Mending Dr. Steele: Chapter 48—Back to the Grind

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 48—Back to the Grind

STEELE

For a spur-of-the-moment getaway, this weekend has turned into one of the most wonderful and relaxing two days Christian and I have ever shared. It’s nothing like our trip to Anguilla, which seemed to have been riddled with arguments and disagreements and traumatizing moments. This trip has so far been fantastic from beginning to end.

Once the balloons land, we all return to the Marriott for a fantastic champagne brunch. We eat and converse with the other balloon passengers, this being many of their first balloon ride as well. Once we have had our fill, we are back in the Escalade for a bit of pampering before we return to Seattle.

Back at the Meritage, we soak in a private aromatic bath for two in the hotel spa, after which Christian sits with me while I get a Terra massage. He, of course, will not let anyone touch him in that way but me, so he just watches while feeding me fresh strawberries and champagne… through a straw!

After the massage, we both get a ridiculously long 80-minute facial that left my face feeling like my pores were dancing. Christian declared that he may hire someone to learn these facials at Miana’s as he feels like he will never shave again. Not likely, Grey. Shaving is a definite necessity—no rug burn here, Sir!

Exactly 48 hours after we left Seattle, we are back on the GEH jet headed home. Christian once again thanks me for the wonderful weekend that we had. I knew that we so needed to decompress after everything that has happened over the last months. I almost hate to go back.

However, back we are. I become more and more agitated the closer we get to Escala. I’m wringing my hands and trying to play it cool, but I’m nervous—very nervous. I can’t hide my anxiety from Christian.

“Baby, what’s wrong? We had such a wonderful weekend. Why are you so jittery?” he asks. I sigh.

“I don’t know. I guess it’s just getting back to reality and getting out of our little love bubble. I’ll be fine, really.” He squeezes my hand and pulls me over to him.

“I wish we could have stayed longer, too. Everything about this weekend was absolutely outstanding.” He kisses my forehead.

“Yes, it really was.” I sink into his warmth and try not to worry about what’s waiting for us back at Escala.

The elevator ride is torture. Christian squeezes my hand to calm my nerves again, but it’s not helping. When we get inside the penthouse, there is a bouquet of white roses on the dining table as a signal to me. I can’t stand it anymore. I feel like I’m going to vomit.

“Baby, I need you to come with me,” I say, taking his hand.

“What is it, Butterfly? Please tell me what’s wrong.” I lead him to the area where his precious grand piano sits. His face takes on an immediate sadness as he looks at his one-time late-night companion. He pauses, unwilling to come any closer to it.

“Please, Christian, sit down,” I beseech him. His shoulders sag heavily and he sits in on the leather bench in front of his piano. He caresses the cover gently, his face filled with regret.

“Open it,” I say softly. He looks up at me, then drops his head.

“I can’t.” His voice is heavy with remorse. “I haven’t had the heart to tell Mom that I destroyed it. I hope she doesn’t ask me.”

“It can’t be as bad as you think, Baby. Please, let’s have a look at it.”

“We’ve had such a wonderful weekend. I don’t want to ruin it by reliving this…” He’s almost breaking down.

“I just want you to open it this one time. If you never want to open it again after this, I promise I won’t ask.” Please, Baby, open it, I will him. As if they could, his shoulders drop even further and he is resigned to his fate. He places both hands on the cover and slowly lifts it. He does a double-take then gasps as he can’t believe what he’s seeing. Sliding the cover back into its slot, his eyes grow large as he examines 88 perfect ebony and ivory covered spruce keys.

“Is this my piano?” he asks incredulously, still caressing the keys.

“Yes,” I say softly.

“How?” His eyes never leave the keyboard.

“I had it restored,” I tell him. “Happy birthday.” He pauses staring at the keys. I know what he’s thinking. I only hope that I did it right. I hired four master craftsmen to do the work, each with a specific expertise. Not only did the machine have to look like new, but it had to respond to his hand the same way that it did before. In order for that to happen, the craftsmen had to measure the key height and weight of the keys that had not been damaged as well as the pads of those keys that were played the most—damaged or not. Christian’s skill level determined how “worn-in” the pads and hammers were, and a new piano simply would not do. His piano had to be restored to exactly where it was or as close as humanly possible if he were to ever play it again. The hammer travel, repetition adjustment, and back check had to be exactly what he had become accustomed to or at least close enough for him not to tell the difference.

It’s a pale comparison, but I wouldn’t drive a car that was restored almost to new because it was no longer my car. I secretly pray that I have done a good thing and not caused him any more pain.

Christian tentatively hits one key in the middle of the keyboard. Then he hits again. Without warning, he flattens both of his hands and begins banging on the keys back and forth up and down the keyboard. I immediately start to panic. This was obviously a bad idea.

Just as I am about to have a panic attack and Jason comes running out of the study, Christian stops banging on the keyboard and hits the same key again. A trace of a smile kisses his lips as his fingers hit two keys, then three, then four. Now he’s playing the four keys in fast succession and a few moments later, he is playing a beautiful rendition of Chopin’s Minute Waltz. I’m so happy that I am almost hyperventilating. He’s in his own little world for the two minutes that it takes for him to finish the song. He’s forgotten I am here with him. This is wonderful.

When he finishes the song. He caresses the keys again, then goes into another song. His fingers are moving so fast, but I swear he is playing the entire thing only on the black keys. A few minutes later, he breaks into yet another song, and another song, and another. I can only stand there mesmerized watching his command of this instrument as he attempts to recapture all the time that he has missed without his old friend. I begin to back away from him to allow him to bond with his piano, but as soon as I get a few feet away from him, he finishes his last song and breathes a heavy sigh. His head drops almost all the way down to the keys and he takes two more deep breaths. Without a word, he moves over on his piano bench and I know that he wants me to sit.

I silently take the seat next to him and he places his fingers on the keys again. He begins a soft, mellow tune and I remember the song from the movie Notting Hill. I’m a real Julia Roberts fan and I’ve often thought of Christian as my Edward Lewis and I was his Vivian Ward… although that was a different Julia Roberts movie and I, of course, am not a hooker. Nonetheless, after a bar or two I can tell that this song is She by Elvis Costello. I want to lay on his shoulder but I don’t want to disturb his beautiful playing.

As he finishes the last notes of the song, he turns quickly and takes my face in his hands. He kisses me deeply and nearly takes my breath away. When he pulls our lips apart, he rests his forehead on mine.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” he whispers, his eyes closed. He kisses me on the lips again and turns back to his piano. “It’s wonderful. It’s absolutely remarkable. I thought I would never be able to play it again. I thought that it would never be like it was before, and now…” He giggles happily—yes, giggles! He turns into a four-year-old and starts playing Chopsticks. I laugh through my tears and almost don’t notice that Gail and Jason were both standing behind us until they disappear quietly back to their apartment.

“Come on. This is a two-man job. I know you can play this,” he says as he coaxes me to the keys. Coincidentally, yes, I can play Chopsticks. I do a very simple version on the high notes and, of course, he adds all kinds of fancery to it by hitting all the low keys of the duet as well as some of the more difficult high keys that I am missing. He’s such a show off, but we have a fabulous time getting reacquainted with his grand piano. Though it’s a little early, it is a very happy birthday indeed.

Although we basically had sex all weekend, Christian still made love to me last night until we had both had our fill. Then he thanked me profusely for a wonderful weekend and a magnificent birthday present. Now, I must drink lots and lots and lots of cranberry spritzers to avoid any issues with my ladyparts as they have been thoroughly well used over the last three days.

My day is spent pretty much in a “CG loves AS” haze until our meeting with Reverend Martin that afternoon. We were both a little dismayed to discover that this was not just an ordinary meeting with the minister. This was one of seven premarital counseling sessions that are required before he would agree to marry us. Christian and I both look at each other and I can tell we are thinking the same thing—can we get someone else to do this?

“Is there something that you are afraid of?” Reverend Martin asks us, noting our hesitance. “Now is the time to reveal those dark secrets.” I sigh.

“Oh, you have no idea,” I lament. This elicits a strange look from the Reverend. I shake my head. “Reverend Martin, Christian and I are both knee-deep in therapy. I have heard all of his dirty little secrets and he is now holding my hand through regression therapy to confront my painful past.”

Hmm,” the Reverend strokes his chin. “That’s interesting. I’m curious. If you have heard of all his secrets, why is he still in therapy?” He turns his face to Christian.

“Because I’m still working through them,” Christian says with no malice. “I have never loved a woman before Anastasia, so this is still new to me. The emotions that I am feeling sometimes become overwhelming. So I need therapy—and Anastasia—to help me through them.”

“You’re not a particularly young man—young comparatively, but not young in terms of love. Why is it that Anastasia is your first love, so to speak?”

“She’s not my first love, Reverend. I’ve had feelings for someone before to the degree that I thought I loved them enough for me to say that she is not my first love. However, she is the first woman that I have loved. Does that make sense?” I feel like someone just hit me in the chest. He’s talking about her.

“Yes, actually, it does. How about you, Anastasia? Does it make sense to you?”

“Yes,” I respond, my voice small. “It makes sense to me.” I don’t want to feel this way, but knowing that he had feelings for that woman makes me want to vomit. I can’t blame him, though. He was young and confused, even more confused by what she was doing to him. Christian reaches over and tentatively takes my hand. I squeeze to let him know that I’m okay and I understand.

“What about you? Is Christian your first love, Anastasia?” I shake my head feverishly.

“No. No, he’s not my first love. I have loved another man before and I have to say that I am fighting not to become ill right now so I really can’t talk about him or I will become ill.”

“Why is this important for you to be able to marry us, Reverend Martin?” Christian asks. “We dredge this stuff up repeatedly during our individual therapies and with each other. I don’t think it’s necessary for us to have to relive it with you. It’s painful and very hard on us, even harder on Anastasia—and if it’s the only way that you will agree to marry us, I think we had better be leaving as we don’t have much time to find another officiant.” Thank you, Christian! Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you! He stands and I stand with him immediately.

“I just want to make sure that the two of you understand fully what you are getting into. Most young people think marriage is just an extension of dating, the next logical step, when it’s truly so much more than that,” Reverend Martin defends.

“I appreciate that you want to be sure that we know what we are getting into. Believe me, we are fully aware of what we are about to do. As Anastasia has told you, she knows all of my deep, dark past, probably more than any one person knows about me at all except for maybe my last shrink. I am now getting to know all the horrible things in the corners of her past and there is nothing that I could find out, now or ever, that would make me love her less or regret making her my wife. Now, if you’ll excuse us, we really must be going.” Christian gently pulls me out of the Reverend’s office and down the long aisle between the pews. As we get to the middle, I have a horrible feeling of dread.

“Stop, Christian,” I tell him and he freezes in his tracks. I’m fighting tears, fighting the familiar feelings. “Please just wait for a moment.” Christian takes my face in his hands.

“What is it, Baby?” he asks. “There are ministers and reverends all over Seattle. We can find someone else in no time. Seven more sessions of rehashing what we’re already doing—I can’t put you through that. I can’t put us through that. Working through it doesn’t mean we have to relive it over and over for every Tom, Dick, or Martin that thinks we need to prove that we are okay.”

“I know, and I agree with you,” I say softly without raising my head. “It’s just that… it feels like running. It feels like I’m running. When I get that feeling, I have to stop moving completely or God knows where I’ll end up.” I finally raise my eyes to meet his and his confusion changes to realization. He rubs my arms gently.

“Okay, Baby. We’ll stand here until you’re ready to move.” We stand there for a long time—I don’t know how long—just looking into each other’s eyes. I take a deep breath, and then another, and I finally feel better. I look around the church. It’s beautiful—typical stained-glass windows and rows and rows of highly polished pews. A regal podium stands in front of several high-backed throne-like seats flanking a wooden quarter wall. Behind the wall are more pews, most likely for the choir, and the baptismal pool can be seen through what looks like plexiglass behind the choir seats.

“If I wanted a church, this would have been beautiful,” I tell him. He looks around and nods.

“Yes, it would have. Do you want a church?” he asks. He’s serious. He would change everything at a moment’s notice if I said I wanted it. I smile and shake my head.

“No,” I tell him. “I want my castle with my prince.” I reach up and caress his face. He turns his lips to my palm and kisses it softly, holding it against his lips so that the kiss lingers there.

“You worked out that standing still helps to keep you from running away. I’m very impressed—beauty and brains, but then again, I always knew that.” He smiles sweetly at me.

“I have to be my best for you… for us. I don’t want anything threatening our future together.” I close my eyes. “Kiss me, please.” His lips are on mine before I have a moment to think, and the last of the flight response oozes out of me. He puts his forehead on mine. “I needed that. I needed to remember my home. My home is with you. We can go now,” I say. He kisses my hand again and leads me to the door.

“Anastasia, Christian, please don’t leave yet.” We turn around to see Reverend Martin walking slowly up the aisle towards us. “I see that you have an active flight or fight response, Anastasia, or is it just flight?”

“Reverend Martin…” Christian begins, and the Reverend put his hands up in surrender.

“Okay, okay, apparently one of the things you’re rehashing in your therapy,” he says. “Yes, I was listening,” he confirms, “you were standing in the middle of my church. I agree, too, that you don’t need to rehash your past since you are obviously already doing that and have made it quite clear that you know a lot about each other, but make no mistake. You do need to hash out your future together and I can almost guarantee that’s something that you’re not doing in therapy right now. We don’t have to relive your painful histories if you don’t want that, but every couple is in need of couple’s therapy before they marry. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a religious officiant that will marry you without it, and if he or she does, they will be doing you a great disservice.”

Christian glares at him for a moment then looks at me. “What do you think, Butterfly?” he asks. Hell, I don’t know. If we run around Seattle and we can’t find anyone to bless our union that won’t drag us through couples therapy first, then all of that looking will have been for nothing.

“Let’s see where it goes, I guess,” I tell him, not feeling the conviction of my words at all. He can tell I’m not 100% on the idea either, but he nods and turns to the Reverend.

“Fine, but if it becomes too hard for us, I’m still up for Vegas,” he whispers with a smile. That gives me a little more courage.

“It’s a deal.” I smile at him. He nods at Reverend Martin and we follow him back into his office.

“Let’s start with a generic relationship quiz. This will let me know where the two of you stand right now. They are simple yes and no questions, but I realize that some of them may require explanation.” He hands us each a two-page test and a pen and we take the test.

I am with a person who:

1) Is supportive of what I doyes

2) Encourages me to try new thingsabsolutely

3) Likes to listen when I have something on my mind, understands that I have my own life, is not liked very well by my friendsyes, yes, and unfortunately, yes

4) Says I’m too involved in different activitiesno

5) Calls and texts me all the timewell, enough, so yes with explanation

6) Is trying to spend too much time looking nicehe doesn’t even have to try, so no

7) Gets extremely jealous or possessiveyes, yes, a thousand times, yes!

8) Accuses me of flirting or cheating—there was that one time with Elliot, but that was before we knew each other and he hasn’t done it again since then, so no

9) Constantly checks up on me or makes me check in—that’s a no with explanation. I have a security detail so someone is always checking on me, but that’s more of a safety issue than anything.

10) Controls what I wear or how I lookhe’s made a comment here or there, but no

11) Likes to control what I do or who I seeno, he would “adios” the Scooby Gang if he could, but he would never do that.

12) Tries to keep me from seeing and talking to my family and friends—definite no

13) Has big mood swings, gets angry and yells at me one minute but is sweet and apologetic the next—I actually circle yes and no for that one. Hell, we are both pretty moody right now. Look at all the shit we’re going through? That’s why we’re in therapy!

14) Puts me down, calls me names, or criticizes me—not in this life!

15) Makes me feel like I can’t do anything right or blames me for problemsnope

16) Makes me feel like no one else would want me—um, how about makes me feel like everyone else wants me?

17) Threatens to hurt me, my family, or friends—Daddy would have his balls in a jar… no

18) Threatens to hurt him or herself because of meI have to pause on this one. He actually did hurt himself because of me. I have to leave that one blank.

19) Threatens to destroy my things—no

20) Grabs, pushes, shoves, chokes, punches, slaps, holds me down, throws things, or hurts me in some way—I have to say no on this one. I know what the question is getting at and Christian does throw things once in a while. He has grabbed me, too, but not in the way that this is implying. He only chokes me or holds me down during hot sex and that’s because he knows I like it, and the hurting—again, only during our kinky fuckery. Damn, is it hot in here?

21) Breaks things or throws things to intimidate menope

22) Yells, screams, or humiliates me in front of other peoplenope.

23) Pressures me for sex or forces me to go further than I want tommmm… no, and yes it’s getting quite hot in here…

We finish almost at the same time and hand the papers back to the Reverend. “Wow, I don’t think anyone has ever finished that quickly or at the same time,” he says. We sit back in our seats and wait for his evaluation. “Well, let me start by saying that this is a preliminary test, just basic stuff, but it’s clear that Christian thinks you are a perfect angel, Anastasia. His only qualm seems to be that he thinks you spend too much time on your appearance and that you have mood swings. Would you care to explain that, Christian?”

Yes, would you care to explain that, Christian?

“Well, she likes to dress up. Everything she wears is impeccably matched, down to her jewelry. There’s never a hair out of place when she leaves the apartment…”

“You take that to mean that she spends too much time on her appearance?” the Reverend asks.

“Well, maybe not too much. I mean, she’s never made us late for anything or even been late herself that I know of, but she does spend a lot of time on her appearance.” Note to self—leave the house looking like a troll tomorrow.

“Anastasia, you’ve gotten quiet.” I shrug.

“I like to look nice when I’m out in public. I was into fashion and things before he met me. Am I supposed to change that now because we are together?”

“That’s not what I meant at all, Butterfly,” Christian defends. “I was only saying that you spend a lot of time on your appearance, which you do. There’s nothing wrong with that. I love it that you look good when you leave the apartment, especially when we are together. It’s a little maddening when we are apart, though…”

“Yes, that brings me to a question on Anastasia’s questionnaire. You say that he is extremely possessive and you circled ‘yes’ and ‘no’ in terms of his mood swings.” Oh great, now it’s my turn.

“Yes, he is possessive and I circled ‘yes’ and ‘no’ because, in general, he’s not too moody—but while we are both going through this therapy, we are on emotional roller coasters which could mean hot one moment and cold the next.”

“That’s what I meant when I circled ‘yes,'” Christian defends. “She’s a pillar of strength one moment and she a puddle on the ground the next. Sometimes, it’s hard to keep up, but I have to because I know what she’s going through.”

“So if both of you are moody, who’s the stable one in the relationship?” Almost like a slapstick comedy, we each point at the other. Reverend Martin breaks out in hearty laughter. “Look at yourselves. You still think you don’t need couples therapy?” He folds his hands. “First of all, couples therapy is not a litmus test to see if your marriage will succeed or fail. It’s a time where the two of you get to know what the other really wants without the rose-colored glasses. This way, if there needs to be some adjustment or compromise, you know before you say ‘I do.’ There are no trick questions or pitfalls. No one is setting you up for failure. However, if it turns out that you are incompatible, this is where you will find out. I have had couples demand that I marry them immediately while others called off their weddings. It’s still something very necessary before you decide to spend your lives together.” At our silence, he unfolds his hands and looks at my test again.

“Anastasia, this one is very serious. The question about threatening to hurt himself… you left that one blank. Why?” Shit, I forgot about that one. My eyes go immediately to Christian who is looking at me incredulously.

“I was going to come back to that one,” I say, weakly.

“What? You really think I would hurt myself?” he asks, almost appalled.

“No, it’s just… I was thinking about that time… you know, with Elliot…” Boy, this is going to hell fast.

“You know that I didn’t do that on purpose!” He sounds really hurt now. Dammit, I didn’t want that. “And you think I’d do it again?”

“No! I left it blank because it did result in you going to the hospital, not because I thought you would do it again.”

“But that’s what the question said—threatens to hurt himself because of you. When have I ever done that?” I drop my head like a scolded child.

“Never,” I respond, my voice just above a whisper.

“May I ask, if you want to share, what are we referring to? What did you do?” the Reverend asks. I’m fighting the urge to curl up in a ball while Christian sighs and explains what we are talking about.

“We had a disagreement—back in the very early stages of our relationship—and she didn’t speak to me for five days. I didn’t deal with it very well. I didn’t eat anything and I only drank alcohol for that time. I didn’t do it on purpose.” He cuts his eyes at me and I can tell that I have hurt him by bringing this up. “I wasn’t trying to hurt myself—I just wasn’t thinking. My mom ripped me a new as—behind for doing that and she made me promise never to do that to myself again.” He looks at me again with pure confusion and pain in his eyes. “Even when you were kidnapped, I made sure that I ate and drank properly because I knew that we would get you back and you would be angry if I didn’t.”

To say that I want to curl up and die right now is an understatement. I didn’t mean to hurt him like this or make him feel this way. I just wanted to explain myself and I moved too fast turning in my test. Don’t shrink, Anastasia. Don’t shrink.

“Anastasia, what are you thinking?” Reverend Martin presses. I just shake my head, once again fighting the urge to shrink. I don’t know why this situation is making me feel so small. His body language is saying it all. His legs are crossed and he’s turned slightly away from me. He has run his hands through his hair about five times. He’s sighing heavily and I can tell that he’s counting…

… and I want to run.

I cross my legs at the ankles and cross my arms in front of me, my hand going immediately to my forehead. I feel a headache coming on. We had a wonderful weekend, absolutely wonderful, and I had to go and fuck it up with this shit. Damn, why can’t we have just a moment of peace? I swear if shit keeps happening, I’m going to flip my fucking lid! How much is one person supposed to take? Every time it seems like things are going well, shit goes south. Now this guy in the collar wants to open old wounds… well, he really didn’t do that. That was my fault. I could have just answered the damn question ‘no.’ Christian doesn’t threaten to hurt himself and he didn’t hurt himself on purpose the first time. Hell, it was me wishing that Elena had shot me, too, once I thought she had shot Christian. If anything, I’m the one that’s batty, dangerous, and unstable here. I constantly have to convince myself not to…

“For fuck’s sake, Ana, stop it!” What the hell? I look up into the eyes of a horrified Reverend Martin and a determined Christian holding both of my hands, which are now balled up into fists. My forehead is on fire! Oh great, now I really look like a lunatic.

“No! He didn’t threaten to hurt himself! No, he didn’t do it on purpose the first time. I’m the one who wished I was dead when I thought that evil witch had shot him! Do you still question which of us is the stable one!?” I’m trying to get out of my seat, but Christian is holding me there. “Need to go. Need to go now,” is all I can get out of my mouth.

“No, Baby. You’re running. Stay, don’t run,” he coaxes.

“Need to go, Christian. Need to go now.” I’m starting to panic.

“Listen to me. Listen to my voice. I love you. Please don’t run. Please, stay with me. Don’t run away.” I’m shaking. The walls are closing in on me and I need to get the hell out of here, but I do what he says. I concentrate on his voice. “We have to do this. We really have to do this. I know that now. If we want to be together forever, we have to do this. Please, stay with me. Please don’t leave me.” His voice is beseeching and it’s serving to calm me down. “That’s my girl. Breathe with me.” He takes a deep breath in through his nose and out through his mouth. I mimic his actions, but I’m still shaking. When he’s sure that I’m not going to run, he kneels down in front of me.

“We have to do this, Butterfly. You understand that, don’t you?” No, I really don’t, but if he thinks we need it, then I guess we need it. I nod shakily. He just stands next to me holding my hand.

“Anastasia, there was a reason you left that question blank. What was it? I think Christian needs to know.” I think hard, really hard. Why did I leave that question blank? Christian never threatened to hurt himself… however…

“Because I left a little over a month ago and he did it again,” I say, my voice barely audible. I don’t want to look up at him. I don’t want to see that hurt look on his eyes again.

“Did what again?” Reverend Martin asks.

“He hurt himself,” I squeak. “He destroyed his piano with his bare hands and could have hurt himself really badly. It turns out that he only needed first aid. He didn’t sleep for several days—again—and ended up sleeping for two days straight. When he finally gave up hope, he wasn’t taking care of himself. He was pushing everyone away. He was turning into a miserable hermit. He may not declare that he is going to hurt himself, but he does things that aren’t good for him. That’s what made me pause.” Good God, it felt good to get that out. I still can’t raise my head to him, but he solves that dilemma for me. He falls to his knees in front of me.

“Baby, I’m sorry,” he says, cupping my face in his hands. “I didn’t realize, I really didn’t. I thought I lost you and nothing else mattered. I wasn’t trying to hurt myself, I just didn’t realize…”

“Then maybe you need some ‘don’t run’ exercises, too, because I can’t have you falling apart if something happens to me. One of us has to be strong.” I raise my eyes to him. I do need him to see that this is unhealthy behavior and whatever he needs to do to curtail it, he will have to do it. He nods.

“I do. Half the time, I don’t even know that I’m doing this stuff. I’ll talk to Dr. Baker, see what she recommends, okay?” he promises. I smile.

“That’s a start,” I reply. He sits back in his seat and takes my hand again. Reverend Martin examines us, then continues.

“Why don’t your friends like him?” he asks.

“I don’t know if they like him or not, but he doesn’t like them. They pretended to be his friends, too, and when the going got rough, they turned their backs on him—twice. Now, he wants nothing more to do with them, and I understand why.” Reverend Martin raises his eyebrows.

“I know why they don’t like him,” he says and we wait for him to let us in on the secret. “They’re not a priority anymore. You’ve changed what’s most important to you and they see their usefulness slipping away.” He turns to Christian. “And he’s the cause of that.”

“Well, tough!” I say in response. “This is my life and my happiness and they can either get with the program or move along. It’s that simple.”

“What do you think of that, Christian?” he asks.

“I’ve always told Ana that how she handles her friends is completely up to her. The only thing that I said to them was that if they didn’t stop being bitchy to her that I would take her away and we would elope.” Christian didn’t even flinch that the fact that he just cursed… in a church… at a reverend. Then again, the reverend didn’t react either. Hell, he said “fuck” a little while ago.

“That’s the way that it should be.” He stands up. “It looks like you two are off to a really good start, but even with this preliminary session you had bumps you didn’t even know that you had. Now, I want you to go home and reconnect. Christian, remember that you promised to talk to your doctor about what happened here, but don’t dwell on it more than that. Think of a happy time in your lives and go there in your mind with each other. By all means, don’t go to bed angry and I’ll see you two here again next Monday.”

Christian holds me close to him in the back of the Audi, stroking my hair and not saying a word. My shrinking response wants to curl up into him and disappear, but I resist the urge and start talking about anything but this session.

“Have you or Elliot heard from Kate again yet?” I ask him. He shakes his head.

“Not since last Wednesday. Elliot told me she stopped calling him, too. Of course, now we know why she was calling him in the first place. That ‘sneak attack’ option is off the table and now that we want a paternity test, she’s hiding. I tried calling her today and her phone went straight to voice mail. If I don’t hear from her by Wednesday, I’m calling her folks. If I don’t hear from her by week’s end, Elliot and I will get a court order for her to produce Kevin. He deserves to know if that’s his son.” I nod.

“I’m glad you two are speaking now,” I tell him.

“So is my mom. I’ll always have his back. It’s just going to be hard to trust him again like I used to.” He sounds sad.

“Do you think you will?” I ask. He shrugs.

“I don’t know. Who’s to say? Right now, he needs me so that’s really all that matters.” I put my hand on his chest.

“You have a good heart, Mr. Grey.” I look up into his darkening gray eyes.

“That’s what you say,” he says with a snort.

“That’s what I know,” I respond. He cups my face and kisses me gently. His kisses become more earnest and I sink into them, almost forgetting that we aren’t in the car alone until it comes to a stop in the parking garage. Christian doesn’t stop kissing me as Chuck slides quietly out of the SUV, closing and locking the doors behind him.

Christian lays me across his lap, never breaking our kiss. His hand roams my body and end up on my thigh, pushing up my pencil skirt and caressing the skin above my stocking. I gasp at the skin to skin contact and he groans into my mouth, working his way up to my pelvis. He teases me through my panties, driving me to embarrassingly feverish panting. He pulls his lips away from mine but only by a fraction, enough to watch me coming unglued in his hands. His fingers breach the barrier of my panties and now he is stroking and massaging that magical spot that belongs to only him.

“Oh God,” I breathe as his fingers stroke in and out of me, methodically taking me higher and higher. I grind into his hand and I can feel his erection digging into my back.

“You’re going to come for me,” he says, more of a statement than a question.

“Yes,” I whisper, throwing my head back and closing my eyes. He brings his mouth down to my cleavage and caresses the exposed part of my breast with his lips and tongue… and I detonate in his hands, bucking wildly against his unrelenting fingers. When I catch my breath, I move fast undoing his pants and releasing his bulging erection.

“Baby, no. You don’t have to do that,” he protests.

“Sssshh,” I silence him before taking him into my mouth and sucking hard.

“Sssssssssssss, fuck!” he hisses as he stiffens and throws his head back onto the seat. I bob repeated on him, up and down, up and down, occasionally stopping at the head to lick his slit and frenulum. He’s groaning loudly as I work my way out of my underwear. He laments momentarily when I stop but is back in his ecstasy when I straddle him and slide down onto his dick.

“Yes, Ana, Baby, yes!” he moans as I bounce up and down on his rod. His mouth his open and his breathing is erratic. He grabs my hips and pushes into me, matching my stroke and now making me rise again.

“Oh, yes, Baby, that’s it… right there… right there… so good…” he groans as I feel him getting stiffer inside of me. I bring his lips up to mine as I bounce, chasing yet another release on his quickly hardening member. He feels so good inside of me, hitting every sweet spot and driving me, driving me, again and again until…

“Christian…!” I barely eek his name out as my core convulses wildly around him. He growls loudly, bringing his arms under mine and clasping his hands over my shoulders, pulling me down hard onto him.

“I’m coming! I’m coming! Aw, fuuuck!” he groans, while he empties into me. We both take a second to catch our breath while we kiss each other madly.

“You beautiful girl,” he says between kisses. “You beautiful, beautiful girl. You’re incredible.” I have to say that I’ve surprised myself these last few days. Normally after one day of a fuck-fest, I’m down for a day or two, but these last few days I have matched Christian’s drive and stamina stroke for stroke. I’m really proud of myself—and having some great sex, too.

“We better get inside before they come looking for us,” I snicker. He chuckles with me.

“I think you’re right. Do you need some help?”

“I think I got it,” I say as I rise gingerly off of his now flaccid dick. We both wince at the separation and I retrieve my panties. After sliding back into them, I straighten my pencil skirt and check my hair and reapply my lip gloss in the rearview mirror while Christian readjusts his fly and zips his pants. “Do you really think I spend too much time on my appearance?” He looks at me and sighs.

“You just… you always look so go. I don’t know how you do it without concentrating on your hair and wardrobe every second,” he confesses. I shake my head.

“That’s strange. I thought the same thing about you when I answered that question. I said ‘no’ because I just thought it was effortless on your part. You even look good when you sleep.”

“As do you, Ms. Steele.” He closes the space between us and kisses me gently, then again. As his kisses become slightly more passionate, he pulls back a bit. “We better get out of this car before we end up fucking in here again.” I run my hand through his unruly hair.

“Okay,” I nod and take a deep breath before opening the door.

Like a good little tin soldier, Chuck is standing next to the elevator—several feet away from the Audi but still in clear view in case someone tries to walk up to it. He turns around and presses the call button when he sees us approach. I’m not even embarrassed around Chuck anymore. He’s the one that said we fuck like rabbits.


GREY

“I didn’t call you to debate this, Kavanaugh,” I say to Katherine’s father on Wednesday morning. There has still been no word from her about paternity testing.

“You can’t order me around, Grey. I’m just as powerful as you are and you don’t scare me—and you and your playboy brother aren’t going to bully my Katie into doing anything that she doesn’t want to do.” Playboy brother? Is he serious?

“You’re kidding, right? Your Katie doesn’t even know who the father of her child is and you’re talking about my brother’s philandering? Get your head out of your ass, Man! They were engaged, for fuck’s sake!” He scoffs.

If men could get pregnant, your brother would have more children than he knew what to do with right now! He probably already does! How many women have the Greys had to pay off to keep quiet about a baby?” Actually, none, but I’m not having this argument with him. This is about his slutty little Katie who says that her illegitimate baby could be my brother’s, and that’s all that matters.

“Whatever, Kavanaugh. Throw whatever insults at my family you can to make you feel better about your daughter being a whorish little slut who’s trying to find the father of her baby. If your daughter hadn’t been such a lying, cheating, entitled little stuck-up bitch, she and my brother may have been married by now. Tell her that she has until Friday to produce Kevin. After that, she’ll be in violation of a court order.” I hang up the phone from Kavanaugh and immediately call up to McIntyre in Public Relations.

“The baby piece, run it—now,” I tell her. I’m not giving these fuckers the opportunity to spin this to their advantage. She won’t produce the child for paternity because she doesn’t know if it’s Elliot’s, so she’s trying to buy some time until she can come up with another plan. I’m not going to let her or her media family use this opportunity to make Elliot look like the man who deserted and dumped a poor girl after getting her pregnant. I hang up from McIntyre and call Elliot.

“It’s showtime, Man,” I tell him when he answers the phone.

“She’s not budging?” Elliot asks.

“I can’t find her. She’s hiding behind her father. The baby story is being released as we speak. I know you’ve been dealing with that paparazzi a bit since we made the first announcement, but you and Val need to be ready for the onslaught. Do you have your statement ready?”

“I do. Val deals with them all the time in her line of work, so she’s good to go. We’re ready for them, Bro.”

“Good, because I say that you’ll reach instant celebrity status in about 15 minutes and I know that the Kavanaughs are not going to take anything that we say lying down. You call Mom and Dad. I’ll let Ana and Mia know. It’s about to be a circus, but she needs to know that we’re not playing with her.”

Thanks, Christian. I don’t know if I could handle this without you.” I hear him getting all melancholy.

“Aw, pull it together, Man. Your panties are showing,” I tease. This usually brings him out of the sulky mood before it starts. It works.

That might be true, but yours are prettier than mine,” he shoots back. I laugh.

“Kiss my ass,” I retort.

You first,” he fires back, and I know that he’s okay.

“Call Mom and Dad.”

Yeah, okay,” and he ends the call. I immediately dial Butterfly.

Well, hello, Handsome. To what do I owe this wonderful surprise?” she says over the phone.

“I just need to talk to my favorite girl. What are you doing?”

Well, Grace is completely over the moon with this anonymous donation that she just got and she is about to have a meeting with the rest of the committee to figure out exactly how it should be budgeted. What about you?” I sigh.

“About to go to war, I think,” I say. She gets quiet.

What is it, Christian? Tell me.” Her voice is subdued.

“Kavanaugh is hiding. She won’t answer her phone and she won’t return my calls. She drops a bombshell like this and then she disappears without a trace. This woman is truly Satan. I know she’s trying to use this kid as a bargaining chip. I know she is.”

What are you going to do?”

“Go public,” I say. “She’s going to put some kind of spin on it that Elliot left her high and dry when he found out that she was pregnant and it’s going to cause my family hell. We’re coming clean in about five minutes and I wanted you to be ready for the media blitz that’s about to fall upon you.”

What do you guys expect to accomplish by doing this—humiliate her into producing the baby?” It’s a genuine question and she asks with no malice.

“No, we’re getting a court order for that, but the media can make or break you. Her family is the media. We have to get there first.”

Shit!” she says into the phone.

“What is it?”

You might want to get to a television—your stories are running side-by-side.” Shit is right. GEH has put out a statement about the engagement and the break-up as well as the request to produce the child for paternity while the Kavanaugh media machine has released a statement about Playboy Grey who refuses to face his responsibilities forcing poor Katie into hiding to shield her son from the negative press.

“That’s it. We’re getting our court order today and we are making that public, too. The longer she drags this out, the harder it’s going to be on her.”

Christian, what if it turns out that he’s the father?”

“He’s already said that he will take care of the child and be a father to him if that’s the case, but we’ll never know because she won’t present him for a paternity test. Andrea!” Moments later, Andrea is at my door. “Get Allen in here!”

“He’s not here. He left a few minutes ago and he left this message for you,” she says handing me a note.

I heard that. What does the note say?”

“‘You’ll have the court order by the end of the day.'”

That’s my Allen,” she says fondly into the phone. Things are moving so quickly that we now see Elliot on the screen.

“Turn to channel 9, and get my mom,” I tell her.

She’s already here,” Butterfly says. I turn up the television to hear Elliot’s statement:

I had a statement prepared for this, but then I had no idea that my ex-fiancée’s family would come out at me with all of these lies. I guess the normal response to something like this would be to lash out at her, but I’ve just had enough. If that’s how the Kavanaughs want to play it, that’s fine. I don’t really care. Everybody knows Katherine Kavanaugh and I were engaged to be married until we called off our engagement last summer for personal reasons. If they want to say that it was because I found out that she was pregnant, that’s fine—they can say that. The truth is that I didn’t even know that there was a baby until a week ago today. I told Ms. Kavanaugh that I had no problem taking care of my son—if he is mine. Unfortunately, there is a question about the baby’s paternity as Ms. Kavanaugh confessed to me that at the time, there was another man in her life.”

The flashes go crazy as Elliot continues his story. How did the news crew gather so quickly? Some of them were probably hanging around anyway. I quickly text him the news about Allen and the court order.

At our meeting last week at my brother’s building, it was discussed that we would have a paternity test and then set a schedule where I would be a part of the baby’s life and have a very active role in his upbringing if it turns out that he is my son. We have been waiting for Ms. Kavanaugh to agree on a facility to do the paternity testing, but she has refused all of our calls and is now using her father and his media connections to make me look like the villain while she hides behind her family. I have only asked that she produce the child as I will be more than happy to own up to my own flesh and blood.”

He pulls his phone from his pocket and no doubt quickly reads my text.

I have notice that we will have a court order by the end of the day demanding that Ms. Kavanaugh produce the child for testing. I will also be seeking a gag order against Kavanaugh Media and the Kavanaugh family until their daughter produces the child that could possibly be my son. So get all of your slandering out now, Mr. Kavanaugh, because I will be asking my brother and my father’s firm to put this in the works as soon as possible.”

I text him again to consider it done, then text Allen to get to work on a gag order while he’s at the courthouse. The reporters start firing questions at Elliot.

Elliot, is it true that there is at least one other heir to the Grey fortune and that you father paid the young girl to go away?”

No, that’s not true, and if you find that alleged young girl, you let me know.”

Elliot, is Ms. Kavanaugh after your money and the fame of the Grey family name?”

I don’t know what Ms. Kavanaugh is after. I had thought that she might have been trying to reconcile with me and I made it clear that I was madly in love with someone else and there would be no chance for us.”

Were you seeing this girl while you and Katherine were engaged?”

No, I wasn’t. I didn’t meet her until after we had called off our engagement.”

Was she seeing this other guy while you were engaged?”

We’re questioning paternity. You do the math.”

He’s holding his own very well, but I think his next answer is what made me the most proud of him.

You said that you don’t know what she wants. Do you think she could be just another social climber trying to get famous off of the Grey name?” He’s quiet for a moment and this causes a hush to fall over the crowd of reporters.

I loved this woman once, but it was not meant to be. She doesn’t need the Grey name, because she has a reputable family name of her own. I’m not a billionaire like my brother. I’m not even as rich as my parents. So I can’t see why she would be after my money when her own family has plenty of it. Again, I say that I am unaware of her motives, but I will not speak ill against her—especially something completely unfounded and based on nothing but speculation—because it may turn out that she’s the mother of my child, and I don’t want my son to grow up, look back, and see his father bashing his mother on camera! I believe what comes around goes around and I’m not sending that out into the universe to come back and bite me in the ass.”

Go, Elliot!

Katherine, Mr. Kavanaugh, produce the child. If he’s mine, I’ll sign the birth certificate today. Stop hiding behind these propaganda tactics because it will only make it harder for you, for me, and for the baby down the line. That’s all that I have to say.”

Elliot disappears back into the trailer on his work site while reporters still try to get more out of him.

He did every well,” Butterfly says. Shit! I forgot that she was on the phone! I was texting and everything!

“Yes, he did.”

Grace is not doing well. Something about wanted to kill a little blonde bimbo…” Yeah, that’s my mom.

“I can imagine.”

Do you think they will come up with a surprise baby momma just to make you guys look bad?”

“Anything is possible, but whatever they do, it’s just going to make them look worse because Elliot has come completely clean. Are you okay?”

Oh, I’m completely fine. I’m worried about Grace, though. She was going to have this committee meeting today but she called it off while I was sitting here. I think I had better go and check on her.” Andrea is buzzing me to tell me that my 1:00 is here and I certainly don’t want Butterfly to overhear this.

“No problem, Butterfly. Would you like to go to dinner tonight or just a quiet evening at home?” I ask her.

“Hmm, let me think about that. A date with my fiancé sounds fantastic, but a quiet evening at home has its advantages as well.” She is purring as she speaks. I smile.

“You are so naughty,” I say.

What?” she replies, feigning innocence.

“Never mind, my little vixen. You let me know what you would like to do this evening and I’ll be ready. I love you.”

I love you, too, Christian.” I end the call and tell Andrea to tell Lawrence to get his ass in here. I pull out the papers that I need and wait for Lawrence to come. Allen is at the courthouse and I don’t want anyone else on the legal team knowing what this is about, so Lawrence will have to serve as my witness. He steps into the door and I brief him on what is about to happen. He stands in the place that Jason usually stands—back by the bathroom and the bar. I’ve had the floors completely redone since the shooting and put a halt to the building of the quarters off of my office for now. I think I’ll just let Elliot finish it at a later date. I, of course, activate the recording device and tell Andrea that I am ready for my appointment.

She strolls in looking every bit of a cat on the prowl. This dress—if that’s what you want to call it—that she is wearing is nothing more than black asymmetrical straps of fabric barely covering her intimate parts and held together by more sheer material leaving nothing to the imagination. Exactly which of my security staff didn’t get the memo that this bimbo had to be wearing some clothes in order to get into my building? I don’t understand women. If I didn’t want you two months ago, what makes you think I want you now?

“I’m so glad that you agreed to see me,” she purrs. “I know that you wanted to teach me a lesson, and I’ve learned it… Sir. Tell me what you wish of me.” Oh, she is so pathetic.

“Have a seat, Ms. Hamilton,” I say, gesturing to the chair in front of my desk. She slides into the chair, pushing her barely-there mini-dress up her thighs a little further. I don’t even look at her. I suddenly want to get her out of my office and my building as quickly as possible. I hand the contracts over to Lawrence who hands the first one to her. She smiles widely, and I am certain that she is thinking that I am contracting her as a submissive again. She looks at the papers and her smile fades instantly.

“What is this?” she asks, horrified.

“This, Ms. Hamilton, is what happens to women who don’t know how to keep their mouth shut!” I snap. I’ve got her attention now. “I know that your business is worth nearly nothing now, and that only the fact that you are a subsidiary of Grey Enterprise Holdings has been maintaining your goodwill to this date. I know that local vendors and some national won’t do business with you and I know that you have lost most if not all of your clientele. I know that your overhead is more than your income and that you depend highly on your connection to my organization when you need additional funding. I know that your first quarter financial statements are dismal at best and that three banks have turned you down for a business loan unless you can get my signature. Having said all of that, I am exercising my buyout clause in the contract when I bought out Hildenbrandt LTD.”

“You’re buying me out?” she says, almost giddily.

“Oh, no, you’re mistaken. You see, when I acquired Hildenbrandt, you were one of the miscellaneous subsidiaries… but then again, you already knew that. What you didn’t know is that even an airtight contract is never airtight. You see, ever subsidiary has the option to buy out their interests from me at any time. So that is what I’m offering you—the opportunity to buy me out. You can walk away with your whole business—completely owned by you with no interference, support, or backing from me. That contract that you’re holding stipulates my conditions and my price.” She thumbs through it quickly. She not as air-headed as the Pedophile, so she knows what she’s looking at.

“Are you insane!?” she screeches. “There’s no way I can come up with that kind of money! Where did you even get such a ridiculous price if my business is so damn worthless?”

“Well, I had to factor in the years you have been a subsidiary of GEH and the amount of time you have piggybacked off of the company’s good name, not to mention the hit to our credit score when your loans go south—loans that you took out as a subsidiary of GEH which will, at some point, fall back into my lap. There’s also the fact that while under the GEH umbrella, you took full advantage of funds that were set aside for use for failing subsidiaries—even though you didn’t need the money and weren’t failing at the time. Don’t you wish you had waited for just such a moment as this before you helped yourself to those funds? Finally, I had to factor in the painful truth that you are just a class-A bitch that doesn’t know when to leave well enough alone!”

She narrows her eyes at me and I glare at her. She shrinks a bit under my glare. That’s right, Bitch. I’m still a Dom and you’re still a sub, even if you’re not my sub.

“I… I can’t come up with this kind of money… Sir,” she says. I realize that she’s either using that term to get to me or because she has no idea what to call me.

“Very well.” I gesture to Lawrence to hand her the other contract. “This is your other option.” She takes a deep breath before she looks at the contract. She can see immediately what it is and goes right to the dollar amount.

“You can’t be serious,” she says, her voice soft and laced with disbelief.

“Oh, I’m very serious. If I buy you out, there is all kinds of damage that I will have to repair before I can do anything with your name. Even your competitors don’t want your assets. Believe me, I’ve asked. As you well know, Tamara McDaniel landed the job that you threw away and even with the name that you’ve made for yourself over the years, she wants nothing to do with your shell of a company. If I buy you out, I would be doing nothing but spending my time repaying your debts and repairing the damage that you’ve done. You should be glad that I’m offering you anything at all instead of just requiring you to sign it over to me and walk away.”

“But $20,000! That is nothing, and you know it, especially since you’re the one that caused all of this damage in the first place!” she accuses.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” I lie.

“Oh, give me a break! You badmouthed me to my vendors and suppliers, even the agencies that extended credit to me! No one would work with me because Christian Grey was talking shit about me! Even my clients fell off because of that. The ones that stuck around left because I couldn’t get what they needed. Are you actually going to pretend like you have no idea what I’m talking about?” I shrug.

“I saw a bad investment, so I pulled out of it in word before I pulled out of it in deed,” I say flatly.

“I’ll just bet you did!” she hisses. “You did the same thing to me that you did to that Lincoln woman! Is that what you do—use women up and throw them away when you’re done with them? I feel sorry for your little soon-to-be wifey!” And now I am seeing red.

“Oh, see, now that was the wrong thing to do. You just compared yourself to a woman that I would gladly see lying dead at my feet, so I suggest that you tread very carefully from here!” I hiss between gritted teeth. “You’ve made this bed, now you lie in it. And another thing, don’t you ever attempt to think you know anything about me and my little wifey. Never in a million years could you be half the woman she is on her worst day. So be glad that I haven’t snatched your tongue out of your mouth for even daring to refer to her!”

I didn’t know that I had come out from around my desk and am now bearing down on her so hard that she is almost bending backward in half. “Pick your poison, Ms. Hamilton, or I will liquidate your company and leave you with nothing!” I growl.

She reaches around me, careful not to touch me, and picks up one of the contracts. Backing away from me, she turns to the signature page and signs the contract. I don’t need to see which one she signed. I already know. She throws the contract and the pen at me.

“You think this is it?” she says. “I can go completely public with your story now. I’ve got nothing left to lose.” I smile at her.

“Ah, I so love hearing that statement. You see, you never know what you have left to lose until you lose it. Make no mistake, Little Darling, I can guarantee you that no matter where you go or what you do, I will find what you have left to lose if you cross me.” I lean close to her face again. “Ms. Hamilton, I know what car you’re driving, what you had for breakfast, and what color your underwear are right now and not because of that skimpy ass dress that you’re wearing. Do you honestly think there’s anywhere in the world that you’ll be safe from me?” She’s nearly shivering, holding back her tears.

“What do you expect me to do now?” she says, her voice laced with both hatred and fear.

“Leave,” I say with no feeling and wait for her to do as I ask. She looks at me again, waiting for further instruction. Receiving none, she turns and walks to the door. However, in the time that she was my sub, she learned me well. She knows there’s more. When she gets to the door, she stops and waits.

“Very good,” I say. “When I say ‘leave,’ I mean leave town. Take your $20,000 and get the hell out of Washington. Don’t mention my name or my wife’s name directly or even refer to us in the abstract ever again in your life. I have money to burn and I will do just that making sure that I know where you are every hour of every day until the moment you take your last breath. If you get married, have 16 children and dare to tell the 16th child about our relationship, I’ll know. So keep your mouth shut or I will make you regret the day that your were born. Now get the fuck out of my office.”

She drops her head without turning around. She knows that she’s defeated. Without another word, she opens the door and walks out, not bothering to close it behind her.


A/N: For the sake of argument, we will say that Ana only played basic Chopsticks and Christian played the rest. The demo on Pinterest would indicate that Ana had much better piano skills than she actually possesses. 

Pictures of places, cars, fashion, etc. can be found at http://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/mending-dr-steele/

You can join my mailing list on the “Contact Me” page. Just click the link and it will lead you to a form to join the list.

Love and Handcuffs!
Lynn x

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Mending Dr. Steele: Chapter 47—More About Us…

 

So, we are moving on with Ana and Christian’s adventurous weekend. I do want to mention here that I have been catching up on my reading and that Ana and Christian do something in at the end of this chapter that I happened to read in someone else’s stories. Please know that my chapters are written well in advance and that I DO NOT use anyone else’s ideas in my stories. Also know that there are only so many adventurous things that you can do and at some point, the ideas are going to butt heads. So please, do not send me messages that I took someone else’s idea… you know me better than that. But I will admit now that I did read it somewhere else AFTER I wrote it but BEFORE I posted it and I decided not to change it.

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 47—More About Us…

STEELE

I couldn’t live in Napa Valley. I would be a 400-pound wino. The food is extraordinary and the wines are exquisite! For lunch, we feast on smoked salmon crêpe with crème fraîche, American caviar and honey onion marmalade followed by a red and green apple endive salad with gorgonzola cheese, hazelnuts and mustard vinaigrette. Our entrée is roasted beef tenderloin with a sauté of baby vegetables, shiitake mushrooms and fresh herbs garnished with balsamic-onion marmalade, Cabernet reduction and fig syrup coupled with a 2009 Jericho Canyon “Creek Block” Cabernet Sauvignon. Somebody in this place is reading my mind.

Christian and I are feeding each other lovingly off our own plates. When we crack into the coconut panna cotta garnished with fresh blueberries and the tiramisu cloaked in a milk-chocolate shell, I almost forget about the skank at the next table eye-fucking my man.

… Almost.

“Come and sit next to me,” I say softly and he smiles devilishly at me.

“Gladly,” he says, pushing his wine and dessert to my side of the table and quickly sliding into the booth next to me. He is completely blocking my view of the horny heifer on the opposite side of the train. He immediately begins feeding me the panna cotta. It is heavenly. I am transported back to last night and our taste sensations, among other things. I close my eyes and savor the moment.

“You are going to have to stop doing that,” he whispers in my ear. “You are making me want you again.” Oh, good God, this man is amazing. He holds my face in place while he gently devours my neck, sending delicious chills right to my core.

“Christian, please,” I beg him quietly. “I’m going to leave a wet spot on the bench.”

“Then that will make two of us, my dear. Look how much I want you.” He drags my hand to his massive erection and I nearly expire. I quickly scan the room to see if we have an audience. There are no children and almost everyone is concentrating on their meals or traveling companions—except, of course, for You-Know-Who in the next booth. Shouldn’t she be embarrassed to be staring so hard?

I gently caress his erection eliciting a nearly inaudible moan. I’m glad that we took one of the booths near the end of the train and there is a wall behind us with Chuck and Ben in the booth in front of us. I wish they had taken the booth next to us… then again, maybe not since I am shamelessly rubbing my man’s dick.

“You are a little minx, you know that?” he groans.

“I’m only doing to you what you do to me, Mr. Grey,” I say seductively. Then I hear a gasp from the next table. Shit! She heard me. The cat is out of the bag now. So much for anonymity. Again, Christian is oblivious to her reaction until she speaks.

“You’re Christian Grey,” she purrs. He looks over his shoulder, irritated that someone dare interrupt our canoodling.

“Who are you?” The ire is clear in his voice as I slide my hand away from his disintegrating erection. She wipes her mouth daintily with her napkin and rises from her seat. I am glaring at her so hard that I didn’t even catch her name as she extends her hand to Christian. Ben is out of his seat and at her side before she can fully reach him. Her companion is watching the entire episode with irritated bemusement.

“Again, I ask, who are you?” Christian’s voice is growing more and more impatient. I put my hand on his thigh trying to calm his annoyance. It works, the gesture and the result not getting past the Horny Heifer.

“I just… know who you are and I’m just very pleased to meet you,” she responds, her earlier brazenness now subdued. Christian looks from her to her companion and back to her. He cocks his head at her in a way that clearly asks, “What the fuck are you up to,” though he never says a word.

“Sit. Down.” Her companion nearly growls the words at her. She shoots a look over her shoulders at him. He is scowling at her. She looks at Ben, then at me before flashing a seductive smile at Christian and taking her seat. He turns back to me.

“What a way to ruin a good moment,” he grumbles. I trace the seam on the inside of his thigh. His breath catches.

“She hasn’t ruined anything for me,” I say softly, “and I would like to finish my dessert, please.” A full grin spreads across his face as he takes a spoonful of the panna cotta.

“You are devilishly delectable,” he says as he brings the spoon to my lips. I slowly remove the delicious confection from the spoon, purposely getting some in the corner of my lips. It was my intention to lick it off seductively, but he beat me to it.

Oh, Mr. Grey…

We walk hand in hand, touring the beautifully restored train. Each car has a different theme from the open-air western car to the Dessert Lounge car with the luxurious seats facing out the window. We are back in our anonymity bubble as we walk through the train, even with Chuck and Ben shadowing us. We get the occasional glance from curious passengers and even women gazing longingly at my man, but nothing worth calling the cops over.

Once we get to the observation deck, I let the wind blow tendrils of hair from my chignon. It’s heavenly. Christian pulls me against him, my back to his front, and cradles me in his arms. Chuck and Ben are a few feet away—just outside the doors—keeping watch like good little Nutcracker soldiers.

“You are enchanting, Anastasia,” he says as he breathes deeply in my hair. “The men in there can’t keep their eyes off of you.” I giggle helplessly.

“Did you forget that overheated hussy’s performance while we were having our lunch? And all the women in the dessert car—they’re drooling!” He lifts my chin to look into my eyes.

“I only see you, Butterfly,” he says, just above a whisper. I breathe in his words, closing my eyes and absorbing his love.

“You make my heart soar, Christian,” I breathe and he brings his lips down to mine in a gentle, loving kiss.

We head back inside, skipping the wine tasting car since we plan to taste wines as Castello di Amorosa, and head back towards the Vista Dome for the last few minutes of our ride. We will be at the end of the line soon and that’s were we get off. Many of the other passengers will stay on and take the train round trip.

As we leave the Wine Tasting Car, we pass the horny heifer and her companion once more. She smiles coyly at Christian who pulls me to the front of him, no doubt in an effort to curtail her advances. It didn’t work.

“What the…?” he proclaims as we walk by the couple. I look back at him.

“What’s wrong?” I ask him, concerned. He turns around and looks back at the horny heifer, then at me.

“She just touched me,” he says. I try to stay calm.

“She might have just brushed you, Christian. It is a narrow space,” I say, trying to defuse him.

“Did he brush you?” I frown.

“Um, no,” I respond.

“Yeah, he didn’t brush me either, nor did he squeeze my ass.” He reaches into his pocket and looks down at a piece of paper. “And I don’t think this is his name and number.” He hands me the piece of paper with the hussy’s number on it and a kiss in her pretty pink lipstick.

I am past him before he can catch me.

“Excuse me,” I say to her back and she turns around to face me. “If you want to keep that hand, you’ll keep it off of my fiancé’s ass.” She looks appalled at me.

“Excuse me?” she says, acting affronted.

“Did I stutter?” I snap, only quietly enough for her to hear me. “Touch my fiancé again and I’m going to break your wrist!” She gasps before her guilt causes her face to change color. She looks from me to her companion and back to me.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she lies.

“That’s fine. Don’t know what I’m talking about. Just don’t know at least five feet away from me and my man.” I throw her phone number back in her face and walk back over to Christian.

“You are such a slut,” I hear her companion say. I turn around and he has retrieved the paper with her phone number and is looking at it. He, too, throws the paper in her face. “Good luck getting back to San Diego,” he says before walking away. I shake my head and turn back to Christian.

“You are so hot when you’re jealous,” he says, his voice deep and seductive. My insides turn to mush.

“Well… you’re mine… and she had no business touching you like that.” My voice is timid and shaking, my arousal almost causing me to collapse on the floor. He takes a step closer to me and puts one hand possessively on my waist.

“Later, Ms. Steele,” he promises softly in my ear. “You’re so hot, I can smell you.” I gasp at his revelation. What is he trying to do to me? He leads me back to our seats where he cuddles me in his arms, kissing me continuously in that spot behind my ear while we watch the passing scenery out the window.

Looking at the Castello di Amorosa, I am reminiscing about a fairytale wedding that hasn’t even occurred yet. It’s a beautifully impressive structure, complete with a drawbridge—not historic like my castle, but beautiful nonetheless. There’s all kinds of stories about how the builder was thrown out of a French wine cellar for taking pictures and measurements before he even decided to build the winery. Everything in the castle is a replica of some locale or winery from the owner’s experience or imagination, from the Knight’s Hall straight out of medieval days to the chapel reminiscent of old Stratford-on-Avon.

Christian and I had a glorious time touring the castle. There was yet another meal to be had, but we declined. Still full from lunch, we opted only for the wonderful tastings of the various reds and whites while wandering through magnificent brick hallways and gazing off monstrous towers and battlements over fields and fields of vineyards.

I am again cradled in the warmth of Christian’s arms in a courtyard on the roof of the castle enjoying a fabulous Pinot Noir when Christian’s voice breaks our silence.

“Do you really see that?” he says, softly. “The picture of our home and our family that you described last night… it that how you really see it?” I pause for a moment. I feel the fear radiating from him, but I don’t know where it’s coming from.

“Yes,” I say, my voice soothing, “I really see that. I see beautiful children the spitting image of their mother and father. I see a lovely home, built and decorated to our specifications. I see family outings, weddings, birthdays, christenings, and one extremely over-protective father and husband that I will have to reign in every once in a while.” His grip tightens around me. He places his wine glass down and pulls me in to him, resting his forehead on my shoulder and sighing heavily. I reach behind me and caress his hair. “What wrong, Baby?” I ask.

“I’m so in love with you. I’m always afraid something is going to come and steal away my happiness, and I would be shattered forever,” he admits, his forehead still on my shoulder before he buries his face in my neck. I lean in as he kisses my bare shoulder. Turning my face to his, I kiss his temple, then his cheek, until he brings his lips to mine and we are caught in a passion that is bigger than both of us. I place my glass next to his and turn around in his arms. I nearly leap to meet his lips again and we are devouring each other in sensuous unyielding kisses. My hands tangle in his hair as he lifts me off the ground, powerfully clutching my ass and my thigh.

“My God, this dress,” he growls, fondling my butt through the soft material of my goddess dress. “You’re trying to kill me!” I feel him grind into me and I am lost to his passion. Sometimes, I feel like he’s too much for me. He loves so hard and so completely that when his desire is unleashed on me, I’m completely consumed. I can’t match his intensity. How can I possibly be enough for him?

“We have to stop,” he gasped, pulling his lips from my lips while resting his forehead on mine. He places my feet back on the ground while we both catch our breath. My fingers are still tangled in his hair.

“Christian…” I can’t form my words. I don’t know how to tell him what I’m feeling. “Christian… I love you. You’re my soul. You know that, don’t you?” I beseech him. His hands cups my face and he kisses me again, gently and with lots of love.

“Yes,” he breathes. “Yes, I do, thank God.” He kisses me again and again until I forget where I am.

“Um… Sir?” A voice interrupts our passion. “I’m sorry, Sir, but we need to start making our way to the shuttle.” It’s Ben. That must have been awkward for him.

“Okay, thanks. We’ll be right there,” Christian says, trying to portray some modicum of authority. I turn to see Ben walking away alone. What happened to Chuck? Maybe he’s downstairs. I turn my attention back to my hot, panting fiancé. “Let’s go,” he says, taking my hand and breathing deeply once more to compose himself. He adjusts his pants and we pick up our wine glasses with our free hands before proceeding down to the shuttle.

We sit all the way in the back in the corner of the shuttle when we board. I’m certain that Christian wants to get a little frisky away from prying eyes. He’s so… sexual. I mean, he seems to get hornier and hornier as the days go by. I just don’t know if I can keep up. What if I can’t keep him satisfied? Will he go back to his old ways? Are they really old ways? We do keep the BDSM part going and to be honest, I’m slightly curious about some of the other things that I have seen. Right now, though, I’m feeling sexed up and thoroughly used, easily able to go a few more rounds but Christian is always ready to go. What if I…

“What is it?” he asks softly, breaking me from my maudlin thoughts.

“Am I really enough for you?” I ask. He frowns.

“What?” He sounds truly confused. I sigh. I’ve opened this can of worms, now I have to deal with it.

“It’s just that when we’re together, you’re so… intense. It’s almost overwhelming. I just wonder how someone with that much passion can ever be satisfied with one woman.” His eyes are sharp as he glares at me. He almost seems offended, but it is only momentary. He pulls me closer to him and brushes my hair off of my shoulder. Planting a soft kiss on my neck, he works his way up to my ear.

“You really don’t know what you do to me, do you?” he whispers as he licks the shell of my ear. I shiver at his words and his breath… and the lick. I take in a deep breath through my nose and breathe quietly out of my mouth. Thank God I’m wearing this wrap because I feel my nipples bursting out of this dress. Sensing my arousal, his hand slides under my wrap and up to my aching nipple. He teases it through the material of my dress. I’m trying not to breathe too hard but it’s embarrassing. I open my eyes to see if anyone is watching me—no audience. That’s good. I close my eyes again.

“Yes,” he breathes, “that’s what you do to me.” He kisses my neck again and bites my earlobe. “If I’m intense, it’s because that’s what you do to me. You make me that way, hungry and needy and yearning. Don’t you see how hard I come every time I’m inside of you?” Oh. My. God. He’s still playing with my nipple, sending amazing shocks to my core. I cross my legs because I feel like there is going to be a river running down my thighs any minute.

“That won’t help,” he warns, still whispering, “I can still smell you.” I’m going to come. I don’t want to come on this shuttle. I can’t keep quiet. “If I’m too intense, too insatiable, it’s because I can’t get enough of you. You, Anastasia. I can’t get enough of you.” I gasp quietly. It’s coming…

“Please,” I whisper, “please don’t make me come. Not here, please… I can’t keep quiet… please, Christian…” Something in my voice must have gotten to him. He moves his hand from my breast and down to my waist. Still kissing my neck, he embraces me gently.

“Breathe, Baby,” he says softly. I quietly take deep breaths in through my nose and out through my mouth. When I am finally calm, I look up at him. “That’s what you do to me, Anastasia. I feel a consuming passion when we are together and I want you to feel it, too. That’s why I’m so intense.”

“Oh, I do,” I breathe. “Believe me, I do.” He kisses my nose.

“I know that you do. Just don’t ever think that you’re not enough for me. You are more than enough. You satisfy my every craving and make me want more and more. You are everything I want in a lover and I can’t wait to make you my wife.” He squeezes me close to him again and I settle into his embrace, dreaming of becoming Mrs. Anastasia Grey.

When we get back to the Napa station, Christian and Chuck have a few words before Chuck and Ben walk towards the lounge. “Come with me.” Christian pulls me through the doors and back to the bridge. Reaching into his pocket, he pulls out a little red heart-shaped lock with words stamped on it:

CG loves AS, 04/13/13

“It’s the best I could do on short notice,” he apologizes. I did notice every so often that he was on his phone while we were at the castle. I thought he was taking business calls. It must have been Chuck who went to pick it up. That’s why I didn’t see him when we were leaving. My eyes immediately fill with tears.

“It’s perfect, Christian,” I say smiling through my tears. He hands me the lock and the two keys that go to it. I open the lock and hook it around the chain-link fence and we lock it together. My heart is all full of love again as he kisses me softly on the bridge next to our lock. I am snapped out of my bliss by the undeniable flash and sound of a camera phone. Fuck! Who took a picture?

“His idea, not mine,” Chuck defends as he shows the picture to Christian. There we are, making out in a public place with a bunch of locks chained to a bridge behind us—our little red lock one of the most distinguishable in the picture. I shake my head and giggle as Christian nods.

“Send it to me,” he tells Chuck as he takes the keys from my hand.

“We’re not going to toss them over the bridge?” I ask.

“No. I have other plans for these,” he says, smiling. We walk hand in hand back to the lounge. Ben brings the Escalade around and we are just about to get in when I hear a syrupy sweet voice nearby that makes my skin crawl.

“Lover, my brother has taken up with some tramp and left me stranded in Napa. Can you please help me?” I turn around to see the horny heifer from the Wine Train, but I am immensely relieved that she appears to be talking on her telephone to some other poor unsuspecting sap. She looks up just in time to see me looking at her, then she turns and takes a few steps away from me. “If you can rent a car for me, that would be stellar. I could be back in San Diego and in your arms in a few hours.” What a piece of work. I turn and look at Christian who is shaking his head looking at her, too. I climb into the Escalade a moment too soon as I hear her heels clicking towards us.

“I know that look, Handsome. You want me.” She really has a lot of nerve.

“Why would I want a two-bit piece of trash that sells herself to the highest bidder when I’ve got her?” Christian asks flatly like it’s the most obvious thing in the world.

“You’re just saying that because she’s here. When you’re ready for the time of your life, you can find me.” How? How can he find her? I then notice him reach in his pocket again and pull out yet another piece of paper. Chuck is closing in on them but Christian holds up his hand to stop him. He is also purposely blocking me from getting out of the car.

“Yeah, okay. Good luck in getting back to San Diego.” He gets into the car next to me and closes the door. Just as we are about to drive off, he rolls the window down and tosses the piece of paper out so that she can see it land on the curb.

It’s about 5:00 when we get back to the hotel and we have dinner reservations at the Siena downstairs at 7:00. They graciously moved our reservation from yesterday to today, so that gives us two hours to rest, clean up, and get downstairs. I remove my wrap, shoes, and earrings, and release the chignon in my hair. Scratching my scalp, I walk to the kitchen and pour myself a tall glass of water. It feels good going down. I’ve had wine all day and I didn’t realize I was so thirsty. I finish off the water and go back to the bedroom where Christian has removed his shoes, socks, and suit jacket and has unbuttoned his shirt. He looks over at me leaning in the doorway watching him address.

“You want to fuck me right now, don’t you?” he says with a smile on his face. Hmm, fucking. Yes, I think I do.

“That sounds like a good idea to me,” I respond. He turns to face me while removing his shirt. Shit, he looks wonderful in T-shirt and slacks. My mouth is watering and he’s working me up on purpose. He almost had me ready to blow on the shuttle just by teasing my nipples. “Yes, Mr. Grey, let’s fuck.” I say, stressing the word very hard. He raises his eyebrow at me.

“You wanna fuck,” he says, more of a statement than a question.

“Mmm-hmm,” I say with a smile. He raises both eyebrows now.

“That’s a challenge,” he states, putting his hands in his pocket.

“Mmm-hmm,” I respond.

“No foreplay? Just a good, hard fuck?” he asks incredulously.

“Mmm-hmm,” I taunt, leaning against the door frame.

“Oh, Anastasia,” he says, in a mirthful, consoling tone, “you don’t stand a chance.”

“Really?” I challenge. “So you are so sure that you know my body so well, but I don’t know yours?” I ask calmly.

“Oh, I’m certain that you know my body like none other, but I’m even more certain that when it comes to fucking, you will be screaming before I will.” Oh this fucker is a bit too confident for me. I fold my arms.

“Mr. Grey,” I begin. “You seem very sure of yourself.”

“That’s because I am very sure of myself,” he says, his tone deepening. I raise my eyebrow and smirk.

“I understand that as a… masterful Dominant, you are very learned in the ways to please a woman. However, you seem to forget that I, too, am very learned in how to please a man. Have you forgotten the immense pleasure that you have felt inside of these walls?” I gesture obviously but innocently towards my vagina. His pupils dilate a bit. Yes! I’m already hot and bothered by this conversation and I’ll be damned if I have to start this race to not orgasm alone.

“Ms. Steele,” he says, trying to ignore the erection growing inside of his pants, “you said no foreplay.” He sees through me, but I don’t care. I’ll take any advantage I can get right now.

“That’s not foreplay, Mr. Grey. That’s an honest question,” I retort, my voice heavy with my desire.

“Yes,” he says, his eyes darkening, “I remember every moment of pleasure that I have found inside of you, but that changes nothing. You will still be screaming before me.” Fine. Have it your way, but you have forgotten the torture that you have put me through and commanded me not to come. This is going to be way more fun.

“Very well, Mr. Grey,” I say stepping further into the room and closing the door behind me. I unlatch the large jeweled square that holds my dress together over my shoulder and it falls open to reveal the material inside clinging seductively to my body. Grasping the materials in my fingers just under my breast, I pull down so that it lingers at my nipples before they “pop” out from under the thin elastic that covers my mounds. Never taking my eyes off his, I push the dress down further over my hips until it falls to the floor on its own. I now stand before him in a pair of white lace panties waiting for him to disrobe.

He momentarily forgets himself as his tongue caresses his lips and his fingertips rub together, the sign that he can’t wait to get his hands on me. I watch as he pulls his T-shirt over his body, revealing his finely-toned abs. He wiggles to get out of the shirt and tempt me with his physique. Totally unnecessary, Mr. Grey. I am on fire at this moment, but you will still come before I do.

He slowly releases the button and zipper that are barely holding back his erection, then gracefully slides his pants off his body before kicking them away for him. We both stand there tantalizing each other in our underwear. I hook my fingers into my panties and, taking my eyes off of him for the first time, slide them down my legs and off my feet. Without looking at him, I walk demurely over to the bed and lie on my back.

When I raise my eyes to him, he removes his boxer briefs and his dick bounces away from the material. He is standing at full attention and threatening to give me a run for my money. Oh yes, Mr. Grey, I look forward to it.

After completely removing his underwear, he crawls onto the bed next to me and lies down on his back. For a moment, we stare at each other, wondering who will make the first move. He answers the question for me by pulling me over onto him and impaling me all in one move. I gasp loudly as I steady myself on his chest.

“You like that, Ms. Steele?” he asks, grinding his hips into me. Oh, Mr. Grey, wrong move. You should have kept me on the bottom. You had a better chance of survival that way. The tiger is loose and she is hungry. Let the games begin!

“You like it more,” I respond, digging my nails into his chest and rotating my hips in a circle causing his dick to rub on all sides of my core. This draws a sensuous growl from his chest as he clutches my thighs and thrusts into me.

“Careful,” he warns, “you just might come.”

“I just might,” I say in a husky voice, “but you will, too… hard!” I say as I raise my hips and drop them hard back down repeatedly onto his throbbing member.

“Ssssss, fuck!” He hisses and I feel his leg shaking underneath me.

“Mmmm, is something the matter, Mr. Grey?” I say as I lean back on his thighs and slowly roll my hips forward, up, back and down over and over so that he can clearly see his hard dick moistened and glistening with my juices slowly enter my hot core on each down stroke, gathering a new coating of my arousal for his viewing pleasure on the up stroke.

“Ana… stasia… that… is so… fucking… hot!” He is out of breath as I slide my sex slowly over him, giving him a show with each stroke.

“It looks good, doesn’t it, Baby?” I coo.

“Oh, God, yes!” he chokes, straining his neck to get a good view of our bodies connecting in that most intimate place.

“Ah, ssss… it feels good, too, Baby.” I say in my sexiest voice, not too hard to do since he feels fucking fabulous inside of me.

“Fuck, Ana, that pink pussy looks so good right now,” he groans, clenching onto my hips.

“Yeah?” I say playfully, locking my legs and pulling him nearly all the way out of me to the head, then moving my hips so that only his head gets massive stimulation.

“Ah! Fuck! Oh, fuck! Shit!” I know he loves that move. It takes a lot of control in my hips and thighs as well as some pretty impressive Kegel muscles. I thought the man was going to cry for a minute.

“Yes, Baby. Feel it… enjoy it. You like that?” I coax.

“Oh, God, you’re gonna kill me! Fuck!” No, Christian, just make you come really, really hard. I drop my hips back down hard on him and he quickly sits straight up.

“Dammit to hell!” he shouts as he forcefully throws his arm around me, his other hand steadying himself on the bed. He holds me viciously still as his hips drive into me at a pounding rhythm.

“Ah… Mr. Grey, no patience?” I tease, as the heat starts to rise in my loins.

“What… do you… think?” He almost sounds angry in his earnest. We are both punishing each other deliciously, stroke after stroke and grind after grind. Many times I had to talk myself away from an orgasm because he is so, so skilled at what he does.

“You like that… don’t you?” he declares as he slams into me over and over.

“Oh, yes… yes, I do!” I say, yanking his hair hard on the last word. He cries out loudly, and I can tell that he almost loses the fight with that move. Silly boy, he still thinks he’s in control of this.

“Fucking dirty girl!” he growls and turns his head quickly so my fingers end up in his mouth. He sucks hard and then bites, and the pain sends a shock signal straight to my sex.

“Ah!” I cry out involuntarily as I tighten my muscles on him again. “Oh God… my pussy is getting so tight… can you feel it?” I say, my head thrown back in ecstasy.

“Shit, oh, shit!” he growls. He is now slamming me down onto his quickly hardening cock. It won’t be long now… thank fuck, because I’m about to blow very soon! “You’re playing dirty now. You feel… that dick… Baby? It’s all for you.”

“Oh, Baby, that big, hard, cock is getting stiffer. I can feel it… it feels so good. Fuck me, Christian!” I mewl, my voice full of desire. He groans in lustful anguish.

“Oh, God,” he growls, I can hear the defeat in his voice. Any second now… come on, Baby.

“Ah, oh yes… yes, Baby, yes!” I throw my head forward and sink my teeth into the meat right where his neck bends to meet the wing of his shoulder.

“Aaaaaaah! Dammit! Dammit! Dammit! Fucking shit! Aaaaah!” He lost. He is pumping semen into me with the force of Old Faithful! I finally let go when I realize that I have won the game, and the spasms from my eruption seem to send him into another release… or some really serious aftershocks, I’m not sure.

“Ana! Fucking hell! Ana!” he screams as he forcefully holds me down onto his violently throbbing, pulsating shaft. Shit, this is hot! I am whimpering incoherent noises as my pussy is just pounding its own heartbeat around Christian’s slowly—very slowly—softening dick. We are clinging to each other, fighting to catch our breath.

“I win,” I breathe, panting.

“I almost… made it…” he protests.

“Almost… doesn’t count… I win,” I insist, still breathless. He pauses.

“You win,” he relents, laying his head on my breast, gasping for air. “I’m going to make you pay for that win.”

“That’s not how it works, Grey,” I tell him as my breath returns. “You take your loss like a man. If you want to fuck me within an inch of my life because you want to, then do it… but not because I won.”

“You cheated,” he says, thrusting into me again.

“How?” I gasp, absorbing the shock of the thrust.

“You pulled my hair. You know that drives me wild,” he growls, starting the fires again.

“That’s no more wrong than that sneak attack,” I defend, my grind matching his. “Shooting while my back was turned… for shame!”

“What about that biting shit?” he accuses as he grabs my cheeks, spreading them wide and pushing me down hard onto his erection.

“Ah!” I cry out as he hits that magic spot. Had he done that sooner, maybe he would have won. “You don’t think I know putting me on top was a tactical move?” I continue, feeling myself rising already as he thrusts deep into me. “You know… that I come… faster… when I’m on top.” Sore loser.

“No, I hadn’t… noticed that at all,” he says quickening his pace and circling his hips with every stroke.

“Like hell you didn’t!” I almost yell, feeling my release rising faster and faster. “Try again, Grey!”

“That’s what I’m doing, can’t you tell?” he groans as he sucks a nipple into his mouth. I moan loudly, trying to push myself away from him. He has me in a lock grip and I’m not getting away. He is pounding into me deep and hard. “You feel so good.” His mouth moves from my breast up my chest to my neck. His hand moves from my hip to my face as he grips my cheek and nape hard, possessively, pressing my face close to his mouth. I feel the quiver as his pace quickens.

“That’s it,” he growls into my neck. “Give it to me.”

“No!” I whimper. Who am I trying to fool? I’ll be Niagara Falls in a matter of moments.

“Come on, Baby,” he coaxes. “You’re fighting but you can’t win. Now be a good girl and come for me.” Shit! Fuck! Shit! He’s right. Only a few more seconds now, just a few more strokes.

“No!” I whine again.

“Okay, baby. You resist all you want. Any second now… any second now… riiiiiiiiiiight there!” Before the word is out of his mouth, I am convulsing uncontrollably and he literally has to hold me down. I actually feels like the room is rocking as I feel him still and empty himself inside of me.

“This pussy! This pussy! Fuck, this pussy!” he growls as he holds me against him. “Goddamn, your muscles do some of the craziest shit I’ve ever felt.” So does your dick, smart ass! Fuck, that one was even better than the first. After I catch my breath, it dawns on me. I push myself up and look this bastard in the eye.

“You let me win,” I declare, and the mixture of guilt and smugness in his face lets me know that I’m right. “You’re an asshole, Grey.” I jump off of him and head for the bathroom.

“Really, Baby, what did you expect? You were so sure that your stamina was better than mine. I know that I put you through your paces in Anguilla, but that’s nothing like…” his words trail off. Neither of us wants to think about how he learned to hold his orgasm. “So what, I let you fuck me good, test my limits, and I came first. Did either of us really lose?” He’s behind me stroking my arms. I guess I really did bring this on myself. I have no idea what in the world made me think that I could outfuck Christian Grey, sex god.

“You’re still an asshole,” I say softly while turning on the shower.

“I know, but I’m your asshole,” he replies backing me into the shower.

“Don’t…” I’m too late. The water is flowing over my head before I can get the words out. “… get my hair wet.” Christian laughs at me.

“We have a blow dryer over there. I’ll dry it for you when we’re done.”

“We only have an hour before we have to be at dinner,” I protest.

“Then stop talking and let me clean you and wash your hair… now that it’s wet…”


GREY

She can make miracles happen in an hour. I’m wearing a plain black jacket with matching slacks and a white shirt. After I dry her hair, she disappears into the dressing room and comes out looking like a vision. She’s wearing this beautiful black dress that hugs her like a glove. It gathers to her side and drapes right at her hip. She has a sheer silver wrap and silver stilettos that buckle around her ankles and matching clutch. Her hair is pulled back into a tight bun with escaping tendrils framing her face. She is stunning and I feel like a troll next to her, but at least she’ll be on my arm.

Every fucker in the room is eying her as we enter the Siena Restaurant. I will try not to act like a jealous gorilla, but I put my hand in the small of her back to let it be known that she belongs to me. I love it that she is beautiful and sensual, but must she be so beautiful and sensual?

“Ms. Steele, Mr. Grey, welcome to Siena. Your table is this way.” The maitre d shows us to our table—a cozy little booth snuggled in the corner of the restaurant.

“Mr. Mathers?” I ask him. He raises his eyebrow.

“Yes. He thought you might appreciate something a little more private. How did you know?” I laugh.

“He’s a good judge of character,” I smile, directing Butterfly into the booth and I slide in behind her.

“I’ll be back momentarily with your appetizers,” he says before making a quick getaway. I look at Butterfly.

“I chose our menu before we got here. I hope you don’t mind. I have more surprises in store for us tomorrow so it needs to be a somewhat early night,” she says coyly. I take her hand in mine and kiss her fingertips.

“I had a wonderful time today, Butterfly,” I say softly. “This has been the best surprise getaway ever.”

“I wanted this birthday to be better than the last,” she breathes. That’s right. My birthday is Tuesday. I nearly forgot.

“It’s worlds better than the last. You are so considerate.” I gently stroke her cheek. She kisses my palm.

“From now on, every year at your birthday, we have to plan a getaway. It will remind us to celebrate the day that God put you on this earth so that I could find you and make you mine.” Okay, I want to scoop her up and make love to her right here on this table—make her feel as good as she is making me feel right now.

“What about the day he put you on the earth for me?” I ask, staring longingly into her eyes. She smiles coyly.

“Oh, no,” she says sweetly, “this is my birthday present. You have to find one of your own.” I scoot in closer to her and cup her cheek in my hand.

“Don’t worry, my beautiful Butterfly, I will,” I whisper before bringing her lips to mine.

We are walking around the grounds of the winery and hotel enjoying the spring breeze and the smell of grapes growing in the field. We have had yet another fabulous meal of the best that Napa has to offer, including caprese, Colorado grilled lamb chops, and Niman Ranch prime New York strip as well as more of the Valley’s fine wines. We are taking a short stroll before bed when we hear music playing. To satisfy both of our curiosity, we follow the tune to find that there is a wedding reception on the hotel’s vineyard deck. We watch from the ground as the party goes on, and when I hear the familiar tones of Frank Sinatra, I have to take my girl in my arms.

“Dance with me, Baby,” I say as I twirl her around. She giggles before landing back in my arms and looking longingly into my eyes. This is the perfect song for how I feel about her and at the perfect time, when she’s concerned about being enough for me…

It had to be you,
It had to be you,
I wandered around
and I finally found
the somebody who
Could make me be true and
Could make me be blue
and even be glad
just to be sad
Thinking of you…

I breathe in her scent and thank God that she fell into my lap, that she loves me, that she said yes, and that one day she will carry my name and my children.

“I’ll never let you go, Butterfly,” I whisper in her ear.

“I will love you forever, Christian,” she replies and we sway to Old Blue Eyes’ mellow voice.

For nobody else gave me a thrill
With all your faults, I love you still
It had to be you,
Wonderful you,
It had to be you.

As the song plays out, I kiss her lips gently, just happy to be here with her. Our moment is broken by a throat clearing next to us. We both look stunned in the direction of the voice.

“I’m sorry to interrupt, but my new wife insisted that I come down and ask if you would like to join the party.” A gentlemen in a black tuxedo who apparently is the groom is standing before us with two champagne flutes. Butterfly giggles a bit as we look up on the deck and see a waiving bride, beckoning us to the party.

“We don’t want to intrude,” Butterfly protests weakly.

“Trust me, when the bride invites you to her reception, it’s not an intrusion. Besides, she says that love is in the air and you two dancing here is a good omen.” He hands the first flute to me. “I’m Timothy,” he says proffering his hand, “and that beautiful woman up there is my bride, Maria.” I shake his hand.

“I’m Chris, and this is my Butterfly, Ana.” She glows at the sound of her nickname.

“Oh, yeah, she’s gonna love that. C’mon.” He jerks his head in the direction of the deck after giving me the second champagne flute to give to Butterfly. She shrugs and we head off towards the deck behind Timothy.

“Chris?” Butterfly whispers to me as we climb the stairs to the deck.

“What happened the last time you said my name in public?” She shivers a bit remembering the hussy from the wine train.

“Chris it is,” she says with no further argument.

“We were just about to cut the cake when we saw you,” Maria says as we take an empty seat near the bride’s table. “Welcome to our celebration.”

“Thank you so much for including us… and congratulations!” Butterfly says with a genuine smile. Maria returns her smile then zeros in on Butterfly’s ring.

“Om my gosh you’re engaged!” she says all in one breath while grasping Ana’s hand. “This ring is absolutely stunning, Ana.” Timothy whistles.

“What did that set you back for, Chris?” he asks discretely.

“More than I care to disclose,” I say, faking remorse so as not to give myself away.

“That’s love, Man. Way to make the rest of us look like cheapskates,” he laughs and I follow.

“I love her,” I tell him while watching Butterfly converse with Maria. “She’s my everything.”

“I know exactly what you mean,” he says looking over at our women. He has that faraway look in his eye.

“How did you meet?” I ask him. He takes a drink of his champagne.

“She was a rich kid and I was a poor kid,” he says. “We were in the same biology class in high school. She didn’t even know I existed until she was forced to work at the food pantry one weekend—God only knows why, she never told me. My mom and I went down there every weekend to try to get some canned goods, but we were always too late. This day, I spent the night down there and was first in line when they opened. She handed me a can of corn, a can of green beans, and a can of carrots. It was like Christmas.” He sits down in the chair next to me.

“She looked up at my face and recognized me even though she didn’t know my name. I took the canned goods and hightailed it out of there, hoping that she would think she was mistaken about recognizing me. She wasn’t.” He takes another sip of his champagne. “That Monday in class, she kept staring at me. I knew she remembered, but I wouldn’t make eye contact with her. When the bell rang, I ran out of class.” He plays with the stem of his flute. The next day I was on my way home and she went whizzing past me in her cute little convertible with her friends. I just knew that they were talking about me.

“That happened every day for a week. When I got home that Friday, her little black convertible was sitting outside of my house. She got out of the car and said my name. Dude, I froze. I couldn’t believe she was even talking to me. I was more embarrassed that her convertible was on my street. Without a word, she handed me three bags of groceries. She never made eye contact with me and I realized that she was trying to save my pride. She got back into her convertible and drove away before I could even say ‘thank you.'”

“How did you guys end up getting together?” I press.

“I put a flower on her desk with a note the next day. It just said, ‘thank you.’ Of course, she knew it was from me. It was fast from there. Neither of us wanted anyone to know that we were seeing each other. We knew what it would mean for both of us—she would get ostracized and I would get bullied. We didn’t let the cat out of the bag until we showed up at prom together.” He seems a lot older than college age—maybe Butterfly’s age at the most. What took so long to get here?

“What happened next?” I’m intrigued. This doesn’t look like a rich girl’s wedding. It’s very quaint and intimate.

“I know what you’re thinking,” he says with a half-smile, standing and walking to the far rail away from the women. I follow him to see where his story leads. “I can tell from that ring that you come from wealth. That not some saving-up-my-pennies-to-propose type of ring your girl is wearing.” I nod.

“Guilty as charged,” I say, waiting for his reaction. He nods.

“We never came clean with anyone, not even our parents. It wasn’t until my mom was in the hospital dying from cancer and Maria was being set up for a modern-day arranged marriage that everything came out. I wouldn’t leave Mom’s side and Maria wouldn’t leave mine. I lost my scholarship because of it and Maria flunked three of her classes. We couldn’t keep it a secret anymore. Her family threatened to disown her if she didn’t stop seeing me. I ended up leaving the state to prevent the break-up of her family. We were both miserable. We sort of kept in touch—through friends, but not directly. She almost got married but couldn’t go through with it, I heard. I never even bothered looking for love again. She was it for me.

“Five years, seven months, two weeks, three days, and 17 hours after I left California, I came back to a job offer in Silicon Valley and went looking for my girl. She was depressed, anorexic, and lonely—and her family thought that this was okay as long as she didn’t end up with a poor man. When she opened the door, she was frail and haggard, but she was still the most beautiful sight in the world to me.”

I look over at Maria. She sure doesn’t look haggard now. She’s young and fresh-faced, healthy with a lovely glow to her cheeks and a sparkle in her eyes, chatting away with Butterfly about God only knows what.

“Her father took one look at me and asked me what was I doing with my life now. I lied and told him that I was a laborer. I wanted to see if I was wasting my time and should just get on with my life. Maria fell into my arms and begged me to take her away from there. We have never looked back.”

“So what happened? Did he ever come around… once he knew that you had made something of yourself?” He shook his head.

“He could never forgive Maria for choosing me over their family. She could never forgive him for choosing status and money over her health and happiness. I wouldn’t marry her until she was fit and well again, so with the help of some charities and agencies and really good doctors, I nursed her back to health before and after work. I told her that we may never see the type of wealth that she had become accustomed to, and she said that she didn’t care. It only took six months for her to put the weight back on, grow her hair back, and come to grips with her illness. That was eight months ago. These people…” he gestures around the reception, “… are the little family that I have left and the few friends that helped us keep up with one another those five and a half years as well as a few new friends that we have met along the way.”

There are only about 60 people at the wedding, but it’s very cozy and everyone seems so happy.

“That’s really some story there, Timothy. You two seem over-the-moon with each other now,” I say.

“We are. It’s like you said… she’s my everything.”

“What would you do if her family showed up again?” He shrugs.

“I have never stopped her from seeing her family. It’s been her choice and I support her in whatever she chooses to do. They just have to deal with us if they ever want to be a part of her life. She’s my wife now, and I never plan to let her go.”

“You bet your sweet ass, you’re not!” We hear a woman’s voice next to us and it appears that Maria has come to claim her groom. He embraces her and kisses her gently while Butterfly makes her way to my side. “We have gotten a bit distracted, but we really do need to cut our cake now, Dear,” she says sweetly to Timothy. He smiles lovingly at her and takes her hand.

“If you will excuse us,” he says to me and Butterfly. “Please, enjoy the party. Make sure you get some cake.”

“We will. Thank you again,” Butterfly says as they go off to cut their cake. “They make a really cute couple, don’t they?”

“Yes, they do. Did she tell you their story?” I ask. She shakes her head.

“All she really told me was that she was dying and he saved her life,” she responds. I go over the details in my head and nod.

“That sounds about right. Come on, let’s go get some cake.”

We drank champagne, ate cake, and danced some more with the reception party before the bride and groom took off in a 1957 Chevy convertible somewhere around the 10:00 hour.

“We need to get to bed, Mr. Grey. We have an early morning tomorrow.”

“Are you going to tell me what we’re doing?” I ask. She shakes her head.

“Not until we get there,” she says with a coy smile and a twinkle in her eyes. I pull her close to me again.

“We’ve had a lot of sex over the past two days. I don’t want to wear you out, but may I take you to bed and make out with you until we fall asleep?”

“Absolutely,” she says with a smile. We dance one more dance before retiring to our room and a night of kissing, cuddling, and fondling.

The sun hasn’t even risen yet and Butterfly is beckoning me to wake up. Boy, when she said early, she really meant early, didn’t she? I drag my ass out of bed and into the shower where the warm water and the view of Butterfly gorgeous ass invigorates me at this ungodly hour. She squeezes into an illegal pair of skinny jeans that make her ass look fucking fabulous and a white spaghetti-string top with a red mock-letterman’s sweater and a pair of black high-top sneakers with red and white soles. She has provided a similar ensemble for me with a black t-shirt and black jeans, a cream cargo-knit sweater and black sneakers. Butterfly snatches a digital camera that I never knew that she had, and we are off to destinations unknown.

I gaze through my sunglasses out of the window of the Escalade to try to ascertain where we are going. It’s no use, though. I don’t know anything about Napa and this is Butterfly’s show, so I just take her hand in mine for the short ride to another hotel about 10 minutes away. We arrive at the Napa Valley Marriott. It’s a nice hotel, but I think the Meritage is nicer. Butterfly gives some instructions to Davenport and Lawrence and we are off inside the Marriott.

“We’re on our own?” I ask her, concerned.

“We won’t need them where we’re going. Besides, you’ll protect me, won’t you?” she smiles coyly. I try to hide my nerves.

“Of course, I will,” I say taking her hand, but nothing gets past her.

“We’ll be fine,” she says, reassuring, “I promise.” I can’t help but return her smile. I trust her and I know she wouldn’t do anything that would lead us into harm’s way.

We are led to a lounge inside the Marriott and I smell coffee. Mmmm, Starbucks. Butterfly rushed us out of the hotel so quickly, I didn’t get a chance to put anything on my stomach.

“Enjoy the coffee, but not too much pastry. We’ll be eating in a couple of hours,” she says. A couple of hours? My stomach will have eaten itself by then! I indulge in the magnificent Starbucks coffee and shamelessly lay claim to two of the largest pastries that I can find. This woman must have forgotten how much I can eat. We are in a room with several other people who meander around talking about this and that but nothing important. After a few minutes, a man comes into the lounge and instructs everyone to follow him. We all get into yet another shuttle and I am preparing myself for another 30 minute ride to another winery. I am pleasantly surprised.

Not only is our ride a mere four minutes, but we stop at a place called Balloons Above The Valley—an enormous launch site for some of the most eye-catching hot-air balloons I have ever seen. Butterfly is like a little kid and I must admit that I am excited for our adventure, too.

“No way!” I say with a full, excited 32-teeth grin.

“Way!” Butterfly responds, unable to stifle her giggle. This is outstanding! We all unload from the shuttle and are allowed to watch as the technicians and ground crew inflate the hot air balloons. There are four launching from what I can see—one that looks like it hold about 12 people, and three other balloons with much smaller baskets. It takes about 15 – 20 minutes to inflate the balloons, and we load inside. Of course, Butterfly has reserved one of the smaller ones for the two of us, knowing how I am about strangers touching me. I help Butterfly into the basket before climbing in myself. We are the second balloon to take off as the one with the largest basket took off first.

The trip is breathtaking. The view is magnificent—miles and miles and miles of vineyards, followed by small neighborhoods nestled inside clusters of trees; various plains of grass and ponds and dirt. Off in the distance, you can see the fog lifting in the mountains. Watching the sunrise over the landscape is absolutely spectacular. I can even see the Escalade following the balloon 2000 feet below on the road.

Butterfly is snapping picture after picture after picture of the unbelievable scenery and I am just in seventh heaven feeling like we are suspended in serenity. The pilot tries not to watch as we share intimate kisses while floating over prairies and valleys of never-ending green grass. We even take a couple of selfies.

Approximately and hour and a half after take-off, the sun makes its way up into the sky. Very shortly thereafter, I am sad to see our incredible journey is coming to an end. We land on the grass and the basket bumps around a bit, eliciting a giggle from Butterfly as she lands in my arms and I hold her close to me. I almost want to ask if we can go again, but I have a feeling that Butterfly has other plans for the day.

“What did you think?” she asks as I help her out of the basket.

“That was amazing!” I say truthfully. “Of all the things I have done in my life, I’ve never been in a hot air balloon before! It was astounding!”

“Neither have I! Wasn’t it awesome?” She is like a bubbly schoolgirl with her ponytail bouncing around like crazy as she jumps up and down expressing her elation. Once she has calmed herself a bit, I take her in my arms and kiss her again.

“Thank you, Butterfly. That was one of the most exhilaratingly beautiful moments of my life.” She is awestruck looking at me.

“You’re welcome,” she says softly. “I’m glad I was able to share it with you.”

“I’m glad, too. One of many more to come?” She smiles.

“Yes. Many, many more…”


A/N: More of a bit of long over due Christian and Ana time.

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Love and Handcuffs!
Lynn x

Mending Dr. Steele: Chapter 46—All About Us

Kissing1Okay, so the dog gave me back SOME of my homework. Some of it is still locked in Linux-land, but I was able to get my grubby little hands on some of my chapters (Hallelujer!) So, by all means, let’s move on. Again, thank you to my fantastic readers. Though you guys were concerned about the story and getting the chapter, you were more concerned about my computer and my seriously broken heart. As a consolation, I will tell you guys that I actually have three computers, but to let you know how old they are, they are running Windows Vista and Windows XP. The “master” that ate my homework is the one that’s running Linux. Needless to say, once I get some very crucial financial situations in line, I will be buying a new computer. 

To avoid the inevitable confusion that is about to take place over the next couple of chapters, in my story, Christian’s birthday is April 16, and Ana’s birthday is October 18. Anyone who has read “Journey of Miles” already knows that, and I think I may have mentioned it somewhere earlier when we talked about the strip-o-gram fiasco, but I thought I’d mention it again here for the sake of the story.

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.

Oh, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALYSON!  Muah! Muah! Muah! Muah! Many kisses to you and have a WONDERFUL DAY! 

Chapter 46—All About Us

STEELE

Ace smiles at me and gestures behind him. Christian shows up behind him, his face pale and tear-stained. I reach out for his hand and he grasps mine quickly.

“You stayed,” I say, my voice cracking. He nods, but doesn’t say anything. He’s still choked up. “You didn’t have to.”

“I did have to,” he says finally. “We went through it together. I couldn’t let you go through it alone.” I kiss his hands strongly.

“Do you see why I keep him around, Ace?” I say.

“Yeah, he’s a good enough guy—a little intense, but you two seem to compliment each other well enough,” Ace comments.

“Yes, we do,” I say, gently stroking his cheek while looking lovingly into his eyes. “Thank you for not getting shot,” I squeak. He turns his lips to my hands and says nothing.

“Let’s get comfortable, you two,” Ace says, breaking our moment. Christian helps me out of the recliner and we sit in the orangy-brown leather sofa. Christian is holding me protectively in his arms… cocooning me would be a better word.

“You thought Christian was shot,” Ace says.

“Yes.”

“And you wanted to die.” I take a deep breath.

“Yes,” I say, letting the breath out.

“Do you still feel that way?” I look over at Christian and back at Ace.

Honesty…

I hold my head down.

“Yes,” I say just above a whisper. Christian’s arm tightens around me only slightly.

“Hmm, well, when you find a cure for that, you let me know,” Ace says, shifting in his seat. I smile at him. “There was a lot going on in those moments that you lost. Did I pull you out too soon?” I shake my head.

“I remember singing and immediately knowing that Jason was shot. I just didn’t remember a lot of what happened before it.”

“You thought Christian had been shot, so you attacked Elena. You wished she had killed you and fully intended to kill her until you heard Christian’s voice. So you lost him, then you got him back. Then you realized that he was okay, but discovered that Jason was hurt. While you’re trying to help Jason, you seek to comfort Christian and he rejects you…”

“I didn’t reject her,” Christian protests immediately.

“But that’s how she saw it. She didn’t get a chance to address it because everything happened so fast, but that’s how she saw it.” Christian shakes his head feverishly. “Do you see that that’s why she ran to Montana? Along with all the other issues that she’s dealing with, you called off the wedding. Now, you may have only postponed it, but to her, you called it off. That’s how she interpreted it and that’s what everyone saw—you called off the wedding. I know you’ve heard the sayings ‘The road to hell is paved with good intentions’ and the ever-famous ‘that’s not what I meant.’ However, there is one fundamental truth that will make life a whole lot easier the moment that we understand it’s validity. As possession is nine-tenths of the law, perception is nine-tenths of the truth.” Christian is struck silent and I really don’t want to beat this horse again.

“We’ve had this talk, Ace. He understands that. My leaving was as much my fault as it was his. Please don’t beat him up about this anymore,” I tell him.

“I’m not beating him up, Ana. He needs to know what the effects of his words and actions are. He may not have meant to reject you, but he did. When he jerked away from you, you saw it as a rejection. That rejection combined with everything that happened that day is what caused you to lose those moments. I’m not blaming him for that, I’m just making him—and you—aware of his role in all of this.

“You’re very fragile and you don’t really see it, because you and everyone around you considers you strong. That’s why no one can accept the changes that you’re going through and the running and the shrinking, because their ‘strong Ana’ wouldn’t do any of that. You tell me that you were stunned when you saw the video of your beating and you didn’t speak for four days. They wanted to commit you. Yet no one saw how fragile you were. They saw you as sick—not well—but no one saw you as fragile. You run away when things become too much for you to bear; you shrink when life or events get scary; and when things get really bad, you beat someone’s ass, faint, or black out. Did I miss anything?”

Fuck! I hate him.

“So what do I do?” I sound like a child again.

“You’re the doctor. You tell me.” I glare at him.

“What am I paying you for if you’re going to give me this rhetorical shit? I’m fragile, remember? Don’t fuck with me!”

“Oh, now, you’re fragile,” he says more as a statement than a question. “You already know what to do because you’re already doing it. You’re facing your problems, getting to the root of your behaviors, and removing those things that are causing you stress and grief. In the process of that, you have to recognize when something is adding to the toxicity that is the issues in your life—even when it is unintended.” He looks over at Christian who is glaring at him.

“Glare at me all you want, Christian. It has never intimidated me with anyone before and it’s not going to intimidate me now. I’m telling my patient the truth about what she needs to know for her treatment. If you don’t want to hear the truth, feel free to leave. However, if you want to help her, then you will have to accept that—intentionally or unintentionally—your behavior can and does affect her treatment.” Christian’s glare softens infinitesimally, but he still doesn’t break his stare. Ace rolls his eyes and turns back to me.

“All of those things—thinking Christian was shot, attacking Elena, seeing Jason wounded, the rejection, and having to think fast—contributed to your black-out, Ana. No one is ‘at fault’ here except Elena,” he uses the finger-quotes with at fault, “but they all contributed to the issue. Stressors present themselves in different ways in your life. You can faint again. You can black out again. You can even be stunned again. You’re doing well to face the things at the base of why you are feeling that way. How do you feel now knowing what happened with Elena?”

“I actually feel pretty good,” I tell him. “The nightmare of it all was not knowing what happened to Christian—going through the whole story and then getting to the gunshot and then nothing. It’s terrifying in a dream, which feels so much like reality.”

“Hence, my explanation about perception. In dream state, that is your perception of reality. You do not know that it’s not reality until you awake.” I nod.

“I understand, now,” I say. “I don’t think my angry, glaring fiancé quite gets it yet, but he will.” Christian turns his glare to me and I point to him. “That’s what I mean.” His face softens immediately and he tightens his arm around me. “I’d like to leave now. I’m taking my fiancé away for the weekend and I want to get started with our trip.” Christian’s eyes grow large.

“It… h… you’re what?” he finally gets out.

“I’m taking you away for the weekend. Jason helped get the GEH jet ready. Gail is packing for us as we speak and as soon as we leave here, we are going home and getting some traveling clothes and then we are going away for the weekend… just the two of us… and Chuck and Ben, but they’ll be in different rooms, of course.”

He raises his eyebrow at me. He hates surprises unless he’s the one executing them.

“Save the glare, Grey. Get your ass in that Audi. We’re going out of town.”

Christian does everything that he can to find out where we are going, but I manage to keep him distracted with questions about Pedo-Bitch and She-Thing, Sr. as well as wedding plans and guest lists. Before we know it, we are beginning our descent in the middle of wine country—Napa Valley.

“Hmm,” he says at the announcement that we are landing at Napa County Airport. “What made you decide on wine country?”

“Because I love wine and we desperately need a getaway… together,” I respond. “You like?”

“Very much,” he says with a mischievous smile, and I know this is going to be an interesting weekend.

A black Escalade awaits us when we disembark the GEH jet to take us on the 10-minute ride that ends at the Meritage Resort and Spa. Right in the middle of Napa Valley, this four-star Tuscan-themed resort boasts a beautiful view of the surrounding vineyards, which cover Napa’s only underground spa, tasting room, and banquet facility. It’s twilight in wine country and Christian is visibly relaxed with his legs crossed in the back seat of the SUV. I am cradled in his arms as Ben drives us through the stone gateway of the luxury resort. It’s truly beautiful with the sprawling acres of grapes as its backdrop. Christian exits the vehicle first before taking my hand and helping out of the Escalade.

I’m taken aback by the simplicity of the inside of the resort—understated opulence, if there is such a thing. Ben retrieves the keys to our rooms and get us checked in while Chuck takes our bags, giving the key to the Escalade to the valet.

Our room is, again, a statement of simplicity meets opulence. The suite is decorated in all fall colors—dark browns, rust, tan, and some mauve. There are two sitting areas in the living room and the main area. One area has a rust-colored leather sectional and a mauve fabric chair with a fall-themed throw pillow. A chaise of the same material as the throw pillow completes the area with all three pieces surrounding a round wooden coffee table. The second seating area has all leather furniture—three large, leather comfy chairs—surrounding another smaller cocktail table. A flat screen television sits on a dark wood entertainment stand in front of the large comfy chairs.

The kitchen is open to the main room and has state-of-the-art stainless steel appliances with dark wood cabinets and burnt orange bar chairs around the counter. There is a large patio that has a view of the courtyard and vineyards.

To say that the bed is huge would be a massive understatement. I think this would be considered a California King, but I’m not sure. All I know is that it’s comfy, it’s big, and it’s ours for the weekend. The en suite has a large marble bath and a separate shower. The fireplace opens to both the en suite on one side and the bedroom on the other. There is another flat-screen television in the bedroom as well as another large patio balcony overlooking the vineyards. There is a bottle of sparkling wine awaiting us with a small assortment of chocolates and chocolate-covered strawberries, compliments of the resort.

Once Chuck and Ben have left the room, Christian’s hands immediately clasp my hips and pull me against him.

“I want you,” he growls against my lips, hungrily partaking in a wet, devouring kiss that leaves me dizzy and causes me to moan helplessly in his mouth. I gasp when he releases my mouth and travels down my jaw to my neck and up to my ear.

“Christian,” I breathe, steadying myself against his arms and trying not to slip into a passion-filled haze. “Baby, we haven’t had dinner, yet.” He continues his sensual, devouring kisses on my neck. I actually feel like I might swoon. He brings his lips back to my ear. I’m breathing heavily and my knees feel weak. Noticing my unsteadiness, he moves his hands to my back—flat, and holding me against him.

“I will have you,” he breathes, pressing his body against mine and I feel the fire, from his soul to mine. I whimper. He runs his tongue along my jawline, then gently nips at my chin. Oh, God, I want him so badly. “I know we need to eat, so I will wait.” He teases me with another passionate kiss—not searing or rough and not too gentle, just earnest enough to keep the fires burning inside me. I have shuddering breaths when our lips part, my eyes still closed.

“Breathe, Baby,” he says in that deep, soft, sensual voice of his. “Breathe, or I can’t let you go.” He brushes his lips against my cheek. “And if I can’t let you go, we won’t leave this room.” I hold my head back in trying to get some deep breaths in. It’s working until…

“Oh, God, that’s not helping!” he growls before he closes his lips over my exposed neck and I almost cry out. He has pressed me so close against him that he’s actually lifting me off the floor. If we don’t stop soon, we won’t be able to stop—but his kisses… oh, God, his kisses!

With one arm wrapped tightly around me, he brings his other hand around to my breast and teases my nipple through the material of my shirt and bra. I shiver almost violently at the stimulation.

Mmmmmmm,” I moan, a tortured crying sound. He groans in my neck and rips my shirt open with one hand, buttons flying everywhere. I’m so turned on, my breath has completely evaded me. He can do whatever—and I mean whatever—he wants to me right now.

Noting my surrender, he manages to get my tattered shirt off my body without releasing his hold on me.

“So beautiful,” he says as his lips travel down my chest and his tongue teases the inside of my mounds right at my cleavage. I release a short whimpering sound, like a wounded animal. I don’t think I’ve been this turned on since the very first time we sealed the deal. I am on fire and we’re only getting started!

With his free hand, he releases my bra. Pulling the strap off one arm, he frees one breast from its prison and quickly takes it in his hand. My head still hanging back, I can feel my hair brushing against my spine. Even that turns me on. I quickly remove my bra from my other arm and just hold on to his. I am helpless in his hands. He has a firm hold on me, but he is still able to reach any part of my body he wants.

He is planting open-mouthed kisses all over my skin, tasting me everywhere—my shoulders, my arms, my neck, my breast. I nearly expire when he sucks a nipple into his mouth and begins to roll it around with his tongue.

Aaahhaa… ha! Ha!” I’m panting wildly, my body responding everywhere to this one ministration. His free hand undoes my button and zipper and works its way down the back of my skirt and into my panties, cupping my behind. More of his skin on my skin… I think I’m going to pass out.

“Baby, you look so good, like you don’t know what to do with yourself.” That’s because I don’t! I don’t even bother to answer him. I’m a rag doll in his hands. He works my skirt and my underwear down, again with only one hand. His skill level frightens me sometimes. Still in my black Louboutin stilettos, I wrap one leg around his hip for leverage. He gently traces his fingers up my thigh while walking me backwards to the bed. Planting those same hungry kisses on my mouth, he crawls up the bed with me semi-wrapped around him.

He lays me on the bed and I already miss the feel of his strong arm holding me up. I sink into the luxurious mattress and duvet and bring my hands up around my head, panting like a thirsty puppy. Christian quickly removes his suit jacket and tie, hovering over me and looking hungrily down at me. He unbuttons two buttons of his shirt and devours my lips again, this time moaning eagerly into my mouth. I match his moan with a moan of my own, still unsure of what to do with my hands as my brain can’t seem to catch up with my libido—which by the way has taken off at a stallion’s pace and is controlling every cell of my body.

His lips close over my neglected nipple and I writhe underneath him, the fire in my body getting bigger and stronger. Oh, God, help me. Je vais exploser!

“Christian!” I moan, my mouth finally finding a word. He groans at his name coming from my mouth. He releases my nipple to remove his T-shirt. When did his top shirt come off? Oh, well…

His hands caress my body purposefully, not too rough and not too gently, as his lips travel down my body. I know where he’s heading. The hunger is evident in his movements. However, I am still not ready for when his soft lips and talented tongue reach my core. I cry out in helpless abandon as he tastes me, relishing the flavor of my arousal and moaning his own pleasure into my center. I thrust my hands into his soft hair and hold on for the ride as he hooks his arms around my hips and thighs and buries his lips between mine. He is working towards a quick orgasm for me as his tongue and lips envelope my clit, massage me with expert rhythm and precision. I want to grind into him, but the feeling is so exquisite that I can only stay still and enjoy it.

The explosion is astronomical. I try to wiggle away from him, but he groans into me, suckling my clitoris gently until I ride out the entire orgasm. I almost want to cry. My body is trembling tremendously and my thighs wrap around his ears. My hands are still caressing his head as his tongue gently massages my clit and lips until he is sure that my orgasm has finished. I’m still panting uncontrollably when he raises his head from my core. In a moment, he is out of his bottoms and naked on top of me. My hands are lying uselessly on the bed as he crawls up my body and cups my face with his hands. He kisses me passionately, yet again, and my flavor on his lips stirs my libido once more.

“My whole body yearns for you. I must have you now. I can’t wait any longer,” he confesses.

“Yes, please,” I breathe. “Take me, Christian. I’m yours… I’m all yours.”

He slides off the side of me and rolls me over on my side. In our spooning position, he lifts my leg over his hip and wraps his arm underneath me. He is so hard when he slides into me and my walls wrap around him immediately.

“Oh, God, yes,” he whispers as he moves in and out of me in forced controlled rhythm. I lay my head back on his shoulder, succumbing to the pleasure that he is bringing to every cell of my body. I close my eyes and concentrate on him loving me, stroking me in and out, in and out, his sex making me dizzy with sensual gratification. His arm tightens around me as his hand cups my opposite breast and his free hand roams my body.

“I’ve always wanted to have you like this,” he breathes, “to see how you felt. My God, you feel so good. I won’t last long this way.” My hand instinctively reaches behind me for his hair. “Kiss me,” he pleads. I turn my face to him and he takes my lips in a possessive, enduring kiss.

Oh. My. God.

I feel his erection getting stiffer and it’s spurning me on. I open my legs further for him to get in deeper. He groans in his chest and stops his stroke.

“No… no…” he breathes, “not yet.” He withdraws from me and, before I have to opportunity to lament his absence, he nestles himself between my thighs again—hard and ready to take me in the missionary position.

“Wrap your legs around me. I need to feel you all over me.” I immediately obey, only now realizing that he never removed my stilettos. It’s so fucking hot!

He enters me slowly, all the way to the hilt. I almost crawl through the headboard. He is big and long and hard and he is deep, deep inside of me. He withdraws and thrusts again, slow and deep. My eyes are open, examining him, trying to adjust to his size inside of me. I don’t know why he feels bigger this way, but he must know that something is different because he moves very slowly—withdrawing and thrusting deep into me, looking into my eyes and examining me as much I am him. My mouth opens with each thrust, taking in a deep breath trying to acclimate to him. Finally, after a few more deep, slow and steady thrusts, my body adjusts to him again, welcoming him. My breathing has again become erotic as he fills me.

“Are you okay?” His voice is labored, thick and very heavy with his arousal.

“Oui. Aime-moi. S’il te plaît,” I whisper. Groaning, he puts his arms on both sides of my head and rests some of his weight on me. Stroking sensually, in and out, in and out, he loves me slow and deep, kissing me with that deep, wet sex kiss that makes orgasms twice as intense.

“Touch me, Baby,” he says against my lips. “Touch me everywhere you can.” My hands wander under his arms and up his taut, sexy, muscular back. I caress him gently, touching him wherever my arms can reach.

“Ah, yes… just like that… just like that, Baby.” His movements become more intense, deeper. He’s grinding into me, burying himself with each thrust and grunting as he pushes himself into me. The sex kisses become longer, deeper, more passionate.

Je vais mourir. Putain, je vais mourir!

I’m moaning into his mouth, into his sex kisses, begging for mercy as my body and soul rises with each thrust. I can feel his intensity, his emotion, and his thirst.

“You’re everything to me,” he whispers into my mouth, “everything.”

With those words, my entire being detonates into a blinding and deafening orgasm that causes me to grab him and hold on for fear that we will both jolt off into the heavens never to be seen or heard from again. He presses into me, deeper and further, still flavoring me with his sex kisses until his orgasm slowly starts to rise.

“Baby… Baby… Baby… Baby…” He’s gasping with every breath, every thrust until he wraps one arm around me and pulls me into him, his other hand thrust into my hair and his mouth buried in my neck and he yells through his release and comes violently inside of me. Tears immediately burst from my eyes at the intensity of the emotion between us and I can’t help the cleansing cry that follows as I lay cradled in my man’s arms. He’s breathing heavily as I support his weight on top of me. Once he catches his breath, he kisses my eyelids and tear-stained cheeks over and over again.

“I love you… I love you… I love you…” he repeats between every kiss, his words both healing my pain and feeding my tears. It’s been one really fucked-up month with running to Montana, all the regression therapy, fighting with my friends, more crazy blonds. What we just shared was so magical, so liberating, the relief that I feel is almost too much for me to contain. All of my anguish is flowing out with the tears and being kissed away by the man that I love and adore. I feel nothing but peace, love, and gratitude—all because I planned a quick getaway to wine country.


GREY

I was almost afraid that we were about to have a repeat of the crying spell that Butterfly had when she returned from Montana, but thankfully we didn’t. After several tender kisses and several more declarations of my love, she calmed right down. I don’t know what came over me. I can usually control myself, especially when we hadn’t eaten yet, but not tonight. Tonight, there was a force between us that just kept pulling me to her. It was stronger than I was and no matter how I tried to fight it, I wasn’t going to win. Well, I can’t really use that term, now, can I?

Her hair is splayed over the bed and her arms are stretched delicately above her head with her hands meeting on the bed. She has the slightest arch in her back, one leg bent at the knee while the other is only slightly bent. She looks like one of those fine art nude photos that you see in galleries going for tens of thousands of dollars. She is exquisite. She has a look of utter contentment on her face and I would pay cash money to have her photographed like this… if I didn’t want to kill the fucker taking the pictures.

Lying next to her, I touch her stomach and she jumps and gasps. Her breathing is sensual and she sounds—and looks—like she’s in a world of her own, almost like she’s having semi-orgasmic moments without me. My lips replace my hand on her stomach and she arches her back further to me, allowing me to stroke and caress her while tasting her delicate skin. She keeps her hands above her head in her own mental bondage. Her head is thrown back in quiet ecstasy and the entire scene is driving me wild. I don’t want to fuck her. I don’t really want to sex her at all, our recent lovemaking leaving me wholly and completely sated. I just want to kiss her flawless skin and feel her respond in my hand.

“You are intoxicating,” I breath against her belly. “You take my breath away.” She shivers in response and a small moan escapes her chest. She has transcended to a whole new state of pleasure and I feel the sensuality radiating from her skin. I just want to touch her… and she lets me. After several minutes of caressing and enjoying her skin, she finally appears to float back into this realm and join us mere mortals here on planet earth. I won’t ask her what happened, but I will say that it was outstanding being a part of whatever it was.

I gently pull her face to mine and kiss her pouting lips. “Hungry?” I ask. She nods, her eyes filled with sensual satisfaction. “Room service?” She nods again, gently stroking my cheek with her delicate hand. I lean into her hand, then turn and kiss the palm. “I don’t want to leave our cocoon,” I confess.

“Go, Darling,” she says, softly, her voice full of love. “Feed us.”

Fucking hell! Would you like for me to go and slay a buffalo, skin it in the living room and cook it fresh on a spit? Anything for you, my beloved!

“In the mood for anything specific?” I ask.

“Something decadent,” she replies. She’s trying to kill me. Damn! I kiss her on the lips again and rise out of the bed, naked. I feel like Adam and she is my Eve. I won’t don a stitch of clothing until it is utterly necessary. I’m going to admire her body and allow her to admire mine. I walk into the living room and call the front desk.

Thank you for calling Meritage Resort and Spa. You have the front desk,” a professional-sounding woman says.

“Hello. May I please have the concierge?”

Yes, Sir, one moment please.” I hold while listening to an advertisement of the coming events in wine country before the masculine voice of the concierge answer, “Meritage Concierge, Benson Mathers speaking.”

Benson? Seriously?

“Hello, Mr. Mathers. This is Christian Grey in the presidential suite. I need an unusual task performed and I need to know if you’re up to it or should I just send my security staff on a wild goose chase.” There’s a chuckle on the other end.

I’m only human, Sir, but no doubt if your security staff is capable of the task—short of breaking someone’s arm—I can probably accomplish it for you as well.”

“Good. I’m glad to hear that. Now, may I be frank with you, Mr. Mathers?”

By all means, and please, call me Benson.” That’ll be easy. I look over my shoulder to be sure that Butterfly can’t hear me. There is absolutely no movement from the bedroom.

“Good, because I don’t have time to mince words, Benson. My fiancée is in a state of sexual euphoria the likes of which have never been seen before and may never be seen again. Now, she is hungry and has only requested something decadent, which means that even the slightest misstep that will upset her delicate palate will ruin her Nirvanic state and cause me to be a very unhappy man. Money is of absolutely no consequence, but in this instance, time is. That being said, I need a decadent meal for my blissfully sated fiancée that will keep her floating on her little cloud and I need it quickly. This means that if I have to pay for you to call a yodeler on one of the mountains in the Swiss Alps to teleport here with some of the finest chocolates that human mouths have ever tasted, I will give you my Amex Black and have you do that. What can you do for me and how fast can you get it done?” Benson clears his throat.

I have just the thing for you, Mr. Grey. I have an exclusive contact who can have a decadent buffet of taste sensations for your lady prepared fresh, presented elegantly, and delivered in 45 minutes. In the meantime, may I interest you in some chocolates and wine while you wait?”

“Well, we had some wine and chocolate waiting for us when we got here…”

No, no, no. While that is very fine chocolate indeed, I think your lady’s current palate will require something much more, shall we say, exclusive.” I like this guy already. “May I suggest a hand-chosen Belgian assortment of spring and summer fruits, pralines, ganaches, giandujas and hazelnuts along with a rare bottle of Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 as well as our very own 2010 Proprietor’s Reserve Chardonnay.” Now my interest is piqued.

“You can get Screaming Eagle on this short notice?” I ask him.

Yes Sir. We have a rare bottle or two stashed away for just such and occasion.” Excellent!

“Tell me more about the Chardonnay,” I inquire. I can hear him smiling through the phone.

Aged in American and Caucasian oak, spicy with hints of Carneros citrus and slight notes of butter and caramel. If that is not to your liking, I’m sure that I can scare up a good Cristal…”

“No, actually. I think I’d like to try the Chardonnay. I don’t want to spoil her appetite for whatever culinary delight you have planned for us.”

No worries about that, Mr. Grey. The chocolates are heavenly and the wines are liquid silk. Fifteen minutes?”

“Outstanding. I have one other question. Is your name really Benson?” He chuckles again.

I’m afraid so, Sir. It worked out pretty well, don’t you think?”

“Yes, I suppose it did. I will be eternally grateful if this goes well, Benson.”

Trust me, Mr. Grey. You will be quite pleased.” I end the call and creep back into the bedroom with Butterfly. She is lying in the same place with her head turned toward the fireplace. “Butterfly?”

“Hmm?” she says without turning her head.

“What are you thinking?” She sighs contentedly.

“About the beautiful children that we are going to make,” she replies, “the wonderful home that we are going to build and the blissful life that we are going to live as man and wife.” Oh, she is so floating on cloud 9000 right now. I lie down next to her and caress her stomach, kissing her behind her ear.

“Tell me more,” I say quietly as my fingers explore her skin. She closes her eyes.

“We’re going to have a handsome boy that looks just like his father. He’s going to capture the hearts of everyone that he meets from the moment that he’s born,” she coos. I can almost see my son in my head. Christian, Jr… oh, hell no. I’ve got to come up with something better than that.

“He’s going to be brilliant, just like his daddy. He’s going to take his first steps in our family room. When he says his first words, he’s going to be lying in his crib reaching for the man who loves him most in the world. And when he falls asleep at night, he’s going to kiss us both on the cheek before curling up with his favorite plush toy while we tuck him in.”

“What about our daughter?” I ask. She laughs softly.

“Now our daughter—she will be her mother’s child. She will have long brown hair with beautiful natural red highlights to match her father’s copper tresses. Her eyes will be a pale blue… a combination of us both. She will be strong-willed and independent. She will know that she is the princess as soon as she makes her début, and she will make sure that everyone else knows it as well.

“She will do everything early—teething, speaking, potty-training—so as not to be outdone by her brother. They will be in constant competition for one thing or another while remaining the best of friends. He will be her protector, she will be his confidante. They will be inseparable, and they will know that they are loved.” My heart swells as she tells me about our life together.

“We’ll have our son first?”

“Oh, yes,” she coos. “Our princess will need a protector and our legacy will need an heir.” Our legacy. I swear, I’m about to burst.

“Tell me about our house,” I request, not wanting to leave the happy vision that she is creating for us. She chuckles softly.

“Our home is stunning,” she says, dreamily, “exquisite, yet warm…”

She goes on to describe the perfect family home, opulent yet cozy at the same time. From the two-story living room to the sunken family room, our trophy room where we will boast the family’s many achievements from my old rowing trophies to our children’s graduation from kindergarten. She even talks about a man-cave for me to tempt me out of my study from time to time. When she is talking about the Cantina doors that will open onto a lovely large stone fireplace with a stunning view of Lake Washington, I am jolted from our beautiful daydream by what sounds like a doorbell.

These places have doorbells?

“I’ll be right back, Butterfly,” I say, kissing her gently on the nose and admiring her half-smile. I want to stay in Adam-and-Eveland forever—never put any clothes back on, never deal with any of the issues awaiting us in Washington or the dramas and nightmares of trials and events past—just run away to where it is always sunny and pamper my girl until we transition together to the next life to spend eternity together. I shake myself from the daydream of heaven on earth and then heaven in heaven to put on a robe and retrieve our wine and chocolates.

“Mr. Grey, your appetizers,” the gentleman at the door greets with a rolling tray carrying a large silver serving tray, a white wine in an ice bucket, a red on the tray separately, two large-bowl wine glasses and two tall flutes. “Mr. Mathers indicated that you may want to serve the confections yourself. So I can serve them or just leave you with the cart if you like.”

I really like Benson!

“Thank you. Just bring the cart inside and I’ll take it from there.”

“Yes Sir.” The smartly dressed gentleman rolls the tray into the living room. “Would you like for me to uncork the red to allow it to breathe a bit, Sir?”

“Yes, that would be fine. Thank you.” He uncorks the red wine and places it in a convenient holder attached to the tray. I hand him a tip before showing him out then remove my robe and lay it on the chair before returning to my lady in my Adam attire.

“I have something for you, Baby.” She raises her head from her cushion of comfort to see my offering. I remove the lid to reveal an extensive assortment of fine Belgian chocolates.

“Well, that’s certainly not the welcome gift from earlier,” she croons, her voice still thick with her orgasm. Damn! Control yourself, Grey.

“No,” I say, “these came at the suggestion of the concierge… a little something to tempt your taste buds until our meal arrives. It should be here in another half-hour or so.”

“This was supposed to be my surprise,” she says with a seductive smile. I return hers with the full 32-teeth grin that I reserve for only her.

“I imposed a bit,” I sit on the bed next to her. “Forgive me?”

“Always.” She smiles a smile at me that melts my heart and makes me want to love her forever.

Benson was sure to separate the chocolates into which ones would pair better with the Cabernet and which would compliment the Chardonnay. Knowing that Cabernet is her favorite, I pour that one first into one of the large-bowl glasses, then choose one of the chocolates from the red side.

“Allow me,” I say, bringing the chocolate to her lips. She allows me to place the petite confection onto her tongue and she closes her mouth, still looking at me. Oh, good grief, this woman is oozing sex and sensuality tonight. She closes her mouth and allows the chocolate to melt on her tongue. Closing her eyes, she takes a deep breath and savors the flavor. This experience is almost as orgasmic as the sex!

“Oh, Christian,” she purrs, “that is the most divine chocolate I have ever tasted in my life!”

Yes! Thank you, Benson! I hand her the Cabernet.

“Take a sip before all the chocolate leaves your mouth.” She obediently sips the Cabernet and gasps as the flavor caresses her tongue. She looks at the glass like it’s an alien from outer space and then at me.

“Christian! Where did you find this?” she breathes.

“It a very rare bottle. Usually sold at auction, it’s one of the rarest Screaming Eagle Napa wines that top over $1000.”

“It’s exquisite! It’s even better than the bottle from Canlis! My God!” She never raises her voice but her amazement is still evident. I feel like Superman right now. I continue feeding her chocolates and I must admit, they are as decadent as Benson promised. She moans deliciously with every bite, slowly savoring the flavor of each morsel. She takes little sips of the wine like she’s afraid that the last drop will leave her bereft. I will be searching for the rare vintages of Screaming Eagle at my first opportunity.

“Enjoy the wine, Baby,” I coax, “I’ll find more for you.” Her eyes sparkle at the thought and she takes a larger sip of the wine, closing her eyes and relishing every moment that it’s in her mouth.

She’s making me want her again…
About another 30 minutes before dinner is here, give or take…

Reading my thoughts, she places her wine glass on the nightstand and lays down in the bed, her arms stretched over her head again. I crawl over her, kissing her gently from her stomach up the valley between her breasts and to her waiting luscious lips still sweet from the wine. She moans softly into my mouth.

“I don’t want you to be all worn out before dinner gets here,” I say, aching to be inside of her again.

“This is your body, Christian,” she coos. “Do with it as you please.” Greystone stands at full attention at her words. I wrap my arms around her and lift her gently off the bed and into my arms while I’m on my knees. She looks down at me with lust and love and longing, her hair falling over her face and mine as I pull her to me. Sitting on my feet with her legs on either side of me, I pull her down onto my awaiting erection. She gasps and throws her head back as I enter her. God, she feels so good! I hold her close to me and play in The Garden with one hand while the other arm lifts her hips allowing me to rock my pelvis and slide in and out of her sex. She brings her head back up and looks at me, her eyes easily relaying my sentiment that this feeling is bliss. She runs her hands along my arms, up my shoulders, up my neck and to my face so that she is cupping my cheeks with her fingertips in my hair. She never takes her eyes off mine.

“Kiss me,” I breathe.

“Open your mouth,” she whispers. Oh, fuck. She’s going to do that kiss! I obediently open my mouth. Pulling my face to hers, she oh so slowly traces my lips with her tongue, licking the corners seductively. I’m controlling my breath as my arousal is nearly going out of control. Her tongue enters my mouth in search of mine and I gladly oblige. Allowing her to lead the dance, our tongues tango sensually while our mouths remain open and we gaze into each other’s eyes. I tighten my grip around her, trying to maintain my slow and deep stroke while running my other hand possessively up her back. Her tongue still in my mouth, her lips meet mine in a soft, deep sensual kiss. She closes her eyes for the first time to concentrate on the kiss that seems to travel straight to my heart and my loins. When she opens her eyes again, it’s pure heat and orgasmic lust.

It’s my turn to gasp.

Greystone is reaching for her spine again, but I control the stroke. No fucking tonight—we are making love. I feel my balls tightening and groan mournfully. I don’t want to come yet.

“Come for me, Christian,” she breathes, barely able to eek the words out between her aroused breaths.

“No!” I gasp, eeking out my own words, “not before you.”

“I’m… there… with you…” she says between my strokes. “Come with me… please…” With those words, she wraps her arms around my head, thrusting her hands into my hair. Pulling my face into her neck and hair, she comes around me with trembling force, pulling my juices out of me while my shaft throbs hopelessly inside of her. I pull her tightly close to me, onto me so that I am as far up into her trembling muscles as I can get. Oh hell, this is the best feeling in the world! We hold each other so close that we feel like one person. She stays on my lap, breathing wildly to catch her breath. I hold her there securely, fighting to catch my own. I know that the food will be here any minute, but they will have to wait while we savor this orgasmic moment.

Sure enough, once I release my girl after several tender kisses, the doorbell rings again. I have propped her up comfortably on the pillow—still in her Eve garb and looking like fine art—before I leave the bedroom to don the robe that I left in the living room before answering the door.

“Mr. Grey?” The gentleman asks and I recognize the voice.

“Benson, I presume,” I say as I step aside and allow him and three other men in behinds him. Damn! How much food did he order?

“A pleasure to meet you in person, Mr. Grey. Forgive the extra staff, but certain dishes can only be finalized when they are ready to be served. From our earlier conversation, I assume that the lady is… indisposed.” Wise man… she’s more like in a sex-induced haze right now.

“Yes, she is,” I answer to his knowing look.

“In that case, I will oversee the preparations and be out of your hair in a moment.” Gesturing to the gentlemen behind him, they all move quickly removing silver lids and combining courses, adding sauces and other touches, condensing the contents of the two large carts onto the third larger one for presentation.

“The menu is under here…” He shows me the placard describing our meal, “and I highly recommend the white that I sent to compliment your dinner. I can procure another bottle if you wish.”

“No, that’s not necessary. However, if you can get me a few more bottles of the rare vintage Screaming Eagle—or at least point me in the right direction—I’ll be eternally grateful. Cabernet Sauvignon is the lady’s favorite and she has extreme discerning taste buds when it comes to that particular wine. I will pay any amount—and I do mean any amount—for whatever bottles you can find before the weekend is over, and I would be willing to negotiate for further procurements.” Benson smiles.

“I’ll see what I can find for you, Mr. Grey. You won’t be disappointed,” he says. I hand him a few hundred dollar bills.

“Split this among the staff that assisted you. I will see you personally before we leave.” Knowing that his reward will be more than the few C-notes that I just handed him, he smiles widely as he hands each of the gentlemen with him $100. They all nod and say “thank you” before leaving the room.

“You are too kind, Mr. Grey. Enjoy your meal.” He smiles and leaves the room with his staff. I remove my robe again as clothing cannot breach our newly discovered Garden of Eden. I roll the large tray into the bedroom and next to our still well-stocked tray of chocolates.

“Dinner is served, my beloved,” I say to Butterfly. She looks over at the tray and lets out a coy little giggle.

“Did you order the entire kitchen?” she purrs. Her voice is still heavy with the bliss from our lovemaking and I will do anything to keep it that way.

“Not quite,” I chuckle. “It’s very small servings of quite a few taste sensations. We even have a menu…” I sit next to her and pull the menu out from under the largest plate. “Where should we start?”

“Let’s start from the top and work our way down,” she says sweetly. Sounds like a plan to me. The first dish is “Sabayon” of Pearl tapioca with island creek oysters and white sturgeon caviar followed by Maine lobster barquette, sun gold tomatoes, celery branch and horseradish crème fraîche. When Benson said decadent, he really meant decadent! The servings are small—just enough for two to share about three bites each—but they have to be as the food is so rich and delicious, the tongue can only really tolerate a few bites. Oh, but those bites… outstanding!

Our next taste sensation comes from a compressed melon salad of Hawaiian hearts of peach palm, toasted cashews, Fresno chili, cilantro shoots and Brokaw avocado purée. This is followed by Brentwood corn “Polenta” “Ris de Veau”— golden corn pudding and shaved Australian black winter truffle. This was one of the dishes that had to be prepared while I watched because they shaved the truffle in front of me.

These dishes are followed by Alaskan king crab ravioli foie gras sauce and black truffles—another of the dishes that had to be prepared before me—as well as garden escargot with spring garlic custard, nantes carrots, Hobbs’ bacon and Italian parsley.

I pour the Chardonnay into the champagne flutes—odd combination but nice presentation. As Butterfly eats and enjoys the exquisite food and delectable nectar, she almost looks like she might come again. As if our tongues weren’t dancing enough already, we were further delighted by applewood smoked bacon-wrapped Elysian Fields farm lamb with San Marzano tomato marmalade, arrow leaf spinach and “Cassoulet” of garden pole beans as well as sauteed filet of gulf coast pompano with garden radishes, Cerignola olives, brokaw avocado purée, cilantro shoots and pimenton (paprika) emulsion.

By now, our stomachs are feeling the pressure of the various dishes and we sink back into the comfort of the luxurious bed. Butterfly opts for more of the decadent chocolates and “dreamy Cabernet” as she calls it, while I sip on the Chardonnay—another vintage I will secure from Benson before we leave. Her body is so beautiful laid out on the bed like a Greek goddess.

“I apologize for putting a dent in your surprise tonight, but I couldn’t help myself. You’re so irresistible and there are moments when I simply must have you,” I say. She smiles coyly.

“That has to be the sexiest apology I have ever received in my life,” she purrs.

“That’s because you have to be the sexiest woman alive,” I respond. I run my fingers up her legs to her thighs past her hips and up to her breast. “You look so good. Mentally, I want to make love to you again, but you made me come so hard that physically I don’t think I can do it.”

“That’s okay, Baby. You do such wonderful things to my body, each time leaves me anticipating what you are going to do next.” Really? Hmm…

“Close your eyes,” I tell her. She smiles and sets down her wine glass. Putting her hands demurely above her head, she closes her eyes. I now realize that she puts her hands that way in a gesture to give herself to me.

That makes Greystone twitch a bit. I reach over to the serving tray and pull the ice bucket closer to the bed. Time to have some fun. She squirms and moans as I tantalize her body with the cold sensation of the ice followed by the warm sensation of my open mouth—her neck, her nipple, her belly button. When I have pushed her all the way to the edge, I put a cube in my mouth and attack her core sending her almost off the bed with the surprise of the simultaneous hot and cold sensations. She is grabbing ferociously at the covers behind her and I am starting to feel some heat in my lower regions.

I moan into her pussy and she shivers wildly before wrapping her legs around me again and calling out my name. I work her clit repeatedly with the ice and my tongue until the ice melts and she is still shivering in my hands. I bring her right to the edge of her orgasm and when I feel her clit pulsing in my mouth, I’ll be damned if Greystone hasn’t found some life again. I slowly crawl up her trembling body and sink into her.

“Oh, God, that feels so good,” she mewls, tangling her fingers in my hair. She’s knows I fucking love it when she does that. She’s my addiction and I can’t get enough of her.

“Baby, damn!” I growl into her neck as I wrap my hands under her shoulders and dive into her again… and again… and again…


STEELE

It’s a beautiful spring April morning, the Saturday before Christian’s 30th birthday, and I have stolen him away to wine country for the weekend. Last night’s dinner plans will have to be rescheduled for this evening since my man sexed me into a cosmic stupor then topped it off with some of the most extraordinary food I have ever tasted in my life, only to complete the evening wrapped in orgasmic sensuality yet again until we both fell into a climax-induced coma. I hurt in all the right places and I stretch to get the kinks out of those under-worked sex muscles—you know, those muscles that you’re not aware of until you have a series of thrashing, screaming orgasms. Several places are popping deliciously as Christian’s hand subconsciously travels up and down my body in he semi-sleep state.

“Mmmm, you feel so good, Baby,” he groans. Is he talking to real me or dream me? I can’t tell. “Yes, right there… kiss me, Butterfly…”

Is he kidding? Between the two of us, we had to have upwards of 10 orgasms last night, and he’s having sex dreams? I roll over onto my side and watch him. His face is contorting in different pleasure—or pain—expressions, and he grabs my ass hard. I dare not wake him before he comes. I would be the epitome of spoiling a wet dream. He is physically pulling me closer to him and, even after all those orgasms, this concept is making me hot.

I don’t know if he’s slipping into consciousness when his lips meet mine but his hand cups my head possessively and he rolls me over on top of him, still kissing me hard. His erection is rubbing against my stomach and I can feel the wetness between my legs aching for him to move a little lower. I am pulsing with need. Maybe I, too, am having flashbacks from last night. He pulls my face away from his and looks at me. Now he’s awake and staring at me.

“I was asleep,” he says, confused.

“Yes,” I breathe.

“I was dreaming…” he continues.

“I know.” He looks into my eyes.

“How did you get up there?”

“You put me up here,” I respond. His confusion changes to concern.

“Did I hurt you?” he asks.

“No,” I breathe.

“Are you okay?”

“Yes!” I breathe. “Less talk, more sex!” I wiggle over his dick and manipulate his head to my core before sliding onto him.

“Ah!” he gasps and I grind into him hard and repeatedly. “Baby… wait… I had a head start…”

“So did I… aaaaaaahhhhhahhhhh!” I feel my orgasm dripping out of me and coating his dick. He grabs my hips and takes over the stroke. It doesn’t take long.

“Baby, fuck, Baby, you are incredible!” he groans as he comes hard into me. We both breathe hard as we come down from our orgasm.

“If we don’t stop this, we are never going to leave this room,” he says.

“Oh yes, we are,” I tell him, “because I have plans for us. So it’s time for you to get out of bed, Mr. Grey. This is my first time in wine country and I want to see what it has to offer.” He grumbles.

“That means that we have to put on clothes and see people,” he whines.

“That’s exactly what that means. Now come with me to this luxurious shower and let’s get dressed.”

After a quick breakfast and a wonderful shower where Christian and I still couldn’t keep our hands off each other, we get dressed for a beautiful spring day in wine country. I am wearing a white goddess mini-dress that clings just enough around my body and drapes over my shoulder with a large jewel-encrusted buckle. Luckily, I brought the sarong that I bought in St. Maarten last year—the white one with the three purple flowers—and wore it as a wrap over the dress as Christian got an instant erection watching me slip into the dress with no bra.

I finish the outfit with my purple satin Louboutin Mary Jane platform stilettos and amethyst dangle earrings with three butterflies that almost look like the flowers on my wrap. My hair is in a neat chignon off my back and I am ready to go—if Christian can keep his hands off of me.

He’s looking pretty hot himself in white pants and a white spring jacket with a pale blue tinge. He is wearing a muted blue shirt underneath that nicely frames his gorgeous chest, along with a black leather belt and black shoes. Ben and Chuck both opted for gray suits, not the usual black, but still kind of obvious.

“So are you going to tell me where we are going?” Christian asks once we are loaded into the Escalade and on our way.

“Yes.” I turn to him and cross my legs. “We are going on the Napa Valley Wine Train. We will have lunch in a restored 1952 Pullman car called the Vista Dome while we admire the beautiful view of the Napa Valley wine country out of domed windows.” I move closer to him. “Then, we will have a tour and tasting and spend the afternoon at Castello di Amorosa…”

“The Castle of Love,” he translates, looking hungrily into my eyes. I smile coyly up at him.

“Very good, Mr. Grey,” I commend him seductively. “Once we have completed our tour, a shuttle will bring us back to the station. We will proceed to the hotel and get ready for dinner.” I twitch a little in my seat remembering last night’s extravaganza and subsequent lovemaking nearly all night. He cups my face in his hand and kisses me gently.

“I enjoyed it, too,” he says, his voice husky, “very much.” How can he read me so well? “Do you have any idea how much I desire you?” he whispers.

“I have a pretty good idea,” I breathe as his lips meet mine again.

The Napa Valley Wine Train is a beautifully restored train with ten cars and a historic Canadian locomotive. Mostly gold with red and green accents, the Wine Train travels through five towns over 36 miles in three hours and past several wineries and vineyards. We are only taking half of the lunch tour as we will be debarking in St. Helena to visit the castle.

After waiting in a comfortable exclusive lounge, it is time to board the train. As we approach the train, we have to cross a bridge with a standard chain-link fence. I notice all the locks on the bridge and can’t help but think of the Love Lock bridge in Paris. That’s when I see a sign the indicates that this is the same concept. My heart falls immediately lamenting that I didn’t know this was here. I push the thought from my mind and go ahead to the train.

Christian is duly impressed with my planning as we board the train and walk through several luxurious dining cars as well as the kitchen car—placed precariously in the middle of the train—then up a flight of stairs to the Vista Dome. Except for the two large men following us around, no one even gives us a second look. I must say, I’m enjoying the anonymity. I hear the conductor announcing “All Aboard” and the engine starts to move, pulling the luxury dining cars behind it.

Christian and I are comfortably seated at our table, discussing everything and nothing when an attractive middle-age man rises up the stairs with an equally attractive younger woman holding his hand. I only see them because I am facing the stairs, but Christian’s back is to them. They take the seats across the aisle from us and this woman locks her gaze on Christian. Can you be any more obvious? Her companion is looking at the menu for today’s lunch and hasn’t seen her yet. I clear my throat to break her attention and she is snapped out of her lustful daydream.

Damn! We haven’t even been on the train 10 minutes yet!

“Be a dear and switch seats with me,” she says to her companion. “My equilibrium is off a little by the backwards travel.” He is very accommodating and switches seats with her. I realize that she now has a better view of Christian and is most likely hoping that he will get a better view of her.

I won’t turn into a jealous bitch.
I won’t turn into a jealous bitch.

“Are you okay?” Christian asks me, clearly not paying any attention to the skank at the next table. I nod.

“Yes, I’m fine,” I say, smiling warmly and immediately turning my attention away from her and back to the gorgeous man across from me while we enjoy the lovely view of wine country spreading out before us.


A/N: Je vais exploser—I’m going to explode or I’ll explode.
“Oui. Aime-moi. S’il te plaît—Yes. Love me. Please.”
Je vais mourir. Putain, je vais mourir!—I’m dying! Fuck, I’m dying!

Ana and Christian’s post-coital culinary experience came from a restaurant called “The French Laundry” in Yountsville. I checked the reviews and even for the astronomical price, patrons seemed to really enjoy the experience.

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Love and Handcuffs!
Lynn x

You’re Not Going To Like This…

I am PISSED!

When I say pissed, I mean abso-fucking-lutely livid!

So here’s the deal. Mending Dr. Steele is being indefinitely put on hold. When I say indefinitely, I’m saying hopefully no more than two weeks, but it could be longer. And here’s why.

Earlier this year, my computer started going batshit craycray, so my best friend Michael (my Allen) sent me a new PC that I could use in the interim. It is a fabulous piece of machinery and it moves at the speed of light! The problem is that it’s a Linux and runs on an Ubuntu operating system. In its functionality, it’s simple enough to grasp… until something goes wrong with it…

So last night, Ubuntu asked me to upgrade to 14.04… simple, right? Couldn’t be much harder than upgrading Windows, right?

WRONG!!!

I have been locked out of my system because it can’t open my graphics card as Ubuntu seems to have removed, altered, or lost my configuration for various operations required to boot the system. In laymen’s terms…

THE DOG ATE MY HOMEWORK!

We are talking at least seven advanced chapters, SEVERAL key bits of material (ie I had already written part of the hen party, the birth of Mandy and Ray’s child, the results of the paternity test, the outcome of the She-Bitch Sr situation… you get the idea, several lemons and key bits to use at a later date… you get the idea. Although some of this information has been backed up in other places, a lot of the key shit is being held hostage by fucking Ubuntu!

While I would like to say that I will spend every waking moment trying to retrieve or rewrite my information, I will not. You all know that I recently got a promotion, which takes up a little bit more of what would be considered free time. On top of that, my family have become a bit needy and incompetent (some more than others), and that also dips into my free time. Finally, a diva is getting her hair braided this weekend. That ordeal takes several hours over two days with doesn’t leave a lot of time for computer work.

In addition to that (I guess I shouldn’t have said “finally,” huh?) I have worked some overtime and I am about to use my pennies to buy a new computer. I have had it with Ubuntu. At least when my other computers crashed, I had some idea of what was going on. Linux crashes and I’m sitting here like “duh, huh?”

Hopefully, this delay will not be long. I am looking at my backups that I did do to see if I at least have the next chapter saved somewhere, but folks, it’s uphill from here.

I’ll keep you posted…
BG Holmes aka Lynn aka Bronze Goddess

Mending Dr. Steele: Chapter 45—Baby Blues

Crying BabyOkay, so I have realized that no matter how much of yourself and your heart that you put into something, someone is still going to pick it apart, tear it up, and find something conceptually wrong with it. To that end, I have decided that I’m going to DO MY BEST to just not respond to it anymore after this. I put a lot of research and work into my story and I find that someone will still read it and find that date where I said sunset occurred at 5:27pm one day in Seattle and it actually occurred at 5:21pm.

I’m done!

If you can’t just read the story and enjoy it, please leave. Although I do try to make the story as realistic and fact-based as possible, please remember that this is actually supposed to be AN ENTERTAINING WORK OF FICTION! Just like in real life, a billionaire sadist most likely will not fall in love with a virgin and get married in three months, some of the stuff in my story may or may not be something that will happen in real life. GET OVER IT! Enjoy the story or move on… pleaseyou‘re killing my muse here!

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 45—Baby Blues

GREY

I’ve been sweating buckets to find out which of my subs could be showing up with a baby and who the fuck do I see sitting in the conference room but Katherine fucking Kavanaugh. I was so sure that it was one of my subs that I didn’t even bother to ask for a description of the woman who was asking for me. I don’t know whether to breathe a sigh of relief or slap the shit out her. How could she not tell us that she was pregnant?

Christian, what’s going on? What’s wrong?”

“Don’t ask, just get down here. How fast can you be here?”

Um, 10 minutes. You’re scaring me, Bro.”

“Trust me, you should be. Get over here.”

Christian, what…”

“Stop fucking asking me questions and get your ass down here!” I end the call and walk over to Kavanaugh. Her face is paler than usual and she looks like she hasn’t gotten any sleep. No doubt, the baby is keeping her up at night.

“Why now?” I ask. She frowns.

“What?” she says.

“Why now?” I bark. “Why didn’t you show up when you found out that you were pregnant? Why are you showing up now—at my office, while I’m planning my wedding?”

“I… I’ve been calling Elliot for months!” she protests.

“For lunch!” I snap. “This isn’t lunch! This is a baby! A fucking life, for God’s sake. What the fuck is wrong with you? You’re obviously here because you think Elliot is the father, and you didn’t think he deserved to know that you were carrying his child? To see his child be born?”

“I tried to tell him,” she cries.

“You didn’t try hard enough!” I spit. “You wanted the shock value. Congratulations, you’re going to get it. What’s wrong with you? Are you really that much of a harpy that you would put my brother through something like this?”

“I’m not trying to hurt him, I swear, Christian,” she pleads. “I’m here to tell him, because…”

“Because what? What stopped you from telling him all these months? What made you decide that he didn’t deserve to be in the loop for the development of his own child?”

“Because I don’t know if he’s the father!” she spit. I freeze. What the ever-loving fuck?

“You… what!?” I roar. I could rip this little scrawny, spiteful bitch limb from limb.

“I don’t know if he’s the father.” She’s weeping now. My anger is boiling to epic proportions.

“You are really some fucking piece of work, you know that?” I ask her. “Do you have any idea what you are about to put my brother through?”

“Yes, I do, and I’m sorry… really, I am…”

“The fuck you are! You don’t even know if the baby is his. My God, I don’t know how someone with a heart like his ever fell in love with someone like you!” I stomp around the room some more. “He has blond hair…”

“So do I. So does Roger.”

“Roger. That’s the name of the other guy you were fucking?” She raises shocked eyes to me.

“Elliot didn’t tell you?” she asks. Oh, now I’m horrified.

“He knew!?” I nearly shriek. She nods.

“That’s why we broke our engagement,” she says. “I was in love with both of them…”

“Oh, spare me the gory details!” I snap. “You were fucking my brother and this other asshole at the same time!?” She drops her head. “Oh, fuck me sideways!” I turn away from her. Every moment I am in the room with this woman is making me sicker and sicker. Hasn’t it been 10 minutes yet? “Where’s this asshole? Haven’t you told him yet, or are you holding out hope that Elliot is the father?”

“I have told him, but he won’t speak to me,” she says. I can’t help the laugh that escapes my chest.

“So basically, you break off your engagement with my brother—one of the best men you will probably ever find—for this loser. Now, you tell him that you might have his baby, and he leaves you high and dry and won’t even return your calls. Talk about Karma!” My laughter quickly turns to rage when I realize that this fucker was part of the reason that my brother’s heart was broken and now he won’t stand up to his responsibilities. “Give me your cell phone.”

“What?”

“Your cell phone, give it to me.” She reaches into her purse and pulls out her cell phone. I go straight to her contacts and find Roger’s number. He’s the only “Roger” in her phone. I dial him from my blackberry.

Hello?”

“Is this Roger?” I bark.

Yes, who is this?”

“Never mind who this is. You had unprotected sex with this woman and now this baby may be yours. Now you need to take a paternity test!”

Oh, this must be Grey. What’s the matter—afraid it might be yours?”

“It can’t be mine, I never fucked her! You’ve got the wrong Grey!” The line is quiet.

So this must be Christian Grey. You’re fighting your brother’s battles now?” he asks, his voice more subdued.

“This is not a battle to fight,” I hiss. “He doesn’t even know yet. He’s on his way down here now, and if this is his baby, he’s going to take care of it. You, on the other hand, are hiding somewhere like a little chicken shit afraid to come out and take responsibility for your actions.”

Be that as it may, this is not my problem,” he says calmly.

“You fucked her, you son-of-a-bitch. Now get your ass out of whatever hellhole you’re hiding in and take this paternity test or I’ll come find you and drag you out myself!”

Nope. No fucking way I’m linking myself to that shrew for 18 years. No way in hell. I don’t care who you send down here. You can send the fucking CIA if you want, I’m not doing it.”

“Well, you may not have a choice, you fucking deadbeat, because if that test comes back saying that my brother is not the father, she’s suing you for paternity. If you didn’t want to have a baby with her, you shouldn’t have fucked her without contraception. This is what happens, you idiot. I kind of hope my brother is the father, because I would hate for any kid to be stuck with a father like you!” I end the call and try to compose myself. I turn back around to Kate, who is rocking the baby in her arms to settle him.

“What do your parents say?” I ask.

“They’re… supportive. They agree that I need to find out who the father is, but they support my choice to keep him.” Her voice is meek now.

“How could you keep this from him?” I ask her. “Nine months—at least—and you kept this from him.” I turn my back to her.

“I tried to tell him,” she says.

“Lunch!” I hiss at the wall. “This is going to break him,” I lament dropping my head. I lean one hand against the wall. Poor Elliot. “He’s a good man with a good heart. You broke it once. You made him think you loved him and then you cheated on him and made his life miserable for it. He’s fallen in love with someone and is trying to put his life back together again, even though you’ve scarred him. Now, you show up with a baby and you don’t know who the father is. After the baby is born, after all of this time, after he’s trying to heal from the fucking damage that you’ve caused to his heart and mind, you show up with a baby that could be his.”

“I really tried to tell him.” She’s crying again.

“You keep telling yourself that, Kavanaugh!” I bark, still not facing her. “You keep telling yourself that for months, you called my brother and asked him to lunch—lunch—without telling him that there’s a possibility that he could be a father, and that’s the same as trying to tell him!” I take a deep breath. “If you think for one second that I’m going to allow you to hurt my brother again…” I turn around to face her, but stop mid-sentence when I see Elliot standing behind her staring at me. Apparently, neither of us heard him come in. Kavanaugh turns to look over her shoulder and freezes when she sees him. Elliot still hasn’t looked at her. He’s staring at me. I’m wondering how much of this conversation he has heard. Sorry, Lelliot, now is not the time for the stare game.

“Congratulations,” I say, solemnly, “it’s a boy.”

He finally breaks his gaze from me and turns it down to Kavanaugh. “What is his name?” he asks.

“Kevin,” she says. “Kevin William Kavanaugh.”

“Did I hear him correctly? There’s a possibility that this may be my child?” he says softly. Kavanaugh swallows.

“Yes,” she breathes.

“And what exactly do you expect me to do about it?” he says stoically. I frown. He’s not going to be like that fucking Roger guy, is he?

“Elliot…” I interject. He holds his hand up to silence me, but never takes his eyes off Kavanaugh. Fuck… Elliot has ever done that to me.

“Kate,” her name escapes his mouth like hot, bitter medicine, “what exactly do you expect me to do about it?”

“I was… I was hoping that…” She drops her head and hides behind the baby. Fuck. It’s all clear now. I know exactly what she was doing, and why she didn’t tell Elliot over the phone that he may be the father.

“How long has Roger known that you were pregnant?” I ask her. Elliot throws a death glare at me. “Yes, I know,” I hiss, “I talked to the asshole.” I look back at Kavanaugh. “Kavanaugh, how long?”

“He… uma few months.” Oh hell, I was right.

“Were you trying to trap my brother with this kid?” I ask her. Tears burst from her eyes.

“I would never do that. I knew that you… that he would want a paternity test. I would never do that!” she protests.

“But if he saw you pregnant—possibly with his baby—at one of these lunches that you were trying to arrange…” I trail off. Realization comes to Elliot’s eyes and I just shake my head. “You knew! You knew that he would fall in love with that kid if there was even the slightest chance that it was his. That’s what you were counting on. You’re only here because you ran out of options. My God, you are a horrible chunk of flesh.” Welch is standing in the corner, ever silent and watching the show. Elliot draws himself up and takes a deep breath.

“I’ll be right back,” he says and walks out of the conference room. I have nothing else to say to this woman. I’ve seen worse, God knows I have, but she is really a conniving, selfish, human being and I don’t want to look at her. I sit at the opposite end of the conference table, take out my blackberry and start checking my emails. We sit in silence for about 15 minutes before she speaks.

“Where did he go?” she asks, her voice forlorn.

“I don’t know,” I say without raising my head from my blackberry, “but if you have any hope of finding out if he’s your ‘baby daddy,’ then you just want to wait quietly until he gets back.”

“You’re really a judgmental, pompous, arrogant asshole, Grey!” she hisses. She’s not even worthy as a sparring partner anymore. I still don’t raise my head.

“That may be true, but you’re the one sitting in my conference room trying to find out if your bastard baby has a father.” She gasps.

“Did you forget that you were born a ‘bastard baby,’ too?” I finally raise my head.

“No, I haven’t forgotten, which is why I would never try anything as sneaky, slimy, low-down, dirty, and rotten as what you’re doing now.” I hiss. “Do you want to continue with this conversation, because I’ve got a million of ‘em!” She finally decides that it would probably be best to sit in silence while we wait for Elliot. A few minutes later, he comes back into the conference room… with Valerie.

Fuck. Me.

“This is Valerie Marshall,” he says, “my girlfriend. Anything said in this room will affect her as much as it affects me. I love her with all my heart and when I see any future, I see her. I won’t let anything jeopardize that. She came along when I was broken-hearted and confused and she put me back together again. She is all that I want and all that I will ever need and nothing and no one is going to change that. So whatever plans you may have had, you need to rethink them right now.” Valerie is a mix of enamored and confused by Elliot’s words. He turns to face her.

“Angel, this is Katherine Kavanaugh. You already know who she is. It turns out that she was trying to get in touch with me all these months because this may be my baby. I want you to know that if this is my baby, I will take care of it and I will be a father to my child, but it will change nothing—and I mean nothing—about how I feel for you. Will it change how you feel for me?” Valerie looks at Elliot, then at Kate, then the baby, then back at Elliot. She chokes back a sob, then nearly buckles to the floor. Elliot catches her in his arms and holds her close to him. “I only want you, Angel. I only love you,” he assures her. She mumbles something into his neck and he rubs her back. “Are you okay, Baby?” he asks her. She nods, but never releases him. Still holding her, he turns his attention back to Kavanaugh.

“We are having two paternity tests, one in a lab of your choosing and one in a lab of my choosing. When both tests come back with an agreeing result, I will believe that result. If this is my son, he will be a part of my life, my family’s life, and my girlfriend’s life. He will go to the best schools and I will actively raise him and spend time with him. I will not, however, spend any time with you. There will be no family outings with the three of us where we are spending quality time together with the child. Our time will be split appropriately by the courts, and I will pay whatever is required for his care.

“You need to know something that I should have told you months ago,” he continues. “I hate you for what you did to me. I hate you for how you made me feel and for the fact that you made me lose faith in people in general. I won’t let you or your selfishness ruin my life anymore. I thank you for setting me free, because if you hadn’t, I never would have found the true love of my life—the woman here in my arms. She is everything I hoped you could have been at one time, but I now know that was impossible. You only think of yourself, and we never would have been happy together—ever. I can’t believe that you thought for one moment that you could pull me back into that lie of a life by using a poor, innocent child. I’m glad that this beautiful woman beside me got to see you for the self-centered witch that you are so that she will know that there is no way in hell, and I mean no way, that I would ever go back to you.

“I will find out the truth, Kate, no matter how you try to hide it from me. No matter what you do, if that child is a Grey, he will be raised as a Grey. I won’t allow you to poison him. I will be all over you like white on rice if you try to do anything untoward in any way. I will not talk badly about you to him, but if you try that shit with me, I will fight you for full custody. Believe me, I will fight you and your whole fucking family if it comes to that. I want you to know what can of worms you opened by bringing this poor child into this world this way.” Elliot looks up at me and the anger emanating from him is palpable. “Christian, can you please…”

“I’ll take care of it,” I tell him. He nods.

“I need to go see Mom and Dad,” he says, still holding Valerie in his arms.

“Maybe you should wait until we know for sure,” I protest. He shakes his head.

“We’ve had enough secrets, Bro—enough to last a lifetime. I don’t want them to be surprised by this. If it turns out to be false, no harm no foul. If it turns out to be true, I want them to be ready.”

“We’ll need PR control.”

“You’re the pro at that. Do what you think is best,” he says. I nod. Kavanaugh finally chooses this moment to speak.

“I’m sorry, Elliot, for everything. I really wasn’t trying to be cruel…”

“Save it, Katherine,” he says. “I don’t want to hear anything else from you until I find out if that baby is mine. Even then, I’ll see you in court.” He releases Valerie and looks down at her face. “Are you ready?” She nods as I can see her wiping her face. He hands her the handkerchief in his pocket and she dries her tears. She turns around to look at Kavanaugh.

“To think,” she says incredulously, “I was worried about you…” Kavanaugh looks confused.

“I think that’s her way of saying that you were never any real competition,” I clarify for the confused Kavanaugh. Valerie looks up at me.

“Thank you, Christian. That’s exactly what I was saying.” She looks back at Kavanaugh, then allows Elliot to take her hand and lead her out of the conference room. Kavanaugh looks like she’s been hit by a freight train.

“When you decide which lab you would like to do the paternity test, you can let me know where and when. I will make sure that Elliot gets the information and my office will let you know who we have chosen to do the test as well.”

“I’m not dealing with you!” she snaps. “I’m only dealing with Elliot!”

“You’ve got that half-right. You won’t be dealing with me, but you won’t be dealing with Elliot either. Unless you were asleep for that conversation that just happened, Elliot wants nothing to do with you. He just wants to know if that baby is his and, if it is, he’s going to make your life a living hell. If it’s not, he’s going to forget you ever existed.” I call up to PR. “McIntyre, I need you to put together a press release. My brother may be the father to a child born of one of the heirs to Kavanaugh Media, Katherine. There is also a second possible father, but we are waiting for the results from a paternity test, pending the cooperation of the baby’s mother.”

“You wouldn’t dare!” she gasps.

“I don’t trust you as far as I can throw you!” I snap at her. “You need to know that I am pulling out all the stops to protect my family. Haven’t you been reading the news? Don’t you know what we’ve gone through these past few months? What we’ve got ahead of us? My fiancée is on the verge of a nervous breakdown because of all the shit that’s been going on! Do you think any of us have time for your foolishness?” She gets quiet. “You do whatever it is that you need to do, but know that I am pulling out all the stops to protect my brother. I won’t allow anything to be printed but the truth, and if you defame him or my family in any way, I will see you rot!”

“Still shooting threats, I see,” she scoffs.

“It would be in your best interests to shut the fuck up and take me seriously. Don’t contact me or my family again until you have chosen a lab. Do it quickly, or your stalling tactic will be front page news as well—right after I get a court order for you to present the child.” She narrows her eyes at me. “You really didn’t think that you were going to stroll in here and you and Elliot were going to walk away and live happily ever after, did you?” I smirk. That’s exactly what she thought. I look over at Welch. “Please escort Ms. and Master Kavanaugh out.” He moves next to Kavanaugh.

“Ma’am?” he says to her. She looks up at him, then proceeds to swaddle the baby. After placing him into the stroller, she dons her coat and walks quietly out of the conference room.

“One hundred and seven,” I sigh to myself as I text Jason and Butterfly.

*-*

“You’re not serious!” Butterfly gasps as I tell her the story of Kategate.

“Unfortunately, I am,” I tell her. “The baby is blonde, but that doesn’t say much. I had the lab of our choice lined up before I left the office today. I’m just waiting for Kavanaugh to present Kevin and the lab of her choice now.”

“Good God, I thought she was going to turn things around when she came clean about Roger.” I look at her.

“You knew, too?” She nods. How did everybody know but me?

“She told me that night that she and Elliot broke off the engagement. I promised not to tell Elliot because it wasn’t my secret to tell, but that she needed to come clean with him. I guess she did.”

“Yeah, except about the whole baby part,” I hiss.

“Yeah, except about that.” She begins to clear the table. I wait for a moment before I take some of the dishes from the table into the kitchen.

“What is it, Butterfly?” I ask as I hand her the dishes. She sighs.

“Eighty days,” she says, her head bowed while she’s leaning against the dishwasher. “We are getting married in 80 days and shit just keeps happening. I’m breaths away from being committed, you almost get killed, this crazy Strauss bitch shows up, Edward’s latest court date is up in the air, and now Kate shows up with a maybe-Grey-baby. God, it just can’t get any worse.”

“Elena’s trying to take a plea,” I say. Now why did I decide to say that at this moment? Butterfly spins around on me.

“What!?” she nearly screeches. Yeah, I know… bad timing.

“I talked to my dad. Even though she has a lot of charges against her, if the victims agree and she pleads out, she can get a lot of those charges lessened or even dropped. It looks like the parents of the victims are going to agree because they don’t want the children to be put on the stand. I mean, look at me. I’m very much a grown man and I don’t want anybody to know.”

“Well, what does this mean?” she asks horrified.

“It means that she could get fines and about 25 years on all charges—paroled in 15 for good behavior.”

“Fifteen!? All of those boys she molested and she could get 15 years?” I nod. Butterfly shakes her head. “I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. What about the attempted murder charge?”

“That’s one of the reasons she is taking the plea. They are hoping to show remorse for her actions, thereby driving home this ridiculous insanity plea that she didn’t know the consequences of her actions. If she knows that she can get parole in 15, that’s better than life on top of life if she beats the murder rap.”

“Fifteen years,” Butterfly shakes her head again. I put my arms around her.

“Look at it this way. No matter how much time she gets, 15 years will be 15 years hard time for her because she not accustomed to this. She’s not in day camp, you know. She’s doing time for molesting little boys. A lot of those women—hardened criminals, though they may be—are mothers… auntssomebody’s sister. On top of that, she doesn’t have her money and she’ll be flat broke and 65 when she gets out if she’s lucky. Fifteen years without cosmetic maintenance is going to do a number on her. She’s not going to walk out of prison into the charmed life of Elena Lincoln. If she does manage to beat this wrap, she’s going to walk out into halfway houses and, if she’s lucky, a nice, quiet nursing home.” I assure her. She seems to take a little comfort in that.

“I’m going to have one more regression therapy session. You really may not want to be present for this one,” she tells me.

“I told you that I would, but I thought you didn’t need to see anymore.”

“I need to see one more… the day that Jason was shot. I need to know what happened to the time that I am missing. I keep having flashes of the situation in my dreams and I don’t need anything affecting my sleep. I just want to open the box, let the snakes crawl out and shoo them away.” I twist my lips. That is certainly an appropriate analogy for it.

“I’ll… be there,” I say hesitantly.

“Think about it, Baby. If you change your mind, I promise that I will understand,” she says.

“I know that you will, but…” My sentence is interrupted by the ringing landline. I know that can only mean that someone is in the lobby. I look at my watch. Nine thirty. “Are you expecting anyone?” I ask. She shakes her head. I answer the phone.

“Hello… yes?… Oh, okay. Send her up.” I replace the receiver.

“Send who up?” she asks.

“Valerie. She’s hysterical. She can’t get two words out of her mouth.”


STEELE

Grace and I had long since posted notices and personally notified people that I would be her assistant and soon the assistant director of Helping Hands. However, Gloria failed to heed warning about “the mountain that she was trying to climb” and has already planted venom in the minds of much of the other staff, making my battle an uphill journey. I just have to remember that I am here for the families and not to make friends, and that I will make sure that anyone not doing their job will be replaced.

As a result, I practice what I preach at Helping Hands. I come in on the days that I am not seeing patients wearing jeans and a T-shirt and immediately inspect the neglected areas of the building—places where housekeeping failed to clean or hasn’t cleaned in forever because no one is using it, parts of the building in need of repair, things like that. I’m not afraid of getting dirty, so more than once, the staff who have made things hard for me have walked in on me cleaning someone’s office or taking out the trash. One of them asked me if I was a compulsive cleaner.

No,” I had answered her. “No one deserves to work in dirty conditions. This is something that the housekeeping staff should be doing, but apparently they got away with not doing it. I will talk them about this after I have reviewed and noted all the areas they are neglecting. Until then, this person still deserves to work in a clean area.”

She stood there watching me for a moment. I think she was stunned. Yeah, I know you’ve fallen under what Gloria said before she left—c’est la vie. After a moment of stunned silence, she had asked, “Could you use some help?” I had looked her over and she was dressed pretty casually, in comfy shoes, so I warned her, “It could get kind of dirty.”

That’s okay,” she had said. “I don’t mind.” I couldn’t help the smile that had spread across my face.

If I’m not taking you away from anything else, I would love some help…”

With that, I made my first ally today. I was resigned to just do what I needed to do and operate in the capacity that Grace needed me, but luckily the stars aligned properly and someone saw that I wasn’t just there to “kiss my future mother-in-law’s ass and make a social name for myself.” Social climbers don’t voluntarily mop floors unless the press is watching.

Only today when I got back home was I able to finally greet Gail without blushing. She put two-and-two together yesterday and asked if I had seen them Saturday night. I couldn’t lie…

I’ll admit, I was tender from Daddy and Christian teasing me at the firing range… and yes, Christian had said that the whole “shooting” thing was something that he wanted to share with me. Yet, Daddy is teaching him. I don’t know if jealous is the word I would use to describe my feelings—pushed aside… excludedlooked over… I don’t know. The teasing didn’t help, though, and I wasn’t going to stand there and take it. It wasn’t running away per se so much as it was leaving an unpleasant situation. Running would have been more like dashing to the car and leaving all of those fuckers to fend for themselves.

So, yes, I went to bed, still a little bruised—not a good idea. One of the things I will be sure to work on is to never go to bed angry at Christian. It’s an old saying, but a good mantra nonetheless. When I awoke with him wrapped around me in our familiar way, I was glad that even though we didn’t eat dinner together, he still didn’t let him affect our sleeping together. I wanted to get some orange juice, so I sneaked out to the kitchen. That’s when I saw them.

They were talking at first. Gail was wearing that white nightgown we bought from Nordstrom last year for the trip to Anguilla. She had also told me that she was going to wear it on her wedding night. I wanted to leave, but from where she was standing, I was afraid she would see me if I moved.

I hate when we fight. We never fight,” she said.

I know,” Jason responded, “not like this anyway. I’m just… I’m losing my mind here. Please don’t take it personally…”

I’m not,” she interrupted him. “I understand. You’re out of commission right now and it’s driving you insane.” She looked around. “Why are you out here?” Jason sighed.

When he used to wake in the middle of the night and play his piano, I used to sit here and listen to him. I was just out of sight and I could make sure that he wasn’t going to sneak out or do anything equally stupid. He would wake from one of those horrible screaming fits… somewhere around one or two in the morning, like clockwork. So I would just sit here and listen until he calmed down. Sometimes he would play for hours and I would fall asleep. Sometimes he would play for a little while and I would plan my day or think something through. He hasn’t done that since she came along… maybe once or twice, except for that week when she wasn’t speaking to him and he was damn-near glued to the thing.”

You came out here to think?” Gail asked. He shook his head.

I have plenty of time to think,” he answered. “Just looking for a bit of familiarity.” I could see Gail’s face fall from where I stood hiding just behind the stairs. So could Jason. His tone softened when he held his good hand out to her and said, “Come here, Love.”

Gail floated over to him and sat on his lap. He cradled her with his good arm and I could no longer hear what they were saying. I didn’t mind watching this tender moment and thinking of Christian, but before I could process another thought, Gail was straddling him and kissing him hungrily. Jason protested that one of us might emerge and see them, but Gail declared that she didn’t care.

I could only assume that she was undressing him from the waist down and her body movements indicated that she was getting into position. Jason’s sensual groan signaled that she had found her mark and from my vantage point behind him, I watched as she clasped her fingers behind his neck partially in his hair and began to ride him. Jason’s moans were tortured, like he was in utter ecstasy, and Gail kept her eyes on his the entire time. Her mouth was slack, her passion written all over her face… and I was mesmerized. I had seen sex scenes in movies, D/s scenes in the club, but nothing like this—nothing like this pure, primal, real passion and love between two people.

I don’t know how long I watched them, but I couldn’t move if I wanted to. I was getting so hot and turned-on, shit, I felt like I was on fire. They were in their own world and wouldn’t have stopped if a marching band came blaring through the great room. As she leaned down to kiss him, I know that they have reached the point of no return and were both in a race to Nirvana. I can even see Gail’s movements change and I know what she is feeling. The heat between my legs is making it nearly impossible to stand still and now, I can hear my own aroused breathing.

Leave! For God’s sake, leave! I heard a voice that I hadn’t heard for quite some time. The Bitch was back—but I couldn’t hear her. If I knew that I couldn’t be discovered, I would have walked right over and sat right next to them. This is something I had never seen before—two people sharing pure love and passion, giving themselves to one another. I’ve experienced it with Christian, but I’ve never seen it.

Just when my libido and brain started working together to tell me to leave before they share their ultimate moment, Gail threw her head back in a sensuous delicate whimper letting me know that I was too late. She wheezes repeatedly as Jason wrapped his good arm around her and I watched their bodies jerking as he thrust into her several more times. She finally dropped her head on is shoulder as he continued to sex her, faster this time, and I swear that I thought I would come from watching them. After having said nothing the entire time, Jason finally comes releasing only the words, “My Love.”

He sank back with her still in his arms… or arm… and her blonde hair draped over the back of the sofa as they both struggled to catch their breath. There was no hope for me. I was on fire! I took a few steps backwards only to bump into our bedroom door. I thought I was escaping until while trying to compose myself, I heard Christian ask, “Are you okay?”

There goes those pyrotechnics again. “I must have him now” is the only coherent thought that my brain could formulate.

So when Gail had asked me if I was the one who saw them, I confessed the whole thing to her—that I heard the conversation, that I tried to leave but I didn’t want them to hear or see me. I was so humiliated and begged for her forgiveness. She just laughed it off and confirmed that nothing short of Armageddon would have stopped the passion that she was feeling for Jason that night. She also added that with the hot necking scene they witnessed between me and Christian at the pool in Anguilla, she probably owed me one.

“But we weren’t making love, Gail,” I protested. She shook her head.

“Oh, yes you were, make no mistake,” she corrected me. “You weren’t having sex, but you were definitely making love.”

Her statement had filled me with a warm feeling—making love without having sex. I love him so much, I wouldn’t deny it for a second. I would make love to him anywhere… in front of a crowd if he wanted it. So I understand why wild dogs couldn’t have prevented what I saw on Saturday night.

Nothing, however, could have prepared me for the text that I got this afternoon and the explanation that followed during dinner. Kate had a baby and it might be Elliot’s! She waited all this time to spring it on him with hopes that she could get him back. Val was right in her fear on Christmas day. She wanted Elliot nowhere near that slut and for good reason. What a dirty, conniving thing to do! I thought she had a breakthrough when we talked. Turns out that my first impression was correct—c’est une vraie salope!

Speaking of Val, I am shocked beyond hope to see her make-up free and strolling into my great room, sobbing uncontrollably and hiding big, red, puffy eyes behind way too big sunglasses at 9:30 at night.

“Come in, Valerie,” Christian says softly as he opens the door for her. She weeps something inaudible to him and walks past the door. She walks straight into my arms and I hug her while she leans on my shoulder crying.

Sssshhh,” I comfort her, gently rubbing her back. “It’s okay, Sweetie. It’s going to be okay.” She weeps something inaudible again as Christian leaves the room. She stands there crying for several moments before Christian comes back to the great room. He nods to me to let her go, which I do. He helps her remove her coat and gently guides her to the sofa. I see that he has brought out a bottle of wine and two glasses along with a small tray with some fruit, cheese, and crackers. He knows that I just had dinner so this must be for Val. He has also placed a box of tissue on the coffee table.

“Call me if you need me,” he says softly before kissing my cheek. He gives Valerie’s shoulder a gentle squeeze, then goes off towards his study. She’s saying something inaudible again and I just hold her hand. I have never seen her this upset in all the years that I’ve known her. I fucking want to kill Katherine fucking Kavanaugh right now!

“I’m… s-so… confused!” she cries.

“Did you guys fight?” I ask. She shakes her head.

“I can’t… take it… anymore.” Oh shit, is she talking about breaking up with Elliot?

“Talk to me, Val.” She’s breathing shuddering breaths and trying to pull herself together.

“He’s… I don’t want to lose him, Ana!” she cries. “He’s hurting… he’s hurting so much and… I can’t make it stop! First with Christian, and now this snaky bitch. He’s not going to survive much more.” Whew! So no breakup in sight, at least not for now.

“Where is he now?” I ask. She shakes her head.

“I don’t know. He left hours ago to clear his head. I don’t know where he went. Is he drinking? Did he go to her? Am I always going to feel this way when I don’t know where he is? Am I crazy?” I let Val ramble on and on and on for several minutes. She bottomed out the wine bottle and ate a bit of the cheese and crackers.

“He really is a good guy, huh?” she throws into the conversation out of nowhere.

“You’d have to tell me that,” I say.

“I mean, Christian,” she clarifies. Oh… um, okay.

“He’s the best,” I say with a smile. She gives a half-hearted chuckle.

“I’d have to say he’s a close second,” she says. “His big brother is pretty fantastic.” With that statement, she’s a weeping mound again. Who would’ve thought we would ever see the day. Man-eater Valerie Marshall is in love—honest-to-goodness, head over heals in love. I hold her up and keep her from toppling over when we are both shocked by his voice.

“Angel?” He sounds completely crestfallen. When did he get here?

Christian is standing behind a forlorn Elliot and neither of us saw either of them enter the room. We both bolt upright when we realize he is here and Val gasps. He’s been crying, too.

“How… how did you know… I was here?” Val asks.

“Christian called me,” Elliot says softly. They look at each other for a moment. Val’s whimper is almost inaudible, but it was enough of a cue for Elliot to dash to her side and fall to his knees. She takes his face in her hands and he gently holds her waist.

“I was so scared. When I got home and you were gone, I thought you left me,” he confesses.

“No! No! I love you! I can’t leave you!” She throws her arms around his neck. He lifts her into his arms and crushes her body to his.

“I love you, too, Angel,” his voice is muffled. “I can’t survive without you. I can’t get through this without you. Please don’t ever leave me… please.”

“Never, El… never,” she weeps into his neck.

I walk over to Christian who wraps his arms around my waist, my back to his front. “Why did you call him?” I whisper to him.

“Because she was the first person that he called when he found out about Kevin. I heard what he said and I saw the look in his eye. He’s never felt like this about anybody, ever… especially not Kate. If she was here crying, he would want to know why.” I nod.

“Same here,” I tell him. “Man-eater Marshall only cried over one guy and he was a real asshole, but she has never been reduced to this. She’s a goner.” I look back over to Val and Elliot, and he is wiping the tears from her face and kissing her cheeks over and over trying to get her to stop crying. I think now would be the time to make the getaway that I should have with Gail and Jason. I take Christian’s hand and guide him into the kitchen. “Has Elliot been drinking at all?”

“Not that I can tell. I would hope he wasn’t that careless to drink and then get behind the wheel,” he says.

“I think they should maybe stay here for the night—if they want to, that is. They are both so emotional. I know they both have work in the morning, but I can lend Val something of mine and I’m sure that you have some jeans or something that your brother could wear to the work site. If not, I’ll throw his clothes in the laundry…”

“Okay, okay, you don’t have to convince me, but they may just want to go home. They might want some privacy.”

“They’ll get privacy. The guest rooms are on a different floor.” He shrugs.

“We’ll see what they say, okay?” he says with a smile. I smile back.

“Val’s right. You are a good guy.” He pulls me close to him.

“She said that?” he says with a smirk. I nod and look up at him with longing eyes. He closes his lips over mine while pulling my body into his. The fire in me ignites almost immediately as I surrender to his searing kisses. I steady myself against his arms as his hands travel under my shirt and caress my bare back. I whimper into his mouth and the touch of his hands on my skin and he rewards me with a responding moan. I thrust my hands into his hair and kiss him with equal fervor as he tips his head to get a better angle and deeper penetration with his tongue. Holy cow, Batman! I feel like I’m going to explode. We almost get lost in our reckless abandon when one, or both, of us realize that we have a distraught couple on the sofa in our great room. We break our kiss and touch foreheads, breathing like we’ve just worked out.

“It looks like we may be the ones who need privacy,” he breathes, desire evident in his voice.

“Uh-huh,” I pant, trying to squelch the fire he has ignited inside me. He kisses me again, gently this time, while moving his hands down to my backside and caressing it gently. “You’re making it worse, Mr. Grey,” I whisper against his lips, my eyes closed.

“I certainly hope so,” he taunts, licking my lips and squeezing my ass. I gasp. “I don’t know how to control myself around you.”

“We have to,” I pant. “My friend and your brother need us.” He nods, then moves his hands up to my back.

“You’re right,” he says, controlling his breathing. Looking me in the eyes, he says, “You know, when security called me to tell me that there was a woman in the lobby with a baby and she was ready to call the press, I was sure that it was one of my ex-subs. I could see my whole life flash before my eyes and all I could think was that I was going to lose you. Just when I had found happiness, I was going to be thrust back into darkness.” I gently stroke his tortured face.

“Unless you make a baby while we are together, that will never happen. If an ex-sub shows up with a baby claiming that it’s yours, we will handle it together. I would be more angry with the witch that kept that from you than I would ever be with you. Okay?” I assure him. He nods and sighs.

“Okay. It’s not that I think that would ever happen. I was very careful to use protection or contraception and I was always monogamous, but this incident just showed me that you never know what’s going on in people’s minds and you just have to be ready.” I nod at him.

“I know, Baby,” I kiss him again. “But I’ll never leave you again… Chris.” He smiles at me.

“For some reason, I really like the sound of that coming out of your mouth. Then again, I think I like the sound of anything coming out of your mouth.”

“That sounds so perverse,” I say with a chuckle.

“It did, didn’t it?” he laughs. “Let’s go make sure they’re okay. It’s been pretty quiet for a while out there.”

“Okay.” I kiss him once more before we separate. “You… might want to adjust that.”

“I know,” he says, adjusting his pants so that his semi-erection is not so prominent.

We leave the kitchen and walk into the great room to total silence. Elliot is cradling Val in his arms and when we walk around to the front of them, we discover that they are both asleep.

“I’ll get a nightie,” I say.

“I’ll get pajamas.”

*-*

We get Val and Elliot safely off to work the next morning before we head to our separate offices. “Good morning, Cal,” I greet the day guard at the newly installed front desk of my office building.

“Good morning, Ms. Steele,” he says, waving as Chuck and I walk by.

“Anything to report?” Chuck asks him.

“All’s quiet so far, Sir,” Cal says. Chuck nods and joins me at the elevator.

“Have you seen this?” Marilyn asks when I get up to my office. Handing me the paper, I see that Kate and Elliot’s possible love child has made the news.

“No, I haven’t, but I know about it.”

“Is it his?” she asks. I shrug.

“It could be. They’re going to get two separate paternity tests. They don’t trust Kate. Apparently, she tried to trap Elliot with the baby knowing that it may not be his.”

“Wow. People are wicked,” she says, shaking her head.

“Tell me about it.” I walk into my office and get ready for my first appointment. My cell phone rings just as I am sitting down.

“Hi Tammy,” I greet.

“Jewels, good news! The designers have agreed to collaborate on your dress. I know it’s early, but I couldn’t wait to tell you!” I clap like a kindergartner. I have to get used to the fact that she has semi-adopted Al’s name for me, but they spend so much time together and he doesn’t seem to mind.

“Oh, that’s fantastic news! I’m so excited!” I exclaim. “I was a little worried that they wouldn’t do it.”

“Are you kidding? The princess and her castle? I told you people would sell their souls to be a part of this wedding.

“That you did, and now I get my dress.” I say. My happy mood is immediately busted by an ominous looking Chuck standing in my door. “Tammy, let me know when the designers are ready to meet and we’ll set this sucker in stone. I’ve gotta go, Babes. The penthouse, this evening?”

“I’ll see you there. You know this wedding is going to make me famous, right?” she says.

“Absolutely fucking famous!” I confirm with laughter. “I talk you later.”

“Okay,” and she’s gone.

“What is it?” I ask him. He comes into my office with an envelope in his hand.

“It’s been tested and x-rayed,” he says. I look at the envelope. There’s no return address. I look up at him. He nods once, so I remove the contents. It’s a receipt for a wire transfer into an account in my name. I look up at him again and frown.

“This is for $20 million. Is this some kind of joke?” I ask him. He shrugs.

“It came to the security desk with the mail,” he responds. We both know who it’s from and what it’s for.

“That’s risky, just transferring $20 million to an account for someone’s without knowing that they’re going to do what you want them to do. There has to be a failsafe of some kind.” Again, he shrugs. I hand it back to him. “Get it to Christian. Tell him where it came from and let him decide what we should do with it.” Chuck takes the paper and smiles. “What?”

“You’re one in a million, do you know that?” I frown.

“Yes, I do, but to what are you referring?” I ask him.

“Many women would have taken that money and been long gone by now. Twenty million is a lot of cash. You could very easily live quite comfortably off of it.” I just look at him for a moment.

“Not without him,” I say, without blinking. He gives me the slight nod, still smiling, and leaves my office. I send Christian a text that “the funds are on the way,” telling him that we’ll talk about it later and finish getting ready for my next patient.

*-*

Friday evening, we are back in Ace’s office waiting for my session. We’ve decided to trace the source of the transfer and see if it’s actually a valid account backed by $20 million and if I am the actual Anastasia Steele that can access it. If it is, it will be a nice donation to Helping Hands. Grace doesn’t use any money for the charity except donations, so the charity will be getting an anonymous donation from the family that has caused the kind of heartache that Helping Hands hopes to circumvent.

“Ana, Christian, come in,” Ace greets us and ushers us into his office. As we take our seats, he says, “I see you’ve decided for one more regression therapy.” I nod.

“I need to unlock the memory of what happened when Elena shot Jason. I’m having nightmares that are only flashes of it. I want to know what happened so that I can deal with it.” Ace nods.

“That’s a very healthy attitude, Ana. Christian, you’re okay with being here for this?” he asks.

“How can I leave without disturbing you if this gets to be too much for me to hear?” Christian asks.

“Good thinking. No one else for the evening. Ana is always my last and Amber always stays as quiet as a mouse. You can leave through the lobby and just close the door quietly on your way out,” Ace instructs him and Christian nods. “Okay, Ana, tell me what you do remember of the shooting. You don’t have to start from the beginning if you don’t want to. It’s the end that’s more important.”

“Um… I came into Christian’s office because I heard him arguing with a woman and I wanted to know who it was. When I opened the door, I saw…” My chest starts to hurt. Do I really want to do this?

Yes. Yes, you do.
So, that wasn’t a one time occurrence. You’re really back?
Why, did you miss me?
A little… maybe

“Ana?” Oops, forgot I where I was. I take a deep breath.

“I saw Elena aiming my gun at Christian from across the room. She made him switch places with her and then she started droning on about them being together and how I ruined him—the same old song and dance. I didn’t know whether she was going to shoot him, me, or all of us. Finally, after all the theatrics, she said that she would shoot him and herself so that they could be together in the afterlife and I could be left here to mourn the fact that he was killed with my gun.” I take another deep breath.

“Was that it?” Ace asks. I shake my head.

“No. She said ‘goodbye’ to Christian, he said ‘goodbye’ to me, and the gun went off. That’s it. That’s the last thing that I remember.” He nods.

“Okay. You know the drill. Sit back, relax, close your eyes. Imagine you are on a roller coaster…”

“I’ve never been on a roller coaster,” I tell him.

“No talking,” he chastises. “Not until I tell you. You are in a sports car. A very, very fast sports car…” Okay, I can do that. “It’s going faster and faster. No brakes. You are going up and down hills and around curves—very fast. Now, there’s no steering wheel. The car is still moving fast and now, there’s no roof, doors, or windshield. There’s just you and the metal box with the wind blowing in your face and hair. Now, your little metal box it at the very top of a very steep hill. You don’t know what’s at the bottom of the hill. You begin your descent down the hill. You are not in control of the vehicle. As soon as you get to the bottom of the hill, you hear the gunshot…”

Booooooom!

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!” She shot him! She shot Christian! She really shot him! I can’t look! I can’t look!

You fucking bitch!” Some force that I am not aware of drags me across the room and straight for that bleached blonde halo. With a handful of a bleach job in my left hand, I am punching this woman ferociously with my right fist.

I’ll fucking kill you!” The hell you are going to die by a nice clean bullet! I am going to beat you until you can’t think for yourself and when I’m done, I’m going to beat you some more until I’m sure that you’re dead. I feel the cold, blunt end of my gun hit me in the head. I momentarily see stars, but then I just take her armed hand and hit her in the head with her own hand. She screams and drops the gun.

Why the fuck didn’t she just shoot me? Why didn’t she let me die with Christian? She was right. This is a punishment worse than any other and when she crosses over to meet Satan, he won’t even recognize his own daughter when I’m done with her.

You sick, crazy fucking bitch!” I scream as continue to punch her in her face. It’s not doing enough damage! I have to let her go. I pull every move out of my arsenal that I know—drop-kicks, roundhouses, elbow strikes, knee strikes, punches, smacks, even a few girlie scratches, hair pulls, and windmills. She was giving it right back to me, too. I didn’t know that she had it in her, but it won’t be enough to save her. She wanted to die and I am going to grant her wish. She shot my man. She killed my love. She will surely go after him, but not to the same place he has. He’s going to meet my biological father and tell him about how his little girl grew up and learned how to love in spite of adversity.

This bitch, on the other hand, is going straight to hell.

She makes one last attempt for the gun, which had landed somewhere behind her. Oh, no, you don’t, Bitch! I do an elementary trip and she falls flat on her plastic face. I’m sure that it cracked with the fall. I do a similar move on her that I did on Luc when he attacked me from behind. I sit on her back and place my right arm around her throat and my left arm across her head. I grab my left elbow with my right hand and squeeze with all my might. The sound of her gagging for breath is music to my ears. I can’t even see her face, but she’s still moving so I know that she’s still alive. I squeeze harder. Die, Bitch, die. Her body falls limp under me, but I know that she’s still alive. I heard Christian say that it takes three minutes to die by choking.

Christian.

I lose some of the strength in my arms when I think of him. She shot my man. My man is gone. Maybe I can save him. Fuck this bitch, I’ll kill you later…

I turn around to see… Christian! Christian! He’s okay… I think… he’she’s holding Jason. Oh my God, Jason! How did this happen?

Jason!” I crawl over to him and Christian. “Jason, where are you hit?”

Right… shoulder…” His voice is weak. He’s losing a lot of blood. Fuck! It’s gushing out like a damn fountain! Christian. Christian. Are you okay, Baby? Is Christian okay? I reach out for him and he jerks away from me. My heart skips. Does he think this is my fault? I try to stop the tears from falling. I have to focus. I have to help Jason. My hands are shaking. My whole body is shaking. Did he just fire Jason… again? I must be hallucinating. I have to help Jason.

Lie him flat, Christian, on the floor, please.” I have to move fast. He’s losing a lot of blood, which means the bullet has hit a major artery. A tourniquet would be best, but I don’t know where the bullet is and there’s no way to tie this off. I go to the bathroom to look for towels. There are washcloths. These will do. She shot Jason… and Christian won’t let me touch him. The well bursts and I am sobbing like a baby, but there’s no time for this. I have to help Jason.

I hear Jason call Christian a pussy for crying on him. I instruct Christian to get a bottle of water and drink it. Of course, he’s giving me a hard time. I’m sorry, Jason, but this is going to hurt…

Aaaaaaahhhhhh!” he cries as I push down on the wound.

What are you doing?” Christian yells. I can tell that he’s terrified.

I have to stop the bleeding,” I say, leaning into Jason’s wound and trying not to pay attention to the agony in his face. He knows what I’m doing. He knows that I have to, but that doesn’t help with the pain. “Christian, come over here. I want you to sing with me.”

He can’t believe his ears, but I repeat the request and start to sing The Itsy Bitsy Spider. I need to be distracted and so does he.

Oh, Ana, come on, seriously?” Motherfucker! I just tried my very best to kill She-Thing and I’ve got her blood all over my hands. Now, I’m trying to save Jason’s life and I’ve got his blood all over my clothes and my hands. Do you really want to argue with me right now?

Sing the goddamn song!” I scream at him. A few moments later, we are all singing the song…

“Get out of the car, Ana,” the voice says.

The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout…

I’m in the car again—the car with no roof and no windshield.

Down came the rain and washed the spider out…

The car is sitting idly at the bottom of the hill.

Out came the sun and dried up all the rain…

I get out of the car and open my eyes to see Ace right in front of my face.

“So the itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again.”


A/N: So I couldn’t even surprise you guys! Nearly everybody figured out that it was Kate, and those who weren’t sure strongly suspected that it was her. I have to stop being so damn predictable, lol.

Literally translated–C’est une vraie salope—it’s a real bitch. Talking about Kate, “she’s a real bitch.” If you remember, Ana and Christian had a short tête-à-tête in French in Paging Dr. Steele when Ana first met Kate and this was Ana’s analysis of Elliot’s then fiancée.

Before I forget–Camille, I couldn’t answer before I posted the chapter because I didn’t want to give the story away. 😉

You asked why CG’s office instead of the Greys house. That’s a good question (and an easy one)… more exposure. She could make good on her threat to go to the press more easily in downtown Seattle at Grey House than she could in suburban Bellevue. Not to mention, Grace would have most likely slammed the door in her face and quickly called Elliot and told him what was going on. She knew that CG would hold her there and get Elliot because 1) CG wants nothing to do with her and 2) he doesn’t want her to go to the press. An illegitimate Grey baby is a disaster for the Grey family no matter whose baby it is, so it had to be handled properly. 

Pictures of places, cars, fashion, etc. can be found at http://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/mending-dr-steele/

You can join my mailing list on the “Contact Me” page. Just click the link and it will lead you to a form to join the list.

Love and Handcuffs!
Lynn x

Mending Dr. Steele: Chapter 44—Painful Truths

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 44—Painful Truths

STEELE

The week was pretty uneventful after we had dinner at the Greys’ on Sunday. Val and I got the chance to talk about everything and nothing while Christian and Elliot talked on the balcony. She’s really worried about him and I can understand why. He just hasn’t been himself since this whole thing fell apart between Christian and me. Val admits that it goes back even further than that. This is one of the reasons why I find myself in the office on a Friday morning as this was the only day that Elliot had available to see me. He says that he has some things that he needs to work through and he really needs to get them off his chest, not now, but right now!

I’m reading the email that Christian sent me while I am waiting, deciding that he definitely wants chocolate for the groom’s cake. I sent him my five choices for flavor and filling for the bride and groom’s cake and he narrowed it down to three: white almond with raspberry crème filling, carrot with cream cheese filling, and strawberry with vanilla crème filling all with a Bailey’s butter crème icing. That works out great for me. I forward the final selection over to Tammy and remind her to be sure to secure the little surprise that I have for Christian with these choices. While I’m waiting for her response and for Elliot, my mind wanders to last night…

Christian was insatiable, I mean totally and completely unquenchable. I told him that I had my appointment with my OB/GYN and I had my IUD removed. It was like he was hell-bent on making a baby right there and then. I told him that some couples get pregnant right away while other couples could take months to conceive. That didn’t matter to him. He was like a machine. He kept going and going and going until sometime just before dawn when I tapped out and begged him for mercy. My whole body is deliciously sore and I keep having flashbacks followed by chills as I remember the many orgasms he gave me. He nearly had to drag me out of bed this morning and he did have to carry me to the shower. Oh, he was utterly magnificent last night. I’m so sated, I could just purr.

“Elliot’s here, Ana,” Marilyn says, bringing me out of my erotic daydream. How can I want him all over again and when he fucked my brains out so well last night?

“Thanks, Mare. Send him in.” I try not to look so wanton and sex crazy when Elliot enters, but his expression says it all.

“Are you okay?” he says, stopping just inside my office door. I sigh and roll my head.

“Just looking over some plans for the wedding,” I tell him. “It’s got me all a-flutter.”

“Really?” he asks incredulously. “You’re all flushed and I know better than to think they were for me, but I know ‘fuck me eyes’ when I see them. Were you just talking to my brother?” Damn! Busted! I turn away from him and walk to my chairs.

“No, I was just thinking of your brother. Sit down,” I surrender. He chuckles as he takes the seat across from me.

“Sorry,” he says, insincere.

“Sure you are,” I tease. “We’re starting off on a good note, aren’t we?”

“Hey, you’re going to be my sister soon. It’s only going to get worse,” he warns. Great. I will no longer have diplomatic immunity to Elliot’s endless ribbing.

“Be glad that I love you,” I sigh. I pick up my notebook. “Tell me why we’re here.” He sighs.

“This bitch is ruining my life,” he says. Huh?

“Come again?” He’s not talking about my dear friend, Valerie, now is he?

“I’m having problems,” he says. “I can’t let go.”

“Can’t let go of what?” I ask him, afraid that he’s going to tell me that he’s still in love with Kate.

“Kate.” And there it is. Fuck! I regret encouraging him to pursue Val, now. He wasn’t ready. I sigh heavily and remember that I am his therapist first, his soon-to-be sister-in-law second, and the woman who will have to listen to his current girlfriend cry into her Haagen Daas soon.

“Tell me more,” I say, picking up my pen.

“I hate her, Ana,” he says. Huh? That’s not what I expected to hear. “I hate her so much. She stole two years of my life from me and I just can’t let that go. I’m trying not to let it affect my other relationships, but look what I’ve done to Christian?”

“What about Valerie? Is this affecting your relationship with her?” I ask. He shakes his head.

“Valerie is the best thing that ever happened to me,” he says with conviction. “I don’t think that shrew could ever come between me and my Angel. I just don’t know how I managed to let that relationship come between me and Christian.” He shakes his head and rubs his neck. “He’s had a miserable life, and all I could see was him letting it all fly out the window and going back to that misery. He was all crying and upset, and all I could think was ‘well, why the fuck did you do this anyway? Why did you let this happen?’ All I could see was my breaking heart and never asking Kate why the hell she didn’t just leave me when she realized that she was in love with this Roger guy. People can be so selfish and I just don’t understand why they have to bring good people down in their misery.” I put my pen down.

“Elliot, this is dangerous territory for me—because this is me that we’re talking about. I can’t realistically help you see Christian’s point of view here because I was the one on the other side of the pain he caused and that he was feeling. I can only address your feelings for Kate. I can’t effectively tell you what to do about your brother.” He nods.

“I knew that. That’s why I wanted to see you. I don’t want you to tell me what to do about Christian. I don’t want to make this about Christian because I know it’s not. What happened with us is just a by-product of the bigger picture. How do I get over this anger and hatred for Kate?” He sounds like he’s pleading with me.

“You’ve had no closure,” I tell him. “You said you did, but you didn’t. You didn’t really tell her how you felt when the two of you broke up—you just admitted that—and you shunned her when she tried to meet you for lunch because Valerie didn’t want you to go. Now, you are feeling that unfinished business and it’s starting to work its way into your other relationships.”

“So what do I do?” he asks.

“Well, you have a couple of options. You can meet her, get it out in the open and tell her exactly how you feel. That is a crap shoot, however. Let me tell you from experience that it’s not always the best idea to meet up with your ex with the intention of giving her a piece of your mind. For me, the results were disastrous.” I shiver thinking about meeting David at Canlis for that very reason only to have him kidnap me weeks later.

“She has still been trying to get me to meet with her,” he says. I twist my lips.

“You may want to talk to Val about that one. It’s been four months since she first asked you and she still hasn’t let up. Have you spoken to her?”

“Only by accident,” he says. My expression must have told him that he needs to continue. “She called me from an unknown number and I answered it. Mostly, I’ve just been avoiding her. I would think that she would get the picture and go away, but she hasn’t. No crazy stalker shit, just texts and emails that she really needs to talk to me.”

“Maybe she needs closure, too.” He shrugs.

“Maybe she does, I don’t know. What’s my other option?”

“Journaling. Write her a letter. Tell her everything that you feel—how she has affected your life and your relationship with your brother. You don’t have to mail it, just write it down. Each time you feel these strong feelings against her, you write it down in a journal. This way, you’re not holding those feelings in only to let them out at the most inopportune times. I promise you, it will make you feel better.” He nods.

“Okay, I’ll try it.” He taps his fingers on the armrest. “I want to have a baby with Val.”

Oh shit, that got my attention.

“You… you what?” I stutter.

“I want to have a baby with her. She’s it for me. I’m not going anywhere else. I never felt this way with Kate or anyone. I loved Kate, but I couldn’t see children with her. I should have known then that our time would be short-lived, but that’s neither here nor there. I want to have a life with Val.”

“Does she know this? Have you talked about marriage?” I ask him.

“Who said anything about marriage?” he says. “Getting engaged to Kate turned her into a crazy batty bitch. Val doesn’t want to get married and neither do I… at least not right now. I could live with her forever and never exchange a ring if that’s what she wants, but I do want her to have my baby.”

“Again, does she know this?” I repeat. He shrugs.

“We’ve talked about it briefly. We’re not trying to have a baby tomorrow or anything. She is younger than I am and I know that she can wait a few more years without a problem. I don’t think I have any issues in that territory, but hell, I have the easy part. I’m willing to wait until she’s ready. I just want her to be the mother of my child… or children, whatever the future holds.” I smile.

“How did she respond to that?”

“Well, she’s not running for the hills, so that’s a good sign, but she’s pleased that I’m not rushing her. I just want her to know that when she’s ready, I am, too.” I nod.

“I know that this whole ‘Kate’ thing has been hard for you to swallow, but I think you’re on the right track here. You’re thinking about the future with the woman you love and you understand how the past is harming you and you want to do something about it. I wish more of my patients were like you.” He laughs.

“Yeah, let’s just see what happens with this journal thing before you start singing my praises,” he says. “Do you think he’ll ever truly forgive me?” he says as he drops his head. Uh oh, we’re back here again. “I’m not asking you this as my doctor. This is off the record. Have I lost my brother forever?” I sigh.

“No,” I say honestly. “He’s stubborn and it’s difficult for him to trust, but he loves harder than anyone I have ever known. He loves you, Elliot. He’s just going to have to get over the pain of what happened and why. Do you understand that he was alone and depressed and he needed you? That he was weak and he is not accustomed to feeling that way?” He nods.

“I did after the fact. When he looked at me—that day at the apartment—he was crying and I was pissed. I wanted him to pull himself together because I felt like he was acting like a little bitch—um, I mean…”

“I know what you meant, Elliot,” I say, rolling my eyes.

“Anyway, when he looked at me, it was like—even then, he was asking me why… why did I desert him. I saw it in his eyes and I couldn’t answer him. I knew he was hurting, but I was angry when I had no right to be. That’s why I have to get past what this woman did to me. If I’ve destroyed my relationship with my brother…” he holds his head down and quickly dashes away his tears. “You know that I’m not his best man,” he says. “I just assumed that I would be. I mean, I’m still in the wedding, standing between John Flynn and Ethan Kavanaugh, but I’m not his best man. That’s what I get for assuming,” he laughs through his tears. I rub his hand.

“Your brother loves you, Elliot, but you will have to give him time. You can’t rush forgiveness.”

“I know,” he says, his voice cracking before he breaks down into inconsolable tears.

*-*z

Can I even endure another session with Ace after the day that I’ve had? That bitch Gloria has spread rumors about me to the staff at Helping Hands and it’s nearly impossible to get anything done. While Grace and I have been able to dispel most of the rumors, there are always some who are bound and determined to believe the worst about people, particularly about me. Simple things like getting flyers printed is becoming a task. I had to bring in Supergirl Marilyn to let these bitches know that wouldn’t get the best of me. When Grace praised Marilyn in front of all of those catty heifers for “doing the work of four people,” they started to get their acts together for fear that they would lose their jobs. All this after that highly emotional session with Elliot, I don’t know if I can do this.

Christian is already at the office when I arrive. It seems that he wanted to talk to Ace before I got there. About what, I’m not sure. Nonetheless, they both take notice of my face and my condition.

“Are you sure that you want to do regression therapy today, Ana? You look like you are already out of it and you know how taxing this can be,” Ace cautions.

“Yes,” I tell him. “I want to examine some specific things… and Ace? Whatever we don’t do tonight, this will be my last time.” He looks at me and then at Christian.

“Whatever you want, Ana. I’ve left the evening open, in case it runs over, so we can spend as much or as little time on this as you want.” I nod and sit in the comfy chair. “Where do you want to start?”

“The hospital,” I say. I see Christian stiffen. “Baby, you don’t have to stay…”

“No, Butterfly,” he says, breaking the cardinal rule by coming over to me and grasping my hand bringing it to his lips. “I’m here for you. I’ll be here the whole time, okay?” I nod. He smiles at me and releases my hand, taking his place back on the other side of the room.

“Anything else, Ana?” Ace asks.

“The days and months after… until I leave Nevada for good,” I tell him. These are the moments that sealed the behaviors I practice today—the running, the shrinking, the fighting. I want to examine them all and this can’t take weeks. The healing will take weeks; the discovery has to happen now.

“Lie back, relax, and close your eyes,” Ace says and I obey. “Listen to the sound of my voice. I want you to breathe in and out, deeply. Concentrate on the breathing. While you are breathing, I want you to try to recall your first memory when you woke up in the hospital. Don’t try too hard, just concentrate on your breathing and let it come. See yourself traveling through a tunnel. It’s completely dark. Keep breathing… Now, you see a tiny light ahead of you. Go to that light and let the memory open in front of you. Keep breathing… when you are ready, tell me what you see…”

Blue walls. Pale blue walls and curtains. Curtains with different squares of blue… like a patchwork quilt. It’s cold. It’s really, really cold, and I hurt all over. I can’t move and I can’t speak, so I just lay there. There’s a tube in my throat and it hurts. There’s an IV in my arm and it hurts. I look out the window and I see pure blue clear sky. I try to sit up but my back is in so much pain that it makes me want to scream. I don’t know where I am or what’s going on, but the sterile chill of the room makes me realize that I’m in the hospital. I didn’t know how I got there or what happened. All I knew was that I wanted my mommy. That’s all I could remember from before I woke up… calling my mommy.

There’s no one in the room. It’s just me. I’m thirsty and I have to pee. I can’t hold it so I just pee. I feel relief, but no wet spot. I find out later that I’m wearing a catheter. I can’t put together what’s going on right now. My biggest question is what happened to me, and why isn’t my mommy here? She’ll be here soon. Some big dramatic thing happened—I got hit by a bus or something and she has been here every day and she finally had to go home and get some rest. How long have I been here anyway?

So I wait…

And I wait…

And I wait…

I don’t know how long I waited—minutes, hours—before someone finally came into the room. I laid there in so much pain. I cried for a little while, but then I stopped, then cried some more. A nurse finally came in and started messing with the machines. She didn’t even look at my face. She didn’t notice that I was awake until I moved my head. Then, instead of saying anything to me, she ran back out of the room. Several eternities later, the doctor came back in with her. He didn’t say anything to me either. He talked about me, but never to me. He talked about taking the tubes out of my throat and possibly removing the catheter if I could walk. He talked about my blood pressure, sugar and potassium levels, liver function… it’s like I wasn’t even in the room.

A little while later, they finally took the breathing and feeding tubes out and my throat hurt like hell. It was like fire… fire… I remember feeling fire on my back, but I still couldn’t put it together yet. They asked me my name, age, and who the President of the United States was…

The sun went down and it came back up… no mommy.

The sun went down again and it came back up again… no mommy.

The sun went down again and it came back up again… no mommy.

I don’t know how many sunsets and sunrises before mommy came. The days all ran together. Nobody talked to me except to ask me if I was in pain, which I always was. I could only nod and shake my head because my throat never stopped hurting. I had terrible nightmares of angry voices and lightning bolts…

“When did you finally see your mom?” the voice asks me.

“I don’t know. It was several days later…” I stopped counting the sunsets. I woke up and she was there. She was talking to someone—I never saw who it was. She was talking about how no one in the neighborhood would talk to her because I got myself in trouble. I had no idea what she was talking about, but I was so glad to hear her voice. She was finally here.

Mom,” I don’t know if she heard me. I don’t think she did because she kept talking, and I kept listening…

No one invited her over…

They avoided her in the supermarket…

She was trying to get into some club, but after this, they won’t come near her…

I’m not stupid. I knew that she’s talking about me. My heart broke again. I didn’t know what happened or who “they” were, but she was more concerned about them than she was about me.

I didn’t call her name again.

The doctor came in to the hospital room and they looked at me, and I looked at them. My mother acted all concerned, but she didn’t know that I heard her. She asked me what happened and I shook my head, telling her that I didn’t remember. The doctor said that the police wanted to talk to me, but I didn’t know what I can tell them.

I remember the officer coming into my room a little while later. My mother had to be present when he talked to me. He kept asking me questions that I couldn’t answer. Then he asked me about the ranch… if I knew any of the kids… what I was doing there in the first place…

Then I remembered.

It all came back to me at once and hit me like a tornado. In three seconds flat, I remembered waking up in the trunk of someone’s car, the terrible beating, the pain in my back that felt like I was being sawed in half. I remembered Carly’s voice and Cody’s voice and a whole lot of people who I don’t know or couldn’t see. Then I woke up here.

I froze.

Do you remember?” the officer asked. I looked up at him. What do I tell him? Cody and Carly did this because I told on him for raping me. What would happen if I squealed about this? Would they kill me? No, no, I can’t tell anyone what happened… ever! Nobody would believe me anyway. I started to weep and shook my head that I couldn’t remember. I think my mother knew that I was lying. I saw it in her eyes when she looked at me, but I didn’t care. I knew that she didn’t care either. The officer kept asking me if I remembered anything—kept talking about the bonfire and the teenagers there. I told him nothing. I had to go back to that school, back to that neighborhood, back to those people who did this to me. I would never, ever tell what happened. I would take it to my grave.

My mother left that day and never came back to the hospital. The officer kept coming back, though, to see if I remembered anything. I wouldn’t tell him if I did. During one of those sunsets, the doctor told me that I had lost my baby.

Baby? What baby?

He informed me that I was pregnant and that the baby aborted during the beating. I felt nothing. I didn’t know that monster impregnated me when he raped me. Once the doctor left, I felt ashamed—not because I was a teenage girl who had a baby, but because I was relieved that I didn’t have to decide what to do with that bastard rapist’s bastard child.

I cried some more.

More sunrises and more sunsets passed and I discovered that I had been beaten beyond recognition and spent four days in the hospital before anyone could identify who I was. Dear old Mom didn’t even look for me… not even a missing person’s report. I had spent three weeks in a coma during which time they performed a dilation and curettage to remove any remnants of the aborted child. I had lost 15 pounds while I was comatose and I can guess that as many people came to visit me while I was “asleep” as did when I was awake–none.

I hurt like hell… no longer on the outside, but on the inside. Nobody loved me. Nobody cared about me. I was worthless and useless and I wished I had died with that baby. They threatened to put me back on the feeding tube because so many sunsets came and I refused to eat. I was still on the IV, but I didn’t want food. All I wanted to do was sleep…

Another sunrise brought a welcome sight. He was sitting in a chair next to my bed watching something on television.

Daddy…” I croaked. His head snapped over to me.

Annie!” I remember he jumped out of the chair and nearly fell on his knees at my bedside. He kissed me many times on my face. “I’m taking you home, Sunflower.” I didn’t have to ask. I knew that he was taking me back to Montesano.

“When did you see your mom again?” the voice asks me.

“The day before school was about to start…” She showed up with him again in that same car they had taken me away in. She and Daddy fought and fought and fought. He tried. He tried everything that he could to get her to let me stay. He even told her that he would get the state involved for her letting this happen to me and not even filing a report. She pointed out that he was not my biological father, nor had he adopted me, and if they took me away from her that I would most likely end up in the foster care system. She didn’t seem too upset about that. She only used it to win the fight. Daddy and I both knew that we had lost. I was reliving one of the saddest days of my life all back over again and I swear she was loving it. I never understood what I did to make her hate me so much.

The ride back was worse than the first one. Stephen berated me badly enough to make me want to crawl into a hole and die… so I did. I curled up as small as I could, hoping that if he couldn’t see me, he wouldn’t say anything to me, but that didn’t work. He never stopped driving or talking for 19 hours straight. Mommy never saved me. Mommy left and never came back. During all of my suffering, I never saw my Mommy—not once. I missed her so much.

What Stephen didn’t know was that I knew real pain now, pain that made you wish that you were dead every second of every day. Just as I was getting over that pain, they were bringing me back to it. Nothing mattered but getting out. It didn’t matter what happened, I just had to get out.

“Tell me more about Mommy,” the voice said.

“There’s nothing else to tell. She left me and never came back…” I missed her every day. Every time Stephen said some horrible thing to me, I missed her. Every time Carla sat and watched while he berated me, or got up and left so that she wouldn’t have to hear it, I missed her. Every time I snuck into the house to curl up small in my bed and disappear, I missed her. Every time I had nightmares about lightning bolts and woke up screaming her name, I missed her. I missed her so much that I felt like my heart was bleeding slowly and painfully out of my ears. I missed her all the way to the day that graduated high school. I wanted her so badly. I loved her so much, but she didn’t want me. I was only a weapon for her to use against my father…

“When did you stop loving her?” the voice asks.

I hated her the moment I stepped on that bus to go back to Washington. I hated her because I had to hide from Daddy to keep her from finding me and dragging me back since I was still a minor. My anger burned inside of me and I never looked back… never

“But when did you stop loving her?” the voice asks again. A myriad of thoughts run through my head. The horrible fights, the way she ignored me, ripping me away from Ray—twice, letting her monster of a husband subject me to repeated mental cruelty… I was so angry and so hurt, but when did I stop loving her? I open my eyes and look up at Ace, tears streaming down my face.

“Never,” I say softly. Just like that, my heart is breaking again. Dammit, dammit, dammit! I want to have a temper tantrum right now. I was resolved in the hatred that I had for this woman. I really was. I was content to hate her—to never see her again until the day that I had to bury her. Now I realize that I never really hated her. I hated her actions and the things she allowed to happen… or I should say her lack of action. Carla Morton makes my skin crawl, but once upon a time, Carla Steele was Mommy—and I miss my mommy so much that I can feel my soul cracking.

“Oh God,” I whimper, unable to do anything but cry into my hands. “I love her. Oh, God, I love her. How can I love someone so cruel and unfeeling?” Christian is by my side in a moment. I lay on his shoulder and just weep into his neck.

“You can’t choose who you love,” Ace’s voice floats through my tears. “It’s okay to love your mother and to dislike the woman that she has become.” I feel lost. This is the worst pain that I have ever felt, even worst than the beating. This is consuming, blinding, dizzying pain that I don’t know how to handle.

“What do I do? I can’t take this!” I cry. I hear Ace tell Christian to let me go, reminding him about some talk they had. Please don’t let me go, I silently beg him. I’ll fall apart completely if you let me go.

Christian is trying to pry himself away from me, but I am clinging to him for dear life. I am certain that I’m going to fall into the abyss if he leaves my side.

“No, don’t!” I wail. Don’t leave me! I’ll die! I swear I’ll die!

“Ace… please…” I hear Christian’s voice.

“She has to cross this bridge alone, Christian. You have to let her go,” Ace instructs him. I feel rather than hear him sigh. He’s going to leave me! No! No, please don’t! I can’t hear anything anyone is saying at this point. I only feel Christian prying my fingers from his arms… and I’m back in that room; that dark room with the twin sized bed and the chest of drawers and nothing else. My book bag is on the floor where it always is—at the foot of the bed where I drop it every night before I crawl into bed fully dressed and hide under the covers until my alarm clock announces blessed freedom. I am so cold. Why is it always so damn cold in this room? I’ve always only had one blanket on this bed. It never changes. I need another cover, but that would mean that I was trying to make it comfortable here. I’ll never be comfortable here.

I wrap my arms around my legs to warm myself and rock myself like I do every night. I sing the song to myself that takes me back to that happy moment when Mommy and Daddy still loved each other… and still loved me…

No wind, no rain, or winter’s cold can stop me, Babe, Baby, if you’re my goal…
No wind, no rain, or winter’s cold can stop me, Babe, if you wanna go…

“Ana?” Is that part of my nightmares? I keep singing to myself to chase it away.

If you need me, call me, no matter where you are, no matter how far, don’t worry baby.
Just call my name, I’ll be there in a hurry, on that you can depend and never worry…

“Butterfly…” Huh? I raise my head and I’m no longer in those four tan walls behind that door at the top of the stairs in that house on Baby Bud Lane. I’m in an office… Ace’s office… on the floor. What just happened?

I don’t bother to speak. I don’t know what to say. I think I’ve had enough of this regression shit. I went back to that damn room and I wasn’t even trying! I am wiped the fuck out. Now, I’m certain of what I have to do, but not yet. I can’t even stand up.

“Ana?” Ace says my name again.

“Help me up,” I gesture to Christian. I have tied my legs in knots and can’t even uncross them. He lifts me off the ground like a piece of paper, gently setting me on my feet and holding me there until I get my bearings.

“Home?” he says to me.

“Yes,” I nod, then I turn to Ace. “This has opened a whole new set of emotions for me, Ace, feelings that I know that I can’t escape from. We will have to deal with them in more detail, but no more regression therapy. I’ve unlocked these issues and I’m going to need a lot of help dealing with them now. However, the doctor in me knows that now that I have acknowledged my biggest issue, rehashing the past is not going to do me any good after this. I hope we can agree on this.” He nods.

“We agree,” he says, “but if you ever again slip into regression on your own like that, you need to tell me immediately. Are we understood?”

“Understood. Now I really want to just get home and start my weekend,” I confess.

*-*

I’m very happy for an uneventful Saturday morning. The Scooby Gang and I all went to the Marketplace for a treasure hunts just like old times. It seemed like ages since I had seen Gary and Phil and I have to admit, I missed them a lot. We had lunch and talked and none of the issues that had caused any strife came up at all during our trip. I told them all that I wanted us to be the way that we were before, and that I didn’t plan on giving up F&L. I was just going to adjust it to my new life so that I still had time to spend with my friends. They were just happy to hear that I wasn’t ditching F&L. After lots of hugs and kisses, we all went our separate ways for the afternoon.

Tammy and Al are going to meet me later this afternoon for more wedding planning and to scratch some more things off the list. First, I have to go and pick up my new baby. Once I knew where my old Beretta was, I was comfortable with getting a new one. I don’t know how Christian is going to feel about that since he hasn’t really settled into the idea of me having guns in his apartment. At least I don’t think he has. Add to that the fact that She-Thing tried to kill him with my old Beretta. I’ll tell him about my new one, but not yet. I think everything is just too fresh. Besides, I won’t let this one stay at the condo. It will go with me when I go and I won’t leave my weapons unsecured anymore.

Off I go to the West Coast Armory to pick up my new Beretta. I searched for a while, trying to find something comparable to my Px4 Storm. That little beauty was sweet. Then I met the 92 M9A1 Compact with Rail in inox finish—aluminum alloy assembly with a stainless steel barrel and slide. Now this is pretty. I only saw it in the catalog and held a display model and I was hooked. I put one on order and got the word on Monday that she was ready. I can hardly wait to get there.

Of course, I got the “Little Lady” looks from some of the guys again in the pro shop. I used to be all sensitive until I put myself in their shoes. How would I feel if I were them and I saw me coming into a gun shop or a shooting range? I would think I was lost.

“You’ve got an order for Sun Steele?” I ask, using the nickname Daddy gave me. No use in causing a possible riot with Anastasia Steele at the armory buying a new gun right after her fiancé was nearly killed with her old one. Of course, my real name is on record, but that’s what we have for nosy customers that might be listening.

So out comes the Pelican Storm Attache pistol case and when he pops it open, there she is. She is a beauty. The stainless steel is satin finish—a custom job. It shares some of the safety features of the Px4 and it’s just as light, but it’s a larger handgun with a larger external hammer. I liked the commando hammer of the Px4, but I’m skilled enough for the larger hammer. Hell, I carry a Glock! I didn’t have to sacrifice my 3-dot site or my Picatinny rail with the M9A1. While I lost the drop-free mag release, I gained the combat trigger guard with gives the gun more stability because it allows the shooter a better grip with the supporting hand. The only thing the drop-free mag release was good for was looking cool when I took out the magazine… or if I ever got in a shootout. Yeah, that was gonna happen…

Now, the “little boys” in the pro-shop are trying not to look interested in this beautiful little military style piece of machinery. I pick it up and test the weight of it in my hand, smiling and nodding at the perfect fit. Even without the drop-free mag, the magazine slides out and falls into my hand with ease when I press the release. Yeah, I can still look cool if I want. After releasing lock and checking the barrel and slide, I aim down and pull the trigger. This gun boasts being good for smaller hands and let’s face it… I’ve got small hands. This baby is perfect.

“I’ll clean it up, get you some ammo and get it ready for you to go,” the gunsmith says and I place the Beretta back into the attaché. I smile and nod.

“Okay, I’m going to the shooting range,” I say, holding up the second attaché with my Glock that I brought with me. No overdoing it this time, Steele.

“You’re going to shoot in that?” he says, gesturing to my attire. I just smirk at him.

“I can do anything in stilettos,” I tell him with a wink, informing him to tell me when my gun was ready.

I decide to get a little practice in while I’m waiting for the finishing touches to be added to my new Beretta. When I head into the stall area, I am already wearing my noise-reducing headset. I look just a few stalls down and I am drawn immediately to a pair of not-so-tight-fitting dark blue jeans on a wonderful muscular ass. He’s bending slightly so that all I can see is that beautiful butt sticking out from the booth. Good God, that’s a fine piece of ass!

Oh, damn! I’ve got a fiancé! A hot, handsome, rich, sex-god fiancé! What the hell am I doing looking at some random man’s ass? Get it together, Steele! What the hell is wrong with you? I empty the clip on one target focusing on She-Thing, but more angry with myself for focusing on some stranger’s ass when I have Christian.

I pop in the second clip and pause for a moment to watch Buns of Steel’s target being obliterated by wild bullets. Hmm… strictly amateur… must be a beginner. I destroy the face and head of my target once more, then examine Buns’ target again. His shots are immediately more controlled and focused. Whoever he is, he takes instruction well.

I remove my headset as the noise never really bothered me as long as I don’t stay for too long. I decide on one more clip before I leave. As I’m loading the magazine and watching Buns’ technique get better and better by the second, I hear what I assume is his instructor say “Okay, Son, you’re a real natural at this. One thing you have to remember is holding your stance or a more powerful weapon will knock you off your feet. I see this guy has loaded up another target. Let’s see what his pattern will be this time.”

They must be talking about me because there’s no one else in the bay right now. Why do they always assume that it’s a guy? That voice sounds eerily familiar, but these rooms have a tendency to distort sound, so I chalk it up to that. Time to show the guys what my pattern will be. How’s this for a pattern?

Two to each eye, two to the heart, then I empty the clip in his balls—precision bullet holes that look like only one bullet, except for the nuts which are blasted to hell. I can’t help but giggle a little when there is silence in the bay after my last clip is emptied.

“Annie!?”

My breath catches in my throat. I knew that voice sounded familiar! Oh God, please tell me that I was not just ogling my Dad’s ass. I think I’m going to be scarred for life. I lean back out of my stall and make stunned eye-contact with my father.

“Daddy?” I glare, taking a deep, relieved breath when I see Buns still leaning inside the stall. Whew! That would have been traumatizing! “Daddy, what are you doing here?”

“I… have a new student, and I think it’s time you two met.” He taps Buns who slowly stands up to reveal himself. Peering around the wall of the stall from behind a pair of goggles wrapped over a mop of messy copper hair is a pair of gray eyes that I know only too well.

“Christian!?” I say, flabbergasted. He hates guns! What is he doing here?

“Hi, Butterfly,” he says, timidly. What the hell? I think I’m in shock. Is he seriously here learning to shoot? I was hiding my new Beretta from him! Why the hell didn’t he tell me? He removes his goggles and strides over to me. “Are you mad at me?”

“No, I’m not mad, I’m stunned!” I shoot. “Why didn’t you tell me? Is this what you’ve been doing for the last few weeks?”

“Um, yeah?” It sounds like a question. Oooo, I could just kill these two!

“Dammit, Daddy!” Did I just curse at my father?

“Hey, don’t blame me. He called me. I couldn’t turn him down—he wanted to protect himself.” I roll my eyes and put my hand on my forehead.

“Why are you so angry with me?” Christian asks.

“I’m not angry with you!” I snap. “I carry two guns. I had to hide my new Beretta…” Oops, the cats out of the bag now, but I don’t care.

“You got a new Beretta,” Daddy asks.

“Don’t change the subject!” I scold, eyebrows furrowed and pointing at him like a school Marm. He is fighting not to laugh and Daddy just turns around clearly losing the fight. These two… dammit, I love them and I can’t call them names. “Stop laughing at me!”

“Butterfly, why are you so upset?” Christian asks with mirth.

“I’m not upset, I’m…” What is the problem? What’s wrong with Daddy teaching Christian how to shoot? He’s the best teacher there is. He taught me, after all. Christian’s eyes get large with realization.

“Butterfly… are you jealous?” No! Am I? There’s no reason to be jealous… is there? I mean, I did want to be the one to teach him… or at least share some tips with him. Is that what this is? Dammit, why are they still standing there laughing at me!? I stand up straight and glare at Christian. His laughter stops immediately though the smirk is still firmly planted on his face.

“I’m going to go get my new gun,” I say, doing a military turn and releasing the magazine in my Boo. I gather my attaché and empty magazines and storm out of the shooting bay. Chuck is waiting for me in the pro shop. He frowns when he sees my face.

“Your boss is in there, and he’s got jokes,” I snap.

“Jason?” he asks incredulously.

“Christian!” I spit. He frowns.

“I’ve seen you shoot. Why would he have jokes about your shoowait a minute! Why is he on a shooting range?”

“Apparently, my dad is teaching him how to shoot!” I hiss. Chuck raises his eyebrow at me.

“You’re angry about this?” he asks.

“I don’t know what I feel about it!” I turn around to the gunsmith. “Is my gun ready?” He’s smirking, too.

“Yes Ma’am, and not a moment too soon,” he says, handing me the attaché. “Here’s your receipt, charged to your Discover on file.”

“Thank you,” I say, taming my anger at him, although he’s laughing, too. I’m getting the hell out of here and get back to my wedding planning. Cocky ass bastards, the whole lot of them!


GREY

Well, that went over like a lead balloon. I really don’t know why I was hiding the fact from Butterfly that I was learning to shoot, but clearly, teasing her was not a good idea. I look over at Ray.

“Let her cool off. She’ll get over it, though you might want to tell her why you were keeping it a secret,” Ray tells me.

“I’m not completely sure about that one myself, but let’s continue. No use in halting my progress now,” I say as I pick up my weapon again. I’m training with the Glock G17. It’s heavier and a bit larger than Butterfly’s G19, but I do have bigger hands. Ray says that the trigger action makes this gun better for training. He usually wouldn’t put a gun in a student’s hand for at least a month, but he says that I learn fast so instead of giving me a revolver, we went straight to the semi-automatic.

“Alright, Son, back in position—dominant hand on the grip, supporting hand cradling. Keep your thumbs clear of the slide. Develop your sight picture and don’t forget to follow through.” Got it, Ray. He’s an excellent teacher and I am sure to pay extra close attention to all of his instructions. Spreading my feet apart and taking stance, I line the target in my sites and fire several shots. The recoil still takes some getting used to, but I practice the magnet technique Ray discussed with me several times to keep the weapon pointed downrange and make sure that each time it jerks back from the recoil after the fire, I bring it back down to the target. More practice will give me more control and I will soon be able to offset the recoil. We practice a little while longer before we call it a day and head back to our respective homes.

I enter Escala cautiously, looking for Hurricane Butterfly and waiting for the fallout from the gun range. It’s eerily quiet. I saw her car in the parking garage so I know that she’s here. I go straight to the bridal cove and I can hear the voices behind the door.

“So I have finally gotten the dress all sorted, I just have to match it up with shoes and accessories. Now the getaway car, I want a Bentley—a classic Bentley. Any idea where I can find one?”

“Good God, Ana! You want me to find a classic Bentley in two months? Are you serious?” That must be Tamara. I can find a classic Bentley in two months. Hell, I’ll have it polished and delivered in one. Money talks.

“Just see what you can do, okay?” Butterfly is sounding exasperated again. It’s time for me to walk away so that I don’t interfere. I head back down to my study to see what’s happening in my world.

I look at my phone since I didn’t check it when I left the gun range. Dad sent me a text assuring me that Anton Myrick is definitely still a resident of Ionia although for some reason, he can’t seem to get any information on his charges or release date either, but he is still working on it. I have several missed calls from an unknown number, but no messages—no loss for me. I run through some emails that I missed yesterday. The new security set-up at Butterfly’s building seems to be moving along smoothly. I put another of my companies at her condo and that place is like Fort Knox now.

Ros informed me earlier this week that Cassie Hamilton apparently wants to see me. I knew that she would. Her little business is getting weaker and weaker very quickly. Certain businesses are highly dependent on word of mouth, and the word that she is getting is not good at all. I send an email to Andrea and Ros to schedule a meeting with her sometime in the next few weeks and to tell her that if she is not appropriately dressed, she will not be allowed into the building.

Jason has his doctor’s appointment on Monday for his follow-up to see if he is ready to come out of his sling yet. It’s only been a couple of weeks, but I miss having that guy in the office. Lawrence is really good at what he does, but he’s no Jason Taylor. That man knows what I’m thinking before I say it. Speaking of which…

“Have you heard the news?” Jason asks, standing in the doorway of my study while simultaneously knocking on the door.

“What news?” I ask, gesturing for him to come into the office. He steps in and sits down.

“Lincoln may plead on some of the child porn cases,” he informs me. I raise an eyebrow at him.

“Really?” I ask. “It’s not like she can refute the evidence they found in her home, but hell, she’s trying to claim insanity in the shooting, so I guess anything is possible.”

“She should hope that she stays in there for a long, long time, because if she ever gets out, I’m going to hunt her down like the wild dog that she is,” he says through his teeth.

“You’ll have to get in line,” I warn him, “and from what I can see, it’s a long line.” I see him wiggling his hand a bit. “How’s the shoulder?”

“Achy. Itching to be used. Numb from time to time from falling asleep. It’s getting on my fucking nerves,” he complains.

“Hopefully, the doctor will have some good news for you on Monday. Any difficulty so far?”

“Range of motion. I’m sure that will be restored once I’m out of this ‘restraint device’ and the PT starts.” I nod.

“I for one sure as hell will be glad to have you back on duty.” He frowns.

“Ben giving you problems?” he asks.

“Yeah.” He sits up, keen and alert now. “He’s not you.” He relaxes in his chair again.

“That’s why it’s so hard to keep an eye on you,” he says. “You’re a creature of habit. You hate change. Even your randomness has a pattern. Anybody who watches you closely enough can figure out your routines. Now would be a good time to start working on that—particularly since you’ll be a husband soon.” I sit back.

“How the hell am I supposed to do that? I didn’t even know that I was doing the same things.”

“We’ll work on it,” he says. “She was a little miffed when she got home,” he says, gesturing upwards to let me know that he is referring to the Butterfly in the upstairs bedroom. I run my hand through my hair.

“She caught me at the shooting range with Ray.” He raised his eyebrow at me.

“Really?” He seems amused. “You didn’t tell her that you were taking lessons.” It’s a statement, not a question. I shake my head. “No offense, Boss, but why the fuck not?”

“Ray taught her and it’s my understanding that she pretty damn good. That means Ray must be one of the best. I had a feeling that she wanted to teach me. She’s good, but she’s not the best. That feeling was confirmed by the way that she reacted when she saw us. We made it worse by teasing her a bit. You know she hates that shit on a good day, so…” I trail off. He shakes his head.

“To be so smart, you’re kind of dumb, Boss,” he laughs.

“Jason Taylor, are you in here working?” Gail’s face peers around the corner.

“Why, did you see me smiling?” The words are out of his mouth before he can catch them. Gail looks affronted and leaves without a word. “Shit,” he mumbles.

“Is everything okay?” I’ve never seen them at odds at all. This is a strange sight for me.

“We had a fight this morning. She thinks I’m trying to get back to work too soon. I told her that I won’t do anything that the doctor tells me not to do. He tells me to stay off work, I’ll stay off work. He tells me to do PT, I’ll do PT. He tells me to stand on my head, I’ll stand on my fucking head…”

“Those words exactly?” I inquire.

“Not exactly, but just as brutal,” he sighs. “I’ve got cabin fever, Boss. I’ve been on house arrest for nearly three weeks—either here on at the hospital. I won’t do anything to jeopardize my recovery, but I’m also turning into a fat, flabby fucker.” Of course, he’s exaggerating. True, his injured arm is definitely going to need rebuilding of muscle tone and he’s going to have to do some endurance training to regain his usual stamina, but I’d bet my fortune that he hasn’t gained—or lost—a pound. “She’s miffed at me because I won’t eat these monster meals she keeps putting in front of me.” Oops, there goes my fortune.

“You’re not eating?” I ask, a bit horrified. He twists his lips.

“Of course, I’m eating,” he nearly hisses. “I’m trying not to get fat—I’m not aiming for divorce.” After rolling his eyes, he continues. “I’m only eating regular helpings of protein and large amounts of vegetables—no carbs until I can get up and burn them off. I’m always jittery—I’m like a kid with ADHD. She’s all over me… I can’t breathe. I love her, but us being together in each other’s faces 24/7 is wearing on me, especially when I have no way but sex to release aggression. I mean, it’s great, believe me—but you know better that I do that guys like us need to work the day off in more aggressive manners sometimes. I’m having issues and it’s not getting by her.” I don’t even know what to suggest in this instance.

“I would say take a day apart to refresh yourselves, but I think at this point that would do more harm than good,” I say. He nods.

“When I do something like this, I try to think of how I can make it up to her. This time, I’ve got nothing because I don’t think I’m wrong.”

“That means that you’re definitely wrong,” I tell him. “You can’t see it and she sees it loud and clear. Even if you’re not wrong, you’re wrong.”

“I’m not beating myself up about this, Boss. I’ve been beat up enough, don’t you think?” His eyes are a mixture of angry, frustrated, and pleading.

“Yeah, I do,” I reply, “but whose opinion really counts here… mine or hers?” I cock my head at him and he twists his lips again. “Yeah, remember what you said to me a minute ago about being so smart that you’re dumb?”

“I hate when you’re so damn logical,” he says.

*-*

Butterfly is standing at the door of our bedroom. She’s panting heavily and her skin is flushed. She’s standing against the door with a look on her face like she has seen a ghost. I’m sitting up in the bed, only recently having discovered her absence. I looked at the en suite door and saw no light under it, then at the clock and saw that it’s two in the morning. I was just about to go in search of her when she came rushing back into the room, trying to be quiet.

I stayed in my study for most of the evening, not by choice—I just got caught up in my work like I usually do. When I came to bed, she was already asleep. We had missed dinner and apparently, I had pissed her off more than I thought at the shooting range. Jason and I ate dinner together in the study while our women were sulking in other parts of the apartment. When I came to bed, she was draped in one of my T-shirts looking edible, but I just decided to spoon her, holding her close to me even though we were at odds. She didn’t even stir and I fell immediately asleep. Now, she’s standing at the door panting a bit like she’s running from the killer in horror film, except…

Her hands run up her body, one of them lands in her hair and the other between her breasts on her chest. Even in the dark, she is clearly flushed. What the hell happened?

“Are you okay?” I ask, trying not to startle her. I failed. She gasps and her blue eyes are now fixed on me. Shit, I can’t move—that look! She dashes to the bed, throws back the comforter and climbs into my lap straddling me. Thrusting her fingers into my hair, she kisses me hungrily.

Fuck! Fire!

We are groaning into each others’ mouth and I am trying to dip her to get better control of the kiss, but she yanks my hair—hard—to let me know that this is her party, and I gladly oblige.

Out of breath from kissing, she breaks away and immediately reaches between us to my pajama pants. Finding her goal, she pulls my dick out of the fly flap and tries to get it inside of her without breaking our contact. I reach around between her legs and help her, guiding my erect member into her wet folds until it sinks readily into her hot core.

“Ah!” The pleasure is immediate. I grab her hips and try to thrust, but she is in control—riding me and grinding me so well that I feel like I may explode on the spot. I wrap my arms around her and match her sensuous movements. She is wrapped around me, pulling my hair and possessively kissing whatever part of me is available—my neck, my jaw, my ears—before sinking her delicious tongue back into my mouth. She is fucking me—and well!

Pulling my head to her chest, she holds me close to her as she grinds into me over and over. She is a woman on a mission, and I am her fortunate victim! She is rolling on me and moving my dick around inside of her walls so well that I almost want to cry. She is whimpering with each stroke now.

It feels so good.
It sounds so good.
I’m going to blow.

I grab her hips and try to slow her, but it’s no good. She’s at the animalistic level of sex now and I just have to ride. I can’t take it anymore.

“Baby… shit… Baby… I’m gonna come… I’m gonna come…” I feel Greystone getting harder inside of her. “Baby… ah… I’m coming… I’m coming…” I grunt. That doesn’t halt her feverish bounce and grind. Moments later, she throws her head back and comes magnificently with me. Thank God! I would have hated to have that magnificent orgasm and she was left without getting hers.

She pulls me to her again and holds me. I wrap my arms possessively around her so that I can feel her warmth and her heartbeat and Greystone can stay in his happy place for a little longer. She pulls my face back and looks me in the eyes, her look and breathlessness telling me that she is completely sated. I put my hand behind her neck and kiss her with passion, trying to convey the love and gratitude for how she makes me feel. I lay back on the pillows slightly propped on the headboard, taking her with me so that she is lying on my shoulder. We lay there for several minutes, catching our breath and caressing each other. I was the first to break the silence.

“Baby, what happened?” I say softly. She freezes. Shit, way to ruin the mood Grey. She pushes herself up to sit up and look in my eyes. Luckily, she hasn’t moved from me and Greystone is still cuddled in her warmth.

“Swear that you won’t laugh at me again,” she says, her expression serious. Shit. Shit. Shit. I’m a real fucking jerk.

“I promise, Baby. I’m sorry,” I tell her. She nods and drops her head.

“I was going to get something to drink,” she begins. “Before I got around the stairs, I heard Jason and Gail talking in the great room. They’ve had some kind of fight and they were apologizing to each other. Before I had the chance to let them know that I was there, Gail just…” Oh hell, what happened? She turns red again.

“Baby?” I prompt. She looks up at me again.

“The only time I have ever watched people have sex was at the clubs, Christian. I’m not a voyeur—except when it’s appropriate… if there is such a thing.” She’s rambling.

“Baby, what are you talking about?”

“They made up… right there on the sofa… not our sofa…” I know that she’s referring to the sofa where she and I have shared many orgasms. “But on another part of the sofa. Jason tried to stop her, but…” She’s starts breathing heavily again and I can feel her muscles contracting inside of me. “It was the most erotic thing I have ever seen, because it was real. It was love and they couldn’t control it. It wasn’t a show for someone else. I tried to leave, to give them their privacy, but I couldn’t help it. It was primal and I got so hot watching it., not because it was raunchy because it wasn’t. It’s because it was real.”

Her pupils dilate and she’s looking at me with serious “fuck me” eyes even though we both just came. Her muscles are gripping me and Greystone is coming back to life. I begin to caress her back and hips and her breath catches.

“Are you telling me that you watched Jason and Gail have sex on the sofa?” I say, my voice deep and thick with my growing hunger. She nods like a child confessing to stealing a cookie from the cookie jar.

“Please don’t ever tell them,” she beseeches, her voice just above a whisper. “I should have left. I never should have intruded on their private moments, but I just couldn’t leave. I… should have left.” I nod and squeeze her hips. She gasps and starts panting again.

“Can I fuck you now?” I ask her. She nods frantically.

“Yes!” she breathes. “Oh, God, yes… please…” I snatch my T-shirt over her head, revealing her beautiful sweaty body. Pulling an inviting nipple into my mouth, I undo the top snap of my pajama pants so that I can rid myself of them and really get down to business.

*-*

The weekend was outstanding after we got over the firing range incident. I think it’s just me, but sex seems to be even better since Butterfly got rid of the IUD. I never knew that it was there during lovemaking, but knowing that we could be creating our first child… well, my first child—gives me a bit of a thrill. I want to make her the happiest pregnant woman alive. I want to make sure that she has no remembrance of her lost baby while she’s carrying mine.

I’m contentedly going on about my day on a sunny Wednesday morning when I get a call that I know will change my life.

“Um, Sir, there’s a woman down here with a baby in a stroller and she says that she needs to see you. She… doesn’t have an appointment and she won’t give me her name. She says that if you knew who she was, you would certainly not see her.” Oh, shit. Please don’t tell me that one of my ex-subs has shown up with a baby only months before I’m supposed to marry the woman that I love. She has been through enough already. I can’t put her through this, too.

“Tell her that if she doesn’t tell me who she is, I still won’t see her.” He relays the message then gets back on the phone.

“She says that she won’t tell you unless you see her, but she’ll be happy to tell the press if you don’t want to know.” Fuck, who is this woman?

“Put her in the first-floor conference room. I’ll meet her there,” I say and end the call. Damn! Whoever she is knows damn well that I don’t want a Grey baby in the news. What will I tell Ana? Will this ruin us… again? I dial Welch’s number.

“Sir?”

“I need you to meet me in the first-floor conference room. We may have a Winterborne on our hands.” He’s quiet for a moment. I know he’s mentally running through our code words and when this one finally clicks…

“Oh, fuck,” he says under his breath. “On my way, Sir.”

I have never been so nervous in my life. Even when I was about to tell my parents about my lifestyle, I didn’t have the sinking feeling that I have now, and it’s not because of the elevator descending quickly to my fate. It’s because I can see my life, my love, and my happiness running out the door on the cries of a baby. No matter how much I try to steel my nerves, I feel like I’m going to shit myself. The seconds take forever as they tick closer to the woman in the first-floor conference room. The elevator doors open and Welch is standing there waiting for me.

“Are you alright, Sir?” he says, frowning at me. No! No, I’m not alright. I must look a fright for him to ask me that. I take my handkerchief from inside my jacket and wipe the sweat away, straighten my tie—and my back—and walk forward to the conference. When I open the door, my breath is nearly snatched out of my body.

“Hello, Christian,” she says, more nervous than anything. I look from her to the baby and back to her. “I didn’t want to come here, but I didn’t know what else to do.” I look at her again, then pull out my blackberry.

Christian! Hi…”

“You need to get to my office… now!”


A/N:

Dun, dun, duuuuuuuuunnnn! Who just walked into Christian’s office?

When Ana was curled on the floor, she was singing Aint No Mountain High Enough—two versions, One by Marvin Gaye and one by Diana Ross. She was singing the words to one version first, then the other version afterwards.

Pictures of places, cars, fashion, etc. can be found at http://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/mending-dr-steele/

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Love and Handcuffs!
Lynn x