For information purposes, I received “bounced emails” from a few email addresses over the last couple of months. If you are reading this post but you didn’t get an email, please make sure that I have the correct email address for you. You can send it to me on the “Contact Me” link on the front page left hand side of the blog, or you can join the mailing list again (it should be on the same link).
So, welcome back to the saga of the couple that we love to love… and hate. No big prelims, let’s get right into the drama, shall we?
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 1—Poor Little Anastasia…
The honeymoon is definitely over.
Christian is working late hours.
We haven’t had real sex in weeks!
We were having sex all the time. I couldn’t get enough of him! My appetite was voracious… is voracious! All of a sudden, we went from sex nearly every night to a quickie every now and again to nothing for the last month! I guess my nearly five month pregnant belly has turned him off completely. I’m not that big… at least I don’t think I’m that big.
Who am I kidding?
I’m huge. I’m nothing like the pretty, petite brunette that he married. True, I’ve gained a nice rack and I have truly come to love my round hips and butt. I can usually compliment them quite nicely with the clothes that I wear, and I enjoy the small amount of attention it draws until I turn around and become “Ana without Chris with the huge babies-bump.”
Pretty, petite brunette…
Yes, that thought plagues me all the time. My husband is a dominant—a hot, handsome, sexually charged dominant who has never voluntarily gone without sex in his adult like, and even if he did, it wasn’t for long. Women throw themselves at him. Ex-submissives come back to him panting, just gagging for it. Three more popped up just last month after the ultrasound picture of the twins somehow made it to mainstream media. I was 14 weeks pregnant at the time and still not really showing yet, but the moment it was confirmed that I was having babies, here come the hoes! Ex-subs, new hopefuls, women looking for a date, even a few men, just showed up out of nowhere!
They camped out at Grey House; they followed him when he left; they were at the door of Escala—all promising him the good time that the pregnant wifey was unable to give him. How the fuck do you think the wifey got pregnant, you fucking morons!? However, as soon as I start to think that they’re stupid and don’t know what they’re talking about, I remember that I haven’t seen my husband for more than five minutes in the last month and that his voracious appetite is not getting satisfied by me. So I end up doing something to put it out of my mind.
I did confront him about it a few weeks back and it turned out to be a catastrophe. We talked for more than five minutes that time, only to argue about how ridiculous I was being and how the last thing he wants to do right now is try to convince me that he’s not out chasing some random piece of ass while he’s neck-deep in trying to keep his company from going topsy-turvy. Pregnant-hormonal me shot that his company must be more important than me, and that created a whole new argument. It was nasty! We ended up having sex after that, but it turned out to be more of a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am than make up sex, and when it was all over, I felt like it was a pity-fuck. I never brought it up again.
It’s hard to deal with sometimes. I’ve become a bit of a hermit. The Scooby Gang comes to see about me, but for the most part, it’s me, my patients, the decorator, blueprints, Helping Hands, and that site that’s helping me build my family tree. I’ve thrown myself full-force into Helping Hands. I’ve lost some of my interest in my practice because my remaining patients are still using me as a crutch, I feel, and I haven’t taken on any new ones. Some of them have left because we made tremendous progress with their treatment and they want to see if they can function and move on. My Stoleys… my success stories. Though no doctor really wants to lose patients, having you live a happy and healthy life and never—or very rarely—having to come back to see me means that I’ve done my job.
Most of my patients have become maintenance—every now and again and only as needed, but there are still three who just can’t let go of the therapy. It’s not that they’re whiners or anything like the losers that used to come to group therapy. I know I shouldn’t call them that, but I just can’t see them as anything else. These people were real basket cases when they came to see me and that’s why I take them seriously. I can’t just leave them all to fend for themselves just yet because I’m concerned of what would happen if I did. However, I’m also concerned that they may have a touch of the Florence Nightingale syndrome in that they can’t bear to be without me—not treatment, me. So now, I’m trying to figure out how to handle that.
Helping Hands has been a godsend. Grace has used some of the money that I donated to build—or rebuild—new offices and workspaces for the more permanent staff. It’s nothing fancy as we are a non-profit organization, but it’s much more functional than having Grace’s desk bump up against a desk that John and I share in an office that’s too small for even one of those desks to fit comfortably. It’s not that we didn’t have the room in the building. It’s actually pretty large. We just didn’t have the finances to be able to utilize all of the space.
Christian is never home when I get there, so I stay around Helping Hands until late evening some nights looking at the books and working on whatever project, activity, or event may be coming up. We have our first few residents in the dorm, a couple of small families in hiding from a violent significant other. I go in and check on them most nights to see if there’s anything that we need. The money that I donated isn’t gone, but it is dwindling as the original renovations weren’t cheap and now, we have regular operating expenses that we didn’t have before. We won’t run out in the very near future, but we definitely need to secure some more substantial donations and pledges than we have in the past.
Yay! A purpose!
“So what do you think, Ana?” Grace asks me about the latest event that she’s been planning. I’m sure that we’ll be able to secure some donations from it, hopefully quite a bit, but what we’re really looking for is sustainability.
“That’s a good idea, Grace, but I think we may need to look at some income generating strategies in addition to the fundraisers. We need something more permanent. I’d hate to see us put in all this work just to have to go back down to the bare necessities again.” She nods.
“I agree,” she says. “I have to say that a couple of really good annual donations will put us right over the top. Then we’ll be able to proceed with our regular fundraising activities and invest in something more permanent that will give us that sustainability.” I twist my lips.
“I see what you mean. Any suggestions?” She sighs.
“I don’t know. I have this meeting with a group of businessmen that I have a couple of times a year, but I’m never able to coax them out of more than a couple of hundred thousand if I’m lucky. Those are wonderful donations, but from the operating side and everything that we do and hope to do for these families, you know that’s not a lot of money.”
“I know. What’s the hang-up? Why won’t they open their fists a bit?”
“I wish I could tell you,” she says, falling into her seat. “I don’t even know why they still agree to meet with me. They seem so disinterested when I start talking about the center and the work that we do, but they still donate—just enough to keep us open.”
“Christian has told me that he has offered to donate whatever you need on more than one occasion. May I ask why you won’t accept the donation?”
“Because I work hard at this and I don’t want it to be said that my son bought me a cause.” Ouch, I can see how that could be a problem.
“I understand why that would bother you. I just don’t get why it should matter where the money came from, just where it’s going,” I say.
“I understand your thinking and I agree, dear. I’m not so much concerned about what people will say. I more concerned about people taking us, the center, and this cause seriously.” I nod.
“Why don’t you let me talk to these gentlemen, see if I can pry their fists open a bit?” I tell her. “We have the new learning center and the dorms upstairs for battered and displaced families. I have the gift of gab… Let me see if I can get us a little more this year.” She looks at me skeptically. “Honestly, Grace, the worst that can happen is that I fail to sway them and we get that same few hundred thousand that we’ve been getting every year.” She twists her lips and nods.
“You’re right, and it sure wouldn’t hurt to put a fresh face to the cause, especially since you were on the PSA.” I nod, too.
“I hadn’t thought of that,” I tell her. “So give me the particulars and let me go and talk to these guys. They may surprise us.”
Grace tells me that these guys range in age from mid-thirties to well into their fifties. One of them never stays for the entire meeting and usually throws a check at her before he leaves. She thinks he may be doing it to appease his wife… or maybe soothe his guilt; she hasn’t worked that out yet. She admits that they do look at the projects in detail, so she tries to make sure that everything is in tip-top shape when she presents it to them.
“Where do you usually meet them?” I ask her.
“Here,” she says, “In one of the larger rooms. The meeting would probably take place in our new conference room… or maybe in the large classroom. What do you think?”
I twist my lips and the wheels start turning.
“I think the setting is too… stuffy,” I tell her.
“Stuffy?” she asks, surprised. I wave my hands.
“Not stuffy in the sense of being high-nosed or snooty. I might not be using the right word. What I mean to say is that it’s hard to say ‘no’ when you see the battered families milling around. However, it’s easy to appease yourself by just giving a couple hundred grand. That’s why the one guy throws a check at you and leaves. It is more than likely the guilt, and he doesn’t need to be reminded why he’s here. I say let’s change things up a bit. Let’s still make sure that our presentation is flawless, but let’s make the surroundings less obligatory. How about a lunch meeting—something informal, businesslike, in a quiet but classy restaurant? It’s the middle of the day, say around one or two in the afternoon. I can cover lunch—that way, I can dictate where it can be held and still give us some kind of home-court advantage.”
“I couldn’t ask you to do that,” she says. “You’re talking lunch for seven to ten men and yourself.” I shrug.
“You’re not asking me to do it. I’m doing it—and it’s a business expense! It’s actually pretty perfect. If I can’t get these guys to give us a little bit more for the center, then they’re not going to do it and we may need to look at other avenues… more aggressive tactics.”
“I’m with you there,” she says. “I’m tired of begging these same guys over and over again for help every year, only to come out with less than half a mil between the lot of them.”
I can’t believe how we’re talking about huge sums of money like they’re pennies! I remember a time when this kind of money was unheard of to me and now, it’s like there’s not enough to cover our expenses—even with all those zeros behind it.
“I haven’t heard you say anything about the Adopt-A-Family Affair. Are you and Christian planning to take part this year?” Grace asks.
“I would assume so. I can’t see why we wouldn’t. We’ve plenty of time for that, though. Let’s slay this dragon first, shall we?” She cocks her head a bit at me. “What?”
“Is everything okay between you two?” she asks. Oh, shit. I don’t want to talk to her about this. “I’m sorry. I know that it’s none of my business. It just seems like one of you doesn’t know what’s going on with the other, and that’s a little strange to me.” I frown.
“What do you mean?” I ask. She sighs.
“I called Christian the other day to ask when your next doctor’s appointment was and he said that he had to ask Andrea. I just find it strange that an expectant father doesn’t know your every move—especially the nearly-OCD control stickler that I know my son to be.” Well, she’s got me there. Christian hasn’t missed a doctor’s appointment, but Andrea is the one that keeps him on his toes with that one.
“Fret not, Grace,” I tell her, trying to hide my melancholy. “He knows exactly where I am every moment of the day. He’s just been working really hard on some new ventures and I’ll admit that it takes up a lot of his time…”
“Oscar says that you and Charles are often here late into the evening. He’s gotten to know Charles quite well while you work on… whatever it is that you’re working on.” Oh, hell. I didn’t think it would be that obvious. I was trying not to publicize it. I wonder how obvious it is to everyone else. Did Oscar tell her about the time he found me crying in the classroom? I blamed it on pregnancy hormones and he didn’t push, but he must have said something to her or we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
“Like I said, it’s taking up a lot of his time. He’s been very tense and worried lately and I don’t want to be another thing that he’s worried about.”
“Of course, he’s going to be worried about you, dear,” she says. “He loves you and you’re carrying his children.” His children. Yes, he’s very concerned about his children.
“I know, Grace,” I tell her. “He’s a good man.” My words lack conviction, and I don’t think it gets by Grace.
“So when do I get to know the sex of the babies?” she asks, quickly changing the subject.
“As soon as we do,” I say, welcoming the change. “I love all of the things they have in white, yellow, and green, but I’d like to know if I’m going to be decorating the nursery in pink and purple or blue and white.”
“Christian with a little girl,” she says aloud, but more to herself. “He’d be unbearable.”
“He’ll be no different with a little boy,” I point out. “The poor kid will never get to do things other kids do, like roller-skate and skin his knee. Mr. Grey will have a hospital built inside the house just in case one of the children gets a splinter!” I shake my head. That’s one thing that I’m sure of is that he will dote on our children, even if it appears that he has lost interest in me. “He’ll be a wonderful father,” I say, noting the hope as well as the sorrow in my voice. It doesn’t get past Grace, but she just smiles compassionately at me.
“I’ve got some other things to do, dear,” she says standing from her desk. “I’ll have the reports ready for you to look over this afternoon. I’ll show you my little pitch and you can spice it up with your own presentation.” She gives my arm a squeeze. “If you need to talk…”
Talk… hmm… no. Don’t want to hash out why I’m feeling like my husband’s interests are elsewhere instead of at home with his wife, and I’m not talking about Grey House. The truth is that I could be blowing this whole thing out of proportion—pregnancy hormones and all. I’m feeling needy… and lonely, I won’t deny that, but Christian has honestly never given me any reason to believe that he would be unfaithful to me…
…Except he has this enormous libido and I’m not fulfilling it right now.
“Thank you, Grace. I’m fine, really,” I say, brushing the situation off. She nods and leaves the room. I take this moment to just look out the window, and reflect.
This is getting more and more frustrating by the second. We still haven’t found Myrick and I pretty certain he’s the fucker who’s hacking into my network. His actions are becoming more and more brazen. Ever since he hacked into my personal files and my phone, I have spent nearly every waking moment concentrating my efforts on finding this fucker… that is, when I’m not trying to save deals that the company has been working on for years. We haven’t approached any new ventures since this threat presented itself—it’s just too risky to invite outsiders in right now. However, there are always a solid 20 to 30 deals in the works with GEH that require my attention in some way. Since that attention is split between finding this intruder and making sure none of these deals go south, I don’t have time for much else.
Unfortunately, that includes my lovely wife.
She’s getting more and more beautiful as her body begins to fill out with the babies. It’s actually pretty remarkable to watch the transformation. She’s curvier and sexy, and her skin has that cliché pregnancy glow. She’s adorable when she sleeps, which seems to be the only time I see her nowadays. My hours lately are horrendous, and I don’t have the heart to bother her when I come home at the wee hours of the morning. I know that she and the babies need their rest, so I just wrap myself around her as usual and take comfort in her presence.
My dick is going to explode if it doesn’t get some attention soon, but that’s really my fault. The last time we had sex was sometime last month and it was one of the worst quickies I’ve ever had in my life… again, my fault. I haven’t even approached her for sex since that day, mainly because I’m pretty ashamed of my behavior. I was acting like a petulant child because we hadn’t spoken for a couple of days except for nervous greetings in passing. I finally just grabbed her and fucked her quickly, but it was more like “take this dick and shut up” than it was “I love you, I want you, I’m sorry.” Whatever the argument was fell dead in the water and neither of us has even attempted to get sex since that day.
That’s going to have to change soon…
Unfortunately, my primary agenda right now has been to find out where this cyber attack is coming from. Even though my money is on Myrick, we have to treat this threat like an unknown, because that’s exactly what it is. It may be Myrick, it might not. Whoever this guy is, he’s getting more and more aggressive. James’ magical software did manage to sniff him out, but apparently this guy has some magical software of his own. James has had to tweak his program to match what Wonder Asshole is doing. It’s been a very tedious process. I’m glad as well as not-so-glad that Barney was able to find James’ software—glad because he was good enough to find it and not-so-glad because it took less time than James said it would. That means that either Barney is a better tech than even we thought, or that James software is not as stealthy as we had hoped.
Either way, that program is worth its weight in gold.
**We need you in Data Central.**
My phone buzzes with a text from James. Data Central is the location that we’ve named the hub where we meet to discuss issues with Wonder Asshole. The news is either very good or very bad when I’m called to Data Central. The last time I was summoned was when James told me that our intruder was taking larger sums of money and transferring it to various accounts. No doubt, the accounts are all streaming into one big account. I wanted to stop it immediately, but James thought better against it, telling me that it would alert our intruder that we were on to him or her and we would never find out who it is. I’m still convinced that it’s Myrick, but my team insists that I don’t narrow it down as without concrete evidence, we can’t say that it’s one specific person. Everyone, of course, has been trying to combine intel to see who might be behind the attacks.
In the meantime, this asshole has disappeared from the face of the earth.
Cholometes and the lawyers are a bit quiet, but still operating in full view and nothing implicates either of them yet.
Myrick Sr., the Pedophile, and David are all still safely locked away with little to no resources to be able to pull this off. David doesn’t even have access to his company, so he can’t do anything.
Edda Straus has been under close scrutiny, but there’s no way of telling what resources she could be working with.
Any one of the Green Valley suspects could have family that want a piece of me and Butterfly.
Except for offering themselves to me on a platter, the subs have been quiet for the most part. I dare not tell Butterfly about that. Things are bad enough.
The suspect list is endless, and until we can nail down this perpetrator and pin him to a primary IP address, we’re screwed. Unfortunately, James has informed me that it is very easy to mask your IP address or make it appear that your signal is simultaneously originating from several places at once. He is truly a real mastermind at this stuff, though. He and Barney are the ultimate dream team and I wish I could convince him to come to work for me. He dead set against it, but I still get the marketing rights to this breakthrough software that he’s using to sniff this bastard out.
He has tweaked it to mimic the actions of the intruder—something that it appears the Wonder Asshole didn’t think could be done since his program is an original as well, unlike anything I’ve ever seen… and with the attacks on my company in the past ten years, I’ve seen a lot! This thing is a master replicator, a frightening Houdini, a skillful thief, and a hungry vampire all at the same time. The thing worms into the system and it replicates, creating a fraternal twin—so to speak—that has none of the characteristics of the first worm. It has its own signature that has to be tracked separately from the original. The twin goes off and performs another task while the original stays on track and eventually just disappears. If you follow the original, it’s like following a rat in a maze until the rat just hits a wall and dies, while the fraternal twin is still in the system doing damage.
The big problem is that the program replicates itself infinitesimally, so that there are twins, triplets, quadruplets, quintuplets, and however many sets of replications running around my system up to infinity with the purpose to confuse and conceal…
It’s money. It always comes down to money. I’m sure it would be proprietary secrets as well, but they can’t seem to get past that particular firewall. At least that information is safe. I’m feeling dread as I open the door to Data Central, a little conference room in one of the sublevels near the main server room. All of the usual suspects are in attendance—James, Barney, Welch, Jason, accounting and legal heads, other members of the IT team, and now, me.
“What do we have?”
“We found how he got in,” James says. Music to my ears! However, James doesn’t appear to be happy about this.
“Tell me more.”
“It was a very simple hack, which is why we couldn’t find it. With the sophistication of the attack, we figured it had to be a more intricate entry. When Barney suggested a lateral attack as opposed to ninja, that’s when I started looking at commandeering the database server and the web server as opposed to just getting in.”
I have this look that I’ve adopted for James and Barney when they start talking over my head. I have some idea of some of the things they’re talking about, but I’m clueless on other things. Barney notices the look right away.
“I think our perpetrator was counting on the fact that we weren’t going to expect him to ‘walk right in the front door’ so to speak, so that’s what he did,” Barney says. “His program gains access the same way anybody else would gain access to the mainframe. He’s skimming money, as you already know, but he’s masking his IP very well.”
“The good news is that various nuances and signatures and well as some good old process of elimination has narrowed down the location of the perp to North America, most likely right here in the States,” James says proudly.
“I really could have told you that, James,” I say, impatiently.
“Yes, you could have told me that, and you still would have been wrong,” James says, perturbed. “Our intel indicated that this attack could have come from anywhere in the world. We had to narrow it down with concrete evidence and not just a hunch. That’s what I’m paid for. That’s what I do. Now, would you like me to continue that job, or would you rather I pack up and go home and you can continue on your hunches?”
My first reaction would be to fire his ass because nobody takes that tone with me. Then I remember that not only did I take that tone with him first, but I also just besmirched his work. Without saying a word, I turn around and leave the room. Thanks for the update, but I can be of no use here. Call me when we’ve caught the guy. I quickly walk down the hall towards the elevators.
“Boss!” Okay, it’s Boss. I must look pretty bad. I sigh, stopping and turning towards Jason. “You can’t go on like this.” I frown, and he just looks at me. I lean against the wall.
“My fuse is shorter than I ever remember in my life,” I tell him honestly. Even Dr. Baker hasn’t been able to help me loosen up. “I don’t know what to do. I can’t relax because I’ve got of this shit hanging over my head, but if I don’t loosen up soon, I’m going to self-destruct.” Everything is irritating the fuck out of me.
“When’s the last time you got laid?” he asks. I glare at him, but I know his intentions are pure.
“Don’t ask,” I lament.
“That’s part of your problem,” he says. “The Christian Grey that I know is not getting any ass? There should be volcanoes erupting, signs and wonders, earthquakes in diverse places…”
“I get it. I get it. I know, but all of my time is taken up with this shit!” I hiss. “The last time we had sex was disastrous.” He gapes at me.
“You’re shittin’ me,” he says in disbelief. I nod.
“I’ve got to find out who this asshole is in my systems or he’s going to ruin my fucking life, in more ways than one.” I run my hands over my eyes and shake my head. When I raise my head, James is standing there with Jason.
“I was coming to tell you to watch your goddamn tone with me or I’ll leave you to find this asshole on your own. I understand that this is stressful and I’m sorry that it’s taking such a toll on you.” His voice is firm, but empathetic. I just nod.
“I’ve managed to piss off everybody who works for me,” I say, still lamenting my situation. “Why should you be any different?”
“Because I don’t work for you. I’m doing a job for you, but I don’t work for you. I need you to let me do it.” I nod again and don’t say anything else. “How’s Ana?” I roll my eyes.
“She’s fine. How’s Allen?”
“He’s doing better. The bug is finally letting up. His fever broke this morning, so the antibiotics are doing some good. I think he’ll be right as rain in a couple of days.” I nod.
“I’ll let Ana know,” I say softly. She probably already knows.
I sit at my desk when I get back to my office, looking out the window over Seattle. I’ll let Ana know. When will I let her know? We only speak in passing. Even then, it’s a bit tense. It’s seems like lately, we’re just civil—not angry, just civil. We haven’t fucked since sometime last month and like I told Jason—disastrous. She just hasn’t said much about it since then, not that I’ve spent that much time with her. That fiasco was mid or late August somewhere, right before David’s sentencing. I remember being so proud of her and how she handled that day…
No one had come to support David, not even his parents. As much as the trial had been publicized, no one wanted to be associated with this man. The judge had opened the floor for anyone who had something to say before the sentencing. I spoke to the court about how the situation had affected me and our relationship; how my wife had already gone through so much just to have something like this happen to her and to be made out to be the villain by an opportunistic attorney and the very man who had terrorized her. I couldn’t express how happy I was that the man who had caused her nightmares and sleepless nights would now pay for his crimes. Although I didn’t know how long he would be locked away, for however long his sentence was, my wife could rest knowing that a system that had failed her so many times before was now working the way that it should.
Butterfly could have fallen apart. She could have decided to say nothing at all. She could have run away in fear and hid until the whole thing was over. Instead, when it was her turn to speak, she took to the podium and had her say.
“For years I wondered if there would ever be justice for me—if the people who hurt me would ever pay for their sins, not just legally but morally as well. I wondered if I would ever see Karma come back on those who had been so mindlessly and carelessly cruel to me, or would they just wander through life never paying for what they’ve done. I’ve seen Karma twice, and now, I get to see it again. There’s nothing that can suffice for the pain that you put me through, but whatever happens today, I’ll take some small comfort in knowing that you’ll pay for a fraction of what you’ve done.
“I’ll take some small comfort in knowing that I am the voice that did cry out, that did speak up, that did finally see some kind of justice for the not-so-nameless and faceless women who have been hurt and tormented by you… and men like you.” She glared a knowing glare at him and realization came to his eyes. Yes, asshole, we know. We know all about your other victims… about Camilla and Phyllis. “I’ll be able to rest knowing that you won’t be able to hurt another woman for a very long time if ever again. I and the women of Seattle and Cedar Rapids can truly sleep without nightmares now, because our representation of the Boogie Man will be behind bars. And if there is any justice in this justice system, that will be indefinitely.” I remembered thinking that the cat was truly out of the bag, because I was the one who told her that he was from Cedar Rapids. David never told her that and it didn’t come out in the trial.
“I listened and cried while you turned me into the villain, while you made me into the bad guy to justify the horror that you put me through for your own sick, twisted, and selfish desires. I, and two others like me, can finally close the book on this chapter, never having to look over our shoulders, praying that you’re not behind us hiding in the shadows and smiling that deceptive smile that so effectively covers monstrous intent. I will leave this place and never think of you again… except maybe once.” She narrowed her eyes at him and I remembered that she planned to take every dime that he has left, and then no doubt turn her back on him forever.
“I ask the court to consider the severity of Mr. David’s crimes and the nightmares that he has caused me over the last year, not to mention since the day I met him. I am still under doctor’s care trying to put my life together after the trauma he’s caused on top of my previous issues and suffering. He’s a predator. I’ve discovered that he sought me out and used my past against me to prey on me. Although I am not allowed to present his actions against others in these proceedings, I beseech this court to impose the maximum sentence on Mr. David so that no other woman will ever be exposed to his kind of danger and his demented mind. Thank you.”
I was so proud of her and I almost danced in the middle of the floor as the judge read David’s sentences:
Eight years for first degree kidnapping;
Four years for unlawful imprisonment;
One year for assault and battery;
Seven years for robbery;
Eight years for first degree assault with a weapon.
That fucker got twenty-eight years to be served consecutively with one year credit for time served. He lost his mind in that courtroom.
“Consecutive!?” he screamed. “Consecutive!? Are you happy, bitch!? Are you happy now?” I wanted to leap over the table at his ass, but once again, Butterfly proved that she knew how to handle herself.
“I’m thrilled!” she yelled back. She was warned by the judge about decorum as David’s screaming, fighting ass was dragged out of the courtroom. She apologized for her outburst and we left the courthouse, finally feeling vindicated for all that she had been through. We went home, had dinner, went to bed together and the next day was business as usual.
I love Anastasia. I love her dearly, and if I don’t get my shit together soon, I’m going to lose her, and not because of some hacker in my network.
It’s time for me to meet with another group from another company that has been in negotiations with GEH. I haven’t really had a moment’s peace since the hacking issue and last month, the asshole leaked the ultrasound picture that he hacked from my phone. Now the world is all in our business, trying to get a due date and the sex of the babies. Hell, we don’t even know the sex of the babies yet! Butterfly has been dealing with it better than I have. If one more person shows up at my job or my home trying to offer their services, I swear to God, I’m going to lose it.
My mood doesn’t get any better when I head to the first floor conference room to talk to the businessmen. They’re none to discreet in their conversation.
“Grey is one lucky bastard,” I hear one of them say. “That’s one hot little number he’s got waiting for him.”
“Who, Anastasia Grey?” I hear another one say. “She’s okay, I guess.”
“Okay?” I hear another one exclaim. “Have you been living under a rock? Ana is the shit dreams are made of.”
“Oh, come on,” I hear someone else say. “She’s pretty, but it’s not that serious.”
“Speak for yourself. She’s the sexiest therapist I’ve ever seen. I’d lay on her couch anytime!” What the fuck?
“That’s what I’m saying. Have you seen that woman? She makes pregnancy look hot! If my wife looked like that pregnant, I’d never leave the house. I’d be drilling her every night, year round. You’d have to send out a search party for me.” I square my shoulders and straighten my neck. Arrogant, disrespectful fucks!
“I share the sentiment, gentlemen,” I say firmly after I hit the door with force, scaring the shit out of each of the men at the conference table. I unbutton my jacket and take my seat at the head of the table. “That’s exactly why I drill her every night all year round.”
We do? Because I could sure use some drill time right about now!
I pause and look at each man. Some of them are quaking in their boots. Others just smirk at me. I make a mental note of the companies that I will own—or buy and sell—before year’s end.
“Shall we get on with the…” I clear my throat, “negotiations?”
I can say things in a manner that lets grown men know that they’re screwed. Everyone at the table, including the prior smirkers, just got the skin tone that looks that putrid shade of green. I know that it’s not wise and I have really been working on it since Jason’s warning in Greece, but I can’t help it. I won’t publicize that I would sacrifice my kingdom for Butterfly’s happiness and safety anymore, but I won’t tolerate assholes besmirching or disrespecting my wife, especially assholes that are supposed to be in business with me. I have more money than I know what to do with, so unless a deal is detrimental to the future of GEH or one of our budding projects—or unless I see the possibility that too many people will be left unemployed—I will pull out of a deal in a moment without regard to the man hours spent on the venture if I feel that my wife will be used as a bargaining chip, disrespected in any way, held over my head in some way, put in any kind of danger or compromising position—and these assholes just did that. By the time I leave negotiations, I have several more concessions from these uncouth assholes than I could have hoped for, and I’m already buying stock to stage a hostile takeover on three of the companies. Yes, I said that I wouldn’t broach any new ventures while I’m trying to find the intruder in my network, but hell—I’m just buying stock and doing my due diligence.
By Wednesday, James has more good news for me. They’ve found where the money is going and can easily transfer it back to my accounts. However, he doesn’t recommend that we do that. If we close the door that the culprit is using to get in, he lives to fight another day—probably to fight me. It’s the same concept if we transfer the money back. He knows that we’re on to him and he just moves on, or he tweaks his form of attack and hits me again later. No, we have to find this bastard. He has to be taken down or I’ll never be free of him.
By Friday, I’m fed up with this whole thing and I need to spend some quality time with my wife. This fucker—whoever he is—got into our email system and sent a bogus email to one of the companies with which we are planning a merger. The information was corrupted and when they called us, they were actually backing down from the merger. When I went over the figures they were sent, they were almost the opposite of what my accounting team had come up with. When I tried to explain it, they were concerned that the bogus figures were actually correct and that I was trying to lure them into a false sense of security with higher projections.
It took nearly all day to convince these guys that there was a glitch in the system, which really didn’t work. However, Barney was able to convince them with a bunch of technical mumbo jumbo. They were still hesitant because they then wanted to know if our systems were safe. Well, fuck no, but I couldn’t tell them that. This day was one of the biggest one-step-two-step fancy footwork to save this account, and I don’t really think it’s saved. I can’t be concerned about it at this moment. If I don’t get inside my wife soon, I’m going to explode, and not in a good way.
“Jason, find Ana. Wherever she is, I don’t care. I’m going there right now.” I hope she’s not at Helping Hands, because if she is, I’m going to fuck her right on the community room floor.
“She’s at a restaurant, sir.”
“Take me.” We get in the car and Jason is fiddling with his phone. “Is there a problem?”
“No, sir,” he says as he starts the car. He’s moving a little slower than I would like, especially since he knows I need to see Butterfly.
“Um, Jason, today, please!” I hiss at him.
“Oh, sorry sir,” he says and drives at a more respectable speed.
We pull up to the Mistral Kitchen and I’m nearly leaping out of the car to get to my wife. She’s probably having dinner with the Scooby Gang, which means that I have to play nice until I can get her home and have my way with her. I straighten my tie and walk inside.
I don’t quite know how to interpret what I see when I finally locate my wife. I must say that she’s beautiful pregnant–round ass, big tits, the sloping dress where you can’t tell that she’s pregnant.
All I can say is that something inside of me snapped, and I don’t think I’ve been this angry in years.
Grace’s tight-fisted donors have agreed to meet with me today, and it has to be dinner instead of lunch. That’s fine. I can turn on the Anastasia charm no matter what time of day it is, and it’s important that I get these guys to come up off of more than they have in the past. The center has many more programs now than it did last year, thanks to the improvements and renovations. We really need to keep these programs running and even though we did come into a landfall this year, it’s going to run out sooner or later. We need solid future pledges and I’m going to get them if it’s the last thing I do.
There’s just one problem. Will the pregnant Anastasia Grey get the same pity pledges that Grace received? How will I be able to pull the bigger checks if I look like a cow grazing on the pasture?
God, I feel so unattractive. I mean, when I called to make the appointments, some of the gentlemen seemed very pleased to learn that I was the one that would be doing the presentation this year and not Grace. They were even more pleased to know that it wouldn’t be at the community center, but at a restaurant in a more relaxed atmosphere. What’s going to happen when I roll my fat ass in there asking for this year’s donations?
Some of my clothes still cover my baby bump, so to speak. The truth is that I don’t need to cover my baby bump. I just need to camouflage it a bit. I can’t even run my dress ideas by Christian because I never see him anymore. He stays horribly late at the office and again, he’s gone before I wake up—taking care of whatever fresh catastophe is happening with the company. Fuck it. I need future pledges and I know that a couple of these guys are titilated by the opportunity to see Anastasia Grey. I’m going to exploit this… shamelessly.
I pick a green bowknot sleeveless sheath dress that looks like it was tailor-made for me. The draping in front is just enough to hide my baby bump and the rest of the dress fits sexy, but not sleezy—not too short, not too long, but quite demure. If I do say so myself, I look pretty damn good! A pair of black peeptoe stilettos with a jeweled ankle strap that comes in a “v” over the top of my foot and some plain diamond studs complete the outfit. I arrange my hair so that it falls over one shoulder in huge cascading curls. It’s so long that there’s not a lot that I can do with it. It’s mid-September in Seattle, so I’ll need a jacket or coat. My white cashmere will do well—just long enough to cover the dress, which is nearly knee-length.
Chuck’s eyes almost pop out of his head when he sees me.
“Um, didn’t you say you’re meeting a bunch of businessmen?” he asks.
“Yes,” I say, but it sounds more like a question.
“Ana… are you sure that you want to wear that?” he asks, his brow furrows. I look down at my dress.
“What’s wrong with what I’m wearing?” I ask. Everything is covered. I’m not dressed like a whore. What’s the problem? Chuck is clearly at a loss for words.
“We’re cool, right?” he asks. I nod cautiously. “Well, we’re cool and I did a double-take when I saw you.” I don’t know whether to be flattered or pissed.
“Chuck, are you trying to tell me that what I’m wearing is inappropriate?” His face changes immediately.
“Ana, drop the tone, okay?” What the hell? “You know as well as I do how you look right now. All I’m saying is that you’re going to see a bunch of businessmen in that dress. Is this the look that you’re really going for?” Okay, now I’m offended. I don’t look like a hooker and I know it, and I resent what he’s insinuating.
“Yes. This is the look I’m going for. I’m trying to look good and not look like a cow. Have I achieved it?” I put my hand on my hip. He throws his hand up.
“Yep. Where to?” I can tell he’s doing that “washing his hands” thing and quite frankly, I appreciate it. Stay the fuck out of my wardrobe and let me do what I want.
“Thank you,” I say putting on my coat. “We’re going to the Mistral Kitchen. I will ask you to please not interrupt me while I’m talking to these gentlemen as I’m trying to get them to donate more to Helping Hands than they have in the past.”
“No problem,” he says curtly as he opens the door to my Audi for me.
The dinner is going quite well. I have quite the captive audience as these guys are hanging on my every word. I show them our presentation and go into great detail about the new programs at Helping Hands and how the PSA has brought in so many more families that need help. I include that I work for the center mostly on a volunteer basis as they pay me a minimal salary so that I can be on the books as the assistant director.
“So why not just get the donations from your billionaire husband?” one of the potential donors asks.
“I’m sure you already know why, Mr. Sims, but I’ll be happy to answer that for you,” I tell him. “As I’m certain Dr. Grey has already told you, she wants to maintain the integrity of the charity by securing donations from conscientous leaders in the community that understand the need for the services that we provide as opposed to going to her son and having him fund the organization. Of course, Mr. Grey and I do support the charity as well as donate to it. I personally donate the salary that I receive from the organization back to Helping Hands as I clearly don’t need it, what with my successful practice and my…” I clear my throat. “…billionaire husband.” He straightens his tie.
“I wasn’t trying to offend you, Mrs. Grey,” he says.
“No offense taken,” I say quickly. “I understand how people can think my husband can wave his magic wand and make all the problems of the world go away. However, it’s not a very practical solution for those of us who are in a position to help to turn our backs and expect the responsibility to fall on the next man. We really must all do what we can do to assist those families who find themselves in unfortunate positions. None of them asked to be there and if we just show some generosity, they don’t have to stay there.”
My phone buzzes in my coat pocket. I immediately turn to Chuck sitting a few tables over, waving me down and gesturing to his phone trying to get my attention. I ignore him and continue with my presentation. I can tell that some of the men are impressed with me and others are looking at me like a steak dinner. No matter. They won’t get a whiff of this and I’m just trying to get donations. I have to admit, though, that it’s good to know that even though I’m pregnant, I still got it.
My phone keeps buzzing and I keep ignoring it. Maybe he’ll stop when he realizes I’m not paying him any attention. I almost completely lose my cool when the damn thing vibrates a fourth or fifth time, I’m not sure… until I look right up into the face of a very unhappy Christian Grey. I can tell by his expression that he’s been standing there for a while and he is warm. His arms are folded and he is ready for a showdown. Shit! I don’t have time for this!
And then it hits me. I’ve been throwing my hair and smiling—turning on the charm, but eating up the attention. Oh, hell… exactly how long has he been standing there? Did Chuck call him? That fucking traitor.
He’s the picture of cool when walks over to me. “Gentlemen, if you don’t mind, I’d like a word with my wife.”
They look at each other and then back at Christian. “Yes, of course,” one of them says.
Christian leans in to me and whispers, “It’s time to go.” His voice is quite menacing, but it just pisses me off. I don’t see him for days—weeks at a time and he just shows up out of nowhere and tells me that I have to leave.
“Excuse me, gentlemen,” I say with a smile before pulling my husband aside. “Christian, you can’t just walk into a restaurant and demand that I leave like this!” I hiss.
“I can, and I am,” he says definitively. “Say your goodbyes, and we’re leaving.”
“No!” I say as quietly as I can. “You’re off running your company from your ivory palace and I’m down here with the rest of the mere mortals just scurrying around as usual. Half the time, you don’t even have time for me. You don’t even have time for me anymore and suddenly, you find time to come down here and drag me away when I’m trying to raise money for the charity. How did you even know that I was here?”
He closes his eyes and flexes his fingers a few times. After taking a few deep breaths, he raises piercing gray eyes to meet mine.
“I swear to God, Anastasia, if you don’t leave with me right now, I will drag you out of here kicking and screaming and I will enjoy every second of it!” he hisses. Fuck me—he’s serious!
“Fine!” I hiss, as I don’t want to make a scene. I walk back over to the table. “I’m sorry, Gentlemen. It appears that I have a family emergency and I have to leave. We will have to continue this meeting at another time.”
“Don’t count on it,” Christian murmurs so that only I can hear him. I resist the urge to roll my eyes.
“We completely understand, Mrs. Grey,” Mr. Walker says before standing.
“I will call you each next week to reschedule. Thank you so much for coming.” I turn on the smile and sweetness a bit, oblivious to Christian standing behind me.
“Mrs. Grey,” he nearly hisses in my ear. Ignoring his threatening tone, I shake hands with each man as they rise and leave the restaurant. I turn to Christian and he is an inferno of silent rage—but so am I. I don’t see you for three weeks except in passing and you march in here out of nowhere and ruin my fundraising dinner! Bastard!
“Are you spying on me again, Christian?” I bark, trying not to draw attention to us.
“Anastasia Rose Steele-Grey,” he says through his teeth, “I can guarantee that you do not want to start with me right now.” His anger mixed with calm is frightening, but not frightening enough for me to forget that I’m mad. “Let’s go,” he adds, glaring at me and daring me to defy him. This is not the place to make a stand. He will shamelessly carry me out of here. I march to the Audi, rolling my eyes at Chuck along the way. He doesn’t even flinch. He must have been in on it. Fucker. I’ll never trust him again.
I climb into the SUV and slam the door behind me. Christian gets into the front passenger seat and we all ride home in tense silence. He’s got a lot of nerve all of a sudden acting all bruised when 24 hours ago, his precious company meant more to him than me and his children. Hell, if I didn’t know better, I’d swear there was something much more interesting at Grey House than his boring ass pregnant wife!
I am fuming! You don’t just march into a public place and demand that I leave because you don’t like the fact that I’m having dinner with men. This was a professional meeting! It had a professional purpose! He can’t do this! I’ll never be able to raise money for Helping Hands if he marches into my meetings acting like a fucking caveman!
I leap out of the SUV the moment Jason stops the car in Escala’s parking garage. I am so fucking angry that I could bite Christian’s head off and shit down his throat. Where is my fucking car? Shit! It’s still at the damn restaurant. I spend a second too long contemplating my where car is as it is just enough time for him to get out of the car and storm over to me. Jason stays firmly seated in the driver’s seat.
Fuck you, Christian Grey! I turn around and walk towards the elevator. I feel him grab my arm. I snatch it from his grasp and keep walking. He snatches me back so fast and hard that I swear I hit a wall!
Mother fuck– Wham! Before I know it, my hand flies hard across his face—so hard that it’s stinging a bit right now.
Oh my God! I didn’t mean to hit him! I really didn’t…
I don’t have time to contemplate my sin. I am against him in seconds… less than seconds. He is holding my forearms in a vise grip and I am paralyzed. He is glaring at me—furious! His nostrils are flaring and his pupils are constricted to a silver white that I have never seen before. My first instinct is to apologize, but not because I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hit him, but I’m not sorry for doing it. I am afraid, though. I’ve never seen him like this and I don’t know what he’s going to do next.
I vainly try to escape his grasp, but I can barely move. Now, I’m starting to panic. I can’t fight Christian like I would an attacker. Even if I’m angry with him—livid—I can’t do it. I love him too much. He has a momentary battle that plays across his face before he smashes his lips to mine, angrily and possessively.
No! No more of this caveman shit!
I’m truly struggling to get away from him now, but he has a firm grip on me. I’m not going anywhere. The more I fight, the firmer he holds me until his lips part mine and I taste him… I taste his anger and his urgency, his tongue feverishly lapping against mine claiming my mouth and sucking all of the air and resistance out of me. I am fucking loopy when he pulls his lips away from mine only to hiss in my face.
“You are mine!”
I don’t know if I’m floating, flying, walking, being dragged or carried, but the next thing I know, I am inside of a doorway against the wall in the corner of the parking structure. I can tell by the unrelenting bulge in his pants and the merciless way he has me pushed against the wall exactly what he has in mind.
“No!” I protest. “Not here!”
“Yes!” he growls. “You are my wife and I will fuck you anywhere I damn well please!” He turns me around, my back to his front. He’s holding both of my hands against me in one of his as he snatches my dress up over my ass and thrusts his fingers around my thong and into me. Oh, shit, that’s hot!
“Christian, no…” I whine, half-hearted, still conscious of where we are and quickly succumbing to the delectable feeling of his fingers between my legs.
“Quiet!” he orders in a low whisper. “I want you right here, right now, and I’m going to have you!” He’s still angry and I’m afraid that he’s going to hurt me. In record time, he has freed himself from his pants, removed his fingers from me, and impaled me with his hard staff. I gasp loudly as he sinks in deep. He grunts into my hair.
“Be quiet. Someone might hear you. Do you want someone to see us?” he growls, still holding me captive while he slams into me.
“No,” I whimper as I reluctantly give in to yet another punishment fuck. Physically, I can’t resist him. He feels so good… so good in fact that I quickly reach my orgasm, spurring him to fuck me faster. Mentally, I feel like a piece of meat, a possession—not a loved and cherished wife, not even a faithful and obedient submissive—just a piece of meat. I can’t stop my body’s reaction to him, though. Somehow, even while trapping me in his anger-fueled grasp, his hands are all over me. My ass, my tits, my clit, nothing is left neglected. He is digging deep into me, feverishly claiming what is his. If he could be bothered to move my hair out of the way, I’d have more love bites on my neck.
He picks up the pace and now I know that he is chasing his orgasm. His pace is so furious and the feeling so unbearably divine that I subconsciously lift my leg and wrap it around the corner wall we are currently occupying.
“Oh, fuck, yes!” he hisses, as this move opens me up a little, allowing him to sink yet further into me. I gasp as his thrusts go deeper and deeper, harder and more determined, pushing me towards yet another orgasm.
Then my mind remembers the bachelorette party—the bathroom where he fucked me to one orgasm, then left me hanging on the second. Then the way he humiliated me in the hallway afterwards, I really felt like shit. I won’t let him do that to me again. I steel myself and wait for his climax. It’s hard—so hard because it feels so good—but I can do it. Sensing my resolve, his strokes become deeper, more earnest, his moves a little more sensual. I am panting trying to control my release. Oh God, I’m not going to make it.
“Don’t hold out on me! Give it to me!” he hisses. He knows my body better than I do, but I can’t relent. I can’t give him the control of leaving me bereft and wanting once again… I can’t… I can’t…
He reaches around and into my underwear, finding my clit. He applies just enough pressure along with his unyielding thrusts to crack through my already fragile resolve. I release a strangled cry—almost to tears—as I realize that he is going to let me come and a second mind-blowing orgasm rips through me.
“Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Oh, fuck, yes!” he exclaims with each thrust as he lifts me off the ground and plunges into me, finally finding his release. He holds me against him, both of us breathing hard. My feet are still dangling from the ground and he is still inside me. After several moments, he sets me gently on the ground.
“You drive me crazy!” he hisses into my ear, and I know that he doesn’t mean it as a compliment. Yes, I guess I do, and then you fuck me like a piece of meat to remind me that you have that power over me. Are we even now?
I hold my head down to fight back the tears. I’m angry, but I don’t know with whom and why.
Christian because he chose to punishment fuck me in the parking garage where anyone could walk by and see us?
Myself for letting him do it or for pushing him to it?
Jason for not at least getting out of the car to make sure that I was okay?
I feel myself closing down and I’m trying to stop it, but my emotions are too strong right now, too heavy for me to carry and try to sort out. He pulls out of me and I quickly pull my dress down and smooth it over my hips.
You wore that dress to get attention. You got what you wanted…
His hands are pressed against the wall on either side of my head. Without raising my eyes or checking to see if he has put himself away, I duck under his arm and slowly walk to the elevator. It feels like everything I can do to hold myself together until I get upstairs. When the elevator comes, I press the code to for the penthouse. My hopes for a quiet ride of shame are dashed when Christian slips into the elevator before the doors close. The ride is eternal. I don’t raise my head to him.
Please don’t try to talk to me…
Please don’t try to talk to me…
Please don’t try to talk to me…
At last, the elevator rings elegantly announcing our arrival to the penthouse, but I can’t move my feet. We both stand there, waiting for… what? I hear my name… breathed… not audibly, but somehow…
As the doors start to close again, I push the “open” button. The doors slide open and it takes yet a few more moments for me to will my feet to move. I take a deep breath and screw up my courage.
“I’m sleeping in the guest room tonight,” I say softly, pushing all of my breath out of my body with the words. “Please don’t follow me.”
I finally step out of the elevator and to the doors of the penthouse, leaving Christian behind me as the elevator doors close with him still inside.
I awake in strange surroundings. Where am I? Oh, the guest room. The Seattle sun is blaring through the floor-to-ceiling windows and I have no idea what time it is. I raise my head and I have that “I’ve gotten to much sleep” woozy feeling.
I came right in, stripped, and got in the shower last night—trying to wash away the feeling of being a random cow in an herd of cattle. I didn’t eat last night. I came straight to this room and got into the shower. My dinner meeting was rudely interrupted and I didn’t want to run into Christian on my way to the kitchen, so I went to bed hungry—and naked, since I have no clothes in this room. After relieving myself, I wrap a sheet around my body toga style and go to find some clothes.
I open the door and look down to find my robe on the floor in the hallway. Straight across the hallway is Christian. He’s on the floor, too, leaning against the wall in pale blue jeans and a white T-shirt. His legs are bent and his elbows are resting on his knees, his fingers loosely entwined. His beautiful copper hair is a flopsy, tangled mess and his head is bowed between his arms. He’s fast asleep.
I pick up my robe and quickly replace my toga sheet. Tying the belt, I walk over to Christian and run my fingers gently through his hair. He jumps, startled out of his sleep.
“We need to talk,” I say softly. His sleepy gray eyes examine me for a moment and I am certain that just like I had to recall that I was in the guest room, he had to recall that he was in the hallway. He runs his hand through his hair as if to wash away a random thought, then gracefully pushes himself off the floor.
He follows me to the kitchen. I pour us both a cup of coffee as he takes a seat at the breakfast bar. He looks a little worse for wear, but still hot as hell to have just woken up after sleeping in the hallway for… I don’t know how long.
“How long were you in the hallway?” I ask, handing him his coffee and taking a sip of my own.
“Um… a few hours, I think. I couldn’t sleep so I thought I would wait for you. I was sure that you might come out, at least for something to eat, but you didn’t. I must’ve fallen asleep while I was waiting.” I nod. I don’t know what to say to him about last night. He solves that dilemma for me.
“I wanted to make sure that you were okay, but I’m not going to apologize for what I did.”
My eyes widen. What did he just say?
“You need to sit down and hear me out. Afterwards, whatever you decide to do, I’ll accept.” I glare at him, my anger from last night slowly creeping back into my body as I take my seat. He pushes his coffee to the side and folds his hands in front of him. He straightens his back and squares his shoulders. Fuck me… I’m dealing with the CEO.
“You went into a room full of men, dressed in a sexy dress like a piece of meat. You were taking full advantage of the three fatal ‘F’s’–fluttering your eyelashes, flashing your ass, and flirting. I didn’t spy on you so I could see what you were doing. I specifically asked Jason to find out where you were so that I could join you for dinner and that’s what I walked in on.”
“Christian…” I interrupt.
“I’m not finished!” he says, his voice firm. I’m a bit shocked. I truly haven’t encountered this Christian Grey before. I’ve encountered loving Christian, contrite Christian, angry Christian, playful Christian, Dom Christian, but never CEO Christian. I am way out of my element here.
“You already know that I’m an insanely jealous man and I don’t apologize for that. You made a conscious decision to stand in front of these men as my wife in the sexiest dress that you could find and peddle yourself for money. That may sound harsh, but that’s exactly what you did. This was nothing like the ‘harmless hen night.’ This was something that you did to get a larger paycheck, and you’ll be lucky if anybody takes you seriously after this. So do me a favor and save your righteous indignation for another time!”
Ho-ly fuck. My heart and resolve crack immediately. I want to fight. Something is wrong here. Something is wrong in what he did to me, but I can’t see it right now. I can only see the collossal mess I may have made of everything with my foolish actions.
“Christian, I…” He holds his hand up to silence me, and I realize that my lecture is not finished yet. I drop my head to take my medicine.
“Look at me,” he nearly growls. My head snaps up and my eyes meet his. I can’t even identify the emotion there, or lack thereof. He’s cold and closed off. He’s looking at me straight on–not an angry glare, just looking at me… sort of squaring off, but not.
“You. Were. Wrong,” he says finitely, slowly so that I can understand his meaning. “What you did may have caused irreparable damage to Helping Hands and to your reputation, and if you ever do that again, it will cause severe damage to our marriage.” He pauses and let’s the words sink in. I fight the tears threatening to break through.
“Do you need a moment?” he says, his voice cold and calculated. That’s when I see it. The walls are up. He’s not letting any emotion come through. He feels nothing at this moment if for no other reason than to make sure that I see his point. I sit up straight and quickly dash away the two tears that manage to escape. I shake my head that I don’t need any time and look him in the eyes… to take my medicine.
“I will not apologize for what I did last night, because you took advantage of me. You took advantage of my trust in you, and although I know for certain that you wouldn’t have fucked any of those men at that table, you gave them a hope for something that they could have if they wrote a big enough check. They were salivating over you, and I’m not just saying that because you’re my wife and I don’t want another man looking at you. I’m saying that because from where I was standing at the door, I could see two of them with their legs crossed and three of them with obvious erections. Do you have any idea how that feels—for a man to look at another man’s package in the first place, but then to know that’s going on because of his wife?”
I immediately remember how I felt when Athena’s Spear was pointing at every woman in Greece–not intentionally, but still pointing. It felt pretty shitty.
“Ye…” I speak, but nothing comes out, so I clear my throat. “Yes.”
“Good,” he says without pausing, “now take what you’re feeling and add what you would be feeling if I had been doing that on purpose.” In that uncanny way he has of reading my mind, he has hit the nail right on the head. I feel a shiver traveling through my body. He is so cold right now, and he’s going to make his point. I try to break eye contact with him again.
“Look at me, Anastasia!” he nearly snaps. My eyes shoot to his again and his cold resolve is back in an instant. He wants me to see this. He’s never been this angry with me before, not even on New Year’s Eve. I settle on my perch, my resolve evident, too, but different.
“I am fully aware that I set the Neanderthal loose and I don’t regret it, because that’s what you wanted. You just didn’t want it from your husband. You wanted it from a bunch of men at a dinner table with fat checkbooks. So, it’s okay for them to treat you like a piece of meat, but not me.” It’s a statement rather than a question.
The Bitch inside is curled on the floor, crying and screaming, throwing a massive temper tantrum and begging for him to stop. Outside, I stare blankly at him–tears burning my eyes, but I refuse to let them fall. He falls silent only for a moment and examines me, but only to change weapons.
“Poor little punished Anastasia,” he says with no malice, which makes the words hurt even more. “It’s okay for you to berate me when I’ve done something wrong, but when you are clearly out of line, I get to sit here and look at those big blue doe eyes ready to explode like a waterfall–your mind no doubt screaming ‘why is he doing this to me.’ I’m right, aren’t I?”
Yes and no. I really wasn’t thinking “Poor little Anastasia,” but I would like for this to stop, please… Oh, and yes, I do feel like crying a river.
I say nothing. I don’t know what to say. I have no defense against this particular attack, nor should I. I wanted those men to want me, to prove that I could pull in the big checks. He caught me red-handed. Just like I told him about hen night, my actions may have caused damage that I can’t fix–to my charity and my marriage–and there’s nothing I can do at this moment but sit here and take it.
But with Christian, my eyes are a weapon and he’s forcing me to look at him. I would turn my eyes away, drop my head, but he won’t let me. Everytime I try, he just forces me to look at him again. Finally, I lose the battle.
A lone tear slides unwanted down my face.
I feel it burn a track down my cheek and as if it weren’t prominent enough, another one joins it burning the same path, joining its mate rolling down my chin until they both fall on my breast as one loud cosmic splash. The sound resonates in my ears like a massive and destructive tsunami, although it really makes no sound at all. I don’t break his gaze. I don’t blink. I don’t move. I just look. He’s angry and a tad disgusted. I can see it in his steely gaze. He’s still not glaring, but he’s clearly displeased.
He picks up his coffee, now gone cold, and bottoms out the cup before standing from the breakfast bar. Without a word, he turns and walks away—to his study, I think. He doesn’t close the door, but the silence and his demeanor is enough of a barrier for me to know that he doesn’t want to see me right now. I slide off the seat and, leaving the dishes there on the counter, I go to find a quiet corner to be alone with my thoughts.
The Bitch is exhausted from her wailing and mourning and has taken to silence as well, so there’s no one here but me… me and my babies. At the very end of the dining room before you get to Christian’s piano, there’s a chaise facing the skyline. I never knew why it was there, but it’s perfect for right now… not closed away in a room for hiding or running or shrinking, just somewhere quiet and slightly secluded. I get comfortable, cradle my babies, and do the only thing I know to do right now…
Goodnight, my angel
Time to close your eyes
And save these questions for another day
I think I know what you’ve been asking me
I think you know what I’ve been trying to say
I promised I would never leave you
And you should always know
Wherever you may go
No matter where you are
I never will be far away
Goodnight, my angel
Now it’s time to sleep
And still so many things I want to say
Remember all the songs you sang for me
When we went sailing on an emerald bay
And like a boat out on the ocean
I’m rocking you to sleep
The water’s dark
And deep inside this ancient heart
You’ll always be a part of me
A/N: So there it is… perfect little Ana ain’t so damn perfect. Couldn’t let Book II go out like a lion then make Book III come in like a lamb. 😉
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