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
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.
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.
“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.
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 shoo… wait 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!
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.
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.
“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.
“You need to get to my office… now!”
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.
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Love and Handcuffs!