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 7—Birthday Bliss?
“This is my first time having a massage like this. I guess I shouldn’t have waited so long,” I say to the girls. We’re having our lunch in a private lounge, still wearing our terry cloth robes. We’re in something like a jungle room—lots of exotic plants all around, plenty of natural light or at least what looks like natural light, and mists of water spraying in over the plants and in the air a bit like they do in the supermarket vegetable aisle.
“Well, an outing with Mrs. Grey almost always involves a massage, so what was different about this one?” Val asks.
“It was just different,” I tell her. “Instead of relaxation, it focused on all of the areas that are tight or sore because of the pregnancy. Maxie fell asleep.”
“I wish I could train Phil how to so that,” she says, popping a strawberry in her mouth. We’re lunching on fresh fruit, croissants, juices, pasta salad, chicken kabobs, steak fajitas, and lots of water since we just got massages. I still have a small issue with beef, but it hasn’t caused any problems yet—I just won’t eat any of it.
“So, Valerie, it looks like you’re the last of the red-hot single girls. Any wedding bells in your future with Elliot?” Gail asks.
“No,” Val replies. We’re waiting for the rest, but nothing comes.
“Not ever?” Mandy asks. Grace is quite attentive at this point.
“I won’t say ‘not ever,’ but not likely,” she replies, before taking a bite of pasta salad, and now the room has gone silent. “Okay,” she continues after she swallows. “Elliot and I have talked about this. We love each other very much. I even want to have kids with him, but neither of us feels that it’s necessary for us to have a piece of paper to give us permission to share our lives. We’re basically living together, we share a mutual love and respect for one another. Neither of us plans on running to the hills—no offense, Ana…”
“None taken,” I say quickly.
“… And if we spent all that money paying for a wedding, it would be for everybody else, not for us. Again, no offense, Ana.”
“Now you’re getting a little offensive,” I stop her. “Is that what you think my wedding was—a show for everybody else?”
“Or mine?” Maxie pipes in? The other ladies all sit silently waiting for an answer as everyone else in the room is married. Val looks from face to face and puts her plate down.
“That look,” she points to each of us, “that’s exactly what I’m talking about. I didn’t say your wedding… or yours… or any of yours… meant anything. I said ‘us!’ I didn’t say Maxie, I didn’t say Ana, I said ‘we!’ The only reason why I specifically said ‘no offense’ to you is because you just got married. You had this huge massive blowout paid for by you and your billionaire husband that made you feel like a princess because that’s what YOU wanted! My boyfriend and I don’t need that. If we did that, it would be for everyone else, not for us because we don’t want that. Do I need to make that any clearer or do I stand and wait for the daggers to fly?” Sheesh! She’s awful sensitive.
“Well, excuse me, but it did sound like that’s what you were saying,” I defend.
“You’re just too sensitive, Steele. That wasn’t what I was saying at all,” she retorts, a bit defensive herself. I’m sensitive? I frown and load the guns and just as I’m ready to open fire, Grace steps in to defuse the situation.
“Okay, we’ve had a wonderful day and we’re enjoying a fabulous late lunch. Let’s not spoil it with a little thing like misinterpretation.” She pats my hand and gives me some orange juice. I pout a bit and let out a puff of air. I really wanted to let her have it… well, maybe not let her have it, but no matter. I just quench my anger with healthy swallows of orange juice.
“Okay, so no marriage,” Maxie says. “Are you trying for children?”
“Definitely not!” she replies, gesturing to the group. “We’re surrounded by babies! Mandy, you, she’s having two… we can wait.”
“How long do you think you’ll wait?” Mandy asks. Val shrugs.
“I don’t know, thirty, maybe. Whenever he says he’s ready to have children, I’ll be ready.”
“Even now?” Maxie asks.
“We’ve already talked about now. It won’t be now, but yes, even now. He’s still reeling from that ‘Kate’ thing. He was preparing himself to be that child’s father and trying to get his mind set on what direction his life was going to go. Then it turns out to all be bullshit. That’s a lot to deal with, so I’m just going to be there for him and when he’s ready, I’ll be ready. We don’t want to get married. We’re fine. We like our relationship the way that it is, but we’re buying a house because we don’t want to pay mortgages at two places.”
“Really?” Grace asks and Val nods. “Where?”
“We’re still looking. We’ll probably stay in Seattle. We want to have something together, so we’ve decided to consolidate. We want something different instead of either of our places…”
“It’s a buyer’s market,” Maxie tells her. “Finding something will be easy, but unloading your places will be a pain.” I remember having the same conversation with Al about him and James.
“I know, but it’s what we want and we’ll just have to be vigilant about asking prices and hope for the best. I’ll be happy if we could just break even.” I’ve pretty much fallen silent. I’m still a bit bruised from the wedding conversation. I’ll admit that I’m pouting and probably being a bit sensitive, but I’m entitled. I’m pregnant and hormonal and she just trivialized my wedding day. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I stab at my pasta salad as I remember mine and Christian’s special day. I didn’t see anything wrong with it even though it was a bit over the top. Maybe I am being too sensitive, but that day was really special to me and I thought it was special to everyone in attendance. I guess I may have been wrong about that…
“So, Ana, you went MIA for a little while. What’s going on? Is everything okay?” Maxie no doubt notices my attempt to be invisible and includes me in the conversation. Grace gets very quiet and I sigh. “Did I say something wrong?”
“No, Maxie, you didn’t,” I reply. “I did something very stupid and selfish. It almost cost my marriage. I don’t really want to go into what it was because I’m still very ashamed of it, but I acted irresponsibly and subsequently slipped into a bit of a depression. It was easier for me to deal with it on my own than to try to explain to anyone what was going on. Christian was very displeased and it was a very difficult time for us, but we got through it okay and we’re fine now.”
“Good grief, Ana, so soon after you married. That must have been rough,” Maxie says. “I’m glad things are good now.”
“You didn’t cheat, did you?” Val asks. I glare at her.
“No, but you did hear the part where I said I don’t want to go into it, right?” I point out. She returns my glare.
“God, Ana!” she snaps. “I’m sorry about what I said about the wedding! I wasn’t trying to say that it meant nothing. I was just saying that it’s not what Elliot and I want.”
“I didn’t say anything else about the wedding!” I defend. “I shared with you all that I did something stupid that almost cost my marriage and I didn’t want to talk about it and you proceeded to ask me if I cheated on my husband!”
“Fine,” Val says, standing. “I’m sorry I said anything at all. Excuse me.” She turns around and walks out of the jungle room. Great, just fucking great. The room is silent now and nobody knows what to do. Should someone go check on Val? Should we call it a day because she ran out or should we just keep talking and eating like nothing happened? Marilyn, who had been quietly sitting by all this time, makes the decision for us.
“Finish your lunch, guys. I’ll go see about her,” and she’s out of the jungle room. This wasn’t my sensitivity this time. I specifically said that I didn’t want to talk about it and she asked if I was cheating on my husband. Nobody’s saying anything and I suddenly feel like the villain. In moments, I’m crying—not because I’m upset, but because I’m pissed. Now there’s that silence that closes in on the room and wraps around the sound of someone weeping.
“For God’s sake, somebody say something!” I sob.
“Sweetie, what do you expect us to say? You’re crying,” Mandy says and I just weep harder. Gail gives me water while Grace rubs my back. Nobody really says anything for quite some time and then we see Marilyn come back into the room. Val comes in behind her, yet the moment she sees me crying and Grace comforting me, she throws her hands up in the air, turns around and walks back out.
Now, I’m mad.
I may have been perturbed about the wedding thing, but she’s the one who asked if I had cheated on Christian. Not only was that completely out of line and way too personal a question, but I made it clear that I didn’t want to go into detail about what happened. My tears stop immediately. I use my towel to dry my eyes and pick up my plate of pasta salad and chicken.
“You guys should probably finish your lunch, because I’m sure as hell going to finish mine,” I say taking a forkful of the pasta salad. Everyone watches me for about ten seconds and then slowly starts to eat their lunch. I don’t think that I and five other women should eat in silence because one is… well, whatever’s going on with Val, so I ask Marilyn about her and Gary. She works for me. She has to talk to me. She looks around and then starts telling us about how she and Gary are doing—taking it slow and enjoying the relationship. They’re both so young that there’s really no rush to do anything. So they’re just moving along being girlfriend and boyfriend and having a good time. Val never came back to the jungle room.
We all go to the changing room after we finish eating our lunch and get dressed. When we get to the cars to go back to the vacation houses. There are only two cars and two guards when at first, there were three of each.
“Ben took Ms. Marshall back to the vacation house,” Chuck says. “She didn’t want to wait.” I roll my eyes. I weary of this whole thing and I suddenly want nothing more than a nice, long nap.
“Fine, let’s go,” I say, opening the door and allowing Chuck to help me into the front seat of the car. Maxie does the same with Chance in the front seat of the other car while the rest of the ladies pile in the back seats. In just a few minutes, we’re back at the vacation houses. I work my way out of the car and straight into the house without saying anything. I hear Grace and Gail come in behind me, but I’m already on my way up the stairs and to the master bedroom.
I take off my shoes and tie my hair in a knot as I’m too lazy to look for a ponytail holder. That would only mean that I would have to put this thing in some kind of bun and I don’t want to do it. Getting into bed is harder these days, but I manage to do it. The soccer players are thankfully peaceful right now, so I lie on my side and sing their lullaby. I don’t remember getting to the second verse.
It’s been a while since I’ve been on the side of a mountain. It’s pretty brisk up here and snowy in patches, so we have to watch our footing. Elliot and I love hiking, no matter what season, and we’re taking the hills in stride. This is not Jason’s favorite pastime, but I know he appreciates the workout.
Elliot and I talk about the renovations that still need to be done on the house. He’s thinking that it will actually be done by Thanksgiving. That would be fantastic! Our first Thanksgiving as man and wife in our new home. He’s telling me that he and Valerie are looking for a house or a lot to build a house when he gets a call on his cell. I’m surprised he’s got reception up here.
“Hey Angel,” he says, answering the phone. “What?… Wait a minute, babe, you have to slow down…” Slow down? Why is she talking fast? Is something wrong? Is it Ana? Jason and I simultaneously pull out our phones. Nothing.
“Baby, it’s okay. I’m sure it’s just her hormones or something.” Okay, something is going on with Ana. “Now why did you do that? You know she’s going to come looking for you… Oh… well, okay. I’ll be there soon. We’re still on the mountain… call me if you need me, Angel… Love you, too.” He ends the call. “Your wife and my girlfriend had a little spat.” Oh, for fuck’s sake, this is her birthday weekend.
“About what?” I ask.
“I’m not really sure. Something was said about your wedding and then a falling out you guys had—probably the same one that had Mom pissed at you—and they started bickering. Val is back at the vacation house. Ana and the rest of the women are still at the spa.” Go, Baby, go. Don’t let her ruin your day.
“You going down?” I ask. He frowns.
“Why? She’s not hurt, she’ll still be there when I get there, and I’m chilling with my brother,” he says, patting me hard on my shoulder.
“While I love and appreciate our time together—and I really mean that—I hope you know that I’m off this mountain if Ana calls.” I tell him He scoffs.
“Your wife’s pregnant,” he says. “I expect you to hit the bottom of this mountain in one leap if she calls.” I so appreciate that my brother understands how important my marriage is.
“Let’s hope she doesn’t call,” I say, squeezing his shoulder. He smiles at me and we share a moment on the side of the hill.
“Alright, come on you pussies, before I start growing tits here,” Jason scolds and trudges up the mountain ahead of us. I shake my head and Elliot just snickers at him.
“So, I hear there are some nice houses on Puget Sound and the property values are going up. Were you thinking about something along those lines or closer to the city since you guys don’t have any kids yet?” I ask.
“Definitely the city,” Elliot replies, and the conversation and the climb continue uninterrupted.
Dad has fired up the grill and is grilling a mountain of steaks, chicken, and jumbo shrimp when we get back to the vacation house. It’s a good thing Butterfly isn’t out here. She’d probably be hurling all over everything. I go inside and find Gail and my mother in the kitchen working on side dishes and dessert. I was sure Butterfly would be in here, but…
“Hey,” I say as a greeting to them both. My mom smiles at me and Gail waves. “Where’s But… Ana?”
“She’s upstairs. I think she’s taking a nap. She went straight up when we got back from the spa and we haven’t heard a peep since,” Gail informs me.
“When was that?” I ask. Mom looks at her watch.
“About three hours ago.” Okay, that’s enough napping. She’ll be up all night if I don’t go get her. I nod and head up the stairs as quietly as I can. I walk down the long hall to the master bedroom and peek my head in.
As always, she looks delectable. She’s wearing this really cute gray T-shirt mini-dress with a baby girl and a baby boy looking through the stomach and a caption that says “Peekaboo! We see you!” I’ve come to know her sleeping patterns. When she’s dog tired, she sleeps with both hands under her cheek. When everything is okay and she’s just going to sleep, she sleeps with one hand under her cheek and the other arm draped over the babies. That’s the hand usually covering mine when I spoon her. When she’s troubled in some way, both arms are wrapped around the babies.
That’s how she’s sleeping right now.
I can imagine that she probably sang to them until she fell asleep. I figured out long ago that she’s actually singing to comfort herself. I sometimes wonder how she’s going to survive after delivery. She depends on them so much right now because they’re inside her. There’s going to be a void once they’re born and I hope that she’s going to be okay. We may need to talk about that soon, but for now…
“Butterfly,” I say as I gently stroke her hair. She’s got it tied in a knot and it looks really good… unique. I’ve never seen it like that. “Butterfly, wake up.” Her eyelashes flutter and she slowly wakes and starts to focus. “There’s my beautiful girl.”
“Hi,” she says sleepily. “What time is it?”
“About five thirty.” She nods and stretches. “Did you enjoy your day?”
“Most of it,” she replies. “I know someone told you—Chuck or Ben or…”
“Elliot,” I complete for her. She twists her mouth.
“Figures,” she says, attempting to sit up. I help her the rest of the way and put my hand on her back to steady her while she continues to wake.
“Do I want to know what happened?” I ask cautiously. “Elliot said that she said something about our wedding and then she said something about our argument. I didn’t know you were telling people about that.”
“I didn’t. That was the problem,” she says. “Val can be very intrusive if you’re not forthcoming with information. So when I was vague about my ‘absence’ and made it clear that I didn’t want to talk about it, she started asking questions when I clearly said that I didn’t want to talk about it!”
“Like what?” What could she have possibly asked that sparked this kind of argument?
“Like if I cheated on you!”
“What!?” What in the fuck did Butterfly say to prompt that response?
“When Maxie asked why I was MIA, I said that I had done something that was detrimental to our marriage and I went into a depression. I said that I didn’t want to talk about it, but that everything was okay now and Val asked if I had cheated on you.” I’m a bit stunned. I can see how the omission of information may make one curious about what happened but…
“She asked you this after you said you didn’t want to talk about it?”
“Yes, and then got upset because I repeated that I didn’t want to talk about it. Then she started making reference to the wedding conversation and I hadn’t even said anything else about the wedding conversation…”
“Wait a minute, wait a minute. Back up, you’re moving too fast. What wedding conversation?”
“She and Elliot are never getting married. Okay, that’s fine. We don’t care. If you like it, I love it, but—she starts making comments that were clearly directed at me because every time she made one, she’d say ‘No offense, Ana…’” Oh, fuck. That’s one of the deadliest “excuse me’s” that you can ever say.
“Comments like what, Baby?” I ask.
“The first one was something like ‘he knows I’m not going to go running to the hills.’ I let that one slide because I did go running to the hills. But when she said that if they got married, it would be just a show for everybody else, then followed that shit with ‘no offense, Ana,’ try again! I found that very offensive. I’m the first one to say that our wedding was quite ostentatious, but it’s what we wanted, and to have her trivialize it that way because she and Elliot are not getting married…” She rubs her eyes.
“Okay, Baby, okay. I see what’s going on,” I say taking her hand.
“And don’t do that either!” she says, snatching her hand back from me.
“What did I do?” I ask.
“Treat me like the little lady because I’m pregnant. People seem to be chalking my feelings up to ‘oh, she’s hormonal and pregnant,’ and I don’t appreciate it. I know that some of my reactions and feelings are because I’m hormonal and pregnant, but not all of them, and I don’t want them to be dismissed that way.” She stares at me and waits for my response. What can I say? That’s exactly what I was doing.
“I’m sorry, Ana,” I tell her. “I don’t want you to ever think that your feelings aren’t important. They really are. I’ll be honest and say that I don’t know when I’m dealing with ‘pregnant, hormonal Ana’ or when there’s a real issue, but if you feel that I’m dismissing a true concern of yours, let me know and I’ll try to set it right.” That did it. She’s weeping again and slobbering all over my shoulder as I hold her.
“Hormonal Ana?” I ask cautiously.
“Hormonal Ana,” she responds through her sobs.
We manage to get her dried up and downstairs for the rest of the barbeque. It’s getting cold out, so everything has been moved to the kitchen with the exception of a few of the shrimp Dad is still grilling. Everything smells delicious—fresh grilled vegetables and baked potatoes smothered in butter, rolls fresh from the oven and chicken and shrimp right off the grill. The smell hit us both at the same time and while those succulent cuts of beef are heaven to my nostrils, they are hell on Butterfly’s stomach. She stumbles her way to the bathroom and I am so glad that it’s unoccupied.
“What’s wrong?” Mom asks.
“Oh, I should have thought of it!” Gail scolds herself. “Beef! The smell of red meat causes violent reactions ever since she’s been pregnant—even before we knew she was pregnant! Remember the murder burger?” Who can forget the murder burger?
“The what?” Mom asks.
“The murder burger,” I say. “Ana had a burger at what we now know was the beginning of her pregnancy and she was sick for two days.”
“Oh, yeah, I remember that,” Amanda pipes in. “She was still a little queasy at the baby shower. She tried to pretend that she wasn’t, but we knew. She was a little miserable.”
“I thought she was going to go into convulsions when the couple next to us had blood sausage in Paris.”
“That’s not beef, is it?” Jason asks. I shrug.
“Some of it is beef. I don’t know if this was or not, but it was enough to cause a reaction.”
“Heaven forbid anything messes with Her Highness’ delicate stomach.” I turn my head and the comment came from Valerie—not loud and boisterous, pretty low in fact, but loud enough for everybody to hear. I glare at her, then at Elliot, who turns to her and chides her quietly while she just rolls her eyes. Butterfly comes out of the restroom looking a little sheepish.
“I’ve gotten to where I can control it when I know it’s coming. It was a sneak attack,” she says be means of an apology. “We had steak fajitas for lunch and I was fine.”
“You ate steak fajitas?” I ask in horror.
“Oh, no, I’m not that brave. They were just near, but I was fine. I’ll be fine, now. I know they’re here and I’ll be fine.”
“Are you sure, dear?” Mom asks.
“I’m positive,” she says, waving her hand. “Nobody heard me, did they?”
“No, nobody heard you,” Elliot says. Valerie stays noticeably silent.
“Here, Butterfly, sit in your chair. I’ll bring you something. Do you want food or something to settle your stomach?”
“No, I want food,” she says. “There’s nothing in my stomach now.” Vomit, then eat. Pregnancy is strange.
Butterfly heartily eats some of everything except the steaks and snuggles comfortably in her chair. Everyone is back in the great room of our vacation house talking about babies and houses and jobs and plans and whatever else we’re talking about. Valerie and Butterfly are clearly not speaking to each other. However, every time Butterfly speaks, Valerie sighs audibly like a spoiled 12-year-old. I noticed it first, then Elliot. When other people began to notice it, I had had enough. Just when I was about to say something, Butterfly stands and Valerie sighs again.
“Valerie,” she announces, “if my presence irks you that much, feel free to leave.” Valerie is unmoved by her declaration, but still states, “You’re kicking me out?” I move to stand, but Butterfly holds her hand out to me to signal that she has this under control.
“No, you’re kicking you out, you and that sighing, wheezing, dog-panting shit you’re doing every time I speak that the entire room is trying to ignore. You clearly still have a bug up your butt from this afternoon and I have no intention or desire to reach up there and dig it out! So like I said, if my presence bothers you so much, you can leave.” Oh, shit. This is serious. Everyone looks from me to Val and waits to see what’s going to happen.
“You know what? You’ve changed,” she says, flatly. “Since you’ve got money, you’re stuck-up and elitist now. You only do certain things and you only talk to certain people. We’re not good enough for you to talk to anymore unless you feel like being bothered with us. Your boyfriend didn’t want us in his penthouse, so we were exiled to the condo for food & libations!”
“That’s not true!” I protest, but Valerie keeps right on talking.
“We used to get together and go to book signings and antique shows, to regular old dives for lunch and to yoga. Now we go to spas and nothing much else. You’ve got your tin soldier with you everywhere we go and we can’t even go to the thrift shops or boutiques we used to visit. We don’t even go to the Marketplace anymore, and we used to do that just about every weekend.” She closes the space between them and that’s when I stand.
“You want to know what irks me, Steele? It’s that when you were crying over that loser Edward, I was the one that listened to you cry most nights. Yes, Al did a lot of the heavy lifting, but it was me and Maxie on the phone listening to you blabber about how much you loved him and how badly he mistreated you. Now, you get your billionaire and not only are we not privy to any of the information anymore, but we’re not even good enough for you to talk to us. If we say the wrong thing or ask the wrong question, you check us like children. Then you have the nerve to walk around acting all bruised when someone checks you on your shit. All hail the Queen, your highness!” She spit the last word with so much venom that I’m surprised Butterfly’s face isn’t scorched.
Butterfly is shaking as if that’s exactly what happened. Valerie is staring her down, smirking as if she has scored some huge victory. Butterfly swallows hard and speaks clearly.
“Now, I’m throwing you out. Get your things and leave. Never speak to me again unless you’re coming to apologize.”
“Hold your breath for that one,” Valerie scoffs. “I’ll be in our room,” she says to Elliot before leaving. Butterfly is shaking so hard, I think she’s going to explode. When I touch her, she does.
“Noooooooooooo!” she screams, jerking away from my grasp like my touch shocked her. “Leave me be! Leave me be!” She’s running up the stairs, sobbing from her soul. I know that she’s inconsolable, but I can’t stand the pain I hear in her cries.
“I guess the night is over,” Marilyn says, rising from her seat.
“I guess so,” Phillip says helping his wife from her seat. She makes as much of a bee-line to me as her belly will allow.
“Christian, I don’t share Val’s sentiment,” she assures me. “Everything she said was taken out of context and…” She swallows hard. “I love Ana. Please make sure she knows that.”
“I’m sure she already does,” I tell Maxine, but after tonight, she needs reinforcement. “If she’ll let me near her, I’ll make sure to tell her what you said.” She nods and kisses me on the cheek.
“I’m sorry, Christian,” she says. Phillip stands next to her.
“I feel the same way,” he reinforces. “Ana hasn’t changed beyond her circumstances, and all the changes she made were necessary for her safety and survival. I don’t know what’s gotten into Val.”
“Same here, Chris,” Garrett says. “Make sure she knows.” I nod at what’s left of the Scooby Gang.
“I’ll make sure she knows,” I assure them. They start to leave, but Marilyn stalls.
“Please call me if she needs me,” Marilyn says before leaving with Garrett. I fall into a nearby seat. I can’t stand it. She’s wailing from her gut! I jump when my mom puts her hand on my shoulder.
“What do I do?” I ask her. “I can’t take that. What can I do?” She runs her fingers through my too-long hair and smiles sadly.
“You let her cry,” she tells me. “She just suffered a breakup, a very severe one. There’s nothing you can do but let her cry and be there for her.” I hate Valerie right now. I want her out of here, but I can’t go over there starting a fight with her. That would start a fight with my brother and I certainly don’t want that. I sigh and drop my head in my hands.
“How long am I supposed to let that go on?” I ask, referring to the animalistic wailing coming from the master bedroom and praying for an answer that says I can run to her rescue. “It can’t be good for her or the babies.”
“Christian, you have to just let it happen,” she tells me. “She’s in severe pain right now and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. You tried and she told you to leave her alone. You have to do that.” I nod and try to think of something else besides my tiny little wife up there feeling pain that originates from her feet and resonates through the cabin and no doubt, across the hills of Washington.
She cried for hours. At one point, I ignored her demands to leave her alone and held her tight in my arms, laying my head and her shoulder and willing her to stop crying. She finally did and fell hard to sleep, whimpering the whole time. I didn’t sleep a wink the whole night. You would have thought Valerie died, though in a way, you could say that she has. She kept waking up and crying again, one time beseeching me to tell her that it was all a dream. I couldn’t give her that comfort, and she cried herself to sleep again.
It’s almost dawn and I’m exhausted, not because I stayed up all night because I’ve done that before, but because I sat vigil over my wailing wife and I couldn’t make her stop. She once told me that emotional pain is worse than physical pain. She’s right. This is agony for me and I’m not even the one suffering the loss.
I’m sitting at the fire pit having a beer—yes, a beer, at four in the morning. Fuck coffee!
“Hey.” I look up and see my brother. “Long night?”
“One of the longest ever,” I lament. “Is she gone yet?”
“Not yet. We’ll be leaving soon.”
“Very soon, Elliot. I don’t want her here when Butterfly wakes.”
“I know, Christian. I understand. She was out of line. I wish I could tell you what’s going on, but I can’t. I have no clue. All she keeps saying is that she’s said what she has to say and that’s it.”
“Well, congratulations to her, because she’s just gained Kate status with me,” I say flatly.
“Come on, Bro. It can’t be that bad.” I glare him.
“It’s worse!” I exclaim. “I’ll never forgive her for this. Butterfly’s heartbroken,” I tell him. “She won’t stop crying. This is not one of those hormonal cries, this is cry, go to sleep, wake up, cry some more, go to sleep, wake up, cry some more… She cried for hours before I forced her to go to sleep. She even woke up once and begged me to tell her it was all a dream. My very pregnant wife who’s already been through enough now has to go through something like this at the hand of one of her dearest friends?” I shake my head and drop it in my hands for the hundredth time tonight.
“I’m going to have to force-feed her when she gets out of bed,” I say not looking at him. “She’s going to wake up vomiting and then she’s going to want to crawl back in bed. It’s what she did while we were fighting. She lost eight pounds, she was dehydrated—I didn’t even recognize her when I saw her…”
“When you saw her?” he asks. I shake my head.
“That’s a whole other story, man,” I tell him.
“What happened?” he asks.
“We don’t talk about it,” I say, shutting him down. “We talked to each other and that’s enough. The only other person that did know was Mom and she cut us off for a minute.” I’m recalling having to carry my wife out of Helping Hands last week.
“You can’t tell me? I’m your brother.”
“That’s how this whole thing started!” I tell him. “She wouldn’t tell Valerie, or maybe it started with the conversation about the wedding-for-show, I don’t even know really.”
“Wedding for show?” Elliot doesn’t know anything about why they were fighting and I’m wondering why Valerie cut into Butterfly so deeply without even telling her boyfriend the whole story.
“You have to ask your girlfriend. I’m having a really hard time seeing the logic in any of this. I can’t see how Valerie could possibly make any of this about her. Unless I’m misunderstanding, they bickered about our wedding and our argument. On top of that, she took everything out of context and threw it back in Butterfly’s face.
“She has a ‘tin soldier’ with her all the time because she was kidnapped, and she’s in more danger now as my wife than she ever was as Ana Steele. She has to go different places now and act differently because the paparazzi follows her everywhere. She didn’t ask for that—it came with the territory. I’m sure she’d love to do all the simple things she used to do and not have to follow all this goddamn protocol, but unfortunately, that’s not her life anymore. As my wife, she has a target on her back! She’s worth more than Trump now!
“And the way she oozed contempt with that ‘Her Highness’ shit—that was a joke that she shared with Jason while I was sick last year and it just stuck. Now, she probably won’t want to hear it again. And she chose to have Food & Libations at her condo so that they could be more comfortable. I didn’t banish them! Oh, and that shit about David—that’s the lowest blow of all! You help a friend when they’re down and then you throw it in their face later? Like that? With that kind of contempt? After everything that fucker put her through—the cheating, the stalking, the kidnapping, the trial…” I have to pause because I’m getting too angry to control it.
“She may not care about this, but I don’t think Butterfly will ever recover from this. She’ll heal, and she’ll get back to herself because she’s strong. She’s the strongest woman I’ve ever known, and she’ll put her own feelings aside so that she can be strong for those babies. That’s who she is, but she’ll never forget this. She’ll never forget this night and she’ll never forget how Valerie made her feel—another birthday ruined. Next year, we’re going away, just the two of us—somewhere sunny and secluded so that she can finally have a good memory of her birthday. I guess we have to find a new godmother for our children, too.”
I hear a gasp and look past Elliot. There’s Kate—er, I mean, Valerie—standing there in the shadows eavesdropping on our conversation.
“You might want to go check on your girlfriend,” I say, pointing at her. “I don’t know how long she’s been standing there.” He follows my point to where Valerie is standing. I think she’s crying, too, but right now, I really don’t give a fuck. I extend my hand to Elliot and he takes it.
“Thanks for coming, Elliot,” I say, shaking his hand.
“Now please get her out of here before my wife wakes up.” He nods once and walks toward her. I walk into the house.
I’m lying in bed alone watching the ceiling and hoping that an answer will fall down on me like magic. I’ve lost one of my best friends. I’m sure of it. The problem is that I don’t even know what happened. I know for certain that I didn’t do anything wrong. I had a right to ask her if she was trivializing my wedding. Maxie felt the same way about hers. Then she gets testy because she asked me for details about my and Christian’s fight when I asked her not to.
She says I’ve changed. Of course, I’ve changed, but not because of the money. I’ve changed because of all of the shit that has happened to me and all of the things that are currently going on in my life. I didn’t have a choice! I’m Mrs. Grey now and it hasn’t been an easy road getting here–ex-subs, crazy blonde pedophiles, psycho ex-boyfriends, the press in my face all the time, twins! I thought if anyone would understand, it would be my closest friends. I’ve confided everything in her. She’s the closest thing I have to a sister… had to a sister. I’m going to be sick.
I make it to the bathroom, but not in time to the toilet. It’s a horrible mess and I’m on my knees in it. I’ve cried all night but I still appear to have plenty more tears left for the day shift. Dinner and tears mingle in the commode as I say goodbye to my friend—my sister—all back over again. I don’t know what brought this on, but I know when Valerie Marshall is done and she is done with me. Those final daggers and that knowing smirk right before she left let me know that she wants nothing more to do with me. So without cause or explanation, we are no longer friends.
When I got to dry heaves, Christian wanders into the bathroom and is horrified by my condition. He puts me in the shower still dressed in my nightclothes and peels me out of the gown I managed to get into before I cried myself to sleep the first time. I hear him calling Gail and after I’ve stood in the shower crying for about five minutes, I smell the familiar smell of disinfectant in the bathroom. I’m surprised to see that it’s my husband cleaning the toilet and the floor where I lost the contents of my stomach. He’s still wearing his clothes from yesterday. Did he sleep at all?
Once he’s cleaned up my mess, he strips and gets into the shower with me. I’m exhausted. I don’t feel like I’ve slept a wink all night. Do I have patients on Monday? God, I hope not. As I lean helplessly on his chest, my husband lovingly washes my hair and body, kissing me gently on my forehead several times in the process. I appreciate that he understands what I’m feeling and haven’t tried to talk to me about it. I don’t think I can stand it.
He quickly washes himself, then wrings my hair dry before helping me out of the shower and wrapping me in a robe. He looks like he can wring his own hair. He really needs to get that shit cut soon. He gently combs my hair. It’s really very long and I’m thinking about cutting it, too, but he plays in it so much that I think he might not be happy with that decision. I’m so tired of being maudlin and depressed all the time. I don’t know how long this is going to last, but I sure hope it doesn’t last long. If Valerie doesn’t want to be my friend, I’m going to have to let it go, but for right now, I’m crushed.
“What would you like to wear, baby?” He’s trying so hard to take care of me. Christian is always taking care of me. It soothes him as much as it soothes me. I just wish he didn’t have to do it so much. I feel useless and helpless and I don’t want to feel this way all the time. I sigh and fall into his arms.
“I love you, Christian,” I tell him, more tears seeping from my eyes. He kisses my forehead as he strokes my back.
“I love you, too, Butterfly,” he says softly. I wipe my cheeks and tell him I want the maternity jeans and a warm sweater with my Ralph Lauren heeled black boots. He helps me get into my underwear and quickly slides into his as well. A few minutes later, we’re both in jeans and sweaters and he has braided my hair in two long braids.
“My little Pocahontas,” he says sweetly. It makes me smile. I know that we’re going to have to be getting back to Seattle soon, so I try to start packing our things. “Gail says she’ll do that for us, Baby. I want you to try to eat something since I know your stomach is empty.” I couldn’t possibly hold anything down right now, but he’s so hopeful that I don’t dare say “no.”
As I descend the stairs, the room is full–everybody is here, even Mr. Grey and Uncle Herman.
“Good morning, dear.” Grace is the first to speak.
“Good morning,” I say and force a smile.
“How are you feeling?” she asks. How should I answer that? Like shit? Like I just lost my best girlfriend? Like the world is conspiring to take my happiness before I can even sink my teeth into it? I guess my pause was enough for her not to expect a response. “There’s breakfast,” she says. “We have some pancakes and eggs, or just some fresh fruit if you prefer.” I smile at her.
“The fruit sounds good. Thank you, Grace,” I say as I cross the great room. It’s silent, like a funeral.
“There aren’t any patients tomorrow,” Marilyn says, sitting across from me. She knew I would be concerned.
“Thanks, Mare,” I say, smiling weakly. Everyone meanders around, most likely at a loss as to what they should be doing now. Soon, they all relax into eating breakfast and things almost seem normal, until there’s a knock at the door.
The entire room falls silent and we all look at each other. Is it Valerie? Did she come back to apologize? Was this all just a bad case of PMS?
Christian goes to the front door to answer it and I think everyone holds their breath. When he comes back around the wall, James is behind him…
I want to cry again, but I won’t–not because Val didn’t come back, but because Al did. He’s my true blue to the very end. He would never desert me.
“Hey, Jewel,” he says, coming to sit next to me at the breakfast bar.
“Hey, Al,” I say weakly.
“Val called me.”
“I figured as much.”
“No,” I say as he pulls me over to his shoulder. “I don’t even know what happened.” He looks at my eyes.
“You’ve been crying. A lot.” I nod.
“All night,” I lament, “and all morning. I’m tired of crying now.”
“I know, Jewel,” he says, squeezing my free hand while I eat the fruit salad with my other. It sure makes my mouth taste better.
“Al, did she tell you what happened… I mean, why she went off on me the way she did?” Al frowns.
“She said that you went off on her,” he says bemused. My eyes grow so large that I can imagine that my brows disappear somewhere under my hairline.
“What!?” I roar, slamming my fork down and gaining the attention of everyone in the room.
“She said what!?” Gary exclaims, no doubt as horrified as I am. Al looks from me to Gary to other people in the room and back at me.
“Okay, clearly, I’ve been misinformed,” Al says calmly.
“Al, I told her to leave and not come back unless she was ready to apologize. That was only after she said some of the nastiest things that anyone as ever said to me—ever!”
Al is kind of stunned as he waits for someone to confirm or dispel what I’ve said. Maxie just nods.
“I don’t know what she told you, but it was brutal, Al,” Phil says. “It was aimed totally at Ana and all of us knew that she was being unreasonable, but we didn’t know why.” Al’s shoulders fall.
“This is really fucked up,” he says. “This is really, really fucked up.” I throw my hands in the air and I am instantly filled with rage.
“Yes, it is,” I say, trying not to yell. “She wants to write me off. I have no idea why, but she’s getting her wish.” I push the fruit away. “Where’s the pancakes and eggs?” Gail looks at me surprised and springs into action.
“Baby, are you sure?” Christian asks, putting his hand on my shoulder. I nod.
“I might lose it later. I admit that, but right now, I’m hungry!” Ravenous, even. She wants to write me off, she wants me out of her life, I’m out. “Everything happens for a reason,” I mumble.
“So, just like that, it’s done?” Al asks. “Ten years of friendship gone, no trying to get to the bottom of why she’s acting this way?”
“You guys can if you want to,” I tell him. “You’re still her friends. She doesn’t want me. She’s made that crystal clear. It’s one thing to stomp away with bruised feelings and misinterpret the situation. It’s another thing to massacre me in front of everybody…” I gesture around the room as all of the people present now were present during the bloodbath, “…and then lie on me altogether. I don’t care what she says anymore. I’m done! If these are the things that I’m going to hear coming from her, then I don’t want to hear it. Sure, I’ll cry. I’ll be brokenhearted, I’ll have moments of weakness—because I love her, but I’m done.” Gail places two fluffy pancakes and some scrambled eggs in front of me with a tall glass of orange juice. I take a bite and food has never tasted so heavenly, except when I was eating the “last supper” with my mother. I wonder if this is as symbolic.
“Jewel, are you sure that you want to wash your hands like this?” he asks.
“No, Allen, don’t put this on me,” I say after I swallow my food. “It wasn’t my decision. It was hers. I didn’t do anything to bring this about. I asked a simple question about the meaning of her statement when she was talking about weddings and it went downhill from there. I thought I may have misinterpreted her, but even if I had, Maxie clearly felt the same way. No, I’m not picking this apart right now—maybe some other time when I want to get to the bottom of it, but not now.” I shove more eggs and pancakes into my mouth and eat heartily. If Ms. Marshall has some kind of bug up her butt, she’s knows where to find me when that fucker crawls out. If it never crawls out, c’est la vie.
I have banned further conversation of Valerie Marshall and we all finish breakfast without any major catastrophes. I get into a girlie conversation about decorating the new house and the babies’ room. I have a quick flash of melancholy thinking of how I had intended on asking Valerie to be my children’s godmother. I had even discussed it with Christian to see if he may have had another suggestion, but he was cool with it. The melancholy is gone almost as soon as it hit, and I’m on to another topic. I see Christian off in the den talking to James and I already know that they’re talking about the cyber-attack at GEH. That’s something else I don’t want to hear about right now. I see a light dusting of snow begin to fall outside.
Hmm, fresh snow. It falls early here in the mountains, but it’s not sticking. The “powder” on the slopes is fabricated snow, but these little flurries are the real thing. I put on my coat and go out to the deck to enjoy it before it hits the ground and disappears completely. The air is clean, just a bit brisk, but not too cold. I wrap my arms around my babies and warm myself. One or both of them move as if in response to the warmth. It gives me comfort to feel them move. I’m a little concerned about once they’re born. This particular warmth and connection with them won’t be there anymore. I guess I shouldn’t worry. Holding those two masterpieces in my arms will make up for not having the nights and days of soccer tournaments inside of me.
A cliché cool breeze blows my hair behind me and I remember the days I spent in Montana trying to get over being jilted. Not all of them were bad. The mountains of Montana are beautiful country and I’d like to go back one day under different circumstances. My mind goes back to this weekend’s events. I don’t dwell on the events themselves, just the outcome. Two birthdays, back to back, ruined. I just can’t catch a break.
“Well, beans, we’ll find you a new godmom, I guess, but don’t be too mad at me if I don’t do it right away, okay?” I rub my stomach and start to softly hum our lullaby. I hear the door open behind me and wait for Christian to hold me or rub my arms.
“That’s pretty,” I hear, but it’s Grace’s voice, not Christian. “What is it?”
“Billy Joel,” I tell her as she walks next to me. “It’s called ‘Goodnight, My Angel.’ It’s a lullaby that he wrote for his daughter.”
“So you sing to the children?” I nod. “Very healthy. It helps you form the bond with them even before they’re born, but I’m sure that I don’t have to tell you that.” I smile and look off over the yard.
“You came out here for a reason, but you’re struggling for conversation,” I observe. “You can say what you like. I’ll be okay.” She sighs.
“Everything has been so tense for you lately. I’ve been worried about you and the babies. I know I don’t have to ask if you’ve been seeing your doctor regularly.”
“I have,” I confirm. “She scolded me for not coming to the hospital sooner when I wasn’t able to keep anything down. She said that there’s something they could give me for that, but I knew it was just my nerves. I still have that problem sometimes which is one of the reasons why I try to eat often, especially after I have just vomited. I don’t pay attention to the taste of food anymore—not right now, anyway—just on getting it down and keeping it down.” Maybe that’s why breakfast tasted so good today. “No offense, but I can’t wait to have a glass of wine.” Grace laughs.
“I can imagine,” she says. “Have you been doing okay with keeping enough food down? I see your coloring has returned to normal.” I nod.
“I only vomit occasionally now, and then only mostly when I’m upset. I faint more than I’m comfortable with…”
“That’s normal. It doesn’t happen to all women, but it happens. Can we sit?” She gestures to the chairs and I gingerly sit in the uncomfortable apparatus. “In the interest of maintaining your good mental health, I wanted to have an open conversation with you about this disagreement that you and Christian had.” And now we get to the point. The baby talk was just more filler conversation.
“It wasn’t a disagreement, Grace,” I correct her. “We have those all the time, they’re no big deal. This was definitely a big deal.” She nods.
“I agree, but I never know what word to use—fight, disagreement, argument… No matter which term you use, I think we can both agree that it caused an enormous state of unrest.” I can’t argue with that. “I’m just wondering—again, only in the interest of your happiness and mental health—why you’re taking all the responsibility. I agree wholeheartedly that what you did was wrong, but it doesn’t excuse what Christian did. The way that he shut you out and didn’t even pay attention to your deteriorating health… I just need help understanding that if you don’t mind my prying.”
I can’t really call it prying because I told everybody at the spa yesterday. She won’t understand, but I’ll try to tell her anyway.
“Christian didn’t have a serious relationship before me. I recognize that I have more experience with emotions and dealing with another person in your life than Christian does. In that context, what I did was more selfish because I know better. He didn’t, he’s still learning. He leans on me to lead and guide him on how to be considerate of the other person and I reneged on my own words. A lot my punishments or lessons are pretty brutal when he does something selfish, but I turn round and do something unacceptable after all the times I tell him how unacceptable his behavior is and how he has to be considerate of other people, namely me. I knew better. I have no excuse. He’s still learning.
“We’ve been together for more than a year, but we’ve only been married for a little over four months. I was feeling rejected so I completely threw his feelings out the window—pushed him aside entirely, thinking that if I didn’t think about him or he didn’t see me, it wasn’t wrong.”
“And I agree with you on that, but if there’s another lesson to be learned here, shouldn’t it be that he shouldn’t have responded as drastically as he did?” she asks. I chuckle a bit.
“Oh, Grace, my responses are so much more drastic than Christian’s, if you can believe that. You’ve seen some of them.” Montana, Flynngate, the whistles incident in Greece… “Hindsight is 20/20, and what I did was basically retaliation for him not showing me any attention. His reaction was a combination of things, some of which I had no knowledge. Please don’t ask me to go into detail, and please don’t mention this to Christian. I’m only telling you this because you got pulled into this when you really shouldn’t have and because I want you to better understand what’s going on between us.”
“Are you sure you should tell me?” Grace cautions.
“I won’t betray any confidences, but I just want you to see the bigger picture.”
Without getting specific, I confide in Grace that there is detrimental stuff that I’m not allowed to talk about happening with the business. During this time, Christian was dealing with this issue and I was acting like a needy brat. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but it was enough to cause him great distress. After the fact, I understood why he couldn’t give him the attention that I craved. I’m not excusing the way he acted, but it doesn’t make what I did okay. I ended up having to pay for the decisions that I made because where his actions indirectly affected me—he was distracted by and concerned about what was going on with GEH and I inadvertently took a back seat—my actions directly affected him—I was a married, pregnant woman going out scantily dressed and looking for attention. He wasn’t deliberately ignoring me until after I went out and tried to get attention and money for strange men.
“Yes, but the effects were nearly disastrous,” she protests. “I mean, a few more days in the state you were in and you and the babies could have been irreparably damaged. This is why I scolded Christian so badly that time that he didn’t eat and had to be rushed to the hospital. When things aren’t going well, you two don’t take care of yourselves.”
I hadn’t realized that I basically did the same thing he did when I shunned him the very first time last year. He didn’t eat because his brain just didn’t tell him to eat. I couldn’t hold food down because I was so upset that no matter how much I ate, most of it just came back up.
“I didn’t do this on purpose, though, Grace. My body was just responding to a bad situation,” I defend.
“May I ask why you didn’t go to the hospital when you realized that you couldn’t keep food down?” Grace asks.
“At first, I didn’t think it was that serious until you told me that I had lost weight. Most of all, though, I didn’t want to go to the hospital as a pregnant woman vomiting because all pregnant women vomit—and I didn’t want Christian to think that I was doing this as a ploy to get sympathy. If he thought that, then when I really needed to go to the hospital, I would become the girl who cried wolf.”
“That’s the biggest reason, isn’t it?” Grace called me out and I just look at her and twist my lips.
“Grace, I realize that it’s difficult and sometimes impossible for you to understand our dynamic—and I couldn’t even begin to explain it to you…”
“No, I don’t think you could,” she admits. “The last glimpse I got into my son’s personal life was horrifying and cost me who I thought was one of my dearest friends.” I nod.
“This is why you would have a hard time understanding the man that is Christian Grey,” I tell her. “As his mother, there are so many things that you may know or see that may never be revealed to me. As his wife and lover, there are many, many facets of his being that will be revealed to me that will remain an anomaly to everyone else. Again, I’m not excusing his behavior, but as we are still both learning, I understand it. He never had a serious relationship before me and I’ve never been married before. We’re still both learning.”
“I guess I can understand that to some degree. I just don’t think I can ever grasp how extreme things are. As a mother, it’s hard not to get involved. I try not to interfere or butt in, but I guess there are a few things that I’ll just never get.”
“We appreciate that you care and we don’t ever want that to stop, but you do have to know where to draw the line between scolding a grown man and his wife and being concerned. I’m not a mother—yet—but I already know that there are some things that I’m not going to be able to change or fix. There are some bumps that the beans have to take on their own and though I may want to pad the world and soften all the sharp edges, that’s just not going to happen. That bruised and abused little boy is still in there, but not all the time, and you can’t treat him that way. You have three decades of marital experience that we will depend on a lot, but please don’t expect us to be like you or to live up to an expectation that you’ve set because I’m telling you right now, we won’t do it.” She purses her lips and nods.
“I’m still learning, too, dear. Christian is my first child to get married, so go easy on me.”
“Only if you do the same.” She nods and looks down for a moment, contemplative.
“Beans?” she smiles. I furrow my brow and smile, bemused.
“Now how did you not know we called them that?
“I’m not sure if you’re up for talking shop with the weekend you’ve had…” James begins. I run my hand through my hair.
“Only if you’ve got good news,” I tell him.
“Well, Barney leaked to the necessary parties that we think we have another intruder. The response was immediate. They didn’t do anything different with their attack, but the lines of communication have been on fire. Somebody’s getting sloppy. We got two hits from the same tower that trace to the same location. I would bet my last dime that we have the location of the guy in Belfair. Based on that information, we’re trying to correlate communication from the Belfair location to the one in Spokane. Without knowing for sure what direction we should be looking in, it’s a long shot—a bit of a needle in a haystack situation—but at least we have a needle.” I sigh heavily.
“That is good news, James,” I tell him. “We’re one step closer to this whole thing being over!”
“Yeah. Alex has a bone he’s gnawing on. He says that if he’s correct, he may have hit the mastermind—or one of them—behind this whole thing. He wanted me to pass the message on, but he says that he doesn’t have anything concrete. He’s correlating with that Clomdese guy.” I chuckle when he mispronounces Cholometes’ name. I know he’s probably had that happen more than he’s been called Colostomy.
“He’ll call me as soon as he knows for sure,” I say, but I can’t help but wonder what he’s collaborating on with Cholometes. Is he all of a sudden all in our corner?
“This Ana/Val thing… it’s big,” James says. I shrug.
“I can’t even tell you. I don’t know what happened at all. As far as I know, there was a small difference of opinion at the spa yesterday and by the end of the day, it was nuclear.”
“No, I’m not asking, I’m telling you… it’s big. She called Al and was ranting like a maniac—angry one minute and crying the next. He asked her if she could be pregnant and she just hung up on him.” Oh, God, no, please don’t let it be that! Not only will I be perfectly surrounded by infants, but then that would mean that this whole thing is because of jealousy and competition. I know that’s the last thing Butterfly wants. I run my hands through my hair again. “Your hair’s really long, man,” James throws in. I roll my eyes.
“Yes, I know. People keep telling me that like it’s not on my head,” I say, shaking my head. “Unless Ana wants to cut it, I can’t do anything with it until at least tomorrow. I’ll probably have Franco come to my office if he has the time.” James cocks his head at me.
“If he has the time?” he says in disbelief. I’m waiting for the punchline. “The great Wave-My-Hand-And-Get-What-I-Want-Christian Grey is going to see if someone has the time?” he says mockingly. I fold my arms.
“He’s over the shops,” I clarify. “If I pull him away every time I want a fucking haircut and he has a full day, what’s going to happen to the salons?” He twists his lips.
“So this is a business decision,” he says, more of a statement than a question. “One Christian Grey haircut is going to cause the entire Miana’s chain to go under.” I know what he’s getting at, but I’m not giving it to him.
“Shut the fuck up, James,” I conclude to his bellowing laughter.
A/N: Theories about Val? Let ’em rip!
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Love and Handcuffs!