in the magic that is Josh’s work.
“Join me in my study, please, Joshua,” I say as I stand. Butterfly looks up at me, concerned. “It’s only to sign the NDA, Dear,” I say before placing a gentle peck on her cheek. She nods and goes back to the portfolio. Joshua follows me to the study where I have a copy of the NDA already on the desk.
“Anastasia means the world to me, Joshua,” I say to him as I hand him the NDA.
“I can clearly see that,” he says. “Anyone in the room with you two for more than five seconds can feel your connection. I don’t know if she feeds off your energy or you feed off hers, but it’s rather remarkable. I’m not just saying that, Mr. Grey. The love between you two… it’s palpable. I’m very honored to be able to capture these moments for you.” He takes the non-disclosure agreement from my hands.
“Good. I’m very glad you feel that way. I don’t want you to take this the wrong way, but please know that I normally don’t let the press within 100 feet of me, let alone into my home or my most personal business. You are being afforded an opportunity that many will never see in their lifetime. If for any reason you make me regret it, I will be sure to make you regret it more.” I say the words firmly and with no malice, but it is imperative that he knows that I will destroy him if he steps wrong during this assignment.
“I completely understand and respect your position, Mr. Grey. You may not know me, but my word is all that I have. As a reporter and freelance photographer, people have to trust me. If I go back on my word, I’m done. My career is over and to coin an old phrase, I’ll never get work in this town again. You have my word that I will handle this assignment with respect and discretion, Sir.” His voice is very solemn. I know that he could have done any number of things with the video and picture that he took of Butterfly, but he presented them exactly how he got them.
“Anastasia can be very naïve at times. Although she is very trusting, I know what could have come from that sound bite that she gave you.”
“Yes, Sir, but she made it clear that you and she would hunt me down to the ends of the earth if I did anything dishonest or disrespectful with the information that she gave me. I truly don’t want to see that kind of wrath,” he confesses.
“Excellent. Take a moment to read the NDA and when you’re done, I’d like to discuss your vision for our wedding as well as your suggestions for a videographer.”
“Good morning, Marilyn.” I’m feeling much lighter as I enter the office on Monday morning. Christian pretty much handled the negotiations with Joshua yesterday and now we have or photographer as well as our videographer. Joshua provides both services and, pending the background checks and the signed NDAs from his assistants, that’s two things that we can scratch off our list.
As it turns out, I didn’t lose as many clients as I thought I would with me being gone for a whole month. I manage to speak to or see all of my Monday regulars and at least speak to my Tuesday regulars to formulate a treatment plan for them. That’s 14 people. Out of the 14, I determined that four were just coming to see me for comfort—because not seeing me was scarier than continuing to pay my fee. I cut them down to half-hour sessions because they really don’t need me and I am hoping to ween them off soon or bring them down to emergency contact only. Five more only needed maintenance calls—not weekly, but maybe monthly to be sure that everything was on track and they were not in line for a nervous breakdown.
Three agreed that after being without the session for nearly a month and very, very careful scrutiny of their file and their progress, they really didn’t need therapy anymore at all. However, I agreed to keep them on file in case they ever feel like they are just falling into the abyss and can’t seem to find their way out. The final two were very deep in their therapy and definitely needed to continue. I have agreed to see those two twice this week to get them back on track since I was gone for so long.
This new schedule brought 14 full-time patients down to one full-time on Monday and one full-time on Tuesday, three half-hour comforts on Monday and one half-hour comfort on Tuesday, one monthly on two Mondays of the month and one monthly on three Tuesdays. So far, that means that a nine-hour Monday and a nine-hour Tuesday—with allowances for lunch and contingencies, of course—has now become a two- or three-and-a-half-hour Monday and a one- or a two-and-a-half-hour Tuesday. That’s not bad at all for my first day back at work.
I’m getting ready to head home and look at some dresses when a very maudlin Marilyn steps into my office.
“Ana, with you cutting down your hours to barely part-time, I’m certain that you won’t need a full-time assistant anymore,” she says sadly. Shit! I didn’t think about that. I’m still going to need her, especially while I’m still planning my wedding, but she’s right. I won’t need a full-time receptionist. I’m sure that I can find something for her to do for me. I’ll have to see.
“I promise that I won’t leave you high and dry. I’m still going to need you for the next several months, even though I won’t be on a full-time schedule here at work. I’ll still pay you the same for the things that I need—God knows I’ll need help keeping my life straightened out. After things settle down a bit, whenever that will be, I’m sure that I’ll will still need a PA for all kinds of things—keeping my schedules straight, running my errands, helping me with charity events…”
“Charity events?” she asks, bemused. I sigh.
“Yes. I want to focus more on myself and Christian and less on other people right now, which is why I am cutting back my hours. After the wedding and when the dust clears a bit, I’m going to go full-on into fundraising, volunteering, helping families cope with tragedies… things like that.” Marilyn frowns.
“Please tell me that you’re not going to become one of those rich, stick-in-the-mud, snobby, entitled trophy wives. I won’t be able to tolerate you if you do,” she says, her voice very serious.
“Oh, hell no, but I am going to be one of those rich wives that go to a lot of red carpet events. If I ever turn into the entitled, snobby, whatever you said, you have my permission to give me a swift kick and two quick slaps.” She examines me closely.
“Remember that you said that,” she says. “I don’t have a college education and I didn’t plan on having to look for a new job, but I will jump ship quicker than you can sneeze if you turn into one of those blue-haired, stuck-up bitches and I mean it, Ana!” I put my arm around her shoulders.
“Don’t worry. Even when I’m old and my hair is actually blue, that won’t be me. Marilyn, I can say with certainty that you have job security, because one way or another I’m always going to need you. Besides, you know too much about me. I can’t fire you… I’d have to kill you,” I say with a wink.
I am back in my wedding planning cove and I have narrowed my dress choices down to 10. I know that Tammy has some favorites, but I think she’s going to be disappointed that none of my choices came from The Wang. Her designs were unmistakably exquisite, but I still didn’t love them. I fire off my choices to her and Al and the responses are almost immediate.
“Ana, seriously? Nothing from Wang?” she says, aghast.
“No, nothing from Wang,” I say flatly.
“But you can’t turn down Vera Wang! She knows people. She can make your life miserable!” Is she serious? A dress designer can make my life miserable?
“Tammy, believe me, that woman can’t do anything to me that I can’t do to her. Many other people—important people—have gotten married without wearing a Vera Wang dress, and so will I. Her designs didn’t wow me like the others did, so I’m not going to use them. Vera Wang is out. Get over it!” She was the one who kept pushing me to see The Wang when I really didn’t want to see anymore dresses at that point anyway. She shouldn’t be surprised that I wasn’t really drawn to any of the designs.
“Fine,” she says sharply and I swear I can actually hear her pouting.
“Is this going to become a problem?” I ask her. No, I’m not looking for another wedding planner this late in the game and I am certainly not going to fight with you about a dress that I’m going to wear!
“No,” she sighs. “It’s not going to be a problem. I’m just disappointed. I was sure that you would fall in love with one of Vera’s dresses.”
“Well, I didn’t. Now let’s stop making a big deal about it. I’ve sent you my choices and I need your honest opinions on them. If you can’t give it to me, I’ll ask Al…”
“No, no, I’m a professional. I’ll take a closer look at the dresses and give you my opinion tomorrow. I need to picture the dresses on you standing next to Christian in his tux in the setting at the castle and I can let you know what I think.” That’s more like it.
“Thank you. I appreciate your input,” I say. “I’m going to call Al and see if he will let me do anything on my list.”
“Yeah, good luck with that,” she says and we end our call. Okay, time to call my drill sergeant.
“Hello Jewel, my darling. How has your day been?” He sounds a bit too happy.
“Busy. I’m cutting down my caseload, so I had to talk to and see quite a few people today. Tomorrow will be more of the same. How about you?”
“Well, your fiancé went a little easy on me today, so besides fending off some frivolous lawsuits from some disgruntled ex-employees, I was able to book that band from the fund raiser and secure your florist—complete with signed NDAs in hand and background checks on the way!” Gosh, my soon-to-be husband is such a damn stickler for those background checks, but I guess you can never be too careful.
“Good, so we can definitely scratch those two off the list. Did you get the dresses that I sent you?”
“Yes. I’m surprised that you didn’t have the Vera Wang,” he says.
“Oh, good God, not you, too,” I lament.
“I’m not giving you a hard time about it, Jewel. I’m just surprised that you didn’t pick it. I mean those dresses…” He whistles to show his sentiment.
“Yes, I agree that they were extremely beautiful dresses, but unfortunately not my vision. Now what do you think about the choices that I sent you?”
“I am very partial to number five and number seven.”
“Oh my God, me too!” I exclaim. “Now tell me why not the others.”
“Well, while number one is very demure, I’m not liking that bottom. It looks too… homemade.”
“That’s what it is! I couldn’t figure out what was striking me wrong about that dress!”
Al gave me all the reasons why he shot down the other dresses. Number three looked like an older woman should be wearing it. Two was too boxy. He had no idea why I picked four at all. Six had kind of the same look as the ones that I liked, but the hip-hugger-type waist was just not flattering. Nine and ten were very pretty, but Al insists that they both look like something a stripper would wear. I sorely disagree, but hell, they weren’t my favorites anyway.
Five, seven, and even eight all had qualities that I like. They were by different designers, though. I’m hoping I might be able to get them to work together and combine the qualities that I like so that I can get the dress that I want. Hell, two jewelers designed my engagement ring. Why can’t two—or three—designers do my dress? We will simply have to see if that works out.
“Okay so I’ll see what Tammy says tomorrow, but we’ve pretty much narrowed it down to these three. I don’t know how successful or even receptive she’ll be to asking three designers to work together. She’s a little tender about the lack of Wang in the selection.”
“Lack of Wang,” Al repeats the phrase. “That sounds so dirty.” I shake my head.
“Yet another reason why I’m glad I didn’t pick her. Tammy keeps calling her The Wang. I can just hear some smart ass reporter announcing that ‘Anastasia Steele is now Anastasia Grey after a wedding in a castle this past Saturday. Mr. Grey was wearing a custom tuxedo by Brioni and the new Mrs. Grey was dressed by The Wang!'” Al bursts out in laughter.
“Yes, I think that would be pretty tragic,” he says.
“Indeed!” I confirm.
“So, tell me. What have you been doing on the list? I know that you can’t keep your grubby little hands off of it.” Shit. Busted.
“Nothing. I haven’t done anything,” I tell him.
“Jewel, I’ve known you for more than half of your life and you are lying. Now, spill it.”
“I’m not lying!” Technically, I haven’t looked at the list. I was going to, but I haven’t.
“Fine. Turn your chair around and open the list.” I hate him.
“I still wasn’t lying,” I say as I open the list. “I haven’t looked at it.”
“But you were going to,” he chides.
“I was going to ask you first!” I defend.
“Whatever! What’s next on the list?”
“Hire the photographer—done that, and the videographer.”
“Good. What’s next?”
“Book your band—you’ve done that. Choose your dress—we’re doing that now…” I check more items off the list. “Choose groomsmen and ring bearer attire. You guys are doing that Thursday. Hey! Were you able to recruit a ring bearer and a flower girl?”
“No, but Chris said that he found a couple of candidates for that, so you don’t have to worry about it.” Christian? He doesn’t know any kids either. I hope he didn’t hire a couple of actors. “And there’s that pause. Stop thinking about it so hard. He says that you will be pleased and they will be dressed and ready for the wedding. Now what’s next?” I sigh. I don’t have a choice but to accept it because I don’t have any suggestions
“Book your ceremony musician.”
“Did you want someone to sing?” he asks.
“Well, I want the Lord’s Prayer at the beginning. I don’t know about when I walk down the aisle.”
“Chris has that covered, too,” he says. Boy, Chris has covered a lot and hasn’t told me. “And another pause. Jewel, he had to do something while you were in Montana!”
Shit! I forgot about Montana… and he was still here planning our wedding. I sigh again.
“Tell him to pencil in my session with Ace on Friday. He’s going to want to be there. At least he said he would,” I tell him.
“I’ll pass it on. Who’s Ace? Another hottie?”
“As a matter of fact, yes he is. However, he is my very married therapist.”
“Le sigh,” he says, “of course he is. What’s next on the list?”
“Don’t you have a boyfriend?” I interject.
“Yes, but I’m not dead. I can’t still appreciate a fine specimen… I seem to remember having this same conversation with your significant other,” he says.
“Allen, you were checking out my significant other?” I gasp.
“No! That ship has so sailed. I was checking out the strippers at Phillip’s bachelor party.” Strippers!? Oh, wait. Christian did mention strippers, I think, when he came to the Four Seasons. At least I think he did… either way, he was at the Four Seasons with me. “So like I said, my beloved Jewel, what’s next?”
A/N: So Christian has finally spoken up and said “Enough is enough.” How do you think this will affect the dynamic of the “relationship” between him and Ana’s friends? He’s made it clear that he doesn’t care what they think about him anymore, to the degree of graciously refusing Valerie’s apology. What do you think happens now?
Ana shot down The Wang. That takes balls.
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Love and Handcuffs!