So, we’re starting today on a good note and a not-so-good note. The good note first…
Mini-Me read all of the comments and asked me to thank everyone that wished her a Happy Birthday. I particularly liked all of the Baby Bronze, Bronze Jr., Little Bronzie, Princess Bronze references and variations thereof. I thought those were really cool, so thank you all, really!
Now, to the not-so-good note…
There were comments talking about how selfish and whatnot Ana was when she was lamenting about that changes that have and inevitably will take place in her life. Some people were pretty passionate about it, saying things like “Why wouldn’t she be thinking about Christian at a time like this?” and I thought to myself, “Damn! What exactly did she say??” I was like I wrote the damn thing and I don’t remember writing anything that made her out to be a selfish, catty little brat–I even had somebody call her “Whiny Ana,” and I’m like “What the fuck is this?? What the hell did I write??”
So I went back to read my own shit to see what the fuck I wrote that ended up in Ana being thrown under the goddamn bus, and you know what I found? Nothing!!! Abso-fucking-lutely nothing! I found a weary, scared, confused pregnant woman who has gone through so much shit just during the course of her pregnancy that one insensitive reader actually had the nerve to ask “When are you going to make Ana lose those babies? If she carries them to term, your credibility is shaky?”
WHAT THE EVER-LOVING FUCK?!?!?
Do NOT tell me or suggest that my character should lose her babies ever. Fucking. Again. If you are of that opinion, you would be best to keep it to yourself. I DO take that personally. That’s cruel and I don’t want to hear it again.
Those of you who feel that Ana is selfish for her inner-lamenting that her fucking life–which has already been through the 9 Circles of Hell–is about to be turned topsy-turvy yet again and she’ll probably never get the feeling of being “just Ana Steele” ever again, well congratulations Mother Theresa. You get the sainthood award for implying that you wouldn’t react the exact same way. I, on the other hand, am not so pure and perfect and must be the most imperfect person alive because if it were me, I’d be having a hissy fit, too. Hell, I’d be running around stomping like Rumplestiltskin!
I hope I don’t lose readers for this, but that fact that people are constantly slapping labels and unrealistic or CRUEL assumptions on my characters drives me fucking nuts!!!
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 15—A Long And Winding Road
The plane lands at SeaTac and I’m just waiting for the all-clear to disembark. I need to hold my wife in the worst way. Right now, she’s the only thing that’s grounding me and I hope my parents don’t mind, but there will be some fucking in that house tonight.
I dial her phone to hear her sweet voice and it keeps going to voicemail. I finally decide to leave a message, thinking that maybe she left her charger at Escala and is unable to charge her phone at my parents’ house.
“I’m in Seattle, baby. In case you charge your phone, know that I love you and I can’t wait to be in your arms. See you soon, Butterfly.”
When I end the call, I see that Jason’s phone is going crazy. I assume that he hasn’t spoken to his wife in a while and she’s really giving him what for. We get the all-clear to disembark and I nearly run out of the plane and down the stairs… but there’s no car waiting. Why isn’t there a car waiting? I turn around to find Jason and he’s bungling down the stairs I just descended. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear he’s in a bit of a panic.
“Sir, please,” he says, his voice weak. “We need to get a car, now.” I frown. I know this, but what’s wrong? Why isn’t he telling me?
“What’s wrong, Jason?” I ask, concerned. “Is it Gail?” He shakes his head slowly before raising his glassy blue eyes to mine.
Jason with glassy eyes?
“There’s been an accident, Sir.” He can barely get the words out of his mouth. Spit it out! “We need a car, Sir.” I examine him for a moment before the reality suddenly hits me like a wrecking ball.
Ana… my Ana…
I feel my knees buckle under me and suddenly, flashes are going off everywhere. Am I dying? What’s going on? My Butterfly… I come back to myself and Jason is literally holding me up. I see Welch and, of all people, Cholometes nearly running towards me in the crowded airport.
“Is she…?” I can’t say it. God, please, no…
“I haven’t heard, Sir. I only know that there’s been an accident.” My legs can’t hold me up. I truly feel like I’m dying. I have to walk, but my legs won’t move. “Sir, the cameras… paparazzi…” I don’t care about the damn cameras. I’ll give them a story—billionaire dies of a broken heart upon hearing of the death of his lovely wife and two unborn children. How’s that for a headline?
“Please…” I squeak. “Somebody tell me…” I can’t hold my head up now.
“Sir, she’s alive,” I hear Welch’s voice. “The babies are fine, but she’s unconscious. We need to go, now. We need you to walk or we’ll have to carry you.” I straighten my legs and try to remember what Jason said about Butterfly being my weakness. Opportunists all over the world will see this and target my wife. I allow Welch to lead me out of the thronging crowd and into a car—what car, I don’t know. The moment I’m in the back seat with Jason and the car clears the airport, I’m overcome with chest-wrenching sobs.
My Butterfly… my beautiful Butterfly. How did this happen? What happened? What condition am I going to find her when I get there? Cholometes is here, so it must be bad. Jason puts his hand on my shoulder and I swat it away. I want my Butterfly! She’s lying in a hospital unconscious carrying our beautiful beans. What am I going to do if I lose her?
“Sir, I need you to try to compose yourself,” Jason says as we approach the hospital. “We don’t know what’s going on yet and you can’t fall apart. She’s going to need you to be strong.” I’m trying to hear him, but my heart is breaking, shattering into pieces scattered all over the floor. I do my best to pull it together, to put on my CEO persona until I can get to my Butterfly. Hiding the shuddering breaths is the hardest part.
Of course, the vultures are there when we get to the hospital. I must look like death when I emerge from the car because all of the chatter stops and there isn’t a flash in sight. I walk briskly with my head down into the hospital and I am greeted by someone in a suit the moment we get inside.
“Mr. Grey, I’m Rick Haven, head of Public Relations for the hospital. We’re all very sorry about this tragic event. If you’ll follow me, I’ll take you to the doctor treating your wife.”
“Where is my wife?” I ask, not recognizing my voice.
“She’s in intensive care, but please, let the doctor tell you what’s going on. I’m not the expert…”
“I want to see my wife!” I growl. His brow furrows.
“Sir, I highly recommend that you talk to the doctor first.”
“Look,” Jason jumps between me and Haven, “You’re going to have a PR situation on your hands that you’re not going to be able to handle if you don’t take this man to his wife right now. Have the doctor meet us there, but he needs to see Anastasia Grey. Imagine if this was your wife.” I need Jason’s diplomacy at this moment because I have none. Although it’s something that he’s not readily known for, it came in handy right then.
Haven twists his mouth and nods at Jason. I hate that his name is Haven. It’s too close to heaven and that doesn’t bode well right now. He starts to walk away and I fall in line behind him. I feel like he’s walking like a goddamn undertaker and I want him to move faster and get me to my very alive wife. She’s unconscious and no one will tell me what’s happened. Is it because it’s as bad as it can be or because no one knows? He starts walking briskly while talking on the phone to someone that I think is Ana’s doctor.
Somehow, we end up on the fifth floor. I don’t know how. There’s a waiting room just to my right and it’s full to the walls. I step inside and everybody’s here–Ray and Amanda; my entire family, including Uncle Herman and Pops; all of Ana’s friends… even Valerie. Valerie’s here… she must be…
I feel my knees go weak again and it’s James who catches me this time. Please, God, if you can hear me… please don’t let her die.
“Christian,” James whispers in my ear. “You have to be strong, man. She needs you to be strong right now.” I look at him, trying to garner some hope, but all I see is pity. This doesn’t help. It’s everything I can do to stand up straight and get my legs to work. I continue the walk down to Ana’s room. There’s a doctor and a few interns in the room who all turn to me when I walk into the room. The doctor quickly makes his way over to me.
“Mr. Grey, I’m Dr. Hill, Mrs. Grey’s doctor.” Butterfly is behind the curtain and the voices are hushed as I approach.
“What’s happening?” I manage to ask.
“She’s in a coma, Mr. Grey,” the doctor says. “She has some internal bleeding, but we were able to control that quickly with no complications. She has several lacerations on the side of her face and lot of bruising. Her head went through the passenger side window and she suffered a traumatic brain injury. There’s no way to know exactly how much damage has been done until and if she wakes up.” until and if… “She’s suffered what is known as diffuse axonal injury. Her brain literally bounced around inside of her skull, causing increased intracranial pressure. She hasn’t required any surgery yet, but if we don’t see significant improvement in the next 48 hours, we’ll have to perform a ventriculostomy. You’ll see that she’s had to be intubated, but for right now, she’s non-responsive.”
“I…” I can’t breathe. “I need you… to slow down a bit and explain a few things.” I’m trying to prepare myself for what’s on the other side of that curtain. I wish I could take my heart and soul and leave them at the door, because the pain I feel right now will be nothing compared to the complete anguish that will overtake me when I see my wife. “Diffuse oxial…”
“Diffuse axonal injury,” he corrects me. “Think of shaken baby syndrome. When a baby is shaken back and forth, his little brain bounces against his skull causing injury or death. The good news is that Mrs. Grey’s brain is not so small. The bad news is that she was shaken pretty badly. Right now, the extent of her injuries is the increased intra… brain swelling. These things usually go down with time and if not, the ventriculostomy will assist with that.”
“What’s a ventriculostomy?”
“We would make a small hole in Mrs. Grey’s skull and insert a catheter to drain some of the fluid. It’s not necessary yet. The intubation will supply oxygen that her brain needs and hopefully it won’t come to that, but I just want you to be prepared. We haven’t seen any bleeding, but due to the severity of the impact, the diffuse axonal injury, and the fact that she’s currently in a coma, we’ll keep an eye on it over the next several days to be sure there aren’t any bleeds.”
“She’s going to be like this for that long?” I ask, my heart breaking with the thought.
“We don’t know. Unfortunately, with TBI’s, it’s a huge waiting game. This is the hardest part. A lot of what happens next will depend on your wife.”
“She’ll fight,” I whisper. “She’ll fight for our babies…” Our babies! What about our babies? I turn a horrified eye to Dr. Hill, asking the questions that my lips can’t form.
“The babies are fine,” he says. “They were shaken a bit and we’re monitoring them closely, but they currently seem no worse for wear. We’ll do everything that we can to keep them safe and healthy inside Mom.” He sighs. “Now comes the hard part, Mr. Grey… seeing your wife.”
How is this the hard part?
“She most likely won’t look like herself,” he warns. “She’s suffering from extensive swelling and bruising and she’s got more stitches that we can count. Her hair has been shaved on the right side, but only the panel right above her ear and a few other patches to accommodate the stitches. Her ear was nearly ripped off and that took the most work. She’s going to have some scarring when the wounds heal, but mostly back near her hairline, ear, and neck and possibly one above her eye. You’ll want to prepare yourself.”
At this point, I don’t care if she looks like a gargoyle! Just let her live!
“Please let me see my wife,” I tell him. The interns leave and only the doctor and a nurse remain with me and Jason. He pulls the curtain back and there’s my Butterfly. My beautiful Butterfly. Even swollen in pregnancy, she’s dwarfed by this huge bed and the many machines helping her breathe and keeping her nourished. Her face and head are wrapped and only her left eye and cheek are exposed as she has a tube in her mouth and the tape is covering her lips.
“Hey, Baby,” I say softly as I sink into the chair next to her bed. “I can’t leave you for a minute, can I?” I chuckle through my tears. I stroke her hand gently. I’m afraid to touch her. “How could this happen? Where the hell was Davenport?” I look at Jason, who looks at the doctor. His brow furrows. “Her security?”
“Oh! The driver?” He was driving? This is his fault? “He’s still in surgery.”
“Surgery?” Jason gasps.
“Yes. He had to be extracted from the vehicle. He covered Mrs. Grey with his body and took the brunt of the impact. She would have been a lot worse off if it hadn’t been for him.”
“What about the other driver?” Jason asks. “Is he here, too?”
“No one else came in, but you’ll have to ask the police, sir. I don’t know all of the details of the crash.” Jason runs his hand over his face.
“Boss, I have to go… he has a brother…”
“Go. Go. I… want to be alone anyway.” Jason nods and leaves the room.
“Mr. Grey, I think you should know. Your wife has advance directives,” the doctor says. Shit! I forgot about that. Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! My heart sinks immediately. “They indicate that if she is non-responsive, she wants all heroic measures ceased after…”
“Sixty days, I know,” I lament. Two months. Two more months…
“Sir, there’s something else. With her being pregnant, we would keep her alive until the babies are born if you so desire–even if it’s more than sixty days… as there are other lives to consider.”
“Dr. Hill, can we please cross that bridge if we get to it?” I say, my voice shaking.
“Of course, sir. I’ll leave you alone now.” I hear him leave the room and I turn around and face my broken Butterfly. The grief is more than I can take. My chest feels like an 18-wheeler is permanently parked on it and I can barely breathe.
“I wanted you to be safe,” I breathe through my tears. “We caught Myrick only to find that his pimp father is not the fucker in jail. He’s in witness protection, too. They did a real bang-up job with Myrick since he was able to clean out several companies and tried to get mine, too. Now we have to find out where this asshole is, and I’m not sure he wasn’t behind this attack.” She’s completely motionless. Nothing is moving but her chest—not a flutter of an eyelid, not a wiggle of a finger, nothing.
“I’ve seen this in movies and I’ve heard about it on television, but I never thought it would happen to someone I love,” I say as I brush my tears away. “I always thought that my money and my power, my prestige and my security would keep anything like this from happening, but how do you predict a car accident?” I lay my head on the bed next to her. I’m aching inside—the burn is almost unbearable.
“Please come back to me, Butterfly. Fight, Baby, please. Fight for our family, for our children…” I don’t want to say it, but I can’t help it. The words will burn me if I pretend they’re not true. “Fight for me,” I breathe. “I’ll die without you… fight for me… please…”
My head hurts. I don’t remember crying this much since… ever. If my tears could wake her, she would have been doing a samba down the halls by now. Several people have come in and said something or other, told me that I should go home, offered to take shifts. I have to be here with my family. I’m realistic. I don’t know how long I have with her, and if I only have two months, I’m going to be right here by her side the entire time. I’m not leaving. I’m living here in this room until the New Year if this is where my Butterfly will be.
I’m coherent enough to hear what happened when Jason comes back into the room sometime in the early morning hours. Some unknown vehicle T-boned the car as Charles and Ana were driving through the intersection. They were on their way back to Escala from Helping Hands when I called to tell her to go to my mother’s house. The accident happened moments after I ended the call.
The other driver hit the driver’s side of Ana’s Audi. Charles wrapped himself around her as much as he could and took the brunt of the impact. Because I insist on top of the line safety features, neither of them died instantly. Charles’ injuries could have been much more substantial. As it stands, he’s suffering from a broken leg, broken ribs, a punctured lung, internal bleeding, burns from the airbag, and like Ana, extensive facial injuries. They had to use the Jaws of Life to get him out of the car. He’s out cold, too, but he didn’t hit his head.
All I can think is that I want my Butterfly back. The sun has risen and set and risen again and there is no change. Her CT-scan and MRI on the third day show that the swelling in her brain is going down… but she’s still in a coma. She won’t need the surgery, but she still hasn’t regained consciousness. The nurse let me give her a sponge bath which made me feel so much better—touching her and taking care of her.
I haven’t bothered watching the news at all. I don’t know what’s being said or even what’s being done in the investigation of the accident. I’ve just finished cleaning her feet and just covered her when there’s a knock at the door. Ray sticks his head in and waits for me to give permission for him to enter. I think I do, but I continue to take care of Butterfly, now rubbing the balm over her belly to help her skin stretch without the scarring. I keep her covered and take a few moments to feel my children kicking inside of her—the only other movement I’ve seen from her body in three days. Our little soccer players… that’s all it takes for me to break down again.
Still wearing the clothes I wore in Detroit, I weep over my wife and babies. I’m dying on the inside. Wherever she goes, I want to go with her. How will I raise our children without her? How will I ever be able to tell them how remarkable she is? She’s one of a kind and there will never be another one like her. How will they ever know that if she’s not here with us?
“Christian,” Ray says, putting his hand on my shoulder. “I know it’s hard, son. We’ve got to believe that she’ll be okay. She’ll come out of this. She’s a fighter. She doesn’t know how to give up.”
“I don’t know… what to do!” I weep while holding on to the bed rail. “I don’t know… what to do! I always… know what t… to do. I don’t…. know what to do!” I sob bitterly.
“Just hold on, Christian,” he says. “That’s all you can do. Hold on for Annie and those babies. She needs your strength. She feeds on it.”
“I can’t be strong!” I wail. “I’m nothing without her! Nothing!” I’m weeping so hard that I don’t hear more people come into the room.
Suits. Police detectives. I’d know them anywhere.
“What did you find?” I wail at them. “Who did this? Where is he?” I’ll tear him apart with my bare hands, slowly!
“Why would you think it was a man?” One of them asks.
“Was it a woman?” I scream.
“Mr. Grey!” the other one says in a scolding tone.
“I want to know who did this!” I sob. “Look at her! I want to know who did this to her!” I’m losing control. Ray grabs my arms and Jason rushes into the room with Lawrence.
“Christian! Calm down! You’re going to have a stroke!” Ray’s voice calms me only minimally as I turn back to my wife, kissing her hand gently as my tears fall on her skin.
“This is Officer Lowery and I’m Detective Hague. We just want to ask you a few questions.” My head is swimming and I don’t care what they ask as long as they find out who did this to my wife. Ray walks to the chair on the other side of Butterfly’s bed and takes a seat. Jason and Lawrence just stand by the door. I don’t say anything. I just continue to kiss Butterfly’s hand.
“Is there anyone who has any grudges against you, Mr. Grey?” Duh!
“Throw a rock in the air and let it land. You’ll hit several,” I say calmly.
“Do you think this was deliberate?”
“Have you caught the person who hit my wife’s car?”
“No, that’s why we’re asking the questions.”
“Well, unfortunately, I don’t have a clue if this was deliberate or not because I don’t know who did it. I know that whoever did it deliberately fled the scene, because you don’t have them in custody and they’re not in this hospital.”
“Where were you at the time of the accident?”
“In Michigan,” I respond.
“Yes, Michigan,” I repeat.
“How do you know what time the accident was?”
“My head of personal security behind you informs me that your colleagues say that the accident happened right after I got off the phone with my wife telling her to go to my mother’s house.”
“So you were on the phone with Mrs. Grey.” It’s a statement, not a question.
“Right before the accident, yes.”
“Who can vouch that you were in Michigan?”
“The two bodyguards standing behind you, the pilot and air attendant on my private jet, the flight plan to and from Detroit and if that’s not enough, check my cell phone and you will see calls to my father, mother, and Anastasia, all while I was still in Detroit. I know that can be traced. And one more thing, you can also check the visitor’s log at Ionia Prison and while you’re at it, you can talk to the warden.”
“What in the world was Christian Grey doing in a prison in Michigan?” One of them asks.
“Finding out that the man who made my life a living hell before Grace Grey adopted me is not the man in the cell though he should be. There’s some patsy there in his place!”
“Hmm. Airtight alibi. How convenient. Who were you looking for, Mr. Grey?”
“Anton Myrick. He’s on the prisoner’s list, but that’s not him in the cell.”
“And conspiracy theories, too. Tell me, Mr. Grey, do you have any life insurance policies on your wife?”
“Of course I do!” I hiss. She’s worth billions. How stupid can they be?
“For how much?”
“I don’t know,” I say, irritated. “I have to ask my accountant. What does this have to do with what happened to my wife?”
“You tell me, Mr. Grey. We’d like to know if this has anything to do with what happened to Mrs. Grey, too.” Now I’m confused. My neurons aren’t firing like they normally do, I know. I’m weak, I’m exhausted, I’m in emotional and physical pain and I just can’t put two and two together with what this guy is trying to say.
“Okay, that’s enough!” Ray is out of his seat and standing in front of me. “How dare you come in here while this man is grieving over his wife and children with this shit?”
“Mr. Steele, we’re going to have to ask you to calm down…”
“And officer, I’m going to have to ask you to leave!” Ray demands. I turn back to my Anastasia. Whatever’s going on, Ray will handle it. Wake up for me, Baby, please wake up, I silently pray as I gently stroke her face.
“You can’t make us leave!” one of them declares.
“Yes, I can, and here’s how. You’re in a private hospital room grasping at straws and bullying a distraught man to make a name for yourself. Do you have any concrete evidence that you are charging this man with the attempted murder of his wife and my daughter?” Charging me with… oh, that’s ridiculous! Ray must be mistaken.
“We’re just trying to get to the truth, Mr. Steele,” one of them barks.
“That’s sounds like a ‘no.’ Now, my daughter names her husband as her decision maker if she becomes incapacitated and me if he becomes incapacitated. As he is clearly distraught right now, that makes me next in charge and I’m telling you that you aren’t speaking to me, to him, or to anyone else in my family without legal representation! Now, unless you plan on arresting one or both of us right now, it’s time for you to leave. You’re not going to pin this on anyone in our family, least of all her doting husband, while the real criminal is running around free on the streets. Now, take your witch-hunting asses and get the hell out of here and don’t come back unless you have some news about who did this to my daughter!” Ray’s voice is full of the rage that I can’t conjure right now.
“We’ll be back, Mr. Grey!” one of the officers hisses.
“Don’t waste your time. He won’t be talking to you!” Ray shoots.
“Yes, I will, officers,” I say, silencing everyone in the room, “when you come back to tell me who did this to my wife,” I weep. I drop my head on the bed next to my love. “Please come back to me, Butterfly,” I sob, “please come back…”
I honestly don’t know how many days have passed with my head laying on the bed next to Butterfly crying and praying and hoping that she comes out of this. Somewhere during the time, Jason has brought me two changes of clothes, Gail has brought me food, everyone has cycled in and out of the room several times begging me to leave and get some air and I just ignore them. The Mercer house is finished and I don’t want to see it without Butterfly. It’s our home and if we’re not going to it together, I’m not going there alone.
The swelling and pressure in her brain has gone down significantly, which is a good sign and the doctors have taken her off of the breathing machine. She still has the oxygen going into her nostrils to keep her blood saturations up, but she’s no longer intubated… and she still won’t wake up. Though my mother thought it was a strange request, she has brought me every Disney and children’s book she owns and I have sat for hours reading them to Butterfly. She promised that she would teach me who the characters were and I promised that the beans and I would learn them together, but since I don’t know how much time I have left with her…
“Run, run, as fast as you can! You can’t catch me! I’m the Gingerbread Man!” I read, imitating a voice that I imagine the Gingerbread Man would have. Once I get to the end of the story and see how the Gingerbread Man met his demise, I frown.
“The fox eats the Gingerbread Man?” I ask aloud, now looking at the cover of the book. “That’s the whole story? The fox eats the Gingerbread Man?” I shake my head. “I don’t know if I want the beans to read this one, Baby. There’s no moral, no plot, no nothing. He just gets eaten.” I look at her and there’s a slight twist in her face.
Oh my God, is she having a stroke?
Just as I’m about to react, the other side of her face reacts and I see it! As clear as day, I see it! She’s smiling! She’s smiling at me! Don’t panic, Grey. Just… just…
I look at her face and the slight smile that reaches her eye. She’s beautiful. Even with the bruising, she’s absolutely beautiful, and she’s smiling at me. That means she can hear me! I get as close to her face as I can.
“I love you, Butterfly,” I say softly. “You’re my whole world and I’ll be right here waiting for you the moment you wake up. I love you with my whole heart and everything that I am. Get well, Baby. I’ll be right here.” Her smile lasts for a few more moments before her face falls back to a normal, resting state. For a moment, I thought I may have imagined it, but I know that I didn’t. She was with me if only for an instant, and she has given me hope that she’ll come back to me.
“It’s been nine days, Boss. You really need to get out of this room.” Nine days. Only nine days? That’s both a good and a bad thing. At its worst, I have 51 days left with my Butterfly. At its best, time isn’t flying as quickly as I thought it was, and the longer she’s out, her chances for a full recovery drop more and more.
“Any news on anything?” I ask him.
“The media are making up all kinds of stories, so be prepared—conspiracy theories about life insurance policies, revenge plots, some of them say she’s already gone…”
“I don’t want to hear what the media is saying…”
“Well, I brought you this. I don’t know if you want to see it or not, but I brought it anyway.” He hands me a little piece of paper. It’s a small article from what looks like one of the gossip rags:
“Prayers are going up and vigils are being held all over the city for the Grey family and for Seattle’s sweetheart, Anastasia Grey. Pictured here leaving a baby boutique last Wednesday, Mrs. Grey is rumored to have suffered severe, possible life-threatening injuries when a vehicle crashed into her Audi just one day after this picture was taken. Mrs. Grey had just told reporters about her charity work with Helping Hands and how she planned to continue to help people until her ‘body doesn’t work anymore.’ Let’s pray that this is not Ana’s swan song, and that there will be plenty more work for her to do for those needy families at the Help Center. Thoughts and prayers go out to Christian Grey as he stays vigil by her bedside until she regains consciousness. We’re rooting for you, AnaChris!”
“Well, that was surprisingly beautiful,” I say, stroking the picture of Butterfly in her swing coat outside of the baby boutique. “I want to know if anyone has found anything out about what’s happened to my wife.”
“We’re following a few leads, sir, and the police are about as useful as a wet tissue. No one will give us any information, so we called in a friend. They can see from the traffic camera that it was a black Chevrolet that hit the car and that it was a woman that was driving it–she ran the red light. There’s no way to tell if the hit was deliberate or if she was just drunk, speeding, or not paying attention. Gerald sends his regards, by the way. He says he’ll do what he can to follow good solid leads and find out what happened. His hands are tied since he not on this case, and you know about you and cops…”
“So you’re basically telling me that they’re not going to investigate who did this because they want it to be me?” I say with no surprise.
“Pretty much,” he replies. I nod.
“Well, thank God we’ve got Gerald,” I say, turning back to my Sleeping Beauty. Without him, I’d have no faith in the police whatsoever. “Anything on Myrick, Jr. or Sr.?”
“Well, Junior is facing all those charges now, so he’s in protective custody in a federal facility now. His future in witness protection is unclear, but your boy Cholometes has the hotline on him. He’s been invaluable, especially since the accident. Senior, not so much. Because he hasn’t broken any laws or anything, we can’t get anything concrete on where he is. We just know that he’s in the program and that’s it.”
“Do we think he had anything to do with what happened to Butterfly?” I ask.
“We have no idea what happened, so there’s no way to tell.”
“How’s Charles?” I ask.
“He’s in and out. They have him on some pretty strong pain meds and he’s remiss to take them, you know… AA and all. He’s giving the nurses a really hard time because the pain has him grouchy as a bear, so all they can do is try to keep him comfortable. He’s had a constant visitor since he’s been here.”
“I know, his brother.”
“No. Keri… the island girl from Anguilla,” he corrects me.
“You’re shittin’ me, really?” I exclaim and Jason nods.
“Language!” The small voice comes from my right and scares the shit out of me. It was Butterfly! I look over at her and she looks the same that she has for the last nine days. I look at Jason, my questioning… did she speak? His eyes show the same amazement as mine when he nods to confirm that I wasn’t hearing things.
“Get a doctor! Get a doctor!” I breathe frantically. Butterfly is waking up! “Baby? Baby? Can you hear me? Please say something… open your eyes, blink, squeeze my hand… please, Baby… please…” I beg and beg, but nothing—not a flutter, not a word. “Please, Baby… please…”
“I heard her, I tell you. We both heard her!” I hear Jason’s voice as he comes bursting through the doors.
“Okay, Mr. Taylor, just let me look.” Some guy who is not Butterfly’s regular doctor asks me to move so that he can examine her. He takes a pin light out of his pocket and shines it in her eyes. Then he does something where he moves her head from side to side while the nurse holds her eyelids. Then he does something with his fist on her chest and her body rises, but falls back on the bed. When he’s done, he takes her chart from the bed and reads it, makes some notes and replaces it.
“I don’t want to get your hopes up, Mr. Grey. She hasn’t changed much, but she has changed. She’s moved a little higher on the Glasgow Scale from what I can see. What did she say?”
“She…” I feel like I’m going to collapse again. I can’t get my words out. I want her to wake up… now!
“She said ‘language,’” Jason answers for me. “Mr. Grey was cursing at the time.”
“Were you angry?” the doctor asks with a frown. Jason snickers a bit. What’s so fucking funny?
“No, he was just talking,” he answers. “Mr. Grey is fluent in three languages—English, French, and profanity.” That broke the tension a bit and I let out a breath.
“Does she normally chastise you on your profanity?” he asks. I shake my head.
“No. I don’t think she’s ever checked me on my language. She was bossy when we first met, but never anything about my language… except when I called her ‘Ms. Steele…’”
“Dr. Steele…” she mumbles. There she is again!
“You see!? I’m not crazy! She’s talking!” I exclaim. He nods.
“This could be good or bad,” he says. “She could be coming out of the coma and she’s reacting to outside stimuli. She reacted to the sternum stimuli, and the cornea examination rules out extensive brain damage. We don’t know how much damage she has suffered since she’s been in this state for nine days. The longer she’s in this state, the worse the prognosis. However, people sometimes get a burst of energy and show improvement right before they expire. I’m not trying to frighten you, Mr. Grey. I just want you to be completely informed.” My heart drops into my stomach. Scratch that, it drops into my shoes. That’s not what I wanted to hear.
“I appreciate your candor,” I whisper and turn back to my wife. I heard her sweet voice… twice, and it could be the beginning of the end. I sink down into the seat next to her bed and lay my hand next to her hand. I don’t want to talk anymore. I just want to be here with my Butterfly.
I begin to sing the words to a song I heard a little while ago while I was in Detroit. I hadn’t heard it before, but when it came on the radio, I immediately thought of Butterfly. I’ve been singing it every day since the accident:
For all the times I wore my self-pity like a favorite shirt
All wrapped up in that hurt
For every glass I saw, I saw half empty
Now it overflows like a river through my soul
From every doubt I had, I’m finally free
I truly believe
God gave me you to show me what’s real
There’s more to life than just how I feel
And all that I’m worth is right before my eyes
And all that I live for though I didn’t know why
Now I do, ’cause God gave me you
The evening and the morning were the twelfth day and I am weak with despair and from not eating. I think I ate something on Friday or Saturday, but I don’t know. I haven’t changed my clothes since the last doctor gave me the news that Butterfly might actually be dying. She hasn’t spoken again since that day or responded to me reading to her. The room is exploding with flowers and my only thought is that although it’s actually quite pretty, I wish that she was awake to see it.
The staff comes in and turn her occasionally so that the blood flow to the beans isn’t hindered, and now they’ve put the compression devices on her legs to help promote circulation. They’ve removed the bandages on her face and her sutures have long since been removed. The scarring is not too bad—near the hairline and one above her eye like the doctor said. She looks a little weird with one side of her head shaved, although a cute little layer of fuzz has grown over it, except right in the spot where the sutures were.
I’m looking out of the window and trying to come to terms with the idea that I truly may lose my wife. My emotions swing back and forth between numbness and complete hopelessness and anguish. Whenever someone comes into the room trying to coax me into leaving, I completely ignore them. I have no idea what’s going on at Grey House, what’s happening with the Myrick devils, what’s going on with the police investigation, what’s being said in the press, what’s going on in the outside world whatsoever. Everything is a blur—one hellish, colorless, empty, painful blur that represents what my life will be without Butterfly.
I try to think about our children. We haven’t even named them yet. We decided before all of this happened that I would get to name the girl and she would name the boy. My only request was that she didn’t name him Christian. She still hasn’t chosen a name, yet.
My hands are cold and I have no idea why. I flex and relax my fist to try to get some circulation going. The police came back to the hospital to try to get some answers or to get someone to roll, but nobody budged. I didn’t even acknowledge their presence once it was clear that they didn’t know who had hit Butterfly’s car. They went on and on about getting to the bottom of the truth and what could happen to me if they found out that I was involved and going easy on me if I came clean… I think I fell asleep on Butterfly’s hand somewhere during their rant because I don’t even remember when they left.
I don’t think I’ve ever felt so hopeless in my entire life—not when she was kidnapped, not when she ran away to Montana, not even when the crack whore’s pimp came at me with the cigarettes. I don’t ever remember feeling disparity and forlornness that went this deep. There’s nothing I can do about this, nothing I can do to change this. All of my money can’t make this right, can’t fix this….
“Ugh!” She’s making sounds again. They’re music to my ears, but they no longer give me hope. I turn around to look at her again and I’m almost dizzy with amazement at what I’m seeing.
She’s squirming! Her eyes are open and she’s squirming!
“Ana!” I nearly yell as much as my parched throat can get her name out of my mouth. “You’re awake! Thank God, you’re awake!” I almost trip over my feet to get to her bedside. I can’t think clearly or even see straight. My Butterfly is awake. Thank God! Oh, thank God! “How do you feel? Are you in pain? Is your vision okay?” I’m touching her cheek and her hand, so happy that I can finally see those beautiful blue eyes staring back at me, except…
Something’s wrong. Something’s really wrong.
“Um…” That’s the only word that comes out of her mouth. Can’t she speak? She was speaking to me when she was unconscious. Has she been out for too long? Has there been brain damage after all? Why can’t she speak?
“Ana?” I call her name with hope. Baby, say something. Are you in there? She’s looking at me like she’s seen a ghost, like she…
Oh my God.
She’s stares blankly at me for several moments and I stare at her, willing the obvious to not be true.
Please, God, no… Oh, God, please, no…
I drop my hands and back away from her bed. How could this be? I stayed by this bed for twelve days. I hoped, I cried, I prayed, I sang to the babies and read to her. I died a thousand deaths… a million deaths waiting for her to wake up… and now… this?
She opens her mouth and speaks the words that confirm my fears and crushes the last bit of hope I held…
“I’m sorry,” she says, sadly, “I should know you, shouldn’t I?”
I open my eyes and I don’t recognize where I am. What the hell happened? I have to focus a bit and then I realize that I’m in a hospital room. My throat hurts like hell. My head is wrapped and it’s throbbing like you wouldn’t believe. What day is it? What time is it? What happened?
“Ugh!” I grunt as I try to sit up. My back is stiff and my arms hurt. My legs feel like lead. What the hell? I can’t move!
I look down and my legs are wrapped in these contraptions of material and foam of some sort—not casts, but just as restrictive I can imagine. The room is bursting with flowers, probably from the Scooby Gang, but I still don’t know what happened. I try again to sit up, but it seems impossible.
“Ana!” a voice next to me gets my attention. I turn to see an unkempt figure nearly falling over himself to get to me. “You’re awake! Thank God, you’re awake!” He scrambles next to my bed. “How do you feel? Are you in pain? Is your vision okay?” His hand gently brushes my cheek. I’m so confused. What’s going on?
“Um…” I don’t know what to say. I’m confused, really confused. I don’t know which question to answer first, but I have a barrage of my own questions—like where is my father…? and Allen…? and who’s the hot guy?
I guess my eyes are asking the wrong questions, because he freezes and examines me, then backs away slowly after removing his hand from my cheek. A myriad of emotions flash across his face and his lovely gray eyes, and even though he looks like he hasn’t slept in a week, he’s absolutely gorgeous. Once the gauntlet of emotions stops, his expression relays sheer and utter pain. He’s crushed, and I think I know why.
“I’m sorry,” the look on his face speaks volumes. “I should know you, shouldn’t I?” He nods, his eyes quickly filling with tears. For some reason, I just want to hold his hand and comfort him, but it occurs to me that something is very, very wrong. “Ooooh, this is not good.” I say, slapping my hand to my forehead. I run my hand down my face and as my fingers pass my lips, I feel cold metal on my left hand. I pull my hand back and turn it over and gasp loudly when I am blinded by diamonds. Is this a joke? Is this some kind of fucking joke? What the fuck is this?
Hot Guy is staring at me cautiously, obviously afraid to approach me again. I see the agony in his eyes—piercing, nearly white, and strangely comforting.
“Who are you?” I ask, my voice shaking. He swallows hard.
“Christian Grey,” he says, trying to hide the tremor in his own voice.
“No… who are you… to me?” I ask. He’s the only person in the room. My father’s not here. Al is not here, but he is and he looks like he’s about to cry. He drops his head, gorgeous copper curls falling over his forehead. When he raises his head, tears are streaming down his cheeks and he raises his left hand to show me a beautiful art deco band on his ring finger. I’m stunned.
Hot Guy is my husband?
“We’re… married?” I breathe. He nods. I sink into the bed. How could I forget that??
“I… get to have sex with you?” I ask. It’s really the first question that comes to my head. He chuckles a bit through his tears.
“Yes,” he coughs, “and often.”
“Wow…” I breathe in awe. He laughs again as he pulls a handkerchief from his inside pocket and wipes his face. I didn’t know men still carried those, but it looks familiar on him. I stare for a moment, remembering something to do with that handkerchief. It’s monogrammed—CTG… Christian Trevelyan Grey. He stops wiping his face and stares back at me. “You give those to me a lot, don’t you?” His eyes light up as he cautiously takes a step closer to me.
“Yes,” he whispers. “You cry a lot since…” he pauses. Since what? What happens that makes me cry all the time? I sit up and my back is stiff; I can barely move. It must be from the accident. I try to sit up more and straighten and…
“What the fuck??” Wiggling in my stomach! What the hell? Oh my God, what is this? What is this? I’m frozen to the bed and Hot Guy dashes to my side. I’m panicking! He’s touching me! I have weirdness in my stomach! I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe! God, help me!
He’s sitting next to me on the bed. He pushes the button for the nurse and quickly grabs my hands. He places them flat on my stomach, his hands on top of mine.
Holy cow, Batman. No, really… I’m as big as a holy cow, Batman.
“…Since… the pregnancy,” he softly finishes his thought from earlier. His voice has changed and again, it’s strangely comforting. My breath begins to regulate and his eyes soften. I see it, plain as day… he cares for me, deeply.
“Mrs. Grey, you’re awake.” A man in scrubs and a lab coat comes in and I assume he’s my doctor. “How do you feel?” I can’t form my words. He called me Mrs. Grey.
“Steele?” I say, and Hot Guy… Christian’s face falls. “I’m a… doctor… too?” It came out more like a question. I didn’t quit, did I? He nods quickly.
“Yes,” he says, his voice betraying his pain again. “You’re Dr. Steele-Grey or Dr. Steele in the office, but everywhere else, it’s just…” he trails off.
“Just Grey,” I say softly. Some of the hurt oozes out of his eyes and he nods.
“Mrs. Grey, you had problems remembering that you’re a doctor?” the doctor asks. I… don’t know how to answer that.
“She doesn’t remember a lot,” Christian chokes. The doctor looks from me to Christian, and back to me. Noticing our hands still lying on my stomach, he asks, “You don’t remember being pregnant?”
I shake my head, feeling helpless. He looks at Christian.
“She doesn’t remember you?” he asks. Christian shakes his head. The doctor purses his lips and looks back at me.
“What’s the last thing you remember?” the doctor asks me. Jesus, I don’t know. What am I supposed to remember? “What was the last thing that you were doing before you woke up in the hospital?” I think hard.
“Chicken… wine… with my friends… at my condo…”
“Food and libations,” Christian says. How did he know?
Of course, he knows, he’s your husband, you moron.
Help me out, here. I’m floundering! We’re pregnant! I’m married! I need you!
Settle down. I’m not going anywhere. It’ll all come back to you. Just relax and talk to the doctor, and Hot Guy.
She’s always so fucking verbal and now she wants to go all mystical and radio-silent on me. Fucking Bitch!
You love me though.
“Ana?” I’m pulled out of my inner conversation by the doctor’s voice. “Is he right? Food and libations?” I nod.
“Yes,” I choke. How long? How long has it been?
“Do you have a significant other?” the doctor asks. My eyes widen as I look at my ginormously swollen stomach and the hunk of gorgeousness that refuses to move his hands then back at the doctor.
“Obviously!” I say to him in disbelief.
“No, I mean from what you remember. Not from what you’re seeing now.” I close my eyes and think, and his face comes to me—brown hair, beautiful brown eyes, standing all cocky like he always does, looking at me in that knowing way. Then out of nowhere, the picture morphs into that smirk he had when he was sitting at dinner with that ho, the night I kicked him out of my apartment. Then it morphs again, and he’s scowling, sitting at a table in a suit, looking like he would kill me with his bare hands if he could.
I shake my head hard, trying to rid myself of the images of his face in my mind. I almost panic again as I feel something pinching my wrists—hard and metal. Christian’s finger gently strokes one of mine and I’m immediately brought out of this… daydream/nightmare. It’s calming and soothing, and I take a deep breath.
“I’m sorry… there’s no one,” I say, knowing the words will hurt Christian. I just don’t remember him. I remember…
“David,” he says, his voice full of disdain. I raise my head and look at him, stunned.
“He… we…” this man doesn’t just care for me. He loves me, powerfully. I can feel it. I know it. I examine his eyes and they transform again, like he’s looking through me. I can’t remember him, but suddenly, I can’t be away from him. “We broke up… years ago… I’m sorry, that’s all I remember.” I don’t know that I’ve removed my hand from my stomach and placed it on his cheek until he covers it with his and leans into it. For a brief moment, all is right with the world.
“Ana, do you want to talk to someone in psychiatrics?” the doctor asks tentatively.
“Maxie?” I ask. I would only want to talk to someone I knew.
“You…” Christian interjects. “You don’t see Maxine anymore.”
“What!?” I don’t see Maxie!? What happened? “She’s my mentor! She’s my friend! What happened?” He squeezes my hand.
“Calm down, Baby. She’s still your friend. She was too close to the situation and couldn’t help you further, so you found another psychiatrist. His name is Lordis Avery.” Lordis Avery? That’s a strange name. My face must look a fright. “You call him Ace.”
“Ace?” I ask. That’s strange.
“Yes. He’s a good doctor and he has helped you with a lot. Would you like for me to call him?” I’m still confused, but apparently, this Ace is my shrink now. So, I nod.
“How… much time have I lost?” I ask them both. The doctor looks at Christian and nods. He turns back to me, his face tortured.
“I don’t know exactly how much time you’ve lost, but you’ve been a part of my life for over a year, coming up on two. You and David broke up about four years before we met, so… you’re somewhere in between there.” I’m coughing. He can’t be serious! A year… at least? Oh God. I’m hyperventilating. I see the doctor coming towards me and Christian moving away.
No… please… don’t go…
I hold on tightly to his hand. It’s familiar, the only familiar thing in this room right now. Don’t leave me… please…
“Ana, I need you to calm down,” the doctor says softly. “Breathe with me, slowly.” Slowly? Is he kidding? He’s lucky I’m breathing at all. “Breathe with me, Ana, or I’ll have to give you a sedative.” A sedative? Hell no! I’ve already lost a year.
Then, breathe, you dingbat!
I mimic the doctor, taking slow, deep breaths. I’m whimpering and it doesn’t seem to help. He’s trying to make me focus, but it’s not working and a wiggle in my hand brings my attention to Christian. His tortured expression touches me and my breathing calms immediately. He’s afraid… for me and the babies…
“Twins!” I say to him, swallowing hard. His face morphs again and the corner of his mouth rises just a bit before it falls again. He nods.
“Yes,” he whispers. The doctor nods.
“I think this is just a temporary setback, but I’d like to run some tests if you don’t mind—nothing that should harm your babies.” I look at the doctor, then at Christian.
“Christian?” I ask, waiting for his opinion. I’ve lost count of how many times his face has morphed. You’re my husband. These are your babies. Of course, I want your… opinion? Permission? What should I do, Christian?
“Yes,” he says. “Let them run the tests. We need to be sure that you’re okay.” I nod.
“Okay. What tests are we talking about?” The doctor explains the tests that he wants to run, from MRI’s to CT scans to full-on physical and neurological exams. Didn’t they do this stuff when I got here? And how did I get here anyway?
When the doctor has finished with his explanation, Christian stands and moves towards the door. I feel a sudden surge of panic the closer he gets to leaving. “Christian?” My voice sounds more desperate than I intended. He stops and turns to look at me. Where are you going? Why are you leaving me?
“I’m going to call Ace—tell him that you’re awake and see when he can get down here,” he says softly. Oh… okay. Does he have to leave the room for that? Maybe he needs to be away from me—from this situation—for a while. I sigh.
“Don’t… don’t be too long.” I try not to sound too melancholy. His smile is soft, but sincere.
“I won’t,” he replies before leaving the room. I watch the door that he just exited like he’s going to come back any second. I feel lonely and lost without him… and cold. Why do I suddenly feel cold?
“I’m sure this is temporary, Mrs. Grey,” the doctor tells me. “We can honestly just do a few brain scans to make sure that everything is okay and leave it at that.” I shift my gaze to him.
“A minute ago, you wanted to perform every test known to man. Now you’re satisfied with just a few scans?” I narrow my eyes at him. He sits on the side of the bed, holding my chart against his chest.
“The human mind is a very complex thing, Mrs. Grey…”
“Ana,” I correct him. As hot as Christian is, I feel more comfortable with the familiar right now, and Ana is more familiar.
“Very well, Ana. The human mind is a very complex thing. It’s intelligent not only because of how we think and what we retain in terms of knowledge, but it also has the uncanny ability of protecting itself and the entire body in times of trauma. The mind will realize that the body needs a break and shut down completely… or it may just shut down partially. It’s my opinion—and many scholars would hang me for this—that there is no such thing as complete and permanent amnesia. Somehow, someway, the smallest part of your mind holds on to the familiar. With you, it’s more than a small part. The way you’re staring at that door, you cling to that man. It’s my understanding that a few minutes ago when you awoke, you didn’t know who he was. As attractive as Mr. Grey is, I can’t believe that’s completely physical.”
I look down at the jewelry on my hand… beautiful diamonds and… white gold? Platinum? It’s not silver. I know silver and this is not silver. Wow! There’s a lot of carats on my left hand. Either this man saved every penny he had to buy this ring or we are loaded! By the size of this private room with enough flowers to stock a greenhouse, I would say that it’s the latter.
“So you’re saying that you think this is temporary and I don’t need all of the tests for dementia and Alzheimer’s?” I ask him. He nods.
“Do you know how you got here?” he asks. I shake my head.
“I have no idea.”
“Would you like for me to tell you or would you rather wait for your husband?” My husband… hmm. He’s just as foreign to me as this doctor is, but I’m drawn to him without even completely knowing who he is. He is beautiful—very easy on the eyes—but it’s more than that…
“I want to wait for Christian,” I say with a sigh.
“Wait for Christian for what?” He’s walking back into the room just as I finish the thought. His eyes are fixed on the doctor—I still haven’t gotten his name—sitting on the edge of the bed.
“The doctor was going to tell me how I got here. He asked if I wanted him to tell me or… if I wanted to wait for you.” His face softens at my confession. He comes over to me and takes my hand, giving me a small, soft smile. His gaze turns back to Dr. Whatever-His-Name-Is and he looks at him expecting. The doctor stands from the bed and Christian smoothly slides into the seat he just vacated.
“How are you feeling?” he asks me.
“Stiff. Confused… to say the least,” I respond sadly. He strokes my hand with his thumb and, for a moment, we are the only two people in the room. The doctor clears his throat and begins to speak.
“You had a car accident, Ana,” he begins.
“Mrs. Grey,” Christian corrects him firmly. He turns his questioning gaze to Christian.
“I… asked him to call me Ana,” I tell him, shyly. He looks at me, then at the doctor, then back at me before nodding hesitantly. The doctor continues.
“You were hit straight on. Someone T-boned your car. It’s completely totaled. We’re deducing that you didn’t see it coming. Your body must have been in a totally relaxed state because you didn’t sustain any broken bones in the impact. You had some internal bleeding, which we were able to control without harming your babies. The sequential compression devices on your leg are to promote blood circulation and to make sure you don’t get any blood clots. You have a small scar on your right side from the surgery, but even though the situation was very serious, the surgery was minimally invasive.
“You’ve been unconscious for several days,” he says, his voice softening. “Though you came in looking like you’d been in a prize fight, most of the contusions and bruising have healed, except for this, I’m afraid.” He points to his head. I sigh heavily. Brain damage is never good. “Your medial temporal lobe suffered from impact injury during the accident, your hippocampus more specifically. This is why your memory has been affected.” That’s not good. If my hippocampus is injured, this memory loss could be permanent.
“Can you please explain this in terms so that the one person in the room who’s not a doctor can understand you, Dr. Hill?” Christian’s voice is cold and firm. Dr. Hill, so that’s his name. I find it strange that he didn’t introduce himself, but if I was out for several days, he probably feels like we know each other already. Dr. Hill looks over at Christian, his brow furrowed. He’s confused by Christian’s demeanor.
“Certainly,” he says, walking to the other side of the bed. “May I?” he asks for permission to touch me. I nod. “The temporal lobe is here,” he shows Christian the area just above my left ear. “The hippocampus is in the temporal lobe, right about here, but further in. They’ve suffered damage during the accident. It’s completely possible that you could regain your memory with time as the damage heals.”
“Or completely possible that I don’t regain it at all,” I say knowing full well that could happen, too.
“Yes, unfortunately, that’s a possibility as well,” he says. “I recommend the scans we talked about before we move on with any more detailed testing.”
“How long before we know if this is permanent?” I ask, almost begging. “How soon could I possibly get my memory back?”
“I’m sorry, Ana, but there’s just no way to tell. It could come back during the course of the day. I could take several years. It may not come back at all. It’s a waiting game, and no one knows how long it takes.” I sigh heavily and nod. He squeezes my shoulder and makes some notes in my chart.
“Are you normally this cozy with your patients, Doctor?” Christian asks curtly.
“Only with the ones I like,” he answers, just as coarsely. “She’s very pleasant and I’m not ashamed to say that I’m fond of her. I’ve heard wonderful things about her from you and her family and under different circumstances, I’m sure that she’s someone I would love to know. I’d wrap her up and take her home with me if I could, but I don’t think my husband would like that very much.” He returns Christian’s glare and I realize that my husband is very possessive. I’m flattered, but Dr. Hill is offended. He turns his attention back to me. “Let me know if you have any questions, Ana. I’ll order those tests immediately.” He smiles tightly at me and leaves the room without another word.
“You’re very possessive, aren’t you?” I say softly to Christian, who is still scowling at the door. He turns his attention back to me.
“I’m very… fond of you, too. A lot of people are. I just want to make sure that you’re safe. I’m… sorry, Ana.” His voice is strained.
“For what?” I ask confused.
“I promised to protect you… and I didn’t. I’m sorry.” He hangs his head and I know there’s more to the story than I’ve been told.
“Someone is after me?” I ask softly. He raises his head.
“I don’t know, Butterfly. We have reason to believe that the accident… wasn’t an accident.” I shiver at the thought. Someone wanted to kill me? And my babies? I finally ask the question that has been burning in my brain.
“Are we rich, Christian?” He looks at me as if to say “poor little lady.”
“Baby, rich doesn’t begin to describe it,” he answers. My eyes widen.
“Richer than Oprah?” I ask. He nods.
“Several times richer than Oprah,” he responds. I whistle and look at my ring again.
“Wow. That explains this,” I say, softly. “Am I a pampered bitch?” I ask cautiously. He smiles and shakes his head.
“Not at all,” he says, stroking my cheek gently. “Pampered… just a bit. I want to make sure you and the babies are happy. A bitch—not in the slightest. Almost everyone loves you…”
Somebody doesn’t,” I say while touching the bandage on my head.
“We’ll find out who did this, baby. I promise. They’ll pay for this, don’t you worry.” He strokes my cheek again and a surge runs through my body. I’m having flashes of our bodies together—hot and passionate—in an extremely large bed, his gray eyes gazing at me just like they are right now. I feel my skin flush under his fingertips and my breath catches in my throat. His pupils dilate and he almost looks like he wants to turn away, but I will him not to. Please… please don’t…
“I want to kiss you,” he says, his voice thick with wanting, yearning.
“I think I’d like that,” I respond, unable to recognize my own voice. He slowly closes the space between us and our lips meet. My breath is snatched away instantly as his tender lips caress mine. I raise my hand to his chest and almost instinctively snatch it back, but he envelopes me in his arms, gently holding me against him while his lips explore mine.
I want more. I need more.
My hand travels to his hair and he groans softly, parting my lips with his tongue before probing gently. Oh, God, I feel need and want and heat rising inside of me and I’m having a terrible time controlling myself. What’s happening to me? Am I just some wanton slut who sleeps with strange men?
He’s not a strange man, he’s your husband. Remember? Twins? Mrs. Grey?
Yes, I know that, but I don’t remember him as my husband. So right now, he just some strange man that I’m attracted to… or drawn to… on a cellular level… damn, it’s hot in here!
He pulls himself away from me slowly, breathing heavily and pressing his forehead against mine.
“We have to stop,” he breathes heavily, his hand possessively around the back of my neck. I’ll say we have to stop! Good God, I feel like such a slut.
“Okay,” I pant, my eyes closed, attempting to catch my breath.
“You’re irresistible,” he groans. “I thought I lost you.” He opens his eyes and looks at me. “Well, physically anyway.”
“I’m not gone anywhere, Christian,” I say softly. “I’m right here.”
“I know, thank God, I know… but you may never come back. You may never remember me.”
But I will… I have to. I need you so much. I don’t know why, but I know that I need you.
“You won’t leave me, will you?” I squeak, afraid that the fact that I can’t fully remember who he is will be reason enough for him to turn away. I’m terrified. I don’t know what has happened to me in the last year or so and now I’m lying in a hospital bed after someone has obviously tried to kill me, pregnant with twins, and not a clue as to what to do next.
“I won’t leave you, Butterfly. Even if you don’t remember me, if you never remember me, I won’t leave you.”
“I have to remember you,” I say, my chest tightening as if it were in a vice. I know that I have to remember him. I need him.
“Give it time, baby,” he says softly, while cradling me in his arms. “It’ll come back with time. I know it will.” I don’t hear conviction in his words and I realize that he’s feeling the same grasping hope that I am.
Please let me remember. Please let me remember…
A/N: I know that the “coma” storyline is one that tends to last longer, but I really didn’t want to drag it out.
I’m going to say this again. I don’t want to lose readers, but if keeping you means that you think you can insult my characters or question MY credibility because I won’t do something cruel to one of them based on YOUR opinion, I don’t mind losing you. You just read a chapter where Ana had an accident so bad that she lost her memory, but she STILL DIDN’T LOSE HER DAMN BABIES! So now what?
These people are a part of me–when are people going to understand this? EL James gave us the original story, a wonderful platform, and a great cast of characters. However, the person that I call Anastasia Steele-Grey is not the same person that she calls Anastasia Steele or Anastasia Grey. As they have developed over three books in the Dr. Steele series, these are my people now–they just carry the original author’s names. To that end, YOU CANNOT INSULT MY CHILDREN… SO PLEASE, STOP!!!
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