Instructions for this chapter:
This chapter is “link-heavy,” so if you are using a device that might be slowed down because of the links, you may want to move to a computer.
When you click a link, the picture should open in a separate window so that you don’t lose your place.
If you just want to see the pictures instead, you can see them here at Grey Crossing on Pinterest.
If you would like to see the movie that I made (yes, MOVIE) of the house, you can see that here at Grey Crossing Movie. After you click the link, click the picture to go to the movie. If you’re at work, turn your speakers down…
I hope someone will actually read the chapter and click the pictures and walk through the house with me, but I do understand that different devices may have a problem with all the links. It was a lot of work, but it was a lot of fun, too, and you’ll actually get to see me interact with the characters.
All of the same disclaimers apply. Have fun and enjoy…
“Hi everybody. It’s your favorite zing queen and egocentric writer, Bronze Goddess aka BG Holmes aka Lynn. So, I decided that the introduction of the Greys’ new home—Grey Crossing, as I call it—would not the typical descriptive trip that you would normally see in other stories. You know how it normally goes… I see the adventure first and then I get to relive it through everyone else’s eyes. Well, for the sake of argument and the fact that I really want to take this trip with you guys without having this situation take up too much story time, I actually decided to make it a segment by itself.
“I have a little surprise for you, too. I’ve decided to jump into the story myself and join you all on the tour of this amazing 13,721-square-foot mansion sitting on 2.5 acres of land, located in the oasis known as Mercer Island surrounded by beautiful Lake Washington. One of Washington’s most coveted zip codes, Mercer Island is five miles long and two and a half miles wide, the small size of the community adding to the exclusivity of its occupants.
“Did you see that? Yes, that was a link if you haven’t figured it out already. Go ahead, click on it. You should get a lovely aerial view of beautiful Mercer Island. So, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, this segment is interactive. I know that it can be a bit hectic to go back and forth to the Pinterest page while you’re trying to read the story. So for the sake of realism, the links—which you will find generously spread throughout the story—will take you right to the place in the house or the location or the thing that is being described. It should open in a separate window so that you don’t lose your place. Don’t want to click the links throughout the story? Don’t fret. All of these pictures can be found on my Pinterest page under a special board dedicated to Grey Crossing.
“Now, being the social Butterfly that she is, Ana has graciously agreed to give us a tour of their new home. Keep in mind that some of her marbles are still rolling around somewhere on 4th and Stewart where the accident occurred, and although she’s almost all there, some things are still missing. She’s going it alone with this tour—no Christian (sorry, ladies). So let’s be nice and not ask her any crazy questions that might send her into a tailspin, okay? You know that’s not good for the beans.
“Also remember, I’m seeing this house for the first time just like all of you. So, don’t be surprised if I get surprised by something. Oh, and I guess I should warn you. These people take a lot more liberties with me than they should. Although I feel that I should be treated with more reverence, they’re pretty goddamn comfortable saying whatever they want to say around me, particularly the men (recall Christian’s “Henry the VIII, I Am” incident when he didn’t get his way a while back). Anyway, just thought I’d warn you. Don’t be surprised if I have to put somebody in check… like I’m about to put Jason in check because he’s late and I’m standing outside!”
“I was just waiting for you to stop talking.” I turn around and he’s standing behind me with his arms folded. “If you’ll follow me, Ms. Holmes…”
“Okay, first of all, you’re going to make me walk in these heels… in the cold? You couldn’t even have a car to meet me down here?” He’s frowning at me while he takes in my attire. Under my cream wool coat, I’m wearing a curve-hugging red dress with three-quarter sleeves, a sweetheart plunging neckline, and ruching on the bottom half complimented by a pair of pointy-toe red Louboutins. I look hot! Too hot, in fact, to be walking up this long ass driveway.
“Who are you trying to impress?” Jason nearly squeals at me. “You know Christian’s not here, right?”
“Yes, I know Christian’s not here!” I say through my teeth. “But you know as well as I do that I will look like a troll next to Ana no matter what she wears, so I better look good!”
“Who’s looking?” he points out. “Some the stuff you wear to write in—or don’t wear, I should say? I can’t unsee that shit!” He shivers a bit. Again, now his arrogant ass is pissing me off.
“You do realize that I can write you out of the story, right, Jason?” I try to threaten him. “Just a couple swipes of a pen or a few taps on a keyboard and a bomb in an Audi meant for Christian, and you’re pink mist!”
“Yeah, but you won’t do it,” he says confidently. “You already shot me and here I am.”
“Okay,” I fold my arms and remember that, as always, this is my story. “Would you like to see how many unbearable, uncomfortable, and painful things you can actually live through? They’d make for some very interesting storylines.”
“Are you forgetting that you’re the one that could write the car in here?” He says, glaring at me. Oh, yeah, there is that. “Did you really think I wanted to come down here to the end of the drive in my suit coat to get you and then stand here and argue with you for a page and a half? You want to run me over with a train, that’s fine. In the meantime, why don’t you write yourself into something more comfortable and let’s get on with this because you’ve got a lot of walking ahead of you!” I sigh.
“I see why Christian can’t stand you now,” I mumble.
“I’m his best friend and his right hand. He loves me. Now change clothes.” Cocky ass, know-it-all, son-of-a…
“I can see that,” he says, matter-of-factly. “’Cocky ass, know-it-all, son-of-a’ change your clothes! We’re headed into two pages here!” He gets on my goddamn nerves… black jeans, a gray Debbie Morgan long-sleeved Military shawl-collar sweater and a pair of Material Girl Rhodes black lace-up platform booties.
“Platforms?” he scolds.
“They’re comfortable!” I shoot back.
“Fine. They’re your feet.” He turns toward the gate. “Follow me, Ms. Holmes.”
“That’s another thing. Do not call me Ms. Holmes or ma’am. I hate that shit.”
“Well, I’m not calling you Your Highness,” he says, smugly.
“I didn’t ask you to call me…” Why am I fighting with this man? I smile widely. “You know what? I was going to have you call me ‘Lynn’ or ‘BG,’ but now, I think I’ll have you call me ‘Most High Writer of My Life’ or ‘Guardian of My Destiny.’” He scoffs.
“I’m not calling you that,” he affirms.
“Oh, yes, you are, and like you said, we’re up to two pages—past two pages now, so take me to Ana.” I close my now fur-lined oversized leather jacket around me and adjust my leather gloves. “Lead the way.”
“Oh, no, after you, Most High Writer of My…” He freezes.
“What was that?” I put my hand delicately to my ear. “I think some of my readers didn’t hear you.” He clears his throat.
“Let’s just go, Guardian of… dammit!” I can’t help but chuckle.
“Oh, this is fun,” I say as I walk up the driveway to the gate.
“Oh-ho-ho, if you think ‘Henry the VIII, I Am’ is bad, wait until you see what I have planned for your dreams,” he threatens.
“Oh, really?” I say, not showing a bit of concern as we approach the guard’s booth.
“Yes, really, Most High…” He purses his lips.
“Okay. Hi Ben,” I greet Ben when we get to the booth.
“Hello, Ms. Lynn,” he greets. “Ana is waiting for you.”
“Thanks, Ben,” I say with a smile, and Jason breaks into the Macarena.
“What the fuck!” he exclaims as he puts his hands on his hips and rolls them rhythmically. Hmm, Gail’s a lucky girl.
“Go, Jason!” I giggle, while Ben looks on in horror, wondering what the hell is happening.
“Jay… what are you doing?” he asks, awestruck.
“It’s not me!” he nearly growls before he drops his hands to his sides and stands straight up, putting one foot mechanically in front of the other. Around the curved driveway he goes, walking like a tin soldier.
“It’s good to see you again, Ben,” I say with a smile and a wave.
“Yeah… see ya…” he says, still distracted by Jason’s behavior. As I approach the house—if you can call it that—the front façade looks like a lavish luxury hotel. Lush landscaping gives way to a huge driveway, or more like a parking lot. To my right, the parking lot—er, driveway—leads to several garage doors, I don’t even know how many. The front portico supports one of many second-floor balconies visible from the front of the house, and is large enough to drive through, offering protection from the elements for the vehicle’s occupants as they exit the car before entering the impressive edifice. Two stunning glass and wooden doors open before I even reach them to reveal a cheerful Gail Taylor standing there smiling at me.
“Ms. Holmes, it’s wonderful to see you,” she greets before her glance goes to Jason. “Jason, what in the world are you doing?”
“Apparently, the electric slide,” he grumbles as he swivels his hips again before kicking, turning and taking three steps to the right.
“He’s a pretty good dancer,” I tell her.
“Yes,” she says, frowning at him, “though why he’s choosing now to do now, I’ll never know.”
“He can’t help himself,” I giggle. “He’s got the music in him. Call me Lynn, please, Gail.”
“So it seems,” she says, her brows furrowing at her husband. “Well, Lynn, if you come on in, Ana is waiting for you in the living room.” She leads me and the tin soldier—now back in formation and walking behind me—pass a second set of wooden doors, through the grand entry and into the living room. Wow, poor Ana. She’s all baby, but that’s a lot of baby!
“Lynn, hi. So glad you could…” Her gaze goes to Jason, who now begins to whip and nae-nae. “Jason! What the hell are you doing?”
“I have no idea,” he says as he now Bops and does the Stanky legs. Ana covers her mouth and giggles.
“You pissed her off, didn’t you?” she asks. I turn to her and smile.
“Very perceptive,” I inform her as she attempts to hold her laughter.
“Most High Writer of My Life and Guardian of My Destiny, may I please stop now?” he asks.
“I’m sorry, what was that?” I ask with a smile.
“Please, may I stop now, Most High Writer of My Life and Guardian of My Destiny?” He lacks humility, but he did say “please.” Plus, his wife is now standing behind him laughing, so I think I’ve made my point. He stops the dancing and stands there in his regular stance, glaring at me.
“Don’t fuck with me, Jason, and don’t threaten me. I’ll have you doing a strip tease in the first floor conference room ending up in a purple sequined thong complete with media presence. Understand?”
“Understood,” is all he says. Why do the alpha males always want to test me?
“Well, that was interesting,” Ana says as Jason and Gail leave the room. “So, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover—literally—so let’s get started, shall we?”
“We shall. You look stunning by the way,” I tell her. Even in casual clothes, she looks adorable. She’s wearing a super long-sleeved cowl-neck maternity tunic that buttons from the shoulder down to the hem which covers her bump and her hips very neatly, a modest pair of maternity leggings and a not-so-modest pair of Louboutin black suede Love Story wedge knee boots. As much as I hate to admit it, I was quite overdressed before and Jason was right for making me change my clothes earlier, but I’ll never tell him that.
“Well, I definitely wanted to look good for the—what is it? Mighty Powerful Life Writer… something, what was it?” I have to chuckle as she tries to remember the title.
“Girl, please, just leave that alone,” I laugh. “Well, you look beautiful as always.”
“Thank you,” she smiles. “While I have you here, just between us girls, what the hell is going on with Val?” I tsk her.
“You know, you’re about as bad as some of my readers,” I scold gently. “You know I can’t tell you that.” She sighs.
“Well, just go easy on me,” she beseeches. “I’m carrying the beans, I almost lost my husband, he could have lost his business, I almost lost my life…”
“Okay, okay, I get it,” I say, cutting her off. She’s being a bit dramatic about some of that, but I get the point. “Now, stop stalling and no more attempts to weasel story lines out of me. Show me this beautiful mansion.”
“With pleasure. So you already saw the beautiful tree-lined driveway and those commanding gates—who’s in the booth today… Chance?”
“No, Ben,” I correct her. She nods.
“I can never keep up,” she says, waving her hand. “So, anyway, since we’re here, we’ll start with this beautiful formal living room, then go back to the grand entrance and continue from there. As you can see, two-stories tall with a balcony up there by the landing; full wall fireplace, but this is my favorite aspect of this room—the floor-to-ceiling view windows that look out onto the rear grounds and Lake Washington. Isn’t it stunning?”
“Yes, it is,” I say, looking at the breathtaking view. “I can’t help but notice that there are a lot of columns—the two-story columns there on the back portico, and the two round and two square columns at the entry of the living room. Was that Christian’s idea or yours? Is it reminiscent of your honeymoon in Greece?” Ana twists her lips in contemplation.
“You know, I hadn’t really thought of that,” she says. “It might have been a subconscious thing. In all honesty, the columns were here when we first bought the house, and there were many, many more. We had several removed and you’re still going to see a lot of columns, but maybe Greece did play a role in our choice,” she says with a smile as we walk out of the living room. “There’s quite a bit to cover, so forgive me if I get a little turned around.”
“Oh, don’t apologize,” I tell her. “We’re all just thrilled that you would let us invade your private space this way.” She smiles as we ascend two marble stairs.
“This is where you started,” she says with a flourish. This is the grand entry—marble floors, oversized wooden doors, extremely high ceilings just like the living room, and the curving marble staircase.” I know that this is stating the obvious, but this place screams “money” and I’ve only seen one room really. I nod as she gestures back the way we came. “I told you I would get a little turned around,” she chuckles nervously. “We actually have to go back through the living room.”
“Oh, no problem,” walking through the living and then through a doorway on the left, which is the only place I can go. I am greeted by more marble columns and flooring as well as a marble table with ten posh brown chairs sitting in front of a wall-sized window, also boasting a view of the impeccable grounds.
“This is the formal dining room,” she points out, bringing special attention not only to the columns that flank the doorway, but also the marble beams that line a hallway leading off to the left.
“Oh, my…” I breathe, admiring the theater-style drapes that adorn the glass wall. “Food and Libations in this room is going to be quite the experience!” She laughs genuinely.
“I guess you’re right!” she says. “I’ve just been trying to get accustomed to living here. I hadn’t even given any real thought to entertaining.”
“People are going to come here and never want to leave,” I exclaim.
“Then I guess it’s a good thing we have eight bedrooms.” Eight! Egad, man! What can you possibly do with eight bedrooms?
Entertain, I guess.
“The kitchen’s through here. It’s going to blow your mind,” she says, guiding me through the column-lined hallway.
“More than it’s already blown, you mean?” When we clear the marble hallway, my question is answered. Yes. Yes, definitely more than it’s already blown.
“My God, Anastasia! You could cater a wedding in here!” I squeal.
“Yes, there’s a lot of damage I can cause in this space,” she admits. “I can’t do much right now, but after the babies are born, Gail is going to have her hands full keeping me out of this gourmet kitchen.”
“Gourmet is an understatement,” I tell her. “This space is nearly restaurant-quality commercial!” She nods.
“Yep, not far off of it,” Ana concurs. Dark wood cabinets and molding with granite countertops; three sink stations; two Sub-Zero refrigerators with wood inlaid cabinetry panels; four professional grade Wolf ovens—two full-sized under a commercial cooktop and two wall-mounted; dual Bosch dishwashers, and an oversized island with seating for five.
“Right through here is the family room and just off that area is the casual dining room.” She shows me the dining room first. It’s a cozy cove-like circular area containing a small round table and seating for four, hardly the opulence I’ve seen throughout the rest of the house, but I’m assuming that this area will mostly be for intimate meals shared by Ana and her husband. I can see them enjoying a light breakfast in this area surrounded by the paned windows under the custom finished ceiling.
We move on to the family room, which is ridiculously large with lots and lots of sofa seating, several television sets, some sports paraphernalia here and there, lots of gaming equipment, and a fireplace. I see that Ana’s favorite throw from the Escala great room has made its way into this room.
“Yes, I know,” she blushes. “It was our first home and it’s seen some good times. Even though we’re not selling Escala, I had to bring it with me.” She strokes the throw fondly and I can imagine her remembering some hot encounter she had with Christian in the great room at Escala.
“Earth to Ana,” I tease, bringing her back to the here and now. Yet another crimson flush lets me know that’s exactly what she was thinking about. She clears her throat.
“I can see Christian and the twins having lots of fun in this room,” she says, not making eye-contact with me.
“Um-hmm,” I say bringing her attention to my face. “Just Christian and the twins, huh?”
“Well, me, too,” she says with a bit of a nervous shrug. I get the feeling that although she doesn’t have a problem doing the nasty, talking about it is an altogether different issue. I decide to let her off the hook.
“So what’s next, dear Anastasia?” I ask, clapping my hands together.
“Well, follow me and I’ll show you. As you can see, the family room and the kitchen open into that back deck.” She points towards the double glass doors at the end of the family room and I can see out onto a large stone patio with a gas barbecue grill. “It’s a bit chilly out, so I don’t want to go out there just yet, but as you can see…” she leads me back into the kitchen and points to the large window, “…these windows open concertina style and this counter converts into a bar that joins the patio and the kitchen…”
“Hence, the lovely bar stools outside facing the window,” I observe. “I wondered why they were sitting there.”
“I think Food and Libations would be absolutely fabulous in the summertime on that patio, but trust me. There are so many options for it that we could almost have a different theme every month.” I look out the window at the indoor/outdoor patio sofas and ottomans doubling as coffee tables as well as the high-end wicker bar stools and I can see what she means.
“The current setting is screaming Tiki bar,” I tell her while looking at the tan and brown furniture.
“I think Al would agree with you,” she says with a smile. “Follow me this way.” She takes me through the door on the other side of the family room which leads to a standard hallway with a single door. “After you,” she says, opening the unimpressive wooden door to reveal a very small square space. A coat closet, maybe? She steps in with me and closes the door and the thing starts to move.
“It’s an elevator!” I exclaim and she laughs at me.
“I thought the buttons on the wall would be a dead giveaway.”
“I didn’t see them!” I confess. “I was just sitting here wondering why I was being led into this room that went nowhere.” She laughs again.
“Well, surprise! It does go somewhere. It goes up and down and right now, it’s taking us to the second floor.”
“That’s really cool!” I tell her. “I saw that there’s a back staircase around the corner and of course the marble staircase in the grand entrance, but I’ll have to admit that I couldn’t see you consistently negotiating those things in your condition.”
“I don’t have too much problem with them, honestly, but to keep Christian from having a conniption, I use the elevators.”
“Elevators?” I ask when we stop at the second floor. “As in plural?”
“Yeah, there’s one on either end of the house that travels to all three floors. There’s also another flight of stairs or two in the south wing, so I just have to pick my poison.” We step out of the elevator and she closes the door. “Of course, we didn’t know I was pregnant when we discovered that the house had elevators—or maybe we did, I don’t remember…” She appears to be feeling a bit subconscious about what we’re discussing. “I’m still missing some of the finer details of things,” she says as an apology. I quickly take her hand.
“I know,” I say, sympathetically. “I completely understand.” She nods.
“Christian is very understanding and patient. I want to remember everything so badly for him. I can still see the hurt in his eyes when there’s some small significant thing that I can’t recall,” she says, dropping her head. I don’t want to push her…
“He had to remind me about my promise ring.” Her voice cracks on the last word. I rub her arm for comfort. “I forgot that I gave him that key that he wears around his neck all the time, too.” I know this is hard for her. “He’s good about it, though. He just tells me the story all over again and sometimes I remember… sometimes I don’t. I remembered the key, not the ring.” She’s gone into full-on weeping now and I take her hands.
“You can’t cry in front of company,” I tell her sweetly. “Anyway, take it from the Most High Writer of Your Life, everything will be fine.” She laughs through her tears, most likely remembering Jason’s little display earlier.
“No offense, Most High, but I hope this weepy shit is going to be gone once I have the babies. I mean, damn!” she protests tearfully.
“Well, I can’t tell you one way or the other, but I promise you’ll survive,” I say with a smile. She takes a deep breath and lets it out.
“I’ll have to trust you, then,” she replies, resigned. She takes a moment to rub the babies. I know that’s where she draws her strength when she’s feeling overwhelmed. I see what Christian means when he sees her do this and why he looks at her with such reverence. She’s really very beautiful, especially when she’s not paying attention to how beautiful she is.
“He tells you that you’re beautiful all the time. You don’t believe him,” I say. She looks up at me like I caught her with her hand in the cookie jar. Then she turns her attention back to her baby bump.
“Well… you know,” she says, trying to brush the situation away.
“Yes, I do know,” I tell her, “not only because I write it, but because I know how I felt when I was pregnant with my daughter. I didn’t need anybody to tell me that it was a miraculous and wonderful thing that I was doing because I already knew, but I sure could have used someone telling me that I was beautiful.” My pregnancy with my daughter was a catastrophe, and even though the father was present at the time, he was not there for me. So I did it alone. I think that’s why I have Christian tell her that she’s beautiful all the time, because really, she is. She puts her hand on my shoulder and now, she’s forgotten her own melancholy and is focused on mine.
“I’ll try to do better,” she says, with a sad smile. “The accident was a blessing in disguise. It made me relive and remember so many things, and made me truly see what a wonderful man Christian is and how blessed I am to have him.”
“Good girl,” I say with a tight smile, trying to forget that neither of the fathers of my two children ever showed me one tenth of the reverence that Christian shows Ana as the mother of his… except for that one time, but he gets one gimme.
“Okay, Grey, let’s pull yourself together,” she scolds herself and dabs her eyes with a CTG handkerchief that she pulls from inside her shirt. “I remembered our wedding,” she says as she directs me to the right.
“Every moment,” she says. “Once he started talking about it, it just all came flooding back to me.” She leans on the railing of the second-floor landing in the hallway near the marble staircase. “I don’t know how I could ever forget all that,” she laughs and I take a moment to enjoy the view of the two story living room and the floor-to-ceiling view windows from the second-floor landing.
“Oh, Ana, this really is quite stunning,” I say.
“I know, couldn’t you just look at it forever?” she concurs as she gazes dreamily out the window. “That’s another back patio that leads down to the pool area, but we’ll look at that later.” She draws my attention to a set of very tall cream double doors.
“This is the Owner’s Suite—our bedroom,” she says as she throws open both doors to reveal a very gender neutral colored room. When she said “Owners’ Suite,” she wasn’t kidding. I haven’t seen suites at luxury hotels that look this good, and you guys know that I’ve seen a lot! The bedroom portion of the suite is painted in chocolate-brown alternating flat and semi-gloss stripes—about two feet wide each—that wrap around the room. The trim, impressive crown moldings, and main fireplace are all painted ecru, including the three-tier 14-foot recessed ceiling. The top level is painted brown like the walls and showcases a replica of a 17th century brass chandelier garnished with Swarovski crystals. The room is dark, cozy, romantic. This space is only for sleep, connecting, and coupling.
The cream drapes are very simple and frame ecru windows that are covered by white shutters, making it appear to be nighttime in this room no matter what time of day it is. The chandelier is not the only period piece in this room. The entire room is decorated is a cross between modern and 18th century luxury—a padded headboard and hand-carved bedposts with matching dresser, oversized night stands, and bed bench; silk, quilted bedding and pillows that match the quilting on the bed bench; a cream chair and ottoman and end table, and another table and chairs closer to the fireplace that appears to be more for decorating than for sitting. The dark wood bamboo floor is covered with what appears to be a very large Persian rug that completes the room.
The suite continues into the sitting area which is considerably different from the bedroom. This area is flooded with light and contains another ornate fireplace, a built-in refrigerator, and modest furnishings. The far end of the room is oval-shaped with wall-height wooden-paned windows that offer lake views and access to a private terrace.
“Why does this room look so much different than that room?” I ask her of the bedroom and the sitting room.
“That room is mostly dark-colored though it’s offset by the bright furnishings,” she begins. “Even the small amount of light that manages to enter is captured by the dark walls and make it feel more like dusk than afternoon. This room, on the other hand, invites in the day. There are windows everywhere. You can’t avoid the light, and you can always step out onto the terrace if you want to commune with the outdoors and the fresh air before you start your day.” I tap my chin.
“Night and day,” I point out and she nods. “He designed the bedroom and you designed the sitting room.” She smiles. “I’m right, aren’t I?”
“Yes, you are,” she chuckles. “I like the bedroom. It’s beautiful, it’s comfortable… it’s perfect for both of us, but I wanted more light, so I got to design the sitting room.”
“That’s a pretty good compromise,” I nod. “Where are the closets?”
“Off the bathrooms,” she says. “They’re dressing rooms.”
“Bathrooms? Plural? Again?” I ask. She giggles.
“For those days when we both need space to get dressed, like going to work or to a fundraiser or a red-carpet event. We can’t take every shower together, now can we?” she asks coyly and leads me to the first bathroom.
“This one is mine.” Wow! It’s enough that they have his and her bathrooms, but good God, this is ridiculous. “I wanted to replicate the bathroom at the Hotel Grande Bretagne in Athens, but Christian wouldn’t agree to it. He felt that we should definitely have aspects of the bathroom, but that a replica would just be too tacky—so I got this.” She says it like it’s some kind of consolation prize. My God, look at this place! Athena herself could bathe here!
This main room houses the vanity and bathtub—if you can call it that. It’s more like a mini-swimming pool housed inside of a small Grecian temple. Both the vanity and the tub are white marble with ribbons of gray, along with many of the walls and parts of the floor. The marble vanity has dual porcelain sinks and a full wall mirror. Four marble columns support a long white arch that creates a canopy over the “pool.” These columns are resting on a two-foot-tall slab of marble, into which the mini-pool with Jacuzzi jets, of course, sinks and partially into the floor as well. Custom fixtures include a handheld shower head with a six-foot flexible hose just in case Ana decides that she would rather shower here than in the luxury shower beyond the arch just around the corner.
The walk-in luxury shower—and believe me, that’s an understatement—is hidden from the bathing and vanity area in a cove all its own. The shower is mostly tiled geometric marble, more defined than the marble in the main portion of the bathroom. There is an overhead rainwater shower head as well as a standard detachable shower head with ten settings like the one attached to Ana’s tub. There are also multiple wall-mounted sprays as well as a marble bench that spans the far end of the shower.
Fun times ahead in Grey Crossing, I assume.
“Why the drastic difference in the marble?” I ask Ana.
“The marble in the main bathroom just didn’t look good in a shower,” she says. “I don’t know what it was, but it just didn’t look right. I needed cleaner lines for the shower, more definition…”
“Are you saying that you actually built the shower and then tore it down and built it again?” I inquire. She twists her face.
“Yeah,” she says, a little embarrassed. “Elliot and the crew were not happy about that, but it’s the only anal retentive moment that I had, so they accommodated me. We really wanted that undulating marble bench we had in Greece, but no one could make it seamless, so we stuck with the square bench.” She shrugs. “Come on. My dressing room is through here.”
She leads me into another gorgeous room covered in mirrors and reflective surfaces all around.
“I always wanted a room where I could see myself from every angle. With this, I can see reflections of my left in the right, of my back in the front—it’s wonderful.” I’ll say it’s wonderful. Fresh flowers adorn a large island in the middle of the room—white counter with reflective drawers like the mirrors. Designer fixtures and sconces cast a golden hue in parts of the room. A portion of her impressive wardrobe, I discover, in hiding behind several of the mirrored walls, which spin to open with a press of a button and reveal the lady’s possible choices for the day.
“The rest of my things are in a closet that Christian and I share in the bedroom. His dressing room is on the other side of that hidden door.” She points to a portion of the wall that I would never have thought was a door. “I won’t take you in through that way. We’ll go through his bathroom.”
We walk back through the shower area, the main bathroom, and the bedroom to another door that’s right by the entry door. Here we find the throne of Mr. Christian Grey. Christian’s bathroom looks a lot like Ana’s, but where her tub is ginormous, his shower is insane! His marble is a mixture of tan, off white, ecru, and a few splashes of brown, but his shower is all glass with a mosaic tile floor containing the same colors of the marble. Windows cover the far wall that holds the bathtub and the shower, offering a view of several treetops that shield them from Lake Washington. With gold fixtures, multiple shower heads, a sunken floor, and a few wall-mounted sprays, there’s enough room in this shower for a small party.
“I know you’re creative,” I say, “but I can’t imagine what you guys are going to do with two luxury bathrooms in the same room.” Ana laughs.
“”I’m sure you will after a while, Lynn.” I think about it for a moment, then laugh myself.
“Yes, I’m sure I will,” I confess.
“This is Christian’s dressing room,” she says, showing me into a sizable, but empty, dressing room in dark wood, quite the contrast from hers.
“Where are his clothes?” I ask.
“Oh. Master Grey is just now making the change out from summer to winter,” she informs me. “Several of his suits are being refreshed at the cleaners. Others are, as I mentioned, in the overflow closet with some of my things.” She shakes her head as we exit the space. “It’s December, for Christ’s sake. Who waits until December to change out their summer wardrobe?”
“Christian Grey, apparently,” I laugh.
“Apparently,” she concurs. “The overflow closet is here if you’re interested.” She opens a door and the lights automatically come on. “This is where most of my summer things are and some of Christian’s winter things. I’m hoping I can get into these things again when the weather breaks. A lot of this stuff was purchased in Paris. My fashions will be a year old, but you know I don’t care about that as long as it’s cute.”
“Oh, please,” I say, waving her off. “My fashion sense is expounded vicariously on you. Some of the things in my closet are 15 years old and still look good. Hell, if you hold on to it long enough, it just comes back in style! You see the go-go boots they’re all going batty over? Circa 1964.”
“Shit! That’s before I was born!” she exclaims.
“I’m damn near twice your age and that’s before I was born! Don’t get me started on corsets!” She flushes for a moment and rubs her neck. I’m certain that she’s thinking about a certain playroom suspension moment a few months back. She quickly recovers.
“You’re nowhere near twice my age, Lynn,” she scolds as she leaves the bedroom. I fall in step behind her.
“Well, no… but I’m just saying that I’m no spring chicken and go-go boots were even before my time. Yet, they’re all the rage now!” We giggle as she leads me to the only other room on the North Wing.
“This is the nursery,” she says, opening the door. “I think the original architect must have built this home for a young couple because there’s this huge suite and then this little room that’s only fit for a nursery—and that’s all that’s on the North Wing.”
I’m greeted by the swinging children on the wall that I remember writing about in chapter three. If I didn’t know better, I would think I had walked into two separate rooms. One side is decorated with a large crib—soft beige, a bit opaque, with cream and pink bedding—and a matching chest of drawers, changing table, hope chest, and rocking chair. The other side boasts a rich, dark wood crib with light blue and white bedding and complimenting furniture—chest of drawers, changing table, footlocker, and a small rocking horse. Christian added a second dark wood rocking chair later as he realized that two children would most likely need two caregivers—thus, two rocking chairs.
“How did you feel when you and Christian didn’t agree on the furniture?” I ask Ana.
“At first, I was unhappy. I know these are his children, too, but when it came to the decorating, I felt like I should be able to choose whatever I wanted. The dark wood furniture is extremely attractive, but I didn’t want that for my little girl. Likewise, he didn’t want his son lying in a ‘prissy white crib’ even though it’s beige.” She does the finger quotes and mocks Christian’s voice when she says prissy white crib. “So this was our compromise. For the styles to be so drastically different, I would say that the room turned out pretty well.”
“Extremely well!” I concur. I look around. “No baby monitors?”
“They’re built-in,” she says. She opens a vented panel on the wall that has a small control panel inside. “The main control center is in the security suite and these are portable.” She hands me one of four devices that look like a smartphone. “There is audio as well as video, so we can hear and see what’s going on in the room. We can also tap into the system through secure apps installed on our phones. Christian was leery about that after the whole hacking thing, but James has made our phones basically hack-proof. We have the standard baby monitors, too, for when we’re in different places, but this works in every room in the house and it can be disabled at any time.”
“So every room in the house can be observed from the control center?” I ask. She nods.
“Just like Escala—everything but bathrooms. The bedrooms are only activated from the bedrooms and only with my or Christian’s permission, for now. The bathrooms have limited communication ability, like if I were to fall in the bathroom, I have a code phrase that will voice activate the communications system and call for help.” I nod.
“Kind of like Medic Alert…”
“Exactly like Medic Alert,” she confirms.
“Christian’s idea, no doubt,” I say. She shakes her head.
“No, it was mine,” she says, surprising me. “I want to be able to hear my children if they start to cry or get hurt in a room where they can’t be seen.”
“How will they know when or how to activate it?” I ask. It’s hard for children to remember passwords or think logically when they’re in pain.
“When they’re old enough to go to the bathroom alone, they’ll learn the passwords. They’re very simple. Until then, none of them will be in there without Christian or me… or Gail.”
“Okay,” I say, nodding again, “that makes sense.”
“Speaking of bathrooms, this is where we will bathe our children.” She directs me to a basic clean white bathroom with splashes of pink and blue, toilet and shower, storage for towels, toiletries, and necessities. What caught my eye are two stations in the same color as the babies’ furniture, each with brushed stainless steel fixtures, but no sink that I could see.
“Christian found this company that makes these,” she says, moving over to one of the not-quite-a-sinks. “It’s called a baby slide.” With the slide of the top counter and the addition of a few accessories from underneath, the station turns into a baby bath with a changing table. The swooping faucet actually has a detachable head for filling the tub and assistance cleaning the baby. It’s one of the neatest things I’ve ever seen.
“It’s easily converted back into a sink when the babies aren’t babies anymore, and back into the slider if we decide to have more children.” She puts everything back the way it was when we entered.
“What’ll they think of next?” I ask. “They never had anything this convenient when I had kids. I had to pull that little portable tub out and use it wherever I was going to use it—the counter, the bed, the ironing board, wherever.”
“The ironing board?” she asks in horror. I shrug.
“I was poor. I didn’t have a lot of space,” I tell her. “My daughter was lucky. She got the tub. My son was bathed right in the kitchen sink.”
“Augh!” she exclaims, covering her chest with her hand like it’s the most ghastly thing she had ever heard.
“Oh, come off it, Ana,” I say waving her off. “It’s not the worst thing in the world. At least they were bathed.” She shakes her head.
“Maybe Val’s right,” she says. “Maybe I have become a snob. I sigh.
“You are a bit of a snob, Ana, but you have a right to be,” I tell her. “I would hardly expect for you to be using reusable butter tubs as cereal bowls because you’re married to a billionaire. Just… don’t act so appalled when you hear how the poor have lived… and still do live. They do the best they can with what they have and disparaging them doesn’t make a hard life any easier.”
“Oh, Lynn, I wasn’t disparaging anybody! I just can’t imagine bathing my baby in the kitchen sink!” And now, we’re fighting.
“Okay,” I raise my hands in surrender. “Let’s change the subject. I’ve already got Jason threatening to keep me awake with whatever nonsense he can think of. Let’s not have you keeping me awake with wondering if Val is right about the snob thing and visions of babies in kitchen sinks. Your nights are already interrupted with midnight soccer games.” She shakes her head.
“I’m being too sensitive,” she says, flippantly. “Let’s just go see the rest of the house.” I hook my arm in hers, hoping for the camaraderie I felt when we started the tour.
“Good idea,” I smile. She returns an accepting smile and closes her hand over mine as she leads me to the other side of the house.
“This is south wing,” she continues. “It has four bedrooms, each with a private en suite, but none as grandiose as the Owners’ Suite.” We walk into the first room on the other side of the elevator, and she’s right—beautiful, but nothing like the Owner’s Suite. Lots of light and classic good taste, though. The second bedroom is more muted—less light and darker walls, more masculine. Even the en suite dictated that this was a “male room”—no bathtub, but dark walls and a walk-in shower.
The third bedroom looks like it might have been a collaboration—a four-poster bed, darker furniture, but combination walls and more natural light than the second room. The fourth bedroom is definitely more of a couples’ retreat. It has a wrought-iron fancy bed and crescent bay windows lined with a leather-padded window seat adorned with throw pillows. The room is lushly decorated in light and dark shades of brown and shades of black. The en suite is complimentary in tan marble with a Jacuzzi tub for two and a walk-in shower.
“I can see Elliot and Val sneaking in here during family dinners,” Ana says, absent-mindedly. At the same time, we both remember that she and Val are not speaking, and she just shrugs it off with a tight smile and continues the tour.
There’s one more room in this wing that Ana calls a playroom—not that playroom, though I’m tempted to ask if there is one in the house, but I won’t. This room has built-in shelving to serve as a playroom for children or as another bedroom if needed. French doors open to a large patio—secure enough for a small play area as well.
“We’ll take the south elevator to the lower level,” she says. “That’s where all the good stuff is.” As we head to the elevator, she points out the built-in wrap-around desk in the hallway near the south stairwell as well as the entrance to the second floor balcony with a view of the lake.
“This station is perfect for the twins when they’re old enough to do homework, but I have a feeling that they’ll be holed-up in their rooms.” She smiles as she rubs her swollen belly. “I can hardly wait for them to get here.”
“I can only imagine,” I reply. “I’m sure that the readers would very much like for me to stop putting you guys through hell and get on with the birth of the twins already.” She nods and laughs nervously.
“I have to concur, but I know more than anyone that there’s a method to your madness.” She pushes the button to summon the elevator. “Getting to know Christian all over again is an adventure,” she admits. “I mean, he’s not a total stranger, but some of his finer points really caught me off guard.”
“Such as?” I ask, just as the elevator arrives.
“Well, he doesn’t trust any man around me… I mean any man! I knew he was possessive. That was evident when he tried to fire Dr. Hill, but Brian? Come on, that’s just ridiculous.” She walks into the elevator just as the look of horror takes over my face. She turns around in time to catch my expression. “See? Even you think it’s ridiculous.” I chuckle at her unfortunate ignorance.
“Things don’t just come back to you, do they?” I ask her as I follow her into the elevator. She examines me for a moment.
“No, not really,” she says, cautiously. “Most of the important stuff does, but with things that aren’t so important, sometimes I need a little push.” She says that as soon as she pushes the “L” for the lower level.
“Well, you have evidently forgotten something that is not necessarily important to you, but particularly important to Christian.” She frowns.
“What?” she asks in that sing-songy way that drags the word out.
“About a year ago, Mr. Cholometes threw the gauntlet down and let your husband know that his hat was in the ring.” She frowns.
“In the ring for what?”
“You,” I announce as the elevator dings at the bottom floor. Her face now takes on the horrified look that mine had moments earlier.
“What?!” she screeches. It’s at this moment that I realize that Jason is down here because he meets us at the door of the elevator with his hand inside his jacket.
“What’s wrong?” he asks, ready for whatever might be threatening Her Highness.
“Stand down, soldier,” I say calmly, so as not to agitate his trigger finger. “Even we Most High Writers of Life forget things and apparently, I forgot to write that somebody should have informed Ana that Brian was sweet on her.”
Jason’s hand falls from its position near his firearm and he looks sympathetically at Ana.
“It’s considered one of those taboo subjects since the guy is sticking around so long to make sure that you’re alright,” he says to her. “Christian didn’t want to force bad memories on you. He just… he would rather they came to you on their own, if they had to.”
“How could Brian be a bad memory?” I can tell that she combing through whatever memories she has to try to figure out what we could be talking about. “He’s my father’s best friend! He’s ten years older than me! I know Daddy has a young wife, but he couldn’t think after all these years…” She trails off. Jason looks over at me and I nod.
“You can blame me for this one whenever Christian gets home,” I say, putting my hand on his shoulder. I turn to Ana. “Brian has held a flame for you ever since you broke up with Edward,” I inform her. “He was waiting for you to get over it and all of that ‘harmless flirting’ that you ignored all those years was real. He’s been waiting in the sidelines for his chance, and Christian swooped in and took his opportunity. He’s been bitter about it ever since. He made his intentions clear at Ray and Amanda’s wedding, and again right after…”
“…We announced our engagement,” she finishes my sentence. “I remember that conversation. I remember… he sent me flowers. I threatened to cut all communication with him if he interfered with our relationship… and he stopped.”
“No, he heeled,” I clarify. “He agreed not to cause problems, but he’s been lying in wait for something to happen so that he could come and get you…”
“Is that why he was involved in catching the hacker?” she accuses.
“Yes and no,” I answer as Jason gets more and more anxious the more I talk. “It was his initial intention to gather information that might assist him in obtaining the brass ring. Even though he and Christian were basically at each other’s throats for the entire time that they were tracking down the hacker, it was mostly to egg Christian on. You let Brian know in no uncertain terms…”
“…That his efforts were futile,” she finishes my sentence again. “It was hopeless, because I love Christian too much. I told him… to promise… I made him promise me that he would protect Christian. I knew they were doing something dangerous because of who Brian is… who he knows…” She looks down at her hands. “I didn’t trust him. I thought he had something to do with it, with the hacker.” She looks up at me. “Did he?” I don’t think she cares whether or not I can or will tell her about this. She looks at me straight on, expecting an answer. “Was he part of it? Did he have anything to do with what happened to my husband’s company?”
I know she won’t be satisfied, won’t be content at all without an answer to her question.
“No. He had nothing to do with the attack on Grey House,” I confirm. She sighs heavily.
“Good,” she says, relief oozing from her pores. “Is it over? He’s still around. Why is he still around?”
“It’s not quite over,” I tell her. “There’s some unfinished business, but that’s all I can say right now. Don’t worry, though,” I soothe her. “It’ll be wrapped up soon and there will be other dilemmas to solve.” I smile at her, but she doesn’t return my smile. “Do you want to take a break?”
“Yes,” she says, wearily. “Yes, I do.”
“Good,” Gail pipes in behind us, “because I have lunch ready.” She’s stepping off the elevator with a rolling tray covered with food. “Would you like to eat at the bar or somewhere more comfortable?”
“The bar is fine,” Ana says as she strolls across the terracotta colored tile to the bar on the other side of the entertainment room. The dark wood bar chairs look large and comfortable like office chairs, not like the standard bar stools. Jason has slipped into the corner and I can already tell that he’s calling Christian. I know that Christian has him posted at the mansion until the situation with all of the security staff is straightened out. Chuck is still recuperating and he trusts no one else with Ana’s safety except Jason in Chuck’s absence.
Gail sets up two places on the bar with what looks like hamburgers and French fries with milkshakes. I happen to know that these are chicken guacamole burgers as our beloved heroine still has a bit of a problem with beef. I follow Ana over to the bar and climb into the seat next to her. The first few bites of our lunch are silent, and Christian doesn’t know that I know he’s currently watching us on his cell phone. Ana is pondering the information that I gave her about Brian. I scan the room for the obvious places where I think the camera might be hidden. I notice a slotted vent in the wall—almost invisible to the naked eye, but just like the one in the nursery. I glare into it with scolding eyes.
Why didn’t you tell her about Brian?
Why didn’t you write it? is the mental answer that comes back to me. Keep fucking with me, Grey. I’ll have you doing the hokey pokey all over GEH.
“Tell me about this, Ana,” I ask gesturing to the wall as I consume the delicious chicken burger.
“That is Christian’s way of keeping me away from the Aquarium,” she says. What she is referring to is a floor-to-ceiling aquarium that spans the wall just in front of the doors that lead to the lower level covered lounge and pool area. Framed by more Grecian columns and a Grecian archway, this impressive structure contains several large and small fish that Ana doesn’t even bother to name. The goldfish castle inside—for lack of a better description—is a full-sized replica of the ruins of a Greek temple, complete with fallen columns. It’s like looking at the lost city of Atlantis.
“How’s that working out for you?” I ask. “I know that you weren’t keen on having an aquarium after the Edward ordeal.”
“This is so different,” she confesses as she finishes her milkshake. “This takes a little getting used to because, let’s face it, it’s an aquarium—a very impressive aquarium—but it’s not the Aquarium. So I have to accept it and the others as a consolation prize.”
“The others?” I probe. She nods.
“Yes. There’s four or five of them, I think. I can never remember.” She pauses for a moment, then laughs at her own unintentional joke before sliding out of the seat. “This one is the biggest, I think,” she says going over to the aquarium and tapping on the glass. “I’ll have to find out what each of the fish in this tank is. If I’m not mistaken, this is the salt-water aquarium. My favorite one keeps hiding from me, but if we stick around for a little while…” She searches the tank until a beautiful black and white fish comes swimming to the front. “That’s the one. That’s my favorite. He’s kind of shy.”
“Why kind of fish is that?” I ask, although I already know the answer.
“I don’t know,” she answers, “But I really like him. I get the feeling that I’ve seen it before, but I know Edward and I didn’t have one.” That’s because you have seen him before, Ana. It’s the banded butterfly fish that you picked as your favorite while snorkeling in Anguilla last year. I wonder why no one has told her about it yet. “I could sit here and look at these all day. I understand why—in light of everything—he wants to keep me safe at home. For right now, I’m mostly complying with his wishes, mostly being the operative word. I have everything I could possibly need in this house and I’m still getting to know it, but I think he knows it’s impossible to keep me locked up here forever. I’m just not giving him a hard time right now.”
I follow her across the terracotta floor to another doorway at the end of the large entertainment room. It looks like a smaller version of what we just left—a small bar and a living area.
“This is where we start to get into the guest quarters. This is the community space. There are actually three small guest apartments—two of them are empty and one of them is in used by Jason and Gail.” We take a quick peek into each apartment. Jason and Gail’s area is very quaint and simple, mainly because they spend most of their time in the main house and only private time in their small apartment. Each area is spacious for what it is and has entrances both from the community area we just left as well as outside entrances.
She continues to show me the rest of the lower level, which includes a fitness room with private shower, powder room, and sauna; the full-service laundry and utility room; and an extremely impressive wine cellar. Also on this level are his and her libraries with fireplaces—which I thought was kind of strange—and a state-of-the-art home theater with reclining seats and large theater screen. I ask Ana why his-and-hers libraries and she just shrugged.
“We couldn’t agree on what we wanted, so we got both. It’s not like we don’t have the space. There’s still some parts of the main floor you haven’t seen yet, but since we’re headed in this direction, we’ll see the outside first and finish in a circle. There’s one more room that I need to show you down here, though.” She leads me through the fitness room to the other side across from the sauna and showers and I am certain that I have reached Nirvana.
“Oh, Ana,” I say wistfully as I take in my surroundings. Perfect Zen space with ambient lighting… rich burgundy and cream décor… aromatic fragrances wafting from the space before you even enter the room… a deep and low tub perfect for a detoxifying salt soak or an imported mineral spring mud bath. Of course, Mrs. Christian Grey would have an in-house private spa, complete with large and luxurious massage tables, areas for extensive beauty treatments, and a vast array of candles.
“It’s my intention to be in this room at least once a week until the babies are born and I don’t know how often once they arrive,” she says with a giggle. “I’m starting to get that little issue with my ankles which is why I’ve opted for the wedges today. The days of stiletto retirement are fast approaching,” she admits. “I can’t even stand to walk in them anymore.” She shrugs a bit. I know how comfortable wedges are even on the most tired feet, but I know the time will come when she will be able to do nothing but the dreaded flats. I don’t have the heart to tell her though. I think she’s going to come to that decision on her own.
“I’m so jealous, Ana,” I tell her as I caress the million-thread count sheets on the massage bed—well, at least they feel like a million-thread count. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a house with a private spa. I know that people have private masseuses, but I don’t ever think I’ve seen a private spa.”
“To be honest, I haven’t either,” she says. “Christian felt that it would be harder for me to get around as the day came closer for me to deliver, and of course, I raved on and on about the prenatal massages Maxie and I got during my birthday weekend.” Her eyes actually roll back in her head as she recalls the experience. “And let’s not forget…” She hits a light switch and a display lights up—bamboo backing and bright-colored rocks with minimal flora and lots of fish—spanning yet another wall. “The relaxing spa aquarium.” I shake my head and laugh.
“You guys have someone to take care of these things, don’t you?” I ask, folding my arms and examining the display of fish swimming back and forth almost like a highway.
“Oh, of course,” she says, admiring the fish in the tank. “There was no way I was going to agree to take care of fish again… much less in more than one aquarium… of these sizes!” she exclaims. “But I do have to admit that I do so love having the spa.”
“I can just about imagine,” I say as I picture myself lazing about in this room having the kinks worked out of my back or soaking away my troubles between churning out chapters. She takes my hand.
“Write yourself in anytime,” she says with a smile. “You might just be surprised how relaxing it could be.” I make a mental note to do just that, just to see how effective it might be. With a nod, I follow her out to the three-level limestone terrace. Now, this is a sight to behold! Where do I start? How about with the resort-style infinity pool with rainbow water fountains and an ozone cleaning system. It’s a shame that there won’t be any wild pool parties out here…
Or will there? With the amenities this house has to offer, I think there’s going to be a bit of entertaining in the Greys’ future.
The pool area has a hidden TV lift that accommodates a 150” screen. I wouldn’t even know where to find a television with a 150” screen! Just off to the side of the pool is an outdoor dining room for ten with a kitchenette. A structure not far from the dining room houses the outdoor sauna and showers. Yes, there will be pool parties here… at least one.
“We’ll be going back in soon, but I have to show you the boathouse first,” Ana tells me. I look out at the dock that leads to the boathouse. It’s easily seen and I can’t imagine why we’re walking down the stairs and across the lush lawn—away from the boathouse—to see the boathouse.
“Um, Ana?” I question, gesturing to the dock and the boat house.
“Oh, that?” she says, closing her wrap around her. “That’s the dock, and I guess that’s what normal people call a boathouse. That area can accommodate a 30-foot boat, two jet skis, and moorage for a 75-foot vessel. We have this other structure back here that Christian calls a boathouse.”
“Well, what do you call it?” She shrugs.
“I don’t know… Nautical townhouse… floating condominium… outrageous dwelling for a catamaran. I mean, what did you think when you wrote it?” I shake my finger at her.
“Ah ah, this is my first time seeing the house just like it’s everyone else’s first time seeing the house. So you can’t ask me questions like that.” She twists her lips at me.
“Yeah, sure, okay,” she says sarcastically. “So, let’s go see your… um, I mean our boathouse for the first time.” She rolls her eyes. I just shake my head at her and follow her around the grounds. There are a few trees and just beyond the clearing, I see what she’s talking about.
Um… okay. Wow…
“So, Christian has this 150-foot yacht that I never knew he had—not the most sizable boat I’ve seen, but still fairly large. It’s been moored at the marina all this time, but once the house was finished, he decided that he wanted to move it here instead. You can’t moor a 150-yacht just anywhere, so he built this.”
Standing before me is what they call a boat house that could actually rival many resorts! That’s what I’ll call it—a boat resort. It’s ridiculous! It’s a two-story luxury lodge with a wrap-around deck and porch and two outrageously large bays for two outrageously large boats, although at this moment, there’s only one outrageously large boat inside.
“Good God, Ana,” I exclaim. “This place is bigger than most people’s houses!” I say as we walk around the porch and into the sporty lodge area, decorated very much like a luxury man cave. “He certainly put his mark on this place, didn’t he?” I ask.
“Yes, he did. I actually kind of like it. He was surprised when I told him that. I guess he expected for me to see it and go ‘Ew, icky boys,’ but, no. It’s homey and cozy. It’s an escape away from home. I have no idea why he never told me about the silver bullet in the bay, but there it is.” She gestures in the direction of the monstrous silver yacht on the other side of a glass wall.
“The water has to be pretty deep for a yacht that size, doesn’t it?” I ask, marveling at the size of the boat precariously called “Slayer.”
“Not that deep,” she responds, “just deep enough for the keel and let’s face it—we’re living on Lake Washington that opens into the Sound and the Pacific Ocean. I think there’s enough water,” she jokes.
“I don’t do so well on boats,” I confess. “Cruise ships, yeah. Boats, not so much.”
“I love boats,” she says longingly. “I might have been a fish in a past life… or something. I’m so drawn to the water. I can’t believe we actually live on a lake… that opens into the ocean! It’s always been a dream of mine. That’s why I bought a condo overlooking Elliot Bay. I thought that was the closest I would ever get.”
“And now this,” I say, gesturing to our surroundings. She nods.
“Christian promises that we’ll get out on the boat now that it’s housed here at home, but our life has just been a whirlwind ever since we met.” She gestures me out of the boat resort and closes the door behind us. “He tells me that he has… we have property in various locales all over the world that he never visits—Hawaii, Cancun, Bermuda. It’s just been one catastrophe after another, and now we’re about to have kids. I don’t know when we’re ever going to do this traveling he speaks of.”
“Oh, you know Christian Grey,” I say as we make our way back to the house. “He’ll find a way.”
“That he will,” she says.
Before we get back to the house, she shows me the wade-in beach right by the water bank as well as a cozy water swing hidden inside a cove of trees and hanging over the still water. We also pass a beautiful wild jungle patio that leads into a barbecue kitchen and dining room—open-ended to give you the best of the inside and the outside.
“Besides the three 3-car garages that house Christian’s insane fleet of cars, the last area of the house is the east wing. It’s just these rooms on the first floor.” She deposits her wrap on a coat rack just inside the door and I have to admit that I’m glad to be back inside as I foolishly failed to grab any kind of outerwear before we toured the back yard. “This little area—if you can call it little—is a bit of a circle.” We move from a wide and spacious hallway to a lovely room on the right.
“These are the last of the his-and-her rooms. This is my parlor.” She gestures around the brightly decorated room—outrageously tall ceiling with a two-story window that looks out onto the lake. Decorated in tans and browns with marble, wood, and touches of wrought iron, the parlor is yet another statement of Ana’s tendency towards light. An impressive fireplace and an equally impressive mirror adorn the two-story wall across from the sofa, adding to the brightness of the room.
We wander through the parlor to another room, just as well-lit but with darker furniture. “This is my office,” Ana says. I nod.
“It looks like a shrink’s office,” I jest.
“It is a shrink’s office,” she retorts, “but I won’t be seeing patients here. That’s where we both draw the line.” Once again, decorated in lovely wood tones and neutral colors, this space is a testament of Ana’s good taste. I point to the wall facing across from her desk.
“Another aquarium,” I point out. She nods.
“Those, I’m sure, are more domestic fish. This is the smallest of the aquariums and as you can see…” She opens the door next to the aquarium and the décor changes drastically—from neutral tans and light browns to dark marble, posh leather chairs, dark wood wall-to-wall shelving, opulent light fixtures and intricate ceilings. An impressive executive desk sits majestically near the end of the room in front of a marble fireplace flanked by two windows with bronze-colored mini-blinds and leather window seats. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that we have wandered into the domain of Christian Grey. “…It connects Christian’s office with mine.”
I had completely forgotten that we were talking about the aquarium. I stand on my toes and, sure enough, I can see into Ana’s well-lit office through the fish tank.
“Whose idea was that?” I ask.
“His, of course. At Escala, my office is above him, so we don’t see each other when I’m in there.” She opens the dark French doors to reveal another room off of Christian’s office.
“This is the end of the tour,” she says. We are now in a den, well-lighted but still muted by the rusty caramel colored décor—leather chairs, sofa, walls, ceiling, and desk. Yes, another desk.
“Why does your husband have another desk in here? There’s one in the next room!”
“Don’t ask me,” she shrugs. “He didn’t decorate my parlor, I didn’t decorate his den.” We walk through the rooms back to her parlor where she quickly takes a seat on the sofa. “That was a bit of a workout for me, Lynn. I’m more tired than I thought I would be.” I sit on the sofa next to her and try to stretch my feet in my high heels.
“Yeah, I really hate to admit it, but Jason was right about these shoes. They’re very cute, but not as comfortable as I would like. But honestly, we covered a lot of territory in this place.”
“Oh yes,” she says, leaning back on the sofa. “I lose count of how many bathrooms and bedrooms we have—multiple dining rooms, patios and balconies everywhere, boathouses and aquariums and saunas. Speaking of which, would you like to join me for a massage and a soak? I’m sure we could both use it.”
“Now you’re talking my language!” I say as we both struggle to get off the sofa. After all, I’m fat and she’s pregnant.
“Well, ladies and gentlemen, there you have it. Grey Crossing with all of the amenities fit for a king and queen… and two little heir-apparents soon to join the Grey family. I hope you enjoyed our little tour and that you will stick around for the many tales that will unfurl as our family lives and grows in love. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’m going to partake in that mineral bath in the private spa…
Love and handcuffs!!!