I do not own Fifty Shades Trilogy or the characters. They belong to E. L. James. I am only exercising my right to exploit, abuse, and mangle the characters to MY discretion in MY story in MY interpretation as a fan. I hope you—as a fellow fan—enjoy it, too.
Chapter 72—Think Before You Act
I don’t know how much time has passed before my thoughts are interrupted by a knock at the door. I look up and see Charles looking at me through the glass. I sit up and wave him in.
“Excuse me. Ana wants her phone.” Damn, she won’t even come downstairs to get her phone. I gesture towards the bedroom.
“It’s on the charger… on the floor, near the bed.” He gestures to the bedroom.
“May I?” he asks. I nod. He disappears into the bedroom for a few moments and emerges with Butterfly’s phone. He gives me a tight nod and heads for the door.
“Do I really fuck up that much?” I ask before he gets the chance to close it. He turns around.
“Sir, I’m already skating on thin ice here. I think it’s best that I keep my personal feelings separate from my job. It makes things easier and more professional.”
“Don’t give me that, Charles,” I say with no malice. “You and Ana are friends. She may not tell you her deep, dark secrets, but there are some days where you spend more time with her than I do.” He folds his arms.
“How do you expect me to answer that?” he asks. “You can’t answer that question ‘yes’ or ‘no’ without some kind of explanation. Even if I did have an answer for you, how do you suggest I tell my boss that he fucked up in any way? Man, you fired me—for something that wasn’t even my fault—and I didn’t protest. I just turned around and walked away. Now, I’m waiting to see if I’m still going to be employed when we get back to Seattle…”
“You’re not getting fired, Charles,” I say, exasperated.
“Well, that’s really good to hear because I really like this job, so thank you, sir. Having said that, how do you suggest I handle this particular situation… you know, now that I’ve got my job back and all?”
This man is logical to a fault. He’s right, though. That was a dumb and inappropriate question for me to ask him and I can’t possibly expect him to answer it. I nod and wave him off, dismissing him with Butterfly’s phone and go back to whatever I was looking at on my laptop.
I don’t know how long I sit there trying to work and kicking myself wondering what I can possibly do to fix what I’ve done. There has been no sound from upstairs in the villa after the big “splash” and with everything going on right now, I feel like pure shit that I have made her feel this way… again. I mean, I didn’t do anything again per se, but my prior actions now have future consequences because I wasn’t forthcoming with some very vital information. I’m stiff and I am now sitting here in the dark, so I know that a considerable amount of time has passed and Butterfly refuses to emerge from whatever safe place she has escaped to. I find myself in front of the computer typing out an email.
To: Anastasia Steele-Grey
Subject: Alpha-male, Dominant, Control-freak, Idiot
Date: Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 20:16
From: Christian Grey
I’m so sorry. I’ll never do this again. I hope that I haven’t shaken your trust in me, although I can’t see how it could still be intact after this. I trust you implicitly and I should have proven it better that night. I let my foolish insecurities get in the way and I’m fully aware of the detrimental consequences my actions have had and could have had. I hope in time that you will forgive me and trust that I understand the grave mistake that I made.
Christian Grey, (doesn’t know who he is without you right now)
I put my head down and continue to ponder my current situation. I have no one to blame but myself right now. I raise my head to the screen when I hear the signal that I have an email.
To: Christian Grey
Subject: Pretty Words
Date: Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 20:21
From: Anastasia Steele-Grey
Those are very pretty words, Christian, but they’re doing very little to ease how I’m feeling right now. For the first time, I’m feeling like I don’t know who you are and I don’t know what to do with these feelings. I feel like a specimen in a Petri dish. You keep adding different elements to see how I’m going to react and I can’t take it anymore. I’m all for testing our limits in the bedroom, but you test my limits on every level and I can’t be pulled to the extremes every moment of my life. You’re my husband and I need to find comfort in you, not worry about your motives every time you act. Things are rough right now and they are only going to get rougher, and the one place that I found solace, you took it away.
Dr. Anastasia Steele-Grey, Assistant Director, Helping Hands of Seattle
Her words cut like a knife. I feel a huge lump in my throat and the pygmies are stabbing me in my chest with tiny little spears that shoot pain through to my soul. This is it. This is the thing that I kept seeing. This is me losing her. Jason was right. She’ll never trust me again. I can’t possibly fuck up any bigger than this. This is what I saw. This is what I was worried about that night when we parted right before the bachelor night and instead of avoiding it, I facilitated it. I feel like my throat is closing. I can’t breathe. Why is it that every time I feel like I’m losing Butterfly, I lose my breath? It’s because she is my breath. She’s my life’s blood and I’ve alienated her forever.
What the hell is wrong with me that I can’t seem to leave well enough alone? I go to our bedroom and lie down in the bed, fully-clothed, hoping that sleep will come and get me quickly and chase away the anxiety attack that I feel coming on.
I’m blessed that sleep found me fairly quickly last night—not so blessed that I awoke in bed alone this morning. I was even more cursed by the nightmares that I had last night. The worst one involved jumping or falling off a cliff. I fell backwards and Butterfly was standing at the top of the cliff watching me fall, her hands to her sides and her blue and white dress blowing in the wind. She has no expression on her face, but tears are streaming down her cheeks. I watch her body at the top of the cliff going further and further away from me as I fall, and I don’t fear dying. I fear seeing the image of her become smaller and smaller until I can’t see her anymore. That’s the image that caused me to wake in the middle of the night in a cold sweat with tears in my eyes, unable to breathe. I don’t even remember if I hit the bottom.
I’m floundering and Butterfly won’t even throw me a bone.
I climb out of bed and relieve myself, then go to the kitchen for coffee. She must have slept in one of the other villas last night since she didn’t come to bed. I have a splitting headache and I don’t know if there’s any ibuprofen in this place. There’s coffee already in the pot. I don’t remember setting the coffee maker last night. I was so wiped out, God only knows. I pour myself a cup and take a drink. I should probably eat. I skipped dinner last night and that could be the cause of my headache.
A flash of movement to my right makes me turn my head, and there she stands. She’s beautiful except… she’s wearing the same dress that she was wearing in my dream!
I can’t believe he would stoop so low as to have someone spy on me at my hen party! Has this been the case all this time? Has there been someone watching me all along without my knowledge and reporting my every move back to him? Chuck seemed completely horrified by the idea and by the sound of the screaming that was coming from our villa, I’m certain that Jason had nothing to do with it either. Is that why we have Meathead and Norbert with us, extra eyes for Ana? Shit, how can I believe anything he’s said to me now that I know this?
I read over the email again that he sent me last night. It looks like an apology letter that he would send to one of his companies or clients or something for a clerical error—Do forgive us for charging you $50,000 instead of $5,000. We are terribly sorry and will never make the mistake again. Yeah, right.
I’m going to explore the village a bit today… without His Highness! I’ve seen some beautiful roads and walkways and the architecture is wonderful as well. I just want to walk around and be alone. Chuck and Keri are going with me so that they can spend some time together. That will give me the opportunity to be alone with my thoughts. I’m comfortably dressed in a blue and white chevron strapless maxi dress and a pair of comfy wedges. I have my sneakers in my backpack along with my camera, phone, wallet and water. When I go to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee, I am greeted with an unwelcome surprise.
He looks like hell and he’s wearing the same clothes that he was wearing yesterday. He was burrowed under the blanket when I came in last night to get clothes and toiletries before sleeping in the other master bedroom. He looked like he was freezing and shivering, but I was too pissed off to care—kind of like right now. Well, I’m not really pissed off like I was last night. I’m just hurt, confused, maybe a little angry… but most of all, I feel betrayed.
Fuck the coffee.
“Ana…” He sounds tired and a bit weak. I would normally be a bit concerned, but I don’t want to be concerned right now. I just need to be away from him. I need to be alone to think and I don’t want to say anything to hurt his feelings.
“I need to be away from you right now.” I turn to leave.
“You’re running,” he says impassively. I turn back to face him… so much for not hurting his feelings.
“I am not running!” I hiss through clenched teeth. “And I will not allow you to use that against me when I don’t want to be in your presence!” I glare at him and await his response. It’s easy to see that he immediately sees his mistake and decides to keep quiet. I break my glare from him and march out of the villa and up the stairs to the main floor. As I am walking away, I hear a small crash and I assume that he either dropped his coffee or threw it somewhere. I get to the main floor where Jason, Chuck, and Keri are all waiting for me.
“Uh oh,” Chuck says. “I know that look.”
“There’s no ‘uh oh.’ I’m ready to go when you are.” I turn to Jason. “You might want to go down there and check on your boss. I heard a crash on my way upstairs.” Jason frowns.
“What kind of crash?” he asks.
“A ‘cup hitting the wall’ kind of crash,” I respond. He shakes his head.
“He’s about to spiral,” he says, leaning down to me. “I saw it yesterday and now you’re leaving without him, so I know that things haven’t gotten any better. He’s an asshole, but try not to be too hard on him—not trying to tell you how to feel or anything.” He adds that last part as a defense to his statement.
“I love that you care for him so much, but he was so wrong this time. If there was ever any doubt that he was ever wrong about anything that he has ever done before, there’s no doubt here. I can chalk Flynngate up to a bad judgment call. I can even excuse postponing the wedding based on an impulse action and, let’s just say, lack of information. Even his actions on the night of the hen party—even though no one seemed to know that he was there or what he did—I can write off as the actions of the Neanderthal that we all know and love… but this? The spying? Wrong in 10 different ways and unacceptable on every level.” I enforce. Jason gets this look on his face like his stomach is turning. “You knew he was there.” I can tell by the look on his face.
“Hold on there, Killer,” he says, putting his hand up defensively. “I only knew after the fact and not in an official capacity. I only knew in the capacity of the best man who kept asking him if anything had happened that would result in a canceled wedding and he said ‘no.’ I have no idea what happened, nor do I want to know.” I twist my lips at him and he doesn’t budge. Yeah, he’s telling the truth.
“Well, either way, I don’t want to talk about this anymore. I just want to go do a little sightseeing on this lovely island and forget this for one day,” I say. Chuck nods and takes Keri’s hand. As he’s leading her to the door, Jason catches my hand.
“Just remember this,” he says in a low voice as I turn around to face him. “This is your honeymoon, and in all of the years that I’ve known that man, I can say without a doubt that you are his only weakness.”
I twist my lips at his words, not because I don’t believe him, but because that’s not what I wanted to hear right now, leaving the villa without him and seeing him in the state that I saw him in this morning. I wordlessly leave Jason standing in the courtyard and go to join Chuck and Keri.
Although I have seen some of the villages when Christian and I went on our hike on Monday, there’s a lot that I didn’t see. It’s easy to lose yourself in the tiny villages and the landscape, especially since we are sitting on top of a mountain… or a volcano, I should say. We toured a hotel that was once the cave dwellings of the early settlers to Santorini. Christian and I saw some of the original caves during our hike, but these have been redone and completely converted. I even got to see a beautiful sitting room that was once actually a donkey stable. There is a hole in the ceiling—now filled in, of course—where the villagers used to throw the food down to the donkeys to keep from having to walk down the cliff to the stables.
I’ve noticed that except for the opulence of certain areas like our hotel in Athens, living here is very simple and clean. Nothing is really excessive, but everything is very beautiful. There is a lot of climbing on the narrow streets, which is good since I’m particularly fit and really want to burn off a bit of this blubber butt that I’ve acquired. I take pictures of more quaint villas and houses, friendly locals, and spectacular views.
After lunch, we take a bus tour to see some of the highlights of the area. I can see Chuck messaging Jason and in my mind’s eye, I can see Christian having a fucking conniption that I am on a bus in a strange land. Mr. Christian Grey couldn’t be bothered to take a bus tour with the locals. Oh, no, there will be none of that. Well, shove it up your nose, Grey.
During our tour, we see a Greek monastery up on one of the many hills of Santorini. We also see the ruins of Akrotiri. This is not like the Acropolis or even Agora. Akrotiri was once a large city that was buried when the volcano erupted in 1500 B.C. Only a small fraction of the city is unearthed so far, and we got to see many of the original items that we saw in the Archaeological Museum. This is where the colorful frescoes were found.
There are houses and streets and village squares and even a building that historians think is the administrative center of the town according to our tour guide. Some of the houses are two and three stories high covered in ash and pumice released from an explosion that resulted in several months of darkness. Now we get to see the ruins of what some archaeologists believe are the lost city of Atlantis. I personally always thought Atlantis was an underwater city, but hey—who am I to argue with the experts?
Our tour ends at the black beach, which is really black pebbles caused by the volcanic eruptions. Once again, I find myself on an island, temporarily estranged from my boyfriend—well, husband now, looking out at the water that seems to make everything so clear.
I want my aquarium… but I digress.
Why didn’t he trust me? What did he think I would do when his back was turned? Did he really think I was that untrustworthy or that irresponsible that he needed to have someone there spying on me? He knew that it was wrong. That’s why he didn’t involve Chuck or Jason, but that didn’t stop him. He did it even though he knew that it wasn’t right. How can I trust him anymore?
I think that’s the biggest problem for me, the whole sense of betrayal. I didn’t run away screaming either time his subs showed up, or when he told me about the third who offered herself to him on a silver platter. The only other man who really loved me—or so I thought—is behind bars, but he has 12 others that could come out of the woodwork at any time. If anybody should be leery at all about someone’s possible behaviors, I should be more leery about his than him about mine… but I’m not! Why—because I trust him! Why couldn’t he extend that same trust to me?
I told him before any of this happened that I didn’t want to feel like I was on a leash, that I didn’t want to lose my freedom and independence. That’s exactly what he’s trying to do. Now I hear the words of that Ringhold bitch coming back to me from my reception talking about me being Lady Grey and no longer having my own identity. Maybe she really was trying to warn me of events to come. In her bitterness, maybe she really was just trying to tell me to beware of the powerful man who will try to turn you into little wife and take away everything that once made me independent.
That can’t be true. Christian has never tried to squash me or my dreams or anything I believe in—but if that’s the case, then why the spying? I ponder that question as I stand, once again, with my feet in the sea letting the water soothe my aching mind and soul.
It’s late when we return to the villa after a wonderful dinner at one of the restaurants in Oia. Chuck and Keri cuddled as we watched the sunset and I was glad that someone in our group was able to enjoy the sunset with someone they love. Jason has been a really good sport about this whole thing and I really want to suggest flying Gail in for the last leg of the honeymoon, but I think that may be pushing it. I’m tired and I want to go to sleep, but I’m not sure that I want to face Christian right now. Jason, however, is waiting for us when we get back.
“What’s going on?” I ask him as soon as I see him. He nods to Chuck, who returns his nod before he and Keri retire to his villa.
“You need to talk to him.”
“Jason…” I begin my protest.
“Ana, I’m going to overstep my boundaries, here, but I’m doing this as a friend and I hope you’ll understand and forgive me.” He called me Ana. This is serious. “I don’t know what you’ve done to this man, but he goes into full-blown mourning when he thinks he’s lost you and nobody can stop him. I’ve seen you two argue and go to your corners and come back hours later or days later, work it out, and everything is okay. But when he thinks he’s lost you, he goes from mogul to zero in no time flat. That’s your power over him. It’s the most powerful weapon in your arsenal and it cuts him down to nothing.”
“I… I’ve never used this as a weapon against him! I didn’t even know…”
“Now you do,” he interrupts me, “and whether you intend to use it as a weapon or not, that’s what it is.” He drops his chin to his chest and shakes his head. “Ana, I’ve seen this man cut down more in the last year than in all of the years that I’ve worked for him. I can imagine I would probably feel the same way if I thought that I was losing Gail, but I’ve had my heart broken before and I survived it. I don’t think he could. I think that you two are going to be old birds that stay together forever, then die within a month of each other because you can’t stand to be apart. I’m not telling you to forgive what he’s done and forget it, because I haven’t forgotten it. I am saying that you wield a very powerful sword over a very powerful man, and I just need you to know that.” I sigh heavily and drop my shoulders.
“Why does this responsibility always seem to fall on me?” I ask. “He does something wrong, I get upset, he goes into mourning, and I have to fix it.”
“It’s the nature of the beast,” Jason answers. “When he screws up, you let him know exactly how you feel. You don’t hold anything back, nor should you, but he skipped that part in his mental and emotional development where you take harsh criticism from the woman who you love and the world doesn’t end because of it. I think it’s something that the two of you need to discuss. On his part, he’s going to have to cope with it when he really pisses you off and understand the part that he’s playing in his own breakdown. On your part, you need to understand that he is likely to react this way and either prepare yourself for it or adjust accordingly.” I stare at him. “You’re the doctor here, so maybe I’m not saying that right…”
“No,” I say rolling my eyes a bit. “You said it perfectly. I just get tired of having this conversation or some variation of it with him. He can’t do cruel, mean, or inconsiderate things and then fall apart, using his lack of emotional development as a crutch to get him back into my good graces. It gets old very quickly and it wears you down. He’s not a puppy that accidentally pissed on the carpet. He’s a grown ass man who sent spies to his wife’s bachelor party, then showed up and…”
“I don’t want to know!” he interrupts me before I let the cat out of the bag, which I am glad that he did because I was about to mindlessly do just that.
“He showed up and did something mean, cruel, and inconsiderate without even asking me what happened—all of this stemming from his first mistake of sending spies to his wife’s bachelor party. I just don’t know how much more of this he expects me to take.” Jason cocks his head at me.
“Is he losing you, Ana?” he asks, soberly. I sigh.
“No, he’s not losing me, not yet anyway, but if he keeps up this kind of behavior I can’t make any guarantees for the future.” Jason sighs heavily and nods. This is the first time I see how heavily this weighs on Jason as well. Just how bad is Christian doing down there?
“He didn’t eat again today.” Again? Don’t tell me he’s pulling that shit. “It’s not that he’s doing it on purpose,” he replies as if reading my mind for a second time. “He just doesn’t want to. Although I think it may be part of an adult temper tantrum, I also think that he just doesn’t know how to function in a world without you, and the prospect scares him shitless. I know that he was wrong, but you need to talk to him and he needs to hear your voice so… just don’t wait too long.” He looks at me for a moment more before going to his villa. I sigh heavily.
“Damn it, Christian!” I curse under my voice. He doesn’t always manage to get everybody on his side, but when he does… good grief.
He’s such a damn extremist! When I’m wrong, I suck it up. When I alienated him on New Year’s Eve, I accepted that I was wrong and that my childish behavior may have cost me my relationship. True, my immediate plans involved moving to a convent, but that was a combination of things—one of which involved the thought of living without Christian.
“Damn it!” Fine! I’ll go talk to him…
He’s lying in a semi-fetal position with his back to me when I walk into the room. Maybe he’s asleep, I wish to myself.
“Please just go away,” he says with a shuddering breath. Oh hell, he’s crying.
“If that’s what you want,” I reply. He takes another deep breath, but doesn’t turn around.
“Oh. Hi, Ana.” Oh hi Ana? “I thought it was Jason again.” I see him wipe his face with his hand.
“Nope, it’s me.” I’m still having a hard time mustering up some sympathy for this man, but I really don’t like seeing him like this. “Have you been in bed all day?”
“No,” he says, his voice still cracking and laced with exhaustion. “I took a shower and did a little work…”
“I didn’t hear you mention eating something.” He pauses.
“I did drink some water,” he replies to pacify me. I roll my eyes and sigh. I really want to feel sorry for him right now, but what he did was unacceptable and he needs to know that. There’s no use in rehashing it right now, though. He’s been punishing himself all day and he’s clearly exhausted. I remove my wedges and climb in bed behind him. I move in close to him and put my arm around him.
“I’m sorry, Ana,” he says with a shuddering breath. I roll my eyes again before pulling him close to me.
“Go to sleep,” I respond. He takes another deep breath, releases it, and falls instantly to sleep. A few moments later, I’m right behind him.
The sun wakes me and my arm is asleep from being in a weird position under my body all night. Christian and I are in the same position we we fell in asleep except that he is clinging to the hand attached to my arm that is wrapped around him. He’s been sweating in his sleep, which means that sometime during the night he had a bad dream, but never changed sleeping positions. His breathing is steady, but not rhythmic. He’s awake, and the squeeze on my hand alerts me that he knows I’m awake, too.
“I dreamed you left me,” he says somberly. “You didn’t walk away or move out, but that’s what the dream meant. I had the same dream again last night.” He had it twice, and he clearly woke up sweating.
“I was here with you last night,” I say. “You don’t usually have bad dreams when I’m here with you.”
“You weren’t here with me last night. You were just in the bed with me. You slept with me to bring me comfort, but you weren’t here.” What can I say? He’s right. I lay in this bed and I fell asleep, but my anger separated us and I still feel it. I broke our rule—twice. Never go to bed angry. “You were wearing the same dress that you’re wearing now. You were standing on a cliff, just looking at me with tears in your eyes.”
“What were you doing?”
“Falling.” What? Did he say falling? Off the cliff?
“I was falling backwards,” he replies. “It was something that I did that made me fall off the cliff, but I don’t know what it was. You were standing dangerously close to the edge, but you didn’t fall. You didn’t reach for me or scream. You just stood there looking down at me with tears in your eyes and on your face… in that same blue and white dress.” Shit! That must have been fucking traumatic for me to come out of the room in that dress after he had just had this dream about it. “I was reaching for you, but you weren’t reaching for me.”
“What were you doing before you fell?” I ask.
“I don’t remember. I only remember falling… losing you… Am I losing you, Ana?” he asks. “Have I fucked up too bad to fix it this time?” I know that’s not true, but right now, he doesn’t.
“No, Christian, you haven’t, but this is big—really, really big.” He rolls over to face me. His eyes tell a story of the internal torment that he suffered for the last two days. I don’t want him to feel this way, but part of me does. Part of me wants him to know just how bad of a fuck-up this is. “Have you heard nothing that I’ve said to you—about not wanting to lose my identity and about how independent I was before we met? You know that. You fell in love with her. How could you possibly think this would be okay on any level?”
“I didn’t,” he says. “I wasn’t thinking about you at all. I was only thinking about what I wanted, what I needed at the time. I couldn’t see past my own feelings because I wasn’t trying to. My bride-to-be was going out to have the ultimate single girls’ night—not her friend’s bachelorette party, her own. As much as I knew I could trust you, my own fear and the impending doom that kept hovering around made me feel like something bad was about to happen.”
“And something bad did happen, Christian. My body was turned on, but my mind and soul felt cheap and dirty and worthless! When it was all said and done, I didn’t know what to do or think or feel. I tried to understand it, to excuse what you did because of who you are, but there’s only so many times that I can do that. On top of that, I counted that bathroom domination as an impulse action when that wasn’t what it was. You knew in advance what was going on when you got there, and you probably had this whole thing planned when you hit the door. I noticed when you walked in that you weren’t wearing your tie…”
“I swear I didn’t plan that!” he interrupts me. “I swear to God, I was only going to check in on you and leave.”
“I don’t know if I can believe you, Christian,” I respond. His whole body drops and he looks crestfallen. “To my knowledge, you’ve never overtly lied to me. You’ve conveniently left some things out before, but you never lied to me. This time, I just don’t know.”
“I… don’t know what to say.” His voice is soft. “I’m not lying.” I roll my eyes. He hasn’t lied to me, but dishonesty and betrayal bring everything you’ve ever said and done to question.
“Which one was it?” I ask.
“I don’t think that’s important,” he replies. I shrug.
“Fine, but know that I’m going to be looking at every new guy you have and everyone that’s not Jason and Chuck because in the back of my mind, I’m going to be wondering if that’s the fucker who spied on me. So you go ahead and keep your little secret if it means that you’re going to be okay with me not cooperating with security. You know they can’t make me do anything that I refuse to do, right?”
“Ana, please don’t be difficult. You have to cooperate with security, now more than ever. You’re a billionairess…”
“And that goes both ways. I will not cooperate with someone that I don’t trust. It’s that simple. So if you’re going to feed mistrust between me and the security detail, then go right ahead. Just know that this is one of the consequences.” He sighs and lays his head on his arm.
“His name is Grant,” he says. “You probably won’t see him again, because Jason won’t even work with him after this. If Jason won’t work with him, no one will.”
“Grant,” I say, trying to remember which one he is. “Grant… oh, yeah… blue suit, brown buzz cut…” He shrugs.
“I couldn’t tell you what he was wearing or what he looked like. The brown buzz cut sounds right, though… How did you remember that?” I frown at him.
“Put a sock in it, Grey!” I say before I have a chance to stop myself. He’s shocked by my reaction. “I remember a whole lot about that night. I remember what Al was wearing, Val and Maxie, and even you.” There’s a slight edge to my voice when I say it, and I immediately get a flashback of that tie, the one that didn’t fit anything that he was wearing and I wonder again if he had this thing planned all along. I better not start thinking that way or I might get angry again.
“I’m sorry. I don’t want to start another fight.”
“Then tread carefully,” I respond. “That is a perfect time to think before you speak. Why did you ask me that question?” He is hesitant to answer. “That’s a valid question. That’s not me picking a fight.”
“I don’t really know,” he says.
“Yes, you do, you just don’t want to tell me.”
“No, I don’t really know,” he repeats. “What I want to say sounds ridiculous even to my ears.”
“Well, say it because I’m very curious,” I press. He pauses, then proceeds against his will.
“I wanted to know what stood out about Grant that made you remember what he looked like,” he admits.
“And why is that?” I ask, already knowing the answer.
“You know why,” he says, matter-of-factly.
“Yes, I do, but I want you to tell me.” He sighs again.
“I wanted to know if you found him attractive.”
“Yes, I did,” I say, quickly. He raises his head from his arm and glares at me. “So, now, what are you going to do about it?” I ask. “I find several men attractive. Jason is attractive. Chuck is attractive. You’re attractive. Phil is attractive. Gary’s attractive. James is attractive and Allen is attractive. I’m only trying to fuck one guy in that whole group. There will be other men that cross my path that I find attractive, and it doesn’t mean shit! Not a damn thing. No matter how badly you may want to put me in a box and lock me away from the world, I’m going to find someone else attractive and someone else is going to find me attractive. How can you not trust my love and loyalty enough to know that I’m not going to do anything stupid?”
“It wasn’t you, Ana,” he says sitting up. “It was me. It was me and my insecurity and my fear of losing you that caused me to take those actions. I was hours away from having you, from you being mine, and all I could see was disaster snatching it all away…”
“…and that’s what almost happened!” I interrupt him, sitting up as well, “not because of disaster, but because of you. What would you have done if I had reacted completely differently to what you did that night? What would you have done if I had felt so cheapened and degraded by what happened in that bathroom that I refused to marry you?” He shivers.
“I actually thought that’s what was going to happen,” he says.
“Yes, after the fact!” I retort. “You didn’t think about that before you came into the bathroom and tied me to the sink! You definitely didn’t think about that before you sent Grant to watch my every move!” He groans loudly with frustration.
“God, I wish I could take this all back!” he grumbles. “If nothing had happened, you would have never known that I was watching you.”
“No, and you would have thought this was all okay,” I respond. “Tell me, Christian. How many times and how many different ways will it take for you to learn this lesson? Will it take losing me for you to understand that this is not okay?”
“I certainly don’t want to lose you, but I need to know what specific lesson I am having to learn all over again… so that I won’t have to learn it all over again.”
“That you are not alone in this anymore; that your actions, or your lack of action, or you reaction no longer only affects you. It affects other people, and most of the time the ‘other people’ is me. I can’t keep feeling this way, Christian. You make me feel like… an afterthought. Nobody deserves to feel that way. You shook my trust in everything I thought I knew about you.” He drops his head.
“Ana, I’m so sorry,” he says, shaking his head. “That’s the last thing in the world that I want you to feel. You’re everything and I can’t stand that I made you feel that way, that I tested and almost lost your trust. I’m sorry,” he says, tears flowing freely down his cheeks. “I know how it feels not to trust. I know what it means. I can’t bear the thought of you not trusting me. I can’t stand it. I swear I’ll do anything to win it back… anything you ask.” I still don’t think he gets it.
I fight to find the words that I want to say to him to get him to understand what’s going on and how to prevent the impending doom that he’s feeling. I’m not trying to twist the knife, but I only know how to give it to him straight.
“You have to trust me, way deep down in here,” I put my fist on my chest. “Way deep down in here where you don’t let anyone else go. I have to be there. I have to be there all the time, because if I’m not, you’re just going to keep doing things like this. You’re going to keep acting without thinking, being the Neanderthal and the inconsiderate control freak—and I’m going to let you do it. I’m going to run out of the will to keep telling you what you’re doing wrong. I don’t want us to be those people. I don’t want us to be the Ringholds…” His eyes widen.
“Is that what you see? Is that the future you see for us—that money-hungry philanderer and his bitter old wife in a loveless marriage? That’s what you see?” I drop my head and sigh. This is the moment of truth.
“Yes, Christian. If you don’t rethink some things, that’s exactly what I see.” I look up at him and I can see in his eyes that he doesn’t know how to interpret what I’m saying and finally, I’m breaking inside. “I understand what she was feeling and thinking even if I didn’t agree at the time. I can completely understand not wanting to leave, but not having the will to fight anymore. For her, I don’t know if it’s love or money that keeps her in that hell, but for me… it’s love.” I finally shed my first tear.
“No…” he breathes. “No, no, no, no…” He’s back on the bed and I am in his arms. I don’t want to be in his arms. I want to talk about this. I want to straighten this out. “No, Ana, no. I never want you to feel that way, ever. I’ll put a rein on my reactions, I swear to God. I’ll show you, Baby. I’ll show you… I’ll think before I make decisions. Please, Baby…”
I try to resist him, but I melt a little in his arms. I love it when he holds me, I can’t deny that. His face is buried in my neck as he begs for my forgiveness and swears to put more thought into his actions. His contrition is a bit of a turn-on even though it shouldn’t be. When he appears to have apologized forever, even though it was probably only a couple of minutes, I finally speak.
“Okay, Christian. We’ll see.” He pulls back and looks at me for a few moments with sad, gray eyes. He nods and puts his forehead on mine.
“Yes,” he whispers with his eyes closed. “You’ll see.”
“I have to pee,” I say. He nods again without opening his eyes and releases me. I go to the en suite and relieve myself. I throw my panties in our dirty clothes. No use putting those back on. I guess I might as well get ready for the day. After I wash my hands, I come back to the bedroom to find Christian lying on his back on the bed with his arm over his eyes. He’s going to sulk all day again, I know it. Even lying on his back, I can tell that he feels defeated. I’m not used to this and although I want him to see and feel just how serious this is, I still love him very much and don’t want to see him hurt. I climb back onto the bed.
“Yes?” His voice is cracking and he doesn’t move his arm from his face. I roll over on top of him and begin to rub his chest through his open shirt. His breath catches and his response is immediate. His chest rises and falls under my hands as he fights to control his breathing. I quickly slide down and undo his pants and reveal his rising erection, but he grabs my hands and stops my assault.
“No. Ana, don’t. It feels too much like ‘goodbye.’” I frown.
“’Goodbye?’” Where’d he get that? He nods.
“Yes—like ‘one last round for old times’ sake.’ I can’t do it.” Damn, he’s beaten himself up worse than I could ever do it. I nod.
“Okay,” I respond. “May I just kiss you, then?” He looks at me tentatively, his eyes a piercing silver-gray, then he nods. I climb back up his body, allowing my naked sex to touch his. He gasps, but doesn’t take his eyes off mine. I take his face in both my hands before kissing him softly. His breath is short and soft as I kiss him again, and again. I can feel the heat rising in his body, and I press my tongue to his lips. He grants me entry and I caress his tongue deliciously with mine. His breath is heavier, but he won’t touch me. As I work my way to his ears, his neck and his chest, I notice that his hands are flat on the bed next to him.
He’s resisting me. Let’s see how long that lasts.
I can feel his erection rising hot and hard as I slide down his body. His breath is quickening again and I think of something that I told him a few days ago…
It’s the emotion. You’re loving me with your dick and with your soul. Your dick knows the difference.
My lips get to his stomach and the head invites me to kiss, so I do. I kiss gently down the underside of his penis and back up again and softly lick the frenelum before I gently suck just the hood into my mouth. He hisses loudly and instinctively raise his hips to meet my mouth. I seize the opportunity and pull his shorts and boxer briefs from his hips before he drops them back on the bed in an unsuccessful attempt to halt my progress. I think I hear him protesting, but I still have his head in my mouth as I quickly work his bottoms off with my hands and then my feet.
I release the head and slowly run my tongue over his balls. His fists clench as he grabs the sheets and his dick starts to rise from his body and stand up. I continue to lick then move my tongue up to the base of his shaft. The move causes his erection to jerk about a bit and he takes in two quick breaths, releasing them with an almost inaudible grunt as a small bit of precum breaches the head of his dick. He is so ready.
I run my tongue up that magnificent creation again, peppering it with open-mouthed kisses to match Christian’s open-mouthed breathing. I finally take the head in my mouth once more and caress it with my lips and tongue. His head falls back and his look is mournful as his thigh muscles tighten. I quickly climb back on top of him and slide down his erection. He gasps and groans, his body bucking a bit before he protests my stroke without touching me.
“Ana… Baby, no… please…” His eyes are full of need and lust, and fear.
“Are you going to deny me, Christian?” I breathe, rising higher and higher as I ride him. He’s doing his best to resist, but I feel him growing inside me.
“No,” he pants, “No, Baby… I won’t.”
“Good,” I groan as I roll my hips to feel him on all walls. “Oh, God,” I moan as he fills me. Fuck, he feels so good. I look down at him and he is gritting his teeth, almost like he’s in pain. His eyes are closed and his fists are gripping the sheets. He still won’t even touch me. To test my theory, I plant my hands on his chest and dig my nails in. His lips part with a fierce tremble before his tongue caresses his top lip in ecstasy. Enough of this shit.
“Look at me!” I command him. His eyes shoot open and meet mine immediately. “Rip it off of me.” His pupils dilate as my command has broken his concentration. He pushes his hips up into me once and exhales sharply, but his hands are still gripping those fucking sheets! I glare into his piercing gray eyes and dig my nails into his chest again. He gasps loudly, thrusts again and nearly tears the sheets.
“Rip. It. Off. Of. Me!” I growl. His glare changes and he releases the sheets. Grabbing the dress at the hem, he grips it like he just had the sheets and rips. The dress rips like paper towel in his hands and threatens to protest when the material reaches the elastic in the waistband, but it’s no match for a horny Christian Grey. He adjusts his grip and turns that thing into a useless blue and white scrap of material. My breast spring free and he captures them in his hands immediately. The feel of his hands on my skin ignites me further.
“Mmmmm!” I groan as I roll harder on him. He matches my groan with one of his own as his hips rise to meet mine. Fuck, this is so good! I look down at him and he is lost in what he is feeling. His mouth is open and his hands are holding sensually onto my breasts, like he’s memorizing the feel of them in his hands. His hips rise and fall fractionally to meet my thrusts and rolls. It feels good to him, but he’s committing it to memory. I know my man. I roll harder to break his concentration, but it backfires. His dick swells inside of me and I feel it hitting every part of my pussy—every part!
“Christian!” I squeal as my body erupts into orgasm. My nails dig into his chest for support as my arms tremble and my body quakes, my core pulsing with pleasure around his rod. I hear his teeth grinding and I keep pumping as I ride out my orgasm, using his hard body and dick to make it last as long as possible. It’s hard to keep moving when it finally wanes, but I do because I feel him thumping inside of me—aching to release. I lean down to him and bring my mouth to his ear. He wraps his arms around me and continues short thrusts to match my hip rolls.
“I belong to you,” I tell him before licking the shell of his ear. He takes in a deep breath and holds it, replacing his arms with his hands on my back.
“I am Mrs. Grey. I am yours.” His hands are tight on my back now and he is matching every hip roll with a short thrust and withdraw.
“You… only you, Christian…” I breathe as I feel myself rising again. I grab his hair and press my lips against his again. He grabs my hips and allows them to roll over him as he matches the passion of my kiss. I roll and grind, roll and grind, roll and grind until I feel the pleasure threatening to release again.
“Fuck,” he whispers against my lips. “Yes, Baby, yes. Fuck me. Yes, Baby.” The grind and friction is so good that he instinctively takes over, stroking from all directions and grasping my hips while he controls the variation and intensity of the strokes.
“My God, Christian,” I whimper and he is now in control of where we are going. I relent and let him drive as he moves my body and sexes me from the bottom from all directions. He slides me a bit to the left, holds up my right knee and drills up into me from that angle. Then changes over to the right side and the left knee and repeats. He finally positions me back on top and center and he is masterfully driving me from all directions.
If I could see my pussy lips right now, I’m sure that they would be wrapped around his cock, sucking feverishly as if they were attached to my mouth as he shifts and slides, going in and out of my from several directions—round and round, in and out, up and down. My clit is my tongue, licking hot and hard up and down his hard shaft, tasting our combined juices. My pussy spits on him as he grips my ass, controlling this astronomical stroke as he declares how wet and tight it is. The tremble starts again and I feel it in my whole body, even my lips—both sets.
The tingle starts in my feet and my core. He never changes the stroke… round and round, left and right, in and out and he’s still gripping my ass, guiding me down onto his thickening erection on this stroke and holding me still while he drives me on that one. I can’t even think, it feels so good. The tingle moves up my legs and into my thighs. I whimper a bit as it intensifies in my core. My fingers are in his hair now and I am panting wildly, as is he. Neither of us says anything; we are both lost in this stroke. His hands tighten on my ass a bit, but he still doesn’t change his stroke… roll and guide, roll and guide.
The tingle quickly climbs up my thighs, into my pelvis and meets the one in my core, sparking a ginormous flame and causing an incredible burn. I bury my face in his neck and scream through the inferno as my lips and clit continue to suck and lick his dick. Merciful heavens, I’m going to combust and incinerate! I grip his hair as my pussy pulses magnificently through this orgasm. His stroke changes only minutely as he draws me out and begins to grunt, no doubt feeling his own orgasm on the rise. I burn through the eternal climax, still grasping his hair as I ride out delicious mini-gasms and after shocks while he continues to roll and guide.
A few minutes later, he is grunting loudly, fighting to keep the pace he has maintained throughout before he follows my lead and buries his face in my neck. He cries out into my hair, still stroking and now digging his fingers into my ass meat, sparking me into more delicious aftershocks. I whimper and surrender to his grasp and strength as he now grunts loudly with each stroke, pushing his undoubtedly tender head into my core and against my still-throbbing vaginal walls and squirting with each thrust. His eyes are screwed shut and he’s drawing out each debilitating drop of cum from himself. It must be agony at this point. He releases his eyes but doesn’t open them as one hand travels up my back and his fingers sink into the opposite shoulder, holding me against him so that I can’t move. The other hand is still guiding my hips.
“Please tell me this is make-up sex,” he pants.
“This is make-up sex,” I wheeze.
“Good,” and he’s kissing me… hungry… nasty… and even though we both just came, he doesn’t stop stroking. With me on top, one hand fiercely gripping my hair, the other gripping my ass and masterfully guiding my hips as he devours my mouth with his, he is fucking me again… and again… and again…
“I don’t know what to do, Baby.” We have fucked for hours. I have no idea what time it is or how many meals we’ve missed. We are lying in the bed on top of the covers and sheets, naked as the day we were born. She’s in my arms and we are gently caressing each other’s skin. We are in a perfect little cocoon of sensual exhaustion and soreness as I broach this important topic.
“What to do about what?” she asks.
“About my thoughts, my reactions… I thought I was getting better. These things are in my nature—they seem so normal to me, but they’re not. When I turn into the possessive jungle man or the control freak who waves his hand and people get followed, these are things that I’ve done all of my adult life. I hold lives in my hands—thousands of them. One wrong move and a factory shuts down in a small town somewhere. With it goes that town’s economy and all of the jobs that sustained the community. That’s a lot of power for one man to have and I know that, but whenever I make these decisions that I have made for years, you end up getting hurt. I don’t want that. I don’t want to lose you, but I don’t know what to do.” She sighs.
“’With great power comes great responsibility,’” she says. “It’s not just you anymore, Christian. You have to find a way. You have to understand that your action can, do, and always will affect me in some way because I’m your wife now. We are one person and it’s just that simple. This means that you have to think before you act. This means that you have to consider the consequences of your actions before you take them. You’re a master at separating your business life from your personal life. I’ve seen you do it, but when it comes down to something that you want or need, they blend. The lines become blurred and you’re Mr. CEO all over again. You can’t be Mr. CEO with me. You’re Christian. You’re my husband, and you have to think before you act.
“No amount of therapy is going to correct this, Baby. You have to just know before you make a decision how far-reaching the consequences are. This is inbred in you. You’ve been this person for years. You’ve functioned all of this time as a loner. You’re not a loner anymore. There’s another part of you now that feels what you feel and wants what you want. She’s also affected by most of what you do and say, and that means that you need to change your way of thinking. Sure, you can talk about this until your face turns blue, but until you take the necessary actions and make the necessary moves to make the changes in your personality and decision-making processes, all that talk is just that—nothing but talk. It’s going to take thinking before you act, burying those impulses that could have disastrous outcomes, and truly understanding what can come from your decisions. It’s going to take some practice and you’re going to fuck up some more. As long as I can see that you are trying, I can wait, but I can’t keep going on and on with you refusing to see what your actions do to me.”
“It’s not that I refuse to see, Baby,” I tell her. “Sometimes, I just can’t see until it’s too late.”
“Then that’s something else that you need to fix,” she responds. “You see, to you, ‘too late’ means it’s already been done and you can’t take it back. To me, ‘too late’ means I’m tired of this and I can’t take it anymore. When you do something, it’s big. You don’t know how to go small. You ‘go big or go home.’ You’ve got to find a way to curb that urge to act before you think. It’s the only way, Christian. There’s only so much that I can overlook.” Shit, I better find a way to put a leash on this or I’m going to lose my wife. She says therapy won’t help. I have to talk to someone… but who?
“I promise, Baby, I’ll work on it.”
“I appreciate that, Christian, and I’m glad that you said you would work on it instead of saying you would never do it again or you would fix it, because we both know that it’s not that easy. Make no mistake, I’m still going to give you hell when you fuck up, but as long as I can see you trying and consistently improving, that’s all I can ask… and no more of this spying on me shit. That’s a deal-breaker. If you can’t trust me, then we don’t need to be together.”
Well, that’s the last thing in the world that I want to hear.
“No more spying, I swear,” and I mean it. “Just don’t go all supernova if you end up with covert surveillance or another person on your personal protection team. I wasn’t kidding when I said that you are a billionairess now and you have to be careful.” She nods.
“I understand. You work with me and I’ll work with you. Deal?” She looks at me with guileless blue eyes.
“Deal.” I lean over and kiss her gently on the lips.
“Why didn’t you want to come?” she asks while we start to caress each other again.
“Why didn’t you want to come? I know your body just like you know mine. I know that you were ready to come just after the first time that I came, but you resisted. Why?” I have to think about that. That was at least six combined orgasms ago.
“If… I was losing you, if you were leaving me, I didn’t want that to be the memory of my last orgasm inside of you.” It’s the truth. She frowns.
“How can you possibly control something like that?” she asks. “I could walk outside and get hit by a bus! How can you possibly control what orgasm will be the last?”
“You can’t, that’s why you have to make each one count—make each one astronomical. That way, no matter which one is the last, it will always be a great memory.” She shakes her head.
“That’s sweet and morbid at the same time,” she says, her brow furrowed.
“Don’t try to figure it out,” I say. “For a long time, sex was as close to affection as I ever got—rough, hard, and fast. No emotion, no making love and holding each other, no kissing and gazing into anyone’s eyes… just the act of mating without reproducing. Clinical, mechanical, necessary. When and if I ever think of my past subs, I only think of them in terms of how their contracts ended. There are no playroom sessions that stand out in my mind which is why I only used the cameras once. The result was pretty disastrous and I never wanted to use them again…”
“What happened?” I shake my head.
“Don’t ask,” I tell her. It’s something that I’ll never talk about because it was terrible even to me. “It’s something that I try very hard to forget and I don’t want to talk about it. Let’s just say that it’s one of the only times that I ever questioned being a Dom.” She looks at me and shivers.
“That’s serious,” she says, waiting for a reaction. Not receiving one, she says, “Okay, I won’t ask.” I twist my lips and continue.
“I never wanted to remember anything—remember what anything felt like—until I met you. Before you, it was release, relax, and continue with life. Now, I don’t want to blink, because I might miss something.” She smiles a small smile.
“I love you, Christian,” she says softly.
“I love you, too, Butterfly.” She snuggles into me. “You safeworded.” I feel her freeze in my arms, then take a deep breath.
“Yes,” she says, her voice small like a child.
“I hoped I would never hear that from you,” I admit. “I made it my business to never push you to safeword. Even that brutal session in Anguilla, you never safeworded. I suspended you in a corset and fucked you from every angle and you never safeworded. I’ve flogged you, spanked you, clamped you, driven you to forced orgasms…” I close my eyes for a moment. Hearing those things out loud are a bit overwhelming, but still she never safeworded. That moment was horrible for me. Something that I did to her caused her to safeword, not once, but repeatedly. We both lay there silently for several moments. I think we are both trying to figure out what to say next.
“I had reached my limit,” she says, breaking the silence with a soft voice. “I couldn’t take anymore and I needed it to stop.” I look into her eyes and she looks sad. I pull her closer into my arms and kiss her forehead.
“I’m sorry, Baby,” I tell her. “I’m so, so sorry.” I don’t know what else to say. I throw my arm over my eyes and for a brief moment, I wish I could just disappear.
“Sit up,” she says, rising to her knees. I move my arms from my eyes.
“Sit up.” I follow her instruction and sit up. “Straight. Get comfortable.” Okay, I cross my legs in front of me and sit comfortably. She immediately crawls into my lap, facing me.
Whoa. This could get hot… or not. It could just get intimate.
She wraps her legs around me and they fall on the bed behind me. Then she wraps her arms around me under my arms so that her hands are at the small of my back. I feel her tiny hands caressing me there. I don’t think she has ever caressed me in the small of my back. Has she ever even touched me there? I don’t know. I don’t remember.
Her eyes lock on mine and she examines me, like she’s looking through me. I can’t look away, not that a want to. I see my whole life in her eyes, my entire future…
All of my success and fortunes have brought me to this point, and they are nothing without her.
I instinctively wrap my arms around her and put my hands in the same place on her as hers are on me. I just hold her there. I don’t move my hands. Her breath quickens a bit and she closes her eyes. Bringing her face to mine, she gently caresses my nose with hers. I’m feeling comfort and safety in her arms, so I close my eyes and concentrate on every part of our bodies that is touching. She turns her head and gently rubs her cheek against mine, and again, I’m finding it hard to breathe. She caresses every part of my face with every part of hers, except her lips. Her skin touches every part of my skin—my ears, my eyelids, my chin—but she never kisses me and she never breaks our embrace… and she doesn’t speak.
I’m kind of loopy and dizzy again, drunk on the closeness and the intimacy. This feeling that she evokes from me—connected, but not aroused… not sexual in any way—I don’t know where it comes from. I’ve never felt like this before in my life with anyone else, ever! I can’t explain it. It’s like there’s a common thread between us, holding us together by… what? I don’t know. Our hearts? Our souls? Our minds? All of them? What?
I’m only semi-conscious of the fact that we are rocking in sync again, and I know that whatever this is, it’s bigger than I am. I don’t know how she takes me here, what she does to get us to this point. All I know is that this is one of the times in our relationship where I have to let her lead, because I don’t know the steps to this dance. I’m floating in comfort and I don’t dare open my eyes for fear that I may wake up from this beautiful dream. I’m finding it easier to breathe now, but my body feels heavy, like I could fall asleep… or not…
When I come back to myself, I am lying on Butterfly’s shoulder and she is lying on mine. Our bodies are still in motion. We are still entwined in one another, still sitting in the middle of the bed. Did I actually fall asleep? I don’t move, but I do wonder what brought me out of my Nirvanic state in Butterfly’s arms. I get my answer when I hear knocking at one of the far doors of the villa.
“We should answer that,” she says, not moving her head from my shoulder.
“Um-hmm,” I respond, still rocking with her. We’ve only done this twice and I hardly remember the last time—only the intensity of it—but I love when we do this. We connect on a level that I can’t explain. It’s soothing and reassuring. It truly makes us one person.
And there’s that damn knock again. Butterfly sighs.
“Jason’s clearing his throat, Christian,” she says softly. I frown. What does she mean?
“Hmm?” I say, still rocking and trying not to break our bubble.
“That’s Jason. He’s clearing his throat.” It takes only a moment for me to realize what she’s saying. When Jason’s walking into the great room at Escala and we’re making out, he clears his throat when he has to tell me something. We’ve been in this room all day at the very least. We haven’t even emerged to eat. He knows that we’ve been fucking… and he’s knocking.
Jason’s clearing his throat.
A/N: I’m having horrible writer’s block while trying to get this story finished. Luckily, you guys know that I write a few chapters in advance, so I have a few already done. If the story falls dead in the water after those chapters are done, you’ll know why. Sorry...
Don’t forget to check out the Pinterest boards to follow Christian and Ana on the honeymoon. https://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/mending-dr-steele-off-to-greece/
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Love and Handcuffs!