Mending Dr. Steele: Chapter 79—This Is Your Life

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There is one more chapter after this one.

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 79—This Is Your Life

ANASTASIA

So he doesn’t want me at Grey House. What the fuck is going on at Grey House that he doesn’t want me at Grey House?

“What the fuck is going on at Grey House, Chuck?” I snap when I get back into the Audi. He frowns.

“What?” he asks.

“I’ve just been banned from Grey House. What the fuck is going on?”

“Nobody told me you were banned from Grey House.”

“Well, I am. His Highness just told me not to come back!” I snap. Chuck’s head pops back. He immediately takes out his phone while we’re still in the parking garage.

“J, did you hear anything about Ana being banned from Grey House?… Yeah, this is the first I’m hearing of it, too, and I heard it from her. Can you get some clarification on it for me?… See what Alex knows and call me back.” He ends the call. “Jason doesn’t know anything about it.” Oh, great. So this means that this is some decision that he came to when he saw me there.

“What. The fuck. Is going on. At Grey House?” I ask slowly. He twists his lips.

“Ana, you know that security protocol dictates that I can’t tell anybody anything outside of Grey House about what’s going on at Grey House, including you. Why would you ask me that?”

“So there is something going on at Grey House?” I press, desperate for an answer other than my husband doesn’t want me in his palace in the sky.

“There’s always something going on at Grey House, Ana!” he snaps, once we’re seated in the car. “You can put marbles in a bowl like bingo, pull one out and find something going on in Grey House! I have no idea what has happened to get you banned from Grey House, but make no mistake. When I find out what it is, unless I’m given express instructions to tell you what it is, I’m not telling you. Now, where would you like to go?” Asshole.

“Take me to my condo,” I say through clenched teeth before slamming the door behind me. He pauses for a moment, then starts the car.

It’s about 10:30 when I get to the condo. I originally came here to pick up some of my favorite clothes that fit a little looser than what I have at Escala. Now, I just want to chill here for a while in my own space. Maybe I’ll tell him he’s banned from my condo; let him see how it feels. God, that’s so childish. Where the fuck did that come from? I’m scolding myself inwardly for my foolishness when my cell phone rings.

“Hi, Dad,” I say with little enthusiasm.

“Hi, Annie… what’s wrong?”

“Just a little miffed at my husband, that’s all. What’s up?”

“I… want to talk to you about something, if you have the time.”

“I always have the time for you, Daddy. Is everything okay?” I’m concerned.

“Oh, yeah, everything’s fine. It’s nothing like that. What are you doing at lunchtime?”

“Nothing, hanging out at my condo. I needed to pick up some things, but I think I’ll stick around for a while.

“That’s perfect. Do you want me to pick something up for lunch?”

“Save your money. I’ll whip something up here. Any preferences?”

“Something light,” he laments. “Mandy wants me to watch what I eat and keep an eye on my cholesterol. Wants me to be around when Little Harry goes to college.”

“Perfect! You won’t be disappointed, Dad. I promise.”

“Thanks, Annie. Is 12:30 okay for you?” he asks.

“Twelve thirty is perfect, Daddy. I’ll see you then.” Lunch with Daddy—I haven’t had a meal with just me and my daddy in ages. I’m almost a bit giddy. Chuck opted to stay in a chair outside the door, reading the paper and some boring book, rather than deal with the wrath of Her Highness—which is just fine by me. I decide to luxuriate in a bath in my tub with the wonderful jets, not too hot as I have heard that super hot baths are bad for the babies. I’m already panic-stricken about the alcohol I’ve drunk, so I’m super careful with everything else. I almost fall asleep in the luxury and the bubbles until I remember that I have to cook.

I‘m looking in my closet for something that won’t cling too much to my monstrous ass and my wildly expanding boobs. I’m so damn angry that we bought all those clothes in Paris and now, I won’t even be able to wear most of them. I probably have about two more months to wear my sky-high stilettos, if I’m lucky. Then I’ll have to stick to kitten heels or flats. I fucking hate kitten heels! I’ll go down to pumps—no taller than two or two and a half inches—but kitten heels are out!

The easiest thing to wear, of course, would be yoga pants. I slide comfortably into a pair and pull on a tank top and an old, tattered U-Dub sweatshirt. For a few brief moments, I feel like my old self—simple Ana Steele with no worries other than what to fix for F&L this weekend and maybe a slight concern about dealing with the losers at the community center. I sigh, thinking about simpler times…

Before the Green Valley box was opened again…
Before Edward lost his ever-loving mind and kidnapped me…
Before I ever knew who Elena Pedo-Bitch Lincoln even was…
Before the paparazzi watched my every move or even cared who I was…

Carly Madison could have rotted in her trailer home and I would have been just fine. I would have kicked the shit out Cody Whitmore if he came near me again and the rest of those fuckers could have just gone to hell.

There’s really no use in lamenting over the what ifs. There’s just too many of them. I’ve been down this road before and even though I’m angry with him right now, I can’t see my life without Christian. I sigh again looking at the U-Dub sweatshirt that accompanied me through many nights of solo studying, and just decide to live in the moment for a while—relish the simplicity attached to this little shirt while I go make lunch for my daddy.

Luckily for me, the security staff keeps the refrigerator stocked so that I don’t have to go shopping. I’m surprised and delighted to find fresh vegetables in here. I guess they might have been told to keep it stocked for me, too. I have to quickly thaw some chicken breasts, though. I cut them into strips then sauté them in olive oil with slices of red, yellow, and green pepper and red onion, then season the mixture generously to make it spicy before wrapping it in a leaf of romaine lettuce and securing it with a toothpick. I make several of these wraps and serve them with a ranch dip to complement the spiciness of the chicken. Then I make a cucumber and tomato salad with feta cheese chunks and black olives drizzled with a light, sweet vinaigrette and some fresh ground black pepper.

There’s no bruschetta, but I do find some sliced “everything Italian” bread in the bread box. It’s fresh and I’ve never tasted it before, so I try a slice. It’s delicious right out of the bag. It’s soft and the crust tastes like a fresh onion bagel. I take a few slices and put them on a plate and cover them until Daddy gets here. I set everything up on the breakfast bar and pull down two of my large bowl wine glasses. I can’t have wine, but dammit, I’m using these glasses for something! I put a couple of mint leaves and small wedges of lime into the glass before adding shaved ice over the mint and lime. Chuck lets Daddy in just as I’m pouring the sparkling water and cranberry into the wine glasses.

“Hey, Annie. Sure smells good in here,” he says, as he puts a file or something on the sofa and comes over to the breakfast bar.

“Thanks Daddy,” I say as I add another mint leaf on top of the drink and push it towards him. He takes a sip, and then another large swallow.

“That’s really good,” he says after swallowing his drink. “Mandy is really trying, but her concoctions are tasteless.”

“Why don’t you tell her?” I ask. He glares at me.

“You’re kidding, right?” he says, in horror. “That woman is one big ball of emotion. If I tell her that her cooking is no good, I’ll be lucky to escape with my life! Besides… I love her.” He’s so sweet. He doesn’t want to hurt her feelings.

“Maybe I’ll have a girls’ day where I’ll tell her that I’m looking for new recipes. I’ll have all the girls come over and bring a dish with a recipe, but they’ll all be mine. Then we can see if we can get her some new recipes. I’ll even help her perfect them. What do you think?”

“Oh, please do,” he says as he savors the flavor of the chicken wraps. “I saw all these vegetables and lettuce and thought I was in for another non-taste sensation, but these are fabulous!” He takes another healthy bite of the chicken and moans in satisfaction. That’s when I realize I forgot about Chuck. It’s a good thing I made plenty.

“Be right back, Dad,” I say after piling a few wraps, some salad, and some bread onto a plate. I open the door and his nose is buried in his phone. “Do you want some ranch for the wraps or some butter for the bread?” I ask.

“No, this should be fine, thanks,” he says, accepting the plate.

“Taste it. It’s kind of spicy. You might need that ranch.”

“Even better,” he says. “Smells good.”

“Do you want anything to drink?”

“Just some water is fine.”

“You sure?” I ask. “There’s some juice in here.” He ponders the thought for a moment.

“Nah, water’s good.” He takes a large bite of one of the wraps and I hear him moan just like Daddy when I go to the refrigerator to get his water. He’s chewing and trying to swallow when I get back.

“These are great, Ana,” he says with a slightly full mouth. “I thought you were bringing me rabbit food, but these are really good. May a have a few more?”

“Sure,” I say with a laugh. Boy, I thought I made too many, now I may not have made enough. There’s still some chicken left, so I can make more if I need to. I bring a few more wraps out to him. “Let me know if you want more. It only takes a minute to whip them up.” He nods and mumbles something with his mouth full that I think was “thanks.” I go back in to Daddy who is enjoying them as much as Chuck and is now loading his fork with cucumber and tomato while eating his bread.

“Annie, wow,” he says. “You can really make magic with simple stuff.” I sit across from him and start on my lunch.

“I like to eat healthy, but I won’t do it if I don’t like the flavor of what I’m eating. I don’t care what the statistics say. I can’t eat beef right now, though.”

“Why not?” he asks, looking up at me.

“The babies don’t like it,” I tell him. “It causes violent reactions.”

“Say no more. I understand. For Mandy, it was eggs. Boiled, fried, poached, scrambled, it didn’t matter. She couldn’t tolerate those things for a moment…”

We talk about how I’m doing and how the babies are doing, a whole lot of this and that and nothing throughout lunch. I have a feeling that what he really wants to talk about is in that file on the sofa, so we keep the conversation light for the most part. We don’t talk about David and the impending verdict or the fact that Christian has banned me from his precious glass house. We do brush on the topic of Mom for a bit, though. He asks if I feel sad that she’s not here to be a part of the development of my babies. A valid question, but no, I don’t feel sad. Maybe I feel a little sorry for her that she’s going to be missing out on this part of my life, but I don’t feel sad. She made her choice when she chose not to care about me and now, I just have to let it go.

“That’s kind of why I’m here,” he says while we’re washing and drying the few dishes we used. There are no leftovers as we all inhaled those chicken wraps and the salad. We dry our hands and I make us two more spritzers after taking another bottle of water out to Chuck. Dad asks me if I feel cut off by not having more family around.

“I don’t know,” I say as I hand him the spritzer. “You can’t really miss what you never had. I do feel a little melancholy every now and again when I see other people with their extended family, but it passes eventually.” He leads me over to the sofa where he left the file.

“You’re about to have children of your own. I think you should know what you can about your family.” He opens the file and hands me a picture of him when he was younger. He looks like a dork. He’s wearing this striped sweater with a way-too-big V-neck and another striped polo underneath. He has big hair, like he had a perm or something, and there’s this little guy standing next to him with wild hair. He’s wearing a shirt and a pair of pants that clearly don’t match… and bangs. For heaven’s sake, bangs! On a man! He has to be a full foot shorter than Daddy.

Daddy…
Oh God…

“Who is that?” I ask cautiously.

“That’s your father, Harold Lambert.” I almost gag. I feel so guilty now for what I thought of him. I cover my mouth with my hand. I don’t remember how he looked in my dream. The image is completely gone from my memory. All I remember is that he felt familiar.

He’s short. Mom’s short, too. I was doomed from birth.

“W… when…?”

“A long time ago, before you were even born. I don’t have many pictures of him. Alexandria has them all, but I have a few.” He pulls out another picture. It looks like some kind of promo shot. He and Harold are back to back and they don’t look so dorky—still dorky, but not so dorky. Their eyes almost look the same color in this one, and Harold’s hair is combed differently so that his bangs are swooped up and to the side, out of his face. Good grief.

“He looks so serious in this one,” I point out.

“That one’s been photoshopped a bit. There were other people in that picture. One of them was your mother.” Thanks for photoshopping her out, then. I nod and he grabs another picture.

“Harry was a comedian,” he says. “He learned to tell jokes to keep people from teasing him about his height. Then he became a Marine and people shut the hell up. He was one badass Marine. People kept testing him. They wanted to see what was in that little package. Harry got beat up a lot, until one day he just couldn’t take it anymore. He kept taking those beatings and kept learning until one day Lance Corporal Fortelli stepped up to him. Fortelli had to be, I don’t know, 6’3” or so. He was taller than me. They used to do humiliating high school things to him, you know, like lock him in the footlocker, throw him in garbage cans. This time, I overheard them talking about hanging him on a hook by his pants in the Officer’s Club. I went and told him about it, and I’ll never forget that look he got in his eye. I could tell that something really bad was going to happen if they came near him.

“Sure enough, Fortelli and a few others came into the barracks looking for him. Harry just stood up and looked Fortelli square in the face without flinching. Fortelli came over and said something snide to him, and Harry just stood there glaring at him. He shoved Harry’s shoulder and he still didn’t move. He showed no fear. Fortelli shoved him again and when he went to grab Harry, something snapped and Harry went crazy! He was like a Chihuahua on speed! He was beating the hell outta this guy, and Fortelli was a tree compared to Harry. He beat that lug down to the ground and when he got him down there, he beat him some more.”

Maybe that’s where I got my pugnacious tendencies—and my love for bangs every now and then.

“I would have let him beat the guy to Kingdom Come. It would have served him right for being a damn bully, but Fortelli’s flunkies were too afraid to get into the fight themselves so they went to get help. I knew the sergeant would be bursting into the barracks any second, so I pried Harry’s hands from the asshole and held him until he came down. We heard ‘attention’ behind us and everybody fell in. Harry’s wearing a T-shirt and boxers with Fortelli’s blood all over him. Fortelli can’t even stand to attention. Sarge came in and nobody would tell him what was going on. I was wondering what the flunkies said to him, but apparently, they left out the part where the barrack’s ‘little person’ was beating the tallest guy in the room.”

Dad continues the story telling me how the blood was a dead giveaway, but the sergeant still wouldn’t do anything to Harry unless he admitted that he had beaten Fortelli or Fortelli admitted that he was stomped by someone a foot and a half shorter than he was. Needless to say, nobody ever messed with Harry after that.

Dad had other pictures of Harry, too—a picture of him looking out of a car window, Harry juggling some orange balls and Dad looking on with both of them smiling widely, but the next picture was enough to scar a girl for life.

“Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad,” I nearly squeal in a sing-songy voice, “what is this!?”

“Oh, that was the year that we cross-dressed for Halloween. We were two of the ugliest women in the world.” Oh God, I think I’m going to faint. My Dad is in a dress and a curly wig. Please never let this picture make it to the light of day. Well, hell, they already had. “God, I’ll never forget Corporal Cummings saw this and made us patrol like this for a week.” He shows me another picture and it’s even worse than the first.

“Oh, Dad, please, no more…”

Ah, but there was more. Dad spent all afternoon telling me about the times he had with my biological father. Of the pictures that he had, Carla had only been in one and he photoshopped her out of it. They had some great times together, and some not-so-great times, too. Daddy told me as much as he could, never talking about Carla or about Harry’s death until…

“Alexandria may have used any benefits as Harry’s ‘next of kin,’ but if you’re interested, contact the Veteran’s Association and see if there’s anything left for you or that you can benefit from as Harry’s only child.” I look at the paper that he gave me and nod. I’m not really interested in any benefits there may be to being Harry Lambert’s child, but maybe I’ll contact them to get any information they may have on my birth father.

“Thanks, Dad,” I tell him. He didn’t have to share any of this with me, but he knew it would be important with my own children now part of the equation.

“You have two uncles, Frederick and Archibald—Harry’s brothers. I’ve heard of them, but only met them once… at the funeral. When I tried to contact Alexandria after Harry died, one of them answered her door and told me that she wasn’t there anymore, but I don’t even know which one it was. Just, if you’re interested, you have two uncles.” He reaches into the folder and pulls out another piece of paper.

“This is Carla’s birth certificate,” he says. “Her mother grew up in an orphanage. Sorry, there are no birth records. Her father left when Carla was a baby. His name was Gregory Donovan. I couldn’t find any other information on him. Her mother died when she was a 16 and she’s been on her own ever since.” Maybe that’s why she didn’t care about me. Her grandmother didn’t care about her mother and there’s no telling what kind of life Mom lived while her mother was alive. Could she have been loved and cherished by my grandmother and still turned out as selfish and rotten as she did in the end? I think not.

“What did she die from? Do you know?” I ask him.

“Cancer, I think. I honestly don’t remember. I’m sorry, Sunflower. I’m sure Christian can scare up some more information if you’re curious.” Christian… yeah, I suppose he could.

“To be honest, Dad, I think I would only want to know if there are any hereditary illnesses or traits that run in the family. I’ve had enough of opening Pandora’s Box and having vermin crawl out all over me. I need some peace.” I run my hands through my hair and lean back on the sofa.

“Everything okay, Annie?” he asks, “Besides the obvious, that is.” I look over at him.

“Christian’s being a little distant,” I tell him, “not horribly distant, but he’s staying at work later and going in early. I surprised him with brunch this morning because Gail said he hadn’t eaten. He was on his way to a meeting, thanked me, and… left.” Maybe I should leave out the part about banning me from Grey House. I don’t know how Daddy would react to that and honestly, it’s between me and Christian. “I think he’s working too hard,” I lie. “I hope nothing’s happening with the business.”

“You know that Christian is a smart guy,” he says. “Whatever’s going on, he’ll figure it out. He didn’t become king of the mountain by sitting on his laurels.” I know this, but it doesn’t tell me why he wants me to stay away from his place of business… and this shit is eating at me.

“I know, Dad,” I tell him. “Do you think Mandy would be willing to part with Harry for a few hours this weekend? I really want to spend some time with him on my own if you guys don’t mind.”

“I’ll ask Supermom what she wants to do on that one,” he says. “It might be nice for us to have a little time to ourselves. We rarely get it now that Harebear is here.” I shiver a bit.

“Oh, Dad, please don’t call him that when he’s older. He’ll never live it down,” I beseech him. Dad chuckles.

“I know, Sunflower,” he replies.

*-*

It’s well after 9pm when I get home and still no Christian. “Figures,” I say to myself as I go into the bedroom and put on some comfortable pajamas. I go back out to the kitchen and grab some fruit as a snack. I had dinner alone at the condo while watching old black and white movies. I take my fruit and a tall glass of water into the bedroom and settle down with my laptop. I plug my phone into the charger and see that I have a message from earlier.

Now, how did I miss that?

I play the message and it’s from Christian, telling me to trust him without telling me what’s going on. Of course, I trust him. He’s never led me to danger, but I hate that he’s keeping things from me. If something is big enough that he wants me to stay away from Grey House, I should damn well know what it is. What if danger is lurking around the corner and I don’t even know it? Suddenly, I’m feeling that same way I felt when I found out about Alexandria. There will, however, be no more bouts with a murder-burger. I guess some things never change.

I open my laptop and go immediately to one of those family tree sites. I’ll see what I can find on my own without having to ask for help. The most popular one has a two-week free trial. Let’s see what I can find out.

I start with myself and fill in all the information that I already know—my parents, Mom’s parents, Harry’s mother and brothers, and that’s it. I put that information in the system and come up with some immediate hits, but they have to be further verified. Harry’s father had another family and if these dates are right, he had them at the same time he was making a family with Alexandria. Oooo, scandal! There’s some more information that needs to be verified on his father and paternal siblings, but his mother’s information checks out. She had a daughter, too, but the little girl died very young. I’ll have to see if I can find out what that’s about.

I run through my email a bit and I see that the real estate agent has sent us some more options. Yes… yes, these look much better than that crap she was sending before. Seven bedrooms! Good grief, that won’t need much building out, now will it? The infinity pool with the rainbow fountains is to die for and the black granite in the long kitchen island/breakfast bar is so new, it’s shines like a mirror. Those Grecian columns throughout may be a bit much, though…

The blaring in my ears jolts me from my sleep with a few choice expletives. This is the second day the alarm has awakened me. I reach over to the spot that I know is empty, and it’s cold—very cold. He hasn’t even slept in the bed with me. What the fuck is this? We’re newlyweds! We should be fucking every night! I throw my covers off me and walk out of the bedroom in my bare feet. Gail is in the kitchen when I get there and she turns to greet me but looks at me strangely.

“Ana? Are you alright?”

“Where’s Christian?” I ask, rudely ignoring her question. She’s clearly a bit taken aback.

“He… left about an hour ago,” she says. “He ate breakfast, though.” I drop my face in my hands and attempt to brush away the thoughts that I’m thinking.

“I’m sorry, Gail,” I murmur. “I’m just… I’m sorry.” I scurry back to the bedroom close the door behind me. What is going on? He’s out before I wake up; he comes in after I’m asleep; he bans me from Grey House. Effectively, I can’t see him morning, noon, or night! If something’s going on, he won’t tell me. I have the worst feeling of dread right now. I don’t know what’s happening and this whole thing is scaring me shitless. I turn on the shower, strip, and step inside, allowing the water to run over my head and face.

I will not cry. I will not cry.

Does he not want me around him anymore? Is there something so horrible going on that he can’t tell me? If that’s the case, what is he going to do—wait until the bottom falls out from under our lives before he lets me in on the catastrophe? Maybe he got a feeling of being the old him like I got a feeling of being the old me yesterday. Maybe that’s why he doesn’t want me at Grey House. Maybe I distract him… good distraction or bad distraction?

I feel a sick, gurgling feeling in my stomach and make it out of the shower and to the toilet just in time. Ugh! Is this morning sickness? It’s the worst! I don’t seem to get too sick unless I’m upset, but when I do, it’s nasty!

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to keep my hair safe from the exchange, so I have to wash it thoroughly to get the remnants of—whatever that is—out of it. How delightful. While it’s wrapped in a towel, I brush my teeth to get the wonderful taste of vomit out of my mouth. I feel like shit and Al’s words immediately come back to me:

When you feel like a dollar, look like a million.

I pull out one of my sexy Agent Provocateur black lace bra and panty sets with the matching sheer thigh-high stockings. The material feels luxurious against my body and I’m starting to feel a bit better already. What to put over it? I’ll only have this body for a little while longer. I might as well enjoy it. My tits and ass have already started running away from me. I think I’ll spend the afternoon doing some shopping after I’ve seen the handful of patients I have to see this morning and go by Helping Hands. I think Donna Karan’s New York Black draped jersey dress will do the trick. It’s draped in the front over my boobs, showcasing the size without making me look naked. It’s ruched in all the right places, making my humongo ass look great and not so humongo. The little tie leather belt allows me to accentuate my waistline as it’s just about the only thing that hasn’t lost its shape… yet.

I put a little mousse in my still-damp hair and brush it back tight, pulling it into an insanely long ponytail. Yeah, not fighting with this shit today. I twist and twist, wrapping the wet hair around the ponytail holder until it forms a nice bun. Once I have it twisted neatly, a few hairpins, hold it in place. Very nice! Now, for the accessories.

Only a couple more months of being able to wear stilettos, so the black and white calfskin Louboutins will set this dress of nicely. Now, for black and white jewelry. Hmmm… no Chanel jewelry today. I open my favorite jewelry box that has my costume jewelry in it and my eyes go straight to the Eclipse black and white statement necklace. Five strands of semi-precious onyx, rock crystal, Swarovski glass pearls and crystal—just gaudy enough to be classy and break up the black in this dress. At 25” long, it drapes over my bosom just right. I add my black and white pearl bracelet and my teardrop freshwater black pearl earrings, and I’m good to go. I switch everything over to my black and white Louis Vuitton handbag and I feel just like Ana Steele, fashion icon… just without all the knockoffs.

That’s because Ana Grey doesn’t wear knockoffs, except for that attention-grabbing monstrosity around your neck.
Shut the fuck up. I’m just trying to make myself feel better, not snag a fucking date, you self-righteous twat!

And just like that, she’s silent. A little bit of moisturizer and lip gloss and my Jackie O’s and I’m ready to face the world.

Gail literally gasps when I sit at the breakfast bar.

“Wow! You look fantastic! What’s on the agenda today?”

“Not much,” I tell her. “Same as any Wednesday—I’ll be seeing a few patients this morning, then going over to Helping Hands. Later this afternoon, I plan on doing some shopping, since none of my clothes seem to fit anymore,” I lament.

“Well, someone forgot to tell that dress, because it fits like a glove,” she says before turning around to the stove. “What would you like for breakfast?”

“Just a bagel and some cream cheese.” She turns around and looks at me.

“Are you sure that’s all you want?” Then it dawns on me again. I’m pregnant. Boy, when I slip into Ana Steele, I slip all the way into Ana Steele. I better watch that.

“Of course, what was I thinking? I have babies to feed. I’ll have eggs and sausage, please with an English muffin and a slap of butter.”

“Orange juice?” she asks.

“Absolutely,” I say, and my stomach growls at the mention. “Plenty of eggs and sausage, Gail… please…”

After that wonderful hearty breakfast, I go down to the garage and wordlessly get into the driver’s seat of my Audi. Chuck scrambles quickly to start one of the security cars and I wait for him. I’m not trying to cause him any problems. I just don’t have much to say today.

My patients are just dripping with compliments on my appearance today. It makes me feel good and again, I feel a bit like my old self. I don’t know what I’m expecting. I don’t want to be single Ana or anything like that, but I think I’ve come to depend too much on Christian’s approval. Without it, I feel like I’m floundering. So what if my butt’s bigger? I’m pregnant, for Christ’s sake… with twins! It’ll probably get bigger than this by the time the beans are born. I have to ask Dr. Culley how much exercise I’m allowed to do while I’m carrying the babies. There will certainly be no Krav Magna in my immediate future, but I don’t want to get completely fat and flabby by my ninth month.

“Ana! You look ravishing!” Grace says as I walk into her office at Helping Hands. My God, have I been looking so bad that when I put in a little effort, people think I’m a different person?

“Thanks, Grace. How are the renovations going? I know I’m so far behind with the honeymoon and the trial…”

“They’re going simply splendid. Come, let me show you…”

Grace takes me through the areas that have had the most construction—the learning room and the floor that she’s hoping to set up as dorms in the shelter. The work is moving very quickly and the areas look very nice.

“Oh, this is going to be fantastic when it’s done, Grace,” I say, examining one of the rooms that have an en suite meant for a family of four. “There’s going to be so much more that we can do. Did you imagine that we would be able to accomplish this much in such a short period of time?”

“No, I didn’t,” she says, looking around the room with silent satisfaction. “If it hadn’t been for that $20 million donation, we would still be just hoping and wishing this could happen.” She closes the space between us. “Tell me the truth, Ana. Did my son donate that money?” I smile widely, knowing that I don’t have to lie to her about this part—at least not totally lie.

“No, Grace,” I said, firmly. “To my knowledge, Christian did not donate that money to Helping Hands. You have no other idea who could have possibly thought that money would have been useful?” I ask, trying to throw her off the scent. “No silent benefactors? Secret admirers? Former patients or clients who struck it rich? No clues whatsoever?” She pinches her chin in a thoughtful manner.

“No clue,” she says contemplating. Her brow furrows as she falls deeper and deeper in thought.

“What is it, Grace?” I ask.

“I don’t know. Maybe I’m just being paranoid,” she sighs.

“About what?”

“When I thought it could be Christian, I was okay with spending the money and doing the renovations. I was so sure that it was him and he was just being modest. Now…” She trails off.

“Now what, Grace?” She sighs.

“I’m afraid that someone is going to come back looking for something in return,” she says. “You don’t just donate $20 million to something out of nowhere without expecting some kind of favor. It’s the nature of the beast. I wasn’t born yesterday—only the obscenely rich can afford to donate that kind of money. I have that kind of money, but not to donate, so I know what I’m talking about.” I sigh heavily. I can’t let her think that someone is going to come banging down the door expecting the deed to the building. I have to tell her where the money came from.

“Grace, is there somewhere that we can talk… very privately?” I ask. Her eyes grow wide and she nods. She takes me outside and we sit in her car. It’s the most private place that we could talk without someone walking in on us.

“I’m curious. I thought you said you didn’t want any donations from Christian,” I begin.

“Honestly, I don’t, but once the money was in our hands and I saw how much good it could do, I though, maybe just this once…” I purse my lips.

“Grace, I’m going to tell you something, but it could have catastrophic consequences if it goes past this vehicle.” She leans away from me a bit.

“It’s not something illegal, is it, Ana?” I shake my head.

“Not on our end, no, but the origins, I’m not sure. That’s why this conversation can’t go past this vehicle. I need your word, Grace. You can’t repeat this anybody. Not even Christian.” She’s really looking scared now, but I have to tell her or she’ll never rest—and her curiosity is eating her up. She sighs again.

“You have my word, Ana.” I drop my head and take a breath.

“The $20 million didn’t come from Christian. It came from me.” Her eyes are nearly bulging out of her head now.

“What?!” she asks in unmasked surprise. “You? Where did you get $20 million?”

“I received a visit a few months back from an unsavory German woman…”

I tell her the whole story about Strauss first offering me $10 million to leave Christian thinking that my presence was the only thing that kept her niece in jail. When I refused, the $20 million showed up in a foreign bank account with my name on it. I certainly didn’t want that woman’s money, so I turned it over to Christian who validated the account and arranged for the money to be released to me and then turned over to Helping Hands. Based on Christian’s intel, the money can’t be traced to Helping Hands since I “withdrew” it first and never put it in another account in my name. Not only that, but Strauss sources wouldn’t want anyone snooping around in her finances, so she’s knows it would be best to just let sleeping dogs lie.

“She has no way of knowing that her money went to your charity and even if she could, there’s nothing she can do about it. She gave me $20 million dollars with no express instructions and I did with it what I pleased.” She’s looking at me as if she’s seen a ghost.

“She offered you $10 million to leave Christian and you turned her down?” Huh? I thought she’d be more concerned about Strauss and Pedo-Bitch.

“Um, yeah?” It sounds more like a question than an answer.

“Then she gave you $20 million and you turned it over to charity.” It’s a statement, not a question.

“Well, not just any charity…”

“I don’t care if you gave it to the American Cancer Society! You turned over $20 million to charity… for love?” She sounds incredulous.

“Um,” I’m scratching my head. Is this a bad thing? “Pretty much.” She just shakes her head.

“You’re one of a kind, Ana,” she says softly. “Plenty of women would have taken that money and gone before Christian knew what happened, but you… charity! You didn’t even try to hide it! You could have kept that money and Christian would have never known.”

“Yes, he would,” I tell her definitely, “but it wasn’t about the money. That wicked old bat thought that she could buy Elena’s freedom, and if she couldn’t buy her freedom, then she could buy my silence and loyalty. As I know we are all a product of our environments, then her environment must be absolutely deplorable! She has no morals and no consideration for what’s right or wrong. If she had a part in Elena’s upbringing—and I’m sure that she did—then it’s no wonder that Elena’s so fucked up!” The words are out of my mouth before I can catch them, but I wave them off. “Grace, it’s very important that Christian doesn’t find out that I told you this, It’s very hush-hush for a reason and as we speak, Christian is monitoring that woman’s every move.”

“I won’t say a word, Ana. Thank you for telling me. I would have been endlessly afraid of the unknown if you hadn’t. You’re sure the money can’t be traced to Helping Hands?” I nod.

“Only to me, and I was the rightful recipient. She can’t very well go the court and claim that I cheated her out of a bribe, now can she?” I shrug. She looks at me with grateful eyes and sighs.

“I hope my son realizes what a wonderful girl he has,” she says. I smile a tight smile.

“Thank you, Grace. I hope he does, too.”

*-*

I’ve never been one for retail therapy, but shopping honestly made me feel better. I found lots of cute things at Nordstrom, which is the first store I hit right from the parking structure of the Bellevue Collection. Chuck’s arms are full of bags when I go to Michael Kors and start picking enough items to make the young sales clerk begin to stutter. Chuck is in a corner surrounded by bags and typing on his phone. I give a fleeting thought to the fact that I haven’t heard from Christian all day and then remember that I’m banned from Grey House. That makes me angry all over again, so I fish my phone out of my purse only to realize that it’s dead. That’s odd. I’m sure I put it on the charger last night. Well, there’s nothing I can do about it now, so I go into the dressing room to try on some jeans and cute blouses that I saw.

Luckily for me, I’m already small-framed. So going up a size in Michael Kors wasn’t a big deal. True, I’ll probably only get to wear these things for a month or two, but right now I don’t care. My expanding ass and boobs have made most of my favorite pieces unwearable and I’ll be damned if all I’m stuck with are maxi dresses throughout this pregnancy. I’ll buy a new wardrobe and have it tailored every two months if necessary!

My haul from Kors is pretty substantial and I wonder how Chuck is going to get all of this stuff to the car, especially since I’m not finished. I’m buying too much, I know, but I don’t have a problem wearing last season’s clothes as long as I like them, so these things will still be there after I have the babies. I soon find out that I don’t have to worry about all of the bags as Chuck has brought in reinforcements while I was in the dressing room. Ben is standing in the doorway awaiting instructions after he—or Chuck—has already taken my Nordstrom haul to the car. They gather my bags and Chuck is the one that makes the trip to the car this time while Ben follows me to Max Mara.

My haul there isn’t as big, but they have a couple of really pretty mid-thigh faille dresses that would work very well once my baby bump starts to get bigger. No frumpy maternity clothes for me! More jeans from Intermix, some work dresses from Burberry and Kate Spade, and some fantastic accessories and outfits from Free People, and now I’m ready to eat. We decide on lunch at the Cheesecake Factory in Macy’s. I want to ask Chuck about his relationship with Keri, but I decide against it since Ben is here. They both ask me how much more shopping I plan to do and just as I’m about to answer, I see a camera flash to my right. I sigh heavily as I look out the window and see various members of the paparazzi begin to gather on the sidewalk. I raise my hand and wave at them.

“Smile for the cameras, boys,” I say to Chuck and Ben as they look out of the window with distaste. Just like that, ‘Just Ana Steele’ is shot to hell and I’m back to being one-half of AnaChris. At this moment, I resent it. I just wanted a quiet lunch in a public restaurant without having to hide my face or put on a disguise.

It could be the trial, you know. That really has nothing to do with Christian.
Not directly, no, but if I was just some psychologist that lived in Seattle, they really wouldn’t care about the trial. They only care because I’m married to Christian.
Do you resent being married to Christian right now?

“Ana, are you okay?” Chuck brings me back from my inner musings. I don’t know what kind of pictures the paps caught while I was contemplating my current circumstance, but it doesn’t matter.

“Yes, I’m fine. Can you get the server over here? There’s no use in spoiling everyone else’s lunch with this disturbance…”

We’re back in the mall again after picking up some things in Macy’s and I discover that it’s no use trying to shop anymore, because the paparazzi won’t give us a moment’s peace. I’ve told them several times that I can’t discuss the trial, so they’ve opted to asking highly personal questions about me and Christian. This is what our babies have to look forward to when they’re born. Thank God we’re moving to an island!

Once we’re safely back in the cars and driving back to Seattle, I hear her repeat the question that she asked before:

Do you resent being married to Christian right now?

No, definitely not, but I do resent feeling like I’m on the outside looking in, I think to myself as a single tear makes a trek down my cheek.


CHRISTIAN

“They’re doing what?” I ask in horror. This is impossible! This can’t be happening.

“They’re moving money, sir,” Seigel from Accounting tells me. “Small amounts, a couple thousand at a time. They’re just moving it around, Sir—they’re not taking it.”

“Well, that doesn’t fucking make me feel any better!” I bark. “They’re in accounts that they shouldn’t have access to at all! Are we sure this isn’t someone in-house doing this for budgetary purposes?”

“No one cleared these transfers through me,” Marx from Finance pipes in. “The amounts are so small that we never would have seen them if we hadn’t been looking for them, sir. There’s no reason to move those amounts around because they won’t affect anything.” He shows me a spreadsheet on his tablet. “R&D can’t do anything with $5000. They can’t even get anything off the ground with that. IT, $2000… Legal, $3500… There’s nothing these departments can do with these amounts, and the IT department head is in the room with us with the same questions.”

Fucking hell! This is not good. They’re not just running around, now. They’re in the financial networks.

“I thought there was some kind of protection that the banks offer against things like this,” I say, my voice cool while I’m exploding inside.

“There is, but someone has made them think they were GEH, so the bank thinks this is business as usual.” I shake my head.

“What do we do?” I ask, then James speaks up.

“They don’t want your money, Christian. They’re doing this to show you that they can. Somebody is playing with you. They may want your money later, I don’t know, but that’s not their intention now or they would have taken it. You may have to let the financial institutions in on what’s going on…”

“And publicize that there’s a breach in our network security system? If I do that, every snotty-nose, college kid computer geek is going to try to break into my computer system! While we’re busy brushing off all those little gnats, the snake is busy crawling in destroying my company.” James’ face changes as I say that. The other department heads are still talking, bouncing around ideas, but I see the wheels turning in James’ head.

“May I speak to you alone for a moment?” he asks. This normally doesn’t sit well with me, but I have to admit that I’m a little desperate.

“Gentlemen, we’ll be right back. Continue to bang out your ideas. At this point, there are no impossibilities.” They continue to chatter among themselves as James and I leave the conference room and go to my office.

“Are your personal accounts attached to your GEH network?” he asks.

“Not all of them, but yes, some of them are.”

“You have accounts that aren’t?”

“Yes.”

“You need to manually start moving money from the accounts that are on your network to the accounts that aren’t. You need a safety net in case this intruder plans to wipe you out. I’ve seen things like this, and unfortunately, the companies never know what hit them until they’re flat broke.”

“If you’ve seen this before, then you can stop it, right?” I ask.

“If it’s what I think it is, I probably can, but not the conventional way.” Probably… that doesn’t sound good, but my team can’t seem to catch this guy and he’s advancing quickly.

“I’m listening.”

“I have a program. It’s in its experimental stages. I created it when I saw this kind of attack before, one that couldn’t be traced. Other companies wouldn’t let me use it on their networks because it’s experimental, and using it in this instance is going to require some trial and error. It’s the error part that scares them, but in the end, if you don’t try something unconventional, this guy could run away with half if not all of your company.” Shit. I don’t want any experimental software running around in my super network, but when I look at the alternative…

“Tell me clearly what this program does…”

James explains that the program is just like the basic tracking programs that employers use to track where their employees go on company networks, but much more detailed and precise. His program can do that and track the user back to its source, even a seemingly unknown user—which it is precisely formulated to find. It leaves a footprint like a neon light in the dark.

“What are the drawbacks?” I ask him.

“Nobody else can know that I’ve put it on the system. No one else can access it; no one else can operate it. That means that you have to trust me fully and completely,” he says. “Your tech guy is pretty damn good, one of the best I’ve seen. He’ll find these lines of code in about three months because I’m that good. By then, we will have smoked out your intruder and it won’t matter. We have to catch this guy using an angle he wasn’t prepared for. Whoever he is, he’s good and he’s been doing this for a while. He’s cocky, and you’re not his first target. You most likely won’t be his last if he gets away with it, but what a feather in his cap if he manages to take down Christian Grey and GEH.”

“And what a feather in yours if you manage to stop him,” I point out.

“Hell, yeah!” he says with no modesty, and that’s what sold me. If he had come with that fake modest shit, I would have known something was rotten.

Your program?” I ask.

“Solely mine, not even patented yet.” Oh, this has possibilities.

“Not something in Research & Development with your employer?” I clarify.

“I didn’t even write the program on their computers.”

“Have you approached anybody with this idea?” he smirks.

“Ever the businessman. No, I haven’t. I tried to get other companies to let me use it to sniff out their hackers, but they were too squeamish. I eventually found their hackers, but not nearly as quickly as I would have if they had let me use it.”

“What were their reasons for not wanting you to use it?” I ask.

“Most of them were concerned whose side I was on. If they let me install software that no one else knew about that basically gives me access to their entire network, I could actually be on the hacker’s side opening gateways that they needed to enter the network. What they didn’t understand was that I already had access to their entire network and I don’t need a special program to let a hacker in if that’s my M.O. I could very easily do it with something as simple as an SQL injection or exploiting a cross-site scripting vulnerability…”

“Okay, stop,” I tell him. “Don’t lose me, here. I’m business. I have some experience with computers, but not enough to follow what you just said, so don’t lose me.” He nods.

“Simply put, if I wanted to hurt you, I could have already done it by now, and you already know that. Our friend—and I’m using that term sarcastically—is trying to get in, and he’s moving fast. I’m already in. Let me use my program and we’ll catch him.” I sigh heavily.

“If this works, I want marketing rights,” I tell him. “I’ll give you the best backing and R&D money can buy. I’m putting my whole life in your hands and while I will be eternally grateful, I will want a piece of what saved my company.” He’s contemplating.

“My attorney works for you,” he says, matter-of-factly.

“So what do you suggest?”

“I’ve pretty much got you by the balls, here. We’ll work something out.” He proffers his hand. I take it and shake firmly.

“I very rarely, if ever, do anything based solely on trust,” I say as a statement and a warning.

“And this is years of personal sacrifice and research that I’m putting in your hands,” he says, equally cautionary. I nod.

“What do we need to do?”

I have to keep Barney and the other department heads occupied while James puts the program on the main server. It runs in the background and unless you’re specifically looking for it and you know what to look for, you’re not going to find it. If Barney doesn’t find it in the three months that James says it will take, I’m going to fire him—or at least demote him. We’re looking for an intruder here and this, in a way, is an intruder. He just got in through the front door.

An hour later, James comes back into the conference and joins the war council, nodding once to me to let me know that the software is in place. We’ve decided that extra security measures need to be taken around the financial systems, but each department—Barney included—agree that this is just a temporary fix. I concur, but at least it will buy us some time.

Each department goes off with new instructions of what to do next while I head back to my office to look at some vulnerable accounts and ventures. I hadn’t realized how much time had passed. It’s well after lunch and I haven’t heard a word from Butterfly. Trying to find this cyber attacker and not let my business go south means that I’m out before dawn and back in well after dark. This is not good for a newly married couple. I try to call her and it goes straight to voice mail. Does she have me blocked? Is she stewing now? I don’t bother leaving a message.

It’s late in the evening when I raise my head from the last set of spreadsheets that require my attention. Andrea has long since left for the night after sticking her head in the office to see if there’s anything else that I need before she leaves. My phone buzzes and, anxious for a word from Butterfly, I quickly look at my texts. It’s from Jason. It’s a link to one of those tabloid websites. I click it and there’s Butterfly, flanked by Charles and Lawrence in what looks to be a shopping mall. Whoever is taking the video is walking in front of her. Her smile is forced. They can’t tell, but I can.

She looks fantastic! That black dress she’s wearing is moving with her every curve—sultry and sensual, but not trashy. She says something about not being able to talk about the trial and they start in on her about the honeymoon and a prenuptial agreement. Her forced smile falls and she walks faster, her currently cameraman unable to keep pace. Now, he’s behind her as she walks quickly away from the mob.

That ass! Good God, that ass!! All of Washington and anyone who Googles her or follows this piece of shit site is looking at that ass! Fuck me! She’s trying to kill me here! Why is she dressed like that anyway? I don’t even think I’ve ever seen that dress. It’s sexy as fuck! I know that she had patients today, but her attire has been a tad more casual lately unless we’re going out. When did Lawrence get there? Has Charles been with her the whole day? I open the link on my computer and look at it again. Jason walks in just as I having this mental conniption.

“Thought you might want to see it before it goes viral,” he says. He’s looking at me questioning. “What’s wrong, Boss? There’s nothing wrong with it, just that the paps got to her while she was shopping.”

“Look at her!” He walks around the desk and looks at the computer.

“What am I looking at?”

“Her!” I snap. “If that smile was any faker, her face would crack and fall off. She’s jeweled and dressed to the nines! And look at that ass!” I gesture to the screen. Jason frowns.

“Sir, are you actually asking me to look at your wife’s ass?” He went completely professional in less than a moment. I roll my eyes.

“When did Lawrence get there?” I ask perturbed.

“Hours ago. Chuck said he needed backup.”

“For the paparazzi?”

“For the shopping.” I frown and cock my head to the side.

“He needed backup for shopping?!”

“Have you ever been shopping with your wife??” he asks, nearly horrified.

“As a matter of fact, I ha… oh!” I pause mid-sentence thinking about the shopping spree in Paris.

“Yeah, marathon, not a sprint!” Jason reinforces. I look at the screen again.

“We just went shopping three weeks ago. What could she possibly want to buy?”

“According to Chuck, clothes that fit, sir.” I frown.

“Clothes that fit?” Now I’m really confused.

“’Look at that ass?’” he says, with a shrug, using my own words against me. Yeah, it was me that said a minute ago that I’ve never seen that dress. It probably didn’t hug her properly, so she never wore it. It’s sure as hell hugging the fuck out of her now. As I’m clicking on the feed to see it again, my blackberry rings. Butterfly?

No.

“Hi Dad,” I say.

“Hello, Christian. How are you?”

“I’m fine, still in the office trying to wrap some things up.” He’s quiet for a moment.

“Still in the office? It’s nearly 10pm, son.”

“Yeah, I know. I’m going home soon. What’s up, Dad?”

“I was just calling to let you know that Anton Myrick is still safe under lock and key.” I nod. I knew that. The dream just scared the shit out of me.

“Thanks, Dad. I appreciate you going through the trouble.”

“No trouble, Christian. Hopefully you can put this demon to rest now.”

“I hope so, Dad. Is Mom around?”

“Sure, let me get her for you.” There’s a pause and then I can hear him talking to my mom. “Hello, Christian. How are you?” She sounds awful chipper.

“I’m fine, Mom, and you?”

“I’m doing well. The renovations on the center are coming along very nicely. I haven’t told Ana yet, but I’m having an area renovated where clients will be more comfortable talking to her and John, like her office—you know, with comfortable chairs and whatnot. She’ll have her own office as assistant director, too. Things are moving along very nicely! What’s going on with you?”

“Just trying to close the deal on some ventures and tie up some loose ends.” Critical loose ends, I might add. “Can I ask you something?”

“Sure.”

“Did you see her today?”

“Yes, she came to the center this afternoon. Why? Is everything okay?” She hasn’t said anything to my mom.

“Yeah, everything’s fine. I’m just… a little overprotective, I guess… with the babies and all… Did she say anything?” …about me? Mom pauses for a moment.

“Yes, Christian, she did,” Mom says. Well… what did she say?? “I told her that I hope you realize how wonderful she is and she responded ‘I hope so, too.’ I really didn’t think anything of it until you asked.” Oh, fuck.

“I’ve been working late, Mom. I’m still at the office as we speak. I’m going home now.”

“That’s a good idea.” I can hear her smiling through the phone. “I love you, Christian.”

“I love you, too, Mom.”

*-*

I almost shit my pants when Jason tells me that Butterfly is at her condo. What the hell is she doing there? I open the door and Charles is yawning on the sofa in his shirt and slacks.

“She’s asleep, sir,” he says. She didn’t intend to come home?
Why should she? She never sees you. She probably thinks you won’t miss her.

“Thanks, Charles. You can stay if you’re tired.”

“You’re staying?” he asks. I nod. “I’ll see you in the morning, sir.”

I don’t know how to take that.

“See you in the morning, Charles.” I lock the door behind him and throw my jacket on the back of the sofa. I walk back to her room and open the door. She’s under the covers, snuggled in for the night. She wasn’t coming home. She was staying here. That’s not good.

I strip down to my boxer briefs and contemplate if I should wake her. Will she even want to talk to me? Will she feel like I’m intruding? She didn’t come home after all. Hell, last night, I didn’t even come to bed. Hell yes, I should wake her.

She’s laying on her back with her arms over her head, sleeping so soundly that I so hate to wake her, but I must. I need to talk to her. I need to hear her voice. I need her to see me and know that I’m here. I pull the covers back and she’s wearing the cutest pajamas—a warm button-down shirt and a pair of matching shorts. She didn’t expect me to come. She would have worn something else—my T-shirt, a nightie… or nothing.

I slide over her and her arms instinctively wrap around my neck. I slide my hands under her shoulders and on either side of her face, then wait for her to wake up.

She slowly opens her eyes, then immediately remembers where she is. I can’t read her expression. She’s not angry, but not completely accepting. She’s silent, though she hasn’t moved her arms. She’s just looking into my eyes while I’m looking into hers.

“There are some things going on at Grey House.” My tone is low and measured so as not to betray the terror hiding behind my words. “I can’t talk about them right now, but for my own peace of mind, I need you to stay away from Grey House for a while—not forever, but just for a while. Can you do that? Can you trust me and do that, please?” I look into her guileless questioning blue eyes. Please trust me, Butterfly. Please…

“Yes,” she says softly. “I can do that.” I take a deep breath and sigh heavily, placing my forehead onto hers and trying to release some of the fear that’s burning deep within me.

“Thank you,” I breathe. I know it’s hard not knowing, but I truly believe that knowing part of it without knowing all of it will only make it worse for her. It’s hell on me. She leans her head up and kisses me gently on the lips. The gesture sends a warmth through my soul that immediately calms my raging spirit.

“If I could make love to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, I would—not because of how hard you make me come, but because of what you give to me; what I feel when I’m in your arms; what I see when I look at you; how much of myself I want to give to you. I want to melt into you and feel every cell of you in every cell of me. May I make love to you… please?” I need her so much. I need to feel her warmth and her love to give me strength. I can lose my company. Though it would hurt like fuck, I could live without it if I had to. I can’t live without her… without our babies…

“Yes,” she breathes. My will almost collapses when I close my lips over hers.


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

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

Love and Handcuffs!
Lynn x

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45 thoughts on “Mending Dr. Steele: Chapter 79—This Is Your Life

  1. lovesfiftyshades says:

    Dying to know who the troll is…can’t stand when Ana and CG and not getting along, it makes my heart hurt. I can’t believe there’s only one more chapter…I know your original is being published and I can’t wait for that…do you think you can tell us the time from the last chapter and when this story will continue? You see, you are “like a drug to me”! When I don’t get my fix, I get a little crazy! Take care of yourself! Love your CG and ASG so much, can’t wait to read more!

  2. crazyblondearmybrat042202 says:

    i still think the troll is brain but im not as sure as I was maybe im confused not your fault I can wait until you tell us
    til next week
    rachel

  3. Alana says:

    OMG…..if there is only one chapter left, we are about to get one massive cliffhanger! That just downed on me and now I’m kinda freaking out about our upcoming break from updates. I don’t know how long I can go without my Bronzie fix. You have created addicts here!

  4. Amanda Nance says:

    I totally agree, I love this story please dont let it be to long till you srart the 3rd book I love your ana and cg I remember reading where you said there were comments that christain cryed to much well to me thats bull you see in my opion this is the person he was meant to be but was block from pedobi well you know and I think he is magnificant theres wrong with his emotions anyway and after everything ana has been through id say she has everright to be a little arrogant I think thats what they said but anyway your writing and this story is adictive and I go a little crazy with waiting a week lol, I hope your doing well and continue to do so.Oh I also cant help but wonder who is doing this my guess is it brian colostomy or the the guy tring to say hes christians brother just a guess, and congrats on publishing your book cant wait for that either love ya

  5. Mar says:

    OMG!!! Great chapter like always
    I think is either Brian or that or a crazy that crazy lady that is Elena aunt
    OMG one more chapter can’t wait for it I’m sure we will get a cliffhanger
    Thank you for taking us in this wonderful love story. We will miss your story and can’t wait for book 3!!
    What will happen to us without you in our lives?

    Have a great weekend,,

  6. we need to know who the troll is next chapter and will you be doing a part III…..PLEASE!

  7. Sara says:

    I still think Mr. colostomy is behind this, but it could also be the BT’s aunt who is manipulating everything. I can’t wait to find out.
    I hope your life is getting back in order. Have fun with your new grandbaby.
    I love your writing! Good luck in everything you do.

  8. JLK says:

    Its me again :).

    Your work is as splendid as always BG and I have a feeling of impending doom for the last chapter!

    For the chapter review, I honestly believe it is Brian.C rooting around in GEH’s network. And who knows he might have Myrick working with him? Here are some of my questions for Mr.Colostomy (Oops I mean Cholometes, NOT!)

    1.Does Colostomy really think that Ana will leave CG if he loses his company and the most part of his wealth?
    2.If 1 is correct, what makes him think that Ana will be loyal to him, because Ana allegedly is a gold-digger and ‘forced’ (Colostomy’s words from Chapter 27 about the flowers he sends her, I think) into the marriage?
    3.Does he really think that lowly of her?

    Anyways, good to see Christian and Ana patch things up (sort of) and I am reeling from the facts that I will be without my Bronze Goddess for an undetermined amount of time while she takes a break :(. Even though the break is well deserved I am still going to miss my love and handcuffs :p.

    Congratulations on the grandbaby and I will see you next week for the finale! (Or unless you comment on my review haha)

    Lots of Love!!!!!

  9. Shannon says:

    Superman James to the rescue!!! I hope Barney doesn’t get fired because that would just be sad and terrible. Since we only have one chapter left i’m guessing that this whole hacking scenario will transfer over into the next one. Talk about leaving us on pins and needles but hey that makes for the greatest stories.

    It made me happy to see Christian try to explain his irrational and sudden decision. Shows good character growth and such. Anyway i hopes things continue to look up for you. Have fun playing with your new grandbaby!!!

  10. Maycee says:

    First I loved this chapter Ana finding her old self although she is at a different stage in her life you don’t want to lose yourself in the process. Yay for James I’m glad he has a way to figure this out and that Christian is willing to let him that’s a big step for him to trust people with something this big. Although I understand why he’s not telling Ana I feel like he should she would be right there with him supporting him but he won’t let her. Maybe thinking that if he’s going to lose his company it will change things but it wouldn’t we all know that. As to who is doing this I have no idea I’m not even putting my two sense in cause I’m sure I’d be wrong. I’m excited your going to be published you deserve it your story is awesome. I’m not to excited for the break in new chapters but I will take the time to reread book 1 and 2 as I’m sure I’ve forgotten things. Take all the time you need in sure publishing a book will take time and with that new grand baby I’m sure your time is full. Can’t wait for the next chapter 😁

  11. seralynsmom says:

    Hmmmm beginning to wonder if it’s Brian. I thought it was because this person was just walking around in Christian’s network, and I still thought it in this chapter when we saw that the money was beings bed around. What got me wondering if it was someone else though, the fact that James said they’ve done it before and will probably do it again, and then the talk about Strauss. As the world modernized, she’d have to modernize how she got her dirty money, now that would usually mean prostitutes and such ( I say this because of how Elena treated her boys, especially Christian. Like how she got him his subs and such), but what if part of it was computer hacking, not herself, and stealing other people’s money? I just don’t see Brian having done this before, unless he only walked into people’s systems and didn’t take any money, like checking security and such, sorta like what James does? He would know Christians network because of that background check he ran on Christian.

    As for Ana, I’m glad they’ve sort of made up. Just concerned with her mentality at the moment. She’s so afraid of the world and letting it get to her that she automatically went to being angry at him for keeping something from her and didn’t ever really wonder if maybe there was truly a good reason for all of it, the late nights and early mornings and his banning her from Grey House. If she wasn’t in this funk she’s been in she would have wondered what the hell was going on and more than likely demanded he talk to her, but instead it’s retail therapy and sleeping at her condo. I just hope once the trials are done and this person is caught they can sit down and talk this all out and he can help her feel better about things. Afraid she might self destruct otherwise.

    Good luck with publishing. On one hand going to miss this story and regular updates, on the other I can’t wait to get my greedy little hands on the published story and see just what Miles is all about. 🙂

    • seralynsmom says:

      Also am I the only one who is worried about her cell phone dying so quickly? Is it possible to mess with something like that? Or maybe she just needs a new one? It concerns me cause if she’s ever seperate a from Chuck somehow she’ll be without any communication on hand. She’s not out for that long usually so it shouldn’t be burning through the battery that fast should it. She needs to let someone know. Christian has tried to get a hold of her twice now when it’s dead.

  12. Loved the trip through Ana’s biological’s father photo album. The descriptions of the men’s do’s were hilarious.
    I suggested Brian as the hacker since I really had no thoughts on the hacker’s ID until Seralynsmom mention the mention of Ms. Strauss and her $20M. Maybe she wants it back. Hmm? Another trust hurdle almost down as Christian and James cut a deal. I really like James’ character. In my mind he is now an equal to Al. It is really, really scary to think that GEH could go down.
    Food and clothes. Ana and I have a lot in common there. Lynn, love your description of the impromptu lunch and Ana’s mad shopping spree.

  13. Jackie says:

    Great chapter with a perfect ending. No relationship runs smoothly without any bumps. Glad they sorted things out. Wondering if it could be Brian or someone we haven’t thought of or maybe don’t even know. Hope Ana gets closure in the next chapter with regards to the trial. Seems like the GEH thing will run a bit longer. Love to you. Look after yourself and enjoy your new grandson 🙂

  14. kallipygos1 says:

    Thank you Lynn for my early birthday present (as of tomorrow I have to deal with a five as first digit … I can’t believe it…)
    Your writing always lifts my mood and this chapter is no exception 😉 I hope this whole mess at GEH will be sorted out soon and that CG will learn not to keep Ana in the dark because only together they are invincible. I don’t like to speculate who it is and what the outcome will be, I only hope you don’t leave us with a huge cliffhanger for the last chapter… 😉
    Lots of love from Germany
    Corinna xox

  15. VRB Mariposa (Vanessa) says:

    Wow this chapter was awesome. I hope that they find out before the story ends who is trying to bring CG to his knees. Will we find out? I hate how this is affecting them and hope they continue to weather this storm. Thanks for the update and the entertainment. ;-D

  16. sclark14320 says:

    Only 1 chapter left….not sure how I feel about this….lol…..hopefully there is more to come after this…. You are my favorite writer. And I want to thank you… Another great chapter. But please say that we find out who is doing this??? 🙂

  17. Christian618 says:

    Good for you butterfly you gave him a lil bit of his own medicine. He comes home late, leaves early and ignores you as if you were not existing so you did the same by staying at your condo! It fixed his hand and made him communicate to you. Why he doesn’t tell you the truth I don’t know or understand. I cAnt wait until they find out who is doing this to christiAn but my gut says its BriAn. Ray should have told Ana about her father earlier but this was good. Hmm I can’t wait for the next chapter.

  18. leoedi0306 says:

    Brilliant chapter! Now I am thinking Strauss is behind CG’s hacker problem. I had forgotten about the 20M she gave Ana. I am sure she is not the type to let that go. I am sad to know there is only one more chapter, but happy to know book 3 will be coming. Looking forward to the published book!

  19. nedbella says:

    Another great chapter. When Ana found her phone dead, did she just forget to charge it, or did she charge it and someone hacking into her phone somehow. You know, to mess with her. Poor Ana, she was so sad in this chapter. Christian is trying to save her from the stress of what’s going on, but it still hurts her because she’s out of the loop. In time, he will disclose things.

    Anyway, with the GEH hacking. I think they are moving small amounts to test his IT people and security system. By practicing with small amounts and getting away with not being traced, then when they are ready to make their big move, they know they can get away with it. They will take out millions, If not billions in one hit. It is a personal attack I feel, not a business one. Someone wants to destroy him for a personal reason. I am glad he has James on his side and I hope he moves his money over to his separate accounts to protect it from theft. I still think that Colostemy guy is behind this somehow. But time will tell and I can’t wait to find out. Awesome story and once again you have thoroughly entertained me.

  20. valentinesgenie says:

    You rock as always I’m looking forward to the last chapter see you next week,while you are on your break please take care of yourself I’m gonna miss you but I would rather you take a break than cause damage to your health praying for you everyday take care be blessed see you after the break….

  21. Julie says:

    All I can say is awesome!

  22. jjgoldmann says:

    Another great chapter! Still can’t wait to find out who the intruder is. I love the trip down memory lane for Ray and him taking Ana with him. That was great. Now Ana is going to find out more about her family on her fathers side?

  23. Michelle Cheri' says:

    Lynn… Fantastic chapter!
    1. do you have actual recipes you can share if the items for lunch Ana fixed for her Dad, Chuck and herself? That sounds fabulous.
    2. Totally forgot about Brian until I read the comments. My mind went to Mr. David since he was in computer science as well. Wouldn’t Alex have picked up in Brian’s activity ? Of course Mr Secret Agent could be anywhere and makes sense he would want to stress CG over work issues to see if he left Ana hanging .
    3. I feel I have missed “Miles”. Is this your original work you are publishing ?
    4. Thank you for giving us another chapter after your personal life has been so hectic recently.
    Looking forward to the book III after the last chapter of book II.

  24. Noelle says:

    Awesome awesome awesome!! Love the story! Hate to wait for the last chapter!
    Spotted a small typo – at helping hands, i think you mentioned “Gail” instead of “Grace” …Takes me through the areas that have had the most constructions….

    *waiting not-so-patiently for the next chapter*

  25. jo says:

    Ugh Chris is annoying me! Why is he acting so doom gloom about hacks? Yes bad, lots of companies targeted, maybe nutty person 500 from their past but no proof yet. Freaking out is the worst.
    I didn’t like Ana forgiving asap and not telling how crappy he was making her feel. She has a right esp w preg emotions affecting her.
    he keeps saying he can’t be w/o Ana twins but doesn’t come home, ignores her. Actions speak louder. What is he doing at 10? Is he checking hacks personally. He gets updates, he can get them at home.

  26. Suzecues says:

    Wow! Great chapter and I finally caught up ! Enjoy your Grand baby !
    Every time Christian has tried to protect Ana it would have been better for them if he didn’t. I am torn this time though because it is his company not an aspect of their or her personal life. Brian makes sense as the intruder but you do cliffhangers and scenarios so well that who he is linked with will be interesting? If it’s him?

    Thank you again,

    Impatiently waiting

    Susan

  27. jjgray61 says:

    I’m so ready for the next book. Can’t wait to find our who had hacked into Christians computers

  28. rockstar1213 says:

    I am so into this story. You write so well that it just draws me in. Can’t wait to find out what happens next. When does the next chapter come out?

  29. Fausta says:

    kip da ball rolling
    its da best kip me updated,who great pleasure ,congrantsd dia

  30. Sharrier says:

    Have a feeling its creepazoid baby myrik causing problems at grey house.

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